Twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!
August 27, 2017 6:52 PM   Subscribe

Another busy week for the President: on the eve of Hurricane Harvey slamming into the Texas coast, Trump pardoned Arpaio, and banned transgender people from future military enlistment, but has difficulty staying on message as historic flooding threatens Texas. Meanwhile, the Russian collusion probe proceeds apace, as additional subpoenas are issued for testimony, while Gorka wins the weekly White House purge lottery.
posted by darkstar (2237 comments total) 109 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hang on, let me find the best way to convey my thoughts on the matter. Ah, here we go.
posted by Behemoth at 6:58 PM on August 27 [40 favorites]


He's made me like Texas more, and not just the fancy Austin bits.
posted by Artw at 6:59 PM on August 27 [9 favorites]


Following up on convos in the last thread around voter activism, two useful links for voting rights news and activism
Southern Coalition for Social Justice
Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law
posted by spamandkimchi at 6:59 PM on August 27 [9 favorites]


It's an amazing time we live in when the topic of a special investigation into the President and his team's dealings with Russia warranting subpoenas isn't even in the top 10 headlines of the week.
posted by splen at 6:59 PM on August 27 [75 favorites]


Behemoth, oh, yes, that sums things up very nicely.
posted by StrawberryPie at 7:00 PM on August 27


The title is bad but Vox have an actually decent article explaining what AntiFi is actually about for the norms. “They have no allegiance to liberal democracy”: an expert on antifa explains the group
The sort of militant anti-fascism that antifa represents reemerged in postwar Europe in Britain, where fascists had broad rights to organize and demonstrate. You started to see these groups spring up in the 1940s and ’50s and ’60s and ’70s. You saw similar movements in Germany in the ’80s around the time the Berlin Wall falls, when a wave of neo-Nazism rolled across the country targeting immigrants. There, as elsewhere, leftist groups emerged as tools of self-defense. The whole point was to stare down these fascist groups in the street and stop them by force if necessary.

These groups in the ’80s adopted the name antifa, and it eventually spread to the United States in the late ’80s and into the ’90s. Originally, it was known as the Anti-Racist Action Network. That kind of faded in the mid-2000s; the recent wave we’re seeing in the US developed out of it, but has taken on more of the name and the kind of aesthetics of the European movement.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:02 PM on August 27 [36 favorites]


Welcome to Thread number 129.

You have been inside a POTUS45 thread for 320 days.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:16 PM on August 27 [149 favorites]


You have been inside a POTUS45 thread for 320 days.

it is pitch dark. you are likely to be eaten by a grue.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:20 PM on August 27 [216 favorites]


At this point I'm genuinely surprised that he hasn't referred to the Texas flooding as fake news.
posted by aramaic at 7:24 PM on August 27 [7 favorites]


it is pitch dark. you are likely to be eaten by a grue.

but no longer likely to be eaten by a Gorka.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:24 PM on August 27 [38 favorites]


Surely THIS thread
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:25 PM on August 27 [14 favorites]


i'm really going to miss GORKA on chapo
posted by entropicamericana at 7:28 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]


i'm really going to miss GORKA on chapo

Adomian/Gorka posted a wonderful send-off on instagram.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:32 PM on August 27 [27 favorites]


I've been so obsessed lately with this dysfunctional power struggle where like all the big factions are fighting and there's this weird incest stuff and these creepy evil dudes behind the scenes manipulating things and everyone is ignoring the threat of environmental catastrophe and the people who act right and should be in charge aren't and instead it's just demagogues and crazy people all the way down and I'm like what will it take to get these fuckers out of power but the people who are left are all busy arguing over stuff that's important but ultimately trivial in the face of the greater evil threatening to upend everything.

Oh yeah, and Game of Thrones is on tonight!
posted by supercrayon at 7:32 PM on August 27 [77 favorites]


For reference, Barack Obama's twitter feed today makes no mention of political enemies, book shilling, or "fake news."

It does, however, thank First Responders and the people who are helping others in Texas, reminds us that mutual support is a core value, and suggests followers donate to the Red Cross.
posted by darkstar at 7:40 PM on August 27 [88 favorites]


I just noticed my typo and all I can say is I've typed MeFi so many times that I inadvertently crated an anti-MeFi Action movement based on muscle memory.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:04 PM on August 27 [24 favorites]


[As in the last thread, general hurricane news can go in the hurricane thread; Trump + hurricane news can still be in here.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:14 PM on August 27


there are some antifa on MeFi, but you go to one of their meetups and it turns out it's about favorites, which is why they were pronouncing 'antifa' so weirdly.
posted by fleacircus at 8:16 PM on August 27 [21 favorites]


So is there any democracy or republic which seems to have a handle on the news media, of whose news media isn't just there to stand behind whoever provides the biggest spectacle?
posted by maxwelton at 8:16 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


> Welcome to Thread number 129.

> Surely THIS thread

Geeze, having just finished reading Three Body Problem (Liu Cixin, 2015), these two comments just gave me the involuntary shivers.
posted by porpoise at 8:19 PM on August 27 [17 favorites]


> I inadvertently crated an anti-MeFi Action movement based on muscle memory.

Antifa Antifi.
posted by porpoise at 8:21 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


Josh Marshall fills in a bit more on the Trump Tower Moscow situation (as reported by the Post here and mentioned in the tail of the last thread). He'd like well-deserved credit for noting that TPM reported on the deal several weeks ago.

He also points out, among other insights, that it's a big deal that the Post story adds the detail that Michael Cohen was the main person negotiating the Moscow deal. That's not surprising, but it means Cohen was acting as a spokesman for Trump-the-candidate at the same time he was negotiating a Russian deal for Trump-the-businessman.
posted by zachlipton at 8:23 PM on August 27 [50 favorites]


He struggles...

Loosely translated:
FB:
His Struggle! Neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and Racism: How Donald Trump has Stirred up Hate in America.

Tomorrow at your Newsstand, the new Stern.

We want to publish some selected comments with the usernames in Stern. If you'd rather not, please add two slashes at the end of your comment. Thanks.
(the first line is the big title at the bottom, as well, under articles about Aleppo, Lady Di, cancer therapies, and the Zugspitze, which is the highest mountain in Germany.)

(i feel like the translation of "Kampf" actually does a disservice to the effect, given that in English it's still known as "Mein Kampf", but.)
posted by anem0ne at 8:23 PM on August 27


I went out to the Berkeley counter-protest today. It was pretty great; there was a LOT of black-block, but they seemed pretty in sync with the crowd, and were mainly doing things like draining police barricades of their water, and creating free access to the park. Previously, the police had been thoroughly searching everyone entering the park, and arrested about ten people for 'violations' of the rather stringent rules for entering the park - one dude for having a mask in his bag, another woman for having a dog. Shane Bauer posted a video asking a cop why they were arresting the mask dude while treating the right wingers with kid gloves...

There were a couple scuffles when the alt-right people actually showed up; a bunch of black block people chased them down a side street, and apparently punched one of them a few times, before the cops intervened with tear gas, and took the right wingers away in zip ties (apparently to 'rescue' them, according to the SF gate).

Today and yesterday, the alt-right people seem to be trying to push this "Hey, man, we just want to show up and have a civil discussion" schtick, though I think most people have the perspective of "Hey, we saw your vile bullshit in Charlottesville, and from your leadership directly in the Vice doc, and you can crypto your fascism right back to a dark hole you crawled out of."

And all coverage of the SF/Berkeley rallies has been subsumed by news of the hurricane and the boxing match, so it isn't doing much in the national conversation, I think.

For my part, I'm settling into the perspective that worrying about free speech protections is a problem for the government, and it's meanwhile my active duty to speak out against and shout down the nazis wherever I can.
posted by kaibutsu at 8:31 PM on August 27 [91 favorites]


Lots of "liberals" revealed themselves today too. Saw someone I follow on Twitter in the Toronto media world quote tweet Jonathan Kay tut tutting Berkeley, and if you know anything about Jonathan Kay... well, I unfollowed her. Ain't nobody got time for that.
posted by Yowser at 8:48 PM on August 27 [7 favorites]


Alright, the sun turns black, Texas drowns, how much more does God have to do before Trump gets the message that he's not wanted?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:04 PM on August 27 [86 favorites]


@NatashaBertrand: Hm. WH referring questions about the Trump Tower Moscow deal to Michael Cohen's attorney.

That's an unusual approach to respond to questions about a business deal, to demand everyone talk to the businessman's lawyer's lawyer. I fear we're eventually going to get to the point where every attorney in the country is representing another Trump lawyer in a massive chain of legal nightmares.
posted by zachlipton at 9:08 PM on August 27 [44 favorites]


And he pardoned Arpaio, who promptly went on Alex Jones for a gloat. Many fine friends he has. While this is a clear signal to racists everywhere that they won't do time for him, there's a also the signal that he's willing to pardon his buddies. So when Mueller comes sniffing around, keep your trap shut and Donnie will look after you.

He even asked if he can pardon himself. I haven't really heard a clear answer on this, except it's technically possible, but such an egregious misuse of power that nobody with any grace, dignity or honour would ever do it. So he'll give it a try.
posted by adept256 at 9:09 PM on August 27 [11 favorites]


Alright, the sun turns black, Texas drowns, how much more does God have to do before Trump gets the message that he's not wanted?

Thunderbolt of lightning? Very very frightening!
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:11 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Alright, the sun turns black, Texas drowns, how much more does God have to do before Trump gets the message that he's not wanted?

It could rain Pepe's and he'd just be disappointed he can't play golf that day.
posted by adept256 at 9:12 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Oh man the Kay quoter makes an appearance in that thread about Trump's lawyer's lawyer's lawyer. Small world.
posted by Yowser at 9:12 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Wow, I knew Arpaio was bad, but I had no idea he was this bad...

Wait, do people actually know how evil this man is? by Nathan J. Robinson
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:21 PM on August 27 [145 favorites]


At the MTV VMAs: Robert Lee IV introduces Susan Bro, Heather Heyer's mother.

(Cynical Viacom self-service? Of course - all good MeFites know that even Gandhi and Jesus were corporate stooges. Still, a tear came to my felt eye.)
posted by Guy Smiley at 9:21 PM on August 27 [12 favorites]


Outstanding link, OnceUponATime...an excellent, definitive write-up on Arpaio.

If you could read only one chronicle of the merciless reign of that power-corrupt, evil man, it's hard to beat.
posted by darkstar at 9:35 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


This isn't a good look for our side: Reveal host Al Letson shields man from beating at anti-hate rally (Reveal)
Letson recounted what happened next, a scene he also caught on video: Right-wing organizer Joey Gibson arrived at the park shortly after 1:30 p.m. He and a couple of his supporters were chased by what appeared to be antifa members, who began to throw things at him.

In Letson’s video, law enforcement officers can be seen standing on the sidelines, a protest policing strategy criticized during the violent April “Battle of Berkeley” protests and in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month. Gibson continues through a line of police. Other videos from the scene show him being handcuffed.

Meanwhile, Letson said, a man who appeared to be one of Gibson’s supporters was also chased by 20 to 30 antifa protesters, who began to kick and hit him with sticks.

Letson dove on top of the man, suffering a few collateral blows but no injuries. Reveal does not know the identity of the man Letson protected, or what happened to him afterward because tear gas was released, quickly dispersing the crowd.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:36 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Wow, I knew Arpaio was bad, but I had no idea he was this bad...

Wait, do people actually know how evil this man is? by Nathan J. Robinson


All of these stories lately about the Arpaio pardon seem to leave it at some form of "allegedly mistreated inmates" and that's maybe the most egregious, immoral act of soft pedaling in the interest of fucking both-sidesism I've seen in quite some time. Like you could come away from the majority of news coverage of the pardon lately absolutely thinking it's just some liberal overreaction to some sheriff who was tough on crime, and he is actually a goddamn monster. I'm glad to see this article, but it's insane that it's such an outlier.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:40 PM on August 27 [84 favorites]


My end of the protest in Berkeley was super chill - kids, dogs, rainbows, bubbles. I have to say I was disappointed with turnout though. Not enough people to completely drown out the bad parts, Boston style. The 'ignore them' contingent was pretty damn strong among Berkeley liberals...the 'stay home' messaging from City of Berkeley and UC didn't help either. Good that some showed up though and it went pretty well.
posted by The Toad at 9:42 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


This isn't a good look for our side:

I want to make sure that I understand the suggestion that a person shielding another person from a beating is somehow a negative thing. In any way.

I really want to make sure I understood the inference.
posted by Johnny Hazard at 9:51 PM on August 27 [7 favorites]


Are we back to being against Nazi-punching? Let's see how long that lasts.
posted by um at 9:58 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


I'm referring to the 20–30 antifa chasing down and beating someone.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:58 PM on August 27 [9 favorites]


It illustrates the importance of not simply acquiescing to the right-wing attempt to make "Antifa" synonymous with progressives, liberals, or the Left in general.

The enemy of my enemy might still be an asshole.
posted by darkstar at 10:03 PM on August 27 [33 favorites]


Kyle Swenson, WaPo: Black-clad antifa attack right-wing demonstrators in Berkeley
Their faces hidden behind black bandannas and hoodies, about a 100 anarchists and antifa — “anti-fascist” — barreled into a protest Sunday afternoon in Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park.

Jumping over plastic and concrete barriers, the group melted into a larger crowd of around 2,000 who had marched peacefully throughout the sunny afternoon for a “Rally Against Hate” gathering.

Shortly after, violence began to flare: a pepper-spray wielding Trump supporter was smacked to the ground with homemade shields. Another was attacked by five black-clad antifas, each windmilling kicks and punches into a man desperately trying to protect himself. A conservative group leader retreated for safety behind a line of riot police as marchers chucked water bottles, shot off pepper spray, and screamed “fascist go home!”
As I said, not a good look.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:05 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


bell hooks on the State Of Feminism and How to Move Forward Under Trump (Bust):
I felt very strongly that there’s been a feminist backlash going on for some time. Why are we shocked? I wasn’t shocked. Patriarchy has not been deeply challenged enough and changed. It was just about patriarchy getting a publicly sanctioned voice and silencing a feminist voice, as if there was this war that was going on. And then patriarchy could feel like, “We are going to win this war.”

It’s funny because one of my best women’s studies colleagues here at Berea would always be frustrated with me because I would tell her that I felt very strongly that sexism and misogyny actually posed a greater threat to black women and all women than racism. She just thought, “Well, that’s ridiculous.” She’s black. The night of the election she called me and was like, “You’ve been right all along.”
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:05 PM on August 27 [41 favorites]


To be fair, Trump told us what we were in for when he released the Trump/Pence campaign logo.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:12 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


Jesus, that story about Arpaio is definitely worth a read, as long as you have a strong stomach.
posted by benzenedream at 10:27 PM on August 27 [6 favorites]


The whole point of leftists is to absorb punches! They can't provide punches, that's against the order of things! Jesus, if leftists are allowed to punch who knows where it will end! I mean, shit, asshole racist white men might be inconvenienced and God knows we can't allow THAT.
posted by aramaic at 10:38 PM on August 27 [67 favorites]


His name should be a pejorative. Or a new movie genre. Bad cops that stay bad and get rewarded like at the end of Star Wars.
posted by rhizome at 10:41 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


As I said, not a good look.

Too late to worry about how it looks. More and more it seems that there are only either fascists, or Americans. Sadly the time is nigh to pick one, or the other.
posted by HyperBlue at 10:41 PM on August 27 [25 favorites]


In fact, now that I think of it, the short movie China Lake (YouTube [35min]) would have to be one of the primordial films of the Arpaio genre.
posted by rhizome at 10:46 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


I felt very strongly that there’s been a feminist backlash going on for some time.

If there is - and I'm certainly not going to argue with bell hooks on that - then it's one of many backlashes. Like, I didn't think antisemitism had ever gone away, but I wouldn't have believed that you'd have young men marching under Nazi banners, that you'd have White House officials talking darkly about "globalists", and that it would be necessary to scrutinise the President's own statements for antisemitic dog whistles. The same goes for prejudice against immigrants, Latinos, and other groups. It doesn't seem dissimilar to what's going on in many places overseas, either. I don't know what could account for this broad-based global rise in prejudice and xenophobia; it has a very 1920s feel to it and it scares me.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:48 PM on August 27 [21 favorites]


Has the possibility been discussed that some of those black-clad antifa members might not really be antifa, but people who are tring to paint the left/antifa as violent anti-Trumpists? Such a thing would be entirely plausible as a Russian op. I don't know if it's been disproven, though.
posted by StrawberryPie at 10:55 PM on August 27 [20 favorites]


I've seen speculation that lefty instigators are plants for years, at least since Occupy was going on.
posted by rhizome at 10:58 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


(Clarifying comment: the above is not a troll. I'm genuinely curious if it's clear that the violence wasn't actually committed by people pretending to be antifa/leftists/whatever.)
posted by StrawberryPie at 10:58 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]


It happened in Montreal. Montreal police tried to start a riot dressed as black bloc. (which is why I have a LOT of distrust of black bloc tactics)
posted by Yowser at 10:58 PM on August 27 [45 favorites]


As I said, not a good look.

Funny how it's all passive voice when the right does it, and it's all clear-as-day blame when the left does it. "Violence breaks out" and "a death occurred" in Charlottesville versus here where suddenly violence is a thing that is performed by actual people.

In any case, it's hard for me to get worked up about some people whose entire worldview is about the promotion of violence getting a thrashing; let the rest of the "I didn't want anyone to know I was racist" cowards understand that this shit has consequences in the real world. I'd love a no-violence way out of this, but I do not think that "we do no violence while they terrorize and murder us" fits that description.

Has the possibility been discussed that some of those black-clad antifa members might not really be antifa, but people who are tring to paint the left/antifa as violent anti-Trumpists? Such a thing would be entirely plausible as a Russian op.

Russian op? I think you're thinking too big. If the antifa there were agents provocateurs, it's almost certainly just Three Percenters or the local PD or something. Cops are big on that stuff, at least since Occupy (and probably before, but I'm a little too young to know). At the moment I don't know that there's any reason to think that, though. It's certainly feasible that it's just angry people from our side.
posted by IAmUnaware at 11:01 PM on August 27 [71 favorites]


Sorry, Montebello*Article The police also apologized eventually. Video
posted by Yowser at 11:02 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]


>I don't know what could account for this broad-based global rise in prejudice and xenophobia; it has a very 1920s feel to it and it scares me.

Couple guesses:
1. It never really went away.
2. People (in the US, at least) have no class consciousness
3. But they've been royally exploited and immiserated by inequality and wealth extraction
4. And they're alienated from community and "genteel" society
5. So they are (rightfully) resentful but (wrongly) blame it on immigrants, minorities, women who won't sleep with them, and "elites" (who they see as a cultural or ethnic demographic rather than a power- and wealth-monopolizing class)

(Of course there are many other contributing factors like sensationalist and nakedly profit-seeking cable news/information media, the decades-in-the-making merger of entertainment and politics (from Reagan to Schwarzenegger to Ventura to Franken), and ubiquitous social media (by which we can fulfill our need to belong to a group but that group doesn't ever have to include the people in our physical communities and we can more or less curate that its demographics at will.)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:04 PM on August 27 [21 favorites]


I'm genuinely curious if it's clear that the violence wasn't actually committed by people pretending to be antifa/leftists/whatever.

How would such a negative be disproven? It's unpossible.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:05 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]


As for "Leftist violence" being used as fuel for Nazis, well, fuck that--they're going to manufacture that fuel and distort whatever happens into "Leftist violence" no matter what, so I'm all for giving them a dose of the real thing.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:06 PM on August 27 [44 favorites]


(Relatedly: searching twitter for "antifa russian" brings a lot of depressing results of the "the left is gasping for anything because the russian hoax is dead and so they say antifa is russian-funded/soros is funding antifa/etc variety". Can't decide whether those really are Russian accounts or just useful idiots.)

I need to stop looking at twitter
posted by StrawberryPie at 11:07 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


I don't really have a problem with punching Nazis. I draw the line at destroying cameras. You're doxxed, then you're doxxed, suck it up. Don't make it easy for the media to protect fascists.

Hell, the most famous video going around right now with the fight? The original videographer, Shane Bauer, has come out saying it's atrocious (in multiple increasingly frustrated tweets) that everyone has concentrated on that one five second video instead of the rest of his content from today.
posted by Yowser at 11:10 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Jesus, if leftists are allowed to punch who knows where it will end

A structural escalation of violence in the US right now will annihilate the left.
posted by dmh at 11:11 PM on August 27 [19 favorites]


@Joseph Gurl: "how would such a negative be disproven?" Well, point taken; if they were really very good agents, I guess it would be hard to disprove. I guess I was actually thinking more from the opposite direction, like some members saying they didn't recognize those who committed the violence – "they just showed up that day", that sort of thing. Not proof, I admit.
posted by StrawberryPie at 11:12 PM on August 27


Exactly. Nazis are much better at violence. People calling themselves alt-right have shot or killed at least four people so far, and injured dozens. Antifa have put in a few light punches at best.
posted by Yowser at 11:14 PM on August 27 [6 favorites]


And if it seems that I'm contradicting , what can I say, I'm still conflicted.
posted by Yowser at 11:14 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


The archly offensive nature of white supremacists begs for us to reduce their insult to our society to a binary, easy to process dilemma, which then calls for a binary response.

I might be eager to punch a Nazi - especially if he were chanting racist slogans - but I am certainly not going to mask my face, join a club-wielding mob, and run down one that's peacefully protesting, to maim or beat them to death.

There's a spectrum of violence and one thing is not like the other (though a pure pacifist might disagree). And, as long as we still have a functioning democracy, I hold out hope that vigilante mob clubbings really aren't the right way to handle it.

But yeah, if you find a Nazi spouting his racist crap, take William F. Buckley's sage advice and sock him in the goddamn face so he stays plastered.*

*Irony intended.
posted by darkstar at 11:15 PM on August 27 [20 favorites]


Apologies, I feel like the violent left thing is becoming a derail. I really was just wondering if there was evidence on this point. Maybe we should toss that question in the dustbin and move on...

note to self: bad decisions too easily made after long day. step away from the computer.
posted by StrawberryPie at 11:19 PM on August 27


from Reagan to Schwarzenegger to Ventura to Franken

Franken is a good and scholarly Senator, and crucially he stopped being an entertainer when he assumed office.

I agree with you about the pernicious effects of social media, though. I quit Facebook and Twitter after they helped elect Trump, and 9 months later it's amazing how some of my friends' worldviews have evolved based entirely on things they read there. Some days I want to yell at them about how a media publication that is highly tuned to project Trump's voice or Zuck's voice is not worth their energy, but #FOMO is a powerful force.
posted by SakuraK at 11:22 PM on August 27 [14 favorites]


I have a theory about the flags.
From The Atlantic (and previous thread)

The man with the least demonstrated policy-knowledge of any modern president frequently boasts about how smart and well-educated he is. Similarly, the man exempted from the draft because of a bone spur—either in his right foot, or his left, he’s not sure now—surrounds himself with triple the symbols of national power as his predecessors needed, and with emblems of the military that the previous strongest commanders-in-chief kept out of the seat of ultimate civilian control.


It's so he's never photographed without a flag in the background. Much like he was almost always in frame as he glowered behind Rodham Clinton in the debate.
posted by tilde at 11:33 PM on August 27 [5 favorites]


Mexico tells Trump it 'will not negotiate' on social media
11:55, August 28 2017

Mexico has told US President Donald Trump it "will not negotiate" via social media.

The message came from the Mexican government after Trump accused Mexico and Canada of being "difficult" in negotiations on changing the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"Mexico will not negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) nor any other aspect of bilateral relations through social media or news media," the Mexican Foreign Ministry said in a statement.


Sometimes 140 chrctrz aint enuf 2 negotiate a complete trade deal. #notpaying4urwallseñor
posted by tilde at 11:39 PM on August 27 [100 favorites]


The man with the least demonstrated policy-knowledge of any modern president frequently boasts about how smart and well-educated he is. Similarly, the man exempted from the draft because of a bone spur—either in his right foot, or his left, he’s not sure now—surrounds himself with triple the symbols of national power as his predecessors needed, and with emblems of the military that the previous strongest commanders-in-chief kept out of the seat of ultimate civilian control.

It's always the cowards that invite the generals in to rule.
posted by SakuraK at 11:46 PM on August 27 [8 favorites]


I read a Twitter thread earlier - think it was about the Berkeley rally - and there was clearly an organised set of talking points in the comments:
1) The rally wasn't about white supremacy, it was anti-communist;
2) Nine of the speakers were POCs and one was trans (sic);
3) Consequently, there was no reason for lefties to try to break up the rally;
4) Lefties are violent and hate free speech.

Honestly, I think this rally was a deliberately provocative act with plausible deniability for the perpetrators. It was designed to provoke a violent response in order to support the "both sides" paradigm after Charlottesville. And it worked.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:47 PM on August 27 [18 favorites]


"Mexico will not negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) nor any other aspect of bilateral relations through social media or news media," the Mexican Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Not even on Instagram?
posted by thelonius at 12:01 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


EXILES ON PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE: HOW JARED AND IVANKA WERE REPELLED BY WASHINGTON’S ELITE
“What is off-putting about them,” one political veteran told me, “is they do not grasp their essential irrelevance. They think they are special.”

[...] In recent conversations, I’ve heard people close to President Trump wonder aloud whether it was Kushner’s team that leaked the Don junior e-mails to the Times in the first place. The implication would be that Kushner was willing to sacrifice his brother-in-law in order to distance himself from the uncomfortable reality of the meeting. There is no evidence for this. But it illustrates the tension among Donald Trump’s advisers. The pressure of the Russia investigation has created rifts among members of the Trump family and their lawyers.

[...]

The future unfolding before them looks nothing like the future they may have imagined five years ago. Ivanka may be disingenuous when she says she “didn’t ask for this,” but she is right to say that she didn’t ask for this—that is, for the actual situation in which they find themselves: powerful, in a sense, and yet ineffectual; emotionally essential to Donald Trump, but lacking the skills to assist; impossible to fire and reluctant to leave; compromised ethically and perhaps legally; and facing reputational or familial harm no matter what they decide to do.


Long but interesting read I hadn't yet seen on the threads.
posted by tilde at 12:01 AM on August 28 [40 favorites]


Exactly. Nazis are much better at violence.

Right up until they divert troops to Kiev and end up fighting a winter campaign, anyway.
posted by walrus at 12:05 AM on August 28 [44 favorites]


@xtrixcyclex: "Thread 1. I learned something tonight. You can virtually shut down a #Russian troll bot trending hashtag and make the trolls back off. 2. I looked at @selectedwisdom http://dashboard.securingdemocracy.org/ and saw the trolls were going after Navarro because posobicuck tried to gotcha her. 3. I followed the hashtag and sure enough Russian troll central. So I started responding to each troll post with news in Russian. 4. I used an article about their biggest bank being kicked out of SWIFT that @20committee RTd this morning. If the trolls responded I CC'd 5. Putin. They won't respond after that. It completely shuts them down. So I did this for a while. Other were doing similar. . . . "

This sounds useful to me, but I'm not a techie. Is it worth spreading the word about?
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:07 AM on August 28 [64 favorites]


[A few deleted. Joseph Gurl, I'm not sure why you are sort of persistently derailing this into some sort of weird continued shade-throwing on Franken thing ("I'm sure he's a swell fellow who takes governance seriously"), but please cut it out. If there's some news about Franken that's pertinent to this thread, fine, post that , or if you have some sort of creditable sources for implying he's part of a "global rise in prejudice and xenophobia" post that, otherwise, drop it, and drop all attempts to herd this thread into topics you want to grind an axe about when we've asked you to cut that out repeatedly.]
posted by taz at 12:40 AM on August 28 [55 favorites]


Long but interesting read I hadn't yet seen on the threads.

Sweet, sweet schadenfreude. They're like Trump himself: it's always been important for them to be with The Right People. And while they may have more power now, I wonder if it doesn't grate that the only people who will hobnob with them are definitely Right People--but not the sort of "Right" they aim for.
posted by schroedinger at 12:45 AM on August 28 [8 favorites]


This sounds useful to me, but I'm not a techie. Is it worth spreading the word about?

It sounds potentially very useful. First step is to reproduce the effect. Do you/we know anybody who can spend some time on Twitter to test this more?
posted by SakuraK at 12:46 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


I've seen speculation that lefty instigators are plants for years, at least since Occupy was going on.

Go back to the early 70's when some unknown group would announce that it's time to "Free The Coca-Cola Truck!" in a lame-assed attempt to forment a riot. Undoubtedly Feds, working under Nixon "Taking the cuffs off" and "Giving them the tools to do the job"

Cointelpro was a thing.

I mentioned in a prior thread that it seems "Violence as a monopoly of The Government has been outsourced to volunteers".
posted by mikelieman at 1:20 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


I went looking for some figures on this recently too - I couldn't find anything for this year apart from the antifa tumblr post which doesn't reference any left-wing violence to compare.

But this was a good overview for the last decade:
"Marilyn Mayo, senior research fellow for the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said that statistics show that radical leftists have been dramatically less likely to kill people than their counterparts on the opposite side of the political spectrum. Over the past decade, extremists of every stripe have killed 372 Americans. 74 percent of those killings were committed by right wing extremists. Only 2 percent of those deaths were at the hands of left wing extremists."

ref: www.adl.org/education/resources/reports/murder-and-extremism-in-the-united-states-in-2016

The linked PDF goes into the last two years in detail, is well set out and worth reading.
posted by tardigrade at 1:20 AM on August 28 [23 favorites]


Not to abuse the edit window.

But in this case, I echo the sentiments of others. It's Nazi/Confederate/GOP/KKK vs Americans. And if you have any hesitation picking "America", then you're not one.
posted by mikelieman at 1:21 AM on August 28 [10 favorites]


I don't know what it says about this past week that the new thread took me by complete surprise for the first time. I was like "It can't possibly be time...oh, over 3,000 comments already? Hunh."
posted by greermahoney at 1:22 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


'We Are Living Through a Battle for the Soul of This Nation'
Joe Biden, The Atlantic
"The former vice president calls on Americans to do what President Trump has not."

This is good.
posted by Weeping_angel at 1:25 AM on August 28 [72 favorites]


1) The rally wasn't about white supremacy, it was anti-communist;

In 20-fucking-17, "anti-communist" isn't a thing, and anyone hauling that out should be mocked without pity as (a) woefully out of touch with current events, (b) flat-out insane, and make sure you ask them directly whether it's (a) or (b).
posted by mikelieman at 1:27 AM on August 28 [97 favorites]


Anti-communist has long been a dog whistle on the right to support white supremacy. It was the excuse Reagan and Thatcher gave for not isolating Apartheid-era South Africa fully.
posted by PenDevil at 1:33 AM on August 28 [47 favorites]


> 1) The rally wasn't about white supremacy, it was anti-communist;

In 20-fucking-17, "anti-communist" isn't a thing, and anyone hauling that out should be mocked without pity as (a) woefully out of touch with current events, (b) flat-out insane, and make sure you ask them directly whether it's (a) or (b).
(c) they know exactly what they were saying and doing.
posted by runcifex at 1:34 AM on August 28 [14 favorites]


(c) they know exactly what they were saying and doing.

You know that. I know that. THEY know that. But do they have the honesty to say it? They say "Despair is a sin", and I choose put my faith in the hope that pretty much EVERYONE will balk on coming right out and saying (c)

But again, 20-fucking-17. THIS IS NOT NORMAL, All Bets Are Off.
posted by mikelieman at 1:37 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


c) they know exactly what they were saying and doing.

Yes, of course they did. That's my point: despite being organised by the alt-right the rally's program was designed to be as inoffensive as possible while still being the sort of thing that would plausibly infuriate a stereotypical radical leftist, the sort that doesn't exist outside Garrison's cartoons. The reports they wanted are "antifa attacked a peaceful rally with ethnically diverse speakers, because antifa are radical left-wing communists and are not actually anti-racist".
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:50 AM on August 28 [7 favorites]


The reports they wanted are "antifa attacked a peaceful rally with ethnically diverse speakers, because antifa are radical left-wing communists and are not actually anti-racist".

Well, that feeds the insane narrative their base buys into, but how many actually rational people buy into it?

I can answer that. MORE THAN WE'D LIKE TO BELIEVE.

Tonight I learned my in-laws, who I've had issues with and we both avoid each other as much as possible , One a NYC Transit supervisor on the electrical side, and the wife a NY telephone information op, and SHOP STEWARD both voted for Trump, and both just want the media to give him a chance.

I hadn't know that before my wife told me at dinner tonight. I wish I didn't know it, but it's a valuable insight. There's a metric fucktonne of people who SHOULD KNOW BETTER, but... I dunno... Racism is totally a possibility in this, but...

It's too fucking early for bourbon-o-clock, but 20-fucking-17, once again.
posted by mikelieman at 1:59 AM on August 28 [36 favorites]


Nazis are much better at violence

The bigger danger is that the general public will not support or attend violent protests. Already people have expressed apprehension about going to Berkeley. If this continues, you end up with smaller, more militant protests by more marginalized people, which are easy for the state to crush.

This does not mean that violence has no place whatsoever. But it should fundamentally aim at protecting the vulnerable and undermining the powerful, rather than haphazardly chasing after people and beating them up.
posted by dmh at 3:14 AM on August 28 [19 favorites]


Many tactics are needed. People may have "expressed apprehension" about Berkeley, but the turnout was massive.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:29 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Is this the beating people are talking about?

Because that's a mild fuckin' beating. It's not a serious beating if you can just hop up and walk away afterwards.

(I'm not calling for harder beatings, just want to keep some perspective.)
posted by ryanrs at 3:37 AM on August 28 [8 favorites]


For real perspective, watch what happened when American anti-fascists fought the nazis at Normandy. There was violence on both sides.
posted by adept256 at 3:41 AM on August 28 [40 favorites]


So is there any democracy or republic which seems to have a handle on the news media, of whose news media isn't just there to stand behind whoever provides the biggest spectacle?

The BBC's far from perfect, but its news service (on both radio and TV) still tends to be less sensationalist and trivial than its commercial rivals' equivalents.

The difference is that the commercial stations have to be constantly worried about ratings and the advertising income those ratings provide. The BBC is largely sheltered from those pressures, because it's funded instead by a licence fee of £147 a year from (almost) every British household with a TV. When you consider how much you get for that - not only the BBC's two broadcast TV channels, but also its many satellite channels, radio stations and online services too - it's a laughably small sum. I'd happily pay it for a year's worth of Radio 4 alone.

The downside is that the government of the day gets to set the licence fee every year, and can use this power to put pressure on the BBC and try to influence its output. Every government of every party still comes to think of the BBC as its enemy, though which speaks well for the its refusal to knuckle under to this kind of pressure.
posted by Paul Slade at 3:59 AM on August 28 [13 favorites]


I think it's obvious the neofascists have been massing in dark corners of the internet and talking to each other over the past few years. Their talking points, their euphemisms, the logic of their arguments are uniform across nationality. In particular it's striking how the irresponsible version of Free Speech, not at all a European thing, suddenly appears as a universal value.

I mean,they've been huddling together in a bubble, and they must have thought their time was ripe. Well it isn't. There's vastly fewer of them than their online presence would lead you to believe, and of that number a respectable proportion are destabilising bots. I think the physical fightback is essential. They've gathered courage by imagining there are more of them than there are, they've become confident in their arguments through the approval of their own echo chamber.

So I think without a public showing of disagreement, including physical pushback - not intending to euphemise here, I mean thumping them soundly - all that will happen is they'll be emboldened to carry on their fascist ways. Bullies are cowards and these corn-fed, milk-guzzling, basement-dwelling mother-beaters more so than most. There will always be vulnerable people they can hurt. Make them scared of the consequences.
posted by glasseyes at 4:44 AM on August 28 [43 favorites]


There's vastly fewer of them than their online presence would lead you to believe

The problem is their presence in the white house.
posted by adept256 at 5:06 AM on August 28 [32 favorites]


On punching, the left, absorbing blows, etc:

Something that happened in my extended social circle this weekend: a woman outside a local hipster bar called out some dudes who were saying Nazi stuff and they curb-stomped her, to the point where she was in the ER and her teeth were loose.

Now, ask yourself, what are the options here? Be a quiet white person and just let people say Nazi shit? Get curbstomped? Call...uh, who? The police? The same police who let people bleed when they were shot by racists at the Jamar Clark protest? And it's not illegal to say Nazi shit anyway.

And you know what's going to happen to those guys? Precisely nothing, because it will be virtually impossible to identify them, and if identified, it will be virtually impossible to convict them, because after all they're white racists who beat a woman, and a white jury will turn them loose with maybe a slap on the wrist.

So what's the option? When we get all "oh, don't punch, don't hit", what we're de facto saying is "Nazis, who are willing to punch and hit, can run riot over us, beating us whenever we even use words to criticize them. Nazis can come to town and stage a race riot or do whatever they want, because the cops don't help and we're not supposed to hit them".

I think a lot of us - including me - are not aware of how much Nazi shit has been showing up in the past few years. I live a quiet life, but looking back, I can think of two encounters with Nazi people or materials prior to the election (leaving out neo-Nazi demonstrations) - in Minneapolis, a blue city. And since the election, now that I'm a little more plugged in, I hear about a lot more .

I'll tell you what, I don't like the idea of getting into a punching match with a bunch of Nazis. I think it is dangerous, unappealing and hard to win. But we're in the position of pacifists in the last conflict with Nazis - that is, wrong - if we think that the solution is to sit tight and let them commit violence.

As the fellow said, if it takes a voice, then shout the truth; if it takes a hand, then hold them back; if it takes a fist, smash them down. Never again, is also what he said.
posted by Frowner at 5:16 AM on August 28 [168 favorites]


>> There's vastly fewer of them than their online presence would lead you to believe

> The problem is their presence in the white house.


And, as mentioned above, in the police? The shooter at cville got arrested (not until after the vid's release oc) for "discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school".
He can probably get way with it using the defense that the school frightened him.
posted by farlukar at 5:19 AM on August 28 [16 favorites]


The trick with antifa is that some of them are content to surround Nazis and be menacing-yet-fun, and some are there to hit things. It really depends on the individuals involved.

I wanted to say it in the other thread where people were talking about elections, but it'll be wild once DSA and the Resistance, who it seems have a much better idea of the logistics of organising, realise that they can run their own candidates and they don't have to worry about the terrible GOTV programs the Democratic Party runs if they just... replace them.
posted by Merus at 5:27 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Guys, guys, it's OK: Trump has figured out that the real problem our country has to solve is that the police don't have enough tanks!

He's on that shit, don't worry about it.
posted by tocts at 5:28 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


oh hai I was offline for 3 days & came back to hear about the pardon shit and wondered if someone could please repeat/enlighten me: is it not contempt (federal) for Trump to pardon Arassholio?

PS My carotid arteries turned to concrete within a few minutes of re-entry. *sigh*
posted by yoga at 5:30 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Wow, I knew Arpaio was bad, but I had no idea he was this bad...

Wait, do people actually know how evil this man is? by Nathan J. Robinson


Let's hear from the fucker himself.

@RealSheriffJoe
The media has been giving me a lot of heat lately but nothing compared to tent city! You think you're hot? It's 128 degrees there today!
posted by chris24 at 5:37 AM on August 28 [30 favorites]


The bigger danger is that the general public will not support or attend violent protests. Already people have expressed apprehension about going to Berkeley. If this continues, you end up with smaller, more militant protests by more marginalized people, which are easy for the state to crush.

This does not mean that violence has no place whatsoever. But it should fundamentally aim at protecting the vulnerable and undermining the powerful, rather than haphazardly chasing after people and beating them up.


It seems to sometimes be missed that this goes for the other side as well. It's just as likely to keep some people who might be sympathetic to the right wing 'cause' being protested away as well. There are violent people and many white supremists and nazi types are all about race war and left war bullshit but not everyone is hardcore. It isn't a stereotype in the day and age to say that many of those coming out to these things are stepping away from their keys for the first time in their lives. These folks can talk big but meeting the real life version of their talking is different.

I've seen people like this crumble in the face of real physical opposition and just the idea that they could fight back. They didn't match their keyboard warrior talk at all and were scared. After Charlottesville for instance I did see some comments about how physically protesting wasn't going to work and how we need to up our meme game even more.

This is not a reason or suggestion that violence is an answer only pointing out that violence during these sorts of things isn't necessarily going to suppress turnout for just one side.
posted by Jalliah at 5:58 AM on August 28 [8 favorites]


Okay, MeFi, explain to me... what are the differences between antifa, "Black Bloc," and anarchists? Is that guy Sean Illing interviewed for Vox right to say there is a lot of overlap?

If you will bear with me for a sec.... I was trying to explain to my mother who Tyler Durden is, the other day. I described him as "The anarchist anti-hero of a movie about the attractions of violence." (It is hard to explain Fight Club to someone who has never seen/read it. I resorted to sharing a gif of the ending, the view of the city...)

But the reason this subject came up is because she sent me a link to this article from ZeroHedge, suggesting that the Nazis in Charlottesville with the swastika flags were actually actors/plants (which is what she believes.)

For those who don't know, ZeroHedge pushes the kind of alt right propaganda beloved of Russian trolls. And everything they publish purports to be written by "Tyler Durden" (complete with a picture of Brad Pitt's bruised face.) So I was trying to explain to her why "Tyler Durden" might not be the most reliable source to get your news from.

Okay, bringing it back to antifa now... If they are really "Fight Club" obsessed white boys like the few self proclaimed "anarchists" I have known, then it seems to me they actually have a lot in common with the alt right... It seems like some people are just looking for acceptable targets to punch... for the alt-right, that is minorities, particularly undocumented immigrants (because they are breaking the law) and Jews (because they are supposedly rich at the expense of others) and Muslims (because they are supposedly terrorists.) Those are targets that their communities hate. But Berkley is a different kind of community... Do Berkley antifa see Nazis as the same kind of "opportunity? An acceptable target of violence (because they are nazis) which they really want to commit more or less for its own sake?

And why is being an "anarchist" even considered a left wing position at all? Libertarians are right wing... They believe that the government should not do anything except maintain a military and a police force for the protection of property rights, basically. Anarchists don't even think the government should do THAT. Doesn't that put them to the RIGHT of libertarians? How can you be an anarchist and ALSO believe in universal government provided healthcare, for instance?

And historically "anarchy" has never ended well for vulnerable people. If it is every man for himself and the only property you can keep is what you can defend by force 1) that does not go well for minorities and women and poor people 2) eventually gangs/warlords step in to fill the power vacuum and that also does not go well for minorities and women and poor people.

It seems to me that there is a huge overlap both ideologically and culturally between "anarchists" and tech bro "Libertarians" (the kind who are very into Bitcoin and sea-stedding) and I already know the tech bro libertarians are not on our side. Why do people think that anarchists are?

If antifa are just volunteer security for rallies then... well, actually that still worries me, because that is how the Three Percenters and Oath Keepers describe themselves also. It's how a lot of paramilitaries get started, I guess, including the SS in Germany who started out as the Saal-schutz, literally "Hall protection" as in meeting halls...)

But I mean if they are just there to do the kind of stuff they did in Charlottesville, great.

But if they are mostly punching Nazis because they are excited to have found someone it is acceptable to punch... And if they really are anarchists... then I don't know that they are really on our side.

(Disclaimer... I realize even if there are a lot of people like I have described it is definitely not everyone associated with antifa. I'm just wondering if it IS a lot of them.)
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:12 AM on August 28 [10 favorites]


And why is being an "anarchist" even considered a left wing position at all?

Most forms of anarchism advocate for a magical form of socialism that works without an overarching state to enforce the redistribution; if you dig deep enough, you can probably find a rose-tinted, Rousseauvian view of human nature as inherently good, with all vice coming from something else (technology, capitalism, hierarchical social organisation or whatever).
posted by acb at 6:28 AM on August 28 [21 favorites]


is it not contempt (federal) for Trump to pardon Arassholio?

Well, no, it isn't. Contempt of what, contempt of Twitter? There is no court order prohibiting Trump from doing that.
It's abuse of the power of pardons, and people are arguing that it's unconstitutional, in that it erased the only means to force Arapio to obey the law, but it's not "contempt(federal)".
posted by thelonius at 6:29 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


I might be eager to punch a Nazi - especially if he were chanting racist slogans - but I am certainly not going to mask my face, join a club-wielding mob, and run down one that's peacefully protesting, to maim or beat them to death.

I don't want to make this personal or about this particular commenter, but this kind of stuff from the left really makes me see red.

1. There's no such thing as a peaceful Nazi. There's a good reason why being a Nazi is illegal in Germany and some other places.

2. This is the framing of the enemy who are Nazis.

3. An alternative framing that one might consider - being willing to (a) disguise yourself to try and avoid Nazis knowing who you are and where you live, which is information they have used and will continue to use to try and harm the resistance, (b) arm yourself with blunt weapons that are inferior to the semi-automatic firearms the Nazis have but might help a little, (c) join a group of people unwilling to concede the ground to Nazis without a fight, and (d) go find and fight Nazis.

4. I am sure there are a lot of critical conversations regarding violence in protesting Nazis, the optics of black bloc tactics against Nazis, the potential repercussions of the left taking up violence against Nazis, and so on. I just really don't give a shit right now. It's easy to say that if we fight back we make it worse for ourselves and others. The alternative to that is not fighting back against Nazis, and that is an unacceptable choice.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:30 AM on August 28 [95 favorites]


but but but both sides
posted by entropicamericana at 6:34 AM on August 28 [9 favorites]


if you dig deep enough, you can probably find a rose-tinted, Rousseauvian view of human nature as inherently good,

I find it hard to square such a rose-tinted view with an insistence that Nazis exist and are a real threat which can only be effectively countered by violence. What makes them think gangs of Nazis would not still exist after the state is destroyed?
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:35 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


I'm a little surprised that Trump announced a visit to Texas tomorrow. There's no way he can show up in the middle of a disaster and not take up needed recovery resources for his security detail.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:37 AM on August 28 [10 favorites]


Something that happened in my extended social circle this weekend: a woman outside a local hipster bar called out some dudes who were saying Nazi stuff and they curb-stomped her, to the point where she was in the ER and her teeth were loose.

Now, ask yourself, what are the options here? Be a quiet white person and just let people say Nazi shit? Get curbstomped? Call...uh, who? The police? The same police who let people bleed when they were shot by racists at the Jamar Clark protest? And it's not illegal to say Nazi shit anyway.


One thing that is helping, for now, is social media campaigns to identify attackers who are videoed. Several of the men who attacked that young kid in Charlottesville have been identified and arrested/had warrants issued. So I would say don't go into a confrontation unless you are recording, and have someone else there to do it.

Assault is still illegal, and police departments can be shamed into doing something about it given enough pressure.

Which is not to criticize the woman in question for not doing it perfectly. She did the right and brave thing. But nothing wrong with having multiple strategies for protecting yourself when doing the right and brave thing.
posted by emjaybee at 6:40 AM on August 28 [16 favorites]


> Wait, do people actually know how evil this man is? by Nathan J. Robinson

Another aspect really made clear in that article is that it wasn't just Arpaio, but a whole department with it's own attached Arizona prison experiment. Presumably since Arpaio was only done for contempt of court, not the actual crimes he and his organisation committed, they didn't face any repercussions other than having to be more circumspect about their intimidation/violence/racism.

What are the odds that those firing tear gas and rubber bullets at the counter-protesters at the Trump rally in Phoenix came up through Arpaio's ranks?

> I've seen people like this crumble in the face of real physical opposition and just the idea that they could fight back. They didn't match their keyboard warrior talk at all and were scared.

And if they aren't met by real physical opposition then they will become more comfortable committing violence, and carrying out their keyboard warrior fantasies. For the KKK/Nazis violence is not just a means but an end goal, and an intrinsic part of their philosophy, strategy, and tactics.

Militant antifa Nazi punching* isn't /the/ answer. But a solid "Nae Paseran" has to be part of it; because when Nazis gain the streets uncontested things get a lot worse and more violent, particularly for the targeted minorities (like with the Sturmabteilung paving Hitler's way). And blocking them from the streets/communities /has/ worked to dissipate them in the past (Cable Street/Punk movement etc).


* [youtube, how-to, Ameri-Do-Te]
posted by Buntix at 6:44 AM on August 28 [21 favorites]


Yay! The paramilitary cosplay program is back on. That'll help solidify loyalty when trump refuses to leave office.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:44 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]


And trump can stay the ever loving fuck away from my flooded city.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:45 AM on August 28 [8 favorites]


I find it hard to square such a rose-tinted view with an insistence that Nazis exist and are a real threat which can only be effectively countered by violence. What makes them think gangs of Nazis would not still exist after the state is destroyed?

Probably the idea that the Nazis weren't born to be Nazis, but were poisoned by hierarchy/patriarchy/capitalism/technology/whatever, thus becoming Nazis. Make the leap of faith of dismantling all that, and trust the Nazis to disappear, rather than exterminate and enslave everyone else.
posted by acb at 6:47 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


if you dig deep enough, you can probably find a rose-tinted, Rousseauvian view of human nature as inherently good,

In my experience, this also works for Libertarians. It's just a different set of where the vice is coming from (government, wealth redistribution, taxes) but the core belief in man's inherent nature as good but that is corrupted by these artificial impositions, is present in a certain subset of Libertarians. That was sort of the off ramp from the Objectivism I was raised with. I looked around and was like, "Uh no actually we're fucking animals and organized society and laws are the only things standing in the way of that."

My husband is an anarcho-syndicalist (who works at a law firm lol) and I'm sympathetic but, like, have you met people? We're awful.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:48 AM on August 28 [42 favorites]


Right up until they divert troops to Kiev and end up fighting a winter campaign, anyway.


"Hitler never played Risk as a kid ..."
posted by DrAstroZoom at 6:49 AM on August 28 [8 favorites]


> My husband is an anarcho-syndicalist (who works at a law firm lol) and I'm sympathetic but, like, have you met people? We're awful.

People are awful. Unjustifiable heirarchal power structures allow them to amplify their awfulness exponentially. {See Arpaio above, and pretty much the entirety of the previous 128 Trump threads}.
posted by Buntix at 6:55 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


Yeah but awful people are perfectly capable of building their own power structures, if the existing ones are destroyed. I mean, we have Breaking Bad / the Wire / American History X to show us how this works. It feels like everyone should know these days that the government is not the only possible kind of power structure...
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:05 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


I'm a little surprised that Trump announced a visit to Texas tomorrow. There's no way he can show up in the middle of a disaster and not take up needed recovery resources for his security detail.

You're right, Obama avoided NYC after Sandy for those reasons. But The Trump Show loves to go on the road. He'll probably get his Presidential photo-op with some emergency services (he loves fire trucks) that could be doing other things. The real emergency is that everyone's watching Texas and he's not center-stage. It's all about him.

He should visit during the recovery, not while the disaster is still happening. There's nothing he can do by being physically present that he can't do in DC. Except a photoshoot.
posted by adept256 at 7:05 AM on August 28 [9 favorites]


Anyway, OUAT I think it's important to remember that antifa isn't a single organization. It's just a bunch of self-organized local and online groups. So it's not like there's any official antifa stance on when it is and is not appropriate to punch a Nazi. I think the least surprising thing that has happened in the past month is that Berkeley antifa are hard core with their tactics. You know how some people are saying, "When you used to wonder what you would have done if you'd been alive in Nazi Germany, what you are doing now is it"? Well, antifa take that quite seriously. It's kind of hard to fault them for it if you believe that we're seeing the rise of a fascist state in the US.

Vis-a-vis anarchism, I remained unconvinced that the awfullest people would not find a way to amplify their awfulness without a State (especially at this point in history where mass communication, transportation, and armaments are available to pretty much everyone). I'm pretty sure that in Walking Dead World, Joe Arpaio would still be killing innocent people. We remain social creatures, and a number of us spend part or all of our lives quite physically vulnerable. Sociopaths gonna sociopath. My preference is working towards a just state rather than just getting rid of the whole thing.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:06 AM on August 28 [29 favorites]


And trump can stay the ever loving fuck away from my flooded city.


Mr POTUS45, please come home and play golf at Mar A Lago and stay the eff out of Texas a few weeks yet.

Reluctantly,
- Palm Beach cty resident.
posted by tilde at 7:14 AM on August 28 [9 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that in Walking Dead World, Joe Arpaio would still be killing innocent people.

He'd probably be an Immortan Joe-style warlord, ruling his miserable stronghold with an iron fist.
Meanwhile, Sherriff Clarke would be wearing actual human skulls attached to his uniform.
posted by acb at 7:18 AM on August 28 [12 favorites]


[We're not going to have a conspiracy theory derail; rough ashlar, you need to use somewhat better judgment w/r/t off-the-wall theories.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:18 AM on August 28 [9 favorites]


I still believe sociopaths aren't necessarily going to sociopath as much if you've got the right balance of things in a culture, society, political system, but that we don't have anything close to an equitable or sustainable balance now, and the failures are multifactorial and span lots of different levels of organization, from the more personal/private to the public sphere, and that we're at a point in history when outside and inside powers with no deep loyalties to any coherent creed or cause beyond resentment and personal animus and opportunistic self interest are aggressively exploiting the social atomization and disruption that's been normalized in recent decades in the U.S. to push those fault lines.

All these decades of disruptively innovating have broken American society and exploitative hate mongers and opportunists are rushing into the gap, further exacerbating and inflaming natural social tensions to fuel frustration and mistrust between Americans who should otherwise be able to see common interests with other groups of Americans they don't necessarily personally identify with.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:22 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


I can't believe that I have to say this, but if you see a person being beaten to a pulp on the street, YOU CALL THE FUCKING POLICE.

Policing in America is deeply flawed, but for the love of god, please set those feelings aside if you see a person having their head smashed into the curb. Even bad cops are going to break up an assault that's happening in broad daylight.
posted by schmod at 7:27 AM on August 28 [16 favorites]


Policing in America is deeply flawed, but for the love of god, please set those feelings aside if you see a person having their head smashed into the curb. Even bad cops are going to break up an assault that's happening in broad daylight.

They didn't for Deandre Harris in Charlottesville.
posted by anem0ne at 7:32 AM on August 28 [82 favorites]


But yeah, given that the case listed above has a white person being hit, the police would have responded, one hopes.
posted by anem0ne at 7:33 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


There are many anarchisms, although what most people think of as anarchism is "wow, if the state would just collapse, everything would be great!", which we might call "vulgar anarchism", and which really does hinge on a Rousseauian view that people are basically okay and problems are the result of capitalism/patriarchy/etc. (Which raises the question of "where do those problems come from in the first place, IYAM).

Most of the anarchists I know - and I know a bunch at this point! - are anarcho-gradualist-syndicalists (a term I made up). They would probably say, "society can't work without a lot of organization, but that organization does not have to come from the state". They would draw a distinction between leadership and the state, and point to stateless indigenous societies as models, as well as large, effective religious, labor and fraternal networks. What they would say is that the state amplifies power and inequality - power and inequality exist in human relations but the state is a uniquely bad concentrator. (Obviously, power exists in non-state organizations - I don't have as much power as the senior people in my union, even though that's not enforced by the state. And social coercion exists - if I don't do what I say I'll do, or if I shirk, I'll be shamed and excluded.)

Most of the anarchists I know would say that while of course if the state collapsed tomorrow, one would do one's best to build non-state alternatives in the rubble, it would be much better to build non-state alternatives now as much as possible, because the whole "suddenly everything is the chaos kind of anarchy, supply chains collapse, people can't get insulin or chemo drugs or potable water in any kind of reliable way, the people with the most guns win" is deeply, deeply undesirable. That's the gradualism - just as with gradualist socialism, the idea is that you build working structures that function according to your beliefs, rather than hoping to smash the whole show and rebuild in the ruins.

For me, as an anarchist, I am not a totalizer. I don't imagine a utopian future where my beliefs are the world's beliefs, because I think that's creepy. (if you've ever read Samuel Delany's Stars In My Pocket Like Grains Of Sand, he does a pretty good job describing a social world in which many political communities co-exist (or come into conflict), including anarchism.) I imagine a future in which communities can be different from each other and stand or fall by their own competence.

You probably know more anarchists than you think - lots of people who appear to you to be perfectly respectable, reasonable, etc, are anarchists, it's just that the world is all "anarchists are libertarians and teenagers who are into chaos, also their projects and goals are stupid, I used to know someone who lived in a punk house and it was super gross, et patati et patata".
posted by Frowner at 7:33 AM on August 28 [52 favorites]


So it's not like there's any official antifa stance on when it is and is not appropriate to punch a Nazi.
I would just like to go on record as stating that it is always 100% appropriate to punch a Nazi either physically or metaphorically.
Because if you don't they will win.
posted by adamvasco at 7:33 AM on August 28 [7 favorites]


> Yeah but awful people are perfectly capable of building their own power structures, if the existing ones are destroyed.

It's a bit of an unfortunate caricature of anarchism that it's just about smashing the state and everyone doing their own thang unchecked. It is more* replacing hierarchical property centred power structures with human centred flat (as possible) systems of community self-governance. Not the enemy of order but the mother of it...

The roaming mad-max gangs argument against anarchism is addressed way better than I could in the "I.5.13 Won’t an anarchist society be vulnerable to the power hungry?" section of the previously linked FAQ.

TLDR: Anarchism is a land of contrasts.

* Variations exist, YMMV.
posted by Buntix at 7:33 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


Welcome to Thread number 129.
Real? Thanks for counting. I was wondering how many.
I mean, there could be a 'You have gone 0 weeks without a new Trump thread' sign up, but even so, that seems like a lot.
posted by MtDewd at 7:44 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I appreciate Nazis are evil. I'm really not so naive to think they're only protesting for ponies with swastikas.

But if you automatically jump from "Look, a Nazi!" to "Time for the old ultra-violence!" then you've already ceded part of "the battle for the soul of our country" to them, because you've sacrificed what makes ours fundamentally a civil society, and what makes US fundamentally better than them.

If you think that "the Beaches of Normandy" is the proper model for how to deal with a Nazi protest in downtown Charlottesville, then I think you're wrong - and dangerously so. Are you seriously advocating taking up arms and shooting at protesting Nazis? If not, then what is that rhetoric all about?

Because frankly, as much as I loathe Nazis, that kind of rhetoric, while attractive to many, is so hyperbolic as to be worse than useless in this situation. I refuse to accept the premise that I either favor joining a vigilante mob to attack Nazi demonstrators or I'm unAmerican.

I am not Antifa. I'm not a goon. That doesn't make me unAmerican, and frankly the rhetoric that seeks to shame people into engaging in mob violence by appealing to their patriotism is seriously fucked.

I endorse the idea of punching a Nazi. I don't endorse the kind of rhetoric that's trying to rationalize mob action and whatever response "Beaches of Normandy" imagery is trying to evoke.

But imho, the whole "Punching Nazis: Good or Bad" argument is a derail. I seriously doubt anyone tempted to grab a baseball bat and whale on a Nazi is going to be convinced or deterred by anything they read in this thread.
posted by darkstar at 7:47 AM on August 28 [68 favorites]


me, i'm waiting for someone to post "first they came for the fascists" unironically
posted by entropicamericana at 7:58 AM on August 28 [20 favorites]


In other Nazi-infiltrating-LEO news, an Oklahoma Police Chief was ousted when it was learned that he was listed as one of the owners of a White Supremacist website.

Bad: the Police Chief was a White Supremacist

Good: he was ousted

Bad: he probably was not the only one in that Police department
posted by darkstar at 8:01 AM on August 28 [58 favorites]


Linton Kwei Johnson has some relevant advice from his 1979 album Forces of Victory: Fite Dem Back.
posted by Paul Slade at 8:11 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


me, i'm waiting for someone to post "first they came for the fascists" unironically

Some guy from this website, apparently
posted by nubs at 8:13 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Grauniad: Oxford University professor resigns in Donald Trump protest

"Bo Rothstein was professor of government and public policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, named after the Ukraine-born billionaire Leonard Blavatnik who gave the university £75m to set up the school. Rothstein told the Guardian that he resigned on Monday after learning that Blavatnik had given a substantial donation to the Trump campaign, which he called “incomprehensible and irresponsible”.

Blavatnik, who is an associate of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is reported to have donated $1m to Trump’s inauguration committee, as well as millions of dollars to his campaign. In his resignation letter, Rothstein said: “President Trump stands for a system of governing that is completely contrary to what I have come to define as ‘quality of government’.” He pointed out that his own research had found that “quality of government” is crucial for improving human well-being.

The letter added: “As I see it, Donald Trump’s policies are also antithetical to the goal of the Blavatnik School of Government, which aims ‘to improve the quality of government and public policy-making worldwide, so that citizens can enjoy more secure and more fulfilled lives’. I therefore find Mr Blavatnik’s decision to support Donald Trump both incomprehensible and irresponsible.

“Mr Blavatnik’s decision to support Donald Trump makes it impossible for me to continue at the Blavatnik School of Government. Given the results from my research, my activities for increasing the ethical standards in higher education, my public statements about the pressing need for integrity and impartiality for holders of public office, as well as the content of my teaching, I cannot give legitimacy and credibility to a person who is supporting Donald Trump. There is simply no way I can defend this in front of students or colleagues.”

Oxford is yet to respond to Rothstein’s resignation. The university was heavily criticised for accepting the original donation from Blavatknik. In a open letter published in the Guardian in 2015, a group of academics urged Oxford to “stop selling its reputation and prestige to Putin’s associates”.

posted by progosk at 8:27 AM on August 28 [45 favorites]


Krugman unequivocal on the Arpaio pardon:
Let’s call things by their proper names here. Arpaio is, of course, a white supremacist. But he’s more than that. There’s a word for political regimes that round up members of minority groups and send them to concentration camps, while rejecting the rule of law: What Arpaio brought to Maricopa, and what the president of the United States has just endorsed, was fascism, American style.
posted by darkstar at 8:32 AM on August 28 [154 favorites]


Sign me up with those who believe a whole lot of Antifa/Black Bloc activity is false flag fascist provocation or another version of violent young and mostly white men trolling for the lulz. Those folks have been nothing but a problem for the anti-Iraq war protests, for the Occupy movement, for BLM, and for anti-Trump efforts. The only time I've ever seen an actual Molotov cocktail thrown at a demo was by a Black Bloc anarchist (2000 anti-inauguration protests in DC. Got the rest of us peacefully protesting on that block f'ing tear gassed and charged by cops.)

Interestingly, the organizers of the DAPL protest at Standing Rock last fall made a concerted effort to keep anarchists and Antifa people and anyone else there to pursue side protest projects out of the protest camps. I know someone who was among the group there tasked with identifying potentially violent people, educating them about non-violence and respect for the authority of Indigenous leadership, and asking them to leave if they didn't want to play by the rules. One violent person can undermine 500 people practicing non-violent resistance.

And yeah the Normandy analogy is emotionally satisfying but falls apart on examination.
posted by spitbull at 8:35 AM on August 28 [44 favorites]


Well said, darkstar. It blows my mind that that if you are not in lockstep with the Antifa movement - violence and all - you are automagically regarded as a "Nazi sympathizer." Which I was actually called on Reddit, for simply stating that tit-for-tat violence is not the answer and will only make things worse.

The right calls you a "cuck" if you fail their litmus test on any point, and now the left assumes you're in league with the Nazis. This kind of all-or-nothing rhetoric frightens me to no end.
posted by CottonCandyCapers at 8:35 AM on August 28 [20 favorites]


I would just like to go on record as stating that it is always 100% appropriate to punch a Nazi either physically or metaphorically.

For the sake of avoiding confusion, it strikes me that we could come up with some other word for when you "punch" a Nazi "Metaphorically", so that way you don't end up making people think that violence is always an appropriate solution.

Because it isn't. Dammit, it isn't.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:39 AM on August 28 [11 favorites]


I'd just like to note that the current headline on the WaPo article about the Berkely protest originally linked here is Black-clad antifa members attack peaceful right-wing demonstrators in Berkeley.

I don't know whether the headline has been changed (to add 'peaceful') since the article was originally linked, but that's the headline at this time, and it seems like some prime BS to me.
posted by syzygy at 8:39 AM on August 28 [10 favorites]


So little to laugh at these days. Not that this is ha-ha funny but ...
Commentary: Donald Trump's pro-wrestling presidency
David Von Drehle
The Washington Post
August 28, 9:25am

Trump might not have known who Frederick Douglass was when he took the oath of office or that health care's a complicated business. But he has long been an expert storyteller, with a deep appreciation of the innate human appetite for narrative over data. Our brains naturally organize information into story form, and one of the oldest, most powerful patterns is the tale of a conflict: Us vs. Them, Good vs. Evil, Ravishing Rick vs. The Snake.

Outrageous Don scripted his campaign as a series of professional- wrestling scenarios, complete with menacing foreigners, unclever nicknames and plenty of trash talk. When the show got him elected, he doubled down, taunting world leaders and journalists alike. We haven't seen him in tights yet, thank heavens, but he did get a bit saucy with the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron. Trump's improvised line about "fire and fury like the world has never seen" would not be out of place on the USA Network's weekly "WWE SmackDown."

You might say all politicians tell stories of conflict. But with Trump, it's relentless. He takes us from bout to bout — Trump against China, Trump against Comey, Trump against Kim, Trump against Fake News — with a head-spinning undercard of Jared against Bannon and Spicy Spicer against The Mooch. Every policy choice, every personnel decision, every setback can be fodder for the next day's script. Faced with alt-right fascists marching in Charlottesville, Trump spun an "alt-left" to pit against them.

posted by tilde at 8:43 AM on August 28 [7 favorites]


ACLU has filed suit against the trans ban in the military as of this morning.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:48 AM on August 28 [95 favorites]


Well said, darkstar. It blows my mind that that if you are not in lockstep with the Antifa movement - violence and all - you are automagically regarded as a "Nazi sympathizer." Which I was actually called on Reddit, for simply stating that violence will only make things worse.

Well you can consider "the left" to be a singular unit but I gotta tell you, if the left actually operated in any sort of lockstep we wouldn't have this problem right now.
posted by Talez at 8:50 AM on August 28 [48 favorites]


OnceUponaTime: It's a bit simplistic, but in a very general way: Anarchists of the black-bloc, antifa type are what you could consider left-wing libertarians (this variety of anarchism is sometimes called "libertarian socialism"). Anarchists of the hardcore Ayn Rand or tech-bro type are what you could consider right-wing libertarians (this variety is sometimes called "libertarian capitalism" or "anarcho-capitalism").

Others here are better at describing the particular philosophies and goals specific to each wing, but this framing can help eliminate confusion wrt to their respective "libertarianism."
posted by Rykey at 8:52 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]


I consider every violence promoter in a liberal group to be an FBI plant until proven otherwise.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:53 AM on August 28 [30 favorites]


Some authoritarianism and regime change expert stated that according to his research, violent movements require twice as much buy-in in terms of sheer numbers than peaceful movements do in order to effect change. I wish I could remember his name; I feel like it was an article I read on Slate.

I am personally fine with self-defense; I see no reason to just let someone beat you for optics purposes. I draw the line at provocation and instigation.
posted by xyzzy at 8:58 AM on August 28 [10 favorites]


"Bo Rothstein was professor of government and public policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, named after the Ukraine-born billionaire Leonard Blavatnik who gave the university £75m to set up the school. Rothstein told the Guardian that he resigned on Monday after learning that Blavatnik had given a substantial donation to the Trump campaign, which he called “incomprehensible and irresponsible”.

If that bothers you, you probably better not buy or stream any music from artists on Warner Music, as he owns them as well.
posted by acb at 9:00 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


All resistance to fascist organizing is self-defense.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:01 AM on August 28 [36 favorites]


We'll just have to agree to disagree, Pope Guilty.
posted by xyzzy at 9:02 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


ACLU has filed suit against the trans ban in the military as of this morning.

Damn, I'd love to see members of the armed forces declaring themselves transgender in solidarity. How many would it take for the administration to back down? 10% of the armed forces? A carrier group? Half the medical staff?

I was going to reference the Danish Nazi yellow star resistance, but it didn't actually happen.
posted by Emmy Noether at 9:03 AM on August 28 [7 favorites]


Looking at the picture of Pence, looking on for the press, near Trump, his facial language is something else. The top half of his face is beatific, angelic, adoring; while the bottom half is no comment. The photo is from the NYT and is within an article about Trump and Afghanistan.

Pence was chosen to be Trump's poison pill.
posted by Oyéah at 9:04 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


I consider every violence promoter in a liberal group to be an FBI plant until proven otherwise.


I don't really think that does you or anyone any favors. There are always fringe elements that attach to popular movements, whether it's to promote their own agenda or just do it for the lulz. Turning a blind eye to that with an argument that they're all agents provocateurs only discredits the side you're on. It's better to accept that they're there, whatever the reason, and to make the comparison on proportions. Because we can field many more people who are peaceful protesters, where a huge percentage of what they field either promote or participate in violence.
posted by jammer at 9:05 AM on August 28 [11 favorites]


You all know what this flag means, right? It means "we will literally murder you if we don't like you." How anybody can see someone marching under that flag and not respond with immediate violence (or by running away for self-preservation; that's perfectly justifiable) is beyond me. Once you fly that flag, you've moved past any opportunity for measured conversation.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:06 AM on August 28 [58 favorites]


declaring themselves transgender in solidarity

I get the intent behind this but just straight up deciding to take someone else's identity makes me super uncomfortable
posted by OverlappingElvis at 9:07 AM on August 28 [13 favorites]


I am Spartacus.
posted by spitbull at 9:08 AM on August 28 [10 favorites]


By the way, the trans ban happened late in the day on Friday. Every time we criticize the ACLU (and sometimes they deserve criticism) please remember shades of gray. A team has been working all weekend to put together the suit to be filed first thing Monday morning, making sure that trans Americans don't spend one extra hour wondering what will be done to help.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:09 AM on August 28 [93 favorites]


I didn't know what this flag was until I saw it at a rally. It was hanging in my neighborhood so I asked some friends what I should do about it.

I'm glad to say the flag is now gone, after the idiot got a letter from the housing department. This is the kind of nazi punching I like.

Thanks Mefites.
posted by adept256 at 9:16 AM on August 28 [51 favorites]


Assuming all instances of attacks on right-wing demonstrators are false flag operations is delusional and counterproductive. Still, the obsessive focus on the optics of an isolated attack seems misguided given the sustained and escalating campaign of violence by the white supremacists. If you're really that troubled by how an event will look and think it will significantly harm the movement, then don't work so hard to boost the event's signal and repeatedly complain about how troubling it is.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:45 AM on August 28 [14 favorites]


It's Scoop Noon at The New York Times: A business associate of President Trump promised in 2015 to engineer a real estate deal with the aid of the president of Russia, Vladimir V. Putin, that he said would help Mr. Trump win the presidency.

The business associate, Felix Sater, wrote a series of emails to Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, in which he boasted about his ties to Mr. Putin and predicted that building a Trump Tower in Moscow would be a political boon to Mr. Trump’s candidacy.

“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Mr. Sater wrote in an email. “I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”

posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:49 AM on August 28 [86 favorites]


saterely this
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:51 AM on August 28 [11 favorites]


increasingly hard to distinguish between real life and sater
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:52 AM on August 28 [20 favorites]


Sater is....still alive, but probably checking his tea carefully before drinking it.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:55 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


I'm sure it was the merest of coincidences that Sater explicitly said this, and then that Russia tried to get Trump elected. In fact, Trump is probably so innocent that Russia helped him get elected just to make him look bad.
posted by Room 101 at 9:55 AM on August 28 [13 favorites]


Cue the collusion deniers switching to "what's so bad about collusion?"
posted by Gelatin at 9:56 AM on August 28 [8 favorites]


I think the thing that troubles me about criticism of antifa/Nazi punching is not that you think it's wrong or that you don't want to do it. It's that you're spending more time criticizing resistance to fascism than you are criticizing fascism. Think violence is not the answer? Fab! Everyone has to draw that moral line for themselves. Not everyone will come to the same conclusion. So sorry, what is your answer? Are you spending time on that answer? As much time as you are wringing your hands about Nazi punching? Because if not, why do you think this is a better use of your time and limited resources?

Also sorry, fuck "optics". I don't know when it became trendy to worry about this but it's tired. The white supremacist right-wing in America will bend the truth or just straight up lie to suit their own twisted unhinged narrative, and a frightening amount of the American public will tut-tut and say "both sides!" no matter what actually happens. Who the fuck cares how shit looks?
posted by supercrayon at 9:59 AM on August 28 [75 favorites]


The number of people in this thread defending left wing violence is evidence that it's not all false flags.
posted by LarsC at 10:00 AM on August 28 [10 favorites]


If your violence makes us look good, you're one of us. If your violence makes us look bad, you're one of them.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:02 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


[Let us all move on with our lives and this thread and let people punch or not punch Nazis, as they prefer and as their conscience dictates, but boy am I bored of rehashing it over and over again in these threads. That also goes for "are these real leftists or plants?" If evidence comes out one way or the other, fine. Otherwise, consider both hypotheses well-explained at this point.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:04 AM on August 28 [86 favorites]


“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Mr. Sater wrote in an email. “I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”

this is not so much a smoking gun as a smoking radioactive crater
posted by murphy slaw at 10:11 AM on August 28 [98 favorites]


Cue Trump denying he ever knew Sater.

Though, this revelation is sure to take the edge off the buzz he got from his base's rapture over Arpaio's pardon.
posted by Gelatin at 10:15 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Sooooo now they all know they're going to jail if the Democrats take back even the house, right? Like that's probably a sure thing?

So...there's nothing they won't do to stop it?

I've been thinking about that "may you live in interesting times" curse lately. I mean, that is...that is good cursing. Whoever came up with that one knew what they were doing.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:16 AM on August 28 [33 favorites]




According to the @dcexaminer, Joe Arpaio has been eyeing primarying Jeff Flake for his senate seat. Of course he's 85 years old and a monster, so, who knows.

What preview window?
posted by Sophie1 at 10:18 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]




3. Fresh Off A Pardon From Trump, Arpaio Floats A Primary Challenge To Flake

i wonder if a timepiece has yet been devised precise enough to measure the time between trump sticking a shiv in Kelli Ward and endorsing Arpaio
posted by murphy slaw at 10:24 AM on August 28 [10 favorites]


On reflection:

I think Flake can win another General election if he can get there. He still has that "moderate/reasonable" Republican reputation among many folks in AZ. His recent denunciation of Trump has served to cement that among moderates on both sides of the aisle.

His real problem now is winning a Republican primary, where his perceived moderation and distancing from Trump are liabilities among the partisan Republicans/Tea Partiers that vote in the primary.

As for that, the more candidates there are to split the anti-Flake vote, the better for him. So while I don't think Arpaio is seriously going to run for Senate, if he were to do so, it would probably be to Flake's advantage. Arpaio and Ward would split the rabid right-wing, anti-incumbent vote, letting Flake win the primary. Then he'd go on to win the General.

Flake's low approval is in large part due to right-wingers that are dissatisfied that he's not right-wing enough. They may disapprove of him on those grounds, but they'd never vote for a Dem in the General. They'll hold their noses and vote for the (R) just to make sure they retain control of the Senate, even if they hate Flake, specifically.
posted by darkstar at 10:38 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


@justinhendrix tweets a video reminder of how Donald reacted when a BBC reporter confronted him about Sater's mob ties.
posted by valetta at 10:39 AM on August 28 [33 favorites]


Over the last week, I finally read the comic book March, Rep. John Lewis' (GA-05) autobiographical account of organizing sit-ins, marches, the Freedom Rides, and other non-violent direct actions across the segregated South in the 1960s to desegregate public places and get recognition of Black people's right to vote.

Lewis is a true American Hero and one of the last of the "Big Six" who organized the March on Washington. Rep. Lewis got arrested at least 40 times. He got the shit kicked out of him by Dallas County Sheriff Jim Clark and his vicious goons wearing badges on Bloody Sunday in Selma, AL.

His life and actions are an inspiration to all of us in the majority resisting American fascism. John Lewis is among the finest Americans ever to have lived--a true hero. I can't recommend March enough--it's riveting, inspiring, and probably my favorite comic. If you're flagging because of how horrible and exhausting this regime is: Buy it, read it, and be inspired towards being the best versions of ourselves we can.

(As I was typing this up, Peter Tosh's Equal Rights and Not Gonna Give it Up.)
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 10:41 AM on August 28 [66 favorites]


Maybe Flake can lose the primary and then run as a spoiler Independent. Then Republicans can enjoy the sweet taste of splitting your vote for once.
posted by Glibpaxman at 10:42 AM on August 28 [7 favorites]


Sater is....still alive, but probably checking his tea carefully before drinking it.

He appears, semmingly relaxed, in this Dutch investigative TV report (posted a hundred 45 threads ago): The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump: The Russians.
posted by progosk at 10:44 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Sooooo now they all know they're going to jail if the Democrats take back even the house, right? Like that's probably a sure thing?

They'd need a 2/3 majority.
posted by corb at 10:47 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]


For people who ran an entire Presidential campaign around the idea that one's email should be investigated to see what they're hiding, the Trump folks sure seem to have a lot of ridiculously suspicious stuff in their email.
posted by zachlipton at 10:47 AM on August 28 [110 favorites]


Sooooo now they all know they're going to jail if the Democrats take back even the house, right? Like that's probably a sure thing?

They'd need a 2/3 majority.


Impeachment in the House only requires a bare majority; conviction in the Senate, though, does require a 2/3rds majority.

Leaving aside impeachment, a Democratic-majority House would mean that the control of committees would flip to Democrats, and we'd see far more, and wider-ranging, congressional investigations that might lead to criminal investigations, depending on what they turn up; and more public (and private) hearings to make the process public and ever-present.
posted by cjelli at 10:54 AM on August 28 [36 favorites]


For people who ran an entire Presidential campaign around the idea that one's email should be investigated to see what they're hiding, the Trump folks sure seem to have a lot of ridiculously suspicious stuff in their email.

It's Trumps mirror, yet again. Every accusation is just projection, sometimes, as we've seen from Trump's twitter history, projection with knowledge of the future.
posted by dis_integration at 10:55 AM on August 28 [21 favorites]


Meet words with words or violence with violence, but not words with violence or violence with words.
posted by walrus at 10:56 AM on August 28 [21 favorites]


No one is going to jail until Trump is not president any longer. This is no longer a country with a functioning legal system, it's a de facto autocracy. Going through with Apario proved it. He's going to pardon everyone implicated in the Russia investigation, including himself if he has the 5 votes on the Supreme Court, and we know he has 3. It's going to come down to Roberts and Kennedy deciding whether a traitor president can pardon himself.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:59 AM on August 28 [48 favorites]


So Murkowski, Capito, Collins, Heller, McCain, McConnell, and now Flake. Is that all of the Republican Senators he's publicly beefed with?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 11:02 AM on August 28


I'm deeply worried that if we somehow manage to overcome gerrymandering and actually take the House in 2018 the Democrats will shift into Obama style "look forward, not back" mode and won't actually investigate anything.

Plus, of course, given the way things are going we'd need to get around 60% of the vote nationwide to get a simple majority in the House. We're currently projected to get 54% of the vote and... 47% of the House seats. Because the rules have been changed and we simply aren't allowed to win anymore even if we actually win. We win and yet somehow they control the government.

I really do think we're going to need to shut the whole country down, mass Egypt style protests for months on end, and rebuild the government to fix this. Because we can't afford to legitimize an electoral victory in 2018 that works out to an actual loss. We shouldn't have permitted it in 2016 with Trump overturning the will of the majority to be president despite losing by five million votes. But now the stakes are higher and I think we on the left are a lot less willing to take Republican "legal" cheating than we were in 2016.
posted by sotonohito at 11:03 AM on August 28 [22 favorites]


It's going to come down to Roberts and Kennedy deciding whether a traitor president can pardon himself.

I'll offer long odds on Roberts and Kennedy voting for their Party rather than their country. Kennedy did it before, in Bush v Gore, and we all know Roberts is just a party hack not a real jurist.
posted by sotonohito at 11:04 AM on August 28 [7 favorites]


I'm deeply worried that if we somehow manage to overcome gerrymandering and actually take the House in 2018 the Democrats will shift into Obama style "look forward, not back" mode and won't actually investigate anything.

I hope, at least, that enough Congressional Democrats remember that we tried that after Obama's election, and got a SCOTUS seat stolen for our troubles (to say nothing of McConnell's relentless and blatant bad faith dealing). I doubt many Democratic officials, to say nothing of their constituents, are going to be in a forgiving mood after two-plus years of Trump.

Sure, David Brooks will go on NPR and recommend it, but hopefully they will have learned never to listen to him, too.
posted by Gelatin at 11:07 AM on August 28 [11 favorites]


Kennedy did it for Obamacare too, he wanted to strike down the entire law just like Alito and Scalia and Thomas. I'd say he's 97% a Trump-can-pardon-himself vote, where the other 3 are 100%. Roberts does care about his historical reputation, so I'm putting him at only 65% likely to vote to end the rule of law in America.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:09 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


So Murkowski, Capito, Collins, Heller, McCain, McConnell, and now Flake. Is that all of the Republican Senators he's publicly beefed with?

Corker
posted by Glibpaxman at 11:09 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]


> This is no longer a country of with a functioning legal system, it's a de facto autocracy. Going through with Apario proved it.

The Arpaio pardon, along with with Trump's Duterte fandom and fantasies about burying muslims with dead pigs, also suggests that (terrifyingly) what Trump says publicly is actually a heavily filtered, easy-teenage-new-york version of his actual position. The checks and balances are working, just overstrained.

He may not consider that Arpaio didn't do wrong, so much as that what he did was the way it should be done.
posted by Buntix at 11:10 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


CNN: Tillerson aide: Constitution, not Trump, 'speaks for the country'
Rather than walk back eyebrow-raising comments made by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday, an aide told CNN Monday that President Donald Trump speaks for himself when it comes to American values "because the Constitution speaks for the country."
The Tillerson aide said the secretary of state was not criticizing Trump in the remarks.
"The secretary and President have expressed different points of view. He isn't being critical, but more so re-establishing without confusion what are known American values," the aide said.

"The values start from the Constitution. The President's job is to uphold those values. Did he do the best job ever responding to Charlottesville? Nope. But that doesn't mean America changes."
The aide added, "That is why the President speaks for himself because the Constitution speaks for the country."

Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Tillerson had said Trump "speaks for himself" when asked about the President's response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which he blamed "both sides" for the racial unrest. The secretary of state was asked about a United Nations committee issuing a warning to the United States about racism and hate crimes, saying US leaders had not sufficiently condemned white supremacy.

"I don't believe anyone doubts the American people's values," Tillerson said.

"And the President's values?" anchor Chris Wallace asked.

"The President speaks for himself," Tillerson said.
Is it just me, or is Tillerson trying pretty damn hard to get himself fired?
posted by zachlipton at 11:14 AM on August 28 [45 favorites]


Sooooo now they all know they're going to jail if the Democrats take back even the house, right? Like that's probably a sure thing?

They'd need a 2/3 majority.


Perhaps this is naive, but I think the investigative powers in the house would be enough to do it. We wouldn't have to successfully impeach everyone, just get enough dirt to set the actual justice system in motion. Maybe not Federal, but I'm sure NYS would be happy to move on anything that came up as a result of House investigations, for example. And then once we get the ball rolling...

Honestly, I think that's our best chance. If the Dems don't win the house back in 2018 despite getting a clear majority of the votes, I think things will really go to shit. That will be the tipping point into hell.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:16 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Is it just me, or is Tillerson trying pretty damn hard to get himself fired?

wouldn't you be?
posted by murphy slaw at 11:18 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


I think the supremes care about preserving the power of their court, even when they make rulings that are partisan in other ways. I think they would at least be reluctant to do something as self undermining as upholding a Trump self pardon.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 11:20 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


> This is no longer a country of with a functioning legal system, it's a de facto autocracy. Going through with Apario proved it.

It's been, what, three days since the pardon? Of which two days were weekend days, and during which a massive, slow-moving natural disaster has been unfolding in America's fourth-largest city?

Not to say the pardon was good (it wasn't), or that it wasn't autocratic (it was), but in the midst of a relentless news cycle could we at least remember that serious responses can take time? It hasn't even been a week; it hasn't even been one full workday. And just as Trump undoubtedly pardoned Arpaio at a moment timed to bury it amidst major news coverage of Harvey, anyone who wants to make a point of opposing the pardon might be keeping their powder dry until the storm passes lest their own response to Trump be buried in the same coverage.

It is slightly too early to declare the legal system nonexistent, to understate that considerably.
posted by cjelli at 11:20 AM on August 28 [25 favorites]


Over the last week, I finally read the comic book March, Rep. John Lewis' (GA-05) autobiographical account of organizing sit-ins, marches,

Hey, me too! I made a stop at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site last weekend, and all three were for sale in the gift shop*, so I decided to finally pick them up and give them a read. There's something about them that's so compelling and terrifying at the same time - I'm long out of high school, and woefully under-educated about the civil rights era in general, but seeing the depiction of those events on the page, rather than reading them in AP US History was deeply powerful. I'll strongly second Excommunicated Cardinal's recommendation to read them.

*The gift shop, which as recently as early January had BLM-related items for sale. This is no longer the case. I'll let you decide what that's about.
posted by god hates math at 11:22 AM on August 28 [12 favorites]


Perhaps this is naive, but I think the investigative powers in the house would be enough to do it. We wouldn't have to successfully impeach everyone, just get enough dirt to set the actual justice system in motion. Maybe not Federal, but I'm sure NYS would be happy to move on anything that came up as a result of House investigations, for example. And then once we get the ball rolling...

I agree, and I would love to be a fly on the wall when Trump is told that he can't pardon his minions for charges brought by individual states.
posted by Gelatin at 11:24 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Roberts definitely cares about the institution. He's also a rapidly partisan Republican. The three tea party justices do not care, at all, even one bit. Alito, Thomas and Gorsuch are indistinguishable from if three Sean Hannity's were sitting in those seats, especially on political cases like a Trump impeachment/pardon would be. And Kennedy is Kennedy, he has 1 moment of clarity for every 24 cases he sides with the tea baggers without so much as a concurring opinion.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:25 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


cjelli: "It is slightly too early to declare the legal system nonexistent, to understate that considerably."

Buntix's statement was not that the Arpaio pardon transitioned us from a state of lawfulness to not, it was that Arpaio reconfirms it. And if you think we have a functioning legal system, I'm sorry for you, you have a couple surprises coming.
posted by TypographicalError at 11:28 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Another early scoop, this one from the Post's Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Carol D. Leonnig, and uh, wow: Top Trump Organization executive asked Putin aide for help on business deal
A top executive from Donald Trump’s real estate company emailed Vladi­mir Putin’s personal spokesman during the U.S. presidential campaign last year to ask for help advancing a stalled Trump Tower development project in Moscow, according to documents submitted to Congress Monday.

Michael Cohen, a Trump attorney and executive vice president for the Trump Organization, sent the email in January 2016 to Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s top press aide.

“Over the past few months I have been working with a company based in Russia regarding the development of a Trump Tower - Moscow project in Moscow City,” Cohen wrote Peskov, according to a person familiar with the email. “Without getting into lengthy specifics. the communication between our two sides has stalled.”

“As this project is too important, I am hereby requesting your assistance. I respectfully request someone, preferably you, contact me so that I might discuss the specifics as well as arranging meetings with the appropriate individuals. I thank you in advance for your assistance and look forward to hearing from you soon,” Cohen wrote.

Cohen’s email marks the most direct interaction yet documented of a top Trump aide and a similarly senior member of Putin’s government.

The email shows the Trump business official directly seeking Kremlin assistance in advancing Trump’s business interests, in the same months when Trump was distinguishing himself on the campaign trail with his warm rhetoric about Putin.
The same people who kept insisting they have no ties to Putin were emailing Kremlin officials in the middle of the campaign.

*starts drinking at 11:30 AM because WTF?*
posted by zachlipton at 11:29 AM on August 28 [74 favorites]


The same people who kept insisting they have no ties to Putin were emailing Kremlin officials in the middle of the campaign.

The amazing thing isn't that they brazenly lied. Of course they lied. They have nothing but contempt for the democratic process -- you'd need to, if you knew your agenda stood no chance at all under a fair system. What's amazing is that they thought they could get away with it, and at least so far, they're generally wearing expensive suits instead of prison orange, though one gets the idea they feel the walls closing in.
posted by Gelatin at 11:36 AM on August 28 [11 favorites]


Buntix's statement was not that the Arpaio pardon transitioned us from a state of lawfulness to not

That wasn't Buntix's statement; that was Buntix quoting T. D. Strange's earlier comment.

And if you think we have a functioning legal system, I'm sorry for you, you have a couple surprises coming.

I'm not saying that America's legal system is flawless (far from it), but 'functioning' is a wholly different bar which it does clear. You're welcome to disagree, but as a substantive discussion about that is almost certainly a derail, I'm not going to belabor the point any further.
posted by cjelli at 11:37 AM on August 28 [7 favorites]


Fox News loves them some Sherriff Joe, so I was expecting them to be cheering loudly for Trump's pardon, but they don't seem to want to touch it, at least not on POTUS45's favorite program.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:42 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


> Fox News loves them some Sherriff Joe, so I was expecting them to be cheering loudly for Trump's pardon, but they don't seem to want to touch it, at least not on POTUS45's favorite program.

Maybe the cognitive dissonance was too much for them, after going on and ON and ON about the lawlessness of the Marc Rich pardon?

(Ha ha, I nearly sprained my funny bone. Fox and cognitive dissonance? Ha. But then I don't really understand why not.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:44 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


And speaking of "Pardongate", hey, look at that:

Federal prosecutor Mary Jo White was appointed to investigate the pardon of Marc Rich. She was later replaced by then-Republican James Comey, who found no illegality on Clinton's part.

Small world.
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:46 AM on August 28 [19 favorites]


It's going to come down to Roberts and Kennedy deciding whether a traitor president can pardon himself.

I'll offer long odds on Roberts and Kennedy voting for their Party rather than their country. Kennedy did it before, in Bush v Gore, and we all know Roberts is just a party hack not a real jurist.


What about naked self-interest? If there's one thing all judges love, it's the power of judges. I don't think they'll be intentionally neutering themselves.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:47 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


This is no longer a country with a functioning legal system, it's a de facto autocracy.

And it has been that way for a while. Snowden isn't in the US of A because he doesn't feel he'd have a fair trial. Black Lives Matter chats/slogans exist about how POC can not obtain justice.

97% of federal criminal cases plea out because mounting a $1 million+ Dollar defense is just not possible for most people. On the state level a public defender can't argue for new caselaw - I'm guessing the same applies on the federal level. And with a 97% plea deal VS the governments unlimited budget - does that sound like a functional system?


It is slightly too early to declare the legal system nonexistent, to understate that considerably.

Would you prefer the view that the laws of the nation are like a spiders web? The small and weak are able to be tangled up in them but the large and powerful are able to go right through them?

Does a spider web-like system sound like it is "fair and even handed" justice? Does the system sound better if commissions to just add up all the laws have failed 3 times? How do laws too numerous to count sound like a system where ignorance of the law (because they are published) is no excuse (to follow the published laws)?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:48 AM on August 28 [26 favorites]


I think the supremes care about preserving the power of their court, even when they make rulings that are partisan in other ways.

I expect that will be a factor in their response to Arpaio's pardon, too.
posted by Coventry at 11:49 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


I have to say, I think my favorite part of today so far is Sater's main argument for why he is going to get the Moscow deal done is that he once arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putin's chair. And Ivaka won't confirm or deny it happened!

It's like me saying I once sat in the chair the local WB TV station's mascot dog used (true; it was pretty covered in dog hair JFYI), so I'm qualified to broker a deal for a TV station.
posted by zachlipton at 11:49 AM on August 28 [25 favorites]


"I don't believe anyone doubts the American people's values," Tillerson said.

Isn't an election part of how the American people express their values? Did not a sizeable chunk of the American people vote for someone whose values include white supremacy, zero culpability and accountability, and grifting, grifting, grifting towards freedom?

I'm not an American, but I can tell you in Canada a lot of us were questioning what the American people values were the day after the election.
posted by nubs at 11:51 AM on August 28 [20 favorites]


It's like me saying I once sat in the chair the local WB TV station's mascot dog used (true; it was pretty covered in dog hair JFYI), so I'm qualified to broker a deal for a TV station.

I once sat in the captain's chair of the Starship Enterprise, so I'm qualified to negotiate a peace treaty with the Romulans.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:53 AM on August 28 [50 favorites]


I once sat in the captain's chair of the Starship Enterprise, so I'm qualified to negotiate a peace treaty with the Romulans.

Hey, me too! We should team up and broker twice the peace.
posted by Servo5678 at 11:56 AM on August 28 [19 favorites]


What's amazing is that they thought they could get away with it, and at least so far, they're generally wearing expensive suits

You might want to go read the trade rag of lawyers - the ABA Journal and the May 1995 article "The Lies Have It" by Mark Curriden. The behaviour has been unpunished for a while - so why wouldn't they think they could get away with it?

No one is watching the courts....
posted by rough ashlar at 11:56 AM on August 28


I think the supremes care about preserving the power of their court, even when they make rulings that are partisan in other ways.

I expect that will be a factor in their response to Arpaio's pardon, too.


I mean, if you can pardon folks (or yourself) for violating the Constitution, haven't you effectively killed judicial review and blown up separation of powers? The executive would rule supreme.

The Constitution is supposed to be the Supreme Law of the Land, not the President. If the power to pardon is unlimited, then that's no longer true. An unlimited pardon becomes a universal solvent, dissolving the whole Constitution in one fell swoop. And if they want to remove you? You could send in troops to prevent an impeachment vote, and pardon everyone involved.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:58 AM on August 28 [21 favorites]


I thought the "Checks and Balances" only worked because the president had the veto. Without that, the courts would have unlimited power. Pretty thin level understanding of a dense topic, I'm sure, but that's how it works in my mind. All three branches have the power to undermine one or both of the other two, which forces them to compromise and work together.

Of course the ability to burn the whole house down is baked into the system - but that's true of every system. No system can be set up to self-perpetuate to an extent that bad actors can't damage it if they are in control.
posted by rebent at 12:02 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


I think my favorite part of today so far is Sater's main argument for why he is going to get the Moscow deal done is that he once arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putin's chair.

Please someone do a Game of Thrones type of meme with this with Ivanka as Cersei.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:03 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


"You might want to go read the trade rag of lawyers - the ABA Journal and the May 1995 article "The Lies Have It" by Mark Curriden. "

You quote this thing from 20 years ago all the time (frequently misciting the year), whether or not it's germane to the conversation, and it doesn't say what you think it does. It's about how prosecutors are reluctant to involve themselves in perjury accusations primarily arising in civil litigation, both because criminal courts are already overburdened, and because civil litigators attempt to use local prosecutors as a tool to advance their civil litigation cases. It's not about lying on the campaign trail, it's not for the most part about perjury in criminal court (and where it is, it's about how harsh sentencing guidelines incentivize perjury and disincline judges to pursue it because the outcome would be unjust), it's not about how all lawyers are liars, or the thousand other things you seem to think that one popular-press article in a mass-market magazine -- not even a scholarly article in an academic journal -- prove.

It's also not remotely relevant to a conversation about the POTUS colluding with the Russians. It might be slightly relevant if you had an example of Trump lying under oath in civil litigation in the early 1990s and escaping prosecution because the prosecutor declined to prosecute. Otherwise, please stop bringing this up every damn time someone mentions lawyers, or testimony, or Congressional hearings, or lying politicians, and acting like it proves a point.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:04 PM on August 28 [73 favorites]


Haberman adds an interesting detail to the Michael Cohen email story:
Michael Cohen did indeed email Putin flak Peskov...at a general email addy equivalent to the press@whitehouse.gov. Not Peskov's email.
It suggests he did not actually have access to Peskov, as opposed to being evidence of his strong connections.
Which doesn't make it remotely right, but it also is a sign that points to Cohen's utter cluelessness here.
posted by zachlipton at 12:05 PM on August 28


nubs: "I'm not an American, but I can tell you in Canada a lot of us were questioning what the American people values were the day after the election."

In aggregate, the American people overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton.
posted by schmod at 12:06 PM on August 28 [75 favorites]


I would still like to read the article "The Lies Have It" by Mark Curriden. Does anyone have a pdf or non-Jstor source? (I won't pay Jstor a penny, for other reasons).
posted by BentFranklin at 12:07 PM on August 28


I think pardoning yourself shouldn't be allowed. It's just obstruction of justice covered by another pardon creating a new obstruction cascading forever. But for anyone else this is another case where the real limit to Presidential power is impeachment.
posted by Glibpaxman at 12:08 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


That man's name has always reminded me of the Latin palendromic squares - viz

S A T O R
A R E P O
T E N E T
O P E R A
R O T A S

You can't make it work even slightly (well, perhaps you can, I can't) but

S A T E R
F E L I X
F E C I T
D O L O R
P O T U S

has been in my head for months
posted by Devonian at 12:09 PM on August 28 [34 favorites]


I mean, if you can pardon folks (or yourself) for violating the Constitution, haven't you effectively killed judicial review and blown up separation of powers?

Not quite: you've destroyed judicial review, sure, but pardons explicitly do not reach to impeachment, so, in principle, Congress would step in at that point to remove you from office for abusing the pardon; remember that impeachment is a more of a political act than a legal one, so that would not (in theory) actual destroy the separation of powers. In theory. In practice, we'll see if Congress actual does impeach President Trump over this (I doubt that it will, but stranger things have happened; I can believe they'd impeach him over pardoning himself, but even that won't be an easy decision, or a certain one).

As to the judicial review angle, the NYTimes had an op-ed recently (linked in the last thread) arguing that it might not be so clear-cut:
[A]as a principle of constitutional law, anything in the body of the Constitution inconsistent with the directive of an amendment is necessarily pre-empted or modified by that amendment. If a particular exercise of the pardon power leads to a violation of the due process clause, the pardon power must be construed to prevent such a violation.
...
[I]f the president can immunize his agents in this manner, the courts will effectively lose any meaningful authority to protect constitutional rights against invasion by the executive branch. This is surely not the result contemplated by those who drafted and ratified the Fifth Amendment, and surely not the result dictated by precepts of constitutional democracy. All that would remain to the courts by way of enforcement would be the possibility of civil damage awards, hardly an effective means of stopping or deterring invasions of the right to liberty.
This is also a novel and untested theory (as the author cautions), but it's reasonably persuasive: that the fifth amendment creates restraints on the use of the pardon, in some cases. It's not necessarily correct, but...I do hope someone tests it.
posted by cjelli at 12:10 PM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Err forgive my pedantry, but shouldn't 'DOLOR POTUS' be in the accusative case= I.e.,

S A T E R
F E L I X
F E C I T
D O L O R E M
P O T U M

A translation of this phrase would be "Felix Sater makes a sad POTUS."
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 12:17 PM on August 28 [7 favorites]


Michael Cohen did indeed email Putin flak Peskov...at a general email addy equivalent to the press@whitehouse.gov. Not Peskov's email.
It suggests he did not actually have access to Peskov, as opposed to being evidence of his strong connections.


Which to me sounds like Cohen was trying to reach Peskov unsolicited, as opposed to his being able to say "Yeah, the guy gave me his work email address and told me to email him about some adoption stuff, so I did."
posted by Rykey at 12:18 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


ROMANES EUNT DOMUS!
posted by Behemoth at 12:18 PM on August 28 [25 favorites]


My favorite part is that Cohen's defense is that the collusion didn't work out, not that it would be, you know, wrong.
In a statement on Monday, Mr. Cohen suggested that he viewed Mr. Sater’s comments as puffery. “He has sometimes used colorful language and has been prone to ‘salesmanship,’” the statement said. “I ultimately determined that the proposal was not feasible and never agreed to make a trip to Russia.”
posted by chris24 at 12:18 PM on August 28 [11 favorites]


man who claimed that he was stabbed after being mistaken for a neo-Nazi now admits that he made the whole story up after accidentally stabbing himself.

Not to reopen the derail, but just to say I am perfectly fine with Nazis punching themselves.
posted by spitbull at 12:27 PM on August 28 [59 favorites]


Ah yes, the Kiev Protocol.
posted by darkstar at 12:29 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


He was too cowardly to tell the truth, so would this be the Chicken Kiev Protocol?
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:34 PM on August 28 [43 favorites]


Oh Cardinal, absolutely the Latin is terrible, it's not right at all, but you have to have the 5x5 format even if the palindrome is just a thousand miles away.

But I really can't help myself. The very first time I read Felix Sater's name, the image formed and stuck. I apologise for the very bad no good 0/10 stay behind after class travesty of the Latin grammar, but here I stand, I can do no other. I think it's the fact that POTUS is so perfectly Latinate.

And he is going to nominate a horse to the Cabinet. You just know it.
posted by Devonian at 12:35 PM on August 28 [15 favorites]


I keep reading the latin stuff and my brain starts singing "One Winged Angel" from FF7.

Trump is not classy enough for Ominous Latin Chanting, dammit.
posted by Archelaus at 12:38 PM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Trump is not classy enough for Ominous Latin Chanting, dammit.

Each fired or discarded goon lends his name and soul to the chant that will herald the metamorphosis of Trump's Final Fleshly Becoming: Priebus..Scaramucci...MANAFORT
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:46 PM on August 28 [16 favorites]


It's my impression that the original SATOR square doesn't exactly make perfect grammatical sense either. It's just a fun word game or a magical incantation, depending on who you ask
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:56 PM on August 28


Marcy Wheeler (emptywheel) ties some dots together in this post: Michael Cohen Starts Not Recalling His Negotiations with Dmitry Peskov, “Main Protagonist” of Campaign Versus Hillary

She zeros in on something that's been bugging me since last night: why are we reading these emails? Per the story, they haven't been turned over to Congressional investigators yet—that's coming soon—, so why were they dropped now? Her theory is that last night's story was a preemptive leak to get everyone talking about a tower, instead of the much more significant story, which is that Sater isn't talking about a building in his emails, he's talking about the Presidency. Sater barely cares about the building except as a means to "buddy our boy can become President of the US and we can engineer it." That Sater is conflating the building and the campaign is really the most alarming thing here.

Wheeler also reminds us that the Steele Dossier has a bit to say about Peskov:
Presidential spokesman PESKOV the main protagonist in Kremlin campaign to aid TRUMP and damage CLINTON. He is now scared and fears being made scapegoat by leadership for backlash in US. Problem compounded by his botched intervention in recent Turkish crisis.
Cohen didn't just reach out to a random official; he emailed the official who allegedly was the center of the propaganda campaign against Trump's opponent.

Another important question is what happened that would cause Cohen to send this email to Peskov and then drop the entire Trump Tower Moscow project two weeks later? Not to get too dramatic here, but did they get an offer for something better than a tower?
posted by zachlipton at 1:05 PM on August 28 [53 favorites]


The NYT story today implied they got the emails from the congressional investigators somehow.
posted by spitbull at 1:10 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Hillary is coming to Toronto later this month. Who here has heard her speak? The tickets are pricey - is it worth it? I'm tempted to treat myself.
posted by obliquity of the ecliptic at 1:12 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


I want to see her in Chicago and just got on the presale list but I'm scared to know how much tix will be. I'm certain I can't afford it.
posted by agregoli at 1:14 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


> did they get an offer for something better than a tower?

Rosneft shares are way easier obfuscated than a massive gilt-encrusted skyscraper with "Trump" emblazoned in metre high lettering to be sure.

Which actually makes me doubt a little.

They aren't a bunch to take the path less spectacularly dumb.
posted by Buntix at 1:23 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Everyone in this affair is acting simultaneously A) Guilty as hell and B) As though they've done absolutely nothing wrong. The fact that Sater and Cohen are running around giving comment and interviews to reporters speaks that they aren't so scared about getting caught that they will go to ground, and yet the nature of their comment seems to continually be one of "yeah, we tried, but it didn't pan out," seemingly angling toward a defense wherein Russia just took it upon themselves to assist Trump, and they therefore bear zero responsibility.


This is one fear I have--that despite asking for help and then receiving it, the narrative that wins will be that because they didn't directly coordinate (and that's an "if"), they have done no wrong.
posted by Room 101 at 1:25 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


Everyone in this affair is acting simultaneously A) Guilty as hell and B) As though they've done absolutely nothing wrong.

Occam's Razor: they are extremely stupid.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:26 PM on August 28 [44 favorites]


Everyone in this affair is acting simultaneously A) Guilty as hell and B) As though they've done absolutely nothing wrong.

When you're guilty as hell, often your only choice (outside of admitting your guilt) is acting as though you've done absolutely wrong, until you can't anymore. It's pretty much SOP for slimy people.
posted by Rykey at 1:28 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


Occam's Razor: they are extremely stupid.

Further Occam's razor-- they are also rich and powerful and used to getting their way. Which explains both of the aforementioned behavior patterns.
posted by cell divide at 1:28 PM on August 28 [11 favorites]


Occam's Razor: they are extremely stupid.

"The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand." -- All the President's Men
posted by zachlipton at 1:28 PM on August 28 [61 favorites]


This is one fear I have--that despite asking for help and then receiving it, the narrative that wins will be that because they didn't directly coordinate (and that's an "if"), they have done no wrong.

I expect that Mueller's way beyond that and is documenting in great detail the flow of phone calls, emails, other communications and THE MONEY. Keep in mind that the root-cause of all this is laundering Russian stolen money through real-estate deals, and there's no narrative that can compete against that.

I expect Mueller-mas ( Indictment Drop ) starts in 3 - 4 weeks.
posted by mikelieman at 1:29 PM on August 28 [13 favorites]


And he is going to nominate a horse to the Cabinet. You just know it.

A horse would literally be more capable than most of his current Cabinet.
Rick Perry? Ben Carson? Betsy Devos?
posted by Glibpaxman at 1:29 PM on August 28 [9 favorites]


Which actually makes me doubt a little.

They aren't a bunch to take the path less spectacularly dumb.


Occam's Razor: they are extremely stupid.

Putin is not stupid, and Rosneft is presumably his baby.
posted by stonepharisee at 1:29 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


I don't know why I'm listening to Donald Trump right now. I really fucking don't. His rah rah tone about how we're doing a terrific job with the hurricane, the super super stupid way he ad libs by repeating the ends of lines he thinks are super cool.
posted by angrycat at 1:30 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Ah well, thanks anyway zachlipton.
posted by Melismata at 1:30 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


I don't know if it's going to be Muellere'en, or Muellersgiving, or Muellukkah, or Muellerhog Day, but please, pleeeeeease don't let it all just be a tease.
posted by darkstar at 1:30 PM on August 28 [16 favorites]


I expect Mueller-mas ( Indictment Drop ) starts in 3 - 4 weeks.

Based on anything in particular, or just wishful thinking?
posted by jammer at 1:30 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Josh Marshall's latest take on Sater/Cohen/Trump Tower-Moscow story: Boom! Taking Stock of the Wild New Michael Cohen News
We have been told – not credibly – for more than a year that Donald Trump doesn’t have any properties or business interests in Russia. But for the first six months of his presidential campaign he was actively trying to secure a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow and in early 2016 a top Trump business executive solicited the assistance of one of Vladimir Putin’s top aides in making the deal happen. This of course was happening while Trump was singing Putin’s praises on the campaign trail.

This is, to put it mildly, a big deal. [...]

Why is this all coming out now? The Post stories are quite clear on this. The Trump Organization had what seems to have been a deadline to turn over lots of Trump Organization emails in response to congressional requests or subpoenas. These leaks seem to be coming from the Trump Organization or at least from that direction if not literally from there. At least in yesterday’s Post report, the emails were referred to as in the process of being turned over. If I’m understanding the language, they had not been turned over yet. That means they couldn’t have come from Congress and strongly suggests they were leaked by lawyers on the Trump Organization. That would mean they were trying to get the story out with the best possible spin in advance of congressional investigators getting their hands on them.

What does this mean? Hard to say. But it would seem that this was an effort to get the bad stuff out early and on the Trump Organization’s own terms. In other words, this is the most generous possible take on what these emails show. I can only imagine what they’ll look like on an adverse view.
Also remember that Sater and Cohen grew up in the same area and somehow both ended up working for Donald Trump in the 2000s. These men have extensive business interests in Ukraine and links to the post-Soviet organized crime world. As Marcy Wheeler (ht/t zachlipton) noted--the email seem to be coming from inside the house in order to obscure more damaging details. The truth about these "deals" is probably way more sordid and damaging that we are being lead to believe.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 1:32 PM on August 28 [52 favorites]


don't let it all just be a tease
Remember Fitzmas.
posted by LarsC at 1:33 PM on August 28 [7 favorites]


Based on anything in particular, or just wishful thinking?

NOTHING IN PARTICULAR, but in my career in insurance, finance, and banking IT, I've developed a sense that when it's Plain-Old-Money-Laundering-And-Fraud, documenting the details of guys who 'just aren't all that smart' isn't a huge challenge.

The variable -- I think -- is how many and how far up the ladder Mueller wants to go. My, stupid-wild-ass-guess is that Manaforte, Flynn, Kushner may have been flipped already in some combination, so do they go for a Smoking Gun with Donald, or use the pressure of putting his daughter in prison to force a resignation.

I mean, their experience always being kow-towed to and being able to bluster your way through in the BUSINESS WORLD, don't work for shit in a court.

That old clip of Trump being asked about Salter is Trump in his prime. He cycles through every mode we're familiar with, then storms out.

"Bailiff, restrain the witness... "
posted by mikelieman at 1:36 PM on August 28 [14 favorites]


But for the first six months of his presidential campaign he was actively trying to secure a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow

Which in reality means, "trying to put his name on a building that was going to be built by some mobbed-up creep [name unknown]," right?
posted by rhizome at 1:37 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Trump is asked by Finnish Broadcasting if he consideres Russia to be a security threat, citing Russian fighters buzzing their country.

His answer: "Well I consider many countries as a security threat."
posted by zachlipton at 1:39 PM on August 28 [9 favorites]


His answer: "Well I consider many countries as a security threat."

BOTH! SIDES!
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:40 PM on August 28 [47 favorites]


Did Trump just talk about ratings when asked about Arpaio and the hurricane? Can someone explain what he was on about? I didn't understand...
posted by Justinian at 1:42 PM on August 28 [7 favorites]


Yes. He just said he thought the ratings would be "far higher than they would be normally" when he pardoned Arpaio because of the hurricane.
posted by zachlipton at 1:43 PM on August 28 [33 favorites]


Ivanka going to prison is ice cream cone delicious to me.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 1:43 PM on August 28 [20 favorites]


“There have been invasions of Ukraine on both sides.”
posted by XMLicious at 1:43 PM on August 28 [8 favorites]


Everyone in this affair is acting simultaneously A) Guilty as hell and B) As though they've done absolutely nothing wrong.

Occam's Razor: they are extremely stupid.


They know a huge portion of the establishment--which still has real power--is seriously, raging mad at them for what they did. And they know what they did. The thing is, they're shocked that people in power are mad, because they're not used to that. They're not used to being held accountable for their actions. And they certainly haven't done enough self-examination to ask themselves, "Are We the Baddies?"

Putin is not stupid, and Rosneft is presumably his baby.

Putin is not stupid, no. I have to believe Putin knew how incredibly fucking dumb Trump and his crew are, though. It's not that Putin didn't see the risks in using Trump; it's that Putin doesn't care. Remember, his real goal isn't conquest or acquisition (though he sure as hell acquired a lot in this election). His goal is disruption. He doesn't expect to be welcomed into the international community after this. He wants to destroy that community and wreck those bonds. If that means exposing himself as the instigator, so be it. The damage is still done, so he still gets what he wanted.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:43 PM on August 28 [29 favorites]


He is now reading off a list of controversial pardons, starting with Marc Rich, to explain why it's ok that he pardoned Arpaio. This is the ultimate in whataboutism.
posted by zachlipton at 1:45 PM on August 28 [17 favorites]




Arpaio's lawyers have filed a motion to dismiss; you can read it here (via Big Cases Bot). Brad Heath (USAToday) has a thread on some of the legal issues.
posted by melissasaurus at 1:48 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Trump, standing next to the president of Finland, is saying that in relation to Russia he can't wait for the Finlandization of the United States.
posted by XMLicious at 1:50 PM on August 28 [7 favorites]


Trump just called for another question, asked the Finnish President to pick, then Trump said "again? you're going to call on her again?" not realizing he was pointing to a different Finnish journalist. The Finnish President had to explain they were different women sitting side-by-side, and the reporter said there are "a lot of blonde women in Finland."
posted by zachlipton at 1:50 PM on August 28 [64 favorites]


The president was annoyed that people accused him of pardoning the racist sheriff during the hurricane to bury the news, so he comes out and says he pardoned the racist sheriff during the hurricane because "the ratings would be higher". Year of our Lord Twenty-Seventeen.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:51 PM on August 28 [82 favorites]


Putin is not stupid, no. I have to believe Putin knew how incredibly fucking dumb Trump and his crew are, though. It's not that Putin didn't see the risks in using Trump; it's that Putin doesn't care. Remember, his real goal isn't conquest or acquisition (though he sure as hell acquired a lot in this election). His goal is disruption.
This. And it is telling that a lot of international business types are embracing disruption as a way to make sense of Trump
posted by mumimor at 1:51 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


Yes. He just said he thought the ratings would be "far higher than they would be normally" when he pardoned Arpaio because of the hurricane.
posted by zachlipton at 9:43 PM on August 28 [3 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


I'm gonna go with [real] and not bother checking that one.
posted by stonepharisee at 1:52 PM on August 28 [10 favorites]


"a lot of blonde women in Finland."

Cue a ten-minute "Land of Chocolate" fantasy montage inside Trump's head, only much grosser.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:52 PM on August 28 [26 favorites]


Trump, standing next to the president of Finland, is saying that in relation to Russia he can't wait for the Finlandization of the United States.
What?!?!?
posted by mumimor at 1:53 PM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Trump, standing next to the president of Finland, is saying that in relation to Russia he can't wait for the Finlandization of the United States.

next up, standing next to the president of the czech republic, trump says that in relation to russia he can't wait for the sudatenlandization of the united states [fake, so far]
posted by murphy slaw at 1:53 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


Trump just called for another question, asked the Finnish President to pick, then Trump said "again? you're going to call on her again?" not realizing he was pointing to a different Finnish journalist. The Finnish President had to explain they were different women sitting side-by-side, and the reporter said there are "a lot of blonde women in Finland."

this was [fake], right? [fake]?

oh who am i kidding why do i even hope anymore
posted by anem0ne at 1:55 PM on August 28 [9 favorites]


> Trump, standing next to the president of Finland, is saying that in relation to Russia he can't wait for the Finlandization of the United States.

What?!?!?

He didn't literally use the word "Finlandization", just said that he would like for the United States to one day have the same sort of good relationship with Russia that Finland does.
posted by XMLicious at 1:55 PM on August 28 [21 favorites]


> I mean, their experience always being kow-towed to and being able to bluster your way through in the BUSINESS WORLD, don't work for shit in a court.

Hopefully it won't this time*, but Trump's interaction with the legal system (pre-coup) has mostly been gaming it as a tool against his opponents/creditors. Since usurping the presidency he's been sued ~135 times (albeit some fairly speculatively).

I wouldn't go as far as to say the legal system is non-existent, but it is a long way from colour and class/money blind, and he's top of the midden that it's biased towards.

* Getting him gone is a priority, but I can see him and his coterie skating (assuming Putin doesn't arrange for them to accidentally heart-attack themselves in the back repeatedly down a flight of stairs to avoid any evidence coming out that might bolster and increase the scope of the Magnitsky act).
posted by Buntix at 1:55 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Trump just said that "tremendous drugs are pouring into the country." Where are these tremendous drugs? Show me the tremendous drugs!
posted by Lyme Drop at 1:55 PM on August 28 [57 favorites]


Thanks to the reporters from Fox News and One America News Network (yes, really, Trump even praised his network, though the dude did ask some decent followups) for wasting an entire press conference without asking about Sater, Cohen, or Russia.
posted by zachlipton at 1:55 PM on August 28 [8 favorites]


Pretty much every day I think about the line in the new Ghostbusters where Holtzmann jokes, "It's 2040, the president is a plant!" and realize that's probably the preferable timeline.
posted by skycrashesdown at 1:56 PM on August 28 [14 favorites]


unfortunately trump appears to be using up all the tremendous drugs by his lonesome
posted by murphy slaw at 1:57 PM on August 28 [12 favorites]


One America News Network is an American cable news television channel that is owned by Herring Networks, Inc.

Something fishy about this
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:58 PM on August 28 [26 favorites]


Goddamnit, the President of the United States is a fucking crazy man. Some days it pisses me off so much.
posted by angrycat at 1:58 PM on August 28 [55 favorites]


he can't wait for the Finlandization of the United States

If he means "a terrific education system, baby boxes, universal health care, and a friendly climate for women's rights" then bring it on. But I know that's not what Cheeto means.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:59 PM on August 28 [27 favorites]


Yglesias, re: Finlandization:
Trump’s understand of the history of Russia-Finland relationship is not very good.

To oversimplify a little: Finland gained independence from Russia as part of the aftermath of World War I and the Russian Revolution.

Then in the winter of 1939-1940, the USSR attacked Finland — which turned out to be a more formidable adversary than Stalin thought.

Nonetheless, Finland was forced to give up territory to the USSR.

Then after Hitler attacked the USSR, Finland tried to get revenge.

Obviously Germany (and thus Finland) lost the war. Afterwards, Finland retained independence from Moscow — but they paid a steep price.

Throughout the Cold War, Finnish foreign policy was essentially dominated by Soviet priorities and this bled into internal self-censorship.

So tl;dr citing Finland as an example of a healthy independence from Russia is … problematic.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:00 PM on August 28 [53 favorites]


It's 2040, the president is a plant!

Wait, a Soviet sleeper agent plant, or a plant plant?
¿Por que no los dos?
posted by kirkaracha at 2:01 PM on August 28 [15 favorites]


Wait, a Soviet sleeper agent plant, or a plant plant?

whynotboth?.gif
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:04 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Nonetheless, Finland was forced to give up territory to the USSR.

Then after Hitler attacked the USSR, Finland tried to get revenge.

Obviously Germany (and thus Finland) lost the war. Afterwards, Finland retained independence from Moscow — but they paid a steep price.


Incidentally, remember 43 being all "No democracy has ever fought a war against each other" or something?

Yeah. Finland was a democracy during WW2. But because the Allied powers chose to ally with Russia and cut Finland loose, threatened by the Soviets possibly invading *again* during the Continuation War (after having been invaded by the Soviets during the Winter War), they didn't have many choices. Hence, the Axis. (That said, they did not send any Finnish Jews to the Nazi regime, and they did apologize for sending back some Jewish refugees instead of helping them escape.)

The Finns did flip towards the end of the war, mostly because they'd come to terms with the Soviets and wanted to get rid of the Germans in their territory, so.
posted by anem0ne at 2:06 PM on August 28 [8 favorites]


Trump just called for another question, asked the Finnish President to pick, then Trump said "again? you're going to call on her again?" not realizing he was pointing to a different Finnish journalist. The Finnish President had to explain they were different women sitting side-by-side, and the reporter said there are "a lot of blonde women in Finland."

And here's that clip for you.

(Truly flattered by those of you who think I could be a good enough writer to make up anything nearly as crazy as reality these days.)
posted by zachlipton at 2:06 PM on August 28 [18 favorites]


2016 : 2017 :: "Leprechaun" : "Leprechaun - Back 2 Tha Hood"
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:09 PM on August 28 [10 favorites]


So tl;dr citing Finland as an example of a healthy independence from Russia is … problematic.

I wouldn't be surprised if this line was fed to him by Putin personally.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:10 PM on August 28 [8 favorites]


Can I just say thank Christ the two reporters Trump got mixed up are white (this time)?
posted by Rykey at 2:11 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


The Finnish President's expression is the new normal for heads of state who somehow get themselves involved with Trump. Like "I knew this would be bad, but I had no idea anything could be this bad"
posted by mumimor at 2:12 PM on August 28 [40 favorites]


Cue a ten-minute "Land of Chocolate" fantasy montage inside Trump's head, only much grosser.

Alf Clausen's awesome "The Land of Chocolate" has been my ringtone FOREVER, so I will pretend I never read this.
posted by mikelieman at 2:14 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


2017 : 2018 "Leprechaun - Back 2 Tha Hood" : "Leprechaun in Space"

That should be fun.
posted by stonepharisee at 2:15 PM on August 28 [6 favorites]


CNBC is reporting a new NK missile launch:

"The Japanese government has warned that a North Korean missile is headed toward the northern end of the country, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK.

Yonhap, citing South Korean military, reported that Pyongyang fired a projectile into the sea off the eastern coast of North Korea."
posted by lalex at 2:17 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


NK appears to have launched a missile towards Japan

Can the toddlers stop pissing up the wall now, please?
posted by Buntix at 2:17 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


You can get a taste of how complex the dance the Finns did between West and East from this overview of the cryptoanalytic history of the state.

Anything you read about Finnish foreign relations in the 20th century is going to be a huge simplification, and most probably wrong. At least, that's my working MO.
posted by Devonian at 2:17 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


NHK nightly news via PBS in the U.S. just broke into its broadcast to announce that the Japanese government is warning the population in the Tōhoku region and surrounding areas that North Korea has fired a missile towards the country and telling people to take shelter in solid buildings or underground shelters.
posted by XMLicious at 2:18 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Re: not being able to tell the reporters apart. I'm sure that Trump's recent staring at the sun episode isn't helping him to be able to see details. Both those blobs were blonde!
posted by thebrokedown at 2:19 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]




But if DPRK annihiliates Guam during a hurricane, can you even imagine the ratings
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:24 PM on August 28 [14 favorites]


Finland's position in the Cold War was so complicated and nuanced that I can't even imagine what Trump's understanding of it must be. Like... how do you give him a one paragraph explanation, preferably referencing himself, and with a pretty chart or something?
posted by Justinian at 2:24 PM on August 28 [8 favorites]


Looking like the Pacific Ocean east of Japan, not Guam is the likely landing spot.
posted by zachlipton at 2:27 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


JFC I'm gone for a couple of hours doing other things and I come back to all this? Making a damn fool of us in front of the Finnish PM, describing the pardon in terms of ratings vs the fucking hurricane and now NK are firing over Japanese territory?

It just never fucking ends.
posted by Talez at 2:28 PM on August 28 [20 favorites]


NHK confirming that the missile passed over the country instead of striking and say that it was launched at 6:06 AM Japan time.
posted by XMLicious at 2:28 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


So when we say "missile", we're not talking about nuclear missiles, right? Just regular explodey ones?
posted by Frowner at 2:30 PM on August 28


So when we say "missile", we're not talking about nuclear missiles, right? Just regular explodey ones?

I doubt they would waste a nuclear payload unless they really meant it. Chances are these missles have only conventional if any explosives on them.
posted by dis_integration at 2:32 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


The (English-language) NHK World news that is broadcast here in the U.S. just said "missile", though they also displayed the warning message that was broadcast on domestic television—in Japanese, which I can't speak or read.
posted by XMLicious at 2:33 PM on August 28


What in the ever-living fuck is the DPRK doing? This is a botched test, right?

So when we say "missile", we're not talking about nuclear missiles, right? Just regular explodey ones?

I mean....who the hell knows? (For the moment.) If this wasn't a mistake then it was either a demonstration, in which case it probably had no warhead at all, or else a failed attack in which case it wouldn't make much sense to deliver a conventional warhead.
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:33 PM on August 28


"So when we say "missile", we're not talking about nuclear missiles, right? Just regular explodey ones?"

If it were a nuclear missile, the US would have already launched a response.

These are (usually) missiles that can carry either a conventional load or a nuclear warhead. Many of these NK launches are just tests of the missiles themselves, with no payload. The point is to scare enemies/rivals by showing they have the technological capability to launch a missile that COULD carry a payload.

There are really three parts to missile technology: being able to make the payload, being able to accurately fire the missile (whether cruise or ballistic), and being able to mount the payload on a missile and have it explode at the appropriate moment (it's a lot easier to blow up a suitcase nuke than to get a missile nuke to explode at the right time). These exercises are about "look how far we've gotten on part II."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:34 PM on August 28 [8 favorites]


>It just never fucking ends.

AP: Alito Temporarily Blocks New Texas Congressional Map
posted by Mister Fabulous at 2:34 PM on August 28 [16 favorites]


tell me more, media, about how Trump's insane belligerent rhetoric caused Kim Jong-un to back down
posted by lalex at 2:36 PM on August 28 [22 favorites]


If it were a nuclear missile, the US would have already launched a response.

How would they know? Serious question.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:39 PM on August 28 [6 favorites]


The Guardian: Lurid Trump allegations made by Louise Mensch and co-writer came from hoaxer
  • Mensch and Claude Taylor tweeted details of criminal inquires that didn’t exist
  • Hoaxer who fed information said she acted out of frustration over fake news
  • Taylor issues mea culpa on Twitter after being approached by Guardian

posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:41 PM on August 28 [17 favorites]


Also, no, we wouldn't have. It's not like we're poised to annihilate NK cause they fired one missile.

I know this stuff is scary, but please don't jump to panicked statements.
posted by agregoli at 2:41 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Here's some information about ICBMs and what North Korea is trying to do. ICBMs are fired into suborbital space -- they're not appreciably different from, say, the Saturn V rockets that took early space missions up, the technology's basically the same, they even typically have multi-stage rockets and drop off the used-up fuel tanks before firing the next booster -- and have to protect their payload from the heat of reentry (or lose it in the upper atmosphere where it does little good as a weapon). We do not currently have technology to defend against ICBMs, which is why they're so scary (although cruise missiles with guidance systems are newer technology). My understanding is that North Korean can probably build a suitcase nuke; their ICBMs are advancing and these tests are about showing they're getting closer on ICBMs; but that final stage -- mounting a warhead on a missile, protecting it in reentry, and triggering it appropriately -- is beyond their capabilities for the moment.

I think they also require fuel advances to be able to launch a real payload at the US? But I don't know a whole lot about rocket fuel. My impression is that these are "kind-of small" as missiles go and couldn't carry a huge payload and they need higher-energy fuel for larger rockets to threaten North America for real.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:43 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


There won't be a warhead, conventional or nuclear, in that missile (or those missiles, some reports say three were fired simultaneously). There may be a lump of concrete or somesuch to get the flight dynamics right - this is just a demonstration of capability, not an actual attack designed to actually kill people.

Because that would be an act of war against Japan, and that would end up in the destruction of North Korea.
posted by Devonian at 2:43 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


"Also, no, we wouldn't have. It's not like we're poised to annihilate NK cause they fired one missile."

"this is just a demonstration of capability, not an actual attack designed to actually kill people. Because that would be an act of war against Japan, and that would end up in the destruction of North Korea."


Yes, exactly. If there were any suspicion that there was a live warhead (convention or nuclear) on the missile, we'd already being having big serious generals and secretaries of defense on TV pre-empting programming and telling us what just happened. It wouldn't just be scary regular news on CNN. I don't mean, like, "we'd have nuked North Korea to pieces" but that the militaries of the world would already be mobilizing and responding and we'd already be hearing about the situation from actual officials, rather than talking heads.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:47 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Can I just say thank Christ the two reporters Trump got mixed up are white (this time)?

In America, Finns were not always considered white.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:47 PM on August 28 [13 favorites]


(Ha ha, looking back, "launched a response" was the worst possible turn of phrase for the idea of "put in motion a military response of some sort which may or may not involve missiles and may or may not be large scale." Sorry!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:49 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


I want the hoaxer to come out that fed Louise Mensch the 'Marshal of the Supreme Court' line next. This is hilarity.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 2:52 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


For North Korea to be able to hit the US would require serious advances. However, with their existing technology, their range includes about two billion people. They could probably get by (for whatever values of “getting by” they have) making CG videos of New York in flames to keep America on edge (perhaps throw in some scenes of Big Ben or the Eiffel Tower exploding in there to spook the Europeans if needed) whilst demonstrating an ability to hit, say, Singapore or Mumbai.
posted by acb at 2:58 PM on August 28


Louise Mensch, using an unvetted single source to spread conspiracy theories to keep liberal bellies full (while still having an active e-mail account with a Murdoch company)? I am shooketh.
posted by Yowser at 3:00 PM on August 28 [14 favorites]


Twitter link re: Mensch's open email account.
posted by Yowser at 3:03 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


This missile launch is kind of astonishing. Some of the key pieces of information that I have yet to see reported definitively are the actual trajectory and landing points of the missile(s) as well as their type(s). Unless North Korea comes forward with it as an accident of some kind pretty quickly, this is a provocative act no matter how you look at it, but the level of provocation can quickly ramp up with certain combinations of missiles and trajectories.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:10 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


US government burying head deeper in sand on climate change (John Timmer for Ars Technica, Aug. 28, 2017)
It's no secret that President Trump came into office rejecting the conclusions of the vast majority of the world's scientists when it comes to our changing climate. But it wasn't clear how that would translate to policy. At least some of his advisors, as well as his daughter, accept the conclusions of the scientific community. And there was the possibility that policy decisions would be constrained by reality, as Trump was sworn in as the most recent global temperature records were set.

Over the past few weeks, however, it has become increasingly clear that there has been extensive push back against climate change throughout the government, with several push backs occurring in the last week alone. We'll review those briefly below.
The long-delayed release of the Department of Energy's evaluation of grid stability doesn't mention "climate change" or "global warming," and is watered down from a draft of the expert evaluation that leaked back in June.
In fact, the report recommends the anti-solution of increasing the use of coal-fired power plants.

Amazingly, however, that report was not what drove the DOE to deny that it had banned the use of the term "climate change." Instead, that was triggered by Jennifer Bowen, a biology researcher at Northeastern University whose research is funded in part by the DOE. On Thursday, Bowen posted a screenshot of correspondence she received from the office at the DOE responsible for her grant. The e-mail reads in part:
I have been asked to contact you to update the wording in your proposal abstract to remove words such as "global warming" or "climate change." This is being asked as we have to meet the President's budget language restrictions and don't want to make any changes without your knowledge or consent.
Emphasis mine - and that's right, the president is so scared of mentioning climate change and global warming that it's a restriction placed on his budget language. Maybe someone told him that global warming is like Candyman or Beetlejuice, and is summoned upon repeated reference.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:12 PM on August 28 [29 favorites]


I think it's obvious the neofascists have been massing in dark corners of the internet and talking to each other over the past few years.

Not so much in the dark, either. People were pointing out for years that GamerGaters and their 4Chan sponsors were involved with white supremists and neo Nazis. It's not that they were particularly quiet about it. And in return we got patronized: "Silly feminists, they're just being ironic." And now they're killing people, and the response is "Wait where did they come from?" The answer is they were playing X-Box Live.
posted by happyroach at 3:13 PM on August 28 [75 favorites]


North Korea's Secret Weapon In Nuclear Program: Ukrainian Rocket Engines (Some details in an NPR piece from Aug. 14, 2017)
posted by filthy light thief at 3:14 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


My understanding is that North Korean can probably build a suitcase nuke

Your understanding is almost certainly wrong. Building a highly miniaturized nuclear warhead is a ferociously hard problem, and requires materials such as tritium and lithium-6 deuteride which are even harder to acquire than plutonium. What is remotely possible is that NK has built a slightly fusion-boosted simple fission implosion bomb, possibly getting a ten to thirty kiloton range warhead that their missile can actually get off the ground with, although it probably couldn't get to the US with that particular payload since it almost certainly still needs a tamper weighing a ton or more.

(Although NK claims they built a "thermonuclear" bomb, this word technically might accurately refer to such a boosted fision bomb, but they certainly do not have Teller-Ulam configuration H-bombs which are even harder than miniaturized A-bombs. For one thing, you need a highly miniaturized A-bomb to start with to think of building one.)

So NK's bombs would be fission atomic bombs, like the ones we dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not hydrogen bombs like the ones the US puts on our missiles. This is important because another ferociously hard problem is targeting, and while it's one thing to say your rocket can reach and hit the US, it's quite another to say that it can hit any particular thing within the US. Targeting is especially important for lower yield bombs, and in fact it was improved targeting that led to the "miniaturization" of the US nuclear arsenal; originally targeting was so bad that huge multi-stage H-bombs were built to make sure enough blast pressure would reach the target to kill it despite the targeting error.

It's not hard to see why NK would misrepresent their capabilities, since they want to puff their chests. What is more ominous is that our analysts are not showing more skepticism. Anyone conversant with the publicly published history of atomic weapons can easily see through NK's charade, but someone on our side wants us much more worried than we really have any reason to be.
posted by Bringer Tom at 3:22 PM on August 28 [41 favorites]


Maybe someone told him that global warming is like Candyman or Beetlejuice, and is summoned upon repeated reference.

Some things you defend against by never speaking their name, while other things you defend against by saying a specific combination of words that acts as an incantation to prevent them (i.e. "Radical! Islamic! Terrorism!"). It's the President's most important job to know which is which.
posted by Copronymus at 3:36 PM on August 28 [8 favorites]


It's been what, four hours since a Russia scoop? NBC News: Mueller Team Asking If Trump Tried to Hide Purpose of Trump Tower Meeting
Federal investigators working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller are keenly focused on President Donald Trump's role in crafting a response to a published article about a meeting between Russians and his son Donald Jr., three sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.

The sources told NBC News that prosecutors want to know what Trump knew about the meeting and whether he sought to conceal its purpose.
...
A person familiar with Mueller's strategy said that whether or not Trump made a "knowingly false statement" is now of interest to prosecutors.

"Even if Trump is not charged with a crime as a result of the statement, it could be useful to Mueller's team to show Trump's conduct to a jury that may be considering other charges."
posted by zachlipton at 3:40 PM on August 28 [51 favorites]


North Korea's Secret Weapon In Nuclear Program: Ukrainian Rocket Engines

See, this is the kind of thing that drives me to drink. Rocket engines have nothing to do with NK's nuclear program. Nuclear weapons and missiles are completely different technologies, and skill with one has no bearing on skill with the other even though they are complementary if you have both.

You can have intercontinental missiles but not have nukes to put on them -- and this is where NK is, because their best case scenario is that they have a small yield boosted nuke their rocket can barely lift off with, even with its grey market soviet engines. You can also have a nuke but not have a way to deliver it, which is also where NK is because you need really precise targeting as well as range ot make effective use of a sub-100kt bomb. And the US builds ~300kt H-bombs into our own intercontinental missiles for a reason.
posted by Bringer Tom at 3:40 PM on August 28 [13 favorites]


at times like these, and with finland's president in the news, it may be therapeutic to remember his amazing dog, leenu
posted by murphy slaw at 3:44 PM on August 28 [13 favorites]


Team Trump turns to Rove playbook to juice 2018 turnout (Politico).

Corey Robin:
Back in 2004, Karl Rove and the Republicans goosed up turnout for Bush by putting a series of red-meat state-level ballot initiatives on the ballot. The idea was that the base wouldn't necessarily turn out to vote for Bush. They would turn out, though, to vote against gay marriage. And it worked. In 2018, the GOP is planning to do a reprise: only this time, they don't think so-called social issues will turn out the base. Instead, they want to focus on economic issues like tax cuts. They're terrified that social issues work better for the Democrats, who'll turn out in droves to vote against the GOP on those fronts, than it will for the Republicans. That tells you something about where the GOP is at, eight months in to Trumpland, and what they think will and will not work for them with their hard-core voters.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:49 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


Trump: “So I stand by my pardon of Sheriff Joe and I think the people of Arizona who really know him best would agree with me."

Poll: Arizonans oppose Joe Arpaio pardon
posted by zakur at 3:55 PM on August 28 [69 favorites]


just to say I am perfectly fine with Nazis punching themselves.

Yeah, I know this guy is like "I'm not alt-right" but given his first reaction to accidentally stabbing himself was to make up a story about a black man stabbing him for political reasons.
posted by corb at 3:56 PM on August 28 [33 favorites]


Yeah, I know this guy is like "I'm not alt-right" but given his first reaction to accidentally stabbing himself was to make up a story about a black man stabbing him for political reasons.

So, "dipshit-right" maybe?
posted by notyou at 3:59 PM on August 28 [8 favorites]


Twitter link re: Mensch's open email account.

AFAIK, News Corp., like many other news organisations, uses Google's GSuite for their email (certainly, news.co.uk does, and I believe their address book resolves addresses in Australia and possibly the US). Apparently GSuite is billed per head, and so they have a policy of disabling accounts as soon as staff leave. Though, perhaps rank hath privilege, and they'd rather have Mensch half in the tent, just in case.
posted by acb at 4:03 PM on August 28


In 2018, the GOP is planning to do a reprise: only this time, they don't think so-called social issues will turn out the base. Instead, they want to focus on economic issues like tax cuts.

So they're going for the temporarily embarrassed millionaire vote then?
posted by acb at 4:06 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Just because an email address "doesn't bounce" doesn't mean the account is still active with the original recipient. I do email administration for many clients and it's quite common to keep accounts active, forward them to someone, or make the address an alias on another account or group. If a high-profile reporter left my organization I'd certainly keep the email address open and have one of the other reporters reading it in case a tip came in from one of her sources.
posted by mmoncur at 4:07 PM on August 28 [15 favorites]


Emphasis mine - and that's right, the president is so scared of mentioning climate change and global warming that it's a restriction placed on his budget language. Maybe someone told him that global warming is like Candyman or Beetlejuice, and is summoned upon repeated reference.

So, speaking from personal experience: federal grant summaries will sometimes get re-worded to protect the researcher from ending up in things like say, Flake's Wastebook. Basically, a "Hey, maybe use a different phrase here to prevent some aide from finding it and then complaining about it on the national news resulting in hate mail getting sent to your campus email" sort of thing.

That's not to say that the request isn't ultimately rooted in bad policy, but at the very least, the person who sent the email is probably at least somewhat trying to look out for the researcher.
posted by damayanti at 4:08 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


So they're going for the temporarily embarrassed millionaire vote then?

It worked in 2016.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:08 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Oh gosh; did a double take at the title of this post as it harks back to a post in long-distant yonder past - April last year - when US election posts were starting to get over 1,000 comments each and we still largely found the absurd concept of thingie becoming president - well, absurd.

Innocent times!
posted by Wordshore at 4:11 PM on August 28 [8 favorites]






ICE is a criminal organization and must be abolished, with its leadership held to account for current and future human rights abuses edging toward genocide.

ACLU: ICE Plans to Start Destroying Records of Immigrant Abuse, Including Sexual Assault and Deaths in Custody

ICE has asked for permission to begin routinely destroying 11 kinds of records, including those related to sexual assaults, solitary confinement and even deaths of people in its custody. Other records subject to destruction include alternatives to detention programs; regular detention monitoring reports, logs about the people detained in ICE facilities and communications from the public reporting detention abuses.

posted by Rust Moranis at 4:21 PM on August 28 [67 favorites]


So they're going for the temporarily embarrassed millionaire vote then?

It worked in 2016.


Pretty sure 2016 was the tired of being embarrassed for being racist vote.
posted by chris24 at 4:21 PM on August 28 [9 favorites]


GOP lawmaker proposes amendment to stop Mueller investigation after 180 days

Not just any GOP lawmaker, but Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.). Guccifer 2.0 dropped DCCC documents about his opponent last election.
posted by zachlipton at 4:21 PM on August 28 [46 favorites]


So, speaking from personal experience: federal grant summaries will sometimes get re-worded to protect the researcher from ending up in things like say, Flake's Wastebook.

Oh boy, I can confirm this as well. Smart grant administrators know this. As someone who had NSF funding for a few years, I lived in dread of some right winger putting the most uncharitable spin possible on my work.

Years ago several of my teachers had NEH funding for a conference on traditional funerary lament across a wide range of indigenous cultures. It was an amazing conference that had field-changing effects and put lament on the map for linguists in a way it had never been studied before (and it is super interesting and challenges a lot of basic thinking about the language/music relationship in linguistics and anthropology).

A few weeks later the National Enquirer attacked the conference with a scathing piece entitled "Egghead Profs Spend Tax Dollars to Prove People Cry ... Because They're Sad," or something close to that.
posted by spitbull at 4:22 PM on August 28 [26 favorites]


Mueller?....

Mueller?....

Mueller?....

Fucking do something in the light. Fucking do anything. Say anything. The stasis itself is injurious. We are about a week away from seeing swastika stickers on pick up trucks.

I know that's not how his name is pronounced but fuck it
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:22 PM on August 28 [12 favorites]


The amendment from Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) would also prevent special counsel Robert Mueller from probing “matters occurring before June 2015,” which is the month Trump announced his presidential bid.

So you're saying that there is most definitely some incriminating stuff going on before June 2015.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:25 PM on August 28 [55 favorites]


So you're saying that there is most definitely some incriminating stuff going on before June 2015.

and desantis was apparently involved
posted by entropicamericana at 4:29 PM on August 28 [19 favorites]


Trump: “So I stand by my pardon of Sheriff Joe and I think the people of Arizona who really know him best would agree with me."

Poll: Arizonans oppose Joe Arpaio pardon


That's a poll of all human beings in Arizona. Trump's qualified "people of Arizona who really know him the best" is, I'm sure, limited to a few police officers and family members. Or, you know, he's just defining "people" as "Arapio's fellow nazi."
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:30 PM on August 28 [8 favorites]


What is more ominous is that our analysts are not showing more skepticism.

The advancements in NK rocketry are real, and most likely entirely provided by the Russians, with convenient covers to implicate wayward client states. If that's real, and it's been demonstrated so, then I am inclined to believe reports that their nuke miniaturization program has been similarly "advanced."

Then the question becomes, do they have a credible re-entry vehicle? This is a non-trivial problem.

Putin wants chaos and disorder sown between his Asian Pacific obstacles to hegemony, which include China, Japan, the United States and South Korea. A ruinous, possibly nuclear war Russia could politely keep out of would be just the ticket.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:37 PM on August 28


The Arpaio pardon has 22% approval in Arizona. According to Wikipedia, non-hispanic white males are about 29% of Arizona. Subtract 1/4 for only white men over 18 and you get: 21.75%

Obviously there's overlap with other groups in the pardon approval poll, but...I think we've found his people who really know Joe the best.
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:38 PM on August 28 [30 favorites]


szyzygy: the current headline on the WaPo article about the Berkely protest originally linked here is Black-clad antifa members attack peaceful right-wing demonstrators in Berkeley.
I don't know whether the headline has been changed (to add 'peaceful') since the article was originally linked, but that's the headline at this time, and it seems like some prime BS to me.


Not changed just now, and headline is even more BS than the very biased article. Here is their first example:
Shortly after, violence began to flare. A pepper-spray-wielding Trump supporter was smacked to the ground with homemade shields.
A guy attacking protestors with pepper spray is peaceful?
posted by msalt at 4:52 PM on August 28 [32 favorites]


Isn't it the basis that usually have a bunch of shields and crap?
posted by Artw at 4:57 PM on August 28


My god, the quotes in here. Haberman NYT: Sater, Trump, Cohen, Putin, guilt, etc.
posted by rc3spencer at 5:10 PM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Bringer Tom's done an excellent roundup of the actual nuclear program, nothing to add there. Agree it feels like we're being nudged towards war by overly pessimistic threat analysis. If you want detailed graphs and some very informed speculation on likely brackets for DPRK rocketry capabilities, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has you covered.

Summary: even if they've managed a first-gen implosion device (unlikely but possible with their single 30kT test), they're not putting it on US mainland using the newly acquired rocket they've been setting all these distance records with. Next iteration a few years down the road might do, though.

Tying this back to #potus45: at some level I really appreciated Mattis coming as close as he dared to rebuking Trump last week (though stopping far short of Tillerson-grade "Please fire me" territory). The problem is, given the choice between Mattis speaking his conscience, and quietly remaining the likely sole person in the administration both willing and able to keep Trump's finger off the red button for the next 3.3 years, I'd prefer he kept quiet. I already knew he was intelligent and patriotic, at least as bloodthirsty scoundrels go. What I need - what the entire world needs right now and for the next few years - is for him to never be this week's "You're Fired!"

Even in the worst case scenario we can repair the cultural & economic damage Trump's done in less than 50 years. We can't repair the damage of a nuclear holocaust in under 500, if ever.
posted by Ryvar at 5:24 PM on August 28 [9 favorites]


Yeah, I know this guy is like "I'm not alt-right" but given his first reaction to accidentally stabbing himself was to make up a story about a black man stabbing him for political reasons.

Right, that's bad enough corb. Plus he pretty much framed a homeless man.

But. Reporters are calling it an accident. That doesn't seem likely to me given:

1. He bought the knife an hour or two earlier.
2. He called the cops rather than an ambulance or driving himself to the hospital
3. According to voter records he's affiliated with the ACN party. The ACN party (otherwise known as the American Constitution party) is a far right racist and misogynistic nationalist party that, among other things wants to repeal the Voting Rights Act and repeal laws making it illegal to use force or threat of force to interfere with a woman seeking an abortion.

I don't think this was a spur of the moment cover for cutting himself.
posted by stagewhisper at 5:42 PM on August 28 [62 favorites]


Here's a nice fun story about how the President is definitely Not Mad. Bloomberg, Jennifer Jacobs and Kevin Cirilli, Trump Punishes Longtime Aide After Angry Phoenix Speech, Sources Say:
Donald Trump was in a bad mood before he emerged for a confrontational speech in Arizona last week.

TV and social media coverage showed that the site of his campaign rally, the Phoenix Convention Center, was less than full. Backstage, waiting in a room with a television monitor, Trump was displeased, one person familiar with the incident said: TV optics and crowd sizes are extremely important to the president.

As his surrogates warmed up the audience, the expanse of shiny concrete eventually filled in with cheering Trump fans. But it was too late for a longtime Trump aide, George Gigicos, the former White House director of advance who had organized the event as a contractor to the Republican National Committee. Trump later had his top security aide, Keith Schiller, inform Gigicos that he’d never manage a Trump rally again, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Gigicos, one of the four longest-serving political aides to the president, declined to comment.
posted by zachlipton at 5:46 PM on August 28 [32 favorites]


Trump later had his top security aide, Keith Schiller, inform Gigicos that he’d never manage a Trump rally again, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Has he ever actually fired someone face-to-face?
posted by theodolite at 5:53 PM on August 28 [19 favorites]


there was a whole TV show just dedicated to that
posted by mbo at 5:54 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


I mean in real life, not the weird fantasy business world Mark Burnett constructed for him.
posted by theodolite at 5:55 PM on August 28 [11 favorites]


> Wow, I knew Arpaio was bad, but I had no idea he was this bad...

@phoenixnewtimes counts the ways
posted by kliuless at 6:06 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Black-clad antifa

say this in a mirror seven times to summon the Ghost of Broken Windows Past
posted by generalist at 6:14 PM on August 28 [15 favorites]


say this in a mirror seven times to summon the Ghost of Broken Windows Past

I once opened a Black Bloc Puzzle Box and Bill O'Reilly called me a pinhead
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:18 PM on August 28 [27 favorites]


That photo with the New York Times article linked upthread by rc3spencer -- good grief. It looks like Trump is singing. Worst Jersey Boys cast ever.
posted by vickyverky at 6:23 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


If that bothers you, you probably better not buy or stream any music from artists on Warner Music, as he owns them as well.

Oh I see - you're intimating that organized crime could be in any way associated with the music business. Well now I've heard everything.
posted by petebest at 6:36 PM on August 28 [21 favorites]


Maybe someone told him that global warming is like Candyman or Beetlejuice, and is summoned upon repeated reference.

Hasn't that been the Republican strategy for ages? If you say something often enough, it becomes true.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 6:46 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


And he is going to nominate a horse to the Cabinet. You just know it.
posted by Devonian at 12:35 PM on August 28 [7 favorites +] [!]


It'll be his golf cart.
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:25 PM on August 28 [29 favorites]


So when we say "missile", we're not talking about nuclear missiles, right? Just regular explodey ones?

AFAIK, the public evidence that they have a nuclear bomb which could work as a warhead is a photo of something which looks like one...
posted by Coventry at 8:01 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


Joe Scarborough is currently in a Twitter arguing with Shane Bauer that black is white and up is down, in case anyone somehow forgot that he's a low-life talking head who helped elevate Trump.
posted by Yowser at 8:09 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


I'm still baffled how that dipshit Joe managed to gain such an outsized influence.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:12 PM on August 28


And the "apparent" alt-righter is some guy named Patriot Warrior, who may or may not be alt-right, but was certainly at Berkeley for a fight.
posted by Yowser at 8:17 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


I'm still baffled how that dipshit Joe managed to gain such an outsized influence.

MSNBC gave him a 4 hours long show every single morning at the height of the Iraq war "Democrats are with us or against us" period to offset having Keith Olbermann at night.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:24 PM on August 28 [16 favorites]



I'm still baffled how that dipshit Joe managed to gain such an outsized influence.

Me, too. I remember him from the Hill.
posted by jgirl at 8:32 PM on August 28


The Secret Service emails banning Gorka from the WH on Chris Hayes' Thing 1 and Thing 2 were amazing. Those emails were sent 24 hours before he "resigned," so. Yeah.
posted by xyzzy at 8:50 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


The Secret Service emails banning Gorka from the WH on Chris Hayes' Thing 1 and Thing 2 were amazing. Those emails were sent 24 hours before he "resigned," so. Yeah.

Here's the video on that. Wow. Leaking the emails to Chris Hayes is just twisting the knife.

Unrelated, but there's also a rumor going around, most notably from Liz Mair (Republican comms/strategy person) that Trump will end DACA tomorrow. That's firmly in the unsubstantiated wild rumor camp of the sort I don't usually pass on, but my sense is that Mair is not crazy. Ending DACA would be crazy and breathtakingly cruel, ending it while touring a massive natural disaster even more so, but Trump does like to lash out at vulnerable people when he feels cornered, and he's been cornered a bunch lately. Ending DACA would be the kind of thing worth immediately taking to the streets over, so keep an eye out.
posted by zachlipton at 9:08 PM on August 28 [37 favorites]


Jared and Ivanka really tried to push him not to end DACA, but they also had a non-refundable deposit on a chalet in Aspen, so.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:15 PM on August 28 [23 favorites]


Mair is definitely not crazy.
posted by lalex at 9:22 PM on August 28


And why was I not following her? The lalex/zach Twitter singularity approaches...
posted by lalex at 9:23 PM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I mean, the important thing to take from the NK nuke discussion is they have SOME kind of nuclear capability (not a lot, and probably considerably imported), and they now have an underpowered ICBM. They DON'T have sophisticated targeting capability, and it's not at all clear they have any ability to put a nuclear warhead on an ICBM and have it survive reentry and detonate at the right time. I'm not trying to freak people into overreacting; I'm trying to point out that even if they have a nuke and a missile, that does not mean they have a NUCLEAR MISSILE, let alone one that can hit anything.

These missile tests are scary and provocative and are intended to be scary and provocative, but it's simple missile testing, not live weaponry, and not an active direct threat. It's a threat only in that NK wants the world to know they have ballistic missiles that can go yea far. It is scary in that it's a crucial step towards developing actual intercontinental attack capabilities (and more options to attack regional enemies within range of other sorts of weapons). But they are a long way from putting a nuke on a rocket and having it hit a target and detonate. A LONG way. This is basically me playing angry birds where I use up all my shots trying to figure out how to target them properly, only each test missile is quite expensive and NK probably doesn't have the expertise to build them entirely in-house.

So definitely this is intended as a threat, and it is scary in that it's a step forward in NK's capabilities. But it's (probably) not live ordinance on top of the missile -- they're only testing the missile bit -- and ballistic missiles are hard between the rocketry and the fuel and the reentry and the targeting and the detonation timing and so on. The test in itself is threatening, aggressive, a possible signal of escalation of NK's aggression in the region ... but not at all an indication they could send up a nuclear missile in the near future. Be scared about the same things about North Korea that you were scared about yesterday, like how much of their conventional artillery can hit Seoul. That's still the actual threat ... the launch is a symbolic expression of general threatiness.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:32 PM on August 28 [10 favorites]


Fat Boy Kim and Little Hand Man: worst rap feud ever.
posted by adept256 at 9:36 PM on August 28 [23 favorites]


Yeah, I mean, the important thing to take from the NK nuke discussion is they have SOME kind of nuclear capability (not a lot, and probably considerably imported), and they now have an underpowered ICBM

North Korea being able to lob one over Japan is a big enough risk that we need some sort of expert in negotiations to get out there, have one-on-one discussions with Kim, and work out a compromise that mitigates this risk.

But we don't have that President, we got the other one.
posted by mikelieman at 10:16 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


Matt Furie finds himself with the unexpected mission of crusading against nazi children's books in order to prevent the use of his beloved cartoon frog-child as the avatar of resurgent global fascism.

Matthew Gault, Vice: Pepe the Frog’s Creator Gets Alt-Right Children’s Book Pulled, Vows to ‘Aggressively Enforce His Intellectual Property’

"Furie wants one thing to be clear: Pepe the Frog does not belong to the alt-right. As this action shows, Furie will aggressively enforce his intellectual property, using legal action if necessary, to end the misappropriation of Pepe the Frog in any way that espouses racism, white supremacy, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, Nazism, or any other form of hate. He will make sure that no one profits by using Pepe in alt-right propaganda—and particularly not by targeting children."

Hauser was an assistant principal at a North Texas middle school when the book hit the market, but Denton Independent School District officials removed him from his post amid the controversy. As of this publication, his new position is yet to be determined.

Teachers and parents in Hauser's community were concerned over the contents of the book, which depicts Pepe and Pede fighting with a bearded alligator named Alkah, a seeming allusion to Allah. The alligator's minions are pink creatures covered in mud that look similar to women in burqas.

Hauser denied claims he was Islamophobic and a member of the alt-right but my reporting showed that Hauser used a web cartoon of women in burqas as the model for Alkah's minions. The artist Hauser commissioned to illustrate the book—Ukrainian freelancer Nina Khalova—gave me early design documents that indicated Hauser wanted the alligator to have a full, bushy beard and wear a robe. He also instructed Khalova to copy Furie's original designs of Pepe the Frog directly.

posted by Rust Moranis at 10:31 PM on August 28 [50 favorites]


Which president would that be?

North Korea pardoned and released two detained American journalists after former president Bill Clinton met in Pyongyang on Tuesday with the country's ailing dictator

Hillary was Secretary of State at the time, so maybe in the best timeline she sends Bill to glad hand and sweet talk the North Koreans.

2009 probably wasn't even the first time she's wanted to send Bill to North Korea.
posted by adept256 at 10:32 PM on August 28 [12 favorites]


North Korea are only ever going to threaten unless someone hits them first, they know they are fucked if they actually initiate anything.
posted by walrus at 10:33 PM on August 28


ELECTIONS NEWS

** AL senate special -- Dark Lord of the Sith Steve Bannon is supporting Moore over Strange. [Politico]

** 2018 Senate:
-- In AZ, a JMC Analytics poll finds Ward would beat Flake in a GOP primary 47-21. In NV, another JMC Analytics poll has Tarkanian beating Heller 39-31 in a GOP primary. This is starting to feel like 2010, when the GOP blew a number of winnable races by nominating extremists.

** 2020 prez -- Kasich says he's not doing the independent run with Hickenlooper that briefly had the more gullible pundits worked up. [NBC]
** Odds & ends:
-- IL officially approved automatic voter registration, becoming the 10th state to do so.

-- 538: Arpaio pardon unpopular, but will probably only affect Trump approval marginally.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:38 PM on August 28 [36 favorites]


North Korea are only ever going to threaten unless someone hits them first, they know they are fucked if they actually initiate anything.

In 2010 they did carry out an artillery bombardment of South Korean military forces, for example; Wikipedia has a list of border incidents involving North Korea.
posted by XMLicious at 10:59 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


I'm aware of that, but it's a little different from a first strike with an ICBM of any stripe.
posted by walrus at 11:06 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Hauser was an assistant principal at a North Texas middle school....The artist Hauser commissioned to illustrate the book—Ukrainian freelancer Nina Khalova—gave me early design documents that indicated Hauser wanted the alligator to have a full, bushy beard and wear a robe. He also instructed Khalova to copy Furie's original designs of Pepe the Frog directly.

That is incredibly alarming/infuriating/depressing.
posted by Lyme Drop at 11:22 PM on August 28 [13 favorites]


I'm aware of that, but it's a little different from a first strike with an ICBM of any stripe.

Unfortunately I think the binary of "real ICBM first strike by North Korea itself, or not" isn't the only option introduced by their advances. But I don't have any expertise to know for sure, I just wish I could feel like the U.S. President is likely to have a better grasp of it than I would in his place.
posted by XMLicious at 11:34 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


In that Vanity Fair piece on Javanka:

While Mike Pence was on Capitol Hill laying plans to repeal Obamacare, Ivanka requested a meeting with Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards. She and Jared went to see Richards in February for what Richards called an “explainer” on Planned Parenthood and the issues surrounding the organization. Ivanka went to the meeting thinking she might act as a kind of referee between the Republicans clamoring to de-fund Planned Parenthood and the organization itself. The meeting was cordial, according to a person familiar with it, although Ivanka and Jared did not commit to anything. When the first version of a health-care bill proposed to strip funding from Planned Parenthood, Ivanka’s surrogates reached out to the organization with an idea: stop offering abortions and the White House would advocate increased funding for Planned Parenthood clinics. Richards turned down the proposal.

Truly an advocate for women everywhere.
posted by PenDevil at 11:45 PM on August 28 [128 favorites]


How accurate is crude targeting? I mean if you target say Manhattan or Compton or slightly west of Chicago city centre you've got a lot of windage to still get tens to hundreds of thousands of people in the 3rd degree burn area of effect with even a 30kt weapon.
posted by Mitheral at 12:08 AM on August 29


can we say with certainty it was an icbm? i don't think so, without more info. could be a long range missile, with no low orbit and no ballistic phase. bringertom?
posted by j_curiouser at 12:22 AM on August 29


I'm pretty sure the US needed precision targeting because they wanted to hit hardened Soviet ICBM silos. You need to be pretty spot-on to destroy the underground launch facility. But if you're just trying to hit a sprawling city like LA, then precision targeting is not so important.
posted by ryanrs at 1:06 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]


When the first version of a health-care bill proposed to strip funding from Planned Parenthood, Ivanka’s surrogates reached out to the organization with an idea: stop offering abortions.

Art of the deal.
posted by box at 2:56 AM on August 29 [25 favorites]


can we say with certainty it was an icbm? i don't think so, without more info. could be a long range missile, with no low orbit and no ballistic phase.

From the link posted upthread (near the end in the summary):

The flight tests on July 4 and 28 were a carefully choreographed deception by North Korea to create a false impression that the Hwasong-14 is a near-ICBM that poses a nuclear threat to the continental US.

I'm very not an expert, but it appears the answer is no.
posted by ragtag at 3:06 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]


House Committee Votes to Terminate Agency that Protects Voting Machines from Hacking

Today, the House Administration Committee, by a party-line 6-3 vote, approved the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Termination Act (H.R. 634) and a bill to dissolve the Presidential Election Campaign Fund (H.R. 133).

H.R. 634 would eliminate the EAC, an independent government agency that sets security standards for voting machines and functions as a clearinghouse for election administration, among other duties.

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law released the following statement from Democracy Program Director Wendy Weiser:

“This bill would kill the one federal agency charged with upgrading our voting systems. At a time when the vast majority of the country’s voting machines are outdated and in need of replacement, and after an election in which foreign criminals already tried to hack state voter registration systems, eliminating the EAC poses a risky and irresponsible threat to our election infrastructure.

“Destroying the presidential public financing program is also the wrong step for America. On the heels of an election in which Americans made clear that they are unhappy with the influence of big money over our politics, Congress should strengthen, not scrap, the system.”

posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:34 AM on August 29 [78 favorites]


NYT opinion page: Who Decides Whether Trump Is Unfit to Govern?
[...] 28 Democratic Congress members have signed on to a bill, introduced in April, that could lead to a formal evaluation of his fitness.

[...]

The role of psychiatry in this process would be problematic. One of us is a lifelong Democrat, the other a Republican (if an increasingly ambivalent one). But as psychiatrists and citizens, we agree on this point: The medical profession and democracy would be ill served if a political determination at this level were ever disguised as clinical judgement.
posted by runcifex at 4:32 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


AUG. 28 2017 5:19 PM
The Secretary’s Rebuke
James Mattis tells the troops that their president is failing them.

Here
, then, was the secretary of defense—whose credibility and authority rest largely on his combat valor as a recently retired Marine four-star general—all but acknowledging to the servicemen and women he oversees that the country they serve is broken and that the commander in chief, whose lawful orders they have sworn to obey, has helped break it.
posted by tilde at 4:43 AM on August 29 [15 favorites]


Yeah, I don't want the Republicans to get ANY cover for this. I can hear the meal culpas now. "Bless my berries, I am just saddened and SHOCKED by this news that the President is a narcissistic sociopath! Mental illness is such a problem in our society, so hidden. Poor man, he's ill!"

No. Unacceptable. He's unfit. We don't need doctors or head shrinkers to tell us this. It is plain as day to any reasonable, thinking, observing human being.
posted by xyzzy at 4:43 AM on August 29 [35 favorites]


Imagine he feels the noose tightening, and his best hope is to plead insanity. But however crazy he acts, none of his goons acknowledge his behavior. They have to keep a straight face until ... the heist on Fort Knox!

Starring Adam Sandler.
posted by adept256 at 5:09 AM on August 29 [5 favorites]


Ivanka’s surrogates

Yes, the Little Ivanka Surrogate Achievers, and how very proud we are of all of them.

after an election in which foreign criminals already tried to hack state voter registration systems

Tried? Brennan Center for Justice, why are you pulling punches?

Y'know it's almost like the Republican party don't want democracy to work.
posted by petebest at 5:21 AM on August 29 [16 favorites]


Politico: Ivanka's business partner Moshe Lax described as “career grifter” a fraud and a serial extortionist who shakes people down with trumped-up threats of criminal charges; rather like her father.
posted by adamvasco at 5:39 AM on August 29 [10 favorites]


No. Unacceptable. He's unfit. We don't need doctors or head shrinkers to tell us this. It is plain as day to any reasonable, thinking, observing human being.

And was during the election, time after disgusting time. And in case it wasn't obvious enough, Hillary Clinton said as much, in so many words -- and it's rare that a modern candidate will go so far as to say that their opponent is actually unfit for office.

But her emails, and he-said-she-said, and Trump was good for ratings, so here we are.
posted by Gelatin at 6:15 AM on August 29 [49 favorites]


NYT opinion page: Who Decides Whether Trump Is Unfit to Govern?

3 million more Americans than who thought he was (or pretended to).
posted by Gelatin at 6:18 AM on August 29 [9 favorites]


He's unfit. We don't need doctors or head shrinkers to tell us this. It is plain as day to any reasonable, thinking, observing human being.

I mean he's just talking back to his shows now. He's literally an old man yelling at the TV.

@realDonaldTrump
.@foxandfriends We are not looking to fill all of those positions. Don't need many of them - reduce size of government. @IngrahamAngle
posted by chris24 at 6:19 AM on August 29 [36 favorites]


Any idea which unfilled "positions" Fox and Friends highlighted. (Unfortunately Fox and Friends is not part of my morning routine.)
posted by notyou at 6:40 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


trying to "reduce size of government" by refusing to fill leadership positions, rather than by laying off staffers and/or closing offices is a … novel approach
posted by murphy slaw at 6:42 AM on August 29 [10 favorites]


trying to "reduce size of government" by refusing to fill leadership positions, rather than by laying off staffers and/or closing offices is a … novel approach

Wait, isn't that how business works? Especially very successful businesses that are worth billions of dollars and not at all Russian money-laundering ponzi schemes?
posted by Etrigan at 6:45 AM on August 29 [21 favorites]


Reducing expenses through staff attrition is the hallmark of every weak executive I've ever worked for.
posted by baltimoretim at 6:46 AM on August 29 [66 favorites]


How Donald Trump Decides to Fire Someone
Although Trump once tried and failed to trademark the words, “You’re fired!” — his catchphrase from The Apprentice — it seems that he doesn’t actually enjoy repealing and replacing the loyalists that surround him. Like so much with the president, it’s shtick designed to make him look tough. “At the end of the day, he’s a natural-born salesman and he likes people to like him,” a second senior administration official said. “He’s a conflict-avoider. He hates firing people. He knows he’s gotta fire every one of them — but he can’t bring himself to do it. He’s a Gemini. Do you know what a Gemini is? Those are two people in one body. There’s always two faces with Trump.”
posted by kirkaracha at 6:58 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]




Background on the unfilled positions tweet from TPM.
During a segment on “Fox and Friends,” Ingraham said that the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Texas shows how desperately Trump needs to fill open posts at agencies that help with disaster recovery.

“I think we can all look at these horrific pictures, and we can conclude a federal government does need staff. We see it acutely in need of staff in a situation like this,” she said after noting that the new FEMA director was just confirmed in June.

“We’re also facing a huge crisis with North Korea,” she continued. “We’re facing a crisis of confidence across the country where people wonder—even with President Trump in, he said he was going to drain the swamp—can we have a government that works for the people and not just have a people enslaved to the government?”

Trump often blames Democrats for obstructing the administration’s lagging efforts to fill key posts in the federal government. But as “Fox and Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade noted on Tuesday morning, Trump has yet to even nominate people to fill a few hundred open positions.

Ingraham said that the White House should be scrutinized for the slow pace of nominations. “This is a question that has to be posed to the administration. I know they have a lot on their hands, but we have to have people in place,” she said. “If there’s a plan to not staff and cause the ultimate shrinkage of government, then let’s hear about that as well.”
posted by chris24 at 7:01 AM on August 29 [20 favorites]


NY Times apparently back on its bullshit again.

I'm shocked, shocked to find that this came from Glenn Thrush. /casablanca
posted by chris24 at 7:06 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]


He’s a Gemini. Do you know what a Gemini is?


Not many people have heard of astrology
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:08 AM on August 29 [18 favorites]


Hah, of course.

"Impeachment proceedings will give the embattled Trump the opportunity to unify the country and look Presidential." [fake]
posted by notyou at 7:09 AM on August 29 [9 favorites]


The NYT yet again reconfirms that my decision to buy a subscription to Teen Vogue instead of the NYT was a good one.

Here's what I don't get. The NYT is so hated by the Republicans that they'll never give up their hatred. They could fire their entire staff, hire everyone from Breitbart and write nothing but effusive toadying praise of Trump and the NYT would still be hated as a "liberal" newspaper.

Given that they are already, and forevermore, branded as the epitome of Evil Liberal Media, why are they still pandering to the right, hiring lunatic and factually wrong right wing commentators, and writing right wing apologista? What, exactly, do they imagine that they are gaining?

Same goes for MSNBC.

You're doomed, if that's the right word, to be the "liberal media" no matter what you do so embrace it and try being actually liberal for a change!

But nope, they still strive to be FOX News Lite, aiming for an imagined readership/viewership that is best characterized as "sane conservative" rather than actual liberal or leftist.

It's frustrating and seems like bad business. There's clearly a large number of actual liberals and leftists in America, you'd think making a product to appeal to that market would make sense. But nope, they're still chasing after the FOX News demographic and basically telling everyone to the left of Lord Voldemort that their filthy money isn't good enough.
posted by sotonohito at 7:14 AM on August 29 [59 favorites]


NY Times apparently back on its bullshit again.

Less 'The New York Times' and more 'Glenn Thrush,' and, well: that is a master-class in lede-burying:

First paragraph:
Hurricane Harvey was the rarest of disasters to strike during the Trump presidency — a maelstrom not of Mr. Trump’s making, and one that offers him an opportunity to recapture some of the unifying power of his office he has squandered in recent weeks.
Several paragraphs in:
So far, the storm has done little to diminish Mr. Trump’s propensity for muddying moments of presidential leadership by picking fights with the news media or his political opponents.
...
But this time is different, people around Mr. Trump insist.

The president, who prefers to skim rather than delve, has seldom been more engaged in the details of any issue as he is with Harvey, according to several people involved in disaster response.

Mr. Trump, one aide said, was fascinated by the long-term effect of water damage on structures in the Gulf Coast, peppering FEMA and National Security Council briefers with detailed questions about the flooding in Houston and Galveston. As the extent of the projected devastation became apparent over the weekend during a meeting at Camp David, he shook his head in disbelief and compared the situation to problems he experienced when managing his family’s apartment buildings in New York. “Water damage is the worst,” he told one staff member, “tough, tough, tough.”

Still, many of the most substantive conversations about the relief efforts — including interactions with elected officials — have been routed through Mr. Pence, who has played a similar role in pushing the president’s legislative agenda.
It's a chance for him to unify the country...that he's substantially not taking. His Vice President is doing the actual work of talking to people, while the President talks to his aides about buildings, rather than people. And (in a separate excerpt) multiple officials stress that the President has been encouraged to speak from prepared statements, and not off-the-cuff, because he'll probably mess up if he improvises.

All of the interviews and pieces of information here do not point to a President particularly interested in, or capable of, uniting the country, nor even of a President particularly concerned about the citizens' lives at risk; he seems, to judge by the people Thrush has interviewed, predominantly concerned with his own image of being seen to be concerned. Trump is now planning two trips to affected areas, to show that he cares about organizing responses to the unfolding disaster...but the actual organizational response is being organized by Pence, not Trump.

It's hard to read the whole of that article and come away with a good impression of how Trump is behaving, but I worry that you would need to know enough to read between the lines to see that.
posted by cjelli at 7:18 AM on August 29 [8 favorites]


I think they probably see themselves as centrist. The issue isn't so much with the NYT - which, to give them credit for what they are, has not claimed to be left wing - and more with the lack of viable left wing outlets.
posted by jaduncan at 7:20 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]


NY Times apparently back on its bullshit again.

Did you read the article? I think it is true that a natural disaster is a way that Trump or any other president *could* present a unified message. That is what the article states and then gives a million examples of how the president has acted like he has tied his own two shoes together in previous crises as well as this one.

On preview: what cjelli said.
posted by mmascolino at 7:20 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


It's frustrating and seems like bad business. There's clearly a large number of actual liberals and leftists in America, you'd think making a product to appeal to that market would make sense. But nope, they're still chasing after the FOX News demographic and basically telling everyone to the left of Lord Voldemort that their filthy money isn't good enough.

And the irony is that to appeal to that demographic, all they have to do is report the freakin' news without watering it down with intellectually dishonest, reality-denying right wing nonsense (are you listening, NPR?). Drop the conservative talking points and framing and David Brooks and false equivalence, and hey presto, you'll have a better product that will appeal to people for that very reason, instead of trying to appeal to an audience that does not exist.

The "liberal media" criticism is not rooted in good faith and never has been. Bending over backwards to adopt conservative framing is not about fairness; it's about using their platforms to uncritically convey conservative propaganda. They don't have to. They shouldn't.
posted by Gelatin at 7:21 AM on August 29 [60 favorites]


If I had one criticism of Glenn Thrush, it wouldn't be that he's pandering to the right wing (I don't think he is), but that he's far, far too concerned with the imagery of the Presidency and about how this or that act or speech will be received by the public, rather than about the substance of what those acts or speeches say; that leads him to taking a narrower view -- both in terms of scope, and also of time -- than I think is warranted, in which One Good Speech can make a difference and excuse the dozens of bad speeches that came before.

And he's not alone in that: it's horserace-centric model of political coverage that plenty of other journalists embrace, and if it panders to anything it's to our sense of novelty and drama; it elevates style over substance. It's a lot of what was wrong with coverage of the 2016 election; but it's not about pandering to one side or the other (or even to the middle). It's about eschewing the idea that those sides represent real, significant policy questions that will affect everyone in the country and focusing, instead, on the disagreements between those sides as a drama to follow rather than a problem to be solved.
posted by cjelli at 7:28 AM on August 29 [26 favorites]


It's hard to read the whole of that article and come away with a good impression of how Trump is behaving

But Glenn is doing his best so that you do.

The article very easily could have, and should have, been a clear indictment of a president letting his VP do the hard work, only caring about optics, and squandering opportunities to actually lead and unite. Instead it's a mealy mouthed ode to the possibilities of recapturing, reclaiming, unifying, "a man whose future depends on getting this right."
In announcing his trips, he used the dulcet, reassuring and uplifting language of prior presidents. His rhetoric was strikingly different from his much-criticized pronouncements at a news conference this month when he equated the actions of leftist protesters in Charlottesville, Va., with the violent, torch-wielding alt-right activists who hurled anti-Semitic and racist epithets.
Dulcet tones? Seriously, if people think this is an article damning him as strongly as it should, I don't know what to say. You have to get to the 8th paragraph to get to anything that isn't kissing his ass.
posted by chris24 at 7:29 AM on August 29 [15 favorites]


Raise your hand here if you hate Glenn.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:31 AM on August 29 [19 favorites]


WP: The House Ethics Committee is reviewing allegations that Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) engaged in misconduct, four months after his personal investment practices came under scrutiny in the media.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:31 AM on August 29 [9 favorites]


I'm keeping an eye on what happens in Springfield, MO tomorrow. Trump will be speaking in a closed event at a manufacturing company. A protest is being organized; it will be held at the local Teamsters hall, a little under two miles from the event. The plan is for protesters to march the 2 miles from the hall to the manufacturing company.

Some relevant factors...

1. 500 people are signed up on the Facebook event page to attend. This probably isn't an accurate number, but if that many people do show up, it will be huge. This isn't a town where big protests happen -- or big public gatherings of any kind, really. For comparison, the most newsworthy protest in recent years was a "Free the Nipple" demonstration where some young women gathered downtown topless with Xs over their nips; this led to a change in local law, specifying the exact amount of boob that must be covered while out in public.
2. Guns are extremely easy to procure in SGF, and open-carry is legal without a permit.
3. I've heard the KKK will be in attendance.
4. The cops in SGF are about as racist and fascist as you'd expect.

As Trump proclaimed proudly on Twitter while Houston succumbed to the deluge, he did win MO by a lot. The state has one Republican senator who won his race against Dem challenger Jason Kander with a fairly close margin; and one Dem senator, Claire McCaskill, whose upcoming race in 2018 is considered to be one of the closest, if not the closest, in the Senate.

Which is all to say, anything could happen.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 7:37 AM on August 29 [36 favorites]


Wait, actual nazi Laura Ingraham said that?
posted by Artw at 7:39 AM on August 29 [5 favorites]


Wait, actual nazi Laura Ingraham said that?

Yeah, even the Nazis are getting kinda sick of Trump and occasionally criticizing. Usually because he's not being awful enough, but sometimes even they recognize the incompetence.
posted by chris24 at 7:42 AM on August 29 [8 favorites]


I guess I'm missing something in the Mattis speech.
“You’re a great example of our country right now.” ... “Our country, right now, it’s got problems that we don’t have in the military. You just hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other and showing it.”

When I read that, I thought he was saying 1) The military is not as racist and X-phobic as some parts of America are acting, and
2) Ignore the crap the President is saying and get on with your normal selves.
posted by MtDewd at 7:42 AM on August 29 [9 favorites]


It's not the readers the executives at the NYT worry about. It's the advertisers. Readers are the product, sold to advertisers, not the market.
posted by Rykey at 7:43 AM on August 29 [19 favorites]


he shook his head in disbelief and compared the situation to problems he experienced when managing his family’s apartment buildings in New York. “Water damage is the worst,” he told one staff member, “tough, tough, tough.”

everything comes back to new york real estate.

also this is as close to empathy as you're going to get from the man. people flooded out of their homes == building maintenance is such a pain, amirite?
posted by murphy slaw at 7:44 AM on August 29 [54 favorites]


Did you read the article? I think it is true that a natural disaster is a way that Trump or any other president *could* present a unified message. That is what the article states and then gives a million examples of how the president has acted like he has tied his own two shoes together in previous crises as well as this one.

You read it. I read it. But do you honestly think most people will? People these days read just the headlines, skim the bulletpoints in the listicle that purports to tell them the important details and none of the junk, flip through the top few search results, and get their news in sound bites, rarely dipping into the actual meat of the matter. Then they half-form their opinions based on that, which is why it shouldn't be a shock that so many are only mildly uncomfortable with the regime, instead of outraged, so completely unaware of any of the details of any of the toxic policies being pushed, instead relieved that "he's so incompetent nothing bad will happen".

Trump and Bush's aggressive and proud incuriousity shouldn't be viewed so much as personal flaws as they are reflections of the average "real" American, who hates the snobby, wonky, intellectual élite. It should be a searing indictment.

But it's not, and we're way too late in the game. This is why headlines are so fucking important, why the URLs are deadly serious. It's why people will remember "Antifa attacks peaceful Nazi" and agree that violence was on many sides. Shitty headlines like what the NYT and WaPo love doing, such as this one where Trump has a chance to reunify give the impression that he's still redeemable and could lead.

And that's dangerous, because that eats away at the support for his removal.
posted by anem0ne at 7:49 AM on August 29 [30 favorites]


Seriously, if people think this is an article damning him as strongly as it should, I don't know what to say. You have to get to the 8th paragraph to get to anything that isn't kissing his ass.

And the stuff from the 8th paragraph on is damning. It's stated matter-of-factually, without analysis or analysis, but it's there. If Thrush was pandering to the right wing, or truly praising Trump, he could have omitted that and just left the first part about how this is a chance for Trump to unify the country. The problem (as I already noted) is that Thrush wants to cover politics as a both-sides-have-opinions situation, which leads him (I would argue) to write exactly this kind of half-and-half article: if you read the whole thing, and focus on the facts he's reporting, and the allegations and quotes he's citing, you get a reasonably damning picture overall. If you focus on his analysis...not so much. It does not (nor did I claim it did) damn Trump as strongly as it should. But I think that, read as a whole, it is on balance damning.

And the real problem is that you can't do 'on balance' reporting around Trump without having it come off as praising him. That Thrush is writing that kind of article is...not great, and I'm not going to defend it as general practice. A middle-of-the-road, talk-about-the-facts article is not a good way to cover Trump, who will twist analysis out of the absence of whole cloth and tell you he has a new coat. And that is most of Thrush's writing: great sourcing, great quotes, and well worth reading...as long as you ignore his framing and analysis and read between the lines. That is, admittedly, a lot to ignore, particularly in the present moment.
posted by cjelli at 7:51 AM on August 29 [26 favorites]


(Hiring climate-change-denying Bret Stephens to write OpEds was and is indefensible, though, particularly in the wake of Harvey. That's absolutely some right wing pandering that the NYT does engage in, which is some right nonsense.)
posted by cjelli at 7:56 AM on August 29 [10 favorites]


You're nailing it today, cjelli! You win the day!
posted by Melismata at 7:57 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


I seem to recall some joke/rule that the headline of an article will confirm right-wing beliefs while the content of the article will confirm left-wing beliefs, because the left was more likely to read an entire article.
posted by RobotHero at 8:01 AM on August 29 [21 favorites]


Continuing to employ David Brooks is equally as indefensible as hiring Bret Stephens. The NYT absolutely does play foil to the right wing "liberal media" narrative. They want the respect and love of Mitt Romney Republicans above all else, and they are scornful and dismissive of any criticism from the left of that goal.

And that attitude directly lead to the Trump Presidency when the NYT preemptively started digging for "the first scandal of the Clinton Presidency" as soon as she announced, and subsequently ran hundreds of bogus emails stories to support their preestablished narrative.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:03 AM on August 29 [24 favorites]


I wish Slate wouldn't have such click bait headlines about the Mattis speech - it's true he has almost definitely lost faith in the President (if he ever had it) but I would prefer for the President not to know that.
posted by corb at 8:05 AM on August 29 [6 favorites]


But I think that, read as a whole, it is on balance damning.

As anem0ne said, the framing in the Times' tweets and FB posts, the headline/url, and the first half the article are all basically pro-Trump. That's all 90+% will ever see. The opaque, non-critical framing of the rest of the article will have little impact on anyone who doesn't already oppose him, if it's even seen.
posted by chris24 at 8:05 AM on August 29 [9 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the president doesn't read Slate, or anything else really.
posted by Melismata at 8:08 AM on August 29 [10 favorites]


the framing in the Times' tweets and FB posts, the headline/url, and the first half the article are all basically pro-Trump. That's all 90+% will ever see.

True.

I'm reminded of the time that the White House cited national treasure Alexandra Petri's article (“Trump’s budget makes perfect sense and will fix America, and I will tell you why“!) in its daily newsletter, having, apparently, not actually read the article at all, given that the opening paragraph is...clear on Petri's views:
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has called it a “hard power budget” which is, I think, the name of an exercise program where you eat only what you can catch, pump up your guns and then punch the impoverished in the face. This, conveniently, is also what the budget does.
posted by cjelli at 8:16 AM on August 29 [39 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the president doesn't read Slate, or anything else really.

It's well known that either he won't or he can't read. But it doesn't matter about him, it's all the people we let vote who do matter, and it's clear that 90+% only go by headlines and short, shallow summaries that are often misleading.
posted by anem0ne at 8:17 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]


Yeah, putting any bit of news in Slate is almost guaranteed to be the best way to keep Trrump from finding out about it.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:17 AM on August 29 [7 favorites]


cjelli, sorry if I was a little more adamant on that than I needed to be, especially since we're basically agreeing. My cousin, her husband and pets are needing to be rescued and still waiting for a boat right now and I'm a wee bit irritated with the Times making Houston sound like his chance to redeem himself.
posted by chris24 at 8:23 AM on August 29 [12 favorites]


and I'm a wee bit irritated with the Times making Houston sound like his chance to redeem himself.

Nothing new about that. The media wants Trump to fit into their neat narrative, not the other way around. They have no imagination.
posted by Melismata at 8:26 AM on August 29 [5 favorites]


Nothing new about that. The media wants Trump to fit into their neat narrative, not the other way around. They have no imagination.

I disagree -- they have too much. They don't have the courage to see the plain evidence in front of them, and instead have to imagine Trump as a normal president.
posted by Gelatin at 8:29 AM on August 29 [14 favorites]


Imagine what a better place the country would be if everyone stopped imagining Trump as a normal president.
posted by Melismata at 8:37 AM on August 29 [9 favorites]


Imagine what a better place the country would be if everyone stopped imagining Trump as a normal president.
FTFM.
posted by XtinaS at 8:39 AM on August 29 [18 favorites]


cjelli, sorry if I was a little more adamant on that than I needed to be, especially since we're basically agreeing. My cousin, her husband and pets are needing to be rescued and still waiting for a boat right now and I'm a wee bit irritated with the Times making Houston sound like his chance to redeem himself.

chris24, no need to apologize, at all; my thoughts are with your cousin's family (along with everyone else in Houston), and I hope you hear soon that they've been safely evacuated.
posted by cjelli at 8:40 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]


Yeah, putting any bit of news in Slate is almost guaranteed to be the best way to keep Trrump from finding out about it.

Or anyone else.
posted by spitbull at 8:40 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]


trump's itinerary in Texas: 1) Photo op with sympathetic law enforcement and emergency personnel in Corpus Christi, 2) Fly AF1 low to gawk at the destruction à la 43, 3) Visit his buddy Gov. Abbott at the state capitol to get a handjob. Problems solved; maga maga maga.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:49 AM on August 29 [7 favorites]


Melania Trump Rocks Flawless Emergency Aid Look En Route to Texas First comment: "She looks like she was about to go to a Top Gun themed party before Cheeto dragged her on this stupid vanity trip."
posted by kirkaracha at 8:53 AM on August 29 [17 favorites]


Yes, lots of pics going around of Melania and her super high heels, with T showing a thumbs up. Again, no imagination.
posted by Melismata at 8:55 AM on August 29


Nothing could say more about the practical boots-on-the-ground effectiveness of a presidential visit than Melania's shoes.
posted by adept256 at 8:57 AM on August 29 [6 favorites]


Ironic that Trump is finally going to an actual swamp in need of actual draining. I'm sure he will be as effective in reality as he has been in metaphor.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:58 AM on August 29 [17 favorites]


True adept256, but sexy heels sell newspaper subscriptions.
posted by Melismata at 8:58 AM on August 29


Somebody do one of those graphics where it shows the price of each article of clothing (for both of them). That GQ shit or whatever.
posted by gucci mane at 9:02 AM on August 29 [5 favorites]


I guess Melania will drain the swamp by puncturing a hole through the Earth's crust.
posted by adept256 at 9:03 AM on August 29 [57 favorites]


...and now the main front page of the Boston Globe has the photo of Melania FRONT AND CENTER, with those heels blatantly obvious, with T off to the side as an afterthought. Because those heels are important!!!

I really want to stop ranting about the media, really I do, but they drive me so crazy!!
posted by Melismata at 9:05 AM on August 29 [5 favorites]


Given that they are already, and forevermore, branded as the epitome of Evil Liberal Media, why are they still pandering to the right, hiring lunatic and factually wrong right wing commentators, and writing right wing apologista? What, exactly, do they imagine that they are gaining?

Exciting scoops aside, and barring intermittent crises of conscience, all corporate news organizations are expressly controlled to keep things the way they are (tm). The reasons for this run from simple economics to other plausible reasons. Regardéz les Top Five.

11/9 should have been the death knell of corporate news media but perhaps it's more like the spread of dry rot.

The NYT is not among the Top Five based on asset ownership, but hey, it's failing I hear.
posted by petebest at 9:06 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


Oh my fucking GOD, in the middle of the worst natural disaster in memory, a disaster made immeasurably worse by the fact that a demented, malignant narcissist is in charge, can we please not go after the narcissist's WIFE for her fucking sartorial choices?

Did you people learn fucking nothing from the election? Did you not learn how misogyny works? Or do you just not care?

Melania, asshole though she might be, is fucking irrelevant. The only reason to attack her fucking shoes rather than her husband's EVERYTHING is "lol women."

STOP.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:07 AM on August 29 [118 favorites]


Not only "lol women" but also "hey hot babes sell papers."
posted by Melismata at 9:08 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]


He’s a Gemini. Do you know what a Gemini is?

Are we back to Astrology and Presidents again ? What's next from the 80s - My acne and puberty ? Parachute pants ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:16 AM on August 29 [8 favorites]


Are we back to Astrology and Presidents again ? What's next from the 80s - My acne and puberty ? Parachute pants ?

Fear of dying in a nuclear holocaust brought on by an idiot who doesn't understand what's going on around him is so hot right now.
posted by Etrigan at 9:18 AM on August 29 [42 favorites]


The point of making fun of her shoes is that it underlines the Trumps' inability to recognize the most basic of pragmatic choices, like don't wear 4" stilettos to an area with saturated ground. It's a reflection of how utterly out of touch they both are. It's a fine line, but it's not just about "linking clothing choice to capability as role model", it's about "Can you actually provide genuine leadership in even a very small and limited role?" The fact that Trump is visiting a disaster area while rescue efforts are still underway is egregious, but the whole thing with the clothes and the comments about ratings just underlines how unapologetically they are there only for show, only for the benefit of their own image.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:20 AM on August 29 [90 favorites]


Eh, first ladies usually have a clue about what the fuck they're doing. Melania's tone-deafness seems relevant to the overall "fuck you, little people" that permeates Trump's family and administration.
posted by Rykey at 9:21 AM on August 29 [35 favorites]


On preview, what Autumnheart said.
posted by Rykey at 9:22 AM on August 29


I am worried that the Jerk showing up in Texas is going to stress resources that really need to be directed towards helping the actual people who are in danger or otherwise in need of aid. This situation is so terrible and a "presidential" visit, especially with someone so incompetent, seems like the worst way to handle the crisis.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 9:23 AM on August 29 [6 favorites]


Man, I sure wish people would stop giving their clicks to North Korea Missile stories, I can't think of a topic more irrelevant to daily US existence. Chances are good we'll all die by Trump-imposed famine before NK can fly a firecracker to Hawaii.
posted by rhizome at 9:23 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]


Oh my fucking God, AGAIN, given two targets, one of whom is the actual elected president and is incompetent, small minded, bigoted, and narcissistic, but is a man, and the other of whom is not elected to jack nor shit and has no actual authority over anything but IS a woman, you don't see the goddamn problem with focusing on her ducking fashion choices?
posted by schadenfrau at 9:25 AM on August 29 [24 favorites]


I agree with calling out our own misogyny when it crops up, but surely those shoes are also misogynistic!
posted by BentFranklin at 9:25 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


Unfortunately, a lot of people will not say "wow, she is clueless," and instead say, "hey, hot babe, good for him for landing such a hot babe." And it's the media's fault for publishing the photos. Argh.
posted by Melismata at 9:25 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]


The point of making fun of her shoes is that it underlines the Trumps' inability to recognize the most basic of pragmatic choices, like don't wear 4" stilettos to an area with saturated ground. It's a reflection of how utterly out of touch they both are.

Then give his shoes an equal share in the spotlight. His shoes are most likely equally as impractical - they're not stillettos, yeah, but are they waterproof? High-ankle? How much did he pay for those shoes that are now going to be ruined and how much is the taxpayer going to have to dish out to reimburse him for his shoes?

If they're both out of touch - which they are - spotlight both of them when you talk smack. Him even more so becuase she's not the god-damn president.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:25 AM on August 29 [33 favorites]


Surprise Twist: They were Michelle's shoes.
posted by petebest at 9:28 AM on August 29 [14 favorites]


TFA does mock his choice of khakis "for the golf course".
posted by Fleebnork at 9:29 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


I find it pretty gross here and elsewhere, there are comments on sites not as nice as here calling her all sorts of names. Sorry if you can't see the inherent misogyny you are participating in, but please, please stop.
posted by agregoli at 9:30 AM on August 29 [10 favorites]




Has the possibility been discussed that some of those black-clad antifa members might not really be antifa, but people who are tring to paint the left/antifa as violent anti-Trumpists? Such a thing would be entirely plausible as a Russian op. I don't know if it's been disproven, though.

Peddle your false-flag/just-sayin crap elsewhere, Alex Jones. The right wing always brings up this conspiracy bullshit whenever their guys cause violence, and sensible people shoot it down. Your theory, like every "false flag" theory, deserves to be thrown in the garbage unless you have compelling evidence on your side.
posted by Guy Smiley at 9:30 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]


More like Guy Angry, amirite
posted by Guy Smiley at 9:31 AM on August 29 [10 favorites]


Had a sudden wave of calm hit me this morning through which I felt I could see the future:
Trump resigns amidst tightening Enron-style investigation and turning GOP, somtime in the next
18 months.
Pence pardons in whatever capacity is requested by Trump, appoints Rep heavy for VP (Rubio?).
Horrible weakened RNC runs Pence/Rubio(?) ticket, against sudden agent-of-change figure Sanders DNC has to admit they've lost power and has to give it to Sanders' popularity.
Trump boos GOP from the sidelines, undermining their campaign even more.
Sanders wins 2020 on universal healthcare/other socialist values campaign.

Or maybe I hit my head, and I'm just dreaming while bleeding out on the floor right now.
posted by rc3spencer at 9:34 AM on August 29 [7 favorites]


I agree with calling out our own misogyny when it crops up, but surely those shoes are also misogynistic!

Melania's shoes are relevant to misogyny because her image is a carefully curated image designed for her most misogynistic of husbands. That is not the tack I am usually seeing on this one, sadly.
posted by corb at 9:35 AM on August 29 [20 favorites]


Your theory, like every "false flag" theory, deserves to be thrown in the garbage unless you have compelling evidence on your side.

I mean, except that there is a well documented (but not complete!) history of American law enforcement engaging in exactly these tactics. COINTELPRO, etc. (is there evidence of similar ops during Occupy? Genuinely don't know, don't care to fall down that rabbit hole.)

As far as I know, I've never seen evidence of organized Left groups engaging in the same tactics. (If only because it requires a level of surveillance and recon and general counter intelligence that protest groups don't have the resources to meet.) Correct me if I'm wrong, of course, but as it stands...

I mean. There's a long history of one side doing it. That's kind of important context.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:35 AM on August 29 [12 favorites]


It seems fair to point out that they're going for a photoshoot and a prepped speech and are dressed accordingly. If they really wanted to do the right thing, they'd get out of the way.

NYT from upthread: one that offers him an opportunity to recapture some of the unifying power of his office he has squandered in recent weeks.

That's what bothers me more. All he has to do is support the rescue/recovery effort, pledge some aid, say a prayer and fly off. What could go wrong? Almost anything! He could blame Paris or the Chinese hoax or both sides, we don't know! Even basic Pres. stuff eludes this man.
posted by adept256 at 9:37 AM on August 29 [7 favorites]


Bernie Sanders will be 78 in 2020. I hope we will have a younger candidate.
posted by agregoli at 9:37 AM on August 29 [23 favorites]


Shoegate is over, from pictures of the arrival of AF1 Melania has changed into white tennis shoes. Also a black hat that says FLOTUS.
posted by peeedro at 9:38 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


Or maybe I hit my head, and I'm just dreaming while bleeding out on the floor right now.
Sorry to break it to you, but as you suspected, you're in a Jacob's Ladder scenario.
posted by baltimoretim at 9:39 AM on August 29 [5 favorites]


Well, when Melania makes the choice to arbitrarily go somewhere she is totally not needed because her outlandish statements pardoning white supremacists didn't provide the image boost she was expecting, then I guess we will focus on those things. But considering her only contribution to this farce of a presidency has been to literally serve as a fashion model, then it's appropriate to criticize her focus on that instead of, you know, having an opinion or a set of principles.

This isn't Hillary Clinton, an experienced and brilliant politician and public servant, who can't get elected because she wears pantsuits. This is a fashion model, being a fashion model, bringing her fashion modeling to a literal disaster area as part of the entire Trump operation to boost their own personal brand. The whole fucking thing is inappropriate and she is contributing to that of her own choosing. She doesn't get to be free from criticism just because she's a woman. She could, at the very, very least, do what other First Ladies have done and make a photo op out of standing in a hard hat in front of a flat of water bottles, or something, but instead she's just going to go along with promoting her own shit no matter how ridiculous, because that's what they do.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:40 AM on August 29 [68 favorites]


That's funny, people are painting FLOTUS on their rooftops in support of the visit for some reason.
posted by adept256 at 9:41 AM on August 29 [5 favorites]


Gonna need a [real] or [fake] on that one, adept.
posted by Yowser at 9:43 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


Literally no one is arguing that Melania isn't an asshole. We are pointing out that choosing to focus on Melania's assholery when she is literally standing next to the screaming collapsing star void of assholery who is actually in charge is mysoginistic as fuck, so will you please stop already.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:45 AM on August 29 [39 favorites]


I'm assuming nobody promised Houston that Melania would be participating in actual water rescues, so who the fuck cares what shoes she's wearing.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:46 AM on August 29 [19 favorites]


Sorry to break it to you, but as you suspected, you're in a Jacob's Ladder scenario.

It would be an An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge scenario, but the bridge is currently under three feet of water.
posted by Quindar Beep at 9:52 AM on August 29 [8 favorites]


[Folks, at this point let's call it good on the Melania's shoes thing.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:53 AM on August 29 [24 favorites]


Op-Ed: White Supremacist Groups Don’t Deserve Tax Exemptions
We suspect that many Americans would [be] shocked to learn that a number of white supremacist groups...are exempt from taxation. A recent Associated Press report said that over the past decade, four prominent white nationalist groups alone received over $7.8 million in donations.

Like museums, churches and schools, these groups do not have to pay taxes on a majority of their revenue. Donors to these groups can deduct their gifts, and real estate that the groups own is generally exempt from property taxes. In addition, in the eyes of the organization and the public, being tax-exempt confers a certain legitimacy.
...
But some viewpoints are fundamentally untethered from American values and should no longer receive any state support or endorsement. We are not arguing that such despicable views be excluded from the public sphere; free speech is too important a value to dismiss just because some people’s speech is repugnant...[b]ut a tax exemption is something different. The Constitution protects these groups’ right to free speech, but it doesn’t promise anyone freedom from taxes.
...
If the [Trump] administration is going to “take the most vigorous actions” against white supremacists and neo-Nazis, the first step would be to review and revoke the tax exemption for any organizations that espouse these ideologies.
Spoiler alert: they won't actually 'take the most vigorous actions,' doubly so if it would mean, effectively, raising raising taxes on anyone.
posted by cjelli at 9:53 AM on August 29 [34 favorites]


Given that they are already, and forevermore, branded as the epitome of Evil Liberal Media, why are they still pandering to the right, hiring lunatic and factually wrong right wing commentators, and writing right wing apologista? What, exactly, do they imagine that they are gaining?

The owners and shareholders of the NYT are part of the .1% class, and if you dig a little into many of the top reporters and columnists you will find that they too are connected, either through family, marriage, or previous jobs and schools, to the top .1%. That tiny group of people are extremely powerful and lean heavily right. The owners, shareholders, and many of the top reporters and columnists may or may not lean left, but they know who not to piss off too much if they want to keep things cool at home and at dinner parties in the city. They want to cover their asses with both sides-ism to maintain their perch socially and financially.
posted by cell divide at 9:53 AM on August 29 [53 favorites]


amen, cell divide.
posted by Melismata at 9:58 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


In re false flags and antifa:

1. Not in the moment, but later, activists in a given community should have some idea whether something was a false flag or not. This is not 100% guaranteed, but it is likely that any group of people doing antifa stuff will be known in activist circles, at least in passing.

In the moment, it's possible to misidentify people - so it's important not to look at someone and say "I don't know them, they're a cop", unless you have serious reasons to say that.

"Antifa", which is really basically "the people from any given activist community who get into scuffles when the need seems to arise", aren't a mysterious secret group. If you hang around activist circles, leftist bookstores, universities, the scruffier kind of coffee house, younger queer communities, etc, you are meeting people who at least loosely fit the definition of "antifa".

I am totally serious about this - don't let the media bullshit you. Antifa are perfectly ordinary activists who mostly do perfectly ordinary activist things. Some of them are smart, some of them are reckless, some of them are teenagers, some of them are adults, some of them are POC, some of them are white. They are students, workers, the unemployed. Some of them are highly theorized, some of them really just think that antifa tactics are the best tactics for the problems they see in front of them.

All this media attention seems really weird to me, and seems designed to make liberals and progressives who don't do a lot of protesting (which is fine! you don't need to be out in the street to prove things or make a difference!) think that "antifa" is some kind of bunch of weird out of control Red Army Faction in training.

Anyway, it is most likely that any kind of provocateur/false flag stuff will be apparent to other protest attendees, either because of how it's done or because of who does it. This will emerge after the event.

2. The antifa stuff I have seen seems like antifa stuff to me, not anything sketchy. "Punch the nazis and run them out of town" is pretty standard.

3. This is just spitballing, but things that would immediately make me wonder would be things like obvious weapons escalation (eg, Nazis have sticks, someone brings a gun, not Nazis have sticks and someone brings a really big stick); actions that seem intended to kill or gravely injure (not just something that could gravely injure, because people can be all kinds of fool, but something like using a knife or trying to set someone on fire that could only be done if you're willing to kill); physical attacks on the elderly, disabled people or children.

My experience around punchy activists is that people do not generally escalate past punching and maybe sticks, or throwing things at cops. This is not a 100% rule for everyone everywhere, but as long as I've been in activist circles in the US, it has generally held true. The right is willing to kill people; the left, as a broad generality, is not.

So for instance, I'd expect a car attack or firing into the crowd from the right or a provocateur, but not the left, no matter how punchy.

Feel as you like about violence, but be aware that there are cultural norms around it that differ between the left and right.
posted by Frowner at 9:58 AM on August 29 [111 favorites]


Imagine there's no Donald
It's easy if you try...

posted by Meatbomb at 10:02 AM on August 29 [9 favorites]


Had a sudden wave of calm hit me this morning through which I felt I could see the future:

I've stopped being so acutely worried about Trump, myself, because his end is clearly in sight, it's just a question of when and exactly how. My own sense is that he will resign (rage-quit), much sooner than we expect, because of either growing talk of his unfitness for office, or because Mueller makes his move (or both). His sense of narcissistic injury, and the rage that follows, all but guarantee some version of this playing out through the fall. I expect then that Pence and the shadow-Dominionist-cabal will make their play, and we'll have to fight that off, but they're mostly dumber than bags of rocks, so I don't expect them to be formidable foes.

Whatever follows that will be...interesting. Probably a huge electoral shift, but that depends to a great degree on local-level success and pushing back against/repealing/etc. encroachment upon voting rights and access. There will be a lot of opportunity for weird shit to happen as (at least) the Republican party will be fractured and roiling around internally for some time, and the Democratic party lacks enough consensus to either capitalize on that or simply step up and hold things together until we have at least a functioning second party again.

But what worries me most are the unknown unknowns, those actors not on the stage that we're watching, who have their own agendas and objectives that have nothing to do with the U.S. and our high drama and etc., but who've been given unexpected and unprecedented opportunity to advance their agendas because suddenly the U.S. government--and all of the activity, presence, etc. that entails world-wide--is not working, or simply not there. We are presenting opportunities to our enemies and malicious actors of all kinds that have quite likely never existed in any of our lifetimes.

That's the thought keeping me distracted most days: what's coming at us from one direction while we're intently looking in another?
posted by LooseFilter at 10:07 AM on August 29 [19 favorites]


Shoegate is over, from pictures of the arrival of AF1 Melania has changed into white tennis shoes. Also a black hat that says FLOTUS.

I must be crazy but I really want that hat! I imagine the Trump campaign will be selling them in 3, 2, 1.....
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:08 AM on August 29


Yeah, even the Nazis are getting kinda sick of Trump and occasionally criticizing. Usually because he's not being awful enough, but sometimes even they recognize the incompetence.

Incompetent Nazis drove many Hogan's Heroes plotlines.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:09 AM on August 29 [7 favorites]


In other 'Trump lies about factually disprovable stuff' news: NYT/Reuters - Finland Says No Fighter Deal With Boeing After Trump's Comments
"One of the things that is happening is you're purchasing large amounts of our great F-18 aircraft from Boeing and it's one of the great planes, the great fighter jets," Trump said on Monday at a news conference with his Finnish counterpart in the White House.

[Finnish President] Niinisto, who was standing next to Trump, looked surprised but did not follow up on the comment. He later denied the deal with Boeing on his Twitter account and on Tuesday in Washington.

"It seems that on the sale side, past decisions and hopes about future decisions have mixed ... The purchase is just starting, and that is very clear here," Niinisto told Finnish reporters.
Finland is still soliciting bids, from multiple companies, which is expected to run through early next year; they might not go with Boeing. This isn't even a case of Trump exaggerating a deal in its early stages as being closed; negotiations haven't even, substantively, started.
posted by cjelli at 10:11 AM on August 29 [31 favorites]


The other thing about the punchy left: I've known left wing people who liked fighting - bar fight type people, people who liked throwing punches, liked strategizing, liked winning - but I've never met one who liked hurting. That's a big cultural difference, and it's why you'd never see a left Charlottesville in this country.

I've met left wing people with all kinds of flaws - and of course I have all kinds of flaws myself - but terrorizing and hurting people because you enjoy seeing them terrorized and hurt isn't one of them.
posted by Frowner at 10:16 AM on August 29 [43 favorites]


FLOATUS
posted by kirkaracha at 10:23 AM on August 29 [11 favorites]


[A few deleted, please refer to previous dozens of threads for discussion of sanders/warren/etc in campaign 2020, age, etc.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:26 AM on August 29 [11 favorites]


FLATUS
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:29 AM on August 29 [11 favorites]


40-50 inches of rain in one storm. I can't comprehend that. That's 4 times our yearly rainfall. It will be interesting to see how FEMA handles things when the waters recede, because that's going to be the true test.
posted by azpenguin at 10:42 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


FLAUTAS?
posted by ArgentCorvid at 10:51 AM on August 29 [8 favorites]


BLOATUS.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 10:54 AM on August 29


Let's call the whole thing off.
posted by mazola at 10:55 AM on August 29 [40 favorites]




> "Antifa", which is really basically "the people from any given activist community who get into scuffles when the need seems to arise", aren't a mysterious secret group. If you hang around activist circles, leftist bookstores, universities, the scruffier kind of coffee house, younger queer communities, etc, you are meeting people who at least loosely fit the definition of "antifa".

My own definition is that if you're not antifa, you're profa.
posted by farlukar at 10:58 AM on August 29 [14 favorites]


props to frowner for explaining this stuff bc i've been reading these threads and getting increasingly dismayed by what seems like people soaking in the "omg, violence, both sides, antifa, false flag" stuff i assume the news must be talking about because i haven't seen these talking points before? and it's been unnerving
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 11:00 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]


FLAUTAS?

If we stop ICE from being the dicks they are under Trump, we might have a country where there's a flautas truck on every goddamn corner, and my god, I would cry tears of salsa verde joy at that.
posted by anem0ne at 11:00 AM on August 29 [34 favorites]


I've met left wing people with all kinds of flaws - and of course I have all kinds of flaws myself - but terrorizing and hurting people because you enjoy seeing them terrorized and hurt isn't one of them

While this strikes me as true now, in this time and place, I think it's worth pointing out this -- ahem -- has not always been the case in other times and in other places. There's nothing about leftist ideology itself that inoculates against sadism. I think right now it's more a question of cultural values attracting people with similar values, but that can change in a heartbeat.

In other words, movements that explicitly endorse hurting people (even Nazis) will inevitably attract people who want to hurt people and want a justification for doing so. Those are the bad apples that look for any reason to find targets.

And I'm not, like, against Nazi punching. Temperamentally I'm all for it (unfortunately), and practically...I mean, shit, marginalized populations need to defend themselves, and people who aren't marginalized but also aren't completely terrible should help defend them.

I suspect that that's a tension that can't be resolved. But I hope those of us on the left don't let down our guard because we think we're inherently immune or resistant to evil. There will be shitty people.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:02 AM on August 29 [25 favorites]


"omg, violence, both sides, antifa, false flag" stuff i assume the news must be talking about because i haven't seen these talking points before?

the news and also russian robots
posted by generalist at 11:13 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]


i would entreat people who don't have direct experience in and among the groups we're talking about to maybe step back from intellectualizing in a high level and vague sense about whether the left can ever become violent or whatever when we talk about antifa stuff because i feel like it sucks the air out of the conversation, and it's extremely helpful right now to actually talk about what is going on in the streets, what seems to be working, what doesn't, and the actual, real, material difference between right-oriented street shit and left-oriented street shit in this country at this time
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 11:14 AM on August 29 [30 favorites]


An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

It's a massive tangent, but you just reminded me that a few years back I was settling in to watch a movie on (I think) the Horror Channel. The synopsis was something about urban explorers or something who get into a terrible situation--the details are kind of fuzzy all this time later.

The thing that is still very clear in my head, though, and the reason I turned off the thing after five minutes, is that one of the first shots of the movie was their car pulling up and parking. Prominently displayed on the license plate frame: OWL CREEK.

I don't think the production company was actually called LULZ WE R SO CLEVAR PICTURES, but it wouldn't have surprised me.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 11:14 AM on August 29 [11 favorites]


I've always considered being anti-fascist one of those fundamental American values you all treasure so much. Fighting tyranny is one of your foundational principles. It's like the default starting position, and people unfortunately drift away from it. It's grim times when you have to opt-in.
posted by adept256 at 11:15 AM on August 29 [18 favorites]


From TPM:
“So, governor, again, thank very much. And we won’t say congratulations. We don’t want to do that. We don’t want to congratulate,” Trump said.

“We’ll congratulate each other when it’s all finished, but you have been terrific,” he added, patting Abbott’s hand. “And you’ve been my friend, too.”

You can just tell that he was told not to tell anyone "Congratulations" at some point today.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 11:19 AM on August 29 [113 favorites]


I think people who expect Trump to resign are whistling past the graveyard.

Trump will not quit.

It'd be nice if he would, but he won't. I think not only is he enjoying being President, even if some parts are disagreeable, but I also think that however stupid and brain rotted he is he also knows quitting would open him up not merely to criminal prosecution but (more important to him) ridicule and the belief that he wasn't up to the job.

Also, and possibly more important, there are a lot of people who can influence him who do want him to stay on. All of his advisers, and I think the Party operatives too.

I think the movers and shakers in the Republican Party think that having Trump quit would be worse for the Party than having him stay. It's true that he's not merely dumb as a bag of hammers but senile to boot, it's true that he's divisive, racist, and bigoted, it's true that he has all the negatives he has.

That's what they are counting on. They're hoping to use Trump as a scapegoat **AND** not piss off his base.

Right now around 50% of Republican voters are in Trump's cult of personality. Losing those voters means the death of the Republican Party.

But the 50% who aren't in Trump's cult of personality are, even though they're Republicans, feeling disturbed and nervous about Trump. Losing those voters also means the death of the Republican Party.

If there's event the tiniest, faintest, **HINT** that the Party drove Trump out of office his cultists will go berserk and, at the very least, never vote Republican again. Trump leaving office before Jan 20 2021, will set off his cultists. Among other things, you know perfectly well that Trump can't ever take responsibility for things, and he'll blame his departure on the Republican Party.

So they have to keep him to the end of his term.

And, in the meantime, they can also (carefully) try to spin things so that all Republican failures are Trump's fault. That won't please his cultists, but as long as the accusations are made by third parties and the actual Republican Party leadership stays insulated (or even mildly condemns it) then they probably think they can get away with it.

Republican Party couldn't repeal Obamacare? Damn shame Trump fucked that up.

Tax cuts didn't work out so well? Unfortunately, Trump's blunders kept the Party from using its majority.

Trade deals fucked? We never liked him much anyway, and that's entirely Donald Trump's fault. We Republicans are all about trade deals!

Republicans are racist? How dare you say that! It's only Trump!

Etc.

The Party leadership is hoping Trump can soak up all the bad feeling directed at the general Republican failure to exercise power. He's a literal scapegoat: all their sins are put on him and when he is driven from the camp their sins will be taken away.

I'm pretty sure the Republican Party leadership is hoping desperately that he will stick around until 2020 and then lose. His loss will be the perfect excuse to ditch him, they're hoping they can use it as a good excuse to take power back from the Trump Cultists and teabaggers and return it to the money Republicans. They'll toss in some gentle scolding to the base, gentle enough they hope to keep most of them voting but harsh enough to keep them from messing up and electing a Trump again.

To the Republican leadership the ideal situation would be a Republican majority in at least one house of Congress, and a Democratic President. That'd let them get back to obstructing things and force the Democrats to take the heat for the post-Trump catastrophe.

So no, I don't think Trump will leave the White House until Jan 21, 2021. Wishful thinking to the contrary is just a waste of time.
posted by sotonohito at 11:19 AM on August 29 [40 favorites]


There is a radio show in Salt Lake City, called Radio From Hell, it is the morning show. They used to have, maybe still do have, a segment called, "We Seen It." I have to say I just seen it. What did I see? I saw the bald back of Donald Trumps shiny head, on a video from Huffpo, in which he boards AF 1, on the way to Texas.
posted by Oyéah at 11:26 AM on August 29 [8 favorites]


@AClaudeCase
I was the judicial clerk for the judge in the original Apraio trial. I have some thoughts on the pardon. (1/15)
- (I will not be revealing any conversations with the judge about the substance of the case because duh). (2/15)
- Judge Snow was appointed by George W. Bush. He quoted Scalia favorably. He had a Romney Institute blotter on his desk. (3/15)
- Arpaio now calls him “liberal” – this is flatly false. He is ideologically conservative and deeply devoted to the rule of law. (4/15)
- He took pains to ensure that the trial was procedurally fair – crediting unsupported statements by Arpaio deputies. (5/15) [screenshot of decision]
- Arpaio’s office had deleted thousands of requested emails (yes!), Snow issued only mild sanctions in response. (6/15) [screenshot of decision]
- When a minor issue came up that could have merited recusal, he held a hearing – Arpaio’s attorneys asked him not to recuse. (7/15) [screenshot of requests]
- Judge Snow’s order was upheld on appeal before trial by a Nixon appointee, who singled him out for praise in the opinion. (8/15) [screenshot of decision]
- Many of the deleted emails were recovered; they contained racist jokes about “Mexifornia,” “Mexican Yoga” and “Mexican Engineering.” (9/15) [screenshots of emails]
- Snow’s final 142-page order barely referenced the inflammatory stuff – order bars enforcing federal law and stopping bc of race. (10/15) [screenshot of order]
- That order is the one that Arpaio flouted. (11/15)
- Arpaio sent investigators after the judge’s wife and constantly insults him publicly. (12/15) AZ Central: Arpaio: PI hired to investigate judge's wife
- Arpaio kept a paper file in which he printed fan mail favoring racial profiling and attacking a different judge (13/15) [screenshot of decision]
- Judge Snow has never responded to these personal attacks – he is far too dignified to do so. (14/15)
- So when you hear Arpaio and Trump on the judge, remember he is a classic Republican judge and a deeply honorable man. (15/15)
posted by chris24 at 11:34 AM on August 29 [146 favorites]




I mean. There's a long history of one side doing it. That's kind of important context.

You're absolutely right. I still don't accept any "false flag" conspiracy - god knows we have people on our side who are itching to inflict violence, but I let my frustration get the better of me.

- Guy Sheepish
posted by Guy Smiley at 11:40 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


Oh, hey, Spicer (remember him?) finally got to meet the pope. I don't have any love for Spicey, but denying him a visit back when they were at the Vatican was just so perfectly petty of Trump that I'm glad it happened eventually.
posted by rewil at 11:40 AM on August 29 [25 favorites]


Finally got told he's going to hell in person!
posted by Artw at 11:44 AM on August 29 [22 favorites]


I'm not happy Spicer got something he wanted. He was a willing and eager servant of evil and deserves nothing but misery and derision for the rest of his days. May he never be satisfied and never achieve his goals in anything.
posted by sotonohito at 11:48 AM on August 29 [24 favorites]


I don't know, Illinois has kind-of a Trump-style Republican governor right now who uses a lot of the same tricks and has a lot of the same prejudices, and shovels money to GOP statehouse reps who vote with him to make them untouchable in reelection campaigns. And yet, once the state budget was voted in after a two-year impasse (where a bunch of Republicans flouted the governor and overrode his veto), a number of GOP reps and senators have resigned or announced they won't run for reelection, including the Senate minority leader, because the amount of harm he's doing is making them sick at heart and they cannot in conscience continue to participate. Including some of the party leadership! And yeah, many more remain and plenty of those are true believers or "party before principles" or personal power amassers, but there have been a relatively startling number of resignations.

Sooner or later we're going to see Congresscritters on the GOP side start to resign or refuse to run for re-election. Maybe not many, but 6 or 7 would be a LOT. And sooner or later it's going to start occurring to people (beyond presidential commission appointees and Obama-era holdovers) that the way off this Titanic is to make a noisy, principled resignation rather than going down with the USS Trump, and that the one way to rescue their reputations from the stain of Trump is public repudiation and resignation. Some of them won't. Some of them are true believers, or are counting on wingnut welfare or the alt-right to pay them later. But some of them -- Tillerson is one -- are going to have their future ability to do business and their future reputations permanently impacted by association with this administration. And sooner or later they'll realize that "I stuck around to try to stop it" won't work, and they'll start publicly resigning.

I sort-of wonder if Mike Pence will figure out that he could go down in history not as the failed governor whose political life was over after he was about to lose an easy election in GOP-safe Indiana and failed upwards into the Vice Presidency when nobody else with any integrity would take the position, but as a hero as the Vice President Who Resigned rather than be associated with white supremacy and the destruction of the GOP. He'd be remembered as a flawed man who, under pressure, did the right thing. (And, he could probably make a shit ton of money and influence a lot of legislation about his pet Christian-right issues -- abortion, gay rights -- because of the appearance of integrity that he'd gain, like how we all listened to Giuliani politely even when he was clearly talking out of his ass because he handled 9/11 pretty well.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:50 AM on August 29 [23 favorites]


- Judge Snow’s order was upheld on appeal before trial by a Nixon appointee, who singled him out for praise in the opinion. (8/15) [screenshot of decision]

Can I just say how weird it is to me that we still have Nixon appointees on the bench? Nothing about Nixon per se, but we're on our eighth President since then.
posted by Etrigan at 11:54 AM on August 29 [16 favorites]


Trump won't resign. Unless he figures out how to spin "resigning" into "#WINNING!" he's not going to willingly leave before Jan 2021.

He might choose not to run in 2020 if he figures he'd lose. Republicans might impeach him if he escalates the intraparty fight and starts financing too many primary opponents. And if he does something truly insane Pence might use the 25th. But yeah, probably (like 90% probably) he just sticks around and loses in 2020. And then cries about it FOREVER.
posted by Glibpaxman at 11:54 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


Trump appointees will leave a long, long stink.
posted by Artw at 11:55 AM on August 29 [7 favorites]


Trump won't resign because he cannot give up the power to pardon. His family and his business might depend on it.
posted by gladly at 11:56 AM on August 29 [16 favorites]


The NYT's cutesy bullshit is entitled "So President Trump makes spelling mistakes on Twitter. Whoo doesn't?" (No link because fuck them)

Whoo doesn't? Anyone who wants to look competent. Anyone who needs to maintain a professional demeanor when representing their job. Anyone who hasn't had his half-assed, barely mediocre attempts at anything whatsoever sheltered from criticism and slobbered over like some porn star's tumescent wang. It's not the spelling itself, it's just one more example of how the basic rules everyone else has to follow in order to be taken seriously don't apply to 45.

And if I made any spelling or grammar errors above, consider that I'm not communicating as the goddamn President of the United States.
posted by bibliowench at 11:59 AM on August 29 [102 favorites]


Hey, we all remember how rife Obama's tweets were with spelling errors.

Pull the other one, NYT.
posted by Gelatin at 12:01 PM on August 29 [28 favorites]


Lotta presidents might decide that since they were, like, president and all, they would not tweet all the damn time like a reality TV star, spelling aside.
posted by Frowner at 12:02 PM on August 29 [20 favorites]


AND THE PRESIDENT SHOULDN'T BE SAYING RANDOM SHIT ON TWITTER FFS.

Ahem. Sorry.
posted by agregoli at 12:02 PM on August 29 [41 favorites]


You lucky dogs in the U.K. have received a gift of immeasurable worth: Sky stops broadcasting rightwing US channel Fox News in UK.
Rupert Murdoch has taken the rightwing US channel Fox News off the air in the UK after 15 years.

His US media group 21st Century Fox said it would withdraw Fox News from Sky in the UK on Tuesday because it no longer regarded the service as commercially viable.

The decision came as Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, is set to return her verdict on whether to ask the competition regulator to launch an investigation into the Murdochs’ adherence to broadcasting standards in the UK as part of an inquiry into Fox’s £11.7bn takeover bid for Sky.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:06 PM on August 29 [24 favorites]


I am so tired.
posted by schmod at 12:08 PM on August 29 [23 favorites]


WaPo: A new polling low for Trump: Just 16 percent ‘like’ his conduct as president
Polling Donald Trump is one of the most difficult and confusing exercises in modern politics. In Trump, we have a guy who won the presidency by surprisingly beating the polls in key Rust Belt states, of course. We also have a guy who maintains the loyalty of his base despite major flaws that this base readily acknowledges. As I wrote in June 2016, nearly half of Trump supporters — 46 percent — said one or more of the following: He had made a racist comment, was prejudiced and/or was unqualified to be president. Not half of all voters; half of his supporters.

I wouldn't be the first to argue that those voters stuck by Trump because of rank partisanship, distaste for Hillary Clinton and emphasizing other priorities. But a new poll from the Pew Research Center shows just how conflicted Trump voters are these days about as well as any poll I've seen. And despite all those hot takes about how Trump's penchant for controversy represents some kind of multidimensional chess game, the poll shows the damage continues to be done. Trump's base clearly has reservations about him, and those reservations are causing it to deteriorate slowly — albeit more slowly than people perhaps thought.

Pew asked American adults how they felt about Trump's conduct in office: Whether they “liked” it, had “mixed feelings” or “didn't like it.” It won't surprise you to see about 6 in 10 (58 percent) don't like it; that tracks with the number of Americans who disapprove of Trump overall.

The other two pieces of the pie are where things get interesting. According to Pew, another 25 percent of American adults say they have “mixed feelings,” and just 16 percent “like” it. Only about 1 in 6 voters say they like the way Trump has conducted himself as president. Even among Republicans and GOP-leaning voters, just 34 percent “like” Trump's conduct. About 1 in 5 (19 percent) say they don't like it, and a plurality of 46 percent say they have “mixed feelings.”

The results hark back to a July Washington Post/ABC News poll, in which 70 percent of Americans described Trump's behavior as “unpresidential” and just 24 percent said it was “fitting and proper” for a president. But in that poll, a majority of Republicans — 54 percent — still said Trump's behavior was “fitting and proper.”

So the old poll showed 24 percent of adults signed off on Trump's conduct, and the new one puts that number at 16 percent. Part of that difference undoubtedly owes to how the question was asked, with The Post-ABC poll initially supplying two options and the Pew poll giving three. (Poll respondents are often tempted to take a more middle-ground position when given three options.) But both show basically the same thing: A huge amount of ambivalence about Trump's behavior, even among his base.
posted by chris24 at 12:08 PM on August 29 [40 favorites]


sotonohito, you make good points but there is one other factor to weigh, which is that Money Talks. A lot depends on how deep the American financial rabbit hole ends up going. If the US remains in a state of relative prosperity, i.e. billionaires remain billionaires, Trump as Useful Idiot remains Plan A. But if Trump fucks the dog on the debt ceiling, let's say, or pulls America into a military conflict that is pointless by even American standards, or otherwise acts thoughtlessly and causes the actual big monetary players to feel the hit, they will tell their Congressional and governor puppets the old action movie cliche; don't tell me that they're gonna kill you if you disobey them, because I'LL do it if you cross me and I'm right here right now.

Constituents didn't move Dean Heller on health care. Steve Wynn did.
posted by delfin at 12:09 PM on August 29 [5 favorites]


FLAUTAS?

FLOUTUS, unfortunately
posted by orange ball at 12:15 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


> The NYT's cutesy bullshit is entitled "So President Trump makes spelling mistakes on Twitter. Whoo doesn't?" (No link because fuck them)

Whoo doesn't? Anyone who wants to look competent.


Yeah, this. My wife is a reporter for the local paper. Her role is low-profile enough that she's not required to have a Twitter account, which is very fine by her because we know what happens to women journalists (and women generally) on Twitter. But if she were required to tweet for her job, I can assure you she'd agonize over every word and punctuation mark, because these days, people are probably likelier to read reporters' tweets than they are to read the content of their stories.

Of course, the limitations of Twitter as a medium have led some folks to relax their expectations for grammar and spelling -- it's not uncommon to see media figures using "textspeak" and going light on punctuation to save precious characters -- but simply being unable to spell (or too lazy to use spellcheck) is a sign of someone who doesn't take pride in their work. Which will definitely get you looking for a new job in the highly competitive field of journalism, but is somehow considered an asset for the President of the United States (seriously, Farhad Manjoo? A "sheen of authenticity???" FOH with that shit, dude.)

As is usually the case with this sort of Trump apologia, just try to imagine the media reaction to Obama if he were unable to get through 140 characters without a spelling error.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:32 PM on August 29 [31 favorites]


FLAUTAS?

FLOUTUS, unfortunately


I saw a couple of little girls in Houston on the flooding coverage. They were wearing FLOATIES. I hope they end up OK.
posted by Guy Smiley at 12:34 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


quick LOL break from @Zoe Tillman (Buzzfeed): JUST IN: A federal judge in NY has dismissed Sarah Palin's defamation lawsuit against the New York Times. [opinion at link]
posted by lalex at 12:35 PM on August 29 [27 favorites]


I dunno, ever synce Lyz Spayd left the NYT has gone to hell.
posted by petebest at 12:36 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


Rupert Murdoch has taken the rightwing US channel Fox News off the air in the UK after 15 years.

Probably because no-one even knew it was on the air or would watch it if they did.
posted by walrus at 12:47 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


> I dunno, ever synce Lyz Spayd left the NYT has gone to hell.

You misspelled Margaret Sullivan, which tells me you're an authentic, no-nonsense truth-teller.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:49 PM on August 29 [13 favorites]


NEW from CNN: Trump Jr. agrees to transcribed interview with Senate panel.

I am unclear on what a "transcribed" panel means. Will the transcript be released to the public?
posted by lalex at 12:51 PM on August 29 [5 favorites]


It's not a campaign rally or a photo-op, it's a "real team":
As he exited the firehouse, Mr. Trump noticed a crowd of about 1,000 people, some of them cheering. He grabbed a lone star Texas flag and shouted back to the crowd, seeming to forget, for the moment, that he was at the scene of a disaster and not one of his rallies. “What a crowd!” he said. “What a turnout!”
posted by peeedro at 12:52 PM on August 29 [50 favorites]





azpenguin: "40-50 inches of rain in one storm. I can't comprehend that. That's 4 times our yearly rainfall. It will be interesting to see how FEMA handles things when the waters recede, because that's going to be the true test."

That's five years of precipitation here (about a third of it snow). I think I lack the capacity to really grok this sort of rain fall in the same way someone raised someplace where it never drops below 10 degrees and whose never seen snow can't really understand snow.
posted by Mitheral at 12:54 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]




Why won't moderate Christians denounce these radical clerics?
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:56 PM on August 29 [226 favorites]


On one hand, it's super disturbing that public figures (including Roger Stone and now Jim Bakker) are threatening a new civil war. On the other hand, it's heartening that they are

a) Generally regarded as fringe weirdos who enjoy defrauding and tricking people, and making grandiose proclamations of bullshit

and

b) Speaking publicly about Trump's impeachment, which means they're preparing for it as an eventuality. And as far as I know, their sources aren't this random group of kinda-lefties on Metafilter.
posted by witchen at 1:06 PM on August 29 [19 favorites]


Why won't moderate Christians denounce these radical clerics?

*waves hand limply*

*returns to reading imprecatory psalms*
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:06 PM on August 29 [6 favorites]


Good-ish news: Chicago Police Officer Convicted Of Unreasonable Force In Shooting (NPR, Aug. 28, 2017)
In an extremely rare verdict, a federal jury in Chicago on Monday convicted a city police officer of violating civil rights by using excessive force in a Dec. 22, 2013, shooting that wounded two teenagers.
Heavily outweighed by the bad: Trump Administration Lifts Limits On Military Hardware For Police (NPR, Aug. 28, 2017)
The Trump administration is lifting limits on the transfer of some surplus military hardware, including grenade launchers, bayonets and large-caliber weapons, to police departments.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement in a speech on Monday to the Fraternal Order of Police conference in Nashville, Tenn. He said President Trump will issue an executive order that would restore in full a program that provides the military gear to local law enforcement.
The war against teens speeding in vans must be countered with more force, not less! Reckless driving by minorities is a serious matter! *sobs*
posted by filthy light thief at 1:09 PM on August 29 [7 favorites]


As he exited the firehouse, Mr. Trump noticed a crowd of about 1,000 people, some of them cheering. He grabbed a lone star Texas flag and shouted back to the crowd, seeming to forget, for the moment, that he was at the scene of a disaster and not one of his rallies. “What a crowd!” he said. “What a turnout!”

I expected his damaged ego wouldn't let him to tour a disaster area without making it all about him, but it's kind of awesome how much he also makes it utterly implausible to explain away otherwise.
posted by Gelatin at 1:09 PM on August 29 [30 favorites]


*waves hand limply*

*returns to reading imprecatory psalms*


Yes, but why won't moderate Christians denounce these radical clerics?

(rinse, repeat)
posted by Artw at 1:10 PM on August 29 [6 favorites]


Televangelist Jim Bakker: Christians will start a civil war if Trump is impeached

Ahem...Convicted Felon Jim Bakker, thank you.
posted by darkstar at 1:10 PM on August 29 [33 favorites]


"Felon Bakker Suggests Further Crime Wave"
posted by jaduncan at 1:13 PM on August 29 [77 favorites]


*There's* Jim Bakker! I wondered why he wasn't in this shit sandwich already, and presumed he was deceased. Yep, everything's just as it should be. Of sorts.
posted by petebest at 1:13 PM on August 29 [5 favorites]


NEW from CNN: Special counsel subpoenas Manafort's former attorney and spokesman
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has issued subpoenas to a former lawyer for Paul Manafort and to Manafort's current spokesman, an aggressive tactic that suggests an effort to add pressure on the former Trump campaign chairman.

The subpoenas seeking documents and testimony were sent to Melissa Laurenza, an attorney with the Akin Gump law firm who until recently represented Manafort, and to Jason Maloni, who is Manafort's spokesman, according to people familiar with the matter. [...]

It's unclear what specific information the Mueller investigators believe Laurenza and Maloni may have. But issuing subpoenas to a lawyer of someone under investigation is unusual, in part because it raises potential attorney-client privilege issues that prosecutors tend to try to avoid. Maloni, as a public relations representative, doesn't have the same attorney-client privilege protections.
posted by lalex at 1:14 PM on August 29 [19 favorites]


Felon Baker encourages religious extremists to attack United States
posted by cmfletcher at 1:15 PM on August 29 [74 favorites]


an attorney with the Akin Gump law firm

This whole goddamned thing is akin to Gump
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:16 PM on August 29 [10 favorites]


Of course Jim Bakker wants to foment civil unrest -- it's good for business. Article from 2012 but he's still peddling this shit. (I'm not linking to his own site.)
posted by nathan_teske at 1:16 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


I want to know who set this event up for Trump after his hurricane briefing (the one where he boasts about the size of the crowd). He's got a microphone, he's got an assortment of his fans there to cheer for him. Why? Someone had to arrange that.
posted by zachlipton at 1:16 PM on August 29 [2 favorites]


Fake Christian Jim Bakker
posted by BentFranklin at 1:17 PM on August 29 [2 favorites]


witchen: Speaking publicly about Trump's impeachment, which means they're preparing for it as an eventuality. And as far as I know, their sources aren't this random group of kinda-lefties on Metafilter.

Good point on the first part. As to their sources: Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) was drafting articles of impeachment with some publicity in June of this year, after Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) called for Trump's impeachment on House floor in May. Unfortunately, it won't likely go far if the Dems start it, but still, the talk of impeachment has been coming from elected reps for months, and some have made the case that he was impeachable the moment he took office.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:17 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


Don't forget Steve Cohen (D-TN).
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:19 PM on August 29


the actual, real, material difference between right-oriented street shit and left-oriented street shit in this country at this time

That is 100% real, but also I find this "lefties don't want to hurt Nazis because they are so pure of soul" both totally inaccurate with regards to the anarchists I spend time with and also bizarrely fetishizing!
posted by corb at 1:20 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]






hey Corb are you talking about the "any and all violence committed by the left is a false flag" or Frowner's statement upthread that the tenor of street fighty activity between left and right fighty folks is different? Because I'm with you on the first and not so much with you on the second, but in any case feel like the whole conversation is a little inside baseball for THE POLITICS THREAD. But you know I want to know where your head is at
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 1:26 PM on August 29


I am unclear on what a "transcribed" panel means. Will the transcript be released to the public?

Wondering that as well. The Government Publishing Office notes that publishing is at the discretion of individual committees, so there's presumably not a categorical answer; the panel will make (or has already made?) a decision about whether or not to publish it now. It should be released to the public eventually, though, as a government record; LexisNexis notes that closed hearings are generally held for two to three decades at the National Archives before being published -- I'd love to read the rationale for that.
posted by cjelli at 1:27 PM on August 29 [2 favorites]


Televangelist Jim Bakker: Christians will start a civil war if Trump is impeached

I hope this ass gets raptured back into the pages of the 1987 issue of Mad Magazine he somehow escaped from.
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:30 PM on August 29 [22 favorites]


The Senate Judiciary interview with Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS (of Steele Dossier fame) was transcribed, and the Committee is going to vote on releasing it. That Sen. Hatch has publicly said he would vote yes is a particularly encouraging sign that they will do so.
posted by zachlipton at 1:31 PM on August 29 [14 favorites]


Ahem...Convicted Felon Jim Bakker, thank you.

Rapist Jim Bakker
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:31 PM on August 29 [11 favorites]


Josh Marshall:
Here is the first question on the White House internship application form: “Why are you committed to supporting President Donald J. Trump’s Administration?”

And the second: “Who is your favorite President, and why?”
posted by kirkaracha at 1:32 PM on August 29 [31 favorites]




Televangelist Jim Bakker: Christians will start a civil war if Trump is impeached

IOKIYAC
posted by BentFranklin at 1:33 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


raises potential attorney-client privilege issues that prosecutors tend to try to avoid

This wouldn't be an issue for emails between the attorney and the Trumps/Trump Co./Michael Cohen (assuming it wasn't a joint representation). There's also the Crime-Fraud exception, if Manafort was seeking advice on how to commit or continue a crime or the attorney was a player in the crime (e.g., filing false documents with the govt as part of a money laundering scheme).
posted by melissasaurus at 1:34 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


IOKIYAC

in this case, the C can also stand for Confederates
posted by numaner at 1:40 PM on August 29 [9 favorites]


Much like the rationale behind 'krab' meat, I always liked the token 'Krischen' to refer to not-Christians who want to pass as such. So Felonious Rapist Krischen Jim Bakker is the Fez-approved nomenclature, please.
posted by Fezboy! at 1:43 PM on August 29 [8 favorites]


*There's* Jim Bakker! I wondered why he wasn't in this shit sandwich already, and presumed he was deceased.

You'll be pleased to know that he's not only alive, but eating well. [YouTube]
posted by Rykey at 1:43 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


It's OK If Y'All Confederates?
posted by jaduncan at 1:44 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


in this case, the C can also stand for Confederates

Also works for Conservative, Criminal, Charlatan, Con-artist, and...a few more.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:44 PM on August 29 [6 favorites]


We must be near the end of the game, because we're seeing a boss rush. All the garbage people we thought we defeated decades ago are coming back into the limelight. I'm not talking about resurgent terrible ideologies 200 or 2000 years old (although we're seeing plenty of those, of course), but the actual people. Donald Trump. Jim Bakker. Joe Arpaio. John McCain. Newt Gingrich. Hell, there are still genuine Nixonites CReEPing about. Why are they still around? How is it that some of them are even alive? Has science gone too far?
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:47 PM on August 29 [75 favorites]


Jim Bakker never left. He's selling apocalypse supplies these days. which is weird, because I thought the whole point of the Rapture was to skip that stuff.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:51 PM on August 29 [6 favorites]


Absolutely.

I didn't know about his new gig. But the image of Jim Bakker, quite to the contrary of hiding his face in shame, shambling back into the limelight and hunched over a literal bucket of his personally branded Doomsday Slop in front of a studio audience, grunting about how yummy it is and how much they desperately need to buy it...I mean...FUCK YOU 2017, is all I can think right now.
posted by darkstar at 1:53 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


Shane Bauer of Mother Jones provided excellent coverage of the Berkeley protests, then watched with dismay as national media figures tore his reporting to bits and erased all context. He writes about that in What the Media Got Wrong About Last Weekend’s Protests in Berkeley.
posted by zachlipton at 1:53 PM on August 29 [29 favorites]


wait, am i supposed to apply for an internship with a pen name and see how much garbage i get in my mail?

i'm tempted.
posted by waitangi at 1:54 PM on August 29 [2 favorites]


He's selling apocalypse supplies these days. which is weird, because I thought the whole point of the Rapture was to skip that stuff.

He's being a good Christian and providing for the sinners who will be left behind? [fake]
posted by hanov3r at 1:55 PM on August 29


I mean, I read all those Popular Science mags back in the 70s. Where is the flying car I was promised???

Instead we got Donald Trump leading a new fascist resurgence and, evidently, the obsolescence of shame.
posted by darkstar at 1:55 PM on August 29 [5 favorites]


Some Christians think they need to live through the Tribulation first, so survival gear would come in handy. Presumably.
posted by agregoli at 1:56 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: think they need to live through the Tribulation first, so survival gear would come in handy. Presumably.
posted by Melismata at 1:58 PM on August 29 [2 favorites]


Wait. Is Trump the Tribulation?!?
posted by agregoli at 1:59 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


The Trumple with Tribulations?
posted by TwoWordReview at 2:00 PM on August 29 [15 favorites]


A tribulation, yes.
posted by petebest at 2:00 PM on August 29


The Trumple with Tribulations?

*cue "tin-plated dictator with delusions of godhood" quote*
posted by hanov3r at 2:02 PM on August 29 [9 favorites]


I mean, I read all those Popular Science mags back in the 70s. Where is the flying car I was promised???

Undergoing trials in Dubai and Japan, although there are a few startups in the United States as well.

(I'll see your sensationalist 1970's futurism and raise you sensationalist modern-day futurism.)
posted by cjelli at 2:03 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


Wait. Is Trump the Tribulation?!?

Welp...it's the best explanation I've heard so far for what happened last November.
posted by darkstar at 2:04 PM on August 29 [6 favorites]


You know how you can tell that Trump isn't the Antichrist? Because the Antichrist only stays in power for 7 years.
posted by Autumnheart at 2:04 PM on August 29 [8 favorites]


>Following Trump's meeting with first responders in Corpus Christi on Tuesday, Fleischer told Fox News host Molly Line that Trump had not connected to people's suffering.

"I was with President Bush when he went to see the devastation caused by fires in Arizona and tornados in Missouri," Fleischer recalled. "And there was something missing from what President Trump said -- I hope he will say it later today -- but that's the empathy for the people who suffer."


Imma give Fleischer the credit of being an intelligent person and understanding that this simply is not A Possible Thing. Therefore, which one of Das Bushes sent him out to worry Trumplandia? And what's their long-con?

(And speaking of everything old-evil is back, Hi Dubby!)
posted by petebest at 2:07 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


Fan-fic thought : I wonder how much damage Trump could do to fascist movements of the 1930's and 40's if he were sent back in time to join them.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:08 PM on August 29 [5 favorites]


Good-ish news: Chicago Police Officer Convicted Of Unreasonable Force In Shooting (NPR, Aug. 28, 2017)
In an extremely rare verdict, a federal jury in Chicago on Monday convicted a city police officer of violating civil rights by using excessive force in a Dec. 22, 2013, shooting that wounded two teenagers.


In more related good news...the Illinois state AG is going to push for federal oversight of the Chicago PD.
posted by srboisvert at 2:09 PM on August 29 [16 favorites]


Besides, everyone knows you don't stock pre-made watery soups in that size bulk quantity for long-term storage. It's a waste of space, too heavy to move, poor portion-controlled (it starts to go bad once you open it, so you literally have to eat all 80 1-cup servings within a day or two).

It's much better to store pure water and re-hydrate soup as you need it. Better water management, more effective storage, better portion control, easier to handle.

Even as an apocalypse supplier he's terrible.
posted by darkstar at 2:10 PM on August 29 [21 favorites]


trump is not the Antichrist.
trump is simply anti-Christ.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:11 PM on August 29 [10 favorites]


So the Gorka who just blabbed on TV is gone, but not the one who actually sets government policy. BuzzFeed, John Hudson, The Gorka That Matters Isn’t Leaving The Trump Administration
But the most effective advocate of Gorka’s brand of hardline policies on Islam is still in government: Katharine Gorka, his wife and the coauthor of scores of his policy papers. She's staying on in her role as an adviser to the secretary of homeland security, officials tell BuzzFeed News.

Though less high-profile than her husband, who regularly appeared on television to defend the president with his plummy British accent and distinctive half-beard, half-goatee, Katharine arguably has had a bigger impact on US policy.

Unlike Sebastian, whose failure to obtain a permanent security clearance barred him from some policy discussions, Katharine has dived into the weeds, advising top officials at DHS on counter-terror policies, drafting the department’s reports to Congress on terrorism recruitment, and trying to instill her anti-Islamist philosophy throughout the department.

To her supporters, she is the intellectual forebear of President Donald Trump’s promise to call out radical Islam by name and shun political correctness. She is credited with convincing the department to claw back hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants for countering right-wing extremism and prioritizing the role of law enforcement in combating Islamic extremism. Her detractors accuse her of downplaying the threat of white nationalism and alienating Muslim communities who could be partners in US counter-extremism efforts.
posted by zachlipton at 2:13 PM on August 29 [35 favorites]


Meanwhile, the mayor of Nashville tells the Evangelicals who wrote and signed the hate filled anti-LGBT and anti-woman Nashville Statement to bugger off and stop staining her city with their hate.
posted by sotonohito at 2:18 PM on August 29 [54 favorites]


CNN: Impeachment Fast Facts,
Updated 2 hours ago.

???
posted by petebest at 2:20 PM on August 29


CNN: Impeachment Fast Facts,
Updated 2 hours ago.

???


Ooo did the new constitution finally come out?!
posted by Emmy Rae at 2:23 PM on August 29 [17 favorites]


I think at least sometimes CNN lies about update recency, or makes very minimal updates, to keep its articles high in services like Google News.
posted by Coventry at 2:23 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


CNN: Impeachment Fast Facts,
Updated 2 hours ago.


Presumably CNN linkbait.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:24 PM on August 29


GDI CNN KEEP YER POWDER DRY
posted by murphy slaw at 2:25 PM on August 29 [10 favorites]


Wow, thanks for the link, soto! And good for Mayor Berry!

It reminds me of the bigoted Manhattan Declaration back in 2008, which all of my evangelical friends and colleagues jumped on with great relish, and which is why I had to close my Facebook account (in retrospect, by that point long overdue).
posted by darkstar at 2:26 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


idk! To me, that article reads as an "it CAN be done!" background primer. I like it. Good for morale.
posted by witchen at 2:27 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


So what are the campaign finance law implications of the President wearing a campaign fundraising merchandise hat while on official business like that? Normally, the President would wear one with the presidential seal, right? But here, he's wearing campaign swag - how does that not make this a campaign event, rather than a presidential duties event, and shift the financial burden of the entire trip to the campaign?
posted by The World Famous at 2:32 PM on August 29 [17 favorites]


via TPM, some pool reporter at the AP has run completely out of fucks:
He stood on a raised platform of some type. Couldn’t tell if it was a step ladder or not. But he was not on a truck. Spoke into a microphone.

“I love you, you are special, we’re here to take care of you. It’s going well.”

“What a crowd, what a turnout.”

Reporters heard no mention of the dead, dying or displaced Texans and no expression of sympathy for them. The message was services are coming and Texans will be OK.
posted by murphy slaw at 2:32 PM on August 29 [110 favorites]


In more related good news...the Illinois state AG is going to push for federal oversight of the Chicago PD.

ordinarily this would be good news but I hear the justice department is run by racist keebler elves now
posted by tivalasvegas at 2:34 PM on August 29 [16 favorites]


Republicans Confuse the Electoral College With ‘the American People’
The Electoral College has turned two of the last five Republican national-vote defeats into victories. The Republican Party has developed a very convoluted way of suppressing this strange reality. The larger part of their response consists of constant implicit or explicit equations of the election result with the will of the voting public. So frequently do Republican partisans depict their candidate as the conscious choice of the majority that they themselves forget the actual circumstances of his election.

The second, much smaller element involves justifying the Electoral College as a necessary brake against majority rule. On the rare occasions when the merits of the Electoral College do arise, Republicans will explain that the electoral vote system is the perfect expression of the Founders’ divine will, and changing to a national-vote system would create all manner of evils. Then, when they have satisfied their qualms about the creaky presidential voting apparatus, they revert to talking about the election as if it really was a national popular vote.


Republicans hate democracy. It's absolutely inarguable.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:38 PM on August 29 [72 favorites]


ordinarily this would be good news but I hear the justice department is run by racist keebler elves now

Lisa Madigan's in charge of this one, not J. Beauregard.
posted by theodolite at 2:40 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


In more related good news...the Illinois state AG is going to push for federal oversight of the Chicago PD.

ordinarily this would be good news but I hear the justice department is run by racist keebler elves now


My first thought was this cop will be getting a Presidential pardon at the next Trump rally.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:40 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


Uhh. Can we openly say this dude's an active disinformation agent now?

CNN: Rep. Rohrabacher says 'rendezvous' being set up with Trump to relay info from WikiLeaks' Assange on DNC hack
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:40 PM on August 29 [17 favorites]


“I love you, you are special, we’re here to take care of you. It’s going well.”

The only thing worse than trump trying to talk tough is when he tries to talk 'nice'.

It's so creepy and inhuman.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:42 PM on August 29 [16 favorites]


Lisa Madigan's in charge of this one

It was a federal civil rights prosecution, not state. Trump/Sessions could pardon, and this is the type of case you won't see again under Sessions as he squashes future civil rights enforcement actions and slowly replaces career civil rights prosecutors with Trumpist brownshirt loyalists.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:43 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


The White House did not return a request for comment on Rohrabacher's comments. Rohrabacher hung up on a CNN reporter who inquired about his comments.

Sweet.
posted by petebest at 2:44 PM on August 29 [7 favorites]


Oh. Hmm. Is, uh, state oversight of a city police department a thing?
posted by theodolite at 2:46 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


“I love you, you are special, we’re here to take care of you. It’s going well.”

What is "The only words Trump hears when other people speak," Alex?
posted by Rykey at 2:51 PM on August 29 [36 favorites]


Oh. Hmm. Is, uh, state oversight of a city police department a thing?

Missouri controlled the St. Louis Police Department for 152 years, starting during the Civil War and ending in 2013.
posted by brentajones at 2:52 PM on August 29 [5 favorites]


Wonder why...
posted by Artw at 2:53 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


[Real]

@PatrickSvitek
Trump on #Harvey: "It sounds like such an innocent name. ... But it's not innocent. It's not innocent."

---

And given the efficacy of Trump's Mirror, this is about himself. So yeah, he's guilty.
posted by chris24 at 3:13 PM on August 29 [21 favorites]


ordinarily this would be good news but I hear the justice department is run by racist keebler elves now

I wish people would stop defaming and profaning keebler elves, which are delicious
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:15 PM on August 29 [6 favorites]


keebler elves, which are delicious

What kind of savage eats elves?!

It is just so completely demoralizing to see that the POTUS cannot even handle a sympathy photo op. Like, we get that you can't meet the standard of 90-something Jimmy Carter who probably would actually be tossing some sandbags or engaging in useful physical labor, but to not even blurt out a couple of cliche sentences about the resilience of a city, without fucking that up: he is a complete vacuum.
posted by TwoStride at 3:19 PM on August 29 [38 favorites]


delicious maybe but you don't want them administering civil rights bureacracies

it's like making cookie monster the director of the FDA
posted by tivalasvegas at 3:19 PM on August 29 [9 favorites]


Partner at Thomas Coburn and former prosecutor in the US Attorney's office.

@renato_mariotti
THREAD: What do the Manafort subpoenas and Trump Jr. agreement to testify tell us about the state of Mueller's investigation?
2/ Multiple media outlets report that Manafort's spokesman and former attorney have been subpoenaed to testify.
3/ In other news, Trump Jr. agreed to a transcribed interview with a Senate committee.
4/ As a starting point, the issuance of grand jury subpoenas to Manafort's former attorney and his spokesman confirm what was already
5/ evident--that Manafort has significant potential criminal liability and is in Mueller's sights. The execution of a search warrant at
6/ Manafort's home indicated that Mueller had evidence showing there was a good reason to believe a crime had been committed and evidence of
7/ that crime could be found at Manafort's home. Recent subpoenas to PR firms working with Manafort suggest that Manafort still had not
8/ "flipped" and was a focus of Mueller's investigation. In that context, I disagree with @CNN that issuance of a subpoena to the spokesman
9/ was "aggressive." To me, the spokesman is a logical person to interview. There is no spokesman-client privilege so everything Manafort
10/ told the spokesman is fair game. Mueller could be interested in proving that Manafort had knowledge that contradicted disclosures or
11/ or other statements he made publicly. The subpoena to the attorney is more unusual, and typically subpoenas to attorneys are vetted very
12/ carefully and has guidance that requires prosecutors to seek approval before issuing a subpoena to an attorney. The subpoena to
13/ Manafort's former attorney suggests to me that they believe she is a witness to a crime or a subject of the investigation herself.
14/ It also suggests that they already tried to obtain information from her without issuing a subpoena. It would be interesting to know
15/ on what matters she represented Manafort, because that would give the public insight into what Mueller is interested in.
16/ As for Trump Jr., I would advise him to take the Fifth, because lying to the Senate Committee is a crime and his words can be used by
17/ Mueller as evidence against him. There's no question that Mueller's team will scrutinize the transcript of his interview. The only way
18/ I would permit Trump Jr. to sit for the interview, if I were his lawyer, is if I had reviewed every relevant document and communication
19/ and was completely convinced he had no liability. I doubt his lawyer has access to all of those records at this time. It's possible that
20/ the PR downside of taking the Fifth outweighs any legal concerns, or that he's convinced that he would be pardoned in any event.
21/ As I discussed here in @thehill a pardon would mean he couldn't take the Fifth and wouldn't cover state crimes. The Hill: OPINION | Should the president pardon himself and his family?
posted by chris24 at 3:37 PM on August 29 [25 favorites]


let's be real, DJT Jr. is one of those extremely stupid people who's convinced they're very smart so I have hope that he will not take the Fifth.
posted by lalex at 3:42 PM on August 29 [39 favorites]


So this isn't creepy at all. According to a New York Magazine article by Yashar Ali, Kathy Griffin (she of the severed head fame) received an email from CBS board member Arnold Kopelson containing the text of an apology letter ("NOT AN EMAIL") she should write to Trump:
The letter includes phrases like, “Now with my world crumbling around me, I am listening for the first time about the great things you have done and are doing. How stupid I was to follow the lies from the ‘Left.’ It took my terrible mistake to finally see the false news,” and “I do not deserve what I am asking of you. I am begging you to open your heart and forgive me.” Kopelson said that Griffin should “exclusively release the letter to Fox Broadcasting,” adding, “Do not send to the other networks.” “If you don’t do exactly what I’ve written, your career is over,” Kopelson wrote
The full text of the letter is here.
posted by bibliowench at 3:45 PM on August 29 [75 favorites]


the text of an apology letter ("NOT AN EMAIL") she should write to Trump

That would have come across as a mocking joke, wouldn't it? Or am I crazy? Or both?
posted by The World Famous at 3:49 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


As I discussed here in @thehill a pardon would mean he couldn't take the Fifth and wouldn't cover state crimes.

this is confusing - if he's liable for state crimes, can't he claim the fifth in order not to give testimony that could be used in prosecuting state crimes?
posted by pyramid termite at 3:49 PM on August 29 [2 favorites]


This year has made me doubt the existence of parody.
posted by bibliowench at 3:50 PM on August 29 [38 favorites]


"Thank you sir for hearing meh plea."

"I have spent the last hour and a half composing this letter."

This has to be a joke, but then, so is all reality now
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:53 PM on August 29 [28 favorites]


this is confusing - if he's liable for state crimes, can't he claim the fifth in order not to give testimony that could be used in prosecuting state crimes?

That's a good question and one I hadn't considered.

But more than that... if you have someone willing to abuse the pardon power it doesn't actually matter. You can refuse to testify anyway and, when held in contempt, be pardoned for the contempt. Trump has signalled he's perfectly willing to do this when he, you know, pardoned Arpaio for contempt.
posted by Justinian at 3:55 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


I'm now disturbed by how much people seem to care about what Kathy Griffin does or doesn't do.
CBS board members, Trumps, NYMag, etc. This is Kathy Griffin the comedian right?
posted by rc3spencer at 3:55 PM on August 29 [13 favorites]


I sense a little bit of shade being thrown by the BBC re: UK libel law in this article about Sarah Palin's suit against the NYT
Judge Rakoff said that while an error had been made, Mrs Palin had failed to prove the mistake was made maliciously - a hurdle which public figures must overcome in US defamation law.
posted by tivalasvegas at 3:57 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


It doesn't make much sense to me that a CBS board member would require exclusive release to Fox. I thought board members had some sort of fiduciary duty to the shareholders of the companies they represent?
posted by nat at 3:57 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


Checks to see if the first letter of each sentence reads "EAT SHIT" ...
posted by mbo at 3:58 PM on August 29 [5 favorites]


This is Kathy Griffin the comedian right?

Wait, she isn't a vicious mythical lion-eagle? I thought that's why we were so worried about her threats
posted by tivalasvegas at 3:59 PM on August 29 [16 favorites]


I'm now disturbed by how much people seem to care about what Kathy Griffin does or doesn't do.
CBS board members, Trumps, NYMag, etc. This is Kathy Griffin the comedian right?


Yes, but she's a woman. She's supposed to wear stilettos and look pretty, not be brash and threaten the God Emperor.
posted by uncleozzy at 3:59 PM on August 29 [12 favorites]


Trump’s Moscow Partner Was Apparently Financed by a Russian Bank Under US Sanctions
And Trump signed this deal while campaigning for president.
posted by adamvasco at 4:01 PM on August 29 [20 favorites]


WSJ has more on the subpoena of Manafort's spokesman.
Jason Maloni was served Monday night with a subpoena seeking all records related to his work for Mr. Manafort since 2010. Mr. Maloni has represented the longtime political consultant only since March, so it wasn’t clear why the subpoena extends back that far.

Mr. Maloni, who is president of his own public relations firm—JadeRoq, based in Bethesda, Md.—was told to turn over the records to prosecutors and to appear soon before a federal grand jury in Washington, the person said.

In a statement, Mr. Maloni said he “would like to get the advice of counsel before commenting publicly” on the matter.
posted by chris24 at 4:01 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


If nothing else, he uses "affect" when he should have used "effect," so he is a horrible person, worthy of scorn, and I am thankful his politics do not align with my own.
posted by bibliowench at 4:04 PM on August 29 [38 favorites]


this is confusing - if he's liable for state crimes, can't he claim the fifth in order not to give testimony that could be used in prosecuting state crimes?

You cannot compel a witness to give a statement if that statement could be used in other arenas to prosecute the witness. Immunity given by Congress applies to state authorities as well and has been tested by the Supreme Court (Kastigar v. United States).

Pardons would mean they could still take the 5th on state crimes. Congress could still invoke immunity to get around that.
posted by Talez at 4:04 PM on August 29 [2 favorites]


Uhh. Can we openly say this dude's an active disinformation agent now?

CNN: Rep. Rohrabacher says 'rendezvous' being set up with Trump to relay info from WikiLeaks' Assange on DNC hack


Give it to Trump? Why? There are already well-resourced investigatory bodies looking into the various email hacks of last summer (another century ago) that he could give the info to. If he mistrusts those bodies, he could exit his office and walk a few steps to the floor of the House and read the mind boggling details into the record.

What's so magical about giving it to Trump?
posted by notyou at 4:09 PM on August 29 [6 favorites]


It's for Russian Eyes Only?
posted by contraption at 4:16 PM on August 29 [7 favorites]


It's complete bullshit?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:19 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


Has Wikileaks no venue by which they could publish this information?
posted by Artw at 4:21 PM on August 29 [37 favorites]


What's so magical about giving it to Trump?

For one thing, Trump paid good illusory promises in exchange for that stolen data, and he might sue for breach of contract if it is then given to someone else.
posted by The World Famous at 4:26 PM on August 29


Give it to Trump? Why? There are already well-resourced investigatory bodies looking into the various email hacks of last summer (another century ago) that he could give the info to. If he mistrusts those bodies, he could exit his office and walk a few steps to the floor of the House and read the mind boggling details into the record.

More to the point, why does he want to set up a special secret "rendezvous?"

It's perfectly reasonable to make sure the president is up to date on any important information about attempts to hack US political parties. But you can just drop it off at the White House, where it will be logged and recorded for posterity but can still be kept secret like much of the government's information.

The skeevy rendezvous is just a confession that there's damaging information he wants to keep secret from Mueller's team, intelligence agencies, historians, etc. It must be incredibly bad if he's willing to say as much publicly.
posted by msalt at 4:34 PM on August 29 [12 favorites]


Has Wikileaks no venue by which they could publish this information?
Wikileaks is only concerned with forcing radical transparency on others. Their own ^privacy should be sacrosanct, of course.

*Edited to add missed word.
posted by xyzzy at 4:36 PM on August 29 [5 favorites]


I'm now disturbed by how much people seem to care about what Kathy Griffin does or doesn't do. CBS board members, Trumps, NYMag, etc. This is Kathy Griffin the comedian right?

This is a person who offended the world's most powerful narcissist. Powerful people are willing to be his flying monkeys if it means a shot at more power for themselves.
posted by scalefree at 4:37 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


Sec. Mattis put out a statement on Trump's ban of trans servicemembers. He'll convene a panel of experts to study all the issues (wait, didn't the military already do that? Why yes, yes it did) to study the issue and determine how to implement the president's direction. In the meantime, "current policy with respect to currently serving members will remain in place," but interim guidance will come later.
posted by zachlipton at 4:37 PM on August 29 [37 favorites]


Ann Coulter is about saying Houston being punished for electing a lesbian mayor is more likely a reason for the floods than climate change.
posted by Talez at 4:39 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


Do they increase the amount of water vapour the air can hold?
posted by Artw at 4:45 PM on August 29 [12 favorites]




Ann Coulter is about saying Houston being punished for electing a lesbian mayor is more likely a reason for the floods than climate change.

I wish someone asked Coulter what she did that caused her to be unmarried and childless, the opposite of the Christian ideal she supposedly promotes?
posted by PenDevil at 4:45 PM on August 29 [26 favorites]


I assume she is some kind of Hate Nun.
posted by Artw at 4:47 PM on August 29 [38 favorites]


Ah, she's just a troll. Anyway her god is bad at timing since Annise Parker isn't even the mayor of Houston anymore.
posted by tivalasvegas at 4:47 PM on August 29 [13 favorites]




Ann Coulter is about saying Houston being punished for electing a lesbian mayor is more likely a reason for the floods than climate change.
Katrina was divine punishment for New Orleans allowing gays/Mardi Gras (something like that), remember? In fact just about every natural disaster affecting America in the last fifteen or so years was God's Wrath because abortion, gay marriage, gays in military, etc.
posted by CCBC at 4:55 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


it's like making cookie monster the director of the FDA

If he promises to include a cookie category in a revised USRDA, I will totally support his appointment.

I mean, there's got to be SOME upside to having a generally incompetent federal government. Throw me a bone chocolate chip, here!
posted by darkstar at 5:00 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


I thought it was God's wrath for Jim Bakker and the like.

BTW, I worked at Main State in the 80's, and seeing that picture of Jim Baker at the 21st St. entrance made me want to sneak in some night and put up a picture of Jim Bakker.
posted by MtDewd at 5:03 PM on August 29




Very DNC.
posted by Artw at 5:07 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


> Trump on #Harvey: "It sounds like such an innocent name. ... But it's not innocent. It's not innocent."

Maybe we should call it Hurricane Two-Face?
posted by guiseroom at 5:10 PM on August 29 [10 favorites]


yeah those disasters mostly do seem to happen in the bible belt ...
posted by mbo at 5:10 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]



yeah those disasters mostly do seem to happen in the bible belt ...
posted by mbo at 19:10 on August 29 [+] [!]


Hello from the New Madrid fault line!
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:22 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


The memo from Mattis is reason for cautious hope on this score, at least. It moves the impression dial back a little farther toward "Maybe he's just there to limit the damage until this asshole is out of office again," but I'm gonna have to see more good moves from him like this before my opinion of him changes.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:23 PM on August 29 [2 favorites]


It seems to be sailing pretty close to not following orders you don't like, is a concern.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:27 PM on August 29 [8 favorites]


I don't want transgender troops to get kicked out of the military. But I would really like the military to continue to have civilian oversight. Preferably by someone who can identify his own limo upon exiting Air Force One, which sadly does not describe our current president. It's a conundrum.
posted by xyzzy at 5:34 PM on August 29 [23 favorites]


It scares me how much I seem to be pinning my hopes on some sort of military/intelligence agency coup.
posted by bibliowench at 5:37 PM on August 29 [11 favorites]


Per the USA Today article, the directive Trump signed last week only told Mattis to "study the issue and determine how to implement Trump's direction." That gives him considerable leeway to do nothing until a study is complete, and also to sit on the study indefinitely.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:42 PM on August 29 [16 favorites]


In the modern German military, not following orders that demean human dignity is part of the deal.
(it's complicated, but there's a good explainer from a German naval guy here.)

This was thought a good idea for... well, I wonder why?
posted by Devonian at 5:45 PM on August 29 [10 favorites]


The actual memo Trump signed gives Mattis a fair bit of discretion when it comes to existing troops, with many parts not required to take effect until March 23, 2018. The memo instructs Mattis to implement Trump's policy "until such time as a sufficient basis exists upon which to conclude that terminating that policy and practice would not have the negative effects discussed above" and then to notify the President if that's the case.

Mattis using that time to convene another expert panel and study the issue, presumably to conclude that such negative effects don't exist (since, again, they flipping did that a couple years ago already), isn't a military coup. It's literally what the memorandum calls for.

The more interesting story to me is how Trump's immediate "please be advised" tweet got slow-walked into "sit on it for a bit and eventually put out a memo that slow walks it another six months."
posted by zachlipton at 5:46 PM on August 29 [36 favorites]


Trump on #Harvey: "It sounds like such an innocent name. ... But it's not innocent. It's not innocent." [real]

"I mean, Harvey sounds like a white guy. Not a tricky woman who may or may not be Mexican like Katrina or Rita." [fake]
posted by threeturtles at 5:46 PM on August 29 [11 favorites]


Oh man, so I've been floooooded with DCCC fundraising emails in the past few days, and I am honestly pretty *pissed*. To provide a bit more context, many thread regulars will likely recall my letter to the DCCC regarding the decision to allow forced-birthers to run under the Democratic banner, which seems to be how I got onto the DCCC mailing list. I have still not received any acknowledgment of my initial complaint, but I'm still good enough to try and hit up for money. They're offering triple and quadrupal matches but the alarmist language isn't helpful. Ugh.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 5:49 PM on August 29 [9 favorites]


"who knew a giant invisible rabbit could do much damage?" [fake]
posted by entropicamericana at 5:50 PM on August 29 [12 favorites]


slow walks it another six months

my inner pollyanna wonders if mattis doesn't know something we don't about the significance of that particular interval
posted by murphy slaw at 5:50 PM on August 29 [10 favorites]


That gives him considerable leeway to do nothing until a study is complete, and also to sit on the study indefinitely.

It's even better than that. The memo makes reference to the "soon arriving senior civilian leadership of DoD" as the people who will possibly implement this. Those people are not actually arriving - they've been stalled for months as Mattis has asked for Democrats and NeverTrump Republicans, which the White House is refusing to allow.
posted by corb at 5:54 PM on August 29 [20 favorites]


I will sign over my house to anyone who can convince me Trump actually read that memo. He 100% thinks he signed an immediate ban and kick everyone out order, and he's going to be pissed that's not what happened. Score one for the deep state lawyers.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:58 PM on August 29 [38 favorites]


The good news seems to be that some of the adults are moving to keep Trump from trashing too much of the furniture while we're stuck with him. The bad news is that this undermines the whole civilian rule thing for future non-pathologically narcissistic leaders.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:02 PM on August 29 [8 favorites]


I don't want transgender troops to get kicked out of the military. But I would really like the military to continue to have civilian oversight.

Same on both counts. Thing is, nothing in this administration is a good precedent. Nothing at all. Until it is over, there are only degrees of unhappiness and best measures of damage control.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:04 PM on August 29 [8 favorites]


They're offering triple and quadrupal matches but the alarmist language isn't helpful.

I'm kind of kicking myself for not starting a Tumblr or Twitter feed back after the election to showcase the goddamn ridiculous DCCC emails. They're astonishingly bad, and tonally all over the place. Like a rapid fire WE'RE DOOMED! WE'RE DEAD! WE'RE DONE! TRUMP WINS! OMG RECORD FUNDRAISING! TRUMP LOSES! HERE'S JAMES CARVILLE FOR SOME REASON! And that copy they keep using over and over again "[Dem #1] emailed. [Dem #2] emailed. And now I'm emailing you to (blah blah blehhh whatever)". At least a dozen of those.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:05 PM on August 29 [17 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** AL senate special -- Harper Polling finds Moore up on Strange 47-45, much closer than other polls. However, sounds like the poll design may have been a little wonky.

** 2018 Senate:
-- An FAU poll in Florida has Dem Sen Bill Nelson 42-40 over possible GOP opponent Gov Rick Scott.

-- As trailed yesterday, Rep Lou Barletta has formally jumped in for the race for the GOP nom against Dem Sen Bill Casey. Barletta won't be running for his House seat again, which at least gives the hope of someone less odious replacing him. [Inquirer]
** Odds & ends:
-- In a (nominally nonpartisan) race for Fairfax County, VA school board (DC suburbs, over 185k students), the Dems flipped a seat from the GOP, winning with 59% of the vote.

-- Another special election will be happening for Georgia state Senate, as SD-6's Hunter Hill is resigning to run for governor. This is a GOP-held seat, but looks to be an excellent pickup opportunity - Hill only won 52-48 in 2016, and Clinton took the seat 56-40.

-- Mentioned upstream, more bad Trump approval numbers from Pew (36/63, majority of Rs having mixed opinions) and Gallup (35/60, down to 20 in people 18-29 years old)

-- Chris Christie says he won't appoint himself to Senate, if Bob Menendez has to leave the Senate over his corruption trial. [Politico]

-- TPM: Pros and cons of the Dem candidate glut.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:07 PM on August 29 [47 favorites]


Going back over the North Korea stuff, it strikes me that while everyone keeps yammering about their "next generation" missile, if they're depending on New Old Stock surplus Russian rocket motors there not only almost certainly won't be a next generation, there is probably a sharp limit to how many of this generation they can ever build. That kind of rocket motor isn't a thing you just scan and duplicate in your 3D printer. The materials and manufacturing techniques are very specialized and not always obvious from inspection of the one you took apart.

And for similar and even stronger reasons I'm very skeptical that they have highly boosted nukes, simply because the challenges of even maintaining one that you managed to lift out of the former USSR are formidable and probably beyond the DPRK's capability. You can do light nuke boosting with lithium deuteride, that might get you to 30 kt and from 10 tons down to 1-2 tons throw weight, but to do better than that you need tritium, a hard to handle gas which can only be made in very specialized nuclear reactors and has a 12 year half-life. You also need to figure out how to put this hard to handle gas inside a fissile bomb core durably enough so it will still be there when you set off the bomb, and you have to design the whole assembly to profitably use the boost which is hard to do without testing that NK has demonstrably never done.

So I guess it comes back to ... when it's really pretty obvious that this is strategically meaningless kabuki theatre, why are our own people trying so hard to scare us with it?
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:14 PM on August 29 [13 favorites]


-- In a (nominally nonpartisan) race for Fairfax County, VA school board (DC suburbs, over 185k students), the Dems flipped a seat from the GOP, winning with 59% of the vote.

Serves the outgoing board member right for timing her resignation to force us to replace her through a (low-turnout, expensive) special election -- ten days later and this would have been part of the general.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:16 PM on August 29 [6 favorites]


An FAU poll in Florida has Dem Sen Bill Nelson 42-40 over possible GOP opponent Gov Rick Scott.

I suppose I should feel good about this? But honestly... I don't know how we elected Gov. Voldemort TWICE.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 6:18 PM on August 29 [9 favorites]


Serves the outgoing board member right for timing her resignation to force us to replace her through a (low-turnout, expensive) special election

Considering the near civil war brewing within the GOP right now, maybe this was deliberate?
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:20 PM on August 29


Of course it was, but I don't see it as emblematic of GOP civil war. Just another way to depress turnout. I'd never have known it was happening if I hadn't been canvassed on Saturday, and I work for the news media!
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:22 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


I appreciate all you've done to try and bring sanity to the NK nuke discussion, but if we could, like, not use "Kabuki" to describe this sort of situation? I mean, if you wanted something culturally more appropriate there's talchum, but even then it's just... I dunno, we've had this discussion before, so.
posted by anem0ne at 6:25 PM on August 29 [26 favorites]


Don't blame me, I voted for Clinton.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:25 PM on August 29 [7 favorites]


Oh man, I got flooded with so many DCCC emails and phone calls last year that I googled for any @dccc.org email addresses and blasted ALL of them in a carpet bomb to stop contacting me. It took two tries.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:28 PM on August 29 [6 favorites]


Wasn't aware of the controversy, anem0ne, will keep it in mind. In many circles it's the term of art for "meaningless political theatre," but it wouldn't be the first such culturally offensive term.

In other news, some people might be a bit bothered by "flooded with..." emails etc. right about now. Just sayin'.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:31 PM on August 29 [6 favorites]


So I guess it comes back to ... when it's really pretty obvious that this is strategically meaningless kabuki theatre, why are our own people trying so hard to scare us with it?


Well, it does depend on who "us" is. People who live in / have family in / spend a lot of time in Japan or South Korea have a lot more reason to be worried. Especially with Trump making things worse. I guess technically most Americans don't have to care about all the people who will die if Trump escalates from Kim's provocations.
posted by thefoxgod at 6:31 PM on August 29 [6 favorites]


Julian Schmoke, a former dean at DeVry University will oversee a Department of Education unit that polices higher education fraud (story is paywalled, here's the tweet). Seems a bit on the nose.

And, Rep. Gianforte is refusing to meet with Ben Jacobs, which he promised to do at his sentencing. The note Jacobs sent to Gianforte's spokesman is fire: "Otherwise, should we meet in the halls of the Capitol, I hope I can approach him without fear of physical assault." CNN has more details.
posted by zachlipton at 6:34 PM on August 29 [32 favorites]


(To clarify, Gianforte's people are claiming he'll meet with Jacobs off the record, which isn't really the point.)
posted by zachlipton at 6:45 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


Jacob Silverman, NYT: In Our Cynical Age, No One Fails Anymore — Everybody ‘Pivots’
The ‘‘pivot’’ has assumed a peculiar place in our common lexicon. A word once used to describe a guard angling for position on the basketball court is now in wide circulation in politics and business. That’s especially the case in Sili­con Valley, where pivoting has become the new failure, a concept to describe a haphazard, practically madcap form of iterative development. With its sheen of management-speak, pivoting is well suited to our moment. And like any act of public relations, pivoting is also a performance. A key part of the act is acknowledging that you are doing it while trying to recast the effort as something larger, more sophisticated, highly planned. The pivot, though it arises from desperation, is nevertheless supposed to appear methodical. [...]

A cynical gesture for a cynical age, pivoting is designed for a public sphere where bad faith is a given and attention, of any kind, is the ultimate commodity. Trump knows how to profit from the attention economy, but he is not playing the multidimensional chess with which his enemies (and allies) occasionally credit him. Instead, he seems to be a creature of pure id, making impulsive, superficial decisions based on what he sees around himself. Trump sometimes changes his mind, but he rarely manages to act in any strategic sense. The mistake the media sometimes make is crediting Trump with strategic brilliance when he’s capable of nothing of the sort. But it can seem as if Trump’s behavior is so venal, so beyond pale and precedent, that it must reflect some kind of plan. Who would act this way otherwise?
posted by tonycpsu at 6:45 PM on August 29 [6 favorites]


I guess technically most Americans don't have to care about all the people who will die if Trump escalates from Kim's provocations.

Realistically, 99% of the people who have to worry about dying from a Korean escalation live in on the Korean peninsula, and they are still alive today because NK hasn't wanted to get kicked back by the giant. Right now it is tossing almost literal firecrackers in the giant's face, but I'm guessing it still doesn't want to get kicked back, because if it did it would have gone off on Seoul by means it very much does have at its command long ago. Indeed, I'm more curious about NK's motivations here than I am about our own war hawks, whose motivations have always been pretty transparent. Just why is the DPRK trying so hard to pretend it is a world power? Are its leaders really stupid enough to think our leaders (if not our gullible public) believe in these new "capabilities?"

It's an interesting question to ask how many of these NOS Russian engines Pyongyang has. (Having heard the argument I am now 100% sure this is the source of their sudden sans-testing rocket prowess.) They have yet to even inaccurately aim one at anything. I know our hawks' game but I can't quite fathom NK's, unless their leadership truly is insane. And even if that is the case, again the real threat is to tens of millions of people on the Korean peninsula, not to Japan or Guam, which NK probably still can't hit with a real weapon even if they sincerely wanted to.
posted by Bringer Tom at 6:46 PM on August 29 [6 favorites]


-- In a (nominally nonpartisan) race for Fairfax County, VA school board (DC suburbs, over 185k students), the Dems flipped a seat from the GOP, winning with 59% of the vote.
Yay! Postcards to Voters targeted that one. Everyone who has decent handwriting should join Postcards to Voters! They send handwritten postcards to voters in close local races, reminding them to vote.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:48 PM on August 29 [25 favorites]


Trump doesn't even fucking pivot, he just fucks up repeatedly in the exact same ways and the media presumes a pivot for him because of their stupid narrative expectations.
posted by Artw at 6:51 PM on August 29 [51 favorites]


At some point a pivot just becomes a rather graceless pirouette.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:53 PM on August 29 [9 favorites]


A beheaded chicken will pivot rapidly and vigorously.
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:59 PM on August 29 [21 favorites]


Or a "pivot" like a toddler attempting a cartwheel, landing on their diapered butt, and staggering back to their feet while grownups applaud and say encouraging things about how much better they're getting at gymnastics.
posted by witchen at 7:01 PM on August 29 [10 favorites]


Indeed, I'm more curious about NK's motivations here than I am about our own war hawks, whose motivations have always been pretty transparent.

Kim's motivations have been pretty transparent too though, have they not? Kim and the NK regime know they're world pariahs, and watched the US topple regimes in Libya and Iraq and giving up their nuclear weapons programs. A true ICBM deterrent is Kim's ticket to avoiding US led regime change forever. They also know the US has no good options to NK aggression, and making Trump's idiotic rhetoric look hollow, like it is, serves every domestic propaganda goal. Even if this latest test is not actually furthering their ICBM development, they almost had to do something in response to Trump's moronic escalation.

Kim holds all the cards. He can provoke almost to any extent knowing there won't actually be a military response, all the while making progress on a permanent nuclear deterrent. That's why Trump playing Kim's same game is the goddamn stupidest thing imaginable. Or, exactly what you would've predicted on 11/9, because Trump is the stupidest person on the face of the planet.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:03 PM on August 29 [21 favorites]




Realistically, 99% of the people who have to worry about dying from a Korean escalation live in on the Korean peninsula, and they are still alive today because NK hasn't wanted to get kicked back by the giant.

This is nonsense. The DPRK doesn't want to execute the population of the Korean peninsula. It wants to be left in peace.

Indeed, I'm more curious about NK's motivations here than I am about our own war hawks, whose motivations have always been pretty transparent. Just why is the DPRK trying so hard to pretend it is a world power? Are its leaders really stupid enough to think our leaders (if not our gullible public) believe in these new "capabilities?"

It wants to be left in peace, and it (very rationally, almost certainly correctly) knows that it is a target for US invasion unless it can show itself to be a credible threat--and that means it has to have viable nuclear weapons. Recent history is clear that the US will happily invade and initiate "regime chage" and nation-"building" unless nukes are present and usable.

If you haven't (and I doubt you'd hold the views you espouse here if you have) yet, read Bruce Cumings' North Korea: Another Country.

/long-term Seoul resident and avid reader on both Koreas.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:08 PM on August 29 [19 favorites]


they almost had to do something in response to Trump's moronic escalation

maybe he can keep tweeting at them until they run out of surplus russian rocket engines
posted by ryanrs at 7:19 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


To clarify, Gianforte's people are claiming he'll meet with Jacobs off the record, which isn't really the point.

Ehhhh....this one kind of makes sense as a cultural mismatch rather than a deliberate lie. Gianforte's people are saying, "He'll sit down with you over a beer", which, for a Republican-cultured person, is like a "agree to disagree/respect your humanity/no hard feels bro" gesture. Jacobs is a reporter, and has zero interest in jolly Montana beers with someone he honestly has reason to hate, so is like "I want a hard nosed interview", which is probably what he interpreted the "sit-down" offer as.
posted by corb at 7:23 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


I think your reading is too kind. In the CNN article it notes, Jacobs first gave his victim statement in which he requested an interview. Gianforte followed and stated he would later arrange time to sit down with him in DC. My read is not so kind. I think Gianforte was trying to sound agreeable during sentencing and is now rules lawyering.
posted by wobumingbai at 7:35 PM on August 29 [28 favorites]


Joseph Gurl, I'll look the book up, but here's the thing ... nobody with any real knowledge of technology believes NK has a credible threat, or is even close to it. It's our western leaders pimping these theatrical shenanegans to terrify people when anyone who knows the technology, which double-duh must include the US military who developed it first, knows they have solved maybe two at most of at least seven very hard problems needed to make it a credible threat. So why is it being sold by our media in the west as a near-term credible threat to western audiences? Why is NK helping to promote that when it can do nothing but provoke a "response" to which they have no real answer, and to which our leaders know they have no real answer, after all?
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:39 PM on August 29 [8 favorites]


I wouldn't expect a Republican to keep their word to a journalist. He already he knows he can win elections after personally committing physical violence.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:40 PM on August 29 [20 favorites]


Judge won't vacate Arpaio's contempt conviction without oral arguments
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton canceled former Sheriff Joe Arpaio's upcoming sentencing hearing for his criminal contempt-of-court conviction, telling attorneys not to file replies to motions that were pending before his recent presidential pardon.

However, Bolton on Tuesday stopped short of throwing out the conviction based solely on Arpaio's request. Instead she ordered Arpaio and the U.S. Department of Justice, which is prosecuting the case, to file briefs on why she should or shouldn't grant Arpaio's request.

Arpaio's attorneys asked Bolton on Monday to vacate Arpaio's conviction in light of President Donald Trump's Friday pardon.

Bolton has scheduled oral arguments on the matter for Oct. 4, the day before Arpaio was supposed to be sentenced.

There is case law that says a pardon implies an admission of guilt, and that will have to be argued in open court.
posted by xyzzy at 7:42 PM on August 29 [97 favorites]


I think about this fascinating 2010 North Korea comment by Homeboy Trouble a lot. This is an excerpt; read the whole thing.
They are playing in a region where the neighbours (the DPRK propaganda site mentions the 'six country talks') are the world's #2 and #3 superpowers (China/Russia, you argue the order), an economic superpower (Japan), a decent regional power in the South that has significant financial and military muscle, and the US of course, who is interested in everything everywhere. That's the definition of a high-stakes table, and North Korea has been playing poker against these guys for 65 years, from a deck of 2s, 3s, 4s and 5s. You don't do that by being dumb or insane or crazy or ideologues, you do that by being clever as hell and bluffing for all you're worth. And every once in a while, pulling some crazy shit, like shelling a random island, or showing off your uranium centrifuges. So they can't tell if you're bluffing or crazy.

The other thing is that the DPRK happens internally to need shows of strength right now, since Kim Jong-Il is reportedly sick as hell and his son Kim Jong-un is being moved into position. A good fight against the provocative actions of the puppet leadership of the South and their US imperialist cronies will help reassure people that the "Brilliant Comrade" (Jong-un) is just as capable as his father, the "Dear Leader".

It's terrifying and stupid, but the DPRK need one of these shenanigans every once in a while to convince the rest of the world that they're still unpredictable, and that they just might do it. I don't think so, but -- and this is the beauty -- despite all of my blather here assuring you all otherwise, I just can't be sure.
posted by lalex at 7:53 PM on August 29 [22 favorites]


Reporters heard no mention of the dead, dying or displaced Texans and no expression of sympathy for them. The message was services are coming and Texans will be OK.

Compassion, sympathy, empathy are behaviors we expect out of the President, but not out of Donald Trump. I don't know if he can experience these behaviors; he certainly hasn't learned to express or fake them.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:02 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


I tell you one thing, if Trump lays eyes on today's North Korea photo op, he's going to lose his fucking shit.

Hopefully nowhere near Twitter and/or the Football.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:02 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


The Daily Beast reports that Felix Sater purchased a wide variety of offensive domain names and used them to attack his former business partner (Sater's attorney claims he has nothing to do with this). The domain names include " several variations of FecalBoy.com and FecalMatter.info," fecalmatter dot lawyer, IAmADirtbag.com, Blackmailer.net, VaginaBoy.com, and felcherboy dot com, and I am actually omitting some of the worst ones here, including a homophobic slur. And whatever this is:
Some of the websites registered to Sater were pretty puzzling, too. In one archived front page of MafiaFront.com, which was registered to Sater’s email address, a post titled “Jody Kriss: Lying to Improve His Reputation?" blares at the top. Underneath it, an attempt at a meme reads, “If I was a dog, I'd be a shit-sue because I'm a shit and I love to sue!—Jody Kriss," over a photo of Kriss on a boat in Turkey.
Sater seems like a really nice guy.
posted by zachlipton at 8:04 PM on August 29 [23 favorites]


The domain names include " several variations of FecalBoy.com and FecalMatter.info," fecalmatter dot lawyer, IAmADirtbag.com, Blackmailer.net, VaginaBoy.com, and felcherboy dot com, and I am actually omitting some of the worst ones here, including a homophobic slur.

2017 writers: I have two words for you.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:07 PM on August 29 [5 favorites]


nobody with any real knowledge of technology believes NK has a credible threat, or is even close to it

Right, so the DPRK has to act "crazy" or "dangerous" until it produces a "credible threat," and everyone knows it's working on it. (That said, it absolutely already has a "credible threat" to Seoul and even to Japan, and if the US is willing to sacrifice millions in Seoul--including tens of thousands of US citizens, then I guess I'm dead.)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:07 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


“If I was a dog, I'd be a shit-sue because I'm a shit and I love to sue!—Jody Kriss," over a photo of Kriss on a boat in Turkey.

Sater should consider breaking into weird twitter because this is like @dril levels of nonsensical
posted by dis_integration at 8:33 PM on August 29 [17 favorites]


Seriously, there HAS to be a crazy ceiling at some point, right? The crazy cannot just continue to escalate precipitously forever? It would like violate a law of thermodynamics or a fractal thingie or whatever for the cosmos to attempt to sustain this level of consistent batshitinsane, let alone a steep growth curve. The strategic lunacy reserve has to be at a dangerous all-time low at this point.

*clutching at straws*
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:40 PM on August 29 [12 favorites]


It would like violate a law of thermodynamics

No. It's exactly the point of the second law of thermodynamics. Entropy always increases. Order and structure always decays.
posted by Talez at 8:47 PM on August 29 [35 favorites]


The thing is, humans are, on average, exactly this stupid and weird all of the time. Some of the time, though, it's like a group of people who can't sing singing together, where the collective sounds amazing even if each individual sounds awful. We take that choir for granted, when in reality it requires everyone to at least try and sing the same song. Unfortunately, the republicans only know the words to "Money" by the Flying Lizards.
posted by maxwelton at 8:49 PM on August 29 [8 favorites]


Unfortunately, the republicans only know the words to "Money" by the Flying Lizards
Barrett Strong.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:52 PM on August 29


Think of how intelligent the average person is. 50% of people are dumber than that.
posted by Talez at 8:52 PM on August 29 [21 favorites]


the Flying Lizards
Barrett Strong.

Beatles

Oh, alright, the Flying Lizards' version is the best, though.

posted by yhbc at 8:57 PM on August 29 [8 favorites]


No. It's exactly the point of the second law of thermodynamics. Entropy always increases. Order and structure always decays.

Well sure, but it's possible to have non-crazy entropy and totally nutty order and structure. The two are orthogonal. It's the ludicrousness of the chaos that bugs me.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:59 PM on August 29


On that we can agree, yhbc.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:01 PM on August 29


The crazy cannot just continue to escalate precipitously forever?

Something something turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer blah blah, etc.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:06 PM on August 29 [16 favorites]


Also, who the heck mandated that entropy has to be a race? I miss that nice leisurely type of entropy, like in The Dark Tower.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:09 PM on August 29 [5 favorites]


Fractal idiocy is a pretty good model, too. No matter how far you zoom in or out, the pattern of idiocy remains.
posted by darkstar at 9:10 PM on August 29 [19 favorites]


When all else fails, blame hackers. This Trump appointee says it was hackers, not him, who called Obama's mom a 'w@!re'

We use this cliché a lot here in these threads, but it really bears repeating here: This Is Not Normal.

Not only did this filthy piece of shit use a not-exactly-sex-positive pejorative for a sex worker to refer to the mother of a former President, but he is the nominee to the Energy Department's Office of Indian Energy. If I understand this correctly (and forgive me because it's getting late and I haven't Googled it), that sounds like an office dealing with Native American concerns (like the Bureau of Indian Affairs, for instance).

We are dealing with emotionally and intellectually stunted children in adult bodies. It's no more complicated than that, and let's not try to dignify it by suggesting it's anything more or less than that. These are effectively children pretending to do adult jobs.

THIS. IS. NOT. NORMAL.

The hatred, the racism, the misogyny — of course, those are all there. Sadly, those have all become part of the dull roar in the background of this administration; the absence of any of these things would actually cause us to perk up our ears when we notice the sudden absence of something we've come to expect as the norm. But on top of all of those things, this guy, like so many others in the administration, is an emotionally stunted child. Damn near all of them are.

We are being governed by children. But not even normal, emotionally healthy children — rather, we are being ruled by wastrels who have been kicked around, bullied, and abused by others, and who are now making it their life's mission to make sure the rest of us feel at least 10-20 times the pain they did growing up.

Not normal.
posted by CommonSense at 9:15 PM on August 29 [104 favorites]


Not only did this filthy piece of shit use a not-exactly-sex-positive pejorative for a sex worker to refer to the mother of a former President, but he is the nominee to the Energy Department's Office of Indian Energy.

Yes, let us imagine this incident involved an Obama appointee and Barbara Bush.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:18 PM on August 29 [31 favorites]


So that's who registered all the felching domains! No wonder I had such a hard time getting a domain name for my blog.
posted by ryanrs at 9:30 PM on August 29 [11 favorites]


No. It's exactly the point of the second law of thermodynamics. Entropy always increases. Order and structure always decays.

Entropy only applies to closed systems. You put enough energy into a system, you can decrease entropy. There may be a metaphor lurking in the previous sentence.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:32 PM on August 29 [13 favorites]


let us imagine this incident involved an Obama appointee and Barbara Bush

That would not have happened, because Barbara Bush was a white woman married to a white man.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:34 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


CommonSense: "If I understand this correctly (and forgive me because it's getting late and I haven't Googled it), that sounds like an office dealing with Native American concerns (like the Bureau of Indian Affairs, for instance)."

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs is authorized to fund and implement a variety of programmatic activities that assist American Indian Tribes and Alaska Native villages with energy development, capacity building, energy cost reduction, and electrification of Indian lands and homes.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:39 PM on August 29 [2 favorites]


San Francisco Chronicle, Feinstein surprises SF crowd by expressing hope for Trump
Feinstein received a standing ovation from the 850 people at the sold-out Herbst Theater when she walked onto the stage for an hour-long “conversation” with former East Bay Rep. Ellen Tauscher. But near the end of the political lovefest, the senator shocked the crowd when she declined to say that Trump should be impeached and warned the audience that they should expect to deal with the developer-turned politician for all four years of his term.

“The question is whether he can learn and change,” Feinstein told the crowd at the Commonwealth Club event. “If so, I believe he can be a good president.”

That sort of talk is never heard in Democratic circles, where California congress members already are talking about what they see as the need to impeach Trump or remove him from office via the 25th Amendment.

The crowd reacted with stunned silence, broken only with scattered “No’s” and a few hisses and some nervous laughter.

But Feinstein didn’t back away, reacting to a question about why Democrats aren’t being more out front in attacking Trump by reminding people that not only is Trump president, but he’s also only been in office for eight months.

“We’ll have to see if can forget himself enough and have the type of empathy and direction the country needs,” she said.

If he doesn’t, she added, “there are things that can be done.”
It's nearly September and she's still in the "we'll have to see" if he can develop empathy phase? We're talking about a man who literally told his biographer he hasn't changed since 1st grade. How gullible can Sen. Feinstein be?

Oh, and she sure seems like she's running again.
posted by zachlipton at 10:20 PM on August 29 [85 favorites]


'The question is whether he can learn and change,' Feinstein told the crowd at the Commonwealth Club event. 'If so, I believe he can be a good president.'

Um, calling Nazis good people pretty much puts your ceiling at shit president, dumbass.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:27 PM on August 29 [60 favorites]


If only half the effort were spent replacing a garbage senator like Feinstein in bright blue California as sabotaging our Chances in places like the Dakotas or WV!
posted by Justinian at 10:30 PM on August 29 [15 favorites]


Charlottesville Beating Suspect Is Arrested in Georgia:
One of the suspects in the beating of a young African-American man during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., was arrested in Georgia on Monday.

Alex Michael Ramos, 33, was charged with malicious wounding in the Aug. 12 attack on DeAndre Harris, 20, a teacher’s aide and aspiring rapper, who was beaten by a group of people with wooden boards and pipes.

Mr. Ramos was being held Tuesday in Forsyth, Ga., about an hour south of Atlanta.

The attack was captured on video, and the images were shared widely on social media and used to highlight the mayhem that broke out at the white-power rally when the police did not step in to keep order. The video images helped the authorities identify at least two of the suspected assailants, Mr. Ramos and another man, Daniel P. Borden, who was arrested in Ohio on Friday. At least four more of the assailants have yet to be identified.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:33 PM on August 29 [16 favorites]


Fucking Feinstein. She's so out of touch it's embarrassing. Also sorry, you don't get to learn to be president on a fucking trial and error basis, give me a break. I am sick to my eyeballs of "We need to give Trump a chance!" Number one, no we bloody well don't, and two, he's been president for 8 months how many fucking chances does one man need? Am I allowed to walk into a new job and been an utter failure for 8 months while people patiently explain that they're waiting to see if I can grow into the role? The way Trump is infantilized by people like he's a college freshman at his first internship is stomach turning and the ne plus ultra example of white male privilege. Infinity chances! Infinity patience! Infinity do overs! White dudes really do play the game of life on easy.
posted by supercrayon at 10:40 PM on August 29 [124 favorites]


Isn't Ramos a Spanish or Portuguese name? Why would someone with that surname hang with white supremacists, or vice versa?
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:42 PM on August 29


Joe - he's Puerto Rican (and he says that means he "isn't racist").
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:45 PM on August 29


How gullible can Sen. Feinstein be?

Having been completely unimpressed by how ready she was to defend the NSA dragnet, my guess is "very gullible".
posted by flabdablet at 10:54 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


Goddamn fucking party of bipartisanship deadender trying to normalise republicans to point where she can surrender to them.

Primary her.
posted by Artw at 10:59 PM on August 29 [66 favorites]


Hear, hear. Get her out. What an idiot.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:59 PM on August 29 [6 favorites]


Mike Alcock on FB
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:00 PM on August 29


Isn't Ramos a Spanish or Portuguese name? Why would someone with that surname hang with white supremacists, or vice versa?

Because they promise he's white enough, but the other guys aren't. Much to my shame, we have those guys - Hispanic guys who just long to be given the whiteness baton so they can ride their way to the American Dream they were promised.
posted by corb at 11:08 PM on August 29 [21 favorites]


Remember the Far Side cartoon where there's three people standing at a water fountain in the middle of the desert, and one says "Hold on, let's let it run for a few more minutes to see if it gets any colder."?
posted by rifflesby at 11:11 PM on August 29 [17 favorites]


Are you thinking of this one, maybe?
posted by Chrysostom at 11:26 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


The attack was captured on video, and the images were shared widely on social media and used to highlight the mayhem that broke out at the white-power rally when the police did not step in to keep order. The video images helped the authorities identify at least two of the suspected assailants, Mr. Ramos and another man, Daniel P. Borden, who was arrested in Ohio on Friday. At least four more of the assailants have yet to be identified.

This took way too long. Cops were arresting people for tearing down the Robert E Lee monument in Durham the day after it happened.
posted by scalefree at 11:41 PM on August 29 [17 favorites]


Chrysostom, nope.
posted by ryanrs at 11:43 PM on August 29




Confederate flag sales surge after Charlottesville violence

I don't mean to be flip, but I file this with "gun sales surge after Obama victory." Yes, it's concerning. But it could also be interpreted as a win. People don't double down on unpopular political symbols when they're feeling good. They double down when they're feeling insecure, uncertain, and cornered.
posted by witchen at 11:54 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


Isn't Ramos a Spanish or Portuguese name? Why would someone with that surname hang with white supremacists, or vice versa?

The same reason a guy named Arpaio is so concerned with policing ethnicity, I guess
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:57 PM on August 29 [10 favorites]


> People don't double down on unpopular political symbols when they're feeling good. They double down when they're feeling insecure, uncertain, and cornered.
And then they elected Trump.
posted by runcifex at 12:02 AM on August 30 [13 favorites]


I agree that that happened. But did it happen because of a triumph of True White Supremacy, wherein they are correct that white people are the end-all-be-all product of evolution and God's favor? Or did it happen because of "economic insecurity"?

These folks are downtrodden; they are losing; they are blaming minorities for their problems and grasping at straws. We are where we are, but don't forget that Trump lost the popular vote by a significant margin. "They" elected Trump with help from an intrinsically un-representative system. It doesn't change the fact that his people are flailing and embarrassing themselves as they secure their positions on the wrong side of history.
posted by witchen at 12:09 AM on August 30 [6 favorites]


While protesting outside the AZ convention center last week (was it last week?), we heard someone in the Trump line shout "Get a job". Economic insecurity my ass. I'm pretty sure plenty of them do indeed believe any white supremacist notion you might ascribe to them.
posted by nat at 12:26 AM on August 30 [13 favorites]


I mean, I have a hard time taking the parochial dudes' collective stress response as a "win" for any party. I think it's a kind of fail for everyone. I'm very pessimistic and I think humans are headed to an authoritarian bonfire of gigantic scales so my views may be clouded.

The "intrinsically un-representative system" is part of the complex that includes white supremacy and the alt-right, among others. This is an inherently oppressive and degrading system responding to stress in order to sustain itself, and it's incredibly effective at that.

The title picture to the Independent article, a Latina, probably low-income, seamstress making Confederate battle flags, says it all. I'm not sure what she thinks about it. But if I were in her shoes I'd be deeply humiliated, and the only reason I'd be stuck with that kind of job would be the massive deck stacked against me forcing me there. But then again, perhaps I'm reading too much into one picture.

I just feel pissed. I fear what's to come after Trump's (eventual) downfall. The contrast of raw firepower from the pro-liberty, pro-freedom side and the pro-alienation, pro-oppression side doesn't look so good.
posted by runcifex at 12:43 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


Are there any Democrats planning to challenge Feinstein in the next primary? How does that process happen?
posted by panic at 1:13 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


>>Isn't Ramos a Spanish or Portuguese name? Why would someone with that surname hang with white supremacists, or vice versa?

Because they promise he's white enough, but the other guys aren't. Much to my shame, we have those guys - Hispanic guys who just long to be given the whiteness baton so they can ride their way to the American Dream they were promised.


Yup. I'm related to a whole passel of them. And my Trumpified relatives absolutely do not get that, when 45 talks about "bad hombres" and such, he means them as much as he means anyone. It matters to them that we all were born here, and that we're Hispanos instead of Mexicanos, so they think it matters to everyone, including Trump. But it doesn't.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:54 AM on August 30 [38 favorites]


Some experiences I've had, it's perversely easier to realize what's up if you don't have a Spanish surname? Because people will say things about Mexicans or whoever else to your face that they'd never say if they realized. They've created a fiction about who the "problems" are, and you have to be able to peel back those layers. They'll tell you "illegal" immigrants are the problem, people on welfare are the problem, black people are the problem--they don't mean you, you just look Mediterranean. Until they think your last name is probably German or something, and then suddenly sometimes they're happy to tell you things you never wanted to know about what they think about the general work ethic of Mexicans because their lawn service didn't show up this week.
posted by Sequence at 2:29 AM on August 30 [47 favorites]


Are there any Democrats planning to challenge Feinstein in the next primary? How does that process happen?

Ted Lieu has been positioning himself for a run but it's not remotely clear that he'll go for it as a primary challenger rather than as a contender for an open seat. A current member of Congress has way more to lose from pissing off the party leadership than some random state rep or neophyte.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:31 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]


They'll tell you "illegal" immigrants are the problem, people on welfare are the problem, black people are the problem--they don't mean you, you just look Mediterranean.

Yeah, I remember when an Italian sounding name, like Arpaio, would mean you couldn't get a job.
posted by mikelieman at 4:31 AM on August 30 [11 favorites]


Until they think your last name is probably German or something, and then suddenly sometimes they're happy to tell you things you never wanted to know about what they think about the general work ethic of Mexicans because their lawn service didn't show up this week.

Hell, they'll do it even when they know you're an immigrant from South America, because you've been married into the family for 30+ years. (Ask me how my mother knows this!)

Racism is a hell of a drug.
posted by ultranos at 4:44 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


Some things never change.

@thalestral
When nazis held a "Pro-America" rally in Madison Square Garden in 1939, the US press focused on the "violent" "anti-nazi" protesters [screenshots]

---

These snippets from the LA Times article are eerily familiar.
Declaring that "their is no free radio for white men" he suggested the Bund demand that radio chains "cease giving the people the trash of the Cantors, Winchells and Bernsteins and give them instead the voice of those who speak American without an accent."

---

The applause swelled again when he said "If George Washington were alive today he would be a friend of the German" and when he praised Washington's injunction against "entangling alliances." ... Froboese's speech was also a tirade against Jewry. He denounced "all international Marxists and Jewish leeches of class warfare." "Jewish international money interests and Jewish agitators" he shouted, "are supposed to represent labor, but have never worked a day in their lives."
Also at this rally and mentioned in the article, journalist Dorothy Thompson - wife of Sinclair Lewis who had written It Can't Happen Here just a a few years earlier - was hauled off by police for laughing at the speakers.
posted by chris24 at 4:55 AM on August 30 [92 favorites]


I think I speak for many (many!) when I say Chris Christie is horrible. But still, it brightens my day a bit to know he'll get up at dawn just to go on TV and call Ted Cruz a fucking liar.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:55 AM on August 30 [16 favorites]


We're stuck with Feinstein till she dies. There doesn't seem to be any serious primary challenger and the Democrats will burn anyone who goes against her. She's a made woman of the preemptive surrender caucus that still controls the party.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:57 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


Um, guys, California doesn't have primaries in that sense any more, and it doesn't have party nominations in any significant sense.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:25 AM on August 30 [10 favorites]


Yeah, Feinstein will probably be up against another Dem in the general.
posted by ryanrs at 5:26 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


So any challenger would likely split the left vote and hand it to the republicans?
posted by adept256 at 5:40 AM on August 30


No. There is an open primary, then the top 2 face off in the general. Last election both candidates in the general were Dems, no Republican candidate.
posted by ryanrs at 5:46 AM on August 30 [7 favorites]


Someone seems angry he didn't get the fawning adulation from the press he wanted from his trip to Texas. Time to pitch a fit.

@realDonaldTrump
The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!
posted by chris24 at 5:51 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]


The mayor of Port Arthur, TX says every house there is under water right now and people have been tweeting desperate pleas for help for hours (rescues were suspended until sunrise), and this asshole is tweeting about North Korea and planning to pitch his corporate tax cuts today. What the hell.
posted by melissasaurus at 5:56 AM on August 30 [40 favorites]


Google pressures New America think tank, which it funds, to fire entire 10 person open markets team

Google doesn't like the new Democratic rediscovery of monopoly power, so they decided to excercise their monopoly power. Beating back the corporate takeover of liberal institutions won't be easy. Remember "don't be evil"?
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:56 AM on August 30 [14 favorites]


I agree with Trump for once, with a small edit.

Talking Belligerent ranting on twitter is not the answer!
posted by adept256 at 5:59 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


Axios: The incredible shrinking president
As President Trump formally launches his tax-reform drive this afternoon with a no-details, "vision-casting" speech in Springfield, Missouri, the self-inflicted wounds of the past 222 days are adding up. The "most powerful man in the world" is suddenly looking mighty powerless:
  • Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are going their own way on tax reform. Hill sources believe his original targets, including a 15% corporate rate, are dead.
  • SecDef Mattis didn't immediately embrace his full ban on transgender troops.
  • His Justice Department won't drop the Russia probe.
  • Courts won't allow his full Muslim ban.
  • Mexico won't pay for his wall.
  • Congress won't pay for his wall.
  • The Senate won't pass his promised health-care reform.
  • Gary Cohn and Sec State Tillerson won't tolerate his Charlottesville response.
  • North Korea won't heed his warnings.
  • China doesn't fear his trade threats.
  • CEOs won't sit on his councils.
  • Mexico and Canada won't bend to his will on NAFTA.
posted by chris24 at 6:10 AM on August 30 [67 favorites]


*sigh*
i was cruising youtube last night when i discovered like umpteen cretins purveying a saga of left-wing double agents behind the Charlottesville violence, like, there are no actual nazi's, only crazed lefties impersonating nazis to make poor victimized conservatives look bad. and like, these people WERE NOT the horny acne-infested 12 year old golems i had always assumed created this sort of bilge, but actually reasonably young-adult-looking dudes speaking in a reasonable young adult manner. my countenance sagged into a slack-jawed delirious daze as i waded through the intense analysis of the so-called 'charlottesville zapruder' tapes. my head spins. i'm going to go mow the lawn now. perhaps later there'll be a kid i can order off it. or a cloud i can yell at.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 6:16 AM on August 30 [23 favorites]


these people WERE NOT the horny acne-infested 12 year old golems i had always assumed created this sort of bilge, but actually reasonably young-adult-looking dudes speaking in a reasonable young adult manner

stupid wears a thousand faces
posted by murphy slaw at 6:24 AM on August 30 [11 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!


Tweeting is the answer!
posted by Rykey at 6:24 AM on August 30 [9 favorites]


No. There is an open primary, then the top 2 face off in the general.

It's probably better to think of it as just a two-stage election -- the first stage isn't really a primary in the way people usually think about them since it doesn't lead to a party nomination or party label. The way things work in CA is that each candidate picks the party they "prefer," and the party doesn't get a say in it. You could be a talibaptist klanner running on a platform of exterminating nonwhites and establishing a formal theocracy and if you say your preference is "Democratic," then it is and you appear on the ballot as a Democrat.

All candidates appear on the stage one ballot along with their party preference. The top two candidates go on to the general election on the usual date in November.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:27 AM on August 30 [7 favorites]


The important thing is the Democratic structure is ready to cut off support for any serious challenger to Feinstein from the left. It's a career ending decision for an elected Democrat, and a de facto independent run for anyone else.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:34 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


Jesus fucking Christ, did the New York Times seriously give Erik Prince a spot in the Opinion section to talk about how Trump should appoint him Viceroy of Afghanistan? Disgusting.
posted by Copronymus at 6:39 AM on August 30 [45 favorites]


A snippet from Philip Allen Lacovara, a former U.S. deputy solicitor general in the Justice Department who served as counsel to Watergate special prosecutors Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski.

WaPo: How the pardon power could end Trump’s presidency
While impeachment remains an unlikely political prospect at the moment, so it was during Watergate — until the “Saturday Night Massacre” dramatically changed the political landscape. A decision by Trump to pardon his close friends and associates for any complicity in colluding with a hostile foreign power could easily trigger a similar firestorm, with comparable political consequences.

But Trump should not ignore the potential criminal pitfalls of exercising his pardon power in this context. As with any other presidential power, the power to pardon is constrained by the ordinary requirements of federal law applicable to all public officials. For example, if representatives of a pardon-seeker arrived in the Oval Office with a bundle of cash that the president accepted in return for a pardon, there is little doubt that the president would be guilty of the crime of bribery.

More apt than bribery in the current context is the array of federal statutes that make it a crime to “obstruct justice.” Those statutes turn on the motive behind a person’s action, even if the person otherwise has the power to take the action. For example, under Section 1503 of the federal criminal code, any person who “corruptly . . . influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice” commits a felony. If Trump were to pardon any of the figures in the current Russia investigation, his action would certainly impede or obstruct the due administration of justice, as the courts have broadly construed that standard.

It would not be difficult to imagine Mueller making the case that the motive behind such interference was “corrupt.” As the Founding Fathers made plain, the purpose behind the pardon power is to extend mercy to those who have offended and have demonstrated remorse. Using the pardon power to protect the president’s own interests against embarrassment or exposure is not legitimate. Rather, a crassly self-interested exercise of presidential power to impede the due administration of justice is the very antithesis of the president’s most solemn oath — “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
NBC: Presidential Pardons Might Not End Russia Prosecutions

A good detailed summary on how federal pardons would most probably lead to state charges and potentially increase the likelihood of finding criminal wrongdoing.
posted by chris24 at 6:49 AM on August 30 [45 favorites]


Remember 'don't be evil'?

Punctuation problem! It's "Don't. Be evil."
posted by kirkaracha at 6:49 AM on August 30 [9 favorites]


Why are white men so angry? (Washington Post) Again, moral of the story is that we'd better please those white men or else they're gonna keep embracing white supremacy.

If we had Fox and Friends in Westeros (Washington Post). Spoilers for GoT inside, if you care.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:52 AM on August 30 [12 favorites]


President Trump formally launches his tax-reform drive this afternoon with a no-details, 'vision-casting' speech in Springfield, Missouri

Preview: Trump's tax speech: light on substance, heavy on populism
You won't learn anything new about the secretly-negotiated details of the Republican tax plan, when President Trump visits a manufacturing company in Springfield, Missouri.

What you will learn is how Trump plans to sell the GOP tax plan, according to a taste of today's speech given by White House officials on a phone call Tuesday with reporters.

Between the lines: Even though Trump's early tax plans largely follow Republican orthodoxy — major, across-the-board tax cuts — he'll be selling it like Huey Long. The way White House officials tell it, Trump will describe how he'll "un-rig" the economy, resurrect "Main Street" and end "the special interest loopholes that have only benefited the wealthy and powerful few."
...by putting in more loopholes that only benefit the wealthy and powerful few.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:56 AM on August 30 [10 favorites]


Why are white men so angry?

Holy shit is this a fuckload of white male racist sexist apologia. Sorry for the long quoting, but you really need to read this bullshit. The concluding paragraphs:
The key here is perceived disadvantage. These economic changes have affected virtually every demographic group in this country. In fact, other groups have suffered far greater real hardship than white men. But over the past few decades, white men have experienced the greatest psychological blow. [my bold] They worked hard to realize the American Dream, only to be told that their success was the result of “white privilege.” They never felt privileged.

Even worse, they have confronted a shifting partisan landscape. While white workers were celebrated as the base of the New Deal coalition, since the 1970s, the modern Democratic Party has shifted its focus to identity politics and embraced the movements so loathed by white men. From their point of view, liberals have abandoned them, more interested in celebrating diversity and combating the economic struggles confronting minorities than in responding to their economic plight and protecting American values. Although they receive many benefits from government, they don’t see it that way. In their mind, their wages are declining and their jobs are disappearing, and yet Democrats want to take ever increasing amounts of their hard-earned money to support less deserving minorities.

White men believed the American culture they shaped and institutions they ran were fair and sound and drove our triumphs. They saw little reason to change a society that had served them so well. But now they find their value system under assault from all directions. They aren’t even sure what they can say without being branded racist or sexist, thanks to the reviled culture of political correctness. Many have responded to these challenges by embracing a toxic brew of resentment and victimization.

What unites the white working class, the sociologist Michael Kimmel has observed, is a sense of “aggrieved entitlement.” Polls show that more than any other demographic group, non-college educated whites feel abandoned by the government, fearful that their children’s lives will be worse than their own, resentful of immigrants and convinced that the nation’s growing racial and ethnic diversity will push them to the margins of society.

As the nation witnessed in Charlottesville, a handful of these angry white men have joined fringe movements that openly advocate violence and preach white supremacy. But they are a small minority. Millions more white men, however, feel the same anger, but refuse to be associated with extremist groups and retain some hope that the traditional parties — and the mainstream media — will acknowledge their grievances.

So how should the nation respond to their pleas? We must unequivocally condemn the hate-filled rhetoric and violent tactics of neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups. There can be no compromise or efforts to appease these groups. They must be crushed.

But we also need to address the underlying conditions that fuel white male resentment. That means having a balanced discussion about immigration that appreciates the many contribution that immigrants make to our nation while establishing clear, fair-minded limits on how many people can enter the United States. It means dramatically increased federal spending on infrastructure and on education to provide meaningful jobs now and the hope of better jobs in the future. It means rethinking government policy that contributes to income inequality. It also requires having difficult conversations with white men about their misperceptions about themselves.

There is a warning here for both parties. Democrats need to expand their concept of diversity to include white men and they need to stop dismissing them as racists. They should listen to the stories of people in economically decimated rural areas in Iowa and Wisconsin as well as traditionally Democratic cities like Philadelphia and San Francisco. At the same time, Republicans under Trump have become the party of cultural nostalgia. But all they offer are false promises and phony solutions that will do little to alleviate the underlying sources of white discontent. They need to take seriously the real challenges facing downwardly mobile whites and not just manipulate their fears to win election.

Until our political system finds a way to make angry white men less angry, our society will face more turmoil and violence.
posted by chris24 at 7:02 AM on August 30 [22 favorites]


From a ways upthread... nobody with any real knowledge of technology believes NK has a credible threat

People with real knowledge of this kind of technology tend not to be allowed to talk about it. Working on nuclear weapons usually requires security clearances, the terms of which include not revealing that you work on nuclear weapons, and not talking about what you have learned from working on nuclear weapons. Interested amateurs do not have access to all the information. So I would encourage everyone to resist the impulse to form strong opinions about North Korea's capabilities based only on what is known to the general public.

I would also remind people that if NK does not have the capacity right at this moment to threaten the US, they will almost certainly have it eventually. Because there is not much we can do to stop them developing it, as long as they hold the rest of the penninsula, at the very least, as hostages.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:04 AM on August 30 [8 favorites]


nobody with any real knowledge of technology believes NK has a credible threat

Yeah I dunno. What I've read says: NK may or may not be able to put a nuclear warhead on the Hwasong-14 missile that is likely able to reach as far as the midwest. But the technology is more than 50 years old, and there's no reason to believe they won't get there soon, if they're not there already. That's not reassuring.
posted by dis_integration at 7:19 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


My concern has shifted from "can NK do this" to "can the US/JAPAN stop an NK missile after it has been launched," since we apparently have badly misjudged NK's capabilities so far.

Even that concern is, however, dwarfed by the main problem: "will our president wake up pissy one morning and order a preemptive nuclear strike on NK?" Because 2017 is the year of the absurd.
posted by lydhre at 7:25 AM on August 30 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I am not super worried about being hit by a missile fired by NK. I'm worried mostly that the US will use NK's foolish saber rattling to justify some kind of war for our own purposes and that this will prompt NK to attack Japan or SK, and also that we'll kill a bunch of North Koreans, as if they haven't suffered enough.

I have no particular objection to NK having some kind of nuclear thing, since it seems like they mostly want to be left alone and want it as a deterrent, and while it would be absolutely wonderful to have a better NK government, it's only too obvious that US-led "regime-changes" are murderous clusterfucks which just make things worse, so I think deterring one is the best of a bad set of options. I just wish NK would build the thing rather than firing a bunch of missiles at, like, Japan, because that is just going to lead to disaster.
posted by Frowner at 7:34 AM on August 30 [6 favorites]


Regarding angry white men... I think Hillary Clinton actually got it exactly right in her infamous "basket of deplorable" comment. Trump's approval ratings have hovered around 40%. A lot of polling shows that around 20% of the population are genuine Confederate sympathizers. (21% say Jefferson Davis would be a better president than Barack Obama.17% either said they had no opinion on neo-Nazi views or said those views were acceptable to them.) This is about half the number of people who say they approve of Trump.

A little less than half of all Republicans say that white people face a lot of discrimination in America today - 43%. Since Trump has a bit less than 80% approval among Republicans, this is, again, probably about half of Trump's supporters.

But I think Clinton was also right when she said:
But the other basket -- and I know this because I see friends from all over America here -- I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas -- as well as, you know, New York and California -- but that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they're just desperate for change. It doesn't really even matter where it comes from. They don't buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won't wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they're in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well."
About 20% of Americans are Confederate sympathizers, and Putin saw the opportunity to boost that movement and undermine the American government. But that is only half of all Trump supporters. Not all of them. We have to be able to hold this idea in our minds. Half and half. Not all one thing.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:37 AM on August 30 [47 favorites]


But that is only half of all Trump supporters. Not all of them. We have to be able to hold this idea in our minds. Half and half. Not all one thing.

And yet, having access to exactly the same information about Trump and his Confederazi fanbase that we did, who did they choose to vote for? Nobody forced their hand. I have plenty of sympathy for people who want to see a change in the world, but at some point "Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas" has to come into play.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:44 AM on August 30 [30 favorites]


About 20% of Americans are Confederate sympathizers, ad Putin saw the opportunity to boost that movement and underine the Amercian government. But that is only half of all Trump supporters. Not all of them. We have to be able to hold this idea in our minds. Half and half. Not all one thing.

You are the company you keep.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:44 AM on August 30 [28 favorites]


I'll maybe believe that half of Trump voters were not deplorable and fooled for other reasons. But now 8 months in and after he defended Nazis there's no more pretending. If you still support Trump now, you're one of the deplorables.
posted by chris24 at 7:45 AM on August 30 [36 favorites]


And yet, having access to exactly the same information about Trump and his Confederazi fanbase that we did, who did they choose to vote for?

But they don't really have access to that information. They live in cultural and media bubbles.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:46 AM on August 30 [9 favorites]


Dear god do I wish she'd called them what they are and not some cutesy name.
posted by Artw at 7:47 AM on August 30 [7 favorites]


T.D. Strange: Republicans hate democracy. It's absolutely inarguable.

"We're not a democracy, we're a constitutional republic," shouts irate Florida man at U.S. history textbook subtitled "Our Democracy."
posted by filthy light thief at 7:49 AM on August 30 [9 favorites]


But they don't really have access to that information. They live in cultural and media bubbles.

Because they choose to watch news that confirms their heinous beliefs and says "don't worry, you're not racist." They reality shop to their worst instincts.
posted by chris24 at 7:49 AM on August 30 [19 favorites]


Yeah, I don't buy the "we have to find a way to make white males happy" bullshit AT. ALL. These are grown men. At least physically. They need to finish growing the fuck up on the inside and swallow the fact that no, you can't always get what you want.

I had a longtime 'friend' tell me that people are prejudiced against him because he is a tall white male. According to him, they immediately assume he is racist & gun loving. I never got a straight answer on who exactly is doing all the assuming, but the bottom line is, maybe they do so BECAUSE HE IS RACIST AND LOVES GUNS.

Goddamn these people have no logic.

No one's parents are perfect. Learn some self care & self love and quit expecting the whole world to shoulder your bullshit.
posted by yoga at 7:51 AM on August 30 [49 favorites]


I have no particular objection to NK having some kind of nuclear thing, since it seems like they mostly want to be left alone and want it as a deterrent

There's a real risk of proliferation -- of the North Korean government selling either missiles or bombs, or the technical knowledge to make them, to other countries, or to non-state actors, who might want to do more than be left alone. If their nuclear thing is nuclear power, I don't object to that; that was precisely the deal that America struck with them (and then walked out on) in the '90s.

I agree, though, that the odds of North Korea actually using any nuclear weapons it has is incredibly low, and we'd do well to remember that; the biggest risk is really that the Trump administration attacks North Korea. There is no outcome of that which is both likely and good, and the risk of proliferation does not warrant military intervention. It warrants more talking -- it warrants actual diplomacy, which Trump, unfortunately, does not seem to be very good at. There's a clear comparison to Iran, where the Obama-era nuclear framework -- a product of diplomacy and discussions and hard work over a long time -- struck a mutually agreeable compromise. President Trump is on record as hating that deal, and seeking ways to undermine it, so it's unlikely that there could be a similar outcome here...so even though the situations are dissimilar, the biggest barrier to a negotiated, long-term solution is probably Trump himself.
posted by cjelli at 7:54 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


The open markets research group shut down by Google already has a new independent organization - https://citizensagainstmonopoly.org/
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:57 AM on August 30 [12 favorites]


I always assumed "basket of deporables" was code for "bag of dicks".

If I have to hear about one more article analyzing the fee-fees of racist white dudes I will scream until blood comes out of my ears. Shut the fuck up, sit the fuck down, and grow the fuck up, or else fuck the fuck off. Bag of dicks indeed. I would prefer an actual bag of literal dicks.
posted by supercrayon at 7:57 AM on August 30 [149 favorites]


supercrayon wins for most fantastic post of the year.
posted by yoga at 7:59 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


FPP on the New America / Open Markets / Google thing.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:59 AM on August 30


I would prefer an actual bag of literal dicks.

Good news, everyone! (Probably NSFW)
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:59 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


NYT Magazine: How to Get Rich in Trump’s Washington
Many of the Trump-connected lobbyists told me they were turning away as much business as they accepted. One person offered Lewan­dowski $250,000 just to get the president to tweet about him. A lobbyist who worked on Trump’s inaugural committee told me of a billionaire who, within a week of the inauguration, offered a million dollars if the lobbyist could arrange for his picture to be taken in the Oval Office with the new president. ‘‘You can make $2 million if you want,’’ Bennett told me, sounding almost apologetic. ‘‘It’s like: ‘I’ve got a gold mine in Eastern Europe.’ Or: ‘My client is suing the I.R.S. — can you help?’ ’’
...
By the end of his first 100 days in office, it seemed, Trump had not so much drained the swamp as enshrouded it with a billowing fog of uncertainty. No previous president had changed his mind more often, or contradicted his cabinet so frequently, or permitted such vicious ideological combat under his White House roof. Many clients just wanted to know what they could safely ignore. ‘‘White Houses are always somewhat opaque places of fascination, where you don’t quite know who is up and who is down, or how decisions are ultimately reached,’’ said Bruce P. Mehlman, a prominent Republican lobbyist who served in the George W. Bush administration. ‘‘The added complexity here was there was not a single consistent governing philosophy. It was not clear if the president saw trade the way that Gary Cohn sees it or the way Steve Bannon sees it.’’

Moreover, some of the usual paths through the bog were now closed. Hundreds of senior administration jobs were going unfilled, as Trump’s cabinet secretaries battled with his inner circle over potential hires from among the Republican regulars in Washington. One lobbyist at a well-regarded firm with numerous financial clients told me that his problem was less that he didn’t know whom to call than that there was no one to call: Infighting and vetting problems had stymied so many appointments at the Treasury Department that many of the offices were empty.
A rather lengthy piece on the breadth and depth manner of lobbying efforts in Trump's White House.
posted by cjelli at 8:02 AM on August 30 [18 favorites]


Imagine Erik Prince, and his dudes, catching dogs in your neighborhood, if he were able to get that contract? China must have fired him from Africa.
posted by Oyéah at 8:03 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


"By the end of his first 100 days in office, it seemed,

seemed?? Are they on this planet?

...It was not clear if the president saw trade the way that Gary Cohn sees it or the way Steve Bannon sees it."

They still don't get it, do they. The president doesn't see trade or anything else.
posted by Melismata at 8:06 AM on August 30 [15 favorites]


Politico: Trump relishes role as chief executive of Harvey response
It was a presidential trip to a deluged state where the president didn’t meet a single storm victim, see an inch of rain or get near a flooded street.

But the daylong visit, during which President Donald Trump spent far more time in the air than on the ground, gave the optics-obsessed president some of the visuals he wanted, as he checked in on the government apparatus working on relief efforts and was buoyed by a roaring crowd of locals.
Also Politico, following Trump's tweet this morning: Trump says 'heart goes out' to Texans after not meeting Harvey victims
President Donald Trump said Wednesday that his “heart goes out even more so” to the victims of hurricane-ravaged Texas after touring the state, despite not meeting on Tuesday with any victims or addressing them during his multiple public appearances.

“After witnessing first hand the horror & devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey,my heart goes out even more so to the great people of Texas!” the president tweeted Wednesday morning.
posted by cjelli at 8:07 AM on August 30 [20 favorites]


Yeah, I don't buy the "we have to find a way to make white males happy" bullshit AT. ALL. These are grown men. At least physically. They need to finish growing the fuck up on the inside and swallow the fact that no, you can't always get what you want.

Here's the thing. There are different levels of needs.

These men need to grow up. They do. For their own personal development and for everyone around them, they need to grow up. But I can't make them. I have spent probably twenty years of my life trying to make white men grow up, in one form or another, from being an Army platoon sergeant to just fucking dating them to working with them in a civilian setting. I have come to the conclusion that the only way it will happen is one by one, sometimes, only partially, with years of work, if you have the power to fire or jail them. Short of that, you can't fucking make them because they straight up don't see the value in it.

Here's what I need: I need the country not to be on fire. I need stability for my family. I need ICE not to be rolling through schools, hospitals, and churches. I need people to be able to decide whether or not to go to a protest without having to calculating their chances of dying. I need to not be worried about us getting into a nuclear war with North Korea. I need states to stop testing unconstitutional bullshit just because Sessions is in charge.

So yeah, I'll compromise with the fucking terrorist man-children, because they don't care if they burn it all down and I do. I will make them goddamn happy, even though their entire lives have been about nothing but other people figuring out how to make them happy so they aren't shitty to other people. Because there really isn't another choice, when they have literally the entire country hostage, and the cost of giving them some fucking useless candy and telling them they're precious precious boys is nothing compared to the cost of them lashing out at racial, sexual, and gender minorities just because they Can.
posted by corb at 8:09 AM on August 30 [52 favorites]


This shit's a hard sell when I was on my bike for literally 5 minutes this morning (after not having bike commuted for years) before my first shiny new pickup truck full of white men yelled obscenities at me as they passed. I am unconvinced that giving them what they want will do any good whatsoever, even from a pragmatic standpoint. They're still going to terrorize people because it's fun when you live a consequence-free life.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:15 AM on August 30 [87 favorites]


> So yeah, I'll compromise with the fucking terrorist man-children, because they don't care if they burn it all down and I do. I will make them goddamn happy, even though their entire lives have been about nothing but other people figuring out how to make them happy so they aren't shitty to other people. Because there really isn't another choice, when they have literally the entire country hostage, and the cost of giving them some fucking useless candy and telling them they're precious precious boys is nothing compared to the cost of them lashing out at racial, sexual, and gender minorities just because they Can.

They don't actually outnumber us, though, which means we can win without them. Furthermore, any attempts to placate them ("giv[e] them some fucking useless candy) has a high likelihood of turning off the voters we need to defeat them. I see no positive value in trying to hold on to a dwindling number of dead-enders when there's a hunger out there for policies that help make the lives of everyone better, not just those who define themselves as the only ones deserving of that assistance.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:18 AM on August 30 [41 favorites]


chris24: journalist Dorothy Thompson - wife of Sinclair Lewis who had written It Can't Happen Here just a a few years earlier - was hauled off by police for laughing at the speakers.

Code Pink Protester laughed at Jeff Sessions and was charged with disorderly conduct after laughing during the introduction of Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions -- some things never change indeed.

Worse, she was convicted! Luckily, a D.C. judge threw out Desiree Fairooz's conviction, but the judge called for a new trial, and a hearing date has been set for Sept. 1.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:19 AM on August 30 [29 favorites]


(To be clear, corb, I use "we" as in "those of us who want to defeat the Nazis", not "those of us who favor progressive / redistributive policies", as I know you're on the former team but not the latter.)
posted by tonycpsu at 8:20 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


Because there really isn't another choice, when they have literally the entire country hostage, and the cost of giving them some fucking useless candy and telling them they're precious precious boys is nothing compared to the cost of them lashing out

honestly, you're making white men sound a lot like the north korean regime...
posted by anem0ne at 8:21 AM on August 30 [7 favorites]


Until our political system finds a way to make angry white men less angry, our society will face more turmoil and violence.

My jaw dropped at that one, because really? This is a threat.

My instinctual response to a threat is "So you think I'm going to cower to you? TRY AGAIN." However, that's only when I've been personally threatened with violence. I'm always ready to defend my own self. But I'm not sure how I'm supposed to respond to such that's writ so large and towards a whole nation of people.
posted by droplet at 8:26 AM on August 30 [19 favorites]


the cost of giving them some fucking useless candy and telling them they're precious precious boys is nothing compared to the cost of them lashing out at racial, sexual, and gender minorities just because they Can.

I respectfully disagree. We need to stand up to these assholes, not enable them. That's what got us here in the first fucking place.
posted by yoga at 8:29 AM on August 30 [40 favorites]


to expand on that, i suppose there are lots of commonalities between the nk regime and these angry white men.
  • they're not in a great spot in life and dramatically unhappy that those they feel like they're better than have improving chances
  • they're desperate to cling onto whatever shreds of power and influence they have remaining
  • they're willing to be more and more provocative in order to get attention
  • a flat out war with them would be devastating
  • they're led by a flabby, arrogant prick with no regard for anything other than stroking their egos
  • the world might be better off without them anywhere near any kind of power
posted by anem0ne at 8:30 AM on August 30 [16 favorites]


So, we all know Trump loves publicity, and he's fixated on some "ratings" that he thinks are high for him. Jimmy Kimmel suggested making Trump the first King of America, then lock him in a castle in Florida, and plenty of folks have suggested Trump get a dummy Twitter app that's really just a closed world with AI to fawn over his every twat. But why not give trump a dummy reality, a la The Truman Show? I'm sure there are some movie sets that are big enough that he can get lost in there, and surround him with extras to pretend he's still the president, and it'd probably cost less than his current activities. Meanwhile we can get on and impeach him, or just consider him missing in action and let Pence take over until the 2018 elections, and we can wipe the board with Dems and move towards repairing everything Trump as ruined with his touch.

Well, that'll be my daydream for the next week, if nothing else.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:30 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]


Because there really isn't another choice, when they have literally the entire country hostage, and the cost of giving them some fucking useless candy and telling them they're precious precious boys is nothing compared to the cost of them lashing out at racial, sexual, and gender minorities just because they Can.

I've yet to see any evidence that lack of getting this "candy" has any causal relationship with their "lashing out." They lash out no matter what we do. Why would we believe them when they say that would make them stop?
posted by melissasaurus at 8:31 AM on August 30 [27 favorites]


My thought is that policies and speeches which directly address white people and which offer real solutions will peel off the white people who are only ignorant or desperate from the ones who enjoy racism. You don't need many. I think that it could be done by addressing people's non-racial communities - rural areas, small towns, counties, communities hit by the opioid crisis, deindustrialized areas. Say "farmers are valuable and we're going to do thus and so" or "towns which have lost industry are important and need more than just 'retraining', and we're going to do this thing" - speak to white people through their positive identities, and through identities which don't separate them from people of color, since small towns and farm communities,
etc, are multiracial places.

A lot of people are committed to racism, and they're going to stay racist no matter what you say. But I think that at least some other people have the potential to think and feel in new ways, and are prevented by ignorance, segregation and lack of positive ways to move. We don't need to win 100% of the white racists, we just need the whatever, 5 or 10 percent who are unconsciously yearning for something else, or consciously yearning for it but think it's not possible.
posted by Frowner at 8:31 AM on August 30 [36 favorites]


there's a hunger out there for policies that help make the lives of everyone better

That's just it. I wish there was a way to get it through the thick skulls of racists and neo-Nazis that the policies liberal Democrats want to implement will benefit everyone. Things like single-payer health care, full employment, universal basic income - we all, whatever the race, creed or gender - stand to benefit. We're all Americans, and all in this together.

I think repellent ideologies are made, not inborn, and while it will probably take a lot of time and patience to undo them, progress has been made before. Women have the vote and can get credit in our own names . Slavery is illegal and so are Jim Crow laws. Same-sex marriage is increasingly legal and accepted, marijuana is legal at least for medical purposes in more and more states. All this was not accomplished by people throwing up their hands and saying "welp. Human nature, nothing we can do." (One big reason why I think evolutionary psychology is not only wrong-headed, but dangerous - it saps and subverts the will to change and improve.)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:31 AM on August 30 [33 favorites]


Hey, looks like Ivanka has stopped pretending with the "we tried to get him to do the right thing" leaks and embraced awfulness.

Newsweek: IVANKA BACKS TRUMP ADMINISTRATION'S PLAN TO SCRAP OBAMA RULES PREVENTING PAY DISCRIMINATION
Ivanka Trump who, with her husband Jared Kushner, had been the hope of moderates trying to gain influence in the White House, has backed the scrapping of the initiative. While she has pushed for equal pay for women, Ivanka said in a statement the policy would not lead to pay equality.

“Ultimately, while I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results,”Ivanka said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work with EEOC, [the Office of Management and Budget], Congress and all relevant stakeholders on robust policies aimed at eliminating the gender wage gap,” she added.

Proponents of the Obama-era plan have defended it on the grounds that it would have created an evidence-based foundation on which to address pay discrimination.

“We’d learn about a pay-discrimination problem because someone saw a piece of paper left on a copy machine or someone was complaining about their salary to co-workers,” Jenny Yang, chairwoman of the EEOC said when the rules were drafted. “Having pay data in summary form will also help us identify patterns that may warrant further investigation,” she added at a June conference.
posted by chris24 at 8:32 AM on August 30 [28 favorites]


sooner or later, like the NK regime, surely these angry white men will be out on their asses with no power, right? The collapse is coming. Like the demographic shift.
posted by anem0ne at 8:33 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


That's just it. I wish there was a way to get it through the thick skulls of racists and neo-Nazis that the policies liberal Democrats want to implement will benefit everyone. Things like single-payer health care, full employment, universal basic income - we all, whatever the race, creed or gender - stand to benefit. We're all Americans, and all in this together.

The problem is that THEY DON'T CARE. They'd much rather be kings of their little shit pile than share the wealth/health/happiness with the rest of us.
posted by lydhre at 8:34 AM on August 30 [34 favorites]


corb, I think you assume that stability is still on the table. That we can find some way to appease the abuser, and then maybe it won't be so bad. But there isn't. Whether they abuse us has nothing to do with us; it's them. There will always be something to be angry about. But being angry isn't the problem; the belief that they're entitled to take that anger out in the rest of is the problem.

Your argument is the one that keeps us locked in a family with an abuser. It might keep you safe for a day or a week or whatever, but that's just marking time until the next time they hurt you. And in the meantime, maybe there are other members of the family who are still getting the brunt of the abuse, even while you or I get a break. For immigrant populations or over policed black communities, there's been no break at all. (If you haven't seen Ava Duvernay's 13th, you should.)

I think "good enough" stability is an illusion, at this point. And I know that your frame of reference is different; I know that for the majority of Americans, things aren't that bad yet. But for a good number, they absolutely are. And the rest of us are becoming aware of that fact. And we're becoming aware of it because the danger is coming ever closer to where we are; because the abuser is escalating; because the abuse is becoming more frequent.

I keep thinking about that Lincoln (maybe?) quote that someone posted a while back, about how the only thing that would appease the Southerner would be if the North would fully sing the praises of slavery, or something. That this Confederate patriarchal fucking demon that lives in this country perceived anything other than adulation and agreement as an attack; that the people who hold these views are so insecure, so imprisoned by their own inability to confront their own moral failings, that they live in a paranoid fantasy land composed entirely of a projection of their own fears and desires. You cannot reason with someone like that, because they do not accept the premise of a shared reality or shared values.

We're trapped in the house with an abusive monster. I don't think we can appease it without enabling it, making it stronger. And even if we could, we can't abandon those of us who are the abuser's scapegoats and chosen targets.

There are no good choices here. But allowing the abuse to continue turns us into something I don't want to be.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:36 AM on August 30 [91 favorites]


You cannot convince a racist that your policies are better because they help everyone, when they know that everyone includes people they don't like.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 8:36 AM on August 30 [22 favorites]


"the party of cultural nostalgia" What, is this the party of slapping your wife, when things go bad at work, and occasionally lynching someone of the wrong color, who wanders into your neighborhood? Or is this the party that makes sure only well off white kids populate the school's play? Or is this the party of drowned poor girls who made the mistake of getting pregnant by yer precious little boys? What the hell nostalgia are they talking about? The party of talking like repulsive pigs, when women and girls pass by? What the fuck good old days are they missing? I am not paying for these days to return. I am not paying for the border wall either, and I am not paying some ass to make money on self aggrandizing hats while serving as POTUS.
posted by Oyéah at 8:37 AM on August 30 [33 favorites]


“Ultimately, while I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results.”

Yes, open books where everyone can see how you've been shafting women and minorities in your workplace will never work. Best course of action is to ask CEOs pretty please and appeal to their better natures. That's how we got minimum wage laws, right?
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:38 AM on August 30 [19 favorites]


Slate (yeah, I know) has a better read on Mattis's reaction to the transgender ban. Long story short: he's not freezing anything, he's not going against the order at all, and at the very least it's way too early to get hopes up.

As I've said before, it's way too easy to project one's own hopes and goals onto Mattis. Hell, now I've done it, too. The truth is you can read his actions and his words as either pro-Trump or damage control or critical of Trump all you want and none of that necessarily means you're right.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:39 AM on August 30 [11 favorites]


Also, this just in: the continued insistence that we must capitulate, accommodate, and compromise with white supremacists is the barrier that protects white supremacists from being overwhelmed and driven off a cliff altogether.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:43 AM on August 30 [45 favorites]


Slate (yeah, I know) has a better read on Mattis's reaction to the transgender ban. Long story short: he's not freezing anything, he's not going against the order at all, and at the very least it's way too early to get hopes up.

Slate really, really needs to cite its fucking sources on this one. They say, "Mattis’ new “study,” by contrast, will almost certainly provide some pseudo-factual cover for the trans ban", but the basis of nothing but their own opinion is not nearly enough for a journalist to write the words "almost certainly."
posted by corb at 8:44 AM on August 30 [6 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!

@barbarastarrcnn
Defense Secretary James Mattis this morning at the Pentagon:
“No, we are never out of diplomatic solutions"

---

Mattis most likely isn't going against the trans ban, but he seems to be contradicting Trump pretty directly here.
posted by chris24 at 8:46 AM on August 30 [15 favorites]


This argument always comes up: progressive policies would help everyone, we just need to convince Trump (or whomever) voters to stop voting against their own interests.

Trouble is, white supremacy is one of their interests. And they've demonstrated that they are willing to sacrifice other things they want or need or could get at the altar of white supremacy. Why else do you think white women voted for Trump en masse, regardless of his obvious misogyny and sexual assault? Their white identity subsumes all else. Whiteness is the ultimate identity politics.

And while pandering to whiteness may temporarily get us back to the status quo (though I have my doubts about even that), the status quo wasn't that great either. And they will continue to hold us hostage, over and over and over again.
posted by Ragini at 8:46 AM on August 30 [52 favorites]


there's a hunger out there for policies that help make the lives of everyone better

... except that white men generally want their "better" to be better than everyone else's better.
posted by hanov3r at 8:49 AM on August 30 [18 favorites]


I wish there was a way to get it through the thick skulls of racists and neo-Nazis that the policies liberal Democrats want to implement will benefit everyone. Things like single-payer health care, full employment, universal basic income - we all, whatever the race, creed or gender - stand to benefit.
It would help if these were policies the Democratic party actually wants to implement. Nothing good will come from catering to Trump voters but Frowner's comment is spot on: there are a lot of populist economic policies that would cater to people living in Trump voting areas (and, of course, other areas too), that would make their lives better. Liberals have to avoid the trap of ignoring the legitimate grievances of people in thrall to a movement indulging their worst impulses.
posted by LarsC at 8:50 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]


> I think that it could be done by addressing people's non-racial communities - rural areas, small towns, counties, communities hit by the opioid crisis, deindustrialized areas.

By what logic are these defined as "non-racial communities?" Rural areas (as defined by the US Census) are 78% white, as compared to 58% in metropolitan areas (source).

Meanwhile, the opioid crisis has disproportionately affected whites, which has led to some very tough questions about why this particular crisis is being treated differently than others.

These are all categories that might not be defined in racial terms, but have a clear racial component to them, so it seems very dangerous to provide special treatment for people dealing with these problems than is given to folks living elsewhere, who might be have different factors preventing them from finding work or different drugs they might be addicted to.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:56 AM on August 30 [15 favorites]


People for whom success is a zero-sum game will never think "helping everyone" is a good idea.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:02 AM on August 30 [66 favorites]


Things like single-payer health care, full employment, universal basic income - we all, whatever the race, creed or gender - stand to benefit. We're all Americans, and all in this together.

There is no viable political organization promising any of those things. Except maybe full employment, which by current definition isn't helping anyone, them included.
posted by FakeFreyja at 9:04 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


> "We're not a democracy, we're a constitutional republic," shouts irate Florida man at U.S. history textbook subtitled "Our Democracy."
Which incidentally is also the mantra of the slashdot*/"Hacker" "News"/Reddit technolibertarian** bro crowd.

* abbreviation for "what's left of former slashdot"
** [sic] implied
posted by runcifex at 9:07 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


so it seems very dangerous to provide special treatment for people dealing with these problems than is given to folks living elsewhere

But there's a big difference between "special treatment" and solutions that work for a particular problem. I mean, you could dish out farm subsidies all down my street and it wouldn't help us because we don't have farms, and similarly, you can't build city-to-city light rail connecting a hundred towns of three hundred each.

My point about these being "non-racial" communities was badly phrased, but it was intended to highlight the way that non-rural, non-small-town white people often think that rural areas and small towns are entirely white, and forget about the many people of color who live outside cities. Policies that help farmers and small towns are believed to be policies that can only help white people, but this is not in fact the case, as long as you make sure the policies themselves don't target white farmers, etc.

Again, I'm not saying "let's try to pull racist white people in through special treatment", I'm saying "let's address the legit grievances of rural, deindustrialized and small town communities with a view to winning over the white people who are not hard-core committed to racism".

In my political life, I have noticed that people of all stripes make a similar mistake - considering the opposition to be one united, ideologically coherent group with shared goals rather than a collection of different groups with different histories and interests. So, eg, the right doesn't understand the difference between, like, Diane Feinstein and the DSA, and the left tends to assume that everyone on the right is equally committed to right wing views and comes to them from the same place.

The point is to break apart the coalitions of the opposition, either by setting them at each other's throats or by finding the ones that can be drawn away from the opposition without compromising your own beliefs.
posted by Frowner at 9:10 AM on August 30 [45 favorites]


> Policies that help farmers and small towns are believed to be policies that can only help white people, but this is not in fact the case, as long as you make sure the policies themselves don't target white farmers, etc.

This idea that the effect of a policy can have a racially disparate impact as long as it's not explicitly targeting people based on their race is the exact same logic conservatives use to say that their electoral maps are non-discriminatory.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:19 AM on August 30 [6 favorites]


Eek, clicked post by accident before I was done responding.

> The point is to break apart the coalitions of the opposition, either by setting them at each other's throats or by finding the ones that can be drawn away from the opposition without compromising your own beliefs.

Yeah, I'm all about this strategy, but I don't think you're acknowledging the downside risk, as noted in the links I cited re: the opioid crisis. Communities of color who were victimized by the war on drugs are now seeing the drug users being treated as the victims, and I worry that all of these special programs targeted (directly or indirectly) to win these Trump voters will end up in a "win the battle, lose the war" dynamic where we get some of them at the expense of so many others who are more natural fits for the Democratic message.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:23 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]


others who are more natural fits for the Democratic message.

And what is that? Explicitly I mean.
posted by FakeFreyja at 9:26 AM on August 30


Yeah, but conservatives are trying to create racially disparate results. Saying "let's build rural internet, let's fix roads, let's develop medical policies that deal with the challenges of rural life and the lack of doctors, let's create support for farmworkers" isn't about trying to sneak in racially disparate results, it's about creating resources that benefit everyone but that are uniquely tailored to spread-out, impoverished and de-industrialized communities dependent on farm-related stuff rather than tailored to crowded, sweatshop-work and retail communities dependent on a wealthy urban core.

It is so weird to me that people seem to be all "rural areas have exactly the same problems as cities, and we should fix them using exactly the same policies". In my urban area, for instance, there are lots of doctors but people can't afford them. In outstate MN, people can't afford doctors - and there aren't any. There are literally about twenty places for me to get dental care within three miles of my house. In rural MN, there are plenty of places where you have to drive for an hour. So the problem in rural MN isn't just getting insurance - it's getting doctors and dentists who are willing to live and work out there. And that's just one example.
posted by Frowner at 9:27 AM on August 30 [28 favorites]


So, Trump wasn't literally jealous of Hurricane Harvey, but attracted to the heavy media attention it was getting, right? Like an insect at night attracted to a light?
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:28 AM on August 30 [16 favorites]


let's build rural internet

This would be huge in a lot of ways, too. Just think of how many of us get our information from a broad and wide internet, whereas a lot of rural people do not. My mother-in-law, before she passed, had only the most rudimentary familiarity with the internet, even though she had access to it, because rural access where she lived was slow and expensive. Consequentially, she got way more of her news from TV/cable, which you can get out there easily.

So you have people being more connected to the world - which, exposure builds tolerance as well - and feeling like at last someone is beginning to address their problems, rather than "city elites don't care about us". It's a win for everyone.
posted by corb at 9:31 AM on August 30 [18 favorites]


> It is so weird to me that people seem to be all "rural areas have exactly the same problems as cities, and we should fix them using exactly the same policies"

Who is saying this? I'm certainly not. The problems are different, but the history of the US from the formation of the Post Office to present day is that the rural and suburban areas get an outsized amount of the help, because we have a lot of land, and have decided that everyone has a right to certain services regardless of where they choose to live. That's fine, but for everything you can point to like rural broadband and difficulty finding doctors (my parents live in a rural area so I'm well acquainted with these problems) I can point to three other problems that urban areas have that are at least as difficult to manage but the federal government isn't trying to assist with, and in fact has generally been opposed to.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:33 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


lydhre: "The problem is that THEY DON'T CARE. They'd much rather be kings of their little shit pile than share the wealth/health/happiness with the rest of us."

Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:34 AM on August 30 [12 favorites]


So you have people being more connected to the world - which, exposure builds tolerance as well - and feeling like at last someone is beginning to address their problems, rather than "city elites don't care about us".

which is, of course, why the internet is known for being a peaceful place of tolerance
posted by entropicamericana at 9:37 AM on August 30 [10 favorites]


Until our political system finds a way to make angry white men less angry, our society will face more turmoil and violence.

My jaw dropped at that one, because really? This is a threat.


This. There's exactly one way—decreasing anger among white men who are angry for fucked up reasons, and like it that way—to prevent large-scale "turmoil and violence?" What the fuck?!
posted by Rykey at 9:37 AM on August 30 [7 favorites]


>>others who are more natural fits for the Democratic message.
>And what is that? Explicitly I mean.


abortions for some, minature american flags for others
posted by entropicamericana at 9:39 AM on August 30 [9 favorites]


The Kodos and Kang thing has not aged well. It's like the ur-story of the Both Sides Are the Same crowd. (Ok, it's really old at this point so they're probably more into South Park's Turd Sandwich -vs- Giant Douche but same idea.)
posted by Justinian at 9:42 AM on August 30 [16 favorites]


I could go for a nice old-fashioned Nude Conspiracy right about now.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:43 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


IVANKA BACKS TRUMP ADMINISTRATION'S PLAN TO SCRAP OBAMA RULES PREVENTING PAY DISCRIMINATION

It's like they say, you either quit having achieved nothing, or stay long enough to see yourself achieve the exact opposite of what you claimed to have been attempting to achieve
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:46 AM on August 30 [19 favorites]




Debt ceiling theorizing:
One of the new leading theories among Senate and House Republicans in Washington is that Congress will combine a three-month stopgap spending bill to keep the government open, the first installment of hurricane relief for Texas and Louisiana and an increase of the federal debt limit. The idea is this package would create an undefeatable constituency across the Capitol. [Politico]
posted by Chrysostom at 9:49 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


So the problem in rural MN isn't just getting insurance - it's getting doctors and dentists who are willing to live and work out there.

Another thing, incidentally, that the Trump administration is working to make worse: nearly one in four doctors working in the United States went to medical school outside of the United States; many are immigrants. Even leaving aside efforts to undermine or repeal the ACA, Trump's stance on immigration -- and that of the Republican party at present -- is making it harder to recruit foreign doctors to come to America. There is no comparable Republican effort to ramp up the training of doctors within the United States to compensate -- and this is doubly problematic because the way the current visa system is structured, foreign medical graduates are encouraged to pursue careers in areas without enough doctors, whether rural or urban:
One way foreign medical graduates can negotiate to stay in the U.S. after their residency is through a visa waiver under which they agree to practice in underserved areas for several years. That’s why some studies estimate that foreign medical graduates are more likely than Americans to work in these doctor deserts.
It might take a few years for the full force of Trump's chilling effect on immigration to be felt in the healthcare field as a whole, but it's already a real issue for schools and teaching hospitals.
posted by cjelli at 9:50 AM on August 30 [56 favorites]


I recently joined a makerspace that is about 85% (urban-dwelling, mostly well-educated, fairly privileged, extremely geeky) white dudes. I'm usually the only woman there. It's been quite the anthropological study of toxic masculinity, and it really does mostly look like these guys just want to be angry. It's the only emotion they ever learned how to work with. It's fun and interesting and if you perform it right it lets all the other dudes know that you're King Dude. There is so much goddamn drama in that building (and the email list), non-stop, all the time, because not one of those guys can just let something go. When the fork in the road says ---Let It Go | Beat Chest --- they always turn hard right.

So, I remain skeptical that handing out cookies will make any of these guys less angry all the damn time. They need to learn some emotional intelligence, or at least learn that they aren't the majority and the majority doesn't care for their whargarbl so please take it elsewhere.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:54 AM on August 30 [88 favorites]


Phillip Bump/WaPo: Trump’s visit to Texas didn’t result in the front-page coverage he no doubt hoped to see
In fact, a survey of major newspapers from across the country shows that, for the most part, front-page coverage was dominated by photos and stories about the storm, playing down or ignoring Trump’s visit. When he appeared at all, the front-page coverage was a small picture of Trump accompanying a story mostly about something else.
...
Of newspapers in the area hit by Harvey, only the Corpus Christi Caller-Times dedicated its full front page to the president’s visit — not unexpected, given that he visited the city itself.

Trump will have a second bite at the apple, with another trip planned to Texas this weekend that his press secretary insisted would include meetings with evacuees.

Just in time for the Sunday papers.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:01 AM on August 30 [14 favorites]


I can point to three other problems that urban areas have that are at least as difficult to manage but the federal government isn't trying to assist with, and in fact has generally been opposed to.

So you're just saying "don't bother addressing rural problems with policies geared toward them until all the problems of cities are solved, because the voters in rural and suburban areas [despite the fact that the suburbs are getting poorer, at least around here, while the city gets richer] already get too much help and nothing that we do to address their problems will translate into votes anyway"? I mean, that's what I'm getting from you, plus a little "we can't address two sets of problems at once".
posted by Frowner at 10:04 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


When he appeared at all, the front-page coverage was a small picture of Trump accompanying a story mostly about something else.

Actually, it was Melania's heels that were shown front and center, with T off to the side. Wonder how he felt about that.
posted by Melismata at 10:06 AM on August 30


This is a political catch-all thread so I can share that I just learned that The Young Turks featuring former Armenian Genocide-denier Cenk Uygur are named after the group that committed the Armenian Genocide and my head is spinning
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:07 AM on August 30 [13 favorites]


Joseph Gurl: Back in 2004, Karl Rove and the Republicans goosed up turnout for Bush by putting a series of red-meat state-level ballot initiatives on the ballot. The idea was that the base wouldn't necessarily turn out to vote for Bush. They would turn out, though, to vote against gay marriage. And it worked. In 2018, the GOP is planning to do a reprise: only this time, they don't think so-called social issues will turn out the base. Instead, they want to focus on economic issues like tax cuts.

Trump Hits The Road To Promote Tax Cuts (Details To Come) (NPR, Aug. 30, 2017)

Yes, "(Details To Come)" is part of the article's title, because National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn has only gotten the Republican congressional leaders to commit "only to a vague statement of principles that calls for lower tax rates on both individuals and businesses."
Cohn said it will be up to lawmakers to fill in the details.

"We've got a great, I would say, skeleton," Cohn told reporters earlier this month. "We need the Ways and Means Committee to put some muscle and skin on the skeleton and drive tax reform forward. And it's our objective to do that between now and the end of the year."
...
Mnuchin insists tax cuts are now Trump's No. 1 priority.

"He's going to go on the road," Mnuchin said. "The president is 100 percent supportive of us passing legislation this year."
...
Mnuchin conceded that rewriting the tax code is a taller order than he initially imagined.

"Earlier in the year I said I thought we'd get it done by August, and I was wrong," the Treasury secretary said. "I am now going to say that I'm very hopeful, and I think we can get this done by the end of the year, but we will continue to revisit it."
So the big plan to boost GOP turn-out is another "let's let congress figure it out." Let's see, what major legislation has congress passed? President Trump has signed 53 bills into law. Here's what they do (Jennifer Hansler, CNN, Aug. 23, 2017)
In all, two of the laws has created a new policy, 15 have rolled back rules and regulations issued under Obama's administration, 10 had to do with designating something or working to create a new initiative, 11 changed or expanded existing legislation, and 15 were related to government funding or operations.
...
Here's a look at when those bills were signed into law and what they actually do, according to Congress.gov and CNN reporting.

New policy legislation
August 2, 2017: H.R. 3364 - Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act
This legislation levies new sanctions against Russia and restricts Trump's own ability to ease sanctions in place against Moscow. The bill passed overwhelmingly in Congress. In a statement, Trump called the legislation "seriously flawed."

June 23, 2017: S. 1094 - "Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017"
This law gives the agency's leaders the ability to fire inept employees and protect those who uncover and report wrongdoing at the VA. Its signing represents the completion of one of Trump's campaign promises. It passed both bodies of Congress with broad bipartisan support.
Emphasis mine. Let's face it, Trump's more of a promise breaker and "I'll get to it later" kind of leader than a deal-maker. His administration could be put under the banner of "We thought this [thing] would be easier."

Trump Will Get His Tax Cuts, Vast Majority of Economists Say (Rich Miller and Catarina Saraiva, Bloomberg, August 14, 2017)
- Yet survey suggests the impact on economy will be limited
- Fed seen raising interest rates, which may blunt stimulus
The Bloomberg survey forecasts growth in 2018 to be only slightly higher than this year -- 2.3 percent versus 2.1 percent, according to median projections from a broader pool of 71 economists. What’s more, analysts see the economy losing momentum in 2019, with expansion falling back to 2 percent, contrasting with the Trump administration’s forecast of a further pickup.
Their graph is pretty stark, contrasting the gleefully optimistic Trump administration forecast and the dour Economists' median forecast, predicting growth to slow into 2018, then decline into 2019.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:09 AM on August 30 [22 favorites]


We all know the saying "When you're used to privilege, equality can feel like oppression", right?
Well that's exactly what's going on with these "angry white men". They mainly see what's happening to them without the larger context of why it's happening or how it will ultimately benefit them, if done right.
We all see reality through our own distorted lenses...that's just basic human psychology, and these people are no different. So the idea of just totally writing off this entire group, some of whom have been less privileged than others, and treating them as a single monolithic block of whiny crybabies who knowingly want others to suffer so they can get back their rightful place at "the top" (as if some of them were even remotely near the top of anything) is just wrong.
Their mindset is created almost entirely from ignorance: ignorance of what real discrimination looks and feels like, ignorance of their own privileges, ignorance of how unfettered capitalism is really causing their economic situation. And you don't fight ignorance with disdain...you replace it with knowledge and truth. And maybe the worst part is we may have to be a little bit empathetic with their situation (horrors!!!) to make them open up a bit and be receptive to that truth and knowledge.

And let me be clear: I'm not advocating capitulating, accommodating, or compromising with white supremacists. Fuck them. They are scum and must be destroyed by force. Nor am I concerned about protecting anyone's precious white male feelings. I'm talking about replacing ignorance with truth. Because the right is all over these guys with their lies, and if the left's response is just to ignore them and leave them to believe those lies, then I believe that's a huge missed opportunity for ultimately creating the progressive and inclusive society we supposedly want to create here.
Unless you're just looking for an enemy to fight, in which case, carry on.
posted by rocket88 at 10:11 AM on August 30 [19 favorites]


And on more current, pressing financial issues and concerns: Why Approving Emergency Funding For Harvey Might Not Be Easy For Congress (NPR, Aug. 30, 2017)
Funding for cleanup and rebuilding will likely pass — but it probably won't be easy.

"I sort of see it as everyone holding their breath," Sarah Binder, a congressional expert at the Brookings Institution, said about the coming stretch of deadlines.

Funding for the government expires Sept. 30. The deadline for raising the debt ceiling hits next month, too. It has been increasingly hard to round up conservative support for both measures in recent years. "It's not yet clear how exactly they're going to proceed," Binder said. "And there's the wild card of the president who has threatened to shut down the government if they don't fund a border wall."

Several popular government programs expire at the end of September, too, and need reauthorization votes beforehand.

That is the backdrop that urgent Harvey funding will be added to.

"The federal funds are absolutely essential to recovery," says Edward Richards, director of Louisiana State University's Climate Change Law and Policy Project.

Over the past six decades, the federal government has become the prime funder and driver of recovery efforts after major storms.
Economic Impact Of Harvey Could Be Felt Nationwide Before It's Over (NPR, Aug. 28, 2017)
Chuck Watson, who studies the economic impact of natural disasters for Enki Holdings, says the cost to the economy from the flooding is likely to be $30 billion. That's because of the rain.
...
About a third of Houston's economy is directly tied to the oil and gas industry. But the region is also home to non-energy companies, both small manufacturers and large corporations such as KBR, Waste Management and the food service giant Sysco.

Many of those companies have shut down in Harvey's wake, as have several hospitals, both major airports and the Port Of Houston.
...
"In Houston you're going to have street signs, traffic lights, traffic signals, road damage, culverts, a tremendous amount of public infrastructure damage, and of course, there's no insurance. That just comes right out of the taxpayers," Watson says.

It's not clear yet how many homes have been destroyed yet, but right now Watson estimates the cost of repairing residential properties will be about $12 billion.

Most of that damage won't be covered by insurance, because homeowners' policies typically don't cover flooding. While coverage is available through a federal program, most people never bother to get it, says Loretta Worters, spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute.

Watson also worries about something else.

Some of Houston's oil refineries are closed right now for a simple logistical reason: Streets are flooded and their employees can't get to them.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:16 AM on August 30 [7 favorites]


Their mindset is created almost entirely from ignorance: ignorance of what real discrimination looks and feels like, ignorance of their own privileges, ignorance of how unfettered capitalism is really causing their economic situation. And you don't fight ignorance with disdain...you replace it with knowledge and truth.

I hear what you're saying and I admire / envy your faith in the ability to change which might exist in some of these guys, but it's not as if knowledge and truth have not been on offer to them for quite some time. We're seeing right now that a large proportion of them prefer the lie and will go to absurd lengths to cling to it just a little longer. The talking points coming out of the right barely make sense any more. "BLM is a terrorist group!" "Whites are the most discriminated against!" "The Deep State is a Thing!" "Charlottesville was a Clinton / Soros hoax, just like Sandy Hook, and any other real world incident which kicks the legs out from under my belief system!"

Some of these chuckleheads wouldn't give up cisheteronormative white Christian patriarchy even if Christ himself showed up and said "enough already." They'd probably be too busy wondering about Christ's immigrant status to hear a word he said. They know the reality of the world on some level, they just refuse to accept it or put up with anyone else accepting it around them. I don't know what we do with dudes like that. Seems to me we've already tried giving their delusions room to breathe.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:20 AM on August 30 [30 favorites]


> So you're just saying "don't bother addressing rural problems with policies geared toward them until all the problems of cities are solved, because the voters in rural and suburban areas [despite the fact that the suburbs are getting poorer, at least around here, while the city gets richer] already get too much help and nothing that we do to address their problems will translate into votes anyway"? I mean, that's what I'm getting from you, plus a little "we can't address two sets of problems at once".

Not at all, and I think I've explained myself clearly above, so I'm almost to the point where I'm wondering if you want to engage with the arguments I'm making. You're the one who explicitly tied these programs to politics by making an argument centered around using them to divide the Trumpist coalition. I am fine with policies that help alleviate suffering wherever it's happening, and I can be talked into the more cynical strategy of using policy initiatives (as long as they're good ideas on their own) to win elections.

What I'm not okay with is when policy initiatives are chosen only (or primarily) because political consultants want One Weird Trick to winning elections. This is because political consultants tend do a bad job seeing the forest for the trees -- instead of some policies aimed at splitting the deplorables and some other policies aimed at shoring up the party's natural ideological base, it is likely to be all deplorables, all the time. Witness the avalanche of stories about the "white working class" and the deafening silence on rural people of color, urban whites, and anyone else who wasn't part of the tiny sliver of the electorate that handed Trump his victory.

Can politicians do multiple things at once? Sure, but under the current conditions, Democrats aren't going to be able to do any of these things at the federal level, so it's all about political messaging and promises for when Democrats retake power. I'm fine with red state Democrats running on policies that help their people, but when it becomes Tim Ryan of Ohio lecturing the party to run on those same policies nationally because "that's where the votes are", that's where I begin smashing my monitor and throwing my keyboard across the room. There are a lot of votes elsewhere as well.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:22 AM on August 30 [10 favorites]


Some of these chuckleheads wouldn't give up cisheteronormative white Christian patriarchy even if Christ himself showed up and said "enough already."

he arguably already did
posted by tivalasvegas at 10:24 AM on August 30 [23 favorites]


We all know the saying "When you're used to privilege, equality can feel like oppression", right?

I've mentioned before on the Blue about how I one day received an email from one of my long-term friends (who described himself as a "crunchy conservative", as in, supposedly enlightened about social equality, the environment, etc.) telling me that "heterosexual, white, evangelical males are the most victimized, persecuted group in America today."

My reaction, after initial incredulity, then a few responses attempting to gently ask questions and try to lead him to understand why he expressed that view, was to eventually tell him how he had basically been born at the front of the line, and is now getting upset that other people are getting their turn. That equality means something - it's not just a word - and it sometimes means that the privileged position you've enjoyed without even thinking about it may be eroded, yes, because you need to make room for others. He responded heatedly, accusing me of calling him a racist (I hadn't used that word, but it was the inevitable inference). I've not communicated with him since. That was eight years ago.

We used to go to church together, go dirt-bike riding, shooting, martial arts, etc., etc. Talked a lot about personal things. Never did I get a sense of his views on racial privilege before then. I guess it took 12 years of knowing him, and him having a tough day, to finally express what he felt in his heart. It was very sad to lose a friend to such a disease.
posted by darkstar at 10:28 AM on August 30 [53 favorites]


In my political life, I have noticed that people of all stripes make a similar mistake - considering the opposition to be one united, ideologically coherent group with shared goals rather than a collection of different groups with different histories and interests.... The point is to break apart the coalitions of the opposition, either by setting them at each other's throats or by finding the ones that can be drawn away from the opposition without compromising your own beliefs.
I doubt this is what you had in mind, and I no way say this to defend this demographic, but one common mistake made here and elsewhere when speaking about the Trump deplorables is to refer to them as "angry white men."* As it happens, over 50% of white women voted for Trump, and of the deplorables (those who still strongly approve), my guess is at least 40% are white women. Again, I say this neither to defend white dudes nor drag down white women, but more to point out that there do still remain strategic possibilities in leveraging the gender divide within the right. Clinton and/or Trump already did this -- witness the much higher percentage of white men who voted for Trump -- but if one wants to be ruthlessly strategic (i.e., put aside thoughts of deservingness), there are probably numerous opportunities to peel off a few more Trump-voting white women through targeted policies, notwithstanding the fact that most of them are anti-abortion misogynists. The true deplorables -- male and female -- are probably a lost cause, but the majority of weakly-pro-Trump Republicans are probably white women, a few percent of whom could probably be swayed in the right circumstances. Of course, I also agree with tonycpsu that historically, attempts to target these women by the DNC have focused on blanket centrist soccer-mom strategies, so we have to be careful in thinking about how we target what would be, at best, the far right flank of the Democratic party.

[* I also understand that in many if not most cases when talking about white men here, we are discussing them independent of Trump voting per se -- e.g., in nazi marches -- where of course the shorthand makes more sense since a far higher percentage of active nazi supporters seem to be male.]
posted by chortly at 10:35 AM on August 30 [15 favorites]


It's not so much that the deplorables are all angry white men but that their agenda is being set by angry white men. Essentially deplorables = angry white men + their allies.
posted by xigxag at 10:56 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


Nor am I concerned about protecting anyone's precious white male feelings. I'm talking about replacing ignorance with truth.

Right on!

In theory, once they've seen the light, their own realization of the harm they've caused will hopefully be punishment enough.

Even then, it's not about them, it's about stopping the potential harm they'll cause in the future to others, if that happens to mean that they can also live a happy and fulfilling life that they don't deserve, then so be it. It's like the reverse of welfare, we know that some undeserving people are going to get helped but we minimize it when we can and just tolerate it in the name of the greater good when we can't.

I would LOVE for all of these guys to get the comeuppance they deserve but if I have to choose between racists getting their comeuppance and actually minimizing the effects of institutional racism, I'll happily trade that comeuppance for an end to that fight.
posted by VTX at 10:56 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


I know it was discussed some upthread, but I am still amazed at President Pants-On-Fire's complete lack of empathy, and the lack of even any attempt to show empathy even if faked. Surely someone is telling him to act like he cares, to say something meaningful, to reassure people in a devastating crisis.
posted by theora55 at 11:02 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]


Joy Reid last night on the Daily Show, talking about elections, what Democrats need to do, and of course, scrotus. Really worth a watch.
posted by numaner at 11:03 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


Bernie Sanders: single-payer is not a "litmus test"

"Litmus test" is a term I wish we could just erase from our political discourse, but we're stuck with it, so I'm glad Bernie's pushing back here. Reading between the lines a bit in the context of his other remarks about the ACA, he seems like he understands that it's going to be impossible to build support for single-payer if the ACA doesn't have strong support, and that someone who supports keeping the ACA but not single-payer is better to have in a red district than someone who might be wobbly on the ACA or oppose it entirely. Good for him.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:05 AM on August 30 [12 favorites]


The Denver Statement might cheer you up, if you're looking for a faith response to the Nashville Statement.

I would like to see fewer Statements and more Actions, but that's what I always say about religion.
posted by blnkfrnk at 11:06 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


So the idea of just totally writing off this entire group, some of whom have been less privileged than others, and treating them as a single monolithic block of whiny crybabies who knowingly want others to suffer so they can get back their rightful place at "the top" (as if some of them were even remotely near the top of anything) is just wrong.
...
Nor am I concerned about protecting anyone's precious white male feelings. I'm talking about replacing ignorance with truth.


I'm a straight white man who grew up in South Dakota in an evangelical, Republican home. I was a Republican for 20 years. So I don't view white men as a monolith or beyond hope, because if that was true I'd be fighting for the other side. Yes it is possible to educate/convince some white male Republicans. But at the point that these white males are still rabid Trump supporters after two years of his campaign and 8 months of his presidency, a campaign and presidency defined by racism, misogyny, incompetence and graft, I think you've pretty much exhausted the reasonable, convincible ones. The people left are the ones committed/awful/damaged enough that any attempt by a liberal to persuade will only anger them and push them further away.

And even for the few that might with just the right approach and all the time in the world be convincible, the effort and energy required is way out of proportion to the benefit. We're much better off spending that time protecting voting rights, registering voters, persuading independents, protecting those threatened by Trump. etc. At some point, needing to work so hard for so few white people is basically another form of institutional racism, essentially saying that these people are more important.
posted by chris24 at 11:11 AM on August 30 [95 favorites]


The Denver Statement might cheer you up, if you're looking for a faith response to the Nashville Statement.

Denver is at a higher altitude, therefore closer to God, so their Statement trumps the Nashvillains'.
posted by Etrigan at 11:15 AM on August 30 [19 favorites]


"Toward the end of World War II, Jean-Paul Sartre looked at the anti-Semites of Europe and saw something that still sounds familiar. 'Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies,' he wrote in the 1944 essay 'Anti-Semite and Jew'. They 'are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words'. Anti-Semites 'delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert'."
Trumpism, by and large, is not born of ignorance. It's born out of willful contempt for the norms of civil society and civil debate. It is - pretty much explicitly - about spite and revenge.

People don't arrive at Trumpism because they're interested in truth, but got misled somewhere along the way. It happens because they're interested in dominance, and found that deferring to truth frustrates that goal. And this state of affairs got started long before Trump came down that escalator.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 11:15 AM on August 30 [144 favorites]


I'm a straight white man who grew up in South Dakota in an evangelical, Republican home. I was a Republican for 20 years. So I don't view white men as a monolith or beyond hope, because if that was true I'd be fighting for the other side. Yes it is possible to educate/convince some white male Republicans.

On the one hand, I agree with you; few people are beyond hope. But on the other... might I go out on a limb and guess your eyes were opened after you moved out of the evangelical, Republican home in South Dakota? I mean, I guess I could be wrong, but generally it's much more difficult for people to get deprogrammed while they're still drinking the Koolaid.
posted by Justinian at 11:17 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]


Berkeley Mayor: Classify Antifa as a gang

“I think we should classify them as a gang,” said Arreguin. “They come dressed in uniforms. They have weapons, almost like a militia and I think we need to think about that in terms of our law enforcement approach.”

Arreguin said that while he does not support the far right, it was time to draw the line on the left as well, especially on the black-clad activists who showed up in force and took over both the protests and the park, and played a part in Sunday’s violent clashes.

“I think we are going to have to think ‘big picture’ about what is the strategy for how we are going to deal with these violent elements on the left as well,” said the mayor.

The mayor said it was also time for the non-violent protesters to take a stand.

“We also need to hold accountable and encourage people not to associate with these extremists because it empowers them and gives them cover,” said Arreguin.


lmao @ "almost like a militia". I find that hilarious, especially when over here in Portland our Republican party is literally using a militia as protection.

Politico: How Militias Became the Private Police for White Supremacists
In the Trump era, armed antigovernment groups have found common cause with Nazis, KKK and other white nationalists.

posted by gucci mane at 11:18 AM on August 30 [29 favorites]


On the one hand, I agree with you; few people are beyond hope. But on the other... might I go out on a limb and guess your eyes were opened after you moved out of the evangelical, Republican home in South Dakota? I mean, I guess I could be wrong, but generally it's much more difficult for people to get deprogrammed while they're still drinking the Koolaid.

I agree. My history wasn't meant to say it was easy or even probable, but just possible in some circumstances. And as a counterpoint to the comment that we supposedly viewed it as impossible and hopeless. The rest of my comment was intended to show how difficult any deprogramming was going to be, especially with people still supporting him with the manifest incompetence and racism, and that it wasn't a good use of time and resources.
posted by chris24 at 11:23 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]


Right. I hope people in those communities keep up the fight but yeah we've got to focus on voting rights, etc.
posted by Justinian at 11:25 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


I find it deeply disturbing that the mayor of Berkeley hasn't proposed classifying militias as gangs. Or neo-Nazis as gangs. Or the KKK as a gang.

Nope, the only political group he wants to think of as a gang are the antifa.

And Berkeley is theoretically "liberal".
posted by sotonohito at 11:26 AM on August 30 [59 favorites]


Somebody on a past election thread linked to a metaphor that's popular among Trump supporters: that of a long line of people waiting for their piece of the American Dream. For them, justice and equality efforts are like giving other people (undeserving, of course) a cut in line ahead of them. I remember the article linked in the comment saying lots of people interviewed said "Yes, that's exactly how I feel."

A much more useful analogy is a table, where people gather around for their piece of the dream. Everyone gathered around gets a voice, and efforts at more equality and justice mean you make the table bigger, and see that more people get a chair. So when you're at the table arguing for your piece of the pie, you're no more "ahead" than anybody else, you have to acknowledge that others are there, and it's to your own advantage to persuade others to your side.

I'm going to a family event this fall where I unfortunately might get the chance to try the table metaphor out, depending on which topics get raised in conversation. I wish I were optimistic about how well it will work.
posted by Rykey at 11:27 AM on August 30 [18 favorites]


“They come dressed in uniforms. They have weapons, almost like a militia and I think we need to think about that in terms of our law enforcement approach.”

Oh, how about the Nazis then?
posted by Artw at 11:28 AM on August 30 [23 favorites]


Trevor Noah fleetingly referred to 'left wing violence in Berkely' this week, which seriously pissed me off.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 11:31 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


Trump scheduled to go onstage in Springfield for tax cut blather any minute now...
posted by Rykey at 11:31 AM on August 30


The rest of my comment was intended to show how difficult any deprogramming was going to be...

The political class left doesn't even need to go into reprogramming. Just reclaim populism and present a case for why it is directly in that person's best interest to vote D. If you can't come up with a reason it is in a person's direct interest to vote D, then you have come to the root of the problem. And maybe it isn't a problem - maybe neither party has any intention of offering anything to these people. But at least one party is paying lip service.
posted by FakeFreyja at 11:31 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]


Numerous neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups are already classified as gangs...
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 11:31 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


save alive nothing that breatheth: Numerous neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups are already classified as gangs...

Not the people who are there literally dressed up in uniforms, carrying assault rifles. Nor the guys that have been at Berkeley before dressed with large sticks and shields and wearing uniforms.
posted by gucci mane at 11:38 AM on August 30 [9 favorites]


Trevor Noah fleetingly mentioned 'left wing violence in Berkely' this week, which seriously pissed me off.

Taking a page from his predecessor's book. Remember the 2010 Rally to Restore Sanity?

Per Wikipedia:
"Its stated purpose was to provide a venue for attendees to be heard above what Stewart described as the more vocal and extreme 15–20% of Americans who "control the conversation" of American politics."

In retrospect, that sounds a bit like "bad people on many sides".
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:39 AM on August 30 [9 favorites]


This is your streaming link for Trump's tax speech, should you wish to spend your time learning absolutely nothing about his tax plan, which has nothing to do with Congress's tax plan. So yeah, waste your time here I guess.
posted by zachlipton at 11:41 AM on August 30 [6 favorites]


Yeah I'm watching. So far he's found time to say how beautiful the governor(?)'s wife is, but not mention the hurricane or its victims.
posted by Justinian at 11:43 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


First off, the concept of "gang" is racialized and that's why it's being mobilized against the left - with the hope of tapping into racial bias and fear.

Classifying "antifa" as a gang would mean de facto classifying much of the young left as a gang, not because everyone considers themselves to be antifa but because wearing black and a bandana at protests is not that unusual, and we all know that "weapons" are what cops want to consider weapons, so a semi-automatic can just be an accessory while your scissors are a weapon. I mean, that would be really, really bad - I cannot overstate how bad it would be.

"Antifa" is like "environmentalist" in that there definitely are people who identify as antifa, there definitely are things that they have in common, but it's a very broad term and there's no real process of membership. I have been in a thousand person Charlottesville solidarity march where everyone was chanting "we are all antifa". Were we all wearing black and carrying weapons? Of course not. I'd like to think most of us would be willing to clock a Nazi if the need arose, but most of us - like most people, antifa or not - do not preferentially seek out hitting as a problem-solving technique.

I mean, if "wears black, has worn a bandanna at protests while also wearing black and has at least once in their life physically scuffled with Nazis or cops" means that one is part of a gang, everyone in my immediate social circle is a gang member.

It's proof once again that wealthy, powerful liberals hate the left as much as or more than they hate the right. Anyone with a grain of sense can see that this "antifa are a gang" thing is either stupid or evil - it would obviously be used very very broadly against the left, just as saying that "environmentalists" are a gang would be. Anyone who asserts that "antifa" are a gang is either ignorant or malicious.
posted by Frowner at 11:44 AM on August 30 [81 favorites]


Oh there he goes, he just had to work in the glad-handing first. I wonder if he'll mention how he repealed Obama's flood rules a week ago? At least he's saying something I guess, even if it's obvious he's only doing it because it's expected.
posted by Justinian at 11:46 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


This is in a factory, so does that mean this is pretty much staff only? The applause seems somewhat muted and polite, so I'm guessing yes. Also, I'd hate to be an anti-Trump employee there, either having to go or feeling like I should if I didn't want to stand out.
posted by Rykey at 11:49 AM on August 30


"I want to praise the hardworking men and women in the audience!"

"You mean we're getting tax cuts too?"

"Oh good lord, no. No. Ha ha, oh man. No not you."
posted by FakeFreyja at 11:51 AM on August 30 [23 favorites]


That's just it. I wish there was a way to get it through the thick skulls of racists and neo-Nazis that the policies liberal Democrats want to implement will benefit everyone. Things like single-payer health care, full employment, universal basic income - we all, whatever the race, creed or gender - stand to benefit. We're all Americans, and all in this together.

Here's the thing. These people are reacting based on past experience. BECAUSE of the incredibly strict limitations put on social benefits at the demand of the GOP, people who are just slightly better off, with jobs, are turned away from lots of welfare. So they hear welfare and think "not for me." Therefore they demand even stricter requirements and vetting to make sure no one less deserving than them gets it.

To change minds we need to enact some TRULY universal social programs ala social security and Medicare that AREN'T income dependent. Obamacare was just one more where people slightly better off and healthy saw a lack of assistance (especially in GOP controlled states that rejected the Medicaid expansion) and felt like they got screwed. (I will forever bitterly laugh at an able-bodied person complaining about how expensive their healthcare is because they pay like $200/month, when that's a fraction of the cost of one of my household's meds, but...)

So yes, we need to tell people these programs help everyone, but first we need to design programs that ACTUALLY HELP EVERYONE instead of bowing to GOP pressure about making sure the recipients are properly "deserving."
posted by threeturtles at 11:51 AM on August 30 [28 favorites]


The applause on "crushing tax burden on our companies and our workers" seemed pretty tepid, which is what tends to happen when you lead with corporate tax cuts. They're cheering quite loudly for the boss though, who Trump just made stand up. He also made Ivanka stand up randomly.

So far, pretty strict telepromptering.
posted by zachlipton at 11:52 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


Holy shit he's talking about how other countries are unhappy when GDP growth is "down to 7%". Is he stupid? I think he's stupid?

OK moron, let me spell this out for you; there's a difference between a developing nation and a fully developed nation.
posted by Justinian at 11:53 AM on August 30 [23 favorites]


Watching the American people get swindled again.

The rich will get their tax cuts and the growth figures won't be anywhere near what he promises.
posted by Talez at 11:53 AM on August 30 [6 favorites]


Trump relating now how troubled he was all these years watching American workers get further and further behind. Yeah, I could hear the heartfelt emotion in his voice.

And all we need to do is hit 10 percent GDP growth per year. Easy!
posted by Rykey at 11:55 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


I can only hope the CBO step up and say "you're going to blow a giant fucking hole in the budget".
posted by Talez at 11:58 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


The pay raise needs to come from wages not taxes you orange blowhole.
posted by Talez at 11:58 AM on August 30 [16 favorites]


The 1986 tax reform plan he's praising is something he slammed all through the 80s and 90s for causing a recession and making him go broke.
posted by zachlipton at 11:58 AM on August 30 [50 favorites]


This is disgusting.
posted by Talez at 12:00 PM on August 30 [2 favorites]


Calling for McCaskill to be voted out of office now.
posted by Rykey at 12:01 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]


Is it legal for him to campaign against McCaskill like that at a taxpayer-funded event? This isn't a campaign rally.
posted by zachlipton at 12:02 PM on August 30 [32 favorites]


Is it legal for him to campaign against McCaskill like that at a taxpayer-funded event? This isn't a campaign rally.

Does it really matter?
posted by Talez at 12:04 PM on August 30 [24 favorites]


Trump: if we can't renegotiate NAFTA, we'll terminate it.
posted by Rykey at 12:05 PM on August 30


Lower taxes mean higher wages? If that was happening we would have seen wages rise since we cut taxes massively since the '60s.

Trickle down makes its roaring comeback.
posted by Talez at 12:07 PM on August 30 [30 favorites]


Yeah, his attacks on Claire McCaskill are so inappropriate. It's truly hard to imagine any other sitting President trash-talking a sitting Senator while visiting her state. At this point it feels redundant to say THIS IS NOT NORMAL, but seriously. He's a hideous garbage clown.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 12:08 PM on August 30 [62 favorites]


The chyron on MSNBC says:
TRUMP PRAISES REAGAN-ERA TAX REFORM (ONCE CALLED IT A DISASTER THAT RUINED ECONOMY)
Guess the producers are all out of evens.
posted by Justinian at 12:08 PM on August 30 [102 favorites]


Gee, I wonder if he is, maybe, just repeating what other people told him to say.
posted by Melismata at 12:11 PM on August 30 [2 favorites]


"Its stated purpose was to provide a venue for attendees to be heard above what Stewart described as the more vocal and extreme 15–20% of Americans who "control the conversation" of American politics."

In retrospect, that sounds a bit like "bad people on many sides".


On the contrary, it sounds much more like "trying to reach out to the NOT-bad people on both sides".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:12 PM on August 30 [7 favorites]


TRUMP PRAISES REAGAN-ERA TAX REFORM (ONCE CALLED IT A DISASTER THAT RUINED ECONOMY)

TRUMP PRAISES WHATEVER IS USEFUL IN THE MOMENT (DOESN'T KNOW WHAT IT MEANS)
posted by jason_steakums at 12:12 PM on August 30 [75 favorites]


>Is it legal for him to campaign against McCaskill like that at a taxpayer-funded event? This isn't a campaign rally.

Does it really matter?


Yes. Oh, I doubt that, if it is illegal, there will be any enforcement; and if there is enforcement, I doubt that it will be meaningful. But: we talk about Trump as someone who breaks norms, and how we perhaps need to codify some of those norms into law (while also realizing that laws are not self-enforcing); we need also talk about, or at least consider, which laws Trump is actually breaking, because those are, if not enforced now, worth keeping track of for the sake of future reforms.

If it is legal: should it be?
If it's not legal: will the law be enforced?
If it's not enforced: why not, and what can we change, or lobby congress to change, to increase the chances that it will be?

I'd highlight, here, former Office of Government Ethic's chief Walter Shaub's resignation, and his statements about it, viz: --
I do think that, based on recent experiences, the Ethics Office needs more power than it’s had before, because its functions depended on a White House that wanted to support the ethics program.

So, when [the White House] threw roadblocks in the way of the supervising Ethics Office’s ability to again access to routine ethics documents, that was a clear signal that OGE didn’t have enough ability to carry out its mission.
That's the kind of question we should be asking -- or demanding that others ask; we can't just throw up our arms in resignation and presume that because Trump is getting away with something in the moment, that nothing can be done in later moments.
posted by cjelli at 12:12 PM on August 30 [27 favorites]


"Let's put the partisan posturing behind us." LOLOLOL
posted by Rykey at 12:13 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]


> Jesus fucking Christ, did the New York Times seriously give Erik Prince a spot in the Opinion section to talk about how Trump should appoint him Viceroy of Afghanistan? Disgusting.

sorry, marge, the mob has spoken
posted by tonycpsu at 12:18 PM on August 30 [13 favorites]


Well, that was useless AF. Taxes will be lower, which means more jobs and a unicorn for every American. The one specific thing he said that wasn't just flat out false is that he wants a corporate tax rate of 15%, but it sounds like even he knows he can't have that. At no point did he acknowledge any link whatsoever besides tax rates and the budget or at any time display an understanding that the government not only collects money, but spends it as well. His grand populist idea is that we cut corporate tax rates, and he'll just keep repeating the claim that will lead to higher wages until people start to believe it.

Oh, and Gary Cohn, who made the trip, got snubbed.
posted by zachlipton at 12:20 PM on August 30 [5 favorites]


I do think that, based on recent experiences, the Ethics Office needs more power than it’s had before, because its functions depended on a White House that wanted to support the ethics program.

It's long past time for another branch of government that is like an independent Internal Affairs, it's just stupid that the executive has control over not just the OGE but also has the ultimate control over the Marshals, nominally officers beholden to the courts who will inevitably find themselves stuck in the middle of the courts and the executive. Not to mention the incredibly thin wire by which Mueller's entire operation is hanging. Checking and balancing a branch like that might be difficult but it's worth the effort.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:21 PM on August 30 [2 favorites]


Also, campaign legality issues asides, that's the President of the United States taking a moment to attack other Americans during one of the country's most severe national disasters. It's literally the opposite of him calling for unity; it's exactly not presidential.

Not that anyone here really needs evidence of that, but still worth calling out.
posted by cjelli at 12:22 PM on August 30 [32 favorites]


More care should be taken to distinguish Antifa and Blac Bloc (sp?) but sure, there are shitheads on the left (who some think might be agents provocateur but might also be essentially vandals who just like to smash things up).

There's no point in claiming everyone on the left is a saint, but that's miles away from equating Antifa and neo-nazis. Thankfully Trump got killed even by Republicans when he did equate them, but let's not surrender to B&W thinking. That's the Right's natural home.
posted by msalt at 12:27 PM on August 30 [12 favorites]


Animated skeleton Ann Coulter hated the tax speech, apparently: "Oh stop pretending this is about letting "families" keep more of their money. HALF OF AMERICANS DONT PAY TAXES! This is for Wall Street."

[real, but also confusing]

In a series of tweets she seems to say that: a. Jeb could have done better, b. Trump is too concerned with "helping yuppie women with child care costs," and c. that he should only focus on corporate taxes (and building the wall).

she called it the "most tone-deaf speech" he has ever given, although apparently for very different reasons than I would have.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:31 PM on August 30 [5 favorites]


The chyron on MSNBC says: TRUMP PRAISES REAGAN-ERA TAX REFORM (ONCE CALLED IT A DISASTER THAT RUINED ECONOMY)

The chyrons got more pointed.

TRUMP TALKS TAXES AS GULF DEATH TOLL CLIMBS TO 19
posted by chris24 at 12:35 PM on August 30 [71 favorites]


To follow-up with my own comment above, when lower-income but still out-of-poverty whites DO try to get benefits, they run into the MASSES of red tape and waiting lists and litmus tests that the GOP has put in place and get angry about government bureaucracy. I'm speaking as someone who has done intake for more than one kind of public benefit and has dealt with this right wing "but where is my free cadillac, why is there a waiting list I'm in need" attitude WAY too often.

It's almost like half of the government is trying to sabotage the entire enterprise from the inside, creating a Catch-22 where they have to make the government suck in order to prove how much the government sucks.
posted by threeturtles at 12:37 PM on August 30 [40 favorites]


It's almost like half of the government is trying to sabotage the entire enterprise from the inside, creating a Catch-22 where they have to make the government suck in order to prove how much the government sucks

Well, yes. The GOP gets elected by claiming the government can't get anything done, and then has to prove it.
posted by suelac at 12:39 PM on August 30 [38 favorites]


2017: [real, but also confusing]
posted by tivalasvegas at 12:39 PM on August 30 [35 favorites]


Pete Souza is 'subgramming' hard.
posted by PenDevil at 12:40 PM on August 30 [22 favorites]


The POTUS is hawking hats at a natural disaster.
posted by Oyéah at 12:46 PM on August 30 [10 favorites]


CNN (on disaster empathy): "this speech was different—the President used the word people" [real, slight paraphrase]
posted by sylvanshine at 12:46 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


CNN: "this speech was different—the President used the word people" [real, slight paraphrase]

Boy I can't wait for the 2020 election when CNN goes all "Perfectly normal President Trump vs some Democrat with impeccable credentials we can't really be sure we can trust"
posted by jason_steakums at 12:52 PM on August 30 [39 favorites]


I'm trying to imagine a parallel situation, maybe of Dubya standing on the rubble at Ground Zero and advertising his new 9-11 Memorial Caps, but I just can't muster it up, and that's even considering how low I hold him in my esteem.

o.o
posted by darkstar at 12:55 PM on August 30 [11 favorites]


Oh, here's that Far Side cartoon.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:00 PM on August 30 [33 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump, 30 Oct 2012:
Not only giving out money, but Obama will be seen today standing in water and rain like he is a real President --- don't fall for it.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:01 PM on August 30 [19 favorites]


Boy I can't wait for the 2020 election

Good news, bad news: you don't have to wait, it's already here.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:04 PM on August 30 [2 favorites]


I know the thread has moved on at this point but I just saw
This is a political catch-all thread so I can share that I just learned that The Young Turks featuring former Armenian Genocide-denier Cenk Uygur are named after the group that committed the Armenian Genocide and my head is spinning

and I wanted to say holy shit.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:04 PM on August 30 [21 favorites]


Not only giving out money, but Obama will be seen today standing in water and rain like he is a real President --- don't fall for it.

from the replies to that tweet:
Brooks Sherman 📚+✊‏Verified account @byobrooks 30 Oct 2012
@JentheAmazing Oh, please. What is he going to do? Tell me I'm fired? :) I can handle The Hair. @sarahlapolla @byseanferrell

avarant‏ @avarant Aug 29
Reporting from the future.... Dear god. I have news for you.
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:05 PM on August 30 [13 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump, 31 Oct 2012:
Obama is now standing in a puddle acting like a President--give me a break.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:10 PM on August 30


I mean, it's pretty obvious that his objection there is the "standing in a puddle" part.
posted by Etrigan at 1:18 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]


Lindsey Adler, The Concourse (Deadspin): I'm So Glad Jared And Ivanka Are Miserable In Washington D.C.
There are a lot of infuriating motherfuckers in the Trump administration, but after every bubbling controversy, my strongest ire consistently circles back to Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. These two are the worst because they’re the ones who pretend not to be the worst, who fancy themselves ambassadors of poise and competency, floating above an ever-spiraling presidential administration and an ever-spiraling country.

So nothing could be more delightful than the news that these sniveling phonies are in the sewers of misery with the rest of us. And if this week’s long, searing story in Vanity Fair is to be believed, that’s exactly where they are. [...]

For Jared and Ivanka, there’s no way out. They are complicit in this administration maybe more than any other people in Trump’s orbit. They will trudge on, hoping to find positive nuggets for which to take credit for and controversies from which to find distance, but despite their naïve and insincere optimism in January, there is no good in this presidency.

They want to be defined by the small, inconsequential victories. But they are defined, in fact, by the president’s biggest failures. Their actions, from the careful wording to leaks to vacations, indicate that only a few months in, they know this, too. The president, it seems, is the only one who doesn’t see Jared and Ivanka for the shitheel fraudsters they really are. May we cheer the harm their greediness brings to their reputations and their happiness.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:19 PM on August 30 [64 favorites]




Another thread, another drawing of a person inb Trumpville. This time it's Sheriff Joe, who I have been aware of for years and who I genuinely think is a monster.
So, Desiccated Monster Joe! Dried out by all the hot sunlight and all the hate. Please feel free to share, download, what have you.
And, as always thanks to the fine folks here who allow me to not go crazy each and every day this travesty lurches on.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 1:40 PM on August 30 [26 favorites]


gucci mane: “I think we should classify them as a gang,” said Arreguin. “They come dressed in uniforms. They have weapons, almost like a militia and I think we need to think about that in terms of our law enforcement approach.”
...
lmao @ "almost like a militia". I find that hilarious, especially when over here in Portland our Republican party is literally using a militia as protection.


Exactly - if an Antifa group labeled themselves as an American Freedom Militia or something appropriately patriotic and wore camo and hunting gear instead, they could possibly fly under the radar for a while, because that kind of group is supported around the country.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:40 PM on August 30 [11 favorites]


Oh, I think a white working-class anti-fascist militia would get shut down double-quick.

they do *not* want working-class whites to find common cause with working-class black and brown folks.
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:43 PM on August 30 [16 favorites]


But then they wouldn't be ninjas
posted by mbo at 1:44 PM on August 30 [6 favorites]


Rep Adam Schiff: I'm introducing an amendment to prohibit payment of @SecretService funds to Trump businesses. @POTUS should not profit off of the Presidency
posted by Chrysostom at 1:46 PM on August 30 [108 favorites]


To follow-up with my own comment above, when lower-income but still out-of-poverty whites DO try to get benefits, they run into the MASSES of red tape and waiting lists and litmus tests that the GOP has put in place and get angry about government bureaucracy. I'm speaking as someone who has done intake for more than one kind of public benefit and has dealt with this right wing "but where is my free cadillac, why is there a waiting list I'm in need" attitude WAY too often.

And, worse, some of them in my experience believe they are only facing the red tape because they are white (I have literally been told this) while if they were Black someone would come directly to their door to hand them their Cadillac and their bonbons.
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 1:49 PM on August 30 [17 favorites]


To follow-up with my own comment above, when lower-income but still out-of-poverty whites DO try to get benefits, they run into the MASSES of red tape and waiting lists and litmus tests that the GOP has put in place and get angry about government bureaucracy. I'm speaking as someone who has done intake for more than one kind of public benefit and has dealt with this right wing "but where is my free cadillac, why is there a waiting list I'm in need" attitude WAY too often.

Threeturtles, I agree with you 100% and think this is a really good point in both your comments. It's not just with public assistance programs, either - it's with places like the DMV, or the city office where you get your remodeling permits, in general any government office that deals with the public or is responsible to the public. When government offices are understaffed and underfunded, and as a result things don't get done and/or public-facing employees are overworked, surly, and unhelpful, the reaction is "See? Government is bad! Government is inefficient! All government workers care about is collecting a paycheck and sitting on their backsides!"

The solution is more government and more funding - not less - so that government can do its job. And, as threeturtles said, "we need to design programs that ACTUALLY HELP EVERYONE instead of bowing to GOP pressure about making sure the recipients are properly "deserving.""

I'm reminded of an old old AskMeFi that had an anonymous asker wonder if they should take Medicaid - they were eligible but felt qualms about getting on a program that wasn't for "people like them" IIRC. And everyone urged the asker - take the Medicaid! The more everyone who needs these programs uses them, the less they will be for Those People only.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:49 PM on August 30 [31 favorites]


> And, worse, some of them in my experience believe they are only facing the red tape because they are white

White tape, surely.

Not to be confused with The Whitey Tape.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:51 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]


And everyone urged the asker - take the Medicaid! The more everyone who needs these programs uses them, the less they will be for Those People only.

I regularly use this line of thought on people who are having moral qualms / shame about taking public benefits. It works.
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:52 PM on August 30 [6 favorites]


The opposite of Anti-Fascism is PRO-FASCISM. I would ask anyone who criticizes Anti-Fascism,

"Why they are "Pro-Fascism", and advocating FOR Fascism, given the tragic examples of the Confederacy and Nazism?
posted by mikelieman at 1:52 PM on August 30 [11 favorites]


their response will be "why are you calling me a fascist I'm not a fascist you're the fascist".
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:54 PM on August 30 [13 favorites]


Justinian: Guess the producers are all out of evens.

Or they're tired of pretending that they have to be polite to Trump when he's anything but polite to them (the media as a whole). I think "fuck you and your 'fake media' campaign" is pretty much where we should be, oh in April? Just throwing out some month in the past because he's been calling anyone who opposes him "fake" for a while now and there hasn't been enough push-back.

I feel like Trump has exposed us to a few Emperor Has No Clothes moments, where we realize that there is so much in the US that operates on good faith and adherence to norms, which Trump and co have no problem exploiting. Everyone's baffled, saying "surely this is too far!" and he goes farther. "But he's the President! Of the United States! We don't do that kind of thing." And then he does. Again.

So stop reporting as usual. Stop quoting him without rejoiner or quick corrections. Just stop. He never cared about the truth, and while it would be impossible to fact-check everything he says, there's enough that's just a flat-out lie that everyone knows is a lie that reporters and editors can insert quick comments, like that one, and carry on with reporting. For example:

Trump: "this is a great crowd! A great turnout" (The auditorium is half full, and had higher attendance for the high school basketball game held here last night.)
Trump: "7% GDP Growth isn't enough!" (The US hasn't had more than 7% GDP growth since 1984, when the US recovered from the early 1980s recession, which worsened under Reagan)

He has some stock talking points, and by now, reporters everywhere should have responses ready at their fingertips, even if they're not typing them out.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:55 PM on August 30 [23 favorites]


their response will be "why are you calling me a fascist I'm not a fascist you're the fascist".

The only response I can muster is the Gumpian, "Fascist is as Fascist DOES!"
posted by mikelieman at 1:56 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]


Trot out the Second Amendment and use their own arguments against them. Then, when they invariably rebut that the Second Amendment is for Patriots and not for the likes of liberals who fight Nazis, say, "You know who says exactly that? FASCISTS."
posted by Autumnheart at 1:59 PM on August 30 [6 favorites]


and there hasn't been enough push-back.

DING DING DING DING
posted by Melismata at 2:00 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


Besides trying to end net neutrality, the Republican FCC is trying to redefine "broadband" and it could slow rollout of access, let alone improvements, to rural areas (Klint Finley for Wired, Aug. 30, 2017).
The National Cable and Telecommunications Association, an industry group, opposed the changes, arguing in a letter to the FCC that 25 mbps wasn't necessary for streaming 4K TV and that the agency's evaluation should be built on current typical broadband usage, not expected future use.
Oh no, let's not be forward thinking at all, when planning for infrastructure investments. That's totally how we do it when building roads. "Hey, looks like we have a few more cars driving through this business center today, I think we only need a new turn lane," said no traffic engineer, ever. When you invest in infrastructure, you look 10 to 20, even 30 years out. You don't want to have to re-do your current work in 5 years because you didn't anticipate growth. Knee-jerk reactions to demand won't make us a leader in anything.

If 10 Mb/s average was our goal, we'd drop to #28, down from #14, as of Q3 2015 rankings. And if wireless access counts as broadband access (and "unlimited" data plans are allowed to throttle heavy-data users), you can say goodbye to any hope of rural communities "pulling themselves up by their bootstraps" with the support of the modern internet.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:05 PM on August 30 [32 favorites]


And for a moment levity, by peaking into the lives of Trump associates: Here Are a Bunch of Trump Inner Circle Amazon Wish Lists, most of which have now been deleted, but we still have the screencaps (Wired, Aug. 30, 2017), and we have this gem:
I asked Gorka if he has any idea how his email address might have become connected to an apparently unrelated account that shares both his name and his interests. His response: "None at all."
File under: Security, No Concept Of
posted by filthy light thief at 2:10 PM on August 30 [22 favorites]


Limiting internet access really would be a masterstroke for any political party trying to gently pull us back into the Dark Ages. Slow clap for the GOP.
posted by witchen at 2:12 PM on August 30 [6 favorites]


I for one would strongly support any effort, in this thread and the world in general, to analyze and pay attention to the feelings and motivations and lives and worries and fanfic daydreams of LITERALLY ANYONE other than white Americans and/or Trump voters.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:13 PM on August 30 [26 favorites]


"why are you calling me a fascist I'm not a fascist you're the fascist".

"by the way, heil hitler"
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:15 PM on August 30 [6 favorites]


And, worse, some of them in my experience believe they are only facing the red tape because they are white (I have literally been told this) while if they were Black someone would come directly to their door to hand them their Cadillac and their bonbons.

As described in this piece: PSA: Black People Do Not Go To College For Free
Last night, around 9:30 p.m., I tweeted a story about my experience meeting a group of white people who thought Black people went to college for free. An article from the New York Times about the United States Department of Justice's intention to "investigate colleges for discriminating against white applicants" had reminded me of the conversation, now 12 summers old. I was having dinner with a group of my all-white coworkers, and I had just told the table that I was planning to attend college that fall. One of the men nonchalantly revealed that he hadn't applied because for him "it wouldn't be free" like it would be for me. I was startled. So were the 22,000 people who retweeted my story since I shared it.
posted by Lexica at 2:18 PM on August 30 [63 favorites]


their response will be "why are you calling me a fascist I'm not a fascist you're the fascist".

The only response I can muster is the Gumpian, "Fascist is as Fascist DOES!"


Why not just tell it like it is and say "Darling Fascist Bullyboy, give me some more money, you bastard."
posted by The World Famous at 2:18 PM on August 30 [9 favorites]


Someone needs to setup an Amazon wishlist for Ted Cruz that's just the world's largest collection of soups.
posted by zachlipton at 2:24 PM on August 30 [8 favorites]


Metafilter: Shut the fuck up, sit the fuck down, and grow the fuck up, or else fuck the fuck off.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 2:33 PM on August 30 [53 favorites]


And one for Chris Christie that consists of Meat Loaf albums, meatloaf pans and seasoning mixes, and various meats and loaves.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:34 PM on August 30 [8 favorites]


Besides trying to end net neutrality, the Republican FCC is trying to redefine "broadband" and it could slow rollout of access, let alone improvements, to rural areas (Klint Finley for Wired, Aug. 30, 2017).

the LECs have never had any intention of actually doing anything in exchange for massive subsidies

, you can say goodbye to any hope of rural communities "pulling themselves up by their bootstraps" with the support of the modern internet.

no time for internet when you're working in coal mine for 16 hours a day
posted by entropicamericana at 2:38 PM on August 30 [5 favorites]


From the utterly mad AP: House GOP eyeing $1B disaster funds cut to finance wall (yes, [real]):
Trump is slated to meet with congressional leaders next Wednesday. The meeting follows a recess that has seen Trump lambast several top Republicans, especially Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., after the collapse of the GOP health care bill in his chamber. That has wounded the president’s relationship with his own party, and the coming weeks should offer a test of how much clout he has with fellow Republicans.

“You’re not going to bully United States senators, this isn’t the Apprentice,” said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., referring to Trump’s star turn on the reality television show. “You can’t look at them and say you’re fired, you’re going to need their vote and you oughtta remember that they’re going to be at the table in every major deal you need for the next three years. So I just don’t think that’s a productive way to proceed.”
This is how members of his own party are taking about him now.
posted by zachlipton at 2:41 PM on August 30 [71 favorites]


a metaphor that's popular among Trump supporters: that of a long line of people waiting for their piece of the American Dream. For them, justice and equality efforts are like giving other people (undeserving, of course) a cut in line ahead of them.

and they are too fucking dense to see that the "American Dream" is a bullshit fairy tale designed to keep them striving and too stupid to notice that those doling it out are keeping 95% for themselves.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 2:46 PM on August 30 [18 favorites]




If you'd like your bones to chill, try searching for "wanted to test the right of free speech" (without quotes), which is what the wife of Sinclair Lewis said she went to a Nazi rally to test (and failed).

You might find the results.... quite contemporary... to us.
posted by Yowser at 2:56 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]


the wife of Sinclair Lewis said she went to a Nazi rally

Backgrounder: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Thompson
posted by mikelieman at 3:00 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]


So Much for "Antiwar Republicans Elected Trump"
Politico reports:
Voters are divided on President Donald Trump’s plans to send more American troops to Afghanistan, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.

Forty-five percent of voters support increasing U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, the poll shows — only slightly greater than the 41 percent who oppose the plan. The other 14 percent have no opinion.
There's a partisan split:
Backing for a troop increase is greater among Republicans than Democrats or independents. Sixty-eight percent of self-identified GOP voters support increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan, but only 30 percent of Democratic voters and 35 percent of independents agree.
But weren't we told that Donald Trump won the presidency because Republican voters have turned antiwar? That's how J.D. Vance, author of the bestseller Hillbilly Elegy, explained Trump's success in the Republican primaries in an April 2016 New York Times op-ed titled "Why Trump’s Antiwar Message Resonates with White America": [...]

Last month, Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com quoted a study by Francis Shen of the University of Minnesota and Douglas Kriner of Boston University that looked at November's election results and came to essentially the same conclusion: [...]

Republican voters were never antiwar. They'll like indefinite war in Afghanistan for as long as Trump can persuade them that we're the victors.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:04 PM on August 30 [5 favorites]


Re The Young Turks: In 1991 Uygur wrote an article on The Daily Pennsylvanian in which he expressed the opinion that the genocide of Armenians during the late stages of the Ottoman Empire did not in fact constitute genocide, a view he repeated in a letter to the editor of Salon in 1999. In a blog post in April 2016, he rescinded the statements. He went on to claim that he does not know enough today to comment on it.

I'd have more sympathy for this if he didn't have a TV show named after the group committing the genocide. "I don't know anything about the Holocaust and so I won't comment. Anyhoo, let's continue The Schutzstaffel Hour!"
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:07 PM on August 30 [32 favorites]


This is how members of his own party are taking about him now.

Right before they vote with him 100% of the time. There's still only been three Republicans to actually vote against Trump. Three. Total. And no movement towards any congressional oversight functions whatsoever. None. Until that happens literally nothing they say matters at all.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:12 PM on August 30 [43 favorites]


I have been out of regular internet contact for the past few days and the real human news was bad enough that I didn't try to follow up on politics. Today, I got a Daily Kos digest email headed "Trump just got slapped in the face." That header was referring to the big Democratic win in Virginia, but those few words were all I saw. The times are such that for a second I believed this had actually happened.
posted by Countess Elena at 3:12 PM on August 30 [7 favorites]


So Much for "Antiwar Republicans Elected Trump"

I think it's less "Republican voters were never antiwar" and more "My Country Party, right or wrong!"

I know the East Germans had a song sorta about that. (One title is literally "The Party is Always Right")
posted by anem0ne at 3:13 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


'We believe in the system': Attorneys stage lunchtime protest of Trump's pardon of Joe Arpaio
More than 150 people rallied outside the Sandra Day O’Connor United States Courthouse Tuesday afternoon to protest President Donald Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The protest was mostly composed of current and former judges and lawyers — even a Republican former attorney general.
...

Former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods said neither Trump nor Arpaio were true conservatives.

“It’s not conservative to abuse the Constitution, and to call people heroes who abuse the Constitution and the rights of American citizens,” Woods said. "It's not conservative to applaud the rule of law and then, when judges act on the rule of law, you go after them personally."

Woods said Trump was incorrect in saying the former sheriff was well-liked in Arizona. “The sheriff was taken out of office by the voters," he said. "He lost big. Bigly.”

“We have to not be afraid to stand up for basic human rights. We have to not be afraid to stand up to bigotry,” he said. “We’re on the right side of history, and in the end we will prevail,” he said to applause from all in attendance.
posted by chris24 at 3:14 PM on August 30 [65 favorites]


and they are too fucking dense to see that the "American Dream" is a bullshit fairy tale designed to keep them striving and too stupid to notice that those doling it out are keeping 95% for themselves.

It really is kind of bizarre to have this folk concept, "the American Dream", as if people in other countries don't also want to have a home and food and some opportunity for their kids and a little security. I've been noticing this kind of thing due to exposure to captions about the greatness of America over pictures of citizens with boats helping out with rescues and the like. Now, I have never been in a natural disaster in another country, but I imagine that people probably exert themselves to help their community and neighbors there, too. It's like social media is a machine for converting news into Lee Greenwood MIDIs.
posted by thelonius at 3:15 PM on August 30 [20 favorites]


I modified the first verse and the chorus and it seems fitting for pretty much Republicans at this point.
Trump gave us everything.
Sun and wind, unsparingly
Wherever he was, there was life,
Whatever we are, we are through him
He has never abandoned us
When the world froze, we were warm
The father of the masses protects us
His powerful arm carries us

Oh The Party, The Party is always right
And comrade, may it ever be so;
For who fights for alt-Right
He is always right
Against lies and exploitation
Whoever is liberal
is stupid or bad
Whoever defends the GOP
Is always right
Grown from the spirit of Nixon
Welded by Reagan
The party – the party – the party
posted by anem0ne at 3:16 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]


Oh, I think a white working-class anti-fascist militia would get shut down double-quick.

Redneck Revolt is that group, and they've been around for a little over a year with chapters all over the country, and growing.

This is why I do believe in issues-focused movements overall. It really is possible to speak to social issues that many demographics are facing without having to burn powder assuaging specific demographics and their fever dreams about white genocide.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 3:17 PM on August 30 [16 favorites]


And one for Chris Christie that consists of Meat Loaf albums, meatloaf pans and seasoning mixes, and various meats and loaves.

He would do anything for Trump, but he won't do that.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 3:24 PM on August 30 [19 favorites]


and there hasn't been enough push-back
The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.
-- Teddy Roosevelt (emphasis added)
posted by kirkaracha at 3:31 PM on August 30 [40 favorites]


Et tu, Fox News?

FOX: Fox News Poll: Voters' mood sours, 56 percent say Trump tearing country apart
Voter satisfaction with the direction of the nation is down by double digits, as a majority says President Donald Trump is tearing the country apart. That’s according to the latest Fox News Poll.

The number of voters happy with how things are going in the country is down 10 percentage points since April and stands at just 35 percent. It hasn’t been that low since 2013. At the same time, dissatisfaction jumped to 64 percent -- an 11-point increase.

That shift is not, as is often the case, tied to the economy. Positive views on the economy are higher than in more than a decade: 36 percent say it is in either “excellent” (6 percent) or “good” (30 percent) shape. The last time conditions were rated this positively was August 2004.

The same isn’t true for Trump. His job ratings are increasingly negative -- and 56 percent feel Trump’s “tearing the country apart,” versus 33 percent who say he’s “drawing the country together.”

About two-thirds of Republicans feel Trump is drawing the country together (68 percent), while 15 percent say tearing the country apart and 18 percent are unsure. Nearly all Democrats (93 percent) and over half of independents (59 percent) say Trump is tearing the country apart.

In addition, a record 55 percent of voters disapprove of the job he’s doing as president, while 41 percent approve. That’s a net negative by 14 points and his worst score to-date.
posted by chris24 at 3:36 PM on August 30 [24 favorites]


Fox News poll? That's gonna leave a mark.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:37 PM on August 30 [14 favorites]


...In my urban area, for instance, there are lots of doctors but people can't afford them. In outstate MN, people can't afford doctors - and there aren't any...
posted by Frowner at 9:27 AM on August 30 [17 favorites +] [!]


Both problems UMN is trying to solve, but the state has been stingy with resources in direct proportion to control of the government by the GOP. Why the GOP hates America, I do not know.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:37 PM on August 30 [5 favorites]


About two-thirds of Republicans feel Trump is drawing the country together (68 percent), while 15 percent say tearing the country apart and 18 percent are unsure.

68% sounds (and is) horrifying, but that's actually really low for GOP presidential support. Sub-75% is supposedly the Danger Zone. Boy!
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:38 PM on August 30 [7 favorites]


Legal challenge to Arpaio pardon begins (WaPo, Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger))
Put simply, the argument is that the president cannot obviate the court’s powers to enforce its orders when the constitutional rights of others are at stake.
posted by kingless at 3:39 PM on August 30 [74 favorites]


Sure, they're starting to dislike Trump but come on, it's not like they're gonna vote for a demoncrat.
posted by Justinian at 3:41 PM on August 30 [11 favorites]


I'm sure anti-war Republicans did vote for Trump. It's just that there are only like 5 or 6 anti-war Republicans, tops.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:41 PM on August 30 [7 favorites]


Some more info from the Fox poll.

Since February, Trump has lost the most ground with:

- Conservatives (-7pts)
- Republican men (-9pts)
- Whites without a college degree (-9pts)
posted by chris24 at 3:41 PM on August 30 [10 favorites]


Sure, they're starting to dislike Trump but come on, it's not like they're gonna vote for a demoncrat.

While it would be great if even a few of them did, what's more likely and would be fantastic for D chances is if say 10% stayed home in 2018. If enthusiasm/anger on our side and disappointment/apathy on their side evens up midterm turnout a bit, could be huge.
posted by chris24 at 3:44 PM on August 30 [10 favorites]


OK, wtf white women? Are you paying attention? Did you drop him before February?
posted by puddledork at 3:46 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


What is wrong with these people?

Eric Trump says his father ‘tunes out’ criticism so he doesn’t commit suicide ‘out of depression’ (Eric Dolan, Raw Story)
“I mean, just the evilness and the hatred in that world is unlike anything I could have fathomed before. And no matter what he does, they’re going to hit him on it and they’re going to go after him, and it’s the swamp and it’s a corrupt system.”
He is saying that with thousands of years of human impression and suffering, he couldn't imagine how dark the world could be until his garbage father started getting criticized for being a garbage president.

On preview:

FOX: Fox News Poll: Voters' mood sours, 56 percent say Trump tearing country apart

We know how Trump has ruined everything, but seriously, how awful do you have to be to ruin The Room?
posted by Room 641-A at 3:46 PM on August 30 [63 favorites]


OK moron, let me spell this out for you; there's a difference between a developing nation and a fully developed nation.

Trump is going to prove you wrong.

By undeveloping a developed nation.
posted by srboisvert at 3:47 PM on August 30 [40 favorites]


Encouraging swathes of Republicans to throw their hands up in exhausted, disgusted frustration, and stay home in 2018 (and, if Trump sticks around, 2020) is something that the rest of us can and must achieve. This is much more achievable than getting them to vote Democrat.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:49 PM on August 30 [30 favorites]


I am not Hitler! I am not. Oh heil Mark.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:50 PM on August 30 [54 favorites]


Eric Trump says his father ‘tunes out’ criticism so he doesn’t commit suicide ‘out of depression’

He'd last a picosecond if he suddenly found himself with even boring everyday middle class problems, let alone the shit the vast majority of people deal with.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:54 PM on August 30 [27 favorites]


I prefer the friendlier "Hi, Hitler!"
posted by kirkaracha at 3:54 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


It really is kind of bizarre to have this folk concept, "the American Dream", as if people in other countries don't also want to have a home and food and some opportunity for their kids and a little security.

But other countries didn't have the PR firm of Crevecoeur, who explicitly tied labor, prosperity, and the assurance that one's children would be better educated and more materially secure than oneself to American exceptionalism. And the rest is history.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:54 PM on August 30 [7 favorites]


The Occasional Dana: Jake Tapper Tweets:
Thread re: Rohrabacher saying 'rendezvous' being set up w/Trump to relay info from WikiLeaks' Assange on DNC hack

2/ Two Congressional sources tell me Senate Intl Cmte investigators may want to talk to Rep Rohrabacher about his meeting with Assange

3/ Senate Intel Cmte investigators are trying to figure out how to proceed given that Rohrabacher is a fellow Member of Congress
posted by notyou at 3:56 PM on August 30 [27 favorites]


It really is kind of bizarre to have this folk concept, "the American Dream", as if people in other countries don't also want to have a home and food and some opportunity for their kids and a little security.

There was a time when the American Dream as an exceptional sort of notion made more sense. When so many immigrants left their own countries (maybe in the 1800s or early-to-mid 1900s) to come to the US, they found a place where there might have been greater class mobility / permeability than where they came from. They found a standard of living for the average American greater than where they came from, too, so that the few dollars they could afford to send back to relatives in the old country actually made a huge difference. They were able to find a manufacturing job with little formal education that they could stick with for 40 years, retire with a pension, have bowling leagues and barbecues, and in the meantime feather a decent nest, have a car, and raise a family and afford to feed, clothe and send their kids to college.

That made coming to the US a compelling dream for many people. Indeed, it's still a dream for many people, hence the various immigration issues. It's just that many of those economic opportunities - especially the stable manufacturing jobs and the ability to get the ones that remain without a college education - no longer exist.

Of course, similar opportunities existed in many other countries, too! But the US has had an enormous PR engine (Hollywood being - heh - paramount). So while similar economic opportunity might be found in Canada, for example, the US became iconic among immigration destination.

I love this country, warts and all. But if I were a foreign immigrant deciding where I wanted to transition my whole future lineage for now and evermore, the US might not be where I'd prioritize. At least at this point in history. Once we get universal health care, state-sponsored higher education, and a half a dozen other issues ironed out, and get a better handle on some of the strange racial demons that continue to bedevil us, I'd feel more certain of my choice to emigrate here.

Or, I'd certainly prioritize a blue state, if possible.
posted by darkstar at 4:06 PM on August 30 [26 favorites]


“I mean, just the evilness and the hatred in that world is unlike anything I could have fathomed before. And no matter what he does, they’re going to hit him on it and they’re going to go after him, and it’s the swamp and it’s a corrupt system.”

There's a quick, easy way out.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:12 PM on August 30 [8 favorites]


Eric Trump says his father ‘tunes out’ criticism so he doesn’t commit suicide ‘out of depression’

Sad!
posted by entropicamericana at 4:20 PM on August 30 [26 favorites]


There's a quick, easy way out.

and solidly backed by a constitutional amendment!
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 4:24 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]


Decorated Marine vet may be deported, despite likely U.S. citizenship

I don't even understand what I'm reading.
posted by Yowser at 4:28 PM on August 30 [44 favorites]


Mnuchin conceded that rewriting the tax code is a taller order than he initially imagined.

So, supposed financial wizard Mnuchin turns out to be an idiot as well as POTUS.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:31 PM on August 30 [9 favorites]


Some news: Sen. Harris will co-sponsor the Medicaid for all bill: "someone should tell my staff," she says.
posted by zachlipton at 4:32 PM on August 30 [29 favorites]


Maybe someone who could be driven to suicide by criticism shouldn't have nuclear launch codes...
posted by guiseroom at 4:35 PM on August 30 [19 favorites]


That should have said "Medicare For All." This is why I'm not a journalist.
posted by zachlipton at 4:39 PM on August 30 [5 favorites]


I'm a straight white man who grew up in South Dakota in an evangelical, Republican home. I was a Republican for 20 years. So I don't view white men as a monolith or beyond hope, because if that was true I'd be fighting for the other side.

I grew up in Sioux Falls with a very right-wing father who was a Reagan fan and a delegate to the GOP convention during his first run. My mother was also leaned that way. Oddly enough, they raised us to be liberal in values, but politically right wingers. I had a subscription to National Review and regularly read Human Events when I was home. I espoused Buckleyian values and argued vociferously with my liberal friends. In college, I started widening my reading palette, meeting people from other walks of life, and learning more directly about how the world works. That's basically all it took to change my worldview. By the middle of my freshman year I was demonstrating against the war and arguing with my parents about a range of topics, including poverty, the war, drugs, economics, and individual liberties.

The problem is that people can maintain their bubble if leaving it induces anxiety. And it does for the vast majority of us, especially those on the right whose philosophy is driven by anxieties.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:47 PM on August 30 [13 favorites]


NEW from Politico: Mueller teams up with New York attorney general in Manafort probe
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on its investigation into Paul Manafort and his financial transactions, according to several people familiar with the matter.

The cooperation is the latest indication that the federal probe into President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman is intensifying. It also could potentially provide Mueller with additional leverage to get Manafort to cooperate in the larger investigation into Trump’s campaign, as Trump does not have pardon power over state crimes.

The two teams have shared evidence and talked frequently in recent weeks about a potential case, these people said. One of the people familiar with progress on the case said both Mueller’s and Schneiderman’s teams have collected evidence on financial crimes, including potential money laundering. [...]

The New York prosecutor’s office also is looking into some of Trump’s business transactions and could potentially share those records with Mueller’s team, one of these people said. Those inquiries are in the preliminary stage.
posted by lalex at 4:50 PM on August 30 [59 favorites]




This is why I'm not a journalist.

Honey, you'll always be our journalist.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:57 PM on August 30 [20 favorites]


Trump doesn't really seem like a "be nice to people on your way up because you’ll meet ’em on your way down" kind of person. He's shit all over people for decades that had to take it because he was rich and powerful. If he shows any vulnerability the shivs will come out.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:57 PM on August 30 [18 favorites]


In a Letter To Congress, Trump Lawyer ‘Vehemently’ Denies Russian Collusion

"I strenuously object?" Is that how it works? Hm? "Objection." "Overruled." "Oh, no, no, no. No, I strenuously object." "Oh. Well, if you strenuously object then I should take some time to reconsider."
posted by kirkaracha at 5:00 PM on August 30 [6 favorites]


Politico is reporting that Mueller and his team are working with the AG of New York, Eric Schneiderman.

The obvious implication is that Trump can't pardon state crimes.
posted by Justinian at 5:01 PM on August 30 [59 favorites]


Bah I suck bad. How do you people learn this stuff so fast. HOW.
posted by Justinian at 5:02 PM on August 30 [10 favorites]


The obvious implication is that Trump can't pardon state crimes.

that went riiiiiight over my head. !!
posted by lalex at 5:03 PM on August 30


no you have added valuable context!
posted by lalex at 5:04 PM on August 30 [5 favorites]


Ah, good, I will not sink into a pit of angst!
posted by Justinian at 5:06 PM on August 30 [16 favorites]


"I strenuously object?" Is that how it works? Hm? "Objection." "Overruled." "Oh, no, no, no. No, I strenuously object." "Oh. Well, if you strenuously object then I should take some time to reconsider."

Well once we ask him three times he has to tell us the truth.
posted by Talez at 5:08 PM on August 30 [6 favorites]


This paragraph about Akhmetshin is weird as hell:
Mr Akhmetshin set out details of the meeting, saying that Ms Veselnitskaya brought with her a dossier about “how bad money ended up in Manhattan and that money was put into supporting political campaigns”.
I mean, that sounds like he's saying she told Don Jr., Jared, and Manafort about laundered money winding up in political campaigns. That seems significant.
posted by zachlipton at 5:08 PM on August 30 [25 favorites]


worse, some of them in my experience believe they are only facing the red tape because they are white

So, responding this stuff is difficult, because in many cases when trying to access social services, they aren't wrong that they are having a harder time getting help specifically because they are white. I say this as a former social worker who has spent years screening for homelessness services. And I think it's important not to gaslight them: they are in fact having a much harder time getting assistance.

Where they are wrong is /why/ this is happening, and it is happening for a few reasons, most of which are related to resiliency factors.

Being white is a resiliency factor, because you are discriminated against less for common poverty problems. Having a home rather than renting is a resiliency factor, because it will take them much longer, and a court case, to evict you, and you often have equity in the home. Having family that is moderately well off is a resiliency factor, because even if you don't want to go to them, you often have that option when times are really hard.

So yes. You get screened for resiliency factors, and being white is one of them and is clustered with a lot of other ones, making you less likely to get safety net assistance than the black family making the same amount of money next to you. But it's not, as I think some people think, because "they like those people better", but rather because the safety net is designed not for the people who can easily bounce back with a little assistance, but rather for the people who will be horribly fucked without it.
posted by corb at 5:15 PM on August 30 [14 favorites]


I've told before how when I applied for Social Security Disability a dozen years ago, I was participating in a chat with several other applicants, some of whom were appealing rejections and where the assumed standard was "on the second or third try". I was accepted on the first try and faster than I had even hoped for, and I was the only White Male in the group. I don't know about others, but that was the final confirmation that my White Maleness was my most valuable asset. Period.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:23 PM on August 30 [11 favorites]




Justinian: "Bah I suck bad. How do you people learn this stuff so fast. HOW."

One good source is Political Wire.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:26 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]


Early approval of SSDI is oftentimes a matter of simply having access to medical evidence to prove your case. Having had insurance at some point recently, having a spouse still working, having at least a tiny bit of resources to literally pay for the doctor to make copies, that can be the difference between a quick approval or a years long appeal. White males are more likely to have one or more of those things, but it's not likely the whiteness itself making the difference. Trust me plenty of white males get denied too.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:33 PM on August 30 [9 favorites]


Men might also have more straightforward ailments that fit neatly into SSDI decision trees as women are often under- or mis-diagnosed.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:38 PM on August 30 [14 favorites]


also, foops greatest asset is his knack for puns
posted by valkane at 5:38 PM on August 30




I have wanted to write this for a 1 1/2 years, especially since the GOP convention. It is not my intent to go off-thread or repeat what anybody else has expressed. I do think that some of the experience shadows Trump's character, how he is (or was) able to influence others and his general response to uncomfortable issues.

About 15 years ago I was in a bad spot financially. A friend of mine gives me free tickets to attend a "How to Make Money and Increase Your Wealth" event at the Los Angeles Convention Center. It's taking place over a weekend. The funny thing she says to me is "Whatever you do, keep you ass in your seat" I really don't really have a clue as to what she is talking about.

The event begins Friday night. It looks as if there were many lower/middle class people there. I will say that the crowd was a 2/3 mix between blacks and hispanics. The pitchman is pretty-well known and, initially, is very welcoming, asking who has traveled the furthest. He picks out 7-8 people who have their hands raised, welcoming them graciously and begining to get the whole group open, involved and bonded, explaining what will transpire over the weekend.

Saturday I began to see how the program begins playing out. After an initial welcome andcharming greeting, he begins to literally start the hard sell by threat. This is what happens to you if you don't buy my book and learn how to acquire wealth. I learn later that a massive quantity of these book are sold cheaply by the publisher (hello, Ben Carson) and they are then sold at slightly cheaper then retail rates by the author or at events like this. He appeals to us to help him get on the New York Times best seller list, which of course makes us want to feel we are personally involved. I am thinking "this is total B.S." until he finishes his pitch. To my shock a large amount of the audience gets up and goes to the back of the room to buy the book. I am thinking "WTF? Don't they know they are being taken by this guy?" I also realize what my friend meant. This is how the rest of the day went. Selling these different classes, workshop, on-line seminars, book discounts if you buy two or more. I stand in the back of the room was thinking that this audiences response to the pitchman is no difference to the Nuremberg Rallies response to Hitler. I wonder if they are pumping in oxygen like they do at Vegas casinos. Then to my horror, I find myself, as they continually get up and go to the back of the room en masse, and want to go with the marks. I realize that I do not want to feel as if I am being left behind. I still stay in my chair.

He breaks the groups down bonding us more. He goes on about investing in China, Storage property, etc. I begin to experience that whatever questions I think and wonder about, and when I question his tactics (I am not speaking any of this, mind you) He heads me off pass and answers the questions. It's as if he is reads my mind. It is as if he has explores people defenses and has every contingency plan ready to meet these defenses. My defenses drop more and more.

That night there is a Q and A. One hispanic woman stands up and calls him on his sh*t saying, "You want us to buy your stuff, do all this work and I feel that I and my community are being taken for a ride." She is the only one who speaks out. By the end of the night, I am crying, I don't have the money for what he offers. I feel I am being left behind.

Sunday morning, we gather. One of the first things he asks is whether the woman who questioned him the night before is in the audience. She's not. Once he finds out she is not, he gets angry and screams "She's a loser" He continues to lose it for a moment as he explain why, and for us to not be a loser like that. He goes in and out of charm making people feel good, then pitching fear, having answers and secrets that we would have to pay for, and all these people getting up to purchase the items in the back of the room. It's inevitable. "If you don't buy, you are a loser and you'll be left behind"

By the time the event ends on Sunday, everyone has something to take home This includes me. It is an abundance game I can play on my laptop. For the next three weeks they are pitch me products on line. I finally get fed up and ask them to take me off their mailing list. I then get one last e-mail back from them. All it says is "You're a loser" They have to get the last word.

Some examples in past 1 1/2 year that match this event and salesmen/hustlers like this man and Trump is...

1) Trump University
2) GOP Convention (with emphasis on fear and how he has the answer for it)
3) Emphasis on losers and losing and how he is not
4) Lack of commitment to anything (Kiyosaki pitches that we all think we/there are two aspects to a coin (Heads, tails) when there are 3 (Heads, tails and the edge) they edge is the catbird seat where watch the other two and commit to nothing until it works to your advantage. He also pitches he is big on financial market prediction.) I can roll with "edge" idea. Not when it's co-opted by a**holes (due respect to a**holes)
5) Book sales (Trump, Carson, so many others)
6) No one makes him look bad
7) People who are predisposed to evangelical churches eat this stuff up. Outside of content of the gathering, the energy and structure of these events is not much different than an evangelical mass. The gathering and devotion is church to them this is ingrained through repetition, and literally, muscle memory.

This was a long one. I hope it is of benefit and interest to MeFites
posted by goalyeehah at 5:45 PM on August 30 [160 favorites]


So yes. You get screened for resiliency factors, and being white is one of them and is clustered with a lot of other ones, making you less likely to get safety net assistance than the black family making the same amount of money next to you.

Are you saying that you did screening for an assistance program where race was explicitly one of the factors determining eligibility?
posted by tivalasvegas at 5:45 PM on August 30 [17 favorites]


Eric Trump says his father ‘tunes out’ criticism so he doesn’t commit suicide ‘out of depression’

This has been said a million times, but this Trumpian cognitive dissonance is astounding. He spent how many years criticizing Obama for eating crackers and thinks the Presidency isn't going to be subject to 24/7, 365 criticism? This makes me want to shake him by the imaginary lapels and shout "you knew this was going to happen and if you didn't you're a... a thing that I don't even know what to call."
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:46 PM on August 30 [32 favorites]


Early approval of SSDI is oftentimes a matter of simply having access to medical evidence to prove your case.

i got denied, basically because i wasn't sick long enough, which i wasn't expecting to happen - (congestive heart failure - i was in pretty bad shape - but you are supposed to be unable to work for a year in most cases and i was back just within 6 months )

also, a long time ago, i had to go for medicaid for a hernia operation - they tried to deny me because i was in my room by myself and i protested - it's not MY fault they didn't put anyone in the other bed

all i can say is they don't make it easy for people
posted by pyramid termite at 5:46 PM on August 30 [7 favorites]


@WangCecillia: BREAKING: Federal court has enjoined most of Texas's anti-immigrant #SB4 law. Holds it's likely blocked provisions are unconstitutional.

And in California politics news, State Senator de León, president of the Senate, attacked Sen. Feinstein:
"I don't think children who breathe dirty air can afford patience," he said. "The LGBT worker or woman losing their rights by the day or the black student who could be assaulted on the street, they can't afford patience. DREAMers who are unsure of their fate in this country can't afford patience. Even a Trump voter who is still out of work can't afford to be patient."

De León also said that "this president has not shown any capacity to learn and proven he is not fit for office."
Sen. Feinstein, for her part, issued a "clarification" that just doubles down on her gullibility:
"The duty of the American president is to bring people together, not cater to one segment of a political base; to solve problems, not campaign constantly," Feinstein said. "While I'm under no illusion that it's likely to happen and will continue to oppose his policies, I want President Trump to change for the good of the country."
And when you ask de León's staff whether he'll run against Feinstein (he's termed out of the state Senate), he's not denying it.

Meanwhile, Sen. Harris just did an entire town hall (about which I might have more to say later) without really ever once talking about Russia, despite being directly asked about it in a question read by the moderator (granted, she may not have heard that part of the question) and despite sitting on the Senate Intelligence Committee. That part was substantially less than optimal.
posted by zachlipton at 5:53 PM on August 30 [54 favorites]


Add another potential obstruction charge to the pile!

Stephanie Kirchgaessner, The Guardian; Trump makes policy pledge to senator investigating son's Russia meeting
Donald Trump called a senior Republican senator from Iowa on Wednesday whose congressional committee is investigating his son, Donald Trump Jr, and promised him critical federal support for the biofuel ethanol, a key issue for the lawmaker.

Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate judiciary committee and a major advocate of the ethanol industry, announced on Twitter that he had received a phone call from Trump and had been assured by the US president that Trump was “pro ethanol” and was “standing by his campaign promise” to support the biofuel.

The phone call came less than a day after CNN reported that Trump’s eldest son had reached an agreement with the committee to appear in a private session and answer investigators’ questions.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 5:57 PM on August 30 [35 favorites]


I was hoping that LA mayor Garcetti would challenge Feinstein, but I guess he's putting out Presidential feelers now.
posted by xyzzy at 6:03 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]


I was hoping that LA mayor Garcetti would challenge Feinstein, but I guess he's putting out Presidential feelers now.

lol too late bro the nomination is kamala's if she wants it (SPOILER: she does)
posted by entropicamericana at 6:05 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]


Garcetti is too close to Carcetti anyway, then I think about Littlefinger. Littlefinger cannot be President.
posted by Justinian at 6:09 PM on August 30 [14 favorites]


Garcetti seems to be waffling between going for prez and going for CA governor.

I think being a big city mayor would be pretty good training for the Oval Office, but we haven't had one in quite some time (Teddy Roosevelt, I think).
posted by Chrysostom at 6:14 PM on August 30 [2 favorites]


I worked as a mental health councelor in Mississippi many years ago, ostensibly as a children's therapist , but things being how they were, as a "whoever walked through the door" therapist. One afternoon, a Black man of about 50 walked in needing help for depression and well, just life. The man had worked in logging since he was old enough to work, and he'd lost his left arm at the shoulder on the job a while back and was finding it hard to cope. He'd been through the Medicaid mill three times, I think, by the time he saw me, and had been rejected three times because he "could find work in an office environment," and such bullshit. I remember being incensed at the ridiculousness of it, and thinking, how many dollars could be redirected towards actually HELPING people if there wasn't this damn dance of applying, being rejected, applying, being rejected, getting a lawyer, applying..... There's a damn cottage industry of Medicaid lawyers in these small southern towns. I swear, giving EVERY applicant Medicaid immediately would be cheaper on the whole than this crazy fucked up system. This man lost his arm ON THE JOB and, well, here he sat. This is anecdotal, and remembered years later, but. And do you know it wasn't until just now it occurred to me that his race might have played a part in this farce? This kind of stupidity was rampant in the population I served, regardless of race, and too, in my area, the people on the very front lines of making these decisions--the receptionists and case workers--are very often Black women. The "system" is a fucking farce. I felt overwhelmed and frustrated then, and I'm sitting here now feeling just beaten. I wonder how that man is doing now.
posted by thebrokedown at 6:16 PM on August 30 [49 favorites]


All that those states had to do was say 'yes' when they were invited to expand Medicaid in 2013, and the Federal government would have covered almost the entire cost of Medicaid for their low-income citizens.

When we look back on this decade, I think we'll see this as the cruelest policy decision made by our leaders.

Well, wait -- I retract that for fear of angering the writers.

It's probably the cruelest to date, at least.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:20 PM on August 30 [42 favorites]


This makes me want to shake him by the imaginary lapels and shout "you knew this was going to happen and if you didn't you're a... a thing that I don't even know what to call."

massive fucking dumbass is the term of art, I believe
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:23 PM on August 30 [10 favorites]


Politico: Pittsburgh focus group tanks Trump
posted by Chrysostom at 6:26 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


Re the CA Governor race, this was overshadowed by 15 billion other things but a few weeks ago Ted Lieu endorsed Treasurer John Chiang.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:27 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]




ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 Senate -- NYT: Trump-y candidates threatening GOP chances to widen Senate lead. The same analysis you read here from me yesterday!

** VA gov -- Threatened government shutdown would likely be a boost for Northam. [Economist]

** Election integrity -- Judge not impressed by Kobach commission failure to properly publicly post documents.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:39 PM on August 30 [27 favorites]


So yes. You get screened for resiliency factors, and being white is one of them and is clustered with a lot of other ones

Where is this documented?
posted by Coventry at 6:43 PM on August 30 [6 favorites]


Are you saying that you did screening for an assistance program where race was explicitly one of the factors determining eligibility?

Yes. When I was doing the coordinated intake forms at my most recent homeless service location, it was an intersectionality-inspired points system, and you had to make a certain amount of points to be eligible for financial assistance. Being a racial minority that was historically disadvantaged gave you either 3 or 5 points on the form, and I believe being LGBT gave you 2 points. It wasn't explicitly made clear to the participants that it was one of the factors, or even that it was a points system at all, but it was absolutely one of the factors.
posted by corb at 6:49 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


But this was for homeless assistance/sheltering, not welfare or medicaid or SSI disability so I don't see how your insistence that welfare discriminates against white people tracks?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 6:52 PM on August 30 [6 favorites]


It's still quite surprising to me, although I suppose a private agency has more leeway to establish criteria like that. I can't imagine a public entity or publicly-funded program being able to do that, particularly since affirmative action has basically been found unconstitutional.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:55 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]


My particular experience was a program that was federally funded, but administered by a private organization - I wasn't trying to suggest this is the case with every portion of the social safety net, and it may not happen with fully federal places - but just that in many cases help is administered through this kind of public-private partnership, where things get a bit wibbly.
posted by corb at 7:01 PM on August 30 [2 favorites]


particularly since affirmative action has basically been found unconstitutional.

Not really true, at least for now. In higher education settings, the court (in the 2016 Fisher v. U Texas decision) requires the consideration of multiple factors, of which racial identity may be one. It cannot be singular or determinative. That may be about to change again, but American universities have basically bent over backwards to assess holistically and qualitatively, effectively with the kind of points system corb describes. Schools are allowed to assert that racial diversity enhances education for all students and pursue it by various means, which can include explicit preferences if other means of achieving diversity have been tried and found lacking, as is usually the case.
posted by spitbull at 7:06 PM on August 30 [9 favorites]


Sure, they're starting to dislike Trump but come on, it's not like they're gonna vote for a demoncrat.

No problem, they only have to vote for impeachment (or not get mad at congresspeople who do). Folks can spin it as "yay Pence," "he was never really a Republican," "sad decline," "former Democrat," whatever.
posted by msalt at 7:08 PM on August 30


> Politico: Pittsburgh focus group tanks Trump

Fuck. These. Jagoffs.
Brian Rush, a registered Republican, said he voted for Trump as a way of sticking it to the status quo, but not because the president would have been his first choice.

I look at a president to be presidential, someone who is calm, focused. Ronald Reagan came in as an actor, but he goes down as one of our better presidents,” he said. “He came in not as a politician. In some aspects, [Trump is] almost turning into a politician in a different way, saying things he thinks his base wants to hear. He’s let me down.”
Well which is it, pal? The status quo is Presidents who act presidential, but you picked the "grab 'em by the pussy" guy. And now you're complaining that he's not presidential? And what about this guy made you think he'd be "calm" (lol) and "focused" (lolol)?
Christina Lees, a Republican leaning independent, said she’d gotten tired of Trump.

“We know he’s a nut. Everyone knew he was a nut. But there comes a point in time when you have to become professional. He’s not professional, forget about presidential,” she said.
Yeah, putting the guy you think is a nut in charge of the largest economy and military was a great plan, but the guy you think is a nut just didn't... stop being a nut. Whadyagonnado?
Russell Stit, a Republican whose age was listed as 65-75, said he was a huge supporter of Trump’s "Make America Great Again" slogan and what he felt it represented.

Eight months in, he’s confused.
Turns out slogans don't actually make the government function! Who knew?
posted by tonycpsu at 7:10 PM on August 30 [88 favorites]


** VA gov -- Threatened government shutdown would likely be a boost for Northam. [Economist]

If anyone is following the Va gubernatorial election, the other news is that Ed Gillespie has hired on one of Corey Stewart's pro-confederate advisors as his Southwest Virginia field director. This nutbar says that we're already in a new civil war and the movement to remove confederate statues is being led by communists. With a new fundraising push, Gillespie's position on the statues seems to have turned from "localities should decide (wink, wink)" to "don't erase our history." Jennifer Rubin calls this "as repulsive as it is predictable" and does a decent job explaining how his new position will cost him votes in the places he needs them most:
This in a nutshell is the story of the GOP in Virginia and the country at large. Too afraid to oppose race-baiters and white-grievance mongers such as Trump, they adopt a “If you can’t beat them, join them” attitude. In doing so, they forfeit their own integrity and make the entire party offensive to everyone else — even to those who might embrace some of their economic positions. If Trump can turn Ed Gillespie into a Confederate flag-waver, then the GOP really has lost any claim to be the Party of Lincoln.
posted by peeedro at 7:19 PM on August 30 [16 favorites]


Judge temporarily blocks ‘sanctuary cities’ law (Texas Tribune/Raw Story)
A federal district judge on Wednesday ruled against the state of Texas and halted a controversial state-based immigration enforcement law just days before it was scheduled to go into effect.

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia granted a preliminary injunction of Senate Bill 4, one of Gov. Greg Abbott’s key legislative priorities that seeks to outlaw “sanctuary” entities, the common term for governments that don’t enforce federal immigration laws. [...]

His decision is a temporary, but significant blow to Abbott and other Republican backers of the bill who said it would help keep Texans safe from undocumented immigrants that have been arrested on criminal charges but released from custody by sheriffs or other elected officials who refuse to hold the alleged criminals for possible deportation.
Two things, according to Maddow:

1) the mayor of Houston said he would personally defend any immigrant being harassed for seeking shelter and

2) Governor Shithead (sp?) Abbot is planning to appeal.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:25 PM on August 30 [18 favorites]


Gillespie still scares me because he doesn't personally have a track record of insanity like Ken Kookinelli or Corey Stewart and came extremely close to upsetting alleged-sure-thing incumbent faceless-stiff Mark Warner. VA should be blue, McAuliffe won close but NoVA has only grown bigger and bluer in 5 years, even before Trump galvanized every young professional in the Greater DC area to get involved. But Northam isn't well known and could be vulnerable to a moderate business type Republican with no obviously disqualifying marks against him. If Gillespie is tacking towards the racists, it's really hard to see how that helps him actually win the general.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:28 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]


Gov. Abbot is why it wasn't a great idea to genetically modify humans to nourish themselves on spite and human misery.
posted by Talez at 7:29 PM on August 30 [12 favorites]


I've just had a thought. Do y'all think the reason we have Trump is because of Dubya? He was president for eight years, and we all called him an idiot day in and day out. So maybe Republicans decided "well, if that idiot can be president, I guess it's not that hard." I mean, ok, h