When you're going through hell, keep going.
January 25, 2018 11:07 AM   Subscribe

Installment #*@&^% of the US political threads. This edition features fun at Davos, more Muellery, and DACA & CR continued.
posted by yoga (2029 comments total) 96 users marked this as a favorite
 
Another link to the political thread expectations metatalk.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 11:10 AM on January 25 [14 favorites]


Trump at Davos is only more mortifying than me at Davos because Trump actually is at Davos. I fully expect to see more pathetic shit like when he went to the G20. Or was it NATO? Hell any room full of adults who don't owe him anything more than superficial good manners.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:16 AM on January 25 [4 favorites]


I was thinking that with Operation Janus (two-face) and Romney's Bain Capital, the recent Republican leadership are covering the Batman villains one by one.
It's like the Trump administration is the Suicide Squad.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:18 AM on January 25 [10 favorites]


The Onion was pretty spot on, I thought.
posted by Grither at 11:19 AM on January 25 [6 favorites]


I fully expect to see more pathetic shit like when he went to the G20. Or was it NATO?

If you mean the place where he literally pushed aside the Prime Minister of Montenegro and shoved out his chin, all puffed up like a little marshmallow, that was indeed NATO.
posted by holborne at 11:20 AM on January 25 [40 favorites]




(Disclaimer: only bet what you can afford to lose; don't bet if it's a problem; the bank/casino/bookies always wins in the long run, and you always lose)

Paddy Power, a bookmaker known for being a bit PR-savvy and engaging in various online stunts, has a range of bets available concerning the current POTUS. Though categorised as political bets, they can be probably recategorised as novelty bets. Most are for the publicity and won't attract any takers. They include, with the current odds (UK fractions as opposed to US decimals):

- Whose nuclear button is bigger? Donald Trump 4/7, Kim Jong-Un 13/8
- Melania to leave Trump and file for divorce before November 8th: 16/1
- Melania to be revealed to be living with another man during Trump's first term: 8/1
- Trump to be impeached in 2018: 9/4 (those odds have considerably shortened since I last looked)
- Trump accidentally refers to Putin as 'Vlad' during a press conference: 7/1
- Putin and Trump to holiday together, and Vlad to pee on Donald to help with a jellyfish sting: 300/1
- Trump to be filmed falling on a state visit in 2018: 10/1
- Trump to have his likeness minted on US currency during his term: 100/1
- Trump gets banned from Twitter: 20/1
- Will France ask for the Statue of Liberty back? Yes: 50/1
- Michael Moore to be deported: 80/1

But there's one bet that I keep coming back to and side-eyeing and thinking "Maybe just a small wager on this", namely:

- Trump to publicly reference a country that does not exist during a 2018 press conference: 10/1
posted by Wordshore at 11:28 AM on January 25 [95 favorites]


Trump at Davos is only more mortifying than me at Davos because Trump actually is at Davos. I fully expect to see more pathetic shit like when he went to the G20. Or was it NATO? Hell any room full of adults who don't owe him anything more than superficial good manners.
posted by From Bklyn


Purely by virtue of the fact that you once paid $5 to become a MeFite and (presumably) are an American, I consider you to be a less mortifying potential representative of the US than Trump will be.

This applies to all American Mefites, I think, with the notable exception of plannedchaos.
posted by tivalasvegas at 11:36 AM on January 25 [43 favorites]


Krang's snark aside, there is one thing in that NYT piece that I'd like to see someone do more follow-up on.
such as E-Verify, an electronic worker-verification system that many Republicans want to make mandatory for employers
E-Verify has been around for a while - 20 years now, in fact - and in many past situations where we've discussed immigration and foreign worker hypocrisy I've mentioned it. Because they've had plenty of chances to work towards making it mandatory and they haven't done so. Only about 10 states require it and it's not exactly a big challenge to defeat it.

I'm curious if this was a sloppy statement by the NYT - which I think is likely - or if there's some more movement on this. There's a piece here from the icky numbersUSA organization about a Lamar Smith introduced bill to make E-Verify mandatory. It's HR 3711, and I'm not sure the assertion of "many Republicans" bears up, at least as a percentage of legislators.

It's not quite stunt bill territory, but it's got 50 cosponsors... a sum total of 2 more than it did when he introduced a previous version. It's not even as many as the 64 cosponsors he got when he introduced it four congresses ago. It looks like the go-to move for this is they let it die in committee, so I guess a shifting tide might mean they stop doing that. But I'm unsure I buy it. On the other hand, the statistical analysis folks govtrack links to give it a 24% chance of passage.

The bill creates a huge carve-out for agriculture, btw. Compliance is supposed to start between 6 months after passage for large employers and the smallest get about 18 months to start complying. Unless you're hiring people to pick food or haul meat. Ag gets a full 30 months before they have to start complying, regardless of their size. Whether that's hypocrisy and a sign that they'll set up some shenanigans to let food growers continue to exploit the undocumented or just an effort at not causing a sudden uptick in grocery prices I dunno.
posted by phearlez at 11:36 AM on January 25 [10 favorites]


- Trump to publicly reference a country that does not exist during a 2018 press conference: 10/1

How soon we forget the brave people of Nambia
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:37 AM on January 25 [116 favorites]


Trump accidentally refers to Putin as 'Vlad' during a press conference: 7/1

I'd expect "Volodya," since "Vlad" is short for Vladislav, not Vladimir.

On the other hand, Trump getting that right? Ha.
posted by explosion at 11:39 AM on January 25 [11 favorites]


How soon we forget the brave people of Nambia

Oh wait, I would retract my above comment if plannedchaos were to ask Trump about the Elbonian refugee crisis / swamp creatures.
posted by tivalasvegas at 11:40 AM on January 25 [8 favorites]


E-Verify has been around for a while - 20 years now, in fact - and in many past situations where we've discussed immigration and foreign worker hypocrisy I've mentioned it. Because they've had plenty of chances to work towards making it mandatory and they haven't done so.

And from what I understand, it isn't a very effective system, and basically gives corporations a way to pretend to care about not hiring undocumented workers while still hiring lots of them anyway.
posted by diogenes at 11:41 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Disney's King John
posted by Melismata at 11:42 AM on January 25 [3 favorites]


Nikki Haley: “Where is the Palestinian Anwar Sadat?”

Well he was murdered after and because of his signing a peace treaty with Israel so while I’m not entirely sure, that might be a reason people aren’t all that keen to emulate him.
posted by Talez at 11:50 AM on January 25 [49 favorites]


Washington Post: The Trumps asked to borrow a Van Gogh for the White House. The Guggenheim offered an 18K gold toilet instead.
The emailed response from the Guggenheim’s chief curator to the White House was polite but firm: the museum could not accommodate a request to “borrow” a painting by Vincent Van Gogh for President and Melania Trump’s private living quarters.

Instead, wrote the curator, Nancy Spector, another piece was available, one that was nothing like “Landscape With Snow,” the lovely 1888 Van Gogh rendering of a man in a black hat walking along a path in Arles with his dog.

The curator’s alternative: an 18-karat, fully functioning, solid gold toilet - an interactive work entitled “America” that critics have described as pointed satire aimed at the excess of wealth in this country.

For a year, the Guggenheim had exhibited “America” — the creation of contemporary artist Maurizio Cattelan — in a public restroom on the museum’s fifth floor for visitors to use.

But the exhibit was over and the toilet was available “should the President and First Lady have any interest in installing it in the White House,” Spector wrote in an email obtained by The Washington Post.
The most surprising thing about this story is that it appears that Trump declined the offer, at first glance -- but as the Post puts it,
On the face of it, President Trump might appreciate an artist’s rendering of a gilded toilet, given his well-documented history of installing gold-plated fixtures in his residences, properties and even his airplane. But the president is also a well-known germophobe, and it’s an open question whether he would accept a previously used toilet, 18-karat or otherwise.
posted by cjelli at 11:50 AM on January 25 [166 favorites]


Trump accidentally refers to Putin as 'Vlad' during a press conference: 7/1

I wouldn't take that bet. Putin is the only world leader that Trump doesn't neg by referring to them by their first name, eg Theresa, Rodrigo, Jae-in, Justin from Canada.
posted by peeedro at 11:54 AM on January 25 [5 favorites]


- Trump to publicly reference a country that does not exist during a 2018 press conference: 10/1

I wouldn't take this bet, because it presupposes Trump holding a press conference.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:58 AM on January 25 [7 favorites]


[I appreciate the odd humor of the bookmaking thing as an addition to the thread but let's not go deep in the woods on our own speculation there, please, or we're gonna fill up a brand new thread overly fast.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:00 PM on January 25 [9 favorites]


For those who didn't catch the end of the last thread: Operation Janus is DOJ program targeting naturalized citizens for denaturalization. They have already succeeded in revoking the citizenship of Baljinder Singh, a native of India who had been a citizen for 11 years, because he "was granted citizenship without proper fingerprint records, meaning before fingerprints were digitized...Operation Janus identified 315,000 cases in which people were granted citizenship without the proper fingerprint data available, and USCIS intends 'to refer approximately an additional 1,600 for prosecution.'"

Relatedly, if you want to stay informed about immigration issues, Rewire News immigration reporter Tina Vasquez is doing amazing work at translating the complex legalities of our immigration system and bringing attention to the (often heartbreaking) stories of people who are caught in the system. She's the author of both pieces I linked above. She's also a great follow on Twitter.
posted by joedan at 12:02 PM on January 25 [53 favorites]


Carrying over the DACA discussion about mass deportations:


It's preposterous to say that the GOP and Trump could pass and sign into law a bill that allows for mass deportations but somehow couldn't make the funding for it happen. Once it's legal to deport people, they will find a way to shuffle money around -- or just borrow, as they've shown they don't care about the deficit -- to ensure that mass deportations happen.


There are already in the ballpark of 8 to 10 million people they can legally deport, before we even begin counting DACA recipients. There are people in detention centers waiting to be shoved through immigration court so they can be deported. The system is at capacity. They cannot legally borrow or spend any money beyond what Congress authorizes, and without an actual appropriations bill, funding is frozen at continuing resolution levels. I'm not saying everything is okay; I'm saying that the immigration deals on the table are not going to cause mass deportations beyond what we already have. All they do is strip people's legal status - that's bad enough. But they don't increase how many people will fit through the pipeline of deportation. And they don't increase the rate at which ICE can detain people.

Unfunded mandates happen all the time in Congress, and this isn't even a mandate. The most likely outcome, whatever bill passes, is that ICE does some scary public stunt and everyone's lives get more scary and uncertain.

I don't know how much money the executive branch can shuffle around inside State, to be fair, and ICE is hiring as if they expect a bigger budget. But I haven't heard anything about increasing the courts.

I'm also not convinced that enough Congressional Republicans actually want mass deportations. The Trump side of the things, sure. But Congress, and the Senate in particular, hasn't been helping them in that goal. And the executive branch hasn't been taking the most effective steps to achieve it. They're acting like their actual goal is to scare people and keep them powerless.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 12:02 PM on January 25 [5 favorites]


It's not real challenging to get around E-Verify, no. You need some fake documents if the employer isn't in on it, or just someone else's data to punch in if they are. Smith's bill does a little to try to make it more effective but it doesn't sound like it would be all that tough to keep faking unless the pilot programs it sets up actually go somewhere.

The teeth in it doesn't strike me as all that frightening, at least not for a first offender. Smith ups the penalties for a place that's been caught, ordered to shape up, and then found to still be violating to 10 to 25k per undocumented worker, rather than the current law's 3-10k. But I think it's telling that there's a big ol' thing added about employers being able to show good faith explanation and get around the whole matter, where the existing law has judicial review.

And where a bunch of stuff fell under the Attorney General before, this bill moves it to The Secretary of Homeland Security.

It's also telling, I think, that the criminal penalty only goes up from 3 to 5k and from 6 months in the hoosegow to 18 months. Not fun, but compare it to the other section of the law amended, fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents.

This is the bit where Smith's bill adds the bolded bit to the section right below the above paragraph.
(b) Whoever uses—
(1) an identification document or document meant to establish work authorization (including the documents described in section 274A(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act), knowing (or having reason to know) that the document was not issued lawfully for the use of the possessor,
(2) an identification document knowing (or having reason to know) that the document is false, or
(3) a false attestation,
for the purpose of satisfying a requirement of section 274A(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
Employ an undocumented person and use fake docs, 18 months. Use a fake doc to get work, 5 years.
posted by phearlez at 12:05 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]


Gotta love when the Chief of Staff for the US Air Force subtweets the president.

@GenDaveGoldfein
This is Staff Sgt. Eric Piime. He's a boom operator with @121ARW & he's an inspiration. His story began in his native Ghana where he developed a fascination with aviation & an appreciation for the U.S. His is a story of hope, hard work, perseverance & patriotism. #Airpower

VIDEO
posted by chris24 at 12:08 PM on January 25 [47 favorites]


Burgess Everett: Rubio rejects bipartisan immigration gang
“I don’t believe that what we’re going to end up doing here can be a product of a gang,” Rubio said. “There won’t be a 12-person gang. What we do here cannot be a product of a group of people that come out of a room and say: ‘This is a direction we’re going.’”

In fact, other senators say Rubio prefers a more conservative approach than the bipartisan group. And his reluctance to join the new gang underscores the steep challenge — and sense of pessimism — for reaching an agreement on a tight schedule that can win support from the House, Senate and President Donald Trump.
[...]
Rubio is strongly signaling that he will not support whatever emerges from breakneck negotiations based on a bill from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that would provide some young immigrants with a pathway to citizenship and billions for border security. Instead, Rubio has spoken in private GOP lunches enthusiastically about restricting family-based migration and indicated to Republicans he believes what can become law is something far more conservative than that bipartisan bill, according to GOP senators.

Three GOP senators said in interviews that the recently-reelected Rubio is privately aligning with a group of immigration hard-liners behind a bill that would cut some legal immigration and further limit refugees. Asked directly, Rubio did not specifically say he would back the measure by Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), but said “there’s a lot of concepts in that bill I could support.”

And he insisted that it’s not because his views on immigration have changed or that he’s become more conservative on the matter. Instead, he said, a bipartisan gang seems to ignore the political reality in Washington that Senate Democrats are no longer in the driver’s seat.
I'm shocked, shocked that Rubio would side with the crazypants racists because it's what his crazypants racist party wants! Who could have guessed that he would do such a thing?

Apart from anybody that had paid attention to his stances for more than 30 seconds, I mean.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:10 PM on January 25 [15 favorites]


Really looking forward to Trump testifying to Mueller. Given his ego, and his fact/detail checking, and how it appears he thinks he will outsmart Mueller AND his staff (as Trump has stated he is "looking forward" to being under oath with Mueller), I foresee some serious podiatric munching.
posted by Samizdata at 12:13 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]


Trump and the great GOP abdication (Greg Sargent / WaPo)
Something remarkable is happening in our politics right now. On multiple fronts, it has fallen to Democratic elected officials to step up and defend the integrity and basic functionings of our government — against Republican efforts to pervert and manipulate them in service of the goal of shielding President Trump from accountability.

At the same time, in some cases Democrats have escalated their tactics in a kind of guerrilla operation designed to smuggle as much basic information about this great GOP abdication out to the public as possible.

Today, I’m told, Sen. Mark Warner (Va.) — the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee — will publicly say that classified information debunks the arguments reportedly made in the now-notorious secret memo by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), which bolsters the idea that the Russia investigation is a Deep-State Coup against Trump. Nunes has made this memo available to members of Congress, in what Democrats charge is a selective cherry-picking of intelligence designed to arm Republicans with talking points to discredit the Russia probe.

“Senator Warner will say publicly that unlike almost all of the 200 GOP congressmen who’ve seen the memo, he has actually read the underlying documents,” Rachel Cohen, a spokeswoman for Warner, emailed me this morning. “He is confident that there was nothing improper like what this memo seems to allege.” ...

In another effort to counter the apparent Nunes disinformation campaign, Rep. Adam Schiff — Nunes’s Democratic counterpart on the House Intelligence Committee — announced that he would produce his own report purportedly debunking the Nunes memo and will ask the committee to allow members of Congress to view it, too, in effect (again) smuggling bits of counter-information out to the public.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department released a letter to Nunes arguing that the memo’s release would compromise intelligence operations and would deviate from a “good faith” arrangement on the terms of access to classified info negotiated between the Justice Department, the House Intelligence Committee and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office. It is unclear whether Ryan has blessed the “release the memo” strategy, but it probably wouldn’t go forward without his tacit approval. Given that the Justice Department says its release would be dangerous and would violate a deal Ryan himself entered into, I asked Ryan’s office today whether he disputes that claim and whether he supports the memo’s release. I got no response.

... All this is happening on multiple other fronts. Trump officials have conceded that he’s failing to protect our elections against future Russia sabotage, because he won’t diminish his great victory by admitting it happened last time at all. So Foreign Relations Committee Democrats released a report detailing this abdication for the public. Republicans keep pushing the idea that the Steele dossier sparked the FBI probe. So Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) released the testimony by a co-founder of Fusion GPS, the firm that bankrolled Steele, in which he challenged that account. In these cases, independent reporting has confirmed Trump’s failure to secure our elections and that the GOP’s account of the FBI probe’s genesis is bogus.

Still more: House Intelligence Committee Democrats are mulling a minority report that would detail the ways Nunes frustrated a full accounting into the conduct of Trump and his top officials, once again detailing this great abdication for the public. And so on.

The Russia probe, of course, may clear Trump and/or his associates of wrongdoing. But what’s at issue here is whether there will also be a full accounting into what Russia did to undermine our elections and democracy. One party is trying to frustrate and discredit this accounting, and is perverting the basic workings of government to do so. The other party is trying to defend those workings and to facilitate that accounting — and to get word out to the public about what’s really happening here.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:16 PM on January 25 [72 favorites]


It's not real challenging to get around E-Verify, no.

Considering that E-Verify takes PDFs rather than original documents checked by a human... no, it wouldn't be. A valid combo of B & C documents includes "voter registration card" and either birth certificate or social security card - and PDFs of any of those could be easily edited. (Fake originals would also not be difficult, but jpgs tolerate even more distortion than standard photocopies.)

The penalties being worth prison time are fairly meaningless compared to the penalty of deportation, and the more companies that use e-verify, the harder it will be to spot the fakes - especially as the tech requirements have gone down, not up, recently. Five years ago, you'd expect a scanned copy of a driver's license or voter reg card. Today, you can expect a smartphone photo, possibly taken under weird lighting conditions.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:17 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


I've Watched Trump Testify Under Oath. It Isn't Pretty.
Hammered by White and her deputies, Trump ultimately had to admit 30 times that he had lied over the years about all sorts of stuff: how much of a big Manhattan real estate project he owned; the price of one of his golf club memberships; the size of the Trump Organization; his wealth; his speaking fees; how many condos he had sold; his debts, and whether he borrowed money from his family to avoid going personally bankrupt. He also lied during the deposition about his business dealings with career criminals.

Trump's poor performance stemmed in part from the fact that he was being interrogated by shrewd attorneys wielding his own business and financial records against him. But there were lots of other things that went wrong as well.

Trump is impatient and has never been an avid or dedicated reader. That’s OK if you’d rather play golf, but it’s not OK when you need to absorb abundant or complex details. Lawyers typically prepare binders full of documents for their clients to pore over prior to a deposition, hoping to steel them for an intense grilling. My lawyers did that prior to my own deposition in the Trump lawsuit. But Trump didn’t appear to be well prepared when we deposed him, a weakness that my lawyers exploited (and that Mueller surely would as well).
I wonder how subpoenaing the President will work. I've always wanted to know.
posted by Talez at 12:18 PM on January 25 [87 favorites]


A Republican candidate for Senate from Missouri named Courtland Sykes is getting attention at the moment for some crazypants views on women's rights.

Looks like the rant was originally sent to local reporters last fall and mystified people: “I’m 99.9 percent sure it’s not parody,” John Messmer, a political science professor at St. Louis Community College said. “It’s not something strategic done by the Democratic side or someone that’s looking to criticize the conservative or Republican position.

“I do hold back that .1 percent,” Messmer said. “This might be one of the greatest examples of political performance art I’ve ever seen.”
posted by rewil at 12:22 PM on January 25 [26 favorites]


No need to subpoena him; he volunteered! (Well, there's probably a need to subpoena him, because his lawyers have to realize that him testifying would be a disaster.)

I am delighted that he's apparently decided, "Hillary Clinton didn't testify under oath SO I WILL BECAUSE I AM BETTER." Nevermind whether she testified under oath. The point is, he doesn't think she did.

I hope he's decided he needs to speak up to "set the record straight" and all this collusion drama will go away.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:24 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]


> There are already in the ballpark of 8 to 10 million people they can legally deport, before we even begin counting DACA recipients.

I didn't think you were talking about DACA recipients specifically, but "mass deportations" along the lines of what could happen if the Goodlatte bill passed. Still, I do think deporting the class of immigrants given quasi-legal status by Barack Hussein Obama would have symbolic value, so I'd at least expect some DACA recipients to be among the first to go. Going after them all first might have too much negative PR, but the base (not just the Trumpist base, but the conservative Republican base) wants Obama's legacy reversed. Killing DACA and deporting Dreamers will be a priority.

> They cannot legally borrow or spend any money beyond what Congress authorizes, and without an actual appropriations bill, funding is frozen at continuing resolution levels. I'm not saying everything is okay; I'm saying that the immigration deals on the table are not going to cause mass deportations beyond what we already have.

Funding remaining constant doesn't mean the speed of deportations must remain constant. There are inefficiencies everywhere, and I'd imagine there is room between what the law allows and what the executive branch was doing under Obama to increase the number of deportations. If not, it's impossible for me as someone who works closely with government agencies to believe that funds can't be redirected from other programs in ways that, if not legal, will not be so illegal that a GOP-led Congress is forced to act to stop them. Your faith in the rule of law binding the actions of both those working in the executive branch and those who might be able to stop them in Congress seems misplaced to me.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:26 PM on January 25 [10 favorites]


Even before we can begin to miss the newly departed Taylor Weyeneth from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Daily Beast profiles another under-qualified, under-aged Trump staffer: How a Twentysomething Eagle Scout Became One of Donald Trump’s Top Trade Hands
Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative, is relying on a small group of relatively unseasoned officials to advance a complex agenda, including renegotiating landmark free trade deals and cracking down on allegedly unfair practices by China, Mexico, and other major global economic partners. None have drawn more scrutiny and attention within the trade policy community than G. Payne Griffin, Lighthizer’s deputy chief of staff.[...]

In September 2016, a month before the campaign ended, Griffin was placed on the Trump presidential transition team’s “landing team” at the office of the United States Trade Representative. Shortly thereafter, Griffin—not even three years out of college—was appointed deputy chief of staff at USTR, one of the more powerful perches in U.S. trade policy.

As part of the resume he submitted to the USTR—a resume obtained by the progressive watchdog group American Oversight and sent to The Daily Beast—he noted among his leadership skills that he was an Eagle Scout. The work experience portion included his stint as an “executive intern” at the College Republican National Committee.[...]

And those who’ve worked with Griffin say it appears he is in over his head.

“Everyone says he’s a nice guy, but doesn’t really know much about trade,” said a source familiar with USTR operations.

Critics, including some former USTR staffers who declined to go on the record, have worried that the relative inexperience inside USTR—not just Griffin’s specifically—will hamper the agency as it attempts to dramatically reshape U.S. trade policy around the world.
Meanwhile at Davos, Treas. Sec. Mnuchin has declared the US is "open for business", even as his offhand remarks about how "a weaker dollar is good for us as it relates to trade and opportunities" sent its value plummeting and Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross proclaimed, "Trade wars are fought every single day. ... the difference is that U.S. troops are now coming to the rampart."

The. Best. People.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:30 PM on January 25 [18 favorites]


Courtland Sykes is pretty much being ignored here. No one's convinced he isn't a stunt.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 12:32 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


Footnote to the "Operation Janus" thing: Janus, in addition to being two-faced, was the Roman god of borders. It's a surprisingly apt classical reference, and further proof that a classical education, while praiseworthy in and of itself, is no guarantor against being a closeminded, hateful, fascist thug.
posted by biogeo at 12:40 PM on January 25 [61 favorites]


Rubio is strongly signaling that he will not support whatever emerges from breakneck negotiations based on a bill from Sens. Lindsey Graham...
Which we know Graham will back out of.

Would you, could with a vote? Would you, could you with a gloat?
I do not like reneges and Graham,
I do not like them Uncle Sam.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:44 PM on January 25 [12 favorites]


I spent the better part of the afternoon trying to figure out if Sykes is a real person or an Instagram fascist. He appears to be a real person, or at least, someone went through a lot of effort to make a background for him.

Word on Facebook is that he's very politically naive and being manipulated by Trumpists.
posted by khaibit at 12:47 PM on January 25


We all thought the RNC's 2012 election autopsy report (oh, this seems so quaint now) would result in outreach to Latino and immigrant communities, since they were a growing part of the electorate.

Operation Janus and its ilk confirm that the RNC reached the conclusion that instead of reaching out to the growing non-white populations, they would try to eliminate as many as possible instead.
posted by benzenedream at 12:51 PM on January 25 [35 favorites]


I'd like to re-up a reminder that after a week off on the special elections front, we have four Missouri House seats up on Feb 6th. These are all tough races, but a) we've seen some big flips lately, and b) we want to build enthusiasm going into Claire McCaskill's tough election in the fall.

If you have a few bucks or can otherwise help, please consider it.

HD-39 - Ethan Perkinson - 71-24 Trump
HD-97 - Mike Revis - 61-33 Trump
HD-129 - Ronna King Ford - 80-16 Trump
HD-144 - Jim Scaggs - 78-19 Trump
posted by Chrysostom at 12:52 PM on January 25 [38 favorites]


Meanwhile at Davos, Treas. Sec. Mnuchin has declared the US is "open for business", even as his offhand remarks about how "a weaker dollar is good for us as it relates to trade and opportunities" sent its value plummeting and Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross proclaimed, "Trade wars are fought every single day. ... the difference is that U.S. troops are now coming to the rampart."

Ah, see, you're stuck in yesterday's thinking, where the Secretary of the Treasury said our monetary policy is a weaker dollar.

Over here in today's thinking, the President said exactly the opposite: "the dollar is going to get stronger and stronger and ultimately I want to see a strong dollar." He thinks this will happen because the country is strong.

Yes, our country reversed its monetary policy overnight. Of course, those of you who have been following this horror show for a while will remember the time Trump called Flynn at 3am to ask if a strong dollar or weak dollar was better and Flynn had to tell him to ask an economist. It sounds like he still hasn't gotten around to that.
posted by zachlipton at 12:55 PM on January 25 [77 favorites]


From the last thread:

"Each deportation conducted by ICE cost taxpayers an average of $10,854 in fiscal 2016, an official from [ICE] told CNNMoney. This amount includes everything from housing and feeding a detainee to transporting him back to his home country."

So far starters it'll cost us about $8.8 billion, not even counting the injury to the economy. That's how vile and vindictive the racists in this country are..


Let's talk about some of the knock-on effects of sanctioning a state-level terror group like ICE. My wife is a middle-school principal. Want to know what she and her admin staff have spent several person-weeks doing since the inauguration? Crafting a formal plan for what to do when a student, or a student's family, get picked up by an ICE raid. Setting out policies about what to do if immigration officials demand to come into the school. (Spoiler: give them a nicer, more lawyerly version of "go fuck yourselves and come back with a warrant). Monitoring the local Facebook groups and NextDoor posts about ICE officials literally lying in wait outside of housing complexes to grab people on their way to work and school, so they can warn students and their families. Organizing fundraisers to get her students legal representation, because you don't have a right to an attorney once you're in immigration custody. Setting up counseling sessions for kids who have PTSD after seeing their parents dragged off in windowless vans. Using every communication channel available to them to tell students' families "for the love of god, don't cross the border into New Hampshire, because they're setting up highway checkpoints there with the cooperation of the state police."

Because, while only a handful of her students lack legal status, her school is in a primarily Hispanic community, and nearly everyone there has loved ones who could essentially be legally kidnapped any day. A sizable majority of her school spends each day in constant fear that they'll come home to find one of their family members gone forever. And this is in a sanctuary city! In the bluest state in the goddamn country!

So let's talk economic impact. Let's talk about the millions of people who are afraid to leave their houses to go to work, because they know their families won't be able to survive without them if they get snatched off the street. Or the billions of dollars in lost productivity from people like my wife, who now have to essentially build plans for what to do in the distressingly-likely-event of a de facto terror attack on her school by the goddamn government. Or the next generation of citizen, who is so scarred from seeing the only country they've ever lived in turn on them and their families that maybe they won't make it to college after all.

Fuck everything about ICE and its gestapo bullshit, and fuck every level of government that's letting it happen.
posted by Mayor West at 12:59 PM on January 25 [225 favorites]


Word on Facebook is that he's very politically naive and being manipulated by Trumpists.

yeah but so is trump
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:02 PM on January 25 [33 favorites]


Want to know what she and her admin staff have spent several person-weeks doing since the inauguration? Crafting a formal plan for what to do when a student, or a student's family, get picked up by an ICE raid. Setting out policies about what to do if immigration officials demand to come into the school. (Spoiler: give them a nicer, more lawyerly version of "go fuck yourselves and come back with a warrant).

Wait, it took them this long? We did this on our campus back in February.

Just kidding. We were told to leave legal questions to the legal department and stay out of their way.
posted by parliboy at 1:08 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


Or the fact that people are too scared to go to the fucking doctor bc of ICE

ICE are, as aptly put above, terrorists. The suffering they inflict on people and the damage they inflict on society is, like with other terrorist groups, not limited to direct action.

Literal, actual terrorists, operating with the sanction of the government, and with practically no oversight.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:10 PM on January 25 [42 favorites]


Courtland Sykes is pretty much being ignored here. No one's convinced he isn't a stunt.

Dear plot writers for the last few years: Can you knock it off with the weird slash fanfic names already? It breaks the 4th (dimensional?) wall in the most unsettling ways. It's already hard enough to take reality seriously these days. No, not Reality. Damnit, stop.

Also, I just saw this in one of the related twitter threads searching his name. "This is what happens when you let God take the wheel and it crashes into a tanker truck full of Axe body spray."
posted by loquacious at 1:10 PM on January 25 [24 favorites]


3 potential problems for an obstruction of justice case against Trump
“If Trump exercises his power — even his lawful power — with a corrupt motive of interfering with an investigation, that’s obstruction,” Lisa Kern Griffin, an expert on criminal law at Duke University, recently told my colleague Zack Beauchamp. “The attempt is sufficient, and it seems to be a matter of public record already.”

Experts who disagree believe that Mueller would likely need much more damning evidence to justify making an obstruction case — through either an indictment or an impeachment referral — against Trump. They tend to make some combination of these three arguments:

1) The uniqueness of the president’s role creates a whole host of legal, constitutional, and political obstacles here.

2) Trump’s allegedly obstructive conduct doesn’t quite match the two presidential precedents we have here. The obstruction of justice impeachment articles Presidents Nixon and Clinton faced accused them of destroying or withholding evidence and telling witnesses to lie under oath.

3) Finally, Trump’s possible motive is more difficult to prove than many are acknowledging with the evidence we have so far. That’s because he can still make the case that rather than acting to cover up crimes, he acted because he genuinely believes the Russia investigation is “fake news” and that he did nothing wrong.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:23 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


The most likely outcome, whatever bill passes, is that ICE does some scary public stunt and everyone's lives get more scary and uncertain.

I really am not okay with making the laws much worse under the idea that probably we won't have enough money to enforce them, though.
posted by corb at 1:24 PM on January 25 [17 favorites]


Mark Warner throws shade:
I’m glad somebody’s hot on the trail of this secret society. As soon as we’re done investigating Russia, we’ll join the hunt for the Illuminati.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:27 PM on January 25 [26 favorites]


The obstruction of justice impeachment articles Presidents Nixon and Clinton faced accused them of destroying or withholding evidence and telling witnesses to lie under oath.

And "fire someone to make him stop investigating me" doesn't rise to that level? Neither Nixon nor Clinton took presidential action to make the investigation go away.

Trump’s possible motive is more difficult to prove ... he acted because he genuinely believes the Russia investigation is “fake news” and that he did nothing wrong.

Believing the police are chasing a false trail is not a legal defense against obstruction. He knew they were investigating, and he worked to end that investigation. "But the charges were totally bullshit!" would not change the situation at all. (If that were the case, people couldn't be charged with resisting arrest if the charges turned out to be false.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:30 PM on January 25 [17 favorites]


Good lord, that is stupid echoing of a GOP talking point (I know: Vox. But see NPR)

1. The president is special. Sure. Got it.

2. Seriously, the point is that it's different from how it went down before? really?

3. He TOLD us what his motive was (and this is only the easiest Google hit): "I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off."
posted by Dashy at 1:30 PM on January 25 [25 favorites]


I searched in the threads and don't think I saw this - the missing FBI texts aren't missing anymore.

“The [Office of the Inspector General] has been investigating this matter, and, this week, succeeded in using forensic tools to recover text messages from FBI devices,” the letter read.

(Also, can I just add: 50,000 texts over six months? Isn't that, like, 273 messages a day? Is that supposed to be just between those two people? Isn't that kind of... a lot? Like I'm sensing exaggeration or misinformation somewhere.)
posted by dnash at 1:31 PM on January 25 [9 favorites]


273 messages a day? Is that supposed to be just between those two people? Isn't that kind of... a lot?

Not if it's someone you're banging.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 1:36 PM on January 25 [34 favorites]


>(Also, can I just add: 50,000 texts over six months? Isn't that, like, 273 messages a day? Is that supposed to be just between those two people? Isn't that kind of... a lot? Like I'm sensing exaggeration or misinformation somewhere.)

Not really. I have friends that I have background conversations with that can tally up to 250 messages easily over the course of a day.
posted by Tevin at 1:37 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


50,000 texts over six months?

I think that's backwards: they recovered more than fifty thousand texts in total outside of the missing period. They did not know how many text were missing, only they were missing inside the six-month window (an issue that affected a large percentage of the FBI) -- per CNN,
It is not clear how many texts the inspector general's office has recovered from the missing period. Sessions has said that outside of the five-month span, more than 50,000 texts that were exchanged between the two officials have been collected and scrutinized by the office.
posted by cjelli at 1:38 PM on January 25


50,000 texts over six months? Isn't that, like, 273 messages a day? Is that supposed to be just between those two people? Isn't that kind of... a lot?

As a mother of a teenager....no. If someone is really, really into texting, that isn't even unusual.
posted by corb at 1:39 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


Ugh, reading all these news articles about Trump's supposed willingness to fix stuff for Dreamers, as long as Democrats agree to dramatically reduce legal immigration --- with Durbin and others saying he's "headed in the right direction".

I'm worried that Dems will throw family visas and visa lottery under the bus in order to claim some sort of victory for DACA. Those should not be acceptable bargaining chips.
posted by thefoxgod at 1:39 PM on January 25 [5 favorites]


Ah, yes, here: Snopes:
Trump on Tuesday called news the FBI was missing five months’ worth of texts from the agent, Peter Strzok, “one of the biggest stories in a long time.” Strzok was removed from Mueller’s team following the discovery of anti-Trump text messages exchanged with an FBI lawyer.

Trump suggested incorrectly the number of missing messages was “perhaps 50,000.” The Justice Department says that’s the overall number of messages found on FBI servers.
There might be 50,000 missing texts, or there might be 5. We literally have no idea, yet, and neither did Trump when he tweeted that out: the 'perhaps 50,000' figure is in reference to the text that have been found, and not those that were then-missing.
posted by cjelli at 1:43 PM on January 25 [11 favorites]


@NBCPolitics: BREAKING: Trump will support a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and Dreamers who were eligible for DACA but didn’t apply, which is about 1.8 million Dreamers, per conference call between Stephen Miller and House Republican staff that @NBCNews was on.
The immigration plan, expected to be unveiled Monday, also includes a $25 billion fund for the border wall, an end to chain migration and ending the visa lottery system

Handing your dial-in code to NBC is a new twist on leaking, but I'll take it. The real question here is what does "an end to chain migration" actually mean and what does the resulting policy mean for the total number of immigrants admitted? Whether the $25B is guaranteed all in year 1 or doled out over time also matters. Also doesn't sound like any kind of protection for Dreamers' parents is involved.
posted by zachlipton at 1:49 PM on January 25 [21 favorites]


Shep shepping.

@MattGertz (MMFA)
Shep Smith just totally shattered the Nunes memo narrative his colleagues Fox News have been pushing.

VIDEO
posted by chris24 at 1:53 PM on January 25 [17 favorites]


Democrats will never agree to completely end both chain migration and the visa lottery plus $25 billion for a wall. They might as well be asking for a flying telepathic unicorn.

On a different topic, 538 looked at the effects of gerrymandering nationwide. They estimate that if Democrats drew the districts in every state they would control the House 251-184 while if Republicans had that power they would hold 264-172 seats.

I continue to maintain that Democrats should maintain a standing offer to Republicans to enact non-partisan districting nationwide (well, it would have to be state-by-state but you know what I mean) while simultaneously gerrymandering the shit out of every state they control. No unilateral disarmament.
posted by Justinian at 1:57 PM on January 25 [20 favorites]


DNC hires Bob Lord as chief security officer. "Lord was responsible for detecting two massive data breaches that occurred prior to his arrival at Yahoo, and worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to track down those responsible."
posted by Chrysostom at 1:58 PM on January 25 [9 favorites]


Democrats will never agree to completely end both chain migration and the visa lottery plus $25 billion for a wall. They might as well be asking for a flying telepathic unicorn.

I'll believe it when I see it.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:58 PM on January 25 [15 favorites]


The Democrats not agreeing, that is. The flying telepathic unicorn is whole other story.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:00 PM on January 25 [9 favorites]


Handing your dial-in code to NBC is a new twist on leaking

I feel like I have seen a lot of mentions of things that were based on letting reporters listen in on conference calls, so I'm not sure it's really all that unusual. Certainly once you get into the number of folks in play with "House Republican staff" there's a lot of chances for reporters to have a sympathetic source.
posted by phearlez at 2:00 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


What do you remember about October 7th, 2016? That was when the pussygate tape dropped of course. It's a pity that the coverage of that overshadowed the much more important news story on that day:

US officially accuses Russia of hacking DNC and interfering with election.

Yeah, that was the same day. It should have been huge, it should have been the only thing anyone was talking about. Everyone should remember the day when the government revealed the Russians were actively interfering with the election. Instead, people doubt that it ever happened.

More recently, was it the 16th? Trump pays off a porn star! How salacious, and just in time to distract from shitholegate, DACA backflips, and the looming shutdown. It didn't swallow all the air in the room, but it's taking up space anyhow. He might be the first person to pay a porn star to keep their mouth closed.

I think the same thing will happen when he testifies. It's a pattern, but not really a design. It's misdirection, he's like the silly rodeo clown acting like a fool that everyone looks at while the gored cowboy is hustled off the paddock.

So instead of talking about testifying to Mueller, we'll be talking about the latest egregious/salacious breach of decency because there always is one.
posted by adept256 at 2:01 PM on January 25 [24 favorites]


The real question here is what does "an end to chain migration" actually mean and what does the resulting policy mean for the total number of immigrants admitted?

"An end to chain migration" means, in decreasing order of likelihood, an end to sibling petitions (very likely; immigration professionals have been predicting it for years), an end to adult child petitions (possible), an end to parent petitions (also possible), and/or an end to child petitions (very unlikely).

As for the total number of visas granted, who knows? That changes every month. You can always view the latest visa bulletin here, and it will tell you how long it will take for various groups of people to have their visas granted. (Example: If you're from Mexico and filed a petition for your sister to come to the US in November of 1997, she's going to get her visa very soon!)
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:01 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]


Newsweek: Trump Administration Hangs "Propaganda" Posters at EPA Boating Rollback of Obama-Era Protections

New Environmental Achievements:

✓ Confidence for American families
✓ Certainty for American businesses
✓ Proposal to repeal the so-called Clean Power Plan


Imagine being a poor long-suffering holdover civil servant in the EPA and having to see these posters in your workplace while you helplessly watch the environment be destroyed.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:03 PM on January 25 [70 favorites]


Can we, at least here in this discussion, us the term "family immigration" which is both an accurate description of the process and not something Stephen miller and his ethnofascist friends conjured up yesterday?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:04 PM on January 25 [112 favorites]


The immigration plan, expected to be unveiled Monday, also includes a $25 billion fund for the border wall, an end to chain migration and ending the visa lottery system

Absolutely ricockulous. "In exchange for letting 1.8 million people get on the path to citizenship, I want $25 billion for my Xenophobic Monument Which Will Never Be Completed. Oh, and family members and other relations of immigrants won't be able to tag along anymore. And no more visa lottery."

It would be, in other words, a net loss for immigrant rights if this is accepted. I sincerely hope the Democrats have at least enough spine to reject this outright.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 2:05 PM on January 25 [7 favorites]


What do you remember about October 7th, 2016? That was when the pussygate tape dropped of course.
It was a trifecta if I remember correctly, the third part being of course buther_emailspart666 < CNN endless emails reporting
posted by rc3spencer at 2:05 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


3) Finally, Trump’s possible motive is more difficult to prove than many are acknowledging with the evidence we have so far. That’s because he can still make the case that rather than acting to cover up crimes, he acted because he genuinely believes the Russia investigation is “fake news” and that he did nothing wrong.

Vox's playing Devil's Advocate is balanced with other opinions in their article:
“If Trump exercises his power — even his lawful power — with a corrupt motive of interfering with an investigation, that’s obstruction,” Lisa Kern Griffin, an expert on criminal law at Duke University, recently told my colleague Zack Beauchamp. “The attempt is sufficient, and it seems to be a matter of public record already.”[...]

Now, Griffin cites the fact that Trump asked others to leave the room before talking to Comey about Flynn as evidence of his corrupt intent. And that’s not all.

“He initially attempted to justify Director Comey’s dismissal by referencing the Clinton investigation,” she said. “And he later told Russian officials in an Oval Office meeting that he had terminated Director Comey to relieve pressure on his administration.”
Furthermore, although it's worthwhile to consider the arguments Trump's partisans might make in his defense against obstruction of justice, we're still speculating about the extent of Mueller's discoveries in this ongoing and wide-ranging investigation:
If the skeptics are right, Mueller probably needs substantially more — and more damning — evidence than we currently know of to justify an obstruction of justice finding.

But again, Mueller has held his cards remarkably close to the vest throughout this investigation. He’s reportedly interviewed a plethora of administration officials — White House aides, intelligence officials, and law enforcement officials — on the topic of potential obstruction of justice. We don’t know the full extent of what he’s learned.[...]

Finally, Mueller could also bolster an obstruction finding’s legal and political fortunes if he finds evidence of an underlying crime — especially evidence connecting Trump to Russian interference in the 2016 election. If it happened, this would provide stronger evidence of Trump’s corrupt intent — that he was acting to cover up criminal acts — as well as making the whole investigation tougher to dismiss politically.
And Vox doesn't even address the question of Trump trying to cover up the possible money-laundering at Trump Org, especially in roubles, or his attempts at deal-making for his businesses in Moscow even while he was running for president.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:07 PM on January 25 [10 favorites]


In exchange for letting 1.8 million people get on the path to citizenship, I want $25 billion for my Xenophobic Monument Which Will Never Be Completed.

Every time the racists lose something, they get to have a monument, that's how it works.
posted by adept256 at 2:08 PM on January 25 [102 favorites]


Democrats will never agree to completely end both chain migration and the visa lottery plus $25 billion for a wall.

One, can we not use their "chain migration" terminology and instead call it family preference? On preview, I see Exceptional_hubris has said the same thing.

Two, if the deal can be expanded to offer at least some residency protection for their parents and the wall monies aren't all in a big up-front lump, I'm not sure I think this is a deal that should necessarily be dismissed. It's shitty and wrong, but the status quo is that the DACA folks are gonna get deported, and potentially soon. Unless the legal challenge is doing well this is an immediate triage matter. The other items can be rolled back later, Grodd willing, but once these folks get sent away they're potentially in immediate danger and it may never be correctable.

"In exchange for letting 1.8 million people get on the path to citizenship

And not deporting them, as quickly as possible. Sometimes to places they don't know and where they don't speak the language. These are people who are in spirit, if not by document, Americans. I want a robust and diverse country that welcomes all sorts of folk, but they have us against a wall (whoops; but I'm leaving it) and I'm not sure where the right point is to say we're gonna protect the people already here over the yet-to-come.

This is the problem with an enemy whose goals are to blow it all up. A lot of reasonable weapons just give them another variation of what they want.
posted by phearlez at 2:10 PM on January 25 [9 favorites]


I sincerely hope the Democrats have at least enough spine to reject this outright.

So, I'm thinking out loud here.

Column A: Agree to the deal, and get a path to citizenship for people already here, who are at risk (or might already be, it's hard to keep track) of being deported to a country they might not even speak the language of

Column B: Don't agree to the deal, to try and save future immigration slots, and in the meantime DACA folks have big problems


Absolutely agree in a net loss with the deal as written, but some things (immigration policy) are reversible in the future, and some things (people's lives) aren't. What's the leverage to reject this?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:10 PM on January 25 [5 favorites]


It would be, in other words, a net loss for immigrant rights if this is accepted. I sincerely hope the Democrats have at least enough spine to reject this outright.

I'm unable to speak for Dreamers, nor would I want to, but based on the ones I know/follow/have heard I don't think this is the deal they want. NYT from last October seems to agree.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:11 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


The immigration plan, expected to be unveiled Monday, also includes a $25 billion fund for the border wall, an end to chain migration and ending the visa lottery system

Those are the same demands they were working with last week that led into Durbin-Graham.

Vox's Weeds podcast talked about the visa lottery a few episodes ago. One of the options on the table was to end the diversity visa lottery, and apply some of those visas to people with Temporary Protected Status who have been here for more than like 10 years (whose protected status is also being ended by the president's administration.) Some of the visas would still be reserved for diversity purposes, but not awarded via lottery. I think that made it into Durbin-Graham ... I'm pretty sure that's something Democrats were going to vote for. That's specifically the thing that Trump scuttled with his "shithole countries" remark.

Dara Linde is covering immigration for Vox and she's doing a very good job keeping all the nonsense straight.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 2:11 PM on January 25 [5 favorites]


The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists advances the Doomsday Clock to two minutes to midnight, the closest it has ever been (tied with its setting in 1953).
“As of today,” Bulletin president Rachel Bronson told reporters, “it is two minutes to midnight” — as close as the world has ever been to the hour of apocalypse.

In moving the clock forward, the group cited “the failure of President Trump and other world leaders to deal with looming threats of nuclear war and climate change.” ...

The decision to move the clock forward was motivated largely by the Bulletin's sense of looming nuclear peril. But the danger is compounded by humanity's continued inaction on climate change, they said, as well as vaguer concerns about unchecked artificial intelligence, the spread of disinformation, and the public's eroding trust in institutions that could keep these threats at bay.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:13 PM on January 25 [12 favorites]


Bannon is such a strategic genius. Daily Beast, Betsy Woodruff, Mueller Wasn’t Interested in Bannon Until ‘Fire and Fury,’ Source Says
Steve Bannon appears to have accidentally sicced Robert Mueller on himself.

The FBI visited Bannon’s home on Jan. 9 to subpoena him, according to NBC News, and he is expected to talk with the special counsel’s team by the end of the month.

A lawyer close to Mueller’s investigation told The Daily Beast that before the release of Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury, the special counsel’s team indicated zero interest in questioning President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist for their Russia probe. The team hadn’t asked to interview him, the source said.
Also, @jleibenluft: Totally 100% on the level to:
- Propose $200 billion in infrastructure
- Claim states/cities/etc. will magically pony up another $800 billion+
- Say the $200 billion will be paid for by cutting other infrastructure programs
And then call it a $1 trillion plan
posted by zachlipton at 2:16 PM on January 25 [34 favorites]


This could be explosive news about Russian hackers behind "Cozy Bear" and their cyberattacks on the DNC and the US government: Dutch Agencies Provide Crucial Intel About Russia's Interference In US-Elections
It's the summer of 2014. A hacker from the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD has penetrated the computer network of a university building next to the Red Square in Moscow, oblivious to the implications. One year later, from the AIVD headquarters in Zoetermeer, he and his colleagues witness Russian hackers launching an attack on the Democratic Party in the United States. The AIVD hackers had not infiltrated just any building; they were in the computer network of the infamous Russian hacker group Cozy Bear. And unbeknownst to the Russians, they could see everything.

That's how the AIVD becomes witness to the Russian hackers harassing and penetrating the leaders of the Democratic Party, transferring thousands of emails and documents. It won't be the last time they alert their American counterparts. And yet, it will be months before the United States realize what this warning means: that with these hacks the Russians have interfered with the American elections. And the AIVD hackers have seen it happening before their very eyes.

The Dutch access provides crucial evidence of the Russian involvement in the hacking of the Democratic Party, according to six American and Dutch sources who are familiar with the material, but wish to remain anonymous. It's also grounds for the FBI to start an investigation into the influence of the Russian interference on the election race between the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and the Republican candidate Donald Trump.[...]

Three American intelligence services state with 'high confidence' that the Kremlin was behind the attack on the Democratic Party. That certainty, sources say, is derived from the AIVD hackers having had access to the office-like space in the center of Moscow for years. This is so exceptional that the directors of the foremost American intelligence services are all too happy to receive the Dutchmen. They provide technical evidence for the attack on the Democratic Party, and it becomes apparent that they know a lot more.
And Mueller has had all this information from the outset of his investigation.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:17 PM on January 25 [104 favorites]


Absolutely agree in a net loss with the deal as written, but some things (immigration policy) are reversible in the future, and some things (people's lives) aren't. What's the leverage to reject this?


You don't think there are people waiting for family visas who are also in a bad situation if they don't get them? It's not that simple. People will be in danger / hurt by either ending DACA or ending family/lottery visas.

And no, I do not believe we will ever get the lottery back if it ends now. Mayyyybe family immigration, but I'm not sure about that either. In the current (forseeable future) climate, the GOP is not going to vote for either of those things, so unless you get 60 votes in the Senate you're not getting them back.
posted by thefoxgod at 2:26 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


Tangential but true, today is Australia Day and we've chosen our Australian of the Year, a quantum physicist and climate refugee named Michelle Yvonne Simmons. An immigrant.
posted by adept256 at 2:27 PM on January 25 [35 favorites]


A key question to me, when they talk about "an end to chain migration", is what change would that mean for the prospects of Melania Trump's family coming to the U.S. in the future? Because of course what they're really talking about is an end to non-white migration and maybe an end to non-rich migration.

(Not using the term "family migration" here because it's the term from conservative media headlines that contains the racial component.)
posted by XMLicious at 2:27 PM on January 25


The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists advances the Doomsday Clock to two minutes to midnight

I hate this. Now I have to remember to manually change every clock in the house.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:28 PM on January 25 [56 favorites]


I found this data (from 2014, granted) today and thought it was really interesting.

The states that swung the election:

PA 1.4%
WI 1.3
MI 1.3
OH .8

Those are the estimated percentages of each state population that are unauthorized immigrants (the source's wording). They fearmonger well enough to convince states that ONE PERCENT of their population are "taking all the jobs".
posted by nakedmolerats at 2:30 PM on January 25 [10 favorites]


> They fearmonger well enough to convince states that ONE PERCENT of their population are "taking all the jobs".

It's the same logic that leads you to believing that you should support tax breaks for the top 1% of earners, under the assumption that you'll be one of them some day.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:31 PM on January 25 [10 favorites]


You don't think there are people waiting for family visas who are also in a bad situation if they don't get them? It's not that simple.

Right. This is a case where the people helped by DACA are easy to identify and point at while those who will be helped by the policies on the chopping block are theoretical future people. But that doesn't make them any less real.

It's as though the Republicans offered to double the amount of money for current food stamp recipients in exchange for permanently halving the number of people eligible. That isn't a good trade even though it would look like it was helping people in the very short term.
posted by Justinian at 2:34 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]


They fearmonger well enough to convince states that ONE PERCENT of their population are "taking all the jobs".

It's the same logic that causes people to get angry at an open parking spot reserved for a disabled person, reasoning that if it weren't reserved then surely it would be open to them.

People are very bad at reasoning about marginal effects and very good at special pleading for themselves.
posted by jedicus at 2:39 PM on January 25 [39 favorites]


Those are the estimated percentages of each state population that are unauthorized immigrants (the source's wording). They fearmonger well enough to convince states that ONE PERCENT of their population are "taking all the jobs".

They're the same people who are convinced crime is rampant. There's nothing statistical about either issue, it's because it feels right to them. You can argue about what percentages of that are because of their own personal life anxieties and what is racist fear - I know what I think - but it's all about their own fearful perception. It's the same mentality that folks glom onto in order to convince themselves they're safer if they don't wear their seatbelt or have an airbag. They heard a story from someone who heard a story and they want to believe it, so they do.

(Not using the term "family migration" here because it's the term from conservative media headlines that contains the racial component.)

The term I see all over is chain, not family. They elaborate with "bring their whole families here" but on Google site:foxnews.com "family migration" gets 17 results. site:foxnews.com "chain migration" gets "About 8,100 results." site:stormfront.org "chain migration" is 284. site:stormfront.org "family migration" is 5.
posted by phearlez at 2:40 PM on January 25 [8 favorites]


You don't think there are people waiting for family visas who are also in a bad situation if they don't get them? It's not that simple. People will be in danger / hurt by either ending DACA or ending family/lottery visas.

Yes, and some of this is just straight up triage at this point. If the offer is, as has been rumored, something like ending F3 and F4 family preference visas (adult children and siblings of US citizens), but letting those currently "in line" for such visas continue to wait for their number to come up, that's going to be a lot easier for many people to swallow. The wait for those is running 13-24 years right now; not letting more people join the end of that list right now is something a lot of people will eat if it means protecting people already in the country from deportation, even more so if those visas are reallocated to others in need, rather than reducing overall immigration.

So much of this comes down to whether the goal is to slash net migration (as Goodlatte and company want) or shift it around somewhat.
posted by zachlipton at 2:40 PM on January 25 [5 favorites]


The wait for those is running 13-24 years right now;

This. Apparently immigrants are descendants of Methuselah or some shit that can wait decades to import a dozen more.

Chain migration is a big heaping pile of nothingburger.
posted by Talez at 2:43 PM on January 25 [10 favorites]


@JStein_WaPo
Rep. Gutierrez (D-Ill.) on Trump's immigration proposal: "$25 billion as ransom for freeing Dreamers recipients doesn’t pass the laugh test. It would be far cheaper to erect a 50-foot concrete statue of a middle finger and point it towards Latin America."

@TheToddSchulte (FWD.us)
NEW - Initial analysis of WH plan shows it SLASHES legal immigration by 45%-50% (details could vary).

@imillhiser (ThinkProgress)
Just so we're clear, Trump's new immigration proposal is not a serious proposal. It is a plan that is designed to be rejected by Democrats so that Republicans can try to shift blame to Dems for the failure of the DREAM Act.
posted by chris24 at 2:43 PM on January 25 [66 favorites]


NT Alexandra Petri, WaPo: A letter from the director of the FBI’s secret society
To whom it may concern (Lisa), from the director of the Secret Society in the FBI dedicated to bringing down Donald Trump:

Wow, Lisa. Just, wow. Way to ruin this for everyone.

We used to be in a secret society, Lisa, but: news flash! When you send a text about a “secret society,” it stops being a “secret society” and just becomes a “regular society people know about and send texts about openly,” as if it were brunch or a Meetup group. That wasn’t what this was, Lisa.

Could you not tell the vibe we were going for? Did the total secrecy in which we shrouded our activities not suggest anything to you about the type of organization this was?

I have put my blood (plus the blood of dozens of infants sacrificed under full moons), sweat (just mine, no infants’) and tears (mostly mine, but also some from Dave in IT. Do not talk to Dave yet; his heart is broken) to set up a Secret Society within the FBI so we could take down Donald Trump, and you just … sent a text about it. Way to go, Lisa.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:43 PM on January 25 [40 favorites]


The other poison pill in there: "Closing loopholes in the system that make it almost impossible to deport illegal immigrants," such as the court backlog or the "catch and release" policy through which immigrants are released while awaiting a hearing.

What they call loopholes are what others would call the slightest modicum of due process (if that, which is really isn't) and not keeping people locked up forever.
posted by zachlipton at 2:47 PM on January 25 [31 favorites]


Hey, the good news is we hate it for being too awful. House Rs hate it for not being awful enough for them and their base.

@rachaelmbade (Politico)
House Rs not happy w/this new WH immigration plan -> "This is the beginning of the end of the GOP majority in the House. In a year when the Democrats impeach Trump, we can point to this moment," one R on the call tells me.
posted by chris24 at 2:52 PM on January 25 [25 favorites]


"Catch and release", jesus, they're not even pretending immigrants are humans anymore are they?

My experience when it comes to dealing with lawmakers who offer a minor concession in immigration policy in exchange for even tougher restrictions elsewhere is that when you open the door for these restrictions, it is nigh impossible to roll them back again. They become normalized and entrenched. You have to dig in your heels and fight until you get the deal you want, plain and simple.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 2:52 PM on January 25 [18 favorites]


To be super, super clear, those percentages nakedmolerats listed next to each state are NOT related to the election in any way. It's simply that four swing states were chosen to make a point. All states have similar numbers (although they unsurprisingly peak at 6% for Texas and California).

(Maybe I'm alone in this, but I had to read the comment multiple times to understand it wasn't discussing some new right-wing fever dream about the swing states states' undocumented population conveniently matching up with the same states' electoral margin of victory, even though such a conspiracy would only make sense if all the immigrants voted for Trump rather than against him.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:54 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


In that 10+ year period, over half a million people would have been admitted on diversity visas (50,000 a year) that will not under this deal.
posted by thefoxgod at 2:58 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


Dutch Agencies Provide Crucial Intel About Russia's Interference In US-Elections

If this follows the pattern of revelations about the Russia investigation, we're going to get headlines later today or tomorrow of "Oh yeah, the Dutch stuff was a nice corroboration of what we knew, too."

And then everyone's gonna be like, "Wait, the Dutch weren't the primary warning? Who was?"
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:07 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]


The timing of that Dutch report (a joint effort between public broadcaster NOS and De Volkskrant) is a big fucking deal, even if those with good sources who'd paid close attention knew some of the details. The prospect of Devin Nunes shitting all over their collaboration with the FBI and NSA seems to have left them with very few fucks to give about having this go to press.

And Pete Hoekstra thought he could finally settle down to his nice junket in the Hague.
posted by holgate at 3:19 PM on January 25 [28 favorites]


[Folks, the usual reminder to dial back the snark and one-liners and sidebars appears necessary again.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:27 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


@BenjySarlin:
Okay some interesting deets from @kwelkernbc on WH proposal:

-Parents and siblings and extended families can still apply for family visas but not citizenship

-Uses diversity lottery visas to process the family-based backlog and high-skilled backlog
If true (there's some confusion since it's not in the talking points), this would seem to confirm that the White House's objection to family visas is rooted in the racism and/or electoral politics of allowing people to become citizens rather than anything to do with jobs or economics. This is outright just saying "your brother can come, but he can't really be one of us."
posted by zachlipton at 3:29 PM on January 25 [36 favorites]




I don't understand what "Uses diversity lottery visas to process the family-based backlog and high-skilled backlog" means?
posted by thefoxgod at 3:31 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


-Parents and siblings and extended families can still apply for family visas but not citizenship

Like, ever? So if they're here for 50 years, still no?
posted by corb at 3:34 PM on January 25 [7 favorites]


don't understand what "Uses diversity lottery visas to process the family-based backlog and high-skilled backlog" means?

Conservatives want to take slots from the diversity visa program and use them for skills based visas. For some reason it’s a zero sum game for them
posted by dis_integration at 3:35 PM on January 25 [8 favorites]


@jonathanvswan: Sources tell me Stephen Miller had a pretty feisty conference call just now with immigration hardliners. Lots of them hate the proposal. Seems like the WH has managed to piss off just about everyone!

Statement from DREAMer advocacy group United We Dream: "Let’s call this proposal for what it is: a white supremacist ransom note....Our fear, our pain, and our lives must not be used to shackle our parents and ban those seeking refuge; we must not be used to tear apart the moral fabric of this country."

I still think it comes down to the Senate trying to craft a simpler deal, which is just straight-up trading border security money for protection for Dreamers without making major changes to the entire legal immigration system. The House and the White House have much bigger demands, but if the Senate passes something smaller, that forces Ryan to move. What I fear though is that we'll just have Obamacare repeal in reverse, where nothing that can pass the House can pass the Senate.
posted by zachlipton at 3:44 PM on January 25 [30 favorites]


@ddale8:
Statement from DREAMer advocacy group United We Dream: "Let’s call this proposal for what it is: a white supremacist ransom note."


@mattyglesias:
Like what is the problem that a 50% cut in legal immigration is solving? It will reduce productivity and per capita income, make Social Security & Medicare less sustainable, speed up China overtaking us as the #1 economy, raise the debt:GDP ratio ...... why do this?


@JamilSmith:
Replying to Matt Yglesias
They want a white ethno-state, folks.
Or, at least, as close to one as possible.
We should state it explicitly.
It makes it infinitely more comprehensible.


@chrislhayes:
Replying to Matt Yglesias
Well, one "problem" it would address if not solve, is the rate at which the country is getting less white.
posted by chris24 at 3:47 PM on January 25 [67 favorites]


Do people like Matt Yglesias really not understand what's happening? Or do they just want other people to say it for them? Or do they just not want to have to reflect on their own racial bias?

The answer to so many "puzzling" things about Trump and the Republicans is always, every time, racial. And yet so many pundits continue to be "puzzled".
posted by chaz at 3:52 PM on January 25 [29 favorites]


> (Not using the term "family migration" here because it's the term from conservative media headlines that contains the racial component.)

The term I see all over is chain, not family. They elaborate with "bring their whole families here" but on Google site:foxnews.com "family migration" gets 17 results. site:foxnews.com "chain migration" gets "About 8,100 results." site:stormfront.org "chain migration" is 284. site:stormfront.org "family migration" is 5.

Sorry, I agree with you and I worded that poorly: I didn't use the term "family migration" when discussing the implicit racism because it's the term I used, "chain migration", which is the term from conservative media headlines that contains the racial component.
posted by XMLicious at 3:54 PM on January 25


Another choice quotes from United We Dream: "This isn’t a serious attempt to get a bipartisan DACA deal done, it’s a legislative burning cross. The White House’s immigration “reform” framework is dead on arrival, plain and simple."

A legislative. Burning. Cross.

Like I said this proposal is DOA. That doesn't mean the WH won't successfully shift blame for the failure to reach a deal, of course, since the policy argument doesn't fit on a bumper sticker. Even some people in this thread were leaving the door open for this deal being acceptable. It isn't.
posted by Justinian at 3:55 PM on January 25 [20 favorites]


Per Rainbo Vagrant on Dara Lind at Vox (above), here's Lind's latest on the Trump immigration proposal:

The immigration deal Trump’s White House is floating, explained

1.8 million immigrants could ultimately get access to citizenship — but the White House wants big cuts to family-based immigration in return. (Dara Lind | Vox)
The Trump administration is finally playing ball on immigration. On Wednesday, it announced it would release a “framework” for a bill it hoped to see pass Congress. On Thursday, details of that framework leaked to several news outlets, including NBC and the Daily Beast.

Those reports say that the administration is willing to allow 1.8 million unauthorized immigrants who came to the country as children to become legal residents and ultimately apply for US citizenship — including the 690,000 beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as well as others who would have been eligible for DACA but did not apply — in exchange for a $25 billion fund for its wall on the US/Mexico border; reallocating slots currently given to immigrants via the diversity visa lottery on the basis of “merit”; and preventing people from sponsoring their adult children, or siblings to immigrate to the US.

Such a framework is exactly what members of both parties in Congress — especially Republicans — have been asking for. As Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) said on Tuesday: “At some point, we’re going to need to know exactly what the White House is thinking, because who wants to pass a bill only to have it vetoed?” But the question now is whether the White House will stick to its framework — and whether it can get it to pass.

With little room to maneuver on policy (for a bill to pass, it will have to be liberal enough to attract 60 votes in the Senate and conservative enough to satisfy a majority of House Republicans) and very little time to debate the issue, a Trump-endorsed framework could be a game changer. Or it could put a stake through the heart of any hopes for an immigration deal by March 5, the date on which, as it currently stands, 1,100 or so immigrants will start losing their DACA protections each day. Which path it takes is as unpredictable as President Trump himself.

Trump’s framework might thread the needle of a bipartisan agreement — or it might not. The four issues addressed in the framework as reported — the wall, DACA, “chain migration,” and the diversity visa lottery — are clearly Trump’s own priorities. They’re the ones he’s been tweeting about for weeks. But it’s been very hard to get agreement on them between bipartisan reformers and conservatives, with the White House (and, sometimes, Trump himself) squarely in the latter camp. ...

The White House’s insistence on these four pillars is a little weird at this point. Not only did they reject the only proposal that was designed to meet them (the one presented by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL)), but they called that plan so liberal that it couldn’t even serve as a starting point for negotiations. Meanwhile, Goodlatte’s bill, which several White House figures have held up as a model, also includes several enforcement provisions that go way beyond these policy areas; if anything, Goodlatte’s bill overhauls immigration enforcement in the interior of the US even more than border security. Congress ultimately doesn’t really need the White House to issue a policy proposal. It needs an assurance that Trump is going to pick some things that he needs out of an immigration deal, stick to them, and encourage members of Congress to get on board.

Many Senate Republicans aren’t interested in sticking their necks out for a bill that might not pass the House; many House Republicans aren’t interested in making themselves vulnerable to primary challenges by voting to offer any protections to any unauthorized immigrants. The president needs to rally his party. It’s not something he’s been able to do so far — he hasn’t even been able to make up his mind about whether he wants to make a deal on immigration even if it involves a compromise, or if he wants a radical overhaul of American immigration policy and will settle for nothing less.

Getting the president to say what he wants is the easy part; getting him to commit to it, and to try to get other people to commit to it, is much harder.
It's a thorough take and I recommend it. I just didn't want to post the whole piece here.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 3:57 PM on January 25 [10 favorites]


On eVerify, from upthread, not only is it an easily-faked system, it isn't even a comprehensive one. Cards issued by the federal government that, according to their own documentation, prove both identity and citizenship (the ones that people who enroll in NEXUS, SENTRI, or Global Entry receive) are not accepted as a List A document. They're lumped in as a generic List B/C document so the person being verified still has to come up with something else.

Same goes for "Enhanced Driver License" and "Enhanced ID cards," or cards issued by some states (and Canadian provinces, but that's neither here nor there) that also prove US citizenship and identity, particularly for crossing the border into Canada. They're just "driver's licenses" and require showing a not-at-all secure Social Security card or easily-mocked-up voter registration even though the actual card is, by rule, accepted on the same basis as a passport card.

So they want to double down on a system that's not even fully up to speed on modern documents...
posted by fireoyster at 4:04 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


Congress ultimately doesn’t really need the White House to issue a policy proposal.

This is correct.

It needs an assurance that Trump is going to pick some things that he needs out of an immigration deal, stick to them, and encourage members of Congress to get on board.

This is not. Congress just needs to pass something - the president doesn't want to veto anything, because then he's the guy who's at fault for all the problems. Work out a plan, get it through House and Senate, and send this week's trump-whisperer to convince him this was his real agenda all along, so he can boast about this fine bipartisan legislation that he made by being so stubborn that they *had* to work together.

He isn't going to veto anything and deal with the "we had a plan and YOU fucked it up!" fallout.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:05 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


So in the mid-late 1990s, after a couple of decades of St. Louis bleeding a fuckton of it's population of pearl-clutching racists to the suburbs, we took in a significant number of Bosnian refugees. I believe at one time, we had the largest population of Bosnians outside of Bosnia. I live in this part of South City. 20 years later, it's seen as nothing but a net positive for St. Louis. The city needs people. We have the housing stock. We have an infrastructure for nearly 1 million with a population 1/3 of that right now. I wonder if there's a way to counter any of this using us as an example (or Minneapolis with Somalis and Hmong, Garden City with Vietnamese) to come out loud and open saying that immigration works and it's a benefit to the communities they move to.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 4:08 PM on January 25 [55 favorites]


I mean, there was even a replica of the Sarajevo Sebilj built up the street from me and the President of Bosnia came to the groundbreaking.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 4:12 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]




I'm in St. Louis and I used to work at a store that employed a bunch of Bosnian immigrants. They were all terrific workers. There were occasional interpersonal conflicts that I think were caused by cultural differences (Bosnians can come across as brusque to Midwesterners, if you can believe it) but they were incredibly motivated and reliable, to a person.
posted by EarBucket at 4:18 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]


From the end of the last thread:

Even if Mueller wraps up the obstruction probe, other elements of his investigation -- such as whether Trump or anyone close to him helped Russia interfere in the 2016 presidential election or broke any other laws -- are likely to continue for months more, said two officials who asked to remain anonymous speaking about the probe.

Reading the tea leaves here....how does this work? Assuming Mueller determines there was obstruction, does he report this and then let everything fall out while he keeps working on "collusion"? Sit on it until he finishes up the entire investigation? Or does this tend to indicate that he isn't seeing a case for obstruction and wants to get it out of the way while he continues with the Russia investigation?
posted by Preserver at 4:19 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


No kidding about St. Louis. The city is empty. Abandoned buildings all over. But there are opportunities. They turned this abandoned gothic cathedral into a skatepark. Makes me want to visit.
posted by adept256 at 4:19 PM on January 25 [11 favorites]


It's also pretty interesting to me that people who are purportedly pro-business can be anti-immigration. I mean the arithmetic for the economics of it is pretty simple: people get old, and retire, and then you need new people to replace them and pay into social security, and as birthrates are notoriously subject to peaks and valleys, you need immigration to fill the gaps and keep the engine running. Otherwise, you end up with a recessive economy.

I mean I personally place zero value in capitalism, but it's fascinating to me how virulent racism can override even the most basic economic principles of self-described capitalists.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:20 PM on January 25 [27 favorites]


WSJ, Donald Trump Descends on Skeptical Davos Audience (sorry for the AMP link; it bypasses the paywall)
At a reception Thursday evening with global corporate executives, Mr. Trump expressed optimism that the U.S. economy would grow faster than expected. He told the group he had spoken with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who mentioned that India’s economy was growing at 7%. Mr. Trump told the executives he could deliver the same economic growth if given a second term, according to attendees.

Some in the audience said the remarks sounded boastful, while others said he was likely joking. The Department of Commerce reports fourth quarter growth on Friday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect growth of 2.9%, annualized in the quarter.

The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.
posted by zachlipton at 4:31 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


it's fascinating to me how virulent racism can override even the most basic economic principles of self-described capitalists.

Virulent racism and sexism drive policies that make life demonstrably worse for everyone. There's a large portion of the country that believes what's really important is to punish the undeserving, regardless of how many people that hurts.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:40 PM on January 25 [31 favorites]


No kidding about St. Louis. The city is empty.

No shit, we can't even gentrify so that argument is dead when there's no one to price out to begin with.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 4:42 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


The timing of that Dutch report (a joint effort between public broadcaster NOS and De Volkskrant) is a big fucking deal, even if those with good sources who'd paid close attention knew some of the details. The prospect of Devin Nunes shitting all over their collaboration with the FBI and NSA seems to have left them with very few fucks to give about having this go to press.

The article's concluding note of warning is particularly telling in light of Nunes's threat to declassify his shoddily assembled memo without going through the standard review process to prevent compromising intelligence assets, but it's not hard to see that Dutch intelligence is pissed off with their US counterparts for the way this has been handled:
President elect Donald Trump categorically refuses to explicitly acknowledge the Russian interference. It would tarnish the gleam of his electoral victory. He has also frequently praised Russia, and president Putin in particular. This is one of the reasons the American intelligence services eagerly leak information: to prove that the Russians did in fact interfere with the elections. And that is why intelligence services have told American media about the amazing access of a 'western ally'.

This has led to anger in Zoetermeer and The Hague. Some Dutchmen even feel betrayed. It's absolutely not done to reveal the methods of a friendly intelligence service, especially if you're benefiting from their intelligence. But no matter how vehemently the heads of the AIVD and MIVD express their displeasure, they don't feel understood by the Americans. It's made the AIVD and MIVD a lot more cautious when it comes to sharing intelligence. They've become increasingly suspicious since Trump was elected president.
Meanwhile, Russian bots are pushing back against this story (Hamilton 68 is already tracking the related #Nieuwsuur hashtag's increased 1100% in). We'll see how if it's picked up in American newspapers like the NYT and the Washington Post, but so far I see only Reuters's coverage.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:08 PM on January 25 [18 favorites]


I would really like to stop discussing immigrants and refugees in economic terms. We take in people and treat them well because it is the moral, right thing to do. Their contribution to our economy in employment, taxes, whatever is nice but not what determines their humanity. I understand that the economic argument may be a tool to convince people to, like, stop being virulently racist, but it really just reinforces the idea that there are "good" (productive) and "bad" immigrants. I'd like to push back on that.
posted by Ragini at 5:11 PM on January 25 [77 favorites]


I understand that the economic argument may be a tool to convince people to, like, stop being virulently racist, but it really just reinforces the idea that there are "good" (productive) and "bad" immigrants. I'd like to push back on that.

Well when the right's honking argument is 'STEALING OUR JORBS. MURICA FIRST (because we can't outright say we're racist)' what do you want us to lead with?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:14 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


Sure, I get that, and I didn't mean to argue that we should let people in because they're productive grist for the capitalist machine. I think America should welcome anybody who wants to come in, no ifs, ands or buts. That's just my own anecdote about the Muslim immigrants I've known.
posted by EarBucket at 5:16 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


Woah. NYT, Trump Ordered Mueller Fired, but Backed Off When White House Counsel Threatened to Quit
President Trump ordered the firing last June of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, according to four people told of the matter, but ultimately backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the directive.

The West Wing confrontation marks the first time Mr. Trump is known to have tried to fire the special counsel. Mr. Mueller learned about the episode in recent months as his investigators interviewed current and former senior White House officials in his inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice.

Amid the first wave of news media reports that Mr. Mueller was examining a possible obstruction case, the president began to argue that Mr. Mueller had three conflicts of interest that disqualified him from overseeing the investigation, two of the people said.

First, he claimed that a dispute years ago over fees at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., had prompted Mr. Mueller, the F.B.I. director at the time, to resign his membership. The president also said Mr. Mueller could not be impartial because he had most recently worked for the law firm that previously represented the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Finally, the president said, Mr. Mueller had been interviewed to return as the F.B.I. director the day before he was appointed special counsel in May.

After receiving the president’s order to fire Mr. Mueller, the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, refused to ask the Justice Department to dismiss the special counsel, saying he would quit instead, the people said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a continuing investigation.
posted by zachlipton at 5:16 PM on January 25 [129 favorites]




Russians got tens of thousands of Americans to RSVP for their phony political events on Facebook (WaPo)

America: In our defense, we thought we clicked ‘Maybe’
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:18 PM on January 25 [17 favorites]


Woah. NYT, Trump Ordered Mueller Fired, but Backed Off When White House Counsel Threatened to Quit

Welp, there it is. The word "bombshell" is thrown around far too easily these days. But this would seem to qualify. It's at least a kiloton-yield level bombshell.

I am both shocked and completely unsurprised at the same time.
posted by Justinian at 5:19 PM on January 25 [40 favorites]


Ignore my comment. Read Zach’s instead. Holy crap.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:19 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


I don't think this has been mentioned yet: GOP looks to increase Democratic support for 20-week abortion ban
The vote, scheduled for Monday, is expected to fail, since it is highly unlikely it will reach the 60-vote threshold needed to break a filibuster. However, anti-abortion groups plan to single out vulnerable senators up for re-election this year who vote against the ban.
Graham's the main sponsor of the bill.
the bill does not offer an exception for an abortion in the case of the health of the mother, only for the "life" of the mother, because that exception can be too "amorphous and something you can drive a legal truck through," Graham said.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:22 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


Let's quote another paragraph, shall we:
The West Wing confrontation marks the first time Mr. Trump is known to have tried to fire the special counsel. Mr. Mueller learned about the episode in recent months as his investigators interviewed current and former senior White House officials in his inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice.
They managed to keep this quiet since June. If Mueller is really making an obstruction case, and it sure looks like he is, Trump ordering Mueller's firing has got to be yet another piece of it.

This is also yet another example of Trump not actually being the President, issuing an order that's ignored until he gives up.
posted by zachlipton at 5:23 PM on January 25 [50 favorites]


It must be very strange for Robert Mueller that a key piece of evidence in his obstruction of justice investigation is an attempt to obstruct justice by firing him for investigating potential obstruction of justice.
posted by scarylarry at 5:23 PM on January 25 [141 favorites]


It must be very strange for Robert Mueller that a key piece of evidence in his obstruction of justice investigation is an attempt to obstruct justice by firing him for investigating potential obstruction of justice.

The word meta is thrown around a lot these days...
posted by saturday_morning at 5:26 PM on January 25 [53 favorites]


Can I just say it's still extremely funny that Trump is too much of a baby to personally fire someone? Even when he's obstructing justice he has to get someone else to do the dirty work.
posted by edeezy at 5:27 PM on January 25 [36 favorites]


This really is Stupid Watergate. We had the Saturday Night Massacre last June, except this time, the President couldn't be bothered once someone told him no.
posted by zachlipton at 5:30 PM on January 25 [80 favorites]


Well when the right's honking argument is 'STEALING OUR JORBS. MURICA FIRST (because we can't outright say we're racist)' what do you want us to lead with?

I mean, I'd rather we (try to) change the debate. (Which, to be clear, a million advocacy organizations are already doing.) Letting the right set the terms of engagement is not exactly a winning tactic. They're never going to say yes, you're right, immigrants ARE good for the economy. It was never really about jobs to begin with.
posted by Ragini at 5:32 PM on January 25 [7 favorites]


Just to let you know, the Grand Jury in this case meets on Friday mornings.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:33 PM on January 25 [23 favorites]


I am both shocked and completely unsurprised at the same time.

... The part that surprises me is that second part, where the White House counsel threatened to resign. In what world does Donnie Trump not just say "Fine. I'll hire another one." ?
How is that even a thing that stopped him?
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 5:34 PM on January 25 [9 favorites]


Feels like we're getting closer to a "Did you order the Code Red?! / YOU'RE GODDAMN RIGHT I DID!" moment.
posted by bluecore at 5:34 PM on January 25 [14 favorites]


Can I just say it's still extremely funny that Trump is too much of a baby to personally fire someone? Even when he's obstructing justice he has to get someone else to do the dirty work.

I think he has to ask Rosenstein to do it. That's why the Saturday Night Massacre happened.
posted by BungaDunga at 5:35 PM on January 25 [5 favorites]


... The part that surprises me is that second part, where the White House counsel threatened to resign. In what world does Donnie Trump not just say "Fine. I'll hire another one." ?
How is that even a thing that stopped him?


He doesn't know how anything works, and has the attention span of a goldfish on Adderall.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:37 PM on January 25 [25 favorites]


How is that even a thing that stopped him?

Theory: that's not the full story, and we'll learn what actually stopped him eventually.
posted by BungaDunga at 5:38 PM on January 25 [19 favorites]


I think he has to ask Rosenstein to do it. That's why the Saturday Night Massacre happened

Correct, Robert Bork was never President! :)
posted by rhizome at 5:40 PM on January 25


@jbenton: Part Saturday Night Massacre, part Alice’s Restaurant Massacree

Rep. Meehan used the avalanche of news as the perfect time to announce he will not, in fact, run for re-election amid sexual harassment allegations.
posted by zachlipton at 5:41 PM on January 25 [18 favorites]


This could be explosive news about Russian hackers behind "Cozy Bear" and their cyberattacks on the DNC and the US government: Dutch Agencies Provide Crucial Intel About Russia's Interference In US-Elections

Here's Nieuwsuur's article on the AIVD Cozy Bear op (they collaborated with Volkskrant on reporting this). They're even harsher in their conclusion about the state of US-Dutch intelligence relations:
Last Sunday on Dutch television programme College Tour, Rob Bertholee, head of AIVD, said that he had no doubt that the Kremlin was directly responsible for the Russian cyber campaign against U.S. government agencies. Bertholee as well as Pieter Bindt, who was heading MIVD at the time, personally discussed the DNC matter with James Clapper, at the time overall head of the US intelligence services, and Michael Rogers, who is soon to retire as the head of the NSA.

As of now, the AIVD hackers do not seem to have access to Cozy Bear any longer. Sources suggest that the openness of US intelligence sources, who in 2017 praised the help of a Western ally in news stories, may have ruined their operation. The openness caused great anger in The Hague and Zoetermeer. In the television programme College Tour, this month, AIVD director Bertholee stated that he is extra careful when it comes to sharing intelligence with the U.S., now that Donald Trump is President.
Still, one must appreciate the exquisite timing of this story's release while Trump is at Davos with all the other European leaders.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:47 PM on January 25 [30 favorites]


Rosenstein has to do it under the DOJ regulation. The DOJ is part of the executive branch of which the President is the head. So theoretically Trump could declare that regulation null and void and fire Mueller himself. Which would be the nuclear option.

Trump doesn't have the guts to do it, though, he is a big man baby.
posted by Justinian at 5:47 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


Rachel Maddow starts in 10 minutes and you know her staff is running around like chickens with missing heads.
posted by Sophie1 at 5:51 PM on January 25 [5 favorites]


This NYT story substantially increases my suspicion that McGahn is cooperating with the Mueller investigation, possibly on principle, but probably out of sheer self-preservation. I do wonder who leaked it now, and why. It will be very interesting to see whether McGahn remains on as White House counsel after this story.
posted by scarylarry at 5:54 PM on January 25 [33 favorites]


The West Wing confrontation marks the first time Mr. Trump is known to have tried to fire the special counsel.

Did this not jump out at everyone like it did to me?

the first time
the first time
the FIRST time
posted by rodeoclown at 5:56 PM on January 25 [136 favorites]




"Closing loopholes in the system that make it almost impossible to deport illegal immigrants," such as the court backlog or the "catch and release" policy through which immigrants are released while awaiting a hearing.

Let's be super-clear about precisely what this means: it means the ability to do speedy mass deportations based on "expedited," i.e., non-existent, hearings held in large-scale detention camps. Straight-up ethnic cleansing from the Milošević / Karadzic playbook.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:04 PM on January 25 [31 favorites]


The West Wing confrontation marks the first time Mr. Trump is known to have tried to fire the special counsel

That jumped out at me too, but the cautious part of me is assuming this is just some awkward phrasing that means "this story coming out is the first time he is known to have tried" yada yada
posted by saturday_morning at 6:06 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


Why would he ask McGahn to fire Mueller? Maybe they mean he asked McGahn to support the legal pretext he gave, about supposed conflicts of interest?
posted by Coventry at 6:06 PM on January 25


Why would he ask Keith Schiller to fire Comey?
posted by rc3spencer at 6:08 PM on January 25 [10 favorites]


I wonder if Trump hates the lionization of Stephen Miller, or loves having him as a henchman/Svengali.

Svenchman?
posted by rhizome at 6:09 PM on January 25 [8 favorites]


Miller's his little Roy Cohn version 2.0 and I expect that he treats him with pride and reverence befitting a reincarnated mentor.
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:11 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


the FIRST time

Well, Michael Wolff did warn us it came up a lot: "And then there was the president’s insistent claim he could do something. I can fire him, he would say. Indeed, it was another of his repetitive loops: I can fire him. I can fire him. Mueller."

Here's a good roundup of Trump, John Dowd, and Kellyanne Conway all denying in August that Trump even considered firing Mueller, a month after the Times reports he actually ordered it. Trump claimed "I haven't given it any thought" on August 10th.
posted by zachlipton at 6:12 PM on January 25 [49 favorites]


Why would he ask McGahn to fire Mueller?
I don't think that is how it went down. Donnie wanted to do it, and Mcgahn gave his client an ultimatum- do this and I walk.
posted by vrakatar at 6:13 PM on January 25 [8 favorites]


The phrasing struck me as well, but given the way newspapers in genera and the NYT in particular fire copy editors - like Trump wishes he could fire Mueller amirite? - I assume it's just a rhetorical flourish that should have been struck rather than actual information.
posted by phearlez at 6:14 PM on January 25


Why would he ask McGahn to fire Mueller? Maybe they mean he asked McGahn to support the legal pretext he gave, about supposed conflicts of interest?

The article seems to imply that the president was chicken.
posted by Sophie1 at 6:14 PM on January 25 [12 favorites]


This really is Stupid Watergate. We had the Saturday Night Massacre last June, except this time, the President couldn't be bothered once someone told him no.

This is what makes me understand why Ron Johnson thought the "secret society" text was not a joke. Because if it were DonToo texting Manafort he totally would have done that! Wasn't their email subject line like "Re: re: re: re: re: re: re: Great Russkie Dirt on Hillary!"?
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:17 PM on January 25 [13 favorites]


Here's a good roundup of Trump, John Dowd, and Kellyanne Conway all denying in August that Trump even considered firing Mueller, a month after the Times reports he actually ordered it. Trump claimed "I haven't given it any thought" on August 10th.

You have to admit that "I haven't given it any thought" is undeniably true.
posted by uosuaq at 6:19 PM on January 25 [48 favorites]


Can I just say it's still extremely funny that Trump is too much of a baby to personally fire someone?

He always does that, despite his posturing. One of the many things that makes me hold him and the fucknuggets who voted for him in contempt.

He didn't even decide who got fired on The Apprentice.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:20 PM on January 25 [16 favorites]


Miller's his little Roy Cohn version 2.0 and I expect that he treats him with pride and reverence befitting a reincarnated mentor.

No, his Roy Cohn is Michael "Sez who?" Cohen. Both are bullies hiding behind their law degrees, threatening or paying off his problems.

Miller's more like his Salacious B. Crumb.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:27 PM on January 25 [8 favorites]


The question I have about this whole thing is cui bono? We're talking about something kept under wraps for 6+ months. So who benefits from going to the NYT now? McGahn, sure, but it doesn't seem likely to me that he leaked it. It really doesn't help TrumpCo to leak it. That doesn't leave a lot of options. The Mueller team could benefit if it led to more protections against being fired but they have been nearly rock solid in stopping leaks so far and I don't see it. Who's left?

Bannon going scorched earth? Who?
posted by Justinian at 6:28 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]


Who?

I'd guess it's somebody at the White House who either wants McGahn fired*, or who wants his job.

* perhaps so that Trump actually will fire Mueller. Because they know that Republicans in Congress have no spine and won't do anything.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:33 PM on January 25


Kelly? He's in the doghouse at the moment.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:33 PM on January 25


The Post has an interesting Trump/Kelly relationship story (and no, Kelly didn't leak the Meuller firing order, that doesn't make sense to me at all) that's worth reading: Trump bristles under some of his orderly chief of staff’s restrictions. This bit stands out:
Kelly has slashed security clearances into the West Wing and reduced the number of people on the access list that once allowed relative free roaming within the White House, officials said. People such as former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski have seen their access reduced, with Kelly requesting that they work through him on all visits.

After Lewandowski had a lengthy meeting at the White House with Kelly this month, he went to say hello to a friend from the campaign, White House counsel Donald McGahn, according to people familiar with the incident. When Jim Carroll, a White House lawyer, saw Lewandowski sitting in the waiting area without an appointment with McGahn, he told the operative that he had to leave and offered to escort him out, the people said, requesting anonymity to describe sensitive exchanges. They added that escorts for all guests are now part of White House culture.
So what's Lewandowski doing meeting with Kelly and wanting to talk to McGahn for?
posted by zachlipton at 6:42 PM on January 25 [9 favorites]


zachlipton: "Rep. Meehan used the avalanche of news as the perfect time to announce he will not, in fact, run for re-election amid sexual harassment allegations."

He was almost certainly DOA at this point. This makes it easier for the GOP Legislature to do their court-ordered redistricting, as well, since they don't have to try and protect him.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:42 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


This foreign trip is different than the last two. I'm not seeing any stories out of Davos spun to tell the tale that Trump did something presidential. Even with the Saudi Arabia trip there were a few "look at how he didn't fuck up!" articles in the media. No one is calling him a leader anymore.
posted by frecklefaerie at 6:44 PM on January 25 [29 favorites]


WSJ: Idaho to Allow New Insurance Plans Outside of Federal Health Law
Under ‘state-based plans’ companies could consider enrollees medical history in setting premiums, include dollar limits on total benefit payouts

Idaho officials said they will begin allowing insurers to sell new plans that don’t meet requirements set by the Affordable Care Act, a move that will test the limits of states’ ability to carve out their own health-insurance rules under the Trump administration.
Motherfuckers.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:52 PM on January 25 [57 favorites]


Rachel Maddow tonight: “I had a whole other show!”
posted by Burhanistan at 7:05 PM on January 25 [34 favorites]


chaz: "Do people like Matt Yglesias really not understand what's happening? Or do they just want other people to say it for them? Or do they just not want to have to reflect on their own racial bias?

The answer to so many "puzzling" things about Trump and the Republicans is always, every time, racial. And yet so many pundits continue to be "puzzled".
"

Of course Yglesias knows what Miller, et al. want. His point - which he went on to elaborate on - is that the GOP is not even presenting a rationale.

As far as "their own racial bias" - Yglesias is a Hispanic Jew.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:12 PM on January 25 [8 favorites]


Trump wins over global elites at Davos. All it took was a $1.5 trillion tax cut
“I like a lot more stuff than I don’t like,” Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein said on CNBC on Wednesday...

at the annual gathering of corporate and political elitein Davos, Dimon portrayed Trump as a leader who has unconventional methods but gets things done, especially for businesses...

Still, the positive reaction at Davos has surpassed the expectations of Trump allies.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 7:12 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Who's left? Bannon going scorched earth? Who?

@MattGertz (MMFA)
This seems like the sort of story you put out if you are worried that the president might imminently be planning to fire Mueller.

---

Though it's just as likely it's someone who wants him to fire Mueller and hopes the whole 'he didn't have the Nixons to go full Saturday Night Massacre' goads him into it this time.
posted by chris24 at 7:31 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]


This Hannity clip is a compelling display of the bottomless bad faith applied here. He starts off knocking the Times for bad reporting, then is told Fox News confirmed the story and he has to roll with it, arguing it’s fine and cutting to a car chase clip, saying he’ll get to this tomorrow.
posted by zachlipton at 7:43 PM on January 25 [55 favorites]


@AJentleson: (Harry Reid senior advisor)
Trump tried to fire Mueller, but Ryan has sanctioned a Nunes-led attack campaign on Mueller's credibility.

Take a step back and think about Congressional Republicans' campaign against Mueller in this light.

We're flying without a safety net, folks.
posted by chris24 at 7:53 PM on January 25 [52 favorites]


He starts off knocking the Times for bad reporting, then is told Fox News confirmed the story and he has to roll with it, arguing it’s fine and cutting to a car chase clip,

The Times is trying to distract you! Well, maybe they aren't completely wrong with what they are saying. Now look at this car chase! You're the distraction!
posted by nubs at 8:00 PM on January 25 [11 favorites]


cutting to a car chase clip

car *crash* clip. it's a poignant commentary on Trump, really. "oh shit, the cops! drive faster! it'll be okay!"
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 8:01 PM on January 25 [8 favorites]


Approximately 96% of the people in the U.S. are in the country legally. Getting to 100% would require a police state and an infinite amount of money. No projects are run to 100%; they run to what is needed. There are no fiscally conservative explanations for how spending 25 billion dollars to change from 96 to 97% would improve anyone's quality of life.

If there were fiscally conservative Republicans, they would bring the executives of Customs and Border Protection to hearings to explain why they have failed to secure the borders. Congress has been shoveling money to CBP for two decades. During the George W. Bush administration the number of border agents was increased from 4,000 to 20,000. This isn't enough agents to hold hands for the 2,000 mile length of the U.S. - Mexico border, but CBP also has drones and blimps and electronic sensors. Republicans are not fiscally conservative, they are security scare mongers.
posted by llc at 8:05 PM on January 25 [115 favorites]


If the desperation of the GOP to discredit Mueller and the FBI wasn’t hint enough, McGahn seemingly pulling the rip cord to parachute out of the blast zone makes me think something bad is about to happen.

@christinawilkie: (CNBC)
This type of story doesn’t happen by accident, where 4 sources all know about a request the president made to his WH counsel, and all corroborate it to reporters. With no denial from McGahn. This suggests McGahn’s team wants it known that he stood up to Trump.


@CharlesPPierce: (Esquire)
Am I alone in thinking that Don McGann is negotiating a deal with Mueller in real time?
posted by chris24 at 8:07 PM on January 25 [48 favorites]


Idaho officials said they will begin allowing insurers to sell new plans that don’t meet requirements set by the Affordable Care Act

I chose Idaho as the obvious example of a state that could try to exploit "across state lines" stuff (because Delaware and South Dakota were taken) by selling dogshit insurance for $10/mo that covers a hotel sewing kit and a bottle of vodka if you need surgery (after a $5000 deductible) and the fuckers only went and did it.
posted by holgate at 8:09 PM on January 25 [10 favorites]


The Post has its take on the story, with an addition:
In one meeting with other advisers, Bannon raised the concern that if Trump fired Mueller it could trigger a challenge to his presidency based on the 25th Amendment, which lays out the process of who would succeed a president in case of incapacitation.

Despite internal objections, Trump decided to assert that Mueller had unacceptable conflicts of interest and moved to remove him from his position, according to the people familiar with the discussions.

In response, McGahn said he would not remain at the White House if Trump went through with the move, according to a senior administration official.

The president, in turn, backed off.
Bannon seriously thought the groveling idiots in Trump's cabinet would invoke the 25th Amendment if he tried to fire Mueller? That seems hard to believe.
posted by zachlipton at 8:12 PM on January 25 [14 favorites]


@GreatDismal: (William Gibson)
I tend to eyeroll at “exactly like a William Gibson novel”, but the Dutch hacking the camera in the corridor of Cozy Bear’s Moscow Square building...
posted by chris24 at 8:17 PM on January 25 [60 favorites]




The West Wing confrontation marks the first time Mr. Trump is known to have tried to fire the special counsel.

And now Trump confidante/surrogate Chris Ruddy of Newsmax is telling PBS NewsHour Trump's thinking about it… it would be bad… but he's thinking about it…
RUDDY: I think he's considering perhaps terminating the special counsel. I think he's weighing that option. I think it's pretty clear by what one of his lawyers said on television recently. I personally think it would be a very significant mistake, even though I don't think there's a justification, even though, I mean, here you have a situation…
JUDY WOODRUFF: You don't think there's a justification for…?
RUDDY: For a special counsel in this case.
Expect more such trial balloons from Team Trump along these lines.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:30 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


(That Ruddy clip is from June, around the time Trump actually did order Mueller's firing)
posted by zachlipton at 8:33 PM on January 25 [10 favorites]


@Bill Kristol's theory: "Who leaked this? Probably McGahn (perhaps with Cobb).
Why now? Well, its effect will presumably be a negative reaction to firing Mueller. Which may well mean Trump recently returned to the idea, and this is a desperate effort by McGahn to stop him again.

"If you put this article together with the DOJ letter on the Nunes memo (which WH Counsel would presumably have seen and signed off on before it was sent), we might be witnessing a last ditch attempt by McGahn and DOJ (and COS Kelly?) to restrain Trump from going full Nixon."
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:35 PM on January 25 [12 favorites]


I think Trump's cronies have realized they've warmed the pot enough. There's too many Republicans who are in too deep at this point to flip around calling for Trump's head.
posted by Talez at 8:36 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


Elizabeth de la Vega (@Delavegalaw):

Trump is not going to sit down voluntarily with Mueller. He can not possibly do that without lying, not because it's a trap, but because he lies all the time. And, despite his bravado, Trump is a coward. He is just trying to make people think he wants to do it for PR purposes. 1/

Trump, his friends & the GOP are trying to malign Mueller and the investigation so Trump has a way out. He just says he's not sitting down with Mueller because the investigation is suspect. But does this mean that Mueller will subpoena him??? NO! Mueller does NOT need to talk 2/

to Trump in order to indict him. In fact, prosecutors RARELY talk to defendants before charging them. And, yes, Trump would lie, but Mueller does NOT need more evidence or charges. The evidence of conspiracy to obstruct justice is overwhelming. Trump's self-serving statements 3/

add nothing to the case. Trump does have a valid 5th Am right and it would not help the prosecution to have an indictment after the defendant took the 5th in front of the same grand jury. (His lawyers are not concerned he will tell the truth, btw.) What else does Mueller NOT 4/

need? The Special Counsel does NOT need or want a big fight about a grand jury subpoena to the president. He does NOT need or want chaos or delay. All he needs to gain from the interview overture to Trump is to have Trump squarely reject the opportunity to tell his story. Once 5/

Trump does that, then Mueller can present the conspiracy to obstruct justice case for indictment w/Trump as an indicted coconspirator, or unindicted coconspirator. Sometimes prosecutors pull their punches to achieve a larger goal. Don't be surprised if that happens here!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:39 PM on January 25 [39 favorites]


A quick google to see if I could make some kind of joke about "going full Nixon" has lead me to the discover that the biography "Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full" was written by Lord Conrad Black, media mogul, convicted criminal, and of late Trump apologist. Because of course, of course, it's shitstains all the way down.
posted by nubs at 8:40 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


There are two obvious initial readings: the DOJ letter and McGahn leaking are designed to stop some crazy shit from happening by creating a public reaction, or the DOJ and McGahn know that some crazy shit is going to happen and are getting their excuses in first. (McGahn, Bannon and Priebus still share a lawyer, so they presumably haven't reached a point where their interests and exposure creates a conflict.)

There's a long flight tomorrow due to leave Switzerland around 10:30am Eastern. Cranky old man on plane does crazy shit.

And I do think we're without a safety net right now and headed to a place where Nixon analogies offer no guidance.
posted by holgate at 8:41 PM on January 25 [16 favorites]


McGahn seemingly pulling the rip cord to parachute out of the blast zone.

This is really the perfect analogy for the WH -- ever reaching for the chute ripcord, thinking it's an ejector seat.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:41 PM on January 25 [7 favorites]


I can't even fathom what combination of substances the writers are abusing that have brought us to this point, and I once saw the aftermath of a guy who was reportedly hopped up on PCP who tried to rob a security guard school, where he was enrolled at the time trying to become a security guard:

@jimmykimmel: I am pleased to announce that the very gifted @StormyDaniels will be on #Kimmel Tuesday 1/30 after the #StateOfTheUnion. I have MANY QUESTIONS! #MAGA
posted by zachlipton at 8:42 PM on January 25 [42 favorites]


From the WaPo story on firing Mueller:
At the time, Trump’s legal team was urging him to take an aggressive posture toward the special counsel and was compiling arguments about why Mueller could not be impartial. Among the points cited: an allegation that Mueller had gotten into a dispute over membership fees before he resigned from a Trump-owned golf course in Northern Virginia in 2011.

The dispute was hardly a dispute at all. According to a person familiar matter, Mueller had sent a letter requesting a dues refund in accordance with normal club practice and never heard back.
Mueller was Director of the FBI in 2011 and Trump tried to rip him off. Hilarious, and par for the course.
posted by peeedro at 8:42 PM on January 25 [59 favorites]


i suspect it’s no coincidence that this dropped while trump was out of the country
posted by murphy slaw at 8:43 PM on January 25 [9 favorites]


NBC has joined NYT, WaPo and Fox in confirming the story. All within a couple hours. This is quite the coordinated leak.
posted by chris24 at 8:47 PM on January 25 [25 favorites]


NBC has joined NYT, WaPo and Fox in confirming the story. All within a couple hours. This is quite the coordinated leak.

Someone seriously wanted this to rise above the chaos and be highly visible -- like Regan's "help me" in The Exorcist.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:54 PM on January 25 [26 favorites]


NBC has joined NYT, WaPo and Fox in confirming the story.

Fox didn't really join anything. Hannity confirmed it, said it was the President's right to do so and they went back to Jeanine Pirro lost in the woods trying to confirm secret societies that are sword to uphold the constitution instead of being loyal to the President.
posted by Talez at 8:57 PM on January 25


Fox didn’t really join anything.

I know you’re snarking on their awfulness, but they did actually really report it with their own confirmed source.

@FoxNews:
BREAKING: Trump was talked out of firing Mueller last June, source says http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/01/25/trump-was-talked-out-firing-mueller-last-june-source-says.html
posted by chris24 at 9:03 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


It's 6:00 am in Switzerland. Rise and shine, asshole.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:10 PM on January 25 [59 favorites]


It's 6:00 am in Switzerland. Rise and shine, asshole.

No way his ass is up that early.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:22 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


The Trumps' anniversary was Monday, but you wouldn't have known it

I’m sure he bought her something nice.

Melania Trump skips Davos, visits museum and heads to Florida

I’m sure she lit a candle for him.
posted by valkane at 9:23 PM on January 25 [9 favorites]


What's funny about Ed Henry's Fox News story: the only original reporting is a few sentences single-sourced to "a source close to the White House" but that's apparently enough for Hannity to hit the "show a car crash!" panic button.
posted by holgate at 9:24 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


@edatpost:
CONFIRMED: @RepJoeKennedy to give Democratic response to the State of the Union. Virginia Del. Elizabeth Guzman, first Latina elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, set to deliver @TheDemocrats response in Spanish.
Kennedy is regarded as a good speaker, I believe (I'm a terrible judge at what other people find compelling), and he's been vocal in criticizing the administration. This sounds like a pretty good choice.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:28 PM on January 25 [25 favorites]


Of course Yglesias knows what Miller, et al. want. His point - which he went on to elaborate on - is that the GOP is not even presenting a rationale.

Is that a point? I'm not sure, it seems like it might be, but then it also seems like dancing around the point.

As far as "their own racial bias" - Yglesias is a Hispanic Jew.

Hispanic Jews can't have racial bias? Anyway, regardless of any one reporter's ethnic/religious background, it's racist that the white media find it so hard to explicitly call out racism and instead criticize "not even presenting a rationale."
posted by chaz at 10:00 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


the times provides some context for trump's remarks about being eager to speak to mueller under oath that i seem to have missed in other reporting:
To the surprise of the 20 or so reporters who were in the office, Mr. Trump dropped into a briefing on immigration that was only getting started. It was ostensibly just to say hello after Mr. Trump learned from Mr. Kelly that the session was taking place. Mr. Trump, despite his criticism of “fake news,” rarely misses a chance to speak with reporters.

The president boasted that he was eager to speak with Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. He emphasized his interest in a path to citizenship as a solution for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants. He expressed joy about going to Davos, Switzerland.

The planned background briefing on immigration was abruptly called off after the president left.
posted by murphy slaw at 10:05 PM on January 25 [11 favorites]


The actions of Trump, Nunes, Ryan et al seem to indicate that these guys are heading into the area of full blown panic. These guys know a lot of the guys that Mueller has talked to, although he’s undoubtedly talked to others they don’t know about. They know what’s in the documents that have been turned over to Mueller. So if they’ve done anything illegal, they’re sweating bullets. As I’ve said before, Trump is dirty. Pence is dirty. Ryan is dirty. Nunes is dirty. The Turtle is dirty.
posted by azpenguin at 10:12 PM on January 25 [40 favorites]




@piersmorgan (who Trump gave an interview to): BREAKING NEWS:President Trump has publicly apologised for retweeting far-right group Britain First. Says he didn't know who they were. 'I don't want to be involved with these people. If you're telling me they're horrible racist people. I certainly apologise.'

One of the few times in his life Trump has apologized (meaninglessly), and it's to Piers Morgan of all people?
posted by zachlipton at 10:26 PM on January 25 [26 favorites]


cutting to a car chase clip

seriously, this is how all of this is going to end. Trump on the run in prime time, and if Hannity's driving, I wouldn't be entirely surprised. The best car chase. Way better than this one.
posted by philip-random at 11:09 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Surely it would be golf carts.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:12 PM on January 25 [15 favorites]


As Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) said on Tuesday: "At some point, we're going to need to know exactly what the White House is thinking, because who wants to pass a bill only to have it vetoed?"

So an earlier query of mine was, why care what the White House thinks? why care about a potential veto? Trump notoriously flip flops on every policy discussion. Just proceed without him and if a popular-according-to-the-polls piece of legislation like DACA gets vetoed, the blame will be squarely on Trump (and I don't think he'd risk that).

However I've since learned that Ryan, McConnell et al are actually using "Trump's veto" as a shield to hide behind. They won't bring *anything* to the floor if it has the potential to rouse the deplorables and be primaried out. DACA is just the most blatant example. But they can't come out and say that, thus the face-saving fiction "we don't know what the president wants us to do" or "Trump will just veto it so it's not worth trying".
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:02 AM on January 26 [7 favorites]


> "Catch and release", jesus, they're not even pretending immigrants are humans anymore are they?

House GOP DACA Bill Would Criminalize Dreamer Poverty - "The House GOP is so determined to see these immigrants as not just illegal, but as criminals that they have decided to try to make their view reality."

-GOP Bill Spends More on Border Patrol in 5 Years Than It Has Spent in 5 Decades
-"why do this? ...white genocide..."
-"Either America succeeds as a polyracial nation, or it does not succeed as a nation at all."
posted by kliuless at 1:18 AM on January 26 [21 favorites]


I'm intrigued by the Times' phrasing "the first time". What other attempts are we yet to hear about?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:23 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


As others have said, I think the "first time" wording is just awkward phrasing. Kind of like, Trump has been obviously unhappy with Mueller for awhile, and there have been rumors, but this "marks the first time Mr. Trump is known to have tried to fire the special counsel."
posted by Roommate at 3:59 AM on January 26 [5 favorites]


Kansas Governor Sam Brownback to resign on Jan. 31 to join the Trump admin. as "U.S. ambassador for international religious freedom."

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer is to succeed him; up for re-election this November.
Julie Zauzmer, WaPo; Daniel McCoy, Wichita Business Journal; Kansas City Star Editorial Board editorial [having trouble finding a link to one comprehensive article]

Wisconsin Senate Republicans vote to oust state's ethics and elections chiefs, Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Republican state senators Tuesday denied the confirmations of the directors of Wisconsin's ethics and elections commissions — and the leader of the state Senate said he hoped to remove two civil servants at those agencies next.
Republican [Wisconsin Gov. Scott] Walker embraces Democratic ideas in election year, Scott Bauer, AP/WaPo
Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s embrace of Democratic ideas as he mounts his re-election campaign generated blowback from conservatives Thursday, while his longtime political foes warned voters should focus on his record, not his promises.
Scott Walker Is Literally Preventing Wisconsinites From Voting, John Nichols, The Nation [can't find another cite at this time but I think this general issue was brought up in a previous megathread]
The governor is deliberately denying Wisconsinites representation in the legislature by refusing to call special elections to fill open seats in the State Assembly and the State Senate.

In doing so, he is rejecting the clear intent of Wisconsin’s statutes, which declare: “Any vacancy in the office of state senator or representative to the Assembly occurring before the 2nd Tuesday in May in the year in which a regular election is held to fill that seat shall be filled as promptly as possible by special election.” ...

Whatever his reason, the fact remains that Walker has refused to call special elections to fill the seats of former state senator Frank Lasee, of De Pere, and former state representative Keith Ripp, of Lodi, a pair of Republicans who quit the legislature in December to take posts with the governor’s administration. The governor wants to leave those seats open until January 2019—denying tens of thousands of Wisconsinites representation for a full year.
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 4:06 AM on January 26 [44 favorites]


Oh look, the FBI text story falls apart even more. Strzok and Page wanted to appoint a special prosecutor for Clinton. Yep, definitely working to get her e̶l̶e̶c̶t̶e̶d̶ investigated.

Politico: Texts: FBI considered Patrick Fitzgerald as special prosecutor for Hillary Clinton emails
Senior FBI officials involved in the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server considered naming former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald as a special prosecutor for that probe, according to text messages released Thursday.

The proposal for a special counsel appears to have arisen in March 2016, relatively early in the FBI's inquiry into Clinton's email use, based on a limited set of texts exchanged by senior FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page that were made public by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley.

While it appears from the messages that the idea of a special prosecutor was discussed at high-level FBI meetings, it is unclear whether the thought of naming Fitzgerald to that job was as widely discussed.

"Thought of the perfect person [FBI Director James Comey] can bounce this off of?" Strzok wrote in a March 18, 2016 text to Page. "Pat....You got to give me credit if we go with him....And delay briefing him on until I can get back and do it, Late next week or later."

"We talked about him last night, not for this, but how great he is," Page replied.

"I could work with him again....And damn we'd get sh*t DONE," Strzok wrote.
posted by chris24 at 4:06 AM on January 26 [9 favorites]


I've never heard him apologize before and I don't know if that's what that was...

If you're telling me that they're horrible people, horrible racist people, I would certainly apologize if you'd like me to do that.

"If you said they're racist I would apologize". It's not exactly dripping with a burning need to confess to past wrongs and seek redemption in good faith.
posted by adept256 at 4:09 AM on January 26 [12 favorites]


I know this is a small thing, but I wanted to share with MetaFilter a story about the ongoing efforts of the administration to cripple federal agencies with one little attack after another. I’ve already mentioned that we’re under a Department-level hiring freeze, leading to several hundred vacancies at my research agency, including 4 in my lab. A couple weeks ago, Secretary Perdue (R-GA) announced a major change to our telework policy. Since then, I’ve spoken with friends at other Departments, and this appears to be a coordinated change across the executive branch. The gist of the change is that, in order to better serve our customers, employees may telework no more than two days per pay period, or one day a week. If you’re on an alternative work schedule where you flex one day a week, you may not telework at all. The Obama administration spent years expanding telework and encouraging its use whenever job duties and individual performance warrant, and people have built their lives around it, particularly folks with young families. There is a 30-day phase-in period (it was expanded a little this week), but it’s a needlessly short time period given the major changes to child care and things folks will have to make. Telework also was always a privilege, not a right of employment, so the idea that people are using it as a day off instead of working is a lie. It’s a nasty, mean-spirited but if work that’s going to cause a lot of hardship. It’s one more way to make federal service unappealing as a career choice. It’s also clever in its own way, because it’s hard to argue against in the court of public opinion without being painted as “a lazy whiner whose feelings are hurt because they can ONLY telework one day a week.” The traffic taken off roads doesn’t matter, the hundreds of hours of time people save from reducing commutes doesn’t matter, nor do energy savings, lower operating costs for federal facilities, reduced wear and tear on cars, etc. it’s not getting much press, but the current administration is prosecuting a pretty successful campaign against the federal workforce.
posted by wintermind at 4:39 AM on January 26 [154 favorites]


> The president boasted that he was eager to speak with Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Trump couldn't possibly be saying that stuff out loud without adding "shame he's gonna be fired before that happens" in his head.
posted by klarck at 5:06 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]


Keith Ellison may run for Minnesota AG.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:32 AM on January 26 [5 favorites]


CONFIRMED: @RepJoeKennedy to give Democratic response to the State of the Union

Kennedy is regarded as a good speaker, I believe (I'm a terrible judge at what other people find compelling), and he's been vocal in criticizing the administration. This sounds like a pretty good choice.


That's my rep! I saw him speak recently at a district event. He comes across as competent and intelligent. Not quite eloquent, but close. Not quite charismatic, but close. The biggest problem is that he talks low and fast. Sometimes it's close to mumbling. He definitely doesn't shy away from criticizing the administration.
posted by diogenes at 5:34 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]


The sort of power previous paramilitaries have only dreamed of....

Exclusive: ICE is about to start tracking license plates across the US.
While it collects few photos itself, Vigilant Solutions has amassed a database of more than 2 billion license plate photos by ingesting data from partners like vehicle repossession agencies and other private groups. Vigilant also partners with local law enforcement agencies, often collecting even more data from camera-equipped police cars. The result is a massive vehicle-tracking network generating as many as 100 million sightings per month, each tagged with a date, time, and GPS coordinates of the sighting.

ICE agents would be able to query that database in two ways. A historical search would turn up every place a given license plate has been spotted in the last five years, a detailed record of the target’s movements. That data could be used to find a given subject’s residence or even identify associates if a given car is regularly spotted in a specific parking lot.

...

ICE agents can also receive instantaneous email alerts whenever a new record of a particular plate is found — a system known internally as a “hot list.” (The same alerts can also be funneled to the Vigilant’s iOS app.) According to the privacy assessment, as many as 2,500 license plates could be uploaded to the hot list in a single batch, although the assessment does not detail how often new batches can be added. With sightings flooding in from police dashcams and stationary readers on bridges and toll booths, it would be hard for anyone on the list to stay unnoticed for long.
posted by Buntix at 5:34 AM on January 26 [44 favorites]


The source of the data is not named in the contract, but an ICE representative said the data came from Vigilant Solutions, the leading network for license plate recognition data.

So if civil liberties hero hackers were actually a thing, this company would be an interesting target

A historical search would turn up every place a given license plate has been spotted in the last five years, a detailed record of the target’s movements. That data could be used to find a given subject’s residence or even identify associates if a given car is regularly spotted in a specific parking lot.

They’re hunting people.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:51 AM on January 26 [64 favorites]


Ethnic cleansing, the game: it's on.
posted by Dashy at 5:59 AM on January 26 [4 favorites]


schadenfrau: They’re hunting people.

Did you see that TV show last season called "Hunted" [Wiki] where people volunteer to be chased around the Atlanta area for a chance at $250,000?

My kids were interested in it as entertainment but I thought it was more of a warning.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:00 AM on January 26 [17 favorites]


So, literally The Running Man?
posted by Chrysostom at 6:10 AM on January 26 [11 favorites]


They won't bring *anything* to the floor if it has the potential to rouse the deplorables and be primaried out.

If Ryan and McConnell are smart, they know that the deplorables aren't beholden to Trump, only Trumpism. Trump said vote for Strange, they vote for the true Trumpist candidate despite their master's seal of approval.

Giving over a million immigrant kids citizenship? Hell hath no fury like a base scorned.
posted by Talez at 6:14 AM on January 26 [4 favorites]


So, literally The Running Man?

No, nobody gets killed unless they accidentally come across a police officer.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:18 AM on January 26 [19 favorites]


WaPo: The Daily 202: Five takeaways from Trump’s thwarted effort to fire Mueller
THE BIG IDEA: The revelation that Donald Trump sought to fire Bob Mueller last June, but reluctantly backed off after Don McGahn threatened to resign, is the latest reminder that fear of political fallout has done more to insulate the special counsel from the president than respect for the rule of law.
...
  1. Trying to fire Mueller is a data point that could be used to build a larger obstruction case.
  2. The White House’s credibility gap has become a chasm.
  3. This news will create fresh momentum for Congress to take up bipartisan bills to protect Mueller, even if GOP leadership continues to pigeonhole them.
  4. McGahn threatening to quit is a reminder that White House staffers do not need to enable Trump.
  5. Managing Trump can be a herculean task for his top aides.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:37 AM on January 26 [7 favorites]


Keith Ellison may run for Minnesota AG.

Seems like a step back, but from the article, many other opportunities seem to have been closed off to him.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:39 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


I'd rather see him run for Franken's Senate seat.
posted by Flannery Culp at 6:41 AM on January 26 [11 favorites]


Trump Dismisses Reports He Tried To Fire Mueller
    “Fake news, fake news,” Trump told reporters at the Davos World Economic Forum early Friday morning. “Typical New York Times. Fake stories.”
posted by mikepop at 6:48 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]


Did you see that TV show last season called "Hunted" [Wiki] where people volunteer to be chased around the Atlanta area for a chance at $250,000?

My kids were interested in it as entertainment but I thought it was more of a warning.


This has been my feeling about reality television since the late '90s. Big Brother, Survivor, The Amazing Race, The Bachelor -- all of them are about conditioning people to submit their minds and bodies to frankly terrifying structures of totalitarian control and forced precarity, in return for a small pittance in cash and prizes. And the only reason anybody even saw Trump as anything other than a joke after the 1980s was because The Apprentice overhauled his image into a stern, shrewd business guru instead of a barely-functional failclown.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:50 AM on January 26 [76 favorites]


Giving over a million immigrant kids citizenship? Hell hath no fury like a base scorned.

Absolutely. Breitbart types are already talking about leading protest marches in Washington over this Absolute Betrayal of Everything Candidate Trump Promised and Every Reason They Voted for Him, which were No Amnesty and Build The Wall and Deport Absolutely Every Illegal and Keep Them Out Forever.

"Once the demographics of this nation are changed, they are changed forever," one said without a trace of irony, completely failing to grasp how far the poison pills in Trump's proposal would change them in white supremacists' favor. But that's par for the course, as they view negotiating with Democrats _at all_ to be nauseating and unnecessary.
posted by delfin at 7:05 AM on January 26 [13 favorites]


I'm opposed to any bill that gives the dreamers a path to citizenship.

Let's just end the BS games and fucking give them citizenship. No path nonsense, no maybe in a few decades nonsense, just citizenship now. They're as American as I am, this is the only country they've ever known, in many cases they only speak English and if they were deported they would be unable to communicate with people in their supposed "home" country, they're working, paying taxes, they're American. Enough with the racist games.
posted by sotonohito at 7:28 AM on January 26 [114 favorites]


For all the flak we give (and they deserve), NPR does some good work. Recent example: humanizing the thumbnail stories and statistics of detained and deported immigrants -- A Father, A Husband, An Immigrant: Detained And Facing Deportation, a 19 minute story of a family in the Pacific Northwest.
Manuel's case illustrates not only the giant, complicated bureaucracy involved in immigration enforcement but also the ripple effects one arrest can have on a family and a community.
And then it gives air time to Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, who's a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, to describe his "never-ending probationary citizen status" offer to DREAMers. But it has him on record stating that he doesn't differ the "sins of the parents" from the "sins of the children."
KELLY: These are people who didn't make a choice, though, who were brought here as children.

LABRADOR: It doesn't matter. Are we going to have a policy in the United States that if you come here as a child, you have a right to be in the United States? I think that would be the wrong policy for the United States to do.
You know, " 'Cause that's the way our immigration system works. " Hey jackass, YOU MAKE THE LAWS. YOU CAN CHANGE THEM.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:36 AM on January 26 [13 favorites]


I'm opposed to any bill that gives the dreamers a path to citizenship.

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. If there was a bill that gave Dreamers a path to citizenship and did nothing else it would be insane not to jump on it faster than me on an ice cream sundae. But of course it won't be a clean bill, it'll be a racist peace of hot trashfire which should be rejected out of hand. The reason for that rejection won't be the path to citizenship rather than straight-up immediate citizenship, though, it'll be all the other poison pills.
posted by Justinian at 7:38 AM on January 26 [22 favorites]


However I've since learned that Ryan, McConnell et al are actually using "Trump's veto" as a shield to hide behind.

I think it's more just general fear of Trump pivoting on a dime and putting them on blast. They know they can't predict what he'll do any given moment or if Kelly/Miller will get in his ear and he's shown a willingness to publicly slag his own party. So they send over a bill that on even numbered minutes he'd sign without comment and it catches him on an odd number minute and now they're the bad guys. Even with an approval rating in the 30s he's more liked than Congress as a whole.

It might not stop a group actually committed to governing but if your go-to plan is just do nothing and let entropy do its work, why not just send nothing? He's completely ignorant and uninterested in the process of governing (or any kind of work, it seems) so they can just shrug and tell him it's because of Democrats. Then they're not the ones he points his nutter base at.
posted by phearlez at 7:41 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]




Under Trump Appointee, Consumer Protection Agency Seen Helping Payday Lenders (NPR, Jan. 25, 2018)

But states fight back, where Trump's administration fails to help the working people of this country. New Mexico cap on storefront loans takes effect Jan. 1
Somewhere in New Mexico last year, somebody was on the hook for an installment loan with an interest rate of 1,679 percent.

But starting Jan. 1, a new state law capped interest rates on small loans. The move follows a yearslong campaign by consumer advocates who have decried what they call predatory business practices that send many New Mexicans spiraling into debt over loans for only a few hundred dollars.

The 175 percent cap is still far higher than the 36 percent limit consumer advocates have long sought. But they argue it could save New Mexicans $500 million over the next two years.
...
“We called this progress, not victory,” said Ona Porter, president and CEO of Prosperity Works, a consumer advocacy and financial literacy group based in Albuquerque.
...
Porter said the law is already having an effect. One year ago, the state licensed about 670 small-loan businesses. Since then, she said, her group has seen more than 50 locations close down or prepare to close down by the end of the month.

About 12,850 people took out payday loans in New Mexico in 2016. Adding up the money from interest rates that are above the new limit as well as fees, the group believes the 175 percent cap will save New Mexico consumers a half-billion dollars over the next two years.
What the everloving fuck - if a 175% cap can save a poor, rural state like ours (with a statewide population just over 2 million people) a half billion dollars, just think of what the impact could be to bring it down lower, and across the country. Fuck you, Mulvaney, fuck you, GOP, and fuck you, Trump. You are not representing the will of the people, you're representing the greed of the few. /rant
posted by filthy light thief at 7:49 AM on January 26 [70 favorites]


It’s Now Likely Mueller Thinks Trump Obstructed Justice (Politico)

“Thursday’s bombshell news points toward one conclusion: The special counsel has the goods on the president.”
Thursday’s explosive New York Times story that President Donald Trump ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller last June renewed the public’s focus on the obstruction of justice investigation against Trump, which will soon culminate in Trump’s interview by Mueller. The case against Trump has grown stronger in recent months, and it now appears likely that Mueller will conclude that Trump obstructed justice.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:49 AM on January 26 [16 favorites]




Sophie1: In another baffling case of face-eating leopards, they never thought the leopards would eat their faces.

Context: an 8 minute video clip from BBC News on Pacific County, Washington, which voted for Trump, but a year into the Trump presidency, "people are shocked to see friends deported and schoolmates disappear. Now a community is coming to terms with the economic and emotional consequences.

The Trump team insists the actions of the deportation force, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is simply a matter of applying the law and delivering a key election pledge."
posted by filthy light thief at 7:51 AM on January 26 [11 favorites]


It might not stop a group actually committed to governing but if your go-to plan is just do nothing and let entropy do its work, why not just send nothing?

And if nothing is done and entropy does its work, the Dreamers lose and get deported in waves because of what Trump has already done. This is a dream situation for Ryan and McConnell because _neither one actually has to get anything passed_ to get their desired outcome. If they play the stall game and pass dead-end bills back and forth and we reach a standoff, they win big; the Dreamers lose, they can scream "Dems think illegals are more important than Americans" again, the Teahadi base calms down about RINOs and Amnesty and Betrayal, the progressive base is PISSED that the Dreamers aren't protected, and the chaos continues.

I just can't get into the mind of someone who looks at law-abiding Dreamers and thinks "THESE PEOPLE are the biggest threat facing our country and THIS is the line that cannot be crossed." And, frankly, I wouldn't want to.
posted by delfin at 7:56 AM on January 26 [12 favorites]


I'd also like to express frusturation with our Democratic reps for continuing to hem and haw and equivocate and bothsides and give Republicans benefit of the doubt instead of just getting aggressive talking points out there.

On my morning commute I listened to Joaquin Castro, theoretically one of the leading lights of the Democratic party and a person I personally hoped would be Clinton's VP pick instead of that bland forgettable white guy she wound up with, get on NPR and very carefully avoid hurting any Republican feelings or say anything directly.

Asked about the fucking memo, he blathered for a while in gentle, focus group tested, platitudes about the necessity of security and how it would be inappropriate to release it before the FBI had a chance to look at it.

Asked directly if he thought the fucking memo was a scam he didn't say "Yes, it's just an opinion written by a Trump sycophant who is abusing the classification system to publicize a bunch of bologna. I could write a memo that says moon men are organizing against Trump and it'd be just as valid as the propaganda from Nunes." Nope, instead he served up more unsalted oatmeal about proper procedures and hinted that maybe, possibly, in some vague and undefined way, it might be that Nunes wasn't completely, 100%, trustworthy and that you never know, perhaps the fucking memo isn't really worth wasting time over.

Asked if Trump firing Muller would be a red line, Castro said that it would be a worrying development and he would hope the White House would not do it, but when pressed on what (if anything) he and other Democrats would do if Trump did fire Mueller Castro had no answer and hemmed and hawed some more about proper procedures. He very much did **NOT** point out that since the Republicans have a majority in both houses of Congress any action would need to involve breaking the Republican lockstep protection of Trump, nor did he say that the only way to hold Trump accountable would be to get more Democrats elected.

He served up bland pablum, the result of triangulation, focus group testing, and carefully said exactly jack fucking shit during the entire interview.

How the fuck do they expect to win elections when that's what they offer?

I contrast this to a few days ago when NPR had a Republican Rep on and he was amazingly good. He had his talking points lined up, he put the blame squarely on the Democrats, he redirected any question to what he wanted to talk about, he got his points out there and in the news so they could be soundbited and rehashed later by the talking heads. And, again, he placed all blame on Democrats and their diabolical supporters and consistently hammered homed the point (lie) that without the Evil Democrats obstructing everything Trump would have brought about Utopia by now.

Their side brings fire, charisma, and answers (however wrong). Our side brings the blandest of rehashed bullshit and carefully triangulated bothsideism and even when asked directly by the interviewer if the other side is full of shit will not say yes.

Yeats was right. "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."


Justinian I meant that more in a "here's the perfect, let's actually express it" sense. Of course I'll take what I can get. But let's get the perfect out there and heard.
posted by sotonohito at 7:59 AM on January 26 [53 favorites]


So they are definitely not rolling over on this.

I'll belive it when I see it.
posted by Talez at 8:00 AM on January 26 [12 favorites]




Which is to say: Talez, I respect your skepticism, but this time the Dems are recognizing the racist drivel this proposal is. They might lose (they are the minority party, for fuck's sake) but they're not going to smile and roll over.

I still want to hear them say it. I want to hear someone with a national profile call these proposals what they are: attempts at ethnic cleansing. Use the Dreamer’s language: a white supremacist ransom note.

Call it by its name. It will always feel like it’s too soon to do so, right up until it’s too late.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:18 AM on January 26 [46 favorites]


Asked if Trump firing Mueller would be a red line, Castro said that it would be a worrying development...

Ugh, if you can't muster up some fire to respond to that question, maybe you should retire from politics so you can spend more time napping.
posted by diogenes at 8:20 AM on January 26 [21 favorites]


Philip Bump does some fantastic data-driven journalism and is a one-man role-model for the industry in being able to use both English and JavaScript to tell his stories, but when he decides to turn his trolling game on, it's something else entirely. WaPo, Deep in Clinton country, voters stand by their candidate:
The pilings of long-gone piers still jut out of the murky Hudson River in New York County, N.Y., reminders of a shipping industry that’s all-but-vanished from the region. There’s almost no manufacturing left in the towering buildings at the southern end of the county where it once thrived. Throughout the area, large warehouses once used for trade have been torn down or repurposed.

You’d be forgiven for assuming that this is the sort of place where Donald Trump would have been successful in the 2016 election. Unless, that is, you know that shipping and manufacturing left New York County a very long time ago. New York County is Manhattan; the warehouses are now art galleries and the skyscrapers where piecemeal manufacturing once took place are now offices and expensive apartments.

Far from backing Trump, Manhattan was one of the most heavily pro-Hillary Clinton counties in the country in 2016, supporting her by a 77-point margin. (In his home county, Trump won only 9.7 percent of the vote; for every 2.6 votes he got, a third-party candidate got one.) We don’t hear much about how Manhattanites have responded to the first year of Trump’s presidency, though, despite how much we’ve heard about how regions central to Trump’s candidacy are still home to people who stand by their choice. There are a lot of reasons for not focusing on the views of people in Manhattan, including that the city is not without a voice in the media and that how it voted was not particularly surprising (compared to the fervent support Trump enjoyed in the Rust Belt).

Nonetheless, we decided to see if voters in Clinton country stood by their candidate one year into Trump’s tenure. We know Trump’s supporters are sticking with him, but are Clinton’s sticking with her? Is Trump convincing any opponents to rally to his cause?
posted by zachlipton at 8:22 AM on January 26 [60 favorites]


Sophie1: In another baffling case of face-eating leopards, they never thought the leopards would eat their faces.
I don't get it — why aren't those coalminers just relocating to Washington to shell oysters and pick cranberries? Now the foreigners aren't taking away American jobs, they should just get going. (/irony)

This morning I dreamt that the next American president was a woman of color. The dream was more specific, but I fell asleep again and forgot the details. Thinking about it, I realized that the significance of the dream is that Trump has crushed the idea of the white man as a superior being in my mind. A woman, a person of color is more likely to be intelligent, honest, hard working and patriotic. It's not just Trump, but his whole cabinet and all the Republican in Congress who appear ignorant, greedy, dishonest and just plain stupid — people who have only risen to their current status because of their given privilege. (I know, I know, not all white men, but hear me out).
I grew up in a family that was in many ways socially liberal, albeit politically conservative. But one thing was sure: men held the power. It was everywhere. Obviously men were the managers, the breadwinners, the heads of state etc. But it was also an aspect of everyday life in tiny ways. My mum would say "just wait till your dad gets home" if she was mad at me, as if she had no power of her own. When my stepdad was traveling, he would proclaim that now my little scrawny soft brother was "the man of the house". My military dad thought women in service was a terrible idea, and resented that I went for higher education. My grandparents where I lived for a large part of my childhood had different attitudes , they were who pushed me towards education, but my granddad literally was the smartest person I've ever known, so unwittingly he confirmed the patriarchy. And even though I intellectually know that all of this is rubbish, it sits so deeply in me that I couldn't, till now, entirely get it out of my system. Trump has helped me look at the men around me who are incompetent, liars and bullies and understand that there is no there there. It's a whole world of emperors with no clothes and it's going down, fighting and screaming as it goes. Most young people don't think that way. Even my little brother who is now over 50 hated that role and his sons are wonderful, gentle and caring young men who respect the women in their world. My daughters know they can become prime ministers or CEOs if they care for that, and both young men and women respect older women and listen to them in a way that was rare when I was young.
Hold out everyone, because if you do, change will come.
posted by mumimor at 8:39 AM on January 26 [54 favorites]


That Philip Bump article that zachlipton links to is a DELIGHT and a BALM FOR MY SOUL, particularly this bit about a man who is not identified as Metafilter's Own, but well:
All four expressed no hesitation about maintaining their support for Clinton. Smith went further, first saying that he would vote 18 times. Then he amended his plan.

“I wouldn’t even triple vote,” he said. “I would move to Ohio or Michigan, register to vote and vote there, if I had to do all over again. That’s what I would do.”

Though I am disappointed that the Bump didn't get out to talk to voters in Ogalala Lakota County, SD, which is apparently on the list of the 10 counties that went the most heavily for Clinton.
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:41 AM on January 26 [13 favorites]


re: plate tracking...

So if civil liberties hero hackers were actually a thing, this company would be an interesting target

i suggest that it might be interesting to publish every CP's and Sen's whereabouts for the last five years. any dutchmen interested?

i mean the *least* interesting thing would be the the brothels, strip clubs, and mistresses.
posted by j_curiouser at 8:43 AM on January 26 [15 favorites]


Meanwhile in the Republican primary for Tarrant County District Clerk in Texas:

At some point during the discussion with the newspaper’s editorial board, challenger Frank Palomino started wagging his finger at incumbent Tom Wilder and alleged that Wilder’s marriage to his longtime wife, Charlene, was a sham. “You got divorced in 1972,” Palomino said. “You’re not married.”

Wilder responded: “You’re a lyin’ dog!”


The best people.
posted by emjaybee at 8:50 AM on January 26 [13 favorites]


Though I am disappointed that the Bump didn't get out to talk to voters in Ogalala Lakota County, SD, which is apparently on the list of the 10 counties that went the most heavily for Clinton.

That is definitely the piece I want to see next!
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:53 AM on January 26 [6 favorites]


I said I wanted to hear Chelsea Manning's explanation, and for whatever you may think it's worth, here it is, via Katelyn Burns, Chelsea Manning on Her Alt-Right Partying: ‘I Was a Spy, Not a Racist’
“Charlottesville was a wakeup call for me,” said Manning, who at the time was just starting to rebuild her life after her release from prison. “I saw how these people will actually kill us, and we need to do something about it. I felt like I hadn’t done enough. I just can’t sit and watch everything get worse.”

Manning’s solution was to use her fame and celebrity to integrate with an admirer who had connections with several alt-right social media personalities. Enter Fairbanks.
...
In the end though, it’s impossible to really know what was going through Manning’s head as she decided to escalate her relationships with figureheads of the alt-right in order to supposedly gather intelligence on their plans. Manning’s decision-making process appears nonsensical to all but the most ardently engaged in the anti-fascist movement and the whole thing has an air of impulsiveness. Though she’s promised never to associate with the alt-right again, her lack of awareness of the symbol she’s become to many on the left, especially within a trans community facing constant attacks from the alt-right, have left many of her supporters confused and feeling betrayed.

“People have every right to be confused and hurt by this,” Manning said. “Regardless of good intentions, I leveraged my privilege to gain access to spaces others couldn’t dream of entering safely. I never meant to hurt my supporters. No amount of information on the alt-right is worth losing the trust of my supporters.”
posted by zachlipton at 8:54 AM on January 26 [10 favorites]


So if civil liberties hero hackers were actually a thing, this company would be an interesting target.

I'm thinking this might be a productive approach to the problem.
posted by scalefree at 8:59 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]


So she's Laci Greening?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 8:59 AM on January 26 [8 favorites]


Mmmyeah, sorry Chelsea. You haven't been officially running a month and you're already needing to issue apologies for poor judgement. A better alternative is already sitting in that Senate seat. Thank you for your interest, we'll keep your resume on file.
posted by apparently at 9:01 AM on January 26 [54 favorites]


I'm not actually alt-right, I just have poor judgment and don't think things through. Okay..
posted by phearlez at 9:02 AM on January 26 [14 favorites]


"I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat."

Will Rogers
posted by kirkaracha at 9:04 AM on January 26 [11 favorites]


Mmmyeah, sorry Chelsea. You haven't been officially running a month and you're already needing to issue apologies for poor judgement. A better alternative is already sitting in that Senate seat. Thank you for your interest, we'll keep your resume on file.

"Double agent" is not high on my preferred skills list for United States Senator. Also not there, "fucking shit up".
posted by scalefree at 9:04 AM on January 26 [40 favorites]


Manning’s decision-making process appears nonsensical to all but the most ardently engaged in the anti-fascist movement

Pretty sure her decision-making process looks the most nonsensical to those most ardently engaged in the anti-fascist movement.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:07 AM on January 26 [18 favorites]


Not to mention that there are people who do infiltrate these sorts of groups to recover intel on a serious, professional basis - and she just endangered their lives.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:10 AM on January 26 [15 favorites]


any dutchmen interested?

Guessing the Russians also have this sort of info. It may not always be the case, but it's a reasonable working assumption that any major politician who isn't pushing for the investigation into Russian interference is actively compromised.

That said their ability to retaliate is fairly terrifying. The plate tracking would be massively concerning if it had a strong due process regimen and strict oversight, but guessing neither of those things are the case. They may not just track undocumented residents, but their documented family/friends/people engaged him helping them. So people may be having to worry whether visiting a family member is going to get them disappeared.

Then there's the possibility that they may use it to target opponents and activists the same way Arpaio misused his power for personal/ideological reasons.

Then there's that the set of people who are ICE employees and also members of white supremacist/neo fascist organisations is probably fairly large, and the system may get used for their non-work interests.

The similarity with how the brownshirts helped bring about fascism in Germany by intimidating and harassing opposition and protest is not great.

Wish I could believe that this was paranoid hyperventilation, but ICE really do seem to increasingly be Trump's military wing. And as other arms of LE are being attacked, apart from his pet Sheriffs.
posted by Buntix at 9:13 AM on January 26 [10 favorites]


So when Cernovich and company respond to Manning's statement, do we have anyone well versed in Kremlinology that can interpret for us?
posted by Slackermagee at 9:14 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


Today in sexual harassment/political news

Hillary Clinton Chose to Shield a Top Adviser Accused of Harassment in 2008 (I copypasted the headline, don't @ me)

Dozens of People Recount Pattern of Sexual Misconduct by Las Vegas Mogul Steve Wynn (maybe I'm a bit biased because I'm in Vegas right now, but this is a big deal)
posted by lalex at 9:20 AM on January 26 [17 favorites]


In re Chelsea Manning: I'm not entirely sure how her actions endanger anyone's life, since it's not a mystery to the alt-right that people try to infiltrate those groups.

And I'm certainly glad that it's probably spectacularly bad judgement rather than "I can win the hearts of alt-right racists!!!!"

At the same time, though, it does not inspire the kind of confidence one would like to have in a political candidate.

On the individual level, Chelsea Manning is someone who has gone through an incredibly traumatic experience during the years when most young people are building social skills. "Huddling in a jail cell while your guards withhold food and blankets", "keeping your spirits up while receiving all kinds of threats", "dealing with the possibility that you will be in military prison for life" and so on are huge achievements, but also really traumatizing and not the same as "developing judgment about interacting with people in public".

It's not that no one on the left ever does a dumb thing unless they've had a traumatic experience - god knows plenty of people on the left do dumb shit all the time - but you have to admit that she's had really traumatic experiences!

If it takes you, like, half the time you were in a relationship to recover from a breakup, how long does it take you to recover from jail? Maybe a couple of years just being famous-activist-Chelsea-Manning and doing, like, friend stuff and sleeping and so on and then revisit?
posted by Frowner at 9:22 AM on January 26 [53 favorites]


Dozens of People Recount Pattern of Sexual Misconduct by Las Vegas Mogul Steve Wynn

For those wondering what this has to do with politics, Wynn is the current finance chair of the RNC.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:26 AM on January 26 [39 favorites]


There's a lot in the Steve Wynn story, and this is a good time for a reminder that Wynn is Trump's patron and the RNC finance chair, but this nightmare-fuel is just straight up movie villain stuff:
The contrast between Mr. Wynn’s position and that of the salon and spa employees is stark. Former employees said their awareness of Mr. Wynn’s power in Las Vegas, combined with the knowledge that the jobs they held were among the best-paying available there, added up to a feeling of dependence and intimidation when Mr. Wynn made requests of them.

Some said that feeling was heightened at times by the presence in a confined office space of one or more of his German shepherds, trained to respond to commands in German.
posted by zachlipton at 9:26 AM on January 26 [45 favorites]


I'm paraphrasing from twitter, but .... Hillary is a private citizen, and Maggie Haberman needs to get over it.

She is dragging the real victim through the mud solely for the objective of indulgently Clintonshaming again.
posted by Dashy at 9:27 AM on January 26 [18 favorites]


Some said that feeling was heightened at times by the presence in a confined office space of one or more of his German shepherds, trained to respond to commands in German.

@AdamSerwer: we are a few months away from a newspaper story about an evil rich guy who has dogs or bees, or dogs with bees in their mouths and when they bark they shoot bees at you
posted by zombieflanders at 9:30 AM on January 26 [35 favorites]


Clinton is a private citizen now. In 2008 she was a candidate running for President. Although from the article it sounds like they did fire him, just not quickly enough.
posted by Justinian at 9:31 AM on January 26 [5 favorites]


For those wondering what this has to do with politics, Wynn is the current finance chair of the RNC.

yeah, and he's close with Trump. He's the guy that hand-delivered the letter from the Chinese government requesting the deportation of Guo Wengui, the Chinese dissident/businessman featured in this CRAZY October WSJ story: China’s Pursuit of Fugitive Businessman Guo Wengui Kicks Off Manhattan Caper Worthy of Spy Thriller.
posted by lalex at 9:31 AM on January 26 [9 favorites]


I'm not entirely sure how her actions endanger anyone's life, since it's not a mystery to the alt-right that people try to infiltrate those groups.

They're aware, yes, but this is going to put them on guard,and probably get a few people being the organizational underbrush with a stick.


It's not that no one on the left ever does a dumb thing unless they've had a traumatic experience - god knows plenty of people on the left do dumb shit all the time - but you have to admit that she's had really traumatic experiences!

If it takes you, like, half the time you were in a relationship to recover from a breakup, how long does it take you to recover from jail? Maybe a couple of years just being famous-activist-Chelsea-Manning and doing, like, friend stuff and sleeping and so on and then revisit?


Then she shouldn't be running for US Senator. All this is not happening in a vacuum - she has ostensibly tossed her hat in the ring to become one of the more powerful figures in the US government. If she wants to be taken seriously as someone capable of wielding that power, then no, these sorts of missteps are not acceptable, just as they would be unacceptable for any other Democratic candidate.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:32 AM on January 26 [25 favorites]


Wynn is also the asshole who killed Dean Heller's political career by forcing him to sign on to ACA repeal when NV was clearly against.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:34 AM on January 26 [4 favorites]


I agree with Frowner that she might be a viable candidate if she takes a couple of years to recover and mature.
posted by Coventry at 9:34 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]


Clinton is a private citizen now. In 2008 she was a candidate running for President. Although from the article it sounds like they did fire him, just not quickly enough.

Sort of:
Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager at the time recommended that she fire the adviser, Burns Strider. But Mrs. Clinton did not. Instead, Mr. Strider was docked several weeks of pay and ordered to undergo counseling, and the young woman was moved to a new job [within the campaign].

Mr. Strider, who was Mrs. Clinton’s faith adviser, a co-founder of the American Values Network, and sent the candidate scripture readings every morning for months during the campaign, was hired five years later to lead an independent group that supported Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 candidacy, Correct the Record, which was created by a close Clinton ally, David Brock.

He was fired after several months for workplace issues, including allegations that he harassed a young female aide, according to three people close to Correct the Record’s management.
Docked pay and made to undergo counseling as a condition of continued employment; and then not re-hired by Clinton for her 2016 run, although he was hired by an outside (albeit affiliated) group that then fired him following another instance of harassment.
posted by cjelli at 9:36 AM on January 26 [14 favorites]


“You got divorced in 1972,” Palomino said. “You’re not married.”

Texas has common law marriages. If they've been living together as spouses for years, they're married, regardless of whether there was a ceremony.

(Pre-Ogberfel, Iowa was the only state with both common-law marriage and same-sex marriage, and I am annoyed at the lack of fanfic that draws on these facts.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:39 AM on January 26 [3 favorites]


Love when he negotiates against himself.

@ddale8
Wait what. Right after his White House released an immigration proposal demanding $25 billion for The Wall, Trump told CNBC: "I don't need $25 billion to build a wall...we'll have a lot of money left over, and we'll spend it on other things. "
posted by chris24 at 9:51 AM on January 26 [32 favorites]


Name me a work that takes place in Iowa (all I can think of is The Music Man) and I'll work on it, Eris.
posted by chaiminda at 9:52 AM on January 26


I sympathize, but Frowner, whatever happened to getting a regular job? Just because she technically can run for office does not mean she should.
posted by Selena777 at 9:53 AM on January 26 [7 favorites]


The Bridges of Madison County is in Iowa
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:54 AM on January 26


Oh , duh, Field of Dreams, too.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:55 AM on January 26 [3 favorites]


If they've been living together as spouses for years, they're married, regardless of whether there was a ceremony.

They apparently got divorced and remarried, but anyway I was more interested in pointing out the weirdness that can happen over mundane offices like District Clerk, up to (per the article) a near-fistfight in the offices of the local newspaper.

Meanwhile there is a Democratic candidate which Tarrant County residents can vote for. As far as I know, he hasn't threatened to clock anyone or accused them of living in sin for 40+ years.
posted by emjaybee at 9:56 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]


[Y'all I applaud the notion but an Iowa media brainstorming sesh would probably be better in a side channel.
Hie thee to FanFare Talk maybe?]

posted by cortex (staff) at 9:57 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


Every time I hear about Chelsea Manning partying with alt-right clownshoes, my brain parses it as "Chelsea Handler partying with Mike Cernovich" and it's a really unsettling mental picture.
posted by delfin at 9:57 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]


"I don't need $25 billion to build a wall...we'll have a lot of money left over, and we'll spend it on other things. "

Possibly the only thing he understands is how kickbacks and payoffs in the construction industry work.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:58 AM on January 26 [28 favorites]


whatever happened to getting a regular job? Just because she technically can run for office does not mean she should.

I don't think anyone here is saying she should run for office.

I think it was pointed out last thread (or maybe this one) that she's still a private, with full pay and healthcare benefits.
posted by Coventry at 9:59 AM on January 26


"I don't need $25 billion to build a wall...we'll have a lot of money left over, and we'll spend it on other things. "


What, no. The way it works Mr President is you tell us beforehand what "other things" you want to spend money on and other elected officials decide to appropriate money for those purposes. You don't just get to spend "leftover" tax dollars on whatever you want!
posted by notyou at 10:02 AM on January 26 [21 favorites]


You don't just get to spend "leftover" tax dollars on whatever you want!

Hey, it worked for the Inauguration money thus far.
posted by chris24 at 10:07 AM on January 26 [11 favorites]


Wait what. Right after his White House released an immigration proposal demanding $25 billion for The Wall, Trump told CNBC: "I don't need $25 billion to build a wall...we'll have a lot of money left over, and we'll spend it on other things. "

I don't understand why "And Mexico will pay for it" isn't a bigger part of this discussion. He said over and over that the wall would cost zero dollars!
posted by diogenes at 10:13 AM on January 26 [18 favorites]


I suspect that Republicans don't want to mention it because wall, and Democrats don't want to be all "But you said Mexico would pay!" 'Cause that's just not a good look.
posted by mrgoat at 10:17 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]


I don't understand why "And Mexico will pay for it" isn't a bigger part of this discussion.

Because Republicans knew that was bullshit and don't care, they're only pushing for the wall now because Trump is a simpleton and they know the extra money will really just go to building up the paramilitary CBP/ICE.

And because Democrats are too incompetent to make it a real part of the messaging and/or in the case of the Red State "Democrats", secretly agree with mass deportations anyway.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:19 AM on January 26 [5 favorites]


Hey, it worked for the Inauguration money thus far.

Wonder if that's where the million he pledged, and unbelievably, made good on for Harvey relief came from.

Mr. Strider, who was Mrs. Clinton’s faith adviser, a co-founder of the American Values Network, and sent the candidate scripture readings every morning for months during the campaign

Obviously profiling is deeply complicated and often flawed science and not something one should ever base hiring decisions on. But... short of wearing a day-glo baseball cap with "SEX PEST" written on it and being accompanied at all times by a Gary Glitter cover band; how much more obvious could be it that he was a wrong 'un.
posted by Buntix at 10:20 AM on January 26 [4 favorites]


Democrats don't need to say, "you said Mexico would pay;" they can stick to, "you said it wouldn't cost any US taxpayer dollars. Show us the money, and will budget the expenses."

And they should follow that with, "so... were you lying when you said US citizens would not be paying for the wall, or are you just bad at business?"
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:20 AM on January 26 [80 favorites]


Russia timeline: Key players, meetings and investigation details
NBC News has gathered information starting as early as 2004 to help make sense of the convoluted series of events around President Donald Trump and his inner circle. The timeline will be updated as new information develops.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:22 AM on January 26 [28 favorites]


Democrats don't need to say, "you said Mexico would pay;"

They should just say ask your Dad.
posted by Coventry at 10:23 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager at the time recommended that she fire the adviser, Burns Strider.

Mark Penn, the voice of reason
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:26 AM on January 26


Mark Penn, the voice of reason

According to the article, it was actually Patti Solis Doyle.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:28 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]


You NBC, I'm really happy for you, and ima let you finish, but Sarah Kendzior wrote the best article about this of all time.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 10:28 AM on January 26 [37 favorites]


Chris Geidner tweets:

Pennsylvania lawmakers have formally asked the US Supreme Court to put the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's redistricting order on hold. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4360562-17A795-Turzai-v-League-of-Women-Voters.html https://twitter.com/chrisgeidner/status/956957961808760833/photo/1

Apparently this was talked about yesterday but now it's officially on the SCOTUS docket.
posted by phearlez at 10:37 AM on January 26 [4 favorites]


From yesterday: The term I see all over is chain, not family. They elaborate with "bring their whole families here" but on Google site:foxnews.com "family migration" gets 17 results. site:foxnews.com "chain migration" gets "About 8,100 results." site:stormfront.org "chain migration" is 284. site:stormfront.org "family migration" is 5.

I'm sure they focus grouped the terms, and "family migration" sounds wholesome and safe, while "chain migration" can be made to sound ominous and vaguely sinister. And modern movement conservatism seem to have an unerring instinct for the ominous and sinister.
posted by Gelatin at 10:39 AM on January 26 [13 favorites]


Russia timeline: Key players, meetings and investigation details

Bill Moyers also maintains a regularly updated Interactive Timeline of Everything We Know About Russia and President Trump, as does Mother Jones with its Long, Twisted, and Bizarre History of the Trump-Russia Scandal. The Washington Post has a similar one focusing on what we know so far about Team Trump’s ties to Russian interests that's broken down by individuals, and Politico has a massive interactive guide to the 270 people connected to the Russia probes.

The problem isn't aggregating this data for ordinary Americans, it's keeping up with the constant developments and discoveries without either losing sight of the big picture or normalizing this situation as just the status quo of the Trump presidency. This scandal's enormity - in both the accurate and colloquial sense - presents a challenge to journalism it's never faced before in US politics. The Trump-Russia affair makes Watergate look like the coverup of a third-rate burglary.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:46 AM on January 26 [73 favorites]


Dara Lind, Vox.com: The White House is trying to force Democrats to choose between current immigrants and future ones
The White House’s framework is more moderate than its previous demands when it comes to the treatment of unauthorized immigrants currently living in the US.

But it doesn’t moderate the White House’s previously stated position that substantial cuts are needed to legal immigration, specifically family-based immigration. Legal immigration hawkishness has rapidly gone from an outlier position within the GOP to the core conservative ask.

That shift could, in theory, put political pressure on Democrats. For years, the Democratic agenda on immigration has been shaped by the desire to protect current unauthorized immigrants. The White House’s framework forces Democrats to choose: Are they willing to win citizenship for 1.8 million unauthorized immigrants by abandoning future immigrants?
The short answer seems to be no.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:47 AM on January 26 [6 favorites]


I'm not an immigration expert but surely there is research that having family members immigrate too results in more stable adaptations to the US, having a family safety net, etc? I want to see a journalist hammer the "family values" party on why they suddenly don't think families are the most important predictor of social stability.
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:56 AM on January 26 [47 favorites]


Something stood out to me in that NPR story about the near-deportation of a father of three US-citizen kids. The reporter is interviewing local dipshits about their feelings on immigration and has this exchange:
MARK HITE [local dipshit]: Change the law if they want to come in without legalization. But if it's illegal, it's illegal. We're a country of laws. It ain't right for them to get away with the law if I can't go rob a bank.

SHAPIRO: So the story that we're reporting is about a guy who came here illegally 20 years ago.

HITE: Why don't he go down and get papers now and get signed in?

SHAPIRO: There's no program to do that.

HITE: Oh yeah, there is. Yes, there is. You can go down and get immigration papers. Do it like everybody else does it comes to the country.
I think this is a common misconception: that a path to citizenship already exists, and that Dreamers and other undocumented immigrants are just.. willfully disobedient, or something. So the Democrats are stuck in this position where they're asked to make horrific concessions in exchange for a common-sense idea that low-info voters believe is already in place. It's not great.
posted by theodolite at 10:59 AM on January 26 [92 favorites]


I'm sure they focus grouped the terms, and "family migration" sounds wholesome and safe, while "chain migration" can be made to sound ominous and vaguely sinister.

A reference that I am surprised hasn't come up before* related to this is the Chinese Exclusion Act and its horrible xenophobic siblings. IIRC it (or related) were also aimed squarely at preventing 'family' migration. They needed the 'coolies', but if they ever wanted to see their families again (those that survived -- SPOILER: most didn't) they would have to go back to China.

The current political language seems to be aimed squarely at a lock-step recreation of one of the most horrific miscarriages of humanity in U.S. American history.


* I did do a quick search to see if it had been mentioned while I was on a sanity break from watching the world burn, but couldn't see anything obvious.
posted by Buntix at 11:02 AM on January 26 [19 favorites]


I'm not an immigration expert but surely there is research that having family members immigrate too results in more stable adaptations to the US, having a family safety net, etc?

Wait, who are you going to trust? Those poindexter eggheads with with their "research" or your gut?

In other words, "yes" to your question, but that's roughly how effective pointing this out would be.
posted by Quindar Beep at 11:02 AM on January 26 [6 favorites]


I'm sure they focus grouped the terms, and "family migration" sounds wholesome and safe, while "chain migration" can be made to sound ominous and vaguely sinister.

Certainly to black people.
posted by rhizome at 11:05 AM on January 26 [18 favorites]


The best branding I've seen (and has been used for decades) is "family reunification." I think we should keep that going. If they manage to rebrand it "chain migration," it makes this harder. (See "death tax", "pro-life")
posted by obliquity of the ecliptic at 11:09 AM on January 26 [20 favorites]


HITE: Oh yeah, there is. Yes, there is. You can go down and get immigration papers. Do it like everybody else does it comes to the country.

This is the stuff that makes it hard to sleep these days. This could have been so easily pushed back on but Mr. Shapiro chose to make an emotional appeal instead of STATE THE EFFING FACTS.
posted by Bacon Bit at 11:15 AM on January 26 [19 favorites]


According to the article, it was actually Patti Solis Doyle.

It's depressing how much more likely that sounds
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:22 AM on January 26


Oliver Milman, The Guardian: [American] Museum of Natural History urged to cut ties with 'anti-science propagandist' Rebekah Mercer
The American Museum of Natural History is under pressure to sever its ties to Rebekah Mercer, one of Donald Trump’s top donors who has used her family’s fortune to fund groups that seek to undermine scientists’ work on climate change.

More than 200 scientists have put their names to a letter that urges the museum to “end ties to anti-science propagandists and funders of climate science misinformation” and axe Mercer from its board of trustees, a position she has held since 2013.

A separate missive also calling for Mercer’s dismissal has been circulated among the museum’s own curators amid growing concern that the New York institution risks having its mission subverted by Mercer.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:24 AM on January 26 [59 favorites]


@nedprice:
Trump's pick to head his intelligence advisory board is a GOP megadonor who lacks any intel or even govt experience, & whose large stake in conflict-zone contractor represents a huge conflict of interest.

Other than that, he's perfect.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:32 AM on January 26 [43 favorites]


Sounds like Brownie.
posted by Melismata at 11:34 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]


chain migration : family migration :: death tax : estate tax
posted by JackFlash at 11:34 AM on January 26 [10 favorites]


We should go with Family Sponsorship. Rolls off the tongue nicely, is particularly accurate, and sounds very friendly.
posted by Justinian at 11:37 AM on January 26 [14 favorites]


Family reunification via sponsorship. Or REjoining Families Sponsorship - REFS for a better America.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:43 AM on January 26 [7 favorites]


I'm not an immigration expert but surely there is research that having family members immigrate too results in more stable adaptations to the US, having a family safety net, etc?

Can't find it offhand but saw some agitprop a couple days ago that explained the policy as favoring "nuclear families" because of their wholesomeness or some such.
posted by scalefree at 11:58 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


For years, conservatives pushed family reunification immigrants, because their big (fake emotional) fear was immigrants coming to the U.S. and living off of welfare.

Now that it's obvious that immigrants work harder than people born here, with often 2-3 jobs, and welfare is pretty much destroyed anyway, their own idea becomes the boogie man.
posted by msalt at 12:04 PM on January 26 [31 favorites]


My script for calls to my senators today:
I am calling to thank the Senator for her vote last week against a Continuing Resolution without a clean DACA resolution and to ask her to stand firm in unwavering support for full protection for Dreamers. I am extremely worried about ICE's recent attacks on innocent immigrants. We as a nation have begun to engage in ethnic cleansing and it has to stop. I am asking the Senator to do everything she can to continue working for policies that support, welcome, and broaden immigration, and in particular to stand firm against any continuing resolution without full support for Dreamers.
I got through to both Harris's and Feinstein's offices (only had to call Feinstein back once - her San Francisco office is routinely overwhelmed with phone calls).

I'll be sending thank-you faxes to Pelosi and Schumer for their statements, too.

And while I'm thanking people, my thanks to those in these threads who have been using the phrase "ethnic cleansing," which sadly had not occurred to me until I read it here. I think it's all too easy to slip into thinking that deportation just means "oh, well, they won't get to pursue the American Dream, too bad for them" and not "some of these people will DIE if we evict them from this country - their home."
posted by kristi at 12:12 PM on January 26 [18 favorites]




Just in case anyone doesn't know this, by the way ... I don't know the technical term for [visas given because the recipient is related to a US citizen] ... But they're only given out to family members of US CITIZENS. Typically naturalized citizens, I guess. But the term "chain migration" obscures that fact in particular. It implies that it's immigrants sponsoring more immigrants. But an immigrant can't sponsor anyone until they become a citizen. And it's right and proper for the US government to take it's citizens preferences into account when allotting visas.

If someone knows that and they're still using the term chain migration, it implies that they think it's impossible for immigrants to really become American. And that is an idea that very much needs to be fought.

(This is all to the best of my understanding per Dara Lind, I might be wrong, nobody actually understands our immigration system)
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 12:21 PM on January 26 [27 favorites]


I've been thinking a bit about the Guggenheim's offer to loan Trump "America," the solid gold toilet. The part that would really get to Trump is not the offer, but that it was a public toilet: thousands of people waited in line for hours for a chance to use it (the symbolism is rather muddled here by the Guggenheim's exclusionary $25 entrance fee, or do we just add that to the artwork's meaning too?). And then it was cleaned every 15 minutes by a team predominately made up of immigrants.

He can buy himself a gold toilet, sure, but there's only one gold toilet that could really repulse him, and that's the one thousands of strangers from all over the world have sat on.
posted by zachlipton at 12:22 PM on January 26 [14 favorites]


CNN's home page right now.

It's Chris Cillizza's world, we're just dying in it.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:25 PM on January 26 [39 favorites]


But they're only given out to family members of US CITIZENS.

There are some family preference categories for immediate family of permanent residents, though they are subject to quota (we're currently processing petitions from 1996-2016, depending on the category and nationality).

Of course, I consider permanent residents to be Americans, because they've chosen to make this their home for the long-term, if not permanently, and they shouldn't have to put their life on hold for decades if they want to live in the same country as their spouse or children, so it is right and proper they be allowed to bring them to the US (a process that still costs a considerable amount of time and money and frustration).
posted by zachlipton at 12:29 PM on January 26 [4 favorites]


there's only one gold toilet that could really repulse him, and that's the one thousands of strangers from all over the world have sat on.

Purely psychosomatic, of course. Gold is an antimicrobial surface.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 12:34 PM on January 26 [3 favorites]



CNN's home page right now.

It's Chris Cillizza's world, we're just dying in it.


What's wrong with these people? The election was more than a year ago. Is there any other example of the media still going after a candidate more than a year after they lost the election?
posted by mumimor at 12:37 PM on January 26 [26 favorites]


Other than tinpot autocracies?
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:43 PM on January 26 [13 favorites]


Just think how big the headlines will be when the real dirt on Mondale drops.
posted by stopgap at 12:46 PM on January 26 [65 favorites]


What's wrong with these people?

Trump gives them the biggest ratings and subscription numbers they've ever had in their history.

That's why they pushed his election, and it's why they're helping defend him from anything that could threaten it.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:47 PM on January 26 [34 favorites]


theodolite: I think this is a common misconception: that a path to citizenship already exists, and that Dreamers and other undocumented immigrants are just.. willfully disobedient, or something. So the Democrats are stuck in this position where they're asked to make horrific concessions in exchange for a common-sense idea that low-info voters believe is already in place. It's not great.

Yes, exactly. My own conversations on the topic often reach this "they should just get in line" notion. I can hardly blame people for having the misconception, because like you say, it's just common sense that nobody is literally excluded from even the hope of becoming a citizen.

And one natural extension of that is an unspoken view that when politicians talk about a "path to citizenship", many assume they mean "fast track to citizenship" (which I'm in favor of, but obviously isn't a hugely popular idea). After all, if this "path"is some new thing, then it must be quicker than the "filling out a form and waiting a few years" option that surely exists (but actually doesn't).

There's a parallel with the infamous "it's one banana, Michael" ignorance of the ultra-rich; if you haven't been through the system, you figure it's about as bad as the red tape you've personally experienced at the DMV or paying someone's bail or whatever.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:47 PM on January 26 [21 favorites]


I think that one should be able to pass a citizenship test before criticizing those trying to get a chance to take one.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:50 PM on January 26 [24 favorites]


What's wrong with these people? The election was more than a year ago.

The story's from Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. That's 10 years ago.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:13 PM on January 26 [58 favorites]


Plenty of harassment and assault allegations and allegations of people in power protecting harassers from more than 10 years ago have come out after the #MeToo wave.
posted by edeezy at 1:19 PM on January 26 [4 favorites]


It's Chris Cillizza's world, we're just dying in it.

It's also Maggie Haberman's world we're dying in.

Breaking news alerts earlier today:

NYT - The U.S. economy showed continuing resilience in last year's fourth quarter, growing at a 2.6% annual rate

WaPo - U.S. economic growth slowed in 2017's fourth quarter, missing Trumps targets
posted by chris24 at 1:27 PM on January 26 [56 favorites]


Purely psychosomatic

That boy needs therapy.
posted by azpenguin at 1:28 PM on January 26 [45 favorites]


Plenty of harassment and assault allegations and allegations of people in power protecting harassers from more than 10 years ago have come out after the #MeToo wave.

Yes, but the Steve Wynn story came out today too - and he's an actual current Republican party official with real power. Why promote the Clinton related story with a leading headline and Sad Clinton picture, while relegating the worse story about the prominent Republican to the sidebar with tiny type?

Just kidding, we know why.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:29 PM on January 26 [84 favorites]


I fully expect there to be many stories, ala Franken, on the Democratic side as well as the Republican. We differentiate ourselves from the Republicans in how we react to these stories.

I would like to see more Democrats take a high-level approach along the lines of "Understanding the damage that sexism does is an ongoing education and process. As our understanding increases, we will discover that some actions and practices that were considered harmless by many did in fact cause harm, and we have a responsibility to address them quickly when that occurs. Because sexism is so embedded in our culture, we may feel we are in uncharted territory, but we must remained oriented towards justice and be unafraid to question ourselves and our organizations. That questioning will sometimes be painful, or embarrassing, or inconvenient, but it will always be necessary, and we must not waver from it."
posted by emjaybee at 1:34 PM on January 26 [28 favorites]


Pennsylvania lawmakers have formally asked the US Supreme Court to put the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's redistricting order on hold. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4360562-17A795-Turzai-v-League-of-Women-Voters.html https://twitter.com/chrisgeidner/status/956957961808760833/photo/1

Apparently this was talked about yesterday but now it's officially on the SCOTUS docket.


The ruling was based on the state Constitution!

Federalism, you dumbasses.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:39 PM on January 26 [6 favorites]


Barack Spinoza: Russians got tens of thousands of Americans to RSVP for their phony political events on Facebook (WaPo)

Related: Mueller's Team Has Interviewed Facebook Staff as Part of Russia Probe (Issie Lapowsky for Wired, Jan. 26, 2018)
The Department of Justice's special counsel Robert Mueller and his office have interviewed at least one member of Facebook's team that was associated with President Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The interview was part of Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and what role, if any, the Trump campaign played in that interference. Facebook and other social platforms have emerged as a key part of that investigation, not only because the company embedded staff with the San Antonio–based digital team working on Trump's campaign but also because it sold more than 3,000 Facebook and Instagram ads to fake accounts linked to the Russian propaganda group Internet Research Agency. All in, content shared by those accounts reached 126 million Facebook users, including more than 62,000 of whom signed up to attend events organized by those fake accounts.

A spokesperson for the special counsel's office declined WIRED's request for comment.
Emphasis mine -- because, wait, what? Facebook had "embedded staff" in the Trump tech team? Oh, that's right - Google AND Facebook, according to the campaign’s former digital director, Brad Parscale, who agreed to an interview with the House Intelligence Committee (Issie Lapowsky for Wired, July 14, 2017)
The campaign had designated liaisons from both Facebook and Google working inside Parscale's San Antonio-based office, who were intimately involved in the inner workings of the digital and data team, according to Parscale's statement. They helped carry out an effort of great scale and sophistication. During the campaign, the Trump campaign ran up to 50,000 variants of its Facebook ads a day, learning which ones resonated best with voters. It also deployed so-called “dark posts,” non-public paid posts that only appear in the News Feeds of the people the advertiser chooses.

Parscale has credited that collaboration with delivering Trump's victory. "Facebook and Twitter were the reason we won this thing," Parscale told WIRED shortly after the election. "Twitter for Mr. Trump. And Facebook for fundraising."
Trump wasn't just good for mainstream media companies, but Facebook and Google. Where's the coverage of Google's role here? There's a comment at the end of the WaPo article:
Google described the difficulty of distinguishing content from Russian operatives and American political activists. "Many times,” Google wrote, "the misleading content looks identical to content uploaded by genuine activists. We are dealing with difficult questions that require the balancing of free expression, access to information, and the need to provide high quality content to our users."
And in the end, we all lost.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:42 PM on January 26 [55 favorites]


The problem isn't aggregating this data for ordinary Americans, it's keeping up with the constant developments and discoveries without either losing sight of the big picture or normalizing this situation

I've got links to all those timelines plus a couple more (though I didn't have the Politico 270 person dramatis personae before -- thanks!) on the resources page of my web site.

But I continue to think timelines are the wrong way to organize this information if you want people to understand what is happening. Too many details!

If you want people to understand the big picture, you have to start by answering big picture questions, and drill down to the details only when it is called for. That's why I organized my own effort at aggregating these stories around "Questions and Answers."

I hope nobody minds if I plug it again. I've updated it and added content. As usual, please share the link, or use it to look up links that you want to share, or just copy and paste bits of the text as you like with no need for attribution. My goal is to get this information out there as much as possible.

Here are the questions it addresses (with lots and lots of links):

-Did Russia tamper with any votes or the vote counting process?
-What did Russia hope to accomplish?
-If they didn't tamper with votes, in what ways DID they interfere with the election?
-How do we know Russia was involved in hacking the DNC and Clinton campaign?
-Did Russian activities change the outcome of the election?
-Is there any evidence that Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia?
-Is there evidence that Trump or his campaign did anything illegal?
-Is there evidence that Trump obstructed justice?
-Is Russia planning to interfere in future elections?

posted by OnceUponATime at 1:42 PM on January 26 [50 favorites]


I'd also like to take this opportunity to share this brief statement which I have been shamelessly copying and pasting into comment threads all over Facebook... please feel free to copy and paste it yourself or adapt it as you like. Again the purpose of this is public education...
The evidence against Trump and his campaign is overwhelming. Felix Sater said "Buddy our boy can become president and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putin's team to buy in on this."

Paul Manafort was offering briefings to a Russian billionaire on the campaign.

George Papadopoulos knew the Russians had hacked emails from the Clinton campaign.

And Michael Flynn took $60,000 from Russia and then negotiated with them about ending sanctions before he ever took office.

That's leaving aside Trump Jr's "treasonous" meeting (Bannon's word.)

And by the way, none of that has anything to do with the "dossier".
If they ask for cites or say "Fake news!", you can just give them that 2016activemeasures.org URL. It has links to all those stories. Or you can say:
"These two pieces of evidence come from Flynn and Papadopoulos's guilty pleas...

"George Papadopoulos knew the Russians had hacked emails from the Clinton campaign."
"Michael Flynn negotiated with Russia them about ending sanctions before he ever took office."

Flynn had to retroactively file paperwork as a foreign agent because of the money he took.

The Manafort offer of briefings comes from Manafort's emails, which were subpoenaed.

Felix Sater's comments about getting Putin's team to buy in come from emails that the Trump campaign turned over to congressional intelligence committees.

The details about Don Jr's meeting were released by Don Jr himself, through his Twitter account.
posted by OnceUponATime at 1:49 PM on January 26 [36 favorites]


Google described the difficulty of distinguishing content from Russian operatives and American political activists.

There's an easy fix for this! Google doesn't have to figure that out; just let the readers know:
* Who paid for it? (Did they use rubles?)
* Who uploaded it? Random person, association of people, organization with a legal identity, corporation?
* Is it earning money for someone? Who? Where is that money going?
* Has it been checked for TOS violations, or was it auto-approved?

Just tell the public the background details that we can't see, and we'll figure out which content is fake or biased.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:52 PM on January 26 [14 favorites]


The GOP will surely return Wynn's donations as a matter of principle like they requested the Clinton campaign return Weinstein's, right?

I mean it'd only bankrupt the fucking party trying to do it.
posted by Talez at 1:53 PM on January 26 [36 favorites]


leotrotsky: "The ruling was based on the state Constitution!

Federalism, you dumbasses.
"

Yeah, the stay request isn't really based on the ruling of the state constitution. The request makes two arguments:

1) That the PA SC has no right to intervene in mapping, becuase Article 1, Section 4 of the US Constitution states, "The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof." However, SCOTUS found in 2015 in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission that non-legislative bodies could get involved, so this seems questionable.

2) That the ruling is too close to the election and would cause "chaos." This is also dubious, as there are numerous counter-examples of states making map changes closer to the election.

So, the request isn't prima facie ridiculous - even actions related to a state constitution still need to be legal under the US Constitution. However, they grounds seem to be pretty thin reads, and the vibe everyone has is that a stay is unlikely to be granted.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:04 PM on January 26 [6 favorites]


Wowee, it looks like they're throwing everything at the wall today to see what sticks. From my "trending topics," I see:

The OMG Hilary is NO angel story (from 2008)

A truly deranged bit (sl NYPost) about Barack Obama and Louis Farrakhan (from 2005)

And, sickest and saddest of all, rumors that Nikki Haley is having an affair with DJT. The rumor is placed in a context of "Dems being desperate," of course.
posted by witchen at 2:04 PM on January 26 [7 favorites]


The ruling was based on the state Constitution!

Federalism, you dumbasses.


Look, I think this is a dumb move and it should fail. But it would take about 1 minute for you or anyone else to read the first two pages of the petition and see their argument for why this should fall under a federal court. Unless you want to lay claim to arguments that the fed should never have oversight over state actions (should we not intervene if a state is engaging in voting shenanigans but only for state level offices?) then it's fair for them to describe a scenario where the federal government should be involved.
posted by phearlez at 2:06 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


Big ruling in North Carolina, where the GOP-controlled state legislature has been trying to install GOP majorities on election boards. The state Supreme Court just ruled this illegal.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:08 PM on January 26 [56 favorites]


I just can't believe that the HRC ten-year-old story is trending when the fact that we avoided a Saturday Night Massacre back in June broke yesterday. I mean, it's one of those things that make me tilt my head and go 'is this real?'
posted by angrycat at 2:12 PM on January 26 [86 favorites]


Construction is well under way on Wynn's $2.4-billion casino in Everett, MA, just outside Boston. Today, the Boston Herald reports: Gaming board to review sex harassment allegations against Steve Wynn.
"The commission is now aware of and is taking very seriously the troubling allegations detailed in the Wall Street Journal article. The suitability and integrity of our gaming licensees is of the utmost importance, and ensuring that suitability is an active and ongoing process," spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said. "Consequently, the MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau will conduct a regulatory review of this matter to determine the appropriate next steps."
posted by adamg at 2:13 PM on January 26 [16 favorites]


Clinton rules. Duh.
posted by Dashy at 2:14 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


But I continue to think timelines are the wrong way to organize this information if you want people to understand what is happening. Too many details!

If you want people to understand the big picture, you have to start by answering big picture questions
...
I hope nobody minds if I plug it again.


No, your site is awesome and is taking just the right approach. It's a much clearer presentation than anything else I've seen.
posted by Jpfed at 2:15 PM on January 26 [4 favorites]


If someone knows that and they're still using the term chain migration, it implies that they think it's impossible for immigrants to really become American. And that is an idea that very much needs to be fought.

It's the Bannonite/Millerite belief that naturalized citizens don't have the same rights and legitimacy as natural-born ones. Which, to a degree, is true, if the relevant institutions decide to go back and look at your paperwork.

Facebook had "embedded staff"?

This BBC interview with Theresa Wong talked about the "hands-on" reps from Facebook and Google/YouTube. I still want to know where Parscale got his Custom Audience datasets, and whether he posted all the tweets about Wikileaks on his boss's account.
posted by holgate at 2:18 PM on January 26 [2 favorites]


Good lord but this anti-immigration rhetoric just breaks my fuckin’ heart. I don’t get their fears. This entire nation only exists because of successive waves of immigration. It’s the height of selfishness and entirely unChristian to try to the shut the door once you’ve arrived. Conservatives have this ever present fantasy of the U.S. being a shining beacon of freedom, but turn viciously on the very people that follow its light. They don’t get it—immigrants agree with that image, they believe it despite knowing how very flawed we as a nation actually are and how far we fall short of that ideal. They’re here anyway. They want to help us reach it. It’s an ideal worth fighting for.

Both sides of my family have been here since well before the American Revolution. I’ve got Southern-WASP-American bona fides that’d make half the Trumpists faint with the vapors. Hell, I could join both the Sons of the American Revolution and the Sons of Confederate Veterans were I so inclined. If anyone has a claim to these idiot’s arguments you’d think it’d be someone like me. But I’m American only by the accident of my birth. I had no say in it, it just happened. Immigrants have a far greater claim to being real Americans than I; they’ve struggled to get here, they’ve chosen us, and our ideals. Me? I was just lucky.

The least we could do repay that faith and trust is to live up to it.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 2:21 PM on January 26 [86 favorites]


Foreign Policy, Trump Launched Campaign to Discredit Potential FBI Witnesses
President Donald Trump pressed senior aides last June to devise and carry out a campaign to discredit senior FBI officials after learning that those specific officials were likely to be witnesses against him as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, according to two people directly familiar with the matter.
...
Not long after Comey’s Senate testimony, Trump hired John Dowd, a veteran criminal defense attorney, to represent him in matters related to Mueller’s investigation. Dowd warned Trump that the potential corroborative testimony of the senior FBI officials in Comey’s account would likely play a central role in the special counsel’s final conclusion, according to people familiar with the matter.

In discussions with at least two senior White House officials, Trump repeated what Dowd had told him to emphasize why he and his supporters had to “fight back harder,” in the words of one of these officials.
...
That Trump may have been motivated to attack specific FBI officials because they were potential witnesses against him could demonstrate potential intent that would bolster an obstruction of justice case.
I mean, it's one of those things that make me tilt my head and go 'is this real?'

I know this is decidedly Not the Point, but I'm still really caught up on the bit of the story where Trump once thought it was a good idea to rip off the flipping FBI Director, of all people, over golf course dues.
posted by zachlipton at 2:21 PM on January 26 [52 favorites]


The immigration plan, expected to be unveiled Monday, also includes a $25 billion fund for the border wall, an end to chain migration and ending the visa lottery system

Once, just once, I'd like a reporter, a Representative, or a Senator demand to see evidence that this Wall has any efficacy whatsoever, much less cost-effectiveness. It's a good thing to ask for, because, AFAIK, there is zero evidence that it will be effective and a lot that it won't.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:26 PM on January 26 [2 favorites]


So the (obviously very implausible even for 2018) Nikki Haley thing seems to come from the Fire and Fury book -- not as text, but subtext, and only when coupled with Wolff's statement in an interview that he suspects Trump having a current affair with somebody (he won't say who). In addition, Haley's specific assertion that the book overstates the number of times she has been in Air Force One does strike me as the sort of detail Wolff might get wrong.

But my personal please-oh-please hope is that Trump takes Haley's slam against the rumor as "disgusting" to be a personal insult against him, and therefore he (falsely) brags to the world that it's true. More likely (but still remote) runner-up possibility: he denies any affair, while saying some gross braggy thing about the idea of it (see also, anything he's ever said about Ivanka). Still, he's kept his mouth shut on Stormy Daniels, and the affair with her really did happen, so never mind.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:28 PM on January 26 [4 favorites]


I know this is decidedly Not the Point, but I'm still really caught up on the bit of the story where Trump once thought it was a good idea to rip off the flipping FBI Director, of all people, over golf course dues.

I think this makes perfect sense. He's caught up in all sorts of Russian money laundering for his whole career, the FBI might know and care about such things, so "screw 'em!" Plus, what's the worst that could happen? It's not like he's going to be president or anything. Flash forward a few years and hindsight's 20/20.

Or he's an idiot. Both are plausible.
posted by mrgoat at 2:32 PM on January 26 [8 favorites]


President Donald Trump pressed senior aides last June to devise and carry out a campaign to discredit senior FBI officials

Jeez.

[Goes back to work on the "obstruction of justice" section.]
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:45 PM on January 26 [14 favorites]


Patty Wight & Fred Bever, Maine Public Radio: U.S. Border Patrol Checks on Buses Increasing Across Maine
The U.S. Border Patrol is running daily citizenship checks on buses traveling from Fort Kent toward the state's interior and making periodic checks on buses originating in Bangor. Civil rights advocates say these checks may be in violation of protections outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

Daniel Heibert, chief patrol agent for the Houlton sector, says the agency has the authority to make such checks anywhere within 100 miles of the border, a standard which encompasses the entire state of Maine.

"Our purpose for boarding any conveyances, a bus specifically in this case, would be to question anybody – anybody – about their right to be or remain in the United States, whether they are an alien or not,” says Heibert. “That's kind of the gist of it. We would have to have a reasonable suspicion to think that somebody isn't a citizen to continue questioning."
Good to see CBP isn't letting ICE leave them in the jackboot dust.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:48 PM on January 26 [19 favorites]


Jeff Sessions is starting the purge of the DOJ and the FBI: Sessions pledges to depoliticize Justice Department
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:53 PM on January 26 [14 favorites]


Walter Shaub: "We're going to depoliticize the department by removing everyone who may have voted for the other party's candidate," said no stable republic ever.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:54 PM on January 26 [90 favorites]


Wow. Y'know, after the way she has acted as UN Ambassador, I really didn't think anything would get me to feel any shreds of sympathy for Nikki Haley. It seemed absolutely crazy that she'd step down from a governorship to put herself in a subordinate position to Trump, so it had to be pure career ambitions of polishing her own presidential resume and such.

Still, when she was appointed I figured she'd at least be one of those theoretical "adults in the room" trying to limit the damage and embarrassment. So far her performance at the UN hasn't been anything like that at all. She has gone Full Orange Batshit over and over again.

But being maligned with affair rumors with this dude? Damn. Nobody deserves that.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:00 PM on January 26 [16 favorites]


Interesting that Nikki Haley is having to address rumors about an affair with Trump. She faced similar accusations during her gubernatorial campaign. Not a fan of Haley, but she is one of the less odious Trump appointees and there is a whiff of misogyny about these sort of rumors, as I am sure Hillary Clinton could sympathize with.

Meanwhile on the south side of the Savannah river, one of our local commissioners has gotten frustrated that his efforts to get noted racist and traitor John C. Calhoun’s name off of a major local thoroughfare have not gotten support, so now he wants to change the name to the Trump-Calhoun Expressway. Great political troll, and not the first time the comparison has been made.
posted by TedW at 3:05 PM on January 26 [14 favorites]




^^^This. Let’s stay on topic, y’know?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:22 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


@mccanner: I don't say this overtly a lot but: please read this. Please just read this and absorb it, and everything that it means. I was in college on 9/11. I spent half my adult journalism life at Stars and Stripes," where every day we ran an item titled "US deaths in Afghanistan." We are not very far off from a soldier who wasn't even alive in 2001 dying there. Please read this.

NYT, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Training Quick and Staffing Unfinished, Army Units Brace for Surging Taliban
They are being heralded as a key part of President Trump’s new strategy to resolve the nearly 17-year war in Afghanistan. But their training has been cut short by months, and units are still short-staffed, as some of the estimated 1,000 additional military advisers prepare to arrive in Afghanistan in time for the spring fighting season, officials said.

The Army soldiers are deploying as the Pentagon begins shifting resources from the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria back to Afghanistan. As part of its new assault against an increasingly tenacious Taliban, the Trump administration is planning to send some of the advisers back to small bases scattered across rural parts of the country to help train Afghan forces.

The new brigade of advisers was formed in August and is based at Fort Benning, Ga. Two military officials said its leaders were still trying to ensure that each small team had enough soldiers to train Afghans.

One of those officials, and an additional one, said that the advisers’ brigade was supposed to have around a year of training before deploying. Advisers in the new brigade are expected to begin deploying by early spring — roughly eight months after the brigade was created.

Additionally, a six-week Army course specifically for combat advisers was slashed to two weeks to more quickly cycle the American soldiers through training.
posted by zachlipton at 3:25 PM on January 26 [25 favorites]




Haley, however, told Politico she has only been on Air Force One "once and there were several people in the room when I was there." She added, "I've never talked once to the President about my future and I am never alone with him."

That seems wise.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:38 PM on January 26 [22 favorites]


Maxine Waters Is Giving A National Address On BET After Trump’s State Of The Union

Hey CNN, you gave the Tea Party air time for their response to Obama's State of the Union. Where's that for the vastly larger Women's March movement?
posted by chris24 at 3:49 PM on January 26 [57 favorites]


Brandon Carter, The Hill: Obama aide: ‘We would have been impeached’ for spending $24M to upgrade Air Force One fridge
Defense One reported this week that two aging refrigerators on the aircraft will be replaced at a cost of almost $24 million.

The coolers on the aircraft need to have the capacity to store 3,000 meals onboard, and two out of the five are in need of replacement, according to the publication. The refrigerators have been in use on the plane since 1990.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:40 PM on January 26 [21 favorites]


It's a drop in the ocean compared to the military budget, but couldn't we, I don't know, replace just one fridge and stock MRE's for everyone in case of some kind of national emergency that goes on long enough to require more than 1,500 meals for those on Air Force One without accessing a kitchen on the ground?
posted by zachlipton at 4:42 PM on January 26 [5 favorites]


> Please just read this and absorb it, and everything that it means.

One of my closest friends is getting ready for a deployment that he can't tell me much about outside of the fact that he's being deployed as a first sergeant - which is notable because he's been a mechanic for years - and that he'll be overseeing special forces. The other thing he's mentioned is that he's absolutely terrified of it.

The last time I talked to him, it was very clear that he was treating it as if it was very likely the last time we'd be talking. Reading that article, it's become very clear what he's going into - the timing adds up perfectly, as well as everything I can read between the lines from what he's told me. He's been a mechanic for over 15 years now, and has always been deployed as one - and now he's going in for the first time in an entirely new position, leading special forces. With minimal training. He's seen several deployments, but this one is the first one that has had him seriously afraid.

Seconding that everyone should read it. All of the history around this as well as the present analysis is showing this to be a likely disaster. This is extremely high risk - all so that Trump can "resolve the war in Afghanistan." They are sending people with two weeks of training into the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan - fighting the taliban and clearing explosives - and hoping for "victory". I've been so angry towards this administration since the election, but I'm so fucking angry and upset about this right now about this that I am in tears.

Thank you for the link, zachpilton.
posted by MysticMCJ at 4:46 PM on January 26 [103 favorites]


NYT, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Training Quick and Staffing Unfinished, Army Units Brace for Surging Taliban

That article only makes sense if "training" is a euphemism for something else.
As part of its new assault against an increasingly tenacious Taliban, the Trump administration is planning to send some of the advisers back to small bases scattered across rural parts of the country to help train Afghan forces.
Why would you train the Afghan army in small bases scattered in rural places? We don't train our marines at recruiting stations or deployed across the front line in a war zone, we send them to a safe, central location. The military know how training works; effective training is standardized, integrated, protected, resourced, and done in an environment that is a replica of the operating environment.
The advisers will help train Afghan forces, including marshaling air support and artillery when they are targeted by the Taliban, said one of the military officials who was familiar with the coming deployment.
Here we have it: that's not training, that's participating in a combat support role. This is about sidestepping any discussion or criticism of an intensification of US commitment to fight in Afghanistan by using misleading language to describe the mission.
posted by peeedro at 4:48 PM on January 26 [31 favorites]


I don't think it's two fridges on one plane. I think it's one fridge in each (of two) air force ones.
posted by cman at 4:48 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


Air Forces One?
posted by rp at 4:50 PM on January 26 [12 favorites]


Air Forces One?

Air Force One is whichever plane the president is currently on. So wouldn’t that mean that plurals are impossible?
posted by C'est la D.C. at 5:01 PM on January 26 [6 favorites]


The Answer to Whether Trump Obstructed Justice Now Seems Clear (Jeffrey Toobin | The New Yorker)
The issue of whether President Trump obstructed justice centers on his decision to fire James Comey, the F.B.I. director, last May. This is a classic intent case. The President clearly had the right to fire Comey, but he did not have the right to do so with improper intent. Specifically, the relevant obstruction-of-justice statute holds that any individual who “corruptly . . . influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice” is guilty of the crime. “Corruptly” is the key word. Did Trump act “corruptly” in firing Comey?

It is this question of corrupt intent that makes the Times’s recent blockbuster scoop so important. According to the article, the President tried to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel, last June, but he stopped when Don McGahn, the White House counsel, threatened to resign if Trump insisted on the dismissal. Trump apparently offered three justifications to fire Mueller—that Mueller had left one of Trump’s golf clubs in a dispute about dues; that Mueller’s former law firm had represented Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law; and that Trump had interviewed Mueller as a possible interim replacement for Comey as F.B.I. director. McGahn’s threat to resign shows that he saw these purported reasons as pretexts. The golf-dues matter was obviously trivial; the law firm’s representation of Kushner, which did not involve Mueller at all, could only have biased the special counsel in favor of the President’s family; and Trump’s willingness to interview Mueller for the F.B.I. position showed how much the President trusted Mueller, not that he believed the former F.B.I. director harbored any animosity toward him.

McGahn recognized the key fact—that Trump wanted to fire Mueller for the wrong reasons. Trump wanted to fire Mueller because his investigation was threatening to him. This, of course, also illuminates the reasons behind Trump’s firing of Comey, which took place just a month before the President’s confrontation with McGahn regarding Mueller. Trump and his advisers have offered various tortured rationalizations for the firing of Comey—initially, for example, on the ground that Comey had been unfair to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign. Trump himself came clean in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt and in a meeting with Russia’s foreign minister. In both, Trump acknowledged that he fired Comey to stall or stop the Russia investigation—that is, the investigation of Trump himself and his campaign.

This was an improper purpose, and McGahn clearly saw that the same improper purpose underlay Trump’s determination to fire Mueller. So McGahn issued the ultimatum that prompted the President to back down.
Mueller and his team surely have evidence on obstruction of justice that has not yet been made public. But even on the available evidence, Trump’s position looks perilous indeed. The portrait is of a President using every resource at his disposal to shut down an investigation—of Trump himself. And now it has become clear that Trump’s own White House counsel rebelled at the President’s rationale for his actions.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:02 PM on January 26 [47 favorites]


also btw, re: CBP 'papers please' checks

When Our Faces Are Our "Papers" - "What CBP officers did on the bus in Fort Lauderdale is shocking, but it was legal. Yet in the near future it is unlikely that CBP will have to ask people for documents in order to verify identification. Facial recognition technology is improving, and the law enforcement community has been taking notice."
posted by kliuless at 5:20 PM on January 26 [6 favorites]


The good news is that facial recognition is not yet good enough to be popular, and it will be that way for a long time, possibly decades. That story is basically a promo for Axon and a cop who is probably paid by Axon somehow, since he's the LVPD's bodycam and video guy.
posted by rhizome at 5:26 PM on January 26 [2 favorites]


C'est la D.C.: "Air Force One is whichever plane the president is currently on. So wouldn’t that mean that plurals are impossible?"

Technically, yes. In common usage, "Air Force One" is used to mean "one of the planes that is usually used to carry the President around" which is currently either of two customized 747s.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:41 PM on January 26


Training Quick and Staffing Unfinished, Army Units Brace for Surging Taliban
He said the unit ran the risk of being judged by the American military’s typical measure of progress: regaining territory from enemy groups through airstrikes.

“We’re buying them time, but not addressing the underlying political dysfunction that makes them ineffective,” Dempsey said of Afghan forces. “The Afghans continue to be beat by a force that doesn’t need air power, so I’ll believe the Afghan Army is competent when they don’t need American air power.”
Oops, I think they spelled "South Vietnam" wrong.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:46 PM on January 26 [32 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** PA-18 special -- Two state of the race pieces: WHYY, Weekly Standard (it's by David Byler, their polling/analytics guy, who plays it pretty straight).

** 2018 House:
-- Lexington mayor Jim Gray enters the race for KY-06. Gray won the district when he ran for Senate in 2016, and Gov. Bevin lost the district in 2015, so this is a great flip opportunity for the Dems. There are several other folks already running, though.

-- Dan Jones poll has Mia Love with a narrow 47-42 lead in UT-04 over Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams.
** 2018 Senate -- Romney set to announce UT candidacy next week.

** Odds & ends:
-- WP: Dems dumping at least $5M into effort to pick up more Secretary of State offices.

-- Massachusetts SOS pushing legislature to pass same day registration bill (it's currently 20 days before Election Day).

-- Long Sabato walkthrough on Dem chances in both the House and state legislatures.
===

Personal note: I'm going to be out of the country next week, with minimal internet access. So probably no ELECTIONS NEWS next week. Have fun without me.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:58 PM on January 26 [65 favorites]


Have a great and much-deserved vacation, Tax Collector Chrysostom!
posted by zachlipton at 6:03 PM on January 26 [40 favorites]


Frustrated by Russia investigation, Trump turns ire toward Rosenstein (CNN)
Months after his reported effort to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, President Donald Trump is still fuming over the Russia investigation and has Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in his crosshairs.

The President has been venting about Rosenstein -- who oversees Mueller and the special counsel investigation -- in recent weeks, according to four sources familiar with the situation. At times, Trump even gripes about wanting Rosenstein removed, two of those sources said. One source said the President makes comments like "let's fire him, let's get rid of him" before his advisers convince him it's an ill-fated idea.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:09 PM on January 26 [15 favorites]


Uhhh, Trump liked the Wynn story on Twitter (I confirmed it’s not fake)

Does that mean he approves of the report or Wynn’s behavior?
posted by zachlipton at 6:41 PM on January 26 [8 favorites]


In addition to collusion and/or obstruction, isn't Mueller also looking at money laundering? Or tax evasion?
Or are those outside his mandate? I thought there was mention of this months ago, but I haven't heard anything about it lately.
It worked for getting Capone off the street.
posted by MtDewd at 6:48 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


I think the mandate was very broad: Anything related to Russia.
posted by Coventry at 6:52 PM on January 26 [2 favorites]


In addition to collusion and/or obstruction, isn't Mueller also looking at money laundering?

I think laundering stolen Russian money through purchasing Trump Tower condos is well within his mandate, since it sets up Trump's compromise to the Russians which I believe predicates the election issues with the Russians.
posted by mikelieman at 7:02 PM on January 26 [7 favorites]


Surely investigation of alleged crooked Arkansas real estate, years before the President took office, is precedent.
posted by thelonius at 7:07 PM on January 26 [25 favorites]


The order I linked says "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation," which probably basically allows anything, if Mueller gets aggressive about it.
posted by Coventry at 7:10 PM on January 26 [10 favorites]


it’s obvious that no amount of lecturing from his lawyers or staff will convince trump that he did anything wrong in firing comey, and it’s all they can do to keep it from happening again.

if i were his legal team, i wouldn’t let him within a mile of mueller, especially not with a live mike.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:10 PM on January 26 [2 favorites]


Jeb! Tell us what you really think about Rubio!
"God forbid you actually took on something that was controversial and paid a political price," Bush said. "That's the attitude in D.C. right now. Certainly Sen. Rubio is no different in that regard. Marco is a talented guy and he understands this issue really well, and maybe behind the scenes he's working hard. But at some point, his leadership would be really helpful."
Jeb! may be low energy but he can really dish it out at times. I wonder what would have happened if we saw more glimpses of firebrand Jeb! instead of sanitized Jeb!
posted by Talez at 7:26 PM on January 26 [24 favorites]


it’s obvious that no amount of lecturing from his lawyers or staff will convince trump that he did anything wrong in firing comey

Oh I think he knows it’s wrong. He doesn’t care because he’s covering up worse and thinks he can maybe get away with it. Too often the media treats his obstruction as if it’s just Trump being Trump or crazy or stupid. Well, he knows what he did and maybe this is the best option?

And I’m not necessarily talking about collusion. I honestly think that is one thing that Trump doesn’t think of as wrong. He’s not covering for that cuz he thinks it was smart. He’s covering for the money laundering.
posted by chris24 at 7:27 PM on January 26 [12 favorites]


Facebook and other social platforms have emerged as a key part of that investigation, not only because the company embedded staff with the San Antonio–based digital team working on Trump's campaign

This cannot be allowed. I don't know how we stop it, or what laws need to be written, but I have been mainlining news and politics for an eternity of scaramucci's, and this is the first I've heard that FB and Google were sharing office space, and working as part of Trump's team. How is this not huge, headline banner news everywhere? I mean, am I alone in being outraged?


Training Quick and Staffing Unfinished, Army Units Brace for Surging Taliban
This is terrifying.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:29 PM on January 26 [19 favorites]


This cannot be allowed. I don't know how we stop it, or what laws need to be written, but I have been mainlining news and politics for an eternity of scaramucci's, and this is the first I've heard that FB and Google were sharing office space, and working as part of Trump's team. How is this not huge, headline banner news everywhere? I mean, am I alone in being outraged?

They do it for both candidates. They do it for anyone wanting to make huge ad buys and making their message most effective and giving value for money. In a non-political arena this is just considered good customer service for large value clients.
posted by Talez at 7:34 PM on January 26 [22 favorites]


It's like how if you're going to spend millions on TV ads the network sends out a nice person with Nielsen figures and shows you how to target the groups you're trying to target.
posted by Talez at 7:40 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


They do it for anyone wanting to make huge ad buys and making their message most effective and giving value for money.

Yup. And they wear really nice clothes and they can get the best seats at restaurants. And they make a lot of money. It’s called sales.
posted by valkane at 7:41 PM on January 26 [5 favorites]


this is the first I've heard that FB and Google were sharing office space

I think we were talking about it in October when Brad Parscale boasted about it on 60 Minutes. Politico has a pretty good summary: How Facebook, Google and Twitter 'embeds' helped Trump in 2016.
posted by peeedro at 7:42 PM on January 26 [7 favorites]


They do it for both candidates.

That was my assumption, and I went to confirm and source - Facebook offered but the Clinton campaign turned them down.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 7:43 PM on January 26 [21 favorites]


Have a great and much-deserved vacation, Tax Collector Chrysostom!

Chrysostom the Publican, you mean.
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:44 PM on January 26 [8 favorites]


and plebeian tribune.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:58 PM on January 26 [18 favorites]


Facebook offered but the Clinton campaign turned them down.

Clinton’s data team turned down a lot of help and generally seemed to believe that they could do everything themselves.
posted by chrchr at 8:03 PM on January 26 [3 favorites]


Looks like everyone hates the White House right now. Nobody showed up for noted closet Aryan enthusiast, Laura Ingraham, tonight despite the White House promising they would. Probably because she was going to tear whichever poor soul showed up a new asshole and nobody really wants that job.

So WH immigration policy right now. The right doesn't like the ransom note because it's going to make over a million kids into citizens and the left doesn't like the ransom note because it basically turns immigration policy into 'circa 1960s White Australia.

I don't know if it's utter incompetence or if everyone's hating the White House it lets Congressional Republicans kick the can down the road with it being a giant clusterfuck.
posted by Talez at 8:42 PM on January 26 [4 favorites]


I will note that it’s pretty standard practice among large organizations to have a designated “person” or team that liases with another org’s designated person or team. Customer relationship management. And in a normal world it wouldn’t be surprising at all for a huge information company to have a team liasing with the White House. But with *this* White House, it taints everything it touches because, as we are finding, it is unbelievably corrupt to a degree that we still have not fully uncovered.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:43 PM on January 26 [7 favorites]


Re. the Polish doctor:

Matthew Walther, The Week: Is Trump about to deport an American citizen?
But Niec might actually be an American citizen. One of his parents became a citizen while he was a minor in possession of a green card, which would have granted him citizenship automatically, albeit unbeknownst to Niec. "He's probably a citizen and just doesn't know it," said Al-Rahhal, who added that Niec's attorneys are in the process of obtaining family records that could establish a timeline for his possible naturalization.

That ICE might detain and eventually deport an American citizen is not, however, beyond the bounds of possibility. "It has happened shockingly often," said Reed. One 2011 study found that as many as 4,000 citizens may have been deported in the previous year alone. […]

Before his detention, Niec had recently been promoted within his department and was responsible for the difficult task of coordinating the timetable for the internal medicine staff. "We were already hurting," said his colleague Rathburn. "The hospital is at capacity. He was one of our lead physicians. He managed our schedule. It's unreal that he's in a jail cell instead of helping people at a community hospital." […]

Reed, the immigration attorney, said that she expects cases like Niec's to become more common. She cited a shift from norms observed by the Obama administration to a more fluid sense of priorities for immigration enforcement under President Trump. "We are going to see more deportation cases that surprise people," she said. "The law hasn't changed but the people in charge of pressing the accelerator or the brake have changed."

At present the timeline for Niec's deportation proceedings are unknown. When he might be eligible for a bond hearing and when his case will come before an immigration judge are unclear.
Emphasis mine. ICE is a criminal fucking conspiracy.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:47 PM on January 26 [86 favorites]


Don't forget that Dr Niec's crime of "moral turpitude" was something that might be referred to as a "youthful indiscretion" that was expunged. What got their attention were moving violations.

Speed too often, don't wear a seat belt? ICE is coming for you, buddy. It's like some fucker up top couldn't stand Canada being more selective about people they let in.
posted by Talez at 8:51 PM on January 26 [10 favorites]


Calvin Trillin, New Yorker, The Button: A Nuclear Fable. Here's a taste, but read the whole thing behind the link for the final line:
Until that moment, the day had seemed like any other day at the White House. Many staffers were in their offices, meeting with their criminal-defense attorneys. Vice-President Mike Pence had been alerted that he might be required to appear in public with the President later in the day, and so, facing a wall on which a mirror and a picture of Nancy Reagan had been placed side by side, he was practicing his adoring smile. Stephen Miller was polishing his response to a newly published book, “Twenty-four Personality Types and How to Deal with Them,” in which the author, the renowned psychologist Sarah Stewart, mentioned him as the personification of a type she called Aggressive Dork.

That morning, Cabinet secretaries, assembled for a meeting in the Cabinet Room, had been passing the time before the President’s arrival by bantering about which description of the President that had leaked to the press was the most accurate. “I was right on the mark,” the Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, boasted, of his characterization of the President as an idiot. H. R. McMaster, the national-security adviser, argued that he’d been much more accurate in depicting the President as a dope. Rex Tillerson, displaying a scholarly streak that surprised his colleagues, pointed out that Merriam-Webster defined “dope” as “a stupid person,” while “moron,” the word Tillerson had used to describe the President, was defined as “a very stupid person.” The door opened, and they all stood and said, respectfully, “Good morning, Mr. President. You are the smartest of them all.”
posted by zachlipton at 8:56 PM on January 26 [14 favorites]


WEST WING EMPLOYEE: Mr. President, Calvin Trillin has just published a story making fun of you.

TRUMP: Who?
posted by valkane at 9:13 PM on January 26 [9 favorites]


Don't forget that Dr Niec's crime of "moral turpitude" was something that might be referred to as a "youthful indiscretion" that was expunged. What got their attention were moving violations.

Don't go overboard. He did plead guilty to operating on a patient while drunk in 2008, but completed probation.

Still ICE is a corrupt organization.
posted by JackFlash at 9:13 PM on January 26


Er what? I've seen articles that say he drove drunk in 2008, with the case dismissed after he completed probation. The WSJ does describe the offense as "operating impaired by liquor," but other articles (which go into the rest of the history on his background) just call it "drunk driving," so that's presumably operating a vehicle. I haven't seen anything that suggests he operated on a patient while drunk, or even that he's a surgeon.

Regardless, he was brought here when he was 5 years old, so he shouldn't be deported to a country he doesn't know even if he committed more serious crimes.
posted by zachlipton at 10:05 PM on January 26 [20 favorites]


Bombardier dispute: US court overturns punitive tariffs, BBC
Canadian aerospace firm Bombardier has won a landmark case in the US, overturning a decision to impose huge 292% tariffs on imports of its C-Series planes, partly built in the UK.

It follows a ruling by the US Commerce Department in December that the UK and Canada had given it unfair subsidies...
But it's seen as a blow to US President Trump's "America first" trade policy.

Bombardier had been widely expected to lose the case, which followed a complaint by its US rival, Boeing.
But in a surprise ruling, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in favour of the Canadian firm...

The ITC voted 4-0 in favour of Bombardier, ruling that there was no injury to US manufacturers.
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 10:06 PM on January 26 [12 favorites]


Covered California: The first projections for Trumpcare 2019 are in: Expect rate increases of up to 30%, Michael Hiltzik, LATimes
Now, thanks to Covered California, the state's ACA insurance exchange, we have the first estimate of what those costs will be for 2019. The bottom line is premium increases in the range of 16% to 30%.

Covered California's report [pdf] is titled "The Roller Coaster Continues." That's apt. Beyond a background increase in medical costs of 7% across the board, the other increases are highly responsive to federal policies.
best people: Trump EPA pick for Chicago office wore false nose to help me beat driving test, daughter says, Kim Janssen, Chicago Tribune
[TLDR: daughter fails driving test; appointee dons disguise to follow another test-taker to learn test route; after practicing test route, daughter passes and comes to appointee's all-hands meeting to tell story in attempt to endear appointee to colleagues]

Incoming Midwest Environmental Protection Agency chief Cathy Stepp faced a skeptical audience when she addressed her staff in Chicago for the first time earlier this month.

The Trump appointee’s history of rolling back enforcement of antipollution laws, reducing funding for scientific research and scrubbing references to human-caused climate change from government websites during her time in Wisconsin state government had put her new employees on edge.

So Stepp, 54, took the unusual step of drafting her daughter, Hannah, 23, to humanize her by introducing her at an “all hands” meeting of her 200-plus staff...
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 10:37 PM on January 26 [25 favorites]


ACLU and EFF Ask Court to Allow Legal Challenge to Proceed Against Warrantless Searches of Travelers’ Smartphones, Laptops, ACLU news release
EFF and ACLU represent 11 travelers — 10 U.S. citizens and one lawful permanent resident — whose smartphones and laptops were searched without warrants at the U.S. border in a lawsuit filed in September. The case, Alasaad v. Neilsen, asks the court to rule that the government must have a warrant based on probable cause before conducting searches of electronic devices, which contain highly detailed personal information about people’s lives. The case also argues that the government must have probable cause to confiscate a traveler’s device...

The government seeks dismissal, saying the plaintiffs don’t have the right to bring the lawsuit and the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to border searches. Both claims are wrong, the EFF and ACLU explain in a brief filed today in federal court in Boston.

[links to list and descriptions of individual plaintiffs, including "a military veteran, journalists, students, an artist, a NASA engineer, and a business owner"]
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 10:47 PM on January 26 [23 favorites]


Trump EPA pick for Chicago office wore false nose to help me beat driving test, daughter says

Wait, what??? Who brings their 23-year-old daughter to praise her at a staff meeting when she's starting her new job? And why would you even need to wear a fake nose and sunglasses to follow someone taking a test at the DMV? There was no cause for a disguise at all. I have so many questions.
posted by zachlipton at 10:51 PM on January 26 [58 favorites]


Who brings their 23-year-old daughter to praise her at a staff meeting

Are you acquainted with our current President and his First Feminist Daughter?
posted by SakuraK at 11:26 PM on January 26 [8 favorites]


I know, zach. I went through several rounds of "nah, this is too stupid to post...but this did happen at an EPA meeting, so it's relevant..." before finally clicking to post.
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 11:28 PM on January 26 [9 favorites]


Frustrated State Department employees hire attorneys, charging 'political retribution,' Elise Labott, CNN
A growing number of State Department employees are charging they are being put in career purgatory because of their previous work on policy priorities associated with President Barack Obama and in offices the Trump administration is interested in closing.

The situation has got so serious that several officials tell CNN they have retained attorneys after repeatedly trying unsuccessfully to raise concerns about being assigned to low-level jobs in Foggy Bottom such as answering Freedom of Information Act requests...

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has made clearing a backlog of FOIA requests a priority and reassigned staff to what State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert has called "an all-hands on deck" effort to clear the backlog.

[rest of article talks about one case in particular and general picture of cuts (30% budget cut; elimination of positions) and other changes being made in the Department]
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 11:48 PM on January 26 [22 favorites]


Today in Wingnut Welfare Watch: Hannity posted and deleted a few odd tweets earlier this afternoon and his Twitter account now appears to be deactivated entirely. Did he finally break? Maybe Joe Scarborough's open mockery this morning was the last straw? I mean, it can't be easy being Sean Hannity at the best of times, but last night's backpedal was a particularly egregious moment even for him.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 12:01 AM on January 27 [4 favorites]


Meh, he tweeted “Form Submission 1649” and deleted it a few times before pausing his account. He’s taking a weekend off and he’ll be back Monday crowing about how libtards hate him for his vacations.
posted by SakuraK at 12:16 AM on January 27


dmv tradecraft
posted by edeezy at 12:21 AM on January 27 [15 favorites]


You know what astonishes me the most, as I watch the Republicans flagrantly commit treason, and as these suits with SO MUCH TO HIDE start slagging off the people with all the tools to find all the things you've ever done, including all that stuff you forgot about. Yes, even that one time at summer camp.

I mean, how are these traitors not getting burned yet? Where's the leaks? I kinda expected earth shattering kabooms of leaks by now. Or, ya know, those quiet cloakroom conversations that rein the crazy back in. I am gobsmacked that we've suddenly had the Republican party turn against the entire FBI. The Russians or the Oligarchs or Mystery Player have some leverage that has seriously terrified the "law and order " party into attacking the top law enforcement agency in the country.

This simulation has gone off the rails. I blame the Hadron. They ran those protons into each other at unimaginable speeds in May of 2015, and a month later, Trump announced he was running. Lead proton collisions in October 2016: Trump elected. Clearly, the supercollider sent us into the wrong leg of the trousers of time.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 12:57 AM on January 27 [80 favorites]


I started listening to the Harry Potter books to escape from reality. My shrink is tired of my using Harry Potter analogies, as he's not familiar with the books and I'm sure looks down on YA/fantasy (I caught him rolling his eyes when I compared the state of adjuncts to house elves yesterday).

However, I'd forgotten how dark the books get. One thing that I've been mulling over the metaphorical implications of the allegiances made in the magical world when Voldemort resurrects himself. The dementors go to Voldemort's side because they get off on the same things he does, essentially, and a lot of his former supporters go back to him in part because they fear his wrath. Dumbledore insists on negotiating with the giants. There's this issue of pureblood v. muggleborn.

It's astonishing to see the GOP cover for Trump. I think that's what's pushed my shrink, who remembers Watergate well, over the edge into pessimism. It's astonishing to see media pushing the Clinton story as if it has any current significance whatsoever. I guess it earns the most page-clicks.

But maybe these alliances, when we get some historical perspective, will become obvious. Of course the GOP will allow itself to become an ally of Trump, because ultimately Trump is making their donors happy. I don't understand why, say, CNN would be pushing the old Clinton story. But maybe in an age of journalism scrambling to be heard, maybe that's the nature of the beast. For some reason, beating up on Clinton fills some societal function. I don't pretend to understand it.

Anyway! For those seeking similar escapism, just remember shit gets real in Harry Potter's world in book four.
posted by angrycat at 5:50 AM on January 27 [25 favorites]


It's astonishing to see the GOP cover for Trump. I think that's what's pushed my shrink, who remembers Watergate well, over the edge into pessimism.

The GOP covered for Nixon, as well, right up until it was no longer feasible.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:59 AM on January 27 [14 favorites]


Trump legal team seeking precedent to avoid Mueller interview: report (The Hill)
The Wall Street Journal reports that Trump's lawyers are researching a 1997 case in which a federal appeals court ruled that sitting presidents and their top advisers are protected against disclosing certain information about decision-making and official government actions.

In the case, the appeals court ruled that prosecutors who hope to override claims of executive privilege are required to show a court that they hope to obtain "important evidence" that is otherwise unobtainable.

Legal scholars told the Journal that Trump's lawyer's could use the case to make a potential interview with Mueller more favorable for Trump and prevent a long court fight over the process.
Here’s the WSJ story.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:20 AM on January 27 [10 favorites]


Anything Trump's lawyers can do to reduce his reliance on Trump's lawyers is probably smart.
posted by rhizome at 6:30 AM on January 27 [4 favorites]


Pope Guilty: "It's astonishing to see the GOP cover for Trump. I think that's what's pushed my shrink, who remembers Watergate well, over the edge into pessimism.

The GOP covered for Nixon, as well, right up until it was no longer feasible.
"

And then they engineered a pardon for his ass. And then only a few years later he was welcomed back as an elder statesmen, author and lecturer. There's really nothing that a Republican can do that will make him a pariah to the party.
posted by octothorpe at 7:18 AM on January 27 [23 favorites]


"Well it's in the Book of Poontang, Verse 7"

Rick Wilson once again displaying his disdain for the unholy alliance between Evangelicals and (little c) conservatives.
posted by Talez at 7:48 AM on January 27 [3 favorites]


And speaking of scripture...
Pope Francis‏ @Pontifex

Here we are, Lord, ashamed of what humanity, made in your image and likeness, is capable of doing. Remember us in your mercy.
And my first reaction is, "what the hell did Trump do in Davos while I was asleep?"
posted by Talez at 7:53 AM on January 27 [40 favorites]


Yeah, y'all need to Google up some of the speeches that George HW Bush and other Nixon-era Republican party leaders were giving circa 1973. You can play bingo with the same cards we use now. "It's a distraction!" "Let the President do his job!" "It's a witch-hunt!" "He makes the libs cry!" And, "these were all just independent actors with no connection to the president" on the free space and I win! (And by "win" I mean "we all lose.")
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:12 AM on January 27 [39 favorites]


See also Art Buchwald's Watergate-era column "Handy Excuses for Nixon Backers", a.k.a. "Oh Yeah! What About Chappaquididck?", which sounds incredibly familiar. Some items remain applicable with no changes:
"A President can't keep track of everything his staff does."
"The press is blowing the whole thing up."
"The Democrats are sore because they lost."
"Wait til all the facts come out."
"What's the big deal about finding out what your opposition is up to?"
And others simply need the proper nouns switched, starting with retitling the article to"Oh Yeah! What About [Her E-mails]?" :
"If you impeach [Trump], you get [Pence]."
"I'm sick and tired of hearing about [Russia] and so is everybody else."
"If you say one more thing about [Russia] I'll punch you in the nose,"
{A} If the person is bigger than you, "If you say one more thing about [Russia] I'm leaving this house."
{B} If it's your own house and the person is bigger than you, "What about [her e-mails]?"
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:31 AM on January 27 [36 favorites]


ProPublica reports that a man charged with murdering a gay, Jewish college student in Orange County, CA "was a member of the Atomwaffen Division, an armed Fascist group with the ultimate aim of overthrowing the U.S. government through the use of terrorism and guerrilla warfare."
The organization, which celebrates Hitler and Charles Manson, has been tied to four other murders and an elaborate bomb plot over the past eight months. Experts who study right-wing extremist movements believe Atomwaffen’s commitment to violence has made it one of the more dangerous groups to emerge from the new wave of white supremacists.
posted by adamg at 8:52 AM on January 27 [20 favorites]


Unexpected good news, Citing risks to fisheries, EPA retains proposed development limits on Pebble mine:
In a surprise move that buoyed hopes of groups trying to stop the Pebble gold and copper prospect in western Alaska, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said Friday the agency would keep alive its proposed restrictions on the mine because of the threat it could pose to fisheries in the Bristol Bay region.

Pruitt said in a statement Friday that he made the decision after reviewing public comments about the development limits, proposed by the EPA under Obama in 2014.

"Based on that review, it is my judgment at this time that any mining projects in the region likely pose a risk to the abundant natural resources that exist there," he said. "Until we know the full extent of that risk, those natural resources and world-class fisheries deserve the utmost protection."
There might be some limit to the drive to undo every action of the Obama administration.
posted by peeedro at 8:55 AM on January 27 [10 favorites]


I suspect it’s little accommodations like that which form the nebulous, backdoor negotiated package of quid pro quo that encourages a Senator to vote in favor of very unpopular legislation.

Earmarks don’t exist, but I’m certain little carveouts are made in Administrative rulemaking all the time to whip up votes in Congress.

That may just be my cynicism talking, but given the past couple of years, I think it’s not unreasonable.
posted by darkstar at 9:02 AM on January 27 [1 favorite]


frecklefaerie: I'm not seeing any stories out of Davos spun to tell the tale that Trump did something presidential.

Meanwhile, George Soros Upstaged Donald Trump at Davos (John Cassidy for the New Yorker, Jan. 25, 2018)
At the age of eighty-seven, Soros has retired from investing and spends most of his time on philanthropy. “I find the current moment in history rather painful,” he said at the outset of his remarks. “Open societies are in crisis, and various forms of dictatorships and mafia states, exemplified by Putin’s Russia, are on the rise. In the United States, President Trump would like to establish a mafia state, but he can’t, because the Constitution, other institutions, and a vibrant civil society won’t allow it.”

If the resilience of the U.S. system was encouraging, Soros intimated, there were still grave dangers to be faced, including the rise of authoritarianism in places like Hungary and the fact that under Trump “the United States is set on a course toward nuclear war by refusing to accept that North Korea has become a nuclear power.” This refusal had created an incentive for North Korea “to develop its nuclear capacity with all possible speed,” Soros argued, which in turn “may induce the United States to use its nuclear superiority preëmptively” and start a nuclear war. The only solution, he added, was to “come to terms with North Korea as a nuclear power.”

Harsh as they were, Soros’s criticisms of Trump weren’t exactly surprising. During the 2016 election cycle, Soros Fund Management donated about twenty-five million dollars to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, according to a spokesperson. This time last year, Soros called Trump a “would-be dictator” and predicted that he would fail. On Thursday in Davos, he went on: “I give President Trump credit for motivating his core supporters brilliantly, but for every core supporter he has created a greater number of core opponents who are equally strongly motivated. That is why I expect a Democratic landslide in 2018.”

More unexpected was where Soros went next. After acknowledging the dangers of climate change, he turned his attention to “another global problem: the rise and monopolistic behavior of the giant I.T.-platform companies,” such as Facebook and Google. Here was a threat, Soros suggested, that was likely to be more lasting than the Trump Administration.
He went on to say “They claim they are merely distributing information. But the fact that they are near-monopoly distributors makes them public utilities, and should subject them to more stringent regulations, aimed at preserving competition, innovation, and fair and open universal access.”

Fuck yeah, George Soros.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:22 AM on January 27 [108 favorites]


George Soros talks a big game, but I'm still waiting for my payment check from him for going to the Women's March last year.
posted by biogeo at 9:32 AM on January 27 [141 favorites]


Some interesting context for the "Trump wanted to fire X" stories. Michael Wolff says that's simply Trump's knee-jerk response to anyone who pisses him off.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:13 AM on January 27 [2 favorites]


"Will nobody rid me of this troublesome prosecutor?"
posted by Coventry at 11:26 AM on January 27 [11 favorites]


This seems like it should be a bigger deal? Five US Congressmen will meet the leader of a Czech party whose secretary has called for the gassing of Jews, gays and Roma (The meeting was canceled because of the shutdown crisis. The congressmen were Steve King, Andy Harris, Dana Rohrabacher, Louie Gohmert, and Paul Gosar. Source is a Czech NGO-funded news site.)
posted by donatella at 11:28 AM on January 27 [37 favorites]


The congressmen were Steve King, Andy Harris, Dana Rohrabacher, Louie Gohmert, and Paul Gosar.

Were Mark Sanford and Diane Black otherwise engaged?
posted by Talez at 11:40 AM on January 27 [5 favorites]


Steve Wynn resigns as RNC finance chair, GOP official says. Wynn stepped down a day after a report alleged sexual misconduct. (WaPo)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:04 PM on January 27 [25 favorites]


They're going to pay for their infrastructure bill by selling public lands. Eating our grandchildren's seed corn in order to subsidize private toll roads. Despicable.

Chris D'Angelo, Mother Jones: Leaked Documents Reveal the Trump Administration’s Plan to Sell off Our Public Lands

The draft plan, which Politico and Axios obtained this week, includes this line: “Disposition of Federal Real Property: would establish through executive order the authority to allow for the disposal of Federal assets to improve the overall allocation of economic resources in infrastructure investment.”
[...] Politico reported Wednesday that Trump could release his long-anticipated infrastructure plan in as little as two weeks. If it takes aim at public land, Zinke will almost certainly face the brunt of public outrage. After all, it was Zinke who said last month, “No one loves public land more than I. You can love it as much, but you can’t love it any more.”
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:16 PM on January 27 [27 favorites]


Notably missing from the RNC statement about Wynn: an offer to return the millions of dollars he raised for and donated to the RNC and Republican politicians.
posted by donatella at 12:18 PM on January 27 [14 favorites]


Looking ahead to the elections, I think I see the development of a multi-pronged strategy by the Republicans to minimize losses and win in 2020.

1. Defend gerrymandering, including serving cases up to a sympathetic Supreme Court.

2. Use ICE to suppress voter turnout by naturalized citizens and allies. I don't think they'll be able to ethnically cleanse all immigrants until next term, but they will be able to wholesale remove the citizenship of naturalized citizens in key states. I expect ICE agents raiding voting lines this fall.

3. A massive ratfucking effort through mass media sources like the Independent, NYT, and other, ostensibly liberal or leftist sources. The goal will be to exacerbate divisions among the opposition, weaken moral, and encourage people not to vote. As we saw last year, it's pretty damn effective. And as we saw here this week, it's already started.

4. Major Russian online propaganda campaign, combined with extensive hacking.

So while people are optimistic about a Blue Wave, I'm not. We are in no way prepared to deal with the dirty tricks campaign the Republicans will serve up.
posted by happyroach at 12:22 PM on January 27 [31 favorites]


Some interesting context for the "Trump wanted to fire X" stories. Michael Wolff says that's simply Trump's knee-jerk response to anyone who pisses him off.

Well, uh, me too kinda, that's why I'm not a manager of people.
posted by tivalasvegas at 12:24 PM on January 27 [5 favorites]


(from the Wolffe article linked above): "He just repeats and repeats and repeats. Is it serious? Is it just him spouting off ultimately that's what the special prosecutor will have to decide. And it's a key thing, because the special prosecutor has to prove intent. If he's just a crazy person, which, in part he is, it's going to be very hard to prove intent. So was there a moment in which he directed this to happen? Well, actually, yes, but there were hundreds of moments in which he does that and in which everybody sort of deflects.

Is there some way that Muller can request that he sign a Thing saying that he is of sound mind and is entirely responsible for his own actions? Let's force him to decide if he wants to take the "criminally insane" route or the "criminally criminal" route out of office.
posted by tivalasvegas at 12:28 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


NYT, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Training Quick and Staffing Unfinished, Army Units Brace for Surging Taliban

At least 95 people are dead and 158 injured after a bombing in Kabul, and I can't stop thinking about the under-trained and under-staffed Army units we're about to send to Afghanistan.
posted by zachlipton at 12:34 PM on January 27 [19 favorites]


So while people are optimistic about a Blue Wave, I'm not.

I'm increasingly worried about Republicans being (unreasonably) assigned credit for an improved economy and tighter job market, too. Ten months is a long time in Trump-administration-disaster-potential years, though, and recent improvements could just be a blip.
posted by Coventry at 12:35 PM on January 27 [6 favorites]


Some interesting context for the "Trump wanted to fire X" stories. Michael Wolff says that's simply Trump's knee-jerk response to anyone who pisses him off.

Which only begs the question, doesn't refute it. As an unconstrained narcissist, Trump invariably follows his urges. I'm sure he uses it as an escape valve at times but his urges are an expression of his truest self, not to be ignored. He has no internal filters; the shortest path between what he says & what he wants is Donald Trump.
posted by scalefree at 12:52 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


Is there some way that Muller can request that he sign a Thing saying that he is of sound mind and is entirely responsible for his own actions?

Wasn’t that the medical assessment?
posted by Artw at 12:58 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]


Exactly. They did a formal medical assessment including (one hopes) some form of cognitive assessment at least a little bit more meaningful than the chain-restaurant-children's-placemat that's made the rounds. The party line is, Trump passed with flying colors, he's the smartest most cognitively blessed man on Earth.

Is that true? No. Absolutely not. However -- should we use these claims, his own and the doctor's, as a weapon against Trump, to keep him from weaseling out of the harshest possible consequences for his actions? Yes. Absolutely.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 1:13 PM on January 27 [13 favorites]


Eating our grandchildren's seed corn in order to subsidize private toll roads.

"Let's eat the seed corn" is the only substantive policy idea these people have outside of stoking xenophobic cowardice.
posted by contraption at 1:19 PM on January 27 [24 favorites]




I'm optimistic about the Blue Wave. The other night I went to a candidate forum for my TX02 District that was SRO and some strong folks running. Our current Freedom Caucus dufus Ted Poe is not running so no incumbent on the right and the left is FIRED UP. Look up a map of TX02 it's ridiculously gerrymandered but I think it's actually in play now.

Here's Beto O'Rourke in Garland, TX (facebook link) last Friday night with an estimated 2000 people. It's not Austin. This is a Northeast of Dallas and part of Texas Bible Belt. I do not know where he gets his energy, but he says it's from us as he campaigns. It's completely inspiring. Sunday 5AM he's doing a non stop 24hr Facebook stream starting with a run in Houston ending with a rally in Austin. Y'all might want to watch because they are so oddly entertaining! Beto is getting the whole state worked up and it's going to tumble all the way down the ballot.
posted by dog food sugar at 2:47 PM on January 27 [46 favorites]


just once, I'd like a reporter, a Representative, or a Senator demand to see evidence that this Wall has any efficacy whatsoever, much less cost-effectiveness.

There's an even simpler question which has the benefit of making its point even if they refuse to answer:

"More than half of the US - Mexico border is a river, specifically "the deepest channel of the Rio Grande river. How are you going to put a wall in the middle of a river?"
posted by msalt at 2:56 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


"Clinton kept advisor after he was accused of sexual misconduct."

You think that's bad? Republicans kept their president after he was accused of much worse sexual harassment.
posted by msalt at 2:58 PM on January 27 [73 favorites]


WaPo, Trump sought release of classified Russia memo, putting him at odds with Justice Department
On Wednesday, as Republicans were clamoring to make public a secret document that they think will undercut the investigation into Russian meddling, President Trump made clear his desire: release the memo.

Trump's directive was at odds with his own Justice Department, which had warned that releasing the classified memo written by congressional Republicans would be "extraordinarily reckless" without an official review. Nevertheless, White House chief of staff John F. Kelly relayed the president's view to Attorney General Jeff Sessions — though the decision to release the document ultimately lies with Congress.

Kelly and Sessions spoke twice that day — in person during a small-group afternoon meeting and in a phone call later that evening, and Kelly conveyed Trump's desire, a senior administration official said.
...
Trump "is inclined to have that released just because it will shed light," said a senior administration official who was speaking on the condition of anonymity to recount private conversations. "Apparently all the rumors are that it will shed light, it will help the investigators come to a conclusion."

The intervention with Sessions, which has not previously been reported, marked another example of the president's year-long attempts to shape and influence an investigation that is fundamentally outside his control. Trump, appearing frustrated and at times angry, has complained to confidants and aides in recent weeks that he does not understand why he cannot simply give orders to "my guys" at what he sometimes calls the "Trump Justice Department," two people familiar with the president's comments said.
...
The president also made clear in recent days that he hopes new questions facing the investigation allow him or his associates to make changes at the Justice Department, two people familiar with Trump's comments said.

The president has told close advisers that the memo is starting to make people realize how the FBI and the Mueller probe is biased against him and that it could provide him with grounds for either firing or forcing Rosenstein to leave, according to one person familiar with his remarks. He has privately derided Rosenstein as "the Democrat from Baltimore." Rosenstein is not a Democrat. He was appointed as a U.S. attorney in Maryland by President George W. Bush and later renominated for that post by President Barack Obama.
posted by zachlipton at 3:05 PM on January 27 [28 favorites]


The president also made clear in recent days that he hopes new questions facing the investigation allow him or his associates to make changes at the Justice Department

This seems like a key part of that new WaPo article. It seems like the memo is intended to provide a pretext for firing Rosenstein and / or Mueller. My guess would be that the McGahn leak was designed to test the potential blowback that might result from such a move against the DOJ, whether the leak was done with good intentions or bad ones. So far the GOP hasn't shown willingness to protect Mueller against the president's desire to have him fired. When the memo gets released, I'm guessing we'll be in for some interesting times.
posted by Dr. Send at 3:19 PM on January 27 [6 favorites]


Beto is getting the whole state worked up and it's going to tumble all the way down the ballot.

He is coming through my area for the second time in a couple weeks and I was SHOCKED that he's holding an event in my tiny, very red county. (I was planning on going to the one in the next town over, but then found out there's one HERE.) I mean, he's literally visiting every single part of Texas multiple times to talk to folks. Democrats don't even bother running for office in this county and the local party is like a dozen folks, but he's coming here. I swear, Beto is something special.
posted by threeturtles at 3:21 PM on January 27 [59 favorites]


The intervention with Sessions

Funny how a guy recused from the Russia investigation is intervening on the release of a memo about the Russia investigation.
posted by chris24 at 3:26 PM on January 27 [27 favorites]


A memo written by a guy who also recused himself from the Russia investigation. Funny how that works out, huh?
posted by zachlipton at 3:33 PM on January 27 [41 favorites]


I don’t think “the memo” ever gets released. They’re just going to say “we have the evidence that he’s done nothing wrong, but it’s classified. We really want to share it, but we can’t.” They’re going to tell us to take it on faith that this document that we haven’t and won’t see is proof he did nothing wrong. And they’ll just expect us to believe it.
posted by azpenguin at 3:35 PM on January 27 [5 favorites]


@VP: A few days ago, Karen & I paid our respects at Yad Vashem to honor the 6 million Jewish martyrs of the Holocaust who 3 years after walking beneath the shadow of death, rose up from the ashes to resurrect themselves to reclaim a Jewish future. #HolocaustRemembranceDay #NeverAgain

WHAT THE EVER-LOVING FUCK IS THIS? He used his official government account to turn the Jewish victims of the Holocaust into players in some kind of resurrection fanfic?
posted by zachlipton at 3:40 PM on January 27 [48 favorites]


@VP: A few days ago, Karen & I paid our respects at Yad Vashem to honor the 6 million Jewish martyrs of the Holocaust who 3 years after walking beneath the shadow of death, rose up from the ashes to resurrect themselves to reclaim a Jewish future. #HolocaustRemembranceDay #NeverAgain

WHAT THE EVER-LOVING FUCK IS THIS? He used his official government account to turn the Jewish victims of the Holocaust into players in some kind of resurrection fanfic?


this is the most disgusting thing I have seen as yet from Pence. It's as if he wasn't even there
posted by mumimor at 3:44 PM on January 27 [26 favorites]


So is he saying Jewish zombies won the 1948 Arab–Israeli War?
posted by kirkaracha at 3:47 PM on January 27 [17 favorites]


...No. He obviously doesn't mean that murdered Jews rose from the dead. He means that the Jewish people as a whole rose up from their tragedy. I'm disappointed to see this kind of reaction from Mefites.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 3:52 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


What he said is that “6 million Jewish martyrs of the Holocaust [...] rose up from the ashes to resurrect themselves to reclaim a Jewish future. ” I don’t agree that his meaning was “obvious” in any way.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 3:57 PM on January 27 [31 favorites]


He's using extremely Christian language to talk about Jewish dead. It is beyond fucked up, even when you don't take into account the fact that it is worded so poorly it does sound like he's talking about zombies. -5 points for bad theology and -5 points for bad English. And please Mr. Seazer, please do tell us how we mefites, many of whom are Jewish should react to this bullshit from our VP? Please do tell us how we should react, clearly you know best.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 3:57 PM on January 27 [59 favorites]


I'm disappointed to see this kind of reaction from Mefites.

And I’m outraged to see this kind of offensive, dumbest-common-denominator evangelical pandering from my Vice President.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 3:57 PM on January 27 [38 favorites]


...No. He obviously doesn't mean that murdered Jews rose from the dead. He means that the Jewish people as a whole rose up from their tragedy.

::shrug:: You're putting words in Pence's mouth, and he's a really shitty poet.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:58 PM on January 27 [6 favorites]


Can somebody explain the three years part?
posted by angrycat at 3:58 PM on January 27


...No. He obviously doesn't mean that murdered Jews rose from the dead. He means that the Jewish people as a whole rose up from their tragedy. I'm disappointed to see this kind of reaction from Mefites.

Oh, come on. He's talking about Jews being "resurrected", and he even sneaks in a "3 years" (3 days) in there, just in case anyone missed it.

It's not so much dogwhistle as trainwhistle.
posted by gurple at 3:59 PM on January 27 [31 favorites]


Can somebody explain the three years part?

WW2 ended in 1945; Israel was founded in 1948. At least he got simple math right.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:00 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


Can somebody explain the three years part?

End of WWII/Holocaust 1945, Israel established as a nation 1948.
posted by chris24 at 4:00 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


He's taking one of the greatest horrors of modern times and making all about his Christian faith. Anybody who isn't blind can see that.
posted by Justinian at 4:02 PM on January 27 [53 favorites]


To be honest, Pence's language there frightens me more than anything that's come out of Trump's flapping yellow gob.

Trump is nothing more than a blustering bullshitter. Pence is a zealot.
posted by Pinback at 4:04 PM on January 27 [18 favorites]


[Pence is bad and his theology is creepy and his statement was beyond tasteless. Move on and definitely don't go after each others' throats over it!]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 4:08 PM on January 27 [22 favorites]


It's not just his theology/zealotry. he's full authoritarian too.

@joshtpm
It's extraordinary how dangerous a person Mike Pence is. Lockstep support for all the hallmarks of authoritarian and contempt for American values.
2/ FYI, this was in response to interview just aired with Andrea Mitchell, defends attacking opposition party in front of US soldiers abroad, foreign leaders, etc. That's strongman/dictator values.
posted by chris24 at 4:09 PM on January 27 [22 favorites]


threeturtles: "He is coming through my area for the second time in a couple weeks and I was SHOCKED that he's holding an event in my tiny, very red county. "

Beto has said he's going to hit every Texas county, all 254 of them.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:11 PM on January 27 [14 favorites]


Yeah there's a reason so many of us, while hating Trump a great deal and wanting him gone are slightly wary about any kind of impeachment that doesn't also nab Pence. Honestly, if impeachment is possible and doable but it wont grab Pence too... I'd personally rather we take back congress in 18 and the presidency in 20 rather than any chance of Pence getting the big chair. He terrifies me. But of course, fingers crossed that Muellergate grabs everyone! Wooo! *you* get impeached, and *you* get Impeached and....
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 4:13 PM on January 27 [16 favorites]


NBC: ‘I want my voice heard’: Women plot runs for office in record numbers
As of last week, 325 women were non-incumbent candidates for the United States House, along with 72 female members seeking reelection, according to data compiled by Walsh’s organization. Thirty-eight women not currently serving in the United States Senate are aiming for the upper chamber, along with 12 incumbents running again. And 75 women have set their sights on the nation’s governorships — plus four female incumbents fighting to keep their seats.

In 2016, a high water mark for female candidates overall, there were 167 female major party nominees for the United States House and 16 for the Senate — well fewer than half the number of candidates vying for one of those spots now.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:15 PM on January 27 [32 favorites]


Beto has said he's going to hit every Texas county, all 254 of them.

I know he's SAID that. I was still pretty damn surprised he's actually doing it. Guess that says something about my own expectations of Texas Democrats and/or politicians in general.
posted by threeturtles at 4:17 PM on January 27 [5 favorites]


I didn't catch the dog whistle in Pence's tweet, so the remark about "resurrection fanfic" and the "zombies" quip confused me. My tone was harsh and accusatory, and I apologize for that. I'll try to ask questions first when I don't understand why people are reacting so strongly to something.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 4:27 PM on January 27 [44 favorites]


I know he's SAID that. I was still pretty damn surprised he's actually doing it. Guess that says something about my own expectations of Texas Democrats and/or politicians in general.

Indeed. We're all astonished and pleased, and as soon as the primary is over I'm going to get a sign for the yard. (My partner wants to vote for a woman of color in the primary basically as encouragement, knowing full well Beto will win the primary, and as they can't vote I'm inclined to let them have my vote on that and not push them too hard on going YEAH BETO GO GO YEAH before the primary is over.

Afterwards, though, all bets are off. I'm terribly excited about him. And on a deeply, deeply strange note he happens to look exactly like my brother-in-law, aged up about twenty years. The resemblence is... uncanny.)
posted by sciatrix at 4:34 PM on January 27 [10 favorites]


I'll try to ask questions first when I don't understand why people are reacting so strongly to something.

That's as good a daily mantra as I've read in a while.
posted by LooseFilter at 4:35 PM on January 27 [38 favorites]


Just got back from spending the day at the Arizona State Democratic Party meeting, since I now find myself a state committee member with credentials and everything. I'm so fancy!

There was a really great energy, with tons of young people in the room (including a handful of high school students from Mesa, who've already registered 600 new voters!), and plans galore for every part of the state. We elected a new state chair who inspires a lot of faith in her leadership. There were representatives from every corner of the state, even the most remote, deep red areas. All reported record turnout to meetings and strong voter registration efforts already under way.

Arizona is working hard to move from purple to blue, folks.
posted by Superplin at 4:45 PM on January 27 [110 favorites]


Trump: 'I wouldn't say I'm a feminist' and neither would anybody else.
posted by scalefree at 5:33 PM on January 27 [27 favorites]


Yeah there's a reason so many of us, while hating Trump a great deal and wanting him gone are slightly wary about any kind of impeachment that doesn't also nab Pence.

Unfortunately, from what I remember of the chain of command, all of them are absolutely awful short of a "Designated Survivor" scenario happening.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:38 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure what you mean? If Pence were caught up in the Mueller net you'd simply impeach both the President and the Vice President at the same time. In which case the Speaker of the House would take the oath of office and become President.

This isn't going to happen, of course, outside the sweaty nighttime fanfics of the Seth Abramsons of the world but there isn't anything particularly complex about it.
posted by Justinian at 5:59 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


Politico: Obama planning to actively campaign for candidates in the midterms.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:09 PM on January 27 [35 favorites]


Justice Ginsburg will not attend Trump's first State of the Union (The Hill)
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will not be in attendance at President Trump's first State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Ginsburg is scheduled to be at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island for her speaking tour on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.

While Ginsburg has been critical of Trump in the past, her talk at the university was announced last August.
*wink*
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:16 PM on January 27 [27 favorites]


We'll be lucky if we even get someone with more than 2 degrees of Trump convicted of anything. To think that he and Pence would be impeached? Forget all that, focus on the midterms and then the re-election.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 6:40 PM on January 27 [7 favorites]


all of them are absolutely awful short of a "Designated Survivor" scenario happening.

I'm not sure Ben Carson would be an improvement, but at least his M.D. credential suggests he once had a work ethic and the ability to conform to external standards.
posted by Coventry at 7:00 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]


but at least his M.D. credential suggests he once had a work ethic and the ability to conform to external standards.

There are like a dozen threads on the blue about various topics that all eventually boil down to how 90% of doctors hideously fail women so...
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:02 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


From the 'I wouldn't say I'm a feminist' link posted by scalefree above:
“No, I wouldn't say I'm a feminist. I mean, I think that would be, maybe, going too far,” Trump said in the interview, according to Morgan. “I’m for women, I'm for men, I’m for everyone.”
"So when would you say was the last time you grabbed someone by the dick, Mr. President?" asked the voice in my head that, for better or worse, will never work in American journalism.

Seriously, I wish you would say that you're a feminist, you orange shitstain. I could use a good belly laugh today.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 7:03 PM on January 27 [15 favorites]


Matthew Yglesias, Vox: Trump’s latest interview shows he’s not really the president
He’s holding the office but not doing the job.

President Donald Trump’s first non-Fox television interview in a long time, conducted with CNBC’s Joe Kernen from Davos, Switzerland, is in many respects weirdly devoid of substance. And much of the substance that’s there consists of misstatements of fact.

But lurking in that is an important insight: Trump is holding the office of president, but he’s not doing the job of president. He seems to have no real idea what’s going on, even with his own signature policy moves.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:53 PM on January 27 [44 favorites]


Eric Levitz, New York Magazine: Democrats Paid a Huge Price for Letting Unions Die
The GOP understands how important labor unions are to the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party, historically, has not. If you want a two-sentence explanation for why the Midwest is turning red (and thus, why Donald Trump is president), you could do worse than that.

With its financial contributions and grassroots organizing, the labor movement helped give Democrats full control of the federal government three times in the last four decades. And all three of those times — under Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama — Democrats failed to pass labor law reforms that would to bolster the union cause. In hindsight, it’s clear that the Democratic Party didn’t merely betray organized labor with these failures, but also, itself.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:10 PM on January 27 [59 favorites]


I don’t think there was much “letting” involved, considering the demonization of unions and the erosion of worker’s rights was led by the GOP in a decades-long effort funded by wealthy donors and corporate interests. When one side plays dirty ball, that doesn’t mean the other side “let” them win.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:21 PM on January 27 [16 favorites]


When one side plays dirty ball, that doesn’t mean the other side “let” them win.

It does when the Democrats decided to agree with them and did nothing to fight back. That was an affirmative choice.

You can draw a direct line from the Democrats abandoning the union vote in the 90's (and worker's right generally) and stabbing unions in the back by cozying ever closer to Wall Street and Trump's victory in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Imagine if Democrats did...not that.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:27 PM on January 27 [38 favorites]


As the article says in the pull-quote, there were three times when the Dems had the power to enact the labor reforms the article is suggesting, and did not do so.
posted by Coventry at 8:31 PM on January 27 [6 favorites]




It seems like the failure to act goes back a lot further than the 90s, or even the 70s. Taft-Hartley was passed in 1947.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:39 PM on January 27 [5 favorites]


[The union thing feels like a cul-de-sac here (beyond the interesting original article); if there's a substantive conversation to be had, let's break it out in a separate post where people can go over the history of the union movement and Democratic politics without it turning into the dreaded politics-thread-rehashing of past Democratic sins.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:47 PM on January 27 [6 favorites]


Devonian: ‘Get out of the country!’: Navajo lawmaker harassed by Arizona Trump supporters accusing him of being here ‘illegally’

Yeah. You will not be surprised to hear that this incident was discussed at great length--and repeatedly--at today's State Party meeting. The leader of the Native American Caucus got a standing ovation of support when he brought it up at the plenary session.

State Senator Katie Hobbs (mentioned in the linked article) is from my district, and now running for Secretary of State against Michele Reagan, the Republican behind all kinds of lovely voter suppression acts.

Oh, I forgot to mention earlier: the state treasurer noted a few statistics, including keywords associated with funding levels. Our #1 keyword for fundraising in 2017? Flake. Currently leading the pack in 2018? Arpaio.
If nothing else, I certainly can't complain that this state's politics are boring...
posted by Superplin at 8:51 PM on January 27 [9 favorites]


The source of the data is not named in the contract, but an ICE representative said the data came from Vigilant Solutions, the leading network for license plate recognition data.

So if civil liberties hero hackers were actually a thing, this company would be an interesting target


Just for context, the same person (Adi Pinhas) founded Vigilant and Superfish (which was, um, not popular among civil liberties hero hackers). Spying on people is his thing I guess.
posted by Jpfed at 8:53 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


Today's politics/sexual harassment news:

Ruby Cramer at BuzzFeed with Hillary Clinton Let Him Stay. Women Say His Harassment Continued, in which Burns Strider continued to harass women at Correct the Record in 2014-2015, including another unwanted kiss.

Marco Rubio fires his chief of staff Clint Reed for violating policy on "proper relations between a supervisor and their subordinates."
posted by zachlipton at 9:14 PM on January 27 [5 favorites]


Regarding (hypothetical, not-gonna-happen) impeachment of 45 without Pence:

At the very least, we'd get three solid months of chaos and staff changes as the agenda changed from "bestest tv ratings and lots of indirect bribes" to "institute Republic of Gilead." And that would happen during campaign season.

More likely, the attempt to switch back to "normal politics," combined with the heightened media attention, would mean swarms of uncomfortable questions pointed at everyone involved in the administration - including a whole lot of, "hey, if you had these awesomely talented people sitting around not doing cabinet-ish and executive department jobs, why didn't you bring them up last year?" and "so, if you thought 45 was corrupt and incompetent, why didn't you tell anyone?" and so on.

Sarah Huckabee is doing a bang-up job of dodging questions - but she gets away with it because nobody believes Trump is remotely competent or even conscious of much of what's going on. A president who pushed a message of, "well that was a mess; let's set the country back on track" would have to deal with all those questions, or quickly wind up in the same place: oh look, someone with an agenda that has nothing to do with improving the country.

And his hands aren't clean. It might take an extra few months to impeach him if Trump goes down, but the evidence would start rolling in, and the baseline of "omg you can't really accuse the president!" would be gone.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:49 PM on January 27 [10 favorites]


His poll numbers are ticking slightly up to 38-42ish%, Republicans are recanting even their tepid support for Mueller, and they're FAR more shameless than the Nixon era -they're already laying the groundwork to ignore whatever Mueller comes out with. There will be no impeachment, of Trump much less Pence on top, at least without Democrats retaking both houses. We need to buckle down for the long, long fight until 2020. Fantasy impeachment theater was fun for a year, and maybe The Russia Stuff will ramp up during the midterms to ive Democrats a turnout boost, but wasting thoughtpower on "But Pence is just as bad" and "President Pelosi" fanfic seems increasingly like tonedeaf denialism as the time for real work to retake Congress is here.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:06 PM on January 27 [13 favorites]


[A couple deleted. Please don't drop surprise triggery shocking abuse stuff here without a warning. Better to link to the article with a warning.]
posted by taz (staff) at 11:17 PM on January 27 [5 favorites]


The plate tracking would be massively concerning if it had a strong due process regimen and strict oversight, but guessing neither of those things are the case. They may not just track undocumented residents, but their documented family/friends/people engaged him helping them.

You know how it turned out that the US wasn't just indiscriminately tapping phone lines overseas, but also calls that crossed the US borders, and it turned out that domestic US calls may in fact be routed overseas for no very good reason? And it also turned out that they didn't consider phones to be tapped if they didn't actually listen to the calls, and that they distinguished between a recording of the conversation and the so-called "metadata" that includes the number called, the number calling, their location and so forth? So basically nobody knows just what they're doing and it may very well be "recording everybody, all the time, just in case it's useful".

Well, a record of number plate data consists of the plate number, date and time, location, maybe speed and a bunch of other stuff making a small handful of bytes. It's vastly less than you need to record a phone call and it's much easier to search. I think you have to assume that all such systems record everybody, all the time, and the only safeguard is that they may not bother looking at your records. But of course, it wouldn't be hard to automate a search of anyone they chose and (as they do with phone data) subsequently come up with an excuse that would justify a search. So basically, someone's going to have a record of not only drug houses and immigrants' safe houses, but also politicians' mistresses' houses. The ability for the executive to blackmail the legislature will be unparalleled.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:44 PM on January 27 [20 favorites]


As an interesting comparison to that license plate data, there's a flurry of interest on Twitter on the interesting places you can find publicly-accessible Fitbit Strava tracking data -- including military and other secret/secure locations ranging from Groom Lake to the Paracel Islands to Syrian outposts.
posted by dhartung at 1:10 AM on January 28 [15 favorites]


The ability for the executive to blackmail the legislature will be unparalleled.

Also from Jpfed's Superfish link above, this is a company created by a guy whose previous gig was running an adware/malware company, and who presumably has the same moral and ethical code as any other two bit spammer. Seems like if there's a chance historical or non-person-of-interest numbers can be sold at some point, they are going to be kept (and, indeed, sold).

Superfish also notable for using a third party library to conduct man-in-the-middle SSL hijacking to allow them to embed ads in secure pages. A library backdoor it turned out any moderately competent script kiddie could also use to hijack said pages.

This seems like a guy who should have a restraining order preventing him from using any form of advanced communication technology. Not being given juicy federal contracts and all the sensitive, privacy violating data, he can monetize.


But of course, it wouldn't be hard to automate a search of anyone they chose

And you just know that there's going to be that particular sort of stupid the very educated and real world blind are prone to*, resulting in them fishing the data with pattern recognition / social graphs / ML neural nets. So even not being worth looking up isn't going to help if your PTA meeting gets mistaken for a hotbed of radical pro-migration insurgents.


* C.f. pretty much the entire recent history of Facebook and Twitter.
posted by Buntix at 3:30 AM on January 28 [18 favorites]


msalt: ""More than half of the US - Mexico border is a river, specifically "the deepest channel of the Rio Grande river. How are you going to put a wall in the middle of a river?""

They are defacto seceding that land to Mexico by building the wall 100s of metres inland from the riparian zone. The current wall/fence segments do the same thing. Famously in the case of a golf course.
posted by Mitheral at 6:34 AM on January 28 [5 favorites]


The PTA dragnet was the day Trump truly became president
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:40 AM on January 28 [4 favorites]


Strategy When They're Playing Constitutional Hardball and You Think It's the Wrong Game – with tips for Democrats trying to reinstitute norms. (Hat tip to Sam Wang who retweeted a link to this.)
posted by StrawberryPie at 7:48 AM on January 28 [3 favorites]


In a new low for Washington, yesterday @chefjoseandres was asked to leave the Alfalfa dinner after-party at @CafeMilanoDC by its owner, Franco Nuschesse, apparently because his presence made Ivanka Trump uncomfortable (Cafe Milano is the watering hole of the Trump Admin).
Ivanka walked in ahead of him, not comfortable with his presence. Already inside. He’s approached and asked to come outside where Franco, who he knows perfectly well for many years, wants to talk to him. Once outside, he’s not allowed back in.

At the Alfalfa dinner, Franco came up to Jose Andres and gave him a friendly kiss. A little later he would be asked to do the Trump’s dirty work and, like Judas, betray an old friend.
posted by scalefree at 7:49 AM on January 28 [38 favorites]


GOP goes on offense with 20-week abortion vote (The Hill)
Anti-abortion activists celebrated when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks would be brought to the floor for a vote next week.

With a slim Republican majority, the bill isn’t expected to pass — but that’s not the point. Activists think the 20-week abortion ban is a potent election issue for 2018, particularly against Democrats hailing from red-leaning states who are expected to vote against the bill.

“There will be consequences for senators in vulnerable Senate seats in 2018 when the grassroots lets itself be heard at the ballot box,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion advocacy group in Washington.

“I can promise you, in those states — we’re especially looking at Missouri and North Dakota and the women that represent them — we will absolutely be on the ground.”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:11 AM on January 28 [5 favorites]


Anti-abortion activists celebrated when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks would be brought to the floor for a vote next week.

With a slim Republican majority, the bill isn’t expected to pass — but that’s not the point. Activists think the 20-week abortion ban is a potent election issue for 2018, particularly against Democrats hailing from red-leaning states who are expected to vote against the bill.


Every. Hostage. They. Can. Do not underestimate the evil we're dealing with, ever. There is no Republican position left except "who can we shoot next?"
posted by saysthis at 8:18 AM on January 28 [60 favorites]


In a new low for Washington, yesterday @chefjoseandres was asked to leave the Alfalfa dinner after-party at @CafeMilanoDC by its owner, Franco Nuschesse, apparently because his presence made Ivanka Trump uncomfortable (Cafe Milano is the watering hole of the Trump Admin).
I bet Ivanka is uncomfortable. Apart from the whole Trump restaurant thing, I was just reading this: JOSÉ ANDRÉS ON FEEDING PUERTO RICO AFTER HURRICANE MARIA - it looks like a principled chef can do what the US administration can't.
posted by mumimor at 8:19 AM on January 28 [31 favorites]


Vox: Should Democrats run anti-abortion candidates in red states? A new poll casts doubt on the strategy: Democrats may have more to lose than to gain from compromising on abortion.
But a new poll calls this approach into question. Just 8 percent of Democrats would be more likely to vote for a candidate who opposes abortion, according to a report released by the polling firm PerryUndem earlier this month, ahead of Roe v. Wade’s 45th anniversary on Monday. Meanwhile, 31 percent of Republicans would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports abortion rights.

The findings suggest it may be Republicans, not Democrats, who have the most to gain from broadening their approach on reproductive health. That’s something Democrats may want to consider in the runup to this year’s midterms. [...]

In general, abortion appeared to be a bigger issue for Democrats than for Republicans — 71 percent of Democrats said they were more likely to vote for a candidate who supported women having the right to an abortion, while just 36 percent of Republicans said a candidate’s opposition to that right would help win their support. Thirty percent of Republicans said a candidate’s position on abortion made no difference to their vote, while only 20 percent of Democrats said the same.

Of course, fielding anti-abortion candidates isn’t just a strategy to appeal to socially conservative Democrats — it’s also a move to entice independents. But according to PerryUndem’s data, that may not work so well either — 46 percent of independents told the firm they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate who supported abortion rights, and just 15 percent said they’d be more inclined to vote for someone who opposed them.

Researchers also looked at how Clinton and Trump voters thought about candidates’ abortion positions. They found that while 27 percent of Trump voters were more likely to vote for a candidate who supported abortion rights, just 6 percent of Clinton voters were more likely to vote for an anti-abortion candidate. In other words, Trump voters were about four times more likely than Clinton voters to cross party lines on abortion rights.

All of this suggests that “Democrats may have more to lose than to gain by widening their tent,” according to the report. By going after the 8 percent of Democrats who want a candidate who opposes abortion, the party risks losing the 71 percent of Democratic voters who want their candidates to support abortion rights, Tresa Undem, a partner at PerryUndem, told Vox.
posted by chris24 at 8:19 AM on January 28 [57 favorites]


The plate tracking would be massively concerning if it had a strong due process regimen and strict oversight, but guessing neither of those things are the case. They may not just track undocumented residents, but their documented family/friends/people engaged him helping them.

I imagine one could build a database of diplomatic plate sightings very, very quickly.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:33 AM on January 28 [3 favorites]






Funny how he never speaks out against Eminem who's been trashing him for months. But has gone after Jay-Z and Beyonce multiple times now.

Wonder what the difference is?
posted by chris24 at 9:14 AM on January 28 [92 favorites]


From the NY Post link about the Jay Z/Trump “twitter war”:
The rate [unemployment for African-Americans] has been in decline since falling from 16.4 percent in August 2011 to 7.8 percent in January 2017.
That means your predecessor knocked that rate down 8.6 percent over six years, or 1.4 percent a year, which is 40 percent better than your 1 percent effort this year, Mr President.

In other words, your twitter dunk is rejected!

ps: can folks include the source and a brief summary when sharing links? Both help thread scanners decide whether or not the click is worth it.
posted by notyou at 9:21 AM on January 28 [36 favorites]


Meanwhile, the President responds to Jay Z’s comments about the President’s comments about “shithole” countries in Africa by pointing to African-American unemployment rates here as proof that he, the President, is not racist. Instead, his linking of African-Americans to those countries (rather than this one, which is everyone’s as much as his), reconfirms his racism. He’s so deep in it he can’t sense it as anything other than what is, like a catfish in mud.

This was a really poor dunk attempt by the President.
posted by notyou at 9:38 AM on January 28 [31 favorites]


Ivanka walked in ahead of him, not comfortable with his presence. Already inside. He’s approached and asked to come outside where Franco, who he knows perfectly well for many years, wants to talk to him. Once outside, he’s not allowed back in.

I did ponder for a moment some snark about "Princess Ivanka" but the better demons of my nature suggested "nah, that is snark bereft of merit".

But then there were so many capitalisations of the word "republican" in the comments that followed.

Is it even worth pointing out the absurdity that there's party that proclaims; predicates; and names itself on the ideal that we are better off without aristocracy and monarchs. Yet is now essentially a (third stage*) aristocracy trying to implement a monarchy?


* Defined by which means of existence they were gatekeepers or controller of: 1 was land, 2 the factories and means of production, 3 is complex but mostly Fox News, Facebook, and the gig-economy.
posted by Buntix at 10:18 AM on January 28 [4 favorites]


It's kinda funny (not funny) how bad the Trumps are at playing the game. All Ivanka had to do was go over to Chef Andres, shake hands, praise him for his work in PR and elsewhere, and she would probably change the prevailing storyline about the boorish Trumps. At least for a day or two.

But that would have been too easy. Instead, she reinforces every negative impression people have of her, and guarantees the story will get wide circulation. I'm glad they're all incompetent, but this sort of thing is politics 101. Clinton, Bush, and Obama's people would have either ignored the political enemy in the restaurant, or gone over to shake hands in an uncomfortable display of faux friendliness that plays well in the media.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 10:40 AM on January 28 [40 favorites]


In December, PerryUndem surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,029 voters around the country. The researchers asked questions aimed at capturing the nuances of Americans’ thinking about the issue of abortion

That Vox article on abotion voting is so damn dumb. Of course a poll of 1000 random Americans will skew pro-choice, because more people are in large cities. We're not discussing whether it makes sense to run antichoice candidates in San Francisco, we're asking if it makes sense in rural Kansas and Georgia. You would have to run district polls to see if it was a viable strategy.
posted by benzenedream at 10:44 AM on January 28 [6 favorites]


As George W. Bush on ‘S.N.L.,’ Will Ferrell Wants to Remind You: ‘I Was Really Bad’

This is one of their better ones, actually. Those who don’t remember history...
posted by Melismata at 10:50 AM on January 28 [7 favorites]


Is it even worth pointing out the absurdity that there's party that proclaims; predicates; and names itself on the ideal that we are better off without aristocracy and monarchs. Yet is now essentially a (third stage*) aristocracy trying to implement a monarchy?

Clinton, Bush, and Obama's people would have either ignored the political enemy in the restaurant, or gone over to shake hands in an uncomfortable display of faux friendliness that plays well in the media.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 2:40 AM on January 29 [+] [!]


Consider this -
Just like today, when we have a huge range of tabloids to choose from, the Londoner in search of scandal had a range of rags and broadsheets, including The Tatler [sic], The Flying Post, The British Apollo, The Observator, and The Female Tatler. Some were published for years. Others folded within weeks or months. The periodicals were themselves the subject of scandal, such as The Female Tatler, whose authorship by "Mrs. Crackenthorpe" was debated, and, for a time, there were two Female Tatlers, each claiming to be real.

Almost all of these scandal sheets claimed that their purpose was to be instructional and morally edifying.
Public disgust goes hand in hand with monarchy y'all. Leaders who fear and respect the people do not act like this. For contrast, here's Bill Clinton reacting to someone he doesn't particularly like as a normal, democratically elected human does.
posted by saysthis at 10:53 AM on January 28 [2 favorites]


> This is one of their better ones, actually. Those who don’t remember history...

can't get fooled again?
posted by tonycpsu at 10:53 AM on January 28 [6 favorites]


Women live everywhere, so it doesn't make sense to run anti-abortion candidates anywhere. The polling is irrelevant.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:53 AM on January 28 [70 favorites]


It's kinda funny (not funny) how bad the Trumps are at playing the game. All Ivanka had to do was go over to Chef Andres, shake hands, praise him for his work in PR and elsewhere, and she would probably change the prevailing storyline about the boorish Trumps. At least for a day or two.

I think that's probably true, but I also think that 'playing the game' is two things:

A) Not something that the super wealthy either want to do, nor care to engage in. They want to make the rules and then be in a position where nobody dares judge them. It's a primary conflict of the trump admin, and is apparently what is meant by 'running government like a business'.

B) NOT playing the game is something that projects the sort of strength that trump voters desire. Jeb Bush plays the game, because he's (to them) a spineless politician. trump and co. ignore the rules because they are strong. That's what anti-establishment means to these people - doing what you want and ignoring the rules. They don't want a skilled player, they want a cheater who's in the bag for them (that is: a white nationalist).

I suppose that, luckily for us all, the trumps are still in a position where they can be judged, which frequently incites trump to rage, and also that the voting bloc described in B) isn't completely running the country yet.
posted by codacorolla at 10:58 AM on January 28 [9 favorites]


That Vox article on abotion voting is so damn dumb. Of course a poll of 1000 random Americans will skew pro-choice, because more people are in large cities. We're not discussing whether it makes sense to run antichoice candidates in San Francisco, we're asking if it makes sense in rural Kansas and Georgia. You would have to run district polls to see if it was a viable strategy.

I used to think this. The biggest problem is that even if this does make electoral sense to a point (letting single issue abortion voters hold the balance of power and continually keeping the Democratic party hostage is not something I'm fond of) the party is asking "can't you take one for the team" when women (and especially black women) have been taking EVERYTHING for the team for so god damn long. Issues especially relevant to women have been long been put on backburners for decades as we make slow, incremental "bend the moral arc of the universe" level of progress. Yes things are better but things could have been much better if we paid attention.

No. We can't ask this of women anymore. We've come too far.
posted by Talez at 11:03 AM on January 28 [69 favorites]


Of course a poll of 1000 random Americans will skew pro-choice, because more people are in large cities

I get your point, but, also, more people are pro-choice.
posted by box at 11:09 AM on January 28 [10 favorites]


Sacrificing popular positions in the name of "electability" only makes sense if it helps you get elected. Democrats, wit the fetish for compromise and "bipartisanship", forget this.
posted by Artw at 11:25 AM on January 28 [12 favorites]


Women live everywhere, so it doesn't make sense to run anti-abortion candidates anywhere

We can't ask this of women anymore. We've come too far.

Women live everywhere, but pro-choice Women do not live everywhere. 38% of women believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. A minority, but hardly a tiny minority.

This is not just something "we" are asking of women (who is we?)

It is something rural women are asking of urban women, and of each other.
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:32 AM on January 28 [6 favorites]


Seth Masket, Pacific Standard: The "Electability" Fallacy
The concept of electability has been central to modern political strategy. Even hardcore political activists, devoted to an ideology or a particular cause, recognize that there's limited value in backing a candidate who appears to be unelectable, and they're willing to make some policy concessions to support an imperfect candidate who appears able to win.

...Recent research suggests that those elections [in 1972, with McGovern and 1984, with Mondale] have actually been misinterpreted, and argues that those electoral wins can, in fact, be explained largely by economic conditions and other political fundamentals. Any penalty for ideological extremism, it turns out, is actually pretty small.
In other words: To hell with throwing women under the bus in the name of the elusive "Swing" voter. I've always maintained that we need to elect the Democrats we can, and that Missouri, for instance, is going to elect more conservative Dems than California, especially in Senate races. But I think the "pro-life Democrat" is a vanishing, if not vanished, breed. Those who are passionate about "SAVE TEH BAYBEEZ" are already Republicans. Women are one of the backbones of the Democratic party, so it's not going to benefit us to deny women our bodily and reproductive autonomy in the name of maybe capturing a few conservative voters.

Even in deep-red districts which are more economically and socially conservative, there are women who need healthcare and, yes, abortions. And we need to move the pro-choice Overton window to include "I, personally, would never have an abortion, but I support the choice of other women to have one."
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:45 AM on January 28 [63 favorites]


The Plot Against America, The Atlantic. This is a fascinating longform piece on Paul Manafort’s career and his innovations in political lobbying during the 80s and 90s. It illustrates the cultural shifts that enabled oligarchs to take over the Republican Party and why Manafort took the risks that finally got him indicted after a lifetime of white collar crime.
posted by SakuraK at 12:32 PM on January 28 [26 favorites]


That Vox article on abotion voting is so damn dumb. Of course a poll of 1000 random Americans will skew pro-choice, because more people are in large cities.

That's really not how the findings in this study came about. They conducted in-depth interviews with 1,029 subjects. The findings are not as simplistic as you seem to imagine: people in one instance were asked if they were more or less likely to support abortion rights, and those results sorted to show if Clinton/Trump voter and Male/Female. It wasn't just a basic yes/no telephone poll without regard to people's point of view and voting record or gender.

There's a link in the Vox article that shows how in depth this poll was. I highly recommend checking it out before declaring the findings "dumb".
posted by oneirodynia at 12:40 PM on January 28 [9 favorites]


The Chef Jose saga continues.

[missing: presumed DM from Ivanka to Chef Jose]

Chef Jose: Thank you @IvankaTrump for reaching out. I believe now that you personally had nothing to do.
Let’s now work on what’s important: Immigration reform, where #DACADreamers and Undocumented citizens will become part of a strong USA. With secure borders. With economic growth.👍🏼

Cafe Milano: . @chefjoseandres, you are always welcome at @CafeMilanoDC when we are open and in fact, I will host you and toast to all your successes.I am sorry for the misunderstanding.Last night the restaurant was closed for a private Alfalfa Dinner after party. Of note, the dinner and after party are different guest lists. Also, Ivanka Trump had no role on determining event attendees. Franco

Chef Jose: Thank you @CafeMilanoDC and Franco for the apology. I understand was a “misunderstanding”. Still hard to understand why I was the only person not allowed in! Please people of @washingtondc keep supporting a great resturant institution. Now let’s all be friends. #USAforward
posted by scalefree at 12:40 PM on January 28 [10 favorites]


It is something rural women are asking of urban women, and of each other.

No. It is a form of oppression, a removal of fundamental rights to bodily autonomy, demanded by fucking patriarchy. That some women work to support patriarchy is not remotely relevant to whether you can consider “should we allow women human rights or not?” as a viable question when considering electoral strategy, and this should not be a surprise to anyone who has bothered to educate themselves about how misogyny and patriarchy actually work.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:48 PM on January 28 [83 favorites]


Where is this "rural women are asking for antichoice candidates/policies" coming from? Rural women are disproportionately affected by lack of access to sex ed, contraception, abortion, family planning, and sexual assault resources. I wouldn't be surprised if most of those 38% of women were suburban/exurban residents.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:04 PM on January 28 [23 favorites]


Abortions are necessary healthcare that must be made available to every place where a person may become pregnant. It doesn't matter if the local population supports abortion. We don't decide whether to give people appendectomies based on polling data; we shouldn't with termination of a pregnancy. A percentage of pregnant people will die without access to abortion. It needs to be available anywhere there are pregnant people.
posted by melissasaurus at 1:05 PM on January 28 [110 favorites]


It’s not so much rural women, either, IIRC. It’s white evangelical women.

So like...women living in the most patriarchal of patriarchies, whose choices may not be, shall we say, unconstrained.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:08 PM on January 28 [15 favorites]


@ddale8:
Oh man. Here's Trump on climate change to Piers Morgan: “The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they’re setting records." They're setting record lows, not highs.

To his credit, Piers Morgan is the first interviewer of Trump's presidency, I believe, to press Trump on whether he believes climate change is real. His answer: "There is a cooling, and there's a heating."

Finally, Trump said he'd consider getting back into the Paris climate agreement because, "as you know, I like Emmanuel." He has continually suggested that he believes the Paris agreement is an actual French thing rather than a global accord simply agreed to in France.
Politico, Elana Schor, Deadline looms for Trump and Russia sanctions, in which Monday is the deadline for Treasury to implement sanctions. The deadline comes as Russia arrested (and later released) Alexei Navalny and hundreds of protesters and raided Navalny's office.
posted by zachlipton at 1:11 PM on January 28 [28 favorites]


It’s not so much rural women, either, IIRC. It’s white evangelical women.

And white, evangelical women are already voting Republican. And they will continue to vote Republican as long as the Republicans continue to be the White Supremacist Party. These are not people the Democrats can realistically win, nor should they try.

Democrats are not going to chase away swing voters, even in more conservative states, by being the party of Justice And Body Autonomy For All. The era of "Democrats For Nixon" and "Reagan Democrats" and even "Democrats For Bush Post 9/11" is dead, gone, pushing up daisies.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:17 PM on January 28 [55 favorites]


On a topic raised earlier, an in-depth discussion on LGM: DID DEMOCRATS “LET UNIONS DIE?”
posted by prefpara at 1:42 PM on January 28 [5 favorites]


No, Ivanka Trump didn’t stop José Andrés from getting into a party. Here’s what really happened.
(WaPo)

TL;DR: Andrés attended the dinner, knew he wasn't invited to the even-more-exclusive after party, posted a petulant tweet and hijinks ensued.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:53 PM on January 28 [4 favorites]


The Plot Against America, The Atlantic. This is a fascinating longform piece on Paul Manafort’s career and his innovations in political lobbying during the 80s and 90s. It illustrates the cultural shifts that enabled oligarchs to take over the Republican Party and why Manafort took the risks that finally got him indicted after a lifetime of white collar crime.
This is really a great article. One thing is that there is no way Manafort isn't a Russian asset. Another that it really underlines the depravation of the Republican party.
posted by mumimor at 1:58 PM on January 28 [10 favorites]


So Trump’s Interior Department announced it will create a board of hunters called the “International Wildlife Conservation Council” with the stated goal of boosting public awareness of the "benefits that result from U.S. citizens traveling to foreign nations to engage in hunting."

These fucking assholes want to shoot elephants and call it wildlife conservation. And with that, I log off for the day before I throw this laptop across the room.
posted by bluecore at 2:16 PM on January 28 [74 favorites]


The Atlantic also has a story about the relationship between Trump and Steve Wynn with a few interesting details about how they went from rivals in the casino world to a budding bromance. The takeaway is that they're close now and there's no reason to believe that's going to change anytime soon; Wynn flatters Trump, and that's all that matters.

Wynn apparently knew that the sexual abuse story was in the works but left the RNC in the dark about it. They had to put on hold attacks on both Tim Kaine, for accepting money from someone who has been accused of sexual misconduct, and against Hillary, of course:
Moreover, officials had begun informally strategizing on how to capitalize on a New York Times report that Hillary Clinton had shielded a staffer from accusations of sexual misconduct. Those talks were put on hold.
This detail was facepalm-worthy:
Trump courted him by giving him a tour of the White House, pausing often to ask Wynn—an avid art collector—about certain paintings. “He would ask him what the valuation of all the art was,” said a Republican consultant to whom the exchange was relayed. “You know, that’s Trump, he’s always wanting to know what things are worth.” For his part, the source said, Wynn thought it was “funny.” “I think he found it charming.”
I hope the White House Curator double checks the inventory when Trump leaves office.
posted by peeedro at 2:21 PM on January 28 [32 favorites]


I hope the White House Curator double checks the inventory when Trump leaves office.

I hope that when Trump leaves office, it will be due to heading to prison, with all of his assets being forfeit to the US Government.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 2:28 PM on January 28 [18 favorites]


If Pence were caught up in the Mueller net you'd simply impeach both the President and the Vice President at the same time. In which case the Speaker of the House would take the oath of office and become President.

Trump and Pence might very well be impeached, but not for the same exact thing and not at the same time. There will be a time gap which will allow whoever goes first (probably Trump) to be replaced (by Pence) who will appoint a new VP who will take over if and when Pence is impeached.

We had this before, as you'll recall, with Nixon and Agnew. Only Agnew went first, and was replaced by Ford long before Nixon resigned. Pence could appoint a new VP within minutes of taking over, and either could resign while the other drags the process out. There is no way both will be forced out at the exact same moment.
posted by msalt at 2:34 PM on January 28 [7 favorites]


me: "half of the US - Mexico border is a river, specifically 'the deepest channel of the Rio Grande river.' How are you going to put a wall in the middle of a river?"
Mitheral: They are defacto seceding that land to Mexico by building the wall 100s of metres inland from the riparian zone.

Interesting. However, it still remains a strong argument/question with which to challenge proponents of a wall, since everybody can understand the problem.

Also, won't this create a lawless no-man's-land south of the wall? Seems like people will be easily able to get on a sliver of American soil and request asylum, bear children, commit crimes without realistic risk of being arrested, dump toxic waste, etc. Has Neal Stephenson written a novel about this yet?
posted by msalt at 2:45 PM on January 28 [19 favorites]


There's an out-of-left-field story from Axios that the NSC is shopping around a plan to build a nationalized 5G network within three years, which we apparently have to do because of China, for reasons not particularly fleshed out beyond buzzwords (I mean, we should have a robust nationwide 5G network for all sorts of good reasons, but 'China is developing AI' is not really one of them).

Somehow, by the time the plan is done, I'm pretty confident it will morph into "let's give AT&T a gazillion taxpayer dollars to build the network, then let them keep all the profits."

Also, we're firmly in "troll admits he's trolling but we're so deep into it that it doesn't even matter" territory: @meridithmcgraw: Trump to Piers Morgan on his Twitter habits:

PIERS: And are you actually lying in bed with your phone, working out how to wind everybody up?
TRUMP: Well, perhaps sometimes in bed and perhaps sometimes at breakfast or lunch or whatever.
posted by zachlipton at 3:23 PM on January 28 [23 favorites]


Also, won't this create a lawless no-man's-land south of the wall? Seems like people will be easily able to get on a sliver of American soil and request asylum, bear children, commit crimes without realistic risk of being arrested, dump toxic waste, etc.

This operates under the false assumption that US authorities don’t care what happens on US territory. Like if you’re Canadian there’s nothing stopping you from walking a few yards into the US and dumping a whole heap of toxic waste. The US is still going to care even if it’s a few yards from the border. If they find you they will indict you, they will extradite you, and they will make an example of you.
posted by Talez at 3:26 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


There's an out-of-left-field story from Axios that the NSC is shopping around a plan to build a nationalized 5G network within three years, which we apparently have to do because of China, for reasons not particularly fleshed out beyond buzzwords

Because they’re perpetually afraid of what Huawei also has running on their cell equipment and what interesting stuff they’re sending back to the CPC Politburo. Any USG financed 5G network would require American vendors to provide the gear and block Huawei from getting CPC listening posts in mobile base stations.
posted by Talez at 3:31 PM on January 28 [4 favorites]


As the other story on this points out, we already banned US carriers from using Huawei's equipment (and there aren't American vendors for most of this stuff), so it's not clear why a government-financed network would be any different in that regard.
posted by zachlipton at 3:37 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]



It’s not so much rural women, either, IIRC. It’s white evangelical women. / And white, evangelical women are already voting Republican.


There is a good chunk of the population that's somewhere in the middle on abortion, though. Most people ( I am told) do not think abortion has the same moral valence, is in the same category, as an appendectomy. (I do think that, personally.) Most people (I am told) think that abortion should be legal with reasonable restrictions (I don't think any restrictions are reasonable, myself). There are people who say they are pro life and Democrat; there are people who think abortion is a horrible thing that is sometimes necessary and we should reduce the number of abortions by reducing the necessity. It's true that "abortion is literally murder" is a fringe viewpoint, not a majority, but it's not true that a majority of people believe the exact opposite ("abortion is nothing more than a medical procedure that should be legal and regulated no more than every other procedure").

I'm really, really divided on this. On the one hand, it's not my business what politicians get elected in e.g. Missouri - I don't live there. I don't get a say. Especially when one of the politicians who set off this discussion last year was a mayoral candidate.

On the other hand, I - and we - have been relying on a blue firewall my entire life to keep abortion rights safe. That wall has been eroding over the past ten years. If it cracks, it affects everyone.

On the other hand, more conservative or icky Democrats have still been part of that wall over the years. Tim Kaine, Al Franken, Manchin, just off the top of my head. The wall is not eroding because of Blue Dogs. It's eroding because Democrats of all stripes didn't win elections.

But the reason that all of those conservative dems held the line is because that was the party line. Note, the party explicitly had room for Dems who didn't like abortion, as long as they voted the right way. And that's been a consequence of having that centralized-power party establishment that everyone hates. We can take a few cracks in the wall, as long as that party line remains firm. But we can't let anti-abortion politicians get a real foothold in the party.

And on the other hand, with Pence being so close to power, it could become very crucial very quickly that we have Dems in power who will hold the line.

So I don't know where my conclusion ends up, I really don't. I'm terrified of losing abortion rights. But it's complicated. Ultimately though, I think we can have politicians who moderate their language without moderating their voting. "When someone needs an abortion, it's the worst day of their life. I don't want any government barriers getting in the way."
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 3:43 PM on January 28 [18 favorites]


Oh boy, on twitter Chelsea Clinton responded with laughter and grace to somebody who tweeted at her that she looked like the donkey in Shrek, and Twitter responded basically like you are our model and some Trump supporter came in there and was a shit and feminist Twitter just tore him to shreds.

Twitter is bad and stupid in a number of ways, but just like people in general, it has its moments of beauty.
posted by angrycat at 3:51 PM on January 28 [14 favorites]


There is a good chunk of the population that's somewhere in the middle on abortion, though.

No, they're somewhere in the middle on whether other women should be allowed to have abortions. Over and over, it gets shown that when they have to deal with an unwanted pregnancy, they believe their circumstances are "special" and an abortion should be okay. This includes everyone from women who protest abortion clinics and wind up becoming clients, to congressmen who want abortions for their mistresses while lobbying against abortion rights for the public.

If they were really "against abortion," and not just anti-woman, they'd want the alternatives that other countries have found to be effective: widely-available contraceptives, good sex education, gov't sponsored prenatal care and childcare. Additional funding for any of those would reduce abortions - even better access to them without specific gov't funding would help - but they don't want those; they want women to be punished for having sex, including women who didn't choose to have sex.

They're not pro-life, they're pro-birth, because that keeps women tied down.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:57 PM on January 28 [159 favorites]


Pence could appoint a new VP within minutes of taking over, and either could resign while the other drags the process out.

no, both the house and the senate would have to approve any appointee by a majority vote
posted by pyramid termite at 4:11 PM on January 28 [10 favorites]


I hope the White House Curator double checks the inventory when Trump leaves office.

Hell, I hope they check everything for elbow damage the moment Wynn is in the next room.
posted by dhartung at 4:43 PM on January 28 [4 favorites]


I've mentioned this before, and I don't know if this is really the place to hash out abortion again, but the pro-life abortion movement is really not about the ethics of abortion, but about feeling morally superior to desperate women. Engaging with American pro-life people on the issues is a waste of time because they don't give a shit about the issues. If they gave a shit about the issues, there would be a ton of things they would be doing instead of trying to make women getting an abortion feel guilty about it.

Rural women support bans on abortion because rural women in America are likely to be evangelicals, and evangelicals support bans on abortion because at this point opposition to abortion is basically the only thing that defines evangelicals. (The reason why it defines them is because it would be an existential crisis for a sect focused on living so you'll go to Heaven to have to confront their long history of advocating for positions we recognise now as deeply abhorrent.)
posted by Merus at 4:47 PM on January 28 [48 favorites]


Metafilter: I don't know if this is really the place to hash out abortion again
posted by uosuaq at 5:04 PM on January 28 [16 favorites]


Omarosa Manigault will be continuing her post-White House career as a member of the cast of Celebrity Big Brother, which again, the title seems a little on the nose.
posted by zachlipton at 5:28 PM on January 28 [12 favorites]


How does this administration think it's going to deregulate the Internet while nationalizing wireless? What an utter clusterfuck.

Just hand Qualcomm a giant subsidy (or a huge defense contract for something using the same tech as 5G) and be done with it.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:41 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


You're both still engaging on the stereotype of evangelical Christian pro-lifers. You're not engaging with the reality of people who aren't evangelical Christians, who may or may not be rural, who are moderately pro-choice, pro-birth control, but feel a range of squicky feelings about abortion and may call themselves pro-life.

There's a podcast I've been listening to recently called "Impolite Company", about the intersection of politics and religion, and this is what they were talking about in a recent episode - and it made me a little furious to listen to them talk about this middle range of positions. If someone has data showing that this middle range doesn't really exist, that there are only two positions anyone takes on abortion, I'd love to hear it. But I'm pretty sure there is a range of positions that people feel. And you may think that those positions are wrong, illogical, poorly thought through - you may think that the "reasonable restrictions" they imagine are just self-serving justification, as I do - but those are still the opinions and positions that people hold.

There's a range within the Democratic party itself, even within just democratic elected officials. There's a cohort of people who really don't like abortion, but don't want to make it illegal, they want to reduce the necessity for abortion by making birth control and family planning more available - like Tim Kaine and, surprise, the Clintons back in the '90s. There are people who want abortion to be illegal but they also sort of don't care and they vote based on other issues - Joe Manchin. There's even Joe Donnelly from Indiana who is very staunchly anti-abortion and votes that way a lot of the time but also votes in support of other women's issues like VAWA funding and gender discrimination suits. All of those positions presumably have some constituency within Democratic Party voters as well.

I have no problem with taking an extreme position on abortion - I do so myself. But it seems to me that what you-plural are doing is seeing the whole range of people through an extremist lens, and not seeing reality accurately. I don't think ... i don't know if that should change your political conclusion very much. but.

Additionally, Joe Donnelly is defending his seat in 2018, as far as I can tell.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 5:50 PM on January 28 [17 favorites]


Trump and Pence might very well be impeached, but not for the same exact thing and not at the same time.

I was making the point, in response to the idea that the line of succession was complicated, that they could be impeached at the same time. My very next sentence was that this was never going to happen in practice. My comment wasn't about what would happen only what could.

Pence could appoint a new VP within minutes of taking over, and either could resign while the other drags the process out.

As pyramid termite says confirming a VP takes majority votes in both houses. If Democrats were to control, say, the House of Representatives they could block any such appointment. Which could leave us with the situation where Pence is President and clearly deserves impeachment, has no vice president and no prospect of getting one confirmed, and the Senate refuses to impeach and make Nancy Pelosi president. But now we're in nighttime fanfic territory again.

The point was that the presidential line of succession is not complicated. It is simple, direct, and clear. The only wrinkle as far as I know is that some folks argue that the Speaker of the House is ineligible to be in the line of succession and that has never been litigated.
posted by Justinian at 6:10 PM on January 28


I've thought for a while that just as the 22nd and 25th amendments were created to codify blurry informal elements of term limits and succession, the US will probably need an amendment at the end of this that allows for entirely new presidential elections in the event of a vacancy, with the role of the VP (at best) reduced to that of caretaker during the process. The idea that one party might lose its popular mandate to the presidency during a term is both imaginable and not accounted for other than by convoluted kludges. (This all goes back to the original intention of making the runner-up in a presidential election the Veep. That only lasted to 1800, but the cleanup was a mess.)

Article 7 of the current French constitution covers this:
If, for whatever reason, the Presidency of the Republic falls vacant, or if the incapacity of the President has been certified by the Constitutional Council, at the request of the Government and by an absolute majority of its members, the functions of the President, except those conferred by articles 11 and 12 below [referendum powers and dissolution of the National Assembly], are performed temporarily by the President of the Senate. When a vacancy occurs, or when the incapacity is certified by the Constitutional Council to be permanent, and unless force majeure has been certified by the Constitutional Council, the election of a new President takes place not less than twenty and not more than fifty days after the opening of the vacancy or the declaration of the permanence of the incapacity.
That's how modern republics work. You have to have a mechanism to kick out the chief executive and everyone elected alongside the chief executive.
posted by holgate at 6:33 PM on January 28 [9 favorites]


[I think we've gone far enough on the abortion issue for this thread.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:01 PM on January 28 [16 favorites]


The Grammy's bleeped Bono (or possibly Logic; I've seen conflicting reports) saying "Blessed are the shithole countries, for they gave us the American Dream"

And James Corden held auditions for the Fire and Fury audiobook, including a special appearance by Hillary Clinton.
posted by zachlipton at 8:08 PM on January 28 [18 favorites]


I just saw Clinton reading the excerpt for the Grammys and started to tear up.

We will never live in a world where she was President and Donnie LeftSwipe wasn’t. Our reality will always have his stench on it.

It is so sad, what might have been, and so frustrating, what is.
posted by darkstar at 8:32 PM on January 28 [72 favorites]


The Grammy's bleeped Bono (or possibly Logic; I've seen conflicting reports) saying "Blessed are the shithole countries, for they gave us the American Dream"

That was U2 during their performance. But Logic also had a shithole comment bleeped. “To all the beautiful countries... You are not shitholes.”
posted by chris24 at 8:42 PM on January 28 [15 favorites]


we should have a robust nationwide 5G network for all sorts of good reasons, but 'China is developing AI' is not really one of them

If the US really wanted to play to its strengths there, it would encourage further immigration of researchers and technical workers. I doubt that's what's going to happen, though.
posted by Coventry at 9:22 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


Pacific Standard, 'That's Just the Life of a Warrior': How Disability Activists Are Playing the Long Game Under Trump:
Over the fall and winter, I've been speaking to many ADAPTERS about their experiences during the "#SummerofADAPT," a hashtag and rallying cry that Prizio created in what his colleague Gregg Beratan calls a "moment of genius." The message was consistent. The actions we saw last summer were not frantic, ad-hoc efforts born of simple desperation at the assault on Medicaid—although that threat is real. Instead, ADAPTers would like to be understood as one of America's most practiced and effective civil disobedience organizations.

To tell this story and make the work behind the rallies apparent, Pacific Standard spoke to Anita Cameron. Among disability rights activists, Cameron is legendary. She's been performing acts of civil disobedience for almost four decades, with over 130 arrests. She also pushes the disability community to confront issues of race, class, sexuality, and other aspects of intersecting justice within its own ranks.
...
What's coming next?

We are trying to get co-sponsors for the Disability Integration Act. The act is legislation that will give people with disabilities the right to live in the community with the services and supports that they need. Our previous bills (Community First Choice, etc.) were written for medicaid programs. This was written in a civil rights framework: It's the civil right of people with disabilities to live in the community. The bill addresses transportation, housing, services, and supports in the community. Insurance companies will have to pay. It's a bipartisan bill with bipartisan support. ADAPT is non-partisan. We pick on Democrats and Republicans and independents all equally.

If you're messing with our civil rights, you're going to hear from ADAPT.

Katherine Miller, BuzzFeed, The Past Year And The Breakdown Of Institutional Power:
Donald Trump has an unusual kind of power: He reveals weakness.

This quality he extends to all things — people, traditions, movements — and while you know all this by now, the way he traffics in lingering doubts (e.g., Lyin’ Ted) and the malleable dignity of those around him, in all the small compromises people make with themselves toward an end, what all these individual shortfalls do in the aggregate is to expose the fragility of our modern, national institutions.

What exactly, for instance, is supposed to happen if the president wonders why we accept immigrants from “shithole” countries? Or says a group of white supremacists included “very fine” people? Backhandedly calls the North Korean dictator short and fat?

Nothing, of course. There’s no institution to guard against any of that. And since there’s no way to quantify the harm in any of it, either, (no laws broken, no physical destruction) all these things that President Trump says just land in a weird, rhetorical DMZ, where there is no recourse. That unease defined the last year. And it’s this kind of phantom feeling that something should’ve happened, but didn’t or won’t, that flows through each of the central stories of the moment: Trump’s presidency, the nightmare revelations of sexual abuse, and the accumulating problems of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. What brings all these things together is the assault, from the White House and from journalists, for worse and for better, on core institutions.
Elizabeth Bruenig, WaPo, The antisocial politics of Trump:
At his inauguration, President Trump promised to renew the unity of the American people, claiming that "through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other." Then, Trump seemed intent on creating a reborn civic and social consciousness, and on empowering ordinary people against big government and big money.

And yet, Trump's administration has ushered in a virulently antisocial politics that dissolves the most basic bonds and leaves individuals powerless against both market and state. Trump, like many populists of the right, gained a foothold by promising that a resurgent nationalism could make people feel cohesive, trusting and strong again. But like his right- ­leaning populist predecessors, he has offered only the imaginary bonds of nationalism — the illusion of fellow-feeling and homogeneity — even as his policies destroy the real and foundational bonds of family and community in the arenas of health care, immigration, labor and more.
posted by zachlipton at 10:28 PM on January 28 [53 favorites]


Yeah, the last couple of ADAPT meetings I've been to have been are like so what is our next strike. Can we get to Toomey's house in Allentown and somehow humiliate him there. They remind me a lot of ACT-UP in their happy warrior/we are going to get them/DIRECT ACTION approach. Toomey should be counting his blessings that most of us are in wheelchairs, because the number one thing keeping us from protesting in front of his stupid house day and night is the fact that there's no good public transportation to his joint and it would mean renting three vans just to get ten of us up there with all of our fly cripple accessories.
posted by angrycat at 4:13 AM on January 29 [71 favorites]


What exactly, for instance, is supposed to happen if the president wonders why we accept immigrants from “shithole” countries? Or says a group of white supremacists included “very fine” people? Backhandedly calls the North Korean dictator short and fat?

Nothing, of course. There’s no institution to guard against any of that. And since there’s no way to quantify the harm in any of it, either, (no laws broken, no physical destruction) all these things that President Trump says just land in a weird, rhetorical DMZ, where there is no recourse. That unease defined the last year. And it’s this kind of phantom feeling that something should’ve happened, but didn’t or won’t, that flows through each of the central stories of the moment: Trump’s presidency, the nightmare revelations of sexual abuse, and the accumulating problems of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. What brings all these things together is the assault, from the White House and from journalists, for worse and for better, on core institutions


This X a thousand is exactly how I feel lately- he's doings things that aren't technically illegal (to the public eye) with his dangerous actions and statements, but objectively to anyone with half a brain he's betraying his oath to our country. There needs to be recourse, there needs to be justice, but it hasn't arrived yet. That unease and waiting for one of our institutions to swoop in and save us feeling just leads to this weird middle ground. If 2018 isn't the year that saves us, what's left of our institutions in 2019 may not be enough to recover.
posted by andruwjones26 at 5:35 AM on January 29 [36 favorites]


Morning news miscellany -

CNBC: Very few US adults report receiving bonuses or raises from the Republican tax law
Two percent of U.S. adults said they had gotten a raise, bonus or other additional benefits due to the Republican tax law enacted a month ago by President Donald Trump, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday.
...
About 58 percent of U.S. adults surveyed said that large U.S. corporations or wealthy Americans stand to benefit most from the tax legislation. Just 13 percent said the middle class will benefit the most, the poll showed.
Marketwatch: Tax overhaul will have a limited effect on U.S. economy, Moody’s says
The U.S. tax bill signed into law in December will have a limited effect on the U.S. economy, as companies are unlikely to spend their tax savings on growth initiatives while the tax cut for the wealthy will not trickle down.

That’s according to Moody’s Investors Service in a FAQ on the credit impact of the tax bill published Thursday, which warns of a number of negative consequences for federal debt, local governments, utilities and homeowners.

“We do not expect a meaningful boost to business investment because U.S. nonfinancial companies will likely prioritize share buybacks, M&A and paying down existing debt,” said Moody’s analysts led by Rebecca Karnovitz. “Much of the tax cut for individuals will go to high earners, who are less likely to spend it on current consumption.”

...

More than three-quarters of the $1.1 trillion in individual tax cuts will go to people who earn more than $200,000 a year in taxable income, who constitute only about 5% of all taxpayers, said Karnovitz.
In another news cycle, that would be the dominate story: '98% of people have seen no benefit from tax cuts, no long-term boost to business investments expected.'

Instead, more #Memogate. NYT: Secret Memo Hints at a New Republican Target: Rod Rosenstein
A secret, highly contentious Republican memo reveals that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein approved an application to extend surveillance of a former Trump campaign associate shortly after taking office last spring, according to three people familiar with it.

The renewal shows that the Justice Department under President Trump saw reason to believe that the associate, Carter Page, was acting as a Russian agent. But the reference to Mr. Rosenstein’s actions in the memo — a much-disputed document that paints the investigation into Russian election meddling as tainted from the start — indicates that Republicans may be moving to seize on his role as they seek to undermine the inquiry.
...
American law enforcement officials began conducting surveillance on [Mr. Page] in the fall of 2016, shortly after he left the campaign. It is unclear what they learned about Mr. Page between then and when they sought the order’s renewal roughly six months later. It is also unknown whether the surveillance court granted the extension.

The renewal effort came in the late spring, sometime after the Senate confirmed Mr. Rosenstein as the Justice Department’s No. 2 official in late April. Around that time, following Mr. Trump’s firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director in May, Mr. Rosenstein appointed Mr. Mueller, a former head of the bureau, to take over the department’s Russia investigation. Mr. Rosenstein is overseeing the inquiry because Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself.
This is, to be clear, the Nunes nonsense memo, which seems to be (as details continue to leak out) more of the same stuff that he was peddling a year ago; Nunes seems to be not at all interested in the question of whether or not Carter Page was actually acting as a Russian governmental agent, which seems, well, rather important to resolve either way.

The House Intelligence Committee may vote tonight to release (or not release) the Nunes memo, and
The committee may also consider a Democratic memo by Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee, who said he would be offering his own memo Monday evening to counter the Nunes one. Schiff and other Democrats say Nunes' memo skews the intelligence it's based on and is effectively an effort to try to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign in 2016.
Meanwhile, a reminder that 'Russian involvement' really mean's 'Putin's involvement' and/or 'Russian governmental involvement,' separable from what the Russian people may want -
The Moscow Times: Russia's Youth Takes the Lead in Countrywide Protests Against Putin
They marched in Vladivostok, in Russia’s Far East, and they marched in Siberia's Irkutsk, braving subzero temperatures. They marched for fair and free elections, they said, and for an end to President Vladimir Putin’s nearly two-decade-long rule. Should he win the vote on March 18 — as is widely expected — it would extend his presidency for another six years.

In more than one hundred cities across the country, Russians took to the streets in support of opposition politician Alexei Navalny’s call for what he has termed a “voters’ strike.” Navalny called for the boycott earlier in January after being barred from registering as a candidate due to a prior criminal conviction his supporters see as a political ploy.
...
Three teenagers — all of whom declined to give their last names — said that, above all, it is time for someone new to lead the country. If someone other than Navalny was speaking out similarly, they would support him or her too, they said.

“Putin has been president for longer than we’ve been alive,” said Nastia, 15. “It’s time for a change.” Another 15 year old had “money” and “power” written in marker on each of his cheeks. “It’s all that Putin wants,” he explained.
posted by cjelli at 6:01 AM on January 29 [45 favorites]


Three teenagers — all of whom declined to give their last names — said that, above all, it is time for someone new to lead the country.

I get the feeling that even if Putin lost the election, he wouldn't go quietly and would still be pulling strings from the background if he supposedly did. Not in a conspiracy kind of way, but more in the kind of way in which he's so entrenched that they'll never really be rid of him until he's dead, and even then his cronies will continue to carry on with business as usual.
posted by Servo5678 at 6:06 AM on January 29 [9 favorites]


I love that Nunes and Rs see Rosenstein renewing the FISA warrant on Page as a good thing, instead of holy shit, even a newly Trump-appointed R DAG saw there was a huge problem. To anyone sane this confirms that someone in the Trump campaign had links with Russia, because it wasn't the Obama DOJ that did it.

Also love that the article says Trump has long distrusted Rosenstein. You mean after he refused his resignation as US Attorney when Sessions fired them all? After he nominated him for DAG? And after he concocted the Comey firing memo with him? Then he started distrusting him?
posted by chris24 at 6:14 AM on January 29 [25 favorites]


John Crace, the Grauniad's sketch writer, on the recent UK TV show featuring Piers Morgan and Donald Trump...
...The real reason the president was so keen on having a state visit to Britain had nothing to do with his insatiable desire to be flattered by someone even more important than Piers. It was because his mother was Scottish and he wanted to return to his roots. Cut to archive footage of his mother. The hair resemblance was uncanny. At the mention of Scotland, Trump gave a quick plug to his golf course. Business was business.
Narcissistic buddies meet in the Piers and Donald show
posted by Mister Bijou at 6:15 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]


I get the feeling that even if Putin lost the election, he wouldn't go quietly and would still be pulling strings from the background if he supposedly did. Not in a conspiracy kind of way, but more in the kind of way in which he's so entrenched that they'll never really be rid of him until he's dead, and even then his cronies will continue to carry on with business as usual.

Could you repeat that? I was distracted by Sean Hannity crowing about how the DEEP STATE is so entrenched that we'll never really be rid of it because Obama and Hillary's cronies are continuing to carry on with business as usual.

Not that projection has ever been a primary tool of the Mirror Universe Media.
posted by delfin at 6:24 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Trump Tower Russian Lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, Exposed in Swiss Corruption Case (Daily Beast)

Gonna need some more pieces of red string
posted by stonepharisee at 6:29 AM on January 29 [34 favorites]


Meanwhile, a reminder that 'Russian involvement' really mean's 'Putin's involvement' and/or 'Russian governmental involvement,' separable from what the Russian people may want -

Let me follow up with a reminder that Putin's information operations are far more intensely deployed in Russia, and that instability there means a higher risk of him creating a diversion by escalating violence in any of the trouble spots he has in reserve.

Including potentially the Baltics.
posted by ocschwar at 6:45 AM on January 29 [4 favorites]


OMG - I just skimmed the actual 5G memo. It is crazypants^maxint. It makes no sense strategically, economically, politically or technically. It's like you gave a bright 14 year old a Heinlein book and told them to come up with a moon landing strategy.
posted by Devonian at 7:00 AM on January 29 [27 favorites]


There's an out-of-left-field story from Axios that the NSC is shopping around a plan to build a nationalized 5G network within three years[...]

Somehow, by the time the plan is done, I'm pretty confident it will morph into "let's give AT&T a gazillion taxpayer dollars to build the network, then let them keep all the profits."


It's the Broadband Scandal all over again! It makes perfect sense as a way to transfer money from taxpayers to huge corporations unaccountably.
posted by jabah at 7:04 AM on January 29 [9 favorites]


Also love that the article says Trump has long distrusted Rosenstein. You mean after he refused his resignation as US Attorney when Sessions fired them all? After he nominated him for DAG? And after he concocted the Comey firing memo with him? Then he started distrusting him?

That's exactly it. After the Comey firing, Rosenstein didn't make sure the Russian Affair died a quiet death. That's not being loyal to Donald Trump, and there is nothing which triggers Trump's hatred more than disloyalty.

At that point, all the prior acts are retconned into "He never trusted him", because admitting that Trump was wrong about his original opinion is something that never can happen.
posted by mikelieman at 7:07 AM on January 29 [5 favorites]


> instability [in Russia] means a higher risk of [Putin] creating a diversion by escalating violence in any of the trouble spots he has in reserve.

Or doing something like orchestrating "conveniently" timed apartment bombings or a school siege right at home.
posted by Westringia F. at 7:10 AM on January 29 [8 favorites]


About 58 percent of U.S. adults surveyed said that large U.S. corporations or wealthy Americans stand to benefit most from the tax legislation. Just 13 percent said the middle class will benefit the most, the poll showed.

This hyper-reality shit is ridiculous. This example, yes, but the whole phenomenon in general. Why do we lead with a poll about what people believe?! What is important are the facts, what is actually going to happen, and that can be worked out with mathematics. The guy on the street is not the one who knows, stop asking them!

It is a complete abdication of journalistic responsibility when we constantly go to the polls as the main story... If people could be informed and educated, maybe their beliefs would start to align with reality, but if all we ever hear are what people believe, those beliefs will become more and more unmoored.

Stop this fucking train!
posted by Meatbomb at 7:13 AM on January 29 [122 favorites]


Again Doonesbury is spotty these days, but yesterday's new one was on target.
posted by Melismata at 7:17 AM on January 29 [24 favorites]


Why do we lead with a poll about what people believe?! What is important are the facts, what is actually going to happen, and that can be worked out with mathematics. The guy on the street is not the one who knows, stop asking them!

It tells us very little about the fiscal effects of tax cuts, sure; no disagreement there.

But 'what do people think about the tax cuts?' isn't a story about the facts of the impact of tax cuts on the economy: it's a story about the impact of 'tax cuts' on politics. That a wide majority of people have not seen a benefit from the cuts, nor do they expect to see a benefit from the cuts, is a good fact to know heading into the 2018 midterms and should (and likely will) inform a lot of the political messaging we see around them, and helps us understand what the guy on the street is going to do when he goes into the voting booth.
posted by cjelli at 7:20 AM on January 29 [26 favorites]


This hyper-reality shit is ridiculous. This example, yes, but the whole phenomenon in general. Why do we lead with a poll about what people believe?! What is important are the facts, what is actually going to happen, and that can be worked out with mathematics. The guy on the street is not the one who knows, stop asking them!

It's a measure of the political will to enact change. I know our system is broken & no longer responds to the will of the people but hopefully someone figures out how to tap into that to reboot us.
posted by scalefree at 7:26 AM on January 29


This hyper-reality shit is ridiculous. This example, yes, but the whole phenomenon in general. Why do we lead with a poll about what people believe?! What is important are the facts, what is actually going to happen, and that can be worked out with mathematics.

But as is pointed out - what is important doesn't vote. People do. And what dumb-ass thing they believe (or have come to believe in order to justify their preconceptions/desired outcomes) is what drives elections.
posted by phearlez at 7:38 AM on January 29 [8 favorites]


I don't want to put words into Meatbomb's mouth but I think the point is that yeah reporting on what people think is important... but journalists in general seem to be obsessed with just reporting on opinions. I mean if the reporting was "90% of people think that A is true, here is what reality really is" or preferably the story could just be "here is reality" and the poll was just some additional flavour, things might be better off.
posted by cirhosis at 7:47 AM on January 29 [24 favorites]


I get the feeling that even if Putin lost the election, he wouldn't go quietly and would still be pulling strings from the background if he supposedly did.

This happened and he did. Russia has a two consecutive term limitation on the Presidency which Putin ran up against in 2008. He made sure that his man, Dmitry Medvedev, was elected president and then Putin proceeded to stick his hand so far up Medvedev's ass that when Medvedev yawned you could see Putin's wedding ring.

Putin was a smart cookie and had them extend the terms from four to six years while Medvedev was in charge and now he won't have to go through that uncomfortable bullshit until 2024.
posted by Talez at 7:47 AM on January 29 [19 favorites]


Why do we lead with a poll about what people believe?! What is important are the facts, what is actually going to happen, and that can be worked out with mathematics. The guy on the street is not the one who knows, stop asking them!

But the importance of this story is that despite all the sophisticated and coordinated Republican propaganda machinery, and despite the general friendliness of Americans to the idea of tax cuts, and yes, despite the fact that corporate media have generally abdicated responsibility for reporting the facts about partisan policies, people are seeing the truth through the lies. In this case, what people believe is important. If the Republicans can't even convince Americans that tax cuts are a good idea, this is a bellwether of how little public credibility they now have.
posted by biogeo at 7:47 AM on January 29 [23 favorites]


What is important are the facts, what is actually going to happen, and that can be worked out with mathematics.

It is very difficult to win ideological debates with facts. Perhaps this has always been true, but it appears even more true now. For every fact you can come up with, your opponent can come up with one as well. Maybe his fact isn't actually a fact, so you then have to come up with another fact to demonstrate that, ad infinitum. But there are plenty of people paying plenty of money to define their own sets of "facts" just for the purpose of winning hearts and minds.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:25 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]


That a wide majority of people have not seen a benefit from the cuts, nor do they expect to see a benefit from the cuts, is a good fact to know heading into the 2018 midterms and should (and likely will) inform a lot of the political messaging we see around them

By next fall, we should have some really good data on supply-side, "trickle-down" economics.

Maybe we can kill it for good.
posted by Dashy at 8:26 AM on January 29


Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen (R), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, to retire, per multiple sources, including the NRCC, which confirms he will not be running for reëlection.
posted by cjelli at 8:37 AM on January 29 [21 favorites]


Maybe we can kill it for good.

Surely THIS is the head that will slay the hydra!
posted by biogeo at 8:38 AM on January 29 [11 favorites]


Note: Frelinghuysen was facing, as the WSJ put it last week, 'the first serious challenge of his 23-year congressional career, a race that stands as a barometer of the GOP’s 2018 headwinds.'

A quote from that article (of a week ago!) that hasn't aged well: 'local GOP officials say they are confident he will win handily.'

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by cjelli at 8:45 AM on January 29 [18 favorites]


It is very difficult to win ideological debates with facts.

Yes, but we don’t need to win the ideological debate. We just need to win elections so we can control the ideology used to create legislation.

There’s a repeating pattern of “How can we convince people to vote for our side?” when that really should not be the focus. We already know that the people who aren’t voting for our side are not interested in facts. The focus should be on energizing the base and getting out the vote, not on educating the willfully ignorant. Again, stop trying to sway the opposition—that is literally a losing game. It is especially wrong-headed to speculate on swaying the opposition by giving up party backbone ideals, like reproductive rights, which will turn away the people who already identify with the party. That’s like throwing two of your 4 aces back in the pile to try to get a royal flush.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:46 AM on January 29 [32 favorites]


Frelinghuysen won the district 58-39 in 2016. The district went to Trump, 49-48.
posted by notyou at 8:48 AM on January 29


There’s a repeating pattern of “How can we convince people to vote for our side?” when that really should not be the focus. We already know that the people who aren’t voting for our side are not interested in facts.

I strongly disagree.

People say "there is no changing the minds of people who disagree with us. We just have to concentrate on getting the people who agree with us to show up." And I agree that is easier. But I think if persuasion is really impossible, then democracy is unworkable. It's just the old struggle for power, with no hope of debate and consensus.

But I have to tell you, I think persuasion IS possible. If it were not, advertising would not be such a big industry. And the tools of marketing work. I think the Russian trolls, for instance, have proved that! They can't vote and they are not physically present in the US, yet they influenced people! Or look at Paul Manafort's lobbying career. What is lobbying but persuasion?

That is persuasion used for evil. But it can also be done in good cause. Look at how opinions of gay marriage have changed. What was the civil rights movement, but persuasion? What is any non-violent protest movement?

Here is what I think. I think cognitive dissonance is uncomfortable. I think when you calmly and rationally point out the contradictions in someone's belief system, that is painful to them. And they will get angry at you. But it also undermines their ability to maintain that belief system. It undermines their willingness to fight for their beliefs.

There is not a human on earth who isn't a hypocrite, at least to some extent. So you can use this against anyone. You can use it for good or evil. But I believe it can be a stronger tool for good! The problem is that many good people are unwilling to use it, because they don't like causing that pain. But I believe a little relationship pain now is nothing compared to the pain of war or dictatorship or ethnic cleansing. And those are things that CAN happen anywhere, once people give up on persuasion.

I think these are the rules of persuasion... 1) Repetition works 2) Peer pressure and showing support in numbers work 3) Personal stories work, but telling them makes us vulnerable, and requires courage 4) "We" statements, not "you" statements 5) You can't persuade someone who feels threatened by you. 6) You can't persuade someone who thinks you hold them in contempt. 7) Your credibility is your greatest asset. Stick to facts. 8.) You don't have to agree on everything. Stick to your main point. 9) You may persuade people who are listening to the conversation even if you don't persuade anyone participating 10) Don't expect them to change their mind during the conversation. Just make your point and move on. It takes time for the discomfort of cognitive dissonance to grow intolerable.

You can change minds but you'll never see them change. That's what I think. Plant the seeds and move on. Like Johnny Appleseed. Some of them will bear fruit, later.

Because I believe this, I believe democracy can work. But it requires eternal vigilance. It requires work. It requires all of us to keep planting seeds.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:48 AM on January 29 [59 favorites]


It doesn’t matter if persuasion is possible. That shouldn’t be the focus. We already have the numbers to win, we need to worry about getting the people who already agree to the polls. We can worry about persuasion when we have the majority. And frankly I don’t give a shit if they are never persuaded. I give a shit that my rights are intact and that the party obtains, and retains, enough power in the future to assure it. Let the dumbasses of the nation stew in their ignorance, I could not possibly care less.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:51 AM on January 29 [42 favorites]


cjelli: "Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen (R), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, to retire, per multiple sources, including the NRCC, which confirms he will not be running for reëlection."

Nice. As someone who grew up in one of the few democratic areas of Morris County, NJ, it's nice to see that area trending blue. My mother knew Rodney personally and was known to make catty remarks about how he was an example of the effects of inbreeding in the upper classes. I miss that woman.
posted by octothorpe at 9:02 AM on January 29 [17 favorites]


They aren't mutually exclusive. Where they are, I certainly agree that turnout is the key and that politician's should NOT change their positions in the hope of capturing undecided voters.

But it's not like you're going to bow out of a conversation at Christmas dinner where you're trying to convince your slightly racist uncle to maybe be less racist to go out and knock on doors to convince people to go vote. You can and should do both.

All OnceUponATime is saying, I think, is that while the focus should be on getting more people to vote more often, it doesn't follow that we should give up trying to convince those who aren't already convinced. If it did, then the next most effective tactic would be to keep those we don't agree with from voting and more generally destroying democracy.
posted by VTX at 9:04 AM on January 29 [7 favorites]


Trump's most desperate move yet? Here's what pushing out Rod Rosenstein would mean. (Aaron Blake | WaPo)
It wouldn't bring the already-advanced Russia investigation to an end, but former federal prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg said it would carry a “huge upside for Trump.”

“Rosenstein is in charge of the Mueller probe. He picked Mueller and has testified under oath that he won't fire him absent clear misconduct,” Zeidenberg said. “So if Rosenstein goes, Trump would pick a new deputy attorney general who would no doubt be much more compliant to Trump.”

While White House Counsel Donald McGahn effectively stopped Trump from trying to fire Mueller in June, Rosenstein is technically the gatekeeper for that decision. With Attorney General Jeff Sessions having recused himself from the Russia probe — a decision that Trump has publicly lamented — Rosenstein has taken oversight of it as the Justice Department's No. 2-ranking official.

That means he has final say on decisions like whether to fire Mueller, with Trump's only recourse being to remove Rosenstein and try to get someone else to do what he wants. If Rosenstein were removed, that “someone else” would either be a replacement deputy attorney general or the No. 3-ranking Justice Department official, Rachel Brand. (Philip Bump has the sequential rundown of who would take oversight of the Russia probe if Trump began firing people who refuse to do his bidding.)

But while firing Mueller appears to be off the table — for now, at least — this person could also hypothetically make more Trump-friendly decisions in other ways.

“He could install someone who would limit Mueller in subtle ways that are defensible,” former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti said. “Under the special counsel regulations, the attorney general (or acting attorney general, in this case) can ask Mueller for explanations of his actions and overrule them.”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:07 AM on January 29 [3 favorites]


At this point in time, if Rod Rosenstein left, it would look like he was pushed out, especially as Trump has the subtlety of a hammer. The last time Trump got rid of someone with that amount of hamfisted-ness, he got the Mueller probe.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 9:14 AM on January 29 [13 favorites]


'Turning out the base' also requires persuasion.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:14 AM on January 29 [9 favorites]


> "As someone who grew up in one of the few democratic areas of Morris County, NJ ..."

Morris county represent!

(I'm from Madison.)
posted by kyrademon at 9:16 AM on January 29 [3 favorites]


All OnceUponATime is saying, I think, is that while the focus should be on getting more people to vote more often, it doesn't follow that we should give up trying to convince those who aren't already convinced. If it did, then the next most effective tactic would be to keep those we don't agree with from voting and more generally destroying democracy.

Considering that these beliefs tend to come from a religious fundamentalist point of view, or other deeply-seated cultural indoctrination starting from childhood on up, I think that the likelihood of convincing these people is roughly equal to the likelihood of converting them from religious fundamentalism to atheism—and in fact, not even roughly equal, but almost literally that, to their minds. It’s not gonna happen.

And quite frankly, considering the opposing party is totally fine with suppressing the vote, buying up media outlets to control propaganda dissemination, rewriting school books, and otherwise controlling the cultural identity of the country so that even the left thinks we have to give a fair shot to totalitarianism and theocracy or we can’t call ourselves liberals, I would also say that this mealy-mouthed approach where we have to have everyone on board before we feel comfortable about taking power has gotten us precisely into this position, where we are watching our democracy crumble before our eyes to the delight of people who are happy to be unfair to the citizenry.

Enough. This is like the trickle-down economics of ideology, it doesn’t work and it has never worked and never will work. The opposition has all the facts at their fingertips. They are not ignorant of them, they are deliberately excising them and misleading people in order to solidify their power. We are not in school. We are not here to teach. We are here to regain control.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:17 AM on January 29 [33 favorites]




...[econometric facts and future economic events] can be worked out with mathematics.

Why do you believe that? It doesn't seem to have been true up to this point, and I think the economy is too complex for tractable mathematical models to have much predictive power.

Also, I think there's a strong case to be made that people's views of economic circumstances and events have a big impact on the economy, and surveys are the only way to measure such views.
posted by Coventry at 9:31 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]


Sorry, but oh shit.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:32 AM on January 29 [6 favorites]


Susan Hennessey (Lawfare) re: McCabe: This is slightly early than anticipated but not entirely out of keeping with McCabe’s long-states plans to retire in spring.

If he was already looking to retire in a couple months I can't blame him for deciding he's had enough of this shit and bailing early. But in the context of, y'know, everything, it's hard not to feel deeply uneasy about it.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:36 AM on January 29 [16 favorites]


98% of people have seen no benefit from tax cuts

I'm waiting on the IRS to update their withholding calculator so I can file a new W-4, as are most Americans.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:38 AM on January 29 [7 favorites]


Somebody on twitter said he was eligible for his pension in March. Anybody have a bead on that? Wouldn't that sort of raise the oh shit stakes of his leaving now?
posted by angrycat at 9:39 AM on January 29 [3 favorites]


Sounds like he's burning his PTO so he's technically still employed until March but won't actually be doing the job.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:40 AM on January 29 [19 favorites]


If his eligibility is in March by calendar date then it would be almost shocking if he didn't have enough stored leave - at this point in the age of his career - to take him through that point by today.
posted by phearlez at 9:41 AM on January 29 [8 favorites]


JoeZydeco remember that many of the tax cuts for people in the bottom 99% expire quickly, and may never actually be put in place.

After the Bush tax cuts expired several people who had adjusted their withholding downward got seriously burned.

I'm leaving mine at the current level, if the tax cuts are real I'll get a somewhat bigger return, if they're illusory then I won't wind up owing the IRS money. I'd expect it's possible that this year, and maybe next, people will see lower taxes. Don't count on it for much longer though.
posted by sotonohito at 9:42 AM on January 29 [5 favorites]


If it were all on the up-and-up I would think he would've announced that he's taking paid leave before his step-down actually became effective.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:44 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


But in the context of, y'know, everything, it's hard not to feel deeply uneasy about it.

Yes: 'civil servant retires at planned retirement date' isn't intrinsically a problem. It's a problem if he was forced out; and it's a problem that it's really hard to tell, from the outside, whether he was softly pressured out or not, although that's not McCabe's issue to resolve.

Who Wray picks to replace him as Deputy Director will be interesting and potentially terrifying, in exactly the way that the regular course of government business shouldn't.
posted by cjelli at 9:48 AM on January 29 [17 favorites]


Was McCabe the one Trump was talking about when he was going on about how "Terry is Hillary"
posted by angrycat at 9:54 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


@Dafna Linzer BREAKING: Andy McCabe just quit as deputy FBI director, per @petewilliamsnbc he will remain on "leave" till Spring when he can officially retire from the bureau.

So he's retiring at the expected time, will get his benefits, etc.
posted by Jpfed at 9:58 AM on January 29 [4 favorites]


Any chance that McCabe is retiring now so that he can testify at some point in the near future?
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:04 AM on January 29


McCabe has already testified before Congress a couple times. I thought he went before Mueller, too, but I can't find a link for that so I'm not sure.
posted by Jpfed at 10:11 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]


CBS News is tweeting: "NEW: FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has stepped down, CBS News' Pat Milton reports; source says McCabe was "forced to step down""
posted by mcduff at 10:17 AM on January 29 [11 favorites]


welp, here goes?
posted by tivalasvegas at 10:18 AM on January 29 [5 favorites]


It might not be the end of the world since McCabe was retiring anyway, but there's no way we can have any confidence he wasn't pressured into quitting early...since Trump has been pressuring him publicly. Wray needs to make some sort of statement that this wasn't a political retribution, and if he doesn't, I think we can read between the lines.

Also, McCabe retiring has no effect on his ability to testify to Trump's obstruction, it might even free him up to do so without fear of reprisal. Who replaces McCabe will be the most important question, and whether that people is a respected career FBI and law enforcement officer...or someone only one step removed from the Trump crimeworld like Wray.

But the good news is either way we can expect Democrats to overwhelmingly confirm them.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:18 AM on January 29 [9 favorites]


CNN is also reporting McCabe was forced out:

Steve Brusk‏ @stevebruskCNN
From our Justice team One source said FBI Deputy Director McCabe's departure was not in the plans as of Friday. The source said McCabe was told this morning to step down. A second source described McCabe’s departure as being “removed”.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:18 AM on January 29 [9 favorites]


After the Bush tax cuts expired several people who had adjusted their withholding downward got seriously burned. I'm leaving mine at the current level, if the tax cuts are real I'll get a somewhat bigger return, if they're illusory then I won't wind up owing the IRS money.

Same here.

I'd expect it's possible that this year, and maybe next, people will see lower taxes. Don't count on it for much longer though.

Thus spake Patercallipygos, while I was visiting for Christmas - "yeah, it looks like the new tax plan is going to be good for both me and the cranberry business this year and next year, at least. ....Which kills me, becuase I can't stand that fucker."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:20 AM on January 29 [12 favorites]


I wonder who they’re going to replace him with. At the rate this administration is going, I wouldn’t be surprised if Toonces the Cat got appointed.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:21 AM on January 29 [13 favorites]


so did Wray just get the Nunes memo
did the Nunes memo target McCabe
are we fucked
sorry for all the questions
posted by angrycat at 10:24 AM on January 29 [12 favorites]


I wish! Toonces would almost certainly be more ethical than whoever the real replacement turns out to be.
posted by witchen at 10:25 AM on January 29 [11 favorites]


considering the opposing party is totally fine with suppressing the vote, buying up media outlets to control propaganda dissemination, rewriting school books, and otherwise controlling the cultural identity of the country

I think, in the eternal debate over whether we need to try to convince "the other side", it's important to remember this particular fact. They have weaponized everything, and we have to as well. We need to get out the vote, we need the activism, and we especially need to take back the media. They decry the liberal media, let's give 'em what they want - liberal media! Where is it? Where's our Fox News?

But those questions aside, it's nearly impossible to accomplish what it takes to protect our rights without the determination, time, action, and ideology. Giving up is not an option, because authoritarianism seems to be a cancer built in to human society. The battle will never end. Getting out the vote to our side and persuading the other side to come around to our point of view aren't mutually exclusive, they're both part of the fight against autocrats, dictators, oligarchy, and other abusers of power.

At least that's how I see it. I'll never be a politician, and if you're reading this, you probably aren't one and won't ever be either, so our ability to exercise influence is limited to the time and energy of a single person, which means that whatever we believe, our job is pretty much the grunt work of organizing, voting, signing petitions, and the other chores of democracy. Given that, I think it's pretty obvious who we should be working against - the people trying to suppress the vote. Fight them however, wherever, and whenever you can.
posted by saysthis at 10:26 AM on January 29 [8 favorites]


> FBI Deputy Director McCabe's departure was not in the plans as of Friday. The source said McCabe was told this morning to step down. A second source described McCabe’s departure as being “removed”.

It's been said before that we are living through a faster and stupider version of the Nixon timeline. This would be the first step of the stupid Saturday Night Massacre. If Rosenstein is pushed out next, I think it's take-to-the-streets or goodbye to Rule of Law.
(NYT: Secret Memo Hints at a New Republican Target: Rod Rosenstein)
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:27 AM on January 29 [13 favorites]


I wish! Toonces would almost certainly be more ethical than whoever the real replacement turns out to be.

Plus, at least we would know in advance that Toonces would drive everyone off the cliff, instead of having to speculate.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:30 AM on January 29 [26 favorites]


See, when I said "Oh shit." I meant it. He wasn't going to retire in the middle of this shitshow. He was forced out.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:30 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]


This would be the first step of the stupid Saturday Night Massacre

I was going to say we could call this one the Monday Morning Massacre, but then I realized that it's already afternoon in Washington. So much for alliteration.
posted by nubs at 10:31 AM on January 29


Monday Midday Massacre.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:32 AM on January 29 [10 favorites]


Seeing conflicting reports now. CBS changed from "forced" to "urged" which could mean this was at the behest of Mueller.

Also: Alliteration, uh, finds a way.
posted by Slackermagee at 10:34 AM on January 29 [11 favorites]


From the Department of Too Fucking Late Now: CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin: ‘I regret my role’ in Hillary Clinton false equivalence

“I think there was a lot of false equivalence in the 2016 campaign. That every time we said something, pointed out something about Donald Trump — whether it was his business interests, or grab ’em by the p–––y, we felt like, ‘Oh, we gotta, like, talk about — we gotta say something bad about Hillary.’ And I think it led to a sense of false equivalence that was misleading, and I regret my role in doing that.”

These people don't ever get to recover their reputations. There's no living 2016 down.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:37 AM on January 29 [125 favorites]


The renewal shows that the Justice Department under President Trump saw reason to believe that the associate, Carter Page, was acting as a Russian agent. But the reference to Mr. Rosenstein’s actions in the memo — a much-disputed document that paints the investigation into Russian election meddling as tainted from the start — indicates that Republicans may be moving to seize on his role as they seek to undermine the inquiry.

So this bit is really interesting, as Asha Rangappa points out. By the time Rosenstein would have approved the application to extend a FISA warrant on Carter Page, the warrant would have had to have been extended at least once before. Which means before Rosenstein was even in the job, the FBI must have already had to demonstrate to the court some kind of foreign intelligence they obtained through the surveillance on Page. And then, for Rosenstein to approve an application for an extension, they would have had to have identified new evidence obtained during the previous three months.

While I'm sure the Nunes memo cherry-picks facts, this all blows up in their face to the extent it confirms surveillance of Carter Page was repeatedly found to be producing intelligence on foreign intelligence operations.
posted by zachlipton at 10:42 AM on January 29 [17 favorites]


Donald Trump isn't the President, part infinity:

@peterbakernyt: Trump on Afghanistan: "There’s no talking to the Taliban. We don’t want to talk to the Taliban."

@DefenseBaron: WTF? We just spent two nights in Afghanistan w @CENTCOM’s Gen Votel this weekend where US commander after commander said they were GLAD they had a new S. Asia strategy SPECIFICALLY w the mission goal to pressure the Taliban to reconciliation talks.

@nancyayoussef: I was there and can confirm. Reconciliation is the lynchpin of the strategy in Afghanistan, US mil says.
posted by zachlipton at 10:52 AM on January 29 [79 favorites]


Greg Sargent, WaPo: Is Trump a greater threat than Nixon? Here’s the big danger ahead.
The Sunday shows confirmed an alarming development: Republicans in Congress do not feel any urgency to protect special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, even though it has now been confirmed that President Trump tried to fire Mueller — and that the possibility of Trump trying to remove Mueller is seen as very real by Trump’s own advisers right now.

This sets up a possible worst-case scenario in the coming confrontation with Mueller that could take us into territory that is beyond anything this country endured during Watergate. To flesh this out, I spoke to Tim Weiner, the veteran journalist and author of a highly regarded, harshly critical history of the FBI that chronicles Richard Nixon’s battles with the agency.

“We are two tweets away from an extraordinary constitutional crisis,” Weiner told me. “We are in a very dangerous point now in American political life.”
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:55 AM on January 29 [21 favorites]


That every time we said something, pointed out something about Donald Trump — whether it was his business interests, or grab ’em by the p–––y, we felt like, ‘Oh, we gotta, like, talk about — we gotta say something bad about Hillary.’

Well the elephant in the room is why they felt they had to do this. And we all know why. The GOP/conservative faction in this country purposely set about to create this situation by loudly complaining every time something bad was said about them or their positions, until the news media began reflexively censoring themselves unless they had something bad to say about non-GOP/conservative and their positions. It was an intentional, crafty, long-range plan that worked as well as they hoped and gave the Predisency* to the Mangled Apricot Hellbeast.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:02 AM on January 29 [59 favorites]


9.5 months to the midterms, and it literally feels like a race with the Nazis for the arc of the goddamn covenant.

For anyone else whose adrenals are freaking out a little bit right now: I’m telling myself that Mueller and co have a plan for every scenario. That plan might be releasing all the information and trusting in direct civic action, which is still bloody terrifying, but there will be a plan.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:05 AM on January 29 [79 favorites]


it's not the years, it's the mileage
posted by entropicamericana at 11:10 AM on January 29 [39 favorites]


From the WaPo: David Bowdich, a senior FBI official who led the agency’s response to the San Bernadino terrorist attack, is expected to serve as the next deputy director, according to people familiar with the plans.

So a career FBI person, and not a Trumpette, one hopes.
posted by stonepharisee at 11:13 AM on January 29 [19 favorites]


Has a country ever had a Truth and Reconciliation Commission aimed only at journalists? I see a great need.

Fuck Toobin. Not that I was previously on his side or anything, but he should have to turn in his newsman license.

I’m telling myself that Mueller and co have a plan for every scenario.

Everbody on Mueller's side has been working on this kind of thing for their entire careers, decades, probably centuries combined. Trump's team arrives on the scene like Eddie the Eagle.
posted by rhizome at 11:17 AM on January 29 [4 favorites]


[Let's not lapse too much into anxious chatter, y'all.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:22 AM on January 29 [8 favorites]


About? It's still morning for some of us.

Last week it was reported that Christopher Wray threatened to quit if McCabe was forced out.

Welp, that's happened.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 11:23 AM on January 29 [11 favorites]


I'm putting this up a little anxiously, but this is the time to read "The Open Society and Its Enemies" by Karl Popper. And know that Popper was not really writing up against Plato or Marx, but against our old friend, Leo Strauss, the inspiration and mentor for the neoconservatives in the Bush administration.
Popper is relevant now because he wrote during the darkest darkness for upholding democracy, transparency and freedom, even in the fight against the Hitler (while Strauss argued for "the noble lie", and necessary authority and manipulation of the masses).
I'm not linking to anything, because all I can find online is dominated by all the university leftists who didn't get the context and primarily read it at an attack on Marx (which it also was) rather than an attack on the fantasy of good totalitarianism which it primarily was. When I read Popper during my graduate program, my professor said it was all fine, but I should never quote from him in my work if I wanted a job.
Today Popper is mostly problematic because he inspired the "Third Way" people, and of course Soros. But read before you shout…
posted by mumimor at 11:23 AM on January 29 [11 favorites]


So a career FBI person, and not a Trumpette, one hopes.

Since 1995. Absolutely a careerist, thankfully.
posted by cjelli at 11:23 AM on January 29 [6 favorites]


They're not pro-life, they're pro-birth, because that keeps women tied down.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:57 PM on January 28 [107 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Agree with everything you said up to this point, Eris, but I have to disagree here. If they were pro-birth they'd agitate to fully fund health care for pregnant women. Instead they try to withdraw funding for community clinics that provide reproductive care to low-income families and cut out the ACA requirement that pregnancy be covered in insurance policies. So, no, they are not pro-birth, they are "slut"-haters, where a slut is defined as a woman who gets pregnant but didn't want to. That's what keeps women down.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:28 AM on January 29 [24 favorites]


Meanwhile Trump's boss is keeping his pen from the paper.

CNN: Russian jet flies within 5 feet of US Navy plane, Pentagon says

Politico, yesterday: Deadline looms for Trump and Russia sanctions
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:35 AM on January 29 [7 favorites]


Politico, yesterday: Deadline looms for Trump and Russia sanctions

Don’t worry, Donald. You’re a straight white male who’s just having a bit of trouble with the most important job on the planet. I’m sure Congress is ready to give you all the do-overs you want.
posted by Talez at 11:37 AM on January 29 [5 favorites]


From that CNN piece about the Russian jet:
"This interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the SU-27 closing to within five feet and crossing directly through the EP-3's flight path, causing the EP-3 to fly through the SU-27's jet wash," Capt. Pamela Kunze, a spokesperson for US Naval Forces Europe told CNN.
The writers are ripping off Top Gun now?
posted by hanov3r at 11:40 AM on January 29 [21 favorites]


Frankly, if I were a career civil servant in this ridiculous administration, I'd also be doing some basic math along the lines of:

(Date of pension eligibility) - (accrued sick and personal leave time) = the earliest possible second I can get off of the HMS Trumptanic.
posted by darkstar at 11:43 AM on January 29 [25 favorites]


The writers are day-drinking and doing everything they can to get fired without losing their pensions and healthcare
posted by mumimor at 11:46 AM on January 29 [16 favorites]


Considering that these beliefs tend to come from a religious fundamentalist point of view, or other deeply-seated cultural indoctrination starting from childhood on up, I think that the likelihood of convincing these people is roughly equal to the likelihood of converting them from religious fundamentalism to atheism—and in fact, not even roughly equal, but almost literally that, to their minds. It’s not gonna happen.

I think that the change that needs to happen is hard and unlikely, but possible. My own political journey was a bit backwards. Over the span of a decade, I went from an atheist Randian libertarian to Christian Democratic Socialist.

The two biggest factors (besides basic empirical evidence) that turned me liberal were Jesus and Metafilter. Jesus is pretty clear about how to treat the poor, marginalized, sick and downtrodden and not very fond of their powerful, hateful oppressors.

Being on Metafilter (and the internet at large) for years exposed me to voices outside my own little bubble. I read, and read, and read the life experiences of others both in the linked post content and comments. I don't comment much - but the effects this exposure has had on my worldview, my tolerance and general humanity has been staggering.

Spurred by changes in me and our resulting conversations - my husband has gone from a 2nd amendment gun nut Republican/ Libertarian to a (mostly) pacifist Democratic Socialist Marx quoter. He left his job in Banking IT to go to Nursing School because he could no longer stomach working for what he sees as evil.

Enough. This is like the trickle-down economics of ideology, it doesn’t work and it has never worked and never will work. The opposition has all the facts at their fingertips. They are not ignorant of them, they are deliberately excising them and misleading people in order to solidify their power. We are not in school. We are not here to teach. We are here to regain control.

I don't think it's an either/or thing. As a liberal Christian I feel a responsibility to educate the Christians around me who seem ignorant of the actual tenets of their faith. This past year I have felt called to a kind of reverse evangelism. I have never felt ok proselytizing to non believers, but I feel a strong need to speak the truth against oppression and lies to fellow Christians. While I'm not under any illusions that I am changing many minds, as things further deteriorate with this administration, people do seem to at least listen to my words with an if not open, not totally closed mind.

I'm also a part of the homeschooling community here - which brings me into contact with the children of these Christians as well. As we are often having these conversations in front of (and oftentimes with) their kids, I have hope that the exposure to other views will plant seeds for future thought.

This isn't something I expect everyone to be doing at all. While I don't think it is a responsibility for the rest of the left to be reaching out to anyone in the religious right I feel a personal responsibility to do so. Even for me it often seems fruitless and unrewarding. I have lost friends and been shut out of so many learning and social opportunities for my kids because of my views.

TLDR : While I don't think this is something that everyone needs to do, it hurts a bit to be told it's useless.
posted by Lapin at 11:47 AM on January 29 [94 favorites]


TLDR : While I don't think this is something that everyone needs to do, it hurts a bit to be told it's useless.

It might be an admirable path for an individual, and you might reap a harvest of a soul or two or three somewhere down the line. But as a strategy, it does not scale. It is staggeringly labor intensive, and it necessarily calls upon the labor of people who are already threatened and abused — it calls on the abused to help redeem their abusers.

If that’s something you want to do with your life, fine. But discussing it as a political strategy, or as a matter of policy, myopically perpetuates those same dynamics of abuse.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:53 AM on January 29 [24 favorites]


so my negative take was not approved for this thread but it is best summed up in this twitter thread which hopefully is more acceptable.
posted by Wilder at 11:53 AM on January 29 [8 favorites]


TLDR : While I don't think this is something that everyone needs to do, it hurts a bit to be told it's useless.
posted by Lapin at 11:47 AM on January 29 [5 favorites +] [!]


I don't think you discussing these ideas with fellow Christians is useless. Far from it. If everyone like you did the same and changed 2 or 3 minds enough to see that Trump is not the means to their ends, this would have an enormous impact. It's not the only thing we need to do and other things may be more "efficient" in terms of time and money, but even in this day and age it's acknowledged that retail politics is still enormously important and effective.

TLDR: Keep it up, Lapin.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:57 AM on January 29 [40 favorites]


Here is the thing: I don't think it's useless. And I think we shoot ourselves in the foot by insisting it is. Because people like Lapin--and thank you for sharing your story, because I appreciate that--people like Lapin make it easier for people in the middle of this--this cult indoctrination, shall we say, to access a different kind of world. People like Lapin who are snapping "Excuse me, but you are unChristian" at people who are not behaving in accordance with Jesus' teachings have a weapon that someone like me doesn't have, and it's harder to write someone like her off.

This culture war, we win it by fighting it on all fronts. Someone who is turning to her church and saying "You are being unkind to foreigners, and Jesus said we were to be kind. You are turning away the hungry. You are acting like the Philistines, and I am so sorry to be in this temple because if Jesus were to visit it, he'd drive your tax collectors out of i" is hard to write off, especially if she's been in that church for a good long time.

Remember my tired old "quit randomly insulting and writing off "red" states, Metafilter, because you have allies there and you are only isolating them and disenhearting them" drumbeat?

Well, here it comes again: we win nothing by telling people who are making their own way as best they can that their efforts are worthless. This is not a culture war--because now it is a culture war--that we will win in any one single way. We win it through empathy and little chats over coffee and angry fights between sisters and repudiated parents and children given a place to stay for the holidays. We win it through sincerely reaching out and forming relationships and resonating down our own existing networks the message: love wins, and if it doesn't, it should. We send ripples out around us, wherever we are.

It is a bad idea to drop what you are doing, if you are ensconced in a blue state and surrounded by other liberals, and to go find a chunk of what you think are conservative strongholds and proselytize to strangers. It does not work. That much is true. Those of you who have no connection to any of these corners, or who (like me!) can't touch relationships with conservative family members again, who burn at the touch--well, to you and I it falls the task of galvanizing people who don't realize what is wrong, who mean well but don't act well, who hold more regressive ideas than they think. To those of us with connections to conservative circles, or who run in these waters and have the social networks necessary to enforce change: my, you have weapons to wield indeed.

Instead of finding a concentrated set of strangers to bear your message, set out feelers and listen--to people who are already in contact with you--and speak to them back. Reach out to people who already have a reason to trust you, who have some association with you as a real person and not just a shill. That's where you make a difference. And wherever you are, whoever you know, just by speaking up for what you believe in and living according to those beliefs as best you can: that is the thing you can do that will make change.

I am taking a very different path from Lapin, or from corb, or from Chrysotom our new elected overlord! But just because my path is different from theirs does not make it lesser, or less likely to be effective. To those whom much are given, much will be expected: and the inverse too applies. Let us all go through the world doing the best we can as we can.
posted by sciatrix at 12:04 PM on January 29 [67 favorites]


By next fall, we should have some really good data on supply-side, "trickle-down" economics.

Maybe we can kill it for good.


We had plenty of data from the Kansas experiment, which ruined their economy to the point that Brownback left office in disgrace (no doubt to a cushy lobbying job) and Republicans in the legislature implemented tax increases.

Heck, we had plenty of data from the Reagan tax cuts and Clinton and Obama tax increases. The so-called "liberal media" still refused to report objective facts and stuck with their phony "balanced" storyline of "Republicans say tax increases will spur economic growth while critics say most of the tax cuts go to the rich" -- balancing, that is, an objective falsehood with objective truth. And hiding behind attribution in both cases. Feh.
posted by Gelatin at 12:06 PM on January 29 [20 favorites]


tl;dr: use your resources. if you happen to be well placed to convert others, do that. if you are not well placed in the center of a web of relationships to act as an emissary, fucking do something else.

be the moral center of your world. Do the right thing, and by all the gods don't do it silently. Make a point of doing the right thing, unflinchingly and openly, and in doing so set an example for the people who are already part of a group with you.
posted by sciatrix at 12:06 PM on January 29 [28 favorites]


If that’s something you want to do with your life, fine. But discussing it as a political strategy, or as a matter of policy, myopically perpetuates those same dynamics of abuse.

I'm not calling for this as a national strategy at all - and definitely not expecting anyone other than myself (and perhaps other white liberal Christians) to do this work. I just think it is valid labor to be doing on an individual level.
posted by Lapin at 12:07 PM on January 29 [19 favorites]


(To be honest, if anything I am extremely angry that other white liberal Christians aren't already doing that work and allying themselves with Black progressive churches. For more on that, see my commentary in the Satanic Temple thread.

Seriously, guys, you guys have so much high ground, and the liberal denominations are so very quiet and timid about using it. At least from my admittedly ex-Catholic perspective over here.)
posted by sciatrix at 12:10 PM on January 29 [20 favorites]


which ruined their economy to the point that Brownback left office in disgrace (no doubt to a cushy lobbying job)

Worse. He's on the taxpayer dime as the "U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom". He basically gets paid by us to go around preaching that bigoted Christians should be allowed to hate and ostracize the gays without consequence.

Because, you know, if a middle-aged white, straight, Christian man can't fail upwards what do they really have in life?
posted by Talez at 12:13 PM on January 29 [13 favorites]


The House of Representatives has printed tickets inviting guests to attend the "State of the Uniom," so this is going to go great.
posted by zachlipton at 12:14 PM on January 29 [65 favorites]


“The state of our Uniom is Stromg!”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:16 PM on January 29 [71 favorites]


msalt: "Also, won't this create a lawless no-man's-land south of the wall? Seems like people will be easily able to get on a sliver of American soil and request asylum, bear children, commit crimes without realistic risk of being arrested, dump toxic waste, etc. Has Neal Stephenson written a novel about this yet?"

Maybe it'll end up a nature preserve like the Korean DMZ.

Metafilter: "a race with the Nazis for the arc of the goddamn covenant. "
posted by Mitheral at 12:16 PM on January 29 [10 favorites]


Ladies amd Gemtlemem, the Presidemt of the Umited States of Anerica!
posted by Sophie1 at 12:18 PM on January 29 [21 favorites]


Bloomberg, Jennifer Jacobs, On Flight to Davos, Trump Erupted Over DOJ Role in Russia Probe
President Donald Trump’s frustrations with the Russia investigation boiled over on Air Force One last week when he learned that a top Justice Department official had warned against releasing a memo that could undercut the probe, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.

Trump erupted in anger while traveling to Davos after learning that Associate Attorney General Stephen Boyd warned that it would be “extraordinarily reckless” to release a classified memo written by House Republican staffers. The memo outlines alleged misdeeds at the FBI and Justice Department related to the Russia investigation.
...
Trump warned Sessions and others they need to excel at their jobs or go down as the worst in history, the two people said.
...
Trump met with Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray at the White House last Monday to discuss missing text messages sent between two FBI agents who had expressed anti-Trump views. One of the agents later left his investigation and Mueller removed the other after learning of the texts.

Kelly held separate meetings or phone calls with senior Justice Department officials last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to convey Trump’s displeasure and lecture them on the White House’s expectations, according to the people. Kelly has taken to ending such conversations with a disclaimer that the White House isn’t expecting officials to do anything illegal or unethical.

After Trump’s strong reaction on Air Force One over the Boyd letter, White House officials, including Kelly, sprang into action again, lashing Justice Department officials Thursday over the decision to send the letter, according to the people. Sarah Isgur Flores, director of public affairs at the Department of Justice, declined to comment.
posted by zachlipton at 12:19 PM on January 29 [30 favorites]


What liberal denominations? United Church of Christ, maybe (though they are Congregational, so it varies from church to church). Unitarian Universalists aren't technically Christian anymore. Mainline denominations (Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist) have all been undermined and split by the Religious Right for decades, trying to keep women and gays from being assigned humanity and dignity. Liberal Christianity is not an organized group, and what there is of it is already in a fight for its life.
posted by rikschell at 12:20 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]


The House of Representatives has printed tickets inviting guests to attend the "State of the Uniom," so this is going to go great.
posted by zachlipton at 12:14 PM on January 29 [12 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]

As one Twitter reply said, "Greatmess!"
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:22 PM on January 29 [37 favorites]


Liberal Christianity is not an organized group, and what there is of it is already in a fight for its life.

Why not, for heaven's sake?

Pun not intended but there for the taking.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:27 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


> Kelly has taken to ending such conversations with a disclaimer that the White House isn’t expecting officials to do anything illegal or unethical.

Does he say "wink wink" out loud when it's a phone conversation?
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:32 PM on January 29 [25 favorites]


Because liberals tend to be concerned with education, facts, rationality, and the more you study the Bible the more you see that you cannot square the circle. Jesus has some great teachings, but once you start picking and choosing beliefs at a certain point it gets easier to just give up and become agnostic.
posted by rikschell at 12:35 PM on January 29 [7 favorites]


Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Politico interviews Senator Mark Warner, who has some significant updates about the Senate Intel Committee's investigation: ‘We’ve Had New Information That Raises More Questions’
Congress late last year received “extraordinarily important new documents” in its investigation of President Donald Trump and his campaign’s possible collusion with the 2016 Russian election hacking, opening up significant new lines of inquiry in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s probe of the president, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) says in an exclusive new interview.

Warner, the intel committee’s top Democrat, says “end-of-the-year document dumps” produced “very significant” revelations that “opened a lot of new questions” that Senate investigators are now looking into, meaning the inquiry into Trump and the Russia hacking—already nearly a year old—will not be finished for months longer. “We’ve had new information that raises more questions,” Warner says in the interview, an extensive briefing on the state of the Senate’s Trump-Russia probe for The Global Politico, our weekly podcast on world affairs.[...]

On the revelations contained in the latest document dumps, for example, Warner says the panel still cannot attest to their “veracity or truthfulness” and is now “trying to either corroborate or not” by calling up to a dozen new witnesses. He also says that the allegations contained in the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele and made public last year remain neither “proven nor, conversely, disproven,” despite the extensive investigations. “That's pretty amazing,” he says, “because as long as that sits out there, there's going to be a cloud that hangs over this administration.”
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:36 PM on January 29 [16 favorites]


I think the main impediment to church union is institutional inertia combined with disagreements over polity (how the church is organized) and, yes, race.

The mainline churches are sorta kinda engaged in various talks about how to unite but they were suspended at one point because all the black churches basically said "we're not going to continue this conversation if we don't address the history of racism in the church". Plus polity -- Methodists, Lutherans and Episcopalians have bishops (though their function is somewhat different in each denomination) and Presbyterians have committees basically, while other churches have a local (congregational) model and relatively weak centralized bodies.

Basically the mainline churches spent the 70s and 80s fighting over the ordination of women, and the 90s through the 00s fighting over gay clergy and marriage equality. I think race is probably next, oh and let's not forget about class...

Meanwhile, on the conservative side of things denominational affiliation tends to be less important, there are more parachurch organizations (like Focus on the Family and whatnot) and megachurch leaders who don't particularly have accountability to a wider organization but who generally are recognized as "leaders" of the evangelical church(es).

I think there's probably enough common ground at this point that they could seriously start talking about institutional union, but it won't happen yet. (They already generally recognize one another's baptisms, clergy ordinations, and so on.)
posted by tivalasvegas at 12:38 PM on January 29 [8 favorites]


In re: Steve Wynn and his sexual assault allegations, Sean Spicer (remember him?) is calling on the RNC to return donations from Wynn from within the last year.
posted by hanov3r at 12:39 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]


The House of Representatives has printed tickets inviting guests to attend the "State of the Uniom," so this is going to go great.

President Josiah Bartlet: We meant stronger here right?

Sam Seaborn: What's it say?

President Josiah Bartlet: I'm proud to report our country's stranger than it was a year ago.

Sam Seaborn: That's a typo.

President Josiah Bartlet: Could go either way.
posted by MrVisible at 12:39 PM on January 29 [87 favorites]


I'm hesitant to post this article because the headline is going to encourage fighty reactions, but I think it fits well with what Lapin has been saying, and it's backed by some data: Ruy Teixeira, The math is clear: Democrats need to win more working-class white votes.

The argument here is that the 2016 exit polls significantly undercounted non-college white voters. I can't assess the truth of that, but if that holds up, it's an argument against the "fuck white voters, get people of color to turn out" school of thought that's been so popular on MetaFilter:
To put this into fuller context: If Clinton had replicated the black turnout levels enjoyed by Obama in 2012, she still would have lost the 2016 election, because the other shifts against her were so powerful.
I do think we need to keep having the kinds of difficult conversations Lapin has been having; we can't write off entire demographics as lost causes.

And the conclusion of the article is a lot better than one might fear based on the headline. It doesn't argue in favor of bland centrism to try to win back these voters, but rather embracing a "massive public jobs program."
posted by zachlipton at 12:46 PM on January 29 [12 favorites]


Warner, the intel committee’s top Democrat, says “end-of-the-year document dumps” produced “very significant” revelations that “opened a lot of new questions” that Senate investigators are now looking into, meaning the inquiry into Trump and the Russia hacking—already nearly a year old—will not be finished for months longer.

I have no problem with them taking all the time they need if it means that they uncover the whole story.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:47 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


According to the Hill, Kirsten Gillibrand is bringing Carmen Yulin Cruz as her guest to the SOTU. That should be fun.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:47 PM on January 29 [57 favorites]




Because liberals tend to be concerned with education, facts, rationality, and the more you study the Bible the more you see that you cannot square the circle. Jesus has some great teachings, but once you start picking and choosing beliefs at a certain point it gets easier to just give up and become agnostic.

Bluntly, bullshit. And I say this as an atheist, but it's not as if I haven't met plenty of educated, fact-oriented, analytical people of faith. One particular white evangelical woman I worked with comes to mind; she did a lot to make sure that students in her classes felt safe regardless of their faith and brought evolutionary biology to her church with gusto while I worked with her.

I mentioned the tradition of Black progressive churches for a reason, folks: and that reason is that those churches made up the foundation of the civil rights movements in the 60s, and they are continuing to play a pivotal role in those fights, because the theological tradition of these churches is deeply built upon that kind of community resistance. You can't have those churches without exactly this kind of resistance. Which is why I am explicitly calling on white Christian denominations here.

And I'm not actually just mentioning the heads of these denominations, either: look, I'm ex-Catholic, I understand what a goddamn chore it is to take the upper hierarchy and make them bestir their overstuffed asses to make meaningful change. I'm talking about local churches and denominations like the ELCA.

There are plenty of reasons for progressive church denominations, or even for smaller units of organization--hell, even for the new liberal evangelical movement that I'm beginning to see around me!--to take a stand on this. Even at smaller levels, a single church and congregation can make one hell of a local difference in things, and religious leaders have massive power on a political scale--especially, of course, if those leaders aren't inconveniently brown. Which is again why I'm gazing pointedly at the white denominations. Make this a religious fight instead of immediately ceding the religious ground.
posted by sciatrix at 12:50 PM on January 29 [41 favorites]


Kelly has taken to ending such conversations with a disclaimer that the White House isn’t expecting officials to do anything illegal or unethical.

This from the mouthpiece for the guy who offered from the stage to bankroll the legal defense of any one of his followers who would assault peaceful protestors on his behalf.
posted by contraption at 12:53 PM on January 29 [21 favorites]


Trump warned Sessions and others they need to excel at their jobs or go down as the worst in history, the two people said.

I wonder if any of the actual career politicians in the Trump administration think there's any chance at all of them not going down as the worst in history at their jobs. I know the Treasonous Trumps have no frame of reference, but even the professional monsters like Sessions have to have some sense of this, right?

The House of Representatives has printed tickets inviting guests to attend the "State of the Uniom," so this is going to go great.

If this had come out like the stronger/stranger situation from West Wing mentioned above I could understand it, but how on Earth did "Uniom" get past the spellcheckers that are now embedded in basically every piece of software?

The argument here is that the 2016 exit polls significantly undercounted non-college white voters. I can't assess the truth of that, but if that holds up, it's an argument against the "fuck white voters, get people of color to turn out" school of thought that's been so popular on MetaFilter....

It's not really, though. The argument that article makes is that if the percentage of eligible voters who actually vote doesn't change much, the Democrats need to win more uneducated white voters. This completely misses the argument that you're claiming it counters, which is that we need to significantly increase the percentage of eligible voters who actually vote. If we were anywhere near the kind of voter turnout that most other democratic nations see, we'd never have another Republican president. That article also completely disregards things like re-enfranchising voters. Almost any strategy that we could pursue is going to have a better return on investment than trying to convince people who vote Republican that they should actually care about their fellow man.
posted by IAmUnaware at 12:58 PM on January 29 [7 favorites]


They damn well better be allowing McCabe to use his stored-up leave, because if they fucked him on his pension, I will happily donate generously to his Sue the Pants off the Bastards GoFundMe.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:01 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Can we please keep the theological sidebars to a minimum in here? I’d like to avoid incurring the wrath of Mod.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:02 PM on January 29 [30 favorites]


Brussels prepared for trade war with US if it restricts EU imports
TLDR: it's all because he was bothered by restrictions on his golf courses. And not in the article, but it's the US that will lose bigly if this trade war happens.
posted by mumimor at 1:03 PM on January 29 [9 favorites]


NBC News, Carol E. Lee, Trump’s gripes against McCabe included wife’s politics, Comey’s ride home
The day after President Donald Trump fired James Comey, he became so furious watching television footage of the ousted FBI director boarding a government-funded plane from Los Angeles back to Washington, D.C. that he called the bureau’s acting director, Andrew McCabe, to vent, according to multiple people familiar with the phone call.

Trump demanded to know why Comey was allowed to fly on an FBI plane after he had been fired, these people said. McCabe told the president he hadn’t been asked to authorize Comey’s flight, but if anyone had asked, he would have approved it, three people familiar with the call recounted to NBC News.

The president was silent for a moment and then turned on McCabe, suggesting he ask his wife how it feels to be a loser — an apparent reference to a failed campaign for state office in Virginia that McCabe’s wife made in 2015.

McCabe replied: “OK, sir.” Trump then hung up the phone.
posted by zachlipton at 1:03 PM on January 29 [86 favorites]


IAmUnaware: "but how on Earth did "Uniom" get past the spellcheckers that are now embedded in basically every piece of software"

You are assuming a base line of competence that does not exist.
posted by Mitheral at 1:05 PM on January 29 [31 favorites]


Metafilter: Ok, sir.
posted by Melismata at 1:07 PM on January 29 [20 favorites]


According to the Hill, Kirsten Gillibrand is bringing Carmen Yulin Cruz as her guest to the SOTU.

Am I too early to pre-donate to her legal fees stemming from her arrest and prosecution for flinging a roll of paper towels down from the gallery?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:07 PM on January 29 [19 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the Uniom is that orb from Saudia Arabia. We'll be finding out what state it's in.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 1:07 PM on January 29 [45 favorites]


but how on Earth did "Uniom" get past the spellcheckers that are now embedded in basically every piece of software

Not for nothing, back when I was doing Larp Trek I found myself doing a quick re-render of probably every second strip after the first comment of the post was "you spelled [x] wrong", because I did all the layout and much of the actual dialogue writing in Photoshop Elements which doesn't by default do any spell checking.

That said, you hire a fuckin' copyeditor if you're Congress and not just some random asshole doing a webcomic from his home computer.
posted by cortex at 1:10 PM on January 29 [27 favorites]


In light of the NBC story, it's worth remembering that the FBI's former #2 went on to become Deep Throat.
posted by zachlipton at 1:10 PM on January 29 [75 favorites]


The president was silent for a moment and then turned on [his acting FBI director], suggesting he ask his wife how it feels to be a loser

There was a time when this wasn't normal.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:16 PM on January 29 [124 favorites]


if you do not believe Uniom is deliberate and part of the resistance, I don't know what to tell you.....

kids of 15 are marching in Russia saying "OK shoot me already Putin!"

this is the administration equivalent of those 15 year old kids because we're in an earlier phase of autocracy.
posted by Wilder at 1:18 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


I think the main impediment to church union is institutional inertia combined with disagreements over polity (how the church is organized) and, yes, race.

I meant organize politically, the way right-wing fundamentalists have. As I understand it, they are not all the same denomination. They are informally organized politically.

I'm not understanding why liberal ideology prevents an analogous sort of affiliation around social justice causes that many liberal Christians espouse.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:19 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


The thing that I find horrifyingly fascinating about the Uniom mistake is that multiple people likely saw it and could have corrected it* but instead went, "fuck it, not my problem" probably because this shit happens 53,295 times a day with this admin and it's actually a small problem compared to all the other shit going on. I'm not a fan of this type of reaction BUT I find it fascinating which shit has very quickly become normalized.

(*For all I know maybe people did point out the error and were overruled. Or maybe they've got an intern who sent this off to vistaprint and looked at pdf proof and went, "I'm so good at this" and hit the ok button.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:23 PM on January 29 [10 favorites]


"This interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the SU-27 closing to within five feet and crossing directly through the EP-3's flight path, causing the EP-3 to fly through the SU-27's jet wash," Capt. Pamela Kunze, a spokesperson for US Naval Forces Europe told CNN.

SU-27 is roughly equivalent to the F-15 while the EP-3 is a turboprop with a crew of 20-25 that basically functions as an airborne RF sniffer. You can guess which is more maneuverable. Playing this sort of game is highly irresponsible, it's just not an even match.
posted by scalefree at 1:23 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


The math is clear: Democrats need to win more working-class white votes ... To put this into fuller context: If Clinton had replicated the black turnout levels enjoyed by Obama in 2012, she still would have lost the 2016 election, because the other shifts against her were so powerful.

His analysis is entirely missing the point.

Clinton out-performed Obama with all white voters, particularly white women. Where she significantly under-performed Obama was with white men. Clinton matched Obama's performance with black women. She under-performed Obama with black men.

It is not the case that Democrats need to make a special effort to court working class whites. The deciding issue in the election was women vs men. Enough with the white working class bullshit.
posted by JackFlash at 1:24 PM on January 29 [62 favorites]


NYT on McCabe:
In a recent conversation, Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, raised concerns about a forthcoming inspector general report examining the actions of Mr. McCabe and other senior F.B.I. officials during the 2016 presidential campaign, when the bureau was investigating both Hillary Clinton’s email use and the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia. In that discussion, according to one former law enforcement official close to Mr. McCabe, Mr. Wray suggested moving Mr. McCabe into another job, which would have been a demotion.

Instead, the former official said, Mr. McCabe chose to leave.
posted by zachlipton at 1:26 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]


@tedlieu As a Member of the House Judiciary Committee, I read the partisan, classified Nunes House Intel memo. I can't talk about it. However, here's an analogy.

Remember Geraldo Rivera and the infamous Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults? It's like that, but Geraldo Rivera has more integrity.

posted by Artw at 1:28 PM on January 29 [102 favorites]


From the McCabe phone call article:
The combination of those sentiments whipped the president into such a fury over Comey last year that he wanted his firing to abruptly strip him of any trappings that come with the office and leave him across the country scrambling to find his own way home.
Christ, what an asshole.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:28 PM on January 29 [77 favorites]


In light of the NBC story, it's worth remembering that the FBI's former #2 went on to become Deep Throat.

Felt has nothin' on old Moneyshot Mueller
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:32 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


Quite true, especially since Felt is dead.
posted by Melismata at 1:33 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


It's things like the "loser" shit that have me expecting (and fearing) a kind of bureaucratic Saturnalia, where a bunch of career officials decide that all bets are off and that there's no point in being steamrollered by a gang of crooks unacquainted with rule of law.
posted by holgate at 1:33 PM on January 29 [9 favorites]


> McCabe replied: “OK, sir.” Trump then hung up the phone.

I am not implying that they deserve any sympathy, because to date they've been happy to abet his policies and/or benefit personally from being a member of his administration, but...just imagine how much the vast majority of people who work for Trump must hate his guts on a personal level.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:33 PM on January 29 [47 favorites]


> The president was silent for a moment and then turned on [his acting FBI director], suggesting he ask his wife how it feels to be a loser

There was a time when this wasn't normal.


But by heaven, the NYT's in-house Trump Whisperer will do her utmost to normalize it.

Maggie Haberman @maggieNYT tweets: "Calling McCabe’s wife a loser is just how he talks"
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:35 PM on January 29 [47 favorites]


The combination of those sentiments whipped the president into such a fury over Comey last year that he wanted his firing to abruptly strip him of any trappings that come with the office and leave him across the country scrambling to find his own way home.

Ah yes, the old Lane Kiffin/Reince Priebus humiliation.
posted by Existential Dread at 1:35 PM on January 29


Maggie Haberman @maggieNYT tweets: "Calling McCabe’s wife a loser is just how he talks"

I'm very far from a Haberman fan but this is clearly sarcasm.
posted by lalex at 1:36 PM on January 29 [7 favorites]


Maggie Haberman @maggieNYT tweets: "Calling McCabe’s wife a loser is just how he talks"

I'm very far from a Haberman fan but this is clearly sarcasm.


Still, when your paper is busy normalizing the racist fascism of Stephen Miller via the Opinion page, it might be time to reconsider your joke routines
posted by Existential Dread at 1:38 PM on January 29 [83 favorites]


In light of the NBC story, it's worth remembering that the FBI's former #2 went on to become Deep Throat.

Felt has nothin' on old Moneyshot Mueller


Wouldn't it be more appropriate to use the actual title of a Stormy Daniels film?
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:38 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


Still, when your paper is busy normalizing the racist fascism of Stephen Miller via the Opinion page, it might be time to reconsider your joke routines

Can't disagree with that.
posted by lalex at 1:39 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


> I'm very far from a Haberman fan but this is clearly sarcasm.

Clearly? The reason we've been asked to be more diligent about use of [real] and [fake] tags is because POTUS45 has ruined our sense of what's normal and what's "clearly" satire. And here we have a reporter with a very long track record of saying the exact same kind of thing she's saying here without any irony or sarcasm whatsoever, as if it were her job to normalize the administration's actions. Why would anyone who's familiar with her body of work believe that *this* one crosses some imaginary line?
posted by tonycpsu at 1:39 PM on January 29 [70 favorites]


So Wray did give in to pressure from Trump and the right wing propaganda machine after all, despite last week's report he threatened to resign if McCabe was forced out. How much would you bet that whatever is in the IG report is regarding the Clinton emails handling...exactly the pretext that was used to fire Comey.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:43 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


The false things Trump said last week (full, ongoing list)

Daniel Dale, everyone. I wish there were more (any?) American reporters doing this kind of work.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:45 PM on January 29 [20 favorites]


[Hey, lets maybe stop belaboring either uniom or the Haberman tweet at this point.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:51 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


I'm very far from a Haberman fan but this is clearly sarcasm.

Lesson from linguistics Prof. George Lakoff on how to effectively criticize Trump: 'Don't retweet Donald Trump and don't use his language'
Q: Are you suggesting we should then not try and refute Trump's falsehoods if that only helps him?
Lakoff: No, I am not saying don't refute them. I am saying you don't refute them by repeating his language and repeating his claims.
Emphasis added, because Habberman clearly doesn't get this. Or rather, by employing Trump's own language in a sarcastic comment, she carefully avoids taking a direct stance criticizing him. Instead this tweet amplifies him and reinforces his language and behavior in the public discourse. In passing, it also leaves open her all-important whisper line to him.

When/if Trump reads that he'll chuckle and say to himself, yeah, I do.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:52 PM on January 29 [46 favorites]


I hope this isn't a derail but I would like to share something with regard to religion and politics.

I am a liberal Christian. I have lived in rural Ohio by way of Seattle these last two years. It has been, to say the least, difficult to find a church that properly reflects my views on what it actually means to be a Christian.

Recently, my wife suggested we attend a Mennonite church. I knew very little about Mennonites, except the ones I knew growing up, who were the most conservative of the most conservative. This church, I quickly noticed was in the most Republican voting ward of our very Republican county. Only three people voted for Hillary in 2016, and I already know all three!

My hopes were not high, let's say. What are the chances these folks will be anything but gun-toting , immigrant loathing, evangelical wingnuts?

Reader, that was prejudice, and I like to think that God was teaching me a lesson.

We first attended two weeks ago, the Sunday prior to our national celebration of MLKJR. The pastor preached a sermon about racial justice. He specifically quoted the lines of MLKJR that a lot of Christians like to forget: that racial justice is economic justice, that justice delayed is justice denied. That our role as Christians is not to avoid the tension created by facing those facts but to lean into it and take an active role in fixing it.

I have been longing to hear these words from the pulpit for two years. And here, in the most conservative wards of the most conservative county I heard it loud and clear and met with a chorus of "amens!" from the congregation.

Yesterday he spoke about the need to grow our numbers in church. "Oh boy," I thought, "here it comes." But the way we grow the church, he explained, is by providing healing. Specifically by healing the sins of racism that are expressed in our treatment of immigrants and our sins of economic injustice expressed as homelessness. That a church that is not actively engaged with healing the very real hurt that exists in the world is no church at all. Unironically I say, "Hallelujah!" and unironically I heard the same reflected in the congregation in the very conservative ward in the very conservative county.

I don't know the journey of this congregation. I don't know if their minds have been changed or the sincerity of their hearts. But I know that those messages resonated with those churchgoers, and it resonated with this churchgoer, and I know others can respond accordingly. Like Lapin said so elegantly above it is not useless to persuade, and I'm not about to give up.
posted by Tevin at 1:54 PM on January 29 [93 favorites]


The combination of those sentiments whipped the president into such a fury over Comey last year that he wanted his firing to abruptly strip him of any trappings that come with the office and leave him across the country scrambling to find his own way home.

Holy cow. Aside from being a fucking BABY at every opportunity, Trump also takes every possible opportunity to do glaringly obvious, easily avoidable actionable abusive shit. Instead of waiting until the guy gets home from official business travel to can him, you fire him while he's all the way across the country. Fine. But then to refuse to provide him transport home and just DUMP him in California and make him use personal money to get home? Oh my god you would get sued so hard your teeth would rattle.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:01 PM on January 29 [28 favorites]


John Lewis Says He Gets Taunted By People Who Yell "Trump!" At Him
Georgia lawmaker Rep. John Lewis said he gets taunted in public, recalling a specific account of boarding a plane where someone was shouting "Trump!" at him.

On Lift Every Voice, a new podcast by Sen. Cory Booker, Lewis said the taunt happened on a recent flight he had taken from Atlanta to Washington.

"I was coming back to Washington on Sunday night," Lewis said. "I was on a flight from Atlanta. And I'm walking down the aisle and the gentleman said as loud as he could, 'Trump!' So I didn't — I just kept walking. I didn't say anything. And sometimes I'm walking in the airport in different places. I guess [people think] they're getting to me or harassing me. But they don't understand... I've been called many, many things. But I'm not going to let anything get me down. I'm going to keep walking, keep moving."
This is something that's been happening since at least 2016. There were reports back then of kids yelling "Trump" at classmates of color, and the drunk guy I saw shouting "Trump! Check his papers" at Yasiel Puig.

Despite all the hand-wringing over "is Trump racist?," racist people seem to have figured out the answer from early on, because they tuned the name of the President of the United States into a racist taunt from the beginning.
posted by zachlipton at 2:19 PM on January 29 [141 favorites]


The combination of those sentiments whipped the president into such a fury over Comey last year that he wanted his firing to abruptly strip him of any trappings that come with the office and leave him across the country scrambling to find his own way home.

By and large, senior officials at Comey's level are probably gonna land on their feet if they lose their job for anything short of the sort of thing that puts people in jail. But just the same, I have to imagine that literally every top career gov't official these days has to factor "What if I lose my job and/or have to resign in protest today" into their every financial consideration.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:23 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]


National Hero John Lewis, surely.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:24 PM on January 29 [20 favorites]


leave him across the country scrambling to find his own way home

Clearly Trump's idea of a power move because he's pulled it on his own wife and child.
posted by peeedro at 2:25 PM on January 29 [8 favorites]


They damn well better be allowing McCabe to use his stored-up leave, because if they fucked him on his pension

What happened?
posted by Coventry at 2:29 PM on January 29


John Lewis Says He Gets Taunted By People Who Yell "Trump!" At Him

He's seen worse. Much worse.
In the South, Lewis and other nonviolent Freedom Riders were beaten by angry mobs, arrested at times and taken to jail.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:35 PM on January 29 [8 favorites]


Big Lies, Law Enforcement, and the Defense of Rod Rosenstein
That big lie is the notion that federal law enforcement is already behaving as corruptly as the president aspires for it to. The wrinkle is that the big lie imagines that law enforcement is behaving corruptly not in support of the president but on behalf of his political enemies. Instead of saying the truth, which is that Trump wants a law enforcement apparatus that will act corruptly on his behalf, he created an audacious smear in which it is acting to protect Hillary Clinton and destroy him.

The purpose of this big lie is twofold: the lie discredits the investigation against Trump in the minds of a large swath of the public and, perhaps more importantly, tends to tear down the institutions responsible for such investigations in general, with an eye toward their reconstitution in the image of the lie itself. In other words, the goal is to use the lie of politicized law enforcement to effectuate the politicization of law enforcement. By falsely describing a set of corrupt institutions, even by complaining of them, it is possible to lower public expectations to the point of accepting their corruption. Indeed, the lie seeks not merely to destroy the current leadership and install leadership more apt to behave in the fashion the president wants; it also erodes public confidence in the premise that a different reality ever existed.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:43 PM on January 29 [33 favorites]


People are shouting "Trump" at John Lewis because they know that it's socially unacceptable to shout the n-word in public (for the moment, anyways).
posted by mhum at 2:49 PM on January 29 [64 favorites]


The Atlantic provides some helpful context on McCabe's resignation, even if their conclusion is essentially (as it so often is these days) "What is going on?"

Also, saw this, another sign that that particular plot is thickening, while perusing Maggie Haberman's Twitter:

NEW: Immediately after news of McCabe stepping down, Dep Ag Rosenstein & FBI Director Wray came to White House to meet with WH Chief of Staff John Kelly. @FoxNews per @johnrobertsFox @BlakeBurman @finnygo
posted by cudzoo at 2:49 PM on January 29 [7 favorites]


This church, I quickly noticed was in the most Republican voting ward of our very Republican county. Only three people voted for Hillary in 2016, and I already know all three![…]
Reader, that was prejudice, and I like to think that God was teaching me a lesson.


I understand that for historical and theological reasons, many Mennonites don't vote. I don't know this congregation's view on the matter, but you are in a position to serve as an example of someone choosing for moral reasons to exercise their franchise and encourage others to do so. I'm not going to suggest that you proselytise them directly, but I don't imagine that they will be offended if they know of your activities outside their congregation.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:50 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


Politico, Elana Schor, Deadline looms for Trump and Russia sanctions, in which Monday is the deadline for Treasury to implement sanctions.

So, uh, they're just refusing to do it. The State Department says the existing sanctions from last year are "serving as a deterrent," so there's no need to announce sanctions against individuals.
posted by zachlipton at 3:02 PM on January 29 [26 favorites]


People are shouting "Trump" at John Lewis because they know that it's socially unacceptable to shout the n-word in public (for the moment, anyways).

And the best part of Lewis' response, "But they don't understand... I've been called many, many things. But I'm not going to let anything get me down. I'm going to keep walking, keep moving."
posted by mikelieman at 3:05 PM on January 29 [7 favorites]


What actually happens if the Executive just doesn't implement those laws? Is there an enforcement mechanism, even if it doesn't get used, or is this back in the realm of unwritten norms?
posted by odinsdream at 3:13 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


The 20-week abortion ban in the Senate fails to achieve cloture, 51-46. (Collins and Murkowski crossing the aisle to vote against, Donnelly, Manchin and Casey in favor (all three voted in favor of the 2015 version of the bill as well)).

And Schiff says the House Intelligence Committee voted to release the Nunes memo but not the Democratic memo, in case you somehow harbored any illusions about the goodness of that particular committee.
posted by zachlipton at 3:23 PM on January 29 [31 favorites]


What actually happens if the Executive just doesn't implement those laws? Is there an enforcement mechanism

Depending on how the law was written (e.g. how much discretion the executive was given), members of Congress may have standing to sue the administration [pdf].
posted by jedicus at 3:25 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Also Schiff: "According to the [GOP] majority, the FBI is under investigation and so is the Department of Justice. This is a wholesale broadside against two of our respected institutions."

This honestly sent a chill down my spine.
posted by lalex at 3:29 PM on January 29 [43 favorites]


According to the [GOP] majority, the FBI is under investigation and so is the Department of Justice.

What entity is in charge of investigating the FBI and the Department of Justice?
posted by diogenes at 3:34 PM on January 29 [9 favorites]


Here’s WaPo on Nunes and the vote to release their stupid memo (and block release of the Dem memo):

House Intelligence Committee votes to release documents alleging missteps by the FBI while surveilling a Trump campaign operative
posted by Barack Spinoza at 3:35 PM on January 29


What entity is in charge of investigating the FBI and the Department of Justice?

HPSCI, apparently.
posted by stopgap at 3:36 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


Democrats should unilaterally release the Schiff counter memo. It's malpractice not to.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:36 PM on January 29 [46 favorites]


If they release it, I can''t imagine any US allies are going to share any information until the Trump regime has gone. The US will then officially be a rogue state. This is truly absurd. What will NATO do now?
posted by mumimor at 3:41 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


Trump dropped top secret intel about Israeli operations to the Russians like he was bragging about his inside line on sweet tickets to some concert. It's hard to believe any of our allies continued sharing truly sensitive intelligence with us after that. I'm kinda surprised anyone kept doing it even before then. People knew this administration was garbage from before day one.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:45 PM on January 29 [29 favorites]


And here’s the NYT’s take on the vote to release their stupid memo.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 3:45 PM on January 29


Andrea Mitchell (NBC News): @RepAdamSchiff says GOP Majority Chairman Nunes also told Committee it is launching investigation into FBI and DOJ
posted by Barack Spinoza at 3:49 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]



Trump dropped top secret intel about Israeli operations to the Russians like he was bragging about his inside line on sweet tickets to some concert. It's hard to believe any of our allies continued sharing truly sensitive intelligence with us after that. I'm kinda surprised anyone kept doing it even before then. People knew this administration was garbage from before day one.


I think a lot of people believed/wanted to believe that the generals are in charge.
posted by mumimor at 3:49 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


So . . Nunes memo is about giving Trump an excuse to fire Rosenstein? Wonder how long that will take. Friday maybe?
posted by rc3spencer at 3:51 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


From the NYT article:

There is no known precedent for the Republicans’ action.

I don't like being in uncharted waters...
posted by diogenes at 3:53 PM on January 29 [13 favorites]


if trump does axe rosenstein, i wonder who is going to get nominated as his replacement (which job is essentially volunteering to be the Robert Bork for this cover version of the saturday night massacre)
posted by murphy slaw at 3:54 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Jeez, the TPM roundup of the Obstruction case was pretty thorough, too. This morning.

Sounds like there are a few more paragraphs to add to it this afternoon.
posted by darkstar at 3:59 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]


So, the House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines to ask the President to declassify the Republican committee chair’s memo, but overruled the minority in order to keep the Democratic ranking member’s memo classified. They similarly voted along party lines to refuse to allow the Trump-appointed FBI Director to brief the House regarding the memo.

Real subtle stuff.

My question is, if the President chooses to declassify the GOP memo, does that not mean that the matters discussed therein without redaction are permanently declassified for all purposes? Would the Democratic minority not be entitled to unilaterally release a (possibly-redacted) memo discussing the same previously-classified matters?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:06 PM on January 29 [10 favorites]


I love TPM but I take issue with this claim:
So how might the news about Trump’s effort to fire Mueller fit into the obstruction of justice case that Mueller may be building?

In a nutshell, it’s unlikely to be at the core of any case the special counsel brings. For one thing, everyone agrees that Trump has the legal right to fire Mueller.
This seems exactly backwards. Everyone agrees that Trump had the technical right to fire Comey, though not without the possibility of obstructing justice if it were done for malicious reasons. The question of whether Trump can fire Mueller without Acting Attorney General Rosenstein finding cause to do so is very much disputed.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:10 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


So now we wait and see what congress does when the President willfully chooses to disobey the law which he swore to uphold. If we allow presidents to pick and choose which laws they wish to obey and which not, our country will cease to exist as we know it. Too bad John McCain is not here to put some backbone into the spineless cowards of congress.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:12 PM on January 29 [9 favorites]


Spicer: I Regret Embarrassing ‘Myself, My Family, Friends’ As Press Secretary

The headline sounds much worse than his complete, mealy-mouthed "regrets." He's still essentially prostrating himself before Lord Trump:
Spicer said that part of being White House press secretary was “going in and having to tell the President of the United States, ‘Hey, I embarrassed myself, your administration, and in some cases I think, you know, did something the American people are probably not pleased with.'”
His VERY FIRST embarrassment - in his very first press conference - was inflating the inauguration attendance numbers because Trump ordered him to.
posted by zakur at 4:16 PM on January 29 [17 favorites]


The White House knows what's in the memo and has some kind of plan to exploit it. The White House does not know what may or may not be released in retaliation or how to deal with that other than to scream hashtag-fakenews. It is probably gambling on people playing by the rules while it does not. We'll see how that plays out.
posted by holgate at 4:19 PM on January 29 [12 favorites]


Dear everyone, I really want the Dems to leak that memo like a sieve.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 4:24 PM on January 29 [18 favorites]


I think 8 am tomorrow the Don Jr testimony transcript would make a delicious breakfast.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 4:25 PM on January 29 [14 favorites]


Secret Life of Gravy So now we wait and see what congress does when the President willfully chooses to disobey the law which he swore to uphold.

Regrettably I think we know the answer: nothing.

Donald J. Trump is now openly and blatantly violating his oath of office. And there will be no consequences whatsoever.

It's arguable if the US was ever a nation governed by rule of law, but to the extent that it ever was that has now ended. My panic level is back to around 80%, we're watching the underpinnings of democracy, rule of law, and separation of powers be ripped to pieces.
posted by sotonohito at 4:32 PM on January 29 [28 favorites]


He's still essentially prostrating himself before Lord Trump:

Once a ringwraith always a ringwraith. People really need to stop eating the damn meatloaf
posted by tivalasvegas at 4:33 PM on January 29 [9 favorites]


Can't Democrats release the memo - or basically anything - just by reading it into the record?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:34 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


fluffy battle kitten Dear everyone, I really want the Dems to leak that memo like a sieve.

Leak hell, Senator Feinstein (of all people) already showed us the way. Don't leak anything, just put it straight into the Congressional record.

And not just the counter memo, but **EVERYTHING** related to Trump. The rules are broken, the Republicans are blatantly cheating, breaking the law, and setting up to end the investigation of Trump. The time has come to take the gloves off and play hardball.

they should release Don Jr's testimony, they should release every memo they can find, they should release it all.

The only question at this point is whether the Democrats will fight back, or whether they'll let America die without even lifting a finger to oppose the lawless Republican Party.
posted by sotonohito at 4:35 PM on January 29 [60 favorites]


@Elana Schor -

The Trump admin has notified Congress that last year’s bipartisan Russia sanctions bill is serving as a “deterrent” and as such, specific sanctions aren’t needed at this time.

Well thats weird. Hard to believe none of Putin's pals are put on the list.
posted by H. Roark at 4:36 PM on January 29 [20 favorites]


It’s a great deterrent. Why do you think Crimea is now a de facto part of Ukraine and Bashar al-Assad is rotting in jail? More sanctions would be a waste of everyone’s time, bigly
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:51 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


...for those like me not keeping track at home, the Russia sanctions bill passed the house 419-3, and moved through the sentate 98-2 - a vetoproof majority if there ever was one...only to be unilaterally unimplemented via State Dept? How is this even a thing?
posted by H. Roark at 4:56 PM on January 29 [59 favorites]


Liberal media still not actually liberal dept: ABC News has hired Chris Christie as a contributor, to be announced tomorrow morning
posted by octothorpe at 5:00 PM on January 29 [16 favorites]


Well well. Captain Meatloaf-Eater-in-Chief himself, hired just in time to have to defend the worst State of the Union address in recorded human history.
posted by tivalasvegas at 5:02 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


Hillary Clinton, winner of the popular vote by 2.9 million should shut up and go away forever.

Chris Christie, embarrassingly distant also-ran for Republican nomination, here's your new major network pundit job.
posted by chris24 at 5:02 PM on January 29 [119 favorites]


Dear everyone, I really want the Dems to leak that memo like a sieve.

Every one of them on the intel committee has access to the Schiff rebuttal, and absolute immunity under the Speech and Debate clause to read it into the Congressional record at any time. Schiff could do it tonight, before Nunes can release his.

If they don't do this, they're not fighting back. This is the same level as the Pentagon Papers.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:05 PM on January 29 [39 favorites]


If you were struggling to choose who to root for between Trump supporters/friends Patriot owner Bob Kraft, coach Bill Belicheck and QB Tom Brady versus the Eagles...

@kylegriffin1 (MSNBC)
Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long says he won’t join his team on the traditional White House visit if the Eagles win the Super Bowl: "Are you kidding me?”

---

(He also skipped last year as a Patriot.)
posted by chris24 at 5:06 PM on January 29 [25 favorites]


Delayed response but: I followed the link to the article StrawberryPie cited yesterday, where, in turn, there's a link to How Democracies Die, which I'm now looking forward to reading.

And what do you know, the authors of the book are on today's episode of the Ezra Klein Show. It's a great (if terrifying) listen.

So, thanks Straw!
posted by Rykey at 5:07 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Pointing out that QB Tom Brady already did not join his team on their traditional White House visit.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:11 PM on January 29


should shut up and go away forever.

but she has like bazillions of dollars from speaking to banks lolz

also, names of campaign donors to flash on djt's website's during its live stream of the state of the union. I thought that was an Alexandra Petri article at first glance on twitter. It is not.
posted by numaner at 5:24 PM on January 29 [13 favorites]


Daily Beast, Ben Collins, Julian Assange Thought He Was Messaging Sean Hannity When He Offered ‘News’ on Democrat Investigating Trump-Russia
At about 4 a.m. on Saturday morning, a couple hours after she started pretending to be Sean Hannity, Dell Gilliam says she got a direct message back from the head of Wikileaks, Julian Assange. That’s when she said she “kind of panicked.”

“I felt bad. He really thought he was talking to Sean Hannity,” said Gilliam.

Gilliam, a technical writer from Texas, was bored with the flu when she created @SeanHannity__ early Saturday morning. The Fox News real account was temporarily deleted after cryptically tweeting the phrase “Form Submission 1649 | #Hannity” on Friday night. Twitter said the account had been “briefly compromised,” according to a statement provided to The Daily Beast, and was back up on Sunday morning.

When Gilliam made the account, she did not expect to be setting up a meeting over “other channels” for Assange to send “some news about Warner,” an apparent reference to Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
So Assange believes he has already existing "other channels" to talk to Hannity to spread dirt on Warner. Holy crap.
posted by zachlipton at 5:33 PM on January 29 [83 favorites]


Every one of them on the intel committee has access to the Schiff rebuttal, and absolute immunity under the Speech and Debate clause to read it into the Congressional record at any time.

I hope this happens, but since the Democratic opposition to the release of the Nunes memo is based on the FBI’s concerns about possible damage to national security, they might be wise to wait until the President signs off on declassifying that memo before publicizing theirs.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:42 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]


So Assange believes he has already existing "other channels" to talk to Hannity to spread dirt on Warner. Holy crap.

However far we think the Russia conspiracy goes, it goes much, much further.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:42 PM on January 29 [24 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, Black Unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED!

@Guy Endore-Kaiser
After all these years, Jay-Z finally has a bitch problem.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:48 PM on January 29 [73 favorites]


LOL. While The White House is busy not enforcing the sanctions against Russia for meddling in the election, the BBC has this for us: Kremlin accuses US of meddling in election
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 5:50 PM on January 29 [15 favorites]


BBC, Russia 'will target US mid-term elections' says CIA chief
The director of the CIA expects that Russia will target the US mid-term elections later this year.

Mike Pompeo told the BBC there had been no significant diminishing of Russian attempts at subversion in Europe and the US.
...
Even though there has been co-operation in counter-terrorism (the CIA helped stop a plot in St Petersburg last year), Mr Pompeo says he still sees Russia primarily as an adversary, sharing the concerns in many European countries about its subversion. "I haven't seen a significant decrease in their activity," he said.

Asked if his concerns extended to the upcoming US mid-term elections in November, he replied: "Of course. I have every expectation that they will continue to try and do that, but I'm confident that America will be able to have a free and fair election [and] that we will push back in a way that is sufficiently robust that the impact they have on our election won't be great."
In completely unrelated news that I've stuck into this comment despite there obviously being no connection between the story above and the story below, Politico has a write-up on the lack of new sanctions against Russia, from Elana Schor, White House to Congress: Russia sanctions not needed now
The Trump administration informed lawmakers Monday that new Russia sanctions called for in a bipartisan bill passed last year are not necessary yet because the measure is already "serving as a deterrent."

The announcement came as lawmakers in both parties nudged the administration to implement a sanctions legislation that passed overwhelmingly in July — with only five no votes in both the House and Senate. The sanctions bill requires the imposition of penalties by Monday against entities doing "significant" business with Moscow's defense and intelligence sectors, unless Congress is notified that prospective targets are "substantially reducing" that business.

A State Department spokesperson said by email that the administration is "using this legislation as Congress intended to press Russia to address our concerns related to its aggression in Ukraine, interference in other nations’ domestic affairs and abuses of human rights."
It damn well doesn't seem like the existing sanctions are "serving as a deterrent" if the bloody CIA chief says Russia is going to target the next election too!
posted by zachlipton at 5:51 PM on January 29 [63 favorites]


The director of the CIA expects that Russia will target the US mid-term elections later this year. Mike Pompeo [co-conspirator in the installation of a Russian asset as president of the united states] told the BBC there had been no significant diminishing of Russian attempts at subversion in Europe and the US.
posted by Rust Moranis at 5:54 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


The House Democrats need to unilaterally release their memo. Period. If that's illegal they need to sack up and do it anyway. Schiff is my guy, I live in his district, and this is a big test.
posted by Justinian at 6:01 PM on January 29 [42 favorites]


The convergence of events today is incredibly unsettling. A lot of it isn't necessarily related. If McCabe has just had enough and/or wants to burn his remaining vacation time on terminal leave, that's totally reasonable. Did he know the Nunes memo vote or the bullshit on the Russia sanctions was coming down today, though? Did he know from whatever connections he has how they'd play out?

Even if the timing of all these events really is unrelated, each of them is unsettling on their own. Together? This is the worst I've felt about where we are since Comey was fired.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:11 PM on January 29 [25 favorites]


I'm left hoping yes, HOPE, I know that his utter inability tomorrow night to deliver a passibly coherent speech to the nation might be the last turning point. TTTCS, etc.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:13 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


So Assange believes he has already existing "other channels" to talk to Hannity to spread dirt on Warner. Holy crap.

I think I might be trapped inside of a Black Mirror episode.
posted by diogenes at 6:14 PM on January 29 [9 favorites]


I'm left hoping yes, HOPE, I know that his utter inability tomorrow night to deliver a passibly coherent speech to the nation might be the last turning point. TTTCS, etc.

if he doesn't start playing with his poo in the middle of the speech, the "liberal" media will fall all over themselves praising him

citation: the last sotu
posted by entropicamericana at 6:16 PM on January 29 [25 favorites]


It is sort of hilarious that the great hacker and encryption messiah Assange doesn't have the opsec to verify the identity of the right wing celebrity account he's attempting to collude with, despite obvious cues on his end like a lack of DM history with a new account.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:18 PM on January 29 [62 favorites]


I'm left hoping yes, HOPE, I know that his utter inability tomorrow night to deliver a passibly coherent speech to the nation might be the last turning point. TTTCS, etc.

Unless he gets a sharp scoop o'clock kick to the groin before the SOTU, I imagine he's going to walk in with his confidence bolstered by all this bullshit and that's all the media is going to notice. "Seems more presidential" and all that garbage.

Also I evangelized for TTTCS hard during 2016 and actually did it several times on election day. At this point TTTCS is in the same grave as "What if they reboot Firefly?"

...although oh god what if it's TTTSC?

posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:24 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


My mother died last year, just a month or so after Comey was fired. Cancer. It was slow until it was fast. I was by her side for months in the hospital, checking all the monitors all the time.

I hate to admit it, but this feels like the darkest times, right before we got the bad news but we could tell it was coming. It feels the same with the dawning of unsettling details, the coincidences that aren’t coincidences. The Assange/Hannity thing is delicious ownage, but it also means the cancer has, in fact, tunneled under. These aren’t random lumps, they’re metastasized parts of the original, which is bigger than you thought.

There’s a John Mulaney bit about a mariachi band on the subway feeling like a mob hit. I think about that every day, especially today.
posted by Brainy at 6:25 PM on January 29 [30 favorites]


Rachel Maddow is doing a great job of pointing out that the Republican rationale for possibly firing Rod Rosenstein is that he authorized continued surveillance of Carter Page, a known Russian agent whose handler went to federal prison for being a Russian agent. That was Rod Rosenstein’s big mistake: authorizing surveillance of a known Russian agent in America, a primary goal and purpose of the FBI. Kinda like he authorized a Special Counsel investigation of the Donald Trump campaign. Except, obviously, that’s completely dissimilar and unrelated.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:33 PM on January 29 [58 favorites]


It is sort of hilarious that the great hacker and encryption messiah Assange doesn't have the opsec to verify the identity of the right wing celebrity account he's attempting to collude with

I think that was good opsec. He loses nothing by people believing that he has secure communication channels with Hannity and dirt on Warner. It's kind of his schtick.
posted by Coventry at 6:36 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


@lapin:

I don't think it's an either/or thing. As a liberal Christian I feel a responsibility to educate the Christians around me who seem ignorant of the actual tenets of their faith. This past year I have felt called to a kind of reverse evangelism. I have never felt ok proselytizing to non believers, but I feel a strong need to speak the truth against oppression and lies to fellow Christians. While I'm not under any illusions that I am changing many minds, as things further deteriorate with this administration, people do seem to at least listen to my words with an if not open, not totally closed mind.

Thank you for this and all the rest you wrote in that incredibly wonderful post.

In many ways, I feel I am the opposite but for the exact same reason. I do not believe someone died for my sins. Still the teachings are good things and things I strive towards daily.

As I am not particularly inclined to call Christ my savior, I recognize my thoughts and ideas will fall on deaf ears more often than not.

So, thank you for helping people examine their ideas of what being a Christian is and how it relates to the actual teachings (as best that we can understand them.)

Believe it or not, I have had some success without being a member of a church by doing what I think is something you are doing... simply asking questions and proposing that one's idea of Christianity is not aligned with the Golden Rule or other teachings. (B.A. in Philosophy and Religion kind of helps.)

Thank you again, lapin. While I expect we don't agree on some of the very big questions, I think we are working towards a similar goal. I 100% agree with you that this should be a multi-pronged effort in which talking to people to open their minds is worthy, as well as getting more people (that agree with us. :-D) to vote.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 6:38 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]


WaPo has what seems like a mess of an article up right now, coming out of the gate with (what else?) Clinton ....
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe — who became a symbol for President Trump of what he considers the bureau’s political bias — abruptly stepped down Monday amid an internal probe examining his handling of the bureau’s investigations into Hillary Clinton, according to people familiar with the matter.
... going on to also cite planned retirement, Wray "holding people accountable", Drump's dislike ... the only thing missing is The Memo.

Golly, could be anything, but when in doubt, lead with Burn Her!
posted by Dashy at 6:48 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


Not to abuse the edit window: of course, the article ends with Emails!
posted by Dashy at 6:51 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]




be the moral center of your world. Do the right thing, and by all the gods don't do it silently. Make a point of doing the right thing, unflinchingly and openly, and in doing so set an example for the people who are already part of a group with you.

If you ever find yourself in my neck of the woods, sciatrix, I hope you'll allow me to buy you a beverage of your choice for this.
posted by biogeo at 7:08 PM on January 29 [11 favorites]


when in doubt, lead with Burn Her!

I didn't like HRC during Bill's presidency and I really didn't like her when she went up against Obama in the Dem primary -- I felt like she punched him below the belt a few too many times. However, after Obama secured the nomination and I began reading inside accounts and things she actually said and did, my respect for her actually shot up. I began to admire her. I still do. I'm still crushed when I think of how she must have felt on election night in 2016.

However, even at my most intensely felt loathing for her, I wasn't obsessed with attacking her and hating on everything she did and said, hellbent on dragging her name into matters at the slightest pretext.

What could she have possibly done to all these journalists to earn this unrelenting hatred? Is it because she has the nerve to keep speaking and doing things despite not performing femininity the way they want it performed?

I feel like she's long past the point where she could justifiably do a "Fuck you (NYT), fuck you (WaPo), fuck you (Fox), you're cool (???), and fuck you (CNN), I'm out [mic drop]" scene and get massive approval from a lot of us.
posted by lord_wolf at 7:09 PM on January 29 [47 favorites]


T.D. Strange: House rules are different from Senate rules. I bet Schiff wouldn't be allowed through his first sentence.
posted by holgate at 7:17 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


The simple truth is that if House Democrats wanted their memo out badly enough they could get it out. If it doesn't come out along with the Republican memo it's because House Democrats didn't want it out badly enough to rock the boat.
posted by Justinian at 7:20 PM on January 29 [10 favorites]


T.D. Strange: House rules are different from Senate rules. I bet Schiff wouldn't be allowed through his first sentence.

It's not the Senate Rules, it's the Speech or Debate Clause of the United States Constitution. And neither the House nor the Senate is equipped to stop a Member quickly from saying something somebody thinks they shouldn't say on the floor.
posted by The World Famous at 7:21 PM on January 29 [7 favorites]


It's not the Senate Rules, it's the Speech or Debate Clause of the United States Constitution. And neither the House nor the Senate is equipped to stop a Member quickly from saying something somebody thinks they shouldn't say on the floor.

Nancy Pelosi talked about this on CNN's show with Chris Cuomo tonight. She did not have a good answer. Which, as much as I admire Nancy Pelosi, is not exactly a rare occurrence. Maybe she should stick to doing her job which is wrangling votes.

She said that reading classified intel into the record would hurt national security which, ok fair enough, but when Cuomo rightly riposted with "then redact it first and read only the non classified portions" she just started complaining that what the Republicans were doing was wrong and hurtful to the nation.

Well no shit Speaker Pelosi. Maybe if we whine about it some more they'll stop.
posted by Justinian at 7:25 PM on January 29 [18 favorites]


She said that reading classified intel into the record would hurt national security

That's undisputably not the case with all classified information, just a subset of it. So the Dems' memo contains information that is not only classified, but the disclosure of which Pelosi believes would hurt national security? My imagination is running wild over here.

(Or maybe Pelosi's just making excuses on TV, which is more plausible.)
posted by The World Famous at 7:27 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


TWF, her primary objection seemed to be essentially "this isn't the way things are done". It's as though the Democratic leadership has page faulted and cannot adapt to the new reality. This is exactly why norms are no protection against autocrats.
posted by Justinian at 7:29 PM on January 29 [24 favorites]


I think I'll go with the ACLU's interpretation here, thanks. There's nothing stopping Democrats from doing exactly what Mike Gravel did.

If they don't, they're actively abetting the Republican cover-up of treason. Period.

This isn't a "well maybe..." or "how would it play with the white working class..." situation. This is a bright line test on standing against treason, which I fully expect Democrats to fail, and Pelosi just admitted they intend to fail. Because they stand for nothing, and have learned nothing, and will not fight to save our democracy.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:30 PM on January 29 [24 favorites]


She said that reading classified intel into the record would hurt national security

Hey, you know what else isn't so great for national security?
posted by contraption at 7:33 PM on January 29 [49 favorites]


In a fundraising solicitation on Monday, Trump offered those willing to pay at least $35 the opportunity to see their name displayed during a live streaming of the address on his campaign website.

Are they going to be 'selected' names, and is somebody who knows what they're doing going to do the selecting? (Does Trump have anybody who REALLY knows what they're doing?) If not, it would be totally worth $35 going to the wrong people to have certain names pop up on the screen... "Vladimir Putin", "Harvey Weinstein", "the estate of Charles Manson"...
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:33 PM on January 29 [24 favorites]


FWIW before I get quoted more, I've been skimming through the interview with Pelosi again looking for the exact spot about hurting national security and while I am not going to listen to the entire 20minute interview again, I can't find those exact words. She certainly says things which imply it, but let me stipulate it may well not be an exact quote. (It may be but like I said, I can't find it in a quick fast forward through the interview.)
posted by Justinian at 7:36 PM on January 29


NYT, Miriam Jordan,Many Muslim Refugees Will Face Additional Scrutiny Under Trump Plan
The Trump administration said on Monday that it is resuming the admission of refugees from 11 countries with additional screening that it said will increase security but which refugee groups say will make it harder for Muslims to find safe haven in the United States.

In late October, after a pause in admissions, the administration began accepting new refugees except for those from the 11 countries, citing the need for a 90-day security review. Officials did not name the countries, but they were widely reported to be Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Those countries have accounted for more than 40 percent of all refugee admissions in recent years.

Refugees from those countries will now be admitted again, but only after additional screening. “These additional security measures will make it harder for bad actors to exploit our refugee program, and they will ensure we take a more risk-based approach to protecting the homeland,” the secretary of homeland security, Kirstjen Nielsen, said in a statement.
NYT op-ed, Michelle Goldberg, Please Don’t Call Him Presidential
After a tumultuous and divisive year in office, Donald Trump has the opportunity for a fresh start with his first State of the Union address on Tuesday. The president can surprise those who think the worst of him, and prove that he’s been underestimated. All he has to do is apologize to his fellow Americans for the shame he’s brought upon this country, and resign effective immediately.

Since that’s not going to happen, I’m begging my fellow pundits not to get too excited should Trump manage to read from a teleprompter without foaming at the mouth or saying anything overtly racist. No matter how well Trump delivers the lines in his State of the Union — announced theme: “Building a safe, strong and proud America” — he will not become presidential. There will be no turning of corners or uniting the country. At best, Trump will succeed in impersonating a minimally competent leader for roughly the length of an episode of “The Apprentice.” And if he does, recent history suggests that he will be praised as the second coming of Lincoln.
Also, we should probably get a mod ruling on whether we want a new SOTU thread tomorrow evening or just keep it in here+chat for contextless liveblogging
posted by zachlipton at 7:39 PM on January 29 [48 favorites]


we should compensate two of us that will sit there and watch while the rest of us pick a (long) movie and live-chat/comment on fanfare. then we come back here for their insights. i do not nominate myself.

to abuse the edit window: i meant compensating with money or food or whatever will get them through watching that shitshow.
posted by numaner at 7:54 PM on January 29 [12 favorites]


I’d do it.

Do I have to be sober? Cuz that’s gonna cost ya.
posted by darkstar at 8:24 PM on January 29 [9 favorites]


Do I have to be sober? Cuz that’s gonna cost ya

Dear God, we’re not monsters.
posted by corb at 8:38 PM on January 29 [77 favorites]


...and cost you even more, I fear.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:38 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


WaPo editorial, In a house fire, America loses a devoted servant. Ed "@CaptainPAYGO" Lorenzen died in a house fire trying to rescue his young son. He worked in Hoyer's office to write the statutory PAYGO bill and spent years at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget sharing his knowledge and advocating for sensible fiscal reform. If, at any time over the past year, it has seemed like I had the slightest idea what I was talking about when it came to the budget, sequestration caps, the Byrd Rule, or the costs of GOP health care and tax proposals, there's a good chance it came from him and his team.

.
posted by zachlipton at 8:41 PM on January 29 [35 favorites]


So the Dems' memo contains information that is not only classified, but the disclosure of which Pelosi believes would hurt national security? My imagination is running wild over here.

The Dems' problem, as best as I can tell, is that the Nunes shitmemo is written in a sufficiently deceitful and blinkered way that refuting it means burning underlying sources and methods. Lie gets round the world, etc.

The Speech or Debate clause, yeah, but the House simply doesn't allow the kind of extended reading into the record on the floor that the Senate does. It's simultaneously packed with erratic zealots and run with ruthless discipline.
posted by holgate at 8:44 PM on January 29 [9 favorites]


[Just to get ahead of this a little: the SOTU liveblogging ("omg", one-line reactions, "here's what I'm drinking", etc) tomorrow will be in Chat, and we'll be asking folks to keep this thread for somewhat more-substantial summary or comment.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:58 PM on January 29 [17 favorites]


The Speech or Debate clause, yeah, but the House simply doesn't allow the kind of extended reading into the record on the floor that the Senate does.

This really isn't the reason for Democrats abetting the coverup that you seem to think it is. House rules of procedure really wouldn't prevent them from reading it into the record, or entering it as a document, or simply fucking tweeting it out and claiming the privilege. And if one Democratic congressman has to risk jail time over it, they need to do it. It's that serious. We're talking about the sitting president covering up treason. If Democrats aren't willing to go to the mat over that, let's all pledge fealty to Putin right now and Adam Schiff can lead us in the Russian anthem.

If Democrats don't release the underlying intel to rebut the Nunes coverup, they're making the choice to assist in that coverup, and giving up on holding Republicans accountable.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:09 PM on January 29 [17 favorites]


We're not fundamentally disagreeing here. Where we disagree is that there's some kind of obvious method that's "within the rules" when in the minority, or that there aren't consequences to going outside "the rules" when lined up against a gang of crooks that have the power to use the rulebook for shitty treasonous purposes. There's no salvation in defending the rule of law right until those who don't give a fuck about it get bored of your lofty principles and lock you up, but there's also risk in deciding that emergency procedures apply.

That's why I talked upthread about being afraid of a kind of bureaucratic Saturnalia: if people decide that all bets are off, all bets are seriously off, and we shouldn't assume that people playing dirty for the first time will win against people who've played dirty and got away with it their entire lives.

That's to say: if Democrats are willing to go to the mat, what are you willing to do to protect them?
posted by holgate at 9:28 PM on January 29 [11 favorites]


So if what Schiff is saying in this CNN hit is true, Nunes hasn't actually seen the underlying intelligence on which his memo is based.

Fundamentally, as I understand it, Nunes is trying to claim that the FBI applied for a FISA warrant for surveillance on Page based on the dossier, so the whole FBI is corrupt. What would rebut that would be information about why the FBI really suspected Page and what the FBI learned from its surveillance that convinced a judge to reauthorize it. And that's the vulnerability Nunes is exploiting: his memo is nonsense and he hasn't even read the FISC applications he's condemning; but a real memo from the Democrats would have to be based on real intelligence, and yeah, there can be really negative aspects to releasing that. It's not about House rules or the personal consequences for whoever does it, but rather about being responsible with what is released.

At the same time, we've had more of a year of this, and at some point, we need public evidence of what's been going on. I don't know how you do that without revealing sources and methods, but we're well past the point where dueling chants of "trust me; it's classified" is going to work.

I also don't understand why Republicans would want to call this much attention to Carter Page being under surveillance, because, well, look at the guy; he's really damn suspicious.
posted by zachlipton at 9:29 PM on January 29 [65 favorites]


That's to say: if Democrats are willing to go to the mat, what are you willing to do to protect them

I’d like to see them show one iota of courage first, because I’m 35 and it’s never once happened in the entire time I’ve been alive.

If Democrats looked out at the energy over the last year and the 3 million marchers last week and their takeaway was “we should cave in at the first possible moment to Stephen Miller and Devin Nunes”, I don’t think the question is on us - it’s on them with power, where they’ve been failing us for a year.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:39 PM on January 29 [28 favorites]


We're definitely in a "when in the course of human events" moment, so keeping rhetorical and parliamentary powder dry at this time is functionally democratic suicide. It's not often that the right thing to do appears with a big shiny "Press Me" button on it. Come on Dems, take the fight in a sustained manner to the traitorous Republican-Trump-Russian-NRA-Fascist cabal (wherever those tentacles are found to have imbedded) and git 'er DONE!!! If we don't deal perfectly with the thief who has snuck in in the middle of the night, the shame for that is mainly on the thief for having snuck in and burgled to begin with, we needn't paralyze ourselves with worry about every. single. dotted. i. as we prosecute our national rescue from this foul oligarchic incursion.
posted by riverlife at 10:00 PM on January 29 [11 favorites]


I don’t think the question is on us - it’s on them with power, where they’ve been failing us for a year.

If that's where you are, then assume that they won't and plan accordingly. It's a misreading of history to think that when authoritarianism shows up, those in (some) power who remain committed to existing institutional norms always drop the ball.
posted by holgate at 10:02 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


Quick reminder, there's a network of planned protests if Mueller is fired.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 10:18 PM on January 29 [26 favorites]


Mueller won't be fired, Rosenstein will be fired and his replacement will neuter the investigation while nominally keeping Mueller in place. This is a frog-in-slowly-heating water situation. By the time the water is boiling it's already too late.
posted by Justinian at 10:26 PM on January 29 [19 favorites]


I’d like to see them show one iota of courage first, because I’m 35 and it’s never once happened in the entire time I’ve been alive.

Perhaps you are too young to have been paying attention but Obamacare required a lot of bravery on the part of Democratic representatives. In 2010, leading up to the congressional votes, healthcare reform was distinctly unpopular, registering less than 40% approval. The majority of the country was satisfied with their employer insurance and were afraid to rock the boat in any way to provide healthcare for the less fortunate.

Obama had to give an impassioned speech to the Democratic caucus to buck them up in which he conceded that Democrats likely would pay the price in the mid-terms but reminded them that's what they were there for -- much like LBJ's concession that the Civil Rights Act would cause Democrats "to lose the South for a generation" but it was the right thing to do.

And Obama was right. Democrats did the best they could with the bare majority necessary and indeed they were slaughtered in the next mid-terms because of their vote for Obamacare. A lot of Democratic senators and representatives knowingly sacrificed their seats for Obamacare.
posted by JackFlash at 10:54 PM on January 29 [99 favorites]


By the time the water is boiling it's already too late.

Frogs jump out of the water when it gets too hot, and so must we.
posted by thelonius at 3:21 AM on January 30 [13 favorites]


Not that I'm anxious to add another hostage to the mix, but is protection of Mueller something that could be tied to the CR in Fed?
posted by angrycat at 4:21 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


TPM:

For impeachment referral, Mueller would need Rosenstein

"Susan Low Bloch, professor of constitutional law at Georgetown Law School, agreed. “'Rosenstein decides what to do, and if he sees an impeachable offense I would say that he should send it to Congress,” she said in a phone interview on Monday. 'But if he chooses not to, I don’t think you can do anything.'"
posted by angrycat at 4:38 AM on January 30 [4 favorites]




Hey, wonder what ABC's new pundit has to say...

@ABC
Former NJ @GovChristie says he doesn’t think Pres. Trump should sit down with Special Counsel Mueller: "I don't believe so. Listen, I don't think there's been any...credible allegations against the President of the United States."

VIDEO
posted by chris24 at 4:49 AM on January 30 [3 favorites]


I will note that Christie did make the point that, "one of the things that I loved about being a prosecutor was only I knew what I knew. Only Bob Mueller really knows what he knows, and we won't know it for a while" ... "Bob Mueller knows what's going on"
posted by mikelieman at 5:19 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


When Nunes' stupid memo comes out, please ask people "Were you scandalized when this story came out in April? Or only when a hashtag tells you to be scandalized?"

That's a CNN story saying "The FBI last year used a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Donald Trump's campaign as part of the justification to win approval to secretly monitor a Trump associate ... This includes approval from the secret court that oversees the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to monitor the communications of Carter Page, two of the officials said."

I can't believe Nunes is getting away with pretending to be shocked by classified information revealing... the same story he didn't react to at all when CNN published it nine months ago. How can anyone believe these "worse than Watergate" reactions are sincere, when none of these guys reacted that way the first time we talked about this?

By the way, according to CNN...

"Officials familiar with the process say even if the application to monitor Page included information from the dossier, it would only be after the FBI had corroborated the information through its own investigation. The officials would not say what or how much was corroborated"

I'm assuming that last part is what Democrats would like to explain, but don't feel they can.
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:19 AM on January 30 [27 favorites]


Putin got himself another win in one of his new colonies. WaPost Czech elections on Sat.
posted by rc3spencer at 5:21 AM on January 30 [3 favorites]


> I’d like to see them show one iota of courage first, because I’m 35 and it’s never once happened in the entire time I’ve been alive.

Perhaps you are too young to have been paying attention but Obamacare required a lot of bravery on the part of Democratic representatives.


I'm 33, and I remember the political risk and sacrifice the Dems consciously made to get Obamacare passed quite well. I also remember that at the time, a lot of folks on the left were more focused on hating the Dems for passing Obamacare instead of universal healthcare than they were on recognizing the political risk and probable costs to the Dems in congress. The greatest risk the Dems took, of course, was in trusting that Democratic voters would have their backs in 2010, and we saw how that turned out.

Some things haven't changed since then, I guess.
posted by biogeo at 5:22 AM on January 30 [37 favorites]




For impeachment referral, Mueller would need Rosenstein

I think this is basically a non-issue. Let’s imagine that Mueller produces a detailed description of felonies committed by the President and goes to the Acting Attorney General to ask for a referral for impeachment, and the Acting Attorney General says, that’s very nice Bob, but no thanks. Does anyone imagine that Mueller’s team would bow their heads and silently trudge back to their old day jobs? Of course not. Both the detailed evidence justifying felony charges against the President, and the fact that the Acting Attorney General was now impeding the prosecution, would be swiftly leaked. Impeachment is a political process that does not depend on an official referral from a third party. Congress would be just as compelled to act, or to not act, in this scenario. Indeed, they would be more compelled than ever. But, perhaps even that would not be sufficient until we have a Democratic House of Representatives.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:27 AM on January 30 [10 favorites]


Those hoping the special counsel will prosecute the president are engaging in fantasy.

Maybe. That's really an endpoint, but I don't think we'll get there because the real leverage is Mueller indicting Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Jared, but will cut a deal IF Donald Trump resigns. Drilling down in to their money laundering is going to expose Donald Trump's money laundering. The variable, I think, is "Is Donald Trump Sane Enough To Know When To Fold". That's not trivial, btw.
posted by mikelieman at 5:29 AM on January 30 [21 favorites]


I'm assuming that last part is what Democrats would like to explain, but don't feel they can.

I'd also like to remind folks that one of Steele's dossier sources may already have been killed for talking to him, according to Glenn Simpon's testimony transcripts that Feinstein released.

So when you demand pollitical courage from Democrats, to release their counter memo, remember that it could cost lives.
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:30 AM on January 30 [32 favorites]


So if what Schiff is saying in this CNN hit is true, Nunes hasn't actually seen the underlying intelligence on which his memo is based.

... And that's the vulnerability Nunes is exploiting: his memo is nonsense and he hasn't even read the FISC applications he's condemning; but a real memo from the Democrats would have to be based on real intelligence, and yeah, there can be really negative aspects to releasing that. It's not about House rules or the personal consequences for whoever does it, but rather about being responsible with what is released.


For what it's worth, that's the message Schiff was relating on NPR this morning, while heavily implying that the Nunes memo is a pile of dishonest garbage. Of course, the NPR interviewer was all, if the Republican memo is partisan hogwash, couldn't the same thing be said about the Democratic one? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

To his credit, Schiff shot back that the Democratic memo is based on fact while the Republican one isn't. And, he said, they are weighing what they can release without burning sources and methods, which is something else the Republicans didn't do. '
posted by Gelatin at 5:44 AM on January 30 [27 favorites]


Also the way that impeachment actually works is that, once the House votes to impeach, the Senate holds a trial. I'd expect the Democrats to call Mueller as a witness during that trial.
posted by Merus at 5:48 AM on January 30 [3 favorites]


Trump's white evangelical defenders embody slaveholder Christianity.

Which is hilarious, because if memory serves me correctly, the blogger Slacktivist has suggested that evangelicals took up their absolutist position on abortion in an attempt to recapture the moral high ground after their failure to be on the right side of the civil rights effort.

Let’s imagine that Mueller produces a detailed description of felonies committed by the President and goes to the Acting Attorney General to ask for a referral for impeachment, and the Acting Attorney General says, that’s very nice Bob, but no thanks. Does anyone imagine that Mueller’s team would bow their heads and silently trudge back to their old day jobs? Of course not.

Besides the political process of impeachment, Mueller would be free to pass along the results of his investigation to the New York State prosecutor, where money laundering is illegal and whose charges Trump would have no power to pardon.

Mueller's investigation of Trump poses political risks to him and the Republicans in general, but it also puts him and many of his inner circle in serious jeopardy of criminal prosecution regardless of whether Senate Republicans join the effort to remove him.

To which I say, let justice be done though the heavens fall.
posted by Gelatin at 5:56 AM on January 30 [32 favorites]


Which is hilarious, because if memory serves me correctly, the blogger Slacktivist has suggested that evangelicals took up their absolutist position on abortion in an attempt to recapture the moral high ground after their failure to be on the right side of the civil rights effort.

It was more mercenary than that. Protestants didn't used to be anti-abortion. But they got pissed off over the government's work to desegregate religious schools and seminaries. This is where Falwell's "Moral Majority" came from. They courted the Catholics as part of that, and the Catholics demonstrated to them that abortion would be a really good wedge issue they could gain ground with conservative voters on. Basically the entire evangelical anti-abortion movement is about white supremacy. Use the issue to build the movement to keep white Christianity white. Also important: control women.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:11 AM on January 30 [64 favorites]


From Slothrup's link above:
> Jerry Falwell, Jr., responding to critics, claimed Jesus’ teachings are about private morality, not public policy: “Jesus said love our neighbors as ourselves but never told Caesar how to run Rome,” he wrote on Twitter.
This from a man who, along with his father, built a national movement around telling Caesar how to run Rome. A movement that consequently helped create the political mess we're now in.
posted by Rykey at 6:16 AM on January 30 [61 favorites]


So when you demand pollitical courage from Democrats, to release their counter memo, remember that it could cost lives

As opposed to the lives at stake as the country with the greatest military capability ever assembled slides into a white supremacist patriarchal authoritarian dystopia?

None of the people in that dossier are babes in the woods. All of them had information worth getting because of the roles they themselves occupy, the power they held, the choices they made.

Please try to keep perspective. Between this and the abortion stuff...just try.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:30 AM on January 30 [19 favorites]


As opposed to the lives at stake as the country with the greatest military capability ever assembled slides into a white supremacist patriarchal authoritarian dystopia?

Don't forget that the white supremacist patriarchal authoritarians are also beholden to a hostile foreign power.
posted by diogenes at 6:35 AM on January 30 [5 favorites]


Here is a sample phone script from the always amazing Prof. Jennifer Taub for calling your Senators and Representative regarding Trump's decision not to enforce the Russian sanctions. Please call. This is brazen disregard for the integrity of our country.

SAMPLE SCRIPT:
Hello, my name is ____. I am a constituent and am calling about the president’s refusal to follow the Russia sanctions law.

This law was passed by a vote of 98-2 in the Senate and 419-3 in the House. This was a vetoproof majority. It was passed in response to overwhelming, credible evidence of Russian government interference in our presidential election. This included hacking into the Democratic and Republican party emails and even into multiple states’ voter databases.

I am deeply concerned that we are now facing a constitutional crisis. We have three branches of government. We do not have a monarchy. Moreover, failing to address future Russian interference places our entire Democracy at risk. How can we trust the integrity of our elections and our democratic system if congress cannot even stand up to the president on this matter?

What does the [senator/representative] plan to do about this?

Thank you

posted by lydhre at 6:44 AM on January 30 [76 favorites]


Morning news miscellany --

The Atlantic: The Circumscribed Ethics Investigation Into Devin Nunes
The House Intelligence Committee chair claimed he’d been completely cleared, but the panel probing his conduct never gained access to the intelligence he was accused of divulging.
...
[T]he committee was never able to obtain or review the classified information at the heart of the inquiry, according to three congressional sources briefed on the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. The panel’s inability to determine for itself what may or may not have been classified—and what Nunes had actually been shown—likely contributed to its decision to close the investigation, according to one source.

Those restrictions cast doubt on whether the committee was able to authoritatively compare Nunes’s statements to the press with what he had read in the classified intelligence reports. That, in turn, calls into question the thoroughness of the committee’s investigation, and the accuracy of Nunes’s claims of vindication.
Closing the investigation for want of evidence might have been the correct thing to do -- I really don't know -- but that's not the same thing as being 'completely cleared of wrongdoing' (as Nunes has repeatedly claimed) and, in any case, Nunes has been up to a lot of shady stuff that hasn't yet been fake investigated yet.

On the other side of the aisle, The Hill: Schiff says office has received death threats over ‘Republican spin memo’.

In the lead-up to the SOTU tonight, NBC News: Inspector general accuses Pentagon of censoring Afghanistan data
The federal watchdog overseeing U.S. efforts in Afghanistan slammed the Defense Department on Monday night for blocking the release of unclassified data on U.S. progress there, calling the order unprecedented and "troubling for a number of reasons."

In a letter accompanying its regular quarterly report, the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, said the Defense Department blocked publication of data on "the number of districts, and the population living in them, controlled or influenced by the Afghan government or by the insurgents, or contested by both."

Those data aren't classified, but the Defense Department determined that "they are not releasable to the public," said the letter, which gave no indication that the Defense Department provided a reason for the decision.
Again, that's the DoD declining to release unclassified information to the public.
The letter, which is signed by Inspector General John Sopko, called the order distressing because "the number of districts controlled or influenced by the Afghan government had been one of the last remaining publicly available indicators for members of Congress — many of whose staff do not have access to the classified annexes to SIGAR reports — and for the American public of how the 16-year-long U.S. effort to secure Afghanistan is faring."
In light of other recent reporting that troops are being rushed to Afghanistan with minimal training, which wouldn't seem necessary given what's been publicly disclosed about the state of the war, this is doubly concerning; whatever Trump says about the State of the Uniom tonight, we should be deeply skeptical, in particular, about whatever he says about Afghanistan.

Additional coverage from the WSJ, which notes that casualty data is also now being withheld.
Sigar said the U.S. military is also refusing to release data on civilian casualties linked to coalition airstrikes.

“We’re respecting the [Afghan] government and its wish to withhold the information,” said Navy Capt. Tom Gresback, the spokesman for American forces in Afghanistan.

Mr. Waziri, the Defense Ministry spokesman, said his ministry hadn’t made the request.
...

One year ago today: Sally Yates fired for refusing to defend Trump's Muslim ban.
posted by cjelli at 6:49 AM on January 30 [41 favorites]


Who Really Writes Trump’s Speeches? The White House Won’t Say
Officials declined to engage on the subject in a way that seems almost suspicious, like the speechwriters might all be lizard people or something. “Unfortunately we will not be able to facilitate an interview with the speechwriting team,” Lindsay Walters, a deputy press secretary, told me in an email. “On record,” she added, “when President Trump communicates with the American people, his words are his own and come directly from his heart. His unparalleled ability to speak to and connect with people from across the country, including those who have felt forgotten by Washington for many years, will never waver.”
...
Two days before his inauguration, Trump tweeted a picture of himself at a strange-looking desk, holding a pen and a pad of paper. “Writing my inaugural address at the Winter White House, Mar-a-Lago, three weeks ago,” he said. As it turned out, the desk was the Mar-a-Lago concierge desk, and the desktop computer and brochures that usually sit on top of it had been cleared off and replaced with an eagle statue for the photo. The pen in his hand was a marker, his preferred writing instrument but less than an ideal one with which to write a long, inherently historic speech.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:11 AM on January 30 [39 favorites]


Trump’s State of the Union and the Consequences of Low Expectations
...on the eve of his first State of the Union address, expectations of Trump remain stubbornly low. In some respects, the bar has fallen even further: the question on many Americans’ minds today is not “What is the state of our union?” but “What is the state of the President’s mental health?” Neither the White House physician’s stamp of approval nor Trump’s own insistence that he is, in fact, “stable” has put the matter to rest. Publications such as Time are still throwing around terms like “cognitive impairment”; STAT, a science-news outlet, has analyzed interviews of Trump, going back to the nineteen-eighties, and notes a “striking” deterioration in the “fluency, complexity, and vocabulary level” of his unscripted remarks. The upside of all this, for Trump, is that he is again set to outperform predictions by speaking, as he likely will on Tuesday night, in complete sentences.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:17 AM on January 30 [9 favorites]


“On record,” she added, “when President Trump communicates with the American people, his words are his own and come directly from his heart. His unparalleled ability to speak to and connect with people from across the country, including those who have felt forgotten by Washington for many years, will never waver.”

This is legitimately frightening. Like, this is something you might read in a press release about Ronald McDonald or Mickey Mouse. Except it's about the President.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:21 AM on January 30 [54 favorites]


This is legitimately frightening. Like, this is something you might read in a press release about Ronald McDonald or Mickey Mouse.

Or Josef Stalin. Or Idi Amin. Or Big Brother.
posted by Gelatin at 7:23 AM on January 30 [52 favorites]


Well sure, I chose to work light. Because the alternative...
posted by uncleozzy at 7:24 AM on January 30 [12 favorites]


To be fair, when President Trump communicates with the American people his words are (usually) his own and do in fact come directly from his id heart. His ability to speak to and connect with people across the country is, in fact, unparalleled, thanks to the prevalence of 24-hour cable news and social media. And I doubt that this ability (note that ability is a neutral word in this context) to speak to and connect with people across the country will ever waver for as long as he lives.

But, yeah. They know we can see and hear him when he talks, right? Really looking forward to the Speech When Trump Finally Becomes President tonight. Or maybe he actually will go off the rails! You never know with this guy. I have a hard time believing he'd be able to stick to even the best speech ever written for a full hour without getting bored, but perhaps a room full of every important Republican doing their best to out-cheer each other will be enough to satisfy his ego.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:36 AM on January 30 [5 favorites]


Two days before his inauguration, Trump tweeted a picture of himself at a strange-looking desk, holding a pen and a pad of paper. “Writing my inaugural address at the Winter White House, Mar-a-Lago, three weeks ago,” he said.

I'm mystified if they really think that pictures like that really convince anyone that he's really writing his speech. Also, it's weird that they think that anyone cares. All presidents have speechwriters, even the most eloquent ones.
posted by octothorpe at 7:37 AM on January 30 [13 favorites]


Please try to keep perspective.

I love MeFi deeply and mostly just read through threads favoriting things and clicking links. I post only when I've got a bee in my bonnet, a link to share, a question google can't answer... Or when I think a complex issue is being oversimplified. That always bugs me. But really I'm not as contrarian as I seem. It's just that there's a little plus sign for saying "I agree" and the only way to say "no, it's more complicated than that" is to type it out.

In particular, I think it is easy to say "Democrats should release their memo and burn our sources" when you have no idea what is in that memo or who those sources are.

But 1) Then we will get no more intelligence from those sources, or from others who are deterred by what happened to them, and this is a moment in history when knowing what the Kremlin is planning might be really important.

And 2) It's not clear that it's necessary to release Schiff's memo in order to refute the one Nunes put together. We don't know yet whether that gambit by Nunes is actually going to work. Getting people killed (and also losing our access to information) to refute a memo which turns out to be transparently stupid and which goes nowhere once it actually comes out (which is pretty much what happened last time Nunes tried this)... That would be tragic.

I'm aware that we are in a crisis, but just because we should do something doesn't mean we should do that. There may be much less costly ways to handle this situation.

Feinstein just proved that she at least is willing to take the kind of minor personal risk which is required. So I think it is too glib to attribute the unwillingness to release Schiff's memo at this point to a lack of personal courage on the part of Democrats. There are almost certainly risks involved that we know nothing about, to people who are much more vulnerable than members of congress, and to whom we have made promises in return for their help.

Really, I would not post half as much if there were a little * next to the little +, which I could click to show I thought something was oversimplified. Pony request?
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:42 AM on January 30 [39 favorites]


It seems to me that now would be a great time for Rod Rosenstein, who is surely a material witness to Trump's obstruction of justice in firing Comey under false pretenses, to recuse himself from all matters relating to the Russia investigation. The GOP would have to come up with a new reason to fire and replace him, or to fire and replace the subsequent Acting Attorney General, Rachel Brand, who is sufficiently non-Trumpy to have been appointed by Obama to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:43 AM on January 30 [5 favorites]


Trump has requested in his budget proposal a reduction of 6,000 Bureau of Prison positions, including more than 1,800 correctional officers. The extra world will be transferred to -- you guessed it -- private prisons.

The Obama administration has begun to phase out private prisons and the prison industry heavily contributed to the Trump campaign.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:46 AM on January 30 [37 favorites]


I'm mystified if they really think that pictures like that really convince anyone that he's really writing his speech. Also, it's weird that they think that anyone cares. All presidents have speechwriters, even the most eloquent ones.

That whole tableau was 100% Trump. Why do they care? Trump's narcissism must be appeased. It cannot allow the idea that he ever has help from anyone on anything because that implies he is anything less than the Perfect Being he believes himself to be.
posted by scalefree at 7:51 AM on January 30 [6 favorites]


I'm mystified if they really think that pictures like that really convince anyone that he's really writing his speech.

They seem to satisfy some portion of the base. They're shared and approvingly commented-upon by his supporters and followers on social media. Some people are truly determined to believe him 'presidential' no matter what, and even poorly-staged photos seem to serve the purpose for the true believers. Everyone else thinks they look ridiculous, naturally, but I suspect his staff cherry-pick positive social media responses to show him and say 'see? everyone says you look so presidential!' when heading off tantrums or trying to improve his moods.

Also, it's weird that they think that anyone cares.

It may partly have to do with efforts to defuse the he's-not-really-president / he's-cognitively-compromised narratives, but I'm also not 100% sure that Trump and his staff *do* know that presidents usually have speechwriters. There is an awful lot about the executive branch, and functioning government in general, that they seem not to know. Also, since Obama was widely praised for his ability to give great speeches, Trump is likely jealous and hell-bent on making it look like he's even better than Obama and does it *all by himself* too.
posted by halation at 7:52 AM on January 30 [12 favorites]


Trump would comfortably take credit for writing the Declaration of Independence if he thought he could get away with it.

In isolate, sure, whatever, he's pretending he doesn't have speech writers but in aggregate? It is a symptom of Dear Leader-itis and it is very very concerning because the base is ENCOURAGED to buy into the lie. It further cements the narrative of Trump vs. the World for them and it is going to get worse.
posted by lydhre at 8:03 AM on January 30 [5 favorites]


She said that reading classified intel into the record would hurt national security

That's undisputably not the case with all classified information, just a subset of it.


classification pedantry...there are three types of classification: confidential, secret, and top secret. each is based on the very concept of impact to national security.

TOP SECRET – Will be applied to information in which the unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.

SECRET – Will be applied to information in which the unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to the national security.

CONFIDENTIAL – Will be applied to information in which the unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause damage to the national security.

plainly, if a thing is classified, by definition it impacts national security.

there are other categories and mechanics of information protection, but not other classifications.

information can be misclassified. that is, information that *does not* impact national security can be mistakenly classified, or intentionally classified for a variety of reasons. for example. organizational embarrassment (e.g. collateral murder).

if The World Famous is suggesting that the memo's classified information clearly does not impact national security, pelosi's reticence is still correct.

to *really* do it right. she needs to go to the original classifying authority (oca) and request a new review and determination.

she *can* read whatever she wants into the record, but it's a real can of worms, optically.
posted by j_curiouser at 8:03 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


Guardian: FBI has second dossier on possible Trump-Russia collusion

Among other things, both documents allege Donald Trump was compromised during a 2013 trip to Moscow that involved lewd acts in a five-star hotel.

Pee Tape 2: Ureic Boogaloo
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:12 AM on January 30 [65 favorites]


Absolutely brutal interview with former RNC chair Michael Steele in the WaPo today.

Looks like lots of people are finally figuring out that, yes, those jaguars are gonna eat your face too.
posted by Sublimity at 8:14 AM on January 30 [26 favorites]


I'm mystified if they really think that pictures like that really convince anyone that he's really writing his speech.

Just noting here that a not insignificant number of people genuinely believed, and continue to genuinely believe, that Hillary Clinton and John Podesta were running a sex-trafficking ring for pedophiles from the basement of a pizza restaurant.
posted by holborne at 8:20 AM on January 30 [44 favorites]


Also from:

Guardian: FBI has second dossier on possible Trump-Russia collusion
Trump now has five days to decide whether the Nunes document should become public.
What are the odds that he chooses the State of the Union address to announce that he's ordering it released and uses that as an opportunity to make the SOTU a partisan attack on the Democrats and (again) demand that Hillary Clinton be locked up (along, perhaps, with the fake news & deep state)?
posted by Buntix at 8:21 AM on January 30 [7 favorites]


> “That’s right, baby, I built that bad boy out of steel,” Steele told me in the latest episode of “Cape Up.” “Now, having done that, I can’t help it if they went inside and started tearing up the floorboards and knocking out the windows, and crapping all over the house.”

I hear you, Mike. I mean, it's not like the GOP already had a decades-long history of religious hypocrisy, fiscal irresponsibility and turning a blind eye to the character defects of its leaders before Trump came along to ruin their spotless record.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:24 AM on January 30 [22 favorites]


Just to support what OnceUponATime is saying, I think most of us would be thrilled to see the Democrats take unilateral action against the Nunes memo like reading Schiff's memo into record. And I think we're all exhausted and frustrated at how slow the formal processes take, compared to the speed at which the lawless Republicans can move. But the manichean rhetoric that some people are using here presumes that there is no cost to Democrats abandoning the norms of governance that the Republicans have already abandoned, or that it is trivially obvious that this cost is less than the benefits. But this is far from obvious, and it also should be clear that elected Democrats have more access to the kind of information that will complicate this decision.

None of this is to say that the elected Democrats are necessarily doing the right thing by being cautious in releasing the Schiff memo, or any other frustratingly cautious action they take. Rather, we should simply recognize that we do not yet have sufficient information to evaluate their decisions. I'm frustrated at how slow they're moving, too, but to claim that this is evidence that they are cowards, or idiots, or have deliberately abandoned the American people, is counterproductive, defeatist, and unjustified. Maybe they are moving slowly because they have access to information we don't.
posted by biogeo at 8:26 AM on January 30 [21 favorites]


Julia Manchester, The Hill: Ex-RNC chair rips evangelical leaders standing by Trump: ‘Don’t ever preach to me’ again
Former Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele ripped evangelicals for standing by President Trump amid reports Trump had a sexual encounter with an adult film star while he was married.

"Just shut the hell up and don't ever preach to me about anything ever again," Steele said during an MSNBC appearance on Tuesday.

"I don't want to hear it, because after telling me how to live my life, who to love, what to believe, what not to believe, what to do and what not to do, and now you sit back. And if the prostitutes don't matter, if the grabbing the you-know-what doesn't matter, the outright behavior and lies do not matter, just shut up," he said.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:27 AM on January 30 [104 favorites]


Or maybe he actually will go off the rails! You never know with this guy. I have a hard time believing he'd be able to stick to even the best speech ever written for a full hour without getting bored,

I would think that his chances of ad-libbing are pretty good. Donny's noted for being illiterate/impatient with reading, and is he really going to read anything for that long? He only went, what, fifteen minutes with his inaugural address?
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:27 AM on January 30


His unparalleled ability to speak
... you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me, it would have been so easy, and it's not - as important as these lives are - nuclear is so powerful. My uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, and that was 35 years ago, he would explain the power of what's going to happen and he was right. Who would have thought? But now when you look at what's going on with the four prisoners - now it used to be three, now it's four - but when it was three, and even now, I would have said: it's all in the messenger. Fellas, and it is fellas, because, you know, they don't, they haven't figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it's it's going to take them about another 150 years. But the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators. So, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.
- The unfiltered prose poetry of the clown-vandal.

His ability to speak is unparalleled in that it diverges from what we understand as speech and travels it's own uncharted path.
posted by adept256 at 8:27 AM on January 30 [36 favorites]


"Just shut the hell up and don't ever preach to me about anything ever again," Steele said during an MSNBC appearance on Tuesday.

Does Michael Steele say at any point in the interview that he no longer considers himself a Republican, will no longer support GOP candidates or elected officials, and will give Democratic candidates his vote, his speech, and his cash? If not, then he should take his own advice and shut up.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:31 AM on January 30 [70 favorites]


They seem to satisfy some portion of the base.

“You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:32 AM on January 30 [22 favorites]


Has anything significant ever happened at a SOTU address, ever? I don't remember anything over the time I've been paying attention.
posted by Coventry at 8:32 AM on January 30 [4 favorites]


Well, some moron called President Barack Obama a liar.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:34 AM on January 30 [34 favorites]


biogeo We anticipate the Democrats will betray us and basically surrender without a fight because that's what past experience has lead us to think is most likely.

I concede that it is possible that the Democrats are acting wisely and with great intentions and fully intend to fight back with every weapon they possess. I also think that's the least likely explanation for the lack of fight from our elected Democrats and that the more likely explanation is that they're too weak willed, too cowardly, too whatever, to actually stand and fight.

If we on the liberal/left side of things have this view of the Democratic party, I'd suggest it's because past experience has lead us to have that view. If the Democrats have a reputation for surrendering, backing down, giving in to Republican demands, and generally taking the cowardly way out whenever possible it's because they've eared that reputation by surrendering, backing down, giving in to Republican demands, and generally taking the cowardly way out whenever possible.

j_curiouser What you describe is certainly the theoretically ideal situation for how classification works, but as various leaked documents have proven that theoretical ideal does not match reality. We don't suspect, but thanks to heroes like Snowden and Manning, we know for a stone cold certain fact that the US government routinely classifies virtually everything for no reason at all, or simply to avoid embarrassment.

she *can* read whatever she wants into the record, but it's a real can of worms, optically.

I think the optics of letting the Republicans, yet again, curbstomp an unresisting Democratic Party while leading the US further down the path to despotism, autocracy, and rule by an insane clown, are a lot worse.
posted by sotonohito at 8:36 AM on January 30 [10 favorites]




Honestly, at this point we shouldn't even need the Mueller investigation. Worse and more immediate issues are right in front of us. Congress passed the Russia sanctions bill with veto-proof majorities. Across both houses, a total of FIVE GUYS voted against it. Instead of vetoing, the White House says, "Yeah, but I don't wanna."

Forget Mueller. Forget the investigation. The fact that the White House is just gonna ignore a veto-proof law from Congress and we aren't already moving on impeachment is the scariest fucking thing.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:39 AM on January 30 [154 favorites]


We anticipate the Democrats will betray us and basically surrender without a fight because that's what past experience has lead us to think is most likely.

I disagree with your interpretation of past Democratic actions, but given that that's your view, I can understand your perspective here.
posted by biogeo at 8:40 AM on January 30 [4 favorites]


Has anything significant ever happened at a SOTA address, ever? I don't remember anything over the time I've been paying attention.

To answer your question: yes. They're speeches that a lot of people pay attention to; they can help set the tone for not only American politics but the perception of American civic values, at home and abroad; they can help shape our language and the way we talk about the world and our actions in the world. At their best, that can be the Four Freedoms:
In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.
At their worst, that can be the Axis of Evil, which if you have never heard of, I...will feel very old.

That doesn't mean that every State of the Union speech has been of great significance. Many -- the majority -- have not. Trump's 2017 speech, for example, was forgettable in both words and effect.
posted by cjelli at 8:42 AM on January 30 [28 favorites]


Has anything significant ever happened at a SOTA address, ever

I guess it wasn't technically a SOTA last year, I'm still pissed about the way Trump exploited the widow of the Navy SEAL who died in that botched raid Trump ordered in Yemen. Along with 20 civilians including an 8 year old girl.

That was a thing that happened.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:46 AM on January 30 [27 favorites]


scaryblackdeath: "Forget Mueller. Forget the investigation. The fact that the White House is just gonna ignore a veto-proof law from Congress and we aren't already moving on impeachment is the scariest fucking thing."

They should have impeached him day one for violating the Emoluments clause. He's been flaunting the law ever since.
posted by Mitheral at 8:51 AM on January 30 [70 favorites]


Forget Mueller. Forget the investigation. The fact that the White House is just gonna ignore a veto-proof law from Congress and we aren't already moving on impeachment is the scariest fucking thing.

On the...plus? side, this is an...unimpeachable (goddammit) case for impeachment, after the midterms. Like there is no ambiguity, no possible other interpretation. Just straight up dereliction of duty.

Assuming we get a Congress after midterms that has one last fuck left to give.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:52 AM on January 30 [28 favorites]


I'm still pissed about the way Trump exploited the widow of the Navy SEAL who died in that botched raid Trump ordered in Yemen. Along with 20 civilians including an 8 year old girl

The 8 year old girl we shot in the neck was a US citizen. Not that being American objectively makes her death more tragic, but...Trump milked an extended standing ovation over his murder of an 8 year old American girl and was lauded by mainstream media for his presidentiality. That's what we can look forward to from CNN and NYT after whatever monstrous SOTU we get.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:52 AM on January 30 [37 favorites]


I've always watched the SOTU address. Doesn't matter who is in office, it's a part of the American political landscape and even when I haven't agreed with a president, I also recognize there are certain privileges that go with the office.

I will not watch any address by Trump. I refuse to normalize him. I refuse, after all he has done, to allow him his chance to look presidential. He has had his chances. He's had his chances for a year. He has repeatedly refused. W, even at his worst, could give a presidential (if sterile and canned, as these often are) response to a question or comment on a breaking situation. Trump has had these chances and he has refused to even try to look the part of a world leader. He can't expect us to respect the office when he himself refuses.
posted by azpenguin at 8:54 AM on January 30 [46 favorites]


mumimor: I was just reading this: JOSÉ ANDRÉS ON FEEDING PUERTO RICO AFTER HURRICANE MARIA - it looks like a principled chef can do what the US administration can't.

Related: FEMA To End Food And Water Aid For Puerto Rico (NPR, Jan. 29, 2018)
In a sign that FEMA believes the immediate humanitarian emergency has subsided, on Jan. 31 it will, in its own words, "officially shut off" the mission it says has provided more than 30 million gallons of potable water and nearly 60 million meals across the island in the four months since the hurricane. The agency will turn its remaining food and water supplies over to the Puerto Rican government to finish distributing.

Some on the island believe it's too soon to end these deliveries given that a third of residents still lack electricity and, in some places, running water, but FEMA says its internal analytics suggest only about 1 percent of islanders still need emergency food and water. The agency believes that is a small enough number for the Puerto Rican government and nonprofit groups to handle.
...
But some say Puerto Ricans are not all ready to resume with their normal, pre-hurricane lives.

In Morovis, a municipality located in the island's lush, mountainous interior, Mayor Carmen Maldonado said that about 10,000 of her 30,000 residents are still receiving FEMA's food and water rations.

"There are some municipalities that may not need the help anymore, because they've got nearly 100 percent of their energy and water back," she said. "Ours is not so lucky."

While the government reports that island-wide, nearly a third of Puerto Rican customers still lack electricity, Maldonado estimated that in her municipality that figure is more like 80 percent.
Semi-related: Puerto Rico's Governor Announces Plan To Privatize Island's Troubled Electric Utility (NPR, Jan. 23, 2018)
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló says he is moving to sell off the U.S. territory's public power company, as nearly a third of the island's electric customers remain without power four months after Hurricane Maria struck the island on Sept. 20.

Rosselló said Monday that it might take 18 months to privatize the insolvent Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or PREPA, the largest U.S. public utility as measured by the number of customers — 3.3 million.

"The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority does not work and cannot continue to operate like this," Rosselló said in a televised address. "With that PREPA, we cannot face the risks of living in an area of high vulnerability to catastrophic events."
Not everyone agrees: The Peril of Privatizing Prepa (Vann R. Newkirk II for The Atlantic, Jan. 24, 2018)
The burden that the governor mentioned is mostly related to the $9 billion debt accrued by Prepa, the largest component of the island’s fiscal and bankruptcy crisis. Over the past few decades, Prepa has been deeply connected to demographic and economic woes across Puerto Rico. As industries and people left the island en masse, the monopoly faced both a sharply decreasing revenue base and an obligation to provide power for the remaining citizens. It racked up debt even as it charged consumers more and more, and as service suffered and the island relied on an ever-more-inefficient and more environmentally corrosive fossil-fuel importation scheme, with generation in the southeast corner feeding the metropolis of San Juan in the north. By 2017, the Puerto Rican power infrastructure lagged some 30 years behind average mainland municipalities, and routine maintenance had been mostly ignored for the constituent pieces of the power grid.

Accordingly, Prepa’s woes were the central focus for the federally-appointed Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) created with the 2016 PROMESA legislation intended to give Puerto Rico debt relief. That board clashed with the Puerto Rican government for control of the island’s politics and finances, but it appeared that for both sides, partial or total privatization of the power authority was the preferred course of action.
...
According to John Mudd, an expert in Puerto Rican law, the process will roughly resemble the federally-assisted 2009 Chapter 11 reorganization of Chrysler, where revenue-generating pieces of the automaker were packaged off and resold to Fiat, and bondholders—including a number of pension plans—agreeing to receive a fraction of the value of the assets they had liens against. “They probably won’t sell the whole thing to one party,” Mudd told me. “They’ll probably sell pieces of it to multiple parties.” Still, there’s been no negotiation yet with bondholder groups and Rosselló still owes a big chunk of change to government employees and their pension plans, and also the large group of Prepa employees who’ve left during the crisis. “It’s questionable how much money the government will get out of it,” Mudd says.

Still, regardless of the form privatization takes, the end-result will be the functional end of a public sector that has defined life in Puerto Rico for the majority of the island’s history as a United States territory. Since its creation in 1941, Prepa has been part of the economic bedrock of the island, augmenting its public sector and providing many of the jobs that controlled some of the demographic erosion to the mainland. Even with Prepa’s mounting failures over the years, mass privatization of it and other formerly public-sector arenas on the island will further reduce the input of, and regulation by, Puerto Ricans over Puerto Rican issues, after a few years when the federal government has wielded even more power on the island and attempts by its citizens at exercising sovereignty have largely been brushed aside.
And in the background of all this, Puerto Rico’s most ambitious push yet for statehood, explained -- The island sent seven potential members of Congress to Capitol Hill. (Alexia Fernández Campbell for Vox, Jan. 11, 2018)
It's possible that Puerto Rican's views of statehood may have shifted in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. More than three months after Maria passed through the island, 40 percent of the island remains without power, and running water is unreliable.

The slow federal response, and President Trump's overall dismissiveness of the disaster, shed new light on the problem of having no real representation in Washington. It meant that Puerto Rico had no role in deciding how much disaster relief money would be allocated to the island, and that Puerto Rico had no say in how the tax bill would affect Puerto Rico.

Instead, the island has had to rely on members of Congress who represent large Puerto Rican districts in the United States to do their bidding. They are mostly Democrats, like Rep. Nydia Velázquez of New York and Rep. Darren Soto of Florida.

But their influence is limited in the GOP-controlled Congress.

It's unclear if this has warmed more Puerto Ricans to the idea of becoming a state, even though that would mean they’d pay more federal taxes. No polls have asked Puerto Ricans this question recently.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:56 AM on January 30 [34 favorites]


With the caveat that there is little I would put past Trump and his venal gang of idiots...I am old enough and have been on this site long enough to remember people here freaking out about how Bush and Cheney and that crew were likely to impose martial law, suspend elections, etc..
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:01 AM on January 30 [11 favorites]


With the caveat that there is little I would put past Trump and his venal gang of idiots...I am old enough and have been on this site long enough to remember people here freaking out about how Bush and Cheney and that crew were likely to impose martial law, suspend elections, etc..

I rememember this, too, post-2004 especially. And Cheney, at least, was much more competent than Trump and any of his minions.

Zack Beauchamp, Vox: How American Democracy Survived Trump's First Year:
There’s another factor that shaped the way American institutions responded to Trump’s policies: mass protest...

...It can be extremely difficult to measure the effect this kind of mass activism has on restraining Trump’s authoritarian impulses. But when I spoke to Chenoweth over the phone, she emphasized that her own research on how nonviolent resistance can topple governments suggests that it influenced people in positions of power to push back as well.

“People in federal government agencies ... aren’t going to have the courage or moral core to stand up to that stuff unless they see that there are millions of people who agree with them and are willing to put their feet to the pavement,” Chenoweth says.
Let's keep the momentum up for a blue wave in 2018. That is what we really need to save us.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:20 AM on January 30 [49 favorites]


cjelli: NBC News: Inspector general accuses Pentagon of censoring Afghanistan data

Related: U.S. Military Auditor Suggests The Afghan War Is Still At A Stalemate -- Steve Inskeep talks to John F. Sopko, special inspector general for Afghan Reconstruction. His report suggests the war is at a stalemate, with signs of continued decline in Afghan government control. (NPR, Jan. 30 - audio only for now, transcript up in a few hours)

Sopko said that the censored Afghanistan data has been publicly availalbe for the past ten years, and only the last two quarters of data are now censored. Beware warhawk proclamations without any supporting documentation tonight, especially with regard to Afghanistan.

I was about to write that this is deeply troubling, but on a moment of reflection, I realize this is just another example of this administration crafting a message as it likes based on controlling the flow of information, covering up or hiding its own ineptitude, failures and corruption.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:23 AM on January 30 [3 favorites]


“Unfortunately we will not be able to facilitate an interview with the speechwriting team,” Lindsay Walters, a deputy press secretary, told me in an email.

Lindsay Walters, a deputy press secretary
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:29 AM on January 30 [9 favorites]


Remember when he negged America in the inaugural address?

Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation.

An education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.

And the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.


This American carnage! Anyhow my prediction is he's going to claim Obama's economic recovery as his own. Expect exaggerated unemployment and stock figures. Based upon nothing he's actually done, that's all the work of the previous eight years. Everything negative will be Obama's fault, and the deep state sleeper cells he left behind. Nothing will be said of Russia, nevermind that they attacked and continue to attack the democratic process and nothing has been done about it. If he mentions Mueller at all, you have to chug a bottle of Stoli.

He will lie, natch. He'll have a boast about something he's definitely not the greatest at. He'll mispronounce at least three things. He'll insult a country, maybe a continent, and/or a political leader, needlessly upsetting diplomatic relationships. Probably with Palestine, but who knows, it may be with Nambia. He'll attack the media and the democrats HARD, these are the internal enemies to MAGA. Overt racism will be left out in favour of xenophobic dog whistles, because those people aren't real Americans.

Anyhow those are my predictions. I know it's futile to predict anything from this person, other than what he'll say will be awful. You don't need a magic octopus to predict that though.
posted by adept256 at 9:31 AM on January 30 [9 favorites]


[Hey gang, I know everyone's antsy with the news from yesterday and the anticipation of whatever SOTU crap tonight, but still, gonna suggest that people find something to do with that nervous/fearful/angry energy other than making predictions in here, either in the vein of "he's going to be offensive tonight" or "there will never be free elections again" -- totally understandable, and I feel these same things, and nobody's doing anything wrong -- but still let's really aim to keep this thread more narrowly focused on actual events.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:36 AM on January 30 [25 favorites]


Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley announced today she's running against Mike Capuano in the Democratic primary this fall for the 7th CD in Mass. Whoever wins the primary is pretty much assured of winning in November.
posted by adamg at 9:40 AM on January 30 [6 favorites]


Related: U.S. Military Auditor Suggests The Afghan War Is Still At A Stalemate -- Steve Inskeep talks to John F. Sopko

I heard this during the morning commute... Inskeep said NPR had gotten a document via FOIA that said the Afghan government now controls 56 of the country's districts, down from 72 previously (a year ago, I think), which is barely half the country. Bear that in mind tonight if Trump says the war there is going swimmingly.
posted by martin q blank at 9:45 AM on January 30 [8 favorites]


If you are chilly and want to warm by a fire, nice and toasty in Bethlehem. At the bottom of the wapo article.
posted by Oyéah at 9:46 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


Related: U.S. Military Auditor Suggests The Afghan War Is Still At A Stalemate

This is an important story, and my worry is that it less suggests 'stalemate' and more 'losing.' You don't need to hide the status quo.
posted by cjelli at 9:53 AM on January 30 [4 favorites]


So, in regards to *The Memo*...Has there been any indication/confirmation that anything about it is actually legit, and not just a bunch of 2+2=17 nutjobbiness?
posted by Thorzdad at 9:55 AM on January 30


None of the people in that dossier are babes in the woods. All of them had information worth getting because of the roles they themselves occupy, the power they held, the choices they made.

Lord Fahquaad: "Some of you may die, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make."

You burn informants now in order to score points for a dubious political advantage, then the next time you need Intel, what are you going to tell them? "We'll protect you, until some guy sitting safely at home on hid computer says we need to expose you."

I'm extremely skeptical that the Democrats releasing their memo would do much, if any good at all. And frantic waving of arms and screaming "Do something! Anything!" won't change that.
posted by happyroach at 10:02 AM on January 30 [8 favorites]


You burn informants now in order to score points for a dubious political advantage, then the next time you need Intel, what are you going to tell them?

lol I think the horse is out of the barn on “does the US maintain credibility with anyone, anywhere”

If there are still sources in there in use...I think, given that many Republicans who literally appear to be active Russian assets have already seen it and have access to the classified intel, we may assume anything in the memo is already blown

So regarding that horse...also the barn is on fire and is awfully close to the house, so like...extraordinary measures and all that

I'm extremely skeptical that the Democrats releasing their memo would do much, if any good at all

That may be so; only people who’ve seen the info know that. But that is not really any argument so much as an uninformed opinion.

Me? I’m pretty much willing to try anything that will stop the slide into autocracy, because holy shit, this is literally an existential threat. The President has just, this week, refused to enforce a law at the likely behest of a foreign power, and his relationship to that foreign power is discussed in these memos. The information is relevant. Whether its release “does any good” would depend a lot on civic action.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:14 AM on January 30 [15 favorites]


EPA Head Scott Pruitt in Feb 2016 interview: Trump would be "more abusive to the Constitution than Barack Obama -- and that's saying a lot." He goes on to describe Trump as a bully and dangerous.

And yet here Pruitt is, happily and meekly do Trump's bidding. Granted, he's helping Trump abuse the environment rather than the Constitution, but still.

What's with these guys who either voiced dismissive opinions of Trump or have been repeatedly and publicly dragged by him nevertheless kneeling submissively when he tells them he needs a place to rest his feet? Sessions, Cruz, Rubio, Pruitt, Tillerson -- the list goes on and on.

Do they get a text each morning from an untraceable source that reads "Po 84" with never-before-seen photos of Alexander Litvinenko in the final few seconds before he was poisoned attached?

Is there stuff in the compromising material that the Russians have on them that's just straight up inexcusable: not just evidence of extramarital affairs, closeted homosexuality (while being extremely homophobic in their roles as legislators), drug use and visits to websites with kinks that go beyond what even the mulligan-granting Evangelicals are willing to forgive, but stuff that would get them killed if they were placed in gen pop in prison?

Seriously, what's going on? A few more millions of dollars in their already swollen bank accounts? Promises of positions of power once we're openly a client state of Russia? What?
posted by lord_wolf at 10:28 AM on January 30 [55 favorites]


I wonder if the Venn diagram showing the set of people who would question the Nunes memo and take the Schiff memo seriously and the set of people who understand the national security concerns the Democrats have and the recklessness of the Republicans is not two completely overlapping circles. The Nunes memo is not about a serious debate of facts, what does the set of people credulous enough to buy into it before the release of the Schiff memo but still change their minds after the release even look like? There's a good chance that audience is almost entirely made up of those journalists and editors committed to false equivalence narratives.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:31 AM on January 30 [5 favorites]


What are the odds that he chooses the State of the Union address to announce that he's ordering it released and uses that as an opportunity to make the SOTU a partisan attack on the Democrats and (again) demand that Hillary Clinton be locked up (along, perhaps, with the fake news & deep state)?

Daniel Dale: Yes, there is betting on the State of the Union

Picture of odds chart
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:33 AM on January 30 [3 favorites]


If there are still sources in there in use...I think, given that many Republicans who literally appear to be active Russian assets have already seen it and have access to the classified intel, we may assume anything in the memo is already blown

I don't think that's actually a safe assumption at all -- for example, Glenn Simpson testified recently that a number of sources from the Steele Dossier were, as yet, not exposed, and therefore declined to answer questions about them.

Nunes & co. aren't (we can probably assume) sitting around faxing documents straight to the Kremlin: even if we presume a degree of collusion and complicity, there's still a lot of room for frank incompetence, or simply lack of time, to have protected people who might be exposed if Democrats actively revealed every source to make a political point (even an important one).

The Nunes Memo nonsense doesn't need classified information to refute it: it's obviously nonsense on its face, from everything we've heard about it. If Schiff wrote a memo that contains classified information, respectfully, he should write a new memo that doesn't contain it and just release that because Nunes and the people who are signal-boosting him aren't really interested in a civil debate about the facts of the case in the first place.
posted by cjelli at 10:35 AM on January 30 [4 favorites]


What's with these guys who either voiced dismissive opinions of Trump or have been repeatedly and publicly dragged by him nevertheless kneeling submissively when he tells them he needs a place to rest his feet? Sessions, Cruz, Rubio, Pruitt, Tillerson -- the list goes on and on.

Wraithing Factors (exact order of importance is up to you): (1) Corrupting influence of proximity to power among those with authoritarian tendencies, (2) Standing to personally benefit in the kleptocracy, (3) Profound denial in the face of the death of their party and plausibly nation/species, (4) Self-preservation due to entanglement with the same criminal/treasonous activities as the regime, (5) Direct extortion by foreign state powers, generally via kompromat.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:39 AM on January 30 [8 favorites]


The Shearer Memo - Second Trump-Russia dossier being assessed by FBI

The timing of this bombshell, between Trumpist attacks on the FBI and the Nunes memo's imminent release, isn't coincidence—even as Paul Ryan called for a "cleanse [of] the organization", according to Fox News. Its corroboration for parts of the Steele Dossier shouldn't be a surprise either, not after l'affaire Stormy Daniels.
The second memo was written by Cody Shearer, a controversial political activist and former journalist who was close to the Clinton White House in the 1990s. Unlike Steele, Shearer does not have a background in espionage, and his memo was initially viewed with scepticism, not least because he had shared it with select media organisations before the election. However, the Guardian has been told the FBI investigation is still assessing details in the ‘Shearer memo’ and is pursuing intriguing leads.

One source with knowledge of the inquiry said the fact the FBI was still working on it suggested investigators had taken an aspect of it seriously. It raises the possibility that parts of the Steele dossier, which has been derided by Trump’s supporters, may have been corroborated by Shearer’s research, or could still be.[...]

The Shearer memo was provided to the FBI in October 2016. It was handed to them by Steele – who had been given it by an American contact – after the FBI requested the former MI6 agent provide any documents or evidence that could be useful in its investigation, according to multiple sources. The Guardian was told Steele warned the FBI he could not vouch for the veracity of the Shearer memo, but that he was providing a copy because it corresponded with what he had separately heard from his own independent sources.

Among other things, both documents allege Donald Trump was compromised during a 2013 trip to Moscow that involved lewd acts in a five-star hotel. The Shearer memo cites an unnamed source within Russia’s FSB, the state security service. The Guardian cannot verify any of the claims.
What's interesting about this leak is that it almost certainly comes from the FBI or their allies in the intelligence community. If it had been Steele and/or Shearer himself, the Guardian would probably have felt comfortable with identifying them as the source. As to why the FBI would pass this particular story on to the Guardian rather than US news outlet, (a) the Shearer memo doesn't burn any of their sources at a time when Capitol Hill is going nuts about declassification and (b) the FBI's media allies can pick up the Guardian story without looking compromised themselves. (c.f. CIA Director Mike Pompeo warning Russia will interfere with the US mid-terms in an interview with the BBC.) It's strange to see a classic Cold War journalism tactic like this in the 21st century, but here we are.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:39 AM on January 30 [20 favorites]


So the White House's apparent admission (in obfuscating language) that it's going to, like, reject the actual sanctions almost unanimously voted in by Congress and substitute its own is obviously scary. They're just flat-out saying "nuh-uh". (Some have reached for a comparison to Obama's DACA executive order. I think from a strictly legalistic perspective, that would only be comparable if Congress had passed a veto-proof law prioritizing the deportation of people brought in as children, since all DACA did was shuffle that through deferment.)

When that initial sanctions vote happened, I was deeply heartened that there was apparently something Republicans would stand up to Trump on, and I figured it came down to "Yay Russia" not being actual red meat that any voters would primary them over.

This turn of events, whereby Trump does sign the bill but then ignores it, forces me to re-evaluate my original positivity. Is there a solid possibility that the Republicans voted for this law knowing it just wouldn't be enforced? Was the law itself kayfabe? Did Russia issue dozens of permission slips on this one? What the hell is going on?
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:39 AM on January 30 [32 favorites]


Statement from repugnant POS Paul Gosar, R-Arizona:

Today, Congressman Paul Gosar contacted the U.S. Capitol Police, as well as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, asking they consider checking identification of all attending the State of the Union address and arresting any illegal aliens in attendance.

Additionally, Congressman Gosar asked that they arrest those using fraudulent social security numbers and identification to pass through security.

“Of all the places where the Rule of Law needs to be enforced, it should be in the hallowed halls of Congress. Any illegal aliens attempting to go through security, under any pretext of invitation or otherwise, should be arrested and deported," said Congressman Gosar.




Man, fuck that guy.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:48 AM on January 30 [72 favorites]


NBC News, Howard Fineman, The ‘state’ of Donald Trump? He thinks it couldn’t be better.
Sources say that Trump has adopted a two-track strategy to deal with the Mueller investigation.

One is an un-Trumpian passivity and trust. He keeps telling some in his circle that Mueller — any day now — will tell him he is off the hook for any charge of collusion with the Russians or obstruction of justice.

But Trump — who trusts no one, or at least no one for long — has now decided that he must have an alternative strategy that does not involve having Justice Department officials fire Mueller.

"I think he's been convinced that firing Mueller would not only create a firestorm, it would play right into Mueller's hands," said another friend, "because it would give Mueller the moral high ground."

Instead, as is now becoming plain, the Trump strategy is to discredit the investigation and the FBI without officially removing the leadership. Trump is even talking to friends about the possibility of asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to consider prosecuting Mueller and his team.

"Here's how it would work: 'We're sorry, Mr. Mueller, you won't be able to run the federal grand jury today because he has to go testify to another federal grand jury,'" said one Trump adviser.
This plan is even stupider than a Zack Morris scheme from Saved by the Bell.
posted by zachlipton at 10:48 AM on January 30 [51 favorites]


The Hoarse Whisperer has a comforting take on the McCabe situation (ThreadReader)
10/
Andrew McCabe had become a distraction and Trump had found some storylines that were effectively muddying the waters.

Chris Wray just did exactly what he did with James Baker's role.

He not only robbed Trump of his ammo, he returned fire with a Howitzer.

11/
Wray just screwed Trump so damn hard, it's gonna leave a mark... and Trump is too dumb to even realize he just got game-set-matched by an appointee who ain't having any of it.

Wray just stole Trump's talking points AND turned up the heat on him.

12/
Even better, Bowditch's elevation entirely earns the trust of the rank and file FBI. They have now seen twice that Wray is on their side not Trump's.

Comey was their homey but now it's Wray all the way.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:50 AM on January 30 [41 favorites]


As an example of why trying to compromise with this administration is foolhardy in the extreme, when the Russian sanctions bill was being considered, additional sanctions on Iran and North Korea were added to it as a way to give Republicans a little red meat. Those sanctions were rushed into place by an administration eager to stoke wars and obliterate a key part of Obama's legacy, and now the sanctions the Democrats wanted aren't even going to happen.

Democrats in Congress need to stop voting for things that Trump wants because they think they'll get something else out of it, because his administration will work as hard as possible to get rid of whatever it is they want or is good in favor of making the world worse for 99.9% of humanity. It's been a year of this shit and somehow total opposition remains off the table, but it should be the only course anyone with any power in government is taking.
posted by Copronymus at 10:55 AM on January 30 [18 favorites]


sotonohito, we'll have to disagree.

a surreptitious leak could be tactical gold. reading classified info into the congressional record would be a circular firing squad. remember the emails? those weren't even public. 'another dem woman traitor' is what i imagine the nyt/wp would run with.
posted by j_curiouser at 10:57 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


Pelosi tells Democrats not to disrupt ‘slobbering’ Trump during SOTU

“Let the attention be on his slobbering self,” Pelosi told members, according to two sources in the room. “If you want to walk out, don’t come in.”

Democratic leaders are hoping to avoid any kind of disruptive moments a la Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), who yelled “you lie!” during President Barack Obama’s joint address to Congress in 2009.

Any kind of similar interruption by Democrats would only fuel the Republican base and distract from Democratic attempts to rebut the speech after the fact, Pelosi argued.

Man, I just can't disagree with her more. I want people yelling, I want interruptions. I want to hear "WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT THE RUSSIA SANCTIONS" and "YOU'RE A TRAITOR AND A COWARD" and "MY CONSTITUENTS LIVE IN FEAR BECAUSE OF YOU." I want Trump to have to shout "Get 'em out! Go home to mommy!" to elected officials as they're forcibly removed. I want it to be a scene, I want it to be chaos.

Pelosi still doesn't understand that the game has changed. She seems to think that maintaining an air of decorum will protect a civil society that no longer exists. The D establishment worships the image of a functioning government in the hopes that it will return to them. It's not a party, it's a cargo cult.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:04 AM on January 30 [78 favorites]


So the way I came across the info (via an argument with a right winger on Facebook who found it by following Jack Posobiec on Twitter) makes me think this is not a reliable source at all... But that this might indeed be the narrative the right wing and the Nunes memo will be pushing.

Some guy named Paul Sperry on Twitter:

"BREAKING: FISA abuse memo alleges Steele lied to FBI affiants who swore out affidavit for FISA warrant on Page, telling them he hadn’t shared dossier info included in the application with media. This is why Grassley made crim referral on Steele for making false statements to FBI."

If that's it... I mean. I guess that fulfills my "minor wrongdoing which will be blown out of proportion" prediction for the content of the memo. But that's so minor. What difference does it make to anyone or anything whether Steele talked to the media before he talked to the FBI?
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:05 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


The Hoarse Whisperer has a comforting take on the McCabe situation (ThreadReader)

I'd be more comforted by this analysis if it wasn't presented in such breathless sensationalist terms. The whole things smacks of bitcoin-like BAD NEWS = GOOD NEWS boosterism.
posted by Justinian at 11:06 AM on January 30 [10 favorites]


Of all the places where the Rule of Law needs to be enforced, it should be in the hallowed halls of Congress.

Say, Mr. Gosar, about that Rule of Law you are saying needs to be enforced in the hallowed halls of Congress... have you seen this Trump guy openly defying a bill you guys passed almost unanimously? Could you see to it that some laws get enforced relating to that?
posted by azpenguin at 11:07 AM on January 30 [36 favorites]


I'd be more comforted by this analysis if it wasn't presented in such breathless sensationalist terms.

I don't disagree, but the FBI announcement talks about Bowdich's experience with "racketeering convictions" and "a large-scale RICO case", and mentions his time handling the transition of a new FBI director after a certain Director Mueller's term was due to end.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:11 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


>The Hoarse Whisperer has a comforting take on the McCabe situation (ThreadReader)

I'd be more comforted by this analysis if it wasn't presented in such breathless sensationalist terms. The whole things smacks of bitcoin-like BAD NEWS = GOOD NEWS boosterism.


Even if it's good news (and color me skeptical), it doesn't scale: firing (or otherwise forcing out) everyone who Trump criticizes in order to deny Trump people to criticize & blame seems unlikely to end up anyplace good. Should Wray resign if Trump starts criticizing and blaming him? Should Rosenstein? (Should Comey have resigned, rather than been fired?) Should Mueller resign, given how much he's been criticized?

Should the FBI really be comforted that the Director might have forced someone out to an early retirement because the President disliked them? (The answer is 'no.')

It's comforting, but I don't think it's accurate; and if it is accurate, it's likely only applicable here, in this very specific circumstance of McCabe being a proverbial day away from retirement anyway. (But I don't think that's accurate. We should seek comfort not in trying to claim that bad news is good, but in seeking -- or better, making -- good news.)
posted by cjelli at 11:14 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


(I mostly think it's too soon to really call the McCabe story 'good' or 'bad' because it's effectively still developing. But.)
posted by cjelli at 11:16 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


Ronna McDaniel says the RNC won't be returning Steve Wynn's money just yet, because he's denied the allegations.
Saying that "unlike Harvey Weinstein and Al Franken and others," Wynn has "denied these allegations," McDaniel said the RNC would return the donations if Wynn is "found guilty" of any wrongdoing.

"There is an investigation that is going to take place," she said. "He should be allowed due process. If he is found guilty of any wrongdoing, we will absolutely return 100% of the money."
posted by hanov3r at 11:20 AM on January 30 [8 favorites]


asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to consider prosecuting Mueller and his team.

I keep thinking I can't be surprised by Trump, yet my jaw actually dropped reading that. I guess it is his natural inclination to arrest and lock-up people he doesn't like. Thank god that for most of his life he had no power to do so. I have to admit that I was so disturbed by yesterday's events, I had insomnia and one of my worst fantasies was Trump using the SOTU to announce the arrest of HRC & Obama for treason.

Moving on...
Listening to the Weeds episode of January 26 "The White Genocide Episode" it finally sank into my thick skull that the GOP has fully embraced the Steven Miller idea of ending all immigration, except maybe for the wealthy or the hot babes from Sweden. This change in immigration policy happened so fast that many Trump supporters still think that all the measures discussed are about illegal immigration. That somehow the despised "chain migration" has to do with illegal immigrants coming here and then sending for all their family. However, an interesting point made on The Weeds is that when Trump made his infamous speech about Mexico not sending their best-- he didn't explicitly say illegal immigrants. Until Trump, Sessions was really the only politician in America who was against all immigration and the Trump administration is filled with many former Sessions staffers, not just Stephen Miller.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:21 AM on January 30 [30 favorites]


Dara Lind has a deep dive today on family migration and how badly it has been misrepresented in the media. For instance, the average petition to bring over family members by a naturalized citizen takes 13+ years to process.
posted by suelac at 11:22 AM on January 30 [41 favorites]


In other Trump administration refusing to do things Congress tells them news, this man was deported despite the House Judiciary Committee asking for a 6 month stay to review the (seemingly bogus) revocation of his green card.
posted by Copronymus at 11:23 AM on January 30 [30 favorites]


The second memo was written by Cody Shearer, a controversial political activist and former journalist who was close to the Clinton White House in the 1990s

I just love the way Fox News uses this phrasing to imply that "former journalist" reduces Shearer's credibility.

[Narrator: He doesn't love it]

(Some have reached for a comparison to Obama's DACA executive order. I think from a strictly legalistic perspective, that would only be comparable if Congress had passed a veto-proof law prioritizing the deportation of people brought in as children, since all DACA did was shuffle that through deferment.)

I don't know if it's been emphasized in a while -- Ford knows the so-called "liberal media" won't mention it -- but the whole "deferment" thing is based on the fact that -- at least heretofore -- Congress refused to provide ICE with the resources to deport everyone, which implies the President has authority to set priorities, and Obama simply said, "Okay, we aren't going to spend resources going after this bunch." Its legality is beyond question, which is why conservatives complained to Fox News and not the courts