The Sessions Sessions: The Confederate General Babbles Before Congress
June 13, 2017 8:32 AM   Subscribe

At 2:30pm Eastern time today, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III will testify under oath before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence regarding his contacts with government officials of the Russian Federation prior to the January 20th inauguration, as well as his role in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. Many burning questions remain for Sessions.

Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has brought on money laundering experts, a veritable "murders' row" of prosecutors, while the right-wing world has turned on him in a transparent and vicious attempt to undermine the credibility of the investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged collusion with Russia and other filthy laundry the investigation turns up.

To complicate matters further for the embattled chief executive, there are reports that he is considering attempting to fire Robert Mueller. Jesse Eisinger and Justin Elliott of ProPublica have also reported that Trump's personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz has claimed to have been a catalyst in the firing of former US Attorney Preet Bharara.

In other news, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the administration in regards to Trump's self-proclaimed travel ban, unanimously upholding an injunction preventing the implementation of the policy.

Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell is trying desperately to pass another cruel ACA-repeal bill with no public text or CBO score.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal (3167 comments total) 122 users marked this as a favorite
 
Thank you!!
posted by Room 641-A at 8:34 AM on June 13 [11 favorites]


Thanks for the new post! HAPPY REX MANNING JEFF SESSIONS DAY EVERYBODY!
posted by lalex at 8:34 AM on June 13 [31 favorites]


Thanks for the new thread.

Trump has blocked VoteVets and Stephen King from his twitter feed today.

Video: Speaker Ryan: "The best advice would be to let Robert Mueller do his job" as special counsel in Russia investigation.

NBC News' Kasie Hunt (@kasie on Twitter) reports that "Reporters at Capitol have been told they are not allow to film interviews with senators in hallways, contrary to years of precedent. CONDITIONS for any interview: Previously granted permission from senator AND Rules Committee of Senate."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:35 AM on June 13 [69 favorites]


BBC: North Korea has released jailed US student Otto Warmbier, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says.

Mr Warmbier's release comes hours after US basketball star Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea, but it is not clear if the two events are linked.


It's 2017, do we really need to ask if they are linked? Dennis Rodman is a reality TV star utterly unqualified to conduct international diplomacy, particularly in one of the most dangerous conflict hot-spots in history. The year is 2017. Rodman supports Trump. Rodman was on Trump's show, repeatedly. Do we really need to ask if he has been appointed as Trump's unofficial emissary to North Korea? If truth no longer has meaning, is evidence still required? What is the difference between a duck? What is a mouse when it spins?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:36 AM on June 13 [85 favorites]


Thank you for this new post!

History question: Has any other Congress ever tried to pass such wide-sweeping legislation (that would affect many millions of Americans) through what is essentially a cover-up in which they are lying outright to the country?
posted by zarq at 8:37 AM on June 13 [21 favorites]


DO NOT VIDEOTAPE THE SWAMP.
posted by Artw at 8:37 AM on June 13 [21 favorites]


I think what bothers me the most (in this 60-second time period) is what utter, total, chicken shits these people are.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:38 AM on June 13 [49 favorites]


Trump has blocked VoteVets

They have half a million supporters.

This should end well.
posted by zarq at 8:38 AM on June 13 [51 favorites]


Brian Beutler: Nobody will consider the Republicans’ secret Trumpcare bill a scandal if Democrats don’t treat it like one.
It is understandably challenging to get news editors and producers to write splashy headlines and run breaking news alerts about a bill whose details are unknown. The key to making that story seem juicy is to underline the fact that the Republican health care reform process is a scandal—marked no less than the Trump-Russia scandal by secret meetings, violated norms, collusion, and deceit. On a day to day basis, it looks like “no news,” but that’s because the public interest is being brazenly subverted.

One way around this challenge is to seize the narrative. Headlines that say “Democrats Shut Down Sessions Hearing Over Secret Republican Health Care Bill” would shine a light, if not on what Republicans are planning to do, then on the scandalous way they are doing it. That would increase pressure on Republicans to conduct a more transparent process, and maybe even ferret out details of the secret plan.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:38 AM on June 13 [86 favorites]


Countdown until Trump tweets that freeing this American student was "a real slam-dunk"
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:38 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Parents of man released from NK say he’s in coma: Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in a statement to The Associated Press that they have been told their son has been in a coma since March 2016, and they had learned of this only one week ago.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:39 AM on June 13 [6 favorites]


Trump has blocked Stephen King from his twitter feed today.

If King has taught us anything it's that shutting away uncomfortable thoughts and discussions is very effective and does not result in them manifesting into demonic clowns or what have you
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:41 AM on June 13 [191 favorites]


Trump has blocked VoteVets and Stephen King from his twitter feed today.

Didn't somebody have a thought experiment about Twitter-blocking as a First Amendment violation in these days of Trump's Twitter account being official communications? Maybe King should throw some It-bucks at that for the lulz.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:42 AM on June 13 [25 favorites]


Carryover from the last thread, Rod Rosenstein is testifying to the budget oversight committee instead of Jeff Sessions because Sessions refused to appear with very little notice. He's flailing wildly on basic logical questions about the scope of Sessions recusal, why the budget request was cut by 2%, but also seems personally aghast at the possibility that Trump would order him to fire Mueller, indicating he won't follow such an order as long as he's in the job (which of course wouldn't be long, in that event).
posted by odinsdream at 8:42 AM on June 13 [12 favorites]


If King has taught us anything it's that shutting away uncomfortable thoughts and discussions is very effective and does not result in them manifesting into demonic clowns or what have you

Right, but if you already are a demonic clown ...
posted by leotrotsky at 8:44 AM on June 13 [24 favorites]


If King has taught us anything it's that shutting away uncomfortable thoughts and discussions is very effective and does not result in them manifesting into demonic clowns or what have you

uh is trump the guy with the thoughts or the demonic clown in this scenario
posted by murphy slaw at 8:45 AM on June 13 [15 favorites]


Stephen King 2020: We All Vote Down Here
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:45 AM on June 13 [148 favorites]


but also seems personally aghast at the possibility that Trump would order him to fire Mueller, indicating he won't follow such an order as long as he's in the job (which of course wouldn't be long, in that event).

So he probably just fired himself?
posted by Artw at 8:45 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


NBC News' Kasie Hunt (@kasie on Twitter) reports that "Reporters at Capitol have been told they are not allow to film interviews with senators in hallways, contrary to years of precedent.

I feel sad for Chuck Schumer now.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 8:46 AM on June 13 [4 favorites]


Just going to offer my predictions now:

1.) Trump will fire Mueller, probably within the next two weeks,
and
2.) The GOP will do nothing about it.

Nothing, in a tactical political sense, has changed. Trump is obviously, hilariously guilty of something extremely bad, possibly involving Russia, definitely involving his own enrichment from the office of President or pursuit of same; we know this because he didn't start freaking out until Mueller started hiring money laundering experts. Oh, and because he's got a pattern of firing anybody who's investigating him or even looks like he's investigating him, we know he's guilty because of that too.

He's going to fire Mueller for the same reason he fired Bharara and Comey: because he's guilty and wants them to go away. And he's going to do it because the congressional GOP has done nothing to punish him for firing people investigating him. They're practically encouraged him.

As for the GOP re: Mueller, nothing is going to change there either. They can't do shit to Trump, because the moment they do, they lose that 25% of their base that adores Trump, and say goodbye to winning elections ever again. Really, you could set aside their wanting to achieve their horrible legislative goals via Trump's presidency, because even if they didn't think they could get thing one done with Trump they'd still enable him out of fear. That's why they won't do anything worse than mumble about how concerned they are.

Two weeks at the most. Count on it.
posted by mightygodking at 8:46 AM on June 13 [93 favorites]


It's 2017, do we really need to ask if they are linked? Dennis Rodman is a reality TV star utterly unqualified to conduct international diplomacy, particularly in one of the most dangerous conflict hot-spots in history. The year is 2017. Rodman supports Trump. Rodman was on Trump's show, repeatedly. Do we really need to ask if he has been appointed as Trump's unofficial emissary to North Korea? If truth no longer has meaning, is evidence still required? What is the difference between a duck? What is a mouse when it spins?

I know you want to be facetious and that it's a ridiculous situation but Dennis Rodman has been in North Korea for longer and more substantive visits than any other living American and adored by the ruling dynasty. If there's any one person you want to send to butter up KJU and ask a favor, he would be the guy.
posted by Talez at 8:46 AM on June 13 [21 favorites]


kind of stunning to see the admin float trial balloons about firing mueller, as if the lesson they took from watergate was that nixon stopped committing saturday night massacres too early
posted by murphy slaw at 8:46 AM on June 13 [74 favorites]


Nothing, in a tactical political sense, has changed. Trump is obviously, hilariously guilty of something extremely bad, possibly involving Russia

Possibly involving Russia?
posted by diogenes at 8:47 AM on June 13 [7 favorites]


Two weeks at the most. Count on it.

I can't tell if you are being meta or not.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:48 AM on June 13 [27 favorites]


Parents of man released from NK say he’s in coma: Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in a statement to The Associated Press that they have been told their son has been in a coma since March 2016, and they had learned of this only one week ago.

This was the kid who tried to steal a banner, who has apparently been in a coma pretty much from the time he was jailed. So presumably some people in the NK system beat him into a coma the minute the cameras were off, thereby providing one more in the long long list of proofs that as a species we are no damn good at all, not even at the most basic level.
posted by Frowner at 8:48 AM on June 13 [40 favorites]


Stephen King 2020: I kill with my heart
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:49 AM on June 13 [11 favorites]


Tomorrow is Trump's birthday. Should we all be making wishes and writing them on cakes?
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 8:49 AM on June 13 [8 favorites]


Any Washingtonians out there! WA health care system also serves Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska, and Montana! Go contact these Senators! The AHCA will cost Harboriew Medical ctr alone, the major trauma center for all 5 states, $2 BILLION by 2026. This impacts you, too!

Copied from a frien's FB post. Five states feed into Harborview. If I get hurt real bad, they'll chopper me to Harborview. It is absolutely crucial not to do harm to major trauma centers.

So sick of these people. Maybe it has to start hurting them too. My Trump voting poor neighbors must know how I feel. They don't talk about him around me.
I have no idea if it's starting to sink in. Maybe they're too stupid for it to sink in.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:52 AM on June 13 [43 favorites]




Some talking points for your Senators on the ACA repeal bill:
  • Completely, utterly opposed to McConnell's legislation
  • Republicans are obfuscating the contents of their cruel legislation and won't allow public debate, which is irresponsible and terrible governance
  • Gutting Medicare, reinstating lifetime benefit caps, eliminating mandated essential benefits, and allowing insurers to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions will kill tens of millions of Americans
  • [insert your ACA/Medicare/Medicaid success story here]
  • [Note how denial based on pre-existing conditions will affect you and yours here]
  • Note how their vote will affect your votes in the future
Optional points for Democratic Senators
  • Demand that Democrats treat this travesty of a bill as the scandal that it is
  • Expect that every Democrat will use all possible means to stop this bill
  • Expect denial of unanimous consent to grind Senate to a halt
Optional points for "Moderate" Republicans
  • Note how advancing this bill at any stage of the process will affect your vote
  • Note how you will campaign against them (e.g., op-eds, telling friends and family about their cruelty)
  • Note how you will blame them personally and publicly for every American who dies due to this legislation
In case you couldn't tell, I'm PISSED about this shitshow.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 8:52 AM on June 13 [142 favorites]


"Reporters at Capitol have been told they are not allow to film interviews with senators in hallways, contrary to years of precedent. CONDITIONS for any interview: Previously granted permission from senator AND Rules Committee of Senate."

@kevcirilli (Bloomberg)
I was just told I cannot stand outside of the Budget Committee hearing room to interview lawmakers.
posted by melissasaurus at 8:54 AM on June 13 [31 favorites]


Tomorrow is Trump's birthday. Should we all be making wishes and writing them on cakes?
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 8:49 AM on June 13

1. Love the name. 2. I wouldn't desecrate good cake with it's name like that!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:54 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


I have to admit Sessions has a cool name. In fact, I always wanted to get two bulldogs and name them Beauregard and Belvedere.
posted by jonmc at 8:54 AM on June 13 [7 favorites]


> I have no idea if it's starting to sink in. Maybe they're too stupid for it to sink in.

Or mean. The last thought a lot of these people will ever have is "At least I took a lot of [group I don't like] down with me."
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:56 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the new post EC. Once again I'm gonna plug the cause of citing the names of the reporters whose articles or tweets you link to, and linking directly to their employers' sites or their own twitter feeds. They are the Thin Inkstained Line (tm).

Also a reminder to self-moderate the urge to fill quiet moments with chatter as per the recent metatalk discussion about giving our mods a break.
posted by spitbull at 8:57 AM on June 13 [21 favorites]


Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is totally ruining the good names of those two villainous slaveholders.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:57 AM on June 13 [61 favorites]


Referring to firing Mueller, this would mean his whole team, I presume??
What actually happens then? Does some security guard collect their badges and laptops and escort them from the building?
Is evidence saved someplace safe? Are they prohibited from sharing it?
posted by MtDewd at 8:57 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Any Washingtonians out there! WA health care system also serves Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska, and Montana! Go contact these Senators! The AHCA will cost Harboriew Medical ctr alone, the major trauma center for all 5 states, $2 BILLION by 2026. This impacts you, too!

See, I knew this but didn't draw the logical conclusion of calling those legislators too. Excellent strategy.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:58 AM on June 13 [5 favorites]


Here's what I'm looking for in a Presidential candidate. Someone who supports
1. Healthcare for all
2. Serious efforts to curb Climate Change
3. Putting Trump and his minions on trial.

DJT may escape the consequences of his actions for now but we MUST insist that eventually he is tried for his various crimes. No sweeping under the carpet this time however politically expedient that might be.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:00 AM on June 13 [18 favorites]


Referring to firing Mueller, this would mean his whole team, I presume??

and while he's at it, fire the whole FBI -- what have they ever done for America?
posted by philip-random at 9:00 AM on June 13 [4 favorites]


Ah, the Angry Leprechaun (his nickname in the Senate) finally gets his time in the hot seat...
posted by jim in austin at 9:00 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


What is a mouse when it spins?

A Tasmanian imp.
posted by y2karl at 9:00 AM on June 13 [5 favorites]


You’re Probably Going to Need Medicaid a NYT opinion piece, authors David Grabowski is a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School. Jonathan Gruber is a professor of economics at M.I.T. Vincent Mor is a professor of health care policy at Brown.

Some talking points for those calls:

Imagine your mother needs to move into a nursing home. It’s going to cost her almost $100,000 a year. Very few people have private insurance to cover this. Your mother will most likely run out her savings until she qualifies for Medicaid.

Finally, these cuts would just shift costs to the rest of the government. Lower-quality nursing home care leads to more hospitalizations, and for Americans over 65, these are paid for by another government program, Medicare. One-quarter of nursing home residents are hospitalized each year, and the daily cost of caring for them more than quadruples when they move to the hospital. Research shows that a reduction in nursing home reimbursements of around 10 percent leads to a 5 percent rise in the odds that residents will be hospitalized. So care for seniors suffers, and the taxpayer pays.
posted by mumimor at 9:01 AM on June 13 [64 favorites]


I know you want to be facetious and that it's a ridiculous situation but Dennis Rodman has been in North Korea for longer and more substantive visits than any other living American and adored by the ruling dynasty. If there's any one person you want to send to butter up KJU and ask a favor, he would be the guy.

It's my understanding that Kim actually adores the Michael Jordan-era Bulls, but I also understand that Michael Jordan has dignity.
posted by anem0ne at 9:01 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


He's going to fire Mueller for the same reason he fired Bharara and Comey: because he's guilty and wants them to go away. And he's going to do it because the congressional GOP has done nothing to punish him for firing people investigating him. They're practically encouraged him.

One of the worst aspects of the Trump presidency is how he distorts even his opponents. A lot of people on the left are being literally delusional about the situation and the prospects of what might happen. As long as the Republicans control Congress, nothing will ever happen to Trump no matter what comes out. Trump can fire Mueller and nothing will happen.

Comparisons to Watergate and the "Saturday Night Massacre" are part of the delusion because the fundamental political reality has changed. At the very least at that time all sides still agreed on a basic consensus reality and the very concept of political norms and the validity of rules and laws. The Republicans of today not only reject facts in favor of their own reality, they have outright contempt for every aspect of the political and judicial system.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:02 AM on June 13 [76 favorites]


3. Putting Trump and his minions on trial.

can't we just send them all to St. Helena? I hear they're hurting of late. Turn it into a sort of Survivor TV series, but with genuine life or death stakes wherein the food supply gets cut a little every episode ... cannibalism, the Trump administration and reality TV, what could be better?
posted by philip-random at 9:05 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


1.) Trump will fire Mueller, probably within the next two weeks,
and
2.) The GOP will do nothing about it.


I think you're right. The Republican party doesn't care about anything but holding onto power, and right now it's more dangerous for them to turn on Trump than to help him cover up his crimes.

It's unbelievable how craven and hypocritical they are. Given the slightest appearance of impropriety by a Democrat, they go nuclear, screaming fire and rage and "but her emails." Given the most blatantly corrupt, mendacious, and incompetent president ever, they'll contort themselves - and the government - into knots in order to defend him.

Meanwhile, they know that their agenda is so unpopular that they're passing it in secret. They've given up all pretense of representing their constituents.

I don't know what citizens are supposed to do when the ruling party refuses to enforce the law because the person breaking it is their buddy. They're all accomplices.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:05 AM on June 13 [69 favorites]


One of the worst aspects of the Trump presidency is how he distorts even his opponents. A lot of people on the left are being literally delusional about the situation and the prospects of what might happen.

You can't be literally delusional about possible future events. You are literally delusional if you think you can predict the future with 100% certainty.
posted by diogenes at 9:06 AM on June 13 [14 favorites]


> Some talking points for your Senators on the ACA repeal bill:

Thanks much to Excommunicated Cardinal for this concise statement of principles against ACA repeal.

To my fellow Pennsylvanians: I was unable to even leave a message at Toomey's Pittsburgh office, but the DC number seemed to at least go to voice mail, so try that if your local office has the phones set to "fuck you all."
posted by tonycpsu at 9:06 AM on June 13 [11 favorites]


And then this...it might be fake news, but if you inserted Uranium Mine, right between the Bears Ears, it would be absolute truth.
posted by Oyéah at 9:07 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


One of the worst aspects of the Trump presidency is how he distorts even his opponents. A lot of people on the left are being literally delusional about the situation and the prospects of what might happen. As long as the Republicans control Congress, nothing will ever happen to Trump no matter what comes out. Trump can fire Mueller and nothing will happen.

Being out of political solutions just means we have to use non-political solutions to achieve our goals, not give up on our goals because it's hard.

(but I don't think we're out of political solutions yet)
posted by melissasaurus at 9:08 AM on June 13 [19 favorites]


via OANN's Trey Yingst on Twitter

12:00PM: Sen. Collins and Sen. Cotton have lunch with POTUS, along with 13 other Senators
2:30PM: Collins and Cotton question AG Sessions

Like, in case you had any questions about what was going to happen this afternoon.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:09 AM on June 13 [91 favorites]


Trump's Twitter isn't considered official communication. In that it isn't covered by the Presidential Records Act and why Trump can delete tweets. There is a bill being crafted in the House called the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement (COVFEFE) Act that would close this loophole.
posted by phoque at 9:10 AM on June 13 [42 favorites]


> Like, in case you had any questions about what was going to happen this afternoon.

Meat loaf farts?
posted by tonycpsu at 9:13 AM on June 13 [8 favorites]


[One deleted. Folks, please let's start this new thread off with: minimal noise, minimal bickering over exactly how much sympathy a person in a coma deserves, and minimal "we must be 100% pessimistic" vs. "let's keep trying" infinite back-and-forth.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:14 AM on June 13 [28 favorites]


My hat is off to any broadcast announcer who can pronounce the name "Jefferson Beauregard Sessions" without lapsing into a Cracker Sheriff voice.
posted by Flexagon at 9:16 AM on June 13 [25 favorites]


Or Foghorn Leghorn.
posted by Mayor West at 9:17 AM on June 13 [46 favorites]


Early in 2016, my choir director and her retired FBI husband weren't going to vote for Trump because he's crass, but then in the summer they said they would after all because of "endless killings of police." After the Women's March, a bunch of us altos and sopranos talked excitedly about the March (eg, a nice white lady in her 60s said, "I'd never been to a protest before! I didn't wear a pussy hat," (cue the rest of us gaping at the word "pussy" coming from her mouth; also, she used to be a registered Republican for most of her life) "but I was holding a sign and chanting slogans with my kids and grandkids oh cybercoitus interruptus you don't have to thank me for being there, we have to try to save democracy" and I could tell the choir director felt miffed and left out that we were trashing her (political) team...

so on Sunday I said to her husband, "You're retired FBI. What did you think of Comey's testimony?"

"I thought he was very credible," he said. He said Comey made a great point about why the need to clear the room before Trump talked with him, that Trump is wasting his time tweeting instead of governing, that there's no legal way to get Trump out of office, that he wishes Congress would accomplish bipartisan issue legislation like seizure of foreign assets.

"I'm real relieved, because I thought Comey was real credible too. I watched him and said, THAT's professionalism. Thanks for telling me your perspective. I'm really glad to hear it." I started walking toward my car.

He calls after me, "'Cause I'm not as crazy as you thought I was?"

"Uh, I didn't think you were craaaaazy....exactly..."

I didn't say much because it's a first conversation about a touchy subject and I didn't want to wreck the friendly tone. It's groundwork for later conversations where I'll try pushing a little bit about what actions he is or isn't taking. Baby steps.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 9:19 AM on June 13 [83 favorites]


Some talking points for your Senators on the ACA repeal bill:

Completely, utterly opposed to McConnell's legislation
Republicans are obfuscating the contents of their cruel legislation and won't allow public debate, which is irresponsible and terrible governance
Gutting Medicare, reinstating lifetime benefit caps, eliminating mandated essential benefits, and allowing insurers to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions will kill tens of millions of Americans
[insert your ACA/Medicare/Medicaid success story here]
[Note how denial based on pre-existing conditions will affect you and yours here]
Note how their vote will affect your votes in the future


Fellow Pennsyltuckians, you can fax Toomey freely here.
posted by Dashy at 9:20 AM on June 13 [10 favorites]


(and you may as well fax Casey while you're at it, just to remind him to stand the line with his fellow Dems)
posted by Dashy at 9:22 AM on June 13 [4 favorites]




One thing to look out for in the Senate version of the AHCA is to expect them to come up with a much better score from the CBO. They will do this by fudging the numbers. They are going to do the same thing as the awful House version, eliminating Medicaid for millions, but they will do this over something like 7 years instead of 3 years. By CBO rules, their scoring only looks out 10 years, so the same 24 million will lose insurance, but most of them won't be counted because of CBO rules restricting their scoring window.

So I expect the official CBO score on the Senate version to come in with something like 8 million losing insurance instead of 24 million. Everyone will declare this to be a great improvement and victory for moderate Republicans, and pass easily. It will all be an illusion and just as many will suffer and die.
posted by JackFlash at 9:25 AM on June 13 [29 favorites]


I've not seen anyone mention this yet, it seems like an increasingly big deal.

Russian Cyber Hacks on U.S. Electoral System Far Wider Than Previously Known

- In all, the Russian hackers hit systems in a total of 39 states, one of them said.

- The scope and sophistication so concerned Obama administration officials that they took an unprecedented step -- complaining directly to Moscow over a modern-day “red phone.” In October, two of the people said, the White House contacted the Kremlin on the back channel to offer detailed documents of what it said was Russia’s role in election meddling and to warn that the attacks risked setting off a broader conflict.

- In fact, the Obama administration believed that the Russians were possibly preparing to delete voter registration

- In Illinois, investigators also found evidence that the hackers tried but failed to alter or delete some information in the database, an attempt that wasn’t previously reported

posted by H. Roark at 9:26 AM on June 13 [75 favorites]


My understanding was that 14 million would be directly affected by the medicaid cuts as soon as it goes into effect, so wouldn't that still show up in the CBO score for year 8 + whoever gets kicked off their private insurance because of premium hikes/pre-existing conditions etc etc. I don't see them being able to fudge the CBO score on numbers uninsured by that much
posted by TwoWordReview at 9:28 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Two weeks at the most. Count on it.

Two weeks before Trump cans Mueller is very generous, especially in the context of previous firings.

—Time between James Comey's May 3rd Senate testimony and May 9th dismissal: One week.

—Time between Sally Yates's January 26th telephone call to the White House about Michael Flynn and January 30th dismissal: 5 days.

—Time between Preet Bharara's March 10th failure to pick up a telephone call from Trump and March 11th dismissal: 22 hours.

If Sessions' testimony today doesn't go exactly the way Trump wants, it'll be a week at most before Trump fires Mueller - or at the very least Rosenstein in preparation for Mueller. Wagering against Trump's impatience and/or stupidity is a sucker's bet.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:31 AM on June 13 [7 favorites]


I'm meetin' Kislyak (yeah!)
Them other boys don't know how to act (yeah!)
I think it's special what's behind your back (yeah!)
Derisive info known as "kompromat" (yeah, take it to the Caucasus!)

Sergey babe (ah-huh)
You got this video, baby, I'm your slave (ah-huh)
Cause you'll destroy me if I misbehave (ah-huh)
It's just that no one helps me win this way (yeah, take it to the caucus!)

Come here Trump
You're compromised
FSB
Tape's on me
Let me see who you're flirting with
Look at this piss
You make me smile
It goes in the file
Get your treason on (go 'head, be gone with it)
Get your treason on (go 'head, be gone with it)
Get your treason on (go 'head, be gone with it)
Get your treason on (go 'head, be gone with it)
Get your treason on (go 'head, be gone with it)
Get your treason on (go 'head, be gone with it)
Get your treason on

Yevgeny?

I'm meetin' Kislyak (yeah!)
My NATO allies know how you attack (yeah!)
They see that we'll no longer watch their back (yeah!)
I have one master now and that's a fact (yeah, Vladimirovich!)

Comey babe (ah-huh)
Investigating Michael Flynn is grave (ah-huh)
I might just fire you if you misbehave (ah-huh)
Obstructing justice is the thing I crave (yeah, take it to impeach!)

Come here, Flynn
To the West Wing
NSA
Report to Sergey
You can see these emoluments
Dollars and cents
They make me smile
Til I'm on trial
And get your treason on (go 'head, be gone with it)
Get your treason on (go 'head, be gone with it)
Get your treason on (go 'head, be gone with it)
Get your treason on (go 'head, be gone with it)
Get your treason on (go 'head, be gone with it)
Get your treason on (go 'head, be gone with it)
Get your treason on

posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:34 AM on June 13 [24 favorites]


It does my heart good to dial Toomey's office number and just get a busy signal. I mean, I assume it just means that they hit the unavailable/off-the-line button on their VOIP set, but hey, at least they had to do it.

So I called the DC line and left a voicemail on those awesome talking points that Excommunicated Cardinal posted above.

Toomey's DC office: (202) 224-4254
posted by joyceanmachine at 9:34 AM on June 13 [10 favorites]


Video: Speaker Ryan: "The best advice would be to let Robert Mueller do his job" as special counsel in Russia investigation.

File Under: Faint Hopes Dept. But . . . .

One wonders if this might be a sign of the Red Wall starting to crack. Ryan's support of Trump seems pretty lukewarm as of late - there's this (and worth noting that the video link includes a hard-to-hear question about Ryan "standing by" the President* which he "answers" by just repeating his point about Mueller); Ryan had to know that his "he's new" defense was weak-sauce; there's some recent picture (which of course I can't find now) where Ryan's sitting at a table with Trump & Pence & several other muckity-mucks where Trump is doing his pursed-lips "SRS BZNS" frowny-face and everyone else is looking around and Ryan is looking directly at the photog with a big phony closed-mouth "smile" that could easily read as "Welp, this is my life now. . . ."

When the guy second in line of succession starts acting like it's not worth expending any real effort to support the President* I can't help but suspect that maybe (maaaaaaybe) he's seeing a real shot at winding up in the Oval Office his own self and is trying to thread the needle of "Republican but not Trumpian."
posted by soundguy99 at 9:35 AM on June 13 [6 favorites]


House Republicans, You Can Still Run Away From Trump, by Rick Wilson.
posted by growabrain at 9:24 on June 13 [3 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


This post is so completely and hilariously eponysterical.

I wish more of them would see running away from Trump as worth loosing their seat for. The Republicans in Congress need to take one for the team--for Team Our Country.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 9:36 AM on June 13 [14 favorites]


Ryan is looking directly at the photog with a big phony closed-mouth "smile" that could easily read as "Welp, this is my life now. . . ."

Ryan so desperately wants to see himself as the Jim Halpert, and not the Dwight Schrute.
posted by xigxag at 9:39 AM on June 13 [33 favorites]


National Treasure Alexandra Petri, WaPo: 'I love you more, Mr. President": A Cabinet competition
President Trump responded to the news that the Public Theater was putting on a defiant production of “Julius Caesar” by staging his own production of “King Lear” during a very strange Cabinet meeting on Monday.

It went approximately as follows.


Trump: All right. Which of you shall we say doth love us most, that we our largest bounty may extend where nature doth with merit challenge? Go around, name your position, talk about your work. Start with Mike.

Mike Pence: I love you more than words can wield the matter. Dearer than eyesight, space and liberty. Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare. No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honor; as much as child e’er loved, or father found. A love that makes breath poor and speech unable. Beyond all manner of so much I love you. Serving you has been “the greatest privilege of my life,” Mr. Lear.

Jeff Sessions: Sir, I am made of that self mettle as my sister, And prize me at her worth. In my true heart, I find she names my very deed of love — Only she comes too short, that I profess Myself an enemy to all other joys, Which the most precious square of sense possesses. And find I am alone felicitate in your dear highness’ love. “An honor to be here.”

Jim Mattis: I respect the troops a lot.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:44 AM on June 13 [105 favorites]


I see Ryan more as the idiot soldier who plucked the nickel crosses out of the walls of the keep
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:44 AM on June 13 [9 favorites]


Friendly reminder that if you live in Virginia, there is a primary today. Polls close at 7pm, y'all. Go vote!

And I think I'm okay to leave this WaPo article here.
posted by dogheart at 9:44 AM on June 13 [8 favorites]


I admit this is theoretical, but there could be a point in this timeline where Republicans hope a president Ryan would be better for the party's future than a president Pelosi. I'm guessing that when there is no doubt that Pence is complicit in whatever is going on, Ryan will be all for impeachment.
posted by mumimor at 9:45 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Automating Hate: Documenting the anatomy of an automated propaganda machine

From Idavox, the news and events site for the One People's Project (previously), an analysis published a few weeks ago of an operation called AgendaOfEvil.com which promotes and cross-propagates anti-Islam propaganda and fake news in an automated fashion through a network of social media accounts.
posted by XMLicious at 9:45 AM on June 13 [10 favorites]


I honestly don't even understand why these chucklefucks even care so much about losing their jobs that they're willing to literally commit treason to keep them. It's just a job, guys. And honestly not even a particularly good one given you have to spend like 5 hours a day sitting at a cubicle calling donors. You couldn't pay me enough to do that, even without the part about how I'd also have to debase myself to a pathologically lying narcissist on the daily.

Take a cue from our friend Jason Chaffetz. Quit while you're ahead. Everyone who has already done so seems like they've got a song in their fucking hearts right now. I think they're on to something.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:47 AM on June 13 [35 favorites]


I like the title of this post, but I think "gibbers" might be better than "babbles". Sounds more eldritch-y.
posted by orrnyereg at 9:48 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Message to Megyn Kelly (And the Rest of the Media): Liars Like Interviews
The way you approach a liar like Jones is to compile and broadcast/publish a detailed dossier on him. Tell us who he is, what he's done, and why he's important. You don't really need to interview him -- what's the point? So he can give his side of the story? He's given his side of the story, in every broadcast, every day. Sure, ask him for a comment -- but new interview quotes should be a tiny portion of your story, not the bulk of it, which is the mistake it appears that Kelly is making (and that Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes made when he interviewed alt-right liar Mike Cernovich). If you make the interview the bulk of your story, unless you're Perry freaking Mason and you're going to make your subject break down on the witness stand, he's going to use every rhetorical trick he knows to justify himself, at least in his fans' eyes, and he's going to score some points. If your subject is a scumbag, tell us why he's a scumbag. Don't turn the majority of the segment over to him so he can tell us why he's really a swell guy. [...]

Raw interviews are bad journalism. Nearly every morning I hear NPR segments that are just raw interviews with skilled spin doctors. The better interviewers are sometimes armed with important details with which they can rebut the spin. But the usual result is that segments of this kind are 100% spin.

That's not journalism -- it's stenography. And it looks as if this Kelly segment will be pretty much the same, with an occasional Kelly harrumph, for balance. [...]

And if we're wondering whether Kelly got too close to her interview subject to look at him dispassionately, there's this:
posted by tonycpsu at 9:48 AM on June 13 [141 favorites]


I'm guessing that when there is no doubt that Pence is complicit in whatever is going on, Ryan will be all for impeachment.

I don't think Ryan wants to be President. Not if it means having to deal with all the Trumpists who don't care about starving grannies as much as they care about being really fucking mad about their boy getting stabbed.
posted by Etrigan at 9:48 AM on June 13 [5 favorites]


I wish more of them would see running away from Trump as worth loosing their seat for.

Snowball's chance in hell of that. What we need to aim for is a bunch of them seeing that running away from Trump is the only way to keep their seats.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:50 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Politico (Heather Caygle, John Bresnahan): Pelosi predicts Trump will 'self-impeach'
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi believes...Democrats should wait for the Russia investigations — especially special counsel Robert Mueller's probe — to play out before pushing to remove him from the Oval Office. Pelosi also believes that if Trump fired Mueller — which some Trump allies are encouraging the president to do — it would be enough to push Republicans to begin seriously considering acting against the president on their own.

The California Democrat made the comments during a closed-door meeting Tuesday as part of a broader effort to discourage rank-and-file lawmakers from continuing to talk publicly about impeaching the president right now. "It's a big deal to talk about impeachment," Pelosi told her colleagues, according to multiple Democratic sources. "I think he's going to self-impeach."
...
In the meantime, Pelosi argued, Democrats risk turning the spotlight on themselves when it should remain on Trump and his actions during the ongoing congressional and independent investigations.
...
Pelosi’s comments came during a tense discussion over controversial actions from Rep. Brad Sherman, who circulated a draft article of impeachment Monday and said he might force debate on the issue on the House floor.
...
“Under the circumstances as they exist now, the answer is no,” Sherman said when asked if he would try to bring the issue up on the floor even if Pelosi and other leaders advised against it. “But you’re asking me what I’m going to do months and months from now … If there was mixed view — some leadership said this, some said that — who knows.”
posted by cjelli at 9:51 AM on June 13 [7 favorites]


I don't think Ryan wants to be President.

Are you joking? Everybody in Congress or the Governors office wants to be President. They have ever since they got elected elementary class rep. Not everybody wants to run for President, particularly because you might lose. Ryan would get to skip that part and jump right to the Oval Office.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:52 AM on June 13 [17 favorites]


Ryan was very reluctant to become Speaker; it's entirely possible that the chance of becoming President in future was the primary factor in his decision.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:54 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


The problem with all the congressmen giving up their seats for good of country is that they all went into Congress for what comes after... Cushy, Well paid lobbying jobs. And to secure those jobs they have to deliver horrible legislation to their corporate overlords.
posted by Glibpaxman at 9:56 AM on June 13 [5 favorites]


Ryan would get to skip that part and jump right to the Oval Office.

Gerald Ford: the lazy man's idol.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:56 AM on June 13 [10 favorites]


As part of the context for the ban on interviewing in hallways, there are apparently more journalists than ever around the Capitol building.

Elise Viebeck and Ben Terris/WaPo (6/6): Inside the heaving, jostling Capitol media mob: ‘We are one tripped senator away’ from disaster.
“We want to make you aware the Capitol has reached its capacity for reporters,” the officials who oversee the Senate press gallery wrote in a letter to news organizations last month, as Republican infighting and the drama of the Trump presidency were suddenly ramping up the urgent need for scribes to “just get a quote” from some lawmaker, any lawmaker, on whatever crisis of whichever day.

The warning was dire: “Collectively, the press following Senators have become large and aggressive. We are concerned someone may get hurt.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:57 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


The California Democrat made the comments during a closed-door meeting Tuesday as part of a broader effort to discourage rank-and-file lawmakers from continuing to talk publicly about impeaching the president right now. "It's a big deal to talk about impeachment," Pelosi told her colleagues, according to multiple Democratic sources. "I think he's going to self-impeach."

The guy who has no sense of shame or self-decency is going to self-impeach.

Pull the other one it has bells on.
posted by Talez at 9:58 AM on June 13 [29 favorites]


Everybody in Congress or the Governors office wants to be President. They have ever since they got elected elementary class rep

Hence my next sentence -- he doesn't want to be President right now, under the current set of circumstances. I mean, you may be right. He may well be one of those "I can fix this!" types, even now. But I think he sees how much it would suck to be the President right after Trump got turfed out.
posted by Etrigan at 9:59 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


The warning was dire: “Collectively, the press following Senators have become large and aggressive. We are concerned someone may get hurt.”

Are they going to invite Gianforte over to give some pointers?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 9:59 AM on June 13 [11 favorites]


Paul Ryan did run for VP. Presumably he is interested in the big job.
posted by Emmy Rae at 10:00 AM on June 13 [13 favorites]


Friendly reminder that if you live in Virginia, there is a primary today. Polls close at 7pm, y'all. Go vote!

Who has two thumbs and just voted? This guy! Here's some analysis before the returns come in:

From Mother Jones Everyone Keeps Saying Tuesday’s Virginia Election Is About Bernie and Hillary. It’s Not That Simple.
Let’s get this out of the way: Contrary to what you may have read on Twitter, neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor of Virginia. Tuesday’s primary between Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and former Rep. Tom Perriello is less a referendum on what happened in last year’s presidential contest than it is the first in a long series of debates that will play out over the next two years.
...
From the perspective of progressives, both Northam and Perriello have blemishes on their records that make them imperfect fits for the roles that have been ascribed to them. Northam, ostensibly the party man, voted for George W. Bush twice and said at a debate ahead of his 2011 re-election to the state Senate that health care is a “privilege.” (Northam now calls it a “right.”) Perriello received an “A”-rating from the NRA as a congressman and voted for the anti-abortion “Stupak amendment” to the Affordable Care Act. (He has since renounced the Stupak vote and condemned the NRA.)

Finding deeper meaning in the Virginia Democratic primary is difficult because politics is complicated. The fact that Perriello caught fire after entering a race whose outcome seemed to pre-ordained speaks to the anxieties and unrest among Democrats. The fact that Northam might still hold on tell us something, too—about the strength of national mood swings in places where Democrats are already doing pretty well.
From the WaPo's Daily 202, Leftward lurch in Democratic gubernatorial primary reflects the transformation of Virginia:
With polls showing Northam and Perriello running neck-and-neck, what’s been most striking in the homestretch is how far left both have come. While some of the posturing is certainly about trying to ride the wave of resistance to Donald Trump and appeal to base voters in a low-turnout primary, the journeys both have taken over the past decade tell a larger story about how much the state of Virginia has transformed, from red to purple to maybe even slightly blue.
...
Politicians are going to pander. That’s what politicians do. But even if Perriello and Northam are putting their fingers in the wind, all these explicit expressions of liberalism show which way they think the wind is blowing in Virginia. Until very recently, serious Democrats who wanted to win statewide – even ones looking to get a leg up in competitive primaries – were hyper-cautious when answering questions about hot-buttons like guns, abortion, gay rights and drugs. They certainly didn’t bring those issues up – unless it was to break with the Democratic Party as a way of signaling cultural conservatism.

In 2013, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) foreshadowed the dynamic in this year’s primary by talking up his support for reproductive rights and gun control. He didn’t even have a challenger from his left, but he was trying to gin up the base and mobilize unmarried women who don’t typically vote in off-year elections. It worked.

This was a sea change from 2001, when Mark Warner won the governorship by focusing on red corners of the state as much as the D.C. ‘burbs. He ran as a “radical centrist,” sponsored a NASCAR team, used bluegrass music for his campaign theme song and expressed support for Bush in commercials that ran after Sept. 11.
From 538 What To Watch For In Virginia’s Gubernatorial Primaries:
Moreover, the main dividing line between Northam and Perriello isn’t really left vs. right. The polls generally show that very liberal and moderate Democrats are voting similarly. The Change Research poll had Clinton backers making up the vast majority of both Northam and Perriello supporters. That’s consistent with Clinton’s large win in the primary last year.
...
The bottom line is that the outcome in today’s Democratic primary will likely tell more about local Virginia politics than anything about the Trump administration or the nation as a whole.
posted by peeedro at 10:00 AM on June 13 [25 favorites]


The guy who has no sense of shame or self-decency is going to self-impeach.

Pull the other one it has bells on.


In context, Pelosi clearly means 'will do something so flagrantly in violation of the Constitution and/or good governance that impeachment will become a bipartisan issue without the Democrats needing to fight terribly hard for it, and/or the Mueller investigation will reveal the same.'

She is not, in context, suggesting that Trump would resign.
posted by cjelli at 10:00 AM on June 13 [33 favorites]


Elise Viebeck and Ben Terris/WaPo (6/6): Inside the heaving, jostling Capitol media mob: ‘We are one tripped senator away’ from disaster.

If a senator trips, he can pull himself up by his own bootstraps.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:02 AM on June 13 [55 favorites]


In context, Pelosi clearly means 'will do something so flagrantly in violation of the Constitution and/or good governance that impeachment will become a bipartisan issue without the Democrats needing to fight terribly hard for it, and/or the Mueller investigation will reveal the same.'

She is not, in context, suggesting that Trump would resign.


The party who has no sense of shame or self-decency is going to impeach the guy who happily signs their agenda into law?

Pull the other one it has bells on.
posted by Talez at 10:02 AM on June 13 [28 favorites]


I expect we won't see McCain even being "concerned" all that much anymore: Cindy McCain to get role in Trump State Department
posted by zombieflanders at 10:03 AM on June 13 [18 favorites]


It's true that the Capitol was, by all accounts, approaching a safety hazard in some places. However, this was done by unilaterally imposing draconian restrictions (Sen. Klobuchar, the ranking member of the Rules Committee wasn't informed until she read about it online, she was in fact told this wouldn't happen) where there isn't even a contact at the Rules Committee to approve interview requests.

There are plenty of reasonable ways in which safety could have been addressed by restricting interviews in particular locations or otherwise taming the chaos. That's not what happened here. This is all about ensuring that there aren't camera shots of Senators running away from reporters so the Republicans can force through the AHCA in secret without looking cowardly.
posted by zachlipton at 10:04 AM on June 13 [33 favorites]


The warning was dire: “Collectively, the press following Senators have become large and aggressive. We are concerned someone may get hurt.”

That's funny, a large and aggressive press sounds great to me.
posted by The Gaffer at 10:04 AM on June 13 [39 favorites]


Rosenstein testified that he is the only one allowed to fire Mueller and he will not do it unless for actual cause, in writing, no matter who tells him to. He's told Graham that Mueller has not given him any reason as of today.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:06 AM on June 13 [20 favorites]


Sure, but they mean it more in the paparazzi sense. If we're going to have large groups chasing elected representatives around with no real end goal in mind, I'd really rather they have pitchforks and torches and be out for blood instead of just hunting sound bites.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:06 AM on June 13 [4 favorites]


Collectively, the press following Senators have become large and aggressive. We are concerned someone may get hurt.

I think he was talking about protecting the press, Montana and all.
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:07 AM on June 13


I faxed my Dem Senators to let them know I expect them to break the no-camera-interviews rule every day and that I will interpret adherence to the rule as approval of the rule, regardless of whatever statements they make to the contrary.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:08 AM on June 13 [54 favorites]


Assuming Trump abides by federal regulations and wants Rosenstein to fire Mueller (which could of course be obstruction of justice, but let's ignore that), and Rosenstein refuses, Lawfare explains what happens next:

If Rosenstein resigns, that raises a question of who becomes the acting attorney general. Succession in the Department is, to a point, outlined by statute: where the attorney general and deputy attorney general are unable, the associate attorney general “shall act” as attorney general. Otherwise the attorney general “may designate” the solicitor general and the assistant attorneys general, “in further order of succession,” to act as attorney general. That means it could go down the line until an assistant attorney general did not resign and instead carried out the President’s order. (Succession is complicated by the fact that, after Rosenstein, there are only two other confirmed officials in DOJ: Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, and Acting Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division Dana Boente, who was previously confirmed to be the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. A tad more on this below.) If the officers after Brand also resign, then an executive order on DOJ succession recently promulgated by Trump would control. (This barely noticed executive order would potentially assume great significance if Trump fires Mueller.)
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:11 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]




I had no trouble getting through both to that troll Burr and his insipid co-conspirator Tillis this morning here in NC.

Let us tie up their phone lines telling them we oppose what they are trying to do.
posted by winna at 10:13 AM on June 13 [10 favorites]


It's interesting to consider just how many DOJ attorneys Trump could fire before somebody stops him. Maybe we should start a betting pool.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:13 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Do you know how a swamp was traditionally drained? I mean, traditional as: in the USA, during the time since dynamite became a commonly available civil engineering tool.

You get as much 60% nitroglycerin straight dynamite as is needed to put half a stick about every 18" to 2' in a line wherever you need your drainage ditches. Then, walk through your desired ditch line, spud a hole and place a half stick of dynamite down into the muck at about the desired bottom level of your ditch at the selected interval.

You only need attach a blasting cap to the charge at the center of the line... The rest will detonate in a chain sympathetically, if the ground is saturated with water and you have chosen a sufficiently close spacing. A test shot is advisable, different soils and degrees of saturation will vary the effective interval.

It is great fun to watch a ditch being "shot" (at a safe distance), and far faster/cheaper/lower equipment costs than using heavy equipment. Just a guy in hip boots, a pointed stick, a case of dynamite and one blasting cap + fuse. No diesel, dump trucks, excavators, operators & etc.

Every time I hear the euphemisim "drain the swamp" for changes to our system of governance and the various denizens thereof, I think about some parallels to this civil engineering technique...

1: It will be really noisy.
2. All kinds of crap will be flying, and you better be ready to duck.
3. Everyone nearby WILL be disturbed.
4. Good chance for fatalities and other unintended consequences.
5. It's probably illegal under federal law as well as in any state even pretending to have environmental protection laws on the books.
6. If some inexperienced, enthusiastic greenhorns who has not measured the ground and thought things through carefully try a big project, it quite likely will be a failure.

Feel free to add to this list, all can play!

Let the flames (and quick assumptions regarding my personal politics) begin.
posted by bert2368 at 10:14 AM on June 13 [74 favorites]


I would swear that multiple people have semi-publicly stated that Ryan very definitely wants to be President.

My own personal Ryan suspicion is that, if you look at modern elections, it's very rare for someone to go directly from the House to the Presidency - the voters and/or the party apparatus seem to think that politicians need a little "seasoning" as a Senator or Governor or VP or Cabinet member before taking a shot at the highest office. So Ryan's plan was to serve some terms in the House, and right about now-ish, when he's in his late 40's/early 50's, depending on who's vulnerable and/or retiring, take a whack at a Senate seat or Governorship, serve a term or two there. Which would have set him up for Presidential runs in his late 50's/early 60's, pretty much in his prime (for white dude President definition of "prime.")

His reluctance to take the Speaker position was at least partly because it derailed this plan, because it makes him too visibly contentious a figure too "early." (As in, now he can't just coast on the narrative of "Brainy Republican wunderkind"; he's in the news daily as "guy who can't wrangle his own party members." Which is not a good look for someone shooting for a Senate seat or Governor.) Sliding into the Presidency via impeachment may well look to him like his best if not only shot at the office for the foreseeable future.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:15 AM on June 13 [11 favorites]


The party who has no sense of shame or self-decency is going to impeach the guy who happily signs their agenda into law?

Exactly. The day Trump becomes an impediment to the Republicans is the day impeachment is even a possibility. Until then Trump could relocate the Oval Office to the Kremlin and livestream himself murdering prostitutes every day and all we'd hear from Republicans is how the liberal media is unfairly smearing the President.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:17 AM on June 13 [20 favorites]


In context, Pelosi clearly means 'will do something so flagrantly in violation of the Constitution and/or good governance that impeachment will become a bipartisan issue without the Democrats needing to fight terribly hard for it, and/or the Mueller investigation will reveal the same.'

Something like openly bragging about committing sexual assault, calling for Russia to hack into his opponent's email on national television, or firing the head of the FBI investigation into his own electoral malfeasance?

We need to stop treating the House GOP members like they are just flawed human beings with some atrophied sense of shame that will magically regrow if we just give them a chance. They'll happily support literally any crazy, immoral, criminal act the president commits, as long as they get their tax breaks passed. For any member of the public to believe otherwise is naive; for Nancy fricking Pelosi to argue that the GOP will suddenly find their missing conscience if Trump goes juuuuust a little bit further is enough for me to question her own cognitive function.
posted by Mayor West at 10:19 AM on June 13 [55 favorites]


From that executive order:
Section 1. Order of Succession. Subject to the provisions of section 2 of this order, the following officers, in the order listed, shall act as and perform the functions and duties of the office of Attorney General during any period in which the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, the Associate Attorney General, and any officers designated by the Attorney General pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 508 to act as Attorney General, have died, resigned, or otherwise become unable to perform the functions and duties of the office of Attorney General [...]

(a) United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia;

(b) United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina; and

(c) United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.
That seems weirdly specific. Why those three in particular?
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:20 AM on June 13 [12 favorites]


Threat of 'Bathroom Bill' Costs Texas Another Major Convention: The 7,000-member Professional Convention Management Association was scheduled to have their "Super Bowl of Convention" is Houston, but cited the debate over transgender bathroom use as a reason to cancel it. That's sparking fears of a downturn in future conventions.

"If the meeting planners are not coming here, that's likely to have an impact on the conventions that these people book," Smith explains.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:21 AM on June 13 [53 favorites]


Here's the Executive Order PROVIDING AN ORDER OF SUCCESSION WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Hunh. That one has this tacked on at the end:
Sec. 3. Revocation of Executive Order. Executive Order 13775 of February 9, 2017, is revoked.
Which ordered the following Order of Succession at DOJ:
  1. Attorney General
  2. Deputy Attorney General
  3. Associate Attorney General
  4. United States Attorney for the District of Columbia
  5. United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois
  6. United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri
And that's become:
  1. Attorney General
  2. Deputy Attorney General
  3. Associate Attorney General
  4. United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia
  5. United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina
  6. United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas
I suppose it's worth looking at who the US Attorneys in spots 4-6 are.
posted by notyou at 10:22 AM on June 13 [25 favorites]


> It is great fun to watch a ditch being "shot" (at a safe distance), and far faster/cheaper/lower equipment costs than using heavy equipment.

Yep, checks out.
posted by klarck at 10:24 AM on June 13 [10 favorites]


Pelosi is right on not pushing full steam ahead with articles of impeachment from a Dem rep right now, but she doesn't really address the reasons clearly. It's the "you come at the king, you best not miss" principle, you file articles of impeachment that go nowhere and it vindicates him in the eyes of his supporters and reverses the slow bleeding off of his base as they rally around him. On top of that, a failed run at impeachment would leave him feeling bulletproof: goodbye investigation, goodbye remaining norms and laws constraining his behavior, the political capital to confront either would have been spent prematurely. That trigger can't be pulled until the votes are there in Congress, and it's going to take more investigation to get there. And even then, even after a great 2018, this will require some Republicans to do the right thing, so it's not something to hold your breath over... but that doesn't change the calculus for trying to impeach too early, it just means we're between a rock and a hard place in this moment. Still have to keep your powder dry on impeachment to have the option available when an opportunity to really do it right presents itself, politically you only get one shot.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:25 AM on June 13 [101 favorites]


Congress will not block Trump. The courts will, and are. The constitutional crisis will be when Trump/Congress ignore a SCOTUS decision. I would not be at all surprised if we don't see that within a year.
posted by jetsetsc at 10:27 AM on June 13 [15 favorites]


That seems weirdly specific. Why those three in particular?

I assume it is basically a list of the biggest racists in order?
posted by Artw at 10:27 AM on June 13 [14 favorites]


> Yep, checks out.

Kept waiting for Bugs Bunny to pop out at the end.
posted by brentajones at 10:28 AM on June 13 [6 favorites]


notyou: "I suppose it's worth looking at who the US Attorneys in spots 4-6 are."

For your reference, here are the current DoJ pages for these US attorneys:

United States Attorney for the District of Columbia: Channing D. Phillips
United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois: Joel R. Levin
United States Attorney for the Central District of California: Sandra R. Brown

United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia: Dana Boente
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina: John Stuart Bruce
United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas: John R. Parker
posted by mhum at 10:31 AM on June 13 [5 favorites]


I see Ryan more as the idiot soldier who plucked the nickel crosses out of the walls of the keep

Deep cut, but you're right. It should have been perfectly obvious from the construction that the keep was built to keep evil in.
posted by maxsparber at 10:31 AM on June 13 [14 favorites]


Who appointed each of those?
posted by Dashy at 10:31 AM on June 13


Also, if things really heat up with the investigation, I would not be surprised to see congressional Republicans making noises to bait the Democrats into a premature impeachment process that won't work, because there's a point where it's getting real bad behind the scenes but the investigation isn't completely​ ready for prime time where a move like that could easily work for the Republicans. I hope the congressional Dems are keeping their heads on a swivel about this.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:33 AM on June 13 [7 favorites]


That seems weirdly specific. Why those three in particular?

I'm not sure.

VAED: Dana Boente, an Obama nominee who Trump kept on. He was Acting AG for 10 days after Trump fired Yates, then Acting Deputy AG for a couple of months until Rosenstein took over.

NCED: John Stuart Bruce, an Obama appointee serving as interim US attorney for the district.

TXND: John Parker, another Obama appointee.

I suppose it's worth looking at who the US Attorneys in spots 4-6 are.

DC (confirmation pending): Channing Phillips (Obama nominee)
ILND (acting): Joel Levin (Trump nominee)
CACD (acting): Sandra Brown (Trump nominee)

So I can't make heads or tails of it, not knowing anything about their personal politics or prosecutorial priorities. I suppose it's worth noting that the EO trades DC, IL, and CA for VA, NC, and TX, which generally seems like a rightward shift, but it also trades out two Trump nominees for Obama holdovers.
posted by jedicus at 10:33 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


NCED: John Stuart Bruce, an Obama appointee serving as interim US attorney for the district.

TXND: John Parker, another Obama appointee.


Are they? There's an ad-blocked Dallas News story that says
Lisa Slimak, spokeswoman for John Parker, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said Parker was not affected by the order because he is not a presidential appointee.

Parker took office as interim U.S. attorney in December 2014 after Sarah Saldaña left to head up the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. A permanent replacement has yet to be selected, a process that can take years.
posted by Etrigan at 10:35 AM on June 13


FWIW:

>: Hunh. That one has this tacked on at the end:
Sec. 3. Revocation of Executive Order. Executive Order 13775 of February 9, 2017, is revoked


Feb 9, 2017: Federal Judges Refuse to Reinstate Trump's Immigration Ban -- A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel unanimously upheld a restraining order blocking the federal government from enforcing the president’s controversial ban.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:35 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Omg! It's maxsparber! I'm happy to see you here again--your posts always rock :).
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 10:36 AM on June 13 [15 favorites]


I was called back by somebody removing nickle from a cross.
posted by maxsparber at 10:40 AM on June 13 [77 favorites]


Are they? [Obama nominees]

That's a fair point. Bruce was appointed in January 2016 as the Acting US Attorney for that district.

Parker is a non-presidentially appointed US Attorney, but that was at least during the Obama administration.

And apparently I should have used the term appointee, not nominee. Not sure why they're called appointees if they have to be confirmed by the Senate, but there you have it.
posted by jedicus at 10:42 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


FYI, I called Sen Collins' office this morning about the ACA and got a particularly chatty staffer (also got right through, which is a problem).

Staffer wanted me to know:
- Collins has been "very vocal" that any replacement for the ACA should not deny people coverage
- Collins is not part of the group working on 'the bill the media is covering' but is working on an alternate bill
- No ACA bill has been sent from the Senate to be scored by the CBO yet
- When I asked, he admitted that Collins has not seen the other bill, but noted that "nobody has, because there isn't a bill yet"

I pushed back against every point, and made it clear I expect the ACA to stand as is (or Medicare for All would be fine as well) but I thought it was interesting that these are the talking points they're pushing. Her office apparently wants very much for her constits to see her as actively working on the problem. Not sure I buy that.
posted by anastasiav at 10:52 AM on June 13 [35 favorites]




Collins knows Maine is purple enough that she's toast if she's seen as a hardcore Trumpite, but she's only a "moderate" inasmuch as it doesn't cost the GOP any votes. When it matters, e.g. the Gorsuch nomination or throwing bullshit at James Comey in the intelligence hearing, she toes the party line.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:01 AM on June 13 [8 favorites]


Is this "alternate bill" a common way for the senate to do business?
posted by R a c h e l at 11:02 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Collins is not part of the group working on 'the bill the media is covering' but is working on an alternate bill

Ah, so she's working on a different secret bill that we aren't allowed to know anything about. How silly of you to not know the details of her double secret bill!
posted by diogenes at 11:02 AM on June 13 [20 favorites]


Golden State Warriors unanimously decline White House visit, per reports
Less than 24 hours after winning the 2017 NBA Finals on Monday night, the Warriors unanimously voted to decline the expected White House invitation, according to several reports including one by CNBC analyst Josh Brown.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:05 AM on June 13 [57 favorites]


I just sent a fax about the "health care plan" to my representatives using Resistbot on Facebook. It's so easy. You just send a message to it saying "resist" and it walks you through. I have a hard time making phone calls, but faxes are also effective, I understand. I need to add this to my routine.
posted by apricot at 11:05 AM on June 13 [16 favorites]


Small piece of good news dept.: Louisiana lawmakers have passed a package of bills to reduce criminal sentences, including removing mandatory minimums under some circumstances, expanding parole options, and providing alternatives to prison for nonviolent offenders.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:07 AM on June 13 [31 favorites]


High five to all the Senator Toomey callers in the thread. I'm glad you're all getting busy signals because I got right through to the staffers in the Pittsburgh office and that always makes me worry. The staffer actually argued with me about a few points instead of quietly talking down my information and I thought "Son, you must be new here."

I referred to the Toomey healthcare statement from the previous thread (thanks!) and played the 'small business owner card'. The person on the other line took pains to emphasize that the AHCA bill had nothing to do with the Senate bill. I pushed back that they will almost certainly be related and that I am livid at as a constituent that the text of the bill has not yet been released. He said that the bill would be out next week. I remarked that I'd heard that there would be a vote by the 30th and that would not leave much time for commentary. He replied that there was nothing that said the vote would be that soon, but I know how recess works.

"I'll pass your comments on to the Senator."

It was probably a waste of a conversation, but thanks for the talking points, Metafilter! I'm calling back again tomorrow!
posted by Alison at 11:07 AM on June 13 [36 favorites]


The administration has so thoroughly broken my brain that after I read that Trump wanted to fire Mueller after Mueller brought on a money laundering expert. My first thought was "well, that must have been what they were doing then." My second thought was "what if it's a feint to get them to really focus on money laundering and make the investigators ignore something else!?!"
posted by drezdn at 11:11 AM on June 13 [10 favorites]


- Collins has been "very vocal" that any replacement for the ACA should not deny people coverage

They're going to cling to this dodge like a life preserver. It must be slapped down every time they say it.

Nobody is going to be "denied" coverage. Ordinary people with preexisting conditions will be completely priced out of it. That's functionally the same thing.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:13 AM on June 13 [74 favorites]


Esme Cribb/TPM has video and more reporting:

Rosenstein: I Wouldn’t Obey Trump Order To Fire Mueller Without ‘Good Cause’
posted by Room 641-A at 11:17 AM on June 13 [4 favorites]


There's like 3 people in chat right now. Get in while the getting's good.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:19 AM on June 13


The C-SPAN feed of the Sessions hearing is up. Due to start in 10 minutes.
posted by zachlipton at 11:20 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Aw, maaan. Goodby productivity, hello DVT. CSPANman just predicted it would be three hours.
posted by Don Pepino at 11:20 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


My second thought was "what if it's a feint to get them to really focus on money laundering and make the investigators ignore something else!?!"

That would require a level of cognition that Trump has not yet displayed.

Trump's the little kid sitting at the table, looking nervous and sweating, who spontaneously shouts, "I didn't eat any cookies!"
posted by leotrotsky at 11:21 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


[Reminder, contextless livewatch reactions go in Chat, more substantive comments or contextful recaps here.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:21 AM on June 13 [9 favorites]


Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA): 'Most of us are not paying any attention' to 'overblown' Trump, Russia investigation
"I have seen that (Sen.) Dianne Feinstein has stated to her credit -- liberal Democrat who has been on the intelligence committee for I don't know, for decades I think -- she has acknowledged that there is absolutely no evidence of any collusion anywhere," Toomey said on the Chris Stigall Show on WPHT radio. "(Sen.) Mark Warner has said, the Democrat from Virginia, has said the exact same thing. (Former FBI Director) James Comey told us at the hearing that the President himself is not the subject of investigation.

"That's because nobody has found any evidence that suggests that he should be the subject of an investigation. So, yeah, this is just wildly overblown and fortunately most of us are not paying any attention."
Here's the contact information for Senator Toomey's offices (or fax here).
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:23 AM on June 13 [17 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by Old Kentucky Shark at 11:26 AM on June 13 [21 favorites]


I previously called you an apartheid regime....

I shared the sadness at the last speech of your former President/CiC which was magistral....educated.....hopeful


I JUST saw video of the circle jerk that was the cabinet meeting........

Apartheid SA has nothing on Trump, this is dictator level smarm..........

thank all the gods for Jim Matthis ..."Jim Mattis: I respect the troops a lot."


is he the ONLY one who will speak truth to power even indirectly?????


the frog boils....
posted by Wilder at 11:28 AM on June 13 [7 favorites]


HOLY GOD WHAT A TOOLBAG
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:28 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Stephen King 2020: The Running Man
Stephen King 2020: Seal America's Fate Again
Stephen King 2020: Bringing America To Life, Whether You Like It or Not
Stephen King 2020: All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy
Stephen King 2020: No, the Scary One is Spelled with a "V"
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:29 AM on June 13 [18 favorites]


Respect to the Warriors but you know Trump is just going to say he wasn't going to invite them anyway.

You gotta let him extend the invitation first, then let the dis fly.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:30 AM on June 13 [4 favorites]




Not to overly plug my own page, but the whole reason I made the 2016 Active Measures site was so that when someone says "There is no evidence..." I could say "Oh, yes there is." And hand them a whole stack of evidence with one URL.

I would be thrilled if other people use it that way too. Or copy and paste from it, or use it for talking points, or pull links from it, or whatever you want. I've been updating it as important pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

There is a LOT of evidence of a LOT of dangerous stuff.
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:31 AM on June 13 [95 favorites]


Just an update - the Senators are apparently delayed by a vote and the hearing has still not begun. Sessions is expected to testify for two and a half to three hours.
posted by winna at 11:32 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


CSPANman just predicted it would be three hours

Oh good lord. Is that human hours or elf hours?
posted by Room 641-A at 11:33 AM on June 13 [15 favorites]



The Confederate General Babbles Before Congress . . .

Do you know how a swamp was traditionally drained? . . . dynamite . . .


If Sessions goes under, swapping one fake Confederate General for another, perhaps Trump will retain the services of General Augustus Mellon, who famously drained the swamp at Big Sur using a similar technique.
 
posted by Herodios at 11:36 AM on June 13


I don't expect much. I expect Session to lie and get caught. I expect more damaging revelations and equivocation which looks bad on TV.

What I don't expect is any immediate consequence. The GOP is now thoroughly entangled in the Russia matter from top to bottom. The white supremacist yearnings of the base make a Russia a beacon of hope. The lust for profits that lie just short of treason has made the careers for innumerable petty Manaforts and Flynns. The upper echelons of the party cannot allow politics to return to usual because the fictions which portrayed their depravity as virtue have been consumed in the passions that enervate Trumpism.

Sessions sits at the bizarre confluence of all these forces. He is an old school "the worst insult for a southern man is to be called racist" racist. He has dipped an dabbled in the deep well of opportunities that more patriotic citizens rejected as having smelled a bit too much of rope. Having been anointed in those waters, he was promoted from hick senator to Minority Hunter in Chief. Russia didn't even ask for anything from him (probably).

For Sessions, and the GOP as a whole, the cost is the mark of complicity. Spread so widely as it is, the weight is borne lightly.
posted by ethansr at 11:36 AM on June 13 [12 favorites]


Three human hours is going to be intolerable enough. Elf hours? It'll be the weekend before it's over.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:36 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


National Treasure Alexandra Petri, WaPo: 'I love you more, Mr. President": A Cabinet competition

In spite of seeing Lear at the Guthrie not four weeks ago, I didn't connect them to the Cabinet "meeting." This is brilliant.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:39 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Just FYI - the Diamondbacks had an afternoon game yesterday, so McCain should be well rested.
posted by Elly Vortex at 11:40 AM on June 13 [29 favorites]


I personally feel blessed to be able to CHEW KEEBLER MINT COVFEFE (TM).

Also available in RACIST, OBSTRUCTIONIST, and YOU'RE LATE FOR YOUR TRASH FIRE JEFF.
posted by saysthis at 11:41 AM on June 13 [7 favorites]


I don't mean to chatfilterize, but is it just me, or does McCain.... not look well at all? I wonder what's up with him, especially what with how he came off at the Comey hearing.
posted by un petit cadeau at 11:42 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


I haven't checked, but maybe the Executive Order regarding Attorney General order of succession is derived from seniority/duration of service, rather than nefarious political stuff?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:43 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


The Trump Disapproval Crocodile continues to grow teeth (SL Twitter image, worth your click, sorry)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:44 AM on June 13 [33 favorites]


hoping to see kamala harris verbally suplex the evil, treasonous little racist man today
(or physically, im not picky)
posted by entropicamericana at 11:44 AM on June 13 [19 favorites]


sessions perjured himself at his confirmation hearing right? and there were no consequences. So it's hard to expect that he will do anything except lie or plead the 5th except to field softball questions from the republicans.
i fully expect this testimony to be theater in service of the"there's nothing to be seen here" narrative the trumpists are pushing.
The best we can hope for is sessions saying something that can later be used by Mueller to show the perjury.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:44 AM on June 13 [6 favorites]


Streaming locations seem to be inconsistent. The hearing has started but I wasn't aware until I changed my feed source.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:45 AM on June 13


> Rosenstein testified that he is the only one allowed to fire Mueller and he will not do it unless for actual cause, in writing, no matter who tells him to. He's told Graham that Mueller has not given him any reason as of today.
"Good night, Westley Bob. Good work. Sleep well. I'll most likely fire you in the morning."
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 11:46 AM on June 13 [11 favorites]




Burr just said that he wants the questions to focus on the Russia investigation rather than taking partisan shots.

Pity I can't believe him.
posted by winna at 11:48 AM on June 13 [7 favorites]


Yep, checks out.

And now I'm watching too many videos of people blowing up ditches. And perhaps appropriately the linked video is possibly work for the Keystone Pipeline.

Also, I know I'm not quite right in the head when the first thing I think of when I see these videos if it would be possible to surf or dirtboard the wave of flying, heaving dirt.

Speaking of flying, heaving dirt - Burr just opened the hearing.
posted by loquacious at 11:48 AM on June 13 [4 favorites]


Warner informing Sessions that they expect his cooperation and availability going forward is a good sign. This isn't the kind of thing that's going to get cleared up in an hour of open testimony.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:51 AM on June 13 [7 favorites]


So, I'm not sure I'm ready to throw Burr under the bus until he actually demonstrates complicity.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:51 AM on June 13


I can't believe nobody has built a giant Bugs Bunny to pop out of the ground at the end of one of those ditch blasting runs.
posted by contraption at 11:51 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


So, I'm not sure I'm ready to throw Burr under the bus until he actually demonstrates complicity.

DeVos paid for his re-election. Also, he's been my congressman and senator for nearly fifteen years and I know he's a snake.
posted by winna at 11:53 AM on June 13 [17 favorites]


HUGE PARTY IN CHAT IT'S LIKE 1999 IRC IN THERE.
posted by loquacious at 11:55 AM on June 13 [27 favorites]


Burr has called the panel int session--heh. Burr's opener thanks Session and outlines the purpose of the hearing--Russia investigation and budget concerns for intelligence methods. He notes that some of the content will be classified, but notes that the American people need to hear the contents of some of the Intelligence Committee hearings in open session.

Burr hopes that Sessions will clarify his role in the Trump campaign with regard to Russia, his role in firing Comey, his meetings with Russian agents, and his role in Trumps security policy team during the election. Burr hopes the Senators will ask questions regarding Russia, rather than taking "partisan or political" shots. He notes, though, that the committee is working as a bipartisan force.

Warner's opening statement is harder hitting. He is expressing concern at the process that has led Sessions to the committee. Warner also notes that Sessions should be in front of the Appropriations and Judiciary committees. Warner believes this hearing to just be a beginning. He expects a commitment from Session to cooperate with all future requests.

Warner is onto the subject. He is asking about the campaign, noting his early and fanatic support. He notes Sessions' role as a close advisor to Trump and the question regarding his role in the Trump campaign. Warner is noting Sessions false statements to Congress and how those statements have been shown to be false. Warner has brought up the alleged third meeting between Kislyak and Sessions. He expects Sessions to turn over relevant documents.

Warner is now talking about Comey's firing and the possible role of Sessions in the former Director's firing. He's noting Comey's documentation of the meetings and his concern's about the firing. Warner notes that Trump confirmed his rationale as a Russia related. He noted that apparently Sessions left Comey and Trump alone. Warner also wants to know about Session's recusal in the Russia investigation and why he apparently participated in Comey's firing. He wants to know why Sessions is doing to prevent another Russian cyber attack against our elections. He's noting that administration officials have been unwilling to answer unclassified questions in front of Congress.

Sessions has been sworn in.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 11:55 AM on June 13 [46 favorites]


Sessions is going under oath now.
posted by winna at 11:55 AM on June 13


Sessions is warning the committee right now that he's not going to say anything at all. And he doesn't recall any meetings or conversations at the Mayflower Hotel. This whole thing is a waste of time if he's going to lie.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:57 AM on June 13 [20 favorites]


fun fact, his accent gets more cartoonish when he lies
posted by palomar at 11:57 AM on June 13 [22 favorites]


Jeffrey Beauregard "Stonewall" Sessions
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:59 AM on June 13 [16 favorites]


I don't want to accent shame but why do old racists all sound like that?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 11:59 AM on June 13 [10 favorites]


I dunno, palomar, it's hard for me because he sounds like one of my favorite uncles so it's a homey sound to me.

Maybe we could focus on him being a traitor and not the fact he didn't scrub all regional dialect from his speech like it was a shameful thing.
posted by winna at 11:59 AM on June 13 [38 favorites]


I don't want to accent shame

Then don't.
posted by gatorae at 12:00 PM on June 13 [31 favorites]


Beauregard's gonna try to gut it out by boldly denying anything.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:00 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Sessions: "The suggestion that I participated in any collusion, that I was aware of any collusion... is an appalling and detestable lie."

Is there a name for this rhetorical dodge? One can participate in collusion without being aware of it. Hell, Trump participates in a whole bunch of terrible shit and I have no sense that he's aware of anything he's doing. But the "participated in" and "aware of" clauses here are juxtaposed almost as if he wants to leave the door open for having unknowingly colluded without perjuring himself.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:01 PM on June 13 [15 favorites]


[Couple deleted. Accent discussion stops here.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:01 PM on June 13 [16 favorites]


Sessions: I used to be one of you. I USED TO BE ONE OF YOU! We're pals! Buddies for life! BFFs, right? Right??!! Just want to remind you all that we go way back. Waaay back, amirite? Yeah? Remember that one time? That was so much fun? You and me, together, as friends? Anyway, what was your question?
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:01 PM on June 13 [18 favorites]


Here's a copy of Sessions' opening remarks, if you prefer reading to listening.

And here's the Lawfare liveblog for the hearing.
posted by zachlipton at 12:02 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


His intonation and indignation sounds like Bill Clinton. I did NOT have sex with THAT woman!

In the words of Special Agent Dale Cooper: You're lying.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:04 PM on June 13 [8 favorites]



Here's a copy of Sessions' opening remarks, if you prefer reading to listening.

Always.

Thank you.
 
posted by Herodios at 12:04 PM on June 13 [8 favorites]




Indignancy seems to point to duplicity.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:05 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


"that I was aware of any collusion"

This, plus his insistence that he knows nothing about the status of the investigation, and his introductory remarks about how terrible the Russian interference in our election is (we've come a long way from Republicans unanimously denying that Russia had anything to do with the DNC hacks!) and a couple of other little rhetorical flourishes along the way... It all makes me wonder if he's planning to throw someone else in the campaign -- maybe even Trump himself -- under the bus.
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:05 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


It all makes me wonder if he's planning to throw someone else in the campaign -- maybe even Trump himself -- under the bus.

That'd be smart.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:07 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Sessions is insisting that the decision to fire Comey had nothing to do with Russia and was just part of his general oversight of DOJ personnel -- meaning he now officially joins the list of GOP hacks who've decided that if they just pretend really hard that the Lester Holt interview never happened, it'll go away.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:08 PM on June 13 [50 favorites]


Sessions says that after Comey spoke to him about improper communications between the FBI and the White House, he encouraged Comey to follow the procedures. He noticeably doesn't say he encouraged Trump to follow the proper procedures or to stop creeping on Comey.
posted by zachlipton at 12:08 PM on June 13 [12 favorites]


Sessions is very indignant and is categorically denying any wrongdoing. He's now segued into a spirited defense of the President's agenda, which is bizarre. [real]

He, too, is determined to find the real killer. [fake]
posted by winna at 12:08 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]




So...did Sessions just un-recuse himself?!?! He said he recused himself from campaign investigations but not procedural DOJ stuff or something.

So did this happen?
posted by saysthis at 12:09 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Now he's citing overdose deaths and the murder rate. Chewbacca defense can't be too far off.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:09 PM on June 13 [18 favorites]


If only power plants could be fueled by indignation. This hearing alone would put us over the top of our Paris Agreement goals.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:10 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


Sessions is making his opening statement. He claims to acknowledge the seriousness of Russian interference. He says he's going to address several issues. He notes he will invoke executive privilege.

He says He had no private meetings nor did he recall any meeting at the Mayflower Hotel. He noted that he attended an event, but says he does not recall any conversations with Kislyak. He's got a memory full of holes. He doesn't think him being in the room with Kislyak is important. He categorically denies having discussions with Russian officials about interfering in the campaign. He is offended that he might be accused of collusion or that he did anything to undermine the democratic process of the country.

He claims his response to Franken was to a "long rambling question". His responses are basically joke. He's claiming he was responding to allegations that surrogates had communicated with Russians, but that any meetings were part of his duties as a Senator. He claims that nothing improper happened in the meeting.

He's now explaining his recusal. He claims to have no knowledge of the Russian investigation and that he does not even read the public information on it. He notes that regs require him to recuse himself from investigation a campaign of which he was a part. He thinks that it is "absurd" that a single recusal from an issue would preclude him from managing the DoJ or otherwise cast doubt on his ability to be neutral in such matters.

Sessions is noting Comey's concern over proper communication between FBI and WH. Sessions claims to have noted Comey's concerns. LMAO, he's claiming he has a great reputation as a public service due to his racist actions as a US Attorney and Senator. He doesn't understand how shitty his reputation is with half the country.

He's throwing out stats about opiate overdoses, the "murder rate", and other Putanist talking points about the problems in our country.

It's quite difficult to follow his disjointed, unpolished, and rambling statement. He's coming across as very angry and defensive at the start of the hearing. He's really bad at this task, in comparison to Jim Comey. His statement is an insult to all the people of this country.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 12:10 PM on June 13 [77 favorites]


Sample: Shorter Jeff Sessions: It doesn't matter that I lied about meeting Russians because nothing improper happened in the ones I lied about.

Oddly enough, he doesn't say what was discussed. Probably what kind of gift to get for a wedding.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:11 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


Do you know why overdose deaths are up? Because people are miserable. They're using drugs to escape from the horrific world you and and the Trump administration have given us. They're also using illegal drugs because the government is making it harder to access pain medication.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:11 PM on June 13 [36 favorites]


The Senate's reporting restrictions have been lifted, for now, after widespread outrage.
posted by zachlipton at 12:13 PM on June 13 [81 favorites]


Here's a copy of Sessions' opening remarks, if you prefer reading to listening.

Done.


Vacuous.

I move that it be used to line a parrot's cage for a month, shredded, and then entered into the record.
 
posted by Herodios at 12:14 PM on June 13 [8 favorites]


Sessions is repeatedly saying now that he "does not remember" the meeting happening, which to me, is a lot different from his opening statement where he basically accused his former colleagues of being terrible devils for even suggesting it happened.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:14 PM on June 13 [18 favorites]


Do you know why overdose deaths are up?

Also because lack of government oversight meant that doctors massive over-prescribed addictive opiates and the response of the government has been to prosecute the people who became addicted.
posted by maxsparber at 12:15 PM on June 13 [42 favorites]


Which I think is Sessions' plan for addicts too.
posted by maxsparber at 12:15 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


Seems to me someone with such a shitty memory is a pretty bad fit to be the chief law enforcement officer and chief lawyer of the United States government.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:16 PM on June 13 [83 favorites]


*shudders* why did the Senate invite someone in the throes of marijuana addiction to take the floor? this is ghoulish.
posted by acidic at 12:17 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


Something tells me that Comey's waiting for this and has the bomb ready. The bit in his testimony about expecting that Sessions was going to recuse and the info that would make his continued involvement "problematic" looks like bait now.
posted by azpenguin at 12:17 PM on June 13 [15 favorites]


Sessions says that he never received any information about the Russian investigation from day one.
posted by winna at 12:17 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


"I was aware of any collusion"

FLASH: Nation's Top Law Enforcement Official "Unaware" of Illegal Activity Going On Right Under His Nose

 
posted by Herodios at 12:18 PM on June 13 [9 favorites]


Sessions is repeatedly saying now that he "does not remember" the meeting happening

Perhaps he's going for the Vincent Gigante defense?
posted by Sophie1 at 12:18 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


> FLASH: Nation's Top Law Enforcement Official "Unaware" of Illegal Activity Going On Right Under His Nose

Actually, just a bit behind and above the nose.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:19 PM on June 13 [8 favorites]


Also because lack of government oversight meant that doctors massive over-prescribed addictive opiates and the response of the government has been to prosecute the people who became addicted.

Yes but when we start prosecuting doctors for every mistake they make involving opiates we get people in pain crying out for relief because no doctor wants to deal with the DEA. A better solution is to all agree that people need opiates and people need help if they get addicted to opiates and nobody involves politically motivated prosecution for what is effectively a public health problem from a quite necessary evil.

In short: Opiates are a land of contrasts.
posted by Talez at 12:20 PM on June 13 [50 favorites]


Sessions says that he never received any information about the Russian investigation from day one.

Yeah, he's totally setting up his "I am shocked- shocked- to find that collusion with Russia is going on in here!" moment.
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:20 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


The Chair and Vice-Chair get ten minutes--the committee members get 5 minutes.

Burr wants to know if Sessions remembers that Kislyak was there. He doesn't remember meeting with Kislyak. He does know that he was there now. Sessions notes that there was in fact, a small private room set off from the main event. Sessions is detailing the staff who accompanied. Burr wants to know how Sessions saw his role there--as a Senator or campaign member. Sessions dodged, saying he was an "interested person". Burr asked whether Session had another meeting in the capacity of the campaign. Sessions claims he did not. He again is claiming he has no recollection of meeting Kislyak at the Mayflower.

Burr asks for the specific reasons for recusal. Sessions cites 28 CFR 48.2, admitting that he had a political or personal interest in a particular case. He acknowledges his role as a Trump advisor. He denies that he is a subject of the Russia investigation.

Burn asks whether his staff knew from the beginning if he would have to recuse himself. I think he's getting at why it took a month for Sessions to recuse himself. Burr suggests that the reason Comey said he'd believe Comey knew about the regs. Burr asks Sessions to make emails regarding the recusal available to the committee.

Sessions claims not to have had contact with Rober Mueller. Burr whether Sessions was aware of further discomfort on the part of Comey in relation to communication with Trump. Sessions notes it would inappropriate for a DoJ official to share information with a sitting President about an on-going investigate.

Burr asks about Trump's foreign policy team. Sessions says they met a couple of times, but that they weren't a team. He claims he never met at least one person on the team he supposedly assembled.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 12:21 PM on June 13 [27 favorites]


Nothing about Sessions' explanation for his recusal makes sense. He cites 28 CFR 45.2 as the reason he, of course, would have had to recuse himself, but Sessions didn't recuse himself until weeks after he was sworn in. Specifically, he recused himself just after it was reported he lied about another meeting with Kislyak. If it was just a foregone conclusion because of the regulation, he would have been prepared to recuse himself from day 1, not waiting until it was revealed he lied. And it's in conflict with Comey's testimony that there was some kind of classified reason why he thought Sessions would have to recuse himself; the regulation sure as heck wasn't classified.
posted by zachlipton at 12:22 PM on June 13 [29 favorites]


Sessions just sidestepped that Comey/Trump question and then tried to drag Obama into it. Comey met with Obama twice in 8 years.

And he's already being openly hostile in response to questions he doesn't like.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:22 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


Sessions just seriously said it's not unusual, per se, for a DOJ official to have a private meeting with the President -- citing Comey's meetings with Trump as evidence.

Are you kidding me.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:22 PM on June 13 [65 favorites]


I'm sure his indigant martyr-y, put-upon, wah-you-guys-used-to-be-my-friends attitude plays well on Fox News and for others already inclined to believe or at least defend this creature, but goddamn it comes off as a purposeful tactic rather than earnest.
posted by gatorae at 12:22 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


Sessions is trying to refuse to say he would not take action to have Mueller removed. He finally said he 'wouldn't think it would be appropriate for him to do'.
posted by winna at 12:24 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Rosenstein testified that he is the only one allowed to fire Mueller and he will not do it unless for actual cause,

Keep in mind that when Trump asked Rosenstein for cause to fire Comey that Rosenstein said "Yes, sir! Right away, sir!" and handed Trump a letter the next morning.
posted by JackFlash at 12:24 PM on June 13 [16 favorites]


Sessions appears to be taking the Vassbinder approach to eating up Warner's time for questions.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:24 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


I expect we won't see McCain even being "concerned" all that much anymore: Cindy McCain to get role in Trump State Department

I'm choosing to translate anything coming from the Trump White House as though it came from a medieval chronicler.

Thus:

"Now in the first year of the reign of Donald I his counselors brought him news that Lord McCain was fomenting dissent with his reign, expressing discontent in every public place. And so he was ordered to bring his wife to court, and Lady McCain remained as surety for his good behavior." [fake, for now]
posted by corb at 12:24 PM on June 13 [69 favorites]


And here we go. It's "claim executive privilege without using the words 'executive privilege' time.

Sessions has a bunch of mumbo-jumbo about how he won't talk about anything with the President because of the "co-equal branches," but he's not claiming executive privilege (because that privilege belongs to the President). It's just making up a reason to not answer questions out of thin air.
posted by zachlipton at 12:25 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


Remember that old classic hit "I Don't Recall" by Ronnie Reagan & The Tone Deafs? Looks like it's getting a cover performance by Jefferson Beauregard Sessions.
posted by azpenguin at 12:25 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


Sessions doesn't "believe in bringing cabinet members down for interminable hearings", he sez to the committee.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:26 PM on June 13 [67 favorites]


So Sessions has invoked a nonexistent privilege that is basically "The first rule of being Attorney General to the President is you don't talk about being Attorney General to the President."
posted by gatorae at 12:26 PM on June 13 [10 favorites]


Warner: Are you denying that anyone else moved you into that ridiculous position overnight?
Sessions: I did it all on my own.
Warner: You had no help getting up there? Not even from the parents?
Sessions: If anyone touched me I would lose my magic.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:28 PM on June 13 [31 favorites]


Ambassador Kislyak: "Da, we met with Jeff several times but he was such a dumb piece of дерьмо that we gave up"
posted by Burhanistan at 12:31 PM on June 13 [8 favorites]


Sessions is so confusing and hard to follow. No wonder he and Carter Page have a thing.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 12:31 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


This is orthogonal and petty, but I can't be the only gen-x aged person enjoying watching Sessions twist because of all the stupid DARE ads on arcade games, forcing you to see his smarmy message and statement and signature every time you wanted to play Smash TV or something. I mean, above and beyond the whole Southern Strategy and drug war.
posted by loquacious at 12:32 PM on June 13 [14 favorites]


See I would totally use the "i don't recall" defense if I were ever under oath.. but of course, I have a well-known history of having a terrible memory, and of being regularly under the influence of psychoactive substances, in amounts which would normally incapacitate mere mortals.

So my point is, I have an excuse, well documented. What's this guy's excuse for not remembering? it's convenient for him not to, is what I'm saying.
posted by some loser at 12:32 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


Governance via whargarrbl
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:32 PM on June 13 [11 favorites]


Warner asks whether they can count on Sessions to reappear before the Intel committee. Sessions claims it's not useful for cabinet members to be in front of committees repeatedly.

Warner ask about Sessions confidence in Mueller. Session claims to have confidence in Mueller, but refuses to discuss hypotheticals. Sessions does not know whether Trump has confidence in Mueller. Session claims he will not take actions tohave Mueller removed. Warner had to press him on it.

Warner asks whether there have been conversations about Presidential pardons regarding people involved in the Russia affair. He's invoking DoJ policy to dodge the question, but claims he is not invoking executive privilege. He claims there are DoJ policies that prevent him from disclosing discussions about pardons, even if they don't involve the President*.

Warner moves on to Session's agreement with Rosenstein's memo about Comey not running the FBI properly. Sessions claims not to have given Comey any feedback about his performance as FBI director. Sessions said he and Rosenstein agreed they wanted a fresh start at the FBI, but that a fresh start in the middle of an investigation is problematic.

Warner brings up the APril 27th meeting. He was at chair of Trump's foreign policy committee at the Mayflower. Sessions says he does not remember whether he or Kushner had any conversations with Kislyak. Every question about other meeting with Russian officials prompts Sessions to claim that he "can't recall" any other meetings. Sessions does remembering part of the small VIP meeting.

Warner references Comey's testimony regarding Sessions leaving him alone with Trump. Sessions remembers departing and seeing Comey and Trump talking. He says that Comey expressed concern the day after. Sessions says the FBI Director meeting with the President is not problematic per se. Sessions says he affirmed Comey's concerned, but noted that Comey did not give him details about the meeting.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 12:33 PM on June 13 [24 favorites]


Remember that old classic hit "I Don't Recall" by Ronnie Reagan & The Tone Deafs? Looks like it's getting a cover performance by Jefferson Beauregard Sessions.

My favorite version will always be Total Recall by Alberto Gonzales
posted by Room 641-A at 12:33 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


This is orthogonal and petty, but I can't be the only gen-x aged person enjoying watching Sessions twist because of all the stupid DARE ads on arcade games, forcing you to see his smarmy message and statement and signature every time you wanted to play Smash TV or something.

That's a different Sessions.
posted by mrnutty at 12:34 PM on June 13 [9 favorites]


That's a different Sessions.

Derp. Corrected.
posted by loquacious at 12:36 PM on June 13


@derekarnold: I believe that Sessions didn't collude with Russia because you can read documents he prepares from space
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:36 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


He's making a lot of definitive statements. That's absolutely false. That's a lie. That did not happen. I can say that absolutely.

I hope to God that there's copious evidence to the contrary so that the world knows the Attorney General perjured himself in front of the nation in such a blatant manner.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:37 PM on June 13 [36 favorites]


Is anyone going to ask Sessions if he talked to the president and told him that talking alone with Comey could be problematic?
posted by Mister Bijou at 12:37 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Jim Risch (R-ID) is up now. He claims that the Russian hacking and interference is a real concern for him. He asks whether Sessions remembers of a NYT article, that Sessions only remembers a little bit. Sessions says that the Times article is false--he claims he did not have constant communications with the Russians. Risch is trying to provide cover by Sessions, but claiming that communicating with foreign government officials is common. Sessions claims he "absolutely" did not participate in any conversations regarding collusion with the Russian government.

Risch asks whether Sessions had heard any talk of collusion with Russia. He claims that if he had he would have "known it was improper" and that he would "maybe" have headed for the exit. Sessions that he has not been asked or ordered to anything illegal.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 12:38 PM on June 13 [16 favorites]


"if that actually occurred" ... like, casting doubt on the entire DNC hack?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:38 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


> forcing you to see his smarmy message and statement and signature every time you wanted to play Smash TV or something.

I made this last month after a discussion with a coworker about the same dynamic.

Christ, it's only been a month? That feels like two years ago.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:39 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


Senator Risch: Collusion is serious! If you'd heard anything about collusion with Russia while on the campaign, you would have left!
Sessions: ah, maybe.
[real]
posted by gatorae at 12:39 PM on June 13 [52 favorites]


Seriously, Excommunicated Cardinal, you're amazing. Thank you for transcribing and summarizing for those of us who can't watch. I would recommend you for sainthood, but...
posted by greermahoney at 12:40 PM on June 13 [93 favorites]


Yes, thank you!
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 12:42 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


DiFi is asking. Asks whether Sessions knew Trump intended to fire on May 9, when he wrote his memo supporting the firing of Comey. She notes that on May 11 on NBC, Trump said he intended to fire Comey irrespective of the recommendation. He claims to have felt comfortable providing post-hoc justification for firing Comey. He won't answer for the reasons for the firing of Comey. He won't discuss the contents of the conversations with Trump. Another administration official refusing to answer Congress for nebulous reasons.

Feinstein asks how Sessions exactly was involved in the firing in Comey, while quoting his letter. She wants to know whether he really believes that the firing was really due to performance (and not the Russia investigation). He's now saying Comey's actions in the Clinton investigation were a big problem [EC note: I call bullshit because Trump was cool with it at the time].
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 12:44 PM on June 13 [17 favorites]


Poor Jeff Beau. He can't know what's in the Predisent's mind when he says words.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:46 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


D senators better figure out how to dance around this "I do not want to discuss that" tactic that's becoming increasingly prevalent. They appear to assume these criminals will show the slightest shame or respect for "democratic norms."
posted by odinsdream at 12:46 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


Poor Jeff Beau. He can't know what's in the Predisent's mind when he says words.

To be fair, in the case of Trump, that is an almost impossible task.
posted by Talez at 12:47 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


He did it again. "Six or more with Obama and Trump."

Two with Obama in 8 years.

I do like Rubio's tie. That's about the only thing I've ever liked about Rubio.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:47 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Geez what is this? Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity

An executive order to set up a committee to investigate our electoral process, specifically to look at threats such as improper or fraudulent registration and voting. That, and weaknesses in the voting systems that allow same.

Absolutely zero mention of weaknesses that allow foreign nationals to delete lawful voters from the rolls or alter election results, but yeah sure let's focus on people "illegally" allowed to vote
posted by caution live frogs at 12:48 PM on June 13 [26 favorites]


D senators better figure out how to dance around this "I do not want to discuss that" tactic that's becoming increasingly prevalent.

Contempt is the only lever, and the GOP won't use it.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:49 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Poor Jeff Beau. He can't know what's in the Predisent's mind when he says words.

[cutaway to a circus bear in a tutu riding a tricycle as the calliope merrily plays]
posted by entropicamericana at 12:49 PM on June 13 [18 favorites]


Rubio is up now. Sessions remembers that Comey stayed with Trump. He remembers lingering. He "does not know how it occurred" that he was near the last leave. Rubio asked whether Sessions felt he needed to stay. Sessions does not know how to characterize it, and that he did not see it was a problem inherently to meet with Trump. Sessions doesn't even know that Comey met 3 times with President Obama and two with President Bush.

Rubio asks if Sessions knows if Trump records conversations. Sessions is not sure whether any such recordings fall into Presidential records laws. [EC Note: WTF--he's the nation's top lawyer!!].

Sessions does not recall any interactions that might have seemed. Rubio asked in why the GOP platform was changed not to provide defensive weapons to Ukraine. Sessions claims that he probably did not have any influence and does not know who was involved.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 12:49 PM on June 13 [23 favorites]


"I don't think" "I'm not sure" "I don't recall"

Jeez! This guy is so evasive. This wouldn't pass at my job; I can't believe this is on display at the highest level of government.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 12:49 PM on June 13 [8 favorites]


One very important word from Sessions about Russia hacking the DNC: "Its likely that laws were violated, if that actually occurred."

Sessions won't acknowledge that it happened. That's suspicious as hell.
posted by zachlipton at 12:50 PM on June 13 [52 favorites]


Wyden is up. Opens blasting Sessions and letting Sessions know that Americans don't want Stonewalling and vague deflections about citing executive privileged. (poorly paraphrased by me)
posted by Twain Device at 12:51 PM on June 13 [15 favorites]


Are we legally allowed to laugh at him? What is the current legal status of the women he had tried as witches for doing so?
posted by Artw at 12:52 PM on June 13 [11 favorites]


Sessions is losing his chill rapidly.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:53 PM on June 13 [22 favorites]


Holy shit he's indignant now.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:53 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


Wyden is up! He notes we are all angry and sick of the stonewalling from the administration. He says that "stonewalling of any kind is unacceptable". Wyden is asking what information Sessions had in order to decide to recuse himself. Sessions claims that he is not stonewalling, citing "long-standing policies" of the DoJ. He's upset at being accused of stonewalling [EC note: He's totally stonewalling]. Sessions says he never learned names of subjects or investigators. He says that anything he knows was mostly published in the media.

Wyden is pressing hard. He wants to know what were the matters that were problematic in terms of leading such an investigation. Sessions is really angry with Wyden for asking specifically why it was problematic.

Wyden wants to know whether Session's involvement in the Comey firing was in contravention to his recusal. Sessions claims that his letter did not violate his recusal, even though Trump noted that he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation.

Wyden: "That answer does not pass the smell test."
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 12:55 PM on June 13 [88 favorites]


Heh. Wyden just said "I'll ask about that on the second round" and someone in the room said "second round?"
posted by tonycpsu at 12:56 PM on June 13 [14 favorites]


If only power plants could be fueled by indignation.

This is the plot for the Pixar film, Monsters, Gov.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:57 PM on June 13 [31 favorites]


Heh. Wyden just said "I'll ask about that on the second round" and someone in the room said "second round?"

I assumed there had to be second and even third rounds if this thing is going to last up to three hours.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:59 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Jeez! This guy is so evasive. This wouldn't pass at my job; I can't believe this is on display at the highest level of government.

Don't read Bill Clinton's deposition in the Paula Jones case then.
posted by Talez at 1:00 PM on June 13 [9 favorites]


Susan Collins is asking questions know. She is asking Sessions whether his rationale for helping to fire Comey were his violations of FBI/DoJ policy on the Clinton investigation. She is wanting to know why he was writing on the issue on May 9th, after the recusal. She wants to know why he believes the letter was not in violation of the recusal in the Russia investigation. He won't acknowledge that Trump has said he fired Comey for conducting the Russia investigation. She asks whether he would have felt uncomfortable if he had known Trump blab to Lester Holt regarding Russia. He dodged.

She wants to know if he thought Comey had an obligation to pass on the content of his conversations with someone else at the DoJ. He thinks that Comey should have spoken with Dana Boente about those conversation.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 1:01 PM on June 13 [13 favorites]


Don't get your hopes up for perjury for Sessions, he'll just correct his testimony later.
posted by drezdn at 1:03 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Wyden is gone for the moment. I bet he had to go take a walk. Sessions has been more and more hostile as this hearing goes on. Sadly Trumpists are just going to see this as a sign of strength rather than an obstruction of justice or an indication of falsehood.

I cannot wait for my state's junior senator, Ms. Kamala Harris.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:03 PM on June 13 [14 favorites]


Jeff Bo: I'm claiming executive privilege without claiming executive privilege.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:03 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


Heinrich is going a great job going after sessions on there being no legal basis for him to avoid answering questions based on "appropriateness" of disclosures outside of executive privilege.

sessions says its a long standing doj policy which he isn't sure but may be written down and if it is could possibly be shared. . .
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:04 PM on June 13 [27 favorites]


Heinrich, "Appropriateness is not a legal definition."
posted by saysthis at 1:04 PM on June 13 [46 favorites]


Ah. Flailing hour!
posted by Namlit at 1:04 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Just dialed in, so Sessions hasn't been answering and has been giving non-reasons for why, eh? Color me surprised.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:07 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Senator Heinrich has just made a huge step forward. Referencing that the portion of Mr. Sessions's oath to "tell the whole truth" is incompatible with refusing to answer questions, Heinrich has explicitly accused Sessions of "impeding this investigation". This seems like a pretty big shift in the tenor of the hearing.
posted by Uncle Ira at 1:07 PM on June 13 [119 favorites]


Heinrich is killing it!

Sessions is flailing trying to explain his calumny.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:07 PM on June 13 [18 favorites]


Heinrich is up--he straight up says that Sessions' refusal to answer the question, invoke classification, or invoke executive privilege violates his oath of testimony. Heinrich asks specifically what regulations or policies in the DoJ that are preventing him from answering. Heinrich wants to know whether the regs are written down somewhere at the DoJ. Sessions that it is "[his own] judgement" not to answer because Trump hasn't reviewed the questions or approved the answers.

Heinrich straight up says that Sessions is obstructing the Congressional investigating. He specifically asks why Sessions asked why he answered "Maybe" when he was asked about whether or he'd have left the campaign if there were evidence of collusion.

Heinrich is disturbed that neither Rosenstein nor Sessions gave feedback to Comey on his job. Heinrich wants to know how Trump's statement to Holt and Session's testimony regarding Comey's performance can be reconciled, given that Trump specifically noted that he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation.

Burr wants to note for the record that Rogers testified in closed session last night for two hours.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 1:08 PM on June 13 [87 favorites]


in addition to saying it was "[his own] judgment" to not answer he did appeal to the authority of several senior members of the DOJ with whom he said he had discussed it.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:10 PM on June 13


Rubio asks about change in party platform re Ukraine. Sessions: "I don't think I had any direct involvement."

So far this is one of the things that really jumped out at me. How could he not know if he had any direct involvement in changing the Party platform? It's such a weird way to answer. Was he interested in changing the policy? Did he discuss it with anyone?

Sessions that it is "[his own] judgement" not to answer because Trump hasn't reviewed the questions or approved the answers.

Holy Guacamole! That seems like a very problematic answer. Did Sessions not swear to uphold the Constitution by himself? Did he not just now swear to tell the truth? Why does he think he allowing the President to decided what he can and cannot say is appropriate at all?!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:11 PM on June 13 [63 favorites]


From the transcription on the C-SPAN page, during the questioning by Jim Risch (R, Idaho):
RISCH. Based upon your experience and based upon your participation in the campaign, did you hear even a whisper or a suggestion or anyone making reference within that campaign that somehow the Russians were involved in that campaign?

SESSIONS. I did not.

RISCH. What would you have done if you had heard that?

SESSIONS. I would have been shocked and known it was improper.

RISCH. And headed for the exit, I suppose?

SESSIONS. Maybe. This was a serious—this is a serious matter. What you're talking about is hacking into a private person or DNC computer and obtaining information and spreading that out. That's just not right. And I believe it's likely that laws were violated if that actually occurred. So it's an improper thing.
So, he's saying here that the "whisper" of Trump on stage, on national television, calling upon Russia to "find" Clinton's emails, was an improper thing in which laws were likely violated. No wonder he had to say only "maybe" would he leave.
posted by XMLicious at 1:13 PM on June 13 [10 favorites]


King is up now. He takes no prisoners.
posted by essexjan at 1:14 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Blunt is up and he's likely going to toss watermelons at Sessions. He's asking about the April 27th event at the Mayflower. He asks whether Sessions had a private rooms, but did attend an event with 2-3 dozen people, heard a speech, and may have possibly spoke with people. Sessions is "confident [he] had no formal meeting" with Kislyak. Sessions notes that Kislyak apparently has business in Alabama and that they may have had meetings about those affairs.

Blunt is not clear on whether Sessions responded to Comey's concerns about WH communications. Sessions says that he did. He's trying to say that Comey was responsible to shutdown inappropriate conversations with the WH. Sessions says that Comey did not give him any material facts regarding the Russia investigation.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 1:14 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


Dahlia Lithwick at Slate:
Buried in a footnote in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ unanimous opinion upholding the bulk of the injunction blocking Donald Trump’s travel ban, there is a moment of reckoning in which the panel addresses whether the president’s tweets constitute binding statements of executive intent.
...
What does it mean that courts may now begin to take the president’s tweets seriously? Beyond the implications for the travel ban, the notion that Trump’s Twitter feed is its own binding constitutional stream of consciousness invites all sorts of other delightful legal interventions. For one thing, the somewhat charming letter sent last week by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University now looks like a more serious complaint. The letter, which was sent by the Knight Institute’s Executive Director Jameel Jaffer, argues on behalf of a group of Twitter users that the First Amendment precludes him from blocking people on social media. The letter, which at least implies that it may be followed with a lawsuit, describes the Trump Twitter feed as a designated public forum and a curated series of official statements. Thanks to the 9th Circuit, that characterization now has more teeth.

posted by zarq at 1:14 PM on June 13 [20 favorites]


Please ask, "ARE YOU ASSERTING YOUR FIFTH AMENDMENT PRIVILEGE"
posted by goneill at 1:14 PM on June 13 [24 favorites]


For us older folks, Sessions Presents: The Greatest Hits Album!
posted by JanetLand at 1:18 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Wow, King is really trying to pin him down and, I think, doing a great job using his own words against him.
posted by Tevin at 1:18 PM on June 13 [13 favorites]


Angus King is up! He asks whether Trump has asserted executive privilege and asks what Sessions legal justification for his refusal answer. Sessions says that he is trying to protect Trump's right to invoke executive privilege. [EC note: He has nothing]. King wants to know who asked for Session's opinion about firing Comey--Session noted that Trump asked for their opinions. Sessions says that Trump has waved EP, based on his public statements. King is trying to get him to admit he is being selective in his testifying to the content of the conversations with Trump. Sessions claims he has never been given information any information about the hacking, and Sessions never asked for a briefing nor sought more information about Russian hacking between the election and inauguration.

King asks about the May 9th letter. He asked about Session's evaluation. Sessions says that he did not do a written evaluation of Comey's performance and cites Rosenstein's memorandum as the written evaluation.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 1:20 PM on June 13 [26 favorites]


It sounds like Seymour Skinner is now questioning Sessions.
posted by essexjan at 1:20 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Is there no contempt of court or perjury laws that applies to this "possible future executive privilege" thingy?
posted by some loser at 1:20 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


Sessions is successfully avoiding answering, and pre-asserting executive privilege in case Trump wants to invoke it later, and despite this insane bullshit, he knows no one will push contempt charges against him.

The US government has become a joke.
posted by StrawberryPie at 1:20 PM on June 13 [42 favorites]


from chat: "so under sessions' construction, nobody can ever talk about any conversations with the president, in case later on the president chooses to invoke executive privilege."
posted by leotrotsky at 1:20 PM on June 13 [53 favorites]


Sessions' body language and the sudden tremor in his voice suggests he's starting to understand that he's not going to be able to get away with this quantum theory of executive privilege for much longer.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:20 PM on June 13 [42 favorites]


some D needs to adopt an air of concern and ask, "mr. sessions, have you seen a doctor about your memory problems?"
posted by j_curiouser at 1:20 PM on June 13 [27 favorites]


Senator King is Maine's prize for having to put up with Susan Collins and Paul LePage.
posted by merocet at 1:20 PM on June 13 [33 favorites]


Schrodinger's Executive Privilege!!!
posted by some loser at 1:20 PM on June 13 [22 favorites]


Senator Lankford from Oklahoma thanks Sessions for being frank and open, leading me to wonder if perhaps he is watching a different hearing than I am.
posted by winna at 1:20 PM on June 13 [13 favorites]


So the story we're supposed to buy here is that Sessions is sitting around as a national security advisor to Trump, reads the DNI's statement about Russian interference in the election, gets nominated as the nation's top law enforcement official, and never says "hey, maybe someone can tell me more about this; this seems important?"

That demonstrates either collusion or a shocking lack of curiosity and concern.
posted by zachlipton at 1:23 PM on June 13 [68 favorites]


Is it possible we’re wrong about Donald Trump?

WARNING: Consult Betteridge's Law Of Headlines before reading article
CAUTION: Content of take extremely hot. If righteous anger lasts more than three hours, consult a doctor

posted by The Card Cheat at 1:24 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


This is the second time that Lankford has really harshed my King buzz.

Also I just saw a wide shot of the R side of the room and I saw McCain. They're not going to let him talk again, are they?
posted by elsietheeel at 1:24 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


Lankford is up and is tossing off beach balls to Sessions. He's giving a bunch of handwringing about leaks and isn't asking about Sessions involvement in Comey's firing or the Russia investigation. Lankford is completely derelict in his duty as a United States Senator.

He wants Sessions to define the term "recuse". He reads a statement by the DoJ regarding Sessions' recusal. He claims that he maintained his non-involvment in the Russia investigation was due to that he might have to recuse himself?

Lankford said that the Center for National Interest that held the April 27th invited the attendees, not the Trump campaign. The reception had ~2 dozen attendees, as per an official statement, and that it would be difficult to hold a private converation. Sessions agrees with the whole statement
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 1:25 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


That demonstrates either collusion or a shocking lack of curiosity and concern.

He literally couldn't understand that the investigation being discussed was not about the Trump campaign.

And, I mean, if the Trump campaign was innocent of collusion, the investigation wasn't about the Trump Campaign.

Weird that that didn't occur to him. It's like he assumed this investigation was about Trump collusion and felt like he should stay out.

Weird.
posted by maxsparber at 1:27 PM on June 13 [35 favorites]


Also I just saw a wide shot of the R side of the room and I saw McCain. They're not going to let him talk again, are they?

He'll get to the bottom of the case of President Comey's emails yet!
posted by Artw at 1:27 PM on June 13 [26 favorites]


That demonstrates either collusion or a shocking lack of curiosity and concern.

No, no, no, he has had his hands full ginning up this war on drugs and civil rights and immigrants. He ain't got time for your Russian nonsense. PEOPLE ARE SMOKING Marajuana!!!!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:28 PM on June 13 [13 favorites]


I mean, how is this possible?
King: "Do you think Russians interfered with 2016 election?"
Sessions: "Appears so."
King: "But you never asked about it?"
Sessions: "No."
Is not giving a damn about national security an impeachable offense in an of itself?

Bonus bee update: The Swarm of Bees Outside Vox Media, Explained
posted by zachlipton at 1:28 PM on June 13 [55 favorites]




Manchin asked if any of the following people met with Russians to Sessions' knowledge:
Manafort
Bannon
Michael Flynn
Pribieus
Steve Miller
Lewandowski
Carter Page

He of course said he doesn't recall. Notice who isn't on that list.
posted by winna at 1:30 PM on June 13 [16 favorites]


Manchin asks hypothetical about if Sessions were on the other side, what would he ask.  Sessions says: "I would be asking questions about the impact on this election, and a foreign power's influence.."

Or, you know, the thing he said ten minutes ago that he didn't know anything about and hadn't had any briefings about.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:31 PM on June 13 [11 favorites]


Joe Manchin just read Sessions a list of names asking if Sessions was aware of them meeting with Russians and the sheer number to which Sessions responded with "I don't recall" was sort of staggering. Because "I don't recall" in this context almost certainly means "yes."
posted by mightygodking at 1:31 PM on June 13 [21 favorites]


Manchin is up and invokes him and Sessions having a common background in knowing the Russian government to be hostile to the United States. Manchin notes that he is extremely concerned about the Russian interference. Manchin asked whether Sessions discussed the removal of Russian diplomats. Sessions does not recall whether were conversations about removing sanctions or any interest in the Russian hacking from the executive.

Sessions is not sure that his testimony would change, if the hearing were closed. He is "concerned" whether his answers would interfere with the ongoing investigation of Mueller. Manchin is trying to get Sessions on the record denying any other meeting Russian officials. Manchin wants to know if Sessions remembers if Manafort, Bannon, Flynn, Priebus, Miller, Lewandowski, or Page met with the Russians during the campaign. Sessions does not recall any of them having meetings with Russians. Sessions acknowledges possible "published accounts" of Carter Page meeting with them.

Manchin wants to know what Session would ask if he were on the committee. Session claims he would ask questions about whether the Russian government interfered in our election.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 1:31 PM on June 13 [9 favorites]


Hmm, Jared? What does that suggest?
posted by yasaman at 1:32 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


I had to walk away for a meeting. Why is Tom Cotton asking about James Bond?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:33 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Because her emails!
posted by elsietheeel at 1:33 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


WTF? AP sources: Trump tells senators House health bill ‘mean’
Congressional sources say President Donald Trump has told Republican senators that the House health care bill is “mean” and that the Senate version should be “more generous.”
He had a damn party in the Rose Garden to praise the House bill and now he declares it "mean?" Aw hell no.
posted by zachlipton at 1:33 PM on June 13 [62 favorites]


Tom Cotton and Sessions are having a nice little chat about light fiction. Apparently they both enjoy spy fiction and that is supposed to make us think Sessions isn't part of collusion because reading spy fiction means you know enough to be a master spy.
posted by winna at 1:34 PM on June 13 [8 favorites]


Cotton is up. He wants to know if Donald Trump or anyone in the campaign attempted to colluded with the Russian government to influence the election. Cotton is acting like a trumpeting butthole. Cotton is trying to make this out to be a partisan exercise, and yanno what? Fuck his bullshit. I'm not dignifying this shithead with a post on his non-questions.

Sessions is just *shocked* that anyone would think he was involved in this bullshit.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 1:34 PM on June 13 [18 favorites]


"I didn't participate, and I don't know anything about it."

DOES NOT EQUAL "it didn't happen"
posted by slipthought at 1:34 PM on June 13 [10 favorites]


Why is Tom Cotton asking about James Bond?

It'll play great on Fox & Friends?
posted by Mister Bijou at 1:35 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Is not giving a damn about national security an impeachable offense in an of itself?

Dunno if it's an impeachable offense as such, but it's certainly enough to get him disbarred. Maybe he can be backdoored.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:35 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


I had to walk away for a meeting. Why is Tom Cotton asking about James Bond?

He's trying to pretend that this whole Russian thing is just a work of fiction, a fantastical tale told by Dems signifying nuthin'
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:36 PM on June 13


Isn't Cotton one of the people who lunched with trump earlier today?
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:36 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


"I do not recall, for I have... AMNESIA!"
posted by Behemoth at 1:37 PM on June 13 [14 favorites]


Harris is going to eviscerate him.
posted by essexjan at 1:37 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Cotton and Sessions are begging us to believe that it's all business as usual in DC these days and absolutely nothing about the Trump administration, or Trump's interactions with Comey are anything but normal run of the mill governance.
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:37 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Because "I don't recall" in this context almost certainly means "yes."

To be fair, it's possible that he would normally genuinely say "no", but is exercising appropriate caution, which I would do if I were under oath.
posted by Jpfed at 1:37 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


This Cotton guy sounds like a total shill... is it normal to include shills for the defendant on the investigation committee ??
posted by some loser at 1:37 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


God in heaven the person typing behind Sessions has the fastest hunt-and-peck typing skills I have ever seen.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:38 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


Golden State Warriors unanimously decline White House visit, per reports

I would go and then when Trump goes to shake my hand, I would about face and give him my back. On camera.
posted by BentFranklin at 1:38 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Holy shit. Cotton just straight up lied about the Republican party platform re: arms to Ukraine. Claims it was strengthened on that point, not weakened.
posted by dnash at 1:38 PM on June 13 [23 favorites]


Tom Cotton doing a send off to stump for the GOP.

I hope he gets yelled at by kids again when he goes back home.
posted by Tevin at 1:38 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Sessions:But so much of this is in a wholescale campaign of an extraordinary nature--you don't keep notes.

Comey on line 5...
posted by azpenguin at 1:39 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


Harris specifically asked for Sessions' notes if any and he has visibly started to sweat.

Maybe he should have read those spy novels a bit more carefully!
posted by winna at 1:39 PM on June 13 [39 favorites]


Oh man, she baited that trap and then hung him with his own rope.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:39 PM on June 13 [8 favorites]


hehe. "I try to read my emails and my notes but otherwise my memory is a bit mushy-goin'"
posted by Namlit at 1:39 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Isn't Cotton one of the people who lunched with trump earlier today?

Yes, he and Sen. Collins.



Cotton: Are these leaks serious threats to our national security? Will you prosecute them to the fullest extent of our law?

Sessions affirms. "Some people will find they wish they hadn't leaked."

Ooo that sounds fierce. He's trying to frighten any potential leakers, I guess.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:40 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


I'm just dreading how, over the next few days, every important answer to which Sessions responded, "I don't recall" will be morphed into "no".
posted by VTX at 1:40 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


I like how his "rules of the department' supersede constitutional checks and balances. I think that's from the landmark SCOTUS case Calvin v. Ball.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:40 PM on June 13 [68 favorites]


Sorry for the one liner, it was so beautiful that I got excited. Someone mentioned earlier that they hoped some Dem would grill Sessions about his memory.

Harris asked if he bothered to refresh his memory, he said he might have checked his notes, she then asked for the notes. He said he'd supply them if it was appropriate. She wasn't interested in appropriate.

Also he just admitted she makes him nervous and I bet he hated that he just said that on live TV.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:42 PM on June 13 [63 favorites]


> Golden State Warriors unanimously decline White House visit, per reports

About That Warriors White House Visit
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:42 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


He had a damn party in the Rose Garden to praise the House bill and now he declares it "mean?" Aw hell no.

That's right, Donnie -- throw Paul Ryan right under that beer wagon, Clydesdales and all.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:42 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Sessions just said that prior to January 20th he may have had conversations about how our country could have more harmonious relations with Russia. He tried to ramble on but Harris cut him off.
posted by winna at 1:42 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Kamala Harris is a STAR.
posted by lalex at 1:43 PM on June 13 [47 favorites]


It's worth noting here that Cotton is the one who wrote and organized the 2015 letter to Iran where he and 46 other Republican senators deliberately tried to undermine President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran.

Also, he's the dude who feels like the problem with Gitmo is that it isn't full. Also he blocked an ambassador's appointment merely to cause Obama pain, which he bluntly told said nominee in person.

It is very difficult to determine which member of the Senate is the most worthless, monstrous shitbag of a human being, but Tom Cotton is definitely in the running.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:44 PM on June 13 [68 favorites]


Honestly all Dems should cede their time to KH.
posted by goneill at 1:44 PM on June 13 [37 favorites]


I'm not watching, so I don't know if this has come up yet, but the rest of you all should know that it's pretty much an Arkansas drinking game that you have to do a shot every time Cotton mentions he was in the military. FYI.
posted by middleclasstool at 1:44 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


“the general strategic concept of the possibility of whether or not Russia and the United states could get on with a more harmonious relationship"
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 1:44 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


McCain [?] demanding that Sessions be allowed to talk whilst not answering the questions being asked. Harris's time runs out and Sessions giggles because his time-wasting dodging worked. Great.
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:44 PM on June 13 [19 favorites]


I mean, if Donnie wants to throw sand, monkey wrenches, and so on in the gears of the Senate "Kill 'em All, Let God Sort it Out" healthcare bill, I'm fine with that.
posted by emjaybee at 1:45 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Sessions just said that prior to January 20th he may have had conversations about how our country could have more harmonious relations with Russia.

The country that interfered with our election. This was public knowledge before January. Fuck him.
posted by chaoticgood at 1:45 PM on June 13 [19 favorites]


Kamala Harris is up. Hell yes!

She's hitting him on the "to best of my recollection" and other phrases of non-recollection. She wants to know if he refreshed his memory by consulting his written documents. Sessions says that he doesn't really keep notes on most of the interactions he had. She ask for his notes on these issues and asks him to define the word "appropriate". He says he has to consult DoJ lawyers.

She asks whether he consulted other lawyers in the DoJ about his testimony, given that he did not seem to know the laws governing his beahvior. She asks him point blank if had any conversations with Russians on any topics. He again says he can't recall. She asked if he had conversations with Russian nationals or business people. He doesn't like that she going prosecutor on him--complaining that pressing him makes him nervous. She asks about Trump officials having conversations about Russian issues within the team before the inauguration. He notes that he did have conversations about thawing relations with Moscow. She asked how prior to his swearing in, how did he communicate with Trump. Sessions says that he did not communicate with Trump in writing.

She wants to know what his longstanding DoJ policy is that is preventing him answering fully and truthfully. She wants to know if the DoJ showed him the specific regs he is invoking, knowing that he would have to answer questions about it. Sessions did not answer with a "yes" or "no" whether he had seen or reviewed the specific policy. He could not name the specific policy, nor what it said, nor where it was written down.

Of course, she's getting shutdown by these rich white male asshats again, because how dare an accomplished prosecutor, a woman of color, ask tough question of an unReconstructed Confederate.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 1:46 PM on June 13 [182 favorites]


Honestly all Dems should cede their time to KH.

That would have been a good idea. Let the prosecutor work.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:46 PM on June 13 [25 favorites]


I am so. angry. about the way McCain cut Harris off. AGAIN. #flamesonthesideofmyfaceparty
posted by solotoro at 1:46 PM on June 13 [57 favorites]


Just a coincidence that the first Senator-on-Senator conflict about the rules of engagement in this hearing was between one of the Republicans and the only woman of color on the Democratic side. How dare she not give Sessions all the time he needs to not answer her questions.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:47 PM on June 13 [72 favorites]


I'm not giving Cornyn the dignity of having his questions recorded, since he's derelict in his duty to investigate Russian interference in our electoral process. It's crap for Republicans to be bringing up the Clinton investigation, given that they were cheering on Comey's statements at the time. It's so transparently cynical and craven.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 1:49 PM on June 13 [20 favorites]




Cornyn: TEAM #ButHerEmails 4 LYFE!
posted by tonycpsu at 1:49 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Sen. McCain interrupts Harris to argue she should let Sessions answer. Harris admonished.

This is the second time Harris has been cut off in a SSCI hearing in the last two weeks.


I'll be letting Burr know I see this sexism in action and it makes me see red. Fucking old white man's party.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:49 PM on June 13 [35 favorites]


All these Republicans whinging that Comey inappropriately said stuff about HER EMAILS would come off a lot more sincere if they hadn't only started caring about that exactly one month ago today.
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:50 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


He had a damn party in the Rose Garden to praise the House bill

He was in front of a group of Congressmen at the time so he said things that would make them happy & like him.

and now he declares it "mean?"

Now he's talking to millions of Americans who are scared they're going to lose their health insurance so this is a thing he can say to make them happy & like him, or at least not be mad at him.
posted by scalefree at 1:50 PM on June 13 [9 favorites]


I think it was Sen. Burr (the chair) who interrupted Sen. Harris (at request of Sen. McCain). He did the same thing to her during the Coats /Rodgers hearing. She is awesome.
posted by phoque at 1:52 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


A ways back up the thread: "Sessions says that Trump has waved EP, based on his public statements."

Sessions admitting that Trump waived executive privilege but he's still pressing on with this Schrodinger's EP stuff?
posted by jason_steakums at 1:53 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


Hearing that Trump is bad-mouthing the AHCA is the best news from this week.

In the words of Archer:

"Do you want Congress to turn against you?

Because that's how you get Congress to turn against you."
posted by Tevin at 1:53 PM on June 13 [15 favorites]


McCain interrupted her to tell her she had to allow Sessions to answer (if answering means hemming and hawing about principles and running out the clock), then Burr said he must be allowed to run the hearing, then Harris, rockstar that she is, said to stop interrupting her.
posted by redfishbluefish at 1:54 PM on June 13 [32 favorites]


They hate her and I hope she fucking destroys them.
posted by Artw at 1:55 PM on June 13 [103 favorites]


Oh, hell, John McCovfefe is up now.
posted by essexjan at 1:55 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


Senator Reed is up and asking for the DoJ rules to be submitted to the committee. He just asked whether the firing was based entirely on the handling of the Clinton investigation. Sessions said he agreed with Rosenstein's assessment. Senate said the discussion of Comey was "bipartisan" during the election. Reed notes that Session on July 7th on Fox News, that Sessions said it was Clinton's problem, not Comeys. Reed noted that Sessions found Comey's disclosure on November 6th was appropriate. Reed wants to know how Sessions could use the Clinton investigation as justification for firing Comey, after those statements. Sessions says that retroactively, it was clearer that it was not okay. [EC note: I again call bullshit--this is transparently, unequivocally stupid].

Reed asks whether Sessions felt mislead about the reasoning behind the firing, when Trump blabbed to both Holt, as well as Kislyak and Lavrov in the Oval Office. Session's refuses to characterize his own internal feelings about that. Reed notes that the Clinton justification comes across as flimsy, post-hoc garbage.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 1:56 PM on June 13 [28 favorites]


How many times now has Sessions said "I don't recall" or phrases to that effect? I'd love for one of the senators to have an assistant keep a running tally and then ask Sessions for a ballpark guess of how many times he's said that today.

Someone out there better make a supercut of "I don't recall."
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 1:56 PM on June 13 [9 favorites]


>A ways back up the thread: "Sessions says that Trump has waved EP, based on his public statements."

Sessions admitting that Trump waived executive privilege but he's still pressing on with this Schrodinger's EP stuff?


He's claiming some very narrow reading of where it's been waived and where it hasn't been, saying he can talk about some specific things but not others, and then adding on top of that the absurdity that unless it's actively waived it's de facto asserted (because he feels a need to preserve the President's ability to invoke it in the future).
posted by cjelli at 1:56 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


All this lack of recollection is reminding this Gen Xer of the Gipper's Iran-Contra testimony...
posted by pammeke at 1:57 PM on June 13 [47 favorites]


Aha he recalls now. When he remembers pushing back on the Ruffians.
posted by Namlit at 1:58 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


Well now McCain doesn't recall things either, and it's his goddamn line of questioning!
posted by elsietheeel at 1:58 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Aaand, *click* the recollection box is switched off again.
posted by Namlit at 1:58 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


I'll really becoming alarmed at Sessions's general feebleness now. He gets rattled by a woman asking him questions. He can't remember anything that's happened in the past 6 months. And he doesn't seem aware that there is a massive investigation into Russian interference in our election that is happening right under his nose. This is not a good look for United States Attorney General.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:00 PM on June 13 [67 favorites]


So when Manchin read off that list, he said 'I don't recall' to some names and 'I don't know' to others. That's on purpose. Trying to track down a transcript to see who got what answer.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 2:01 PM on June 13 [17 favorites]


McCain is up. McCain wants to know if Sessions raised concerns about Ukraine. Sessions says that he does specifically remember these things--Sessions says that he does remember discussing Ukraine with Kislyak. Sessions does not recall if he raised concerns about Assad. Sessions does not remember raising concerns about Russian interference in our election. Sessions does not recall raising "Russia related security issue" with Kislyak. Sessions does not recall a whole lot about meeting with Kislyak.

McCain wants to know if Sessions had any contact with any Russian agents. Sessions does not recall. McCain wants to know what Sessions knows about Russian cyberwarfare capabilities and what the DoJ is going to do about it. Sessions says that he is concerned about these issues and that we need to do more to prevent it. Sessions says he is now more concerned with hacking than he was in the election. McCain asked about Russian weapons that could disrupt the US power grid. Sessions finds it very disturbing that the Russians continue to develop such weapons. Sessions does not think we have a sufficient strategy to deal with Russian intrusions into our cyber realms.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 2:02 PM on June 13 [14 favorites]


The response to this claim of a vague (nonexistent) DoJ policy allowing him to weasel out of answers should be asking who at DoJ told him that and then immediately going to that person by phone or sending someone in person (they work just blocks from Congress) and settling it then and there instead of allowing Ku Klux Keebler to "get back to them" on it.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:02 PM on June 13 [14 favorites]


McCain is.....asking good questions that call Sessions on his bullshit? Wha?

(Specifically, he's asking Sessions what international issues he wanted to discuss with Kislyak in those meetings he didn't mention at the confirmation hearing – was it Syria? Allegations of DNC hacking? Something else? The answer is.....Sessions can't recall! Everybody put on your shocked faces.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:03 PM on June 13 [26 favorites]


John McCain was sitting there clicking and tinkling something again just like last week. Did anyone see what the heck he was doing?
posted by winna at 2:03 PM on June 13


From the Law Blog live coverage:

To best of your knowledge, did following individuals meet w Russians?

Manafort? I don't have any information.

Bannon? No information.

Flynn? Don't recall.

Priebus? Don't recall.

Stephen Miller? Don't recall.

Lewandowski? Don't recall.

Carter Page? I don't know.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:03 PM on June 13 [20 favorites]


Well where the fuck was that John McCain last week?
posted by elsietheeel at 2:03 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


Has anyone asked him whether it was him, or Trump who was lying about Comey's firing?

Sessions said, just now, under oath and penalty of perjury, that Comey's firing had nothing at all to do with Russia.

Trump said, a while back, told the Russians that firing Comey relieved pressure from the Russian investigation.

Clearly one of them must be lying, has any Senator reminded Sessions of the penalty for perjury and asked whether he was lying about Comey's firing or whether Trump was?
posted by sotonohito at 2:03 PM on June 13 [46 favorites]


Someone should ask him if he would wilfully prepare a memo to establish a false pretense for firing an employee. And if not, why Trump's doing so doesn't bother him.
posted by 0xFCAF at 2:04 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


John McCain was sitting there clicking and tinkling something again just like last week. Did anyone see what the heck he was doing?

Fidget spinner?
posted by elsietheeel at 2:04 PM on June 13 [18 favorites]


Here's Politico: Trump criticizes House health care bill
President Donald Trump directed Senate Republicans to pass a generous health care bill at a meeting with more than a dozen GOP senators on Tuesday, arguing that the House’s austere health care bill is difficult to defend, according to people familiar with the meeting.

The president also said Republicans risk getting savaged in the 2018 midterms if they fail to repeal Obamacare after a seven-year campaign against the law.
...
Trump has told associates that the news media coverage of the House health care bill was "terrible," in the words of one associate who has spoken to him.
So can we now campaign against every Republican House member by saying they voted for a health care bill that Trump thought was too cruel and mean?

I wonder how Paul Ryan feels about this. He busted his ass to get the House to pass a horrible bill, one that Trump publicly celebrated in a big ceremony, only to have Trump trash it in private to the Senate?
posted by zachlipton at 2:06 PM on June 13 [49 favorites]


McCain is.....asking good questions that call Sessions on his bullshit? Wha?


McCain continues to waffle on whether his duty is to his party over country. On the one hand, he suffered years of torture for the latter. On the other hand, all his friends are on the "party" side.
posted by schroedinger at 2:07 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


McCain was playing with a spring-loaded disposable pen.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:07 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Is someone who literally cannot recall a non-trivial amount of important events fit to be Attorney General? Asking for a friend.
posted by lalex at 2:07 PM on June 13 [53 favorites]


Vice-Chair Warner is back up. He notes that Trump has not acknowledged the serious of the Russian interference in the election. Warner thinks its extremely important for the administration to develop such strategies. Warner is upset that the firing of Comey has impeded efforts to look into the Russian interference into our elections.

Warner says that the committee must know what the specific DoJ policies are that are being cited to refuse answering Congressional questions.

Sessions has one more comment, saying that a change at the top of the FBI should not alter the actions of the FBI investigative teams.

Burr notes that Sessions has answered some questions about Russia, the recusal, conversations with Comey, and meetings with Russian officials. Burr notes that there were several questions that Sessions would not answer--he wants Sessions to consult with the WH to see if they are cool with him answering and to submit them to the committee in writing. He also wants Sessions to consult his notes to refresh his memory on these issues.

Burr has adjourned the hearing.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 2:08 PM on June 13 [24 favorites]


Is someone who literally cannot recall a non-trivial amount of important events fit to be Attorney General? Asking for a friend.

In theory, no. In practice? Sure.
posted by Talez at 2:11 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


Sessions does not think we have a sufficient strategy to deal with Russian intrusions into our cyber realms.

While it may be obvious, it's still a bit concerning that the AG said it balls out in a public hearing.

But I guess Trump has already has an open door policy for the Russians, so it doesn't really matter what our public officials say.
posted by elsietheeel at 2:11 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


At least once Republicans get dragged kicking and screaming from Congress they'll go back to being principled defenders of the Constitution and the Republic for which it stands.
posted by Talez at 2:12 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Sessions: Classic empty suit. But the suit was worn while doing a lot of bad business. The suit has racial bias memory, and the suit is scared, so he wants a lot of prisons for bad, brown, and black perpetrators of being brown and black. He is so a vacant slate, but grateful for questions that are party diatribes, and comforting agreement. Great, just, great.
posted by Oyéah at 2:15 PM on June 13 [12 favorites]


American Treasure Alexandra Petri: "look sessions is just protecting the bureau that is why they call him jeff bureauguard sessions"
posted by numaner at 2:17 PM on June 13 [71 favorites]


Hey, hey its my birthday.

For my. Birthday I want 1) Chuck to chuck the ACHA
2)Sessions to resign due to memory problems
3) impeachment( as a part of metas collective birthday bargaining agreement )
posted by AlexiaSky at 2:17 PM on June 13 [17 favorites]


President Donald Trump directed Senate Republicans to pass a generous health care bill at a meeting with more than a dozen GOP senators on Tuesday, arguing that the House’s austere health care bill is difficult to defend, according to people familiar with the meeting.

It's going to be real awkward when someone has to tell him about conference committees.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:19 PM on June 13 [12 favorites]


@Zoe Tillerman Spox for Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz tells us that they may not submit complaint against Comey, letter to Senate Judiciary until next week

I forgot that was supposed to happen this week. Now it is happening next week which puts it into Donnie's favorite "two week" frame which means it will probably never happen.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:21 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


Being out of political solutions just means we have to use non-political solutions to achieve our goals, not give up on our goals because it's hard.
(but I don't think we're out of political solutions yet)


what's the name of that one political solution involving angry mobs, torches and pitchforks?
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 2:24 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


Every Senator has a legislative staffer who works for them on healthcare. This is a list of all of them by name, with contact information. Ask for them specifically when you call regarding the AHCA.
posted by zarq at 2:30 PM on June 13 [33 favorites]


All this lack of recollection is reminding this Gen Xer of the Gipper's Iran-Contra testimony...

It also reminds this millenniold of the political firings of US Attorneys under Former AG Alberto Gonzales and the Judiciary hearings on them. Here we have yet ANOTHER Republican Attorney General can't remember basic shit, crucial to the execution of his job, from the preceding year. This hearing demonstrates that Jefferson B. Sessions III is totally unfit for the office of Attorney General, just like Alberto Gonzales and for much the same reason.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 2:31 PM on June 13 [11 favorites]


Harris: What did you have for breakfast today?

Sessions: Eggs and toast.

Harris: So you do have at least one memory.

[Fake, but I can dream]
posted by BentFranklin at 2:31 PM on June 13 [22 favorites]


Sessions mentioned in the hearing that there were leaks from the closed door Comey hearing. I hadn't heard anything about that, and googling just now only turns up conservative sites calling for Loretta Lynch to be investigated because Comey showed her documents about communications that suggested she wanted the email investigation shut down and she basically told him to get out of her office. I don't know how credible that is but is that what the "leak" is?
posted by numaner at 2:35 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Can you imagine what Harris would do to him if she had unlimited time? He would melt into a fetid pile of rancid goo and racist chunks.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:37 PM on June 13 [56 favorites]


ah, this The Hill article mentioned that Comey said in the closed hearing that there was a third meeting between Sessions and Kislyak, while Sessions recused himself citing only two meetings.
posted by numaner at 2:38 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


Can you imagine what Harris would do to him if she had unlimited time?

This is possibly the greatest thing that could come from taking over congress in 2018.
posted by Glibpaxman at 2:39 PM on June 13 [28 favorites]


> Trump criticizes House health care bill

“He talked about the need to take care of people,” Portman said of the president.


"Take care...?" asked a reporter, miming pointing a pistol at his own head.

"No," replied Portman. "Just give them health care, show them a good bill, make sure they don't get sick."

{fake}
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:45 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


Hang on. When Rosenstein testified previously (back in May, not today), he was extremely cagey about not saying who actually asked him to write the Comey diss memo. Has anyone asked Sessions straight-up whether or not he asked Rosenstein to write the memo? We've gotten some questions that show that Sessions agrees with the content of the memo but a pretty obvious answer to who ordered the code red the memo is maybe the memo-writer's immediate boss?
posted by mhum at 2:51 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


Reed asking if Sessions felt misled when Trump revealed he fired Comey was very telling. The faux executive privilege can't really be invoked on your own feelings (but Sessions completely dodged and said something to the effect of 'we meant what we wrote' in case it wasn't clear that he knew damn well Comey was fired because of Russia.

Also watching Kamala Harris at work is a joy, and judging by her 'get a load of this guy' reaction at the end, I'm pretty sure she enjoyed it too.
posted by TwoWordReview at 2:53 PM on June 13 [24 favorites]


Yeah that was the question I wish had been asked and I'm not sure why it wasn't. "Who instructed Rosenstein to write his memo and what were the specific instructions given to him."
posted by TwoWordReview at 2:54 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


Considering only two people can give those instructions, "I don't recall" would be a pretty strange thing to say.

It's such an obvious gotcha I can only hope it's being held in reserve.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:01 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


CNN headlines:
30 minutes ago: Sessions: I am not stonewalling
Now: Dems blast Sessions for stonewalling
posted by Hactar at 3:03 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


SESSIONS: I am not Stonewalling! (But I'm definitely Nathan Bedford Forresting.) [fake]
posted by Barack Spinoza at 3:05 PM on June 13 [14 favorites]


CNN's got the "vulgar phrase" that the AP wouldn't use (which is absurd, but that's another topic):
There's more: source tells @Acosta that POTUS also called the bill a "son of a bitch"
As a reminder, these are all leaks from Trump's meeting with Republican Senators, though I'm sure he'll blame Democrats somehow.
posted by zachlipton at 3:07 PM on June 13 [15 favorites]


Jesus Christ, I am sick of these assholes, and the craven committee that rolls over and lets them get away with their weaselly non-answers.

Listen, jerks, either the President asserts executive privilege, in advance, or you plead the 5th, or you answer the fucking question, or Congress cites you for contempt. I'm ready to scream over this "nope, not answering because I don't feel like it" shit.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:08 PM on June 13 [71 favorites]


After Coats and Rogers spent so much time invoking but not exactly invoking executive privilege, I'm a bit disappointed the Dem Senators seemed to be left improvising when it came to Sessions' claims of "longstanding policy" against sharing communications with the pres. Shoulda seen that shit coming for the last week.
posted by klarck at 3:09 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


Maybe Trump finally found out what was in the House bill? Seems like he should have done that before the Evil Rich White Guy Dance Party on the White House Lawn but, hey, baby steps.
posted by Justinian at 3:09 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


I really wish at least one senator had asked Sessions if he was invoking his 5th amendment rights. Then asking him why he was acting in contempt of congress.
posted by Hactar at 3:11 PM on June 13 [17 favorites]


Then asking him why he was acting in contempt of congress.

Then Sessions just answers "Because the executive can do whatever the fuck it wants while Republicans hold the balance of a supermajority in the Senate. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA"
posted by Talez at 3:14 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


It's already been my birthday, but if they pass Trumpcare and Trump vetoes it I'll give up my next several birthday wishes and make several flavors of cake.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:15 PM on June 13 [8 favorites]


@pdmcleod: Incredible defense of cracking down on TV cameras from Senator Tim Scott: cameras could catch the PIN numbers of senators at ATM machines.

Tim Scott is a Republican, who would have thought
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:17 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


There's more: source tells @Acosta that POTUS also called the bill a "son of a bitch"

Need I point out (Captain Obvious at your service) that this is really good for anti-Trumpers? The more he stabs congress in the back the quicker they will move to get rid of him. Maybe they are just now finding out what we have known all along-- Trump is a fucking son of a Bitch with no ethos other than "Me, myself, and I come first, second, and third." Congress may think they are using him but he really is just a snake.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:18 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


I'm honestly not convinced all this stuff about Trump trashing the House bill isn't sort of a fakeout. From Dylan Scott's latest VoxCare:
Based on the past week of talks, McConnell seems to be trying to sweep the middle — winning over centrists like Sen. Susan Collins rather than vying for the support of Sen. Rand Paul, the Republican most bent on full Obamacare repeal.

On two key points, per leaks to the press, McConnell seems to be willing to moderate the Senate's plan compared with the House bill:

He's proposed a three-year phaseout of Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, rather than the House's abrupt cutoff. Senators representing expansion states countered with a seven-year phaseout. I'll bet you a beer they end up at five.
He's proposed, contra the House bill, that states would not be allowed to waive Obamacare's prohibition on insurers charging sick people more than healthy people.

The impact of any such plan would likely still be millions fewer Americans having health insurance, billions of dollars cut from Medicaid, and the elimination of the essential health benefits requirement, which is crucial to making sure health insurance covers what people actually need.

But those concessions would probably soften the Senate bill compared with the House plan. That could give more moderate senators the cover they need to back the bill. I would note that President Trump reportedly told senators today that the House bill was "mean" and the Senate plan should be more generous.
So we get a public picture of a kinder, gentler bill from the Senate, but it's still an incredibly cruel law. It doesn't matter how many years you phaseout the Medicaid expansion: it's still going to be gone (unless Democrats retake Congress and switch it off, but then they have to pay for it again because Republicans gave away all the funding as tax cuts, and that's not so easy). But the public perception will be that the bill is merely incredibly awful instead of "mean" awful, and Paul Ryan gets thrown under a bus too.

The path to passing this thing goes right through "yeah, that House bill was bad, but what we're doing in secret now is totally going to be better." They're just dressing up a shit sandwich by offering it to us open face now. These comments just play right into that agenda.
posted by zachlipton at 3:20 PM on June 13 [29 favorites]


News Dump!

USAToday, can you spell "Emoluments"? I knew you could!

Nick Penzenstadler , Steve Reilly and John Kelly , USA TODAY; Trump property buyers make clear shift to secretive LLCs
Since President Trump won the Republican nomination, the majority of his companies’ real estate sales are to secretive shell companies that obscure the buyers’ identities, a USA TODAY investigation has found.

Over the last 12 months, about 70% of buyers of Trump properties were limited liability companies – corporate entities that allow people to purchase property without revealing all of the owners’ names. That compares with about 4% of buyers in the two years before.

USA TODAY journalists have spent six months cataloging every condo, penthouse or other property that Trump and his companies own – and tracking the buyers behind every transaction. The investigation found Trump’s companies owned more than 430 individual properties worth well over $250 million.

Since Election Day, Trump’s businesses have sold 28 of those U.S. properties for $33 million. The sales include luxury condos and penthouses in Las Vegas and New York and oceanfront lots near Los Angeles. The value of his companies' inventory of available real estate remains above a quarter-billion dollars.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 3:23 PM on June 13 [66 favorites]


So does anybody know why Manchin left Kushner off his list of people who met with Russians that Sessions apparently can't recall
posted by TwoWordReview at 3:23 PM on June 13 [14 favorites]


I just called Kamala Harris' office to say how proud I am of her, and how glad I was to have voted for her in November, and to keep up the great work.

I live in an area where the worst I have to put up with is Senator Feinstein. Senator Harris and my own Rep (DeSaulnier) are great. So I'm mostly calling and saying "good job, keep it up!" I feel very lucky, because so many of you are having to call, fax, and tweet at unresponsive asshole Republicans.

In unrelated, but still very good news, the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco has switched to "all gender" bathrooms. Everyone is welcome! I think this is a great step forward! (and it also eliminates the well-known "ladies room crowding effect." No more waiting in line with crossed legs.)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 3:25 PM on June 13 [57 favorites]


Charles Pierce: How Many Lies Did You Count During Jeff Sessions' Testimony?
You just don't get to refuse to answer questions before a Senate committee because you don't want to, or because you think you might get the president* in Dutch, or because you don't like the people asking the questions. The Bartleby defense—"I would prefer not to…"—has no basis in constitutional or criminal law. There is no, as Senator Martin Heinrich put it to JeffBo, "appropriateness bucket" in which the attorney general can hide himself. Yet, there he was at the end of things, being flattered by the committee's chairman, Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, for the immense sacrifice JeffBo had made in coming in and being transparently ridiculous on camera for a couple of hours.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:29 PM on June 13 [53 favorites]


I am stealing "bobble-throated slapdick" from Charles Pierce.
posted by middleclasstool at 3:38 PM on June 13 [14 favorites]


He's proposed, contra the House bill, that states would not be allowed to waive Obamacare's prohibition on insurers charging sick people more than healthy people.

Has anyone explained how this could or would work? Insurers need either a highly risk-diversified customer base or the ability to scale price to risk. The main point of the individual mandate was to achieve the first possibility, and the state waivers are (presumably) the mechanism intended to allow the second. Does any version of the AHCA have a credible mechanism for compelling healthy people to get insurance? Last I checked we still had the discontinuous-coverage surcharge, which is simultaneously too strict (punishing people extraordinarily for a short lapse in coverage) and too lax (providing a fairly appealing gamble for a young healthy person to drop coverage for an extended time in exchange for a 30% premium bump when they return).
posted by jackbishop at 3:42 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


Senator Wyden called him "General Sessions."
posted by kirkaracha at 3:53 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Maybe this should be in MetaTalk but I'd appreciate if people could use the full title of National Treasure Charles P. Pierce of Esquire, alongside National Treasure Alexandra Petri of The Washington Post. Thank you.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:54 PM on June 13 [18 favorites]


Are we suggesting that Trump has read a bill?
posted by Artw at 3:54 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Okay,<#include massive_ignorance.h>


Assuming Trump abides by federal regulations and wants Rosenstein to fire Mueller (which could of course be obstruction of justice, but let's ignore that), and Rosenstein refuses, Lawfare explains what happens next

Why do all these explanations start with "Rosenstein resigns". Why not "Rosenstein goes home to enjoy a nice cup of tea" or something similar. Why does - at this level of governement at least - it naturally follows that if your boss says "Do X" and you dont' want to do X, you resign? What happened to saying "No" and let your boss go throught the trouble of firing you if he so desires?
posted by DreamerFi at 3:58 PM on June 13 [10 favorites]


Of course not. Someone probably made a one-page illustrated summary. I assume it looked something like a kids menu at a diner.
posted by Justinian at 3:59 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


Are we suggesting that Trump has read a bill?

Well he's certainly never paid one.
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:00 PM on June 13 [20 favorites]


THERE IS NO APPROPRIATENESS BUCKET
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:00 PM on June 13 [14 favorites]


East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94: "Maybe this should be in MetaTalk but I'd appreciate if people could use the full title of National Treasure Charles P. Pierce of Esquire, alongside National Treasure Alexandra Petri of The Washington Post. Thank you."

HOT TAKE: I don't find either of them funny. *At all*.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:02 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


You just don't get to refuse to answer questions before a Senate committee because you don't want to, or because you think you might get the president* in Dutch, or because you don't like the people asking the questions.

As Sessions just demonstrated, yes, you totally get to do that.
posted by The World Famous at 4:03 PM on June 13 [29 favorites]


Has anyone explained how this could or would work? Insurers need either a highly risk-diversified customer base or the ability to scale price to risk.

CMS's Chief Actuary just explained today that it won't work:
The CMS report also cautions that its analysis doesn’t reflect the possibility that some states could obtain waivers under the AHCA that severely limit what benefits must be covered or allow insurers to charge higher premiums for people with expensive medical conditions.

“If such actions were implemented, we would expect that the individual market in these areas would destabilize such that the premiums for comprehensive coverage for a significant proportion of the population would become unaffordable and the coverage would cease to be offered,” the actuary states.
The catch here is that, under what the Senate is supposedly talking about, states would not be allowed to waive community rating (in other words, insurers can't charge sick people more), but they could seek waivers for required benefits. In other words, insurers could be allowed to drop mental health coverage or maternity coverage or whatever. This is arguably even worse, because at least really expensive coverage for sick people is something some of them will be able to pay for (if you have a serious chronic condition and desperate for care, you're going to shrink the rest of your household budget so you can afford even sky high premiums until it's just mathematically impossible to afford). If you make everyone pay the same premiums but cut back on the benefits, those benefits simply won't be offered; people will have coverage, but can't use it when they need care.

Senator Wyden called him "General Sessions."

This is a thing people, including Supreme Court Justices, do with Attorneys General (and Solicitors General). They're all completely wrong and it drives me up the wall because they're not generals and should not be called that and anybody who thinks otherwise should feel bad, but it's been happening for a long time and will not be stopped.
posted by zachlipton at 4:05 PM on June 13 [19 favorites]


The appropriate response is contempt of congress, which can be voted on by the Senate alone, which... yeah, wouldn't hold your breath on that
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:05 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


As Sessions just demonstrated, yes, you totally get to do that.

Not without a lot of stern disapproval you don't.
posted by contraption at 4:05 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


National Treasure Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo has A Few Thoughts on the Sessions' Hearing:
It certainly seems like Comey was referring to a third meeting at the Mayflower Hotel. That appeared to be what he mentioned in the subsequent closed session. Sessions categorically denied anything more than perhaps a handshake and pleasantries that he forgot.

Based on published reports that the US picked up Russian discussions of such a meeting or conversation, it seems like there are intercepts with Russians saying there was some substantive conversation, maybe about a bad topic. But Sessions is flatly denying that. That is not impossible. People brag about things that aren’t true. More importantly, intelligence services will sometimes put disinformation into a channel they know may or is being monitored.[...]

What did jump out at me across the whole testimony is that Sessions claims he recused himself from the Russia probe simply and only because it involved a presidential campaign of which he could reasonably be viewed as a top advisor. This is almost certainly not true. Sessions recused himself the day after The Washington Post reported two meetings with Ambassador Kislyak which Sessions had failed to disclose at his confirmation hearing.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 4:06 PM on June 13 [45 favorites]


Not without a lot of stern disapproval you don't.

Oh no! Not stern disapproval!!
Yeah, I bet he's back in his office in the hollow tree or the north pole or whatever crying his eyes out right now because the brutal gauntlet of stern disapproval was so upsetting.
posted by The World Famous at 4:09 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


Trump calls up the mayor of Tangier Island (in the middle of the Chesapeake, largely of interest to linguists for their accents) because the mayor praised him on CNN last week during a report about how the island could become uninhabitable in 20 years due to sea level rise and erosion:
According to Eskridge, the president also addressed the issue of sea-level rise as it affects Tangier.

"He said not to worry about sea-level rise," Eskridge said. "He said, 'Your island has been there for hundreds of years, and I believe your island will be there for hundreds more.' "
posted by zachlipton at 4:10 PM on June 13 [42 favorites]


I very much like my Senator Harris.

My Senator Feinstein needs to resign and retire ASAP, though.
posted by Guy Smiley at 4:10 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


Guess that island is fucked then.
posted by Artw at 4:11 PM on June 13 [19 favorites]


"He said not to worry about sea-level rise," Eskridge said. "He said, 'Your island has been there for hundreds of years, and I believe your island will be there for hundreds more.' "

He added, "With some SCUBA certification and a good dive captain, I'm sure you'll be able to visit it in calm weather and at low tide."
posted by mosk at 4:12 PM on June 13 [15 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS -- Special bulldog edition

=> Early posting tonight, so I can update later on the Virginia primaries - polls are just closing there.

** GA-06:
-- New Survey USA poll has race tied, 47/47.
--62% of GA-06 residents disapprove of AHCA.
-- Yglesias: Ossoff seeming "moderate" shows how the Dems have moved left a good bit. Interesting comparison with Dem candidate ads of the not so distant past.
** Odds & ends:
-- Interesting Twitter thread on Trump hitting 60% disapprove, and what other post-war presidents did.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:13 PM on June 13 [14 favorites]


Tangier and Smith Islands are cool, if really buggy. They speak an old fashioned dialect due to geographic isolation. They're also completely fucked.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:13 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


"He said not to worry about sea-level rise," Eskridge said. "He said, 'Your island has been there for hundreds of years, and I believe your island will be there for hundreds more.' "

Here the President is trying to make up for decimating federal funding for the arts by creating the most movingly poetic performance art of our time
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:14 PM on June 13 [8 favorites]


Is that island from Beasts of the Southern Wild gone yet?
posted by Artw at 4:18 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


-- New Survey USA poll has race tied, 47/47.

FWIW Survey USA is the best large pollster in country (and thus possibly the world) according to 538. So this race is almost certainly very close. GET OUT AND VOTE YOU BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE IN GA-06!
posted by Justinian at 4:19 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


"He said not to worry about sea-level rise," Eskridge said. "He said, 'Your island has been there for hundreds of years, and I believe your island will be there for hundreds more.' "

Donald Trump has expressed his full confidence in your island. Run.
posted by Glibpaxman at 4:19 PM on June 13 [46 favorites]


HOLY SHIT, NORTHAM HAS LEAPT OUT TO A 740 TO 330 LEAD.

I promise I won't do this again.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:20 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


I thought Wyden called him "General Sessions" because calling him "Colonel Sessions" would be too on the money.
posted by sotonohito at 4:20 PM on June 13 [16 favorites]


High-Elfin Sessions is right out
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:25 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Senator Tim Scott: cameras could catch the PIN numbers of senators at ATM machines.
Senator Scott has RAS syndrome?
posted by MtDewd at 4:25 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Speaking of Ossof, here in LA I tried to rsvp for the one phone bank in the area and it was all booked up.

Ted Lieu @tedlieu
2 key takeaways: Attorney General Sessions (1) is in Contempt of Congress for stonewalling & (2) he did not contradict Comey's testimony.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:31 PM on June 13 [35 favorites]


murphy slaw: kind of stunning to see the admin float trial balloons about firing mueller, as if the lesson they took from watergate was that nixon stopped committing saturday night massacres too early

I get that this is partially a joke, but my takeaway is that this administration realized that the boiling frog parable can be applied to the public at large: keep adding on crazy, over-the-top activities, and they can get away with anything.

Also, they get bonus points for a House and Senate full of stooges, and general media coverage that has failed to scream "HOLY FUCKING SHIT, THIS IS NOT NORMAL" at the appropriate times, normalizing everything that has happened by presenting counter-points from trumpeters, even putting them on their payrolls, to ensure Trump is "fairly" portrayed.

Which is truly hilarious (by which I mean really depressing), because the Fairness Doctrine has been dead for more than 3 decades.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:33 PM on June 13 [12 favorites]


I have a few points/takeaways of my own on the Sessions hearing:
  • Sessions is an awful witness: He was disjointed, unprepared, angry, and defensive, when pressed even slightly hard.
  • Sessions has an disqualifyingly awful memory or is lying about what he remembers.
  • Sessions is a piss-poor lawyer. He did not know whether a President taping meetings would be required to be preserved. He could not cite specific DoJ policy as a legal justification for his refusal to answer questions.
  • Sessions an ineffective manager, since by his own admission, he never gave James Comey any feedback about his job performance.
  • Wyden Had Sessions on the ropes when he was asking about what specifically Comey referenced in terms of problematic conditions that led Sessions to his recuse himself. The angry and defensive Sessions refused to answer the question and stuck to the line that he had been involved in the campaign, even though his recusal came just after it was published that he had undisclosed meetings with Kislyak. This questioning seemed like a major trap for Sessions.
  • When asked if evidence of collusion had turned up and if he would have left the campaign, Sessions replied "Maybe," with a chuckle and a grin.
  • Sessions apparently assembled a foreign policy team during the campaign but claims that he had not met each person. He claimed that they did not work as a cohesive team. He's either incredibly incompetent or lying.
  • A repeated theme through out this hearing was the question of whether or not Sessions and Kislyak met in a private room at the Mayflower. Sessions is now on record, under oath, having categorically denied this charge. I am really curious as to why this line of inquiry kept coming up.
  • Administration officials are not consistently using any particular legal basis to refuse to answer questions in a public setting. Sessions, Rogers, and the others have weaved in and out of Executive Privilege, CFR and unspecified DoJ regulations.
  • When Sen. Manchin asked Sessions about campaign associates meetings with Russian officials or businessfolk, he did not ask specifically about Jared Kushner. Why is this? I hypothesize that to do so might reveal classified information or interfere with Robert Mueller's probe.
  • Sessions' understanding of the rationale for Comey's firing was tied to Comey's conduct in the Clinton investigation from last year--conduct of which he publicly approved at the time. He would not acknowledge Trump's statement to Lester Holt or his statements to Kislyak and Lavrov that Comey's firing was related to the Russia investigation.
  • Collins, McCain, Burr, and Rubio weren't completely useless. Lankford and Cornyn were.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 4:34 PM on June 13 [120 favorites]


Corey Stewart is leading the VA Republican primary right now. 5% reporting, but still.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:36 PM on June 13


If I were Jared Kushner I would be very, very worried about why my name wasn't on that list with the others.
posted by winna at 4:36 PM on June 13 [11 favorites]


Hey guys Mark Penn thinks Democrats might be overreacting to all this Russia hoopla
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:41 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


VA gov:

* Northam up 55 / 45 with about 10% in. NoVA looks very tight, Perriello maybe slightly underperformed in rural VA.

* Gillespie up 44 / 41 with about 16% in. Stewart seems to be overperforming expectations, doing very well in rural.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:41 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


A repeated theme through out this hearing was the question of whether or not Sessions and Kislyak met in a private room at the Mayflower. Sessions is now on record, under oath, having categorically denied this charge. I am really curious as to why this line of inquiry kept coming up.

I was also wondering if there was significance to the fact that he was asked by one of the republican senators (and specifically denied) if he had a 'private room' at the Mayflower, not whether he had a private meeting. The implication is that there was always a crowd around, but that doesn't rule out them stepping out of the ballroom or wherever they were to have a private discussion, right?
posted by TwoWordReview at 4:42 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Both primaries for Lt Gov are also tight:

* Fairfax up 48 / 40 with 18% in on Dem side.

* Vogel up 43 /41 with 15% in on GOP side.


=> If you're wondering, both AG candidates were unopposed. I'll mention any interesting results for the House of Delegates as well (the state Senate isn't up this year).
posted by Chrysostom at 4:45 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


I keep having this nagging doubt that any of these chucklefucks need to be worried about anything. Kushner? If they come for him, he'll be pardoned before they're done reading Miranda rights. Sessions? Perjured himself once for sure, probably several times and in contempt of Congress for his flagrant bullshit today, but nothing will happen. He still has his job, will still damage thousands of lives with his draconian, racist policies.
This is not meant to be a pessimistic 'let's do nothing because it's hopeless', it's meant to be 'We have to fight on every front until *we* remove these criminal from office'.
The rule of law, for those in power Does. Not. Exist. It was shaky at best for a long time (Nixon being the obvious exception...), but it is gone now and I feel like we are all still expecting some sort of institutional correction. I don't think that's going to happen.
Our best, most peaceful hope are the elections, but given how the first 5 months of this horror show have gone, I'm worried about those too. If we lose (or have lost) the ability to have untainted elections....I have no idea what happens next, but none of it is good.
posted by gofargogo at 4:46 PM on June 13 [12 favorites]


VA GOV:

* No AP call yet, but Cook Political has projected Northam wins the Dem nomination. Currently up 57 / 43 with 27% in.

* Still very tight on the GOP side - Gillespie up 43 /42 with 24% in.

Fun note - the VA GOP usually has a nominating convention, not a primary.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:51 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


Politico: Trump’s move to deport Iraqi Christians stirs outcry
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents over the weekend detained dozens of Iraqi Christians and others to send back to Iraq. Many of them were picked up in Michigan, a swing state that Trump barely won in 2016 and the home of a sizable number of Christians from Muslim-majority countries who backed Trump during the presidential campaign.

The deportation effort has alarmed lawmakers who have tried to raise awareness about the plight of Chaldean and other Christian communities in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. Those communities have struggled to survive under the reign of the Islamic State terrorist group.
Why do I suspect there's going to be some different treatment coming here?
posted by zachlipton at 5:00 PM on June 13 [23 favorites]


If I were Jared Kushner I would ..

Squeal like a pig and hope it helped lessen the sentence.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 5:02 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


So what do we think Trump thought of Sessions' testimony?
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:06 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]




Kushner? If they come for him, he'll be pardoned before they're done reading Miranda rights.

And if they pardon him, he can no longer take the 5th. He can be compelled to testify under the threat of contempt. A pardon will not cover contempt of Congress / Court.

Pardoning him would probably be quite stupid, since there's a chance he could maintain silence even in the face of jail time. But since it's stupid, that means Trump will do it.
posted by honestcoyote at 5:07 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


NYT has called for Northam, as well.

Dem Lt Gov looks like it will likely be Fairfax, up 9 points with 42% in.

Both GOP races remain tight as a drum: Gillespie up just under two points. On Lt Gov, Vogel's lead is now 0.3%! (you will recall this is the race where the candidates are suing each other).
posted by Chrysostom at 5:12 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Golden State Warriors unanimously decline White House visit, per reports

As The Card Cheat's link shows, the evidence behind that tweet is very thin. Bay Area sportwriters (including me) are skeptical.

I personally think the team should all go to the White House -- wearing matching Colin Kaepernick jerseys.
posted by msalt at 5:12 PM on June 13 [12 favorites]


Y'know...I'm going to miss Terry McAuliffe. Somehow he managed to lose pretty much every mannerism and political tendency I hate about him and be a fine governor. Better than fine most of the time, actually. The felon re-infranchisement alone was a brave (and very laudable) move in a state where most of the legislature doesn't think PoC deserve to vote at all.

2012 me would be looking at those words and would probably have fainted from the shock.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:15 PM on June 13 [21 favorites]


keep adding on crazy, over-the-top activities, and they can get away with anything.

In the long-range it's 'boil the frog', in the short-range it's a Gish Gallop. So many things to be outraged about; not enough time in the day to investigate and fight them all.

Ironically, it's like soviet military strategy. Fire a hundred missiles. If they shoot down 90 of them, eh. 10 get through.
posted by ctmf at 5:38 PM on June 13 [7 favorites]


If the Russians have a big hack that takes down power grids, then couldn't they have a micro version that turns off the Oxygen in an F-35? Just a question.
posted by Oyéah at 5:44 PM on June 13


* Gillespie up less than half a point with 81% in. Fairfax County just coming in, should be favorable to him.

* Note that even if Gillespie hangs on, this is a stunner. He's the former RNC chair, had a ton of money and party support, and is barely beating a near-white supremacist.

* Northam, Perriello, and McAuliffe have a unity event planned tomorrow. As has been noted, the Dem gov race was NOT a Bernie vs HRC re-run.

* Dem turnout appears significantly higher than GOP, fwiw. Indicative for general?
posted by Chrysostom at 5:50 PM on June 13 [11 favorites]


There was speculation that some Republicans might have pulled Democratic ballots (it's an open primary) to back Northam over Perriello. It's unclear how much this actually happened, but I'm curious whether we'll see any data on this later on.
posted by zachlipton at 5:55 PM on June 13


couldn't they have a micro version that turns off the Oxygen in an F-35?

No, no.. The F-35 wasn't supposed to be built. The F-35 is a honeypot, designed so that our enemies would steal it and bankrupt themselves trying to make it work.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 5:56 PM on June 13 [19 favorites]


TPM's Esme Cribb: McCain To Sessions: ‘I Don’t Recall You’ Being Interested In Russia As A Senator
Sessions testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that he pressed Kislyak on Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

“I remember pushing back on it and it was testy on that subject,” Sessions said. [...]

“I don’t recall you as being particularly vocal on such issues,” McCain said. “In your capacity as the chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, what Russia-related security issues did you hold hearings on or otherwise demonstrate a keen interest in?”

“We may have discussed that,” Sessions said, apparently responding to McCain’s earlier question. “I just don’t have a real recall of the meeting. I was not making a report about it to anyone. I just was basically willing to meet and see what he discussed.”
What is very striking about this particular exchange is that Sessions did remember pushing back against Russian actions in Ukraine--after, I must note, he denied recalling being involved in weakening the party platform on US support for Ukraine at the RNC. However, when McCain asked what specifically he discussed in his capacity as an Armed Services Committee member, Sessions could not recall. Interesting juxtaposition, wouldn't you say?

Either McCain was trying to throw a lifeline to Sessions (who wasn't bright enough to grab hold) or McCain was setting a trap to make Sessions look bad. Either way, Sessions came across looking unbelievably stupid and/or corrupt and shady. I noticed McCain asked a lot of very blunt questions in rapid succession and seemed much less genial than most of his Republican colleagues.

So yeah, Senator McCain--today, you did okay in my book. Jury's still out on whether that will continue. I hope for all of our sakes, he can find it in him to unabashedly put country over party.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 5:56 PM on June 13 [57 favorites]


It's hard to overstate the significance of Stewart's challenge to Gillespie. The GOP really is the Party of Trump.

There was speculation that some Republicans might have pulled Democratic ballots (it's an open primary) to back Northam over Perriello. It's unclear how much this actually happened, but I'm curious whether we'll see any data on this later on.

Northam looks to win by around 45k votes so it doesn't seem likely to have been a big factor.
posted by Justinian at 5:59 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


It's hard to overstate the significance of Stewart's challenge to Gillespie. The GOP really is the Party of Trump.

Stewart is so nutballs that he was too much even for the Trump campaign.

Dem turnout appears significantly higher than GOP, fwiw. Indicative for general?

Dem turnout in the '09 #VAGOV primary was 319k. It's already at 431k, with most of Fairfax's votes still out. Can't deny the enthusiasm gap.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:00 PM on June 13 [9 favorites]


I think Gillespie is going to squeak it out. By the skin of his teeth.
posted by Justinian at 6:02 PM on June 13


Danica Roem won the Democratic primary for Bob Marshall's Virginia House of Delegates seat. He's a right-winger who has been around since 1992 and sponsors bathroom bills; she's a former journalist (and metal band singer) who could become the first transgender member of that body (and, I believe, the first out trans state legislator elected anywhere). Clinton won her district 55-40, as the demographics have changed quickly, so it's a race to watch. There's an interview with more of her positions here.

(My knowledge of this race is pretty limited, so anyone with local knowledge please chime in)
posted by zachlipton at 6:06 PM on June 13 [29 favorites]


Marshall is a waste of oxygen, just 100% pure human filth. Roem, however, looks fucking awesome.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:08 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


Marshall also said disabled kids are God's vengeance for abortions. Waste of oxygen seems overkind.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:14 PM on June 13 [22 favorites]


Note that even if Gillespie hangs on, this is a stunner. He's the former RNC chair, had a ton of money and party support, and is barely beating a near-white supremacist.

The GOP doesn't deserve better, but everyone else does. If he wins what are his chances in the election proper? Is this another chance for voters of America to horrify and disappoint?
posted by Artw at 6:17 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Dem LG called for Fairfax. He'd be the first black candidate elected statewide since Doug Wilder was governor. Looks like Northam also had a lot of black voter support.

LG could be important - GOP has a one seat lead in the Senate. If Dems can pick up a seat, Fairfax would break ties.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:18 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


President Trump Has Abdicated the Office of Commander-in-Chief: Adams argues that this week's announcement that the U.S. will arm Kurdish forces in Syria shows the imbalance between military and civilian experts is already affecting our international relationships. "As far as I know, there doesn't seem to be much input from the State department side about how that will affect our relationship with the Turks," he says. The decision, rather, is "largely based in McMaster and Mattis in their territory. Who cares what Rex Tillerson thinks?"

House Armed Services Committee member Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) agrees. "It is equally important that non-military advisers also be involved in a decision about war," he says. "Right now, [Jared] Kushner is the outside advisor."


White House expected to grant Pentagon authority for Afghanistan troop levels: The Pentagon is expected to soon announce that Defense Secretary James Mattis will now have authority to make decisions about how many US troops are deployed to Afghanistan without first having to get formal agreement from the White House, according to a US official familiar with the plan.

While Mattis will decide under his new authority, he will have to keep President Donald Trump fully informed and briefed, the official said.

This is a change from the Bush and Obama administrations, where the White House approved troop levels, largely because tens of thousands of personnel were involved.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:21 PM on June 13 [26 favorites]


Politico: Trump’s move to deport Iraqi Christians stirs outcry

*wails* But we didn't think the Leopards Eating Brown Faces Party would eat brown Trinitarian faces!
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:22 PM on June 13 [25 favorites]


There was speculation that some Republicans might have pulled Democratic ballots (it's an open primary) to back Northam over Perriello.

It would be weird and unexpected for more than a small number of bonkers people to do that when they have their own contested primary. Crossover voting is something you expect when your own primary is either nonexistent or boring.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:23 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


If he wins what are his chances in the election proper? Is this another chance for voters of America to horrify and disappoint?

Possible but unlikely. VA has been fairly reliably D at the top of the ticket recently.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:25 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


This is a change from the Bush and Obama administrations, where the White House approved troop levels, largely because tens of thousands of personnel were involvedthey cared about their responsibilities.
posted by Brak at 6:30 PM on June 13 [13 favorites]


AHCA news:

* Merkley suggests he's willing to withhold consent over AHCA.

* Politico: Dems exploring vote-o-rama, other slowdown tactics.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:33 PM on June 13 [29 favorites]


Normal 2016: A US ambassador becomes persona non grata because their host country is offended by US policy.

Normal 2017: A US Ambassador resigns because they are offended by US policy, as expressed by the President.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:33 PM on June 13 [28 favorites]


Possible but unlikely. VA has been fairly reliably D at the top of the ticket recently.

Do not fool yourself into relying on Virginia, it's still been very close. Gillispie very nearly upset Mark Warner when he was not projected anywhere close. Fucking lunatic Ken Cucinelli came disturbingly within 2.5% of winning the Gov race in 2013 even while the prior VA governor was in the midst of the scandal that put him in jail a year later. If fucking a lunatic Trumper wins, he probably won't win the general election. But we said that about Trump. Fact is if a lunatic wins a major party nomination, they have a very, very realistic probability of ultimately holding the office.

The VA Gov general will come down to turnout. And Republicans will always come home behind their guy, even if he's a fucking lunatic. Hopefully the Democrats will do the same.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:37 PM on June 13 [9 favorites]


Decision Desk projects Vogel as GOP LG.

Cook projects Gillespie as GOP gov.

Vote disparity is about 59% Dem votes vs 41% GOP! 100k more.

Also => HD-02 Dem race has been stuck at a ONE VOTE margin for a while now.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:38 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]




* Politico: Dems exploring vote-o-rama, other slowdown tactics.

Hmm. Maybe that twitter reference to an email from an unnamed Dem staffer yesterday claiming a deal had been made to acquiesce to the AHCA in exchange for Russia Sanctions was premature.
posted by notyou at 6:44 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


You can play it cool first and lobby behind the scenes, then shut it all down later if things look bad. You can't really do the other way around, though.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:46 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Do you guys think it would be okay if we started bandying about Fucking Lunatic as an honorarium on par with National Treasure?
posted by Brak at 6:50 PM on June 13 [13 favorites]


NYT: Trump Pondered Firing Mueller; His Aides Pushed Back: When asked by the pool of reporters covering a midday meeting with Republican lawmakers at the White House whether he supported Mr. Mueller, Mr. Trump gave no answer, even though he often uses such interactions to make headlines or shoot down stories he believes to be fake.

That may have been by design, according to a person who spoke to Mr. Trump on Tuesday. The president was pleased by the ambiguity of his position on Mr. Mueller, and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration.
[emphasis mine]
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:10 PM on June 13 [91 favorites]


Man, you think you've heard the statement that best sums up Trump's detachment from reality, and then you read something like that....

[chef kissing fingers]
posted by Chrysostom at 7:13 PM on June 13 [66 favorites]


Yeah. That seems to be an utter and complete misunderstanding of who Mueller is and what his job is here. Trump is literally incapable of comprehending that there might be people in the government who are willing to risk getting fired to do the right thing, because he's never considered someone who gave a darn about doing the right thing in his life.
posted by zachlipton at 7:14 PM on June 13 [28 favorites]


By the way, the HD-02 primary ended up as a 10 vote margin, Carroll Foy 2180 to King 2170. This one could be a recount, I suppose.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:15 PM on June 13


[Trump] thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration.

*jaw hangs open* Wow, pretty much an overt statement of premeditated obstruction of justice.

You just keep thinkin', Butch, that's what you're good at.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:18 PM on June 13 [33 favorites]


Holy shit. Firing Mueller. I heard it on the radio first but, y'know, that's bonkers. When Comey was fired I described it as firing the cop who was searching your car, because you can. I have to come up with a lot of 'explain like I'm a 5yo' metaphors for my friends who don't have time for threads like this. I don't even know where to begin with this. If Trump gets Mueller fired, I'm just going to have to say 'wait for the movie'. And yes, whatever the outcome there will be movies. There's Russian spies, hackers, the pee tape, the impeachment, the coup, the bombing of DC, civil war II, world war III, the atmosphere evaporating into space making all surface life extinct, the mole people... It's a screenwriter's buffet.

Remember Game Change? I point people to that one when they ask about WTF happened in the '07 campaign. Now when I'm asked about US politics... Deep breath, long sigh and '...wait for the movie'.
posted by adept256 at 7:18 PM on June 13 [9 favorites]


thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration

What a stupid, stupid man.
posted by chaoticgood at 7:19 PM on June 13 [45 favorites]


NYT: Trump Pondered Firing Mueller; His Aides Pushed Back:
While the president has every right to” fire Mr. Mueller, “he has no intention to do so,” the White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters late Tuesday after a day of speculation over Mr. Mueller’s fate.
(emphasis mine)
Based on Rosenstein's sworn testimony today, that's a lie.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:19 PM on June 13 [17 favorites]


I mean, that is EXACTLY what he did, and denies doing, to Comey -- if I hang a firing over your head, it will motivate you to be loyal and swing things my way. Jesus, just tattoo "GUILTY TREASONOUS MORON" across your forehead and have done with it already.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:21 PM on June 13 [16 favorites]


"Good night, Mr. Mueller. Good work. Sleep well. I'll most likely fire you in the morning."
posted by peeedro at 7:21 PM on June 13 [42 favorites]


So, I guess no one's sat him down to explain "obstruction of justice" to him in very small words yet, huh. Or if they have, it was all so much "wah wah wah FIRE wah wah wah wah wah MUELLER wah wah wah" to him.
posted by yasaman at 7:24 PM on June 13 [10 favorites]


Veteran arch-G-Man Mueller sits at his desk, looking like Robert Stack crossed with a corned beef brisket, and a single bead of sweat forms and rolls down his temple: oh no oh no mister trump will fire me must exonerate mister trump ohh i'll be wearing a barrel and begging for nickels if I don't make him super innocent
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:24 PM on June 13 [61 favorites]


So I guess Trump has never before had an employee who could, conceivably, get Trump fired. So it hasn't occurred to him that threatening to fire the one employee who could fire back is maybe a bad idea.
posted by The World Famous at 7:28 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


Trump has more bad ideas before 9 AM than all of us Mefites combined do all day.
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 7:31 PM on June 13 [62 favorites]


A lot of evidence suggests Trump has a fairly loose grasp of interpersonal relationships in general. I guess when you get famous for saying, "You're fired!" it becomes like the adage about when you have a hammer, everything begins to look nailish.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:33 PM on June 13 [11 favorites]


thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration

What? Bob Mueller does not give a fuck about being fired. He's been the most successful FBI director probably ever. He's one of one a few people genuinely respected by "both sides". He's not doing this because he needs the money, or has aspirations for higher office in this garbage administration. He's doing it because he's a fucking professional and it's the biggest case of his long and storied career, possibly the biggest case in US history, period. He doing this for history, full stop. He's absolutely immune to pressure or incentive from his "boss", the ultimate target of the prosecution.

I know this isn't new information, but Trump does not have any concept of professionalism or someone actually being good at and dedicated to their work, much less of civic duty or historical perspective. He's been a failson his entire existence, surrounded by failsons, sycophants and enablers. He only conceives of others' motivations in those terms, as either failsons like himself, or sycophants, or possibly in Putin's case, as godlike figures he's forever straining for their approval.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:42 PM on June 13 [128 favorites]


Trump owed Comey big for the Clinton digs. He fired him ignominiously.

Mueller will find cause to bring articles. The House GOP will quash them. Thus Trump will owe the House GOP big time.

We know what Trump does with his debts and how he dehumanizes his creditors. The only thing that seems to enrage him is the public perception that he has liabilities instead of assets--that he owes instead of owns.

When the House GOP makes their unholy bargain, you can bet I'll be reminding Trump just how much he owes to them, and I suggest everyone else--journalists, Senators, governors and all Dems with a soapbox--do so as well.
posted by infinitewindow at 7:47 PM on June 13 [10 favorites]


Do not fool yourself into relying on Virginia, it's still been very close. Gillispie very nearly upset Mark Warner when he was not projected anywhere close. Fucking lunatic Ken Cucinelli came disturbingly within 2.5% of winning the Gov race in 2013 even while the prior VA governor was in the midst of the scandal that put him in jail a year later.

For perspective, those things happened during a pretty strong national republican wave. Warner held his seat in a year that democrats gave up nine seats in the senate. Warner is the only democratic senator to win an election in the South since 2014, he's one of three remaining (with Tim Kaine and Bill Nelson).

The Cucinelli/McAuliffe race is instructive because Gillespie has all the disadvantages that McAuliffe had to overcome. Like McAuliffe, Gillespie has never held public office, he has one failed campaign under his belt, and he's seen as an out of touch beltway insider / party moneyman. He doesn't have a natural constituency in Va besides people who vote for whatever name has an "R" next to it. McAuliffe was able to win in 2013 because the demographics of Va have shifted towards democratic voters. Gillespie has to swim upstream against that, plus the Trump-effect on swing voters. Gillespie won the nomination by winning in NoVa, Richmond, and Norfolk, while Stewart took the rest of the state. It will be very challenging for him get the votes he needs in these areas in a general election.

Of course anything can happen, but I'm quite optimistic for Northam and Fairfax.
posted by peeedro at 7:48 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


> Trump has more bad ideas before 9 AM than all of us Mefites combined do all day

i dunno i'm going to have to push back on this cause I feel personally insulted by it: if I have any value in the world it's as a device for the rapid production of interestingly bad ideas. The motherfucker in the white house has few ideas; the ones he has are all bad, certainly, but his failures as a human are less about him generating a multitude of new bad ideas and more about him applying his few old bad ideas from the 1950s and 1980s in the same way over and over again.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:52 PM on June 13 [50 favorites]


> The president was pleased by the ambiguity of his position on Mr. Mueller, and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration.

I've put down my marker. Seven days.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions also declined to offer his support for Mr. Mueller during testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

That's not quite accurate reporting from the NYT there. Sessions specifically said, "I have confidence in Mr. Mueller." If he had used the dread phrase "full confidence", I'd be predicting Mueller would fired by Friday.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:04 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


So, I guess no one's sat him down to explain "obstruction of justice" to him in very small words yet

Prolly not enough pictures.
posted by chaoticgood at 8:04 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Obstruction of Justice: A Pop-Up Book
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:06 PM on June 13 [14 favorites]


Brian Williams just did an "I don't recall" supercut and it is something to see
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:06 PM on June 13 [21 favorites]


Yes, the VA Dems should feel very good about Tim Kaine's seat in '18 and the gov/LG races this fall. They should feel pretty good about AG and the House of Delegates as well (they need 17 seats to flip, which won't be easy).
posted by Chrysostom at 8:08 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]




McAuliffe was able to win in 2013 because the demographics of Va have shifted towards democratic voters.

Also McAulliffe ran a very smart race - he focused on increasing turnout in areas he knew he could win (NoVA) and on energizing the base. Warner tried to do a repeat of his first election (trying to win rural voters) and barely won. Hopefully Warner and other Dems have learned the lesson. Your base will have your back if you run on issues they care about.
posted by longdaysjourney at 8:21 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


a nice white lady in her 60s said, "I'd never been to a protest before! I didn't wear a pussy hat," (cue the rest of us gaping at the word "pussy" coming from her mouth

1. Phrasing.
2. I think you're primed to have your mind blown by the words that can come out of older women's mouths.
posted by bongo_x at 8:29 PM on June 13 [10 favorites]


Excommunicated Cardinal: So yeah, Senator McCain--today, you did okay in my book. Jury's still out on whether that will continue. I hope for all of our sakes, he can find it in him to unabashedly put country over party.

Oh, the delicious irony of hoping this meatpuppet would put Country First...
posted by hangashore at 8:29 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Trump has more bad ideas before 9 AM than all of us Mefites combined do all day.

Uh, probably not true. I have plenty of bad ideas continuously. The difference is I listen to other people when they tell me why they're bad ideas.
posted by ctmf at 8:32 PM on June 13 [8 favorites]


Yea, it's dismay, folks maybe know by now that I share the accent and have dealt with the assumptions that come with it while working in a white collar field. But yea, fair enough, I'll mourn quietly.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:35 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


I've just been informed that tomorrow is President Trump's 71st birthday. Since we like to do birthday wishes here, I wish for a nice 5pm bombshell story for his birthday. He's earned it.
posted by zachlipton at 8:51 PM on June 13 [23 favorites]


the president was pleased by the ambiguity of his position on Mr. Mueller, and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration.

So...Trump thinks that Mueller is afraid of being fired? I guess nobody told Trump that Mueller was previously riding the post-DC consulting gravy train? That Mueller can just go back to whenever he wants?

Art of the deal, indeed.
posted by jcreigh at 8:51 PM on June 13 [9 favorites]


Brian Williams just did an "I don't recall" supercut and it is something to see

I was trying to find the new 311 single on the Yew Toob, and instead discovered they had a very good single in 2014, "Five of Everything" which somehow went unnoticed. Anyway, if you need a soundtrack for the Brian Williams Weasel Words Supercut, that would be the one.

Compare and contrast to Comey, who took copious notes, but didn't need notes at all to testify... Disgraced Keebler Elf and Shameful Monument Name "General Jeffery Beauregard Sessions" needed a lot of notes to note he didn't take notes. Also he found himself in contempt of Congress often. Director Comey? He answered every goddamn question put to him, apart from the ones that would either compromise and investigation or would violate his security clearance. Widdle Biddy Jeffy? Refused often, just 'cuz, knowing his tools on the R side of the aisle would protect him.

Not. A. Good. Look.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:54 PM on June 13 [16 favorites]


Are we sure Sessions isn't just a big Peter Gabriel fan?
posted by kirkaracha at 8:55 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


> Bob Mueller does not give a fuck about being fired.

And if President Trump were a normal President, the possibility of threatening Mueller, his family, his personal fortune, his future, or his kneecaps would seem ludicrous.

But President Trump has made worse decisions before. Remember when he was goaded into sending a botched operation to the Middle East that reputedly killed an eight year old girl, on the basis that Obama didn't have the balls to do it?

Seems like such a long time ago.
posted by fragmede at 8:57 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


The supercut of Jeff Sessions (and his malleable memory) is a thing of beauty and should be set to music.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:58 PM on June 13 [9 favorites]


Just out of curiosity, is Special Prosecutor a paid gig? If so, how much of a pay cut did Mueller likely take? I have to assume no one's told Trump the numbers, because his inability to process the idea of someone forgoing excess wealth in the pursuit of impartial justice would pop his tiny little skull like the Gentlemen on Buffy.
posted by nonasuch at 9:00 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


I doubt money is a problem for Mueller, but if it were, I'm thinking he could crowdfund himself to a private island. I'd certainly be in for a few shekels.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:06 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


WaPo Breaking: Congressional Democrats to file emoluments lawsuit against Trump - The Washington Post, Tom Hamburger and Karen Tumluty
Nearly 200 Democratic members of Congress agreed to file a lawsuit Wednesday against President Trump alleging that by retaining interests in a global business empire he has violated constitutional restrictions on taking gifts and benefits from foreign leaders.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:11 PM on June 13 [83 favorites]


Happy Birthday, Mr. President!
posted by Room 641-A at 9:12 PM on June 13 [40 favorites]


So...Trump thinks that Mueller is afraid of being fired?

Let's think about this for a minute. Really think about it. Trump thinks he can scare Mueller into going easy by threatening to fire him. Let's get the lay of the land for just a moment. Who is this Mueller guy?

Mueller has an AB from Princeton, a Masters from NYU.

Then he enlisted in the Marines in 1968 because his lacrosse teammate was killed in Vietnam. The guy with a masters in international relations from NYU enlisted in the Marines during the Vietnam War.

He led a rifle platoon of Marines in Vietnam. He was in the shit. Purple Heart. Bronze Star. Two Commendation Medals. Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry.

He got back from the war and went to UVA School of Law. Was on Law Review.

Went to work as a litigator at Pillsbury - one of the top firms in the world.

12 years in US Attorney offices, rising to chief of the criminal division, then as an AUSA investigating, among other things, public corruption cases and international money laundering.

Then he was a partner at Hill and Barlow in Boston. Then returned to public service as an Assistant Attorney General at DOJ. Then he became head of the DOJ criminal division, where he oversaw the Noriega prosecution and took down John Gotti.

Back to private practice specializing in white-collar crime work.

Back to public service in the homicide section of the DC US Attorney's office, then became US Attorney for the Northern District of California.

And after all that became Director of the FBI, confirmed by a unanimous Senate and officially became Director on September 4, 2001.

In March 2004, Mueller and James Comey, then Deputy Attorney General, together threatened to resign if the Bush White House overruled a DOJ finding that domestic warrantless wiretapping was unconstitutional.

Then he extended his term for two extra years at Obama's request and the Senate's approval.

And Trump thinks that guy is afraid of being fired? He thinks that guy will be deterred from nailing every single villain he can find under every single rock that exists? Mueller was not only in the shit, he ran into the shit and has never stopped running into the shit his entire life. The shit is afraid of Mueller.
posted by The World Famous at 9:14 PM on June 13 [325 favorites]


I assume he's getting paid, if nothing else to sastify the antideficiency act. Generally it's illegal to work for the government and NOT get paid. It's probably the same scale as a US attorney or very senior career DOJ leadership, something around 200k/yr. Chump change to Mueller who could make that in a week of speeches or expert consulting.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:16 PM on June 13


I anxiously await the forthcoming Mueller Day in the future, a holiday to celebrate the restoration of our democracy.
posted by perhapses at 9:19 PM on June 13 [9 favorites]


I really don't think these emoluments lawsuits are going anywhere.
posted by Justinian at 9:40 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


I foolishly went onto Facebook tonight and waded knee deep into fights with trolls who called Senator Harris rude, arrogant, and lacking in class (new racist speak for uppity) for what she did to poor AG Sessions.

It was mostly white women. Calling her racist to boot. I hacked and slashed for a few hours, knowing it was futile, but in the end it felt better than trying to explain to a bunch of white dudes why Bill Maher's apology was insufficient.

Muellermas cannot come soon enough.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:40 PM on June 13 [43 favorites]


Robert Mueller's middle name is Swan, which is not really relevant to anything but is cool as heck.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:42 PM on June 13 [30 favorites]


> I really don't think these emoluments lawsuits are going anywhere.

Probably not, but Democrats are the minority party -- publicity stunts like this to get and retain public attention are basically all they have, and are quite necessary when Trump and the administration are creating so many smokescreens.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:45 PM on June 13 [19 favorites]


I know Members of Congress have standing when it comes to things that affect their ability to perform their Constitutional role, but I can't see why individual members would have special standing generally to correct Presidential breaches of the Constitution.

That makes the Emoluments Clause mostly a dead letter, because the only body that could enforce it already has the power to impeach. I say "mostly " because I think it may still have some teeth: for instance, perhaps Congress (as a whole) would be able to sue the President for money he received in breach of the Emoluments Clause.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:56 PM on June 13


Holy God, Northam won by twelve points. I was not expecting that margin to be so wide. I think I can say now that I am extremely pleased by this. Gillespie is going to be a real fight, however, and it's going to be closer than I would like. I remain cautiously optimistic, but please do recall that the legislative and the judicial branches of government in Virginia are controlled by Republicans. We're still a purple state.

I am just happy that I am probably going to be back with my team from Hillary for the next six months. Hopefully we get our old office back, too.
posted by dogheart at 9:58 PM on June 13 [27 favorites]


According to Angeles Arrien's Tarot Growth Chart methodology, when DJT turns 70 at 10:54am tomorrow he will end his Strength/Lust (11) year and will commence a new Hanged Man (12) year.
posted by christopherious at 10:33 PM on June 13 [20 favorites]


Seems legit.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:39 PM on June 13 [21 favorites]


New Yorker: Where Trump Learned to Love Ritualized Flattery. Turns out the whole "make everyone praise him" thing is a Roy Cohn rip-off:
Donald Trump is not, by all accounts, a great reader. But he’s memorized the Roy Cohn playbook, and in his first Cabinet meeting, yesterday, he consulted a page from it: the one on ritualized flattery.

Trump was a regular at Cohn’s summer parties, held at his Greenwich, Connecticut, estate. I covered a couple of them, and they were amazing spectacles. They attracted a whole range of movers and shakers and fixers and scoundrels, along with assorted artists and moguls: Carmine DeSapio and Meade Esposito mixed and milled with Andy Warhol and Calvin Klein. But nothing about these gatherings was more fascinating than the peculiar ritual with which they concluded, in which speaker after speaker would get up and praise the host.
It ends on just a perfect note too.

Bonus New Yorker: Newly Discovered Very Illegal Thing Will Finally Bring Down Trump (or Be Another Cute Tile in the Mosaic of Democracy’s Demise, I Guess)
The latest Illegal Action, along with everything else the man has done, provides us with new reasons to suspect that Trump has, yet again, been scheming with the Russians. One of the most compelling pieces of evidence is that Trump was caught openly scheming with the Russians. We are waiting for more reasons to officially declare whether Trump was ever scheming with the Russians.
posted by zachlipton at 10:42 PM on June 13 [44 favorites]


I think we can now characterize Session's testimony as an example of the Sgt. Schulz Defense.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:52 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


Dana Milbank. WaPo: What Republicans are doing while you’re distracted by Sessions and Comey
Monday was the first anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando that left 49 dead. Saturday will be the second anniversary of the church shooting in Charleston, S.C., where nine were murdered at Bible study.

In between these two somber remembrances, House Republicans will be commemorating the occasion in their own way: They will begin work relaxing restrictions on firearm silencers — thereby making it easier for shooters to shoot without being noticed.

Classy.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:53 PM on June 13 [26 favorites]


Ok, one thing I can really do without? The whole "while you're completely distracted with this meaningless thing, you're ignoring this awful thing."
Because honestly, if we were all paying attention to health care, gun laws, etc and NOT giving as much media time to the Russia thing, you can be damn sure the articles would be saying "While you're distracted with gun laws, Sessions just got away with lying to Congress, you political idiot."
It feels so disingenuous, it makes me not want to read the articles. It feels like clickbait when they frame it that way.

Yes, we're on overload. Yes, we're missing stuff. Please don't try to make us seem like naive fools because we can't keep up with everything equally.

I know this is mainly the articles doing this, not mefites themselves, and I'm spitting into the wind with my rant, but please. If you're tempted to phrase an issue this way, please don't.

Also, I think you're all really great, mefites.
posted by greermahoney at 11:14 PM on June 13 [136 favorites]


Trump was a regular at Cohn’s summer parties, held at his Greenwich, Connecticut,

BTW, I was googling other Cohn stories, and here's one of those summer parties, from '83, as covered by the NYT under the familiar theme of "loyalty":

LOYALTY IS THE THEME AS ROY COHN FEASTS FRIENDS

Ironic that this "loyalty" thing rubbed off on Trump, and yet Trump dropped their friendship like a hot potato once Cohn's AIDS diagnosis became public (touched on in this Politico piece from last year).

Also the reason I was reading up on Cohn was because of ridiculous claims of "McCarthyism" from the right I've been seeing lately regarding the Russia investigations. These people do know about Trump's history with Cohn, right? If there's anything like McCarthyism happening right now, it has to be Trump's loyalty oaths, their attempts and demonizing political dissent, and taking control of the media. We're just lucky he's pretty bad at it.
posted by p3t3 at 11:14 PM on June 13 [17 favorites]


Also, I should have read your link, zachlipton, before posting mine: the '83 NYT article I added is also by David Margolick, and explicitly referenced in his New Yorker article you posted above. The '83 article is brief but provides a bit more context for the New Yorker piece.
posted by p3t3 at 11:28 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


And Trump thinks that guy is afraid of being fired? He thinks that guy will be deterred from nailing every single villain he can find under every single rock that exists? Mueller was not only in the shit, he ran into the shit and has never stopped running into the shit his entire life. The shit is afraid of Mueller.
posted by The World Famous at 9:14 PM on June 13 [87 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


I so want this narrative pan out. All Trump is thinking about, though, is how he humiliated McCain for being a POW while Shinsplint Donnie sat the war out and *there were no consequences*. What does the shit do when it flees what it fears? It becomes one with the Teflon Bullshitter, and suddenly the shit is no longer a factor.
posted by SakuraK at 11:34 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


I really don't think these emoluments lawsuits are going anywhere.

Court cases move slowly. But...

1) If these suits get to the "discovery" phase, I think the plaintiffs may get to see Trump's tax returns and other financial records.

2) A judge could order him to divest! If he refuses, in open contempt of court (it would eventually go to the Supreme Court), that's a constitutional crisis. That could literally destroy the American government by undermining all pretence of legitimacy. (Putin would love it.) Congressional Republicans probably aren't on board for that. I think they'd lean on him hard to at least appear to divest, under threat of impeachment if he didn't. I think he'd rather resign!

3) No matter what happens, every development in these cases is going to be bad press for Trump, helping to further erode his popularity. It is ONLY his popularity among the Republican base which keeps congressional Republicans from turning on him.

4) There have to be some Republicans in Congress who aren't sure they want to do this anymore (besides Chaffetz). Being in Congress right now can't be fun, and if Trump's approval keeps sinking, running again as a Republican will be even less fun. These guys don't like Trump anyway. We may be able to find some willing to say "fuck it, I'm out" and impeach out of spite at some point, as well as some who think "contempt of court/bribe taking" play badly enough with even the shrinking base that they are politically better off turning on him. We only need two dozen in each house, total.

5) By the time we are getting rulings in these suits, we may also be getting findings from Mueller. The "emoluments" stuff may just be icing on the impeachment cake. We also may be past the 2018 elections...

Unless Republicans want to declare him dictator and cancel elections, I think this could absolutely contribute to him being forced from office at some point. Though it will depend on how the judges rule.
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:24 AM on June 14 [40 favorites]


I keep thinking about an article I read several years ago about how activists got a coal plant shut down when the corporation wanted it to have its license extended for another 20 years. No-one knew who should take credit for the win - the lawyers suing for health reasons, the lawyers suing for worker protections, the activists protesting politicians and corporate offices, the activists who chained themselves to the plant gates, the group who pressured banks to refuse loans for the plant, etc. A while later someone read the company's annual report and it more or less said they'd cancelled the plant, not because of any single reason, but because all the difficulties across so many aspects of the project made it more trouble than it was worth. They could win on one or two problems, but not a dozen attacks at once, especially when they were all weary from fighting the last battle. I wish I could find the article again, it was much more interesting than I make it sound!

But in the same way that people here keep reminding us all that this is a marathon and not a sprint, I think it's important to attack Trump and the Republicans on all fronts rather than try to find the one perfect sniper shot to take them down. There should not be a single aspect of their working life where they can escape protests and delays and being overruled by courts and new lawsuits and bad publicity and stupid jokes about them and investigations into their affairs. Washington? Investigators and lawsuits. Home town on recess? Angry locals. Media? Questions about what they knew and when. Internet? Demands for healthcare and video compilations of them saying daft things.

It's not that one of those tactics is a silver bullet, it's that this is a war of attrition and every little bit of hassle is worth it. Every individual Republican congressperson should be dreading the sound of a phone or notification because it will be yet another fire they have to put out. They shouldn't have time to provide assistance to their colleagues or cover for Trump, or time out to refresh and regroup. There are more citizens than there are politicians - tag team until they break ranks.
posted by harriet vane at 1:17 AM on June 14 [194 favorites]


Two thoughts:

Nobody imagined Sessions would admit to anything. The questioning from the Democratic senators was all about making him contradict himself and maybe lie under oath for later use. Also to get video of Republican senators sending softball questions and accepting obvious obstruction. Democrats were highly successful at that, not least because Sessions is not very smart and he is guilty as hell. Someone once said that most criminals are stupid, not least those who think they are smart, and all of Trump's administration have at least one big failure of intelligence, and that is that they have joined Trump's administration, not understanding how that will lead to humiliation and failure. Sessions is one of the dumbest because he was one of the first who signed up.
This is a terribly slow process, but it is moving ahead.

The other thing is about Trump telling the Senate to soften the healthcare proposal. I've been waiting for this, because in my view he was running as more of a Euro-style fascist/clientelist, where everyone gets welfare as soon as the "others" have been run out of the country. He maybe thought he could get away with letting that promise go, but now that his disapproval rate is beginning to threaten the mid-term elections, he has to gear up. If you read those endless Trump-voter anthropologies, people are not so disappointed that he hasn't got the wall built yet or kicked out the Muslims, because they see his excuses as legitimate (wall takes time, liberal judges are evil), and anyway immigration is down. But with full control of congress, why can't he deliver on good cheap healthcare for everyone? Like he promised?
(Obviously the reason is that he could never care less, and the most important thing for Trump is that he delivers to the Russians on lifting sanctions while cashing in on the presidency but his voters don't want to believe this).
posted by mumimor at 1:28 AM on June 14 [23 favorites]


Sessions clearly thought he was very clever to come up with that non-Executive Privilege executive privilige argument, but I suspect it was clearly evasive and lawerly to anyone who wasn't rooting hard for Trump in the first place. Trump's support among Independents is down to 31% which is astonishing.

And that was before today. Sessions' played a clever game of cat and mouse with investigators pursuing his possibly criminal actions and perjury re: Russia, but he is literally in charge of justice for the entire U.S.!! He should be the cat pursuing criminals, not Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment.
posted by msalt at 1:53 AM on June 14 [8 favorites]


Ok, one thing I can really do without? The whole "while you're completely distracted with this meaningless thing, you're ignoring this awful thing."

I just refuse to click on them at all anymore. I see them at LEAST 2-3 times a day, each day new things that I HAVE in fact heard about, that I'm supposed to be missing. SIGH.
posted by threeturtles at 1:57 AM on June 14 [11 favorites]


Robert Fisk in The Independent: This is the real story behind the economic crisis unfolding in Qatar
To me, this seems like a valid theory. Sectarianism can't really explain any differences btw KSA and Qatar, and terrorism certainly can't (Fisk sums this up nicely) but this can:
But if we look a bit further down the road, it’s not difficult to see what really worries the Saudis. Qatar also maintains quiet links with the Assad regime. It helped secure the release of Syrian Christian nuns in Jabhat al-Nusrah hands and has helped release Lebanese soldiers from Isis hands in western Syria. When the nuns emerged from captivity, they thanked both Bashar al-Assad and Qatar.

And there are growing suspicions in the Gulf that Qatar has much larger ambitions: to fund the rebuilding of post-war Syria. Even if Assad remained as president, Syria’s debt to Qatar would place the nation under Qatari economic control.
This is all lesser of evils thinking, none of these guys are good guys at all. But I think it would be better for all involved if the Qataris control Syria than if the Saudis do. I don't know. But at the very least we (the West) should not support the Saudis in their imperialism and influence-peddling because it is clearly evil and it clearly leeds to terrorism.
posted by mumimor at 2:20 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


For me, one of the (few) pleasures of this era has been seeing tech sites I follow attack Trump. For example, yesterday Daring Fireball (John Gruber) combined a USA Today article and a David Frum tweet into a small post that connects Trump real estate sales to money laundering.
posted by kingless at 3:07 AM on June 14 [7 favorites]


You know what is making me angry this morning? That there are actually competent honorable people in this country. People who have served this country with distinction and honor and have spent their lives in service of laudable goals. People who if in power could not only be sailing this ship of state through troubled waters but making the ship better, and other ships, and the sea itself, and we could sit back and say, to paraphrase Camus, 'we have loosened the chains of the prisoner next to us.'The sick prisoner, the prisoner in war, the prisoner of poverty, of racism. We could say, with reason, 'the human species is worthwhile, for look upon our good works.'

I guess I'd become somewhat nihilistic, pre James Comes testimony. 'Maybe this is the logical conclusion of the human species," said I. This bloated obscene administration lurching through history with the power to destroy the world in its fist.

Then Comey testified and I got all angry again.

And I'm not saying Comey is like, the avatar of goodness. Why he shat the bed the end of October, I don't know. But since then--and you can see this especially in the contrast between Sessions and Comey--Comey has been competent. He has acted with honor. He testified with a kind of righteousness that rang more true than any words of any other person connected with this administration.

Of course, then we have HRC. What would HRC have done, with her great competence and humanist ideals?

Being hopeful about humanity is not a very comfortable place to be these days. Because it accepting that non of this bullshit needs to be happening right now. That we could be doing so much better. And yet, for really stupid fucking reasons, aren't.
posted by angrycat at 4:21 AM on June 14 [70 favorites]


Angrycat, what I can't wrap my head around is this: we leep seeing a figure that around 25,000,000 people will lose their health insurance under Republican plans. Now, an average lifespan is about 25,000 days, one thousandth of that figure. That means, if retaining insurance would only lead to each of those 25,000,000 living one day longer it would be the equivalent of saving the lives of a thousand babies. But not only are Republicans reveling in these extra deaths, pretty much nobody else in public life seems to be taking it to heart. A lot of people are upset, sure, but this is literally distributed mass murder and it doesn't seem to be getting any more outrage than any of a dozen other issues.

Incidentally, if any clerk or senatorial aide can do anything to mess up the Trumpublican health plan - even for just one day, as I said - I would consider them a hero. One day! A thousand lives! People get monuments built to them for doing much less than that.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:44 AM on June 14 [19 favorites]


Virginia GOP baseball practice shooting: Multiple people shot: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and aides were shot at a baseball practice in Virginia Wednesday, Fox News confirmed.

The story is still developing, but multiple reports say that up to 50 shots were heard.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:59 AM on June 14 [8 favorites]


I'm not the only one here thinking "Please for the love of god don't let this be partisan", right?
posted by Talez at 5:03 AM on June 14 [9 favorites]


Better pray it was right-wingers, everyone. If this was anyone else, we are all utterly, utterly fucked.
posted by Frowner at 5:03 AM on June 14 [11 favorites]


Anyone know what this is all about?

US Republican politician and aide among several shot during baseball practice in Virginia, US reports say

That's the whole story, when you click the link.
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:06 AM on June 14


Context: GOP governatorial primary in VA last night in which a neo-Confederate came very close to winning. Ultimately, an establishment guy won. No idea what that suggests about who would shoot up Republican softball practice.

Fuck. Please let it be the right-wingers.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:08 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


Joe Scarborough saying that Scalise had spoken with the gunman before, so hopefully ("hopefully") this is something personal and not political.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:08 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Rep Mo Brooks on CNN giving witness account.
posted by apparently at 5:09 AM on June 14


Beware taking any reports at face value, this is all still breaking. I've already seen one report that the shooter is in custody and another that he was shot dead. Wait for confirmation on any details.
posted by Roommate at 5:11 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


It seems like maybe no one died? I would like a world where even people whose politics I hate are not shot, okay?
posted by Frowner at 5:13 AM on June 14 [41 favorites]


Totally unclear, Frowner. Reports are that people are being taken by helicopter to hospitals.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:16 AM on June 14


From Steve Scalise shot in Virginia, aide also hit:
Police tweeted they "believed" the gunman was in custody. Sen. Mike Lee told Fox News, however, the gunman was dead. He said a staffer used a belt as a tourniquet to stop Scalise's bleeding.
posted by scalefree at 5:17 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Rand Paul, who was there, was saying that if Scalise wasn't there they wouldn't have had any police security with them. They were there because Scalise is leadership, which probably saved a lot of lives.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:21 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Jennifer Bendery (HuffPo reporter) tweeted that the Dems on the team were at a separate practice, so if this was targeted, it may have been at Republicans specifically.
posted by Roommate at 5:21 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


[Folks, let's hold off speculation until there's definite news, please, and if we get reliable updates, avoid a pile of duplicate posts. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 5:27 AM on June 14 [19 favorites]




I'm already seeing lots of calls for a civil war against the Democrats. That the resistance movement has "radicalized" the left and the Julius Caesar production is to blame. I'm very afraid of the tweeter-in-chief fanning the flames.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:28 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


The president was pleased by the ambiguity of his position on Mr. Mueller, and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration.

Trying to avoid charges of obstruction of justice by obstructing justice. Like trying to avoid charges of arson by burning down the police station. That's Our Donald!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:28 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


I'm already seeing lots of calls for a civil war against the Democrats. That the resistance movement has "radicalized" the left and the Julius Caesar production is to blame.

They've been threatening us physically long before there was a resistance or a recent Julius Caesar production. The Tea Party wallowed in open carry rallies against the left for daring to give people health care. Do not repeat their narrative on this.
posted by Candleman at 5:32 AM on June 14 [58 favorites]


Two words: Gabby Giffords
posted by zombieflanders at 5:32 AM on June 14 [55 favorites]


Well, in response, the GOP will certainly try to curtail all civil liberties except gun ownership.
posted by lydhre at 5:35 AM on June 14 [17 favorites]


it is not normal for me to be cringing this much, waiting for the president of the united states to belch out a divisive, unconsidered hot take before any facts are in on a politicized shooting
posted by murphy slaw at 5:36 AM on June 14 [6 favorites]


murphy slaw, MSNBC just read a statement that they said was from the POTUS, but was obviously not written by Trump, Pence, or anyone who knows them.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:37 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


"We" didn't do anything here. Use of violence is entirely on the perpetrator(s) and any future escalation will be the fault of those that turn to violence in response.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:38 AM on June 14 [27 favorites]


So it took minutes for him or his staff to comment officially on this shooting, weeks to even acknowledge Portland.
posted by michswiss at 5:40 AM on June 14 [20 favorites]


I find this incredibly disturbing. It's a relief that Steve Scalise was only wounded, and that he has excellent health insurance.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:41 AM on June 14 [15 favorites]


I suspect Trump will declare today a national holiday. I'm just waiting to see if it's declared a holiday for life or just the one time like on his inauguration.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:41 AM on June 14


There's a hearing at 10am in the House on deregulating silencers. Rep. Brooks is on CNN lamenting the fact that they didn't have more guns with which to return fire. What the hell is wrong with these people?
posted by melissasaurus at 5:42 AM on June 14 [37 favorites]


Just keep emphasizing the lefts long time support of gun control as deterrent to exactly this sort of situation and it'll at least be more difficult to push the blame too far. Especially if the officers on the field and potentially had weapons of their own and still couldn't prevent the shooting.

That won't prevent Trump and his pals from trying to place blame, but it at least isn't escalating the animosity.
posted by gusottertrout at 5:42 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Here's the POTUS statement.
posted by AwkwardPause at 5:43 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Well thanks, stupid asshole with gun, you've at the very least turned the narrative somewhat away from the fact that Sessions is a lying treasonous inept person who at best should be in charge of. Cinnabon
posted by angrycat at 5:44 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Rand Paul is not exactly a cool-headed leader, is he. Mo Brooks reported 10 to 20 shots fired. Rand Paul reported 50 shots fired and "everyone would be dead" if it were not for the fact that Capitol police were there because of Scalise's position in the government.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:46 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


hats off to whichever low-level staffer managed to put together that anodyne statement at this time.
posted by murphy slaw at 5:47 AM on June 14 [10 favorites]


Meanwhile, there was an inferno in London that looks like it will be dozens to hundreds dead last night, and no word from potus because he's in a twitter spat with the mayor?
posted by Dashy at 5:48 AM on June 14 [7 favorites]




Rep. Brooks is on CNN lamenting the fact that they didn't have more guns with which to return fire

He also said, "A pistol against a rifle is not a fair fight." Soo what the hell. Is the NRA going to suggest open carry for rifles everywhere now? Because every American needs to be ready for a "fair fight."

Meanwhile, there was an inferno in London that looks like it will be dozens to hundreds dead last night.

First thing I read this morning. Sounds like it was in a pretty nice neighborhood with lots of writers and actors living nearby? 27 stories high. Just heartbreaking reading the accounts.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:53 AM on June 14


And a dozen police cars just went screaming towards town where I'm at by the Watergate. What a crazy day.

To be fair, I'm new here. That might be what happens when the wrong kind of person gets stopped for speeding here.
posted by ctmf at 5:56 AM on June 14


Gun-loving lawmakers shot as they play baseball before resuming their assault on health care for millions. There is nothing more American than this.
posted by Rykey at 5:56 AM on June 14 [57 favorites]


First tweet is sane. How long will it last?

@realDonaldTrump
Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend and patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.
posted by chris24 at 5:58 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile, in other heartbreaking news:

Bloomberg: America’s Health-Care Crisis Is a Gold Mine for Crowdfunding
Growth has been rapid. In a September 2015 LinkedIn post, Solomon wrote that the one million campaigns set up over the previous year had raised $1 billion from nearly 12 million donors. By February 2016, the total was $2 billion. In October 2016, it was $3 billion, from 25 million donors. A NerdWallet study of medical crowdfunding said GoFundMe had indicated that $930 million of the $2 billion raised in the period the study analyzed was from medical campaigns.[my bold]
We just experienced this recently. Old family friends of Mr. Gravy who went full-on GOP recently were crowdfunding the $40,000 in medical bills racked up by the Dad. Like on the one hand you want to throttle them for all the anti-Hillary memes and the cries about Dems raising their taxes! but on the other hand one can only feel sadness for their situation. Of course we donated money and gave no sermon but we bitched in private.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:00 AM on June 14 [22 favorites]


I remain against the legistrative and cultural failures that make shootings of this kind common in America.
posted by Artw at 6:01 AM on June 14 [19 favorites]




Gun-loving lawmakers shot as they play baseball before resuming their assault on health care for millions. There is nothing more American than this.

And on FLAG DAY no less. (My husband had to remind me that this is a thing happening today. I had no idea.)
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:04 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Suspect is in custody and not a threat.

Pretty likely they are white then.
posted by Artw at 6:06 AM on June 14 [36 favorites]


Gun-loving lawmakers shot as they play baseball before resuming their assault on health care for millions. There is nothing more American than this.

There's this!
posted by octobersurprise at 6:09 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


brooks said the shooter was white, male, middle-aged.

presumably "disturbed" and "lone wolf" will come later, with "terrorist" notably absent
posted by murphy slaw at 6:11 AM on June 14 [20 favorites]


as per the Guardian, Brooks has said "He appeared to be a white male. But bear in mind I saw him for just a second or two, a fraction of a second.
If I had to guess, middle aged … he wasn’t skinny, but he did not appear to be obese either.
"
posted by progosk at 6:11 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Rand Paul reported 50 shots fired and "everyone would be dead" if it were not for the fact that Capitol police were there because of Scalise's position in the government.

Honestly? You don't know that's not true. Dude was just shot at, watched his colleague bleeding out on the field, watched other people get shot. This was a traumatizing event for anyone. 15 shots or 50, it doesn't matter. I don't care how reprehensible his political views may or may not be, nobody - no person - deserves to be shot at or be in a mass shooting situation like that. Nobody.

If we lose our empathy for others, what the hell is left?
posted by anastasiav at 6:12 AM on June 14 [63 favorites]


If we lose our empathy for others, what the hell is left?

You are right and I am wrong, but Rand Paul, the Libertarian who thinks everyone should live and die without any assistance from the government, makes it tough for me. Bad Secret Life of Gravy!

I just was surprised at how non-"Politician who chooses his words carefully" he sounded. But I'm sure he really was terrified. I wonder if these guys will end up with PTSD?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:19 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


I remain generally supportive of less people being shot and more people having healthcare.
posted by Artw at 6:21 AM on June 14 [50 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend and patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.


...until real Donald wakes up.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:23 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


Well, the "our" indicates that there are a number of real Trumps. The mind boggles.
posted by Namlit at 6:26 AM on June 14 [6 favorites]


We don't even know if the shooter even knew they were congresspeople yet, yes? Could just be another (JFC, to have to say that) random mass shooting, until we know more.
posted by ctmf at 6:27 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


If we lose our empathy for others, what the hell is left?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:27 AM on June 14


I have a bad feeling about this:

@Marc Lotter: The @VP has cancelled his speech to the Nat'l Association of Homebuilders this morning, he is heading directly to the White House instead.

If Obama was in office we would know what to expect: a measured speech broadcast to the nation about how gun control would be a great idea and there is no Right and Left today but we are all Americans, etc. etc. With Mr. Crazy Pants occupying the Oval Office, who knows? I assume there will be some attempt to a) show how he is the victim here and b) how all of America needs to stop criticizing him because otherwise the Democrats will destroy this country.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:27 AM on June 14 [10 favorites]


This happened just a few blocks from my mother's house. Watching the scene on video is surreal.
posted by biogeo at 6:28 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


[A couple deleted. Reminder: Please hold off on random speculation and doomsaying. We'll know more about the attacker when we know it. Filling this with hundreds of comments about their possible color, ethnicity, political orientation, residency status, etc., and how fucked we all are isn't helpful at this point.]
posted by taz at 6:34 AM on June 14 [31 favorites]


Kellyannr Conway is already tweeting inflammatory rumor. Aren't Trump and his staffers' tweets legally considered official statements now?
posted by zombieflanders at 6:34 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]




Because I need to focus on the good to avoid the adrenaline starting to kick in: it looks like Congressman Brad Wenstrup, a former Army surgeon in Iraq and recipient of the Bronze Star, provided aid to the wounded while they were awaiting medevac at today's shooting, which may also be why we (currently) have no fatalities.
posted by corb at 6:39 AM on June 14 [53 favorites]


Soooooo, according to an MSNBC reporter on Twitter, Jeff Duncan said that the man who asked him about the team's party affiliation was in running clothes, and Jeff Flake said that the shooter was wearing jeans. So it's likely that they weren't the same person, and we're back to the thing where people shouldn't breathlessly report every rumor without waiting to confirm it.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:41 AM on June 14 [26 favorites]


Be nice if Congress released a bipartisan statement denouncing this violence. It's in both their interests to de-escalate, because they're the ones getting shot.

Maybe propose a bill providing a security detail to all sitting Congresspeople?
posted by leotrotsky at 6:44 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


Someone should do a corpus analysis of congressional testimony and see if Republicans are significantly more likely to report the loss of memory.
posted by srboisvert at 6:46 AM on June 14 [8 favorites]


The player I saw on TV was wearing a "Republicans" jersey.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:46 AM on June 14


Maybe propose any bill that's not an obvious "fuck you" to the American people. Baby steps.
posted by ctmf at 6:47 AM on June 14 [7 favorites]


That would be rushing to judgement - this may just be a normal everyday American shooting of the kind the GOP are in favour of.
posted by Artw at 6:50 AM on June 14 [10 favorites]


Some of the players (at least the one I saw on TV) were wearing "Republicans" jerseys.
I mean, I think it's entirely possible, and likely even, that they were targeted for being Republicans. But there was earlier reporting that seemed to confirm that, and that reporting is pretty suspect. And we know that people get things wrong in breaking news situations, and it's not going to kill anyone to wait for a few hours before we start speculating. The suspect is known and apparently still alive (or at least he was when he was transported to the hospital), so there's every reason to believe that we'll have something solid to go on in the not too distant future. And until then, I suggest taking all breaking news reports with a great big grain of salt.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:51 AM on June 14 [8 favorites]


Some of the players (at least the one I saw on TV) were wearing "Republicans" jerseys.


They were practicing for the annual Ds vs Rs softball game. The Ds practice somewhere else.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:52 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


According to CNBC, Scalise is in stable condition and undergoing surgery now. The article also contains a great photo of all of the Democratic congresspeople at the corresponding practice praying for their Republican colleagues, if anyone wants to do some social media de escalation.
posted by corb at 6:56 AM on June 14 [28 favorites]


This badass [Noah Nathan, seen in this image on twitter being interviewed] was at the dog park near the baseball field, and had the presence of mind to take video the shooter, while keeping himself and his dog safe.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:58 AM on June 14 [11 favorites]


Maybe propose a bill providing a security detail to all sitting Congresspeople?
posted by leotrotsky at 9:44 AM on June 14 [+] [!]

Ah hell no. 538 plus 100 times 24 hrs a day? That would be....a fuck ton of money? Also who is providing security for the average Americans in nightclubs and at home and in their workplaces who are being gunned down?

Remember how the RNC was held in a place that did not allow people to carry firearms? Yet when I go to the grocery store in NC I have no idea who is carrying a weapon because we allow conceal carry everywhere now. Yeah we need all the Politicians to be living under the same circumstances that we do.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:59 AM on June 14 [70 favorites]


This badass [Noah Nathan, seen in this image on twitter being interviewed] was at the dog park near the baseball field, and had the presence of mind to take video the shooter, while keeping himself and his dog safe.

He also apparently has a two-headed dog.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:01 AM on June 14 [16 favorites]


This badass [Noah Nathan, seen in this image on twitter being interviewed] was at the dog park near the baseball field, and had the presence of mind to take video the shooter, while keeping himself and his dog safe.

Correction: that is clearly two dogs, unless we're in some kind of Cerberus-type situation.

Both dogs are safe.
posted by cjelli at 7:01 AM on June 14 [14 favorites]


He also apparently has a two-headed dog.

This is, of course, Twitter's main hot take on the situation. I expect the two headed dog to turn up on @dogrates shortly.
posted by anastasiav at 7:03 AM on June 14 [15 favorites]


That photo of the praying Democrats made me burst out laughing and then start crying. My first thought was "of course the Democrats are all wearing scraggly and unmatched practice outfits while the Republicans have REPUBLICAN jerseys. Even for charity baseball they're more united." Immediately followed by how awful it must be to know that your colleagues were attacked. Regardless of political affiliation, you see these guys every day and probably even like a bunch of them.
posted by xyzzy at 7:04 AM on June 14 [15 favorites]


This badass [Noah Nathan, seen in this image on twitter being interviewed] was at the dog park near the baseball field, and had the presence of mind to take video the shooter, while keeping himself and his dog safe.

It's especially impressive because he appears to have a pair of either labradoodles or golden doodles, and handling those is often a heroic enterprise in and of itself even in non-crisis situations.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:04 AM on June 14 [23 favorites]


Here's something everybody Left, Right, Centrist, Antifa & Nazi can get behind getting angry at. Like many of you I'm watching Twitter for the latest rumors when what appears in my search but this: Check out TENS unit 8 Mode Portable Electro Massage Therapy Device Pulse Impulse Massage Steve Scalise #MLBDraft. Talk about disaster capitalism. Apparently they pick the controversy of the day & include it in their spammy tweets. Scrolling back their feed I see "Senate Intelligence Committee", "Corbyn" & "Loretta Lynch" just in the past few days. As bad as the political hype is on this tragedy, this is positively sociopathic in its disregard for humanity.
posted by scalefree at 7:04 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]




Congressman Scalise's pro-gun stance has earned him an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association.

Dollars to donuts he'll be doing an interview from his hospital bed where he thanks the WELL-ARMED capitol police and will lament that this TRAGEDY could have been avoided had more people been armed.....(while playing softball)
posted by splen at 7:08 AM on June 14 [7 favorites]


Here's something everybody Left, Right, Centrist, Antifa & Nazi can get behind getting angry at.

please give us all more things to be angry at thank you
posted by duffell at 7:08 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Here is something else everyone can get behind, Quinnipiac Polls has Chris Christie with the worst Job Approval rate recorded for any sitting Governor in 20 years: 15% approve, 81% disapprove of his performance.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:09 AM on June 14 [52 favorites]


Per MSNBC, Trumo has cancelled whatever ego-stroking thing he had planned today.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:09 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Far-right blue checkmark Twitter is already claiming Shakespeare and Kathy Griffin are to blame.

Also, looks like the entire House is going into a briefing at 11:15.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:10 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


This is real bad, but so far I don't think (don't think) this event was quite bad enough to be the Reichstag event that we should all be afraid of. It could easily have put the foot heavier on the gas pedal to get us there, though.

Factors mitigating the immediate damage to the county: no fatalities (so far, fingers crossed that everyone recovers), suspect not a member of an obvious ethno-religious target group, attack not obviously co-ordinated and no apparent accomplices. Time will tell about the suspect's motivations and background but even if he isn't left-wing and didn't specifically target republicans, Duncan's story is what will stick with the R base and that's going to be their narrative, full stop.

Here's what to expect (if everyone survives; otherwise it's all out the window): base will say that the media, D officials, AntiFa, George Soros, and performances of Julius Caesar are to blame. Some R congressmen will side with them and make veiled or not-so-veiled threats against the left and even their D colleagues. Pence, Ryan, and other ranking sociopaths will come out with a lot of somber concerns about the tone of our political discourse, and about mainstream media hysteria, and how the solution to all of this is to calm down and let them finish cutting taxes for the uber-rich and dismantling the social safety net and destroying the biosphere. Trump's handlers will tweet reasonable things, then he will tweet and say crazy and scary things.

I don't think (not 100% but pretty sure) that this one event will lead to terrifying legislation or the outlawing of leftist groups. What it will do is tell a lot (like millions) of crazy people on the other side that now it's their turn. If there's a more violent, more competent and more coordinated attack on D politicians or on left-wing activists in the near future it will not be surprising.

It all feels like more political violence toothpaste out of the tube that can't be crammed back in. Violent event met by violent event in increasing severity until...I'm going to go outside now.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:10 AM on June 14 [19 favorites]


Dollars to donuts he'll be doing an interview from his hospital bed where he thanks the WELL-ARMED capitol police and will lament that this TRAGEDY could have been avoided had more people been armed.....(while playing softball)

It's like that Chapelle routine where he talks about men's reluctance to acknowledge male rape: "Caught me slippin'!"
posted by PenDevil at 7:10 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Congressman Scalise's pro-gun stance has earned him an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association.

I can't tell you how to feel but please don't express schadenfreude to people getting shot. It's distasteful.
posted by Talez at 7:11 AM on June 14 [12 favorites]


Far-right blue checkmark Twitter is already claiming Shakespeare and Kathy Griffin are to blame.
If you had told me two years ago that this statement would not be a joke, there is no way I would have believed you.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:12 AM on June 14 [17 favorites]


Dollars to donuts he'll be doing an interview from his hospital bed where he thanks the WELL-ARMED capitol police and will lament that this TRAGEDY could have been avoided had more people been armed.....(while playing softball)

Oh yeah. The NRA needs to jump on this. How American it would be to buy and use baseball bats with rifles secreted inside. Or mitts with pockets for pistols.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:14 AM on June 14


Far-right blue checkmark Twitter is already claiming Shakespeare and Kathy Griffin are to blame.

Donald Trump Jr. being one of those. (not going to link.)
posted by chris24 at 7:14 AM on June 14


Per MSNBC, Trumo has cancelled whatever ego-stroking thing he had planned today.

What a birthday present.

It should be interesting to see the gun rights drama that comes from this, given the circumstances of who got shot this time rather than PoC, gay people, small children, etc.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:15 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Jon Favreau‏ @jonfavs

When asked why they're not releasing a draft of the [Senate healthcare] bill, a Senate GOP aide actually said, "We're not stupid."

This is deeply cynical shit.
This fucking year. This is what politics has come down to.
posted by Talez at 7:15 AM on June 14 [63 favorites]


It does appear that Team Trump is scheduling him to make a statement/speech about the shooting. So hold on to your hats.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:16 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


It does appear that Team Trump is scheduling him to make a statement/speech about the shooting. So hold on to your hats.

Well I just felt that surge of adrenaline that accompanies a panic attack.
posted by Talez at 7:19 AM on June 14 [8 favorites]


I'm praying someone will stop him from waving the bloody shirt on live TV, but I don't have a lot of faith those prayers will be answered.
posted by corb at 7:19 AM on June 14 [6 favorites]


These are Republicans - they will do the most disgusting and inflammatory thing possible.
posted by Artw at 7:20 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


I'm praying someone will stop him from waving the bloody shirt on live TV, but I don't have a lot of faith those prayers will be answered.

He's probably just going to talk about winning the electoral college
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:21 AM on June 14 [23 favorites]


He's probably just going to talk about winning the electoral college

And his birthday, I'd guess.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:21 AM on June 14 [14 favorites]


>>Congressman Scalise's pro-gun stance has earned him an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association.

I can't tell you how to feel but please don't express schadenfreude to people getting shot. It's distasteful.


Speaking for myself, I'm not feeling shadenfreude. I am figuratively banging my head on my desk, murmuring things about leopards and faces.
posted by Dashy at 7:22 AM on June 14 [10 favorites]


Congressman Scalise's pro-gun stance has earned him an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association.

I can't tell you how to feel but please don't express schadenfreude to people getting shot. It's distasteful.


Schadenfreude is taking pleasure in someone's misfortune. I'm not taking pleasure in Scalise's misfortune, but I am going to point out that perhaps it isn't "misfortune" if one constantly takes actions to increase the likelihood of an event happening and then that event happens. "I removed the brakes, steering wheel, mirrors, and spedometer from cars and prohibited road signs and driver license exams....[gets hit by a car]....WHO COULD HAVE PREDICTED THIS???"

I don't want anyone to be shot, that's why I'm in favor of strong gun control. There is no pleasure in this event, just as there is no misfortune in this event. Treating this as just "bad luck" and not the predictable consequences of specific policies promoted by one of our political parties is part of the problem.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:23 AM on June 14 [169 favorites]


It makes me physically sick to my stomach that Team Trump is going to try to bag this as a presidential moment.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:23 AM on June 14 [8 favorites]


I'm betting he's going to blame the divisive media and use it as an excuse to shut down the "witch hunt" into his administration. He might pay some lip service to safety and security and guns (more guns!) but the only thing he cares about is how he can use the situation to help himself.
posted by lydhre at 7:23 AM on June 14 [9 favorites]


There have been other periods of political violence and assassination in American history - not particularly delightful periods, true, but not "and everyone went to jail and it was terrible", either.

I'm thinking in particular of anarchist and "anarchist" (Leon Czolgosz seems to have been a pretty typical white male shooter, for instance, even though nominally anarchist) violence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There were bad consequences for left movements - I'd say the Palmer Raids were an indirect consequence - but it was survivable.

Like now, those acts were in a climate of general social and state violence - Alexander Berkman's unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Henry Clay Frick was prompted by the deaths of workers at the Homestead Steel strike after Frick hired armed Pinkertons to break the picket line. Like now, some people had quasi-reasons* and some people just had violent impulses and trauma. Just like now, a lot of "everyday" violence by the state and social forces was happening, but what people talked about was the spikes of assassination. A lot of people cared way more about Frick than about the Homestead workers.

Those were bad times for working people and the left, but they were not the end.

*Like, Berkman is one of my favorite anarchists, but that was a really, really bad idea. Even leaving the question of violence aside, what could he have accomplished if he'd spent 14 years organizing on the outside? He did great work in prison and emerged a wiser man, but you've got to think, this was kind of the heyday of anarchism as a viable social movement, with schools and social centers and the IWW and other real social formations, and a lot more could have been accomplished.
posted by Frowner at 7:27 AM on June 14 [23 favorites]



If we lose our empathy for others, what the hell is Left?
 
posted by Herodios at 7:27 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]



Rep. Brooks . . . said, "A pistol against a rifle is not a fair fight."

That's what Ramon Rojo said to the Man With No Name and look what happened to him.
 
posted by Herodios at 7:31 AM on June 14 [9 favorites]


Katie Mettler/WaPo: As a prosecutor, Kamala Harris’s doggedness was praised. As a senator, she’s deemed ‘hysterical.’
Harris’s treatment has not gone unnoticed.

The admonishments from men have in fact elevated Harris’s profile, prompting comparisons with her with fellow female Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), who was censured during Sessions’s confirmation hearing earlier this year and inspired the rallying cry, “Nevertheless, she persisted.”

After a contentious exchange between Harris and Sessions during Tuesday’s intelligence hearing, Harris tweeted: “The women of the United States Senate will not be silenced when seeking the truth.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:31 AM on June 14 [117 favorites]


There have been other periods of political violence and assassination in American history

like the 60s? - and what springs to mind is that it was more a symptom of our society sliding off the rails than any particular ideology getting violent

and no matter how people spin this, it's just more rail-sliding
posted by pyramid termite at 7:32 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


NBC News' Kasie Hunt (@kasie on Twitter) reports that "Reporters at Capitol have been told they are not allow to film interviews with senators in hallways, contrary to years of precedent. CONDITIONS for any interview: Previously granted permission from senator AND Rules Committee of Senate."

Welcome to running government like a business. Those creeps need a reminder that they work for us.

Sorry for my absence from these threads, I was out of town. I look forward to catching up on the skullduggery.
posted by Gelatin at 7:32 AM on June 14 [7 favorites]


I believe that was reversed yesterday. Unless they have reversed the reversal?
posted by asteria at 7:34 AM on June 14 [11 favorites]


The changes to the interview rules were taken back yesterday, after criticism from many sides.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:36 AM on June 14 [7 favorites]


An FBI agent told NYT's Glenn Thrush (twitter) that this was not an assassination attempt, nor did the shooter ask what party was practicing there.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:41 AM on June 14 [17 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. Please don't rush to say the worst possible things about the guy who got shot. Lay off the specifically this-guy-centric condemnations just for the moment; it's not necessary.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:42 AM on June 14 [12 favorites]


@OnTheMedia has some good advice for situations like this.
posted by scalefree at 7:42 AM on June 14 [11 favorites]


The descriptions of the person seen with the AK-47 do not at all match the description of the person who asked what party the people practicing were. (Also, kind of hard to hide an AK in jogging clothes.) Given they took the guy alive, I'm content to wait for an official statement rather than conjecture about every person seen within a half mile of the ball field.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:44 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


An FBI agent told NYT's Glenn Thrush (twitter) that this was not an assassination attempt, nor did the shooter ask what party was practicing there.

What was it if not an assassination attempt? Did the shooter mistake them for cans on fenceposts? I'm guessing the FBI agent was trying to say that Scalise or other members weren't specifically targeted and that this qualifies more as a mass shooting.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:47 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


According to the Washington Post, the shooter has been identified as James T. Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old home inspector (and small business owner) from Belleville, Illinois. I have no idea what his motive was, but he doesn't sound like your stereotypical antifa person.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:50 AM on June 14 [7 favorites]


WaPo has identified alleged shooter as James T. Hodgkinson, a home inspector from Illinois. (I'm having trouble getting to WaPo right now)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:50 AM on June 14


Sorry: article.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:50 AM on June 14


Hopefully just a normal every day mass shooting
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:51 AM on June 14 [24 favorites]


Just a normal and regular part of American life.
posted by Artw at 7:51 AM on June 14 [9 favorites]


It probably won't matter what the actual motive is for this, even if it turns out to be a botched robbery, the right wing will know deep in their hearts it was a crazy liberal trying to overthrow the government.
posted by PenDevil at 7:51 AM on June 14 [9 favorites]



@OnTheMedia has some good advice for situations like this.

Yes.


s'Funny thing: I'd never seen photos of Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield before looking at that twit page, and I must say that Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield look exactly like I would have imagined Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield would look, if I'd thought about it at all.

As you were.
 
posted by Herodios at 7:51 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


James T. Hodgkinson, per his Facebook profile, is a Bernie Sanders supporter.
posted by AwkwardPause at 7:53 AM on June 14


Hodgkinson doesn't look to be AntiFa but his facebook page has him as a big Bernie supporter and democratic socialist. Not a worst-case scenario (right-wingers have difficulty demonizing a middle aged white male WASP) but not super good.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:54 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


Also to note: he is white.
posted by AwkwardPause at 7:55 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, as lost of people will be sending out thoughts and prayers, Chaos As The Southern Baptist Convention Fails to Condemn White Supremacy At Its Annual Meeting, much to Richard Spencer's delight.
posted by TwoStride at 7:55 AM on June 14 [32 favorites]


James T. Hodgkinson, per his Facebook profile, is a Bernie Sanders supporter.

Well, fuck.
posted by corb at 7:56 AM on June 14 [16 favorites]


Dude's Facebook is wiiiide open.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:57 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


What corb said. Now the efforts to condemn the left will be doubled, and people will fall for it. Argh.
posted by Melismata at 7:58 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


POTUS is making a statement at 11:30 AM.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:59 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Belleville is across the river from STL. I'm now checking the comment section of stltoday for the local dirt.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 8:00 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


The efforts to condemn the left would be doubled no matter what happened. They want us all dead and will use whatever rhetoric from whatever events to make sure they can legislate our demise.

Do they want to control access to guns and increase gun safety features? No? Then they can STFU about anything else involving guns. I don't care who is doing the shooting, we need to restrict access to guns and reduce the number of guns in this country, full stop.

Don't want to talk about guns? Ok, let's talk about toxic masculinity.

Guns and toxic masculinity; guns and toxic masculinity; guns and toxic masculinity. Stay on message; don't accept the premise of a bad faith question.
posted by melissasaurus at 8:03 AM on June 14 [72 favorites]


Robert Costa, Washington Post:
Charles Orear, 50, a restaurant manager from St. Louis, said in an interview Wednesday that he became friendly with James T. Hodgkinson, whom law enforcement officials identified as the shooter, during their work in Iowa on Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. Orear said Hodgkinson was a passionate progressive and showed no signs of violence or malice toward others.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Orear said when told by phone. “I met him on the Bernie trail in Iowa, worked with him in the Quad Cities area.”

Orear described Hodgkinson as a “quiet guy” who was “very mellow, very reserved” when they stayed overnight at a Sanders’s supporter home in Rock Island, Ill., after canvassing for the senator.

“He was this union tradesman, pretty stocky, and we stayed up talking politics,” he said. “He was more on the really progressive side of things.”

The Post reached out to Orear after seeing that he liked one of Hodkinson’s Facebook posts.
This is bad.
posted by biogeo at 8:03 AM on June 14 [19 favorites]


I'm now checking the comment section of stltoday for the local dirt.
posted by fluttering hellfire


now there's some eponstyericality
posted by the phlegmatic king at 8:04 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Small things to be thankful for: not a Clinton supporter or campaign staff, which would have prompted a more direct resurgence of investigations/lock-her-up-ism.

This is still very, very bad.
posted by lydhre at 8:06 AM on June 14 [15 favorites]


On the plus side, it sounds like everyone who was taken to the hospital is stable and expected to recover.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:08 AM on June 14 [8 favorites]


What corb said. Now the efforts to condemn the left will be doubled, and people will fall for it. Argh.

It's bad for sure, but imagine if he were a strong Clinton supporter and a photo was floating around of him at a campaign event with Podesta or something: the attack from the right on Hillary would be deafening and you'd be amazed (but maybe not surprised) by how far up you'd see calls to investigate/arrest her as a probable conspirator. The amount of antipathy on the right toward Bernie is nonexistent compared to that toward Hillary and believe it or not, this still isn't nearly as bad as it could be.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:08 AM on June 14 [11 favorites]


To put this event in a different perspective: no one died; on average, three women in the US will die in childbirth today. But instead of regulating guns, we're cutting maternal healthcare.
posted by melissasaurus at 8:10 AM on June 14 [113 favorites]


I'm grateful to the law enforcement officers who were able to subdue this guy before he was able to do any more damage, and to the medical professionals whose skill has saved the victims' lives. Look for the helpers.
posted by biogeo at 8:11 AM on June 14 [9 favorites]


Or if it had been a Muslim...
posted by AwkwardPause at 8:11 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Dude is an overweight senior citizen. Do we really think he would have even gotten close enough to the victims to stab them if he had to rely on a knife? This is about gun control and that's what the left needs to repeat ad nauseum.
posted by asteria at 8:12 AM on June 14 [22 favorites]


I can already feel the burning heat of the scorching hot takes about What This Means and Who's Really to Blame (Spoiler: It's Who I Always Thought Was to Blame Before This Happened!)

Maybe best to just take a day or two off from the Internet today, perhaps even this thread.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:12 AM on June 14 [19 favorites]


I completely agree with melissasaurus--there's an easy answer here, and it involves much more stringent regulation of access to firearms and addressing the kind of toxic masculinity that leads to someone being unable to cope with their emotions.

From a legislative perspective, passing protective regulations makes a great deal of sense. Let's add universal background checks for all firearm purchases. It should be harder to get a weapon to open fire on anyone.

From a larger societal stand point, we must start educating our children about emotional recognition and regulation and how to cope with unpleasant emotions like anger/rage and feeling powerless. Our society's children are failed terribly in this regard--especially boys who are often discouraged from learning to recognize/express emotions other than anger and who do not learn healthy coping skills.

No one should be shot--even those guys who have been working against these goals. They are fellow human beings who do not deserve violence to be direct at them. I hope for their speedy recovery.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 8:16 AM on June 14 [59 favorites]


Just found this Facebook page called "Gun Owners in Support of James T. Hodgkinson."

Don't know whether it's parody or support, but what the fuck is wrong with people in either case.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:19 AM on June 14 [8 favorites]



CBS is reporting that the gun used was a M4 Assault rifle. He also had a handgun.
posted by Jalliah at 8:20 AM on June 14


What corb said. Now the efforts to condemn the left will be doubled

But the crazy right wingers I know? They already believe that Hilary Clinton had Seth Rich killed (along with a whole bunch of other people, apparently.) They refer to the Portland stabber as a "Bernie bro" as if that were more relevant than his anti-Muslim ranting. They think black bloc and antifa people are some kind of paramilitary, along with Black Lives Matter. They think Muslims have already imposed Sharia law on some American towns. They think that Democrats are somehow big fans of terrorism and that Obama and Hillary helped found ISIS.

So this? In the context of all that? Would just be more of the same. Not an escalation at all.

I'm not sure what they'll make of it. Will they admit to themselves that it is different, that the rest of that is just a product of their fevered imaginations? You would think they would have to, if they are going to make a big deal out of this at all.

Or will they NOT make a big deal out of it? I mean will the seriously deluded base just shrug and say "Yeah, that's how liberals are" and go on as they were before, delusional, but no more so than they already were?
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:22 AM on June 14 [18 favorites]


I mean is this going to be a "boy who cried wolf" situation for right-wing media figures, where they can't get their base riled up about this, because they've lied to their followers so much before now, and convinced them that this sort of thing happens all the time?
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:24 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Unsure where the excerpt is from originally but this came across my Twitter: Tillerson won't begin staffing State Dept till next year. This is insane.
posted by scalefree at 8:24 AM on June 14 [18 favorites]


Isn't that a military rifle? Not that the AR-15 that is beloved of militia members and mass shooters is functionally all that different.
posted by Artw at 8:25 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


From a larger societal stand point, we must start educating our children about emotional recognition and regulation and how to cope with unpleasant emotions like anger/rage and feeling powerless. Our society's children are failed terribly in this regard--especially boys who are often discouraged from learning to recognize/express emotions other than anger and who do not learn healthy coping skills.

So this is a real, actual thing that needs far more attention at both the federal and state level, and it's an area where progress is needed in blue states as well as red.
posted by duffell at 8:26 AM on June 14 [32 favorites]


It makes me physically sick to my stomach that Team Trump is going to try to bag this as a presidential moment.

Anyone know which cable news face is next in line to declare he just became president of the United States?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:27 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]




It's sad, but I'm surprised this sort of direct political violence is not more prevalent in the US. We are awash in guns, and politics is as ugly and divisive as it's been in decades. The silver lining for me is that it is still a rare event when there is a direct violent attack on a politician.
posted by jetsetsc at 8:27 AM on June 14 [8 favorites]


One tiny bright spot for me in this tragedy is that no one in our space is latching on to the idea that the alleged shooter is "mentally ill". As someone coping with mental illness, I get really steamed when people immediately jump to that hypothesis. The vast majority of people managing a mental illness do not commit violent crimes and in fact, are much more likely to be the targets of violence than the general population.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 8:28 AM on June 14 [20 favorites]


So this? In the context of all that? Would just be more of the same. Not an escalation at all.

Exactly. No change (apart from the dead and injured).

What This Means and Who's Really to Blame (Spoiler: It's Who I Always Thought Was to Blame Before This Happened!)

I actually know someone who became a 'gun-nut' because a specific politician, hated for other 'reasons', favoured gun control. The logic was: "if So-And-So is against guns, I must be for them."

Regrettably, I know of no examples of the reverse.
 
posted by Herodios at 8:28 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


What corb said. Now the efforts to condemn the left will be doubled
---
So this? In the context of all that? Would just be more of the same. Not an escalation at all.


Exactly. The people who are going to be awful about this were already awful. The hypocrites who would ignore Gabby Giffords and Charleston and Quebec City to think this damns the left as violent already think it and are beyond reach. Not to say this isn't tragic or not bad, but it's not catastrophic and our energy is better spent speaking truth about gun control and mental health and fighting for healthcare than worrying if this is a Reichstag fire.
posted by chris24 at 8:29 AM on June 14 [14 favorites]


One tiny bright spot for me in this tragedy is that no one in our space is latching on to the idea that the alleged shooter is "mentally ill". As someone coping with mental illness, I get really steamed when people immediately jump to that hypothesis. The vast majority of people managing a mental illness do not commit violent crimes and in fact, are much more likely to be the targets of violence than the general population.

Literally the only reason is because "mental illness" is literally nothing but an excuse to ignore decades of escalating right-wing terrorism. This guy isn't right-wing, therefore the excuse is unneeded.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:30 AM on June 14 [22 favorites]



Isn't that a military rifle? Not that the AR-15 that is beloved of militia members and mass shooters is functionally all that different.


Wikipedia says it's used by the military. Others here probably know more about it which is one of the reasons I posted it. The comments I've been reading right now are divided on whether a non military person could even get one. There are suggestions that CBS has to be wrong and that it's must be something else. Others are saying no you can get one quite easily.
posted by Jalliah at 8:32 AM on June 14


I mean is this going to be a "boy who cried wolf" situation for right-wing media figures, where they can't get their base riled up about this, because they've lied to their followers so much before now, and convinced them that this sort of thing happens all the time?

We can hope, but a lot of the base is on the lookout for a reason to get more riled up (do yourself a favor and don't google "clinton obama sanders shooting targets").

Be careful out there, folks.
posted by Etrigan at 8:32 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Isn't that a military rifle?

Yes. It's the replacement for the M16.
It apparently has Problems in Dessert Environments.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:32 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Unsure where the excerpt is from originally but this came across my Twitter: Tillerson won't begin staffing State Dept till next year. This is insane.

It's from a NYT article: Will cuts hurt diplomacy? Tillerson tries to ease Senate's worries
posted by photo guy at 8:33 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Others are saying no you can get one quite easily.
The M4 carbine assault rifle is a military weapon but legal for civilians to own in semi-auto configurations with 16 inch barrels. M4 replicas made just for civilian use have 16 inch barrels already but the military weapon is a short-barreled configuration (14.5 inches.)
posted by xyzzy at 8:35 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


It apparently has Problems in Dessert Environments.

On what seems a bleak morning all around, this typo (which is in the article linked) has given me a smile and a chuckle. So thanks for that.
posted by nubs at 8:35 AM on June 14 [9 favorites]


It apparently has Problems in Dessert Environments.

What, like Dairy Queen?
posted by Fleebnork at 8:36 AM on June 14 [30 favorites]


Fox News already has a story up blaming criticism of Trump/Republicans for the attack and referring to such speech as "rhetorical terrorism."
posted by contraption at 8:36 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Exactly. The people who are going to be awful about this were already awful.

I dunno, maybe. Members of Congress, now having faced AN ACTUAL SHOOTER IN PERSON, in the flesh, not just some vague idea 3,000 miles away, might be just a little more fearful than before. Perhaps they will be more aware that there are constituents out there, real people, whom they are suppose to serve. Maybe now they will learn that Congress is not just a navel-gazing club. Maybe. If being shot at can't make someone more cautious, especially when you are as sheltered from reality as they are, I don't know what can.
posted by Melismata at 8:37 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


but the military weapon is a short-barreled configuration (14.5 inches.)

which is also legal for a civilian to own with a $200 tax stamp. (in both semi-automatic and automatic versions; although you're talking the difference between a $2000 rifle and a $20,000 rifle.)
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 8:38 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


I am watching the livestream of Trump for some reason. Why do I do this to myself? I hate seeing his face and hearing his voice. He says the shooter is dead.
posted by prefpara at 8:38 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Fox News already has a story up blaming criticism of Trump/Republicans for the attack and referring to such speech as "rhetorical terrorism."

Fascism 101.
posted by diogenes at 8:40 AM on June 14 [32 favorites]


Trump speaking now but coming across as almost ghoulish. He's mouthing the typical platitudes but his delivery has a weird sinister aspect. I think he thinks it's his "serious" voice?
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:40 AM on June 14 [7 favorites]


Sadly I think the effect it'll have on Congress will be the opposite effect of responsiveness to constituents. If you thought they were hard to reach because of TrumpCare, just watch them use this to retreat even further into hiding.
posted by scalefree at 8:41 AM on June 14 [16 favorites]


which is also legal for a civilian to own with a $200 tax stamp.
Yes, but I was focusing on the "easy to get" version that might be readily available to an unemployed person who probably has a permit. The tax stamp and cost of the military configuration would be prohibitive for casual owners.
posted by xyzzy at 8:41 AM on June 14


Legit wonder if he's going to try and make a grab for martial law or some kind retribution against democrats or protesters.

Not because it makes any sense at all but because he'd love to use any excuse to flex his muscles.
posted by Tevin at 8:41 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


but the military weapon is a short-barreled configuration (14.5 inches.)

which is also legal for a civilian to own with a $200 tax stamp. (in both semi-automatic and automatic versions; although you're talking the difference between a $2000 rifle and a $20,000 rifle.


And a whole lot more paperwork and oversight, to include an in person interview if this link is to be believed, and, perhaps obliviously, more time (both per transaction and for the initial approval). But I'll step away because I honestly think the diving into nuance here is both misleading and derail-ish when compared to the actual discussion.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:41 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


From what I can tell, you can open carry pretty much anything in VA.
posted by emjaybee at 8:42 AM on June 14


"rhetorical terrorism."

Fascism 101.


I mean we've been talking about "stochastic terrorism" for years, and it is possible this is that kind of thing. We don't know what sorts of propaganda this guy has been listening to -- there are extremists on "our" side too.

We need to be better about condemning them that the right wing is about condemning theirs.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:42 AM on June 14 [10 favorites]


Trump's statement was completely normal. Which was weird in and of itself.
posted by prefpara at 8:42 AM on June 14 [13 favorites]


Members of Congress, now having faced AN ACTUAL SHOOTER IN PERSON, in the flesh, not just some vague idea 3,000 miles away, might be just a little more fearful than before.

Alternately, very few of them were part of this. There's a good chance the rest will view this as a challenge to their masculinity (being overwhelmingly male, white, and toxic and all), which will only make them double down on all their bullshit. And their partisanship. "We won't back down," "Won't bend in the face of intimidation," etc.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:42 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


I mean, not normal for him. What a normal politician would say.
posted by prefpara at 8:43 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


I think he thinks it's his "serious" voice

His "I am srs candidate/presnidet, this is my srs voice" is terrible, creepy and weird. I think he practices in front of a mirror.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:44 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Isn't that a military rifle? Not that the AR-15 that is beloved of militia members and mass shooters is functionally all that different.

I expect they meant "an M4 style rifle," which is to say an AR with an M4-looking stock and handguard instead of a M16-looking.

in both semi-automatic and automatic versions

It's illegal for an ordinary civilian to own any full-auto firearm that wasn't already ordinary-civilian-owned in 1986. It would be impossible for an actual M4 to be legally owned by an ordinary civilian (as opposed to a class-whatever-licensed firearms dealer).
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:44 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


The fact that he gave a reasonable speech urging calm and restraint - meaning it probably wasn't written by him - is the only reason I can actually believe him when he says the shooter is dead.
posted by TwoWordReview at 8:45 AM on June 14 [7 favorites]


Here's a very short letter to send to your Congresscritters. We on the left must push back vigorously on the idea that we approve of these actions, while also continuing to advocate for protective firearm regulations.
Please convey my deepest sympathies to your colleagues who were targetted in a mass shooting this morning. It is an unequivocal tragedy, and I hope for their speedy recovery. I am a human being and American first--politics be damned. No one should *ever* have to feel the sort of terror inherent to being the target of a mass shooting. No one.

I believe this incident underscore our country's urgent need for more stringent protective regulations on firearms. I support universal background checks and large magazine bans. These are common sense measures that would reduce firearm deaths. Thank you for your work on this issue.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 8:45 AM on June 14 [26 favorites]


When we say that Bernie wanted to start a revolution and calls his group "OurRevolution" it's commonly understood that this is metaphorical- Bernie's revolution was supposed to occur within certain bounds of acceptable behavior. Not like an actual shooting-war capital-R Revolution. But that common understanding may not have been shared among everyone.

I understand the left's desire to keep up unrelenting, intense political pressure to achieve their goals. And using metaphorical language can be helpful for that. But we should note for the record that hyperbolic or metaphorical language can, with a large enough population of people that might misunderstand it, produce results like this. The degree to which we consider our own rhetoric to have contributed to this incident should be related to the degree to which we consider Jo Cox's murder to be the result of stochastic terrorism.

The idea that this will have no real impact is foreign to me. I understand that people think that political opinion is inelastic, but opinions do change. When you see a fluctuating graph of approval ratings, not all of that variation is just sampling error. Events matter.
posted by Jpfed at 8:46 AM on June 14 [9 favorites]


If being shot at can't make someone more cautious, especially when you are as sheltered from reality as they are, I don't know what can.

Perhaps. Congress has certainly become less collegial, more partisan, and more combative as a diminishing number of members have had the experience of actually being shot at.
 
posted by Herodios at 8:47 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


Fox News already has a story up blaming criticism of Trump/Republicans for the attack and referring to such speech as "rhetorical terrorism."

Fuck them and their hypocrisy. They had no problem with their former VP candidate putting crosshairs on congressional targets in a mailer or their president calling for second amendment folks to take out his opponent. Or the two times Caesar was Obama in the damn play, or 8 years of burning Obama in effigy/fake lynchings.
posted by chris24 at 8:47 AM on June 14 [54 favorites]


Hmm...
posted by Artw at 8:49 AM on June 14 [47 favorites]


I mean, that was as good as Trump gets. It's not great, but he did fine. That's so strange to say.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:51 AM on June 14 [6 favorites]


I understand the left's desire to keep up unrelenting, intense political pressure to achieve their goals. And using metaphorical language can be helpful for that. But we should note for the record that hyperbolic or metaphorical language can, with a large enough population of people that might misunderstand it, produce results like this. The degree to which we consider our own rhetoric to have contributed to this incident should be related to the degree to which we consider Jo Cox's murder to be the result of stochastic terrorism.


We want to regulate guns through electing pro-gun-regulation representatives. The other side says the second amendment right to bear arms is our most precious one because it allows us to violently overthrow a tyrannical government when needed. Whose rhetoric is the problem here?
posted by melissasaurus at 8:52 AM on June 14 [47 favorites]


Yes, but I was focusing on the "easy to get" version that might be readily available to an unemployed person who probably has a permit.

Since the shooter is from Illinois, it's very likely to be more along the lines of the 16" barrel version, which puts this rifle in the $800-$1200 range. I'll also amend that with the observation that SBR's are prohibited entirely in Illinois, even with the tax stamp, unless they fall under the Curio & Relic classification, which an AR-15 platform rifle does not.

This rifle, in any format,would be banned in Chicago (Cook County?) entirely, as an "Assault Weapon", but would be legal in the rest of the state.

Looks like an entirely unexceptional weapon for a United States citizen. There are millions of these out there.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 8:52 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


Paul Ryan announced on the floor that tomorrow's game will still happen, which received a standing ovation from Congress. I think they are now adjourning for the rest of the day.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:53 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


Meanwhile, a group of protesters have set the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal of Justice building on fire after it rejected a motion to stop President Nicolas Maduro from rewriting the constitution. The Tribunal is their equivalent of our Supreme Court.

This has been an ongoing saga. At the end of March, the Court annulled the powers of the legislative branch, the Assembly, to allow judges to write laws. There were demonstrations and protests. The President's staff condemned the decision -- see below for why this is significant. The Court backed down.

Until that point, Court had supported President Maduro against the legislature and the opposition party, which was calling for his removal. Then they went too far. The President criticized them and they seem to have turned on him. The result has been an ongoing battle for control, and a series of protests against the government which have left dozens dead and thousands injured.
posted by zarq at 8:54 AM on June 14 [20 favorites]


When we say that Bernie wanted to start a revolution and calls his group "OurRevolution" it's commonly understood that this is metaphorical- Bernie's revolution was supposed to occur within certain bounds of acceptable behavior.
It would be an understatement to say that I'm not a fan of Bernie or his movement, but he has always been 100% clear that he is interested in a *political* revolution. He wants a fundamental change in the way politics works. It would be a real stretch to get from that language to shooting people.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:55 AM on June 14 [44 favorites]


Members of Congress, now having faced AN ACTUAL SHOOTER IN PERSON, in the flesh, not just some vague idea 3,000 miles away, might be just a little more fearful than before.

And yet if they do become fearful, the most likely response will be that they, personally and specifically, need to have armed bodyguards at all times to protect them from the risks and threats they face, while the rest of us will be just as likely as ever to get randomly gunned down at church/work/shopping/movies/anywhere and everywhere.

Just like Congress has outstanding taxpayer-funded healthcare, while the majority of its members work relentlessly to make sure the rest of us don't.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 8:58 AM on June 14 [30 favorites]


If we're going to tone-police calls for political revolution then we all might as well put on MAGA hats and start laying bricks for the border wall. Removing the language of desperate hope would leave us with only the despair.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:59 AM on June 14 [21 favorites]


It would be a real stretch to get from that language to shooting people.

We need to acknowlege that the left has just as many moonbats as the right does. The whole "Bernie Bro" thing clearly exposes that there is an overlap in mentality among many of the Left's moonbats and the Right's moonbats (Tea Party, etc). There exist a minority of people that are fed up to the point of violence on both sides of the political aisle, and their rhetoric is shockingly similar.

This is going to get much worse before it gets better.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 8:59 AM on June 14 [12 favorites]


Yeah, if you want to point to language from Democrats as being incendiary and easily interpreted as a call to violence, you're gonna need to cite your sources.

Conversely, there's a dude who ran for president on the Republican ticket last year who made references to "Second Amendment people" taking care of Hillary Clinton. And he's in the White House now. Oh, and a dude literally body slammed a reporter in Montana not too long ago and he also got elected. Turns out he's a Republican.

This country is awash in guns and toxic masculinity. Sometimes Democrats own guns, too, and some small subset of them will do awful shit with those guns. But this flatly not a case of Democratic leaders, politicians, or activists needing a moment of introspection.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:01 AM on June 14 [122 favorites]


We need to acknowlege that the left has just as many moonbats as the right does

Technically, the Left has moonbats, while the Right has wingnuts.

 
posted by Herodios at 9:02 AM on June 14 [68 favorites]


> We need to acknowlege that the left has just as many moonbats as the right does.

No. "Just as many"? No way, [Citation Needed].
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:03 AM on June 14 [41 favorites]


After decades of right-wing violence going steadily ignored, this incident will be used to argue that everybody left of, well, Steve Scalise needs to be jailed.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:04 AM on June 14 [6 favorites]


It is not much of a leap from "We must punch Nazis" and "Republicans are Nazis" for someone to figure shooting is stronger than punching, and act accordingly.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 9:04 AM on June 14 [7 favorites]


When we say that Bernie wanted to start a revolution and calls his group "OurRevolution" it's commonly understood that this is metaphorical- Bernie's revolution was supposed to occur within certain bounds of acceptable behavior. Not like an actual shooting-war capital-R Revolution. But that common understanding may not have been shared among everyone.

Blaming Sanders for this is ridiculous. He wasn't calling for an armed conflict. Trump's language throughout the campaign was inflammatory, racist and othering toward a whole bunch of marginalized groups. He's been trying to ban an entire religious group from entry into the country. Nothing Bernie has ever said or done in his long political career can come close to what Trump has over the last two years.

I suspect that many people (not just me) feel threatened by Republicans. They are worried that their healthcare will be taken away. That their most basic civil liberties are in danger. That a deregulated economy is more likely to crash and harm millions. Republicans do not appear to be acting in the best interests of this country and its people.

Fear is a powerful motivator.
posted by zarq at 9:04 AM on June 14 [46 favorites]


Good reason to heavily regulate guns and provide easy access to fists.
posted by melissasaurus at 9:05 AM on June 14 [14 favorites]


Thank you scaryblackdeath. I was just about to say the same thing. Republicans have been using this language forever, and are never called out on it. Where was Trump's outrage against Ted Nugent's inflammatory political rhetoric? Nowhere to be found.
posted by greermahoney at 9:05 AM on June 14 [15 favorites]


NBC (twitter link) says the shooter has a domestic violence record.

So, while we're definitely never gong to have a conversation about common sense gun control, there's continued evidence that people who are arrested for violence shouldn't have access to a gun.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:05 AM on June 14 [100 favorites]


> There exist a minority of people that are fed up to the point of violence on both sides of the political aisle, and their rhetoric is shockingly similar.

This is false equivalence bullshit of the highest order. Show me anything like this detailed report from the SPLC that shows the kind of sustained, escalating campaign of harassment and violence coming from the left side of the spectrum.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:06 AM on June 14 [52 favorites]


I think while there is an overlap, it doesn't stretch to the whole of "the left" but rather a section of, frankly, white male misogynists (that DV arrest is STRONGLY indicative) who are equally as angry about their disappearing privilege as the MAGAhats, but who are largely Democrats by identity and expect people to always be talking to them. This is the group I expect to see violence from, just as it is their counterpart on the right I expect to see if it comes from there. People who expect the world will always go their way and with no tools to accept it will not any longer.

We waste our time arguing about which party this subset belongs to rather than worrying about this subset creating violence that will spill onto all of us.
posted by corb at 9:07 AM on June 14 [50 favorites]


> We waste our time arguing about which party this subset belongs to rather than worrying about this subset creating violence that will spill onto all of us.

When one party is explicitly fostering and embracing this toxic masculinity and violent rhetoric at the highest levels -- the highest level in fact -- we can and must do both.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:08 AM on June 14 [28 favorites]




It's being reported the shooter had a history of domestic violence, which is so frequently true of mass shooters as to almost be a cliche, and yet somehow nobody seems to discuss it in the same way that violence toward animals is generally treated as a predictor of psychopathology.

Probably because we live in a horrible goddamn fucking world in which cruelty to animals is correctly seen as being unspeakable awful but domestic violence is just sort of part of the background noise, something we may not like but just see as part and parcel of living in a violent world.

It isn't. I know there won't be any gun control as a result of this, but, as far as I am concerned, if a person is convicted of domestic violence, it should automatically prevent them from accessing guns.
posted by maxsparber at 9:09 AM on June 14 [111 favorites]


I think we're letting the right-wing drive the narrative with the debate we're having on the shooter's political motivations. We should give the same simple response we have to all mass shootings: we need gun control. I don't care what side of the aisle they're on, no one should be getting easy access to guns.
posted by Emily's Fist at 9:09 AM on June 14 [26 favorites]


165 days have passed in 2017.

We've had 154 mass shootings since the beginning of the year.

We need to acknowlege that the left has just as many moonbats as the right does.

We need to focus on what matters and acknowledge that Americans are being slaughtered by guns on a daily basis. This is our reality. The sooner we do something about it, the safer we'll all be.
posted by zarq at 9:11 AM on June 14 [55 favorites]


there's continued evidence that people who are arrested for violence shouldn't have access to a gun.

I don't disagree but I take this more as evidence that men who assault women should be treated as though they've assaulted real living important people, like let's say we write a law that defines a wife as one-tenth of a congressman, human-value-wise. and the legal consequences should reflect that. meaning, there should be some lasting ones. completely apart from whether they get to buy some fun-guns ten years later. to which I agree, no.
posted by queenofbithynia at 9:13 AM on June 14 [35 favorites]


While the far right has a more organized ideology of political violence, they aren't the sole owners of it, and certainly domestic violence is beholden to no party.

I'll repeat what others have said here: The biggest problem is guns.
posted by maxsparber at 9:13 AM on June 14 [13 favorites]


The left might have some eccentrics, but it has nothing like the kind of violence advocacy and issues that the right does. Meanwhile we have a right-winger, or at least a useful idiot for the right, who is in the highest office of the land and has advocated violence against his opponents.

There is really no "both sides-ism" to see here. There are certainly a toxic set of "Bernie Bros" who, as I recall, actually switched to Trump, voted third-party, or not at all. As Corb and Maxsparber pointed out, the issue seems to be violence, and white male violence and entitlement in particular, rather than "See? Both Sides Do It!" The shooter had a history of domestic violence, and he was old enough that cognitive impairment or even dementia might have had a hand in the shooting.

The thing I worry about is not so much a "Reichstag Fire" incident as a whole lot of Democrats deciding they have to meekly roll over and not push back against any possibility that the Moist Pustule and the GOP will use this to boost their popularity (a soft Reichstag fire if you will).
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:13 AM on June 14 [20 favorites]


I do think it's worth taking this opportunity to remind ourselves, though, that while we can and should criticize Republicans and disagree with them, we need to make sure we don't dehumanize them.

Because when you start dehumanizing people, you make it okay to kill them. We need to say "You're wrong" and "You've gone to far" without saying stuff like "You're worthless" "You're disgusting."

The fact that right wing figures do this all the time (along with calling for "second amendment solutions" etc) does not make it okay for us to do it. It makes us hypocrites if we do it.

It's true that there are many more violent extremists on their side, but as polarization gets worse, there are going to be at least a few on our side, and we cannot make excuses for them, or else "both sides" arguments are going to come true.
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:14 AM on June 14 [24 favorites]


> Rep. Brooks is on CNN lamenting the fact that they didn't have more guns with which to return fire

> He also said, "A pistol against a rifle is not a fair fight." Soo what the hell. Is the NRA going to suggest open carry for rifles everywhere now? Because every American needs to be ready for a "fair fight."

Gandhi: "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind"
NRA: "Kill 'em all and let our White, Christian god sort 'em out"
posted by filthy light thief at 9:15 AM on June 14 [9 favorites]


Blaming Sanders for this is ridiculous. He wasn't calling for an armed conflict.

I understand this. You understand this. Maybe not everyone understands this. Actual revolutions involve violence.

Conversely, there's a dude who ran for president on the Republican ticket...
Republicans have been using this language forever...
Trump's language throughout...

Guys... you're not technically wrong, but this is whataboutism. It's okay to think about what we're doing for at least a couple seconds without exculpating ourselves by comparing to something worse. I am not saying "hey, maybe we should be Republicans because their language doesn't get people shot"; that's plainly false as the history of right-wing terrorism attests.


There exist a minority of people that are fed up to the point of violence on both sides of the political aisle, and their rhetoric is shockingly similar.


Eh, the right's had a worse problem with terrorism than we have. Saying "maybe this is a problem" doesn't mean we have to agree with "the left is just as bad as the right".
posted by Jpfed at 9:15 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Yeah, if you want to point to language from Democrats as being incendiary and easily interpreted as a call to violence, you're gonna need to cite your sources.

There's always going to be somebody willing to say the stupid thing for the other side to latch on to & triumphantly wave as proof that everyone on that side of politics is evil scum. The difference is it's usually someone at the top of the food chain for Republicans & some random unknown who has 3 followers on Twitter for Democrats.
posted by scalefree at 9:15 AM on June 14 [10 favorites]


My mother's [emotionally, so far] abusive ex has recently come back into her life via stalking and burglary. He was served a temporary restraining order at a gas station outside of town, and all the firearms in his car were confiscated. When the temporary restraining order expired, the court refused to renew it. The ex petitioned to have his guns returned on the basis of nostalgia, i.e. it's his childhood gun collection and very special to him.

He has his guns back. I have been terrified every day since I found out.

Oh and! Small coincidence: he loves Donald Trump and fancies himself a Christian.

I desperately, desperately want better gun regulations in this country.
posted by witchen at 9:16 AM on June 14 [87 favorites]


Mark Knoeller reports (twitter, sorry) that one of the victims taken to GWU has died.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:17 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


2014:

Majority Whip Steve Scalise says he abhors hate groups, but acknowledged on Monday that he may have spoken at a white supremacist conference led by the notorious former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in 2002.

“I didn’t know who all of these groups were and I detest any kind of hate group,” Scalise, the third highest-ranking Republican leader in the House, told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “For anyone to suggest that I was involved with a group like that is insulting and ludicrous.”


The interview came hours after Scalise’s office acknowledged that a report claiming that the Louisiana congressman spoke at a gathering of the Duke-run European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO) as a state legislator in 2002 could be accurate. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist organizations, has listed EURO as a “white nationalist” hate group.
posted by gucci mane at 9:18 AM on June 14 [16 favorites]


Members of Congress, now having faced AN ACTUAL SHOOTER IN PERSON, in the flesh, not just some vague idea 3,000 miles away, might be just a little more fearful than before.

My first thought reading this was to think of Rep Jackie Speier , who started her political career as an aide to Rep Leo Ryan, and was with him when he flew down to Guyana to investigate Jonestown. During his assassination, she was shot, and waited nearly a day for help.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:18 AM on June 14 [9 favorites]


The more the culture on both sides talks in violent terms and jokes in violent terms, or in terms of hatred, the more we normalize actual violence for people who are unstable. It's a zeitgeist thing and I see it these days in the unapologetic racism/sexism/homophobia/anti-trans behavior of lots of unstable people in my community.

It is a tragedy that this happened and though I'm no fan of the victims politically, I'm as appalled this happened to them as I am at the Giffords shooting, the most comparable event I can think of in the U.S.
posted by bearwife at 9:19 AM on June 14 [17 favorites]


It is not much of a leap from "We must punch Nazis" and "Republicans are Nazis" for someone to figure shooting is stronger than punching, and act accordingly.

No, this is something that is transparently false on the ground if you spend time around the Nazi-punching left. It's a cultural thing. The Nazi-punching left thinks fighting - punching, etc - is sort of macho and cool. That's the worst that can be said - that if no one gets killed violence is kind of cool as long as you win. People on the anti-Nazi left are not, culturally, people who are into guns. I'm not saying this can never change, or that there is 100% never any overlap, but in general, this is not a slippery slope.

It's like there are cultural differences between green anarchists and anarcho syndicalists. You might think "they are both anarchists!!!" but they don't agree on end goals, tactics, priorities or how humans tend to work. The differences are obscured if you are not there, but they are very real on the ground, and you do not generally just drift from one to the other.
posted by Frowner at 9:19 AM on June 14 [32 favorites]


I'll repeat what others have said here: The biggest problem is guns.

It's being reported the shooter had a history of domestic violence, which is so frequently true of mass shooters as to almost be a cliche...


I would counter that the biggest problem here is toxic masculinity combined with guns.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:21 AM on June 14 [34 favorites]


@jdawsey1: President Trump has canceled his events today, per White House pool, after this morning's shooting. He is monitoring developments.

Ah, so he has the whole day to watch FOX and tweet. Great.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:22 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Mark Knoeller reports (twitter, sorry) that one of the victims taken to GWU has died.

It's the shooter.
 
posted by Herodios at 9:22 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


"Republicans are Nazis"

There's currently two neo-Nazis as senior advisors to the president. So maybe that line isn't such a leap.
posted by chris24 at 9:22 AM on June 14 [53 favorites]


165 days have passed in 2017.

We've had 154 mass shootings since the beginning of the year.


The most disgusting thing about today has been how overtly different this is being treated by politicians and media because it's happening to them, for once. It happens every day, but now it's happening to them, so it matters. They're all talking about how quiet and suburban they're used to their environment being, and now it's disrupted by a mass shooting. Welcome to America.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:23 AM on June 14 [85 favorites]


The more the culture on both sides talks in violent terms and jokes in violent terms, or in terms of hatred, the more we normalize actual violence for people who are unstable.

Angela Davis on "violence."
posted by melissasaurus at 9:24 AM on June 14 [10 favorites]


Conversely, there's a dude who ran for president on the Republican ticket...
Republicans have been using this language forever...
Trump's language throughout...

Guys... you're not technically wrong, but this is whataboutism.


I'm sorry, no. I'm generally big on "Hey, did I make a mistake somewhere?" and I wish more people were, but if there's any "whataboutism" going on, it's the attempt to draw any parallel between Sanders and his campaign's "revolution" talk and the body slamming, passive-aggressive calls to assassination, and "carry that guy out on a stretcher" talk of the Republicans.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:24 AM on June 14 [34 favorites]


Not to diminish the important Alexandria & gun control discussion, but I wanted to circle back to the interim elections discussion:

And I don't want to be Negative Nancy on this either, but I keep thinking about the Bloomberg article on 39 states affected by the Russian hacking of the US Electoral system, and the voting results coming in left & right with current local elections.

If the systems were hacked, were they healed? Is anyone monitoring their security? How do we even know if the results are accurate? (I'm serious.)
posted by yoga at 9:24 AM on June 14 [23 favorites]


That's the worst that can be said - that if no one gets killed violence is kind of cool as long as you win

Your 'Nazi-Punching' lefty circles are dramatically different from mine. In my experience, there is a WHOLE LOT of overlap between "Nazi Punching" and "Fetch The Guillotine" rhetorical use.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 9:26 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


I left for one hour. I cannot believe that I came back to someone trying to implicate Bernie Sanders in this tragedy in any way. Gross.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:28 AM on June 14 [17 favorites]


There's currently two neo-Nazis as senior advisors to the president. So maybe that line isn't such a leap.

They share a lot of ideology with Nazis. This is true.

But this is not WWII. We don't shoot people for their ideology at this moment in history. We have much better solutions available to us right now.

Still, I have no doubt that there are some confused and angry people who think the only thing you can do with Nazis is shoot them, because history. I personally am going to be more careful how I deploy that language when I don't know who might be listening. I think it's very accurate in some ways, but the possibility that some people are going to draw the wrong conclusions from it is frighteningly real.
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:30 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


A year ago Rand Paul tweeted that the reason we have the Second Amendment is to shoot at the government when it becomes tyrannical. (Of course, Obama was president, then.) It's hard to address this elephant in the room without sounding like we're blaming the victim, but I don't think the answer to that dilemma is to blame Bernie Sanders for using the word "revolution."
posted by the turtle's teeth at 9:30 AM on June 14 [105 favorites]


According to Angeles Arrien's Tarot Growth Chart methodology, when DJT turns 70 at 10:54am tomorrow he will end his Strength/Lust (11) year and will commence a new Hanged Man (12) year.

I dunno if anyone reads tarot cards besides me, but this basically indicates a trial of character and principle that could go either way in pretty radical fashion. That's not a good card for the rest of us, seeing as how Trump's narcissism and desire to be admired basically results in chaos and escalation. It can also indicate his being set up as a fall guy for whoever wants to use his leadership as a platform for forwarding their own agenda.

Not that we need tarot cards to see any of that being likely to happen, but that card isn't a reason to get comfortable. Just the opposite.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:30 AM on June 14 [8 favorites]


The Rand Paul Twitter ArtW has posted,is from June 2016, not this June. There are no recent comments in that twitter thread.
posted by Oyéah at 9:31 AM on June 14


Sanders has zero responsibility for this. He has done nothing to encourage violence. He refers specifically to a "political revolution".
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:34 AM on June 14 [6 favorites]


The most disgusting thing about today has been how overtly different this is being treated by politicians and media because it's happening to them, for once. It happens every day, but now it's happening to them, so it matters.

See also white people and Sandy Hook.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:34 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


Oof, do we have to talk about Sandy Hook this way?
posted by all about eevee at 9:37 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


People are being pulled off the streets, separated from their families, and deported to violent ends or detained in horrible conditions. Children are being murdered for playing in parks while black. Black children were systematically poisoned in Flint, to the extent that it warranted involuntary manslaughter charges. Let's not act like this is some "new" level of political violence.
posted by melissasaurus at 9:38 AM on June 14 [80 favorites]


FWIW, apparently stuff at the Capitol is proceeding as normal. Increased security, but tourists milling around, etc.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:38 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


It happens every day, but now it's happening to them, so it matters.

There is, in fact, an active shooter situation going on in San Francisco as we speak.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:38 AM on June 14 [21 favorites]


To be clearer, when I mentioned Bernie's "revolution" talk, I meant it to stand in as just one example of a very broad spectrum of political talk that has potentially violent or dehumanizing shades, but it turns out that my sacrificing clarity for rhetorical flow was the wrong choice. I think my comments in this thread have poorly served my objective of encouraging the productive use of language.
posted by Jpfed at 9:39 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Black children were systematically poisoned in Flint, to the extent that it warranted involuntary manslaughter charges.

To correct my comment: Black children ARE STILL BEING systematically poised in Flint.
posted by melissasaurus at 9:43 AM on June 14 [39 favorites]


There are clearly ways to use political language irresponsibly in a way that encourages violence, but in American politics I think it's only prevalent on the right. We can't expect politicians to avoid valuable metaphors like "revolution", particularly "political revolution", or "battle" or any number of terms that could in theory be interpreted as violent, just as we can't condemn The Beatles for the interpretative work of Charlie Manson.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:44 AM on June 14 [11 favorites]




If there's an instance of a prominent Democrat speaking in his or her official capacity and encouraging supporters to go out and commit acts of physical violence against "the opposition", I don't remember seeing anything about it, and surely that would have made the news. There are, however, many instances of prominent Republicans speaking in their official capacity and encouraging supporters to go out and commit acts of physical violence. Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, just to name two, with immediate and public results.

To me, this is nothing like Sandy Hook. This is "Play Nazi games, win Nazi prizes." What I'm worried about is the Trump administration using this as a reason to equate liberal thought with terrorism, now that there's "proof" that liberals are dangerous.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:45 AM on June 14 [22 favorites]


Looks like we have a winner for the "both sides do it" press, from NBC's Chuck Todd:
@chucktodd: Hope most folks realize we have a toxic political culture and that attempting to exploit today for political gain will only poison us more
Thankfully, people are calling him on his shit:
@Rob_Flaherty: NBC's running an interview with a guy who says Sandy Hook didn't happen on Sunday.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:47 AM on June 14 [101 favorites]


What I'm worried about is the Trump administration using this as a reason to equate liberal thought with terrorism, now that there's "proof" that liberals are dangerous.

They've already been doing that for a long time and they've always had tons of "proof." Black Lives Matter is considered a terrorist organization by half of self-identified republicans, for chrissakes. It's nothing new and it's hard to say how much this will convince the already-convinced.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:49 AM on June 14 [18 favorites]


I wouldn't be surprised if most Republicans thought ACORN was a terrorist group.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:50 AM on June 14 [15 favorites]


Bernie's path is a strange and difficult one.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:51 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Yes, but those same people were willing to excuse any number of crazy white men for their violence, and basically not do anything about their own rhetoric or cowboy attitude about having guns in the public arena, because they figured those men voted GOP. But now we have crazy white men shooting Republicans, which isn't supposed to happen! Now how do they tell them apart?!
posted by Autumnheart at 9:52 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


(Not to mention validating their paranoia and oppressor-as-victim mentality.)
posted by Autumnheart at 9:53 AM on June 14


There are, however, many instances of prominent Republicans speaking in their official capacity and encouraging supporters to go out and commit acts of physical violence. Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, just to name two, with immediate and public results.

Like a week ago a GOP Representative from Louisiana was calling for the genocide of all "radical muslims"
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:54 AM on June 14 [27 favorites]


Like a week ago a GOP Representative from Louisiana was calling for the genocide of all "radical muslims"

Minor correction: Rep Higgins was encouraging the murder of suspected radical muslims.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:58 AM on June 14 [35 favorites]


According to Angeles Arrien's Tarot Growth Chart methodology, when DJT turns 70 at 10:54am tomorrow he will end his Strength/Lust (11) year and will commence a new Hanged Man (12) year.

It's silly of me to fact check a tarot-based assertion, but this doesn't even get his age right. This is his 71st birthday, 70 was last year.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 9:59 AM on June 14 [13 favorites]


> Minor correction: Rep Higgins was encouraging the murder of suspected radical muslims.

On the other hand, Bernie Sanders failed to preface his talk of a political revolution with a disclaimer that nothing he said should be taken as a call to violence. In conclusion, both sides are lands of contrasts.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:00 AM on June 14 [23 favorites]


His 'I am srs candidate/presnidet, this is my srs voice' is terrible, creepy and weird.

I Am Serious (Orange)
posted by kirkaracha at 10:00 AM on June 14 [21 favorites]


It's sad, but I'm surprised this sort of direct political violence is not more prevalent in the US. We are awash in guns, and politics is as ugly and divisive as it's been in decades. The silver lining for me is that it is still a rare event when there is a direct violent attack on a politician.

US politicians have more protection than most other countries. I was almost run over by the Obama admin's commerce secretary's security detail blowing through stop signs on back streets in Chicago a few years back. It was 4 or 5 SUVs full of men with suits and mirrored sunglasses. Do you even know who the commerce secretary was? (Penny Pritzker). So if that is the security level of a non-election non-public facing political appointee gets you can see how the gun nuts would be deterred.

For the most part the gun nuts are cowards and that's why they are gun nuts. Cowards will shoot unarmed people.
posted by srboisvert at 10:02 AM on June 14 [7 favorites]


The reason I moved on from the revolutionary left was that people I knew were taking terrorism courses in Berlin. Not joking, no links because this was way before the internet. Much later I was told that people in my family were targeted because they were "prominent Jews". All along, this has been a strong part of my skepticism about Sanders (yes I know he is Jewish) and also about Corbyn in the UK. It's also why I'm aware of a significant part of the far left having turned to the far right — they are former friends and acquaintances . I'm certain that Bernie Sanders is a good person who is standing up for the right thing. But he is not good at policing his fringes and to someone like me, that appears cynical. I'm not 25, and neither is Sanders and we both know these people are out there. We grew up with them. Sanders played to a specific form of white male rage that I see on my Facebook every day. Toxic masculinity is the same on both sides.

When I quit the far left I turned to Popper, as so many other Social Democrats, and I have met a lot of ridicule from friends. But IMO the open society is the only alternative to fascism. If we become our enemies they will win.

(Not at all imagining anyone here supports Hodgkinson, just thinking out loud about the struggles we are all facing, both sides of the Atlantic)
posted by mumimor at 10:06 AM on June 14 [20 favorites]


As a sign of how little I trust the current administration, I didn't believe the shooter was dead until it was independently verified. I never had that with any other President.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:07 AM on June 14 [35 favorites]


So now one of the Republican Congressmen on the scene is sticking to his story that it was the gunman who asked if they were Republicans or Democrats.

From Virginia shooting: Gunman 'asked Congressmen if they were Republicans or Democrats'
“I’m told Rep Jeff Duncan plans to give a statement to police regarding a conversation he had with the shooter before leaving practice early,” CNN reporter Rebecca Berg wrote on Twitter.

“The man was wearing running clothes, asked Duncan: “Are those Republicans or Democrats out there practicing?” Per source familiar.
posted by scalefree at 10:08 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


CNN: House hearing on gun legislation canceled after shooting

The panel had been due to debate the "Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act," which includes 18 provisions related to guns and hunting, as well as other recreational sporting and outdoors provisions. The measure would make it easier to purchase silencers, transport guns across state lines and ease restrictions on armor-piercing bullets.


Are there... are there are lot of armored deer in this country?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:08 AM on June 14 [61 favorites]


Meanwhile, as lost of people will be sending out thoughts and prayers, Chaos As The Southern Baptist Convention Fails to Condemn White Supremacy At Its Annual Meeting, much to Richard Spencer's delight.

On the "curse of Ham" mythology which the Atlantic article describes as the fig leaf used as the reason why "the wording" of the initial resolution condemning white supremacy was rejected, this article by a former Brigham Young University professor: “These House-Negroes Still Think We’re Cursed: Struggling Against Racism In The Classroom” by Darron Smith, Journal of Culture Studies published Vol. 19, No. 4 July 2005 pp. 439-454, doi 10.1080/09502380500219456 (found via this deadlinked MeFi comment by long haired child) said that the myth would often be immediately presented to him by students as the valid rationale for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' prohibition against black clergy which lasted until 1978.

Making me skeptical that it would actually be so obscure among the SBC membership and clergy that there's no need to mention it specifically...
posted by XMLicious at 10:09 AM on June 14 [8 favorites]


Are there... are there are lot of armored deer in this country?

You need to buy the DLC from Bethesda.
posted by Talez at 10:10 AM on June 14 [41 favorites]


Are there... are there are lot of armored deer in this country?

Hunters provide a strong evolutionary pressure against unarmored deer.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:11 AM on June 14 [11 favorites]


The panel had been due to debate the "Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act," which includes 18 provisions related to guns and hunting, as well as other recreational sporting and outdoors provisions. The measure would make it easier to purchase silencers, transport guns across state lines and ease restrictions on armor-piercing bullets.

Are there... are there are lot of armored deer in this country?


More importantly, did they seriously name an act intending to make it easier to buy silencers and armor piercing bullets SHAREA?

They can't even spell their (manufactured) object of hate properly.
posted by tocts at 10:12 AM on June 14 [20 favorites]


According to Angeles Arrien's Tarot Growth Chart methodology, when DJT turns 70 at 10:54am tomorrow he will end his Strength/Lust (11) year and will commence a new Hanged Man (12) year.

> It's silly of me to fact check a tarot-based assertion, but this doesn't even get his age right. This is his 71st birthday, 70 was last year.
Shoot, you're right, my addled brain told me he'd be turning 70, but he actually turned 71 today, which means ending a Hanged Man (12) year and beginning a Death/Rebirth (13) year.
posted by christopherious at 10:12 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act

Republicans To Impose SHAREA Law
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:13 AM on June 14 [46 favorites]


Chaos As The Southern Baptist Convention Fails to Condemn White Supremacy At Its Annual Meeting

No big surprise considering that white supremacy is what put the Southern in Southern Baptist.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:14 AM on June 14 [9 favorites]


I want to condemn in the strongest terms possible this latest shooter. In our society, if you have an unquenchable thirst to murder people, there are socially acceptable outlets: you work hard and get elected to Congress and vote to take away the health insurance of 24 million, just like everyone else had to. No shortcuts.
posted by indubitable at 10:15 AM on June 14 [83 favorites]


I went to high school in a small, private Christian (charismatic) school. We were taught that black people were descended from Ham, white people were descended from Japheth, and all other races were descended from Shem. In social studies class. It was the first and only time I ever got a question marked wrong on a history quiz.
posted by EarBucket at 10:15 AM on June 14 [21 favorites]


Every day, hundreds of sportsmen go hungry and/or un-entertained when their puny, non-armor-piercing bullets ricochet harmlessly off antlers. Stop the madness. Join with the Republican Party in flooding our streets with armor-piercing heritage sporting bullets TODAY. For our children's children, let's make sure The Bucks Stop Here.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:17 AM on June 14 [23 favorites]


If a deer comes at me in a Sherman tank (again, I learned my lesson) I have the right to defend myself with projectile ordinance, armor piercing rounds, and my God-given American resourcefulness.

It's what George Washington would have wanted.
posted by Tevin at 10:19 AM on June 14 [7 favorites]


While not disturbing the neighbors.
posted by ctmf at 10:22 AM on June 14 [8 favorites]


well, it's obvious what the problem is - deer don't know how to gas up their sherman tanks and run out of gas

this is why i see so many dead deer on i-94

someone must be towing the tanks away
posted by pyramid termite at 10:23 AM on June 14 [6 favorites]


If a deer comes at me in a Sherman tank

A tactic known as Blitzenkrieg
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:23 AM on June 14 [133 favorites]


Shoot, you're right, my addled brain told me he'd be turning 70, but he actually turned 71 today

Well, the Hanged Man one certainly turned out accurately.

which means ending a Hanged Man (12) year and beginning a Death/Rebirth (13) year.

Christ! That's even worse.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:25 AM on June 14 [6 favorites]


My Freedom Caucus congressman, Bill Posey, has already been sending out emails calling Indivisible a "hate group." He was also a birther deep in the NRA's pockets who nonetheless refuses to hold in-person town Hall meetings (since 2008!) citing security concerns & Gabrielle Giffords as his excuse. Let's not try to make false equivalences here.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 10:26 AM on June 14 [15 favorites]


Apparently I can accidentally join a "hate group" on Facebook. My primary target of hatred is lack of access to affordable healthcare, which may or may not count.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:29 AM on June 14 [7 favorites]


[Maybe let's leave it at that, with the armored deer riffs; we've said too much already.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:29 AM on June 14 [9 favorites]




Christ! That's even worse.

Can you explain why/how? I'm v. curious.
posted by witchen at 10:33 AM on June 14


[quietly shelves draft of 2,000-word epic MechaBambi fanfic comment]
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:33 AM on June 14 [77 favorites]


First, some facts: the murder rate is at at a 50 year low; the violent crime rate is at a 40 year low (both as of 2015 numbers which are the latest I was able to find from the FBI).

Why are people so afraid?

Part of it is certainly that while the murder rate is at a historic low it is still quite high compared to other countries (at the very least nearly all of the other OECD) but I have to wonder if the push for gun control leads people to feeling less safe and colors their perception of how dangerous the United States actually is. Every time there is a shooting, there are similar comments flooding social media (and MetaFilter as well) about how many mass shootings there are or how many days it had been from the last one. These statements are accurate but lack any sort context: e.g. plummeting crimes rates over the past 15 years. I know so many people who are so terribly afraid of being victims of crimes and these are people who live in idyllic suburbs not "bad" neighborhoods.

Feelings of safety matter because they drive behavior. Some examples are the war on drugs, minimum mandatory sentencing and the like. It can also cause people to purchase guns. According to this somewhat old poll, 60% of gun owners have guns to protect themselves against crime. If people think that crime is increasing or that they are less safe, it follows that they are more likely to purchase guns. I believe that there were even some comments in one of the politics threads about buying guns due to the increased risk of not being a white man under the Trump regime.

So can pushing for gun control actually be counterproductive? If reiterating the stories of shootings and focusing on those tragedies does not lead to actual legislation, it may just cause more people to purchase guns and support draconian anti-crime policies. I hope that is not the case, but I fear that it is.

This is not an argument against gun control, by the way. It is more my musing on how to approach the topic. I'd be interested to hear what others think.
posted by nolnacs at 10:35 AM on June 14 [15 favorites]


In my experience, there is a WHOLE LOT of overlap between "Nazi Punching" and "Fetch The Guillotine" rhetorical use.

Remind me, how many public executions via guillotine have we had recently? There's a real motivation to punch left this week, it seems, which is getting kind of tiring. Wake me when there's an organized communist militia movement taking over state and federal government buildings, assassinating people in churches, and organizing campaigns of terror across the states. Otherwise, this false appeal to "both sides do it" is breathtakingly disingenuous at best.
posted by Existential Dread at 10:39 AM on June 14 [63 favorites]


If people think that crime is increasing or that they are less safe, it follows that they are more likely to purchase guns.

I'm not sure how the recent election affected things, but I thought it was the case that it's mostly the same folks that go out and keep buying guns. So, while there are more guns "out there", they're mostly owned by the same people.
posted by FJT at 10:41 AM on June 14


The link from above:
We've had 154 mass shootings since the beginning of the year.

This is a large enough sample. I think sorting out how many have been right wing/left wing, apolitical and foreign terrorist should answer the question of where such shootings come from. I realize that there will be arguments over how wing-y someone is.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:41 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


Countries with gun control have all the fun you have in the US, without the fear. All of my cousins go hunting, some of them go to shooting ranges as well. (I'm half blind so not for me). There is a shooting range 1/ 2 a mile from where I am sitting right now.
However, access to arms for criminals is very difficult, and it is easy to convict criminals just for owning or keeping arms. That means crimes involving arms, let alone shootings are really, really rare.
There is really no meaningful excuse for civilians owning military grade arms. At all.
posted by mumimor at 10:45 AM on June 14 [51 favorites]


Can you explain why/how? I'm v. curious.

Okay, well...let me start with the disclaimer that I'm going by this single card and have never read the book that this growth chart is based on, etc. etc. And tarot can also be pretty subjective, especially if you are very familiar with the subject and have context that necessarily flavor what you're seeing, yadda yadda.

Okay, anyway, the Death card rarely refers to "someone's gonna die" and can even be a positive card in a certain sense. It can convey a need to let a situation reach its logical conclusion and to turn over a new page, get a fresh start, etc. But a Death card situation is rarely the result of a happy circumstance, it's more like a "make lemonade out of lemons" concept. IF someone has the self-awareness and insight to do that.

But this is Donald Trump. He is currently the president. He just underwent, or at least began, a radical change of his previous incarnation as billionaire and real estate mogul who marries supermodels. Now he is in a position of extreme power, without ANY of the reflection and character and consideration needed to make wise decisions on that level. And the decisions he has already begun to make are decidedly cruel, antagonistic, openly criminal, blatantly destructive, personally profitable, you name it. So the Hanged Man followed by Death means he is reinventing himself as......this man, who cares for nothing and no one, who happily fucks over millions of people and other sovereign nations to soothe his own ego, and who is validated in doing so *every* single time Congress enables his decisions. And this is going to result in a scenario from which a "end of the old way, birth of the new" is a necessary outcome?

Yeah. That's terrible. Sure, maybe he'll have a crisis of conscience and become a changed man AFTER he does God only knows what, but the whole world is captive to his identity crisis, and he has an abysmal track record *right now*, so what the hell else is he going to come up with? I shudder to think.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:50 AM on June 14 [8 favorites]


Another mass shooting on this shitty day.

Can big, important links like this please have a little more information than the usual mystery meat? This is the same shooting mentioned above and not, as I worried, a third shooting so far this morning.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:52 AM on June 14 [10 favorites]


Why are people so afraid?

How many years of Fox news drumming up contempt for the Other and contempt for our own government?
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:52 AM on June 14 [14 favorites]


Holy God, Northam won by twelve points. I was not expecting that margin to be so wide. I think I can say now that I am extremely pleased by this. Gillespie is going to be a real fight, however, and it's going to be closer than I would like.

Don't lose sight of turnout numbers.

Ralph S. Northam, 303,463
Tom S. Perriello, 239,412

Edward W. "Ed" Gillespie, 160,082
Corey A. Stewart, 155,774
Frank W. Wagner, 50,341

If the three R candidates had pooled their votes they could beat Northam... by 62,734 votes, a 10% spread.

If every single R primary voter shows up at the general and only 70% of the D primary voters do, Northam would still win by 13,815, just shy of 2% and above the 1% recount threshold.

That's a pretty facile analysis, but having half again as many D votes show up is a huge and wonderful thing. The most cynical analyses I have seen have been two takes:

1: Since we're an open primary state, this D wave is a bunch of usually-vote-R folks who pulled a D ballot instead. To which I say, okay. So? If they found Stewart scary (which he is) but would still be willing to vote Gillespie then why wouldn't they have pulled the R ballot and voted against Stewart? Crossing the aisle in the primaries, despite being this big source of paranoia on both sides, doesn't happen a lot. People don't want to go outside their identity and they don't want the subsequent flurry of political messaging they get after picking a party in the primary. It's why I decided not to pull a R ballot and vote for anyone who wasn't Stewart.

If people crossed their usual line to pull a D ballot I think that's more likely a sign that they're gonna continue to vote D in the fall, not that they're suddenly gonna jump back and go Gillespie.

2: Turnout was based on expectations that the D race was going to be close and the R race wasn't, so folks stayed home on the R side where it was expected to be Gillespie but D side folks showed up to pick between the dude with all the machinery and advocacy groups behind him - Northam - and the supposedly more Bernie/leftie bona fides person, Perillo.

I don't buy this as enough to energize that many people because the second you looked at the platforms and comparisons from leftie operations like Blue Virginia you quickly found that there was so little distance between them that they could have been doing the lambada. Maybe the most naive voter wouldn't take the two seconds to figure that out, but I don't think the intersection between "folks who pay enough attention to know how the polls are doing" and "doesn't bother to look at summary sheets" is very big. Certainly not enough to account for 20% of the voter turnout.

I see some other blah blah that maybe Perillo's more lefty followers might just stay home but again, I just don't buy that as true for the over half of them that would have to do that in the face of an anti-choice nut like Gillespie.

This is not grounds for complacency, but I think it's justified as a reason to feel good about the chance of an energized D turnout in Virginia this fall.
posted by phearlez at 10:54 AM on June 14 [20 favorites]


Robert Mueller Chooses His Investigatory Dream Team (Garrett M. Graff, published by Wired on June 14, 2017)
Meet Mueller's Roster
As Mueller begins investigating Russia’s interference in last year’s election and its possible links to Donald Trump’s campaign, he is quietly recruiting lawyers and staff to the team. And in recent days, Trump associates have stepped up criticism of Mueller and his team—including a report, quickly rejected by the White House, that Trump is considering firing Mueller before he even gets started.
...
From the list of hires, it’s clear, in fact, that Mueller is recruiting perhaps the most high-powered and experienced team of investigators ever assembled by the Justice Department. His team began with three lawyers who also quickly left WilmerHale, the law firm where Mueller has also worked since he left the FBI in 2013—[Aaron] Zebley, James Quarles III, and Jeannie Rhee.
...
A famed litigator who was an assistant special prosecutor for the Watergate investigation, Quarles specialized in campaign finance research for the Watergate task force, which surely will be an area of focus for Mueller’s investigation.
...
More recently, Mueller has recruited Andrew Weissmann, his one-time general counsel at the FBI and a long-time adviser who once led the Justice Department’s fraud unit. In the early 2000s, Weissmann also oversaw the Enron Task Force, the storied Justice Department unit that investigated the complex machinations of the failed energy giant.
And that article opens with a more personal anecdote of how dogged Zebley was as an FBI agent, tracking down Ali Mandela, the fugitive terrorist suspected of helping execute the bombings of US embassies in East Africa in 1998. The article doesn't include any references for Rhee, but this Washington Post article, written by Sari Horwitz, notes that Rhee is "a former deputy assistant attorney general and a partner in the investigations practice at WilmerHale". A less reputable source, "Hidden Americans," says these are "partisan hack swamp creatures," and that "Jeannie Rhee a former Clinton Foundation attorney. For years she worked tirelessly to shield the Clinton Foundation from lawsuits and investigations."

Various news sources have reported that three of the experts on Mueller's team have donated to Democratic causes in the past, so don't expect Trumpeters to say that the independent investigation unbiased when they announce their findings.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:55 AM on June 14 [37 favorites]


There is nothing we can say or do to change the far right from being hypocritical, awful people. In the wake of the shooting, my Trump-supporter mom is retweeting all the usual suspects railing on Democrats and condemning the toxic, violent environment we supposedly created.

Meanwhile, she retweeted this yesterday.

@chuckwoolery
The #DemocratParty has a Hate for this country that I have never witnessed before. They are doing more damage than all out enemies combined

---

They have no shame, no morals, no honesty. They need to be defeated, not reasoned with.
posted by chris24 at 10:55 AM on June 14 [57 favorites]


As National Treasure Alexandra Petri (WaPo) points out, this is very yesterday, but: The Sessions session, in brief
I watched Attorney General Jeff Sessions testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee so that you would not have to, or maybe in addition to you! I don’t control your life. Watch what you like!

It went approximately as follows:


Sessions: Hello. I have come here to challenge the Senate to a duel for impugning my HONOR! Here is my rapier! Where may I toss this gauntlet? Whom may I strike with a cane? Indeed, throwing a gauntlet would be too good for you.

Mark Warner: What year were you born? It says 1946, but that literally cannot be right. You just announced that your honor had been impugned scurrilously.

Sessions: Sir, sir, I must protest! You dishonor this elegant marble hall. You call yourself a Virginian? Fiddle-dee-dee! I do not think you have earned the name.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:55 AM on June 14 [29 favorites]


Fortune Teller [to Lisa]: Now we'll see what the future holds. [turns over a card from what looks like a Tarot deck]
Lisa: [gulps] The "Death" card?
Fortune Teller: No, that's good: it means transition, change.
Lisa: [relieved] Oh. [the fortune teller turns over another card] Oh, that's cute.
Fortune Teller: [gasps] "The Happy Squirrel"!
Lisa: That's bad?
Fortune Teller: Possibly. The cards are vague and mysterious.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:56 AM on June 14 [28 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. FFS don't take this in the direction of speculating who will be (could be/maybe if/etc) shot next.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:58 AM on June 14 [8 favorites]


chuckwoolery?? The (better) Wheel of Fortune guy?? *goes to internet* Huh.
posted by Melismata at 10:59 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


In light of the real safety numbers, then the whole gun discussion is a huge red herring, that is leading the fears of people away from the real threats to their existences. They are being robbed of their future security and the security of their children by bloodless number crunchers without guns, who control how much of the income they work for, they will get. The air is leaking out of the middle class bounce house, and they are hitting the ground now, and on the ground is everyone else who is used to being there on their last buck, in the groove they walk to get a few, and the threats outnumber the potentials. While well to do Americans now legislate how much wilderness we can view, if we can even afford to drive there, how much food we can afford, how many square feet we can live in, how well outfitted the schools are that our children attend, how long we can survive without medical care, and still get out families safely grown.

Because this whole picture is a daily nightmare, angry men incapable of changing the dynamic, worry about their ability to purchase and use guns. People worry if they are going to endure violence, and as the poor are shoved into tighter and tighter quarters, and then leak out onto the streets, alleys, byways, and abandoned townscapes, this is what the poor fear, when will it happen to them that they can no longer live inside?

They are less safe because the ongoing robbery is a big, big picture, it is hard to get a whole view of it, so the robbers use the media to name an enemy whether it is guns, people with guns, liberals, government overreach. Our immediate world is less safe because that is the current plan, there is nothing they do not threaten, not one thread of the "safety net" is free from verbal threats, and real threats.

The economic system is changing, the threat is that our cars will be robots, our trucks, and trains, buses, our teachers. Our workers will service robots, and create robotic scripts, and there is no room for those who used to struggle to survive, otherwise called working. The threat is, our children will find no welcome, our elders will know no rest, the constant drumbeat of threats and deliberately crafted social unrest, threat of unholy war like in Syria, show us what humans will do to have the control they want.

We had best get some economic control, create the nation we can all live in. It has nothing to do with guns, because as in the case of the Dakota Pipeline Protesters, the corporations can hire all they guns they need to do business. They are not going to let that option go willingly. We have to work to make our nation free, on a daily basis. We have to hold our public land, or else it will sell to foreign oligarchs and corporations. Meanwhile there is plenty of money floating around to keep everyone outraged and frightened and threatened.
posted by Oyéah at 11:01 AM on June 14 [15 favorites]


Johnny Wallflower: As National Treasure Alexandra Petri (WaPo) points out, this is very yesterday, but: The Sessions session, in brief....

Is this the first time we've mentioned Sessions today?
posted by slipthought at 11:03 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Chuck Woolery has always been a kook and anti-Semite.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:03 AM on June 14 [10 favorites]


phearlez: "If people crossed their usual line to pull a D ballot I think that's more likely a sign that they're gonna continue to vote D in the fall, not that they're suddenly gonna jump back and go Gillespie."

Yeah, I've seen a fair amount of discussion of this. We've got way higher D turnout than R, and we've got overall Trump approval falling, while at the same time his support among Rs is relatively steady. Put them together, it equals people moving from R to D. I know I've seen at least one study showing R party ID is on the decline.

I'll have more on this tonight, but I think Northam is really sitting pretty here. My hope is that we can turn this into major gains in the House of Delegates - there are 17 R delegates from HRC districts.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:04 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Chuck Woolery has always been a kook and anti-Semite.

And is hugely popular among right-wingers. Which is why Trump winning wasn't a takeover of the party, but an unveiling.
posted by chris24 at 11:05 AM on June 14 [12 favorites]


In Refusal To Answer Questions, Sessions Denies Claiming Executive Privilege (NPR, June 13, 2017) NPR's Ari Shapiro talks to Steve Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, about Jeff Sessions' justification for refusing to answer certain questions in his Senate testimony on Tuesday.

A good interview, which also pulled in NSA Director Mike Rogers and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and their similar vague refusal to answer questions, that can be boiled down with this section:
Vladeck: I think the important point and what the attorney general is surely banking on is that all of those maneuvers require the acquiescence of the Republican majority on the intelligence committee. And so I think he's basically daring the Republicans on the Senate intelligence committee to not let him off the hook and to actually have to agree with the Democrats, many of whom have already pushed and will be pushing for more compelled answers.
Emphasis all mine. So we'll get nothing from Sessions, Rogers, Coats, or any Trump lackeys until the Republicans literally make them, and that's not going to happen. So now we look forward to the special elections and 2018, with the hope and desire for this non-governance to finally bite the GOP hard enough that they lose enough seats to lose the House and Senate.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:07 AM on June 14 [18 favorites]


Why are people so afraid?

with a lot of people, i think it's guilt - guilt for what our country has done in the past, here and overseas

they think what goes around comes around and all the time while they deny that guilt, they are secretly terrified that we're going to get what's coming to us
posted by pyramid termite at 11:09 AM on June 14 [6 favorites]


Chuck Woolery has always been a kook and anti-Semite.
posted by Room 641-A


Which just makes it weird that he helped the Beastie Boys get women on TV
posted by the phlegmatic king at 11:12 AM on June 14 [7 favorites]


Sounds like this guy was a kook. 55 tax brackets? What?

Still, if he were a right-winger attacking Democratic House members we'd call it terrorism so....
posted by Justinian at 11:12 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Chris24: Trump winning wasn't a takeover, but an unveiling.

THIS. This this this. Trump did not spring like a moist, pustulant, curdy Athena, full-blown from Republican foreheads. Sean Illing from Vox wrote a very interesting interview with Seth Stephens Davidowitz about what Stephens-Davidowitz uncovered by analyzing Google Trends, and It. Was. Not. Pretty. Trump is a symptom more than a cause, though bigots feel more permission to openly express their hatreds.

This means, as the saying has it, we have a marathon, not a sprint, ahead of us. We can, and should, have Trump thrown out of office as a criminal, the Russian hacking investigated, and health care retained as much as we can. But, like the Lernaean Hydra, there will just be more heads appearing to take the place of Trump and the current Congress unless issues can be solved at a deeper level.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:14 AM on June 14 [74 favorites]


Senators Aim To Make It Harder For Trump Administration To Ease Russia Sanctions (NPR, June 13, 2017)
A bipartisan group of senators* has taken a step to limit the Trump administration's ability to ease sanctions on Russia, adding an amendment to a widely supported Iran sanctions bill to make sure Congress has a say in future Russia policy. The Senate is considering the bill this week.
* The Foreign.Senate.GOV press release [the link in the pullquote] states "U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) and Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) today announced a bipartisan agreement on legislation to strengthen and expand current U.S. sanctions on Russia."

As reported by Karoun Demirjian in the Washington Post on June 7, 2017, there are actually a number of bills that aim to increase and strengthen sanctions on Russia, and some have bipartisan support.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:17 AM on June 14 [10 favorites]


Congressional baseball game is ON for tomorrow, won't be canceled/postponed.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:20 AM on June 14 [7 favorites]


> Our political system functions on good faith. That good faith has been increasingly abandoned in pursuit of power. There's a disturbing progression at play.
posted by leotrotsky


eponyhorrifying.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:22 AM on June 14 [10 favorites]


Note to self: when angry and upset, do not go fight trolls on Facebook. You may end up saying something that seems rude and ill-advised at the time, but in the cold light of day after someone shoots a Republican, probably got you put on a number of government watch lists.

(Dear The Government, I am a pacifist. While I will admit to a certain cynicism, the fact is that I am a naysayer and hatchetman in the fight against violence. I own no firearms besides a pellet gun that I use to put poisoned wildlife out of their misery. I may not like the current regime, but I have no plans to violently overthrow it. Love, Elsie)
posted by elsietheeel at 11:25 AM on June 14 [11 favorites]


Apropos of nothing and seen on Twitter yesterday, Rick Wilson has coined the name "KIm Jong Don"
posted by epo at 11:25 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


All those tweets about a history of domestic violence in the congress-shooter seem to have been disappeared. Anyone have any other links? I'm curious to figure out how this is true yet he didn't run afoul of the Lautenberg amendment.
posted by phearlez at 11:27 AM on June 14


Foreign Policy: Trump White House Stays Quiet as Russia Flouts North Korea Sanctions
Trump administration officials and lawmakers are increasingly concerned that Russia is stepping up trade with North Korea in defiance of international sanctions, jeopardizing a U.S. effort to pressure Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs.

The White House, however, has yet to call out Russia publicly for its dealings with North Korea.
This is my shocked face.

A group of Democrats in Congress have written the GAO to request an investigation into why HHS keeps using social media to lobby for the AHCA, when government agencies aren't allowed to run grassroots lobbying campaigns.

All those tweets about a history of domestic violence in the congress-shooter seem to have been disappeared. Anyone have any other links? I'm curious to figure out how this is true yet he didn't run afoul of the Lautenberg amendment.

The reports I saw say that he was charged but the case was dismissed, though the description of the police report sounds pretty darn awful [cw: child and domestic abuse]. If he was never convicted, the ban generally wouldn't apply.
posted by zachlipton at 11:31 AM on June 14 [13 favorites]


Apropos of nothing and seen on Twitter yesterday, Rick Wilson has coined the name "KIm Jong Don"

I had a dream where he was called Kim Jong Trump! (Yes I know that's not how the name would work but it sounds better and I was asleep anyway!).
posted by Justinian at 11:32 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


The Fed has just hiked the federal funds rate bv 0.25%.

This seems ill-considered, as there does not seem to be any sign of the economy overheating, and inflation remains below the 2% target.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:34 AM on June 14 [9 favorites]


The hospital says Scalise is in critical condition. It sounds like the injury was more serious than previously believed.
posted by Justinian at 11:36 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Various news sources have reported that three of the experts on Mueller's team have donated to Democratic causes in the past, so don't expect Trumpeters to say that the independent investigation unbiased when they announce their findings.

This is absolutely Team Trump's party line against Mueller. Just yesterday evening Kellyanne Conway‏ tweeted, "FEC report: Mueller's team includes big Democrat donors. Some maxed out, none wanted Trump to be POTUS. @CNNPolitics". On Monday, Newt Grinch had tweeted, "Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair. Look who he is hiring.check fec reports. Time to rethink." ‏

Meanwhile, Mueller met with leaders of the Senate intelligence committee yesterday afternoon. Privately. In a secure room.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:43 AM on June 14 [31 favorites]


I really don't like Scalise; I hope he pulls through.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 11:44 AM on June 14 [27 favorites]


IIRC previous reports said he was "stable," which is a term hospitals don't like to use (and MedStar doesn't use it in that announcement, saying instead "Rep. Scalise was critically injured and remains in critical condition") because it only means that the patient's condition isn't getting worse and says nothing about how injured they actually are.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:44 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


This Schmuck Shot Five People and Now You and I Are Going to be Called Terrorists
I don't care that these people were Republican politicians and staffers (and, according to The Washington Post, at least one lobbyist, who was among the injured). This was meant to be as horrifying as the Pulse shooting in Orlando or the Bataclan massacre. I don't care if I agreed with the shooter on most issues. This was an evil act. This was a terrorist act.

It should be noted that in a sane society, Hodgkinson wouldn't have been able to obtain a gun. [...]

Domestic violence? Resisting a peace officer? Eluding police? And yet in Illinois his gun paperwork was in order:
It appears that James Hodgkinson was recently taking target practice with a rifle in the lightly populated neighborhood where he lived, in the unincorporated area outside of Belleville. Police encountered Hodgkinson on March 24, records from the St. Clair County Sheriff show. The sheriff received a phone call reporting about 50 shots “in the pine trees” at the end of the short street where Hodgkinson lived. [...] Hodgkinson apparently complied and the deputy left without taking any further action
Nothing to see here -- Hodgkinson was just another gun-toting American, until he snapped. [...]

The right already has a simple, meme-ified, widely shared opinion on Black Lives Matter: It's a terrorist group. Rush Limbaugh says this. So does Milwaukee County sheriff and possible Trump homeland security appointee David Clarke.

Well, that's what's coming for the Resistance. You'll hear it in the future: The Resistance is a terrorist group. The key piece of evidence will be today's shooting.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:46 AM on June 14 [62 favorites]


Teen Vogue: What I’m Doing to Keep Birth Control Free in the Face of Trump's and the GOP's Health Care Rollback (by NY AG Eric Schneiderman): If you care about women’s autonomy, if you care about preventing unplanned pregnancies, protecting cost-free access to birth control is a no-brainer.

I won’t sugarcoat it — these rights are under attack. But we can fight back.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:51 AM on June 14 [52 favorites]


Various news sources have reported that three of the experts on Mueller's team have donated to Democratic causes in the past, so don't expect Trumpeters to say that the independent investigation unbiased when they announce their findings.

Has anyone done the legwork to find out how many people on Mueller's team have donated to Republicans? These stupid attacks still need to be answered. (Even the article from the Hill quoted above notes that one of the three also gave to Republicans including Chaffetz.)

Not to mention that Mueller himself is a Republican, as was Comey, and that Republicans larded the Clinton special prosecutors office with the most partisan Republicans possible, even firing one for not being partisan enough before they settled on Starr IIRC.
posted by msalt at 11:54 AM on June 14 [10 favorites]


Some days I wonder if 2007-me would believe or even understand the statement "You think it's bad under Bush? In ten years, state attorneys general will be taking potshots at an obviously-compromised, visibly-demented President Donald Trump. His medium of choice will be Teen Vogue."
posted by Mayor West at 11:54 AM on June 14 [81 favorites]


Jake Sherman at Politico reports that one of the others injured this morning is Matt Mika, who also remains in critical condition.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:59 AM on June 14


Second Amendment advocates, especially those in government, should have to answer the question of what constitutes unacceptable tyranny. If, as Rand Paul rightly points out, the purpose of the right to bear arms is to guarantee our ability to violently resist tyrannical government, then surely they should be able to explain how we can identify tyranny and when that resistance should be celebrated by champions of individual freedom and when it should be condemned. Can they identify some example historical situations in which it would have been okay for a person whose life wasn't immediately threatened to kill another person for the cause of liberty? If they think this right is so fundamental that it's worth thousands of preventable deaths every year, maybe they can tell us when it might be proper to exercise it.

As political theorists have argued for literally thousands of years, the problem with condoning violent resistance to tyranny is that defining what constitutes tyranny is inherently somewhat subjective. Unless Paul can do better than every major political theorist who's ever lived, his answer would probably consist of a few distinguishing characteristics of tyrants and an acknowledgment that it's ultimately a matter of individual conscience. So does he think that every person has the Constitutional right to violently resist government whenever their conscience compels them to? Does he think people should be punished for exercising that right? If so, does that mean that we're guaranteed the right to possess arms but not to use them for their intended purpose? That doesn't seem very conducive to the cause of liberty.

It's abhorrent that so many people endorse gun ownership on the grounds that it can enable violent resistance to tyranny without engaging seriously with these questions.
posted by vathek at 12:00 PM on June 14 [80 favorites]


You'll hear it in the future: The Resistance is a terrorist group.
I mean, I imagine we will hear from somebody(s). And as it's a ridiculous charge, the only dignified way to respond to it is with "Less terrorist than you are, dude."
posted by octobersurprise at 12:00 PM on June 14 [9 favorites]


All the more reason to vote in 2018. You're not terrorists if you're the government, as the GOP has amply demonstrated.
posted by Autumnheart at 12:03 PM on June 14 [16 favorites]


WSJ via Raw Story: Senate Judiciary Committee opens investigation into Trump for firing former FBI Director James Comey
The Judiciary Committee has an obligation to fully investigate any alleged improper partisan interference in law enforcement investigations,” Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said in a statement. “It is my view that fully investigating the facts, circumstances, and rationale for Mr. Comey’s removal will provide us the opportunity to do that on a cooperative, bipartisan basis.”

“The American people deserve a full accounting of attempts to meddle in both our democratic processes and the impartial administration of justice,” the chairman added.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:03 PM on June 14 [91 favorites]


I think that GOP politicians and their media allies will certainly use this to try and shut down investigations into Trump. It won't make any sense but they'll pretend it does and that'll be enough for the media. Othering the Resistance or other critics will be a part of that. I would not be surprised if it's already happening in the fringe talk-radio and internet spaces.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:05 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Two disturbing anecdotes from Kyle Cheney of Politico [expanded into something resembling a paragraph from tweets]:
Two weird things happened that were too small to mention in the moment, but still stuck with me while reporting from the scene this AM. I arrived less than an hour after the shooting + overheard a witness - maybe mid-20s - describing the incident in vivid detail by phone. So when he hung up, I approached him and asked if he'd share the same details with me, since the events were still murky. He immediately tensed up, and told me that because I was the media - and he hates all media - he wouldn't tell me a thing. Never mind that the info might have been valuable to the public at that moment, as I tried to explain. Didn't matter. He said we all "leak." Second strange encounter came at the nearby coffee shop. A woman working there on her laptop told me she was relieved when she found out the shooter was targeting members of Congress. Why? Because at least, she said, it wasn't random violence. It's a strange and unsettling time.
posted by zachlipton at 12:05 PM on June 14 [59 favorites]


New York Post has the video (content warning, obviously) from the man with the two headed dog. Lots and lots and lots of noises of shots. Really scary.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:06 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Government Accountability Office report from April: Of the 85 violent extremist incidents that resulted in death since September 12, 2001, far right wing violent extremist groups were responsible for 62 (73 percent) while radical Islamist violent extremists were responsible for 23 (27 percent). The total number of fatalities is about the same for far right wing violent extremists and radical Islamist violent extremists over the approximately 15-year period (106 and 119, respectively).

If anyone dies due to this left-wing terrorist attack, it will be the first such death in the US for a long time.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:07 PM on June 14 [58 favorites]


A woman working there on her laptop told me she was relieved when she found out the shooter was targeting members of Congress. Why? Because at least, she said, it wasn't random violence.

I'm gonna admit it, this got a bleak laugh out of me.

It sounds like the injury was more serious than previously believed.

Sounds like he was shot in the hip -- hip injuries can bleed a lot, and unpredictably.
posted by saturday_morning at 12:09 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


I recently watched the Frontline episode on the Bundys and Malheur and one of the things that struck me, not for the first time and which is frequently observed by others, is just how powerfully there is a double-standard in the US when it comes to this sort of armed violence.

Which is to say, it's almost as if there's this shared cultural assumption that white, armed, violent right-wing extremists are sort of inevitable in American culture, just something we have to live with and not that big of a deal, something that law enforcement mostly takes a "hands-off, wait them out" stance, while any other kind of armed violence in support of a non-rightwing ideology, especially by non-whites, is a fundamental threat to everything and everyone and any sort of extreme state violence and repression is not only acceptable, but required.

It's an amazing discrepancy, just astonishing in its implicit hypocrisy. But it's real. I can't really get my head around the profoundly ugly things this implies about American culture, but I can see that it's there.

This is what I was thinking earlier, before we knew anything about the shooter: if he's non-white and someone opposed to conservatives, then hysteria will ensue. If it's a white person with some sort of left-wing grudge against the GOP, a big brouhaha will be made about how the left has been radicalized. If it's someone farther to the right than the GOP who has some extreme right-wing grudge, it will be seen as a tragic, but sadly expected, example of those lone nutjobs that we can't control. The varying standards by which the US government, the media, and the American people assess these things is disturbing and deeply and sadly revealing.

It certainly is the case that the left includes people prone to violence and who consider and occasionally act on a desire for political violence. But this leftist call to violence is not normalized or tolerated in any way in American culture while, in contrast, explicitly violent rhetoric from the far right is exceedingly common. And the one common trait between almost all of these folk, left or right, is that they are white men.

There's a general problem of what we might think of as a male notion of violence as a kind of birthright, which in turn intersects with cultural/political messaging that leverages this. In the US, we get middle-aged conservative white men who feel that it's perfectly normal and reasonable to gather together carrying a large and varied arsenal in support of a white rancher in a dispute with the government ... and hardly any of them face any legal consequence for it.

And the lack of legal consequences for white conservative violence itself is a cultural message. The far right tends to see the Bundy ranch and Malheur confrontations as propaganda wins. To some degree, such incidents are. In contrast, any violent act by the left, especially by non-whites, is almost universally seen as deeply disreputable, immediately damaging their cause.

Violence, in deed and rhetoric, is partly normalized in American and other societies ... but very unevenly, and almost always in ways that benefit the privileged.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:10 PM on June 14 [116 favorites]


Has anyone done the legwork to find out how many people on Mueller's team have donated to Republicans? These stupid attacks still need to be answered.

"You should be fucking stoked that they're Democrats, if you think Trump is innocent. Because they will go to their Democrat masters in Congress and the shadowy halls of SorosCorp and say 'We could find nothing on this great man!' and rend their garments, and it will be over. If they make things up, then the Republicans in Congress will be able to see through it, right? I mean, since they're so interested in truth and getting to the bottom of things?"
posted by Etrigan at 12:10 PM on June 14 [8 favorites]


To say that someone is in "stable" condition means that the patient has a pulse. Not kidding. That's pretty much it.
posted by raysmj at 12:11 PM on June 14 [6 favorites]


Didn't somebody say that Scalise spoke to his wife by phone before going into surgery and that he was "in high spirits" at the time?
posted by all about eevee at 12:14 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Dog-walker's last line from the video linked above: "well, that was one hell of a way to start the f*cking morning".
posted by yhbc at 12:14 PM on June 14 [19 favorites]


Didn't somebody say that Scalise spoke to his wife by phone before going into surgery and that he was "in high spirits" at the time?

The kind of bullets that come out of those sort of rifles can do damage long after the initial impact. Plus, you can deal with infection post-surgery, and all sorts of other issues. It's possible he was able to speak before the surgery and has deteriorated. And it's also possible that press reports are wrong about anything.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:17 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Chuck Woolery has always been a kook and anti-Semite.

And a racist, homophobe. He has a popular podcast.

Most game show hosts are conservatives. Pat Sajak was a tea partier who was against Obamacare and thinks climate change is a hoax. Alex Trebek gives money to conservative candidates. Drew Carey does too. John O'Hurley supports Republican causes. Wink Martindale is a Republican. (In other news, Wink Martindale is still alive.) Merv Griffin was a Republican and raised a lot of money for them. (But is not still with us.)

Ben Stein has always been a crazy right winger. He now writes for the Spectator.
posted by zarq at 12:20 PM on June 14 [24 favorites]


(In other news, Wink Martindale is still alive.)

His hair isn't, I don't think.
posted by Melismata at 12:22 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Some days I wonder if 2007-me would believe or even understand the statement "You think it's bad under Bush? In ten years, state attorneys general will be taking potshots at an obviously-compromised, visibly-demented President Donald Trump. His medium of choice will be Teen Vogue."

And conversations with my father will be tempered by the fact that I know he has been brainwashed by the Russians.
posted by slipthought at 12:25 PM on June 14 [13 favorites]


Ben Stein has always been a crazy right winger.

if anything, that is an understatement. he wrote speeches for Nixon.
posted by murphy slaw at 12:26 PM on June 14 [15 favorites]


Plus I don't think he cared much for that Bueller kid.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:27 PM on June 14 [19 favorites]




New York Post has the video (content warning, obviously) from the man with the two headed dog. Lots and lots and lots of noises of shots. Really scary.

Holy fucking shit that's a lot of shots. I have no doubt that everyone there thought they were going to die.
posted by anastasiav at 12:31 PM on June 14 [6 favorites]


Drew Carey used to do an online video series for Reason when he was between TV gigs.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:31 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Ben Stein has rejected evolution, said Michael Brown deserved to die because he was so big, defended Dominique Strauss-Kahn against rape charges because he didn't believe people with that level of education committed rape, and opposed legal abortion. He is not just right wing, he is toxic, and is a classic example of someone who has convinced themselves that they are far smarter than they actually are.
posted by maxsparber at 12:34 PM on June 14 [75 favorites]


Hey can someone give me some knowledgeable commentary on the Senate Judiciary Committee opening the investigation into the Comey firing? Is this good? Was this expected?
Someone tell me what to feel!!
posted by greermahoney at 12:34 PM on June 14 [8 favorites]


It's going to be weird next time there's a news making mass shooting and these guys pipe up to defend the confitions that lead to such shootings, knowing that they were actually in one.
posted by Artw at 12:35 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]


You'll hear it in the future: The Resistance is a terrorist group.

There is a very simple rebuttal to have handy: if you don't believe the Tea Party should have been branded a terrorist organization based on Jared Lee Loughner's attempted assassination of Gabby Giffords, then the same logic must apply here.

I understand that people making the terrorist argument won't be interested in reasoned debate, but it may be a useful (and accurate!) rhetorical device.
posted by Existential Dread at 12:37 PM on June 14 [73 favorites]


Politico/Kim Zetter: Will the Georgia Special Election Get Hacked?. Georgia uses touchscreen voting machines with no paper-trail that run Windows 2000. This shouldn't be legal.

WaPo/Paul Waldman: Are Democrats in Congress not ‘fighting’ hard enough? Don’t believe it.
You can look at that and say “They aren’t fighting!” But it’s hard to make that argument unless you’re focused solely on symbolic actions. If they halted all Senate activity but didn’t actually impede this particular bill, it would mean the action was almost entirely symbolic. It might generate some news coverage that would focus the public and media back on health care, but it probably wouldn’t be much. You might claim that if Democrats ground the Senate to a halt, the public would rise up behind them, but I find that a little hard to believe.

Which means that while the Democrats can throw up some procedural roadblocks once the bill actually emerges, right now the biggest onus is on grass-roots activists to ramp up pressure on the Republican senators who might be persuaded to vote against the bill. And that’s the biggest problem at the moment: The grass-roots pressure on Congress has dissipated from where it was when the House bill was first proposed.

Members’ offices aren’t being flooded with the same volume of calls they were a couple of months ago, which means they may feel as though they can get away with voting for something as damaging as this bill. If they’re going to be persuaded otherwise, they need to be shown that there will be a high price to pay. Their Democratic colleagues can’t convince them of that; only citizens can.
Right now would be an excellent moment to help solve that problem and call your representatives (use Resistbot or send a free fax if you can't call) and tell them you oppose the AHCA and any cuts to Medicaid.
posted by zachlipton at 12:49 PM on June 14 [38 favorites]


It's going to be weird next time there's a news making mass shooting and these guys pipe up to defend the confitions that lead to such shootings, knowing that they were actually in one.

Why do I feel like "I was in a mass shooting, I think I know what I'm talking about when it comes to my ludicrous position on gun issue X" is gonna be the way they'll play that?
posted by Rykey at 12:49 PM on June 14 [18 favorites]


You can look at that and say “They aren’t fighting!” But it’s hard to make that argument unless you’re focused solely on symbolic actions.

This is how I've felt for some time. There's an awful lot of focus on purely symbolic action.
posted by Justinian at 12:52 PM on June 14 [7 favorites]


METAFILTER: Someone tell me what to feel!!
posted by philip-random at 12:59 PM on June 14 [10 favorites]


Of the 85 violent extremist incidents that resulted in death since September 12, 2001,

Are there modern GAO reports that go back further, say 25 years, to include white terrorists incidents such as the Oklahoma City bombing?

Or am I going to have to use up today's Adderall (that my insurance no longer covers) computing those numbers myself?
posted by elsietheeel at 1:02 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]


THANK YOU zachlipton for helping me shed light on the voting machine hacking & how it applies to elections going on RIGHT NOW.

Also TY to OnceUponATime for the MeMail
posted by yoga at 1:10 PM on June 14 [19 favorites]


Do I need to even check to see whether they were all committed by men? I don't, do I. I'll hedge: say 95% committed by men.

This is an even bigger discrepancy than the one between right wing extremists and everyone else, and uh...it does not get discussed much.

I don't think you can explain this phenomenon without exploring the connection these political identities have to toxic masculinity.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:10 PM on June 14 [40 favorites]


Most game show hosts are conservatives. Pat Sajak was a tea partier who was against Obamacare and thinks climate change is a hoax. Alex Trebek gives money to conservative candidates. Drew Carey does too. John O'Hurley supports Republican causes. Wink Martindale is a Republican. (In other news, Wink Martindale is still alive.) Merv Griffin was a Republican and raised a lot of money for them. (But is not still with us.)

They're folks with no discernible talent* or skills who can coast through life by being white guys in suits who can read words on a screen.

Is it a surprise they're conservative?

*except Drew. Anyway, he's a more of a libertarian.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:10 PM on June 14 [17 favorites]


Also see above re: watch list. I dunno if making a list and crunching the numbers of terrorist incidents on American soil is the thing to be doing right now. Heh.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:11 PM on June 14


So today: a shooting in Virginia, a shooting in San Francisco, and a deadly fire in London. Think I'll go drink for a while.
posted by Melismata at 1:11 PM on June 14 [7 favorites]


Politico/Kim Zetter: Will the Georgia Special Election Get Hacked?. Georgia uses touchscreen voting machines with no paper-trail that run Windows 2000. This shouldn't be legal.

The amount of abject ignorance about touchscreen voting is just stunning. The Virginia legislature, to its credit, banned the further purchase of touch screen voting machines about a decade ago. They stopped short of demanding they all stop being used, presumably for financial reasons.

I was a poll worker for the first time shortly after this. During training the director of elections said they couldn't buy any more but they would beyond question continue to use their existing ones until they all died or further legislation forced them to stop. She gave the sense of being irked by this, which she clearly felt was unreasonable.

The alternate system was optical scanning, which my compsci-educated cranky-by-nature self felt was The Right Way. We would run them concurrently, where there'd be about 5 touch-screen machines set up in the general (primaries with lower turnouts we'd set up fewer machines) and a stack of paper ballots for filling out and scanning with a machine that voters would feed the ballot into themselves. We always offered people the choice and most would pick the touch screens and even when there was a line to get to the touch screens folks would forgo using paper as an alternative.

The biggest challenge to my "don't get into shit while volunteering" challenge came the time I offered someone a paper ballot and she said does it give me a receipt showing what she voted? Nope, it does not. I am pretty sure, I said, that doing so would be illegal. Well then, she said, I'll wait for the touch screen since then I know it'll be counted right. I said that the scanner preserves the ballots for recounts. She waved this off; if it doesn't show me what it read off the ballot how do I know it counted my vote right? The touch screen shows me what I picked!

Internally I screamed how the fuck do you know that what the touchscreen records is what you chose? It can show you anything on that LCD and then write down a completely random vote! And if we ever want to go back and look at what you meant to do, we can't! Paper is the only fully reversible method! You're a fucking nutter! Externally I shrugged and pointed her to the long-ass line to go stand in.

We've stopped using touch screens here; I am pretty sure that was a state-wide initiative, as the director of elections for Arlington hasn't changed. I wonder whether that woman just gave up voting or thinks nothing is trustable anymore or if someone finally explained to her the difference. Sometimes I think about making a youtube video to communicate the issue with reversibility but I doubt anyone receptive to it would watch it.
posted by phearlez at 1:12 PM on June 14 [27 favorites]




Also see above re: watch list. I dunno if making a list and crunching the numbers of terrorist incidents on American soil is the thing to be doing right now. Heh.


Fuck the watch lists. I'm not going to change an inch of my behavior out of fear of being put on a list that may or may not exist.
posted by dilaudid at 1:13 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Sometimes I think November 2016 was the worst possible time to become sober.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:13 PM on June 14 [16 favorites]


Merv Griffin was a Republican and raised a lot of money for them.

MERV GRIFFIN!

I really love Milk & Cheese
posted by phearlez at 1:15 PM on June 14 [24 favorites]




It is never a bad time to become sober.
posted by Melismata at 1:16 PM on June 14 [18 favorites]


They're folks with no discernible talent or skills who can coast through life by being white guys in suits who can read words on a screen.

Is it a surprise they're conservative?


Disregarding your basic premise, Drew Carey is a pretty damn good standup. John O'Hurley is a pretty good actor. Merc Griffin was an amazingly good producer of television shows across a wide breadth of styles and genres (as well as a composer of some note, so to speak). Don't jump too high for your rhetorical slam dunk.
posted by Etrigan at 1:16 PM on June 14 [6 favorites]


> Sometimes I think November 2016 was the worst possible time to become sober.

I don't think there's ever a bad time to get sober, so congrats (!) if this is something you've achieved, but I will admit that the ability to check out of reality from time to time has been very welcome, even if the eventual re-immersion has been harsh.
posted by mosk at 1:17 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Disregarding your basic premise, Drew Carey is a pretty damn good standup. John O'Hurley is a pretty good actor. Merc Griffin was an amazingly good producer of television shows across a wide breadth of styles and genres (as well as a composer of some note, so to speak). Don't jump too high for your rhetorical slam dunk.

That joke wouldn't be nearly as funny, though.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:19 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Violence, in deed and rhetoric, is partly normalized in American and other societies ... but very unevenly, and almost always in ways that benefit the privileged.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:10 AM on June 15 [21 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]

Most game show hosts are conservatives. Pat Sajak was a tea partier who was against Obamacare and thinks climate change is a hoax. Alex Trebek gives money to conservative candidates. Drew Carey does too. John O'Hurley supports Republican causes. Wink Martindale is a Republican. (In other news, Wink Martindale is still alive.) Merv Griffin was a Republican and raised a lot of money for them. (But is not still with us.)

Ben Stein has always been a crazy right winger. He now writes for the Spectator.


I'm putting these quotes together because...y'know how mechanic shops have that glass where you can watch the work being done? That.

If that sounds tenuous, here's my reasoning, and I speak from experience as someone who pretty much loved all those game show hosts, and who grew up among gun-loving Midwesterners, and who for more than a decade has lived in Asia, in China, and literally works in propaganda, because I'm the translator, and I get called on to mediate the message, straight up All The Messages, from pro CCP to anti-CCP and everything tangential, and my whole sales gambit is "We can make your message work, but we gotta have deep involvement, and it's expensive, so" -

1) Getting your attention is a business with established practices. The practitioners of this business are at work when they do that thing you love. Jon Oliver et al.

2) Watch everything for normalization of the status quo. It happens all the time, all around you, and you like the status quo don't you? You do. You like not starving, not putting up with the psychological stress of an ongoing game with your livelihood and life as the stakes. Well...you think you're not, but actually...like, healthcare...you know. You like thinking that, but you also enjoy participating in that game, but at a remove, the remove of Fox/MSNBC, or at a more realistic remove, Metafilter/Reddit/politics in general. Of course you have opinions, it's your livelihood. It's your life and death. That is politics. It's a selfish endeavor, it's about changing minds, and you are fighting for your share. There are systems that work well for everyone, there are systems that benefit individuals more, and they both work for their intended purposes, but people are greedy.

3) China, in this regard, has encoded control over the debate mentioned in (2) in their constitution and Party charter. Literally, they say they intend to control this, and people are ok with it, because the alternative is jail and a whole raft of fuck you by the state.

(4) The only effective opposition here is playing their game - you call down the specter of revolution and disorder to nudge the debate to the liberal side. It is generally effective where basic services are concerned. Now that China basically is developed, now that nobody is starving, that calculus is changing, and even the propaganda masters are adrift and turning to nationalism.

(5) Full-spectrum dominance is part of (3). "Flood the airwaves" is just Best Practices, and not being overt is also Best Practices. I know this because business strategy talks. And the usual message? "Everything is okay." "Don't worry." "Hysterical people are the worst." "Just have fun!" It's 2017, no it's not overt, it's inane, and has been for ages. It's not country-specific, China got the idea from the Soviets who got it from us. Propaganda theory being what it is, I'm not gonna try to back that up, and it doesn't matter.

(6) In China, you get to be blatant about your role as a propagandist, because that is a protected class in the constitution and Party charter. Good propagandists get profiled in magazines, get government awards, get high fives from the power structure, and it's a thing people actually aspire to be. In the US, not so much, but remember this - propaganda is propaganda. Free speech is a declaration of "may the best propagandist win". It's also the best way to fight propaganda, but...

(7) The only effective antidote to propaganda is reality, or (2). We are not okay. The fight is never over. Use the First Amendment or lose it, and damn the naysayers, damn the tinfoil hatters, they, we, ME, are all around you, but we are not monolithic, as Resistance (and Resistance infighting) shows. This is a war, it has always been a war.

(8) The stakes are the livelihood of yourself and everyone you know. Choose wisely, choose piecemeal, and do not get slack about it. You get to vote, you get to protest, you get to speak out, and the revolution is never over. That's another thing I learned from China, perpetual revolution.

(9) I voted for Hillary in the primaries and Hillary in the generals. And Al Franken, who I love so, so, so hard. But only until he inevitably becomes corrupt like the rest of 'em. There is the exceptional exception that proves the rule, but...the words I just said.

(10) Be well. Do not let these people with power over you dominate your soul. We do better as social animals, as a tribe, as big a tribe as we can form, as many people as we can include, as many rights as we can hand out, as many resources as we can pool, as many friends as we can make despite the differences. But remember there is greed. It is a natural force and it will eat you through every crack in your armor. Eventually we die, after we do Some Things here on earth. Do your thing, be well, and don't let it get ya. And fight for the right thing, do that for you, call your representatives etc., because you'll sleep better at night knowing you tried, and you didn't resort to violence, propaganda, or lies to do it.
posted by saysthis at 1:20 PM on June 14 [50 favorites]


Fun fact: Merv Griffin graduated from my high school. Class of '42. He was (and continues to be) well liked at the school, even after passing.
posted by mosk at 1:22 PM on June 14


Wow, talk about odd synchronicities - looking up the above link about Merv Griffin reminded me that he used to be involved in a number of properties, which lead me to this gem of an article from 1988, which explains how Griffin won control of Resorts International from none other than Donald J. Trump himself: http://www.nytimes.com/1988/04/15/business/griffin-wins-resorts-in-deal-with-trump.html

Methinks this fucking timeline is a bit too o'er packed with Easter eggs...
posted by mosk at 1:28 PM on June 14 [14 favorites]


I don't want to derail, but why don't you guys use paper ballots?
There are tons of things in life where computers make sense, but I've yet to see how voting can be one of them. On of the things I like about voting is my long paper ballot and the pencil on a string in the booth. When I've made my cross(es), I can review my choice carefully and if I've made a mistake I can call for help and get a new one.
When all is over, I put it in the box and get a piece of candy for myself and for the child I brought along so she could learn voting is very important. We chat with all the people we know in the neighborhood. We go pet the animals in the community farm next door. And then all the officials have a great night counting and chatting, and with pork and beer or lamb and coke when they are finished. The rest of us have good food too at our voting dinners. Everyone is happy and safe. Our votes are counted and we vote for the left. I live in a happy place

This idyllic little anecdote is to say that while there are millions of voters in a state or country, the actual county or district is usually manageable even in a big city. There is really no excuse for voting machines.
posted by mumimor at 1:30 PM on June 14 [14 favorites]


don't want to derail, but why don't you guys use paper ballots?

I'm gonna hazard a guess and say corporate bribery from Diebold etc.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:31 PM on June 14 [16 favorites]


Well we don't do things because they make sense, we do things because some politician's spouse has a large investment in a voting machine company and also they don't care if the votes might be altered in their favor.
posted by dilaudid at 1:32 PM on June 14 [29 favorites]


I don't want to derail, but why don't you guys use paper ballots?

The number of things we have to vote on in a lot of places is absurd. Dozens of choices to make on everything from local ordinances to state propositions to elected officials to judges (in some places) to anything else you can think of. So having the count automated makes sense as with the scantron ballots we use in Los Angeles... but electronic voting with no paper trail is stupid and not the correct response.
posted by Justinian at 1:33 PM on June 14 [12 favorites]


Go look at a California sample ballot/voter guide from last year and you will understand why we use counting machines, one way or another. It's not just one or two races that you can mark with a pencil and have them quaintly counted by hand without issues.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:38 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]


There's a lot of options in between "check box on paper" and "touch screen with no paper trail". The whole "hanging chad" situation spooked people momentarily into thinking that mechanical methods of tabulation (which you really have to have here because we vote on fucking everything, all on the same ballot) were too error-prone, so computers must be better (it was the early aughts, okay?).

Complicating the issue, elections aren't federally or even vaguely-centrally administered at all. It's localized to an absurd degree. So depending on where you live, you'll be using a totally different voting system.

Back when I lived in Maryland, we used optical scan far into the mid-aughts. It seemed to work well, though I suspect there's a chance of those machines somehow getting miscalibrated or malfunctioning in some way, but at least you've got paper back up in that instance.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:39 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


The number of things we have to vote on in a lot of places is absurd. Dozens of choices to make on everything from local ordinances to state propositions to elected officials to judges (in some places) to anything else you can think of. So having the count automated makes sense as with the scantron ballots we use in Los Angeles... but electronic voting with no paper trail is absurd and not the correct response.
posted by Justinian at 5:33 AM on June 15 [2 favorites +] [!]


(the correct response is Culture-style super-encrypted brain ballots with responsible systems who can override mass votes if they violate fundamental principles, plus machine brain backups and body cloning so we can take the specter of "no you're gonna die" out of democracy and governance)
posted by saysthis at 1:40 PM on June 14 [6 favorites]


Last time I voted, the ballot was longer than I am tall(ish). But they usually divide the stuff up into several ballots in different colors and you can choose to not participate if you have no clue what the vote is about. IMO, it gives you a much better overview than any screen. They also make a big deal out of giving you all the time you need in the booth.
posted by mumimor at 1:42 PM on June 14


Every voting system with secrecy has some flaws because when you separate the voter from the vote that loss of information introduces entropy.
posted by BentFranklin at 1:43 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


Just don't give them money. Or free votes or, worst comes to the worst, seats.
posted by Artw at 1:45 PM on June 14


why don't you guys use paper ballots?

Mostly it comes down to money; for a country that prides itself in democracy we've traditionally spent very little on our actual voting process. Doing paper ballots in a secure fashion has its own challenges and ways that fraud could be done, and while they're not insurmountable, it will cost money to do it right and we've not been willing to do that.

People have also underestimated the nature and likelihood of online attacks, not just in the case of voting but in general. As is often mentioned, things like the power grid are dangerously insecure against a nation state level attack.
posted by Candleman at 1:47 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


"I tried to tell the court that this guy’s crazy, that this is a big deal, but they didn't listen to me," she said. "

-- just some woman who got punched in the face.

there DEFINITELY could be more than one set of crimes in his past, maybe there is intimate partner violence in another news story. but everything I see in that description of his police report, contrary to earlier news about assaulting a girlfriend, was about violently abusing, threatening, shooting at, and punching his foster daughter and various of her friends. The quote above is from the 19 year old friend he punched in the face, according to the Daily Beast link from above. When the daughter tried to run away from him with the friend, he cut her out of her seatbelt with a knife and dragged her away.

CW, ok, sure. but the phrase "domestic violence" makes me sicker than any of the details, and most of the details are submerged somewhere in the friend's comment that his daughter told her "stories" about him. The milder stuff that's actually described, that's not domestic. He didn't do it in his fucking domicile. Some of it he did outside and in a car, and some of it he did in someone else's domicile, which is what is sometimes called a home invasion if the victims of it are not women who belong to you or friends of theirs.

not a word about his politics that I have seen reported so far makes any of it surprising. not any of it.
posted by queenofbithynia at 1:48 PM on June 14 [50 favorites]


Last time I voted, the ballot was longer than I am tall(ish).

We should get a paid half-day off every Friday afternoon to vote for whatever came up during that week. Subject to cancel if there's nothing to vote on. It's LEAN! Single-piece flow! Drum-buffer-rope! (more buzzwords available upon request)
posted by ctmf at 1:51 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]


so computers must be better

"It sounded bad to me. Digital. They have digital. What is digital? And it’s very complicated, you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out. And I said—and now they want to buy more voting machines. I said, 'What system are you going to be—' 'Sir, we’re staying with digital.' I said, 'No you’re not. You going to goddamned steam, the digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.'"
posted by peeedro at 1:55 PM on June 14 [12 favorites]




So this morning, a man opened fire on Republican congressmembers playing baseball in my mother's neighborhood, only a few blocks from where I was born and raised. A few hours later, a man opened fire at a UPS facility in San Francisco in my brother's neighborhood, only a few blocks from where he lives and works today. Fortunately they're both fine.

I don't know what to say that others haven't already said, except to emphasize that there is a point at which anecdotes like this become so common, it's easier to ask the question "who among us has not been affected by gun violence" than the converse.
posted by biogeo at 1:56 PM on June 14 [18 favorites]


Pat Sajak was a tea partier who was against Obamacare and thinks climate change is a hoax. Alex Trebek gives money to conservative candidates. Drew Carey does too. John O'Hurley supports Republican causes. Wink Martindale is a Republican. (In other news, Wink Martindale is still alive.) Merv Griffin was a Republican and raised a lot of money for them

In defense of Drew Carey, he's a Gary Johnson Libertarian, so not great but really not in Woolery/Sajak territory. (But speaking of Merv, Trebek, and Sajak, Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune were created by Merv. He also wrote the Jeopardy! theme song!
posted by Room 641-A at 1:58 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


This is such a minor detail, but can I just say how weird it is to me that they posted the full video of a real-life mass shooting online but felt the need to beep out the curse words.
posted by TwoWordReview at 1:58 PM on June 14 [125 favorites]


the scantron ballots we use in Los Angeles

Can I just say how much I love those little scantron ballots? The ones I used to get in Chicago were huge and unwieldy as hell and I find the way LA separates bubbles and text elegant, relatively foolproof, and way easier to maneuver.

posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 2:01 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


[Folks, all good, but let's call it good for now on the talk show hosts tangent.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:08 PM on June 14 [8 favorites]


[but we're enjoying the scantron tangent]
posted by localhuman at 2:12 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


Biogeo, I'm so glad your family is ok!
posted by greermahoney at 2:12 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]




Virginia Shooting Suspect Was Distraught Over Trump’s Election, Brother Says NYT background

Come on, that describes half the American population.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:16 PM on June 14 [65 favorites]




Congressional Shooter Loved Bernie, Hated ‘Racist’ Republicans, and Beat His Daughter

- On March 24, neighbor William Schaumleffel called the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office to complain that Hodgkinson had fired approximately 15 shots outside.... Schaumleffel said had never met the Hodgkinson, and said that almost everyone in the neighborhood owned a gun. But no one starts shooting randomly, into the distance, like Hodgkinson did.

- Hodgkinson was the foster father of at least two girls. The first, Wanda Ashley Stock, 17, committed suicide in 1996 by pouring gasoline on herself and setting herself on fire after a few months of living with the Hodgkinsons.
The Hodgkinsons gave an interview to the paper after her suicide, calling her a “very practical, level-headed girl.”

- In 2002, Hodgkinson became the foster father of another girl whom he allegedly abused, according to police record.

- In 2006, he was arrested for domestic battery and discharge of a firearm after he stormed into a neighbor's home where his teenage foster daughter was visiting with a friend. In a skirmish, he punched his foster daughter's then 19-year-old friend Aimee Moreland “in the face with a closed fist." Hodgkinson was also “observed throwing” his daughter “around the bedroom,” the police report said. When Moreland tried escaping with Hodgkinson's daughter in a vehicle, Hodgkinson reached inside and “turned off the ignition,” the report said.

"We were panicked and when I tried to reverse, I hit neutral instead and he opened my car door and hit me, and then came to her car door and pulled out a knife and cut her seatbelt and dragged her out," Moreland said. "She was only 15 or 16, I think. She was so tiny."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:24 PM on June 14 [39 favorites]


You'll hear it in the future: The Resistance is a terrorist group.

Terrorist, freedom fighter, depends on the side you're on, apparently.
posted by anem0ne at 2:26 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Terrorist, freedom fighter, depends on the side you're on, apparently.

I know that's an old saying, but I was thinking about it recently, and I actually don't think it's as subjective as all that.

I think "terrorist" should be reserved for those who target civilians.

"Freedom fighters" fight those who are actually oppressing them -- the people wielding the guns.

If you want to know if you're on the side of the good guys or the bad guys, ask yourself, "Am I deliberately targeting civilians?" If yes, you're a terrorist.
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:29 PM on June 14 [12 favorites]


Time to dust off the old "What is this I can't even" and "Wait. What?"

AV Club: Trump fans boycott The Goldbergs after creator criticizes president from Spaceballs
Proving that on Twitter, you’re always surrounded by assholes, Adam F. Goldberg, creator of ABC’s The Goldbergs, sparked controversy and spurred calls for a boycott after he criticized the president—specifically President Skroob, as played by Mel Brooks in Spaceballs. “My God, the President is completely and utterly broken! I can’t tell you how disappointed I am. This isn’t fixable, is it? #Skroob,” Goldberg wrote beneath a photo of a Dark Helmet action figure (presumably a custom job), its broken arm lying atop a prop can of Perri-Air.
The Twitter exchanges between Adam Goldberg and the trolls are gold.

In other news, Trump fans are watching a show called The Goldbergs.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:29 PM on June 14 [17 favorites]


Domestic violence asshole--->mass shooting asshole, what a surprise.
posted by emjaybee at 2:31 PM on June 14 [10 favorites]


If you want to know if you're on the side of the good guys or the bad guys, ask yourself, "Am I deliberately targeting civilians?" If yes, you're a terrorist.

Do politicians count as civilians in this context? Like, if your leader goes tyrannical you would be a terrorist if you went after him or her, but not if you went after random 18 year olds who signed up for the Army to get help with tuition?

I'm not being sarcastic, I think its a difficult question.
posted by Justinian at 2:32 PM on June 14 [11 favorites]




I don't want to derail, but why don't you guys use paper ballots?

I don't know how much people remember the HUGE deal with the Florida recount after the 2000 election. The question of trying to determine the INTENT of the voter when counting by hand. Hanging chad versus dimpled chad, etc.

A LOT of places decided they never wanted to have that problem again, and switched to voting machines with no paper trail. And it was successful, in that they (the people in power) never have to deal with a hand recount, because it's literally impossible.

I will say that I find the click-wheel voting machines we use now in Texas easier to use than the old punch-chad ones. The very first time I voted I went into the booth and got this punch ballot and no explanation of how to use it. I was looking for a pen to mark the boxes. Then once I located the punching tool and figured that part out the actual ballot was really cramped due to being all on one page and therefore confusing.

Obviously the machines have flaws and vulnerabilities. I'd like to see scantron ballots. But you still end up with the problem of improperly completed bubbles and recounts etc. Seems like properly secured machines with paper print-out receipts would be a good solution.
posted by threeturtles at 2:35 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Why are people so afraid?

Would you be if you had much much more than 90% of the people around you and you know deep down that your really didn't do all that much to deserve it?
posted by srboisvert at 2:39 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Seems like properly secured machines with paper print-out receipts would be a good solution.

Yeah - like a receipt you get at an ATM.
posted by yoga at 2:41 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


*waves at threeturtles*

Voting in TX, I never used a punch ballot, but Scantron (this was in DFW area), before the click-wheel system. The problem with receipts, of course, is that then your vote is no longer anonymous--for example, someone could pay or coerce you to vote one way and then demand the receipt as proof you did.

I have no idea what the Scantron error rate was, but I never saw anyone have trouble, and of course, it was re-countable. I would be greatly comforted if we went back to that.
posted by emjaybee at 2:41 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]


I know it's fun to joke around about election machines and everything, but it is a SERIOUS problem in the process that needs to be addressed. Otherwise all the handwringing and race watching we do and - ultimately who gets in office - has no legitimacy whatsoever.
posted by yoga at 2:43 PM on June 14 [8 favorites]


I would also like to mention that my local Dem party is already recruiting elections judges, and it's time-consuming but easy work that helps secure the voting process. If you are concerned about elections then contact your local party and volunteer to be one. The training is easy, and it's not hard work. Many places, you will get paid something, as well.
posted by emjaybee at 2:43 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


I'm not being sarcastic, I think its a difficult question.

True, that's a difficult question.

But I think the existence of gray areas doesn't change the fact that there are much larger areas of black and white.

You're not allowed to deliberately hurt people who pose no direct threat to you. You certainly can't do that, and then try to claim the moral high ground (no matter what you think of their morality or how you might think it indirectly harms you).

Contrariwise, whether the cause is just or not, violence against armed and prepared opponents isn't terrorism.

I think it's an important distinction to make.
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:44 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


> "The problem with receipts, of course, is that then your vote is no longer anonymous ..."

Only if you keep the receipt. The machine prints one out, you check it for errors, then the machine deposits it in a sealed box. Done.
posted by kyrademon at 2:45 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


I don't see why people using voting machines couldn't be given encrypted receipts that could display their vote only after being presented to a properly-secured machine at the electoral headquarters. That way you'd have a paper trail, but there'd still be some protection against the historic problem of people being forced to show their ballot to employers or whatever.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:46 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Yeah it was Houston where I had the punch ballot. It may even have been the 2000 presidential election. I think that was the first time I was living in TX after I was 18.

And yeah I think scantron is good, but no system is free of errors. A badly designed ballot is going to be a badly designed ballot.
posted by threeturtles at 2:47 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


My inner trauma survivor really wants to freak out after reading all of that about Hodgkinson, but I keep reminding myself that even the best party, group, religion, ideology, community, whatever, has an asshole that managed to sneak in somehow. Hell, even families have them. Mine has several. Doesn't mean the rest of the group lacks merit. Just means an asshole snuck in.
posted by elsietheeel at 2:48 PM on June 14 [22 favorites]


Here is Patti LuPone from Sunday night on the Tonys red carpet, serving you some real tea. (video)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:48 PM on June 14 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: Just means an asshole snuck in.
posted by Melismata at 2:51 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Being right that Trump is an asshole and the R party is full of crooks does not exempt one from being a terrible human being.
posted by emjaybee at 2:53 PM on June 14 [12 favorites]


And yeah I think scantron is good, but no system is free of errors. A badly designed ballot is going to be a badly designed ballot.

Yes. Our electoral system should take account of this fundamental fact. We should have an estimate of the error rate, and any election where the outcome falls within that uncertainty should be considered "too close to determine" and a second vote should be called.
posted by biogeo at 2:54 PM on June 14 [9 favorites]


It seems crass even to bring this up, but this is definitely the end of town halls and other open in-person events with Republican representatives. They've been trying to find an excuse to get out of them, and this is it. I also think that those of us who have been contacting congressional reps should expect surveillance and possibly intimidation from law enforcement. There are reports that Hodgkinson contacted his congressional representative, Mike Bost, 10 times since June, 2016. Bost's office said he was opinionated but not threatening, which means that any opinionated but not threatening congressperson-contacter can now be considered a potential threat.

Anyway, I think we're going to have to regroup and find some new protest strategies, because some of the old ones just went away.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:55 PM on June 14 [46 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS:

** VA primary roundup:
-- Governor:
-- On the Dem side, Lt Gov Northam won by an unexpectedly wide margin of 56-44 over former Congressman Perriello. Perriello immediately pledged unity and support. Dem turnout was extremely high at 531k - so high that, if VA had a top two primary system, both Dems would have advanced. Pleasantly, the primary featured both candidates trying to run the further left.

-- The GOP side turned out to be an unexpected squeaker, as ex-DNC chair Gillespie edged crypto-white supremacist Stewart by 43.7-42.5 (the balance went to also-ran Wagner). Stewart pledged no unity whatsoever, and in fact, refused to concede until all absentee ballots are counted. This one is just outside the recount margin. Turnout was decent, but considerably below Dems at 362k.

-- Obviously, the Dems don't want to take this for granted, especially given the current GOP hold on the legislature. That said, the party seems united behind Northam and Trump is strongly disliked in the state. Gillespie is sharp, but has already lost a previous statewide race, faces a divided party, and has to sail between Scylla and Charybdis on Trump support.
-- Other races:
-- On the Lt Gov side (Virginia elects the Lt Gov separately), former federal prosecutor Fairfax won the Dem nom. Notable that Fairfax would be the first black statewide office holder since Governor Wilder in the early 90s (VA only has 3 statewide elected offices). On the GOP side, Vogel edged in another tight one. Unclear how this will affect her legal battle with candidate Reeves.

Lt Gov is of interest because they break ties in the state Senate, and that's currently held by the GOP 21-19. Any scenario that got the Dems one more seat, and they would take effective control. Regular elections for the Senate aren't until 2019, though, but this is where we can have fun speculating about special elections or party switching.

The House of Delegates is more tightly in GOP control, 66-34, meaning Dems would need to flip 17 seats (all 100 seats are up for election). This will be challenging. However, 17 GOP seats voted for Clinton (she won 51 of 100 overall). Also, recruitment was far stronger this time for Dems - of 100 seats, 87 have candidates - in 2015, it was just 56. GOP, by contrast, is contesting just 72.

Interesting Delegate races include HD-13, currently held by the odious Bob Marshall. The primary was won by Danica Roem (who would be VA's first transgender legislator). Clinton won this LD 55-40. More targeted districts here.
** NJ gov -- As mentioned upstream, a new Quinnipiac poll has gov Christie at record low approval. In the race proper, Dem Murphy is up on Lt Gov Guadagno by 55-26. Trump is very unpopular, and Guadagno is going to have a heck of a time running away from both him and Christie. Ironically, apparently Guadagno and Christie don't get along at all, but that's not enough to help her.

** GA-06:
-- Mentioned upstream, there is serious concern as to the vulnerability to hacking of the Georgia electoral system.

-- New Trafalgar poll has Ossoff up 47.5 - 43-4.
** Today's Fun Fact: Since 1938, the party controlling the White House has only won 39% of gubernatorial races.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:10 PM on June 14 [45 favorites]


Don't comply in advance, A&C. We should plan, for sure, in case that happens but let's not assume it already has.
posted by emjaybee at 3:10 PM on June 14 [29 favorites]


This is probably the first time I've ever said this; Trump didn't screw today up. Yet.
posted by Justinian at 3:12 PM on June 14 [12 favorites]


I also think that those of us who have been contacting congressional reps should expect surveillance and possibly intimidation from law enforcement.

It is extremely important for people to continue contacting their representatives. I consider it highly unlikely that non-threatening callers will be subject to surveillance and intimidation from law enforcement, not least because of the immense resources that would be required for such a policy.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:13 PM on June 14 [17 favorites]


this is definitely the end of town halls and other open in-person events with Republican representatives.

I'd love to see them have to explain why they can't meet with constituents passing through a metal detector but it's perfectly safe to wander around in public, particular in open/concealed carry states and from 2nd amendment assholes.

Here is Patti LuPone from Sunday night on the Tonys red carpet, serving you some real tea. (video)

She's amazing. Not a fan of Madonna either, but a big fan of Hillary. (Btw, clips are NSFW.)
posted by Room 641-A at 3:14 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


This is probably the first time I've ever said this; Trump didn't screw today up. Yet.

It's his birthday. TrumpDay. Today is all about how great he is and the 71st anniversary of the day the earth was graced with his presence. He's too busy marveling at his own awesomeness to care about anything else.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:17 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


NYT: Turkish Guards Will Be Charged in Embassy Protest, Officials Say
Law enforcement officials plan to announce charges Thursday against a dozen members of the Turkish president’s security detail for their involvement in a brutal attack on protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence here last month, two American officials said on Wednesday.

Authorities have already charged several others, including two Americans and two Canadians, with taking part in the violent skirmish.
Many of them left the country with Erdogan and presumably won't be coming back anytime soon, but it's more than the "do absolutely nothing" I expected.
posted by zachlipton at 3:19 PM on June 14 [55 favorites]


I think there is a misunderstanding re: the paper copy of the ballot. Those would be checked by the voter and deposited in a secure ballot box at the voting site. The paper copies would be used in the event that there was a suspicion that they vote totals were compromised (remember, just because an individual ballot doesn't appear corrupted doesn't mean the totals couldn't be).

The paper ballot would be confirmed by the voter before being left as a second record. There should be no identifying information on the ballot.
posted by obliquity of the ecliptic at 3:20 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


The GOP side turned out to be an unexpected squeaker, ex-DNC chair Gillespie edged crypto-white supremacist Stewart by 43.7-42.5

That should read ex-RNC chair. Also notable, perhaps spooked by close polling, the Gillespie campaign embraced Stewart's signature issue at the last moment.
posted by peeedro at 3:22 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Yes, of course, major typo there! Thanks, peeedro.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:24 PM on June 14




Bringing you more light relief from the administration that can't manage do anything right:

@Josh Gerstein SG's office rushing on travel ban brief. Missing word(s).

It's an image so I'll transcribe a bit of it
Respondents contend that the government's appeal [...] becomes moot today [...] As a matter of both Executive Order [...] and common sense, a 90-day period that was never permitted to run is not now elapsing. Respondents' contrary argument is based on a misreading of the. As discussed more fully in [...]
I'm guessing someone was supposed to look something up and fill in that part?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:27 PM on June 14 [8 favorites]


WaPo: Special counsel is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, officials say.

ooops I hit post too soon by accident! Second paragraph's the money paragraph, emphasis mine:
The move by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s own conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said.

Trump had received private assurances from former FBI Director James B. Comey starting in January that he was not personally under investigation. Officials say that changed shortly after Comey’s firing.
posted by lalex at 3:27 PM on June 14 [84 favorites]


How to vote
posted by mumimor at 3:28 PM on June 14


Trump had received private assurances from former FBI Director James B. Comey starting in January that he was not personally under investigation. Officials say that changed shortly after Comey’s firing.

YA DUN GOOFED DONNY BOY
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:29 PM on June 14 [23 favorites]




WaPo: Special counsel is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, officials say.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:32 PM on June 14 [91 favorites]


Irish Central News Sean Spicer among the favorites to be US Ambassador to Ireland

You have to click on the link to see the glorious pants that Spicer is sporting. I don't even know where you buy those kinds of pants except maybe a tourist shop?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:33 PM on June 14 [24 favorites]


There's one thing I don't think y'all are quite getting.

Those paper ballots?

Count them by hand.

Don't use a scantron. No, I don't care how many things you're voting for.

Count them by hand, and you can trust the results.
posted by Yowser at 3:33 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]




You have to click on the link to see the glorious pants that Spicer is sporting.

EXCEEDED MY EXPECTATIONS
posted by lalex at 3:35 PM on June 14 [39 favorites]


VINDICATED
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:35 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Those pants are beyond belief. I forgive him for about 10% of his evil
posted by mumimor at 3:36 PM on June 14 [12 favorites]


> There are reports that Hodgkinson contacted his congressional representative, Mike Bost, 10 times since June, 2016. Bost's office said he was opinionated but not threatening, which means that any opinionated but not threatening congressperson-contacter can now be considered a potential threat.

Anyway, I think we're going to have to regroup and find some new protest strategies, because some of the old ones just went away.


I am reminding myself that I need to be making more calls to my elected representatives — more "thank you for being the best possible representative" calls to Lee, more "uhhh I would very much like to vote for you for president in 2020 plz make that a thing" calls to Harris, and more "what the hell is wrong with you would you please get out of Ted Lieu's Senate seat?" calls to Feinstein.

The people who deserve to be yelled at still deserve to be yelled at, even if someone who deserved to be yelled at just got shot at. when they stifle dissent, that gives us grounds for more dissent and more organization. When we stifle our own dissent, we undermine our own organizational efforts.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:36 PM on June 14 [22 favorites]


Between those pants and when he was the Easter Bunny, the Things I Like About Sean Spicer Meter now reads at 2.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:37 PM on June 14 [25 favorites]


This from Jesse Taylor seems...about right?
Your daily news schedule until 2020:

6-9 AM: terrible things happen
9:15 AM: funny meme
12-6 PM: Senate hearings
6-7 PM: scoops
posted by lalex at 3:38 PM on June 14 [87 favorites]


Is he actually qualified in any way to be an ambassador?
posted by Melismata at 3:39 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


This is probably the first time I've ever said this; Trump didn't screw today up. Yet.

I'll say the same jinx-warding-off spell I say when people remark that no disasters have happened today at work: "...that you know of."
posted by ctmf at 3:39 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


Is he actually qualified in any way to be an ambassador?

Nobody is. It's a patronage position in a lot of cases. So long as you don't whip it out in public you get to attend all the schmoozy gatherings and your charge d’affaires career diplomat does all the real work.
posted by Talez at 3:40 PM on June 14 [17 favorites]


One of the other people mentioned as a possible choice for Ambassador to Ireland is Senator Susan Collins. That would be an interesting choice. I get the feeling as the most moderate of the Republican Senators she is often a thorn in their side. If the job was offered (and she accepted) would LePage get to choose her replacement or would there be a special election?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:42 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


I don't even know where you buy those kinds of pants except maybe a tourist shop?

Begorrah!
posted by kirkaracha at 3:42 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Is he actually qualified in any way to be an ambassador?

I feel like in the past, nations with whom we have extremely friendly relationships have received and sent patronage ambassadors. But idk this is a president who managed to pick a fight with Australia so they should prolly send someone actually qualified JUST IN CASE.
posted by lalex at 3:42 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Is he actually qualified in any way to be an ambassador?
Ambassador to Ireland is generally a straight-up patronage position, often to reward a big donor. There are embassy staff who are actually qualified.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:43 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]


You have to click on the link to see the glorious pants that Spicer is sporting.

Adults have pajamas to school day too?
posted by Artw at 3:44 PM on June 14 [6 favorites]


Secret Life of Gravy: "If the job was offered (and she accepted) would LePage get to choose her replacement or would there be a special election?"

According to Ballotpedia, Maine is one of the 36 states where Senate vacancies are filled by gubernatorial appointment and the appointment stands until the next regularly scheduled statewide general election.
posted by mhum at 3:45 PM on June 14


Count them by hand, and you can trust the results.

I do that. For my town. It's super hard (I mean, the counting is easy but making sure it's all accurate is very exacting and I'm only counting a few thousand along with maybe ten other people). And the results are only as trustworthy as someone like me is. That sort of trustworthiness is difficult to scale. What is less difficult is making good trustworthy voting machines. And they do scale. There's just very little incentive to do it and very much incentive not to.
posted by jessamyn at 3:45 PM on June 14 [24 favorites]


I mean you look at those pants and you think, "Aaaw, he has a fun side that just wants to get out and play." It is tragic that he has allowed himself to be Trump tainted.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:45 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


One of the other people mentioned as a possible choice for Ambassador to Ireland is Senator Susan Collins. That would be an interesting choice. I get the feeling as the most moderate of the Republican Senators she is often a thorn in their side. If the job was offered (and she accepted) would LePage get to choose her replacement or would there be a special election?

LePage could appoint, but the appointee would only serve until 2018 ("next regularly scheduled statewide election"). Appointing Collins ambassador to anywhere would get her out of the Maine Governor's race in 2018, which I see as a very good thing.
posted by anastasiav at 3:45 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


I feel like in the past, nations with whom we have extremely friendly relationships have received and sent patronage ambassadors.

Sure, but sending them obvious Baghdad Bob seems more like an insult.
posted by ctmf at 3:46 PM on June 14


This seems trivial in light of everything else going on, but:
NY Times: Fox News Drops ‘Fair and Balanced’ Motto

“The shift has nothing to do with programming or editorial decisions,” the network said in a statement. Instead, the slogan was dropped in part because of its close association with Roger Ailes, network’s co-founder, former chairman and the originator of the phrase, who was fired in August in a sexual harassment scandal.

The network said that “Fair and Balanced” was shelved as a marketing tool after Mr. Ailes’s departure. In its place is a new motto: “Most Watched, Most Trusted.”

posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 3:47 PM on June 14 [10 favorites]


You know that bit in the "Threw it On the Ground" video where he slams the cake down and says "happy birthday to the ground?" That's how I feel reading that article.
posted by zachlipton at 3:50 PM on June 14 [13 favorites]


Other candidates for the Irish Ambassador job include Christopher Ruddy and Rep. Peter King. I think I'd prefer either of them to be removed from the U.S. ahead of Spicey time, who does have a bit of a soulful tragic element to his personality. (And also kind of sucks at his job, which is good strategically.)
posted by msalt at 3:52 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


How to vote

That's barbaric. If you are qualified to vote, they mail you a polling card? How do they stop minorities from voting? Who would want a democracy like that? Communist savages.
posted by saysthis at 3:52 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Unfortunately there's no way the President can effectively run the country at all, ever with this criminal investigation looming over him; he should invoke the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to permanently temporarily hand over the reins to the Vice President until he also gets charged with something, wow, this timeline

happy birthday mister president
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:52 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Jesus Christ, Trump can't be stupid enough to appoint Pete King ambassador to Ireland. I suspect that most people in Irish political life would rather spit in his face than shake his hand.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:53 PM on June 14 [6 favorites]


I mean you look at those pants and you think, "Aaaw, he has a fun side that just wants to get out and play."

And then you think about how MEAN Trump was to him when he wouldn't let him meet the Pope and there's probably nobody in the world Spicey wants to meet more than the Pope except for MAYBE Jesus or Santa Claus and it's just... I feel bad for him sometimes.

And then I remember he kinda did this to himself and he hasn't done anything to extricate himself so...you made your bed and now you're going to lie in it...in your shamrock jammies.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:54 PM on June 14 [33 favorites]


Jesus Christ, Trump can't be stupid enough to

I got bad news for you
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:54 PM on June 14 [82 favorites]


Jesus Christ, Trump can't be stupid enough to

Let me stop you right there...
posted by Justinian at 3:54 PM on June 14 [58 favorites]


Jesus Christ, Trump can't be stupid enough to

Hold my beer!
posted by elsietheeel at 3:55 PM on June 14 [51 favorites]


(Just kidding, still sober.)
posted by elsietheeel at 3:56 PM on June 14 [20 favorites]


So theoretically if Susan Collins wanted to give up her seat-- which might not be likely but the Ambassador job might be more fun and less stress-- we would be saddled with a far Right Winger in her place. Ugh. Don't do it, Susan! Planned Parenthood depends on you.

I listened to a recording of the Sessions hearing today (lawfare podcast) and I noticed her voice was pretty quavery. Is she in good health?

Also noticed in the recording how maddening Sessions' drawl was, especially when he slowwwwwed way down to "answer" Sen. Harris. She would ask him a pointed question that could be answered yes or no and he would deliberately meander down the path and into the raspberry bushes as a way to avoid her questions. That's why she interrupted him so much; five minutes goes by fast. He would drive me crazy and I've lived in NC for 17 years now. I wonder if this was a strategy cooked up by him and his counsel knowing her reputation. He did the same thing with the other Democrats but not to as great an extent.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:56 PM on June 14 [12 favorites]


Jinx! (burps at mirror)
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:56 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Is he actually qualified in any way to be an ambassador?

To be a political appointed ambassador? Sure.

To be a career diplomat? No.

Some ambassadors are career diplomats, and some are political appointees. The bar is pretty low for what makes a political appointee ambassador qualified, which was the case under previous presidents, as well (see, e.g., Colleen Bell, producer of The Bold and The Beautiful, major Obama donor and bundler of more than $2.1 million for the 2012 campaign, chairperson of Obama's Advisory Committee on the Arts, Kennedy Center Board of Trustees member, trustee of LACMA, and Obama's appointee as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary).
posted by The World Famous at 3:56 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


I don't care what Spicer is doing to himself, I care what he's doing to the country and the world at large with his endless malicious lying since before his first scheduled press conference (when he said Trump's inauguration was the biggest ever) in defense of an even more malicious and dangerous criminal.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:56 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


(Who I have no doubt is a very nice person and who, as far as I know, did a fine job.)
posted by The World Famous at 3:57 PM on June 14


(WaPo) The Justice Department has long held that it would not be appropriate to indict a sitting president.

I know I could look up the precise reasoning behind this and I am sure it is long and elaborate. but it seems like it would be much more appropriate to indict a sitting president than to allow a suspected criminal to evade prosecution simply because he holds a high office and is extremely powerful. wouldn't it? if you value the rule of law or whatever?
posted by queenofbithynia at 3:57 PM on June 14 [15 favorites]


anything charming about sean spicer makes him worse as a human being, since charm put to the service of fascism is a tool for normalization.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:00 PM on June 14 [16 favorites]


Update on the Southern Baptist Convention resolution on alt-right white supremacy:

WaPo: Southern Baptists voted overwhelmingly to condemn ‘alt-right white supremacy’
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 4:01 PM on June 14 [39 favorites]


WaPo: Special counsel is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, officials say.

Anyone else read that and think, "Wow, if that actually leaked, somebody REALLY wants Trump to fire Mueller?"
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:03 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


sooooo, what if this provokes Trump into going nuclear and firing Mueller?

*opens @realdonaldtrump in new tab*
posted by lalex at 4:04 PM on June 14 [6 favorites]


Considering that Foreign Officers are supposed to be charismatic smooth talkers that can win over any crowd with lies, I'd say that Sean Spicer is totally unqualified.
posted by Yowser at 4:05 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]


The Southern Baptists also commended "those leaders who choose not to meet privately with members of the opposite sex who are not their spouse."
posted by zachlipton at 4:05 PM on June 14 [14 favorites]


In its place is a new motto: “Most Watched, Most Trusted.”

They opted for this over the more direct version, "Fox News: People Actually Believe This Stuff."
posted by p3t3 at 4:06 PM on June 14 [9 favorites]


In [place of Fox News' earlier motto, "Fair and Balanced"] is a new motto: “Most Watched, Most Trusted.”

Yes, that's what I tell the kids: I'm watching them because I trust them not to cheat.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:07 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Also: That sanctions attachment against Russia passed the Senate 97-2. It's on an Iran sanctions bill, which certainly doesn't thrill me, but... 97-2.

Can you imagine what'll happen if Congress passes further sanctions against Russia (and solidifies those in place) with a veto-proof majority? Or if they actually fall short of that, get vetoed, and then vote to override?

It's a lot to hope for because Republicans, but that 97-2 has my heart aflutter with the possibilities.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:08 PM on June 14 [11 favorites]


"Fox News: We're Why Your Grandchildren Will Tell Legends Of The Surface-World"
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:08 PM on June 14 [63 favorites]


FOX NEWS: The party of 73 year old white racists!

Haha, just kidding, half of them are younger than 73.
posted by Justinian at 4:08 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


I don't see why Trump would be mad. I mean, he nagged Comey for months to make sure the public knew whether Trump was or wasn't a target of investigation. Mission accomplished.

AND IF YA DON'T KNOW, NOW YA KNOW, MR. PRESIDENT!
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:10 PM on June 14 [25 favorites]


anything charming about sean spicer makes him worse as a human being, since charm put to the service of fascism is a tool for normalization.

This is why I don't really like it when people use the cutesy "Spicey" nickname. And for the same reason, why I've always objected to people referring to trump as "The Donald" (don't read that thread if you don't want to feel super depressed, by the way).
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:11 PM on June 14 [8 favorites]


FOX NEWS: We've made your children hate you. Now we'll make you hate them back.

(I miss those Letterman Top Tens)
posted by Devonian at 4:12 PM on June 14 [16 favorites]


Am I totally off base about this potentially being some bizarre trap? If Trump fires Mueller now, after it being publicly reported that Trump is under investigation for obstruction of justice, isn't it just...more obstruction of justice? Like, even more obvious obstruction of justice. Obstruction of justice squared, perhaps. idk, real life is crazy, I've lost all ability to gauge what's a probable strategy and what's just one more part of horse-loose-in-the-hospital craziness.
posted by yasaman at 4:12 PM on June 14 [16 favorites]


> (don't read that thread if you don't want to feel super depressed, by the way).

I dunno some of those comments seemed remarkably prescient (e.g. mazola's "TRUMP 2016: MAYBE IT'S TIME WE RECONSIDER COMMUNISM").
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:15 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


"The FBI leak of information regarding the President is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal." - statement by Marc Kasowitz's spokesperson (via OANN Twitter)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:16 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


if he fires mueller now, we live in a consequence-free autocracy,
unless someone figures out a way to keep the investigation going like last time,
in which case we hold our breath to see if we live in a consequence-free autocracy,
until trump does the next thing that confirms we live in a consequence-free autocracy,
unless…
posted by murphy slaw at 4:16 PM on June 14 [7 favorites]


Anyone else read that and think, "Wow, if that actually leaked, somebody REALLY wants Trump to fire Mueller?"

On the contrary, I think this makes it much harder for Trump to fire Mueller. Maybe more likely that he tries, but there goes the "but Trump himself isn't under investigation because Comey said so" reasoning.
posted by spitbull at 4:16 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


can we all agree that if he cans mueller we refer to it as "the return of saturday night massacre II: staying alive"
posted by murphy slaw at 4:18 PM on June 14 [16 favorites]


"Go ahead, you big baby. Fire Mueller. I triple-dog-dare you! Bawk bawk bawk bawk bawk," said a source familiar with the investigation. [fake]
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:20 PM on June 14 [12 favorites]


Am I totally off base about this potentially being some bizarre trap? If Trump fires Mueller now, after it being publicly reported that Trump is under investigation for obstruction of justice, isn't it just...more obstruction of justice?

It was certainly considered such in point 4 of Article I of Nixon's articles of impeachment.
posted by Justinian at 4:20 PM on June 14 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I totally read the leaks as a response to the rumors of Mueller's imminent unemployment. I think there's no way that Trump doesn't at least TRY to fire him now (and maybe he'll succeed. Who knows) but now it makes trump look extremely guilty when he does so. For whatever that's worth.
posted by sporkwort at 4:20 PM on June 14


those leaders who choose not to meet privately with members of the opposite sex who are not their spouse.

But same sex is ok.
posted by Melismata at 4:24 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


So here's a scenario:

1) Mueller is able to decide quite quickly that he can prove Trump committed felony obstruction of justice on at least one instance, perhaps just by using evidence which is already publicly available. (More evidence of other instances of the crime might arise later, but he's confident about at least one instance.)

2) Many months later, Mueller is able to issue a complete report regarding other allegations, such as the campaign's collusion with Russia.

My question is, how likely is it Mueller could make an official report of his belief that a crime can be proven, to Congress, immediately after item 1, instead of waiting many months for item 2?

We are talking about the most powerful man in the world, and I would hope that if Mueller can find him to be provably guilty of a serious felony sooner rather than later, he would be morally obliged to allow Congress to impeach the President sooner rather than later.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:25 PM on June 14


I'm wondering why Mike Lee and Rand Paul voted against the Russia sanctions bill.
posted by spitbull at 4:25 PM on June 14 [6 favorites]


The Southern Baptists also commended "those leaders who choose not to meet privately with members of the opposite sex who are not their spouse."

Yeah, also from the WaPo link upthread:

Meeting in Phoenix this week, Southern Baptists voted Tuesday to condemn gambling and Planned Parenthood, and they adopted a statement on the importance of public officials who display “consistent moral character.” That resolution also commended “those leaders who choose not to meet privately with members of the opposite sex who are not their spouse,” referring to Vice President Pence, who drew attention when he said he doesn’t eat alone with a woman other than his wife.

I wanted to know what "overwhelmingly voted" meant in terms of vote count but didn't see it in the article.

Another quote to touch on race within the SBC:

The Southern Baptist resolution was written by Dwight McKissic, a black pastor from Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Tex., who said he wanted the denomination to make it clear that they had no sympathy for the alt-right...

He said black Southern Baptists were disappointed by how it was handled, but it became clear Tuesday that a large number of white Southern Baptists wanted to vote on the resolution. There was a vote, but it needed a two-thirds majority and received 57.53 percent. Then the committee decided to revisit the resolution.


“I don’t think they anticipated how white people would get upset about this and demanded something be done. I’m encouraged and heartened by this,” McKissic said. “It was the white people who said, no, we will not take this sitting down. We don’t want this association with the convention.”
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 4:32 PM on June 14 [7 favorites]


I'm wondering why Mike Lee and Rand Paul voted against the Russia sanctions bill.

I'd imagine Rand did it for the same reason he does everything: he's a narcissistic contrarian in love with the smell of his own farts.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:33 PM on June 14 [33 favorites]


For Trump's inner circle, the most terrifying line of the whole WaPo piece has to be: "Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said."

Y'all know the drill. "It's not the crime..."
posted by lalex at 4:36 PM on June 14 [22 favorites]


MetaFilter: Narcissistic contrarians in love with the smell of their own farts.
posted by mosk at 4:39 PM on June 14 [10 favorites]


"Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said."

I'd like to point them in the direction of the shadowy LLCs buying up Trump property. Seems like a good place to start.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:42 PM on June 14 [13 favorites]


Trump, Jr. re-tweeted someone saying that Mueller should be "shut down immediately."

The nerve of these people, seriously.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:43 PM on June 14 [34 favorites]



Anyone else read that and think, "Wow, if that actually leaked, somebody REALLY wants Trump to fire Mueller?"


I thought it was a sure thing that Mueller's people orchestrated the leak in order to ensure that potentially firing him would be open-and-shut obstruction! which, now, it unquestionably would or will be. like even to the extent of leaking the investigation before the particular crime, because they can trust him to commit the crime.
posted by queenofbithynia at 4:44 PM on June 14 [10 favorites]


There are reports that Travis Air Force Base is on lockdown due to an "active shooter situation at the shopping center on base."

There was also a mass shooting at the UPS facility in San Francisco today.

For some goddamn reason, everything in this country is a political issue from how retailer workers greet customers in the month of December to whether delicious tacos should be served from convenient trucks. But whenever anyone maybe mentions the slightest concept of gun control, we're all told not to politicize it.
posted by zachlipton at 4:44 PM on June 14 [59 favorites]


those leaders who choose not to meet privately with members of the opposite sex who are not their spouse.

But same sex is ok.


I believe in the family
With my ever loving wife beside me
But she don't know about my girlfriend
Or the man I met last night

posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 4:44 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


CBS Travis Air Force Base reports "real world security incident"

When I first saw this half an hour ago on twitter, everyone was saying they had a planned training event today but now I'm seeing reports of an active shooter on base right now.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:45 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


My question is, how likely is it Mueller could make an official report of his belief that a crime can be proven, to Congress, immediately after item 1, instead of waiting many months for item 2?

Traditionally, I think this investigators try to be as thorough as possible, making sure they have every i dotted and t crossed before they reveal their findings. So I think waiting is far more likely. You want the evidence to be over-whelming as much as possible. As the saying goes, if you come for the king you best not miss.
posted by drezdn at 4:45 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


If Trump fires Mueller now

I keep hearing this from various pundits, but didn't Rosenstein establish (under sworn oath) that he is the only person who can legally fire Muller? When people talk about Trump firing Mueller, how would this happen?
posted by Room 641-A at 4:46 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]




Travis is near me. The local news is reporting a security incident and telling people on base to stay inside with their doors and windows locked.
posted by elsietheeel at 4:47 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


I think the exception would be if there was an active threat posed to the country by not going for the immediate prove-able charge.
posted by drezdn at 4:47 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


I keep hearing this from various pundits, but didn't Rosenstein establish (under sworn oath) that he is the only person who can legally fire Muller? When people talk about Trump firing Mueller, how would this happen?

Same as Nixon? Direct Rosenstein to fire the special council. When Rosenstein refuses fire him, bring up the next sap, request they fire Muller. Repeat until Mueller is fired.
posted by Talez at 4:47 PM on June 14 [6 favorites]


@Jacob Martin there's an active shooter here at Travis Air Force base, the employees have us locked into an office for safety. please send ur prayers

So not a training exercise although there was one planned for today.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:48 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]


I keep hearing this from various pundits, but didn't Rosenstein establish (under sworn oath) that he is the only person who can legally fire Muller? When people talk about Trump firing Mueller, how would this happen?

Neal Katyal has some information on this: Trump or Congress can still block Robert Mueller. I know. I wrote the rules.
posted by zachlipton at 4:48 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]


When people talk about Trump firing Mueller, how would this happen

he tweets "you're fired" at 3 in the morning and is SO ANGRY that the mean eyebrows man is still there the next day. Disrespect! Sad.
posted by queenofbithynia at 4:48 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


how would this happen?

Could he fire Rosenstein and appoint someone who would fire Mueller?
posted by drezdn at 4:48 PM on June 14


I keep hearing this from various pundits, but didn't Rosenstein establish (under sworn oath) that he is the only person who can legally fire Muller? When people talk about Trump firing Mueller, how would this happen?

The same way Nixon did. Trump orders Rosenstein to fire Mueller. Rosenstein refuses, so Trump fires him. Then orders Rosenstein's next-in-command to do it, and they refuse.

Lather, rinse, repeat.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:49 PM on June 14


If he does it on a Saturday night, we're going to have to make Wikipedia's "Saturday Night Massacre" article into a disambiguation page.
posted by zachlipton at 4:51 PM on June 14 [20 favorites]


They've lifted the shelter in place and people are going back into the BX, so who knows what's going on right now. Cars are going in and out of the base again. Live helicopter news feed.
posted by elsietheeel at 4:53 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Trump, Jr. re-tweeted someone

Ugh. He was especially nasty about that shooter this morning. He really is a poisonous pill.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

And the good news is that no one wants to be the Bork because you get Borked. In other words Nixon worked his way down the AG ladder to the fourth person, Robert Bork, who did fire Cox so he could keep his job. Years later when he was nominated by Ronald Reagan for the Supreme Court, the Democrats voted against him (for various reasons) and that's how we ended up with Justice Kennedy.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:56 PM on June 14 [10 favorites]


sooo. we know trump can't directly fire mueller. and members of the trumpstaff know that trump can't directly fire mueller. but trump himself is a moron. is there any chance he's dumb enough to publicly announce that he's firing mueller, without realizing that he doesn't actually have that power?

cause that would be hilarious.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:59 PM on June 14 [34 favorites]


As Neal Katyal says, though, if Trump wanted to go nuclear he could unilaterally repeal the special counsel regulation (as it is not a piece of legislation but a regulation in the executive branch, of which Trump is the head) and then directly fire Mueller.

It never occurred to me that something like that might be considered. Apparently it never occurred to the people who wrote the regulation.

The firestorm if Trump tried such a thing would engulf the country.
posted by Justinian at 5:00 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


The Guardian reports that Donald Trump himself is now under investigation for obstruction of justice.

"This marks the first time that the ongoing investigation, which has hung over Trump since his inauguration, has potentially implicated the president himself."

/inserts heavy breathing gif
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:01 PM on June 14 [13 favorites]


"Oh, there are a lot of lousy people in the world. Also, a lot of terrific people. You've gotta remember that, and you've got to move in the right circles. I have days where I just want everyone to go fuck themselves or walk off a cliff, but I only say that to myself, and I smile and I walk home and I have some tea, I talk to Garson [Kanin, her husband], I might take a nap. Then I wake up and I write, and in writing, I wipe away all the unpleasantness of the day, of the people, of the city, whatever. We have it in our power to overcome assholes, and I think we have them thrown into our path to see if we have the chops to handle them."

- Ruth Gordon, age 87
posted by elsietheeel at 5:01 PM on June 14 [56 favorites]


is there any chance he's dumb enough...

Yes. The answer is always yes.
posted by lalex at 5:01 PM on June 14 [31 favorites]


Would Mueller have the power to get his tax returns as part of the collusion investigation, or not really because Trump is suspected of only obstruction?

I apologize for my English, I'm very excited.
posted by Tarumba at 5:05 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]




> As Neal Katyal says, though, if Trump wanted to go nuclear he could unilaterally repeal the special counsel regulation (as it is not a piece of legislation but a regulation in the executive branch, of which Trump is the head) and then directly fire Mueller.

so what happens is trump declares he's firing Mueller directly. Then he's informed (by Mueller, by Priebus, by the press, by who?) that he can't actually do that. So he fumes and rages and yells and throws shit — until Bannon or whoever tells him that he actually can directly fire Mueller, by unilaterally repealing the special counsel regulation. so he does that.

what comes next?
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:07 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Same as Nixon? Direct Rosenstein to fire the special council. When Rosenstein refuses fire him, bring up the next sap, request they fire Muller. Repeat until Mueller is fired.

Oh, okay, thanks. I wasn't sure if "fire Mueller" was shorthand for any scenario like this or if I was misunderstanding.

Ben Stein

Mueller? Mueller? Mueller?

posted by Room 641-A at 5:08 PM on June 14 [9 favorites]


so what happens is trump declares he's firing Mueller directly. Then he's informed (by Mueller, by Priebus, by the press, by who?) that he can't actually do that. So he fumes and rages and yells and throws shit — until Bannon or whoever tells him that he actually can directly fire Mueller, by unilaterally repealing the special counsel regulation. so he does that.

what comes next?


Mid season hiatus?
posted by milarepa at 5:10 PM on June 14 [29 favorites]


Would Mueller have the power to get his tax returns as part of the collusion investigation

Mueller has the power to get literally almost anything he decides he needs, including Trump's tax returns.
posted by Justinian at 5:11 PM on June 14 [17 favorites]


what comes next?
Honestly, I have no idea. I don't think the Republicans are going to do anything about anything. Trump could literally shoot a man on 5th Avenue and they would note that the man once donated to the Democrats before moving on to more-pressing business. So then the question is what the rest of us do. I found myself thinking today about whether I would participate in a general strike if it meant losing my job. I think I would, but fuck.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:12 PM on June 14 [7 favorites]


Would Mueller have the power to get his tax returns

Don't worry about your English. It's perfectly fine. And the short answer is yes. And not only from the Special Counsel. The NY AG is pursuing an investigation into Trump's business dealings, which would probably lead to them getting the returns. And the emoluments lawsuits will get the returns, if any of the lawsuits are allowed to go ahead.

One of Trump's most closely held secrets will be passed along far and wide, to many different investigations, if everything works out. The returns are probably already in Mueller's hands, since that's an obvious first place to look.
posted by honestcoyote at 5:14 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Would Mueller have the power to get his tax returns as part of the collusion investigation, or not really because Trump is suspected of only obstruction?

The Clinton impeachment didn't start with someone saying "I bet that dude's gotten a hummer in the Oval from an intern...".
posted by Etrigan at 5:14 PM on June 14 [37 favorites]


There are now reports that the incident at Travis AFB was a false alarm.
posted by zachlipton at 5:14 PM on June 14 [6 favorites]


> what comes next?

well, that's sort of the $64,000 question at the moment, and one I've been debating with a friend in a side chat. opinions range from "nothing happens, we're fucked" to "some Republican finds his or her conscience and spine and makes a stand against authoritarianism."

Put your money on the former if you're a realist, or the latter if you're an optimist.
posted by mosk at 5:14 PM on June 14


@DerekKCRA:
#BREAKING Travis Air Force Base releases a statement saying they responded to reports of gunfire but never found a shooter. Lockdown lifted.
posted by biogeo at 5:21 PM on June 14 [7 favorites]


Mid season hiatus?

I literally 14 minutes ago texted my brother that The Trump Presidency is the best movie I've ever seen.
posted by lalex at 5:21 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


I literally 14 minutes ago texted my brother that The Trump Presidency is the best movie I've ever seen.

Really? Because I was going to ask the management for a refund.
posted by greermahoney at 5:25 PM on June 14 [26 favorites]


"Would Mueller have the power to get his tax returns as part of the collusion investigation

Mueller has the power to get literally almost anything he decides he needs, including Trump's tax returns.
posted by Justinian at 7:11 PM on June 14 [+] [!]"

@Justinian - I am curious as to how far "literally almost anything" goes. Launch codes?

Honest question.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 5:27 PM on June 14


I literally 14 minutes ago texted my brother that The Trump Presidency is the best movie I've ever seen.

I see it as some hyperreal, political telenovella. Just glad they moved off the boring travel ban and ivanka subplots. Those were going nowhere.

But seriously, I rewatched two seasons of 24 recently and you'd be surprised at how plausible and almost understated it is now. What happens next indeed.
posted by milarepa at 5:30 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


wait no I'm still really invested in the Ivanka subplot
posted by lalex at 5:32 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


An educated guess attempt to answer your question: Launch codes would fall into the category of classified information. While I strongly suspect that Mueller's office has made provision to examine classified evidence (given that we already know that communications intercepts of Russian officials are a key factor in this investigation), access would still be governed by the "need to know" standard. Since there's conceivably no argument by which Mueller needs to see launch codes to do his job, he has no need to know that information.

Just glad they moved off the boring travel ban and ivanka subplots. Those were going nowhere.

There are millions of people who are personally invested in the outcome of that travel ban subplot.
posted by zachlipton at 5:34 PM on June 14 [21 favorites]


mosk: opinions range from "nothing happens, we're fucked" to "some Republican finds his or her conscience and spine and makes a stand against authoritarianism."

a&c: I found myself thinking today about whether I would participate in a general strike if it meant losing my job. I think I would, but fuck.

needless to say I'm closer to a&c's point of view on this, half because I'm always fronting as a radical and half because I too am arbitrary and capricious.

but yeah I don't think we can look to federal-level elected officials for fuckall, particularly not the ones in the republican party — and the ones in the republican party are the only ones that matter right now. the democrats can stage holding actions to give people working on extraparliamentary methods time to work, but they can't take any positive action themselves. pretending, though, that the electeds are the only ones with genuine agency though — which is common to both of mosk's scenarios — is a luxury we don't have anymore.

I have no idea how we get from where we are to a general strike. but the threat of a general strike, or something tantamount to a general strike, must be in the air, especially once trump steps up the aggressiveness through firing mueller.

I'm going to put in a plug for a science fiction novel, because mefi is the space where I can get away with nutty moves like that. And, like, on the one hand, it's pretty dire when science fiction novels are our best hope. but on the other hand, there's prior art for science fiction novels as a particularly effective organizing tool in situations where coordinated mass action is necessary for survival. Anyway: plz, if you have free time, read Kim Stanley Robinson's New York 2140. On the surface it's a novel about life in nearish-future manhattan, but really it's a deeply politically/theoretically informed speculative handbook for pro-democracy insurrection in the present day. as one of the narrators of that novel puts it at a key turning point:
Strategic defaulting. Class-action suits. Mass rallies. Staying home from work. Staying out of private transport systems. Refusing consumer consumption beyond the necessities. Withdrawing deposits. Denouncing all forms of rent-seeking. Ignoring mass media. Withholding scheduled payments. Fiscal noncompliance. Loud public complaining.
the less zany/less fictional handbook we should also be consulting is Gene Sharp's From Dictatorship to Democracy, which I think I've read cover to cover four or five times since the start of the disaster. each time I appreciate it more, and each time the suggestions for resistance it gives seems more plausible.

and while we're waiting for the shit to properly hit the fan, plz prepare (and this is advice I'm giving to myself more than to anyone else) by going to meetings — whatever flavor of resistance meeting you're most comfortable with. Indivisible, SURJ, DSA, SA, ISO, antifa formations, bernie orgs, radical unions: wherever you fit in, start going to meetings. phone calls from home and solitary use of resistbot and bitching on metafilter aren't enough; we need to be working within organizations that can pivot toward and provide support for mass action when that becomes necessary.

conspire with your friends. and make new friends to conspire with. hatch some plots, y'all.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:36 PM on June 14 [33 favorites]


Since there's conceivably no argument by which Mueller needs to see launch codes to do his job, he has no need to know that information.

Unless he needs to check that they aren't covfefe
posted by dng at 5:36 PM on June 14 [7 favorites]


folks i don't think it's a tv show i'm pretty sure it's real life
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:39 PM on June 14 [11 favorites]


Sure it's a TV show. It's a spin-off from The Apprentice. Except now Donald Trump is the apprentice, but nobody told him that.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:44 PM on June 14 [13 favorites]


I'm broke, up to my eyeballs in debt - medical and otherwise, and unemployed, with very little to lose...

Please do tell me more about fiscal noncompliance.
posted by elsietheeel at 5:44 PM on June 14 [9 favorites]


People prone to worries about nuclear codes really don't need to watch Command and Control and see what the codes were set to back in the day.
posted by Artw at 5:44 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


folks i don't think it's a tv show i'm pretty sure it's real life

That nice, clear distinction gets blurred when you elect an insane, despotic reality TV star as president. Regrettably.
posted by milarepa at 5:45 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Pretty soon, people are going to start talking about how "statesmanlike" Richard Nixon was during Watergate. Seriously. He resigned before the House even voted on the articles of impeachment. Trump has made my love for GWB rise to levels I'd previously thought impossible - he's going to do the same thing for Nixon.
posted by selfmedicating at 5:48 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


People prone to worries about nuclear codes really don't need to watch Command and Control and see what the codes were set to back in the day.

hint: an asshole's luggage combination would be a big step up
posted by murphy slaw at 5:49 PM on June 14 [11 favorites]


I don't know what to say that others haven't already said, except to emphasize that there is a point at which anecdotes like this become so common, it's easier to ask the question "who among us has not been affected by gun violence" than the converse.

Not yet, but I work in a field where people frequently get killed, so someday my turn will come.

Hodgkinson was the foster father of at least two girls. The first, Wanda Ashley Stock, 17, committed suicide in 1996 by pouring gasoline on herself and setting herself on fire after a few months of living with the Hodgkinsons.
The Hodgkinsons gave an interview to the paper after her suicide, calling her a “very practical, level-headed girl.”


Jesus H. Motherfucking Goddamned Christ.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:51 PM on June 14 [46 favorites]


> Please do tell me more about fiscal noncompliance.

[edited slightly to strip out spoilers from what is a very enjoyable novel]:
“What I mean by a householders’ strike is you just stop paying your rents and mortgages … maybe also your student loans and insurance payments. Any private debt you’ve taken on just to make you and your family safe. The daily necessities of existence. The union is declaring all those to be odious debts, like some kind of blackmail on us, and we’re demanding they be renegotiated.

After we start this Jubilee, until there’s a restructuring that forgives a lot of our debt, we aren’t paying anything. You might think that not paying your mortgage would get you in trouble, and it’s true that if it was just you, that might happen. But when everyone does it, that makes it a strike. Civil disobedience. A revolution. So everyone needs to join in. Won’t be that hard. Just don’t pay your bills!

[..]

“I know this all might sound radical. A little extreme. But we have to do something, right? Or nothing will change. It will keep going on with them wrecking things. And this strike is the kind of revolution where they can’t shoot you down in the public square. It’s called fiscal noncompliance. It uses the power of money against money. In fact it’s a very neat trick, if you ask me.
The closest thing I've heard to anything like this in real life were some rumbles here in California of organized non-payment of federal taxes. we weren't ready for it april 15th of this year, but if the orange man and his lackeys and his puppetmasters continue on their current trajectory we may be ready for it next april.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:52 PM on June 14 [10 favorites]


This seems horribly real, very much like the late fifties and early sixties, heavy handed, misogynistic, fatalistic, thugs, going off about how right they are. I have not had a television since 2006, so I am way behind on any similarities between that medium and real life. I tell you this is an aggravated whirlwind we have going on here, with the lobbyists coming and going with their identities protected, while they ask for big handouts, big chunks of our prosperity, security, environmental protections, life joy, potential, and our world's future. The fossil fuels industry will die, but they want us to die first, so they can live on their mildly radioactive estates, all watched over by machines of loving grace, since they are devoid of grace, personally, but need it in their lives. Even Trump said their ACHA bill was mean. That is amazing.
posted by Oyéah at 5:53 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Pretty soon, people are going to start talking about how "statesmanlike" Richard Nixon was during Watergate

There has never been anyone to match Trump for shamelessness and total narcissism. Nixon had some regard for the Office of the President, for his staff, for his family, & maybe for his country (or parts of it anyway.) Trump's only reason to care about the WH and its history and prominence and dignity is what it can do for him. If he gets ready to bail, he will shit on his administration, the GOP, the WH staff, and anything else he considers to have lead to his downfall. If he can walk away free while others go to jail he will sleep like a baby at night. If he has to sit on the sidelines and snipe at the Pence Presidency or the Ryan Presidency he won't hold back.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:55 PM on June 14 [12 favorites]


>> folks i don't think it's a tv show i'm pretty sure it's real life

> That nice, clear distinction gets blurred when you elect an insane, despotic reality TV star as president. Regrettably.


Gonna push back on this. Although we're precessing through simulacra fast enough to make even Baudrillard's head spin, there is still a distinction between TV and real life. Even when manipulating the tropes of reality television becomes crucial to real-world action, we must remember that we are not the audience. we're actors, and we're writers, and we've got to devise and follow our own scripts instead of just gawking at the show.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:56 PM on June 14 [14 favorites]




Per 28 CFR 600.6, Mueller has the same powers as a U.S. Attorney, which means, among other things, he can issue subpoenas, to which the recipients can object or seek protective orders. He does not have unlimited authority, and cannot simply get "almost anything," as his authority to obtain documents and information is limited by the same constitutional constraints that limit any U.S. Attorney. Under the special counsel statutes (e.g. 28 CFR 600.8), he needs DOJ approval for major actions like subpoenas, grants of immunity, arrests, and warrants. He is required, I understand, to give Rosenstein three days notice of "major developments in significant investigations and litigation," and "events affecting the Department that are likely to generate national media or congressional attention," and Rosenstein can then direct Mueller not to take any of those actions, with no obligation to inform Congress that he did so until the entire investigation is complete.

Also, per 28 CFR 600.7(b):
The Special Counsel shall not be subject to the day-to-day supervision of any official of the Department. However, the Attorney General may request that the Special Counsel provide an explanation for any investigative or prosecutorial step, and may after review conclude that the action is so inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices that it should not be pursued. In conducting that review, the Attorney General will give great weight to the views of the Special Counsel. If the Attorney General concludes that a proposed action by a Special Counsel should not be pursued, the Attorney General shall notify Congress as specified in § 600.9(a)(3).
posted by The World Famous at 5:59 PM on June 14 [11 favorites]


@jenfullmoon The way that article paraphrased it, it almost looks as though they are morons or worse. Just to put the full context there:

His life was struck with tragedy in 1996. The Hodgkinsons’ foster daughter, Wanda Ashley Stock, killed herself at the age of 17 in a brutal manner: Ashley doused herself with gasoline and set herself on fire inside her car on a rural road south of Belleville.

The Hodgkinsons spoke to the News-Democrat at the time, saying they did not know what triggered a “very practical, level-headed girl” to kill herself. Later they discovered there had been a previous suicide attempt before Ashley came to live with them, and that hours before she completed her suicide, her boyfriend had broken up with her. Ashley was a senior at Belleville East High School at the time. She had only been living with the Hodgkinsons a few months, but had been a ward of the state since 1984.

posted by whorl at 6:00 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]


I know this was four hundred billion Trumptime units ago yesterday, and as such is already old news, but Seth Abramson has a good wrapup summary thread of the Sessions testimony. Excerpt:

"Lost in today's horrifying breaking news is the fact that yesterday AG Jeff Sessions handed Trump the worst day of his presidency.
(1) America's top law enforcement official, under oath before his Congress, refused to answer questions with no legal basis for his refusal.
(2) Pressured to cite any legal basis for refusing to honor Congressional queries, Sessions could not. And everyone there knew he could not.
(3) America saw its top law enforcement official act in Contempt of Congress solely to block revelation of inculpatory evidence about Trump.
(4) GOP Senators were aware Sessions was in Contempt. One called his actions "disturbing." This means a subpoena for Sessions down the road.
(5) Sessions' performance ensures Trump officials will be subpoenaed in the future, and Trump forced to assert executive privilege publicly.
(6) Sessions' Contempt of Congress was a turning point; Republicans now know Trump's conversations with his aides are extremely inculpatory.
(7) Bob Mueller watched Jeff Sessions commit perjury in real time. Sessions changed his story on whether he spoke with Russian spy Kislyak.
(8) Sessions began by saying, "no private meeting with Kislyak." He ended up saying, "conceivable he had a conversation" at a private event.
(9) Sessions began by saying, "no recollection of any conversation." He ended up saying, "I know what I said and it wasn't at all improper."
(10) Sessions began with, "I was there only as an 'interested person.'" He ended with "I was there as chief of Trump's foreign policy team."
(11) Sessions now faces multiple counts of perjury at Mueller's hands. This means he can be rolled on Trump at a time of Mueller's choosing."

Read the whole thing.
posted by lalex at 6:03 PM on June 14 [120 favorites]


Gonna push back on this.

I'm only half serious but the fact the point can be argued or engaged in good faith discussion shows you how the clear distinction has been blurred. Erased? No, absolutely not. But there's a scary trend I see where many people ARE the audience.
posted by milarepa at 6:03 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


The Times has its version of the story: Pointing to an obstruction inquiry of President Trump, Robert Mueller is said to seek talks with 3 current or ex-intelligence officials. Mostly the same, but an interesting last paragraph:
A former senior official said Mr. Mueller’s investigation was looking at money laundering by Trump associates. The suspicion is that any cooperation with Russian officials would likely have been done in exchange for some kind of financial payoff, and there would have been an effort to hide the payoffs, most likely by routing them through offshore banking centers.
There's also an open question over all this (not in the article) as to whether Rosenstein ought to supervise Mueller given that there's a good argument that he's now a witness, if not an active participant, due to his role in Comey's firing and the prior conversations about Trump's inappropriate conversations with Comey.
posted by zachlipton at 6:10 PM on June 14 [15 favorites]


Politico: Trump huddled with donors on day of Comey testimony
On the same day last week that fired FBI Director James Comey delivered his damaging Senate testimony, President Donald Trump’s team summoned about a dozen top donors to the White House to rally support for Trump’s agenda.

The donors — including Ken Griffin, Doug DeVos, Tom Hicks, Jr., Bekah Mercer, Todd Ricketts, Tom Saunders, Paul Singer and Dick Uihlein — gathered in the Roosevelt Room on June 8 for a briefing from Trump’s legislative director Marc Short, according to a senior administration official and other people familiar with the event.

These people said that Trump himself stopped by the briefing to greet the donors, while Vice President Mike Pence, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway also spent time at the event.
thisisfine.gif
posted by zachlipton at 6:12 PM on June 14 [10 favorites]


Really awful news about Rep. Scalise [link to tweet version as website is down]. Critical condition, requires additional surgeries, injuries to internal organs, severe bleeding.
posted by zachlipton at 6:25 PM on June 14 [12 favorites]


Politico: Trump huddled with donors on day of Comey testimony

Am I alone in assuming he's starting to cadge for a legal defense fund?
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 6:33 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


China approves 9 Trump trademarks previously rejected

“The speed with which these appeals were decided is mind-blowing,” said Matthew Dresden, an intellectual property attorney at Harris Bricken in Seattle. “I have never seen any decisions made that quickly. That suggests special treatment. Bu