If anybody needs me, I’ll be in the Angrydome.
January 16, 2018 4:32 PM   Subscribe

This is your latest installment in the Trump / U.S. Politics Megathread. Trump golfs on MLK day after urging Americans to celebrate it with volunteering; popularity among African Americans continues to plummet. Bannon subpoenaed to grand jury. Blowback continues on “Sh—holeGate”; CNN reporter expelled from press conference for asking about it. There are four years in a Presidential term of office (not many people know that).
posted by darkstar (2184 comments total) 102 users marked this as a favorite
 
“Sh—holeGate”

It's important to get it right* - the word is "Shedhole".

* It is remarkably unimportant to get the word right, despite what various designated Trump defenders would try to tell you, since the intent and the racism is blindly clear.
posted by Artw at 4:37 PM on January 16 [8 favorites]


Majority of National Park Service advisory board resigns amid protest (The Hill)
A majority of the members of a National Park Service advisory board resigned their posts Monday night in protest of how Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has treated them, according to a new report.

Nine of the 12 members of the National Park System Advisory Board suddenly quit Monday, according to The Washington Post.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:37 PM on January 16 [68 favorites]


Apparently, in the same “shithole” meeting, Dear Leader also said he didn’t care what the Congressional Black Caucus had to say about immigration.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:47 PM on January 16 [20 favorites]


Nine of the 12 members of the National Park System Advisory Board suddenly quit Monday, according to The Washington Post.

Sadly, this will probably be viewed as a positive by Trump’s team. I’m assuming the NPS is allowed to carry on without a functioning advisory board, yes?
posted by Thorzdad at 4:51 PM on January 16 [14 favorites]


SF Chronicle, Hamed Aleaziz, Feds planning massive Northern California immigration sweep to strike against sanctuary laws
U.S. immigration officials have begun preparing for a major sweep in San Francisco and other Northern California cities in which federal officers would look to arrest more than 1,500 undocumented people while sending a message that immigration policy will be enforced in the sanctuary state, according to a source familiar with the operation.

Officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, declined to comment Tuesday on plans for the operation.

The campaign, centered in the Bay Area, could happen within weeks, and is expected to become the biggest enforcement action of its kind under President Trump, said the source, who requested anonymity because the plans have not been made public.
posted by zachlipton at 4:55 PM on January 16 [34 favorites]


Justice Department gives FBI files to congressional Republicans. Let the dismantling of the FBI begin!
posted by Thorzdad at 5:04 PM on January 16 [5 favorites]


The decision, which comes in response to constant Republican claims that the FBI is prejudiced against Donald Trump, thrills Republicans. It gives them unfettered access to information they can use to paint the agency in any way they want, along with the opportunity to interfere with the Trump–Russia investigation directly.

I'm so tired. I'm so very, very tired. We've descended so far down into tribalism that anything goes. Any norm may be broken, any line can be crossed, any deviancy normalized, so long as it benefits the red team. Democracy dies not with a bang, or with a whimper, but in the vengeful screams of the fans in the stands.
posted by Talez at 5:09 PM on January 16 [132 favorites]


We've descended so far down into tribalism that anything goes. Any norm may be broken, any line can be crossed, any deviancy normalized, so long as it benefits the red team. Democracy dies not with a bang, or with a whimper, but in the vengeful screams of the fans in the stands.

This isn't tribalism (and dear god, if there's any concept that needs to die in a fire, it's that one.) This is what happens when a group signs a Faustian bargain for power, choosing to indulge in the bigotries of a group whose portion of the populace is on the decline. The bill is coming due now, and they are desperate to hold on to avoid paying it.
posted by NoxAeternum at 5:15 PM on January 16 [29 favorites]


You have to wonder just how bad things have to get before you seriously start hearing the word “treason” being thrown around in places where it matters.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:16 PM on January 16 [12 favorites]


Wait Bannon was under testimony for over 10 hours?

That’s

A lot
posted by The Whelk at 5:16 PM on January 16 [49 favorites]


"Close to 12 hours", and they're talking about making him come back again "soon."

Even more amazingly, I've seen reports that he was only wearing one shirt today.
posted by zachlipton at 5:21 PM on January 16 [55 favorites]


Looks like he doubled down and refused to answer questions
posted by The Whelk at 5:22 PM on January 16


Shutdown update:
Here’s what House GOP leaders are pitching tonight:

— CR until Feb. 16th.

— A full six-year CHIP reauthorization.

—Delay of three Obamacare taxes: med device (2 years), HIT (1 year starting in 2019; and Cadillac (2 years).

Vote could happen on Thursday
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:28 PM on January 16 [8 favorites]


You have to wonder just how bad things have to get before you seriously start hearing the word “treason” being thrown around in places where it matters.

We are already there (autoplay video warning, sorry)
posted by thelonius at 5:31 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


'Total free-for-all' as Bannon clashes with Intel members (The Hill)
Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon on Tuesday rocketed to the center of the public controversy surrounding the Trump campaign and Russia.

The onetime Breitbart mogul now faces multiple subpoenas — from Capitol Hill and special counsel Robert Mueller — stemming from investigations of Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election.

The House Intelligence Committee issued a pair of subpoenas, for both documents and testimony, when Bannon declined to answer some questions during an all-day interview on Tuesday, according to multiple sources.

Earlier in the day, The New York Times reported that Mueller last week served Bannon a separate grand jury subpoena. News of that subpoena broke just hours after Bannon walked into the Intelligence Committee’s secure spaces.

Multiple sources told The Hill that Bannon indicated to lawmakers that he would answer questions about the Trump campaign, but not about his work on the transition team or in the White House. Bannon, alongside his lawyer, said he would only answer those questions when he speaks to Mueller.

That stance infuriated lawmakers. Sources described the meeting as a “total free-for-all” and “brutal.” “He doesn’t have any friends in that room,” one source said. ...

According to a report in Politico, also citing a single source, Bannon refused to discuss anything about his time in the White House or during the transition after the election — but did not formally invoke executive privilege.

Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) confirmed to reporters that he authorized the congressional subpoenas, saying, “That’s how the rules work.”

According to multiple sources, Bannon did not immediately comply with the subpoenas, which were for both testimony and documents.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:35 PM on January 16 [19 favorites]


They're talking about Bannon claiming blanket executive privilege for things that happened during the transition. That's completely invalid. Obama was still the "executive" in "executive privilege" during that period of time.

I can't imagine he'll try that bullshit with Mueller? It's absurd.
posted by Justinian at 5:36 PM on January 16 [74 favorites]


According to multiple sources, Bannon did not immediately comply with the subpoenas, which were for both testimony and documents.

The remedy for this is an immediate criminal referral to DOJ for a contempt of Congress charge, not that Republicans will do such a thing.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:43 PM on January 16 [24 favorites]


I can't imagine he'll try that bullshit with Mueller? It's absurd.

Oh, I can imagine him trying it. Just not succeeding.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:49 PM on January 16 [5 favorites]


The remedy for this is an immediate criminal referral to DOJ for a contempt of Congress charge, not that Republicans will do such a thing.

I dunno. Having Justice lock Bannon up somewhere exremely secure before he can go in front of Mueller sounds like a dandy plan.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:51 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


"Close to 12 hours", and they're talking about making him come back again "soon."

More from Fox News's Chad Pergram @ChadPergram:
GOP SC Rep & Intel Cmte mbr Trey Gowdy on Fox on Steve Bannon's appearance today: It was the most tortured analysis of executive privilege I’ve ever seen

Top Dem on Intel Cmte Schiff says nearly 12 hr session with Bannon was a "long day." Described the scope of the WH's gag order for Bannon not to talk as "breathtaking." Says WH's claim on behalf of Bannon "is breathtaking."

GOP TX Rep & Intel Cmte mbr Conaway on Bannon appearance where he refused to answer questions: "We’re going to get these answers..This witness is not an executive..we have additional questions.

GOP SC Rep Gowdy on Bannon's appearance before Intel Cmte: We learned about a new privilege that before today did not exist..it's an executive privilege that covers communications during transitions, while you work at the WH & communications after you leave the WH

GOP SC Rep Gowdy on Bannon at Hse Intel Cmte today: It was steve bannon who used the word treason and unpatriotic. Those are particularly hard accusations to level..so you're going to be asked about it
And because this is Fox, Pergram adds, "GOP SC Rep Gowdy: The mainstream media could give a damn less about what happened in Benghazi. They're really interested in what happened in Russia"
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:56 PM on January 16 [22 favorites]


Nine of the 12 members of the National Park System Advisory Board suddenly quit Monday, according to The Washington Post.

Sadly, this will probably be viewed as a positive by Trump’s team. I’m assuming the NPS is allowed to carry on without a functioning advisory board, yes?


It's scope is "solely advisory" so it won't necessarily affect day to day running of the NPS. However, some programs carried out under the Advisory Board are dead in the water. For example, the designation of National Historic Landmarks runs through the Advisory Board and its National Historic Landmarks Committee. That committee has also not met since Fall 2016, so there have been no new NHLs designated since Sally Jewell left in January 2017...and there won't be for the foreseeable future. I've got a nomination sitting in limbo.
posted by Preserver at 6:03 PM on January 16 [15 favorites]


ELECTION RESULT

GOP HOLD in South Carolina House 99, 56-44. This was about a 10% swing to the Dems from 2016 presidential margin.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:06 PM on January 16 [27 favorites]


Eh, the House Intel Committee wants to get its hands on the Bannon testimony and documents before Mueller does so they can carry on discrediting Mueller and the Russia investigation.
posted by notyou at 6:07 PM on January 16 [11 favorites]


From the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dept. of Homeland Security oversight hearing earlier today.

Senator Cory Booker Presses DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

First couple minutes Sen. Booker is asking prepared questions but by 3 minutes in, the earlier hearing events (Sec. Nielsen's selective memory antics (about shithole comments)) were reverberating too strongly inside of Booker for him not to abandon his questions and try to educate about racism, the impact of words and complicity as it moves from schooling to scolding ... well worth watching.
posted by phoque at 6:11 PM on January 16 [56 favorites]


[This is your regular new-thread reminder to keep things focused and skip the trash talk and derails. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:17 PM on January 16 [15 favorites]


“GOP SC Rep Gowdy: The mainstream media could give a damn less about what happened in Benghazi. They're really interested in what happened in Russia"


As is frickin’ appropriate!

Benghazi was an isolated event, a coordinated attack on an embassy by a group of terrorists in which four people were killed. It merited an investigation — which it has had, over, and over and over again. But it does not merit perpetual investigations used as an electioneering tool and a partisan bludgeon against a political opponent who had nothing to do with the attack, despite the GOP’s desperate, repeated attempts to use it as such.

The Russia investigation, on the other hand, is trying to determine whether the despotic leader of an adversarial country gamed our electoral system to shut out a US Presidential candidate he didn’t want, and whether the candidate that won the race may have been colluding with the despot to do it. Something rather at the heart of the survival of our democracy.

No shit the media’s more interested in the latter.
posted by darkstar at 6:25 PM on January 16 [118 favorites]


Daily Beast, Betsy Woodruff, Steve Bannon Will Tell All to Robert Mueller, Source Says
“Mueller will hear everything Bannon has to say,” said the source, who is familiar with Bannon’s thinking.

During a closed-door hearing before the House intelligence committee today, Bannon reportedly told lawmakers that President Donald Trump has invoked broad executive privilege for the purposes of Congressional inquiries. Because of that, Bannon refused to answer committee members’ questions about what happened during the presidential transition and in the White House.

This sweeping understanding of privilege will not impact what Bannon tells Mueller’s team, according to our source.
These people all seem to have fascinating ideas of what executive privilege means.
posted by zachlipton at 6:43 PM on January 16 [24 favorites]


Here’s what House GOP leaders are pitching tonight:

Sounds like an excellent deal for Democrats. They get CHIP funding for 6 years and only give up a couple of Obamacare taxes. The Obamacare taxes make no difference to the implementation of Obamacare. They just go into the general revenue fund anyway and were put in place just to make the ACA revenue neutral for scoring purposes. Makes no difference if Republicans delay them. Just more deficit spending on the Republican side.

And Republicans kick the can down the road for another month when Democrats can get another concession from Republicans -- DACA. One step at a time.
posted by JackFlash at 6:43 PM on January 16 [32 favorites]


ELECTION RESULT

GOP HOLD in Wisconsin AD-58, 57-43. This was about a 25% swing to the Dems from 2016 presidential margin.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:52 PM on January 16 [46 favorites]


And Republicans kick the can down the road for another month when Democrats can get another concession from Republicans -- DACA. One step at a time.

I completely agree that delaying those taxes makes no real difference to anything although I think the cadillac plan tax is a good one. But I don't know that it's an excellent deal... more of a mediocre one? Why should Democrats have to give any concessions for CHIP funding when it would so obviously overwhelmingly pass cleanly if it were brought to the floor?

It might make sense to do it just 'cause those kids need health care and it will remove this issue and clear the table for, as you say, DACA. But getting any concessions for something both parties want is a decent deal for Republicans. Consider: given both parties want CHIP reauthorized what are the concessions Democrats are getting.? It can't be the CHIP reauth itself, that's bipartisan.
posted by Justinian at 6:59 PM on January 16 [16 favorites]


These people all seem to have fascinating ideas of what executive privilege means.

If by 'fascinating' is meant 'divine right of kings'.

Unfortunately for the early-modern apologists, we demand democratic accountability for the actions and decision-making processes of our elected leaders.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:59 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


My latest drawing of Trump, using a very unsubtle metaphor for the shithole his mouth is.

I get the sense that his provocations have become almost expected now, which would in part explain how incidents both past and present that would sink almost any politician seem to do nothing to him. His vileness has become so normalized that it's part of the contemporary firmament now.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 7:14 PM on January 16 [43 favorites]


ELECTION RESULT

GOP HOLD in Iowa House 6, 55-44. This is about a 19 point swing to the Dems compared to the 2016 presidential margin.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:17 PM on January 16 [40 favorites]


I don't know why I've wasted all my time regularly running and training for distance endurance events you guys. I should have just been laying in bed eating cheeseburgers.

Apparently I'm not a stable genius.

Also: good on Mueller for holding Bannon's subpoena with a grand jury.
posted by floweredfish at 7:19 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


GOP SC Rep Gowdy: The mainstream media could give a damn less about what happened in Benghazi. They're really interested in what happened in Russia

And Gowdy could give a damn less about the truth of anything. He's really interested in grandstanding for the media. That and his unhealthy fixation on how everybody is a filthy liar who lies about everything, but he, Trey Gowdy, Witchsmeller Pursuivant, sees all and will cleanse the blasphemers with fire!

Dude has some issues, is what I'm saying.

The guy is obviously not on our side, but I don't think he's exactly on their side either.
posted by dirge at 7:19 PM on January 16 [8 favorites]


There are a lot of terrifying things going on, but the assault on federal lands (NPS, BLM, etc) keeps me up at night because it will be hard to reverse once those are privatized. Even if a new administration exercises eminent domain to take them back, once you set up a mine or drill for oil, you've already irreversibly changed the environment.
posted by AFABulous at 7:20 PM on January 16 [56 favorites]


ELECTION RESULT

Dem GAIN in Wisconsin Senate 10, 54-48. That's about a 28 point swing to the Dems from the 2016 presidential margin. GOP control of WI Senate cut to 18-14.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:23 PM on January 16 [127 favorites]


Politico, Dan Diamond and Jennifer Haberkorn, Administration to expand ‘conscience’ protections for health providers
The Trump administration is planning new protections for health workers who don't want to perform abortions, refuse to treat transgender patients based on their gender identity or provide other services for which they have moral objections.

Under a proposed rule — which has been closely guarded at HHS and is now under review by the White House — the HHS office in charge of civil rights would be empowered to further shield these workers and punish organizations that don’t allow them to express their moral objections, according to sources on and off the Hill.
...
Severino — the HHS civil rights chief — has a long record of advocating for religious groups and arguing against LGBT protections, such as serving as counsel in court battles opposing same-sex marriage. Severino also has been a strong critic of providing procedures to transgender patients seeking to transition.
What the actual fuck?
posted by zachlipton at 7:24 PM on January 16 [63 favorites]


Why should Democrats have to give any concessions for CHIP funding when it would so obviously overwhelmingly pass cleanly if it were brought to the floor?

There's a lot if "if" in there. If there were so much bipartisan support, why did CHIP funding expire almost four months ago?

Democrats want CHIP funded. A win is a win. And 30 days from now we are right back exactly where we are now, but with CHIP instead of without CHIP.

(This is all assuming that the reporting is correct on the deal and there are not some hidden poison pills.)
posted by JackFlash at 7:24 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


His vileness has become so normalized that it's part of the contemporary firmament now

I keep coming back to that Simpsons episode where Mr. Burns gets a physical and is told that he has every disease known to man, and they all kind of keep each other in check. The scandals and leaks and offensive quotes come so fast and steady that nobody is ever able to focus on any one issue.

In DJT's case I don't think it's planned, more like an inevitable byproduct of his character and general ineptitude, but it's interesting how it fits in with Surkov and the Russian Politics Of Confusion strategy.
posted by mannequito at 7:28 PM on January 16 [22 favorites]


What the actual fuck?

Natural extension of the Republican strategy to supersede the laws of man for right wing Christians, who of course are the only group who's 'strongly felt religious beliefs' are valid. The Hobby Lobby decision opened the door, and now they're welding Pandora's Box open.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:33 PM on January 16 [29 favorites]


Is the poison pill not that people who came to the US as children are being faced with leaving their (yes, their!) country because of fascist divide-and-conquer tactics?

We must all hang together, else we will all. hang. separately.
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:34 PM on January 16 [9 favorites]


Why should Democrats have to give any concessions for CHIP funding when it would so obviously overwhelmingly pass cleanly if it were brought to the floor?

I think one of the most damaging things in politics is the inability to force floor votes for things like this. CHIP could pass, hell Garland could have been seated, even with a Republican majority, but McConnell and the committees hold all the cards. I was shocked to learn that the Dems could force a net neutrality vote, it's a special circumstance that I'm amazed the Republicans didn't lock down when it could be used against them.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:34 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


“Either America is a nation of immigrants or it is a nation of blood and soil. It cannot be both.“

Dara Lind, Vox: Trump is making the racist subtext text
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:35 PM on January 16 [19 favorites]


For those looking for one, the current venting thread.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:35 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


You CAN force a bill to the floor via discharge petition, but there already has to be a bill in committee.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:37 PM on January 16


Wooo! Wisconsin flipped a special election seat in the state senate today! That news article says commanding lead, but the republican has already conceded. The Democratic margin may be as much as 20 points- in 2016 the district went Republican by 34 points.
posted by rockindata at 7:42 PM on January 16 [41 favorites]


(HuffPo) Trump Admin To Transgender Kids: We Won’t Deal With Your Civil Rights Complaints Exclusive: Transgender students are filing discrimination complaints with the Office for Civil Rights, but the office says these issues fall outside its purview.
posted by AFABulous at 7:43 PM on January 16 [14 favorites]


Dem GAIN in Wisconsin Senate 10, 54-48

YAY YAY I'M SO HAPPY GO PATTY

Patty Schachtner is from my hometown and she is friends with my parents. Every time I talked to my mom for the past several weeks she told about how evil Jarchow is and how he is a Koch puppet and how he wants to kill all the wolves etc. I am so happy to see a sliver of good news from my beloved Badger State, especially with the governor of my current home (KY) telling everyone this evening that he is going to take a chain saw and cut the fuck out of everything important.
posted by chaoticgood at 7:46 PM on January 16 [60 favorites]


The Kochs dumped about $40K into that WI SD-10 race, too. That's a good chunk for a state senate race.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:49 PM on January 16 [23 favorites]


Go Badgers!
posted by notyou at 7:49 PM on January 16 [7 favorites]


The scandals and leaks and offensive quotes come so fast and steady that nobody is ever able to focus on any one issue.

a.k.a. Corporate News not informing the public any more than a countdown clock informs about a space program. It was broken well before Trump, but in addition to not wanting a way to deal with the Klownwig administration, it's likely they can't think of one.
posted by petebest at 7:51 PM on January 16 [6 favorites]


ELECTION RESULT

GOP HOLD in Wisconsin Assembly 58, 57-43. This is about a 25 point swing to the Dems compared to the 2016 presidential margin.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:55 PM on January 16 [34 favorites]


Also, there was some concern in the last thread about the WI AD-66 race, but the unopposed Dem did win.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:58 PM on January 16 [17 favorites]


As always, but it's worth repeating, you're a saint, Chrysostom. Thanks!
posted by msalt at 8:05 PM on January 16 [44 favorites]


Paul Ryan should be getting nervous.
posted by lalex at 8:08 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


As always, the * is a butt hole.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 8:08 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


What's really rich about Bannon refusing to answer questions at the House Intel hearing today is that, let us remember, he blabbed his fucking head off nonstop about the Trump Tower meeting and all sorts of shit for the Wolff book! Man, if I were a committee member, I'd be pissed.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:11 PM on January 16 [19 favorites]


Wolff says he has tapes, they can subpoena those ....
posted by mbo at 8:13 PM on January 16 [5 favorites]


I don't think having the federal government subpoenaing a journalist's notes is the precedent you want to be setting at this particular moment.
posted by zachlipton at 8:17 PM on January 16 [44 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 Senate:
-- Data Orbital poll for the AZ GOP nom has McSally 31, Arpaio 22, Ward 19. Only the second poll so far, this one shows a wider McSally lead than the first.

-- After considerable waffling, former MN gov Tim Pawlenty has said he definitely won't run for either Senate seat in 2018 (possibly angling at a governor run). GOP has two seats to find sacrificial lambs for, so far only a state Senator running (and noises from Michele Bachmann).
** 2018 House:
-- DKE has their House Vulnerability Index up. This predicts, with decent accuracy, what order House seats would flip.

-- PPP poll has Devin Nunes [CA-22] up 50-45 versus a generic Dem.
** Odds & ends -- Gallup analysis finds Trump popularity 9-14 points below what you would expect based on polling on the economy.

** Special elections results:

Busy night on the special elections front. Here's a recap of winners and how the Dem did relative to the district's margin in the presidential race:
* SC HD-28: GOP hold, ran unopposed
* SC HD-99: GOP hold, D+10

* IA HD-06: GOP hold, D+19

* WI AD-58: GOP hold, D+25
* WI AD-66: Dem hold, ran unopposed
* WI SD-10: Dem gain, D+28
So, the upshot is that Dems contested in four of five quite red districts, flipped one, and seriously overperformed in the other three. The Wisconsin Senate result also puts Democrats in a reasonable position to take control in 2018.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:22 PM on January 16 [61 favorites]


OMG, that speech... Gorgeous. Beautiful. Listening to that is like when you've had a headache hanging on and getting worse for hours and finally it occurs to you, "I could take an ibuprophen!" and you do. Ten minutes later when it kicks in and the vise on your head releases, that's how it feels when you hear Cory Booker talking sweet sense. Thank you, phoque.
posted by Don Pepino at 8:33 PM on January 16 [22 favorites]


There are a lot of terrifying things going on, but the assault on federal lands (NPS, BLM, etc) keeps me up at night because it will be hard to reverse once those are privatized. Even if a new administration exercises eminent domain to take them back, once you set up a mine or drill for oil, you've already irreversibly changed the environment.

A friend and I were recently poking around Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in southwest Colorado, just north of Four Corners, when we ran across this sign. The "sensitive resource" on Mockingbird Mesa they're talking about is a large CO2 processing plant built and run by a company called Kinder Morgan. We watched a couple of their trucks pass us on the way to and from the plant -- they're welcome on that stretch of public land, but we were not.

Nothing illegal going on (that I know of) -- Kinder Morgan was awarded a lease by BLM in 2006 to build and operate that plant, there was a window for public comment and everything. Ultimately my friend and I were just naïve -- we assumed that phrases like "public land" and "national monument" meant that the area was protected and reserved for the use of citizens, and that private companies looking to make a profit would have to do it somewhere else. And a lot of BLM land is that, sure. But monument or not, a lot of this land is also quite readily available for leasing to oil and gas companies right now. That's never not been the case. The only thing that's ever prevented it has been local residents putting up enough of a fuss to make the interested companies look elsewhere.

To be clear, I'm not from the area, have only recently started visiting these places, and I'm far from an expert on all this. I'm sure we have folks in these threads who know much more about BLM and drilling / mining leases and all of the relevant law and policy. My takeaway was just that, when it comes to stuff like the shrinking of national monuments like Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, it's not really a binary question of, will private companies be able to drill or mine there or not. They already can, and in plenty of places (like Canyons of the Ancients) they've been there for years and it's you who's not welcome there. There's just been a figleaf that BLM is managing that land on behalf of American citizens, so there's some small degree of accountability for the private companies involved and at least a token nod to public opinion. Shrinking these monuments means that BLM goes from being an absentee landlord to being a discount clearinghouse auctioning off formerly-public land to the highest bidder, and neither BLM nor the new owners will bear any real responsibility for what happens on those lands in the future.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 8:50 PM on January 16 [30 favorites]


I am trying to go on a politics diet but I just had to come here to say...

239 pounds? TWO HUNDRED THIRTY NINE POUNDS??? That is SUCH a plainly obvious lie, literally anyone who has ever seen a picture of Trump (not wearing his usual long formless coat) and knows roughly how much tall male human beings weigh KNOWS it's a lie, and it's an additional finger in the eye that his BMI works out to 29.9, exactly 0.1 points short of clinical obesity. And there is no way he is actually 6'3", and also no way he is any less than 280 pounds. I really don't care how much a politician weighs, it's totally his business and doesn't really affect his presidenting, but the bald-faced lie that's just blindly repeated by the media drives me insane. It's just so mind-bogglingly sycophantic to lie about something that's plainly obvious to anyone with eyes. The emperor is fat and has no clothes!
posted by miyabo at 8:53 PM on January 16 [67 favorites]


Paul Ryan should be getting nervous.

One of the most frustrating things about our current hellhole loop track situation to me is that even the best case resolution one could possibly hope for leaves a whole lot of dirty, complicit, corrupt traitors to our nation, its people, and its ideals to walk away unscathed and probably get re-elected. That walking monument to mediocrity, that Deepak Chopra of public policy, that sentient backwards baseball cap, will almost certainly be one.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:56 PM on January 16 [30 favorites]


"Steve Bannon Will Tell All to Robert Mueller, Source Says"

I like how the Trumpists hired a noted arsonist who loves to burn shit down, and are now shocked and upset that he's lighting their house on fire too.

(But I didn't think the leopards would eat MY face! wails Trump)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:57 PM on January 16 [23 favorites]


The house committee with Nunes on it might as well be in a room with Trump and Putin. This is the same Devon Nunes who went running to Trump at midnight playing boy spy. Nunes is trying to get advance Intel -- the guy has been stonewalling the investigation for the last year and only now is he issuing subpoenas? Nunes is likely as dirty as Trump, so as much as I hate Bannon, testifying to Mueller first and delaying the house committee is warranted.
posted by benzenedream at 9:00 PM on January 16 [29 favorites]


There are a lot of terrifying things going on, but the assault on federal lands (NPS, BLM, etc) keeps me up at night because it will be hard to reverse once those are privatized. Even if a new administration exercises eminent domain to take them back, once you set up a mine or drill for oil, you've already irreversibly changed the environment.

I'm with you in that fear, but also have some hope that the lawsuits will drag the process out long enough to limit the damage.
posted by edeezy at 9:32 PM on January 16 [5 favorites]


The "sensitive resource" on Mockingbird Mesa they're talking about is a large CO2 processing plant built and run by a company called Kinder Morgan. We watched a couple of their trucks pass us on the way to and from the plant -- they're welcome on that stretch of public land, but we were not.

It's both simpler and more complicated than that.

Full disclosure, I live ~50 miles from that mesa, and a friend works for KM. I applied for a job with them, and didn't get it.

All of the land out west has several components to it. When you buy land, you may not get all of them. For example, water rights - you might own the land, but the rain and snow that falls on it may belong to someone else, meaning that you cannot collect or retain it. Mineral rights are similar. You may own the surface land, but you won't necessarily own whats underneath.

This is how you get a fracking pad built next to a high school.

You'll note that Mockingbird isn't closed off - foot and horse traffic is allowed. ATV/4x4/Motorcycle is not. So it's not accurate to say you had no rights there.

Anyway, KM owns mineral rights that in some cases predate the Monument or even BLM protection. In those cases, they are grandfathered in. The Govt. does some wheeling and dealing to try to manage all of the land uses - ranching, recreation, extraction - and to a large extent does it reasonably well. KM may have given up rights in the WETA area, for example, in order to get some in that area. This is how the Bears Ears monument even happened, and it took a long time, and was highly controversial.

Broadly, I am in favor of the designated use approach. I don't like cows where I'm hunting, I don't like hunters where I'm biking, I don't like bikers where I'm hiking, I don't like hikers where I'm jeeping. You get the idea.

I belong to an organization that advocates for good sense land management. There's lots of space, and using it smartly protects and allows for all the various uses to coexist. I don't want blanket bans on any particular activity - I want smart policies, transparently arrived at, and fairly implemented.

Anyway, the problem isn't government doing what government does. It's Trump's government doing what Trump does.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:36 PM on January 16 [58 favorites]


239 pounds? TWO HUNDRED THIRTY NINE POUNDS??? That is SUCH a plainly obvious lie, literally anyone who has ever seen a picture of Trump (not wearing his usual long formless coat) and knows roughly how much tall male human beings weigh KNOWS it's a lie, and it's an additional finger in the eye that his BMI works out to 29.9, exactly 0.1 points short of clinical obesity.

Agreed. I'm several inches shorter than Trump, and I weigh 230 pounds. I'm a bit fat, but just comparing myself to him, Trump is obviously carrying considerably more fat on his frame than I am. This is a transparent lie, like the crowd sizes at his inauguration, and one has to presume that the rest of the "medical report" is also a lie, including the cognitive test. It's disappointing that news outlets have been reporting this transparent lie without challenge.

As with the other transparent lies from the Trump administration, I assume this serves a group-consolidation function. Every person who repeats this lie, from White House officials to your racist uncle on Facebook, pledges their loyalty to Trump over the obvious facts by repeating it, and psychologically commits themselves deeper to the bizarro-land of Trumpism with each repetition. To acknowledge such a stupid, transparent, insignificant lie means admitting the nihilism of their worldview. So each big stupid lie they echo paves the way for the next one.

And, of course, the other function the transparent, stupid lie serves is to distract from the less easily provable but more significant lie, which is the lie about the cognitive test. Unlike Trump's weight, it's not possible to prove that the cognitive test is a lie, only infer it from the other lie. And since it can't be easily proved, and asserting it without proof would be irresponsible, media outlets can focus on the insignificant, obvious lie. Media bosses can feel confident they've had their journalists cover the president's habit of lying to the public, Trumpists can crow about the unfair focus of the media on Trump's claims, and the important question of the president's psychological fitness for office is obscured.

I think the only solution is to draw the connection between these two lies very clearly. "You are 240 pounds yourself, and you're clearly less heavy than Trump. It's obvious this is a lie, your own body is the testament. That doctor is willing to lie to the American public about the president's health. Did he lie about the cognitive test, too? Is the president's 'perfect score' actually a failing grade?"
posted by biogeo at 10:59 PM on January 16 [59 favorites]


Wolff says he has tapes, they can subpoena those ....

Hunh. Noting that you only get to subpoena a journalist's sources and notes if there's no other way to get the information, I wonder if that's motivating the Bannon subpoena, as opposed to negotiating voluntary testimony like everybody else.

If Mueller wants a judge to subpoena Wolff, he'll have to establish that he's exhausted his options, which include, obviously, getting what he needs directly from Bannon. A voluntary interview is not going to tick that box.
posted by dirge at 11:27 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


Dr. Jackson seems a little loose with the Ambien prescriptions.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:09 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


You'll note that Mockingbird isn't closed off - foot and horse traffic is allowed. ATV/4x4/Motorcycle is not. So it's not accurate to say you had no rights there.

Thanks for weighing in Pogo, your perspective is much appreciated. We were driving so we had to turn around. (The pickups they were using were pretty big, and the road fairly narrow, so by 'foot and horse traffic' I'm guessing they meant 'only people who can get off the road and out of the way'.)

I'm fine with transparent and fair land management, and beyond the irritation at finding our path through what we thought was public land effectively blocked, I don't necessarily have any problem with Kinder Morgan or anyone else who's being a good neighbor in these spaces. My point was just that whatever impact drilling and mining might have on the land isn't a hypothetical concern, there's plenty of that activity taking place already, and it's only BLM being a responsible steward of public lands (along with whatever pressure the local community can bring to bear) that keeps private interests in check.

Unfortuantely BLM under Zinke appears to be in fuck-the-public-trust, monetize-all-the-things mode, which is obviously less than ideal. I doubt making sure that private companies aren't ruining public lands is high on Zinke's list of priorities, not while there's money to be made. And chopping off half of Bears Ears or Grand Escalante and selling it outright seems like a worst-case scenario to me -- lands held in trust on behalf of American citizens end up in private hands, habitats and heritage sites are blocked off at best and destroyed outright at worst, local communities lose most of their leverage, private companies lose any incentive to be good neighbors, and the government shrugs and pockets the profits and walks away.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 12:18 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


Wolff says he has tapes, they can subpoena those ....

Shit Wolff might just put give them to him.
posted by fshgrl at 12:42 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


Wolff isn't hiding his source, we know it's Bannon ... nor is he hiding what he said, it's in the book, the only time the tapes would come into play would be if Bannon claimed he didn't say what is in the book, I can't see how there's an issue of journalistic privilege here

So ... who's going to be the first to build a set of scales into a podium?
posted by mbo at 1:24 AM on January 17 [8 favorites]


As with the other transparent lies from the Trump administration, I assume this serves a group-consolidation function. Every person who repeats this lie, from White House officials to your racist uncle on Facebook, pledges their loyalty to Trump over the obvious facts by repeating it, and psychologically commits themselves deeper to the bizarro-land of Trumpism with each repetition. To acknowledge such a stupid, transparent, insignificant lie means admitting the nihilism of their worldview. So each big stupid lie they echo paves the way for the next one.

This is the classic case of the totalitarian lie as described by Arendt and others. To the outsider it appears bewildering and incoherent, but it serves an unseen purpose.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:45 AM on January 17 [111 favorites]


One of the flaws of cognitive screening tools such as the MOCA is that you can improve your score theough knowledge of the questions in advance. In practice this may be that if you ask someone to remember the standard questions one too many times they may actually learn to recall BALL CAR MAN but this does not reflect the short term memory it is meant to
test.

Anyway, it is kind of irrelevant and weirdly invasive to read the results of the medical exam (even though it's probably all lies) - having a normal TSH doesn't make him competent.
posted by chiquitita at 4:21 AM on January 17 [3 favorites]


I didn't find the medical exam a very interesting subject: Trump needs to be impeached and to be punished for his crimes. I don't care if he does what he does because he is evil and dumb or because he is evil and demented. It's racist, misogynist, wrong and criminal regardless.
BUT I heard about it on one of the late night shows and I am now worried by the facts that the doctor at Walter Reed is (obviously) lying. 20/30 vision??? That just doesn't make sense. Others have commented on the weight. My mother was hospitalized today, and while we were talking about her heart, the doctor said almost everyone above a certain age has some cardiovascular issues (and my mum's are managed, that wasn't why we were there). I also worry about the obviously trumpian genes quip. How can this happen? Bribery? Threats? I didn't expect them to expose Trump, but this is so over the top I just can't…
posted by mumimor at 4:51 AM on January 17 [21 favorites]


I also worry about the obviously trumpian genes quip. How can this happen? Bribery? Threats? I didn't expect them to expose Trump, but this is so over the top I just can't…

Yes, the genes comment was odd. I've only seen the short summary of it on the BBC, but the wording of it was oddly Trumpian. The Dr may have been making a small joke with it, or just trolling us.
posted by faceplantingcheetah at 5:04 AM on January 17 [3 favorites]




“Donald Trump weighs 239lb” translates into nothing but “this is our country now”. How much Trump weighs is as irrelevant as what crimes he and his associates commit.
posted by acb at 5:06 AM on January 17 [8 favorites]




The Presidential Physical has typically been propaganda on how strong and virile the president is. Ronnie had a clean bill of mental health despite in retrospect having a barely functioning Hippocampus. Hell, W got given a "top 2% fitness" mark.

It's all propaganda for the international stage. The doctor is doing what is customary.
posted by Talez at 5:19 AM on January 17 [44 favorites]


@ThePlumLineGS (Greg Sargent - WaPo)
New PBS/NPR/Marist poll:

68% say Mueller should be allowed to finish probe

Americans say by 48-28 that the probe has been fair

57 percent have quite a lot (33) or a great deal (24) of confidence in FBI

That alt-narrative is working out really well!

Poll: Most Americans want Robert Mueller to complete his Russia probe
posted by chris24 at 5:19 AM on January 17 [21 favorites]


The physical is deeply weird, but what is bothering me more than the particulars of the physical is that it is so widely doubted. Either a) the doctor is lying or carefully omitting essential information or b) the large number of people who doubt the doctor are wrong. I don't know how many tweets I've seen this morning comparing Trump's physique to that of somebody else with the supposed same height and weight. A lot of people just don't believe it. I don't know if I believe it. And given that this relates to the POTUS's fitness to serve, the number of non-believers seems to be significant.
posted by angrycat at 5:19 AM on January 17 [3 favorites]


Despite the feeling that it's more than likely a crock anyway, I still think it's kind of goofy to compare athletes in particular, in the same height/weight range - muscle is spectacularly more dense than fat by the pound so of course the really fit guy is going to be smaller even if the weight is correct. This is a more realistic (mostly) comparison, perhaps.
posted by miratime at 5:26 AM on January 17 [12 favorites]


Hell, W got given a "top 2% fitness" mark.

This factoid is less preposterous, though. W was a fairly avid cyclist, and he had a fondness for clearing his own brush; both of which are considerably more physically taxing than a round of golf. He was 62 when he left office and was probably as fit as is reasonable to expect for an executive of that age.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 5:44 AM on January 17 [41 favorites]


Syria crisis: Why Turkey is poised to attack Kurdish enclave Afrin, Selin Girit, BBC
"If the US really forms such a border force, then there will be a totally different equation in Syria," says Ahmet Kasim Han, an academic on international relations.

"This would point to a process that could potentially end with the forming of a YPG-PKK state in the north of Syria. Washington should have known that Turkey would react."

....

"In the unlikely event of Turkey reaching an agreement with Russia, along with a tacit approval of the Syrian regime, then that would mean a watershed event in Turkey's relations not only with Russia but also with the West," Mr Han says.

"If Turkey's foreign policy moves closer to Russia as such, we could probably start talking of a new world order and a whole new relationship between Nato and Turkey," he says.
Ahmet Kasim Han is a professor at Kadir Has University in Turkey.
posted by nangar at 5:49 AM on January 17 [7 favorites]


...more physically taxing than a round of golf.

A round of golf played entirely with golf carts.
posted by PenDevil at 5:49 AM on January 17 [8 favorites]


and I am now worried by the facts that the doctor at Walter Reed is (obviously) lying.

I think you can’t get an honest public assessment of a physical given about a man his doctor has sworn an oath to obey the orders of.
posted by corb at 6:01 AM on January 17 [9 favorites]


It's all propaganda for the international stage. The doctor is doing what is customary.

The sad part is that even the propaganda declares that president is, by a margin of one pound, not technically obese.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:04 AM on January 17 [16 favorites]


A round of golf played entirely with golf carts.

Wherein he drives the cart on the greens.
posted by box at 6:06 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


I feel like falsifying one's weight should be the one freebie lie everyone gets, considering how shitty and personal Americans can be about it. Not that I'm casting any shade here at MeFi! Just that, you know, it's difficult to touch the subject without adding to pain for a lot of at fat people who aren't the president.

And look, if a 100% plausible number had been given, people here may have stayed quiet about it (nothing to criticize about honesty, yeah?) But in the world out there, way too many would try using that number as a weapon. Again, the cruelty would affect way more individuals, while hardly hurting the prez and his support at all.

(I can also imagine a scenario where the doctor had said, his face hollow and shaking, that the president weighs 95 pounds. That, to me, would be acceptable grounds for mockery. But not this sort of mere fudgery.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:13 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


[Folks, let's drop the haha-he's-fat stuff. If you need to discuss the doctor's findings, try to find a way to do it productively (is it important to the conversation?), and without gratuitously insulting a swathe of other people.]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:22 AM on January 17 [35 favorites]


Yeah, as somebody who is currently encased in bounteous clouds of fluffy adiposity, I find those side-by-side pictures of Trump next to, like, The Rock or whoever laughably unconvincing. Of course that ripped-out-of-his-mind dude weighs a ton, he's HUGE! Athlete arms probably weigh as much as Trump legs.
posted by Don Pepino at 6:38 AM on January 17 [6 favorites]


On the SD-10 upset last night. Esoteric is Jeff from DecisionDesk, which is typically a good, fair election analysis firm even though they're Republican and Jeff's a NRO contributor. Patty not only outperformed Trump by 28 points, she did so against a strong incumbent in a district that hadn't gone D in 18 years.

@EsotericCD
Hard to understate just how disastrous a sign for 2018 the GOP's loss in the WI state Senate special election (SD-10 in Western WI) is. Harsdorf an incumbent who made this seat look stronger for GOP than it naturally is, but still, a 9pt loss among Trump's core vote? DOOM.
-The improvement (overperformance) in the Democratic vote share in the special elections last night was something like D+20. At a certain point "oh special elections are just weird" and "but the GOP still held (most of) the seats" starts to sound silly.

---

And from longtime conservative midwest radio host and now NeverTrumper Charlie Sykes.

@SykesCharlie
Genuinely stunning setback for GOP in Wisconsin. Hard to overstate the anxiety this will cause...
posted by chris24 at 6:40 AM on January 17 [56 favorites]


The thing is, the presidential physical would have been perfectly fine* without all the details. We don't need to know how much Trump weighs. We don't need to know that he is fit despite him not exercising or speculation about which superlative best fits his genes. It's all for show, they were never (and would never, for any president) going to go public with any concerning medical findings. It's - by design - all a polite fiction.

What makes it terrifying is the need for Supreme Leader appeasement, both for Trump himself and for the base. The (in all likely hood fabricated) details are there so that the relevant people can crow and become even MORE invested in the ideal of Trump as an übermensch. This is all authoritarian nazi shit, all the way down. It's scary to hear a doctor gush about it.


*for various definitions of fine
posted by lydhre at 6:41 AM on January 17 [40 favorites]


I’m a little confused about the votes required to prevent a shutdown on Friday.Do they need a simple majority or do they need 60 votes in the Senate?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:52 AM on January 17


I give you now The Most Midwestern Quote I Have Ever Read, from the Democrat who flipped a Wisconsin Senate district last night:

“It wasn’t nice. It was mean,” she said of the campaign literature. “People just said, ‘You know what? We’re nicer than that.’”

(My husband grew up in this district and this morning we went from surprised to elated to 'I wonder what Chrysostom has to say about this' in about four seconds.)
posted by gerstle at 6:57 AM on January 17 [53 favorites]


I’m a little confused about the votes required to prevent a shutdown on Friday.Do they need a simple majority or do they need 60 votes in the Senate?

Everything (mostly) in the Senate can technically pass with a simple majority, assuming no Senator decides to filibuster. The continuing resolution is filibusterable, so 60 votes are needed to prevent that. But I guess if the CR was bi-partisan enough to prevent filibuster, it would also get more than 60 votes?
posted by dis_integration at 7:03 AM on January 17 [2 favorites]


The physical is deeply weird, but what is bothering me more than the particulars of the physical is that it is so widely doubted. Either a) the doctor is lying or carefully omitting essential information or b) the large number of people who doubt the doctor are wrong. I don't know how many tweets I've seen this morning comparing Trump's physique to that of somebody else with the supposed same height and weight. A lot of people just don't believe it.

Trump's health -- indeed, basic facts about Trump -- has been under question for a long time; I think there's some skepticism arising not so much out of this one report but out of the absolutely ridiculous prior reporting from Trump's personal doctor, and Trump's appearance on Doctor Oz. This is literally the first time that the public has had an assessment of Trump's health from anyone who (a) apparently actually conducted an exam, (b) didn't give an assessment that seemed entirely made up. I'm seeing this less as doubting Dr. Jackson, exactly, so much as not trusting Dr. Jackson enough to overcome the really sketchy past self-reporting from Trump -- particularly because it lines up so neatly with that past self-reporting. This is one data point only: we don't really have a trendline to tell if Trump's fitness is getting better or worse.

For example, there's been a lack of clarity on Trump's height for more than a year: in December 2016 -- more than a year ago -- Politico: Trump's driver's license casts doubt on height claims
Donald Trump and his doctor claim he’s 6-foot-3, but his New York driver’s license says he’s actually an inch shorter. A copy of Trump’s license, obtained by POLITICO through an open-records request, lists the president-elect at 6-foot-2.

It may just be an inch, but size apparently matters to Trump. A letter that the businessman candidate displayed this summer from his longtime gastroenterologist — while appearing on the Dr. Oz show — stated he was 6-foot-3, though media reports were quick to point out discrepancies.

Slate, for example, posited that Trump was adding an inch to his height to avoid crossing into obesity territory — he also weighed 236 pounds — on the BMI index. That Slate article pointed to multiple media that pegged Trump as 6-foot-2, including Google, though the search engine now has Trump at 6-foot-3. A special edition of Time published earlier this year profiling Trump also listed him at 6-foot-3 while noting “it irritates him that so many media outlets say 6-foot-2.”
Did Dr. Jackson measure Trump's height? Did Trump self-report his height? It doesn't really matter either way -- but the President lying, or asking others to lie on his behalf, kind of does.

Trotting Dr. Jackson out, as a media spectacle, is an attempt to gaslight the public: to tell us that because Trump is physically fit, he must also be a competent leader; that because accusations of him being unfit are false, other accusations must false; that because Dr. Jackson has seen him speak clearly and competently, we must be misunderstanding Trump when we see Trump speak confusingly and incompetently. That because the administration is saying that the good doctor is free to report his findings fully, the White House must be open and transparent -- when we see every day that they are not.

This is the same White House that tried to tell us that Trump's inauguration was 'huge'; that Trump is the 'least racist person ever'; that Trump 'really' won the popular vote. They've spent an entire year gaslighting the public; this isn't necessarily a continuation of that trend, but I think the number of lies has built and built such that people are starting to doubt things coming out of the White House that would normally pass without question. That breach of trust with the public -- the ease and willingness of the public to distrust anything that can't be independently verified -- is, I think, the broader story here.
posted by cjelli at 7:05 AM on January 17 [90 favorites]


For the Senate, getting past the filibuster is invoking the parliamentary procedure of Cloture which is a motion to end debate on the bill (which makes sense since a filibuster is endless "debate" on a bill"). In the US Senate the cloture threshold is 60 votes to end debate but the underlying bill still just needs a plain majority to pass.
posted by mmascolino at 7:10 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


I wonder if there are any circumstances under which it's common for a senator to support a bill (as in, would vote for it if it were up for a vote), but not the motion of cloture to stop a filibuster?
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:13 AM on January 17


chris24: New PBS/NPR/Marist poll:
...
Americans say by 48-28 that the probe has been fair

57 percent have quite a lot (33) or a great deal (24) of confidence in FBI


NPR's opening line is pretty dire: "The institutions that have been the pillars of U.S. politics and capitalism are crumbling."
Americans have limited confidence in its public schools, courts, organized labor and banks — and even less confidence in big business, the presidency, the political parties and the media.

The only institution that Americans have overwhelming faith in is the military — 87 percent say they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the military. That is a striking change from the 1970s during and after the Vietnam War.

In 1977, according to Gallup, 57 percent had that same level of confidence in the military, 30 points lower. There have been some big changes in the last 40 years, including the draft being abolished and fewer and fewer Americans knowing someone serving in the military.
...
Particularly worrisome for the media is that a majority of Republicans, a full 53 percent, have no confidence in them at all. Combined with those who said not very much confidence, a whopping 90 percent of Republicans expressed a lack of confidence in the media. That's compared to 42 percent of Democrats who felt the same.

What's more, three-quarters (74 percent) of independents had not very much or no confidence at all in the media. Fairness and objectivity are tenets and pillars of a free press, but those have been eroded in the eyes of many Americans.

At the same time, however, a solid majority said they trust their favorite news source more than President Trump by a 58-to-29 percent margin. That included 85 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents. Republicans, however, still trust the president more by a 63-to-25 percent margin.
(Link to the poll results)
posted by filthy light thief at 7:14 AM on January 17 [11 favorites]


I wonder if there are any circumstances under which it's common for a senator to support a bill (as in, would vote for it if it were up for a vote), but not the motion of cloture to stop a filibuster?

This question recently came up at my day job. It turns out that, since 2007, 85% of the 12,282 times that a Senator cast both cloture and passage votes on a bill, the first cloture vote they cast was in the same direction (Yea or Nay) as the first passage vote.

One common-ish exception: Senate majority leaders "sometimes vote strategically against their party during cloture motions so it can be later reconsidered if it fails to receive a qualified majority." Lofland, Chelsea L., Abel Rodriguez, and Scott Moser. "Assessing differences in legislators’ revealed preferences: A case study on the 107th US Senate." The Annals of Applied Statistics 11.1 (2017): 456-479.

I don't think that accounts for the full 15% discrepancy. I'm not sure it's been well studied. We had to come up with the 85% figure ourselves; there doesn't seem to be a lot of discussion of the correlation between cloture votes and passage votes in the political science literature.
posted by jedicus at 7:22 AM on January 17 [11 favorites]


"The institutions that have been the pillars of U.S. politics and capitalism are crumbling."
Yo, NPR, is that really what you ought to call it when one side is operating a jackhammer?
posted by Nerd of the North at 7:27 AM on January 17 [64 favorites]


Three more links to NPR, for a delightful land of contrasts.

Ethics Report On Trump Administration: The Most Unethical Presidency -- Steve Inskeep talks to Richard Painter, top ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, and Norman Eisen, top ethics lawyer for President Obama. They argue Trump's administration has been unethical.
Richard Painter: The real problem with President Trump, or the most serious, most dangerous problem, is he ignores the Constitution. And with respect to financial conflicts of interest, the Constitution has a provision that prohibits any person holding a position of trust in the United States government from receiving profits and benefits from foreign governments. It's called the Emoluments Clause.

But it is very clear the founders did not want anybody, including the president, receiving profits of benefits from dealings with foreign governments. He's ignored that. He has refused to divest the businesses that are borrowing money from foreign governments and foreign-government-owned banks that are doing business with foreign governments. And that is one of many serious violations of the Constitution, so I think it's very important to view the ethics problem within the constitutional framework.
Unfortunately, CREW was found to lack standing to bring this issue forward, in the opinion of the federal district judge in New York, but they're appealing this decision, and there are two more cases moving forward.

Painter goes on with Trump's ethics issues:
He has assaulted the First Amendment, the freedom of the press. And now he's going to have this sort of fake news awards. And yes, there's a particular government ethics violation that is violated there. White House staff participate. The important thing, though, is to view this against the background of the Constitution, and he does not respect the First Amendment, freedom of the press, freedom of the free exercise of religion when you talk about a Muslim ban repeatedly. It goes on and on, and we cannot have a president who does not respect the Constitution. That's the way you move toward a dictatorships.
This piece played right after this one: Thai Officials Want To Silence Critics, Scholar Charged With Insulting Monarchy -- Questioning the official count of how a battle happened 400 years ago has gotten historian Sulak Sivaraksa looking at 15 years in prison under Thailand's lese-majeste law.

But to balance that all out, Rachel Martin talks to Jonathan Cheng, Seoul bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, in a segment titled Koreas Hold Border Talks, U.S., Canada Hold Summit On Nuclear Threat, in which Cheng said:
You know, even people who are skeptical of Donald Trump have pointed out that he has done a good job - Rex Tillerson, you could give the credit to - for having coordinated a global pressure campaign that has generally borne fruit. You've seen a lot of countries downgrade their relations with North Korea. You've seen them start to feel the pinch. But without China, you can't really close that circle.
Yet somehow, Martin only offers a passing comment on "the nuclear standoff," noting that the North and South Korea talks "didn't go there," but no mention at all that this standoff has been stoked by Trump, as many (Wired, Sep 19, 2017) have (CBC, Sep 24, 2017) noted (CNN, Jan 3, 2018).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:29 AM on January 17 [12 favorites]


Matthew Yglesias at Vox is wondering if Trump and his minions are hoping for a terrorist attack as a Hail Mary to keep the "blue wave" from the 2018 midterms.
I’m pretty skeptical that the political dynamics of September 2001 would be replicated today. But regardless, this is a frightening line of thought for an incumbent president and his team to be entertaining...If Trump thinks a terrorist attack would serve his political interests — either through a blind rally ‘round the flag effect or by specifically validating anti-immigrant demagoguery or what have you — how hard is he really working to keep the country safe?
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:32 AM on January 17 [15 favorites]


Meanwhile, 21 states sue FCC to restore net neutrality rules (Jon Brodkin for Ars Technica, Jan. 16, 2018)
Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia today kicked off a lawsuit to overturn the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality rules. Advocacy groups are also suing the FCC.

The states suing the FCC are New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. That's every US state with a Democratic attorney general. Republican state attorneys general did not join the petition.
...
The states filed a "protective petition for review" (PDF), which essentially reserves them a spot in court challenges against the FCC. The petition was filed in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

There is a 10-day window for filing lawsuits, but it's not always clear whether the deadline applies to the 10 business days after the FCC publishes an order on its website or to the 10 days after the order is published in the Federal Register. The FCC released the final version of its net neutrality repeal order on January 4, but it hasn't yet been published in the Federal Register.

The 21 states and Washington, DC, will likely file another petition for review after the Federal Register publication, but the one today ensures that they will be involved in the lawsuit. If petitions are filed in multiple appeals courts, there would be a lottery to determine where the case will be heard. Previous cases on FCC net neutrality rules have been decided in the District of Columbia Circuit.

Legislators in some of these states have proposed legislation to enforce net neutrality.
Emphasis mine.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:34 AM on January 17 [42 favorites]


Regarding Trump's implausible resting heart rate (68 bpm) and blood pressure (122/74), could he have taking some drug before the exam to drive down both measurements?
posted by carmicha at 7:36 AM on January 17 [2 favorites]


"The institutions that have been the pillars of U.S. politics and capitalism are crumbling."

Yo, NPR, is that really what you ought to call it when one side is operating a jackhammer?


Yeah, "institutions... are crumbling" is a super weaselly use of the passive voice. It's right up there with "Mistakes were made." A subject for the verb would make for a much more illuminating sentence.
posted by diogenes at 7:43 AM on January 17 [14 favorites]


a super weaselly use of the passive voice... A subject for the verb would make for a much more illuminating sentence.
Let's just be clear that the sentence does not use the passive voice—in fact, all but the last two words are its subject—and move on.
posted by one for the books at 7:52 AM on January 17 [18 favorites]


Regarding Trump's implausible resting heart rate (68 bpm) and blood pressure (122/74), could he have taking some drug before the exam to drive down both measurements?
posted by carmicha at 10:36 AM on January 17


It could just be that he regularly takes beta blockers, which would be reasonable for a 71-year-old with weight issues and a poor diet.
posted by ZaphodB at 7:53 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


For the record, it looks like the term "Girthers" (to refer to doubters of the President's reported weight) is being attributed to MSNBC's Chris Hayes.
posted by zakur at 7:53 AM on January 17 [18 favorites]


A thread from David Wright: Trey Gowdy went to town on Bannon on Fox last night
Gowdy: "Picture that. [Bannon] is happy to tell an author about treasonous, unpatriotic acts, but he won’t tell members of Congress when he is pressed on it. I don't know of any privilege that lets you pick and choose who you answer questions for."

This is a rhetorical question, but if everyone considers the "executive privilege" that Bannon is claiming to be bupkus, and Gowdy does, then .... why are they obeying it?
Gowdy: "[Bannon's] version of executive privilege is, it covers the transition, the time he was at the White House, and covers time forever. That is no one's definition of executive privilege. We spent several hours trying to figure out what [Bannon] was talking about, and then in the afternoon, we had to dodge around the three categories that are apparently off limits."
posted by Dashy at 7:58 AM on January 17 [9 favorites]


Let's just be clear that the sentence does not use the passive voice—in fact, all but the last two words are its subject—and move on.

Sorry, I should have said that it would be a clearer sentence if it didn't make the object of the action the subject of the sentence in order to avoid assigning an actor.
posted by diogenes at 7:59 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


For the record, it looks like the term "Girthers" (to refer to doubters of the President's reported weight) is being attributed to MSNBC's Chris Hayes.

Pretty funny, but encourages a false equivalence. The notion that people believing the obvious testimony of their own eyes and rational faculties is in any way comparable to groundless, racist-motivated conspiracy theorizing just supports the lie that all of this is just partisan bickering, rather than a clear struggle between truth and falsehood.
posted by biogeo at 7:59 AM on January 17 [59 favorites]


We spent several hours trying to figure out what [Bannon] was talking about, and then in the afternoon, we had to dodge around the three categories that are apparently off limits."

If Bannon's very fulsome interpretation of executive privilege goes unchallenged, does it become precedent? I'm far less familiar with the practicalities of US governmental rules than those of the UK, but I do know that many 'this is how we do it' procedures were innovations with no particular legal or constitutional basis that acquired force through use.

Executive privilege, executive time. Orwell would be proud to have invented the use of 'executive' as such a puissant universal modifier.
posted by Devonian at 8:15 AM on January 17 [3 favorites]


If Bannon's very fulsome interpretation of executive privilege goes unchallenged, does it become precedent?

Yes, until a Democrat attempts to do the same.
posted by delfin at 8:21 AM on January 17 [64 favorites]


It could just be that he regularly takes beta blockers, which would be reasonable for a 71-year-old with weight issues and a poor diet.

If he does they're not listed in the doctor's report, which lists Aspirin, Propecia & Crestor as his regular meds.
posted by scalefree at 8:22 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Apparently after reading about yesterday's election, Scott Walker is not having a good morning.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:26 AM on January 17 [34 favorites]


Of all the things Trump lies about/may have lied about, the precise state of his dumb carcass is about ten billionth on my list of concerns.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:29 AM on January 17 [47 favorites]


Trump's credibility crisis on Capitol Hill

Lawmakers find it difficult or impossible to negotiate when the president can't seem to stick to a position for more than a few hours. (Politico)
Donald Trump ran for president as a bipartisan deal-maker. But if there's one thing he's proven after a year in office, he’s better at killing bipartisan deals than clinching them.

On the cusp of a deal for the second time with Democrats to enshrine protections for 700,000 young undocumented immigrants, Trump once again destroyed the underpinnings of the potential agreement. After nixing any potential Dreamers deal last fall with “Chuck and Nancy” — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — this time Trump blew up a tentative agreement during a meeting in the Oval Office. He used racially charged language and later publicly mocked Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who had said Trump told him just hours earlier they had an agreement.

So now, instead of securing a bipartisan deal to fund the government and help a large group of immigrants that Trump said deserve compassion, the president and Republican Congress are scrambling, yet again, just to keep the government open. Trump abruptly changed course and sided with the hawkish anti-immigration wing inside his White House, rejecting bipartisan Senate agreement to protect the Dreamers.

The now-weeklong “shithole” countries controversy is more than another Trump flap blown out proportion by cable TV and the Trump-obsessed press corps.

It demonstrates once again to Democrats — and Republicans — that Trump is an unpredictable, unreliable partner who cannot be trusted to keep his word. To lawmakers on Capitol Hill, there may be no greater crime, since all members and senators know their word is their bond. Once you lose that credibility, you’re done as a deal-maker.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:39 AM on January 17 [36 favorites]


Attorney General Jeff Sessions subscribed to an equally broad understanding of Executive Privilege (the President may at some point claim privilege over these matters, and it would be presumptuous of me to preempt that by answering), which his Senate GOP interlocutors we’re willing to accept. I doubt Bannon or anyone else recognize that as precedent; it suited all involved politically, so they let it go then, and probably will now. If the House Intel Committee wants to compel Bannon to respond, the committee can seek a Contempt of Congress citation (requires a vote of the full body), then a referral to a US Attorney who would decide whether to seek sanctions via a US court.

Gowdy seems to have chosen option B, which is “to fulminate about it on Fox News.”
posted by notyou at 8:40 AM on January 17 [7 favorites]


Jeff Flake is done giving his “please book me on CNN and give me a spot at the Harvard Kennedy school in 7 months” speech, just in time to vote for a funding bill that uses 7 million kids as hostages agasint passing his alleged top priority before leaving government, while also doing nothing to combat Trumps corruption.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:41 AM on January 17 [26 favorites]


It demonstrates once again to Democrats — and Republicans — that Trump is an unpredictable, unreliable partner who cannot be trusted to keep his word. To lawmakers on Capitol Hill, there may be no greater crime, since all members and senators know their word is their bond. Once you lose that credibility, you’re done as a deal-maker.

Water is wet too, how about telling us what to do about it instead of reporting the same information over and over??
posted by Melismata at 8:42 AM on January 17 [3 favorites]


Flake never claimed to oppose Trump's agenda (as if that's a thing that exists). He just said he doesn't have the stomach to campaign like a Trumper.
posted by straight at 8:44 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


NoxAeternum: "Apparently after reading about yesterday's election, Scott Walker is not having a good morning."

Scott Walker is right (now there's a sentence I don't write very often). The results last night in two quite red legislative districts should be very concerning for the WI GOP. One race had a 25 point improvement for the Dems versus the presidential margin, the other 28 points. Those are, well, eye-popping numbers. And the flip was the Senate race, which puts the Senate reasonably in play in 2018 (the Assembly may be tougher, the GOP has an almost 2:1 advantage there).

Two WP write-ups. Of note is the fact that various GOP groups dumped $130K into the race.

Also, this bit of analysis:
Some inside stuff on #SD10 - You know how everyone always talks about GOP dominance in Waukesha County? Well, St. Croix County is the Waukesha County of the Twin Cities. If Rs lose it, it's catastrophic.

In a down year, even Romney won St. Croix County by 12. It's basically wealthy suburban Republicans who have fled the Twin Cities, but it looks like the GOP may quickly be losing them.

In WI’s #SD10 race, the Republican (Jarchow) actually did well in the eastern, rural, working-class areas of the district - what we would consider to be “Trump country.” But in the wealthy GOP areas bordering the Mississippi River, it was a bloodbath for the GOP.

In a low-turnout race, the Republican was getting an astounding 1/7th of the Sheila Harsdorf 2016 vote in GOP strongholds, while the Dem got about 1/3 of the 2016 Dem vote, leading to some insane local results. Enthusiasm gap, bad messaging and Trumpism are all suspects.

Low-turnout special elections are notoriously hard to gauge, but at the very least, it looks like the Dems are holding a good hand before the 2018 flop.
And it wasn't just in Wisconsin, in every contested race last night Dems significantly overperformed. Hell, they even overperformed compared to 2017 specials overperformance.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:48 AM on January 17 [50 favorites]


That Politico article is just chock-full of primo Lindsey Graham quotes.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who tried to sell the president on the Dreamers deal, was plainly discouraged.

“You can’t fix this problem without the president,” Graham said in an interview. “I think he does [want a deal]. … He’s poorly served by his staff. I think that the guy [last] Tuesday was contrary 180 degrees different from the guy I saw Thursday. I think it’s staff.”

But blaming Trump's staff was Graham's way of pulling his punches, since Trump's position on the Dreamers issue could be changed only if the president himself were willing to change it.


So your defense of Trump is that he's easily manipulated by this staff? Okay, then.

"What happened between 10 and 12?" Graham asked of Thursday’s about-face by Trump. "[Earlier] Tuesday, we had a president that I was proud to golf with, call my friend, who understood immigration had to be bipartisan, you had to have border security as essential, you have border security with a wall, but he also understood the idea that we had to do it with compassion. I don't know where that guy went. I want him back."

First of all, that guy never existed. Second of all, Donald Trump was a man you were proud to golf with and call a friend until precisely noon on Tuesday, January 16th, 2018? Okay, then.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:49 AM on January 17 [54 favorites]


It got a bit lost in the shuffle, but not only am I horrified that the Republican President decided he could order Jim Acosta out for asking an inconvenient question, I'm horrified that every other reporter in the room did not leave.

If there was ever a time the "journalists" in America needed to stop with their access obsession and actually do real journalism instead of just being stenographers for the powerful that time is now. And the first step in doing that is solidarity to prevent the Republican President from crushing them in isolation and driving them to self censorship to avoid his ire.

We saw how it should work in the Netherlands, the journalists there were doing real journalism they were not mere stenographers, and that was only in response to mere stonewalling from the Republican Ambassador. I cannot imagine that Dutch journalists would stand by and allow one of their fellow reporters to be ordered out of a press event (however ineffectually, since apparently Acosta did not actually leave).
posted by sotonohito at 8:53 AM on January 17 [99 favorites]


[A few deleted; enough with the weight thing.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:00 AM on January 17 [16 favorites]


Apparently after reading about yesterday's election, Scott Walker is not having a good morning.

Hahah. GOOD. I hope Christmas 2018 is a Blue Christmas for him, IYKWIM. And I noticed that even in the districts where the Republicans still held, there was a Democratic gain. Rome wasn't built in a day, etc. and the take-away is just to keep plugging away, run Democrats whenever possible, and keep the Republicans on their toes (and spending their money) even if they win.

Remembering the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth that went on when Tom Perez won the DNC chair, he seems to be doing a good job, and, most importantly, the DNC seems to be investing more in local races.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:10 AM on January 17 [10 favorites]


@ZekeMiller: WASHINGTON (AP) - AP Sources: Steve Bannon attorney relayed questions to White House during House interview, was told when not to respond.


as Jared Yates Sexton said - its not clear how much more obvious the obstruction of justice case could be unless trump went on tv and said "im obstructing justice bigly"
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:11 AM on January 17 [117 favorites]




The standard budget process is for both houses of Congress to pass a concurrent resolution with budget targets, then for them to pass a bunch of appropriations bills for the upcoming year. The budget resolution and the appropriations bills (as long as they comply with the budget targets) are protected from filibuster in the Senate. You can also use the budget resolution to identify targets for a budget reconciliation bill, which is likewise filibuster-protected.

When this breaks down, or isn't started in the first place, they pass continuing resolutions, which mostly say "keep spending like before, until [this date]." You can also add whatever else you want to those bills, too. Because they're not under a budget resolution, they aren't filibuster-proof, so you need 60 votes in the Senate. Usually not a problem, because the alternative is to shut the government down, and Congress doesn't want to do that. Usually.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 9:16 AM on January 17 [3 favorites]


The big news the first of this week was not even the blatant IMHO lies about orange turd's health. (He's got great eugenics. I mean genetics!) It's either the ongoing investigations OR - most alarmingly to me - the US AG trying to bypass the normal legal process to get his "friendly court" (the conservative-packed SCOTUS) to expedite hurting more people.

But for a bit of levity, here's Stephen Colbert calling out, among other things, Kirstjen Nielsen. (After the 3:00 mark.)
posted by NorthernLite at 9:21 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


He’s poorly served by his staff

The Cossacks work for the Czar.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:26 AM on January 17 [3 favorites]


I understand that the committee interview is not the same as a Grand Jury Hearing but how does having your lawyer on the horn with the object of the investigation help anyone out of anything?
posted by Tevin at 9:26 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


sotonohito: I cannot imagine that Dutch journalists would stand by and allow one of their fellow reporters to be ordered out of a press event (however ineffectually, since apparently Acosta did not actually leave).

According to one or two Dutch commenters online, their press is plenty deferential to the right-leaning Dutch government.

Perhaps every country's political press should be foreign, so they can feel comfortable holding the powerful accountable. Like one of those morbid comedies where the characters agree to swap murders so they have good alibis.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:27 AM on January 17 [25 favorites]


and the take-away is just to keep plugging away, run Democrats whenever possible, and keep the Republicans on their toes (and spending their money) even if they win.M

A recent Jacobin podcast featured an interview with academic/writer Patrick Blanchfield about the Wolff book. One of the conclusions at which Blanchfield arrives: the main thing Trump should teach the left about the presidency is that though the position is important, and powerful, the actual, meaningful fight is local, and that (as is being shown in various ways by various state governments) pushback against unpopular policy is often an effective deterrent of it, but the main thing was to eschew the popularity-contest horserace aspect of it all and focus on the local races, local policies, and local messages.
Because that's what goes to the national level, even if it takes a couple of cycles to get there.
posted by eclectist at 9:27 AM on January 17 [20 favorites]


@LauraLitvan (Bloomberg)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has urged all Democrats to vote against a short-term government funding measure that doesn't include immigration and other Dem demands. ``No Democrats are going to vote for it,'' says Dem Rep John Yarmuth
posted by chris24 at 9:28 AM on January 17 [34 favorites]


Rosie M. Banks: "Remembering the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth that went on when Tom Perez won the DNC chair, he seems to be doing a good job, and, most importantly, the DNC seems to be investing more in local races."

I agree, we've seen welcome DNC involvement in Congressional specials, but state legislative races fall under the DLCC, run by Jessica Post.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:32 AM on January 17 [12 favorites]


A couple of additional implausibly specific details from the Doctor-Admiral Ronny Jackson show (C-SPAN video) which don't seem to have been highlighted here or elsewhere on the internet: he claims that when he sees the President eat on Air Force One it's "minus the desserts" everyone else has and that (at 45:00 in the video):
I've never seen the President stressed out about too much. I think the one thing I've noticed about him that I think is unique—and this is just my personal opinion, this has nothing to do with my medical assessment—one of the things he has that is unique, which I would assume has led to some of his success over the years, he has a very unique ability to just get up in the morning and reset. I've seen it before where things are going on and alot of people around him, and myself if I were in that situation, I would get up the next morning and the next day would build on the day before and I would start getting more and more stressed... he has the unique ability to somewhat push the reset button, and he gets up and he just starts a new day. And I think that overall that has helped him with his stress level, and with his, y'know, has made him healthier from a stress standpoint.
There you have it from his doctor—the apparently frenzied dawn-twilight Tweeting about events from the preceding hours or days is really just the product of a keen, cool, calm, calculating mind free from stress and working like a well-oiled machine.
posted by XMLicious at 9:33 AM on January 17 [34 favorites]


Somehow, the week of "shithole countries" and porn actress hush money is the week Trump's FiveThirtyEight aggregate approval rating breaks through the 40% mark for the first time since May 2017. What the fuck is wrong with us?
posted by contraption at 9:34 AM on January 17 [12 favorites]


What the good doctor really admires about the president is that he never fell into that "object permanence" trap
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:36 AM on January 17 [80 favorites]


What the fuck is wrong with us?

We're getting used to it.
posted by Jpfed at 9:37 AM on January 17 [42 favorites]


Trump's approvals tend to fall when Congress is actually doing something stupid - Obamacare repeal, tax bill. They aren't doing something like that at the moment. There's the budget thing, but I don't think that's probably broken through to the non-politics mavens.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:37 AM on January 17 [6 favorites]


Per the Pelosi statements, above, it looks like Schumer is on board, too:

Schumer: House funding bill 'a loser' (The Hill)
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) blasted a House stopgap funding bill on Wednesday, calling the plan a "loser."

"It's a loser in terms of the things that this country needs. We could easily sit down and come to an agreement that would get the support of a majority of both sides," Schumer said from the Senate floor.

Schumer added that if "God forbid, there's a shutdown, it will fall on the majority leader's shoulders and the president's shoulders."
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:37 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


What the fuck is wrong with us?

Just spitballing here, but probably a lack of focus by our media organizations on the horrific policy decisions from the executive and legislative branches and real human impacts of such things, and more of a focus on horse-race politics, culture-war outrage, and other superficial nonsense. The more the focus is on things like shitholegate and Trump's personally unpalatable proclivities, the easier it is for people to get back into that us-v-them tribalism.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:38 AM on January 17 [40 favorites]


Looks like Bannon is not going to be doing the grand jury thing anymore.

CNN: Bannon will do interview with special counsel, avoiding grand jury for now
Steve Bannon has struck a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller's team and will be interviewed by prosecutors instead of testifying before the grand jury, two people familiar with the process told CNN. He is expected to cooperate with the special counsel, the sources said.
Meanwhile the Nunes-authorized subpoena still stands, I believe.
posted by cybertaur1 at 9:40 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


he has the unique ability to somewhat push the reset button, and he gets up and he just starts a new day.

Why it's almost like he has no real awareness of ongoing situations beyond his immediate surroundings. Plus he can identify a lion! (I really, really want to see the clock he drew.)
posted by contraption at 9:40 AM on January 17 [11 favorites]


Regarding Trump's implausible resting heart rate (68 bpm) and blood pressure (122/74), could he have taking some drug before the exam to drive down both measurements?

Given that that report is baldly, badly lying about stuff that's super easy to check, I'd suggest there's a much simpler answer to that question than some unknown pharmacolological wizardry.
posted by bonehead at 9:48 AM on January 17 [12 favorites]


What the fuck is wrong with us?

This is who we are.

I've been harping on this article incessantly, and I understand at the outset it doesn't look relevant, but Louis Menand persuasively argues here that politicians have been successfully channeling American racism and nationalism and ignorance because it's there, it's always been there, and it's probably going to continue being there for some time longer. It's not Trump. It's not a change. It's not new. It's who we are and have long been.

This (combined with my own assessment of ...everything) has caused me to shift my thinking quite a bit, making me a sadder but wiser American. For some time during the 20th century, this country was able to contain these forces with a strong dose of idealistic superego, the aftermath of some world wars, an academic elite, a big and precisely tuned civil rights movement, a counterculture youth movement, and some other forces. But all it ever was was containment. Obama's administration was the anomaly...not this.

It really fundamentally alienates me from my country, but in a sense it's that moment where you truly face the reality of the situation. And I know this is not news to many Americans who have looked this country's inborn evils directly in their face all their lives. But for those of us who were encouraged by gains in human rights and social policies, it is time to recognize that our policy wins have taken place at the margins, and activate the margins - but the hearts of the nation have largely been left untouched.
posted by Miko at 9:50 AM on January 17 [99 favorites]


What the fuck is wrong with us?

I'm also guessing that a lot of people are hearing the "Dow hits record highs!" stuff and assuming that it means their ship is finally about to come in any minute now, just like 45 promised.
posted by holborne at 9:55 AM on January 17 [7 favorites]


CBS Sacramento: New California declares "independence" from rest of state (auto playing video)
With the reading of their own version of a Declaration of Independence, founders of the state of New California took the first steps to what they hope will eventually lead to statehood.

To be clear, they don’t want to leave the United States, just California.

“Well, it’s been ungovernable for a long time. High taxes, education, you name it, and we’re rated around 48th or 50th from a business climate and standpoint in California,” said founder Robert Paul Preston.

The state of New California would incorporate most of the state’s rural counties, leaving the urban coastal counties to the current state of California.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:59 AM on January 17


"I've been harping on this article incessantly, and I understand at the outset it doesn't look relevant, but Louis Menand persuasively argues here that politicians have been successfully channeling American racism and nationalism and ignorance because it's there, it's always been there, and it's probably going to continue being there for some time longer. It's not Trump. It's not a change. It's not new. It's who we are and have long been. "

Going into the 2016 election I thought that Clinton would win because she represented a kind of stasis of the status quo and that, when it comes down to it, people would like things to stay the same rather than go in for a wild change.

I was right, but not in the way I anticipated. Trump's voters weren't interested in economic or policy continuity, but social stasis. They were interested in maintaining white supremacy and making sure that whiteness would stay the status quo.

Upholding the values of white supremacy in our culture trumps all other facets of stability and continuity for them.
posted by Tevin at 10:01 AM on January 17 [19 favorites]


Miko: But for those of us who were encouraged by gains in human rights and social policies, it is time to recognize that our policy wins have taken place at the margins, and activate the margins - but the hearts of the nation have largely been left untouched.

Yes to all that... and no. The bastards insist they are the "heart" of the nation, but they don't have the right to claim it. There are fewer of them, even if perhaps they were a majority once. They're not the "real" Americans. They're the special interest. They're the interlopers who don't belong. They merely hold disproportionate power both politically and culturally.

The numbers that rightly depress us all... are still below 50%. They just seem abysmal if one's (totally reasonable!) standard is general decency.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:02 AM on January 17 [13 favorites]


Oh noes! How will California ever survive without subsidizing "New California"!?
The idea that rural Californians would have better education, infrastructure, and health-care services if only they had lower tax rates, and no access to state revenues generated in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento, is delightfully delusional. And, as election analyst J. Miles Coleman points out, the conservative utopia of New California would almost certainly be dominated by liberal Democrats.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:04 AM on January 17 [35 favorites]


As a Californian who grew up in 'New California,' I'd like to give a hearty fuck-you to these morons.

And, as election analyst J. Miles Coleman points out, the conservative utopia of New California would almost certainly be dominated by liberal Democrats.

Lol
posted by Existential Dread at 10:04 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


By the time they divide it down into New New New New New California, though, it'll be a proper Galt's Gulch!
posted by delfin at 10:06 AM on January 17 [27 favorites]


This (combined with my own assessment of ...everything) has caused me to shift my thinking quite a bit, making me a sadder but wiser American. For some time during the 20th century, this country was able to contain these forces with a strong dose of idealistic superego, the aftermath of some world wars, an academic elite, a big and precisely tuned civil rights movement, a counterculture youth movement, and some other forces. But all it ever was was containment. Obama's administration was the anomaly...not this.

It really fundamentally alienates me from my country, but in a sense it's that moment where you truly face the reality of the situation. [...] But for those of us who were encouraged by gains in human rights and social policies, it is time to recognize that our policy wins have taken place at the margins, and activate the margins - but the hearts of the nation have largely been left untouched.


I refuse to believe this. If there existed some magical, 100%-accurate method of voting with 100% participation, we'd have hundreds of Obamas. Lots of Trumps and Thurmonds too, sure. But more Obamas. Well over half of this country's populace is sane and decent. The "margins" you refer to are a contemporaneous measure of political power, not of the actual collective will of the people.

The containment bit, though, and the notion that the poisons lurking in the mud are not somehow new, I definitely agree with. The trick is outmaneuvering their scheming.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 10:08 AM on January 17 [16 favorites]


Their conservative utopia is less New California and more Caesar's Legion.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 10:12 AM on January 17 [13 favorites]


Native Californian here - and I remember rural north and northeast CA making mouth noises about secession and forming their very own state as far back as the 80's. This Wikipedia article on the proposed state of Jefferson (incorporating parts of southern Oregon) states the origin as being in the 1940s:
On November 27, 1941, a group of young men gained national media attention when, brandishing hunting rifles for dramatic effect, they stopped traffic on U.S. Route 99 south of Yreka, the county seat of Siskiyou County, and handed out copies of a Proclamation of Independence, stating that the State of Jefferson was in "patriotic rebellion against the States of California and Oregon" and would continue to "secede every Thursday until further notice."
Decades of talk and very little action. I'm not holding my breath for Jefferson, Weedonia, or Sativaland being the 52nd state anytime soon. And, I don't mean to be one of those conspiracy theorists, but is this iteration of "we need a new California" more Russian meddling to try to kneecap the world's fifth largest economy - a powerful blue state - like the California secession movement? California is a powerful force in the Democrats' corner.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:15 AM on January 17 [12 favorites]


As far as Trump's resting heart rate of 68bpm is concerned, I'll just say this: I'm nearly 59, about 40lbs overweight and I don't exercise enough other than walking (2 miles today). My resting heart rate is around 55-58bpm, and has been all my adult life. Like Trump, I also don't drink and have never smoked. So I don't find that part of the doctor's report which says his resting heart rate is 68bpm to be implausible.

That's not to say the rest of it isn't bullshit - he's not 6'3", he weighs probably 25lbs more than stated and wears reading glasses. But it's possible his resting heart rate, at least when he's not all a-Twitter, might well be 68bpm.
posted by essexjan at 10:15 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


New California looks a whole lot like “Calexit” from what, like 2 months ago?, that turned out to be one wierd dude who moved to Russia...and 35000 Russian bots on Twitter. They’re not even putting any effort into these disinfo ops.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:15 AM on January 17 [37 favorites]


According to leading economic analysts, California is insolvent and will be bankrupt next year just as it has every year for the last 25 years.

Could this be the year economists who have always been wrong will finally always have been right ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:19 AM on January 17


is this iteration of "we need a new California" more Russian meddling to try to kneecap the world's fifth largest economy - a powerful blue state - like the California secession movement? California is a powerful force in the Democrats' corner.

Kamala Harris and Hilary Clinton would still have won in New California, just by somewhat lesser margins. So, on net, the Democrats would come out ahead in this scenario.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:20 AM on January 17


The emphasis on lack of dentures in Trump's physical examination report was ... odd.
posted by dhruva at 10:21 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


The bastards insist they are the "heart" of the nation,

They do, but the truth isn't that they aren't the true heart or they are, or that they're right or not right.. The truth is that they are there, along with the rest of us, and they have been for a long time, and aren't showing a lot of signs of waking up different tomorrow. They are part of us. They are in us and of us. They are just as much America as anyone else. They don't think about us, but I think it's high time I started realizing that about them - about us. Our nation is built on a history that includes stubborn and so-far permanent strains of racism and nationalism that discrete gains will not wipe away. All strategy has to work itself around that fact.
posted by Miko at 10:22 AM on January 17 [11 favorites]


refuse to believe this. If there existed some magical, 100%-accurate method of voting with 100% participation, we'd have hundreds of Obamas.

Yeah, and that's part of my point. Too many eligible voters don't vote. They're disengaged and/or disenfranchised. Electoral representation would look different if everyone voted. But the deeply entrenched social prejudices in this country - and the representatives those who hold them elect - are part of the reason everyone doesn't vote.
posted by Miko at 10:24 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


Barack Spinoza: It demonstrates once again to Democrats — and Republicans — that Trump is an unpredictable, unreliable partner who cannot be trusted to keep his word. To lawmakers on Capitol Hill, there may be no greater crime, since all members and senators know their word is their bond. Once you lose that credibility, you’re done as a deal-maker.

But for the GOP, it seems that no crime really matters, so long as they stay in power, and they keep getting paid for being in power. Because at this point, they're not even getting that much done.


Miko: Louis Menand persuasively argues here that politicians have been successfully channeling American racism and nationalism and ignorance because it's there, it's always been there, and it's probably going to continue being there for some time longer.

That's letting politicians off the hook for fanning these divisive flames. Of course they'll continue for a long time as long as they're useful for dividing My Base from Yours (and My Base's Money from them, so they can keep themselves in power).

So it seems this all comes back to politicians staying in power to keep getting paid for being in power.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:24 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


The emphasis on lack of dentures in Trump's physical examination report was ... odd.

I remember there was speculation about his having dentures as an explanation for garbling words.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:24 AM on January 17 [3 favorites]


According to this Daily Kos article, the New California movement features white supremacists and conspiracy theorists, featuring gems like "English is dying in California!," the recent wildfires being some sort of gummint/librul "climate scientist" plot, etc. Something tells me this won't catch on.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:25 AM on January 17 [7 favorites]


>> What the fuck is wrong with us?
> This is who we are [...] all it ever was was containment. Obama's administration was the anomaly...not this.


I favorited Miko's comment but like CheesesOfBrazil, I refuse to believe that there is no hope. The majority of the country is better than the racist rump, and I've seen much worse casual racism first-hand, in ways that were so common that I did not even think of them as racism.

On the other hand, I will forever be proud of my citizenship certificate with President Obama's signature on it.
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:25 AM on January 17 [26 favorites]


It is frustrating to me that any nutso idea like Calexit or "New California" can get this sort of non-critical coverage... Reading the article, you'd think that this would be something that was actually a serious attempt by empowered people, as opposed to the loosely organized group of white supremiacists who think that reading articles of independence with zero involvement / engagement from any political representation from the state will accomplish something... This is practically the "sovereign citizen" version of forming a state, and it should not be taken seriously as an attempt to form a state, but should be taken seriously as a group of right wing extremists.
posted by MysticMCJ at 10:26 AM on January 17 [17 favorites]


re: dentures -- speculation really ramped up after garbling "God bless The United States" in that Jerusalem speech a month ago.
posted by cybertaur1 at 10:26 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


fine, so he doesn't have dentures—just very loose teeth
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:29 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


That's letting politicians off the hook for fanning these divisive flames.

They do, but the flames then blaze up because the underlying sentiment is there because of politicians past. This is an American tradition. The people who are being fanned put the fanners there. They like the fanning.

The opposite of fanning is containment. We aren't currently successful at the containment.

I refuse to believe that there is no hope.

Oh, I don't mean to give the impression that I think there is no hope. There is definitely hope! But it does not lie in changing the base. They're not super likely to change. It lies in activating the margins - and a lot of that, electorally.

It's about dropping the romanticism about America's inherent goodness. That was always a myth, the part of the "exceptionalism" that liberals do love. These aren't just assholes who crashed the party. The party is taking place in a house that the assholes built.

Any gains we make are about pushing back against this long historical tide. Entirely with targeted strategy, not with moving massive numbers. For an increasingly more just society, we have to know how to succeed despite the 40%.
posted by Miko at 10:29 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


It seems like a lot of the secessionist movements are white supremacist at their core, even among a lot of liberal Oregonians with the concept of Cascadia.
posted by gucci mane at 10:29 AM on January 17 [11 favorites]


New California? Bah. If you want to talk about making major changes to the shape of the nation start talking big, big like consolidating states into mega regions and restricting how representation works. You want a big change? Fine, all the plains states are merged into a single unit with mandate to transform the bulk of the land mass to protected tall grass prairie and buffalo grazing
. Call it a form of carbon sequestering.
posted by The Whelk at 10:33 AM on January 17 [17 favorites]


Actual current CNN Chyron: Trump Admin Touts Misleading Stats to Link Terror, Immigration
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:34 AM on January 17 [32 favorites]


cybertaur1: speculation really ramped up after garbling "God bless The United States"

Yeah I remember that; and the denture theory was floated, I thought, to offset dementia/drug use theories.
posted by dhruva at 10:36 AM on January 17


TPM:
The Justice Department in a court filing Tuesday said that it had requested that former commissioners on President Trump’s now defunct voter fraud panel not share any non-public records collected by the commission with the Department of Homeland Security, and that DOJ lawyers asked vice chair, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, specifically to refrain from sharing the records.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:45 AM on January 17 [18 favorites]


The way I see the US political cycle is that the Forces of Containment (FOC) work for a while, to the point that American civil society starts to look like it has matured and moved on from it's racist past, and in the process the good guys start to disengage, thinking history has moved on - we're done. But we're never done. Oligarchs and racists regroup and chip away at the gains made, fine tune their message, and before you know it you get Nixon, Reagan, the Tea Party, Trump, etc. The trick will be to keep the good guys engaged and alert and forever reinforcing the FOC though meaningful civic engagement. Whether it's running for local office, contacting your existing reps, showing up at town meetings, primarying fools, etc. It's a constant struggle, and the optimist in me sees the pendulum swinging back. But it will never stop swinging, and the deplorable ~30% is always there. Hell, it's there in Europe, it's just that they have had more robust FOCs, though they need some shoring up too.
posted by jetsetsc at 10:45 AM on January 17 [18 favorites]


Here is a beautiful set of animated graphics in the NYT Upshot:

Adventures in Extreme Gerrymandering: See the Fair and Wildly Unfair Maps We Made for Pennsylvania

It's a rather dramatic illustration of how Democrats could win the overall statewide popular vote by 1.5% and still lose districts as badly as 3 to 15, just because there are so many Democrats in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh while the rural and suburban areas of the state tilt conservative.

Lesson: we should all move to the countryside.

Or multi-member districts would easily fix this problem, but good luck with that.
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:50 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


Or just get rid of districts entirely and go proportional representation. Or some other non-district means of dealing with representation. Hell, even just having all citizens assigned randomly every election to a virtual district would be better than the current godawful mess.

Districts are a terrible idea. They're inherently awful, and I don't think there's any real way to make them good, only less awful.
posted by sotonohito at 10:57 AM on January 17 [11 favorites]


Alexandra Erin says the doctor explicitly attributed the slurring to Sudafed. Not in the sense that his mental/language faculties were impaired as a drug side effect or something; simply that Sudafed dries out the mouth. I'd say that's consistent with the odd tongue/lip movement which I originally took to be dentures.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:58 AM on January 17 [2 favorites]


I was saying in one of the previous threads—by exploiting the perfidious turpitude and greed of the conservative/nationalists I totally bet we could manage to get high-population, high-tax-revenue regions of liberal states detached from their sneering New-Californian-type neighbors and merged into red states, thus changing the demographics of the Electoral College to make it more like the actual national averages.
posted by XMLicious at 10:59 AM on January 17


One thing to watch out for with MMDs is they tend to disenfranchise minorities. They'd have to be carefully handled to avoid that.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:59 AM on January 17 [6 favorites]


I'm so so sorry for this.

Daily Beast, Erin Gloria Ryan, InTouch to Drop 5,000 Words From Stormy Daniels on Sex With Trump: "According to a magazine source, the transcript contains details of ‘[w]hat he’s like in bed, pillow talk, she talks about what he’s like down there...’"
Daniels revealed that Trump asked her to sign a DVD copy of her film 3 Wishes and that he called her roughly every 10 days after their first encounter. As for the later encounters, she said: “We had really good banter. He told me once that I was someone to be reckoned with, beautiful, smart, just like his daughter.”
The interview in question occurred in 2011, before she signed an NDA.
posted by zachlipton at 11:05 AM on January 17 [52 favorites]


Yeah I remember that; and the denture theory was floated, I thought, to offset dementia/drug use theories.

Dr. Jackson confirmed yesterday in the press conference that he and his staff were sufficiently alarmed by the slurred speech incidents that they investigated to try to diagnose the cause, and he alleged then that he discovered that he had over-prescribed medications that had caused the President's slurred speech. In any normal timeline, this would be a shocking revelation and a huge scandal. But here in the worst timeline, nobody even picked up on it, apparently.
posted by The World Famous at 11:12 AM on January 17 [23 favorites]


A prophecy: before this is all over, someone will testify under oath about Donald Trump's weiner
posted by theodolite at 11:13 AM on January 17 [40 favorites]


But it does not lie in changing the base. They're not super likely to change.

The world changes because old views literally die off. The hope is in making sure the youth don't have the same views as their parents or grandparents. That's where effort has to go, and how lasting change can happen.
posted by bonehead at 11:18 AM on January 17 [23 favorites]


Daily Beast, Erin Gloria Ryan, InTouch to Drop 5,000 Words From Stormy Daniels on Sex With Trump: According to a magazine source, the transcript contains details of ‘[w]hat he’s like in bed, pillow talk, she talks about what he’s like down there...’"

Ugh. This is just distasteful; I really don't care anything about the man's sex life or that of Ms. Daniels. I can see that using the interview to confirm the affair and the subsequent NDA is in the public interest (not that I expect it will change anyone's minds about anything), but surely that can be done without sharing all the lewd detail.
posted by nubs at 11:19 AM on January 17 [6 favorites]


and he alleged then that he discovered that he had over-prescribed medications that had caused the President's slurred speech. In any normal timeline, this would be a shocking revelation and a huge scandal.

I mean, you make it out as some debilitating incapacity. What Dr. Jackson simply said was that the gave the President some Sudafed, which dried out his mouth (I also apologize for this mental image, but the phrase was "inadvertently dried up his secretions more than I intended to"). If you think that's all a lie, then you do you, but I really don't think taking some Sudafed and having a dry mouth counts as shocking or a scandal of any size.
posted by zachlipton at 11:20 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


I'm so so sorry for this.

Daily Beast, Erin Gloria Ryan, InTouch to Drop 5,000 Words From Stormy Daniels on Sex With Trump


When this comes out I hope that everyone posting excerpts in these threads will be kind enough to wrap them in huge content warnings. I really don't want to read that shit.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 11:21 AM on January 17 [19 favorites]


Actually if we could just go ahead and pre-emptively say "please no Donald Trump sex details quoted in these threads" that would be super because I don't that anywhere near my eyes or imagination and I don't think it has anything to say about politics, elections, or the actual presidency.
posted by Tevin at 11:23 AM on January 17 [38 favorites]


Trump gave Reuters a 53-minute interview. More to come, but the first story has him upset with Russia. Exclusive: Trump says Russia helping North Korea skirt sanctions; Pyongyang getting close on missile
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday Russia is helping North Korea get supplies in violation of international sanctions and that Pyongyang is getting “closer every day” to being able to deliver a long-range missile to the United States.

“Russia is not helping us at all with North Korea,” Trump said during an Oval Office interview with Reuters. “What China is helping us with, Russia is denting. In other words, Russia is making up for some of what China is doing.”
...
He would not say whether the United States has been considering a limited, pre-emptive attack to show the North that the United States means business.

“We’re playing a very, very hard game of poker and you don’t want to reveal your hand,” he said.
posted by zachlipton at 11:24 AM on January 17 [7 favorites]


I mean, you make it out as some debilitating incapacity.

Apologies. I was trying to make it out as Dr. Jackson throwing himself under the bus to come up with an obvious lie in service of the President to save the President some embarrassment.

If the President of the United States took so much Sudafed that he couldn't talk right during an event designed to quell violence in the Middle East, that's a shocking scandal.

Also, which kind of Sudafed was it? The low-octane otc stuff, or the federally-controlled stuff you have to ask the pharmacist for and they put your name of a list for the DEA and don't let you buy any more for a month? Because if POTUS is taking so much of the latter that he can't talk right? Damn.
posted by The World Famous at 11:25 AM on January 17 [8 favorites]


When this comes out I hope that everyone posting excerpts in these threads will be kind enough to wrap them in huge content warnings not do so.
posted by Candleman at 11:25 AM on January 17 [6 favorites]


Dear God/Godess/Godhead:
Please please please please please keep Donald Trump's little general out of the public discourse. Please.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:26 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Republicans set the precedent for the presidents sex life as public knowledge, and an impeachable offense, during the Clinton years. I want every last detail public, and I want every last Republican and evangelical leader made to answer graphic questions on the record, just like they made Democrats. That’s the game now, and it’s their turn. Don’t let them off easy because it makes us vomit.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:28 AM on January 17 [89 favorites]


Districts are a terrible idea.

That's overly bold. There's a lot of good reasons to have politicians beholden to the success of a somewhat constrained area. The most extreme example would be if you had an area of, say, 5 square miles more prone to flooding. Without even a single person explicitly dependent on that area for votes it becomes a lot easier to just abandon those folks, make decisions that ignore them or their needs, etc. We already see how this can happen with entire cities a la Flint. We can maintain some cohesion with multi-member districts or dual-overlay districts or whatever rather than just entirely tossing the entire concept.

Our situation where these big land masses get disproportionate representation isn't best solved by slewing into the extreme the other direction.
posted by phearlez at 11:29 AM on January 17 [12 favorites]


Just a suggestion that we take MeTa concerns (about something that hasn’t happened yet, no less) to MeTa.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:30 AM on January 17 [6 favorites]


(I also apologize for this mental image, but the phrase was "inadvertently dried up his secretions more than I intended to")

Jackson kept trying to describe him as rippling-muscled bronze demigod, but here he lets slip that he's actually Secretions Manager for a sickly 3rd-stage Guild Navigator.

If the President of the United States took so much Sudafed that he couldn't talk right during an event designed to quell violence in the Middle East, that's a shocking scandal.

Long-term overuse and misuse of over-the-counter antihistamines (including uppers like Sudafed and downers like Benadryl) could certainly account both for Trump's druggy behaviors and his (and his court's) insistence that he doesn't take illicit or "real" drugs, while not appearing on lists of his prescribed medications.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:30 AM on January 17 [10 favorites]


The way I see the US political cycle is that the Forces of Containment (FOC) work for a while, to the point that American civil society starts to look like it has matured and moved on from it's racist past, and in the process the good guys start to disengage, thinking history has moved on - we're done. But we're never done. Oligarchs and racists regroup and chip away at the gains made, fine tune their message, and before you know it you get Nixon, Reagan, the Tea Party, Trump, etc.

Gettting Better Over Time is a classic Western fallacy rooted, perhaps, in the success of scientific and technological development. (Marx was an especially naive believer.) I don't think it holds up.

But on race specifically, it will be very hard to maintain the racism of Trump's generation because of demographic changes and the end of the worst racist policies, such as the anti-miscegenation laws (only voided in 1967!!) and openly racist housing policies of the 1940s-1960s (with African Americans literally barred by neighborhood covenants, excluded from loans, red-lined, etc.)

A bunch of random developments such as adoption of foreign children, Vietnam-era GIs marrying Asian women, mail-order brides, the success of some immigrant groups, the popularity of anime, and the depiction of diversity in film and TV mean that the stark racism of the 1960s and 1970s is now more foreign to post-Millennials than diversity is. It's normal to date different ethnicities now, not even remarkable. So I'm optimistic in this one case, in the U.S.
posted by msalt at 11:33 AM on January 17 [9 favorites]


Republicans set the precedent for the presidents sex life as public knowledge, and an impeachable offense, during the Clinton years.

But this time, if for nothing else but our own sanity, could we try impeaching for something else? Please?
posted by Jpfed at 11:39 AM on January 17 [7 favorites]


Right wing actor Adam Baldwin's response [via Twitter] to the Stormy Daniels story:
Why should American social conservatives care about what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes?
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:50 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


Huh.
Kentucky's GOP Senate Caucus Chair is introducing a marijuana legalization bill right now.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:50 AM on January 17 [34 favorites]


I'm quite sure once Mueller's done with him he'll leave office either via resignation or impeachment due to his misdeeds.

I am certainly not eager for the gory details of Trump's sex life to go public, but I figure this may continue the process of revealing which nominally Christian conservative groups are actually completely morally bankrupt. I think a lot of America is waking up as a result of the debacle in the White House and I am hopeful that will extend beyond just R and D to religious groups too.
posted by Sublimity at 11:51 AM on January 17 [9 favorites]


The Daily podcast had a recent episode on the previous Olympic Games held in Seoul, very interesting in light of our present circumstances. When Seoul was granted the 1988 Olympic Games, NKorea tried to muscle in as a co-host. When that didn’t work out they blew up KAL flight 858, with loss of life to all onboard. Ronald Reagan responded with diplomacy as did SKorea. The games went off without any problems.

I really don’t like to imagine how Trump would respond to such a threat today.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:52 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


Well, thanks to Adam Baldwin's Twitter feed I learned that this is an actual product, for sale, that you can buy and...customize a gun with? I don't know anything about guns, so dare I ask what the "Grab Pussy" setting is?
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:54 AM on January 17 [2 favorites]


Sudafed doesn't dry the mouth. A lot of antihistamines do, but Sudafed is an anti-congestant.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:55 AM on January 17 [3 favorites]


Filed Under "Things That Sound Like They May Be Innuendo But Are Not Intended As Such: ". . . riding to another hole on the same golf cart together."
posted by exlotuseater at 11:58 AM on January 17 [2 favorites]


It's only Twitter, but:

Brandon Friedman, @BFriedmanDC: .@hughhewitt tried to shield Tom Cotton with Cotton's military service and spent 24 hours getting dunked on by veterans

The screencap is something nice to see.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:58 AM on January 17 [29 favorites]


Kentucky's GOP Senate Caucus Chair is introducing a marijuana legalization bill right now.

Legal weed saves lives, and Kentucky has been hit, early and hard, by the opioid crisis - about which, the Trump administration is doing nothing of substance. Even if Kentucky Republicans' rationale is "keep them alive so they can work" it beats reefer madness, I guess. Confederate Keebler Elf is not going to be able to put this particular horse back in the barn.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:59 AM on January 17 [12 favorites]


Huh. Kentucky's GOP Senate Caucus Chair is introducing a marijuana legalization bill right now.

Guessing it's a combo of "we see the writing on the wall and don't want to let Dems totally own this popular policy stance" + "huh so Colorado sure is making a lot of money" + "maybe this could have some impact on the opiate crisis."
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:59 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


Repealing the Cole memo is starting to seem like it might really blow up in Sessions's face.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:02 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]


Sorry for the stupid and possibly repeat question: If the gubmint shuts down, does that mean Mueller does too?
posted by yoga at 12:03 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


I learned that this is an actual product, for sale, that you can buy and...customize a gun with?

Behold the beauty of USA Gun laws. That hunk of metal is, itself, a firearm. Everything else you tack on to make it actually shoot is not controlled and can be freely purchased off eBay or at your local Gun Show without restriction.
posted by achrise at 12:03 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


If the gubmint shuts down, does that mean Mueller does too?

Nope (CNN).
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:04 PM on January 17 [10 favorites]


Jonathan Swan, Inside the room: What Steve Bannon told Congress yesterday. There's a bunch in here, and it's clear everything is being leaked to advance one agenda or another, but this bit is significant:
Steve Bannon made one conspicuous slip up in his closed-door hearing on Tuesday with the House Intelligence Committee, according to four sources with direct knowledge of the confidential proceedings. Bannon admitted that he'd had conversations with Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer and legal spokesman Mark Corallo about Don Junior's infamous meeting with the Russians in Trump Tower in June 2016.
...
Trey Gowdy, who led the Republican questioning, pressed Bannon hard on his description of Don Junior's Trump Tower meeting as "treasonous." Gowdy asked Bannon whether he would consider it treason for somebody close to him to approach Wikileaks' Julian Assange to get opposition research on Hillary Clinton. Bannon replied that such a scenario would be bad judgment. Then Gowdy produced emails from a Cambridge Analytica employee — the Trump campaign data firm closely affiliated with Bannon — boasting of just such contacts with Assange. Bannon claimed this was the first time he'd seen these emails (though they've been in the news.)
Sorry for the stupid and possibly repeat question: If the gubmint shuts down, does that mean Mueller does too?

It's a great question! DOJ says Mueller's investigation would continue in the event of a shutdown.
posted by zachlipton at 12:04 PM on January 17 [18 favorites]


Not sure what state you reside in, but here in California, "friendly OTC" and "put your name on a list" describes all Sudafed.

All states are required to use some sort of logging of ephedrine purchasing (and other meth precursors) by virtue of the Combat Methamphetamine act. Thirty-six states use the National Registry of Pseudoephedrine Abusers (NPLEx), with 34 of those mandated by state law, which coordinates across state lines. But everywhere logs you in some way.
posted by phearlez at 12:05 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


Thanks Rust and Zach. I love you both.
posted by yoga at 12:05 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Sorry for the stupid and possibly repeat question: If the gubmint shuts down, does that mean Mueller does too?

Most likely not. Law enforcement agencies will be considered “essential employees”, and therefore have to work regardless of whether they’re paid on time. For the lawyers on Muellers team, worst case they might miss a pay check or two, but none of them are hurting for cash. The paralegals on staff and all the thousands of TSA agents it might be a different story, but they can’t stop Mueller’s work just by being unable to run payroll on time.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:07 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


A prophecy: before this is all over, someone will testify under oath about Donald Trump's weiner


Why not? Trump did, er, bring it up during a primary debate.
posted by Gelatin at 12:10 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]


Does it look as if the shutdown will happen? I've not heard a great deal about any possible CRs, so I'm a tad worried.
posted by Slackermagee at 12:11 PM on January 17


Not that the Sudafed derail needs to keep going but:

Sudafed doesn't dry the mouth. A lot of antihistamines do, but Sudafed is an anti-congestant.

The Sudafed that is actually psuedo-ephedrine (the kind you have to ask the pharmacist for because of methpanic), most certainly does cause dry mouth. The useless stuff that doesn't work, the sudafed with phenylephrine, does nothing, as far as I can tell, including not making your mouth dry.
posted by dis_integration at 12:13 PM on January 17 [25 favorites]


[Ezra Klein tweet] Crazy reveal from porn star Stormy Daniels: Trump's GOP has let more than 100 days go by without reauthorizing the Children's Health Insurance Program, and the president himself is the main obstacle to a bipartisan deal to save Dreamers!
posted by AFABulous at 12:15 PM on January 17 [99 favorites]


[One deleted; enough on Sudafed.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:18 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


Does it look as if the shutdown will happen? I've not heard a great deal about any possible CRs, so I'm a tad worried.

Well, let's put it this way. Both Pelosi and Schumer have said "if the Dems get nothing from this bill, particularly about DACA, we won't give them one vote. Let them pass it themselves." The House Wingnut Caucus is using that as leverage to try to get some of their more draconian fever dreams voted on instead of a more mainstream CR, else THEY won't vote for it. And Turtle has said "the biggest obstacle on DACA negotiations is that we have no idea what the President wants, so rather than send him a bill that he'll veto we're waiting for him to tell us what he wants."

So yeah. Get your shutdown popcorn ready.
posted by delfin at 12:18 PM on January 17 [16 favorites]


It’s too early to predict shutdown probability, things sound worse than usual right now, but these things only becomes real when there’s a bill on the floor. Watch for the House vote late tomorrow, if that goes down, hold on because shit just got real. If the House can pass a CR, the Senate will likely follow and we’ll do this again next month right before DACA expires for real.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:21 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


Does it look as if the shutdown will happen? I've not heard a great deal about any possible CRs, so I'm a tad worried.

Mayyyyybe. There are a bunch of paths that could lead to a shutdown. The Freedom Caucus could blow up a vote for a CR in the House (they're already threatening) or Dems could actually not cave and the thing could fall in the Senate (there's a lot of pressure on this. Sen. Carper was rumored that he'd vote for a CR, and he just had to rush to say he's leaning no. Sen. Graham, of all people, is running around saying he won't vote for any more CRs). And if there's a shutdown, the expectation is that Trump lashes out at Congress rather than Democrats.

I still think there could be a deal, watch this space tomorrow, as Harry Reid said, "magic happens on Thursday nights", but a shutdown is looking increasingly likely.

McConnell publicly trying to figure out what kind of DACA bill Trump would sign is not encouraging if you were looking for any signs of competent governance in the future:
I am looking for something that President Trump supports and he has not yet indicated what measure he is willing to sign. As soon as we figure out what he is for then I would be convinced that we are not just spinning our wheels going through this issue on the floor but actually dealing with a bill that has a chance to become law.
Yeah... Remember how just last week, pre-shitholegate, Republicans were talking about how Trump was such a good negotiator and was working out exactly what had to be in the deal?
posted by zachlipton at 12:28 PM on January 17 [19 favorites]


There’s a really easy way to find out what Trump would and would not sign...pass a good compromise bill that funds the government for a year (or two), does CHIP, fixes DACA, and lets Republicans have their extra border security, and dare him to veto it. And if he does, see if they have the votes to override the veto. Make clear that if he vetoes, they’ll blame him entirely for the resulting shutdown. Trump is actually a fucking moron and weakling, if they hit him hard he’d almost certainly fold.

But Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan literally cannot do their jobs, they don’t even know what the jobs they have ARE. If Congress was still an equal branch of government, they wouldn’t need to ask Dear Leaders insane position on basic functions.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:42 PM on January 17 [45 favorites]


President Trump would sign literally anything Congress would be willing to pass, in order to avoid a government shutdown coinciding with his one-year anniversary. To pretend otherwise is to look for an excuse for Congress failing to compromise among themselves. Specifically, it's an excuse for Republicans who are nominally in favor of protecting DACA recipients to ignore the issue of DACA entirely.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:45 PM on January 17 [11 favorites]



Right wing actor Adam Baldwin's response [via Twitter] to the Stormy Daniels story:
Why should American social conservatives care about what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes?
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:50 AM on January 17 [2 favorites +] [!]


Wait. I thought that was exactly social conservatives whole schtick. I mean, what else do they do?
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:54 PM on January 17 [34 favorites]


Republicans set the precedent for the presidents sex life as public knowledge, and an impeachable offense, during the Clinton years.

Not just during the Clinton years. Trump held a photo-op before the third presidential debate with three women that accused President Bill Clinton of sexual harassment in the 1990s. Trump's campaign tried to seat the women in the VIP box next to the stage.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:57 PM on January 17 [19 favorites]


Congress Produces Drama While Mueller Produces Results

Steve Bannon stonewalled a House committee, then promptly agreed to an interview with the special counsel—the latest example of how Mueller is moving ahead as lawmakers feud and spin their wheels. (David Graham / The Atlantic)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:01 PM on January 17 [4 favorites]


Just spitballing here, but probably a lack of focus by our media organizations on the horrific policy decisions from the executive and legislative branches and real human impacts of such things, and more of a focus on horse-race politics, culture-war outrage, and other superficial nonsense. The more the focus is on things like shitholegate and Trump's personally unpalatable proclivities, the easier it is for people to get back into that us-v-them tribalism.

John Taylor Gatto:
Now, dumb people aren't just ignorant; they're the victims of non-thought-of, second-hand ideas. Dumb people are now well-informed about the opinions of Time magazine and CBS, The New York Times and the President; their job is to choose which pre-thought thoughts, which received opinions, they like best. The élite in this new empire of ignorance are those who know the most pre-thought thoughts.

Mass dumbness is vital to modern society. The dumb person is wonderfully flexible clay for psychological shaping by market research, government policymakers, public-opinion leaders and any other interest group. The more pre-thought thoughts a person has memorized, the easier it is to predict what choices he or she will make. What dumb people cannot do is think for themselves or ever be alone for very long without feeling crazy.
posted by LooseFilter at 1:02 PM on January 17 [20 favorites]


Right wing actor Adam Baldwin's response [via Twitter] to the Stormy Daniels story:
Why should American social conservatives care about what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes?


How do you know everything the President paid her six figures to keep secret was about what consenting adults did in the privacy of their own homes?
posted by The World Famous at 1:03 PM on January 17 [7 favorites]


Trump had public affairs with his two previous marriages, the conservative Christians knew who exactly who he was.
posted by PenDevil at 1:05 PM on January 17 [10 favorites]


If everything there was to know about who he was was already public, he wouldn't have paid someone six figures for an NDA.
posted by The World Famous at 1:08 PM on January 17 [30 favorites]


oh weird its almost like republicans are being disingenuous when they say they are the party of family values
posted by entropicamericana at 1:09 PM on January 17 [79 favorites]


Jeet posted an insightful thread yesterday on why cultural conservatives seem so comfortable with the current president's sins:
With the rise of feminism & LGBT activism, conservatives started to look at Hefner & other smut merchants as upholder of traditional heteronormativity and gender norming. ... The Federalist: Hugh Hefner's "work celebrates the sexual complementarity that has bound men and women together since the dawn of time" Translation: porn is better than accepting trans people. .... As patriarchy is under fresh challenge, conservatives, including evangelical christians, are looking for allies where they can find them, including Trump's overt piggishness. .... The older conservatism was Patriarchy With the Mask of Chivalry. Women were promised protection in exchange for submission. Now the mask has come off.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:15 PM on January 17 [52 favorites]


Right wing actor Adam Baldwin's response [via Twitter] to the Stormy Daniels story

This is rich coming from the guy who popularized a meme that wrongly accused Zoe Quinn of whoring herself out for game reviews (his characterization, which was a lie on many levels), and then joined in the harassment campaign against her and many others.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:22 PM on January 17 [30 favorites]


Michael Wolff's 'Fire and Fury' to Become TV Series
Endeavor Content — the financing and sales arm formed in October between sister companies William Morris Endeavor and IMG — has purchased film and television rights to the No. 1 best-selling book. The massive deal is said to be in the seven-figure range. Endeavor Content plans to adapt the book as a TV series. A network is not yet attached, as Endeavor will now begin shopping the project.

Wolff will executive produce the series, with veteran Channel 4 and BBC executive Michael Jackson — now CEO of indie producer Two Cities Television — also on board to produce.
posted by octothorpe at 1:23 PM on January 17 [19 favorites]


why cultural conservatives seem so comfortable with the current president's sins

That's interesting, but maybe overcomplicated - I have heard directly from the mouths of social conservatives that for them, ultimately, it's not about the character of the individual running for office, it's about what judges they will appoint.
posted by Miko at 1:23 PM on January 17 [10 favorites]


WaPo, Ed O'Keefe, Kelly calls some of Trump’s campaign pledges on immigration, wall ‘uninformed,’ meeting attendees say
White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly told Democratic lawmakers Wednesday that the United States will never construct a physical wall along the entire stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border and that some of President Trump’s campaign promises on immigration were “uninformed.”

The comments put Kelly at odds with Trump, who repeatedly said during his presidential campaign that he would build a border wall that Mexico would pay for, not U.S. taxpayers.
...
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), the original sponsor of the Dream Act that would permanently legalize at least 690,000 dreamers, asked Kelly to clarify Trump’s definition of a border wall.

Certain things are said during the campaign that are not fully informed,” Kelly said.

“One thing is to campaign, another thing is to govern. It’s really hard,” he added later.
What Kelly did not provide, however, is any clarity on what Trump wants in a deal (which, see above, is apparently something McConnell also lacks). He wants personal credit for not ending DACA immediately, but knew nothing of the Hurd/Aguilar bipartisan proposal (DACA for border security funds).
posted by zachlipton at 1:24 PM on January 17 [8 favorites]


With the rise of feminism & LGBT activism, conservatives started to look at Hefner & other smut merchants as upholder of traditional heteronormativity and gender norming

The real test of how far they'll bend before they break would be, of course, one of Trumps former mistresses or trystresses coming forward with evidence he had encouraged/paid for an abortion.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:24 PM on January 17 [10 favorites]


Here's the full Jeet Heer article in the New Republic expanding on the tweetstorm.

Further evidence that evangelicals' "morality" is but skin-deep comes from the fact that 72 percent of white evangelicals now think that personal immorality is A-OK for elected officials - up from 30 percent in 2011. (The percentage, in other words, has more than doubled.) As one evangelical put it:
“Yes, it is morally evil to commit adultery. It is also morally wrong to approve of committing adultery. But that does not mean it is morally evil to vote for someone who has committed adultery,” Grudem wrote. “In a world affected by sin, voting for morally flawed people is unavoidable. Voting for the candidate you think will be best for the country (or do the least harm to the country) is not a morally evil action, so this objection does not apply.”
I've always wondered why "Judges!" does not motivate Democratic turnout (especially in midterms) the way it does Republicans. Democrats are not less intelligent nor are they less informed. But as long as I can remember, yelling "Judges! Supreme Court!" doesn't seem to work as well on Democrats.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:34 PM on January 17 [25 favorites]


The real test of how far they'll bend before they break would be, of course, one of Trumps former mistresses or trystresses coming forward with evidence he had encouraged/paid for an abortion.

We've already had a test run of this at the Congressional level that ended with resignation, no idea if that ideological spear will pierce Trump's hide any more deeply than various other appeals to supposedly fiercely-held conservative principles did in 2016.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:37 PM on January 17


Reuters has updated their interview story, still no transcript that I can tell.

But, uh, the President suggested the last three Presidents left the issue of North Korea to him because he scored the highest on that cognitive test.
He blamed his three immediate predecessors, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, for failing to resolve the crisis and, a day after his doctor gave him a perfect score on a cognitive test, suggested he had the mental acuity to solve it.

“I guess they all realized they were going to have to leave it to a president that scored the highest on tests,” he said.
This would be the test that determines whether you can do things like remember words and numbers for a few minutes or draw a clock. It's not, you know, an exam to see how well you'd do at managing a goddamn nuclear crisis. It's not the kind of test you brag about acing.
posted by zachlipton at 1:38 PM on January 17 [111 favorites]


guys i know this may come as a shock, but im going to go ahead and suggest that evangelicals are more concerned about maintaining white male supremacy than they are listening to the words jesus said
posted by entropicamericana at 1:40 PM on January 17 [164 favorites]


Miko: I have heard directly from the mouths of social conservatives that for them, ultimately, it's not about the character of the individual running for office, it's about what judges they will appoint.

True, but any Republican would appoint pretty much the same judges. Yet in the primary, evangelicals flocked to Trump, not to a straightforward social/religious conservative. I chalk that more to the appeal of his racism than the appeal of his misogyny, but regardless, we're talking about a product whose features the buyers feel obliged to pretend are shameful bugs.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 1:44 PM on January 17 [19 favorites]


guys i know this may come as a shock, but im going to go ahead and suggest that evangelicals are more concerned about maintaining white male supremacy than they are listening to the words jesus said

From Jeet Heer's The Triumph of Porn Over Social Conservatism:
It’s easy for liberals to decry the hypocrisy of Republicans, the putative party of family values, embracing Trump as its avatar. But there is no real hypocrisy here. The core value is patriarchy, which can take different forms. There is an older patriarchy which wears the mask of chivalry, and offers women protection in exchange for submissiveness. But the age of chivalry is no more. We now have raw patriarchy, which asserts its rights through naked displays of power. And the president, with his porn star mistresses, his boasting of sexual assaults, and even his phallic tweets about the size of his nuclear button, is the perfect leader for conservatives’ post-chivalric world.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:49 PM on January 17 [42 favorites]


Jeff Flake is done giving his “please book me on CNN and give me a spot at the Harvard Kennedy school in 7 months” speech, just in time to vote for a funding bill that uses 7 million kids as hostages agasint passing his alleged top priority before leaving government, while also doing nothing to combat Trumps corruption.

Forget the corruption, this asshole just yesterday affirmatively voted to give Trump's administration free rein in surveilling its own citizens. I guess that's not a power he's worried about giving to Stalin II.

Fuck Jeff Flake and everyone else who is hand-washing about Trump but can't seem to stop themselves from voting even more power to an administration they claim is evil.
posted by Copronymus at 2:05 PM on January 17 [26 favorites]


Saying you're smart because you "aced" the MoCA is like saying you're a top athlete because you can walk 100 meters.
posted by 0xFCAF at 2:10 PM on January 17 [21 favorites]


Re: surveillance, congresspeople on both sides seem to be proceeding as if the military and law-enforcement agencies have a significant degree of autonomy from the day-to-day White House, and can be trusted with powers that an unchecked Trump would abuse. I have no idea how warranted that is.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:13 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


I have heard directly from the mouths of social conservatives that for them, ultimately, it's not about the character of the individual running for office, it's about what judges they will appoint

Or, in other words, the ends justify the means.

Lavrenti Beria would be proud.
posted by acb at 2:16 PM on January 17 [10 favorites]


They should add some easily-aceable tests to the Presidential Daily Activity Pack along with the favorable news clippings and 10,000-word-briefings-condensed-into-single-page-cartoons.
posted by contraption at 2:16 PM on January 17 [13 favorites]


This would be the test that determines whether you can do things like remember words and numbers for a few minutes or draw a clock. It's not, you know, an exam to see how well you'd do at managing a goddamn nuclear crisis. It's not the kind of test you brag about acing.

Having had some experience with the MoCA: I would be shocked if 95% of the people reading this thread didn't score 30/30 on it, and the remaining 5% might get 29. The clinical cutoff for it was 26, but recently it is being suggested it should be 23 in order to lower the rate of false positives.

JFC; a good score on the MoCA just indicates that you have normal cognitive function (you can remember things, you can follow instructions, you are oriented to where you are, etc. I mean, here it is see for yourself). It was designed - and does a decent job - of being a quick tool to assist a doctor in determining if mild cognitive impairment or a dementia might be present (and to be really clear, a full diagnostic workup for dementia should include a lot more than a MoCA; it is a diagnosis made by excluding all the other possible causes for someone exhibiting cognitive challenges). It is not a test of IQ (which have their own huge fucking biases and problems).

If Trump is going to extol his virtues based on 30/30 on the MoCA, I think the media should challenge every person in America to take the test and see how they score and how prepared they feel to deal with the NK situation.
posted by nubs at 2:17 PM on January 17 [55 favorites]


In the Reuters article linked by zachliption, Trump has some uncharacteristically harsh words about his favorite country in the whole wide world. He blames Russia for helping North Korea skirt sanctions, and contrasts this with China being more helpful with respect to the USA's goals.

The article goes on to provide a cause for this deviation from his normal Pro-Putin fawning -- Trump wants us to believe that a better relationship with Russia would fix that problem, by way of appeasement.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:18 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]


guys i know this may come as a shock, but im going to go ahead and suggest that evangelicals are more concerned about maintaining white male supremacy than they are listening to the words jesus said

To which Trump replied, "Pleased ta meet you—hope you guess my naaaaame!"
posted by XMLicious at 2:37 PM on January 17 [9 favorites]


Trump had public affairs with his two previous marriages, the conservative Christians knew who exactly who he was.

And they should never be allowed to forget it.
posted by chris24 at 2:46 PM on January 17 [7 favorites]


it's times like this i miss the blink tag:

CONSERVATIVES DON'T CARE ABOUT LOOKING HYPOCRITICAL

why is this so hard for liberals to understand?
posted by entropicamericana at 2:50 PM on January 17 [77 favorites]


"would continue to "secede every Thursday until further notice.""

This is my new #Resist plan: seceding every Thursday until further notice.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:51 PM on January 17 [14 favorites]


“I guess they all realized they were going to have to leave it to a president that scored the highest on tests,” he said.

— This would be the test that determines whether you can do things like remember words and numbers for a few minutes or draw a clock.
It's 3AM and your children are sleeping. And there's a phone in the White House and it's ringing.
Something's happening in the world.

Who do you want drawing pictures of that clock with the big hand on the twelve and the little hand on the three?

Your vote will decide who picks up those crayons. Your vote will decide who makes those doodles.

Vote trump in 2020.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:54 PM on January 17 [36 favorites]


why is this so hard for liberals to understand?

Because for them, these things do matter. They don't realize the extent that conservatives sold their soul for white supremacy.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:05 PM on January 17 [15 favorites]


CONSERVATIVES DON'T CARE ABOUT LOOKING HYPOCRITICAL

why is this so hard for liberals to understand?


Liberals understand that it’s true, but not why — because there is no good reason why apart from “fuck all y’all” which is not exactly the most thoughtful nor thought out philosophical stance.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:08 PM on January 17 [25 favorites]


But as long as I can remember, yelling "Judges! Supreme Court!" doesn't seem to work as well on Democrats.

This is true - a general lack of strategic thinking has prevailed. Because the Democrats, more than the right, are a collection of variously strong and weak interests and issues around which different individuals feel different levels of commitment, the left is a lot harder to wrangle around the pursuit of an endpoint goal that may require sacrifice on other points than the GOP is.

I have certainly spent a lot of time saying "judges! judges!" to people, because i care greatly about repro rights and immigrant rights and policing, but people with other or additional priorities have often resisted that as a single decision metric.

They don't realize the extent that conservatives sold their soul for white supremacy.

This is so, so true. Until we confront that reality, we aren't going anywhere.
posted by Miko at 3:10 PM on January 17 [17 favorites]


Fuck Jeff Flake and everyone else who is hand-washing about Trump but can't seem to stop themselves from voting even more power to an administration they claim is evil.

You mean like Nancy Pelosi? And Claire McCaskill?

The Democratic party has sort of shown its stripes by supporting that horseshit bill but continuing to bleat about the pus-filled donut of a President we have. We need a party that will follow through on stripping power from the executive branch and extricate this country from the perpetual global war we find ourselves in.

I don't think the Democrats are that party. Which is too bad, because this moment is a golden opportunity to campaign on that promise.
posted by rocketman at 3:10 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


Michelle Allison (who is on Metafilter somewhere I assume since she references it in this tweet thread) had an illuminating theory (twitter thread) about what motivates people at the top of the social/economic hierarchy to keep demanding more even while already having the very most in power and wealth.

For those who don't want to/can't get on twitter, the gist is that it's an inability to reckon with death. No matter how much power they amass it doesn't change their mortality, but rather than accept and understand that, they keep seeking something else to stave off death. The people lower on the social ladder ultimately pay the price for that fear.
posted by Emmy Rae at 3:18 PM on January 17 [36 favorites]


I have certainly spent a lot of time saying "judges! judges!" to people, because i care greatly about repro rights and immigrant rights and policing, but people with other or additional priorities have often resisted that as a single decision metric.

Many years ago I got into a political argument with a coworker and I brought up the issue of the Supreme Court and abortion as a reason not to vote Republican. "Oh," she said, "they would never actually take away abortion rights. Women would be too angry." And I just sort of blinked at her.

I think a lot of non-right-wing folks (because I'm sure she would have considered herself "independent") think that someone would step in and stop the government from actually hurting people or taking away their rights. It's a form of privilege, I suppose, that middle class educated whites often have, that says "well the wingnuts won't actually be allowed to do that" and so they focus on other priorities.

A lot of those people have been truly shocked in the last year to discover that government can actually be very harmful and there's not a stern guardian of the constitution built in to stop whackjobs from using power any way they want.
posted by threeturtles at 3:32 PM on January 17 [64 favorites]


> Liberals understand that it’s true, but not why — because there is no good reason why apart from “fuck all y’all” which is not exactly the most thoughtful nor thought out philosophical stance.

Republicans and the Purple Heart Band-Aid
Just how bad was it? Well, for one thing, I remember many conversations with conservatives in which they dismissed Kerry’s Bronze and Silver Stars and three Purple Hearts as, “What? He got shot in the ass!” In point of fact, Kerry did get a small shrapnel wound on his behind — the other four metals were just lost to conservative memory. But I was just amazed at the way conservatives treated him. I’m not a great lover of the military. But this went against everything that they claimed they believed in. They are the ones who claim that the military is so important and how we absolutely must bow down to every person in uniform lest it cause us to lose all our wars.

With regard to this, Digby reminded me that all of this was not just during the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth nonsense. The picture above is from the Republican National Convention in 2004. It is just one of many that show the delegates wearing band-aids with purple hearts printed on them. Oh yes, they felt very proud mocking the man who actually fought in Vietnam, even while they were voting for two men who were highly successful in their elite efforts to stay out of that war.

This all shows everything that you need to know about the modern Republican Party. It is power over honor — always. They are a great shame to this country.
Digby called it "situational sanctimony", which is a nice, pithy way to summarize their position on just about everything, from what makes a war hero to how objectionable pornography and infidelity are.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:34 PM on January 17 [101 favorites]


Gawd, it takes so little to make me happy anymore. Today's entry: all the talking heads everywhere have Embraced the Euphemism and, in place of "shithole" are now going with the prissy, puerile "s-hole," so now it sounds like they're saying "asshole" 40 times an hour. It's both delightful and totally accurate -- "Everyone who attended the asshole meeting," "the asshole controversy," "the racist asshole remarks" . . . . I've basically been tittering like an eighth grader all day long.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:39 PM on January 17 [31 favorites]




WHAT. THE. FUCK. NYT? No editorials in print, so they can do this instead:
The Times editorial board has been sharply critical of the Trump presidency, on grounds of policy and personal conduct. Not all readers have been persuaded. In the spirit of open debate, and in hopes of helping readers who agree with us better understand the views of those who don’t, we wanted to let Mr. Trump’s supporters make their best case for him as the first year of his presidency approaches its close. Tomorrow we’ll present some letters from readers who voted for Mr. Trump but are now disillusioned, and from those reacting to today’s letters and our decision to provide Trump voters this platform.
Thing is, I read the damn letters, in the spirit of open-mindedly embracing whatever they're trying to accomplish with this. There's very little of any note at all, just a bunch of "extremely boring Yelp reviews of a presidency."

It's simply a bunch of white people who think their life is swell. They got a tax cut and a Supreme Court Justice, the stock market is up, and some of them would prefer he tweet less, but others like that he speaks his mind. One is a former hedge fund trader/associate professor of finance who is happy because he thinks volatility and chaos is great for capitalists. There's just nothing of value in any of these letters, certainly no new perspective being brought to the table.

Also, @josh_wingrove: U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's trip to Toronto tomorrow has cancelled, per a release from her Canadian counterpart. No reason cited.

The Canadians probably demanded to speak to someone capable of remembering what takes place during meetings.
posted by zachlipton at 3:53 PM on January 17 [38 favorites]


. "Oh," she said, "they would never actually take away abortion rights. Women would be too angry." And I just sort of blinked at her.

I used to believe this too and used to tell my wife they were just using it as a wedge issue (she never believed me to her credit), then the 2010 Tea Party takeover happened and they proposed something like 1000 new abortion restrictions in that first month. Now I'm not sure how I was ever more wrong about something. They really do want The Handmaid's Tale.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:54 PM on January 17 [46 favorites]


> For those who don't want to/can't get on twitter, the gist is that it's an inability to reckon with death.

Sometimes I wonder if Trump truly understands that one day he too will die, like everyone else. His ego must have a hell of a time dealing with that.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:54 PM on January 17 [4 favorites]


Brian Stelter [via Twitter]: On Thursday, the NYT is not running any editorials in print. The ed board is devoting the page to letters from Trump supporters.

29% of America strongly approves of Trump. 49% strongly disapproves.

When does the 49% get its own page?
posted by chris24 at 3:55 PM on January 17 [98 favorites]


Tomorrow we’ll present some letters from readers who voted for Mr. Trump but are now disillusioned

NYT's version of balance is people who voted for Trump and regret it and people who voted for Trump and don't.

There is an actual majority of voters outside of this binary! I even go to a diner sometimes. Find me! I look great in black and white photos.
posted by Emmy Rae at 3:56 PM on January 17 [55 favorites]


> Now volatility is our friend. The more chaos, the better! Entrepreneurship up. Optimism up. Good old American problem solving is back! You know who loves change? Capitalists. Mr. Trump has led us on that spiritual exodus.

These people are fucking crazy.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:56 PM on January 17 [11 favorites]


The Old Gray...well, their behavior of late seems less than Ladylike.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:57 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Have I somehow managed to miss the Fake News Awards today?
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 3:58 PM on January 17 [4 favorites]


Have I somehow managed to miss the Fake News Awards today?

They swept the awards.
posted by chris24 at 3:59 PM on January 17


The Times has always had problems, but have they *ever* toadied to this extent to a President? Jesus.
posted by emjaybee at 4:02 PM on January 17 [14 favorites]


There is an actual majority of voters outside of this binary! I even go to a diner sometimes. Find me! I look great in black and white photos.

But do you ever drive a cab and wish that Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi could sit down and agree to give Paul Ryan everything he wants ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:03 PM on January 17 [16 favorites]


WaPo, U.S. troops will stay in Syria to counter ‘strategic’ threat from Iran
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday committed the United States to an indefinite military presence in Syria, citing a range of policy goals that extend far beyond the defeat of the Islamic State as conditions for American troops to go home.

But a crisis unfolding on the Syria-Turkey border that threatens to embroil the U.S. military in a wider regional conflict underscored how hard it will be for the relatively small U.S. presence in Syria to influence the outcome of the conflict there.

Speaking in a major Syria-policy address hosted at Stanford University by the Hoover Institution, Tillerson listed vanquishing al-Qaeda, ousting Iran and securing a peace settlement that excludes President Bashar al-Assad as among the goals of a continued presence in Syria of about 2,000 American troops currently deployed in a Kurdish-controlled corner of northeastern Syria.
*glances at the dumbass NYT letters and sees "an end to needless foreign wars" as one of Trump's acomplishments. throws things.*
posted by zachlipton at 4:03 PM on January 17 [22 favorites]


The Times editorial board has been sharply critical of the Ptolemaic system, on grounds of "what the hell is Venus doing?" and "hey, Jupiter has moons!" Not all readers have been persuaded. In the spirit of open debate, and in hopes of helping readers who agree with us better understand the views of those who don’t, we wanted to let Mr. Ptolemy's supporters make their best case for him as the 1868th anniversary of Geographia approaches. Tomorrow we’ll present some letters from readers who supported Mr. Ptolemy but are now disillusioned, and from those reacting to today’s letters and our decision to provide Ptolemy supporters this platform.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:06 PM on January 17 [55 favorites]


Have I somehow managed to miss the Fake News Awards today?

National treasure Chrissy Teigen brings us a live look at the Fake News Awards.
posted by Existential Dread at 4:08 PM on January 17 [9 favorites]


Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday committed the United States to an indefinite military presence in Syria, citing a range of policy goals that extend far beyond the defeat of the Islamic State as conditions for American troops to go home.

Isn't this the job of either 1) the SecDef, or 2) the CinC?
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:09 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]


Iran says planned US-backed force inside Syria would fan war.
And from Al Jazeera ~ New US-backed Syria force: Five things you should know.
Including this: -
A military operation in northern Syria against the city of Afrin - controlled by the Syrian Kurdish armed group YPG - will be launched "in the days ahead", Erdogan said on the issue, accusing the US of forming a "terror army".
posted by adamvasco at 4:12 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


Republican voters get what they voted for in Kentucky: ‘Flabbergasted.’ Supporters of 70 programs [Gov. Matt] Bevin wants to chop respond with shock.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:12 PM on January 17 [24 favorites]


I clicked on the NYT link. I apologize.

Remarkably, the justification is that the Times editorial board has been consistently anti-Trump, so they feel the need to publish an opposing point of view. Do they not read their own paper? They realize it has a news section, right? Maybe they don't.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:14 PM on January 17 [16 favorites]


NYT: Trump’s Physical Revealed Serious Heart Concerns, Outside Experts Say
Cardiologists not associated with the White House said Wednesday that President Trump’s physical exam revealed serious heart concerns, including very high levels of so-called bad cholesterol, which raises the risk that Mr. Trump could have a heart attack while in office.

Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, a rear admiral and the White House physician, said Tuesday in his report on the president’s medical condition that Mr. Trump was in “excellent” cardiac health despite having an LDL cholesterol level of 143, well above the desired level of 100 or less.

Dr. David Maron, the director of preventive cardiology at Stanford University’s medical school, said Wednesday that it was alarming that the president’s LDL levels remain above 140 even though he is taking 10 milligrams of Crestor, a powerful drug that is used to lower cholesterol levels to well below 100.

Dr. Maron said he would “definitely” be worried about Mr. Trump’s risk for having a heart attack if the president were one of his patients. Asked if Mr. Trump is in perfect health, Dr. Maron offered a blunt reply: “God, no.”

Other cardiologists also disputed Dr. Jackson’s rosy assessment of the president’s heart health. Several said Mr. Trump’s goal should be to get his LDL below 100, or even under 70. He has a real risk of having a heart attack or stroke, especially considering his weight and lack of exercise, they said.

Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist at the Scripps Research Institute, said that it is impossible to ignore the dangers of the president’s elevated cholesterol levels when providing an overall assessment of Mr. Trump’s health.

“That’s a really high LDL,” Dr. Topol said. “We’re talking about a 70-plus-year-old man who is obese and doesn’t exercise. Just looking at the lab value, you would raise a big red flag.”

He added: “I would never use the words ‘excellent health.’ How you could take these indices and say excellent health? That is completely contradicted.”
posted by chris24 at 4:22 PM on January 17 [57 favorites]


If you're wondering where Tillerson gets these ideas... Tillerson Prints Out Trump’s Tweets to Help Set Foreign Policy
According to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, however, they are a source of inspiration. While speaking with his predecessor Condoleezza Rice at a Stanford University event on Wednesday, Tillerson—who does not use social media himself—said his aides print out every tweet his boss sends and hand-deliver them to him. “The challenge is just getting caught up because I don’t even have a Twitter account that I can follow what he is tweeting, so my staff usually has to print his tweets out and hand them to me,” Tillerson told Rice. Then the secretary asks himself, “How do we take that and now use it?”

Tillerson’s comments prompted some raised eyebrows, given his own troubled relationship with Trump. In October, the president famously undercut Tillerson’s efforts to negotiate with North Korea, tweeting “Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!” The following month, he declined to consult his advisers before unexpectedly praising Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s brutal crackdown on other members of the royal family, leaving Tillerson—once again—out of the loop. Within the State Department, the rumor is that the beleaguered secretary could resign before the end of the month.

On Wednesday, however, Tillerson defended their Twitter-based relationship. “I’ve actually concluded that’s not a bad system,” he insisted. According to the former ExxonMobil C.E.O., the inefficiencies in the process allow him to absorb “the early reactions” to any Trump tweet, which in turn enables him to respond more effectively. Still, Tillerson said, the president’s fondness for Twitter hasn’t changed his own opinion of the platform. “I am probably going to go to my grave and never have a social-media account.”
posted by zachlipton at 4:22 PM on January 17 [11 favorites]


because it is very important to support our journalistic institutions in this dark time of need i will be purchasing a dozen subscriptions to the NYT today so they can continue the critical, important work they do

of giving over an entire page to letters from Trump supporters

lol
posted by indubitable at 4:26 PM on January 17 [12 favorites]


glances at the dumbass NYT letters and sees 'an end to needless foreign wars' as one of Trump's acomplishments. throws things

Could we maybe wrap up one of the ones we've already got going before we start another one?
posted by kirkaracha at 4:37 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]


Did they reprint the letters in the original crayon, or....?
posted by uosuaq at 4:37 PM on January 17 [16 favorites]


"(I really, really want to see the clock he drew.)"

Here ya go.

(Courtesy of Cathy Wilcox, one of Australia's National Treasures.)
posted by Pinback at 4:41 PM on January 17 [22 favorites]


For those who don't want to/can't get on twitter, the gist is that it's an inability to reckon with death. No matter how much power they amass it doesn't change their mortality, but rather than accept and understand that, they keep seeking something else to stave off death. The people lower on the social ladder ultimately pay the price for that fear.

This, and this is all pretty clearly related to ego and general insecurity. This is the yawning emotional hole, the void, the missing piece that people try to fill with power, greed, sex, alcohol, even love. Or sometimes the drive to reproduce, to "own" families like an achievement trophy. It really comes down to the simple conflicting fears of ego and self importance yet feeling and knowing they are insecure and insignificant.

Within this base fear are things like the struggles with one's own dark thoughts. Or deeds and actions. If there's a struggle with these kinds of morals or ethics or empathy at all. And from this, the projection that everyone else is surely awful as well.

It manifest in many ways, but power seems to be the most consuming and damaging of all, to be so fearful of everyone and everything that control and order must be exerted at all costs - even at the cost of never having an enjoyable life worth living at all, until only fear and control is left.

If you're well adjusted with your place in the cosmos, knowing and accepting that ultimately you are insignificant, that you're a gnat in the face of the vastness of space and time isn't terrifying at all. It's actually fairly comforting.
posted by loquacious at 4:42 PM on January 17 [29 favorites]


Ryan’s Strategy May Be Backfiring, Earning GOP Blame for a Government Shutdown (Ed Kilgore, NY Mag)
If the House passes a hard-line Trumpian immigration bill before sending the spending bill over to the Senate, the whole gambit of making Senate Democrats look like the ones being unreasonable on immigration policy could fall apart. But more importantly, House Republicans could themselves produce the government shutdown they’d like either to avoid or blame on Democrats. It’s just not at all clear Congress would have the time to start all over and produce a bipartisan stopgap spending bill by Friday.

Yet if Ryan caves to Meadows’s demand for a vote on what is essentially Trump’s immigration policy, he may be sabotaging any chance of a bipartisan immigration deal, which has to happen before the spending crisis is finally resolved (i.e., when the final stopgap bill expires next month). Today’s report that White House chief of staff John Kelly may be undercutting the president’s position in talks with congressional Democrats is not likely to put POTUS in a conciliatory mood on the subject.

Maybe Meadows is just playing chicken and doesn’t have the votes to force his will on Ryan. But if not, Ryan may have fatally miscalculated what it will take to buy off these difficult people and confront the Senate with a united House Republican caucus. In trying to “jam” Senate Democrats, he may have simply given Mark Meadows the opportunity to jam him.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:44 PM on January 17 [9 favorites]


Now volatility is our friend. The more chaos, the better! Entrepreneurship up. Optimism up. Good old American problem solving is back! You know who loves change? Capitalists. Mr. Trump has led us on that spiritual exodus.

'American problem solving' can be parsed at least two different ways.
posted by srboisvert at 4:47 PM on January 17 [8 favorites]


Budowsky: Mega-landslide for Dems? (The Hill)
It is now possible that in the 2018 midterm elections Democrats win a mega-landslide, take control of the House by larger than expected margins, take control of the Senate and win surprising upset victories in gubernatorial and state legislative elections.

In my view the odds of this mega-landslide Democratic victory, which would surpass in scope even the classic wave election and be comparable to the massive victory of Lyndon Johnson over Barry Goldwater in 1964, are about 30 percent.

With President Trump at stratospheric levels of national unpopularity, but fervently supported by a base that is small compared to the general electorate, Republicans face a political death trap. By pandering to the fervent but limited Trump base for primaries, they disastrously alienate and mobilize virtually everyone else against them for the general election.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:59 PM on January 17 [16 favorites]


Uh. Trump announced the fake news awards with a link to a page that says only "The site is temporarily offline, we are working to bring it back up. Please try back later."

Fake news on so many layers.
posted by zachlipton at 5:04 PM on January 17 [47 favorites]


Budowsky: Mega-landslide for Dems?

If this does happen, we need to remember the lesson of the squandered 60 seat veto proof majority of 2009 - Democrats will never do the right thing. Unless forced to. If we get another bite at a generational transformation, the next time I want more than a healthcare bill designed by the Heritage Foundation.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:05 PM on January 17 [39 favorites]


Uh. Trump announced the fake news awards with a link to a page that says only "The site is temporarily offline, we are working to bring it back up

this is so pathetic and sad and perfect and I love it
posted by lalex at 5:08 PM on January 17 [54 favorites]


squandered 60 seat veto proof majority of 2009

It wasn't 60 seats. Lieberman stabbed us in the back on the public option. Obamacare was literally the only thing we could get through with 60 votes.
posted by Talez at 5:10 PM on January 17 [57 favorites]


uh this is apparently the cached version. Spoiler alert: it's a fundraising poll.
posted by lalex at 5:11 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]


If it's a link to... new information of some kind, "news" I guess we could call it... and the link does not actually give you that information, as if it were incorrect or broken in some way... huh. Seems like we should have a phrase for something like this.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 5:17 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


I'm guessing the cached poll was the content they had up on that link before attempting to replace it with the "winners". I was honestly looking forward to seeing the picks in that grotesque way one "looks forward" to dumb things from the Trump administration.
posted by lalex at 5:19 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


When does the 49% get its own page?

In the heart of Anti-Trump Country, voters still pine for an America better than its president.

Some days I just love Philadelphia so much.
posted by ActionPopulated at 5:21 PM on January 17 [8 favorites]


If this does happen, we need to remember the lesson of the squandered 60 seat veto proof majority of 2009

if this does happen, the first piece of legislation passed better be the National Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism Establishment Act of 2019
posted by entropicamericana at 5:38 PM on January 17 [32 favorites]


Democrats will never do the right thing. Unless forced to.

A rank and file revolt of the party away from the entrenched money class squatting on top of it behaving like it’s 1982 forever would be a good move
posted by The Whelk at 5:41 PM on January 17 [30 favorites]


Sadly Trump really did go through with his Fake News Awards, though accompanied by the usual bumbling hiccups. Fox News picked up the slack & played their chosen role of Court Propagandist:

NYT's Paul Krugman Headlines Trump Fake News Awards.

So far it's just Paul & ABC's Brian Ross, though more are promised.
posted by scalefree at 5:45 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine apparently saw the fake news awards before the site went down.

The contents (as conveyed to me) follow:
2017 was a year of unrelenting bias, unfair news coverage, and even downright fake news. Studies have shown that over 90% of the media’s coverage of President Trump is negative.

Below are the winners of the 2017 Fake News Awards.

1. The New York Times’ Paul Krugman claimed on the day of President Trump’s historic, landslide victory that the economy would never recover.

2. ABC News' Brian Ross CHOKES and sends markets in a downward spiral with false report.

3. CNN FALSELY reported that candidate Donald Trump and his son Donald J. Trump, Jr. had access to hacked documents from WikiLeaks.

(via Fox News)

4. TIME FALSELY reported that President Trump removed a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Oval Office.

5. Washington Post FALSELY reported the President’s massive sold-out rally in Pensacola, Florida was empty. Dishonest reporter showed picture of empty arena HOURS before crowd started pouring in.
.@DaveWeigel @WashingtonPost put out a phony photo of an empty arena hours before I arrived @ the venue, w/ thousands of people outside, on their way in. Real photos now shown as I spoke. Packed house, many people unable to get in. Demand apology & retraction from FAKE NEWS WaPo! pic.twitter.com/XAblFGh1ob
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2017
6. CNN FALSELY edited a video to make it appear President Trump defiantly overfed fish during a visit with the Japanese prime minister. Japanese prime minister actually led the way with the feeding.

7. CNN FALSELY reported about Anthony Scaramucci’s meeting with a Russian, but retracted it due to a “significant breakdown in process.”

(via washingtonpost.com)

8. Newsweek FALSELY reported that Polish First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda did not shake President Trump’s hand.

9. CNN FALSELY reported that former FBI Director James Comey would dispute President Trump’s claim that he was told he is not under investigation.

10. The New York Times FALSELY claimed on the front page that the Trump administration had hidden a climate report.

(via WashingtonPost.com)

11. And last, but not least: "RUSSIA COLLUSION!" Russian collusion is perhaps the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people. THERE IS NO COLLUSION!
posted by The Situationist Room with Guy Debord at 5:45 PM on January 17 [7 favorites]


The executive branch attacking a free press like this (and in so many other ways) is really fucked up.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:49 PM on January 17 [94 favorites]


Like much of the time Stormy Daniels spent with Trump, that was certainly anti-climactic.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:51 PM on January 17 [14 favorites]


How on earth did I miss defiantlyoverfedfishgate?

But you have to admit, 90% negative press is a clear sign of bias. 10% bias, to be precise.
posted by uosuaq at 5:51 PM on January 17 [10 favorites]


The site still doesn't work (you know what real news has? websites that function), but it looks like there's not just a poll, but there's apparently a list of petty grievances such as whether he shook the Polish First Lady's hand or overfed Japanese fish.

But it's time for some real news from Matt Fuller, Congress Is Getting Close To Shutting Down The Government. Democrats have been coming out strong to say they won't vote for a CR. It's posturing, sure, and maybe I'm Lucy to the Democrats holding the football, but unless a real deal happens very soon, people do tend to stay in their postures.

Which is to say, maybe Trump should be worried about whether he's the President of a country with an operating government in 51 hours rather than the fake news awards.

We're also putting his hate for Haiti into policy now: Trump admin. moves to bar Haitians from agricultural, seasonal worker visas
The Trump administration is moving to prohibit people from Haiti — which the president allegedly insulted in a meeting last week — from applying for visas for seasonal and farm workers.

The Department of Homeland Security has given notice it plans to prohibit people from Haiti, as well as Belize and Samoa, ineligible to apply for H-2A and H-2B visas, which are temporary.

Those visas allow businesses to bring in workers from other countries. The H-2A visa is for agriculture and the H-2B is for non-agricultural seasonal work in places such as resorts.
Wait. Trump employs Haitians on H-2B visas at Mar-a-Lago.
posted by zachlipton at 5:54 PM on January 17 [30 favorites]


This is like a Festivus that never ends - continual airing of grievances, and while there is a lot of talk about feats of strength, they never seem to get going so that somebody can pin Trump and end this.
posted by nubs at 5:56 PM on January 17 [12 favorites]


It's posturing, sure, and maybe I'm Lucy to the Democrats holding the football
In this metaphor, you are Charlie Brown, the Democrats are Lucy, Trump is Snoopy, seeing himself as Joe Cool and a World War I flying ace at the same time, and we are all of us going AUUUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHHH!
posted by dannyboybell at 6:04 PM on January 17 [10 favorites]


The Trump administration is moving to prohibit people from Haiti — which the president allegedly insulted in a meeting last week — from applying for visas for seasonal and farm workers.

I was worried about something like this. If by some crazy dark horrible miracle all the undocumented immigrants, especially the farm workers were magically all deported at once, the effects on a lot of jobs and economies would be horrific. But if he just targets a few groups, he's pitting various groups of people against each other, because now it's easier for other immigrants to get these jobs.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 6:06 PM on January 17 [8 favorites]


It took him ten extra days to come up with just eleven mistakes made by all media over a whole year? That’s not even one for each month! Jesus wept.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:06 PM on January 17 [30 favorites]


Wait. Trump employs Haitians on H-2B visas at Mar-a-Lago.

I mean, this is the most outlandish speculation ever, obviously, but maybe Trump doesn't like Hatians and is more than happy to have them all gone from Mar-a-Lago and replaced with temporary workers he thinks have more "merit" based on, I don't know, some secret characteristic only Trump is smart enough to identify. Just a guess.
posted by The World Famous at 6:15 PM on January 17 [7 favorites]


if this does happen, the first piece of legislation passed better be the National Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism Establishment Act of 2019

I'd settle for a new Voting Right Act and national universal registration, but yes, basically this. Pass something big and popular, and designed specifically to entrench Democratic gains in perpetuity, immediately, and over Republican objections on a party line vote, with no debate allowed from Republicans, exactly like they have. It doesn't have to be Luxury Gay Space Communism at first, but it can't be Whatever Joe Manchin Wants, either. I want a party that does stuff, and uses its temporary advantage to secure more gains in the future. Play the same game as Republicans have been for 40 years.

But enough dreaming, we have to get through Friday first.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:26 PM on January 17 [14 favorites]


Kornhauser-Duda

It's sock puppets all the way down
posted by petebest at 6:30 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Covering Donald J. Trump—What it's like to be called “fake news” (~½ hour video, Deutsche Welle's Close Up for Jan. 15th, in English; by DW White House correspondent Alexandra von Nahmen)
Dude at a rally in Alabama where Steve Bannon is speaking: I'm so disheartened with our news today, I don't even watch the news.
AvN: But then you cannot know whether they do report the truth, when you do not watch them.
Dude: I do... I do get some news from, uh, different sources, without having to listen to... I don't want to get too far into it... I do, I do have news sources, I just don't watch the news on television.
AvN: So what are your news sources? Can you tell us?
Dude: I'd rather not.
AvN: Oh! Why, Is it a secret?
Dude: No, it's no secret... I just, uh, I have my own beliefs on where I do get my news. And I'll tell you, I do like Fox News.
Our face to the world, ladies and gentlemen! It's like a poorly scripted NPC encounter in a game.

She speaks to Alex Pfeiffer, last year White House correspondent for The Daily Caller, now evidently working for Fox News, his millenial credentials established by a shot of him with a fidget spinner:
I don't take his "fake news media" attacks that seriously. Trump, you really have to understand, he lives... cable news is where he gets his information. He doesn't read books... he skims through the newspaper, but he consumes cable news incessantly. I mean, cable news hosts have told me that Trump will call them after shows.

So, he's an insecure guy. Model wife, but he's still unhappy. The "fake news" lashes... he's just angry at a show. People unfairly compare him to an autocrat, to say that he wants to ruin press freedoms. What other president is calling up news reporters on the phone?
The last line made me immediately think of this tidbit about Margarita Simonyan, RT's editor-in-chief:
...on her desk sits an old yellow telephone, a government landline, the sort with no dial pad, the sort usually seen in the offices of senior Russian officials. It is her secure connection, she admits, directly to the Kremlin.
posted by XMLicious at 6:41 PM on January 17 [40 favorites]


Erik Wemple giving serious side-eye: Staffers at The Hill press management about the work of John Solomon
For months, reporters at the publication have whispered sour somethings among themselves about the trail of Solomon investigations that have appeared under The Hill’s banner. It veers rightward.

As this blog has noted, a Solomon-Spann collaboration in October on the Uranium One deal lit up conservative media, with the aid of a plume of smoke and a warehouse full of mirrors. It appears to make the argument that the Justice Department quasi-covered up an important criminal case by . . . issuing a press release.

The pockmarks carried over into the new year. In a Jan. 8 piece, Solomon wrote, “Republican-led House and Senate committees are investigating whether leaders of the Russia counterintelligence investigation had contacts with the news media that resulted in improper leaks, prompted in part by text messages among senior FBI officials mentioning specific reporters, news organizations and articles.” At the center of the piece are then-FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, the text-happy officials whose communications leaked last year. […]

Huffington Post’s Ryan J. Reilly and Nick Baumann grabbed Solomon’s piece, examined it and placed it neatly in the recycling bin.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:50 PM on January 17 [9 favorites]


2017 was a year of unrelenting bias, unfair news coverage, and even downright fake news. Studies have shown that over 90% of the media’s coverage of President Trump is negative.

Below are the winners of the 2017 Fake News Awards.


It's just great that the White House picks this particular moment in time to be dicking around like this on even vapider bullshit than usual rather than, you know, giving healthcare to sick babies or preventing DACA teens from being further traumatized or avoiding a govt. shutdown. As Jon Favreau said, "Very cool, very Presidential." Fantastic optics there, guys -- a PR firm's dream scenario, really.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:57 PM on January 17 [17 favorites]


I am legit side-eyeing the amount of engagement on this fake news bullshit. Seriously. A few media outlets looking at it aghast is reasonable. The president did a thing, it's a dumb thing, it'll get reported on. But I'm just... I don't even know how to describe my reaction to the sheer amount of people paying attention to this bullshit, but it's super negative. Even out of mockery, why would anyone give a fuck?

What the hell, America?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 7:13 PM on January 17 [19 favorites]




great that the White House picks this particular moment in time to be dicking around like this on even vapider bullshit than usual

Seems like a good place for your periodic reminder that nearly 40% of Puerto Rico is still without power and those with water still mostly have to boil it if they want to drink it. Millions of US citizens, utterly abandoned by their government. But by all means, Trump, please continue with your vapid crusade against people who are mean to you, and gee I sure hope we get to hear more about your hilarious hijinks with porn stars.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 7:16 PM on January 17 [89 favorites]


I am legit side-eyeing the amount of engagement on this fake news bullshit. Seriously. A few media outlets looking at it aghast is reasonable. The president did a thing, it's a dumb thing, it'll get reported on. But I'm just... I don't even know how to describe my reaction to the sheer amount of people paying attention to this bullshit, but it's super negative. Even out of mockery, why would anyone give a fuck?

The idea of the list was dumb and toxic but the execution is so breathtaking stupid it is terrifying. And I was already terrified. Now I am terrified squared.
posted by srboisvert at 7:29 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]


@TakeoutPodcast (Major Garrett, CBS's podcast): WH lawyer Ty Cobb tells the podcast he believes the Mueller investigation will wrap up in 4-6 weeks.

I've had contractors who operate on a similar basis when it comes to time estimates.
posted by zachlipton at 7:37 PM on January 17 [19 favorites]


Wasn't it supposed to wrap up by the end of the year 2017?
posted by Twain Device at 7:40 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


The hand-wringing over Trump's cholesterol is a complete non-starter. An LDL level of 143 is unremarkable, and under 100 would be superb (though statins help).

For comparison, Clinton's LDL at the end of his adminstration was 177, and Obama was at 125. Note that the ratio of HDL to total cholesterol is a better predictor of health. Bill (who had heart surgery a few years after leaving office) was on the low normal side, at 46. While Barack, the American Adonis, was rocking a superb 68.

Without a HDL level to compare, the only thing we can say is that Trump has a fairly high LDL level for someone on the drug he is on, but that the level is not in a clinically worrisome range.
posted by Panjandrum at 7:44 PM on January 17 [10 favorites]


It's the Trumpian reversal in conservative mythology: Hillary Clinton is perpetually about to be indicted whereas Trump is perpetually about to be exonerated.
posted by XMLicious at 7:45 PM on January 17 [22 favorites]




Is there a way for you to link it so I can read it? protected tweet thing is blocking me.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:59 PM on January 17


As Flow of Foreign Students Wanes, U.S. Universities Feel the Sting (Stephanie Saul for New York Times, Jan. 2, 2018)
Just as many universities believed that the financial wreckage left by the 2008 recession was behind them, campuses across the country have been forced to make new rounds of cuts, this time brought on, in large part, by a loss of international students.

Schools in the Midwest have been particularly hard hit — many of them non-flagship public universities that had come to rely heavily on tuition from foreign students, who generally pay more than in-state students.

The downturn follows a decade of explosive growth in foreign student enrollment, which now tops 1 million at United States colleges and educational training programs, and supplies $39 billion in revenue. International enrollment began to flatten in 2016, partly because of changing conditions abroad and the increasing lure of schools in Canada, Australia and other English-speaking countries.
...
Now that the revenue stream appears to be diminishing, the financial outlook may be dire enough to weigh down the bond ratings of some schools, making it more expensive for them to borrow money, according to Moody’s Investors Service. Last month, Moody’s changed its credit outlook for higher education to “negative” from “stable.”
It's not going to impact the "coastal elite" schools that are well known -- it'll hit the smaller schools harder, further impacting the job markets in the Midwest.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:07 PM on January 17 [32 favorites]


“I get exercise. I mean I walk, I this, I that,” Trump told Reuters. “I run over to a building next door. I get more exercise than people think.” Trump said that he also gets exercise on the golf course, even though he usually uses a golf cart to traverse the course because walking the entire course takes up time. “I don’t want to spend the time,” he said.

Reuters, January 2068: "At 121 years young, president-for-life Trump shared the secrets of his health and longevity. 'Nothing can destroy my corporeal form,' he told Reuters, injecting concentrated botulinum toxin into his calcified brain in demonstration. 'I will know neither sleep nor death until everything good and beloved is gone and forgotten and yet then I will still stagger through the empty streets and blowing dust of this planet. Also I mean I walk, I this, I that.' "
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:11 PM on January 17 [81 favorites]


I run over to a building next door.

Does he mean the West Wing?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:14 PM on January 17 [7 favorites]


Oh, how I hated in Phys Ed when we had to do 50 thises and 50 thats. Killed me every time.
posted by perhapses at 8:16 PM on January 17 [36 favorites]


Here's the Newspaper Guild letter in non-Twitter environs.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:16 PM on January 17 [4 favorites]


The downturn follows a decade of explosive growth in foreign student enrollment, which now tops 1 million at United States colleges and educational training programs, and supplies $39 billion in revenue. International enrollment began to flatten in 2016, partly because of changing conditions abroad and the increasing lure of schools in Canada, Australia and other English-speaking countries.

This is it in a nutshell. The US has always been extraordinarily hard to get into. A degree is no guarantee of being able to stay after studies. Even getting a masters or postdoc is no guarantee since you have to go through the H-1B visa system since the J-1 is long expired. It's like the US sets up every student we educated to fail and only through sheer sense of determination and willpower on behalf of the students do we get to keep them.

Australia, Canada, UK? They just spent years educating you. It's obvious that you have something to add to their country. Here's a good shot at getting Permanent Residency straight off the bat. No five year bullshit. No being stuck to a shitty employer who exploits you. You're immediately part of the community.

Who wouldn't rather go anywhere but the US? The only reason to even go to the US is graduate or postdoc work and even then you might be better off in Europe for some fields. It's like half the country likes to sabotage itself out of sheer spite.
posted by Talez at 8:18 PM on January 17 [61 favorites]


Not spite, racism.
posted by AFABulous at 8:24 PM on January 17 [24 favorites]


@TakeoutPodcast (Major Garrett, CBS's podcast): WH lawyer Ty Cobb tells the podcast he believes the Mueller investigation will wrap up in 4-6 weeks.

CNN: 3 More Months of the Mueller Investigation? Papadopoulos Filing Signals It's Likely
Robert Mueller's team of special prosecutors and the lawyers for George Papadopoulos delayed on Wednesday an upcoming check-in for the former Trump campaign staffer's case, an indication that the Mueller investigation will stay active until at least springtime and that Papadopoulos may continue to be useful to the prosecutors.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to investigators in October, agreed to cooperate with Mueller's team and awaits receiving his sentence. [...]

The lawyers in the case were scheduled to hold a phone call next Monday with the federal judge who will sentence Papadopoulos to discuss his status. But the two sides said in a court filing Wednesday they'd rather cancel it and discuss Papadopoulos' sentence three months from now. The deadline for the lawyers to update the court about Papadopoulos is April 23.[...]

In another sign that Mueller's investigation isn't close to wrapping up, Michael Flynn, the former National Security Adviser who also pleaded guilty in December to lying to investigators in the Mueller probe, doesn't have a date for his sentencing, either.
At this point, how much of Ty Cobb's job as legal counsel is devoted to reassuring his client everything will be over soon?

Furthermore, CBS's Steven Portnoy @stevenportnoy tantalizes additional sunshine from Cobb:
JUST IN: WH lawyer tells @CBSNews Trump is “very eager” to speak w/Muller in effort to bring Russia probe to an end.

“Active discussions” on an interview are underway, Ty Cobb tells @MajorCBS for @TakeoutPodcast.[...]

The parameters of such an exchange are still being discussed, but Cobb says Trump is “very eager” to speak with Mueller.
Wasn't this exactly where these negotiations stood a month ago?
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:27 PM on January 17 [5 favorites]


This is it in a nutshell. The US has always been extraordinarily hard to get into.

This was not the case in 1999, when we were rolling in folks on a B1 visa, for "meeting purposes" and rolling them out just as fast. From China and other places. Only managers could come on the L1 visas, for 2 years. But we sure had a lot of B1's in the late 1990's. That's a lot of meetings.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 8:35 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


3 More Months of the Mueller Investigation?

The Manafort trial got pushed to September, there's no chance the investigation wraps up before that's resolved, at the very earliest, assuming no more indictments at all, and somehow I doubt we've seen Mueller's end game strategy yet. If nothing else they've still got Kushner dead to rights on lying to the FBI and on his disclosures, and Don Jr. It's not close to over, and right now it looks like the most explosive part we know yet will be right in the middle of the midterm.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:55 PM on January 17 [8 favorites]


Strange Interlude: "We've already had a test run of this at the Congressional level that ended with resignation, no idea if that ideological spear will pierce Trump's hide any more deeply than various other appeals to supposedly fiercely-held conservative principles did in 2016."

FWIW, Tim Murphy was on the verge of being referred to the Ethics Committee over some extremely abusive behavior going on in his office. The mistress abortion thing definitely was the proximate cause, but he was already in some serious trouble.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:04 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


3 More Months of the Mueller Investigation? Papadopoulos Filing Signals It's Likely

As I understand it, what happens is, Trump will be meeting with Mueller in early February, and if Mueller doesn't find anything notable, the investigation may wrap up soon, but if Mueller happens to see Trump's shadow, that's a guaranteed three more months of investigation.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 9:21 PM on January 17 [73 favorites]


Why is it that racists who cry "chilling effects on free speech!" when they're rightfully called racists don't ever seem to have their speech chilled?
posted by tocts at 9:43 PM on January 17 [28 favorites]


Oral arguments today in front of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the state gerrymandering case, here's a good write-up from Buzzfeed. Justices seemed sympathetic to plaintiffs, but maybe not willing to totally rule out any partisanship in mapping.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:45 PM on January 17 [4 favorites]


From the POV of Congressional GOP leadership, the longer Mueller Muellers, the better. It’s the only credible Sword over the President’s head and the Damocles wielding it is plausibly someone else. I wouldn’t expect too much in the way of Congress helping the President smush it, Devin Nunes notwithstanding.
posted by notyou at 9:49 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


WH lawyer Ty Cobb tells the podcast he believes the Mueller investigation will wrap up in 4-6 weeks.

I am imagining a groundhog with his mustache. And it is amazing.
posted by ryanrs at 12:27 AM on January 18 [17 favorites]


Australia, Canada, UK? They just spent years educating you. It's obvious that you have something to add to their country. Here's a good shot at getting Permanent Residency straight off the bat. No five year bullshit. No being stuck to a shitty employer who exploits you. You're immediately part of the community.

Minor derail detail, but you can take the UK off that list. Years of Tory rule whittling away at what they perceive as "backdoor immigration" - remember May was Home Secretary before she became PM - and now Brexit have made the UK a pretty hostile place for new foreign graduates.

Probably 60% of students in my master's degree programme were from outside the UK, and of those there are only a handful who have managed to stay more than two years... not for the lack of sometimes even desperately trying.
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 1:43 AM on January 18 [8 favorites]


Yeah, the UK has gotten pretty hostile to foreign students. I've been here ten years, largely by virtue of stretching out my second postgrad degree program waaaaaayyyy longer than it should have taken, and it's been rough. Student visa time doesn't count towards residency requirements, and they've more or less completely eliminated the post-study work visa that let students look for permanent or long-term employment after they graduated.

I've now switched over to a limited-term work visa, and I've finally fulfilled the requirements for permanent residency on the basis of being here for a decade, which is great. The £4600 or so I have to come up with by 2020 for the residency applications for Mrs. Example and me...not so great.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:12 AM on January 18 [8 favorites]


One thing that's been mildly bugging me about the physical: the doctor's insistence that Trump wakes up every morning "reset," like he's being dressed by singing birds while the sun shines and everything is fine until the disaster du jour.

What person, in Trump's circumstances, would wake up ready to start the day with a smile on his or her face? The world, his own country, mocks him. The press is out to get him. The FBI is out to get him and his family. And today he's got to do whatever thing I'm sure he thinks is bullshit. Who would 'reset?'

I'm entrenched in a period of nostalgic Obama love, but even with him, I can't imagine him in these circumstances bounding out of bed with hope in his heart. I imagine him sneaking cigarettes and planning with Michelle how they were going to escape.
posted by angrycat at 4:50 AM on January 18 [29 favorites]


McClatchy: FBI investigating whether Russian money went to NRA to help Trump
The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency, two sources familiar with the matter have told McClatchy.

FBI counterintelligence investigators have focused on the activities of Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA, the sources said.

It is illegal to use foreign money to influence federal elections.

It’s unclear how long the Torshin inquiry has been ongoing, but the news comes as Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sweeping investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including whether the Kremlin colluded with Trump’s campaign, has been heating up. [...]

Disclosure of the Torshin investigation signals a new dimension in the 18-month-old FBI probe of Russia’s interference. McClatchy reported a year ago that a multi-agency U.S. law enforcement and counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s intervention, begun even before the start of the 2016 general election campaign, initially included a focus on whether the Kremlin secretly helped fund efforts to boost Trump, but little has been said about that possibility in recent months.

The extent to which the FBI has evidence of money flowing from Torshin to the NRA, or of the NRA’s participation in the transfer of funds, could not be learned.

However, the NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections, including $30 million to support Trump – triple what the group devoted to backing Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race. Most of that was money was spent by an arm of the NRA that is not required to disclose its donors.

Two people with close connections to the powerful gun lobby said its total election spending actually approached or exceeded $70 million. The reporting gap could be explained by the fact that independent groups are not required to reveal how much they spend on Internet ads or field operations, including get-out-the-vote efforts.
posted by chris24 at 5:19 AM on January 18 [81 favorites]


McClatchy: FBI investigating whether Russian money went to NRA to help Trump

Hahah holy SHITBALLS. What are the odds that Reince Priebus, the RNC, and the rest of the Republican leadership — Ryan, McConnel, various congresspeople — aren’t tied up in this or implicated with Russian money? I would have better chances of winning the lottery right?

The Party of Treason.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:36 AM on January 18 [87 favorites]


chris24: the NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections, including $30 million to support Trump

That seems counterproductive, especially if you look at gun sales under Obama. But maybe they wanted to start selling more guns to the left?
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:37 AM on January 18 [8 favorites]


chris24: McClatchy - FBI investigating whether Russian money went to NRA to help Trump

A reminder: Trump's buddy Sheriff Clarke was paid by a Russian national to go with an NRA delegation at exactly the same time as Gen. Flynn was paid to attend the infamous Russia Today event with Putin. It was ostensibly a gun advocacy trip, but he also tweeted about meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister.

This was December 2015, or six months after Trump announced his Presidential campaign.
posted by bluecore at 5:40 AM on January 18 [67 favorites]


WH lawyer tells @CBSNews Trump is “very eager” to speak w/Muller in effort to bring Russia probe to an end.

Pro tip for narcissistic billionaires: definitely, always be sure to indicate that you're trying to lead an investigation in a certain direction by abruptly switching course from resistance to eagerness. Or maybe you really are still resistant, and just want the investigators to think you're eager. By all means, run with this angle—they'll never see it coming. Either way, it's you setting the terms, not these pool boys playing badge-men. Just remember: nothing happens after the end of an investigation, so do what it takes to put it behind you pronto.

The more powerful the investigating agency, the more true this is!
posted by Rykey at 5:41 AM on January 18 [16 favorites]


That seems counterproductive, especially if you look at gun sales under Obama. But maybe they wanted to start selling more guns to the left?

There will always be another scary liberal president to drum up gun sales, but this election year was a crucial moment when it came to Supreme Court justices. And without a conservative majority ready to give the 2nd amendment an absurd reading, America will have a hard time remaining a gun filled paradise of mass shootings
posted by dis_integration at 5:49 AM on January 18 [26 favorites]


China is now viewed more positively in the world than the US. And we're just a few points above Russia.

Gallup: World's Approval of U.S. Leadership Drops to New Low
One year into Donald Trump's presidency, the image of U.S. leadership is weaker worldwide than it was under his two predecessors. Median approval of U.S. leadership across 134 countries and areas stands at a new low of 30%, according to a new Gallup report.

The most recent approval rating, based on Gallup World Poll surveys conducted between March and November last year, is down 18 percentage points from the 48% approval rating in the last year of President Barack Obama's administration, and is four points lower than the previous low of 34% in the last year of President George W. Bush's administration.

The recent drop in approval ratings is unrelated to the world's being less familiar with the new U.S. administration. The global median who do not have an opinion about U.S. leadership in 2017 (23%) is similar to the 25% in the last year of the Obama presidency.

Instead, disapproval of U.S. leadership increased almost as much as approval declined. The 43% median disapproval, up 15 points from the previous year, set a new record as well, not only for the U.S. but for any other major global power that Gallup has asked about in the past decade. [...]

The losses in U.S. leadership approval may have implications on U.S. influence abroad. With its stable approval rating of 41%, Germany has replaced the U.S. as the top-rated global power in the world. The U.S. is now on nearly even footing with China (31%) and barely more popular than Russia (27%) -- two countries that Trump sees as rivals seeking to "challenge American influence, values and wealth."

The present situation represents a marked change in the status quo since Obama's presidency, when the image of U.S. leadership remained relatively strong worldwide. In Obama's last year in office, for example, the U.S. led Germany by seven points, China by 17 points and Russia by 22 points.

The current rankings instead look more like a return to the status quo during the last year of the Bush administration -- with Germany on top, followed by China, the U.S. and then Russia -- except now, the U.S. has even more ground to make up.
posted by chris24 at 5:57 AM on January 18 [18 favorites]


So Germany ranks on top of everything. Didn't somebody once write a song about that?
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:05 AM on January 18 [17 favorites]


This may be the best five-word headline about 45 yet, and the most devastating application of a comma ever seen in peacestime.
posted by Devonian at 6:06 AM on January 18 [204 favorites]


WH lawyer tells @CBSNews Trump is “very eager” to speak w/Muller in effort to bring Russia probe to an end.

If I was Trump I would just plead the 5th to everything and tweet out that the 5th amendment protects the innocent and the guilty alike.

But I'm sure Trump thinks he's smarter than federal prosecutors.
posted by Talez at 6:06 AM on January 18 [1 favorite]


This may be the best five-word headline about 45 yet, and the most devastating application of a comma ever seen in peacestime.

Man, that's very close to being in the realm of "For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn."
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:13 AM on January 18 [15 favorites]


Update on Syria and Turkey:

Damascus warns Turkey against Afrin attack: Syrian state TV (Reuters)
“We warn the Turkish leadership that if they initiate combat operations in the Afrin area, that will be considered an act of aggression by the Turkish army,” deputy foreign minister Faisal Meqdad said in a statement carried by the state media.

“The Syrian air defenses have restored their full force and they are ready to destroy Turkish aviation targets in Syrian Arab Republic skies”...

The presence of any Turkish forces on Syrian lands is “totally rejected”, Meqdad added. He said that military action by Ankara would complicate its role as a party to diplomatic efforts and put it on “the same level as the terrorist groups”.
Tillerson says U.S. has no intention to build border force in Syria (Reuters)
“That entire situation has been misportrayed, misdescribed. Some people misspoke. We are not creating a border security force at all,” [Tillerson] said aboard his aircraft taking him back to Washington from Canada...

“I think it’s unfortunate that comments made by some left that impression. That is not what we’re doing.”
posted by nangar at 6:17 AM on January 18 [3 favorites]


The United Kingdom giving graduates the boots is, uhh, really dumb.
posted by Yowser at 6:25 AM on January 18 [4 favorites]


Jake Sherman: As we tiptoe toward a shutdown, a weird dynamic has started to become evident. Almost all Freedom Caucus members say they know a shutdown would strengthen Dems hands on immigration. Yet they continue to float non-starter proposal. they think the senate should blow up filibuster
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:30 AM on January 18


they think the senate should blow up filibuster

ha ha ha is that so the Dems can more comfortably pass everything they want once we retake the Senate in 2018? LIBERAL UTOPIA HERE WE COME
posted by lydhre at 6:34 AM on January 18 [8 favorites]


Nothing weird about it. Authoritarians who think that theirs is the only valid worldview support complete nullification of the opposition's ability to impede implementation of that worldview.
posted by delfin at 6:36 AM on January 18 [6 favorites]


>This may be the best five-word headline about 45 yet, and the most devastating application of a comma ever seen in peacestime.

And in the Chambana News-Gazette, of all places! They are not exactly known for being progressive. I'm pretty sure it was unintentional, but imagining that it was deliberate has made my day!

[Urbana itself is progressive, but the rest of east-central Illinois is less so, and there's a lot of tension between UIUC and the town. The News-Gazette tends to reflect the, uh, broader milieu.]
posted by Westringia F. at 6:36 AM on January 18 [3 favorites]


the increasing lure of schools in Canada, Australia and other English-speaking countries

University of Toronto has just dropped foreign tuition fees for graduate students. Canada is coming hard for your international talent.
posted by srboisvert at 6:40 AM on January 18 [66 favorites]


I should have added this:

Turkish chief of staff, intelligence chief head to Russia for Syria talks (Daily Sabah)
posted by nangar at 6:41 AM on January 18


if I made this many mistakes in one week, I'd be fired. Trump undermines GOP power move (while it's in progress) again.
posted by rc3spencer at 6:47 AM on January 18 [4 favorites]


Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh: John Robinson Block, the @PittsburghPG publisher who was behind the reprehensible editorial "Reason [as] Racism," will not allow this letter to the editor to appear in the newspaper. We offer it here.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:52 PM on January 17 [21 favorites +] [!]


Whoa! That editorial could have been written by David Duke. The hard evidence that Trump supporters are casual racists with no self awareness keeps piling up and they seem to be a vein of rot running through all levels of society. The mental twisting and bending that they go through to justify their beliefs is stunning both in its extent and in the willful blindness it entails.
posted by Mental Wimp at 6:54 AM on January 18 [12 favorites]


Bruce Rauner, governor of Illinois, was asked on MLK day if he thought David Duke was a racist, and refused to answer the question, in yet another own-goal. Somebody told him to always stick to his talking points, so he goes in and talks about taxes and the evils of unions and whatnot, and this is like the fourth time he's own-goaled in this fashion by refusing to answer a super-straightforward question. On Tuesday he finally said that, yep, David Duke was a racist, and now the story is all about how Rauner had to think about it for 24 hours before deciding the KKK was racist.

He's following the incredibly stupid Paul Ryan playbook where if you just refuse to talk about Trump or white supremacists or any of the other ugly bits in the GOP, and pivot to taxes over and over again, you won't end up "tied to Trump" but you won't have to alienate his base by disavowing him.

Instead his opponents are racking up some pretty great campaign ad fodder and now David Duke has a picture of Rauner giving a thumbs up with "David Duke is not a racist!" superimposed over it on his website.

(Even in the absence of Trump, I feel like Bruce Rauner, who legit went to Dartmouth and isn't stupid, is providing a super-great demonstration of how rich people (even if they made their own money!) are not, therefore, particularly smart or competent. It's honestly astonishing, even by the low standards of businessmen-entering-politics-on-a-whim, how incompetent he and his whole administration are.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:07 AM on January 18 [51 favorites]


The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency, two sources familiar with the matter have told McClatchy.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the Mueller investigation takes down the Trump organization, the GOP, and the NRA? A fella can dream...
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:24 AM on January 18 [55 favorites]


> "The United Kingdom giving graduates the boots is, uhh, really dumb."

Yes.

The current UK government's unceasing determination to shoot the country in the foot because that foot might contain immigrants is a source of anger and frustration for many of the sane people who live here.
posted by kyrademon at 7:24 AM on January 18 [42 favorites]


I’m watching all of this go on with the Mueller investigation, and as much as I want to see Trump get indicted, I actually feel like Pence is the bigger prize here. Takes away a backstop for them and makes it a lot harder for them to say “well, Trump’s gone, problem solved.” It’s hard to convince me that Ryan, Nunes, McConnell and a lot of others aren’t dirty as well and I’d like to see them have to squirm under questioning.
posted by azpenguin at 7:33 AM on January 18 [24 favorites]


On the CR + DACA fight, I feel like with good messaging (if this even gets to the Senate) Democrats can defend their vote against cloture. Republicans refuse to consider or make lucid arguments against including DACA? Then there's a debate still to be had, and that's what cloture votes are supposed to be for. It's not historically been the parliamentary trickery of denying passage of a vote without a supermajority, but denying the progression to a vote at all because a piece of legislation has not been adequately discussed. It'd be refreshing to have the Democrats remind us all what the underlying purpose of parliamentary procedure is and use it the way it's supposed to be used, not to kill a bill but to force relevant issues to the table.

If it doesn't get to the Senate, of course, then I don't see how a shutdown can be blamed on the Democrats at all. Republicans have complete control of the House and if they can't push their legislation through there then they have nobody to blame but themselves.
posted by jackbishop at 7:44 AM on January 18 [4 favorites]


and as much as I want to see Trump get indicted, I actually feel like Pence is the bigger prize here

It's far past time for everyone to come to terms with the fact that no matter what happens to Trump, we're going to have a GOP president until 2020. There is no constitutional remedy for this that is very likely. The only plausible scenario would be: Dems retake a house majority, elect a new Speaker, then impeach *both* Trump *and* Pence, making their Speaker President. And that scenario is basically science fiction. Indicting Trump & Co is about justice and the rule of law, not about political power, and anyway basically guarantees victories in 2018 and 2020 for the other side. But we're stuck in this GOP hellscape until then.
posted by dis_integration at 7:51 AM on January 18 [20 favorites]


dis_integration: To be crystal clear, by "other side" you mean Democrats, right?
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:54 AM on January 18 [1 favorite]


In another round of Local Elections Matter: Resolution aims to limit reach of ICE By Maddy Hayden for the Albuquerque Journal, January 17th, 2018
A newly introduced resolution aims to prohibit Albuquerque from allowing federal immigration agents inside nonpublic city property, including the Prisoner Transport Center.

City Councilors Pat Davis and Klarissa Peña introduced a resolution Wednesday that would ban U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from entering the properties without a warrant.

Under the previous mayoral administration, ICE agents had been afforded office space inside the Prisoner Transport Center and were allowed to check the immigration status of everyone arrested and detained by the Albuquerque Police Department at the center before they were transferred to the jail.

Another subsection of the resolution states that no city resources, including “moneys, equipment, personnel, or City facilities,” may be used to assist ICE agents. It clarifies a 2000 resolution prohibiting the use of city resources. That resolution, which is currently in place, did not include a definition of what it referred to as “municipal resources.”
...
The resolution also prohibits city agencies and employees from inquiring about or disclosing residents’ immigration status “except as required by law.”
...
Nancy Montaño, a policy analyst for Peña’s office, said the resolution will likely be voted on in March.
Albuquerque had a fairly liberal Republican Mayor, but now it has a decent Democrat in office, and the City Council swung majority Dem in the election, 5-4.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:55 AM on January 18 [29 favorites]


dis_integration: To be crystal clear, by "other side" you mean Democrats, right?

yes. i mean: if you impeach the pres from party X, it means victories for party Y.

posted by dis_integration at 7:59 AM on January 18


It’s hard to convince me that Ryan, Nunes, McConnell and a lot of others aren’t dirty as well and I’d like to see them have to squirm under questioning.

It wouldn't surprise me if the GOP has been actively courting Russian oligarch money to funnel through PACs for years now, and that totally independently of that the Trump camp did a hamfisted, idiotic quid pro quo campaign with Russians that now threatens to shine a light on everybody's Russian dalliances. It would explain a lot.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:02 AM on January 18 [64 favorites]


Tillerson Prints Out Trump’s Tweets to Help Set Foreign Policy

Meanwhile, among the actual foreign policy experts, McClatchy reports, morale disintegrates at State Department as diplomats wonder who will quit next to escape Trump: "State has been shedding diplomats rapidly; 60 percent of the State Departments’ top-ranking career diplomats have left and new applications to join the foreign service have fallen by half, according to recent data from the American Foreign Service Association, the professional organization of the U.S. diplomatic corps."

The department is shedding foreign service expertise while Tillerson is trying to read the tea leaves of Trump's tweets. The video of him relating this as an amusing anecdote to illustrate his management style is like "Yes, Minister" with all the humor drained away.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:04 AM on January 18 [31 favorites]


Mike Rounds [R-SD] says he'll vote against the Ryan/McConnell CR. They don't have the votes at this point.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:09 AM on January 18 [13 favorites]


Tillerson Prints Out Trump’s Tweets to Help Set Foreign Policy

The legislative version of this process for THIS DOOSIE is going to be . . . interesting.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:21 AM on January 18 [3 favorites]


It wouldn't surprise me if the GOP has been actively courting Russian oligarch money to funnel through PACs for years now, and that totally independently of that the Trump camp did a hamfisted, idiotic quid pro quo campaign with Russians that now threatens to shine a light on everybody's Russian dalliances. It would explain a lot.

It also explains why every time Muller makes headway, he ends up with another dozen investigations to pursue. For now, I'm just going to assume that everyone is dirty. But yeah, looks like Trump's opportunistic Russian conspiracy is going to blow the lid off the GOP's organized Russian conspiracy.

Tomorrow's "Grand Jury Friday", right?
posted by mikelieman at 8:24 AM on January 18 [16 favorites]


It wouldn't surprise me if the GOP has been actively courting Russian oligarch money to funnel through PACs for years now, and that totally independently of that the Trump camp did a hamfisted, idiotic quid pro quo campaign with Russians that now threatens to shine a light on everybody's Russian dalliances. It would explain a lot.

That is...a very interesting theory and doesn't feel that farfetched. I admit I have been really puzzling over what it could be that would be so, so devastating to reveal that demands such an impassioned coverup. It's hard to imagine anything with the potential to blow things wide open, but this would be pretty shocking and would also help explain why the GOP has so readily fallen in line.
posted by Miko at 8:27 AM on January 18 [32 favorites]


It wouldn't surprise me if the GOP has been actively courting Russian oligarch money to funnel through PACs for years...

The Dallas Morning News, hardly a liberal paper, has been doing good work on this.

August: GOP campaigns took $7.35 million from oligarch linked to Russia

December: How Putin's proxies helped funnel millions into GOP campaigns
posted by chris24 at 8:31 AM on January 18 [76 favorites]


Whether or not they've taken dirty or foreign money themselves, I think the GOP just really wants to take advantage of having full control over the government. They also got a perfect bump and set from McConnell in the last few years re judicial appointments and damn if they're going to waste the opportunity to spike now.
posted by Jpfed at 8:33 AM on January 18 [5 favorites]


Tony Schwartz, Guardian Op-Ed: I wrote The Art of the Deal with Trump. He's still a scared child
Trump is angrier and more self-absorbed than when I first knew him. We must not let his culture of fear stop us speaking out
...
Trump’s temperament and his habits have hardened with age. He was always cartoonish, but compared with the man for whom I wrote The Art of the Deal 30 years ago, he is significantly angrier today: more reactive, deceitful, distracted, vindictive, impulsive and, above all, self-absorbed – assuming the last is possible.
...
Fear is the hidden through-line in Trump’s life – fear of weakness, of inadequacy, of failure, of criticism and of insignificance. He has spent his life trying to outrun these fears by “winning” – as he puts it – and by redefining reality whenever the facts don’t serve the narrative he seeks to create. It hasn’t worked, but not for lack of effort.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:33 AM on January 18 [49 favorites]


Sam Bee interviews the working class.

Sadly, it takes a comedy show to actually do the media's job.
posted by Talez at 8:43 AM on January 18 [33 favorites]


Now see, what we've always been told about the GOP is that they're flush with cash from racist old white billionaires like the Kochs. Has Russia actually been propping them up for a while? Are they in hock up to their eyeballs to these guys?

That would definitely put a new twist on things. I had been thinking in terms of bribing Congressman A here, Congressman B there, and of course Trump's issues, but does the GOP as a whole have a big ol' Russian money problem?
posted by emjaybee at 8:47 AM on January 18 [24 favorites]


Trump tweeted earlier he was going to the PA special to campaign for the Republican. That’s a political trip, and it’s illegal for the government to pay for it. S. Sanders is now trying to clean up, claiming “The purpose of today's visit is to promote the President's successful agenda especially on taxes”. The Trump campaign or RNC owes us every dollar to fly him to PA today.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:49 AM on January 18 [65 favorites]


T.D.—cite, for the non-Twitterers?
posted by Rykey at 8:56 AM on January 18


T.D.—cite, for the non-Twitterers?

@realDonaldTrump
"Will be going to Pennsylvania today in order to give my total support to RICK SACCONE, running for Congress in a Special Election (March 13). Rick is a great guy. We need more Republicans to continue our already successful agenda!"
posted by bluecore at 9:03 AM on January 18 [11 favorites]


Oh my god. Legal mastermind Ty Cobb worries that if Mueller did interview Mr. Trump, it could be a perjury trap — that is, a situation in which his story does not match the evidence — something Cobb said "foolish" was not to consider. He is also quoted, talking about how Mueller's investigation will blow over in a few weeks, with the insightful analogy, "there's a big difference between a shooting star and a planet." Sir, planets are harmless, and a big enough shooting star could be the end of your client and all the other dinosaurs.
posted by mubba at 9:06 AM on January 18 [45 favorites]


A perjury trap, otherwise known as perjury?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:07 AM on January 18 [102 favorites]


planets are harmless, and a big enough shooting star could be the end of your client and all the other dinosaurs

Trump is Melancholia and we're all out in the horse barn.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:11 AM on January 18 [9 favorites]


A perjury trap, like where everyone knows that So-and-so is full of shit and Mueller can prove it, but So-and-so feels obligated to stick to his bullshit story? I think they call that “hoist by your own petard”.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:12 AM on January 18 [12 favorites]




Daniel Dale summed up the morning:
Trump tweets this morning:
- I’m going to PA to campaign for a Republican (White House: No he’s going to talk taxes)
- I don’t like this CHIP business (Paul Ryan: No he actually does)
- The Wall has always been the same (John Kelly: No)
- Mexico will pay for The Wall (Mexico: No)
We don't really have a President so much as a guy who randomly causes chaos in whatever topic is mentioned on cable news as everyone around him attempts to manipulate him into doing what they wanted all along.
posted by zachlipton at 9:18 AM on January 18 [101 favorites]


Speaking of things that need rewritten, WaPo wrote about Bannon's delay tactics:
The House Intelligence Committee has postponed a planned Thursday afternoon interview with Stephen K. Bannon, a former White House adviser and architect of President Trump’s campaign, after his lawyer protested the panel had not given them enough time to coordinate with the administration about what he could discuss.

I believe the word they could not come upon was: conspire.
posted by Dashy at 9:26 AM on January 18 [9 favorites]


Definitely not collude. No way, uh uh.
posted by ogooglebar at 9:30 AM on January 18 [4 favorites]


Profiles In Courage: Activists say Tom Cotton has issued do-not-call-or-write notice to some constituents
posted by Chrysostom at 9:45 AM on January 18 [38 favorites]


Cotton must've gotten tired of getting customized versions of that "I feel that you should know that some asshole has been signing your name to stupid letters" message.
posted by delfin at 9:50 AM on January 18 [9 favorites]


Okay, this seems like pretty basic checkers-level strategy, but isn't it a huge red flag for a lawyer to say publicly: "I cannot let you question my client because they will definitely perjure themselves."

Like, isn't that. It.. it seems just so incredibly bad I can barely comprehend it.
posted by odinsdream at 9:50 AM on January 18 [88 favorites]


A perjury trap, otherwise known as perjury?

A perjury trap is when you already know the answer to questions you're asking, so you're asking them just because you expect the person to lie.
posted by dis_integration at 9:51 AM on January 18 [15 favorites]


In the CBS article about Ty Cobb there is this interesting detail:
Bannon has made a deal to talk with the special counsel's office, after FBI agents visited Bannon's house to serve him with a grand jury subpoena. The deal means that he will not have to appear before the grand jury.

Combining Trump's stated interest in meeting with the Mueller team and the Tony Schwarz op-ed linked above, I get the notion that Trump really does want to meet with Mueller ASAP. I think he is stupid enough to think he really is a master salesman and negotiator, and liar, and that he can persuade Mueller nothing is there. Schwarz also mentions that he thinks he is the only one who can do stuff, implying that his staff and lawyers are not good enough at defending him.
posted by mumimor at 9:51 AM on January 18 [8 favorites]


What affect does Cotton think that will actually have? I'm not one of his constituents but that news certainly makes me want to pick up the phone and give his office a call. I'd LOVE to get a call from the Capitol Police about it and I can be pretty certain that if they caused me any trouble at all, I could at least get advice, if not outright representation, from the ACLU.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
posted by VTX at 9:52 AM on January 18 [35 favorites]


Oh god, by all means let him.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:53 AM on January 18 [4 favorites]


A perjury trap is when you already know the answer to questions you're asking, so you're asking them just because you expect the person to lie.

Probably, I would guess, because true answers would be incredibly incriminating.

Remember what Josh Marshall was saying since this whole scandal surfaced: Innocent or not, Trump and his people are sure acting like they have something nasty to hide. Now Trump's own lawyer has all but admitted as much.
posted by Gelatin at 9:54 AM on January 18 [8 favorites]


isn't it a huge red flag for a lawyer to say publicly: "I cannot let you question my client because they will definitely perjure themselves."

Indeed.. Our legal system really needs an "okay, fine, we just skip to the endgame now" option when things like this happen.

Defense: Our client can't testify because they will commit purjury.
Prosecution: Fine, they're guilty then?
Defense: Yes, fine.
Judge: So ordered. I pronounce the defendant guilty on all counts.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 9:56 AM on January 18 [33 favorites]


Trump tweets this morning:
- I’m going to PA to campaign for a Republican (White House: No he’s going to talk taxes)
- I don’t like this CHIP business (Paul Ryan: No he actually does)
- The Wall has always been the same (John Kelly: No)
- Mexico will pay for The Wall (Mexico: No)


The longer this stuff goes on, the more convinced I find the theory that Trump and/or the Russians have something on so many people in the RNC and Congress. Somebody linked a while back to Trump's threat to "take the Republican Party down with him" if they didn't back him as the nominee, and I think it's all rooted in the same thing.
posted by Rykey at 10:00 AM on January 18 [24 favorites]


I bet $20 that the Republicans are knee-deep in Russian money and that their RT-proxies like Fox News have been conducting Russian-influenced psychological warfare on the populace for decades. Why doesn’t anyone think it is wholly bizarre that a news station has been so entrenched with Republican politics for so long, and has consistently pushed the viewpoints of a foreign authoritarian government, at this point directly to the Republican President directly?
posted by gucci mane at 10:02 AM on January 18 [37 favorites]


The Senate voted to reauthorize FISA 702 on a 65-34 vote, because some days we're absolutely nowhere.
posted by zachlipton at 10:04 AM on January 18 [12 favorites]


Our legal system already has a specific protection for witnesses who are afraid to tell the truth because the truth will incriminate them. The President is welcome to avail himself of that protection.
posted by The World Famous at 10:06 AM on January 18 [11 favorites]




[Some stuff nixed; kind of a lot of idle chat and "I bet he'd say this" stuff this morning, please claw that back some.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:09 AM on January 18 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, the House Intelligence panel voted to release transcript from Fusion GPS Co-Founder Glenn Simpson's interview (CNN): "It's not clear how quickly the committee will release the transcript of the Simpson interview. The panel has previously released two interview transcripts as part of an agreement with the witnesses, and they were both published within three business days of the interview." Watch this space?
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:10 AM on January 18 [1 favorite]


Going by some superficial research, it seems "perjury traps" can be an actual legal no-no, if the questions asked have nothing to do with the investigation. For example, if Bob asked Donald about Stormy Daniels (assuming the affair has nothing to do with Russia, and knowing Donald would almost definitely lie about it), that could be a trap. Of course there's no reason to expect such a thing (as fun as it would be to watch the squirming).

So Mr. Long-Dead Center Fielder's claim about perjury traps is consistent with a frequent Trump talking point these days: that Mueller is going to go rogue, into off-topic territory. This (now very very questionable) assertion isn't about the sexual misdeeds (that's what the state-level civil suits are for!), but rather that Trump's business dealings are "obviously" unrelated to an investigation into foreign election influence, obstruction of justice, etc. (I'm reasonably confident that the Mueller team is keeping ironclad records of how one of those things naturally leads investigators to the other one.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:13 AM on January 18 [6 favorites]


These shithole countries are not sending their best

You've surely got to go some to be persona non grata in Hungary these days, right?
posted by Myeral at 10:15 AM on January 18 [1 favorite]


MSNBC: The Mueller effect: FARA filings soar in shadow of Manafort, Flynn probes
The data firm whose work for Donald Trump's campaign attracted the interest of Robert Mueller's investigators recently filed paperwork showing it had helped spread negative information about Qatar, the Gulf nation targeted by the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates in a bitter propaganda battle.

The parent company of Cambridge Analytica filed documents with the U.S. Justice Department's Foreign Agents Registration Unit disclosing $333,000 in payments by the UAE for a 2017 social media campaign linking the Qataris to terrorism. In June the Trump administration endorsed the aggressive Saudi and UAE stance against Qatar, and their decision to cut diplomatic ties.
...
The number of first-time filings like SCL Social Limited's rose 50 percent to 102 between 2016 and 2017, an NBC News analysis found. The number of supplemental filings, which include details about campaign donations, meetings and phone calls more than doubled from 618 to 1,244 last year as lobbyists scrambled to avoid the same fate as some of Trump's associates and their business partners.
...
The uptick, legal experts say, comes from a new awareness that a failure to disclose overseas political work could lead to federal charges.
The rise in filings is interesting in and of itself, and will probably bring to light some interesting connections once people have a chance to dig through them, but the intersection of UAE money flowing to companies associated with the Trump campaign -- and Trump's aggressive stance on Qatar -- is...potentially suggestive? There's also the Kushner's recent associations with the Saudi leadership to take note of.

On a related note, Jared Kushner still doesn't have a permanent security clearance:
It’s been one year since Jared Kushner, senior adviser and son-in-law to the president, assumed office, but he’s yet to receive full security clearance for his role in the White House.

The unprecedented delay in clearance represents a violation of security norms and suggests that Kushner continues to receive special treatment due to his relationship to President Donald Trump, according to legal experts familiar with the process.

The White House has maintained that the delay is “completely normal,” and that there is extra scrutiny for advisers like Kushner who need the highest level of clearance. A White House official said that the process can take around 300 days: it's now been 362.
posted by cjelli at 10:16 AM on January 18 [41 favorites]


A President of the United States? Asked questions, under oath, about prurient sexual misconduct with the intent of getting him to perjure himself? The hell you say.
posted by delfin at 10:16 AM on January 18 [144 favorites]


The White House has maintained that the delay is “completely normal,” and that there is extra scrutiny for advisers like Kushner who need the highest level of clearance. A White House official said that the process can take around 300 days: it's now been 362.

A position that's so sensitive, it can only be filled by someone without a permanent security clearance? Something, something, Emperor's New Clothes.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:23 AM on January 18 [9 favorites]


WTF Tom Cotton? So does that mean non-constituents can call & write all they want? Where does he think he gets the right to tell people he represents to not contact him? What a colossal ASSHOLE. I hope the ACLU gets all up in his face about it, as VTX suggests.
posted by yoga at 10:23 AM on January 18 [8 favorites]


Foreign Policy, Trump Ordered Bannon to Limit Testimony
President Donald Trump personally made the decision to curtail the testimony of former chief White House political strategist Steve Bannon before the House Intelligence Committee, according to two people with firsthand knowledge of the matter.

Trump acted to limit Bannon’s testimony based on legal advice provided by Uttam Dhillon, a deputy White House counsel, who concluded that the administration might have legitimate executive privilege claims to restrict testimony by Bannon and other current and former aides to the president, according to these same sources.

But Dhillon has also concluded that Bannon and other current and former Trump administration officials do not have legitimate claims to executive privilege when it comes to providing information or testimony to special counsel Robert Mueller, according to the sources. Mueller is investigating whether anyone associated with Trump colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Dhillon’s private and previously unreported legal advice to Trump could ultimately go against the president’s interest, however, by making it increasingly difficult for any administration official — or even a member of the president’s family who advises Trump — to refuse to provide information to Mueller.
I'll put this over here, with the rest of the obstruction.
posted by zachlipton at 10:33 AM on January 18 [55 favorites]


Profiles In Courage:

Another recent profile, CNN's Dana Bash interviewing Sen. Graham earlier today:
Dana Bash: Can you tell me what happenend in that meeting, in your own words?
Graham: No. I can tell you this --
Bash: Why not?
Graham: Well, because, I want to make sure that I can keep talking to the president. I told him what I thought, and that's more important to me than anything else.
Bash: So he did call those countries shithole countries. You can confirm that?
Graham: You can keep asking me that all day long and I'll tell you the same thing. Why don't you ask me if he's a racist.
Bash: That was my next question.
Graham: Why don't you ask it?
Bash: Is he a racist?
Graham: Absolutely not.
If you can't tell the public the truth of what Trump actually said for fear of Trump not talking to you again, I think that (a) kind of does confirm that Trump did actually say it, (b) is a quietly horrifying picture of an executive who literally cannot stand to hear people tell the truth when it might harm his public image, and (c) makes clear that Graham values his access to the executive branch greater than he does his obligation to speak truth to his constituents.
posted by cjelli at 10:33 AM on January 18 [123 favorites]


Going by some superficial research, it seems "perjury traps" can be an actual legal no-no, if the questions asked have nothing to do with the investigation. For example, if Bob asked Donald about Stormy Daniels (assuming the affair has nothing to do with Russia, and knowing Donald would almost definitely lie about it), that could be a trap.

Or if the Whitewater investigators asked about Bill Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
posted by Gelatin at 10:35 AM on January 18 [28 favorites]


Profiles In Courage: Activists say Tom Cotton has issued do-not-call-or-write notice to some constituents

Well, I live in Little Rock and it looks like I just got me a new life goal.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:39 AM on January 18 [143 favorites]


Graham's "I want to make sure that I can keep talking to the president" statement approaches the "so dishonest it's honest" category. Like I need someone to analyze his blinking for the HELP ME morse code. It's flabbergasting.

Yet he's not the only one who does it! It belongs on that "I'll stop calling Trump a toddler when..." Twitter thread.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:51 AM on January 18 [6 favorites]


> I told him what I thought, and that's more important to me than anything else.

To thine own self be true politically expedient according to the conditions that you are currently presented with.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:52 AM on January 18 [4 favorites]


Indeed.. Our legal system really needs an "okay, fine, we just skip to the endgame now" option when things like this happen.

That would basically mean there's no such thing as the 5th amendment. The whole point is that you can't infer guilt from invoking it. The burden is on the state to prove its case not imply through innuendo. The defendant is under no obligation to hang themselves.
posted by Talez at 10:53 AM on January 18 [27 favorites]


Indeed.. Our legal system really needs an "okay, fine, we just skip to the endgame now" option when things like this happen.

Defense: Our client can't testify because they will commit purjury.
Prosecution: Fine, they're guilty then?
Defense: Yes, fine.
Judge: So ordered. I pronounce the defendant guilty on all counts.


This has a name: Pleading Guilty
posted by ArgentCorvid at 11:15 AM on January 18 [12 favorites]


That would basically mean there's no such thing as the 5th amendment. The whole point is that you can't infer guilt from invoking it

Yeah, yeah, yeah, but surely you don't invoke it by saying "I'm remaining silent because anything I say would prove my guilt."
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:30 AM on January 18 [5 favorites]


Graham values his access to the executive branch greater than he does his obligation to speak truth to his constituents.

As quoted above: Power Over Honor.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 11:30 AM on January 18 [4 favorites]


Chuck Schumer on Twitter: There is a STILL bipartisan deal from Sens Durbin & Graham to protect Dreamers AND fund @POTUS’s full request for the WALL. @realDonaldTrump, it's time to take yes for an answer.

WHAT THE HELL, CHUCK. Why would you or any Democrat even humor him on that bullshit racist garbage wall? Why would you even dignify it? What the hell are you doing?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:40 AM on January 18 [80 favorites]


Yeah, yeah, yeah, but surely you don't invoke it by saying "I'm remaining silent because anything I say would prove my guilt."

It's the right not to self-incriminate. So "I invoke the right not to incriminate myself" seems a perfectly cromulent way to refuse to answer a question.

It's still weird to hear the President's own lawyer as much as admitting that he doesn't think he can stop the President from perjuring himself if he talks to Mueller, even if it's an attempt to cast Mueller as fishing for perjury.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:43 AM on January 18 [4 favorites]


If the government shuts down, Trump and the GOP will fully own it (Greg Sargent / WaPo)
If Democrats vote in insufficient numbers for the short-term funding bill, and the government shuts down, the culprit will be easy to identify. It will lie in the bottomless bad faith coming from President Trump, his hard-line anti-immigration advisers and some Republicans — and with Trump’s openly advertised racism and white nationalism.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:48 AM on January 18 [13 favorites]


Why would you or any Democrat even humor him on that bullshit racist garbage wall?

The great thing about toddlers is their short attention span and forgetfulness.

Trump bases all his decisions on whatever he heard last - it's not as though he could hold them accountable for lying.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:51 AM on January 18 [3 favorites]


Jamelle Bouie, Slate: Donald Trump’s Enduring PromiseReopening the wounds of racial grievance will be Donald Trump’s most lasting achievement.
The idea of the United States as a multiracial endeavor, where its citizens and residents possess equal status and dignity, is not settled. In a slave-holding country whose founding hardened racial hierarchy, the equal citizenship of blacks and other nonwhites is still contested terrain on which political battles are fought. And still looming large in our collective political identity is the belief that America is a white democracy, a “white man’s government,” where those deemed white hold a racial monopoly on status, resources, and opportunity.

In describing the formation of “whiteness” as a social position, historian David Roediger coined the term “herrenvolk republicanism” to describe the ideology constructed by white Americans in the wake of the Civil War and the aftermath of Reconstruction. Herrenvolk, which translates to “master race,” denotes the importance of racial hierarchy to the project at hand. Republicanism has less to do with the political party that shares the name, and more with a deep-rooted American ideology that elevates the independent producer—the farmer or the merchant—over those spurned as dependent, or worse, parasitic. It celebrated the middle of American society, and the preservation of that middle as integral to the maintenance of democracy. [...]

Trump fans those flames of racial anger. And to the extent that it has been successful, it’s in part because white racial entitlement is embedded in the nation’s practices and habits of mind, manifested in the persistence of school segregation and the reality of housing and workplace discrimination. Massive effort has ameliorated this in the past, and fewer Americans than ever hold on to these ideas. But they’re still present in our society, still potent, still capable of great damage. [...]

Resisters must challenge the herrenvolk-ism still present in American life by modeling and performing inclusion across all dimensions. This resistance goes beyond electoral politics and the immediate goal of removing Trump, or at least stopping his progress. Americans who have witnessed this first year of the Trump administration and responded with horror must understand that the challenge of defeating Trumpism is more fundamental than just one man and his party. It’s not restoration of a status quo ante but genuine progress.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:55 AM on January 18 [42 favorites]


If the government shuts down, Trump and the GOP will fully own it (Greg Sargent / WaPo)

Democrats are considering a federal shutdown, but it’s risky

!@#*(%$YH!@OIFHSDAKOLFHSALK BOSTON GLOBE
posted by Talez at 11:58 AM on January 18 [16 favorites]


The Durbin/Graham deal isn’t perfect (it sets Dreamers’ parents to be held hostage by the right again in a few years, for one thing, though that’s an improvement over their status now) but it’s not bad. And it’s a total non-starter with GOP leadership because the far right hates it and Trump swore at it, so he’s baiting with something that’s not happening. There’s some more money for border security, which Trump can spin as wall money and Dems can spin as security + we just saved DACA.

Schumer is posturing for the “who to blame for the shutdown” game and is conditioning Democratic votes to keep the government open on a deal for Dreamers.
posted by zachlipton at 12:02 PM on January 18 [24 favorites]


Democrats are considering a federal shutdown, but it’s risky

I'm assuming the risk is dependent on how soft the media is about it, and which party is more effective with their messaging.

I don't think Sargent's assertion is a foregone conclusion.
posted by rhizome at 12:03 PM on January 18 [7 favorites]


Something not being talked about is that a compromise bill would pass. Easily. But if Ryan allowed it to come up for a vote, the freedom caucus might start some shenanigans and end his time as Speaker. Thus Ryan needs to blame Trump but Trump avoids responsibility like the plague. So here we are.
posted by Glibpaxman at 12:04 PM on January 18 [7 favorites]


Yeah, yeah, yeah, but surely you don't invoke it by saying "I'm remaining silent because anything I say would prove my guilt."

You could, though you'd probably not want to phrase it that way.

I assume the Trump legal team is trying to avoid asserting it, since doing so could be deemed a stipulation that the President is not immune from criminal prosecution.
posted by The World Famous at 12:05 PM on January 18 [3 favorites]


Confirming what sounds reasonable: Immigrant-friendly policies make most whites feel welcomed, too -- Only Caucasian conservatives feel uncomfortable in a state that welcomes immigrants. (John Timmer for Ars Technica, Jan. 17, 2018)
Immigration policy in the US has grown increasingly contentious, seemingly pitting different communities and ideologies against each other. But a new study suggests that a large majority of Americans appreciate a welcoming policy toward immigrants. Only a specific minority—white conservatives—generally feels otherwise. And the effect isn't limited to policy, as it influenced whether citizens felt welcome in the place that they lived.

The research, performed by a collaboration of US-based researchers, focused on New Mexico and Arizona. These states have similar demographics but radically different policies toward immigrants. Arizona has state policies that encourage police to check the immigration status of people they encounter; controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio ended up in trouble with the court system in part due to how aggressively he pursued this program. New Mexico, by contrast, will provide state IDs and tuition benefits to immigrants regardless of their documentation status.
(Woot woot, New Mexico!)
It's not much of a surprise to see confirmation that policies that are hostile to a group make members of that group feel less welcome in their communities. In this case, the non-immigrant Hispanics surveyed shared a geographic origin and likely some culture with the people targeted, so it's not much of a surprise that they felt less welcome as well. It would be useful to perform a similar experiment in New York City or Northern California, where there are more diverse groups of immigrants, to see if these feelings crossed cultural boundaries.

But there was at least one case in this study where the feelings clearly did cross cultural boundaries: liberal Caucasians felt more at home in their communities if they felt the communities welcomed immigrants.

White conservatives, however, were unique in this study in that they were the only group who felt that an immigrant-friendly community was hostile to them. While that might not be a problem in the more homogeneous areas of the country, this group is a shrinking minority—which may both explain the response and suggest that it will become an increasing issue going forward. Finding a way to moderate this sense of hostility may thus be essential to keeping US society functional in the face of demographic change.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:11 PM on January 18 [43 favorites]


since doing so could be deemed a stipulation that the President is not immune from criminal prosecution

My understanding is that presidents can plead the Fifth because they're not immune after their term ends. Nixon needed pardoning because of that.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:11 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]


My understanding is that presidents can plead the Fifth because they're not immune after their term ends. Nixon needed pardoning because of that.

Yes, but I expect the Trump legal team to make a lot of immunity arguments that I (and the courts) will disagree with. Not giving an inch on this issue is something I expect, even if the inch they won't give has never been theirs to give or keep in the first place. Why plead the 5th unless and until absolutely necessary?
posted by The World Famous at 12:17 PM on January 18


(Sorry, I shouldn't have used that rhetorical question phrasing. It's annoying. If Trump can keep from being interrogated and from talking to law enforcement or testifying without taking the 5th, I would expect him to do that until he can't anymore.)
posted by The World Famous at 12:19 PM on January 18


How deep into the line of succession do you have to go before you hit somebody who won't pardon Trump the instant they hit the Oval Office?
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:24 PM on January 18 [3 favorites]


You can look up FARA filings online. Looks like John Ashcroft's legal team is representing Quatar. I'm sure it will be interesting to peruse these for old familiar names.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 12:25 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


Only a specific minority—white conservatives—generally feels otherwise. And the effect isn't limited to policy, as it influenced whether citizens felt welcome in the place that they lived.

It's a point that gets lost in the rhetoric about fruit pickers and chicken pluckers, but if you're a top engineer from India or a Heart Surgeon from Germany - why would you come to America?

It only takes one paperwork mistake for the ICE to show up, shoot your dog, imprison your wife and ship your kids back - assuming that sort of "Chain Migration" is even allowed in the next few months/years. If you're a professional, working with or in America looks less and less appealing every day.

The Republicans are absolutely playing calvinball with the people lives and livelihoods, and it doesn't just affect Mexican migrant farm workers. This is a going to have massive repercussions throughout all industries.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:26 PM on January 18 [70 favorites]


> "Yeah, yeah, yeah, but surely you don't invoke it by saying 'I'm remaining silent because anything I say would prove my guilt.'"
> "You could, though you'd probably not want to phrase it that way."

No, it's not just "you could, but you probably don't want to." This is literally exactly what the fifth amendment is for and how people invoke it, e.g. "I invoke my right under the Fifth Amendment not to answer, on the grounds I may incriminate myself." That's the WHOLE POINT.
posted by kyrademon at 12:32 PM on January 18 [5 favorites]


Has anyone else seen an uptick in "wedge trolling" ie divide and conquer topics in their local Facebook political groups? Prior examples are "I am a white person and a black person said something mean to me and what should I have said?" "Hillary took all our money and I don't see how anyone could have supported anyone who took all our money instead of Bernie." The trolls popped in right before local elections and other important events and sucked attention away. These examples are post-2016 election.

Right now it's "Chelsea Manning vs. Senator Cardin and how can you not support a trans woman against an old white guy!" There's a Glen Greenwald Intercept article out "Centrist Democrats Launch Smear Campaign Against Young Transgender Woman, All to Keep an Old, Straight, White Man in Power" (intentionally not linking, specifically not starting a discussion of that Senate race, sticking to discussion of trolling as divisive tactic).

I'm looking for articles with examples of Russian and Republican "wedge trolling" during the 2016 election to shut some of these trolled discussions down.
posted by jointhedance at 12:50 PM on January 18 [31 favorites]


Democrats are considering a federal shutdown, but it’s risky

I'm assuming the risk is dependent on how soft the media is about it, and which party is more effective with their messaging.


esp. given how the media is always looking to be fair and balanced, and that's before you get to the propagandists at fox news and further right...
posted by anem0ne at 12:53 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


Has anyone else seen an uptick in "wedge trolling" ie divide and conquer topics in their local Facebook political groups?

I'm pretty sure it was all in good faith, but one of my groups recently managed to divide itself pretty effectively over the issue of wearing the pink hats to the upcoming women's marches. Some of the articles that the anti-hat side were linking were really strange and made me wonder. (Not about the people pointing to the articles, but the provenance of the articles themselves.)
posted by diogenes at 1:03 PM on January 18 [6 favorites]


> "Yeah, yeah, yeah, but surely you don't invoke it by saying 'I'm remaining silent because anything I say would prove my guilt.'"
> "You could, though you'd probably not want to phrase it that way."

No, it's not just "you could, but you probably don't want to." This is literally exactly what the fifth amendment is for and how people invoke it, e.g. "I invoke my right under the Fifth Amendment not to answer, on the grounds I may incriminate myself." That's the WHOLE POINT.


I agree. I was pointing out that the phrasing "because anything I say would prove my guilt" is not a great idea unless you're actually trying to confess by way of your invocation of the protection.

But you edited that phrasing to "on the grounds that I may incriminate myself," which is a much better idea than the meaningfully different phrasing to which I objected.
posted by The World Famous at 1:06 PM on January 18


Only a specific minority—white conservatives—generally feels otherwise. And the effect isn't limited to policy, as it influenced whether citizens felt welcome in the place that they lived.

It's a point that gets lost in the rhetoric about fruit pickers and chicken pluckers, but if you're a top engineer from India or a Heart Surgeon from Germany - why would you come to America?

It only takes one paperwork mistake for the ICE to show up, shoot your dog, imprison your wife and ship your kids back - assuming that sort of "Chain Migration" is even allowed in the next few months/years. If you're a professional, working with or in America looks less and less appealing every day.

The Republicans are absolutely playing calvinball with the people lives and livelihoods, and it doesn't just affect Mexican migrant farm workers. This is a going to have massive repercussions throughout all industries.


A democratic congress and administration can reverse these policies and create legislative fixes. But that's not much reassurance, because the net effect of the Trump regime is that the message is loud and clear throughout the world - America is not a nation you can trust. What good is it working with America when you know the next administration can just flip things around on a whim. Immigration policies, trade policies, defense alliances, etc. So these policies can indeed have massive repercussions across the entire American economy, but it's not going to be as simple as fixing the damage Trump & cabal have done. America's reputation will take decades to fix.
posted by azpenguin at 1:06 PM on January 18 [21 favorites]


diogenes, are you in Maine? The Maine FB group just had a very similar blow out about pink hats. The only thing keeping me from flagging it as spam was that one of the anti-pink-hat posters is a very active Trans rights activist here in the State. It was so very frustrating to see people basically screaming at each other over hats.
posted by anastasiav at 1:07 PM on January 18 [7 favorites]


I'm looking for articles with examples of Russian and Republican "wedge trolling" during the 2016 election to shut some of these trolled discussions down.

Where does Diane Rehm accusing Bernie Sanders of having Israeli citizenship fall into it? Was it malicious or was it her falling for fake news when she should have known better?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 1:12 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]


Where does Diane Rehm accusing Bernie Sanders of having Israeli citizenship fall into it? Was it malicious or was it her falling for fake news when she should have known better?

wait what? I missed that one- what was the context for that?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:16 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


This. Rehm' pretty politically left, and it came from a Facebook comment. And well, now what we know about Facebook during the election...
posted by fluttering hellfire at 1:19 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


Also this got covered in an election thread from 2015.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 1:20 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]




diogenes, are you in Maine? The Maine FB group just had a very similar blow out about pink hats. The only thing keeping me from flagging it as spam was that one of the anti-pink-hat posters is a very active Trans rights activist here in the State. It was so very frustrating to see people basically screaming at each other over hats.

Did the known real person start the blow out, or did they pick up someone else's kindling? Around here I'm seeing firestarter accounts that are very good at posing an inflammatory and divisive question and then feeding the flames whenever they look like they're dying down. Two days before the election, 300+ comment thread on DNC donation management, 10+ comment thread on GOTV.
posted by jointhedance at 1:23 PM on January 18 [9 favorites]


Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS): "...it appears the Russians, you know, infiltrated the NRA..."
posted by PenDevil at 1:27 PM on January 18 [39 favorites]


Legal mastermind Ty Cobb worries that if Mueller did interview Mr. Trump, it could be a perjury trap — that is, a situation in which his story does not match the evidence — something Cobb said "foolish" was not to consider.

A perjury trap, otherwise known as perjury?

A perjury trap, like where everyone knows that So-and-so is full of shit and Mueller can prove it, but So-and-so feels obligated to stick to his bullshit story? I think they call that “hoist by your own petard”.




OMG I literally LOLed when I read that. A "perjury trap", jeezus. It's like saying, "I won't go to a bank, because it could be an armed robbery trap. It would be foolish not to consider that I might find myself robbing the place."
posted by darkstar at 1:28 PM on January 18 [18 favorites]


Schadenfreude Dept:
Meet Chris Christie, former New Jersey governor and current nobody at Newark Liberty International Airport.

The two-term Republican, who left office on Jan. 16, was blocked from a VIP entrance he had used for eight years, and directed to stand in Transportation Security Administration screening lines at Terminal B like anyone else, according to a person familiar with the incident.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:28 PM on January 18 [135 favorites]


re: the hats: isn't there a valid discussion going on about it though?

for instance or this?
posted by anem0ne at 1:29 PM on January 18


Also this got covered in an election thread from 2015.

It was, but in a facepalm way. We didn't know at the time that Facebook was infiltrated with people posting things like this at the behest of a foreign government.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 1:30 PM on January 18 [4 favorites]


I can't think of any discussion about pink hats more important than literally everything else happening in the world. It's time for me to stop reserving my bandwidth for mindless infighting.
posted by Donald Trump Sex Nightmare at 1:32 PM on January 18 [5 favorites]


For example, if Bob asked Donald about Stormy Daniels (assuming the affair has nothing to do with Russia, and knowing Donald would almost definitely lie about it), that could be a trap.

Kenneth Starr *something, something* Monica Lewinski *something, something* impeachment...
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:37 PM on January 18 [6 favorites]


I'd be highly suspicious of divisive infighting like that happening on Facebook, even if it seems to be coming from "real" people. The disinformation campaigns being waged on social media are very sophisticated in flying under the radar of how most people engage with social media (i.e., not with a skeptical or investigative eye). You can find yourself looking at something that seems to be posted by a real account, but quickly figure out that all their photos are stolen from some other real account, they have no connections that make logical sense, and the thing they're posting is part of a widespread mostly-automated effort. It's ... really bad.
posted by odinsdream at 1:38 PM on January 18 [24 favorites]


Shutdown Threat Looms: Senate Dems Stiffen Spines, House In Chaos (Cameron Joseph | TPM)

This story was updated at 4:15 p.m to include new developments in the House. Alice Ollstein contributed.

“The threat of a government shutdown seems to be growing by the minute — and Republicans are bracing to get blamed if it happens.”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:41 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]


Also in that Fusion GPS transcript: Fusion GPS: Kremlin ‘Purge’ Followed Trump Dossier Release
Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of opposition research firm Fusion GPS, told Congress in November that the Russian government appeared to “purge” people after his firm’s research on President Trump’s alleged Kremlin connections became public.

The Kremlin used the publication of his firm’s dossier—which contains salacious and unsubstantiated allegations about Trump—as a pretext for a spate of arrests and killings, Simpson said.

He also said some of those people who were purged may have been sources for the American intelligence community.
On the shutdown watch, here's the best summary of where we're at. @scottwongDC: Thursday: The House Freedom Caucus and Senate Democrats are competing to shut down the federal government

Trump is currently trying to talk to the Freedom Caucus, I'm not really sure how that helps but ok, but the Senate situation is also primed for a shutdown: they currently need 14 Democratic votes to keep the government open (without McCain, who is out, and Graham, Rand, Rounds, and Lee all say they are nos).
posted by zachlipton at 1:42 PM on January 18 [11 favorites]


Where we are with the CR/shutdown-

Jon Lovett: The Republican leadership wants Republican votes but doesn't have them and has Democratic votes but doesn't want them.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:42 PM on January 18 [46 favorites]


Meet Chris Christie, former New Jersey governor and current nobody at Newark Liberty International Airport.

Christie was shipping up to Boston to meet with executives at DraftKings, the online fantasy-sports concern.
posted by adamg at 1:42 PM on January 18 [5 favorites]


OMG I literally LOLed when I read that. A "perjury trap", jeezus. It's like saying, "I won't go to a bank, because it could be an armed robbery trap. It would be foolish not to consider that I might find myself robbing the place."

Yeah, a perjury trap is definitely a thing that someone might talk about when discussing a prosecutor's interviews with potential liars, but the subject's own defense attorney probably shouldn't be bringing it up.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:46 PM on January 18 [19 favorites]


Shutdown Threat Looms: Senate Dems Stiffen Spines, House In Chaos

Please, universe, pretty pretty please, drop a cartoon piano or anvil onto the next one of these fuckers who refers to Democrats in a headline about the (possible) shutdown.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:47 PM on January 18 [9 favorites]




Welp, that does it, it's gonna shut down for sure.
posted by odinsdream at 1:55 PM on January 18 [48 favorites]


Well this should fix it: SCOOP: TRUMP called into the @FreedomCaucus meeting and is directly negotiating a deal on CR to avert a government shutdown, two sources say

If it's from two sources, does that make it...two scoops?

sorry

I can't imagine this actually helps averts a shutdown, in that Trump keeps seeming to not get that they need a bill that can get everyone on board, and that conceding to the Freedom Caucus may actually cost him votes elsewhere. And in that his own position and influence currently seem unclear.
posted by cjelli at 1:58 PM on January 18 [8 favorites]


Oh my goodness the hats thing, I thought I was taking crazy pills. I'm so glad to see other people saying that's the non-issue I thought it was.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:58 PM on January 18 [10 favorites]


Trump did not, in fact, fix it.

@scottwongDC: MEADOWS says no deal after talking to TRUMP. He and Jordan heading to meet with Speaker now.

Where "now" apparently means after "I'm done talking to CNN."
posted by zachlipton at 1:59 PM on January 18 [18 favorites]


It wouldn't surprise me if the GOP has been actively courting Russian oligarch money to funnel through PACs for years now

Remember the Republican outrage about the IRS scrutinizing tax-exempt groups? That's what this is all about. It has long been a principle of American politics that you can't fund political campaigns anonymously. Even after the Citizens United Supreme Court decision to allow unlimited donations, they still cannot be anonymous. Donations have to be in the public record.

To get around this, Republicans have set up tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups, which are supposed to be for social welfare, and the law forbids them from having political campaigning as their primary purpose. The reason for this political limitation is that a 501(c)(4) allows anonymous donations. So Republicans have been using 501(c)(4) groups to collect anonymous donations, which they then transfer to political PACs as a way of laundering anonymous money. So the argument about illegal 501(c)(4)s wasn't about the tax exemption. These organizations don't have any profits to tax anyway. It is about illegal anonymous political donations.

So during elections, the IRS gave extra scrutiny to groups that call themselves, for example, The Tea Party of Wisconsin, because it was pretty obvious that this was an illegal 501(c)(4) organization whose primary purpose was electioneering.

The NRA also has a 501(c)(4) entity. The implication here is that Russians could give millions of dollars to the NRA anonymously and then the NRA could spend those illegal millions on the election by transferring them to a PAC. The original donors remained anonymous.

Remember this we you hear Republicans talking about the "unfair" IRS scrutiny of 501(c)(4) organizations during the Obama administration. It's all about illegal anonymous political money.
posted by JackFlash at 2:02 PM on January 18 [162 favorites]


From what we've seen, Trump negotiating a deal is just Trump agreeing with whomever he's speaking with at the moment and telling him he'll give them whatever they want. He doesn't seem to realize that his role is supposed to be as a mediator for multiple disagreeing parties, and not just trying to get agreement between himself and someone else.
posted by The World Famous at 2:04 PM on January 18 [13 favorites]


Christie was shipping up to Boston to meet with executives at DraftKings, the online fantasy-sports concern.

Christie was the governor of New Jersey, a state divided equally between fervent NY Giants and Philadelphia Eagles fans. He chose to suck up to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. If you're not a football fan, Dallas is the most hated rival of both teams and in the same division as both, so they play twice every year.

Fuck that asshole, and good luck if he thinks he's getting any traction with sports fans. That move was more craven than even his kowtowing to Trump.
posted by msalt at 2:04 PM on January 18 [13 favorites]


I wouldn't be shocked if Trump actually did "fix" it, if by "fix" we mean "push Republicans into some awful self-inflicted wound because they're still afraid of him calling them out by name on Twitter."

It's a little hard for me to see this actually coming to a shutdown. I'll be shocked if the Freedom Caucus doesn't cave at the last minute. But they're making all the other Republicans miserable for a couple days, so that part is nice.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:06 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]


yeah but NJ did legalize online gaming during his term, so if its less about fandom and more about the bottom line maybe his is your guy>
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:07 PM on January 18 [3 favorites]


Mother Jones has a Stormy Daniels story, and I won't even put the headline in here (and I'll warn you that even the URL, if you mouse over it, contains salacious details). The important part is that there are emails between two political consultants from Daniels' 2009 Senate campaign confirming Daniels had a relationship with Trump (and, non-sexually, I hope, Trump's affinity for Shark Week), despite the continued denials from Trump's team. As Mother Jones puts it:
But Cohen did not address the alleged $130,000 payout—a claim especially serious because it raises the issue of whether the president could be blackmailed or influenced by someone who possessed information about any untoward personal behavior he might have engaged in.
I realize many people do not care if he had a consensual affair. That's fine. I do care that someone who has been repeatedly accused of sexual assault, who brags on tape about committing sexual assault, who has been accused of blackmail by a foreign power, and who has access to the nation's most secret information, is paying hush money to cover up past acts and lying about it.
posted by zachlipton at 2:08 PM on January 18 [79 favorites]


I won't even put the headline in here (and I'll warn you that even the URL, if you mouse over it, contains salacious details)

I am weak and moused over the URL, and my lack of god—I am now thinking about getting rid of my internet connection forever.
posted by theredpen at 2:14 PM on January 18 [19 favorites]


Eh old fat guys have fetishes too. I don't get the faux horror at hearing details of Trump's sex life. He paid six figures to cover it up, we ought to at least get some amusement out of it.
posted by sotonohito at 2:18 PM on January 18 [19 favorites]


Wow. @ZoeTillman: BREAKING: The US attorney's office in DC is dismissing charges against all but 59 of the 188 defendants still facing charges in the Inauguration Day rioting cases. More soon. Filing
posted by zachlipton at 2:20 PM on January 18 [46 favorites]


Christie should be in jail ... in the form of a car perpetually stuck in traffic trying to get to the George Washington bridge. Complete with people honking at him and everything.
posted by Dashy at 2:21 PM on January 18 [16 favorites]


Fake account articles from HuffPo, NYT, Daily Kos. Not honed quite right, still looking for articles describing current firestarter wedge accounts. The "if you don't support Chelsea Manning you're transphobic" firestarter just popped up again in a local Facebook group. No pink hat argument here yet.
posted by jointhedance at 2:22 PM on January 18 [4 favorites]


Mousing over that URL gave me the first big belly laugh of the day!
posted by inexorably_forward at 2:22 PM on January 18 [7 favorites]


Re: Daniels, I read several major news outlets' stories today that they spiked the story in 2016 because they couldn't verify details.

That was the same week as pizzagate, am I right?
posted by Dashy at 2:23 PM on January 18 [7 favorites]


still looking for articles describing current firestarter wedge accounts.

Missouri's senate primary isn't until August, and only one person has declared against Claire. I'll look out for any weirdness involving this race.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 2:26 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


CNN reports Feinstein is wavering in her opposition to a CR that doesn't include the Dream Act. I called her office and they say all they know is that she released the original statement saying she wouldn't vote for it, they hadn't heard about the interview comments from this afternoon.
posted by contraption at 2:28 PM on January 18 [3 favorites]


The "if you don't support Chelsea Manning you're transphobic" firestarter just popped up again in a local Facebook group.

If you needed any more evidence of outside influence on this, our buddy Greenwald's gone all in on this.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:34 PM on January 18 [29 favorites]


I think the problem with Trump's sex life is the performative heterosexuality. He may well be heterosexual, but the way he needs to be very explicit about it makes him appear insecure and bigoted, and IMO very ugly.

When it comes to leaders, of any kind, insecurity is dangerous. It's more dangerous when you don't acknowledge it. A good leader might say: I'm unaccustomed with Catholicism but I have staff who can advise me about it. A bad leader will say I have the best wife and the biggest dick.
posted by mumimor at 2:47 PM on January 18 [17 favorites]


CNN reports Feinstein is wavering in her opposition to a CR that doesn't include the Dream Act.

I can confirm that a live human being at her DC office just told my mom (a constituent) that she is "holding firm on DACA."

The only part of CNN's reporting that really contravenes this (despite the implication that she would like to avoid a shutdown, even if it meant throwing Dreamers under the bus) is this line: Feinstein said she had not made her mind up about whether to vote for the measure.

Either CNN is wrong/out of date, or her constituent services people are lying to callers about whether she has a position/what that position is.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:47 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


Politico, Eliana Johnson and Burgess Everett, How Trump's TV habits raised the risk of a shutdown, in which the President watching Fox & Friends this morning seems to have screwed everything up.

Meadows now says he's reached some kind of deal with Ryan involving military funding in the future and will encourage his caucus to vote yes on a CR (essentially, an offer to cave in exchange for legislation to be named later). If that actually happens and it passes the House, that puts all the pressure on the Senate, where there also aren't enough votes to keep the government open, at least right now. If it went down in the House, it would be easier to blame Republicans for failing to deliver a majority out of their members, but it's worth nothing that, no matter how much they'll whine about the filibuster, McConnell doesn't even have 50 Republican votes for a CR in the Senate.

I do firmly believe Democrats should hold the line and not vote for a CR unless there's a deal for Dreamers. There aren't a lot of places where we have leverage to undo Trump's damage, but this is one of those times, and we should take advantage of it.

That said, I don't want to be flippant about it. It pales in comparison to causing chaos for millions of government workers (who have no assurance Congress will authorize back pay, though they have have done so in the past) and people who rely on government services, but I don't entirely want to discount the emotional cost to a shutdown. Congress runs an approval rating on the order of 15% and has done so for years. Our legislative branch, as an institution, is a punchline, so pathetic it can't manage to do three things with overwhelming bipartisan popular support: keep the government open; provide health insurance to children; and not deport Dreamers.

I want to win, and withholding votes for a CR that doesn't protect vulnerable people is, again, the right move, but I'd also like Congress to not be a sick joke, and a shutdown moves us in the wrong direction on that. I know, it's not a "both sides" problem, and there's no sense in putting virtues nobody cares about ahead of actual people who need help, but I just wish for a moment the fight was about who to thank for solving problems rather than who to blame for causing them.
posted by zachlipton at 2:59 PM on January 18 [12 favorites]


@costareports: At the Cap as night falls. Pizza boxes being delivered to House GOP leadership, aides rushing by. Hard-liners sending me furious text messages. A shutdown looms. Feels strangely familiar... #2013
posted by zabuni at 3:01 PM on January 18 [4 favorites]


I can confirm that a live human being at her DC office just told my mom (a constituent) that she is "holding firm on DACA."
...
Either CNN is wrong/out of date, or her constituent services people are lying to callers

The live person I spoke with told me (also a constituent) something similar, then when I specifically asked about the interview cited by CNN they said they weren't aware of it.

The CNN article mentions the statement from this morning, and also says that Feinstein was asked about it specifically before reiterating that she still wasn't sure how she was going to vote. Clearly there is some confusion within the ranks, and hopefully it's just a matter of the Senator trying to maintain her bullshit "moderate" poker face without remembering that her organization had decided to release the statement already.
posted by contraption at 3:04 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]


WSJ, Joe Palazzolo and Michael Rothfeld, Trump Lawyer Used Private Company, Pseudonyms to Pay Porn Star ‘Stormy Daniels’
President Donald Trump’s lawyer used a private Delaware company to pay a former adult-film star $130,000 in return for her agreeing to not publicly discuss an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, according to corporate records and people familiar with the matter.

The lawyer, Michael Cohen, established Essential Consultants LLC, on Oct. 17, 2016, just before the 2016 presidential election, corporate documents show. Mr. Cohen, who is based in New York, then used a bank account linked to the entity to send the payment to the client-trust account of a lawyer representing the woman, Stephanie Clifford, one of the people said.
posted by zachlipton at 3:05 PM on January 18 [25 favorites]


Also Counterpunch 1/16/18: "Why Senator Cardin is a Fitting Opponent for Chelsea Manning"
Summary: Senator Cardin is too mean to the Russians
(again intentionally not linking)

How does Counterpunch pay its bills?
posted by jointhedance at 3:14 PM on January 18 [8 favorites]


129 of the DisruptJ20 protesters have finally had charges dropped by the DC US Attorney's Office, so now only 59 people are looking at multiple felony charges for being in the vicinity of a minuscule trash fire. It's not enough, but it's at least a little heartening to see the momentum shifting on the case between this and the not guilty verdicts in the first trial.
posted by Copronymus at 3:20 PM on January 18 [10 favorites]


@srl: Breaking News: U.S. Supreme Court grants stay in NC partisan gerrymandering case, meaning that it will not have to redraw Congressional map ahead of 2018 election for now
posted by zachlipton at 3:28 PM on January 18 [9 favorites]


You'd think they'd want to redraw the maps so that they don't get wiped out in the wave.
posted by Talez at 3:31 PM on January 18 [14 favorites]


I, too, called Sen. Feinstein's office today - along with Sen. Harris - to confirm that both of them were voting against a CR unless it had both a clean Dream Act and CHIP funding, and I was told that was correct - Feinstein was (they said) committed to fixing DACA as part of this vote.

I mean, this statement on Feinstein's website dated today seems pretty unequivocal:
“I said in December that I wouldn’t vote for a CR without the Dream Act, and I won’t do so now.

“I’m also hopeful that we can get away from continuing resolutions and get back to regular order. We can’t solve problems by funding the government a few weeks at a time. As a longtime member of the Appropriations Committee, I know the importance of funding the military and government agencies for a full-year.

“I’m hopeful that other senators won’t kick this can down the road yet again. We need to get the Dream Act passed, negotiate a multi-year budget agreement and fund the government through September, and we need to do so now.”
posted by kristi at 3:31 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]


Of course they did. We need to assume that any court victory on voting rights will only take effect over John Roberts' dead body.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:33 PM on January 18 [9 favorites]


Freedom Caucus caved for effectively nothing, will support the CR. They say in exchange they'll get votes on a defense spending bill and the Goodlatte DACA bill if they can get to 218 (a conservative plan that's an absolute non-starter in the Senate), basically angling for future leverage for themselves. What they're really doing is ensuring the House passes a CR so they can put all the pressure on the Senate. If the CR goes down in the Senate, it will be easier to blame Democrats, but again, McConnell doesn't even have 50 votes from his own party, let alone the 60 bipartisian votes needed to pass it.

In other news, USA Today, Fredreka Schouten, A record $107 million was raised for Trump’s inauguration. So where did it all go? No one will say.
posted by zachlipton at 3:42 PM on January 18 [23 favorites]


Talez has a good point though: if there's a sufficiently large wave against the dominant party in a gerrymandered electorate it actually works against that party. We can only hope it's large enough for the Democrats to win control of the respective legislatures and that they seize the opportunity to have fairer maps drawn.

I'd add that control of electoral boundaries needs to be in the hands of a non-partisan body (as it is in many other countries) but from what I can see there's basically no such thing in the USA: for historical reasons, everything anyone cares about is politicised.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:43 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who thinks we're counting our waves before they hatch? The signs so far have been good but Trump's approval ratings are moving upwards slowly but steadily and there are 10 months to go. If his approval is around 45 by then it's quite possible they'll hold the house and gain a couple seats in the Senate.
posted by Justinian at 3:47 PM on January 18 [41 favorites]


Also, there was a generational wave in the Virginia state election that still couldn't break the gerrymander there.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:49 PM on January 18 [12 favorites]


for historical reasons, everything anyone cares about is politicised.

It's a strain of individualism that's been cultivated by popular legend which runs counter to and viscerally reacts to any sort of collectivism no matter how valid.
posted by Talez at 3:49 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]




You have to be ready for the possibility of victory.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:50 PM on January 18 [10 favorites]


Trump appointee Carl Higbie resigns as public face of agency that runs AmeriCorps after KFile review of racist, sexist, ant.i-Muslim and anti-LGBT comments on the radio

Man... I was expecting something bad but those comments are VILE...
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 3:52 PM on January 18 [10 favorites]


Also, there was a generational wave in the Virginia state election that still couldn't break the gerrymander there.

Yeah. I've brought up the "gerrymandering makes you susceptible to waves" thing myself, so I'll argue with myself about it now. That's true to a point. But it is far more true with old-style gerrymandered maps done before computers and literal house-by-house data input. You can draw wave-resistant gerrymanders with that sort of math and data.

Obviously the more wave-resistant you make your gerrymander the less of an advantage it gives you in normal years and vice versa. If you make your districts 55-45 you get a ton of extra seats normally but lose 'em all in waves. If you make your districts 62-38 you get fewer extra seats in normal years but dont lose the seats except in truly massive waves.

I don't actually know how the NC districts are drawn on this spectrum. But it is possible to be wave resistant... though it costs in normal years as I said.
posted by Justinian at 3:53 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


House Freedom Caucus blinked. They got additional military funding. God knows what for, the military already gets funded more than the next eight countries combined. Do they need another fucking missile?
posted by Talez at 3:53 PM on January 18 [11 favorites]


Yes. I started to paste some of them over here but decided against it.
posted by glonous keming at 3:54 PM on January 18


(Leftist update, if you want to attend the NYC Women’s March with a bunch of gosh darned socialists I made an IRL)
posted by The Whelk at 3:56 PM on January 18 [10 favorites]


>> For the record, it looks like the term "Girthers" (to refer to doubters of the President's reported weight) is being attributed to MSNBC's Chris Hayes.

> Pretty funny, but encourages a false equivalence.

Politico is on the case!

Why 'Girthers' Are the Biggest LosersLiberals think Trump lies about his weight because the powerless always love conspiracy theories.

Here's a good takedown, demonstrating many examples of nonsensical logic and false equivalency:
There's a lot wrong here, but let me point you to just one thing: Uscinski says conspiracy theories are for losers -- and then tells us (correctly) that Donald Trump regularly engages in them. Um, didn't he win the election? So why is he still a conspiratorialist? And why was he a conspiratorialist with regard to, say, Ted Cruz when he was beating Ted Cruz? "Conspiracy theories are for losers" is Uscinski's big idea -- you can watch him deliver a lecture by that name -- and yet Trump proves him wrong. So why should we pay attention to anything Uscinski says?
It gets worse, if you can believe that.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:03 PM on January 18 [5 favorites]


Politico were big buttery males people right? A good takedown would just be a general statement that due to their actions during and after the primary Politico can no longer be trusted as a source.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 4:21 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


Right now it's "Chelsea Manning vs. Senator Cardin and how can you not support a trans woman against an old white guy!"

I've seen the claim that Cardin is known for being tough on Russia, with the implication that Manning is primarying him because she's one of Russia's useful idiots on the left, like Greenwald.
posted by acb at 4:25 PM on January 18 [5 favorites]


Where does he think he gets the right to tell people he represents to not contact him? What a colossal ASSHOLE.

My own House Rep, Bill Flores, is in the middle of a minor controversy because of how many comments he deletes from his social media and how many constituents he's blocked on facebook, merely for disagreeing with him. There's someone posting all the deleted comments to a special page, and the local paper has a good story on it.

One of the issues is that he refuses to have in-person town halls, and people he's blocked can't participate in his online town halls, where the questions are all screened in advance. There's quite a lot of anger about this, and not just from liberal resistance types, from what I can tell. My husband is blocked, but he did use profanity, only after his first comment on healthcare was deleted.
posted by threeturtles at 4:29 PM on January 18 [6 favorites]


This got stupider. Bloomberg is reporting that House Conservatives made a new demand in exchange for their votes for the CR: releasing classified documents that attack FBI and DOJ over the origins of the Russia investigation.

I'm guessing Ryan didn't bite, but what an utterly absurd and irresponsible demand.
posted by zachlipton at 4:32 PM on January 18 [10 favorites]


House votes for a one-month CR, 230-197 (11 Republicans against, 5 Democrats in favor), kicking it over to the Senate.
posted by zachlipton at 4:39 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]


"Conspiracy theories are for losers" is Uscinski's big idea -- you can watch him deliver a lecture by that name -- and yet Trump proves him wrong.

If you watch the talk, his point is that Trump built a coalition of conspiracy theorists (it's in the last couple of minutes.) It's not that Trump himself was a loser, but that his voters perceived themselves as such.
posted by Coventry at 4:42 PM on January 18


I've seen the claim that Cardin is known for being tough on Russia, with the implication that Manning is primarying him because she's one of Russia's useful idiots on the left, like Greenwald.

Worth pointing out that everyone who actually knows Manning thinks this kind of reasoning is laughably absurd, and those who know about the timeline of her involvement with wikileaks and the basics of her case would as well.
posted by odinsdream at 4:43 PM on January 18 [11 favorites]


Cardin could probably stand to be slightly more liberal given the state he represents but I don't see any particularly compelling reason to support primarying him out. Manning is probably a perfectly fine person but so are a lot of people. I wouldn't vote for them for Senate.
posted by Justinian at 4:51 PM on January 18 [5 favorites]


Do not miss the Mother Jones article linked above. It's not that salacious. It is, however, fucking hilarious. My sides hurt so much.
“Yep,” the other consultant replied. “She says one time he made her sit with him for three hours watching ‘shark week.’ Another time he had her spank him with a Forbes magazine.” ... Daniels said the spanking came during a series of sexual and romantic encounters with Trump and that it involved a copy of Forbes with Trump on the cover.

AHAHAHAHA Forbes!? HAHAHA with heheeeeeee his own heeeheehe face heeheeee I'm dying help meeeee oh my fucking god. Shark week! FORBES! AAAAAHAHAHA.
posted by loquacious at 4:52 PM on January 18 [46 favorites]


"A fall 2006 cover of Forbes does feature Trump and two of his children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka."
posted by kirkaracha at 5:01 PM on January 18 [12 favorites]


I... guess I can see why he would be into roleplaying having his head shoved up his own ass?
posted by tivalasvegas at 5:02 PM on January 18 [5 favorites]


I mean what the fuck would make you want to be spanked with your own photograph. I'm totally asking my shrink this at our session tomorrow (Trump discussions take up roughly .25 of our meetings)
posted by angrycat at 5:05 PM on January 18 [16 favorites]


I mean what the fuck would make you want to be spanked with your own photograph.

I think the more likely explanation is that he wanted to be spanked with something, and copies of a recent magazine with his face on the cover was just what he happened to have in towering stacks covering every horizontal surface.
posted by contraption at 5:11 PM on January 18 [23 favorites]


Looming shutdown raises fundamental question: Can GOP govern? (WaPo / Business)
The Republican Party’s struggle to forge a plan to keep the government open exposes deep, intractable rifts that raise questions about its ability to govern, with GOP leaders handcuffed by party divisions and whipsawed by President Trump’s outbursts on how to proceed.

The poisonous dynamic has now pushed Washington to the brink of a partial government shutdown, which will occur after midnight Friday if a one-month spending bill fails to pass Congress.

A funding lapse would mark the first time in U.S. history that there has been a government shutdown, with federal employees furloughed, when one party controlled both Congress and the White House.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:11 PM on January 18 [11 favorites]


Over on twitter The Hoarse Whisperer has just read through the House Intel Committee testimony by Fusion GPS and it has some great information which I had not read before— it’s mostly about the Russians funding all of Trump’s enterprises but one detail is that Trump is still relying on trust fund money set up by his father. That has to hurt his pride. No matter how many golf courses he builds he can’t seem to get the hang of turning a profit.

Also news to me: The Kushners are Ethnically Russian Jews with lots of ties to other Russian families in NYC.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:17 PM on January 18 [21 favorites]


[Let’s let the Manning run go for the moment, or it’s going to eat the thread. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 5:34 PM on January 18 [11 favorites]


The House Intel Committee's transcripts of Glenn Simpson's testimony are available online:
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

There's a ton of fascinating information that's going to take a while for the news media to sift through. Some of Simpson's assertions about Trump's financial affairs are brutal, especially in the context of Russian money-laundering:
MR. SIMPSON: The other one that is -- was concerning to us was - is the golf courses in Scotland and Ireland.
MR. SCHIFF: And did you see Russian money involved with those as well?
MR. SIMPSON: Well, we had -- you know, we saw what Eric Trump said about Russian money being available for his golf -- for the golf course projects, making remarks about having unlimited sums available. And, you know , because Mr. Trump's companies are generally not publicly traded and don't do a lot of public disclosure, we can only look -- have a limited look into the financing of those projects.
But because the Irish courses and the Scottish courses are under U.K., you know, Anglo corporate law, they have -- they file financial statements. So we were able to get the financial statements. And they don't, on their face, show Russian involvement, but what they do show is enormous amounts of capital flowing into these projects from unknown sources and - or at least on paper it says it's from The Trump Organization, but it's hundreds of millions of dollars.
And these golf course are just, you know, they're sinks. They don't actually make any money.
So, you know, if you're familiar with Donald Trump's finances and the litigation over whether he's really a billionaire, you know, there's good reason to believe he doesn't have enough money to do this and that he would have had to have outside financial support for these things.
Again, you know, because of what I do, it's sort of in this middle area where we mostly are working off public records. A lot of what I do is analyze whether things make sense and whether they can be explained. And that didn't make sense to me, doesn't make sense to me to this day.[...]
MR. SCHIFF: [...] If the Russians were laundering money through Trump golf courses or Trump condos, would the Russian Government be aware of this? Would they be either knowing or active participants potentially in this?
MR. SIMPSON: Well, so what is well known and well established in criminology now is that the Russian mafia is essentially under the dominion of the Russian Government and Russian Intelligence Services. And many of the oligarchs are also mafia figures.
And the oligarchs, during this period of consolidation of power by Vladimir Putin, when I was living in Brussels and doing all this work, was about him essentially taking control over both the oligarchs and the mafia groups.
And so basically everyone in Russia works for Putin now.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:35 PM on January 18 [76 favorites]


The article Barack Spinoza posted really says it all:

After one year of complete GOP control in Washington, the government’s budget picture has only worsened. It now has roughly $21 trillion in debt. The U.S. government spent $666 billion more than it brought in through revenue last year, and that figure is expected to grow this year because of the deep tax cuts that went into effect Jan. 1.

Ryan said Thursday that this part of governing has faltered because of intransigence by Senate Democrats, whose support is necessary for any spending bill to pass into law. But Republicans haven’t held any votes on these measures in the Senate Appropriations Committee or the Senate floor, as it’s unclear whether they have enough support within the party to pass any of the bills.


Some days I feel like the incompetence of these people is actually preventing them from unleashing their total hellscape vision, but days like this I see their incompetence as an anchor dragging us all to the bottom.
posted by mostly vowels at 5:47 PM on January 18 [36 favorites]


I mean what the fuck would make you want to be spanked with your own photograph.

There are other people on the cover, one of whom Trump has repeatedly commented about finding sexy.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:50 PM on January 18 [7 favorites]


I don't want to say much about the Forbes thing, but you have to think that ol' Berkeley Breathed is going to read that in the news and hang his head in shame with a "Why didn't I think of that!?" It is a scene literally ripped from a cartoon. If you were going to lampoon Donald Trump, and you wanted to stage him in a salacious scene with some kind of absurd sexual fetish, you could NOT do better than "getting spanked with a rolled up copy of Forbes."
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 6:05 PM on January 18 [52 favorites]


Oh god, Trump is totally going to Streisand Effect the fuck out of the Forbes thing tomorrow, isn't he? Heaven help us all.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:07 PM on January 18 [10 favorites]


Is there any major legislation coming up in the Senate? If not, after this CR shitshow would be a great time for Thad Cochran to bail. I would imagine McCain's close to calling it quits, too.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:11 PM on January 18


Oh god, Trump is totally going to Streisand Effect the fuck out of the Forbes thing tomorrow, isn't he? Heaven help us all.

Take a moment to pour one out for the social media people at Forbes.
posted by nubs at 6:21 PM on January 18 [41 favorites]


Between the money laundering, the collusion, and the porn star hush money, as long as we get a “Strange Bedfellows” headline out of this, it’ll all have been worth it.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:27 PM on January 18 [4 favorites]


"Between the money laundering, the collusion, and the porn star hush money, as long as we get a “Strange Bedfellows” headline out of this, it’ll all have been worth it."

What a time this is, when the Special Counsel learns of "porn star hush money", he's like "spike that for now, we got the conspiracy with Russia and money laundering to finish with, and at least porn star hush money doesn't create another dozen leads every damned tweet"
posted by mikelieman at 6:35 PM on January 18 [20 favorites]


Forbes? Yawn. Wake me up when we find out Ms. Daniels spanked him with 2.9 million votes. Oh wait, no that was someone else.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 6:50 PM on January 18 [99 favorites]


Optics question: can the Democrats credit blame Republicans for the shutdown if averting it requires 60 Senate votes? It was more straightforward in the House with the Freedom Caucus screwing things up on the GOP side but blocking in the Senate feels riskier.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:52 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


Optics question: can the Democrats credit blame Republicans for the shutdown if averting it requires 60 Senate votes? It was more straightforward in the House with the Freedom Caucus screwing things up on the GOP side but blocking in the Senate feels riskier.

Hard to blame the filibuster/cloture rules when Senate Rs don't even have 50.

And the bipartisan agreement that McConnell won't bring to a vote has enough votes to pass.
posted by chris24 at 6:59 PM on January 18 [6 favorites]


Depends how sure they are that Repub Nos will remain Nos. If they could be sure that it'd fall short they could vote for cloture, then all vote party line and let the Repubs fail to reach 50.

Realistically, though, the moment they do that the GOP Nos will switch to yes For The Good Of The Country and Thinking Of The Children and Look! Democrats All Hate CHIP. Plus DACA remains in limbo. So one way or another they have to eat the bug and require 60 because it is the only leverage they possess.
posted by delfin at 7:00 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


Here's the CSPAN feed for Senate floor. Chat is open.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:06 PM on January 18


Shutdown update:
@RyanMcCrimmon: The Senate:

McConnell proposed voting on final passage tonight, and Schumer objected.

Minutes later, Schumer proposed taking the cloture vote tonight, and McConnell objected.
@nielslesniewski: Appears that Schumer wants to have the failed vote as soon as possible, while McConnell wants it taking place on the brink.

Schumer also pitched a CR that lasts a couple days so there can be more negotiation, but was turned down. And the Senate was being sent home for the night, but Sen. King just objected to adjourning the Senate, so, er, drama. He's demanding a cloture vote tonight (a cloture vote would force McConnell to show his cards tonight and reveal whether Republicans even have 50 votes among themselves, which they don't publicly).

Optics question: can the Democrats credit blame Republicans for the shutdown if averting it requires 60 Senate votes? It was more straightforward in the House with the Freedom Caucus screwing things up on the GOP side but blocking in the Senate feels riskier.

Both sides will, of course, blame each other, and yes, it would have been easier if things fell apart in the House. Democrats will say Republicans control both chambers and the Presidency and they're responsible. Republicans will say Democrats voted against it. But that's part of the reason for tonight's gamesmanship by Schumer. As of right now, McConnell doesn't even have 50 Republican votes for a CR (McCain is out and Graham, Rand, Rounds, and Lee are all opposed). He might get the votes, solely so he can pile more blame on Democrats, but he doesn't have them.

So Schumer is playing his hand well, as far as I can see. He can argue he proposed a short-term deal so negotiations can continue, that he wanted a vote Thursday so there'd be more time to deal Friday, and that McConnell couldn't even deliver 50 votes himself so it's absurd to expect Democrats to do his job. If you support Democrats, you'll buy that, and if you don't, you won't. "Republicans don't have 50 votes" is not a bad argument, but there's only so many people who will hear it and care. Frankly, I think a lot of people will just express disgust at government in general, because most people don't have a curated set of Congressional reporters they follow for this kind of minutia. That's not, politically-speaking, such a bad thing if you're not the party in power, but it's not good for democracy either.

Trump is set to fly to Mar-a-Lago tomorrow afternoon and the House is set to go on vacation next week (yes, 12 legislative days gets them a week off). That's all going to look awful if they don't come up with something tomorrow.
posted by zachlipton at 7:08 PM on January 18 [24 favorites]


If they went through the regular budget process instead of CR’s, they’d only need 50 votes in the Senate.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:13 PM on January 18 [6 favorites]


Senate adjourned until 11AM.
posted by Rykey at 7:16 PM on January 18


(The Senate managed to adjourn.)

Speaking of shutdown optics, my non-professional opinion is that this would make for bad ones: Bloomberg, Trump to Mark One-Year Anniversary With Gala at Mar-a-Lago
President Donald Trump will mark the first anniversary of his inauguration on Saturday with a celebration at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, with tickets starting at $100,000 a pair.

That amount, according to the invitation, will pay for dinner and a photograph with the president. For $250,000, a couple can also take part in a roundtable.
The money goes to the Trump campaign and the RNC.
posted by zachlipton at 7:18 PM on January 18 [15 favorites]


Flake refusing to vote for the month-long CR would be the very first indication that he's going to even make a nod in the direction of putting his money where his mouth is, wouldn't it?
posted by Justinian at 7:52 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


If they went through the regular budget process instead of CR’s, they’d only need 50 votes in the Senate.

They blew reconciliation on the tax cuts so they can't jam it through like that.
posted by Talez at 7:54 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]


Not even reconciliation. Appropriations bills considered under a budget resolution are filibuster-proof.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:00 PM on January 18


You can read Flake's statement, which is legit. I mean, spare me the whole nonsense about how McConnell promised him a DACA vote in January, because everybody knew McConnell was lying to him, but he's not wrong. Hilariously, McConnell bought off Rounds with a promise of a defense vote, only to lose Flake within minutes, so he's in the same place: 46 Republican votes.

Schumer's got a good gambit going with his "we'll vote for a really short CR into next week so we can keep negotiating" play. If there is a shutdown, he can point to that offer and say he was against a shutdown. If they take the deal, he'll expose that McConnell can't sell his own CR to his own party, and we can play this game again next week with Democrats having more leverage and vacations ruined.
posted by zachlipton at 8:01 PM on January 18 [22 favorites]


President Donald Pussy grabber will mark the first anniversary of his inauguration on Saturday with a celebration at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, with tickets starting at $100,000 a pair.

Somehow, long ago after probably taking one of the 'How is Trump doing, Great/Good/OK/Other?' surveys, I got a throwaway email onto a list with the Trump/RNC campaign fundraising. They've been pushing this gala hard the past few weeks, with emails coming from Eric, Lara, 'Trump Headquarters,' DonaldJTrump.com,
etc, and all of them from contact@victory.donaldtrump.com. Donate $1 now for a chance to win!
Friend,

If you thought January 20th, 2017 was fantastic - the day We the People inaugurated Donald J. Trump President of the United States - just imagine spending January 20th, 2018 having dinner with President Trump, Eric, and Lara.
baaaaarf
Friend, the President asked to ensure all of his loyal supporters heard about this special dinner with the whole family at the most beautiful spot in Florida for an evening you’ll NEVER forget.
yeh because I'm baaaaarfing all over everything at the Barf-a-lago.

The contrast with DNC fundraising and polling via email is stark. But, stepping back and listening to the racket from both sides at a distance has me convinced that the money in politics is going to be the hardest challenge America will face as a country outside of global warming. Watch racism and sexism and bigotry erode as society and globalism progress, but the whole point of money is to grow and multiply and it will never wane as a force.

It surprises me not one bit that the gaping anonymous Citizens United/non-profit political cash loophole has widened to accommodate millions in Russian oligarch money, nor will it if the craven individuals elected to Congress are outed on both sides of the aisle.
posted by carsonb at 8:10 PM on January 18 [7 favorites]


President Donald Trump will mark the first anniversary of his inauguration on Saturday with a celebration at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, with tickets starting at $100,000 a pair.

Man of the people. The rich people. How about the economically-anxious working class?

400 coal mining jobs created in May
...Trump and his surrogates have suggested a coal jobs boom is either here or in the works, thanks to the president's efforts to roll back job-killing regulations.

Related: There is no coal jobs boom
Built-in narrator voice in the article!

Coal Country Is Back, Along With Signing Bonuses and Pay Raises
The gossip here is no longer about mine closures and mass layoffs. Miners are snagging $1,000 signing bonuses, fully paid health insurance and raises again. (Justice just earned a 50-cent-an-hour bump.)
That 50-cent bump on top of a coal miner's average wage of $23.04 per hour should make it easy to afford those tickets.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:19 PM on January 18 [7 favorites]


Somehow the idea that there are "gala events" which cost $50,000 each is just the cherry on the shit-sundae that is has been my day.
posted by maxwelton at 8:38 PM on January 18 [5 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** PA-18 special -- The only public poll so far of this race had Republican Saccone up 12 points on Democrate Lamb. But internal polls on both sides now have the race in single digits.

** 2018 House:
-- In an unusual move, two sitting Dem reps have endorsed the challenger in the IL-03 Dem primary. Current incumbent Dan Lipinski is a poor fit for the district, regularly ranking as one of the most conservative members of the caucus.

-- The Dem lead in the generic ballot has been drifting down a bit over the past week (538 average: D+8.2), but a new Pew survey has them +14. More of interest, perhaps, is the crosstabs - more of the educational divide we've been seeing. Dems are near tied with high school grads, decent lead with college grads, enormous lead with post-grads. Historically, there's been much less correlation.
** 2018 Senate -- In Mississippi, Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley has decided not to challenge incumbent Roger Wicker. This is a disappointment to Dems, as Presley is popular in MS, and it's not like they have a super deep bench there. Presley's shot was mostly if nutjob state Senator Chris McDaniel challenged Wicker and got the GOP nomination. McDaniel has been waffling, though, and probably won't run.

However, Presley was careful to say he wasn't running for the regular election, leaving the door open for him to run in the special that would result if Thad Cochran resigns, as he is widely expected to do.

** Odds & ends:
-- Reminding Metafilter greybeards that Time's wingèd chariot is always hurrying near, Ned Lamont is officially in the race for Connecticut governor.

-- Orion Strategies poll in West Virginia has Trump approval just above water, 51/48.

-- Nice map of Dem overperformance in specials.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:03 PM on January 18 [37 favorites]


Also news to me: The Kushners are Ethnically Russian Jews with lots of ties to other Russian families in NYC.

Can we please not do this? This isn't coming from a good place: nobody is interested in other possible conspirators being ethnically Irish, German, or Italian. It's not even true, although that's beside the point. Speculating about people's propensity to criminality based on their religion or ethnicity is the crudest sort of prejudice.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:05 PM on January 18 [57 favorites]


Schumer's got a good gambit going with his "we'll vote for a really short CR into next week so we can keep negotiating" play. If there is a shutdown, he can point to that offer and say he was against a shutdown. If they take the deal, he'll expose that McConnell can't sell his own CR to his own party, and we can play this game again next week with Democrats having more leverage and vacations ruined.

This is certainly cogent reasoning to smart people, but do you honestly think it'll fly with people who aren't paying attention? McConnell will blame the Democrats, NYT will run a headline about Dems shutting down givernment, 45 skates yet again.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:06 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


Somehow the idea that there are "gala events" which cost $50,000 each is just the cherry on the shit-sundae that is has been my day.

As distasteful as this seems, it isn't unusual for a presidential fund raiser. What is unusual and should be a crime is that hundreds of thousands of dollars will be skimmed into Trump's personal pocket for "facility fees" at Mar-a-Lago.
posted by JackFlash at 9:15 PM on January 18 [13 favorites]


Well, shit, we didn't have to wait for the Times.

WaPo: Shutdown looms as Senate Democrats threaten GOP plan
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:29 PM on January 18 [10 favorites]


From twitter - a writer who studies farming and land policy just flew from the UK:

U.S. Passport checking guy...
“What do you do?”
“I’m a writer”
“You haven’t come to write bad stuff about our president have you?”
Long silence whilst I worked out if he was actually serious
Stony official stare from him until I said
“No”
Then waved in to USA

posted by bluecore at 9:38 PM on January 18 [91 favorites]


Well that's a delightful bit of fucked up authoritarianism.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:42 PM on January 18 [30 favorites]


This isn't coming from a good place

or from a place that has any idea why formerly Russian Jews have historically stopped being Russian. if it were true, this would be ignorant almost to the point of being more funny than offensive. almost.
posted by queenofbithynia at 9:51 PM on January 18 [22 favorites]


The Shallow State strikes. Forces aligned with Devin Nunes have used their illicit access to FBI files to create a "highly classified" memo alleging abuses in American technical intelligence collection systems. First up, FoxNews's very credulous & highly agitated take: GOP lawmakers demand that 'alarming' memo on FISA abuses be made public. And now a more rational, measured take by one of the bloggers at Balloon Juice blog: Heads Up: Partisan Disinformation Incoming. True or twisted, this looks like a big deal.
posted by scalefree at 11:02 PM on January 18 [10 favorites]


Oh, just to offset that immigration story here above:

US immigration officer: Stamp, check, look, stamp (what immigration officers do).
Immigration officer next desk, to other traveler: "Welcome to the USA!"
Traveler next desk, shouting to the room: "The GRREatest country of the world!!"
Our immigration officer, with a funny half-twist of his head, to us: "Well, I guess, people are being sarcastic."
Then waved into USA.
posted by Namlit at 11:07 PM on January 18 [42 favorites]


Mulvaney, who won the stand-off to head the CFPB, has requested $0.00 for its funding.

Literally, defunding the government.
posted by Dashy at 11:24 PM on January 18 [37 favorites]


...Trump and his surrogates have suggested a coal jobs boom is either here or in the works, thanks to the president's efforts to roll back job-killing regulations.

Related: There is no coal jobs boom


There is no coal jobs boom, but there has been a boom in coal miners dying on the job. One of the most fucked-up things about it is that West Virginia mines around 10% of the coal mined in the US but still managed to have more than half of the total mining deaths.
posted by Copronymus at 11:33 PM on January 18 [17 favorites]


Also news to me: The Kushners are Ethnically Russian Jews with lots of ties to other Russian families in NYC.

Can we please not do this


Seriously, this is offensive. By that logic I'm an 'ethnically Ukrainian and Hungarian Jew' and that makes me exactly not at all loyal or inclined to affinity with Kiev, or the Donbass, or Viktor Orban.

Eff right off with that thinking. Blood and soil indeed. Those countries did everything they could to be rid of the Jews they couldn't kill. What ignorance.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:53 AM on January 19 [33 favorites]


Wow. There's this releasethememo hashtag on twitter that calls for the release of some super secret memo written by Nunes that proves Clinton and Obama are definitely going to jail. Hannity talked about it and now a few Republican congressmen have jumped on board.

This is the craziest thing I've seen on twitter. It became the #1 trending topic on twitter around the world in a matter of hours, in the middle of the night. Every comment is literally 30% bots. Their not even trying to hide it, they have no pictures and 3 followers.

Someone is freaking out. People are losing their damn minds.
posted by bongo_x at 2:17 AM on January 19 [58 favorites]


Steve King's tweet about the memo is remarkably incoherent:
I have read the memo. The sickening reality has set in. I no longer hold out hope there is an innocent explanation for the information the public has seen. I have long said it is worse than Watergate. It was #neverTrump & #alwaysHillary. #releasethememo
If he has long been saying that there are government abuses worse than Watergate going on, how is it that he thought there was an innocent explanation until just this moment? Also, trying to co-opt and reverse the meaning of #neverTrump seems pretty strange, although it's not like there was ever any difference between a neverTrump conservative and any other anyway.

He's not the only Republican congressman claiming both that he has personally read the memo and also that it contains evidence of serious crimes, however. It seems like this is a couple of steps beyond the usual Republican noise-making, right? They're always insisting that whoever they hate today is breaking the law, but isn't it usually more general "they're criminals and we all know it" and less "I personally have evidence of specific crimes they committed"? Is this just desperation to draw attention away from their total inability to keep their government functioning, or is there something else happening here?
posted by IAmUnaware at 2:48 AM on January 19 [10 favorites]


If it's so incriminating, do a Feinstein and release the details yourself, you rebublican tool! If you don't have a copy, get the person that shared it with you to release it, or give it to you to release. Or, why not outline the details and shame it all into public discourse.

Oh, yeah. You've got nothing.
posted by michswiss at 2:57 AM on January 19 [9 favorites]


If this bogus memo is about FISA warrant abuse, then surely the object of their rage should be Obama not Hillary? Are they trying to to avoid going after Obama and unleashing further Dem mobilisation in 2018?
posted by PenDevil at 2:57 AM on January 19 [2 favorites]


AFAIK the conspiracy theory is that Obama abused the FISA warrant to help Hillary win the election. And something about the dossier which makes no sense since it was normal oppo research unrelated to anything, but which "connects" the FISA abuse directly to the Hillary campaign. I repeat: this is the crazy theory, it has nothing to do with reality. Republicans aren't very comfortable with reality so they probably "believe" the theory, like cultists believe in their leader because they have to.
posted by mumimor at 3:13 AM on January 19 [6 favorites]


By the way, to underscore what bongo_x is saying about this being crazy, #releasethememo is currently trending with 866,000 tweets recently containing the hashtag. To put that in perspective, the second-highest trending hashtag right now is showing 4790 relevant tweets. This has happened largely over the last few hours, which is to say during the middle of the night here in America. It seems like a LOT of this activity is bots, looking at the tweets themselves and their likes and retweets. I'm also seeing quite a bit of #QAnon.
posted by IAmUnaware at 3:15 AM on January 19 [40 favorites]


a celebration at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, with tickets starting at $100,000 a pair.

Janine Pirro: Well, it ain't no shithole.

Narrator: It's a shithole.
posted by Rykey at 3:15 AM on January 19 [7 favorites]


Having a six figure gala when the government's shut down is some A+ "let them eat cake" PR work.
posted by chris24 at 3:19 AM on January 19 [54 favorites]


It appears WikiLeaks is offering up to $1 million in matched funding for a copy of the memo as well, per https://www.lipstickalley.com/threads/releasethememo-the-bots-are-going-crazy.1400034/ (other info/tweet charts/etc. there as well).

Although it also seems to me that if the memo isn't leaked they presumably just keep the cash.
posted by Buntix at 3:22 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]


"Trump will let you take a photo with him this weekend for US$100,000. He’ll even throw in dinner for two" (South China Morning Post)
posted by Mister Bijou at 3:27 AM on January 19 [10 favorites]


By the way, to underscore what bongo_x is saying about this being crazy, #releasethememo is currently trending with 866,000 tweets recently containing the hashtag. To put that in perspective, the second-highest trending hashtag right now is showing 4790 relevant tweets. This has happened largely over the last few hours, which is to say during the middle of the night here in America. It seems like a LOT of this activity is bots, looking at the tweets themselves and their likes and retweets.

The Hamilton 68 Russian bot-tracker shows how these hashtags exploded overnight. #releasethememo is #1 with a bullet on its charts, with almost 2,000 hits (the number two is #maga with slightly more than 200), as well as the top trending hashtag, with an increase of over 160000% in the past 48 hours. The other trending topics are practically nothing but the memo—e.g. #memo, #FISA, #Gaetz*, #Watergate, #FISAmemo, #Memo, #Abuse. The Kremlin bots are going all out on this one.

Waking up to this nonsense daily is just part of the Trump era, but I really should have coffee first...

* This is Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), notable for having previously crowd-sourced an anti-Clinton/anti-Comey resolution with the help of /r/The_Donald.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:11 AM on January 19 [34 favorites]


A Year of Donald Trump in the White House (Adam Gopnik | The New Yorker)
Living as we do, on what is—as hard as it may be to believe—the first anniversary of Trump in power, we find ourselves caught in a quarrel between Trump optimists and Trump pessimists, and one proof of how right the Trump pessimists have been is that the kind of thing that the Trump optimists are now saying ought to make you optimistic. Basically, their argument amounts to the claim that the stock market remains up, the government isn’t suspended, and the President’s critics aren’t in internment camps. In the pages of The Economist, as in the columns of the Times, one frequently reads some form of this not-very-calming reassurance: Trump may be an enemy of republican government, and a friend to tyrants, while alienating our oldest friends in fellow-democracies, but while he may want to be a tyrant, he isn’t very good at being one. This is the Ralph Kramden account of Trumpism: he blusters and threatens and shakes and rages, but Alice, like the American people, just stands there and shrugs him off sardonically.

Those in the Trump-pessimist camp are inclined to point out not only that the final score is not in yet but that the game has only just started. In real life, as opposed to fifties sitcoms, the Ralph Kramdens tend to act on their instincts. Trump’s Justice Department has already reopened an investigation of his political opponent, after he loudly demanded it—itself a chilling abuse of power. And if, as seems probable, Trump tries to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel on the Russia investigation, we will be in the midst of a crisis of extreme dimensions. ...

The point is not that what Obama did was necessarily always admirable, but that amnesia about even the very recent past has become essential to the most decent conservative politics; only by making the national emergency general and cross-party can it be fully shared rather than, as it should be, localized to the crisis of one party and its ideology. In plain English, it becomes necessary to spread the smell around so that everyone gets some of the stink on them. This is why we have to read so much undue hand-wringing about our national crisis in civic values and family piety rather than recognize the abandonment of republican values that began when the mainstays of the conservative party decided to embrace Trump instead of—as their French equivalents had done, when confronted with the same choice between an authoritarian nationalist and a moderate centrist —reject him. It is always appealing rhetorically to insist that all of us are at fault. We’re not. The attempts to pretend that the Trump era is part of some national, or even planetary, crisis, stretching out from one end of the political spectrum to the other, obscures the more potent reality. Had Mitt Romney and the Bushes not merely protested, or grumbled in private, about Trump but openly endorsed Hillary Clinton as the necessary alternative to the unacceptable, we might be living in a different country. For that matter, if, during the past year, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell had summoned patriotism in the face of multiple threats to the norms of democratic conduct, then we might not be in this mess. They didn’t, and we are.

... Meanwhile, our primary obligation may be simply not to blind ourselves to the facts, or to compromise our values in a desperate desire to embrace our fellow-citizens. Any anti-Trumpist movement must consist of the broadest imaginable coalition, but it cannot pretend that what we are having is a normal national debate. The reason people object, for instance, to the Times running a full page of Trump-defending letters is not that they want to cut off or stifle that debate; it is because the implication that Trumpism is a controversial but acceptable expression of American values within that debate is in itself a betrayal of those values. Liberal democracy is good. Authoritarian nationalism is bad. That’s the premise of the country. It’s the principle that a lot of people died for. Americans never need to apologize for the continuing absolutism of their belief in it.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:14 AM on January 19 [64 favorites]


Agency shutdown contingency plans, last updated December 2017.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:24 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]


We have not had any guidance at all from Department leadership about shutdown plans in my agency. Not a single e-mail.
posted by wintermind at 4:49 AM on January 19 [12 favorites]


The U.S. government spent $666 billion more than it brought in through revenue last year

Oh come ON.
posted by petebest at 4:55 AM on January 19 [75 favorites]


We have not had any guidance at all from Department leadership about shutdown plans in my agency.

We haven't either. Not expecting any until late this afternoon, and then Monday morning we'll all be called in for 4 hours of "wrap up activities" and to secure our government issued laptops in the office. Or that's how it happened last time. Our agency plan was updated in 2017 at least, and I'm listed as nonexempt, at least for 5 days, at which point they'll "reevaluate". What changes in 5 days as far as the legal basis for declaring us exempt or not, I have no idea. But that's what it says.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:08 AM on January 19 [7 favorites]


Turnover In Trump's White House Is 'Record-Setting,' And It Isn't Even Close:
If President Trump's first year in office seemed chaotic from a staffing perspective, there's a reason. Turnover among top-level staff in the Trump White House was off the charts, according to a new Brookings Institution report.

Turnover in Trump's first year was more than triple that in former President Barack Obama's first year, and double the rate in President Ronald Reagan's White House. A full 34 percent of high-level White House aides either resigned, were fired or moved into different positions in this first year of the Trump presidency.
posted by octothorpe at 5:09 AM on January 19 [14 favorites]


A tiny swipe of Occam's Razor.

Either:

1) The MemoGuffin is real. It is the Rosetta Stone that proves the Grand Unified Clinton Conspiracy. It is solid evidence that Hillary Clinton sighed as she drew her katana, the one made of purest Whitewater that fires polonium bullets and killed Vince Foster and Marc Rich, and placed it gently in the outstretched hands of Peter Strzok with a whisper of "Rid me of this troublesome Trump campaign in the name of our leader, Vladimir Putin." And so it came to pass that Strzok and McCabe and Comey and the Ohrs and Rosenstein and Hillary and Obama and Mueller and Sid Blumenthal and Jake Tapper and Stephen Colbert and Jon "The Secret Jew" Stewart and Loretta Lynch and Eric Holder and many others all engaged in a deep dark conspiracy to smuggle uranium out of the country in the bodies of child prostitutes disguised as pepperoni pizzas to avoid detection, and to overthrow President Trump by any means necessary up to and including salacious lies about a Pee Tape.

But the MemoGuffin is real and is hard, solid evidence proving all of the above. We Can't Show You The Evidence because it's Top Secret but it's real, folks, and Congress is fully aware of its contents, which we know because Sean Hannity's pet Congressmen Gaetz and DeSantis and Jordan are hopping up and down with the excitement of six-year-olds about to dive on their pile of Christmas presents. The MemoGuffin ties it all together and will be the keystone of the case that will Lock Her Up and everyone even remotely affiliated with Crooked Her.

But for some reason, the only people talking about this, the culmination of decades of Get The Clintons investigations and detective work, are Sean Hannity and his pet Congressmen. The rest of the Fox Get The Clintons Network, the rest of Congress, the rest of the media (both Mainstream and Wingnut), the man who campaigned on Locking Her Up, they seem oddly unconcerned about this instead of yelling NEVER MIND THAT SHIT, HERE COMES MONGO! and blanketing the airwaves with the Biggest Story In Human History Much Worse Than Watergate 24/7 and demanding answers and handcuffs.

Which proves that the DEEP STATE is in full control of The Swamp but the True Believers will overcome it Any Day Now if you just send your money.

2) Or...
posted by delfin at 5:25 AM on January 19 [72 favorites]


I love that the Republicans are obsessed with contesting a year old election that they won.
posted by octothorpe at 5:27 AM on January 19 [139 favorites]


That Gopkin piece is one of the few of its kind (that comes to my mind, so I may be off) that specifically calls out Republicans, their leadership, and their voters as the problem.

"The attempts to pretend that the Trump era is part of some national, or even planetary, crisis, stretching out from one end of the political spectrum to the other, obscures the more potent reality. Had Mitt Romney and the Bushes not merely protested, or grumbled in private, about Trump but openly endorsed Hillary Clinton as the necessary alternative to the unacceptable, we might be living in a different country. For that matter, if, during the past year, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell had summoned patriotism in the face of multiple threats to the norms of democratic conduct, then we might not be in this mess. They didn’t, and we are."

I'd like to hear that from the media, over and over again. What we are experiencing is not a failure of a particularly weak leadership in the GOP, but the culmination of all their values cultivated over the last 70 years. Even if it doesn't sway voters, or change Trump's base I want to read that every single day.
posted by Tevin at 5:27 AM on January 19 [81 favorites]


The Kremlin bots are going all out on this one.

Watching Fox News and Republican legislators amplify a Russian propaganda operation is profoundly disturbing.
posted by diogenes at 5:30 AM on January 19 [90 favorites]


Serious Conservative And Tenured Law Professor Glenn Reynolds is on the case of #memogate

(That's a UT law professor who somehow still has a state funded job to RT Sean Hannity all day, falling for an obvious parody account, purporting to be a US Representative)
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:33 AM on January 19 [7 favorites]


I mean, sure, if there's a memo based on reality, release it. Why wouldn't we want to know if Obama had his thumb on the scale?

Oh right, it's because Trumpists actually don't want to know if their god-emperor colluded with a foreign power to steal the US presidency.

Also because it's fake and whipping conspiracy theories up is easier than governing.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:36 AM on January 19 [7 favorites]


Sean Hannity's pet Congressmen Gaetz and DeSantis

Two of Florida's finest. Trump recently endorsed DeSantis for Florida governor and Gaetz was garbage before garbage was cool. Once again, embarrassing to be a Floridian.
posted by photoslob at 5:38 AM on January 19 [2 favorites]


I mean, seriously. Hannity did yesterday what he does every day on his radio show, which is to read off a series of flipcards with names and conspiracy points on them (Strzok is connected to everything! Hillary exonerated before she was even investigated! Dossier of salacious lies! This will Shock the Conscience of the Nation!) and cue his guests to agree with him. So this time he has actual confirmation that it's all true, that it's solid proof that Hillary & Co. are all guilty, and that once it's declassified this MemoGuffin will bring the entire Democrat Party down. This is the single most important and serious thing ever discussed in the history of the English language.

But we'll talk more about that later. Tune into my TV show for more. First, before we talk about the Trump Fake News Awards for an hour, here's a live commercial read for LifeLock!

Yeah. Pull the other one.
posted by delfin at 5:48 AM on January 19 [14 favorites]


Omarosa may have secretly taped White House conversations: report
Former Trump staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman might have secretly recorded private conversations in the White House as she feared special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, The New York Daily News reported Friday.

Sources told the Daily News that Manigault Newman, who was abruptly fired from the White House late last year, “loves” to record meetings.

“Everyone knows Omarosa loves to record people and meetings using the voice notes app on her iPhone,” one source said. “Don’t be surprised if she has secret audio files on everyone in that White House, past and present staffers included.”

The White House’s recent ban on staffers having their personal cell phones was tied to Manigault-Newman’s habit of recording her conversations, the source told the Daily News.

Manigault Newman is also reportedly seeking meetings with lawyers as she is concerned that she will become part of Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
What a timeline we live in.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:54 AM on January 19 [78 favorites]


What are the Vegas odds of that phone being compromised?
posted by PenDevil at 6:01 AM on January 19 [6 favorites]


What a timeline we live in.

I mean, you can't get more hack reality TV writing than that. If you made a movie with this shitbagel as the premise, and the big reveal was that the asshole reality TV protege who does nothing that anyone could ever discern had been secretly taping conversations and handed the recordings over to burn her mentor to save her own ass, the critics would feed you your damn lunch over that..

I'm filled with near-daily rage at how horrible these people are. But then I reflect that they can't even be evil with any sense of style or originality. It's like if the actual phrase "banality of evil" got its wish granted by a magic cricket and became a real boy.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:25 AM on January 19 [51 favorites]


Watching Fox News and Republican legislators amplify a Russian propaganda operation is profoundly disturbing.

It's been a long and crazy two-and-a-half years. Der Klownwig announced his run in June of 2015.

I've got my trunk all packed. I've had it packed for a week, now
posted by petebest at 6:35 AM on January 19 [3 favorites]


I'm filled with near-daily rage at how horrible these people are

ok yes but then I imagine, like, the Russian ambassador getting news reports on whatever catastrofuck these clowns have bumbled into next, maybe a whole dossier on the next impending disaster resulting from behavior so randomized and stupid that it’s literally impossible to predict, maybe just the Washington post, whatever

Just every morning, reading his briefing, doing the Stan Marsh nose pinch until he looks upward and mutters, “why?”

And then I laugh
posted by schadenfrau at 6:37 AM on January 19 [8 favorites]


Like imagine having a sophisticated espionage Cold War plan, while at the pinnacle of your considerable skills and experience from years of being one of the most coldly competent people in the world, and then to execute that plan you have to work with Donald Trump

That is comic genius
posted by schadenfrau at 6:39 AM on January 19 [58 favorites]


Trump isn't heading to Mar-a-Lago until there's a deal, so now we just have to wait for him to get irritated and impatient and agree to sign anything.
posted by chris24 at 6:45 AM on January 19 [11 favorites]


He's already agreed to sign anything (well, before he raged out about shitholes), and I'm pretty sure he would actually sign whatever Congress sent him, mainly because he won't (and can't) actually read or understand it anyway, but also because in reality he's a weak and scared negotiator. He's not going to veto any deal. Whatever hits his desk he's going to sign and praise as the Best Deal Only He, The Greatest President Ever, could've got done. The real problem is Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell don't want to cut any immigration deal with Democrats, despite what they've said before and what they're pretending now. They're terrified of the Freedom Caucus and FOX News, and Ryan remembers what happened to John Boehner for passing spending deals using Democratic votes. Until that dynamic changes, it doesn't really matter what Trump is saying.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:50 AM on January 19 [19 favorites]


"Fire and Fury" was only two weeks ago, y'all.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:54 AM on January 19 [55 favorites]


AFAIK the conspiracy theory is that Obama abused the FISA warrant to help Hillary win the election.

Oh yes. The classic "put a FISA warrant on a treasonous bastard and then not tell anybody to not take political advantage of it".

It's like how Democrats got millions of illegal immigrants to vote in California to apparently run up the score?
posted by Talez at 7:05 AM on January 19 [12 favorites]


That's over two Scaramuccis ago, though. Who can remember that far back?
posted by odinsdream at 7:05 AM on January 19 [7 favorites]


If Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would rather be day drinking with Boehner than wrangling the Freedom Caucus and the current disfunctional clown in the White House they have plenty of options to quit.

In fact, I encourage them to quit and go mow some lawns with a pitcher of gin.
posted by lydhre at 7:07 AM on January 19 [15 favorites]


The CFPB is now a tool for the payday lender industry.

This country is disgusting.
posted by Talez at 7:15 AM on January 19 [71 favorites]


My husband is very political but usually sticks to Intellectual Anarchist Internet where the talk isn't so much about cloture votes and deal-making as it is about punching Nazis and the death of the state, and he is just spluttering incoherence right now trying to figure out wtf is going on in Congress (why do they need 60 votes? is this a thing? since when has this been a thing?) and why the news media seems to already be laying a shutdown at the Democrats' feet. Sweet summer child.

If Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would rather be day drinking with Boehner than wrangling the Freedom Caucus and the current disfunctional clown in the White House they have plenty of options to quit.

Seriously. All of these people seem to hate their jobs. Every time they show up in public they are wearing these rictus grins that just scream abject misery. There is a way out, my friends! Google up one of the many letters of resignation submitted by your colleagues over the past 6 months and do a find-and-replace! You're not a hostage! You can leave any time! (Please leave, right now.)

[And speaking of find-and-replace is anyone else listening to the Watergate podcast from Slate? The degree to which Trump-Russia really is Stupid Watergate is astounding to me. I thought it was a pretty apt description before I learned more about Watergate but the more I learn the more I realize it's 100% true.]
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:15 AM on January 19 [28 favorites]


So Republicans are strongly advising Trump to veto the 702 reauth bill they just passed, yes? Because if you're genuinely worried about abusive surveillance the first thing you do is shut off the surveillance. Right?
posted by scalefree at 7:17 AM on January 19 [16 favorites]


Seriously. All of these people seem to hate their jobs.

This is the part that's actually *really* disturbing, or, at least, it should be. These old white men could literally never work again in their life, and lead a life of extreme luxury existing as a privileged class among billions on earth, but they actually choose to spend their time additionally seeking to exercise power over others in this disgusting manner, and do so to enact policies that are unambiguously harmful given even the most cursory understanding and examination.

They are profoundly unwell people, and it ought to be terrifying.
posted by odinsdream at 7:19 AM on January 19 [86 favorites]


but then I imagine, like, the Russian ambassador getting news reports on whatever catastrofuck these clowns have bumbled into next, maybe a whole dossier on the next impending disaster resulting from behavior so randomized and stupid that it’s literally impossible to predict

Don't feel too much schadenfreude; the Russians are quite happy with its once-mighty hegemonic superpower falling about itself like a drunkard in the gutter. Much in the way that they really don't mind if, when the EU breaks up into a collection of warlike ethno-nationalist autocracies, the autocracies are rabidly anti-Russian. The hegemony of liberalism will have been vanquished, and a bunch of bumbling Keystone Stormtroopers will, in the worst case, give Putin a new Great Patriotic War to rally his economically straitened nation behind.
posted by acb at 7:22 AM on January 19 [7 favorites]


Well, unsurprisingly, /r/t_d has become wall to wall #releasethememo.
posted by Talez at 7:24 AM on January 19 [8 favorites]


NPR yesterday with the set-up: Trump Voters In Pennsylvania Say They Are Pleased With Presidency So Far -- Trump supporters still support Trump! Whoda thunk? Those interviewed include some happy comments on the return of coal to Pennsylvania.

And the punchline: What's Really The Biggest Threat To The Coal Industry -- it's cheap Natural Gas thanks to fracking (which is also big in Pennsylvania - web map, might choke mobile devices).

And then there's the follow-up in that interview of Christopher Knittel, an energy economist at MIT, by Stacey Vanek Smith for NPR:
KNITTEL: Well, I think what the current administration doesn't realize this is the actual war on coal has come from cheap natural gas.

VANEK SMITH: In the year 2016, for the first time ever, natural gas became the main source of energy in the U.S. all because of fracking. And coal went from providing about half the energy in the U.S. to around 30 percent and falling. So last September, Trump's Energy secretary, Rick Perry, came up with a new plan. Perry said, we have to make sure our energy supply is resilient, make sure if there's some kind of crazy cold snap or some emergency and we suddenly need a lot of power we've got a reserve.

KNITTEL: So it would have provided a subsidy for any power plant that had 90 days of fuel onsite.

VANEK SMITH: This subsidy, billions of dollars a year, would have been paid by people who use power, by us. But here's the thing - power plants that burn natural gas don't really store much gas onsite. You know who does store lots of fuel onsite? Coal plants. Also, by the way, nuclear plants.

KNITTEL: I have to give it to Secretary Perry. It was quite a creative policy to target coal and nuclear plants.

VANEK SMITH: Secretary Perry's plan had to be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. There are five commissioners, and four of them, including the chairman, were appointed by President Trump. The commission ruled on the plan last week, and all of the commissioners voted against it. (NYT) Knittel says this is because the way to get energy supply resilience is not by stockpiling coal. Moreover, creating new subsidies for coal and nuclear power plants would mess up the market for electric power. And that is the market the U.S. has spent decades trying to create to encourage companies to figure out cheaper, more efficient ways of getting power to people. And, says Knittel, that market is working.

KNITTEL: Cheap natural gas isn't going away. And it's not that coal's getting more expensive. It's that alternatives to coal are getting cheaper. And that's going to continue to happen.
The NYT article includes this additional detail: "Opponents of Mr. Perry’s proposal also pointed out that blackouts usually occurred because of problems with transmission lines — not because power plants had insufficient fuel on site." The funny thing is that Rick Perry supported wind power in Texas ... by supporting thousands of miles of new transmission lines (paid for by an increasing bill to energy users). Seems like he's just another Trump lapdog at this point, and we can end those hopes of Texas-style energy generation diversity coming to the US as a whole.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:25 AM on January 19 [19 favorites]


Snowden has probably the best (and the clearest) take on the MemoGuffin so far.
Officials confirm there's a secret report showing abuses of spy law Congress voted to reauthorize this week. If this memo had been known prior to the vote, FISA reauth would have failed. These abuses must be made public, and @realDonaldTrump should send the bill back with a veto. <

HPSCI reports have been false before, but all we know now is that many in Congress are making serious allegations it documents abuses of surveillance law--something we all know happened routinely under Bush and Obama (almost certainly Trump as well). We need to know if it's BS. <

[...] when the chairman of House Intel (HPSCI) claims there's documented evidence of serious surveillance abuses, it matters. If true, the citizens must see the proof. If false, it establishes HPSCI lies and has no credibility. Either outcome benefits the public. <
posted by creampuff at 7:29 AM on January 19 [10 favorites]


I think the saddest thing I've seen today is that the Trump administration is trying to keep national parks and monuments on the Nation Mall open, Trump officials weigh keeping national parks open even if government shuts down (WaPo). They are responding, I guess, to their own stunt protest to their 2013 shutdown in an attempt to do a better job at shutting down the government than Obama. Way to focus on the important things.
posted by peeedro at 7:31 AM on January 19 [3 favorites]


Re the Simpson testimony and from a Seth Abramson twitter stream
19/. While Fusion was being paid by the Free Beacon, Trump brought Paul Manafort on board his campaign—and Simpson had already done a lot of research on Manafort and his ties to Russia, so alarm bells went off for Fusion. In March 2016. While they were being paid by conservatives.
30/. Simpson makes a great point that media should regularly make: by the mid-2000s Trump was a self-professed billionaire who wasn't creditworthy—he couldn't get a bank loan. So where was all the cash coming from? Don Jr. says Russia; Eric Trump says Russia. Why not believe them?
31/. This is a crazy statement by a Republican—Rooney. It's crazy because in fact Trump's frauds and shady associations and adulteries and public lies and racism were ALL KNOWN prior to the election and not ONE of these House Republicans came out and said this man can't be POTUS.
posted by adamvasco at 7:31 AM on January 19 [15 favorites]


They are profoundly unwell people, and it ought to be terrifying.

Word on that. I've heard several accounts of what it's actually like to be a Freshman congressperson and it sounds fucking miserable. I suspect it gets less miserable as you gain status and staffers, but there's only two reasons anyone would go through that first term: they have a deep, profound commitment to public service or they crave power and prestige.

Those with the latter motivation need to be weeded out somehow, but I suspect the system actually works in reverse. The earnest do-gooders get ground down, the cynical self-servers are motivated to put in the time, assured that the pay-off will be worth it.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:33 AM on January 19 [15 favorites]


Speaking of Wind vs Coal: Wind with batteries? Build it quickly and it could cost $21/MWh in Colorado -- New generation would add to current capacity and could also replace some coal. (Megan Geuss for Ars Technica, Jan. 19, 2018)
Proposals for renewable electricity generation in Colorado are coming in cheap, like, $21/MWh-cheap for wind and battery storage. Though there are a few caveats to those numbers, federal incentives and quickly falling costs are combining to make once-quirky renewable projects into major contenders in an industry where fossil fuels have comfortably dominated since the 19th century.

Early last year, Colorado energy provider Xcel Energy requested proposals for new electricity generation. Specifically, the company needed 450 megawatts of additional generation to meet future demand. In a separate request called the Colorado Energy Plan, Xcel said (PDF) it would consider replacing two coal plants providing 660MW of capacity with "hundreds of megawatts of new wind and solar as well as some natural gas-fired resources" if new resources could be found cheaper than what those coal plants cost to operate (including costs to shut down the plants early).

By late November, energy companies had submitted their best offers. Although exact details of the offers aren’t available yet, Xcel Colorado was required to make public a summary of the proposals (PDF) in the month after the bids were submitted.
Further Reading:
Solar now costs 6¢ per kilowatt-hour, beating government goal by 3 years (Sept. 13, 2017)
posted by filthy light thief at 7:36 AM on January 19 [28 favorites]


Very bad news for democracy:

Supreme Court says North Carolina does not have to immediately redraw congressional maps that a lower court ruled unconstitutional [WaPo]

Thanks to the Supreme Court it is very likely that this year's election will take place with North Carolina's unconstitutional gerrymandering in place.
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:07 AM on January 19 [19 favorites]


@Susan_Hennessey (Lawfare, Brookings Fellow)
It appears to be some loose collection of Nunes's individual unfounded allegations related to unmasking, not clearly even endorsed by his fellow Republicans, now being seized on by opportunists looking for a Hail Mary to try to tank the 702 bill before Trump signs it.
- I have no clue what game Nunes is playing at but this has nothing to do with 702. Furthermore, no one is "releasing" anything without a executive branch classification review. Even for four pages, that's a multi-week endeavor.
- My prediction is that after causing completely unnecessary chaos today, this memo will be released in some redacted form in a few weeks and prove to be an utter embarrassment to Nunes personally, the HPSCI majority, and frankly to US House of Representatives.

@NatashaBertrand (Business Insider)
Retweeted Susan Hennessey
Source with knowledge tells me the Nunes memo is "a level of irresponsible stupidity that I cannot fathom. Purposefully misconstrues facts and leaves out important details."

@matthewamiller (MSNBC)
Replying to @NatashaBertrand
I think your source isn't telling the truth. If they've worked with Nunes for long, they can fathom any level of irresponsible stupidity.
posted by chris24 at 8:11 AM on January 19 [120 favorites]


Source with knowledge tells me the Nunes memo is "a level of irresponsible stupidity that I cannot fathom. Purposefully misconstrues facts and leaves out important details."

I'm way past thinking Nunes is only stupid or irresponsible. He's complicit, compromised, and impeding the Russia investigation like his life depends on it.
posted by diogenes at 8:28 AM on January 19 [70 favorites]


Echoing creampuff's Snowden quotes above, I don't have a hard time believing that there were surveillance excesses during the Obama years, just as with under Shrub or any other President. I know that the EFF and ACLU have been howling about them for decades.

If the MemoGuffin is simply Nunes cherry-picking bits that support his conclusions, I suspect that there may be some bits there for him to find -- just not ones that support the assumptions the conclusions are based on (i.e. Trump is clean, Hillary is a Russian puppet, the Dossier is all lies and collusion, the Deep State is attempting a coup). If you take those assumptions on faith, it all makes sense and I would like to ask if you've ever thought of the advantages of owning your own Brooklyn Bridge.
posted by delfin at 8:31 AM on January 19 [5 favorites]


Snowden is right though, if Trump is serious about the memo he would veto the 702 extension.
posted by PenDevil at 8:35 AM on January 19 [2 favorites]


Regarding WaPo highlighting the Democrats as the shutdown looms:

Yes, D's are getting the press about taking a stand and not backing down. Are we going to bitch about Ds getting the blame in the press--when no matter how you slice it, the R's are still in power in both houses of Congress and the WH. Bottom line is, just as we've seen throughout the year, they can't actually get anything done?

If the headline were just about Republican incompetence and inability to govern (and as I recall, they're getting that press too), and didn't have mention of D's standing firm, would we be bitching about D's resolve not getting reported at all?

Choose your frame, folks. Only you can stop the circular firing squad.
posted by Sublimity at 8:36 AM on January 19 [23 favorites]


I guess I still don't understand: why NOT take the +6 years to CHIP and a temp resolution, and then get to have the same fight over DACA in February. Is there a deadline I'm not seeing? I get the urge to go for a big win, but this seems like free points on the board.
posted by Wulfhere at 8:55 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Devin Nunes is the human embodiment of the "I have no idea what I'm doing" dog.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:57 AM on January 19 [6 favorites]


The Guardian is not normalizing Trump
posted by mumimor at 9:03 AM on January 19 [7 favorites]


I guess I still don't understand: why NOT take the +6 years to CHIP and a temp resolution, and then get to have the same fight over DACA in February. Is there a deadline I'm not seeing? I get the urge to go for a big win, but this seems like free points on the board.

The cynical answer is because the left will beat the center over the head with it if the centrists agree to the CR.

The probable answer is that attaching DACA to a CR will never happen and the Democrats know it. Ryan will not let a CR hit the floor which he needs Democratic votes to pass otherwise he risks being boehned. To attach DACA to a CR would require Democratic votes in the house to pass. The House Freedom Caucus would immediately call for Ryan's head and shit would hit the fan. Ryan will not let a CR with DACA hit the floor EVER.

Sadly, the House Freedom Caucus called the Democrats' bluff but Flake is a giant spanner in the Senate works for Republicans. Schumer called for cloture last night because he knows McConnell has <50 R votes for the CR and he wants to raise where the Republicans called.
posted by Talez at 9:06 AM on January 19 [13 favorites]


I get the urge to go for a big win, but this seems like free points on the board.

Mid-terms are shaping up now.
If CHIP doesn't get funded, Republicans will own that entirely. They'll never be able to effectively spin "we wanted children to have insurance but Democrats wouldn't give us X," because we're talking about children. The only people who would buy that shit are the people who will always buy everything Republicans say; they can't win on the margins with that, and they're facing a wave.

Conversely, if Democrats don't fight tooth and nail on DACA they risk losing enthusiasm and support from basically anyone who actually cares about immigrants. Dropping the ball on DACA is a sure way to diminish their own hopefully-impending wave. That means fighting now. They want to get this done, they want Republicans to walk into 2018 with as many bruises on their face as possible, and every time they delay this fight for another day they risk having the rug pulled out from under them by the next astounding Republican stupidity to turn up.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:08 AM on January 19 [29 favorites]


Is there a deadline I'm not seeing? I get the urge to go for a big win, but this seems like free points on the board.

122 DACA recipients lose their status every day.
posted by chris24 at 9:09 AM on January 19 [24 favorites]


Newsweek: Trump is terrified of sharks and hopes they all die, Stormy Daniels claims

A bizarre trait of right-wing authoritarians is a deep fear of supposedly dangerous animals. This is particularly visible in the rural West, where opposition to wolf reintroduction and conservation is pretty strong and entrenched. It's not just that the generally conservative ranching and hunting (not to mention logging) communities don't want the competition from predators, although their organizations do provide much of the anti-wildlife funding: I've observed a number of conservatives out here who are genuinely, personally scared of wolves and bears and believe that any day now the packs will start coming out of the woods to steal children.

Many believe that introducing them is part of the UN's plan to make rural America too dangerous for Real Americans, but I think that their fear of predators is deeper than just a need to align themselves with the conspiracy du jour: I think this is some hard-wired neurological stuff, along the same lines as the increased disgust response and psychological emphasis on cleanliness and purity that has been clinically demonstrated in right-leaning people. Their little world will always be surrounded by the deep, dark forest, full of all kinds of nasty and dangerous creatures wearing human and animal skins.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:13 AM on January 19 [59 favorites]


BREAKING: More blame Republicans than Democrats for potential government shutdown, Post-ABC poll finds (WaPo)
By a 20-point margin, more Americans blame President Trump and Republicans rather than Democrats for a potential government shutdown, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

A 48 percent plurality says Trump and congressional Republicans are mainly responsible for the situation resulting from disagreements over immigration laws and border security, while 28 percent fault Democrats. A sizable 18 percent volunteer that both parties are equally responsible. Political independents drive the lopsided margin of blame, saying by 46 to 25 percent margin that Republicans and Trump are responsible for the situation.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:13 AM on January 19 [27 favorites]


Newsweek: Trump is terrified of sharks and hopes they all die, Stormy Daniels claims

If there was ever a time for SNL to bring back the Land Shark sketch...
posted by mikepop at 9:17 AM on January 19 [40 favorites]


A bizarre trait of right-wing authoritarians is a deep fear of supposedly dangerous animals

to be fair, maybe it's mutual, since apparently predators don't care for authoritarians, either
posted by halation at 9:20 AM on January 19 [7 favorites]


From the Guardian article: Donald Trump's first year: in his own words
posted by kirkaracha at 9:22 AM on January 19 [2 favorites]


I think this is some hard-wired neurological stuff

See also: the people who are most scared of immigrants stealing their jobs are also the people who live in areas that have fewest immigrants. See also also: the people who are most scared of Muslim terrorists are in the places where that has 0% chance of happening. No one is bombing the Fort Wayne Wal-Mart, but ask conservatives in Indiana what they're most afraid of and I guarantee you terrorists are on the list.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:24 AM on January 19 [50 favorites]


The Mooch was on the BBC Hardtalk show last night. It appears he wants his job back as he brownnosed 45 in the extreme. 45's language? Hey, he grew up on the streets of New York. Tweets? Ah, just a joke. Sarcasm. Kind of funny in schadenfreude sort of way. What a wanker...
posted by njohnson23 at 9:24 AM on January 19 [3 favorites]


House transcript shows how Fusion works, how Steele works and that Trump is a crook.

MR. SIMPSON: As we pieced together the early years of his biography, it seemed as if during the early part of his career he had connections to a lot of Italian mafia figures, and then gradually during the nineties became associated with Russian mafia figures.

Full house transcript (also linked above).
posted by anya32 at 9:25 AM on January 19 [24 favorites]


Lee Fang, Intercept: GOP candidate for Pennsylvania special election is a former Abu Ghraig interrogation consultant.

Rick Saccone is proud of his record as a professional torturer. He's a monster.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:32 AM on January 19 [39 favorites]


Rick Saccone is proud of his record as a professional torturer. The content of the article is worse than you think. He's a monster.

If you think that's going to hurt his chances, then you haven't spent much time in rural Pennsylvania.
posted by octothorpe at 9:38 AM on January 19 [22 favorites]


I'm imagining a reverse Buridan's ass situation where Trump is in water surrounded by sharks, but can only escape by climbing a set of stairs.

No - he can only escape by genuinely apologizing for one thing he's ever done wrong during his presidency, no matter how minor.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 9:40 AM on January 19 [11 favorites]


Buridan's Ass
Buridan's ass is an illustration of a paradox in philosophy in the conception of free will. It refers to a hypothetical situation wherein a donkey that is equally hungry and thirsty is placed precisely midway between a stack of hay and a pail of water. Since the paradox assumes the ass will always go to whichever is closer, it dies of both hunger and thirst since it cannot make any rational decision between the hay and water.[1] A common variant of the paradox substitutes two identical piles of hay for the hay and water; the ass, unable to choose between the two, dies of hunger.

The paradox is named after the 14th century French philosopher Jean Buridan, whose philosophy of moral determinism it satirizes. Although the illustration is named after Buridan, philosophers have discussed the concept before him, notably Aristotle who used the example of a man equally hungry and thirsty,[2] and Al-Ghazali who used a man faced with the choice of equally good dates.
Thanks to @leotrotsky, I something new today!
posted by notyou at 9:43 AM on January 19 [21 favorites]


Carlos Lozada, WaPo, reviews four books about 45's first year: American democracy is on a break. Welcome to ‘Trumpocracy.’
TRUMPOCRACY: The Corruption of the American Republic
By David Frum. Harper. 304 pp. $25.99

IT’S EVEN WORSE THAN YOU THINK: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America
By David Cay Johnston. Simon & Schuster. 320 pp. $30

TRUMP’S FIRST YEAR
By Michael Nelson. University of Virginia. 220 pp. $19.95

HOW DEMOCRACIES DIE
By Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. Crown. 312 pp. $26

Once the fire burns out and the fury subsides, what will chroniclers of our era make of this frenetic first year of America Under Trump?
TL;DR: "Send lawyers, guns and money. The shit has hit the fan."
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:44 AM on January 19 [31 favorites]


Trump called Schumer and invited him to WH to talk deal. He's heading there now. McConnell and Ryan not going/invited.

Rs are unhappy.

@JakeSherman (Politico)
There is very serious concern rippling through the House Republican Conference that they are about to get hosed by the president and Chuck Schumer.
posted by chris24 at 9:53 AM on January 19 [63 favorites]


Trump called Schumer and invited him to WH to talk deal. He's heading there now. McConnell and Ryan not going/invited.

Quick, someone text Stephen Miller that the surf's up at Ocean City! Or something! What do C+ Santa Monica Fascists like?
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:55 AM on January 19 [23 favorites]


I get the urge to go for a big win, but this seems like free points on the board.

By March, not only will DACA expire, but so will the debt ceiling. Democrats will have NO leverage on the debt ceiling. If they are going to use a budget battle on DACA, this is the only chance now that they already punted this fight three times. And if not, they might as well give up on the midterm now, because breaking their promise to the DACA advocates will decimate enthusiasm.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:55 AM on January 19 [12 favorites]




[A few comments removed; if y'all actually want to have a lengthy conversation about Buridan's Ass or other philosophical paradoxes and thought experiments, someone put together a nice post about it and go nuts free from the specter of Trump. In the mean time, let's keep this thread free from the specter of philosophical noodling.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:06 AM on January 19 [10 favorites]


House transcript shows how Fusion works, how Steele works and that Trump is a crook.

MR. SIMPSON: As we pieced together the early years of his biography, it seemed as if during the early part of his career he had connections to a lot of Italian mafia figures, and then gradually during the nineties became associated with Russian mafia figures.

Full house transcript (also linked above).
posted by anya32 at 9:25 AM on January 19 [9 favorites +] [!]


This is the reason for the #releasethememo bot attack. It's an attempt at counterprogramming to stifle this information in the public's mind.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:08 AM on January 19 [27 favorites]


Um. From Trump's anti-abortion march speech (video):
Right now, in a number of states, the laws allow a baby to be born from his or her mother’s womb in the ninth month. It is wrong. It has to change
I...I'm pretty sure that it would be rather bad policy to change the law to disallow babies to be born during the ninth month.
posted by zachlipton at 10:14 AM on January 19 [88 favorites]



Trump called Schumer and invited him to WH to talk deal. He's heading there now. McConnell and Ryan not going/invited.

Didn't it go badly for the Republicans last time Schumer got Trump alone? I wouldn't be surprised if Schumer knows how to lay it on thick and do the "fellow New Yorkers we're in this together" song and dance that Donny Two Scoops eats up. Maybe I'm optimistic, but Trump and Co. are hardly chessmasters.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:18 AM on January 19 [4 favorites]


I don't know how he flubbed that. They even kept it down to two syllable word-things for him.
posted by rc3spencer at 10:19 AM on January 19 [2 favorites]


The Kremlin bots are going all out on this one.

Watching Fox News and Republican legislators amplify a Russian propaganda operation is profoundly disturbing.


I've said it before, but I can remember a time (documented, among other things, in the recent Vietnam documentary) when Republicans routinely accused Democrats of being dupes of Moscow.
posted by Gelatin at 10:21 AM on January 19 [18 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the word was supposed to be "torn" rather than "born".
posted by Jpfed at 10:21 AM on January 19 [7 favorites]


Greg Sargent, This disaster is the handiwork of Donald Trump
I’m told that in a series of meetings between Democratic and GOP leaders and Trump administration officials, Democrats repeatedly pressed their counterparts to make a counter-offer, after Trump rejected the bipartisan deal reached recently that would legalize the dreamers in exchange for some concessions. They have gotten nothing serious in response, I’m told.
Mark Meadows is running around claiming Trump promised him he wouldn't support any immigration deal unless Meadows and Tom Cotton backed it. There is no chance of any deal Tom Cotton ciould support passing the Senate.

Hilariously, the White House is already trying to insist the meeting is meaningless:
The White House is already reassuring allies on Hill that Trump merely wants to hear Schumer out — and that no deals will be cut during this confab, I’m told. Rs were privately starting to get nervous
Sounds like they're nervous.
posted by zachlipton at 10:28 AM on January 19 [15 favorites]


MetaFilter: free from the specter of philosophical noodling
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:29 AM on January 19 [21 favorites]


Huh, I thought they were using the Up-Goer Five text editor for his speeches, but "born" is not a permitted word.
posted by AFABulous at 10:29 AM on January 19 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the word was supposed to be "torn" rather than "born".
posted by Jpfed at 10:21 AM on January 19 [+] [!]


When he's reading aloud, I often get the sense that Trump isn't really understanding what he's reading in real time. His emphasis and diction often disconnect with the meaning of what he's repeating. This error is evidence that he isn't, because that mistake has to be the result of him not tracking and just reading the words one at a time.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:30 AM on January 19 [14 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the word was supposed to be "torn" rather than "born".

I, I'd :: shithole, shithouse :: born, torn. It's only fake news when we hear what he says rather than guess what he means.
posted by notyou at 10:30 AM on January 19 [12 favorites]


Trump isn't really understanding what he's reading in real time.

Frequently you can hear him get to the end of a line on the teleprompter and stop there, then begin the next line as if it's a new sentence.
posted by EarBucket at 10:36 AM on January 19 [35 favorites]


This might be a little close to philosophical noodling, but can anyone point me to resources discussing the game theory of the CR negotiations? I suppose a shutdown is complicated by the possibility of playing the blame game after the fact, and by the way a shutdown could fit in with "starve the beast" concepts* but I would have assumed that at some point everyone involved has a BATNA that isn't a shutdown*? Is it a diffusion of responsibility thing, where MoCs don't have to own something 534 other people were involved in? Or am I just horribly naive in assuming that a no one exists who thinks a DACA agreement is worse than shutting down the federal government?

If that is the case, resources on those people who would prefer a shutdown over an agreement (any agreement?) would be interesting as well. But mostly I'm stuck on this idea that at some point, everyone would have to give a little.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:44 AM on January 19


Mulvaney, who won the stand-off to head the CFPB, has requested $0.00 for its funding.


Just today I received in the mail a check from one of the big three credit reporting agencies. It seems they got harassed by the CFPB over a scheme they had running at some point in the last 7 years for some sort of monitoring thing with a free period which had - and they are not admitting any fault here no-sir-e - a cancellation period that was confusing to some people. So if you cancelled after the trial but in the first period and blah blah other confusing shit, here's your check.

For me it's under $20 and a great example of what we're losing with this agency. How else is some sketchy but not too costly sort of nonsense like this going to get policed? Class action suits need to be more clear-cut. Even if they did get taken up, the payout on those would be a big chunk of money for the contingency for the lawyers and the rest of us would get coupons for shit we don't want and which will often enrich the initial bad actors.

I should frame it as a memorial of a time that was too short and now gone but the fuck if I'll let those bastards keep any money, no matter how small.
posted by phearlez at 10:44 AM on January 19 [33 favorites]


Frequently you can hear him get to the end of a line on the teleprompter and stop there, then begin the next line as if it's a new sentence.

He also frequently interjects his own comments as if he's only just discovered the meaning of what he's just said & has something of his own to say about it.
posted by scalefree at 10:48 AM on January 19 [63 favorites]


Well we just had the all-hands "it's probably really happening this time" call. Everyone told to come in for 4 hours Monday to turn in our laptops. Letters to your creditors will be available from HR. All scheduled leave will be cancelled, which I'm sure is good news for the two pregnant women we have in my office, one of whom is due two weeks from now. Personally I delayed paying off my (large) credit card bill from all our holiday travel/gifts/etc to make sure we could cover our February mortgage payment if necessary without me getting paid. It hasn't even happened yet and the shithole shutdown is having a large effect on the federal workforce.

I suppose a shutdown is complicated by the possibility of playing the blame game after the fact, and by the way a shutdown could fit in with "starve the beast" concepts* but I would have assumed that at some point everyone involved has a BATNA that isn't a shutdown*? Is it a diffusion of responsibility thing, where MoCs don't have to own something 534 other people were involved in? Or am I just horribly naive in assuming that a no one exists who thinks a DACA agreement is worse than shutting down the federal government?

Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell's BATNA is the shutdown, because the result of a negotiated agreement with Democrats is the Tea Party and FOX News turning on them, and possibly their own personal safety from their crazed base.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:54 AM on January 19 [40 favorites]


From the leopards decide to eat your face after all department (as reported by the NYT): Drilling Off Florida Is Still On the Table, Interior Official Says
In a surprise statement undercutting Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s announcement last week that he was exempting Florida from President Trump’s offshore drilling plan, the acting director of the federal agency in charge of offshore oil and gas leases said that Florida’s coastal waters had not been excluded after all.

[...]

On Friday, the head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which manages offshore leasing, said Mr. Zinke’s Florida decision was not final.

“It is not a formal action, no,” Walter Cruickshank, the bureau’s acting director, told a subcommitteeof the House Committee on Natural Resources.

The bureau was pushing ahead with an analysis of resources off Florida’s shores, Mr. Cruickshank said, and a formal decision on whether to commence offshore leasing off Florida would come after that analysis.

“The secretary’s decision will be reflected in the proposed program decision,” he said.

He was not aware that anyone at Bureau of Ocean Energy Management had discussed Mr. Zinke’s Florida tweet beforehand, he added.
The committee's ranking Democrat got a headstart on the snark:
Representative Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona, the senior Democrat on the subcommittee, responsible for energy and mineral resources, criticized the confusion caused by what he called “an out-of-control administration with incompetent top leadership.”

“Instead of carefully following laws and regulations, this administration writes policy on a napkin, announces it on social media and calls it a day,” Mr. Grijalva said.
posted by notyou at 10:55 AM on January 19 [33 favorites]


A tweet from German International newspaper Handelsblatt Global: "Deutsche Bank reported questionable transactions involving President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, or people or businesses near him, to German securities regulators and will forward the info to special prosecutor Robert Mueller."

It will be interesting to see whether this gets confirmed and/or expanded by other outlets.
posted by scarylarry at 10:56 AM on January 19 [57 favorites]


Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug: but can anyone point me to resources discussing the game theory of the CR negotiations?

your question was so interesting I Asked it.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:59 AM on January 19 [4 favorites]


> I've said it before, but I can remember a time (documented, among other things, in the recent Vietnam documentary) when Republicans routinely accused Democrats of being dupes of Moscow.

Yes, Republicans smearing their opponents as dupes of Moscow was a dark and corrosive tactic that reshaped the political landscape of the United States for the worse, for a generation. It was awful then, and it's still destructive now, so the less of it from all parties the better.
posted by creampuff at 10:59 AM on January 19


The conservative spin on this memo has come full circle. Hannity even compared whatever this is to Watergate by dismissing the latter as "a third-rate burglary," the same phrase White House press secretary Ron Ziegler used to dismiss the Watergate case before it led to dozens of convictions and resignations, including that of President Nixon.
posted by msalt at 11:00 AM on January 19 [17 favorites]


The problem is, we now how documented evidence of Putin's activities on the web and their connection to people in our country, It's not a smear if it's true!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:02 AM on January 19 [16 favorites]


Supreme Court will hear the third travel ban case, to be argued in April.

Michelle Goldberg in an NYT op-ed on yesterday's N.R.A. revelations, Is This the Collusion We Were Waiting For?
In May 2016, Paul Erickson, an activist who has raised money for the National Rifle Association, sent an email to Rick Dearborn, an adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, with the super-subtle subject heading “Kremlin Connection.” As The New York Times reported last December, Erickson wrote that Russia was “quietly but actively seeking a dialogue with the U.S.” and planned to use the N.R.A.’s annual convention in Louisville, Ky. that month to make “first contact” with the Trump camp. At the convention, Donald Trump Jr. met with Aleksandr Torshin, an ally of President Vladimir Putin of Russia, reputed mobster and deputy governor of the Russian central bank.

This is one of those episodes that is easy to lose track of amid the avalanche of evidence connecting the Trump administration and Russia. But it takes on new significance because of an intriguing, potentially explosive article that McClatchy published Thursday headlined, “F.B.I. Investigating Whether Russian Money Went to N.R.A. to Help Trump.” We know of numerous secret communications between members of the Trump campaign and Russia, and favors asked for and received. This, however, is the most significant hint of a money trail. Norman Eisen, Barack Obama’s White House ethics czar, tweeted: “this could well be the collusion we have been waiting for, prosecutable as possible campaign finance crimes.”
...
“In terms of what the Russians are doing in the United States, it’s far broader than just the Trump campaign,” Schiff told me. “In that sense when people think that the Russian intervention was just about tipping the scales to one of the candidates in 2016, they’re thinking far too narrowly.”
posted by zachlipton at 11:04 AM on January 19 [62 favorites]


Yes, Republicans smearing their opponents as dupes of Moscow was a dark and corrosive tactic that reshaped the political landscape of the United States for the worse, for a generation. It was awful then, and it's still destructive now, so the less of it from all parties the better.

How about when we indict Republicans as dupes of Moscow. Is that cool?
posted by diogenes at 11:05 AM on January 19 [20 favorites]


It was awful then, and it's still destructive now, so the less of it from all parties the better.

No.

It was corrosive when Republicans did it because it was a lie. But the evidence is coming out that the GOP is actually compromised.

There is a difference.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:06 AM on January 19 [113 favorites]


Hannity even compared whatever this is to Watergate by dismissing the latter as "a third-rate burglary," the same phrase White House press secretary Ron Ziegler used to dismiss the Watergate case before it led to dozens of convictions and resignations, including that of President Nixon.

The most striking thing to me about the Watergate podcast (it's called Slow Burn, produced by Slate) is the complete whole-cloth recycling of phrases used by Republicans to dismiss Watergate by current Republicans (sometimes the same exact people!) to dismiss Trump-Russia. The other creepy parallel is the vintage interviews with white working class men "who had always voted Democrat previously" who were Nixon's ride or die base as well.
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:10 AM on January 19 [18 favorites]


Schumer alone in a room with Trump is a recipe for the Republicans getting hosed. Trump sees himself having a lot more in common with a fellow New Yorker like Chuck Schumer than with humorless prigs like Tom Cotton. I doubt he could even find Arkansas on a map. Like I said with the last Schumer pow-wow:

Donnie loves stuff he's familiar with, and you can bet shooting the shit with guys like Chuck Schumer is a lot more comfortable to him than dealing with Mitch "can't disguise how much he dislikes you" McConnell and Paul "Stepford Eddie Munster" Ryan.

posted by leotrotsky at 11:15 AM on January 19 [11 favorites]


I don't dare hope. but. it is entirely feasible that Chuck could talk Trump into selling the Dems the whole DACA farm and have him walk out feeling like a winner.
posted by lydhre at 11:18 AM on January 19 [5 favorites]


Ooof, just woke up to two comments deleted (I’m sorry!) and a hangover thanks to the Lillet that my critical theorist girlfriend and I drank last night while listening to The Boss. This is a lot to catch up on, but I want to take a note of one of my favorite pet topics that diogenes mentioned above:
Watching Fox News and Republican legislators amplify a Russian propaganda operation is profoundly disturbing.
I know I have probably harped on this a lot in these threads, but I totally agree and I cannot make it more clear how profoundly disturbed I feel looking at what seems to be a massive psychological warfare campaign on the American populace. There is probably major kompromat of the Republicans due to the Russian hacks during the election that has them scared, but that was the RNC and a few Republican politicians, how much could they really have? The amount of data they stole from the DNC was significant, but only a few pieces of it were actually weaponized and part of that was merely because the press doesn’t do enough critical research, and they went with the narrative of “the DNC got hacked and stole the primaries from Bernie!” instead of looking at the fact that specific documents were withheld to fit that narration. Also, the entire concept of “the DNC got hacked” portrays a weakness in them. Who gets hacked? Not smart people, that’s for sure! But the Republicans were hacked too, they just didn’t have their information released by a third-party intermediary at very specific intervals with very specific pieces suspiciously absent.

So how much could the Russian intelligence services actually have on the Republicans? I’ve seen it mentioned a lot in these threads, but if the RNC is anything like the DNC, it’s probably not much in those emails, and would only be useful if released to fit a specific narrative, with certain parts of it withheld to manipulate the populace. That wouldn’t work at this point. So what else is there that is making the Republicans a massive, coercive force for Russian propaganda? That’s an honest question, because I already have my conspiracy theory, which is that the Republicans are majorly involved in illegal Russian money and Fox News is a gigantic Russian intelligence operation. It seems highly suspicious to me that Fox News works as basically a Republican-run government news outlet that broadcasts propaganda and selectively obscures facts in order to highly pursue a fascist agenda, almost like RT 🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔 However, I have no evidence of that, so let’s not discuss my inane ramblings.

So what could the Russians really have on the Republicans that would make them act this way, and be so deep into crushing an investigation into somebody who is basically a random president? Think about it: Trump isn’t a Republican figure like Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush or anybody else whom he faced in the primary. He’s sort of a random figure, who got big on his own failed brand and a racist conspiracy theory. He was basically a kook. But what does that have to do with the Republican establishment at-large, to the point where people like even Mitch McConnell, who have nothing to do with Trump, are torpedoing a major investigation right from the outset, and pushing Russian propaganda? (I bring up Mitch because when Obama wanted to have a joint, bipartisan speech about Russian influence in the election, McConnell wasn’t down, he chose party over country, like the rabid traitor he is).

It just seems really suspicious to me that a fairly large group of people are willing to protect somebody who is basically a strange outlier. Trump barely puts forth Republican goals, so it’s not like he’s particularly useful to them, which makes me exceptionally suspicious of what’s going on. If this was an establishment figure it would make a lot more sense, but Trump isn’t an establishment Republican and never has been, he can’t possibly have a major amount of information that could destroy the Republican party (unless he was fed information by someone ¯\_(ツ)_/¯) The Republicans must have something weird going on with them as an institution to warrant this sort of response. I personally believe they’ve been co-opted by the Russians (and probably various other fascist groups) for many years now, going back even before Clinton. The Republicans have always gone above-and-beyond dirty tricks to win.
posted by gucci mane at 11:24 AM on January 19 [30 favorites]


I don't dare hope. but. it is entirely feasible that Chuck could talk Trump into selling the Dems the whole DACA farm and have him walk out feeling like a winner.

That's called pulling a Feinstein.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:25 AM on January 19 [4 favorites]


All scheduled leave will be cancelled, which I'm sure is good news for the two pregnant women we have in my office, one of whom is due two weeks from now.

From what I understand, parental leave is unpaid. But if leave is cancelled during the shutdown, those women will officially be on shutdown furlough, not paternal leave and end up being paid for their time off when they return. Might actually be a better deal. (Not that I am an expert on federal employment benefits).
posted by JackFlash at 11:28 AM on January 19 [6 favorites]


We had a 1:30 call on shutdown procedures, and another call with higher-ups is scheduled for 3:00. It’s awesome telling my 30 employees that they may get furloughed tonight.
posted by wintermind at 11:36 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]


This might be a little close to philosophical noodling, but can anyone point me to resources discussing the game theory of the CR negotiations? I suppose a shutdown is complicated by the possibility of playing the blame game after the fact, and by the way a shutdown could fit in with "starve the beast" concepts* but I would have assumed that at some point everyone involved has a BATNA that isn't a shutdown*? Is it a diffusion of responsibility thing, where MoCs don't have to own something 534 other people were involved in? Or am I just horribly naive in assuming that a no one exists who thinks a DACA agreement is worse than shutting down the federal government?

(1) It's not really game theory -- more a preference aggregation problem. When you take a bunch of people who have individually rational (ie complete and transitive) preferences over a set of outcomes, the collective preference of that group (or subgroups like the GOP or freedom caucus) can frequently become weird, irrational, and nonsensical. These problems are not even theoretically possible to solve.

(2) To the extent that you're going to point to something game-theoretical or close to it, the best analogy is probably a collective action problem. Sure, there are probably lots of Republicans who would prefer DACA agreement + no shutdown to a shutdown. BUT, the problem is lots of that group probably prefer "DACA agreement happens but I voted against it, and no shutdown" to "DACA agreement I voted for, and no shutdown."
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:37 AM on January 19 [6 favorites]


Most people use their sick and then annual leave as parental for as long as it lasts, that's what I was thinking of. I'm not totally sure what their leave situation is, since I'm not a supervisor. Assuming everyone eventually gets back pay, maybe it won't be an issue.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:38 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]




Money man: Reclusive U.S. billionaire Robert Mercer helped Donald Trump win the presidency. But what is his ultimate goal? (Keith Boag, CBC)
Bannon’s relationship with Robert Mercer is cited in a remarkable lawsuit brought by David Magerman, a former employee of Mercer’s hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies. On its surface, the lawsuit is a wrongful dismissal complaint against Mercer. But at its heart, it is an indictment of Mercer’s character and reputation that draws together his political views, his connections to Bannon and Trump and racist comments Mercer allegedly made to Magerman directly.

“I have a lot of respect for Bob Mercer. I think he’s a very intelligent person, a very thoughtful person,” Magerman told me recently. But he quickly added, “If the world knew what he was trying to do, they wouldn’t stand for it.”
...
In January 2017, before Trump’s inauguration, Magerman called Mercer to chat about politics and the new administration. He wanted to persuade Mercer to withdraw support from Trump.

They talked about Obamacare and the social safety net and disagreed about Trump’s positions on those issues. Then, Magerman says Mercer made a series of comments on U.S. society:
◾The United States began to go in the wrong direction after the passage of the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s;
◾African-Americans were doing fine in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s before The Civil Rights Act; 

◾The Civil Rights Act “infantilized” African Americans by making them dependent on government and removing any incentive to work; 

◾The only racist people remaining in the U.S. are black; and 

◾White people have no racial animus toward African-Americans anymore, and if there is any, it’s not something the government should be concerned with.

Magerman felt he couldn’t keep that to himself.
For his troubles, Magerman ended up dismissed from his job.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:43 AM on January 19 [74 favorites]


The Republicans must have something weird going on with them as an institution to warrant this sort of response.

It's got a nonzero probability. But I just wouldn't discount the notion that some people are motivated by the idea that Democrats are world-destroyingly bad for one reason or another (e.g. socialism = communism and that inevitably ends in totalitarianism, or Democrats make the government condone abortion, which is an unending society-wide massacre) and that drives some Republicans to take extreme measures to defeat them.
posted by Jpfed at 11:46 AM on January 19 [7 favorites]


Feds seeking to re-try Sen Menendez.

Bob, time to resign. Gov Murphy can appoint a Dem.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:59 AM on January 19 [15 favorites]


Court rules in favor of special master's map for North Carolina state legislative districts, to take effect immediately. This should result in a several seat Dem pickup and break the GOP's veto-proof majorities.

This is separate from the ruling that SCOTUS just stayed - that was about NC Congressional districts and partisan gerrymandering. This is state legislative and racial gerrymandering, which has a lot more case law behind it.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:03 PM on January 19 [60 favorites]


A tweet from German International newspaper Handelsblatt Global: "Deutsche Bank reported questionable transactions involving President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, or people or businesses near him, to German securities regulators and will forward the info to special prosecutor Robert Mueller."

It will be interesting to see whether this gets confirmed and/or expanded by other outlets.


Someone miss making payments on time?
posted by azpenguin at 12:06 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


Trump is historically unpopular. But the intensity gap should really terrify Republicans (Paul Waldman | WaPo)
With the anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration coming tomorrow, there’s a raft of new polls out assessing what the American people think of the president, and the big story is that, just as he has cast aside norms of behavior, candor and propriety from his first day in office, Trump is breaking new ground.

There’s never been a president who was as deeply unpopular for as long as he has been at this stage of his presidency.

And when you look deeper into the polls, you see signs of real trouble for Republicans, driven by Trump’s ability to suck up everyone’s attention and focus. The president is always the main protagonist of our political story, but we may never have seen a period as personalized in one figure as this one is. And that is the single biggest problem Republicans face this November.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:08 PM on January 19 [10 favorites]


I just watched some professional mouth user on TV explain how the economy is booming and unemployment is lower, and all in just one year, thanks to Trump. I recall back in 2008 the same kind of flappy jaws moaning about how Obama tanked the world economy and caused the GFC, all in just one year.

I'm not an economist, but it seems to me Obama inherited a disaster, was blamed for it, then spent 8 years turning it into a miracle, and Trump then claims the miracle as his own. In truth we're yet to see the looming financial disaster of Trumpist policies. That'll start happening sometime after the midterms, just as planned.

Obama left a solid, growing economy. Solid enough to weather a year of Trump, and they may claim it as their own, but the bruises will be showing soon. Then they'll go back to blaming Obama.
posted by adept256 at 12:11 PM on January 19 [49 favorites]


> It's a point that gets lost in the rhetoric about fruit pickers and chicken pluckers, but if you're a top engineer from India or a Heart Surgeon from Germany - why would you come to America?

> It only takes one paperwork mistake for the ICE to show up, shoot your dog,


Yes, and this isn't just theoretical.

One of my friends is from India and was a co-worker of the Garmin engineer who was shot and killed about a year ago by an anti-immigrant nutter.

Amazingly, my friend didn't feel very welcome or safe around here after that, and soon moved out of the area.

Can't blame her, honestly.
posted by flug at 12:12 PM on January 19 [20 favorites]


But I just wouldn't discount the notion that some people are motivated by the idea that Democrats are world-destroyingly bad[...]and that drives some Republicans to take extreme measures to defeat them.
posted by Jpfed at 11:46 AM on January 19 [+] [!]


Like colluding with Russians?
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:32 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]




Money man: Reclusive U.S. billionaire Robert Mercer helped Donald Trump win the presidency. But what is his ultimate goal? (Keith Boag, CBC)

Is it just straight up white supremacy?

Of course it is.

We need a corollary of Betteridge’s Law.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:37 PM on January 19 [14 favorites]


@Jpfed:
It's got a nonzero probability. But I just wouldn't discount the notion that some people are motivated by the idea that Democrats are world-destroyingly bad for one reason or another (e.g. socialism = communism and that inevitably ends in totalitarianism, or Democrats make the government condone abortion, which is an unending society-wide massacre) and that drives some Republicans to take extreme measures to defeat them.
I understand this notion, but it is an entirely moral one that can be answered by the religiosity of America and the ingrained churches across the nation, it doesn’t explain establishment groups in DC trying to upend an investigation. Is McConnell a major religious voice on the right, or Nunes, or Growdy, or any of the other major players in this? Trump himself is hardly a source of morality or religion, so it doesn’t explain him either. Pence I can see, he’s a major religious figure in those sections of American society, but Trump definitely is not. And that is what makes this all so perplexing: he’s an outside figure, outside of the establishment, and yet the establishment appears to mostly be running interception for him in order to cover their own asses. Why? That’s what I want to know. We have a large group of people who suddenly are enveloped in covering up for Russia. What’s the game there? When I was a teen during the Bush admin I read a lot of stuff on here and in other places about the horrors of that administration, but I almost never saw anything about Russian meddling or intense scrutiny of that administration or the Republican establishment in regard to Russia. Now, all of a sudden we have people like McConnell, who are high up establishment figures, trying their best to curtail a major investigation. The tribalism aspect doesn’t fully explain it, in my eyes, although I could definitely write a paper about Fox News as a propaganda installation that’s been used to manipulate the American populace, much like similar organizations in authoritarian countries, and how that has swayed people to be tribalistic, but as far as the actual establishment goes, it seems exceptionally fishy that they are so gung ho to defend somebody who is barely part of their tribe. Bush didn’t win the popular vote, but he had major Republican establishment people helping him and inside of his administration, lots of people who worked in neo-conservative think-tanks and previous Republican administrations. Trump has none of that. He’s barely an establishment figure, and repeating myself, it seems very fishy that the establishment is jumping to defend theirselves from what appears to be an outside threat. This is all rambling conspiracy nonsense, of course.
posted by gucci mane at 12:37 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


They're covering for him and trying to prevent the investigation because they are complicit in it.
posted by odinsdream at 12:41 PM on January 19 [28 favorites]


Court rules in favor of special master's map for North Carolina state legislative districts, to take effect immediately. This should result in a several seat Dem pickup and break the GOP's veto-proof majorities.

This November article has some context.

[One Republican lawmaker said] the lawmakers should get another chance to draw the lines [before the special master's map was adopted]. The judges, frustrated by the slow pace with which lawmakers were proceeding to change election lines stated: “The State is not entitled to multiple opportunities to remedy its unconstitutional districts.”
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:41 PM on January 19 [18 favorites]


Wait what is going on with Newsweek

From the article:
According to several sources, the law enforcement visit is related to a DA investigation that's been going on for over a year. A company lawyer today told employees that the investigation is related to the "procurement of servers," and that no arrests or indictments have been issued.

Representatives of the New York County (Manhattan) District Attorney's Office visited the New York City offices of Newsweek Media Group today to conduct a search of the company’s computer servers to obtain technical information about the servers.
Sounds to me like some kind of embezzlement issue, maybe, like maybe someone claimed to spend $5 million dollars on $2.5 million dollars worth of equipment in racks.

Probably not at all political. But what do I know?
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 12:42 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


If you haven't seen it yet, McConnell's office tweeted out a truly astonishing graphic this morning saying that "Democrats have a choice to make": CHIP or DACA, literally offering either health insurance for children or saving Dreamers from deportation (along with misleading information about when DACA expires).

I know we're used to bad faith from these people, but this is just straight-up comic book villain "I'm shooting one of the hostages; you choose" stuff from the people who are supposed to be governing.

Whatever's going on after the Schumer-Trump meeting, things have gotten very, very quiet, with leadership meeting and lots of thumb-twiddling.
posted by zachlipton at 12:43 PM on January 19 [84 favorites]


Also, this is sure something: The Republican lawmakers who led the redistricting process in the General Assembly stated that one of their criteria was to protect incumbent lawmakers.

Like. Aren't they at least supposed to LIE about that??
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:44 PM on January 19 [10 favorites]


Newsweek's own reporting on the police showing up at their newsroom is pretty good (hey, they're certainly interested in the story, and they have the best access). It sounds like there have been financial shenanigans by their owners: "The probe was likely looking at loans the company took out to purchase the servers."
“Nobody’s going to jail,” one agent told a concerned employee. “Your magazine’s going to be fine. Newsweek has been here for a long time. It’s going to be here for a long, long time.”
It's weird, but doesn't seem like cause for alarm at this point.
posted by zachlipton at 12:47 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


I actually thought Newsweek had already folded, but I guess I was confusing it with U.S. News & World Report.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:51 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


We need a corollary of Betteridge’s Law.

When a headline asks an open-ended rhetorical question, the answer is obvious, horrible, dumb, or some combination of the three.

(Note: I have not tested this proposed law.)
posted by The World Famous at 12:52 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


Like. Aren't they at least supposed to LIE about that??

Not really. SCOTUS held in Gaffney vs Cummings that gerrymandering for the purpose of incumbent protection is not unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause..

It's unconstitutional to try and minimize minority representation/votes. And it's maybe unconstitutional to go too far in maximizing one party's representation (that what all this current stuff at SCOTUS is about). But it's not, to my understanding, unconstitutional to try and district so as to keep all the current incumbents in.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:53 PM on January 19 [7 favorites]


Their little world will always be surrounded by the deep, dark forest, full of all kinds of nasty and dangerous creatures wearing human and animal skins.

I want to point out that this doesn't map that well to deeper rural citizens, and that there's a danger to dismissing the issue with too much simplicity. I think it only really maps somewhat reliably to suburban and near-rural folks, and it's not just a conservative psychological quirk or instinct or whatever.

I know plenty of people on all points of the political spectrum that have similar fears, and many of them are instinctual. I'm not disagreeing that hard core conservatives tend to dwell in these fears more and let it control their worldview in toxic and limiting ways, but it's not like they invented fear, doubt and uncertainty.

Something I've noticed is that the farther out in the rurals and proper wilderness you get, the less people are afraid of "dangerous creatures" because they actually live with them, and they're not sitting around in fear or paranoia that coyotes, mountain lions, bears or wolves are out to get them. Ranchers might have some concerns about livestock, but they're not ever really worrying about getting personally attacked.

One of the axioms you hear from hikers, country people and related demographics is that the most dangerous animal in the wilderness is another human, and sometimes it's yourself.

But that danger tends to drop off the farther away you get from the trailhead, city or suburb. The farther and farther out and more remote you are the chances that any human you meet out there isn't dangerous go up rapidly. The logic is is you have to have your shit together, your head on your shoulders and a better quality of character to hike that deep into the wilderness on your own, and evidence supports that as a rule of thumb.

People who live in rural, country or wilderness and spend time in it just don't actually view nature the way you're describing it. Even a lot of the conservative rednecks I've met are quite comfortable in the deep, dark forest because there's just not that much out there, and even with a little experience you can tell the differences between a deer walking around, a human, a coyote and a bear. Heck, you can hear the differences between a squirrel and a sparrow on the ground at 100 feet, because they make completely different sounds. (Side note: Humans are LOUD. Because they're bipedal. More impact force per square CM.)

If anything some of the traits you're describing about control have less to do with fear and more to do with entitlement, and arrogance that they are mandated to do these things. See: Manifest Destiny, biblical philosophy about man's domain over the earth.

It's dangerous to miscategorize this as "their little world", when lust and hunger are also very real and present, and it's apparent that neoconservatives are perfectly capable on thinking in global terms for the purposes of power, control and wealth. (See also: temporarily disposed billionaire syndrome.)

Do not let Trump's bumbling, foolish ways let you forget the sophisticated cruelty of neoconservative politics over the last 100+ years.
posted by loquacious at 12:54 PM on January 19 [32 favorites]


I know we're used to bad faith from these people, but this is just straight-up comic book villain "I'm shooting one of the hostages; you choose" stuff from the people who are supposed to be governing.

...when supposedly they've said they don't want to shoot either hostage. This is why the Democrat's have a good argument they're not the ones shutting down the government, everything Democrats are demanding are things Republicans are ostensibly in favor of doing anyway. And why "giving" them CHIP right now is a non-starter. Why are Democrats supposed to give Republicans anything in exchange for something Republicans say they want to do?
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:54 PM on January 19 [33 favorites]


Court rules in favor of special master's map for North Carolina state legislative districts, to take effect immediately. This should result in a several seat Dem pickup and break the GOP's veto-proof majorities.

This is separate from the ruling that SCOTUS just stayed - that was about NC Congressional districts and partisan gerrymandering. This is state legislative and racial gerrymandering, which has a lot more case law behind it.



As participants of this thread probably know all too well, Roy Cooper (D) is now the Governor of NC. So it's critically important that, if he vetoes crappy legislation from the General Assembly, that it stays vetoed.

Just to attach some numbers to the good news of the new nonpartisan state districts:

The NC General Assembly is bicameral, and includes the state Senate and the state House. Under the current scheme, here are the caucus breakdowns:

State Senate (50 total):
35 R
15 D

State House (120 total):
75 R
45 D

Under the new, nonpartisan districts, the projected split would be to shift at leas a few of the R seats to D in each house. That's before the effects of any "wave" that might allow Dems to overperform. At the very least, as mentioned above, the Rs will lose their ability to override the Dem Governor's vetos. At best, well, here are the vote tallies in the Presidential race in 2016:

Donald Trump 2,362,631 49.83%
Hillary Clinton 2,189,316 46.17%

Less than a 4% spread statewide. It makes the gerrrymandering in the state lege all the more obvious.

The statewide vote in 2016 suggests that, if there is a wave where Dems overperform significantly, it is conceivable that one of the state houses could flip. That's going to be crucial for when US congressional redistricting comes up again in 2020...
posted by darkstar at 12:54 PM on January 19 [10 favorites]


I actually thought Newsweek had already folded, but I guess I was confusing it with U.S. News & World Report.

Newsweek has gone through several owners and restructurings over the last decade, ceasing print publication in 2012 only to resume it in 2014 under new ownership (it remained in circulation online in the interim); it's had an almost complete changeover in staffing from between 2009 and today. In other words: if you remembered it ceasing publication, you're not exactly wrong.
posted by cjelli at 12:57 PM on January 19 [7 favorites]


It also, from what I can tell, is a shit publication and is not to be relied upon for anything other than clickbaity half-truths.
posted by Melismata at 12:59 PM on January 19 [6 favorites]


If you haven't seen it yet, McConnell's office tweeted out a truly astonishing graphic this morning saying that "Democrats have a choice to make": CHIP or DACA, literally offering either health insurance for children or saving Dreamers from deportation (along with misleading information about when DACA expires).


During my morning drive, on NPR I heard Mitch McConnell make some asinine, hypocritical comment about how important it was for Congress to respect the constitutional role of the President, yadda yadda.

That's when I turned off the radio and said angrily, to no one present:

"Two words: Merrick. Garland. You. Fuck. Okay that's four words, but still."
posted by darkstar at 1:00 PM on January 19 [64 favorites]


...he’s an outside figure, outside of the establishment, and yet the establishment appears to mostly be running interception for him in order to cover their own asses. Why? That’s what I want to know.

You've essentially answered your own question.

There are several factions in the modern Republican Party. Some are laser-focused on financial issues like tax cuts, tax cuts, deregulation to allow wealthy people and businesses to do whatever they like. Some are culture warriors, intent on putting uppity minorities back behind good American straight Christian white folk in the food chain, as forcefully as necessary. (A subset of those want to turn the whole shebang over to Jesus.) Some are standard-bearing power brokers who would do or say anything if it advanced their own political power and influence. These fractures were particularly visible in the 2012 election, where the fiscals backed Romney and the other factions pushed one candidate after another and ended up in a Romney - Santorum - Gingrich slapfight. To some extend all three factions view each other as useful idiots, though there is, of course, some crossover.

Now, the rising aggressiveness of conservative media has brought forth a fourth faction, the Teahadi populists. These are people who may well sympathize with interests from #1 through #3 but have no loyalty whatsoever to the politicians who represent those interests. They listen to their filtered media sources and repeat the mantra: Tear it all down. Burn government to the ground. Throw out all the bums because none of them keep their promises. They are intent on, as someone so aptly put it during the Roy Moore candidacy, always nominating the craziest sonofabitch in the room. And if you're a 'mainstream' Republican, or if you dare to vote occasionally in a way that they don't like, prepare to be primaried.

One of the side effects of being the Party of No through the whole Obama administration, of proudly yelling that they are there to simply impede government doing anything, is that your constituents get to election time and try to remember what it is you've done for them these last few years and go "Hmmph. Nothing." Especially when the radio is screaming that they should've banned all abortions and rolled back gay marriage and repealed Obamacare in full and zeroed all taxes and banned Islam and deported all immigrants by now IF THEY JUST HAD THE WILL AND WEREN'T PART OF THE DEEP STATE. So the people-who-occasionally-want-to-get-SOMETHING-done lose influence and the bomb-throwers gain strength. No one among the p-w-o-w-t-g-S-d clan stands out as a potential leader. This is how you get a clown car full of milquetoast candidates and a Trump emerging from them. Say what you will about bullhorned authoritarian white supremacism, at least it's an ethos.

The 'mainstream' Republicans see this. They would like to stay employed. So they are walking knife-edges trying to do what Trump and his Teahadis want, but also knowing that for the most part that's impossible. They know that the best way to keep their jobs in an impending blue wave is to be as invisible as possible. They see the invective blasted at anyone like McCain or Flake who dares question the Make America burn to the Ground Again movement. And they know that if the party crumbles, their jobs crumble with it, so better to hide in plain sight. So they go through the motions, defend what they can, dodge questions when they can, pretend to try to pass sham bills and pass the responsbility over to the other house. Not much gets done, no one emerges clean, and we stumble forwards to another day to repeat the process.
posted by delfin at 1:05 PM on January 19 [25 favorites]


I actually thought Newsweek had already folded, but I guess I was confusing it with U.S. News & World Report.

Newsweek has gone through several owners and restructurings over the last decade, ceasing print publication in 2012 only to resume it in 2014 under new ownership (it remained in circulation online in the interim); it's had an almost complete changeover in staffing from between 2009 and today. In other words: if you remembered it ceasing publication, you're not exactly wrong.


It pivoted to autoplaying video. Any video. Not necessarily relevant video.

I see newsweek and I nope for that reason alone.
posted by srboisvert at 1:10 PM on January 19 [11 favorites]


Newsweek was recently purchased by International Business Times. Which is a whole weird thing.
posted by MrVisible at 1:14 PM on January 19 [5 favorites]


People who live in rural, country or wilderness and spend time in it just don't actually view nature the way you're describing it. Even a lot of the conservative rednecks I've met are quite comfortable in the deep, dark forest because there's just not that much out there, and even with a little experience you can tell the differences between a deer walking around, a human, a coyote and a bear.

Most rural conservatives (as I meant and know them) don't actually live in wilderness or really out in the country unless they're ranchers, and instead live in small towns or exurbs. Often older/retired, often having moved there from cities and blue states out of variably-veiled racism and xenophobia. There are of course plenty of people actually living in the woods who aren't scared of wolves, but they're not the majority of "rural" conservatives.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:14 PM on January 19 [12 favorites]


darkstar: "Two words: Merrick. Garland. You. Fuck. Okay that's four words, but still."

Nah, if you're reacting to McConnell, "Fuck" and"you" are like free squares on the board.


Has anyone heard from Pence today? Where is he in all the knees-bent, running-about this afternoon?
posted by wenestvedt at 1:14 PM on January 19 [10 favorites]


Casey Michel, ThinkProgress: The bizarre rise and dramatic fall of Louise Mensch and her ‘Blue Detectives’

Subtitled "A year later, why does anyone still listen to Seth Abramson?"
A year ago, as Donald Trump prepared to take office, a new crop of self-proclaimed investigators burst forth to unspool the Russian conspiracy they claim launched Trump into the White House. Leaning on Twitter as their preferred platform, these voices worked to unwind the Kremlin ties that, in their mind, cost Hillary Clinton the election.

Led by British gadfly Louise Mensch (269,000 followers on Twitter currently) and going by a handful of names and hashtags — including #TeamPatriot — this coterie largely avoided any kind of original reportage, instead opting to try piece together open-source information that they believed journalists elsewhere had overlooked. In the early days of the Trump administration, they were, as BuzzFeed’s Charlie Warzel wrote, a “mooring force” for the anti-Trump “Resistance.” With Mensch’s 2017 op-ed in the New York Times on Russian hacking, this group — which Warzel termed the “Blue Detectives” — appeared ascendant.

A year on, though, the group is in tatters, roundly mocked by experts on Russian-American relations, ignored by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his staff, and barreling quickly toward irrelevance. Where these “Blue Detectives” once looked like they may unearth some kind of smoking gun linking Trump and the Kremlin — or could at least help fill in certain missing pieces of the puzzle — they are now as derided, and derisive, as their earliest critics pegged them. They have become, as Deadspin noted, “the InfoWars of the left.”
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:16 PM on January 19 [6 favorites]


It is eerily quiet on the typical fronts. I feel like in contrast to 2013, everyone's just sleepwalking into this shutdown.
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:17 PM on January 19 [7 favorites]


Has anyone heard from Pence today? Where is he in all the knees-bent, running-about this afternoon?

Pence leaving for Middle East Friday regardless of shutdown.
posted by PearlRose at 1:18 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


If you haven't seen it yet, McConnell's office tweeted out a truly astonishing graphic this morning saying that "Democrats have a choice to make": CHIP or DACA, literally offering either health insurance for children or saving Dreamers from deportation (along with misleading information about when DACA expires).

Mitch McConnell as National Lampoon salesman.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:19 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


Louise Mensch is sort of the Left's version of Sebastian Gorka (GORKAAAAAAH!).
posted by orrnyereg at 1:21 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


gucci mane So what could the Russians really have on the Republicans that would make them act this way, and be so deep into crushing an investigation into somebody who is basically a random president?

I wouldn't say it's impossible the Russians are blackmailing many Republicans, but I don't think its necessary to explain what we're seeing.

First off, don't forget that as long as they can get their own Party together, the Republicans are getting everything they want. The only reason they failed on the ACA repeal was because of insufficient Party cohesion.

Therefore, to the Party leadership, doing whatever it takes to hold the Republicans together is an overriding imperative. And attacking Trump, or even mildly criticizing him, is a surefire way for the Republicans to tear themselves apart.

There's a faction of the Republican Party that is fully, no fooling, in the Trump Cult. There's a faction that isn't, but relies on Trump Cultists for votes so they act as if they were in the Trump Cult. Pissing off those factions by going after Trump, or even being insufficiently submissive to Trump, will result in none of the Republican wish list being implemented. Therefore all elected Republicans see their self interest align with buttering up Trump.

And there's also the still gaping and painful psychological wounds of Nixon. At least as important as self interest in getting shit passed is the simple fact that most elected Republicans are emotionally unable to deal with seeing yet another Republican President forced out of office. Sure, they can claim he was never a real Republican, that he'd been a Democrat for ages, that he was an outsider, whatever. But at the end of the day he's a Republican President and they cannot, no matter what, handle the idea of a second Nixon resignation.

I think that last part is the most relevant and that like a lot of deeply painful psychological stuff the Republican leadership doesn't actually think about it, but it motivates them. They'll come up with all manner of justifications and excuses, but the real reason is that they can't deal with the pain of a second Republican President being forced out of office.

Also also, never forget that in all humans there's a drive to protect the in group and especially the important people in the in group.

Look, for example, at how the Hollywood establishment, most of them professed feminists and liberals, rallied around Roman Polanski and to this day will defend him. We see it in churches with molesting leaders where the overriding goal isn't to get justice for the victims, but to protect the reputation of the in group. It's the same drive, the same basic human failing.

Trump is the boss Republican right now. Therefore they must defend him. Among themselves they my dislike him and speak badly of him, but an outsider cannot be permitted to do the same.
posted by sotonohito at 1:21 PM on January 19 [19 favorites]


Let's not bring the Polanski situation into this.
posted by Melismata at 1:23 PM on January 19 [11 favorites]


I'm starting to suspect Schumer doesn't actually have the votes for a shutdown...assuming McConnell can come up with 50 himself. That's why Schumer blinked a little last night and tried to suggest the 3-4 day CR to "buy time to negotiate an immigration deal", as if lack of time is what's holding up the deal and anything would change McConnell and Ryan's sheer terror of talking to Democrats in 3 days. Manchin and Joe Donnelly have said they won't vote for a shutdown, McCaskill tried hard to not answer yesterday. I suspect if the chips come down tonight and Schumer has to corral his votes, he won't be able to do it.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:25 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


zachlipton: I'm pretty sure that it would be rather bad policy to change the law to disallow babies to be born during the ninth month.

"Only with a national C-section mandate can we hope to eventually defeat America's greatest enemy: Macbeth"
posted by InTheYear2017 at 1:25 PM on January 19 [32 favorites]


I know some of you are active redditors. Right now there is apparently a “memo gate” related post on T_D that explicitly calls for lynching Obama. I kind of don’t want to link to it, and I wish I had never seen it. (It was sent to me, and the title of the post I saw (evidently on an anti-hate subreddit) is simply “oh shit,” so there’s no warning about what you’re going to see.)

This seems like a dramatic escalation from a hate group that feeds off of Reddit to grow. And Reddit continues to allow T_D to exist.

If there is ever a time to do anything to pressure Reddit into eliminating T_D, now is it.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:26 PM on January 19 [40 favorites]


FTFA "Pence leaving for Middle East Friday regardless of shutdown":
Pence will depart Friday evening for a planned trip to the Middle East, taking off from Joint Base Andrews about four and a half hours before the government is set to run out of money.
My old manager was an Air Force pilot. He said that they used to keep a bundle of cash onboard in case the plane were forced to land somewhere and needed to buy fuel to get home.

Can you imagine the shutdown hitting while Pence is in flight, and him being forced to ask the pilot to bust out the emergency greenbacks so he can make his connecting flight to Riyadh?
posted by wenestvedt at 1:26 PM on January 19 [7 favorites]


Louise Mensch is sort of the Left's version of Sebastian Gorka

Except she's a ex Tory MP. The only thing you need to know about Mensch is that she will promote Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election while denying there was absolutely none in the Brexit vote.
posted by PenDevil at 1:26 PM on January 19 [13 favorites]


And that is not...look, I know Reddit is literally the only place for a lot of important support communities; that’s why I still go there occasionally. But it is not a neutral force in the world, and they need to be held to account for what they’ve grown on their platform. They choose to allow this.

I don’t really know what to do about it, but Jesus Christ.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:29 PM on January 19 [14 favorites]


David Kurtz (TPM): “Your occasional reminder that this is the best WH staff Trump will have. The quicker he grinds down his A team with things like a stupid one-party govt shutdown, the quicker we get to the B and C teams. It can get so much worse. And likely will.” (@TPM_dk)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:30 PM on January 19 [33 favorites]


It is eerily quiet on the typical fronts. I feel like in contrast to 2013, everyone's just sleepwalking into this shutdown.

I see it's been discussed before, but as far as I can tell, nobody knows what's going to happen. Between me and friends/family, most of us work at or with a federal agency and all but one of us has no idea if we'll be showing up for work on Monday. I don't know if it's because it's Trump's people being stunningly incompetent or some other reason, but federal employees and contractors are in a completely bonkers situation right now, and as far as we can see at the moment almost none of the high-ups have done a damn thing to prepare.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:30 PM on January 19 [15 favorites]


Sure, they can claim [Nixon] was never a real Republican, that he'd been a Democrat for ages

What's the usual basis for this claim? I think he ran for office as a Republican in 1948, so it seems a bit out of left field.
posted by Coventry at 1:32 PM on January 19


The quicker he grinds down his A team with things like a stupid one-party govt shutdown, the quicker we get to the B and C teams.

Wait, this is the A team still? I think we're at least to D or E by now.
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:38 PM on January 19 [12 favorites]


federal employees and contractors are in a completely bonkers situation right now, and as far as we can see at the moment almost none of the high-ups have done a damn thing to prepare.

Yeah, there was no direction from our chain of command regarding the possible shutdown as of 5 pm yesterday. I guess that means I should check my cell for texts from my boss (I'm off work today).

This is shameful.
posted by suelac at 1:38 PM on January 19 [5 favorites]


suelac, leadership at my agency finally stumbled into action this afternoon, you may have a few e-mails.
posted by wintermind at 1:42 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


There's a faction of the Republican Party that is fully, no fooling, in the Trump Cult.

Roy Blunt. R-MO.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 1:44 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


I mean, let's say Trump and Schumer HAD made some sort of deal. Why would anyone believe Trump would go through with it or live up to it? He's just fucking with people to fuck with them and tossing out random contradictory soundbites about immigration, an issue he knows nothing about. He said he was in favor of literally 5 or 6 completely incompatible positions on immigration just in that one meeting last week.

He doesn't even have a goal or objective outside of keeping his name in the headlines and making his gross fans froth at the mouth. If he can jerk around a sizable number of pols along the way, so much the better.

WHY are these IDIOTS wasting precious TIME on his bullshit?
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:54 PM on January 19 [10 favorites]


Tom Nichols, WaPo: Trump’s first year: A damage assessment

This is his grim conclusion:
Perhaps most dispiriting, Trump has shattered the notion, at home and abroad, that no matter how partisan our politics, no matter how crazy our elections, every two to four years the result is a group of relatively stable adults who know what they’re doing.

All of this means the next president will have to rebuild the office almost from the ground up. Americans will have to learn once again to take the presidency seriously. Congress will have to return to the assumption that the president understands — and cares about — policy. International alliances will have to be healed. Foreign enemies will have to be reminded that the word of the commander in chief matters. An entire branch of government will have to be reestablished at home and abroad.

Will Americans and their next president be up to the task? Three more years of this, and any such restoration of the republic may be out of reach.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:55 PM on January 19 [84 favorites]


He said that they used to keep a bundle of cash onboard in case the plane were forced to land somewhere and needed to buy fuel to get home.

Sounds like a good policy, the kind that's set by competent leadership and managed by an accountability trail to make sure it's followed.

Any bets on whether this policy is (1) still in place and (2) still followed?
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:56 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


Coventry: "What's the usual basis for this claim? I think he ran for office as a Republican in 1948, so it seems a bit out of left field."

I think you misread that - sotonohito was saying that Trump might be claimed not to "really" be a Republican.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:57 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


Ah, right. Thanks.
posted by Coventry at 1:58 PM on January 19


Clubbable, but in the Worst Way From the NYTimes
The main point is: Trump is not demented or mentally ill, he is stupid in the specific way rich people can be stupid.
posted by mumimor at 2:01 PM on January 19 [29 favorites]


Chuck Todd on MTP thinks Schumer is going to cave and go for a 3 week CR. That would be in line with standard Democratic operating procedure. On the other hand, Chuck Todd. So we'll see.
posted by Justinian at 2:07 PM on January 19 [5 favorites]


The main point is: Trump is not demented or mentally ill, he is stupid in the specific way rich people can be stupid.

Because wealth and power can disconnect one from consequences?
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:15 PM on January 19 [11 favorites]


Erik Wemple, Sources: The Hill’s John Solomon offered money to Bill Clinton for an interview series
A model for the series, in Solomon’s view, was the David Frost-Richard Nixon interviews from 1977. Those sessions broke all sorts of news, in large part because the disgraced Nixon apologized to the American people for his misdeeds. They also served as a model for Solomon & Co. for another reason: Nixon was paid $600,000, plus a share of the profits for his troubles. Per The Hill’s proposal, Clinton would receive a portion of the proceeds, a sum that would amount to “big money,” said one source, referring to The Hill’s offer. Another source said The Hill spoke of compensation in the seven-figure range.

According to a source, The Hill was open to making the payments either directly to Clinton or to the Clinton Global Initiative, a project of the Clinton Foundation. A review of The Hill’s proposal confirmed that account. Neither Solomon nor James A. Finkelstein, the chairman of The Hill, responded to multiple requests for comment.
So Solomon wanted to funnel more than a million dollars to the Clinton Global Initiative (or just to the Clintons personally) as he ran around proclaiming them to be corrupt? He really is the worst. And it's beautiful to see real reporters at the Hill fighting back like this.
posted by zachlipton at 2:19 PM on January 19 [29 favorites]


For the last couple(?) of days, the Washington Post website has been running a "Developing: Shutdown Deadline" countdown clock, which is now down to:

Shutdown deadline: 0d 6h 31m 30s

This is no way to run a country, let alone a country that purports to be a democratic model for the rest of the world, the guarantor of security, and the backstop of the global economic system. And for the first time, it is happening in a scenario where one party controls the Presidency, House, and Senate.

For shame, Republicans. For shame.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:28 PM on January 19 [36 favorites]


let alone a country that purports to be a democratic model for the rest of the world, the guarantor of security, and the backstop of the global economic system.

Well, the good news is all of that is out the window, now. We're not the leader of shit, and not the model for shit, anymore, and the whole world knows it.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:32 PM on January 19 [38 favorites]


Louise Mensch is not, by a long distance, of the Left. Though it appears that she's not really so much a principled conservative either as a media-savvy self-promoter and/or rampant Milo-esque narcissist, depending on how generous one wants to be.
posted by acb at 2:39 PM on January 19 [26 favorites]


have we had a Trump/politics thread that didn't include any ritual denunciations of Louise Mensch? just wondering
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:49 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


I hope not.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:50 PM on January 19 [31 favorites]


Twitter blog: Update on Twitter’s Review of the 2016 U.S. Election
As previously announced, we identified and suspended a number of accounts that were potentially connected to a propaganda effort by a Russian government-linked organization known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA).

Consistent with our commitment to transparency, we are emailing notifications to 677,775 people in the United States who followed one of these accounts or retweeted or liked a Tweet from these accounts during the election period. Because we have already suspended these accounts, the relevant content on Twitter is no longer publicly available. […]

We have also provided Congress with the results of our supplemental analysis into activity believed to be automated, election-related activity originating out of Russia during the election period. Through our supplemental analysis, we have identified 13,512 additional accounts, for a total of 50,258 automated accounts that we identified as Russian-linked and Tweeting election-related content during the election period, representing approximately two one-hundredths of a percent (0.016%) of the total accounts on Twitter at the time. However any such activity represents a challenge to democratic societies everywhere, and we’re committed to continuing to work on this important issue.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:56 PM on January 19 [8 favorites]


So, I thought I would turn on C-SPAN 2 to try and get a feel for what's going on right now. After a series of several second-stringers (Boozman (R-AR) and Daines (R-MT)) they brought out ol' Orrin Hatch to scold the Dems for their intransigence. I'll give it to him, he's truly a master of the lie of omission! The Republicans are going all-in on the "CHIP is great, why are the nasty Dems going to shut down the government and let sick kids die" story, too.
posted by wintermind at 2:57 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Re: Florida coast wont be razed by oil drilling per the maleficent gob of Queen Zinke:

“It is not a formal action, no,” Walter Cruickshank, the bureau’s acting director, told a subcommitteeof the House Committee on Natural Resources.

Walter Crook Shank

*toasts 2018 writers*
*faceplants on table*
posted by petebest at 3:00 PM on January 19 [17 favorites]


> Consistent with our commitment to transparency, we are emailing notifications to 677,775 people in the United States who followed one of these accounts or retweeted or liked a Tweet from these accounts during the election period

Wonder where those 677,775 people lived during 2016. Also wonder how many impressions that generated--677,775 twitter users translates to an even higher number of persons without a twitter account but who do manage to find their way to these tweets.
posted by Room 101 at 3:01 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


Still better than Facebook, which has the obvious ability to contact everyone who saw or interacted with Russian propaganda, but buried it in their help center. Facebook's tool also only tells you if you followed a propaganda account, but they won't tell you if you interacted with any of their posts.

It's been pretty clear that far more happened on Facebook than Twitter. Facebook could easily show transparency here and proactively reach out to their users, but that would involve fessing up to what they let happen, so they're just not going to.

Speaking of which, Facebook now says they're going to survey their users to see what news sources people find trustworthy. I mean it's the internet, so I can't see how that would possibly go wrong.
posted by zachlipton at 3:04 PM on January 19 [33 favorites]


The company I work for is a contractor that handles some Fed websites. We had to provide a detailed list this morning of what we would be working on so it could be approved as already in progress and we could actually stay on deadline with projects. Luckily the site I deal with got everything approved.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 3:07 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Keep this in mind when you hear Republicans blame Democrats for their inability to pass a budget.

Yes, Republicans burned up the 2017 51-vote budget resolution on their failed Obamacare repeal. And they burned up the 2018 51-vote budget resolution on their tax cuts for the rich.

But this is a new calendar year and Republicans are now entitled to another 51-vote budget resolution for 2019. Normally this budget is due by this coming April for fiscal year 2019 starting in October, but there is nothing in the rules preventing Republicans from passing a budget resolution today and using 51 votes to pass a budget bill. That bill could cover the budget for the remainder to 2018 and 2019.

There are two reasons Republicans aren't doing that. One is that budget resolutions normally take a couple of months to pull together and Republicans squandered all of their time on the tax cut bill bringing us to a short term deadline. But the second, and more important, is that they don't want to waste their only chance this year for a 51-vote bill on something as mundane as a real budget. As before they want to use their 51-vote opportunity for perhaps another chance at Obamacare repeal or welfare cuts or more tax cuts.

So this notion that Democrats are holding things up is false. Republicans have all the votes they need without Democrats if they were willing to do it via budget reconciliation -- which is exactly what budget reconciliation was designed for, not for radical remaking of the social safety net and tax cuts for the rich.
posted by JackFlash at 3:19 PM on January 19 [88 favorites]


In the event of a shutdown, non-essential fed workers will still serve a half day on Monday to wrap things up. Then the computers and phones completely shut off until they read on Buzzfeed that it's okay to go back to work again. Source: OMB Guidance

Non-essentials (basically appropriated agency workers) will be furloughed, and the idea that there are short-term loan programs for fed workers for those that need paychecks to make ends meet is awful.

I actually work at 18F and while all our work with our partner agency halts in an event of a shutdown, we are still scheduled to come in but to shift our work to in-house projects.
posted by xtine at 3:22 PM on January 19 [7 favorites]


Where does the rule about having only one 51-vote passage per year come from? I'm assuming this is actually a rule to skip or quash a filibuster, since 51 votes is supposed to be enough to pass legislation in general but you need more to overcome the filibuster, correct?

What's the actual rule we're talking about here?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:26 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


Heitkamp just endorsed the House CR. Schumer isn't going to have the votes to filibuster even if he wanted to, once the bill is on the floor, the unreliable "Democrats" will cave, like always.

At least we may get CHIP funding, but Democrats are going to sell out the Dreamers to Steve King and Tom Cotton. They're just arguing now about when to do it.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:29 PM on January 19 [7 favorites]


What's the actual rule we're talking about here?

Budget “Reconciliation”.
posted by Coventry at 3:30 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


I assume that some swing-state Senators are caving because the "liberal" media is running with the lie that a shutdown will be the fault of Democrats.
posted by wintermind at 3:31 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Heitkamp just endorsed the House CR.

Now, now, she made it clear she's not endorsing it, merely voting for it.

(Because votes are just bookmarks.)
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:33 PM on January 19 [11 favorites]


What's the actual rule we're talking about here?

It comes from the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. It was written to reduce the logjams on budgets that regularly occurred because of the filibuster. As we have seen, it has had mixed success, particularly when Republicans abuse it for things like Obamacare repeal and tax cuts for the rich.
posted by JackFlash at 3:35 PM on January 19 [5 favorites]


Three very red state Ds up for reelection in 2018 have said they'll vote for it. Heitkamp (ND), Donnelly (IN) and Manchin (WV). And McConnell doesn't even have all the Rs yet. Still way short of 60.
posted by chris24 at 3:36 PM on January 19


Louise Mensch is not, by a long distance, of the Left. Though it appears that she's not really so much a principled conservative either as a media-savvy self-promoter and/or rampant Milo-esque narcissist, depending on how generous one wants to be.

I'm still intrigued by the whole Mensch role in things - IIRC the timeline was that she left Heat Street but remained with News Corp taking Murdoch money for unspecified "digital projects" around the end of 2016 when she really started going all out on her new Twitter persona. The whole thing seems like that kind of propaganda that Putin reportedly employs where it's useful to keep some fake "enemies" around circulating conspiracy theories and such to add to the sense that no information can be trusted and to discredit legitimate enemies. I believe her whole thing started with an honest to god legit scoop at Heat Street too, beating other media well in advance about a FISA story, which is probably within the capabilities of the Murdoch organization to uncover and throw out there to build the initial trust for a propaganda operation like this. Idk I've been fascinated with her whole deal for a while, it seems like something that is usually way back behind the curtain, one of those shoddy little fake news generating outfits from the campaign, but I think her profile got too big when we were all scared and starving for any hope during late 16 and early 17 when it seemed like the fifth reich was around the corner (before we all sort of figured out that they were so incompetent we had a real good fighting chance).
posted by jason_steakums at 3:36 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


Still hoping they don't even get to 50. Seems like a very real possibility even with those three Dems voting Y.
posted by saturday_morning at 3:38 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Three very red state Ds up for reelection in 2018 have said they'll vote for it. Heitkamp (ND), Donnelly (IN) and Manchin (WV).

Does anyone have a sense of whether Schumer is releasing these votes?
posted by lalex at 3:39 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


Wikipedia has a broader article on the United States budget process as well.
posted by XMLicious at 3:42 PM on January 19


If McConnell had the votes, they'd be voting right now. They're not, so he doesn't.

Only thing I've heard is that they'll vote at 10, on something entirely unspecified, which seems like the kind of thing you say when you have to say "we're still here" but don't have anything to say. The dead silence coming from Congressional reporters today has been quite spooky in comparison to what I'm used to.
posted by zachlipton at 3:42 PM on January 19 [11 favorites]


They still need 60, right? Letting your few red state D's vote for it and still not hitting 60 might be a smart move, it gives them cover but if Heitkamp, Donnelly and Manchin can't put it over the top the R's still have to come back with something better to get D votes on board.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:44 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Cornyn just said there's "no solution" in sight to avert the shutdown. So clearly they don't have the votes as of now. Whether that's just a negotiating ploy beyond that, who knows.
posted by chris24 at 3:46 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


I think as long as the Rs can't get 50 votes on their own the Ds will hold firm. If the Republicans manage to get to 50 so that any shutdown can then be blamed solely on a Democratic filibuster we'll see a stampede for the exits.
posted by Justinian at 3:47 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


So they need 60 votes, they have 50 + 3 Dems?
posted by petebest at 3:51 PM on January 19


If the Republicans manage to get to 50 so that any shutdown can then be blamed solely on a Democratic filibuster we'll see a stampede for the exits.

This. When the break happens it wont be just those 3, they're just the ones ready to defy Schumer publicly before they even have to. It'll be 12-15. I'll believe Democrats will actually hold firm for Dreamers when it happens.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:52 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


So they need 60 votes, they have 50 + 3 Dems?

They don't have McCain (absent), Flake, Graham, Paul and maybe Lee.

So 46 Rs + 3 Ds right now.
posted by chris24 at 3:55 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


WSJ, Betsy McKay, CDC to Scale Back Work in Dozens of Foreign Countries Amid Funding Worries
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to scale back or discontinue its work to prevent infectious-disease epidemics and other health threats in 39 foreign countries because it expects funding for the work to end, the agency told employees.

The CDC currently works in 49 countries as part of an initiative called the global health security agenda, to prevent, detect and respond to dangerous infectious disease threats. It helps expand surveillance for new viruses and​ ​drug-resistant bacteria, modernize laboratories to detect dangerous pathogens​and train workers who respond to epidemics.
This is yet another problem with the "America First" agenda. Working to stop epidemics abroad isn't just the right thing to do because we're not monstrous human beings; it keeps those epidemics from coming here. Trump can denigrate countries all day long, but we're still sharing a planet with them.
posted by zachlipton at 3:57 PM on January 19 [49 favorites]


The president probably thinks he can just issue a travel ban for all "disease-infested countries" and block germs from entering the US.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:02 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


Senate votes at 10pm on the House CR.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:05 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


This is the cloture vote to end debate, it needs 60.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:06 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


The president probably thinks he can just issue a travel ban for all "disease-infested countries" and block germs from entering the US.

That's exactly what he's proposed in the past. He even said American health workers who contracted Ebola cannot be brought back into the US for treatment, that they "must suffer the consequences!"
posted by peeedro at 4:07 PM on January 19 [37 favorites]


The president probably thinks he can just issue a travel ban for all "disease-infested countries" and block germs from entering the US.

He does. During the Ebola outbreak a couple years back he lost his shit on twitter and repeatedly and rabidly demanded exactly that, "a total and complete shutdown" of travel from Africa. Examples:

The U.S. cannot allow EBOLA infected people back. People that go to far away places to help out are great-but must suffer the consequences! [...] Ebola patient will be brought to the U.S. in a few days - now I know for sure that our leaders are incompetent. KEEP THEM OUT OF HERE! [...]The bigger problem with Ebola is all of the people coming into the U.S. from West Africa who may be infected with the disease. STOP FLIGHTS!

Et cetera. His handling of any major epidemic/pandemic would be very, very bad. Probably nation-endingly so.
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:08 PM on January 19 [25 favorites]


Et cetera. His handling of any major epidemic/pandemic would be very, very bad. Probably nation-endingly so.

Our big wet boy demands that his germophobia dictate the CDC's operations
posted by Existential Dread at 4:09 PM on January 19 [13 favorites]


Oh yeah, if he could push a button and construct a huge wall around the country, he definitely would. Why are we even envisioning a *Trump that wouldn't?

(Caveat: he may or may not realize that Canada is a separate country)
posted by tivalasvegas at 4:10 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


Senate Periodicals [via Twitter]:
Senate VOTE at 10PM tonight on Motion to Invoke Cloture on Motion to Concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 195

This reads like the clunky first draft of a Sondheim lyric.
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:10 PM on January 19 [5 favorites]


Senate Vote at 10PM tonight - corrected link.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:19 PM on January 19


They don't have McCain (absent), Flake, Graham, Paul and maybe Lee.

I forgot Rounds (R, SD) is a no right now too. so 45 Rs and 3 Ds.
posted by chris24 at 4:19 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Rounds recanted earlier, like 5mins before Flake said he would vote no. Hilariously, Rounds cited McConnell's promise for a vote on a full military funding bill in the next 4 weeks...right as Flake cited McConnell's broken promise for a vote on DACA from the tax cut vote.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:22 PM on January 19 [8 favorites]


New development in Rand-Paul's-Fragile-Birdlike-Skeleton-Gate!

Dartunorro Clark, NBC News: Prosecutors reveal why Rand Paul was attacked by neighbor

Rene Boucher, 58, was charged on Friday with assaulting a member of Congress, a felony, months after his sneak attack on Sen. Rand Paul in November, according to officials.

Federal prosecutors said Boucher "had enough" after he witnessed Paul stack brush into a pile on his own lawn, but near Boucher's property. Boucher then ran onto Paul's property and tackled him.

posted by Rust Moranis at 4:23 PM on January 19 [8 favorites]


Government drops charges against 129 of the protesters arrested on inauguration day; it's still building cases against the remaining 59. The dropped charges are likely related to the trial of the first six, who were found not guilty of the felonies they were charged with.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:25 PM on January 19 [7 favorites]


@CodyPom13 (DNC speechwriter): Delta Announcer at Cincinnati Gate: “FINAL CALL FOR ROBERT PORTMAN. PLEASE REPORT TO YOUR GATE, @senrobportman.”

Man yelling: “HE’S NOT HERE! HE’S BUSY SHUTTING DOWN THE GOVERNMENT!”
posted by zachlipton at 4:25 PM on January 19 [70 favorites]


Most rural conservatives (as I meant and know them) don't actually live in wilderness or really out in the country unless they're ranchers, and instead live in small towns or exurbs. Often older/retired, often having moved there from cities and blue states out of variably-veiled racism and xenophobia.

Right, I'm not disagreeing with this in particular, or the results or actions. I'm only disagreeing with the idea that everyone who thinks like this is motivated by a small, fearful or limited world view or otherwise afraid of the boogie monster.

A whole lot of these viewpoints or actions aren't necessarily rooted in fear at all, but active malice, greed, hatred or a number of other motivations. Sure, for some it's fear, or a mix of more than one thing. Even suburban conservatives can't be classified the way you're describing, because they'll do stuff like happily go out into the wilds to go recreationally/pragmatically/fearlessly hunt wild boar.

My point is is that this description not only underestimates and oversimplifies the generalization and stereotype, and it also helps paint an entire class of people as victims instead of people making conscious decisions for their own words or actions, or to vote for racist/sexist assholes.

I used to hold this hold this world view. I've found that it's too simplistic and too comforting and too easy, and not all that accurate.

Unfortunately some people really are just assholes and they're very secure and unafraid about it.
posted by loquacious at 4:28 PM on January 19 [10 favorites]


People are way overthinking this shutdown/DACA thing.

Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump ascending to the Presidency, and the Republican Party ascending to unified control of the Executive and Legislative branches of the Federal Government.

Tomorrow, there are two possible headlines. The first is that the Federal Government is shutting down because Donald Trump failed to make a deal. The second is that Donald Trump was able to negotiate a deal and save the nation from crisis.

Which of these headlines is hugely beneficial to the Republican Party? Which is hugely damaging to the Republican Party?

If President Trump and Congressional Republicans have any sense, this is the only question they need to ask. Whether they have any sense remains to be seen.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:38 PM on January 19 [21 favorites]


(Also, Congressional Democrats.)
posted by tivalasvegas at 4:39 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


I assume that some swing-state Senators are caving because the "liberal" media is running with the lie that a shutdown will be the fault of Democrats.

CNN's newly released poll implies that's what significant number of Americans believe. (And Fox is naturally tweeting this.)

• "Who holds responsibility for a government shutdown?" 31% Democrats; 26% Republicans; 21% Trump; 10% All; 12% None/Other/No Opinion ("Among Republicans, 62% would blame the Democrats in Congress, while 43% of Democrats would blame Republicans on Capitol Hill and 29% would blame Trump.")

• "Which is more important…avoiding a shutdown or continuing the DACA?" 56% Avoiding a shutdown; 34% Continuing the DACA ("Democrats break narrowly in favor of DACA -- 49% say it's more important vs. 42% who say avoiding a shutdown is the priority -- while majorities of both Republicans (75%) and independents (57%) say avoiding a shutdown is more important.")

In order to gain any political advantage out of this, the Dems must not only link the GOP and Trump in the minds of the public, but also pull in enough voters on board with the DACA.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:59 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


How the hell do you run that poll and list Republicans and Trump as separate options?
posted by chrchr at 5:08 PM on January 19 [39 favorites]


"statistics are like bikinis: what they show is important, what they hide is vital." - some stats guy. anyway, the MSM need to pay top dollar for some fucking math guys.
posted by j_curiouser at 5:13 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


Sheesh, the Democrats need to figure out that their big tag line for Trump's presidency needs to be "We're here to negotiate, but Trump just can't close the deal. He's not a closer!"
posted by The World Famous at 5:16 PM on January 19 [7 favorites]


How the hell do you run that poll and list Republicans and Trump as separate options?

A very good question.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll ties Trump and the GOP together in their survey question, which yields approximately the same results in terms of percentages but a very different political picture overall: "Forty-eight percent in the national survey say they’d blame Trump and the GOP, vs. 28 percent who’d blame the Democrats in Congress. An additional 18 percent would blame both equally. [...]

"Partisan gaps also disfavor the GOP in this survey, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates: Seventy-eight percent of Democrats say they’d blame Trump and the GOP caucus for a shutdown, while fewer Republicans, 66 percent, say they’d blame the Democrats in Congress. And women are 16 points more apt than men to say they'd blame Trump and the GOP."
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:21 PM on January 19 [13 favorites]


Blaming everyone equally is STILL predominately the problem of the GOP, since they're the incumbent in most at risk elections.
posted by codacorolla at 5:26 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


Rereading Trump’s Inaugural Address, One Year Later
On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump took the oath of office and delivered an inaugural speech that is remembered mostly for being “dark,” as an instant media consensus proclaimed, or “some weird shit,” as George W. Bush remarked. The passage of a year’s time reveals that the speech was something else, too: impossibly grandiose. While those who oppose the president have debated whether he is criminally complicit in a foreign adversary’s election tampering, or whether he is mentally deranged, the country has lost sight of the standard of success Trump set for himself, which rests quite a bit higher than non-treasonous and dementia-free. Trump presented himself as a populist revolutionary who would reverse decades of decline. His speech reads now as a comic litany of failure.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:44 PM on January 19 [22 favorites]


Trump presented himself as a populist revolutionary who would reverse decades of decline. His speech reads now as a comic litany of failure.

posted by leotrotsky at 5:47 PM on January 19


My day: In the last thread, I described how my student intern mysteriously couldn't get a government security clearance. Well, she finally started work. Before she can enter a lab, she has to watch the mandatory safety *VCRs*. First, there was a video about what our Agency does, with lots of footage of cattle and pigs walking around or carved into slabs of meat; it was heartbreaking to hear the narrator extoll our thrifty virtues to the taxpayer. The next *VCR* was a safety video called "Spills Happen", which featured a bravura performance by an actress named Jane Pesci as the Chemical Hotline Operator*. Two more chemical spill *VCRs* gave us a panoramic tour of hairstyles and clothes of the 1980s. Then my unit leader came by to quietly describe to me what we were going to do if we shut down (pretty much the same as described by T D Strange). My student, under a tight deadline due to not getting her security clearance for almost a year, asked me if she'd be able to finish her project if we shut down. I said, worst case scenario, all of us would help her get the project done no matter what. Then I went to my lab, set up her project, transferred my cultures so they could survive up to 3 weeks without me, graded results for an experiment I might not be able to grade on Monday, and went home.

* I am happy to report that she appears to have had a satisfying career in theater besides being in this safety video.

posted by acrasis at 5:50 PM on January 19 [31 favorites]


Hmm.

@JakeSherman "HOUSE DEMS have noticed a caucus meeting for tomorrow morning....", with attached screencap from dems.gov for a members-only caucus meeting, tomorrow Jan 20th, at 10am. "TOPIC: Republicans' Continued Refusal to Work With Democrats to Keep the Government Open"
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 6:04 PM on January 19 [6 favorites]


Oh come ON, 2018 writers --
@pkcapitol Doug Jones: "as of right now I'll be voting for the CR."
He says CHIP is too big to pass up.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:06 PM on January 19


Vote is in one hour, at 10pm EST. CSPAN link. Chat is open.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:06 PM on January 19


I really think Schumer is releasing these votes. Time will tell.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:07 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


Trolling:
Heitkamp, McCaskill, Tester, Stabenow, Manchin Introduce Bill to Withhold Congressional Pay in the Case of a Government Shutdown
posted by Chrysostom at 6:08 PM on January 19 [17 favorites]


"TOPIC: Republicans' Continued Refusal to Work With Democrats to Keep the Government Open"

What does one even say at a meeting like that?
Do the Dems all just show up and eat donuts and hold up a sign with a shrug emoji whenever they're called on to speak?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:09 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


If Schumer has any control and is actually releasing votes (massive skeptical side eye, because Dems have never shown that kind of whip control, ever), releasing dead man walking unicorn vote Doug Jones would be a total strategic waste.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:10 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


It's interesting to me that so many of the people who are dead certain Doug Jones can never get re-elected were dead certain he could not be elected in the first place.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:12 PM on January 19 [14 favorites]


New Yorker, Adam Entous and Evan Osnos, Jared Kushner Is China’s Trump Card. This is a good piece, though frustrating vague on its most significant claims, with bits on the alarming number of people receiving intelligence briefings, Kushner's security clearance, and President-elect Trump blowing up the transition's plans for carefully returning calls from foreign leaders because Trump was "excited that important people were calling him." But one focus is Kushner mixing business with policy:
By the spring of 2017, investigators in charge of evaluating whether to give Kushner a permanent security clearance had new information to consider. U.S. intelligence agencies aggressively target Chinese government communications, including Cui’s reports to Beijing about his meetings in the United States.

According to current and former officials briefed on U.S. intelligence about Chinese communications, Chinese officials said that Cui and Kushner, in meetings to prepare for the summit at Mar-a-Lago, discussed Kushner’s business interests along with policy. Some intelligence officials became concerned that the Chinese government was seeking to use business inducements to influence Kushner’s views. The intelligence wasn’t conclusive, according to those briefed on the matter. “I never saw any indication that it was successful,” a former senior official said, of Chinese efforts to compromise Kushner. The Chinese could have mischaracterized their discussions with Kushner. But the intelligence reports triggered alarms that Chinese officials were attempting to exploit Kushner’s close relationship with the President, which could yield benefits over time. “They’re in it for the long haul,” the former official said. (A spokesman for Kushner said, “There was never a time—never—that Mr. Kushner spoke to any foreign officials, in the campaign, transition, and in the Administration, about any personal or family business. He was scrupulous in this regard.”)
...
Other plans remained unchanged. In November, Kushner travelled to China as part of the President’s delegation for a summit with Xi Jinping. In Beijing, Kushner had lunch at the home of Wendi Murdoch, an occasion that went unmentioned in briefings and public schedules. (A White House spokesman said that Kushner attended the lunch “in a personal capacity,” after the President’s official business was complete.) Kushner saw no reason to curtail their friendship. In the seven months since Kushner’s meeting with Priestap, Wendi Murdoch had done nothing that raised his suspicions, according to a person close to Kushner. “Why do I have more of a risk of telling her state secrets than anyone else?” Kushner asked recently. “Either I’m qualified to handle state secrets or I’m not qualified to handle state secrets. I think I understand my responsibilities.”

In December, U.S. intelligence agencies briefed a wider circle of officials, saying that “a member of the president’s family” was being targeted by a Chinese influence operation, echoing earlier warnings. It was not clear if that family member was Kushner or someone else.
The article also features Jared being briefed by FBI counterintelligence that he's one of the world's top intelligence targets, and Jared walking away unalarmed because he knows what he's doing since New York real estate is not "a baby’s business".
posted by zachlipton at 6:15 PM on January 19 [24 favorites]


Heitkamp, McCaskill, Tester, Stabenow, Manchin Introduce Bill to Withhold Congressional Pay in the Case of a Government Shutdown

Things like this are a terrible idea and only serve to further entrench Congress as a bastion of wealth of privilege. Because the wealthy don't need their Congressional salaries.
posted by Justinian at 6:16 PM on January 19 [9 favorites]


Heitkamp, McCaskill, Tester, Stabenow, Manchin Introduce Bill to Withhold Congressional Pay in the Case of a Government Shutdown

<3 Claire.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:17 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


I mean, I guess I'd prefer that a non-sexual predator vote for this bullshit rather than a sexual predator, but after the whole base sent bags of cash and postcards all the way to Alabama, the first thing Doug does is give DACA the finger? Let that be a lesson to me.

(I'm still wearing my Beto for Texas tshirt in Michigan, though, and you can't stop me.)
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:18 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


It's interesting to me that so many of the people who are dead certain Doug Jones can never get re-elected were dead certain he could not be elected in the first place.

If he faces reelection against a child molester again, sure, but that seems far fetched even for these writers. Luther Strange would've won by double digits.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:19 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure McCaskill deserves hearts for an unconstitutional publicity stunt.

See the 27th Amendment to the US Constitution. tl;dr, you can't change the pay of Congresspeople until after the next Congress is seated. So that the people have a chance to vote out assholes trying to increase their own pay too greedily.
posted by Justinian at 6:21 PM on January 19 [10 favorites]


Which of these headlines is hugely beneficial to the Republican Party? Which is hugely damaging to the Republican Party?

Sah Hallo to my le'el frien'!
(We call it Trump's Razor. It is a powerful oracle, indeed)
posted by petebest at 6:25 PM on January 19


Heitkamp, McCaskill, Tester, Stabenow, Manchin Introduce Bill to Withhold Congressional Pay in the Case of a Government Shutdown

Things like this are a terrible idea and only serve to further entrench Congress as a bastion of wealth of privilege. Because the wealthy don't need their Congressional salaries.


If they were really serious they would also freeze all their assets. But no they have to ensure they hurt people who actually depend on wages rather than investments.
posted by srboisvert at 6:29 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


Seeing more and more rumors they'll try to vote for a three-week CR (without a DACA deal included), though it's unclear if there are 60 votes for that (Graham says he will vote for it). Which doesn't really accomplish anything and we'd just get to have this exact same fight again in three weeks. That's really a compelling reason to shut the government down now: if we're going to keep having the same fight, why put it off?

But a three-week deal would mean Trump and friends get to go to Davos, the House gets its vacation, Dreamers live in fear, everyone looks like an idiot, and we restock our liquor cabinets and realize the same intractable problems are still there. The actual way out of this is to have clean votes on three things that have majority bipartisan support (and widespread public support in polls): keeping the government open; the Durbin/Graham DACA/immigration deal; and CHIP re-authorization. But since McConnell and Ryan won't allow that to happen, and Trump is too busy contradicting his own administration to know what he wants, nothing will change.

Anyway, if Trump doesn't make it to his $250,000/couple grift session, do the donors get refunds?
posted by zachlipton at 6:29 PM on January 19 [10 favorites]


Yo, can I just love my one democratic Senator for her trolling?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:29 PM on January 19 [13 favorites]


And we’re 3 weeks closer to the debt ceiling. Every day the fight is delayed is a Democratic loss. When the debt ceiling hits, that’s it, game over, Democrats have to agree to whatever Mitch McConnell proposes at that point.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:33 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


I don't expect a poison pill in the debt ceiling hike. That would royally piss off the oligarch class and as we saw with the tax bill the oligarch class is still calling the shots in Congress even if the nazi white nationalist branch are the ones who won the white house.
posted by Justinian at 6:40 PM on January 19


What possible incentive will Repubs have to negotiate over the next three weeks that they don't have now? Especially since Trump's just going to drop more grenades into anything the parties do manage to come up with. Then again, the Republicans really are the Heath Ledger Joker in this situation, and you cannot bargain with irrational people who lack any sense of self-preservation. They either honestly believe that the gerrymander and public gullibility lend them total impunity (and they may well be right), or they just flat-out don't give a fuck.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:42 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


See the 27th Amendment to the US Constitution. tl;dr, you can't change the pay of Congresspeople until after the next Congress is seated.

It's not changing pay. It's withholding pay, just like the rest of federal workers.
posted by JackFlash at 6:53 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


@igorbobic: Marc Short says GOP is still short votes on House-passed CR
posted by Chrysostom at 6:57 PM on January 19 [6 favorites]


It's not changing pay. It's withholding pay, just like the rest of federal workers.

No. It is not a foregone conclusion that the federal workers who have to continue to work during a government shutdown will be paid. That has to be explicitly authorized by congress when they authorize new funding for the government. In times past government employees who have worked without pay have been paid for their time, but it is not automatic. Their pay is not 'being withheld', they are working for the government hoping that congress will eventually decide to pay them. There are absolutely no guarantees. I know that paying them is an established norm. Please see the last year's history on established norms.
posted by Quonab at 7:04 PM on January 19 [11 favorites]


Yes, but we are talking about the 27th Amendment. Nothing prevents withholding pay.
posted by JackFlash at 7:08 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Congressional pay is a lark for most of the millionares there, not many of them rely on the 185k or whatever they make these days to stay afloat. Withholding, docking, lowering their pay is not going to change their incentives any.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:11 PM on January 19 [5 favorites]


Someone had suggested a requirement that Congress work every day if the government is shut down. Be there all day, seven days a week.

If we're blue skying this kind of stuff, that seems more likely to bug these guys than losing a week or two of salary.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:14 PM on January 19 [18 favorites]


PBS NewsHour's Lisa Desjardins‏ @LisaDNews reports :
COONS just gave a long readout of the situation:

- Dems want at least agreement on path forward/talks on DACA and other issues
- But leaders can't agree
- So Dems won't support 3-wk CR
- Shutdown happening
- And Big floor speeches coming soon.
And #TrumpShutdown is trending with 411,000 tweets.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:15 PM on January 19 [15 favorites]


I have #SchumerShutdown as my top hashtag. But I am currently in a very red location.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:17 PM on January 19


I know much is made of “The Writers,” but having the Republican-controlled government shut down at the exact second of the one year anniversary of the Trump presidency sure is something.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:18 PM on January 19 [85 favorites]


There's a description for it too: "'No deal' despite meeting between Trump and Democratic leader Schumer"

But none for #TrumpShutdown. Goddammit @jack.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:19 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Voting now (60 votes required) on cloture on the House-passed CR. Doesn't look like they have the votes. And nobody has a plan for what comes next.
posted by zachlipton at 7:21 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Cloture fails.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:26 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Vote is open, 5 Dem Yes - Heitkamp, Jones, Manchin, McCaskill, Donnelly.

3 Rep No's - Lee, Paul, Graham. Flake hasn't voted unless I missed it.

edit - Just kidding Flake did vote no.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:27 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


"You don't have the votes"

(Are we still doing Hamilton?)
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:28 PM on January 19 [11 favorites]


Flake is a no. Thanks to these four Republicans for handing the Democrats the "bipartisan" talking point.
posted by lalex at 7:29 PM on January 19 [17 favorites]


46 R votes kinda kills the Dems are shutting us down BS.
posted by chris24 at 7:30 PM on January 19 [15 favorites]


Oh good, now we get to see how a non-administration manages a shutdown.
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:31 PM on January 19 [7 favorites]


I think hell just froze over: Flake stopped flapping his gums and did a single fucking marginally useful thing.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:31 PM on January 19 [42 favorites]


I’m so fucking worn down by all this that now all I care about is if trump is going to dub Graham with some dippy reflexive insult nickname because of his no vote.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:31 PM on January 19 [6 favorites]


Awesome, wow, do you have a clue what happens now? Because I've seen zero plan besides "everyone makes angry speeches."
posted by zachlipton at 7:33 PM on January 19 [6 favorites]


Vote is over, McConnell only one outstanding for I assume procedural reasons. McCain isn't there. 50 Yes - 48 No.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:33 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Not a good look, Trump Whines: Shutdown Fight Could Make Me Miss ‘My Party’:
On the eve of a possible government shutdown, President Donald Trump privately vented frustrations that the political impasse could possibly keep him from attending a glitzy inauguration anniversary bash and fundraiser set for Saturday at his Florida getaway Mar-a-Lago.

Two sources close to the president, one a White House official and the other a longtime confidant, told The Daily Beast how excited he was for the event and relayed his growing concern that the potential failure to strike a deal to keep the federal government open could keep him from “my party,” as the president has said.
posted by peeedro at 7:35 PM on January 19 [51 favorites]


So wait, is there anarchy in the streets? I was here for anarchy in the streets.
posted by The Whelk at 7:35 PM on January 19 [18 favorites]


zach: everyone makes angry speeches.

Then they wait for the snap polling over the next few days and whoever gets the short stick caves in.
posted by Justinian at 7:36 PM on January 19 [5 favorites]


Can they, this time? I think it's an open question.
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:37 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Trump Whines: Shutdown Fight Could Make Me Miss ‘My Party’

This whole fundraiser no-show thing is bringing me an astonishing amount of pleasure and glee. And you know Trump's too cheap to refund the money.
posted by lalex at 7:37 PM on January 19 [32 favorites]


@LisaMascaro: (LA Times)
Per Dem @SenBlumenthal :
"There was virtually a deal, a comprehensive agreement between Chuck Schumer & the president, and he walked away from it after he talked to his hard right."

@ThePlumLineGS: (WaPo)
Yup. The story here is that Team Stephen Miller doesn't actually want a deal protecting the Dreamers, and they're manipulating Trump into believing that anything that can *actually pass the Senate* betrays Trump's base, to prevent any resolution.
posted by chris24 at 7:39 PM on January 19 [42 favorites]


NYTimes is running it as “Senate Democrats Block Bill to Keep Government Open Past Midnight; Shutdown Looms”, so at least one outlet is letting it fall on the Dems.
posted by Bovine Love at 7:39 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


So, this is why electing a white nationalist President was bad. Huh. Who knew
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:40 PM on January 19 [7 favorites]


No sadness for trump though, he had another option in this whole debacle.

He could have done his fucking job.
posted by mrgoat at 7:40 PM on January 19 [9 favorites]


so at least one outlet is letting it fall on the Dems.

yeah but it's the quisling NYT so who's surprised?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:41 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


I have #SchumerShutdown as my top hashtag. But I am currently in a very red location.

Hamilton68 shows that while #releasethememo is their top hashtag of the past 48 hours among Russian bot accounts, #schumershutdown and #shumershutdown are rising among trending hashtags.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:41 PM on January 19 [8 favorites]


The FBI recently opened an inquiry into Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, two US officials told CNN, as he fights an allegation of blackmail and faces calls to resign just a year into his job.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:42 PM on January 19 [10 favorites]


we don't get to do this often enough so I'd like to thank and acknowledge Senate Democrats for having their shit together and refusing to be bullied on this vote.
posted by lalex at 7:43 PM on January 19 [100 favorites]


Anyway the women’s March is tomorrow, i’ll With the contingent with these signs, so if you could update me to the nearest barricade that would be neat.
posted by The Whelk at 7:45 PM on January 19 [9 favorites]



The FBI recently opened an inquiry into Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, two US officials told CNN, as he fights an allegation of blackmail and faces calls to resign just a year into his job.


lol LOL LOL lol LOL I am so happy
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:45 PM on January 19 [12 favorites]


"Now witness the impotence of this fully non-operational government!"
posted by uosuaq at 7:48 PM on January 19 [55 favorites]


Yep. The NYT is hammering this on the Democrats.
Democrats pushing the government toward a shutdown can take solace in the rapid-fire news cycles of the last year: It may be forgotten by November.
Nobody is falling for McConnell doesn't have 50 votes because he had 50 votes on cloture. Democrats blocked cloture. This is going to be the Democrats' shut down. People who wanted this be happy about it because this is a giant own goal by the Democrats.

IMHO Schumer should have either had a real whip count and pointed out to the caucus that giving McConnell 50 is hanging themselves or he should have pushed cloture through then let McConnell scrape together the 50. Then let the Democrats who voted yes handle the fallout in their own states.
posted by Talez at 7:48 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


Like, you imitate the strategy because you've seen it work but you don't know why it works or how to implement it so that it doesn't bite you in the ass. This is why shtudown for DACA was a poison pill to begin with. The Democrats played with fire but they decided to smother themselves with gasoline first.
posted by Talez at 7:50 PM on January 19


Rep. Dana Rohrabacher just showed up in the Senate chamber, despite not even going to that school, because I guess Putin didn't feel adequately represented or something?
posted by zachlipton at 7:53 PM on January 19 [21 favorites]


Isn’t it basically accurate to say that Stephen Miller, Tom Cotton, and co. are holding the federal government hostage because the hardliners have the child emperor’s ear?
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:53 PM on January 19 [42 favorites]


Well, FWIW, I saw that Blumenthal said Schumer had Trump agreeing to a deal, but then Miller et al talked him back out of it.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:56 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


If I was a Republican media person I would be running my ass to any major MSM news network to get said ass on the TV. The talking points are that we got it through the House, we gave them long term CHIP funding, they had 50 in the Senate, Schumer blocked cloture, Democrats are throwing poor people under the bus for illegals, and that when poor people wake up and their EBT and Medicaid cards don't work they should thank Mr Schumer for that one.
posted by Talez at 7:58 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Anyway the domestic side of the NYT is almost nakedly collaborative sooo? I wouldn’t be surprised if there are neonazi trumpist loyalties in the top mangment like we’ve seen in other media companies.
posted by The Whelk at 7:59 PM on January 19 [13 favorites]


I have #SchumerShutdown as my top hashtag. But I am currently in a very red location.

This is clearly the #ShitholeShutdown.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:59 PM on January 19 [12 favorites]


And the New York Times’ headline is “Senate Democrats Kill Bill to Keep Government Open Past Midnight” because the New York Times aspires to fake news.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:01 PM on January 19


Well, notwithstanding the NYT:

1. McConnell could have used simple budget reconciliation - which was designed for this specific situation - to pass it with 51 votes. But he didn’t want to, because he wanted to save that ploy for passing unpopular legislation down the road.

...and...

2) He couldn’t even get his own caucus to fully line up behind this vote.

There will be a lot of spinning, but the majority of Americans know the Republicans control all branches of government, and that this shutdown is yet more proof they can’t govern worth shit.
posted by darkstar at 8:02 PM on January 19 [37 favorites]


And the New York Times’ headline is “Senate Democrats Kill Bill to Keep Government Open Past Midnight” because the New York Times aspires to fake news.

It's not fake news. McConnell had 51 to keep it open. Democrats killed it on the cloture vote.

1. McConnell could have used simple budget reconciliation - which was designed for this specific situation - to pass it with 51 votes. But he didn’t want to, because he wanted to save that ploy for passing unpopular legislation down the road.

Oh come on. You can't reasonably expect budget reconciliation to be burned on a CR. There are actually important procedural things that need to be put into those bills along with the shit sandwich.
posted by Talez at 8:05 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Democrats aren't going to get anywhere by trying to play for the NYT's approval. That's a loss. It only wastes time. Chalk it up as a reliably unhelpful actor and move on, 'cause they aren't gonna come around until there's a massive sea change and the NYT wants to keep up.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:05 PM on January 19 [33 favorites]


@SabrinaSiddiqui: CORKER tells reporters he’s confident there will be NO shutdown. Says negotiations underway for shorter-term CR than House bill.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:06 PM on January 19


Well, the Handmaid’s Tale also had the new Congress actually passing legislation.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:06 PM on January 19


Corker is now running around telling people that they're talking about a CR that brings us to early February, but they're 3-4 days apart on when it would end.
posted by zachlipton at 8:06 PM on January 19


Fucking Maggie Haberman, yeah, the NYT is the problem... what the fuck?

Down to the Wire, Trump Reached Out to Schumer
By MICHAEL D. SHEAR and MAGGIE HABERMAN 8:29 PM ET
Giving his staff almost no notice, President Trump invited Senator Chuck Schumer to a last-ditch, one-on-one negotiating session in the Oval Office. It went nowhere.

Let’s do it this way:

Down to the wire, Darth Vader reached out to Ben Kenobi. It went nowhere.
posted by valkane at 8:07 PM on January 19 [24 favorites]


One reason you're overlooking for the Dems here, Talez, is that they need to show they can't be bullied (anymore). The Republicans shut down the government for far less. If one side of a negotiation has shown they are batshit crazy and will torch the place while the other side has shown they will back down from any hint of bad press the second party will get continually steamrolled.

This is Schumer showing that they can't be steamrolled.
posted by Justinian at 8:07 PM on January 19 [75 favorites]


One interesting result of a shutdown would be that there would then be no active government to not give Mulvaney any funding for the CFPB...
posted by darkstar at 8:08 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


Today's win for me was the discussion taking place in the comments of my Trumpist house Rep's facebook post about the Democrats working to shut down the government. Not a SINGLE comment agreed with him, they ALL pointed out the GOP has full control of the government. My comment was surprisingly not only not deleted, but liked a bunch and I got into a whole thread explaining how budget reconciliation and continuing resolutions work and how if the GOP was competent they could have entirely avoided this.

So I'm not convinced the average person is going to buy the official GOP line.
posted by threeturtles at 8:09 PM on January 19 [46 favorites]


If the replies to Senators Toomey and Casey are any indication, no one is buying the official GOP line.
posted by mcduff at 8:10 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


One reason you're overlooking for the Dems here, Talez, is that they need to show they can't be bullied (anymore). The Republicans shut down the government for far less. If one side of a negotiation has shown they are batshit crazy and will torch the place while the other side has shown they will back down from any hint of bad press they will get continually steamrolled.

You can think that but all the bravado in the world isn't going to stop the Republicans making massive amounts of political hay pitting poor citizens vs illegal (but innocent) kids.

Schumer procedurally killed an otherwise passing bill to keep the government open. The optics of that are so ridiculously bad.
posted by Talez at 8:11 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Rs shut it down in 2013 in an idiotic and quixotic attempt to repeal Obamacare. And then took the House and Senate 10 months later. So even if you think it was an own goal, it doesn’t fucking matter for November.

But it’s not an own goal, because it fires up the base, will motivate expanded Latino turnout, and is the fucking right thing to do. We’re not doing this in a stupid quest for an unpopular goal like Cruz was, we’re doing to pass something that has 80% support.

Plus the public will never really buy the Ds are taking healthcare away from kids. Everyone not an idiot or vile partisan knows Ds are the party that wants more health insurance. And everybody who might possibly not vote R knows Trump is an idiot, bad negotiator and terrible leader. And that Rs are the shutdown party who can’t govern, don’t like government.

I’ll take the own goal risk. It won’t cost us anybody we would have ever got the vote of and will gain us votes while doing the moral thing.
posted by chris24 at 8:11 PM on January 19 [79 favorites]


It's an easy slogan for Democrats. "The deal-maker couldn't make a deal." "The guys who control the whole government can't govern."

They just have to, you know, stay on message.
posted by tivalasvegas at 8:11 PM on January 19 [53 favorites]


there would then be no active government to not give Mulvaney any funding for the CFPB...

This is some next-level Ouroboros government drowning itself in a drowning bathtub shit.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:13 PM on January 19 [22 favorites]


Schumer procedurally killed an otherwise passing bill to keep the government open. The optics of that are so ridiculously bad.

IIRC, Schumer already gave them an extension on their final paper. It's time for the GOP to pull an all-nighter and deliver what they promised last time they came to office hours and cried that they needed more time.

They had more time. GOP, stop crying and do your damned work. No more CRs
posted by mikelieman at 8:13 PM on January 19 [11 favorites]


Yeah, I mean the story is the first shut-down was republicans trying to take something good away, and this second shut down is republicans trying to stop something good. Hey, Haberman, give me a call.
posted by valkane at 8:13 PM on January 19 [10 favorites]


Escher's washbasin
posted by tivalasvegas at 8:14 PM on January 19 [5 favorites]


I am totally comfortable with the idea that the Senate Democrats "blocked and killed and stomped and shut down" (or whatever shitty slanted verbs you like) this thing so as to prevent the GOP from letting Actual Nazi Stephen Miller control immigration policy. I would be fine if they literally burned down the Capitol in service of this goal.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:14 PM on January 19 [68 favorites]


> Democrats aren't going to get anywhere by trying to play for the NYT's approval.

Another way to put it is that if they can't weather the storm of some unfriendly headlines in the NYT, they're not going to be of any use going forward when they have to take even more difficult stands. I actually want them to take a public beating on this to see if they have the resolve to stand by their decision to use every by of leverage they have. If they can't stand up for Dreamers against a president and party with sub-gonorrheal approval levels, we have much bigger problems to deal with.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:14 PM on January 19 [35 favorites]


Schumer procedurally killed an otherwise passing bill to keep the government open.

To protect the Dreamers. A position which 79% of Americans support (including a majority of Republicans), and which McConnell and Ryan and Trump all promised to do. Which Trump blew up a bipartisan deal for by being a racist asshole.

The optics of that are so ridiculously bad.

The optics are 10x worse when you show your (currently energized as hell) base that you fold under pressure and wont stand up for your principles.

This is all win for the Democrats.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:15 PM on January 19 [94 favorites]


Actual Nazi Stephen Miller

at this point do I even need to go into what is wrong with this statement?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:16 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


You can't reasonably expect budget reconciliation to be burned on a CR. There are actually important procedural things that need to be put into those bills along with the shit sandwich.

Why not? Republicans were willing to burn the 2017 budget reconciliation on the single subject of Obamacare repeal. There was not one word in the bill regarding the 2017 budget. In fact, the 2017 fiscal year expired just two days after their final attempt at the 2017 reconciliation bill.

Republicans shouldn't be able to deflect blame when they fail to pass a budget using 51 votes. The option is still there. They could pass it tomorrow.
posted by JackFlash at 8:17 PM on January 19 [12 favorites]


Schumer procedurally killed an otherwise passing bill to keep the government open. The optics of that are so ridiculously bad.

Unless you are accepting that the Dreamers are fucked and are all going to be deported there is going to be a shutdown. The only question is when. Would the Republicans' framing be different if the Democrats' shut it down in a month rather than today?
posted by Justinian at 8:17 PM on January 19 [8 favorites]


The federal courts will keep operating til February 9th. And in case you were worried for patent attorneys: the Patent and Trademark Office will also continue to operate normally for a few weeks.
posted by jedicus at 8:18 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


I think the Dem talking point is that never has one party controlled all three branches of government and still shut it down. The GOP Regime has no interest in actually governing except for coal, racism, and tax cuts. And, it hasn't for a very long time.
posted by Gotanda at 8:19 PM on January 19 [42 favorites]


FWIW, the WP headline is:

Government barrels toward shutdown as Senate vote fails -- Several Republicans join Democrats in voting to block short-term bill

Which seems pretty accurate.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:22 PM on January 19 [30 favorites]


I've got to say, it's a weird day when "the President of the United States told the porn star he was having an affair with that he hopes all sharks die" barely registers.
posted by zachlipton at 8:22 PM on January 19 [138 favorites]


The Democrats played with fire but they decided to smother themselves with gasoline first.

The Republicans shut down the government in 2013 because they didn't want to fund health care for non-white people. This gasoline doesn't stick to Republicans, and never will, as long as the media's standard is literally that Republicans can demand whatever they want unless they totally fuck themselves beyond the point where a single Democratic vote could matter.
posted by mubba at 8:23 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


Daily Beast, Indira Marquez, I’m a Dreamer. This Shutdown Debate Has Filled Me With Dread.:
The cruel truth is that I have an expiration date. I can’t eagerly plan for my future like other teenagers. Instead, without DACA, I have to prepare to live without the ability to drive, get health insurance, or work and pay for my college tuition. And without a path toward citizenship I now have to prepare for the real possibility that I could face detention and deportation.

I could face deportation for something as small as a traffic ticket, or, because I live in Texas, any chance encounter with a police officer under my state’s Senate Bill 4.

This is definitely not how I had hoped to spend my senior year of high school. It's not how thousands of immigrant youth had planned to live their lives: living in limbo.
...
When the Senate Majority Leader said on Thursday night that “there is no urgency for a DACA fix,” I wished I could scream across the screen so that he could hear my story, and the story of the thousands of young people like me, who live knowing that everyday we live without the Dream Act is another day that we will live with uncertainty, anguish, and without protections.
posted by zachlipton at 8:24 PM on January 19 [49 favorites]


The ONLY people who are going to believe this is the Democrats' fault are the people who will close their eyes and stick their fingers in their ears when presented with any kind of countering details. Yes, those people exist. No, there was never any hope of reaching them, anyway.

Dems can't get anywhere playing for them. They can't get anywhere trying to change the minds of people dumb enough and/or shitty enough to vote for Donald Trump. As evidence, I present the entirety of last year and the election before it. At some point, Democrats have to say screw the NYT and do what's right. This is that moment.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:25 PM on January 19 [33 favorites]


Not just their voters, 95% of Americans on CHIP, 80% on DACA.

@JamilSmith: (HuffPo, LAT)
One might think that the shutdown presents a dilemma for @TheDemocrats in one way: the party prides itself on showing that government works. But I’d argue that this is effective governance. They aren’t obstructing a @POTUS; they’re fighting for the policies their voters demand.
posted by chris24 at 8:27 PM on January 19 [48 favorites]


95% for CHIP? That's ridiculously high.

like, did some people think 'potato chips'? Oh god, some people thought 'potato chips'.
posted by tivalasvegas at 8:29 PM on January 19 [20 favorites]


You guys are more optimistic than me. I don't trust the American electorate further than I can throw them.
posted by Talez at 8:30 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


The ONLY people who are going to believe this is the Democrats' fault are the people who will close their eyes and stick their fingers in their ears when presented with any kind of countering details.

I'm pretty sure Talez is not that kind of person, so that doesn't seem to be true.
posted by Coventry at 8:30 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


I mean, let's see what happens, and then either Talez will be right, or other people? Only way we find out is to find out.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:32 PM on January 19 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I would like to hope we’re at the point where someone can stand up and say “Let’s be nice to everyone” and the Republicans can say “fuck you” and the New York Times can just be ignored. I would like to hope.

The thing that makes me weep is the fact that all the while the republicans demonize the NYT and yet, seemingly, they are in lockstep.

It makes me wonder about the goals of corporate america.
posted by valkane at 8:35 PM on January 19 [6 favorites]


The American electorate is largely stupid so they may well blame the Democrats. I have no idea. Sometimes you do things even though they are unpopular because you have important reasons besides how it appears.
posted by Justinian at 8:38 PM on January 19 [37 favorites]


It makes me wonder about the goals of corporate america.

At times like these, I find great comfort in the words of Frank Zappa. "The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing" is a masterwork, and I truly wonder if the world wouldn't be a -- not necessarily better place but a more honest place if Thing-Fish was actually produced on broadway.
You say yer life's a bum deal
'N yer up against the wall...
Well, people, you ain't even got no
Deal at all
'Cause what they do
In Washington
They just takes care
of NUMBER ONE
An' NUMBER ONE ain't YOU
You ain't even NUMBER TWO
posted by mikelieman at 8:41 PM on January 19 [13 favorites]


Just to show how fucked up the Times is... the Washington Deputy Editor jumped in to call out Dan Pfeiffer for tweeting that NYT should do better in the headline on this.

@jonathanweisman:
Own it, Dan. The Democrats held together and voted no. They stopped the CR. If every Republican had voted yes, they still would have stopped the CR.

- -

So we’ll ignore that 5 Ds voted for it, but pretend that Rs got their whole caucus.
posted by chris24 at 8:42 PM on January 19 [16 favorites]


Jennifer Rubin (I know...) at WaPo on tonight’s latest events:
There are several aspects worth noting at this late hour. First, although Schumer lost five Democrats (who voted to proceed), McConnell remarkably lost four votes, making it that much harder to pin the shutdown on Democrats. The degree to which the hard-line anti-immigration crowd has divided the GOP is remarkable.

Second, to put on my former labor lawyer hat, McConnell’s lack of urgency today was stunning. This situation is akin to a labor contract negotiation leading up to a strike deadline. Not to have a single joint meeting with Democrats and the president or exchange any proposals in the final day represents a stunning level of irresponsibility. Republicans control both houses and the White House; not to make every effort to initiate talks and find a solution suggests they no longer know how to cut deals.

Finally, having a self-described dealmaker in the Oval Office was worthless, since the dealmaker is totally incapable of mastering policy details, expressing a policy preference (and sticking with it for more than an hour) and moving both sides to conclusion. This is what comes from electing someone entirely in over his head. It did not help that Trump reportedly whined to staff about missing his party at Mar-a-Lago. His reputation as a man-child remains intact.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:43 PM on January 19 [66 favorites]


Everyone is saying "Republicans take the blame" or "Democrats take the blame" but not "Democrats take the credit".
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 8:48 PM on January 19 [11 favorites]


Can we admit the New York Times is a Republican propaganda outlet yet? If not, how many times do they have to parrot Republican talking points before we can? I need an exact number, and it must be greater than...let me check...76,887.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:49 PM on January 19 [25 favorites]


You guys are more optimistic than me. I don't trust the American electorate further than I can throw them.

Neither do I. But if the American electorate is largely stupid, gullible, and untrustworthy, then it is very foolish indeed to base your decisions on trying to predict what will please and placate them.

If you're going to be blamed and misrepresented regardless of what you do, then you might as well stand for something and act in ways that represent your values.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:50 PM on January 19 [42 favorites]


I think of the NYT as a newspaper for the rich. There's a *lot* of overlap, sure, but they're still not Fox News.
posted by uosuaq at 8:52 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


Only because the NYT still wants you to think they feel bad about it.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:54 PM on January 19 [5 favorites]


I’ll take the own goal risk.

It's fascinating to me that neither "Dems bad" or "Repubs fail" is talking about government or politics.

We don't even need politics for what happens - we don't need it for how we got here. It's Chuck Todd all the way down, and nothing else "plays" except in relation to how it plays in the corporate news.

NYT is Fox is t_d and back again. Where's my end-to-end encrypted, fully anonymous social media app already.
posted by petebest at 8:54 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


No, the Wall Street Journal was the newspaper for the rich. the New York Times was the newspaper for the smart. But then, something happened.......
posted by valkane at 8:54 PM on January 19 [10 favorites]




I have #SchumerShutdown as my top hashtag. But I am currently in a very red location.

Here in Western Oregon, it's #TrumpShutdown by a landslide, and no Schumers or Shumers anywhere on the list. I'm sure it's different in St. Petersburg though.
posted by msalt at 8:58 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


I don't see why the MAGA-hat crowd should get upset about a government shutdown anyway -- HUD and EPA get heavily furloughed; vets and Justice get largely left alone; "deconstructing the administrative state" in other words.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:59 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


Whelp. Shut it down.

(I'll undermine that by saying technically, the government can stay open for a bit before Mulvaney sends the official shutdown memo if it looks like there's going to be a deal. Everyone's still talking.)
posted by zachlipton at 9:00 PM on January 19


You know, when Trump has to file bankruptcy for the United States, everyone is gonna have to slap themselves in the forehead and say “I never saw this coming!”
posted by valkane at 9:00 PM on January 19 [16 favorites]


Yup, stand for things and take credit. Like so --

@laurenegambino Sen. Bob Casey - Democrat of Pennsylvania: “I was not elected to genuflect to the Freedom Caucus.”

Also Casey:
It’s diabolical the way Republicans are using the CHIP program as a weapon instead of passing the reauthorization back when it expired in September. They didn’t do a damn thing for kids for all these months, over 100 days and now all of the sudden they pretend like they care. I think Pennsylvanians see through this incredibly cynical move and would rather see us work together on a bipartisan compromise.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:00 PM on January 19 [72 favorites]


I hope the next trender is #TrumpStepdown.
posted by glonous keming at 9:00 PM on January 19 [7 favorites]


I'll suspend judgement on the NYT until they start 2 or 3 more failed wars.
posted by benzenedream at 9:02 PM on January 19 [14 favorites]


Kinda sums it up that for once there seems to be actual debate on the Senate floor and of course it's not on the record and we're watching on mute

(for people not watching the CSPAN feed, Lindsey Graham, along with Schumer, seem to be leading a large discussion of Senators of both parties. McConnell is standing statue-like at his podium where he's been for almost 2 hours)
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:06 PM on January 19 [7 favorites]


NYT is Fox is t_d and back again. Where's my end-to-end encrypted, fully anonymous social media app already.

Man, I remember being an early adopter of PGP/GPG for email and thinking, "If this is how adoption is going to go, we're all fucked"

And here we are. /me drinks more much whisky
posted by mikelieman at 9:06 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


No, the Wall Street Journal was the newspaper for the rich. the New York Times was the newspaper for the smart. But then, something happened.......

no the NYT is the mouthpiece of the Establishment, always has been. Like one of my research projects was newspaper history and hoo boy the Times was sure on the leading edge of racism science, Why Irish Are Animals, and Our Solemn Christian Duty To Subjugate The Natives. Even in the 30s it was "Hitler, just misunderstood!" It's the editorial voice of the powers that be.
posted by The Whelk at 9:08 PM on January 19 [71 favorites]


#Shrumpdown?
posted by uosuaq at 9:08 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


(for people not watching the CSPAN feed, Lindsey Graham, along with Schumer, seem to be leading a large discussion of Senators of both parties. McConnell is standing statue-like at his podium where he's been for almost 2 hours)

Are they talking like those folks on West Wing? Or Veep? Or The Thick of it?

Yeah, didn’t think so.
posted by valkane at 9:10 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


McConnell is standing statue-like at his podium where he's been for almost 2 hours

For the best, surely.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:11 PM on January 19 [6 favorites]


Also, really unclear why Graham is the one negotiating here, and why Democrats should trust he can deliver one vote for anything they agreed on, other than maybe Flake. McConnell's total non-involvement is the story to me. Graham is wasting everyone's effort unless he has some unseen buy-in from McConnell to whip what would be an extremely unpopular deal for the Tom Cotton wing. And there looks to be a lot more Tom Cottons than Lindsey Grahams.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:12 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


Schumer talking to McConnell now, something afoot.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:15 PM on January 19


We all remember that Trump is the one who initially killed DACA right? Not even through some handwavy passive shit like "letting funding expire" like what happened with CHIP. He actively killed it. So this shit is all on him and the GOP. They created this mess through their racism and lack of humanity. They can eat it. Both programs have broad support, so besides being racist and inhumane they're also undemocratic. It's cartoonishly evil to try this I'll shoot one hostage you pick bullshit, but then Trump and the GOP are fucking cartoons so... None of them is fit to govern a local school board let alone the country.
posted by supercrayon at 9:15 PM on January 19 [64 favorites]


I dunno. If there's some way Schumer could help Graham undercut McConnell by making it look like Graham saved the deal--presumably while also gaining wins for the Democrats--there might be some tiny mileage there? It's not like all the Republicans actually hate what the Dems are pushing for. A lot of them are probably dreading the consequences of this.

If Republicans in the Senate remembers McConnell bringing them to the brink like this and Graham "saving" it... I dunno. I have no illusions about Graham growing or even borrowing any kind of spine, but... meh.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:16 PM on January 19


The vote is officially over after 2 hours and 3 minutes (McConnell voted no, as is typical for leaders in such situations, because you have to vote on the losing side to make a motion to reconsider). There's no deal.
posted by zachlipton at 9:18 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Welp. That was anti-climactic. McConnell votes no. Debate ends with no deal. Shutdown is on.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:18 PM on January 19


You’re right, the whelk. I didn’t do my homework.
posted by valkane at 9:18 PM on January 19


McConnell is (predictably) grandstanding and blaming the Democrats.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:18 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


So, while the American OS is offline, can we try and dual-boot a new system? I think Canada has an ol' floppy drive with some parliamentary democracy on it.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 9:21 PM on January 19 [63 favorites]


I’ve got a copy of Zap Rowsdower 4.0 if you wanna give it a shot.
posted by valkane at 9:25 PM on January 19 [9 favorites]


Sen. Schumer speaking now. Helpfully reminding McConnell that it’s the head of his party sitting in the White House that caused all of this mess. He’s also striking a “calmer than you, bro” tone and it’s delightful.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:26 PM on January 19 [39 favorites]


You know who knows the NYT spin is bullshit? The New York Times: How Trump and Schumer Came Close to a Deal Over Cheeseburgers
President Trump and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the top Democrat in the Senate, came close to an agreement to avert a government shutdown over lunch on Friday, but their consensus broke down later in the day when the president and his chief of staff demanded more concessions on immigration, according to people on both sides familiar with the lunch and follow-up calls between Mr. Trump and Mr. Schumer.
...
A White House official said that Mr. Schumer raised the possibility of a one or two-day extension, but Mr. Trump told Mr. Schumer to work out the details of a short-term measure with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader.

A short time later Mr. Schumer called the president, the person said, but the conversation drove the pair even further apart. The immigration concessions from Democrats were not conservative enough, Mr. Trump told Mr. Schumer. The president said he needed more border security measures as well as more enforcement of illegal immigration in parts of the country far from the border.

As the evening wore on, Mr. Schumer got a call from Mr. Kelly that dashed all hopes for a Trump-Schumer deal before the shutdown deadline of midnight. Mr. Kelly, a hard-liner on immigration, the person familiar with the call said, outlined a long list of White House objections to the deal.
The White House blew up any prospect of a deal. That's why we're in this situation. The Art of the Deal, indeed.
posted by zachlipton at 9:30 PM on January 19 [58 favorites]


Really telling to me that McConnell stood totally outside the discussions, pretty much only talking with Cornyn and Cotton, and then delivered that blast of dishonest McConnellism despite whatever discussion was going on with Graham and Schumer. He thinks he can win this shutdown fight without giving up anything. Democrats are negotiating with McConnell, Trump is pretty much beside the point.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:31 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


Talez: You can think that but all the bravado in the world isn't going to stop the Republicans making massive amounts of political hay pitting poor citizens vs illegal (but innocent) kids.

On tonight's PBS Newshour David Brooks coined the term "illegal-Americans." Apparently by accident? Hopefully?

The crazy thing is, even if the Republicans gave the Democrats everything they want on the Dreamers, they'd still be reserving the right to round up more than ten million people. But that's just not enough.

JackFlash: Republicans shouldn't be able to deflect blame when they fail to pass a budget using 51 votes. The option is still there. They could pass it tomorrow.

This Congressional Research Service report: The Budget Reconciliation Process: House and Senate Procedures (PDF, number RL33030, 2005) makes it sound as though if the budget resolution that was used to enable the tax cut, because it would've already modified spending, and if the fiscal year for that matches up with this CR, under current Senate rules they've used up the reconciliation option because the fiscal year runs from October to October? Maybe? Unless they pass another budget resolution with further reconciliation instructions, but if the first one would have been "binding" can you do that twice?

In any case, though, they still could have devoted the reconciliation to actually funding the government budget instead of chopping it up for the sake of their grotesque tax cuts in the midst of CRs relating to the same budget, they just gambled that the Dems would help them out a few days later, and guessed wrong.
posted by XMLicious at 9:33 PM on January 19


Democrats are negotiating with McConnell

Nah.. Democrats are negotiating with Lindsey Graham. They left McConnell out of that. He was standing at his lectern, all alone, idly flipping through the four pieces of paper he brought with him. He's in career-level trouble and knows it.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 9:36 PM on January 19 [9 favorites]


Leadership has now advised members that the House plans to stay in session through Saturday now.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:38 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


He did seem rather hectoring and, I daresay, desperate compared to Schumer who had clearly put two thoughts together about what he was going to say.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:38 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


From the cheeseburger article:

In the morning, Mr. Mulvaney seemed resigned to failure, promising to “manage the shutdown differently” than President Barack Obama’s administration did a 2013 shutdown. He accused Mr. Obama of “weaponizing” that shutdown to maximize outrage against Republicans.

FUCK. YOU.
posted by angrycat at 9:39 PM on January 19 [43 favorites]


> We now have raw patriarchy, which asserts its rights through naked displays of power. And the president, with his porn star mistresses, his boasting of sexual assaults, and even his phallic tweets about the size of his nuclear button, is the perfect leader for conservatives’ post-chivalric world.

> I think a lot of non-right-wing folks (because I'm sure she would have considered herself "independent") think that someone would step in and stop the government from actually hurting people or taking away their rights.

Record numbers of women are running for political office - "266 Democratic women have reported raising money for House races, and other women are putting money into campaigns at unprecedented rates, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington."
posted by kliuless at 9:41 PM on January 19 [9 favorites]


Mods, please feel free to delete if this is a derail -

I'm trying to refresh my memory on the last, oh 17 years of immigration legislation (or lack thereof). I know the original DREAM act was introduced in 2001. Is it fair to say the GOP really started losing their minds on immigration in 2007 when even Dubya couldn't get them to vote for his immigration reform bill? (I don't have a great sense of how decent that bill was to begin with).

Does anyone have a good timeline covering these events pre-Trump?
posted by mostly vowels at 9:43 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


President Trump Is Having an Affair ‘Right Now,’ Michael Wolff Tells Bill Maher
Instead of telling Maher about something that he did put in the book, Wolff slyly teased a White House anecdote that he apparently didn’t feel comfortable including. There was one story about Trump that he kept hearing, but couldn’t confirm, even by his questionable standards.

“I didn’t have the blue dress,” Wolff said, referring to the evidence that damned Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

“It’s about somebody’s he’s fucking right now?” Maher asked, excitedly.

“Yes,” Wolff replied, but he refused to elaborate. “You just have to read between the lines,” he said, adding, “Now that I’ve told you, when you hit that paragraph, you’ll say bingo.”
posted by kirkaracha at 9:45 PM on January 19 [26 favorites]


The Whelk: "can someone please primary Schumer like they need it to live"

I'm not sure where you are coming from here, but in any case, Schumer was just re-elected in 2016. 2022 is a ways off.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:45 PM on January 19 [10 favorites]


Does anyone have a good timeline covering these events pre-Trump?

I'd start at Elian Gonzalez.
posted by rhizome at 9:47 PM on January 19 [6 favorites]


Frankly, the shutdown should be weaponized to maximize outrage. I wrote this in 2013, and it applies now:
It has become clear in recent years that there is a vast divide in this country over the fundamental role of the federal government in our society. If shutting the government down is going to be the only way to try to persuade those who believe that we should abolish it, then, regretfully, I say let's really shut it down right.

The current system classes certain functions as "essential," but I'd posit that many of the "essential" positions are simply those whose absence will be noticed more quickly, while a large number of the "unessential" ones may be just as critical to a functioning society, but it would take us a bit longer to miss them. Why is the guy who fixes jeeps in the motor pool at a military base in Germany more "essential" to the United States next week than the woman filing a lawsuit against someone who dumps toxic waste into a river? Why is the agent checking my passport as I stumble, beery-eyed, off my international flight more "essential" next week than the regulators who are checking to see whether my bank has enough money to cover my withdrawals? Nothing too terrible may happen next week if the toxic sludge keeps pouring or my bank is somewhat under-capitalized, but sooner or later, that stuff catches up with us.

So when (I really want to say "if," but let's be real here) the government shuts down, it should really shut down. No; air traffic controllers shouldn't walk off the job at midnight, leaving the poor pilots of the redeyes to fend for themselves as they work out a landing sequence, but get everyone safely on the ground, keep limited staffing on hand to work emergency law enforcement, aeromedical, and military flights, and send everyone else home. Keep enough border guards on-hand for basic security only, and hang a giant "Closed" sign across the Ambassador Bridge: "America is closed this week ma'am, you can try again once Congress passes a budget and we have a government." Cruise ships and container ships can wait offshore until we have a budget to pay for the customs inspectors. Meat inspectors should be sent off the job, leaving carcasses to rot in the slaughterhouses. Checks can pile up without the Fed to process payments. And we're not even talking about all the money for roads, schools, police, unemployment, social services, etc... that gets run by the states but is paid for out of the federal budget.

Would this suck? You bet. Planes grounded nationwide, untold piles of food imports rotting at ports of entry, billions of dollars of value disappearing from the economy by the minute. Apple Stores sold out of iPhones because imports are shut down (oh the humanity!). But maybe the folks responsible for those industries, the same folks who happen to have the ears of Members of Congress, might have strong objections to this plan? Maybe, just maybe, they could use their influence to push a deal that keeps the government operating? Maybe we'd see that less government isn't always better, that government does a lot of stuff in our daily lives that we take for granted. That's not going to happen if the only people inconvenienced by a shutdown are a gazillion federal workers (who we've already been treating like punching bags for the past few years anyway) and sad looking kids who can't visit the National Zoo. We need to have the conversation, to show how and why government serves a role in our society, and if it takes a shutdown to make that happen, then let's do it.

I'll just make sure I'm standing upwind of the giant pile of rotting meat before it starts though.
Is truly shutting the government down, short of absolute life-or-death safety operations, unthinkable? Damn straight; it should be. Government does so many things that are downright essential. We should all be confronted with that. If Republicans want to belittle the value of government any chance they get, then they should have to face what it means to not have one.
posted by zachlipton at 9:48 PM on January 19 [75 favorites]


Can we clarify why exactly Schumer sucks this time? I promise I'm not gonna argue. I just don't understand why he is bottom-feeding scum right now. Because he didn't roll over? Because he rolled over too often in the past? Help.
posted by Justinian at 9:52 PM on January 19 [27 favorites]


To paraphrase Twitter: How the fuck is The Onion supposed to think up stupider shit than this.
posted by Talez at 9:52 PM on January 19 [24 favorites]


Huh, i thought Schumer's speech was pretty good.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 9:54 PM on January 19 [13 favorites]


@markknoller: WH just posted Pres Trump's public schedule for Saturday. Nothing on it. No flight to his Palm Beach estate, which was postponed Friday. He has a big money fundraiser planned Saturday evening to mark anniversary of his Inauguration. @MickMulvaneyOMB said @POTUS wouldn't go.

Trump being pissed that he doesn't get to go to his big fancy party where people pay $250K to talk to him is going to result in some seriously angry tweets.
posted by zachlipton at 9:56 PM on January 19 [54 favorites]


Yeah, I'm always just perplexed at roving bands of putative libertarians and objectivists having a cow over the government shutting down. Isn't this, like, your ultimate fanfiction daydream, Paul Ryan?

I feel terrible about this for federal employees and folks dependent on services, especially since this all could have been resolved easily with nobody getting harmed or screwed, well, except for Trump, Kelly, Miller, Cotton, Perdue, et al., who so richly deserve all the bad things.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:02 PM on January 19 [6 favorites]


under current Senate rules they've used up the reconciliation option because the fiscal year runs from October to October?

It's a new calendar year. They get a new budget resolution. Normally, you are supposed to pass a budget resolution before the next budget year starts. In fact, according to the rules, they are supposed to pass a budget resolution by this coming April 15, for fiscal 2019 but there is no reason they can't do it before then. They could pass a completely new budget resolution tomorrow. Nominally it would be for fiscal 2019, but the subject isn't limited to that as we saw when they used a budget resolution just for Obamacare repeal. They could pass their continuing resolution with 51 votes if they wanted if they were willing to use up their one budget resolution for this calendar year.
posted by JackFlash at 10:06 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


Schumer is playing this fine. He lost less marginal Dem votes than I expected. He shouldn't have negotiated away Dem votes for nothing, and shouldn't have negotiated on CHIP or DACA when Republicans ostensibly want both things. There were multiple bipartisan compromises today and yesterday to do both. There's multiple solutions right now that could draw a majority in both houses. McConnell wouldn't put any of them in front of Trump. What more do you want from him as a caucus leader in this moment?

The real test is now. Dems can win this fight, but not on the politics. It has to be on the merits of CHIP and DACA. They have to argue at every turn that they're willing to fund everything, right now, including DACA, and make Republicans state why that's not acceptable - because Republicans right now aren't arguing against the Dreamers, they're yelling about the military and 'illegal immigration', and generally blaming Democrats, but not actually arguing against the merits. Because they know 70% disagree with them when the issue is actually set out, including at least 4 Republican Senators. But, it only takes a couple traitorous red state Democrats to undermine that. It's going to be a tough tightrope to walk, they need coherent messaging and consistency, and relentless focus on the real impact. If they let Republicans and the New York Times turn this into "Democrats are shutting down the government for illegals" without pushback, that's not a winning frame. Schumer is going to be key to keeping message discipline.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:09 PM on January 19 [47 favorites]


To paraphrase Twitter: How the fuck is The Onion supposed to think up stupider shit than this.

For historical perspective, I recall that Tom Lehrer ( google it ) got out of the satire game when Henry Kissinger was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.
posted by mikelieman at 10:15 PM on January 19 [58 favorites]


Some nice unanimous consent Democratic posturing: Sen. McCaskill proposes a bill to ensure military pay and death benefits are paid. McConnell objects. Sen. Nelson proposes keeping the government open for 24 hours. McConnell objects. Sen. Tester proposes a three-day CR. McConnell objects.

McConnell says they'll reconvene at noon tomorrow, because whatever, why show up to work before noon after this?
posted by zachlipton at 10:21 PM on January 19 [24 favorites]


So for those who have been following this closely: putting Trump aside for a minute, what could be the contents of a bill that McConnell could pass with 46-50 R's and 10-14 D's, and Ryan could pass in the House with mostly R votes?
posted by chortly at 10:25 PM on January 19


@samstein: Per a source familiar: it was Kelly who called Schumer to say that the outline of the deal that Schumer and Trump had discussed was too liberal

@mattyglesias: In ways we are only beginning to grasp, Trump isn’t really the president.
posted by zachlipton at 10:25 PM on January 19 [105 favorites]


mrjohnmuller: So, while the American OS is offline, can we try and dual-boot a new system? I think Canada has an ol' floppy drive with some parliamentary democracy on it.

Since you're so prone to shutdowns anyway, might I suggest the Belgian model? I believe they went for a couple of years without being able to form a government, and yet the functions of government kept humming along just fine anyway. Lovely waffles, too.
posted by clawsoon at 10:27 PM on January 19 [7 favorites]


We may yet get to the "vaguely co-habitating blocs of geographically adjacent regions" level.
posted by tivalasvegas at 10:29 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


I’m all for the fuckers getting a good sleep in. They should have the same sleep regulations as truckers and pilots.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:33 PM on January 19 [7 favorites]


what could be the contents of a bill that McConnell could pass with 46-50 R's and 10-14 D's, and Ryan could pass in the House with mostly R votes?

CHIP + DACA fix could pass with all Democrats and maybe 20 Republicans. But that's exactly what McConnell won't do. If what we saw tonight didn't draw enough Dem defectors to break a threshold, I'm not sure there's a combination without DACA that could pass.

Since you're so prone to shutdowns anyway, might I suggest the Belgian model? I believe they went for a couple of years without being able to form a government, and yet the functions of government kept humming along just fine anyway.

This is the fucking stupid Josh Barro joke he just made on twitter. The difference is Belgium has a self-funding mechanism, just because they didn't technically have a governing parliamentary coalition, didn't mean that the machinery of state shut down and the bureaucrats that run everything day to day were legally prevented from doing their job. A reform to do away with our current government-by-hostage existence, which would provide for continued appropriations at the previous levels in the event of any lapse in funding, and completely eliminate the absurd concept of the debt ceiling, would be great. I'm sure Democrats would agree to that in a heartbeat. Republicans would not, under any circumstances.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:34 PM on January 19 [12 favorites]


This is the fucking stupid Josh Barro joke he just made on twitter.

Stupid minds think alike, eh?
posted by clawsoon at 10:38 PM on January 19


> @laurenegambino Sen. Bob Casey - Democrat of Pennsylvania: “I was not elected to genuflect to the Freedom Caucus.”

Whatever Chuck Schumer is doing, it's gotten Bob freaking Casey fired up. That's all I need to know in order to sleep soundly tonight.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:40 PM on January 19 [54 favorites]


CHIP + DACA fix could pass with all Democrats and maybe 20 Republicans. But that's exactly what McConnell won't do. If what we saw tonight didn't draw enough Dem defectors to break a threshold, I'm not sure there's a combination without DACA that could pass.

It seems very unlikely that McConnell or Ryan would ever pass anything with more Democratic than Republican votes. McConnell aside, is it possible the House bill plus DACA could pass the Senate with 40-something Republican votes? And if so, would such a thing have a chance at winning a majority of Republicans in the House?
posted by chortly at 10:42 PM on January 19


I think it's more that Casey's dad invented CHIP.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:42 PM on January 19 [6 favorites]


@samstein: Per a source familiar: it was Kelly who called Schumer to say that the outline of the deal that Schumer and Trump had discussed was too liberal

@mattyglesias: In ways we are only beginning to grasp, Trump isn’t really the president.


Further confirming my suspicions that via a mix of shutdowns and attrition the executive branch will rapidly shift to a shadow contracted network of the worst elements of right wing military and LE contractors to keep the lights flickering. Trump already would just like the military brass to take care of all the shit anyway so Kelly will lean harder.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:43 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


The House bill is what they voted on tonight...
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:44 PM on January 19


is it fair to say the GOP really started losing their minds on immigration in 2007 when even Dubya couldn't get them to vote for his immigration reform bill?

Google is failing me, because this article is from several years ago, but I believe it was TIME that had graphs showing the prevalence of racist views within the two parties over time.

From 1980 or so to 2004, the Republicans had a higher prevalence of racist views, but the trend of both parties was the same - the data showed them becoming more or less racist at the same pace. Any increase or decrease in racist views affected both parties equally. The graph seemed to be saying that prior to 2004, out of all the racists in the country, the Republican party had about two thirds of them, and the Democratic party had the other third, and that was a stable ratio.

The trend began to diverge around 2004. The Dems became less racist at the same time as the Rs became more racist. And the divergence started with their views on Hispanic people; views on black people didn't diverge until 2007, if I recall. Hispanic immigration was a hot button issue in the early 2000s, although I don't remember why - I was a teenager at the time - and obviously Obama in 2007. So it seems to me that when these things were in the news a lot, it triggered ... something.

I'm hesitant to draw a narrative, because I was a teenager, like I said. And I don't know if that data exactly shows the Republican party losing their minds. And it's not obvious why there's the disparity between the two parties. And I think this will turn into a derail if we try to explore those questions. But if you want a date, there you go. 2004.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 10:45 PM on January 19 [20 favorites]


@pdmcleod: Sounds like it was Paul Ryan, via phone, who sunk negotiations. Wouldn't commit the House to tying DACA to a must-pass funding bill.

@taragolshan: .@JeffFlake says Leader McConnell agrees to move forward with a DACA bill regardless of whether Trump approves of it.

@ericawerner: Flake says expects agreement tomorrow (Saturday) on CR to Feb 8 - and vote on the bipartisan DACA bill. Says has that commitment from McConnell.

If the Senate passes something like the Durbin-Graham bill tomorrow and Ryan won't put it up for a vote, it's going to be utterly evident the GOP has no idea what it wants.
posted by zachlipton at 10:46 PM on January 19 [25 favorites]


#TrumpShutdown becomes top trending hashtag worldwide.

This is actually a problem long term. Letting McConnell and the rest of the GOP put this on Trump makes it easier for them to disavow later and make people forget that it is a #GOPshutdown. It is really easy to get angry about Trump (and we all should be) but I want to hang all of this bullshit around the GOP's neck for as long as possible. GOP Shutdown. GOP Regime. Trump and the GOP if you want. But let's never separate Trump from the party that elected him and the so-called "Never Trump" GOP members who folded instantly.
posted by Gotanda at 10:54 PM on January 19 [55 favorites]


Welp, looks like I get to go in on Monday and find out if I'm out of a job, or one of the "lucky" essential ones who gets to keep working for IOUs.

Last time this happened, a bunch of the people deemed essential resented the non-essential people because while they had to come in to work, everyone else ended up getting back pay anyway. So the "essential" people missed out on a paid holiday. If that isn't a perfect example of "get the peons to fight among themselves and they'll forget about the enemy", I don't know what is.
posted by ctmf at 11:39 PM on January 19 [34 favorites]


How many previous shitdowns have occured when a single party had control of both houses of Congress as well as the presidency?

0
posted by bootlegpop at 1:11 AM on January 20 [13 favorites]


citation
posted by XMLicious at 1:24 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]




In ways we are only beginning to grasp, Trump isn’t really the president.

Of course he isn't, that's been clear from the beginning. He's a dumber, racist Zaphod Beeblebrox without the cool.
posted by rifflesby at 2:20 AM on January 20 [25 favorites]


I was asked by someone who doesn't follow US politics but knows I have that terrible affliction what was going on, and I said "The Democrats are trying to prevent massive injustice to young people, and literally trying to save the lives of children, and the Republicans are framing it as an attack on Americans". Which I think is as fair as anything you can say, but a narrative I'm just not seeing anywhere.

Furthermore, there's the "This is what happens when you vote in prima face cruelty-addict right-wing incompetents because they tell you what you want to hear. It is a worked example playing out in real time in your life right now" angle which I hope will have some resonance in the UK where, guess what, public services are being destroyed in the name of insanity on the path to perdition.

These are going to be my lines on this ,because not only can I point to actual proof but if I had as many arms as Kali I'd still run out of fingers in the pointing thereof. And they're not hidden things, they're literally - as in literally literally - the first three items on the news every damn night.
posted by Devonian at 3:16 AM on January 20 [17 favorites]


In ways we are only beginning to grasp, Trump isn’t really the president.

1. This was the case with Bush Jr., as well.
2. Wouldn't a word in Trump's ear, maybe via 'Fox and Friends' turn him against Kelley?
Something simple and poisonous like, 'Kelley thinks Trump may only be worth 10 million on a good day.' Or 'Kelley glad to take reins of Executive, Trump happier playing golf and watching tv.'
3. Sigh
4. Saw recently the suggestion that the kompromat is actually money laundering.
5. Couldn't Twitter write in code to disable bots?
6. Could some fucking adults step in and run things until the legal shit is resolved. Also, 'way to go Republicans, you fucking dipshits.'
posted by From Bklyn at 3:17 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]


1. This was the case with Bush Jr., as well.
Yeah, but the Bush handlers were competent at being evil and corrupt. This time they are all idiots, including the generals*, and entirely driven by racism and greed.

*Everyone should drop the notion that someone must be intelligent to become a general. I've known a couple of not very smart generals in my lifetime, and even among smart generals, not many have the skills required for politics. As we saw yesterday.
posted by mumimor at 3:31 AM on January 20 [16 favorites]


I know that Mattis is SecDef and needs to stay mum about domestic policy, but he's pretty blunt. Have there been any statement out of him lately?

This one is interesting: "US Defence Secretary James Mattis has said competition between great powers, not terrorism, is now the main focus of America's national security."
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42752298

That feels like a change. Pity there's no State Department any more...
posted by wenestvedt at 4:06 AM on January 20 [10 favorites]


@ericawerner: Flake says expects agreement tomorrow (Saturday) on CR to Feb 8 - and vote on the bipartisan DACA bill. Says has that commitment from McConnell.

If the Senate passes something like the Durbin-Graham bill tomorrow and Ryan won't put it up for a vote, it's going to be utterly evident the GOP has no idea what it wants.

How is it that anyone sees this as a solution (for anyone but the GOP)? McConnell allows the Senate to pass something that doesn't even get considered by the House, in exchange for Democratic votes to end the Shutdown.
posted by pjenks at 4:56 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]


Congress returns to work Saturday as lawmakers press to keep shutdown short-lived (WaPo)
Both parties confronted major political risks with 10 months to go until the midterm elections. Republicans resolved not to submit to the minority party’s demands to negotiate, while Democrats largely unified to use the shutdown deadline to force concessions on numerous issues — including protections for hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants. ...

The early contours of the blame game appeared to cut against Trump and the Republicans, who control all levers of government but cannot pass major legislation without at least partial support from Senate Democrats. According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, Americans said by a 20-point margin that they would blame a shutdown on Trump and the GOP rather than Democrats.

... Trump took to Twitter on Saturday morning to lay the blame on Democrats, saying they “are far more concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border. They could have easily made a deal but decided to play Shutdown politics instead.” He also noted in a follow-up tweet that Saturday is the first anniversary of his inauguration and that “the Democrats wanted to give me a nice present.”

One possible path out of the impasse appeared in wee hours: Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), leaving the Senate floor, said that he had secured an agreement from McConnell to bring a bipartisan bill addressing “dreamers” — young immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children — up for a vote.

Flake said he expected a short-term spending deal to be agreed to during Saturday’s Senate session, extending government funding through Feb. 8. By that same date, he said, McConnell would move to bring up the dreamer bill crafted by Sens. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.).

Flake had previously gotten a similar commitment from McConnell, but the majority leader insisted in recent days that any dreamer bill would have to be one Trump supported. Flake said he had urged him, and McConnell had agreed, not to wait on the president.

“At this point, we agree we can’t wait for the White House anymore,” Flake said.

A McConnell spokeswoman did not immediately comment Saturday morning on Flake’s account of a deal.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:04 AM on January 20 [8 favorites]


Flake had previously gotten a similar commitment from McConnell, but the majority leader insisted in recent days that any dreamer bill would have to be one Trump supported. Flake said he had urged him, and McConnell had agreed, not to wait on the president.

...and Flake thinks he'll keep his promise this time because?
posted by leotrotsky at 5:38 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]


On the first day of Trump’s first year, the largest single-day mass demonstrations in U.S. history took place in opposition.

On the first day of Trump’s second year, he “leads” his party to a shutdown of the federal government.

Trump never could get the hang of firstdays.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:38 AM on January 20 [39 favorites]


So what do you do if you paid $250k to go to Trump's gala and he is a no-show? I hope people tweet their chargebacks.
posted by ryanrs at 5:46 AM on January 20 [11 favorites]


With government shutdown, Republicans reap what they sow Richard Wolffe/Guardian
Today’s Republican party is built on principle. As a matter of principle, the GOP believes it is the only party that can shut down government as a negotiating tactic. The Democrats’ job is to keep that government open and to cave in to its demands.

These truths we hold to be self-evident, after watching several rounds of this sad kabuki theater through the Clinton and Obama years.

Now that the Democrats have triggered a government shutdown, Republicans are outraged. Because of their principles, you know.
posted by mumimor at 5:50 AM on January 20 [20 favorites]


No, the Wall Street Journal was the newspaper for the rich. the New York Times was the newspaper for the smart. But then, something happened.....

1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.

3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country.

4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand the Washington Post. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie chart format.

5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country, if they could spare the time, and if they didn't have to leave LA to do it.

6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and they did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.

(Old meme)
posted by Melismata at 5:51 AM on January 20 [73 favorites]


Just a quick sidebar from this loyal lurker: a full year of these official POTUS45 megathreads has given me an even greater respect for the Metafilter community than I thought possible. A huge thank you to everybody who contributes to these, from the regulars with the deep sources to the drive-by snarkmasters... I couldn't have gotten this far without reliably having you to read every day. Extra special thanks (and hugs, and booze) to the mods, freaking superstars all. I don't know how you do it, but you consistently do, and you're amazing. We're blessed to have you.

Happy* one year anniversary y'all! 🙌💯

* for varying definitions of happy, considering the effects of this nightmarish shitshow
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 5:54 AM on January 20 [132 favorites]


On Trump’s First Anniversary, a Government Shutdown (John Cassidy | The New Yorker)
Schumer, in his response to McConnell, sought to place the blame for what had just happened squarely on the President. This line had been telegraphed previously, too, but the Democratic leader, Schumer, had a new twist to offer, in the form of an account of his ninety-minute meeting with Trump, who fashions himself as the great dealmaker. During that meeting, Schumer said, he outlined a possible deal in which the Democrats would agree to finance Trump’s wall across the Mexican border as part of a package that also included extending legal protections for the Dreamers, funding the chip health-care program, and boosting the budget for military and domestic spending. The meeting had gone well, Schumer said, and after leaving it had he had thought the sides might be able to agree to fund the government for a short period, during which they would hash out the details of an agreement. But even though Trump had seemed to be open to this idea, Schumer said he “did not press his party in Congress to accept it.”

Schumer could perhaps have left it there, but he was only working up to his punchline: “What happened to the President who asked us to come out with a deal and promised he’d take heat for it? What happened to that President? He backed off at the first sign of pressure,” Schumer said. “The same chaos, the same disarray, the same division and discord on the Republican side that’s been in the background of these negotiations for months unfortunately appears endemic.” That was a none-too-subtle reference to the televised meeting in the Oval Office a couple of weeks ago during which Trump had said he would accept any bipartisan deal that the other people in the room came up with. Schumer went on, “Now all of this problem is because Republican leadership can’t get to yes, because President Trump refuses to. Mr. President, President Trump, if you are listening, I am urging you: please take yes for an answer.” The “blame should crash entirely” on the President’s shoulders, he added. ...

Much will depend on what happens in the next few days, and, especially, on how Trump behaves. On Friday, the Daily Beast reported that he was distinctly nonplussed at the prospect of staying in Washington and missing his anniversary party down in Florida. (The story didn’t say who at the White House, if anybody, had explained to the President that the job of President occasionally involves staying in town and working weekends.) Will Trump stand by his initial refusal, in the statement Sanders put out, even to negotiate with the Democrats? Or will Schumer’s taunts goad him into action? We’ll soon find out.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:55 AM on January 20 [23 favorites]


ryanrs: "So what do you do if you paid $250k to go to Trump's gala and he is a no-show? I hope people tweet their chargebacks."

Assuming people actually care about meeting the Cheeto and aren't using this as a legal way of bribing a sitting president.
posted by Mitheral at 6:00 AM on January 20 [13 favorites]


I'm proud of the Democratic party right now, yet I'm also not too ashamed of the handful of Dems who caved. People who try to make concessions to terrorists aren't necessarily villains themselves, just possibly wrongheaded (or possibly not, depending on the circumstances). It's fundamentally the hostage-taker's fault for presenting the terrible choice in the first place; everything else is secondary.

Still, it would be nice if at least one of the cavers very clearly presented it as such: "Republicans refused to renew CHIP because they wanted to use children's lives as leverage. I'm knuckling under to those Republicans for the sake of those children. I'm offering the ransom money to Republicans, the supervillains in the room." Maybe even drop a reference to the first episode of Black Mirror (dear God I hope no actual Democrat's social media intern does that last one).
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:04 AM on January 20 [4 favorites]


Whatever Chuck Schumer is doing, it's gotten Bob freaking Casey fired up. That's all I need to know in order to sleep soundly tonight.

Bob freaking Casey has been fired up for the past year and it's not just because of what Schumer is doing. I'd say a big part of his change in attitude has to do with constituent engagement. He sees the pressure that Toomey has been under. (For example, faxzero.com says that Toomey received the most faxes through their service of any person or organization in 2017. That's 330,000 faxes. Twice as many as the second most popular recipient, McConnell.) And he sees the support he gets when he does well and speaks up. I believe this has emboldened him.
posted by mcduff at 6:14 AM on January 20 [23 favorites]


Let me get this straight. The Republicans willingly failed to pass a budget via the usual channels so they could hold nine million children hostage to get their way. And people are getting pissed at Democrats for playing politics.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 6:15 AM on January 20 [93 favorites]


...and Flake thinks he'll keep his promise this time because?

If I had to guess it's because Ryan kicked this stupid shit to the Senate in the first place instead of allowing the House Freedom Caucus to hang themselves on the rope so graciously provided.

How is it that anyone sees this as a solution (for anyone but the GOP)? McConnell allows the Senate to pass something that doesn't even get considered by the House, in exchange for Democratic votes to end the Shutdown.

IMHO because now it's Ryan's problem. If Ryan passes DACA + CR with D votes his career as speaker is over. If Ryan doesn't consider the bill the shutdown is now his hot potato.
posted by Talez at 7:09 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]


It’s a bad day for the nation but a great day for a walk with friends downtown.
posted by notyou at 7:09 AM on January 20 [21 favorites]


Melismata, credit where credit is due for that newspaper bit: Yes, Prime Minister.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 7:10 AM on January 20 [15 favorites]


Um, don't we all assume Schumer ALLOWED those five Democrats to vote Yes? He can count, he knew the four Rs were defecting, he let just the right number of senators defect that he could and still sink the vote, and magically it's the five whose votes will play the best in their re-election campaigns.

The fact that the caucus hasn't been attacking the defectors tells me it's a planned and strategic defection, not a loss of party discipline. I'd expect at least 4 of those 5 to vote with Schumer if their votes were needed.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:17 AM on January 20 [82 favorites]


It’s a bad day for the nation but a great day for a walk with friends downtown.

It's a great day for the Women's March. Sunny and high of 50 here in Manhattan. Heading up there shortly.
posted by chris24 at 7:18 AM on January 20 [17 favorites]


On my way to the march. With hats. And a bag of popcorn.
posted by bilabial at 7:28 AM on January 20 [11 favorites]


Yes, Ds are sure to take Ryan's word on talks if they surrender.

@costareports (WaPo)
Here’s where things stand, GOP members texting me about Ryan’s private remarks to conference... they say he just made clear to group that there will be no negotiating on immigration during shutdown but are open to talks on that front once govt is reopened...
- Ryan told members just now that some Dems want a 5 day extension but Ryan is keen to stick with the bill House passed ... he knows many Rs want DACA fix but at this point Dems have to agree to CR if they want any progress on that issue, per Members in the room
posted by chris24 at 7:33 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]


he knows many Rs want DACA fix but at this point Dems have to agree to CR if they want any progress on that issue, per Members in the room

Called it. He knows if he does a DACA + CR deal he's done.
posted by Talez at 7:47 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]


His plan is to use DACA like Lucy uses the football.
posted by Talez at 7:48 AM on January 20 [14 favorites]


I’m just struck by how Trump last year explicitly asked for a “good shutdown” and then, for his first anniversary present, he got one, wrapped up in a big bow