Collusion Course
December 1, 2017 7:29 PM   Subscribe

Day 316: former National Security Advisor to Trump, Michael Flynn, has pled guilty to lying to the FBI, widely believed to be a sign that Flynn has rolled on either senior administration officials or Trump family members. In particular, CNN is reporting that Flynn's plea bargain implicates Jared Kushner, and Buzzfeed suggests that he was working for both Russia and Turkey. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are coming to the end of their shambolic process to put together a tax bill, and are preparing to vote. [This is a US politics catch-all thread: please read these important rules about how they work. Also, enjoy refreshing MetaFilter chat for your hot takes and instant reactions.]

In other news: Treason's Greetings!
posted by Merus (1817 comments total) 138 users marked this as a favorite
 
I still cannot get through my head how a PDF, saved as an image, with illegible scribbles all over the margins, isn't just another paper on my desk, but a tax bill that 50 Republican senators are dying to vote upon, heedless of the way it could totally screw over millions of people and cause not just national but international economic damage.
posted by maudlin at 7:33 PM on December 1 [70 favorites]


[Just to make sure people see, please check out our catch-all thread recalibration post and try to keep the chatter down and the thread high-information-density. Thanks! ]
posted by restless_nomad at 7:34 PM on December 1 [29 favorites]


I wish there was a way to void the bill because it simply isn't legible, but I wouldn't think there's a way to do that.
posted by azpenguin at 7:38 PM on December 1 [1 favorite]


It certainly has the feel of an undignified scramble not to leave any money on the table for GOP donors before that curtain falls (although the republicans certainly may have plenty of time)
posted by knoyers at 7:40 PM on December 1 [2 favorites]


Didn't Congress, one branch or the other, have a rules vote not TOO long ago about requiring reading time for all laws brought to a floor vote? Or did they just propose that and never approve it?
posted by hippybear at 7:40 PM on December 1 [5 favorites]


It’s getting late. Maybe they oughta postpone til Monday.
posted by notyou at 7:40 PM on December 1 [1 favorite]


They voted a little while ago to NOT postpone.
posted by armacy at 7:41 PM on December 1 [2 favorites]


I'm sort of torn about this situation. Like everyone, I'm gripped and stoked by/about the Flynn situation, because all the Russia stuff is super sexy, but the tax bill is very, very bad, and unfortunately very, very boring, and the collision of these two huge stories probably means that Russian Collusion will win the media day, no one will dig into the problems with tax reform, and it will somewhat quietly pass. Anything very big in the Mueller investigation is at least months out, but the disaster that is tax reform is happening right now.
posted by Lutoslawski at 7:41 PM on December 1 [20 favorites]


As mentioned in the previous thread, the fact that Republicans are shamelessly voting for this indicates that for most of them the primary is the only election that matters - largely due to either juking electoral rules, or through outright fraud. This is a bill passed for the donors, who have a carrot (primary support) and a stick (giving money to fascists in the trump wing), and have successfully employed both to get a slight bump in their total net worth. More than that, draining the social, economic, and political capital of left leaning voting blocs - essentially an act of violence against a majority of the country (the most productive parts of it, too) in order to appease a bunch of angry, racist, ill informed dipshits who form the small fraction of the electorate necessary to win in a rigged system. Keep them angry, destroy your opponents, reap the profits.

It's fucking sick. It's sick that anyone could ever be so greedy - to have it all, and want to destroy other humans so you can have an insignificant amount more. These people could spend thousands a day for the rest of their lives, and still bequeath a comfortable inheritance to their children. We need to make them pay. It's also sick that you could be so afraid and small minded that you'd vote for your own destruction to attack stuff that you find scary. We need to make them pay, too. And it's especially fucking sick to be a law maker who's tasked with running a country, and to willfully destroy it so that you can maintain power. We especially need to make them pay. There're a lot of bills coming due, and I'm looking forward to seeing the payouts.
posted by codacorolla at 7:42 PM on December 1 [183 favorites]


I don't think media coverage is driving any votes, Flynn story or no.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:43 PM on December 1 [2 favorites]


between the Flynn plea and this fucking unseemly legislative farce,

the GOP looks like a crew of burglars stuffing everything they can lift into bags as fast as they can and hoping that they correctly calculated the time it will take the cops to get there
posted by murphy slaw at 7:44 PM on December 1 [125 favorites]


The unborn-child provision has been removed by a challenge under the Byrd Rule, along with provisions for taxing certain foreign airlines and a restriction on hurricane aid so that only Louisiana was covered. My Senator, Toomey, is getting flak for being a tool of corporate interests. He doesn't care, because he's not up for re-election for a while.
posted by Peach at 7:45 PM on December 1 [12 favorites]


That (the Read the Bill rule) was a Boehner era rule, for the House, announced ahead of the 2010 vote, which was broken pretty much when things got serious shortly thereafter.
posted by notyou at 7:45 PM on December 1 [3 favorites]


I don't think media coverage is driving any votes, Flynn story or no.

For sure. But I felt like the huge backlash against obamacare repeal from the public might have swayed those few republican votes against, and media coverage does drive public outcry to some extent. But you're probably right - tax reform will likely pass regardless of whatever happens.
posted by Lutoslawski at 7:51 PM on December 1


It turns out we paid, literally, for Trey Gowdy's obsession with HRC:
Rep. Trey Gowdy used $150,000 in taxpayer dollars to settle with a former aide who alleged he was fired in part because he was not willing to focus his investigative work on Hillary Clinton.
Gowdy is now the chairman of the House Oversight Committee. Isn't it ironic, don't you think?
posted by Dashy at 7:54 PM on December 1 [73 favorites]


Next up, an all-out assault on the safety net. Because, uh, there's no money to pay for it.
posted by Napoleonic Terrier at 7:55 PM on December 1 [18 favorites]


They voted a little while ago to NOT postpone.

@amyklobuchar Breaking: On floor where senator Schumer asked to adjourn until Monday so that senators AND the American taxpayers can look at tax bill. We got it four hrs ago and it is 500 pgs w/1.4 tril in debt. Republicans are all voting no. #RipoffWith NoDebate

Keep in mind that this no vote on postponement until everyone could actually get a chance to read the fucking major tax bill they're voting on includes Senator John "Concerns About The Process" McCain.

If, when they regain power, the Democrats don't do whatever they can, wherever they can, to put in place stronger checks on all the truly unprecedented shit we've seen in the last year, then they will have utterly failed.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:55 PM on December 1 [100 favorites]


I'd love to hear the Parliamentarian smack down this scribbled in the margins shit.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:56 PM on December 1 [5 favorites]


If dems camped out and offered an endless parade of amendments, all themed at “look at how corrupt this bill is”, that might get some media attention, no?
posted by Glibpaxman at 7:58 PM on December 1 [1 favorite]


Something to kick off your weekend: Hecklers yelling "lock him up" at Flynn as he leaves court today.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:00 PM on December 1 [28 favorites]


The one thing giving me some semblance of hope throughout this nightmare has been the unparalleled professionalism of the Mueller investigation. It's so very 2017 that the same day that he delivers the first shot across the bow of the USS Trumpkin, the GOP is working so feverishly to fuck so many Americans. The one day when news from the White House should be giving us something to cheer for, we have to instead balance that against what's going on in the Capitol building.

PDFs with scribbled markings on them? Are you fucking kidding me? Remember when the Republicans lectured Democrats about a drafting error in the ACA, and forced the issue all the way to the Supreme Court? Now apparently anything written on the back of a bar napkin can be monkey-patched directly on to the US Code. Maybe we can set up a Twitter bot so that Congressional Republicans can change the law directly by tweeting a picture of whatever monstrous ideas their lobbyists have asked for without having to leave the friendly confines of the happy hour at Johnny's Half Shell.

Regular order. John McCain said this shit is regular order. Thumbs down, asshole. To anyone who bought into the meme that was going around a few weeks ago that McCain, Corker, and Flake were going to be a thorn in the side of Trump and the rest of the GOP caucus, here's a Christmas-themed joke for you:

Santa Claus, an old drunkard, and a moderate Republican are walking down the street when they notice a $100 bill laying in the snow. Who picks it up?

The old drunkard, of course -- the other two don't exist.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:00 PM on December 1 [104 favorites]


Isn't the concept of a Republic based on having powerful men concerned with power and money making decisions for the entire population, while a Democracy is a citizen-led government where all have equal voices?

Yeah.
posted by hippybear at 8:00 PM on December 1 [10 favorites]


Remember when the Republicans lectured Democrats about a drafting error in the ACA, and forced the issue all the way to the Supreme Court?

Let's tie this bullshit bill up in legislation, then.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:01 PM on December 1 [29 favorites]


The old "America is a republic and not a democracy" saw is certainly feeling unusually truthful today, it's true.
posted by Artw at 8:02 PM on December 1 [9 favorites]


If dems camped out and offered an endless parade of amendments, all themed at “look at how corrupt this bill is”, that might get some media attention, no?

That's what a vote-a-rama is, essentially. They've already offered a number of amendments intended to embarrass Republicans who vote no, such as motions to send the bill back to committee with instructions to make it deficit neutral or better for the middle class and such. Or to wait until Monday. They can offer lots of germane amendments, but it's really just a process of exhaustion, making Senators crash on cots and keep voting until they eventually pass it anyway.
posted by zachlipton at 8:03 PM on December 1 [6 favorites]


The Wall Street Journal has a version with the margins text (not a direct PDF link), page 257. It's still not legible. Also it includes the crossed-out religious school stuff starting on page 70. Presumably there's an official typed version somewhere.
posted by netowl at 8:08 PM on December 1 [3 favorites]


They can offer lots of germane amendments, but it's really just a process of exhaustion, making Senators crash on cots and keep voting until they eventually pass it anyway.

They're old and feeble. Make them work for their betrayal of the American people.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:09 PM on December 1 [60 favorites]


Richard Rubin is saying that if the bill passes and later we discover that something in it fails the Byrd rule, basically, tough shit, no real solution post-passage. Great stuff.
posted by prefpara at 8:09 PM on December 1 [13 favorites]


That's what a vote-a-rama is, essentially. They've already offered a number of amendments intended to embarrass Republicans who vote no, such as motions to send the bill back to committee with instructions to make it deficit neutral or better for the middle class and such. Or to wait until Monday. They can offer lots of germane amendments, but it's really just a process of exhaustion, making Senators crash on cots and keep voting until they eventually pass it anyway.

I meant an actual endless parade. Like all weekend. Or longer. Supposedly Republicans have a tight legislative schedule right? Well...
posted by Glibpaxman at 8:09 PM on December 1 [4 favorites]


Presumably there's an official typed version somewhere.

If they had a typed version they'd have sent it around. Don't presume competence here in the absence of evidence.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:09 PM on December 1 [54 favorites]


Let's tie this bullshit bill up in legislation, then.

Serious question: how would this work? Is it a possibility? Some of Trump's more horrific moves have been successfully blocked by legislation. Is this something that could be done with a tax bill that has been passed by Congress? Or is that what the Senate Parliamentarian is there to prevent?
posted by triggerfinger at 8:10 PM on December 1 [1 favorite]


What a fucking shitshow. Remember when we were kids and we actually believed that elected officials had to be at least minimally competent? Like, being a member of Congress actually meant something and was worthy of some degree of respect? Now every fucking Republican senator is scrambling around, scratching out whole sections of legislative text and scribbling new ones in the margins like a kid trying to finish his term paper in the hallway before class, grabbing whatever fistfuls of cash they can from anywhere they can scrape it up so they can stuff it in the pants of the billionaires and special interests that keep them in office. These lying thieving idiots make Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern from Home Alone look like goddamn statesmen for the ages. They might as well just leave the chamber and make their way down the National Mall, leering at women and hassling passersby for change. Christ.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 8:10 PM on December 1 [71 favorites]


The US government has always been a rambling circus of incompetence, avarice, corruption, and comedy. This is nothing new. As Welcome to Night Vale says, "Those who remember history are also doomed to repeat it."
posted by Peach at 8:18 PM on December 1 [21 favorites]


Have there never been bills requiring a waiting period between the writing of a bill and the voting on it? It seems to me that there should be a requirement, especially on a 479-page bill, to give adequate time for people to read it.

Yes, I know the GOP wants to screw everyone, but it's in everyone's interest for when the tides turn. Like when you tell your kids, "OK, YOU can cut the pieces, but (other kid) YOU get to pick your piece first" and then it's fair for everyone.

Anyone else having multi-day hyperventilating agita?
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 8:18 PM on December 1 [7 favorites]


> Also it includes the crossed-out religious school stuff starting on page 70

Good Lord. I wonder how that would hold up in court, if it becomes law as-is: what does a line drawn down a page mean? That the text under it is not binding, or that someone's pen slipped?
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:21 PM on December 1 [9 favorites]


Meanwhile, Newsweek kinda states the obvious, Jared Kushner Can’t Pass His Security Clearance Investigation, Officials Say
Jared Kushner is a security risk embedded in the West Wing since he still hasn't passed a comprehensive background investigation required of anyone seeking a permanent security clearance—and no one will question the president's decision to put his son-in-law in a crucial government role, experts and officials told Newsweek.

President Donald Trump's senior adviser has been working under an interim security clearance nearly a year into the administration, as investigators continue to assess his trustworthiness and analyze his web of active foreign investments, according to two sources with knowledge of the status on Kushner's clearance.[...]

Newsweek spoke with seven of the nation's leading law firms specializing in security clearance law, with clients throughout the Trump administration and federal government. All seven said Kushner's security clearance should be suspended until investigators can determine whether his failures to disclose information were intentional. Meanwhile, the White House has claimed the delay in Kushner's clearance is normal due to a backlog in applications.
The only silver lining in this situation is that Jared's profile at the White House is diminishing—plus the odds he lied to Mueller when he was interviewed last month about Flynn are 99.9 (repeating) percent.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:23 PM on December 1 [39 favorites]


Watching this bill about to be passed has been quite illuminating. Also, Net Neutrality is next to die by the end of the year before we move to full entitlement "reform." The GOP won the long war and they won it decisively.
posted by RedShrek at 8:28 PM on December 1 [10 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 House:
-- At this point, ethical probes are practically their own section....

-- TX-27 rep Blake Farenthold had a sexual harassment case settled in 2015 (previously known) and used $84k in taxpayer money to settle it (new info). This is a safe GOP district (Trump 60-37), but Farenthold underwhelmed in the 2016 primary, and faces at least one foe this year, so he may not reach the general.

-- John Conyer's lawyer says he will address his status in a day or two. Word on the street is that Conyer's will retire early due to "health issues," but we shall see.

-- The former campaign finance director for NV-04's Ruben Kihuen accused him of sexual harassment during the campaign. The DCCC chair has already called for Kihuen's resignation. Kihuen flipped the district 49-45 last year, Clinton won the district 50-45.

-- Contrary to earlier speculation, Bobby Rush is running again in IL-01. This is a safe Dem seat (Clinton 75-21).

-- In a story that fulfills everything you expect about Trey Gowdy, the SC-04 rep used $150k in taxpayer funds to settle with a former aide who said he was fired because he was not willing to focus his investigative work on Hillary Clinton. The district is safe GOP (Trump 60-35).
** 2018 Senate:
-- Prominent Republicans keep passing on running against Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota. ND would seem an obvious target, as Trump took the state 64-28, but Heitkamp is well liked, and potential candidates can sense which way the wind is blowing.

-- PPI poll has Feinstein up 45-21 on challenger de León, which is not super strong for a longtime incumbent (de León had low familiarity numbers). Still looks like a reasonable shot of both slots in the top two being Dems, which would be bad news for downballot Republicans.
** Odds & ends -- Proposed maps for NC legislative districts are back from the court appointed expert. There's a hearing in early January, but all indication is the court will enforce these. Likely outcome is a several seat pickup for Dems in the legislature, enough to block the GOP from overruling Gov Cooper's vetoes.

======

-- There are about eight January special elections, I'll get something up on them in the next few days.

-- And thanks to everyone for your congratulations on my MASSIVE LANDSLIDE VICTORY, I'll keep you posted on how my new mission statement of "Land, Peace, Bread" goes over.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:28 PM on December 1 [112 favorites]


This is a bill passed for the donors, who have a carrot (primary support) and a stick (giving money to fascists in the trump wing)

Another possible carrot is a slick high-paying job as a lobbyist for said donors.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:31 PM on December 1 [5 favorites]


Virtually every forecaster - both the more polling/analytical guys and the more race by race breakdown ones - is saying the Dems have a 50% or slightly greater chance of retaking the House in 2018. Gerrymandering only takes you so far when you are down 10 points on the generic ballot and you're looking at lots of retirements.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:39 PM on December 1 [26 favorites]


It is sad that I almost hope the tax bill passes, so that the GOP has no further use for this garbage traitor president and will stop defending him.
posted by miyabo at 8:40 PM on December 1 [6 favorites]


That's what my husband said. He's optimistic that the date after this bill's passage will be the date that DJT outlives his usefulness. I want to believe him, but there's no evidence yet that I should!
posted by witchen at 8:42 PM on December 1 [4 favorites]


> It is sad that I almost hope the tax bill passes, so that the GOP has no further use for this garbage traitor president and will stop defending him.

Wash your mouth out with soap. Trump is the missile, and this fucking bill is the payload.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 8:43 PM on December 1 [76 favorites]


It is sad that I almost hope the tax bill passes, so that the GOP has no further use for this garbage traitor president and will stop defending him.

They still need him to sign the repeal of Social Security and Medicare before they'll be ready to cut bait and blame all of the fallout on Trump alone, remember, he was a Democrat before running as a Republican.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:43 PM on December 1 [19 favorites]


This tax bill is a fucking travesty. And I'm usually a "let 'em get what they want, give 'em rope, and the pendulum will swing back" kind of guy, but this is bad. As in, etch things in stone bad. As in, even if the Democrats rout Republicans in 2018 (which ain't gonna happen anyway), this tax plan will still be a fucking disaster for years to come. Decades. Trump will be just a terrible memory after not too terribly long, but the effects of this will put the whole country in damage control in so many different ways I can't even imagine. I haven't been this gloomy about politics since election night last year.
posted by zardoz at 8:44 PM on December 1 [26 favorites]


I somehow went down a rabbit hole on Texas congresspeople, which led me to this good article from the Texas Observer on Beto O'Rourke: Beto Testing

(I have high - some might say misplaced - hopes of Ted Cruz getting thrashed next year by Beto O'Rourke)
posted by triggerfinger at 8:53 PM on December 1 [11 favorites]


That's what my husband said. He's optimistic that the date after this bill's passage will be the date that DJT outlives his usefulness. I want to believe him, but there's no evidence yet that I should!

Sorry to disappoint. He has a long list of judicial vacancies to fill. Not going anywhere until that's finished.
posted by scalefree at 8:55 PM on December 1 [8 favorites]


essentially an act of violence against a majority of the country

Tax cuts are as close to The Purge as Republicans can get. For now.
posted by Beholder at 8:56 PM on December 1 [6 favorites]


It’s getting later. Still no final vote? Keep them at work until the No’s win.
posted by notyou at 8:57 PM on December 1 [2 favorites]


And I'm usually a "let 'em get what they want, give 'em rope, and the pendulum will swing back" kind of guy, but this is bad.

This is exactly why I'm not a "let 'em get what they want" kind of person. Too often, they aren't the only ones getting what they claim to want--it's the rest of us reaping the poison they sow.

I'm going to go leave a set of very, very angry voicemails, because I believe that you throw every threat you can in the way of this shit before it passes, and you make them fight for every inch of ground. And if that means the only thorn in their sides is that I fill up another voicemail inbox, that's no reason not to do it.

I hear Trump over NPR quoted as trying to induce his base to call their senators and fill those inboxes, too. The fact that he's begging for that "silent majority" to speak up means that these calls are making a difference and making these fools who have mistaken their own dicks up their asses for spines fear for their jobs. That matters. Even if they pass it, they don't get to pretend I am so paralyzed with despair that I will let them act without comment.

Someone's got to respect due process and the rule of law. If our own lawmakers don't even pretend to do so, why on earth bother having a nation at all?
posted by sciatrix at 8:57 PM on December 1 [36 favorites]


(I have high - some might say misplaced - hopes of Ted Cruz getting thrashed next year by Beto O'Rourke)

Beto's my boy. I'm signed up to volunteer for his campaign.
posted by scalefree at 9:00 PM on December 1 [8 favorites]


Mine too, we've donated to Beto's campaign. Love him.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:01 PM on December 1 [8 favorites]


Now apparently anything written on the back of a bar napkin can be monkey-patched directly on to the US Code.

The Laffer curve, which for years has been used by conservatives to justify tax cuts, was literally formalized on a napkin.
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:01 PM on December 1 [14 favorites]


Beto seems so likeable, and Ted Cruz is the literal, LITERAL opposite. Seems like madness that it's even a contest.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:04 PM on December 1 [1 favorite]


So... I'm not a huge fan of Vox* but this was "interesting."

It certainly involves a lot of assumptions.

* They tend toward the horserace and engage the both-sider thing a bit much.
posted by sjswitzer at 9:05 PM on December 1 [3 favorites]


On a cheerier note, Beto O'Rourke has been campaigning for months and is generating interested, pleased buzz statewide. No one is going to challenge him in a primary, and he has full and pleased party support down here. It'd have been nice if the Castro brothers wanted to run, but they've opted to support his run instead. I have not heard a single Texan liberal express anything but delight and enthusiasm for O'Rourke's run, and the local Dem caucus have locked in behind him with all the unison of Roman legionnaires building the turtle.

On the other hand, Cruz is widely hated even among Republicans, to the point that Cornyn only relented his two-year refusal to endorse Cruz in his next campaign a few months ago. He's already got a primary challenger for the Senate seat who doesn't appear to be completely out to lunch in terms of Republican base-winning, and we have open primaries: it's not like anything stops anyone, up to and including registered Democrats, voting in Republican primaries just to undermine Cruz. Not... that anyone would do that, I've been told.

(I care more about down-ticket Dem primaries, but if there's nothing more competitive going on in terms of local party politics in 2018... we'll see what primary I vote in.)

I got hopes for Beto, man.
posted by sciatrix at 9:09 PM on December 1 [21 favorites]


Beto seems so likeable, and Ted Cruz is the literal, LITERAL opposite. Seems like madness that it's even a contest.

Yeah, well...Texas.

I've lived here for 25 years and I'm still amazed/horrified at the politics.
posted by blurker at 9:13 PM on December 1 [4 favorites]


I'm going to go leave a set of very, very angry voicemails, because I believe that you throw every threat you can in the way of this shit before it passes, and you make them fight for every inch of ground.

in the early days of WW2 when the Nazis blitzkrieged most of Europe and drove the Brits back to their crowded island, all in less than a year, it's instructive what Britain did next. Having effectively lost their army (certainly as an offensive force), they relentlessly threw everything they had into countering Hitler's aggression via "other" means (espionage, aiding and abetting underground movements throughout occupied Europe and elsewhere through Asia and Africa, lobbying America, etc). Long and insanely complicated story made short -- history now tells us that it mattered that they did this in all manner of ways that nobody could have seen coming. But such is war (and make no mistake, that's what going on right now), it's a time of chaos, you can't ever really know what's coming, but you can commit, you can play a long game, you can strike blows against the empire, however infinitesimal they may seem, because you never really know how they'll land.

Fight The Power and all that.
posted by philip-random at 9:14 PM on December 1 [121 favorites]


I want to rep this from the last thread: Ezra Klein, "The case for normalizing impeachment", because i feel super vindicated for saying very similar things a couple months ago
We have grown too afraid of the consequences of impeachment and too complacent about the consequences of leaving an unfit president in office. If the worst happens, and Trump’s presidency results in calamity, we will have no excuse to make, no answer to give. This is an emergency. We should break the glass.
Also interesting is this: "Rep. Sherman, who introduced articles of impeachment against Trump into Congress, says, “the legal theoreticians will tell you that impeachment just a matter of politics. I'm a politician, and I'm here to tell you that it's a matter of legal analysis.”" Which sounds like he's saying, this isn't going to go anywhere without criminal evidence. Which is probably true. but. what if, bear with me, they don't find any? Trump is still just as dangerous.

"Normalizing impeachment", in this case, means considering it as an option for when a president is merely dangerously incompetent (but not a criminal). We may not get there in time to impeach Donald Trump, but I think we need to get there in the future.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 9:16 PM on December 1 [12 favorites]


i feel about this tax bill tonight exactly the way i felt the first night of the iraq war in 03 watching the live cnn video of the baghdad skyline.. the gut level helpless feeling that massive, crippling, stupid insanity was inevitable and just as inevitable would be its consequences.
posted by wibari at 9:20 PM on December 1 [66 favorites]


@sahilkapur: The CBO score of the revised Senate tax bill just landed. It raises 10-year deficits by $1.474 trillion.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:23 PM on December 1 [41 favorites]


The Tax Policy Center has a nice easy bar chart to show that the bulk of these cuts go directly to the 0.1% over time, while the rest of us get next to nothing (this of course ignores the enormous spending cuts).

It is hopeful to remember that the majority of us have not yet lost empathy for our fellow man, and this has been rammed through by lobbied interests.
posted by hexaflexagon at 9:24 PM on December 1 [6 favorites]


That new CBO score will definitely have a few Republican Senators very concerned as they vote yes.
posted by perhapses at 9:25 PM on December 1 [54 favorites]


After speaking to Rep. Kihuen, Pelosi called on him to resign in the wake of harassment allegations.
“In Congress, no one should face sexual harassment in order to work in an office or in a campaign. The young woman’s documented account is convincing, and I commend her for the courage it took to come forward,” Pelosi said. “In light of these upsetting allegations, Congressman Kihuen should resign.”
posted by zachlipton at 9:26 PM on December 1 [5 favorites]


While this shit show plays out in the US Senate, I've been chewing over the Flynn plea a bit. Reading this Ruth Marcus editorial in the WaPo reminded me of something interesting:
The biggest unanswered question about Flynn: Why has Trump, a man for whom loyalty is a distinctly one-way street, been so desperate to protect him? “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump urged James B. Comey in February, a few months before firing the FBI director. “He is a good guy.”
I'd forgotten that that bit of the Comey firing drama. Now Comey's vague Instagram quote makes more sense, and it makes it clearer to me that Flynn must know where many of the bodies are buried. (Metaphorically, although would you be shocked if it turned out to be literally true?) And Mueller has given Flynn immunity to a narrowly laid out set of charges so far, according to the Lawfare analysis posted upthread. So there's plenty of leverage...

I think we should brace for incoming tweets.
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:27 PM on December 1 [29 favorites]


Which sounds like he's saying, this isn't going to go anywhere without criminal evidence. Which is probably true. but. what if, bear with me, they don't find any? Trump is still just as dangerous.

I'd think that even if Trump wasn't directly in the loop on Trump-Russia, he's provably guilty of obstruction of justice on Flynn et. al.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:32 PM on December 1 [4 favorites]


And there's the emoluments thing that hasn't gone away and the R's just hope will become background noise if they keep ignoring it. "Taking money from foreign governments for special consideration" falls well under the range of impeachment charges.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:34 PM on December 1 [3 favorites]


Okay, I called my senator. Got voice mail, left a message asking, well more like demanding a no vote. Finished up with: This is how angry I am. I am in Thailand and I'm calling you on Skype.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:36 PM on December 1 [59 favorites]


Anticipating doom, and considering next moves... what is the rationale for individual and corporate tax rates and tax filing rules to be different, at all? Why shouldn't an individual be able to deduct their rent from their taxable income, like a company can deduct its rent via the concept of "profit"?

Show the electorate exactly what the plutocracy looks like by calculating how much further in the hole federal and state and local budgets would be if everyone paid the rates that the wealthy do, and campaign on unifying everything so that when individuals and families "operate at a loss", which is most of the time for most people, they pay taxes like companies do, and raise the corporate rate accordingly.

Simplifying taxes? We'll show you simplifying taxes.
posted by XMLicious at 9:36 PM on December 1 [21 favorites]


what is the rationale for individual and corporate tax rates and tax filing rules to be different, at all?

The theory is that money businesses spend on expenses - like paychecks and rent and such - is someone else's income, and therefore already being taxed. So only "profits" are money that isn't otherwise being taxed. Problem is, they've adjusted the numbers such that a lot of those "expenses" aren't being taxed elsewhere, or they're being taxed at a much lower rate than they would be if they were business profits.

But this may indeed be the year to look into incorporating yourself, and hiring yourself to do your day job, and counting all your paycheck as "operating expenses" and writing off all your living expenses as corporate costs.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:42 PM on December 1 [23 favorites]


Well, Chrysotom, write yourself in.
posted by notyou at 9:46 PM on December 1 [7 favorites]


@daveweigel: Reminder: The idea that the Pelosi Democrats jammed votes on unseen bills was so pervasive that the GOP pledged to make them available for three days so voters could read them.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:57 PM on December 1 [54 favorites]


While we wait for the vote (last estimate I heard was closer to 2am eastern), I cannot emphasize enough how much of this is not just class warfare, but generational warfare. A bunch of rich baby boomers are voting tonight to saddle the rest of us with trillions in debt to pay for their lifestyles, their private jet tax breaks. This debt isn't going to invest in our futures; it's not being spent on infrastructure and education. Heck, Congress won't even fund CHIP and provide health care to children.

And then they'll come along and tell us that, gosh, we're broke and we can't afford Social Security and Medicare anymore, that we can't afford the same benefits our parents and grandparents got, the ones we're working right now to pay for. And when that's done, these ghouls will finally retire, cashing in their stock portfolios, newly engorged with the benefits of a corporate tax break, and enjoy the health and financial security they've denied to their children.

I also think this is going to cost a whole lot more than the CBO estimates once people start exploiting all the loopholes that wind up in a massive bill written in the middle of the night. How much is the last-minute amendment offering preferential treatment for publicly traded partnerships really worth? Nobody knows, but hedge funds are going to have experts exploit it for every penny they can.
posted by zachlipton at 10:05 PM on December 1 [120 favorites]


Heck, Congress won't even fund CHIP and provide health care to children.

What's holding up the reauthorization of CHIP is Republican demands that it be paid for. While they have no problem showering 1.5 trillion on rich 5500 families and corporations. You can't make up something more evil.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:09 PM on December 1 [88 favorites]


So, when handwritten notes and crossed-out sections get turned into the final published version, who does the transcribing?
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:11 PM on December 1 [5 favorites]


Code written during crunch time on very little sleep is usually really bad and unstable. Whenever I do that, I invariably do the dog head tilt thing at it the next day and wonder what I was thinking.

I'm so glad legislation is absolutely nothing like that at all! MAGA!
posted by fnerg at 10:11 PM on December 1 [29 favorites]


United Way comes out against the tax bil, citing the 31 million people who will no longer receive deductions for donating to charity.

This is kind of a weird policy problem, because doubling the standard deduction means lots of people benefit regardless of what deductions they qualify for. That's not an inherently bad idea. But it also means most of the middle and upper-middle class lose the tax advantage to donate to charity, and that's likely to lead to people giving less.
posted by zachlipton at 10:15 PM on December 1 [13 favorites]


The theory is that money businesses spend on expenses - like paychecks and rent and such - is someone else's income, and therefore already being taxed. So only "profits" are money that isn't otherwise being taxed.

But that doesn't seem like something which would differentiate individuals from companies. The rent paid by an individual to a residential landlord is the landlord's income as much as the rent paid by a company is income for the owner of the business-zoned property.

If it's okay to tax the individual's personal income once, and then tax the same money again when received by their landlord, but conversely skip the first instance of taxation when it's a company and a corporate landlord... it seems quite workable to me to just do the same thing in both instances.

Treating individuals and corporations the same would just mean that tax entities (people) with revenue in the vicinity of an average person's total living expenses won't be paying most of the taxes, but rather the tax entities with much larger profit margins will. And when your landlord raises your rent, it will erase part of your tax burden. Maybe, if designed properly, it would even create a common societal interest in keeping incomes in proportion to average living expenses a.k.a. "a living wage"...
posted by XMLicious at 10:27 PM on December 1 [13 favorites]


Doubling the standard deduction is GOOD. And so is removing some non progressive deductions like SALT and property tax and capping the mortgage interest deduction at a lower level. That makes people like me, who can afford it, pay more, while other people who cannot, don’t. Positive! The disconnect happens when instead I’m funding reduced rates for those who earn more from capital. Much as I voted against them, I counted on the GOP to protect upper middle class interests... at a minimum. They are selling out Orange County, CA, which was their Reaganite base. What are they thinking???
posted by notyou at 10:31 PM on December 1 [6 favorites]


this is going to cost a whole lot more than the CBO estimates once people start exploiting all the loopholes

How do you prevent people from selling services through their business, instead of being an employee? There wasn't much of an incentive before, but now there's a huge pass-through bonus. Why would any 6-figure employee stand for W-2 employment? Contract for services through my business, they'll say. I don't see how they'll prevent this.

I am not an expert, but I think the final vote is happening now.
posted by netowl at 10:39 PM on December 1 [3 favorites]


They are selling out Orange County, CA, which was their Reaganite base. What are they thinking???

OC went for Hillary in 2016. The only non-insane explanation is that the GOP figures CA won't have any Republican Congressional Reps ever again anyway. Otherwise the "fuck 'em" strategy is a giant misstep in a state where almost every house sells for higher than the mortgage interest threshold.
posted by sideshow at 10:46 PM on December 1 [1 favorite]


Is the grad student tax still in it, or was that just a cruel distraction?
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:48 PM on December 1


McCain votes in favor
posted by XMLicious at 10:49 PM on December 1


Final vote—51 Yes, 49 No
posted by XMLicious at 10:50 PM on December 1 [4 favorites]


The problem with everyone self incorporating is that when they kill Obamacare no one will be able to get health insurance. If you're not a W-2 you wouldn't qualify for an employer sponsored plan and no one will sell your corporation of one a group plan.
posted by Arbac at 10:51 PM on December 1 [8 favorites]


HR 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as amended, passes 51-49 (Corker voting no)

(assuming nobody changes their vote before it closes)
posted by zachlipton at 10:52 PM on December 1 [2 favorites]


How do you prevent people from selling services through their business, instead of being an employee? There wasn't much of an incentive before, but now there's a huge pass-through bonus. Why would any 6-figure employee stand for W-2 employment? Contract for services through my business, they'll say.

I freelance and sell my services through my business, and I'm gonna go ahead and say the hypothetical 6 figure employee won't give up the W-2 because of healthcare. Run your own biz plus plus deal with health insurance on your own, I don't think the tax incentives are that good at the level of income you're talking.

Who do you think is the primary market for Obamacare? The self employed.

I agree that doubling the standard deduction is a good thing. The rest of this mess is a garbage fire. Any hypothetical gains anyone of middle income makes in this is completely wiped out with the healthcare thing, among the many other problems.
posted by bradbane at 10:54 PM on December 1 [1 favorite]


It has passed.

I think the only education tax in this is the endowment tax (limited to Title-4 accepting schools on amendment). It's possible this will be passed by the house-as-is, but reconciliation could change it.
posted by netowl at 10:54 PM on December 1


If you're not a W-2 you wouldn't qualify for an employer sponsored plan and no one will sell your corporation of one a group plan.

Eh, you take on a job doing 5 hours a week at minimum wage somewhere; that makes you an impoverished employee; your CEO profits go somewhere else.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:56 PM on December 1 [1 favorite]


So I guess the next step is reconciliation with the House version?
posted by RedShrek at 11:05 PM on December 1 [1 favorite]


And here's the problem right here. NYT and Washington Post push notifications describe this as a "big win" and "major victory" for Trump instead of leading with the impact of the bill on the 323 million of us who aren't Donald Trump. (BuzzFeed did better)
posted by zachlipton at 11:05 PM on December 1 [145 favorites]


It's possible this will be passed by the house-as-is, but reconciliation could change it.

I have a feeling that's exactly what's going to happen, so they can rush it to Trump's desk. He needs that victory, you know! Screw everyone else!
posted by SisterHavana at 11:06 PM on December 1


The problem with everyone self incorporating Is that it’s an Objectivist nightmare that fundamentally undermines long held understanding of essential human connection and cooperation. Sure, we could all decide to screw our neighbors and keep nine percent more from the taxman, but we’re still screwing our neighbors.

Ugh.
posted by notyou at 11:07 PM on December 1 [12 favorites]


Doubling the standard deduction is GOOD. And so is removing some non progressive deductions like SALT and property tax and capping the mortgage interest deduction at a lower level. That makes people like me, who can afford it, pay more

It's true that SALT is technically not a progressive deduction but removing it has other negative effects like punishing residents of states which have a tax rate sufficient to fund a social safety net (ie many blue states).

The mortgage interest tax deduction should be completely eliminated, not capped. But that's immaterial since the Senate bill doesn't cap it at a lower level. The House version did but I bet the House just swallows this pill whole and chokes it down.

So I guess the next step is reconciliation with the House version?

Conference committees are so 20th century. The House is gonna roll over like the lapdogs they are.
posted by Justinian at 11:08 PM on December 1 [8 favorites]


Let's all take a moment to mourn the real tragedy of this moment -- the official end of Ezra Klein's bromance with Paul Ryan:

“The hypocrisy is astounding”: this tax bill shows the GOP’s debt concerns were pure fraud
There is a long-running, almost metaphysical, argument about the GOP’s deficit hawkery. One school of thought holds that it has always been pure cynicism. Republicans passed the Bush tax cuts without offsets and paid for neither Medicare Part D nor the Iraq War. When they began decrying the deficit and debt during President Obama’s administration, under this theory, it was nothing but opportunistic political attacks, and it was obvious they would be abandoned as soon as Republicans regained power.

The response many Republicans gave was that the party had lost its way under George W. Bush, but it had recognized its mistakes and rediscovered its fiscally conservative soul. The Tea Party and its relentless campaign of primary challenges was proof the Republican Party had changed, and would stay changed.

The House and Senate passage of the GOP tax bills shows the cynics had it right. [...]

There is no framework under which these moves appear principled, no explanation under which the cynicism abates. Some Republicans have tried to argue that the tax bill will pay for itself through increased economic growth, but there is not a single economic analysis that agrees; the Joint Committee on Taxation, for instance, says the law will add a trillion dollars to the deficit even accounting for economic growth.

Perhaps that is why even Paul Ryan sounds embarrassed making these claims. “I’m telling you that’s what I believe will happen. I’m not going to tell you I’m sure,” he said.

Nihilism begets nihilism. Democrats feel like fools for taking Republican deficit concerns seriously, for trying to play by the rules and pay for their legislation and show they were acting in good faith.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:17 PM on December 1 [52 favorites]


Also note that, so far as I am aware, the increase in the standard deduction sunsets in under a decade at which point everyone gets a tax increase as the deductions which are eliminated stay gone and chained CPI takes effect (assuming thats in the final bill, who the fuck knows).

Taxes will go up for basically everyone who isn't able to take advantage of incorporating themselves AFAIK.
posted by Justinian at 11:19 PM on December 1 [7 favorites]


Indivisible's Trump Tax Scam site has a "What Now?" page. Their money is on the House passing the Senate bill as-is.

Also, to second @tresdcomics: "What a month December 1st 2017 has been"
posted by Buntix at 11:24 PM on December 1 [31 favorites]


A Canadian here, just got in from work and reading the NYT's notice of this bill passing made me feel sick to my stomach.

And what the fuck NYT!? The comments are calling this crap out, which is something, but fuck, this whole balanced approach to coverage when one side are crypto fascist goat huffing sycophants only concerned with quite literally ruining the entire country for their master's benefit is nauseating.

At what point is it possible to declare the modern Republican Party a terrorist organization?
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 11:35 PM on December 1 [30 favorites]


Apologies if this isn't in the new spirit of the political megathreads, feel free to remove if it isn't. As a Canadian, I have a question. I read the Indivisible page about what's next for the tax bill, and I understood it all until the very end:

If Republicans go with Option A, it will mean the conference report on the Tax Scam takes a back seat to next week’s main event: finding a way to fund the government by the December 8 deadline. If they go with Option B, and the bill passes the House, it will mean Congress has finished its work on the Tax Scam.

Either way, our attention now needs to be on funding the government and holding Democrats to their commitment to secure inclusion of the DREAM Act in the funding bill. Democrats have promised for three months that they will use their leverage on the December spending bill to get the DREAM Act done. Now it’s time for them to deliver. Read more and find out how you can help Dreamers at www.dreamerpledge.org.


I absolutely agree that the DREAM Act would be an important thing to get passed. But the rest of that section implies that despite the bill not yet being law yet, there's essentially nothing substantive that can be done about its many horrible provisions, and that the best thing to do now is to try and get an otherwise unrelated piece of legislation through while the Republicans are busy cramming shit down everyone's throats. Am I reading that correctly? Is there really no recourse beyond taking up pitchforks and starting riots? Or is there some dimension I'm missing here?
posted by chrominance at 11:43 PM on December 1 [2 favorites]


If Republicans, who control a majority in both houses of Congress and hold the Presidency, can hold together those majorities to vote for the tax bill there is indeed nothing that can be done beyond insurrection. How could there be? The time something could have been done was Nov 8 2016. (and previous elections.)
posted by Justinian at 11:53 PM on December 1 [7 favorites]


The House could still fuck it up, but they won't.

There are some kinds of legislation that could be fought with a lawsuit (like a trans bathroom law) or slow-rolled by an executive that doesn't want to enact it (like those sanctions...) but tax law is pretty straightforward. They pass it, it's law.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 12:01 AM on December 2 [1 favorite]


What can still be done is massive public outcry. As significant as this feels to us, even a lot of fairly tuned-in Americans haven't really heard the details of what the Republicans are doing over the din of Twitter and the Russia news. It might not stop this embarrassment from getting signed into law, but loud and repeated shaming of everyone involved will help voters remember who authored this debacle next election cycle.

Otherwise, logistically, yeah, the thing to do is to move on to the next winnable fight. They've got all the cards, and it's a wonder this is all they've been able to push through so far. This is a loss for us, and it won't be the last.
posted by contraption at 12:03 AM on December 2 [27 favorites]


All this week I've been thinking back to my sophomore year in college. I didn't drink (at all) before leaving home, and not much through freshman year, then started dabbling with all of the stupid mistakes and painful learnings that went along with it.

After one extremely-poorly managed night of "fun!" drinking games, my saintly roommate took care of me in the bathroom, then steered me back down the hallway to our shared (triple) room. As we re-entered, I pointed, aghast and said, "Oh, man... who puked on Brian's futon?!"

My roommate gently reminded me, "Well, that's YOUR puke, and that's YOUR FUTON!"

We can never let the GOP live this tax-code travesty down. First, they'll pretend that everything's awesome! No, of course no one puked on the futon, that would be ridiculous. They'll never help to clean it up, because that would be admitting puke-on-futon. Eventually, they will blame Democrats for puking on the futon.

Seriously, fuck these jokers forever for treating our country, and 300 million people, like a disposable cheap-ass futon they can ruin and throw away for their sophomoric, short-sighted benefit. (I did clean that puke up, and arguably learned my lesson... although now it's late, I'm pissed off and I'm feeling angry enough to wreck a futon tonight for the first time in 25 years.) We need to relentlessly hound every single one of them out. The assholes, sure, and the 'principled' ones that were just as craven in the end.
posted by rodeoclown at 12:16 AM on December 2 [46 favorites]


And here's the problem right here. NYT and Washington Post push notifications describe this as a "big win" and "major victory" for Trump instead of leading with the impact of the bill on the 323 million of us who aren't Donald Trump. (BuzzFeed did better)
God yeah, why does American media report on this kind of thing like we're talking about football? This isn't a game. This thing is real and it has real consequences for you and me.
posted by peacheater at 12:44 AM on December 2 [63 favorites]


Batshit crazy UK Tory MP from the 18th century, Jacob Rees-Mogg, and Brexit arch-demagogue Nigel Farage met Steven Bannon in private meetings in London. (Guardian)

The article is full of understatements. Like calling the extremist radicalisation publication Breitbart a "rightwing news website", and Rees-Mogg's following "champion[s] rightwing ideas, grassroots activism and shaking up the conservative establishment."

Rees-Mogg is the shaven, bespectacled, and irony-troll face of Dark Enlightenment, and he is the current forerunner in the polls for the next Tory leader.
posted by runcifex at 12:54 AM on December 2 [21 favorites]


Why shouldn't an individual be able to deduct their rent from their taxable income, like a company can deduct its rent via the concept of "profit"?

If my landlord suddenly doesn't charge me rent, that's income on which I am taxed. (Income being anything of value you receive) If a homeowner chooses not to charge themselves rent, they are not taxed on the imputed rent, despite receiving a very real thing of value.
posted by wierdo at 12:58 AM on December 2 [2 favorites]


Good Lord. I wonder how that would hold up in court, if it becomes law as-is: what does a line drawn down a page mean? That the text under it is not binding, or that someone's pen slipped?
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:21 PM on December 1


It means that, as with the executive branch, the legislative branch has devolved to logorrhea as an effective distraction from reality. Who can say what is real when nobody can tell what our leaders are saying? Who can effectively oppose what is not real? This will reach the Supreme Court, of course, but by that time the majority opinion will be written by a literal feces-thrower and Neil “Actually” Gorsuch will provide the superfluous supporting appendix.
posted by SakuraK at 12:59 AM on December 2 [3 favorites]


no one will sell your corporation of one a group plan.

Oh, the local Chamber of Commerce was more than happy to let me join their "group" years ago. Sure, it was 14k/year to cover my family, but I expect more of this in the future.

I've had a sole-prop LLC going for over a decade to handle tax collection and remittance for my solo-work, but if this is the future, than I guess we sell the house to the LLC for a dollar or something. I dunno. I'll have to discuss this with my CPA.
posted by mikelieman at 1:14 AM on December 2 [5 favorites]


Since the last one closed, here's new MetaTalk post for the (emotional, incoherent, or otherwise outside of the new politics thread guidelines linked above) expressions that are better suited to such a place.
posted by monopas at 1:46 AM on December 2 [9 favorites]




Assuming this travesty passes the house, when would it go into effect?
posted by medusa at 4:14 AM on December 2


Conference committees are so 20th century. The House is gonna roll over like the lapdogs they are.

The House has a vote scheduled for Monday to send the bill to conference committee. That doesn't mean the House won't mostly capitulate to the Senate's version, but it looks like there will be a conference.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 4:41 AM on December 2


I think and I guess hope that Collins and Murkowski are going to have difficult lives from here on out (I'd include McCain but I assume medical stuff is going to keep him sequestered). It's one thing to be an evil fuck like Toomey; his being an incredibly evil fuck with this religious school shit is like, well yeah, what do you expect, fucking Toomey.

But with Collins and Murkowski and McCain, it feels like a terrible betrayal. We'd celebrated their earlier efforts to block shit; now they will become a focus of disappointment. I'd not been on board before the idea that moderate Republics who hold national office don't exist; now I am. I am board with the idea that they are all driven by an ideology that is at odds with reality.

All of them should and will be held accountable for their bad acts, and I hope they enjoyed their moment of triumph last night, because in the coming years, they are going to pay a very large price for it.
posted by angrycat at 4:41 AM on December 2 [29 favorites]


Assuming this travesty passes the house, when would it go into effect?

Some provisions would take effect immediately, but most of the big changes would go into effect for the 2018 tax year.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 4:43 AM on December 2


If passed, when would the GOP tax plan take effect? [CBS, Nov 6th] Suggests that most would be from 1st Jan 2018, and if it isn't signed into law before then it would be made retroactive to that date.
posted by Buntix at 4:49 AM on December 2 [3 favorites]


So Americans' taxes are going to radically change in less than a month. It will be confusing. How do I even calculate my withholding?
posted by medusa at 4:52 AM on December 2 [4 favorites]


Can someone convince trump that vetoing this thing would be a "win"?
posted by paper chromatographologist at 4:55 AM on December 2 [4 favorites]


How do I even calculate my withholding?

You can't. And there isn't enough Treasury/IRS staff to issue regs and new forms and publications in time. Some of the provisions are retroactive to Jan 1 2017 also. Oh and tax filing season starts in like 6 weeks.

Don't miss that a major part of this legislation -- coupled with a failure to appropriate sufficient funds to the IRS -- is making it so that the laws that do impose tax on the wealthy are not, in practice, enforced or enforceable.

I'm so angry right now. We have to stop this bill in conference. I don't know how to make that happen, but we have to. We can't allow them to win this one.
posted by melissasaurus at 5:03 AM on December 2 [106 favorites]


My acupuncturist, who is really tuned into all things Russia, turned to me yesterday and said beamingly, "It's a great day, isn't it." And she said that she was glad to see me because most of her other clients wouldn't be as excited. And I was like 'actually things are shit, and my main complaint today is my mood' and she took my pulses and looked at my tongue and was like 'jeez yeah, I see.'

I am going to follow The Whelk's example and work with the DSA here in Philly. Between that and ADAPT, I at least have places to channel my rage.
posted by angrycat at 5:14 AM on December 2 [19 favorites]


the dems need to announce they will be abstaining from the upcoming shutdown vote unless this madness is changed

let them own ALL of it - the republicans have the votes to avoid government shutdown - if they can't get themselves together the democrats should not come to their rescue

if the democrats aren't willing to do this, they aren't going to get anything done

it's time to exact a price for bipartisan willingness to keep the government running, and no, DACA is not enough
posted by pyramid termite at 5:21 AM on December 2 [18 favorites]


[Folks, let's not continue with further "how-to" and strategic tax filing stuff here, please. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 5:22 AM on December 2 [3 favorites]


Lol. I'm just reading through the bill and its like there is a specific carve-out to make sure high income families with a higher propensity to vote.and donate democratic don't get to participate in the give away.
posted by JPD at 5:33 AM on December 2 [10 favorites]


@NickHanauer (VC)
1) I wanted to make just one big point about this tax fight. I am profoundly frustrated - not by the Republicans in congress trying to fleece the middle class - that's what they were sent by their donors to do. I am frustrated by the pundit class that is just amazed, AMAZED!
2) Just AMAZED that the GOP doesn't seem to understand that this tax bill isn't benefitting the middle class, won't create growth, will not pay for itself. Trickle down economics doesn't work because its claims are true. It works because its claims are plausible....
3) And that plausibility creates deniability. Which means simple stealing can be dressed up as a difference in perspective on economics. The GOP never cared about actual growth. Or the debt. All they care about is making their rich donors richer. This plan accomplishes that.
4) What is so dispiriting is the profound silliness and naivete of the pundit class who actually believed these guys cared about this shit. The only real center of gravity for GOP politics is the donor class and their narrow short term financial interests.

---

And speaking of biased, clueless pundits...

@MikeGrunwald (Politico)
Here are some stories about how toxic Obama was at 44% approval:
Boston Globe: Democrats running for office ditch Obama ties
TIME: Vulnerable Democrats Run Away From Obama
WaPo: Can Democrats hold the Senate by running away from Obama — and their own records?
Guardian: Democrats have deserted him. The post-Obama era has begun
PS: Trump just hit 34%.

---

Yep, Trump is near his all-time low: 34 approve - 60 disapprove. He's only been lower once at 33%. He's dropped from -17 net (38-55) to -26 in the last 3 days. And this is before Flynn.
posted by chris24 at 5:35 AM on December 2 [56 favorites]


Calling my Senator, Susan Collins, to say Shame on you. A trillion dollar gift to the wealthiest fuckers on the planet.
posted by theora55 at 6:02 AM on December 2 [42 favorites]


> I am board with the idea that they are all driven by an ideology that is at odds with reality.
All ideologies are at odds with reality. That's what ideologies are for.

It's just that our reality is different from their reality.
posted by runcifex at 6:02 AM on December 2 [5 favorites]


A trillion dollar gift* to the wealthiest fuckers on the planet.

*paid for with borrowed money
posted by baltimoretim at 6:12 AM on December 2 [5 favorites]


Bruce Bartlett:
Republicans are already giggling with happiness at the thought of a Democratic Congress and president undoing their handiwork. The right wing attacks on them for massively raising taxes will write themselves, put the GOP back in power at the next presidential election. I expect that some Democrats are thinking they will regain control of Congress next year and the White House in 2020 because of the POS tax bill. Maybe, but they will be forced to spend all of their political capital cleaning up the fiscal mess with highly unpopular actions. The entire progressive agenda will be off the table for a generation insofar as it involves spending a dime for anything. The money won't be there. Democrats will have to do all they can just to keep Social Security from being privatized and Medicare turned into a block grant. Republicans will be very happy when Democrats try to reverse the tax cut. They will portray it as a massive tax increase and will simply give the GOP another reason to cut taxes again when they are back in power. It's Lucy and the football forever. Republicans are perfectly willing to accept a temporary loss because their agenda of downsizing government is now set in concrete. Democrats will complete it when they cut spending because of the deficit.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:17 AM on December 2 [51 favorites]


This is what I just faxed Burr and Tillis. I am So. Fucking. Mad.
_______________________
SHAME ON YOU.

You just voted to raise my taxes, increase my premiums, and leave 13 million more people uninsured.

You couldn't even do it in the light of day, you cowards.

This bill YOU voted for last night will explode the deficit by over $1 TRILLION.

DO NOT TELL ME THE LIE THAT MY TAXES WILL BE CUT. I know that "provision" will sunset, and only the wealthiest will reap the rewards of this unconscionable UNAMERICAN bill at the expense of women, children, senior citizens, immigrants, small businesses and poor people.

I am a voter who is not alone in watching your every move. We are angry, betrayed and have not forgotten that YOU work for us. Not for yourself, your business buddies, dark money orgs or even Trump himself. YOU work for YOUR constituents.

WE WILL REMEMBER YOUR RECORD.

SHAME ON YOU.
---------------------------
posted by yoga at 6:18 AM on December 2 [154 favorites]


This is who there are and definitely who they're going to be.

@AdamHSays
He resigned as the president of the College Republicans at Washington State after he was spotted at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

He was just re-elected to lead the chapter:

Spotted at a White-Power Rally, but Still Popular With Campus Republicans
posted by chris24 at 6:24 AM on December 2 [44 favorites]




I have to say that I disagree with Bruce Bartlett's tweet. In a conventional political climate he might be right. But look at what happened in Kansas. Something like that will happen at the national level, and we can force the Democrats to listen to us.

The base is getting much better at that now. We can't allow ourselves to be on the defensive.

Republicans have made that job way easier for us given the callousness of the bill and whom it favors. There was no constituency for this bill and they know it.
posted by orangutan at 6:42 AM on December 2 [21 favorites]


We can't just wait for elections to fix this. We can't just say "oh, well, they'll lose in 2018, and then we can reverse this in 2019" -- (a) even if we get a majority, there's little to no chance it will be veto-proof, and (b) really bad stuff will happen between now and ~2020 when a new bill could actually be drafted and passed and made effective. We have to stop it before it becomes law.

Call your senators, and reps, and governor, and state and local representatives -- light up the phones, make them come in to full voicemails and inboxes on Monday and every day thereafter. And not just the representatives - call your local parties, the national parties, your alma mater, the largest businesses in your area, the local hospital, chamber of commerce, everyone. Monday morning needs to be a fucking reckoning in order for us to have a chance at stopping this.

My message for Dems so far this morning has been along the lines of "shut it down; shut it all down." My message for Rs has been along the lines of "I have a very particular set of skills [tax policy!]. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you."
posted by melissasaurus at 6:57 AM on December 2 [63 favorites]


> Maybe, but they will be forced to spend all of their political capital cleaning up the fiscal mess with highly unpopular actions.

My crystal ball says taxing the everloving shit out of the 1% to pay for the mess the GOP made last night will be wildly popular and will not be a drain, but rather a previously untapped source of political capital.
posted by klarck at 6:59 AM on December 2 [104 favorites]


The dotcom recession of 2001 was a very public matter, because by then the majority of employers in the sector were post-IPO, and the layoffs were instantly a public matter.

This time around, companies purposely avoid the IPO, and instead spend years as private firms, with shares trading over tables of Chinese food around Silicon Valley. So it's not as easy to tell. But my Facebook feed and email inbox indicate that pink slip season has begun. Anyone else seeing this?
posted by ocschwar at 7:03 AM on December 2 [2 favorites]


My crystal ball says taxing the everloving shit out of the 1% to pay for the mess the GOP made last night will be wildly popular and will not be a drain, but rather a previously untapped source of political capital.

I'd say that but if there's one thing that remains constant it's that red blooded Americans will see an attack on the 1% as an attack on themselves and that the American electorate has the attention span of a goldfish.
posted by Talez at 7:06 AM on December 2 [14 favorites]


I am going to be faxing my rep, John Katko - R, and I know people read his messages and listen to his voice mail because he reported a death threat to him and his family left on his service to the Capitol Police. It was over net neutrality.
posted by xyzzy at 7:08 AM on December 2 [5 favorites]


My crystal ball says taxing the everloving shit out of the 1% to pay for the mess the GOP made last night will be wildly popular and will not be a drain, but rather a previously untapped source of political capital.

Yep, the first thing Dems do in 2020 if they take the presidency and Congress better be raising the tax rate on income over $500K to 50%. Via reconciliation and written on a fucking napkin.
posted by chris24 at 7:08 AM on December 2 [36 favorites]




Speaking of taking back Congress by 2020...

New WaPo poll of Alabama:

Doug Jones: 50
Roy Moore: 47

Which is a change from recent polls showing Moore with a small lead. But don't think this is necessarily an outlier.

@HotlineJosh (National Journal)
WaPo poll of #ALSEN: Jones 50, Moore 47. Awfully consistent with the internals I've been hearing about.
posted by chris24 at 7:14 AM on December 2 [13 favorites]


My crystal ball says taxing the everloving shit out of the 1% to pay for the mess the GOP made last night will be wildly popular and will not be a drain, but rather a previously untapped source of political capital.

It will not.

Republicans will trumpet the message, as they always do, that Trickle-Down Economics Always Works And If It Didn't Work That's Because It Didn't Go Far Enough And We Need More Of It.

The right-wing media, whose salaries depend on making people believe that, will howl that from every orifice. And whether it's from the core message itself, or its sister message that Taxes Are Always Bad, or fear that someone they hate might get a break or a decent meal, or belief that they too are in the People Whom Trickle-Down Benefits class and they'll start seeing those benefits Any Time Now, or because their personal taxes went down by $25 in the first year and therefore Yes This Bill Helps Everyone, or just raw tribalism, the same people will vote accordingly.
posted by delfin at 7:15 AM on December 2 [7 favorites]


It will not.

There is already an almost unprecedented D advantage in the generic House ballot. Trump is at an unprecedented approval low. We just cleaned up in VA and across the country. Engagement and activism and candidacies are at remarkable if not all-time highs. And this is before 13 million lose insurance and 30-50% of people get a tax increase. And with an inherited economy that will not last forever.

So fuck what Rs think. They're not going to be making the decisions if we do our job, get/keep people registered and voting, and take back control. And now that Rs have proven they don't care about process, they don't care about deficits, we don't have to appease them. And we vote out any D who tries to.
posted by chris24 at 7:21 AM on December 2 [100 favorites]


And we take the Federalist Society plan to expand the judiciary and use it to do it for us. "Hey, it was your idea." When McConnell stole the SC seat, Rs constantly ranted about the Biden rule which was a bullshit misleading argument that was never seriously contemplated much less implemented. Well guess what. Two can play that game.
posted by chris24 at 7:29 AM on December 2 [12 favorites]


I called Schumer's office yesterday and said that I understood he couldn't stop the tax bill from passing, but that I was expecting him to lead the Dems in campaigning on a platform of "we're raising taxes on corporations and the 1% to invest in America, we're coming for your fucking guns, and abortions are going to be accessible to all women." I said I want, and we all need, champions fighting to put the train back on the rails, or there was no point in voting for Democrats.

I strongly feel this is not the time for moderation of compromise. I want a fucking flag waving over the barricades.
posted by prefpara at 7:34 AM on December 2 [78 favorites]


> And whether it's from the core message..., or its sister message ..., or fear ..., or belief ..., or because ..., or just raw ...

Understood. But those are the tired old legs supporting the conservative viewpoint since Reagan - and we all knew they wouldn't stand the test of time. You can only pee down someone's leg and tell them it's raining for so long before they figure it out. I think that time has come.
posted by klarck at 7:36 AM on December 2 [8 favorites]


Everybody was constantly lying about Russia, but don't worry, that's just because we're stupid liars, not colluders.

@CNNPolitics
President Trump says he is not concerned about what Michael Flynn might tell the special counsel, saying "there has been absolutely no collusion"

VIDEO
posted by chris24 at 7:39 AM on December 2 [1 favorite]


chris24: "Yep, the first thing Dems do in 2020 if they take the presidency and Congress better be raising the tax rate on income over $500K to 50%. Via reconciliation and written on a fucking napkin."

They need to rise the taxes on capital gains and inheritance more than on income though they should do that too. As the bottom end is already at zero, reducing the GINI spread by aggressively clawing back the top end is the only real hope for a continuing functional society for the middle class (or the existence of a middle class at all for that matter).
posted by Mitheral at 7:42 AM on December 2 [19 favorites]


By the way, in that WaPo Alabama poll where Jones leads by 3? Among white evangelicals the pedophile leads by 59. (78-19)
posted by chris24 at 7:42 AM on December 2 [17 favorites]


Also let's not forget how profoundly unpopular this tax bill is. And it will only become more unpopular as people learn more about it. I don't think it's inevitable that we're just stuck with it now and can never pursue a progressive agenda.
posted by prefpara at 7:43 AM on December 2 [25 favorites]


I think the question is if the damage will be irrevocable before said progressive agenda can be pursued.
posted by flatluigi at 7:47 AM on December 2 [7 favorites]


red blooded Americans will see an attack on the 1% as an attack on themselves

Despite arguably being vastly more aware of it and even running (not owning, running) most of the levers of public conversation, the Democratic-left is incredibly inept at messaging. That has to change, like, 20 years ago. You can see it coming a mile away - Better Jobs! Sensible Health Planning! DUKAKIS / KERRY 2020.

What is the DSA message / media strategy anyway? Out of curiosity.
posted by petebest at 7:54 AM on December 2 [16 favorites]


I feel as though there has to be a breaking point moment where we figure out the right collective action to take, to really punish the cadre of people that fund this ideology, and where everyone actually does something. I don't know if it's a strike, or a boycott, or something new... But the Kochs of the world are going to do this until they're scared of us.
posted by condour75 at 7:57 AM on December 2 [8 favorites]


Honestly, as important as getting people to vote is making the press as scared of us as they are of the right.

@EricBoehlert
OMFG!! Ed O'Keefe from WP told CBS News re: insane un-democratic tax vote last night, "this is how legislating works." are U effing kidding me? VIDEO
- why is DC press so obsessed w/ normalizing GOP insanity?? (hint: look at who's getting the tax cuts.)
- no public hearings, no expert testimony, bills released hours before vote, final bills w/ scribbled instructions in the column..."this is how legislating works" is a disgusting lie
- message from DC media: not much to see here. GOP passed a tax bill, move along. this is EXACTLY the narrative GOP needs/wants right now
posted by chris24 at 7:58 AM on December 2 [80 favorites]


There is already an almost unprecedented D advantage in the generic House ballot. Trump is at an unprecedented approval low. We just cleaned up in VA and across the country. Engagement and activism and candidacies are at remarkable if not all-time highs.

I agree, and it's true that some polls have the Democrats winning the Congressional popular vote by 9 points, but that only translates into 51% of the seats. Even if voters massively break for Democrats, gerrymandering has all but guaranteed that the Democrats will not get a veto-proof majority in the House. Plus, the Democrats controlling the House is enough to stop the GOP from doing more of this shit, but not enough for them to undo any of it.
posted by Automocar at 7:58 AM on December 2 [5 favorites]


chris24: "message from DC media: not much to see here. GOP passed a tax bill, move along. this is EXACTLY the narrative GOP needs/wants right now" – this message is being pushed because many of the same people who control the GOP who passed the bill presumably also control the people who spread the message. They're not stupid: they know they have to control the message, not just get the legislation passed.
posted by StrawberryPie at 8:07 AM on December 2 [5 favorites]


Haha. Never trust this fucker. The hardline on 20%, demanded by Trump, and with multiple votes rejected to raise it a tiny bit to help in other areas? Gone now that everyone is on record voting for it.

@JenniferJJacobs (Bloomberg)
TRUMP ON CORPORATE TAX RATE: “It could be 22 when it comes out,” down from 35%.

@seungminkim (Politico)
Retweeted Jennifer Jacobs
The heads of Susan Collins, Marco Rubio, Mike Lee, other senators who called for bumping up the corporate rate, just exploded
posted by chris24 at 8:08 AM on December 2 [15 favorites]


Charlottesville review: Faulty planning, passive police lead to disastrous results

The story has it all - officers told not to intervene; a police chief who tried to both hide and manufacture evidence; and a "both sides" response from the state police. Just in case you need something else to enrage you this morning.
posted by nubs at 8:09 AM on December 2 [44 favorites]


But look at what happened in Kansas.

I get where you're going with this, but at this point, nobody on the left should be using Kansas as an example for anything. Yes, the state legislature voted to increase taxes. A little. They're still not where they were previous to the Brownback administration. The schools are still massively underfunded. And worst of all: at this point, there's no meaningful challenger on the left for the Governor's seat - 11 months out, it's Chris Kobach's race to lose.

The comparable situation is this: after 2018, Trump is ousted, and Pence takes his seat. The tax plan has made the country so broke that the left and the right pass a minimal tax increase over Pence's veto. There's some hope. And then Steve Bannon runs for, and wins, the presidency. That's the path Kansas is headed down right now.

Anyway, my point is this: the long game is important. No individual win will save us. It's going to take years of unrelenting work to begin to repair the damage these con artists are doing to the country.
posted by god hates math at 8:15 AM on December 2 [21 favorites]


Ed O'Keefe from WP told CBS News re: insane un-democratic tax vote last night, "this is how legislating works."

Ed O'Keefe is 34 (born in Year Three of Our Gipper), and is gushingly proud to engage in this level of journalistic malpractice for The Washington Postals. He should be fired.

Other recent stories from Ed include multiple versions of "Republicans plan to avert government shutdown, hurrah" and in-depth analyses of why Franken and Corbyn are just the worst.
posted by petebest at 8:16 AM on December 2 [5 favorites]


@jljacobson (EIC - Rewire)
Every single journalist, every single media outlet that has over past 10 years or more allowed @GOP to lie through their teeth in interviews and on camera, and presented it as a "point of view" is responsible for what is happening in this country right now. every single one 1/
- Every single journalist and media outlet that built up @GOP and @SenateMajLdr and called @SpeakerRyan a "wonder boy" is at fault for where we are now. Every single on of those who built up @realDonaldTrump for ratings and money over 30 years is at fault. 2/
- From @MarkHalperin to @MLauer to all the rest of you and you know who you are who sought to provide "balance" by inviting liars on shows and into interviews and falling to challenge them and then turned around and grilled Dems as though they were equal... you are at fault. 3/
- Every single outlet from @NPR to @ @MSNBC to @CNN who brought on sycophants, liars, & conspiracy theorists such as @BreitbartNews, @HughHewitt, @BritHume as though they were honest brokers... you are at fault. Because slowly over time you enabled fascism for your own benefit. 4/
- And now you can have @SenateMajLdr get on radio and say that there were "many hearings and markups on this bill....". Where? When? Are you asking him? Are you challenging that? Have you asked him to name ONE??? One hearing? No... you just give him a mike. It's disgusting. 5/
- And today's @nytimes headline? "big Win for Trump." Really? Really @Nytime? How about "Tax Scam Passes Amidst Chaos and False Claims" ?? that would be an accurate headline. But ... @deanbaquet is afraid to actually run a newspaper. He'd rather do soft-reporting Nazi stories. 6/
- Journalism is supposed to be about speaking truth to power, informing people, challenging power. But journalists have become so embedded in the power structure, they are so co-opted and so complicit at this point, it's no wonder we are here. 7/7/
posted by chris24 at 8:21 AM on December 2 [163 favorites]


read the fucking major tax bill they're voting on includes Senator John "Concerns About The Process" McCain.

Don't forget that McCain was not against the health bill because it was taking away from the poor but because it was NOT taking away ENOUGH.
posted by sammyo at 8:37 AM on December 2 [6 favorites]


[Good morning friends - we've had a period of looser reaction after today's stupid terrible thing, and this afternoon I'm going to tighten the dial back up just a bit, in terms of having less short-reaction stuff and less very general "we must be pessimistic" vs "we can be optimistic" stuff. (All of which are fine things to want, again nobody's doing anything wrong, but see this Metatalk thread about changing the norms in the megathreads.) There's this morning's freshly posted WTF thread, for venting emotional reactions. And always Mefi Chat for short or general chitchat that's maybe borderline for this thread, or just to be in a room with people.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:53 AM on December 2 [21 favorites]


Understood. But those are the tired old legs supporting the conservative viewpoint since Reagan - and we all knew they wouldn't stand the test of time. You can only pee down someone's leg and tell them it's raining for so long before they figure it out. I think that time has come.

When the Republicans don't have the Presidency, both houses of Congress, control of a majority of governorships and state legislatures, control over the district maps so as to rig House elections and a public so brainwashed that one state is likely to vote a child molester in over a Democrat, I'll be more hopeful that the Reagan Delusion is finally ending.

Generic House ballots are great if we can run generic Democrats against generic Republicans in generic places. But to take the House back and take state houses we need to win in a lot of unlikely races. We need a clear, convincing and loud message that resonates from the whole party. We need lots of candidates that inspire enthusiasm and stand for things proudly. We need candidates that are not scared of corporate shadows and will say out loud that You Are Being Screwed.

Much of which is in progress, however incrementally. But I'll believe that enough of it is happening when I see it.
posted by delfin at 9:06 AM on December 2 [11 favorites]


Steven Pearlstein: The Bryce Harper Tax Relief Act of 2017
So you add it all up and Harper would have an annual income of $60 million split evenly between salary and royalties. [...] As for the $30 million in annual royalty income, he’d probably do something like sell the intellectual property that generates the royalties each year to a partnership that also operates another business suitable for a professional athlete, such as a chain of fitness clubs. As a result of the sale, he would pay a 30 percent state and federal capital gains tax, and then use the money from the sale of the royalty income to buy an ownership stake in that very same partnership that had bought the rights.

In other words, he sells the stream of royalties from his intellectual property to a partnership in which he himself then becomes a partner. The partnership, in turn, allocates to Harper each year his pro rata share of its profit, which for tax purposes flows through to his personal income. Under the Republican bill, this partnership income would be taxed at an effective rate of 31 percent, for federal and Virginia. [...]

This little exercise is just one example of the ways that athletes, rock stars and inventors could game the tax code that the Republicans want to put in place, by turning some of Harper’s salary into capital gains (that’s the royalty gambit) and then running those royalties through a tax-advantaged “small business partnership” to avoid paying a corporate profits tax. [...]

Not unmindful of this problem, Republicans have tried to include what they call a set of “guardrails” to limit such games-playing, but because they have rushed the bill through the legislative process, tax experts warn of the high risk that those guardrails won’t prove effective. Add to that the deep cuts Republicans have been making in the IRS budget and you can be fairly confident that very few of these clever tax-avoidance schemes would be caught by the IRS and successfully challenged. And even if they were to be, the understaffed agency would likely settle for a partial recovery of lost revenue.

A badly needed tax cut for all those plumbers and forklift drivers and coal miners? Not exactly.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:10 AM on December 2 [9 favorites]


I honestly feel bad for Barry Black. To have to open that shitshow yesterday with a prayer. I can think of nothing more blasphemous than what those "Christians" did yesterday.
posted by Talez at 9:27 AM on December 2 [1 favorite]


Well, this was the impetus I needed to finally join the DSA. I trust them far more than the Democrats to actually voice a principled opposition to this kind of catastrophic legislation. And they keep on picking up offices and pulling the Democratic party to the left. The introductory membership dues are only $45. Next step, I really need to finally carve out some time to get involved and go to some meetings.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:27 AM on December 2 [28 favorites]


Donny can't help himself. Sure, weigh in on an ongoing investigation. So you're saying you knew he lied to the FBI and didn't fire him for three weeks?

@realDonaldTrump
I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!
posted by chris24 at 9:28 AM on December 2 [35 favorites]


Looks like the DOJ or White House is leaking personal dirt about the Special Counsel's investigation, Two senior FBI officials on Clinton, Trump probes exchanged politically charged texts disparaging Trump (WaPo):
The former top FBI official assigned to Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election was taken off that job this summer after his bosses discovered he and another member of Mueller’s team had exchanged politically charged texts disparaging President Trump and supportive of Hillary Clinton, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.

Peter Strzok, as deputy head of counter-intelligence at the FBI, was a key player in the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server to do government work as Secretary of State, as well as the probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election.

During the Clinton investigation, Strzok was involved in a romantic relationship with FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who worked for Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, according to the people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
posted by peeedro at 9:31 AM on December 2 [4 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!

Also, if he knew that Flynn lied to the FBI, asking the FBI/Comey to drop the case on Flynn is obstruction. Thanks Donny.
posted by chris24 at 9:35 AM on December 2 [91 favorites]


What is the DSA message / media strategy anyway? Out of curiosity.

I joined recently, and as far as I can tell it's not too well defined at the national level. DSA has grown very rapidly in the last year and still seems to be figuring out what to do with the massive influx of new members and money. The good news is that everyone I've talked to is very receptive to suggestions, so if you've got good ideas it's a great opportunity to get them heard and acted on.
posted by contraption at 9:40 AM on December 2 [2 favorites]


I’m just really confused by this. I thought the parliamentarian nixed this? Are they just running over the parliamentarians? If so, is that a challengeable possibility?
posted by corb at 9:42 AM on December 2 [1 favorite]


> I’m just really confused by this. I thought the parliamentarian nixed this? Are they just running over the parliamentarians? If so, is that a challengeable possibility?

Gessen's Rule #3: Institutions will not save you.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:45 AM on December 2 [24 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!


I will eat my socks if Donald Trump actually wrote that. It's way to well-crafted and talking-point-ready. Not enough RANDOM capital LETTERS.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:45 AM on December 2 [16 favorites]


And here's the problem right here. NYT and Washington Post push notifications describe this as a "big win" and "major victory" for Trump instead of leading with the impact of the bill on the 323 million of us who aren't Donald Trump.

That's how indoctrinated we are. Sports news is about contracts, not play. Movies are talked about in terms of box office. Since I don't invest in movie companies I'm not sure why I'm supposed to give a shit about that. Substance is rarely discussed in the media anymore, it's all wins, losses, and business.
posted by bongo_x at 9:46 AM on December 2 [69 favorites]


Looks like the DOJ or White House is leaking personal dirt about the Special Counsel's investigation, Two senior FBI officials on Clinton, Trump probes exchanged politically charged texts disparaging Trump (WaPo):

Is "We found information that could lead to accusations of bias in our investigation so we preemptively fired the guy" supposed to be a bad thing?
posted by schroedinger at 9:47 AM on December 2 [16 favorites]


I’m just really confused by this. I thought the parliamentarian nixed this? Are they just running over the parliamentarians? If so, is that a challengeable possibility?

The parliamentarian only rejected one provision of the bill -- the provision to add a trigger cancelling some of the tax cuts if deficits turned out to be higher than projected. So they removed that one provision and passed the rest of the bill without the trigger -- deficits be damned.
posted by JackFlash at 9:53 AM on December 2 [5 favorites]


...I don't think there's any other way to read that tweet other than he's admitting to obstruction of justice. Control of Trump's twitter account just became an issue, because if that's a Scavino authored tweet, it complicates proving Trump's state of mind, vs Scavino posting as Trump on twitter.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:55 AM on December 2 [25 favorites]


And here's the problem right here. NYT and Washington Post push notifications describe this as a "big win" and "major victory" for Trump instead of leading with the impact of the bill on the 323 million of us who aren't Donald Trump.

That's news journalism. It is a big win for those who wanted it to happen. That's a fact that happened. The consequences of this have not happened yet. You write about those in analysis or opinion pieces.

Of course, it's not as cut and dried as that, but that's the basic structure. You can and should be critical of the overall mix of a journal's editorial output, you can and should be critical of what facts are reported and how, and what analyses and opinion pieces are offered. But news must have a basic adherence to what has actually happened over what happens next.
posted by Devonian at 9:57 AM on December 2 [6 favorites]


But news must have a basic adherence to what has actually happened over what happens next.

Well, I have no hesitation in saying "That's absolute bullshit."

How can you report any event without considering the consequences of that event?
posted by JackFlash at 10:02 AM on December 2 [9 favorites]


"Big Win for Trump" and "Republican Congress Passes Tax Cuts Without Hearings, Experts Say Will Not Create Growth" are both accurate descriptions of the news event, and deliberate choices are consistently made to run the first, and not the second.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:02 AM on December 2 [89 favorites]




Rebecca Solnit, Guardian, with equal parts of encouragement and exhortation: The 11 biggest victories against Trump by the resistance
This list of our successes and their defeats does not mean you can sit back in the sunshine and trust that it will all turn out in the end. It means that resistance – active, engaged, informed, creative, dedicated, energetic resistance – works, and we need lots more of it.

It’s too soon for despair, though not for grief. Grief and hope can coexist: grief for who and what has already been harmed, hope for preventing more harm. Remembering what we have accomplished and how ferociously engaged people are in this moment is knowing that the outcomes of many pending conflicts are entirely up in the air, and that we are powerful enough to determine some of them. That power of civil society has hardly yet been exercised.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:04 AM on December 2 [33 favorites]


I will eat my socks if Donald Trump actually wrote that. It's way to well-crafted and talking-point-ready. Not enough RANDOM capital LETTERS.

I don't know who wrote it, but it's not remotely well-crafted. It's an acknowledgement that he knew Flynn lied to the FBI when he fired him. That's an admission he knew or should have known that Flynn committed a crime. Then he asked Comey to end the investigation into Flynn. That admission just made obstruction charges one step easier to prove.

That's news journalism. It is a big win for those who wanted it to happen. That's a fact that happened. The consequences of this have not happened yet. You write about those in analysis or opinion pieces.

I strongly disagree. It's horse race journalism, coverage that puts political winners and losers ahead of policy. Few things could be more important to every single American who receives push notifications from the NYT and the Post than their personal finances and ability to get health insurance. Congress made major changes to both; this isn't some abstract issue—it's very directly about things that will happen to you. Their reporters have done some great work to help people understand it, but that's devalued by the editorial decision to feature the horse race instead of what it means for every single one of us.
posted by zachlipton at 10:09 AM on December 2 [50 favorites]


How can you report any event without considering the consequences of that event?

First sentence of the the WaPo story:
Senate Republicans passed a $1.5 trillion tax bill early Saturday morning that bestows massive benefits on corporate America and the wealthy while delivering mixed blessings to everybody else.

First sentence of the NYT story:
The Senate passed the most sweeping tax rewrite in decades early Saturday, with Republicans lining up to approve an overhaul that will touch almost every corner of the United States economy, affecting families, small business owners and multinational corporations, with the biggest benefits flowing to the highest-earning Americans.

That looks like considering the consequences of the event to me.
posted by neroli at 10:09 AM on December 2 [5 favorites]


I can think of nothing more blasphemous than what those "Christians" did yesterday.

When millions of people of a religion promote a set of values, those are the values of that religion - even if there's a similar religion by the same name with different values. Those senators are Christians. That's what Christians do. Christians have a long, long history of oppression and slavery. A few breakaway sects that focus on the "care for your neighbor; feed the poor" parts of Yeshua ben Miriam's message don't change the majority. (Do note that the sects that focus on that, tend to be the downtrodden and poor; Christians in a position of power have never used that power for activities that would undermine its authority.)

The "no true Scotsman" fallacy has let these people slide for far too long. It lets them claim the label and delude their constituents into thinking they must be trying to help others, because that's what "Christians" do. It's very much time to acknowledge that "what Christians do" includes supporting racism, rapists, and stealing from the poor to give to the rich.

I am 100% certain that every Republican who voted yesterday would have been perfectly happy to say, "As a Christian, I support this bill." That law is soaked in Christian values.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:09 AM on December 2 [52 favorites]


Mueller removed FBI agent from Trump investigation over possible bias: reports
The Times reported that [the agent in question, Peter] Strzok was removed from Mueller’s team after the Department of Justice’s inspector general launched an investigation into text messages sent by the agent that could appear to contain anti-Trump views.

The agent reportedly exchanged text messages with FBI lawyer Lisa Page, whom he was dating, during the campaign and Clinton investigation that appeared to support the Democratic presidential candidate, people with knowledge of the matter told The Washington Post.
The cited Times story as well as WaPo further report that Strzrok was also a "key player" in the Clinton email investigation.

Looks like his departure from the Trump Russia probe was reported in August, but the information about why appears to be new today.
posted by solotoro at 10:12 AM on December 2 [3 favorites]


In the extremely unlikely scenario whereby Dems gain majorities in both houses: Are the provisions of this bill reversible?
posted by GrammarMoses at 10:15 AM on December 2


I am a voter who is not alone in watching your every move. We are angry, betrayed and have not forgotten that YOU work for us. Not for yourself, your business buddies, dark money orgs or even Trump himself. YOU work for YOUR constituents.

WE WILL REMEMBER YOUR RECORD.


Well said, except you're wrong. It's not enough to fire representatives and senators any more. They'll be taken care of, in return for doing the thing for their masters. They'll either be covered financially to win their race again, or they'll get a non-congress no-show consultancy to keep them comfortable. The only threat you can bring anymore is personal, like jail time, and even that's being destroyed.
posted by ctmf at 10:15 AM on December 2 [10 favorites]


Not to abuse the edit window: what this means in practice is once they're elected, it's too late. Hire better. Make candidates prove they aren't going to do this. How? I don't know.
posted by ctmf at 10:17 AM on December 2 [1 favorite]


In the extremely unlikely scenario whereby Dems gain majorities in both houses: Are the provisions of this bill reversible?

You also need a president who would sign the bill.
posted by Justinian at 10:17 AM on December 2 [8 favorites]


Those of us with Democratic representatives: Thank them for their efforts to stop this bill, but ask them, now that the bill has passed, what they intend to do to punish the Republicans they see every day for their assault on America. How will they make them suffer?
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:19 AM on December 2 [11 favorites]


Obamacare daily repeal, take 2. Except this time, we would be ready to take care of business when we got what we asked for.
posted by ctmf at 10:20 AM on December 2 [3 favorites]


So the Senate bill doesn't have the graduate student deduction elimination, apparently?
posted by angrycat at 10:22 AM on December 2


So the Senate bill doesn't have the graduate student deduction elimination, apparently?
From what I can tell, that's right, although I don't think anyone knows exactly what was added at the last minute. But I think there's a pretty good chance that won't end up in the final version.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:23 AM on December 2 [3 favorites]


It’s possible Trump knew way back when that Flynn had lied to the FBI. I think it’s more likely he didn’t know and today’s tweet is just him attempting to show he’s the boss, and acted on Flynn’s prevarications long before the Special Counsel did. He’s just so stupid that in doing so, he firms up the obstruction of justice case against himself.
posted by notyou at 10:23 AM on December 2 [17 favorites]


All three of my reps in Congress are totally against this garbagedisasterfuck tax bill. Given that I have nobody to call, is there any sort of list of who might be more vulnerable to pressure from non-constituents? Like is there a Republican House Rep somewhere I can call up and say, "I wanted you to know I'm donating to your opponent to fight you specifically if you keep supporting this garbage?"
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:29 AM on December 2 [7 favorites]


Swingleft.org and flippable.org will help you find the closest swing district to you. Call their local office, tell them you will be donating against them and coming to their district to knock doors over this tax vote.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:34 AM on December 2 [35 favorites]


Thinking about the scribbling on printouts from lobbyists and the random shit that could be in this bill reminded me of the OUTRAGE from Republicans when Pelosi was quoted out of context saying "we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it". Now the GOP gleefully passes a bill that they have no chance of knowing the contents of. It really is projection all the way down with these clowns.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:37 AM on December 2 [16 favorites]


Come 2020, assuming we're allowed to win, we're going to need to write a **LOT** of new laws, including a complete revamping of the tax code.

Everything they do is just one more thing for us to get cracking on and I devoutly hope that the Democratic leadership is learning from the Republicans here both in the positive and negative sense.

We need to have bills drafted, bugs worked out, negotiations done, ready to roll on Jan 21, 2021. There's plenty of Democratic lawyers, get them working **NOW**, in public, get the Democrats on board, and get the bills ready to pass. I'm not sure why having bills processing when you're out of power isn't part of the normal way things go, but it needs to be.

We've seen what happens when a Party gets a majority and is caught with its pants down, we don't need the Democrats to be scrambling in 2021 to try and get shit written. Get the bills written now, have minority meetings where the details are hammered out and the deals are cut and you're ready to vote.

Then, learn the other lesson from the Republicans: ram the bills through with a bare majority and fuck the filibuster and any other impediments. They've demonstrated that the filibuster apparently has oodles of loopholes, we need to use those loopholes for our benefit instead of playing nicey nicey and letting them use it against us. I don't know or care what procedural crap they're pulling to make the filibuster not apply to their total rewrite of the tax bill (including magic, totally illegible portions that will be "fixed" later), we need to use it too.

The other lesson we need to learn is that however quickly they did it, we can do it faster. Get the debate out of the way now, while we're a minority, get the bills settled, and get the major legislation passed and made law of the land in the first few days of the new Presidential administration. Don't let February come without the ACA being rebuilt and strengthened, a new tax bill that taxes the fuck out of the rich passed and applying to income in 2021, etc. They've demonstrated that the whole deliberation and letting the other side have a say bit is dead and gone, so don't try to bring it back.

But the key part is to make our bills a big, public, debatable, thing right this second. Get cracking, have a Shadow Congress [1] working in public and with lots of public input, to hammer out exactly what the Democrats will be passing, in the ten days between Jan 21 and Feb 1. Get some Democrats working on model Executive Orders for the new President to sign the instant they're in office. However many it takes, don't dribble them out one a week or whatever, get them signed an hour after the Democratic President is sworn into office, make it part of the inauguration party.

"And here's the Executive Order ending the Global Gag Rule!" signs, applause "And here's the Executive Order ending the Trump era anti-Muslim rules!" signs, applause. Right there on the stage while the nation watches.

But seriously, we've seen what happens when a majority party gets caught without bills ready and already finalized. We need to avoid that at all costs and be ready to roll as soon as we have a chance.

[1] Though, despite Shadow Cabinet being a legitimate term in a parliamentary system, probably for PR reasons it'd be best not to call it a shadow congress in the US given how prone the right is to throwing screaming conspiracy fits.
posted by sotonohito at 10:42 AM on December 2 [95 favorites]


The theory is that money businesses spend on expenses - like paychecks and rent and such - is someone else's income, and therefore already being taxed.

Yes, I've heard this since I was in short pants and it sounded bogus then. The problem is that every dollar is "taxed" multiple times. My income is all taxed and then taxed again when I spend it and then taxed when the recipient gets it and then when that person spends it, etc., etc., etc.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:44 AM on December 2 [11 favorites]


Here's a list of the programs that would vulnerable to automatic cuts as per NYT a few days ago

This helped me maybe? understand how the fallout of this is going to look like
posted by angrycat at 10:44 AM on December 2 [3 favorites]


[1] Though, despite Shadow Cabinet being a legitimate term in a parliamentary system, probably for PR reasons it'd be best not to call it a shadow congress in the US given how prone the right is to throwing screaming conspiracy fits.

How milquetoast of you, sotonohito. I propose we go whole hog and call ourselves The Evil Council.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 10:48 AM on December 2 [1 favorite]


Considering the speed of creation and broad swath of regulations affected by this tax law, what are the odds that some weird loophole was just created that will backfire in the GOP's face?
posted by PenDevil at 10:49 AM on December 2 [3 favorites]


Everybody was constantly lying about Russia, but don't worry, that's just because we're stupid liars, not colluders.

The word you're looking for is "useful idiot". An essential component of many covert operations.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:52 AM on December 2 [1 favorite]


There are going to be loopholes all the way through this, but as many or more of them are going to hit the people who are already being slammed hard. "Well, there's this tax shield that's supposed to work for single parents living in borderline poverty, but it turns out, this part here is so badly phrased that it doesn't. I guess you don't get any benefits this month."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:53 AM on December 2


The odds are good that parts of the law will go wrong; it happens a lot. They’ll author “technical corrections” bills as glitches arise.
posted by notyou at 10:53 AM on December 2


Like is there a Republican House Rep somewhere I can call up and say, "I wanted you to know I'm donating to your opponent to fight you specifically if you keep supporting this garbage?"

You can call my rep: the teabagger Lynn Jenkins (R - Kansas). You won't change her mind, but if it makes you feel better to yell at someone, I can't think of anyone more stupid or deserving. Back during one of the shutdowns in the Obama years, I called her to pass a continuing resolution. I cited the terrors awaiting us if the United States defaulted. She said she would not vote for it and said defaulting on our debts would be better than continuing with a deficit.

Obviously, the deficit is enormously important to her. At least when Democrats are in charge. Of course, she voted for the tax bill. Enthusiastically. If anyone's looking for a random Democrat to donate to, take a look at Paul Davis. He's running for her seat. And it will be an open seat since she's retiring. He's total super-bland milquetoast, but he's got a chance. Topeka and Lawrence (college town and solid blue) are in this district.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 10:57 AM on December 2 [20 favorites]


You know, I know we frown on guillotine and "eat the rich" hyperbolic jokes, but I think it's no-shit going to take a credible threat of that to budge the overton window of acceptable congressional behavior back at all. They're normalizing white supremacy, we can normalize revolution.
posted by ctmf at 11:10 AM on December 2 [52 favorites]


So can somebody tell me if I have this narrative right?

Then can only pass via 50 if it is budget neutral. The whole trigger debate was because the senate was saying, hey if growth doesn't kick in then we'll look at the tax cuts and reduce the cuts. This would've made the bill more gentle.

Because the trigger didn't work, they said fuck it and let the automatic cuts kick in, which applies to everything that isn't protected from sequestration, if I have that right. From A-Z through federal agencies.

My query is this: How are these automatic cuts made? Do they just zero out budgets on the agencies that the most troublesome to them? Do they start with DoAg and just keep going down the alphabet?
posted by angrycat at 11:13 AM on December 2 [1 favorite]


For what little it may be worth, the international tax professionals I'm dealing with are completely disgusted with this "tax reform" bill. Regardless of your politics, Congress had a chance to fix a broken system and they proceeded to make it three times more complicated, incoherent and broken.

Until last night, I would have said that If you break down the purely corporate world into (a) pure domestic companies (b) high profit margin multinationals and (c) low profit margin multinationals, then (a) and (b) make out like bandits and (c) pays for everything. When they put the corporate alternative minimum tax back in last night, it broke so many things that no one has an idea where they end up.

Don't ask me about the politics, I'm just a dba trying to help pull data for the tax guys.
posted by sabraonthehill at 11:15 AM on December 2 [11 favorites]


Other up-and-coming Dems to donate to: I've mentioned Jana Lynn Sanchez and her campaign for Texas district 6 in the House, right? Her district in the Dallas-Fort Worth area has gone to the same conservative asshole (Barton R-TX) for 33 years, and is widely considered very safe indeed for the GOP.

She's raised $100,000 now on small-money donations (not one individual donation greater than $2700), which is more than any Democrat has ever raised for this race. She is an Annie's List candidate, and was directly moved and encouraged to run as a result of the Women's March. I have followed her since before she announced her candidacy, and I like her principles and her commitment. She's done a fucking kickass job so far, and I see no reason to think she won't bring those principles to Congress if she's elected.

She is not milquetoast or bland. This is a woman who is proud of the Latinx migrant workers she came from, not ashamed of them. She listens to her constituency, and she knows how to spin progressive values to appeal to them. She is a smart, tough woman with strong opinions, and I am wildly pleased with the character she demonstrated in Texan organizing circles even before announcing her candidacy and deciding to run.

And just the other day, Barton announced that he would not run for office again to oppose her in her district. So her Republican opponent will no longer have an incumbency advantage.

This is a lady to watch, guys. I'm super excited to watch her go.
posted by sciatrix at 11:16 AM on December 2 [72 favorites]


The flip side of "give them no straw man to rile up their base with" is "give them no boogy-man consequences to compel good-faith bargaining."
posted by ctmf at 11:16 AM on December 2 [2 favorites]


Nov 30th, Orrin Hatch,

"the reason we don't have CHIP is because we don't have any money anymore"

There's a special place in hell.
I happen to think CHIP has done a terrific job for people who really needed the help. I have taken the position around here my whole Senate service. I believe in helping those who cannot help themselves but would if they could. I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won't help themselves, won't lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything.
How the fuck kids supposed to help themselves with health insurance? Are we going to put them back into the coal mines once the jobs come back? JFC what comes out of these people.
posted by Talez at 11:29 AM on December 2 [90 favorites]


Yeah, RIP my 3-year-old godson's CHIP healthcare. He was born at 25 weeks, 1 lb. 2 oz. He's battling short gut syndrome and just had tonsil surgery.

His mother got an overpayment letter from the SSA yesterday. Apparently he owes them $750. This, despite refusing to retroactively cover him since birth. He's been getting $30/month this whole time, so they most have mistakenly approved him for SSI in the first place?

This is what happens when federal agencies are drastically understaffed. They literally take food and medicine away from toddlers because they don't have enough people to do the work required to avoid internal accounting mistakes.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:35 AM on December 2 [75 favorites]


WaPost: Inside the Secret Nerve Center of the Mueller Investigation

Two favorite tidbits:
Once inside, most witnesses are seated in a windowless conference room where two- and three-person teams of FBI agents and prosecutors rotate in and out, pressing them for answers.
...
Often listening in is the special counsel himself, a sphinx-like presence who sits quietly along the wall for portions of key interviews.
and
The volume of questions about Kushner in their interviews surprised some witnesses.

“I remember specifically being asked about Jared a number of times,” said one witness.
posted by pjenks at 11:36 AM on December 2 [59 favorites]


That's not even the good part of the article, the wrapup:

“These guys are confident, impressive, pretty friendly — joking a little, even,” one lawyer said. When prosecutors strike that kind of tone, he said, defense lawyers tend to think: “Uh oh, my guy is in a heap of trouble.”
posted by sammyo at 11:50 AM on December 2 [35 favorites]


and
One person who was recently contacted said it is hard to find a lawyer available for advice on how to interact with the special counsel because so many Trump aides have already hired attorneys.

“It was kind of a pain,” the person said. “It’s hard to find a lawyer who wasn’t already conflicted out.”
posted by box at 11:50 AM on December 2 [19 favorites]


I have never been one to pray before bed, but in 2018 I am going to take up the Arya Stark mantra, and sleep only after I have said these names:

Mimi Walters. Ed Royce. Stephen Knight. Jeff Denham. (*) Darrell Issa. Dana Rohrabacher. (**)

We're coming for you. It's hilarious how the the California GOP (which, reminder, invited Steve Bannon to be keynote speaker at their pathetic convention, and gave him standing ovations) bemoans their endangered status, and then pulls this shit. It's like condors voting to require lead bullets be used to slaughter lesser game (oh, did I mistype "non-corporate constituents"?), not realizing (or not caring) that when they feast upon the remains of those constituents, they will get lead poisoning and die. Gee, thanks! We practically don't have to lift a finger!

But we will be lifting our fingers. So, y'know. Enjoy the present tense in your Wikipedia career description while it lasts.

*Winners of the idiot prize: voted to fuck their constituents despite being in flippable districts.
**Runner-up idiots who think that voting no on this one travesty of a bill will save their sorry asses.
posted by desert outpost at 11:51 AM on December 2 [20 favorites]


Via a commenter on the TPM discussion thread:

The Senate GOP meeting this morning.
posted by darkstar at 11:53 AM on December 2 [16 favorites]


They can only pass via 50 if it is budget neutral.

Not true. Via budget reconciliation Republicans can pass a bill with unlimited amounts of additional deficits for the first 10 years. They decided in their reconciliation instructions that they could stomach $1.5 trillion in new deficits. After the 10 year window, according to the Byrd rule, the new bill must no longer increase the deficit. So Republicans made the corporate tax cuts permanent and the individual tax cuts (that's you) phase out over the 10 year window to satisfy the Byrd rule.

Because the trigger didn't work, they said fuck it and let the automatic cuts kick in, which applies to everything that isn't protected from sequestration, if I have that right. From A-Z through federal agencies.

While the Republicans are permitted to increase deficits as much as they want, there is a separate law, the Statutory Pay-as-You-Go Act of 2010, known as PAYGO, that requires automatic across-the-board reductions in spending for certain mandatory spending programs to compensate for the new deficits of the Republican bill. These include Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and other welfare programs. It does not require cuts to discretionary spending like the military.

But, the history of PAYGO enforcement is mixed. Under Democratic rule, PAYGO rules were strictly enforced. Under Republican rule, they simply passed waivers to PAYGO. A waiver to PAYGO requires 60 votes so Democrats have some leverage. But what kind of real leverage do they have when refusing to go along with a waiver means cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other welfare programs.

So the bottom line is that no, Republicans aren't required to pass a budget neutral bill with 50 votes. They can have as big deficits as they like. And no, PAYGO rules are unlikely to curb them since PAYGO penalties affect mostly Democratic programs. They will just get a PAYGO waiver.
posted by JackFlash at 12:07 PM on December 2 [17 favorites]


They will just get a PAYGO waiver.

Which requires 60 votes. It's an interesting dilemma for the Ds as to whether they go along with it.
posted by Justinian at 12:09 PM on December 2 [1 favorite]


Johnny Wallflower, thank you for posting that Solnit article - I think it's a very much needed inspiration to us right now, that resistance works. It might not work as fast or as far as we want it to - yesterday and 100%! - but it works. We're the mouse eating the elephant a bite at a time. From Timothy Snyder's On Tyranny: anticipatory obedience gives tyrants what they want.

Something I thought of that those of us with true-blue Senators and Representatives can do - Call and send postcards telling them: Thank you for all you do for us, your constituents. Now, no more Mr. or Ms. Nice Democrat. The gloves come off. Fight the Republicans every step of the way. Remember, they play dirty and don't have any respect for us.

You can get "From Your Constitutent" postcards on Etsy or Zazzle or Vistaprint. I got a whole bunch, and ordered stamps from the Post Office which they sent to me, so no waiting in line! My Senators and Rep are getting "Thank you, now be tough!" calls and postcards from me. Let's do the same, blue district MeFites!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:10 PM on December 2 [25 favorites]


Just for clarification, Trump’s latest tweet about how he knew Flynn lied to the FBI, but then urged Comey to let it slide...that’s the SECOND time President Dumbass has openly confessed to completely separate Obstruction of Justice felonies.

The first time was when he confessed during a TV interview that he fired Comey because of the investigation into Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia.

I mean...it’s not enough that he actually committed felony Obstruction on two separate occasions...but now he’s openly confessed to both...and WHILE there is an ongoing investigation by a Special Prosecutor!

FFS, give him enough time and the idiot will confess to the Lindbergh kidnapping!
posted by darkstar at 12:10 PM on December 2 [27 favorites]


Why wouldn't the dems go along with a PAYGO waiver? I mean it would large parts of the safety net, wouldn't it?
posted by angrycat at 12:13 PM on December 2 [1 favorite]


Because if there's one thing McConnell taught us from the Obama years its never go along with anything. Obstruct, obstruct, obstruct, and then get rewarded electorally. The Republicans are cutting Medicare etc with this tax bill, make them eat it.
posted by Justinian at 12:14 PM on December 2 [17 favorites]


Why wouldn't the dems go along with a PAYGO waiver? I mean it would large parts of the safety net, wouldn't it?

Exactly. It's like "well Republicans can shoot some of the hostages to show they're serious so why can't we?" and all I can scream at my monitor is "BECAUSE WE CARE ABOUT THE DAMN HOSTAGES".
posted by Talez at 12:15 PM on December 2 [17 favorites]


Those of us who want to instantiate our SHAME ON YOU feelings can use this postcard template.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:24 PM on December 2 [9 favorites]




"BECAUSE WE CARE ABOUT THE DAMN HOSTAGES"

That's precisely why the Dems (including the Left) can't employ winning Republican tactics. We can't. It won't work for us because, fundamentally, we both care AND are susceptible to collateral damage. Obstructionism is fine in theory - it's wonderful in theory - but it's not going to feed, clothe, heal, shelter, or protect our constituents. Republicans have no such qualms because they have no constituents, just masters.
posted by lydhre at 12:29 PM on December 2 [55 favorites]


One additional thought about 2020 and the idea that "Republicans are already giggling with happiness at the thought of a Democratic Congress and president undoing their handiwork." One of the few and increasingly reliable laws of American politics is that the party out of power does well during the midterms. That's why we had the waves of 2006 and 2010, and why we're heading into another one in 2018. What that means is that it's almost impossible to retain control of both chambers and the presidency for more than 2 years. And that means you've got at best, basically 1 solid legislative session to pass anything major per turnover. We had our shot in 2009, the Republicans get their shot now, and if all goes well, we get another shot in 2021, 4 years earlier than we might normally have expected.

On the one hand, it's terrible for democracy if you can only pass one major piece of legislation every 4 or 8 or 12 years. And it means that, as others have said, we've got to line everything up ahead of time to create exactly the same sort of omnibus bill Republicans just shoved through that does as much as possible in our tiny window of opportunity when it happens. But the upside is that, since Democrats are almost certain to lose at least one chamber in 2022 no matter what they do, there's absolutely no reason to worry about "playing into Republican hands" or political backlash from "cleaning up their mess". Go ahead and massively raise taxes, pass radical socialist handouts, upend Senate traditions, whatever. In a partisan world, fine distinctions between pragmatic centrism and left-wing socialism make almost no electoral difference. So Democrats should just accept that at best we get one window this decade, get everything lined up to shoot the moon, and forget about fine-tuned electoral worries. It's time to go for broke.
posted by chortly at 12:32 PM on December 2 [48 favorites]


The person who discussed the matter with The Associated Press was not authorized to speak about it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

If the Mueller investigation has shown us anything, it's shown us that they are pros at keeping what they're doing totally under wraps. Which makes me wonder if this was a "don't leak this info under any circumstances [wink, wink]" sort of operation.
posted by triggerfinger at 12:34 PM on December 2


yeah I mean does the PAYGO waiver have to be attached to the tax bill and therefore dems would be in the position of having to vote yes on this POS?

because otherwise, I'd say it's less of a 'killing some of the hostages' situation and more 'staunch some of the bleeding' situation. It's hard to see Democrats as not agreeing to a restoration of say, Pell Grant funds in the name of obstruction. How could they run on such issues in 2018 if they're legislatively on the record as saying, 'fine, blow it all up'
posted by angrycat at 12:35 PM on December 2 [1 favorite]


for god's sake i hope that democratic legislators are drafting the legislation they hope to pass in 2019 RIGHT FUCKING NOW. if only to shame the GOP by example by having a public bill that constituents can read on the first day of the floor debate.
posted by murphy slaw at 12:36 PM on December 2 [28 favorites]


On the one hand, it's terrible for democracy if you can only pass one major piece of legislation every 4 or 8 or 12 years. And it means that, as others have said, we've got to line everything up ahead of time to create exactly the same sort of omnibus bill Republicans just shoved through that does as much as possible in our tiny window of opportunity when it happens.

And so the republic is torqued and twisted though increasingly more violent swings in policy and priority as political cycles move back and forth. This is starting to look like a slow-rolling revolution. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm saying I really don't like where this is headed.
posted by eclectist at 12:36 PM on December 2 [18 favorites]


yeah I mean does the PAYGO waiver have to be attached to the tax bill and therefore dems would be in the position of having to vote yes on this POS?

No. PAYGO does not attach to the tax bill. It is a completely after-the-fact rule. The deficits in the Republican bill become law. Then PAYGO automatically goes into effect, resulting in spending reductions -- unless there subsequently is another bill passed that waives the PAYGO rule.

Democrats have no leverage over passage of the Republican tax bill. They have little leverage in blocking a PAYGO waiver down the road unless they are willing to hold a gun to the head of the hostages.

In fact, PAYGO is more likely to have reverse leverage giving the Republicans more advantage. They will likely attach the PAYGO waiver to some other evil Republican agenda item, like permanent entitlement cuts. Because Republicans can say "Democrats must pass this bill or the Democrats end up shooting this cute puppy."
posted by JackFlash at 12:45 PM on December 2 [7 favorites]


increasingly more violent swings in policy and priority as political cycles move back and forth.

Only so long as they keep sticking to party over process. Any of the Republican senators could have defected yesterday, if they cared about the republic. I don't imagine Democrats will have the comparable DGAF to do the same in 19. Or if they do, it will be because they have to to look out for their people. Which would be essentially, revolution, yes. Or rather, a continuation of the revolution started by the Republicans in 17.
posted by ctmf at 12:47 PM on December 2 [3 favorites]


A Conservative and His Conscience
Earlier this year, Senator Jeff Flake published a self-important book entitled Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle. Just for the lulz, I'd like to share with you a passage from pages 113 and 114 of that book, in which Flake argues that Senate customs protecting the power of the minority must be preserved, so the Senate can remain a body that guarantees patient, careful deliberation on important matters.
In a time of institutional uncertainty, if the proper checks and balances are to be preserved, we must act on conscience and principle. The Senate must be the saucer that cools the coffee, as George Washington is said to have told Thomas Jefferson. A case in point early in the new presidency was President Trump's increasing pressure on the Senate to dispense with the filibuster for legislation so that he might be able to get his program through the Senate without concern about achieving consensus. Such a move would turn the Senate into just another majoritarian body iust like the House of Representatives, thus forfeiting its reputation as a deliberative body at all, much less the world’s greatest. At that point, it might be fair to ask: Why have a Senate at all? [...]

That is not how constitutional democracy works. And it‘s not how the United States Senate works, either. [...]

I will not support any such effort to harm the Senate. It is a line I cannot cross. Assuming all forty-eight Democrats would also oppose any such effort, if just three Republicans join them. we could block it. There would, no doubt, be consequences. But so. too, would there be consequences if we were not to act.
Last night, at approximately two in the morning, under pressure from President Trump, Flake voted for the GOP tax bill, after it had been advanced under rules intended to sidestep the filibuster, a bill so hastily written that it had no full hearings and was being rewritten by hand hours before the vote. The vote was (with one exception) entirely along party lines. A minority-party amendment seeking an adjournment until Monday to permit senators to read the full bill was rejected, entirely along party lines. Flake voted against adjournment.

Nice conscience you got there, senator.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:49 PM on December 2 [115 favorites]


And so the republic is torqued and twisted though increasingly more violent swings in policy and priority as political cycles move back and forth. This is starting to look like a slow-rolling revolution. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm saying I really don't like where this is headed.

Moderate gradualism is the rare exception in modern democracies, and in fact rarely occurs in US history. At best the US system produces punctuated gridlock, with long periods of stagnation interrupted by things like the new deal, great society, and more recently, massive tax cut bills. But in most other modern democracies, there is a single legislative chamber that basically runs everything, and whenever a party or coherent faction wins a majority, they are free to make massive changes to the national government, with the result that you get much larger swings in policy as the left and right change hands than you do in the US. While gradualism might be preferable to these oscillations, the fact is that's not really what the US or other "checks and balances" systems actually produce, so in general, your options are relatively extreme swings, or nothing. I think the record of most the other developed democracies over the last 50 years suggests that a relatively fluid parliamentary system with more extreme swings does far better for its constituents than our intentionally gridlocked mess. Since a proper parliament's not really on the table here, the best we can do is abolish the filibuster and other non-constitutional barriers to change and make whatever big changes we can when we get the chance.
posted by chortly at 1:03 PM on December 2 [10 favorites]


...I don't think there's any other way to read that tweet other than he's admitting to obstruction of justice.

That seems to be the consensus of my Twitter feed, e.g. Lawfare blogger Susan Hennessey @Susan_Hennessey:
This is a pretty substantial confession to essential knowledge elements of an obstruction of justice charge.
NBC's Chuck Todd @chucktodd raises a good point:
Why didn’t @VP and @Reince know what you knew about all this last January before they went out and vouched for Flynn’s denial?
Business Insider's Natasha Bertrand‏ @NatashaBertrand makes another one:
I thought the White House didn’t know that Flynn had lied to the FBI when they fired him. Isn’t that what McGahn was so *angry* about yesterday?
Other commentators in my Twitter feed are simply giddy.

Sarah Kendzior @sarahkendzior
Hey look who confessed to obstruction of justice AGAIN. He's now admitted he knew of Flynn's crimes when he pressured Comey to drop the investigation.

Merry Christmas, Bob Mueller. You are indeed investigating a fucking moron 🙄
Renato Mariotti @renato_mariotti
If Trump knew that Flynn lied to the FBI, why did he tell FBI Director @Comey that Flynn was a “good guy” and that he should let Flynn go? That sure looks like an attempt to hide!

Has anyone told Trump he has the right to remain silent?
On the rightwing side of the anti-Trump spectrum, Bill Kristol‏ @BillKristol (of all people) looks at how Team Trump might be trying to set the groundwork for future action, however:
Ty Cobb’s statement yesterday and Trump’s comments this morning would seem to lay the predicate for Trump, a few weeks from now, expressing shock that the inquiry isn’t yet over, asserting once again that it’s a witch hunt, and firing Mueller and/or pardoning various people.
To judge from the Flynndictment reactions from Fox News yesterday, I can't rule out this strategy's success.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:07 PM on December 2 [29 favorites]


Emails Dispute White House Claims That Flynn Acted Independently on Russia

“On Dec. 29, a transition adviser to Mr. Trump, K. T. McFarland, wrote in an email to a colleague that sanctions announced hours before by the Obama administration in retaliation for Russian election meddling were aimed at discrediting Mr. Trump’s victory. The sanctions could also make it much harder for Mr. Trump to ease tensions with Russia, “which has just thrown the U.S.A. election to him,” she wrote in the emails obtained by The Times.”

😦
posted by supercrayon at 1:16 PM on December 2 [98 favorites]


Between Trump tweeting obstruction of justice this afternoon and now this, I fully expect a cashed check for ten million dollars with RUSSIA COLLUSION in the Memo field to show up.
posted by chris24 at 1:45 PM on December 2 [31 favorites]


Well, I just sent this to my Senators. I’m so exhausted and just, done with this bullshit, something needs to break for people to get the severity of what’s going on. I don’t think any of us are prepared for true political unrest in this country, and it’s coming fast:
I am writing you as a constituent. You are my representative and you have political power that I simply do not have. I am demanding that you do everything in your power to block any actions by the GOP, given that they are complicit in harming the citizens and residents of this country, and indeed our democratic system of government itself by way of supporting an illegitimate, treasonous executive branch. Our government is currently under attack, and I expect you to act accordingly. Defend it with your body, mind and soul. Call in whatever favors you must. Leak whatever incriminating information you have. I want your direct and unending participation in destroying the political careers of those who seek to harm our country and our people. Norms have long been abandoned, I do not ever want to hear of bipartisanship or compromise from you with regard to the GOP. I want you to carry a flag of resistance and opposition against everything this illegitimate executive, and the congress that enables them, seeks to do, by any means available to you. I will be watching your actions closely. If they are not sufficient, I will do everything in my power as a private citizen to remove you from office and replace you with someone suitably engaged with those of us who stand on the right and moral side of history. Be well, and fight with conviction for everything dear to our people.
posted by odinsdream at 2:18 PM on December 2 [68 favorites]


The old "America is a republic and not a democracy" saw is certainly feeling unusually truthful today, it's true.
posted by Artw at 11:02 PM on December 1 [9 favorites +] [!]


Michael Parenti, the socialist political scientist/intellectual, has a nice thorough examination of America through this lens, during a talk in Springfield.
posted by hexaflexagon at 2:20 PM on December 2 [3 favorites]


And here's the problem right here. NYT and Washington Post push notifications describe this as a "big win" and "major victory" for Trump instead of leading with the impact of the bill on the 323 million of us who aren't Donald Trump.

That's how indoctrinated we are. Sports news is about contracts, not play. Movies are talked about in terms of box office. Since I don't invest in movie companies I'm not sure why I'm supposed to give a shit about that. Substance is rarely discussed in the media anymore, it's all wins, losses, and business.


And NYT, like clockwork, now has as its top headline: "Few Hurdles Left for Republican Tax Plan"

Wow what a thrilling race this has been for the GOP, folks! Dodging journalist questions, rolling up the sleeves for some last-minute edits. They're so close to the finish line and we expect them to close this one out by a hair before the end of the year! Look how quickly they turned the tables around after the healthcare bill fiascos! And with that, we want to say thanks for reading, from all of us from the NY Times, signing off.
posted by hexaflexagon at 2:43 PM on December 2 [30 favorites]


The Men Who Cost Clinton the Election Jill Filipovic for the NYT
It’s hard to look at these men’s coverage of Mrs. Clinton and not see glimmers of that same simmering disrespect and impulse to keep women in a subordinate place. When men turn some women into sexual objects, the women who are inside that box are one-dimensional, while those outside of it become disposable; the ones who refuse to be disposed of, who continue to insist on being seen and heard, are inconvenient and pitiable at best, deceitful shrews and crazy harpies at worst. That’s exactly how some commentary and news coverage treated Mrs. Clinton.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:49 PM on December 2 [117 favorites]


Chrysostom... you are not alone.
posted by delfin at 2:55 PM on December 2 [24 favorites]


I'm not sure my sense of irony is Keen enough to invent Trump doing a fundraiser at Steve Scwartzman's house suggesting his re-election slogan will be "Have you checked your 401k Balance"
posted by JPD at 2:57 PM on December 2


I saw that on Twitter and assumed that it *was* Chrysostom. Is there an epidemic of people accidentally getting elected by writing themselves in for random offices? That would be a good kind of epidemic!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:04 PM on December 2 [15 favorites]


Chrysostom got TWO votes, not one. Two are required to claim an actual mandate from the masses.
posted by delfin at 3:07 PM on December 2 [43 favorites]


Legit question here, when your senators are Orin Hatch and Mike Lee... who are you supposed to email about this tax bill? {sigh}
posted by Crystalinne at 3:10 PM on December 2 [3 favorites]


First sentence of the the WaPo [/ NYT] story:

People read something before the first sentence. Often that thing is ALL they read. It has it's own name and is set off in large fancy letters because it's much more important.

NYT has choices they could make but aren't. As soon as a substitute (arguably Twitter, for zalex's sake) is commonly recognized I will be happy to shuffle them off to the back of the rack.

See the puff piece on John McCregular-Order's fine family in People magazine this week. Same thing.
posted by petebest at 3:15 PM on December 2 [9 favorites]


when your senators are Orin Hatch and Mike Lee... who are you supposed to email about this tax bill?

Really, truly - you are supposed to email THEM. I desperately wanted to call Utah residents this week to ask them to CALL HATCH. I have personally called Hatch in the past, despite living in California, because he chairs the Finance Committee, where the description next to his photo says, "Orrin Hatch is fighting to lower taxes, strengthen Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and open markets to American products." Well, he just voted to gut Medicare and Medicaid. Please, please call him - twice a day if you can - and ask him why he just voted to gut Medicare. Ask him why he thinks it's okay to gut Medicaid. Ask him what effect he thinks a gutted economy will have on Social Security. Ask him what he thinks this will do to anyone you know who's on Medicare, or Medicaid. Ask him why he is actively attacking your well-being, and that of everyone else in Utah.

Over here in California, I can call him when there's a bill in his committee that affects me and have some tiny hope that he'll pay attention to me. You are a constituent. I know you think nothing you can say will affect his actions. I beg you to consider that you're mistaken, and I beg you to consider that it's worth doing even if you're right.
posted by kristi at 3:32 PM on December 2 [45 favorites]


The sanctions could also make it much harder for Mr. Trump to ease tensions with Russia, “which has just thrown the U.S.A. election to him,” she wrote in the emails obtained by The Times.

There's a slightly longer quote of that sentence further down supercrayon's link which does nothing to substantiate the WH's claim that "she meant only that the Democrats were portraying it that way":
“If there is a tit-for-tat escalation Trump will have difficulty improving relations with Russia, which has just thrown U.S.A. election to him,” she wrote.
Googling for it, I'm noticing that some people posting it around the internet have changed the terminating comma of the quote into a period.

But still, even if she continued the sentence to say something else, it's pretty clear that McFarland is in no way channeling Democrats when stating that—it was her own description of what happened.
posted by XMLicious at 3:33 PM on December 2 [6 favorites]


They're now claiming that Trump lawyer John Dowd, not Trump, wrote the obstruction tweet. Which if true is amazingly inept lawyering, but also really raises the question of who the hell speaks for the President, or even who actually is the President? The White House position has been the whole time that Trump tweets are official statements, but did Trump sign off on the Dowd tweet? Was he even aware of it or was he playing golf today? Which tweets impacting policy and foreign relations including with North Korea weren't actually authored or vetted by Trump? Is John Dowd or Dan Scavino making policy alone? How would we even know?

This is insane.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:39 PM on December 2 [131 favorites]


The thing that's been bouncing around my brain for a good while now when people complain about taxes (or outright shout that taxation is theft) is that to me, taxes are like membership dues. If you don't pay your membership to the gym, you don't get to use the machines to work out. Taxes are the membership fees that we pay to be a part of society. People who openly flaunt their avoidance of taxes should be reviled, not praised. They are saying, proudly, "I intend to reap all of the benefits of living in this society, and forcing others to financially support my participation." When we make that big long list of all the things that are in desperate need of rebranding, paying taxes as a true act of patriotism and love of one's society needs to be high on that list.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:41 PM on December 2 [84 favorites]


They're now claiming that Trump lawyer John Dowd, not Trump, wrote the obstruction tweet.

And questioning Dowd is restricted under client/lawyer privilege?
posted by PenDevil at 3:42 PM on December 2 [4 favorites]


Questioning what Dowd and Trump discussed is usually privileged. Questioning him as to whether he wrote the tweet would not be.
posted by Justinian at 3:43 PM on December 2 [8 favorites]


i've been thinking quite a bit about tribalistic, dogmatic governance. for conservatives, government is evil and taxes are evil. everything they want to implement is rationalized from those principles. for libs, government is good and necessary for a civil society - and costs money. everything libs implement is rationalized on those principles.

over the last weeks, I've done a bit of reframing. it was useful to talk civilly with my ultra-conservative family (we respectfully discuss and know when it's time for a cool-down period).

so, looking at the clusterfuck we have right now, what different or complimentary first principles advance the common good for the most americans (and residents!).

so far, i have four concepts that i feel can change the language and framing for the left.

posiwid and, we measure effects. if the outcome of legislation is a racist police force...we designed a racist police force. we need to change the design.

the precautionary principle if we can't be pretty fucking sure of the damage something might do, then we won't do/allow it. e.g. since we have all our breeding pairs in one place, let's be pretty protective of the air and water.

harm reduction usually applied to public health policy, i believe it could be useful in domains across the culture. invest in bridges before they fall down because as i tell program managers, "pay now or pay later. you will pay, either way. later is ~3x the cost of now." it doesn't really endear me to them. kinda half-baked, but i think there's something real here.

the pottery barn rule humans are accountable for human decisions. the consequences of a poor outcome go to the humans, not just the corporate or public entity responsible. you spilled oil and you want to know how much you have to clean up? all of it.

these are principles, made by humans. application probably doesn't need to be utterly platonic.

i think if we talked about governance using these ideas, it breaks the reactionary response to existing partisan language. thoughts?
posted by j_curiouser at 3:49 PM on December 2 [31 favorites]


Terminating comma is the correct punctuation for a within-quote sentence that ends directly before the end quotation mark when the enclosing sentence continues.

Yeah, but that stylistic rule isn't reversible... it's sort of like lossy compression, since once applied there's ambiguity over whether the original text included a comma or a period.
posted by XMLicious at 3:54 PM on December 2 [9 favorites]


"Big Win for Trump" and "Republican Congress Passes Tax Cuts Without Hearings, Experts Say Will Not Create Growth" are both accurate descriptions of the news event, and deliberate choices are consistently made to run the first, and not the second.

This was a long time ago thread-wise, but lots of people only read headlines. Given that the media is addicted to both-side-ism, why not at least introduce a little of that into the headlines, like "Tax Law Big Win for Trump, Big Loss for Middle Class" or "Big Win for Trump Expected to Gut Obamacare" or whatever. But that would slow down the sport narrative I spose.
posted by Bella Donna at 4:00 PM on December 2 [19 favorites]


So I was having a chat with my partner about their frustrations with the spin that local Democrats have taken and the messaging that a whoooooole lot of working people coming through their pawn shop are receiving. It's Austin, so they get a wide range of people and a wide range of tribal and political ideas, and since everyone's talking politics... well, that's coming up a whole hell of a lot. And there's this problem that has been driving them bug-fuck nuts about what Democratic politicians are doing with respect to spin and messaging that they're terrified will hurt Dem candidates in 2018, especially Dem candidates trying to flip red districts (like ours!).

Which is: to many people who aren't already plugged into liberal identities or political blogging or political education, Democratic party platforms and representatives are not getting across the actual gains that Democratic ideals want to make for these people's day-to-day lives. I don't mean the hardline Republicans out in Alabama who will vote for just about anyone, as long as he's GOP. I mean people who have never thought about it too hard, or people whose families vaguely view Republicans as the party of the "working man" because let's face it, forty years of bald-face lying will fool at least some of the uninterested.

Because of the way we're talking about the evils of Republicans, because the New Deal has been so effectively dismantled--ten years before I was born this started, let me remind you, it's been a damn long time since we had public discussions about the good things governments can do for their people--many, many people are just not used to thinking about taxes as actually yielding useful things for them. People don't think about the infrastructure they rely on. We're fighting decades of lies and bullshit and poor education.

What elected party officials need to do is emphasize, in clear, easy to understand language, not only what the Republicans are doing that is wrong and illegal... but also, what Democrats would do in a sane and functional system that would work better. The Democratic party needs to be shouting "If they weren't pulling this bullshit, we could write a tax law system that would make it easier for you to do your taxes!" or "if they weren't doing this, we could have taxes that would make your schools better across the board!" Point out where Republican governors' choices to make the system worse (hi, Obamacare) are active choices that are made by a specific party, and don't let the GOP control the damn narrative.

And sure, we're seeing this here already. We are not the rank and file of the American public. At least, again, not judging from the sample of the people who are broke enough and getting by enough to be patronizing a Texan pawn shop, which is a pretty minimal one, but a sample unlikely to have come up here.

Those of you who are wondering what you call and push your Dem elected officials on: push them on this. It's a tactic that didn't occur to me to think about, in part because I've always been around Blue Dogs who know damn fucking well that they have to do this to get any ground at all... but that doesn't mean that Dems in "safe" blue districts know that they need to do this, and higher-level Democratic officials are not doing it at all with the exception of Elizabeth Warren and a few others. (My own personal rep always does this: when he opposes something, every time he says 'I am fighting for tax plans that will draw money from billionaires in order to help working Americans get by' or whatever.)

Push them on this. The media is shitty about it, what with their desire to get "two sides" to everything? Doesn't matter. Pressure your rep to frame this battle like this on social media, to talk about people and what they want to accomplish with the policies they would put through if they could. Talk about healthcare for Granny and wanting make sure no kid has to die because he aged off health insurance and couldn't afford his fucking insulin. Talk about wanting to make a tax system that distributes wealth from the rich to the middle class, that makes sure that "working Americans" are paid fairly and not unjustly taxed, and that the megarich pay proportionately into the system that keeps the nation running. Don't frame the situation as helping the poor: frame it as helping the average working stiff.
posted by sciatrix at 4:03 PM on December 2 [45 favorites]


when your senators are Orin Hatch and Mike Lee... who are you supposed to email about this tax bill?

Email them. Call them. Make their secretaries afraid to pick up the phone, nervous about opening the email inbox. Make them dread contact with their constituents.

I mean, getting them to actually consider their actions would be lovely, but we're going for practical, here. Make them unable to figure out which of their croneys and fundraisers they're supposed to support, and what laws those people want enacted, by flooding them with content they don't want to face.

To that end, mix up the email text a little. Don't just send ones that say, "SHAME YOU DISGUSTING PIG;" send ones that say, "I wish to provide feedback on your recent actions regarding the tax bill. I notice that you participated in the late-night voting session, and I wish to commend your dedication to the legislative process. I retain, however, some concerns related to the content, rather than the context, of your actions..." so that someone has to actually spend time reading it.

They're now claiming that Trump lawyer John Dowd, not Trump, wrote the obstruction tweet.

In which case, Trump should lose his verified status. If the tweets don't actually come from the person claiming ownership of the account, they shouldn't be verified.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:03 PM on December 2 [41 favorites]


Yonhap News Agency: U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth fighters have arrived in South Korea to stage simulated attacks on mock North Korean nuclear and missile targets.
posted by bluecore at 4:11 PM on December 2 [9 favorites]


And as someone in a state with red senators, let me chime in here...

when your senators are Orin Hatch and Mike Lee... who are you supposed to email about this tax bill?

Listen, my senators are John Cornyn and Ted Fucking Cruz, and I email them and I call them and I fax and write letters. I don't do it in the sincere hope that they'll moderate their behavior, because they are screaming loons; I do it in the transparent hope that this will let fear extend a curling tendril into their yellow, jandiced bellies. I want them to know that their constituents--the people who can recall them, the people to whom they owe their jobs--are angry. I want them to walk a fine line, and I want them to have no honest way to pretend that the rank and file of those constituents are not absolutely, burningly furious.

They're assholes. I know they're assholes. You know they're assholes. They know I know they're assholes.

But if their staff is constantly fielding twenty-minute calls from me and people like me demanding to know how the Senators account for their actions on a moral compass, they will be miserable. Yes? No one likes running shitty phone service jobs. Call centers suck balls, and the Senators' tend to be run by poorly paid or unpaid interns. They're there because they're hoping that job will give them a leg up in the party.

If they quit because people like me are making their lives hell, well, who's going to answer the phones until new suckers can be recruited? Higher-ups. And if their lives are hell, if they're constantly being distracted by ringing phones or full voiceboxes or fax machines that won't stop... Well, that's going to make their job a little more miserable. And a lot harder to get shit done.

As the anger and resentment trickles up the line, it means that the support staff for a Senator and all the little machinery that's supposed to keep things running smoothly begins to crack and wither. It means that everyone becomes miserable, and miserable people do shit work and look for excuses not to be present.

That's the point of calling. Clog their fucking lines. Be a thorn in their sides. Make sure they can't pretend that your voice doesn't exist.

Make them wish they'd never heard of you or your state, and make politics seem just that much less attractive a career option than it previously seemed to be. Be as ungovernable as you can, and see if you can't make them lose their shit like a particularly green substitute teacher handed off to a room of unruly fifteen year olds.
posted by sciatrix at 4:11 PM on December 2 [129 favorites]


The more I look at Trump's tweet the more skeptical I am that Dowd wrote it. Dowd has been a lawyer for more than 50 years in various capacities. Surely someone with this much education and experience would know that the word is "pleaded" and not "pled"? Trump's tweet says "He has pled guilty".
posted by Justinian at 4:28 PM on December 2 [9 favorites]


Aside from the fact that it's simply a lie that Dowd wrote the tweet, note that they claim he "drafted" the tweet. Meaning, he said something yesterday to Trump and Trump then poked it out from memory while driving from one NYC fundraiser to another.
posted by pjenks at 4:37 PM on December 2 [3 favorites]


Just thinking out loud:
Way back, socialists were critical of taxation, because taxes were imposed by the lords and capitalists on the peasants and workers to pay for wars. It looks like the US is getting back to that state. Maybe this can somehow be put to use?
The socialist promise of the welfare state was to reverse that old model into a new one of getting the rich to pay for human rights and basic dignity and general welfare.
The social democratic compromise which worked in Western Europe for a lifetime was to have everyone pay something (though the rich paid much more) and everyone get something back from the commons. Healthcare, education and pension is provided for the rich as well as for the poor, and everyone but the very poorest pay into the commons. That way, even today you will have millionaires feeling that they get something back for their taxes. They pay a lot, but they get "free" healthcare, their kids get first class educations and their parents get food brought every day and a subsidized cleaning person. If the balance of price (taxation) and services is right, you have to be immensely rich to not benefit from the welfare system when it works. Like 0.1 % rich.
I guess that is to some extent how it works in the blue US states today: wealthy liberals appreciate the good schools and the functioning infrastructure and above-standard welfare, even if they personally don't use those services so much.
posted by mumimor at 4:37 PM on December 2 [12 favorites]


Dowd has been a lawyer for more than 50 years in various capacities. Surely someone with this much education and experience would know that the word is "pleaded" and not "pled"?

Not really indicative of anything, both forms are standard in legal documents.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:39 PM on December 2 [14 favorites]


The Post has excerpts from Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie's upcoming book (like, so many that I can't imagine why anybody would buy the book now): Trump’s campaign: Big Macs, screaming fits and constant rivalries. I'll quote a bit, but there's no quote that does all of this justice.
In one of the most striking passages of the book, the co-authors describe a scene in which Bannon is read the first few paragraphs of a forthcoming story by a New York Times reporter laying out allegations that Manafort had received a $12.7 million payment from a Ukrainian political party. The encounter occurred at Manafort’s apartment in Trump Tower, where, the co-authors write, an unnamed woman in a white muumuu “lounged” on the couch.

“Does Trump know about this?” Bannon asked, according to the book.

“What’s to know, it’s all lies,” Manafort replied.

The woman on the couch “imploringly” asked, “Paul?” Manafort responded, according to the book, “It was a long time ago. I had expenses.”
...
One of Hicks’s jobs was to make sure that Trump’s suits were pressed when they flew on his plane.

“ ‘Get the machine!’ ” Trump would yell, according to the book. “And Hope would take out the steamer and start steaming Mr. Trump’s suit, while he was wearing it! She’d steam the jacket first and then sit in a chair in front of him and steam his pants.”

One day, when Hicks forgot the steamer, Trump became angry.

“G--dammit, Hope! How the hell could you forget the machine?”

The authors wrote, “It was a mistake she would never make again.”
I, for one, would like to know who this woman in the white muumuu is who seemingly called Manafort out on his crap. Or what kind of "expenses" totaled $12.7 million.
posted by zachlipton at 4:44 PM on December 2 [32 favorites]


The more compelling argument would be that no remotely competent lawyer would be telling Trump to say anything about an ongoing investigation. It’s another obvious lie, and we shouldn’t even be entertaining it.

I can’t imagine the attorney would be willing to take a bullet for Trump under oath, either.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:48 PM on December 2 [13 favorites]


They're now claiming that Trump lawyer John Dowd, not Trump, wrote the obstruction tweet.

Is that not a violation of Twitter's TOS for verified accounts? Beyond that, is it not a sign of significant professional incompetence for a lawyer to publicly confess that his client committed obstruction before a plea arrangement has been made?
posted by nubs at 4:54 PM on December 2 [6 favorites]


I can’t imagine the attorney would be willing to take a bullet for Trump under oath, either.

Yes. Not to beat a lying dead horse, but the Post actually got an on the record clarification from Dowd himself
Update: Dowd says, "The tweet just paraphrases what [White House lawyer] Ty Cobb issued yesterday. I refer you to Comey’s testimony about Flynn’s answers. I have nothing further."
before "two people familiar with the twitter message" attributed the authorship to Dowd.
posted by pjenks at 4:57 PM on December 2 [5 favorites]


In today’s edition of What Does Putin Have on Alan Dershowitz?, apparently-formerly-serious law professor Alan Dershowitz appeared on MSNBC to say that Flynn shouldn’t have taken a plea deal because lying to the FBI about possibly breaking the Logan Act isn’t “material” or prosecutable because the Logan Act is hard to prosecute. Just as lying to the FBI about sexual assault isn’t “material” or prosecutable because sexual assault is hard to prosecute. 🤔
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:58 PM on December 2 [14 favorites]


@imillhiser: Just so we’re clear, a vetted statement drafted by counsel that admits to a crime is MUCH MORE INCRIMINATING than a tweet tossed off by a suspect with a well-known reputation for saying things that aren’t true.
posted by pjenks at 5:03 PM on December 2 [55 favorites]


Literally it's a crime to lie to the FBI under 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a). All this garbage about the Logan Act is a non sequitur.

(I don't know what's up with Dershowitz, but The Daily Beast noticed over the summer that Dershowitz went from Hillary donor to Fox News Mueller attack dog in short order.)
posted by xyzzy at 5:13 PM on December 2 [7 favorites]


Same as it ever was: Trump vs Talking Heads
posted by madamjujujive at 5:22 PM on December 2 [10 favorites]


apparently-formerly-serious law professor Alan Dershowitz appeared on MSNBC to say that Flynn shouldn’t have taken a plea deal because lying to the FBI about possibly breaking the Logan Act isn’t “material” or prosecutable because the Logan Act is hard to prosecute.

Apparently Dersh - and all your R relatives who scream 'collusion isn't illegal!' - have forgotten that Clinton was impeached for obstruction and perjury covering up an act that was completely legal. (And an act that hadn't even occurred when the investigation started, much less related to it.)
posted by chris24 at 5:23 PM on December 2 [32 favorites]


Michael Schmidt has the full quote:

@nytmike: .@McFaul See attached. As we said in the story, it’s no clear that she is saying she believed that election had been thrown. And WH lawyer in story said she was referring to how Dems portrayed it.

The picture text says
My take::
Obama is doing three things politically:
-discrediting trumps victory by saying it was due to Russian interference
-lure trump into trap of saying something today that casts doubt on report on Russia's culpability and then next week release report that catches Russians red handed
-box trump in diplomatically with Russia. If there is a tit for tat escalation trump will have difficulty improving relations with Russia which has just thrown USA election to him.
Still a bit fuzzy, but it does sound like she's gaming hypotheticals.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:34 PM on December 2 [4 favorites]


Still a bit fuzzy, but it does sound like she's gaming hypotheticals.

I mean, you can read it that way, but the most damning bit is what she's not doing: taking at all seriously the prospect that Russia's actions pose a national security threat or considering the role of the sanctions in responding to that threat. Her entire focus is on Obama, rather than Russia or the country. What she's certainly not saying is "gosh, we need to get to the bottom of what happened here, because addressing it will be one of the biggest challenges this country will face."

Of course, McFarland is the person who thought Hillary Clinton was sending helicopters to spy on her, so there's a lot of reason to just believe she's an idiot and none of her words have any actual meaning.
posted by zachlipton at 5:48 PM on December 2 [25 favorites]


Clinton was impeached for obstruction and perjury covering up an act that was completely legal. (And an act that hadn't even occurred when the investigation started, much less related to it.)

I never thought those facts would make me happy. Thank you.

2017, everybody!
posted by petebest at 5:53 PM on December 2 [13 favorites]


Robert Mueller will have access to IP address logs subpoenaed from Twitter, hell, he might have real time intercepts. He can figure out whether the obstruction tweet came from Trump's device, or from Dowd's, should he decide it's evidence he wants.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:58 PM on December 2 [10 favorites]


You can tell Donny is feeling the pressure when he goes after Clinton.

@realDonaldTrump
So General Flynn lies to the FBI and his life is destroyed, while Crooked Hillary Clinton, on that now famous FBI holiday “interrogation” with no swearing in and no recording, lies many times...and nothing happens to her? Rigged system, or just a double standard?
- Many people in our Country are asking what the “Justice” Department is going to do about the fact that totally Crooked Hillary, AFTER receiving a subpoena from the United States Congress, deleted and “acid washed” 33,000 Emails? No justice!
posted by chris24 at 6:17 PM on December 2 [21 favorites]


On a related note.

@joshrogin: Pompeo says Trump’s tweets have helped the CIA because they have learned command and control and decision making of other countries by watching their response to Trump’s tweets. Really. #RNDF #RNDF2017

Saying dumbass shit helps the CIA, because we get to see how other countries react in horror?
posted by zachlipton at 6:23 PM on December 2 [55 favorites]


@BarakRavid: BREAKING: I reported tonight on @news10: Palestinian delegation visited the White House & told US officials moving the embassy to Jerusalem or recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will kill possibility for any future peace talks

Heck of a job, Jared
posted by zachlipton at 6:42 PM on December 2 [61 favorites]


@AshaRangappa_ (For FBI CI Special Agent)
INTEL THREAD. Leaving aside the Logan Act for a moment (which as you know I'm happy to chat about), I want to highlight how serious the Trump team's interference with Obama's sanctions were, as I have some experience in this area.
2. Kicking out a diplomat from the US is hard -- I know, because I tried to do it. It's called "PNG"-ing, which means making them a Persona Non Grata. Since diplomats have immunity, it's basically the harshest punishment you can give, and it's only done in the most serious cases.
3. The FBI is charged with monitoring foreign intelligence activity in the US. Most foreign intel officers are here under diplomatic cover. So typically it's the FBI who says, "This guy is up to some really bad s***, he needs to go."
4. It's not that easy, because there are a lot of repercussions. For one thing, most countries retaliate with a tit-for-tat, PNG-ing our diplomats -- usually CIA officers -- in response. And there are diplomatic consequences as well.
5. So trying to PNG someone involves a multi-agency process. Obviously, the CIA will take into account the repercussions on its intelligence activities in that country. State, for its part, basically never wants to do anything that ruffles feathers. It's a huge PITA.
6. As a result, a PNG is extremely rare, even for one diplomat. And when it is done, it's typically done pretty quietly. When was the last time you heard about diplomats being kicked out of the country?
7. I explain all this to give some context to how extraordinary and serious the sanctions that the Obama admin took last December were. This was not just one diplomat, but *35*. And it was done very publicly.
8. The idea was to send a VERY strong message that the U.S. knew that Russia had meddled in the election, and that there were going to be consequences. Clearly both the CIA and State were on board with this.
9. For an incoming admin to covertly, and against the explicit request of the Obama admin, to send messages directly contradicting the official US stance is crazy. Apart from making the US look weak and impotent, it essentially was telling Russia that what it did was OK.
10. Whether or not these actions amounted to a crime, it was a coordinated, covert effort directly against the interests of the United States. It threw off what was likely a lot of planning and analyses and contingencies that various agencies had prepared.
11. I think when we focus exclusively on the criminality aspect, we (continue to) miss how these efforts essentially aided and abetted a hostile foreign state who attacked our country. That is the big picture.

---

And speaking of technical issues of criminality...

@realDonaldTrump: I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!

@Evan_McMullin
Retweeted Donald J. Trump
And if Flynn’s actions were lawful, why would he lie to the FBI about them?

@john_sipher (ex-CIA)
Retweeted Evan McMullin
Also, we are too caught up in legalities. It is already clear that what they have done was wrong in almost every way. They need to pay a powerful political price. We cannot have a leader whose sole claim is that there is not enough evidence to prove he's a criminal.

@Evan_McMullin
Retweeted John Sipher
This is a critical point. Our nation cannot thrive with scoundrel leaders. Whether their wrongdoing results in legal consequences or not, we must hold them accountable politically.
posted by chris24 at 7:17 PM on December 2 [111 favorites]


You can tell Donny is feeling the pressure when he goes after Clinton.

Maybe Trump saw this video of Clinton reacting to the news about Flynn at her book signing.

Seriously, she laughs and says, "You can read a lot about Russia in this book," holding up a copy of What Happened. "There's a whole chapter that explains a lot of what happened, so I highly recommend it for some holiday reading." And everyone around her joins in to laugh.

Trump would be absolutely furious if he saw it and wouldn't be able to restrain himself from tweeting more frothing abuse about "Crooked Hillary".
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:28 PM on December 2 [21 favorites]


Brian Ross, the chief investigative correspondent for ABC News, has been suspended for four weeks without pay after incorrectly reporting that Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser, would testify that President Trump had directed him to make contact with Russian officials while Mr. Trump was still a candidate, the network announced on Saturday. From the NYT and lots of other places.
posted by Bella Donna at 7:43 PM on December 2 [2 favorites]


Coming soon to a 2018 campaign ad.

@DeanHeller
I was asked earlier today if I read the tax bill...

Read it?

I helped write it!

---

And in that same ad...

@BattleBornProg
.@SenDeanHeller now throws out a stage 4 cancer patient for demanding answers. This is disgusting. #GOPTaxScam

VIDEO
posted by chris24 at 7:52 PM on December 2 [37 favorites]


i think abc is wrong wrt ross. as far as the logan act and whatever potential conspiracy was happening, president-elect vs candidate is a distinction without a difference (ht kabiddi champ).
posted by j_curiouser at 7:59 PM on December 2 [2 favorites]


The political story is vastly different between reporting that Flynn was ready to testify about Russian contact during the campaign vs. the transition. Campaign contact means collusion to steal the election. During the transition doesn't necessarily, even if it was also illegal, and that's the heart of the story. That's not a small screw up. And Ross has a history of fucking up big stories, this may have been a straw the broke the camel's back situation and not just over one instance.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:16 PM on December 2 [12 favorites]




Trump is near his all-time low: 34 approve - 60 disapprove.

He's now 33 approve, 62 disapprove. That's his record low in approval, record high in disapproval, and record negative net. This was taken yesterday, the day of the tax bill so maybe some impact, but that's probably still to come. His net has dropped 12 points in 3 days.
posted by chris24 at 8:50 PM on December 2 [52 favorites]


I always understood that when they take these polls they normalise them by asking how people voted in the last election and adjusting based on that. Is that the case, and if so is it possible that there's a systemic error caused by regretful Trump voters lying to the pollsters? If so, the unashamed Trump supporters would be over-counted.

I know this is wishful thinking, but sometimes wishes come true …
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:21 PM on December 2 [2 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
So General Flynn lies to the FBI and his life is destroyed


No, General Flynn lies to the FBI and gets off without a day of jail time and he gets to keep his rank and his $100K+ yearly pension. Your life is destroyed. Trump’s mirror strikes again.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:51 PM on December 2 [61 favorites]


Republicans are already giggling with happiness at the thought of a Democratic Congress and president undoing their handiwork.

Democrats definitely need to think the approach through carefully, and obv you need to have a president who won't veto any changes you make. That means any votes before 2020 will be only to create campaign issues in 2020, which is still a good reason to bring bills forward.

But don't try a wholesale repeal. I would suggest one of two strategies:

1) Keep all of the cuts the same. BUT -- make personal tax cuts permanent, and corporate tax cuts the ones that expire. I think vulnerable Republicans may have difficulty voting against that.

2) Cherry pick individual tax breaks, starting with the most outrageous.

First up, tax break for owners of private jets. You want to oppose that? Proceed, Senator.
Second, the hedge fund manager tax break. Second only because harder to explain.
Third, estate tax. Etc.
posted by msalt at 12:05 AM on December 3 [19 favorites]


Joe, that's the $64,000 question. All pollsters use screens and modeling to proportionally interpret ("weight") the couple thousand people they actually call in a poll. This can be everything from race to landline usage to their previous voting record, either actual or modeled based on their characteristics. These screens are tightened as elections approach using the pollster's own judgement as to what constitutes a likely voter, but whether they can get that right is really the heart and soul of polling. I am pretty certain that the major pollsters are all exercising higher caution at this point due to what was clearly some undercooked modeling a year ago. Whether any individual poll has gotten it right, though, is literally unprovable until election night.

RealClearPolitics uses a poll average but no modeling that I know of. FiveThirtyEight uses some fairly sophisticated modeling (this is modeling of poll results against each other), based on past experience. Both of them seem to show Moore retaking the lead in the race, for what that's worth, and that's the judgement I would bet on going into this.
posted by dhartung at 12:15 AM on December 3 [1 favorite]


There's so much awful stuff that we don't even have time to be outraged about. Like, say, Foreign Policy, Colum Lynch, Trump Boycotts U.N. Migration Talks
President Donald Trump has decided to boycott a global conference on migration scheduled to begin Monday in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, sending a blunt signal that the United States is no longer interested in forging a concerted response to the world’s burgeoning migration crises.

Trump made the decision on Friday — a day dominated by Senate negotiations on a landmark tax bill — and just days before the Mexican government is scheduled Monday to host a three-day meeting to take stock of negotiations on a pact to ensure a more humane approach to the more than 60 million people who have been forcibly displaced as a result of conflict, poverty or climate change. On Saturday, the U.S. mission to the United Nations informed Secretary General Antonio Guterres that it was “ending its participation in the Global Compact on Migration.”

The U.S. president’s decision to pull out of the negotiations highlighted the enduring influence of Stephen Miller, the 32-year-old senior White House policy advisor who has championed the Trump administration’s effort to sharply restrict immigration to the United States. In recent weeks, Miller led effofts to pull out of the migration talks.
Nikki Haley was left as the only one arguing that we should attend given that we could, I don't know, have some influence over the process if we bothered to show up.

In other news, Bloomberg, Billy House (why yes, yes he does have a good name for covering Congress), U.S. House Republicans Prepare Contempt Action Against FBI, DOJ
U.S. House Republicans said Saturday they are drafting a contempt of Congress resolution against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray, claiming stonewalling in producing material in the Russia-Trump probes and other matters.

“Unless all our outstanding demands are fully met by close of business on Monday, December 4, 2017, the committee will have the opportunity to move this resolution before the end of the month,” said Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, in a statement.

Such contempt action has been under consideration by Nunes and other Intelligence Committee Republicans for several weeks. It is now moving forward after press reports Saturday about why a top FBI official assigned to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russia-Trump election collusion had been removed from the investigation.
Please add recusal to the list of words that apparently no longer carry any meaning.
posted by zachlipton at 1:34 AM on December 3 [47 favorites]


Wait... They're asking the stuff that is being used to build a case be handed over, possibly to the very subjects of those investigations?

Is that even legal? Can they do that?
posted by sio42 at 2:18 AM on December 3 [8 favorites]


I understand that those being prosecuted have a right to know the evidence being used against them (I think).

But wouldn't this be somewhat different? What is members of those committees are under investigation and disclosure would tip them off? Or put an informant in danger?
posted by sio42 at 3:56 AM on December 3 [2 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump:
BREAKING: top FBI investigator for Mueller--PETER STRZOK--busted sending political text messages bashing Trump & praising Hillary during the 2016 campaign. STRZOK actually LED the Hillary email probe & recommended clearing her; then was tapped to SUPERVISE the Trump Russia probe!— Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) December 2, 2017

Obviously this shocking revelation discredites everything about Mueller's investigation and proves that Trump was always right about everything and Hillary must go to jail immediately and all publicly owned buildings should have giant Trump signs and portraits on them from now on and into all eternity amen.
posted by Dumsnill at 4:14 AM on December 3 [10 favorites]


Yep. Exactly. I can already the “rational” folks saying that thing. Like, just because Hillary may or may not have done something wrong doesn’t mean that Trump and his cronies get to away with doing something wrong.

It’s like saying that your brother stayed out past curfew too but he didn’t get caught and he didn’t get in trouble. Your parents well too bad. Maybe be quieter next time so we don’t hear you coming in and you won’t get caught either.
posted by sio42 at 4:31 AM on December 3 [2 favorites]


I mean the whole fucking story is that Mueller removed Strzok from the team the moment he learned about these text messages. If anything, that should lend more credibility to his investigation, not less.
posted by Dumsnill at 4:35 AM on December 3 [59 favorites]


In pre-dawn Twitter message, Trump issues a fresh denial about intervening in Flynn investigation (WaPo)
President Trump issued a fresh denial Sunday that he asked former FBI director James B. Comey to halt an investigation into the conduct of his dismissed national security adviser Michael Flynn.

“I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn,” Trump said in a pre-dawn message on Twitter. “Just more Fake News covering another Comey lie!”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:39 AM on December 3 [4 favorites]


Hilary didn’t do anything, it was an FBI agent texting with his girlfriend about the election last summer. And, Mueller already moved him off the investigation to head off any conflict of interest claims like Trump’s insane tweet (from nytimes):
But Mr. Strzok was reassigned this summer from Mr. Mueller’s investigation to the F.B.I.’s human resources department, where he has been stationed since. The people briefed on the case said the transfer followed the discovery of text messages in which Mr. Strzok and a colleague reacted to news events, like presidential debates, in ways that could appear critical of Mr. Trump. “Immediately upon learning of the allegations, the special counsel’s office removed Peter Strzok from the investigation,” said a spokesman for the special counsel’s office, Peter Carr.
Don’t worry, Mueller is a professional.
posted by rainydayfilms at 4:40 AM on December 3 [14 favorites]


So this morning he's called Comey a liar, called an FBI agent dishonest, and said new FBI Director Wray needs to clean house. Making friends and influencing the deep state. The complaint about politicization is also priceless given Benghazi, Gowdy's recently revealed $150k settlement for firing someone for refusing to go after Clinton, Trump's constant interference in DOJ business, calling for his opponent to be jailed/investigated, etc. etc. (And we're up to 7 tweets already this morning. Someone's stressed and angry.)


@realDonaldTrump
Tainted (no, very dishonest?) FBI “agent’s role in Clinton probe under review.” Led Clinton Email probe. @foxandfriends Clinton money going to wife of another FBI agent in charge.


Donald J. Trump retweeted
@paulsperry_
Wray needs to clean house. Now we know the politicization even worse than McCabe's ties to McAuliffe/Clinton. It also infected his top investigator PETER STRZOK, who sent texts bashing Trump & praising Hillary during campaign. Strzok led Hillary probe & supervised Trump probe!
posted by chris24 at 4:48 AM on December 3 [5 favorites]


This morning’s (ongoing) presidential tweet storm is essentially meta-obstruction of justice. This little shit is also basically telling his base to revolt if the investigation ends up implicating the president. He’s behaving dangerously.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:54 AM on December 3 [36 favorites]


Guys, I am very scared he's going to fire Mueller and use his signature on their tax plan as some sort of leverage to make this investigation go away.
posted by angrycat at 4:58 AM on December 3 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure why, but it seems like Mueller has a plan in place for if he gets fired. Just strikes me like that kind of guy...
posted by localhuman at 5:05 AM on December 3 [37 favorites]


I'm not sure why, but it seems like Mueller has a plan in place for if he gets fired. Just strikes me like that kind of guy...

Your friendly neighborhood Schneiderman.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:08 AM on December 3 [20 favorites]


And it continues. Now the whole FBI sucks.

@realDonaldTrump
After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters - worst in History! But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness.
posted by chris24 at 5:09 AM on December 3 [7 favorites]


Get ready for Trump’s fireworks (Dana Milbank, WaPo OpEd, 12/1)
Though predictions are perilous in the age of Trump, this really could be the beginning of the end of the national horror his tenure has been. If [Fox Host Bret] Baier is correct — as I believe he is — that Trump gets more outrageous when he feels cornered, then this means the nation is entering a perilous period. We can expect Trump to grow more dangerous and desperate in his distractions as he hears Mueller’s footsteps. Although Trump’s erratic behavior is damaging in its own right to alliances and civility, the greatest danger is that while we chase Trump’s distractions, we lose sight of real calamity.

This week was a good example. Trump raised the level of crazy. We in the media took the bait. And you, dear reader, encouraged us.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:11 AM on December 3 [13 favorites]


This week was a good example. Trump raised the level of crazy. We in the media took the bait. And you, dear reader, encouraged us.
I asked my digital colleagues for the top 25 pieces that appeared on The Post’s website this week before the Flynn news broke. Along with news stories about current intrigue — the Matt Lauer firing, James O’Keefe’s failed sting operation against The Post, Prince Harry’s engagement — the items were dominated by Trump insanity: his Muslim-video retweets, his insult of the British prime minister, his attacks on CNN, his war on the “war on Christmas,” the insults he traded with Democrats, his “unhinged” behavior and his veering past “guardrails” of what’s acceptable.

But in the top 25 were only two about the monstrous tax bill as it made its way through the Senate this week. There were only two about North Korea testing a missile that could strike anywhere in the United States. There was only one about Trump’s takeover of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And there wasn’t a single article about the sprawling Russia scandal.
'See!!! It's not the media's fault. It's yours dear readers for reading what we focus on and not forcing us to cover more the truly important issues!'

Fuck you Dana. It's the media's job to filter, to focus, to educate. You have failed and no matter how you try to deflect the blame, when the history of this period is written - god hope we have writing and historians when it's over - you will be rightly condemned.
posted by chris24 at 5:17 AM on December 3 [114 favorites]


> We in the media took the bait. And you, dear reader, encouraged us.

Because dog forbid you (= the media people) actually take some kind of responsibility.
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:17 AM on December 3 [24 favorites]


> But Mr. Strzok was reassigned this summer from Mr. Mueller’s investigation to the F.B.I.’s human resources department, where he has been stationed since.

HR? If that isn't a head on a pike, I don't know what is.
posted by klarck at 5:18 AM on December 3 [5 favorites]


Operative Offered Trump Campaign ‘Kremlin Connection’ Using N.R.A. Ties (NYT)
A conservative operative trumpeting his close ties to the National Rifle Association and Russia told a Trump campaign adviser last year that he could arrange a back-channel meeting between Donald J. Trump and Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president, according to an email sent to the Trump campaign.

A May 2016 email to the campaign adviser, Rick Dearborn, bore the subject line “Kremlin Connection.” In it, the N.R.A. member said he wanted the advice of Mr. Dearborn and Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, then a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Trump and Mr. Dearborn’s longtime boss, about how to proceed in connecting the two leaders.

Russia, he wrote, was “quietly but actively seeking a dialogue with the U.S.” and would attempt to use the N.R.A.’s annual convention in Louisville, Ky., to make “‘first contact.’” The email, which was among a trove of campaign-related documents turned over to investigators on Capitol Hill, was described in detail to The New York Times.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:18 AM on December 3 [28 favorites]


And we're up to 9 tweets as he gives legal advice to the American people.

@realDonaldTrump
People who lost money when the Stock Market went down 350 points based on the False and Dishonest reporting of Brian Ross of @ABC News (he has been suspended), should consider hiring a lawyer and suing ABC for the damages this bad reporting has caused - many millions of dollars!
posted by chris24 at 5:25 AM on December 3 [6 favorites]


So now he aims to destroy the somewhat independent media by encouraging an endless stream of frivolous lawsuits.
posted by Dumsnill at 5:29 AM on December 3 [5 favorites]


Report: “ANTI-TRUMP FBI AGENT LED CLINTON EMAIL PROBE” Now it all starts to make sense!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2017

And this is an instruction to journalistic outlets on how to frame their articles?
posted by Dumsnill at 5:44 AM on December 3 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile in Brexitland, Bannon has been over courting Jacob Rees-Mogg in what looks like 45 deciding to abandon Theresa May. JRM in turn seems to have gone full alt-fact and signed up to that oh-so-successful 45ist approach ("Experts, soothsayers, astrologers all in much the same category" is one of his. Sound familiar?). There are also signs that he and the rest of the ultra-Brexit cabal are gearing up to force a failure of EU talks by telling the Irish to shut up and do what they're told over the NI border issue. There is no actual coherent plan on offer, though, which makes it an entirely Bannonesque move towards pulling down the temple pillars so the new thousand-year feudal overlordship can commence.

Either Bannon is still doing his master's bidding, or he's politicking away on his own behalf in the expectation of chaos to come. With 45 in splutter-rage mode, I don't suppose it matters which.
posted by Devonian at 5:52 AM on December 3 [9 favorites]


There's so much awful stuff that we don't even have time to be outraged about.

I have a different view. We should absolutely be outraged about all of the atrocious behavior. But don't spread yourself thin by directing your outrage at the legion of acts that induce it. Instead, I submit that we should all, collectively, concentrate that outrage, and use it as rocket fuel to propel us unerringly toward a singular goal.

I further submit that that goal should be teaching our representatives to fear defying us more than they fear disappointing their donors. And not when the next election rolls around, but now, and every day.

It's been clear for a long time that a great many of them either intend, or at least are willing to accept, the end of legitimate government. It's long, long past the time when, ideally, we would have been
relentlessly
shutting down business as usual, clogging offices and hallways and buildings and streets and jails until our demands for justice in all its forms are taken seriously. It's still not too late, but it's not going to get easier.

We should look at, for example, anti-corruption protests in Romania and be utterly ashamed of ourselves. And then, rather than wallow in shame or succumb again to complacency, we should transform that shame into outrage and pool it with the rest, and be loud, and strong, and unshakable.

Once we finally open our eyes to the fact that failing to do this will result in far greater sacrifices over a much longer time period than doing it would, I believe it will clear that there is no other viable option.
posted by perspicio at 6:01 AM on December 3 [30 favorites]


Jesus he's not celebrating the tax bill is he? These latest tweets: If some actor was improvising some role wherein she was cracking under pressure, the director would like--that's too obvious, tone it down.
posted by angrycat at 6:06 AM on December 3 [43 favorites]


I always understood that when they take these polls they normalise them by asking how people voted in the last election and adjusting based on that. Is that the case, and if so is it possible that there's a systemic error caused by regretful Trump voters lying to the pollsters?

You (and dhartung) are thinking of election polls. These are complicated because the population you're trying to sample is "People who voted in the 12/12 special election." Doing this on December 2 is, obviously, difficult, so they have to make guesses about who will and won't, or who will turn out with what probability.

Approval polls are simpler since the population of interest is "American adults." They probably still do some reweighting after the poll is taken but it would be just to adjust for broad demographics. The poll has too many men, so we count each man's response as 0.9 of a response. Etc.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:10 AM on December 3 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I feel like the absence of any celebration of the tax code "win" in today's festival of tweet insanity is... (dot dot dot) interesting.
posted by Dumsnill at 6:12 AM on December 3 [9 favorites]


It's the media's job to filter, to focus, to educate.

Wow. I agree totally, but just seeing it out there in blue-and-white is just: they've virtually never done that for altruistic purposes. When justice has benefitted it's almost by chance, or that focus has been an understood unintentional side-effect, i.e. Challenger disaster. But their job is to make money and wield influence, full stop.

In our current situation vis á vis the Traitor In Chief? That ideal is not close to happening before the tide has decisively turned. Calling Trump out so far hasn't won them enough, and their best moneymaking move is normalization. In medicine, this is called "cancerous". Those outrageous tax bill headlines were just the latest proof.

I thought we all learned on 11/9 what polls and corporate news were about, at least Re: Trump (polls are wrong, corporate news is a giant net-negative factor), but I understand they're all we have or know. Well, that and Twitter.

That's part of why I read these threads everyday, all day. Y'all are one of the very few reasonable, intelligent counterweights to a mediated world gone mad. So, thank you.
posted by petebest at 6:34 AM on December 3 [28 favorites]




Yeah, sure, but who remembers trivial shit like that when applying for security clearance.
posted by Dumsnill at 7:30 AM on December 3 [15 favorites]



> We in the media took the bait. And you, dear reader, encouraged us.


Dana Milbank is a pile of garbage. always has been. never forget.

(linked to back up my correct statement but nobody should have to watch it. the relevant three seconds are the ones where he says "and we won't tell you who's getting a bottle of Mad Bitch," and flashes a pic of Clinton up in the corner. he is such a coy little imp.)
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:31 AM on December 3 [4 favorites]


The point of this Des Moines Register article is that it's not true that the estate tax is a problem for Iowa family farmers, but the money quote from Chuck Grassley is only tangentially related:
“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing,” Grassley said, “as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”
I'm going to have some fun sharing that on social media. Definitely: the reason that you're not going to die with $11 million in assets is that you're just spending too much on flicks and floozies.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:35 AM on December 3 [56 favorites]


I know this isn't the Moore thread, but since this is McConnell and affects the composition of the Senate...

The official position of the GOP is again pedophilia is fine.

@ThisWeekABC
Asked by @GStephanopoulos if he believes Roy Moore should be in the Senate, @SenateMajLdr says, “I’m going to let the people of Alabama make the call.”

VIDEO


@Evan_McMullin
.@SykesCharlie: We are seeing the crack-up of one of the nation’s two major political parties. The GOP was once the party of Buckley, Reagan and McCain. Today, Trump is the face of what the GOP has become. Moore is the face of what it is becoming.
TIME: Charlie Sykes: Roy Moore Signals the End of the Republican Party

---

Usual caveats about the GOP (post-Ike) always being a dumpster fire... (And Charlie Sykes is a former rightwing radio personality and now NeverTrumper. Author of "How The Right Lost Its Mind" )
posted by chris24 at 7:41 AM on December 3 [15 favorites]


Usual caveats about the GOP always being a dumpster fire... (And Charlie Sykes is a former rightwing radio personality and now NeverTrumper.)

New York has a Conservative party, distinct from the Republican party. It appears to be populated with Even Crazier Republicans, rather than Fiscal Conservative Republicans, but I imagine many Republicans who aren't crazy wish there were a "Not Crazy" option.
posted by mikelieman at 7:44 AM on December 3 [3 favorites]


Operative Offered Trump Campaign ‘Kremlin Connection’ Using N.R.A. Ties (NYT)

With background on the Kremlin's efforts to court the NRA, here's the Washington Post: Guns and Religion: How American conservatives grew closer to Putin’s Russia
[A] conservative Nashville lawyer named G. Kline Preston IV, who had done business in Russia for years[...] said that in 2011 he introduced David Keene, then the NRA’s president, to a Russian senator, Alexander Torshin, a member of Putin’s party who later became a top official at the Russian central bank. Keene had been a stalwart on the right, a past chairman of the American Conservative Union who was the NRA’s president from 2011 to 2013.[...]

A friend of Mikhail Kalashnikov, revered in Russia for inventing the AK-47 assault rifle, Torshin in 2010 had penned a glossy gun rights pamphlet, illustrated by cartoon figures wielding guns to fend off masked robbers. The booklet cited U.S. statistics to argue for gun ownership, at one point echoing in Russian an old NRA slogan: “Guns don’t shoot — people shoot.”[...] Torshin was also a leader in a Russian movement to align government more closely with the Orthodox church.[...]

In Russia, Torshin and an aide, a photogenic activist originally from Siberia named Maria Butina, began building a gun rights movement. Butina founded a group called the Right to Bear Arms, and in 2013 she and Torshin invited Keene and other U.S. gun advocates to its annual meeting in Moscow.[...] Interviewed by the conservative website Townhall, Butina called the NRA “one of the most world famous and most important organizations” and said that “we would like to be friends with NRA.”[...]

Relationships between Russians and American conservatives seemed to blossom in 2015, as the Republican presidential race geared up.

Butina posted social-media photos showing how she and Torshin gained access to NRA officials and the U.S. politicians attending events. That April, Butina toured the NRA’s Virginia headquarters, and she and Torshin met Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), then a leading White House contender, at the NRA annual convention. Torshin told Bloomberg last year that he had a friendly exchange with Trump at the 2015 convention and sat with his son Donald Jr. at an NRA dinner the following year.
Incidentally, Time covered some of this last March: Moscow Cozies Up to the Right

And then there's this deep cut from Torshin's twitter account @torshin_ru from February last year:
Мария Бутина сейчас в США. Пишет мне, что Д.Трамп (член NRA) реально за сотрудничество с Россией. [Google translate: Maria Butina is now in the US. He writes to me that D. Trump (a member of the NRA) is really for his cooperation with Russia.] (hat-tip @andrewsweiss, whom Torshin has blocked)
Would You Like to Know More? Torshin was implicated in money-laundering for the Tambovskaya Bratva mafiya group. National Post: Mobster or Central Banker? Spanish Cops Allege This Russian Both
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:00 AM on December 3 [27 favorites]


Operative Offered Trump Campaign ‘Kremlin Connection'...it that Kermit I hear?:

Why is there so much news about the Kremlin and getting dirt on the other side?
These Kremlin stories are only illusions, and Trump has nothing to hide.
So we've been told and some choose to believe it.
I know they're wrong, it's just spin.
Someday we'll find it, the Kremlin Connection.
Is it Kushner, or Sessions or Flynn?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:01 AM on December 3 [20 favorites]


John McCain @SenJohnMcCain
After careful consideration, I have decided to support the Senate #TaxReform bill. Though not perfect, this bill will deliver much-needed reform to our tax code, grow the economy & provide long overdue tax relief for American families.
My graduate research focuses on improving diagnostic imaging of yr exact type of brain cancer but hey thx 4 voting to increase my taxes 400%

Such a perfect response to such a ghoulish vote.
posted by Talez at 8:01 AM on December 3 [170 favorites]


Roy Moore and Trump aren’t the end of the Republican Party, they’re just the end of its veneer of plausible denial for a lot of shit they’ve been trying to keep under wrap since at least the ‘60s.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:04 AM on December 3 [44 favorites]


Absolutely. Ronald Reagan was a bigoted, authoritarian, abhorrent ball of fuck but he tucked it underneath his Amiable Grandpa public persona. Moore and Trump don't have an inside voice, and at this stage of the reprogramming of America they no longer need one.
posted by delfin at 8:22 AM on December 3 [53 favorites]


Michael Bender, WSJ: Trump Finds Loopholes in Chief of Staff’s New Regime

The president on occasion has called White House aides to the private residence in the evening, where he makes assignments and asks them not tell Mr. Kelly about the plans, according to several people familiar with the matter.


Heck of a job, Kelly. You wraithed yourself into oblivion forever in exchange for a few weeks of less tweeting, and now the big fella does whatever he wants again. You went from "General", to "General Who Will Keep Trump Under Control," to "Asshole Tasked With Making the Administration More Efficiently Evil," to some station below whatever Christie's rank was when he was assigned Court Burgerfetcher and Groom of the Meatloaf.

I'd like to say that your ruination will serve as a lesson to other courtiers, but if the last year has taught me anything it's that there'll always be another wraith.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:38 AM on December 3 [52 favorites]


The GOP was once the party of Buckley, Reagan and McCain. Today, Trump is the face of what the GOP has become. Moore is the face of what it is becoming.

And despite his presumably rueful phrasing, McMuffin isn't wrong. The GOP is now the party of Trump and Moore precisely because it was the party of Buckley, Reagan and McCain (and Nixon, Agnew, Atwater, Ailes, Helms, Gingrich, Rove, ...).
posted by hangashore at 8:39 AM on December 3 [28 favorites]


A drawing I did from a few weeks ago of the demonoid monster Trump. It really does seem like he's possessed by old school satanic energies on days when he does multiple tweets.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 8:40 AM on December 3 [25 favorites]


“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing,” Grassley said, “as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

Hey Grassley! I'm a woman and you are damn right I'm spening my money on myself and the women around me: donations to Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Lambda Legal, women running for office, etc.
posted by mcduff at 9:28 AM on December 3 [60 favorites]


That is legitimately disturbing, Phlegmco
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:37 AM on December 3 [3 favorites]


The Twitler bullshit this morning fits pretty solidly into a recognizable pattern. When something real bad for him breaks, he's quiet for about a day. Naturally, the media is like, "He hasn't said anything, he's playing it cool," and yeah that's true because probably every adviser is sitting on him and he thinks it's a way to demonstrate strength. But inside, he's seething, and within 24-48 hours he has to lash out on his phone.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:48 AM on December 3 [19 favorites]


The perfect gift for your racist uncle's White Elephant party: Trumpy Bear.
posted by guiseroom at 9:56 AM on December 3 [8 favorites]


Sunday morning political talk show roundup:

Meet the Press with Senator Diane Feinstein
"The [Senate] Judiciary Committee has an investigation going as well and it involves obstruction of justice and I think what we're beginning to see is the putting together of a case of obstruction of justice. I think we see this in the indictments, the four indictments, and pleas that have just taken place and some of the comments that are being made. I see it in the hyper-frenetic attitude of the White House, the comments every day, the continual tweets. And I see it most importantly in what happened with the firing of Director [James] Comey, and it is my belief that that is directly because he did not agree to ‘lift the cloud’ of the Russia investigation. That’s obstruction of justice."
ABC This Week with Representative Adam Schiff
"I think that in his factual basis for the plea he sets out that [Flynn] wasn’t acting as a rogue agent, that, in fact, he was acting at the knowledge and direction of people who were senior members of the transition team. [...] I do believe he will incriminate others in the administration. Otherwise, there was no reason for Bob Mueller to give Mike Flynn this kind of a deal where even on a factual basis you can see there are other kinds of crimes that could have been charged. Whether that will lead, ultimately, to the president, I simply don’t know."
Face the Nation with Senator Lindsey Graham
"I would just say this to the President, there's an ongoing criminal investigation, Comey may be part of it, you tweet and comment regarding ongoing criminal investigations at your own peril. [...] It comes down to the following to me: Was there any effort by the Trump campaign to coordinate with Russian intelligence services or any entity controlled by the Russians to receive benefit during the election, and they found the one guy that would know that. [...] Mike Flynn would know if there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians [...] and we're going to know pretty soon one way or the other. "
At this rate, Trump will once again be rage-tweeting late tonight and first thing tomorrow morning.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:05 AM on December 3 [24 favorites]


Why do we call them Deplorables?

Oh, dunno, maybe you're a POS Senator named Heller whose beefy thugs kick a Stage IV cancer patient out of a meeting when she tells you she'll die without Obamacare.

So many people have the chilling question, why are the Republicans acting so flagrantly, when so many are up for reelection in less than a year, not to mention Benedict Donald creeping ever closer to a perp walk out of the Oval.* Some feel this is a sign there won't ever be anything remotely resembling a non-fixed election again.

After 2000 and 2016, I'm not certain we aren't there already. But OTOH I also think a lot of these legislator mercenaries know they'll just slip back into a cozy multi-million dollar gig, thanks to their DonorClass buds. (And even if they don't have a great healthcare package at the new job, won't they still be eligible for the Congressional Obamacare for life?)

* BTW speaking of future possible crises - if the time ever does come, how would we physically get donnie out of the WH? Remember, when he said this BEFORE the election?
posted by NorthernLite at 10:10 AM on December 3 [7 favorites]


Please don't make me watch that. What is the quote?
posted by sio42 at 10:18 AM on December 3 [16 favorites]


> how would we physically get donnie out of the WH?

Play it cool until he goes golfing, and have a welcome comittee waiting for him on the green.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:22 AM on December 3 [12 favorites]


Republican Tax Bill Could Hurt U.S. Military, According to Top Generals (Nicole Goodkind, Newsweek)
“Anyone who is voting for this bill is essentially saying: ‘You know, I’ll talk a good story about supporting national security, but when it comes down to the money, it’s going to go to the wealthiest Americans,’” he told his fellow Senators.

In a letter addressed to Congress this month, three former defense secretaries, Leon Panetta, Chuck Hagel and Ash Carter, wrote that passing the Republican tax plan will mean that the Pentagon will be forced to cut spending “for training, maintenance, force structure, flight missions, procurement and other key programs.” The result, they wrote, is “the growing danger of a ‘hollowed out’ military force that lacks the ability to sustain the intensive deployment requirements of our global defense mission.”
posted by Room 641-A at 10:32 AM on December 3 [17 favorites]


Please don't make me watch that. What is the quote?

It's from one of the debates, when he's asked "will you accept the results of the election?" and about the peaceful transference of power and his response is "I'll tell you that at the time" and a rant about the corrupt media poisoning the minds of voters. Followed by Hillary describing that as "horrifying."

I have absolutely no doubt that if Trump loses in a McGovernesque stomping in 2020, he will have more reasons than H&R Block why the election was rigged and invalid and how the Republicans must conduct 4.39238E+12 investigations into foreign involvement. Whether he would leave and scream that from outside or refuse to leave at all is left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by delfin at 10:57 AM on December 3 [6 favorites]


Ben Zimmer, Atlantic: Looking for the Linguistic Smoking-Gun in a Trump Tweet
I searched through the LexisNexis news database to try to find [Dowd's] preference for forming the past tense of “plead,” and I discovered an example from January 2010, when Dowd was representing the billionaire hedge-fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, who was standing trial for insider trading. As quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Dowd said of Rajaratnam, “He’s pled not guilty and we intend to try his case and demonstrate that he’s innocent.” (Rajaratnam was later found guilty and is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence.)

So Dowd, too, is on record as a “pled” user. That single word does not betray some non-lawyerly voice—Trump’s or anyone else’s—so we can’t point to it as evidence for who really wrote that tweet. It would be a tidy solution to isolate the use of “pled” as a kind of “tell” disproving the attribution of the tweet to Dowd, but it is in fact exceedingly difficult to be able to identify such a linguistic smoking gun.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:02 AM on December 3 [4 favorites]


McConnell Walks Back Roy Moore Criticisms: It’s Up to Alabama to Decide
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Sunday appeared to walk back his criticisms of Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore. “I’m going to let the people of Alabama make the call,” he said on ABC’s This Week.
Well so much for standing against self-admitted pedophiles. Is there nothing they won't sell out in their thirst for power?
posted by Talez at 11:05 AM on December 3 [27 favorites]


The pled/pleaded thing is such Bizarro Appellate Twitter, what about Trump's likelihood of having all tweets disallowed as evidence? I have to think that's the long game, vs. A-HA COLUMBO'ing on word usage. Kremlinology might be a fun sport, but what did the original version ever give anybody?
posted by rhizome at 11:06 AM on December 3 [2 favorites]


@Evan_McMullin
Retweeted Donald J. Trump
And if Flynn’s actions were lawful, why would he lie to the FBI about them?


@john_sipher
Replying to @Evan_McMullin
Also, we are too caught up in legalities. It is already clear that what they have done was wrong in almost every way. They need to pay a powerful political price. We cannot have a leader whose sole claim is that there is not enough evidence to prove he's a criminal.

After slogging through the Sunday morning political shows where the Trump supporters were all trying to push the "lack of evidence" line, I also noticed that everyone is taking Trump's lie that he fired Flynn at face value and repeating it. Flynn RESIGNED. Whether he fell or was pushed is irrelevant. Giving Trump credit now for taking an action that he can walk back in court is playing into his bullshit artist's con game.

On a more meditative note, James Comey's Instagram shade game is strong. Yesterday, he posted a calendar art–worthy image of seaside sunset with the caption, "Beautiful Long Island Sound from Westport, CT. To paraphrase the Buddha — Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun; the moon; and the truth. "
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:12 AM on December 3 [42 favorites]


Some feel this is a sign there won't ever be anything remotely resembling a non-fixed election again.

I'm one of these. Ordinarily, there's no scenario under which the vote on the Tax Bill wouldn't constitute immediate electoral suicide; the only explanation I can think of for the vote is that the Repubs know, 100 percent, that the voters can't touch them. I mean, I hope to hell I'm wrong. I'm sort of pessimistic and cynical, so if someone could come up with another explanation, I'd love to hear it.
posted by holborne at 11:16 AM on December 3 [8 favorites]


TIME: Charlie Sykes: Roy Moore Signals the End of the Republican Party

From that link:

Do not confuse this with any sort of coherent ideology. Representative Thomas Massie, a Republican for Kentucky, tried to diagnose the mindset of the Tea Party voters when he told the Washington Examiner, “I thought they were voting for libertarian Republicans.” Massie continued, “But after some soul-searching, I realized when they voted for Rand and Ron [Paul] and me in these primaries, they weren’t voting for libertarian ideas. They were voting for the craziest son of a bitch in the race. And Donald Trump won best in class.”
posted by philip-random at 11:21 AM on December 3 [17 favorites]


the only explanation I can think of for the vote is that the Repubs know, 100 percent, that the voters can't touch them. I mean, I hope to hell I'm wrong. I'm sort of pessimistic and cynical, so if someone could come up with another explanation, I'd love to hear it.

they needed a win. so many losses even with majorities in the house and the senate, and their man in the oval office -- they HAD to have a win, any kind would do.
posted by philip-random at 11:26 AM on December 3 [4 favorites]


Another explanation is that they're really really bad at their jobs because they've been drinking the kool-aid for years.
posted by odinsdream at 11:33 AM on December 3 [10 favorites]


I'm one of these. Ordinarily, there's no scenario under which the vote on the Tax Bill wouldn't constitute immediate electoral suicide; the only explanation I can think of for the vote is that the Repubs know, 100 percent, that the voters can't touch them. I mean, I hope to hell I'm wrong. I'm sort of pessimistic and cynical, so if someone could come up with another explanation, I'd love to hear it.

I think that under current gerrymandering maps we're going to see no House victory or a *very* slim House victory. The Senate is already running the table for Democrats so we might be lucky and maintain currently levels. There are a few states that are normally R but went D for a variety of reasons in 2012 so it might be enough to stem the tide and make 2020 a goal.

Republicans are probably well aware of their electoral position and are probably a tad worried but still quietly confident they can keep control of at least one chamber if not both. The question is whether liberal America gets bored or distracted by a butterfly or some shit by 2020. The American electorate has always been unquestioningly quick to forgive Republicans for their sins. If 2020 is long enough for tempers to cool and the usual Southern Strategy order to reestablish itself they can ditch Trump and still fight for another triple chamber go.

The sad thing is that antipathy has always been the kryptonite of Democrats. There's more than enough Liberal people in America to outvote the bigots. Voter suppression is a thumb on the scale but it's only a thumb. Liberal people need to show up for everything and they'll win handily. But we don't. So we're here.
posted by Talez at 11:37 AM on December 3 [24 favorites]


if someone could come up with another explanation, I'd love to hear it.

There's always Bruce Bartlett's theory...

"The answer is that Republicans are pushing the tax cut at breakneck speed precisely because they know they are probably going to lose next year and in 2020 as well. The tax cut, once enacted, however, will bind the hands of Democrats for years to come, forcing them to essentially follow a Republican agenda of deficit reduction and prevent any action on a positive Democratic program. The result will be a steady erosion of support for Democrats that will put Republicans back in power within a few election cycles."
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:41 AM on December 3 [16 favorites]


I'm sort of pessimistic and cynical, so if someone could come up with another explanation, I'd love to hear it.
Well, perhaps it's not that the voters can't touch them but by the time they've cratered the economy and destroyed the rule of law they can jump ship and live off the proceeds of their crimes. Losing their seats might be part of the plan.
posted by fullerine at 11:42 AM on December 3 [1 favorite]


They wrote the fucking tax bill by hand in the middle of the fucking night. There is no fucking plan.
posted by schmod at 11:44 AM on December 3 [73 favorites]


I'm sort of pessimistic and cynical, so if someone could come up with another explanation, I'd love to hear it.

The problem is that the primary system is currently really, really fucked currently, because as a result of Trump’s election, the lowest-information Trump-supporting voters are the most energized. The Republicans that hate him and hate this nonsense are honestly kind of...disorganized and tired. We don’t have the motivation to be active in our local Republican clubs this year, or to volunteer for positions, or spend our money and time on Republicans.

So you can’t win an election, period, unless you win the primary. It’s a disqualifier. And right now, Republican primary voters are showing that unless people “get on board with Trump’s agenda”, they are going to primary from the right. That’s how people like Roy Moore got up for election in the first place. It didn’t matter how electable Luther Strange was in the general - the primaries are deeply, deeply broken.

So right now a lot of legislators are doing stupid stuff to avoid being primaried, and are hoping they can course correct after the primary, gambling those Republican voters will forgive the zig zagging because the only other choice is voting for a democrat. It absolutely, absolutely does not mean we’re on the verge of Stalinist elections - it just means we are presently facing deeply broken ones.
posted by corb at 11:46 AM on December 3 [34 favorites]


I guess I'd say, "Never put down to ideology and forward planning what can be explained by stupidity, ignorance, opportunism and groupthink". I don't think this is a brilliant plan from the Republicans because I can't think of very many Republican politicians who strike me as brilliant, or even diligent and informed. (Democrats are somewhat better, but not to the degree that they should be.) Most of them didn't read the whole bill, most of them didn't think about the outcomes of the parts they did read, and most of them are too historically and economically illiterate to achieve any insight if they did try to puzzle it out. Consider the Republicans - their "strategies" are always "be racist", "give money to rich people" and "keep as many people as possible from voting" - these are not clever insights, they're just powerful ones which tend to work even if you're stupid and incompetent.

If the entire Democratic apparatus truly backed an intelligent social democrat with even a modicum of political experience, that person would mop the fucking floor with the Republicans. Consider Obama, who was not a social democrat but was probably the most intelligent American president since Roosevelt or maybe LBJ, depending on how you think of LBJ. The trick is to find one and get the rich people who run the Democratic party to back that person with all their force.
posted by Frowner at 11:54 AM on December 3 [49 favorites]


The Republicans that hate him and hate this nonsense are honestly kind of...disorganized and tired. We don’t have the motivation to be active in our local Republican clubs this year, or to volunteer for positions, or spend our money and time on Republicans.

This may be a stupid question, but why are the people supposedly against everything the GOP stands for and has clearly done for a very long time even contemplating continuing to support them at this point? The leopards just get to keep relying on their base of support from people who don't reeeeeally want theirs and everyone else's faces to be eaten, but are still for some unfathomable reason still pro-leopard.

Leave the leopards! Experiment with non-leopard, still relatively decent and salvageable parties!
posted by Cheerwell Maker at 12:02 PM on December 3 [12 favorites]


"The answer is that Republicans are pushing the tax cut at breakneck speed precisely because they know they are probably going to lose next year and in 2020 as well. The tax cut, once enacted, however, will bind the hands of Democrats for years to come, forcing them to essentially follow a Republican agenda of deficit reduction and prevent any action on a positive Democratic program. The result will be a steady erosion of support for Democrats that will put Republicans back in power within a few election cycles."

This is exactly the sort of moderate defeatism I was arguing against in my previous comment. Democrats' hands are only bound if they pre-accept that they can never pass tax hikes, and that they must do everything in their power to eke out a few more years of majority. But the latter is virtually impossible: if Democrats win the House, Senate and Presidency, within 2 years or at most 4, Republicans will win back at least one of the chambers with virtual certainty, so trying to moderate in an effort to maintain power (and for what??) is a fool's errand. The Democrats' hands are only bound by this twin assumption that they can never raise taxes, and that everything must be as moderate as possible to maintain majorities. But if they just accept that the latter is impossible and the former just a product of cowardice or the continued influence of centrists who don't actually want liberal policies, they could just play a different game, upend the pro-conservative/anti-democratic Senate rules, and pass some significant legislation that doesn't just undo the Republican tax bill, but does much much more. Worst-case scenario, they go down in electoral flames and now Republicans have to try to take away universal healthcare, paid family leave and child care, etc, etc. But if we do assume that taxes can never be raised without untenable electoral losses, those losses will be both guaranteed, and irrelevant.
posted by chortly at 12:07 PM on December 3 [67 favorites]


I'd agree with others: this isn't a grand Reichstag Fire kind of plot, but rather it's a pretty safe assumption that (for many of them, bolstered by Roy Moore's even polling) they will never lose to a Democrat. This is largely because of voter disenfranchisement and gerrymandering. And even more-so because they rode the Southern Strategy tiger for half a century. Therefore, they have to win their primary and then that's it. The donors were threatening to pull funding if the GOP didn't pass a wealthy favorable tax bill, so they did, come hell or high water. If there is a coup to speak of, then it's already happened.

I think we're seeing a situation where about 33% of the country (that is, trump's floor of support) effectively runs the show - a 33% that is essentially an anchor around our collective necks at this point. It's the same thing that explains why an unqualified, sexual assaultant, career criminal, with an oppo file that indicated ties to foreign entities is now their president, and won their nomination. They built an incredibly effective weapon through culture war ideology and electoral fraud, and now it's starting to bite them as much as it's been biting us.
posted by codacorolla at 12:11 PM on December 3 [17 favorites]


but why are the people supposedly against everything the GOP stands for and has clearly done for a very long time even contemplating continuing to support them at this point?

A lot of them are single-issue voters and that issue is abortion. This may be a deciding factor in the Roy Moore race -- because white churchgoing/evangelical folk care more about outlawing abortion than the molestation of children. And the Moores of the world know this. From the article:
Understanding the power of the abortion issue, Moore’s wife, Kayla, claimed at a rally that Jones is the real threat to children, because he supports “full-term abortion,” which she defined as “suck[ing] a child’s brains out at the moment before birth.” Such a procedure, however, simply does not exist, as states generally restrict abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of medical necessity.
This is not to say that all Republicans are against legal abortion by any means. But the ones who are against it tend to be clustered in regions where their votes are disproportionately powerful, and this is the thing that many of them care about, above all else, even more than their lives and the lives of their families being destroyed by all the other Republican policies. And these beliefs seem historically pretty entrenched, so there's no good way of coaxing them out of it, even as the leopards eat their faces right off.
posted by halation at 12:11 PM on December 3 [37 favorites]


I've been thinking a lot recently about this article, which I think was posted here earlier but I can't find it at the moment.

For elites, politics is driven by ideology. For voters, it’s not
In a telling bit of research, they scoured massive election surveys to see what bearing self-reported ideology had on policy opinions on issues ranging from LGBTQ rights to health care to foreign aid to Social Security. The answer, across years ranging from 1992 to 2009, was basically none — “ideological differences,” they reported, “have little influence over opinion on immigration, affirmative action, capital punishment, gun control, Social Security, health insurance, the deficit, foreign aid, tax reform, and the war on terrorism.”

There were two glaring exceptions: LGBTQ rights and abortion. But the exceptions were so stark that Kinder and Kalmoe wondered if they were missing something, and they had a theory of what it might be: religion. So they ran the data again, “adding measures of faith, religiosity (the degree to which Americans take their faith seriously), and group sentiments to the model.” Once they did that, the effect of ideology all but disappeared.

[...]

One consistent finding in Kinder and Kalmoe’s research is that party identification bests ideological identification. Most people are a Republican or a Democrat before they are a conservative or a liberal. And most people will stick with their party long after they’ve abandoned their ideology.

[...]

This theory makes a prediction: If party identification is stronger than ideological identification, then as parties change their ideological identities, their loyalists will change with them, rather than abandoning them. And that’s a lot closer to what we see. The exception is high-information voters, who keep their party identification and ideological identification linked.
posted by cybertaur1 at 12:30 PM on December 3 [25 favorites]


> This theory makes a prediction: If party identification is stronger than ideological identification, then as parties change their ideological identities, their loyalists will change with them, rather than abandoning them. And that’s a lot closer to what we see. The exception is high-information voters, who keep their party identification and ideological identification linked.

This article could be used as grounds to judge people — a reaction like "tut, tut! All those low-information voters out there, not behaving the way I'd like! So irrational!"

However, it can also be used as a strategy blueprint. If what people believe is driven by the ideological platforms of the major parties, then taking control of the platform of a major party is a way to sculpt the beliefs of the population as a whole, even if the ideas of the group doing the takeover are well outside the mainstream.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:49 PM on December 3 [33 favorites]


Holder hits back at Trump: The FBI’s reputation is not in 'tatters'
Former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder fired back at President Trump’s claim that the FBI’s reputation is in “tatters,” saying there’s more integrity at the agency than there is in the White House.

“Nope. Not letting this go. The FBI’s reputation is not in ‘tatters,’” Holder tweeted Sunday. “It’s composed of the same dedicated men and women who have always worked there and who do a great, apolitical job.”

“You’ll find integrity and honesty at FBI headquarters and not at 1600 Penn Ave right now.”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:56 PM on December 3 [33 favorites]




> If party identification is stronger than ideological identification, then as parties change their ideological identities, their loyalists will change with them, rather than abandoning them. And that’s a lot closer to what we see. The exception is high-information voters, who keep their party identification and ideological identification linked.

If that were true, the Republican Party's southern strategy never would have worked. Old-school racist southern Democratic voters would still be loyal Democrats. Progressive Republicans would never have supported FDR and the new deal, and they never would have switched their party affiliation. And Doug Jones would not be tied with Moore in Alabama.
posted by nangar at 1:12 PM on December 3 [10 favorites]


That's their go-to negotiating style and it's so amateurish and transparent by now. "Eh, yeah, we've been thinking of fucking your shit all up, haven't really decided. Anyway, unrelated, let's talk about this other thing." Same with kicking the Palestinians out of DC, and every time they leak to the press how they're considering firing someone.
posted by ctmf at 1:12 PM on December 3 [5 favorites]


>> > If party identification is stronger than ideological identification, then as parties change their ideological identities, their loyalists will change with them, rather than abandoning them. And that’s a lot closer to what we see. The exception is high-information voters, who keep their party identification and ideological identification linked.

> If that were true, the Republican Party's southern strategy never would have worked. Old-school racist southern Democratic voters would still be loyal Democrats.


So I think the case of the long slow move of southern white supremacists from the democrats to the dixiecrats to the republicans is supporting evidence for this model, rather than counterevidence. If you look at the full article, you'll see two distinct effects discussed:
  1. The effect of party identification on ideology (with the argument being that what people believe is driven by what party they identify with, rather than vice-versa)
  2. The effect of social groups on party identification (with the argument being that we tend to identify with the party that the people around us identify with).
These two threads come together in this paragraph midway through:
We choose our party for a variety of reasons — chief among them being the preferences of our family members, core groups, and community — and then we sign on to their platforms. In this telling, write Kinder and Kalmoe, “ideological identification is primarily an effect, not a cause, of a person’s political views.”
Despite the best efforts of southern white supremacist leaders to detach southern white supremacists from the democratic party, it took the better part of a half-century to complete the shift. Recall that Strom Thurmond first ran for President as a Dixiecrat in 1948, but that even into the 1990s — well past Nixon's invention of the Republican "southern strategy"— there were still southern white supremacist deadenders in the Democratic Party. The influence of the white supremacist rank-and-file's pre-existing social groups caused them to stay on with the Democrats well after the white supremacist ideology remained welcome there; changing peoples' party identification required changing peoples' social groups, not their ideologies.

If people picked their parties based on their ideologies rather than picking their ideologies based on their parties, white supremacist southerners would have jumped ship from the Democratic Party en masse sometime during the Truman administration. Instead, white supremacist leaders had to both build up a base of support within the institutional Republican Party and also get elites within southern white supremacist communities — foremost among them leaders in white supremacist churches — to persuade their followers toward identifying with the Republicans rather than the Democrats. This took basically forever, even though it was just a switch from one label to another for most of the people thereby persuaded.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:36 PM on December 3 [36 favorites]


>> This week was a good example. Trump raised the level of crazy. We in the media took the bait. And you, dear reader, encouraged us.

> I asked my digital colleagues for the top 25 pieces that appeared on The Post’s website this week before the Flynn news broke. ...the items were dominated by Trump insanity: his Muslim-video retweets...his “unhinged” behavior and his veering past “guardrails” of what’s acceptable.

But in the top 25 were only two about the monstrous tax bill as it made its way through the Senate this week.


Hey I mean, why even run a paper. Celebrity gossip gets so many more views.

On a slightly less sarcastic note, I can't help but wondering if there isn't a way to make tax bill news (and similar items) somewhat more compelling. More human drama? (Or is that just horserace coverage?) More protests? (Or does that just get spun as Look At The Ridiculous Liberals?) More human interest case studies? (...of who will be hurt by a bill that got written in like two days? Is that possible?) More dramatic headlines? I don't know, but I do know that it felt like the story got under-covered compared to its importance.

This is also why I'm bothered by the new focus on Russia. On the one hand, I appreciate a break from gnashing my teeth about taxes. On the other, it makes me start to relax and think that Mueller is going to solve all of this for us, rather than continuing to work out how to take back control of Congress. No criticism is implied to anyone who has been posting Russia news (it is important, and we all have to find the psychological sweet spot where we're adequately motivated but not paralyzed with despair or rage). But I wish the focus of the journalists I follow on Twitter hadn't shifted as much to Russia as it has. Mueller's work will continue whether or not the progressive populace is following each new development. But I keep wondering if there isn't a way to derail the tax bill if enough people stayed incensed and focused.
posted by salvia at 2:04 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


* BTW speaking of future possible crises - if the time ever does come, how would we physically get donnie out of the WH? Remember, when he said this BEFORE the election?

Assuming there is electoral and/or some sort of impeachment or 25th Amendment prompting: at some point, somebody will tell him in a no-shit-really tone that the Capitol Police or the Secret Service will literally lay hands on him and drag him out. Because you know some of them are plain sick of him already.

When he has to face the likelihood of facing physical danger of any sort, he'll fold. He'll immediately pivot to wanting to leave as soon as possible, good riddance, nobody's fair to me, I'm happier in my tower, blah blah blah. The task is about getting us to the point where there's a legal and procedural cause to get him thrown out.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:10 PM on December 3 [7 favorites]


You don’t sell this to voters as a promise you’re going to raise taxes. You sell it to them that you’re going to roll back the tax hike on the middle class. You run ads with real world examples - the teacher that doesn’t get a deduction for school supplies, the student who can’t deduct interest on their loans, etc. Run ads asking people if they’re ok with their taxes going up so Richie Rich can operate his jet tax free. Etc. There’s so many fronts you can hit these guys on come campaign season. This is the biggest avenue of attack. Messaging is important, but framing the message is as well.
posted by azpenguin at 2:12 PM on December 3 [53 favorites]


I keep wondering if there isn't a way to derail the tax bill if enough people stayed incensed and focused.

Yes, and one more thing, which is crucial: enough people must be willing to show up, in person, and refuse to back down.

There is no such thing as a government that is accountable to the people, when the people will not take whatever action is necessary to hold their government accountable. Full stop.
posted by perspicio at 2:21 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]


Ho ho ho, look who found a lump of coal in their stocking.

Kevin Drum, Mother Jones: R&D Tax Credit Falls Victim to Republican Vote-Payoff-Orama
... Just hours before the Senate voted 51-49 to pass the bill, which included about $1.4 trillion in tax cuts, Republicans decided to preserve the corporate alternative minimum tax [at 20%] instead of repealing it as planned. ... But the corporate rate is now proposed to be 20%, so the overhaul could drive many companies into the AMT—and force them to lose some of their breaks in the process. [...]

Robert Murray [CEO of Murray Energy Corp., an Ohio-based firm and the largest privately held U.S. coal-mining company], said the Senate tax plan would raise his tax bill by $60 million. “What the Senate did, in their befuddled mess, is drove me out of business and then bragged about the fact that they got some tax reform passed,” Mr. Murray said Sunday. “This is not job creation. This is not stimulating income. This is driving a whole sector of our community into nonexistence.”
Seriously, read the whole thing. The unintended consequences of this travesty will take a while to sort out, and they will be a whole series of nasty surprises.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:26 PM on December 3 [93 favorites]


‘I don’t think it’s going to help’: In a pro-Trump area, many voters are skeptical of GOP tax plan --
STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. — On a busy weeknight at the 5 Star Lanes bowling alley in this Detroit suburb that voted heavily for President Trump, there was little excitement about the Republican plan to cut taxes.

A 60-year-old retiree bowling with a group of girlfriends said she’s tired of the middle class having to pay more so the wealthy can become even wealthier. A few lanes away, a middle-aged woman with frizzy gray hair said that the more she hears about the plan, the more she hates it [emphasis added]....

Here in the Detroit suburbs and across the country, many voters say they view the Republican tax plan as simply a giveaway for the rich that will benefit only a small number of people in the long run....

In October, a CBS News poll found that 70 percent of Americans didn’t think the tax bill should even be a top priority.
Given that the more people learn, the more they hate it, it seems strategic to keep the focus here for awhile, not move on to the next battle (as the Trump Tax Scam website recommends). Why not encourage Indivisible groups, especially ones in vulnerable Republican house districts (shoutout to Indivisible Manteca holding it down in #CA10!), to try to get their reps to try to stop the House from passing it as is, force further debate during reconciliation, and so on. Would Denham change his vote? Probably not. But I'd love to see more bad local press for House Republicans while the issue is current.
posted by salvia at 2:30 PM on December 3 [42 favorites]


My Rep, Pete Sessions, no relation to klukluxkeebler, is head of the house committee that goes into conference to try and reconcile the two bills. I am leaving voicemail at all the numbers that answer. Call your reps, we may not be finished yet. Do not give up. Resist.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 2:40 PM on December 3 [18 favorites]


Robert Murray [CEO of Murray Energy Corp., an Ohio-based firm and the largest privately held U.S. coal-mining company], said the Senate tax plan would raise his tax bill by $60 million. “What the Senate did, in their befuddled mess, is drove me out of business and then bragged about the fact that they got some tax reform passed,” Mr. Murray said Sunday. “This is not job creation. This is not stimulating income. This is driving a whole sector of our community into nonexistence.”

If giving Robert Murray a tax break provides even one single job whatsoever I will register Republican when I become a citizen.
posted by Talez at 2:45 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


If giving Robert Murray a tax break provides even one single job whatsoever I will register Republican when I become a citizen.

Murray creates lots of jobs...for rescue workers.
posted by kewb at 2:48 PM on December 3 [12 favorites]


And how do I know it doesn't provide one single job? Because true job creators don't pay taxes. It all gets deducted because the money gets plowed back into the business as expenses, payroll, capital investment. If you're complaining about a tax hike it means you're not investing it, you're taking it either as income or dividends in which case, eat shit, Bob.
posted by Talez at 2:49 PM on December 3 [34 favorites]


‘I don’t think it’s going to help’: In a pro-Trump area, many voters are skeptical of GOP tax plan --

I think the best part of this article is right here, and it fights right in with this discussion about creating jobs:
Getting lunch in the mall food court that afternoon was Mike Papastamatis, a 33-year-old dentist who is a partner in a local practice and expects his tax rate to fall about 10 points if the “pass-through” deduction is increased. While that will benefit him, he said the practice is fully staffed right now and there’s no need to expand.
The dentist gets a tax cut, but none of it will go to hiring more employees because he doesn't need or want any.

Meanwhile, do you know what does hurt dentists? Millions of kids not having dental coverage anymore because Congress failed to renew CHIP.
posted by zachlipton at 2:52 PM on December 3 [95 favorites]


How can I figure out who in the Senate and House will be on the conference committee for this bill? I would like to call if they are my own reps, and encourage friends to call if they are not.

Also, I have no idea how the committees are chosen; will they contain any Dems, or any Republicans who voted against the bills?
posted by nat at 3:01 PM on December 3 [3 favorites]


This is largely because of voter disenfranchisement and gerrymandering.

Computer . . . explain the Democrats' plan to mitigate these legal cheating mechanisms in the 2018 elections.
posted by petebest at 3:40 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


Hopefully optimistic computer to petebest, Do you like apples?
posted by cmfletcher at 3:47 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


Slate's Dahlia Lithwick asks, Is It Too Late for Robert Mueller to Save Us?
Democrats don’t like giving up on their institutions easily, and the Mueller investigation has served as both the best and the worst manifestation of that alluring Democratic reasonableness. So long as he is working away, filing documents and convening grand juries, nobody needs to take to the streets. But as the year has progressed, it’s become clear that absolutely nothing will persuade Trump supporters and Republicans in Congress that it’s time to disavow the president—not lying, not spilling state secrets, not abject failure in crisis management, and not openly performed corruption. Given that reality, it often feels like it wouldn’t be enough for Mueller to hand us a smoking gun and an indictment.[...]

I’ve been thinking that America is operating along two parallel legal tracks. On one track is the chug-chug of law and order, as embodied in the Mueller investigation. On the other is the daily mayhem and denialism and circus-performing of the present White House. I tend to worry that with every passing day, the circus is training us to ignore, discredit, devalue, or disbelieve what’s happening on the other track. By the time the Mueller train gets to its final station, the norms that would ordinarily lead to impeachment proceedings might be tiny piles of yellow legal pad–shaped cinders. And then it really would be time to take to the streets.[...]

Until and unless Trump either fires Mueller or Mueller indicts Trump, those two parallel tracks can coexist, so long as the people on each of those trains refuse to acknowledge that the other train actually exists. At this moment when all options remain open, we should accept the possibility that Mueller may come to represent the highest and most binding expression of law and order in America. We also must acknowledge the reality that the highest and most binding expression of law and order in America might not matter enough, to enough people, to bring the Trump train to a stop.
As a legal analyst and commentator, Lithwick does not indulge in click-bait pessimism, much less performative despair. Nor does she traffic in keyboard radicalism and Aeron chair protest. Her writing about how perturbed she is after this past week's events may be a signal the so-called #TrumpTrain has too much momentum for anything other than a total wreck.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:02 PM on December 3 [48 favorites]


Keep in mind that voter disengagement is a much larger factor than disenfranchisement. We should absolutely do everything we can to combat voter disenfranchisement; it is evil. But the number of people who are disenfranchised is considerably lower than the number of people who just don't show up so we should devote a lot of resources towards the latter group.
posted by Justinian at 4:04 PM on December 3 [14 favorites]


tweet: Video of Haim Saban thanking Jared Kushner for instructing #Flynn to call Kislyak on Dec 22nd & undermine Obama efforts on Israel at UNSC then. 1 of 2 calls that got Flynn in trouble with Mueller. Saban: “nothing illegal”.

[Buzzfeed news correspondent, about same event] Tweet: Haim Saban expresses appreciation to Jared Kushner for his efforts to undermine Obama at the UN on Israel before Trump took office. “As far as I know there was nothing illegal there, “ said Saban.
posted by AFABulous at 4:06 PM on December 3 [8 favorites]


You don’t sell this to voters as a promise you’re going to raise taxes. You sell it to them that you’re going to roll back the tax hike on the middle class.

And as part of how to pay for single payer healthcare, free college, jobs programs, UBI, a broad progressive platform. It's all the same pitch, roll back the tax cuts for the rich to pay for a real working class reform of the economy. You can't say you're raising people's taxes just to close the GOP created deficit, tell them what you're going to do for them, and don't fucking mention the deficit, because the Republicans just proved it doesn't fucking matter. Stop entertaining the idea that it does, and just do things for people again. Big ones, labeled as "Brought to you by the Democrats".
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:06 PM on December 3 [37 favorites]


Context: this was at the Saban Forum. Haim Saban is "an Israeli-American media proprietor, investor, philanthropist, musician, record, film & television producer." according to Wikipedia. And Clinton donor.
posted by AFABulous at 4:07 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


Well I mean when we're talking about why people don't read political news in newspapers, have you (media elites) ever considered it might be THE WAY YOU COVER IT? The both sides-ism and horserace bullshit TURNS PEOPLE OFF. When that's how you frame your news, every article reads like: "Republicans did a thing they claim is good. Democrats claim it is bad. Also Democrats did a thing and Republicans are upset."

That's FUCKING BORING. Why do people watch Fox News? Because it's many things, but it's not boring both sides-ism. They present heroes and villains and get people engaged. It's blatant propaganda, which I don't suggest we need more of, but maybe actual facts and hard-hitting stories and educating people about which side is correct about reality would get people to pay attention. As it is, we can all predict your stories without bothering to read them
posted by threeturtles at 4:14 PM on December 3 [29 favorites]


Also, I have no idea how the committees are chosen; will they contain any Dems, or any Republicans who voted against the bills?

Senate procedure [pdf warning]:
Although the Senate authorizes the presiding officer to name conferees, the presiding officer actually exercises no discretion. Instead, he or she presents to the Senate a list that has usually been prepared by the chair and ranking minority Member of the standing committee with jurisdiction over the bill. Also, the Senate conferees are usually drawn exclusively from the membership of that committee. The committee chair, in consultation with the ranking Member, normally decides on the number of Senators from each party who will serve on the conference committee. The chair selects the majority party conferees, and the ranking minority Member selects a proportional number of conferees from among his or her committee colleagues. Committee seniority is an important but not controlling factor in the selection of committee members to serve on the conference
posted by solotoro at 4:15 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


So much winning. The president of the FBI Agents Association, an organization of 12,000 current and former FBI agents, responds to Donny.
“Every day, FBI Special Agents put their lives on the line to protect the American public from national security and criminal threats. Agents perform these duties with unwavering integrity and professionalism and a focus on complying with the law and the Constitution.”

”This is why the FBI continues to be the premier law enforcement agency in the world. FBI Agents are dedicated to their mission; suggesting otherwise is simply false.”
posted by chris24 at 4:28 PM on December 3 [38 favorites]


may be a signal the so-called #TrumpTrain has too much momentum for anything other than a total wreck.

I've said since last year this is going to be a total wreck, and yet I believe they're all going to jail. The problem is people thinking only one or the other is going to happen. You might live through that car wreck, people might rescue you and eventually you'll be OK, but it aint going to be neat and pretty.
posted by bongo_x at 4:30 PM on December 3 [12 favorites]


I saw the recent articles about Trump's plan to pack the Federal Courts and thought "this was the Republican Party's plan back when they were blocking Obama appointments. So how is it that 10 months into Trump's term he's just starting to get around to it now?" Any other GOP President would be halfway through the process right now... Trump's incompetence and being distracted by small shiny things is actually saving us (temporarily) from some (but not all) of the worst that the Trump Administration can do. I still believe it's too early for the perp walk; the damage he can currently do to the Republican Party over the next few months is still greater than the damage he can do to the nation.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:46 PM on December 3


There sure are a lot of "normally"s and "usually"s in that paragraph on Senate procedure. I'm feeling a lot less confident in those words these days.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 4:52 PM on December 3 [6 favorites]


We also must acknowledge the reality that the highest and most binding expression of law and order in America might not matter enough, to enough people, to bring the Trump train to a stop.

Or it matters enough, to enough people, that we elect a Democratic-controlled Congress in 11 months and that Congress impeaches and removes Trump.

With enough Republicans with a newly-rediscovered respect for the rule of law to go along. Just because Republicans aren't abandoning him now doesn't mean they wouldn't abandon him then.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:58 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


Ahead of his Colbert appearance tomorrow night, NYT, Billy Bush: Yes, Donald Trump, You Said That
He said it. “Grab ‘em by the pussy.”

Of course he said it. And we laughed along, without a single doubt that this was hypothetical hot air from America’s highest-rated bloviator. Along with Donald Trump and me, there were seven other guys present on the bus at the time, and every single one of us assumed we were listening to a crass standup act. He was performing. Surely, we thought, none of this was real.

We now know better.
posted by zachlipton at 5:13 PM on December 3 [42 favorites]


(I pullquoted the decentish part at the top of the op-ed, but Billy Bush's redemption tour makes me cringe very much.)
posted by zachlipton at 5:29 PM on December 3 [9 favorites]


Really, Billy? Most of us men know that was no joke; that's the way it is: "When you're a star they let you do it". And the ones who laughed along knew it was real, and Trump was never smart enough to come up with "a crass standup act", but he was never someone who you didn't let do - and say - whatever he wants.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:31 PM on December 3 [22 favorites]


How the Republicans Broke Congress

Well, no shit Sherlock
But this opinion piece might be an indication that the bothsides-ism is finally facing reality.
Eleven years ago, we published a book called “The Broken Branch,” which we subtitled “How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track.” Embedded in that subtitle were two assumptions: first, that Congress as an institution — which is to say, both parties, equally — is at fault; and second, that the solution is readily at hand. In 2017, the Republicans’ scandalous tax bill is only the latest proof that both assumptions are wrong.

Which is not to say that we were totally off base in 2006. We stand by our assessment of the political scene at the time. What is astounding, and still largely unappreciated, is the unexpected and rapid nature of the decline in American national politics, and how one-sided its cause. If in 2006 one could cast aspersions on both parties, over the past decade it has become clear that it is the Republican Party — as an institution, as a movement, as a collection of politicians — that has done unique, extensive and possibly irreparable damage to the American political system.
IMO, they were totally off base in 2006, and that their book was part of the problem. But if they are waking up in 2017, I will welcome them among the woke.
Reading this article, I realized that one big reason I am not among the NYTimes haters this time round is that I spent the entire Bush years screaming at the so-called main-stream media. It's true they are bad now, but they were so extremely bad back then, and some of the time I was working as a journalist at a publication which pretended to be leftist. I remember writing on our intra that if there was just one more article about Afghan women wearing make-up after the invasion, I'd quit. (In the end, I quit because of a much more damaging racist article, but that's a long story).

And just to complicate things: in the meantime, a lot of the sources I depended on back then have gone totally off-kilter, and I have personally learnt why, because at first I quit upwards into a media management position, and learnt how difficult it is to make ends meet in a business that is mostly driven by advertising. Clicks are what count when it comes to ads, and good reporting is not sought after. It's not at all coincidental that Teen Vogue and BuzzFeed rather than the NYTimes are political forces these days, but I am not smart enough to figure out how we can learn from that.
posted by mumimor at 5:40 PM on December 3 [57 favorites]


We also must acknowledge the reality that the highest and most binding expression of law and order in America might not matter enough, to enough people, to bring the Trump train to a stop.

Maybe, but the 2018 elections sure as fuck will. If the numbers hold up like they are now (and honestly, what are the odds Trump gets better instead of worse) then he'll prove to be electoral poison, and they'll flee him like rats on a ship to minimize the damage in 2020.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:42 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


So much winning. The president of the FBI Agents Association, an organization of 12,000 current and former FBI agents, responds to Donny.

and

Holder hits back at Trump: The FBI’s reputation is not in 'tatters'

Plus:

James Comey
@Comey
“I want the American people to know this truth: The FBI is honest. The FBI is strong. And the FBI is, and always will be, independent.”
Me (June 8, 2017)


and

Preet Bharara
@PreetBharara
Is there a statement from current FBI Director Chris Wray?
posted by Room 641-A at 6:45 PM on December 3 [20 favorites]


Gerrymander: Rig The Election - a free game (iOS only).
posted by Rumple at 6:46 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


Or it matters enough, to enough people, that we elect a Democratic-controlled Congress in 11 months and that Congress impeaches and removes Trump.

Absolutely - that's a battle worth fighting for, to the end. (And tomorrow we can light up the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 like a Herald Square store window holiday display.)

With enough Republicans with a newly-rediscovered respect for the rule of law to go along. Just because Republicans aren't abandoning him now doesn't mean they wouldn't abandon him then.

That's the part of the equation that gives me pause. Maybe it's the smash-and-grab tax legislation once the Flynndictment came down, maybe it's the number of Trump-supporters on the Sunday morning political talk shows who then tried to dismiss Flynn as a nothingburger (ranging from fair-weather "independent-minded" senators to full-blown Trumpists). A lot is going to come down to the Alabama election, so I suppose we'll have a better idea in a week and a half's time.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:53 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


It's all the same pitch, roll back the tax cuts for the rich to pay for a real working class reform of the economy.

Pitch it hard as "not raising anyone's tax rates; only removing some of the special exemptions that MILLIONAIRES and MEGA-CORPORATIONS have been getting... we think they've gotten enough of a free ride and it's time for them to start pulling their weight... why should a corporation be able to write off its rent, but you can't?" and so on.

And come up with a campaign about the people who oppose it - "Senator X has never worked an hourly-wage job in his life; he has no idea why this matters to you, and he doesn't care." "Rep X didn't take out loans for his education; his parents bought it for him. He has no idea how to live on a budget that doesn't include four years of free ride at an expensive college."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 7:18 PM on December 3 [60 favorites]


A lot is going to come down to the Alabama election, and if Jones only comes close in this 'hopelessly Republican/retrograde' state, the official line will be "we dodged a bullet" but privately, the GOP is just going to be running even more scared. I think that 'running scared' attitude is what made the smash-and-grab tax legislation possible, because they didn't dare end their Year of Controlling Everything empty-handed and they had to toss on or toss off something for everybody Republican. And if this results in them getting ALL the campaign money from the Corporations and Uncle Moneybags, one thing the Democratic Party will have is the freedom to do as much class warfare against the .001% as they want (and we've seen proof of some significant fund raising by the 'everybody else' recently).
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:23 PM on December 3 [2 favorites]


Pitch it hard as "not raising anyone's tax rates; only removing some of the special exemptions that MILLIONAIRES and MEGA-CORPORATIONS have been getting... we think they've gotten enough of a free ride and it's time for them to start pulling their weight... why should a corporation be able to write off its rent, but you can't?" and so on.

Heck, you could pitch it as cutting taxes for the middle class. And you'd be right.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:25 PM on December 3 [11 favorites]


Trump moves to block Romney from the Senate. (Alex Isenstadt, Politico). Orrin Hatch, 83, is thinking of running for another 6-year term because Trump is pushing him hard to do so, including a PR event to celebrate the reduction of Utah national monuments.
posted by SakuraK at 7:54 PM on December 3 [13 favorites]


Remember this from the days of The FBI Is Trumpland article last November right before the election? Good times. I agree 100% Sarah.

@SarahHuckabee
When you're attacking FBI agents because you're under criminal investigation, you're losing
posted by chris24 at 7:56 PM on December 3 [71 favorites]


I'm so old that I remember the head of the FBI, some sort of "Comey" fellow, threw the election to Trump by accusing Hillary Clinton of crimes immediately ahead of the election.

Not a lot of sympathy from the FBI and their leadership here. It is like they made their bed and now they get to lie in its splendor.
posted by pdoege at 8:13 PM on December 3 [19 favorites]


It'll be interesting to see, once Flynn starts talking and it is reported, how Donnie handles it on Twitter, given the many public statements he's made in the past praising Flynn. He'll probably insist that he always knew Flynn was a liar. And, of course, any video of him praising Flynn might not be him at all.
posted by perhapses at 8:17 PM on December 3


It's not at all coincidental that Teen Vogue and BuzzFeed rather than the NYTimes are political forces these days, but I am not smart enough to figure out how we can learn from that.

a) when the president has frequent chats with Maggie Haberman, it's hard to call the NYTimes "not a political force", but b) to the extent that it's true, it's gotta have a lot to do with the specific people making decisions there, not the business model. The Washington Post has that business model and they seem to have kept their teeth.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 8:18 PM on December 3 [16 favorites]


Regarding framing the progressive message, linguist George Lakoff has some thoughts. The problem is getting the Democrats to adopt language like regulations are protections and government spending is investment, but that's what has to happen.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:14 PM on December 3 [56 favorites]


I'm so old that I remember the head of the FBI, some sort of "Comey" fellow, threw the election to Trump by accusing Hillary Clinton of crimes immediately ahead of the election.

Not to relitigate the election or to spark a long discussion, but I would like to voice something I haven't seen much on this topic.

I disagree that Comey did what he did as an effort to throw the election. I think he did what he did knowing that Trump and Russia planned to attack Hillary's legitimacy after the election they expected to lose (hence the refusal to say they'd respect the results) and he thought the best way to avoid (or at least lessen the legitimacy of) the email thing being used as part of that was to be radically transparent about it and not give them extra ammunition by "hiding" the reopening of the investigation. It certainly didn't help that the NYC office and the NYPD were leaking like sieves, ensuring it would come out either way. Less damaging as an official statement than a leak that could be spun as evidence of a deep state conspiracy.

I can't say it was the right move, but I've seen zero evidence to indicate that Comey in particular timed anything for maximum damage to the Clinton campaign. I wouldn't doubt that certain elements loyal to Guiliani were doing exactly that with their strategic leaking, though.
posted by wierdo at 9:15 PM on December 3 [24 favorites]


I hope it's not too derail-y to include this opining about Comey... I wrote this on Facebook about a week before he got fired.
I simultaneously believe these two things:

1. Comey's letter in October was a potentially decisive element in the election

2. Comey may have been attempting to act without partisan regard to the consequences of his actions.

Inside the agency I work for we take our nonpartisan mandate very seriously and occasionally have debates about how to interpret it. There's the "agnostic" perspective which tries to ignore the existence of parties. And there's the "balancing" perspective which tries to make sure that our agency's impact on each party is balanced.

A lot of liberals think Comey had his thumb on the scale. I don't deny that Comey's actions had different impacts for different parties- but to treat that fact as conclusive all by itself implicitly buys into the "balancing" perspective. It also assumes a sort of symmetry in the FBI investigations of Clinton and Trump- but my impression is that the investigation of Clinton involved a pretty small and reasonably-well-defined orbit of players, but the investigation of Russian involvement may involve a much larger and much less well-defined set of players (not necessarily even centered on Trump). From the "agnostic" perspective, such different circumstances would merit different treatment.

As an aside, I think that liberals may be particularly prone to the "balancing" perspective because they're used to the idea of trying to balance outcomes in other areas of politics. Cf "race blind" vs. "race conscious", etc.
As a former "agnostic" myself, it's really easy to imagine him trying not to be influenced by who was of which party when he did what he thought he had to do. And while I don't have any links handy to this effect, I believe he did specifically say at one point that he was trying to avoid being influenced in that way.
posted by Jpfed at 9:26 PM on December 3 [15 favorites]


Nothing Comey did was in line with FBI policy, if he didn't intentionally throw the election to Trump, he let rogue elements in his own department run roughshod over him dictating his actions to the same effect. He gave a completely out of line political attack statement against Clinton in July while ostensibly closing the investigation without charges, then gave a second statement "reopening" the investigation based on no new evidence days before the election, without any mandate to do so, and in direct violation of decades of DOJ policy against taking action that could influence an election.

You can call that "radical transparency", or you can call it what it was, unprecedented partisan interference in a presidential election by a rogue FBI director. His intent doesn't really matter. He broke every DOJ and FBI policy and guideline in existence, with the effect of throwing an election.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:34 PM on December 3 [57 favorites]


re: mueller. dogged. professional, experienced. but also tunnel vision, and over-confidence with a *very* marginal case.

i got my doubts about where this ends up.
posted by j_curiouser at 9:38 PM on December 3 [1 favorite]


Nunes is readying contempt-of-Congress charges on Rod Rosenstein and Chris Wray. It's because Mueller fired an investigator who appeared to be less than impartial, and therefore the investigation is partial and we're all wearing crazy pants and that's why we won't impeach when he fires Mueller. I wish to shit I was making this up.

And it's going to work, because of Benghazi Pizza, amen.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:43 PM on December 3 [4 favorites]




Nunes is readying contempt-of-Congress charges on Rod Rosenstein and Chris Wray. It's because Mueller fired an investigator who appeared to be less than impartial, and therefore the investigation is partial and we're all wearing crazy pants and that's why we won't impeach when he fires Mueller.

Nunes is circumventing his recusal in the House Intelligence Committee's Russia investigation, but it's mainly to play up the Trumpist narrative to the Fox News audience in public (and feed into the Donald's enraged tweets).

CNN: Justice Dept. Offers Up Key Witness In Russia Probe As House Intel Chair Threatens Contempt
In reality, sources familiar with the negotiations tell CNN that despite Nunes' public accusations of "stonewalling," the Justice Department met with Nunes nearly two months ago, and his Intelligence Committee staff members have reviewed -- over the course of the past two months -- highly classified materials regarding the dossier, including significant details on who paid for it, if anyone, and what, if anything, the FBI did to verify its contents.

Indeed, mere hours before Fox News ran its story Wednesday evening, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein -- who has stepped into the shoes of Attorney General Jeff Sessions after he recused himself from all matters related to the FBI's Russia investigation -- had been on the phone with Nunes and agreed to permit House investigators to interview FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe as long as he's not questioned about special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing Russia investigation.

Nunes escalated the feud over the weekend, accusing the Justice Department of "disingenuousness" and threatening top officials at the department and the FBI with contempt of Congress if they do not meet his subpoena demands by Monday evening.

"We disagree with the Chairman's characterization and will continue to work with congressional committees to provide the information they request consistent with our national security responsibilities," Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement Sunday. "The Department has already provided members of (the House Intelligence Committee) and House leadership with several hundred pages of classified documents and multiple briefings -- including, for example, clear answers as to whether any FBI payments were made to a source in question related to the dossier -- and has more recently cleared key witnesses they have requested to testify, including Mr. McCabe, Mr. (Peter) Strzok, and the alleged handler in question."[...]

[T]he sources familiar with Nunes' outstanding requests say that the Justice Department has conveyed that certain highly confidential transcripts he wants simply do not exist and producing other highly confidential raw intelligence reports would likely conflict with the department's national security responsibilities.
Nunes is doing a great deal of public grandstanding, while Rosenstein and Mueller play it cool. Let's hope that's enough.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:00 PM on December 3 [14 favorites]


Um…

Carol D. Leonnig, John Wagner and Ellen Nakashima, WaPo: Trump lawyer says president knew Flynn had given FBI the same account he gave to vice president
President Trump’s personal lawyer said on Sunday that the president knew in late January that then-national security adviser Michael Flynn had probably given FBI agents the same inaccurate account he provided to Vice President Pence about a call with the Russian ambassador.

Trump lawyer John Dowd said the information was passed to Trump by White House counsel Donald McGahn, who had been warned about Flynn’s statement to the vice president by a senior Justice Department official. The vice president said publicly at the time that Flynn had told him he had not discussed sanctions with the Russian diplomat — a statement disproved by a U.S. intelligence intercept of a phone call between Flynn and then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Trump was aware of the issue a couple of weeks before a conversation with then-FBI Director James B. Comey in which Comey said the president asked him if he could be lenient while investigating Flynn, whom Trump had just fired for misleading Pence about the nature of his conversations with the Russian. […]

A person close to the White House involved in the case termed the Saturday tweet “a screw-up of historic proportions” that has “caused enormous consternation in the White House.”

The person, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly, said that White House officials quickly realized the tweet could significantly assist Mueller if he chooses to pursue an obstruction case. The development sparked particular concern because others around Trump weren’t certain that Trump knew Flynn had made a false statement to the FBI at the time he fired him, the person added.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:04 PM on December 3 [38 favorites]


I don't want to waste more precious space on Comey, but it's really important to avoid future such attacks that we not allow his 2016 behavior to be rehabilitated. This tick-tock from the NYT suggests Comey was just trying to preserve the reputation of the FBI, but this trenchant analysis of that timeline by Kevin Drum (which matches what many others on the left concluded at the time) shows that Comey was deeply asymmetrical in his sensitivity to external criticisms, repeatedly taking fairly extreme actions to avoid criticism from Republicans and right-wing factions within the FBI, while remaining fairly unmoved by increasing complaints from the left. Whatever his intentions, the process was deeply partisan and the effects were substantial.
posted by chortly at 10:07 PM on December 3 [52 favorites]


Comey was deeply asymmetrical in his sensitivity to external criticisms, repeatedly taking fairly extreme actions to avoid criticism from Republicans and right-wing factions within the FBI, while remaining fairly unmoved by increasing complaints from the left.

Democrats had loud complaining, while right-wing FBI agents in NYC had Weiner's laptop.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:41 PM on December 3 [5 favorites]


[Let's please drop the relitigate-the-Comey side conversation unless there's something new and pertinent about it that we haven't been over a few dozen times already. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 11:43 PM on December 3 [18 favorites]


While he's advocated against Jones before in a de facto endorsement of Moore, now Trump has explicitly endorsed a child molestor.

@realDonaldTrump
Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama. We need his vote on stopping crime, illegal immigration, Border Wall, Military, Pro Life, V.A., Judges 2nd Amendment and more. No to Jones, a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet!
posted by chris24 at 3:40 AM on December 4 [12 favorites]


Trump & Co. are trying to put the obstruction tweet genie back in the bottle. Also, Axios mentions that one of Nixon's articles of impeachment was obstruction. It was also one of the articles Clinton was impeached for.

And I think I've heard this before. "Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal." - R. Nixon

Axios: Exclusive: Trump lawyer claims the "President cannot obstruct justice"
John Dowd, President Trump's outside lawyer, outlined to me a new and highly controversial defense/theory in the Russia probe: A president cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice.

The "President cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution's Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case," Dowd claims.

Dowd says he drafted this weekend's Trump tweet that many thought strengthened the case for obstruction: The tweet suggested Trump knew Flynn had lied to the FBI when he was fired, raising new questions about the later firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Dowd: "The tweet did not admit obstruction. That is an ignorant and arrogant assertion."

Why it matters: Trump's legal team is clearly setting the stage to say the president cannot be charged with any of the core crimes discussed in the Russia probe: collusion and obstruction. Presumably, you wouldn't preemptively make these arguments unless you felt there was a chance charges are coming.

One top D.C. lawyer told me that obstruction is usually an ancillary charge rather than a principal one, such as a quid pro quo between the Trump campaign and Russians.

But Dems will fight the Dowd theory. Bob Bauer, an NYU law professor and former White House counsel to President Obama, told me: "It is certainly possible for a president to obstruct justice. The case for immunity has its adherents, but they based their position largely on the consideration that a president subject to prosecution would be unable to perform the duties of the office, a result that they see as constitutionally intolerable."

Remember: The Articles of Impeachment against Nixon began by saying he "obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice."
posted by chris24 at 3:48 AM on December 4 [63 favorites]


Tomayto, tomahto. Whether you call it obstruction or not, the President of the United States still has a duty to take care to faithfully execute the laws of the land. If he is wilfully impeding and subverting a lawful instigation, that's not faithful execution, and he can be impeached on those grounds alone, or, as previously discussed herein, under any grounds that the House deem as high crimes or misdemeanors, whether or not they fall under any criminal statute.
posted by xigxag at 5:45 AM on December 4 [18 favorites]


Well the only people who can decide what's chargeable are Congress. I'm pretty sure they're ready to run with the optics of "won't impeach someone worse than Nixon" to keep the paint huffers on side. Worst case scenario, they drag out Pence to every vote post-2018 and they win back the house in 2020.
posted by Talez at 6:21 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


So, his argument is basically, “L'êtat, c'est moi”?
posted by acb at 6:25 AM on December 4 [29 favorites]


In Taking Stock, Pt. 1: The Race for Russia, Josh Marshall of TPM details how the transition team and US Intelligence Community raced against each other to achieve their ends in the Russian affair--with the transition team scrambling to reassure Russia that the sanctions would not last, while the FBI et al. started going hard to hold Flynn accountable.
We see Flynn’s covert communications with Ambassador Kislyak; we see the escalation of the FBI’s scrutiny of Flynn; we know other top Trump officials, like Jared Kushner, were meeting with Kislyak and others and also possibly trying to execute financial transactions with Russian government officials. It’s all sort of a jumble. But the logic of events only really comes into focus when we realize that there was a sort of race taking place between the Trump team’s effort to arrange a rapid rapprochement with Russia in the first weeks of January and February and a mix of the intelligence community, the national security apparatus and the press piecing together what had happened during the 2016 election. Imagine it as a starting pistol firing off on the morning of November 9th, with both teams racing to get more of their critical work done by the end of January.

Since this rapid settling of accounts with Russia is no longer the focus or at least at the forefront of coverage, we need to refresh our memories of exactly what was intended. The Trump transition planned to move rapidly in its first days and weeks in office to engineer a dramatic reshuffling of policy toward Russia, in essence a grand bargain which would start with lifting the December 2016 sanctions as well as those imposed in March 2014 for the annexation of Crimea. But it wouldn’t end there. It was also to include a basic reorientation of policy in the Middle East (a policy of close collaboration with Russia in Syria and Iraq/ISIS) and at least some shift in US policy toward Europe and the EU. [...]

What matters for our purposes is that only days after the inauguration the two trains were colliding – the investigators and the press were catching up with the Trump team’s efforts and about to upend them. Two days after that, January 26th, Yates showed up at the White House telling the White House Counsel that Flynn was in legal jeopardy and a security risk from blackmail by Russia. We don’t know this for a fact but it seems highly likely that President Trump learned of this immediately. Yates returned the following day, the 27th. That afternoon President Trump asked FBI Director James Comey to join him for dinner at the White House and asked him to pledge his loyalty – a request to which Comey seemed to respond to with an awkward demurral. Days later Yates was fired, notionally for refusing to enforce the immigration ban but perhaps also for these visits.

Despite the claim that Flynn had gone rogue and that Vice President Pence was lied to, details that emerged in the Flynn plea documents make clear that Flynn’s discussions with Kislyak were widely discussed among President Trump’s top advisors. Pence almost certainly knew about them, though we as yet have no direct proof of this. Events were moving rapidly. A string of denials about Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak were hit with a rush of leaks that refuted each in turn. By February 13th Flynn was out. The next day President Trump asked Comey to drop the investigation into his activities. Comey politely refused. Events were moving quickly and badly.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 6:46 AM on December 4 [31 favorites]


he can be impeached on [...] any grounds that the House deem as high crimes or misdemeanors, whether or not they fall under any criminal statute.

Yes, the House, that bastion of enlightenment and integrity.

And we, the people, by whose eternal vigilance said integrity is assured.

Pro tip: It takes a long time to turn the ship of state.

No, no! Steer up, stupid!

posted by perspicio at 6:50 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore


GOP 2018: Vote for the pedophile so he can give your health-care and infrastructure money to billionaires!

Heckuva job, GOP. You've invented strategies that defy reason and still get the base. That's restaurant-quality evil.
posted by petebest at 6:52 AM on December 4 [80 favorites]


So, his argument is basically, “L'êtat, c'est moi”?

Après moi, le covfefe.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:02 AM on December 4 [101 favorites]


Spicer said a while ago that all Tweets are considered to be from the mouth of El Presidente. If they are now claiming that some tweets are written without the knowledge and consent of Trump, can the Dems ask the courts to compel the disclosure of who has written all past tweets and that all future tweets carry indicators of who wrote them?
posted by PenDevil at 7:05 AM on December 4 [37 favorites]


In August, ProPublica released a report excoriating the law enforcement response (or really, lack of one) at Charlottesville. Today, the city released the results of an independent investigation that essentially confirms their reporting, with a lot of damning evidence. From ProPublica's Twitter feed:
Today Charlottesville, VA released the results of an independent investigation into the police handling of the deadly white supremacist rallies in that city. The 220-page report reaches the same conclusion we did back in August. The report is devastating, detailing myriad failures by state and local police. It faults state and local police for their passivity and inaction in the face of widespread violence. State and local police failed to plan adequately for the event—nor did they prevent people from bringing pepper spray, knives, clubs, and bats to the rally. Dept of Homeland Security had been circulating intel bulletins abt the potential for bloodshed at white supremacist events since at least Sept 2016. Here’s one obtained by the Center for Constitutional Rights and Color of Change. Deviating from typical crowd-control practices, police failed to separate the white supremacists from counter-protesters—and this made physical clashes inevitable. Afterwards, Virginia State Police misled the public and media about what really happened. ProPublica obtained more than 900 pages of VSP documents. The records include misleading statements made by [Virginia state Police] spokesperson Corinne Geller.
[...]
Bottom line: what we saw in August is backed up by today’s report. And smarter policing might have prevented at least some of the bloodshed.
Yet another example where police are "mysteriously" absent or inattentive that ended with activists brutally attacked and murdered by white supremacists. And that's without knowing who among the law enforcement community present at Charlottesville are themselves white supremacists.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:11 AM on December 4 [62 favorites]


Today's Resist tweet text to my house rep who is a D:
-----------------------------------
Urging you to vote NO on this travesty of a tax bill.

Perhaps you could remind your colleagues on both sides of the aisle that 100% of those seats are up in 2018. Many will be voted out. And those voted out will then be on this side of the door. Maybe those sunsetting tax cuts for the 99% might look a bit differently when they are suddenly also yours.

Are the next 10 months worth that deal to be thrown under the bus with the rest of us?

Fight the good fight, vote NO.
-----------------------------------
posted by yoga at 7:21 AM on December 4 [9 favorites]


@keithboykin (CNN)
So Kushner was essentially working for Israel, Michael Flynn was working for Turkey, Paul Manafort was working for Ukraine, and Trump was working for Russia. But, hey, America First, right?
posted by chris24 at 7:22 AM on December 4 [127 favorites]


Despite pledge, Trump company works with a foreign entity. Again. (Anita Kumar, McClatchy)
A construction company owned in part by the governments of Saudi Arabia and South Korea plans to build a Trump-branded luxury resort development in Indonesia despite a vow from Donald Trump that his family business would not make any deals with foreign government entities while he serves as president.

Trump’s partner, MNC Land, recently entered into a preliminary agreement with Posco E&C Indonesia to become the main contractor for the first phase of the development — billed in promotional material as a “Trump Community” that includes a Disney-like theme park, a six-star hotel and a golf course
Welcome to Room 101!
posted by Room 641-A at 7:26 AM on December 4 [36 favorites]




And smarter policing might have prevented at least some of the bloodshed.

Policing has absolutely nothing to do with the prevention of bloodshed.
posted by phearlez at 8:09 AM on December 4 [7 favorites]


The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand a Texas ruling that said the right to a marriage license did not entitle same-sex couples to spousal benefits under employee insurance plans.

Unholy fuck, that's a separate post right there. Oh Annika Cicada, so sorry to hear that terrible terrible news.
posted by Bella Donna at 8:13 AM on December 4 [52 favorites]



The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand a Texas ruling that said the right to a marriage license did not entitle same-sex couples to spousal benefits under employee insurance plans.


Oh, son of a bitch, fucking hell, fucking hell--that means that the Lege's law on (for example) not extending spousal benefits to anyone whose marriage the State of Texas doesn't recognize might yet hold up. That's second class citizen status for all of us and the door wide fucking open for my reality a few years ago of being married on a federal level, single on the state level, and married on the municipal level such that anyone who asked me for my marital status had to be questioned thoroughly on what law or rule they were trying to comply with. Of course no one fucking knows that when they're handling company policy, so I got to be the Specialest of All Special Snowflakes for a while there.

Fucking hell. That's the worst news I've heard in a long time, and it'd be nice if it hadn't come literally within a month of my partner's diagnosis with an incurable degenerative balance and hearing illness.
posted by sciatrix at 8:14 AM on December 4 [110 favorites]


Writing articles about Supreme Court rulings with no identification of the case name should be grounds for a paddlin'.
posted by phearlez at 8:17 AM on December 4 [13 favorites]


Found it. Turner v. Pidgeon, 17-424.
posted by phearlez at 8:19 AM on December 4 [8 favorites]


mx sciatrix's first response upon being informed, within a second:

"Fuck.

*Fuck.*

When will I lose my insurance?"

I'm going to try not to burst into tears as I run to make our appointment with the learning disability evaluator whose evaluation is going to be what lets my partner go back to school.
posted by sciatrix at 8:23 AM on December 4 [17 favorites]


@sciatrix my wife and I are kinda dismayed the fuck out right now too.

I’m totally mega pissed at the GOP for pissing on the mass grave of an entire generation of gay people who died from the AIDS epidemic in the 80’s and in also mega pissed at the Human Rights Campaign for abandoning ENDA in the mid 2000’s to pursue same sex marriage as a priority and I’m fuming pissed about the literal 100’s of millions of donated dollars that went to support the gay marriage fight that could have instead been used to what, oh I don’t know help trans people of color instead of wealthy white gay men?

Layers of anger right now.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:26 AM on December 4 [43 favorites]


The Texas Supreme Court remanded Turner to be trial court. It still has to be tried. The Supreme Court did not take up the decision to remand. After trial, it can be appealed. I am hoping that the case was not taken up because of that procedural reason only. I am trying to tell myself that If this was the end of the line, one of the Justices would have issued a statement respecting the denial of cert.
posted by kerf at 8:30 AM on December 4 [64 favorites]


Fuck.

It's hard to pick a low point, but refusing to consider the Merrick Garland nomination was, for me, the moment the GOP did the most damage to American civics. We will be living with the ramifications for decades.
posted by jetsetsc at 8:30 AM on December 4 [34 favorites]


Thank you kerf. I need hope.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:31 AM on December 4 [4 favorites]


Despite the claim that Flynn had gone rogue and that Vice President Pence was lied to, details that emerged in the Flynn plea documents make clear that Flynn’s discussions with Kislyak were widely discussed among President Trump’s top advisors. Pence almost certainly knew about them, though we as yet have no direct proof of this

I betcha there's pretty good odds that Mueller does, though.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:36 AM on December 4 [6 favorites]


FWIW I posted this FPP a while back and I think it’s important to note that the Texas GOP has widened their efforts to more than just trans people. And Jonathan Saenz is also just a complete work of hell.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:41 AM on December 4 [4 favorites]


[A few comments removed; this SC thing is a pretty understandably troubling thing, let's take care not to knock each other around by accident talking about it. Per kerf's comment this may or may not immediately merit a dedicated post vs. just understandable "what now?" worries about the process, but if there is something substantial to discuss beyond waiting-and-worrying then a new post for it would be fine.]
posted by cortex at 8:44 AM on December 4 [8 favorites]


I can't imagine the Supreme Court just offhandedly batting away certiorari for this. The GLAD page on this says:
Update December 4, 2017: Today the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition for review, and the case will continue through the Texas court.
So the case isn't dead, or finished, it's just going through the usual channels. It's also not clear to me whether this is referring to retroactive benefits that were granted (in contravention to the law) while gay marriage was still illegal in Texas, or benefits going forward. Can someone clarify who understands this case better?
posted by twooster at 8:46 AM on December 4 [7 favorites]


The Texas Supreme Court remanded Turner to be trial court. It still has to be tried. The Supreme Court did not take up the decision to remand. After trial, it can be appealed. I am hoping that the case was not taken up because of that procedural reason only. I am trying to tell myself that If this was the end of the line, one of the Justices would have issued a statement respecting the denial of cert.

Yeah I was reading the decision and this sticks out at me:
20 We note that neither the Supreme Court in Obergefell nor the Fifth Circuit in De Leon “struck down” any Texas law. When a court declares a law unconstitutional, the law remains in place unless and until the body that enacted it repeals it, even though the government may no longer constitutionally enforce it. Thus, the Texas and Houston DOMAs remain in place as they were before Obergefell and De Leon, which is why Pidgeon is able to bring this claim.
So it seems entirely procedural. It seems like the Supreme Court is saying "no, you can't just go willy nilly, you have to bring it to court, explain the 14th amendment again, and then the rights will be granted as a matter of course" and the Supreme Court not wanting to act as some sort of de facto original jurisdiction because Texas can't sort its shit out.
posted by Talez at 8:47 AM on December 4 [12 favorites]


This is, after all, the endgame that the Tenthers want -- for Americans to have to play good-state/bad-state for just about anything that matters, because they want to be able to discriminate against whoever/whatever on a whim, or in Jesus's name, in their little medieval fiefdoms.

It's a game that minorities of all sorts have a lot of experience playing, no matter what the laws said.
posted by delfin at 8:48 AM on December 4 [7 favorites]


So the SC not hearing this case doesn't necessarily preclude bringing a more general "spousal rights should apply to all marriages" case to the SC in future? That's something to cling to, at least.
“What an incredible early Christmas present from the U. S. Supreme Court,” said Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values and a lawyer who represents the Houston taxpayers who sued to challenge the same-sex benefits.
What an incredible smug asshole.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:52 AM on December 4 [15 favorites]


(Fox News link, sorry.) After Steinle verdict, rep unveils bill to imprison officials who shelter illegal immigrants

Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita’s bill is one of the most aggressive pieces of legislation to date aimed at sanctuary city policies, going beyond the Justice Department’s threat to cut off grants to those jurisdictions. [...] His “Stopping Lawless Actions of Politicians (SLAP) Act” would hold state and local lawmakers criminally responsible for refusing to comply with federal immigration enforcement efforts. The Republican’s bill would subject violators to a $1 million fine and up to five years in prison if they are convicted.

Of course, the GOP base considers ALL undocumented immigrants to be "illegal immigrant criminals," so they correctly see this as a bill to criminalize any official supporting sanctuary cities and states. It also opens the door for the GOP congress to introduce bills criminalizing the harboring of undocumented immigrants by private citizens, which I would not be surprised to see in the next year as their need for distraction increases. If we don't take some shit back in '18 then there's no reason for it not to pass, particularly if the GOP gets even hungrier for red-meat base-fodder. It's a fast train to Nuremberg.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:58 AM on December 4 [19 favorites]


So the SC not hearing this case doesn't necessarily preclude bringing a more general "spousal rights should apply to all marriages" case to the SC in future? That's something to cling to, at least.

The more cynical view is that Texas and other states haven't repealed their unconstitutional DOMA laws because they're waiting for Ginsburg or another liberal justice to die and be replaced by a conservative justice who will help overturn Obergfell and re-declare DOMA laws constitutional again.
posted by mightygodking at 8:59 AM on December 4 [5 favorites]


Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita’s bill is one of the most aggressive pieces of legislation to date aimed at sanctuary city policies, going beyond the Justice Department’s threat to cut off grants to those jurisdictions. [...] His “Stopping Lawless Actions of Politicians (SLAP) Act” would hold state and local lawmakers criminally responsible for refusing to comply with federal immigration enforcement efforts. The Republican’s bill would subject violators to a $1 million fine and up to five years in prison if they are convicted.

Why do these dipshits even pretend to appeal to being the party of constitutionalists when they haven't ever read it. This is like cut and dry 10th amendment stuff that's been long settled law.
posted by Talez at 9:05 AM on December 4 [18 favorites]


And by long settled I'm talking James Madison and The Federalist Papers long settled.
posted by Talez at 9:09 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]


Same old, same old. Repubs believe that the 10th Amendment is extremely limited and gives states the rights to control their own destiny, unless that destiny is something of which Republicans do not approve, in which case a Republican federal government is fully empowered to shut that shit down.

See also: what Sessions wants to do to marijuana nationwide, both medical and recreational.
posted by delfin at 9:11 AM on December 4 [22 favorites]


Because there's no test to govern other than being elected? We should probably just get elected. Y'know, cut right through it.
posted by petebest at 9:13 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


It's bad enough that these so-called Christian based companies may get a green light on offering hate-based healthcare, but at least progressive companies can still continue to be progressive and offer LGBT-friendly benefits if they choose, right? I mean, Texas isn't forcing companies yet to only offer shitty packages that only apply to MF cisgender couples, right?

Now, if we had universal single payer healthcare for all, this would be a non-issue. Which is I suppose why they are so dead against it, even though all indications are that it would be a net economic benefit to society to take the responsibility for health insurance away from employers. Because it's not about the economy, it's not about "freedom," it's about being powerful, and causing suffering and pain, and making people cry and suffer humiliation, for no other reason than because you can.
posted by xigxag at 9:14 AM on December 4 [11 favorites]


The more cynical view is that Texas and other states haven't repealed their unconstitutional DOMA laws because they're waiting for Ginsburg or another liberal justice to die ...

Could be, maybe likely is, but could also be simple inertia. Massachusetts still has laws on the books that ban: abortion, contraception for single people, adultery, blasphemy, swearing at umpires and referees (and Yankees) and being a hobo, despite all of them being unenforceable. There's a state rep who used to introduce a bill every year to delete all these laws; he eventually gave up.
posted by adamg at 9:21 AM on December 4 [14 favorites]


*chuckle*

Senate Republicans Accidentally Killed Some of Their Donors’ Favorite Tax Breaks
"The GOP had originally intended to abolish the AMT. But on Friday, with the clock running out — and money running short — Senate Republicans put the AMT back into their bill. Unfortunately for McConnell, they forgot to lower AMT after doing so.

"This is a big problem. The Senate bill brings the normal corporate rate down to 20 percent — while leaving the alternative minimum rate at … 20 percent. The legislation would still allow corporations to claim a wide variety of tax credits and deductions — it just renders all them completely worthless. Companies can either take no deductions, and pay a 20 percent rate — or take lots of deductions … and pay a 20 percent rate.

"With this blunder, Senate Republicans have achieved the unthinkable: They’ve written a giant corporate tax cut that many of their corporate donors do not like."
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 9:40 AM on December 4 [138 favorites]


No one could have predicted rewriting the tax code in three hours on a Friday night in the margins of a bill nobody liked could possibly turn out badly.

I guess this ensures the House won't eat the Senate bill, though.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:45 AM on December 4 [69 favorites]


Is it just me or does it look like the GOP are fleeing a sinking ship and robbing the safe on the way out? Like do they know something we don’t? Is there precedent for this kind of legislative scramble?
posted by Annika Cicada at 9:48 AM on December 4 [15 favorites]


I guess this ensures the House won't eat the Senate bill, though.

It means they'll need to vote on this whole thing all over again. Which means there's still a reason to put massive shame and leverage on folks like Collins, Murkowski, Flake and Corker, as well as the vulnerable House Republicans.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:49 AM on December 4 [37 favorites]


Other than the healthcare bill, not really.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:49 AM on December 4 [3 favorites]


Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita’s bill is one of the most aggressive pieces of legislation to date aimed at sanctuary city policies,

This is your periodic reminder to not take stunt bills seriously other than as an indicator of what a Rep will be fundraising on and how big a jackass they are. HR 4526 has a sum total of 0 cosponsors and will almost surely go nowhere and do nothing other than get this human stain some air time.
posted by phearlez at 9:55 AM on December 4 [14 favorites]


@keithboykin (CNN)
So Kushner was essentially working for Israel, Michael Flynn was working for Turkey, Paul Manafort was working for Ukraine, and Trump was working for Russia. But, hey, America First, right?


Ukrainians may beg to differ re: Manafort.
posted by ocschwar at 9:58 AM on December 4 [13 favorites]


He was working for Ukraine in the sense that a foreign agent loyal to Trump et al. is working for "America."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:00 AM on December 4 [9 favorites]


It means they'll need to vote on this whole thing all over again. Which means there's still a reason to put massive shame and leverage on folks like Collins, Murkowski, Flake and Corker, as well as the vulnerable House Republicans.

No they'll just make sure it's in the bill that comes out of conference.
posted by Talez at 10:01 AM on December 4


> No they'll just make sure it's in the bill that comes out of conference.

Right, but they'll have to vote on it again. If the House can't eat the Senate bill - and this AMT goof makes it more likely that they won't - every Senator has to go on the record AGAIN and vote for the bill that comes out of conference, as does every House rep.

So it's another opportunity to name and shame each of them.
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:04 AM on December 4 [38 favorites]


Can people in red districts demand Town Halls over the break? Another chance to shame the ones who won't, like with healthcare.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:10 AM on December 4 [3 favorites]


Because it's not about the economy, it's not about "freedom," it's about being powerful, and causing suffering and pain, and making people cry and suffer humiliation, for no other reason than because you can.

Well, that is in fact what a lot of people mean by "freedom". It's the freedom of property and money, not of people.
posted by thelonius at 10:11 AM on December 4 [10 favorites]


Is it just me or does it look like the GOP are fleeing a sinking ship and robbing the safe on the way out? Like do they know something we don’t? Is there precedent for this kind of legislative scramble?

From the Archdruid Report:
The longer a given elite has been in power, and the more august and formal and well-aged the institutions of its power and wealth become, the easier it seems to be for the very rich to forget that their forefathers established themselves in that position by some form of more or less blatant piracy, and that they themselves could be deprived of it by that same means. Thus elites tend to, shall we say, “misunderestimate” exactly those crises and sources of conflict that pose an existential threat to the survival of their class and its institutions, precisely because they can’t imagine that an existential threat to these things could be posed by anything at all.
Most of them don't see any systemic problems or major shifts going on, because they're selected from a pool of people who aren't remotely trained to consider those are possibilities. So they're seeing a temporary "things are rough," and grabbing what they can to "wait out the hassles."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:12 AM on December 4 [11 favorites]


The longer a given elite has been in power, and the more august and formal and well-aged the institutions of its power and wealth become, the easier it seems to be for the very rich to forget that their forefathers established themselves in that position by some form of more or less blatant piracy,

NATIVE AMERICAN: You don't say.
posted by delfin at 10:23 AM on December 4 [19 favorites]


> Can people in red districts demand Town Halls over the break? Another chance to shame the ones who won't, like with healthcare.

"Demand?" Not really. You can try to shame them into having one, but that doesn't help when they're shameless. Pat Toomey has been doing sham tele-town-hall thing so he can technically say he's listening to his constituents. I expect that sort of deflection will become more popular among those who even bother to put up a facade of caring.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:25 AM on December 4 [5 favorites]


Can people in red districts demand Town Halls over the break? Another chance to shame the ones who won't, like with healthcare.

Here's an idea:

get Democratic reps to do town halls in red districts, in lieu of the actual reps.
posted by ocschwar at 10:26 AM on December 4 [68 favorites]


If the budget goes up for full votes again, is it still possible to get CHIP funded?
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:28 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


Democratic reps from other districts could do town halls, and anyone planning to run in the district could do them.

Both of those involve money and logistics efforts that aren't as easy for an outsider, but probably wouldn't be hard to do - find an org with a building willing to host, and a handful of local businesses who sponsor snacks and pay for staff, and have a meeting about "what you want done that your representative refuses to hear."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:30 AM on December 4 [8 favorites]


If the budget goes up for full votes again, is it still possible to get CHIP funded?

If they don't vote in the current version, I believe it's basically "back to two complete rewrites." I don't think there are any laws about what kinds of "adjustments" they can make, as long as the final funding is within the necessary guidelines.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:32 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


It occurs to me that a decent strategy might be to schedule a town hall, invite the representative, promote the hell out of it, and hold it whether the sen/rep shows up or not. If not, then it can be a brainstorming session among people who do show up about what to do about representatives who don't show up.
posted by rhizome at 10:35 AM on December 4 [13 favorites]


Can people in red districts demand Town Halls over the break? Another chance to shame the ones who won't, like with healthcare.

When you have a rep like mine (Trey Hollingsworthless), you can beg, and scream, and curse, and they won't give a shit because you live in a little blue oasis in a larger sea of red. I still call him, though, and it's fun watching people taunt him at his office, crash his appearances with Real Americans, and hold town halls without him. Anything to cause him to regret his decision to ever run for office, and fuck off back to Tennessee.
posted by Rykey at 10:37 AM on December 4 [26 favorites]


Yes, all these ideas! I think when Issa refused the hold a town hall Ted Lieu had a press conference in front of Issa's office. It all helpes.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:40 AM on December 4 [12 favorites]


CNN is running a story which reports that White House Counsel Don McGahn informed Trump in January that he believed Flynn had lied to the FBI.

This would appear to corroborate this weekend's big tweet of, erm, disputed authorship, and strongly suggest evidence that Trump was intending to obstruct justice when he asked Comey to let the Flynn investigation go.

One question is why Don McGahn, or someone close to him, is proferring this seemingly damning information now.

Potentially of interest: McGahn did one half of his interview with Mueller's team last week, before the Flynn news broke. His second interview was postponed to today.
posted by scarylarry at 10:40 AM on December 4 [20 favorites]


Good news dept: Massachusetts is dismissing more than 6,000 drug convictions that were tied to misconduct by a lab chemist.

Thanks to the ACLU!
posted by Chrysostom at 10:44 AM on December 4 [66 favorites]


ErisLordFreedom: According to Wikipedia (i know, i know)
House and Senate rules forbid conferees from inserting in their report matter not committed to them by either House. (See House Rule XXII, Senate Rule XXVIII) But conference committees sometimes do introduce new matter. In such a case, the rules of each House let a member object through a point of order, though each House has procedures that let other members vote to waive the point of order. The House provides a procedure for striking the offending provision from the bill.

[...]

From fall 1996 through 2000, the Senate had no limit on the scope of conference reports, and some argued that the majority abused the power of conference committees. In December 2000, the Senate reinstated the prohibition of inserting matters outside the scope of conference. (See Consolidated Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2001, Pub.L. 106–554, § 903 (2000), 114 Stat. 2763, 2763A-198.) The rule changed again with the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (S. 1 of the 110th Congress), enacted in September 2007. Now any single Senator may raise a procedural objection, a point of order, against subject matter newly inserted by the conference committee without objecting to the rest of the bill. Proponents of the measure may move to waive the rule. The affirmative vote of 60 Senators is required to waive the rule. If the point of order is not waived and the Chair rules that the objection is well-founded, only the offending provision is stricken from the measure, and the Senate votes on sending the balance of the measure back to the House. (See Senate Rule XXVIII.)
Bolding my own.

So, obviously this is a little unclear but it looks like it (maybe) can't be a total rewrite, and the edits have to be restricted to items contained in one version or another, so no adding new things. If they did add something new it may be subject to a 60-Senator vote. But maybe someone more knowledgeable than me can comment further.
posted by cybertaur1 at 10:45 AM on December 4 [6 favorites]


Has anyone been able to verify whether or not the Republicans have a plan to avoid the automatic spending cuts? Because if those cuts go into place Alaska isn't going to get any of the money for drilling in ANWR, and supposedly that was a major reason that Murkowski voted for the bill in the first place.
posted by schroedinger at 10:45 AM on December 4


One question is why Don McGahn, or someone close to him, is proferring this seemingly damning information now.

Maybe he's fed up?

The White House counsel reportedly almost resigned amid concerns over Trump-Kushner meetings and the Russia probe (Sonam Sheth, Business Insider)
posted by Room 641-A at 10:48 AM on December 4 [19 favorites]


I think the insanity of some Republican actions can also be attributed to primarily consuming Fox News and tailoring their choices to whatever gets a good reaction on it. If your crazy old racist uncle is elected to the House it doesn't magically make him less your crazy old racist uncle.
posted by schroedinger at 10:48 AM on December 4 [5 favorites]


Good news dept: Massachusetts is dismissing more than 6,000 drug convictions that were tied to misconduct by a lab chemist.

more than 6,000 convictions tied to a former chemist who authorities say was high almost every day she worked at a state drug lab for eight years.

I shouldn't laugh, lots of real people were hurt by this, but man.
posted by Dumsnill at 10:49 AM on December 4 [8 favorites]


It occurs to me that a decent strategy might be to schedule a town hall, invite the representative, promote the hell out of it, and hold it whether the sen/rep shows up or not. If not, then it can be a brainstorming session among people who do show up about what to do about representatives who don't show up.

I forget who mentioned it here, but Invite The Press. Their story is either Senator/Rep showed up OR Senator/Rep DIDN'T show up.
posted by mikelieman at 10:51 AM on December 4 [14 favorites]


more than 6,000 convictions tied to a former chemist who authorities say was high almost every day she worked at a state drug lab for eight years.

And this is just because of the chemist in the state's Amherst labs. Another 21,500 cases were dismissed because of the misconduct of a chemist in the state's Jamaica Plain labs. That one didn't sample, but she zoomed through her cases to get them all done - even if that meant just making results up. Her lab was so overworked that even some of the Boston cases she didn't handle were dismissed - because they were shipped out to Amherst.
posted by adamg at 10:55 AM on December 4 [18 favorites]


Hard to say why the McGahn info is coming out now without knowing the source. It could be venting as Room 641-A says. It could be a public signal to other senior White House people that you can't lie about this topic to FBI officials. For this second point it would be helpful to know who has and has not gone before the Special Counsel for interviews (although I suppose anyone can be recalled for additional "chats".

Another point in favor of this being a signal is that to remember this timeframe in the Trump Presidency was marked by the open door policy to the white house and a very (even more so than today) chaotic nature of information sharing. Trump isn't great about compartmentalizing things so there is no end to home many of the senior staff knew about what McGahn told Trump.
posted by mmascolino at 10:56 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


> From the article about Trump-Krusher meetings:
If the president met frequently enough with Kushner, Mueller could probe into their conversations and find inconsistencies in their stories, he added.

We're all waiting for Mueller to have a reason to put Trump under oath. His absolute best option is a long string of "I don't recall" answers - but I doubt he can keep his mouth shut that well. He's too fond of throwing around his opinions and declaring that whatever he thinks today, was always policy. At this point, I'm sure he believes he fired Flynn - and saying so under oath would be perjury.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:58 AM on December 4 [8 favorites]


I wonder what McGahn's relationship with Ty Cobb is like.
posted by rhizome at 10:58 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]


He's too fond of throwing around his opinions and declaring that whatever he thinks today, was always policy.

YOU'RE GODDAM RIGHT I ORDERED THE CODE RED
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 11:05 AM on December 4 [31 favorites]


Both my Senators voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Bill to become law. I spoke to Senator Grassley's regional office and Senator Ernst's regional and DC offices. I expressed concern that I couldn't read page 257 of the bill because it was in cursive and because many of the words were cut off by the printer. I asked whether the senators had voted for a bill to become a law when they were physically incapable of reading the words in the bill which would become the law.

None of the offices had a copy of the bill which had been passed by the senators.

Ernst's regional office staffer told me that he "was sure" she had read the bill. When I asked whether she had some other copy of the bill that had all the words in it, he was not so sure. He would check. He said the text of the bill could not be read because there was a process it had to go through first where people have to sign off on it. I asked what process he was referring to and why Senator Ernst voted for the bill to become a law before she was physically capable of reading the words in the bill, to which he did not have an answer.

Grassley's regional office told me that Grassley did not vote for the bill to become a law in its present form, and that the Senator was certain it would not do so. This made me extremely angry. I asked what would happen if the House of Representatives voted to pass the same bill that the Senate had passed. She avoided the question, eventually asking, "How many times has that happened?". I expressed concern that Grassley voted for a bill to become a law when he was physically incapable of reading the bill, presumably because he cared only about his wealthy donors and not about the other people affected by federal laws. The staffer said we would have to agree to disagree, and hung up on me.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:07 AM on December 4 [114 favorites]


While we're on the topic of "Pat Fucking Toomey and his sham town halls" and other such Senators who cannot be reasoned with, only annoyed and distracted, we had some good old-fashioned "protestors chaining themselves to Pat's office to point out what a gormless jerk he is" fun in Pittsburgh today. Sadly, by the time I found out about it they had already unchained themselves and moved along, so I could not volunteer to bring them coffee or pizza or something.
posted by Stacey at 11:18 AM on December 4 [16 favorites]


The staffer said we would have to agree to disagree, and hung up on me.

If they’re trying to foment a wave election, they’re doing a heckuva job. This is why every election matters. This is how we agree to disagree: we evict them.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:20 AM on December 4 [60 favorites]


get Democratic reps to do town halls in red districts, in lieu of the actual reps.

Just FYI, I'm counting eleven states* where there are no Democratic members (of the house, at least). Nine of those states have two Republican senators, as well.

This of course means that members of Congress are even less inclined to pay attention to the interests of Democratic constituents. Getting them to hold a town hall would be some kind of miracle. I have been advised, in all seriousness, to register as a Republican, so my votes have at least a LITTLE meaning. I do personally like the idea of holding stunt town halls without them, but haven't seen that happen yet.

*(Alaska, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas)
posted by god hates math at 11:22 AM on December 4 [10 favorites]


Good news dept: Massachusetts is dismissing more than 6,000 drug convictions that were tied to misconduct by a lab chemist.

It's sad that that's seen as a win for the progressive team, when it should be just common sense. Even hard-line anti-drug authoritarians should support this if they have any belief in rule of law.
posted by acb at 11:23 AM on December 4 [5 favorites]


If you have access to local news, it's a great time to call them with story tips: Senator's staff say that voting for bill was not voting for it to become law; Staff says Senator read the whole bill, even the handwritten parts not printed.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:23 AM on December 4 [40 favorites]


schroedinger: "Has anyone been able to verify whether or not the Republicans have a plan to avoid the automatic spending cuts? Because if those cuts go into place Alaska isn't going to get any of the money for drilling in ANWR, and supposedly that was a major reason that Murkowski voted for the bill in the first place."

Even if Alaska realizes zero royalty money there will be lots of money flowing to oil companies and workers; some of it might even stop in Alaska for a while.
posted by Mitheral at 11:29 AM on December 4 [4 favorites]


After you've called all of your senators and reps, the FCC is still taking comments about net neutrality. All in favor, say 202-418-1000.

Any ideas what to say to my helpful Minnesota democrats to get them to raise a bigger stink about the reverse Robin Hood bill?
posted by Emmy Rae at 11:44 AM on December 4 [5 favorites]


Trump shrinks Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments by about 2 million acres — the biggest cutback of protected federal lands in U.S history (WaPo)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:46 AM on December 4 [26 favorites]


28 Senators send letter to the FCC asking it to delay its vote on net neutrality.

NY AG wants net neutrality vote delayed to investigate fake comments submitted to FCC.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:50 AM on December 4 [40 favorites]


> Trump shrinks Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments by about 2 million acres — the biggest cutback of protected federal lands in U.S history (WaPo)

You left off #MAGA!

Also, this will be tied up in lawsuits for a while. This fight is not over.
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:53 AM on December 4 [19 favorites]


@TopherSpiro BREAKING: The 3 big promises @SenatorCollins got will NOT be done before the final vote on the tax bill. The bill to keep the govt open does NOT include Alexander-Murray, reinsurance, or waiver of Medicare cuts. #mepolitics

---> this is my surprised face. :-|
posted by anastasiav at 11:54 AM on December 4 [49 favorites]


Regarding those states with all-R reps: Arkansas has at least one challenger; a second is mentioned in the comments.

It's an uphill slog, but voter turnout is normally under 40%, and the Dems haven't even run anyone in the last several elections. (It's considered the most Republican district in the state.) A campaign focused on getting D votes in, instead of trying to persuade R voters, could go a long way.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:58 AM on December 4 [10 favorites]


I wonder if Collins has the fortitude to change her vote, now that none of her demands have been addressed. I truly don’t know enough about her to have a sense of that.
posted by GrammarMoses at 12:00 PM on December 4 [6 favorites]


It occurs to me that a decent strategy might be to schedule a town hall, invite the representative, promote the hell out of it, and hold it whether the sen/rep shows up or not. If not, then it can be a brainstorming session among people who do show up about what to do about representatives who don't show up.

This is exactly what Indivisible suggests. My Rep hasn't had a town hall since the election, other than one tele-townhall with screened questions. We did hold a Town Hall in his absence with about 60 folks there and it was briefly covered in local media, but didn't provoke any response.
posted by threeturtles at 12:04 PM on December 4 [8 favorites]


The National Monuments will be tied up in lawsuits for quite a while. If you want to follow this more closely, and if you have money to spare, please check out the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. They had a very successful run during the Bush years, and their legal team is very good. I'd imagine the tribes will also have their own lawsuits.

Another bit of hope can come from the outdoors industry. In the previous decade, they slowed down some terrible initiatives in Utah simply by threatening boycotts. Utah, especially the poorer south of it, is highly dependent upon tourism.

I don't know if SUWA or the tribes will win this fight, but my hope is to keep everything tied up until 2021 when (fingers crossed) a Democratic president can reverse this. There's also hope in the fact that Escalante was once considered a source for coal. There's not going to be any interest in opening new coal mines now.

I'm trying to stay optimistic, because the thought of losing this land to development is incredibly depressing for me.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 12:04 PM on December 4 [26 favorites]


A campaign focused on getting D votes in, instead of trying to persuade R voters, could go a long way.

That is exactly what Steve Phillips at The Nation points out: Democrats Don't Need Trump Supporters To Win Elections
We must have less apology and more outrage. This monster in the White House and his enablers in Congress are destroying the country and the world. The appropriate response is outrage, anger, and, most important, action. Action to move our friends and neighbors to the polls so that we can take our country back. We’ve made a good start in 2017, and the results confirm the soundness of the strategy. Now is the time to redouble those efforts.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:06 PM on December 4 [83 favorites]


Correction: We held three town halls without him on three consecutive nights, one in each city that our 300 mile long gerrymandered district includes. So it was definitely more than 60 folks involved, that was just my local meeting.
posted by threeturtles at 12:12 PM on December 4 [8 favorites]


Trump's defense has shifted from "there was no obstruction" to "obstruction is awesome!" (ok, "the president can't obstruct". That plus the news that McGahn had informed Trump that Flynn lied to the FBI before Trump tied to torpedo the investigation makes me think they believe Mueller is pretty much certain to return a report saying that Trump did obstruct justice. Maybe multiple times. So now it's all about what kind of underlying crimes he also finds.

While technically not necessary I think Congress is far more likely to act when obstruction is linked to an underlying offense. Clinton's impeachment, for example, failed mostly because there was no underlying offense and just lying about a consensual sexual encounter.
posted by Justinian at 12:14 PM on December 4 [10 favorites]


I don't know if SUWA or the tribes will win this fight, but my hope is to keep everything tied up until 2021 when (fingers crossed) a Democratic president can reverse this. There's also hope in the fact that Escalante was once considered a source for coal. There's not going to be any interest in opening new coal mines now.

It's still considered a source for coal; part of the plan is to strip the coal-rich Kaiparowits Plateau out of the monument. Also the prospective tar sands area around Circle Cliffs. And a bunch more.

We don't know if the lawsuits will succeed but it does appear that the law is on the good guys' side. The Federal Land Policy and Management Act seems to prescribe that Congress would have to approve a reduction or elimination of a monument designated via the Antiquities Act. Also, Congress legislated the boundaries of GSENM as part of a land swap in 1998. Here's hoping Trump loses yet again in court.
posted by azpenguin at 12:20 PM on December 4 [6 favorites]


Mueller is pretty much certain to return a report saying that Trump did obstruct justice.

In updating my Trump-Russia explainer website, I took the time to gather the threads of evidence relating to obstruction of justice and attempt to tie them together. I kept having to edit it as I came across more.
One of the most clear-cut possible charges, based on what is publicly known at this point, would be obstruction of justice. Trump firing FBI Director James Comey would be illegal if he did so with the intention of interfering with an investigation. Both the Special Counsel and the Judiciary Committee are currently investigating this possibility. A draft letter stating different motivations for the firing than the eventual written documentation is in the possession of the Special Counsel. In addition, Trump admitted in an interview on NBC that frustration with the Russia probe was part of his motivation for the firing. Jeff Sessions will neither confirm nor deny that Trump asked him to intervene in Justice Department investigations. But the Trump-appointed Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coates, and several Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee report that he told them he hoped their investigations would be over quickly. He also told the Russian ambassador and foreign minister that "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off" after firing Comey. Trump also apparently knew Flynn was probably guilty of a federal crime when he asked James Comey to go easy on Flynn. Finally, Trump fired US Attorney Preet Bharara and Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, as well as Comey. Both were involved in the Russia investigation, and Yates was fired shorty after she informed the White House that Flynn had lied to the vice president about the same phone call about which he lied to the FBI. Trump has been personally interviewing candidates to replace Bharara, which would not normally be the president's role. All of this could constitute evidence of intent to obstruct justice.
I may have to pare that down since it has become kind of an intimidating wall of text, which I have been trying to avoid. But at the moment I want to just leave it there and marvel at how solid it is. Figured other MeFites might appreciate it as well...

(I've added other new material as well, since I try to incorporate the major revelations as they come out, so please click and dig around if you are interested. As always you are welcome to plagiarize any part of it in comments of your own, or just use it as a reference to help find links to bolster arguments you are having.)
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:22 PM on December 4 [101 favorites]


Turn it into an infographic, like the Prenda Law chart.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:28 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]


Here's the Congressional Record for Friday which presumably includes the final bill the Senate voted for. This is fun:
Mr. DURBIN. I submitted page 257 of the amendment to be placed in the RECORD and you gave unanimous consent for that to happen. I have now been instructed that the personnel at the Senate cannot read this page the way it is currently written. Could I have this entered in the RECORD just as written with the handwritten notations on the side? Could I enter it as a graphic or artwork or something like that? I ask the Presiding Officer, does that mean if the amendment has this page in it, that the amendment cannot be filed?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The amendment can be filed with handwritten changes, but the staff will have to change those later or correct them. [...]
Mr. DURBIN. Parliamentary inquiry. This page, which is part of the tax bill, as written, cannot be filed in the Senate because no one can read it; is that correct? [...]
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The amendment as shown with the handwritten text cannot be printed in that graphic form. [...]
Mr. WYDEN. When this is filed, we want the American people to know what has actually been written on the side. Will it be possible, as part of Senator DURBIN’s statement, to add this ‘‘written on the side’’ portion as part of his statement so that the American people will actually know how outrageous this process is and that it at least states, as part of his speech, what is written in the margin? [...] My question is, when the amendment is filed, I would like to ensure that the important point my colleague has made about what is written in the margin could be included as part of his written statement that will be entered into the RECORD so that the American people can get some sense of what kind of flimflam is actually taking place here.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. When the amendment is filed [...] the text will appear in linear format with any errors that may be in it.
Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I have the greatest respect for the Senate staff, and I am not trying to say anything negative about them. I was hoping that this could be entered into the RECORD, and I asked for unanimous consent to enter it, believing that the handwritten portion would show up in the RECORD. I have since been advised that there will have to be translators and interpreters who will have to decide exactly what this says before it is actually part of the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD. I think that I have made my point as to where we stand in preparation of tax reform for America. Thank you.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:31 PM on December 4 [73 favorites]


Meanwhile, back at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, White House Paranoid: 'Everyone Thinks They’re Being Recorded' (Politico)
White House attorneys and private counsel representing both current and former Trump aides told POLITICO they immediately checked in with their clients once they learned about Mueller’s plea agreements with Papadopoulos and Flynn, asking whether they’d had any communications with their former colleagues that could have been secretly recorded and reminding them to diligently avoid conversations with anyone except their lawyer related to the Russia investigation.

“They’re probably sh---ing bricks,” said an attorney who represents a senior Trump aide caught up in the Russia investigation. “How can you not?”[...]

Former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman said Mueller is on solid ground with ample court precedent to use witnesses wearing wires with anyone who isn’t known to have a lawyer. And he said the special counsel also has plenty of room to use the technique with people who do have lawyers. “Otherwise, the government would never be able to use body wires against career criminals like members of the Mafia, who always have lawyers,” he said. Defense attorneys rarely succeed in getting tape-recorded conversations thrown out in court, he added, because the cooperator can still testify about what the person told them.

“The tape recording ensures that what the jury hears of the conversation is actually what happened, as opposed to someone’s testimony as to what happened,” he said. Asked about Cobb’s advice to the White House that it shouldn’t fret about colleagues wearing wires, Akerman replied, “That’s good. Let them think that.”

Because Mueller’s team is under such intense public scrutiny surrounding its work, it will “be very circumspect on how and where and of course why they would wire a particular person, and prepared to defend their judgment at every step of the process,” said Ronald Hosko, former assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division.
Trump's long history of secretly bugging his own calls makes the idea of him and his staff;s paranoia about being recorded themselves highly amusing.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:39 PM on December 4 [32 favorites]


I mean, if Collins doesn't push back after McConnell blatantly lied to her and is asking for her vote again, it makes her look incredibly weak and stupid. I mean Charlie Brown with the football stupid. It makes her look terrible to the constituents she was arguably trying to assuage. She should vote, "No" out of general principles. Unless it was all kabuki.

If Corker keeps his vote the same, and Collins flips, that means we need only one vote to kill this thing.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:41 PM on December 4 [11 favorites]




Mueller is on solid ground with ample court precedent to use witnesses wearing wires with anyone who isn’t known to have a lawyer.

DC is a one-party consent region. Most conversations need no judicial oversight to allow recording, and we had a long subthread on "getting wireless devices into the White House" a few threads back, with the upshot being, since people aren't being strip-searched on the way in, and personal phones aren't even banned, getting the recordings themselves is a simple and easy process.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:49 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]


White House Paranoid: 'Everyone Thinks They’re Being Recorded'

Didn't we have this meal before, back when everybody in the administration was having trouble with lightswitches in the White House or whatever?
posted by rhizome at 12:55 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]


In updating my Trump-Russia explainer website
posted by OnceUponATime

I want to marry a website.
posted by BS Artisan at 12:57 PM on December 4 [9 favorites]


The New Yorker: The Trumpishness of Ivana
When a tabloid called Ivana an unfit mother, Donald sent a bodyguard to fetch Don, Jr., telling Ivana that he wanted to keep him, she writes. (She had been awarded full custody.) Ivana agreed to the plan; Donald, his bluff called, quickly sent his son back.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:04 PM on December 4 [30 favorites]


Where we are as a nation. WSJ, How Dollar General Became Rural America’s Store of Choice:
Lower-priced items are often a financial necessity for shoppers. At a Dollar General in Nashville, Tenn., store manager Damon Ridley said, he has helped older children put together a dinner menu for their younger siblings with the few dollars they have. “I am more of an outreach manager,” he said.
...
The more the rural U.S. struggles, company officials said, the more places Dollar General has found to prosper. “The economy is continuing to create more of our core customer,” Chief Executive Todd Vasos said in an interview at the company’s Goodlettsville, Tenn., headquarters.
Slate, Dahlia Lithwick, Is It Too Late for Robert Mueller to Save Us?:
In weeks like this one, when it seems the Mueller investigation is quite literally the only authority and sanity we can look to, it’s hard to tell whether the net losses outweigh the wins, or whether the massive national game of deconstruction and deflection and deception is even the littlest bit disrupted by news that the special counsel is closing in on a legal conclusion. Maybe it’s really too late in the slide toward authoritarianism for any major legal outcome to change the game. We crave nonpartisan and serious authority figures like Mueller because we believe they can guide us through. But having seen this White House shatter norms around the free press, civility, international diplomacy, and truth-telling, it almost defies belief that the line in the sand, the stopping point, is Mueller.
NYT, Republicans Sought to Undercut an Unfavorable Analysis of the Tax Plan, in which the GOP set out to attack the Joint Committee on Taxation before voting on the tax bill.
posted by zachlipton at 1:04 PM on December 4 [21 favorites]


“Sessions argued in Clinton impeachment that presidents can obstruct justice” (Kyle Cheney @ Politico): "President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer argued Monday that, as the nominal head of federal law enforcement, the president is legally unable to obstruct justice. But the exact opposite view was once argued by another senior Trump lawyer: Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In 1999, Sessions – then an Alabama senator – laid out an impassioned case for President Bill Clinton to be removed from office based on the argument that Clinton obstructed justice amid the investigation into his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky."
posted by LeLiLo at 1:11 PM on December 4 [46 favorites]




It's pretty ironic that the Clinton impeachment proceedings that are providing the grounds for potential proceedings against Trump.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:18 PM on December 4 [6 favorites]


“Sessions argued in Clinton impeachment that presidents can obstruct justice”

Sitting GOP Senators who voted to REMOVE Clinton from office for obstruction of justice: Cochran, Crapo, Enzi, Grassley, Hatch, Inhofe, McCain, Roberts, Shelby, and Sessions. Lindsey Graham was the House manager of the impeachment for obstruction.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:18 PM on December 4 [24 favorites]


I wonder if Collins has the fortitude to change her vote, now that none of her demands have been addressed. I truly don’t know enough about her to have a sense of that.

I don't know why she would. She doesn't care if those demands are met or not. She just needed a few headlines saying she'd played hardball and won. What the actual bill entails is beside the point. Indeed the actual bill is probably more to her liking.
posted by great_radio at 1:20 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]


@lawrencehurley: BREAKING: Supreme Court allows Trump's latest travel ban to go into full effect

By a 7-2 vote. "Justice Ginsburg and Justice Sotomayor would deny the application."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:25 PM on December 4 [11 favorites]


@lawrencehurley: BREAKING: Supreme Court allows Trump's latest travel ban to go into full effect

I'm not understanding how they are allowed to still pursue the travel ban when it was supposedly to give them 60 days or whatever to review the current policy. The timeframe they asked for is long over. Is that not a factor anymore?
posted by JenMarie at 1:27 PM on December 4 [8 favorites]


The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand a Texas ruling that said the right to a marriage license did not entitle same-sex couples to spousal benefits under employee insurance plans.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:09 AM on December 4 [36 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


This is why we can't have nice things.

I was disappointed that Obama didn't fight more like a Republican on the Garland nomination. He could have said, "Well, Senate if you are not going to fulfill your Constitutionally mandated duty to advise and consent, I will take your consent for granted and install Garland," then argue about it in court. It would have at least forced the GOP Senators to articulate their hateful beliefs out loud.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:28 PM on December 4 [74 favorites]


It appears that the preliminary injunction granted by the District Court is stayed while the US Government appeals to the 9th Circuit. So it appears the ban will go into effect while the Government appeals the Hawaii ruling which blocked the ban?
posted by Existential Dread at 1:30 PM on December 4 [3 favorites]


I agree Mental Wimp. It feels like we rolled over on that.
posted by JenMarie at 1:31 PM on December 4 [5 favorites]


Declining to recess-appoint Garland after the Senate refused to do the "advise" part of advising-and-consenting was among the more serious mistakes in Obama's presidency.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:34 PM on December 4 [53 favorites]


Can I ask a question about the AMT mistake, because I'm not sure I'm parsing this correctly?

They had planned to not only lower the Corporate Tax Rate to 20%, they were supposed to either abolish or reduce the AMT such that corporations would actually be able to reduce their effective tax rate lower than 20%? Is that right?

So the bill says "Hey, remember that amount we said was the minimum you should pay? Good news, we're now also making it the maximum you should pay! Yay!"

And Corporations are going to be upset because what they actually wanted was a lowering of the floor as well as capping the ceiling at where the floor used to be?!?!
posted by jermsplan at 1:36 PM on December 4 [3 favorites]


Im as mad about Garland as anybody but it doesn't seem to have mattered in this case (yet), though we don't know it was a 7-2 either, only that Ginsberg and Sotomayor definitively voted against staying the injunction.

This is definitely far from over, but giving him anything to feel good about feels like an L.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:38 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]


No they'll just make sure it's in the bill that comes out of conference.
posted by Talez at 10:01 AM on December 4 [+] [!]


I love the idea of the Senators explaining how they have to modify the bill and revote because it didn't give big enough tax breaks to the wealthy, so they'll fix that by raising taxes on the middle class and poor even more.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:40 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]


The timeframe they asked for is long over. Is that not a factor anymore?

That Executive Order has long since been withdrawn; the preliminary injunction that has been stayed by the Supreme Court is here and the relevant Executive Order is here.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:41 PM on December 4 [3 favorites]


Im as mad about Garland as anybody but it doesn't seem to have mattered in this case (yet), though we don't know it was a 7-2 either, only that Ginsberg and Sotomayor definitively voted against staying the injunction.

Typically these orders will note any vote that dissents from any part of it. So if Kagan were partly on board, you'd expect to see "Justice Kagan would only grant the petition with respect to X, Y and Z."

Also:

And Corporations are going to be upset because what they actually wanted was a lowering of the floor as well as capping the ceiling at where the floor used to be?!?!

You'd better believe it. The tax code right now isn't exactly bereft of loopholes -- how many of them do you think are paying more than the AMT on their reported corporate income?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:41 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]


Obama didn't get recess appointments because the Supreme Court unanimously declared that the Senate could make up its own rules regarding when it went on recess, and so guess what, it technically never went on recess. To us enlightened folk, just saying fuck it and "installing" Garland anyway makes total sense in hindsight, but way back then in the misty Antetrumpic Era, people still naively thought that court rulings and established policy meant something. The idea that as President you could literally do or say anything with impunity and the full support of your party, we weren't advanced enough as a civilization to fathom that level of science.

Betcha the dinosaurs thought they were had to wait politely in line to flee disasters which is why they got wiped out when the meteor struck. Stupid dinosaurs.
posted by xigxag at 1:46 PM on December 4 [34 favorites]


I believe Obama certainly could have made recess appointments in early January when one Congress ended and another commenced. No-one could argue that wasn't a recess.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:47 PM on December 4 [3 favorites]


[I get the prompting towards the Obama/Garland/SC topic but maybe let's not rehash the should he have/could he have etc stuff all over again in here.]
posted by cortex at 1:50 PM on December 4 [14 favorites]


> They had planned to not only lower the Corporate Tax Rate to 20%, they were supposed to either abolish or reduce the AMT such that corporations would actually be able to reduce their effective tax rate lower than 20%? Is that right?

Yes. The idea of the AMT (I'm talking about the individual taxpayer AMT, but as far as I know the corporate AMT is broadly similar) is that society thinks your tax obligation should never fall below a certain minimum.

So you compute your taxes the regular way, and then you compute your taxes in an "alternative" way, without most of the usual deductions but at a much lower tax rate (the "minimum"), and you pay the higher of the two bills. Of course, the existence of tax deductions makes no sense if the alternative minimum rate is not lower than the regular rate, because you'd almost always owe the alternative amount anyway. But that's what Senate Republicans have legislated: regular rate of 20% with various deductions, and alternative rate of 20% with no (or few) deductions.

It's like a total rookie mistake, which would have been caught on Day 1 of any hearings or formal markup. (John McCain: Regular order!) Political malpractice. If your accountant made this sort of mistake, you'd fire them at once.

These people are a disgrace.
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:50 PM on December 4 [49 favorites]


Any ideas what to say to my helpful Minnesota democrats to get them to raise a bigger stink about the reverse Robin Hood bill?
posted by Emmy Rae at 11:44 AM on December 4 [5 favorites +] [!]


One of the fiercest proponents of net neutrality was Al Franken, who argues it should even apply to Google, Facebook, et al. Make of that what you will.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:54 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]


I’m hearing that our terrible racist governor has invited this horrible president to the grand opening of Mississippi’s Civil Rights Museum Saturday in Jackson. And I could BITE SOMETHING. What a freaking farce. I feel sorry for the people who have worked hard for this museum. I’m looking to see what’s going on in the way of protesting the president’s visit without further negatively impacting the museum. I’m physically sick to my stomach.
posted by thebrokedown at 1:56 PM on December 4 [23 favorites]


when/if the Ds hold the senate, i have a suggestion. pass a blank piece of paper under reconciliation, then fix it in conference.
posted by j_curiouser at 1:57 PM on December 4 [20 favorites]


I believe Obama certainly could have made recess appointments in early January when one Congress ended and another commenced. No-one could argue that wasn't a recess.

A recess appointment would only continue till the subsequent Senate session ended. Since those are only 2 years long you'd still end up with Trump seating a justice. I would wager that folks who are Serious About Norms and less concerned with the day to day cost of the struggle would view the supposed costs to the SC's perceived legitimacy to be too high. You also would have the situation where your nominee needs to be okay with being a 2 year justice and a weird footnote in history, potentially subject to litigation about their position for all that time, and as I recall there's the question of the Court itself refusing to seat a member.

I'm sort of ambivalent on the question of whether it should have been done anyway, but it's worth not just hand-waving away what the result of this action would have been. We're all sort of in the everything is crazy all the time mindset now after this clown-car administration, but this would have been the first of the crazy rather than Trump kicking all of them off himself.
posted by phearlez at 1:58 PM on December 4 [4 favorites]


BAIL REVOKED: "the newly discovered facts cast doubt on Manafort's willingness to comply ... " because Manafort ghost-wrote an Op-Ed for Ukraine.
(Spencer Hsu, WaPo)

Leopard, spots, etc, eating face, etc., etc.
posted by Dashy at 2:04 PM on December 4 [46 favorites]


Also a very nice read: George Papadopoulos' late night with the FBI (Josh Gerstein, Politico)
When former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos stepped off a flight from Germany at Dulles Airport outside Washington last July, he had no inkling of the unwelcome surprise in store for him: FBI agents waiting to place him under arrest.

For the 29-year-old Chicago native, it was going to be a long night.

... Precisely what Papadopoulos did in recent months to aid the government remains unclear and the subject of speculation among Trump aides and former campaign officials. Prosecutors seemed pleased with the cooperation because they dropped the obstruction charge and allowed him to plead guilty to the false statement charge.
posted by Dashy at 2:08 PM on December 4 [11 favorites]


By "ghost-wrote an Op-Ed," we're talking about literally last week.

@hsu_spencer: #BREAKING U.S: As late as Nov 30, 2017, Manafort was ghostwriting an editorial in English regarding his political work for Ukraine with colleague Konstantin Kilimnik, in Russia "and assessed to have ties to a Russian intelligence service." @PostRoz @DevlinBarrett

(Here's the DOJ's full filing with the court)
posted by zachlipton at 2:09 PM on December 4 [33 favorites]


Church blatantly telling people to Vote Roy Moore.

Can't have a Johnson amendment if it's not actually enforced, right?
posted by Talez at 2:14 PM on December 4 [44 favorites]


Dumb question about the corporate AMT screw-up: with respect to cybertaur1's digging on conference-committee content, is lowering the AMT rate something they could do in conference without 60 votes in the Senate? As I understand it, the House bill repeals the AMT outright, so they could slip that language in on a 50-vote threshold, but weren't some of the Senate Republicans unwilling to dispense with the AMT totally? What's the score on this and is it a wedge which could maybe render the conference bill dead in the Senate no matter what they try to do with it?
posted by jackbishop at 2:14 PM on December 4


Either Manafort wrote that op-ed because he considers himself to be invulnerable to any legal system, or because someone ordered him to. Or he's dumb as hell, which I suppose shouldn't be ruled out.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:18 PM on December 4 [9 favorites]


What's the score on this and is it a wedge which could maybe render the conference bill dead in the Senate no matter what they try to do with it?

As I said upthread, the AMT can't be eliminated without increasing taxes on those not affected, i.e., the middle class and the poor. With the optics going south so quickly for the GOP, this would add non-buoyant weight to the sinking ship.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:18 PM on December 4


> I was disappointed that Obama didn't fight more like a Republican on the Garland nomination.

I will never understand why Obama and the Democratic Party didn't go full court press on that; as it was, I think if I were a casual observer of politics I would have come away with the impression that Garland's non-seating was just a run-of-the-mill political disagreement between two reasonable parties rather than the outrageous breach of tradition and power-grab that it was.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:18 PM on December 4 [36 favorites]


Bail not revoked. The motion linked above is the SC arguing against bail modification sought by Manafort (GPS bracelet removal and permitted to leave home). Previously the SC had indicated agreement to bail modification, with some tweaks.
posted by notyou at 2:19 PM on December 4 [3 favorites]


People Are Mass Unfollowing John McCain After He Asked for Help Hitting 3 Million on Twitter

Many commenters citing his vote on the tax bill.
posted by zakur at 2:19 PM on December 4 [72 favorites]


The more the rural U.S. struggles, company officials said, the more places Dollar General has found to prosper.

I live in a very poor small town. We have two Dollar Generals and one very limited and overpriced supermarket. (No Walmart.) I never understand why people shop at the Dollar General because they only have name brand stuff, and I shop 30 miles away at a real grocery store and get all generics and it's way cheaper. But the people who shop there don't have transportation out of this town regularly: they're either too poor for a car or elderly or disabled or in some way not able to go 25-30 miles either direction to get to a decent store or the closest Wal-mart.

So this idea that Dollar General is the cheapest option out of some good will towards the poor is bullshit. They profit off of those with no other options by selling limited items at inflated prices. And just keep building more stores. (In case you don't know, basically nothing at Dollar General is a dollar. It's whatever they want, usually far more than the crappy product would be elsewhere.)
posted by threeturtles at 2:24 PM on December 4 [43 favorites]


People Are Mass Unfollowing John McCain After He Asked for Help Hitting 3 Million on Twitter

If only there were literally anything else going on in his professional or personal life other than twitter
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:30 PM on December 4 [12 favorites]


(For what it's worth, I think that DG article would make a great stand-alone FPP.)
posted by box at 2:31 PM on December 4 [8 favorites]


NYT, McFarland Contradicted Herself on Russia Contacts, Congressional Testimony Shows
An email sent during the transition by President Trump’s former deputy national security adviser, K.T. McFarland, appears to contradict testimony she gave to Congress over the summer about contacts between the Russian ambassador and Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.

Ms. McFarland had told lawmakers that she did not discuss or know anything about interactions between Sergey I. Kislyak, who had been Moscow’s ambassador to the United States, and Mr. Flynn, according to Senate documents.

But emails obtained by The New York Times appear to undermine those statements. In a Dec. 29 message about newly imposed Obama administration sanctions against Russia for its election interference, Ms. McFarland, then serving on Mr. Trump’s transition team, told another transition official that Mr. Flynn would be talking to the Russian ambassador that evening.
Ruh-Roh.
posted by zachlipton at 2:31 PM on December 4 [56 favorites]


I wonder if someday we'll get an accounting of just what these people thought working in a Presidential administration was going to be like.
posted by rhizome at 2:38 PM on December 4 [22 favorites]


I will never understand why Obama and the Democratic Party didn't go full court press on that; as it was, I think if I were a casual observer of politics I would have come away with the impression that Garland's non-seating was just a run-of-the-mill political disagreement between two reasonable parties rather than the outrageous breach of tradition and power-grab that it was.

Not to excuse it, but my impression was that the DNC thought they would win the presidency, and that being overly contentious would lose them voters towards that end. It's better to win the presidency and seat Garland anyway, than it is to seat Garland and lose the presidency. Unfortunately they lost the presidency and didn't seat Garland. I think that what the DNC is (I hope) realizing is that the moderate conservative voter who decides they lever pull based on decorum is basically a fanciful unicorn of a creature, and that pandering towards them is a surefire way to lose electorally and strategically.
posted by codacorolla at 2:40 PM on December 4 [45 favorites]


Mueller hits it out of the park on page 3 of his opposition to modify bail.
The Court Should Deny Manafort’s Current Motion to Modify His Conditions of Release

Because Manafort has now taken actions that reflect an intention to violate or circumvent the Court’s existing Orders, at a time one would expect particularly scrupulous adherence, the government submits that the proposed bail package is insufficient reasonably to assure his appearance as required.
Someone's not getting their ankle bracelet off.
posted by mikelieman at 2:47 PM on December 4 [38 favorites]


Not wanting to abuse the edit function, Mueller worked UNITED STATES v. GIGANTE into this.

This is going to work out OK!
posted by mikelieman at 2:50 PM on December 4 [4 favorites]


I think this Slate article by Yascha Mounk is important: What We Talk About When We Talk About Donald Trump
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:57 PM on December 4 [15 favorites]


> I wonder if someday we'll get an accounting of just what these people thought working in a Presidential administration was going to be like.

It seems like a lot of them thought (and still think!) that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to catch a ride on the Trump Train all the way to the top of Ill Gotten Gains Mountain, where Trump already resided in his gilded palace. And who can blame them? Others, of course, saw it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hurt and kill people with the full power of the American government behind them. Or both.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:59 PM on December 4 [10 favorites]


Docs to share, for people who want to look for excerpts and quotes to pester their congressfolk or share online:

Tax Bill document, OCR'd and with bookmarks added, including bookmarks noting the handwritten sections. (Some of them are very minor, like crossing out a date and changing it.)

Outline of Contents - no page numbers (except for handwritten notes), but the sections are nicely sequential. Disclaimer: There may be typos.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:05 PM on December 4 [12 favorites]


That Mounk article makes a generally decent point, one that we've all been grappling with... but it gets rather insanely both-side-ist when support for the Zapatistas is identified as one of the historical antecedent of supporting Stalin.

After all, perfectly decent people who seemed to hold perfectly admirable principles have, again and again, become deeply complicit with authoritarianism. In the 1950s, parts of the Western left glorified Joseph Stalin; in the 1960s, the Viet Cong and Mao Zedong; in the 1970s, Tito and the Khmer Rouge; in the 1980s, the Baathist regime in Iraq and the Islamist regime in Iran; in the 1990s, the slaughterers in Serbia and the Zapatistas in Mexico; in the 2000s, the dictators of Latin America and the terrorists of Hezbollah; in the 2010s, Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin.


("See? The Left ALSO totally have this SAME tendency to support authoritarianism: people supported autonomous indigenous sovereignty in Chiapas in the 90s!").
posted by eyesontheroad at 3:12 PM on December 4 [7 favorites]


The more the rural U.S. struggles, company officials said, the more places Dollar General has found to prosper.

It is the height of irony that the junior Senator from Georgia, David Perdue, is a former CEO of Dollar General. Before that he was the CEO of a textile company called Pillowtex, which bought up existing mills and then liquidated them, moving the jobs overseas. Perdue was personally responsible for closing the Fieldcrest Cannon mills in North Carolina.

His cousin Sonny Perdue is the former governor of Georgia and Trump's Secretary of Agriculture. It's just corruption all the way down in the Perdue family.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:14 PM on December 4 [38 favorites]


Economic Policy Institute, Proposed rule would protect employers who steal workers’ hard-earned tips
Today the Trump administration took their first major step towards allowing employers to legally take tips earned by the workers they employ. The Department of Labor released a proposed rule rescinding portions of its tip regulations, including current restrictions on “tip pooling”—which would mean that, for example, restaurants would be able to pool the tips servers receive and share them with untipped employees such as cooks and dishwashers. But, crucially, the rule doesn’t actually require that employers distribute pooled tips to workers. Under the administration’s proposed rule, as long as the tipped workers earn minimum wage, the employer can legally pocket those tips.
This would still be prohibited by state law in many places, but this is just cartoonishly evil.
posted by zachlipton at 3:14 PM on December 4 [79 favorites]


Another troubling policy from Labor Secretary The Guy From Amy's Baking Company
posted by theodolite at 3:19 PM on December 4 [24 favorites]


As late as Nov 30, 2017, Manafort was ghostwriting an editorial in English regarding his political work for Ukraine with colleague Konstantin Kilimnik, in Russia "and assessed to have ties to a Russian intelligence service."

Never forget: "The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:25 PM on December 4 [15 favorites]


NYT, McFarland Contradicted Herself on Russia Contacts, Congressional Testimony Shows


Lest we forget, McFarland write this op/ed in 2013...


Fox: Putin is the one who really deserves that Nobel Peace Prize
posted by chris24 at 3:27 PM on December 4 [26 favorites]


After all, perfectly decent people who seemed to hold perfectly admirable principles have, again and again, become deeply complicit with authoritarianism. In the 1950s, parts of the Western left glorified Joseph Stalin; in the 1960s, the Viet Cong and Mao Zedong; in the 1970s, Tito and the Khmer Rouge; in the 1980s, the Baathist regime in Iraq and the Islamist regime in Iran; in the 1990s, the slaughterers in Serbia and the Zapatistas in Mexico; in the 2000s, the dictators of Latin America and the terrorists of Hezbollah; in the 2010s, Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin.

Conflating Tito and Pol Pot is so wildly inapposite as to be obscene.
posted by Aubergine at 3:27 PM on December 4 [17 favorites]


Under the administration’s proposed rule, as long as the tipped workers earn minimum wage, the employer can legally pocket those tips.

Standard minimum wage, or the reduced minimum wage they have for restaurant employees whose income is expected to come largely from tips?
posted by acb at 3:34 PM on December 4 [8 favorites]


Tip-Sharing document (pdf):
"The Department is therefore proposing to rescind the parts of its tip regulations that bar tipsharing
arrangements in establishments where the employers pay full Federal minimum wage
and do not take a tip credit against their minimum wage obligations. This proposed rule applies
only to employers that pay direct cash wages of at least the Federal minimum wage and do not
take a tip credit. It does not apply to employers who pay less than the Federal minimum wage
and take a tip credit."

Looks like it only applies to situations where the tipped workers are paid at least federal minimum wage - which is all of them in California and a few other states, and includes those in fancier restaurants and bars in other places, where at least federal min wage is standard.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:40 PM on December 4 [4 favorites]



After all, perfectly decent people who seemed to hold perfectly admirable principles have, again and again, become deeply complicit with authoritarianism. In the 1950s, parts of the Western left glorified Joseph Stalin; in the 1960s, the Viet Cong and Mao Zedong; in the 1970s, Tito and the Khmer Rouge; in the 1980s, the Baathist regime in Iraq and the Islamist regime in Iran; in the 1990s, the slaughterers in Serbia and the Zapatistas in Mexico; in the 2000s, the dictators of Latin America and the terrorists of Hezbollah; in the 2010s, Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin.



I’d be willing to bet money that, at NO time in any of those eras/examples has any percentage of the “Western left” supported those entities to the degree that the “Western right” supports the authoritarianism we’ve seen espoused by DJFT.

No, President Dumbass isn’t Stalin by any stretch...but he is still an authoritarian. And though he hasn’t directed the murder of millions, he is nevertheless doing his best to use his power autocratically to disenfranchise, demean and deprive millions of their civil liberties.

There simply is no equivalent impulse toward authoritarianism on the left in the US that equates to the conservative impulse here. It’s a ridiculous assertion. For god’s sake, there are millions of conservatives who are fawning all over Putin right now because of his “strong” authoritarian despotism toward political dissenters, journalists, homosexuals and even US diplomats!
posted by darkstar at 3:49 PM on December 4 [22 favorites]


So the House is supposed to be voting to send the tax bill to conference right now, but a bunch of Freedom Caucus folks are voting no, not because of the tax bill, but because they want to wreck the deal to pass a 2-week continuing resolution to keep the government from shutting down in a few days. A few non Freedom Caucus Republicans are also voting no because they want to preserve the state and local tax deduction. This is quickly becoming a thing.
posted by zachlipton at 3:57 PM on December 4 [33 favorites]


Welp, Cernovich has successfully collected Sam Seder’s scalp.

MSNBC, you’re a tower of Jell-O.
posted by non canadian guy at 4:02 PM on December 4 [17 favorites]


GOP leadership talked the Freedom Caucus off the ledge somehow. They have the votes to go to conference. Which just leaves the question: what did they promise in return?
posted by zachlipton at 4:06 PM on December 4 [9 favorites]


I feel like I missed it somewhere...How was something this sweeping immune to filibuster? Did they drop filibuster as a thing, or just declare that this wasn't subject to it?
posted by Shutter at 4:15 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]


Shutter: the senate budget reconciliation rules allow certain budget legislation to be passed by a simple majority - no filibuster. This very attractive situation has caused the current leadership to shoehorn ACA repeal and tax reform into a majority decides vote with no possibility of filibuster.
posted by Emmy Noether at 4:18 PM on December 4 [4 favorites]


It's a "budget reconciliation;" it's immune to filibuster as long as it doesn't change "too much," which is mostly decided on financial lines within certain time limits - hence the phasing out of certain cuts after a number of years.

I don't know what they can do about a Byrd Rule violation caused by last-minute changes.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:20 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]


I just...how does opening up the ANWR fall under reconciliation? How did they declare it didn't change too much when no one had a chance to read it?
posted by Shutter at 4:23 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]


Tomorrow, NY Judge could order Trump to testify in sexual assault case.

The defamation suit filed in January in the New York State Supreme Court by Zervos, a short-lived contestant on “The Apprentice,” has reached a critical point, with oral arguments over Trump’s motion to dismiss scheduled for Tuesday, after which the judge is expected to rule on whether the case may move forward.

If it proceeds, Zervos’s attorneys could gather and make public incidents from Trump’s past and Trump could be called to testify, with the unwelcome specter of a former president looming over him: It was Bill Clinton’s misleading sworn testimony — not the repeated allegations of sexual harassment against him — that eventually led to his impeachment.


A question for our legal experts: what happens if he's called to testify and he just refuses to do so? I mean, I'm guessing you or I would be held in contempt of court, but what happens if someone like the president does it? Has this ever happened before?
posted by bluecore at 4:28 PM on December 4 [31 favorites]


what happens if he's called to testify and he just refuses to do so? I mean, I'm guessing you or I would be held in contempt of court, but what happens if someone like the president does it?

1) He gets judged in contempt of court, with a penalty that has no teeth for now.

2) Most likely, the judge throws out his side's case - no defendant testimony = no verification of their claims; plaintiff must be telling the complete truth, right?

Judges are not happy with people who try to claim, "I'm above paying attention to your court."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:35 PM on December 4 [30 favorites]


GOP leadership talked the Freedom Caucus off the ledge somehow. They have the votes to go to conference. Which just leaves the question: what did they promise in return?

Apparently they gave into the HFC's demands for the CR through the 30th, instead of the 22nd. And that's all? Completely unclear why a shutdown date right before New Years is preferable to right before Christmas, but that seems to be the HFC's argument.

Regardless of the date, Democrats should withhold all votes for this CR and the full budget without concessions, either DACA, CHIP, funding the Obamacare CSRs, or all of the above. Delaying the funding fight does nothing to help Democrats as the DACA deadline is in March, and the debt ceiling will be coming up again, which will reduce Dems' leverage to extract concessions.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:39 PM on December 4 [6 favorites]


MSNBC/NBC/KableTown were dead to me about five unforgivable hiring/firing decisions ago, but the Seder thing is total BS. Between that and Joy Reid's homophobic comments that were unearthed recently, MSNBC can finally realize their dream of being a lite beer version of Fox News.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:02 PM on December 4 [10 favorites]


Fox News is state media propaganda. MSNBC is insufficiently brave in standing up to right wing smearjobs. If you can seriously compare the two networks I conclude you've either never seen Fox News or you've never seen MSNBC!
posted by Justinian at 5:21 PM on December 4 [12 favorites]


Wow, TPM covering the giant fuck you to Native Americans and the environment and the entire taxpaying public with the headline Trump Announces Shrinking Two Sprawling National Monuments. That reads as the most generous possible framing for a deeply shitty act, like they are making some reasonable decision to curtail...sprawl? Of a National Monument? I usually really enjoy TPM, this is disappointing.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:27 PM on December 4 [11 favorites]


I usually really enjoy TPM, this is disappointing.

I see it’s an AP story. Maybe the headline is original to them? (AP, I mean.)
posted by non canadian guy at 5:34 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]


re: monuments.

patagonia.com showing headline writers how to do it.
posted by bluecore at 5:58 PM on December 4 [68 favorites]


Wait, can someone ELI5 the Joy Reid thing?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:59 PM on December 4


RE Joy Reid: she used to write a blog. On it, she often criticized FL Gov Charlie Crist, using derisive, homophobic slurs. They included calling him a closeted gay politician, calling him Miss Charlie, suggesting he was only married twice so he could get ahead in politics, and musing on his inner dialogue during his honeymoon (when she imagined he lusted after a male waiter and dreaded having to sleep with his wife), etc.

She did write an apology which, to my ear, sounded like weaksauce (a somewhat passive acceptance of responsibility, I thought, but YMMV).

She’s definitely a powerful liberal voice, but it made me lose some respect for her. I don’t think she should lose her job, but I can’t quite enjoy watching her anymore.
posted by darkstar at 6:14 PM on December 4 [7 favorites]


I’d be willing to bet money that, at NO time in any of those eras/examples has any percentage of the “Western left” supported those entities to the degree that the “Western right” supports the authoritarianism we’ve seen espoused by DJFT.

I think this is missing the point the article's trying to make here: support for authoritarianism isn't part of any one ideology, and that tracks with the evidence that I've seen. It's a cancer that infects an ideology, and some ideologies are more vulnerable than others, but the root of it can be any belief system, even a trivial one. Just because the most prominent example of this cancer right now are 2010-era Republicans doesn't mean that it's inherent to conservatism. The rugged individualism of American culture is a risk factor, which muddies the waters even more. If the left-wing party in America was the Libertarian Party, though, it'd be just as vulnerable to drinking its own kool-aid.
posted by Merus at 6:15 PM on December 4 [8 favorites]


[Folks, general thing, let's not get off into arguing each side topic (how to sort out examples of authoritarians; what about MSN vs Fox; etc).]
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:18 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]


The RNC is back to formally supporting Roy Moore.

Mitt Romney might want to call his niece or something.
posted by zachlipton at 6:28 PM on December 4 [27 favorites]


Well Fox went off the god damned deep end tonight. Flynn is apparently being framed by the FBI and this is the Deep State at work. They're laying down cover on all angles. A president can commit whatever he wants, Peter Strzok is behind an FBI conspiracy, go fire Mueller!

It's like a batshit insane Youtube conspiracy channel was given airtime on a major national cable network.
posted by Talez at 6:29 PM on December 4 [41 favorites]


The RNC is back to formally supporting Roy Moore.

The 1950s Klan had higher morals than today's GOP.

@AlanLCross
In 1957, Rev. Alvin C. Horn, of Talladega, AL, resigned as Grand Dragon of the KKK in Alabama because he, being 45, married 15 yr. old Barbara Richardson of Trenton, GA. He lied and said she was 20. The KLAN IN 1957 thought that was wrong (from Montgomery Advertiser, 1961).
NEWS CLIPPING
posted by chris24 at 6:40 PM on December 4 [87 favorites]


Bernie Becker, Sarah Ferris and Colin Wilhelm, Politico.com: House conservatives almost topple tax vote
House conservatives threatened to derail a key tax vote on Monday in an attempt to win more influence over the GOP's spending strategy, just four days before the deadline to fund the government.

In a dramatic political stunt, more than a dozen members of the House Freedom Caucus withheld their support for a crucial procedural vote on the GOP’s tax bill, threatening an embarrassing blow to GOP leadership.

The conservatives eventually relented, approving what had been thought to be a formality — a motion to appoint negotiators to hammer out a final tax bill with the Senate.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:47 PM on December 4 [3 favorites]


The RNC is back to formally supporting Roy Moore.

Mitt Romney might want to call his niece or something.



Romney talks a good game about not sacrificing honor for a political victory. But I still remember his campaign airing an ad showing Obama quoting McCain saying “If we talk about the economy, we lose,” but cropping the lead-in so it sounded like Obama was uttering those words himself.

And when challenged on it by a journalist, he defended his campaign’s use of the brazen deception by smugly saying “What’s sauce for the goose is now sauce for the gander.”

Romney’s only good at championing honor over politics when neither are his own.
posted by darkstar at 6:58 PM on December 4 [36 favorites]


Romney will vote against Trump exactly as often as Ben Sasse and Jeff Flake do, because that's the #NeverTrump creed. Talk to the media a lot about how concerned you are, but never do anything about it because tax cuts. Let's not forget Romney was one of the first to kiss the ring and beg for a cabinet appointment.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:03 PM on December 4 [36 favorites]


@davidfrum
At his trial in 1649, Charles I defended himself: ""No learned lawyer will affirm that an impeachment can lie against the King... one of their maxims is, that the King can do no wrong." The great-grandfathers of the authors of the Constitution cut off Charles' head for that.

---

@speechboy71 (Michael Cohen, Boston Globe)
It's amazing to think that 8 years ago, Republicans lost their s**t over Obama calling the actions of a Cambridge police officer "stupid" and today are unbothered by POTUS calling the FBI the "worst in history"
posted by chris24 at 7:04 PM on December 4 [135 favorites]


Susan Collins is a either a liar, or an innumerate moron: The Republican War on Economics

An incredulous [Chuck] Todd asked Collins how she could defend such a claim when every study has concluded the opposite. She cited Glenn Hubbard, Larry Lindsey, and Douglas Holtz-Eakin.

Jennifer Rubin got ahold of two of the three, Hubbard and Holtz-Eakin. Both economists denied having ever claimed the Republican tax cuts would produce enough growth to recoup the lost revenue.
...
No serious economist believes this, but their skepticism did not infiltrate the information bubble in which Republicans reside. Not even macroeconomic forecasters in the private sector — people putting real money behind the accuracy of their analyses — have concluded the tax cuts would come close to recouping their cost. Goldman Sachs forecasts the tax cuts would recoup just 20 percent of the lost revenue, and beginning in 2020, the growth effect “looks minimal and could actually be slightly negative.” A survey of 42 economists found only one who even agreed that, if the tax cut passes, economic growth “will be substantially higher a decade from now than under the status quo.” And even that endorsement of “substantially higher” growth falls short of endorsing the belief the tax cuts will be self-financing.

posted by T.D. Strange at 7:21 PM on December 4 [38 favorites]


[Couple deleted -- if you haven't seen it, please check out this Metatalk thread about re-setting the norms in the megathreads; short version, we're cutting back on stuff like song lyrics. Maybe pop 'em over in the Metatalk instead?]
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:36 PM on December 4 [6 favorites]


More on that BuzzFeed report last week: The Intercept, Matthew Cole, Jeremy Scahill, Trump White House Weighing Plans for Private Spies to Counter “Deep State” Enemies
The Trump administration is considering a set of proposals developed by Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a retired CIA officer — with assistance from Oliver North, a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal — to provide CIA Director Mike Pompeo and the White House with a global, private spy network that would circumvent official U.S. intelligence agencies, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials and others familiar with the proposals. The sources say the plans have been pitched to the White House as a means of countering “deep state” enemies in the intelligence community seeking to undermine Trump’s presidency.

The creation of such a program raises the possibility that the effort would be used to create an intelligence apparatus to justify the Trump administration’s political agenda.

“Pompeo can’t trust the CIA bureaucracy, so we need to create this thing that reports just directly to him,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official with firsthand knowledge of the proposals, in describing White House discussions. “It is a direct-action arm, totally off the books,” this person said, meaning the intelligence collected would not be shared with the rest of the CIA or the larger intelligence community. “The whole point is this is supposed to report to the president and Pompeo directly.”
Among the many problems here, why is it always the same damn assholes? Erik Prince is under investigation for his secret trip to the Seychelles, and Ollie North, well, committed felonies. We're busy throwing people off MSNBC because of one old satirical tweet, but Olver North is somehow once again allowed within 100 miles of a plot to do off-the-books shady stuff for the President? It is profoundly unfair the number of people struggling with imposter syndrome at work, the number of people who get fired because their boss made them choose between their job and taking their sick kid to the doctor, when these same assholes keep getting to come back again and again with no consequences for their actions.
posted by zachlipton at 8:18 PM on December 4 [109 favorites]


Trump's Mirror strikes again - to 'counter' the 'Deep State', the Trumpsters are essentially creating their own 'Deep State'.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:29 PM on December 4 [15 favorites]


On the bright side, the press pool grew an actual spine today and refused to let the deputy press secretary go off the record to talk about Roy Moore or Flynn or any other questions:
Q: We have to ask the questions--
A: I understand that, you have a job to do and so do I.
Q: You're not doing your job. Your job is literally to take questions from us. That's the whole point of this. You can release paper statements if you want.
posted by zachlipton at 8:36 PM on December 4 [140 favorites]


Ollie North, well, committed felonies

"felonies"? Make no mistake, Ollie North committed high treason and if it wasn't for Fawn Hall's shredder he would be rotting in a jail cell in the Colorado rockies.
posted by Talez at 8:51 PM on December 4 [45 favorites]


Prince's Shhh, We're Spies! Inc. is already off to a great start. Because saying you'll be at war with the US intelligence community is a great heads up to, you know, the tens of thousands of individuals serving.
posted by chainlinkspiral at 9:01 PM on December 4 [12 favorites]


Handy recap/context of the past week revelations of the Trump Transition's Russian relations by Georgetown professor. and Former Obama Deputy Assistant and National Security Advisor Colin Kahl @ColinKahl:
threadSeparate from the very real possibility of Trump-Russia collusion, the Flynn revelations this week speak to a clear pattern of behavior by both Team Trump and GOP leadership: conspiring to go easy on the Kremlin despite Russian interference in our election. 1/
[...]
Fast forward to December, after the election, when Obama retaliated by expelling Russian diplomats and sanctioning Russian entities. Flynn—with full knowledge of Team Trump—immediately interceded to undermine that policy by calling Kislyak. … 9/
Think about that. Russia had just attacked our democracy, and Team Trump’s immediate instinct and TOP priority was to weaken the response and reassure our adversary it was no big deal. A similar point is made here by @AshaRangappa … 10/
The key question is WHY?
This is where the now infamous KT McFarland email comes in (key excerpt below via @nytmike).
Beyond showing that Team Trump was witting of Flynn’s actions, there are at least two interpretations of this email. 11/
One possibility is that McFarland’s email reveals the quid pro quo at the heart of alleged collusion: sanctions relief as pay back given that Russia has just “thrown USA election to [Trump]." That’s the interpretation many took away from the NYT story. … 12/
But even the most generous interpretation of McFarland’s email suggests that, at the very least, the Trump campaign knew Russia had helped them and worried that going soft on Putin would be *perceived* as payback even if there was no actual collusion. 13/
So they lied, systematically from Trump on down, about the reassuring outreach to Russia during the transition to avoid this politically costly perception. A similar point was made by @davidfrum … 14/
Look, I have no idea if there was direct collaboration between the Trump campaign & Moscow to undermine our democracy (although the circumstantial case is pretty overwhelming).
But, regardless, here’s what’s undeniable… 15/
It’s undeniable that:
—Team Trump & GOP leadership were witting of Russia’s attack in real time;
—They were all-too happy to politically benefit from it; and
—They actively and repeatedly sought to constrain efforts to make Russia pay for it.
That’s all pretty damning. 16/16
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:04 PM on December 4 [69 favorites]


Senator John Kennedy (R, Louisiana) on Friday referring to the tax bill, recently shown from another camera angle on MSNBC:
Part of politics is drama. Everyone up here has politics in his blood. Kind of like herpes.
posted by XMLicious at 9:19 PM on December 4 [3 favorites]


So Never Trumper extraordinaire Rick Wilson gets up on CNN and...
"I think Republicans are going to regret embracing Roy Moore because their poll ratings with women are going to drop faster than Roy Moore's trousers at a high school cheerleading tournament. This is not a good situation. This is a guy who is a filthy and perverse individual. He doesn't belong in the U.S. Senate."
Someone has some brass ones because holy shit that was glorious to watch.
posted by Talez at 9:24 PM on December 4 [70 favorites]


Prince's Shhh, We're Spies! Inc. is already off to a great start. Because saying you'll be at war with the US intelligence community is a great heads up to, you know, the tens of thousands of individuals serving.

And that's courtesy of "several current and former U.S. intelligence officials and others familiar with the proposals" who fed this story to the Intercept.

Pompeo, lacking any qualifications in intelligence, in the general and technical senses, attracted the suspicions of the Langley establishment early on in his tenure and now seems intent on confirming them. Like Manafort, he appears to think he can play at cloak and dagger with the professionals.

And speaking of idiots who are out of their depth in the espionage world, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher to testify before House Intelligence Committee about Julian Assange meeting for what will be a nonstop disinfo-rama.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:26 PM on December 4 [17 favorites]


[Roy Moore stuff can go over to the Roy Moore thread]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:27 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]


NPR today: 2016 RNC Delegate: Trump Directed Change To Party Platform On Ukraine Support
Diana Denman, a Republican delegate who supported arming U.S. allies in Ukraine, has told people that Trump aide J.D. Gordon said at the Republican Convention in 2016 that Trump directed him to support weakening that position in the official platform.

Ultimately, the softer position was adopted.
Washington Post, July 18, 2016: Trump campaign guts GOP’s anti-Russia stance on Ukraine
The Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, contradicting the view of almost all Republican foreign policy leaders in Washington.

Throughout the campaign, Trump has been dismissive of calls for supporting the Ukraine government as it fights an ongoing Russian-led intervention. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, worked as a lobbyist for the Russian-backed former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych for more than a decade.

Still, Republican delegates at last week’s national security committee platform meeting in Cleveland were surprised when the Trump campaign orchestrated a set of events to make sure that the GOP would not pledge to give Ukraine the weapons it has been asking for from the United States.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:28 PM on December 4 [12 favorites]


NPR today: 2016 RNC Delegate: Trump Directed Change To Party Platform On Ukraine Support

Delegate Diana Denman's been trying to get people to listen her account of meeting JD Gordon at the RNC for a long time, e.g.:
Never saw him before in my life. I had never run into him before. I had no idea who he was.

There were two men sitting over to the side and I didn’t know who they were and I didn’t know if they were staff or why they were there, but they were not sitting around our table with the delegates.

When I read my plank, when it came my turn in the subcommittee, he and the other man got up pretty rapidly and walked up over behind the three co-chairman, and one of the chairman asked to see a copy of my plank and I gave it to them, and the chairman read it and the men leaned over and pointed to certain things on it.

So, that point, I realized for some reason they felt they were involved and one of the chairman said they would like to table it for further review, or something like that. And so I let it pass and the men went over and sat down and discussion of other planks continued.

I didn’t sit there forever and so I went over to them and said, "I guess you know who I am but I don’t know who you all are and I don’t know why you’re here and if you have apparently a problem with my plank on the Ukraine I’d like to know what your problem is because I might have a problem with you all if I find out what your problem is with me."
This lady is going to give the House and Senate Intelligence committees an earful next week.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:39 PM on December 4 [79 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 House:
-- MI-09 rep Sandy Levin [D] is retiring. This is a lean Dem district (Clinton 52-44), although I would imagine it's relatively safe in the 2018 environment.

-- Part 3 of the Vice series on Dem target districts.

-- Dems currently have one or more filed challengers in all but 29 of the 241 GOP-held House seats.
** Odds & ends:
-- Gallup poll finds Dem party ID advantage growing. Was 44/42 in Nov 16, now 44/37.

-- The Hill: Dems plan ambitious campaign for red-state governorships

-- Rick Jeffares resigned his seat in the Georgia State Senate to run for Lt. Gov. This sets up a special election, district went Trump 57-41.

-- Sexual harassment scandal in Kentucky legislature is getting very heated.

=> Numerous special elections tomorrow (here's some background) plus the Atlanta mayoral runoff. I haven't been following that one, particularly, but it looks like intra-Dem tensions may be setting us up for an own goal there.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:04 PM on December 4 [37 favorites]


National Treasure IMHO Alexandra Petri, WaPo: Is this monument for keeping or destroying? A handy Q&A.
Given President Trump’s recent activity with regard to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah, I think we had better clarify the guidelines for what is a Rare and Precious National Monument That Must Be Preserved at All Costs and what isn’t.

First, look at it. Ask yourself, does it spark joy? Then, also ask yourself the following:

1. Would President Barack Obama have looked at it and felt happy?

2. Is it more than a million acres of land that include sites sacred to five Indian nations and places of breathtaking natural beauty?

3. Was it on the right side of the Civil War, geographically speaking or otherwise?

4. Would it be weird to call it Jeff or “the Old General”?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:27 PM on December 4 [30 favorites]


In the spirit of celebrating small victories, I'm taking the launch today of the State Department's revamped travel website travel.state.gov as proof that the stateside career bureaucrats are still getting shit done despite the 'dismantling' of the department. They opened a comment period in the third quarter of last year, digested all of the information for a few months, and then in February released their takeaways from the process. Today the new site was implemented. That's not a terrible timeline for a project like this. The site looks a lot less cluttered than the old one, and at first glance seems to have implemented a bunch of the suggestions I made, yay.
posted by carsonb at 11:38 PM on December 4 [36 favorites]


Donald Trump's personal banking information handed over to Robert Mueller
Donald Trump’s personal banking information has formally been turned over to Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor who is investigating whether the president’s campaign conspired with the Kremlin during the 2016 presidential election.
Bloomberg reported early on Tuesday that Deutsche Bank, the German bank that serves as Trump’s biggest lender, had been forced to submit documents about its client relationship with the president after Mueller issued the bank with a subpoena for information.


This was where Trump was drawing the line as to where the investigation was allowed to go. Mueller must be confident that he won't be fired over this.... right?
posted by PenDevil at 3:43 AM on December 5 [80 favorites]


Bloomberg, Steven Arons, Mueller Subpoenas Trump Deutsche Bank Records
Mueller issued a subpoena to Germany’s largest lender several weeks ago, forcing the bank to submit documents on its relationship with Trump and his family, according to a person briefed on the matter, who asked not to be identified because the action has not been announced.
...
In July, Trump said in an interview with the New York Times that if Mueller examined his family’s finances beyond any relationship with Russia he’d consider it "a violation." Mueller’s investigation had expanded to examine a broad range of transactions involving the president’s businesses, including dealings by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, a person familiar with the probe told Bloomberg News after the publication of the Times interview.
This might help explain why Trump has seemed even more angry than usual lately. It's a clear sign that Trump is personally under investigation, despite his insistence to the contrary, and that the investigation into Trump goes well beyond obstruction for firing Comey.
posted by zachlipton at 3:45 AM on December 5 [52 favorites]


Maybe Mueller is inviting Trump to fire him. Once the evidence is all there, what we need is an inciting event to force everyone to wake up from the bullshit. Maybe Mueller getting fired could be it.
posted by Glibpaxman at 4:03 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


The deadline for Trump signing the waiver on moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has now passed, but apparently it doesn't actually matter anyway:
Trump missing embassy waiver deadline by a few days is no big deal, experts say

However, a "US-Israeli law professor" cautions that "accepted practice is at odds with the statute, and a bad guide to the future under a new administration". I concur; it's not even a year into the new administration and when it comes to foreign relations it's probably a bad idea for Trump to allow a precedent to be set for anything other than punctilious adherence to duty.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:07 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


This was where Trump was drawing the line as to where the investigation was allowed to go. Mueller must be confident that he won't be fired over this.... right?

If Mueller is getting the Deutsche Bank's records for the Trump Crime Family, that's also going to be material for Schneiderman's NY Money Laundering/Trump Foundation issues cases.

In theory, putting aside that Trump is irrational, fire Mueller, Schneiderman files a whole lot of unpardonable charges in NY.
posted by mikelieman at 4:25 AM on December 5 [30 favorites]


This was where Trump was drawing the line as to where the investigation was allowed to go. Mueller must be confident that he won't be fired over this.... right?

If Mueller is fired, then it's assumed there are separate cases that could be prosecuted by New York's attorney general.
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:40 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


If Meuller if fired, and Congress doesn't act on it, we're uberplus fucked, right? It's been the thing I've been worrying about since the passage in the tax bill in the senate sort of proved that at least under certain conditions, norms don't matter anymore.
posted by angrycat at 4:43 AM on December 5 [10 favorites]


Greg Sargent, WaPo Opinion Column: It’s time to ask every Republican this question about Trump and Mueller
In coming days and weeks, we should all do whatever we can to ensure that every Republican member of Congress, in town hall meetings, via social media and during scrums with reporters, is asked the following question:

If President Trump tries to remove special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, would you view that as an impeachable offense?
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:44 AM on December 5 [57 favorites]


-- Gallup poll finds Dem party ID advantage growing. Was 44/42 in Nov 16, now 44/37

While we're always amazed and horrified by Trump's support among Rs, a big part of the resilience of that number is that Rs who are disgusted with him are leaving the party. The 42 to 37 decline means 12% of Rs have been turned off enough to leave the party.

His R approval right now is 78%, but even that has dropped from 89% when he took office. So he's lost 12% of the R base here as well. Adding those who now disapprove and those who left the party, he's burned through about 25% of Republicans in ten months. If you assume those who no longer identify as R don't approve of Trump and gross up the number to reflect the 12% loss, his approval among Rs would be 70%, which is a huge danger zone for presidents.
posted by chris24 at 4:57 AM on December 5 [50 favorites]


Mueller Subpoenas Trump Deutsche Bank Records

I think this qualifies as the second day of Mueller's advent calendar.
posted by Dashy at 5:03 AM on December 5 [59 favorites]


Mueller Subpoenas Trump Deutsche Bank Records

@krassenstein
BREAKING: Deutsche Bank receives subpoena from Mueller on Trump accounts

This is huge for 2 reasons:
- Deutsch Bank paid DOJ settlement for involvement in $10b Russian money laundering scheme
- Kushner took $285m loan from them right before election.
posted by chris24 at 5:26 AM on December 5 [42 favorites]


Mayor Jim Gray of Lexington, Kentucky announces run against Andy Barr (KY-6). It's a PVI R+9 district, but has elected a Democrat in the not too distant past. Gray is popular in Lexington and is probably the strongest possible candidate despite his blowout loss to Rand Paul in the 2016 Senate race, he won 51% of the district.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:30 AM on December 5 [17 favorites]


THIS IS A TEST, THIS IS ONLY A TEST

If Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is fired, visit the Mueller firing Rapid Response page for more information:

Use the map or search below by ZIP code to find an event near you, or create one if none exists.

Rallies will begin hours after news breaks of a Mueller firing:

If Mueller is fired BEFORE 2 P.M. local time —> events will begin @ 5 P.M. local time
If Mueller is fired AFTER 2 P.M. local time —> events will begin @ noon local time the following day
This is the general plan—please confirm details on your event page, as individual hosts may tailor their events to their local plan.


THIS IS ONLY A TEST
*beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep*
posted by petebest at 5:39 AM on December 5 [108 favorites]


Mueller Subpoenas Trump Deutsche Bank Records

I mean he's got to have Trump's taxes if he's doing this, right? We've had reports that the IRS has shared info with Mueller, possibly Trump's taxes. But this confirmation that he's going after Trump's finances seems to confirm it.
posted by chris24 at 5:41 AM on December 5 [4 favorites]


We've had reports that the IRS has shared info with Mueller, possibly Trump's taxes. But this confirmation that he's going after Trump's finances seems to confirm it.

The process is pretty straightforward, and I'm sure Mueller's got them.

IIRC: Mueller sends a request to the IRS. The IRS considers it, and if they release it, Mueller gets an IRC agent to help interpret them.

"IRC 6103(i)(1) provides that, pursuant to court order, return information may be shared with law enforcement agencies for investigation and prosecution of non-tax criminal laws."

So, if it takes is a court order, I'm sure that's one of the Under Seal things that's been taken care of years ago. ( In the Trump Time Expansion Vortex ), months realtime.
posted by mikelieman at 5:47 AM on December 5 [6 favorites]


Between the Deutsche news and now this, Donny's gonna be lit tomorrow morning on Twitter. Pence plotted to force out Trump after Access Hollywood. And his wife thinks Trump's vile.

Atlantic: God’s Plan for Mike Pence - Will the vice president—and the religious right—be rewarded for their embrace of Donald Trump?
It’s been reported that Pence sent Trump a letter saying he needed time to decide whether he could stay with the campaign. But in fact, according to several Republicans familiar with the situation, he wasn’t just thinking about dropping out—he was contemplating a coup. Within hours of The Post’s bombshell, Pence made it clear to the Republican National Committee that he was ready to take Trump’s place as the party’s nominee. Such a move just four weeks before Election Day would have been unprecedented—but the situation seemed dire enough to call for radical action.

Already, Reince Priebus’s office was being flooded with panicked calls from GOP officials and donors urging the RNC chairman to get rid of Trump by whatever means necessary. One Republican senator called on the party to engage emergency protocols to nominate a new candidate. RNC lawyers huddled to explore an obscure legal mechanism by which they might force Trump off the ticket. Meanwhile, a small group of billionaires was trying to put together money for a “buyout”—even going so far as to ask a Trump associate how much money the candidate would require to walk away from the race. According to someone with knowledge of the talks, they were given an answer of $800 million. (It’s unclear whether Trump was aware of this discussion or whether the offer was actually made.) Republican donors and party leaders began buzzing about making Pence the nominee and drafting Condoleezza Rice as his running mate.

Amid the chaos, Trump convened a meeting of his top advisers in his Manhattan penthouse. He went around the room and asked each person for his damage assessment. Priebus bluntly told Trump he could either drop out immediately or lose in a historic landslide. According to someone who was present, Priebus added that Pence and Rice were “ready to step in.” (An aide to the vice president denied that Pence sent Trump a letter and that he ever talked with the RNC about becoming the nominee. Priebus did not respond to requests for comment.)

The furtive plotting, several sources told me, was not just an act of political opportunism for Pence. He was genuinely shocked by the Access Hollywood tape. In the short time they’d known each other, Trump had made an effort to convince Pence that—beneath all the made-for-TV bluster and bravado—he was a good-hearted man with faith in God. On the night of the vice-presidential debate, for example, Trump had left a voicemail letting Pence know that he’d just said a prayer for him. The couple was appalled by the video, however. Karen in particular was “disgusted,” says a former campaign aide. “She finds him reprehensible—just totally vile.”
posted by chris24 at 5:49 AM on December 5 [55 favorites]


I mean he's got to have Trump's taxes if he's doing this, right?

Either you are correct, or you are about to be correct -- even if he didn't have the taxes yet, those bank records are sure to be rife with information that will raise the question "I wonder how (or if) he reported that on the taxes".
posted by Dashy at 5:50 AM on December 5 [6 favorites]


And I'm sure this won't bother Donny at all.

Three Obama tweets, no Trump posts make list of 2017’s most retweeted
posted by chris24 at 6:06 AM on December 5 [41 favorites]


In the short time they’d known each other, Trump had made an effort to convince Pence that—beneath all the made-for-TV bluster and bravado—he was a good-hearted man with faith in God

Mike Pence, history’s most gullible rube. Someone get me in touch with this guy I’ve got a friend with millions in a Nigerian bank account and there’s 10% in it for Pence if he can help get it out of the country. I swear to god how is it possible that such a pure and unadulterated dunce is one 2-big-Mac heartbeats away from the presidency >
posted by dis_integration at 6:15 AM on December 5 [28 favorites]


White House refuses to answer reporters’ questions on the record (The Hill)
A White House spokesman on Monday night refused to answer reporters' questions on the record.

Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters traveling with the president on Air Force One on Monday night that there was "obviously a lot of news to cover."

During the flight, Gidley gave a few "pre-cleared comments" on news of the day but then refused to answer any more questions on the record.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:15 AM on December 5 [9 favorites]


@MichaelSLinden
Lots of reasons why the GOP's tax scam is a political loser for them. Here's one I bet they haven't thought of: Nearly everyone will feel they got a tax hike by the 2nd year of the bill (that’s 2020, btw) even if they got a small cut in the 1st year. Short thread explains. 1/
- You may know that the tax cuts for most families in the Tax Scam bill, such as they are, get smaller and smaller over time (until they actually turn into tax hikes in 2026). Those estimates are relative to current law, not relative to the previous year. 2/
- In other words, an estimate of a $100 tax cut for you in 2020 means you will pay $100 less than you would have paid had the tax laws not changed. It does NOT mean you will pay $100 less than you will have paid in 2019. 3/
- So, if the tax cuts – relative to current law – get smaller every year, that means most people will experience tax INCREASES relative to what they paid the year before! 4/
- For example, imagine you are estimated to get a $200 tax cut in 2019, and a $100 tax cut in 2020. Both are relative to CURRENT LAW. That first year you might enjoy your $200. BUT, in year 2, it sure doesn’t feel like a tax cut. It feels like a $100 hike compared to last year. 5/
- That’s exactly what happens with the GOP tax scam. The average tax cut, according to JCT, for a family making $40k-$50k is $443 in 2019 (many will get less, some even pay higher taxes, even in Year 1). But by 2021, that average is down to $272. 6/
- In 2021, that average family making $40k-$50k won’t say to themselves, “We’re paying $272 less than we would have under the old law.” They’ll say, “Hmm, we’re paying more than we did last year.” 7/
- Making matters worse for the GOP is it’s the opposite for the very very rich. According to @TaxPolicyCenter, the average tax cut for the richest 0.1% goes up from $62,000 in 2019 to over $150,000 by 2025. 8/
- So while most families are feeling their taxes going up, the super-rich will be getting ever larger tax cuts. That seems like politically toxic combination. Good job, GOP. /end
posted by chris24 at 6:32 AM on December 5 [64 favorites]


This might help explain why Trump has seemed even more angry than usual lately. It's a clear sign that Trump is personally under investigation, despite his insistence to the contrary, and that the investigation into Trump goes well beyond obstruction for firing Comey.

The LOLZ part of this is that Trump, even if innocent and unconnect to the collusion (unlikely!), had to come under the umbrella of the investigation simply because of his pointless and idiotic nepotism. The unqualified Crown Prince in Charge of All Things - Kushner, at the center of the investigation is his son-in-law and Trump runs both a nepotistic business empire and white house tangling everything up like a headphone cord.

And what did Trump get in return for this all-contaminating risk? Not very much that I can see.
posted by srboisvert at 6:33 AM on December 5 [4 favorites]


Bloomberg, Steven Arons, Mueller Subpoenas Trump Deutsche Bank Records

The German business newspaper Handelsblatt broke this story today: Mueller's Trump-Russia Investigation Engulfs Deutsche
Deutsche Bank has received a subpoena from the US special counsel investigating possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia. It's actually welcome news for the bank.

Deutsche Bank has been served. US investigators are demanding that it provide information on dealings linked to the Trumps, sources familiar with the matter told Handelsblatt. The subpoena is part of a probe by special counsel Robert Mueller and his team to determine whether the president’s campaign was involved in Russian efforts to influence the US election.

Donald Trump and his family have long-standing ties to Germany’s largest bank. The former real-estate baron has done billions of dollars’ worth of business with Deutsche Bank over the past two decades, and First Lady Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner are also clients.

According to media reports, Mr. Trump owed Deutsche Bank as much as $340 million (€286.5 million) at one point, though considerable restructuring appears to have brought down that amount. The president’s financial disclosure of June 16 reported $130 million in debt, a figure the bank has not publicly confirmed.
Deutsche Bank has had the shadow of Moscow money-laundering hanging over it for a long time now, though so far they've been "too big to fail". Just this year, they had to settle with the DoJ for over $10 billion Russia-related money-laundering charges in January and then was fined $41 million for money-laundering compliance lapses in May. Unfortunately, CNN reported in November that the DoJ's current investigation into DB's Russian money-laundering has "gone quiet"—and this was a case of Bharara's, before Trump fired him.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:44 AM on December 5 [30 favorites]


But in fact, according to several Republicans familiar with the situation, he wasn’t just thinking about dropping out—he was contemplating a coup. Within hours of The Post’s bombshell, Pence made it clear to the Republican National Committee that he was ready to take Trump’s place as the party’s nominee.

I sure hope folks are tweeting that to Trump and his loyalists. They already think everyone's out to get them and you know how he feels about loyalty of his subordinates.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:52 AM on December 5 [10 favorites]


he was contemplating a coup...
---
I sure hope folks are tweeting that to Trump and his loyalists.


Yeah, I don't think he'll take it well.

Politico: Trump’s Threat to Take Down the GOP Still Stands
“First of all,” David Bossie recalls Donald Trump telling his inner circle, “I’m going to win. And second, if the Republican Party is going to run away from me, then I will take you all down with me. But I’m not going to lose.”

That was during the weekend last October when the “Access Hollywood” tape broke and Trump lashed back at Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus for telling him he should either drop out or prepare to go down in a landslide. [...]

His threat to take down the GOP if it resists, Bossie and Lewandowski told me in an interview for POLITICO’s Off Message podcast, still stands.
posted by chris24 at 6:57 AM on December 5 [9 favorites]


19 Times President Trump May Have Obstructed Justice
While there’s still much we don’t know about Mueller’s probe, there’s also plenty in the public record that experts say could add up to an obstruction charge for President Trump. These range from the firing of FBI director James Comey to Twitter attacks that are now mostly forgotten. Here’s a recap of some of the incidents that could help Mueller make his case.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:02 AM on December 5 [19 favorites]


[A few deleted; the metaphorical oxycontin thing is a huge misleading derail, please drop it.]
posted by taz at 7:03 AM on December 5 [3 favorites]


Atlantic: God’s Plan for Mike Pence - Will the vice president—and the religious right—be rewarded for their embrace of Donald Trump?

Wow! It's not as if I ever liked or even respected Mike Pence, but in that article he comes off as the most despicable, scheming, self-serving, hypocritical and just plain evil person ever. Trump looks like a charming old idiot criminal next to him.
posted by mumimor at 7:10 AM on December 5 [29 favorites]


The couple was appalled by the video, however. Karen in particular was “disgusted,” says a former campaign aide. “She finds him reprehensible—just totally vile.”

the story is delightful but this is a lie, right -- a lie. both halves of it, both Pences were liars. a lie like the old lie of John Kelly's decency and competence. Mike still went on to accept the vice presidency and Karen still remained married to a man who would do that.

everybody remembers the terrific Scaramucci ex who filed for aggravated divorce because who can remain married to a man who would work for donald trump? we should remember that it is possible to say this is unacceptable and actually mean it. and it's the easiest thing to tell when people actually mean it because they follow through and their actions are consistent with their outrage.

edit: it's possible Karen isn't as great a hypocrite as her husband because I expect she's been dwelling in the second lady's beehive since June and hasn't heard a lot of the worst news of the presidency. all around outside the residence, the great turmoil of DC churns and spins but all Karen Pence hears is the sweet humming of the bees.
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:11 AM on December 5 [58 favorites]


everybody remembers the terrific Scaramucci ex who filed for aggravated divorce because who can remain married to a man who would work for donald trump? we should remember that it is possible to say this is unacceptable and actually mean it. and it's the easiest thing to tell when people actually mean it because they follow through and their actions are consistent with their outrage.

They're getting back together.
posted by scalefree at 7:16 AM on December 5 [15 favorites]


thanks for ruining my great illustrative point with the miserable realism of reality, scalefree

at least he doesn't work for trump anymore?
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:18 AM on December 5 [29 favorites]


Fuck wsj OP Ed is saying Mueller should step down can't link it on my phone
posted by angrycat at 7:34 AM on December 5


The Detroit News: Rep. Conyers: ‘I’m retiring today’
posted by cjelli at 7:37 AM on December 5 [13 favorites]


I believe this is the Op Ed angrycat is talking about.
posted by Andrhia at 7:37 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


Very clever. The GOP is solving the Saturday Night Massacre problem by making Mueller's removal appear to be a groundswell. If this succeeds, kiss our democracy buh-bye.
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:38 AM on December 5 [10 favorites]


WSJ: Here's who will negotiate the final tax bill from the House side:
For the Republicans, Rep. Kevin Brady (R., Texas), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, will chair the conference. He'll be joined by four Ways and Means members: Peter Roskam (R., Ill.), Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), Diane Black (R., Tenn.) and Kristi Noem (R., S.D.)....

The House conferees also include members of the Natural Resources and Energy and Commerce committees. They weren't involved in the original bill, but the health-care and oil-drilling pieces of the Senate bill are in play now. They are Rob Bishop (R., Utah)., Don Young (R., Alaska), Greg Walden (R., Ore.) and John Shimkus (R., Ill.).

The Democratic conferees are Reps. Richard Neal (D., Mass)., Rep. Sander Levin (D., Mich.), Lloyd Doggett (D., Texas), Raul Grijalva (D., Ariz.) and Kathy Castor (D., Fla.).

The Senate is expected to name its conferees later in the week.
That link also has more detail about a few of the members' interests, e.g., that Roskam is concerned about SALT.

More from tax twitter:

@M_SullivanTax: "Looks to me as though 5 might be flippable," comment** on Brad DeLong's site on how many more of 14 Calif. Republicans will vote against tax bill. Three already have.* https://t.co/zwJFLhUWl8

* Rohrabacher, R-Costa Mesa, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, and Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove

** Relevant comment with my geographical additions to make it easy to know if you know anyone in these districts:
Mark Field said...
Looks to me as though 5 might be flippable (Denham [Modesto] , Valadao [Bakersfield], Knight [Simi Valley], Royce [Fullerton] and Walters [Irvine]). Nunes and Calvert would be outside shots. We need callers within those districts most of all, but I think anyone in CA can call those offices and, in an angry voice, promise to contribute lots of money to their opponents and do everything possible to defeat them if they vote to take away our deductions and raise our taxes.
Also from @M_SullivanTax: JCT estimate of reinstating corporate AMT in floor amendment may be way too low. "Keeping Corporate AMT May Swallow up Many Reform Benefits." Unfortunately, I can't get through the paywall on taxnotes.com to read more. But it seems like this corporate AMT fight, along with SALT, are the most likely things to undermine or splinter support for the tax bill among Republicans, so it seems like an issue to watch.
posted by salvia at 7:39 AM on December 5 [12 favorites]


The Detroit News: Rep. Conyers: ‘I’m retiring today’
He endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to succeed him in Congress.
This is so infuriating and I'm feeling really stabby right now.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:42 AM on December 5 [16 favorites]


Elections Are the Key, Even If You Think Impeachment Will Save Us
In a New Republic piece today, Jeet Heer writes about what he calls "The Democrats’ Dangerous Obsession with Impeachment." I don't think it's dangerous to hope for impeachment, but it's dangerous to believe that impeachment will come easily or quickly. [...]

A simple majority is needed to impeach in the House, but it takes a two-thirds majority to convict in the Senate. Republicans control both houses now -- if Democrats vote as a bloc (not a certainty), you'd need 22 Republican votes in the House right now to impeach and 19 Republican votes in the Senate to convict. Heer is right to say that GOP defections seem less likely than they might have early in Trump's term: [...]

And this is before Trump has managed to get any major legislation passed. I think a consensus is forming on the right, even among those who've been skeptical of Trump, that he's developing into a pretty great right-wing president. Here's something Rich Lowry published this week at the formerly anti-Trump National Review: [...]

Soon you're going to start reading op-eds from more and more conservatives who've been on the fence about Trump describing him as a highly successful president and the best president since Reagan. That'll be conventional wisdom on the right. Congressional Republicans aren't going to jump off the bandwagon under those circumstances. [...]

Here's something that seems obvious to me: The party's refusal to abandon Moore proves that the release of the pee tape, if it exists, would have absolutely no long-term effect on Republican support for Trump. If you won't abandon a man who's credibly accused of groping young teenagers, then why would you abandon a man who watched prostitutes urinate for sexual gratification? I can just hear the Bible Belters now: If I wanted to elect a perfect person, I'd write in Jesus Christ. Of course the pee tape won't change anything.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:44 AM on December 5 [39 favorites]


Since that Wall Street Journal op-ed is behind a paywall, the Huffington Post has a breakdown. In case anyone from outside the US isn't familiar with the Journal, it leans right-wing/conservative and also called for Mueller's removal in October. Of note:
In addition to the seething editorials, the newspaper has also published a series of opinion pieces from contributors attacking the Mueller probe, including one that accused the investigation of “imperil[ing] the rule of law.”

The Journal board’s conservative lean has been long-documented, but the election of Trump has reportedly created an internal newsroom struggle about how to cover the presidency, particularly as Mueller’s investigation has ramped up. Reports have surfaced that some staff are frustrated with Gerard Baker, the editor-in-chief, who is said to have pushed more commentary that’s defensive of the president.

Rupert Murdoch, who is known as a friend of Trump’s, owns the paper.

posted by zarq at 7:45 AM on December 5 [17 favorites]


Read as "WSJ and Republicans Confirm That Mueller's Uncovering Meaningful Stuff"
posted by delfin at 7:50 AM on December 5 [69 favorites]


Heer is right. Its pretty stark now that Trump has been completely, fully embraced by the mainstream Republican establishment. He's not an outsider. The party loves him.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:53 AM on December 5 [9 favorites]


How many weekday mornings have gone by without a tweet from Donald Trump? Given the news of the past couple of days, anyone else find this ominous?
posted by scarylarry at 8:01 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Or maybe they just took away John Dowd’s phone.
posted by scarylarry at 8:02 AM on December 5 [14 favorites]


The only thing good about that bullshit WSJ piece is it strengthened my resolve to mercilessly unload on anyone who still thinks reading the WSJ is somehow a marker of intelligence.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:03 AM on December 5 [17 favorites]


How many weekday mornings have gone by without a tweet from Donald Trump? Given the news of the past couple of days, anyone else find this ominous?

Well, his pattern is not to tweet on the day of really bad news, but he can only hold off between 24-48 hours before he has to spew all the venom. Granted, he could also just be distracted or whatever. His aides try hard to distract him. Could be totally nothing. But that's his pattern.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:15 AM on December 5 [5 favorites]


Impeachment fetishists seem to think that the overriding problem of American politics is that Trump is president.

The entire essay has Heer setting up and arguing against strawmen of his own creation. There's little to no evidence that people in favor of impeachment think that removing Trump would be a magic salve to save America from Republicans. Who has said that? Everyone who brings up the subject seems to be perfectly well aware that he'd be replaced by Pence, an evangelical Dominionist Republican. Everyone seems to realize that Congress is run by the GOP. Everyone knows we have a long-term problem. But we also have a short-term one that we probably need to take action to solve.

We have a President who is an unstable liar. Who is so insecure and self-obsessed that we quite have no idea if he's going to nuke North Korea and start a war because Kim Jong Un called him a name. We have a President who is getting into arguments with American citizens because he has no self-control and is frankly, a complete asshole.

If he has committed treason, there is no good reason not to fire his ass.
posted by zarq at 8:19 AM on December 5 [63 favorites]


Very clever. The GOP is solving the Saturday Night Massacre problem by making Mueller's removal appear to be a groundswell. If this succeeds, kiss our democracy buh-bye.

Apparently we're going to get rid of the rule of law because some guy named Strzok texted "trump is a real shitface" to his girlfriend.
posted by dis_integration at 8:32 AM on December 5 [22 favorites]


Rupert Murdoch, who is known as a friend of Trump’s, owns the paper.

Murdoch, the Dirty Digger, and Trump have known each other for more than 40 years: Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch: inside the billionaire bromance (Grauniad, long read)
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:33 AM on December 5 [9 favorites]


Fuck wsj OP Ed is saying Mueller should step down can't link it on my phone

This is part of a classic Murdoch operation, and only a later stage at that.

WJS Editorial: Mueller’s Credibility Problem—The special counsel is stonewalling Congress and protecting the FBI. TL/DR: They're supporting House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes feud with Rod Rosenstein and DoJ over former Mueller team member Peter Strzok's anti-Trump tweets for which he was reassigned.

This follows last night's Fox News hysteria, with Tucker Carlson first up with a spin on the Flynndictment that it exceeds Mueller's brief because it covered the transition and not the election; then Hannity upping the ante, inveighing against Deep State illegal Surveillance and then claiming Strzok was the one to have interviewed Flynn, before moving on to a feeding-frenzy roundtable with Jeanine Pirro, who wants a special counsel appointed to investigate Mueller, and Dan Bongino, who just wants him fired; and finally, Laura Ingraham eases down the audience with a comparatively sober segment calling the appearance of partisanship in Mueller probe "Unacceptable, Disgusting and Unfair".*

And that morning, the Murdoch-owned New York Post published an Op-Ed by Rich Lowry: Flynn’s Russia contacts were no crime and no scandal.

This is standard operating procedure for a Murdoch operation coordinated among News Corp outlets, with his tabloids and TV "commentators" ginning up controversy, his mainstream outlets slipstreaming behind the waves they make.

* (hat-tip to Tom Nichols‏ @RadioFreeTom, who, after live-tweeting Fox News last night, wrote, "I have rarely seen a left-wing propagandist attack the American system of government, and firehose American citizens with sheer paranoia, as hard as Sean Hannity is doing right now. The horseshoe theory is a fact.")
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:34 AM on December 5 [61 favorites]


if Democrats vote as a bloc (not a certainty), you'd need 22 Republican votes in the House right now to impeach and 19 Republican votes in the Senate to convict

I've seen a few articles in the last week or so making this argument, but who's really expecting the current Congress to impeach? Make it a campaign issue, win the elections next year, then impeach. It would be the mandated will of the people.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:35 AM on December 5 [3 favorites]


The horseshoe theory is a fact.

Sean Hannity defending Trump against his critics by promoting paranoid conspiracy theories is not proof of the horseshoe theory.
posted by zarq at 8:42 AM on December 5 [19 favorites]


Detailed timeline from TPM: Trump Officials Repeatedly Pushed Flynn’s Bogus Story Of Russia Contacts
As court filings and emails emerge from the Mueller probe and dogged reporting, Trump officials who denied that Michael Flynn would stoop to renegotiating the outgoing administration’s sanctions on Russia turn out to have been privately informed of Flynn’s pre-inauguration diplomacy in real time.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:46 AM on December 5 [13 favorites]


[A few comments deleted; let's not go down the path of "surely this"/"the GOP is over"/"no it's not" and so on; the magic-8-ball is cloudy at this time, ask again later.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:07 AM on December 5 [22 favorites]


The German business newspaper Handelsblatt broke this story today: Mueller's Trump-Russia Investigation Engulfs Deutsche

Reuters has some background sources on this story: Deutsche Bank gets subpoena from Mueller on Trump accounts: source
A U.S. official with knowledge of Mueller’s probe said one reason for the subpoenas was to find out whether Deutsche Bank may have sold some of Trump’s mortgage or other loans to Russian state development bank VEB or other Russian banks that now are under U.S. and European Union sanctions.

Holding such debt, particularly if some of it was or is coming due, could potentially give Russian banks some leverage over Trump, especially if they are state-owned, said a second U.S. official familiar with Russian intelligence methods.

“One obvious question is why Trump and those around him expressed interest in improving relations with Russia as a top foreign policy priority, and whether or not any personal considerations played any part in that,” the second official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
(My working hypothesis is that this leak originally came from the German end, either DB or its supporters in Frankfurt/Berlin, but now the Feds or Capitol Hill are willing to provide context.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:12 AM on December 5 [9 favorites]


I think there's a nontrivial possibility of a run on Deutsche, and/or failure by desertion of those whose funds are sunlight-phobic, from this news, either soon or as things dribble out.

That would raise interesting questions of whether the US and its taxpayers should prop up a bank whose failure resulted from the (presumably) illicit personal dealings of its own president, and who would then benefit from any propping-up. Emoluments, writ large.
posted by Dashy at 9:23 AM on December 5 [3 favorites]


Who Lied to Who When and Why It Barely Matters (Josh Marshall, TPM)
We now know that during the multiple calls Flynn had with Kislyak in the last days of December he not only notified his colleagues but actively solicited and received their input in real time. As the Flynn plea agreement lays out, Flynn called KT McFarland at Mar-a-Lago to discuss the sanctions calls with her. She in turn solicited the opinions of other senior transition officials with her to share with Flynn. Contemporaneous records suggest these officials, who go unnamed in the plea document, included Stephen Miller, Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus. Concluding the series of calls with Kislyak on December 31st, Flynn again called into Mar-a-Lago and spoke not only to McFarland but directly to “senior members of the Presidential Transition Team” about the sanctions calls.

What this tells us is that the nature of Flynn’s calls, specifically that they dealt with sanctions, were known widely among Trump’s top advisors: McFarland, Conway, Bannon, Miller, Priebus and certainly others. Given this fact it is hard to believe that Trump and Pence didn’t know the details as well. Even if Trump and Pence didn’t know (as unlikely as that may be), each of those people knew as soon as Pence gave his public assurances that these assurances were false.

Again, note: This is not speculation. This is not based on journalistic accounts. It’s based on the Flynn plea agreement and contemporaneous pool reports which detailed which top advisors the transition team said were with the President on the days in question handling the foreign policy transition. [...]

We shouldn’t. Trump’s top advisors knew the true nature of the calls and repeatedly lied about it to reporters. This is the only plausible read of the the current evidence. They allowed Pence’s false statements to stand for weeks, which amounts to a furtherance of those lies.

We’re simply not dealing with something the key people found out in late January. This was a cover-up, a string of publicly verified deceptions that went back to the beginning of the month.
The fact that so many of the top officials in the transition team knew about the nature of Flynn's calls to Kislyak paints a pretty damning picture of DJT and Mike Pence. Either they were so out-of-the-loop with their teams that they had no idea what anyone was doing OR they did know and didn't care. Either way, neither Trump nor Pence is fit to hold any public office.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 9:27 AM on December 5 [57 favorites]


Also from @M_SullivanTax: JCT estimate of reinstating corporate AMT in floor amendment may be way too low. "Keeping Corporate AMT May Swallow up Many Reform Benefits." Unfortunately, I can't get through the paywall on taxnotes.com to read more.

Some quotes from the article:
“Everyone was taken by surprise by the retention of the corporate alternative minimum tax,” Eric Solomon of EY said. “Taxpayers have been scrambling to understand the implications for them,” he said, adding that “questions that have never been asked before are being asked.”

“The whole concept of an AMT is predicated on there being a rate differential . . . and when you have a 20 percent rate for both regular tax and AMT purposes, the AMT just doesn’t work like it’s supposed to,” Michael Mollerus of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP said.

“When you are repealing [the corporate AMT] initially as part of current law, you don’t lose that much money because you have a high 35 percent tax rate. If you were to reinstate it after lowering the corporate rate to 20 percent and creating several new deductions, it raises a lot more when you put it back in at the end,” Drew Lyon of PwC said. Lyon expressed some skepticism about the “rather quick” mirror image score the JCT gave the provision’s retention, given the unavailability of many credits under the AMT, including the research credit.

Lyon said the explicit exclusion of the new 100 percent [dividends received deduction] would be “a technical item” that needed correction. Mollerus added that since the AMT would undo 75 percent of the benefit of moving to a territorial system, he was “cautiously optimistic” that interaction between the two provisions would be rectified.
posted by melissasaurus at 9:29 AM on December 5 [9 favorites]


We need a few op-eds about "What Will President Pence Do When He Takes Office?" to push the president into tweetstorm panic and a lot of claims of "he was involved; he knew it all; he arranged everything and I just made speeches. It was all his plan."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:33 AM on December 5 [86 favorites]


If you won't abandon a man who's credibly accused of groping young teenagers, then why would you abandon a man who watched prostitutes urinate for sexual gratification?

This argument had been bugging me for a while, because it's like saying "If you like liver, how could you not like chocolate?" There are, demonstrably, ample numbers of people who are okay with Donald Trump's sexual assault but not okay with, say, homosexuality, and it's not because they have no morality. It's because they have a particular morality, a moral lens.

Consent is not part of that moral lens, when it comes to sex. It's just not relevant. They classify sexual acts based on whether God says it's okay, and whether it supports or degrades social heirarchies.

Or maybe not. Whether or not I've explained it properly, this phenomenon exists. People are okay with assaults against women but not okay with sexual"perversion".
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 9:34 AM on December 5 [31 favorites]


...and an SNL skit with him measuring drapes.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:34 AM on December 5 [11 favorites]


Loony leftist uprising report : No wonder we hate capitalism NYT Opinion Page
posted by The Whelk at 9:39 AM on December 5 [15 favorites]


Either way, neither Trump nor Pence is fit to hold any public office.

Which is, quite literally, the reason they're in the Oval Office now.

They are the very apotheosis of the Republican ideal, heads of government who are incapable of governance appointing people who are equally incapable of governance. Modern "conservatives" don't want a federal government at all; they've said so, in a very loud voice pitched to break windows, for decades. Government is always the problem. Drown government in a bathtub. The worst phrase in the English language is "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." Vote in the craziest son of a bitch you can, maybe an actor or a rank outsider because he's not One of Them, he's not a Politician, he Tells It Like It Is, he'll Tear The Whole Damn Thing Down. When they tell you who and what they are and repeat it over and over, believe them.

Now, there are some career conservatives who are a bit alarmed by all of this because they understand that some sausage simply must get made, some government is inevitable and needed, and letting the ding-dongs run the show is a recipe for disaster. These broken clocks are irrelevant to the ding-dong base because they didn't pay any attention to the likes of Bill Kristol or Jennifer Rubin when they WERE on their side.
posted by delfin at 9:42 AM on December 5 [46 favorites]


People are okay with assaults against women

and children! but you're right, disgust is different from outrage and contempt is a third thing that factors in sometimes. like Anthony Weiner was only mildly disgusting and mildly outrageous until he started doing what he did without permission or consent. but he made himself pathetic and that made the consequences permanent. I think very few people were either disgusted or really outraged at him for sexually harassing teens and women, and only a few more really minded him mistreating his wife, but very many people found it impossible to respect him or take him seriously as an authority figure. and people do want their male public servants to role-play dominant authority figures. I wish it were only Republicans, but it's not. the main difference is Republicans want a mean dad but Democrats want a cool dad.

how anybody could ever have seen Trump as an authority or a father figure or a strong anything is completely beyond me, as is the desire to see any politically powerful man that way, so I can't really predict what would make people stop. he is already ludicrous and disgusting on a daily basis. but I suppose it is possible that for people who don't already see this, they might find their feelings changed by a sufficiently degrading sex tape. but it would have to be something they considered degrading and embarrassing to him. him degrading women or even female children would be a sign of power, and they would like it.
posted by queenofbithynia at 9:55 AM on December 5 [15 favorites]


So Reince Priebus was apparently in the calls where Flynn and/or his sycophants were disclosing the details of the contacting Kislyak. I find it incredibly interesting just how quiet he's been and how little he's been mentioned in the news media since being unceremoniously dumped out of the WH. I would not be at all surprised to learn that he's been spilling his guts out to Robert Mueller's team, because there's no way he didn't witness a bunch of potentially criminal behavior. I hope he pays dearly for his complicity in this fetid enterprise.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 9:56 AM on December 5 [60 favorites]


Yes, and one more thing, which is crucial: enough people must be willing to show up, in person, and refuse to back down.

"There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it—that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!" –Mario Savio
posted by entropicamericana at 9:58 AM on December 5 [31 favorites]


I would not be at all surprised to learn that he's been spilling his guts out to Robert Mueller's team, because there's no way he didn't witness a bunch of potentially criminal behavior.

Reince was never a True Believer, he was always an establishment Republican opportunist. He's also an attorney, so has at least a rough idea of what he'd be up against in Mueller. The fact that Trump treated him so poorly can't have helped.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:01 AM on December 5 [12 favorites]


All these supposed former never-Trumpers having a change of heart are proof that “the end justifies the means” might be the only consistent principle Republicans have, and that the whole thing was just face-saving bullshit they cooked up when it looked like he was going to lose and they didn’t want the Trump stink on them.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:04 AM on December 5 [5 favorites]


@mrbenwexler
THE RIGHT: Yeah he's a serial child molester but he'll confirm the guy I want on the Supreme Court

THE LEFT: Yeah she's good on global warming and tax policy and race relations and expanding healthcare to poor families but I can't vote for someone who gave paid speeches to Goldman
posted by chris24 at 10:04 AM on December 5 [199 favorites]


My point was more that disgust, outrage and contempt are not universal, and the way we classify things as "outrageous" and "disgusting" is also not universally agreed on.

There's a set of people for whom donald trump is not disgusting because their ideological and moral framework do not see his actions as disgusting. That doesn't mean that nothing will disgust them. In fact, some things that we find normal (like homosexuality) they will see as disgusting.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 10:09 AM on December 5 [5 favorites]


like Anthony Weiner was only mildly disgusting and mildly outrageous until he started doing what he did without permission or consent. but he made himself pathetic and that made the consequences permanent. I think very few people were either disgusted or really outraged at him for sexually harassing teens and women, and only a few more really minded him mistreating his wife, but very many people found it impossible to respect him or take him seriously as an authority figure. and people do want their male public servants to role-play dominant authority figures. I wish it were only Republicans, but it's not. the main difference is Republicans want a mean dad but Democrats want a cool dad.

Many of my friends lived in his district, and I now live there as well. It is a pretty solidly Democratic district. (Grace Meng is now our rep.)

Weiner sent explicit pictures of himself to a 17 year old (and we would later find out, a 15 year old.) The news that he mistreated his wife was taken by many of us as no surprise.

Anthony Weiner was not our dad. He was not an authority figure we craved. We don't elect our officials through BDSM role play here. He ran on and was elected as someone who would speak his mind and fight for us in Congress. And while he was in office, he did so. But he was someone elected into office who abused his power and sent inappropriate photos to children, then lied about it when confronted.

He doomed himself with the people who originally voted for him for that. Not for being humiliated. Not for being pathetic. They thought they were electing an adult with a strong sense of right and wrong. He wasn't.
posted by zarq at 10:21 AM on December 5 [28 favorites]


For a certain sizeable sector of American disgust voters, the most disgusting thing that happened in all of human history is that We Had A Black President. For these people, if Trump wanted to pay women to pee on the bed where the Obamas slept to reenact its defilement, sure, okay--the bed was ruined, anyway. It's in the same spirit that he's busily hacking miles off monuments and destroying health care and rolling back every accomplishment Obama made that he can get his hands on. If it exists at all, that pee tape is nothing to do with sexual perversion. It's just more of Trump's bottom-denominator kindergarten vengeance.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:24 AM on December 5 [46 favorites]


apropos of nothing, @scaramucci recently followed me on twitter. what fresh hell have i stepped into??
posted by waitangi at 10:36 AM on December 5 [34 favorites]


New Quinnipiac poll:
American voters disapprove of the tax plan 53 - 29 percent, the independent Quinnipiac University Poll finds. Republicans approve of the plan 67 - 10 percent, the only party, gender, education, age or racial group listed to approve. White men are divided as 40 percent approve and 42 percent disapprove. [...]

In the wake of the Republican tax plan, American voters say 47 - 39 percent that the Democratic Party can do a better job handling taxes. Voters have been divided on this question in the past. [...]

-Voters say 55 - 32 percent that the Democratic Party can do a better job on health care.
-56 - 34 percent that Democrats can do a better job "fighting for the working class;"
-51 - 37 percent that Democrats can do a better job "representing your values."

American voters say 50 - 36 percent, including 44 - 36 percent among independent voters that they would like the Democrats to win control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018. Voters also say 51 - 37 percent, including 45 - 38 percent among independent voters, that they would like Democrats to win control of the U.S. Senate in 2018.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:37 AM on December 5 [55 favorites]


apropos of nothing, @scaramucci recently followed me on twitter. what fresh hell have i stepped into??

Eh, I wouldn't worry about it, he'll probably be gone in like 10 days.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:24 AM on December 5 [90 favorites]




@VP surprises me. Has he ever made a comment of interest? Maybe people thought it was the TV show.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:08 PM on December 5 [6 favorites]


Trump hasn't made an announcement about Jerusalem yet, which is arguably making things even worse. Their actions right now seem astonishingly consistent with trying to provoke violence. The US Embassy in Israel with a warning:
With widespread calls for demonstrations beginning December 6 in Jerusalem and the West Bank, U.S. government employees and their family members are not permitted until further notice to conduct personal travel in Jerusalem’s Old City and in the West Bank, to include Bethlehem and Jericho. Official travel by U.S. government employees in Jerusalem’s Old City and in the West Bank is permitted only to conduct essential travel and with additional security measures. United States citizens should avoid areas where crowds have gathered and where there is increased police and/or military presence. We recommend that U.S. citizens take into consideration these restrictions and the additional guidance contained in the Department of State’s travel warning for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza when making decisions regarding their travel.
The Summer Zervos hearing is quite the happening, via @marygeorgant:
Trump’s attorneys have sought to have the suit dismissed or delayed until after his presidency. They said Zervos’ lawsuit is “politically motivated.”
Trump's lawyer Marc Kasowitz says today's motion to dismiss the defamation lawsuit "has nothing to do with putting anyone above the law."
Trump's lawyer argues that state court does not have jurisdiction over the president of the US. Zervos' lawyer says "What better court to hear a defamation claim against a born and bred New Yorker who made defamatory statements in Midtown"
Zervos' lawyers says a delay of potentially 7 years could result in a loss of evidence and deterioration of parties' memory. Lawyers want to make sure docs are preserved. "We have the right to proceed."
Zervos' lawyer says she understands the presidency is a 24/7 job but like any human he doesn't do his job 24/7. "We can take a deposition at Mar a Lago" while he’s there to play golf, attorney Mariann Meier Wang says.
This bit of the Pence article in the Atlantic, linked upthread, stands out:
Murphy told me another story about Pence that has stayed with him. During their sophomore year, the Phi Gamma Delta house found itself perpetually on probation. The movie Animal House had recently come out, and the fraternity brothers were constantly re-creating their favorite scenes, with toga parties, outlandish pranks, and other miscellaneous mischief. Most vexing to the school’s administration was their violation of Hanover’s strict alcohol prohibition. The Phi Gams devised elaborate schemes to smuggle booze into the house, complete with a network of campus lookouts. Pence was not a particularly hard partyer, but he gamely presided over these efforts, and when things went sideways he was often called upon to smooth things over with the adults.

One night, during a rowdy party, Pence and his fraternity brothers got word that an associate dean was on his way to the house. They scrambled to hide the kegs and plastic cups, and then Pence met the administrator at the door.

“We know you’ve got a keg,” the dean told Pence, according to Murphy. Typically when scenes like this played out, one of the brothers would take the fall, claiming that all the alcohol was his and thus sparing the house from formal discipline. Instead, Pence led the dean straight to the kegs and admitted that they belonged to the fraternity. The resulting punishment was severe. “They really raked us over the coals,” Murphy said. “The whole house was locked down.” Some of Pence’s fraternity brothers were furious with him—but he managed to stay on good terms with the administration. Such good terms, in fact, that after he graduated, in 1981, the school offered him a job in the admissions office.
posted by zachlipton at 12:11 PM on December 5 [52 favorites]


Politico: Russia barred from 2018 Winter Olympics due to doping.

As part of the ban...individual Russian athletes with clean histories of thorough drug testing could still compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics, scheduled to begin next February in Pyeongchang, South Korea. They will not be allowed to wear Russian uniforms, however, and Russian government officials are barred from attending the 2018 Games.

This is not a small thing. It's a bigger deal for Russia than here--not just because it's hitting them specifically, but also because the Olympics are a bigger deal there (from what I understand, anyway). Especially for Putin. World-stage sports is one of his things.

Curious to see if Trump says anything on this at all. If it was anyone else being hit, I imagine he'd gloat. It's too good a chance to be a dick just for the hell of it. But this is Putin.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:14 PM on December 5 [29 favorites]


Ah, and here it is. Chris Geidner and Dominic Holden have their write-up on the Masterpiece Cakeshop case at the Supreme Court today: The Supreme Court Wants To Know: What Happens If This Baker Can Refuse To Sell A Cake To A Gay Couple?:
Justice Sonia Sotomayor questioned why — even if there is a line to be drawn — the cake baker should be on the exempted side of the line. "The primary purpose of any food is to be eaten," she said. "There are sandwich artists," she said, but a sandwich-maker does't claim to create a First Amendment-protected lunch.
And an Israel update, again, from Bloomberg: Trump Plans 6-Month Waiver on Embassy Move to Jerusalem:
President Donald Trump is planning to sign a six-month waiver on moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, according to a person familiar with the plan.

His plan is to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but the construction timeline is uncertain.
If he's going to not do anything, can he fucking get on with not doing anything before people get hurt? Unless that's what he wants.
posted by zachlipton at 12:18 PM on December 5 [16 favorites]


The waiver for the Embassy move is simply because they are all too incompetent to even know how to begin the process and the State Department is too understaffed to help them if they even wanted to.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:20 PM on December 5 [14 favorites]


Zervos' lawyers says a delay of potentially 7 years could result in a loss of evidence and deterioration of parties' memory.

Fortunately President Trump has "one of the greatest memories of all time."
posted by kirkaracha at 12:21 PM on December 5 [3 favorites]


T.D. Strange: "Mayor Jim Gray of Lexington, Kentucky announces run against Andy Barr (KY-6). It's a PVI R+9 district, but has elected a Democrat in the not too distant past. Gray is popular in Lexington and is probably the strongest possible candidate despite his blowout loss to Rand Paul in the 2016 Senate race, he won 51% of the district."

This is anecdotal, but Dems seem to be getting a lot of very strong candidates for House races.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:23 PM on December 5 [16 favorites]


Politico: Russia barred from 2018 Winter Olympics due to doping.

Curious to see if Trump says anything on this at all.


Would be a larf if he took to Twitter to threaten a boycott. Might be the one thing to finally turn the corporations against him.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:27 PM on December 5 [7 favorites]


> The entire essay has Heer setting up and arguing against strawmen of his own creation. There's little to no evidence that people in favor of impeachment think that removing Trump would be a magic salve to save America from Republicans. Who has said that? [...] If he has committed treason, there is no good reason not to fire his ass.

The position you're saying is a straw man is where Heer claims that people think the "overriding problem" is that Trump is President, and I can say for certain I've heard/read that opinion expressed by many people -- in real life, in mainstream media, and from online sources. Heer acknowledges the danger of Trump many times in the piece -- he just believes impeachment cannot happen with Congress as presently constituted, and I agree with that based on what we've seen so far. Heer cites examples of people focusing too much, in his view, on something that (a) can't happen now because Republicans don't give a fuck, and (b) wouldn't do anything to mitigate the harm being done by the rest of the party.

Heer's use of "impeachment fetishists" is unnecessarily derogatory, and certainly most people aware of the harm that Pence and a GOP Congress would cause, but what I believe hes getting at in his piece, particularly the second half of it, is that it's important to attack root causes as we try to attack symptoms, and to prioritize the allocation of finite resources to maximize the chance that we stop Trump and the reckless band of opportunists and zealots that will support him for as long as he's willing to sign their horrible legislation.

Which is all to say that I think quoting that single sentence from Heet's piece divorces it from the context in important ways. I'm happy to engage more on some of the specifics here if you'd like -- and if it comports with the mood of the room and the newer moderation protocols for megathreads -- but I think waving it away as a straw man is a bit unfair. Just because people know Trump isn't the only problem doesn't mean they are as aware as they ought to be of the many other problems, or of the fact that the problem they're focused on the most (Trump) can't be stopped without solving some of those problems, absent far more explosive details from Mueller's investigation than we've seen so far.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:33 PM on December 5 [6 favorites]


> @Evan_McMullin
.@SykesCharlie: We are seeing the crack-up of one of the nation’s two major political parties. The GOP was once the party of Buckley, Reagan and McCain. Today, Trump is the face of what the GOP has become. Moore is the face of what it is becoming.


The Damage Trump Has Done: He has conquered the party of Reagan and is fulfilling a dream of the hard right – the demolition of government
Except for Trump, the GOP looked in 2016 as if it might be on the verge of cracking up from the internal tensions born of its decades-long radicalization. Instead, Trump seized upon those tensions, exacerbated them and captured the hearts of the vast majority of Republicans, screaming a post-Reagan conservatism that is not conservative at all and a right-wing populism serving the interests of racketeerism. Historically, these kinds of party transformations are very difficult to reverse. They would seem all the more difficult now, with a charismatic leader whose every outrage reinforces his appeal. And if Trump succeeds in building his own version of a mafia state, America, once a beacon to all the world, Reagan's shining city, will more closely resemble Putin's Moscow.
posted by homunculus at 12:38 PM on December 5 [23 favorites]


Curious to see if Trump says anything on this at all.

Would be a larf if he took to Twitter to threaten a boycott. Might be the one thing to finally turn the corporations against him.


The prospect I dread is seeing the President of the United States defending the practice of doping. I'd put actual money on "everybody does it" and "what's the big deal?" soundbites before this is over. He's ignorant as fuck, he pathologically cheats his way through everything in life, and he can't stand to be criticized, so he won't like seeing anyone else called out for cheating. This is totally something he'd do. Plus when this is about Putin, one of the few people he won't mock or criticize at any opportunity? Ugh.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:42 PM on December 5 [21 favorites]


Frankly, the Olympics are the one institution I'm totally okay with our moronic President destroying. The scale of graft, abuse, and wasteful spending of the Olympics is only outshined by its utility in burnishing authoritarian regimes with an air of legitimacy.
posted by Existential Dread at 12:46 PM on December 5 [64 favorites]


The prospect I dread is seeing the President of the United States defending the practice of doping. I'd put actual money on "everybody does it" and "what's the big deal?" soundbites before this is over.

That clashes hard with his "we're gonna crack down on those evil heroin dealers" stance. He's anti-drug; he's always had doctors who'd prescribe him anything he needed (or wanted) for medical purposes, and he doesn't have the imagination to look for recreational uses. However, I can see him saying, "this is totally unfair! Throw out a few law-breakers; no reason to punish the whole country for that!"
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:10 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Frankly, the Olympics are the one institution I'm totally okay with our moronic President destroying.

Olympics sports fan here: My first thought (aside from how this'll affect athletes inside & outside of Russia) was wow, when the corrupt old IOC gives the appearance, at least, of having more balls than the Republican Congress WRT Russian interference.

Would be a larf if he took to Twitter to threaten a boycott.Might be the one thing to finally turn the corporations against him.

Yeah, and NBC, which is questionable on its support of serious political journalists, while keeping the likes of Sochi-Sex-Assaulter Lauer for so long, has the b-cast rights. My head spins.

(And of course, in a further twist, *location* of said Olympics ties back to a serious geopolitical situation being inflamed by unhinged Benedict Donald.)
posted by NorthernLite at 1:11 PM on December 5 [6 favorites]




The position you're saying is a straw man is where Heer claims that people think the "overriding problem" is that Trump is President,

Nah. That's just what I highlighted.

I think he's being overwrought and making a lot of assumptions about the motives of his audience and the people he's quoting. I only linked that one sentence, but I could have linked half the article. He repeatedly says that people are not paying attention to the larger problem, without evidence. Sure we are. A couple of op-eds are not evidence. Neither is someone dropping their 280-character hot take on Twitter. Plenty of talk shows and podcasts are discussing Trump, the Republican Party and the possibility of impeachment realistically. So are many internet forums, including us, in these threads.

This idea he presents that people think that it's going to magically happen quickly is ridiculous. Who thinks that? I can't name a single person who thinks impeachment is likely to happen without delay. The few congresscritters who are presenting it are trying to send a message to the administration, not because they think 40+ Republicans are going to sign up to impeach. The lay people advocating for it know the numbers are working against it.

So why are they doing it? Symbolism. We have a President who is so image-obsessed that he trashes anyone who disagrees with him or insults him. Puncturing his ego through symbolism in any way isn't a bad strategy. It distracts him. It makes him look weak and threatened. Even if the effort were to go nowhere it would have an effect.

and I can say for certain I've heard/read that opinion expressed by many people -- in real life, in mainstream media, and from online sources. Heer acknowledges the danger of Trump many times in the piece -- he just believes impeachment cannot happen with Congress as presently constituted, and I agree with that based on what we've seen so far.

Of course you agree. That's not the point. Who amongst us believes impeachment is a likely, realistic outcome right this second? Lots of people have written op-eds and essays about impeachment being unlikely right now. Most of them manage to do it without implying their audience are ignorant idiots. I'm probably reading the same things you are.

that it's important to attack root causes as we try to attack symptoms,

This is a natural reflex, considering that a large part of this administration's strategy has been to throw all sorts of bullshit at the general public to distract them from real problems. To sow chaos in a media environment reports but does not prioritize important news from meaningless news.

However, it is in fact possible and desirable for us to spend time attacking actual problems through multiple vectors without spreading ourselves too thin. Reflexively saying, "we need to focus all of our attention on what really matters" is traditionally how Democrats lose battles. The administration would like to fill the airwaves with the President being an asshole again to distract people from the GOP's latest efforts to fuck them over. But they are also attacking democracy in quite a few ways, and restricting ourselves to just one battle means we lose the war.

So yes, going on the attack is needed. Targeting Trump directly because we have learned that he is pathetically insecure and can't handle it.

It's possible to be a part of get out the vote efforts and campaign for good candidates while also pushing Republicans and Trump off balance. Turnabout is fair play.
posted by zarq at 1:15 PM on December 5 [11 favorites]


If he's going to not do anything, can he fucking get on with not doing anything before people get hurt? Unless that's what he wants.

Trump will seize any straw to express contempt for minorities, and this is a big straw.

If it radicalizes people and leads to violence he can glory in and politicize, that makes it better for him. As per his Muslim ban and his response to the Quebec City mosque killings.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:16 PM on December 5 [4 favorites]


AFP White House Correspondent Andrew Beatty reports that a source is telling him Manafort's Deutsche Bank records were subpoenaed.

It's unclear to me whether this is in addition to the reported Trump subpoena or whether this is another case of misreporting involving Trump/Russia. For many reasons, I hope it's the former. But it sounds like it may be the latter.
posted by scarylarry at 1:29 PM on December 5 [7 favorites]


Historically, these kinds of party transformations are very difficult to reverse. They would seem all the more difficult now, with a charismatic leader whose every outrage reinforces his appeal. And if Trump succeeds in building his own version of a mafia state, America, once a beacon to all the world, Reagan's shining city, will more closely resemble Putin's Moscow.

Yeah, I'm going to need to see more than one aberrant election to call this a trend. A bunch of frog-marched imprisoned lackeys and a trouncing in 2018 might take a bit of the bloom off the orange.

Also, I'm not sure if I'd call the lowest approval rating of any new President in recorded history particularly charismatic.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:35 PM on December 5 [15 favorites]


Preet Bharara, who is for good reason fairly well regarded, pushes back pretty strongly in his Flynn quick-reaction podcast against the current accepted interpretation of the Flynn plea which is to see it as a sweetheart deal in return for his cooperation and that there are other more serious crimes he could have been charged with.

Bharara says that nobody he knows with a lot of experience in the system believes that to be the case despite basically every analyst on television accepting it as a given.

The other two options which Bharara sees as possibilities are, first, that the single count of lying is indeed the most serious crime they can prove Flynn committed at this juncture and the plea indicates Mueller's team doesn't have a lot on Flynn or second that, unusually, Flynn will be pleading out in stages because they don't want him to publicly plead to things which could implicate high profile people and cast a shadow on them with no guarantee that Mueller's team will ever have enough evidence to charge those people.

There's a lot of emotional incentive for us to believe the "sweetheart deal in return for taking down the Trumpers" narrative which is one reason we should maintain skepticism. Bharara is one of the few people who has firsthand experience with this sort of thing and he disbelieves this scenario fairly strongly.
posted by Justinian at 1:37 PM on December 5 [58 favorites]


Oh, Bharara never says which of options 2 and 3 (no stronger evidence against Flynn or an unusual and uncommon tactical move because of the high profile nature of this case) he believes only that he thinks the sweetheart deal theory is wrong.
posted by Justinian at 1:39 PM on December 5


Jeff Flake just tweeted his $100 donation to the Doug Jones campaign with the message "Country over Party."

If you're wondering how he felt after today's photo-op with Trump, the damage turns out to be precisely quantifiable: $100.
posted by zachlipton at 1:46 PM on December 5 [46 favorites]


$100 is okay. Yes he could have done way more. But $100 is relatable. $100 is 'I gave $100 and you can too'
posted by ian1977 at 1:49 PM on December 5 [27 favorites]


It's unclear to me whether this is in addition to the reported Trump subpoena or whether this is another case of misreporting involving Trump/Russia. For many reasons, I hope it's the former. But it sounds like it may be the latter.

It seems to me that the fact that Trump hasn't tweeted a genuine Trump bonkers tweet since yesterday is proof positive that the bank record subpoenas are real and they're hunkered down in war mode in the whitehouse.
posted by dis_integration at 1:51 PM on December 5 [12 favorites]


And really any amount of donation to the opposing party is a radical act.
posted by Jpfed at 1:51 PM on December 5 [37 favorites]


I might believe Flake values "country over party" if he'd voted against the tax scam. As it is, I'm seeing that he values the innocence of 14-year-old girls a couple of decades ago over the safety, education, and future employment opportunities of 14-year-old girls today.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:55 PM on December 5 [61 favorites]


Trump thought it was ‘low class’ for Pence to bring pets to VP residence: report (Avery Anapol, The Hill)
The adviser told The Atlantic Trump told his secretary that he thought it was “low class” for the Pences to bring their pets to the Naval Observatory.

“He was embarrassed by it, he thought it was so low class,” the adviser said, according to the publication. “He thinks the Pences are yokels.”

At the time, the Pences had two cats, a rabbit named Marlon Bundo and a snake. After one of the cats died in June, the family adopted a new puppy and a kitten.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:01 PM on December 5 [27 favorites]


It's unclear to me whether this is in addition to the reported Trump subpoena or whether this is another case of misreporting involving Trump/Russia. For many reasons, I hope it's the former. But it sounds like it may be the latter.

Sekulow said: “We have confirmed that the news reports that the Special Counsel had subpoenaed financial records relating to the president are false. No subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources.”

The initial reports were "Trump and his family" (reuters) and "Trump-related" (Financial Times), so, the accounts could be Kushner's or Ivanka's or accounts either received payments from - those wouldn't necessarily be "financial records relating to the president."
posted by melissasaurus at 2:03 PM on December 5 [7 favorites]


MARLON BUNDO? Don't you dare make me like him.
posted by scarylarry at 2:03 PM on December 5 [72 favorites]


Yeah it's a BFD and I have no problem with the amount. My problem is that Sen. Flake professes to put the country over his party, yet routinely embraces his party's most harmful policies, ones that will harm millions of people.

He wants to be known as better than the rest of them just because he draws the line at child molesters. And the scary thing is that he's not entirely wrong for that.
posted by zachlipton at 2:04 PM on December 5 [19 favorites]


In what world would pets be low class? That makes no sense.
posted by mumimor at 2:08 PM on December 5 [11 favorites]


...In what world would pets be low class? That makes no sense.

...more evidence we are in the wrong timeline.
posted by mosk at 2:11 PM on December 5 [11 favorites]


This is particularly interesting in conjunction with the widely-known fact that Trump hates dogs.
posted by cybertaur1 at 2:11 PM on December 5 [5 favorites]


This is probably a clutter comment, but FWIW, Marlon Bundo has an instagram and it is adorable. Clearly one of the Pences has a knack for social and they have some very cute pets.

(You may now go back to being deeply unhappy about the current state of affairs.)
posted by bowtiesarecool at 2:12 PM on December 5 [12 favorites]


In what world would pets be low class? That makes no sense.

Nah it makes perfect sense for Trump. Just have to look at it from the perspective of a narcissist.

Trump hates animals. Trump would never have a pet. Trump considers himself to be a prime example of high class. Therefore people who have pets are not high class.
posted by Jalliah at 2:13 PM on December 5 [23 favorites]


BOOM. NBC News, Ken Dilanian and Natasha Lebedeva, Donald Trump Jr. asked Russian lawyer for info on Clinton Foundation
Donald Trump Jr. asked a Russian lawyer at the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting whether she had evidence of illegal donations to the Clinton Foundation, the lawyer told the Senate Judiciary Committee in answers to written questions obtained exclusively by NBC News.

The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, told the committee that she didn't have any such evidence, and that she believes Trump misunderstood the nature of the meeting after receiving emails from a music promoter promising incriminating information on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump's Democratic opponent.

Once it became apparent that she did not have meaningful information about Clinton, Trump seemed to lose interest, Veselnitskaya said, and the meeting petered out.
This is significantly, if not totally, at variance with the story Don Jr. told us about an "adoption" meeting once upon a time. Is Veselnitskaya telling the truth? I don't know, but that's an awfully good argument for not putting yourself in this position.
posted by zachlipton at 2:15 PM on December 5 [48 favorites]


My favorite sign at the Tuesdays with Toomey protest in Philly today: "fuck this shit"
posted by angrycat at 2:16 PM on December 5 [40 favorites]


The adviser told The Atlantic Trump told his secretary that he thought it was “low class” for the Pences to bring their pets to the Naval Observatory.

“He was embarrassed by it, he thought it was so low class,” the adviser said, according to the publication. “He thinks the Pences are yokels.”


This is a laughably nouveau-riche understanding of "class". True old-money aristocrats are all about living alongside their (pedigreed) animals and not giving a shit about potentially causing offence or inconvenience to those around them who might be put off by it.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:20 PM on December 5 [63 favorites]


True old-money aristocrats are all about living alongside their (pedigreed) animals and not giving a shit about potentially causing offence or inconvenience to those around them who might be put off by it.

the sign of good breeding is not understanding that most taxpayers don't have a horse masseuse
posted by murphy slaw at 2:23 PM on December 5 [44 favorites]


Former federal prosecutor Mark Osler, Star-Tribune: Robert Mueller's investigation: Understanding an expert at work
So how did this deal get made? For many people, their understanding of this crucial step in a complex criminal investigation is defined by what they have seen in movies and television dramas. On a show like “Law and Order,” witness/defendants often flip, and it is a simple process: The defense attorney makes an offer for a specific charge or sentence (for example, “manslaughter one” or “three years”) in exchange for cooperation, and the prosecutors accept. Then the new cooperator begins to spill out information. Crying often ensues.

The reality is almost always more complicated.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:34 PM on December 5 [8 favorites]


Extra hilarisad: Nearly every president until now has had some kind of pet or other animal that he/his family owns and lives in the White House with them. Calvin Coolidge owned a fucking antelope. So he's implicitly calling, e.g. Ronald Reagan a low-class yokel.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:38 PM on December 5 [26 favorites]


To be a little fair, it is kinda Beverly Hillbillies to bring the rabbits and snakes to the veep residence.

Ivanka and Bannon were both on the official invite list.
posted by benzenedream at 2:40 PM on December 5 [27 favorites]


I'm just surprised Mike Pence would allow an animal as phallic as a snake to live under the same roof as his wife and two daughters.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:41 PM on December 5 [44 favorites]


Honestly, the fact that Pence seems to have a menagerie makes him seem more human. And the fact that Trump thinks pets are low class further cements him as a pathetic nouveau riche social climber.
posted by elsietheeel at 2:44 PM on December 5 [22 favorites]


I know were trying our hardest not to clutter threads these days but this discussion of presidents and pets takes me back to last October (2016) when on a whitehouse tour I learned about

CALVIN COOLIDGES PET RACOON REBECCA, sent to him for his Christmas meal by the state of Mississippi in 1926. But never eaten and kept as a beloved domesticated pet.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:48 PM on December 5 [67 favorites]


McClatchy: The GOP’s controversial dual effort to revamp the health care system and tax code has convinced Democrats they should bluntly assail Republicans as the defenders of out-of-touch plutocrats, a message party operatives have already begun to poll-test, include in attacks ads, and use against vulnerable incumbents even before Saturday’s passage of the Senate GOP bill.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:56 PM on December 5 [49 favorites]


A carefully worded correction from the WSJ (except for the uncareful part where they spell Mueller's name wrong):
An earlier subheadline said a subpoena from special counsel Robert Muller’s office requested data and documents about President Trump’s accounts. The subpoena concerns people or entities close to Mr. Trump.
That's tantalizingly vague and could involve anything from, say, Manafort's accounts to the accounts of Trump's many business entities.

Retuers and Bloomberg are standing by their stories though.
posted by zachlipton at 2:56 PM on December 5 [9 favorites]


CALVIN COOLIDGES PET RACOON REBECCA, sent to him for his Christmas meal by the state of Mississippi in 1926. But never eaten and kept as a beloved domesticated pet.

well it's no billy possum
posted by entropicamericana at 2:58 PM on December 5 [3 favorites]


The GOP’s controversial dual effort to revamp the health care system and tax code has convinced Democrats they should bluntly assail Republicans as the defenders of out-of-touch plutocrats, a message party operatives have already begun to poll-test,

jesus christ democrats, you'd poll test running against al capone as "soft on crime"
posted by murphy slaw at 3:01 PM on December 5 [42 favorites]


Preet Bharara, who is for good reason fairly well regarded, pushes back pretty strongly in his Flynn quick-reaction podcast against the current accepted interpretation of the Flynn plea which is to see it as a sweetheart deal in return for his cooperation and that there are other more serious crimes he could have been charged with.

Bharara says that nobody he knows with a lot of experience in the system believes that to be the case despite basically every analyst on television accepting it as a given.


I don't know if the writers at Lawfare are considered "in the system," but they are certainly more qualified than your average TV analyst, and they think the "sweetheart deal" interpretation is exactly right.

That said, Bharara is absolutely worth listening to, and his interpretation is depressing as hell.
posted by diogenes at 3:01 PM on December 5 [10 favorites]


That's tantalizingly vague and could involve anything from, say, Manafort's accounts

I bet anything it's at least Manafort.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:01 PM on December 5


murphy slaw: "jesus christ democrats, you'd poll test running against al capone as "soft on crime""

I don't think that's a fair reaction to the story, which clearly was that Dems are intending to go full speed ahead with class warfare. You still want to poll test "Congressman Smith is raising your taxes to give to millionaires" versus "Congressman Smith is stealing money needed for Social Security" or whatever, to see what exact formulation works best.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:08 PM on December 5 [17 favorites]


E.W. Jackson, conservative firebrand, preparing U.S. Senate bid in Virginia

A Corey Stewart vs. EW Jackson primary in Virginia for the right to challenge Tim Kaine would be crazytown.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:09 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Grangousier: "If anyone can come up with anything more worth knowing about Benjamin Harrison I'd be very surprised indeed."

He was a pretty good president, by and large. He supported civil rights for African-Americans, civil service reforms, and anti-trust law. He was for assimilation of Native Americans, which certainly doesn't sound good now, but was the liberal position at the time (the right wing position was totally wiping out native populations).

He was also, of course, the grandson of William Henry Harrison.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:17 PM on December 5 [11 favorites]


This is a laughably nouveau-riche understanding of "class". True old-money aristocrats are [...]

Absolutely.. Aristocracy is easily defined by "I have all this money. What the F good is it if you won't do what I want?"
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 3:19 PM on December 5 [6 favorites]




This is a laughably nouveau-riche understanding of "class". True old-money aristocrats are [...]

Absolutely.. Aristocracy is easily defined by "I have all this money. What the F good is it if you won't do what I want?"


Literally every picture of an aristocrat or monarch ever painted has them with their damn dogs.

Trump doesn't like dogs because 1. he's a germaphobe and 2. they express unconditional love, which he cannot comprehend, and which therefore frightens him.
posted by leotrotsky at 3:37 PM on December 5 [55 favorites]


Am I wrong in thinking that a subpoena of Deutsche Bank's Manafort records is much less interesting than a subpoena of Trump/Trump family's DB records? At least from the point of view of today? After all, we already know that Mueller has indicted Manafort for financial crimes; presumably, we could have guessed he's accessed some or all of his bank records. Accessing Trump's records would be new information.

So the WSJ correction and the AFP clarification above feel a little deflating to me. But I'm confused, because that's not how I see other parts of the internet reacting to these corrections. Am I missing something?
posted by scarylarry at 3:41 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]


AFP White House Correspondent Andrew Beatty reports that a source is telling him Manafort's Deutsche Bank records were subpoenaed.

AFP's Heather Scott @heatherscottafp tweeted, however: "And another source outside of Washington confirmed to @AFP that Deutsche Bank was subpoenaed for Trump-related documents"

For little more on Team Trump's ties to Deutsche Bank (h/t @RVAwonk), recall that when Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was vice-chairman of the money-laundering Bank of Cyprus, one of Ross’s first big decisions at the bank was the appointment of former Deutsche Bank chief executive Josef Ackermann as chairman. And last May the DoJ, under Jeff Sessions, settled abruptly a money-laundering case with the Russian-backed, Cyprus-based holding company Prevezon Holdings—represented by Natalia Veselnitskaya and financed by Deutsche Bank. On top of that, the Russian state-owned development bank Vnesheconobank (VEB, or, colloquially "the Bank of Spies")—whose CEO secretly met with Jared Kushner a year agosigned a cooperation agreement in 2006 with Deutsche Bank. Better yet, the $285 million loan to Kushner Companies one month before the election that Jared personally guaranteed but failed to disclose was by from Deutsche Bank.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:50 PM on December 5 [87 favorites]


Amazing round-up, Doktor Zed. Thank you.
posted by scarylarry at 3:53 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]


Does anyone know where I can pick up a good civics education? Is there a particular textbook, online course or anything else you'd recommend? I wish I understood more of how this stuff worked.
posted by cybertaur1 at 3:53 PM on December 5 [4 favorites]


Literally every picture of an aristocrat or monarch ever painted has them with their damn dogs.

Trump doesn't like dogs because 1. he's a germaphobe and 2. they express unconditional love, which he cannot comprehend, and which therefore frightens him.


Maybe it's just that he thinks of other people as his damn dogs, so why would he need actual dogs?
posted by The World Famous at 3:58 PM on December 5 [4 favorites]


Am I wrong in thinking that a subpoena of Deutsche Bank's Manafort records is much less interesting than a subpoena of Trump/Trump family's DB records?

If it's either/or, I agree. If it's both, it's more like "I've got good news and great news."

Does anyone know where I can pick up a good civics education?

Are there practice citizenship tests available? Almost every naturalized citizen I know knows more about civics than almost every natural-born citizen I know.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:58 PM on December 5 [7 favorites]


[dogs] express unconditional love, which he cannot comprehend, and which therefore frightens him.

No, he craves unconditional love, but dogs are also totally, devotedly loyal, and in Trumpland that makes you a loser. Sad!
posted by The Tensor at 3:58 PM on December 5 [5 favorites]


Does anyone know where I can pick up a good civics education? Is there a particular textbook, online course or anything else you'd recommend? I wish I understood more of how this stuff worked.

the problem with using a civics textbook to understand the current situation is that it is going to assume that rules, laws, and conventions are going to be followed by both parties.
posted by murphy slaw at 4:00 PM on December 5 [29 favorites]


The Dirksen center does things like this. How a bill becomes a law (for adults) for example.

The also maintain the Congress for Kids site in all its comic sans animated gif glory.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 4:03 PM on December 5 [11 favorites]


murphy slaw that might be true but I'd still love some sort of solid foundation to start understanding this stuff (even if things have since changed).

I actually think it's maybe better-suited to Ask Metafilter so I've gone ahead & posted it there, if you want to chime in.
posted by cybertaur1 at 4:03 PM on December 5 [6 favorites]


Amazing round-up, Doktor Zed. Thank you.

You're welcome, but although I've been monitoring the news about Deutsche Bank as part of Trump's money-laundering for a while now, I found @RVA's background thread quicker to work from than my copious notes.

In the meantime, there's more from AFP: White House Denies Trump Bank Records Subpoenaed
A source close to the matter said to AFP that Germany's biggest bank had received a subpoena for documents related to its business dealings with the US president, after Bloomberg News and the German business daily Handelsblatt first reported a summons by special counsel Robert Mueller.

However, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders rejected reports of a subpoena for Trump-related financial records as "completely false," as did Trump's personal attorney Jay Sekulow.[...]

After the White House denial, a source familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity, reiterated to AFP that Deutsche Bank had received the request several weeks ago.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:10 PM on December 5 [14 favorites]


Adding to the "Deutsche Bank loves laundering Russian money" linkfest, there's this excellent 2016 New Yorker article: Deutsche Bank’s $10-Billion Scandal - How a scheme to help Russians secretly funnel money offshore unravelled.

It isn't about any Trump connections, but it gives some context to how very dirty Deutsche Bank's hands are.
posted by diogenes at 4:10 PM on December 5 [3 favorites]


Now it's Pence's turn in the Mueller room.
posted by chainlinkspiral at 4:19 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know if Deutsche Bank is "too big to fail" in Germany?
posted by leotrotsky at 4:22 PM on December 5


Now it's Pence's turn in the Mueller room.

"Hey! The keg's hidden over here, Mr. Mueller!"
posted by leotrotsky at 4:23 PM on December 5 [55 favorites]


TPM: Could Deutsche Bank Even Tell Trump?
TPM Reader CL points out that banks can be ordered not to notify a customer and presumably lawyers who represent them when grand jury subpoenas are issued for banking records.

From TPM Reader CL …
The President may want to hire lawyers who are familiar with what grand juries actually do. https://www.justice.gov/usam/criminal-resource-manual-423-grand-jury-subpoena-exception

The broad wording of the grand jury exception is significant:
Nothing in this title (except §§ 3415 and 3420 of the Act) shall apply to any subpoena or court order issued in connection with proceedings before a grand jury except that a court shall have authority to order a financial institution on which a grand jury subpoena for customer records has been served not to notify the customer of the existence of the subpoena or information that has been furnished to the grand jury, under the circumstances and for the periods specified and pursuant to the procedures established at § 3409. 12 U.S.C. § 3413(i).
I’m no expert in this area. But I must admit this basic issue occurred to me as soon as I saw Sekulow’s statement. Are things really set up so that the target of an investigation can simply call up the bank to see what a grand jury has asked to see? This suggests the answer can in many cases be no.
posted by chris24 at 4:24 PM on December 5 [22 favorites]


scarylarry: So the WSJ correction and the AFP clarification above feel a little deflating to me.

Well, for what it's worth, I think the WSJ correction was specifically to correct the impression/mis-statement that the subpoenas were for Trump's personal accounts as opposed to, say, accounts associated with the zillions of LLCs that he uses to manage his businesses. While in practice, there really isn't a difference between Trump himself and a Trump LLC, these are technically different legal entities. And this is precisely the kind of technical detail that a newspaper would want to correct, especially since there's a good possibility that Trump doesn't even have any personal accounts with Deutsche Bank.
posted by mhum at 4:36 PM on December 5 [11 favorites]


A People's History of the US, by Howard Zinn, should be a bulk of the civics education you are looking for

link
posted by waitangi at 4:44 PM on December 5 [10 favorites]


From the "say, neighbor, could you help me find my horse? i appear to have sold my barn doors" dept:

California Republicans Push to Preserve Income-Tax Deduction
WASHINGTON—Though the House and Senate have voted to repeal the deduction for state income taxes in Republican tax overhaul plans, it isn’t dead yet.

California Republicans are pushing for an income-tax deduction in the final tax bill being worked out by lawmakers in a House-Senate conference committee on tax legislation.

“There’s a lot of things that Californians are working on and why we said we’d move the process forward, looking to be able to make those fixes,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) told reporters on Tuesday.

In November, 11 of the 14 California Republicans in the House voted for the tax bill; New Jersey and New York GOP members, with similarly high state taxes, were much more willing to vote no. The House will need to vote again, and Republicans need 217 votes to guarantee passage if no Democrats vote for the bill.
posted by murphy slaw at 4:46 PM on December 5 [11 favorites]


maybe california republicans read the latest Quinnipiac Poll:
Another UGLY Q-Poll for GOP:
GOP tax plan approval: 29%
Trump approval: 35%
Generic House poll 50-36 +14D!
Generic Senate poll 51-37D
Holy Gender Gap Batman:
58-29 Women want Ds to control House.
45-42 Men want Rs.
- @StevenTDennis
posted by murphy slaw at 4:52 PM on December 5 [26 favorites]


James Comey tweeting a burn to rival of heat of a thousand suns. Accompanying a silhouette of him against the New York City sky, with the Statue of Liberty in the background, he tweets,
In NYC to meet with my publisher. Hope leadership book will be useful. Reassuring to see Lady Liberty standing tall even in rough weather.
Ain't that going to be a bestseller.
posted by vac2003 at 5:28 PM on December 5 [11 favorites]


From the "say, neighbor, could you help me find my horse? i appear to have sold my barn doors" dept:

Whoever runs against McCarthy needs to run this image on every available medium with the caption "THIS IS WHAT KEVIN MCCARTHY THINKS ABOUT TAKING MONEY FROM THE POOR AND GIVING IT TO RICH BILLIONAIRES".
posted by Talez at 5:39 PM on December 5 [8 favorites]


Ain't that going to be a bestseller.

That asshole gave us Trump. Fuck him, his book and the horse he rode in on. He's no hero.
posted by zarq at 6:00 PM on December 5 [43 favorites]


Politico, Helena Bottemiller Evich, Food stamp changes may usher in welfare reform push
USDA signaled on Tuesday plans to give states greater flexibility over how they administer food stamps, potentially opening the door to stricter work requirements or drug testing on recipients.

The announcement comes as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced that he would move ahead with drug testing on able-bodied adults applying for food stamps, something the Obama administration had successfully blocked in the past. The Trump administration is also expected to announced that it would allow states to impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients — moves that anti-poverty advocates see as an assault on the safety net for vulnerable Americans.
posted by zachlipton at 6:05 PM on December 5 [16 favorites]


Looks like Trump is going to move the embassy to Jerusalem.

Trump with the reverse midas touch. Everything he touches he turns to shit.
posted by Talez at 6:06 PM on December 5 [14 favorites]


ELECTION RESULT

GOP GAIN in Massachusetts Senate Worcester & Middlesex, although nobody will report the freaking vote totals.

Dems still hold the MA Senate, 33-7.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:11 PM on December 5 [21 favorites]


ELECTION RESULT

Dem HOLD in Pennsylvania House 133, 66-29.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:12 PM on December 5 [36 favorites]


Does anyone know where I can pick up a good civics education? Is there a particular textbook, online course or anything else you'd recommend? I wish I understood more of how this stuff worked.

The things to search for for online courses would be "introduction to American government," "introductory American government," or "American political system." I honestly have no idea what's out there. I could email you my pile of slideshows if you really wanted but they wouldn't be so useful without me or someone like me blethering at you.

All the textbooks kinda suck -- they all have to try to satisfy multiple competing clienteles, they have to cover a gajillion different topics, and they have to switch back and forth between providing basic raw information and information about actual political science. FWIW, I use Bianco and Canon, but Kernell and Jacobson is also fine and maaaaybe better for an adult, and while I haven't used it Ken Kollman's book seems okay.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:17 PM on December 5 [7 favorites]


Ex-campaign aide: Pence's wife finds Trump 'totally vile'
Mike and Karen Pence were taken aback when the 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape, in which Trump is heard making lewd comments about women, leaked last year, The Atlantic reported.

A former campaign aide told the publication that Karen Pence was "disgusted."

"She finds him reprehensible-just totally vile," the former campaign aide added.
Between this and the Mike Pence coup article, how long will it be before Trumo starts to atrash his own VP.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:24 PM on December 5 [9 favorites]


Re: SNAP.

I really hope Gov. Scott Walker burns in hell. Food stamp fraud is probably the most overstated social welfare issue in the history of ever, but that absolute fucking piece of shit has managed to make it a selling point for his hateful bullshit rhetoric.

And because I've mentioned bad Scott Walker, I must remind you that a good Scott Walker exists, long may he beat pig carcasses in percussive time.

Scott Walker - The Old Man's Back Again (Dedicated to the Neo-Stalinist Regime)
Scott Walker - You're Gonna Hear From Me
posted by elsietheeel at 6:25 PM on December 5 [20 favorites]


Looks like Trump is going to move the embassy to Jerusalem.

The article says that he's going to announce that he plans to order that the embassy be moved, but that it will take three or four years - conveniently, the amount of time between now and the next election.

The USA already has a consulate in West Jerusalem that they could call an embassy while leaving the bulk of their staff and spy agencies in Tel Aviv. They could do this overnight: there's no rule that an ambassador has to live near the embassy rather than the consulate. They could just say they did the thing and change literally nothing else about how they operate – who's going to complain that the US Ambassador is breaching protocol? Certainly not the Israelis.

The only reason for making this out to be a big deal is that it's like Trump's other grandiose promises: something's going to be done, you betcha, and it'll be the biggest, most beautiful thing you've ever seen. In the meantime, for better or worse, nothing ever gets done. The campaign promises to watch are seem to be the ones he doesn't keep boasting about: they're the ones that are being pushed by other people and they tend to actually get done.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:26 PM on December 5 [17 favorites]


practice citizenship tests

USCIS has a Civics Practice Test.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:37 PM on December 5 [5 favorites]


So the New York Post has a story about a Mueller agent who praised Sally Yates. I have a super dumb question: why make a big deal about bias? I mean, they're prosecutors. They can't throw anyone in jail all by themselves- they need to convince judges and/or juries about whatever charges they're bringing, right? I'm not sure I see how due process is compromised here.
posted by Jpfed at 6:48 PM on December 5 [19 favorites]


The praise for Sally Yates isn’t even anti-Trump, it’s just standing up for the law.
posted by gucci mane at 6:57 PM on December 5 [18 favorites]


Mueller got rid of the guy who texted his mistress about Trump doing something crazy, something Sasse, Corker, Graham, Flake, and probably half the Republican Congress have done. Meanwhile Gowdy had to pay a $150k settlement to someone he fired for not being partisan enough to go after Clinton in the absence of evidence. And we haven't even started talking about Ken Starr. Fuck them and their bias concern bullshit. It's purely theater like their concerns about deficits and morals; they only care when they can use it as a cudgel against Dems. And even then most of the time they're making it up or exaggerating it.
posted by chris24 at 6:59 PM on December 5 [79 favorites]


The only reason for making this out to be a big deal is that...
...is that it will drive all Palestinians from the peace table. For what that's worth, since there hasn't been much except desperation bringing them to the table. Whether Trump is gaming or not, this will kill any peace negotiations.
posted by CCBC at 7:06 PM on December 5 [4 favorites]


GOP GAIN in Massachusetts Senate Worcester & Middlesex, although nobody will report the freaking vote totals.

Worcester County has become Massachusetts' reddish underbelly.

In other Mass. news, Stanley Rosenberg, the progressive president of the state senate, was replaced yesterday (temporarily, they claim) as the senate looks to hire an independent investigator to look into whether his husband used his spousal connections to interfere with the operations of the senate even as he was allegedly sexually assaulting and harassing several men in 2015.
posted by adamg at 7:07 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Also, the idea that the FBI, a bureaucracy overwhelmingly comprised of white male middle-aged cops, is some liberal anti-Trump bastion is laughable.
posted by chris24 at 7:08 PM on December 5 [71 favorites]


Rachel Reddick, the sole Democrat so far to announce a run against Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania's 8th district, was registered as a Republican until recently. She says she's actually been a Democrat for 10 years, but just never switched her registration.
posted by adamg at 7:16 PM on December 5


Worcester County has become Massachusetts' reddish underbelly.

Eh, there's some of that - the district is purple - but I think it was mostly because both the Dem candidate and an independent candidate were councilors from Leominster. They ended up splitting the Leominster votes, and the GOP candidate cleaned up in his hometown of Fitchburg.

I think in a one on one campaign in 2018, this is a good candidate for a flip back to D.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:16 PM on December 5


CNN & the FBI are bastions of liberalism. I read a comment today that Breichbart wasn't a racist website. Less than a scaraucci ago der Klownwig himself was floating the idea that it wasn't really him on the pussy-grabbing tape he was on.

I argued for years that Jon Stewart's hilarious and justified exposées of Faux News was wasting time and bandwidth. We know one of the two parties always argues in bad faith, and it happens to be the more powerful one, with the army of media networks propping them up.

(tl;dr, "Man, fuck CNN.")
posted by petebest at 7:18 PM on December 5 [3 favorites]


@chris24: Also, the idea that the FBI, a bureaucracy overwhelmingly comprised of white male middle-aged cops, is some liberal anti-Trump bastion is laughable.

Not only that but Mueller is a Republican.
posted by gucci mane at 7:20 PM on December 5 [18 favorites]


Also, I’ve been trying to figure out how to get Mueller’s official portrait sent to me (I could have sworn there was a website where you could get official portraits sent to you but maybe that was for presidents only) and I stumbled upon this
posted by gucci mane at 7:22 PM on December 5 [3 favorites]


The more he hates Pence, the less likely he’ll conspire to pardon him.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:23 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]


CNN:
Robert Mueller may not be through with Rick Gates, a deputy Trump campaign aide and one of the four people who have been charged as part of the special counsel probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

In a court appearance Monday in Manhattan, Gates' attorney Walter Mack said that federal prosecutors have told him that more charges, called superseding indictments, may be coming.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:27 PM on December 5 [7 favorites]




ELECTION RESULT

Dem HOLD in Georgia House 89.

This is one of a couple of intra-party runoffs tonight; the winner is Bee Nguyen, who looked maybe marginally less progressive than her rival, but this is a Clinton 90-6 district, and they were both both pretty lefty.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:42 PM on December 5 [21 favorites]


All cops fired after leaked texts reveal they said bad stuff about criminals
posted by theodolite at 8:06 PM on December 5 [34 favorites]




Banks can face significant fines and legal repercussions if they’re discovered to have done anything to directly or indirectly tip off the target of an investigation. Shit’s taken seriously.
posted by um at 8:09 PM on December 5 [7 favorites]


Sahil Kapur, Bloomberg: ‘Death to Democrats’: How the GOP Tax Bill Whacks Liberal Tenets
“It’s death to Democrats,” said conservative economist Stephen Moore, who advised Trump’s campaign on tax policy.

“They go after state and local taxes, which weakens public employee unions. They go after university endowments, and universities have become play pens of the left. And getting rid of the mandate is to eventually dismantle Obamacare,” Moore said in an interview, arguing that it would accelerate “a death spiral” in the health-care law’s marketplaces.

The tax overhaul represents the GOP-controlled Congress’s best chance for a policy win this year and looms large in the 2018 congressional elections. Not a single Democrat voted for either the House or the Senate bill. No Democratic amendments were approved in committee or on the floor of either chamber — and the final House-Senate joint product is all but guaranteed to come from Republicans-only negotiations.

“The people who are going get the most whacked by this are wealthy and upper-middle class people who live in big cities,” said John Feehery, a GOP lobbyist and former communicator for House leadership. “In other words, Democrats.”

“I don’t think there’s a conspiracy to go attack Democratic districts. But that’s how the legislative process works -- if you’re not going to participate in a game you’re going to lose,” he said. “You need the revenue, and those constituencies are not really being represented because their representatives refused to participate.”
The right is just gloating at this point. And continuing to push their lies.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:11 PM on December 5 [21 favorites]


GOP GAIN in Massachusetts Senate Worcester & Middlesex, although nobody will report the freaking vote totals.

Finally got the totals:

GOP 7240
Dem 6633
Indy 1554
Green 200

This is pretty clearly a loss due to too many candidates on the left, I'd feel pretty good about getting this one back next year.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:12 PM on December 5 [14 favorites]


I guess I'm really not following this "Lord, give me an Embassy in Jerusalem, but not yet" bullshit.

WaPo: Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in policy shift that could spark unrest
[Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas told Trump that he would “not accept it” and warned that the president was “playing into the hands of extremism.” But Trump “just went on saying he had to do it”. [...] King Salman bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia warned Trump “that such a dangerous step of relocation or recognition of Al-Quds as the capital of Israel would constitute a flagrant provocation of Muslims, all over the world.”

The backlash from other Middle East nations mounted Tuesday.

Speaking to the Turkish parliament, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said American recognition of Jerusalem would be a “red line” for Muslims, possibly forcing Turkey to cut diplomatic ties with Israel that were recently renewed after a six-year hiatus.
He's proposing to set the Middle East on fire, but with just a tease, while leaving the actual dirty work to after the next election, "because the process of moving it will take at least three or four years". (As Joe in Australia pointed out a few comments up, this is flagrant nonsense.)

Why? Who got paid by whom to make Trump insist that "he had to do it"? And this goes against the desires of Turkey and Saudi Arabia - or does it just provide a convenient domestic distraction? What's the endgame here?
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:17 PM on December 5 [18 favorites]


I'm sure this is part of the reasoning:

@CHarress: "The capital of Israel is Jerusalem," said Steve Bannon at the Roy Moore rally this evening in Fairhope, Alabama. It got the biggest cheer of the night.

But I don't get it.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:22 PM on December 5 [4 favorites]


ELECTION RESULT

Dem GAIN in Georgia Senate 6. This is the district where, in a bit of a surprise, Dems took both runoff spots for this formerly GOP-held seat. And, even better, more progressive candidate Jen Jordan has beaten Jaha Howard, who was found to have made homophobic and misogynistic comments on social media.

This victory also means that the GOP no longer has a supermajority in the Senate, which will be important if Dems manage to retake the governor's mansion in 2018.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:22 PM on December 5 [55 favorites]


Why? Who got paid by whom to make Trump insist that "he had to do it"? And this goes against the desires of Turkey and Saudi Arabia - or does it just provide a convenient domestic distraction? What's the endgame here?

i don't want to look it up but i'm pretty sure it has to do with evangelical fuckery.

the preconditions for their rapture and the tribulations all of us heathens will have to suffer before we convert is something like jews returning to israel and jerusalem being the capital.

also the second coming
posted by anem0ne at 8:24 PM on December 5 [20 favorites]


ELECTION RESULT

Dem HOLD in Georgia House 60. Both candidates were Dems, winner Schofield perhaps marginally less lefty, but as with HD-89, this is a very Dem district (Clinton 91-7).
posted by Chrysostom at 8:25 PM on December 5 [10 favorites]


The Jerusalem thing definitely seems like some Hal Lindsey shit, but Trump isn't into that, and I don't know if anyone he listens to is into it either? It feels like a plot point that doesn't make any sense but has to happen in order to set up some more spectacularly terrible thing.
posted by theodolite at 8:26 PM on December 5 [5 favorites]


I guess I'm really not following this "Lord, give me an Embassy in Jerusalem, but not yet" bullshit.

So far, Trump's motivation always seems to be explainable as:
• Money;
• Distraction from criminal misdeeds; or
• Russia.

This certainly isn't Russia. I suppose it might be money, but at this time it's probably just a distraction. And when this distraction fails God help us because the next one is North Korea.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:28 PM on December 5 [3 favorites]


You guys are overthinking it. Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital will piss off a lot of the Muslim world. Trump hates Muslims. Therefore, he is going to call Jerusalem the capital.
posted by Justinian at 8:29 PM on December 5 [55 favorites]


The Jerusalem thing definitely seems like some Hal Lindsey shit, but Trump isn't into that, and I don't know if anyone he listens to is into it either? It feels like a plot point that doesn't make any sense but has to happen in order to set up some more spectacularly terrible thing.

trump might not be into it, but that's because he's not really into christianity.

all of his manipulators, though? remember how fucking big "left behind" was? remember how important the relationship with israel is to evangelicals, precisely because of that eschatological bullshit?

gog and magog, in the apocalyptic shit they believe, come from east of jerusalem. which, in previous christian death cults meant they were mongols, huns, and so on, but right now? it's the muslims, since a great many of them live east of jerusalem (and west, and north, and south), and that leads to a big ol' war in the holy land.

you don't think pissing off all the muslims and fanning the flames of conflict won't lead to that?

yeah, sometimes a spade is a spade. sometimes that spade is a representation of the grave warped american christianity is trying to dig for a lot of us.
posted by anem0ne at 8:35 PM on December 5 [12 favorites]


And again, it’s a big Christian (“Christian”) evangelical thing. He needs his evangelical base to really love him right now. They’re all he’s got.
posted by witchen at 8:36 PM on December 5 [8 favorites]


look, i'm not even fucking religious anymore, and i grew up catholic, so not even that closely aligned with premillenialist/postmillenialist eschatological doomsday shit that the evangelicals spooged over in the 90s with the book series and the movies that thankfully died quick, and even i was able to pick this shit out.

they might have sold it to trump as pissing muslims off. that's not why they're doing it.

for fuck's sake, pence thinks that his position right now is through god's will, like it's some fucking prophecy.
posted by anem0ne at 8:37 PM on December 5 [9 favorites]


This certainly isn't Russia. I suppose it might be money, but at this time it's probably just a distraction.

What? No. He’s been talking this up since the campaign:

Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital (The Hill)
He repeatedly promised during the 2016 campaign to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, something that pleased many of his pro-Israel and evangelical Christian backers.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:38 PM on December 5 [6 favorites]


Quick question: has anyone ever followed the money in terms of the hard swing in evangelical ideology towards Israel? Anecdotally, talking to a friend with evangelical parents, he said that Israel was a HUGE talking point in their church, and they had even been to Israel on a church-funded vacation. The funding for that sort of thing has to come from somewhere.
posted by codacorolla at 8:44 PM on December 5 [9 favorites]


The Atlanta mayoral election looks like it may go to a recount. Keisha Lance Bottoms (Dem, African-American) has finished with a 759 vote lead over Mary Norwood (Independent, white).

KLB 49,464 50.41%
MN 45,705 49.59%
posted by Chrysostom at 8:52 PM on December 5 [14 favorites]


Israel is a popular destination for evangelical ‘bible’ tours. I’m guessing it’s the same mechanic at work as when people come back from Thailand and are suddenly Buddhists who love elephants. Following the money probably just leads as far as a handful of travel agents that specialise in these kinds of tours.
posted by um at 8:55 PM on December 5 [6 favorites]


Trump is hyping up the Jerusalem shit because he wants every Bible thumper with a pulse to come out for Roy Moore, and this is one of the few non-laughable ways Trump can show he's on their side.
posted by benzenedream at 8:55 PM on December 5 [18 favorites]


ELECTION RESULT

Dem HOLD in Georgia Senate 39. Nikema Williams, who seemed to be slightly more left, was the winner in the all-Dem runoff.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:57 PM on December 5 [14 favorites]


He repeatedly promised during the 2016 campaign to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, something that pleased many of his pro-Israel and evangelical Christian backers.

Hearing his followers cheer at this was one of the most chilling things I've ever heard.

I have no idea why these people don't believe Trump is the anti-christ.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:58 PM on December 5 [19 favorites]


Well, he's their guy, right? They couldn't possibly follow the anti-Christ, they're good old fashioned Christians, not like that black fellow over there...
posted by anem0ne at 9:02 PM on December 5 [6 favorites]




Getting a little more understanding here. It seems like the billionaires want their services rendered.

NYT: U.S. to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, Trump Says, Alarming Middle East Leaders
To some extent, Mr. Trump’s willingness to take such a risk underscores how little progress his peace negotiators — led by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner — have made.

... Mr. Trump’s pledge was extremely popular with evangelicals and pro-Israel backers, including the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who donated $25 million to a political action committee supporting Mr. Trump during the presidential campaign. Mr. Adelson expressed anger when Mr. Trump signed the waiver in June to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv.

The White House, which has done little to lay the groundwork for the move, on Tuesday contacted pro-Israel leaders from the Jewish and Christian communities to invite them to a conference call set for Wednesday afternoon ... Reaction to Mr. Trump’s move in the Arab world was swift and negative, even from normally friendly leaders... A spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization said the [Abbas-Trump] call had given shape to the worst fears of Palestinians.
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:12 PM on December 5 [4 favorites]


So far, Trump's motivation always seems to be explainable as:
• Money;
• Distraction from criminal misdeeds; or
• Russia.


Another important motivator is pure flattery. If you tell him that something is brave and hard and scary and only a courageous man of action could do it, a man like you mr trump! It will quickly become a top priority for history’s easiest mark
posted by dis_integration at 9:15 PM on December 5 [6 favorites]


So, pretty much, fox and friends is actually running the country. Awesome.
posted by valkane at 9:18 PM on December 5 [14 favorites]


I posted an FPP last year for an article by author Tom Bissell. He had gone on a ten day “Stand with Israel Tour” hosted by right-wing Jewish Conservative talk show pundit Dennis Prager with 450 Evangelical Christians. It's a fascinating read (the article, not the FPP) if anyone is interested in learning more about them.
posted by zarq at 9:42 PM on December 5 [9 favorites]


Israel is a popular destination for evangelical ‘bible’ tours. I’m guessing it’s the same mechanic at work as when people come back from Thailand and are suddenly Buddhists who love elephants. Following the money probably just leads as far as a handful of travel agents that specialise in these kinds of tours.

The trip they went on was heavily subsidized, and I doubt in the extreme it was subsidized by a local suburban church. That has to come from somewhere.
posted by codacorolla at 9:54 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]


32 House Republicans telling Ryan they want a DACA solution this year.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:58 PM on December 5 [15 favorites]


Well, apparently Beyonce presented Colin Kaepernick with an award at the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year awards today. So I guess we know what half of the Trump tweets will be about in the morning.
posted by mmoncur at 10:14 PM on December 5 [14 favorites]


That Jerusalem thing?

Trump to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel [cbc.ca, Matthew Lee and Josef Federman, The Associated Press]
posted by porpoise at 10:41 PM on December 5


I have no idea why these people don't believe Trump is the anti-christ.

Maybe they do, but then the coming of the anti-christ would actually be a wonderful thing (seriously), as it means that revelations is starting to happen and their savior is due... Any minute now.

I wish I was joking.
posted by el io at 10:54 PM on December 5 [9 favorites]


Trump Lawyers Attempt to Sue an Environmental Philosophy under Anti-Racketeering Laws

I don't necessarily believe that Earth First is a terrorist organization. But certainly others do. I was pretty unthrilled when I clicked on that link without seeing I was going to that site (okay, I guess that was my fault), as I don't need that link in my permanent record.

So, before clicking on that site, folks, be aware that it's the journal of Earth First. They may call themselves an 'environmental philosophy', but I think a more apt term is 'a direct action activist group', while others certainly call it a terrorist group.
posted by el io at 11:00 PM on December 5 [5 favorites]


The adviser told The Atlantic Trump told his secretary

So this is from way up in the thread and not all that important, but something about this just bugged me. To recap, The Hill is reporting that The Atlantic reported that an adviser to Trump said that Trump's secretary said that Trump said that the Pences were "low-class." Isn't this just a little much, even for The Hill?
posted by J.K. Seazer at 11:34 PM on December 5 [8 favorites]


Isn't this just a little much, even for The Hill?

Apparently not.
posted by el io at 11:42 PM on December 5


The trip they went on was heavily subsidized, and I doubt in the extreme it was subsidized by a local suburban church. That has to come from somewhere.

Some answers here:
Birthright*-inspired Trip for U.S. Christians Aims to Bring Thousands to Israel
tl;dr: Hobby Lobby, and Zionist Jews
&
Christian Evangelicals' Mass Aliyah Push Touches Jewish Nerve
&
Evangelical Aid Was Once Taboo in Israel. Now It's on the Rise. Why? / Once regarded with suspicion in the Jewish state, Christian donations are helping to fill the gaps left by dwindling Jewish contributions. What's changed?

So, two interesting things here. Money from American Jewish Zionists has been on the decline, and in certain quarters replacing that with Evangelical Christian money is desirable. Also, the latter is explicitly driven by a similar decline in support at the organizational (church) level, as the evangelical bloc is not as solid as it once was.

*Birthright is an organization that sponsors American Jewish field trips to Israel ('aliyah'), for approximately similar Zionist political purposes. The itineraries are quite different, as you may expect. For Jews, the objective is emigration.
posted by dhartung at 11:55 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]


Looks like inviting a bunch of Nazis to their big ball paid huge dividends for the Zionist Organization of America.
posted by Yowser at 12:15 AM on December 6 [2 favorites]


For Jews, the objective is emigration.

For many end times Christians it's probably the same objective...
posted by PenDevil at 12:17 AM on December 6 [4 favorites]


They couldn't possibly follow the anti-Christ, they're good old fashioned Christians, not like that black fellow over there...

I had the displeasure to skim past an anti-immigrant thread on a FB post tonight that contrasted "ILLEGALS" with "God-fearing people." And I really, really wanted to ask what the hell god had to do with immigration status, especially for Latino immigrants, who are among some of the most devout Christians as a group. (Yes, I know, Catholic, might as well be satanists to some people, but...)

Anyway, just the amount of knee-jerk "all religious people look like me and agree with me, people that I dislike are by definition ungodly" bullshit out there makes me want to puke.
posted by threeturtles at 12:29 AM on December 6 [1 favorite]


Isn't this just a little much, even for The Hill?

I think I heard it from one of the guys on Pod Save America, that The Hill is what congressional aides read in the bathroom.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:32 AM on December 6 [1 favorite]


Chrysostom, a word of thanks again for the election updates. I’m in awe that you not only keep up with this stuff, and pass it on to us, but that you know the context of the smallest races and why they’re important. Truly, you’re a marvel.
posted by greermahoney at 12:52 AM on December 6 [65 favorites]


So the New York Post has a story about a Mueller agent who praised Sally Yates.

Sally Yates was a top Justice Department official. Why would it be weird for an employee of the Justice Department's special counsel to praise a top Justice Department official? Seems like that is what you would expect.
posted by msalt at 1:41 AM on December 6 [12 favorites]




Leader of the #Resistance Chuck Schumer on Trump moving the US embassy to Jerusalem: “As someone who strongly believes that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel, I am calling for the US Embassy in Israel to be relocated to Jerusalem. Moving the embassy as soon as possible would appropriately commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification and show the world that the US definitively acknowledges Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.” [10 October 2017]
posted by indubitable at 1:51 AM on December 6 [3 favorites +] [!]

Yeah, if there ever was an unholy alliance...
posted by mumimor at 3:12 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]


Schumer is basically repeating the 2016 Democratic platform, which says that
While Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations, it should remain the capital of Israel, an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths. Israelis deserve security, recognition, and a normal life free from terror and incitement. Palestinians should be free to govern themselves in their own viable state, in peace and dignity.


I mean, anything Trump says or does is either stupid and ineffective or malicious and harmful, but there's bipartisan consensus on this.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:34 AM on December 6 [8 favorites]


Harvard: Millennials now biggest voting group in U.S., 2-1 Democratic
A new Harvard University poll Tuesday is blaring a loud danger signal to the Republican Party after finding that millennials are now the largest generation of voters and they are overwhelmingly Democratic, by a two-to-one margin.

The latest youth poll from Harvard’s influential Institute of Politics found that America’s 18-29-year-olds prefer Democrats 65 percent to 33 percent, in part because they don’t like President Trump and are “fearful” about the future.

Also driving their concern is a worry that blacks and Hispanics “feel significantly under attack” in the U.S., and that issues younger voters care about such as global warming and gun control are being ignored in Washington.
posted by chris24 at 4:05 AM on December 6 [47 favorites]


America’s 18-29-year-olds prefer Democrats 65 percent to 33 percent, in part because they [...] are “fearful” about the future.

Strictly from a survival perspective, if you expect to live past 2040 or so, you either vote Democratic or are really into the fourteen words. The GOP really doesn't seem to be planning for any kind of future, let alone one that you'd want to live in.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:36 AM on December 6 [68 favorites]


Schumer is basically repeating the 2016 Democratic platform

1) Nothing in that sentence says anything about the embassy
2) Schumer is not the spokesperson for many of his Jewish constituents, let alone Jewish Americans as a whole
3) Being a part of the Democratic platform does not automatically confer the status of total agreement among Democrats

I mean, anything Trump says or does is either stupid and ineffective or malicious and harmful, but there's bipartisan consensus on this.

Again, that's not a consensus of Democrats, maybe not even the platform drafting committee. It's almost assuredly not the consensus among Jewish Americans as a whole, who (even if they wanted the move to happen eventually) it seems would largely prefer to put this kind of thing off if it would increase conflict and decrease the likelihood of a two-state outcome. Which, of course, it will.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:43 AM on December 6 [20 favorites]


Times' Person Of The Year has just been announced - it is the #metoo movement, not Trump.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:49 AM on December 6 [97 favorites]


Some context for folks on Trump’s move on Israel:
Donald Trump is telling leaders from across the Middle East that he intends to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, an explosive move that will break from 50 years of US foreign policy, potentially derail his administration’s hopes of restarting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and threaten to spark violence across the region.

The administration’s planned announcement is already sparking fury across the Arab world. A spokeswoman for Abbas’s office issued a statement early Tuesday warning of “dangerous consequences” if Trump moves forward with plans to eventually move the embassy. King Abdullah was equally critical, saying in a statement that the White House shift on Jerusalem “will undermine the efforts of the American administration to resume the peace process.”

Right-wing Israeli leaders, by contrast, didn’t try to disguise their happiness. In a message to Trump, Naftali Bennett, the head of the Jewish Home party, said he wanted to thank “you from the bottom of my heart for your commitment and intention to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

The sharply divergent reactions highlight the fact that there is almost no other issue in the Middle East as contentious as the future of Jerusalem. (Vox)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:50 AM on December 6 [2 favorites]


FWIW, I hold beliefs predicated first on the ideals in the Declaration of Independence, then on my Jewish faith and heritage.

"One Nation, With Liberty and Justice FOR ALL" is my desired end state. But that's not going to happen in the State of Israel as it stands. That said, why can't I be in a better dimension than this? One where it's not a relevant topic in US Politics.
posted by mikelieman at 4:51 AM on December 6 [4 favorites]


For Jews, the objective is emigration.

This is not entirely the case. Birthright trips are also a way for Zionist organizations to instill a love of Judaism and Israel in visitors. There is an implicit understanding that not everyone will emigrate. If they don't, one of the more prominent lessons taught visitors through various experiences is that Israel is a refuge for Jews and vitally important if we are to survive as a people. This lesson has been dismissed as propaganda by anti-Zionists but its logic and emotional impact are also hard to argue against, considering the fact that six million perished in the Holocaust while countries like America turned us away. Judaism has a long institutional memory for tragedy and betrayals, but the Shoah didn't happen all that long ago. As well, there is a subtle emphasis placed on the idea that Israel is under constant danger of attack by groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. Again, hard to argue against when evidence is visible. Even if the actual situation is far more complicated than "they want to slaughter us all."

Many Jews return from Birthright with a fierce sense that no matter what the Israeli government has done or whether they disagree with what it is currently doing, the country of Israel as a refuge for oppressed Jews must survive.
posted by zarq at 5:05 AM on December 6 [25 favorites]


Times' Person Of The Year has just been announced - it is the #metoo movement, not Trump.

Glad to see #metoo was willing to sit for an interview and photos.

I would have been happy with any number of suggestions flaoted before, like Colin Kaepernick, but #metoo doesn't just honor something antithetical to Trump, it hits him sqaure in the nuts, and right after endorsing Moore.

Go ahead, tweet about it, asshole. Every time you open you mouth you create one more woman going to the polls and voting against everything you stand for.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:18 AM on December 6 [31 favorites]


NelsonMuntz.gif

@pbump:
Not only is Trump not Person of the Year, he is mentioned in the piece as both a harasser and a motivation to speak out.
http://time.com/time-person-of-the-year-2017-silence-breakers/
posted by chris24 at 5:22 AM on December 6 [71 favorites]


Hoping next year it’s Mueller.
posted by Melismata at 5:23 AM on December 6 [44 favorites]


Zervos' lawyer says she understands the presidency is a 24/7 job but like any human he doesn't do his job 24/7. "We can take a deposition at Mar a Lago" while he’s there to play golf, attorney Mariann Meier Wang says.

Oh, snap!
posted by Gelatin at 5:28 AM on December 6 [24 favorites]




FBI Director Christopher Wray is in front of House Judiciary for an oversight hearing today. This could be an interesting watch. (CSPAN streaming link)
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:29 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]


This is not entirely the case. Birthright trips are also a way for Zionist organizations to instill a love of Judaism and Israel in visitors.

The graphic novel “How To Understand Israel In 60 Days Or Less" by Sarah Glidden is a good account of this, from a left-wing, sceptical, secular-Jewish American point of view.
posted by acb at 5:38 AM on December 6 [10 favorites]


FBI Director Christopher Wray is in front of House Judiciary for an oversight hearing today.

Ah, thank you. I'm also looking forward to any statements after Junior's little trip to the House Intelligence Committee today. I hope the mixer lasts exactly long enough to ask one question.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:38 AM on December 6


Many Jews return from Birthright with a fierce sense that no matter what the Israeli government has done or whether they disagree with what it is currently doing, the country of Israel as a refuge for oppressed Jews must survive.

As a left-wing, secular American Jew (who spent elementary school and junior high in a private Conservative Jewish day school with a Zionist bent and visited Israel in 1993), I kind of feel like Americans should focus more on ensuring that America survives as a refuge for all oppressed minorities, but whatever.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:51 AM on December 6 [51 favorites]


'Holy crap': Experts find tax plan riddled with glitches

I mentioned this in chat, but it's still hilarious to me that the Republicans had to choose between infuriating the voters and infuriating their donors, and cocked it up so badly that they infuriated both
posted by Merus at 5:53 AM on December 6 [74 favorites]


So much winning. And a pretty blunt official statement by the German government.

@RikeFranke (Policy Fellow at ECFR)
"global dominance of the US is slowly becoming history" - speech by German Foreign Minister at #BerlinFPF now online.
posted by chris24 at 5:56 AM on December 6 [17 favorites]


“The people who are going get the most whacked by this are wealthy and upper-middle class people who live in big cities,” said John Feehery, a GOP lobbyist and former communicator for House leadership. “In other words, Democrats.”

“I don’t think there’s a conspiracy to go attack Democratic districts. But that’s how the legislative process works -- if you’re not going to participate in a game you’re going to lose,” he said. “You need the revenue, and those constituencies are not really being represented because their representatives refused to participate.”

The right is just gloating at this point. And continuing to push their lies.


The weird part is that their analysis is pretty wrong. They are actually whacking the people in cities who are most likely to be Republicans or at least conservative leaning DINOs.

It really seems like America has lost all sense of proportion in declaring places Red or Blue when they are actually almost all shades of purple.
posted by srboisvert at 6:02 AM on December 6 [11 favorites]


“I don’t think there’s a conspiracy to go attack Democratic districts. But that’s how the legislative process works -- if you’re not going to participate in a game you’re going to lose,” he said. “You need the revenue, and those constituencies are not really being represented because their representatives refused to participate.”

That is precisely what happened.

Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell reached out across the aisle and said "Dear Democratic friends, we desperately need your input on health care and tax reform, so please join us in debating these issues, crafting amendments and reaching a bipartisan compromise" and the Dems said "Fuck you, we're going to sit over here and play Pokemon Go and kneel during the national anthem instead."
posted by delfin at 6:15 AM on December 6 [29 favorites]


They are actually whacking the people in cities who are most likely to be Republicans or at least conservative leaning DINOs.

I know a lot of upper middle class people in the major blue cities and they overwhelmingly vote Democrat. Outside of the tech bro and libertarian spheres, a lot of the millennial/late Gen-X IT sector is very leftist. The right-wing factions in IT get a lot of attention because they're noisy but in my experience are a minority.
posted by Candleman at 6:16 AM on December 6 [4 favorites]


I was hoping that Mueller would get the Time thing, but then Trump would probably fire him for taking attention away from him.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:17 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]


From T.D. Strange's link above:
Some liken it to when Democrats rushed the Affordable Care Act through Congress and ended up with scads of legislative snafus.

Oh, fuck you, Politico. The ACA was actually extensively debated and pretty carefully thought out. The fact that it seems to be made entirely out of duct tape and baling wire is due to the precarity of the complicated moving parts involved in mandating a subsidized regulated private marketplace; there's literally no way of doing that which isn't as fussy as the ACA is. The single biggest problem with the ACA before this year when the executive decided to start ignoring their obligations was the Medicaid gap, which was the unfortunate side effect of an unforeseen judicial decision, rather than a problem baked into the legislation itself.

By way of contrast, the tax bill is coming out of the Senate broken because that is what happens when you try to write laws in a 48-hour legislatothon.
posted by jackbishop at 6:19 AM on December 6 [75 favorites]


WTfuckingF?!?

Yeah, #MeToo needed to win.

WaPo: Conyers faced mounting sexual misconduct allegations as he weighed his future
Morse told The Post she quit her internship after Conyers drove her home from work one night, wrapped his hand around hers as it rested in her lap, and told her he was interested in a sexual relationship. When she rejected his advances, Morse said he brought up the then-developing investigation into the disappearance of former federal intern Chandra Levy.

“He said he had insider information on the case. I don’t know if he meant it to be threatening, but I took it that way,” Morse said in an interview. “I got out of the car and ran.”
posted by chris24 at 6:20 AM on December 6 [27 favorites]


The situation with the CSR payments was also a genuine drafting error in the ACA that allowed Republicans to fuck with the law and challenge those payments even though the intent of Congress was clearly that they be paid, as was the language that gave rise to the ridiculous Hobby Lobby case. Both of those provisions would have been fixed in a clean up bill after ACA passage, but Republicans blocked all technical fixes because death panels and Obama was black.

Democrats should return the favor, no matter the costs. If Republicans get final passage, Democrats should filibuster any subsequent fix bill, even if it results in huge unintended consequences.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:24 AM on December 6 [21 favorites]


And further confirmation on the Harvard poll I linked above about millennials. From the Quinnipiac poll previously mentioned.
Among 18-29 year olds:

* 19% identify as GOP
* 15% have favorable view of GOP
* 18% approve of GOP tax plan
* 78% say the tax plan will help the wealthy most
* 92% say they are just as motivated or more motivated to vote
* 62% want Democrats to control the House
* +40 Democrat generic house ballot advantage
* 73% want Trump to never tweet
posted by chris24 at 6:25 AM on December 6 [59 favorites]


As a left-wing, secular American Jew (who spent elementary school and junior high in a private Conservative Jewish day school with a Zionist bent and visited Israel in 1993), I kind of feel like Americans should focus more on ensuring that America survives as a refuge for all oppressed minorities, but whatever.

To "survive" as something it would have to first become that something.

America has never been that refuge. It may one day become a safe haven for oppressed minorities. But I doubt it.

As Jews, we should be painfully aware of America's racist history.

When the people in power in America's government and American society in general start acting en masse to protect oppressed minorities, I'll celebrate. Trump was elected because he is an isolationist, xenophobic racist. Not despite those attitudes. And legions of elected Republican officials share his values.
posted by zarq at 6:36 AM on December 6 [26 favorites]


'Holy crap': Experts find tax plan riddled with glitches
Some of the provisions could be easily gamed, tax lawyers say. Their plans to cut taxes on “pass-through” businesses in particular could open broad avenues for tax avoidance.
uh, that article lists a lot of unintended consequences of the tax plan but this isn't one of them. "broad avenues for tax avoidance" for the rich is one of the core goals of this legislation.
posted by murphy slaw at 6:41 AM on December 6 [15 favorites]


As Jews, we should be painfully aware of America's racist history.

Mentally, I insert "Jew" everywhere that Trump and the GOP say "Muslim". And that's why I drink too much.
posted by mikelieman at 6:42 AM on December 6 [37 favorites]


ELECTION RESULT

Dem HOLD in California Assembly 51. In the last of the all-Dem runoffs yesterday, the leftier candidate, labor activist Wendy Carrillo, was the winner.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:42 AM on December 6 [22 favorites]


Franken needs to go. And now. Especially this week before the AL election is important. He is the fig leaf many Rs are using to defend Moore.

Politico: Another woman says Franken tried to forcibly kiss her
A former Democratic congressional aide said Al Franken tried to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his radio show in 2006, three years before he became a U.S. senator.

The aide, whose name POLITICO is withholding to protect her identity, said Franken (D-Minn.) pursued her after her boss had left the studio. She said she was gathering her belongings to follow her boss out of the room. When she turned around, Franken was in her face.

The former staffer ducked to avoid Franken’s lips. As she hastily left the room, she said, Franken told her: “It’s my right as an entertainer.”
posted by chris24 at 6:43 AM on December 6 [35 favorites]


Some liken it to when Democrats rushed the Affordable Care Act through Congress and ended up with scads of legislative snafus.

Oh, fuck you, Politico. The ACA was actually extensively debated and pretty carefully thought out. The fact that it seems to be made entirely out of duct tape and baling wire is due to the precarity of the complicated moving parts involved in mandating a subsidized regulated private marketplace; there's literally no way of doing that which isn't as fussy as the ACA is. The single biggest problem with the ACA before this year when the executive decided to start ignoring their obligations was the Medicaid gap, which was the unfortunate side effect of an unforeseen judicial decision, rather than a problem baked into the legislation itself.

By way of contrast, the tax bill is coming out of the Senate broken because that is what happens when you try to write laws in a 48-hour legislatothon.


Obamacare took 9 months to negotiate, had 160 GOP markups, had the support of the American Medical Association, AARP, and American Hospital Federation, and twice President Obama addressed the nation directly in a prime time speech to lay out the benefits while he had a 63% approval rating.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:45 AM on December 6 [96 favorites]


America has never been that refuge. It may one day become a safe haven for oppressed minorities. But I doubt it.

This is an unfair characterization. America has been that refuge. It may be imperfect in that regard, but 10s of thousands of Bosnian Muslims living in and around St. Louis and other places in the US would beg to differ with your statement. They came here in the 90s, during our lifetimes. Sometimes, we have such short memories when it comes to recognizing when America excels.
posted by Groundhog Week at 6:46 AM on December 6 [23 favorites]


“It’s my right as an entertainer.”

"When you're a star, they let you do it."
posted by chris24 at 6:46 AM on December 6 [26 favorites]


Franken needs to go. And now. Especially this week before the AL election is important. He is the fig leaf many Rs are using to defend Moore.

Seriously. And even if you're brutally realpolitik, Minnesota's got a Democratic governor and a deep bench. Heck, Keith Ellison could take that seat.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:47 AM on December 6 [42 favorites]


We have a big Bosnian Muslim community here in Atlanta, too (refugees from all over the world are settled here). Many of them are my students. They are scared of the discrimination against Muslims happening here because they have seen this happen before, and they are terrified of what could happen next.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:48 AM on December 6 [30 favorites]


Make Senator Ellison happen just for the look on the face of Roy Moore.
posted by delfin at 6:53 AM on December 6 [31 favorites]


The ACA was both intensively debated and amended and rushed through in a hurry. After the Dems lost their 60 vote majority in the Senate (Scott Brown), they were forced to skip conference and ask the House to vote on the Senate’s version, snafus and all. That was the occasion of Pelosi’s famous quip.
posted by notyou at 6:53 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]




That was the occasion of Pelosi’s famous quip.

Though her famous quip - "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it" - didn't mean people couldn't or shouldn't read it. She was saying that people would see the true beneficial effects, not the bullshit lies, once it was in place. The whole controversy was yet another manufactured Republican lie.
posted by chris24 at 6:58 AM on December 6 [50 favorites]


This is what you get when you do your homework on the bus ride to school, you lazy incompetent doofs.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:58 AM on December 6 [28 favorites]


Fact that Rs have to go to conference constrains their options, especially if Collins, Flake or others have second thoughts after seeing more evidence that commitments they received (e.g., Alexander-Murray, DACA) are not going to be honored. 5/5

...and that's what you get for being duplicitous, McConnell. Though I'm shocked that this was any surprise to Collins or Flake.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:00 AM on December 6 [9 favorites]


...and that's what you get for being duplicitous, McConnell. Though I'm shocked that this was any surprise to Collins or Flake.

Yet again I wonder what kind of charmed life these people have led to be that old and not know that if someone lies to everyone, they're lying to you, too.
posted by winna at 7:06 AM on December 6 [30 favorites]


This is an unfair characterization. America has been that refuge. It may be imperfect in that regard, but 10s of thousands of Bosnian Muslims living in and around St. Louis and other places in the US would beg to differ with your statement. They came here in the 90s, during our lifetimes. Sometimes, we have such short memories when it comes to recognizing when America excels.

Okay, so the part of Faint of Butt's comment I responded to was:

"I kind of feel like Americans should focus more on ensuring that America survives as a refuge for all oppressed minorities"

FoB italicized the "all" and that's what I focused on. We've never been a safe haven for everyone. We have taken in some immigrants and minority groups. We've closed our borders to others and instituted quotas for some groups. Many minority groups (American and immigrant alike) have been subjected to sustained, institutionalized racism throughout this country's history. It still happens today. Since the larger conversation (or at least, what I brought up) was some Jewish American attitudes towards Israel as a refuge, historically speaking it wasn't all that long ago that Jews were one of the groups that were turned away from immigrating to America.

America doesn't excel at being a refuge. If it did, all immigrants and refugees would be welcomed with open arms and treated equally. All American minority groups would be as well.

I strongly believe we should be fighting for an ideal America that is those things. But we need to be realistic about it, too.

Trump's government is pushing state-sponsored Islamophobia. The Muslim ban just took effect again. White supremacy is on the upswing. It's all very worrisome.
posted by zarq at 7:20 AM on December 6 [26 favorites]




FoB italicized the "all" and that's what I focused on. We've never been a safe haven for everyone. We have taken in some immigrants and minority groups. We've closed our borders to others and instituted quotas for some groups.

Ah, okay. I understand your comment better now.

But in particular, it is important to remember that we did, at one time, welcome Muslim refugees with open arms into our country, and in recent memory too. For me, that historical fact gives me hope that we can be that again, and do it better in the future.

It gives me hope in the face of these facts you state:

Trump's government is pushing state-sponsored Islamophobia. The Muslim ban just took effect again. White supremacy is on the upswing. It's all very worrisome.

We can win, because we have won before. The power of white supremacy has waned before, we can make it wane again.

My hope for the future, rooted in recognizing when we have done well in the past, is where my criticism of your comment came from. I hope you can see where I'm coming from.
posted by Groundhog Week at 7:35 AM on December 6 [4 favorites]


That was the occasion of Pelosi’s famous quip.

In fact it wasn't some off the cuff quip at all. It was part of a speech given on March 9, 2010, 12 full days before the House passed the final bill, to the National Association of Counties’ annual Legislative Conference in Washington.

And the "quip" they always quote isn't even the entire sentence. The full quote is "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy." Plus the surrounding details of the speech make the context and intent even more clear.

And of course, the text of the bill had been available for months. The House passed their version in October 2009 and the Senate theirs in December 2009.
posted by chris24 at 7:36 AM on December 6 [34 favorites]


So, I am not a lawyer or a parliamentarian, but I have been reading Senate Rule XXVIII, and this is my understanding of how the process of reviewing a conference-committee bill will proceed:
  • Paragraph 3(a) specifically forbids new matter in the conference bill except as otherwise permitted.
  • Paragraph 3(c) allows a point of order to be raised against any matter in violation of 3(a).
  • Paragraph 5(b) indicates that any material so challenged will be stricken from the bill if sustained by the Presiding Officer.
  • Paragraph 6(a) allows the Senate to waive these points of order, but only with a 60-vote supermajority.
  • Paragraph 6(b) allows the Senate to overrule a judgment of the Presiding Officer, with a 60-vote supermajority following an an hour of debate equally split between the two parties' leaders.
So, if the bill comes out of conference committee with changes not in either the House or Senate bill, which seems likely, any sitting Senator can challenge the provision. Then the Presiding Officer (is that Mitch McConnell, in this case?) can rule on the validity of the claim. Then if sustained, they need a supermajority (which they won't get if there's solid Democratic opposition) to keep the language or it's cut out of the bill. If the point of order is overruled, though, they would need a supermajority (which, likewise, the Republicans won't provide) to overrule but the Democrats do get half an hour to make them look bad for doing so.

Is my analysis of this parliamentary procedure correct? And more importantly, what provisions (even norms, although the current Republican leadership doesn't give a shit about those) keep the Presiding Officer tethered to reality in their judgment of what points of order can be sustained? That seems to be the one main potential stumbling block to obstructing this bill through raising points of order against all the places they're trying to fix their fuckups.
posted by jackbishop at 7:36 AM on December 6 [9 favorites]


> Trump's government is pushing state-sponsored Islamophobia. The Muslim ban just took effect again. White supremacy is on the upswing. It's all very worrisome.

I can't imagine Trump personally gives a shit about where Israel's capital is located, but if he can provoke increased radicalization and/or a terrorist attack which would a) distract from the Russia probe and b) "justify" state-sponsored Islamophobia, that would be very helpful to him and his fellow travelers.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:39 AM on December 6 [16 favorites]


Then the Presiding Officer (is that Mitch McConnell, in this case?) can rule on the validity of the claim.

The Presiding Officer is the Vice President, Mike Pence. In his absence the responsibility is given to the most senior member of the majority party, in this case Orrin Hatch.
posted by Talez at 7:40 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]


Make Senator Ellison happen just for the look on the face of Roy Moore.

Do this ASAP so that he has seniority over Roy Moore per Senate rules.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:46 AM on December 6 [32 favorites]


delfin: "Make Senator Ellison happen just for the look on the face of Roy Moore."

Which is fun, but I'd say appointing a woman to the seat would be more appropriate. We discussed several good options in prior threads.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:48 AM on December 6 [13 favorites]


GOP Tax Bill "wipes out" coal jobs, says Murray Energy CEO. “We won’t have enough cash flow to exist,” Murray told CNNMoney. “This wipes out everything that President Trump has done for coal.”

"I wish there was a word to describe the pleasure I feel at viewing misfortune."
posted by leotrotsky at 7:49 AM on December 6 [30 favorites]


As she hastily left the room, she said, Franken told her: “It’s my right as an entertainer.”

I can't imagine anyone, even Trump and especially Franken, saying this verbatim. That has to be the woman's approximation of what was said, yes? Doesn't mean the event didn't happen, but that's just such a weird, robotic thing to say.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:50 AM on December 6 [4 favorites]


“This wipes out everything that President Trump has done for coal.”

And all he's done is make completely empty promises about creating more coal jobs, so I'm a little confused here.
posted by Melismata at 7:53 AM on December 6 [15 favorites]



I can't imagine anyone, even Trump and especially Franken, saying this verbatim
.

oh jeez I can hear it in his voice without even trying. doesn't mean she did or didn't remember with perfect accuracy what he said, but that is so precisely what a guy like that would do, offer an ironic running commentary on his entitlement because that makes it funny, plus if he gets it, it isn't real.

I have a literal text message still on my phone from a guy who thought he was being flirty and self-deprecating by talking up his "sexual harassment skills." and it wasn't Al Franken. this IS a thing men do and they do expect you to laugh. this is the most believable part and I believe all of it anyway.

"lampshading" is what they call it when it's on television, I don't know what they call it when it's this. it is a thing. the thing of things.
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:55 AM on December 6 [92 favorites]


oh jeez I can hear it in his voice without even trying. doesn't mean she did or didn't remember with perfect accuracy what he said, but that is so precisely what a guy like that would do, offer an ironic running commentary on his entitlement because that makes it funny, plus if he gets it, it isn't real.

Fair enough, thank you. It's just so "evil genius" it's hard to believe, but if these past months have taught anything it's that this stuff shouldn't be hard to believe at all.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:58 AM on December 6 [7 favorites]


Do this ASAP so that he has seniority over Roy Moore per Senate rules.

Do it ASAP so he can help defeat Moore. So help me, if Franken resigns the week after the election - and we all know now with all the people coming forward (it's 7 now) that resignation is where this ends - after giving many Rs the cover to vote Moore, I'm gonna go ballistic.
posted by chris24 at 7:59 AM on December 6 [30 favorites]


And all he's done is make completely empty promises about creating more coal jobs, so I'm a little confused here

EPA drops rule requiring mining companies to have money to clean up pollution
posted by salvia at 8:08 AM on December 6 [28 favorites]


I've read that the recipe for humor is to make people kind of uncomfortable (confused, offended, disgusted, even threatened), and then relieve that discomfort with a re-assuring punchline ("Haha, there was no real threat! It all makes sense! And it's all okay!"). Like... pretty much all laughter is just a response to feeling relieved. And it's really good for us! It relieves general anxiety, to go through that emotional cycle.

But first you have to produce the discomfort, the anxiety. And a joke can easily go wrong, when you succeed at producing the anxiety, but the punchline doesn't relieve it.

Rape jokes and racist jokes are the clearest examples. You can make people uncomfortable by walking right up to a taboo. But often the punchline is "Haha, violations of that taboo aren't really a threat to us!" And obviously, that's only reassuring to some people, people who aren't actually threatened...

Anyway, yeah, "self deprecating jokes" about sexual harassment or assault can easily work that way. To the guy, the punchline is "Haha, of course I'm not really a threat, I'm a good person!" The woman still feels uncomfortable.

I think a lot of the people who have been accused this year genuinely believe they are innocent, or at least mostly innocent. Even if they actually did everything they are accused of, I think it's highly likely that they would forget it or misremember it. Bullies often forget incidents that haunt their victims for life. For the bully it was just a joke, a minor thing.

For them there was never a real threat. Haha, made you think there was! But it's just me! Joke accomplished, moving on...

But the woman continues to feel under threat, for a long time.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:11 AM on December 6 [54 favorites]


Fair enough, thank you. It's just so "evil genius" it's hard to believe, but if these past months have taught anything it's that this stuff shouldn't be hard to believe at all.

If there's one thing we've learned in this blasted hellscape 2017, it's that sometimes villains really do twirl their mustaches like Snidely Whiplash, and really are transparently evil motherfuckers.

What's more, until very recently, openly acknowledging that one was a complete monster did not carry any negative repercussions to one's career. Maybe 2018 can deliver us that pony.
posted by Mayor West at 8:22 AM on December 6 [9 favorites]


Michael Tackett, New York Times: Women Line Up to Run for Office, Harnessing Their Outrage at Trump:
They have been joined by hundreds of other women across the nation, with the number seeking elective office rising at every level, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers. They were angered by Mr. Trump’s election and energized by the Women’s March in Washington the day after his inauguration, and are now even more driven to get involved after the flood of sexual harassment allegations against powerful men.
Good! I hope this flood of women running for office stays a flood, and there are women everywhere in every Democratic party seat in the land. Sarah Kliff, Vox: Electing women makes a difference.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:31 AM on December 6 [39 favorites]


Democratic Rep. Al Green says he will force House impeachment vote
Rep. Al Green (D-Tex.) said in a memo to fellow lawmakers that he planned to bring articles of impeachment to the House floor Wednesday as a “privileged resolution,” one that would be entitled to a vote within two days under House rules.
Minnesota's got a Democratic governor and a deep bench. Heck, Keith Ellison could take that seat.

I could almost see Franken liking this idea.

Which is fun, but I'd say appointing a woman to the seat would be more appropriate.

Please, let's not make this women vs Muslims. Roy Moore literally said Muslims should not be allowed to serve in Congress.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:36 AM on December 6 [12 favorites]


chris24: 73% (of 18-29 year olds) want Trump to never tweet

So, my dreams of Trump in prison were even happier when I realized he won't have access to Twitter. And then I wondered, if Trump is "only" impeached, is he still "newsworthy" enough for Twitter to allow him to promote hate and intolerance?
posted by filthy light thief at 8:37 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]


Gillibrand calls for Franken to resign (Facebook link, but available without an account).
posted by melissasaurus at 8:37 AM on December 6 [25 favorites]


It's a joke. He went in for the kiss, got ducked, and then tried to save face by making that ridiculous statement. Which... would be likeable in him, if we were all still on the same page about this stuff being harmless fun. BUT WE'RE NOT.
posted by Don Pepino at 8:39 AM on December 6 [5 favorites]


So, my random thought for this morning. Any state where the Dems take over in 2018 should see legislation introduced to assign redistricting to an independent commission, such as what we have in Arizona. It's not perfect, but I shudder to think how bad our lines would be if the state legislature were to draw them. It's entirely possible for the Dems to gerrymander in their favor in 2020, but if there's no check on the state legislture's power to redistrict, there's nothing whatsoever stopping the GOP from redrawing districts to favor themselves again. We have swing districts in Arizona that change hands and that's not possible without the redistricting commission. What's telling is how hard the GOP fought to get rid of the commission and give redistricting power back to the legislature. They took it to SCOTUS and lost.
posted by azpenguin at 8:42 AM on December 6 [14 favorites]


[Twitter] McCaskill joining in asking for Franken resignation, expect to see an avalanche.
posted by localhuman at 8:43 AM on December 6 [23 favorites]


Gillibrand calls for Franken to resign (Facebook link, but available without an account).

Senators McCaskill, Hirano, and Hassan have called for his resignation now too. This drip, drip of additional accusers coming forth is worse than just getting him out of there. I hope this last piece convinces him that it's time to go.
posted by gladly at 8:44 AM on December 6 [4 favorites]


Other calls for Franken's resignation:

Senator Claire McCaskill

Senator Maggie Hassan

Senator Mazie Hirono
posted by Existential Dread at 8:44 AM on December 6 [17 favorites]


It's entirely possible for the Dems to gerrymander in their favor in 2020, but if there's no check on the state legislture's power to redistrict, there's nothing whatsoever stopping the GOP from redrawing districts to favor themselves again.

Independent districting is probably a smart strategic move for Dems. It seems likely that with Dems naturally geographically concentrated, Republicans can gerrymander more easily/effectively than Dems can.
posted by Jpfed at 8:46 AM on December 6 [2 favorites]


Women doing the fucking work, once again. Who will be the first male senator to call for resignation?
posted by melissasaurus at 8:46 AM on December 6 [60 favorites]


WSJ tax plan calculator.

It says I'm getting a tax cut. I should NOT be getting a tax cut. I am not numerically in the middle class, I do not need a tax cut, and I don't want one (I prefer a civilized society, to paraphrase Holmes). And the more charitable giving I do, the less of a cut I get.
posted by Dashy at 8:48 AM on December 6 [7 favorites]


Do it ASAP so he can help defeat Moore.

I think he should resign too but let's not pretend the use of Franken as a fig leaf by these clowns actually has any power. This would relieve them of a possible statement but its not going to change single vote from anyone already defending Moore.
posted by phearlez at 8:48 AM on December 6 [6 favorites]


Another woman senator, Patty Murray. No men as yet.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:49 AM on December 6 [8 favorites]


I think he should resign too but let's not pretend the use of Franken as a fig leaf by these clowns actually has any power. This would relieve them of a possible statement but its not going to change single vote from anyone already defending Moore.

Agreed. See: The Daily 202: Why so many women are still supporting Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race (Washington Post). The reasons are varied, but none of them relate to Franken.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:54 AM on December 6 [5 favorites]


> And all he's done is make completely empty promises about creating more coal jobs, so I'm a little confused here.

For a lot of voters, empty promises from a Republican politician > actual positive results from a Democratic politician.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:54 AM on December 6 [4 favorites]


The GOP for Doug Jones movement is real [Warning: graphic description of sexual assault]
While polls are extremely close, Dowdle said that from speaking to her Republican friends and neighbors also planning on voting for Jones, she believes that the Democrat will carry the state.

“There’s a whole lot more of us than people want to admit to out there,” Dowdle said.

posted by T.D. Strange at 8:54 AM on December 6 [17 favorites]


WSJ tax plan calculator.

The WSJ is a Trumpist organ, so I wouldn't even trust the results of this calculator. Of course they'd want their readership base to think they're getting a tax cut, whether it's true or not.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:55 AM on December 6 [11 favorites]


Has anyone heard more about this, from WUSA9 (local DC news):
WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Few details are being released on a wide-ranging law enforcement operation involving multiple agencies in the D.C. region this morning.

According to Kadia Koroma, spokeswoman for the FBI Washington Field Office, the court authorized law enforcement activity is happening in the DC region, and involves multiple federal, state, and local agencies.

No further details are being released at this time, however an update is expected from the FBI later Wednesday afternoon.
posted by lalex at 9:00 AM on December 6 [10 favorites]


Well here's another, non-WSJ, Tax Plan Calculator folks can try. No idea how accurate its assumptions are (it appears to be based on the House plan only), but CalcXML's angle is less political and more commercial as they design and code some of the branded calculators you find online.
posted by notyou at 9:01 AM on December 6 [4 favorites]


Faint of Butt, did you look at what the calculator is modeling? It seems pretty straightforward, income, children, mortgage/property taxes, pass-through.

I got it via Kai Ryssdal on twitter, and a bunch of respondents there indicated tax increases.
posted by Dashy at 9:02 AM on December 6 [1 favorite]


Press conference going on right now with Gillibrand and others. (Facebook link again, but no sign-in needed.)
posted by melissasaurus at 9:04 AM on December 6


I think he should resign too but let's not pretend the use of Franken as a fig leaf by these clowns actually has any power. This would relieve them of a possible statement but its not going to change single vote from anyone already defending Moore.

I think/hope it's going to be close and I do believe it might change a few votes, keep a few people home, change the dialogue over the next 6 days. As we saw in VA and last night in Atlanta, every vote counts. Giving people permission to vote against Rs or sit out can be important. Like Flake's check. Not a big $$ amount but maybe gave a few moderates cover to vote D or at least write in someone. Sure, not gonna change the diehards and nutjobs, but there's people on the margin and in a close race they can be key.
posted by chris24 at 9:06 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]


Women doing the fucking work, once again. Who will be the first male senator to call for resignation?

Bob Casey (D-PA), my senator, is the first male senator I've seen join the call.
posted by gladly at 9:08 AM on December 6 [40 favorites]


Ah, okay. I understand your comment better now.

No worries. I should have been clearer.

But in particular, it is important to remember that we did, at one time, welcome Muslim refugees with open arms into our country, and in recent memory too. For me, that historical fact gives me hope that we can be that again, and do it better in the future.

I hope so.

We can win, because we have won before. The power of white supremacy has waned before, we can make it wane again.

The last year has been hellish in a lot of ways, and recent events have made me wonder whether White Supremacism has remained strong in America but more hidden than it used to be.

My hope for the future, rooted in recognizing when we have done well in the past, is where my criticism of your comment came from. I hope you can see where I'm coming from.

I do.
posted by zarq at 9:11 AM on December 6 [4 favorites]


Women doing the fucking work, once again. Who will be the first male senator to call for resignation?

Representative Joe Crowley (D-NY) called for Franken's resignation last Thursday. He's the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
posted by zarq at 9:13 AM on December 6 [12 favorites]


(I know Crowley's not a Senator. But still, he's a highly ranked Congressman.)
posted by zarq at 9:15 AM on December 6


More male senators are joining the chorus now for Franken to resign. I just saw an announcement for Joe Donnelly.
posted by StrawberryPie at 9:18 AM on December 6 [2 favorites]


I’m getting >$300B from fact that provision appears to repeal R&D credit, which costs ~$113B, and participation exemption

I understand the R&D credit repeal. Actually making things is for rubes. The participation exemption though...that one hits a lot of financial con artists hard.
posted by srboisvert at 9:20 AM on December 6 [1 favorite]


(I know Crowley's not a Senator. But still, he's a highly ranked Congressman.)

He really really wants to be in the running for Speaker if/when the dems retake the house.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:21 AM on December 6 [1 favorite]


If Franken drops out soon, a whole bunch of whataboutisms evaporate right before the election. It also encourages more women to come out in the open about their experiences. But he has to do it NOW.

There's got to be more shoes. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect more of those shoes will be on the party of Roy Moore.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:21 AM on December 6 [16 favorites]


"Military service was a particularly bold line of attack for a longtime adviser to a president who avoided Vietnam by receiving five draft deferments between 1964 and 1972."

"Bold" is one word for it. These fucking people. Come for the gross hypocrisy at the top, stay for leave after reading about the Moore supporter who insinuates that she wishes she could just shoot protesters.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:24 AM on December 6 [17 favorites]


There's got to be more shoes.

Franken himself said he didn’t know if more would come. And when asked why he couldn’t remember he said he’d hugged a lot of people taking pix. There’s definitely more.
posted by chris24 at 9:26 AM on December 6


I know Crowley's not a Senator. But still, he's a highly ranked Congressman.

Good point. I just tweeted Ted Lieu and asked him to support the calls for Franken's resignation. His district is on fire right now so he may be a little preoccupied.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:27 AM on December 6


Harkening back to the arguments around here a scaramucci or so ago, this is why Franken's resignation is better than waiting for a "full investigation," even granting that the process is asymmetric and Republicans will always deny and resist on their side. A thorough investigation should certainly come, but the damage done between the first set of accusations and now, let alone weeks or months more of this, is not sustainable. Nor is it just, especially if he's not denying most of the accusations. He should have been gone weeks ago, but better late than never.
posted by chortly at 9:27 AM on December 6 [2 favorites]


Also, the first accuser was dismissed by some as a Republican. Today’s accuser was a congressional Democratic intern. It’s not some scheme. It’s him.
posted by chris24 at 9:28 AM on December 6 [14 favorites]


Latest word is Franken will make an announcement tomorrow. Story is changing very quickly now.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:30 AM on December 6 [18 favorites]


Good point. I just tweeted Ted Lieu and asked him to support the calls for Franken's resignation. His district is on fire right now so he may be a little preoccupied.

Thank you! I sent emails to Gillibrand and Schumer and my local Rep last week asking them to call for Franken's resignation. Was happily surprised to see her speak out this morning.
posted by zarq at 9:30 AM on December 6


From earlier: So yes, going on the attack is needed. Targeting Trump directly because we have learned that he is pathetically insecure and can't handle it.

Not only that, make clear as part of the attack that Trump is pathetically insecure and can't handle it. Predict that he will waste time lashing out on Twitter instead of solving this country's problems. Deride him for putting his own ego ahead of this nation's interests once again, because he just can't help himself.

Sure, he could always prove one wrong by showing some self discipline and containing himself, but fat chance. And so Trump himself will contribute to the narrative that he's a weak fool.
posted by Gelatin at 9:30 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]




Has anyone heard more about this, from WUSA9 (local DC news)

Still light on details but it was apparently a joint FBI/ATF operation involving "gang activity" (presumably not related to Trump, alas).
posted by halation at 9:36 AM on December 6 [4 favorites]


jackbishop: If the bill comes out of conference committee with changes not in either the House or Senate bill, which seems likely, any sitting Senator can challenge the provision. [...] If the point of order is overruled, though, they would need a supermajority (which, likewise, the Republicans won't provide) to overrule but the Democrats do get half an hour to make them look bad for doing so. Is my analysis of this parliamentary procedure correct?

I was hoping someone with actual knowledge would pipe up with an answer here. It seems right to me, but it really doesn't matter much, except that Democrats get to chew up more time on the legislative clock and put together some campaign commercials, because...

> What provisions (even norms, although the current Republican leadership doesn't give a shit about those) keep the Presiding Officer tethered to reality in their judgment of what points of order can be sustained?

I'm pretty sure the correct answer here is: None. There's no reason why Mike Pence (or Orrin Hatch) would ever sustain a Democratic point of order against a provision that busts the 1.5 trillion dollar margin, for example. They would rule against it, there would be a vote, the Senate majority vote would back up the presiding officer, the end.

I think the horse has pretty much left the barn, and it's going to keep galloping forward unless the conference committee badly screws things up and fails to come up with a product that appeases the House right-wing jackasses. (Jeff Flake and Susan Collins are, after all is said and done, still Republicans, and they're not going to hold up a tax cut. I will bet a cake - my first cake - on that.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:37 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]


MSNBC has uploaded Veselnitskaya's statements to the Senate about her meeting with Trump Jr. The overall point is that she's on an anti-Browder crusade of sorts (lots of stuff there if you're into the Bill Browder drama generally), but flatly denies any sort of election-related shenanigans. It's 50 pages of dense, occasionally-clunky translated text, so if you delve into it you might need an extra dose or two of your favorite caffeine delivery mechanism.
posted by creampuff at 9:41 AM on December 6 [5 favorites]


I think the horse has pretty much left the barn, and it's going to keep galloping forward unless the conference committee badly screws things up and fails to come up with a product that appeases the House right-wing jackasses. (Jeff Flake and Susan Collins are, after all is said and done, still Republicans, and they're not going to hold up a tax cut. I will bet a cake - my first cake - on that.)

Right, but conference slows them down, and the slower they move the more likely they are to fail. The House and the Senate are on different planets in terms of what they can pass through their houses. There's a reason why McConnell was racing like his pants were on fire. And, the longer it takes them, the more other must-pass shit they're going to have to deal with, like the government shutting down, DACA, CHIP, healthcare fixes, and the debt ceiling. And with more time, the more we learn about the terrible consequences of their terrible legislation and who gets screwed as a result. Many of those groups that are getting screwed have lobbyists. The more the lobbyists work, the more likely they can't get a revenue neutral bill together. And the wack-jobs in the Freedom Caucus are always demanding the impossible (they're already throwing their weight around).

The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things are already out of hand.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:45 AM on December 6 [36 favorites]


This thread has been up a while, but I just wanted to call out the title. "Collusion Course." That is a nice, solid, compact pun. Well done, Merus.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:47 AM on December 6 [54 favorites]


T.D. Strange The GOP for Doug Jones movement is real

Having witnessed the utter and abject failure of the #NeverTrump Republicans to exist in any significant numbers, I doubt very much that the author of that piece is correct. I hope they are, but I doubt it.
posted by sotonohito at 9:47 AM on December 6 [24 favorites]


Looks like Trump'll have to fire Rosenstein, so at least there'll be a [insert day here]-Night Massacre to grab attention when the edging-toward-inevitable happens.

Scott McFarlane, NBC: Deputy AG Rosenstein Says He's Satisfied With Special Counsel Mueller's Work
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:49 AM on December 6 [22 favorites]


I would say the #NeverTrumpers have been very successful at taking to social media to express "grave concern" about trump's breaches of protocol while soberly addressing him as "Sir" or "Mr. President" and tut-tutting about his use of coarse language and naughty words and then lending their full support to whatever petty administrative horrors he and his team of goons try to ram through.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:03 AM on December 6 [15 favorites]


Ugh, each senator calling for Franken's resignation has Twitter replies that are nothing but "Trump should go first!" and "What about Moore?"

Anyone who supports the resignation of Franken but only on the "condition" that Trump and/or Moore quits first is literally letting Republicans establish the standards of minimal decency. These people think it's the other way around, that it's some kind of one-sided disarmament, but it's not. It's just having a baseline for what it even means to be a Democrat, working on behalf of the people.

If we have to wait until Trump resigns before any Democrat guilty of doing anything Trumplike should quit, then the amount of "allowable" wrongdoing is also Trump-deep, which is to say, completely bottomless. Franken could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and apparently it would be okay (to some) as long as Trump did it first. "You want Democrats to shoot themselves in the foot?" No, I want Democrats to keep their damn hands and lips to themselves. Sheesh.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:03 AM on December 6 [57 favorites]


Which is fun, but I'd say appointing a woman to the seat would be more appropriate.

Please, let's not make this women vs Muslims. Roy Moore literally said Muslims should not be allowed to serve in Congress.


I think that the most appropriate person to fill that seat will be the person most qualified to represent me as my Senator. Well, 2nd most qualified since Amy Klobuchar is our other Senator.

Out of the Minnesota politicians that I can think of off hand, Ellison is the most obvious pick. That he's muslim and a POC are just little side benefits.

If there is someone else that is equally as qualified then maybe it would make sense to talk about that person's demographic benefits vs. Ellison's. Or maybe it makes sense to talk about why a female Senator would be a better fit vs. a man other than the sense of cosmic justice it would bring. As I typed that I even thought of one such reason. I think the odds are really, really low that there is some sexual assault maleficence in Ellison's past that could come back to haunt us. but forcing Franken to resign only to have him replaced with another sexual predator would be a crushing blow. The odds whatever woman who might be tapped for the role has some similar incident in their past is virtually zero.

So then the question is, who is more qualified for the seat than Ellison?

I'll also add that if there is a Presidential run in Ellison's future I do kind of like the idea of replacing Trump (or whoever keeps the seat warm until 2020 ) with another black man, this time one who actually is a muslim. I don't know that he aspirations in that direction or if he'd make a good president but it's a nice thought.
posted by VTX at 10:05 AM on December 6 [8 favorites]


[Couple deleted. Let's not get further into Holy Land tourism and so on in this thread. And in general as this Franken thing develops today, people can maybe just pause for a couple minutes and collect a few tweets into groups rather than racing to repost things there the moment they're said; we can keep the thread more focused by taking one step back from the "breaking" mindset.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:06 AM on December 6 [21 favorites]


If they just slow down the bill until the new Alabama senator arrives, whoever that is, it’s a headache for Republicans. Obviously Jones would be awesome. But I imagine that Roy Moore, legislative bomb thrower, answerable to no man, party of one would cause Mitch McConnell serious heartburn. And honestly, do you think Roy Moore gives a flying fuck about marginal corporate tax rates? The man rode a horse to vote and pulled a gun at a campaign rally. He lives to be contrarian! And he must hate all these stuffy DC Republicans who ditched him.

So yeah, delay that bill as much as possible.
posted by Glibpaxman at 10:07 AM on December 6 [9 favorites]


If Franken drops out soon, a whole bunch of whataboutisms evaporate right before the election. It also encourages more women to come out in the open about their experiences. But he has to do it NOW.

I wish I could believe this but Republicans (Trump, Moore) have already made their strategy clear. "Democrats have admitted it but we deny everything so we stay and they go." The fact that Democrats resigned will be used as a cudgel by Republicans. Not even whataboutism -- they are already saying "See? It's DEMOCRATS who are perverts, we're just unfairly accused by these insane harlots."

Anyone who supports the resignation of Franken but only on the "condition" that Trump and/or Moore quits first is literally letting Republicans establish the standards of minimal decency. These people think it's the other way around, that it's some kind of one-sided disarmament, but it's not.

The third alternative is to insist that all allegations against Congresspeople of either party are investigated thoroughly with public hearings, instead of letting the perpetrator decide whether to quit or not. If Democrats just resign, how is that NOT unilateral disarmament? Republicans are still there, with no standards of decency at all.
posted by msalt at 10:17 AM on December 6 [10 favorites]




Past presidents dating back to a 1995 law have signed a waiver every six months to delay moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to preserve national security. U.S. officials said Trump would continue to sign the waiver until the embassy was ready to move, which logistically would take three or four years.

"...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."
posted by leotrotsky at 10:21 AM on December 6 [6 favorites]


Quinnipiac poll: The U.S. Congress should investigate accusations of sexual harassment against President Trump, Americans say 70 - 25 percent.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:24 AM on December 6 [56 favorites]


The Embassy move crap has the stink of Miller knowingly trying to foment anger so they can point to the "urgent" need to come down even harder on Muslims.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:25 AM on December 6 [12 favorites]


I maintain that Trump's motivation WRT Israel is a desire to distract and anger his opposition. Look how well it's worked here.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:26 AM on December 6 [6 favorites]


Doug Jones has called on Franken to resign.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:26 AM on December 6 [26 favorites]


It just occurred to me today that if there were any sufficient groundswell of real moral outrage, every GOP voter in Alabama could show up to the polls and write in Luther Strange. Or hell, just write in "a Republican who's not a sexual predator" and force the governor (??) to deal with however that works. There could be a coordinated effort to not vote for Moore. Instead, the RNC is throwing money and the narrative is blatantly "vote for this guy or A DEMOCRAT will win." There could have been ways to not vote for either of them. There's no shortage of GOP machinery in Alabama who might have chosen to go rogue.
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:26 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]


Mike Memoli, NBC: Whistleblower: Flynn told ex-partner Russia sanctions would be ripped up

Donald Trump was just 11 minutes into his presidency when his choice for national security adviser, Michael Flynn, texted a former business partner to say an ambitious U.S. collaboration with Russia to build nuclear reactors in the Middle East was "good to go," according to a new whistleblower account.

As Trump delivered his inaugural address, says the unnamed whistleblower, Flynn directed Alex Copson, managing director of ACU Strategic Partners, to inform their business partners "to put things in place."


Flynn basically texted "Engage Treason Phase 2" during the inaugural address.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:26 AM on December 6 [75 favorites]


VTX: " Or maybe it makes sense to talk about why a female Senator would be a better fit vs. a man other than the sense of cosmic justice it would bring. "

I'm at the point where someone who resigns for sexual harassment/related should be replaced by a woman, if there is anyone at all qualified. In the event of a Senator, by appointment; in the event of a special election, the party should back a woman.

That's not a commentary on Ellison, I just think this is the appropriate response. There are numerous qualified women in MN - the LG, the AG - for the position.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:28 AM on December 6 [15 favorites]


If Democrats just resign, how is that NOT unilateral disarmament? Republicans are still there, with no standards of decency at all.

It's the opposite. Republicans will effectively brand themselves the party of sexual assaulters with no standards.

"But, with Trump they already did! And they won that election!"

Yep, and it's hurting them. President has lowest 1st year approval rating in recorded history. It's hurting them now with millennials, with women voters, with moderate Republican voters with a sense of propriety (party identification with Republicans is dropping). The Republican "brand" is increasingly toxic. It damn well hurt them in Virginia (where women broke for Northam more than 5% than they did for Clinton). They've got a pretty good chance of losing a Senate seat in ALABAMA, for goodness sakes. You can't call Trump an aberration when you're also refusing to denounce Roy Moore and letting sex offenders off the hook. That hurts you, both now, and much more in the future.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:31 AM on December 6 [26 favorites]


Not to abuse the edit window, here's a photo of what appears to be Flynn writing the text.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:31 AM on December 6 [38 favorites]


Called and thanked Senator Casey after seeing gladly's comment. It feels great to have one (1) senator representing me that I can actually be proud of.
posted by joyceanmachine at 10:32 AM on December 6 [6 favorites]


Ok, something is up and catching the eye of a lot of twitter. Start slightly before 10 minutes and let it play out to the end. The slurring progressively get