I Have A Very Good Brain And I've Said A Lot Of Things
May 22, 2017 10:23 AM   Subscribe

It's the 122nd day of the Trump Administration and his whirlwind diplomatic tour continues, moving on from the Middle East to … Israel? Israel, which, the President clarified, is definitely not a word that he said when meeting with Russian officials last week. Meanwhile, a sinkhole has formed in front of Trump's Mar-A-Lago resort which is almost certainly not a metaphor for his presidency. Unless it is. In which case, Vox makes the argument that there is no one to blame except Donald Trump.
posted by murphy slaw (3149 comments total) 109 users marked this as a favorite
 


No role-playing game publisher in the world will ever put out a "bad guys sourcebook" with a cover as ominous and plainly evil as that creepy glowing orb pic. (Link shows it uncropped, because damn.)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:26 AM on May 22 [79 favorites]


Trumpy started well, no question in Israel.
Shining like a globe through the smoky haze,
A beautiful reminder of the care free days.

He almost captured the Israelis, he sure had the chance,
But suddenly he seemed to lose interest,
He seemed tired.
(Tired?! Trump?! Tired?!)
posted by charred husk at 10:29 AM on May 22 [10 favorites]


Thanks, murphy slaw... As the author of one of those big long potus45 thread intros, while they're great, they do get, err, trumped by the administration's minute-by-minute lunacy pretty damn quickly. Feels almost beside the point.

In other words - this is great, just what we needed!
posted by martin q blank at 10:30 AM on May 22 [16 favorites]


16 square foot sinkhole? That's 4 by 4, barely larger than the manhole necessary to swallow the healthiest President in our history.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:30 AM on May 22 [11 favorites]


16 square foot sinkhole? That's 4 by 4, barely larger than the manhole necessary to swallow the healthiest President in our history.

as the republicans said of trump, give it time.
posted by murphy slaw at 10:31 AM on May 22 [5 favorites]


that glowing orb really reinforces my theory that this entire reality is the result of a failing Sharper Image store in a dying mall being granted a wish to become a real human being and get elected president
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:31 AM on May 22 [103 favorites]


I feel like this post does not pay sufficient respect to the terrible and all-seeing powers of the orb. Are you trying to displease the orb? That would be unwise.
posted by indubitable at 10:32 AM on May 22 [42 favorites]


(Link shows it uncropped, because damn.)

Did Alex Ross paint that?
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:32 AM on May 22 [25 favorites]


the orb is so 24 hours ago. we all worship the all-devouring hole now.
posted by murphy slaw at 10:34 AM on May 22 [100 favorites]




The Onion dropped a load of [fake] Trump Documents today. Lots of funny stuff to dig through in there.
posted by msbutah at 10:35 AM on May 22 [12 favorites]




What I really find incredible about the Orb is how after 4 solid months of chaos, disaster, and constant weird nonsense, Trump is somehow still able to surprise us.
posted by Copronymus at 10:36 AM on May 22 [49 favorites]


Please, refer to the orb by its proper name: the Loc-Nar.
posted by gurple at 10:36 AM on May 22 [40 favorites]


It does not redeem Melania any, but if that was intentional then good for her. Seriously, fuck that abusive asshole.
posted by lydhre at 10:37 AM on May 22 [7 favorites]


I know we're talked about how Back To The Future's Biff Tannen was based on Trump's '80s persona, but the recent "Biff To The Future" comic book dials this comparison up past 11. The mini-series shows how young Biff rose to power after being given Gray's Sports Almanac by his future self. Basically, it's the backstory to Back To The Future Part II. Biff uses his gambling winnings to take control of real estate holdings, opens a casino, threatens people around him, etc.

What really made me sit up and take notice was issue #4. Set around the time of the Watergate break-in, Biff buys the Washington Post in order to silence a who was writing negative editorials about him. He renames it The Biffington Post and fires Woodward and Bernstein as their investigation is in its infancy, thus preventing the Watergate scandal and keeping Nixon in power. Nixon invites Biff to the Oval Office and personally thanks him for his assistance. "Thanks to you, the Senate hearings have been canceled and there won't be any scandals," Nixon tells him.

This issue was published the same week that Trump fired Comey and I'm sure we all remember Trump's later comments to the Russians that "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off.". I'm starting to wonder if the comic writers have a time machine or futuristic almanac of their own.
posted by Servo5678 at 10:39 AM on May 22 [32 favorites]


I would really like to see a sincere Free Melania campaign. Imagine being exposed to Trump for hours every single day 💀.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:40 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


> Vox makes the argument that there is no one to blame except Donald Trump.

In a sane world, this case would not have to be made at all, and certainly not with 3500-some odd words chronicling, in meticulous detail, just some of the most prominent of the five-alarm infernos that Trump has caused.

Still, don't be misled by the headline -- what Klein says in the piece is that there is no one for Trump to blame except himself. This is true, but it doesn't account for any of the blame for Trump being elected in the first place, or for the support from the GOP that allows him to remain there despite being manifestly unfit to serve in government in any capacity. Trump can't point the finger at anyone else, but if he were gone tomorrow, many of the same bad actors who allowed him to get this far will still be around. Let's save some of our outrage for them, even as he provides steady doses of outrage fuel on an hourly basis.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:40 AM on May 22 [18 favorites]


guys I've played a lot of point and click adventure games in my day and I'm pretty certain that the way we defeat Trump is by dropping the orb down the sinkhole
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:40 AM on May 22 [272 favorites]


... we worship the all-devouring hole now.

Soon someone will notice that there's a bigger glowing orb down in the hole.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:41 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


I sure hope that Melania divorces him in the middle of a protracted impeachment. That would just be *kisses fingers*
posted by bracems at 10:42 AM on May 22 [42 favorites]


guys I've played a lot of point and click adventure games in my day and I'm pretty certain that the way we defeat Trump is by dropping the orb down the sinkhole

i wouldn't even be that surprised if we got a Monkey Island sort of reaction out of that
posted by indubitable at 10:42 AM on May 22 [13 favorites]


You know we live in an alternative timeline when not even comic book writers can surpass reality.

Also.

What the fuck is the deal with the orb?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:42 AM on May 22 [10 favorites]


I am, generally speaking, a rational-minded person who isn't religious or even especially spiritual. I have a normal number of superstitions that I recognize are just that, superstitions.

And yet, when I heard about the sink hole, I immediately turned into a wild-haired hag of a witch prophetess hissing "it is an omen! heed the omens!!!!"
posted by yasaman at 10:43 AM on May 22 [44 favorites]


What the fuck is the deal with the orb?

Do not question the orb.
posted by Servo5678 at 10:43 AM on May 22 [35 favorites]


I'm still annoyed that we're never going to get a proper Phoenix Wright villain meltdown out of him because he's too dumb to understand when he's been caught doing something illegal.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:44 AM on May 22 [13 favorites]


All Hail the Glow Orb.
posted by delfin at 10:44 AM on May 22 [10 favorites]


creepy glowing orb pic

The ARG for the new Twin Peaks is getting really fucking weird.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:45 AM on May 22 [23 favorites]


a refresher on the Loc-Nar: Photo of President Trump and the glowing orb inspires new meme (USA Today)
posted by murphy slaw at 10:45 AM on May 22 [6 favorites]


I have to admit that this was my first thought upon seeing that Orb. Maybe we're all living in Lorac's nightmare now. And Bannon is Cyan Bloodbane.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:45 AM on May 22 [8 favorites]


so tomorrow he, uh, prays at the western wall and visits the church of the holy sepulchre

the day after that he goes to the vatican

there's gotta be at least one apocalyptic wingnut out there who's keeping tabs on this shit, because this fucking trip has all the greatest hits. this is like if netflix decided to make a sumptuous adaptation of your very favorite book, except this is reality and the book series ends in the destruction of the world
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 10:45 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]


I believed the orb was fake news for hours yesterday, because there's no way anyone would be that insane BUT WAIT.
posted by corb at 10:45 AM on May 22 [39 favorites]


The video of Trump's "I never mentioned the word or the name Israel" is something to behold. He's supposed to be leaving and suddenly he just stops and tries to quiet everyone down so he can announce this.

The Election Law Blog brings us some analysis of the North Carolina Racial Redistricting ruling: part 1, part 2.

BuzzFeed confirms that Flynn will not comply with the subpoena and invoke his Fifth Amendment rights, while Brian Beutler goes there: Democrats Should Proudly Call for Trump’s Impeachment: "Some rank-and-file members are doing it. Why aren't the party's leaders showing the same courage of conviction?"
What’s ultimately making Democrats uncomfortable with the word “impeachment” is not any doubt that Trump has earned it, but the shambling speed with which he did so. It is undeniable at this point that Trump has committed impeachment-worthy offenses, and that—should the political atmosphere in Washington ever allow it—he should be removed from office.
posted by zachlipton at 10:45 AM on May 22 [41 favorites]


Orb / Sinkhole 2020
posted by mikepop at 10:46 AM on May 22 [105 favorites]


Do not taunt Glowing Creepy Orb.
posted by Mayor West at 10:46 AM on May 22 [12 favorites]


[Guys, we all love and fear and worship the orb but let's try not to draw too much of its attention here lest we hasten our eventual glorious destruction, and also to keep the comment count under control.]
posted by cortex at 10:46 AM on May 22 [222 favorites]


Regarding Flynn, given that the public aspect of the investigation seems to be centered directly on him it seems entirely reasonable to take the fifth rather than testify before Congress, but I held out hope that he'd be joining the Carter Page School Of Saying Stupid, Self-Incriminating Shit In Public.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:48 AM on May 22


I believed the orb was fake news for hours yesterday, because there's no way anyone would be that insane BUT WAIT.
posted by cORB


don't think i don't see that
posted by indubitable at 10:48 AM on May 22 [158 favorites]


Thank you for the new thread!

If Trumpcare passes, his budget proposal will cut approximately $800 billion in funding from Medicaid over the next 10 years, leaving an estimated 10 million people (15-20%) without benefits. The majority of non-elderly recipients who would be affected are White, and Trump vowed to leave Medicaid alone during the campaign. The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP -- food stamps) would be cut by about $193 billion -- about 25% of its budget. Republicans have been trying to reduce SNAP (or defund it entirely) for years, on the "reasoning" that people with incomes up to 130% over the poverty line are an unsightly drag on society and the most humane thing Republicans can think of to do is to starve them to death in pursuit of a balanced budget that rewards rich people for being wealthy.

The budget's total proposed federal funding cuts for Medicaid + anti-poverty programs is about $1.7 trillion over ten years.
posted by zarq at 10:48 AM on May 22 [99 favorites]


The thing that gets me about the orb is that it's supposedly for the opening of a "center for combating extremist ideology." But it's in Saudi Arabia which is one of the biggest creators and exporters of extremist ideology in the world. If that center is doing anything real at all, it's probably there to promulgate Sunni Wahhabism over Shiites.
posted by dnash at 10:49 AM on May 22 [25 favorites]


there's gotta be at least one apocalyptic wingnut out there who's keeping tabs on this shit, because this fucking trip has all the greatest hits.

It's like the chapter in From Hell where Dr. Gull has his carriage driver take him to all of the sites of occult power in London, and at the end he draws a giant pentagram on the map connecting all of them. I don't believe in conspiracy theories, but I'm terrified of people who behave as though they're part of one.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:51 AM on May 22 [16 favorites]


> The budget's total proposed federal funding cuts for Medicaid + anti-poverty programs is about $1.7 trillion over ten years.

Do they also specify the amount of tax cuts for the rich, or is that too obvious to make explicit?
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:51 AM on May 22 [7 favorites]


speaking of images of horror and hilarity, here's trump imitating a 5-yo dancing at the recent saudi palantir uncovering
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:53 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Its not a sink hole -- its a short cut to hell. Trump hates the long commute.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 10:54 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


@IvankaTrump:
It was deeply meaningful to visit the holiest site of my faith and to leave a note of prayer.
📷 Associated Press (AP) [pic]

@Yair_Rosenberg:
Someone might want to tell Ivanka's social media person that the Temple Mount, not the Western Wall, is the holiest site in Judaism.
posted by chris24 at 10:54 AM on May 22 [124 favorites]


The thing that gets me about the orb is that it's supposedly for the opening of a "center for combating extremist ideology."

right, like liberalism, SJWs, etc
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:54 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


I'm gonna predict it ahead of time so we can be pre-gobsmacked: most of his ardent supporters will simply believe that these medic(aid|are) cuts will only impact The Wrong People and not them so it's really no problem. Only after it actually hits them will they believe it and we'll get to read mostly ignore and froth about dozens of articles talking to these people like their opinions mean shit.
posted by phearlez at 10:55 AM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Its not a sink hole -- its a short cut to hell. Trump hates the long commute.

any minute now, the nydus worm should emerge
posted by murphy slaw at 10:56 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


How likely are these budget cuts to actually pass?
posted by prefpara at 10:57 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]


I'm still annoyed that we're never going to get a proper Phoenix Wright villain meltdown out of him because he's too dumb to understand when he's been caught doing something illegal.

You might get your wish... it's likely a large part of his problem is sleep deprivation.
posted by Coventry at 10:57 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


If Trumpcare passes, his budget proposal will cut approximately $800 billion in funding from Medicaid over the next 10 years, leaving an estimated 10 million people (15-20%) without benefits.

p.s., this is violence. not "calling someone mean names on Twitter" violence or "beating on people at a protest" violence. it's "bulldozers pushing the bodies into trenches" violence.
posted by indubitable at 10:57 AM on May 22 [54 favorites]


From the AP, Turkey slams US over ‘aggressive’ acts against bodyguards:
Turkey summoned the U.S. ambassador on Monday to protest what it called “aggressive and unprofessional actions” by American security personnel against Turkish bodyguards in Washington during President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit last week.
Inwardly marvelling at how confident I am that the President of the United States is going to side against the DC police and American citizens exercising their first amendments rights, and in favor of the violent autocratic president of a foreign country.
posted by galaxy rise at 10:57 AM on May 22 [70 favorites]


The orb turned on the new counter extremism center which is a good idea but when you just leave the orb there any terrorist can saunter by and turn the whole thing off again.
posted by shothotbot at 10:58 AM on May 22 [7 favorites]


Okay, you guys heard corbtex. Cut it out.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:58 AM on May 22 [32 favorites]



What I really find incredible about the Orb is ...

that they're going to be touring Canada in August.
posted by philip-random at 10:59 AM on May 22 [15 favorites]


Thanks for the new post! I was muddling through an overly-long post, so I'll drop some links in here: Some links pulled from What The Fuck Just Happened Today, which is now up-to-date (into Day 123).

And if you need a break from current politics but you want to keep in the political frame of mind, here's Poems of Protest, Resistance, and Empowerment from the Poetry Foundation. I was going to use a line from Boy Breaking Glass by Gwendolyn Brooks as the post title.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:59 AM on May 22 [65 favorites]


The Freedom Caucus of the house will view the Medi(x) cuts as not deep enough and torpedo them, the left will think their protest worked and let the pressure off, Ryan will adjust them to extra fuck some poor people somehow and the Freedom Caucus will join in, pushing enough support over. Then it's up to the Senate to water it down in reconciliation (because they know it won't survive a full vote). Off to DJTs desk for his ego scribble.
posted by msbutah at 10:59 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


@IvankaTrump:

Could her profile signify whiteness any less subtly?
posted by Sophie1 at 10:59 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]


chris24: @IvankaTrump:
It was deeply meaningful to visit the holiest site of my faith and to leave a note of prayer.
📷 Associated Press (AP) [pic]

@Yair_Rosenberg:
Someone might want to tell Ivanka's social media person that the Temple Mount, not the Western Wall, is the holiest site in Judaism.


And that she's littering.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:00 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]


You know we live in an alternative timeline when not even comic book writers can surpass reality.

We've replaced your regularly scheduled reality with Calvinball until further notice.
posted by azpenguin at 11:01 AM on May 22 [11 favorites]


Its not a sink hole -- its a short cut to hell. Trump hates the long commute.

Wait, so you're saying Mar-a-Lago is actually built over a hellmouth? That explains not only the Trump presidency but also the general wacky terribleness that tends to happen only in Florida.
posted by zrail at 11:02 AM on May 22 [30 favorites]


That explains not only the Trump presidency but also the general wacky terribleness that tends to happen only in Florida.

I do have to admit I'm intrigued by the notion that at long last we've unmasked Florida Man, but he is now the president of the nation.
posted by Mayor West at 11:04 AM on May 22 [23 favorites]


Do they also specify the amount of tax cuts for the rich, or is that too obvious to make explicit?

Sort of. Details on the tax cuts were released at the end of April. The Times also has estimates regarding how the budget will increase the federal budget.
posted by zarq at 11:07 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


How likely are these budget cuts to actually pass?

My feeling is not likely. They'd hit a lot of places that have R senators and reps and while Trumpteam doesn't care if those people keep their jobs, they do. But my confidence on predicting spending decisions was brought way low when sequestration kicked in and wasn't stopped; I was sure there'd be a deal to preserve mil spending being hit there.
posted by phearlez at 11:08 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


In a way, Melania demonstrates how inequality really works - she has to marry this awful man if she wants to be rich, and people judge her for it (kind of appropriately) and then she has to be married to him. On the one hand, what a sordid, money-oriented choice to make, and what it says about her values! On the other...I am reminded of people like Betsy De Vos, who are born rich, and who can be just awful while never having to marry the Trumps of the world. Not that anyone should have that kind of money/power, but it just seems like one additional way that ordinary people get it in the neck - rich people can be rich and evil with no effort, so to speak, while regular people have to marry Trump.
posted by Frowner at 11:09 AM on May 22 [21 favorites]


Well, Infowars just got official White House press credentials.

Looks like I'm drinking early today.
posted by bluecore at 11:09 AM on May 22 [75 favorites]


[Guys, we all love and fear and worship the orb but let's try not to draw too much of its attention here lest we hasten our eventual glorious destruction, and also to keep the comment count under control.]

What? No, this isn't a thing to be a afraid of. That orb is one of at least three. It's simply "Orb A" or, as it will prefer to be known when it eventually gains full sentience "Aorb". "Borb" is still lost out there somewhere but we're safe from any of them as we've got "Orb C" as Mefi's own...
posted by VTX at 11:10 AM on May 22 [12 favorites]


Bloomberg BNA: Math, Politics Create Headwinds for Looming Trump Budget

Every President's budget tends to be declared "dead on arrival" in Congress, until, you know, it isn't. Even Republicans are skeptical of some of the cuts: the farm bill (which includes SNAP) was just negotiated a couple years ago, and proposed cuts to foreign aid and HHS haven't gone over too well. But when billions of dollars can be stricken with the stroke of the pen in a last-minute deal, yeah, it's terrifying. Large chunks of them almost certainly won't pass, but could they slash Medicaid or SSDI: absolutely.

Related to the budget, Dylan Scott has a good explainer on the Byrd Rule, which will become quite relevant again on Wednesday when the CBO score drops on the AHCA and the question of "what can pass the Senate" becomes a thing.

Anyway, someone just gave White House press credentials to Infowars, so we'll probably be reading something about precious bodily fluids tomorrow.

It was deeply meaningful to visit the holiest site of my faith and to leave a note of prayer.

The working theory on Twitter is that the President left a copy of his electoral map in the wall.
posted by zachlipton at 11:10 AM on May 22 [10 favorites]


Uhhhh. Turkey condemns U.S. over ‘aggressive’ acts against its bodyguards during Erdogan’s visit to D.C.
American and Turkish officials have provided directly contrasting versions of how the violence unfolded. Local police said the Turkish guards savagely attacked a peaceful protest outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence as Erdogan was visiting. The melee, which was recorded by video journalists, showed what appeared to be Turkish security guards kicking and choking protesters as D.C. police struggled to contain the unrest. The footage also showed that Erdogan was watching, from a distance, as the fighting raged.

Turkish diplomats have criticized the local police for failing to quell an “unpermitted” and “provocative” demonstration.
So Erdogan sends his goons to beat up American protesters, then summons our Ambassador to blame us for trying to stop them?
posted by zachlipton at 11:12 AM on May 22 [17 favorites]


> Well, Infowars just got official White House press credentials.

Seems like a waste of effort when they already have a direct line into the President's brain.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:13 AM on May 22 [6 favorites]


I doubt it's how Trump intended it to be used, but I strongly suspect the Republicans will be using the proposed Trump budget as a sort of lowball first offer to drag negotiations their way. Trump, I'm sure, expects his budget proposal to be passed in full.

Problem is that even if the Republicans only get 10% of what Trump is asking for, that's still hurting a whole lot of people for no reason but to give massive tax cuts to the richest people on the planet. And they'll probably get more than 10% of what they want.

The Democrats could, in theory, shut down the government by filibustering the budget. But in practice that's not so easy or simple. First, I'm not at all sure the Republicans would't just nuke the filibuster for budgets too. More important, in a way shutting down the government is inevitably a Republican win. That's, ultimately, what they want. The Democrats want a functioning government, and that puts them at an inherently weaker bargaining position.

I'm also not at all sure that self interest and fear of their voters will stop the Republicans much. They seem disturbingly unconcerned with their electoral futures. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they passed a massively harmful budget and then counted on cruising through the elections on racism, nationalism, and cheating.
posted by sotonohito at 11:17 AM on May 22 [11 favorites]


Anyway, someone just gave White House press credentials to Infowars

I for one, look forward to questions from the underserved Sasquatch contingent.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:17 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


So Erdogan sends his goons to beat up American protesters, then summons our Ambassador to blame us for trying to stop them?

Ah, the classic "Stop Hitting Yourself" defense.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 11:17 AM on May 22 [13 favorites]


The Times also has estimates regarding how the budget will increase the federal budget deficit.

FTFMe
posted by zarq at 11:17 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


So Erdogan sends his goons to beat up American protesters, then summons our Ambassador to blame us for trying to stop them?

No, it sounds like he blames us for allowing this disgusting demonstration of the peaceful expression of free speech to take place at all
posted by tivalasvegas at 11:18 AM on May 22 [16 favorites]


I'm just amazed at how little stamina he has. Reportedly "exhausted" after a couple of days.

Must be withdrawal from golf, he's gone a whole couple of days without it. SAD!
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:18 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, a sinkhole has formed in front of Trump's Mar-A-Lago resort

Umm...

ahem... "Come on, impeachment by Friday!"
posted by jason_steakums at 11:20 AM on May 22 [26 favorites]


Trump (probably) didn’t do anything illegal in revealing this information to the Russians. The president can declassify what he wants, how he wants, when he wants. But that power is predicated on the idea that presidents won’t misuse it.
To paraphrase Captain Picard (Season 1, Episode 26), the reason the com system isn't secured is because a certain measure of self-control is expected of all on board.

chris24: "Someone might want to tell Ivanka's social media person that the Temple Mount, not the Western Wall, is the holiest site in Judaism."

Note that Ivanka said her faith and considering the reality distortion bubble she lives in that may not (probably isn't in the details) @Yair_Rosenberg's faith.
posted by Mitheral at 11:20 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Turkish diplomats have criticized the local police for failing to quell an “unpermitted” and “provocative” demonstration.
Yeah, see buddy, despite Trump winning the Presidency over here we've still got freedom of speech and assembly. We're allow to be provocative and we don't need your permission to criticize thin skinned would be dictators. Or Erdoğan for that matter.

I'll admit that we're fighting a bit of a rearguard protective action over our freedom, but your side still hasn't achieved full victory over here yet.
posted by sotonohito at 11:21 AM on May 22 [11 favorites]


huh - here's a surprise: Transportation Secretary Chao has approved federal funding for California's CalTrain electrification project.

i wonder if she did it while trump was out of town on purpose?
posted by murphy slaw at 11:23 AM on May 22 [20 favorites]


I had almost forgotten about this amidst all the other news, but one thing to look forward to this week is the release of the CBO score for the revised, even-more-awful AHCA, which may force the House to vote on it again if it isn't found to meet the requirements for reconciliation.
posted by contraption at 11:23 AM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Just finished reading this and came here. Thank you for this new FPP
posted by infini at 11:25 AM on May 22


I'm just amazed at how little stamina he has. Reportedly "exhausted" after a couple of days.

Well we have to keep in mind that Trump doesn't exercise because he believes that he would deplete his body's finite amount of energy [not fake] [i swear].

Actually, i'm surprised he hasn't been reduced to Bernie in Weekend at Bernie's.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:27 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


I'm just amazed at how little stamina he has. Reportedly "exhausted" after a couple of days.

Hey, remember when Hilary canceled her campaign activities for three days when she was diagnosed with pneumonia, and the entire goddamned world leapt down her throat because she obviously didn't have the stamina for the job?

That was less than eight months ago. What naive summer children we all were.
posted by Mayor West at 11:29 AM on May 22 [96 favorites]


I wasn't naive about any of it. Scared to death then and now.
posted by agregoli at 11:30 AM on May 22 [29 favorites]


That was less than eight months ago. What [sexist] naive summer children we they all were.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:31 AM on May 22 [62 favorites]


Wait, so you're saying Mar-a-Lago is actually built over a hellmouth? That explains not only the Trump presidency but also the general wacky terribleness that tends to happen only in Florida.

The Hellmouth in CA was closed on May 20, 2003. We're just past the fourteenth anniversary. Coincidence? I think not.
posted by Ber at 11:31 AM on May 22 [18 favorites]


@IvankaTrump:
It was deeply meaningful to visit the holiest site of my faith and to leave a note of prayer.
📷 Associated Press (AP) [pic]

@Yair_Rosenberg:
Someone might want to tell Ivanka's social media person that the Temple Mount, not the Western Wall, is the holiest site in Judaism.


He's right, but I can sorta understand her shorthand. Jews can't walk on the Temple Mount, so the Western Wall is considered the holiest place we can say prayers. I've called the Wall our holiest place myself on mefi before for the same reason.
posted by zarq at 11:32 AM on May 22 [37 favorites]


I had almost forgotten about this amidst all the other news, but one thing to look forward to this week is the release of the CBO score for the revised, even-more-awful AHCA, which may force the House to vote on it again if it isn't found to meet the requirements for reconciliation.

So. much. winning. either

1. All those stupid fuckers vote for it again, but this time after the CBO score showing they'll be kicking XX million off of healthcare (and we can run ads against them. "Congressman Fuckmook voted twice to steal your healthcare!") All this knowing that it'll still never pass in the Senate.

2. Some of those stupid fuckers wise up and use the CBO score to vote against it, killing the bill in the House and making Ryan & Co. look look a bunch of losers.

Talk about an own goal.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:33 AM on May 22 [13 favorites]


not to doot doot my own horn but i was less summer child and more shriveled testicle in the winter night even back in the day 8 months ago peace be upon us 🙏
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:35 AM on May 22 [15 favorites]


He's right, but I can sorta understand her shorthand. Jews can't walk on the Temple Mount, so the Western Wall is considered the holiest place we can say prayers. I've called the Wall our holiest place myself on mefi before for the same reason.

I mean, if we want to get REALLY specific, the whole Temple Mount isn't the holiest place, that's the Holiest of Holies where sat the Ark of the Covenant (containing the two tablets, manna, and Aaron's staff). We're just not exactly sure where it's located since the destruction of the temple.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:36 AM on May 22 [5 favorites]


The InfoWars press pass is only a day pass. Not that it matters very much, but it's a meaningful distinction.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:37 AM on May 22 [10 favorites]


We're just not exactly sure where it's located since the destruction of the temple.

just walk Trump around the site until he starts melting, that should narrow it down
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:38 AM on May 22 [76 favorites]


That's not gonna help; Trump looks like he's been melting since he started his campaign.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:40 AM on May 22 [16 favorites]


another trump campaign staffer has been called to testify in the house:

NYT: House Inquiry Turns Attention to Trump Campaign Worker With Russia Ties
Michael Caputo, who served as a communications adviser to the Trump campaign, has been asked by the House committee investigating Russian election meddling to submit to a voluntary interview and to provide any documents he may have that are related to the inquiry.

The House Intelligence Committee, which is examining possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, made its request in a letter on May 9. Mr. Caputo, who lives near Buffalo and spent six months on the Trump team, worked in Russia during the 1990s and came to know Kremlin officials. He also did work in the early 2000s for Gazprom Media, a Russian conglomerate that supported President Vladimir V. Putin.
posted by murphy slaw at 11:40 AM on May 22 [18 favorites]


huh - here's a surprise: Transportation Secretary Chao has approved federal funding for California's CalTrain electrification project.

I bash Dianne Feinstein plenty, so it's only fair I give her credit, as someone who had to stand in the sun yesterday waiting for a delayed Caltrain, for consistently pushing this issue.

Meanwhile, in healthcare news, Delay on Obamacare Subsidy Decision Leaves Insurers in Limbo
President Donald Trump’s administration asked for another 90 days to resolve a lawsuit over subsidies that help poorer people afford to use their Obamacare insurance plans, further delaying a long-running legal fight that’s already destabilizing the health law.

The U.S. Department of Justice and House Republicans made the joint request Monday as they “continue to discuss measures that would obviate the need for judicial determination of this appeal, including potential legislative action,” such as the Obamacare replacement plan known as the American Health Care Act, according to a court filing.

Without the payments, insurers have threatened to drop out of the Affordable Care Act’s markets or substantially raise premiums, and customers could face thousands of dollars in unexpected costs. The Trump administration could still choose to drop the appeal, though other parties are trying to defend the payments.
posted by zachlipton at 11:41 AM on May 22 [5 favorites]


filthy light thief that poetry link should be it's own FPP
posted by infini at 11:41 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]


The InfoWars press pass is only a day pass. Not that it matters very much, but it's a meaningful distinction.

Didn't Jeff Gannon have day passes?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:43 AM on May 22 [6 favorites]


The Democrats want a functioning government, and that puts them at an inherently weaker bargaining position.

hey, you know who else had a functioning government?

i'm dead serious about this, too - there are times and conditions when you don't want a functioning government and we seem to be approaching that
posted by pyramid termite at 11:47 AM on May 22 [14 favorites]


The video of Trump's "I never mentioned the word or the name Israel" is something to behold. He's supposed to be leaving and suddenly he just stops and tries to quiet everyone down so he can announce this.

That was the best part. He made sure everybody got really quiet so they wouldn't miss the profoundly stupid thing he was about to say.

Although his face when he gets the idea to say it is also pretty great. One half of his brain is like "I just thought of something really dumb to say out loud." And the other half of his brain pauses for a second and then goes "Yes, I love it! Let's do this!"
posted by diogenes at 11:48 AM on May 22 [31 favorites]


I would really like to see a sincere Free Melania campaign. Imagine being exposed to Trump for hours every single day 💀.

The rumor mill says that Donald and Melania have loathed each other for years now, and rarely spend time together outside public appearances. Supposedly they occupy separate floors in Orthanc Trump Tower, and Melania has her own entrance to the apartments through which she and her friends can come and go without having to see Donald. I have no idea if these rumors are true, but it's pretty clear from her public actions that Melania is no fool, and understands exactly what bargain she's made. By playing the role of Glamorous Madonna at Donald's side, she shores up his public image while receiving in exchange the kind of opulent lifestyle that consumes resources which would sustain a thousand normal families.

Certainly now, with Donald in the White House while she remains in New York at ever-ballooning cost to the taxpayers, Melania's not spending anything like hours per day around Donald. If she weren't happy with the arrangement, she could have tanked Donald's campaign at any time by speaking out about what kind of man he is, but she chose instead to support his candidacy for her own gain. I have no sympathy for her or any other member of the Trump tribe.
posted by biogeo at 11:48 AM on May 22 [188 favorites]


Sacramento Bee, May 19th: Nurses heckle Democratic leader, threaten legislators over health care.
As California Democrats kicked off their weekend convention here with a cocktail reception featuring trays of scallion pancakes with Hoisin sauce and red grapes rolled in blue cheese and coated in pistachios, the throng advocating for a statewide publicly funded, universal health care system snaked down a staircase behind Perez, shouting down his calls for unity.

“This gathering kind of reminds me of Thanksgiving dinner at my house with my extended family,” Perez said, trying to lighten the mood.

As Perez launched into a riff about shared party values, California Democratic Party John Burton told activists he backed universal healthcare before many of them were born, in 1998. He jabbed at a protester: “Put your (expletive) sign down...We’re all for it.”
I guess that settles that.

The Hill, May 21st: Sanders backers fall short in California Democrat race.
Though both Bauman and Ellis did not want to frame the race as a contest between the establishment wing and the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party, their supporters largely embraced that view.

Bauman had the support of the vast majority of the Democratic members of the state legislature, most politically active unions and local party organizations. Ellis was backed by Our Revolution, the outgrowth of Sanders's 2016 presidential campaign, and a California nurses union that backed Sanders.

There were few differences between the two candidates, both of whom adopted much of Sanders's 2016 platform. The main differences surrounded Bauman's work as a political consultant against a ballot measure dealing with pharmaceutical prices last year, and Ellis's pledge not to take money from the oil, tobacco or pharmaceutical industries.

Still, the race became politically fraught for some of California's most prominent Democrats. Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom (D), the leading candidate in the race for governor, endorsed both candidates rather than choosing a side.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:51 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]


by the way, a general comment - is it just me? - it seems like the more i read and hear about our cheeto in chief and the more i'm confronted with his black hole soul of stupidity, the dumber, less witty, less thoughtful and less focused i feel
posted by pyramid termite at 11:51 AM on May 22 [12 favorites]


I wish that a Saudi had thrown a shoe at him.
posted by brujita at 11:51 AM on May 22 [13 favorites]


I just wanted to say that I really, really like the mega-threads on the political dookiefest and wanted to thank everyone for A) keeping me company B) keeping me sane and C) having brains and rationality most of the time.
posted by yoga at 11:52 AM on May 22 [74 favorites]


The rumor mill says that Donald and Melania have loathed each other for years now, and rarely spend time together outside public appearances

I was honestly totally surprised last week when I found out she was going on this trip. As far as I can see the only things she's been to are the inauguration and the Easter Egg Roll. The joke I keep making is that we actually don't have a First Lady, her title is The President's Estranged Wife.
posted by dnash at 11:53 AM on May 22 [10 favorites]


Trump's accusations that Hillary was low-energy make sense now that I know about his theory of human bodies having finite amounts of energy. Hillary has accomplished SO MANY things in her life that, if energy is finite, she MUST be running on fumes.

Trump, having accomplished JACK SHIT in his entire life, is obviously still chock full o' the energy juice!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:53 AM on May 22 [89 favorites]


The rumor mill says that Donald and Melania have loathed each other for years now, and rarely spend time together outside public appearances.

I continue to hope that she is a loving and tender mother, and that Barron has lots of people around him who show him affection. My own son is exactly Barron's age, and I can't help but think of him from time to time as I watch my child grow older and gain independence. Melania may have signed up for this, but he sure didn't and all the money in the world won't buy you the kind of love a child truly needs.
posted by anastasiav at 11:53 AM on May 22 [21 favorites]


[old thread] Press statement @WhiteHouse says 1 goals of @POTUS Israel trip is "promote the possibility of lasting peach"

Wait a minute. This was a thing that happened?? I thought it was a typo by a Mefite. Good lord.
posted by Melismata at 11:54 AM on May 22 [5 favorites]


The Hellmouth in CA was closed on May 20, 2003. We're just past the fourteenth anniversary. Coincidence? I think not.

What I wouldn't give for a blonde teenager with superpowers to have her school librarian explain her duty to her right about now.
posted by biogeo at 11:56 AM on May 22 [25 favorites]


it seems like the more i read and hear about our cheeto in chief and the more i'm confronted with his black hole soul of stupidity, the dumber, less witty, less thoughtful and less focused i feel

oh no, I feel like unto a genius in comparison. I'll grant you the less focused though. Also I'm more consistently, constantly enraged.
posted by yasaman at 11:56 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Wait a minute. This was a thing that happened?? I thought it was a typo by a Mefite. Good lord.

It's [real]: Official White House Document Promotes Goal of "Lasting Peach" Between Israelis and Palestinians
posted by zachlipton at 11:58 AM on May 22 [22 favorites]


There were few differences between the two candidates, both of whom adopted much of Sanders's 2016 platform. The main differences surrounded Bauman's work as a political consultant against a ballot measure dealing with pharmaceutical prices last year, and Ellis's pledge not to take money from the oil, tobacco or pharmaceutical industries.

As long as there's some sort of microscopic sliver we can put between ourselves and other people with mostly the same goals, we're set.
posted by Jpfed at 11:58 AM on May 22 [11 favorites]


NBC alert states that Former Trump advisers Paul Manafort and Roger Stone have turned over documents to Senate Intel Committee. as part of the Russia investigation.

I'm super interested if anyone wants to be our 5pm leak today.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:59 AM on May 22 [18 favorites]


Indeed, zachlipton. I only knew it was a real thing after the entire internet blew up (yay, we all still appreciate correct spelling!).
posted by Melismata at 12:00 PM on May 22


He made sure everybody got really quiet so they wouldn't miss the profoundly stupid thing he was about to say.

It reminded me about Jeff Sessions going out of his way to incriminate himself.
Franken: ...if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?

Sessions: Senator Franken, I'm not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn't have — did not have communications with the Russians, and I'm unable to comment on it.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:00 PM on May 22 [14 favorites]


On the plus side, the 2020 US Presidential Election cycle has definitely begun, so I'm considering re-engaging to a point. US elections are my drug of choice; the bits in between less so. Plenty of odds here.

Go Klobuchar/Kennedy 2020!
posted by Wordshore at 12:01 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


zachlipton: It's [real]: Official White House Document Promotes Goal of "Lasting Peach" Between Israelis and Palestinians

Visualize whirled peas.
posted by klarck at 12:02 PM on May 22 [12 favorites]


Official White House Document Promotes Goal of "Lasting Peach" Between Israelis and Palestinians

Nic Cage as Castor Troy: "Ah could negotiate a peach for hours..."
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:03 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Go Klobuchar/Kennedy 2020!

The hell you say! We still have a chance!

VOTE GIANT METEOR AND BUTT STUFF 2020.
posted by loquacious at 12:05 PM on May 22 [7 favorites]


Go Klobuchar/Kennedy 2020!

My money's on Deep Mind[Seed0x4b213a2fa163bc38]/Deep Mind[Seed0x09b76e65677c9b09]
posted by contraption at 12:07 PM on May 22 [19 favorites]


That would just be *kisses fingers*

Someone should notify the Unicode Committee, because that needs to be in the next batch of emoji.
posted by acb at 12:07 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


Why is the WaPo referring to Klobuchar as 'little known'? That's...weird.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 12:07 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


As long as there's some sort of microscopic sliver we can put between ourselves and other people with mostly the same goals, we're set.

I'm glad to see continued agitation for Medicare-for-all and hope politicians continue to feel the pressure. The number of people whom the AHCA would strip of insurance and the number of people left uninsured under the ACA who would receive it under Medicare-for-all is roughly the same. It would disappoint me greatly if the plan were put off indefinitely because its professed supporters in government supported it only in the long term, and never in the present.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:07 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Official White House Document Promotes Goal of "Lasting Peach"

Um, guys, I just got a shiver down my spine. What would be a poetic way to describe a peach in the sun? Think about it... And be afraid.
posted by diogenes at 12:09 PM on May 22


The peach industry is probably very very happy right now.
posted by Melismata at 12:09 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Here's the rub on universal healthcare in California: The price tag on universal health care is in, and it’s bigger than California’s budget
It would cost $400 billion per year to remake California’s health insurance marketplace and create a publicly funded universal heath care system, according to a state financial analysis released Monday.

California would have to find an additional $200 billion per year, including in new tax revenues, to create a so-called “single-payer” system, the analysis by the Senate Appropriations committee found. The estimate assumes the state would retain the existing $200 billion in local, state and federal funding it currently receives to offset the total $400 billion price tag.
By comparison, the entire state budget right now is $180 billion. I want to see it happen, but that's a huge ugly number, and nobody has yet put forward a plan to raise it.
posted by zachlipton at 12:10 PM on May 22 [17 favorites]




I realized recently that "but her emails" is the new "but what about black on black crime".
posted by Groundhog Week at 12:12 PM on May 22 [13 favorites]


Go Klobuchar/Kennedy 2020!

Which Kennedy? The senator from Louisiana?
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:12 PM on May 22


Someone should notify the Unicode Committee, because that needs to be in the next batch of emoji.

👨‍🍳💋
posted by sideshow at 12:13 PM on May 22


FFS, Klobuchar has been around for awhile and was well known as being the only Minnesota Senator for a time. Calling her "little known" really doesn't make any sense. It's not like there are that many female senators to keep track of or anything...

From the 2009 article:
Since joining the Senate, Klobuchar's national image has also benefited from key committee appointments. And being an early supporter of President Barack Obama hasn't hurt. In fact, rarely does a news article go by that doesn't mention her combination of wit and composure and her potential to be a leader in the Democratic Party.

"Even if none of this had happened, you would still be getting a buzz about Amy as a rising star," said Ornstein.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 12:14 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


By comparison, the entire state budget right now is $180 billion. I want to see it happen, but that's a huge ugly number, and nobody has yet put forward a plan to raise it.

How much do California residents pay in health insurance premiums per year?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:14 PM on May 22 [47 favorites]


huh - here's a surprise: Transportation Secretary Chao has approved federal funding for California's CalTrain electrification project.

Hopefully they'll also reprieve Amtrak from being completely defunded. I'm hoping to catch one of those unpunctual yet spectacularly scenic trains across the USA at some point after the country's political climate stabilises.
posted by acb at 12:15 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


By comparison, the entire state budget right now is $180 billion. I want to see it happen, but that's a huge ugly number, and nobody has yet put forward a plan to raise it.

That article goes on to point out that actually the numbers they're referring to don't include the current $100-$150B being spent on health insurance by employers (who could presumably get out of the game once a public option is established.) So it's still a big number, but I think the Bee has a bit of an agenda.
posted by contraption at 12:16 PM on May 22 [26 favorites]


When I read that Trump's speech said that Islam was one of the world's great faiths, my first thought was "does Trump know that followers of Islam are called Muslims?"
posted by rmd1023 at 12:27 PM on May 22 [47 favorites]


it's baffling to me how so many people who claim to be opposed to inequality in this country come crawling out of the woodwork to shit on any politician with a chance of doing anything about it.
posted by indubitable at 12:27 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


[Couple comments removed, let's for the love of god head off yet another "are their crappy Bernie supporters, etc" go-around.]
posted by cortex at 12:29 PM on May 22 [19 favorites]


it's baffling to me how so many people who claim to be opposed to inequality in this country come crawling out of the woodwork to shit on any politician with a chance of doing anything about it.

You mean politicians like Amy Klobuchar?
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:31 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Why is the WaPo referring to Klobuchar as 'little known'? That's...weird.

I think you're severely overestimating the average person's political awareness. Scott Walker is a more headling-grabbing politician from the same part of the country, but in 2014 he still only had around 35% name recognition nationwide only two years after the very high-profile recall election. I would imagine Klubuchar is well below that level. People just typically don't have that much knowledge of governor/senator-level politicians from other states until they mount a presidential run.
posted by parallellines at 12:32 PM on May 22 [15 favorites]


Chris Christie: I warned Trump about Flynn: "I think it's safe to say that General Flynn and I didn't see eye-to eye," Christie told reporters at a news conference in Trenton, New Jersey. "I didn't think that he was someone who would bring benefit to the President or to the administration, and I made that very clear to candidate Trump, and I made it very clear to President-elect Trump."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:32 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


it's baffling to me how so many people who claim to be opposed to inequality in this country come crawling out of the woodwork to shit on any politician with a chance of doing anything about it

If they only care about equality for some at the expense of others -- say along racial or gender lines -- they're just pushing another form of inequality. Perhaps not a surprise that actual people would be unhappy about that, in addition to whatever you think crawls out of the woodwork.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:34 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


It would cost $400 billion per year to remake California’s health insurance marketplace and create a publicly funded universal heath care system, according to a state financial analysis released Monday.

Currently the U.S. already spends $10,400 per person per year for health care. There are 40 million people in California. That's a total of $416 billion to spend on Californians.

Boom. Done.
posted by JackFlash at 12:34 PM on May 22 [36 favorites]


For whatever it's worth, here is an account of the CA dems stuff that argues that the "berniecrats v clintonites" narrative doesn't meaningfully describe the actual events that happened, though SOME PEOPLE have applied that frame to the contest in order to rehash old arguments from the primaries / maintain that the divisions that happened during the primaries are TEARING THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY APART.

Anyway. If you're concerned about divisions in the democratic party breaking along the exact same lines over and over again, it may be useful to step back and consider whether disputes within the party are actually driven by that particular division, or if instead you're seeing those divisions everywhere because the media you read project that division onto any intra-democratic-party dispute.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:34 PM on May 22 [24 favorites]


It is mind blowing to me that Chris Christie didn't meet the "corrupt enough" threshold for a formal position in the Trump administration.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:34 PM on May 22 [15 favorites]


This was a reminder I needed to read this week, for sure...

Step Around the Benghazi Trap
As the Trump scandals deepen, Democrats should learn from Republican mistakes: If you let your expectations get too far ahead of what’s known, confirmation bias can lead you into an a universe of alternative facts.
...
It may have taken four years and eight investigations for their Benghazi insanity to play out, but when exactly did Republicans start making the fatal mistake that eventually drove them insane?

Early days, I think. Right about where we are now.

And here’s what I think the fatal mistake was: convincing themselves that they already knew what had happened and how everything was going to play out. Within days or weeks, they knew that this was the big one, the scandal that was finally going to bring Obama down.
...
It’s tempting to believe that we already know what’s going to happen: We know what James Comey is going to testify to, we know that Michael Flynn and/or Paul Manafort are going to flip on Trump and what they’re going to say; we know where the money trail is going to lead; and so on. We’re just waiting for that inevitable future to arrive, when Trump is ridden out of town on a rail.

But I don’t know any of that stuff, not yet. So I’m going to have to listen to the witnesses as they testify. I’m going to have to read the investigators’ reports as they come out.
I may have become a little too enamored of my own theories lately, personally. The point is theories aren't enough. We need facts.
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:35 PM on May 22 [63 favorites]


Wait a minute. This was a thing that happened?? I thought it was a typo by a Mefite. Good lord.

It's [real]: Official White House Document Promotes Goal of "Lasting Peach" Between Israelis and Palestinians


Less dramatically, the same document speaks of America's commitment to "the Israeli's security," without specifying which one. Best case: Gal Godot.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:35 PM on May 22 [34 favorites]


By comparison, the entire state budget right now is $180 billion. I want to see it happen, but that's a huge ugly number, and nobody has yet put forward a plan to raise it.

It was never going to be free but if you look at the size of California's private healthcare insurance market it was ~ $160 billion in 2015 (you can assume it has gone up by a fair bit since).

So the cost looks pretty close to break even and that ignores the publicly born costs of the uninsured. So it will probably still work out to be a net savings for taxpayers.
posted by srboisvert at 12:37 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


It's more likely to refer to Sheldon Adelson, with the "security" being a sum he donated and expects a return on.
posted by acb at 12:38 PM on May 22


The hell you say! We still have a chance!

VOTE GIANT METEOR AND BUTT STUFF 2020.


We should debate this further. I feel the sudden strong urge to write and post the first US 2020 Election FPP, but I'd probably better wait until Uncle Cortex goes off shift so it doesn't get nuked.

Which Kennedy? The senator from Louisiana?

This one (twitter)
posted by Wordshore at 12:39 PM on May 22


the Israeli's security [sic]

Good grief. Are there any native English speakers on staff at the WH?
posted by orrnyereg at 12:39 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


This Vox piece (linked in the last thread) makes a pretty good case that we're not in the same position as the early days of the Benghazi or Watergate scandals because Trump's big mouth has already shown us where evidence is likely to lead. The Mueller-led investigation is a good thing to have, but if he weren't immune from arrest Trump would have been charged with obstruction based on his interview with Lester Holt alone.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:41 PM on May 22 [21 favorites]


For whatever it's worth, here is an account of the CA dems stuff that argues that the "berniecrats v clintonites" narrative doesn't meaningfully describe the actual events that happened, though SOME PEOPLE have applied that frame to the contest in order to rehash old arguments from the primaries / maintain that the divisions that happened during the primaries are TEARING THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY APART.

Anyway. If you're concerned about divisions in the democratic party breaking along the exact same lines over and over again, it may be useful to step back and consider whether disputes within the party are actually driven by that particular division, or if instead you're seeing those divisions everywhere because the media you read project that division onto any intra-democratic-party dispute.


The "Sanders wing" as a framing for left-wing dissenters within the party annoys me because it centers that dissent on one old man who lost his most important election and will probably die in a few years. He's very popular, but as far as I can tell, he doesn't have a lot of followers in government. It isn't all about him, he isn't to be supported uncritically, and "his" politicians are candidates and politicians in their own right. He hasn't built that kind of clique around himself. Framing all left-of-center policy as emanating from him only makes it harder to evaluate on its merits, because his name brings out all the personal loyalties and conflicts of 2016.

Which is to say that I agree. It's important to evaluate any report you read for undue adherence to common cliches about the current political situation.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:42 PM on May 22 [15 favorites]


Currently the U.S. already spends $10,400 per person per year for health care. There are 40 million people in California. That's a total of $416 billion to spend on Californians.

that sort of assumes that single-payer will have exactly the same amount of overhead as private insurance. hopefully it doesn't. it's also not clear how much of that 400 billion estimate is startup costs and how much is the annual recurring cost?
posted by murphy slaw at 12:43 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


"Bro, is perfectly good English, bro. You see, we are attending finest school in all of Mother Russia, bro."
posted by entropicamericana at 12:43 PM on May 22 [19 favorites]


It's [real]: Official White House Document Promotes Goal of "Lasting Peach" Between Israelis and Palestinians

HAIL THE ORB PEACHOID!!
posted by octobersurprise at 12:43 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


Yes, murphy slaw. I wanted to say, does that $10,400 include a 9-dollar aspirin, or a five-cent one?
posted by Melismata at 12:44 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


even the gray lady finds it necessary to run an Orb Explainer

NYT: What Was That Glowing Orb Trump Touched in Saudi Arabia?

posted by murphy slaw at 12:50 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


It is mind blowing to me that Chris Christie didn't meet the "corrupt enough" threshold for a formal position in the Trump administration.

Oh, no. Christie couldn't join the administration. It wasn't that he wasn't corrupt enough, it was that he needed to be punished.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:50 PM on May 22 [7 favorites]


Wait, what would be a poetic way to describe a peach in the sun?
posted by Naberius at 12:51 PM on May 22 [15 favorites]


ALSO IT IS 2017 AND

What Was That Glowing Orb Trump Touched in Saudi Arabia?

IS AN ACTUAL HEADLINE IN THE NEW YORK FUCKING TIMES

i need so much sleep
posted by murphy slaw at 12:53 PM on May 22 [101 favorites]


Wait, what would be a poetic way to describe a peach in the sun?

a Langston Hughes first draft?
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:53 PM on May 22 [34 favorites]


Chris Christie: I warned Trump about Flynn

And the rats are putting on their life preservers.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:56 PM on May 22 [22 favorites]


Perhaps the glowing orb is the lasting peach he promised?
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:57 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


WaPo: ‘Radical Islamic terrorism,’ Trump said over and over. But not in Saudi Arabia.
That Trump slipped by using “Islamic” instead of “Islamist” also suggests a few other possibilities.

“It could've just been that he's used to saying 'radical Islamic terrorism.' Or he himself may not be aware of the distinction,” Hamid said.

Or, as what reporters were told, it was a simple mistake brought by exhaustion.
Remember that time he said Clinton doesn't have the stamina to be President?
posted by zachlipton at 12:57 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


Nixon invites Biff to the Oval Office and personally thanks him for his assistance.

Worth noting that Richard Nixon actually did write a letter to Donald Trump in 1987, telling him "whenever you decide to run for office you will be a winner!"
posted by designbot at 12:59 PM on May 22 [7 favorites]


Worth noting that Richard Nixon actually did write a letter to Donald Trump in 1987, telling him "whenever you decide to run for office you will be a winner!"

Guess where that letter is now
posted by theodolite at 1:01 PM on May 22 [17 favorites]


I had almost forgotten about this amidst all the other news, but one thing to look forward to this week is the release of the CBO score for the revised, even-more-awful AHCA, which may force the House to vote on it again if it isn't found to meet the requirements for reconciliation.

So. much. winning. either
[list of 2 ways this could go]


There's really three ways. The third possibility is that they just decide to completely ignore the rules and pass a bill through reconciliation that isn't revenue neutral. So this score could come back indicating that the House needs to revote on it... and they just don't. What happens then? Who the fuck knows? But the people who control congress control the system that enforces these rules. Is there a judicial recourse? Again, WTFK?
posted by phearlez at 1:02 PM on May 22 [11 favorites]


The occasion was the opening of a new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, based in Riyadh, and the orb was in fact a translucent globe, with the world’s waters represented in light gray and the continents in black. Its purpose appeared to be decorative.

The globe did not appear to have any magical powers, but when the king and Mr. Trump touched it, background music of the kind that might accompany a reality show’s elimination sequence or introduce a cable news program soared and pulsed. The screens glowed with statistical displays and videos about fighting terrorism. An unnamed official who narrated the features of the new control center said the displays used artificial intelligence to track, in real time, news reports and online statements.


Every explanation of that orb fails to address my central question, which is WHY. I felt like I was losing my grip on reality yesterday as I kept asking people who posted it on twitter what on earth it meant and no one would answer. They just kept parroting that it was the opening of the center without any further explanation. That did not help my massive anxiety.

It would have been more intelligible if they'd just said HAIL THE ORB instead of the non-response that the media is providing about WHY.
posted by winna at 1:03 PM on May 22 [13 favorites]


Wait, what would be a poetic way to describe a peach in the sun?

a Langston Hughes first draft?


ITYM a Lorraine Hansberry first draft?
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:06 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


When I read that Trump's speech said that Islam was one of the world's great faiths, my first thought was "does Trump know that followers of Islam are called Muslims?"

This week is when Trump really highlights how many sides of his mouth he can speak out of. Narcissists will always try to please those in front of them to get praise in return, even if it directly contradicts what they just told someone else to elicit the same reaction from them.
posted by scalefree at 1:07 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


So if you are King Salman, a Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology is just the kind of thing you want to have on the shelf. It looks good from the outside, because - terrorism. And what they appear to do is content monitoring, which you can claim is spying on the bad guys, but is simple population control. You can be pretty sure that if you are Saudi, they know what you say and do online. With the anti-terrorist veneer, though, it is the kind of idea that might spread . . .
posted by stonepharisee at 1:07 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


Hellmouth/Wilkins 2020

"It Eats You Starting With Your Bottom"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:07 PM on May 22 [25 favorites]


Margaret Sullivan: Sinclair’s TV deal would be good for Trump. And his new FCC is clearing the way.
When French voters resoundingly elected a centrist president rather than a right-leaning antiglobalist this month, one reason may have been the nation’s news media.

As a French newspaper editor commented: “We don’t have a Fox News in France.”

The United States certainly does have one. Pretty soon, it may have the equivalent of two.
posted by zachlipton at 1:09 PM on May 22 [11 favorites]


considering how much distortion oil revenue causes in an economy, i would not be surprised if the entire Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology is left running with all the lights and orbs on and no staff until someone else decides to build the next Burj Khalifa on the spot.
posted by murphy slaw at 1:10 PM on May 22


GLOWING ORB/SINKHOLE 2020
posted by Omon Ra at 1:10 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


Glowing Orb is not a natural born citizen, so it's right out. But Magic 8 Ball is willing to stand for the job.
posted by spitbull at 1:12 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


That would just be *kisses fingers*

Someone should notify the Unicode Committee, because that needs to be in the next batch of emoji.


💋👌

Also 🌎🍑 in our time!
posted by Existential Dread at 1:13 PM on May 22 [19 favorites]


currently waiting for somebody to photoshop that glowing orb into a glowing peach...
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:16 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


It would have been more intelligible if they'd just said HAIL THE ORB instead of the non-response that the media is providing about WHY.

Why was Wolf Blitzer presented as a hologram? It's just spectacle, made more effective by the fact that it's weird.
posted by Jpfed at 1:16 PM on May 22


Less dramatically, the same document speaks of America's commitment to "the Israeli's security," without specifying which one.

Haim Saban
posted by OverlappingElvis at 1:17 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


I have no idea what this tweet means, but now I really want to work for the Washington Post. And if anyone can decipher it, please let me know.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:18 PM on May 22 [21 favorites]


And what they appear to do is content monitoring, which you can claim is spying on the bad guys, but is simple population control. You can be pretty sure that if you are Saudi, they know what you say and do online. With the anti-terrorist veneer, though, it is the kind of idea that might spread . . .
...way ahead of you.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:19 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Are we sure it's an orb and not a shrieking white-hot sphere of pure rage?
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 1:21 PM on May 22 [14 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: this.
posted by prefpara at 1:21 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]




Every explanation of that orb fails to address my central question, which is WHY. I felt like I was losing my grip on reality yesterday as I kept asking people who posted it on twitter what on earth it meant and no one would answer. They just kept parroting that it was the opening of the center without any further explanation.

OTOH, it's an arm of the Saudi government and it will do however much or little the Saudi government wants it to do, OTOH, it's a Potemkin village, a purely decorative movie set designed to humor a President to whom everything is reality TV, on the third hand, it's the home of a huge ever growing pulsating brain that rules from the center of the Ultraworld.

HAIL THE ORB!!
posted by octobersurprise at 1:23 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


Uh, the hivemind tends to know a lot of stuff, so...

CAN we get rid of Fox News? Like in general...and I don't know how this would work...but allowing media monopolies that function as propaganda arms without any obligation to tell the truth is not really sustainable for a republic, no?

I mean, other countries seem to have a free press and freedom of speech without this insanity, right? How is this workably regulated?
posted by schadenfrau at 1:24 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


I mean, other countries seem to have a free press and freedom of speech without this insanity, right?

Real question: does any other country have as broad a free speech law as the First Amendment?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 1:26 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]




I mean, other countries seem to have a free press and freedom of speech without this insanity, right?

I have some bad news for you about where Rupert Murdoch started.
posted by Etrigan at 1:27 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


Uh, the hivemind tends to know a lot of stuff, so...

CAN we get rid of Fox News? Like in general...and I don't know how this would work...but allowing media monopolies that function as propaganda arms without any obligation to tell the truth is not really sustainable for a republic, no?

I mean, other countries seem to have a free press and freedom of speech without this insanity, right? How is this workably regulated?


Well, when this was attempted in Venezuela, many people did not take it well. I doubt it would go better for a militantly liberal republic, as much as something like that can be imagined outside of the 19th century, than for a militantly socialist one.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:28 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Real question: does any other country have as broad a free speech law as the First Amendment?

I don't know! Literally the only thing I remember about the first amendment is that it doesn't extend to shouting "fire!" in a crowded theater, and even then I don't know how immediate the reasonable cause and effect needs to be. But it really does seem as though we have a bunch of assholes screaming "Fire!" on a national scale for profit.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:29 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


In my original post I meant is there anyway we can regulate something like cable networks (or Facebook, frankly) within the scope of the first amendment. Like is there a reasonable argument there, or are we just perma-fucked.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:31 PM on May 22


The President Just Told a Room of Israelis That He 'Just Got Back From the Middle East'

וזרועותי בהחלט עייפות
posted by kirkaracha at 1:34 PM on May 22 [46 favorites]


The President Just Told a Room of Israelis That He "Just Got Back From the Middle East"

No Word Yet on Whether His Arms Were Tired.

Edit: dammit!
posted by The Tensor at 1:34 PM on May 22 [11 favorites]


The Fairness Doctrine seemed to do fine for about 40 years until Republicans started whining that it took away freeze peach.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:35 PM on May 22 [33 favorites]


"The President Just Told a Room of Israelis That He 'Just Got Back From the Middle East'"

וזרועותי בהחלט עייפות


💋👌
posted by Existential Dread at 1:35 PM on May 22 [12 favorites]


@tedlieu: "As a Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I can confirm on the record that Israel is in the Middle East."
posted by zachlipton at 1:37 PM on May 22 [80 favorites]


The rumor mill says that Donald and Melania have loathed each other for years now, and rarely spend time together outside public appearances.

A Politico story linked in the previous thread mentioned that Melania Trump spends significant amounts of time looking for bits of press coverage that make 45 look bad, and telling him about them.

What's interesting about this, to me, is that it's the exact opposite of what the staffers say they do to keep (the vaguest possible semblance of) a lid on him.

Which makes me wonder: Is she fucking with him? Is she trying, in her soft-spoken and impeccably composed way, to get him to shit himself, violently and publicly, as much as possible?

She's not just a pampered little doll, after all. Plagiarized speech aside, folks she's done business with say she's quite smart and highly focused. I think's quite possible that some of the meltdowns we've seen have been the product of Melania getting her licks in.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:39 PM on May 22 [34 favorites]


What's Hebrew for "bless your heart"?
posted by orrnyereg at 1:40 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


currently waiting for somebody to photoshop that glowing orb into a glowing peach...

There is absolutely no way that 2017-me could make 2016-me understand this sentence.

Or hell, I guess pre-24 hour me would be lost as well. I don't like this timeline.
posted by bibliowench at 1:41 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


Have we already noticed that @realDonaldTrump's twitter profile pic has changed to an image of him at the Western Wall?
posted by Westringia F. at 1:41 PM on May 22


Ted is really the happy warrior in this dark timeline.
posted by angrycat at 1:41 PM on May 22 [11 favorites]


Sinclair’s TV deal would be good for Trump. As a French newspaper editor commented: “We don’t have a Fox News in France.” The United States certainly does have one. Pretty soon, it may have the equivalent of two.

Come on, would either of the "Liberal Media" entities that own the other two cable news channels hesitate for a second to sell to Sinclair if the money's good? The potentially-good news is that both of them have been out-rating the FauxNews channel during the Trump scandals, and with Rupert's "pure businessmen/notsomuch idealogues" sons gaining more control, they may yet start leading the True Believers away from their common delusions, just for the advertising $$$. Of course, it will have to be a gradual move.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:42 PM on May 22


The President Just Told a Room of Israelis That He "Just Got Back From the Middle East"

jeez he seems not all that smart

anyone else picking up on this
posted by beerperson at 1:43 PM on May 22 [61 favorites]


The orb.
posted by klausness at 1:44 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


School here in New York ends about a month from now. It'll be interesting to see if Melania and Barron actually move.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:45 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Which makes me wonder: Is she fucking with him? Is she trying, in her soft-spoken and impeccably composed way, to get him to shit himself, violently and publicly, as much as possible?

Instant headcannon
posted by schadenfrau at 1:46 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


Well, the White House is a big building...
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:46 PM on May 22


Who wouldn't hate Donald Trump? Occam's Razor, people.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:46 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


> Which makes me wonder: Is she fucking with him? Is she trying, in her soft-spoken and impeccably composed way, to get him to shit himself, violently and publicly, as much as possible?

No. She is complicit and I really dislike this fantasy we have of her and Ivanka as secretly working to save the world from him. This isn't specifically directed at you, palmcorder_yajna, but in general: women are capable of being selfish, money grubbing assholes too, just like men!

She may hate him and want to undermine him (though the story linked about her scouring the media for negative stories about him frames it as her protecting him, so I don't think that's proof) but she's not doing it because she gives a shit about anyone else. So far she hasn't done a single thing to stop him from hurting an untold number of people and slapping away his hand isn't going to save people from his massively harmful policies.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 1:48 PM on May 22 [60 favorites]


Hasn't he already made his two-so-far ex-wives sign NDIs?
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:49 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


She may hate him and want to undermine him (though the story linked about her scouring the media for negative stories about him frames it as her protecting him, so I don't think that's proof) but she's not doing it because she gives a shit about anyone else.

For the record, I absolutely do not think that Melania gives a shit about anyone besides herself and her son. If she's trying to get him to humiliate himself, it's most likely for her own gratification, and not because she's some kind of secret hero of the republic. I probably should have made that clear.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:54 PM on May 22 [15 favorites]


She is complicit and I really dislike this fantasy we have of her and Ivanka as secretly working to save the world from him...in general: women are capable of being selfish, money grubbing assholes too, just like men!

I feel like there's a big part of the country that projects what they want to see on Ivanka and Melania as much as another part does with Donald.
posted by bongo_x at 1:55 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


In my original post I meant is there anyway we can regulate something like cable networks (or Facebook, frankly) within the scope of the first amendment.

Well, that would certainly be the end of things. Please don't make me fight for Fox News rights. I'm pretty sure every time free speech is shut down it's "for the good of the country".
posted by bongo_x at 1:57 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Breaking now that Rep. Cummings (MD) is claiming that Flynn lied during his security clearance interview.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:02 PM on May 22 [50 favorites]


Oh Melania is still a monstrous asshole. I just love the idea that there's anyone in Donald's life who deliberately tries to make him as miserable as possible. Let us have that.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:02 PM on May 22 [13 favorites]


Go, Elijah, go!
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:03 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


I know the answer but this has to be asked: why is there no video of Ivanka giving the speech?
posted by scalefree at 2:04 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Looks like AP broke it.
posted by spitbull at 2:06 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


Sinclair brokered a deal with the Trump campaign to get "straighter coverage". A deal that they offered to the Clinton campaign without reply. They've pushed must-air packages on local market stations. They're bumping up against FCC law with market share limits and household reach with their proposed purchase of Tribune. Lo and behold, Ajit Pai is at the helm of the FCC and has already slated revoking rules about station ownership and market presence. They've hired someone direct from the Trump Campaign to be a political analyst (conveniently packed into must air programming). So you'll get one station in a large area building programming for most swaths of DMAs and professionally produced packages from DC.
posted by msbutah at 2:07 PM on May 22 [11 favorites]


Have we already noticed that @realDonaldTrump's twitter profile pic has changed to an image of him at the Western Wall?

And that his yarmulke has been cropped out of the image?
posted by pjenks at 2:07 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


My sympathy for the grown-ass members of the Trump family is limited. I think they are all complicit to one degree or another (though we hear so little from Tiffany that her complicity is probably limited). The only one I am going to spare sympathy for is Barron, who is a child, is therefore not capable of being complicit, and in any case did not choose his parents.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:08 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


I know the answer but this has to be asked: why is there no video of Ivanka giving the speech?


Yesterday's? Here's a random YouTube channel that has the full thing. Or was there another speech since then?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:08 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Trump close to choosing outside counsel for Russia investigation
The attorneys who have spoken to the White House and are widely seen as the finalists are Marc E. Kasowitz; Robert J. Guiffra Jr.; Reid H. Weingarten; and Theodore B. Olson, the people said.
posted by zachlipton at 2:08 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Rarely is the question asked: Is our Ivanka speeching?
posted by komara at 2:08 PM on May 22 [11 favorites]


Flynn lying is good news for Pence and Trump. Plausible deniability.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:08 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]




It's [real]: Official White House Document Promotes Goal of "Lasting Peach" Between Israelis and Palestinians
posted by zachlipton at 1:58 PM on May 22


Oooh, he's going to blow his top when he finds out we sold 110 billion Doll Hairs worth of arms to Saudi Arabia.
posted by onehalfjunco at 2:10 PM on May 22 [14 favorites]




Flynn lying is good news for Pence and Trump. Plausible deniability.

doesn't plausible deniability fly out the window when they were warned by Yates and still didn't can his ass for 18 days? plus trump still insists that he would hire flynn back in a hot minute if everyone would just calm down.

this is bad for flynn and bad for anyone who vouched for him, including trump ("he's a good guy")
posted by murphy slaw at 2:13 PM on May 22 [21 favorites]


doesn't plausible deniability fly out the window when they were warned by Yates and still didn't can his ass for 18 days?

Yes, for sure.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:15 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


The attorneys who have spoken to the White House and are widely seen as the finalists are Marc E. Kasowitz; Robert J. Guiffra Jr.; Reid H. Weingarten; and Theodore B. Olson

Names to call when you need a real lawyer, not Michael Cohen.
posted by spitbull at 2:15 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


Yesterday's? Here's a random YouTube channel that has it. Or was there another speech since then?

I looked for it yesterday & didn't find it, haven't seen it in any coverage since. Thanks.
posted by scalefree at 2:16 PM on May 22


In my original post I meant is there anyway we can regulate something like cable networks (or Facebook, frankly) within the scope of the first amendment.

I have a notion that there's somehow a way to regulate what can be claimed as "news" without restricting free speech. Like, you can say what you want, but you can't claim to be capital-n News unless you adhere to certain standards. Lawyers can say whatever they want, but there are a lot of circumstances where they have to be very clear that it's not legal advice.

No idea if it's constitutional or even a good idea, but it's something I think about.

Deciding the qualifications for what qualifies as News® is a whole 'nother mess, of course.
posted by stet at 2:17 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


By comparison, the entire state budget right now is $180 billion. I want to see it happen, but that's a huge ugly number, and nobody has yet put forward a plan to raise it.

That analysis doesn't count the $100-150B that employers spend per year that would be freed up by public healthcare that can go towards a public healthcare system.

There's not that much difference once you factor in the revenue of the private health insurance system.
posted by Talez at 2:19 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


doesn't plausible deniability fly out the window when they were warned by Yates and still didn't can his ass for 18 days?

You have to remember, these guys probably think crossing their fingers and saying "King's X" absolves them of any criminality. And their base will agree.

I have a notion that there's somehow a way to regulate what can be claimed as "news" without restricting free speech.


I love it. Fox will have to change their last name to Nooz. Like Cheez Whiz, because there's no real cheese in it.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:20 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


I looked for it yesterday & didn't find it,

It's hilarious how quickly we get used to C-SPAN and Twitter and other live streams. My sister was a part of a news segment in her home town this morning and I had to wait a whole! 3! hours! before the station posted the clip.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:20 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


The attorneys who have spoken to the White House and are widely seen as the finalists are Marc E. Kasowitz; Robert J. Guiffra Jr.; Reid H. Weingarten; and Theodore B. Olson, the people said.

For lawyer-watchers playing along at home:

- Kasowitz is, y'know, that Kasowitz in Kasowitz Benson Torres
- Giuffra is Sullivan Cromwell
- Weingarten is Steptoe & Johnson
- Olson is that Ted Olson of Deflategate, Perry v. Schwarzennegar, and yes, Bush v. Gore fame. Currently at Gibson & Dunn.

IIRC, Kasowitz Benson Torres is Trump's long-standing major litigation counsel. Giuffra is a white-collar crime specialist. Weingarten does white collar but also general litigation. Olson is Olson.
posted by joyceanmachine at 2:21 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


re: Ivanka's speech. What was the circumstances that led to Fox New's 6pm news anchor (Bret Baier) introducing Ivanaka? That seems odd and out of place.
posted by mmascolino at 2:21 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


- Olson is, y'know, that Ted Olson of Deflategate, Perry v. Schwarzennegar, and yes, Bush v. Gore fame. Currently at Gibson & Dunn.

God I hope his wife threatens to divorce him if he helps that man.
posted by Talez at 2:22 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


Here's the letter from Rep. Cummings to Rep. Chaffetz requesting that he subpoena Flynn (not that Flynn will comply) and the White House and laying out the problem:
Specifically, the Committee has obtained a Report of Investigation dated March 14, 2016 showing that General Flynn told security clearence investigators that he was paid by "U.S. companies" when he traveled to Moscow in December 2015 to dine at a dinner with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The actual source of the funds for General Flynn's trip was not a U.S. company, but the Russian media propaganda arm, RT.
They have documents showing that RT paid Flynn more than $45,000 through the speaker's bureau, and RT directly paid for his airfare, lodging, and expenses. Flynn also denied contact with foreign government officials on his SF-86 form, stating in an interview he only had "insubstantial contact" on his foreign trips, something that is pretty flatly untrue.
posted by zachlipton at 2:22 PM on May 22 [26 favorites]


One America News: Three White House staffers have been identified for leaking classified info. POTUS will fire 'multiple people' when he returns to DC.

Does anyone know how reliable OANN is? I really, really hope one of the leakers is Spicer.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:23 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


School here in New York ends about a month from now. It'll be interesting to see if Melania and Barron actually move.


They're moving, Barron is enrolled in a DC-area private school:

The school is known for research-informed teaching and the use of neuroscience and other brain-based research, both to help high-achieving students unlock their potential and to tailor education to children with learning disabilities or differences.
posted by Rumple at 2:25 PM on May 22 [7 favorites]


Does anyone know how reliable OANN is?

It's not.
posted by theodolite at 2:26 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


God I hope his wife threatens to divorce him if he helps that man.

Okay, that comment was a bit beyond the pale. (If you didn't know, his wife died in the 9/11 attacks.)
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:26 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


They're moving

And stay out.
posted by Artw at 2:28 PM on May 22 [7 favorites]


HHS posted its budget summary early [since taken down] and it's looking like it calls for an additional $610 billion in cuts to Medicaid on top of the AHCA's massive cuts. The document echos the Republican calls to focus it just on "the elderly, people with disabilities, children, and pregnant women," because fuck everyone else I guess?
posted by zachlipton at 2:29 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


- Olson is, y'know, that Ted Olson of Deflategate, Perry v. Schwarzennegar, and yes, Bush v. Gore fame. Currently at Gibson & Dunn.

God I hope his wife threatens to divorce him if he helps that man.


I mean she stayed with him through Tom Brady, so....

(I kid because I love.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:29 PM on May 22


Okay, that comment was a bit beyond the pale. (If you didn't know, his wife died in the 9/11 attacks.)

Per the Wikipedia article linked above, he remarried in 2006.
posted by anastasiav at 2:30 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Okay, that comment was a bit beyond the pale. (If you didn't know, his wife died in the 9/11 attacks.)

He has remarried.
posted by mmascolino at 2:30 PM on May 22


HHS posted its budget summary early [since taken down] and it's looking like it calls for an additional $610 billion in cuts to Medicaid on top of the AHCA's massive cuts. The document echos the Republican calls to focus it just on "the elderly, people with disabilities, children, and pregnant women," because fuck everyone else I guess?

Too many people are going to die unnecessarily.

Greatest country in the world my fucking ass.
posted by Talez at 2:34 PM on May 22 [7 favorites]


He has remarried.

To a staunch democrat. Hence my comment.
posted by Talez at 2:34 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


> And that his yarmulke has been cropped out of the image?

Lest this become A Thing, the image itself is not cropped, but some browsers don't display the whole thing. On iOS safari, the kippah he is wearing is plainly visible.
posted by Westringia F. at 2:56 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Step Around the Benghazi Trap
As the Trump scandals deepen, Democrats should learn from Republican mistakes: If you let your expectations get too far ahead of what’s known, confirmation bias can lead you into an a universe of alternative facts.
...
It may have taken four years and eight investigations for their Benghazi insanity to play out, but when exactly did Republicans start making the fatal mistake that eventually drove them insane?

Early days, I think. Right about where we are now.


Isn't the fact that Trump and all of his merry men are lawyering up a contradiction of this?

Earlier, this comment included a long rant about how ridiculous this tour of holy lands is, but I gave up thinking because my anger overwhelmed me.

I do think a huge arms for infrastructure deal with the biggest sponsor of terror in the world is a scandal, but I am just not able to calm down enough to make an informed statement about it. I'm waiting for some smart person to bring it on.
posted by mumimor at 2:58 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile, a sinkhole has formed in front of Trump's Mar-A-Lago resort


He's supposed to be gone all summer.

He's actually OUT of the country right now.

And he's still mucking up traffic.

Sinkholes happen, but MAN. Makes me want to sell and move to Oregon or Colorado or something.
posted by tilde at 3:01 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know how reliable OANN is? I really, really hope one of the leakers is Spicer.

OANN now says "Names are given to the Office of Government Ethics, who will investigate further."

This is Marshal of the Supreme Court-style moon law stuff: OGE doesn't investigate leaks to the best of my knowledge, and the Administration is currently in a battle with the ethics office over oversight and transparency. If they want to fire people, they can fire people, and I don't know why they would wait. But this report is garbage.
posted by zachlipton at 3:04 PM on May 22 [12 favorites]


I wish I could add something meaningful to this thread but I'm too busy favoriting the brilliant comments of others.

Lasting peach needs to be a B&J flavor.
posted by datawrangler at 3:06 PM on May 22 [16 favorites]


> Meanwhile, a sinkhole has formed in front of Trump's Mar-A-Lago resort

This is why you don't defy the Orb.
posted by guiseroom at 3:06 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


In (more) "Obvious Metaphors for the Presidency" news, from the WaPo: A belligerent man in a Trump hat was kicked off a flight as a crowd chanted: ‘Lock him up!’
The man took an aisle seat three rows in front of her. She said he refused to let anyone sit beside him.

“He wanted to sit in the whole row by himself,” Zimmerman said.

Her video shows him leaning back in his seat — hands folded behind his red hat, feet propped on someone else’s arm rest — while a woman in crutches and many others stand in the aisle, snap photos and glare.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 3:09 PM on May 22 [52 favorites]


If they want to fire people, they can fire people, and I don't know why they would wait.

I believe the Ritual of Purging (a.k.a. DeFlynnestration) customarily takes 18 days.
posted by Freon at 3:10 PM on May 22 [11 favorites]


A belligerent man in a Trump hat was kicked off a flight as a crowd chanted: ‘Lock him up!’

One way for United to deflect its bad press: find someone with even worse press.
posted by AndrewInDC at 3:12 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


CAN we get rid of Fox News? Like in general...

Sure, by boycotting them and making them lose money.

I mean, other countries seem to have a free press and freedom of speech without this insanity, right?

Their freedom of speech laws aren't as strong as the USA's laws which (as others alluded to) are among the strongest, if not the strongest, in the world.
posted by Justinian at 3:15 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]




CNN: Trump to Comey: Throw journalists in jail
President Donald Trump told then-FBI Director James Comey he should throw journalists in jail during the same meeting in which he asked Comey to end the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a source close to Comey has told CNN.

In the February 14 meeting in the Oval Office, Trump expressed frustration about news stories detailing his private conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Australia the previous month, saying Comey needed to go after the leakers, the source said.
When Comey tried to explain to the President that leak investigations are difficult to pursue because law enforcement officers often end up having to threaten to jail journalists, Trump said he should throw the journalists in jail, the source said.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:28 PM on May 22 [36 favorites]


A peachy reference.

CAN we get rid of Fox News? Like in general...
Sure, by boycotting them and making them lose money.

I've always wanted and never been able to find a good reference for a fairly complete and reliable list of FauxNews advertisers to boycott, but I'm halfway afraid I'd run out of things I can buy. The "Boycott Trump" app seems to have all the advertisers on The Apprentice and the other shows from the same production company...
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:29 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


WaPo: Trump asked intelligence chiefs to push back against FBI collusion probe after Comey revealed its existence

Deeper in that article is more evidence of obstruction:
In addition to the requests to Coats and Rogers, senior White House officials sounded out top intelligence officials about the possibility of intervening directly with Comey to encourage the FBI to drop its probe of Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, according to people familiar with the matter. The officials said the White House appeared uncertain about its power to influence the FBI.

“Can we ask him to shut down the investigation? Are you able to assist in this matter?” one official said of the line of questioning from the White House.
posted by zachlipton at 3:30 PM on May 22 [21 favorites]


The "top intelligence officials" don't have to give these stories to the press. It looks to me as if they're coordinating with each other for political ends. That's not good, even if the Trump presidency is worse.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:35 PM on May 22 [11 favorites]


From the WaPo boom of the day: "Senior intelligence officials also saw the March requests as a threat to the independence of U.S. spy agencies, which are supposed to remain insulated from partisan issues. The problem wasn’t so much asking them to issue statements, it was asking them to issue false statements about an ongoing investigation,” a former senior intelligence official said of the request to Coats."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:36 PM on May 22 [23 favorites]


It looks to me as if they're coordinating with each other for political ends.

If saving the country from destruction by its enemies is "political ends," then sign me up.
posted by diogenes at 3:40 PM on May 22 [36 favorites]


It's bad precedent, to be sure, but I'm not certain what the better alternative is. Maintain silence in the face of bald-faced lies from the administration? Maintain silence when/if they think the republic is endangered? The WaPo article suggests to me that they wanted to stay out of it in public, but now they're giving these stories to the press in an effort to maintain and protect their independence from the administration. The political end here is maintenance of our institutions.
posted by yasaman at 3:41 PM on May 22 [31 favorites]


I mean, yes, top intelligence officials coordinating to take down a President is indeed disturbing. Top intelligence officials revealing that the President asked them to do things that they found to be deeply improper if not illegal, on the other hand. Remember that Nixon tried to have the CIA block the FBI's investigation into the Watergate burglary. That's exactly what's happened again here.
posted by zachlipton at 3:42 PM on May 22 [44 favorites]


The political end here is maintenance of our institutions.

And conducting some semblance of the oversight function that the Republican congress has utterly refused to fulfill.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:43 PM on May 22 [15 favorites]




It's bad precedent, to be sure, but I'm not certain what the better alternative is.

Particularly since the nature of the inquiry and the identity of the person sitting in the Attorney General's office means that they have to question who else is already compromised.
posted by AndrewInDC at 3:44 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


you can say what you want, but you can't claim to be capital-n News unless you adhere to certain standards.

The problem is they're all perfectly capable of saying, "The news the government doesn't WANT you to hear" and then their viewership doubles.
posted by corb at 3:45 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Republicans are willing to overlook massive transgressions by Trump, but it's possible that there's a limit. Information like this serves to push them closer to that limit.
posted by diogenes at 3:48 PM on May 22


How the heck are things so bad that the bit about the White House doing the exact same thing Nixon did during Watergate (trying to get intelligence officials to get the FBI to back off) is buried in paragraph 13 of the story?
posted by zachlipton at 3:49 PM on May 22 [32 favorites]


That would just be *kisses fingers*

Someone should notify the Unicode Committee, because that needs to be in the next batch of emoji.


😘👌

[surely this]
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 3:51 PM on May 22 [14 favorites]


I'm still Tehhunding through the dredges of the last thread, but it's my birthday, so according to age old MeFi custom (because what is time anymore?), I'm registering my wish. It's not much, just that my Kid doesn't have to live in an Cormac McCarthy wasteland. That is all.
posted by Ruki at 3:54 PM on May 22 [70 favorites]


Daily Beast: Fox News Staffers ‘Embarrassed’ by Hannity’s Conspiracy Theory Crusade

tl;dr everyone at Fox is super embarrassed that Hannity won't stop talking about Seth Rich! but not enough to stop him or prevent other on-air personalities from picking up the thread!
posted by murphy slaw at 3:55 PM on May 22 [12 favorites]


The really outrageous bit about "doing the exact same thing Nixon did during Watergate" is that we're now operating in the post-Church Committee intelligence world. That would, I suspect, make the mere suggestion that the (e.g.) CIA could or would just put the screws to a domestic law enforcement agency distasteful in the extreme.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 3:57 PM on May 22


It's not much, just that my Kid doesn't have to live in an Cormac McCarthy wasteland.

the soft bias of low expectations strikes again
posted by murphy slaw at 3:58 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Republicans are willing to overlook massive transgressions by Trump, but it's possible that there's a limit.

The limit is the analysis that Trump is causing so much damage to the Republican Brand that it will lose them Congress and a lot of local races. A solid Ossoff win in a fairly-Red part of Georgia is a large step in that direction.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:59 PM on May 22 [12 favorites]


The limit also has to do with trying to calculate how bad it will get- if donnie goes down for treason, spying, or laundering sex trade money, those who broke away sooner will have less of the stench on them. There will be a tipping point where it will be too late to defend him, or even equivocate.
posted by vrakatar at 4:05 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Republicans are willing to overlook massive transgressions by Trump, but it's possible that there's a limit.

Highlighting because it's an important qualifier.
Remember that their strategy for the last 8+ years has been to double down at every turn. And it's getting increasingly clear that key figures like Pence, Ryan, McConnell, McCarthy, Priebus (as head of the RNC) and others knew this whole campaign was dirty all along.

They doubled down and undermined Obamacare, got away with stealing a Supreme Court seat, and ultimately got the White House. Also, literally all of these guys & the majority of the rest have benefited from straight-white-male privilege all their lives (and wealth, too). So far the lesson they've all gotten is to just keep pushing and things will turn out for them.

I really hope we'll eventually see some breaks in the ranks, but I won't be shocked if they stick with it 'til the bitter end.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:06 PM on May 22 [23 favorites]


Breaking now: Special Counsel Mueller has been briefed on Comey memos
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:07 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


The incident in Manchester may overshadow the rest of trump's trip.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:07 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Finally, finally, I reach the end of the current thread!... two days after my birthday, so I never got to register my own birthday wishes. My actual birthday party is next weekend -- does that count? If so, you know what I want.

Anyway, a Jon Ossoff sign just appeared on my porch as if by magic (I'm in the DeKalb part of GA-6). Let me add a resounding Ossoff victory to that belated birthday wish. I don't mind that the present will be late. I'm OK with that.
posted by litlnemo at 4:09 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


the manchester incident probably deserves its own thread once details emerge. maybe we can hold off on speculation in this one?
posted by murphy slaw at 4:09 PM on May 22 [17 favorites]


And the outright ratfucking has begun in my fucking home state.
posted by NoxAeternum at 4:10 PM on May 22 [11 favorites]


one narrative thread that is emerging in trump's alleged attempts as obstruction of justice:

he is a total outsider in washington who seems to think that the respect people have for the office of the president will cause them to comply with clearly illegal requests, and he's surprised and frustrated when it doesn't work out.

you know, like an idiot.
posted by murphy slaw at 4:12 PM on May 22 [48 favorites]


Got it! Bridgegate isn't why Reek got the boot - this is. Come for the picture, stay for the hindsightilicious body:

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who attended a recent classified security briefing as an advisor to Donald Trump, interrupted intelligence officials so many times that Chris Christie had to intervene, according to a Thursday report from NBC News.

The Aug. 17 briefing at the FBI’s New York bureau, which was delivered by career staffers of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, prompted repeated questions from Flynn, three anonymous sources familiar with the matter told NBC.

The interruptions were enough to prompt the New Jersey governor, who also attended the briefing as a Trump adviser, to touch Flynn’s arm in an effort to calm the general down, one source said.

Both presidential candidates have received classified intelligence briefings in recent weeks.

In a Wednesday night Commander-In-Chief forum on NBC News, Trump said he learned in the briefing that President Barack Obama didn’t follow the advice of policy experts, saying, “I was very, very surprised.”

But members of the national security community were quick to point out that intelligence officials do not offer policy advice. An anonymous source told the network that officials are even trained not to allow their body language to betray their personal opinions, as Trump claimed at the forum.

Critics also slammed Trump for discussing the content of the briefing at all.

Michael Morrell, a former Bush administration acting CIA director who now supports Clinton, called Trump’s remarks “highly inappropriate” and said he “crossed a long standing red line respected by both parties.”


Mmmmmm that's good hindsight! Reek was mean to Flynnsie! He ought to eat submission meatloaf! Also, ("Note to self, leak everything they tell me from the get-go")
posted by petebest at 4:12 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Daily Beast: Fox News Staffers ‘Embarrassed’ by Hannity’s Conspiracy Theory Crusade

Wait, now they're embarrassed? How about the years of racist Birther bullshit? They should be embarrassed for working at Fox News, period.
posted by joedan at 4:12 PM on May 22 [18 favorites]


by the way, a general comment - is it just me? - it seems like the more i read and hear about our cheeto in chief and the more i'm confronted with his black hole soul of stupidity, the dumber, less witty, less thoughtful and less focused i feel

It is not just you
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:15 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


one narrative thread that is emerging in trump's alleged attempts as obstruction of justice:

he is a total outsider in washington who seems to think that the respect people have for the office of the president will cause them to comply with clearly illegal requests, and he's surprised and frustrated when it doesn't work out.


I'm so angry that this isn't slapped down immediately at every turn. Last I checked, ignorance of the law was not a valid defense. Beyond that, how many times has Trump been involved in lawsuits? He's 70. He's allegedly educated. He has people advising him. That fucker does not get to claim he doesn't know better.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:15 PM on May 22 [23 favorites]


he is a total outsider in washington who seems to think that the respect people have for the office of the president will cause them to comply with clearly illegal requests, and he's surprised and frustrated when it doesn't work out.

He can't believe Washington isn't as corrupt as his own operations are. It's genuinely hard for him, I bet, to believe that other people aren't as snakey as he is.
posted by fatbird at 4:16 PM on May 22 [19 favorites]




Chaffetz is resigning for a reason. The actual law is catching up with Republican unwillingness to follow said laws.


scaryblackdeath is spot on but the Republican leaders are as wound up as Trumpco in this mess now.
posted by Max Power at 4:22 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


maybe we can hold off on speculation in this one?

Or to quote @IrvineWelsh: "Terrible stuff from Manchester. I wish all the creepy twitter ghouls who already know all the causes of this would fuck off."

(and the major twitter threads are full of horrific point scoring and dick waving).

Still there is a lot of people pitching in as well:

For all updates on the incident at Manchester Arena please follow @gmpolice on Twitter

Holiday Inn Manchester is taking in children without parents. Try giving them a ring(UK code if your abroad +44) 0161 836 9600


BREAKING NEWS: manchester taxis and cabs offering free rides home for people around #manchester Arena. One love.
posted by Buntix at 4:24 PM on May 22 [12 favorites]


the respect people have for the office of the president

What respect? For the office of the President of the United States? An office that can be held, however poorly, by Donald Trump? How do you respect something like that?
posted by Naberius at 4:29 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


What's Hebrew for "bless your heart"?


I don't know about Hebrew, but in Yiddish, I believe it's "Gey kaken afn yam."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:29 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


[Let's hold off on more Manchester stuff for the moment; we don't know anything right now and the traditional problems with Breaking Newsfilter apply.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:29 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


Sessions' Senate testimony canceled this week. They're citing a "scheduling conflict," but I don't know you guys. It's almost like they're trying to avoid questions or something.
posted by zachlipton at 4:34 PM on May 22 [39 favorites]


NYT: Alone on the Open Road: Truckers Feel Like ‘Throwaway People’: At a moment when President Trump has ignited a national discussion of blue-collar labor and even climbed into a truck during a White House event, trucking, which was once among the best-paying such jobs, has become low-wage, grinding, unhealthy work. Turnover at large for-hire fleets hauling freight by the truckload — the backbone of the industry — runs an astonishing 80 percent a year, according to a trade group. Looming over the horizon is a future in which self-driving trucks threaten to eliminate many drivers’ livelihoods.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:34 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


Plausible deniability (sure I used a slur, but my intentions were pure!) makes it easy to get out of hate crimes charges: "The shooting death of a Richmond musician [named Willie Sims] is no longer being prosecuted as a hate crime, after a grand jury indicted three men on murder, assault and robbery charges but refused the prosecution’s request to say the homicide was motivated by the victim’s race. . . . Cooper [lawyer of defendant Porter-Kelly] said Porter-Kelly and his friends used the N-word as a term of endearment and didn’t mean it in a hateful way. He described the homicide as a tragedy and said prosecutors had assumed it was a hate crime because it happened four days after Donald Trump was elected president."

One of the commenters says, as if it makes a difference, "he used the word, 'nigga' not ['N-word']. [Cooper] described the word "nigga" as an idiom, not a term of endearment."
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:36 PM on May 22


My expectation that officials refrain from political manipulation may be unrealistic under the circumstances, with a compromised Administration and a legislature that's unwilling to investigate. I believe the USA will get past this, but if you allow security officials to manipulate the political process on this occasion, how do you put the genie back in the bottle? If you rely on security officials' discretion, then how can you keep them constrained when they abuse it?

Vladimir Putin notoriously rose to power through his earlier positions in the FSB (successor to the KGB); a rogue security establishment is at least as dangerous as a rogue President, because you don't get to vote for intelligence officials and they can potentially install (or bring down) Presidents of their choosing. I'm kind of glad that these guys are coming forward, but at some point there will have to be a house-cleaning and for the good of the Republic they're going to have to go.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:45 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


the soft bias of low expectations strikes again

Kid was born in December of 2001. I've spent Kid's entire life wishing for something better than a Cormac McCarthy wasteland. Not sorry for using my MeFi birthday wish on that. (I commented in an earlier thread about the CBO score coming out for the AHCA, but that has been, go figure, delayed.)

I'm going back to the Fanfare threads now, because it's my birthday and I want to be happy for once.
posted by Ruki at 4:47 PM on May 22 [23 favorites]


Wait, now they're embarrassed? How about the years of racist Birther bullshit? They should be embarrassed for working at Fox News, period.

How about their very start: the Clinton impeachment. Monica Lewinsky had some things to say about Roger Ailes today in the NYT Opinion section (paywall).
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:49 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


Some analysis on the latest WaPo article. This quote from the analysis was of interest to me:
The increasingly alarmed comments from people on the inside of this unfolding drama suggest they, too, would like to see some kind of accountability for the president's recent actions.
If the current wave of bombshell stories is in any way planned, or a concerted effort to shape the narrative, I can't help but wonder if it's meant to be a series of questions: is this enough? is this enough? will you do something now? no? how about this? Eventually the do-nothing Republicans might be implicated.
posted by yasaman at 4:50 PM on May 22 [12 favorites]


zrail: Wait, so you're saying Mar-a-Lago is actually built over a hellmouth? That explains not only the Trump presidency but also the general wacky terribleness that tends to happen only in Florida.

I believe you have misunderstood on which side of the hellmouth Mar-a-Lago is located.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:52 PM on May 22 [53 favorites]


I believe the USA will get past this, but if you allow security officials to manipulate the political process on this occasion, how do you put the genie back in the bottle? If you rely on security officials' discretion, then how can you keep them constrained when they abuse it?

These will be interesting questions to ponder if we get through the existential crises we are facing in the present.
posted by diogenes at 5:02 PM on May 22 [23 favorites]


I know we're not supposed to compare Donald to children, but his comments about peace in the middle east being "the toughest" deal of all reveals a cartoon like understanding of, well, everything.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:12 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


His comments about "good versus evil" were also just totally not thoughtful. (Every thing he thinks is automatically good. People who disagree with him are automatically bad, I think.)
posted by puddledork at 5:14 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


I believe you have misunderstood on which side of the hellmouth Mar-a-Lago is located.

so you're saying it may actually be a portal to a better world?

ADIOS SUCKERS! I'LL SAY "HI" TO PRESIDENT CLINTON FOR YOU!
posted by entropicamericana at 5:15 PM on May 22 [23 favorites]


He can't believe Washington isn't as corrupt as his own operations are. It's genuinely hard for him, I bet, to believe that other people aren't as snakey as he is.

We keep being surprised by this but we have to remember that Trump's brain doesn't work like a normal person's and his perception of reality is VERY different than ours. You just need to follow a chain of logic that results in the conclusion that Trump is the greatest and ignore any facts that disagree with that conclusion.

"Every successful organization is run the same way as mine because I am the greatest so everyone wants to be like me. Even if they don't, it is objectively the best way to run any organization because I would run it differently if there were a better way to run it and I don't so it must be the best."

He was told that the best people work in the White House so he assumed that they'd be used to working in an organization that runs like his. So I guess those folks must not have worked at truly successful organizations otherwise they'd have worked in an organization that runs like his.

Like, when people tell him things that he doesn't understand, I think he assumes that they don't understand it either and are just making things up to try to appease him. After all, if he doesn't understand it, no can since he's the best.

Any time objective reality gets in the way, he invents some excuse like that.

He started on 3rd and thinks he hit a triple, every time he tries to steal home he gets another shot and they've been scooching 3rd base close to the plate a little at a time his whole life. The whole time everyone close to him has been telling him he's the greatest to ever play the game. It's resulted in a person that simply doesn't think like a human rational human being.
posted by VTX at 5:16 PM on May 22 [59 favorites]


How do you respect something like that?

In my feverish utopian dreams this whole thing makes people go "wow we need to roll back the powers of the executive branch NOW" like a roll back to 1980 would be fine, really, but stripping away the respect and mystery of the office would be great.
posted by The Whelk at 5:28 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


stripping away the respect and mystery of the office would be great

Well, that's one down.
posted by contraption at 5:32 PM on May 22 [13 favorites]


MSNBC reporting that Trump has been just been briefed in Israel on the terrorist attack in the UK. It's a little after 3:30am in Israel.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:35 PM on May 22


> MSNBC reporting that Trump has been just been briefed in Israel on the terrorist attack in the UK. It's a little after 3:30am in Israel.

Well, I feel safer already.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:36 PM on May 22 [13 favorites]


NO NEWS RIGHT NOW KTHANX
posted by vrakatar at 5:37 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Sorry, no news right now, I'm exhausted.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 5:37 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


MSNBC reporting that Trump has been just been briefed in Israel on the terrorist attack in the UK. It's a little after 3:30am in Israel.

Low grade anxiety nausea I just can't quit you.
posted by corb at 5:38 PM on May 22 [20 favorites]


MSNBC reporting that Trump has been just been briefed in Israel on the terrorist attack in the UK. It's a little after 3:30am in Israel.

A preview of how he handles the proverbial 3:00am phone call in the US?
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:39 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


MSNBC reporting that Trump has been just been briefed in Israel on the terrorist attack in the UK. It's a little after 3:30am in Israel.

Hopefully someone had the sense to tiptoe up to his door and whisper the briefing in the keyhole, so they could tell reporters he'd been briefed without him actually, you know, getting involved.
posted by MrVisible at 5:40 PM on May 22 [16 favorites]


Ugh. Already seen racist cultures circling around this one, no doubt the shithead in chief will be joining them shortly.
posted by Artw at 5:41 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


Jinx Emperor SK.
posted by vrakatar at 5:43 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Ha! There's video from Trump's "back from the Middle East" comment, and you can see someone almost do a facepalm, then think better of it and do a hair flip instead.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 5:44 PM on May 22 [20 favorites]


[One comment deleted. Pre-emptive note here, if other people are saying terrible racist shit, we don't need to reproduce that here, and please skip the anti-Ariana Grande remarks, wtf.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:45 PM on May 22 [30 favorites]


Trump only watches Fox, right?
Israeli ad spoofs Trump after speech
(video translation in the body of the article)
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:47 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


According to this link private healthcard expenditures in CA are ~$73 Billion. $400 Million is a steal.
posted by pdoege at 5:48 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


$400 billion, pdoege. Billion.
posted by Justinian at 5:51 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


I know we were asked not to, but I felt this orb photoshop needed to be shown here just to show that it's really, really creepy.
posted by mephron at 5:55 PM on May 22 [14 favorites]


What changed, mephron? I can't see a difference from earlier.
posted by Archelaus at 5:58 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


(god, people, give the orb and the sinkhole a rest already, I'd love it for once if a slow news day actually meant a slow trump thread)
posted by ragtag at 6:01 PM on May 22 [24 favorites]


Philip Kennicot, WaPo,, reports from his fainting couch: The world is going to $#!+, but our language shouldn’t
The resistance, by indulging profanity, has taken the bait and fallen into a trap. The current crisis, which has come from the right, in the form of a man who thrives on creating crisis, threatens to drag language with it into the abyss. The essence of Trump’s crude rhetoric is a sense of grievance, that someone is always about to get the better of him, or us. For Trump, the social norms are always just breaking, so the response is always to rush the line. The use of profanity doesn’t just register outrage at Trump, it also adds to the general level of crisis — and that’s the danger of it.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:03 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Prediction: Trump uses the tragedy in Manchester as an excuse to cut short his trip.
posted by chris24 at 6:04 PM on May 22 [13 favorites]


News liveblogs for Manchester:

Guardian

BBC

Telegraph

Facebook has a safety check for it
posted by Buntix at 6:04 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Well, fuck HIM. (Philip Kennicot, that is.)
posted by delfin at 6:05 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


$400 billion is still a steal comparatively; it's 15% of the state's GDP, which is less than the national average for healthcare expenditures.

Vox had a story today that highlighted some of the polling on this (based on a KFF poll from last year). Nationwide, 50% are in favor of single-payer vs 43% opposed, but it's hard to keep people on board if you tell them they'll have to pay higher taxes to pay for it. Even though many people would come out ahead on the deal compared to the premiums they pay now, it's a tough sell.

The price tag doesn't mean single payer is a bad thing, but it does mean we have to have an honest conversation around where the money is coming from, how much of the cost is picked up by employers, and how the resulting system will be administered. The response to these numbers should be "ok, how do we make it work?" and not some variation of "don't try to scare people with an analysis of the costs."
posted by zachlipton at 6:06 PM on May 22 [11 favorites]


NYT: President Trump's budget proposes deep cuts to programs for the poor, lowers taxes sharply and assumes improbable economic growth:
It calls for an increase in military spending of 10 percent, spending more than $2.6 billion for border security — including $1.6 billion to begin work on a wall on the border with Mexico — as well as huge tax reductions and an improbable promise of 3 percent economic growth.

The wildly optimistic projections balance Mr. Trump’s budget, at least on paper, even though the proposal makes no changes to Social Security’s retirement program or Medicare, the two largest drivers of the nation’s debt.

To compensate, the package contains deep cuts in entitlement programs that would hit hardest many of the economically strained voters whose backing propelled the president into office. Over the next decade, it calls for slashing more than $800 billion from Medicaid, the federal health program for the poor, while slicing $192 billion from nutritional assistance and $272 billion over all from welfare programs. And domestic programs outside of military and homeland security whose budgets are determined annually by Congress would also take a hit, their funding falling by $57 billion, or 10.6 percent.
The symbolism of releasing this budget while the President is out of the country is not great:
The president’s absence, which his aides dismissed as a mere coincidence of the calendar, seemed to highlight the haphazard way in which his White House has approached its dealings with Congress. It is just as much a sign of Mr. Trump’s lack of enthusiasm for the policy detail and message discipline that is required to marshal support to enact politically challenging changes.

“If the president is distancing himself from the budget, why on earth would Republicans rally around tough choices that would have to be made?” said Robert L. Bixby, the executive director of the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan organization that promotes deficit reduction. “If you want to make the political case for the budget — and the budget is ultimately a political document — you really need the president to do it. So, it does seem bizarre that the president is out of the country.”
posted by zachlipton at 6:10 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


I'd love it for once if a slow news day actually meant a slow trump thread

Heh, slow news day. That WaPo article would have blown everyone's mind two weeks ago.
posted by diogenes at 6:13 PM on May 22 [23 favorites]


The resistance, by indulging profanity, has taken the bait and fallen into a trap.
You've got to be fucking kidding me. That's the stupidest fucking argument I have ever heard.

Also, I indulged profanity before Trump. I indulge profanity because sometimes profanity is fucking awesome. Or at least the best way to convey whatever it is I want to convey.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:14 PM on May 22 [61 favorites]


God help us all if this is what counts as a slow news day moving forward.
posted by Justinian at 6:17 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


The resistance, by indulging profanity, has taken the bait and fallen into a trap. The current crisis, which has come from the right, in the form of a man who thrives on creating crisis, threatens to drag language with it into the abyss. The essence of Trump’s crude rhetoric is a sense of grievance, that someone is always about to get the better of him, or us. For Trump, the social norms are always just breaking, so the response is always to rush the line. The use of profanity doesn’t just register outrage at Trump, it also adds to the general level of crisis — and that’s the danger of it.

This pisses me off so much. This is the problem: The people on the right who try to draw attention to this greatly overlap "so much for the tolerant for the left" on the old venn diagram. There is not one person that exists that would be leftist if not for all the naughty things some leftists say. Not one. They're not actually trying to make a point in good faith. They're just looking for something to pick apart because their rhetorical strategy is always to be on the attack. They never let up, they have no intellectual honesty, and they have no sense of shame.

And we have commentators that fall for it hook, line, and sinker as some sort of plea. Like the poor and sick may as well be all "hail conservatives, we who are about to die will maintain decorum". They have a fucking right to be pissed off. Their lives, their livelihoods, they all depend on these shitty sports style political games. But since a college student wrote "fuck" on a sign or a late night comedian went blue we lost the game and now millions of people now at least have a "valid" reason to die in the gutter, right?

Fuck these people.
posted by Talez at 6:17 PM on May 22 [66 favorites]


Regular Outrage Fatigue + an actual bombing = entirely new levels of fatigue I don't usually get to. Slow News Day it ain't.
posted by Archelaus at 6:18 PM on May 22 [14 favorites]


See, this is what I'm talking about.
  • Heh, slow news day. That WaPo article would have blown everyone's mind two weeks ago.
  • God help us all if this is what counts as a slow news day moving forward.
I've got no clue what the heck you're talking about because we're 350 comments in to a shiny new thread and it's mostly jokes.

I'd really, really appreciate it if people could take them to a forum more amenable to that. Some of us use this thread as a news and commentary source.
posted by ragtag at 6:20 PM on May 22 [26 favorites]


Ignoring Manchester, which is certainly significant news but also not really on-topic, it bears repeating in as clear language as possible: the White House tried to get the intelligence agencies to interfere with an FBI investigation into whether his campaign colluded with a hostile foreign power.

They're about to release a budget proposal that is centered around denying food and healthcare to the poor on a massive scale.

The former National Security Advisor announced he'll invoke his 5th Amendment rights.

Trump randomly announced that he never told the Russians the word "Israel," much to the surprise of the Israeli Prime Minister standing next to him.

The White House and the Office of Government Ethics are pretty much in an open war now.

It's not a slow news day.
posted by zachlipton at 6:25 PM on May 22 [170 favorites]


zachlipton's summary is a good one. Today would have been the single worst day in the Presidency for most Presidents (which didn't involve an attack or something which killed a ton of Americans.)
posted by Justinian at 6:27 PM on May 22 [19 favorites]


And I'm ignoring stories like the White House backtracking on whether Abbas is "of Palestine" or "of the Palestinian Authority" or the shift to "Islamic extremism" because the President was "exhausted" that would normally trigger days of outrage over whether this stuff represented massive shifts in government policy, since everyone just knows nobody in the White House thinks before they open their mouths so the details don't matter.
posted by zachlipton at 6:31 PM on May 22 [7 favorites]


The world may be entirely consumed by crisis, but language must stand apart.

Thanks asshole, now I've gone and dropped my fucking monocle into my fucking tea. This article is a cartoon dog sitting in a burning house, except instead of "this is fine," he's shocked to the core because someone said a swear.
posted by Behemoth at 6:32 PM on May 22 [41 favorites]


Ignoring Manchester, which is certainly significant news but also not really on-topic

It shouldn't be, but it's going to be, both for the Trump circus and UK election.

Anyhoo: Radio Manchester - late night call in show keeping it sane and positive
posted by Buntix at 6:33 PM on May 22


It's just tone policing, which women have dealt with forever.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:36 PM on May 22 [21 favorites]


Today would have been the single worst day in the Presidency for most Presidents

In 2017 we just call that Monday.
posted by gatorae at 6:38 PM on May 22 [35 favorites]


God I've missed Spicey Lunch Hour. It's gonna be a doozy when he gets back.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:40 PM on May 22


I'm not sure he's coming back for the daily briefings.
posted by lalex at 6:44 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


The fatigue created by Trump has peaked a bit for me. This is a big news day, but it feels that everything is exhaustedly waiting for Trump to return, before it all explodes (or not?). The policies and budgets put forward today by the White House are exceedingly, shockingly terrible: Attacks on the poor, government institutions run roughshod, and again, strangely, a big push for cuts to the NIH and CDC (Why???) For me the catastrophic scale of the situation is moving beyond the sensible, and the air is being completely sucked out. Call it fatigue, call it living in the Trump bell jar, whatever it is, it's real and it's noise that dampens the reflexes and dulls the senses. Hopefully, when the substance of these various government investigations comes to the light of day, we can cut through that noise. But a hammer needs to drop, and soon.
posted by kuatto at 6:46 PM on May 22 [17 favorites]


This will help, right? Politico: Trump eyeing Lewandowski, Bossie as crisis managers
Bossie’s addition to the White House in a crisis management role would mark an ironic turning point for a man who spent much of the 1990s as a top investigator for the Oversight and Government Reform Committee working to stoke the many scandals that swirled around the Clinton administration.

“He certainly knows how to set fires, whether he’s good at putting them out or not, I have no idea,” Fabiani said.
It's hard for me to imagine a situation that could possibly be improved by adding Corey Lewandowski.
posted by zachlipton at 6:47 PM on May 22 [24 favorites]


And when it does drop we're having a party with Submission Meatloaf and Im-Peach-Mint pie topped with 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream served with my finest diet coke.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:49 PM on May 22 [11 favorites]


Bad news, everyone: CNN just reported Jared & the rest of the Trump team don't have their hopes up that a Israel-Palestine peace deal can by struck on this trip

I swear, it's like a couple hours of half-hearted work just aren't enough these days.
posted by Copronymus at 6:52 PM on May 22 [116 favorites]


It's hard for me to imagine a situation that could possibly be improved by adding Corey Lewandowski.

Robert Lewandowski, on the other hand...
posted by orrnyereg at 6:55 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


"Every successful organization is run the same way as mine because I am the greatest so everyone wants to be like me. Even if they don't, it is objectively the best way to run any organization because I would run it differently if there were a better way to run it and I don't so it must be the best."

I want his next interviewer to ask him if he's the best president. Bonus points if they get him to say that he's better than W. I would love to have that soundbyte playing as a contrast.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 6:55 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


POTUS Itinerary:
May 22-23  
    Tel Aviv
    Jerusalem
    Bethlehem

May 24
    Rome
    Vatican City

May 24-25
    Brussels

May 26-27
    Taormina, Sicily (G7)
    Sigonella, Sicily (G7)
posted by kuatto at 6:58 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Trump's budget plan continues his deceitful attack on the disabled — and violates a campaign pledge
It turns out that Mulvaney was setting up a flagrant deception during that “Face the Nation” appearance. He asked moderator John Dickerson, “Do you really think that Social Security disability insurance is part of what people think of when they think of Social Security? I don't think so. ..
A four-page “talking points” memo being circulated by the White House and published by Politico gives the game away, by stating the budget “does not cut core Social Security benefits.” (Emphasis ours.) This shows that on Face the Nation, Mulvaney was merely seeding the landscape with a rank deception.


Republicans are explicitly saying Social Security Disability isn't "real" Social Security.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:12 PM on May 22 [50 favorites]


Bad news, everyone: CNN just reported Jared & the rest of the Trump team don't have their hopes up that a Israel-Palestine peace deal can by struck on this trip

Wait, did they seriously think this was possible? Like the only reason it hasn't been done was because nobody /tried/???
posted by corb at 7:14 PM on May 22 [27 favorites]


I know this is so sixteen hours ago, but I feel collectively embarrassed for white people when watching this. We're historically bad at finding the beat and dancing, yes. We are raised this way. But the goddamn drums are RIGHT BEHIND HIM. I would like to think most of us could at least sway in rhythm if the drums were FIVE FEET FROM OUR EARS.

/pettyrant
posted by schroedinger at 7:15 PM on May 22 [7 favorites]


Wait, did they seriously think this was possible? Like the only reason it hasn't been done was because nobody /tried/???

Nobody knew that the Middle East could be so complicated
posted by chris24 at 7:17 PM on May 22 [64 favorites]


Like the only reason it hasn't been done was because nobody /tried/???
Nobody who'd written a book titled "The Art of the Deal"...

Republicans are explicitly saying Social Security Disability isn't "real" Social Security.
Well, I've been surviving on Social Security Disability for 11 years... interestingly, I'll have my 62nd birthday right at the end of the current fiscal year, so I might be able to qualify for a 'less reduced' amount if I switch to Minimum Retirement Benefit...
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:18 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


This is like the time Beyonce performed at the CMAs and every time the camera switched to the crowd we were forced to watch an audience that was packed with musicians and yet perhaps 10% of them were capable of finding the beat.
posted by schroedinger at 7:19 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


Republicans are explicitly saying Social Security Disability isn't "real" Social Security

Nazis gonna Nazi
posted by schadenfrau at 7:20 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


I had never heard of One America News Network, so I googled it a little and found an interesting sideways source for information: GlassDoor.com reviews by employees.

Very interesting reading. Apparently they're based in San Diego, that hotbed of Washington DC news, and the owner (Mr. Herring) is a controlling asshole. Some funny quips. EG:

PROS:
A seat to work from
Lunch room
Bathrooms??
posted by msalt at 7:23 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


No, corb, they thought the only reason it hasn't been done is because the anointed Dealmaker Trump had yet to bestow his blessed Art upon the unwashed masses.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:23 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Bloomberg: Trump Proposes Selling Off Half the U.S. Strategic Oil Reserve

This seems like a great idea that will not hasten the collapse of american civilization.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:24 PM on May 22 [41 favorites]


I do agree with Ragtag that it was a little hard to pick out the actual news of the day from between the endless orb and hole jokes. The beginnings of threads are always like that though. I actually dread New Thread Day.
posted by threeturtles at 7:30 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


One other great thing about the insane, and profoundly stupid, idea that "government should be run like a business" is that American businesses are almost entirely incapable of long-term planning these days, thanks to wall street and pressure for "good quarterly numbers".

So if and when you get a CEO-type jerkoff into office, they have no concept or interest in what effect their proposed policy changes will have in 10 years, or even two. They have no idea you can actually invest in an idea and nuture it to fruition.

They do know their mission is to sell whatever actual assets are present, pocket the money, and pull the rip cord on their gold parachute as the agency they were in charge of collapses.
posted by maxwelton at 7:31 PM on May 22 [40 favorites]


i like the orb jokes
posted by EarBucket at 7:32 PM on May 22 [80 favorites]


Which is to say, I like that these threads are both my best resource for the news of the day, and the funniest political commentary I've found anywhere. The jokes are part of the character of the place; it wouldn't be Metafilter without them.
posted by EarBucket at 7:33 PM on May 22 [93 favorites]


We haven't had a slow news day since Balloon Boy
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:34 PM on May 22 [16 favorites]


The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was established after the 1973 oil embargo imposed by Arab states in retaliation for the US's support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War. It's there to protect America's interests im case of a further embargo or national disaster threatening US oil supplies. It also, incidentally, makes the US less vulnerable to market manipulation. I don't think it costs much in comparison to the insurance it provides, but I'm pretty sure that both Russia and Saudi Arabia would be happy to see it go.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:34 PM on May 22 [73 favorites]


Trump’s first complete budget proposal, released in part on Monday, would raise $500 million in fiscal year 2018 by draining the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and as much $16.6 billion in oil sales over the next decade.

16.6 billion over ten years? and then when you're done the US can survive an oil embargo for half as long?

i would critique this idea but there's really nothing to say except "durr".
posted by murphy slaw at 7:38 PM on May 22 [7 favorites]


Which is to say, I like that these threads are both my best resource for the news of the day, and the funniest political commentary I've found anywhere. The jokes are part of the character of the place; it wouldn't be Metafilter without them.

I agree! My twitter list is my place for a constant stream of news; this is where I want to hang out and have a conversation with my community.
posted by lalex at 7:42 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


Scrolling down the Bloomberg site, underneath the article Rust Moranis links to above, here's this one: Trump Seeks $3.6 Trillion in Cuts to Reshape Government

Mick Mulvaney on social safety net programs, Trump-style:

"We’re no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs," White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said. "We’re going to measure compassion and success by the number of people we help get off those programs and back in charge of their own lives."

I gotta admit, dying of compassion and success does sound more dignified than dying of starvation and untreated illness.
posted by Rykey at 7:46 PM on May 22 [44 favorites]


Bloomberg: Trump Proposes Selling Off Half the U.S. Strategic Oil Reserve

Classic Republican move. Sell off irreplaceable arrests to make your faulty budget plans look good in the short term. Jindall did this more than once in Louisiana.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:50 PM on May 22 [50 favorites]


In an administration packed full of cartoon villains, Mick Mulvaney always manages to be a real standout.
posted by gatorae at 7:50 PM on May 22 [14 favorites]


I gotta admit, dying of compassion and success does sound more dignified than dying of starvation and untreated illness.

Compassionate conservatism is back from the dead and hungry for human flesh.
posted by Talez at 7:52 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


I thought Jesuits were the nice catholics.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:52 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]



fatbird: "He can't believe Washington isn't as corrupt as his own operations are. It's genuinely hard for him, I bet, to believe that other people aren't as snakey as he is."

Corrupt people are all like this so it isn't surprising. They often experience disbelief when encountering honest people thinking the honesty is a long con of some sort.

roomthreeseventeen: "President Trump has ignited a national discussion of blue-collar labor and even climbed into a truck during a White House event, trucking, which was once among the best-paying such jobs, has become low-wage, grinding, unhealthy work. Turnover at large for-hire fleets hauling freight by the truckload — the backbone of the industry — runs an astonishing 80 percent a year, according to a trade group. "

I'd say they need a union but the teamsters twice endorsed Reagan FFS; even after he busted the air traffic controllers.
posted by Mitheral at 7:53 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


mick mulvaney is like a charles dickens villain with organic brain injury
posted by murphy slaw at 7:54 PM on May 22 [19 favorites]


Wait, did they seriously think this was possible? Like the only reason it hasn't been done was because nobody /tried/???

Yes. They seriously did. This is the Dunning-Kruger presidency*, after all.
posted by CommonSense at 8:05 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


It's hard for me to imagine a situation that could possibly be improved by adding Corey Lewandowski.

Try setting the situation at the sinkhole.
posted by that's how you get ants at 8:05 PM on May 22 [14 favorites]


The resistance, by indulging profanity, has taken the bait and fallen into a trap. The current crisis, which has come from the right, in the form of a man who thrives on creating crisis, threatens to drag language with it into the abyss. The essence of Trump’s crude rhetoric is a sense of grievance, that someone is always about to get the better of him, or us. For Trump, the social norms are always just breaking, so the response is always to rush the line. The use of profanity doesn’t just register outrage at Trump, it also adds to the general level of crisis — and that’s the danger of it.

fuck that shit, yo.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:06 PM on May 22 [18 favorites]


Trump budget seeks huge cuts to disease prevention and medical research departments [WaPo]:
President Trump's 2018 budget request to Congress seeks massive cuts in spending on health programs, including medical research, disease prevention programs and health insurance for children of the working poor.

The National Cancer Institute would be hit with a $1 billion cut compared to its 2017 budget. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute would see a $575 million cut, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases would see a reduction of $838 million. The administration would cut the overall National Institutes of Health budget from $31.8 billion to $26 billion.
(Note that congress did the exact opposite of this in their 2017 CR, raising the NIH budget. I'd like to believe this means they'll ignore Trump's request here too, but I am making no assumptions, TTTCS, &c.)
posted by Westringia F. at 8:08 PM on May 22 [13 favorites]


Some budget links:

NYT: Trump’s First Budget Works Only if Wishes Come True, featuring a hilarious quote from Mulvaney that we can get 3% growth through optimism or something:
“The C.B.O. assumes that we’ll never grow at more than 1.9 percent again,” said Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget. “That assumes a pessimism about America, about the economy, about its people, about its culture that we refuse to accept.”

But economists generally regard the projection of 3 percent annual economic growth as highly optimistic. The Federal Reserve estimated in March that the maximum sustainable pace of economic growth is around 1.8 percent. The Congressional Budget Office puts the ceiling at 1.9 percent. Those are low numbers by historical standards, but growth is determined by the expansion of the work force and the improvement in the amount that workers can produce. The growth of both the working-age population and productivity have slowed in recent years.

“Without violating some of the most basic laws of economics and history, we are not going to get the kind of growth that will yield a balanced budget in 10 years,” said Steve Bell, a former staff director at the Senate Budget Committee who is now at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

That would leave two possible outcomes: deeper spending cuts or larger deficits.
As that article and other analysts have noted, the budget contains virtually no details on the massive tax cuts that are coming, except to claim that they'll essentially pay for themselves, despite the fact that has never actually worked. The budget assumes they exist, but they still have no tax plan besides that one-page thing that was hatched on a napkin in a bar in a week in April after Trump surprised everyone by saying they'd release it soon.

WaPo: Trump’s budget proposal slashes spending by $3.6 trillion over 10 years, along with some excellent graphics on What Trump’s budget cuts from the social safety net
He singled out the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the modern version of food stamps, which grew rapidly after the financial crisis and had 44 million beneficiaries in 2016.

“We need people to go to work,” Mulvaney said. “If you are on food stamps and you are able-bodied, we need you to go to work. If you are on disability insurance and you are not supposed to be, you are not truly disabled, we need you to go back to work. We need everybody pulling in the same direction.”
SNAP already has work requirements, but around 2/3rds of recipients are children, elderly, or disabled, and the majority of the rest are employed, most of those who didn't fit in the above categories worked within the past year. And, you know, it's food, which you need to live, and hunger doesn't really care if you have a job.

One important thing is this article is that it reveals that a chunk of Trump's budget magic actually relies on leaving defense spending alone. There's a $43B spending increase for next year, but it then stays pretty close to the baseline for future years, which isn't going to deliver the massive military build-up he promised. "A White House official said that is because the military is still planning spending priorities for those years and that the budget would eventually change." Of course, if you change to spend more on the military, the balanced budget myth goes out the window.

Politico: Trump's budget hits his own voters hardest. Who'd have thunk that it would be all Mulvaney and none of that populist stuff?
Rather than breaking with Washington precedent, Trump’s spending blueprint follows established conservative orthodoxy, cutting taxes on the wealthy, boosting defense spending and taking a hatchet to programs for the poor and disabled – potentially hurting many of the rural and low-income Americans that voted him into office.
...
“I’m deeply concerned about the severity of the domestic cuts,” Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), a long-time member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, told POLITICO on Friday.

Rogers has been an outspoken critic of Trump’s proposed cuts to programs that benefit rural regions like his home state, like the Appalachian Regional Commission.

“I think we do need healthcare reform. I think we do need welfare reform. But the kinds of reductions that he’s talking about go exactly against the states that brought [Trump] to the dance, so to speak,” said G. William Hoagland, a former long-time Republican Senate budget aide.
And Chris Christie may swallow Trump's meatloaf, but Medicaid cuts may be a bite too far:
“I don’t know the specifics of the proposal but it sounds like a lot of money,” Christie said at a Statehouse press conference in response to a reporter question. “That’s all I know and all you know right now is that the rumor is that the budget is going to contain an $800 billion cut over a period of time in Medicaid. I would be concerned about that being a state that has a lot of people who utilize Medicaid, not only normally but due to the decision I made in 2013 to expand Medicaid.”
WaPo: EPA remains top target with Trump administration proposing 31 percent budget cut

BuzzFeed: Trump Budget Plan Calls For Cuts To Medicaid And Public Health Agencies. Lays out the cuts to public health, including ~$6 billion to the NIH. That's a 19% cut to the National Cancer Institute and a 20% cut to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, among others.

Military Times: Trump budget trims payouts for vets, government retirees
President Donald Trump’s “taxpayer focused” budget for fiscal 2018 includes smaller cost-of-living adjustments for veterans benefits payouts and eliminating those adjustments for some federal civilian retirees altogether.
...
Trump’s plan calls for eliminating annual cost-of-living increases Federal Employee Retirement System enrollees completely, and lowering the adjustments for Civil Service Retirement System enrollees by 0.5 percent.

Together, those changes generate more than $500 million in savings for fiscal 2018 and almost $42 billion in savings over 10 years.

But they also represent substantial reductions in payouts for the estimated 70,000 federal retirees each year, along with the hundreds of thousands more already collecting their pensions. CSRS beneficiaries are not eligible for Social Security payments. FERS employees are, but those government pensions still make up a significant portion of their retirement income.
posted by zachlipton at 8:08 PM on May 22 [58 favorites]


Trump Proposes Selling Off Half the U.S. Strategic Oil Reserve

At last Trump reveals the secret of his business success: Buy high, sell low, make it up in volume.
posted by Coventry at 8:11 PM on May 22 [13 favorites]


He was probably just negging the Saudis though.
posted by Coventry at 8:12 PM on May 22


Well, I finally gave in and read New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu's speech on the removal of some of the city's Confederate monuments, and it's very, very worth reading.
It is self-evident that these men did not fight for the United States of America, They fought against it. They may have been warriors, but in this cause they were not patriots.

These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for.

After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city. [...]

Another friend asked me to consider these four monuments from the perspective of an African American mother or father trying to explain to their fifth grade daughter who Robert E. Lee is and why he stands atop of our beautiful city. Can you do it?

Can you look into that young girl’s eyes and convince her that Robert E. Lee is there to encourage her? Do you think she will feel inspired and hopeful by that story? Do these monuments help her see a future with limitless potential? Have you ever thought that if her potential is limited, yours and mine are too?
posted by lalex at 8:21 PM on May 22 [227 favorites]


this budget is selling our seed corn to pay for tax cuts for the rich. it will leave the country more desperate, hungrier, sicker, and less educated.

every time you hear a republican talk about responsibility, family values, or patriotism, remember this budget proposal. it's a betrayal.
posted by murphy slaw at 8:25 PM on May 22 [83 favorites]


I don't know if I've mentioned this in one of the other threads, but this budget proposal makes me want to remind everyone who has not read or listened to The Iron Heel, by Jack London, written in 1908. I know Jack London isn't who comes to mind when thinking about socialist manifestos in a deeply, deeply dystopian world controlled by the plutocracy, but there you are, none the less. I have found the audio, by Matt Laur to be a lovely way to absorb the story. It's rather frighteningly prescient.

Librivox written

Internet Archive Audio
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:35 PM on May 22 [17 favorites]


Well, the good thing is that fascist governments tend to rely on the unquestioning support of people whose loyalty has been bought by government pensions, insurance, housing and so forth. I find it hard to believe, but the current administration is going out of its way to be the literal negation of economic populism.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:41 PM on May 22 [28 favorites]


tl;dr everyone at Fox is super embarrassed that Hannity won't stop talking about Seth Rich! but not enough to stop him or prevent other on-air personalities from picking up the thread!

I just came in to post this as Sean Hannity is currently having yet another incoherent public Twitter meltdown.
posted by lalex at 8:56 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Like Mike Huckabee, Hannity is having trouble with the acronym CNN: original tweet—CLINTON COLLUSION NETWORK), replacement tweet—CLINTON (COLLUSION) NEWS NETWORK.
posted by zachlipton at 9:00 PM on May 22 [13 favorites]


I'm no longer astonished by it, but I just had a bit of a mind boggle about how no one except Clinton herself has been able to let go of the 2016 election. I mean, the electoral victory thing President Insecure keeps pushing is just plain nuts, and on the other side, the bros will, at a drop of a hat, re-litigate the democratic primaries. I can recall no other election, including the hanging chads supreme court gift to GWB, that has lingered for so long. It's pathetic.

tldr: misogyny.
posted by maxwelton at 9:19 PM on May 22 [72 favorites]


Someone may have already beat me to it, but I just did a thing I thought might give folks here a chuckle. (TW: crappy cell phone photo editing)
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 9:28 PM on May 22 [11 favorites]




I'm sure this isn't news to most MeFites, but apropos of 45's trip to Saudi, I decided to watch Saudi Arabia Uncovered on Netflix. (Link goes to the YouTube video of same.)

Again, nothing most of us don't already know, but certainly worth reminding ourselves of who we're in bed with.
posted by CommonSense at 9:47 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


I believe you have misunderstood on which side of the hellmouth Mar-a-Lago is located.

In that case, I eagerly await the blonde teenager with superpowers to come through it and put all us demons out of our misery.
posted by biogeo at 10:03 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** MT-AL special:
-- Internal GOP poll has Gianforte lead at 2-4 points.
-- Nate Silver points out that even a tight Gianforte win bodes badly for the GOP in the midterms.
-- WaPo piece on Bernie role in Quist campaign.
** GA-06 special: New SurveyUSA poll has Ossoff with a 7 point lead over Handel, 51/44.

** UT-03 special: A new centrist party, United Utah, has formed and is looking to have a candidate ready for the Chaffetz replacement election.

** VA gov: New WaPo poll has either Dem candidate significantly ahead of GOP likely candidate Gillespie. Perriello leads 50/37, Northam 49/38.

** 2018 Senate: 538 piece on the outlook - neither party likely to do too much.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:06 PM on May 22 [37 favorites]


haha Colbert has a fun little news clip montage remembering the halcyon days of Obama's White House scandals compared with the scandals we're dealing with now.

SCANDALS UNDER TRUMP
turning over classified secrets to the Russians
obstruction of justice
gross abuses of power
current high-level WH official is target of FBI investigation
possible treason
lawyers have started researching impeachment

SCANDALS UNDER OBAMA
he chewed gum sometimes
put his foot on his desk
reached over sneeze guard at Chipotle
asked Marines to hold umbrellas
the "latte salute"
has occasionally given a small bow when meeting with some foreign officials
wore an ugly tan suit (is now the time to admit that I really liked that suit?)
posted by lalex at 10:13 PM on May 22 [82 favorites]


Today I recalled one of the interviews Trump gave where he was asked if he asked Comey for loyalty and he said he did not but that it would be a good question to ask -- for loyalty to the country, etc.

It just occurred to me how utterly dumb this exchange is. He is denying it while at the same time transparently setting up an alternative defense that it could have been asking about loyalty to the country.

Why in the world would you do that unless you actually did ask that question?

What could be more inane than asking the FBI director if he's loyal to the country? - "No sir, I'm not - i've been working for the Russians but I kept it a secret for 30 years but now that you brought it up, I feel like, what the hey, maybe I should fess up?"

Not to mention that it's a grave insult to ask an official if he's loyal to the country.

"So how is the wife? Good, good, by the way are you a traitor .. naw, me neither, just making small talk .. and how are the kids .. ahh splendid."

Is it me or is he getting worse and worse at lying? He used to be pretty good. It's almost as if his heart is not in it anymore.
posted by rainy at 10:14 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


idk if this was posted in one of these threads, but MeFi fave Anne Helen Petersen has a great piece out on the Montana special. I enjoyed it and my Montana born and bred boyfriend loved it.
posted by lalex at 10:16 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


I'm so tired of headlines referring to "Trump's budget" and "Trump's plan" and "Trump proposes," as though he gives enough of a shit about anything besides himself to have an opinion about it. HE HAS NO PLAN. He's a malevolent disorder in a skin suit that people keep trying to ascribe motives to.

/GRAR
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:34 PM on May 22 [32 favorites]


Do they tell Trump about Trump's Plan ahead of time, or does he hear about it when the rest of us do?
posted by bongo_x at 10:40 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


Today I recalled one of the interviews Trump gave where he was asked if he asked Comey for loyalty and he said he did not but that it would be a good question to ask -- for loyalty to the country, etc.

Trump has demonstrated again and again that he thought the job of POTUS was like the job of a king. He's frustrated he can't say whatever he wants to whomever he wants, he's frustrated he can't hire whomever he wants, he's frustrated there are rules about what he can do, he's frustrated that Congress and the judiciary won't bow to his whims. I would guess that someone had to explain to him that loyalty to the POTUS and loyalty to one's country are two different things, and he's probably still working through that concept. He heard somebody say "To Queen and Country" at some point, and assumed the conflation of the two things worked the same way in the USA.
posted by schroedinger at 10:47 PM on May 22 [16 favorites]


I'm so tired of headlines referring to "Trump's budget" and "Trump's plan" and "Trump proposes," as though he gives enough of a shit about anything besides himself to have an opinion about it. HE HAS NO PLAN. He's a malevolent disorder in a skin suit that people keep trying to ascribe motives to.

So Trump is a Cylon?
posted by mazola at 10:49 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


No way, Cylons had ALL KINDS of plans. If there was one thing Cylons had, it was plans.

(well, until about halfway through Season 3, then it wasn't clear anybody had plans, including the writers)
posted by schroedinger at 10:52 PM on May 22 [26 favorites]


But cylons believed in god.
posted by mochapickle at 10:54 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Well, the scientific community is still hesitating about calling him a fungus because at least a fungus can be useful. Sometimes even delicious.

Some have proposed the word algae but there was a lot of pushback from the marine biologists, and we can't just use "slime" because Ted Cruz locked that one in for life a long time ago. Entomologists have also argued energetically that even cockroaches and tapeworms are pretty awesome relatively speaking.

Even the gastroenterologists aren't willing to loan any useful words from the scatological end of things, declaring the comparison utterly insulting, though we're waiting to hear back about what possible use a dingleberry could possibly be.

So far the best suggestion anyone can come up with is just writing in a new dictionary entry for the matter that is Trump as simply "trump", and roughly defines it as "A noisome, useless and often dangerously noxious goo that is appears to be some form of a non-Newtonian oobleck."
posted by loquacious at 11:16 PM on May 22 [25 favorites]


Carlos Maza, Vox: Fox News’s 5 steps for handling a Trump scandal
And though the Russia leak and Comey memo stories are different, Fox handled them both in strikingly similar ways. In both cases, Fox’s first response was to raise doubts about the story -- echoing the White House’s talking points, describing the stories as “fake news” or conspiracy theories, and generally expressing disbelief about damaging reporting. The network attacked the sources, describing the Washington Post as part of the “destroy-Trump media” and painting Comey as a vengeful, unreliable “drama queen.” It fixated on the government sources who leaked damaging information to reporters, describing them as a threat to national security. And when all else failed, Fox personalities dismissed the scandals as silly, suggesting that other news networks were overreacting.
Informative video with too many shots of Hannity's literal low brow.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:42 PM on May 22 [14 favorites]


Wow. WOW. My head just exploded at the mind boggling stupidity of selling off the SPR.

Not only from the national security point of view cited above, but because of what extra volume on the market actually does for a commodity- depresses the price even further. OPEC, and particularly the Saudis have been over producing to intentionally keep the price low. The whole purpose of this is to drive out American tight oil. The American in the ground reserves that were being developed recently are massively expensive and require a significant lead time to get up and running. The Saudi reserves are extremely inexpensive to access- they basically just scratch the surface with a fingernail. *

So not only is this plan epically stupid on its face, it plays directly into the market forces to the great benefit of OPEC, and undercuts the US' ability to access our own fields if and when we might need to. (And there's a whole other aspect here with Russian gas reserves that I won't even go into because I have to go access my own strategic bourbon reserves because GRAR.)

* At Aramco headquarters there is an absolutely stunning map that covers a whole wall. It shows, in precious stones, the oil reserves and their depth (different stones for different depths). This visual really drives home how much there is and how incredibly easy it is for them to get.

At last Trump reveals the secret of his business success: Buy high, sell low, make it up in volume.
posted by Coventry at 8:11 PM on May 22

posted by susiswimmer at 11:44 PM on May 22 [51 favorites]


And now I'm wondering if this wasn't actually a part of the plan all along. So I have to go fashion a tin foil hat while accessing my bourbon reserves.
posted by susiswimmer at 11:46 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Selling strategic oil reserves is a fantastic way for people with the right connections to make a shit ton of money.
posted by PenDevil at 12:11 AM on May 23 [24 favorites]


Also interesting that the trip to KSA had to be this week, despite everything else going on and KSA being an odd choice for a first trip. Interesting item to note: OPEC meets Thursday in Vienna. Iran, also a member of OPEC, just elected a moderate President and can't be terribly pleased with rhetoric re "good" and "bad" Islam we heard out of Riyadh this weekend.

I have now upgraded from wearing a tin foil hat and drinking bourbon to crouching under my desk wearing a tin foil hat and not drinking bourbon.
posted by susiswimmer at 12:58 AM on May 23 [8 favorites]


It's time to get rid of Donald Trump A Der Spiegel editorial

Also, it's really a pity Robert Fisk has discredited himself, because this rant is a beauty.
posted by mumimor at 1:43 AM on May 23 [9 favorites]


In response to Manchester, Trump called terrorists losers. (Real bbc)
posted by AlexiaSky at 1:45 AM on May 23 [6 favorites]


Losers! Well, that'll learn 'em. They're sure to go slinking back to their hidey-holes now.
posted by GrammarMoses at 1:57 AM on May 23 [12 favorites]


Salient point of the Spiegel editorial:

Crises, including those in Syria and Libya, are escalating, but no longer being discussed. And who should they be discussed with? Phone calls and emails to the U.S. State Department go unanswered.


(emphasis mine, because this needs to be emphasized. This in a nutshell is the problem - he's not taking care of business, not the bare minimum. Generally shrill editorials like this are worth your average David Brooks fart but this data point, that the State Department, run by Trump appointee Tillerson, isn't doing it's job is bad. )
posted by From Bklyn at 1:59 AM on May 23 [47 favorites]


because this rant is a beauty.

Thanks. Fisk at his finest.
posted by Mister Bijou at 2:11 AM on May 23


At his Fiskiest, rather. I agree with Fisk about "the Arab NATO", though, (and when did Trump become a fan of Nato?); it's a transparent attempt to create a market for US arms... and a need for them, too.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:28 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Mouthing off about slashing half the strategic petroleum reserve is typical Trumpian bluster, but there are reasonable arguments for reducing the SPR. Net oil imports by the US are at their lowest levels since the early 1980s while domestic US production has almost doubled in the past decade. As a result the number of days of import coverage provided by the reserve have pretty much doubled over that period.
posted by dmh at 2:28 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


He's not mouthing off, is he? It's written down.

Why would we want fewer days of import coverage?

If the price of oil is low right now, isn't that a good time to add to to reserves rather than selling them (for not much)?

I seem to remember when had prices were really high for a little while, it was considered a big deal that wee taped the strategic reserve to help bring them down. Because there was a limited amount and it was meant for emergencies... Now it's not a big deal to just sell half of it off?
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:37 AM on May 23 [20 favorites]


He's literally becoming the SNL parody of himself. BBC:
More on what US President Donald Trump said in response to the attack.

During a speech in Israel he said "so many young beautiful innocent people. They were murdered by evil losers.

"I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that's a great name.

"I will call them, from now on, losers, because that’s what they are.

"And we will have more of them but they are losers, just remember that...

"Our society can have no tolerance for this continuation of bloodshed.

"This wicked ideology must be completely obliterated."
Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.
posted by Westringia F. at 3:09 AM on May 23 [41 favorites]


Losers! Well, that'll learn 'em. They're sure to go slinking back to their hidey-holes now.

my theory is that the worst Don has ever felt, in his entire life, and that he still remembers to this day, is when his dad used to berate him for being a loser. and that's why, in his mind, it's the very worst thing you can call someone.
posted by russm at 3:13 AM on May 23 [67 favorites]


If the price of oil is low right now, isn't that a good time to add to to reserves rather than selling them (for not much)?

The facilities for the reserve are close to capacity, so you can't really add more even if you wanted to, and I think reasonable people can differ over whether you would want to given that domestic production has grown tremendously, and keeping oil around that's actually depreciating in value is just not very efficient.

For these and other reasons the decision to sell of a (relatively small) portion of the SPR was already made under Obama back in 2015. What I think happened is that somehow this nugget of information got through to Trump's thick head and he then decided the numbers should be bigger.
posted by dmh at 3:26 AM on May 23 [5 favorites]


These constant news alerts are really fucking with me. Last night I had one of those dreams where you wake up convinced it was real. In this case the news was that Melania had announced that she and Trump were separating. In the dream, the news had popped up as a Flipboard alert on my phone and I picked up my laptop and starting reading very detailed announcements about how it had been announced in Israel and that Melania had been taken to an undisclosed location for her safety.

It serves me right for watching slo-mo replays of the hand slap before going to bed, I guess. But also, I think it's time for a media break guys.
posted by jeremias at 3:32 AM on May 23 [12 favorites]


Man, the vacation scrapbook of this trip is going to be something else. Trump riding the escalator with his thumb in the air, the gathering at the orb, Trump calling the press corps back from leaving to bring up the intelligence thing, Netanyahu beside him trying to sink through the carpet. And it's not even over!
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:00 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


depreciating in value

I mean, it's not supposed to be a financial investment? It's supposed to be for, like, in case there's a world war. Or our relationship with Saudi Arabia deteriorates and they decide not to sell to us anymore, or to charge exorbitant prices. Or some kind of natural disaster destroys shipping facilities or pipelines. All the sudden nobody can drive to work and our economy grinds to a halt? Our society could just collapse. That reserve is supposed to provide us a very temporary cushion. Time enough to figure out some response to the crisis. Of course the long term solution is to transition to renewable energy. That's very much a national security issue. But until that happens the strategic reserve is like having a fire ladder in your house. You don't buy a fire ladder as an investment. You don't sell it because the weather has been rainy lately.

Yeah, we have more domestic capacity now, but in the 1940s we were the world leaders in oil production, I think? And by the 1970s there were lines at gas stations.

It's a strategic reserve. Decisions about it ought to look decades ahead, not just at the remainder of the fiscal year.
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:21 AM on May 23 [105 favorites]


According to PenDevil's link above, crude oil is presently in a contango situation where the future price is higher than the present one. Far from depreciating, it's worth more the longer you hold on to it. As long as storage costs aren't an issue, as in the present case.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:34 AM on May 23 [6 favorites]


Specifically, the Committee has obtained a Report of Investigation dated March 14, 2016 showing that General Flynn told security clearence investigators that he was paid by "U.S. companies" when he traveled to Moscow in December 2015 to dine at a dinner with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The actual source of the funds for General Flynn's trip was not a U.S. company, but the Russian media propaganda arm, RT.
They have documents showing that RT paid Flynn more than $45,000 through the speaker's bureau, and RT directly paid for his airfare, lodging, and expenses. Flynn also denied contact with foreign government officials on his SF-86 form, stating in an interview he only had "insubstantial contact" on his foreign trips, something that is pretty flatly untrue.


What are the potential penalties for Flynn's lying like this? If they have documented evidence of it, that's some leverage over him regardless of whether he pleads the Fifth over releasing any further documents. Unless, of course, what he's covering up is even worse than a rap for lying to Federal authorities.

My mind continues to boggle that despite all we've learned of Trump's incompetence and malfeasance over the last three or four months, much of this fail parade kicked off by Trump hiring a Russian agent to be National Security Adviser (!). Now can the media please stop presuming that Republicans are "strong on defense"? (I know: no.)
posted by Gelatin at 5:21 AM on May 23 [11 favorites]


This is the same media that was really impressed with him blowing up random objects to little effect.
posted by Artw at 5:30 AM on May 23 [6 favorites]




Remember that Nixon tried to have the CIA block the FBI's investigation into the Watergate burglary. That's exactly what's happened again here.

Did no one in this misbegotten administration think that re-enacting the Nixon Presidency wouldn't end well for them?
posted by Gelatin at 5:31 AM on May 23


If we are going to link twitter jokes it is not too much to ask that they be labeled as jokes.
posted by winna at 5:36 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Here's the [strange] note Trump left at Yad Vashem

Umm, gonna need some real/fake tags on that one.
posted by threeturtles at 5:37 AM on May 23 [19 favorites]


you can say what you want, but you can't claim to be capital-n News unless you adhere to certain standards.

The problem is they're all perfectly capable of saying, "The news the government doesn't WANT you to hear" and then their viewership doubles.


Weighing in on the "what is news?" question, the answer has to come from professional journalists themselves. They need to stop pretending that FOX is anything other than a propaganda arm of the Republican Party, and make clear that going to work for them destroys a reporter's credibility -- and future employ-ability -- as scribbling for the National Enquirer.

At long last, they seem to have figured out that letting Matt Drudge set the agenda is a fool's game, so perhaps they can take the next step.
posted by Gelatin at 5:38 AM on May 23 [7 favorites]


What are the potential penalties for Flynn's lying like this? If they have documented evidence of it, that's some leverage over him regardless of whether he pleads the Fifth over releasing any further documents. Unless, of course, what he's covering up is even worse than a rap for lying to Federal authorities.

Ten grand fine and/or five years prison. No wonder Flynn is using the fifth as leverage for immunity.
posted by Talez at 5:38 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


I've completely lost track of the very many things I've called "the worst thing about these people, this situation is," but certainly top of that very long list is the eagerness with which they would sell out our wonderful renewable resources, our parks and wetlands and forests et al, for the FINITE resources contained within just to pad their already incredible fortunes in the here and now. This party of "family values," (and reader, you must just imagine for yourselves the sneer with which I write that term) cares not a whit about the world they are leaving their very own grandchildren, much less yours and mine. This short-sighted greed, and for what, for WHAT? makes me incandescent with rage.
posted by thebrokedown at 5:39 AM on May 23 [36 favorites]


And now I am reminded that launching a terror attack that killed an eight year old was one of Trump's first acts as president.
posted by Artw at 5:39 AM on May 23 [11 favorites]




i'm continuously surprised at the depths of this fresh hell we find ourselves in. the telegraph reports:
social media has been swamped with false reports of missing children and other seemingly-intentional hoaxes in the wake of the suicide bomb. Images and posts widely shared across Twitter included false photos of the scene and claims that terrorists had posted online warnings in the hours leading up to the attack.
posted by localhuman at 5:45 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


According to the Times of Israel, it's real, but the photo credit is missing (it just says 'Courtesy').
posted by jack_mo at 5:46 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


I actually think ISIS are losers, and that's how they should be treated in general. They recruit people that think ISIS is a great power taken seriously by other great powers. But really, ISIS are nobodies completely incapable of running Rhode Island let alone a world-spanning caliphate, and the world would be better off if everyone thought that. They happen to be part of a proxy war between the U.S. and Russia; so what, join the club.
posted by Jpfed at 5:48 AM on May 23


HOLY SHIT it was REAL.

What the actual hell 2017. What the hell?!?!??!

Text of his note in the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial guestbook in Jerusalem: "It is A great HONOR TO BE HERE WITH ALL OF MY FRIENDS - So Amazing & will Never Forget!"

I transcribed it with the capitalization as it appears to be in the note.
posted by winna at 5:51 AM on May 23 [9 favorites]


2 COOL
2 BE
4 GOTTEN

~DONALD

[fake]
posted by entropicamericana at 5:53 AM on May 23 [23 favorites]


I figured it was real because it was very similar to the note he wrote in the official visitor's book when he arrived in Israel which was something like: "it's a great honor to be here with great friends." Printed ( rather than cursive) in all caps with random lower case like this: gREAT.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:53 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Remember that their strategy for the last 8+ years has been to double down at every turn. And it's getting increasingly clear that key figures like Pence, Ryan, McConnell, McCarthy, Priebus (as head of the RNC) and others knew this whole campaign was dirty all along.

A sly Democratic strategy could be to accuse Pence, Ryan, McConnell, and every other Republican politician of exactly that -- knowing Trump was dirty and going along with it. Doing so puts them in the position of (falsely, of course) denying knowing about Trump's corruption, which accepts the premise.

Or, you know, doing the usual Republican thing and insisting that corruption and collusion with a hostile foreign power is the American way and only liberals think otherwise, but somehow I sense that claim might be a bridge too far for many -- but, sadly, not all -- Republicans.
posted by Gelatin at 5:57 AM on May 23 [14 favorites]


The printed writing seems very neat and tidy and the exclamation point with an 'o' as a dot? Seriously? Is this his style? It's something my niece would have done when she was 9.
posted by michswiss at 5:58 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


I actually think ISIS are losers, and that's how they should be treated in general.

Not to derail, but *this*. The more we act scared of them, the more attractive they are to some people.
posted by Slothrup at 5:58 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]


I guess Quebec City didn't rate in the "terror is terror" for Bibi.
posted by Yowser at 5:59 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


I actually think ISIS are losers, and that's how they should be treated in general.

The term "terrorist" should be depricated, it gives them a warped bit of credit for "a cause", just call them criminals. Sad pathetic evil loser criminals.
posted by sammyo at 6:01 AM on May 23 [8 favorites]


Floating the sell off of half of the strategic oil reserve immediately after a trip to Saudi Arabia is a spectacular way to undo any possible good will from the visit.
posted by srboisvert at 6:02 AM on May 23 [12 favorites]


Donald is so deluded, he thinks he has friends.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:02 AM on May 23 [8 favorites]


Every once in a while there's something that pierces the scar tissue I've accumulated around the original wound from Nov 8, and for some fucking reason, that goddamn note is one of them.

I will never, ever forgive anyone who had anything to do with this. We're not at state sponsored Nazi hunters level of vengeance, and for the love of God I hope we never even approach that, and still this burns.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:10 AM on May 23 [27 favorites]


Marco Rubio on Trump: 'People got what they voted for'
“I don't understand why people are that shocked,” Rubio told CBS Face the Nation on Sunday. “This president ran a very unconventional campaign. I was there for a big part of it at the beginning alongside, being one of his competitors.”

And, he added, “that’s what the American people voted for. And, in essence, this White House is not much different from the campaign. People got what they voted for. They elected him.”
If you're not happy about it either, Marco, why don't you do something about it in your own party? Oh, right, you're too busy going along with this madness and putting party over country. Again.
posted by Servo5678 at 6:19 AM on May 23 [53 favorites]


Business Insider: A major money-laundering case set to go to trial last week in New York was suddenly settled three days earlier, with both the US government and the defendant, the Russian firm Prevezon Holdings, claiming victory.

"We reluctantly agreed to accept the government's offer when it became clear that the fine proposed was no more than we would have spent fully litigating the case, and that no admission of guilt, forfeiture or continued seizure of any assets was required," Dillard added. "Essentially, the offer was too good to refuse."

posted by PenDevil at 6:26 AM on May 23 [10 favorites]


I remain glad that my spouse, my child (and spouse), a colleague (and spouse), and a handful of people that are more or less my servants don't constitute "all of my friends".
posted by Copronymus at 6:28 AM on May 23 [9 favorites]




“I don't understand why people are that shocked,” Rubio told CBS Face the Nation on Sunday. “This president ran a very unconventional campaign. I was there for a big part of it at the beginning alongside, being one of his competitors.”

And, he added, “that’s what the American people voted for. And, in essence, this White House is not much different from the campaign. People got what they voted for. They elected him.”


Fair enough, Marco. But why the fuck did you endorse him?

Listening to the last Pod Save America (from LA) so glad to hear that their contempt for the smallness of Marco Rubio* knows no bounds.

* not his height, mind you. His essential smallness inside, of courage, spirit, bravery, soul, ethical standards, basic human decency, etc.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:31 AM on May 23 [5 favorites]


From the NYT late night wrap up for 5/22:
Rachel Maddow recently became the highest-rated cable news host. On “The Late Show,” she told Stephen Colbert that she had begun to feel the Trump administration may have lost some of its ability to manipulate the media.
“With this trip, The Washington Post announces Friday night that there’s a significant ‘person of interest’ working actively in the White House as a senior adviser to the president. And so now we’re trying to figure out who the person of interest is in this F.B.I. probe who’s currently working in the White House and isn’t one of the people who’s on the trip with him — and then mysteriously Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon got sent home early today. What are they going to be doing? I don’t know but Mike Flynn’s pleading the Fifth. I feel like they don’t really get to make their own news anymore.” — RACHEL MADDOW

“Once you’re the first president in American history who’s under counterintelligence investigation by the F.B.I. and likely under a criminal obstruction of justice probe, for something that you openly committed and then bragged about to the Russians before you bragged about it on NBC News, you don’t get to make your own news anymore. At this point the news of the Trump administration is the news of people investigating it and figuring out what’s really going on.” — RACHEL MADDOW
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:31 AM on May 23 [23 favorites]


So this Florida DNC BS and the CA kerfuffle, and the Arizona (?) healthcare protests - we're at 17 months and counting out from 2018. We need to see some metaphorical rock-hard abs and steely eyes in the DNC like yesterday or so help us we'll kickstart something that will.

Imma give the DNC their opening slogan for free: GET OUT.

It works on a lot of levels and it's coming out message a-blazin'.
posted by petebest at 6:32 AM on May 23 [19 favorites]


Compare Trump's note with Obama's

(Actually Hillary Clinton's note.)
posted by Burhanistan at 6:35 AM on May 23


That link is to a thread with both Obama's and Clinton's notes.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:37 AM on May 23 [16 favorites]


I actually think ISIS are losers, and that's how they should be treated in general.

I have mixed feelings about this line of reasoning. Things would not be so immensely fucked up in the Middle East if we - the United States - had not fought two incredibly pointless wars with Iraq*. I remember the status quo before Gulf War I and it was...meh. I remember the new status quo that evolved under sanctions before Gulf War II and it was pretty bad, but it was fucking massively better than that whole area is doing now. There are whole countries that were modern, developed nations in the 80s that are substantially rubble and militias now. What changed was that we decided we'd gain some domestic advantage and some crony arms sales and maybe some oil and make our little presidents feel like big men and knock the foundations out.

Now we drop bombs on weddings, we kill kids, our people attack journalists and double-tap people coming in to rescue the victims of bombings. We do that, and we run torture prisons - even if we've dialed that back a bit. Those things aren't mistakes. We act as though they're errors but they're built in.

We're not losers, we're war criminals. ISIS is war criminals. This is a conflict between two very, very unpleasant players which is given impetus by the pain felt by ordinary people. Ordinary people see these deaths, both here and there, and they are moved to support or at least tolerate the conflict.

If we're willing to call our horrible imperial project a loser project, I will call ISIS losers.

*I mean, technically you could say "if the imperial powers generally had kept their paws off the oil instead of meddling, generally, pretty much starting about 1900 if not earlier".
posted by Frowner at 6:37 AM on May 23 [42 favorites]


@Burhanistan: Obama's note was above Clinton's. (That is, scroll the Twitter feed up.)
posted by ragtag at 6:38 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Oh Rubio. He's experienced. He knows "the people" is a smear of desires and that strongly voiced opinions by people folks in a group trust matter a lot. Would Trump really have won if significant numbers of high profile republicans actively campaigned against him? It seems extremely doubtful. But getting the agenda passed was more important than the risk of national embarrassment (pretty certain), chaos and mismanagement of the executive (likely) and more war (also pretty likely.)

Rubio will probably not be strongly challenged on it, but I would hope that every time a national level republican gets all "regrets" about it, they are asked about their role. It won't happen but I can dream. Trump is a symptom but it's easier to pretend if we get rid of him, things are fixed, just as folks thought Obama meant be could stop talking about rascisn.
posted by R343L at 6:40 AM on May 23 [8 favorites]




If we're willing to call our horrible imperial project a loser project, I will call ISIS losers.

I'm sorry, this is...beyond the pale.

Stipulating to the fact that the US has, under primarily Republican administrations, fucked the world up for entirely venal reasons, there is no moral fucking equivalence between the United States and a sadistic, misogynist rape-and-murder death cult that revels in its cruelty. Come the fuck on.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:00 AM on May 23 [31 favorites]


Trump's Russian Ties (Spring Collection)

It appears you can actually order these (via Zazzle). I really like the Spicey one.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:01 AM on May 23 [6 favorites]


Compare Trump's note with Obama's.

I thought these notes were supposed to be private.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:04 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


I thought these notes were supposed to be private.

You might be thinking of the Western Wall notes.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:05 AM on May 23 [7 favorites]


These are guest book entries.
posted by PenDevil at 7:06 AM on May 23 [5 favorites]


I thought these notes were supposed to be private.

The notes being compared are from the public guestbook at Yad Vashem. Are you thinking of the prayers placed in the Western Wall?
posted by murphy slaw at 7:07 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


I thought these notes were supposed to be private.

That's what he said.
posted by spitbull at 7:07 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted - Sorry, we don't need wildly triggery graphic descriptions of atrocities in here, when the point can be made without the graphic bit - let's try not to ruin each other's day any more than the news already does.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:14 AM on May 23 [12 favorites]


Here's the [strange] note Trump left at Yad Vashem

For those who have never been to Yad Vashem, you must understand that it is filled to the brim with horror. Children's drawings. Torah scrolls made into bags. Piles and piles and piles of glasses and books and shoes and baby dolls and hanukkiot and candlesticks and and and. Things taken away from human beings each one of whom packed the things they could carry for a relocation and then were suffocated with gas and burned in the crematoria. Photos and passports of thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people stretching up into the sky and down every hallway. Surrounded. Art from people who survived long enough to describe the fires and the smoke and the stench.

Amazing? A great honor to be here with MY friends?

I'm speechless.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:15 AM on May 23 [152 favorites]


I figured it was real because it was very similar to the note he wrote in the official visitor's book when he arrived in Israel which was something like: "it's a great honor to be here with great friends." Printed ( rather than cursive) in all caps with random lower case like this: gREAT.

Took me awhile (I had to look at all of the twitter pictures of Trump in Israel) but here is Trump's note in the official state guestbook as well as Obama's Turns out it was also in Matt McDermott's twitter feed.

As to his note that he tucked into the wall, my husband speculated that he wrote nothing because he is that lazy and uninterested. I think he probably just wrote his name. (Hope it isn't sacrilegious to speculate.)
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:15 AM on May 23 [5 favorites]


Jared Kushner’s Other Real Estate Empire (NYT Magazine): In the cases that Tapper has brought to court on behalf of JK2 Westminster and individual Kushner-controlled companies, there is a clear pattern of Kushner Companies’ pursuing tenants over virtually any unpaid rent or broken lease — even in the numerous cases where the facts appear to be on the tenants’ side. Not only does the company file cases against them, it pursues the cases for as long as it takes to collect from the overmatched defendants — often several years. The court docket of JK2 Westminster’s case against Warren, for instance, spans more than three years and 112 actions — for a sum that amounts to maybe two days’ worth of billings for the average corporate-law-firm associate, from a woman who never even rented from JK2 Westminster. The pursuit is all the more remarkable given how transient the company’s prey tends to be. Hounding former tenants for money means paying to send out process servers who often report back that they were unable to locate the target. This does not deter Kushner Companies’ lawyers. They send the servers back out again a few months later.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:16 AM on May 23 [10 favorites]


"And we will have more of them but they are losers, just remember that..."

What a great comfort that must be to those whose loved ones have been murdered.
posted by amarynth at 7:18 AM on May 23 [13 favorites]


you must understand that it is filled to the brim with horror.

His visit was scheduled to be 15 minutes long. After you stand around for photos and sign the guest book, there isn't a whole lot of time for the contents of the museum.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:18 AM on May 23 [14 favorites]


moral equivalence aside, there's a huge conversation to be had about the way that US politicians continually refer to terrorism originating in the middle east in completely ahistorical terms - these people are monsters, they do these things for no reason, they hate us because of our freedom, etc.

every aspect of politics and conflict in the middle east is shaped and distorted by the legacy of imperialism and oil, overlaid on existing sectarian conflicts within Islam (and every other abrahamic religion).

but when we talk about it in US politics, everything is steamrolled down to "islamic militants hate us because hate is their creed", which conveniently absolves us of any agency or responsibility for the conditions that foster terrorism, and then we swat at the embers while the fire that we fueled rages on.

it's another case, like slavery and native genocide, of the US being unwilling to face the realities of our history, and therefore being unable to escape the consequences of that history.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:18 AM on May 23 [96 favorites]


His visit was scheduled to be 15 minutes long. After you stand around for photos and sign the guest book, there isn't a whole lot of time for the contents of the museum.

It's kind of like counting a layover in an airport as "having been to a given state".
posted by jferg at 7:20 AM on May 23 [19 favorites]


America 2017: somehow this nugget of information got through to Trump's thick head and he then decided the numbers should be bigger.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:23 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


This might be getting a little derail-y but my attitude towards U.S. atrocities is that they are "flukes" in one sense (that only a small fraction of soldiers do them) but certainties in another (we have a lot of soldiers out there in every conflict, so large numbers being what they are atrocities are going to happen and that needs to be part of the moral calculus of deploying them).

ISIS really is different in the sense that atrocities aren't flukes in any sense. Their atrocities are used in their ads. It's part of their selling proposition. This isn't going to attract 95 upstanding folk for every 5 psychopaths. The ratio is going to be much worse. (Hence not being able to run Rhode Island- they're like a living demonstration of that game theory paper showing that the population of always-defect is limited by the fact that they need a sufficient cooperative society to parasitize).
posted by Jpfed at 7:26 AM on May 23 [8 favorites]


Here's the [strange] note Trump left at Yad Vashem

"I shoah had a great time at yad vashem!" -DJT

It's like every day he wakes up and thinks, how can I humiliate 300 million people today?
posted by uncleozzy at 7:27 AM on May 23 [26 favorites]


"We reluctantly agreed to accept the government's offer when it became clear that the fine proposed was no more than we would have spent fully litigating the case, and that no admission of guilt, forfeiture or continued seizure of any assets was required," Dillard added. "Essentially, the offer was too good to refuse."

THIS IS FINE.
posted by acb at 7:31 AM on May 23 [9 favorites]


Text of his note in the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial guestbook in Jerusalem: "It is A great HONOR TO BE HERE WITH ALL OF MY FRIENDS - So Amazing & will Never Forget!"

I transcribed it with the capitalization as it appears to be in the note.


Honestly, his handwriting is better than I thought it would be, but going by his... creative use of letterforms, it's more like:

IT is A gReAT HO|\|OR TO Be HeRe witH ALL OF MY FRie|\|DS - So AMAZI|\|g + wiLL /|/eveR FORgeT.

What's up with those three-stroke capital N's Donnie?
posted by Rock Steady at 7:32 AM on May 23 [6 favorites]


If the current wave of bombshell stories is in any way planned, or a concerted effort to shape the narrative, I can't help but wonder if it's meant to be a series of questions: is this enough? is this enough? will you do something now? no? how about this? Eventually the do-nothing Republicans might be implicated.

The do-nothing Republicans are implicated right now for ignoring Trump admitting in public to conduct that would have gotten Nixon impeached had he not resigned. It's up to Democrats and the media -- admittedly not voices Republicans will listen to, but hopefully independents -- to hammer home the message that all Republican officials who aren't holding Trump accountable are enabling him.

And then, hopefully, some will face criminal charges as well. I wonder if there's evidence that will make conspiracy or racketeering charges stick against McConnell or Ryan.
posted by Gelatin at 7:33 AM on May 23 [10 favorites]


Trump campaigned on the targeted assasination of terrorist's kids and then launched a raid that killed Nawar al-Awlaki, incidentally or otherwise. Moral relativism aside, under trump the US has sent out the message that it is all about killing kids.
posted by Artw at 7:35 AM on May 23 [9 favorites]


it's another case, like slavery and native genocide, of the US being unwilling to face the realities of our history, and therefore being unable to escape the consequences of that history.

You're absolutely right. Remember when Jeremiah Wright was absolutely pilloried for saying that?
posted by Miko at 7:38 AM on May 23 [19 favorites]


Let's not forget about our home grown terrorists:

Miami Herold Admitted neo-Nazi stopped in Keys wanted for making explosives at home, cops say
A Tampa man arrested in Key Largo Sunday afternoon following a traffic stop is a confessed neo-Nazi who manufactured explosives in his apartment, where police also found radiation materials, according to a federal arrest affidavit.

The case is related to a double homicide in Tampa, also involving white supremacists, federal agents say.

FBI and Tampa Police Department officers found a cooler containing a white cake-like substance in Brandon Russell’s garage, underneath his apartment, that tested positive for hexamethane triperoxide diamine, which is a precursor to several different types of explosives. He was arrested Sunday on possession of unregistered destructive devices and unlawful storage of explosive charges, and charged federally on Monday.[...]He had just returned from U.S. Army National Guard duty May 19 to discover that his roommate, Devon Arthurs, 18, murdered two people in the apartment they shared in in the Hamptons at Tampa Palms complex.
Devon Arthurs is a White Nationalist who converted to Islam who is reported to have killed two of his friends for mocking his new religion.

Also chilling, they found a framed photograph of Timothy McVeigh inside Russell’s bedroom.

I'm telling you we have plenty of trouble right here in River City, and it is really unfortunate our President wants to focus counter-extremism program solely on Islam.

posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:39 AM on May 23 [36 favorites]


I didn't get the memo. Why don't we like Robert Fisk?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:41 AM on May 23


refer to terrorism originating in the middle east in completely ahistorical terms - these people are monsters, they do these things for no reason, they hate us because of our freedom, etc.

also, this is another case where the reality is complicated but the electorate has a bias towards rewarding oversimplification and pat solutions. "forget the namby-pamby liberals and their 'nuance' - i'm going to take bold action and settle this once and for all!"

trump is the apotheosis of this tendency - every problem has a simple solution that only he can achieve, because he can see through all the nuance to the single button you have to press to fix the whole thing.

of course, now that he's in office the result is that he continually has to fall back on "it was harder than anyone thought! who knew?"
posted by murphy slaw at 7:42 AM on May 23 [7 favorites]


Honestly, his handwriting is better than I thought it would be

Me too but somehow the little circle for the dot of the exclamation point is crushing my spirit most of all.

It's like an exhibit for the banality of evil.
posted by winna at 7:43 AM on May 23 [11 favorites]


I didn't get the memo. Why don't we like Robert Fisk?

fisking is a term that originated in the run-up to the second iraq war.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:44 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Yeah, we have more domestic capacity now, but in the 1940s we were the world leaders in oil production, I think? And by the 1970s there were lines at gas stations.

There were lines at gas stations, but not because there wasn't any oil. Oil imports into the US never decreased over the period 1970-1977. Rather, price controls limited supply. It's doubtful whether the SPR would have solved that.

crude oil is presently in a contango situation where the future price is higher than the present one. Far from depreciating, it's worth more the longer you hold on to it.

There's been surplus supply for years, with corresponding drop in prices, and therefore people expect demand to increase and prices to go up in the future. But that effect has by now mostly dissipated (the article you're referencing is from Aug 2016). Eg. CL futures for Dec 2018 and Dec 2019 are at 51.10 and 51.37, respectively, versus a spot price of 48.86 on Mar 15. That's only a marginally better return over the 2 year treasury rate, and hardly risk-free.
posted by dmh at 7:44 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


>>I didn't get the memo. Why don't we like Robert Fisk?

>fisking is a term that originated in the run-up to the second iraq war.


Which really doesn't explain things. Many don't like Fisk's hyperbole. He is well informed from a particular perspective, as someone who lives in the Middle East and speaks to many protagonists. As with any such perspective, much of what he says rubs others up the wrong way. He can be annoying, partisan, and illogical. He can also be brilliant and insightful.
posted by stonepharisee at 7:47 AM on May 23 [8 favorites]


Haaretz Hamburgers, Steak and 'Beautiful Chocolate Cake': Israel Plays It Safe When Feeding Donald Trump
The only originality in Trump's menu in Israel was in the names — a salmon dish enigmatically called 'The Path to Peace'
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:47 AM on May 23 [6 favorites]


Please God, tell me it was served with peaches.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:48 AM on May 23 [30 favorites]


Trump is the apotheosis of this tendency - every problem has a simple solution that only he can achieve, because he can see through all the nuance to the single button you have to press to fix the whole thing.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:49 AM on May 23 [41 favorites]


fisking is a term that originated in the run-up to the second iraq war.

Fisking, an example: fisking is a term that originated in the run-up to the second iraq war hostile takeover of Iraq in 2003.
posted by Mister Bijou at 7:51 AM on May 23 [5 favorites]


Or, as Mencken actually wrote, "There is always a well-known solution to every human problem: neat, plausible and wrong.” Since I'm sure this White House cares so much about proper attribution.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:51 AM on May 23 [22 favorites]


schadenfrau: "Stipulating to the fact that the US has, under primarily Republican administrations, fucked the world up for entirely venal reasons, there is no moral fucking equivalence between the United States and a sadistic, misogynist rape-and-murder death cult that revels in its cruelty. Come the fuck on."

How dare you. Artw was nicer about it, but killing non-white people has been an American value for its entire history. We even still can't fucking figure out that goddamn Chief Wahoo is a national embarrassment. How naive: "rape-and-murder death cult"--you don't think that police wearing "I can breathe" shirts seems a little like a death culty thing to do?

There is no moral equivalence--when you have an ostensibly 1st world country that has never even taken a moment to assess how thoroughly fucked it is, America is much worse.
posted by TypographicalError at 7:57 AM on May 23 [33 favorites]


TPM: Brennan: Intel Showed Contacts Between Russian Officials And People Working On Trump Camp
“I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign,” he said. “I was concerned because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals. And it raised questions in my mind again whether or not the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.”
posted by murphy slaw at 7:59 AM on May 23 [20 favorites]


>>I didn't get the memo. Why don't we like Robert Fisk?

I always really liked Robert Fisk and also wondered why he was in disgrace. It seems that there have been some false claims about Saudi Arabia (which was admitted to by The Independent) and Israel in Lebanon in his articles
posted by Myeral at 7:59 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]




I edited down an rather inflammatory comment to this:

Maybe we could head off the "U.S. is/isn't worse than ISIS" talk before people start ripping each other's heads off in here.
posted by Gaz Errant at 8:03 AM on May 23 [56 favorites]


Maybe we could head off the "U.S. is/isn't worse than ISIS" talk before people start ripping each other's heads off in here.

Yes, without help from the moderators.
posted by kingless at 8:05 AM on May 23 [9 favorites]


Congresswoman Jackie Speier just asked Brennan something about "Russia's attempts to cultivate then-real estate developer Trump for eight years" and he immediately said he'd talk about that later in closed session. Was that a known thing? I can't keep anything straight anymore
posted by theodolite at 8:11 AM on May 23 [13 favorites]


What's up with those three-stroke capital N's Donnie?

At this point, I'm honestly surprised he didn't slip up and write them as И's.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:13 AM on May 23 [6 favorites]


one thing to note about the Coats/Brennan disclosures about Trump's attempts to shut down the investigation - Coats is a former republican senator with no real experience in intelligence work, and was appointed by Trump.

that he was willing to rebuff Trump's request and then testify openly about it is an encouraging sign that when the full extent of the administration's bad acts becomes public, republicans may be willing to put country over party after all.
posted by murphy slaw at 8:15 AM on May 23 [8 favorites]


What's up with those three-stroke capital N's Donnie?

It looks like what kids do when they're first learning to write. Like writing the numeral 8 with one circle on top of another.
posted by orrnyereg at 8:15 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Congresswoman Jackie Speier just asked Brennan something about "Russia's attempts to cultivate then-real estate developer Trump for eight years" and he immediately said he'd talk about that later in closed session. Was that a known thing? I can't keep anything straight anymore

Previously alleged, I think -- the Steele dossier claimed that Russian intelligence services had been 'supporting and cultivating' Trump for at least five years prior to his Presidential campaign, which roughly lines up with eight years here.

Whether that counts as being 'known,' I don't know.
posted by cjelli at 8:15 AM on May 23 [7 favorites]


Was that a known thing? I can't keep anything straight anymore

Russian oligarchs have been suspected of bailing Trump out of bankruptcy.
posted by PenDevil at 8:16 AM on May 23 [12 favorites]


republicans may be willing to put country over party after all

All the trees in the history of planet Earth have not produced enough wood to knock on.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:17 AM on May 23 [17 favorites]


An awful lot of things in the Steele dossier have turned out to be true and confirmable - leading to the horrifying possibility that the pee-pee tape may air one day.
posted by Artw at 8:19 AM on May 23 [8 favorites]


Like writing the numeral 8 with one circle on top of another.
I hate Donald Trump, too, but must we really point out how his handwriting is evidence of stupidity and evil? As a point of fact, I write my numeral 8s as two circles balanced on top of one another and I am neither a child nor a fool.
posted by xyzzy at 8:22 AM on May 23 [70 favorites]


Devon Arthurs is a White Nationalist who converted to Islam who is reported to have killed two of his friends for mocking his new religion.

I hope he has some independent evidence of his conversion otherwise it sounds like an incredibly transparent attempt to incriminate a religion he hated up until what? a week ago?
posted by srboisvert at 8:23 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]


that he was willing to rebuff Trump's request and then testify openly about it

welp. i spoke too soon.

TPM: DNI Coats Won’t Comment On WaPo Report On Trump Russia Request
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats would not comment during a Senate Armed Services hearing Tuesday on the Washington Post report that he was asked by President Trump to push back on the FBI probe into Russia-Trump campaign links.

Asked if by Armed Services Chair John McCain (R-AZ) if the Post report was accurate, Coats said he did not feel it was “appropriate to characterize discussions and conversations with the president.”
:-/
posted by murphy slaw at 8:25 AM on May 23 [5 favorites]


that he was willing to rebuff Trump's request and then testify openly about it is an encouraging sign that when the full extent of the administration's bad acts becomes public, republicans may be willing to put country over party after all.

There is no evidence of this. None. Zero. Rats running from the sinking ship that's also on fire is not "putting country over party", it's trying to salvage anything they can when the damage is already done. Republicans are fully complicit in covering up for Trump's treasons and destruction in their blind lust for tax cuts. If/when Trump finally goes down, it will be 100% in spite of the Republican coverup. They've had months, years at this point, to do literally anything to hold Trump accountable, and have done nothing but prop him up with sham investigations while shuffling ever closer to ending the social safety net and domestic programs as we know them.

Trump won't be impeached until at least the Democrats retake the House. Because no Republican will ever put country over party. He won't be removed in the Senate even if he's impeached. Because no Republican will ever put country over party.

They never once have. Past performance is future behavior. They never will.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:26 AM on May 23 [35 favorites]


i am charlie brown to 2017's lucy, again
posted by murphy slaw at 8:29 AM on May 23 [10 favorites]


I remember the status quo before Gulf War I and it was...meh.

Iraq-Iran war. 8 years, 500,000 dead. For nothing.
posted by srboisvert at 8:30 AM on May 23 [9 favorites]


Dana Milbank, WaPo: Trump’s budget is so cruel a Russian propaganda outfit set the White House straight
Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s budget director, unveiled Trump’s ghastly 2018 budget proposal Monday afternoon in the White House briefing room, and one point of pride was that it proposed that the child-care tax credit and the earned-income tax credit — benefits for working families — be denied to illegal immigrants. “It’s not right when you look at it from the perspective of people who pay the taxes,” Mulvaney declared.

But Andrew Feinberg, a reporter with Russia’s Sputnik news outfit, pointed out that many of the children who would be cut off under Trump’s proposal are U.S. citizens. “Whether they’re here illegally or not,” Feinberg noted, “those families have American-citizen children.”

Mulvaney, who probably didn’t know he was being interrogated by Sputnik, argued back, saying that Feinberg wasn’t duly considering taxpayers and that “we have all kinds of other programs” for poor kids.

At this, another reporter in the room interjected: “You’re cutting that, too.”
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:30 AM on May 23 [103 favorites]


TPM: DNI Coats Won’t Comment On WaPo Report On Trump Russia Request
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats would not comment during a Senate Armed Services hearing Tuesday on the Washington Post report that he was asked by President Trump to push back on the FBI probe into Russia-Trump campaign links.

Asked if by Armed Services Chair John McCain (R-AZ) if the Post report was accurate, Coats said he did not feel it was “appropriate to characterize discussions and conversations with the president.”


That he didn't deny the report or say it was inaccurate is key. That's basically confirming it. And if it's possible evidence of a crime, he's probably not at liberty to disclose more at this time.
posted by chris24 at 8:30 AM on May 23 [12 favorites]


@BraddJaffy: This is a notable comment from Brennan: “frequently, individuals who go along that treasonous path” don't even realize it till it's too late

VIDEO
posted by chris24 at 8:33 AM on May 23 [28 favorites]


Mulvaney is moving up rapidly on my list of Most Punchable Faces. Currently #3, behind McConnell and Chaffetz.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:34 AM on May 23 [6 favorites]


So...the image in Trump's latest tweet about solidarity with the UK...is it me or is the Union Jack upside down there?
posted by uosuaq at 8:35 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


So...the image in Trump's latest tweet about solidarity with the UK...is it me or is the Union Jack upside down there?

Just you. St Patrick is in the right place.
posted by Talez at 8:38 AM on May 23


So...the image in Trump's latest tweet about solidarity with the UK...is it me or is the Union Jack upside down there?
posted by uosuaq at 8:35 on May 23 [+] [!]


Just took a look at the wikipedia page and yes apparently it's the wrong way up.
posted by Erberus at 8:38 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


In more heartbreaking shit, LT, I Wish I Could've Met You, by a military member on the lynching of Lieutenant Richard Collins III.
When someone asked you to move from where you were standing and you said, “no”. In that moment Richard, you defended what you swore you would. I’m thankful that you did. I wish that you were still here though, but you’re in a better place. A place that they say is paradise, a place that they say is incredible. I hope that you’re able to enjoy it, Richard. Don’t fret, let us fight for your memory and honor. When we see you again, or for me, the first time, I’ll shake your hand and offer a salute.
posted by corb at 8:39 AM on May 23 [18 favorites]


Somehow I just assumed that you are pretty much always upside down yourself, uosuaq
posted by thebrokedown at 8:39 AM on May 23 [28 favorites]


Mulvaney is moving up rapidly on my list of Most Punchable Faces. Currently #3, behind McConnell and Chaffetz.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:34 AM on May 23 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


He's such a fucking ghoul. It embarrasses me that he has any connection to the White House whatsoever. He's my #1.
posted by Cookiebastard at 8:41 AM on May 23 [7 favorites]


I think this tweetstorm is probably a good reflection of the best case scenario for Trump. Which is not a good place to be. And given Trump's Razor, very possible it's much worse and stupider.

@normative
1/ Here's the bet I'd place now, FWIW: Russia hoped to gain influence over numerous people in Trump's circle via a combination of shady
2/ financial entanglements and compromising information (some of the latter pertaining to the former, probably). They fed info to Team Trump
3/ during the campaign via various cutouts not overtly linked to Russian intelligence (e.g. "Guccifer 2.0"). They probably didn't loop in
4/ Trump's people directly on their campaign interference, b/c there was no need to. So likely no "knowing collusion," narrowly construed.
5/ Trump has been *acting* like a guilty person partly b/c he's just a narcissist & wants anything questioning his victory out of the news
6/ But probably also partly b/c he understands that what WILL come out as investigators turn over rocks is at the very least embarrassing
7/ ...and maybe involves other criminal conduct. We already know Flynn almost certainly broke the law in a few different ways.
8/ ...and probing Trump's company's or his staff's financial links to Russia is apt to turn up a whole host of other stuff.
9/ Most of which would probably be fodder for SEC/IRS rather than CIA/NSA/FBI, except it's all potential leverage now.
10/ TL;DR: A probe is likely to turn up lots of bad & unlawful conduct, & Trump is scared of that. But it won't be election conspiracy.
11/ Also I could easily imagine Trump being even *more* afraid of being exposed as a dupe than a co-conspirator.
posted by chris24 at 8:41 AM on May 23 [28 favorites]


So...the image in Trump's latest tweet about solidarity with the UK...is it me or is the Union Jack upside-down there?

Yeah, the hoist is on the viewer's right, so it should look like this. More complete explanation here. Looks like they did a slapdash photoshop job.
posted by jedicus at 8:41 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


is it me or is the Union Jack upside down there?

The correct phrase to use here is "Jacked up", I believe.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:42 AM on May 23 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure about that Union Jack but benson do you know your feet are on the ceiling

that might be it
posted by miles per flower at 8:42 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


¡lɐɔᴉɹǝʇsʎuodǝ
posted by tonycpsu at 8:44 AM on May 23 [24 favorites]


I'm not sure about that Union Jack but benson do you know your feet are on the ceiling

Lionel Richie's disease is a serious problem. It's even worse when it happens all night long.
posted by Talez at 8:45 AM on May 23 [28 favorites]


>So...the image in Trump's latest tweet about solidarity with the UK...is it me or is the Union Jack upside down there?

Just you. St Patrick is in the right place.


No, it's upside-down: it would be in the correct place if the hoist was on the left, but the illustration clearly places the hoist on the right -- if there wasn't a hoist, it would be ambiguous (and therefore correct enough), but given that there is one it's clearly wrong. The flag is upside-down.

An easy enough mistake to make, as illustrated by the amount of work it takes to confirm that it was a mistake; hardly a scandal in and of itself, but further evidence that the current White House staff isn't exactly detail-oriented.
posted by cjelli at 8:45 AM on May 23 [5 favorites]


Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summer, WaPo: Trump’s budget is simply ludicrous

"Details of President Trump’s first budget have now been released . . . My observation is that there appears to be a logical error of the kind that would justify failing a student in an introductory economics course."
posted by mcdoublewide at 8:53 AM on May 23 [60 favorites]


Does anyone actually think it's "election conspiracy" as in "Trump and Russia somehow worked to change the result of the election"? Voting machines weren't hacked, the election was lawful. Russia exploited many existing weaknesses in our system, it didn't create new ones.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:54 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Does anyone actually think it's "election conspiracy" as in "Trump and Russia somehow worked to change the result of the election"?

The DNC was hacked around the same time Trump changed his policy on Russia and Ukraine, and then the stolen information was strategically leaked to influence the election in his favor as much as possible.

So...yes. The hacking was a crime committed in exchange for policy changes.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:58 AM on May 23 [63 favorites]


Does anyone actually think it's "election conspiracy" as in "Trump and Russia somehow worked to change the result of the election"? Voting machines weren't hacked, the election was lawful. Russia exploited many existing weaknesses in our system, it didn't create new ones.

Given that Trump asked in a press conference for help from the Russians, I think it's completely possible that he or people in his campaign did ask for and/or coordinate with Russia for help in the election. That the help wasn't hacking voting machines would not make it any less of a crime or any less of a traitorous assault on our democracy.
posted by chris24 at 9:02 AM on May 23 [21 favorites]


I agree with schadenfrau, this was definitely a tit-for-tat.

On the other hand, I don't think there was a physical manipulation of election equipment. What our job is, is to reiterate that the conspiracy is a crime regardless of the direct and tangible influence on the physical votes. Just because they didn't change votes for Hillary Clinton into votes for Donald Trump in the actual voting booth, they conspired to change the outcome of the election in exchange for favorable terms for Russia.
posted by lydhre at 9:03 AM on May 23 [8 favorites]


"further evidence that the current White House staff isn't exactly detail-oriented"

Well if they could just get some time to think, maybe a little peach and quiet, these kinds of mistakes wouldn't happen.
posted by komara at 9:03 AM on May 23 [24 favorites]


it seems likely that it will be the cover-up rather than the crime that eventually gets them. actual collusion seems like it will be much harder to prove than obstruction of justice.
posted by murphy slaw at 9:04 AM on May 23 [7 favorites]


One thing that's very noticeable in all of this stuff that's coming out about Trump leaning on intelligence officials is that with Yates, Comey, Brennan, Coats and Rogers speaking some truths that Trump doesn't want to hear, there's a very obvious Pompeo-shaped bit of negative space forming. I wouldn't be surprised if he took that loyalty pledge, we've already gotten indications that he's ​been carrying water for Trump on this.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:09 AM on May 23 [28 favorites]


Trump asked in a press conference for help from the Russians

Not a press conference, it was a debate. He was standing on a stage with Clinton, with 80 million people watching live when he directly addressed Russian government, saying "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30000 emails that are missing." How the fuck did that not end his run right there?
posted by contraption at 9:10 AM on May 23 [52 favorites]


It was a July 27th press conference. And yes, should've ended the run there. As should have:

1) Mexicans are rapists
2) Second amendment folks should stop Clinton
3) Mocking Serge Kovaleski for his disability
4) Grabbing pussy
5) Attacking Judge Curiel
6) Attacking the Khan family
7) "I like people who weren't captured"
8) Bragging about penis size in a debate
9) Etc. etc.

For the Republican in your life who likes to pretend they have moral or patriotic superiority.
posted by chris24 at 9:17 AM on May 23 [161 favorites]


Is it me or is he getting worse and worse at lying? He used to be pretty good. It's almost as if his heart is not in it anymore.

He's been bad at it, very bad, all thru the campaign, believe me.
posted by Gelatin at 9:22 AM on May 23 [7 favorites]


AFO is about to land in Rome. Let the papal games begin.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:23 AM on May 23


I hate Donald Trump, too, but must we really point out how his handwriting is evidence of stupidity and evil? As a point of fact, I write my numeral 8s as two circles balanced on top of one another and I am neither a child nor a fool.

Donald Trump writes just like a lot of my creative friends who are not really literate, but are succesfull in their business/craft. Some of them have similar speech patterns to Trump. Most are really good, compassionate people who align politically with most MeFi contributors. One, who is a baby-boomer and also is diagnosed with borderline might be a Trumpist, I haven't dared to ask. I love her dearly, and I have always found her writing style charming.

For a while, I've been trying to find an argument against the perception that Trump might be in the early stages of dementia. Part of it is personal. My dad became (early stage) demented before he died, and it was agonizing, but in my view, it was nothing like Trump. And on the other hand, I have relatives who are similar to Trump in manner and style (not all Trumpists), who have been that way all their lives.

But my personal experience is not what is important here. The important thing is that Trump is a crook and he needs to face justice. He should have gone to prison already decades ago.

That note is an abomination. He is a person with no empathy or knowledge and he should not be president. But his writing is deliberate and accurate within its style, both in its language and in its form.
posted by mumimor at 9:24 AM on May 23 [9 favorites]


Yeah the graphology thing is a total derail; the content of the note is sorta the point.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:26 AM on May 23 [9 favorites]


Hey, is Bannon still on the plane? Cause I bet the Pope can banish the demon back to whatever circle of hell he crawled out of. In fact, I'm pretty sure it would be an autonomous reaction by most priests confronted by the meat monster that calls itself Bannon, but surely the Pope has the best chance of defeating the Beast.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:27 AM on May 23 [5 favorites]


It was a July 27th press conference.

n.b. Trump didn't hold another press conference for the rest of the campaign. With the benefit of hindsight, as we've now seen from how he handles TS/SAP intelligence, it would almost seem as though someone told him to stop taking open questions if he couldn't keep his big stupid mouth shut about hacking ops.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:29 AM on May 23 [13 favorites]


For the Republican in your life who likes to pretend they have moral or patriotic superiority.

Never Trump! Remember that Rubio was their wet-dream alternative (!).

I cannot shake the idea that the end goal of the players behind the Trump campaign was never winning, but almost winning with the most idiotic candidate possible to de-legitimize the office, and then four more years of endless obstruction. I mean, republicans lost their shit over 8 years of a black man being president; put a woman in charge after that? We're pretty thoroughly broken now, but I honestly believe we would have literally no government at all due to obstruction if Clinton was in the white house.

From the POV of corrupt sacks of shit republicans (but I repeat myself), a Clinton presidency would have absolutely cemented innumerable local races for their candidates--and the house and senate in veto-proof majorities--while giving a smear of legitimacy to their hateful, idiotic practices by having the opposition party in the white house.

The ideal republican government is (R)s everywhere BUT the white house, which is simply a place to dump blame for all the shit they fuck up. Without that, it's quickly apparent how dumb and absolutely abhorrent republicans, officials and voters alike, actually are. (Republicans are aroused by misery and hate, but hate to have it actually underlined for all to see.)
posted by maxwelton at 9:33 AM on May 23 [50 favorites]


Hey, is Bannon still on the plane?

I think he's actually back in DC now. Left the trip early.
posted by azpenguin at 9:38 AM on May 23


It was a July 27th press conference.

Holy shit, you're right. I didn't even look it up since I had such a clear memory of watching it live, during one of the debates. It's like trying to remember something that happened 15 years ago.
posted by contraption at 9:42 AM on May 23 [7 favorites]


Yeah the graphology thing is a total derail; the content of the note is sorta the point.

I just find the blend of upper and lower case combined with the non-standard N kind of interesting. His penmanship is actually fine, especially for an elderly man who has been in very senior positions much of his life. In my experience with architects, doctors and professors, nearly illegible handwriting is very common.

I picked up the two stroke 8 in an Architectural Drafting class in college and it's been stuck in my brain ever since. I did the angled horizontal strokes for a while, but those fell away over time while the 8 remained.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:42 AM on May 23 [7 favorites]


Hey, is Bannon still on the plane?

I think he's actually back in DC now. Left the trip early.


Too bad. Bannon didn't face-melt in Jerusalem but who knows, another holy city might have had a better shot at it.
posted by lydhre at 9:42 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Hey, is Bannon still on the plane?

Both Priebus and Bannon flew back after the visit to Saudi Arabia, 'as planned' (per the White House, so it's hard to say if it was actually planned or not).
posted by cjelli at 9:44 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


AFO is about to land in Rome.

The spirit of Nero returns to Rome in his seventh and final stage
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:45 AM on May 23 [11 favorites]


Air Force 0 lands in Rome. So much love.
posted by scalefree at 9:48 AM on May 23 [22 favorites]


Sarah Jones in The New Republic: Why do Democrats care what Rahm Emanuel thinks?
When a party has lost the presidency and both chambers of Congress, the response, according to some Democrats, is to listen to one of the country’s most unpopular mayors. Politico reported yesterday that “three senior House Democrats” are about to travel to Chicago, where they will pay their respects to Emanuel. They are doing so because they reportedly believe that Emanuel’s 2006 tactics for delivering a House majority may succeed again:
[...]
This is a bad idea. As several analysts told Politico, the political landscape has changed. Emanuel’s chief strategy—recruiting centrists to tip Republican districts—is now at odds with the party’s energized progressive base. Activists are demanding movement on single-payer health care and the minimum wage, and they are not likely to tolerate a candidate that opposes abortion rights. Conservative Democrats are an increasingly risky investment for the party.

This doesn’t mean that the party is wrong to invest in conservative areas; it has to, if it wants to win elections. But the suburban territory Emanuel favors is also toughest for his party to conquer. As Eric Sasson reported for this magazine last year, Trump owes his victory largely to suburban whites, not working class whites. If the party runs moderates and conservatives in a bid to appeal to the suburbs, it also weakens its ability to adequately rebut Trumpism. The party has a real chance to promote an authentic progressive populism that offers an unmistakable contrast to the scam perpetuated by Donald Trump, and this is not in line with Emanuel’s 2006 strategy.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:48 AM on May 23 [18 favorites]


On a similar note, I asked my family in Italy if they missed Berlusconi enough to just keep Trump around indefinitely for entertainment purposes and they said no. :(

It was worth a shot.
posted by lydhre at 9:50 AM on May 23 [29 favorites]


Axios: Copying Clinton, Trump Builds Scandal War Room

"Day 124... White House officials tell me they're gearing up for months, and likely years, of Russia defense. Trump and his inner circle are belatedly scrambling to install war-room-like mechanisms designed to prevent the drama and threat from consuming the entire West Wing, and derailing everything else. Trump aides have studied precedents, including the Reagan White House's handling of Iran-Contra and President Clinton's scandal machinery."
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:50 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]


Now I don't like to spoil a wonderful story
But the news from Rome isn't quite as good
He hasn't gone down like they thought he would
Italy's unconvinced by Trumpian glory
They equate Trump with Mussolini, can't think why
posted by charred husk at 9:52 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Air Force 0 lands in Rome. So much love.


Wowzers. I wasn't convinced that Melania was avoiding Donald's hand until now. The other times were, IMHO, odd situations and strange camera angles, but this one? Yikes. That's a reflex if I've ever seen one.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:53 AM on May 23 [32 favorites]




Politico: MacArthur resigns as co-chairman of 'clearly divided' Tuesday Group
Rep. Tom MacArthur resigned Tuesday as co-chairman of the caucus of GOP moderates known as the Tuesday Group in the wake of deep divisions among its members over the House Obamacare replacement bill he helped craft.

"You can’t lead people where they don’t want to go," MacArthur said in an interview with POLITICO New Jersey Tuesday morning. "I think some people in the group just have a different view of what governing is."
There was a lot of talk from his fellow caucus members about forcibly ousting him for the leadership role in the wake of the AHCA negotiations, so this is both unsurprising (within the context of it being under discussion for at least a month or two, this was expected in some form -- despite his protestations to the contrary, this does look like him resigning to avoid being forced out) and very surprising (within the context of a Republican caucus leader being ousted by his fellow Republican members, or at the least choosing to resign, over his making compromises to pass legislation repealing and replacing the ACA -- he did exactly what Republicans have been running on for half a decade, and that cost him his leadership position. This would have been unthinkable even six months ago.)
posted by cjelli at 9:57 AM on May 23 [21 favorites]


Anyone have a running supercut of Melania avoiding his touch?
posted by komara at 9:58 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


CBS: U.S. troops wounded fighting al Qaeda in Yemen
Yemeni security officials and tribesmen say U.S. helicopters airlifted soldiers to the Arab country's central Marib province where they clashed with suspected al Qaeda militants.

The accounts followed a statement from the U.S. Central Command saying that U.S. forces killed seven members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) during a raid in Yemen early on Tuesday.
...
Officials said Tuesday morning that the mission was to collect intelligence in the form of laptops, cellphones and other materials. They are now saying the purpose was to "disrupt AQAP operations."
posted by cjelli at 10:03 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Air Force 0 lands in Rome. So much love.

Yo sound the bells school is in sucker u can't touch this
posted by octobersurprise at 10:06 AM on May 23 [8 favorites]


AFO is about to land in Rome.

The spirit of Nero returns to Rome in his seventh and final stage


Turns out he's come to give us Corsica back!
posted by progosk at 10:06 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Dude was just asking for help going down the stairs! C'mon you guys.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:09 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


I can't be the only one who watched that clip of the non-hand-hold and saw that after she avoids his hand, Trump then goes on to grab her ass, right?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:11 AM on May 23 [74 favorites]


Turns out he's come to give us Corsica back!

Not just that, according to that map, he's giving the Vatican City back to Italy as well...
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 10:13 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


I can't be the only one who watched that clip of the non-hand-hold and saw that after she avoids his hand, Trump then goes on to grab her ass, right?

No I raised my eyebrow at that one too.
posted by Talez at 10:16 AM on May 23


NYT: Jared Kushner’s Other Real Estate Empire - "Baltimore-area renters complain about a property owner they say is neglectful and litigious. Few know their landlord is the president’s son-in-law."
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:19 AM on May 23 [15 favorites]


Turns out he's come to give us Corsica back!

Not just that, according to that map, he's giving the Vatican City back to Italy as well...


Gah, the shoddy typo/infographic design... THE VATICAN ITALY and TAORMINA ITALY.

(Corsicans know, of course: he's no irredentistu, he's just ignurante.)
posted by progosk at 10:23 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


I can't be the only one who watched that clip of the non-hand-hold and saw that after she avoids his hand, Trump then goes on to grab her ass, right?

There's steps, and she's blocking the other banister - he needs to hold on to something!
posted by Mchelly at 10:23 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]


Wow, the first polling link posted by T.D. Strange above is really something else. Particularly comparing graphs 2 and 3 on the page. Independents seem to hate Trump almost as much as much as conservative Democrats do; compare that with Obama, where Independents and moderate Republicans liked Obama both at around 50%. Given that the bottom pie-chart suggests that Independents went about equally for Clinton and Trump, I don't quite know how to reconcile these numbers with the claim that 85% of Trump voters still support him -- I guess you can disapprove without necessarily not supporting him. But still, if Independents remain of this view in 2018, Republicans are going to get crushed. It also suggests that GOTV efforts aimed at disgruntled Independents might have a big payoff.
posted by chortly at 10:25 AM on May 23 [14 favorites]


Pete Souza is, as usual, devastating in his quiet annihilation of the Trump circus.
posted by lydhre at 10:26 AM on May 23 [43 favorites]


Matthew Yglesias/Vox: The dumb accounting error at the heart of Trump’s budget - “The same money cannot be used twice” — unless it can.
Here’s how it works. The budget is counting on economic growth — and a lot of it — to overcome what otherwise would be a projected $1.3 trillion deficit in 2027 and instead achieve balance. A big part of that growth comes from a deficit-neutral tax proposal whose details aren’t spelled out in the budget document.

That’s a bit odd, because the administration has already sketched out the broad contours of its tax policy. That proposal would, on a conventional account, lead to a massive increase in the deficit. The administration says that’s okay, though, because the extra growth unleashed by the tax cuts will offset the loss in revenue.

See the problem? Trump is not only counting on supply-side magic growth to make his numbers work, he’s using the same magic bean twice. First the tax cuts provide enough extra growth to make the tax reform deficit-neutral. Then the deficit-neutral tax reform provides enough extra growth to make the overall budget balanced. It’s ridiculous. Larry Summers, the former Treasury secretary and National Economic Council director, calls it “a logical error of the kind that would justify failing a student in an introductory economics course.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:29 AM on May 23 [65 favorites]


Random thoughts:

A. It is probably wishful thinking, but let's assume 45 does not fill out one term. Impeachment is probably the least likely path, even if it seems obvious that should happen.

Here are my guesses, in order:

1. Resigns out of frustration, but claims a big win. "I was able to do more in 200/300 days than most other presidents have ever done! I have set up a system that other presidents can follow to achieve even more! Our wonderful Vice-President Pence is already on board to continue our amazing progress and I will continue to help in the best way possible by taking my negotiating skills to companies in and out of America as well as to heads of states to KEEP. AMERICA. GREAT!"

(I'm not even joking about that. He might resign under pressure of being impeached, but that will be the spin. I feel a little queasy how easily I was able to write his words for him.)

2. Old age/illness of some form.

3. Drinking radioactive tea, if he upsets Putin. (not joking)

4. Impeachment.

B. If I have seen this mentioned before, I don't recall a clear response.

I was unable to find a link, but I recall the final reason Merrick Garland was denied an opportunity to be confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice was because the 2016 campaign had already started. (That makes more sense than saying Obama was a lame duck, so let's just wait a year, but I get ahead of myself.) IIRC, Biden was the one who orginally suggested the latter idea to Senate when it was Dem controlled, and it did not gain traction.

Fine. A Dem suggested the idea. It didn't take hold. R's ran with it and got Gorsuch.

Keeping all of that in mind, Trump had his first re-election rally on 02/17. Gorsuch was nominated 02/01, so we can let that slide, right?

But, if Trump has already started his re-election campaign, by the R's rules, no nominees for the next three years, right?

I know how they will weasel out of this. Blah blah blah, it's just fundraising at this point. But, still, I haven't seen any discussion of this anywhere.

(And, I am not against Republicans, per se. It's just the bs I have seen lately coming mostly from them.)

C. Derail - I do the the two circles on top of one another to make an 8. In elementary school, I had too many math problems marked incorrect because the teacher that I had written a 6 instead of an 8. So, I do the two circles to clearly convey meaning. On the other hand, I find Trump's penmanship highly stylized and am still trying to grasp what it says about him. (Yes, you can learn something about someone by they way they write.)
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 10:32 AM on May 23 [10 favorites]


Mulvaney is moving up rapidly on my list of Most Punchable Faces. Currently #3, behind McConnell and Chaffetz.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:34 AM on May 23 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]

He's such a fucking ghoul. It embarrasses me that he has any connection to the White House whatsoever. He's my #1.


Is Ted Cruz in the Hall of Fame for these rankings and thus ineligible for your lists?
posted by mmascolino at 10:34 AM on May 23 [8 favorites]


Ted Cruz is not a solid object and therefore not punchable.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 10:36 AM on May 23 [32 favorites]


Here are my guesses, in order

You left out death, and the 25th Amendment.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:37 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


When I saw that hand swat clip down the red carpet I thought that someone who was really into Trump could look at that and see that as a low-five between couples who get each other at a fundamental level. Like they'd go: Trump is all "do I got this?" and Melania gives a quick "yeah you do!". If you squinted hard enough. So I paid no mind.

That plane exit hand swat though... I can't see any alternate theory that holds up to even the slightest scrutiny. It's clearly "I don't want to hold your hand" followed by "I'll hold onto your lower back/upper butt which you can't swat away". Sadly it's a speck of a clue into what's going on in her head that doesn't really mean anything unless/until she does something that can't be ignored like publicly calling him out or punching him or something.
posted by Green With You at 10:40 AM on May 23 [5 favorites]


You left out death, and the 25th Amendment

Death is the ultimate illness. I guess I didn't spell that out in B.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 10:41 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


3. Drinking radioactive tea, if he upsets Putin. (not joking)

Oh COME ON, you expect us to believe that Donald J. Trump is going to drink tea?
posted by contraption at 10:41 AM on May 23 [9 favorites]


3. Drinking radioactive tea, if he upsets Putin. (not joking)

Oh COME ON, you expect us to believe that Donald J. Trump is going to drink tea?


He'll do what he's told by his handler.
posted by Etrigan at 10:43 AM on May 23 [7 favorites]


Putin has a button that delivers "Coke 210"
posted by cmfletcher at 10:44 AM on May 23 [31 favorites]


Some odds and sods as I try to catch up with this horror show:

Seth Rich's brother writes a letter pleading Hannity's executive producer to stop this. Soon after the letter is published, Hannity persisted.

STAT News consults medical experts to ask Trump wasn’t always so linguistically challenged. What could explain the change?. It's very much in the form of speculation, and some would say irresponsible or even unethical speculation, but you can't watch clips of him from 20 years ago and today and not have some questions.

Margaret Sullivan: The Seth Rich lie, and how the corrosion of reality should worry every American
We know now that it’s far worse than that. Given tacit or explicit approval by the administration, this anti-truth movement — championed by Alex Jones, a Trump shill — erodes reason and reality. And those are the basis for a functioning democracy.

The growing absence of truth should worry every American citizen.

“If everybody always lies to you . . . nobody believes anything any longer,” said Hannah Arendt, the German American political theorist. “And with such a people you can then do what you please.”

So if you’re wondering why bottom-dwelling conspiracy theorists are allowed in the briefing room, or why Trump insiders promote lies about a young man’s death, you have your answer.
I'd also note that his remarks at Yad Vashem appear to come from a completely different universe than his International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement. It mentions Jews, just to name one such difference.
posted by zachlipton at 10:46 AM on May 23 [28 favorites]


We know now that it’s far worse than that. Given tacit or explicit approval by the administration, this anti-truth movement — championed by Alex Jones, a Trump shill — erodes reason and reality. And those are the basis for a functioning democracy.

The growing absence of truth should worry every American citizen.


The injection of phony talking points and conspiracy theories from wingnut blogger -> right-wing news -> mainstream media has been documented for years. Al Franken wrote about it in one of his books before he ran for Senate. I mentioned the Drudge Report upthread; a member of the so-called "liberal media" once remarked, to much scorn, "Matt Drudge rules our world."

It's nice of Sullivan to notice and all, but that horse has left the barn, died, and been made into glue that was used to make another barn that an entirely different horse left a long time ago as well.
posted by Gelatin at 10:54 AM on May 23 [42 favorites]


Also, I've been waiting for a good story on what the budget does to foreign aid, because there were basically none yesterday and I wanted to include it. The Post delivers: Foreign aid under the ax in State Department budget proposal
“The budget proposes to reduce or end direct funding for international programs and organizations whose missions do not substantially advance U.S. foreign policy interests,” the administration said in a statement accompanying the budget. “The budget also renews attention on the appropriate U.S. share of international spending at the United Nations, at the World Bank, and for many other global issues where the United States currently pays more than its fair share. In addition, this Budget request focuses on making the Department of State and USAID leaner, more efficient, and more effective, and streamlines international affairs agencies more broadly.”

In one concrete example of this approach, the White House would drop almost 45 percent of the countries receiving economic and development assistance from the U.S. Instead, it would train the focus not to countries most in need but to those deemed most critical to U.S. national security.
Who cares what people need? What can they do for us? That's the guiding strategy here.
posted by zachlipton at 10:58 AM on May 23 [14 favorites]


It's nice of Sullivan to notice and all, but that horse has left the barn, died, and been made into glue that was used to make another barn that an entirely different horse left a long time ago as well.
posted by Gelatin at 12:54 on May 23 [3 favorites +] [!]

Eponydreadful
posted by Jpfed at 10:59 AM on May 23 [88 favorites]


John Brennan, the former director of the CIA, stopped by the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. He was there to talk about Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election. The Republicans on the committee responded by chalking up a bushel of own goals.
...
For example, Trey Gowdy, the lopheaded Javert of the endless Benghazi investigations, asked Brennan whether he had seen evidence of "collusion" between the Trump campaign and the Russians. This allowed Brennan to say that he saw evidence that "in my mind raised questions of whether it was collusion" and that he'd seen enough to encourage the FBI to keep "pulling threads" on that particular issue.

GOOOAAAALLLLLL!
posted by kirkaracha at 11:01 AM on May 23 [27 favorites]


phony talking points and conspiracy theories from wingnut blogger -> right-wing news -> mainstream media has been documented for years

I think there is a clear difference, though. Can't remember where I first read this observation, but it seems like elected Republicans used to tolerate nonsense being fed to their base, but not partake of it themselves. Whereas now they are high on their own supply, so to speak.

In any case, the consequences weren't as dreadful back in the day. Even in the crazy Gingrinch years, no one would've proposed a budget like the one Trump just proposed.
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:01 AM on May 23 [9 favorites]


He'll do what he's told by his handler.

Or King Salman, whichever comes first.
posted by Copronymus at 11:03 AM on May 23


NYT: Jared Kushner’s Other Real Estate Empire - "Baltimore-area renters complain about a property owner they say is neglectful and litigious. Few know their landlord is the president’s son-in-law."

This piece sent my blood pressure through the roof. These people are moral vacuums.
posted by lalex at 11:04 AM on May 23 [9 favorites]




Now is the time for President Trump to deliver a clear message to Turkey.
The Trump administration is obviously not putting an emphasis on promoting our values abroad. But it’s one thing not to go on a democratizing crusade; it’s another to shrug off an assault on the rights of protesters on our own soil. If nothing else, President Donald Trump’s nationalism and sense of honor should be offended. Not only did the Turks carry out this attack, they are thumbing their noses at us by summoning our ambassador over it.

In which the National Review pretends like Donald Trump gives a shit about thuggish attacks by the Turkish dictator, instead of applauding and desiring to emulate them.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:04 AM on May 23 [6 favorites]


The Republicans on the committee responded by chalking up a bushel of own goals.

the "nice" thing about the tea party and the takeover of the republican party by dudes who buy their own propaganda is that the republican primary process now selects strongly for total dumbasses.
posted by murphy slaw at 11:05 AM on May 23 [16 favorites]


Who cares what people need? What can they do for us?

Well Donny, if people get everything they need to live a peaceful and fulfilling life then they have stuff to lose. People with nothing have nothing to lose and those people can be dangerous and looking for someone to blame.
posted by VTX at 11:06 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


I think there is a clear difference, though. Can't remember where I first read this observation, but it seems like elected Republicans used to tolerate nonsense being fed to their base, but not partake of it themselves. Whereas now they are high on their own supply, so to speak.

Ronald Reagan based his economic policy on Arthur Laffer's supply-side-tax-cut napkin.
posted by Gelatin at 11:08 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Seth Rich's brother writes a letter pleading Hannity's executive producer to stop this. Soon after the letter is published, Hannity persisted.

On topic, the responses to Hannity's efforts to flog his Kim DotCom show are lolleriffic. "What you're doing to this guy's family is absolutely sick & disgusting. & now you're using it to promote a shitty EDM album."
posted by octobersurprise at 11:10 AM on May 23 [5 favorites]


Ronald Reagan based his economic policy on Arthur Laffer's supply-side-tax-cut napkin.

the difference is that even if reagan didn't understand that the laffer curve was bullshit, his budget director david stockman did.

i honestly can't tell if mulvaney is an bullshitter or a true believer. i can tell that he's a moron.
posted by murphy slaw at 11:13 AM on May 23 [5 favorites]


Now is the time for President Trump to deliver a clear message to Turkey.

Dressed in black suits, they behave like drunken British soccer hooligans or anti-fascist agitators. Clearly, assaulting innocent people is a core competency.

Go fuck yourself, NR.
posted by dhens at 11:15 AM on May 23 [33 favorites]


( the stockman money quote was:

"The hard part of the supply-side tax cut is dropping the top rate from 70 to 50 percent—the rest of it is a secondary matter," Stockman explained. "The original argument was that the top bracket was too high, and that's having the most devastating effect on the economy. Then, the general argument was that, in order to make this palatable as a political matter, you had to bring down all the brackets. But, I mean, Kemp-Roth was always a Trojan horse to bring down the top rate.")
posted by murphy slaw at 11:16 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


This is a good, albeit puzzling development: The Trump administration won’t block an Obama-era consumer protection rule
The Obama regulations require financial advisers to follow the fiduciary rule, a legal standard that means advisers have to always offer advice that's in the best interests of their clients. Right now it's completely legal for an adviser to steer clients toward financial products that pay big commissions to the adviser — even if that means the client will get a lower rate of return on his or her investment.

The new rules that take effect next month require advisers to disclose this kind of conflict of interest, and they open them up to lawsuits if they took a commission after giving bad advice. To avoid lawsuits, many firms may shift to a model where they charge customers directly rather than taking commissions from mutual fund companies.
I wonder what's going on here. It doesn't make sense as a PR move given how little news it would have made if he followed through on his threat to kill the regulations. Maybe some lobbyists who stand to gain from the new rules intervened?
posted by tonycpsu at 11:19 AM on May 23 [8 favorites]


the difference is that even if reagan didn't understand that the laffer curve was bullshit, his budget director david stockman did.

So did George H. W. Bush, but he went along anyway, after correctly calling Reagan's supply-side fantasies "voodoo economics" in the debates. Of course, the fact that he didn't really believe it cost him re-election because he raised taxes.
posted by Gelatin at 11:20 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


WaPo: Trump’s ‘balanced’ budget relies on $2,062,000,000,000 in mystery money
It is not just that Trump is counting on a rapid acceleration in economic growth that economists believe is unlikely, which the budget projects will yield $2.1 trillion in new revenue ($2,062,000,000,000, to be more exact). Besides that bonus from growth, the budget also assumes that Trump's tax cuts -- which he has said will be the largest in history -- would not affect the government's bottom line at all.

And even with optimistic assumptions about the tax code specifically and the overall economy more broadly, the White House still needed to claim over $1 trillion in unidentified cuts to miscellaneous programs to balance the budget.
It's not enough that it's cruel and heartless and designed to punish poor people by denying them food and healthcare; this budget is an actual joke. A disproved theory on a cocktail napkin is miles above this mess with a $2 trillion dollar hole and a giant question mark under "tax plan."
posted by zachlipton at 11:23 AM on May 23 [33 favorites]


I was not expecting this. Fox News: Statement on coverage of Seth Rich murder investigation
On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich. The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed.

We will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted.
Everyone's question now is what is Hannity going to do?
posted by zachlipton at 11:25 AM on May 23 [49 favorites]


Can't remember where I first read this observation, but it seems like elected Republicans used to tolerate nonsense being fed to their base, but not partake of it themselves. Whereas now they are high on their own supply, so to speak.

Maybe
Chris Hayes, 2012
?

If you read it recently, it may have been from remorseful ex-right-wing-radio personality Charlie Sykes, who's had a couple NYT pieces I think.
posted by Jpfed at 11:26 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


For those who have never been to Yad Vashem, you must understand that it is filled to the brim with horror.

It has been... man, I was gonna say 25 years but I guess it's been 30. Thirty years since I've been to Yad Vashem. And despite having now lived just a few miles from the Holocaust Museum in DC for over a decade I still haven't been able to bring myself to go. Both because YV was so overwhelming and because I don't think I want to go to another memorial to the tragedy and possibly be even marginally less horrified. That's not something I want to feel about the Holocaust, if that makes any sense.
posted by phearlez at 11:26 AM on May 23 [7 favorites]


that retraction seems to be very specific to the May 16th story about the "private investigator", and "we will continue to investigate this story" sounds like they will probably not tug on hannity's leash very hard.
posted by murphy slaw at 11:28 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Turns out he's come to give us Corsica back!

And, um, that map just gave the entire West Bank and Gaza to Israel. Not that it's necessarily intentional mind you, it looks like an intern was just told to vaguely outline Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy and Belgium in MS Paint, and that's what happened. Oops.
posted by tivalasvegas at 11:29 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


laffer curve was bullshit

As long you don't label the axes, the Laffer curve is kind of impossible to argue with. And while serious economists knew we weren't even close to the turning point where cutting taxes actually starts raising revenue (hence Bush's voodoo economics line) you could argue that before Reagan no one had really tried it, so it was just barely possible that it would work.

I'd argue that while the Laffer curve was indeed bullshit, it was at least halfway plausible bullshit. Not grade "A" WTF like the Birther lie, Benghazi!, or the Seth Rich Scandal.

I don't think anyone linked yet to this excellent Max Boot piece in Foreign Policy?

The Seth Rich ‘Scandal’ Shows That Fox News Is Morally Bankrupt


Re: the "What to do about Fox News?" problem, I'm leaning toward the "Sleeping Giants" solution at the moment. Ask their advertisers if this shameful crap is what they want their brand associated with. Bill O'Reilly lost almost all his advertisers this way before he was pulled from the air, and Sleeping Giants has cut down Breitbart's funding stream hugely, and possibly prevented them from opening a European branch.
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:34 AM on May 23 [29 favorites]


When a party has lost the presidency and both chambers of Congress, the response, according to some Democrats, is to listen to one of the country’s most unpopular mayors. Politico reported yesterday that “three senior House Democrats” are about to travel to Chicago, where they will pay their respects to Emanuel. They are doing so because they reportedly believe that Emanuel’s 2006 tactics for delivering a House majority may succeed again:

Given that Rahm barely survived a poorly funded progressive challenge by a little known local pol in the last election for mayor of Chicago despite spending almost 5 times as much in campaign funds and a 10X advantage in PAC support tells you something about why nobody should be listening to Rahm.

Also there is the somewhat disturbing fact that some of his biggest contributors and closest confidants are staunch Republicans.
posted by srboisvert at 11:36 AM on May 23 [12 favorites]


Now is the time for President Trump to deliver a clear message to Turkey.

He probably thinks he has until Thanksgiving.
posted by bonehead at 11:36 AM on May 23 [33 favorites]


Now is the time for President Trump to deliver a clear message to Turkey.

God knows he has just the right messenger boy for the job, without many other tasks on his plate right at the moment.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:38 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


but when we talk about it in US politics, everything is steamrolled down to 'islamic militants hate us because hate is their creed', which conveniently absolves us of any agency or responsibility for the conditions that foster terrorism, and then we swat at the embers while the fire that we fueled rages on

It's hard to make any progress against terrorism if you only talk about the supply side and don't address the demand side. "Drive them out of your holy land and drive them out of this Earth" is just going to produce more terrorists. The War on Terror has resulted in a massive increase in people getting killed in terrorist attacks.

A two-state solution with a secure Israel and Palestine would help. So would a US withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:38 AM on May 23 [10 favorites]


And, um, that map just gave the entire West Bank and Gaza to Israel. Not that it's necessarily intentional mind you, it looks like an intern was just told to vaguely outline Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy and Belgium in MS Paint, and that's what happened. Oops.

I'm working on a web tool that requires showing a world map and outlines of countries, and we're so sensitive to feelings on the matter we don't even call them "countries", but territories. Also, we've had a million of meetings on who gets a dotted line vs solid line, what's a separate "territory" to customers in one place but is not separate to customers in another, the exact wording of names in each localized language which also have to change depending on the customer's location, etc.

I'm glad to know we're more careful with our stuff than the clowns who can easily cause an international incident between multiple nuclear powers.
posted by sideshow at 11:42 AM on May 23 [27 favorites]


Even if you believe in the Laffer curve you still don't get to put together a budget that assumes economic growth from tax cuts, and then calculates revenue based on current tax rates. That goes beyond having your cake and eating it too! In Trump terms, it's as if he were planning to demolish a family-owned bakery to make way for a new casino, and also advertising the same casino's convenient access to fresh desserts thanks to the nearby bakery.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:47 AM on May 23 [42 favorites]


So I just had a thought inspired by the article zachlipton linked above about Trump's linguistic decline.

I used to administer IQ tests to kids as part of my job. I administered probably hundreds of IQ tests to kids, kids with a wide range of cognitive abilities. I tested many kids with serious delays and some with severe cognitive disorders of various kinds. Let me tell you, you've never lived until you've done five hours of testing on a kid with severe ADHD who is ready to leave after 15 minutes.

So the thought that I had was: Imagine giving an IQ test to Donald J. Trump. I can't do it. Not just I can't imagine him doing well. I can't imagine him BEING ABLE TO TAKE THE TEST.

I mean, his national security briefs are written in bullet points and make sure to constantly mention his name so he'll pay attention. How do you get him to concentrate long enough to understand and answer a question? How would you even motivate him to participate? He would be the definition of non-compliant with the testing procedures.

And that man is our fucking president.
posted by threeturtles at 11:55 AM on May 23 [53 favorites]


There's steps, and she's blocking the other banister - he needs to hold on to something!

So, she wants there to be an "accident," perhaps? Old man Trump needs help on stairs you say? Oops.
posted by spitbull at 11:57 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


In a weird way, Trump's embrace of fake news outlets (Breitbart, OANN, InfoWars, the 12 year old boy who got credentials) may be creating an opportunity to knock Fox News down into their category, where they belong.

I think it will require a concerted grass roots effort to deprecate them as not news, in private conversation, and e.g. to reques a channel change any time you see them on a public TV (e.g. doctor's office, tire store, mall, etc.)

My favorite talking point: they don't break any original stories, and that's what news is - it has to be NEW. They're basically talk radio with pictures.

Challenge any defenders to name a story that Fox broke. The only current example is the Seth Rich story which they clearly manufactured, as even the Rich family's private investigator -- planted and paid for by a Fox and Breitbart contributor -- admitted a day later. Even the conspiracy theories they trumpet usually originate with Breitbart, Gateway Pundit or some other fringier source, which is amazing considering that the Trump Administration could easily just leak stuff to them.
posted by msalt at 12:04 PM on May 23 [24 favorites]


I really want to read those briefings that jam his name in as much as possible.

"The Free Syrian Army, known as the FSA to Beloved President Donald Trump has been driven from its strongholds in Aleppo by occasional enemy of Esteemed Military Strategist, President Donald Trump, the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Turkish leaders at a rally in Istanbul, site of an Incredibly Luxurious Trump Hotel, denounced this. Elsewhere, Kim Jong Un, who compares poorly to Noble Leader Donald Trump in every way, continues to develop missile technologies in the hope of someday having a military as mighty as Wonderful American President Donald J. Trump."
posted by Copronymus at 12:06 PM on May 23 [14 favorites]


[fake] tag provided by Mesmerizing and Dazzling Donald J. Trump.
posted by Namlit at 12:13 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


I think the Onion has a pretty good take on what the Trump briefings look like now.
posted by emjaybee at 12:16 PM on May 23 [14 favorites]


In my head, Dan Brown is writing the briefings. "Renowned world leader Donald Trump sat at his lavish oak wood desk, reading the tremendous intelligence briefing which had just been placed in his large, powerful hands."
posted by hades at 12:18 PM on May 23 [55 favorites]


The Hill Carrier plant that Trump saved will lay off hundreds right before Christmas: report
The Indianapolis furnace plant pledged to stay in the United States late last year after making a deal with President Trump, but announced today that it will lay off more than 600 workers, the final 290 of which will be fired just before the holiday season.

The move isn't a complete surprise for the company. In their initial announcement last year, the company revealed that while the plant would remain in the U.S., the factory would be cutting down on labor to reduce costs.

Trump took credit for saving 1,100 jobs at the factory in December.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:28 PM on May 23 [35 favorites]




The Hill Paul plans to force vote on $110B Saudi defense deal
Sen. Rand Paul intends to force a vote on a $110 billion defense deal President Trump signed with Saudi Arabia, according to an aide to the Kentucky Republican.

Paul is expected to introduce a measure to disapprove of the sale later on Wednesday, the aide said, over concerns that the deal may pull the U.S. into Yemen's civil war.

The move will allow Paul to force a vote in early June. Under the Arms Export Control Act, he can bring the measure up on the Senate floor after 10 calendar days, but the Senate is leaving town on Friday for a week-long Memorial Day break.[...]The package is expected to include U.S. missiles, bombs, armored personnel carriers, Littoral Combat Ships, terminal high altitude area defense missile systems and munitions.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:34 PM on May 23 [21 favorites]


BuzzFeed A Top Republican Backs A Federal Legal Aid Agency The White House Is Trying To Defund
The president’s proposed budget released by the White House on Tuesday calls for a complete defunding of the Legal Services Corporation. The agency, which received $385 million this year from Congress, gives grants to 133 legal aid organizations across the country. Trump’s 2018 budget would provide $33 million to wind down its operations.

The fate of the agency’s budget ultimately lies with Congress, though, and several Republicans in the House and Senate have already joined Democrats in opposing the cut. In a May 18 letter obtained by BuzzFeed News, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn — the second ranking Republican in the Senate — and two other Senate Republicans joined Democrats in urging the Senate Committee on Appropriations to provide “robust funding” for the agency.[...]Cornyn on Tuesday released a statement praising Trump’s focus on military spending in the White House's 2018 budget proposal, but a day earlier had tweeted a gentle reminder that it is Congress, not the president, that controls the budget.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:38 PM on May 23 [12 favorites]


Promoting knowledge of Trump's chaotic evil among the populace may or may not get him removed from office, but it will certainly make it harder for him to pass despicable legislation! This is valuable to humanity!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:41 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


Pete Souza is, as usual, devastating in his quiet annihilation of the Trump circus.

Looks like he's found work with a new administration.
posted by PenDevil at 12:42 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


How the fuck did that not end his run right there?

Indeed. There are so many reasons for Trump to have his run stopped that the list of them is clearly on an astronomical scale and astronomical scale is difficult to comprehend. In terms of human "social astronomy" we now have a shitload of evidence that human bullshit has an astounding amount of mass that the resultant gravity has proven to difficult to ignore. Trump and his minions are so full of shit it laces every word they speak and every thought they have. Furthermore, their assholes are so tight they've gotten used to shitting out of their mouths. This great gathering of utter bullshit continues to accumulate and threatens to crush us all. It is extremely alarming and the current U.S. leadership is just the sort to pretend it's not happening.

I can only hope that as we get closer to the event horizon we stand up and refuse to be drawn to and by it any longer.
posted by juiceCake at 12:43 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


The Intercept: Homeland Security Hires Anti-Islam Activist Katherine Gorka as Trump Makes Overtures to Muslim States

That's Sebastian Gorka's wife, and she's as much of an Islamophobe as her husband.
posted by zachlipton at 12:47 PM on May 23 [9 favorites]


Op Ed by Mick Mulvaney

Post and Courier Budget to balance the books
For years, we’ve focused on how we can help Americans receive taxpayer-funded assistance. Under President Trump’s leadership, we’re now looking at how we can respect both those who require assistance and the taxpayers who fund that support. For the first time in a long time, we’re putting taxpayers first.

Taking money from someone without an intention to pay it back is not debt. It is theft. This budget makes it clear that we will reverse this larceny.
[my bold]

My eyes damn near popped out of my head. So all those kids getting free lunches are thieves. As are the disabled, the elderly, the poor, the vets and anyone else who has ever gotten help by way of the safety net. Good to know this is how they think.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:48 PM on May 23 [118 favorites]


Is it gorkae or gorkas? Gorchids? Or is the plural just gorka, like moose?
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:49 PM on May 23 [8 favorites]


That's Sebastian Gorka's wife, and she's as much of an Islamophobe as her husband.

Also, like her husband, she has no discernible qualifications for the position. What a couple of gargoyles.
posted by orrnyereg at 12:50 PM on May 23 [8 favorites]




What a couple of gargoyles.

Gorkoyles, please.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:51 PM on May 23 [19 favorites]


My eyes damn near popped out of my head. So all those kids getting free lunches are thieves. As are the disabled, the elderly, the poor, the vets and anyone else who has ever gotten help by way of the safety net. Good to know this is how they think.

"Taxation is theft" has been a rallying cry among the nuttier of wingnuts for years. Apparently they've never read Hobbes, to say nothing of the founding documents of the United States.
posted by Gelatin at 12:51 PM on May 23 [19 favorites]




homunculus: Richard Painter and Norman Eisen: The White House may claim Mueller has conflicts of interest. That’s ridiculous.

No worries, they backed down and approved (waived?) him for the full investigation.
posted by msalt at 12:52 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


I like to think Gorka is a postpositive adjective here like in "Attorneys General," so the correct answer is: Islamophobes Gorka
posted by zachlipton at 12:52 PM on May 23 [18 favorites]


This budget makes it clear that we will reverse this larceny.

Notice also that Mulvaney is specifically saying he wants to take from the poor to give to the rich.
posted by Gelatin at 12:53 PM on May 23 [29 favorites]


lots of extremely good shit going on here

No one is even commenting on the two guys standing behind a pane of glass.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 12:55 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


No worries, they backed down and approved (waived?) him for the full investigation.

Ponder the significance of the fact that an administration not afraid to say, publicly and in print, that they intend to take from the poor to give to the rich is apparently concerned about the optics of blocking the independent counsel so blatantly.
posted by Gelatin at 12:56 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


In one concrete example of this approach, the White House would drop almost 45 percent of the countries receiving economic and development assistance from the U.S. Instead, it would train the focus not to countries most in need but to those deemed most critical to U.S. national security.

Who cares what people need? What can they do for us? That's the guiding strategy here.


When you consider that Jordan, Egypt and Israel already make up the bulk of US foreign aid this once again is spitting directly in the face of people they just met and shook hands with.
posted by srboisvert at 12:56 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


How the fuck did that not end his run right there?

I saw a depolorable reacting to the trump Muslim speech after it happened, and the general text of their tweet was:

"This was so inspiring and powerful. If the liberal media debunks it [his exact words] then they're traitors to the nation."

Even in his own thought, he seemed to be acknowledging that there was almost no content to the speech other than emotion. He specifically said that debunking it would be traitorous, not going against it, or even disagreeing. Debunking. There is nothing beyond narrative for these people. They have nothing else in their lives, other than the narrative that they are special because they are white and American. There is nothing more to them than an identity built on a lie, which is that they are heroic, unique, and strong. The "snowflake" shit, and the "liberal identity politics" shit, and the "libs detached from reality shit" is all pure projection. These people (and I'd argue most modern American conservatives) have no politics beyond their own toxic, garbage identity politics founded in a fucking fantasy. Denying that fantasy is treasonous to them.

trump spoke directly to that fantasy, and indeed, stopped ignoring the few safeguards that the cowardly and idiotic Republican party had put onto the Southern Strategy. When you see some redfaced, MAGA-hatted middle manager type in the mid-west proclaiming that trump tells it like it is, what he really means is, "He told it like I want it to be." These people are a lost cause. There is no getting to them, other than the off chance that some of them come back to reality at some point. trump could shit on the American Flag, and folks like that would claim that the American Flag had always been shat upon, and why didn't Obama do it sooner? I'm not sure what the solution is to these people (I have a feeling its ignoring them, while we fight in the courts and the streets to protect civil liberties while we wait for them to die), but you cannot engage with someone who is living in a fantasy. Especially when that fantasy is all that they have.
posted by codacorolla at 12:57 PM on May 23 [23 favorites]


Taking money from someone without an intention to pay it back is not debt. It is theft. This budget makes it clear that we will reverse this larceny.

Rev. Rul. 2005-19:
The Fifth Amendment prevents the federal government from taking property without due process of law. U.S. CONST. amend. V. Due process generally includes a right to notice and an opportunity to be heard. The Supreme Court has held that the procedures contained in the Internal Revenue Code fully satisfy the due process rights of taxpayers.[...]
The federal income tax only requires payment of taxes on a person’s income. It does not force a person to labor involuntarily, or to labor at all. The Thirteenth Amendment prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment when convicted of a crime. U.S. CONST. amend. XIII. The Thirteenth Amendment does not proscribe taxation. See Abney v. Campbell,[...]
Persons, including return preparers, who promote these frivolous positions and those who assist taxpayers in claiming tax benefits based on these frivolous arguments may face penalties and may be enjoined by a court pursuant to sections 7407 and 7408.
posted by melissasaurus at 12:57 PM on May 23 [20 favorites]


Apparently they've never read Hobbes

Or contemplated who owned the land they now live on not that long ago, and what happened to those people.
posted by spitbull at 12:59 PM on May 23 [15 favorites]


lots of extremely good shit going on here

Has Jared always been this thin? I swear his posture is screaming, "Don't look at me. I'm not really here."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:00 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


The president’s proposed budget released by the White House on Tuesday calls for a complete defunding of the Legal Services Corporation. The agency, which received $385 million this year from Congress, gives grants to 133 legal aid organizations across the country. Trump’s 2018 budget would provide $33 million to wind down its operations.

Remember that thing about Jared Kushner being a shit landlord?

One of the major things Legal Aid does across the country is landlord-tenant law. When I was interning with my local Legal Aid, landlord-tenant law was one of the few areas where the organization seemed to routinely be able to actually help people that showed up because the ways the landlords were shitty were so completely cookie-cutter. (Seriously, all the notice rules are right there! No, you can't keep deposits just because you feel like it!)

This does not, to me, seem coincidental. Their budget is a totally incidental amount compared to the US budget as a whole. This isn't like Planned Parenthood where part of the population thinks Legal Aid is evil. Among other things, Legal Aid orgs don't just exist to pay attorneys to do stuff--they also help to coordinate a lot of local attorney's pro bono time to where it's most helpful. (And ditto with the hours of law school interns.) They don't need huge budgets to do this, but they do need at least some resources. It's one thing to fight over exactly how much money these groups need to do what they do; to shut down the LSC entirely takes an agenda.
posted by Sequence at 1:01 PM on May 23 [90 favorites]


Kushner looks like he's about 15.
posted by spitbull at 1:01 PM on May 23


What's Kushner smirking at?
posted by orrnyereg at 1:03 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Jared is so honored to have his Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:03 PM on May 23 [13 favorites]


There are so many reasons for Trump to have his run stopped that the list of them is clearly on an astronomical scale and astronomical scale is difficult to comprehend.

But the Mainstream Press had spent the previous 30 years giving the false impression that Donald Trump isn't evil, he's just kinda funny. This segment from a standup comic at his Comedy Central Roast (linked in the first comment to the Roasts post) show exactly how much he was "normalized" years before his run.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:05 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


I am admittedly immature but #16 is cracking me up.
posted by orrnyereg at 1:08 PM on May 23 [28 favorites]


Even in his own thought, he seemed to be acknowledging that there was almost no content to the speech other than emotion. He specifically said that debunking it would be traitorous, not going against it, or even disagreeing. Debunking. There is nothing beyond narrative for these people.

Charitably, I think this is one of those words which is commonly misunderstood and misused by some people. I suspect the Trumpist really intended something more like "disputing". Of course, I think there's a reasonable argument to be made that the actual reason this word is so commonly misunderstood is because many people do not have a clear mental distinction between debunking (disproving a verifiable claim with objectively valid evidence) and disputing (defending a counterargument on the basis of differing opinion, values, or uncertain evidence). This, of course, is because many people lack or fail to engage their critical thinking skills to understand the difference between fact and opinion. Which I think supports your larger point.
posted by biogeo at 1:12 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


Bloomberg Mnuchin’s Recruiting Tool: Titles That Don’t Need Senate Confirmation
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is trying to fill a leadership vacuum in his department by increasingly recruiting financial industry executives for senior positions that come with a perk: a title that doesn’t require Senate confirmation.

Mnuchin has so far hired four people as top aides with the title "counselor," including Craig Phillips, an ex-BlackRock Inc. executive and Hillary Clinton fundraiser. The Senate won’t vote on any of them, even though Mnuchin’s own party is in charge.

The hiring tactic is driven to some degree by necessity. The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Mnuchin wanted as his deputy, Jim Donovan, pulled out on Friday, shortly before his Senate confirmation hearing was to be scheduled. Donovan said his withdrawal stemmed from a family matter.[...]Mnuchin was already leaning on Donovan to help manage the department, even though he had not officially left Goldman Sachs. One of Donovan’s tasks was to recruit people for other senior positions in the agency.
[my bold]
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:17 PM on May 23 [11 favorites]


Craig Phillips, an ex-BlackRock Inc. executive and Hillary Clinton fundraiser

Oh this guy should definitely be blackballed.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:19 PM on May 23


I so hope that the inevitable movie manages to get Michael Cera to play Kushner, and that he just uses his George Michael Bluth persona straight-up.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:19 PM on May 23 [25 favorites]


He specifically said that debunking it would be traitorous, not going against it, or even disagreeing. Debunking.
The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.
Teddy Roosevelt
posted by kirkaracha at 1:22 PM on May 23 [95 favorites]


Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is trying to fill a leadership vacuum in his department by increasingly recruiting financial industry executives for senior positions that come with a perk: a title that doesn’t require Senate confirmation.

Mnuchin has so far hired four people as top aides with the title "counselor," including Craig Phillips, an ex-BlackRock Inc. executive and Hillary Clinton fundraiser. The Senate won’t vote on any of them, even though Mnuchin’s own party is in charge.


This has been another edition of Imagine The Republican Reaction If Obama Or Clinton Had Done So. More in a moment...
posted by Gelatin at 1:25 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


If you need to know why Legal Services of America is a good thing and also see exactly why Trump et al would want to defund it (Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid is a beneficiary and good example of the work they do):

"I think that [TRLA] is the problem because they're supplying these people with the information and they're telling them all about the federal laws and everything."

Deaf Smith County Sheriff Travis McPherson
Howard Gault co. v. Texas Rural Legal Aid, Inc.
615 F Supp. 916 at 925 (N.D. Tex-Amarillo Div 1985)
posted by avalonian at 1:25 PM on May 23 [23 favorites]


I swear his posture is screaming, 'Don't look at me. I'm not really here.'

I'd go with "I have to pee" or "I have a boner."
posted by kirkaracha at 1:26 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Mulvaney is a rotting dog dick but the sad thing is that he is hardly unique. All he is doing is stripping the varnish off of the core of Reaganomics: more money for us, fuck you.

This is the Paul Ryan mantra, the Paul family motto, the Scott Walker credo, the new official anthem of North Carolina. This is the Southern Strategy boiled down; you deserve what THEY have because they're not worthy of it. And this is one of many reasons why I drink.
posted by delfin at 1:26 PM on May 23 [16 favorites]


Michael Cera is 28. I think he might already be too old to portray the 36 year old Kushner. The role requires someone younger and more androgynous.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:27 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


The role requires someone younger and more androgynous.

Motion-capture Andy Serkis to the rescue!
posted by Behemoth at 1:29 PM on May 23 [9 favorites]


He's already doing Gollum for Sessions.
posted by mochapickle at 1:31 PM on May 23 [9 favorites]


The role requires someone younger and more androgynous.

A bowl of warm plain spaghetti poured into a cheap suit it is.
posted by PenDevil at 1:32 PM on May 23 [17 favorites]




Secret Life of Gravy: "Mnuchin’s Recruiting Tool: Titles That Don’t Need Senate Confirmation"

I could have sworn that there was some kind of rule regarding installing people in non-Senate-confirmed positions. Namely, that people in non-confirmed positions had some kind of limitation on their power, e.g.: they could not supervise or have authority over or give orders to career civil servants or something like that. The idea was that non-confirmed positions could give advice and consultations but couldn't actually be in charge (for some definition of "in charge"). Otherwise, this would be a pretty convenient loophole to circumvent Senate confirmation (e.g.: Senate won't confirm your nominee for some position? No prob. Just create a new, non-confirmed position with the exact same powers and install your chosen nominee.)
posted by mhum at 1:37 PM on May 23


"The Administration has proposed terminating funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in FY 2018. Toward this end, the FY 2018 budget requests $42.307 million to begin the orderly closure of the agency." ... "NEH will not invite or accept any new grant applications nor make any new grants, in FY 2018."

On top of every despicable inhumane act these craven ghouls have concocted, they have at long last pretty much gutted the professional lives of those of us trying to make a living in higher education in the Humanities. I await the re-introduction of debtor's prison for those of us who will never be able to make a dent in our student loans.
posted by Heretic at 1:39 PM on May 23 [47 favorites]


Kushner: A puddle of luke-warm mayonnaise, swimming with bacteria, viruses and parasites.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:40 PM on May 23


Otherwise, this would be a pretty convenient loophole to circumvent Senate confirmation (e.g.: Senate won't confirm your nominee for some position? No prob. Just create a new, non-confirmed position with the exact same powers and install your chosen nominee.)

This is literally what Obama did with at least some EPA positions -- when the Republicans stonewalled his pick for EPA assistant administrator for water, the nominee was made deputy assistant administrator for water, which doesn't require Senate confirmation, and since there was no AA at the time he was the highest official at the water office and thus in charge of the whole thing. GOP never raised a fuss about it, which leads me to believe there's no law against it because otherwise somebody would have brought that up.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:43 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


Yeah, definitely nothing fishy here:

(BNA) -- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has refused Federal Election Commission requests to provide more details about $1 million in bank loans that helped finance his original 2012 campaign for the Senate, according to a new memorandum from FEC staff auditors.

Questions about Cruz’s loans were raised in news reports during last year’s presidential campaign, when he was running for the Republican presidential nomination. The questions have never been fully resolved, according to the FEC auditors.
posted by H. Roark at 1:45 PM on May 23 [52 favorites]


There is only one Gorka, a rotting mycelium hidden in some dark, damp cellar that rarely -- and yet too frequently -- sprouts a disgusting fruit sac.

You do not want to see how Kathy v Seb eat.
posted by orange ball at 1:49 PM on May 23 [6 favorites]


Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has refused Federal Election Commission requests to provide more details

I love the way all these law and order types are just fine with disobeying laws they don't like. Hypocritical scumbags.
posted by lumpenprole at 2:02 PM on May 23 [25 favorites]




The Guardian: The only good news about Trump's budget? It's unlikely to pass
So now what? US budgets are always more philosophical tracts than blueprints. The plan will have to fight its way through Congress, where Democrats and more liberal Republicans are already balking at plans to cut holes in a social safety net that has been saving down-on-their-luck Americans from penury and worse since Lyndon Johnson was president. Try selling cuts to Meals on Wheels to constituents already worried about losing Obamacare protections.

The president, meanwhile, is on his first overseas trip and unavailable to push forward the budget’s ambitious agenda – almost as if he, too, thinks the plan is dead in the water.

But the bad taste that this budget will leave in the mouth of America should not be forgotten if and when it gets eviscerated in Congress. What the budget proves is the Trump agenda to make America great again means making it better for the rich and worse for the poor.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:04 PM on May 23 [13 favorites]


Buzzfeed: The UK’s terror threat level has been raised from severe to critical, meaning “an attack is expected imminently”

Please stay safe, folks. And please hope that Donald Trump never makes a comment about the terror level threat to the US.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:06 PM on May 23 [8 favorites]


that mulvaney op/ed makes me feel like i have been thrown through a spatio-temporal vortex and now dwell on bizarro world

in bizarro world, the purpose of elections is to choose those least willing and able to serve for the highest positions of government.

in bizarro world, the purpose of government is to promote the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the few and curtail the liberties of the many.

in bizarro world, all the churches proclaim that mutual respect, understanding, charity are the gravest sins, and avarice, hatred, and ignorance the greatest virtues.

To quote Bizarro himself: "Me go home to Bizarro World where everything backwards. There, losing equal winning."

i am tired of winning.
posted by murphy slaw at 2:07 PM on May 23 [20 favorites]


I like to think Gorka is a postpositive adjective here like in "Attorneys General," so the correct answer is: Islamophobes Gorka

That sounds more like a really bad entree at Trump's restaurant. I do like Erlich's attempt (on Silican Valley) to insist that the plural of "hard on" is "hards on" though it seems more like something Richard would insist on.

I think this is one of those words which is commonly misunderstood and misused by some people.

How do you bunk a conspiracy theory, anyway?
posted by msalt at 2:12 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


Theresa May has also said she's putting the army onto the streets to back up the police, a move which defies my attempts to find a bona fide reason, especially with the election barely two weeks away.

So while my fear of terrorism remains at its normal practically-zero level, my fear of weak leaders trying to look strong is substantially raised. Be sure 45 is watching.
posted by Devonian at 2:15 PM on May 23 [34 favorites]


So Giuliani swears under oath that "In particular I have never served on any Trump administration Commission "relating to the so-called Muslim Ban Executive Orders." I have not participated in writing any of the Executive Orders on that subject issued by the Trump Administration."

However, Giuliani in January:
"I’ll tell you the whole history of it: When he first announced it, he said ‘Muslim ban,'" Giuliani said on Fox News.

"He called me up, he said, ‘Put a commission together, show me the right way to do it legally.’"

Giuliani said he then put together a commission that included lawmakers and expert lawyers.

"And what we did was we focused on, instead of religion, danger," Giuliani said.
And the Trump Administration is refusing to hand over a memo, despite a court order, that Giuliani supposedly wrote on the subject.

I suppose he can argue it wasn't a real formal "commission" and that he didn't actually participate in "writing" the documents, but these statements are pretty damn contradictory.
posted by zachlipton at 2:16 PM on May 23 [21 favorites]


zachlipton Everyone's question now is what is Hannity going to do?

Rant on his radio show that, "I retracted nothing!"
posted by mlis at 2:25 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


The White House justifies its savage budget with a divisive lie
Or let’s take another example: help for those with disabilities. The administration is proposing $72 billion in cuts to disability programs, mostly from Social Security. When asked, Mulvaney said that while there are some people who are legitimately disabled getting that help, there are others who aren’t. But he didn’t discuss any new measures to identify these nefarious swindlers; instead, the White House just wants to cut the entire program. We see this logic at work again and again: White House officials assert that there are some unknown number of people mooching off the system, then use that as a justification for punishing everyone who gets that benefit, including the overwhelming majority of those who get it legitimately.

You’ll notice, however, that Republicans only propose doing that when the people they’re victimizing don’t have enough political power to fight back. Let’s take a counter-example: Medicare. Medicare fraud is an enormous problem; this Government Accountability Office report estimated that we lost $60 billion to it in 2014. So does the Trump administration use that as an excuse for sweeping across-the-board cuts to Medicare benefits? No it doesn’t, because seniors have enormous political power and would never stand for it. People who are poor or disabled, on the other hand, aren’t as organized, so they’re a target.

posted by T.D. Strange at 2:26 PM on May 23 [33 favorites]


I suppose he can argue it wasn't a real formal "commission" and that he didn't actually participate in "writing" the documents, but these statements are pretty damn contradictory.

I'm a little unclear on the timeline of when Giuliani is supposed to have written the memo, and for whom, but: Giuliani doesn't seem to be including the Trump transition team, or the Trump campaign, or Trump-as-an-individual in his denial, on the 'Trump administration.'

Which is interesting, because, turning back the clock, Giuliani in late January 2017:
"I’ll tell you the whole history of it: When he first announced it, he said ‘Muslim ban,'" Giuliani said on Fox News. "He called me up, he said, ‘Put a commission together, show me the right way to do it legally.’" Giuliani said he then put together a commission that included lawmakers and expert lawyers.
'When he first announced it...he called me up.'

Trump first announced his ban plan in 2015. There wasn't, obviously, a Trump administration in 2015. Even allowing for a Giuliani to be stretching the truth as to timing, it seems likely that he was actually talking about events that took place during the campaign, or in the transition period; 'I never worked for the Trump administration and I never sent the Trump administration any memos' leaves open the possibility that Giuliani did work, for free or otherwise, for the Trump campaign or transition team, and did write a memo prior to Jan. 20th 2017.

That may be parsing his language overclosely, but given that the administration has elsewhere been trying hard to try a line between 'Candidate Trump' and 'President Trump,' it's suggestive that Giuliani didn't make any direct statements, here, about Trump-in-general, only about the administration.
posted by cjelli at 2:26 PM on May 23 [8 favorites]


I'm sure he's thinking that there wasn't a Trump Administration before 45 got sworn in, and that he didn't contribute directly to the wording of the EOs.

Which is crappy sophistry, probably not perjury (although I'm open to persuasion from those better versed in the nuances), and won't help him much (quite the opposite) when he comes to testify.
posted by Devonian at 2:27 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Democrats should play the same stupid game and come to the table with their own budget that's as far left as Trump's budget is right.

It's not supposed to pass, he's trying to establish a starting position for negotiations. It's yet another shitty used car sales tactic showing up where it has no business being. It really only works if the other party doesn't understand their own leverage.

When you're buying a car, the customer actually has a LOT of leverage because there are a LOT of cars available so you don't particularly need mine and there is nothing I can do to compel you to buy the car, you have to agree to it. If you have a realistic number that the dealer has to hit for you to agree to buy the car, it doesn't matter what the starting price is.

Salesman VTX: If I can make the numbers work for you will you drive this new car home today?
Customer: Sure!

sVTX: The MSRP on that car is $23,100 but I talked to my manager and got him to knock the price down to $22,950, will that work for you?
Customer: No. I know that the invoice price on that car is $21,354 but you've got a make a little bit of money on the deal so if you can sell it to me for $21,750 I'll buy it right now.
sVTX: Okay, I'll see if I can make that work.
sVTX: We can't quite do that but we could let it go for $22,500?
Cust: $21,750
sVTX: $22,250?
Cust: $21,750
sVTX: $22,125?
Cust: $21,750
sVTX: $21,950?
Cust: $21,750
sVTX: $21,783.57?
Cust: $21,750
sVTX: Okay, $21,750

I made up the numbers but I sold more than one car where the negotiations went just like that. Well, it actually goes a lot faster in real life before because salespeople will get a sense that that is how it will play out and just jump down to $21,750 and save everyone some time.

There is a LOT of bullshit built into the car sales process that is meant to deal with people who don't really know how the system works but THINK they know how to "play the game".

When I go shopping for a car, it's a MUCH different process because I'm up-front with them that I'm a former sales person. There is a bunch of stuff sales people do to help customers get out of their own way, they simply wouldn't bother to try any of that shit with me because they know that I'll know exactly what they're doing.

Trump is supposed to be some master negotiator but the "Art" of his deals are more paint-by-numbers than Picasso. It's shady used car sales 101.

posted by VTX at 2:33 PM on May 23 [40 favorites]


I searched to see if anyone posted this link to a MediaMatters article listing advertisers, both primary and secondary, on Sean Hannity's shows. This is useful for those who support product boycotts and writing to those companies as methods of persuading advertisers to abandon this show.
posted by Silverstone at 2:34 PM on May 23 [9 favorites]




Wasn't the CBO score of the Republican Death Bill supposed to be out by now? When is this going to happen?
posted by Justinian at 2:36 PM on May 23


^ CBO score for the AHCA should be out tomorrow, Justinian.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:38 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


Theresa May has also said she's putting the army onto the streets to back up the police, a move which defies my attempts to find a bona fide reason, especially with the election barely two weeks away.

Things are getting just a little bit too V for Vendetta lately. I do not want anyone "putting the army on the streets" unless there's actually an enemy army mustering on the borders. What is the army supposed to do against, like, two suicide bombers? The answer of course is nothing, that's not why you put the army on the street. Ugh.
posted by Frowner at 2:40 PM on May 23 [51 favorites]


why, it's almost like authoritarians, autocrats, and fascists take advantage of acts of terror to further their goals
posted by entropicamericana at 2:46 PM on May 23 [47 favorites]


The Trump budget process, explained—@DukeStJournal: "Gobsmacking detail told by @PeterWSJ to @juliemason: Mulvaney listed budget cuts to Trump who simply answered "yes" or "no" in Oval Ofc mtg."

I mean, I knew the budget was all Mulvaney, but I didn't realize it was that literally all Mulvaney.

And NBC has a good wrap-up: Donald Trump’s Budget Breaks These 7 Campaign Promises
posted by zachlipton at 2:51 PM on May 23 [41 favorites]


"Gobsmacking detail told by @PeterWSJ to @juliemason: Mulvaney listed budget cuts to Trump who simply answered "yes" or "no" in Oval Ofc mtg."

this is slightly more sophisticated than the method i envisioned, which involved a dart board.
posted by murphy slaw at 3:03 PM on May 23 [8 favorites]


Taking money from someone without an intention to pay it back is not debt. It is theft. This budget makes it clear that we will reverse this larceny.

No, it makes it clear that you will CONTINUE this larceny and ACCELERATE this larceny. This larceny that has been several decades of removing every obstacle standing between the predators and the prey, shackling the prey down and covering them with barbecue sauce.

You got blue shinin' skies
We got the sun in our eyes
And we're goin' blind
We don't want your money
We want mine

posted by delfin at 3:14 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Theresa May has also said she's putting the army onto the streets to back up the police, a move which defies my attempts to find a bona fide reason, especially with the election barely two weeks away.

Given that this election will give the Tories a mandate to do everything from locking down and censoring the Internet to replacing all electoral systems in the UK with first-past-the-post (wiping out minority parties), not to mention legalising the ivory trade, it looks like they've picked up the Manchester attack as their Reichstag Fire.
posted by acb at 3:16 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


Matt Fuller: Treasury Secretary Suggests Trump Opposes Border Adjustment Tax

You almost, emphasis on almost, feel bad for Paul Ryan. The one thing he adores, the most obvious budget policy he ought to agree with Trump, who ran on massive tariffs, about, is the border adjustment tax, and now Trump opposes it.
posted by zachlipton at 3:25 PM on May 23 [6 favorites]


and now Trump opposes it

it would be more accurate to say "and now Trump completely forgot about it, so his subordinates are making up policy on the fly according to their own whim"
posted by murphy slaw at 3:28 PM on May 23 [38 favorites]


why, it's almost like authoritarians, autocrats, and fascists take advantage of acts of terror to further their goals

Terrorists and fascists feed off of each other.
posted by Artw at 3:36 PM on May 23 [24 favorites]


My understanding of the critical threat level is that it is neutral. However, Operation Temperer has been triggered, and that allows up to 5,000 armed forces on the streets, in coordination with the police. So although this is being sold as a suspension of the rule of law, it's actually something pre-planned.

But the important (and on-topic for this thread) thing is that when things are spun as the suspension of the law, that's a large weakening of the rule of law. Keep Calm and Carry On, guys.
posted by ambrosen at 3:39 PM on May 23 [8 favorites]


Michael Cera is 28. I think he might already be too old to portray the 36 year old Kushner. The role requires someone younger and more androgynous.

I dunno, I think they could do something with this idea on the new season of Arrested Development...
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:39 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


So, about that Yad Vashem note. This tweet indicates he just wrote "SO AMAZING" while he added "& will NEVER FORGET" after. And this tweet backs it up.
posted by Sophie1 at 3:48 PM on May 23 [27 favorites]


on the new season of Arrested Development...
George Bluth Sr. was obviously based on The Donald, but the concepts that he could go to prison for his financial crimes and have a son with any scruples were pure fantasy.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:48 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


It's amusing that the name for this scandal is "The Russia Stuff".
posted by chrchr at 3:49 PM on May 23 [6 favorites]


George Bluth Sr. was obviously based on The Donald, but the concepts that he could go to prison for his financial crimes and have a son with any scruples were pure fantasy.

He may have committed a little light... treason.
posted by Justinian at 3:50 PM on May 23 [11 favorites]


he was "normalized" years before his run.

Absolutely. The shit has been building in size for years and those who peddle it have been getting more and more emboldened. I've been posting articles for years that I've had friends react to in shock and disbelief over what Republican and Tea Party politicians have been up to and saying not to mention much of a human history.

Anyone whose paid any attention to the history of Fox News will have seen this normalization.

Still, I'm still just as astounded now as I was then (I well remember the disbelief of some colleagues when I showed them what Fox News was doing of the "What! They can't say that!" variety).

Now that more people are seemingly more aware of this deplorable nonsense, even if not fully understanding its history or depth, perhaps tolerance for this shit will decline but it may be the old story of humans having to hit rock bottom before they can change.
posted by juiceCake at 4:03 PM on May 23 [6 favorites]


Delightful Twitter person (and longest serving Representative John Dingell (D-MI)) is quoted in a National Geographic article about the danger currently facing the Endangered Species Act:
I asked Dingell if he could get the ESA passed today.

“I don’t think I could pass the Lord’s Prayer in that nuthouse,” he told me, referring to Congress. “The ESA was written so that scientific principles would be used to protect species. Science would make the decisions, science would decide the case. Today we have a bunch of antiscience ignoramuses and vicious lying people in Congress. And we’re going to pay a hellacious price.”
posted by lalex at 4:11 PM on May 23 [123 favorites]


^ Dingell is a national treasure, and we're proud to call him Michigan's own. If you don't already follow him on Twitter, I highly recommend it.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:16 PM on May 23 [10 favorites]


So, about that Yad Vashem note. This tweet indicates he just wrote "SO AMAZING" while he added "& will NEVER FORGET" after. And this tweet backs it up.

And it's obvious why. He made his initial comment, and then someone said, "Mr. President, you should say something about, you know, the Holocaust." So he grabs the nearest cliché.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:17 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


So, about that Yad Vashem note. This tweet indicates he just wrote "SO AMAZING" while he added "& will NEVER FORGET" after. And this tweet backs it up.

wait wait wait slow down back it up we got a buried lede here

what in the ever-living fuck is the deal with that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar thing in the second tweet
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:17 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


It's amusing that the name for this scandal is "The Russia Stuff".

Perhaps we should start calling it Russia-lago.
posted by shponglespore at 4:25 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


So, about that Yad Vashem note.

Have a great summer! See you next year!
posted by kirkaracha at 4:25 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


Trump calls Kim Jong Un a ‘madman with nuclear weapons,’ according to transcript of Duterte call: Duterte responded that Kim is “playing with his bombs, his toys” and offered that “his mind is not working well and he just might go crazy one moment.” That prompted Trump to point out that the United States has “a lot of firepower over there,” including “two nuclear submarines” sent by the Pentagon to the region last month.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:27 PM on May 23 [16 favorites]


"Gobsmacking detail told by @PeterWSJ to @juliemason: Mulvaney listed budget cuts to Trump who simply answered "yes" or "no" in Oval Ofc mtg."

this is slightly more sophisticated than the method i envisioned, which involved a dart board.


And you are far more generous than I am because I would have assumed Mulvaney came at him with a pile of ideas and DJT just waved him off saying, "Whatever you want. My show is on. Just make sure I get the biggest tax cut."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:29 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


Trump calls Kim Jong Un a ‘madman with nuclear weapons,'

Trump's Mirror strikes again.
posted by lalex at 4:29 PM on May 23 [25 favorites]


prize bull octorok: "what in the ever-living fuck is the deal with that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar thing in the second tweet"

Trump has the habit of taking critical newspaper or magazine articles (either clipped from a physical copy or printed out), scrawling his comments in sharpie, and sending the marked up articles to the authors. He's been doing this since at least the Graydon Carter, Spy magazine, "short-fingered vulgarian" days.

As for "why Kareem?", well it turns out that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has quietly become a pretty good writer/columnist in his post-NBA career. And he's written critical stuff about Trump. And he's a celebrity in his own right so, naturally, it would come to Trump's attention and demand a response.
posted by mhum at 4:33 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


Now that not merely one, but two, videos of Melania refusing to hold hands with Donald have gotten publicity I confidently predict that for the rest of the trip we will be seeing Donald holding Melania's hand at every stop.
posted by sotonohito at 4:34 PM on May 23 [15 favorites]


As for "why Kareem?", well it turns out that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has quietly become a pretty good writer/columnist in his post-NBA career. And he's written critical stuff about Trump. And he's a celebrity in his own right so, naturally, it would come to Trump's attention and demand a response.

Why isn't The Rock taunting him then? He was impressive on SNL.
posted by msalt at 4:35 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Trump calls Kim Jong Un a ‘madman with nuclear weapons,’ according to transcript of Duterte call:

From same article:
In their call he praised Duterte for doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem.”

“Many countries have the problem, we have the problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that,” Trump said, according to the transcript.
What Duterte's "doing" is killing people. Thousands of extrajudicial killings.
posted by chris24 at 4:36 PM on May 23 [89 favorites]


Now that not merely one, but two, videos of Melania refusing to hold hands with Donald have gotten publicity I confidently predict that for the rest of the trip we will be seeing Donald holding Melania's hand at every stop.

Squeezing the shit out of it painfully, no less.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:36 PM on May 23 [6 favorites]


not to mention legalising the ivory trade

Le- . . . The Fuck?!?
posted by petebest at 4:38 PM on May 23 [19 favorites]


She campaigned for this guy, she gave a speech at the RNC endorsing him, she is complicit.
posted by Justinian at 4:38 PM on May 23 [34 favorites]




And it's obvious why. He made his initial comment, and then someone said, "Mr. President, you should say something about, you know, the Holocaust." So he grabs the nearest cliché.

I think you give him too much credit, actually. I think it was more like, "Sir, you might want to add something. I find that with the Jews, they like to see you say something about 'never forgetting' or whatever."
posted by CommonSense at 4:39 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


As for "why Kareem?", well it turns out that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has quietly become a pretty good writer/columnist in his post-NBA career. And he's written critical stuff about Trump. And he's a celebrity in his own right so, naturally, it would come to Trump's attention and demand a response.

naturally

I mean, I knew he did the writing back to Vanity Fair thing, but...I guess this is like the difference between knowing, as a matter of trivia, that monkeys fling their own shit, and seeing it for yourself splattered on the pavement at the zoo

I'm just gonna do that Looney Tunes thing now where I bonk myself repeatedly on the head with a mallet and stagger off-stage, thx
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:41 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


She campaigned for this guy, she gave a speech at the RNC endorsing him, she is complicit.

She also echoed and defended his birtherism on multiple occasions, attacked the women accusing him of sexual assault, and plagiarized that speech at the RNC from Michelle.

Complicit indeed.
posted by chris24 at 4:42 PM on May 23 [45 favorites]


Le- . . . The Fuck?!?

They've moved the goalposts right on past Batman-bad-guy levels to, like, Captain Planet-type villainy, eh?
posted by tivalasvegas at 4:44 PM on May 23 [13 favorites]


No one is even commenting on the two guys standing behind a pane of glass.

Ballistic glass. Bullet- & bomb-proof. Mythbusters used them a lot.
posted by scalefree at 4:50 PM on May 23


Infowars granted White House press credentials, promptly smears victims of Manchester bombing

I believe that's just a one day pass which are much easier to get.
posted by scalefree at 4:54 PM on May 23


Recode: Republicans want to leave you more voicemail — without ever ringing your cellphone: "It’s part of a push by groups, including the U.S. Chamber, to relax the FCC’s robocalling rules."

It's super hard for me to name a government policy more popular than the Do Not Call list and anti-telemarketing rules, to the extent that everyone just takes it for granted now and forgets how bad it got. While this is a far cry from the "starve children and cut their healthcare" policies in the budget, it's so damn incredibly unpopular. WTF?
posted by zachlipton at 5:07 PM on May 23 [61 favorites]


Why isn't The Rock taunting him then? He was impressive on SNL.

I think you mean why isn't Trump angrily writing about/at Mr. The Rock? That's because it is physically impossible to be angry at Mr. The Rock.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:18 PM on May 23 [9 favorites]


From the voicemail article:
Failing to permit the practice, the RNC warned, could threaten the First Amendment rights of political groups. [real]

The RNC went on to protest the practice of locking doors at private houses, stressing that the Founding Fathers didn't intend for "just anyone to be able to stop a speaker from having an audience." [fake]
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 5:24 PM on May 23 [20 favorites]


I believe that's just a one day pass which are much easier to get.

They were on one day press passes. They got their big boy credentials a day or so ago.
posted by Talez at 5:25 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Here's the full Deterte transcript

I'm still not sure I believe this, but wow. I mean, the Post says "a senior Trump administration official acknowledged that the transcript is accurate," but chunks of this seem like they have to be fake, right?

That said, there's some stuff that rings very Trumpian, like a riff on how our submarines are "the best in the world" (he has a weird submarine obsession, as we've noted before in these threads), a North Korea policy that basically consists of essentially "tell China to deal with it. We have more firepower than North Korea, but we don't want to use it, so 'we are all counting on China,'" and an obsession with the Oval Office:
If you want to come to the Oval Office, I will love to have you in Oval office [sic]. Anytime you want to come. I will be in the Phls in Nov, but anytime if you are in DC or anywhere, come see me in the Oval Office. Work it out with your staff. Seriously, if you want to come over, just let us know.
posted by zachlipton at 5:31 PM on May 23 [14 favorites]


While this is a far cry from the "starve children and cut their healthcare" policies in the budget, it's so damn incredibly unpopular. WTF?

Why would they care about popularity? It's not like they'll be offered a second term. This is the political equivalent of what happens in Goodfellas or The Sopranos when the mob takes over a business: they run it into the ground extracting as much cash as possible as quickly as possible, because they're going to be out of there before the bills are due.

Trump's gang is the Mafia, and the Republicans are the business owner that is just now realising that criminals don't care about business longevity.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:31 PM on May 23 [26 favorites]


I think you mean why isn't Trump angrily writing about/at Mr. The Rock? That's because it is physically impossible to be angry at Mr. The Rock.

Unwise, anyway. I'd love to see Trump get into it with a seriously charming and massive man. Would he flail? Crumble? Pre-emptively offer him Melania?
posted by msalt at 5:34 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


She campaigned for this guy, she gave a speech at the RNC endorsing him, she is complicit.

Yeah, I hold no brief for Melania. I suspect that they have some sad Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?/co-dependent thing going on. That said, at the moment I hate Donnie more than Mel and so I'm happy to cheer on her displays of icy contempt.

(In fact, whenever I see Melania I start humming "a rich old man and she won't have to worry / she'll dress up all in lace and go in style.")
posted by octobersurprise at 5:35 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


We have basically reached a bizarro right-wing nihilistic state where the Republicans are just nakedly doing whatever their corporate masters want, voters be damned. Of course they want to get rid of the Do Not Call list and automatically fill your voicemail with unwanted propaganda, and god knows what else. Everything has devolved into a social experiment at this point to see if Republican voters can overcome 20+ years of Fox News conditioning to vote for their own interests or if they will follow their leaders over a cliff like a pack of lemmings. The Republicans are clearly all-in on the latter.
posted by gatorae at 5:38 PM on May 23 [40 favorites]


Politico/Michael Grunwald: Trump’s Budget Scam: "All presidents fudge the numbers. But this one represents a new level of deception." An excellent takedown of the budget:
Ultimately, the Trump budget reads like a corporate prospectus for a shady widget manufacturer who claims that cutting widget prices will spark a massive surge in widget sales, while also promising major cutbacks in ineffective widget salesmen and unnecessary widget costs. It doesn’t pencil out. And it’s worth understanding the main reasons it doesn’t pencil out, because soon Republicans in Congress will get to use their own pencils.
HuffPo: Trump’s Interior Secretary Took Time To Discuss The Border Wall With A Far-Right Troll
Zinke’s half-hour call with Charles “Chuck” Johnson, the CEO and founder of Gotnews.com, and Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus VR, occurred just after lunch on April 12, according to a recently published log of Zinke’s scheduled meetings last month.

The call’s listed topic of discussion: “Border Wall building plans.”

What knowledge or expertise Johnson and Luckey could bring to such a conversation, and why the man tasked with managing some 500 million acres of federal land would agree to the meeting, is anyone’s guess.

A conservative journalist with serious credibility issues, Johnson is perhaps best known for being banned from Twitter in 2015 after asking for donations to help him “take out” civil rights activist DeRay McKesson. He also unsuccessfully sued Gawker for defamation, seeking $66 million over articles addressing rumors that Johnson defecated on the floor at some point during college.
posted by zachlipton at 5:39 PM on May 23 [17 favorites]


i was about to add "AND POOPED ON THE FLOOR" to your comment but i see it was addressed at the end of your quote
posted by murphy slaw at 5:41 PM on May 23 [15 favorites]


The only reason you bring Chuck Johnson and Palmer Luckey in is if you're workshopping plans for harassing people with dark money.
posted by Yowser at 5:42 PM on May 23 [6 favorites]


...I have had a very interesting idea.

MaterCallipygos is in the tail end of a bout with Lyme disease (she's doing better now, but it was really uncomfortable for a couple years), and has bonded with a neighbor who has it much worse - and now FratriCallipygos seems to be suffering as well.

And this is now MaterCallipygos' hobbyhorse. She's worked Lyme Disease And How Its Research Should Be Better Funded into every conversation we've had since, about, February. She even tucked cans of high-end insect repellant into her Easter Baskets this year. She's starting to get to the point where PaterCallipygos is very gently chiding her to dial it down just a notch, but this is the only time she's been this into something in a long time.

But here's the thing - MaterCallipygos is one of four children, and one of her sisters and one of her brothers are definitely conservative. One brother lives in a red state, to boot. And so the news that Trump's budget includes cutting funding for health research....

Well. If we could find that cutting health research would directly impact the fight on Lyme Disease, I could exploit this habit of my mother's and use it for good. Because you KNOW she would be on the phone to the siblings all "this is YOUR fault that this is getting cut, you better FIX it and call your Congressman!"

MaterCallipygos is pretty conflict-averse, but this has her on a Damn Mission and I want to catch her at the right moment. If anyone has any clips I can send her that connects Trump to Lyme, lemme know and I'll sic her on 'em.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:49 PM on May 23 [33 favorites]


huh, i had only ever heard of palmer lucky in the context of Oculus and didn't realize he was a trumpist jackbag
posted by murphy slaw at 5:49 PM on May 23


Palmer Lucky is an idiot.
posted by valkane at 5:50 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Trump's gang is the Mafia, and the Republicans are the business owner that is just now realising that criminals don't care about business longevity.

I've been watching Fargo Season 3 as well.
posted by juiceCake at 5:51 PM on May 23 [6 favorites]


That prompted Trump to point out that the United States has “a lot of firepower over there,” including “two nuclear submarines” sent by the Pentagon to the region last month.

Is it public knowledge that we have two subs in the region?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:53 PM on May 23 [6 favorites]


well, now it is.
posted by murphy slaw at 5:55 PM on May 23 [65 favorites]


The only reason you bring Chuck Johnson and Palmer Luckey in is if you're workshopping plans for harassing people with dark money

Or because you're a ignorant fuck-up who is dumb enough to put yourself at the beck-and-call of every other ignorant grifting fuck-up. Or because you're both, maybe. "Malice or ignorance" is the eternally unresolved question about this gang.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:55 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Republicans want to leave you more voicemail — without ever ringing your cellphone:

Does this piss you off? Want to take three minutes to help stop it?

Go here to the FCC's docket and click the little "+ Express" link on the left to leave a comment. They've only gotten a handful, so even a few Mefites expressing an anti-voicemail spam position will be beneficial.
posted by zachlipton at 5:57 PM on May 23 [31 favorites]


Malice or ignorance" is the eternally unresolved question about this gang.

Whynotboth.gif
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:58 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


What good are nukes if you can't use them tell everyone all about them?
posted by gatorae at 5:58 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Whynotboth.gif

Indeedy.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:02 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


I've been watching Fargo Season 3 as well.

Me too!
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:12 PM on May 23


I'd also note that his remarks at Yad Vashem appear to come from a completely different universe

...Sadly, that universe was the "Justin Bieber visits the Anne Frank House" 'verse.
posted by TwoStride at 6:15 PM on May 23 [6 favorites]


I've been rewatching Battlestar Galactica and Zarek is such a Stein voter. "Hey, I know humanity has been reduced to a few thousand people and we're on the run from murderous robots, but clearly the real enemy here are the imperfect people trying to save our bacon."
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:20 PM on May 23 [38 favorites]


Here's the full Deterte transcript

My God, words don't do this justice. It is every bit as dumbfuck as you led me to believe and more.

Granted, some of the errors in transcription are probably due to it being a rush job and/or maybe the transcriber not being a native speaker of English and/or just not good at their job. But beyond that, the childlike nature of this entire interaction is utterly — I mean — I have no words.

Two dumb-as-a-motherfucking-fence-post bullies, with a lifetime's worth of insecurities on full display, playing make-believe and pretending to be presidential. Or at least a 7-year-old's idea of presidential.

I don't want to live in this reality.
posted by CommonSense at 6:33 PM on May 23 [16 favorites]


NYT: Trump’s Problematic Math: Budget Plan Adds Growth, but Doesn’t Subtract Cost. In which OMB tries to explain that they haven't double-counted the impacts of their tax cuts, even using fantasy math, but ends up just shooting themselves in the face some more:
The budget office insisted in an email that the $2.1 trillion was in addition to the revenues necessary to offset the cost of the tax cut. The administration, in other words, said that it had previously underestimated the benefits of its own plans.

But Marc Goldwein, a senior policy director at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said that the budget itself showed that this could not be true.

The White House, in a different part of the documents published Tuesday, projected that the increase in growth would produce total revenue of about $2.1 trillion.

The budget itself says that Mr. Trump will not achieve his stated goal of a balanced budget.
More on this in this thread by Nick Timiraos, where he presents two more conflicting answers from OMB: either the tax cuts won't really be paid for with the $2T from growth, or "the details hadn't been sorted out yet and it was premature for the administration to clarify any proposal." So take your pick I guess.
posted by zachlipton at 6:35 PM on May 23 [10 favorites]


i was about to add "AND POOPED ON THE FLOOR" to your comment but i see it was addressed at the end of your quote

He's a home floor pooper
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:35 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


US leak of Manchester attacker's name strikes new blow to intelligence sharing. Naming of Salman Abedi by ‘US officials’ hours before it was announced by UK authorities is latest in series of leaks that may damage credibility with allies.

How long until we are officially frozen out of the international intelligence community?
posted by gatorae at 6:46 PM on May 23 [81 favorites]


He's a home floor pooper
There has to be a twist
posted by The otter lady at 6:48 PM on May 23 [26 favorites]


Naming of Salman Abedi by ‘US officials’ hours before it was announced by UK authorities is latest in series of leaks that may damage credibility with allies.

Well of course we had to leak it right away. Who cares that he was a British citizen, the name reinforces the idea that scary foreign brown Islamic people are coming to blow us up. Why worry about norms of intelligence sharing when there are racist political points to score?
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:50 PM on May 23 [29 favorites]


He's a home floor pooper
There has to be a twist


🎵 A home floor pooper
Takes none-too-subtle shiiiits 🎵
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:56 PM on May 23 [21 favorites]


It's just appalling how they lack any common sense whatsoever. Or even just sense obtained by watching an episode of 24 or Law & Order. Gee, maybe the cops would want to search the bomber's or his associates' homes without the media giving them a giant heads up? JFC. It's so unbelievably stupid that at some point it just becomes literally unbelievable, and I seriously wonder if they aren't actually trying to thwart the cops' ability to prevent a second attack. These people feed off of fear and chaos so it would certainly not surprise me at this point. Evil vs. stupid, yet again.
posted by gatorae at 6:58 PM on May 23 [13 favorites]


Hannity tries to fix his sliding ratings by posting a cryptic tweet about his "future at fox". Everyone will tune in to see if that shitbag is going to cut off his nose to spite his face.
posted by Talez at 7:04 PM on May 23


From the "good news, everyone" column: Trump effect inspires radical Christians in military
posted by Behemoth at 7:06 PM on May 23 [10 favorites]


i was about to add "AND POOPED ON THE FLOOR" to your comment but i see it was addressed at the end of your quote

The boundless knowledge of the hive mind rarely ceases to fill me with a sense of wonder, albeit tempered somewhat by a residue of faint horror.
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:06 PM on May 23 [15 favorites]


How long until we are officially frozen out of the international intelligence community?

Never. However how long until they delay sharing or elide details ...
posted by zippy at 7:13 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


How long until we are officially frozen out of the international intelligence community?

Feeling like that kiiiinda already happened. I heard a 24-year CIA veteran interviewed last week on NPR, I think, saying something like "Trump's weaknesses are the very same ones we try to exploit in foreign governments." We've become nothing other than a tool for foreign influence due to his porosity and vulnerability. Not only are we getting locked out of info, no doubt, but we're probably also being fed a shit-ton of bad intel to test the credulity of the new administration. This isn't good at all. The falcon can't hear the falconer.
posted by Miko at 7:23 PM on May 23 [51 favorites]


While this is a far cry from the "starve children and cut their healthcare" policies in the budget, it's so damn incredibly unpopular. WTF?

jfc. let em do it. just attach an amendment that requires a preface to each msg: "the following is made possible by the Republican Party." could this be the my last 'even'? sure feels like it.
posted by j_curiouser at 7:38 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


At this point, despite the oh-so-careful-pls-dont-sue-us reporting in thew news, it is clear that Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice. And that's based entirely on what we, the public, know! There's obviously more to come. So the question becomes what happens when Mueller comes back saying he would, were Trump not the President, prosecute him for OoJ. Will the Senate refuse to convict? What would that mean for our democracy?

My feelings are "yes" and "it's in big fuckin trouble".
posted by Justinian at 7:40 PM on May 23 [26 favorites]


That clandestine Obama shadow administration? Anyone got the access codes to the Bat Signal?
posted by Devonian at 7:40 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


This thread by Seth Abramson is amazing and says a lot about why we are where we are on the "why isn't Trump in jail yet" question.

tl:dr: big complex federal investigations just take time, this one is huge, already it is blowing up so there's a lot more that's gonna happen. Republicans want you to think it's the end but it's barely started.
posted by emjaybee at 7:43 PM on May 23 [44 favorites]


He's a home floor pooper
There has to be a twist


Even on the Constitution
He will make a mess
His disciples bring him in
And he just drops a Pence
posted by zippy at 7:50 PM on May 23 [8 favorites]


He sits like a statue
Don't need no flusher or bowl
Knows no inhibition
When his intestine's full
posted by spitbull at 7:56 PM on May 23 [9 favorites]


This week's Primary Concerns podcast was a really excellent primer on the ins and outs of the DOJ vis the current investigations. I'm getting kind of burnt-out on Trump-related podcasts tbh (a shameful percentage of subscription list is made up of pods that had intended to shut down in November but then, to everyone's horror, had to keep going and I'm still obsessively rubbernecking, against all of my better judgement) but this one was legit interesting and told me new things.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:00 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Rome protests -- good pics at #RomeResists
posted by spitbull at 8:01 PM on May 23 [12 favorites]


The headline thing under Tucker Carlson's yapping head on TV is vascillating between "The Real Threat: Terrorists or Russia?", "Russia Hysteria", "Liberals Melt Down Over Russia Ties" and "U.S. Can Gain By Cooperating With Russia In Checking Radical Islam." So the FoxNews position seems to be explicitly becoming that election collusion happened but it's perfectly okay, pay no attention to the Russians behind the curtain.
posted by gatorae at 8:26 PM on May 23 [6 favorites]


I don't want to step on Chrysostom's SPECIAL ELECTIONS beat, but we got two Democratic pickups in state legislative races: one in a NH district that went Trump +7 and one in NY that was a Trump +23 district!
posted by zachlipton at 8:34 PM on May 23 [86 favorites]


Oh wow, that Seth Abramson thread linked by emjaybee. Is so good.

And I've been on here as a Mensch apologist (sorry) (heh), but this really strikes me as reasonable and true:

the White House, GOP Congressmen, and far-right trolls like Louise Mensch want you to think it's LATE in the investigation...The goal of the online/offline GOP propaganda machine is to convince you that if there were any "there" to Russiagate we'd know by now...[GOP strategy is to] use the White House and right-wing trolls to *simultaneously* dangerously under-sell AND over-sell the Russia investigation.

posted by witchen at 8:37 PM on May 23 [18 favorites]


That Duterte transcript... Trump is itching to use nuclear weapons. It reminds me of that example of a wandering sentence of his, which if you take out some of the massive digressions, says:
Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT... but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what's going to happen and he was right—who would have thought?)
His uncle explained to him the power of nuclear weapons, "the power of what's going to happen." He's fantasizing about dropping The Bomb, right in public.
posted by longtime_lurker at 8:49 PM on May 23 [13 favorites]


Amazing? A great honor to be here with MY friends?

It reminded me of that time during the primaries, when the vet gave Trump his Purple Heart, and Trump said he always wanted one, but getting it this way was easier.

He has zero situational awareness.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:21 PM on May 23 [10 favorites]


NYT op-ed (David Leonhardt): It’s Time to Worry about Health Care in the Senate
While the rest of the country has been transfixed by Trumpian chaos, members of the Senate have spent the last two weeks talking about taking health insurance from millions of Americans.

There is an alarmingly large chance that they’ll decide to do so. But if they do, they will almost certainly rely on a political sleight of hand to disguise their bill’s damage. Understanding that sleight of hand — and calling attention to it — offers the best hope for defeating the bill.

The effort to take health insurance from the middle class and poor and funnel the savings into tax cuts for the rich is a little like mold. It grows best in the dark.
Bonus tweet: I watched this for 30 minutes... President of Tajikistan prepared for this handshake like Rocky prepared to box Ivan Drago. 💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼 [amazing gif inside]
posted by zachlipton at 9:29 PM on May 23 [73 favorites]


zachlipton: "I don't want to step on Chrysostom's SPECIAL ELECTIONS beat, but we got two Democratic pickups in state legislative races: one in a NH district that went Trump +7 and one in NY that was a Trump +23 district!"

Sorry, I'm in San Diego this week and was a little behind.

Yes, this is great, especially the NY one.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:31 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Sean Hannity is backing down on Seth Rich "at this time," after initially saying "I'm not Fox News, I'm going to keep going!" even after Fox retracted the story.

“I totally completely understand how upset… how hard this is on this family, especially over the recent coverage of Seth’s death,” Hannity said, adding that he had reached out personally to the Rich family to offer his condolences. “Out of respect for the family’s wishes, I am not discussing this matter at this time.
posted by msalt at 9:32 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


He has zero situational awareness.

One of the traditional ways to obtain a Purple Heart, I understand.
posted by jaduncan at 9:34 PM on May 23 [17 favorites]


So here's an uncomfortable thought: are impeachment trials in the Senate bound by the same Constitutional protection from double jeopardy as everything else? One would think so, right?

- Republicans start seeing their poll numbers tank. They get more and more nervous as 2018 closes in.
- The investigation totally isn't done, but "Fuck it, let's do it now while we have all the votes."
- House votes to impeach. The Senate holds a trial with premature evidence.
- "Gosh, none of this looks like obstruction of justice or treason to me. Vote to acquit."
- "Hey, maybe we could've had a more thorough investigation, but gosh, the media and then the public just pushed us so hard we had to act. Shrug emoji!"

Probably me just being paranoid. Honestly I feel like writing it out makes it less likely to happen 'cause there's no way I could predict the way this plays out on a comment thread on Metafilter on a random Tuesday night... right?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:35 PM on May 23 [9 favorites]


Omg, the gif linked by zacklipton above is deeply satisfying. I don't even know why, I should be embarrassed by whom America has chosen to interface with the world, and so seeing 45 being obviously emasculated by a leader of another country, and yet, I watched it over and over, giggling every time Emomali Rahmon refused to be yanked around, and instead pulled 45.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:45 PM on May 23 [14 favorites]


Impeachment is a political process, double jeopardy does not apply.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:48 PM on May 23 [12 favorites]


Was going to say what Chrysotom said. Double jeopardy is for criminal charges, impeachment and removal from office are powers of Congress not dependent on judicial findings of criminality (hence why if Nixon had pardoned himself it wouldn't have protected him from impeachment).
posted by biogeo at 9:53 PM on May 23 [6 favorites]


my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT...

Good grief. I've had the displeasure of participating in too many "we don't trust you scientists" meetings where the other side brings in some charlatan (who might have been granted a "PhD" from "somewhere" qv Gorka) or some blowhard with just (a) BS. They're typically overly self inflated and they spend SO MUCH TIME touting their bona fides and telling personal success stories.

In my experience, the more someone with a purported academic background insists that you call them Doctor and refer to the initials after their surname, the less competent they end up being (not to mention, the outright frauds).
posted by porpoise at 9:59 PM on May 23 [10 favorites]


John Trump seems to have been a pretty bright guy. It's 45 who is emphasizing the Dr bit.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:04 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


He has zero situational awareness.

One of the traditional ways to obtain a Purple Heart, I understand.


ಠ_ಠ Often you get shot even when you're fully aware of the situation.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:18 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


ಠ_ಠ Sometimes you get shot even when you're aware of the situation.

I'm aware, I have some level of experience of the situation in question. For the record, this is on the low end of tasteless military jokes.
posted by jaduncan at 10:25 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Ah, sorry. I'm not sure why I reacted so strongly. Bedtime.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:41 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]




Guardian: Hiding in plain sight: how the 'alt-right' is weaponizing irony to spread fascism
Until recently, it would have been hard to imagine the combination of street violence meeting internet memes. But experts say that the “alt-right” have stormed mainstream consciousness by weaponizing irony, and by using humour and ambiguity as tactics to wrong-foot their opponents.

Last week, the Data & Society Institute released a report (pdf) on the online disinformation and manipulation that is increasingly shaping US politics. The report focused on the way in which far-right actors “spread white supremacist thought, Islamophobia, and misogyny through irony and knowledge of internet culture”.

One the report’s authors, Dr Alice Marwick, says that fascist tropes first merged with irony in the murkier corners of the internet before being adopted by the “alt-right” as a tool. For the new far-right movement, “irony has a strategic function. It allows people to disclaim a real commitment to far-right ideas while still espousing them.”
Emphasis mine.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:53 PM on May 23 [39 favorites]


"Hey, maybe we could've had a more thorough investigation, but gosh, the media and then the public just pushed us so hard we had to act. Shrug emoji!"

I can't see this happening. The only thing worse for the GOP than having Trump hanging around their necks, is to have Trump's acquittal hanging around their necks. An acquittal will be easily and often blamed on Republicans, and they'll have to carry his dead weight into 2018 & 2020.

Of course, considering how weird and illogical this timeline is, your prediction will come to pass and Trump will go on to win re-election.
posted by honestcoyote at 10:59 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


WaPo: Trump advisers call for privatizing some public assets to build new infrastructure
The Trump administration, determined to overhaul and modernize the nation’s infrastructure, is drafting plans to privatize some public assets such as airports, bridges, highway rest stops and other facilities, according to top officials and advisers.

In his proposed budget released Tuesday, President Trump called for spending $200 billion over 10 years to “incentivize” private, state and local spending on infrastructure.

Trump advisers said that to entice state and local governments to sell some of their assets, the administration is considering paying them a bonus. The proceeds of the sales would then go to other infrastructure projects. Australia has pursued a similar policy, which it calls “asset recycling,” prompting the 99-year lease of a state-owned electrical grid to pay for improvements to the Sydney Metro, among other projects.
Hope you all like toll roads! Also hope you like Trump's developer buddies running the committee that says to sell off the nation's infrastructure to developers.
posted by zachlipton at 10:59 PM on May 23 [33 favorites]


Hope you all like toll roads!

Ooh! Ooh! My dad's a Trump supporter AND he hates toll roads more than anything!
Surely, this...
posted by greermahoney at 11:06 PM on May 23 [22 favorites]


Nothing in the entire history of things being privatized has ever been better from it.
posted by Artw at 11:08 PM on May 23 [76 favorites]


Privatization is the government version of a reverse mortgage.
posted by benzenedream at 11:12 PM on May 23 [53 favorites]


Heh, that Blackmon article has a summary of the horror that makes me feel like I've been transported into a Nelson DeMille novel.
"No, this is an investigation about one thing: the now-undeniable fact that a Russian espionage conspiracy accomplished an objective that has never previously occurred in American history — compromising the highest levels of US government, penetrating the White House, establishing influence and leverage over the president’s national security adviser and planting false information with the vice president of the United States — who then, wittingly or unwittingly, repeated those fictions to the American people."
posted by xyzzy at 11:13 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


God, the pope looks uncomfortable
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:54 PM on May 23 [13 favorites]




Somehow fittingly, while the Obamas are currently in Tuscany, guests of the former ambassador to Italy, Trump is staying at the ambassador's residence in Rome absent a current ambassador.
posted by progosk at 12:20 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]


I'm not religious and don't believe in things like "the antichrist", but you'd kinda think the pope would and if I were him I'd be thinking "I'm in the presence of the greatest force of evil in the world (however banal). Is this the antichrist himself?"
posted by maxwelton at 12:21 AM on May 24 [18 favorites]


The pope did not say anything. He did not smile.

Not being blessed with the memory of a goldfish Trump possesses, the Pope likely still remembers Trump's remarks about him (from the same Twitter thread... sorry, I don't grok the tweet-linking thing).
posted by Rykey at 12:27 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]


After seeing the grim Pope, I think I can predict what photo Pete Souza will post today.
posted by honestcoyote at 12:32 AM on May 24 [15 favorites]


As Artw said, privatisation typically makes things worse. But the so-called "asset recycling" program in Australia is even worse than regular privatisation because it provides a way to funnel tax revenue directly into the pockets of large investors.

Under the terms of the program, an Australian State can nominate assets to be sold, with the proceeds to be directed into other infrastructure projects. That's already problematic imo, because governments have a tendency to treat maintenance as a capital item rather than a cost: instead of raising taxes for repair and maintenance (which pleases and excites precisely nobody) they would rather sell an old asset and buy a new one, which makes people excited and gets politicians' photos in the paper.

Australia's incentive system makes this worse, though, because States participating in this program get an incentive bonus payment of 15% from the Federal government. The money nominally goes to the State, but like all incentives it's meant to encourage behaviour that wouldn't happen otherwise. The usual reason why the State wouldn't sell the asset otherwise is that it's either intrinsically a stupid idea or they're not being offered enough to make it worthwhile. So the incentive payment comes from Federal taxpayers and it persuades the State government to sell assets cheaply to a large investment firm, which is the one that gets the benefit of the low price. It's effectively a transfer from taxpayers to investors and I am not at all astonished that the current administration thinks it's a great idea.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:54 AM on May 24 [21 favorites]


This AP photo with the Pope is jaw-dropping.

"Vatican Gothic" is the current winner of the caption contest
posted by zachlipton at 1:25 AM on May 24 [65 favorites]


Interesting that Ivanka and Melania covered their heads at the Vatican but not anywhere else on the trip.
posted by Biblio at 1:41 AM on May 24 [29 favorites]


Ivanka has a tichel, Melania has a tichel, even the Pope has a yarmulke. Spot the shaygetz in the room.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:41 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


[Curb Your Enthusiasm Theme]
posted by rhizome at 1:45 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]


Is there a Catholic religious requirement for women to cover their heads when in the presence of the Pope? Would it still apply to Ivanka who is an Orthodox Jew?
posted by PenDevil at 1:46 AM on May 24


Interesting that Ivanka and Melania covered their heads at the Vatican but not anywhere else on the trip.

Seems to be SOP for women in the Vatican, that.
posted by progosk at 1:47 AM on May 24


Michelle Obama covered her hair at the Vatican in 2009, but not when the Pope came to DC.

Anyway, it's too bad the trip wasn't next week, in time for the Jewish holiday of Shavout, so Netanyahu could ask Trump to say "Gut Yontiff, Pontiff!" [joke, how one wishes the Pope a happy holiday in Yiddish]
posted by zachlipton at 1:52 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


Seems to be SOP for women in the Vatican, that.

Actually, apparently "traditional protocol that is no longer always observed by all female dignitaries visiting the Vatican."
posted by progosk at 2:24 AM on May 24


it's traditional for catholic women to cover their hair while in church - in fact, my grandmother used to wear a veil in church as well
posted by pyramid termite at 2:39 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


When I was at the Vatican you did see some women covering their hair but really all they require is not to show up in shorts and a tank top or something.

Of course visiting dignitaries should go the extra mile.
posted by Justinian at 3:12 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


If trump shows up wearing a tube top and booty shorts, I'm out.
posted by maxwelton at 3:15 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]


They say you can tell sociopaths by their eyes. In that photo, Trump just looks like a narcissist. Ivanka looks like she's straight up about to eat someone for dinner.
posted by Yowser at 3:33 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]


The requirement for women to cover their hair in Catholic church went out in the 1960s with Vatican II. In Italy generally the expectations for dress in churches is fairly strict. The Vatican has dress requirements including no shorts or exposed shoulders for women (Also presumably men as well. The shorts rule is universal.) Head coverings aren't required or expected for normal visitors. I have no idea about actually meeting the pope though. I imagine it's a throwback to pre-Vatican II norms showing respect rather than any hard and fast rule.

(My source being Catholic school education, time spent in Italy and the Vatican, my Italian great-aunt dragging me to mass and church after church in August when it was incredibly hot and I couldn't wear shorts.)
posted by threeturtles at 3:46 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


Women wearing black and mantillas was the traditional protocol for an audience with the Pope, with Catholic monarchy allowed to wear white ( privilege du blanc). Back in 1997, Irish President Mary Robinson got some flack locally for wearing green and no head covering when she met the Pope. According to Wikipedia "The Vatican subsequently pointed out that the traditional form of dress worn for papal audiences was no longer obligatory".
posted by Azara at 3:57 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


Interesting that Ivanka and Melania covered their heads at the Vatican but not anywhere else on the trip.

Ivanka wore a hat (well, a fascinator) at the Western Wall.
posted by Mchelly at 4:05 AM on May 24


Nothing in the entire history of things being privatized has ever been better from it.

Untrue. It's a double edged sword. Monopolies are shit things to privatize. Multiple competitive entities that can provide retail rates on the other hand are great.

So for instance if you want to privatize electricity and benefit from competition without a monopoly you keep the poles and wires in government hands, you privatize generation, and you privatize the retail. The problem is the state governments are bought and paid for in a lot of states so they've privatized whole monopolies lock, stock, and barrel which has often been for the worse.
posted by Talez at 4:09 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]


Like Australia's NBN. The government owns the single copy of the last mile, everyone else competes from the points of interconnect onwards.
posted by Talez at 4:10 AM on May 24


We were discussing an essay that Douglas Blackmon had posted only on his Facebook page fairly extensively at the end of the last election longboat thread and that some of us found invigorating. (Blackmon is a Pulitzer winning investigative journalist, this ain't Fake News on Twitter). He has now published a revision of that esssay on a public site (BillMoyers.com) here:

'RussiaGate’ Has Become a Catastrophic Failure of Leadership — and a Debacle From Which the Trump Presidency Will Not Recover.

It remains worth reading if you haven't yet. It builds off of his interviews (with Lizza) of Sally Yates, whom Blackmon has known for many years.

Conclusion:
There also is no certainty yet that President Trump will be either impeached or choose to resign. But those possibilities, which 14 days ago were almost unimaginable to any informed and fair-minded observer, are now very real. Even if President Trump is able to remain in office through the end of next year, he will have been long abandoned by most serious conservatives in Congress, as the jeopardy of continued association with him becomes clear. Within a few months — and possibly in just weeks — most GOP elected officials will have acknowledged, at least privately, that Donald Trump has become the Republican Party’s greatest liability. No presidency can overcome that.

The collapse of this administration may or may not be swift.

But it is inevitable.
posted by spitbull at 4:11 AM on May 24 [25 favorites]


The collapse of this administration may or may not be swift.

But it is inevitable.


Listen, I'm all on board with the sentiment, I really am. But I was also onboard when it was Iran-Contra, and the Savings and Loan business. And the 2nd Iraq War shenanigans and the disclosure of Valeri Plame.

So, I'll believe it when I see it. I really do want to see it but ... I doubt.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:22 AM on May 24 [39 favorites]


Pope Francis apparently loves potica, a Slovenian cake. Melania doesn't quite get his quip, and thinks he asked if she makes her husband "pizza" - which Donald promptly confirms.
posted by progosk at 4:33 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


I know it was two days ago but did your elected President just start World War III as they gazed past there crystal ball.
Not much attention was paid to what Salman of Saudi Arabia actually said
Iran has rejected initiatives of good neighborhood provided by our countries based on good faith. Iran replaced these initiatives with expansionist ambitions, criminal practices, interferences in the internal affairs of other countries, flagrant violations of the international law, and violations of the principles of good-neighborliness, coexistence and mutual respect.
Salman just roped Donald Trump, and the United States, into taking their side in the ‘Holy War Against Shia’ ― something that has been going on for, oh, 1500 years or so.
posted by adamvasco at 4:33 AM on May 24 [16 favorites]


NY's 9th Assembly District Flips To Democrats; Pellegrino Defeats Gargiulo. Donald Trump won the Long Island district by 23 points.

Just a small data point but nice to see and maybe the start of a wave.
posted by octothorpe at 4:36 AM on May 24 [30 favorites]


believe it when I see it

We went through a round of this in the last thread. Blackmon isn't making some optimistic case for hope. He's a hard headed journalist (who has know Sally Yates 25 years and just spent six hours talking to her) laying out an empirical case based on facts for a trajectory to the story. Worth actually reading before hot-taking on it. His big point is that regardless of "collusion" we already know plenty and it's all bad for Trump.

Lawfare/Brookings Institute lawbro Ben Wittes has also just given an interview to CNN that's a bit more on the projection/ wishful-thinking side, but in this case from a longtime friend of James Comey. (Leinz Vales is the reporter):

"Trump Should Be Scared, Says Comey Friend."


In general I wish we could examine the need all of us sometimes express to manage our anxiety and anger about where this is all leading by framing it as a contest between optimism and pessimism. I know I use both affects to manage my anxiety. But if we've got a major journalist or a major legal scholar opining about facts and basing that opinion on deep knowledge of law and history and principal players, I think it's fair to assume they aren't going to spin pollyannish tales of sunny prediction like some rabble rouser propagandist (cough mensch cough patribotics cough ). Blackmon is downright cynical as a rule.

I get it... reading something that gives me hope this is coming crashing down soon is always immediately offset by a protective "I'll believe it when I see it," and we are all dealing with shock and anxiety. But this is to accept the media and right wing frame. This is now a matter of law as well as politics. It is a struggle FOR the rule of law. Optimism of the will, pessimism of the spirit, if you will.
posted by spitbull at 4:36 AM on May 24 [33 favorites]


I wished America good luck on their upcoming war with Iran after the way they got played, in the last thread.
Saudi Arabia completely bamboozled Trump re:Shia . He's a cruel man who's going to get a lot of people killed if he isn't stopped soon.
posted by Yowser at 4:37 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Shorter rant: I will fight for it until I see it. Pass the (intellectual) ammunition.
posted by spitbull at 4:41 AM on May 24 [7 favorites]


Pope Francis apparently loves potica, a Slovenian cake. Melania doesn't quite get his quip, and thinks he asked if she makes her husband "pizza" - which Donald promptly confirms yt .
posted by progosk at 4:33 AM on May 24 [+] [!]


Oh hey this came up on Bake-Off! Where, by coincidence, another Mel made the same "pizza" comparison.

Ok, back to scary/real news.
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 4:42 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Melania probably calculated the "let them eat cake" imagery and purposely "misheard" that as pizza. People seem to think she's sharper than she acts. Everyone knows Marie Antoinette isn't a good look when you're with the pope.
posted by spitbull at 4:44 AM on May 24


NY's 9th Assembly District Flips To Democrats; Pellegrino Defeats Gargiulo. Donald Trump won the Long Island district by 23 points.

Just a small data point but nice to see and maybe the start of a wave.


Wow, yeah, that is tiny, but great news. That's not my district, but mine abuts it, and ... I would not expect it to vote Democratic. Ever.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:51 AM on May 24 [19 favorites]


But it is inevitable.

I mean I give it a fighting chance but the GOP controls all branches off goverment and has no incentive to get rid of him ....on the other hand they can't railroad through all their evil legislation despite controlling all three branches of goverment cause the administration is so fucking stupid and inept.

There's a decent argument that the less effective they are at actually doing things thenless harm they can do. A system that creates Donald Trump is a broken system but broken systems don't inevitably fail.
posted by The Whelk at 4:55 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Saudi Arabia completely bamboozled Trump re:Shia . He's a cruel man who's going to get a lot of people killed if he isn't stopped soon.

But Trump leads to a weaker, stupider America, and that means we're less of a threat to the rest of the world!

Or maybe my accelerationist 'friends' lied to me about that one, too.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 4:59 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Trump retains outside lawyer Marc Kasowitz

"A potential complication for Kasowitz is that former senator Joseph I. Lieberman, among Trump’s leading candidates to head the FBI, is currently a senior counsel at his firm."

Another interesting tidbit from the same article:
"The White House did not respond this week to requests for comment about how Trump would pay for his outside legal team, the cost of which cannot be covered by the federal government. But campaign finance lawyers said Trump could probably draw funds from his reelection committee to cover legal expenses related to the Russia inquiries, including money donated this year."

Good thing he already started fundraising, I guess. I hope paying his lawyers drains his coffers and he has no money to run again (if he gets that far).
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 5:00 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]


Back when the president was Bush Jr., I was just a lurker here on the blue, but I began working as a journalist and meeting a lot of people who were into foreign policy, I even went to visit the US State Department.
And after a while, I realized that I knew a lot more about what was going on than even very high up officials here, and certainly more than most people at my paper. Just from reading MetaFilter (and of course all the links posted). That was shocking to me, I'd thought that people in charge and the editorial writers were better informed. In a way, I've been semi-depressed since then.
What I want to say is, that when we get impatient and/or run out of evens and surely this's, remember that most people, even most smart wonks are not that aware of what is going on. It takes time to distribute all the information to all the relevant people, and for some, there are significant mental firewalls against that information. I'm not just talking about right wing politicians and publicists. A lot of sane, thoughtful and liberal people I know find it hard to accept the level of competence of the Trump administration. They can't accept the US is ruled by a bunch of corrupt crooks who are also ignorant of almost everything, because that knowledge breaks their core beliefs.
In other words — give this some time, and pray nothing really bad happens in the meanwhile.
posted by mumimor at 5:02 AM on May 24 [81 favorites]


I give it a fighting chance but the GOP controls all branches off goverment

I almost regret using a pull quote from the conclusion of the Blackmon article. "Inevitability" isn't the point or a reason to relax. It is inevitable that Donald Trump will leave office someday. But only the very privileged or the very oppressed can really ignore the intervening effort required to make the "inevitable" happen sooner and with less damage. Blackmon wasn't saying "don't worry."
posted by spitbull at 5:03 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


But the bad taste that this budget will leave in the mouth of America should not be forgotten if and when it gets eviscerated in Congress. What the budget proves is the Trump agenda to make America great again means making it better for the rich and worse for the poor everyone else.


Edited for accuracy. We should all be careful about buying into the Republican "rich-versus-poor" framing, as it carries and reinforces their odious implication that the poor are somehow deserving of their lot -- lazy, shiftless, etc. Republicans sell their cuts as affecting only those people, but in truth they make America worse, and life more difficult, for everyone who isn't a multi-millionaire.

I hope this overreach prompts a Proposition 13-style tax revolt, only it's against transferring even more of the nation's wealth to the ultra-wealthy and clawing back the fruits of America's prosperity for everyone's benefit.
posted by Gelatin at 5:05 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]


A pithy reframing....

Trumpfilter: "surely this" vs. "we're all gonna die"

The whipsawing between these is exhausting, almost like someone somewhere intended that to be the effect. Steady on, keep calm, and fuck Joe Lieberman.
posted by spitbull at 5:08 AM on May 24 [17 favorites]


Cuts to AIDS Treatment Programs Could Cost a Million Lives: The United States currently spends more than $6 billion annually on programs that buy antiretroviral drugs for about 11.5 million people worldwide who are infected with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS. The Trump administration has proposed slashing those programs by at least $1.1 billion — nearly a fifth of their current funding, said Jen Kates, a vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:15 AM on May 24 [17 favorites]


NY's 9th Assembly District Flips To Democrats; Pellegrino Defeats Gargiulo. Donald Trump won the Long Island district by 23 points.

Also to amend my previous comment: this assembly district is part of noted racist shitbag and general garbage skinsuit, Pete King's, congressional district. I still think there are way too many people in the districts whose fear of brown people short circuits literally every other thought in their minds, but this is a mild glimmer of hope.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:24 AM on May 24 [14 favorites]


We should all be careful about buying into the Republican "rich-versus-poor" framing

I couldn't agree more. Everything this administration is doing is going to hurt everyone who is not wealthy in some if not multiple ways. This isn't a war on the poor, it's a war on everyone not rich. This is how we need to be framing conversations. Just the budget alone -- If a budget is a moral document, then this budget is intent on killing the poor and replacing them with the middle class.

posted by archimago at 5:29 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


The Republicans want to kill everyone, middle class included.
posted by Artw at 5:33 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]


Even if President Trump is able to remain in office through the end of next year, he will have been long abandoned by most serious conservatives in Congress, as the jeopardy of continued association with him becomes clear.

I think it is more likely that this is where 'more serious' conservatives discover that they don't exist.
posted by srboisvert at 5:41 AM on May 24 [12 favorites]


I don't want to step on Chrysostom's SPECIAL ELECTIONS beat, but we got two Democratic pickups in state legislative races: one in a NH district that went Trump +7 and one in NY that was a Trump +23 district!

I hope Republicans everywhere are looking at these numbers and trembling.

Unlike the so-called Tea Party, there's no big corporate organizing money behind the genuine disgust loyal Americans feel for this administration and the party that enables the entire sleazy show.
posted by Gelatin at 5:44 AM on May 24 [12 favorites]


And after a while, I realized that I knew a lot more about what was going on than even very high up officials here, and certainly more than most people at my paper. Just from reading MetaFilter (and of course all the links posted). That was shocking to me, I'd thought that people in charge and the editorial writers were better informed. In a way, I've been semi-depressed since then.

The realization that:

Metafilter: Infinite Fun Space

isn't a joke can come hard to some.
posted by mikelieman at 5:45 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


Nothing in the entire history of things being privatized has ever been better from it.

Untrue. It's a double edged sword. Monopolies are shit things to privatize. Multiple competitive entities that can provide retail rates on the other hand are great.


Even monopolies can benefit from privatization if you break the monopolies up and regulate the market. Telecoms being the best example. If you think your phone service is expensive now you need to travel back in time to when it was a genuine monopoly and making a phone call of about twenty miles was long distance and would cost you $5 for a couple of minutes.

The problem right now is that the regulators have stopped regulating as much and now new monopolies and cartels are being allowed to form in those industries.
posted by srboisvert at 5:46 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]


The Republicans want to kill everyone, middle class included.

There is no "middle class" to them. There's them. And, let's call everyone else, "The Help", for politeness' sake.
posted by mikelieman at 5:47 AM on May 24 [16 favorites]


YT video of Tajikistan President out-Trumping Trump on the handshake

&%#*! Twitter, there's an exciting new thing called HTML5 you'd love it! *call me*
posted by petebest at 5:48 AM on May 24 [13 favorites]


Even monopolies can benefit from privatization if you break the monopolies up and regulate the market. Telecoms being the best example. If you think your phone service is expensive now you need to travel back in time to when it was a genuine monopoly and making a phone call of about twenty miles was long distance and would cost you $5 for a couple of minutes.

Really did depend on where they drew the lines, but yeah, each call cost more but service was great and you know, being able to drop a dime into a payphone WHEREVER YOU WERE was kinda cool.
posted by mikelieman at 5:49 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


Salman just roped Donald Trump, and the United States, into taking their side in the ‘Holy War Against Shia’

Oh that! Ha ha, no - no, I see the confusion though, yes. Yes we once thought he "meant things" when his mouth moved and sounds would come out of it. But, no, he's just there to see what he'll win. Maybe another medal!
posted by petebest at 5:55 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]


When I was at the Vatican... all they require is not to show up in shorts and a tank top or something.

Things will be different when I'm pope, is all I'm saying.
posted by rokusan at 5:59 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]




President's team has hit the restart button on the search for a new FBI Director

Read: Someone realized that Lieberman wasn't popular with the democrats either and wouldn't win any support.
posted by Twain Device at 6:07 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]


Remember when I said "We're fucked" should Donald J Trump run for the Office of President of the United States of America?

Because I sure do.

Oh, to go back to the heady days when we were worried about Sarah Palin...

Such halcyon days of innocence...
posted by PROD_TPSL at 6:15 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]


President's team has hit the restart button on the search for a new FBI Director

Read: Someone realized that Lieberman wasn't popular with the democrats either and wouldn't win any support.


Doubtful, as that hasn't stopped them before. It's more likely that it's because Trump has now lawyered up with a partner at Lieberman's firm over the Russia fracas.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:17 AM on May 24 [9 favorites]


Possibly them lawyering up further with Lieberman's firm for the Russia thing was a straw on the camels back as well.
posted by Artw at 6:18 AM on May 24


That photo of the Trumps with the Pope is telling me that there is an even longer cut of David Lynch's Dune and we're all extras.
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:18 AM on May 24 [45 favorites]


Everyone but Donald looks fucking miserable.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:19 AM on May 24 [11 favorites]


He looks miserable, too -- he's grinning with his mouth and scowling with the rest of it.
posted by theredpen at 6:21 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


There also is no certainty yet that President Trump will be either impeached or choose to resign. But those possibilities, which 14 days ago were almost unimaginable to any informed and fair-minded observer,

TIL that I am not informed and/or fair-minded.
posted by amarynth at 6:21 AM on May 24 [15 favorites]


I know I am.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:22 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


The pope seemed accutely conscious of trump's inner deficits. Good suggestion to Melania to make the fucknut eat better, though.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:26 AM on May 24


on the other hand they can't railroad through all their evil legislation despite controlling all three branches of goverment cause the administration is so fucking stupid and inept.

Save some of that sauce for the GOP Congress.
posted by Mental Wimp at 6:30 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


That photo of the Trumps with the Pope is telling me that there is an even longer cut of David Lynch's Dune and we're all extras.

A million favorites are not enough for Rust Moranis!
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 6:31 AM on May 24 [9 favorites]


Bloomberg:
Trump's Budget Is a Waste of Everybody's Time
Budgets are often dead on arrival, but this one is something new.
Trump’s budget has been almost universally called dead on arrival. That may be an understatement. This plan, if you can call it that, was never capable of life. White House budgets are often set aside, yet still can guide deliberations in Congress, where tax and spending decisions actually get made. This budget serves no such purpose. It is simply an extended tweet, and a waste of everybody’s time.
posted by murphy slaw at 6:32 AM on May 24 [37 favorites]


New GOP fear: nine months of failure: Republican leaders are coming to the bleak conclusion they will end summer and begin the fall with ZERO significant legislative accomplishments. Privately, they realize it's political malpractice to blow at least the the first nine of months of all Republican rule, but also realize there's little they can do to avoid the dismal outcome.

In fact, they see the next four months as MORE troublesome than the first four. They're facing terrible budget choices and headlines, the painful effort to re-work the health care Rubik's Cube in the House (presuming it makes it out of the Senate), a series of special-election scares (or losses) — all with scandal-mania as the backdrop.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:40 AM on May 24 [42 favorites]


This AP photo with the Pope is jaw-dropping.

"Vatican Gothic" is the current winner of the caption contest


Gosh, it is, even without the comparisons all over Facebook of the pontiff smiling and laughing with Obama. A smart man, the pope knows full well he is posing for an official photo with Trump, and doubtless is making with the Great Stone Face deliberately. Worth a thousand words, indeed.

And this picture is the best result they could get. Remarkable.
posted by Gelatin at 6:41 AM on May 24 [18 favorites]


Politico: How Trump killed political mudslinging - "The two candidates in Montana's special election are getting pounded by negative ads and oppo research, but voters seem numb to it."
In Montana’s upcoming special election, Republican Greg Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist are getting pounded on the airwaves and in the local papers. Democrats paint Gianforte as an out-of-touch plutocrat with financial ties to Russia and ISIS. Republicans frame Quist, a musician, as a tax-dodging pothead who’s skipped out on his debts and performed at a nudist resort.

Yet political pros from Kalispell to Washington, D.C. are amazed that so little of the mud seems to be sticking.

Now some are wondering if it’s the new normal after a bitter 2016 presidential election campaign marked by an avalanche of attacks and sensational revelations against Donald Trump that once would have doomed candidates to defeat.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:42 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


And this picture is the best result they could get. Remarkable.

I am honestly curious if there are not better photos. If there are not then it is indeed remarkable.
posted by winna at 6:44 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: simply an extended tweet, and a waste of everybody’s time
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:48 AM on May 24 [12 favorites]


God, the pope looks uncomfortable

"And when you’re a president they let you do it. Grab them by the pontiff. You can do anything."
posted by kirkaracha at 6:48 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]


Axios: Trump's budget has a huge math mistake

not a whole lot new here but notable for this amazing mulvaney quote:
"We did [the double count] on purpose... I'm aware of the criticisms and would simply come back and say there's other places where we were probably overly conservative in our accounting. We stand by the numbers."
our numbers are bullshit, and we stand by them.
posted by murphy slaw at 6:49 AM on May 24 [54 favorites]


I went to look at the AP photos.

This is the most cheerful one with this one the next most.

But by and large they look like this and this and my favorite, which is this.
posted by winna at 6:51 AM on May 24 [12 favorites]


Don't accuse us of incompetence! We did TERRIBLE THING on purpose, fuckers!

<-- motto of this administration
posted by lydhre at 6:52 AM on May 24 [13 favorites]


YOU'RE the incompetent, malevolent administration!
posted by petebest at 6:55 AM on May 24 [7 favorites]


Awaiting "we colluded with Russia on purpose and it was good!" as the next GOP spin.
posted by Artw at 6:55 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


It's still pretty traditional for WIVES of heads of state to wear black and head coverings the first time they have a Papal audience at the Vatican (they tend to skip it subsequently). Female heads of state generally don't, it's somewhat inappropriate given that there are certain undertones of submission to a theological authority in that traditional dress. (Obviously it's not required anymore of anybody, and those connotations are officially gone, but they unofficially linger.)

Anyway, Melania looks fine, but Ivanka is in the wrong KIND of veil, she looks like she's on her way to the world's perkiest funeral, not the Vatican. If you're going to insist on an outdated, non-required costume, at least do it properly!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:55 AM on May 24 [30 favorites]


get yourself a man who looks at you the way the pope looks at donald trump
and then like, crawl under a rock and die of shame
posted by murphy slaw at 6:55 AM on May 24 [17 favorites]


Everyone but Donald looks fucking miserable.

Ah, 2017. I remember it well.
posted by rokusan at 7:00 AM on May 24 [36 favorites]


I'm aware of the criticisms and would simply come back and say there's other places where we were probably overly conservative in our accounting. We stand by the numbers.

So their argument is that the budget is riddled with errors, and that all of the mistakes cancel out so that the final figure is correct? Wow.
posted by jackbishop at 7:01 AM on May 24 [13 favorites]


WaPo: The life and death of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory

a good overview, with more background on the Kim Dotcom angle than i've seen elsewhere
posted by murphy slaw at 7:02 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]


I get that there are The Way Things Are Done that reach back into antiquity, but considering that Trump himself just does not give a shit for any of that hoo-ha, WHY are people like the Pope and Merkel continuing to give this clown the time of day? Surely the Pope could have sent word he had urgent Pope-ing business, and apologies, but he simply cannot meet with you at this time. The world is watching. Stop pretending that this is all normal.
posted by thebrokedown at 7:05 AM on May 24 [11 favorites]


So their argument is that the budget is riddled with errors, and that all of the mistakes cancel out so that the final figure is correct? Wow.

Fermi budgeting.
posted by Etrigan at 7:05 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]


Surely the Pope could have sent word he had urgent Pope-ing business, and apologies, but he simply cannot meet with you at this time. The world is watching. Stop pretending that this is all normal.

the pope is kind of in the business of assuming that all souls are capable of salvation. and yet he signalled his disapproval of trump in every possible way short of slapping him upside the head and yelling "whatsamatta you!", and sent him packing with an encyclical on global warming.

the pope is all right.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:08 AM on May 24 [71 favorites]


Brian Beutler: Will Republican Lies Catch Up to Them Before or After They Ruin People’s Lives?
The political durability of conservative economic doctrine owes a great deal to euphemisms. As the main exponents of that doctrine, Republicans seek to distribute income from the poor to the wealthy by gutting social programs and returning the savings to high-income earners through tax cuts. Euphemisms obscure the brutality of that underlying moral vision. The affluent, in the language of the right, are “job creators,” the poor are “dependents,” the central goal (reducing top marginal tax rates) is a “simplification,” the programs losing funding are being “reformed” or “saved,” and the purpose of this reordering, stripped of ideological valence, is “growth.”

This familiar jargon survived the wreckage of George W. Bush’s presidency, and remains bog standard Republican spin when tax cutting season rolls around. It is, to state the obvious, highly tendentious. But it is at least decodable.

It took a swindler of Donald Trump’s shamelessness, and the unexpected consolidation of power in Republican hands, to expose the limits of this spin. The breaking of Trump’s campaign promises, and the substitution of the old Republican agenda in the place of those promises, has forced Republicans to supplement spin with outright lies. Those lies were critical to the passage of the American Health Care Act, and to the advancement of other Republican priorities. This week—through the unveiling of Trump’s budget, and the coming Congressional Budget Office analysis of the AHCA—the lies are encountering reality for the first time.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:08 AM on May 24 [26 favorites]


Stop pretending that this is all normal.

"Normal" would be a smiling photo op and the usual platitudes about healthy discussion. This isn't that at all.
posted by Etrigan at 7:09 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


Will Republican Lies Catch Up to Them Before or After They Ruin People’s Lives?

Hasn't happened in the last 50-odd years of GOP life-ruining; why would it now or soon?
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:11 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]


Cassie Dagostino made a helpful collage on Twitter with posed Pope pics.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:12 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Damn him and his ethics. No, you're correct. This atheist loves the current Pope. I'm just not as hopeful as he is that every soul is reachable. And I'm pissed that Trump gets to play at being the Bigly Important Man with all the perks when I'm freaking right the fuck out. It's not like Donald sees that he was being slighted. You gotta be subtle like a frying pan to the noggin with this guy.
posted by thebrokedown at 7:13 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


I have a vision of the Vatican as the Presidential motorcade thunders off and the gates swing shut. of teams of exorcist priests in hazmat vestments frantically censing every square metre of the place while Pope Frankie locks himself in the papal shower for an hour-long asperge.
posted by Devonian at 7:16 AM on May 24 [21 favorites]


reuters raises the issue of the nuclear sub disclosures in trump's duterte transcript:

Trump tells Duterte of two U.S. nuclear subs in Korean waters: NYT
U.S. President Donald Trump told his Philippine counterpart that Washington has sent two nuclear submarines to waters off the Korean peninsula, the New York Times said, comments likely to raise questions about his handling of sensitive information.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:18 AM on May 24 [26 favorites]


The pope is busy writing an encyclical on how to not be a complete dick for Trump's next visit
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:22 AM on May 24 [9 favorites]


"Surely the Pope could have sent word he had urgent Pope-ing business, and apologies, but he simply cannot meet with you at this time."

As a Catholic, part of me agrees with you. A large part of me understands the politics and weighing of competing objectives here and why Popes kind-of have to meet with world leaders even when they're awful -- and even that surprising good can come of it, like Papal visits to Cuba, which horrified many and definitely gave Castro a legitimization that he'd sought for decades from the Vatican, but giving Castro that "win" enabled the Pope to serve as a trusted and good-faith go-between in the process of negotiating the opening of relations between the US and Cuba under Obama.

But another part of me really, really objects to the leader of my faith appearing with and legitimizing such a horrible, objectionable, immoral man and even though I know it would create more problems than it would solve (because I am a student of the history of Church politics and diplomacy and I know how these things work), I sort of wish the Pope had snubbed Trump completely.

Knowing that he couldn't really avoid it, I'll take Popey McStoneface, I like that part anyway.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:30 AM on May 24 [53 favorites]


"Surely the Pope could have sent word he had urgent Pope-ing business, and apologies, but he simply cannot meet with you at this time."


He has to watch golf on television.

"Holy Father, it's time for your snack! "
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:34 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]


Popey McStoneface

Paging any lurkers who need a name to go with their 5 dollar sign up fee. Don't let a sock puppet type steal it away.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:35 AM on May 24 [19 favorites]


It's not like Donald sees that he was being slighted. You gotta be subtle like a frying pan to the noggin with this guy.

It is possible that the Pope's subtle indications of disapproval are not intended to be noticed by the Donald, but by other leaders and Catholics; that the Pope is sending a message to a larger audience.
posted by nubs at 7:35 AM on May 24 [12 favorites]


Yeah, this whole scenario is a lot more darkly amusing if you imagine Jude Law having to take part in this.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:36 AM on May 24 [18 favorites]


It's not like Donald sees that he was being slighted. You gotta be subtle like a frying pan to the noggin with this guy.

74 million people voted against him six months ago and he hasn't stopped talking about his historic landslide to this day. Non-subtlety doesn't work either on people who are willing to lie to themselves to the extent that Trump has demonstrated.
posted by Etrigan at 7:40 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]


Doubtful, as that hasn't stopped them before. It's more likely that it's because Trump has now lawyered up with a partner at Lieberman's firm over the Russia fracas.
Rachel Maddow helpfully pointed out that Marc Kasowitz's other big client is Russia's largest bank, Sberbank. He's representing their interests in a federal corporate raiding case. Kasowitz is not a criminal defense lawyer, but Trump is a moron, so we would expect him to bring a pillow to a knife fight.
posted by xyzzy at 7:41 AM on May 24 [11 favorites]


I am honestly curious if there are not better photos. If there are not then it is indeed remarkable.

I could see the AP, or another member of the media, subtly editorializing by choosing a photo with a grim-looking pope from among those their photographer captured at a media event. While I don't know the provenance of this particular photo, presumably the White House had an official photographer present, and given the notoriously think-skinned nature of this administration, I'd further assume they would be quick to release the picture with Big Smiling Francis to counter the narrative and push their "FAKE NEWS!" myth. So far, at least, I've seen nothing. If the White House has a better picture, one would think they'd have released it already. The inference is that the pope scowled the whole time. Well played, Your Holiness.
posted by Gelatin at 7:41 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


Awaiting "we colluded with Russia on purpose and it was good!" as the next GOP spin.

Funny you should say that. I'm half expecting to hear that when justice investigates Republicans then obstruction of justice is actually justice.
posted by BentFranklin at 7:42 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Awaiting "we colluded with Russia on purpose and it was good!" as the next GOP spin.

Why not? That's exactly the line they took on torture, fercryinoutloud.
posted by Gelatin at 7:43 AM on May 24 [9 favorites]


I'm annoyed, and I think it shows our American differential behavior to Christianity, that the Trump women eschewed head coverings when visiting Saudi Arabia (a good thing), but not when visiting the Pope or the Western Wall (a bad thing I'd argue).

Either you're conforming to local custom, or you aren't. You can't do it for the "good" religions while rejecting it for the "bad" religions. Make up your mind is what I'm saying.
posted by sotonohito at 7:45 AM on May 24 [69 favorites]


Prompted by the latest video of a Trumper going on a racist rant when encountering totally normal and polite behavior from non-white people, I've had some thoughts on "wanting our country back".

I suspect that the root of this sort of nonsense is racism, but not in the KKK sense of the word.

Rather we're looking at an expression of the anti-melting pot thinking that has been part of America since the beginning. The idea of Americans believing in a multi-ethnic nation state where we all come together in a big melting pot and become American has never been anything close to universally true, that's always been the liberal ideal and one which conservatives reject with various degrees of explicitness.

The fact is that many white Americans believe that fundamentally "American" doesn't refer to people who are citizens of the USA, but rather people who belong to an ethnic group they'd term American. For convenience I'll distinguish this as Citizenship Americans vs. Ethnic Americans, despite the fact that I don't think the concept of Ethnic Americans is valid.

At its core the idea of Ethnic Americans is based on whiteness, but like all historic conceptions of whiteness there's more than just skin color involved. "White" has never, since people first started describing themselves that way, referred to skin color. Recall that the English initially defined "white" in such a way that it excluded the Irish and the Irish are some of the palest people on Earth.

The idea of Ethnic Americans excludes a lot of people with pale skin too. You've got to be the right kind of white to count as an Ethnic American.

To the Trump voters, and somewhat less so to conservatives in general, the idea of Citizenship Americans is deeply disturbing and objectionable. They view Ethnic Americans as the only true Americans, and I think this is the root of comments about "Real America". They exclude the places that have a large number of people who aren't Ethnic Americans from being Real America because Real America is, by definition, populated by Ethnic Americans.

Religion plays a role too, mainstream Protestant Christianity is a huge part of the definition of Ethnic Americans. Recall that until quite recently the KKK viewed Catholics as number three on their hit list after blacks and Jews.

This is not something to which I think your average Trumpite or conservative has given much conscious analysis, those who do give it much analysis get into the more openly racist aspects of modern American conservatism. But in general a white Catholic who isn't obviously Catholic won't rouse their ire despite the fact that most of them probably don't think of Catholics as being Real Americans either.

I pass as an Ethnic American, despite being both atheist and a race traitor, but my partner does not. Nor do around 70% of the people where I work.
And it is the presence of visibly, obviously, blatantly, not Ethnic Americans they object to. This, I think, was the real root of the Birther conspiracy nonsense. Yes, they dressed it up in talk about Obama's birthplace, but ultimately they believed he didn't count as a "natural born citizen" because he wasn't an Ethnic American, he was a mere Citizenship American and thus (in their minds) inherently not really American and ineligible to hold any political office.

This is why they talk about wanting their country back. They want a country defined by ethnic nationalism, an America where the only people who are permitted to exist are Ethnic Americans.
In the past we saw this sort of thing spoken of much more openly, even by liberal minded people. Note, for example, that in the Little House books the parents of Nellie Olson are always described as Swedes. In On the Banks of Plum Creek, Charles tells Caroline that they've always been around "people like us", but now they're going to live among "Swedes and Norwegians" and he tries to reassure her that despite their alien, not Ethnic American, ways they'll be fine.

In the past, when obviously non-white people were kept oppressed, when Ethnic Americans were unquestionably the dominant force in society, the panic level at the existence of Citizenship Americans was kept a bit lower. It was never absent, and in the past it expressed itself more as violence and murder than racist rants, the believers in Ethnic America were always filled with hate and fear at the thought of Citizenship Americans. But when they were dominant, when Citizenship Americans kept to a submissive role in public and were differential rather than acting like equals, the believers in Ethnic America more easily tolerated their presence.

Now though, they're fearful. Ethnic Americans, regardless of how you try to define the inherently invalid term, are rapidly becoming a minority, and the Citizenship Americans are vastly less willing to tolerate the submissive, differential, role they were forced into if they wanted to survive in the past.

This, I believe, explains the recent outbursts we've seen video of from Ethnic Americans who are outraged at the existence of other people and who now feel empowered by the rise of Trump. If, please no, they continue to be ascendant I suspect we'll see their definition of Ethnic American get smaller, that sort of person always seems to want to find a way to exclude ever more people from their list of acceptable people.

Pre-Trump they mostly kept quiet because the bounds of social propriety dictated that they not be openly racist. But with the rise of Trump open racism and bigotry has become more acceptable again, and the believers in Ethnic America are becoming more vocal and violent.
posted by sotonohito at 7:52 AM on May 24 [68 favorites]


Trump tells Duterte of two U.S. nuclear subs in Korean waters: NYT

U.S. President Donald Trump told his Philippine counterpart that Washington has sent two nuclear submarines to waters off the Korean peninsula, the New York Times said, comments likely to raise questions about his handling of sensitive information.


Shut the fuck up, Donnie!

Jesus, why do they tell him anything of substance; it's not as though he'll use it in anything deliberative? Take the Mick Mulvaney approach; reduce it to a binary YES or NO and let him pick one. For God's sakes don't tell him anything substantive, because he'll just fuck it up and tell the next asshole he's meeting with.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:52 AM on May 24 [11 favorites]


Donald has already replaced his Western Wall Twitter banner with his Papal audience one.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:53 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


We went through a round of this in the last thread. Blackmon isn't making some optimistic case for hope. He's a hard headed journalist (who has know Sally Yates 25 years and just spent six hours talking to her) laying out an empirical case based on facts for a trajectory to the story. Worth actually reading before hot-taking on it.

I read the first Blackmon piece and I came away deeply unimpressed. Dude wants to give us permission to talk about impeachment because he feels like his own standards are met. And oh by the way now he's talked to a witness that he knows personally, so now this is all legit. Gosh, thanks.

Anyone with enough brains to keep their hands off a hot stove could tell this jackass wasn't gonna get through his first year let alone his first term without impeachable offenses. And "serious" people did warn us during the campaign. Harry Reid warned us. Hillary Clinton warned us. Obama tried to get Republican leaders in Congress together on it, but McConnell blatantly chose party over country. So I guess Reid and Clinton and Obama aren't serious people but Blackmon knows Sally personally so it's all for serious now? Sure. Okay.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 7:54 AM on May 24 [14 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump [one typo corrected]

Honor of a lifetime to meet His Holiness Pope Francis. I leave the Vatican more determined than ever to pursue PEACH in our world.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:56 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


more determined than ever

If you double it, zero is more than zero, I guess.
posted by Etrigan at 7:58 AM on May 24 [9 favorites]


This is a dumb little aside but as so much of our future depends upon a free and exercised press, and since our discussion here of late is so driven by a torrent of scoops and leaks and analyses coming from a suddenly energized press corps (I mean the real journalists) who have been suffering a shitty business climate and job market and declining wages and opportunities especially in investigative journalism and major print outlets in general, and finally because I have a sibling who lives the life of a hardcore journalist covering shit most of us couldn't deal with, from war to cholera to prisons, while always having to worry about the future of his job for a major news organization.... when we cite articles and breaking stories and analysis pieces it's always good to name the author/reporter on the byline and to try to cite the original scoop source -- AP or McClatchy or WaPo or whatever -- rather than an aggregator link or a Twitter link, unless it's that journalist's own Twitter or their employer. The people doing this work need clicks and mentions and likes and retweets to keep their jobs. You don't have to subscribe to contribute to their efforts.
posted by spitbull at 8:02 AM on May 24 [105 favorites]


The breaking of Trump’s campaign promises, and the substitution of the old Republican agenda in the place of those promises, has forced Republicans to supplement spin with outright lies. Those lies were critical to the passage of the American Health Care Act, and to the advancement of other Republican priorities.

It's worth repeating -- as often as possible, until the chuckleheaded media finally get it -- that Republicans choosing to lie about their agenda basically concedes that Democratic criticism is true.
posted by Gelatin at 8:03 AM on May 24 [18 favorites]


I suspect that the root of this sort of nonsense is racism

as per LBJ, back in 1960: "I'll tell you what's at the bottom of it. If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you." (previously, previouslier)
posted by progosk at 8:08 AM on May 24 [61 favorites]


This, I believe, explains the recent outbursts we've seen video of from Ethnic Americans who are outraged at the existence of other people and who now feel empowered by the rise of Trump. If, please no, they continue to be ascendant I suspect we'll see their definition of Ethnic American get smaller, that sort of person always seems to want to find a way to exclude ever more people from their list of acceptable people.

Pre-Trump they mostly kept quiet because the bounds of social propriety dictated that they not be openly racist. But with the rise of Trump open racism and bigotry has become more acceptable again, and the believers in Ethnic America are becoming more vocal and violent.


The more people they exclude, and the more aggressive the exclusion, the less capable they are of winning elections. At some point you're a small enough minority that all the gerrymandering in the world won't save you.

And with Republicans they've bent so many rules, pushed so many advantages, and rigged so many components of our political system that they're currently at the bad end of a ratchet effect. They can't lose anywhere or they start losing everywhere.

Lose the courts? Goodbye Citizens United and gerrymandered districts.
Lose the state legislatures? Goodbye gerrymandered Congressional districts and voter suppression.
Lose the US House or Senate? Goodbye hamstringing the current investigations and hello impeachment proceedings.
Lose the Presidency? Goodbye bully pulpit and bullshit executive orders. Honestly, of these the Presidency is the least critical.

These assholes need to play the game perfectly from here on out to avoid losing. They can't even pass their own fucking healthcare bill.

Remember, part of the reason Trump won is that he lied through his fucking teeth making promises he was never going to be able to keep. Bringing back coal, etc. That works exactly once. When he can't work the miracle, at least some of his believers are going to get mad at him for failing to deliver.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:09 AM on May 24 [23 favorites]


Recall that until quite recently the KKK viewed Catholics as number three on their hit list...

I wasn't aware that had changed. Were they running out of white people?
posted by MtDewd at 8:15 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


Dana Milbank, WaPo: A not-so-innocent abroad: Trump bumbles across the Middle East
The White House distributed Trump’s prepared remarks for his meeting with Rivlin, making it possible to identify his ad-libs, a clutter of asides and superlatives. “Amazing.” “Very holy.” “And that’s number one for me.” “There’s no question about that.”

Had the president’s predecessors employed such filler, these immortal words might be etched in marble on the Potomac:

“Four score and seven years ago — that’s a long time ago, very long — our fathers, who spoke about this at great length, did what perhaps has virtually never been done before: brought forth on this continent, a new nation, a very great new nation — there’s no question about that — conceived in liberty — and that is so important! — and dedicated to the amazing proposition — and they felt very strongly about this, I can tell you — that all men are created equal. Number one for me.”
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:17 AM on May 24 [30 favorites]


For convenience I'll distinguish this as Citizenship Americans vs. Ethnic Americans, despite the fact that I don't think the concept of Ethnic Americans is valid.

Somos todos Americanos.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:23 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]


I'm not religious and don't believe in things like "the antichrist", but you'd kinda think the pope would and if I were him I'd be thinking "I'm in the presence of the greatest force of evil in the world (however banal). Is this the antichrist himself?"

I'm pretty sure that people who sincerely believe in the antichrist don't think he's going to be a comically-villainous pathetic fuckup.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:24 AM on May 24 [12 favorites]


Anyone with enough brains to keep their hands off a hot stove could tell this jackass wasn't gonna get through his first year let alone his first term without impeachable offenses.

He was in violation of the Emoluments Clause -- an actual for-real part of the Constitution -- the moment he took the Oath of Office and ever since, and that fact was no surprise, so yeah, it's been obvious since even before the election.
posted by Gelatin at 8:25 AM on May 24 [25 favorites]


Melania doesn't quite get his quip, and thinks he asked if she makes her husband "pizza" - which Donald promptly confirms

It remains unconfirmed whether Melania, too, prefers it "the wrong way".
posted by progosk at 8:26 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


Ethnic Americans

What's written is written, but the next time you try and explain your idea to someone, maybe come up with a different term than Ethnic Americans, because if I heard someone use the word "Ethnic American" in conversation, I'd assume they meant "race-based minority".
posted by 23skidoo at 8:27 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


For convenience I'll distinguish this as Citizenship Americans vs. Ethnic Americans, despite the fact that I don't think the concept of Ethnic Americans is valid.

A bit tip-off that someone clings to the "ethnic" conception of "real American" is if they say "Anchor baby". Because that attempts to invalidate birthright citizenship with an ethnic test.
posted by puddledork at 8:27 AM on May 24 [18 favorites]


Speaking of Trump and Catholics, is there a single one of the Seven Deadly Sins that Trump has not demonstrated on multiple occasions (and, more likely than not, bragged about)?
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:30 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


Ethnic Americans presumably plan to depart for Europe soon? Asking for Indigenous friends.
posted by spitbull at 8:30 AM on May 24 [22 favorites]


Trump tells Duterte of two U.S. nuclear subs in Korean waters: NYT

For all we know, there are no US nuclear subs in Korean waters. Let's hope that the CIA has dusted off a large binder full of procedures written in the early 1950s (cryptoname LN/HOTPOTATO) that details exactly how a mentally incapacited or compromised POTUS should be handled by the IC.
posted by elgilito at 8:32 AM on May 24 [13 favorites]




> comments likely to raise questions about his handling of sensitive information.

Anyone who is still "raising questions" about Trump's fitness for the office at this point is either willfully ignorant, purposefully muddying the waters, or so dumb they need a post-it on their arm reminding them to breathe.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:36 AM on May 24 [19 favorites]


It remains unconfirmed whether Melania, too, prefers it "the wrong way".

How about Ivanka? The only family that she's ever had is her two stupid brothers and a dumb-ass dad.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:36 AM on May 24 [24 favorites]


Which seems to be an awful lot of people, The Card Cheat. Are we missing something?
posted by Melismata at 8:37 AM on May 24


For all we know, there are no US nuclear subs in Korean waters. Let's hope that the CIA has dusted off a large binder full of procedures written in the early 1950s (cryptoname LN/HOTPOTATO) that details exactly how a mentally incapacited or compromised POTUS should be handled by the IC.

"So we give him Thorazine with electroshock treatments and if that doesn't work we lobotomize him?"
posted by leotrotsky at 8:40 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Mulvaney says the Medicaid cuts are actually much bigger than $800 billion over 10 years. Suggests it could be closer to $1.3 trillion.

Holy fucking shit. A quarter of Medicaid literally gone. If it was cheaper I wouldn't put it past Mulvaney to round up all the poor people in the Nevada desert and nuke them from orbit.
posted by Talez at 8:40 AM on May 24 [13 favorites]


Which seems to be an awful lot of people, The Card Cheat. Are we missing something?

Cognitive Dissonance.
posted by Talez at 8:41 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


I'm not religious and don't believe in things like "the antichrist", but you'd kinda think the pope would and if I were him I'd be thinking "I'm in the presence of the greatest force of evil in the world (however banal). Is this the antichrist himself?"

To steal a line from John Fugelsang, Trump may not be the anti-Christ, but Jesus is pretty much the anti-Trump.
posted by chris24 at 8:42 AM on May 24 [25 favorites]


Trump tells Duterte of two U.S. nuclear subs in Korean waters: NYT

Considering he misplaced an entire carrier group the last time he talked about sending the Navy to Korean waters, who knows where those subs are?
Or if they even exist.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:45 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


If it was cheaper I wouldn't put it past Mulvaney to round up all the poor people in the Nevada desert and nuke them from orbit.

He wouldn't bother taking them out of the cities.
posted by Etrigan at 8:46 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


Mulvaney says the Medicaid cuts are actually much bigger than $800 billion over 10 years. Suggests it could be closer to $1.3 trillion.

Holy fucking shit. A quarter of Medicaid literally gone. If it was cheaper I wouldn't put it past Mulvaney to round up all the poor people in the Nevada desert and nuke them from orbit.


Right, but Mulvaney can put together any crazy shit for a budget, Republicans in Congress are still going to basically ignore them and they're so incapable of governing that the Democrats will pick up a win like last time.

All these idiots are doing is providing campaign ads for the Democrats while failing to accomplish anything of substance. AARP has gotta be seriously pissed at this point; and their folks vote.

Mulvaney is essentially LARPing a Tea Party Presidency without doing any of the work necessary to actually pass anything. Which is pretty pathetic given that their party controls both houses of Congress and the presidency
posted by leotrotsky at 8:46 AM on May 24 [27 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that people who sincerely believe in the antichrist don't think he's going to be a comically-villainous pathetic fuckup.

The LORD works in mysterious ways.
posted by Slothrup at 8:47 AM on May 24 [7 favorites]


AARP has gotta be seriously pissed at this point; and their folks vote.

I was seeing a ton of anti-AHCA Twitter ads from AARP during that clusterfuck. Twitter ads! From AARP! I can only imagine what they did on platforms that old people actually use.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:49 AM on May 24 [9 favorites]


@aliasvaughn
Let me give you the ACTUAL story here, that Italian media aired. 1) Pope is PISSED at Newt's 3rd wife being chosen as Ambassador to Vatican.
2. Pope gave Dondon a copy of his encyclical "Laudato Si" which focuses on environment, global warming etc. #FeelthePopeShade
3. Pope joked with Melania, smiled at her, showed compassion for her. He knows. He didn't even attempt to smile while taking photo with DT
4. Pope speaks fluent English... but he CHOSE to speak Spanish to Dondon. This one particularly satisfied me.
5. Usual boasting DT was all "I will NEVER forget what he told me". Pope is yet to utter A WORD of comment about the meeting.
6. Maxi screens showed Trump going in. The crowd was dead silent. Erupted in cheering/applause when Pope appeared, not a sec before.
7. Vatican crowd is for obvious reasons very nice to everyone. Not a SINGLE applause/cheer for Trump says it all.
posted by chris24 at 8:49 AM on May 24 [168 favorites]


murphy slaw: "U.S. President Donald Trump told his Philippine counterpart that Washington has sent two nuclear submarines to waters off the Korean peninsula, the New York Times said, comments likely to raise questions about his handling of sensitive information."

This seems really amazingly bad, right? I mean, last time Trump let slip classified info, it's arguably "nothing" because maybe the Russians already know or maybe Israel overlooks it because nobody dies over it, etc. but submarine positions are amazingly secret because the only thing a submariner fears is getting found.

Anyways, no surely this, but he's burning precious capital with the military on this one, at least, who don't usually expect to be sold out for literally no gain.
posted by TypographicalError at 8:51 AM on May 24 [11 favorites]


Speaking of the Anti-Christ, an excerpt of a conversation with my mother in early 2016.

"I really believe he's the anti-Christ. I'll vote for Kasich in the primary, but I don't think I can vote for Trump."

"Oh, great mom, I totally agree - are you going to vote for Hillary?"

"No - no, never. She's a liar."

My mom voted for (who she believes is the actual Anti-Christ) before voting for Hillary Clinton.

Thank you, Fox News.
posted by Tevin at 8:51 AM on May 24 [70 favorites]


4. Pope speaks fluent English... but he CHOSE to speak Spanish to Dondon. This one particularly satisfied me.

I think this has more to do with protocol than with anything else. The Pope also spoke in Spanish with Obama.
posted by Omon Ra at 8:54 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]






Anyways, no surely this, but he's burning precious capital with the military on this one, at least, who don't usually expect to be sold out for literally no gain.

It's funny, he couldn't get shit done in the 100 days. Even there his biggest wins were Gorsuch (which wasn't really his win) and House's AHCA train wreck.

It doesn't get better going forward.

What happens when a President has no political capital and nobody can stand him? Looks like W got down to 28% approval with 60% approval from Republicans, but he still had the support of Republican elected officials and control and support of the mechanisms of state (defense, state, intelligence, etc.) Even there no one doubted his patriotism or loyalty to the US, just his general decision-making.

How bad does it get?
posted by leotrotsky at 8:58 AM on May 24 [9 favorites]


I was seeing a ton of anti-AHCA Twitter ads from AARP during that clusterfuck. Twitter ads! From AARP! I can only imagine what they did on platforms that old people actually use.

In between ads for Old Glory Robot Insurance, no doubt.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:58 AM on May 24 [12 favorites]


Sean Sullivan, WaPo: Republicans in Congress struggle with this question: Do you trust Trump’s judgment?
Flake was one of a dozen Republicans from across the ideological spectrum asked this week to reflect on Trump’s judgment. Most of them weren’t eager to address the subject head-on. They diverted and demurred. They paused contemplatively before answering. Some grew visibly uncomfortable. Others declared their conviction in Trump — but then qualified their words or expressed confidence in the people around him. Only one of those interviewed — Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) — offered an unqualified yes regarding Trump himself.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:01 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]


British Officials Angered by US Leaks of Manchester Intelligence to Media
"This is a leaky administration," Thomas Sanderson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in DC told the Guardian. "What does that mean for sharing information we need to going forward? The UK and Israel are probably our two biggest sources of intelligence. Now they're thinking, 'Is this going to cause us damage every time we share?'"
posted by gladly at 9:02 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]


Saudi Arabia on the left, Vatican on the right: which country represses its women? (my tweet, too lazy to make an imgur post)

Or "Which religious practices does the first lady choose to adhere to?"
posted by srboisvert at 9:02 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


NYT doing the lord's work with this lede: European Leaders Hope to Win Trump’s Favor:" Brussels, which he called a “hellhole,” and the European Union, which he called “a vehicle for Germany,” and NATO, which he called “obsolete,” are all nervously awaiting the arrival of President Trump on Wednesday, the way earthlings might await the impact of an asteroid."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:04 AM on May 24 [22 favorites]


Twitter ads! From AARP! I can only imagine what they did on platforms that old people actually use.

ಠ_ಠ AARP Membership is open to people 50 and up.

Donald Trump, age 70, is known to use Twitter.
posted by Cookiebastard at 9:07 AM on May 24 [42 favorites]


i can't speak for any other earthlings but i, for one, am eagerly awaiting the impact of an asteroid
posted by entropicamericana at 9:08 AM on May 24 [15 favorites]


Seems to me half of Twitter is grumpy old dudes.

ETA I'm a grumpy 53 and about to join AARP.
posted by spitbull at 9:11 AM on May 24 [11 favorites]


An Education Department Official Resigned After DeVos Demanded He Testify Before Congress: "I cannot in good conscience continue to be accountable as Chief Operating officer given the risk associated with the current environment at the [Education] Department," the chief operating officer of Federal Student Aid, James Runcie, wrote in his resignation memo, which was obtained by BuzzFeed News.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:13 AM on May 24 [60 favorites]


Sean Sullivan, WaPo: Republicans in Congress

This is a great citation format, w/r/t my comment above about crediting reporters by name. Thanks Johnny Wallflower.
posted by spitbull at 9:13 AM on May 24 [16 favorites]


That said, there's some stuff that rings very Trumpian, like a riff on how our submarines are "the best in the world" (he has a weird submarine obsession, as we've noted before in these threads)

IMO, this obsession is not necessarily misplaced. Military folks, please correct me if I'm wrong. I'm under the impression that carrier groups are our most powerful military assets, but submarines are the most likely vehicles to be able to take out carriers. And that makes it seem like submarine detection and stealth are some of the most important technologies for maintaining U.S. military dominance long term.

Hopefully that's the sort of thing that Trump has in mind, rather than the fact that some subs carry nukes.
posted by Jpfed at 9:18 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]


Alex Jones is congratulating Morrissey for standing up against the satanic George Soros deathcult and for being a strong uncucked Alpha. 2017's a hell of a drug.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:19 AM on May 24 [22 favorites]


Alex Jones is congratulating Morrissey for standing up against George Soros and being a strong uncucked Alpha. 2017's a hell of a drug.

what the what
posted by entropicamericana at 9:20 AM on May 24 [42 favorites]


I'm annoyed, and I think it shows our American differential behavior to Christianity, that the Trump women eschewed head coverings when visiting Saudi Arabia (a good thing), but not when visiting the Pope or the Western Wall (a bad thing I'd argue).

I agree with your argument, but your proof points aren't correct - Ivanka did cover her hair at the Western Wall (which is traditional for Orthodox Jewish married women, but is not required and not seen as a sign of disrespect if you don't), and Melania didn't but as a non-Jew wasn't expected to.

Is covering your hair at a papal audience a religious requirement, or a clothing protocol issue? I think that makes a difference. And it's entirely possible it's the latter, and Ivanka was wearing the wrong type of headcovering on purpose - meeting the bare minimum for protocol, but not adhering to the religious stricture.

TL;DR religious headcoverings are a nation of contrasts
posted by Mchelly at 9:21 AM on May 24 [7 favorites]


An Education Department Official Resigned After DeVos Demanded He Testify Before Congress: "

Chaffetz and DeVos appear to be kvetching about "security" in the student loan system. WTF does that mean?
posted by Etrigan at 9:22 AM on May 24


Chaffetz and DeVos appear to be kvetching about "security" in the student loan system. WTF does that mean?

Someone tried to use the FAFSA application to get Trump's tax return data.
posted by melissasaurus at 9:23 AM on May 24 [7 favorites]


Papal Audience Dress Code

Women's headcovering not requested. But keep those knees and shoulders covered.
posted by Miko at 9:25 AM on May 24


Chaffetz and DeVos appear to be kvetching about "security" in the student loan system. WTF does that mean?

Apparently some non-white students were able to get loans.
posted by Behemoth at 9:25 AM on May 24 [16 favorites]




For an orthodox married woman, Ivanka did not cover her hair at the Kotel. She wore a very stylish little hat, but she did not cover her hair. This is not a criticism. I don't care if she does or she doesn't. I'm just saying that an Orthodox married woman would actually cover her hair at the Kotel. The last image in this story is of 4 women. Two are wearing sheitels, one is wearing a tichel and one is wearing a very stylish hat.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:29 AM on May 24 [7 favorites]


Can we get back to actual news instead of clothing decisions or requirements?
posted by agregoli at 9:31 AM on May 24 [11 favorites]


Alex Jones is congratulating Morrissey for standing up against George Soros and being a strong uncucked Alpha. 2017's a hell of a drug.

I mean, I guess technically you can't be a 'cuck' if you've never had a wife for someone else to impregnate.

But I given Alex Jones' past opinions on LGBT rights, I suspect he may not be that familiar with Morrissey's sexuality.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:35 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


NBC News: Trump Failing to Track Foreign Cash at his Hotels
Just before taking office, President Donald Trump promised to donate all profits earned from foreign governments back to the U.S. Treasury.

But MSNBC has learned the Trump Organization is not tracking all possible payments it receives from foreign governments, according to new admissions by Trump representatives. By failing to track foreign payments it receives, the company will be hard-pressed to meet Trump's pledge to donate foreign profits and could even increase its legal exposure.

The Trump Organization does not "attempt to identify individual travelers who have not specifically identified themselves as being a representative of a foreign government entity," according to a new company pamphlet. The policy suggests it is up to foreign governments, not Trump hotels, to determine whether they self-report their business.

That policy matches what several sources told MSNBC — Trump Organization employees are not soliciting information about whether reservations or business is from a foreign government.

The Constitution bars foreign gifts to the president. In January, Trump pledged to track and donate all profits at his companies from foreign government travel and commerce.
'The buck stops here. In my bank account. I don't know how it got there, but it's definitely stopping there, and, believe me, not getting donated to charity.'
posted by cjelli at 9:38 AM on May 24 [61 favorites]


I kind of think itis actual news how women in political life are/aren't expected to/are criticized for observing protocols. Of course, I may be biased, being female and finding that this topic has import. Also, it's all over my social media feed, with ignoramuses using it as a critical point, so I'm glad to know the actual facts.
posted by Miko at 9:40 AM on May 24 [22 favorites]


If you're not listening, CSPAN radio is Mick Mulvaney getting shredded in the House. It's delicious and more substantive than pedantry over headcoverings.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:40 AM on May 24 [15 favorites]


I can't help but wonder if Donnie knows what the hell a nuclear submarine is. In common parlance, it's a submarine that is powered by a small nuclear reactor. It's not the same thing as a ballistic missile submarine.

Who knows, maybe Trump thinks that the whole submarine is supposed to blow up.
posted by vverse23 at 9:42 AM on May 24 [13 favorites]


The hand swat, the headcovering for Catholicism and not Islam, Potica vs. Pizza...

Melania is a land of contrasts.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:45 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


It's not really important to harp on clothing expectations for THIS thread. I can't believe how there's always push back here (even when mods speak up) about keeping this thread on topic. Please keep this thread shorter and relevant, I am honestly begging here.
posted by agregoli at 9:45 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


I made a thing using winna's favorite photo from the trip.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:46 AM on May 24 [9 favorites]


VOA News: Israel Alters Intelligence Sharing with US
Israel says it has changed its intelligence-sharing protocols with the United States after President Donald Trump disclosed classified information to Russian diplomats earlier this month that had come from Israel, even though Tel Aviv had not assented to his handing it to another country.

Israeli defense chief Avigdor Liberman...declined to say what changes had been made. "Not everything needs to be discussed in the media; some things need to be talked about in closed rooms," he said.
Is this what being sick and tired of winning looks like?
posted by cjelli at 9:52 AM on May 24 [56 favorites]


> Can we get back to actual news instead of clothing decisions or requirements?

Wow, you must not understand what being a woman in America is like, at ALL right now.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:54 AM on May 24 [71 favorites]


The Washington Post has been doing a lot of great reporting, but let's not forget that the op-ed section, especially the online version, is kind of a dog's breakfast. Is it too much to ask that people directly paid by a foreign government at least be forced to disclose their obvious conflict of interest when reporting on a President's trip to visit the country that's paying them? For WaPo's Fred Hiatt, the answer is a resounding "yes."
posted by tonycpsu at 9:55 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


Annie Karni, Politico: How Trump's aides pulled off Middle East tour - "The president's smooth tour through Saudi Arabia and Israel reflected careful advance planning by a trio of White House officials."
For four straight days, President Donald Trump did not live-tweet the cable shows. He didn’t mention his unlikely electoral win. And in visits to two countries where he was greeted with great fanfare, he never once complained about being treated unfairly.

Trump’s relatively successful swing through the Middle East was due to the fact that, for the most part, he didn’t get in his own way. It was also the result of months of careful planning. A decision was made early on to visit a part of the world where Trump is venerated and feared, and to pack his schedule so that he mostly stayed on message and, according to one aide, “didn’t have time to tweet.”

But a key factor was the role played by Dina Powell, H.R. McMaster and Jared Kushner, who brought a combination of government experience and understanding that Trump wanted to get some negotiated wins on the board.
For a different perspective, Matthew Rozsa, Salon: Donald Trump’s staff is managing him like he’s a wayward teenager - "Trump's staff is working hard to make sure the president is busy on his trip — so he's not tweeting"
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:00 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]


CNN's Ross Levitt described on Twitter just now the House Appropriations committee hearing today, where Devos refused to guarantee federal funding won't be given to schools that discriminate. Video should be here.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:00 AM on May 24 [18 favorites]


Let me just clarify my thought: In an America riven between globalism and nationalism, the gendered presentation choices of the first women abroad is really important signaling. In an America where women's rights are being stripped because of reactionary dedication to particular religious dogmas, portrayals of the regime's chosen feminine ideals are important to observe.

To dismiss Melania's headcovering head scratcher as Not News is seriously just blind male privilege.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:01 AM on May 24 [61 favorites]


I can't help but wonder if Donnie knows what the hell a nuclear submarine is. In common parlance, it's a submarine that is powered by a small nuclear reactor. It's not the same thing as a ballistic missile submarine.

And for those who don't know: All US submarines are nuclear these days. Only 18 of the 68 subs in the Navy are ballistic- or cruise-missile subs (the remaining 50 are attack subs -- think of them as "fighters" to the missile subs as "bombers").
posted by Etrigan at 10:02 AM on May 24 [15 favorites]


For the record I'm a woman and I would also prefer that we move past critiquing women's clothing choices. Yes, all of society does it; I'd prefer we not.
posted by Emily's Fist at 10:03 AM on May 24 [13 favorites]


[I think mostly let's try and split the difference and let it be for now without passing judgement on it as unworthy of discussion; from a moderation perspective I both think there's sociopolitical meat on those bones and that it may be playing out in here at this point with more contention and less content than we can sometimes hope for because it's folded into a bunch of other frustrating/annoying/etc stuff in the Trump Vortex. So maybe something to reboot/revisit at a more opportune point in the future.]
posted by cortex at 10:07 AM on May 24 [14 favorites]


The sartorial choices are weirdly and infuriatingly compelling because as with everything Trump, it's hard to figure out what they mean or IF they mean anything. Does the scotch tape on the tie mean anything? Does the bubble on the end of his exclamation point mean anything? Was the redcarpet handflip thing a diss or a trumpstyle fistbump? (Meanwhile medicaid disappears and Trump reveals the location of a couple of submarines wheeeeee!)
posted by Don Pepino at 10:15 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]


If you want to dig into the primary sources on the Emoluments issue, here are the resources from the House Oversight Dems, including a glossy pamphlet from the Trump Organization describing their policy for handling funds from foreign governments: "To fully and completely identify all patronage at our Properties by customer type is impractical in the service industry and putting forth a policy that requires all guests to identify themselves would impede upon personal privacy and diminish the guest experience of our brand."

Which, yes, is true, it's awkward to ask if a foreign government is picking up the check when you're at the restaurant, but there's no "don't diminish the guest experience" exception to the Emoluments Clause.
posted by zachlipton at 10:16 AM on May 24 [31 favorites]


And for those who don't know: All US submarines are nuclear these days. Only 18 of the 68 subs in the Navy are ballistic- or cruise-missile subs (the remaining 50 are attack subs -- think of them as "fighters" to the missile subs as "bombers").

Another side note: This does not preclude attack subs from carrying nuclear weapons in the form of cruise missiles launched from regular torpedo tubes. Or nuclear torpedoes or other delivery systems.

ICBM-carrying boomers are world-endingly scary and all that, but if anything the attack subs are the really dangerous sharks in the water these days. They can be used to do a little of everything from launching amphibious beach assaults, engaging in surveillance and electronic warfare to launching long range cruise missiles with both nuclear and conventional warheads, all on top of also being able to attack ships in a traditional submarine warfare role - all while being much more land-focused and littoral to the point they are essentially amphibious platforms.
posted by loquacious at 10:18 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]


Metafilter: there's sociopolitical meat on those bones and that it may be playing out in here at this point with more contention and less content than we can sometimes hope for because it's folded into a bunch of other frustrating/annoying/etc stuff in the Trump Vortex.
posted by Melismata at 10:19 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]


IMO, this obsession is not necessarily misplaced. Military folks, please correct me if I'm wrong. I'm under the impression that carrier groups are our most powerful military assets, but submarines are the most likely vehicles to be able to take out carriers. And that makes it seem like submarine detection and stealth are some of the most important technologies for maintaining U.S. military dominance long term.

Speaking as a veteran and someone keenly interested in our big dumb military stuffs: yes, but a lot of our other systems are also totally the bestest in the world, too. You could say that about a great many things. We also run with a few things that are comparatively super old but are still kinda the best thing ever, such that "old" is really their only sin. (Conversely, a disturbing amount of military stuff still runs on Windows 95. I'm not even kidding.)

But the thing is, it's clear Twitler doesn't really understand any of that. He doesn't understand how any of this shit actually works. And again, being a veteran & interested in this stuff, I want to say that America's glorification and fetishization of the military is super gross and troubling and dangerous, and Trump is exactly why.

Trump is that dumb guy at the party or at the bar whose every solution to any geopolitical topic is "Why don't we just turn those fuckers to glass?" And now that guy is president.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:21 AM on May 24 [64 favorites]


IMO, this obsession is not necessarily misplaced. Military folks, please correct me if I'm wrong. I'm under the impression that carrier groups are our most powerful military assets, but submarines are the most likely vehicles to be able to take out carriers. And that makes it seem like submarine detection and stealth are some of the most important technologies for maintaining U.S. military dominance long term.

Even the best submarines will not maintain military dominance because they are completely lousy at defense against other subs. Submarine hunting is played up in fiction but in reality subs and their support are so crap at it that they are more likely to collide with an enemy sub than detect it (it has happened a couple of time already).

The problem being that oceans are big and great at hiding things. In naval games the US navy carrier groups have repeatedly had their defensive perimeters penetrated even by obsolete 50+ year old submarines. All it takes is patience, In a hot war with any submarine equipped nation the US carriers will be taken out immediately by submarines (so will the opponent's carriers by US submarines). Even if not sunk they now have to be parked so far from coastal defense missiles as to be largely useless. Naval based air power force projection against non-trivial enemies is largely over.

All you are left with is subs as MAD weapons and maybe as redundant mobile land attack missile launch platforms and defense against surface ships.

Having a commander in chief enamored of powerful toys is very dangerous because despite being awesome machines they are actually strategically weak. The U.S. military is currently a lot like the New York Yankees. They spend all the money and have all the proven stars.....but sometimes those stars are obsolete and past their prime living on faded glory and a savvy opponent with some fresh talent and ideas can beat them.

The US has at best managed a draw in its last two land wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, and it is much more strategically dominant on land than at sea.

So Donald liking navy toys makes me very nervous.
posted by srboisvert at 10:25 AM on May 24 [14 favorites]


oh boy oh boy, carter page is writing letters again!
Interesting. Carter Page indicates in letter to House Intel Committee that he handed over docs & will testify in an open session next month -- Natasha Bertrand, political correspondent at Business Insider
(the letter is attached to the tweet as an image. it's very short but has all your favorite carter pageisms)
posted by murphy slaw at 10:27 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]


it's very short but has all your favorite carter pageisms

"I didn't not meet John Brennan in Cleveland, but if I did meet him, it would only have been once, and in Cleveland" /fake.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:35 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]


Wow, fisttyped and boneheaderiffic. Just a few of the nifty filigrees:

"Having spent eight-years as an Obama administration appointee, his testimony followed closely in line.

[I am fixing to] repair some of the unwitting tendencies his presentation displayed.

Sincerely,
CarPa
Carter Page, PhD"
posted by Don Pepino at 10:38 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


For an orthodox married woman, Ivanka did not cover her hair at the Kotel. She wore a very stylish little hat, but she did not cover her hair. This is not a criticism. I don't care if she does or she doesn't. I'm just saying that an Orthodox married woman would actually cover her hair at the Kotel. The last image in this story is of 4 women. Two are wearing sheitels, one is wearing a tichel and one is wearing a very stylish hat.

Sure, but for an American Modern Orthodox woman, wearing a fascinator for prayer is totally accepted at this point. Heck, my shul still even gives out the lace schmattes for women who want to do the minimum - most of whom wear them folded in half or into a triangle.

As an Orthodox Jew, I have a lot of issues with how Jared and Ivanka seem to practice Orthodoxy (particularly as it affects sabbath observance, which impacts on all American Orthodox Jews who work in the secular world and have to negotiate how to balance work and religion all the time), but I am having a really hard time with an ongoing implication here and on social media that because Ivanka isn't taking on Yeshivish or Chassidic dress or practices, she's Jewing wrong. Modern Orthodoxy is (slowly and imperfectly) working toward more progressive acceptance of feminism in many aspects, and the myriad interpretations of appropriate hair covering can be a fraught issue for almost all branches of Orthodoxy - and allowing for leniency (when you can actually make an argument that it's allowed, as is the case here) is one of the crowbars women are using to ram those doors more open. So I just don't think it's fair to ding her on this one.
posted by Mchelly at 10:39 AM on May 24 [39 favorites]




In that letter, Page CarPa refers to the Obama administration as "their regime"

seems like a legit, objective fellow
posted by tivalasvegas at 10:45 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


I'm not saying Ivanka's a feminist, or that that's what she's doing in choosing that half-hat, but when she converted she chose the path of Judaism that worked for her, and I don't think we have the right to say that that's not good enough. I have dati leumi relatives in Israel who just wear wide headbands and no one blinks an eye - there really is a range.
posted by Mchelly at 10:45 AM on May 24 [7 favorites]


Carter Page indicates in letter to House Intel Committee that he handed over docs & will testify in an open session next month.

If Carter Page testifies in an open session, I'm taking the day off work to watch. That guy is bonkers.
posted by diogenes at 10:46 AM on May 24 [11 favorites]


the budget is making my brain overheat due to the following friction:

- it's obviously nonsense, does not add up, will not be used as the basis of any bill, and does not merit serious attention

- however, it's totally indicative of how republicans would spend the money if they didn't have to answer to anyone or any outside force, so it's worthy of attention
posted by murphy slaw at 10:46 AM on May 24 [39 favorites]


the budget is making my brain overheat due to the following friction

2017: A land of terrible, unworkable plans that we have to pay attention to because their implementation might be fucking attempted.
posted by tivalasvegas at 10:49 AM on May 24 [39 favorites]


I think this has more to do with protocol than with anything else. The Pope also spoke in Spanish with Obama.

I'm going to guess that it's because he's a native Spanish speaker and that's his best (among many) languages.
posted by msalt at 10:49 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


I think it's a good thing for the Holy Father to subtly remind Trump that the Church isn't American, it's catholic.

Whether Trump got the hint is another thing, of course.
posted by tivalasvegas at 10:51 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]


not a whole lot new here but notable for this amazing mulvaney quote:

"We did [the double count] on purpose... I'm aware of the criticisms and would simply come back and say there's other places where we were probably overly conservative in our accounting. We stand by the numbers."


The double counting was like $2 trillion, right? That's a lot of overly conservative accounting!
posted by diogenes at 10:52 AM on May 24 [9 favorites]


particularly as it affects sabbath observance

I did find it amusing that the Rabbi who did Ivanka's conversion wanted to make it very clear on the record that, whoever told them they could travel on Shabbat, it sure as hell wasn't him.
posted by zachlipton at 10:52 AM on May 24 [18 favorites]


Carter Page, PhD

I suspect that I speak for many doctors of philosophy when I say:

*cringe, shudder* Gee, thanks a million for making the rest of us look like horrendous fucking idiots, you batshit dick.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:53 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]


I suspect that I speak for many doctors of philosophy when I say:

*cringe, shudder* Gee, thanks a million for making the rest of us look like horrendous fucking idiots, you batshit dick.


It is unfortunate that he was granted that doctorate despite being functionally illiterate ;)
posted by diogenes at 10:57 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


If Carter Page testifies in an open session, I'm taking the day off work to watch. That guy is bonkers.
posted by diogenes


If a guy who lives in a barrel and masturbates in public thinks you're bonkers...
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:58 AM on May 24 [36 favorites]


Af this point I just assume any public-facing Republican with a "PhD" after their name either plagiarized it at a legit institution, or purchased it from a phony one. Gorka, Crowley, etc.
posted by spitbull at 11:04 AM on May 24 [26 favorites]


In which the head of OMB professes to deny the existence of inflation or population growth by denying that cutting something in inflation-adjusted real terms is actually a cut.
posted by zachlipton at 11:08 AM on May 24 [12 favorites]


my father is an academic, and it's been my experience that the people who are most insistent on reminding you that they have a PhD are the ones least deserving of your intellectual respect
posted by murphy slaw at 11:09 AM on May 24 [42 favorites]


if only someone had told Gerald Ford that you can just throw inflation down the memory hole.
posted by murphy slaw at 11:10 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


you can just throw inflation down the memory hole.

Is that what we're calling the Mar-A-Lago sinkhole?
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:12 AM on May 24 [13 favorites]


Twitter ads! From AARP! I can only imagine what they did on platforms that old people actually use.

AARP has a fantastic digital/social media team. I've had the pleasure of meeting a few of them and hearing a few of them talk at local events.
posted by phearlez at 11:12 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]


Curious, I investigated Dr. Page's educational background. He apparently received his PhD from SOAS, the School of Oriental and African Studies in the UK. His thesis? "The influence of semi peripheral powers on the balance between capitalism and socialism in Central Asia: an analysis of Russia's impact on governance and the regional energy sector 1987-2007."
posted by xyzzy at 11:13 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]


Kim Reynolds becomes Iowa's first female governor: Reynolds offered four priorities she said she would pursue as governor: tax reform, energy innovation, education and workforce training. On taxes, she argued reforms lowering the state’s rates and simplifying its “patchwork of exemptions, deductions and credits” could boost employment.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:17 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


xyzzy- link please?
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:18 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


Carter Page, PhD

PhilistineDunce
posted by kirkaracha at 11:19 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


you know, if calculating budget items in real dollars is out the window, they could also slash military spending while claiming that they're budgeting more for defense than the peak of the reagan administration
posted by murphy slaw at 11:21 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]


So I just don't think it's fair to ding her on this one.

I totally give that one to you, Mchelly. Point taken.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:23 AM on May 24


you know, if calculating budget items in real dollars is out the window

I don't understand why they bother to calculate anything at all? Once you start fudging numbers to the tune of 2.1 trillion here, 3% growth there, no inflation anywhere... What's the point? You might as well close the excel spreadsheet and just write down the numbers you're determined that you'll get out of it anyway.
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:24 AM on May 24 [13 favorites]


my father is an academic, and it's been my experience that the people who are most insistent on reminding you that they have a PhD are the ones least deserving of your intellectual respect

I am an academic and the people who are most insistent on reminding you that they have a PhD are women because misogyny is still a thing.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:25 AM on May 24 [43 favorites]


But MSNBC has learned the Trump Organization is not tracking all possible payments it receives from foreign governments, according to new admissions by Trump representatives.

I was going to make the traditional "this is my surprised face" remark, but it actually is surprising that Trump representatives would openly admit the fact. What do they, think that next to treason and obstruction of justice, violations of the emoluments clause are small beer?
posted by Gelatin at 11:26 AM on May 24 [9 favorites]


Google Scholar search found this record for Page's thesis. They don't have the text, but it might help you find it if you have access to a University's library.
posted by papercrane at 11:26 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


What in holy heck is a 'semi-peripheral power?' Sounds like a euphemism for 'shady motherfuckers with billions of face-eating leopards.'
posted by carsonb at 11:27 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Those of you with doctorates should end your posts with PhD so I know who to respect.
posted by diogenes at 11:28 AM on May 24 [29 favorites]


Edited to add:

posted by carsonb, deliberate undergrad dropout
posted by carsonb at 11:30 AM on May 24 [9 favorites]


Buzzfeed: We're Sharing Hundreds Of Millions Of Federal Payroll Records: The dataset contains hundreds of millions of rows and stretches all the way back to 1973. It provides salary, title, and demographic details about millions of U.S. government employees, as well as their migrations into, out of, and through the federal bureaucracy. In many cases, the data also contains employees’ names.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:30 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]


Fraudster who's been claiming to be Trump's choice for Ambassador to the EU finally denied by White House. (WSJ)
European officials have tried for months to learn whether to take seriously a euroskeptic American who presented himself as President Donald Trump’s preferred pick for ambassador to the European Union.

Now officials in Washington say that he is not and never was a candidate.

Since Mr. Trump took office, top officials and journalists in Europe have sought out Ted Malloch, a university professor who has asserted he is Mr. Trump’s likely choice for the Brussels post.

EU officials regarded his prospective candidacy as a real—and troubling—possibility. Mr. Malloch has urged every EU country to vote on leaving the bloc.
posted by dnash at 11:30 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


This just in ...

Poll: Americans don't think Trump is draining the swamp

I look forward to his repositioning the swamp as a wetland in need of protection, thus earning himself much needed environmental stripes.
posted by philip-random at 11:33 AM on May 24 [14 favorites]


Buzzfeed: The Man Behind The Seth Rich Private Investigation Has A White House Connection
Ed Butowsky, the Dallas wealth manager and frequent Fox News guest who facilitated a private investigation into the murder of Seth Rich, is friends with and serves on the board of an organization started by White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.

[...]

A photograph on Butowsky's Facebook page shows him in the White House briefing room on March 22. Butowsky did not comment on the record why he was at the White House, but did clarify that he had not met with any White House officials.
Butowsky also has been on Breitbart Radio, and was interviewed by Bannon on there. Butowsky instantly started denying everything when asked: He suddenly doesn't know Bannon that well. He also hasn't been to any board meetings, and didn't know he was on the board in the first place. I suspect it's a matter of time before we find out that Bannon started this mess as well.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:33 AM on May 24 [18 favorites]


WSJ: Congress May Need to Raise Debt Limit Sooner, Budget Director Says. It was looking like it was going to need to happen in the fall, but the timetable may be moved up a bit, and with Congress out most of August, the window keeps narrowing. This remains both an incredibly dangerous and stupid game.

Mulvaney says they're still talking about what they want to do, but Mnuchin says he wants a clean debt ceiling increase, and if you could please do it before you all go home for the summer, that would be great. I feel like this is going to be another "last person to talk to Trump wins" situation.
posted by zachlipton at 11:34 AM on May 24 [7 favorites]


> Now officials in Washington say that he is not and never was a candidate.

Countdown to DJT tweeting that he is a "Tremendous candidate!" in 3... 2...
posted by Westringia F. at 11:35 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]


while 34 percent said Trump had paid adequate attention to their preferred issues.

lol I would love to know what these "preferred issues" are. I mean, hurting black and brown people is definitely an issue many white people do prefer.
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:37 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


European officials have tried for months to learn whether to take seriously a euroskeptic American who presented himself as President Donald Trump’s preferred pick for ambassador to the European Union.

Now officials in Washington say that he is not and never was a candidate.


Normally this'd be pretty easy to refute, but given the Trump admin's

1. rank incompetency and
2. uncanny knack for nominating the most blithering fuckwads imaginable to every political post

I can see why folks would be unsure. Hell, there was a nonzero chance the Trump administration would go, "Sure, have at it, random asshole, you're appointed!"
posted by leotrotsky at 11:39 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]


"Having spent eight-years as an Obama administration appointee, his testimony followed closely in line.

[I am fixing to] repair some of the unwitting tendencies his presentation displayed.

Sincerely,
CarPa


Was he listening to Hamilton as he wrote that? I'm surprised he didn't sign it "Car-dot-Pa".
posted by Gelatin at 11:40 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


Curious, I investigated Dr. Page's educational background. He apparently received his PhD from SOAS, the School of Oriental and African Studies in the UK. His thesis? "The influence of semi peripheral powers on the balance between capitalism and socialism in Central Asia: an analysis of Russia's impact on governance and the regional energy sector 1987-2007."

Yeah I went looking too. And it's very unusual that a SOAS dissertation would not be easily available. It's not showing up anywhere I look.

Lotta pals at SOAS and I'm going to get to the bottom of this. I will get a copy if it exists, "believe me."
posted by spitbull at 11:41 AM on May 24 [60 favorites]


What in holy heck is a 'semi-peripheral power?' Sounds like a euphemism for 'shady motherfuckers with billions of face-eating leopards.'

You'll want to poke around in world-system theory first, and then jump directly to semi-peripheral states, with a brief detour through biography.

(It's a real phrase, and neither a euphemism nor a term of Page's invention.)
posted by cjelli at 11:45 AM on May 24 [12 favorites]


Yeah, something doesn't smell right about Page's PHD. It has never been published or cited and apparently the only copy is a restricted access copy at SOAS?
posted by spitbull at 11:45 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


(For those who don't know SOAS is a totally legitimate, well respected branch of the University of London)
posted by shothotbot at 11:47 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


Academic fraud does seem to be a weirdly prevalent theme amongst the current set of jackasses.
posted by Artw at 11:49 AM on May 24 [22 favorites]


while 34 percent said Trump had paid adequate attention to their preferred issues.

lol I would love to know what these "preferred issues" are. I mean, hurting black and brown people is definitely an issue many white people do prefer.


The issues in question don't exist and don't need to.

Consider the 30-35% range a floor for die-hard support (Rob Ford had this level of support at the worst of his scandal). These supporters will answer any poll question in a way that best supports their candidate, no matter how illogical that answer may be. And these positions cannot be argued against. It's like discussing a close referee's call with a die-hard fan of one of the teams...they see only what they want to see. They've chosen their side and that is never going to change.
posted by rocket88 at 11:49 AM on May 24 [16 favorites]


Buzzfeed: We're Sharing Hundreds Of Millions Of Federal Payroll Records: ... In many cases, the data also contains employees’ names.

This seems a deeply shitty thing to do, as clumsy and careless as anything done by Wikileaks.

There are ways of anonymizing this dataset, but still retain all the value for researchers and journalists who want to do aggregate data analysis as described---give each individual a unique code used only in this release, for example, not tried to a traceable employee ID or real name.

I can't imagine why anyone thought this was ethical.
posted by bonehead at 11:49 AM on May 24 [21 favorites]


I'm surprised he didn't sign it "Car-dot-Pa".

I'm only surprised that he didn't sign it "Car-Ter:Page."
posted by octobersurprise at 11:50 AM on May 24 [7 favorites]


This seems a deeply shitty thing to do

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but this information is all already publicly available, including names. What Buzzfeed is doing is is simply making the data easier to view and organize.

If this information wasn't already publicly available, yeah there's some very icky ethics issues surrounding it.
posted by Twain Device at 11:52 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


I am quite aware of SOAS' standing. I have very good friends teaching there. Here is the SOAS library catalog entry for Page's thesis.

It is possible to get shabby or plagiarized work past even very good institutions. Ask Columbia's department of political science how Monica Crowley managed to massively plagiarize a dissertation under a fairly prominent adviser. I cannot believe no one has yet pulled Page's dissertation for analysis.
posted by spitbull at 11:55 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Academic fraud does seem to be a weirdly prevalent theme amongst the current set of jackasses.

It's a central European thing. Maybe the Russian influence?
posted by leotrotsky at 11:55 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


Consider the 30-35% range a floor for die-hard support

Ahem.
posted by Gelatin at 11:55 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]


Please correct me if I'm wrong, but this information is all already publicly available, including names.

They got it from FOIA requests. Yes, this information is technically available, but they're making it a lot easier to get at.
posted by Jpfed at 11:56 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


Please correct me if I'm wrong, but this information is all already publicly available, including names. What Buzzfeed is doing is is simply making the data easier to view and organize.

Making it easy for random assholes to look people up is objectionable.
posted by winna at 11:57 AM on May 24 [13 favorites]


Please correct me if I'm wrong, but this information is all already publicly available, including names. What Buzzfeed is doing is is simply making the data easier to view and organize.

Even if that's true, it amounts to doxxing. Typically doxxing consists of "only" organizing already available information based on public postings, "just" putting it all together.

The majority of public servants aren't public figures. I don't know why they should have no expectation of privacy.

But then I'm not American. This release could be construed as a crime where I'm from.
posted by bonehead at 11:58 AM on May 24 [13 favorites]


You'll want to poke around in world-system theory first, and then jump directly to semi-peripheral states, with a brief detour through biography.

Sincere thanks, this is fascinating. And oh, hey I recognize a bunch of these country names from the news lately. Turkey, Afghanistan, Korea, Mexico... probably just a coincidence! And apparently these semi-perhipheral states are vital to world stabilization, funny that they'd be so hotly contested and seemingly de-stabilized by core states looking to assert greater world power just right this moment.
posted by carsonb at 11:59 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


Politico: Spicer left out of Vatican visit

They let Hope Hicks, Dan Scavino, even his security guy Keith Schiller go, but not Spicer. Poor guy...
posted by zachlipton at 12:03 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]


bonehead: The majority of public servants aren't public figures. I don't know why they should have no expectation of privacy.

I'm a local government employee and my compensation is published annually in the local rag along with literally everyone else I work with. I have a lot of complicated feelings about that, but if I had to simplify my emotions down to a dichotomy I actually like it. I see public service as an honor and a necessary function of civilized living based on goodwill and honesty and transparent accountability. Notifying a community about how much that costs exactly is a fine function of the freedoms of press and information.
posted by carsonb at 12:07 PM on May 24 [37 favorites]



I'd love to say that we in the US like to publish governmental payroll data (and we do, a lot, at all levels of government) because transparency in earnings helps women and minorities find out when they are being grossly underpaid compared to white/male colleagues, but really it's because we don't believe that government should even be a thing so we like to play gotcha with how much people make of "our tax dollars."
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:07 PM on May 24 [17 favorites]


Politico: Spicer left out of Vatican visit

They let Hope Hicks, Dan Scavino, even his security guy Keith Schiller go, but not Spicer. Poor guy...


Are we sure? The Vatican has extensive gardens. Did Politico check all the bushes?
posted by leotrotsky at 12:08 PM on May 24 [48 favorites]


From the now-oft-quoted Mulvaney op-ed in support of the Trump budget:

For years, we’ve focused on how we can help Americans receive taxpayer-funded assistance. Under President Trump’s leadership, we’re now looking at how we can respect both those who require assistance and the taxpayers who fund that support. For the first time in a long time, we’re putting taxpayers first.

Taking money from someone without an intention to pay it back is not debt. It is theft. This budget makes it clear that we will reverse this larceny.


I've mostly heard people say that this is a defense for gratuitously cutting social programs, and that the "taking money" line is a reference to taxation. However, right after that line, Mulvaney says this:

The president’s spending plan will put our country’s budget back into balance and begin to reduce the size of the national debt within the first year of its enactment.

It sounds to me like he's also talking about the national debt, and in terms that suggest it's not morally real, as though it constitutes theft from Americans per se, which suggests to me that the Trump administration might very well try to default on America's debt. But you'd have to be crazy to even think about doing that, right? Nobody would allow that to happen; surely someone would stop it...somebody would...
posted by clockzero at 12:08 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]


"Salary, title, and demographic details about millions of U.S. government employees, as well as their migrations into, out of, and through the federal bureaucracy. In many cases, the data also contains employees’ names."

So now any federal employee who might have a stalker has to worry about that stalker knowing where they work...

And salary? Aggregate salary data should be transparent, but discrimination against poor people is a real thing.

Demographic details? What if some people don't really want to be identified as "mixed race" or whatever?
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:08 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]


Politico: Spicer left out of Vatican visit

I'll bet they short-sheeted his bed, too. Also, in the Dept. Of Being Generally Shitty, Donnie declared that he likes the Pope because they're two equally humble guys!
posted by octobersurprise at 12:10 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]


"Is covering your hair at a papal audience a religious requirement, or a clothing protocol issue?"

It is literally neither. Female heads of state or government don't do it when visiting (see Angela Merkel). Wives often do it especially on first visit, but not always, because it used to be protocol (but isn't any longer). Honestly the reason people do it is because either they're excited to get to wear a mantilla, or because it makes for striking pictures that get more press than "just" nice clothes (see, for instance, Catholic monarchs in Europe, whose job is to be in pictures). What's weird about the pictures isn't that they wore veils -- if I were a fashionable lady I might jump at the chance to wear a mantilla too, they're kinda fun and they're hardly appropriate anywhere -- but that Ivanka wore the wrong kind of veil. She didn't need to wear one at all, and it's weird that she wore the wrong kind. It's kind of like wearing a rosary as a necklace ... it's not exactly offensive but it's jarringly incorrect and some people will find it disrespectful. If it says anything about this White House, it's that they're really fuckin' lazy when it comes to details and can't be arsed to get things right. No veil would have been unremarkable and perfectly correct; a mantilla (like Melania's) would have been unremarkable and perfectly correct; the cheerful funeral veil is wrong, and weird.

(If it matters, men also must have their knees and shoulders covered at the Vatican.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:14 PM on May 24 [23 favorites]


According to that Politico article, Spicer has gone on the record before about being serious about his Catholic faith. If I were a devoted Catholic, would I want to have to show up with Trump (God knows what horrible faux pas he would do) and/or have to explain myself to the Pope right to his face. Maybe Spicer is taking this time to seriously reconsider his priorities in life.
posted by Autumnheart at 12:15 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]


To clarify, I'm not at all defending what Buzzfeed is doing, I just want to understand the distinction between their drop and whats available here?

Again, if this information wasn't already freely available, buzzfeed is back at it again being a shitheel.
posted by Twain Device at 12:16 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


Maybe Spicer is taking this time to seriously reconsider his priorities in life.

Or maybe Trump (or someone in his circle) is cruel enough to deny a devout Catholic a chance to meet the Pope.
posted by jedicus at 12:17 PM on May 24 [44 favorites]


Some entertainment while waiting for the CBO score to come in (sometime after 4pm Eastern is the current word).

Please enjoy this excerpt from Al Franken's upcoming book, in which Amy Klobuchar is working on a Ted Cruz joke, and Franken tells it like it really is, to Ted Cruz.

Cruz, for his part, finds the book "obnoxious and insulting" (an entire chapter is devoted to him), which is really the best endorsement I can imagine.
posted by zachlipton at 12:17 PM on May 24 [49 favorites]


transparency in earnings helps women and minorities find out when they are being grossly underpaid compared to white/male colleagues,

Forgive me, but that's irrelevant to the release. Gender and race data is already in the data set. To my mind, there's no benefit to naming each employee. Identity could, as I mentioned above, be anonymized and still serve the function of determining pay and opportunity equity.

Notifying a community about how much that costs exactly is a fine function of the freedoms of press and information.

My government (Canada) makes public rates of pay federally, as well as the demographics (how many at each level, etc.. ) of parts of the service down to the branch level (the level under that of a department or agency). In some parts of the country, we have "sunshine" lists for public employees who make more than a certain value, typically over $100k.

But the clerks who take home $22k/yr don't have all their employment info broadcast everywhere. That's what I find kind of appalling.

Sorry. I didn't mean to make this a major point of discussion. But this just seems egregious.
posted by bonehead at 12:18 PM on May 24 [10 favorites]


Buzzfeed: We're Sharing Hundreds Of Millions Of Federal Payroll Records: ... In many cases, the data also contains employees’ names.

When I was a reporter, this was pretty much my specialty -- acquiring govt. databases via FOIA, usually to investigate a story we already were pursuing, but sometimes just to prospect for ideas. Back then, we had a rule-- just because we had the data didn't mean would *publish* the data. We'd publish if some aspect of it was newsworthy, e.g., if the mayor put his family on the payroll, or if it showed pay discrimination across race/gender, sure.

But names and salaries by themselves, though might generate a lot of clicks, aren't newsworthy.
posted by martin q blank at 12:18 PM on May 24 [9 favorites]


They let Hope Hicks, Dan Scavino, even his security guy Keith Schiller go, but not Spicer. Poor guy...

To be fair one keeps him safe, one puts his dribble on Twitter, and the remaining one will be his fourth wife.

It's not like Spicer could actually do any of those jobs competently.
posted by Talez at 12:19 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


> Demographic details? What if some people don't really want to be identified as "mixed race" or whatever?

As far as I can tell, having just looked myself up and decoded the string according to their data definitions, the only demographic info provided is an age range, given in 5-year chunks (20-24, 25-29, 30-34, ...). You could deduce the exact age of an employee if they serve long enough to switch groups. There does not appear to be any race, ethnicity, or gender information. Nor is there location information, although you could guess based on agency.
posted by Westringia F. at 12:19 PM on May 24 [5 favorites]


Or maybe Trump (or someone in his circle) is cruel enough to deny a devout Catholic a chance to meet the Pope.

I totally believe Trump would try to do this, but I feel like the Pope could overrule that pretty easily if it came to it.
posted by Autumnheart at 12:22 PM on May 24


According to that Politico article, Spicer has gone on the record before about being serious about his Catholic faith.

Then perhaps he spontaneously transformed into an unshriven mass of reeking brimstone the moment he set foot on the Vatican pavement, on account of what he does for a living.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:24 PM on May 24 [6 favorites]


Autumnheart: "I totally believe Trump would try to do this, but I feel like the Pope could overrule that pretty easily if it came to it."

Like, "I'll meet with you but only if you bring Spicer along"?
posted by Mitheral at 12:25 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


"I'll meet with you but only if you bring Spicer along"

I have always wanted to meet your American Easter Bunny.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:26 PM on May 24 [27 favorites]


WaPo: How a dubious Russian document influenced the FBI’s handling of the Clinton probe
In the midst of the 2016 presidential primary season, the FBI received a purported Russian intelligence document describing a tacit understanding between the campaign of Hillary Clinton and the Justice Department over the inquiry into whether she intentionally revealed classified information through her use of a private email server.

The Russian document mentioned a supposed email describing how then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch had privately assured someone in the Clinton campaign that the email investigation would not push too deeply into the matter — a conversation that if made public would cast doubt on the inquiry’s integrity.

Current and former officials have said that document played a significant role in the July decision by then-FBI Director James B. Comey to announce on his own, without Justice Department involvement, that the investigation was over. That public announcement — in which he criticized Clinton and made extensive comments about the evidence — set in motion a chain of other FBI moves that Democrats now say helped Trump win the presidential election.

But according to the FBI’s own assessment, the document was bad intelligence — and according to people familiar with its contents, possibly even a fake sent to confuse the bureau. The Americans mentioned in the Russian document insist they do not know each other, do not speak to each other and never had any conversations remotely like the ones described in the document. Investigators have long doubted its veracity, and by August the FBI had concluded it was unreliable.
posted by zachlipton at 12:26 PM on May 24 [64 favorites]


It's a central European thing. Maybe the Russian influence?

I think we should call it Gorkery.
posted by orrnyereg at 12:28 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]


No kidding. Which is why I hope he woke up this morning and realized that his job is to be the paid punching bag for a gigantic asshole who makes him look Iike a turd on a daily basis, and who kept him from meeting the Pope just to be a fucking prick. I mean that would give me some pause if I were in that position.
posted by Autumnheart at 12:28 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]


But names and salaries by themselves, though might generate a lot of clicks, aren't newsworthy.

If 2016 taught us anything, it's that clicks and newsworthiness are now the same. For-profit journalism is an oxymoron.
posted by biogeo at 12:29 PM on May 24


> Nor is there location information, although you could guess based on agency.

I was wrong: duty station is in there.
posted by Westringia F. at 12:29 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]




What could Spicer possibly say to the Pope in good conscience as a practicing Catholic other than "I'm Sorry?"
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:30 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]


> Oh, but it is!

To be fair, I'm pretty sure Al Franken would do it for free, or, if necessary, pay for the privilege.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:31 PM on May 24 [17 favorites]


Cruz, for his part, finds the book "obnoxious and insulting" (an entire chapter is devoted to him), which is really the best endorsement I can imagine.

If Franken doesn't use that quote as a cover blurb, he's missing a bet.
posted by Gelatin at 12:31 PM on May 24 [55 favorites]


(If it matters, men also must have their knees and shoulders covered at the Vatican.)

So for women, it'd be head and shoulders, knees and toes? knees and toes.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:32 PM on May 24 [26 favorites]


The merits of whether, how, and when payroll data or salary information (inclusive or exclusive of names, personally identifying information, and demographic data) should or should not be shared with the general public -- and in what forms, and from which sources -- is entirely fascinating and maybe something that could go in its own, new, thread? (Saying this partly because this feels like a slight derail here, and partly because, selfishly, I'd love to read more about this in-depth in ways that would very much be an actual derail here).
posted by cjelli at 12:33 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Regarding salary lists, in basically all government units in the US you have to provide these on demand, and in most they're published online, by law. In my state you also have to prepare several ancillary reports, like "highest-paid 25/50/100 employees" (depending on size of unit), "all employees earning more than $75,000/year" (so you can't hide Department of Transportation patronage hires making $160k for imaginary jobs in among 47 pages of part-time seasonal road workers), "total compensation packages of all management employees" (so you can see if non-unionized employees are getting high-value non-salary perks that are questionable). These are updated with great fanfare and guaranteed newspaper coverage yearly, and all state and local government employees briefly grouse that everyone knows what they earn, and then immediately starts looking up all their friends, enemies, and managers.

But yeah, it's available by law, and most places make it easier to look through than the feds do.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:33 PM on May 24 [7 favorites]


"Al is trying to sell books and apparently he's decided that being obnoxious and insulting me is good for causing liberals to buy his books," Cruz said in an interview.

Based on precedent of a high-profile Cruz opponent being obnoxious and insulting him, Cruz will be making phone calls begging people to vote for Franken pretty soon.
posted by Etrigan at 12:34 PM on May 24 [32 favorites]


What could Spicer possibly say to the Pope in good conscience as a practicing Catholic other than "I'm Sorry?"

Bless me, Holy Father, for I have sinned...
posted by uncleozzy at 12:35 PM on May 24 [10 favorites]


To be fair, I'm pretty sure Al Franken would do it for free, or, if necessary, pay for the privilege.

I was about to make a similar joke.

But to think of it another way, we actually already paid him to tell Ted Cruz to his face that he's full of shit. As a Minnesota taxpayer, all I can say is that I'm delighted that I could play my part in this.
posted by Autumnheart at 12:35 PM on May 24 [28 favorites]


Which is why I hope he woke up this morning and realized that his job is to be the paid punching bag for a gigantic asshole who makes him look Iike a turd on a daily basis

I'm pretty sure Spicer had that part of his brain removed long ago and replaced with a big wad of chewed-up gum.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:35 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]


it's very unusual that a SOAS dissertation would not be easily available

It looks like starting in 2011, the year Page's thesis was published, SOAS changed their policy about thesis digitization:
We have written to our SOAS PhD graduates by letter and email to ask authors to opt-out of the [2017 SOAS PhD Digitization] project if they do not want their thesis to be digitized. [...] Please note any thesis submitted from 2011 onwards is not included in this project as authors have already selected whether they wish to have their thesis digitized and these existing agreements will stand.
If his thesis had been digitized, it would probably be available here. There's a form to request digitization here, but it talks about theses for which there is no record. This one has a record, just not a scan. Maybe that's what it looks like if someone opts out of digitization, in which case in-person reading in the Special Collections Reading Room of the SOAS Library might be the only way to see it.
posted by hades at 12:39 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]


What could Spicer possibly say to the Pope in good conscience as a practicing Catholic other than "I'm Sorry?"

Bless me, Holy Father, for I have sinned...


Hey, I wear a white suit for work, too!
posted by leotrotsky at 12:39 PM on May 24 [5 favorites]


But yeah, it's available by law, and most places make it easier to look through than the feds do.

Agreed. I work for a private university and recently negotiated a raise in salary simply by seeking out the published salary of the people doing my job for public universities within a hundred miles of me.

The data I used included names, length of service, job title, and specific salary to the penny. It wasn't hard to get -- took me about two hours to put the entire proposal together.
posted by anastasiav at 12:40 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]


I feel like "leak Soros staffer emails with Debbie Wasserman Schultz about killing the Clinton email investigation" would have been the quintessential Russian plot of our time.
posted by zachlipton at 12:42 PM on May 24 [5 favorites]


clicks and newsworthiness are now the same. For-profit journalism is an oxymoron.

When has non-profit journalism ever been particularly significant again (excepting maybe NPR/PBS)? Clicks are today's copies of the evening paper. Which cost a nickel. And had advertisers. There is no reason profit has to render journalists unethical.
posted by spitbull at 12:44 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]


in which case in-person reading in the Special Collections Reading Room of the SOAS Library might be the only way to see it.

Already on it. Just shouted out to my London peeps.
posted by spitbull at 12:46 PM on May 24 [29 favorites]


I don't know how you can argue BuzzFeed is hunting for clicks. They didn't even make this searchable themselves, but other people have already done that on other sites and have for years. They published a data dump so that researchers can analyze the data programmatically.
posted by zachlipton at 12:48 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]


Honor of a lifetime to meet His Holiness Pope Francis. I leave the Vatican more determined than ever to pursue PEACE in our world.

From way upthread, but having been brought up in the evangelical subculture that now makes up Trump's base, I think this tweet might be his most objectionable from their perspective.

Pussy grabbing, poor starving, lying your ass off, unbridled greed and corruption? Remember the words of John 8:
He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone...

Referring to the PAPAL DICTATOR AS "HIS HOLINESS"??? It's Romans 16 for you:
Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.

Curious to see if my hunch is correct.
posted by Rykey at 12:49 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]


When has non-profit journalism ever been particularly significant again (excepting maybe NPR/PBS)? Clicks are today's copies of the evening paper. Which cost a nickel. And had advertisers. There is no reason profit has to render journalists unethical.

The BBC? CBC?
posted by tivalasvegas at 12:54 PM on May 24 [6 favorites]


From way upthread, but having been brought up in the evangelical subculture that now makes up Trump's base, I think this tweet might be his most objectionable from their perspective.

You're forgetting the part where he's a Republican, which has been conclusively proven to outweigh theological concerns.
posted by Etrigan at 12:55 PM on May 24 [22 favorites]


Man... I'm watching Gaycation: United We Stand, which appears to be the most recent episode and mentions the civil rights and LGBT rights pages and the Spanish-language version of the White House still being missing "almost a hundred days in", which would seem to imply that it was released some time last month.

Much of the discussion involves Mike Pence of course, kicked off with an interview with Lucian Wintrich^ during the inauguration and DeploraBall in which his entire defense to supporting Pence as part of the Trump ticket is "well the Vice President doesn't have much power", and most of the show actually takes place in Indiana and covers Pence's reign there.

But, no mention of Trump being impeached and the awful possibility of Pence becoming Prez. Is taking impeachment seriously so recent? I can't remember, time is passing so quickly that every day feels like waking up from a coma.
posted by XMLicious at 1:00 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]


For those waiting on the CBO score for ACHA - earlier today the following URL gave a page not found but now it is password protected so pretty sure the report will be turning up shortly:
https://www.cbo.gov/publication/52763
posted by piyushnz at 1:02 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]


Spitbull, I'll be looking for your updates.
posted by Dashy at 1:02 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


BBC CBC

Ok excuse me, I meant in the US. Most important journalism in this country over three centuries has been by people making a buck doing it. That is an absolute fact. So saying "journalism sucks because it's for profit" imagines an impossible standard and falsifies history.

My aforementioned sibling works for a major for profit news organization. Suggesting his ethics are compromised by that is the same as saying the same thing about anyone working for a for profit business.

What major stories has PBS actually broken in the last 25 years? Name three.
posted by spitbull at 1:02 PM on May 24 [7 favorites]


Charles Gaba, ACA number-cruncher extraordinaire, would like to remind you that today is CBO Scoring Day.

How many tens of millions will be projected to lose coverage under the AHCA version 2.0? What diameter hole will be blown in the federal deficit? Soon we will learn.

non-preview: curses, piyushnz!
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:02 PM on May 24


And what's more, a different motive for corruption enters the picture when the government sponsors or pays for journalism, no?
posted by spitbull at 1:03 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]


There is no reason profit has to render journalists unethical.

No, but however ethical individual journalists are, working within a system that is profit-driven means they are constrained. How many well-trained, experienced journalists like Anderson Cooper are there at CNN who would love to do some journalism instead of talk to the same mendacious spin doctors in front of a holographic green screen for the thousandth time, but can't because the network executives prefer to spend the least effort and capital for the highest ratings possible?

I don't really mean that "for-profit journalism is an oxymoron," it was a silly hyperbole said out of pique. But I do think the extent to which profit drives media compromises its ability to act as the Fourth Estate, and with media executives on the record as saying things like "Trump is bad for America, but good for NBC," I think it's less of a hyperbole than I did at this time last year.
posted by biogeo at 1:05 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]


XMLicious: I can't remember, time is passing so quickly that every day feels like waking up from a coma.

The Trump Van Winkle effect.
posted by syzygy at 1:06 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]


WaPo: Ben Carson calls poverty “a state of mind” during interview
In an interview released Wednesday, Housing Secretary Ben Carson said that a "certain mindset" contributes to people living in poverty, pointing to habits and a "state of mind" children take from their parents at a young age.

"I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind. You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street and I guarantee in a little while they'll be right back up there," he said during an interview on SiriusXM Radio with Armstrong Williams, a longtime friend.

"And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world, they'll work their way right back down to the bottom," he said.
While it's well demonstrated that living in poverty can have significant impacts on the mind in terms of stress and mental illness, I'm still pretty sure poverty is fundamentally about a lack of money.

Also, CBO score is now expected at 4:30.
posted by zachlipton at 1:07 PM on May 24 [44 favorites]


Ok excuse me, I meant in the US. Most important journalism in this country over three centuries has been by people making a buck doing it. That is an absolute fact. So saying "journalism sucks because it's for profit" imagines an impossible standard and falsifies history.

My aforementioned sibling works for a major for profit news organization. Suggesting his ethics are compromised by that is the same as saying the same thing about anyone working for a for profit business.


I agree with you on both points. However, it is quite possible to have a (relatively) objective, state-funded organization (a la the BBC, CBC and ABC (Australia)), and I think it's worthwhile and healthy to have a diverse media landscape of commercial, non-profit and state-funded (arms-length) journalistic organizations.
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:08 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Jesus, from the WaPo link zachlipton posted:

From the moment the bureau received the document from a source in early March 2016, its veracity was the subject of an internal debate at the FBI. Several people familiar with the matter said the bureau’s doubts about the document hardened in August when officials became more certain that there was nothing to substantiate the claims in the Russian document. FBI officials knew the bureau never had the underlying email with the explosive allegation, if it ever existed.

Yet senior officials at the bureau continued to rely on the document before and after the election as part of their justification for how they handled the case.

Wasserman Schultz and Benardo said in separate interviews with The Washington Post that they do not know each other and have never communicated. Renteria, in an interview, and people familiar with Lynch’s account said the two also do not know each other and have never communicated. Lynch declined to comment for this article.

Moreover, Wasserman Schultz, Benardo and Renteria said they have never been interviewed by the FBI about the matter.

posted by DynamiteToast at 1:09 PM on May 24 [5 favorites]


> WaPo: Ben Carson calls poverty “a state of mind” during interview

"Just close your eyes, think of Ronald Reagan, and say 'bootstraps' three times -- the world will be yours."

Fuck Ben Carson.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:10 PM on May 24 [26 favorites]


So it appears that the Russians put out a fake document implicating Clinton and Comey fell for it, using the fake Russian document as justification for his unprecedented public attack on Clinton back in July.

The Russians used a diversionary tactic to throw Comey off the Russian investigation and onto the Clinton nothing-burger. Brilliant. And Comey was partisan enough to swallow it whole. He had spent his whole career stalking the Clintons and the Russians realized they just needed to supply him the rope he needed to hang himself.
posted by JackFlash at 1:11 PM on May 24 [66 favorites]


biogeo, I agree with the restatement, but think it is really crucial to acknowledge that profit has motivated a shit ton of good critical journalism all the way back to Thomas Paine. And the last thing we want is government-sponsored media and journalism. The solution is observing professional standards in the newsroom. As a sibling of a major professional print journalist who works for a major for profit news agency, my impression is most journalists are ethical to a fault. They don't make much and their jobs are always precarious. The ones I know best just want to eat and kick ass.
posted by spitbull at 1:12 PM on May 24 [7 favorites]


the PAPAL DICTATOR

As an aside, the Pope is literally the King of Vatican City, which is an absolute monarchy. So they're not totally wrong.
posted by XMLicious at 1:12 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


tivalasvegas, we agree.... those state-owned media enterprises have to observe the exact same professional standards of resisting influence form government patrons as for profit journalists resisting pressure from advertisers.

Indeed look at how conservative NPR And PBS have become lately. Why? Because they are terrified of angering the right wing government and losing their jobs. Meanwhile every single scoop that has damaged this administration has come from a for profit entity. Every. Single. One.
posted by spitbull at 1:15 PM on May 24 [18 favorites]


WaPo: Ben Carson calls poverty “a state of mind” during interview
"I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind. You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street and I guarantee in a little while they'll be right back up there," he said during an interview

Hey, I'm curious! Since I'm sure Carson thinks of himself as one of the "right mindset" types, how about we test his theory with him as the subject?
posted by Gelatin at 1:16 PM on May 24 [26 favorites]


In reality, if you substitute "privilege" for "mindset," Carson actually has a point.
posted by Gelatin at 1:16 PM on May 24 [7 favorites]


Just read Demirjian and Barrett WaPo piece zachlipton linked above: How a dubious Russian document influenced the FBI’s handling of the Clinton probe

WOW. Jeez. So not only is Russian disinformation making it into American media (easily!) it was successfully used to manipulate the FBI.

This is hugely significant, I think.

This previously posted link (Elkind for Propublica) says:
A recent report in The New York Times raised the prospect of another factor in Comey’s calculations. Early last year, another FBI investigative team had found a memo or email hacked by the Russians in which a Democratic operative expressed confidence that Lynch would protect Clinton. According to the Times, Comey worried that if Lynch were involved in the Clinton announcement and the Russians leaked the document, then voters would not trust the inquiry.

But Comey did not confront Lynch, demand that she recuse herself or raise the matter with the deputy attorney general, Sally Yates, former Justice Department officials told me. Instead, he sent an aide to confer with David Margolis, a respected senior Justice Department official, who has since died. Margolis never raised the issue with department leadership. Two former officials who have seen the document told me that it was never a real concern. Comey and his defenders, they insisted to me, are now engaged in “revisionist history.”
So now it seems like... Russia faked this e-mail, and allowed the FBI to "find" it among the real e-mails that they had stolen, and were able to manipulate Comey into cutting Lynch out of the loop. Like this was a headfake meant basically for Comey, specifically? And they let the FBI "find" it it on their own...

And with Lynch out of the loop, Comey made those announcements...

Hard to say now that Russian disinformation didn't have an effect on the campaign! There was the disinformation that made it into the media... And then it seems like there was disinformation targeted at James Comey specifically, which effectively manipulated him into having a major effect on the campaign. Embarrassing for him. I still think he was basically trying to do the right thing, but wow did he get played. I wonder what he'll say about this when he testifies?

That is quite the scoop. I mean, in terms of making me re-evaluate every single thing that happened last year, this is the biggest BOOM yet.
posted by OnceUponATime at 1:17 PM on May 24 [105 favorites]


Spitbull: When has non-profit journalism ever been particularly significant again (excepting maybe NPR/PBS)?

I completely agree with your point. That said, ProPublica is non-profit, right? They do great work. Mother Jones, while openly partisan, has done some excellent investigative journalism, and I.F. Stone before that.

On the other hand, Steve Bannon set up that technically non-profit investigative arm that published "Clinton Cash" so the sector produces some real crap. And I haven't noticed any particularly good work by the Pacifica radio network.
posted by msalt at 1:17 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Ben Carson calls poverty “a state of mind” during interview

Seriously, if you want to see the Republican view of our glorious future, watch the Victorian Slum House series on PBS. They've been detailing the Victorian age views of the poor as essentially a different species of human, and all of it sounds like the current GOP budget proposals.
posted by dnash at 1:17 PM on May 24 [13 favorites]


Indeed look at how conservative NPR And PBS have become lately. Why? Because they are terrified of angering the right wing government and losing their jobs.

And as government funding has been cut back -- in the pledge drives, NPR is quick to point out that only about 10% of its funding comes from the government -- they have turned more and more to corporate funding. NPR used to be all in on fracking, and sponsor Archer Daniels Midland could do no wrong.
posted by Gelatin at 1:19 PM on May 24 [9 favorites]


It sounds to me like he's also talking about the national debt, and in terms that suggest it's not morally real, as though it constitutes theft from Americans per se, which suggests to me that the Trump administration might very well try to default on America's debt. But you'd have to be crazy to even think about doing that, right?

It's hard to keep track of them all, but in episode #346 of This Moment Here Should Have Stopped the Whole Fucking Shitshow For Good, the orange dipshit suggested creditors to the national debt should take a haircut. So yes. Yes, you'd have to be crazy to think about doing that. Or just criminally stupid. Turns out, that's exactly who got elected.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:22 PM on May 24 [13 favorites]


The Joint Committee on Taxation (***not the CBO***) just released its AHCA analysis [auto-downloading pdf; main site here].

Basic takeaways:
-repealing ACA taxes would cost $662 billion over 10 years
-of that, repealing the net investment income tax would cost $172 billion

(still waiting on the CBO score, which should take into account these numbers)
posted by melissasaurus at 1:26 PM on May 24 [6 favorites]


Argh. Combine that "Russians manipulated Comey" piece with the Bernstein/Buzzfeed scoop about how "The Rich family is 'in shock' that Ed Butowsky is linked to Steve Bannon and the Mercer family" and I'm back to my headless chicken panic about how our institutions are supposed to function when we are this easily manipulated by propaganda and disinformation.

How the heck do we fix this? It's not just stupid people falling for it, and we haven't collectively learned our lesson since last year either, obviously.
posted by OnceUponATime at 1:26 PM on May 24 [9 favorites]


Between Trump and Mulvaney, one of them is crazy and the other is criminally stupid and I'm utterly unable to decide which is which.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:26 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]


So now it seems like... Russia faked this e-mail, and allowed the FBI to "find" it among the real e-mails that they had stolen, and were able to manipulate Comey into cutting Lynch out of the loop.

The Washington Post story gets a little odd here, in that it says the FBI never actually found the original email, just "a piece of purported analysis by Russian intelligence" that described the email. So it wasn't a fake email amid the real emails, but this weird Russian intelligence document they somehow got handed by "a foreign source" that "had previously supplied other information that the FBI was also unable to corroborate."

This kind of stuff is precisely why we needed an independent Russia commission six months ago.
posted by zachlipton at 1:27 PM on May 24 [38 favorites]


rhizome: [Curb Your Enthusiasm Theme]

As if on cue
posted by sektah at 1:27 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


And then it seems like there was disinformation targeted at James Comey specifically, which effectively manipulated him into having a major effect on the campaign. Embarrassing for him. I still think he was basically trying to do the right thing, but wow did he get played.

Trying to do the right thing? Comey had spent his career in pursuit of the Clinton White Whale and the Russians knew his weak point. The obsessed Ahab took the whole country down with him -- hardly the right thing.
posted by JackFlash at 1:27 PM on May 24 [25 favorites]


Pacifica, ProPublica, Mother Jones

Fair enough, the third option is publicly funded non-profit without government involvement, as is the case with those three entities. I support two of them myself with regular contributions. They are important. ProPublica has broken some big anti-Trump stuff. The other two not so much yet. David Corn would be working for a for-profit if not for MoJo, I suspect, and he is their scoop machine. ProPublica has