Well, for once, the rich white man is in control!
February 5, 2018 6:32 AM   Subscribe

This is the latest chapter in the US Politics megathread. POTUS says memo vindicates him. Members of both parties in Congress say it doesn't. Several Eagles players are declining the White House celebratory trip after winning SuperBowl. Release the memohounds!
posted by darkstar (1922 comments total) 106 users marked this as a favorite
 


I hope that T.D. Strange does not mind me reposting, from the end of the old thread, this very important article, documenting the actual reaction within the FBI to Comey's firing, and refuting the President's lies.
posted by thelonius at 6:37 AM on February 5 [53 favorites]


[aaand, quick reminder: As per this MetaTalk discussion, please keep the thread focused, readable, useful and manageable. Thanks! ]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:39 AM on February 5 [19 favorites]


I've been practicing my arguments on this. "Of course the FBI is biased against Trump. They're the FBI. They know things."

Then of course, I'd have to explain that that bias against Trump is not the same as bias against conservatives or republicans. The FBI has been going after leftists for a century now, but it's not corruption until it personally bites you in the butt.
posted by Miss Cellania at 6:43 AM on February 5 [32 favorites]


As a representative of the United Kingdom I can assure you that this tweet does not accurately represent the views of ANY of the people marching.

In fact even the guy trying to sell the whole thing off doesn't agree with it.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:48 AM on February 5 [24 favorites]


postmodern politics in which all political factions get their own reality - the only problem is - what is it the in the beltway drama of the nunes memo and the collusion theories is supposed to distract us from? - a crashing economy? the creeping realization that we are at a dead end as a society and need to turn around? the awful truth that a substantial portion of our electorate is no longer sane and often led by bots?

are we staring at the clowns in disbelief while the big top is burning above our heads? who is going to prove this emperor has no clothes? is the self-appointed resistance going to resist harder or just go on as they have been?

i'm getting pretty disgusted by this whole show and very concerned that we are missing some real problems - not the least of which is the country is slowly falling apart while the beltway battles continue
posted by pyramid termite at 6:48 AM on February 5 [31 favorites]


I'm enjoying the "yo memo" disses that have been appearing over the weekend.


Yo memo so misleading, it was hired as a guide by the Donner Party.

Yo memo so overconfident, it told Lt. Col. Custer that they shouldn't expect any trouble from one little village.

Yo memo so polarizing, my optometrist keeps trying to upsell me on it.

Yo memo so transparent, Trump used it to view a solar eclipse.

Yo memo so antagonizing, Lars von Trier just called it "a bold and provocative new voice in cinema."

Yo memo so equivocating, it was accused of being a Jesuit by Robert Dudley.

Yo memo so bombastic, John Philip Sousa called it "a bit much."


posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:52 AM on February 5 [212 favorites]


Re this comment from the previous thread about the governor's race in Illinois:

I'm more worried about Jeanne Ives, who's trying to primary Governor Bruce Rauner from the right. She's a state rep who's been running this truly vile commercial (fyi: transphobia) but she sounds relatively sane in interviews and Rauner is so unpopular she might have a shot. If she wins she's likely to face off against JB Pritzker, a gazillionaire establishment Dem nobody is really excited about, so it could get weird.

One note of interest about JB Pritzker. His first cousin is Jennifer Pritzker, who transitioned in 2013. So if he does end up facing off against Ives, I wonder if there will be substantive discussion about trans issues.
posted by kimdog at 7:04 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


As as the House [is] planning vote to keep government open until March 22 (Phil Mattingly, Lauren Fox and Tal Kopan for CNN, February 1, 2018), here's a few reminders of why it's a terrible idea to fund the national government a few weeks at a time:

While there's always a lot of attention to how Budget Impasse, Continuing Resolutions Pose Problems for DoD (Jim Garamone for DoD News, Defense Media Activity, Jan. 30, 2018), here are 6 more general hidden costs of continuing resolutions (Adam Mazmanian for Federal Computer Week [FCW], Aug 19, 2015)
1. OMB gets in your face
Relationships between agencies and the Office of Management and Budget can be strained in the best of times. But during a continuing resolution, OMB handles the tricky business of apportionment – doling out funds to agencies in a way consistent with the length and terms of the CR. During that time, OMB can "take on an aura of the trustees role in a corporate bankruptcy," Criscitello said. Do you have an expense that is outside the ordinary? OMB has to approve it.
...
2. Lost productivity
From a compliance point of view, agencies have to spin up a lot of activity for each short-term CR. "From a management perspective, it's a lot of paperwork," said John Palguta, a longtime government human resource manager, and currently vice president for policy at the Partnership for Public Service. "That's certainly a big headache for CFOs and others. You feel like you're spinning your wheels sometimes."
...
3. De facto hiring freeze
The hiring cycle for college and grad students begins in the fall, as major recruiters make the rounds of career fairs, targeting promising job candidates. Agencies have a harder time with candidates, Palguta said, when their funding is mired in a series of short-term spending bills. By the time an agency gets its full-year funding, "some of the best talent is already taken," Palguta said.
...
4. Delayed procurement and training
Under a CR, IT upgrades, training, and other optional expenditures can often get kicked to the curb. Agencies have already adjusted in some ways to the inevitable funding delays by trying to push spending to later in the fiscal year. "The first quarter is a terrible time to plan conferences and training," Criscitello said. The constraints also take a toll on acquisition, because program managers don't know what they'll end up having to spend for the full year.
...
5. The mad dash once funding comes
Once a real appropriation or full-year CR is in place, activity really ramps up. The frenetic pace to finish agency work on a compressed schedule can result in sub-optimal performance.
...
6. Morale
Careering from short-term CR to short-term CR takes a toll on personnel. "The psychic costs are probably higher than the actual costs," Criscitello said. The cycle of responding to CRs and then ramping up activity once funding comes through can be dispiriting, and it certainly doesn't resemble the image of government service that drew employees to federal careers.
Then at the state level, here's a snapshot of how CRs hamper Federally-funded programs from operating in any way that resembles efficiency: Latest Stopgap Funding Bill Leaves State DOTs Short While Planning 2018 Projects (AASHTO Journal, no author(s) listed, January 26, 2018)
With the federal government again operating on a short-term, stopgap measure, some state departments of transportation are drawing up highway project bid lists for the spring construction season without being able to count on federal funds when they need them.

After a three-day agency shutdown that began Jan. 20, Congress extended funding for most government operations through Feb. 8 in its latest stopgap "continuing resolution" instead of passing appropriations for all of the 2018 fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

For state DOTs, that means they will be able to tap just three more weeks of their federal highway allocations at 2017 levels, once the Federal Highway Administration issues a formal notice for the additional obligation authority.

Jim Tymon, chief operating officer of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, said state DOT's "continue to struggle" without a full year's funding.

Tymon said it is difficult for states to award project bids because they are only receiving their federal funds a few weeks at a time. As a result, he said, some transportation projects that should be awarded to contractors in December through February may be delayed and might not commence on time this spring.
And as noted in the FCW summary, the rush to get projects out is bad business on various fronts. So much for that focus on the importance on infrastructure. Thanks, Trump!
posted by filthy light thief at 7:08 AM on February 5 [40 favorites]


enjoying a slight bit of schadenfreude as the Republican nominee for Illinois's 3rd is loud and proud actual Nazi who stands no chance of winning but is already becoming a stain on the Grand ol' Party

even better is the fact that the overtly white supremacist organization he currently organizes for is called America First, coincidentally Trump's anti-immigration and isolationist policy, something that has been pointed out before but with not much reception except by people on the left. but now we have a Nazi in the mix, people who will vote for him, and possibly campaign ads that will resemble some of the stances on the right so hopefully more people will start making that connection
posted by runt at 7:12 AM on February 5 [16 favorites]


From the previous thread:

[Trump] The Democrats are pushing for Universal HealthCare while thousands of people are marching in the UK because their U system is going broke and not working.

[Comment] There was indeed a big demonstration in London this weekend, but it was entirely in support of the NHS and UHC.

Between this and the "Women's March, awesome!" tweet a few weeks ago, I'm getting pretty creeped out by the unabashed 2+2=5 stuff we're seeing more and more of. When it was just stuff like inauguration crowd sizes I chalked it up to garden variety dipshits-trying-to-gaslight-us posturing. Now I feel like somebody (I'm looking at you, Miller) is getting bolder with messaging that's just straight-up Orwellian, ass-backwards opposite-day lying through the loudspeakers at the masses.

As always, it's working on their base (which is the point, natch). We had the pleasure of sitting next to a guy in a diner the other day who was warning our server that under the new "Democrat law," her employers would soon be confiscating her tips. There was no point, of course, in advising the guy that it was actually his beloved Trump's proposal—I knew something so trifling as actual facts were no match for the source of his alternative narrative.
posted by Rykey at 7:15 AM on February 5 [108 favorites]


It was not that long ago (in fact, less than two years) since actually being an open Nazi would have been beyond the pale for the Republican Party. Are there really no procedures by which the Republican Party could take him off the ballot, or expel him from the party on character grounds? Or is this a calculation that a significant proportion of the base are objectively Nazi, and banning the swastika from Republican campaigns would result in being called “cucks” by them, so better to back the Nazi to the (swastika-festooned) hilt and cry a few crocodile tears about the regrettable inflexibility of administrative procedures if the mainstream media come calling?
posted by acb at 7:19 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


...even better is the fact that the overtly white supremacist organization he currently organizes for is called America First, coincidentally Trump's anti-immigration and isolationist policy...

That's, uhhhh, not a coincidence. Trump and the Nazis came to that slogan in the exact same way, and Trump would absolutely agree with their positions.
posted by odinsdream at 7:20 AM on February 5 [35 favorites]


what is it the in the beltway drama of the nunes memo and the collusion theories is supposed to distract us from?

Well, in general, everything you mentioned and then some, but, I think, mostly the idea of the memo was to distract and derail the Russia investigation.

The whole MemoGate is an example of why it makes me bonkers when various people (here and elsewhere) claim that Trump's tweeting and etc are "distractions" meant to get everyone worked up and not notice other nefarious things.

No. Trump's tweets are his gibbering id - Nunes' Memo is an example of what was supposed to be Operation Distraction, and like everything the administration and its Republican cronies do, it was done entirely half-assed and may have hurt more than helped. It's a stupid person's idea of manipulating the narrative.

Hat-tip to everyone in the previous thread who put forth the idea that Nunes never intended the memo to go public, because it fits perfectly. Nunes "wrote" this memo "based on" classified intelligence that "proves" there were problems with FISA warrants, which supposedly invalidates all sorts of evidence collected by Mueller and the other Russian investigations. (Which is intrinsically bullshit, and the MSM should have called that out from the start - I could write a memo "based on" Moby Dick that "proves" the white whale was really an alien spaceship, and so fucking what? Show us the actual proof and data, or GTFO.) Nunes figured his claims about what was in the memo would rile up the base and conservative media and other hard-right Congresspeople, make Trump happy, send the MSM and the investigations off on a wild goose chase trying to figure out what sort of proof he really had, and if anyone ever wanted to see what the memo actually said, he could just " ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ - sorry, classified."

Only he got everyone SO worked up about the memo that they loopholed a way to actually get the thing released, and now even a bunch of conservatives are forced to point out that it proves nothing. OTOH, the ploy at least half-worked, because "What about the Memo?" has been all over the supposedly reality-based news, which not only legitimizes it, but is going to lead to a whole bunch of low-info Americans who don't pay nearly enough attention to sort of vaguely remember that there is maybe some kind of problem with the Mueller investigation.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:22 AM on February 5 [48 favorites]


Trump and the Nazis came to that slogan in the exact same way

sure, nation-states (all of them) are built on ethnic conflict and identification. the Ottoman Empire kept things in the Middle East shipshape for centuries - the colonial rise of the nation state pretty much obliterated that equation

and Trump would absolutely agree with their positions

in private, possibly but it's important to point out that the post-Southern Strategy era of Republican politics has worked hard to keep white supremacy covert. it's possibly helpful for overt white supremacists to be in the mix of the Republican party because, at the very least, most Americans aren't able to stomach blatant racism. Republicans don't want anybody realizing that their ointment has been rotten this entire time just because some opportunistic flies happened to land in it
posted by runt at 7:31 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


Well, in general, everything you mentioned and then some, but, I think, mostly the idea of the memo was to distract and derail the Russia investigation.

It's to discredit it
posted by thelonius at 7:34 AM on February 5 [10 favorites]


[Trump] The Democrats are pushing for Universal HealthCare while thousands of people are marching in the UK because their U system is going broke and not working.

Every once in a while a story comes out about Canadians and their displeasure with our semi-universal care system. There's usually an anecdote or two of rich Canadians going international to get surgeries done they have to wait for in Canada.

No matter where on the spectrum they are politically (minus the ultra-rich, I know a couple and they're a monolith against anything that they can't buy their way into), Canadians seem to say the same thing - there are some things about this system that really piss us off and make us feel like our health care system abandons us (particularly if you're a woman or a PoC), but you slimey corporate bastards keep your hands off our fucking health care system.
posted by notorious medium at 7:34 AM on February 5 [66 favorites]


It's beyond the capability of some people to understand that you can be unhappy with a system and still think an alternative is worse. To those people, the fact that anyone in a universal healthcare country is unhappy is proof positive that US healthcare is better.
posted by srt19170 at 7:38 AM on February 5 [63 favorites]


I noted a political commentator remarking upon the recent protests in Iran. They said that one reason for the protests which was different from those in 2009 had to do with the lifting of sanctions, and their complete lack of economic impact. From the Iranian perspective, they got an awful deal. The uncertainty around Trump's position, or lack of, on the nuclear deal means de facto sanctions, because no foreign money will invest in Iran while sanctions are still in question. Why start doing business with Iran when Trump is so unpredictable?

In this sense the deal is a failure, and it's largely thanks to Trump. The effects of his blowhard ranting about the BAD DEAL (actually it's a great deal for the west) has negated any positive attitudes towards it within Iran, and given weight to the arguments that you can't trust Americans. That's just his talk, he hasn't broken the deal yet, and Trump breaks a dozen deals before breakfast.
posted by adept256 at 7:40 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


There's usually an anecdote or two of rich Canadians going international to get surgeries done they have to wait for in Canada.

There was an actual study done on this that ended up with the title "Phantoms in the Snow." It showed that about 80 percent of [US border] facilities saw, on average, fewer than one Canadian per month; about 40 percent had seen none in the preceding year.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:44 AM on February 5 [37 favorites]


acb It was not that long ago (in fact, less than two years) since actually being an open Nazi would have been beyond the pale for the Republican Party. Are there really no procedures by which the Republican Party could take him off the ballot, or expel him from the party on character grounds? Or is this a calculation that a significant proportion of the base are objectively Nazi, and banning the swastika from Republican campaigns would result in being called “cucks” by them, so better to back the Nazi to the (swastika-festooned) hilt and cry a few crocodile tears about the regrettable inflexibility of administrative procedures if the mainstream media come calling?

As a general rule, no the Party can't actually remove a candidate from the ballot once they've filed and so on.

And, much as I love schadenfreude and painting the Republicans as cacklingly evil and/or bumblingly incompetent, this sort of thing actually happens fairly often to both parties.

When you've got a district that Party A has no chance at all of winning, especially in a state that's a stronghold of the Party B so there's no real Party A organization to pay attention to everything, it's remarkably easy for any rando to become the candidate for Party A. Mostly it takes filling out a few forms, maybe showing up to a meeting without visible bats flying out of your ears.

A few years back the Democrats got a similar problem with a horribly bigoted person (I don't think an actual Nazi in that case) down in the Deep South who had become the Democratic candidate by similar means. Basically showing up and there not being an active Democratic Party apparatus to notice that he was a vile person.

The Democrats, IIRC, took out ads against "their" candidate in support of the Republican but by state law they couldn't actually get him off the ballot.

Much as I loathe the Republicans, I doubt they're ready to openly endorse an actual, literal, no fooling, open, Nazi.

What I'm not sure about is whether they'll do the honorable thing and actively endorse the Democrat running against him. Pre-Trump I'd have said that of course they would, but post-Trump I'm not so sure. Not because they're afraid of being called cucks, but I think mostly because they're in such disarray that they don't have the focus or attention to spare to realize that they need to. And, of course, because they'd have to try to explain why they were disavowing this guy but not Trump.
posted by sotonohito at 7:45 AM on February 5 [14 favorites]




We complain about public healthcare in Australia too. But we still hear stories about American healthcare, where a single visit to the ER can lead to bankruptcy, and we quite unanimously agree that's completely fucked and inhumane.

There should be no profit motive for healthcare. I see a lot of your problems begin with that.
posted by adept256 at 7:47 AM on February 5 [114 favorites]


Our slow slide into tyranny

arguably, the state was always already tyrannical towards its oppressed populations (ex queer, black, undocumented, etc) especially for the folks at those intersections of oppression. it's just that it happens to be one of the first times that white, relatively well-off liberals (especially women) and millenials out of a decent job are feeling like their views are becoming oppressed so the general awareness of inequality has grown

because, from my point of view, people who look like me have only had the right to vote or naturalize for less than a century and y'all have been murdering us for racist reasons this whole time

that y'all are adopting some moral fiber in reaction to politics finally is great - but don't preach as if it only very recently got really fucking terrible. it's been persistently really fucking terrible for a very long time for a lot of people so do us a favor and work on decentering yourself in this struggle
posted by runt at 7:47 AM on February 5 [95 favorites]


To not abuse the edit window: Mostly when a rando files for the party that has no chance of winning, they're either just after seeing their name in the papers or getting some publicity for their business or something. Most such events pass without any real notice because the rando in question is just kind of there, not a Nazi or other very bad person.

Every now and then though, you get the Illinois Nazi.
posted by sotonohito at 7:47 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


Much as I loathe the Republicans, I doubt they're ready to openly endorse an actual, literal, no fooling, open, Nazi.

I think you might need to back that up with cake.
posted by Dashy at 7:48 AM on February 5 [26 favorites]


Much as I loathe the Republicans, I doubt they're ready to openly endorse an actual, literal, no fooling, open, Nazi.

Why? Serious question, not trying to be combative. What in their behavior in the past two years gives anyone any confidence that they'll do the right thing here?
posted by holborne at 7:49 AM on February 5 [48 favorites]


nation-states (all of them) are built on ethnic conflict and identification.
This. As most recently Pankaj Mishra's Age of Anger has historically pointed out , democracies are traditionally recent historical ways to channel and direct populist anger (as well as occasionally a few other wonderful, progressive purposes). The 'nation-state' ere we live in, is probably in the long run just a couple hundred year blip in human history, which for the most part has been dictatorial and war-mongering.
posted by rc3spencer at 7:51 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


Much as I loathe the Republicans, I doubt they're ready to openly endorse an actual, literal, no fooling, open, Nazi.

I dunno. David Duke is doing well in the party still.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 7:52 AM on February 5 [20 favorites]


There is a difference between endorsing an actual card-carrying Nazi and endorsing an actual card-carrying Nazi sympathizer.

This is how Steve King continues in Congress.
posted by delfin at 7:55 AM on February 5 [8 favorites]


Just to recap, February 8th is the next CR deadline. There's nothing on the horizon for a DACA deal, Ryan doesn't know if he can't get it past the house, while McConnell thinks the Democrats will fold like Superman on laundry day.

Then we have the debt ceiling shitfight coming up right after. Thanks to the brand new looting of the treasury tax reform, receipts are down and the drop dead date has moved up a month to somewhere around the first couple of weeks of March. Yields for T-bills through the end of March are up almost a quarter point so the bond markets aren't treating this shitfight as a nothingburger.

So yeah. Good luck to the Republic over the next two months. I'm keeping my passport close at hand just in case.
posted by Talez at 7:56 AM on February 5 [13 favorites]


When half the government sides with the FSB over the FBI, do nazi sympathizers really surprise you?
posted by adept256 at 7:56 AM on February 5 [8 favorites]


Much as I loathe the Republicans, I doubt they're ready to openly endorse an actual, literal, no fooling, open, Nazi.

David Duke is doing well in the party still.


Duke was the GOP candidate for the LA governorship in 1991. Republicans have been there, done that, bought the god damned t-shirt on the whole nazi thing.
posted by Talez at 7:58 AM on February 5 [21 favorites]


Meanwhile, the NYT is yet again giving front page space to a white supremacist. Their explanation on Twitter is 'By investigating an emerging leader in an extremist movement, we hope to offer Times viewers a deeper understanding of the people and forces behind these groups'

Of course you are...
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:58 AM on February 5 [35 favorites]


My assumption is there was no memo. The mention of one was nothing more than a hint of conspiracy seasoning to keep the right-wing paranoid pot boiling. Unfortunately the biggest turnip in that pot is the POTUS and he wanted the damn thing released NOW. I smile at the notion of a late night cut-and-paste session to produce something, ANYTHING they can release without looking like complete gibbering idiots. And of course they failed...
posted by jim in austin at 7:59 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


I think you might need to back that up with cake.

the article I linked to showed that the Illinois Republicans tried to dispute the legitimacy of his registration but failed to provide evidence towards the fact. they've also openly denounced him

like I said, Republicans want to keep their white supremacist views secret so they love coming out and denouncing racism. Bush's inaction on Katrina leading to what we'd call human rights abuses in other nation states and his open criticism of Trump is an example. plus Bush's resurgence in popularity just because he happens to be the Right Kind of Republican (TM) who denounces overt racism and bigotry while having helped pass laws that subversively coded in racism and bigotry and also started wars that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of 'military aged males' (and the subsequent traumatization of their entire social networks) is even more evidence to the fact that most people just don't really get systemic racism or systemic anything for that matter. they only know to be mad if it's overt. covert things, well, that's just life, right
posted by runt at 8:00 AM on February 5 [13 favorites]


Surely to heavens we can't be satisfied with an "explanation" of the Nunes memo as just being about one thing. Sure, it seeks to discredit the Russia investigation. But the smokescreen serves many other, loosely aligned forces, who are looting the treasury (tax bill), poisoning the fabric of a pluralist society, and installing personnel who will outlive the entire wretched crew of the current administration. With the money from Koch/Mercer etc pushing, this kind of frenetic activity fuels a preposterous amount of malfeasance.
posted by stonepharisee at 8:03 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


Nunes' Memo is an example of what was supposed to be Operation Distraction, and like everything the administration and its Republican cronies do, it was done entirely half-assed and may have hurt more than helped.

On the other hand, Nunes's Memo has provided Team Trump with a short-term diversion from significant recent events:

The Hill: Lost In Memo Frenzy, White House Passed On Punishing Russia For 2016 Meddling

Independent nat sec journalist Marcy Wheeler of Empty Wheel: Under Cover of the Nunes Memo, Russian Spooks Sneak Openly Into Meetings With Trump’s Administration

MotherJones admonishes the media: While You Are Tweeting About the Nunes Memo, Russia Is Plotting Its Midterms Attack: The point is distraction. And it’s working dangerously well.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:16 AM on February 5 [63 favorites]


Much as I loathe the Republicans, I doubt they're ready to openly endorse an actual, literal, no fooling, open, Nazi.

I wonder about this. Breitbart et al. have devoted a ton of energy over the last few years to instilling in their viewers some kind of perverted sense of Godwin's Law: any comparison between a Republican candidate and actual, no-fooling Nazis gets you branded an extremist who couldn't possibly know what they're talking about because everybody knows Nazis are just cartoon villains in video games, no one ACTUALLY thinks like that any more.

This is a useful exercise by a large media outlet, when the political party it backs is starting to stray into advocating for things that look an awful lot like race war. I wonder what the tack on the right will be once it's confronted by Nazism in its own ranks that can't be handwaved away as leftist extremism. They'll either have to back down on the equivocations, or they'll have to double down and try to convince their viewers that actually, no, the Holocaust is no different from creationism or global warming, we have to give equal airtime to both sides of the argument. History suggests they'll do the latter. That would make them Holocaust deniers, of course, which would brand them as so loathsome and uncredible that no civilized person would give them the time of day... but they're already loathsome and uncredible, so what do they have to lose?

I guess what I'm saying is, it's not at all difficult to envision a path where the GOP establishment and their captive media outlets would be totally fine backing a real, literal, no-fooling Nazi.
posted by Mayor West at 8:17 AM on February 5 [18 favorites]


Nunes claims there's no evidence Papadopoulos ever met Trump despite photo

“If Papadopoulos was such a major figure, you had nothing on him, you know, the guy lied,” Nunes told “Fox & Friends.” “As far as we can tell, Papadopoulos never even knew who — never even had met with the president.”

Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, is included in a photo that shows then-candidate Trump and then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) sitting at opposite heads of a table.


Nunes next month: Donald Trump does not exist
Nunes in 2 months: I do not exist

"The greatest trick the Devin ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:18 AM on February 5 [84 favorites]


Patrick Rucker, Reuters: Exclusive: U.S. consumer protection official puts Equifax probe on ice - sources
Mick Mulvaney, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has pulled back from a full-scale probe of how Equifax Inc failed to protect the personal data of millions of consumers, according to people familiar with the matter.

Equifax (EFX.N) said in September that hackers stole personal data it had collected on some 143 million Americans. Richard Cordray, then the CFPB director, authorized an investigation that month, said former officials familiar with the probe.

But Cordray resigned in November and was replaced by Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s budget chief. The CFPB effort against Equifax has sputtered since then, said several government and industry sources, raising questions about how Mulvaney will police a data-warehousing industry that has enormous sway over how much consumers pay to borrow money.
Ask me again why Mulvaney remains atop my Most-Punchable Faces list.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:19 AM on February 5 [104 favorites]


> Mick Mulvaney, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has pulled back from a full-scale probe of how Equifax Inc failed to protect the personal data of millions of consumers

It's OK, the Republicans are working hard to make sure that American consumers will be so deep in debt that stealing our identities will be worthless. So you could say that they're addressing the problem at a deeper level here. Thanks, Mick.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:23 AM on February 5 [8 favorites]


Representative Tom Garrett (R-VA, Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs Committees) on CNN asks us to imagine how we'd feel if there was a partisan investigation into Obama's birthplace, because "this Russia investigation is birtherism". But in fact, I don't remember anyone being charged and pleading guilty to felonies in order to cover up Obama's birthplace.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:23 AM on February 5 [58 favorites]


My assumption is there was no memo....Unfortunately the biggest turnip in that pot is the POTUS and he wanted the damn thing released NOW. I smile at the notion of a late night cut-and-paste session to produce something, ANYTHING they can release without looking like complete gibbering idiots. And of course they failed...

That assumption is incorrect: the HPSCI read the memo on at least January 18 (and presumably before, but the actual timing is somewhat opaque), then shared it with members of the House; the President did not (publicly) make his decision to release the memo until February 2.

It's an absolutely nonsense memo with little substance; with material omissions of fact (according to other members of Congress); one that misstates facts (according to same) in the service of misleading the public; and one that was very likely created with input from the White House (which Nunes has declined to deny, even when pressed).

But one thing it's not is imaginary, or drafted in a rush at the last possible second. It might be that Nunes didn't really want it released and Trump's agreeing to disclose it was a surprise, but there was ample time to write the dang thing. Its omissions are not the product of a rush job -- which is important insofar as its purposeful and deliberate crafting speaks to a desire to mislead.
posted by cjelli at 8:24 AM on February 5 [11 favorites]


Come to think of it I remember some bloviating asshole claiming to launch his own investigation into Obama's birthplace with a team of detectives. Whatever happened to that guy?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:25 AM on February 5 [56 favorites]


"this Russia investigation is birtherism"

He must have a VERY different memory of the republican primaries if he thinks "this is birtherism" is logically followed by "so therefor it should be dropped for its meritelessness"
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:26 AM on February 5 [22 favorites]


Representative Tom Garrett (R-VA, Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs Committees) on CNN asks us to imagine how we'd feel if there was a partisan investigation into Obama's birthplace, because "this Russia investigation is birtherism".

Translation: "I, Virginia elected official Tom Garrett, have received a great deal of Russian money, presumably laundered through the RNC."
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:29 AM on February 5 [34 favorites]


Much as I loathe the Republicans, I doubt they're ready to openly endorse an actual, literal, no fooling, open, Nazi.

They backed an actual, literal pedophile recently, and that person nearly won. There's nothing "good" about a (public, open) Nazi getting closer to public office like this, regardless of what it means for tactics or optics.
posted by odinsdream at 8:32 AM on February 5 [61 favorites]


Translation: "I, Virginia elected official Tom Garrett, have received a great deal of Russian money, presumably laundered through the RNC."

You don't launder foreign money through party committees. JFC things may look lawless but doing something so blatant? Do you want to get arrested? You launder foreign money through 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) organizations.
posted by Talez at 8:37 AM on February 5 [16 favorites]


Much as I loathe the Republicans, I doubt they're ready to openly endorse an actual, literal, no fooling, open, Nazi.

"Very fine people."
posted by dirigibleman at 8:37 AM on February 5 [34 favorites]


They backed an actual, literal pedophile recently, and that person nearly won. There's nothing "good" about a (public, open) Nazi getting closer to public office like this, regardless of what it means for tactics or optics.

As an American, I used to feel pretty smug about how the two party system kept extremists out of the legislature, unlike European countries that were regularly embarassed by these types making it to Parliament, if never to the governing coalition.

2016 has wiped that smug smile off my face. Deplorables don't deserve representation in the legislature, but when they have enough numbers to bring them in, better that it be some minor party out in the open, than a southern-strategy type coalition inside a major party.
posted by ocschwar at 8:39 AM on February 5 [20 favorites]


Nunes claims there's no evidence Papadopoulos ever met Trump despite photo..
If we can't get Nunes removed as its chairperson, can we at least get it renamed to something besides the Intelligence Committee?
posted by Nerd of the North at 8:40 AM on February 5 [73 favorites]


I'm really really hoping Mueller has some indictments in his back pocket ready to drop soon. It would be a good thing if the Russia investigation were thrust back into the spotlight like that. Who knows how Trump will react (especially if it's Jr.) but people need to be reminded that this investigation is not a nothingburger.
posted by azpenguin at 8:44 AM on February 5 [7 favorites]


2016 has wiped that smug smile off my face. Deplorables don't deserve representation in the legislature, but when they have enough numbers to bring them in, better that it be some minor party out in the open, than a southern-strategy type coalition inside a major party.

It's six of one, half a dozen the other. The biggest problem with coalition governments in parliamentary systems is that sometimes you need to get confidence and supply votes from complete fucking nutjobs. Recent examples include May making a deal with the devil DUP, religious conservative nutjob Steven Fielding held the balance of power in the Australian Senate from 2008 to 2011 and winding the clock back luddite advocate Brian Harradine held the balance of power in the Senate from '94-96. Hell, Harradine single handedly blocked RU486 from being imported into Australia for over a decade.

So yeah, parliamentry systems aren't a panacea.
posted by Talez at 8:49 AM on February 5 [11 favorites]


Talez, imagine the Liberal party adopting the DUP platform, plank by plank, AFTER the elections, because some nihilistic analyst with spreadsheets full of polling data told them that they have won the DUP-symp vote and need to do this to retain it. Meanwhile, there is no actual DUP out in the open to confront.

That's America right now.
posted by ocschwar at 8:51 AM on February 5 [17 favorites]


David Broooks writes that in the glowing future where Roe is overturned:
There’s a good chance that a lot of states would hammer out the sort of compromise the European nations have — legal in the first months, difficult after that. That’s what most Americans support.
I almost screamed at my monitor, because this is the single most pernicious lie that the forced birth advocates have. The lie that current US law is one of "abortion on demand". They've told this lie so often that not only do the forced birth advocates believe it, even some people who are pro-choice believe it.

As I'm sure everyone here knows, what Brooks describes there as a possible post-Roe compromise in some states is literally, exactly, current US law as defined by Roe. It **IS** Roe.

And yet the New York Times chose to give me yet another vindication for never supporting them financially, by paying Brooks to write about current US law as if it were some sort of amazing and hitherto undreamt vision of compromise that he has invented if only we foolish liberal were able to accept it.

It's symptomatic of the larger problem that the Republicans are increasingly living in a world divorced from reality and based on outright, deliberate, lies.

The Republican President tells us simultaneously that Mexico will pay for his fucking wall, and also that we must pay for it to save America from the slavering horde of brown people who will destroy America.

The Republican Party tells us that paying for tax cuts given to the ultra elite by adding $1.5 trillion to the debit is fine because the debt doesn't matter, and at the same time they tell us that we must make deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare because the debt is destroying America.

The Republican Party and Republican President tell us that global warming is a Chinese hoax invented to destroy America. And simultaneously the Republican President applies for global warming defense funds for his golf courses in the UK.

The Republican Party tells America that the forced birth position is reasonable because the US permits abortion at a whim right up until birth.

Differences in opinion are one thing, but belief in "alternate facts" is another. How can we possibly exist as a singular nation when close to half of the population believes important things that are factually, objectively, empirically, not true or which their own politicians contradict themselves on?

The Republicans have discovered that lying, blatantly and openly and about things where the truth is obvious, is a shockingly successful election tactic. And I have no idea how it can be countered because their voters flatly do not want to know the truth and will not acknowledge the truth.
posted by sotonohito at 8:55 AM on February 5 [183 favorites]


imagine the Liberal party adopting the DUP platform

Wait, is the Brexit plan now that Northern Ireland will join Australia?

I mean that makes as much sense as anything else in 2018
posted by tivalasvegas at 8:56 AM on February 5 [8 favorites]


The FBI was investigating Trump campaign personnel for illegal Russian connections and didn’t breathe a word to anyone. In the meantime, Comey makes big public statements about Clinton’s lax email security twice, once right before the election. And now the GOP is pretending there’s a pernicious anti-Trump bias.

I want to light something on fire.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:01 AM on February 5 [152 favorites]


Traditionally in a situation where right wing media hasn't whipped up the electorate into a "compromise = traitor" frenzy we'd have bills passed with Democratic and Republicans split on votes. As far as I can see there's two major turning points which have put us into this situation:

1) The defeat of Eric Cantor by Dave Brat in the 2014 primaries for VA-7.

This one put the fear of god into any remaining Republicans who thought that tea party insurgency was anything more than an idle threat. If the House Majority Leader could be dethroned by a raving lunatic upstart insurgent, ANYONE could be dethroned.

2) Mark Meadows filing a motion to vacate against John Boehner.

This was the big one. The House Freedom Caucus held the balance of the power in the Republican House Caucus and they were willing to burn it all down to get their way. Normally a low ranking member of the caucus would be insane to go against the party but with the nutjobs on primary patrol, Meadows could go after Boehner from the right. Boehner called their bluff thinking they surely Meadows wouldn't do it, he wouldn't send the party into civil war, and Meadows promptly went and burnt it all down.

Now Meadows firmly has his hand tightly gripped around Ryan's balls and only needs the occasional squeeze to remind Ryan. Only stuff that meets the House Freedom Caucus's extreme agenda gets to the floor and nobody will vote with Democrats to keep Ryan in place (if the Democrats even wanted to) because they'd get primaried by the nutjobs in their districts whipped into a "TREASON!" warcry.

So now we sit over the next eight weeks and hope the country doesn't sink because Ryan is trying to save his own skin.

Talez, imagine the Liberal party adopting the DUP platform

FYI, that would be the Conservatives.
posted by Talez at 9:02 AM on February 5 [15 favorites]


Relevant to our interests: Mueller prayer candle (via reddit, available on etsy)
posted by Jacqueline at 9:02 AM on February 5 [9 favorites]


Ezra Klein, Vox: The problems in America run far deeper than Trump ( a review of Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky's How Democracies Die).
How Democracies Die is being read as a commentary on Donald Trump, but the analysis of Trump is the book’s least interesting, and least important, contribution. Trump is a symptom, not the cause, of the problems bedeviling American democracy...

...Then in the the Civil War’s aftermath, the pursuit of equality fell before the pursuit of stability — in Reconstruction and continuing up through the mid-20th century, the Democratic and Republican parties permitted the South to construct an apartheid state atop a foundation of legal discrimination and racial terrorism, and it was in this environment that American politics saw its so-called golden era, in which the two parties worked together smoothly and routinely. [my emphasis]
Trump, in other words, is the big gob of orange snot that the flu of racism/colonialism has spewed forth. The "golden age of interparty comity" where Republicans and Democrats worked hand-in-hand to pass laws and serve our nation etc. etc. papered over the fact that this "golden age" was by and for white Christians only:
As the political scientist Alan Abramowitz points out, in the 1950s, married white Christians were the overwhelming majority — nearly 80 percent — of American voters, divided more or less equally between the two parties. By the 2000s, married white Christians constituted barely 40 percent of the electorate, and they were now concentrated in the Republican Party.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:14 AM on February 5 [67 favorites]


DACA negotiation update from WaPo:

New bipartisan immigration plan to be introduced in the Senate

I don't really understand how McCain is so involved in this while hospitalized in Arizona, but ok.

I recently saw some polling that a majority of the country doesn't want a government shutdown over DACA, so those of us with Dem reps need to be loud in order to maintain pressure.
posted by Emmy Rae at 9:17 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


New bipartisan immigration plan to be introduced in the Senate

Meadows said this morning that the McCain-Coons plan was "dead on arrival" and "worse than Durbin-Graham". So I can't see how this serves anything other than McCain's need to McCain one more time before he checks out. Meadows is still the shadow-Speaker, and he's not going to let Paul Ryan pass anything with Democrats, not that Ryan wants to anyway.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:25 AM on February 5 [7 favorites]


what Brooks describes there as a possible post-Roe compromise in some states is literally, exactly, current US law as defined by Roe. It **IS** Roe.

It's of a piece with "why oh why won't Obama drop the partisan posturing and adopt $BROOKS_FAVORED_POSITION," which would just happen to be the position that Obama was actually advocating.

Brooks is not speaking these falsehoods because he's stupid. He's doing so because he's a liar, and because the NYT pays him to lie in its op-ed page.
posted by Gelatin at 9:35 AM on February 5 [40 favorites]


David Brooks is a pretty well worn topic here on the blue. Can we drop it?

Haven't seen this here yet ... Janet Yelen says 'Bad Wells Fargo!' with a smack on the wrist on her way out the door
posted by thebotanyofsouls at 9:39 AM on February 5 [7 favorites]


Meadows is still the shadow-Speaker, and he's not going to let Paul Ryan pass anything with Democrats, not that Ryan wants to anyway.

That's true, but introducing it in the Senate means
1. opening for people (maybe even reporters??) to ask Ryan "why won't you let a bill with bipartisan sponsorship and support come up for a vote?"
2. make it clear, again, that Trump has no plan and is just saying no because he's a racist scumbag
3. give people something concrete to call their senators/reps and ask them to promote and pass (rather than "please save DACA somehow!" which I'm sure Amy Klobuchar's office is fond of hearing from me)

There's no reason not to use this opportunity to try and push for something. We've made noise before, we ought to again.

Anyway, I would love for someone to ask Paul Ryan on camera if he feels good about using guidance made up by a child molester (Dennis Hastert) for his "leadership" in the House (Hastert Rule). Must be embarrassing to be that bad at your job right in front of Nancy Pelosi who was a total fucking pro.
posted by Emmy Rae at 9:42 AM on February 5 [14 favorites]


Breitbart has deleted a tweet from last night that did not meet its "editorial standards". The tweet in question fantasized about a Muslim takeover of the U.S. which ends the Superbowl. It's not the first time.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:42 AM on February 5 [8 favorites]


CNN is reporting today that back in December a CNN employee found documents critiquing the response to a simulated anthrax attack on Super Bowl Sunday that were marked "For Official Use Only" and "important for national security." Super Bowl anti-terrorism documents left on plane:
CNN decided to withhold publication of this article until after the Super Bowl after government officials voiced concerns that publishing it prior to the game could jeopardize security for the event.
Heck of a job, somebody.
posted by peeedro at 9:45 AM on February 5 [20 favorites]


HuffPo: Supreme Court Won’t Let Pennsylvania Republicans Delay Drawing New Congressional Map
Top Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania suffered another defeat on Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court denied their request to delay drawing a new congressional map ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
...
The ruling from the high court ended Republicans’ last pending legal appeal on redrawing the state’s map, but Republicans in the state may not be done fighting. Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati (R) has indicated he won’t comply with a court order to hand over information to assist the court in drawing the map because he believes it’s unlawful.
posted by cjelli at 9:45 AM on February 5 [85 favorites]


Simple solution for Scarnati's intransigence: 72 hours to comply in handing over the information or appear before the Court to show cause why there shouldn't be contempt charges.
posted by darkstar at 9:51 AM on February 5 [19 favorites]


Ezra Klein, Vox: The problems in America run far deeper than Trump ( a review of Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky's How Democracies Die).

David Runciman, Guardian: How Democracies Die review – Trump and the shredding of norms
Levitsky and Ziblatt want to get away from the idea that so long as the constitutional order is intact, democracy will be OK. They are deeply suspicious of any naive faith that deviant politicians can be “contained” by the right institutions, and not just because it didn’t work out for Weimar Germany with Hitler. ...

The two primary norms that Levitsky and Ziblatt think underpin democracy are “mutual toleration” and “institutional forbearance”. They amount to the same thing: resisting the temptation to take every cheap shot going. ...

We won’t find the norms to stabilise democracy in this changed world by looking for them in the world it has supplanted. Levitsky and Ziblatt say that political parties and other gatekeepers are essential to ensure democracy stays the course. They lament the demise of the smoke-filled rooms of political insiders that kept the rabble-rousers at bay. But the smoke-filled rooms are long gone, seen off by smartphones and social media, not to mention 21st-century standards of health and safety. It’s no good asking what will replicate them. We need to know how to get by without them.
Christian Caryl, WaPo: Can American democracy withstand its latest assault?
[Levitsky and Ziblatt note that] the United States has never been immune to democratic breakdown: “Writing this book has reminded us that American democracy is not as exceptional as we sometimes believe.” The Founding Fathers themselves indulged in emphatically zero-sum politics. The country’s first two political parties, the Federalists of Alexander Hamilton and the Democratic-Republicans of Thomas Jefferson, wanted to annihilate each other.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:07 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


sotonohito: The Republicans have discovered that lying, blatantly and openly and about things where the truth is obvious, is a shockingly successful election tactic. And I have no idea how it can be countered because their voters flatly do not want to know the truth and will not acknowledge the truth.

Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds -- New discoveries about the human mind show the limitations of reason. (Elizabeth Kolbert for The New Yorker, Feb. 2017) -- tl; dr: people change their minds because of emotions, and then find the facts to back up their feelings. That's why the GOP's emotional, unfactual campaigns work, where Dems shout "THAT'S NOT EVEN REAL!" but no one changes their mind.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:10 AM on February 5 [27 favorites]


Meanwhile, the NYT is yet again giving front page space to a white supremacist. Their explanation on Twitter is 'By investigating an emerging leader in an extremist movement, we hope to offer Times viewers a deeper understanding of the people and forces behind these groups'

Of course you are...


I was fairly angry when the NYT gave space to Horvator from the TWP without treading any new ground or analyzing his BS. (There was a much better article and video put out by Yahoo recently that showed how all of the outreach programs that the TWP bragged about in the NYT article were BS. That was more like what the NYT should have done in the first article.)

However, I came across this article initially in an anti-fascist forum where people seemed to dig it, and I concur with their belief that this it is different and fairly decent. The article (and video) make it clear that the subject lied about his military record, something that will cause dissension amongst the people in his movement. In addition, the video posits that the people attracted to that sort of movement are largely likely cowardly liars like the subject, and that what appears to be a massive action on social media is rather just 30 whiny losers popping up for 5 minutes with Tiki torches and then running away.

These people exist and we ignore them at our own peril. So, when we pay attention to them, we should do it in ways that minimize them and mess with them, which I feel that the article and video accomplished.
posted by bootlegpop at 10:12 AM on February 5 [7 favorites]


And the scariest thing for me about the Facts Not Changing Our Minds thing, is that this is Katamari-esque. How many people do you know get out of the cult? Who changes their minds and becomes less extreme? It might happen (and I really like the @trumpregrets twitter for finding people who do) but its scary that we can't defeat it
posted by Brainy at 10:15 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


Lawfare has a comprehensive chronology of Devin Nunes's post-election activities as part of the Trump-Russia scandal that's worth it for the subtitle's pun alone: A Timeline of the House Intelligence Committee Chairman: All the Nunes That’s Fit to Print

It gathers so many instances of Nunes acting in bad faith or lying that it's impossible to deny hje has been covering for Trump from the beginning. Their first item of 2017 tells us everything we need to know about Nunes's attitude to the congressional committee investigation he's supposed to be leading:
Feb. 27, 2017: The Guardian reports on evidence that Michael Flynn had communicated with Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak. In response, Nunes gives a statement to reporters, saying:
As of right now, I don’t have any evidence of any phone calls … That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but I don’t have that. And what I’ve been told by many folks is that there’s nothing there ... I want to be very careful that we can’t just go on a witch-hunt against Americans because they appear in news stories.
In response to Nunes’s statement, Schiff gives a counter-press conference criticizing Nunes for disclosing information: “When you begin an investigation, you don’t begin by stating what you believe to be the conclusion.”
And giving his lapdog an encouraging pat on the head, Trump tweeted this morning that Nunes was "a man of tremendous courage and grit" and "may someday be recognized as a Great American Hero".
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:27 AM on February 5 [29 favorites]


News-of-the-news news: Newsweek just fired its editor in chief, managing editor, and at least some of its investigative reporting staff, 'apparently for investigating their own parent company's financial woes which triggered a raid by Manhattan DA's office on 1/19.' (The raid was discussed a few threads back).
posted by cjelli at 10:27 AM on February 5 [41 favorites]


If you can believe it, it was Alito who (unilaterally) denied the PA GOP's request, not the whole of the SCOTUS (!):

Justice Samuel Alito, who handles emergency appeals from Pennsylvania, rejected the request from the GOP leaders and voters that the court put on hold an order from the state Supreme Court that could now produce new congressional districts in the coming two weeks.
posted by un petit cadeau at 10:29 AM on February 5 [42 favorites]


the GOP's emotional, unfactual campaigns work

And not just any emotions. The GOP plays on common selfishness and fear. "The Democrats and their friends are coming to get you. They want your money, they want your jobs, they want your schools, they want your children, ..."

I suspect you'll just have to play the same game and frame Democratic issues in those terms. "The Republicans and their friends, foreign and domestic, are coming to get you. They want to take your pensions. They want to take your health care. They want to take your farms. They want your air and your water. They would let your children and grandchildren live in a terrible world if it meant a quick buck for Republicans today. They want to hand American sovereignty to the Russians, vote by stolen vote. They want America to blunder into nuclear war on the borders of China and Russia. If there's anything left of America, you won't own any of it. You will be owned by the richest Americans and their rich foreign friends." You can go way over the top and still base it all on facts. No need to make up bullshit like child slavery and satanic rituals in the nonexistent basement of a pizzeria.
posted by pracowity at 10:41 AM on February 5 [88 favorites]


Alito may be terrible but he knows that there's no way that the US court has any standing to rule on the Pennsylvania constitution.
posted by octothorpe at 10:43 AM on February 5 [8 favorites]




Another worthwhile response to review of Ziblatt and Levitsky's How Democracies Die is from James Fallows, Calling the Trump Era by Its Proper Name:
Why does the naming matter? In reading Riemen’s book [To Fight Against This Age], I thought frequently of two works by The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates that appear in his new book We Were Eight Years in Power. One was “Case for Reparations”; the other, his article about Trump as “The First White President.” Each of them powerfully argued that calling things by their explicit, deliberately undiplomatic names was a crucial intellectual and political step. He was not writing about America’s “racial problems.” He was forcing attention on state-sponsored white racial supremacy. If you don’t like that term, or the idea of Trump as “first white president,” then, Ta-Nehisi is saying, you should examine the realities he is presenting.
In thinking about useful responses to Trump, the explicit, deliberately undiplomatic name Fallows suggests is fascism.
posted by peeedro at 10:57 AM on February 5 [37 favorites]


I wonder about this. Breitbart et al. have devoted a ton of energy over the last few years to instilling in their viewers some kind of perverted sense of Godwin's Law...

This is a useful exercise by a large media outlet, when the political party it backs is starting to stray into advocating for things that look an awful lot like race war. I wonder what the tack on the right will be once it's confronted by Nazism in its own ranks that can't be handwaved away as leftist extremism.


well, given some comment threads re: Illinois Nazis, it's just to keep waving your hand hoping it goes away. People are trying to say that Arthur Jones of District 3 is a "Democrat plant".
posted by anem0ne at 11:00 AM on February 5


The alt-right is killing people
In the past four years, the Southern Poverty Law Center has documented a string of violent acts involving the racist “alt-right” which has resulted in 43 people dead and more than 60 injured.
posted by Artw at 11:06 AM on February 5 [65 favorites]


Let's also remember that suburban Illinois Nazis stoned MLK Jr. (of Dodge-driving fame, apparently?)
posted by tivalasvegas at 11:16 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS NEWS -- Hi, I am back, and will have news tonight, once I finish reading the old thread, and see if there was anything you didn't already hit on. Also hopefully tonight, March special elections write-up.

And a reminder that we have four Missouri special elections tomorrow.

(of course, I was thinking of you all on vacation)
posted by Chrysostom at 11:18 AM on February 5 [74 favorites]


In thinking about useful responses to Trump, the explicit, deliberately undiplomatic name Fallows suggests is fascism.

I suggest "Trumpian fascism." Describes the political system, and the particular flavor it took on at a specific time in American history.
posted by Rykey at 11:21 AM on February 5 [8 favorites]


I've mainly been using "neo-fascism" but Trumpian or Trumpist fascism is also fine by me.
posted by tivalasvegas at 11:25 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I would prefer neo-fascism; potus45 loooooves hearing his name, on absolutely anything, and he wants it remembered. If needed, call it "Republican fascism" and don't give him the credit for running it just because he's starring in the posters.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:57 AM on February 5 [17 favorites]


Simple solution for Scarnati's intransigence: 72 hours to comply in handing over the information or appear before the Court to show cause why there shouldn't be contempt charges.

Even simpler -- and more importantly, satisfying to me -- would be to order a sheriff to go get the required information without Scarnati's consent.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:58 AM on February 5


Just call it fascism. Neo- or alt- anything makes it sound fresh and cool. It's the same type of plain old fascism our grandparents and parents died fighting in WWII.
posted by medusa at 12:08 PM on February 5 [80 favorites]


Just call it fascism. Neo- or alt- anything makes it sound fresh and cool. It's the same type of plain old fascism our grandparents and parents died fighting in WWII.

Yeah. When Jonah Goldberg wrote his silly book trying to claim fascism was liberalism and vice versa, he didn't cutesy it us with prefixies; he just called it Liberal Fascism.

If memory serves me correctly, Goldberg said at the time he wrote it because he was tired of liberals comparing conservatives to fascists. Well, here we are.
posted by Gelatin at 12:14 PM on February 5 [9 favorites]


Hey, speaking of fascism:

President Trump calls Democrats “un-American” for not standing and applauding during his State of the Union address. Adds: “Somebody said treasonous. Yea, why not? Can we call that treason? Why not?"--@MViser
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:15 PM on February 5 [42 favorites]


> thelonius:
"Well, in general, everything you mentioned and then some, but, I think, mostly the idea of the memo was to distract and derail the Russia investigation.

It's to discredit it"


Which it epically failed to do, IMO. It just came off as another whiny Trump temper tantrum. Again, IMO.
posted by Samizdata at 12:17 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


First they win the Superbowl, then they refuse to meet with Trump. The Eagles make me very, very proud.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:18 PM on February 5 [53 favorites]


anya32: ‘Please keep kids safe from guns’: How Trump replied to a 7-year-old’s anguished letter
The note made her feel better, at least for a few days, before she started to think more about it.

“He didn’t say how he could keep kids safe,” Ava told her mom. So on Jan. 8, she sat down to write another letter.
At 8 years old, she realized the response letter from the President was empty. At least they didn't write about how more would guns keep kids safe.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:19 PM on February 5 [57 favorites]


So, I don't know where it'll end up at closing time, but it looks like the Dow is currently down over 1,000 points. Thanks, Obama!
posted by uosuaq at 12:19 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


> Yea, why not? Can we call that treason? Why not?"

*points at shelf full of history books that explain why not*
posted by tonycpsu at 12:19 PM on February 5 [44 favorites]


On the one hand: ow, my 403(b).

On the other hand, at least cryptocurrency is also crashing, so I can point and laugh at the crypto-dickwads. Well, point and laugh even more.
posted by SansPoint at 12:25 PM on February 5 [8 favorites]


So, I don't know where it'll end up at closing time, but it looks like the Dow is currently down over 1,000 points. Thanks, Obama!

The turbulence on Wall Street comes at an especially bad time for a president who loves to brag about the stock market. (Matt Egan for CNN, January 30, 2018)
The Dow plunged 363 points on Tuesday, one of its worst days since the 2016 election -- hours before President Trump's first State of the Union address.

Unlike his predecessors, Trump has obsessed over the market. He frequently tweets about market milestones, pointing to the monstrous gains as evidence that his policies are working.

"The stock market is smashing one record after another," Trump told the elite crowd at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week. The president even mentioned the exact number of record highs -- 84 -- that the S&P 500 had notched since his election.

But becoming Wall Street's cheerleader-in-chief has risks, as Trump is being reminded this week. The Dow just posted its worst two-day percentage decline of his presidency.

The problem with bragging about the Dow's day-to-day moves is that every president eventually encounters a market storm. Attaching yourself too closely to the good days can make it harder to detach from the bad ones.

"If you live by the sword, then you die by the sword," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research.

Stovall said that while the party in power "always wants to take credit" for what happens on its watch, Trump may face questions about blame for market drops.
Unfortunately, there's a good chance that Trump will tweet about something or sign some awful executive order on the days before and during the next market rebound and ta-da! He sees himself as the market's savior again!
posted by filthy light thief at 12:25 PM on February 5 [10 favorites]


The turbulence on Wall Street comes at an especially bad time for a president who loves to brag about the stock market.

AKA, TRUMP LOSES BENEFIT OF THE DOW
posted by cjelli at 12:29 PM on February 5 [34 favorites]


(Side rail to a pet peeve) Quit talking about the Dow. The S&P 500 is the index that matters.
posted by ocschwar at 12:30 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]


Trump tweeted this morning that Nunes was "a man of tremendous courage and grit" and "may someday be recognized as a Great American Hero".

Ah yes, recognized alongside other such Great American Heroes as Scooter Libby, Oliver North, and G. Gordon Liddy.
posted by eclectist at 12:33 PM on February 5 [18 favorites]


(Side rail to a pet peeve) Quit talking about the Dow. The S&P 500 is the index that matters.

Also down a whole bunch!
posted by notyou at 12:33 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


"Treason? Why not?"
-Donald J. Trump
posted by contraption at 12:35 PM on February 5 [42 favorites]


Ah yes, recognized alongside other such Great American Heroes as Scooter Libby, Oliver North, and G. Gordon Liddy.

...don't the latter two have radio shows on the rabid white-wing media?

so like, they're already "recognized" as "heroes".
posted by anem0ne at 12:38 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


For those struggling, like I was, to contextualize contraptions quote above, CNN is reporting that during remarks at a manufacturing plant in Cincinnati earlier, while discussing Democratic reactions to his SOTU speech, said:

"They were like death and un-American. Somebody said, 'Treasonous.' I mean, yeah, I guess, why not," he said to laughter.

"Can we call that treason? Why not." he added.

Law and Order presidency, indeed.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:43 PM on February 5 [14 favorites]


(Side rail to a pet peeve) Quit talking about the Dow. The S&P 500 is the index that matters.

The Dow that can be named is not the eternal Dow.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:44 PM on February 5 [100 favorites]


Can we call that treason? Why not?

This was, incidentally, at a nominally non-political speech by the President acting in his official capacity to tout the impacts of the recent tax bill, and not a speech by the President in his capacity as a private individual campaigning for 2020 (even though it's still the beginning of 2018).

Earlier today, the White House was asked to clarify this in advance of the speech:
Q On the Ohio trip, is he going to meet -- is Governor Kasich going to be at the event? And also we noticed that Congressman Renacci is travelling with him. Is the President endorsing the Congressman in the Senate race?

MR. SHAH: Well, this isn't a political event. The President is there to talk about the tax cut bill that Congressman Renacci and many other Republicans in the House and Senate voted for. I know Senator Portman is going to be at the event as well.

No, this is to talk about how companies in Ohio are investing in the United States, investing in their workers, and investing because of this administration and its policies, not just on taxes but on deregulation, trade, and across the board.
Instead of that, we got (a) Fascist argle-blargle about how failing to clap is treason (per above), (b) again talking about Her Emails, (c) preëmptively suggesting that a Republican loss in the 2018 election will be because everyone is too happy with tax cuts (???), and (d) apparently discovers the fact that the 2018 elections are called midterms, viz:
"They call them the midterms." -- Trump, on midterm elections
posted by cjelli at 12:49 PM on February 5 [37 favorites]


He who brags will not endure.
According to followers of the Dow,
"These are extra food and unnecessary luggage."
posted by Coventry at 12:50 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


[Not to pooh-pooh the tao jokes but let's maybe rein it in a bit.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:53 PM on February 5 [33 favorites]




here are 6 more general hidden costs of continuing resolutions (Adam Mazmanian for Federal Computer Week [FCW], Aug 19, 2015)

This is why the struggle between liberals and conservatives is asymmetric warfare. These are all positives to conservatives because they further degrade the functioning of government, which feeds into their narrative of government incompetence. It's like trying to make war with conventional weapons against aliens who find being bombed and shot pleasurable.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:07 PM on February 5 [22 favorites]


Meanwhile, the NYT is yet again giving front page space to a white supremacist. Their explanation on Twitter is 'By investigating an emerging leader in an extremist movement, we hope to offer Times viewers a deeper understanding of the people and forces behind these groups'

Of course you are...
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:58 AM on February 5 [23 favorites +] [!]


Hey, NYT, how about doing one on the white supremacists in the White House? You know, the consequential ones?
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:20 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


Or hey NYT how about doing profiles of people who are doing meaningful good in the world and directly and indirectly working against the closed and narrow minded fearmongers and hatespreaders?
posted by kokaku at 1:28 PM on February 5 [34 favorites]


David Brooks writes that in the glowing future where Roe is overturned:

There’s a good chance that a lot of states would hammer out the sort of compromise the European nations have — legal in the first months, difficult after that. That’s what most Americans support.


Proving that my initial impression of David Brooks as a blithering idiot was correct.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:29 PM on February 5 [9 favorites]


I'm wondering if the massive stock market crash we are experiencing will make Cheetoh take action on something related to government this week - given that his wallet will no doubt be impacted for once.
posted by Toddles at 1:29 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


By investigating an emerging leader in an extremist movement, we hope to offer Times viewers a deeper understanding of the people and forces behind these groups

JESUS FUCKING CHRIST, THEY'RE NAZIS--- WHAT MORE DOES ONE NEED TO KNOW BEYOND "THESE PEOPLE ARE A THREAT AND MUST BE ROOTED OUT"
posted by entropicamericana at 1:30 PM on February 5 [85 favorites]


Note that while centrists like Klein and Fallows strongly approve of the message in How Democracies Die, it is getting a more skeptical welcome from the left. The Guardian review quoted above touches on this in a mild way at the end:
Levitsky and Ziblatt criticise the great 18th-century French political thinker Montesquieu for insisting that good constitutional design was enough to constrain “overreaching power” – and for neglecting the importance of norms in making any political system work. But they neglect the thing that Montesquieu never forgot: that politics is also made by the social, cultural, economic and even climactic circumstances in which it happens. This book has remarkably little to say about the conditions that might be driving current popular discontent with democratic norms, including the impact of digital technology, the changing nature of work, the threat of rising inequality and the reconfiguring of gender relations, however far we still have to go.

We won’t find the norms to stabilise democracy in this changed world by looking for them in the world it has supplanted. Levitsky and Ziblatt say that political parties and other gatekeepers are essential to ensure democracy stays the course. They lament the demise of the smoke-filled rooms of political insiders that kept the rabble-rousers at bay. But the smoke-filled rooms are long gone, seen off by smartphones and social media, not to mention 21st-century standards of health and safety. It’s no good asking what will replicate them. We need to know how to get by without them.
"Norms" are not just abstract principles, they are social practices; and those practices -- men in literal smoke-filled rooms making deals -- are dead or should be. Parties cannot exercise the same control they once did, and leaders cannot shape public opinion with the power they once had. Fallows et al. argue correctly that what we are seeing today should be called fascism, not "populism," and they are right. But it is also populism in the sense that these are movements from outside the norm-loving establishment, and that the left should acknowledge that it too cannot go back to the old elite system (the norms, after all, were only ever shared by the elites).

Corey Robin puts the point more sharply, focusing on two quotes from Levitsky and Ziblatt's recent NYT op-ed in which they express the scope of their fears about norm erosion:
[L&Z:] Could it happen here? It already has. During the 1850s, polarization over slavery undermined America’s democratic norms. Southern Democrats viewed the antislavery position of the emerging Republican Party as an existential threat. They assailed Republicans as “traitors to the Constitution” and vowed to “never permit this federal government to pass into the traitorous hands of the Black Republican Party.”
...
Democrats are beginning to respond in kind. Their recent filibuster triggering a government shutdown took a page out of the Gingrich playbook. And if they retake the Senate in 2018, there is talk of denying President Trump the opportunity to fill any Supreme Court vacancy. This is a dangerous spiral.
...
[CR:] As Jim Oakes has shown, the Southern Democrats were right to be terrified of the Republican Party, to see that party as an existential threat. The Republicans did want to destroy slavery, they did want to break the back of the slaveocracy, to gut a long-standing way of life. They wanted to do it peacefully, but they also understood that if war came, it would offer an opportunity to do it violently, an opportunity that they would not fail to seize. The Republicans were norm-breakers: they didn’t just want to limit the expansion of slavery into the territories (and whether limiting expansion of slavery was a norm in antebellum America is very unclear; in fact, we might say that the argument over that question was more the norm than any settlement of it; see Mark Graber’s book on Dred Scott); they wanted to limit that expansion as prelude to destroying the institution everywhere. Freedom national.

Levitsky and Ziblatt know that norm erosion and polarization were afoot during the 1850s. Only they want to put the onus entirely on the slaveholders. That way, they can take a stand against norm erosion without endorsing slavery; that way, they can pin the polarization of the era entirely on the Southern Democrats; that way, they can have their discourse of norm erosion and eat it, too. That’s politically understandable, in some sense, but wildly off the mark, historically.
...
To press the point a little further: Let’s take one of the cases that Levitsky and Ziblatt mention — the recent shutdown. Now, one of the strongest arguments in favor of the notion that Trump is an authoritarian is the treatment of immigrants. The Democrats shut down the government in order to secure some sort of deal that would allow hundreds of thousands of Dreamers to live in the country where they have lived most of their lives. The question is: assuming a shutdown would secure that outcome, is a shutdown democracy-enhancing or norm eroding? Arguably, it’s both, and not in an unrelated way: arguably the latter is necessary to the former. Arguably, norm erosion is not antithetical to democracy but an ally of it.

If your highest value is the preservation of American institutions, the avoidance of “dysfunction,” the discourse of norm erosion makes sense. If it’s democracy, not so much. Sometimes democracy requires the shattering of norms and institutions.

I fully recognize that the devil is in that “sometimes.” Some norms should be shattered, some should not. Some norm erosion undermines democracy, some enhances it. But that’s the real discussion we need to have: not a general toxin against norm erosion as somehow the bane of democracy — which may set us up for a centrist politics but not for a democratic one — but a more normatively informed discussion of what democracy requires.
TL;DR: Some of us old lefties still hate the FBI even during this marriage of convenience.
posted by chortly at 1:37 PM on February 5 [47 favorites]


JESUS FUCKING CHRIST, THEY'RE NAZIS--- WHAT MORE DOES ONE NEED TO KNOW

For people insulated enough by wealth and power to have never felt any threat from state-sanctioned violence, Nazis in their neighborhood will always be a charming curiosity. A dirty and distasteful curiosity, sure, but always an intriguing spectacle. This will only change if they join them or are destroyed by them.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:39 PM on February 5 [10 favorites]


HuffPo: Supreme Court Won’t Let Pennsylvania Republicans Delay Drawing New Congressional Map[...]

Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati (R) has indicated he won’t comply with a court order to hand over information to assist the court in drawing the map because he believes it’s unlawful.


Further complications for the PA GOP, Mother Jones reports: Republicans Fighting to Protect Gerrymandering in Pennsylvania Have an Ethics Problem
Last week, after the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court invalidated the state’s GOP-friendly congressional map, top Republicans in the state Legislature asked the state Supreme Court to throw out the decision. One of the Democratic justices, they argued, should have recused himself from the case because of comments he made in 2015 opposing gerrymandering.

But one of these Republicans, Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati, did not disclose a more serious conflict of interest: Scarnati donated $25,000 to a different state Supreme Court justice, Republican Sallie Mundy, in April 2017. The donation came through his political action committee.
Mundy also received, but did not disclose, donations from two other Republican congressmen, Charlie Dent and Brian Fitzpatrick, whose districts are likewise affected by the gerrymandering case before the court.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:43 PM on February 5 [28 favorites]


So, how does one go about reporting a bot on Twitter? There's no "this is a bot" option in the "report this account" questionnaire. (I have this terribad habit of following MAGAhats that turn up in Twitter comments back to where they live and sometimes it turns into a rabbit hole of real actual bananapants and sometimes it's just like hey THIS IS SO CLEARLY THE BOTTIEST BOT THAT EVER BOTTED ARE THEY EVEN TRYING ANYMORE???)
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:45 PM on February 5 [17 favorites]


> Republicans Fighting to Protect Gerrymandering in Pennsylvania Have an Ethics Problem

I like how that's both a title and an axiomatically true statement.
posted by Freon at 1:46 PM on February 5 [22 favorites]


AFAIK, bots on twitter aren't officially acknowledged - they're all presumed to be real posts by whoever set up the account. So the only reporting is standard "broke the TOS" complaints. The hope is that there's nobody around to argue the other side of things; unfortunately, there's a chance that the botwriter could say "hey it's just a bot" and Twitter staff would think that it's somehow *more okay* to spew hate by algorithm than by conscious design, as if "intent of the writer" were more important than "words published on the screen."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:48 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


The Association of Health Care Journalists reports the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is threatening to bar a reporter (Virgil Dickson, Washington bureau chief for Modern Healthcare) from its regular telephone news conferences because he refused to remove three lines from a story about one official's sudden resignation that CMS's director didn't like. The threat came from a contractor now doing communications work for CMS:
O’Donnell, the consultant who threatened to blackball Modern Healthcare, is not a member of the media affairs offices for CMS or for HHS.

He is a Republican strategist who has helped GOP candidates in their political campaigns. In 2015, O’Donnell pleaded guilty to lying to U.S. House ethics investigators about how much campaign work he did with money that came from office accounts rather campaign accounts.
posted by adamg at 1:54 PM on February 5 [26 favorites]


For people insulated enough by wealth and power to have never felt any threat from state-sanctioned violence, Nazis in their neighborhood will always be a charming curiosity.

IIRC one of the only murders in Georgetown (DC) last decade was done by a Nazi LARPer, it was regarded as sorta a novelty more than anything else.
posted by aspersioncast at 2:02 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


[Feel what you like about TPM paywalling some of their content, but just idly unpaywalling it doesn't seem like a great way to go.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:12 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


IIRC one of the only murders in Georgetown (DC) last decade was done by a Nazi LARPer

Which one was this?
posted by orrnyereg at 2:17 PM on February 5


Apologies for the aside, but the rest of the Twitter feed of Shaun Usher, the guy that posted the fake "Dow Joans" tweet is pretty funny. viz: @Stefinatrix: "Just wait until he sends in the Maureens to invade North Korea.."
posted by mosk at 2:20 PM on February 5 [10 favorites]


cjelli: (a) Fascist argle-blargle about how failing to clap is treason (per above), (b) again talking about Her Emails, (c) preëmptively suggesting that a Republican loss in the 2018 election will be because everyone is too happy with tax cuts (???)

Regarding (a), has anyone called Trump's Mirror on his claims that the actions of others are treasonous?

And regarding (c), I offer the following: Paul Ryan tweeted (archived view), then deleted, the following:
A secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, PA, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week ... she said [that] will more than cover her Costco membership for the year.
Which got this (IMO) apt reply from LOLGOP (screencaps via conservativememes.com):
Charles, a Koch brother in Wichita, said he was pleasantly surprised that his pay went up $26,923,076 a week... he said [that] will more than cover the cost of buying several more Paul Ryans.
That's funny, but the sad thing is that if the tax cut was distributed evenly, each person would see an extra $446 per year, which is less than GWB offered back in 2008. Bonus guffaws: a Paul Ryan fanboy cited the Congressman's record at that time, which included "he has never voted for an unbalanced budget."
posted by filthy light thief at 2:39 PM on February 5 [20 favorites]


I have a question: the Memo and all the discussion lately cites Papodope's mouthiness revealing the link between the Trump campaign and Her Emails as July 2016 (ie, peri- or after The Meeting).

Didn't we just learn in was May 2016? Why is no one correcting that fact?
posted by Dashy at 2:42 PM on February 5


The Australian government didn't pass it on to the US until July. The NYT article says the reason for the delay was unclear.
posted by melissasaurus at 3:01 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


People online and on the TeeVee keep referring to what happened today as a crash. We still haven't absorbed that huge point moves happen much more frequently the higher the DOW and S&P climb. Today's loss isn't even a blip compared to a true crash. For example a drop equivalent to Black Monday would have been almost 6000 points. 6000.

We're not even in "pullback" territory yet much less bear market. I think we may be headed there and, frankly, the market has been way overvalued for some time. It's overvalued after today. It'd be overvalued if we drop another 1000 points tomorrow. But we need to get used to 1000 point moves because they will become more common as time goes on.
posted by Justinian at 3:06 PM on February 5 [40 favorites]


Not to pooh-pooh the tao jokes

I see what you did there.
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:17 PM on February 5 [49 favorites]


The nice thing about Trump saying not applauding at the SOTU is treason is it kinda ends the debate with Trumpettes on whether colluding with Russia should be called treason.
posted by chris24 at 3:24 PM on February 5 [25 favorites]




NYT breaking news: The House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously on Monday to make public a classified Democratic memorandum rebutting Republican claims that the F.B.I. and the Justice Department had abused their powers to wiretap a former Trump campaign official, setting up a possible clash with President Trump.

The vote gives Mr. Trump five days to review the Democratic memo and determine whether he will try to block its release. A decision to stop it could lead to an ugly standoff between the president, his top law enforcement and intelligence advisers and Democrats on Capitol Hill.

posted by RedOrGreen at 3:25 PM on February 5 [20 favorites]


JESUS FUCKING CHRIST, THEY'RE NAZIS--- WHAT MORE DOES ONE NEED TO KNOW BEYOND "THESE PEOPLE ARE A THREAT AND MUST BE ROOTED OUT"

Watch the entire twenty minutes. I did.

As has been pointed out here already, the Times goes and does actual investigative journalism on Kline, which reveals him to have lied about having been deployed overseas. The reporter confronts him directly with his lie, and his baffled and inarticulate mumbles in response leave him sounding like anything but the capable, competent, trust- and adulation-worthy leader every fascist both craves and wants to be. It is astonishingly undermining.

Similarly, the juxtaposition of Kline — a notably ineffectual public speaker — and his two rows of sycophants with archival footage of the BUF's Oswald Mosley at a rally of thousands of supporters kind of puts the lie to any notion of a mass mobilization.

If nothing else, the video is revealing for the moment it depicts Kline clearly pronouncing the "v" in Identity Evropa.

I agree, the Times has stumbled before in their coverage of the right, and it's unconscionable that they continue to lend jackbags like Douthat and Brooks a platform. But in this, at least, they appear to have learned one or two lessons.
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:31 PM on February 5 [24 favorites]


A decision to stop it could lead to an ugly standoff between the president, his top law enforcement and intelligence advisers and Democrats on Capitol Hill.
posted by RedOrGreen at 3:25 PM on February 5 [3 favorites +] [!]


But the fact that it passed unanimously means that some Republicans voted to release it as well, so why would the standoff be just with Democrats?
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:32 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


A decision to stop it could lead to an ugly standoff between the president, his top law enforcement and intelligence advisers and Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Stopping its publication might lead to an ugly standoff, you say? Call me Nostradamus, but based on past experience w/this guy I have a prediction to make...
posted by mosk at 3:34 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


what is it the in the beltway drama of the nunes memo and the collusion theories is supposed to distract us from? - a crashing economy?

Is the economy crashing? I thought part of the problem was that the economy seemed to not be too bothered about the lack of leadership.

But we still hear stories about American healthcare, where a single visit to the ER can lead to bankruptcy, and we quite unanimously agree that's completely fucked and inhumane.

Let's be honest, I hear about people having to pay to have a child in the US and think that's fucked and inhumane. What are poor people supposed to do? Die in childbirth?
posted by Merus at 3:34 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


God I wish the Democrats would just let the stupid memo thing go already. Why lend credibility to that Nunes mess of self-ownage by responding to it? Why perpetuate this idiocy into some tit-for-tat "battle of memos"? It totally feeds into the same old tired both sides gridlock Bickering Pols narrative.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:40 PM on February 5 [14 favorites]


The House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously

er... does this mean Nunes voted yes on the Democratic memo, too?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:41 PM on February 5 [14 favorites]


It's six of one, half a dozen the other. The biggest problem with coalition governments in parliamentary systems is that sometimes you need to get confidence and supply votes from complete fucking nutjobs. Recent examples include May making a deal with the devil DUP, religious conservative nutjob Steven Fielding held the balance of power in the Australian Senate from 2008 to 2011 and winding the clock back luddite advocate Brian Harradine held the balance of power in the Senate from '94-96. Hell, Harradine single handedly blocked RU486 from being imported into Australia for over a decade.

I think the common denominator between those three cases and the US is Rupert Murdoch.
posted by acb at 3:41 PM on February 5 [10 favorites]


Lost productivity? Lost productivity? A group of government/university people organized a meeting for our stakeholders in late February, obtaining a venue, a nearby hotel, and food options. Because of the possible shut-down, we just spent the last week finding an alternative venue, alternative food, and alternative speakers and moderators, since some of us would be arrested if we came to the meeting during a shut-down.
posted by acrasis at 3:50 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


[A few deleted, let's not veer off into costs of childbirth in the US, yes it is bad.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:51 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]




Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati (R) has indicated he won’t comply with a court order to hand over information to assist the court in drawing the map because he believes it’s unlawful.

won’t comply with a court order

because he believes it’s unlawful

DUDE IT IS THE STATE SUPREME COURT RULING ON THE STATE CONSTITUTION.
IF THEY SAY IT'S LAWFUL, IT'S THE GODDAMN LAW.
posted by murphy slaw at 4:18 PM on February 5 [93 favorites]


Doktor Zed: "And giving his lapdog an encouraging pat on the head, Trump tweeted this morning that Nunes was "a man of tremendous courage and grit" and "may someday be recognized as a Great American Hero"."
A bumbling nobody, assisted by a mediocre and insubordinate member of the FBI, who despite only minimal understanding of the powers granted to him achieves what results he does more by blindly stumbling around than by skill, ultimately at the bidding of an alien power?
posted by Pinback at 4:20 PM on February 5 [24 favorites]


DUDE IT IS THE STATE SUPREME COURT RULING ON THE STATE CONSTITUTION.
IF THEY SAY IT'S LAWFUL, IT'S THE GODDAMN LAW.

Trump's favorite president is Andrew Jackson. This is just an early trial balloon for a bunch of "Mr. Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it" from Republicans all over the place.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 4:23 PM on February 5 [28 favorites]


But the fact that it passed unanimously means that some Republicans voted to release it as well, so why would the standoff be just with Democrats?

Call me cynical, but I expect the Repubs who voted for release did so as theatre, with the full expectation that Trump will never agree. Then they get to shrug and say "we voted yes, but its the President's decision. Nothing we can do."

They might be concerned, though. Possibly very concerned. Or maybe upset or frustrated. But the shrugs - the shrugs will be epic.
posted by nubs at 4:24 PM on February 5 [25 favorites]


The Australian government didn't pass it on to the US until July. The NYT article says the reason for the delay was unclear.

If you had a solid understanding of Australian politics from 1994-2008 I'd say "because it's Alexander Downer" and you'd probably understand exactly why.
posted by Talez at 4:38 PM on February 5 [11 favorites]


Phil Mattingly: House GOP CR proposal, as it currently stands:
-Funds government to March 23
-Full year defense approps
-2 year funding for community health centers

Chris Hayes:
This only makes sense as a way of running the government if you want to continually reserve the right to create a crisis or bankrupt a program.

Republicans could've funded community health centers two weeks ago along with CHIP, but that would've left them without a hostage this time.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:43 PM on February 5 [30 favorites]


One PA state legislator -- from Punxsutawney, because this is the stupidest timeline -- wants cosponsors to impeach and remove the state supreme court justices who issued the ruling, which is absolutely possible because the state senate is gerrymandered to give Republicans a two-thirds majority.

Might go nowhere, might go somewhere, but it's a reminder that "checks and balances" ultimately depend upon those in power choosing to accept checks and balances.
posted by holgate at 4:44 PM on February 5 [33 favorites]


-Full year defense approps

Why would the GOP want to fire this bullet instead of leaving it in the chamber? Every time the Democrats try to grow a spine on playing this game the GOP beats them over the head with "they don't want to fund the army because they hate the troops".
posted by Talez at 4:46 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


How many people do you know get out of the cult? Who changes their minds and becomes less extreme? It might happen (and I really like the @trumpregrets twitter for finding people who do) but its scary that we can't defeat it

It happens sometimes. But the thing is - a lot of the current alt-right or those embracing fascism, as noted, didn't exactly reason themselves into that position.

The number one thing fueling terrorism, or fascism, or any shitty ism that involves dehumanizing and/or killing a lot of people, is angry young (usually single) men who do not see themselves attaining their personal life goals, and are looking for a sense of community and purpose. I've seen a few studies, such as this British one, that suggest extremism may be these young men's refuge against mental illness, but the majority seem to agree that young men between the ages of 18 and 35 are vulnerable to these kinds of intensely held emotional beliefs oriented around identity.

I do not know how to stop this. I know that economic growth tends to ease off these tensions, but I kind of bristle at the idea that we need to buy men off to avoid them being monsters. But I think we need to start seriously analyzing nativist domestic extremism, and taking a hard look at the structures that allow it to continue and spread.
posted by corb at 4:47 PM on February 5 [32 favorites]


On the News app built in to Windows 10, one of the preview thumbnail headlines right now is:

"Trump tags Democrats as "treasonous" for muted SOTU reaction"

Speculation: someday someone's going to write a history book showing a timeline of the Citizens United verdict, the influx of Russian money into the NRA and Republican PACs, and the escalation, over the past few years, of the GOP calling anything and everything Democrats do (or don't do, in this case) "treasonous" until the word has no meaning-- because the GOP really needs that word to lose all meaning in case their Russian cash infusion is exposed.
posted by wiremommy at 4:48 PM on February 5 [64 favorites]


Why would the GOP want to fire this bullet instead of leaving it in the chamber?

I mean isn't that what theyre going to do again? They know Democrats aren't going to agree to fully funding the military while leaving the domestic government programs to fuck right off, it's a stupid ask to begin with, they just want to bang the drum on "liberals hate the troops" every time.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:48 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


In today's installment of You're (About to Be) Fired:

@kylegriffin1: White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah called Trump “a deplorable” and referred to the release of the Access Hollywood tape as “some justice,” according to private messages independently obtained and verified by New York Magazine.

@Olivianuzzi: [. . .] and, while at the RNC, requested oppo on [Trump] that was used by Jeb Bush in an attack ad 3 days later.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:50 PM on February 5 [11 favorites]


I mean isn't that what theyre going to do again? They know Democrats aren't going to agree to fully funding the military while leaving the domestic government programs to fuck right off, it's a stupid ask to begin with, they've just want to bang the drum on "liberals hate the troops" every time.

Yes but after the smoke clears they're only full funding the government until the 23rd of March. After that if the Democrats shut the government down again, what do they beat them over the head with? The first thing that comes to mind to fund defense for a year in advance would be if they were planning to let all the other stuff fall into a heap come March 23rd. Start demanding deep cuts or they just let the hostages get shot.
posted by Talez at 4:51 PM on February 5


The number one thing fueling terrorism, or fascism, or any shitty ism that involves dehumanizing and/or killing a lot of people, is angry young (usually single) men who do not see themselves attaining their personal life goals, and are looking for a sense of community and purpose. I've seen a few studies, such as this British one, that suggest extremism may be these young men's refuge against mental illness, but the majority seem to agree that young men between the ages of 18 and 35 are vulnerable to these kinds of intensely held emotional beliefs oriented around identity.

I do not know how to stop this. I know that economic growth tends to ease off these tensions, but I kind of bristle at the idea that we need to buy men off to avoid them being monsters.


Fully funded Works Progress Administration 2.0 that includes on the job training for things like tech jobs in addition to the stuff it used to include would keep a lot of them busy and fulfilled before the extremists could get their hooks in and would be awesome for everyone else too, helping mitigate domestic extremism as basically a side effect of helping everyone find fulfilling work and on the job training where corporations have thrown away the idea of apprenticeships and abuse the hell out of internships. Not necessarily a huge help to change those who are already under the sway of extremism, but a way to help head it off going forward.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:15 PM on February 5 [46 favorites]


Breaking: Trump’s Lawyers Want Him to Refuse an Interview in Russia Inquiry (NYT)
Lawyers for President Trump have advised him against sitting down for a wide-ranging interview with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, according to four people briefed on the matter, raising the specter of a monthslong court battle over whether the president must answer questions under oath.

His lawyers are concerned that the president, who has a history of making false statements and contradicting himself, could be charged with lying to investigators. Their stance puts them at odds with Mr. Trump, who has said publicly and privately that he is eager to speak with Mr. Mueller as part of the investigation into possible ties between his associates and Russia’s election interference, and whether he obstructed justice.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:15 PM on February 5 [34 favorites]


-Full year defense approps

Why would the GOP want to fire this bullet instead of leaving it in the chamber? Every time the Democrats try to grow a spine on playing this game the GOP beats them over the head with "they don't want to fund the army because they hate the troops".


I'm a little confused on this myself. From a defense budget standpoint, every CR really is like lighting a shitload of money on fire. It makes planning insanely difficult, makes everyone's lives stressful and frustrating, etc. And it leaves all those people hating everyone involved for those same reasons. So for pure "let's not light money on fire" practicality, getting the DoD budget done makes sense.

But the thing is, that's true for every aspect of the government, defense or no.

This CR only goes to March 23, so if it flies then we're back to a possible CR or shutdown fight again only it won't affect the DoD or community health centers or CHIP... so I'm not sure how that helps Republicans? Unless they're planning to say "We protected those aspects of gov't while Democrats irresponsibly shut down the government again" [because they believe DACA people are, y'know, people] or something on those lines...?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:18 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


His lawyers are concerned that the president, who has a history of making false statements and contradicting himself, could be charged with lying to investigators

If not the best, from this we know Trump has hired some minimally-competent lawyers. I mean, "hell yeah they're concerned."
posted by rhizome at 5:22 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]


Also the Republicans are trying to lock in a defense budget number at something like 770billion, that's about 80billion higher than than what would be allowed under the 2011 Budget Control Act aka The Sequester (Thanks, Obama!) that requires defense and domestic to be equal. Republicans want to drastically increase defense, while of course drastically slashing domestic. They're trying to split off the defense portion and hit Democrats for hating the troops, so they can divorce the two pieces and then come back and force Democrats to agree to even more draconian domestic cuts.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:23 PM on February 5 [12 favorites]


There is always a tweet.

@realDonaldTrump:
The stock market and US dollar are both plunging today. Welcome to @BarackObama’s second term.
posted by chris24 at 5:24 PM on February 5 [30 favorites]


His lawyers are concerned that the president, who has a history of making false statements and contradicting himself, could be charged with lying to investigators

If not the best, from this we know Trump has hired some minimally-competent lawyers. I mean, "hell yeah they're concerned."


I mean, I'm not sure if you need to even be minimally-competent... or just have seen a season of How to Get Away with Murder to have figured this one out.
posted by TwoStride at 5:25 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


Breaking: Trump’s Lawyers Want Him to Refuse an Interview in Russia Inquiry (NYT)

Wow, for once, they give halfway decent legal advice. And we know JUST how Trump reacts to rational suggestions from people who know a fucking thing.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:27 PM on February 5 [13 favorites]


They're trying to split off the defense portion and hit Democrats for hating the troops, so they can divorce the two pieces and then come back and force Democrats to agree to even more draconian domestic cuts.

This is what I'm putting my betting money on.

Plus I expect that come the 8th, Schumer will sign onto the whole thing on the promise of an up or down on DACA vote the second that the CR passes. Then, should it pass, they kick it to the house where Ryan promptly dumps the whole thing in the trash can. Pragmatic centrism at work.

Next CR, Schumer comes back with "ok McConnell, this time we make a deal including the House or it's staying shut down" and the GOP caucus just laughs as they don't even lift a finger and manage to shut down Medicaid, Obamacare, TANF, and SNAP while the military funding is left intact.
posted by Talez at 5:32 PM on February 5 [9 favorites]


Or hey NYT how about doing profiles of people who are doing meaningful good in the world and directly and indirectly working against the closed and narrow minded fearmongers and hatespreaders?

Wouldn't that just paint giant targets on their backs?
posted by Jacqueline at 5:33 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


Wow, for once, they give halfway decent legal advice. And we know JUST how Trump reacts to rational suggestions from people who know a fucking thing.

It goes a little something like this.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:36 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


Wow, for once, they give halfway decent legal advice. And we know JUST how Trump reacts to rational suggestions from people who know a fucking thing.

My first thought when I saw the push headline from NYT was, "Well, now he's going to do the interview for sure. He's probably on the blower with Sessions right now like HOKAY LET'S DO THIS THING WOOOO!!!"
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:47 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


Trump Goes Quiet as the Stock Market Slumps (John Cassidy | The New Yorker)
That was quick! In the course of two days, the “Trump Bump” in the stock market has turned into the “Trump Slump,” with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling more than seven per cent. At one point, on Monday afternoon, it looked as if we might be witnessing not merely a slump but an outright crash. In less than ten minutes, the Dow fell nearly a thousand points before quickly rebounding. It closed the day down “just” 1,175 points, or about 4.6 per cent, at 24,345.80.
Obviously, this was a big fall: in absolute terms, it was the largest points drop ever.

But it needs to be placed in the perspective of stock-market history—on Black Monday, October 19, 1987, the Dow fell twenty-two per cent—and also of the record-breaking run-up that preceded the past few days of declines. Between December 29th and January 29th, small investors piled into the market, and the Dow tacked on close to nineteen hundred points, racing past twenty-five thousand, and then twenty-six thousand. On January 29th, the index closed at 26,616.70. The slump during the past week has wiped out the January run-up, and the market is now down a bit on the year. But people who looked at their 401(k) accounts on Monday night won’t have noticed much of a difference from the end of 2017.

For investors, that’s the good news. More worrying is the fact that there is no way to know whether the correction will end here. The market has been looking frothy for a good while now, and a substantial fall was inevitable at some point. Just as upward movements in stock prices can be self-reinforcing, drawing more people into the market, so can falls in prices. Much will depend on how ordinary investors react to the dramatic movements on Friday and Monday. If they decide to cash out some of the gains they’ve made in the past nine years, there will be further falls.

During the Dow’s recent rapid rise, a more responsible President than Donald Trump might have pointed out the dangers of the market overheating, or even kept silent. But that’s not Trump. As stocks soared, he gloated, and insinuated that his policies were responsible. “Stock Market at an all time high. That doesn’t just happen!” he tweeted in August. Only last week, in his State of the Union speech, he said, “The stock market has smashed one record after another, gaining eight trillion dollars in value. That is great news for Americans’ 401(k), retirement, pension, and college-savings accounts.”

Having boasted as the Dow was rising, Trump can hardly complain if people now associate him with it as it falls. Indeed, a fear of being held responsible for a downturn on Wall Street was one of the reasons that Barack Obama didn’t boast much about the market’s rise, which began way back in March, 2009. If “you claim the rise, you own the fall,” Jay Carney, Obama’s former spokesman, said on Twitter on Monday.

In actual fact, the link between Presidential policies and the stock market is indirect, and often tenuous. On this occasion, the trigger for the market sell-off wasn’t anything Trump did: it was last Friday’s employment report from the Labor Department, which said that strong job growth is continuing and wages are finally picking up a bit. (In December, hourly wages rose at an annualized rate of 2.9 per cent.) For the majority of Americans who don’t own any stocks, that was excellent (and long overdue) news. But it raised fears that the Federal Reserve might raise interest rates more rapidly, which could, in turn, choke off the economy. And that’s what spooked investors. ...

But don’t expect Trump to look at things in this way. He lives in the moment, and, even during his darkest days in the Oval Office, the stock market has given him something to crow about. For some reason, he didn’t mention it on Monday.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:47 PM on February 5 [23 favorites]


I was curious if the defense department had finally agreed to an audit due to the spending increase attempt, and haven't really been paying attention to the matter for a while. Yep, they finally announced an audit! Good news, right? Maybe the only good thing Trump has done?
"Beginning in 2018, our audits will occur annually, with reports issued Nov. 15," the Defense Department's comptroller, David L. Norquist, said.
Who is David L. Norquist? Of course, Grover Norquist's brother, surely a man to root out dark money funneling to the Republicans.
posted by benzenedream at 6:08 PM on February 5 [12 favorites]


Trump To Plead the De Facto 5th (Josh Marshall | TPM)
The Times is reporting that the President’s personal lawyers are recommending that he refuse to be interviewed or questioned by Robert Mueller’s investigators under any circumstances. Let’s be candid about what this means. The President is pleading the 5th while trying to avoid saying that’s what he’s doing. Let’s call it the de facto 5th. The constitutional law is clear cut. It’s not at all hypothetical. A sitting President has no blanket right to refuse to cooperate with a criminal investigation. Different dimensions of this question were litigated under Presidents Nixon and Clinton. The Courts were clear each time. The President has to comply with the law and with criminal investigations just like everyone else, though there may be certain areas of privilege. Presidents have been interviewed by special prosecutors, special counsels and independent counsels in numerous cases. The President is obviously guilty of obstruction of justice. He’s likely guilty of criminal conspiracy with a foreign power, though what if any statutes this would implicate is not clear to me. It makes perfect sense to refuse to talk. Perps do that all the time. It’s their right.

There are two notable points in the Times write-up of the story. First, the President’s lawyers’ argument appears to be that the President is innocent of any crimes but that he is also a pathological liar. That could leave him vulnerable to a perjury charge. This isn’t my gloss. According to the Times, that’s their argument: “His lawyers are concerned that the president, who has a history of making false statements and contradicting himself, could be charged with lying to investigators.”

The other notable claim is that Trump’s lawyers and advisors believe that if Trump refuses a voluntary request for an interview, which is his right, Mueller might lack the nerve to subpoena him. “The lawyers and aides believe the special counsel might be unwilling to subpoena the president and set off a showdown with the White House that Mr. Mueller could lose in court.”

I think it’s very possible that Mueller would not indict the President, even if he believes he has clear and convincing evidence that he committed a crime. (While I don’t have entirely settled views on the matter myself, I actually think there are decent prudential, even not narrowly legal, reasons why a sitting President should be impeached before being indicted.) But I have a very hard time believing that if Robert Mueller believes questioning the President is necessary for his investigation that he won’t subpoena him. That seems quite out of character for the man and inconsistent with what we know about the investigation.

Really this shouldn’t surprise us. The President has gone to war with whole sections of the federal government to undermine the criminal probe which appears to be gathering vast evidence of his guilt. It’s total war. We lose track of how many things the President has done just in the last few weeks which were heretofore unimaginable and which all would be credible and robust grounds for removal from office.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:22 PM on February 5 [51 favorites]


The House Freedom Caucus is all in on the March 23rd CR.

Now I'm definitely suspicious about what they're up to.
posted by Talez at 6:23 PM on February 5 [19 favorites]


Full year defense approps

Keep in mind an important distinction here. Claire McCaskill in the last showdown proposed funding for troop paychecks, not full defense appropriations, to take the "starving the troops" argument off the table. Appropriations, on the other hand, include big payouts to the giant defense contractors which Republicans are loath to displease. So Republicans would love to lock in government funds for their biggest contributors. Democrats would be nuts to sign that kind of deal without something substantial on immigration.
posted by JackFlash at 6:24 PM on February 5 [12 favorites]


The real question is will the Freedom Fuckers support the CR after the Senate strips out full year military funding because it won't get 60 votes from Democrats. They're all playing hot potato.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:26 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


Now I'm definitely suspicious about what they're up to.

My thought: they'll hold the debt ceiling to ransom.
posted by carsondial at 6:36 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


And if they retake the Senate in 2018, there is talk of denying President Trump the opportunity to fill any Supreme Court vacancy. This is a dangerous spiral.

I've thought a lot about this. We're in tricky territory. If the GOP sets records for obstructionism and the Dems don't respond in kind, then they've learned they can get away with blowing up democratic norms without penalty--the electorate certainly didn't punish them. But if the Democrats do respond in kind, then we have two parties using every tool available to tear down the possibility of healthy, functioning government--and that's potentially catastrophic. I want the Dems to behave in ways that bolster good government, but we have to get the GOP to do that as well.

The only solution I see is that if the Democrats hold the Senate, the let it be known publicly and firmly that the only SCOTUS nomination they will consider is Merrick Garland. Trump can appoint Garland, they will confirm him immediately, and things are as they should have been. Anyone else but Garland, and they hold that seat open as long as it takes.

Once Garland is seated, if Trump or a future Republican president is presented with a SCOTUS vacancy, the Democrats pledge to consider each nominee on the merits, and move to a vote in the full Senate if there is not a catastrophic reason to withhold such consideration.

If a Justice dies or resigns in the final year of a Trump term, it will be tempting--and understandable--to pull a McConnell and refuse to consider that nominee. If Garland hasn't been seated, that's probably the best choice--but again the Democrats must make clear that they are only working to restore norms, not to punish the GOP. If there's a Justice Garland and Trump is presented with an opening in February 2020, I think the Dems have to take the high ground and consider it. It would suck in the short term, but it would be the right thing for national stability long-term.

(Realistically--would Trump agree to Garland? I suspect not. And then the Democrats have to hold the line as long as possible, saying emphatically that they are acting not out of a desire to obstruct Trump, but to restore Constitutional norms.)
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:56 PM on February 5 [73 favorites]


The plot of the 5 more Nunes memos is going to be "But Hilary was the real Russia collusion". Seriously:

Gabriel Sherman: Nunes [on Hannity] says the “clear link to Russia” is Hillary Clinton’s campaign. He says FBI should investigate Hillary for funding Steele dossier.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:08 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


He says FBI should investigate Hillary for funding Steele dossier.

"hey did you fund oppo research on your opponent" "yep" "ok cool have a nice day"
posted by jason_steakums at 7:13 PM on February 5 [60 favorites]


Do they really want to go down that road, though? What if the FBI's finding is that Hillary didn't collude with Russia, but Trump did? What if they find out that Hillary did collude with Russia, and so did Trump? It's not like FBI investigations get one shot to find one party guilty or the other, and then they pack up and go home. The FBI can sort of... be interested in a bunch of crimes at once.
posted by Rykey at 7:17 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


If a Justice dies or resigns in the final year of a Trump term, it will be tempting--and understandable--to pull a McConnell and refuse to consider that nominee. If Garland hasn't been seated, that's probably the best choice--but again the Democrats must make clear that they are only working to restore norms, not to punish the GOP. If there's a Justice Garland and Trump is presented with an opening in February 2020, I think the Dems have to take the high ground and consider it.

Even if Mueller comes back with a damning report but Republicans refuse to vote for impeachment? I agree with the idea of moving back to a more normal environment if Republicans cooperate with a Garland appointment (spoiler: they won't) just as I think the Democrats should offer compromise on non-partisan districting even while they gerrymander the hell out of everything they control until Republicans accept the deal. But if it turns out the Trump Presidency is fundamentally illegitimate and Republicans don't move on that I think the only just response is to block every attempt he makes to do anything including a Supreme Court appointment no matter how long is left in his term.

It's kinda academic though, Trump would never nominate Garland.
posted by Justinian at 7:18 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


So as not to abuse Edit...

To be clear, I don't think there's anything to the Hillary accusations, and I definitely think there's something to the Trump accusations. But who the hell thinks investigating Hillary necessarily means not investigating Trump?
posted by Rykey at 7:21 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


If the Dems take the Senate and do anything other than refuse to confirm anyone conservative they are guilty of fucking criminal malpractice. As of now the court is conservative and another Gorsuch replacing a liberal or even Kennedy would lock in an extremely conservative court for decades. Roe would be gone. A million other things, voting rights, civil rights, environmental regulations etc. would be at risk or gone. Millions of people are at risk as is our democracy and the world.

Dems already did this on blue slips. Rs got rid of them and Ds put it back when in power. And what did it do? Allow McConnell the ability to hold noms and give Trump the ability to change the judicial system for decades with the most judgeships in modern history. Rs pulled the trigger, not us. We’re just playing by rules they established. Fuck any Trump nominee. I hope we win both and think we have a better chance at the House, but given a choice I’d take the Senate solely for the ability to limit Trump’s damage to the judicial branch. That shit will last decades.
posted by chris24 at 7:28 PM on February 5 [62 favorites]


After watching Frau Laura Ingraham's interview with Carter Page I feel like I'm 15 IQ points dumber. This must be how people start believing shit that's on Fox News.
posted by Talez at 7:34 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


The McConnell rule is enshrined in stone now. No President gets to appoint a SCOTUS seat without control of the Senate again. Anything less is unilateral disarmament. If a Republican President wants to change that rule, we get to extra an absolute metric fuckload of concessions, AND pick the nominee. Like actual luxury gay space communism, and Justice Obama.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:42 PM on February 5 [21 favorites]


Justice Malia Obama thanks
posted by theodolite at 7:45 PM on February 5 [47 favorites]


(Realistically--would Trump agree to Garland? I suspect not.

I don 't have to suspect. Of course he wouldn't, it's a restriction on his freedom of choice, his freedom to do do whatever the hell he wants at any given moment. That's what a narcissist treasures most. He'd sooner give up one of his own arms than let someone else dictate his actions.
posted by scalefree at 8:06 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


If the GOP sets records for obstructionism and the Dems don't respond in kind, then they've learned they can get away with blowing up democratic norms without penalty--the electorate certainly didn't punish them.

When I worked on the Hill, this was a major point of contention I had with my colleagues. If the GOP sets records for obstructionism and the Dems don't respond in kind, then the Dems will have successfully prevented the GOP from blowing up democratic norms by insisting that they remain norms. If the Dems do respond in kind, then the Dems have confirmed that the norms have been blown up by following the GOP's leadership as to what the norms should be. Precedent, after all, only has force if it is followed.

If the electorate attempts to punish the GOP for violating norms by electing Dems, and the Dems then violate those same norms, the Dems have betrayed the electorate and should, themselves, be similarly punished.

FWIW, I worked on the GOP side on the Hill, and my colleagues were generally unpersuaded by my argument, as they contended that the Dems were entirely driven by an ideology that held that the ideological ends always justified the means, and were wholly without moral compass. My colleagues contended that, because of the moral bankruptcy they saw in the Dems and their willingness to violate norms, the GOP, whose cause was the truly just one and warranted victory at all costs, was obligated to race to the bottom.

I don't expect that my argument would have had much traction had I been working for the Dems, either. But there were a handful of attorneys and staff on both sides of the aisle who held my same view, and a few members, as well, some of whom are still there.
posted by The World Famous at 8:12 PM on February 5 [16 favorites]


The fundamental flaw with your argument that I see, TWF, is that the electorate didn't attempt to punish the GOP for violating norms by electing Dems. They rewarded the GOP for violating norms by electing more GOP members. The Democratic party's loss of seats both nationwide and on a state level during the Obama years was unprecedented in nature.
posted by Justinian at 8:14 PM on February 5 [29 favorites]


The fundamental flaw with your argument that I see, TWF, is that the electorate didn't attempt to punish the GOP by violating norms by electing Dems. They rewarded the GOP for violating norms by electing more GOP members.

Perhaps. If that holds true, then the Dems will never again be in a position to violate the norms, I guess.
posted by The World Famous at 8:19 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


If the electorate attempts to punish the GOP for violating norms by electing Dems, and the Dems then violate those same norms, the Dems have betrayed the electorate and should, themselves, be similarly punished.

The electorate will (hopefully) not elect Democrats just to punish the Republicans for violating norms, but because they've proven themselves dangerous to the people and country. The norms were predicated on a general agreement that both sides had the best interest of the whole at heart, even if there was vehament disagreement on what that was. It's clear that is no longer true, so the old norms have to go. Unilaterally disarming is suicide.
posted by Candleman at 8:23 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


Perhaps. If that holds true, then the Dems will never again be in a position to violate the norms, I guess.

Well, people could vote Democrats back into power for policy reasons rather than because of the Republican violation of norms. But I understand your main point.
posted by Justinian at 8:23 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


The Times is reporting that the President’s personal lawyers are recommending that he refuse to be interviewed or questioned by Robert Mueller’s investigators under any circumstances. Let’s be candid about what this means. The President is pleading the 5th while trying to avoid saying that’s what he’s doing.

Oh, come on. If the President does, in fact, refuse to be interviewed or questioned by Mueller's investigators under any circumstances, then it will be true to say he is pleading the 5th while trying to avoid saying that's what he's doing. But he hasn't done that yet, and all we have at this point is NYT reporting about legal advice the Times alleges Trump's lawyers have given him.

The President's lawyers have allegedly recommended something.
posted by The World Famous at 8:23 PM on February 5


FWIW, I worked on the GOP side on the Hill, and my colleagues were generally unpersuaded by my argument, as they contended that the Dems were entirely driven by an ideology that held that the ideological ends always justified the means, and were wholly without moral compass. My colleagues contended that, because of the moral bankruptcy they saw in the Dems and their willingness to violate norms, the GOP, whose cause was the truly just one and warranted victory at all costs, was obligated to race to the bottom.

Hilariously they thought this as Democrats were slavishly reinstating the norms that Republicans broke first, to their own immediate electoral and policy deficit.

Trump's mirror was never just Trump's mirror, the same theory has applied, to exactly the same degree, to Republicans broadly for decades.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:26 PM on February 5 [12 favorites]


Hilariously they thought this as Democrats were slavishly reinstating the norms that Republicans broke first, to their own immediate electoral and policy deficit.

Were they? It didn't seem like they were at the time. It seemed an awful lot like a race to the bottom. But a lot of norms have been done away with since then. It's been a pretty long time.
posted by The World Famous at 8:38 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


if Republicans cooperate with a Garland appointment

Didn’t this come up in the Gorsuch-fight era and Garland said he had no interest in being involved in this process again?
posted by corb at 8:43 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


The conversation might connect better if people talked specifically about what time periods they were referring to, which norms were being torn down/reinstated/whatever, etc.
posted by Jpfed at 8:45 PM on February 5 [11 favorites]


Thr Trump Slump is touring Asia right now. Stock indices are diving,
posted by ocschwar at 9:17 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


Nunes [on Hannity] says the “clear link to Russia” is Hillary Clinton’s campaign. He says FBI should investigate Hillary for funding Steele dossier.

The Steele dossier, according to the Fusion GPS testimony, was funded by "the wing of the Republican party that was concerned about... Donald Trump."
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:52 PM on February 5 [23 favorites]


> Barack Spinoza:
"Breaking: Trump’s Lawyers Want Him to Refuse an Interview in Russia Inquiry (NYT)
Lawyers for President Trump have advised him against sitting down for a wide-ranging interview with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, according to four people briefed on the matter, raising the specter of a monthslong court battle over whether the president must answer questions under oath.

His lawyers are concerned that the president, who has a history of making false statements and contradicting himself, could be charged with lying to investigators. Their stance puts them at odds with Mr. Trump, who has said publicly and privately that he is eager to speak with Mr. Mueller as part of the investigation into possible ties between his associates and Russia’s election interference, and whether he obstructed justice."


I don't even understand how he or that craggy-faced idiot Bannon even get an option to even DELAY such things. You don't show up? BAM! Contempt! You keep delaying showing up? BAM! Contempt! You don't answer truthfully or reliably (or coherently)? Well, you sing the chorus this time. You know where I am going with this.
posted by Samizdata at 10:24 PM on February 5 [8 favorites]


If we can't get Nunes removed as its chairperson, can we at least get it renamed to something besides the Intelligence Committee?

The Stupidity Committee, surely.

This tweet by our Honorable Pres (by way of this excellent article on Talking Points Memo about the Democratic response memo) got me thinking about appropriate epithets for various office holders:
Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, . . .
Our President loves these little epithets, and loves to bestow them on others. So definitely he needs one himself. The question is, what should it be?

At this point with the much-hyped Memo showing its true colors as a complete dud, and Mr. Pres priming himself to completely refuse any kind of interview with Mueller, I think there is only one that really fits:
Desperate Donald
He's in a corner in several different ways, and really is getting more and more desperate. Watch out . . .
posted by flug at 10:27 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


> The World Famous:
"The Times is reporting that the President’s personal lawyers are recommending that he refuse to be interviewed or questioned by Robert Mueller’s investigators under any circumstances. Let’s be candid about what this means. The President is pleading the 5th while trying to avoid saying that’s what he’s doing.

Oh, come on. If the President does, in fact, refuse to be interviewed or questioned by Mueller's investigators under any circumstances, then it will be true to say he is pleading the 5th while trying to avoid saying that's what he's doing. But he hasn't done that yet, and all we have at this point is NYT reporting about legal advice the Times alleges Trump's lawyers have given him.

The President's lawyers have allegedly recommended something."


At some level, say, upper government, we need to limit or remove Fifth rights. The stakes get to a certain point, then, you know, we need to exempt them from wiggling out of the stakes of wrongdoing.
posted by Samizdata at 10:29 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


From the South Carolina governor's race:

Catherine Templeton touts Confederate roots and outsider status at Bob Jones University
“I think it’s important to note that my family didn’t fight because we had slaves,” Templeton said to a room mostly filled with university students. “My family fought because the federal government was trying to tell us how to live.”
...

Now, she told the crowd, you’ll find her grandfather’s .38-caliber pistol in her purse next to Chick-fil-A coupons and car keys.
posted by Rykey at 10:33 PM on February 5 [12 favorites]


It's hard to imagine a good outcome for Trump in meeting with Mueller.

Past depositions have shown that when under oath he talks a different game than his public persona - he admits to lying in the past, fails to remember tons of stuff, and generally doesn't incriminate himself. If he testifies like this, he'll look like a liar, a fool, or both. On the other hand if he openly lies when talking with the FBI, he'll undoubtedly be caught by the FBI in those lies and will be committing a crime of obstruction.

"At some level, say, upper government, we need to limit or remove Fifth rights. The stakes get to a certain point, then, you know, we need to exempt them from wiggling out of the stakes of wrongdoing."

Yeah, I'm a big fan of the 5th amendment. But it's sort of interesting in that if you are granted immunity, you no longer have 5th amendment rights (the amendment is against self-incrimination). In some ways the President is sort of immune to the criminal justice system (as he has to be removed from office via the political system). It's possible if Mueller explicate gives the president formal immunity from criminal prosecution, he would have no 5th amendment rights anymore, but still be open to impeachment and removal from office.*

*I'm seriously not a lawyer, this legal musing is not based in any sort of reality, I do not pretend I'm a lawyer. I do read legal blogs occasionally, and absolutely haven't seen this sort of analysis before, so it's super-suspect.
posted by el io at 10:33 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


That's such a bad reason to weaken fifth amendment protections. The rich and powerful get prosecuted less often because we, as a society, don't bother. Not because they take the fifth. Weakening the fifth won't fix it.
posted by ryanrs at 10:39 PM on February 5 [21 favorites]


@flug, that’s the nickname my friends and I have been using for him.
posted by gucci mane at 10:42 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


The President is pleading the 5th while trying to avoid saying that’s what he’s doing.

There are two interesting points here.

First is that this is an issue that has been litigated extensively (ie, by the Nixon administration) and it is very clear that the President must submit to these interviews and answer questions. So Trump can fight this--and it will be a big, public fight that will make him look guilty as sin every step of the way and then in the end he will lose in humiliating fashion.

So actually fighting it to the bitter end seems unproductive and unlikely (though with Trump, who knows?) while negotiating for some concessions from Mueller seems likely and productive.

Second, there is the 5th Amendment protecting you from responding to questions related to your own illegal acts or guilt.

But what protects you from questions about someone else's illegal acts or guilt?

Answer: Nothing.

The President can and should be compelled to answer all such questions about acts by his subordinates and staff.

When it comes to questions about his own behavior, he's welcome to take the 5th if he's dumb enough to think that will help . . .
posted by flug at 10:45 PM on February 5 [8 favorites]


Besides, if you can't nail Trump, of all people, without his personal testimony, then you are a terrible prosecutor and should just fuck off in shame.
posted by ryanrs at 10:50 PM on February 5 [11 favorites]


But what protects you from questions about someone else's illegal acts or guilt?

Answer: Nothing.


You can (and should) decline to answer so much as verifying your name. Asking about someone else's crime isn't One Weird Trick to get around the 5th amendment.
posted by Justinian at 10:56 PM on February 5 [10 favorites]


But what protects you from questions about someone else's illegal acts or guilt?

The issue is you cannot be compelled to be a witness at your own trial. So it's not whose acts you are testifying about, but at whose trial.
posted by ryanrs at 11:03 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


First is that this is an issue that has been litigated extensively (ie, by the Nixon administration) and it is very clear that the President must submit to these interviews and answer questions.

Independent counsel Ken Starr served President Bill Clinton with a subpoena in late July 1998. On July 30, 1998, Clinton agreed to submit to questioning at the White House by Federal prosecutors and Starr withdrew the subpoena to compel his testimony.

We have a precedent; let's follow it.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:05 PM on February 5 [17 favorites]


It's not about whose trial, either. If it were you could be forced to give testimony in one trial which could then be used to prosecute you in your own.
posted by Justinian at 11:09 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


would lock in an extremely conservative court for decades

Impeach Clarence Thomas
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:33 PM on February 5 [32 favorites]


Preet Bharara and Christine Todd Whitman heading up new task force at NYU to help identify what norms we need to be codifying into law.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:58 PM on February 5 [55 favorites]


I mean, I'm not sure if you need to even be minimally-competent... or just have seen a season of How to Get Away with Murder to have figured this one out.

You might be surprised at the number of people who think they can talk their way out of these kinds of problems. "I'll just tell my side." *clink*.

At some level, say, upper government, we need to limit or remove Fifth rights.

Ew, no. We can legislate higher standards of behavior, but they're still people.
posted by rhizome at 12:31 AM on February 6 [5 favorites]


Yup. Even if you intellectually know the cops aren't your friends, there is so much social conditioning to be cooperative that most everyone fucks it up. It's something you actually need to practice, but most people don't have the opportunity before doing it for real.
posted by ryanrs at 12:39 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


Mueller doesn't need to demand to question the president about his own activities; he can subpoena him in the Manafort case, asking for details about when-where-with whom Manafort was involved. You can't take the 5th to protect someone else.

He could take the 5th to imply, "telling you what I know about Manafort might incriminate me." This doesn't even count as admission of guilt; it could be that he thinks something has a chance of getting him charged with something even though he "knows" he's innocent - or that he parked illegally during one of his meetings. The fifth is broad.

But mostly - he's not likely to be smart enough to agree to be questioned and take the fifth, and his lawyers know it. His lawyers will continue to insist that he absolutely not go under oath voluntarily, because he's not capable of telling the truth.

Also, we've seen that he's actually a terrible negotiator. He's lonely and desperate to be liked, and has an urgent need to tell his version of what happened. A polite and friendly approach, with a touch of, "oh please, mr president, give me the real truth," would have him singing, even under oath.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:47 AM on February 6 [8 favorites]


Yeah, I mean, dude bragged on national TV that he does not pay his taxes. He's that special brand of dim that thinks he's the smartest guy in the room.
posted by DoctorFedora at 1:33 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** PA gerrymandering litigation -- Mentioned earlier, in bits and pieces. The short version is: Justice Alito denied the PA GOP request for a stay of the PA Supreme Court's order to produce new congressional maps. The GOP only has until Friday to do so, and given that they were playing chicken with the court last week, probably will not be able to do so. In that case, a court-appointed special master will draw up the new districts. (I am eliding a lot of nonsense going on here, as I find it highly likely we end up with new maps).

** PA-18:
-- GOP considerably outspending Dems so far.

-- GOP candidate Saccone seems to have been living well off of his state rep expense account, which could be an easy target for the Lamb campaign.

-- Polling looks to be a single digit Saccone lead.
** 2018 House:
-- Just to recap, last week's retirements were:
  • Frelinghuysen [NJ-11] Trump 49-48, district went for Murphy for governor.
  • Brady [PA-01] Clinton 79-18
  • Gowdy [SC-04] Trump 60-35
-- Speaking of Gowdy, initial thoughts were that he was angling at a newly opened judgeship in the 4th Circuit, but he says he's not interested.

-- Dems look like they might have a good candidate in PA-07 in state rep Greg Vitali. This is the district where Pat Meehan is leaving in disgrace for sexual harassment reasons. The best Dem candidate had also been implicated in harassment stuff, though, so Dems weren't in a good spot. In any case, this district is likely to be drastically changed by the new map, so who knows what things will look like.

-- Former GOP rep Tom Davis thinks Dems could pick up as many as 40 seats.

-- Generic ballot has narrowed a bit, but Charlie Cook thinks GOP's position is actually worsening. Related: Ballot gap narrowing is normal for this far out, usually rebounds.

-- That WP/ABC generic ballot poll that has Dems +14 is less interesting for the headline - it's almost certainly an outlier - than for the crosstabs. Dems are running 4 points ahead of Clinton in D districts. They're running *15* ahead in R districts. This is not normal - usually you see a fairly uniform swing. If accurate, it could mean larger than expected gains for a given overall lead level. Bears watching.

-- 538: House retirements at historic pace (with nice charts). Plus related NYT piece.

-- Politico: Dems outraising Republicans in many key districts, and the gap isn't narrowing.

-- 538: States that may hold the balance of House control. (Spoilers: NJ, CA, VA, IL, NY)

-- Conservative Dem Dan Lipinski [IL-03] looking increasingly threatened by primary from the left. Opponent Marie Newman picking all kinds of endorsements, including the SEIU.

-- Duncan Hunter [CA-50] raising almost no cash, and what he has is going to his legal issues. Reasonable to suspect he may be retiring.
** 2018 Senate:
-- TX: O'Rourke outraised Cruz in 4Q17, $2.4M to $1.9M. O'Rourke had won 3Q17 fundraising, as well. On the other hand, don't get too confident from those Gallup Trump disapproval numbers, Texas tends to have a big gap between adult population and the electorate.

-- MO: Josh Hawley, who had been considered a strong GOP candidate, is off to a lackluster start. His 4Q fundraising lagged McCaskill's $2.9M to $1.0M. His website is basically just a splash page. GOP getting nervous.

-- NJ: DOJ has dropped the corruption case against Bob Menendez. Menendez has been losing popularity, but would still be pretty safe for re-election.

-- FL: Gov Scott, who has been waffling about getting into this race, is now looking more certain. He says he'll decide within the month. He'd be the strongest GOP candidate against Nelson, who is fairly popular.

-- MS: Gov Bryant has been pressured to be the appointed replacement for Thad Cochran, if he retires shortly, as is expected. But Bryant says he's passing. Both MS seats would be up in the fall, if Cochran leaves.

-- AZ: State GOP worried about Arpaio candidacy. Interesting note that gov Ducey doesn't want to appoint McSally to the McCain seat, lest the Flake seat primary be Arpaio and Kelli Ward.
** Odds & ends:
-- Eight states have pulled out of the error prone Crosscheck program for purging voter registrations, with ongoing efforts to do so in three more.

-- ACLU/NAACP/League of Women Voters attempting to get initiative on ballot in Michigan that would allow no-reason absentee voting and same-day registration.

-- Koch Brother targets for 2018: Senate [IN, FL, MO, WI]; Governor [WI, IL, NV, MI, FL]. Useful in who the bad guys think are vulnerable.

-- Georgia modifying voter registration purge procedures in settlement of ACLU lawsuit.

-- In addition to his other legal issues, Missouri gov Greitens is being sued over use of a Signal-like text app that appears to violate state records laws.

-- For obsessives: DKE Primaries to Watch spreadsheet.

-- Court blocks North Carolina move to abolish primaries in judicial elections, which was part of the ongoing shenanigans by the NC GOP.

-- Four states (TX, IL, KY, WV) have passed their filing deadlines for state legislature races; GOP retirements outpace Dem 52-27, and uncontested seats favor the Dems 105-58.

-- Republicans fleeing for the exits in the PA legislature, too. Related: PA GOP leaders concerned that hard right Lou Barletta as gov nominee could cost a bunch of statehouse seats.

-- NYT: ‘They Can’t Wait to Vote’: Energized Democrats Target Dominant G.O.P. in Statehouses

-- Gallup: Democrats improving in reported party preference.

-- Nate Cohn skeptical that new Puerto Rican residents plus felon enfranchisement will turn Florida reliably blue. Related: PR voter registrations below estimate, so far.

-- Maine ranked choice voting initiative will be back on the ballot. Too much legal back and forth to quickly summarize here, but Maine could end with RCV after all.

-- Reuters: Seattle’s election authority said on Monday that Facebook Inc is in violation of a city law that requires disclosure of who buys election ads, the first attempt of its kind to regulate U.S. political ads on the internet.
----
Reminder that we have four Missouri House special elections tonight. All quite red districts, but we seem to have gotten good candidates, so there's an outside shot.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:47 AM on February 6 [74 favorites]


AJC:
Over the objections of the bail-bond industry, the Atlanta City Council unanimously adopted a proposal designed to ensure that impoverished suspects accused of mostly nuisance offenses — such as urinating in public or trespassing — are not left in jail while their cases are pending simply because they can’t afford bail.

The change, approved Monday, was Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ first initiative to ensure that low-level offenders would not sit in jail for days, weeks or months because they cannot afford bail amounts as low as $100.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:49 AM on February 6 [79 favorites]


The only solution I see is that if the Democrats hold the Senate, the let it be known publicly and firmly that the only SCOTUS nomination they will consider is Merrick Garland. Trump can appoint Garland, they will confirm him immediately, and things are as they should have been. Anyone else but Garland, and they hold that seat open as long as it takes.

Democrats should point out that even then the offer may be a Republican win, especially if Garland turns out to replace, say, Ruth Bader Ginsberg instead of Antonin Scalia.

If Senate Democrats meekly acquiesce to whatever Federalist Society monster Trump puts forward after 2018, they will have completely validated Mitch McConnell's strategy. They must not do so. They must make absolutely clear that McConnell is responsible for the current situation, and propose a compromise -- to take effect after Trump's term -- either expanding the Court, stipulating that refusal to hold hearings a la McConnell is implied consent, or some combination of those and other clever proposals.
posted by Gelatin at 3:25 AM on February 6 [10 favorites]


They must make absolutely clear that McConnell is responsible for the current situation, and propose a compromise -- to take effect after Trump's term -- either expanding the Court, stipulating that refusal to hold hearings a la McConnell is implied consent, or some combination of those and other clever proposals.
posted by Gelatin at 7:25 PM on February 6 [+] [!]


I seriously have no idea how feasible this is, but what I'd really like to see as part of any such compromise is requiring that McConnell step down. Seriously, pin the blame right. on. him. and make it a clear statement that at least one party in the US has zero tolerance for norm-violating BS, and the other party will force you to leave in disgrace if you try it. After the midterms, nothing would make me happier than to see McConnell ushered out the very policy backdoor he created.

Precedent? Look at how we sanction Russia. We target individual oligarchs where it hurts, in the wallet, with national legislation. I'm not saying the US needs to pass a law against Mitch McConnell (which probably wouldn't work), but there's certainly precedent for policy platforms that name individuals. If they call it a witch hunt, the answer is: McConnell is actually a witch.
posted by saysthis at 4:00 AM on February 6 [10 favorites]


Meanwhile, the NYT is yet again giving front page space to a white supremacist.

I came across that video today via Task & Purpose, site for military and former military, which I learned about from a very strong interview with Thomas Ricks on Radio Open Source with Chris Lydon, The State of Disunion.

T&P have no truck with his fakery bullshit, but also no tolerance for his racism. And call out he and his ilk as dangerous and stupid.

"Eli’s argument may have been more wish than reality, given that service members consider white nationalism a bigger security threat to the United States than Afghanistan or Iraq, but journalists have been willing to carry Eli’s message of white discontent in the ranks, based on his service credentials.

Even if he’d been a war hero — and he was not — those journalists could’ve figured out pretty quickly that Eli’s a run-of-the-mill profane bigot"

"On one hand, it’s an extremely fine point to deride for stolen valor a neo-Nazi who jokes gleefully about gassing Jews, starving black and Latino people, and shooting Muslims. On the other hand, watch that racist piece of crap twist in the wind as he realizes he can’t pile the shit any higher. It is glorious."

Ricks' voice was very strong in the interview with Lydon and looking at Task & Purpose, so far I found it to be a take on the US from a perspective that I probably never would have sought ought otherwise that is worth some time and attention. The opening to that podcast with Vanessa Williamson around Boston is good, too. As is the middle wit Robert Dallek. Hell everything from that show is good.
posted by Gotanda at 4:03 AM on February 6 [11 favorites]


I'd like to skip ahead to the part of the story where a judge is finding Trump in contempt of court for defying the subpoena to testify, please. Time Lords, hit me up.
posted by angrycat at 4:14 AM on February 6 [23 favorites]




The conversation might connect better if people talked specifically about what time periods they were referring to, which norms were being torn down/reinstated/whatever, etc.

Everything that Republicans have done on judicial nominations goes back to Robert Bork who received an up or down vote.:

That four-year period from 1987 to 1991 dominates the way Republicans think about the Supreme Court. It represents two things to them: that Democrats have no qualms about waging scorched-earth campaigns of utter ruthlessness, and that Republicans need to be unceasingly alert to weak-kneed betrayal from allegedly conservative court nominees.


Ever since Republicans stonewalled Clinton's appointments, then nearly denied Obama the ability to appoint any justices at all, then we got Gorsuch*.

Yes, Democrats blocked some Bush judges, and eliminated the judicial filibuster in response to Republicans denying the legitimacy of Democratic appointments and denying even a vote to nominees that would certainly be confirmed. Again, Bork got a vote, and six Republicans thought he was so extreme to vote against him.

So yes, it was all Republicans doing the escalating, the entire time. They forced Democrats hands, or Trump would've had 400+ vacancies instead of the 170ish they stole for him.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:52 AM on February 6 [46 favorites]


I just want to say that two of the markers of competent government action, Amtrak safety and the flu season safety have taken recent hits.

It is possible that due to cutbacks essential management/maintenance of Amtrak is not taking place.

And in a typical epidemic flu year, the public outreach would be higher. The last equivalent flu year was the swine flu outbreak. Remember the publicity? Trump who is anti-vax is certainly not one to promote vaccination.

As the above-linked article states, influenza is epidemic when 7.2% of deaths for a particular time period are caused by the flu. In the latest monitored week, the number was 9.7%.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:31 AM on February 6 [39 favorites]


Its also worth noting that Bork only ever got the nomination because he was promised a spot on the Supreme Court by Nixon in exchange for firing Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox after the Saturday Night Massacre.

For that reason alone, even if he'd been just a normal run of the mill conservative Justice candidate I'd have argued the Democrats (and the non-evil Republicans if any exist) had an obligation to deny him a seat on the Court. No way, no how, nothing doing, should the US government have given Robert Bork the bribe he was promised by Nixon for his role in trying to cover up the Watergate crimes.

But the Republicans can't admit that Bork was only nominated as his payoff, because that would require them to admit that Watergate happened and they don't want to do that. So instead they had to invent this false narrative of the judicial superman Robert Bork brought low by evil Democratic meanies who just hated him for no reason.

It's staggering how much the scars Watergate left on the Republican psyche still influence modern politics.
posted by sotonohito at 5:45 AM on February 6 [78 favorites]


The recent Amtrak incident in South Carolina seems extremely likely that it's a CSX / FRA issue. The Amtrak train was routed onto the wrong track by a CSX dispatcher, where it struck a CSX freight train.

The NTSB thankfully still appear to be funded, and will assuredly come up with a more comprehensive set of findings, as well as an analysis of whether additional FRA oversight or technology upgrades could have prevented the accident. However, what we've seen so far seems to clearly indicate that Amtrak had nothing to do with the conditions that led to the accident.
posted by schmod at 5:45 AM on February 6 [9 favorites]


Reuters: Bannon will not testify before House committee on Tuesday: sources
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former White House senior strategist Steve Bannon will not testify before the Intelligence Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, two sources said on Monday, despite a subpoena requiring him to appear.

The panel wants Bannon to testify as part of its investigation of allegations that Russia sought to influence the 2016 presidential election in the United States, following up on his Jan. 16 appearance that failed to satisfy some members of the committee.

Representative Mike Conaway, a senior Republican committee member, told reporters on Monday he expected Bannon to comply with a subpoena and answer questions on Tuesday.

But two sources familiar with the situation said he would not appear, which could leave Bannon facing a charge of contempt of Congress.

Bannon could not immediately be reached for comment.
posted by murphy slaw at 5:54 AM on February 6 [22 favorites]


which could leave Bannon facing a charge of contempt of Congress

There will be so much concern and so many furrowed brows over this.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:17 AM on February 6 [33 favorites]


Does Mueller have the legal authority, or legal-strategy interest in compelling Bannon (or Flynn, or Manafort) to NOT testify to a Congressional hearing?

I can easily imagine that Mueller has evidence that one or more members of the Intelligence Committee of the US House has been compromised by Russia or is otherwise likely to face criminal charges. Would he really want a cooperative witness to go before such a panel, and risk revealing what the witness has told him?

"Here's the deal, Bannon. Reduced charges for you. But not if you talk to Congress."

I mean, if the prosecutor has treason-level charges ready in his back pocket, contempt of Congress might not look too threatening.
posted by yesster at 6:31 AM on February 6 [3 favorites]


Politico: White House counselor Kellyanne Conway has taken control of the opioids agenda, quietly freezing out drug policy professionals and relying instead on political staff to address a lethal crisis claiming about 175 lives a day. The main response so far has been to call for a border wall and to promise a ‘just say no’ campaign.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:37 AM on February 6 [50 favorites]


How the Republicans rigged Congress — new documents reveal an untold story

Now new court documents, previously unrevealed emails, and once-secret internal documents — most revealed here for the first time — uncover how early the Republican planning began, how comprehensive the redistricting strategy was, and how determined conservative operatives were to dye America red from the ground up. It’s the story of how strategists wooed deep-pocketed donors to contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars (often in untraceable dark money) and convinced them that winning state legislative seats offered the best opportunity for enduring GOP control at a bargain-basement price.

It’s the behind-the-scenes narrative of how Republicans set their sights on 107 state legislative seats in 16 states, with the goal of pushing dozens of U.S. House seats into their column for a decade or longer. It captures their glee as 2010 turned into a big red wave year, and GOP strategists defended all their state chambers, expanded their push deep into Democratic country and caught the other side flat-footed in a deeply consequential year.

posted by T.D. Strange at 6:47 AM on February 6 [52 favorites]


She's the best at saying awful, obvious lies with a straight face. Who else would you pick to promote "just say no" and tout the benefits of a US/Mexico wall, when the US opioid epidemic (and it's almost exclusive a US issue) is fueled by legitimate companies (as of April 2016), not carried north from Mexico. They're prescription drugs, after all.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:03 AM on February 6 [42 favorites]


And in today's examples of GOP taking credit for Obama era actions: Here’s Ajit Pai’s “proof” that killing net neutrality created more broadband -- Pai's FCC takes credit for broadband deployments that began under Obama. (Jon Brodkin for Ars Technica, Feb. 5, 2018)
During the Obama presidency, the FCC regularly found that broadband deployment wasn't happening quickly enough. But in the first deployment report since Pai became chairman, the FCC "conclude[s] that advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion."

"[T]his finding does not mean that all Americans now have broadband access. Rather, it means that we are back on the right track when it comes to deployment," the report continues. An FCC press release (PDF) says that "agency actions have restored progress," and describes the net neutrality repeal as the primary driver of new broadband deployment.
Except
the FCC's actual data ... only covers broadband deployments through December 2016. Pai wasn't elevated from commissioner to chairman until January 2017, and he didn't lead the vote to repeal the net neutrality rules until December 2017. And, technically, those rules are still on the books because the repeal won't take effect for at least another two months.
Another rousing GOP success, thanks to Democrats of the past!

Meanwhile, ISPs must follow net neutrality in New Jersey, governor declares -- ISPs can’t block or throttle traffic if they sell broadband to state agencies. (Jon Brodkin for Ars Technica, Feb. 5, 2018)
The executive order (PDF) announced today by Governor Phil Murphy is similar to ones previously signed by the governors of New York and Montana. States are taking action because the Federal Communications Commission repealed federal net neutrality rules.
I look forward to the next FCC report to announce that the Federal end to net neutrality has bolstered broadband deployment in all states, while failing to mention that the majority of states have net neutrality requirements in place (I know this isn't true yet, but remember that Pai killed net neutrality in December of last year, so you have to give the states some time to pass new regulations).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:14 AM on February 6 [35 favorites]


How the Republicans rigged Congress — new documents reveal an untold story

This had been told, but it is well worth re-telling. Dems need to spend less energy focus-grouping policy talking points, and more on sweating the details on the mechanics of securing seats and influence at the micro level. None of which has to be through skullduggery and dirty tricks, but the gloves need to come off on this stuff, and not just in the choice of words in Congress or the campaign trail. And it can't just be the courts pushing back on gerrymandering and voter purges.
posted by jetsetsc at 7:23 AM on February 6 [26 favorites]


Senator Duckworth is doubling down on "Cadet Bone Spurs." I love this woman and want to vote for her.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:28 AM on February 6 [54 favorites]


filthy light thief - Online purchases from China are also a major factor in the opioid crisis.
posted by sutureselves at 7:35 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


[A few deleted; don't post "omg huge news coming" tweets -- just wait and post the news when it actually comes. Otherwise we get a ton of back-and-forth over who's this person, let's guess about the news, etc, which is all noise until something actually happens.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:36 AM on February 6 [31 favorites]


Who else would you pick to promote "just say no" and tout the benefits of a US/Mexico wall, when the US opioid epidemic (and it's almost exclusive a US issue) is fueled by legitimate companies (as of April 2016), not carried north from Mexico. They're prescription drugs, after all.

Trump has consistently talked about (1) abstinence from drugs as a workable policy, citing his avoidance of alcohol, (2) constantly conflates legal and illegal drug abuse, and (3) keeps finding ways to blame anyone but Americans. Conway is essentially touting Trump's line here.

In any case, with words better than my own, from last October:
When we talk about drug abuse in America, our leaders use the language not just of war but of invasion. It is true, of course, that many illegal drugs are produced in other countries and imported into the United States. But our tendency to focus, relentlessly, on the supply side of the drug problem obscures the more intractable problem of the demand side—and of our complicity, as voracious consumers. “An astonishing ninety per cent of the heroin in America comes from south of the border,” President Trump said on Thursday, in his remarks on the opioid epidemic. And this is true. But, in focussing on this particular statistic, and promising that “building a wall” along the Mexican border “will greatly help this problem,” President Trump indulged the old nativist myth of drug prohibition.

This week, in the magazine, I wrote a piece about the origins of the current epidemic—a story that unfolded not in Mexico but in Stamford, Connecticut, where Purdue Pharma, a privately held company that is owned by the Sackler family, developed a powerful opioid painkiller, OxyContin, and set out to persuade the American medical establishment that it was not addictive.
It isn't just that opioids happen to be prescription drugs: it's that private companies -- Purdue Pharama first among them -- actively fought to make them prescription drugs, hiding their harms and touting false benefits.
posted by cjelli at 7:49 AM on February 6 [36 favorites]


Horrible story underlining the opioid epidemic from 2016, still relevant and being republished each month, most recently by NPR (WestVAGazette piece)
"The unfettered shipments amount to 433 pain pills for every man, woman and child in West Virginia."
posted by rc3spencer at 7:54 AM on February 6 [7 favorites]


address a lethal crisis claiming about 175 lives a day

Lives the Trumpists are not unhappy to lose.
posted by jgirl at 7:55 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


Lives the Trumpists are not unhappy to lose.

That, to me, is the particularly nonsense part of all of this -these ARE the lives they nominally haven't written off out of overt racial animus - these are not, to quote a NYS Democratic senator who needs to gtfo of our legislature - "ghetto" drugs. It baffles me still that this administration can make racist distinctions between opiods and prior drug crises and even then still do fuck all for the people they claim to be deserving of their assistance.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:58 AM on February 6 [4 favorites]



That, to me, is the particularly nonsense part of all of this -these ARE the lives they nominally haven't written off out of overt racial animus -


No, but 175 white opioid addicts a day dying in rural areas aren't going to turn any election blue. It's not animus, just indifference.
posted by ocschwar at 8:03 AM on February 6 [5 favorites]


Michael Kranz and Skye Gould, Business Insider: Counties where opioid deaths were high tended to vote for Trump in 2016.
Out of the 82 counties with exceptionally high opioid death rates, 77 voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, and most were in rural parts of the country.

Economic regression, unemployment, and the associated social decline are correlated with high rates of drug use in white counties.
It seems like Trump and his minions don't give a shit about their voters unless they are big money donors. ("Seems like?" Who am I kidding?) Still, a normal, humane administration would think, "Americans are dying in droves. Looks like a public health crisis to me! Let's throw some money, time, energy and people power at rehab and treatment!"
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:04 AM on February 6 [8 favorites]


Following up on Paul Ryan's earlier tweeted then deleted celebration of a $1.50 per week GOP Tax Scam payout for a secretary in Lancaster, PA, his spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, doubled down (tweet) where he backed down:
Weird trend: successful NYC/DC dwellers mocking an extra $1K in Americans’ pockets.
Except $1.50 x 52 = $78. And on top of that, that secretary was pretty upset for being singled out (Twitter video) of an AP story with the glowing headline Tax bill beginning to deliver bigger paychecks to workers. She notes that the paragraphs before and after hers recount the stories of people who are getting much more than her:
Wayne Love, who works in managed care in Spring Hill, Florida, got an extra $200 in his paycheck last week, which he said will help offset a $300 increase in the cost of his health insurance.

“I have heard time and again that the middle class is getting crumbs, but I’ll take it!” Love said by email.

Julia Ketchum, a secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week. She didn’t think her pay would go up at all, let alone this soon. That adds up to $78 a year, which she said will more than cover her Costco membership for the year.

And Todd Anderson of Texas and his fiance, who are both educators, got an extra $200 in their paychecks combined that they plan to use to cover the costs of a second baby on its way.
Hey, will you look at that -- the $78 figure is in the original story, so it's no like Strong had to figure out how much Ketchum was taking home per year. Weird trend: GOP cherry-picking stories of lower income women and then misrepresenting what they said, after deleting the original comment (which was archived and copied far and wide).
posted by filthy light thief at 8:05 AM on February 6 [33 favorites]


My wife, a public school librarian, is getting about $50 more a month. We don't need it and don't like the politics behind it, so we've resolved to donate the equivalent amount to a variety of causes over the course of the year.
posted by schoolgirl report at 8:10 AM on February 6 [25 favorites]


And one last punch in the gut from the opioid crisis: These Pharmaceutical Companies Are Making a Killing Off the Opioid Crisis -- Why do the manufacturers of naloxone, the life-saving overdose antidote, keep hiking the price? (Daniel Denvir for The Nation, December 15, 2017)
Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, for instance, raised the average wholesale price of its naloxone, which can be injected or outfitted off-label with an atomizer for intranasal use, from $20.34 to $39.60, according to a December 2016 paper in The New England Journal of Medicine. The price of the popular Narcan nasal spray, manufactured by Adapt Pharma and approved in 2015, has not been raised, but it came on the market in 2015 at a high average wholesale price of $150. The largest price hike was for Evzio, an auto-injector device designed for easy use by laypersons. In 2014, a two-dose package of Evzio, manufactured by kaléo, cost $690. As of 2016, it cost $4,500. That’s more than a 500 percent increase.
Chaos/ death/ misery/ war profiteers, the fucking lot of 'em.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:10 AM on February 6 [44 favorites]


“I have heard time and again that the middle class is getting crumbs, but I’ll take it!” Love said by email.

If crumbs are all you ever expect, it's all you'll ever get.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:11 AM on February 6 [20 favorites]


I'm getting about $50 more a paycheck - and the sad thing is, I DO need it. Badly. But I'm too scared to keep it that way, because I know that I'll be screwed the next tax year. So when they eventually get those W-4s going, I'll have to make an adjustment to lower my paycheck again, in the hopes I can get a tax return in 2019. Thanks, Trump. I love making these kind of decisions.
posted by agregoli at 8:14 AM on February 6 [12 favorites]


And another GOP seat could open up: Trump taps Joe Gruters for Amtrak board -- The freshman representative in the Florida House was co-chairman of the president's Florida campaign. (Alex Leary for Tampa Bay Times, Feb. 2, 2018)
WASHINGTON – State Rep. Joe Gruters, who was co-chairman of Donald Trump's winning Florida campaign, has been named by the president to the Amtrak board of directors.

The White House made the announcement Thursday evening. Here's the official text:

Joseph Ryan Gruters of Florida, to be a Member of the Amtrak Board of Directors for the remainder of a five-year term expiring October 4, 2022. Mr. Gruters currently works as a Certified Public Accountant and owns Paoli & Gruters Certified Public Accountants. He has been active in political and community organizations during the last 20 years and has been the appointed twice by Governor Rick Scott of Florida to serve as a member of the Florida State University Board of Trustees, where he has chaired the Finance and Audit Committee.
And it goes on, detailing exactly ZERO experience in transportation, transit, or trains. But hey, he supported Trump, so that counts for something everything.

Enotrans has more information:
Gruters is being nominated to fill the seat on the Amtrak Board vacated by Derek Kan, who quit shortly into a five-year term last fall to become Under Secretary of Transportation.
...
As a CPA and as chairman of the Finance and Audit Committee of the Florida State University Board of Trustees (overseeing a budget of $1.7 billion per year), Gruters qualifies under the “financial experience” criterion.
...
President Trump also announced that he intents to nominate Alan Cobb, an attorney from Kansas and head of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, to be one of the three Presidentially-appointed members of the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA) Board of Directors.
...
Cobb does not appear to have an aviation background, except for what everyone near Wichita picks up from being around the General Aviation Capital of Planet Earth. He worked for Americans for Prosperity (Koch Brothers) from 2004-2012 but has a long history in political campaigns, from Bob Dole for President in 1996 through a variety of other House and Senate campaigns in Kansas. He joined the Trump for President campaign extremely early on – March 2015 – and eventually rose to “director of coalitions” for the campaign in summer 2016.
Emphasis mine, but the following snark is all original.

Drain what again? Best people?
posted by filthy light thief at 8:20 AM on February 6 [9 favorites]


A quick note: 2018 federal withholding tables were just released 3 weeks ago and aren't required to be used until 2/15. States haven't updated their laws yet to incorporate or break from federal changes, and thus haven't updated withholding tables accordingly either. Don't count your chickens etc.
posted by melissasaurus at 8:23 AM on February 6 [10 favorites]


Nick Confessore, NYT: After Maria, @fema gave a $156m contract for 30 *million* emergency meals for Puerto Ricans to a one-woman company with no large-scale disaster experience. She hired a wedding caterer and delivered only 50,000. (NYT story)
posted by bluecore at 8:29 AM on February 6 [77 favorites]




@DanaHoule:
Iowa Dems off-year caucus attendance:

2010 (w no snow)=5,000

2014 (w no snow)=6,500

2018 (despite 6-8 inches of snow)=9,000

#wave

https://iowastartingline.com/2018/02/05/the-great-blizzard-caucus/
posted by chris24 at 8:39 AM on February 6 [53 favorites]


Or they were worried that the WH Chief of Staff would someday say that they are "not a priority for deportation"
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:39 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


Speaking of caucuses, it is caucus night in Minnesota! It's been a few days since it snowed so we have no excuse for not showing up.
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:42 AM on February 6 [8 favorites]


Nick Confessore, NYT: After Maria, @fema gave a $156m contract for 30 *million* emergency meals for Puerto Ricans to a one-woman company with no large-scale disaster experience. She hired a wedding caterer and delivered only 50,000. (NYT story)

FTA:
For this huge task, FEMA tapped Tiffany Brown, an Atlanta entrepreneur with no experience in large-scale disaster relief and at least five canceled government contracts in her past. FEMA awarded her $156 million for the job, and Ms. Brown, who is the sole owner and employee of her company, Tribute Contracting LLC, set out to find some help.
So would one say she did...a heckuva job?
posted by zombieflanders at 8:42 AM on February 6 [44 favorites]


“I have heard time and again that the middle class is getting crumbs, but I’ll take it!” Love said by email.

If crumbs are all you ever expect, it's all you'll ever get.


Wayne Love doesn't get that that right-wing policies are eating even his crumbs. He's in the hole by $100: "Wayne Love, who works in managed care in Spring Hill, Florida, got an extra $200 in his paycheck last week, which he said will help offset a $300 increase in the cost of his health insurance." He doesn't connect rising health care costs to Republican policies.
posted by gladly at 8:53 AM on February 6 [57 favorites]


Not only did she do a heckuva job this time, her company has had at least five contracts cancelled by the government in the past, and "the Government Publishing Office prohibited the award of any contracts over $35,000 to Tribute until January 2019. But that exclusion applied only to that office, not to any other federal agency." Now she's disputing the termination of this contract and seeking a settlement of at least $70 million.

Ms. Brown said she had no doubt she could have provided the 30 million meals, though she estimated she would have needed until at least Nov. 7 — two weeks past FEMA’s deadline, and still an unlikely completion date, given Tribute’s pace of delivery by the time the contract was canceled.

Yeah, 50,000 is *pretty close* to 30 million.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:53 AM on February 6 [13 favorites]


Ms. Brown said she had no doubt she could have provided the 30 million meals

I guaran-damn-tee you that she believes that because of the "Law Of Attraction" or some similar metaphysical bromide
posted by thelonius at 8:56 AM on February 6 [19 favorites]


> He doesn't connect rising health care costs to Republican policies.

That's the power of Fox News, talk radio, Drudge, Breitbart and the rest of the right-wing propaganda machine. It will never cease to amaze me how cause and effect exit the minds of voters like this without making any imprint beyond "It's the Democrats' fault."
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:57 AM on February 6 [7 favorites]


In other Fuck Poor People news, Trump's HHS is considering lifetime limits on Medicaid for childless adults.

Arizona and Utah both want a 5-year lifetime limit on coverage. Utah’s would apply only to childless adults and would come “with the expectation that they do everything they can to help themselves before they lose coverage,” according to the state’s waiver application.

In Arizona, time-limited coverage would only accrue during months when enrollees don’t meet their work requirements, which the state is also seeking in their waiver application. Wisconsin wants to limit lifetime coverage for childless adults to 48 months. Kansas would limit coverage to 36 months.

In Utah, Wisconsin and Kansas, the time-limited coverage would apply even to Medicaid enrollees who meet employment and work requirements.

posted by chaoticgood at 8:58 AM on February 6 [18 favorites]


Somebody said treasonous. Yea, why not? Can we call that treason? Why not?
The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.
-- Teddy Roosevelt
posted by kirkaracha at 9:04 AM on February 6 [135 favorites]


Utah’s would apply only to childless adults and would come “with the expectation that they do everything they can to help themselves before they lose coverage,” according to the state’s waiver application.

Because Jesus had bureaucrats that interviewed the lepers to make sure they had done everything they could to avoid leprosy.
posted by Talez at 9:06 AM on February 6 [31 favorites]


It will never cease to amaze me how cause and effect exit the minds of voters like this without making any imprint beyond "It's the Democrats' fault."

A FB friend of mine reported that the other day she heard another restaurant customer telling the server about the "new Democrat law that says your employer can take your tips."
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:06 AM on February 6 [9 favorites]


Now we wait for another inqury: Carson calls for HUD inspector general to review his family’s role at the department (Juliet Eilperin for Washington Post, February 2, 2018)
This week, my family and I have been under attack by the media questioning our integrity and ethics. I have openly asked for an Independent Investigation to put to rest these unfounded biases.
Exodus 14:14

— Ben & Candy Carson (@RealBenCarson) February 2, 2018
Darryl Madden, a spokesman for the HUD inspector general, confirmed in a phone interview Friday that a request had been received but declined to elaborate on whether the office was launching either a review or a more formal inquiry.

“We have received the secretary’s request for review,” Madden said.
Let's just quietly side-step that cozy merger of church and state (after all, The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.) and say OF COURSE HE THOUGHT IT WAS OK - HIS BOSS DOES IT ALL THE TIME.

(This inquiry is in regards to the fact that despite warnings, Carson thought it was a good idea to give his son Ben Carson Jr. and daughter-in-law Merlynn Carson a no-bid contract for $485,000, but don't worry -- there were "oral presentations are similar to 'Shark Tank' presentations," which "require preparation, hard work, and tenacity" ... but don't offer that transparency in process we expect with the usual process.)
posted by filthy light thief at 9:09 AM on February 6 [8 favorites]




Paul Ryan Walks Away When Pressed on Whether Trump ‘Vindicated’ by Nunes Memo

Manu Raju: Last week, you made the case that the Nunes memo was separate from the Mueller investigation, and yet over the weekend, the president claimed ‘total vindication’ from the Nunes memo. Was he vindicated in any way?”

Paul Ryan (paraphrased): I have to go now. My planet needs me.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:22 AM on February 6 [33 favorites]


Americans are manipulated by fake news because religion has infected our politics: Peabody-winning journalist Kurt Anderson.
posted by adamvasco at 9:33 AM on February 6 [41 favorites]


I'm glad Steve King has a challenger!

In case anyone missed it at the time, this is what happened to Steve King's previous challenger (she dropped out of the race due to death threats).
posted by Emmy Rae at 9:34 AM on February 6 [14 favorites]


From the sidebar of the Rawstory link: Maxine Waters once again lights up Steve Mnuchin.
posted by orrnyereg at 9:37 AM on February 6 [10 favorites]


Emmy Rae: In case anyone missed it at the time, this is what happened to Steve King's previous challenger (she dropped out of the race due to death threats).

Kim Weaver, King's former challenger, mentioned lack of affordable health care as an issue as well. She'd have to go without when campaigning. There are several issues here as I see it, that disproportionately affect Democrats in red states:

- I bet you anything that Democratic women challengers to Republicans face far more threats than men would. Just ask Hillary Clinton.

- Then there's the issue of affordability - when it takes so much money and time that a person with a day job is going to have a harder time campaigning, not to mention possibly losing insurance, then only wealthy and/or really charismatic individuals will be able to campaign for office, and I think it is so important to have all incomes and backgrounds represented in office.

I'm glad Steve King (how I hate his racist guts, and I'm not even from Iowa!) has a challenger. I want Republicans everywhere to be forced to spend money, time and energy defending their seats even if they're allegedly super-safe.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:45 AM on February 6 [36 favorites]


Let's just quietly side-step that cozy merger of church and state (after all, The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.) and say OF COURSE HE THOUGHT IT WAS OK - HIS BOSS DOES IT ALL THE TIME.
I would narrow this to specify that he doesn't think it was "OK" in the sense of being morally and legally correct, like his boss is, but rather it was "OK" in the sense that he would get away with it, like his boss does.

The bible stuff is just more snake oil, plausible denial flim flammary, thrown in to distract from the rapacious looting.
posted by Horkus at 10:21 AM on February 6 [5 favorites]


How the Republicans rigged Congress — new documents reveal an untold story

They're evil, but decidedly not stupid. This is the problem. We have to be ever vigilant if we want to be sure that democracy thrives in the US.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:29 AM on February 6 [5 favorites]


A progressive Democrat is challenging the racist, authoritarian Steve King for his Iowa Congressional seat

Heck yeah Scholten! He's really putting in the work too, I'm pumped to see this campaign in action. (Also I'm a little biased because he follows my Instagram and if the person who finally beats Steve King is also someone who liked some random posts of mine that'll make my year.)
posted by jason_steakums at 10:33 AM on February 6 [12 favorites]


adamvasco: "Americans are manipulated by fake news because religion has infected our politics: Peabody-winning journalist Kurt Anderson."

In another episode of "Journalists Blame Everything But Journalists"?
posted by TypographicalError at 10:41 AM on February 6 [12 favorites]


My wife, a public school librarian, is getting about $50 more a month. We don't need it and don't like the politics behind it, so we've resolved to donate the equivalent amount to a variety of causes over the course of the year.

posted by schoolgirl report at 8:10 AM on February 6 [10 favorites +] [!]


The worst part about the glee that some mid-range taxpayers express is that they are unaware that this is borrowing from their and their children's future and that they will be the ones who have to pay it back through increased taxation, with interest. Trumpists will insist growth will take care of the hole they've blown in the federal budget, but you and I know that it won't be the corporations and the rest of the 0.1% who will fill that hole.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:51 AM on February 6 [15 favorites]


Fake news sharing in US is a rightwing thing, says study

Kind of weird seeing it out plain with no "both sides" framing.
posted by Artw at 10:53 AM on February 6 [64 favorites]


The worst part about the glee that some mid-range taxpayers express is that they are unaware that this is borrowing from their and their children's future and that they will be the ones who have to pay it back through increased taxation, with interest.

To say nothing of (as alluded to in a previous comment) increased health care costs, increased college costs, and increased costs of other goods and services normally provided by, or subsidized by, a functioning government.
posted by Gelatin at 10:55 AM on February 6 [5 favorites]


I just got an email from the Ed Stack, CEO & president of Dick's Sporting Goods, pointing out their big national ad buy today that encourages every American to come behind the Olympic athletes.

Now, I love the Olympics for the athletes (despite all the stupid trick-skiing events). And I am glad to hear that a big money guy thinks that the divisions in America are problematic.

I have to admit though, that I immediately recoiled, thinking it was just jingoism and a new way to politicize sports. So then I went to Google to research the guy's politics, and...I can't tell.

Instead of the ad bringing us together, I am kind of sad now.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:56 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Trumpists will insist growth will take care of the hole they've blown in the federal budget

...except frauds like Ryan are already insisting that the ballooning deficits demand a cut in social services and entitlements.
posted by Gelatin at 10:57 AM on February 6 [6 favorites]


> The worst part about the glee that some mid-range taxpayers express is that they are unaware that this is borrowing from their and their children's future and that they will be the ones who have to pay it back through increased taxation, with interest.

Well, my generation's kids will just pass the problem along to their kids, as the Boomers did for us. Repeat as necessary until the problem is solved just goes away!
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:57 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


filthy light thief: "And another GOP seat could open up: Trump taps Joe Gruters for Amtrak board"

Just to note that Gruters is a state rep, not a Congressman. He sits in Florida House 73, which went Trump 61-36.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:57 AM on February 6 [4 favorites]


Well, my generation's kids will just pass the problem along to their kids, as the Boomers did for us. Repeat as necessary until the problem is solved just goes away!
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:57 AM on February 6 [+] [!]


I believe the last administration to balance the budget was headed by a Boomer, but your point is well taken.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:05 AM on February 6 [4 favorites]


>Repeat as necessary until the problem is solved just goes away becomes someone else's problem!

That's the entire basis of Republican governance. Kick the can down the road until they personally are no longer in office, then find a new non-Republican enemy to pin it on.
posted by lydhre at 11:06 AM on February 6 [12 favorites]


Americans are manipulated by fake news because religion has infected our politics: Peabody-winning journalist Kurt Anderson.

More accurately, he's asserting that Americans are more susceptible to fake news because "extreme Protestant Christianity" "...became more magical and supernatural in its beliefs in America than it has for hundreds of years or for any other place in the world." Which may well be true. But it is not an all-compassing problem with all sects of all religions. An extreme brand of Christianity (Evangelicals and Pentecostals, for example) has embraced a delusional view of the world. They also support Trump.

Mainstream Islam, Buddhism and Judaism are generally not anti-science. Mainstream Judaism (non-Orthodoxy) in particular encourages skepticism and questioning. And yes, their followers are mostly anti-Trump and anti-GOP. The two positions are most definitely related.
posted by zarq at 11:06 AM on February 6 [51 favorites]


I don’t think magical extreme religious thinking is new Or unusual. Instead we should realize this is a common occurrence in societies, and study them to see what has previously worked. As I commented before, I think we should be highly critical of this thesis.
posted by wobumingbai at 11:21 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


The worst part about the glee that some mid-range taxpayers express is that they are unaware that this is borrowing from their and their children's future and that they will be the ones who have to pay it back through increased taxation, with interest.

I know I said this before, but I always like quoting Patercallipygos, so:

Sometime over Christmas, we were hanging around the house and listening to the news and they were discussing the new tax plan. "So, I realized that the tax plan is actually going to give both me and your mother, and the family cranberry farm, a lot of money," Dad said. Then after a beat, he added: "And it kills me, because I can't stand that fucker."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:22 AM on February 6 [27 favorites]


I don’t think magical extreme religious thinking is new Or unusual. Instead we should realize this is a common occurrence in societies, and study them to see what has previously worked. As I commented before, I think we should be highly critical of this thesis.

The situation in the US, where a huge part of the middle class believes in creationism and and rejects basic scientific principles is really unusual compared to the rest of the world right now. Which one can see expressed in the fact that the US is the only nation to not acknowledge climate change and sign the Paris Accord. Obviously, millions of people all over the world believe in really strange things and have little understanding of how science works. That isn't the issue. The issue is that in the US, it is a relatively mainstream position that underpins a whole political movement, the one which is currently in power.
posted by mumimor at 11:35 AM on February 6 [61 favorites]


Just so we're clear about the numbers:

NYT, How Americans Think About Climate Change, in Six Maps: "Americans overwhelmingly believe that global warming is happening, and that carbon emissions should be scaled back. But fewer are sure that the changes will harm them personally. New data released by the Yale Program on Climate Communication gives the most detailed view yet of public opinion on global warming." (March 2017)

Slate, 2015: Evolution Is Finally Winning Out Over Creationism. "A majority of young people endorse the scientific explanation of how humans evolved."
While the majority of people in Europe and in many other parts of the world accept evolution, the United States lags behind. Today, 4 in 10 adults in America believe that humans have existed in our present form since the beginning of time, and in many religious groups, that number is even higher. This is woeful.

Now, at long last, there seems to be hope: National polls show that creationism is beginning to falter, and Americans are finally starting to move in favor of evolution. After decades of legal battles, resistance to science education, and a deeply rooted cultural divide, evolution may be poised to win out once and for all.

The people responsible for this shift are the young. According to a recent Pew Research Center report, 73 percent of American adults younger than 30 expressed some sort of belief in evolution, a jump from 61 percent in 2009, the first year in which the question was asked. The number who believed in purely secular evolution (that is, not directed by any divine power) jumped from 40 percent to a majority of 51 percent. In other words, if you ask a younger American how humans arose, you’re likely to get an answer that has nothing to do with God.

The increase in younger people embracing evolution is “quite striking,” says Kenneth R. Miller, a biologist at Brown University and an expert witness the landmark court case Kitzmiller v. Dover, which kicked “intelligent design” out of public school classrooms in 2005. “We’re moving in the right direction.”

posted by zarq at 11:41 AM on February 6 [24 favorites]


ICE arrests Kansas professor and father of three who has been in the U.S. for 30 years

Syed Ahmed Jamal, who is from Bangladesh, was about to take his daughter to school on Jan. 24 when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials showed up on his front lawn in Lawrence, a suburb of Kansas City, and arrested him [...] When Jamal's stunned wife tried to hug her husband goodbye, ICE agents stopped her, telling her "that they would arrest her for interference" if she didn't let them take him immediately [...] Jamal, 55, is a chemistry instructor who entered the U.S. lawfully on an international student visa in the 1980s, according to a lawyer for the family, Jeffrey Y. Bennett. He has three children — ages 7, 12, and 14 — all of whom are U.S. citizens, and he has no record other than a couple of speeding tickets that have long been resolved, Bennett said.

ICE is a criminal organization that must be destroyed.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:45 AM on February 6 [133 favorites]


File under "to be handled in 2 to 4 years": How Lax Regulations Make It Easy For Politicians To Run 'Zombie' Campaigns (NPR, Feb. 5, 2018) -- An investigation has uncovered dozens of old, seemingly delinquent political campaigns spending money long after the actual campaigning is over. Christopher O'Donnell of the Tampa Bay Times talks with NPR's Ailsa Chang about how lax regulations make it easy for former politicians to tap into campaign funds.

‘We need to fix it’: Watchdogs, lawmakers try to halt Zombie Campaign spending -- A Tampa Bay Times/10News WTSP investigation found ex-politicians’ campaign donations being spent decades after they left office — and in some cases, after the politician was dead. (Christopher O'Donnell and Noah Pransky, Feb. 5, 2018)

Full investigation report: Zombie Campaigns: The campaign is over. The candidate might be dead. But the spending never stops.
Times/WTSP reporters analyzed more than 1 million records detailing the spending of former U.S. lawmakers and federal candidates. They found roughly 100 of these zombie campaigns , still spending even though their candidate’s political career had been laid to rest.
And unlike fake news, there are politicians on both sides of the isle who keep spending political donations after their campaigns are (long) done.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:46 AM on February 6 [15 favorites]


I just got an email from the Ed Stack, CEO & president of Dick's Sporting Goods, pointing out their big national ad buy today that encourages every American to come behind the Olympic athletes.

Now, I love the Olympics for the athletes (despite all the stupid trick-skiing events). And I am glad to hear that a big money guy thinks that the divisions in America are problematic.


Dick's is a major employer of Olympic athletes. They'll often employ athletes who struggle to balance full time jobs with the training regimen required at the Olympic level, especially if they play a sport that can not support professional competition.
posted by PenDevil at 11:49 AM on February 6 [20 favorites]


@HallieJackson: .@POTUS is being emphatic: “I’d love to see a shutdown” if we can’t get immigration deal figured out. “Shut it down.” 👀

Now all we have to do is wait and see how Democrats manage to turn this giant golden egg into a big pile of goose shit.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:54 AM on February 6 [48 favorites]


Trump went on a rant just now calling for a government shutdown if he doesn't get everything he wants. His exact words were "let's have a shutdown" and "I'd love to see a shutdown." He even interrupted a GOP congresswoman (Comstock) who was trying to say nobody wanted a shutdown to say he was all in for shutting it down.
posted by Justinian at 11:55 AM on February 6 [27 favorites]


I don’t think magical extreme religious thinking is new Or unusual. Instead we should realize this is a common occurrence in societies, and study them to see what has previously worked

Lol America has always been uniquely bugfuck looney tunes when it comes to religion, though. I mean literally the puritans were like, “oh hey, you don’t think we should be able to take people who don’t agree with our particular brand of religious fucknuttery and burn them at the stake for heresy? THEN YOU’RE OPRRESSING US, WE’RE GOING SOMEWHERE ELSE.”

For real, not being allowed to persecute others was, to them, a form of oppression

Sound familiar?
posted by schadenfrau at 11:57 AM on February 6 [39 favorites]


[A few deleted. Samizdata: please stop using whatever quoting method you're using, that quotes entire long comments into your own, when you're just replying with a short thing. I've mentioned this before, it creates a problematic level of visual clutter when you do this -- please stop. ]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:06 PM on February 6 [5 favorites]


Trump went on a rant just now calling for a government shutdown if he doesn't get everything he wants. His exact words were "let's have a shutdown" and "I'd love to see a shutdown." He even interrupted a GOP congresswoman (Comstock) who was trying to say nobody wanted a shutdown to say he was all in for shutting it down.

And just in case there was any ambiguity there (he was clear), or any suggestion that maybe he was 'joking' (he was serious),
And again, @potus tells the pool he would shut down gov't (reporters asked him again if that was his intention):

"If we don’t straighten out our border, we don’t have a country. Without borders we don’t have a country. So would I shut it down over this issue? Yes."
Donald J. Trump, President: preëmptively claiming responsibility for a government shutdown if no immigration deal is reached. (A 'please proceed' moment if ever there was another.)
posted by cjelli at 12:14 PM on February 6 [37 favorites]


The situation in the US, where a huge part of the middle class believes in creationism and and rejects basic scientific principles is really unusual compared to the rest of the world right now.

Unfortunately, it's not as unusual as it might seem from a WEIRD perspective. Creationists have been making in-roads in Europe, for instance. And according to a 2011 survey of 23 countries for Reuters, Saudi Arabia leads the world in evolution denial. More recently, the Erdogan government is making way for creationism in Turkey: Turkish Schools to Stop Teaching Evolution, Official Says (Guardian).

For a silver lining to the America of Mike Pence, Ben Carson, and Betsy DeVos, however, this 2017 Gallup poll suggests US creationists are switching to Intelligent Design over strict creationism, with overall belief in creationism at a new low and support for evolution among other Americans increasing.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:15 PM on February 6 [8 favorites]


Mnuchin says he doesn't want to force marijuana money out of the banking system.
During the hearing, Mnuchin also appeared to confirm a Reuters report that FinCEN was not consulted in advance about Sessions’s decision to change federal marijuana enforcement policy.

"I did not participate in the attorney general's decision and what he did, but we are consulting with them now," he said. "We do want to find a solution to make sure that businesses that have large access to cash have a way to get them into a depository institution for it to be safe."

The FinCEN policy, which requires financial institutions to regularly file reports on their cannabis customers, was intended to provide clarity and assurances to banks, but many have remained reluctant to work with marijuana businesses because of overarching federal prohibition laws.
posted by Coventry at 12:24 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


Democrats should offer a compromise where Trump is allowed to use 100% of the surplus funds he gets from Mexico toward building the wall.
posted by 0xFCAF at 12:26 PM on February 6 [32 favorites]


> Politico: White House counselor Kellyanne Conway has taken control of the opioids agenda, quietly freezing out drug policy professionals and relying instead on political staff to address a lethal crisis claiming about 175 lives a day.

Clearly, Jared's plate was just too full, what with all the peace he's been creating in the Middle East and all the great care he's been delivering to veterans.

And, lest you think Ms. Conway might be a bit overmatched on dealing with the opioid issue, never fear (from the Politico piece):
Among the people working on the public education campaign that Trump promised is Andrew Giuliani, Rudy Giuliani’s 32-year-old son, who is a White House public liaison and has no background in drug policy, multiple administration sources told POLITICO.
This post goes into a bit of detail about Giuliani's credentials, which appear to be (a) the last name Giuliani, and (b) organizing a visit by the New England Patriots for their meeting with Trump. Mostly (a), I think.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:33 PM on February 6 [14 favorites]


I wouldn't go as far as yesster, but Bannon's apparent desire to talk to Mueller's team ahead of the House committee (with its direct line to the White House) suggests that he or his lawyer want a chat with the special prosecutor without having previous testimony on the record and probably passed on to his old boss.
posted by holgate at 12:37 PM on February 6 [5 favorites]


Fake news sharing in US is a rightwing thing, says study

Kind of weird seeing it out plain with no "both sides" framing.


OTOH, it is in the Guardian, which is a left-wing publication. Rightwingers one shows this to could reply with a piece in the National Enquirer or RT.com proving that fake news is a left-wing thing (undoubtedly originating in the Frankfurt School and funded by Soros), and we'd be back to square one.
posted by acb at 12:37 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


ICE arrests Kansas professor and father of three who has been in the U.S. for 30 years

Some more reporting from the Journal-World, which has done a pair of stories on this. There's a second man, also Bangladeshi, who ICE recently targeted as well.

Lawrence, a suburb of Kansas City

That is just the oddest way to refer to Lawrence I've ever heard.
posted by god hates math at 12:40 PM on February 6 [17 favorites]


Creationists have been making in-roads in Europe
That article is pretty alarmist — and has no facts to support it. Yes, there are fringe groups all over Europe and some terrible things happening in Turkey and Russia, but I've never heard of anything outside of those two countries that can be remotely compared to the situation in the US. Schools in Europe are tightly regulated, and more so in the South than in the North. Religious schools can't avoid teaching science.

That countries where large parts of the populations have little education have large parts of the population with no understanding of science is a given. The strange thing about the US is that people who have gone to high school and even university believe in crazy stuff. That happens in other places too, but not at all on the scale it does in the USA.
It's great to see that young people aren't having anymore.
posted by mumimor at 12:58 PM on February 6 [5 favorites]


Sarah Huckabee Sanders is here to walk back (or in this case outright 180 contradict) the Boss's statements:

"The president is encouraging people to do their jobs . . . We are not advocating for a shutdown."

[reminder from half an hour ago, his exact words, which im sure we were not to take literally, were "id LOVE to see a shutdown"]
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:59 PM on February 6 [47 favorites]


This is what we're up against.

Republicans are trying to hash out a deal to increase spending more now, after a massive tax cut for the wealthy, at a time of near full employment and already rising interest rates, than Obama was allowed to raise spending to combat the biggest economic disaster since the Great Depression.

In essence the Republicans deliberately forced an economic policy in 2009 which they knew was not the right policy because they also knew that Obama and Democrats would get the blame for a slow recovery which would put Repubs back in power. And they were right. And now that they're in power they're turning the gas up as fast and as hard as possible in an attempt to stay in power. When it collapses the Democrats will probably somehow get the blame again and Republicans will revert to the deficit hawk bullshit to prevent Dems from fixing things.

This makes me so angry. Imagine what Obama could have done if the Republican shackles had been absent.
posted by Justinian at 1:09 PM on February 6 [108 favorites]


"The president is encouraging people to do their jobs..."

You first, Donnie.
posted by Coventry at 1:11 PM on February 6 [31 favorites]


The Democrats need to learn some friggin' game theory.

So if increased spending is a good thing and necessary for a long-term stable economy and both parties know it, but Congressional Republicans refuse to let Democrats who control the White House spend properly while Congressional Democrats go along with the spending when Republicans control the White House...

do I need to elaborate on the implications?
posted by Justinian at 1:28 PM on February 6 [6 favorites]


Republicans and Democrats agree that increased spending is necessary, but what Republicans call "spending" is what everyone else calls "looting."
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:35 PM on February 6 [23 favorites]


The GOP can't be thinking far enough ahead that they're actually trying to bring about a recession right? That just seem too far out even for Republicans and I'm not really sure they actually understand economics well enough to try to engineer something like that.

But everything they've done that doesn't directly support the racist bit of their agenda seems custom tailored to cause a big recession.

Like maybe the idea is that by the time 2020 rolls around the economy will be complete shit so that if/when the Dems take control they can only really deal with all the problems the recession caused and won't be able to accomplish anything else.

I keep telling myself that I should take things more-or-less at face value and if it seems like they're idiots that don't know what they're doing, it's because they're idiots that don't know what they're doing. It's too far-fetched to think that somehow a HUGE chunk of the GOP is on board with a secret conspiracy to tank the economy for political gain and everyone who is in on it has managed to keep it from leaking out. It seems like some full-on conspiracy theory crank stuff. But it's like getting every question wrong on a multiple choice test, idiots will accidentally get some questions right randomly. You have to know all the right answers in order to get every single one wrong and that's what the GOP is doing with their economic policy.

I suppose that if your platform is basically "opposite of Dems" and the dems have good economic policy based on reality, data, research, expert advice, etc. that's what you get. If you peak at the smartest kid's test and then make sure none of your answers match theirs, you consistently get them all wrong, I guess.
posted by VTX at 1:47 PM on February 6 [6 favorites]


Well the US has had for about thirty or so years now a two-tiered economy. Traditionally you want to bring the two economies back in line by slowing one down through taxation and bringing the other back up to speed by spending or tax cuts.

So in the case of the United States where corporations and the rich are fine, this would involve raising taxes, keeping interest rates low, raising minimum wages, and generally stuffing money into the poor and middle classes wherever they can keep spending it.

But what are the chances of that happening? Slim to none. It's basically a redistribution of wealth which the Republicans will go into convulsions about.

I don't know if they'll be able to blow out inflation either through malice or stupidity. There's been so much buffer between the top 1% and the rest of the country for so long any gains over the past 30 years have basically been adding zeroes on the ends of the bank accounts of the super rich rather than recycling through the economy. They've gone through how many phases of QE trying to stop the economy from deflating? The rich will take every dollar they can like some greedy greenback hoover.
posted by Talez at 1:52 PM on February 6 [11 favorites]




I wonder who the Tea Party caucus would listen to - their constituents practically frothing at the mouth to tear it all down, or their corporate overlords who, least of all, want a debt ceiling breach. You would think the paymasters, of course, but, as we keep repeating here 'These are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand..."
posted by eclectist at 1:55 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Before drop, Trump boasted about the stock market once every 35 hours
President Donald Trump has yet to address the swings in the stock market since Monday’s plunge, the largest single-day point drop in the Dow.

That’s a big change for a president who, throughout his time in office, has cited a rising stock market as proof that his administration’s economic policies are working. He closed 2017 bragging on Twitter that “If the Dems (Crooked Hillary) got elected, your stocks would be down 50% from values on Election Day. Now they have a great future - and just beginning!”
Trade 'disaster' worsens under Trump
President Donald Trump came into office promising to reduce the U.S. trade deficit — and by that measure, his first year might be considered a dud.

The U.S. trade deficit increased more than 12 percent in 2017, to $566 billion — its highest level since 2008, according to figures released on Tuesday by the Commerce Department.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:59 PM on February 6 [15 favorites]


People need to stop hewing to Republican framing of the trade deficit. I run a "trade deficit" with the local grocery store. That doesn't mean I'm in shambles, it just means that the grocery store has a net decrease in goods and a net increase in currency, whereas I have the reverse.

The coincidence that it's commonly called a "trade deficit" rather than a "goods surplus" makes people think it's inherently bad. "China, on net, shipped the United States billions of dollars of goods" isn't a headline that would surprise anyone, but "US runs multi-billion dollar trade deficit with China" is somehow very scary.

Even Milton Friedman thought the supposed negative impacts of trade deficits were overblown.
posted by 0xFCAF at 2:21 PM on February 6 [28 favorites]


To come full circle on yesterday's "treason" comments from the president, his spokespeople have said he was "clearly joking" and "obviously joking". The WaPo has their round up of reactions to it Why Trump flippantly accusing Democrats of ‘treason’ is not a laughing matter. It contains two things worth pointing out, "Obama used the word “treason” only twice during his eight years in office. Not coincidentally, he was discussing the rise of Trump both times." His full quotations are included so you can see the context was how republicans have become very comfortable using that word to question motive and character of their opposition.

Also, Senator Kaine tweeted a dad joke that made my day, @timkaine- I clapped in his general direction.
posted by peeedro at 2:26 PM on February 6 [18 favorites]


The ‘Deep State’ Conspiracy Is How Fascists Discredit Democracy – former CIA officer Glenn Carle writing in Daily Beast.
The idea of the “Deep State” opposing elected leaders and the rule of law is—I will be blunt here—a fascist concept, which is intended to discredit the institutions of democracy. It is done, precisely, so that a “Leader” can represent the “people” without the encumbrance of law or representative institutions.

Most CIA and FBI officers share my alarm that such a distorting and harmful term has even entered American political discussions. Those who use the term “Deep State” frankly disqualify themselves from public life in a democracy.
posted by StrawberryPie at 2:27 PM on February 6 [67 favorites]


I'd love for a reporter to follow up a "he was just kidding" assertion with, "when he says something, what's a good way to know whether he's joking or not?"
posted by rhizome at 2:29 PM on February 6 [68 favorites]


People need to stop hewing to Republican framing of the trade deficit. I run a "trade deficit" with the local grocery store. That doesn't mean I'm in shambles, it just means that the grocery store has a net decrease in goods and a net increase in currency, whereas I have the reverse.

Another term for "trade deficit" is "investment surplus."
posted by Justinian at 2:34 PM on February 6 [9 favorites]


'The idea of the “Deep State” opposing elected leaders and the rule of law'

Emphasis added. I don't think it's a stretch that the intelligence community may be conspiring* to enforce laws that were broken by elected leaders. Mark Felt was 2nd in command at the FBI & leaked to Bob Woodward to help bring down Nixon. The things that the press found out helped bring pressure to expand the investigation beyond the original 5+2 plumbers. Though W&B & their bosses were concerned about accusations that they were doing it to help McGovern, the press + intelligence didn't have to be Democrats to be anti-Republican when the R.'s were breaking the law.

*not actually talking to each other, but aligned by responding to the same forces the way that business + govt. do to "manufacture consent."
posted by ASCII Costanza head at 2:54 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


The idea of the “Deep State” opposing elected leaders and the rule of law is—I will be blunt here—a fascist concept

Hannah Arendt wrote in The origins of Totalitarianism that,
If it had been only a question of getting rid of the Jews, Fritsch's proposal, at one of the early antisemitic congresses, not to create a new party but rather to disseminate antisemitism until finally all existing parties were hostile to Jews, would have brought much quicker results. As it was, Fritsch's proposal went unheeded because antisemitism was then already an instrument for the liquidation not only of the Jews but of the body politic of the nation-state as well.

[...] They could pretend to fight the Jews exactly as the workers were fighting the bourgeoisie. Their advantage was that by attacking the Jews, who were believed to be the secret power behind governments, they could openly attack the state itself.
posted by galaxy rise at 3:12 PM on February 6 [20 favorites]


Apparently Trump wants a "grand military parade".

Because the Nazi comparisons weren't easy enough yet, I guess.
posted by thefoxgod at 3:13 PM on February 6 [45 favorites]


An important point in an editorial cartoon, with the footnote February 1, 2018. Fox’s Geraldo Rivera tells Sean Hannity “Nixon never would have been forced to resign if you existed in your current state back in 1972, ’73, ’74.”
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:15 PM on February 6 [10 favorites]


Two Scoops calling his political opponents treasonous and wanting a military parade on the back of wishing for a shutdown. I'm not sure where the Fourth Estate is right now. I assume drunk and asleep at the wheel.

Welcome to an idle fucking Tuesday in America, folks.
posted by Talez at 3:23 PM on February 6 [55 favorites]


Apparently Trump wants a "grand military parade".

It's OK everybody, the "adults in the room" are on the job:
Surrounded by the military’s highest ranking officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford, Trump’s seemingly abstract desire for a parade was suddenly heard as a presidential directive, the officials said.
[...]
Several administration officials said the parade planning began in recent weeks and involves White House chief of staff John F. Kelly, but cautioned that it is in the preliminary stages. D.C. officials said they have not been notified of parade plans.
Cool, cool. It's great that a bloodthirsty war criminal with a deranged cult following and the guy known for one of the most racist law enforcement policies for a major metropolitan area are 100% ready, willing, and able to give a wannabe dictator a chance to engage in a dick-measuring contest. Especially since it involves overriding the wishes of 95% of a city's residents, trashes their infrastructure, and will almost assuredly end up with them paying for it.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:38 PM on February 6 [34 favorites]


Somehow I missed this one yesterday, from the "Oops, all treasonberries!" dept.:

Republicans concede key FBI 'footnote' in Carter Page warrant
Republican leaders are acknowledging that the FBI disclosed the political origins of a private dossier the bureau cited in an application to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, undermining a controversial GOP memo released Friday and fueling Democratic demands to declassify more information about the bureau’s actions.

At issue is whether the federal probe into the Trump campaign's Russia ties is infected with political bias, as Republicans say — or whether the GOP is using deceitful tactics to quash the probe, as Democrats insist.

Democrats pounced on public comments over the past day by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and intelligence committee member Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), arguing that the GOP memo's failure to mention a key footnote in the FBI application shows how the party has cherry-picked classified facts to protect President Donald Trump.

To provide a fuller picture, intelligence committee Democrats insist, House Republicans must vote on Monday to release a classified 11-page rebuttal they wrote to the GOP memo.

While Republicans say their memo, orchestrated by Nunes and released with President Donald Trump’s backing, demonstrates anti-Trump bias at the FBI and Justice Department that calls into question the entire Russia investigation, Democrats say Republicans committed the very sin — omitting crucial facts — of which they accuse the FBI.
posted by murphy slaw at 3:41 PM on February 6 [23 favorites]


Re Kurt Andersen: if you want to read his theory of the last 500 years of American History, you can read his book Fantasyland. His theory is that something about the "New World" attracted people who did not strictly follow logic. On one hand, he does not include a control continent, such as Australia. On the other hand, it's always a treat to visit Puritan times, and Andersen unsurprisingly has lots of opinions about Richard Nixon. This is not a bad way to spend some time, but unfortunately, when you finish you'll still be in this timeline.
posted by acrasis at 3:48 PM on February 6 [10 favorites]


House votes aye to the March 23rd CR + 1 year DOD on party lines.
posted by Talez at 3:54 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure where the Fourth Estate is right now. I assume drunk and asleep at the wheel.

I think it's pretty obvious that a lot of them have made the calculation that merely reprinting the propaganda of a single-party authoritarian dictatorship world be as much "news" as actual reporting, abs cheaper.

After all, it's just like doing "He said / She said", except simpler.
posted by happyroach at 3:56 PM on February 6 [5 favorites]


Two Scoops calling his political opponents treasonous and wanting a military parade on the back of wishing for a shutdown. I'm not sure where the Fourth Estate is right now. I assume drunk and asleep at the wheel.

What do you expect the press to do about it? Trump is being compared to Kim Jong Un and the parade to something from North Korea. It's being called unamerican. He's being reamed for the treason comments. They're all over this and being quite clear.

But they can't force your ignorant relatives to turn off Fox News. They aren't the ones that need to take to the streets if this continues on. It's entirely outside the fourth estate's ability to stop Trump. Only the people can do that, and 40% of the people are racist, ignorant, stupid, or a combination of the three. I guess half a percent might just be greedy oligarchs or aspiring to join those ranks.

The press is doing what they can do. Instead decide when you're willing to take to the streets and stay there even if it costs you your job or being arrested.
posted by Justinian at 3:56 PM on February 6 [63 favorites]


Its also worth noting that Bork only ever got the nomination because he was promised a spot on the Supreme Court by Nixon in exchange for firing Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox after the Saturday Night Massacre.

Nixon promised that AFTER the firings, and we know that only because Bork told us that in his memoirs.

Eliot Richardson testified in Robert Bork's favor during his Supreme Court confirmation process. There are perfectly reasonable ways to construe his decision (Nixon was just going to fire his way down until he had Cox gone) that don't imply he was dirty. And I say that as someone who is definitely not a fan of Bork.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:03 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


His theory is that something about the "New World" attracted people who did not strictly follow logic.

If you're talking about the New England Puritans, sure, there's a case for that, I guess? Although if you look at the history of the Separatists, some of them were executed for sedition, and all of them were subject to fines and imprisonment for failure to attend Church of England services. Same thing goes for the Pennsylvania Quakers, Maryland Catholics, the French Huguenot refugees who ended up in colonial America, etc. "If I don't leave I'm going to be imprisoned/tortured/subjected to onerous fines/killed, so I'm leaving" sounds an awful lot like logic, to me? (Although I think there's probably a case to be made that the roots of American individualism and a general anti-government sentiment probably come out of that, as well.)
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 4:16 PM on February 6 [8 favorites]


Russia pushes more “deep state” hashtags (Politico)
After the success of the viral #ReleaseTheMemo campaign, Russian-influenced Twitter accounts are test-running other hashtags designed to stoke anger, particularly among supporters of President Donald Trump, against “deep state” forces, according to analysts at Hamilton 68, a website that tracks Russian influenced Twitter accounts.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:19 PM on February 6 [17 favorites]


I'm just thinking about how Republicans are going to run around screaming about the budget and how only they care about the troops... while Cheeto Mussolini is about to put God knows how many servicepeople through week after week of aggravating-as-fuck practices, tedious uniform inspections, more practices, and incalculable amounts of wasted time and useless grief for a fucking parade. And that's to say nothing of the pointless stress and wastes of time and money this will inflict upon DC residents and city authorities.

"Dear Soldiers: The president cares about you SO MUCH he wants you to spend the next month reliving basic training so he can feel like a real grown-up despot."
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:21 PM on February 6 [11 favorites]


If not clapping for the President's speech is treason, what does shouting "You lie!" at the President count as?
posted by Jacqueline at 4:22 PM on February 6 [73 favorites]


trump must be bummed that the US arsenal doesn't include any land-based vehicle-launched nukes like the old soviet SS-20 that he can roll down pennsylvania avenue in the tradition of eastern bloc may day parades.
posted by murphy slaw at 4:28 PM on February 6 [15 favorites]


If not clapping for the President's speech is treason, what does shouting "You lie!" at the President count as?

I don't know, but if present trends continue I think asking that question is soon going to be a thought crime.
posted by mosk at 4:32 PM on February 6 [15 favorites]


General Kelly listened for a moment and went white as a sheet. “Oh, my God!” he cried as the phone fell from his fingers. “Do you know what he wants? He wants us to march. He wants everybody to march!
posted by delfin at 4:33 PM on February 6 [12 favorites]


I mean if letting him have a parade and play with the big boy trucks again keeps him from striking North Korea, let's give him the damn parade.

But they're going to have to bus in MAGAhats to line the route, because absolutely no one in D.C. is going to watch that.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:47 PM on February 6 [6 favorites]


The most goddamn American, pro-military thing Trump could do would be to support veterans with better insurance and actual housing. He can have a fucking parade after he gets that done. FUCK YOU, CADET BONE SPURS.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 4:53 PM on February 6 [70 favorites]


republicans love to wave the "support our troops" flag but they really mean "support General Dynamics and Raytheon"
posted by murphy slaw at 4:56 PM on February 6 [35 favorites]


I guess I'd rather see the military waste money getting Trump off than killing Afghans and Koreans. Still, does the existing military budget cover this, or is it going to require a special appropriation?
posted by Coventry at 5:07 PM on February 6


> The number one thing fueling terrorism, or fascism, or any shitty ism that involves dehumanizing and/or killing a lot of people, is angry young (usually single) men who do not see themselves attaining their personal life goals, and are looking for a sense of community and purpose.

2fast4me, but...

Oh, boy. I'll probably sound like a broken record and won't be able to unpack all of the potential offenses of the following theory, so forgive the use of existing language, but could this at least partially be some form of running amok?

It goes by many names, from temper tantrums to killing sprees, but the common threads are eerily similar: the "default" or unmarked member of society (usually young males from the cultural/ethnic majority) doesn't feel like they've received the just desserts society has promised them, so they indiscriminately take it out on said society. Eight years of a Black president and the spectre of a competent and powerful woman is fertile ground for grievances based on misperceptions and ignorance.

Obviously it's not that simple. For one, it isn't indiscriminate because that rage is being channelled to specific target groups instead. For two, it isn't just young white men, but also older and established white men who may have loftier expectations of those just desserts. And no one is drawing knives (yet), but they certainly are attempting to harm anyone within reach by using more abstract weapons like levers of institutional power and concepts of authority (e.g., why some people yell "Tr*mp!" as an insult).

Not typically treatable, but possibly preventable by building a just, rewarding, and egalitarian society... I'm going to meditate on this some more, but the rhetorical question is: is this some kind of attempt to weaponize the mentality of running amok?

Don't answer that.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 5:17 PM on February 6 [6 favorites]


The most goddamn American, pro-military thing Trump could do would be to support veterans with better insurance and actual housing. He can have a fucking parade after he gets that done. FUCK YOU, CADET BONE SPURS.

republicans love to wave the "support our troops" flag but they really mean "support General Dynamics and Raytheon"


And yet, "the troops" are and have been pretty solidly Republican for many presidential elections in a row, and overwhelmingly supported Trump over Clinton.
posted by cell divide at 5:17 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


[Folks, let's dial down the chatter again. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 5:26 PM on February 6 [4 favorites]


General Kelly listened for a moment and went white as a sheet. “Oh, my God!” he cried as the phone fell from his fingers. “Do you know what he wants? He wants us to march. He wants everybody to march!”


I recognize my stupidity here, there, and everywhere, but I honestly don't know whether or not this is real.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:37 PM on February 6 [8 favorites]


I recognize my stupidity here, there, and everywhere, but I honestly don't know whether or not this is real.

It's from Catch-22

posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:40 PM on February 6 [18 favorites]


ELECTION RESULT

GOP HOLD in Missouri House 129, 69-31. This is a Dem overperformance of about 26 points compared to the 2016 presidential margin.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:20 PM on February 6 [39 favorites]


ELECTION RESULT

Dem GAIN in Missouri House 97, 52-48. This is a Dem overperformance of about 32 points compared to the 2016 presidential margin.

GOP margin in the Missouri House is cut to 113-47 (3 vacancies).
posted by Chrysostom at 6:40 PM on February 6 [90 favorites]


ELECTION RESULT

GOP HOLD in Missouri House 39, 64-36. This is a Dem overperformance of about 19 points compared to the 2016 presidential margin.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:50 PM on February 6 [31 favorites]


Thanks Chrysostom. Nice looking performance spread on the entire Dem side. In Missouri, no less. And here I thought generic Republicans were clawing their way back into America's heart.
posted by weed donkey at 6:58 PM on February 6 [6 favorites]


WOW Steve Wynn, former RNC finance chair and Trump buddy is OUT at Wynn Resorts.

I spent the last week in Vegas with friends who work for a major competitor and were convinced he'd stay - the view is that Wynn IS the company, and there's a real cult of personality surrounding him there. Not undeserved - he was an early visionary for the city. End of an era.
posted by lalex at 7:03 PM on February 6 [12 favorites]


End of an era.

I sure hope so.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:12 PM on February 6 [26 favorites]


WOW Steve Wynn, former RNC finance chair and Trump buddy is OUT at Wynn Resorts.

Everybody loses their jobs over this shit except the fucking President.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:14 PM on February 6 [72 favorites]


I sure hope so.

Oh, I apologize if I came across as sympathetic to Wynn; I am not. Just trying to convey the magnitude of his status in Las Vegas and the hold on the city's psyche he seems to have.

I wasn't really aware of the extent of it until I happened to be out there with gaming industry folks as the news broke.
posted by lalex at 7:22 PM on February 6 [6 favorites]


WOW Steve Wynn, former RNC finance chair and Trump buddy is OUT at Wynn Resorts.

#wynning.
posted by Talez at 7:47 PM on February 6 [9 favorites]


ELECTION RESULT

GOP HOLD in Missouri House 144, 53-47. This is a Dem overperformance of about 53 points compared to the 2016 presidential margin.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:48 PM on February 6 [35 favorites]


None of these specials were in my part of MO, but I'm really encouraged about the dem performance.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:52 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


GOP HOLD in Missouri House 144, 53-47. This is a Dem overperformance of about 53 points compared to the 2016 presidential margin.

Wait. What? MO-144 is one of the whitest seats in MO. How in the hell did a Democrat win white rural MO by 10 points?!?
posted by Talez at 7:53 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


GOP HOLD in Missouri House 144, 53-47. This is a Dem overperformance of about 53 points compared to the 2016 presidential margin.

Is that 53 points a typo, doesn't that imply a -6 in the 2016 results?
posted by Marticus at 7:55 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


Well, he's the county commissioner in one of the counties in HD-144 (he won that county about 55-45, I think). The other factor is probably Greitens.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:56 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Is that 53 points a typo, doesn't that imply a -6 in the 2016 results?

No. Trump margin was 59 points (78-19). GOP margin today was 6 points (53-47). 53 point difference on the margin. Dem performance proper is +28 points.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:57 PM on February 6 [27 favorites]


Is that 53 points a typo

It would mean 76-23 or something ridiculously lopsided.
posted by Talez at 7:58 PM on February 6


That point swing is so high its mother is afraid it might hurt itself.
posted by Marticus at 8:00 PM on February 6 [70 favorites]


chris24: "Iowa Dems off-year caucus attendance:"

Speaking of which, Minnesota caucuses were tonight for both parties, and Dem attendance (well, DFL, because Minnesota) is way, way outpacing GOP attendance.

DFL: 12,747 with 39% reporting
GOP: 10,206 with 92% reporting
posted by Chrysostom at 8:01 PM on February 6 [25 favorites]


I'm glad Steve King has a challenger!
Oh, there are four people running in the Democratic primary to challenge him, plus he's got a Republican primary challenger (who is running on a platform of being not-unhinged and is not a serious threat to him.) It's a conservative district, and King is strangely popular, but there are a lot of people who would love to see him gone. And I have a good feeling about Scholten, who is definitely emerging as the frontrunner to get the Democratic nomination. Not so good that I expect him to beat King, but he seems like a good egg who will play well in the district.

Incidentally, the Des Moines Register did a poll this week that suggests that King is pretty out of step with his district when it comes to immigration. For instance, 62% of people from his district (and 65% of all Iowans) thought there should be a path to citizenship that was open to all undocumented immigrants, not just Dreamers.

Elle has a thing about Abby Finkenauer, the 26-year-old state representative who is the frontrunner to be the Democratic challenger to nightmare bazillionaire asshole Rod Blum in Iowa's 1st Congressional District.

And yeah, I think everyone was surprised by how good the caucus turnout last night, given how bad the weather was.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:06 PM on February 6 [4 favorites]


chaoticgood: "In other Fuck Poor People news, Trump's HHS is considering lifetime limits on Medicaid for childless adults.
"

The flames ...

murphy slaw: "trump must be bummed that the US arsenal doesn't include any land-based vehicle-launched nukes like the old soviet SS-20 that he can roll down pennsylvania avenue in the tradition of eastern bloc may day parades."

This is Trump we are talking about. Loading some nuclear bombs on to the trucks that transport them is going to be close enough. And they seem to be bat shit insane enough to actually parade nuclear weapons in front of the Capital building/Whitehouse.
posted by Mitheral at 8:36 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


"We're sorry you have to do this for him" in ~420pt font (sized to sorry) should do I think at the protest.
posted by Slackermagee at 8:40 PM on February 6 [6 favorites]


Speaking of which, Minnesota caucuses were tonight for both parties, and Dem attendance (well, DFL, because Minnesota) is way, way outpacing GOP attendance.

I caucused today, as a resident of the 6th district (the district formerly represented, as it were, by Michele Bachmann). First time caucusing. I was one of only 6 people for my precinct, and no wonder because trying to actually find the caucus was absurdly difficult—it was held in a large educational complex with multiple buildings, and there were no signs directing anyone to the correct entrance, and one guy stationed well inside the main entrance who was utterly terrible at giving directions. “The caucus is being held in the east building.” I’ve never been here before, where is that? “Well, it’s over by the hockey arena.” Where the fuck is that? “Well, you have to cross the parking lot and then go over by the hockey arena and it’s in the east building.” Oh, that clears it up. I basically had to just drive around until I saw the small “Caucus here ->” taped next to an out-of-the-way side entrance. How the fuck are people supposed to see that in the dark?

If you want new blood to participate in our democracy, put some fucking signs up! Holy cow.

The Republican caucus was held in an elementary school a few blocks from my house. First thing I noticed when I turned into the main entrance to my neighborhood: a nice big sign right on the corner. “Republican Caucus Ahead ->” This is why they win.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:44 PM on February 6 [41 favorites]


That Dem gain seat in Missouri was a Postcards to Voters target and he won by 108 votes. Every little bit counts.

[Edit to correct vote count.]
posted by threeturtles at 9:10 PM on February 6 [75 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** Special elections -- Summary of Dem margin improvements in tonight's Missouri House races:
  • HD-39: +19
  • HD-97: +32 (Dems flip seat)
  • HD-129: +26
  • HD-144: +53
Overall margin shift towards Dems in special elections vs 2016 (2012) results:

2017 elections: 10% (7%)
2018 elections: 27% (12%)

Five specials next week, including a great pickup opportunity in Florida HD-72.

** 2018 House:
-- Berkeley poll looks bad for CA-25 (Knight) and CA-48 (Rohrabacher), showing both with negative re-elect numbers (38/56 and 41/51, respectively). Both districts went for Clinton.

-- Vice: Dem primaries to watch.

-- Crosstab: Recent moves in generic poll average not yet having material affect on midterm forecast. Not time to worry yet.
** Odds & ends:
-- The Ohio legislature easily passed a ballot proposal that would make some reforms to the redistricting process to be more bipartisan. There's been some criticism that this is a weak measure designed to head off a more rigorous effort. The measure is expected to be approved by voters in November.

-- 538: Gubernatorial polling this early tends to be not great, but Dems have the advantage in governor races.

-- The Whelk Alert: At least 17 DSA members running for office in Texas.

-- SCOTUS today issued a mixed response to a request for stay in the North Carolina racial gerrymander case for state legislative districts. If I'm reading this right, four districts are still getting re-drawn, but some others are not.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:16 PM on February 6 [43 favorites]


The special election results posted today are a bit of a relief as they are still showing similar margin improvement as those from mid-to-late last year despite Trump's approval creeping up over 40 and the Dem Congressional ballot advantage falling to about 6 points. The squishy idiots middle may be flip flopping around on Trump (on the one hand he's a dangerous narcissistic racist asshole but on the other hand I'm getting $24 in tax cuts!) but they apparently aren't voting much and the enthusiasm gap is holding.
posted by Justinian at 9:18 PM on February 6 [11 favorites]


Interesting political scenario from economist Ken Rogoff:
But let me tell you — if the stock market falls 20% — and I'm not saying it's going to — but it wouldn't take much to have it fall. It just, you know, went up a lot, so it could fall. And if there's inflation this year — and I think there will be with the output gap closing; with the fiscal stimulus — and the Fed's going to say, "I'm sorry. We don't look at the stock market. We look at prices. They're going up. We have to start raising interest rates." And then if Trump starts undermining the independence of the Federal Reserve — and I don't know if he could keep his hands off in that situation — I think that would really scare the daylights out of investors. And you might see a very big movement in that case.
posted by Coventry at 9:46 PM on February 6 [11 favorites]


covfefe explained?
posted by Coventry at 9:49 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Interest rates are going up regardless of inflation; the Fed is desperate to get up off the floor and unwind its balance sheet before the next crisis.
posted by notyou at 9:56 PM on February 6 [8 favorites]




Loony Left horn tooting: My illustrations appeared in the NYC-DSA Tenant Organizing Guide which hopes to codifiy and spread the information and methods gained by helping a building in East Harlem organize and fight back against exploitative landlords
posted by The Whelk at 10:21 PM on February 6 [44 favorites]


I went to our Minnesota DFL caucus last night and was pleasantly surprised to find out that I'm not the only progressive in town. It was heartening to meet neighbors who are passionate about trying to change things. We elected ourselves to be delegates so DFL county convention, here we come! (The whole process of caucus-district convention-other convention-state convention is so convoluted that they used a big chart to explain it.)
posted by a fish out of water at 3:28 AM on February 7 [20 favorites]


Attorney General Sessions Installs “Religious Freedom” Czars in Every US Attorney’s Office

Without any substantive public announcement, the administration made changes to the policy manuals for U.S. Attorneys’ offices and Department of Justice (DOJ) litigation offices. These offices are now required to assign a staff member to monitor all litigation and immediately inform high-ranking political appointees at DOJ whenever the offices are subject to a lawsuit involving religious liberty, when religious liberty is used as a defense in litigation, or when the offices file a suit involving religious issues.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:02 AM on February 7 [39 favorites]


Jeremy Newberger satires Matt Lauer and Lara Trump commentating a Trump military parade.

Some highlights:
LARA TRUMP: Look a balloon!
MATT LAUER: I believe that's parade delegate Gov. Mike Huckabee.

MATT LAUER: Oh folks this is a treat, by horseback are some trusted Trump advisors, VP Mike Pence on a white horse, Fox News Sean Hannity on a red horse, Rep Devin Nunes on a black horse, and Newt Gingrich on a pale horse.
LARA TRUMP: Eric!
MATT LAUER: No that's a horse Lara.

posted by Talez at 5:13 AM on February 7 [28 favorites]


George Papadopoulos’ fiancée goes on tweetstorm to prove he wasn’t just a coffee boy to Trump

Turns out she's not a fan of the campaign throwing him under the bus.
posted by Talez at 5:16 AM on February 7 [15 favorites]


Don't the military parade in Washington DC during the 4th of July?
posted by PenDevil at 5:16 AM on February 7


>Don't the military parade in Washington DC during the 4th of July?

There is a parade in which some members of the military may participate, but it is not a military parade, per se; if you put chocolate sprinkles on a vanilla cake with vanilla frosting, the mere presence of chocolate does not transmute the whole cake into a chocolate one. There are meaningful differences in composition, scope, and purpose.
posted by cjelli at 5:32 AM on February 7 [10 favorites]


These offices are now required to assign a staff member to monitor all litigation and immediately inform high-ranking political appointees at DOJ whenever the offices are subject to a lawsuit involving religious liberty, when religious liberty is used as a defense in litigation, or when the offices file a suit involving religious issues.
Welcome to the Republic of Gilead, everyone! Blessed Be the Fruit.
posted by rc3spencer at 5:41 AM on February 7 [24 favorites]


These offices are now required to assign a staff member to monitor all litigation and immediately inform high-ranking political appointees at DOJ whenever the offices are subject to a lawsuit involving religious liberty, when religious liberty is used as a defense in litigation, or when the offices file a suit involving religious issues.

I'm sure the Church of Satan could have some fun with this one.
posted by snortasprocket at 5:43 AM on February 7 [39 favorites]


It's entirely outside the fourth estate's ability to stop Trump.

I'd say I disagree with my liege here, but it's a fine example of something being both true and false.

Technically, the NYT cannot vote. That is our job as an angry mob. But the power of omnipresent propaganda is such that it's almost irrelevant: the corporate media is the authority in many, many respects. That's why everyone wants to control them.

The fourth estate created Trump, surely.
posted by petebest at 5:47 AM on February 7 [25 favorites]




apparently things are getting boring at the white house and trump needs to push the chaos button again:

Vanity Fair: "HE WANTS A KILLER”: POST-BANNON, POST-NUNES, POST-KELLY FRICTION, A FRUSTRATED TRUMP SEARCHES FOR A WEST WING RESET
After the much-hyped Nunes memo failed to deliver the narrative reset that the White House hoped for, Donald Trump is discussing a shake-up to his West Wing, three sources familiar with the president’s thinking told me. These people say the president is increasingly frustrated that members of his administration aren’t going to war for him, and he’s being encouraged by his daughter Ivanka to bring in new blood. “The president’s view is that allies on the outside are doing a better job defending him than his political shop,” one Republican close to the White House told me. Another outside adviser who regularly speaks with Trump said that the president is regretting some of his Cabinet choices. “He’s saying he should have put Rudy [Giuliani] at State and Chris Christie at Justice.”
you can't unserve the meatloaf, don.
Without a close confidant on the inside with whom he can plot strategy, Trump has turned to outside advisers for counsel. According to sources, Trump speaks regularly by phone with a braintrust that includes Sean Hannity, Jason Miller, Corey Lewandowski, Reince Priebus, and R.N.C. Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel. According to sources, Miller has advised Trump to push for an immigration deal that shows real progress towards building the Wall, the theory being that getting a win on immigration will mobilize the base in November. Instead, they want him to sign an extension for DACA so that immigration is a midterm election issue (the theory being that putting immigration on the ballot will mobilize the base). Miller also has told Trump that he performs best when he can draw a stark contrast with his opponent. Miller wants Trump to make the midterms a choice between the Trump agenda and Nancy Pelosi, a race that mirrors the 2016 campaign against Hillary Clinton.
CAN WE GET A SCARY WOMAN UP THERE? I LIKE FIGHTING WOMEN.
posted by murphy slaw at 6:09 AM on February 7 [48 favorites]


> Trump has recently told advisers he wants a “killer” to steer the White House’s response to Robert Mueller’s investigation and craft a midterm election message for him to stump on this fall

Are they sure he was speaking metaphorically, here?

> Ivanka, who’s been frustrated with Chief of Staff John Kelly, has told her father that he needs people around him that will put his interests above their own.

If the Trumps had even a quarter of an ounce of self-awareness they might ask themselves why anyone in their right mind would consider putting Donnie Two Scoops' interests above their own.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:18 AM on February 7 [18 favorites]


Trump’s desire for a military parade reveals him as a would-be despot - Jonathan Freedland, Guardian Op Ed
The trouble with [both mocking and sober responses], is that they fail to take account of the fact that many millions of Americans might well like such a show. While progressives might complain about the banana republic militarism, while fiscal conservatives will worry about the huge cost of diverting all that kit to the capital and while the city itself frets about the damage 70-tonne tanks are liable to do to its roads, a large chunk of US society will want to rise to its feet and applaud.
...
It means opponents will have to be canny. A counter-demonstration could easily be cast as unpatriotic, hostile to those in uniform, rather than to the commander-in-chief (who, of course, dodged military service himself, later claiming his battle to avoid contracting a sexually transmitted disease despite intense promiscuity was his “personal Vietnam”). But there is an opening here nonetheless.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:18 AM on February 7 [25 favorites]


And now that I think about it, any parade for Trump should also contain balloons and floats chosen for sarcastic symbolism.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:22 AM on February 7


sarcasm doesn't work on narcissists.
posted by murphy slaw at 6:24 AM on February 7 [27 favorites]


These offices are now required to assign a staff member to monitor all litigation and immediately inform high-ranking political appointees at DOJ whenever the offices are subject to a lawsuit involving religious liberty, when religious liberty is used as a defense in litigation, or when the offices file a suit involving religious issues.

this feels like it's one step away from having political commissars.
posted by anem0ne at 6:25 AM on February 7 [21 favorites]




Political appointees being installed to overrule law enforcement officials on religious grounds? Military parades to glorify Dear Leader? Hell of a track you're on, the United States.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:29 AM on February 7 [33 favorites]


After the much-hyped Nunes memo failed to deliver the narrative reset that the White House hoped for, Donald Trump is discussing a shake-up to his West Wing, three sources familiar with the president’s thinking told me.

I believe we've been hearing this same story over and over again with something different in the "Nunes memo" spot since pretty much day one.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:30 AM on February 7 [19 favorites]


sarcasm doesn't work on narcissists.

True. Not much seems to get through. (Random sarcastic thought: have a parade of military vehicles sold to police departments around the country.)
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:33 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


A braintrust? "braintrust" surely?
posted by glasseyes at 6:36 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


Morning news miscellany --

WaPo: Why Trump’s military parade won’t be ‘like the one in France’
[W]hat has long been understood to be a national, historic tradition in France would likely be perceived by many as a more timely political message from a single U.S. individual to the nation, and indeed to the world, along the lines of: Look at how strong we (and I) are.

Not only did France's Bastille Day parade evolve in a different context, persisting through two world wars and Nazi occupation, but it has also often been used to emphasize a very different message that could be summarized as: We are only strong together. What Trump may have missed while watching the Paris parade last July was that its organizers have frequently invited foreign troops — from Morocco, Britain, Germany to India — to march alongside French soldiers or to even lead it. Instead of the French flag, French soldiers sometimes wave the European Union flag, even though the political bloc does not have its own army.

On a continent where Trump has never had many supporters, defense analysts worried on Wednesday whether the President’s alleged misunderstanding of military traditions was sign of a broader problem. “At what point does healthy appreciation for the military turn into unhealthy obsession?”
ProPublica: What Happened to All the Jobs Trump Promised?
President Trump has made many claims promising that individual companies such as Amazon, Alibaba and Boeing will hire large – and specific – numbers of American workers, a total of 2.4 million in all. We found that only about 206,000 of those jobs have been created so far. Roughly 136,000 of those were genuinely new positions, as opposed to slots that were planned before the presidential election. And [only] some 63,000 of them are potentially attributable to Trump, according to the companies that did the hiring.

Buzzfeed: Russian Trolls Ran Wild On Tumblr And The Company Refuses To Say Anything About It
Russian trolls posed as black activists on Tumblr and generated hundreds of thousands of interactions for content that ranged from calling Hillary Clinton a “monster” to supporting Bernie Sanders and decrying racial injustice and police violence in the US, according to new findings from researcher Jonathan Albright and BuzzFeed News.

While Facebook and Twitter continue to face intense public and congressional pressure over the activity from trolls working for the Russian Internet Research Agency, Tumblr has somehow managed to escape scrutiny. But the blogging platform was in fact home to a powerful, largely unrevealed network of Russian trolls focused on black issues and activism.

“The evidence we've collected shows a highly engaged and far-reaching Tumblr propaganda-op targeting mostly teenage and twenty-something African Americans. This appears to have been part of an ongoing campaign since early 2015,” said Albright, research director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University.
At this point, it would be surprising to find a social media network that wasn't being used to push government-created propaganda.
posted by cjelli at 6:43 AM on February 7 [70 favorites]


Trump speaks regularly by phone with a braintrust that includes Sean Hannity, Jason Miller, Corey Lewandowski, Reince Priebus, and R.N.C. Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel.

Literally the Best and the Brightest. God what I would give for one of the 20 foreign intelligence services that have these people's phones compromised to drop a few recordings of conversations between Trump and these chuds on soundcloud.
posted by dis_integration at 6:43 AM on February 7 [42 favorites]


Anyone who watches Hannity and regards him as some sort of bomb-throwing truth-teller and thinks Trump is...anything other than what he so plainly is would similarly not hear what you or I would hear if we all listened to those tapes.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:53 AM on February 7 [7 favorites]


Trump speaks regularly by phone with a braintrust that includes Sean Hannity, Jason Miller, Corey Lewandowski, Reince Priebus, and R.N.C. Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel.

One brain shared out among the five of them.

This fucker is going to get us into a war because he gets bored when his ass is not being kissed with sufficient fervor.
posted by GrammarMoses at 7:06 AM on February 7 [10 favorites]


I've been nonplussed about this military parade business, thinking something along the lines of, well, let the man-boy play with his toys as long as he's not using them.

And then I thought: Well, why does this man-boy want to play with his toys? And what message does he think it sends to his base? And I thought, the message is, 'I have big weapons and I want to use them.'

And, you know, it's true, Trump is so hard to figure out as a person but as a kind of predictor of future actions it's the chaos element that's hard to predict what actual choice he'll make but when it comes to his drive, he's actually kind of very simple. Fuck shit up to prove I'm not a loser.

So in the context of his raison d'etre being to fuck shit up to prove he's not his loser, I find, upon further contemplation, this military parade bullshit to be terrifying.

Thanks, my stupid brain, I was just drinking espresso and writing a story about a woman who becomes possessed by a cat and now this apocalyptic shit.
posted by angrycat at 7:06 AM on February 7 [12 favorites]


Vanity Fair: "HE WANTS A KILLER”
Trump had wanted [Jason] Miller to join the administration during the transition, but Miller withdrew after it was revealed he had an extramarital affair during the campaign with former Trump aide A.J. Delgado.
...
Miller has so far been reluctant to take a White House job because he’s told people he needs to earn a private-sector income to make child support payments to Delgado, who gave birth to Miller’s son last July. (Miller, who remains married to his wife, declined to comment. A White House spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.)

If Miller doesn’t go to the White House, another scenario being discussed is that Trump could fill the strategist role with Lewandowski and former deputy campaign manager Dave Bossie.
So Trump's top strategist picks are a guy who cheated on his wife (like Trump!) and a guy who was fired from the campaign for roughing up a reporter and was recently accused of sexual assault (like Trump!). He is in tune with the zeitgeist.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:09 AM on February 7 [10 favorites]


The fourth estate created Trump, surely.

Something something Walter Cronkite "The Democratic convention is about to begin in a police state" something something
posted by Melismata at 7:11 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


the theory being that getting a win on immigration will mobilize the base in November.

Trump's political advisors are ostensibly admitting that the key to victory is turning out white supremacists; it's not even a dog whistle. I think they're right. Fine, Trumpists turn out their 30% of white supremacists. If the left stands behind not just DACA but refusing to roll back family reunification immigration, then it's still winnable.
posted by gladly at 7:14 AM on February 7 [8 favorites]


Maybe at the military parade, they can have regiments from different parts of the US marching behind banners listing their town/state, beneath a golden eagle in the form of a letter T. That's probably closer to what Cadet Bone Spurs had in mind.
posted by acb at 7:14 AM on February 7


Well, sure, why not? Let's storm the prisons and let out all the political prisoners and then guillotine the landlords and then have a huge parade about it, why the hell not? I can't see why Trump would be in favor of that, but whatevs.
posted by Don Pepino at 7:17 AM on February 7 [20 favorites]


Especially since it involves overriding the wishes of 95% of a city's residents, trashes their infrastructure, and will almost assuredly end up with them paying for it.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:38 PM on February 6 [26 favorites +] [!]


I just wanted to echo this; Washington, DC doesn't have voting representation in Congress (Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton can vote in committee but not in the full House and DC has no one in the Senate) and is more directly affected by congressional decisions than anywhere else in the country because Congress has the ability to overrule the democratically expressed will of DC voters. Virtually no one in DC will want this. It will fuck up the city physically. It will fuck up people's abilities to live their lives by going to work or seeing friends or accessing childcare and healthcare. It will be extremely expensive. It will bring a high risk of violence. It will embolden the city's MANY law enforcement agencies (DC has an especially high number of law enforcement agencies/officers because there are so many jurisdictions because of federal land and the White house and stuff so there's the Metropolitan Police Department/MPD and also Park Police and Secret Service and a few others -- you can read more here if you're interested).

Fascists will come flooding into the city, many of them very likely violating, perhaps openly, DC's gun laws. They will talk about how parts of the city are too dangerous to visit even though people have their homes there. They will take up space on the Metro while being distrustful and rude and will say it's dirty or dangerous or too crowded or full of the wrong kind of people. People who live here and don't want this will have their lives at a minimum disrupted and possibly threatened or even ended because this horrible, disgusting, pathetic man wants to use a city that hates him and doesn't belong to him as a backdrop for a sickening display of the militaristic might of a country in whose armed forces he failed to serve. I have lots of issues with the military anyway, but this isn't about the country's military and it's certainly not about servicepeople, it's about Donald Trump's ego and he is perfectly happy to invite a bunch of dangerously unhinged authoritarian sycophants into a city full of liberals and people of color so that the human equivalent of the hyenas from The Lion King can tell him how great he is.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:18 AM on February 7 [149 favorites]


A parade of racist sheriffs in their military vehicles would probably make both Trump and the sheriffs very happy.
posted by Artw at 7:26 AM on February 7


Fine, Trumpists turn out their 30% of white supremacists. If the left stands behind not just DACA but refusing to roll back family reunification immigration, then it's still winnable

Yup, can’t wait to see how Russian trolls convince “the left” to stay home or vote third party now that they don’t have the easy misogyny play at their disposal

It’s like waiting to see what new horror is revealed as having been there all along
posted by schadenfrau at 7:30 AM on February 7 [15 favorites]


Introducing GovTrack’s Congressional Misconduct Database
So what is in the database? Lots. It is remarkably educational in that you see trends in investigated misconduct that reflect both larger societal concerns of the time and the efforts of Congress to define misconduct. We’ll be discussing what we’ve noticed in the database in a series of posts, starting with sexual harassment.
posted by phearlez at 7:45 AM on February 7 [16 favorites]


^ the message is, 'I have big weapons and I want to use them.'
a brief rundown of the first year of his presidency in war terms.
By the Air Force’s own count, 4,361 weapons were “released” in Afghanistan in 2017 compared to 1,337 in 2016.
U.S.-led coalition forces have launched more than 10,000 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since Donald Trump became president, unleashing 39,577 weapons in 2017. (The figure for 2016 was 30,743.)
Yemen, witnessed a sixfold increase in U.S. airstrikes against al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (from 21 in 2016 to more than 131 in 2017.
In Somalia, U.S. forces on the ground have reached numbers not seen since the Black Hawk Down incident of 1993.
posted by adamvasco at 7:47 AM on February 7 [13 favorites]


Something something Walter Cronkite "The Democratic convention is about to begin in a police state" something something

That was a half-century ago. (It boggles my mind to write that, because I watched it live.) Talking today about the integrity of Uncle Walter and his colleagues is about on par with discussing the behavior of Republicans during Reconstruction.
posted by Longtime Listener at 7:59 AM on February 7 [16 favorites]


Trump adviser says ignore flu shots and 'inoculate yourself with the word of God':
A Texas-based evangelist with ties to President Donald Trump came under fire this week after video re-surfaced of her telling followers that they don't need to get a flu shot because "Jesus himself gave us the flu shot."
posted by dirigibleman at 8:16 AM on February 7 [10 favorites]


Congress near deal to avoid shutdown NYT

Pelosi is making some noise but apparently they are separating budget talks from DACA and well I guess the budget won.
posted by angrycat at 8:20 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]



Buzzfeed: Russian Trolls Ran Wild On Tumblr And The Company Refuses To Say Anything About It


Honestly my tinfoil hat has been vibrating for a while about why it seems that all the black-males-getting-shot-by-cops stories seemed to have stopped the instant after Trump won? I mean we know that cops are still shooting, but it's like the media just completely lost interest.
posted by xigxag at 8:35 AM on February 7 [17 favorites]


ZeusHumms: Trump’s desire for a military parade reveals him as a would-be despot

Let me fix that for you -- Trump's desire for a military parade IS JUST ANOTHER HUGE FUCKING SIGN that he wants to be a despot. This is not the first sign - here's an expert on fascism enumerating the ways that Trump might be guilty of light treason fascism (tl;dr: he's not a fascist because he's not intelligent to plan that far ahead). Counterpoint: Donald Trump is actually a fascist
The game has several names: “Corporate statism” is one. In Europe, they call it “dirigisme.” Those two other words for it — “Nazism” and “fascism” — are now beyond all respectability. It means, roughly, combining the power of the state with the power of corporations. At its mildest, it is intrusive regulations on business about parental leave and such. At its most toxic, it is concentration camps. In the 1930s, a few Americans (including a few liberals) bought into it. Pearl Harbor ended that argument. Even for Trump, “fascism” itself now is a dirty word, not just a policy choice. Even Trump would not use it — least of all about himself.
Oh sorry, you said "would-be despot." He has that covered, too -- Trump is following in the path of despots, noted back on July 22, 2016, when he was a mere presidential nominee:
Without understanding a word of German, it wasn’t difficult to translate Hitler’s message. The ferocious shouts of thousands of citizens, inflamed by and enamored of this strange little man, merged into a solid note — a deafening roar freighted with the fears and furies of mankind’s primeval past.

“Lock her up” sounds a lot like “To the stockades.”

We affirm that such a thing could never happen here. Our Constitution and our system of checks and balances protect against totalitarianism. I share the faith that America yet remains too good and too strong for a complete breakdown of our ordered liberty.

However.

There are reasons for the comparisons between tyrants and Trump that transcend mere politics. There is also good reason that so many have accepted Trump as their leader. As one Republican loyalist explained to me: “He’s a tough guy. They think he’s going to punch (bad) people in the face.”

Indeed, Trump promised to end the Islamic State and to protect the LGBTQ community from “the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology,” just as he has promised to bring back jobs and renegotiate trade deals. The how of these several vows remains a mystery.

More pressing, meanwhile: What will be required of the United States in the process? How much freedom does law and order cost? We don’t know because Trump probably doesn’t know. What I do know is that the sound and fury I recall from my father’s records are similar to what I heard in Cleveland from decent people who would recoil at the comparison.
The military parades are just an icing on the despotic cake.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:35 AM on February 7 [42 favorites]


murphy slaw: CAN WE GET A SCARY WOMAN UP THERE? I LIKE FIGHTING WOMEN.

Yes, yes we can: Women Line Up to Run for Office, Harnessing Their Outrage at Trump (Michael Tackett for New York Times, Dec. 4, 2017)
None of the women had seriously contemplated entering politics before. They had no money or organization. But they were dismayed with the direction of the country, they said, starting with the election of President Trump, and finally decided to act.

They have been joined by hundreds of other women across the nation, with the number seeking elective office rising at every level, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers. They were angered by Mr. Trump’s election and energized by the Women’s March in Washington the day after his inauguration, and are now even more driven to get involved after the flood of sexual harassment allegations against powerful men.
More information from Election Watch at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:41 AM on February 7 [14 favorites]


At its mildest, it is intrusive regulations on business about parental leave and such.

i don’t see the straight line between reasonable labor regulations and the fourth reich they’re trying to draw here?
posted by murphy slaw at 8:45 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


> Congress near deal to avoid shutdown – NYT

That article headline is being rewritten as we go (not surprising). Here's where we are now on the front page:

NYT Breaking News: Senate Close to Deal on 2-Year Spending Bill, Ignoring Trump
Senate leaders, disregarding President Trump’s blustery threats to shut down the government, neared a far-reaching agreement on Wednesday to set spending levels on military and domestic spending for the next two years, breaking the cycle of fiscal crises that have bedeviled the Capitol since last summer.
Hey, he said he was a great dealmaker, right?
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:48 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


Trump on the stock market: A 'big mistake'

trump tweets that the stock market going down is a "big mistake". He's actually calling the stock market mistaken, like it's a person who didn't do what he wants. Hey, maybe he should just pass an executive order that says it's going up! I'm sure that'll work.
posted by mrgoat at 8:54 AM on February 7 [67 favorites]


does a senate deal matter if the freedom caucus is still willing to hold the country hostage?
posted by murphy slaw at 8:55 AM on February 7


Oh, and sarcasm watch:
The deal also makes for another lonely day for lawmakers concerned about the federal budget deficit, which was already expected to reach $1 trillion in the next fiscal year, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a fiscal watchdog group.
No Democrat should ever - ever - stand for another finger-wagging pundit yapping about liberals being irresponsible with the budget. The ACA could have included massive subsidies as a down payment on the glorious future FAGSLC, and it would have been twenty points more popular, if Democrats hadn't tried so hard to be responsible adults.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:55 AM on February 7 [28 favorites]


It’s like waiting to see what new horror is revealed as having been there all along

I'm sure the "both parties are bad" and "smartest, most cynical contrarian in the room" wells are full and ready to go.
posted by Talez at 8:56 AM on February 7 [8 favorites]


does a senate deal matter if the freedom caucus is still willing to hold the country hostage?

Not really. Anything substantial the House Freedom Caucus won't approve won't make it to the floor. You'd need a discharge petition and moderate House Rs aren't biting.
posted by Talez at 8:59 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Don't the military parade in Washington DC during the 4th of July?

I mean, that’s the hilarious thing about this whole thing. The military parade all the goddamn time. They parade in DC for memorial day, they parade for Veterans Day, they parade for literally every holiday that has a parade, because they’re good at marching, and it costs a unit actually nothing in order to send a bunch of Joes out with uniforms on.

Trump would know this if he’d ever attended one, If he had even a cursory interest in respect for the military or solemnity or national holidays. The fact that he doesn’t, and thinks that the military parade is just something the French do and not us, is indicative of just how fucking clueless he is.
posted by corb at 9:07 AM on February 7 [71 favorites]


i think trump wants to show putin that he can throw a bigger military parade than russia can

that's it - how pathetic
posted by pyramid termite at 9:11 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


You know, I've been in a very onward-and-upward political mood overall - no point dwelling on 2016, that's what the first half of 2017 was for - but god DAMN does this currently-ubiquitous-on-Hulu Volvo ad piss me off.

"One of the things we admire most about the United States is anyone can be president with enough heart and determination. No matter their race, class, or gender."

No. No, they can't. Demonstrably. How incredibly fucking tone-deaf.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:18 AM on February 7 [75 favorites]


I can't wait for all the puff pieces on Ivanka lovingly picking out Trump's epaulettes.

With this parade-charade we are bypassing banana republics and heading straight to The Great Dictator.
posted by lydhre at 9:18 AM on February 7 [6 favorites]


Trump would know this if he’d ever attended one, If he had even a cursory interest in respect for the military or solemnity or national holidays. The fact that he doesn’t, and thinks that the military parade is just something the French do and not us, is indicative of just how fucking clueless he is.

It's not that he likes parades, per se. He can't enjoy the experience of being in an audience, because he has no appreciation for being part of anything larger than himself. All he wants is the power rush of seeing the tough, fancy military men march around because he told them to. So it might be best to just give him his damn parade if it will keep him from sending more servicemembers to their deaths in actual war zones. My sympathies are with the people who have to take part in this farce and the innocent citizens of DC whose lives will be disrupted.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:20 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


Trump would know this if he’d ever attended one, If he had even a cursory interest in respect for the military or solemnity or national holidays. The fact that he doesn’t, and thinks that the military parade is just something the French do and not us, is indicative of just how fucking clueless he is.

I'm seriously afraid people are not getting what Trump is wanting, here, because it's so out of control. Yes, the military often marches *in* parades, they have marching bands, they wear sharp uniforms and look good in lines, etc., but that's not what Trump is talking about here

He's talking about a show of force with actual hardware like motherfucking tanks and armored vehicles and visible giant guns and armed fucking troops in uncountable lines.

I'm unaware of anything even slightly resembling this having occurred in the U.S.
posted by odinsdream at 9:21 AM on February 7 [103 favorites]




The US has held military parades before. This is what they looked like. Including self-propelled howitzers in a World War II victory parade in New York, tanks and an 85-ton atomic cannon at both of Eisenhower's inaugurations, a Nike Zeus missile during JFK's inauguration, and armored vehicles and missile systems in the 1991 Gulf War Victory Parade.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:29 AM on February 7 [20 favorites]


"One of the things we admire most about the United States is anyone can be president with enough heart and determination. No matter their race, class, or gender."

I saw that last night and was left so confused. Surely that was left over from mid-2016, and no one actually got paid to write that phrase in the last year, right? Yes, the constitution says anyone over 35, and women should be president, and I'd sure like to live in a world where that phrase is true, but I'm pretty sure I don't right now and it was just such a strange commercial.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:30 AM on February 7 [6 favorites]


The US has held military parades before. This is what they looked like.

I stand corrected and continue to hate everything.
posted by odinsdream at 9:30 AM on February 7 [90 favorites]


MetaFilter: I stand corrected and continue to hate everything.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:31 AM on February 7 [180 favorites]


The main goal here for Chancellor Scheisskopf isn't a parade, per se. It's to set up a made-for-tv moment, the likes of which has been shown on television as long as he can probably remember.

Namely, that as the great might of the military is arrayed before him, with the tanks and howitzers and row upon row upon row of trained, obedient soldiers prepared to kill or die at his command, the tv pans up to the reviewing stand at the gathering of dignitaries there. And lingers, lovingly, on the face of the Great Leader, looking down approvingly at all he surveys.

It's not because the French do it. It's because very mighty men - men who command legions - have done it for all of known history. And it's one of the most powerful, Riefenstahl-esque, cinematic moments that can be used to propagandize to the world that leader's unassailable might.
posted by darkstar at 9:33 AM on February 7 [45 favorites]


I mean, that’s the hilarious thing about this whole thing. The military parade all the goddamn time. They parade in DC for memorial day, they parade for Veterans Day, they parade for literally every holiday that has a parade, because they’re good at marching, and it costs a unit actually nothing in order to send a bunch of Joes out with uniforms on.

Just be clear: no, the military themselves do not throw parades "all the goddamn time." Veteran's groups, non-profits, and other private organizations, sure. Even then it's really only on Memorial Day, not Veteran's Day or July 4. And the thing is that, for the most part, DC residents can (and for the large part, do) avoid the parades because they're limited in both size and length. And apart from the fascist asshole parade that is Rolling Thunder, the city isn't flooded with thousands of belligerent bigots who get off on disrupting the lives of residents.

What Trump is doing is ordering the military to throw him this parade, with tanks and flyovers and all the other trappings of dictatorships. These will cause massive disruptions not just city-wide, but across the entire metro area. We can't avoid several dozen military caravans fucking with every aspect transportation, or dozens of jets flying directly overhead with ear-splitting noise. The damage to roads and public transportation and the likely property damage from the above belligerent bigots here to pay homage to Dear Leader will fall entirely on us, too. Many of whom, as Mrs. Pterodactyl points out, will come to directly disrespect the city, its people, and its laws.

So let's not just pretend this is something that is anywhere approaching normal for DC. It has happened very rarely in the past [on preview: what kirkaracha said), and only once in the last 50 years. If you're cool with that, that's you. We're not, and we don't need people trying to minimize what this means for the major city where barely four percent of people voted for the man who wants to destroy them.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:33 AM on February 7 [55 favorites]


an 85-ton atomic cannon

Jesus Christ on a stick, nobody tell Trump that there ever was such a thing as an atomic cannon. He'll want atomic cannons and nuclear tanks and plutonium bullets and adamantium claw soldiers and a custom-built Iron Man suit with a protruding codpiece.
posted by delfin at 9:34 AM on February 7 [39 favorites]


Sorry, odinsdream, didn't mean to seem like I was calling you out.

Other than the Gulf War parade we haven't held military parades in my lifetime, and I am an old. We only do them when we win a war or during a presidential inaugurations (which I guess could be seen as acknowledging civilian control of the military).
posted by kirkaracha at 9:35 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


I understand the “fine, let him do the parade so he doesn’t start a war” sentiment, but fuck that. Letting an autocrat get away with awful/ridiculous/fascist things because you’re afraid they’ll do worse things is how this shit gets normalized and how they expand their power. We have to fight them on the beach so to speak because once they’re ashore, it’s much harder to defeat them.
posted by chris24 at 9:37 AM on February 7 [106 favorites]


Beyond the ego-fluff of a Trump of the Will display of military might and international dominance, the parade more importantly serves as a display of internal dominance. "I can roll tanks through the streets of a city in which 90% of the population hates my guts and there's nothing that they or the rest of you can do about it. So why resist me at all?"

I hope some of us are brave enough to stand in front of those tanks.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:41 AM on February 7 [65 favorites]


I hope some of us are brave enough to stand in front of those tanks.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:41 AM on February 7


A friend sent me the article on the parade last night via text message. My immediate reaction to her was "What street to I need to go lay down in and when?" and I then passed it along via text to a number of friends with the question "Will you join me in Washington for this protest?" I don't want to stand, too easy for them to move me. Laying down, I am dead weight. Middle aged pudgy white guys are quite heavy when they are dead weight. Hmmm...didn't mean to metaphor the Prez, but, well, the world is feeling the pressure of the dead weight of an old pudgy white guy, no?
posted by W Grant at 9:46 AM on February 7 [35 favorites]


Bart: I just think our veterans deserve a little recognition.
Lisa: That's what Veterans Day is for, Bart.
Bart: But is that really enough to honor our brave soldiers?
Lisa: They also have Memorial Day!
Bart: Oh, Lisa, maybe you're right, maybe you're wrong, the important thing is that veterans deserve a day to honor them!
Lisa: They have two!
Bart: Well, maybe they should have three. I'm Bart Simpson.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:50 AM on February 7 [40 favorites]


I mean, I have studied 20th century history a lot, over the course of decades. This is MY line in the sand. I was heartened when the Pentagon said NO to the ban of transgendered people in the military, I thought, great, he doesn't have the armed forces. But this, no, this is MY line. No more national focal points for White Supremacy Evangelical Christian Fascists. NONE. And FFS, NO MILITARY SUPPORT FOR THEM!!!
posted by W Grant at 9:51 AM on February 7 [9 favorites]


Sounds a little like the prelude to a military coup. Kind of risky on Trump's part, if you ask me.
posted by Slinga at 9:54 AM on February 7


If you introduce a military parade in Act I, you have to use it in the big, apocalyptic finale in Act OMG.
posted by mosk at 10:00 AM on February 7 [27 favorites]


Looks like Schumer got played again.

Quelle fucking surprise.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:00 AM on February 7 [9 favorites]


> Quelle fucking surprise.

Yes, but you see, now Democrats have EXPOSED McConnell as a LIAR who can't be trusted to engage in good faith. Armed with this brand new information, the press will surely EVISCERATE the GOP and force them to accede to Democrats' demands for fully-automated luxury gay space communism.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:04 AM on February 7 [25 favorites]


I don't think I've seen these links here yet:

Alayna Treene, Axios -- White House: Trump lawyers in favor of appointing second special counsel
Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters on Air Force One Monday that President Trump's attorneys have already approved the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate the FBI and Justice Department's actions during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to White House pool reports.
Jonanna Walter, The Guardian -- Trump University: court upholds $25m settlement to give students' money back
The three-judge panel in San Francisco ruled unanimously that US district judge Gonzalo Curiel had ample reason to approve the settlement.
Jeff Stein and Andrew Van Dam, WaPo -- "Trump immigration plan could keep whites in U.S. majority for up to five more years"
If Trump's plan is not implemented, the white share of the population is expected to fall from more than 60 percent in 2018 to less than 45 percent in 2060 [and are no longer a majority as of 2044], as the light green lines in the chart below show. The teal lines show The Post's lower estimates of the impact of Trump's proposal, in which whites stay the majority group until 2046. The brown lines show the upper bound of the potential impact of Trump's proposal [in which whites stay the majority group until 2049].
Fox News Exclusive interview with Rex Tillerson --
EXCLUSIVE – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday warned the United States is ill-prepared to prevent Russian interference in the upcoming midterms, as it was in the 2016 general election.

“I don't know that I would say we are better prepared, because the Russians will adapt as well,” Tillerson said in an exclusive interview with Fox News in Bogota, Colombia. “The point is, if it's their intention to interfere, they are going to find ways to do that. We can take steps we can take but this is something that, once they decide they are going to do it, it's very difficult to preempt it.”

Russia is already attempting to interfere “in the U.S. in 2018” ahead of congressional midterm elections as it did in the 2016 general election, he said.
Sam Thielman, Talking Points Memo -- "Exclusive: Russian Gun Group With Ties To NRA Backed By Right-Wing Extremists"
A Russian pro-gun group with ties to the National Rifle Association boasted an “honorary members” list that’s a who’s-who of far-right and nationalist Russian political figures.

The group, The Right To Bear Arms, is run by Alexander Torshin, the Russian central bank official and Putin ally at the center of an FBI investigation into whether the NRA received illegal Russian money to boost Donald Trump in 2016.
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:04 AM on February 7 [21 favorites]


McConnell says the base Dreamer bill he brings up in the Senate "will not have underlying immigration text" but will allow for amendments in a fair process.

Maybe I'm missing something, but how is this a problem? If there are 60 votes for a DACA bill it will be amended to become a DACA bill, correct?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:16 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


Wait a minute: are random people in Russia allowed to carry personal assault rifles as in America, or is this one of those rhetorical rights that exists only at the whim of the Czar? In other words, is The Right To Bear Arms' narrative one of defending a time-honoured Russian freedom of personal firearms, or are they officially a protest group demanding that the government allows Russians to pack heat freely (though in practice not actually bothering government officials)?

I'm curious as to the actual structure and dimensionality of this Potemkin village.
posted by acb at 10:17 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


Raj Shah is the most regal name ever. It literally means King King.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:20 AM on February 7 [15 favorites]


It is the name Reince Priebus aspires to be.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 10:23 AM on February 7 [42 favorites]


Maybe I'm missing something, but how is this a problem? If there are 60 votes for a DACA bill it will be amended to become a DACA bill, correct?

Off the top of my head, any anti-immigrant Republican -- which is to say, any Republican, McConnell included -- could offer poison pill amendments, which will make the bill impossible for Senate Democrats to support, and so it won't get to the House of Representatives to be (inevitably) voted down.
posted by Gelatin at 10:25 AM on February 7


Raj Shah is the most regal name ever. It literally means King King.

Well, Donald Trump means Ruler of the World who Defeats Everyone so maybe we should ignore the names
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:26 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


METAFILTER: demands for fully-automated luxury gay space communism
posted by philip-random at 10:27 AM on February 7 [9 favorites]


I saw that last night and was left so confused. Surely that was left over from mid-2016, and no one actually got paid to write that phrase in the last year, right? Yes, the constitution says anyone over 35, and women should be president, and I'd sure like to live in a world where that phrase is true, but I'm pretty sure I don't right now and it was just such a strange commercial.

it's not, not really. the ad industry has a huge diversity problem.

---

Jesus Christ on a stick, nobody tell Trump that there ever was such a thing as an atomic cannon. He'll want atomic cannons and nuclear tanks and plutonium bullets and adamantium claw soldiers and a custom-built Iron Man suit with a protruding codpiece.

i mean, they want tacnukes now, so. historically there's even this little personnel-carried nuke.
posted by anem0ne at 10:27 AM on February 7




any anti-immigrant Republican -- which is to say, any Republican, McConnell included -- could offer poison pill amendments

That seems unavoidable in any scenario that allows free amendment. What I'm saying is, the initial text of the bill doesn't matter, because it can immediately be changed as long as the votes are there.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:28 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


are random people in Russia allowed to carry personal assault rifles as in America?

According to this link to own a gun in Russia...
The following documents must be submitted to a local police department, together with the application for a gun license:

-Statement that an individual has no medical contraindications for possession of guns
-Statements issued by boards monitoring psychiatric and substance abuse services within the administrative area where an applicant permanently resides that the applicant was not treated for mental illnesses or drug abuse
-Proof of Russian citizenship
-Two photographs
-Statement from a territorial police officer that weapons can be safely kept at the applicant’s residence
-Hunter’s card
-License fee
-Proof of no less than five-year possession of smooth-bore barrel guns if applying for a license to purchase rifled-bore barreled guns
Also...
All weapons must be registered within two weeks after their acquisition. Registration must be conducted by the same police department that issued the license for acquisition. According to article 22 of the Law on Weapons, it is the gun owner’s responsibility to make sure that his/her weapons are stored safely. The local police inspector is obligated under the Law to visit a gun owner’s residence at least once a year and review the safety of weapons
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:29 AM on February 7 [9 favorites]


I just got an email from Nancy Pelosi about her "filibuster" in the House to get a vote for Dreamers. Go Nancy!
posted by kristi at 10:30 AM on February 7 [27 favorites]


Yes, I was going to say that while it DOES seem like Schumer got played here, its also possible that he's just letting Nancy play bad cop for the day . . .

but im not sure what the long game is, once shutdowns are off the table how do the Dems even enter the conversation, when they will face a take-our-terms-or-let-it-expire offer?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:33 AM on February 7


That seems unavoidable in any scenario that allows free amendment.

From what is being reported, though, McConnell is not allowing free amendment; he is controlling the amendment process in a manner he deems to be 'fair.'
posted by cjelli at 10:33 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


If you missed the beginning of the latest performance of Schumer-Pelosi Theater, do you still get a chance to sneak in during intermission? Or should you just go home cuz the show's over for you?
posted by rc3spencer at 10:33 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


A Russian pro-gun group, ...The Right to Bear Arms

jesus the writers are getting sloppier every day
posted by delfin at 10:36 AM on February 7 [26 favorites]


White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigns amid abuse allegations
White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned today after his two ex-wives came forward with abuse allegations.

What we're hearing: Nobody pressured him to resign, per multiple officials. A White House official said senior officials were trying to convince Porter “to stay and fight.” Those officials included Chief of Staff John Kelly.
posted by cjelli at 10:40 AM on February 7 [33 favorites]


Trump University: court upholds $25m settlement to give students' money back

Note that this is a victory for Trump. He gets off cheap and doesn't have to testify in a public jury trial. The person who was fighting the settlement was not Trump but one of the people who was cheated by Trump and doesn't think the settlement was sufficient. This ruling lets Trump off the hook without any embarrassing public testimony.

Also, note that the plaintiffs only get $21 million of the settlement. $4 million goes to the NY Attorney General's office, which is one of the reasons they are fighting so hard for the settlement.
posted by JackFlash at 10:43 AM on February 7 [12 favorites]


A White House official said senior officials were trying to convince Porter “to stay and fight.”

Perhaps not the most felicitous turn of phrase.
posted by orrnyereg at 10:44 AM on February 7 [35 favorites]


Hey everybody, "Mad Dog" Mattis is on the electric teevee screen! Will this finally be the time that he proves he's totally a moderating influence and not a fascist enabler? Let's see what he has to say...
@ddale8: Mattis when asked about why it's a good idea for military leaders to spend time and money on a parade: "The president's respect, his fondness for the military, I think is reflected in him asking for these options."
Noooooop, still a piece of shit.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:48 AM on February 7 [45 favorites]


From the article ZeusHumms posted above:

The trouble with [both mocking and sober responses], is that they fail to take account of the fact that many millions of Americans might well like such a show [...] a large chunk of US society will want to rise to its feet and applaud [...]
It means opponents will have to be canny. A counter-demonstration could easily be cast as unpatriotic, hostile to those in uniform, rather than to the commander-in-chief


I think this is absolutely right and important. The right wing in the US has spent decades painting itself as the one true party for America-lovers, and painting the left as haters of the true America, and this narrative has been extremely effective.

The author goes on to suggest holding an alternative parade ridiculing Trump personally, which I think misses the point remarkably. Trump holding a parade is him, once again, trying to claim the mantle of true patriotism and strength, and holding alternative events just reinforces the right's narrative about how the left hates a strong America.

I'd really want to see a protest take this head-on and insist on reclaiming the patriot mantle. Protesters all along the parade route with signs saying "Our Soldiers are Black". "Our Soldiers are Hispanic." "Our Soldiers are Women, Gay, Trans, Muslim, Jewish". "Our Soldiers are First-Generation Citizens." "Our Soldiers are Dreamers". Signs linking patriotism to fighting for our children's lives (#CHIP), fighting for our elders (#MEDICARE), protecting one another (#HEALTHCARE), checks and balances, rule of law.

Every photograph taken of the parade should be full of signs coopting it and defining real patriotism and real American values. It should be inescapable.
posted by trig at 10:49 AM on February 7 [88 favorites]


Politico:
One year into the Trump presidency, the nation’s 22 Democratic state attorneys general — including ambitious up-and-comers like New York’s Eric Schneiderman, California’s Xavier Becerra and Massachusetts’ Maura Healey — have emerged as the shock troops of the Democratic resistance.

Democratic state attorneys general are bringing a growing string of lawsuits, complaints and other actions against the Trump administration on immigration, education policy, net neutrality, marijuana enforcement, offshore oil and gas drilling and more — and there’s no end in sight.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:51 AM on February 7 [27 favorites]


So last night on NPR, the framing was "Most Americans say there should be some path to legal status for DACA recipients. President Trump also wants this, but demands increased border security in exchange".

I realize it's kind of subtle, but... if you say you want X but need Y "in exchange" for it... you don't really want X.

"We both want this puppy to live, but in exchange for not shooting it, I'm going to need $100"
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:52 AM on February 7 [79 favorites]


Sooooooo Scott Pruitt on global warming: Pruitt claims humans have flourished most during periods of warming (Axios)

Okay Scott Pruitt. Let's see if I can put this in terms a conservative can understand.

Greenlanders' right to bear arms is melting.
posted by saysthis at 10:57 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


Right, so we add that to the list of things to write into law once we get a majority and the Presidency again then?

A federal law prohibiting the President from ordering military parades, and ideally one prohibiting parades involving military hardware (tanks, self propelled artillery, stuff like that).
posted by sotonohito at 10:57 AM on February 7


I don't like to get into these "what should the Democratic/resistance strategy be" debates -- at least, not on the Trump threads, I feel like they belong elsewhere -- but I think the best counter-march would be one lead by, and mostly consisting of, veterans.
posted by uosuaq at 10:59 AM on February 7 [14 favorites]


trig: Flagged your comment as fantastic - I know many on the left are deeply suspicious of patriotism for some good reasons, but we Democrats really do have to take back the mantle of True American (tm) from the right. (And just because I want a pony, I would like to see the Confederate flag well and truly framed as the symbol of treason that it is.)

I'd really want to see a protest take this head-on and insist on reclaiming the patriot mantle. Protesters all along the parade route with signs saying "Our Soldiers are Black". "Our Soldiers are Hispanic." "Our Soldiers are Women, Gay, Trans, Muslim, Jewish". "Our Soldiers are First-Generation Citizens."
Tammy Duckworth, Asian-American disabled woman veteran and Democratic Senator, exemplifies this.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:59 AM on February 7 [15 favorites]


Looks like Schumer got played again.

So not only did he fold, he folded for next to nothing. McConnell has moved the goalposts to the next fucking county and Schumer is sitting on his own 5-yard line thinking he has a chance.

Get rid of this fucking buffoon.
posted by Talez at 11:05 AM on February 7 [6 favorites]


"One of the things we admire most about the United States is anyone can be president with enough heart and determination. No matter their race, class, or gender."

No. No, they can't. Demonstrably. How incredibly fucking tone-deaf.


Without seeing the ad, I'd take it as a sick joke. Of course anyone can be president - look at the jackass in power now! What are his credentials again? "Heart and determination," sure, we'll go with that.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:06 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


Not to beat a dead horse but I think parade protests are exactly what Trump wants. Then he can twitter blast all the "unamerican" jerks who hate freedom or something. I just wonder why people in the military wouldn't feel like they are being used as a political prop yet again by Cadet Bone Spurs? Let him have it. Make it cheesy. Make people ashamed to be in any way connected with it.
posted by lumnar at 11:12 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


At this point, it would be surprising to find a social media network that *wasn't* being used to push government-created propaganda.

Yes. Social media.
/shifty_look
posted by petebest at 11:14 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


The most direct sign to carry at a military parade foisted upon the public by Trump: "I'm with our military, but AGAINST TRUMP"

Trump built his own “deep state.” Now he needs the GOP to save him from it. -- Trump hired the people he now believes are out to get him. (Jane Coaston for Vox, Feb 7, 2018)
Before Trump appointed Rod Rosenstein to his role as deputy attorney general and the Senate approved his nomination by a vote of 94-6, former Attorney General Eric Holder tasked him with investigating a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And before that, President George W. Bush nominated him to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. In fact, Trump is the fifth president Rosenstein has served under. Rosenstein’s career has been largely constructed on a reputation for being intensely dedicated to stopping crime — and intensely apolitical. But that was then.
...
So, in short, a Trump appointee became a “controversial” enemy of the Trump administration, in danger of losing his job, because the Trump administration lied about the reasoning behind Comey’s firing and Rosenstein refused to go along.

A pattern of poor decisions and aggressive defense

This isn’t the first time that a onetime Trump ally became a danger to the administration. Again and again, from Manafort to Page to Michael Flynn, every obstacle to Donald Trump’s political and societal agenda was put in place by Trump himself.
So ... the best people?
posted by filthy light thief at 11:16 AM on February 7 [9 favorites]


Y'all that want to let him have the parade, let it happen in your backyard.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:20 AM on February 7 [7 favorites]


I don't like to get into these "what should the Democratic/resistance strategy be" debates -- at least, not on the Trump threads, I feel like they belong elsewhere -- but I think the best counter-march would be one lead by, and mostly consisting of, veterans.

Some of the most notable protests against the Vietnam War were led by veterans, and they were still painted as hippie-commie-traitors.

Conservative accusations of treason and claims of patriotism are not, and never have been, based on good faith or consistent values -- witness the current conservative tenet that it's A-OK for the Russians to have interfered with our election since Trump ascended to the presidency as a result.

Which is why I completely agree that we need to claim the mantle of patriotism for ourselves. Bigotry is un-American. Plutocracy is un-American. Selling out one's country to a foreign power is un-American.

Fair play is American. Immigration is American. Supporting the middle class is American. Supporting families is American. And liberals do all those things, while Republican policies oppose them. Say it, and more importantly, repeat it. The Republicans didn't create the myth of the liberal media by making a single good argument, because when was the last time they were capable of doing that?
posted by Gelatin at 11:21 AM on February 7 [48 favorites]


More proof that Trump is bad for the country -- Feds: Sleep Apnea Testing Could Have Prevented NJ TRANSIT, LIRR Crashes (CBS Broadcasting Inc./Associated Press, February 6, 2018)
A lack of required testing for a pernicious sleep disorder was the primary cause of a NJ TRANSIT crash and a Long Island Rail Road crash, federal investigators concluded in a report Tuesday.

The crashes involved a NJ TRANSIT train at the Hoboken Terminal in September 2016 and a LIRR train at Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn in January 2017.

NTSB member Dr. Nicholas Webster said the engineers of both trains suffered from extreme sleep apnea, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported.

The NTSB blamed NJ TRANSIT and the LIRR for not having required testing in place.

“The public deserves alert operators. That’s not too much to ask,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said.

The NTSB also blamed the Federal Railroad Administration for not making sleep apnea testing mandatory.
...
In August, President Donald Trump decided to allow individual railroads to decide whether to conduct sleep apnea testing, scrapping a proposal from Barack Obama’s administration requiring it.
Emphasis mine -- and the regulations were for train engineers and truck drivers (Curtis Tate for North Jersey.com/USA Today, Aug. 5, 2017)
The Trump administration has withdrawn a proposed requirement for railroads and trucking companies to test employees for obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder believed to be a factor in last year's fatal train crash at Hoboken Terminal.

In their announcement withdrawing the proposal Friday, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said they'd encourage trucking and rail companies to voluntarily screen employees involved in safety-sensitive work, such as truck drivers and train engineers, for sleep apnea.
...
Since January, President Donald Trump has canceled hundreds of Obama-era proposed regulations, including those involving worker safety and environmental protection.

The proposed sleep apnea testing requirement stemmed from a December 2013 derailment of a Metro-North commuter train in Spuyten Duyvil, N.Y. Four people were killed when the train jumped the tracks at 82 mph on a curve limited to 30 mph.
Mind you, this is a bit of blaming Trump for something that happened before he was president, but he made that decision months after two more fatal crashes. It's like saying "nah, let's not require seatbelts, let's give people the option of surviving a crash" after another major roadway fatality made national news.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:26 AM on February 7 [48 favorites]


I mean I live here and protest all the time so my first thought was "If this happens, what should I put on a sign?" and right now I think it's "I support servicepeople but this is disgusting".

I notice, though, both in this thread and with people with whom I'm discussing this in real life, that there's a tacit assumption that it's going to happen? Like the responses are largely focused on "how will we protest this?" and "how much will this cost?" and not "how can we stop this from happening?" but I think we should try to stop it from happening. Of course I will protest if it does, this isn't okay and I want that awful man's sickening public display to be as bad as possible and I'd like marginalized people to see that others are willing to fight for them, but I also think it would be best if this didn't happen and people talking about what it will be like is kind of surreal to me. Don't accept that this awful man's directives are inevitable. THIS SHOULD NOT HAPPEN.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:41 AM on February 7 [17 favorites]


I don't have it all worked out, but I think the best angle for protest is something along the lines of, "Parades are for high school marching bands and baton twirlers. It's insulting to our fighters who risk their lives to make them march down streets for the President's pleasure."
posted by msalt at 11:41 AM on February 7 [14 favorites]


> "The president's respect, his fondness for the military, I think is reflected in him asking for these options."

I wonder how he'd feel if Trump asked for a parade of every White House, Congressional and Senate Republican, their staff, volunteers, etc.? You know, as a way of reflecting his respect and fondness for them, as they marched past their beloved Leader.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:42 AM on February 7 [19 favorites]



I notice, though, both in this thread and with people with whom I'm discussing this in real life, that there's a tacit assumption that it's going to happen? Like the responses are largely focused on "how will we protest this?" and "how much will this cost?" and not "how can we stop this from happening?" but I think we should try to stop it from happening.


Civillians can just quit their jobs if their CEO makes them participate in asshat stuff like this. People in the military will go to jail if they refuse to perform this stupidity. Trumpito knows this.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 11:47 AM on February 7 [6 favorites]


Maybe enough about the parade? It's the same crap he's been spewing for months. I think we'll all have time to discuss what signs will have the most impact when it's a little closer to being an actual thing?
posted by neroli at 11:48 AM on February 7 [14 favorites]


While I have no hope that this is really what a parade protest would look like in largest part, I think the best use of parade protest messaging is "here's how you can actually support our troops". Messages about protecting (or even just honoring) soldiers' benefits, etc. It seems likely that these messages will be present but dwarfed (at least in the final coverage) by messages more easily twisted as anti-troops.
posted by Jpfed at 11:49 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Hero or hired gun? How a British former spy became a flash point in the Russia investigation. - WaPo: Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman, with a timeline of the Steele Dossier. If you've read the Simpson/Fusion GPS testimony, this might be a retread for you, but I needed this kind of synthesis.
posted by gladly at 11:49 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


And don't think he isn't itching for someone to be court martialled, either...
posted by fluttering hellfire at 11:49 AM on February 7


The left needs to reclaim the mantle of patriotism, and they need to do it in a way that does not equate patriotism to the military. A patriot takes care of their community. A patriot makes the nation a better place. A patriot isn't just a soldier. It's a teacher that puts in that extra effort to try to reach that one hard case of a student. It's a mom who makes sure that their neighbors don't have to worry because she'll make sure their kids are taken care of when she's around. A patriot helps a stranger clean out their house after a flood. Patriots are not America's might. They are America. And this casts no aspersions on the military. But we need to be as proud, or more so, of what the military is there to defend as much as the military itself.
posted by azpenguin at 11:50 AM on February 7 [62 favorites]


New Fucking Fuck thread in MeTa. For venting & jabberosity so the mods don't have to stop the car in here & take us back home.
posted by yoga at 11:54 AM on February 7 [12 favorites]


Also, the Russians are going to be all over organizing counterproductive/unpopular ways of protesting this parade. This is going to be their jam.
posted by Jpfed at 11:55 AM on February 7 [8 favorites]


Let him have it. Make it cheesy. Make people ashamed to be in any way connected with it.

On top of the unallocated multi-million-dollar price tag on this Potemkin exercise, Trump's vanity parade would be miserable for the rank-and-file under orders to participate in it. This veteran on Reddit tallies up the human costs:
Imagine the amount of time spent cleaning, painting, transporting and maintaining all the equipment for the parade. The hours and hours of pass & review practice. The time spent polishing and shining all the bits. The inspections. The re-inspections. The re-re-inspections. Everyone putting equipment on trains to get to DC, cramming into busses, sleeping on cots in some gymnasium while waiting for the trains to arrive.
Then you unload, clean the equipment again, re-polish everything, get inspected, inspected again, practice more and then, finally, it’s time For the parade.
It’s hot, everything is a total cluster-fuck at the initial point of the parade route, you march, you get to the rally point and now you have to move all this shit back to base.
Back to the railhead, back on the busses, back to base and stand in line to turn in weapons. Wait a couple days and offload your equipment from the railhead, get it back to the motor pool and finally, you’re done.
Oh yeah, you got to do this all on a holiday weekend you’d normally have off and one day after the parade, the news cycle will move on and no one will remember it.
Meanwhile, the timing of this leaked news makes me wonder if Team Trump is trying to distract from the Bannon news or if there's some new scandal about to emerge. This state of constant dismay and uncertainty fits the experience of living in an authoritarian regime to a discomfitting degree.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:56 AM on February 7 [43 favorites]


The left needs to reclaim the mantle of patriotism, and they need to do it in a way that does not equate patriotism to the military. A patriot takes care of their community. A patriot makes the nation a better place. A patriot isn't just a soldier.

This sounds like a great PSA for the Dems. "Beth is a patriot - she has dedicated her life to her community as a firefighter. Javier is a patriot - he has taught at the same elementary school for the past 20 years, helping young minds grow. Malia is a patriot - she is in the army national reserve, .... Beth: 'I am a patriot.' Javier: 'I am a patriot.' Malia: 'I am a patriot.' All: 'we put our country, and our communities first. We make this country great.' Sponsored by the DNC."
posted by filthy light thief at 11:58 AM on February 7 [43 favorites]


Don't accept that this awful man's directives are inevitable.

That was basically my response. I mean, I work walking distance from the National Mall, so I'll be out there on Constitution with everyone else if anything actually happens. But the president is not very good at following through with anything.
posted by aspersioncast at 12:01 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Doktor Zed: Meanwhile, the timing of this leaked news makes me wonder if Team Trump is trying to distract from the Bannon news or if there's some new scandal about to emerge.

Exactly. If there's one thing I've learned from 2017, it's never think a leak is just a leak -- it's a tailored message by a certain party, and generally used to shape the narrative while distracting from other news. Otherwise, we'd get a full, public report, or a hearing, or some presentation in a public forum with more information and the chance to verify and question the whole of the thing.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:02 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


What Trump is doing is ordering the military to throw him this parade, with tanks and flyovers and all the other trappings of dictatorships.

Military parades don't always turn out as planned.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:05 PM on February 7 [5 favorites]


White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigns amid abuse allegations

Update on this story: CBS and others are reporting that
A federal law enforcement source confirmed to CBS News' Jeff Pegues that the FBI conducted a background check on Porter and knew of the allegations levied against him by his two-ex wives. That information was passed on to the White House. The White House staff secretary — who has access to and reviews presidential correspondence — never received full security clearance, and the allegations were the main reason why, two sources tell CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett.
In other words: the White House knew for an entire year that there were domestic abuse allegations against Porter sufficient to prevent him from obtaining a full security clearance, and actively chose to keep him on staff. Porter is only resigning because this information went public outside the White House; and the White House put out statements supportive of Porter's 'honor' and 'integrity' despite this knowledge.
posted by cjelli at 12:06 PM on February 7 [75 favorites]


It's unendingly frustrating to me that Democratic politicians are looking at the least popular president in history, with a policy agenda that is, if anything, even less popular than he is personally, and still find themselves getting cold feet about running directly against it. The tax bill is a travesty that will assuredly cause people to die so that billionaires can sit on even larger piles of money. If you don't seriously oppose that as a Democrat, what point do you even have? If you can't sell that to voters, why on Earth did you think you should become a professional politician?
posted by Copronymus at 12:07 PM on February 7 [57 favorites]


I just got an email from Nancy Pelosi about her "filibuster" in the House to get a vote for Dreamers. Go Nancy!

Keep in mind that if Pelosi wanted to torpedo the budget deal because it doesn't contain anything about DACA, she could torpedo the budget deal. It'll pass because she's okay with it passing.

I am not taking a position on whether that's the correct call here. But this is happening because she has made the calculation that the social spending increases are either more important than the DACA leverage or that there is no way to exert enough leverage on DACA to be successful and this is the best deal they can get. But make no mistake, this spending deal will only pass (if it does) because Speaker Pelosi releases her troops to vote for it regardless of how she herself votes.
posted by Justinian at 12:21 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]




In other words: the White House knew for an entire year that there were domestic abuse allegations against Porter sufficient to prevent him from obtaining a full security clearance, and actively chose to keep him on staff.

It's even worse than knowing about the "allegations" -- John ("women used to be sacred" "[Porter] is a man of integrity and honor") Kelly knew there was a restraining order against the guy, per Politico.
posted by melissasaurus at 12:27 PM on February 7 [26 favorites]


The last time Trump got a parade he had to settle for tractors
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:48 PM on February 7


If this idiocy does go through, maybe a good protest sign would be "Real presidents don't need parades."
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:50 PM on February 7 [7 favorites]


What is Ajit Pai hiding? There are Ajit Pai “Verizon puppet” jokes that the FCC doesn’t want you to read -- FCC won't release emails about joke "collusion" video, says they would harm agency. (Jon Brodkin for Ars Technica, Feb. 7, 2018)
Gizmodo subsequently filed a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request for "any communications records from within the chairman's office referencing the event or the Verizon executive," the news site wrote yesterday.

"Nearly a dozen pages worth of emails were located, including draft versions of the video's script and various edits," Gizmodo wrote. "The agency is refusing to release them, however; it is 'reasonably foreseeable,' it said, that doing so would injure the 'quality of agency decisions.'"
...
Gizmodo talked to FoIA experts who scoffed at the FCC's reason for denying the records request.

"To argue that this video amounts to the same kind of deliberative process that goes on behind the scenes in terms of an agency deciding an official policy on a topic, or what actions it's going to take, is absurd," said Adam Marshall, an attorney at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. "The deliberative process is frequently used to withhold embarrassing information or inconvenient information. I have no idea how a draft of a skit that was supposed to be funny would impair the FCC's decision-making process on anything, except on, I guess, maybe future skits."
Top comment: "So, here is a thought. If you do something that could be seen as harming an agency, maybe you shouldn't do it."

Also, I don't think it's a version of the puppet skit that they're hiding, but other commentary that would be more divisive and harmful to the FCC than the final version of the skit.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:58 PM on February 7 [13 favorites]


So he says he wants this to be like the Bastille Day parades in France but you'd think someone would clue him in that the events commemorated by Bastille Day started something that did not turn out well for people like him or his Cabinet members.
posted by dilettante at 1:00 PM on February 7 [39 favorites]


SEN JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA):
Q: Do you think a military parade is a good idea?
KENNEDY: No.
Q: Why not?
KENNEDY: "| think confidence is silent and insecurity is loud. America is the most powerful country in all of human history, everybody knows it, and we don't need to show it off."
"We're not North Korea, we're not Russia, and
we're not China and I don't want to be. And for
that reason I would be against flaunting our
strength. We don't need to, everybody knows we
have it."
posted by chris24 at 1:07 PM on February 7 [109 favorites]


NT Alexandra Petri, WaPo: Donald Trump loves a parade
This desire for parades is a quirk, nothing more, and there is nothing particularly bizarre about it. Trump loves a military parade; that is simply a fact about Trump that is known. What is the point of a military if no one gets to see how big and impressive it is and watch you wielding it? In life, there is the joy of possessing and the joy of being seen to possess. Has Trump ever known the first joy? Has he ever entirely severed it from the second? If no one sees you having something, is it even worth having?

Theoretically we have a military not because we want to parade it around, but so we can protect the actual things we really like (freedom, oil, in some order). But never mind. Trump wants a parade.

The parade will not end when the jets fly over, for the void a parade is ordered to fill will never be filled by a simple military parade, lasting no more than two hours.

It will continue. It must continue. All the most beautiful women in the world will march by in sashes and be ranked. All the self-proclaimed experts in their white coats will march with lowered eyes and accept chastening. And anyone who has marched elsewhere for any reason will doff their pink hat and accept discommendation. […]

Wait, Trump will say, in a whisper, as Melania moves to rise. Do you not see it is still going?

Everyone will freeze where they are, for nothing coming down the parade route will be visible to their eyes. But Trump will see it. Names will form on his lips that have not alighted there in decades. A teacher who never recognized his genius. Someone at Wharton who had said something just out of earshot and everyone around him had laughed, and then Trump had approached and the laughter had stopped. Roy. The pope, not this one or the last one, but the one before. Frederick Douglass. Women, nameless and faceless and apologetic. People of all kinds, begging forgiveness. And he will give it (what is the point in forgiving if you cannot be seen doing it?) — he will forgive them all.

The parade will go on for days. Maybe it will go on for weeks. Maybe it will go on for years. Maybe you will march too. But at the end, when it stops, it will be enough. It will finally be enough.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:09 PM on February 7 [42 favorites]


Protesters all along the parade route with signs saying "Our Soldiers are Black". "Our Soldiers are Hispanic." "Our Soldiers are Women, Gay, Trans, Muslim, Jewish". "Our Soldiers are First-Generation Citizens.

All true, and all proud to be serving. The military is the melting pot that Trump fears most - and he can make them parade, but that doesn’t mean they belong to him.
posted by corb at 1:16 PM on February 7 [14 favorites]


I think this has some more details than has been posted yet: Senators Reach Two-Year Budget Deal (Susan Davis and Kelsey Snell for NPR, Feb. 7, 2018)
Senate leaders have reached a bipartisan budget agreement to increase military and domestic spending levels for two years, paving the way for the first long-term spending pact since President Trump took office.

According to congressional sources briefed on the deal, the plan eliminates mandatory spending cuts for two years and increases Pentagon spending by $80 billion and domestic spending by $63 billion for the 2018 fiscal year. In the 2019 fiscal year, defense spending would rise by $85 billion and domestic spending by $68 billion.

The agreement, negotiated by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, marks a major breakthrough for a Congress still reeling from a partial government shutdown last month.
...
The deal also suspends the debt ceiling, which the federal government had been due to reach within the next month, until March 2019.
...
A final vote on the budget deal is likely by Friday, which means lawmakers would have to pass a one- or two-day spending bill to keep the government open past the Thursday funding deadline.

The bill will also include at least $80 billion in disaster relief spending for victims of hurricanes and wildfires in Texas, California, Florida and Puerto Rico.

All told, the Republican-controlled Congress is on track to approve about $400 billion in new spending over next two years, just months after enacting a nearly $1.5 trillion tax cut. The agreement would create bicameral commissions on budget reform and pension reform to report back to Congress by the end of the year.

The next challenge will be for McConnell and Schumer to persuade a majority of House members to back the same proposal in the next few days.

They got crucial support from House Speaker Paul Ryan, who laid out the terms of the deal to House Republicans in a closed-door meeting. In a statement, Ryan said, "This agreement delivers on our commitment to fully fund our national defense — no more short-term ploys and patches."
...
In addition, House Democrats, led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., are staging a protest of the budget deal on the House floor Wednesday because there has been no progress on an immigration deal.
Same gist, more quotes from Washington Post in their general coverage of this, but then there's this: Nancy Pelosi’s filibuster-style speech tops six hours in bid to force immigration votes (Ed O'Keefe, David Weigel and Paul Kane for WaPo, February 7, 2018)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took the rare step Wednesday of giving a marathon speech supporting Democrats’ attempts to legalize the status of young immigrant “dreamers,” in a bid to pressure Republicans to act.

Pelosi (D-Calif.) began talking shortly after 10 a.m., using her right as minority leader to speak for as long as she wants. She began by saying that she would lead opposition to a broad two-year budget agreement that includes several Democratic priorities but does not address immigration — the topic that has prolonged the spending debate for several months.

“I have no intention of yielding back,” Pelosi said at 3:41 p.m. Eastern as she neared the six-hour mark of her ongoing remarks.
...
Pelosi decided to give her remarks late Tuesday night and gave a heads up to Schumer, aides said.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:19 PM on February 7 [22 favorites]


Bob Vulfov, McSweeny's: Our Administration Could Spend $5 Million on Mental Health Programs for Veterans, but We Think What Veterans Really Want Is a Big, Expensive Military Parade
Go down to your local Veterans Affairs office and you’ll hear our country’s military veterans all bemoaning the same issue about their lives post-war. The issue is not the harsh reality of post-traumatic stress disorder. Nor is it the difficulty of adapting to the simple monotony of life outside of combat zones. No, what every single brave United States veteran would like our government to fund is an extremely costly parade of soldiers and military weaponry along the boulevards of Washington, D.C. A big, expensive military parade would fix everything.

How can we claim to support the Americans who serve this country if we don’t spend a significant chunk of taxpayer dollars on a cavalcade of tanks and high-tech military hardware? We’re doing this for our veterans. It’s only a coincidence that our president happens to have a four-year-old child’s obsession with seeing big green trucks roll down the street. Although President Trump grins from ear to ear anytime he gets near the wheel of a large vehicle, this parade has absolutely nothing to do with indulging his obsession with shiny army planes. The parade will be exclusively for the benefit of our soldiers, who prefer this over a comprehensive package of healthcare and benefits.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:26 PM on February 7 [30 favorites]


A little ways upthread, Talez wondered what the the "both parties are bad" and "smartest, most cynical contrarian in the room" might bring out. Y'all might be interested to read what Jonathan Rauch and Benjamin Wittes just published in The Atlantic: Boycott the Republican Party:

"This, then, is the article we thought we would never write: a frank statement that a certain form of partisanship is now a moral necessity. The Republican Party, as an institution, has become a danger to the rule of law and the integrity of our democracy. The problem is not just Donald Trump; it’s the larger political apparatus that made a conscious decision to enable him. In a two-party system, nonpartisanship works only if both parties are consistent democratic actors. If one of them is not predictably so, the space for nonpartisans evaporates. We’re thus driven to believe that the best hope of defending the country from Trump’s Republican enablers, and of saving the Republican Party from itself, is to do as Toren Beasley did: vote mindlessly and mechanically against Republicans at every opportunity, until the party either rights itself or implodes (very preferably the former)."
posted by Sublimity at 1:32 PM on February 7 [94 favorites]


Orrin Hatch is calling Porter's ex-wives "morally bankrupt character assassins"

Hatch's dignity wraith status is just so perplexing to me.
posted by angrycat at 1:37 PM on February 7 [23 favorites]


Porter worked directly for Hatch before coming to the White House; given Hatch's statement, one has to wonder if he, too, knew, and if so for how long.
posted by cjelli at 1:43 PM on February 7 [21 favorites]


Porter was Hatch's chief of staff until he went to work for Trump. Hatch has walked back his defamation to a "I'm shocked SHOCKED to find misogyny going on in here!" now that Porter resigned:
But following Porter's resignation and new reporting on abuse allegations, Hatch issued a new statement Wednesday. An aide to the senator told CNN that the original Tuesday statement, which the White House sent to reporters on Wednesday along with other statements of support for Porter, no longer applied.

"I am heartbroken by today's allegations. In every interaction I've had with Rob, he has been courteous, professional and respectful. My staff loved him and he was a trusted adviser. I do not know the details of Rob's personal life. Domestic violence in any form is abhorrent. I am praying for Rob and those involved," Hatch said.
[CNN, autoplay]
posted by melissasaurus at 1:47 PM on February 7 [5 favorites]


Something else to consider in why Trump wants this stupid parade: People care about the military more than they care about him. He is undoubtedly still aching over the shitty turnout for his shitty inauguration, but people will (unfortunately, I think) turn out for a parade for the military. In his mind, they'll be turning out for a parade he started, so they'll be turning out fro him.

I have seconded the "fantastic" on trig's comment. Totally agreed. Don't try to disrupt it; that plays into the divisive tactics already in play. But peacefully ruining the giant photo op with inescapable signs about how unpatriotic this government is and what really matters would be beautiful.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:51 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


“The evidence we've collected shows a highly engaged and far-reaching Tumblr propaganda-op targeting mostly teenage and twenty-something African Americans. This appears to have been part of an ongoing campaign since early 2015,” said Albright

Fomenting racial resentment is a tactic lifted directly from Alexander Dugin's Foundations of Geopolitics. And it's a canny tactic, because teenage and twenty-something African Americans have every fucking right to be angry. I was in DC over the holidays, where the bluegrass station was bought out last year by Sputnik Radio*, and I heard Dugin actually being interviewed on one of that station's shows. It was a bizarre and frightening moment: I was listening to an eschatologically fascist political philosopher (no, really, he actually wants to bring about the Apocalypse) being interviewed in the nation's capital on a radio station that sells itself as the gritty, uncompromising voice of the far-left resistance.

*(DC is now also where Ed Schultz leers at you from posters advertising RT at bus stops close to the Capitol. They're really not trying to hide it.)
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 1:53 PM on February 7 [16 favorites]


In every interaction I've had with Rob, he has been courteous, professional and respectful

Guy accused of beating women is nice to men, film at 11.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:53 PM on February 7 [115 favorites]


Don't try to disrupt it; that plays into the divisive tactics already in play. But peacefully ruining the giant photo op with inescapable signs about how unpatriotic this government is and what really matters would be beautiful.

Signs declaring the goverment unpatriotic that ruin a military parade photo-op will be seen by the right-wing and "centrist" media and personalities as equally disruptive. To expect Fox News (or hell, probably the NYT) to say anything other than "these people waving their divisive signs are disrespecting and dishonoring our proud troops" is to assume nonexistent good faith on their part.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:58 PM on February 7 [10 favorites]


I would attend a "counterprotest" that was really just a rally/parade honoring the service of all of the veterans we have deported (we, because Obama did this too).

Just a big empty area with a sign saying "reserved for deported veterans"
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:00 PM on February 7 [7 favorites]


I think this has some more details than has been posted yet: Senators Reach Two-Year Budget Deal (Susan Davis and Kelsey Snell for NPR, Feb. 7, 2018)

Also would fund CHIP for 10 years.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:00 PM on February 7 [7 favorites]


Koch Brothers are not happy with the Senate budget deal.

They aren't ever happy. Nothing will ever be enough for them.
posted by Talez at 2:01 PM on February 7 [16 favorites]




There is something about the way Alexandra Petri writes about Trump's fundamental brokenness that makes me sob. Not out of any sort of sympathy for him, but in grief and rage that in spite of it, he's still the president.
posted by danielleh at 2:02 PM on February 7 [20 favorites]




To expect Fox News (or hell, probably the NYT) to say anything other than "these people waving their divisive signs are disrespecting and dishonoring our proud troops" is to assume nonexistent good faith on their part.

Yeah, but we've gone over that ground a million times on the blue already. There's no swaying that chunk of the populace. No protest action, regardless of how it's handled, is going to get through there. It's not for them in the first place.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:05 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Wait, people are arguing about how to properly react to the imagined Fox coverage of the imagined protest signs at the still-imaginary military parade? We're really in the realm of fan fiction now.
posted by neroli at 2:08 PM on February 7 [42 favorites]


trump must be bummed that the US arsenal doesn't include any land-based vehicle-launched nukes like the old soviet SS-20 that he can roll down pennsylvania avenue in the tradition of eastern bloc may day parades.

Not just the eastern bloc may day parades, tweet thread here shows the history of (unarmed) nuclear delivery systems at US inaugural parades. There was an atomic howitzer for Ike in '53, a nuclear cruise missile and a ballistic missile for Ike in '57, and four different ballistic missile systems for Kennedy in '61.
posted by peeedro at 2:15 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


House conservatives in revolt over budget deal:
House conservatives on Wednesday revolted against a massive bipartisan deal to raise the debt ceiling and bust spending caps, complaining that the GOP could no longer lay claim to being the party of fiscal responsibility.

“I’m not only a ‘no.’ I’m a ‘hell no,’” quipped Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), one of many members of the Tea Party-aligned Freedom Caucus who left a closed-door meeting of Republicans saying they would vote against the deal.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:20 PM on February 7 [11 favorites]


There's a concept in relationships called "trickle truthing" where you present a situation that is very bad for you in small increments, each a bit worse than the previous one. Usually in regards to cheating. (Sure I know her but we're just friends... ok we got drunk and kissed one time... ok we made out for a while... ok we had sex one time but that's it... ok we've been having an affair for months but it's over...) you get the idea.

The Russian hacking of the election reads like that to me. First there was no hacking. Then there was hacking but it wasn't the Russians. Then it was the Russians but they didn't succeed at penetrating the databases. Now it's, ok, they succeeded but they didn't change anything.

Will anyone be surprised if it turns out they were deleting Democratic voters off the voter rolls in battleground states?
posted by Justinian at 2:21 PM on February 7 [107 favorites]


This era of brinksmanship over continuing resolutions and debt limits needs to end. This is no way to run a country.
posted by thelonius at 2:23 PM on February 7 [6 favorites]


If we're in agreement that absolutely any act of protest will be spun by the right as evil anti-American troop hating, then why limit ourselves to weaksauce milquetoast "we luv the troops too, see we're super pro-military too!" crap?

This is time for an American to match the courage of Tank Man in Tienanmen square and shut down the whole fucking awful dictatorial thing.

Anything we do, no matter how craven and military worshiping, will be seen as evil anti-troop, so fine. Let's do the right thing and actually **PROTEST** this instead of getting into a military adulation competition we're guaranteed to lose no matter what.

I'm also not even slightly convinced that there is any value in Democrats and liberals trying to pretend that patriotism has value and is a value we can reclaim. Patriotism is just nationalism dressed up in fancy language, it is not a good thing, it is not something we need or want. Same with the flag worship and the fucking flag pens. We don't want that shit. It's not us. It is theirs, not ours. I reject it wholeheartedly and unreservedly.

We don't need people on the sidelines holding up posters about how much liberals love the military industrial complex. We need people stopping the barbaric show of Fascism by putting their bodies in the way of the tanks. We saw how to do it in China.
posted by sotonohito at 2:25 PM on February 7 [36 favorites]


In the Trump said, ‘I alone can fix it.’ How wrong he was. WP OP linked above:
I alone can fix it. There are two ways of reading this slightly ambiguous sentence. First, in the way that Trump presumably meant it, that he is the one uniquely capable of fixing what is broken in Washington and politics. Second, that he could fix it alone, that is, without allies and alliances. Either of these meanings is false, dangerously so, and each has helped to land us in the present mess.
This is wrong, and it really makes me wonder if journalists are more stupid than those white working class workers they spend so much time examining. When Trump said that he knew the system better than anyone, and therefore he alone could fix it, he was saying directly to everyone that he is a corrupt real estate dealer and that he knew how to deal with corrupt officials because he did that all the time. The basic assumption was/is that the whole system was/is corrupt, with no exceptions, and that there is no repair for that. That was how it was meant to be understood, not even with a wink. And the way Trump would fix it was never to end the corruption, but exactly to "fix it", in a manner that suits his base better. Like a mobster fixes a job.
As it turns out, there are elements of the system that are less corrupt or maybe not corrupt at all, and that is confusing for Trump and the Trumpists at all levels, from his adoring daughter to the plumber i Ohio. It doesn't make sense. There must be some other underlying layer of corruption that they haven't figured out yet. This is why they want an investigator to investigate the investigation. This is why Trump clashes again and again with DOJ and FBI officials. And this is also why they want a parade. The parade is to show that they are in control. There may be some noise and confusion out there, but they have the tanks and the cannons. They can fix it. They have the power.
And the job at hand it to make America white again. There is no other job. Part of that job is to show women their place, but that has always been part of white supremacy. So as long as they are appointing conservative judges and as long as ICE are terrorizing innocent people, Trump is fixing it, the way he promised he would.
All those pundits and journalists who are trying to rationalize the Trump administration as if it were anything else than a bunch of criminals need to take a long hike and meet reality. They are a bunch of criminals, they said it loud and clear, and they were elected because of it. I can actually get why they find it strange to understand the resistance they meet.
There will be no government in the USA until they and their ilk are ousted.
posted by mumimor at 2:25 PM on February 7 [23 favorites]




Not to mention, she did it while walking backwards (and forwards) in heels!
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:28 PM on February 7 [26 favorites]


Justinian Will anyone be surprised if it turns out they were deleting Democratic voters off the voter rolls in battleground states?

We already know for a fact that they did exactly that: 1, 2
posted by sotonohito at 2:29 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]


Jonathan Allen: Luis Gutierrez to @chucktodd on Pelosi: if she doesn’t whip Democrats against the caps deal tomorrow, then marathon speech “was a nice gesture.”

I'm sure the DACA recipients will take comfort in Pelosi's record as they're being deported in a month.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:29 PM on February 7 [9 favorites]




What Trump’s Speech Says About His Mental Fitness Linguist John McWhorter in the NYTimes. A different take from the usual one.
posted by mumimor at 2:30 PM on February 7 [9 favorites]


My suggestion for a response to a military parade is that we have a nationwide voter registration drive, fundraiser for Dem candidates and assistance to people who need to obtain IDs to vote. They want to play with their tanks? Ok. Fine. Meanwhile we take to the streets doing the work to kick them the fuck out of office.
posted by mcduff at 2:34 PM on February 7 [14 favorites]


Joe Kennedy: "Biden would have beaten Trump"

Women took that well, considering.

Beyond the usual manifestation of patriarchy, I think there's a subtle message to the Democratic base here. I've said it's going to be another three decades before a women will get a Democratic nomination for president, and this is confirmation.

The fact that the up and coming star of the Democrats supports an elderly two-time loser, well that's a message to women pols: go ahead and run, but don't be too ambitious. " It also gives us an idea of what to expect for the nominee in 2018.
posted by happyroach at 2:35 PM on February 7 [35 favorites]


Justinian Will anyone be surprised if it turns out they were deleting Democratic voters off the voter rolls in battleground states?

We already know for a fact that they did exactly that


Those sources you cite conflate people not being hypothetically able to vote due to the imposition of voter ID laws (which are terrible and should be repealed and prohibited) with actual purging of names off of voter rolls. So no: we do not know for a 'fact' that 'they' did 'exactly' that -- indeed, as the first of your links notes, 'there is no [direct evidence] connecting Putin and Russia to illegal voter suppression efforts.'

We need a new voting rights act to prevent the sort of voter suppression tactics to which the GOP has increasingly turned. That is true, and urgent.

But we also need to be clear that we don't have any clear, direct evidence that Russia was involved in directly altering voter rolls...so that if any clear, direct evidence of that does turn up, we will be adequately angry about it and not treat it as if it's old news. As far as we have direct evidence, voter-roll purging has been a homegrown travesty -- one that we should be mad about, yes. But also one that we should -- so far as we know -- rightfully be blaming on the GOP, not the FSB.
posted by cjelli at 2:40 PM on February 7 [14 favorites]


rick gates's attorneys reasons for wanting to divorce him have been made public:
The attorneys seeking to withdraw from their representation for ex-Trump campaign aide Rick Gates said that “that irreconcilable differences have developed with” Gates “which make our effective representation of the client impossible,” according to a court document that was filed last week, but only made public on Wednesday.

Prior to their move, CNN reported that Gates had quietly hired a new lawyer, Tom Green, a move the outlet took as a sign that Gates may be negotiating with Mueller’s team. Green was not present at Wednesday’s hearing. Coming out of the court room, Wu indicated that he was still under the gag order the judge put on the case and would not be able to answer reporters’ questions.
posted by murphy slaw at 2:46 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


Fuck Joe Kennedy. Fuck everyone ...

The fuckity-fucking-fuck thread is over here.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:49 PM on February 7 [6 favorites]


Russians penetrated U.S. voter systems, says top U.S. official

. . .Jeh Johnson, who was DHS secretary during the Russian intrusions, said, "2016 was a wake-up call and now it's incumbent upon states and the Feds to do something about it before our democracy is attacked again."

"We were able to determine that the scanning and probing of voter registration databases was coming from the Russian government."

. . . In a new NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll, 79 percent of the respondents said they were somewhat or very concerned that the country's voting system might be vulnerable to computer hackers.


So 21% were Meh/Nah.
posted by petebest at 2:49 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Public lands news: You may recall that not long ago a public comment period was recently open on proposed entrance fee increases for many parks across the west. That comment period is now closed. A fee increase for Saguaro National Park (outside Tucson) is being considered separately, and a separate public comment period is now open for it. You have two more days to comment on that fee increase.
posted by compartment at 2:50 PM on February 7 [8 favorites]


“I’m not only a ‘no.’ I’m a ‘hell no,’” quipped Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), one of many members of the Tea Party-aligned Freedom Caucus who left a closed-door meeting of Republicans saying they would vote against the deal.

Mo Brooks would vote against allowing air anywhere in the United States if he was aware that an undocumented immigrant was breathing it.

That said, Mo, you got your ass kicked by Roy Fucking Moore in an Alabama primary. You have all the electoral credibility of a ham sandwich that an owl shat upon.
posted by delfin at 2:55 PM on February 7 [20 favorites]


That said, Mo, you got your ass kicked by Roy Fucking Moore in an Alabama primary. You have all the electoral credibility of a ham sandwich that an owl shat upon.

is there any talk of moore making a primary challenge to brooks for his seat in the house?
posted by murphy slaw at 3:00 PM on February 7


To be more detailed on the story about Russians hacking voter roll computers:
-- while Jeh Johnson (Obama's guy) is quoted, his opinions are not the news
-- this news is from Jeanette Manfra, Trump's head of Cybersecurity
-- "There is no evidence that any of the registration rolls were altered in any fashion, according to U.S. officials."
-- 21 states were ID'd as trageted by Russia
-- 5 of them says they weren't attacked at all, incl. California and Texas
-- "Many of the states" comlain that they have no details, because "that information was classified and state officials did not have proper clearances." Manfra says they're working on it.
posted by msalt at 3:07 PM on February 7 [14 favorites]


Marco Rubio has a new plan for "paid family leave" working with noted policy wonk Ivanka, except not really. It's actually just cutting Social Security.

The idea comes from an astroturf fake women's group and long time anti-Social Security crusader Andrew Biggs, and it works like this:
In return for receiving parental benefits, new parents would agree to defer their collection of Social Security benefits upon retirement for the period of time necessary to offset the cost of their parental benefits. Participation in the program would be strictly voluntary; new parents who do not need parental benefits or who do not wish to defer their retirement benefits would not be required to participate.
So no, Ivanka isn't proposing paid family leave, she and Little Marco are proposing raising the retirement age to punish new parents for having children.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:12 PM on February 7 [82 favorites]


A lot depends on how Brooks's health goes. He had surgery a couple of months ago for prostate cancer and, while he spoke of it going well, it's hard to say if he will run for reelection yet.

I could absolutely see Moore targeting that seat or another Alabama House seat, however. The Trumpoid base is clearly revved up to support the craziest man in the room, which Moore clearly is, and he's attacked Congressman Byrne before while running against him for Governor. He could pretty much pick any of the districts without all those pesky urban black people in it and stand a good chance.

And if that's not an indictment of America I don't know what is.
posted by delfin at 3:20 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


I'm a bit confused over what's news in NBC story, since it lines up nicely with WaPost from Sept.
" DHS left it to individual states to decide whether to make public whether they had been targeted.
In only a handful of states, including Illinois, did hackers actually penetrate computer systems, according to U.S. officials, and there is no evidence that hackers tampered with any voting machines."
posted by rc3spencer at 3:35 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


The NTSB also blamed the Federal Railroad Administration for not making sleep apnea testing mandatory.

This is nonsense. They don't have mandatory sleep apnea testing for airline pilots. What they have is a requirement that there be two pilots on duty in the cockpit.

Having a single person in the cab of trains carrying hundreds of people is the result of union busting efforts to reduce costs for both passenger and freight trains.
posted by JackFlash at 3:51 PM on February 7 [74 favorites]


Matthew Dowd: A guy with five military draft deferments wanting a military parade to honor himself, is a bit like Cruella De Vil wanting an award from the humane society for her treatment of Dalmatians.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:01 PM on February 7 [72 favorites]


I know a lot of us won't be around in 25 years, and it's cold comfort for those who are suffering now, but it's making me feel a little better today to consider the big picture and remember that the era of old white men in America is coming to an end. By next year, racial and ethnic minority kids in America should be the majority for the first time, and by 2043 we should see America flip to majority-minority. (This is per 2013 Census numbers, hopefully the next census will show the trend continuing or accelerating.)

Obviously they're not going out without a bitter fight to hold onto control and ownership of absolutely everything, and they're going to trash the place and steal everything worth stealing before they go. That's what we're seeing now. But one way or another, they're on the way out, and all their scheming and blathering and posturing and whining won't grant them an extra second on the stage of history.

I don't know what comes next and I won't be here to see it, but it can't help but be better for everyone who's not an old white man. If you're not an old white man, I hope you can help us fight the battles we have today and tomorrow, but just as important, remember that some change is inevitable and that time is on your side.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 4:09 PM on February 7 [9 favorites]


So no, Ivanka isn't proposing paid family leave, she and Little Marco are proposing raising the retirement age to punish new parents for having children.

Such a hateful idea deserves a hateful name. Baby Debt Bondage, perhaps.
posted by puddledork at 4:31 PM on February 7 [13 favorites]


by 2043 we should see America flip to majority-minority.

As we saw earlier in the thread, if Trump's immigration plan is implemented, that will no longer be true. There's no telling what will happen to immigration to the US as a result of the Armageddon that white supremacists have declared. The Republicans have decided that instead of trying to appeal to racial minority voters, they will simply eliminate them.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 4:44 PM on February 7 [26 favorites]


Yep, the plan is to eliminate and minimize the non-white influence in America to defeat demographics.
posted by benzenedream at 4:47 PM on February 7


Yep, the plan is to eliminate and minimize the non-white influence in America to defeat demographics.

Specifically the plan is to reverse demographic trends in three distinct stages: (1) Stop nonwhite immigration. (2) Enact policies to "promote the white birthrate." (3) Begin "incentivizing" nonwhite citizens to leave the country.

This is the strategy openly promoted by the Richard Spencer clan at the heart of the alt-right. It's also Stephen Miller's opinion (remember, Spencer was Miller's mentor at Duke), although he won't quite come out and say it. Currently they're making great headway on stage 1.
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:55 PM on February 7 [23 favorites]


Yep, the plan is to eliminate and minimize the non-white influence in America to defeat demographics
I think I've seen that movie, was it Brannagh? < Conspiracy trailer
posted by rc3spencer at 4:56 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


If you're not an old white man, I hope you can help us fight the battles we have today and tomorrow,

I didn't see a lot of old guys in Charlottesville. Generation blaming won't save you.
posted by thelonius at 5:02 PM on February 7 [35 favorites]


Specifically the plan is to reverse demographic trends in three distinct stages: (1) Stop nonwhite immigration. (2) Enact policies to "promote the white birthrate." (3) Begin "incentivizing" nonwhite citizens to leave the country.

This is the strategy openly promoted by the Richard Spencer clan at the heart of the alt-right. It's also Stephen Miller's opinion (remember, Spencer was Miller's mentor at Duke), although he won't quite come out and say it. Currently they're making great headway on stage 1.


They basically read Handmaid's Tale and, instead of thinking "Wow, what a shitty place to live and everyone's miserable!" thought, "What a nifty idea! Let's implement it, maybe a bit more secular-like because uniforms are a drag."

I'm very glad I'm a) post-menopausal and b) live in California. Lots of luck turning Cali white - read: it's not going to happen. We're multiracial and that's here to stay. And, you can get birth control and abortions here, though the rural areas have less access (mostly because they're rural).

What is going to be tough, and I think might be more likely to "save us" (for a certain value of saving us) is that blue states are more prosperous. The Midwest, for one, is suffering from a rural brain drain as educated young people are beating feet to quality-of-life blue cities and states where the Ebil, Ebil Tax Man helps insure that quality.

It's true that there are, alas, young racists and Nazi types, and the Nazi movement is targeting disaffected young leftist men to fill their ranks. But, rural America and small-town America are both dying off. Maybe this will redden cities but it might dilute the power of large swaths of red states.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 5:15 PM on February 7 [5 favorites]


I didn't see a lot of old guys in Charlottesville. Generation blaming won't save you.

Young people do most of the marching, old people do most of the voting. I know which has done more harm in the last 50 years.

But I think the only category that particularly matters at this point is "people who voted for Donald Trump" and "people who didn't vote for Donald Trump." All people in the second category are basically on the same side.
posted by Justinian at 5:16 PM on February 7 [24 favorites]


Still, "generation blaming won't save you" is my pick for Metafilterest judgment of the day, with only a few hours left to go.
posted by uosuaq at 5:20 PM on February 7 [16 favorites]


Maybe this will redden cities but it might dilute the power of large swaths of red states.

Actually it's the exact opposite, as rural regions lose population to cities, our racist electoral system and legacy constitution dilutes the power of actual people and increases the relative electoral power of empty land area almost entirely owned by old, white, racists.

If you thought the electoral college was bullshit in 2016, wait till 2044 when 30% of the popular vote will be worth 70% of the Senate seats and 67% of electoral votes.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:20 PM on February 7 [54 favorites]


Actually it's the exact opposite, as rural regions lose population to cities, our racist electoral system and legacy constitution dilutes the power of actual people and increases the relative electoral power of empty land area almsot entirely owned by old, white, racists.

That is true, but once they die off, will anyone - white, racist, or whatever - want to live in the red states where there are no jobs and no quality of life? Richard Spencer and his Nazis can yammer on about reproducing the white race, they can even, sadly, help implement anti-woman, anti-choice policies, but can they force people to live in red states? People - including single women - have been flocking to cities since there have been cities, even in very patriarchal eras with no reliable birth control. There would need to be a kind of hukou policy to keep people tied to the land, or actual serfdom.

Even if the American Nazis succeed in keeping America whiter for longer, I don't know how they will keep America rural for longer, because even white babies grow up and move away.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 5:35 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]


That is true, but once they die off, will anyone - white, racist, or whatever - want to live in the red states where there are no jobs and no quality of life?

That's the point. It doesn't matter how few people still live there, they still get two senators and at least 3 EVs.
posted by Talez at 5:38 PM on February 7 [41 favorites]


From Diplopundit: Trump Orders the Establishment of a National Vetting Center to “Identify Individuals Who Present a Threat”.

"The Presidential Memorandum is titled “Optimizing the Use of Federal Government Information in Support of the National Vetting Enterprise”. On February 6, Trump ordered the establishment of an interagency National Vetting Center “to identify individuals who present a threat to national security, border security, homeland security, or public safety.”"
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:41 PM on February 7 [18 favorites]


And lo! Trump's name led all the rest.
posted by uosuaq at 5:43 PM on February 7 [9 favorites]


That is true, but once they die off, will anyone - white, racist, or whatever - want to live in the red states where there are no jobs and no quality of life?

Of course they will - the problem won't be that there's no jobs in the state, it'll be that all the jobs and quality of life is in the cities, as you yourself note. That's already the problem, and partly how we got fucked in 2010 with the gerrymandering and just general rearranging of districts after the census. If in 2024 40% of Georgia's population lives in and around Atlanta, and Atlanta gets 2 Congressional districts while the rest of the state gets 10 (note: I am totally making these numbers up), then Georgia is a "red state" no matter how many Democrats vote.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:54 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]


identify individuals who present a threat to national security, border security, homeland security, or public safety

Isn't that what they're already (supposed to be) doing? That's literally already their job. This looks more like an empty propaganda exercise to make the viewers at home cheer and Trump feel like a big boy.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 5:59 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


From the new "Vetting" executive order: "To the extent permitted by law, details or assignments to the Center should be without reimbursement." So how's it going to be funded? Does this mean he's ordering the subject agencies to carve the Vetting Center out of their existing budgets?
posted by Coventry at 6:01 PM on February 7


Yeah, this reads to me like what they've been doing since taking office, which is seeding the bureaucracy with Trumpist observers
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:03 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


An Obama-era idea, finally employed apparently National Vetting, Politico
"Seth Stodder, a former DHS assistant secretary for border, immigration and trade policy from 2016 to 2017, said the vetting center idea surfaced in the Obama administration but that Trump had changed it to focus more on immigration."
posted by rc3spencer at 6:05 PM on February 7


Do the phrases "in accordance with applicable law" and "to the extent permitted by law" and so forth, peppered throughout the document have any legal meaning, or are they just emphasizing "trust us, we want to do everything by the book this time, please don't treat this order like the Muslim ban?"
posted by Coventry at 6:08 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


If in 2024 40% of Georgia's population lives in and around Atlanta, and Atlanta gets 2 Congressional districts while the rest of the state gets 10 (note: I am totally making these numbers up), then Georgia is a "red state" no matter how many Democrats vote.

This is an impossible gerrymander because it's unconstitutional to have uneven districts. You could, however, split voters in Atlanta with rural Republican voters 40-60 for as many seats as possible and then let Atlanta have the rest of the seats. This does work. Virginia for example the Democrats won by two fifths of a point in the statewide US House popular vote yet Democrats pulled 4 seats and the Republicans pulled 7. Michigan is also set up this way as is Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Texas, and Ohio.

The FPTP system is really shitty for exacerbating political dominance too. People like to point to MD as a D gerrymandered state but the Democrats win 60-35. Mass for instance is 80-16 and doesn't send a single R in their delegation. In the same vein you could technically call LA, UT, AK gerrymandered but they're so insignificant in the number of seats and the Republican vote is so dominant you'd effectively have to pack Democrats to make them competitive.
posted by Talez at 6:08 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]


This is reassuring, I guess?
To ensure that the activities of the Board and the Center comply with applicable law and appropriately protect individuals’ privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties, the Board shall establish a standing Legal Working Group and a separate standing Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Working Group, both of which shall routinely review the activities of the Center and advise the Board. These working groups shall also review the implementation plan described in subsection (g) of this section prior to its submission to the President.
posted by Coventry at 6:15 PM on February 7


Do you mean Arkansas [AR]? AK is Alaska, which only has one at-large rep (the seemingly immortal Don Young).
posted by Chrysostom at 6:16 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


And the population problem of self-sorting is really more of an issue in the Senate. You could imagine a scenario one day where California has 70 reps, New York has 38ish, and Florida and Texas turn blue and Democrats are still relatively competitive with red states.

The Senate is unfixable. Wyoming still gets two senators even if only 19 billionaires live there, and California still only gets 2 senators if its population crosses 100 million.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:16 PM on February 7 [18 favorites]


Yes. My bad, AR.
posted by Talez at 6:17 PM on February 7


Why is it that only Pelosi has used this "magic minute" feature in recent times?
posted by acrasis at 6:34 PM on February 7


Why is it that only Pelosi has used this "magic minute" feature in recent times?

Because only the leader of the parties can use it.
posted by Talez at 6:45 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


I'm also not even slightly convinced that there is any value in Democrats and liberals trying to pretend that patriotism has value and is a value we can reclaim. Patriotism is just nationalism dressed up in fancy language, it is not a good thing, it is not something we need or want. Same with the flag worship and the fucking flag pens. We don't want that shit. It's not us. It is theirs, not ours. I reject it wholeheartedly and unreservedly.

I am a Democrat and a patriot.

There are many senses that people use the word "love". When I say I love America, I'm not talking about admiring America (although we shouldn't pretend there is nothing admirable about America). When I say I love America, I'm not even talking about liking America. I'm talking about a sort of dedication or duty to helping America become what it could be.

I think that "patriotism" that is grounded in a notion of a sort of "natural goodness" of America is fallacious, in almost exactly the same way that the Just World Hypothesis is fallacious. It is up to us to create justice. It is up to us to help America be as good as it aspires to be.

But I also have no use for the Greenwaldian view that reflexively imputes evil on whatever America does. That doesn't help anyone who is actually concerned with making America better, any more than reflexive self-hatred helps anyone behave more kindly or productively.
posted by Jpfed at 7:30 PM on February 7 [53 favorites]


There are other kinds of patriotism than the nationalistic kind.
posted by Merus at 7:35 PM on February 7 [20 favorites]


The Trump administration has certainly evolved since the Muslim ban. The Vetting Center order is probably going to achieve the same result, along with a much greater centralization of surveillance power, and hardly anyone is freaking out about it.

Maybe this is that normalization thing people warned us about. Or maybe we're all just tired. But I think also the memo is written in a more placatory way, and people are buying it.
posted by Coventry at 7:35 PM on February 7 [6 favorites]


Speaking of the Vetting Center, in what I can't help but feel is related and certainly not-at-all profoundly disturbing news -- Daily Beast: ICE Wants to Be an Intelligence Agency Under Trump.
The official added that joining the IC could also be useful for the agency’s immigration enforcement work––in particular, their efforts to find and arrest undocumented immigrants with criminal arrest warrants (known in ICE as fugitive aliens).
...............
“The idea that ICE could potentially get access to warrantless surveillance is frankly terrifying,” Jake Laperruque, senior counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, told The Daily Beast.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:42 PM on February 7 [23 favorites]


Re: Julián Castro says he has "every interest" in running for president in 2020

And I will have every interest in Castro's campaign once I see him publicly and forcefully get behind Beto O'Rourke beating Cruz. Sure they are probably rivals, but both Castro's passed on the Senate race. If he is serious about the White House in 2020, he's sure going to want as many D's in the Senate as possible. Cruz is beatable but it will be a tough, uphill battle all the way.
posted by Gotanda at 7:45 PM on February 7 [13 favorites]


“It’s Trump and uneducated rednecks. Trump is just telling them what they want to hear. I used to hang out with him. He’s a crazy motherfucker. Limited mentally — a megalomaniac, narcissistic. I can’t stand him. I used to date Ivanka, you know.”

— Quincy Jones, in an interview with Vulture, on what has stirred up racism in the United States.


via PoliticalWire.com
posted by petebest at 7:52 PM on February 7 [22 favorites]


UPCOMING SPECIAL ELECTIONS - MARCH

Boilerplate: Lots of law comes out of state legislatures, plenty of it bad. These elections don't get much attention, doubly so for special elections. Because of the small scope, a small amount of your money or time could help elect these folks! Please pitch in, if you can!
====

March 6 - Oklahoma House 51 - Charles Murdock [no website]

HD-51 is currently an R seat (the incumbent resigned to take a federal job); R won 78-22 in 2016, was unopposed in 2014, R won 64-36 in 2012. The rural district southwest of Oklahoma City was won by by Trump 80-15 and by Romney 78-22. The Rs control the Oklahoma House by about 40 seats.

=> Dem candidate is the same person who lost in 2016. He doesn't seem to be a real serious candidate, but we have seen big swings in OK specials.

====

March 6 - Massachusetts Senate Third Essex - Brendan Crighton

SD-Third Essex is currently a D seat (the incumbent resigned to become mayor of Lynn Lynn, Lynn, city of sin); D ran unopposed in 2016, 2014, and 2012. The Lynn-based district was won by by Clinton 67-28 and by Obama 59-39. The Ds control the Massachusetts Senate by about 25 seats.

=> Unopposed races are pretty easy to win.

====

March 13 - Tennessee Senate 14 - Gayle Jordan

SD-14 is currently an R seat (the incumbent took a job in the federal government); R won 74-26 in 2016 and was unopposed in 2012. The exurban Nashville district was won by Trump 70-26 and by Romney 67-32. The Rs control the Tennessee Senate by about 20 seats.

=>Dem is the 2016 candidate again. This one will be a reach.

====

March 13 - US House Pennsylvania 18 - Conor Lamb

PA-18 is currently an R seat (the incumbent resigned in disgrace after a combination sex and office harassment scandal); R was unopposed in 2016 and 2014, R won 64-36 in 2012. The southwestern PA district was won by Trump 58-39 and Romney 58-41.

=> We've talked about this one a good bit. Lamb is a strong candidate, but the GOP is dumping a lot of resources into the race.

====

March 27 - Alabama House 21 - Terry Jones

HD-21 is currently an R seat (the incumbent passed away); R won 67-33 in 2014. No presidential results, sorry. The Rs control the Alabama House by about 40 seats.

=>Could be interesting test of whether we can get big swings in non Midwestern districts.

====
There's also an all Dem race Louisiana House 93 (first round Mar 24).
posted by Chrysostom at 7:58 PM on February 7 [29 favorites]


When I say I love America, I'm not talking about admiring America (although we shouldn't pretend there is nothing admirable about America). When I say I love America, I'm not even talking about liking America. I'm talking about a sort of dedication or duty to helping America become what it could be.

This.

My parents aren't perfect. They're flawed, and they've screwed up. But they've been there for me, even when they're not there in the ways that I would have liked them to be, and they've done a lot for me. And, ultimately, there's no one else who has that relationship to me.

Patriotism, to me, isn't about believing the US is perfect. It's about believing America has potential, and it's about believing that America is worth the investment necessary to make it better than it is now. Ceding love of country to the right is a way of ceding the higher ground, and that's something we can't afford -- now or ever.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 8:22 PM on February 7 [18 favorites]


The Senate is unfixable.

Literally! It can't even be fixed by Constitutional Amendment.
posted by Justinian at 8:28 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


I suppose it's more accurate to say the two senators even if your state has only two people in it part of the Senate can't be fixed. The Senate could be rendered into a vestigial body like the House of Lords I guess... still containing 2 Senators per state.
posted by Justinian at 8:30 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I love America too. And I'm not just saying that because the Vetting Center will be scrutinizing me in 6 months. :-)
posted by Coventry at 8:30 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


I think the Vetting Center is really about going after journalists. Check back on this comment in 6 months.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 8:34 PM on February 7 [6 favorites]


Oh wow, it looks like they may be positioning Kelly to go down over the Porter thing -- claiming that he didn't tell Trump about Porter's history. Right, because Trump would have cared whether Porter was a brute.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:44 PM on February 7 [12 favorites]


The Senate is unfixable.
Wyoming, pop. 585,501
Washington D.C., pop. 693,972
Puerto Rico, pop. 3,411,307

Time for some new states the next time the D's all line up. This seriously needs to happen.

Add in Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands while we're at it, but both are more of a stretch population-wise.
posted by Gotanda at 8:45 PM on February 7 [19 favorites]


I don't know what comes next and I won't be here to see it, but it can't help but be better for everyone who's not an old white man.

I appreciate the sentiment, but there's bad news. While we're busy fighting tooth and nail to hold on to every piece of social and political progress we've made in the last hundred years, we're not fighting tooth and nail to solve all of the problems we've created with climate change, overpopulation, wealth inequality, and so on, let alone doing the necessary work to continue advancing social justice and equality. The window for addressing climate change in particular is closing, and while we know we need to act, we can't, because we have to fight all of the Trump and GOP bullshit. We have to save the Republic before we can solve climate change, but by the time we save the Republic, it will be too late to solve climate change.

Maybe the future will be better in terms of the particular crop of know-nothing racists we're fighting right now being dead, but we're going to be living with the scars of this battle for the rest of our lives.
posted by biogeo at 8:49 PM on February 7 [16 favorites]


Oh wow, it looks like they may be positioning Kelly to go down over the Porter thing -- claiming that he didn't tell Trump about Porter's history. Right, because Trump would have cared whether Porter was a brute.

I had to fire General Flynn Kelly because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 8:58 PM on February 7 [5 favorites]


It’s probably just Javanka leaking to try and force Donny’s hand, but regardless I hope Kelly gets canned. The next COS will be as awful I’m sure, but less effective. I prefer fascist fucks to be incompetent.
posted by chris24 at 9:06 PM on February 7 [30 favorites]


Some heartening news out of Arizona: "In 2016, Democrats fielded candidates for either the Arizona Senate or the Arizona House of Representatives in each legislative district. This year, for the first time in at least a decade, there will be Democrats running for both those positions in every single legislative district."

My LD is super blue--we have six people running for our two House seats this year, and I'm not sure the Republicans are fielding anyone at all--but there are, of course, deep red areas in the state. It can be a thankless and exhausting task to run in those districts, so I applaud the folks who are willing to get out there and do it, regardless.
posted by Superplin at 9:07 PM on February 7 [30 favorites]


One of the political cartoonists at TheNib may have noticed our frequent references here to "the writers". And I say he's welcome to it and should make it a recurring series.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:17 PM on February 7 [21 favorites]


Raining on Trump’s Parade (Adam Gopnik | The New Yorker)
What Trump seems to have been responding to, when he saw the military parade in France, was, at the atavistic level at which he responds to everything, exactly the glow of that underlying insecurity. A parade seems to compensate for insecurity by bloat, show, and trophy. That, after all, is the whole of Trump’s character: insecurity compensated for by bloat, show and trophy.

The good reason to oppose the parade is simply that it is not—in the old-fashioned sense—the American way. It is not just that a big military parade runs counter to our ceremonial traditions; it runs against our military traditions, in which the military is painlessly and unceremoniously seconded to the civilian. Our generals, in the tradition of Grant and Eisenhower (and Bradley and, for that matter, Colin Powell) don’t like showing off, because they are not there to look impressive. They are there to be professional. Professionalism is the ethic of the American military, and professionals do not parade their expertise. They project their expertise.

The traditions that make the Bastille Day parade appropriate to France are completely absent here. The French officer showily salutes the Republic; the American one has no need to. An American officer is proud of getting the job done, not of looking cool when not actually doing it. It would be a source of pain for American soldiers to be turned into an ornament for a would-be strong man—to be used as his trophies.

The negative response of retired generals to the idea of a military parade makes this feeling plain. General Mark Kirby said, to the Washington Examiner, “You could get past all of those arguments and just say one thing: It’s not who we are as a military. The United States has a different military culture. We do not portray ourselves walking down the streets. Instead, we do the parades on main street in the middle of Idaho during the Fourth of July with flags taped to kids’ handlebars. That’s the kind of parades we have.”

Does it matter? A good case can be made that it is not worth investing a lot of emotion or energy on this issue. Almost the only ideological consistency that Trump and Trumpism have, after all, is the urge to troll liberals, and, the argument goes, liberals should not take the bait and allow themselves to be so trolled.

But the symbolic dimension of democracy is hugely important to its perpetuation—that was one of the lessons of Reaganism that liberals on the whole failed to understand. Nothing is more important for liberals than to reclaim patriotism, and love of country, for their own. People want patriotism. If they are given only bad nationalism in its place, they will swallow that instead, and come to make it part of their diet. Opposing the wrong parades, and planning the right ones, is part of the task of a patriotic progressivism as it marches—or meanders—forward.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:17 PM on February 7 [25 favorites]


Gotta say, it's beautifully absurd, and so so so utterly Trump in its flailing cluelessness and irony, that his idea of the ultimate massive overwhelming show of toughguy strongman strength and alphadog dominance is a French military parade.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:27 PM on February 7 [20 favorites]


France saved our ass in the American Revolution so let's be careful there.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:30 PM on February 7 [20 favorites]


Way back in the dark depths of actually just a month ago (as discussed previously), Milo Yiannopoulos Will Now Represent Himself In His Lawsuit Against Simon & Schuster

At that time,
Yiannopoulos said that he will be representing himself pro se in order to get access to information that had been classified "attorney's eyes only."...The next court date, per New York County Court online records, is Jan. 18
And now, there's a transcript. It went about exactly as well as you might expect it to go.
Yiannopoulos: It seems to me I'm going to represent myself. There is no reason why I should not be given access to documents that are absolutely essential in order to properly assess my own case.
The Court: That's not going to happen.
Yiannopoulos: Okay.
The Court: That's not going to happen...again, you're entitled to proceed pro se. You are not entitled to secured documents that were explicitly provided with the understanding that they be for attorneys eyes only.
Yiannopoulos: Would the Court be willing to offer me some assistance in negotiating?
The Court: I'm sorry?
Spoiler alert: the court did not offer him assistance.
posted by cjelli at 9:35 PM on February 7 [89 favorites]


I'm not casting aspersions on the French or the French military -- they're just the antithesis of the particular sort of gross, vulgar, bullying, self-parody, steroid-stuffed John Wayne yata yata images of military might Trump would appreciate.

I mean, America's favorite fighting Frenchman had a powdered wig and ruffled shirt!
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:36 PM on February 7 [10 favorites]


Inside the Planning of Trump's Very Chill Military Parade
The Pentagon, apparently, is "looking into" planning a parade for the President the good of the nation. So... I guess we're doing this. That should be the new motto of the country: America—I guess we're doing this. One does wonder, however, how a fever dream in the mind of a megalomaniac that will be used to great metaphorical effect in future dramas about the present became literal marching orders for an army. Here's how I imagine it went down.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:19 PM on February 7 [10 favorites]


It looks like my pet senator, @SenRonJohnson (R-WI), is going full obstruction:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/ron-johnson-is-very-bad-at-mccarthyism.html
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:38 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


At what point does this become actionable? @NRATV: Fight their Violence of Lies, with the Fire of Truth.
posted by scalefree at 12:17 AM on February 8 [7 favorites]


Gotta say, it's beautifully absurd, and so so so utterly Trump in its flailing cluelessness and irony, that his idea of the ultimate massive overwhelming show of toughguy strongman strength and alphadog dominance is a French military parade.

That's just it. Parades are the tool of fading, pompous armies (France, Russia, North Korea) or desperately social-climbing armies (China) -- a salve against insecurity. It is precisely the mark of our strength that we have felt no desire for them, except to celebrate the winning of a war. And that is certainly no happening right now.
posted by msalt at 12:27 AM on February 8 [5 favorites]


fading, pompous...desperately social-climbing...a salve against insecurity

Donald Trump? Surely not
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:41 AM on February 8 [7 favorites]


To be fair to the French military, they had a pretty good run prior to World War 2 and they knew when to GTFO of Viet Nam.

The Bastille Day parade isn't some new invention ginned up to soothe Macron's ego, it's been happening since the late 1800s, it's about as much a cultural institution as the Eiffel tower.
posted by PenDevil at 2:05 AM on February 8 [18 favorites]


There would need to be a kind of hukou policy to keep people tied to the land, or actual serfdom.

If actual serfdom is implemented in America, the most obvious way would be as an extension of health insurance being tied to employment and non-portable; perhaps through housing, food or clean water becoming unaffordable except through employer-linked subsidies or rations. (Of course, the rhetoric would be that nothing is deliberately engineered; it's just the invisible hand of the free market that, unfortunately, has increased the price of unleaded water as wages have fallen, but your employer can help you out.)
posted by acb at 2:57 AM on February 8 [11 favorites]


I fucked up as a teacher, although I don't understand the nature of the fuck up entirely.

I had this grammar exercise where I asked students to write sentences for each of ten nouns. One of the nouns was Trump. I honestly wasn't trying to be provocative: I'd dashed off the list by just scanning my brain for things, like 'my cat' and 'the scissors.'

I'm white, my students are all PoC from low-income/working-class neighborhoods. I've kept the convo non-political for now.

All of my students skipped the Trump one. Nobody wanted to do a grammar thing about Trump.

I apologized and squeaked out something flustered and inappropriate about my dislike of Trump because my first thought was fuck they think I might have voted for the man because I'm white

I wish I'd thought for a second and not put that putrid heap on a grammar list. I feel like I hurt my students. But I also, thinking back to my own privileged upbringing as a white person in an affluent small town, I was surprised: why not take the opportunity of a grammar exercise to make fun of the man? We were all about making fun of Reagan in the eighties.

I mean, I get the difference, I know the difference. I don't know how frightened to be about it. But I'm sorry and sad about it.
posted by angrycat at 4:11 AM on February 8 [38 favorites]


Metafilter: I guess we're doing this.
posted by murphy slaw at 4:12 AM on February 8 [14 favorites]


Re: the "writers" thing. Yeah, that shows up a lot in MeFi commentary. As someone who is not steeped in the culture of fandom, I do not find this gloss on current events to be witty or cute.

It's a frame that trivializes current events, even though they are actually happening in the real world. And I see it as a way that popular culture gives an acceptable out for people to just throw up their hands and not participate in democracy--as a juvenile, jokey way to relinquish responsibility to engage, because "the writers" are the ones who make things happen anyway.

As I think about this and articulate it further, I realize that resonates a lot with privilege, in the sense that privilege can choose to mock at a disengaged distance.

In the spirit of respectful discourse, when I see comments along these lines, I do sit on my hands rather than snarl with a suggestion to stop acting like a goddamn entitled teenager. Usually. So perhaps I'll just gently point out its disempowering aspect and suggest we get over it and find another coping mechanism, or whatever.
posted by Sublimity at 4:21 AM on February 8 [19 favorites]


And now, there's a transcript. It went about exactly as well as you might expect it to go.

I advise everyone to read it as it is instructive in how the Court does not tolerate the kind of bullshit which is all these guys ever really have. I know I must be patient, and that investigations take time, but it's hard when Mueller has so much ground to cover in terms of years of financial misconduct, then every time one of these nitwits opens their mouth, you need to call staples for a new bulletin board, thumbtacks, and colored string for ANOTHER investigation.
posted by mikelieman at 4:25 AM on February 8 [7 favorites]


It's a frame that trivializes current events, even though they are actually happening in the real world. And I see it as a way that popular culture gives an acceptable out for people to just throw up their hands and not participate in democracy--as a juvenile, jokey way to relinquish responsibility to engage, because "the writers" are the ones who make things happen anyway.


I don't see it this way at all - it's a way to express how astoundingly absurd the current political situation has become.

The conceit isn't about the writers running things, it's about how things have become so ridiculous that they are playing out like such a stupid, obvious script that even the most undemanding television audience would feel like their intelligence was being insulted.
posted by murphy slaw at 4:26 AM on February 8 [83 favorites]


Everyone in this photo has been fired or forced to resign. Trump only hires the best.
posted by PenDevil at 4:30 AM on February 8 [19 favorites]


In the spirit of respectful discourse, when I see comments along these lines, I do sit on my hands rather than snarl with a suggestion to stop acting like a goddamn entitled teenager. Usually. So perhaps I'll just gently point out its disempowering aspect and suggest we get over it and find another coping mechanism, or whatever.

In the spirit of respectful discourse, you don’t know me or (likely) many (any?) of the other posters here. You don’t know the level of our privilege or the extent of our political engagement.

In the spirit of respectful discourse, I’ll just gently point out your concern trolling and — how’d you put it? — “suggest you get over it.”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:34 AM on February 8 [28 favorites]


The words nuclear or nuke don’t appear in that NYT article mentioned a few comments back. Israel does five times. The absence of references to nuclear weapons indicates that the article isn’t about any country’s nuclear capabilities. It’s just about missiles.
posted by emelenjr at 4:38 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]


I mean, America's favorite fighting Frenchman had a powdered wig and ruffled shirt!

Trump doesn't wear his ruffled shirt very often. No joie de chemise.
posted by petebest at 4:56 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]




He's more into joie del la Trumperie.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:03 AM on February 8


PenDevil: "To be fair to the French military, they had a pretty good run prior to World War 2 and they knew when to GTFO of Viet Nam."

Also I don't believe they've ever invaded Afghanistan.
posted by Mitheral at 5:06 AM on February 8 [4 favorites]


America's favorite fighting Frenchman had a powdered wig and ruffled shirt!

So did George Washington. Right there on the $1 bill.

Someone should tell the 3%'ers they're cosplaying wrong.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:17 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]


"I used to date Ivanka, you know." — Quincy Jones

Judging by the lack of tweets about this, I assume nobody has read this interview to Donald yet. Because ... 🎆
posted by uncleozzy at 5:17 AM on February 8 [14 favorites]


Its a good interview, btw. My favorite part was,

Interviewer: I'm sorry to be jumping around [topics] like this
Q: Be a Pisces. Jam.
posted by petebest at 5:25 AM on February 8 [21 favorites]


The French soldiers died in the hundreds of thousands in the Great War as the German army rolled across their country. The Battle of Verdun was a meat grinder that went on for nearly a year. An entire generation of Frenchmen were virtually obliterated.

I beg you all, don't fucking joke about the French army. I'm sitting here nearly in tears about it. They earned their parades.
posted by winna at 5:29 AM on February 8 [75 favorites]


^ Chilling: ICE Wants to Be an Intelligence Agency Under Trump.
ICE Director Spouts Anti-Immigrant Trumpisms at San Antonio Border Conference.
Acting ICE director Thomas Homan is quickly becoming one of the most dangerous men in America.
Papers Please.
posted by adamvasco at 5:39 AM on February 8 [17 favorites]


Wars in which the French worked with the Americans.
Revolutionary War.
World War I
World War II
First Iraq War.

Wars in which the French sat out.
Vietnam War.
Second Iraq War.

(but... let's end the derail)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:40 AM on February 8 [17 favorites]


The French soldiers died in the hundreds of thousands in the Great War as the German army rolled across their country

This is true. It's also true that lots of other people died in the hundreds of thousands when French armies rolled across their countries.

Giant military equipment parades ought to be distasteful for any modern democracy.

Also, we don't have these because they're supposed beneath our station. In an almost literal sense: if the US wants to deliver a pointed reminder it will conduct a large joint exercise in theater.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:43 AM on February 8 [7 favorites]


> angrycat, beating yourself up over it accomplishes nothing. Teachers fuck up. I know I have, and then some, and not sure you did here. But more to the point of this thread (and some comments) recent events may sometimes overload our ability to cope, or may sneak in when we let our guard down, or make us 'misunderestimate' our responses. Do your students know you turn up for them? Fine. You are doing your job. There may be many more reasons why they all skipped that prompt besides you being a white person who may have voted for the unspeakable. And, none of them have anything to do with you. Just one: an open invitation to unload in public on 45 can be a bit much to handle, even for us MeFites. And, unspeakable may be another. Teachers just go back to class and keep on teaching. You haven't harmed them. It is sad, but that sadness isn't on you.
posted by Gotanda at 5:49 AM on February 8 [23 favorites]


OK, I abjectly apologize for seeming like I was mocking the French when I was trying (badly, apparently) to mock Trump. Meanwhile, if Trump enjoys Bastille Day so much that he wants to re-enact French history, I support that and will happily bring the tumbrels and knitting needles.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:09 AM on February 8 [13 favorites]


An alternative way to mock Trump, if you'd like - a meme I've seen on Twitter is to take a photo from the Charlottesville Tiki Torch march thing and caption it with "Trump has already had a parade, though" or suchlike.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:16 AM on February 8 [33 favorites]


Alexei Navalny (Russian opposition leader) released today a half-hour video [Russian, with English subtitles available, h/t @parfitt_tom (Times of London)] detailing a meeting between Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska and Deputy Prime Minister Prikhodka on a yacht trip through Norway in August 2016. All of the information comes from a tell-all book by an escort, together with her own Instagram photos and video of the trip.

The meeting highlights corruption within the Russian government, but could also have implications for the Russia-gate story. August 2016 was obviously a key moment: Paul Manafort had just been forced out of the Trump campaign, and was simultaneously trying to repair his relations with Deripaska.

Not sure what this means, other than the US political focus of their discussion, but at one point in the video (5:25 in the youtube link, above), the two men are heard saying:

We've got bad relations with America because the friend of Sergei Eduardovich [Prikhodka], [US Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria] Nuland. When she was your age, she spent a month on a Russian whaling boat. She hates our country after this.

posted by pjenks at 6:20 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]


Sorry to be late to the game, but what is he referring to with this all caps screed? (tweet from yesterday).

"NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!"
posted by AwkwardPause at 6:24 AM on February 8


Perhaps this story from three days ago (Susan Glasser, Politico) is not unrelated:
By the summer of 2016, Victoria Nuland’s “Spidey sense” told her something was very wrong.

That spring, Nuland, the top State Department official charged with overseeing U.S. policy toward Russia, was one of those who had “first rung the alarm bell” inside the Obama administration, warning that Russia appeared to be trying to “discredit the democratic process” in the United States as part of a concerted 2016 strategy.
posted by pjenks at 6:25 AM on February 8 [7 favorites]


"NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!"

The FBI agents from the previous text non-scandal discussed Obama asking to be kept up to date with his daily intel briefings. You know like a competent leader.
posted by PenDevil at 6:30 AM on February 8 [26 favorites]


The FBI agents from the previous text non-scandal discussed Obama asking to be kept up to date with his daily intel briefings. You know like a competent leader.

And more specifically, he wanted to be kept up to date on the Russian election meddling. Fancy that!
posted by diogenes at 6:33 AM on February 8 [15 favorites]


Chilling: ICE Wants to Be an Intelligence Agency Under Trump.
ICE Director Spouts Anti-Immigrant Trumpisms at San Antonio Border Conference.
Acting ICE director Thomas Homan is quickly becoming one of the most dangerous men in America.


Serious question: while I personally would like to completely disband ICE and actually prosecute whoever we can possibly prosecute, I also know that disbanding a rogue law enforcement agency is how you get armed guerilla rebellions or just armed, trained gangs.

So.

What the fuck do we do about ICE, assuming we get over this terrifying fascist hump?
posted by schadenfrau at 6:34 AM on February 8 [17 favorites]


As dumb as it sounds, I would say give them duties that actually help the nation, whatever that may be, and give them a raise to keep them from being butthurt that they don't get to hunt people anymore. Basically, try to do what you can to keep them off the streets and out of Eric Prince's hands.
posted by bootlegpop at 6:44 AM on February 8 [8 favorites]


The Hannities of the world are playing the clip of Obama saying "I will never interfere in active investigations, full stop" and screaming that THESE TEXTS ARE PROOF THAT OBAMA WAS CORRUPT AND PERSONALLY ORDERED HILLARY'S EMAIL FELONIES EXPUNGED AND ILLEGAL WIRETAPPING OF TRUMP instead of, y'know, wanting to know precisely what was going on with Russian manipulation of American elections three days before he warned Putin against electronic manipulation of American elections.

It's a wild concept, I know.
posted by delfin at 6:50 AM on February 8 [10 favorites]


MetaFilter: I do not find this gloss on current events to be witty or cute.
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:03 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]


What the fuck do we do about ICE, assuming we get over this terrifying fascist hump?

I think that's a good question. It's probably more feasible to curb their power (at least right now) than outright disband them, or make them into another kind of more humanitarian outfit as bootlegpop said (though that would be a shiny pony!).

It would be an outright very bad sign, IMO, if there were lots of young men flocking to join ICE, but, at least as of 2017, they were having trouble hiring: More than 40% of CBP applicants failed to either schedule or show up for their entrance exams, which is only step two of the process.

The polygraph tests are also a sticking point. In 2010, CBP found that 60% of applicants who took a polygraph exam failed, according to congressional testimony by assistant commissioner James Tomsheck. Most flunked because they didn't disclose prior drug use or criminal history, he said, which knocks them out of the running.
If ICE starts lowering its requirements - waiving the drug use/criminal history requirements, that would be extremely ominous, so maybe keeping an eye open for reports that ICE is lowering/waiving requirements in order to fill ranks.

ICE can't do much without the cooperation of local law enforcement, so, I think the immediate practical thing that can be done about ICE now is turn as many local offices blue as we can. California is a sanctuary state, and cities like Denver and Seattle are sanctuary cities because of local Democratic power. Without local cooperation, ICE can't do nearly as much as it wants to.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:03 AM on February 8 [27 favorites]


What the fuck do we do about ICE, assuming we get over this terrifying fascist hump?

Hadn't that ship already sailed when soldiers with police duties in occupied Iraq / Afghanistan came home and started joining domestic security services?

How did America dodge this after Vietnam?
posted by Coventry at 7:05 AM on February 8 [3 favorites]


The Hannities of the world...

I wish they would at least have the decency to make their propaganda and lies internally consistent. These 1+1=3 stories are particularly crazy making.
posted by diogenes at 7:05 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]


How did America dodge this after Vietnam?

It didn't. Back then we just didn't have the media and pervasive citizen surveillance to cover every black person who had the shit beaten out of them by war weary cops.
posted by Talez at 7:07 AM on February 8 [8 favorites]


What the fuck do we do about ICE

The root of their issues seems to be largely that they have become de-facto race police. So a start would be to have a mandatory percentage of the membership drawn from the community/culture they are policing. (This is also just common sense).

That and making membership or association with members of white supremacist or other extremist orgs grounds for instant dismissal. (Ditto all LE agencies).
posted by Buntix at 7:07 AM on February 8 [23 favorites]


Hadn't that ship already sailed when soldiers with police duties in occupied Iraq / Afghanistan came home and started joining domestic security services?

If only.

Soldiers in Iraq were under more restrained rules of engagement than badged police officers in the US.

ICE's problem is the soldier wannabes, not the returning vets.
posted by ocschwar at 7:07 AM on February 8 [50 favorites]


twitter thread re: somebody at Montana DOL quitting because of ICE activity
posted by angrycat at 5:01 AM on February 8 [8 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


I also want to point out angrycat's link above. The gentleman in the tweet is quitting his job at Department of Labor in Montana because he was asked to put together lists of names of undocumented immigrants. He is refusing to comply. This is also how we circumvent ICE. By ordinary Americans refusing to comply.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:08 AM on February 8 [84 favorites]


Honestly, the bigger problem is the various militia/prepper/etc movements full of law enforcement and military personnel, both active-duty and veteran who are just itching for blood in the name of thinly-veiled (if at all) bigotry. The Oathkeepers, for instance, set up webinars on how to create kill zones and engage in warfare in residential areas before the 2016 election, and they have no shortage of defenders and apologists.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:12 AM on February 8 [15 favorites]


How did America dodge this after Vietnam?

There was a draft for Vietnam. ICE is a voluntary force composed of people who really want to hunt brown people. Not the same.

I think the larger point of purging — ugh, that word, but...it’s the right word — purging all law enforcement agencies of anyone with ties to hate groups, or with an established record of racism or violence while on the job...

I mean, yes, we should obviously do that, and we should prevent it from happening ever again. But I think that ends up with the same problem: a bunch of angry, armed, violent, racist, patriarchal men who think they’re entitled to supreme authority, and now they’re all unemployed at the same time.

I don’t know, is there an asteroid that needs mining or something?
posted by schadenfrau at 7:14 AM on February 8 [8 favorites]


Does Trump know about Nixon’s Palace Guard? They would be a lot cheaper and faster to implement than a big parade. Among other ceremonial occasions, they could line up when he boards and disembarks Air Force One, and stand guard during press briefings.
posted by cenoxo at 7:16 AM on February 8 [4 favorites]


Not to belabor "the writers" topic, but I find it humorous in a wry way because we stopped watching House of Cards (before the Spacey ick became known) when reality started being so much more ridiculous. House of Cards was effective because everything on the show was scandalous in comparison to the scandal-free Obama years.

So yeah, "the writers" are really smoking something nowadays.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:16 AM on February 8 [6 favorites]


I find "the writers" stuff annoying not for any principled reason but just because it's lame, unfunny, and played-out. Same goes for the "Ron Howard voice" stuff and calling Trump "Donnie Two Scoops", or "he who shall not be named", or whatever other kitschy nickname. It doesn't bring anything to the discussion. It's noise at best, and confusing to read at worst.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:25 AM on February 8 [23 favorites]


In the "after a left Democratic victory" sense, one part of an ICE strategy would be attrition - let people leave or retire and don't replace, with an overall goal of a slow but substantial reduction in force. I don't know exactly what the churn is in ICE, but it's got to be 15% a year or so.

Another part would probably be to change what happens to people after they are detained - no more detention centers, full hearings with lawyers, etc etc. In fact, probably stopping actual detentions and just having a citation with a court date TBD. Slow the whole deportation process and provide more appeals and more hardship waivers. If you remove the thrill of throwing people in a detention center and abusing them, you won't attract people who think that's fun. if you say to people "you overstayed your visa, you have 12 calendar months to get your act together and leave" rather than "we are throwing you on a plane tomorrow", you're going to attract different people.

Also, change the name back to "Immigration and Naturalization". You know that trash people at every level of government think "ICE" sounds really badass, and that's why they picked that dumbshit acronym. I remember when it happened and it was as embarrassing as it was despair-inducing.

I mean, if this were me, I basically support open borders and think immigration stuff is bullshit, but if you don't have the political capital to get rid of it, you can slow the roll.
posted by Frowner at 7:28 AM on February 8 [19 favorites]


[Folks, in the absence of actual specific things happening to link to substantively maybe let's just drop the space-filling chatter about ICE hypotheticals and The Writers metacommentary.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:28 AM on February 8 [10 favorites]


I find "the writers" stuff annoying not for any principled reason but just because it's lame, unfunny, and played-out. Same goes for the "Ron Howard voice" stuff and calling Trump "Donnie Two Scoops", or "he who shall not be named", or whatever other kitschy nickname. It doesn't bring anything to the discussion. It's noise at best, and confusing to read at worst.

I don’t entirely disagree, but MeTa commentary and kvetching belong in MeTa.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:28 AM on February 8 [7 favorites]


Greg Jaffe and Missy Ryan, WaPo: Trump’s favorite general: Can Mattis check an impulsive president and still retain his trust?
Throughout his 40-year career as a Marine, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis built a reputation as an aggressive warrior, leading a blitz on Baghdad and pushing a reluctant Obama administration to hit back against Iran.

Over the past year, he has learned to play a different role: acting as a check on an impulsive president.

The big question is how long Mattis can continue to act as a force for continuity and caution and still retain influence with a president impatient to hit back at America’s enemies and swiftly win wars.

These days, Mattis’s influence radiates across the government. In places such as Afghanistan and Somalia, he has been a force for stability, resisting the president’s instincts to withdraw. In Iran and North Korea, he has curbed Trump’s desire for a show of military strength.

One tense moment came last May as officials grew increasingly concerned about aggressive Iranian behavior.

For weeks, Mattis had been resisting requests from the White House to provide military options for Iran. Now Trump made clear that he wanted the Pentagon to deliver a range of plans that included striking Iranian ballistic missile factories or hitting Iranian speedboats that routinely harassed U.S. Navy vessels.

“Why can’t we sink them?” Trump would sometimes ask about the boats.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster and his staff laid out the president’s request for Mattis in a conference call, but the defense secretary refused, according to several U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations. At that point, McMaster took Mattis off speakerphone, cleared his staff from the room and continued the conversation.

“It was clear that the call was not going well,” one official said. In the weeks that followed, the options never arrived.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:29 AM on February 8 [15 favorites]


I really admire the guy that quit rather than issue ICE the info they were using for subpoenas

People have asked why am I doing this if I have a child.

I’m doing this because I have a child.

I want to be able to look my child in eye
.


The rest of his tweets make total sense as well. If we all don't start doing our part every time, going above and beyond a la Anne Frank.... shit. Here we are.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:30 AM on February 8 [70 favorites]


On the texts, not only was it Obama checking status of the Russian interference, it was two days before he met and confronted Putin about it. So logical preparation. As confirmed and reported by that liberal rag the Wall Street Journal.
posted by chris24 at 7:31 AM on February 8 [19 favorites]


I am adding this after the mod note because I think it is genuinely important to remember.

Regarding funny, kitschy, corny humor: one of the reasons ACT UP was so successful in the 80s and 90s was not just the artistic and outrageous, but that most of the time (like 90% of the time) we kept our senses of humor. We were DYING. Actively dropping like flies, but we kept our sense of humor. We made gallows humor a part of our resistance. We had to. It was the only thing keeping us going. I'm not encouraging the threads to get out of control AT ALL, but what I am trying to remind people is that we need to remember who we are in this and being entirely serious will get us all massively burnt out before we burn it all down.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:33 AM on February 8 [99 favorites]


The WaPo's Mattis article is worth reading, they also have one on Ben Carson showing how he's lost at HUD and the agency is waiting for leadership, instead they get this: Ben Carson, or the tale of the disappearing Cabinet secretary:
“There’s never been a time in the history of the world where a society became divided like this and did well,” Carson said as a crowd — including an off-duty New York Times reporter, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, a slew of representatives from housing nonprofit organizations and old friends from his presidential campaign — circled him. “And we don’t really have a reason to be fighting each other. There was a movie some years ago, a Will Smith movie called ‘Independence Day’ . . .”

With his soothing, story-time cadences and heavy-lidded gaze, Carson proceeded to hold forth on how Earth’s near-annihilation laid bare the superficiality of all the world’s strife. If only, he argued, people realized that the fate of humanity hung in the balance, then Palestinians and Jews, or even the United States and Russia, could be “like best friends.”
posted by peeedro at 7:33 AM on February 8 [19 favorites]


Olivia Victoria Gazis, CBS: House Intel Republicans plan to wall off their aides from Democratic staffers
In a sign of increasing partisan hostilities, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee plan to construct a wall – a physical partition – separating Republican and Democratic staff members in the committee's secure spaces, according to multiple committee sources. It's expected to happen this spring.

For now, some Republican committee members deny knowing anything about it, while strongly suggesting the division is the brainchild of the committee's chairman, Devin Nunes, R-California.

"I'm not part of that decision," said Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas. "You've got to talk to Devin. I don't know what they're trying to do one way or the other."

"I swear to God I didn't know that," said Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Florida, when asked about the plan. While acknowledging a wall might not be constructive for the committee's work, he said, "The level of trust and the level of everything down there is – it's poison. It's absolute poison down there."

Rooney said one reason for the tension is an erosion of trust, exacerbated by an ongoing ethics investigation into the "entire Republican staff," including "the woman up front that answers the phone" for alleged leaks. He later added that the matter was being handled by the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Bipartisanship, he said, "is gone. It's gone from that committee."
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:38 AM on February 8 [49 favorites]


I wish they would at least have the decency to make their propaganda and lies internally consistent. These 1+1=3 stories are particularly crazy making.

It is exhausting to listen to not only because Hannity is a broken record repeating the same accusations over and over again, but also because he skips from one "scandal" to the next in the same breath. The token liberal strawmen that he brings on the air to berate have no chance at responding with any kind of intellectual consistency because the moment they get a breath out of a rebuttal, he's off to a different-but-somehow-related-because-all-Dem-scandals-are-related angle.

The checklist goes: [ ] No evidence for Trump - Russia collusion exists [ ] Comey exonerated Hillary before even beginning the investigation [ ] Peter Strzok is behind everything [ ] The Steele Dossier has been completely debunked and is nothing but salacious lies [ ] Hillary must go to jail for deleting subpoenaed emails and destroying devices [ ] The Steele Dossier was the only evidence used to get the illegal FISA warrant [ ] Obama, Hillary, Comey, Lynch, Strzok, Page, the Ohrs, everyone at Fusion GPS are all culpable conspirators [ ] Mueller's investigation would not have taken place without all this illegal fishing leading up to it and there's nothing for him to find anyway [ ] This is proof of Hillary colluding with the Russians by buying and paying for their election-influencing propaganda and lies [ ] Using BleachBit and AcidWash to clean the email server hard drives was a criminal act [ ] Institutional bias and sheer hatred of President Trump and all he represents [ ] Rosenstein should be fired immediately and it's criminal that Sessions refuses to act [ ] Hillary knowingly deleted evidence of foreign entities hacking her server and obtaining top secret, classified, special access information [ ] It's all an attempted coup [ ] Tune in tonight/tomorrow for more evidence of Democratic corruption that will SHOCK THE CONSCIENCE!

Seriously. Tune in sometime and watch his narrative bounce like a superball. But this is the GOP media method in a nutshell; flood the airwaves with obvious and compelling and overwhelming Dem corruption but spread it out so that you don't stop to think too long about any individual piece.
posted by delfin at 7:38 AM on February 8 [15 favorites]


From the "ICE Director Spouts Anti-Immigrant Trumpisms" article linked above:

"It irritates me that a politician who’s never carried a badge and a gun who doesn’t understand what we do everyday makes a decision of putting their own political career above the health and safety of our law enforcement officers," Homan said Wednesday. "Shame!"

I hear you, Mr. Homan, I hear you. Since we're talking about our feelings, may I take a turn?

It irritates the SHIT out of me that the director of an organization that's champing at the bit to become our nation's version of the brownshirts frames the issue of immigration as one best addressed by people who carry badges and guns. Shame!
posted by Rykey at 7:40 AM on February 8 [15 favorites]


George W. Bush says Russia meddled in 2016 US election
While never mentioning President Trump by name, Bush appeared to be pushing back on Trump’s attempts to have warmer relations with Russia, as well as his comments on immigration.

The White House did not immediately comment on Bush’s remarks.

“There’s pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled,” Bush said at a talk in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. “Whether they affected the outcome is another question.”
...
Bush also criticized Trump’s decision to scrap a program implemented by former President Barack Obama’s administration that allows young immigrants living in the U.S. illegally who were brought here as children to remain in America.

“America’s their home,” the 43rd American president said.
I continue to continue to be amazed at nodding along in agreement with Bush.

I also continue to be amazed at how wall-crazy Republicans seem to be right now: CBS: House Intel Republicans plan to wall off their aides from Democratic staffers
In a sign of increasing partisan hostilities, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee plan to construct a wall – a physical partition – separating Republican and Democratic staff members in the committee's secure spaces, according to multiple committee sources. It's expected to happen this spring.

For now, some Republican committee members deny knowing anything about it, while strongly suggesting the division is the brainchild of the committee's chairman, Devin Nunes, R-California.

"I'm not part of that decision," said Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas. "You've got to talk to Devin. I don't know what they're trying to do one way or the other."

"I swear to God I didn't know that," said Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Florida, when asked about the plan. While acknowledging a wall might not be constructive for the committee's work, he said, "The level of trust and the level of everything down there is – it's poison. It's absolute poison down there."

Rooney said one reason for the tension is an erosion of trust, exacerbated by an ongoing ethics investigation into the "entire Republican staff," including "the woman up front that answers the phone" for alleged leaks. He later added that the matter was being handled by the Office of Congressional Ethics.
For all the insanity of the wall-building, is the ethics investigation news new? That seems new (if true).

Meanwhile, at the border (wall or not), Donald Trump’s refugee policies are dramatically slowing arrivals in the U.S.
The U.S. is on pace to take in about 20,000 refugees this year — less than half the number President Donald Trump has authorized — at a time when the U.N. says the world’s refugee crisis is the worst it has been since World War II.

Trump said he’d allow 45,000 refugees into the country in the current fiscal year, about half the 85,000 settled in the final fiscal year of Barack Obama's administration. But with only 6,700 refugees arriving in the first four months of the fiscal year through Jan. 31, it appears the year will close with the total number far below the cap.
Capping refugees at 45,000 was itself a terrible decision -- we owe it to each to do what we can for one another, and the US can sure as heck handle more than 45,000 refugees; if we can afford a $1.5 trillion tax cut, we could also probably have afforded, say, ten times that number. But capping refugees at 45,00 and then not letting them in is a whole different kind of terrible.
posted by cjelli at 7:41 AM on February 8 [46 favorites]


In a sign of increasing partisan hostilities, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee plan to construct a wall – a physical partition – separating Republican and Democratic staff members in the committee's secure spaces, according to multiple committee sources. It's expected to happen this spring.

Stealing this from the SA Trump thread because I love it:

haveblue: Democrats should demand that the wall be 30 feet high and transparent. What if someone tries to throw a bag of subpoenas over it?
posted by delfin at 7:47 AM on February 8 [33 favorites]


Democrats expand battleground, target 101 GOP seats (Alex Seitz-Wald | NBC News)
House Democrats are stepping on the gas, with plans to target over 100 Republican-held congressional districts in the November midterm elections.

At House Democrats' annual conference Thursday, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is expected to tell colleagues the committee is expanding the battleground to include 101 Republicans — the largest in a decade, a Democratic source familiar with the matter told NBC News.

The seven new targets push Democrats even deeper into Republican territory in South Carolina, Wisconsin and Texas. And they include the Ohio seat held by the man charged with defending the GOP's majority, National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio. (Republicans are also targeting Lujan.)

The DCCC's own polling of key districts has been more promising than national trends, showing President Donald Trump underwater not just in the 23 GOP-held districts Clinton won, but also in the more than 60 districts Trump won, and the 11 where retirements have left the seat open.

Democrats are now fielding candidates in all but 12 of the 238 districts held by Republicans, according to Lujan, including in places like Alabama, where Democrats are competing in every single district for the first time in years The idea is to expand the map as much as possible and hope to ride the potential wave.

"They should do some reevaluating," Lujan said of Republicans.

Other new DCCC targets include South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District, where Democrat Archie Parnell outperformed expectations in a special election last year and is running again; New Jersey’s 4th Congressional District, represented by veteran GOP Rep. Chris Smith; Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District, held by Rep. Sean Duffy; and Maryland’s 1st Congressional District, which includes the state’s conservative Eastern Shore, where Democrats had planned to have their retreat.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:54 AM on February 8 [32 favorites]


With his soothing, story-time cadences and heavy-lidded gaze, Carson proceeded to hold forth on how Earth’s near-annihilation laid bare the superficiality of all the world’s strife. If only, he argued, people realized that the fate of humanity hung in the balance, then Palestinians and Jews, or even the United States and Russia, could be “like best friends.”

What's left of us all after the radioactive dust settles, sure.

The primary concern that sane people should have with armagedon fetishists is that the latter group will spark an apocalypse to try and prove their beliefs.
posted by zarq at 7:59 AM on February 8 [6 favorites]


Josh Robin, WaPo: The United States and South Korea now openly disagree on North Korea
Speaking before his bilateral meeting with Vice President Pence on Thursday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in stated his clear desire for the upcoming meetings between South and North Korean officials to serve as a path to real negotiations over Pyongyang’s nuclear program and ultimately a deal to end the tensions that have roiled the Korean peninsula for decades.

“We certainly hope to utilize this opportunity to the maximum so that the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games can become a venue that leads to dialogue for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula as well as to establishing peace on the Korean peninsula,” Moon said.

Pence, speaking after Moon, said nothing about the senior-level North-South interactions scheduled for Friday in Pyeongchang. Rather, the vice president reiterated his desire to continue the American-led campaign of “maximum pressure” on the Kim Jong Un regime.

A readout of the meeting provided by Pence’s staff also mentioned nothing about North Korea dialogue. “The two leaders discussed the importance of intensifying the global maximum pressure campaign on North Korea until it abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs once and for all,” the readout said. […]

Inside the Trump administration, there’s another policy break. The White House message is consistent: Now is not the time for engagement with Pyongyang, and the North Korean charm offensive cannot be allowed to succeed. Pence and President Trump have spoken several times during his Asia trip.

Meanwhile, the State Department has been trying to find an opening for dialogue, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has repeatedly contradicted the White House by saying that talks with Pyongyang can begin anytime with no preconditions. Ambassador Joseph Yun, who has been leading that effort, was also in Seoul this week.
Fine. Tuned. Machine.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:02 AM on February 8 [16 favorites]


Cook Political out with new ratings, moves 21 seats towards the Democrats:

AR-02: Hill (R) Solid R => Likely R
CA-04: McClintock (R) Solid R => Likely R
CA-10: Denham (R) Lean R => Toss Up
FL-07: Murphy (D) Lean D => Likely D
FL-16: Buchanan (R) Solid R => Likely R
FL-18: Mast (R) Likely R => Lean R
IL-12: Bost (R) Lean R => Toss Up
IN-02: Walorski (R) Solid R => Likely R
MI-06: Upton (R) Solid R => Likely R
MN-03: Paulsen (R) Lean R => Toss Up
MO-02: Wagner (R) Solid R => Likely R
NC-13: Budd (R) Likely R => Lean R
NH-01: OPEN (Shea-Porter) (D) => Toss Up Lean D
NJ-02: OPEN (LoBiondo) (R) => Toss Up Lean D
NY-11: Donovan (R) Likely R => Lean R
NY-22: Tenney (R) Lean R => Toss Up
OR-05: Schrader (D) Likely D => Solid D
PA-07: OPEN (Meehan) (R) Toss Up => Lean D
TX-21: OPEN (Smith) (R) Solid R => Likely R
VA-02: Taylor (R) Likely R => Lean R
VA-07: Brat (R) Likely R => Lean R
posted by Chrysostom at 8:05 AM on February 8 [45 favorites]


Tracking Shows Russian Meddling Efforts Evolving Ahead Of 2018 Midterms (NPR, Feb. 8, 2018)
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sounded an alarm this week: The Russians are already meddling in the 2018 midterm elections.

"The point is that if their intention is to interfere, they're going to find ways to do that," Tillerson told Fox News. "I think it's important we just continue to say to Russia, look, you think we don't see what you're doing. We do see it, and you need to stop."
But Big Daddy Trump has that covered, we don't need more sanctions Congress, but thanks for trying. Back to NPR:
A new poll shows that a clear majority of Americans believe Russia will try to meddle in the next U.S. election. But Tillerson also noted that Russia's tactics for interfering in U.S. politics are constantly changing. A bipartisan effort is shedding new light on how Russian methods evolve.
Except the poll shows that Republicans aren't buying it, with 64% saying it's not likely that Russia will attempt the 2018 midterm elections, versus 34% who say it is likely.

More on the Russian bots:
There has also been a massive increase in the amount of chatter that promotes mistrust of American institutions, especially the idea of an American "deep state," the idea that there is a conspiracy of government officials working to undercut the president.

The deep state narrative was the focus of between five to ten percent of the weekly content on the Russia-linked influence network in October, when Hamilton 68 began its tracking. Last week, it represented 38 percent of the articles linked to by those accounts.

"That's gone from being a sort-of ripple beneath the surface, to now that's risen up to where it's typically the top thing we're seeing week-to-week," said Bret Schafer, the analyst for the project who updates the dashboard each day.
I'd like to see a poll of who's falling for this Deep State story now. Last April, there was a poll (CNN, autoplaying video) that showed an aggregated 48% believed that there is a Deep State in the U.S., but I didn't see any party breakdown.

Meanwhile, there's a Big Russian delegation anticipated for prayer breakfast in Washington, with Trump, today (Lister, Mary Ilyushina and Frederik Pleitgen for CNN, Feb. 8, 2018 - note: autoplaying video is an unrelated clip on Russian TV support for the Nunes memo, supporting Trump's belief that there's a conspiracy against him)
President Donald Trump will attend the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday, a prime networking opportunity for Beltway insiders. But this year's event is also an opportunity for dozens of Russians. As many as 60 representatives from Russia's religious and political elite are expected to attend, more than three times last year's number, according to Russian officials.
This is fine.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:07 AM on February 8 [29 favorites]


There are many senses that people use the word "love". When I say I love America, I'm not talking about admiring America (although we shouldn't pretend there is nothing admirable about America). When I say I love America, I'm not even talking about liking America. I'm talking about a sort of dedication or duty to helping America become what it could be.

I love America like I love my kids. I support them like crazy, but I've also got higher expectations for them, and hold them to a higher standard. I work hard to help them get better, and to meet the better version of themselves that I know that they can be. I'll always love them, but if they do something wrong, or worse cruel, I am deeply deeply disappointed in them.

But I will never ever give up on them.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:07 AM on February 8 [43 favorites]


New Sabato Senate ratings, two races move towards Ds:

Smith [D-MN] Leans Dem => Likely Dem
Kaine [D-VA] Likely Dem => Safe Dem
posted by Chrysostom at 8:09 AM on February 8 [12 favorites]


“America’s their home,” the 43rd American president said.

Trump is so awful that he makes me miss Bush. And that is not something I could have ever predicted.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:15 AM on February 8 [42 favorites]


Kaine [D-VA] Likely Dem => Safe Dem

Since the early challenger talk is from folks who are batshit crazy a la Corey Stewart this seems likely accurate, particularly if we see a repeat of the Governor's race where the batshit loses by a narrow margin and the winner picks up the nutter banner, further energizing the left opposition.
posted by phearlez at 8:30 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]


It looks like the VA GOP candidate will either be Corey Stewart or equally nutball E.W. Jackson, who got destroyed in the 2013 LG race.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:38 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]


Talking about Battlefields;
US-led coalition in Syria attacks pro-Assad fighters, 100 dead.
posted by adamvasco at 8:42 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]


"It looks like the VA GOP candidate will either be Corey Stewart or equally nutball E.W. Jackson, who got destroyed in the 2013 LG race."

The presumptive LP nominee for VA Senate is a conspiracy theorist whackadoodle (sigh) and is running on issues that should pull more votes from the right than from the left. So we're helping lol.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:46 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]


I love America like I love my kids. I support them like crazy, but I've also got higher expectations for them, and hold them to a higher standard. I work hard to help them get better, and to meet the better version of themselves that I know that they can be. I'll always love them, but if they do something wrong, or worse cruel, I am deeply deeply disappointed in them.

But I will never ever give up on them.


But...there might be a point that there's just nothing I can do anymore. When America is so drunk on it's own bullshit and continues to spiral down a path that everyone around it can see leads to dying in a gutter, but it refuses to admit it has a problem. I'm not saying I'd give up on it, I'm just saying that there may be a point where there's nothing left for a rational person to do to save it. We aren't there yet, but I'm really close to saying, "Look. I love you, but I don't like you when you are this way. Get your ass into some sort of program, lay off the hate crack pipe, put down the bottle of greed, and stop acting like a hateful moron or we are done." I mean, intellectually, I know that tough love rarely works, but if there's a second Trump term, I've got to put on my air mask and then I'll try to save the kid. If it can even be saved.
posted by teleri025 at 8:47 AM on February 8 [8 favorites]


> Trump is so awful that he makes me miss Bush. And that is not something I could have ever predicted.

Same here. And I really resent that.

I was a grad student with only a vague awareness of US politics when the Bill Clinton impeachment came along, and I was hooked. Then the Florida recount and Bush v Gore ("not a precedent") left me rabid and frothing at the mouth. I hated W, shared my share of Idiot memes, had the "Bushisms" calendar. The Iraq war and Katrina left me heartbroken and furious and relieved to move to Australia.

To have that Bush - that war criminal - now appear like a sane rational elder statesman in comparison... Wow.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:48 AM on February 8 [37 favorites]


I continue to continue to be amazed at nodding along in agreement with Bush.

>>>Trump is so awful that he makes me miss Bush. And that is not something I could have ever predicted.


I understand and agree, but it is important to remember that Dubz & Co successfully trashed the future of America for the rest of our natural lives and those of everyone we hold dear.

9/11 was a pivotal time that went south immediately due to their premeditated evil going unchecked. Yeah, yeah, by Hillary too. And Obama looked forward not back, it's true.

But just because the current puppet dictator can't remember who he had lunch with yesterday doesn't mean Cheney et. al. should be pardoned for war crimes and treason. Gee-Dubz's bumbling frat boy act ain't gonna get it.
posted by petebest at 8:49 AM on February 8 [38 favorites]


So CNN had actual Illinois Nazi and GOP congressional candidate Arthur Jones on for an interview because a racist shouting for five minutes makes for good tv. CNN Decides Giving a Nazi a National TV Platform Is a Great Idea:
Anchor Alisyn Camerota gamely hammered Jones—a former leader of the American Nazi Party—over his overt anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, and assorted crackpot theories.“Your website is filled with the most vile, rancid rhetoric I think I’ve ever read,” Camerota exclaimed at one point. “It’s one man, myself, that’s standing for the truth,” Jones shot back. He also ranted about Jews a lot.

But by the end of the segment, all that viewers had learned that a Nazi was indeed a Nazi. And now, thanks to CNN, this Nazi got to shout racist shit into millions of homes. Nice work.
Why is CNN inviting Nazis on its shows?
What did we learn from this enlightening exchange? Not much, unless you weren’t quite sure that the leader of the American Nazi Party is, well, a Nazi.

Journalists covering the extreme right have to walk a careful line. Their activities are newsworthy, but they shouldn’t simply be handed a megaphone to spread hate. Though Camerota challenged Jones, the entire segment has the feel of performance, designed to make Camerota look like a hard-hitting journalist. There are several ways to cover Jones’s candidacy, and this is just about the stupidest one.
posted by peeedro at 8:58 AM on February 8 [40 favorites]


Joe Kennedy: "Biden would have beaten Trump"

Beyond the usual manifestation of patriarchy, I think there's a subtle message to the Democratic base here. I've said it's going to be another three decades before a women will get a Democratic nomination for president, and this is confirmation.

The fact that the up and coming star of the Democrats supports an elderly two-time loser, well that's a message to women pols: go ahead and run, but don't be too ambitious. " It also gives us an idea of what to expect for the nominee in 2018.


"I think of misogyny and sexism as working hand-in-hand to uphold those social relations. Sexism is an ideology that says, “These arrangements just make sense. Women are just more caring, or nurturing, or empathetic,” which is only true if you prime people by getting them to identify with their gender.

So, sexism is the ideology that supports patriarchal social relations, but misogyny enforces it when there’s a threat of that system going away." Kate Manne discussing her book Down Girl The Logic of Misogyny

Joe Kennedy (D MA 4th District) is a misogynistic enforcer. (scribbles note to self to never vote for him)
posted by jointhedance at 9:07 AM on February 8 [21 favorites]


Though Camerota challenged Jones, the entire segment has the feel of performance, designed to make Camerota look like a hard-hitting journalist.

The segment is primarily an ancient Nazi shouting Nazism with Camerota trying to get a word in edgewise to gently scold him for being a Nazi. Mostly she fails to do so, and most of the audible dialogue is his message. The product that makes it to a channel-flipping viewer is substantively no different than if CNN had given a few minutes of free airtime to the Daily Stormer. Heckuva job, CNN.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:12 AM on February 8 [6 favorites]


There's another rising young congressman in Mass., not named Kennedy.
posted by adamg at 9:13 AM on February 8 [4 favorites]


Omarosa dishes/playacts about her time in the White House on Celebrity Big Brother, proving again that we need to schedule a well-care visit with the writers of 2018 and maybe see what empty bottles are in their recycling.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:16 AM on February 8 [4 favorites]


Since the early challenger talk is from folks who are batshit crazy a la Corey Stewart this seems likely accurate, particularly if we see a repeat of the Governor's race where the batshit loses by a narrow margin and the winner picks up the nutter banner, further energizing the left opposition.

Which one is the batshit candidate between Corey Stewart and EW Jackson? The only other declared candidate is a no name libertarian state rep, and all the main brand names have pretty much bowed out already.

Also since Kaine doesn’t look like he’s going to have a primary challenger...which insane nutbag should I vote for him to face in my first ever Republican primary?
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:16 AM on February 8


"which insane nutbag should I vote for him to face in my first ever Republican primary?"

NOT Corey Stewart, please. He might be easy for Kaine to beat but his candidacies just encourage the white supremacists. :(
posted by Jacqueline at 9:20 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]


Also since Kaine doesn’t look like he’s going to have a primary challenger...

It's time for you to start collecting those signatures, candidate.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:23 AM on February 8 [6 favorites]


The Coming Democratic Wave May Be Smaller Than Expected
It’s hard to generalize short-term polling trends, if only because the leading aggregators (FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics are the two I regularly consult) don’t necessarily use the same polls. But it’s now quite clear that the numbers have moved pretty strongly in the GOP’s direction since Christmas.

FiveThirtyEight’s polling averages gave Democrats a 12.8 percent advantage (50.1/37.3) on December 24. Today it’s down to 6.5 percent (46.7/40.2). RealClearPolitics had Democrats up by 13 points on December 24 (49.1/36.1). Now it’s a 6 point advantage (44.4/38.4). So we are talking generally about that “wave” that looked so apparent at the end of 2016 being roughly halved.
...
So are Democratic dreams of a big midterm sure to be dashed? Of course not. Aside from the great distance at which we stand from the 2018 general election, there are counter-indicators of any pro-GOP trend, most recently in yesterday’s special state legislative elections in Missouri. As New York’s Eric Levitz argues, polls may be missing an especially intense Democratic determination to vote that make existing turnout models obsolete.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:25 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]


Nicole Lafond, TPM: Report: House Intel GOP Plans To Build Wall To Separate Dem And GOP Staffers

Is that sound of the entire Onion staff quitting?
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:29 AM on February 8 [53 favorites]


"polls may be missing an especially intense Dem byocratic determination to vote that make existing turnout models obsolete."

If y'all could just GOTV as consistently as the Rs do, it would be over for the GOP. Please keep doing whatever y'all did in Virginia last year because that was amazing.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:31 AM on February 8 [17 favorites]


Remember this guy?
One of the most thoroughgoing unpunished scandals of the second Bush Administration was its unconscionable politicization of the Department of Justice—an unprecedented malfeasance in office unmatched until this present bunch came to Washington. The most famous consequence of what the Bush DOJ did was the firing for political reasons of a number of U.S. Attorneys, at least partly because they declined to investigate phony claims of “voter fraud.”
[...]
One of the people involved in the rigged screening process—and, therefore, one of the people Fine wished would be permanently disqualified from any federal employment—was a lawyer named Howard Nielson. Nielson did, in fact, vanish from the scene for a bit, but he later surfaced as one of the lawyers defending California’s Proposition 8, the law that would have eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry in that state.

One of Nielson’s arguments in appellate court was that the original federal district judge who’d struck down the law should be reversed because he was gay and might want to get married one day.
[...]
There are, of course, more reasons why putting this jamoke on the federal bench is a dubious proposition, and the Alliance For Justice has a nice list of them, of which this is the most disturbing.
On yet another front, the use of torture, Nielson appears inclined to reinforce the worst impulses of President Trump. Trump has questioned the Geneva Conventions and supported waterboarding, saying, “The problem is we have the Geneva Conventions, all sorts of rules and regulations, so the soldiers are afraid to fight.” He has said he wants to “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” Significantly, Nielson worked in the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in the George W. Bush Administration when the notorious “torture memos” were issued. He defended them. In addition, he authored a memorandum that gutted protections for persons in custody under the Geneva Conventions, a memorandum one expert said was based on such “erroneous legal reasoning and conclusions” that it should be “add[ed] . . . to the Legal Scrapheap.”
Guess which useless fucksticks from the Oh-So-Brave NeverTrumpers Who Make Very Concerned Noises A Lot Caucus just voted to advance his nomination and therefore confirmation to a lifetime federal judgeship?

If you said "Jeff Flake and Ben Sasse" then come on down and collect your prize!
posted by zombieflanders at 9:34 AM on February 8 [37 favorites]


Omarosa dishes/playacts about her time in the White House on Celebrity Big Brother

Did somebody forget to bow down?
Every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump. It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.
Bye, Felicia.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:44 AM on February 8 [6 favorites]


Re: Guy who quit his job at DOL. Do we have any verification that any of this is true, and not a security blanket story for lefties who will give him attention and money? Maybe I'm just a cynic, but I don't believe a word of this guy's story. I think it's a troll.

Re: Quincy Jones article. Wow. I want to sit down for a drink with that man, and just let him talk.

Re: Federal judges, unqualified, I'm beginning to worry that we're not going to be able to fix this mess without a reboot of the entire system.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:47 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]


Re: Guy who quit his job at DOL. Do we have any verification that any of this is true, and not a security blanket story for lefties who will give him attention and money? Maybe I'm just a cynic, but I don't believe a word of this guy's story. I think it's a troll.

A...troll ... to do what?
posted by odinsdream at 9:58 AM on February 8 [4 favorites]


[A few things deleted. There is a venting thread on the grey where a lot of soul-searching or metacommentary stuff could go that we need to not just keep doing over and over again in the catch-all threads. Or if you have something that is a MetaFilter community issue (and not just a general world/politics issue that applies to MeFites only insofar as they are people who live in the world and its politics) you could consider a dedicated MeTa. But having an nth argument in here about whether and how people are existing/resisting/participating correctly or incorrectly in the face of All This Shit is not gonna be helpful.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:20 AM on February 8 [38 favorites]


Re: Guy who quit his job at DOL. Do we have any verification that any of this is true, and not a security blanket story for lefties who will give him attention and money? Maybe I'm just a cynic, but I don't believe a word of this guy's story. I think it's a troll.

A quick Google search turns up his bona fides at the Montana Department of Labor. He's taking PayPal donations, but his Twitter history looks like it belongs to someone who's been legitimately angered about Trump for a while than a scam artist preparing a long con.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:23 AM on February 8 [20 favorites]


Senate Budget Deal Would Give A Boost To Health Programs (Julie Rovner and Shefali Luthra for NPR, February 8, 2018)
The deal does appear to include almost every other health priority Democrats have been pushing the past several months, including two years of renewed funding for community health centers and a series of other health programs Congress failed to provide for before they technically expired last year.

"I believe we have reached a budget deal that neither side loves but both sides can be proud of," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on the Senate floor. "That's compromise. That's governing."

McConnell said, "This bill represents a significant bipartisan step forward."

Senate leaders are still negotiating details of the accord, including the size of a cut to the Prevention and Public Health Fund [which covers 16 activities or programs, ranging from Alzheimer's Disease Prevention Education and Outreach to Hospitals Promoting Breastfeeding, and totaled $931 million], which would help offset the costs of this legislation.

According to documents circulating on Capitol Hill, the deal includes $6 billion in funding for treatment of mental health issues and opioid addiction, $2 billion in extra funding for the National Institutes of Health, and an additional four-year extension of the Children's Health Insurance Program, which builds on the six years approved by Congress last month.

In the Medicare program, the deal would accelerate the closing of the "doughnut hole" in Medicare drug coverage that requires seniors to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket before catastrophic coverage kicks in. It would also repeal the controversial Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board, which is charged with holding down Medicare spending for the federal government if it exceeds a certain level.

Members have never been appointed to the IPAB, however, and its use hasn't so far been triggered by Medicare spending. Both the closure of the doughnut hole and creation of the IPAB were part of the Affordable Care Act.
...
Lawmakers would also forestall cuts mandated by the ACA to reduce the payments made to what are called Disproportionate Share Hospitals, which serve high rates of low-income patients. Those cuts have been delayed continuously since the law's 2010 passage.
This looks more like broad gains with some losses to "balance" the overall impact, which doesn't sound like Schumer and the Dems folding, but rather bargaining, and that'll mean some losses. Yes, we're starting from a losing position because the Tax Scam means we "have to make cuts" to "balance the budget."
posted by filthy light thief at 10:53 AM on February 8 [10 favorites]


> the Tax Scam means we "have to make cuts" to "balance the budget."

Is there a German word for "predictable flames of rage down the side of my face, because something that I knew with certainty was going to come has in fact now arrived, and is making me just as angry as I predicted it would"?
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:08 AM on February 8 [10 favorites]


This looks more like broad gains with some losses to "balance" the overall impact, which doesn't sound like Schumer and the Dems folding, but rather bargaining, and that'll mean some losses. Yes, we're starting from a losing position because the Tax Scam means we "have to make cuts" to "balance the budget."

If this was in a vacuum it'd certainly be a victory. The problem is that it removes all leverage that the Democrats have to force something to happen on the Dream Act and effectively throws the DACA kids under the bus.
posted by Talez at 11:09 AM on February 8 [7 favorites]


Bush was a terrible, terrible president, who had no business holding that office and who did tremendous harm to the country over the eight years he was there. He was such a bad president that he managed to make his father, and even to some extent Ronald Reagan, look good by comparison.

Bush was a tremendous statesman by comparison to Trump, because as much harm as he did, he at least had some good qualities. He kept a good relationship with Mexico, and was relatively friendly towards Latino/a immigrants. He was very firm about making a distinction between jihadi terrorism on the one hand and Islam, a religion of peace, on the other, in his rhetoric at least, even if his policies and actions often showed less regard for Muslim lives than for Christians. He (or at least his puppeteers Cheney and Rumsfeld) seized 9/11 as an opportunity to invade Iraq for profiteering purposes, and used absurd, inflammatory rhetoric like the "axis of evil" speech which destroyed the possibility of diplomatic solutions to international problems, but he never made us live in fear that he would start wars without regard for consequences simply in response to real or perceived personal slights.

The bar of comparison that Trump has set is now so pathetically low that even George W. Bush soars like an eagle over it.

Now imagine what the next Republican president will do that makes Trump look good by comparison.
posted by biogeo at 11:10 AM on February 8 [43 favorites]


he at least had some good qualities

PEPFAR was an amazing accomplishment and though it had faults and I will always think of Bush Jr. as a war criminal, this was a major point for him and changed the HIV epidemic worldwide.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:15 AM on February 8 [18 favorites]


> PEPFAR was an amazing accomplishment

PEPFAR and the post-9/11 "We are not at war with Islam" are two legitimately statesmanlike things that I give W. credit for. Even in a sea of greed, incompetence ("Heckuva job!"), malapropisms, and outright criminality, those are two good things. (And with that I'll stop on the Bush nostalgia tour.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:19 AM on February 8 [14 favorites]


Re: Big Russian delegation anticipated for prayer breakfast in Washington -- that was this morning, where At Prayer Breakfast, Trump Says Faith Central To American Life
President Trump praised God and country Thursday, calling the U.S. "a nation of believers" and saying faith is central to "American life and to liberty."

The president spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast, an annual gathering of faith and political leaders. Sticking largely to his script, Trump said that he came to "praise God, for how truly blessed we are to be American."

Trump said the nations' founders "invoked our creator four times in the Declaration of Independence," and that "our currency declares 'In God We Trust.'"
...
Calling America "a tireless force for justice and peace," Trump said the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS has liberated almost all of the territory recently held "by these killers" in Iraq and Syria. "We will never rest until that job is "completely done," Trump said, adding "and we are really doing it like never before."

He said America stands "with all people suffering oppression and religious persecution" naming Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea.

Evangelical Christians, who made up a large part of Thursdays' audience, are a key part of Trump's base of support, many of whom have said they are able to overlook the president's three marriages and sometimes crude sexual boasting as he has promoted policies and judges who support their agenda.
The motto IN GOD WE TRUST was placed on United States coins largely because of the increased religious sentiment existing during the Civil War, and way back in the beginning of this great nation, its founding fathers were against forming a Christian nation, having some strong words to those ideas.

Missing from NPR's coverage, he also said "we place our hands on our hearts as we recite the Pledge of Allegiance and proclaim that we are 'One Nation Under God," except that was also a later addition, back in the 1950s.

On the up side, he actually mentioned other religions when talking about ISIS -- "For years, ISIS had brutally tortured and murdered Christians, Jews, religious minorities, and countless Muslims."

But what is missing from many stories, besides calling him out for his revisionist history of this country's connection with religion, is the fact that More than 50 people from Russia’s religious and political elite are attending the National Prayer Breakfast along with President Donald Trump on Thursday, according to organizers. The number is three times higher than last year’s quota of Russians to attend the high-profile event. And that association with evangelicals wasn't so odd, given How US Evangelicals Helped Create Russia’s Anti-Gay Movement (Mother Jones, Feb. 2014).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:19 AM on February 8 [25 favorites]


...many of whom have said they are able to overlook the president's three marriages and sometimes crude sexual boasting...

And nearly two dozen women who accuse him of actual sexual assault. Please, reporters, do not bury this fact.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:24 AM on February 8 [57 favorites]


Whip notice for House Democrats.

Nancy Pelosi, unlike Schumer, knows exactly what's going on and the Republicans aren't stalling because they want good faith gestures from Democrats before they'll engage in good faith negotiations over DACA. She knows this whole thing is a fucking sham.

The House Freedom Caucus are 100% out on this Senate budget deal so they need 11 D votes to pass it. Hopefully she can keep the House Democrats in line because Schumer appears to have managed to insert his entire head into his asshole.
posted by Talez at 11:30 AM on February 8 [26 favorites]


As an agnostic and First Amendment supporter, I'm not comfortable with a National Prayer Breakfast, particularly since it's sponsored by a Christian organization with an explicitly Hitlerrific leadership model:
Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler were three men. Think of the immense power these three men had... But they bound themselves together in an agreement... Jesus said, 'You have to put me before other people. And you have to put me before yourself.' Hitler, that was the demand to be in the Nazi party. You have to put the Nazi party and its objectives ahead of your own life and ahead of other people.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:34 AM on February 8 [14 favorites]


The Senate is unfixable.

>>Literally! It can't even be fixed by Constitutional Amendment.

>>I suppose it's more accurate to say the two senators even if your state has only two people in it part of the Senate can't be fixed. The Senate could be rendered into a vestigial body like the House of Lords I guess... still containing 2 Senators per state.


I'm not sure what you mean by that. You could absolutely fix the senate with a constitutional amendment. We've already amended the Constitution to allow direct election of senators, but there's no theoretical limit to what an amendment can do. We could dissolve the Senate and transfer its powers and responsibilities to the House if we wanted. The problem is any amendment needs to be ratified by three-quarters of the states, and anything that messes with the senate or the electoral college is going to be opposed by all the low-population red states, as it will give them less power. We had a chance to get this right during the Civil War, or in its immediate aftermath, but we didn't take it. Now it's hard to imagine what it would take to get 3/4 of states on board. The founders didn't anticipate our current situation where so many rural states deeply enmeshed with one political party could radically alter the healthy functioning of our government, and it's going to be the fatal flaw in the constitution that kills democracy in America. The rural states have too much power in the Senate and too much power in electing the president, and you can't diminish that power without their consent. We're stuck.

Well--mainly stuck. One thing that would help with the electoral college is drastically increasing the number of representatives. The constitution says there is at least one per state and no more than one for every 30,000 people. Other than that, the number is determine by law. If Democrats ever hold the House and Senate again, the first thing I'd do is pass a law setting the number of representatives at the maximum. 1 for every 30,000 people. That would give us just over 10,000 Representatives. That might seem unwieldy, but we would be a boon for democracy in several ways. For one, the House would be much more diverse. I wouldn't think of running now--it's too expensive and I'd have to travel all over to cover my district. But in small districts with 30,000 people, suddenly you'd have a lot of folks willing to give it a shot. You could campaign without endless fundraisers or bankrupting yourself. It would be nearly impossible to gerrymander so many districts. The outcomes would be much more in line with the voters' wishes. Texas would have 966 congressional districts. Try rigging that. And it would pretty much fix the electoral college. Wyoming with have two senators, but they'll also have 19 representatives. Their influence will be basically in line with the population.

So, yeah, running committees and taking votes and doing debates with 10,000 representatives will be a challenge. But it makes running for Congress much more accessible, severely dilutes the endless fundraising, makes representatives much more accessible and responsive to their constituents, ends gerrymandering and fixes the electoral college.

Please join me in my 1:30k in campaign. It's worth it.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:37 AM on February 8 [62 favorites]


Pelosi's letter to House Democrats.
However, we cannot allow our success in one part of the discussion to diminish our leverage in another.
And there it is. All we need is for House Democrats to have a spine...
posted by Talez at 11:40 AM on February 8 [23 favorites]


You could absolutely fix the senate with a constitutional amendment.

Except for that pesky little "no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate" in Article V, sure.
posted by Talez at 11:41 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]


You could absolutely fix the senate with a constitutional amendment.

Except for that pesky little "no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate" in Article V, sure.
posted by Talez at 11:41 AM on February 8 [+] [!]


Is there some hidden reason why that couldn't be amended?
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:44 AM on February 8 [4 favorites]


The Apportionment Act of 1911 and the Reapportionment Act of 1929 set the number of members of Representatives at 435. Good backgrounder.

Please join me in my 1:30k in campaign. It's worth it.

You're not alone.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:47 AM on February 8 [7 favorites]


[String of comments removed. Somebody wants to link to a nice definitive writeup on the question of constitutional amendments to the structure of the Senate, go for it, but lets skip this nuh-uh, yuh-huh thing.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:02 PM on February 8 [4 favorites]


There are many modest proposals to fix the Senate, some more modest than others, but the ones I like the best involve splitting larger states into multiple smaller states.

Something like, "No state shall have more residents than a multiple M of the lowest state population, and if it does, it will split into two or more states of its own choosing such that each state has at least a multiple N of the lowest state population." Start with M=20, N=5, and Wyoming for reference, and off we go: Cascadia, Pacifica, Empire State...

But really, just statehood for DC and Puerto Rico would be enough to start with.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:03 PM on February 8 [3 favorites]


A History of the Seventeenth Amendment.
From the Cleveland State Law Review on matters Senat-ish and amendment-ish, historically.
posted by rc3spencer at 12:12 PM on February 8


Statehood for DC and Puerto Rico. For territories with less than 100,000 persons, they should be given a voting representative and vote with a state for Senate representation, e.g., Virgin Islands / Florida; Guam / Hawaii. (Edited to add that Guam and the Virgin Islands have over 100,000.)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:18 PM on February 8 [9 favorites]


but he never made us live in fear that he would start wars without regard for consequences

Seeing as I view Dubya's first term as literally nothing but that, I'm not looking forward to the inevitable "yeah but Trump at least didn't"'s. I mean, the bar's underground it's so low.
posted by petebest at 12:19 PM on February 8 [17 favorites]


Lawmakers would also forestall cuts mandated by the ACA to reduce the payments made to what are called Disproportionate Share Hospitals, which serve high rates of low-income patients. Those cuts have been delayed continuously since the law's 2010 passage.

This is a big loss for poor people unfortunate enough to live in a red state.

Disportionate share payments were the old system of paying hospitals to compensate them for uninsured people who couldn't afford to pay. Under Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, these payments are supposed to go away since everyone is mandated to be covered by Medicaid. There should be no uninsured.

But by forestalling these cuts, they just give red states an excuse to continue to refuse Medicaid expansion. Poor people are forced to wait until they have a medical emergency and then go to an emergency room. It's using taxpayer money to allow Republicans to be heartless jerks.
posted by JackFlash at 12:32 PM on February 8 [7 favorites]


cjelli: "Capping refugees at 45,000 was itself a terrible decision -- we owe it to each to do what we can for one another, and the US can sure as heck handle more than 45,000 refugees"

EG: Canada (1/10 the population) accepted 32K in the first nine months last year.
posted by Mitheral at 12:39 PM on February 8 [4 favorites]


There are many modest proposals to fix the Senate, some more modest than others, but the ones I like the best involve splitting larger states into multiple smaller states.

Something like, "No state shall have more residents than a multiple M of the lowest state population, and if it does, it will split into two or more states of its own choosing such that each state has at least a multiple N of the lowest state population." Start with M=20, N=5, and Wyoming for reference, and off we go: Cascadia, Pacifica, Empire State...


Or combining low population states. Which may be something that some of the lower population states would be amenable to in this future where even more population drain to urban areas leaves them without a pot to piss in, revenue-wise. Ooor they'll throw their senatorial weight into trying to use more federal funds collected mostly from populous states to keep afloat and that's a situation where it would really come in handy to have a larger House (with accompanying Electoral College effect) to maybe force the issue of a constitutional amendment to change the Senate in exchange for floating those states their preferred standards of living.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:47 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]




Rand Paul has gone rogue this afternoon. Oh the drama!
posted by rc3spencer at 1:08 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]




New Conor Lamb ad opens up on Paul Ryan. Seems smart.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:34 PM on February 8 [9 favorites]


The Bastille Day parade isn't some new invention ginned up to soothe Macron's ego, it's been happening since the late 1800s, it's about as much a cultural institution as the Eiffel tower.

True, but it wasn't militarized until 1880, 91 years later, at the beginning of the Third Republic (1870-1940), which not coincidentally featured several wars (Franco-Prussian, WW1, WW2) that destroyed France as a world power.

Which is kind of exactly the point.
posted by msalt at 1:37 PM on February 8 [7 favorites]


1880 is the late 1800s.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:41 PM on February 8 [16 favorites]


Seeing as I view Dubya's first term as literally nothing but that,

Oh, come on. There was the willful ignorance leading to worldwide economic crisis, the crippling tax cuts, demonstrating to "the axis of evil" that nuclear deterence is the only reliable path to preserving sovereignty, willful ignorance of the counter-terrorism apparatus prior to 9/11, Enron, ... His leadership gave us so much!
posted by Coventry at 1:43 PM on February 8 [9 favorites]


Trump plans to nominate Charles P. Rettig, a Beverly Hills tax attorney, for IRS commissioner. Beverly Hills tax attorney to lead IRS as it implements Republican tax overhaul (LATimes):
Unlike the last several IRS heads, Rettig has a tax background, rather than business management expertise. In his law practice, Rettig has represented clients before the IRS, the Justice Department's Tax Division, state tax authorities and in federal and state courts, according to a biography on his law firm's website. Rettig additionally has represented scores of U.S. taxpayers seeking to disclose their unreported offshore bank accounts to the IRS.
To Lead I.R.S., Trump Nominates Lawyer Who Battled It (NYTimes):
Mr. Rettig has deep experience with disputes over the amount of taxes paid. He has defended clients against the I.R.S. in tax fraud investigations. He has twice led negotiations that resulted in settlements between the I.R.S. and Americans who had been improperly sheltering money overseas.

Last year, he sued the I.R.S. on behalf of a California bank holding company over a $1.5 million corporate tax bill that the company said was wrongly assessed. In 2014, he filed a similar suit on behalf of a California couple over $644,000 in tax penalties and interest that the couple said the I.R.S. had wrongly assessed.
He is a longtime contributor to Forbes and wrote in Feb, 2016 that he'd advise candidate Trump not to disclose his tax returns while under audit, which, hopefully will lead to some interesting questions during his confirmation hearings.
posted by peeedro at 2:02 PM on February 8 [23 favorites]


From NYT: The Republican Fiscal Stimulus Could Be Bigger Than Obama’s.

Chris Hayes: If this spending bill passes today, the Donald Trump Stimulus, passed in into an economy at full employment, will be larger than the Barack Obama Stimulus, passed at the most precarious moment in American economic history since the Great Depression.

Let's be clear. The Republican Party's unofficial policy is to sabotage the economy when Democrats are in power and unwisely supercharge it in unsustainable fashion when Republicans are in power. Why the Democrats are going along with this is something I do not understand.
posted by Justinian at 2:18 PM on February 8 [77 favorites]


"Why the Democrats are going along with this is something I do not understand."

Those crumbling bridges etc aren't going to fix themselves.

As an outside observer who is on neither team, Democrats seem to be more mature about doing what they think is best for the country whereas Republicans seem to be more focused on winning political points. I've had Rs tell me that's because they're playing an ideological long game in which destroying the left by any means necessary is worth it, but Rs' tendency to run huge deficits whenever they're in power undermines their credibility that they have any foresight whatsoever.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:36 PM on February 8 [9 favorites]


Amanda Carpenter, a former staffer for Jim DeMint and Ted Cruz, lays into the WH's protection of Rob Porter on Jake Tapper's show.

Here's a transcript of her remarks:
The bottom line is this: They protected an abuser, and guess what. It's a job qualification to work in this White House--[it is] to protect someone who talked favorably about sexually assault on the Access Hollywood tape. That is a job qualification in this White House. There is a pattern of behavior--they kept Corey Lewandowski on staff as a campaign manager after he bruised a reporter...

This is the same President who laughs along with Howard Stern when he says disgusting things about his [own] daughter. I don't know how the people in the White House let [Rob Porter] date Hope Hicks--get alone in a car with him...knowing that this was in his file. They protect abusers. There's no way around it, and I guess people will say, "Well, it doesn't matter, you can still be a good president, you can still do your job. No. If you are willing to defend someone who hurts somebody in this fashion, you have no boundaries, you have no restraint, you have no respect for the law, and if you tolerate people who do this to people they say they love, what will they do to the people they don't know? And that's why I think this matters to a normal person. These people don't have restraint, and it is disgusting to watch. My heart is pounding; it's infuriating to see people go to the White House and defend this, as a conservative, as a woman, as an American, as anyone.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 2:36 PM on February 8 [61 favorites]


Why the Democrats are going along with this is something I do not understand.

What exactly are Democrats "going along with"? Every Democrat voted against the Trump tax cuts. Now they are supporting a bill that increases spending for domestic and welfare programs that they would have supported regardless. Are you suggesting that the alternative is to cut discretionary spending for Democratic programs to offset Republican tax cuts?
posted by JackFlash at 2:37 PM on February 8 [10 favorites]


> but he never made us live in fear that he would start wars without regard for consequences

Seeing as I view Dubya's first term as literally nothing but that, I'm not looking forward


Please don't quote subsections of sentences to make them say something other than what they clearly said in context. It's dishonest.
posted by biogeo at 2:38 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]


Omarosa’s thousand-yard stare over Trump’s tweets is a little tew much for me to handle right now.
posted by BeginAgain at 2:43 PM on February 8


What exactly are Democrats "going along with"?

Democrats are voting in favor of a spending increase with Republicans in power. Moreover, they're giving Republicans the cover of "bipartisanship" by doing so. Domestic spending increases are good for the country. But right now, it's really bad game theory and really bad politics.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 2:52 PM on February 8 [5 favorites]


That's what I'm saying! The Republicans defect when the Ds are in power and cooperate when the Rs are in power. If Ds always cooperate the long term outcome is obvious. They need to learn how to tit-for-tat.
posted by Justinian at 3:02 PM on February 8 [6 favorites]


1880 is the late 1800s.

Yeah but Basille Day celebrations began, well, in 1789 with ebbs and flows over the years. 1880 is when it was permanently harnessed to the military and bad things began to happen.

Trump would undoubtedly schedule his parade for July 4th, which is very analogous. He won't have invented the 4th of July, either, but militarizing it would be a consequential and very bad thing.
posted by msalt at 3:11 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]


Domestic spending increases are good for the country. But right now, it's really bad game theory and really bad politics.

What?! Democrats should cut domestic spending because Republicans passed tax cuts? That's the craziest thing ever. That's exactly the Republican game plan -- pass tax cuts for the rich then claim there's no money left for Democratic programs. That's the program you are advocating?

It makes more sense for Democrats to continue domestic spending as planned regardless of what Republicans do. Note that discretionary spending has been sequestered since 2013. We haven't had a real raise for domestic programs for years resulting in hiring freezes and salary freezes for federal employees. This bill is the first major change to those policies.
posted by JackFlash at 3:15 PM on February 8 [15 favorites]


No, they shouldn't cut anything if they can help it. But they also shouldn't work with the Republicans. And especially they shouldn't help the Republicans to do something that will make the Republicans look really good right after the Republicans have spent nearly a decade preventing Democrats from doing exactly those same things.

The fact that this bill is the first major change to a problem that Republicans created is exactly why the Democrats should not help them.

It makes most long-term sense for Democrats to oppose EVERY. SINGLE. THING. that Republicans attempt to do until the Republicans make a serious move to moderate. The current spending bill is not serious in that respect.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 3:23 PM on February 8 [4 favorites]


Please don't quote subsections of sentences to make them say something other than what they clearly said in context. It's dishonest.

Or misread, but yes, honest folk can read the original here. We regret the error.
posted by petebest at 3:24 PM on February 8


The original sin was was Democrats buying in en mass to the Republican framing of austerity budgets beginning in 2010, and continuing through 2016. Remember when Obama tried for three years to hand Republicans a grand bargain to cut Social Security and Medicare in exchange for paltry tax increases because the deficit mattered? Remember when Democrats took Simpson-Bowles seriously? Acting like Republicans were ever bargaining in good faith back then let Republicans play serious deficit warriors for 8 years, then take all the credit for spending increases now, while Democrats have no real arguments to make, because for years they acted like they were against spending any money on anything exactly like Republicans - when that was never true. They were just too chickenshit to actually explain to the public why spending money (responsibly even!) on doing things people like was good policy.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:24 PM on February 8 [25 favorites]


There are a lot of people out there who think politics is just a sports game where we've all arbitrarily picked sides and are rooting for "our team" and that there aren't meaningful policy outcomes that affect real human lives. Disabusing people of this notion (so that they actually get out and vote instead of sitting at home because "hurf durf both sides") is difficult and tiresome work. Changing people's minds about the actual efficacy of one party's policies is impossible if Democrats reflexively switch sides when Republicans are willing to work toward a positive goal.

"Democrats shouldn't do X now that Republicans are in favor of it" is the worst possible take.

"Democrats should escalate until the Republicans de-escalate" is the second-worst possible take. You can't end a war by refusing to even a temporary cease-fire.
posted by 0xFCAF at 3:26 PM on February 8 [14 favorites]


Andrew Kaczynski and Chris Massie, CNN: North Dakota GOP Senate candidate blasted a 'bunch of Arabs' in 2014 Facebook post
A Republican candidate for US Senate in North Dakota shared a story on Facebook in 2014 about anti-Israel protesters clashing with riot police, adding the comment, "Bunch of Arabs... what do you expect?"

The comment is just one of several inflammatory posts Gary Emineth, the former North Dakota Republican Party chairman, shared on social media, a CNN KFile review shows. In other posts, Emineth called former President Barack Obama a "POS" (an acronym for piece of shit) and retweeted an image that called for no more mosques in America.

Emineth is one of two declared candidates in this year's GOP primary to determine who will challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in what is anticipated to be one of the competitive races in the 2018 midterm elections. Emineth joined the primary race at the end of January after Rep. Kevin Cramer, reportedly resisting an entreaty from President Donald Trump, announced he would not seek the seat. Emineth's sole GOP opponent is state Sen. Tom Campbell, a potato farmer who has been spending his own money on advertising to gain more name recognition.

Shortly after launching his campaign, Emineth's personal Facebook posts became inaccessible. KFile was able to screenshot some of Emineth's posts before his page was locked down.
Another Fine Republican™️
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:27 PM on February 8 [8 favorites]


The original sin was was Democrats buying in en mass to the Republican framing of austerity budgets beginning in 2010

I'd start the clock at Clinton's emphasis on balancing the budget in the 90s, but maybe that's just because that's when I started paying attention.
posted by Coventry at 3:28 PM on February 8 [4 favorites]


My comment here excludes the DACA issue, which is unfair, because its tactics are tied up with the overall spending bill tactics.

That said: continuing resolutions require 60 votes in the Senate. To categorically obstruct all spending bills during a Republican majority will shut the government down until next year. They are getting the cancellation of the dumb sequestration caps they never should have agreed to. These are pretty good spending levels. Funding the government is better than not funding it. Funding it adequately is even better.

At some point they need to take “yes” for an answer.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 3:29 PM on February 8 [3 favorites]


Current Federal Government status: Rand Paul is holding up the budget deal vote and is on the Senate floor complaining that the Federal Government spent money to spend Pakistani kids to Space Camp and Dollywood, when they should have spent that money to send American kids to Space Camp and Dollywood
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:30 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]


Update: Syed Ahmed Jamal (one of the two Lawrence, Kansas men recently targeted by ICE for deportation) has been granted a temporary stay of removal.
posted by god hates math at 3:30 PM on February 8 [26 favorites]


It makes most long-term sense for Democrats to oppose EVERY. SINGLE. THING. that Republicans attempt to do until the Republicans make a serious move to moderate.

That sounds like a "burn it all down" attitude. Quite a privileged attitude I might say. Talk to the millions of children who now have healthcare because the Democrats cooperated with Republicans in a deal for CHIP funding.
posted by JackFlash at 3:30 PM on February 8 [18 favorites]


Dear Rand: if you want to send my kid to Space Camp or Dollywood, MeMail me.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 3:31 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]


I'd start the clock at Clinton's emphasis on balancing the budget in the 90s

And you would think they would've learned the lesson from that! Clinton left a budget surplus! A surplus! And Bush immediately blew it all on tax cuts, refund checks and two illegal wars. But Democrats STILL pretended like Republicans cared about deficits, and like them putting aside all other parts of their agenda to indulge deficit hysteria would somehow win them brownie points and elections. It's was mindboggling malpractice of the type that only Democrats are capable of doing to themselves at the time, and only looks worse in hindsight as Republicans are doing it again, and Democrats will be left holding the fallout again if they manage to retake power.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:33 PM on February 8 [39 favorites]


While we debate the game theory implications of voting for or against the budget deal here, I just wanted to mention:

WaPo: Senate budget delay raises possibility of brief shutdown at midnight, while House leaders scramble for votes

Because of course that's how we should run the country, by shutting down the government for a few hours every few weeks, as we stagger from crisis to crisis.

I understand the game theory point of view which says "Oppose everything", but it's not tenable - Democrats care about people, and so, yes, they will ultimately have to give in to the hostage takers, but the solution is not to shoot the hostages, it is to make sure the kidnappers are never back in power again.

And if you want to point and laugh, there's always the reliable Tea Party caucus:
The massive spending bill, coming less than two months after Republicans pushed through a tax cut that stands to slash federal revenue by a trillion dollars or more over a decade, has given plenty of Republicans heartburn. “We did a great thing with the tax cut bill, and it will ultimately make revenue go up dramatically, but we’re dramatically increasing spending before we even get the benefits of the tax cuts, so it’s a bit depressing, actually,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), a member of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, which took an official position against the bill Wednesday.
"It will ultimately make revenue go up dramatically", of course, because the corpse of Arthur Laffer[*] spinning in his grave will produce plentiful free energy and enable a technological solution to every problem we face.

[*] Sorry, I assume he's dead but can't be bothered to check.
posted by RedOrGreen at 3:34 PM on February 8 [4 favorites]


"Democrats should escalate until the Republicans de-escalate" is the second-worst possible take. You can't end a war by refusing to even a temporary cease-fire.

Depends on how you want the war to end. Right now, the Democrats are voting in a way that helps people in the short run but puts Republicans in a better position to hurt a whole lot more people a whole lot worse in the medium-to-long run.

That sounds like a "burn it all down" attitude.

Definitely not. The Republicans are (and have been for a long time) holding many, many of the worst-off people in the United States hostage. I don't want to see the hostages hurt any more than you do or than the Democrats in the Senate do. But at some point, we're going to have to accept some amount of short-term pain for the hostages if we're going to break the power of the Republicans. And if we don't break the power of the Republicans, it's going to be much worse -- or same-level worse for much longer.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 3:37 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]


but Rs' tendency to run huge deficits whenever they're in power undermines their credibility that they have any foresight whatsoever.

The voters have richly rewarded them thus far. They may be clinging into some of their power through gerrymandering but they rode into that control after several waves of deficit spending.
posted by Candleman at 3:37 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]


Sorry, I assume he's dead but can't be bothered to check.

Not only is he still alive, he was a top advisor to the Trump campaign.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:50 PM on February 8 [6 favorites]


But at some point, we're going to have to accept some amount of short-term pain for the hostages if we're going to break the power of the Republicans.

The only way you are going to break the power of Republicans is at the ballot box. You aren't going to do it by shaming them because they don't care about the hostages. That you are so willing to sacrifice the hostages in a futile attempt to "break the power of the Republicans" sounds rather callous. You break their power by voting.

Meanwhile you take what good stuff you can get. You don't refuse just because being reasonable might make the Republicans look good on issues you care about.

I don't want to see the hostages hurt any more than you do

I think your first statement belies that claim.
posted by JackFlash at 3:50 PM on February 8 [17 favorites]


If Rand Paul keeps talking till midnight there’s going to be a shutdown day simply because of time issues voting on the bill. He’s going to cost the government millions and make a lot of people have to fill out a shitload of pointless paperwork instead of working.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:53 PM on February 8 [15 favorites]


Also, on the "burn it down" accusation. A burn-it-down attitude says, "Let the Republicans do what they want so that people will see how bad they are." But that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying the Democrats should not cooperate with the Republicans. They shouldn't make it easy for the Republicans to enact their agenda. Supporting a two-year budget that the Republicans like is not a good idea right now. Not unless we're getting something really, really important back from the deal, such as a permanent fix for the Dreamers. And we're not getting that. The Republicans are not serious about bi-partisanship, they just want the political trappings of bi-partisanship. They want to be able to say, "Look, this bill is bi-partisan: we're working across the aisle!" It looks good. It looks normal. And it makes them better off for the next election. Democrats shouldn't go along with this because taken as a whole, what the Republicans are doing is not good and not normal.

I think your first statement belies that claim.

I can't really reply to this in a calm, civil way. I'll let you imagine what I want to say and sign off for a while.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 3:54 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]


at this point I strongly feel that any political strategy aimed at capturing the fickle hearts and minds (?) of swing voters ought to be launched straight into the sun
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:58 PM on February 8 [68 favorites]


What does it mean that during the catastrophic Bush administration we had the West Wing, and during the peaceful and prosperous Obama administration we had House of Cards and Veep? What are those scriptwriters and producers going for? And what are the consequences?
Maybe this should become a FPP in itself, but that would have to be by someone who understands this better than me.
It's important because fiction in our time influences reality. The small-time crooks I've been dealing with for the last decade absolutely misinterpreted House of Cards (in the sense that they didn't realize that the lead characters were the bad guys). They learnt from Trump's intuitive understanding that the drama of reality television could be transferred to politics.
posted by mumimor at 4:06 PM on February 8 [10 favorites]


Chris Hayes: If this spending bill passes today, the Donald Trump Stimulus, passed in into an economy at full employment, will be larger than the Barack Obama Stimulus, passed at the most precarious moment in American economic history since the Great Depression.

I can already hear the few Republicans I can still talk to (i.e., didn't vote for Trump) saying this is, in fact, the way it should be done, because something about risking money when the economy is bad and something about stimulating it when it's good and also if anything goes wrong it's because Obama left us in a bad situation anyway.

Let's be clear. The Republican Party's unofficial policy is to sabotage the economy when Democrats are in power and unwisely supercharge it in unsustainable fashion when Republicans are in power.

...except said Republicans will never cop to that part, because anything critical of Republicans is partisan and unfair. Except Trump, who is clearly an embarrassing aberration and not, y'know, the result of decades of right-wing bullshit.

Despite Trump and his garbage, we're not going to sway Republican voters on any of this. The path forward is in getting out the Democratic vote and pulling non-voters off the sidelines.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:07 PM on February 8 [12 favorites]


But, if the Dems force the government into shutdown, will the Republican response just be full brutal austerity on a party line vote with "moderate" R's caving to pressure and possibly the Senate changing the filibuster rules to get it through. Full on Paul Ryan debauchery on social program cuts. And what worries me further about that possibility is that they might not pay for it at the ballot box, because they've got a track record of getting away with awful shit.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:10 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]


The only way you are going to break the power of Republicans is at the ballot box. You aren't going to do it by shaming them because they don't care about the hostages. That you are so willing to sacrifice the hostages in a futile attempt to "break the power of the Republicans" sounds rather callous. You break their power by voting.

IAWTC. (Though I don't think "swing voters" exist in large numbers or should be catered to. The Reagan Democrat is dead, buried, and gone.) If we want the Democrats of our dreams, we are going to have to elect them. We are the minority party now, and that means we are in the we find ourselves in the Sophie's Choice position - DREAMers, government workers, parents of poor children, all vote Democratic in large numbers. And the chickens of neglecting/underfunding local Democratic races, and abandoning the 50-state strategy, have come home to roost.

(And let's acknowledge that Nancy Pelosi is doing a great job, certainly the best she can under the circumstances. I know she needs to plan her succession because she's 77, but, if anyone mentions "San Francisco" or "we need to move more to the center" they can cram it.)

Vote. Run candidates. Mike Konczal, Vox: What Democrats can learn from the DSA about rebuilding the left (talks about their Stamp Out Slumlords campaign). When we get our majority back and our local power back then we can throw our weight around. Elections, consequences, etc. (Or rather, neglect, consequences, apathy, consequences, etc.)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:27 PM on February 8 [7 favorites]


But Democrats STILL pretended like Republicans cared about deficits

C'mon now, that not fair. As soon as Bush turned Clinton's record surplus into a record deficit in 2002 the Tea Party got mad! Eventually! It just took them seven years to get organized!

Oh, OK, it was really an "old-fashioned" racist reaction to a black guy getting elected. My bad.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:30 PM on February 8 [12 favorites]


He’s going to cost the government millions and make a lot of people have to fill out a shitload of pointless paperwork instead of working.

Right, which in his deranged libertarian mind is just another day ending in 'y'.
posted by tivalasvegas at 4:43 PM on February 8


absurd, inflammatory rhetoric like the "axis of evil" speech

Before Trump came along and blew the curve, "axis of evil" was the most irresponsible thing a US president had ever said.

The World War II Axis was a formal military alliance, with treaties and everything.

Not only did Iran, Iraq, and North Korea not have any real or imagined military alliance, the use of chemical weapons that Bush cited as a reason to invade Iraq was its use of them against Iran, which we sold to Iraq and helped them use.

Conflating the two was a cynical attempt to wrap Bush's phony war with "the Good War."
posted by kirkaracha at 5:10 PM on February 8 [21 favorites]


If the Dems can get the House, Senate and presidency in 2020... the more I think about it, the more I think they should go nuclear and change congressional apportionment. Can’t fix the Senate, obviously, but you fix what you can fix and the House is something that can be fixed. Get the House back to its original aim, proportional representation for the larger states.

Do I care what the conservatives think? No, because if they were in this position they’d do it in a red fucking second.
posted by azpenguin at 5:12 PM on February 8 [7 favorites]


I think that's a pipe dream. Even if you could get Democratic House members to go along with something that would cost some of them their jobs and give their states less power you'd need considerably more than 60 votes in the Senate. 60 to pass a filibuster, but you'd lose a bunch of Ds from small states.

I'm having trouble coming up with a scenario under which this is plausible.
posted by Justinian at 5:14 PM on February 8 [3 favorites]


For the first time, Democrats can win the House just by winning the closest races (Philip Bump | WaPo)
... As Cook Political’s David Wasserman noted on Twitter, the Democrats don’t need to win any of those seats that are leaning Republican or likely Republican to take control of the House. If they just hold their own contested seats and win all of the Republican toss-ups, they win the House — by a one-seat margin.

... The generic congressional ballot has narrowed recently, which is good news for the Republicans. But Cook’s analysis goes deeper than that. While the Democrats will have a tough fight to try and win the Senate, the path to retaking the House is the clearest it’s been so far this cycle.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:30 PM on February 8 [17 favorites]


We have got to make more of a concentrated focus on the ballot box and getting out the vote. I mean, there is an actual Nazi running for Congress, and he is running unopposed.

For the Dems to not even be able to pull it together enough to put up an opponent to a Nazi is the height of....I don't know, either laziness or fear or something.

This would not be a difficult race to win. This is a congressional race in a blue state, and the opponent is a Nazi. And yet the DNC couldn't be arsed to get an opposing candidate.

This is why we are where we are, becuase the Dems can't even be organized enough for the obvious wins like that. It's at the ballot box. Get voters to the polls.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:31 PM on February 8 [4 favorites]


I mean there is an actual Nazi running for Congress, and he is running unopposed.

He's running unopposed in the GOP primary, not the general. The district itself is safely blue, albeit represented by one of the worst of the Blue Dogs.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:36 PM on February 8 [40 favorites]


Who himself is facing a very serious primary threat from the left.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:38 PM on February 8 [12 favorites]


Yeah, he's running unopposed in the Republican primary for a seat that no other Republican wants to run for, because it was specifically gerrymandered to be safe for a particular (garbage) machine Democrat whose father happens to be a muckity muck in Illinois politics. He's not actually going to win, although the fact that he's the Republican nominee is horrifying enough.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:38 PM on February 8 [7 favorites]


This is why we are where we are, becuase the Dems can't even be organized enough for the obvious wins like that. It's at the ballot box. Get voters to the polls.

If you read either the headline or the article you’ve linked, you’ll see the Nazi in question is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

Several of us have been sharing links in this very thread about the Dems contesting a record number of seats this year. Your ire is misplaced.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:39 PM on February 8 [13 favorites]


I think the list of districts with no declared Dem challenger is down to about a dozen. It was 28 in 2016, by comparison.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:42 PM on February 8 [8 favorites]


Rand Paul is blasting his party for no longer caring about the debt now that they're in the White House.

"I want people to feel uncomfortable," he says. "How come you were against President Obama's deficits and how come you're for Republican deficits?"
Oh, Rand. You still believe that the GOP is about small-c conservatism?

Looks like Rand is all cool to cause a shutdown, btw. Unless there's a vote before midnight we're going for another round.
posted by Talez at 5:44 PM on February 8 [20 favorites]


More about the challenger Dan Lipinski 100% deserves to be thoroughly whupped by:
Lipinski’s opponent in the March 20 primary, Marie Newman, has the backing of an array of national progressive organizations, including NARAL Pro-Choice America, EMILY’s List, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and the Service Employees International Union. And in an unusual break with Congress’s clubby norms, she’s won endorsements from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and two of Lipinski’s long-serving Democratic colleagues in the Illinois delegation: Representatives Jan Schakowsky and Luís Gutierrez.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:44 PM on February 8 [13 favorites]


Oh, Rand. You still believe that the GOP is about small-c conservatism?

I respect him for at least calling it out, because that's a real hypocrisy that never gets addressed because years go by between opportunities and the news is all about Short Attention Span Theater..
posted by rhizome at 5:52 PM on February 8 [19 favorites]


Call your representatives and ask them to support H.R. 4980, the Preventing the Allocation of Resources for Absurd Defense Expenditures (PARADE) Act.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:53 PM on February 8 [38 favorites]


Scalise says there won't be a House vote until 3-6am. So we're going to breach, but there might be millions of government workers who wake up tomorrow morning furloughed.
posted by Talez at 6:05 PM on February 8


You know what’s not exciting? To be a federal employee on international travel right now. There’s a wicked time difference, though, so I guess there’s a very small chance that this will all be over by the time I wake up tomorrow.
posted by wintermind at 6:12 PM on February 8 [19 favorites]


Is there any legitimate reasoning behind the whole "Democrat wave not a wave after all" panic a few days ago? Or the polls claiming so?
posted by gucci mane at 6:15 PM on February 8


Preventing the Allocation of Resources for Absurd Defense Expenditures (PARADE) Act.

This is a great idea. Where would the funds come from, anyway? Does the military have a discretionary budget for showboating?
posted by Coventry at 6:15 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]


Good Luck, Wintermind. You know what else is not exciting? To have set up an experiment today that absolutely has to be rated tomorrow.
posted by acrasis at 6:15 PM on February 8 [4 favorites]


Is there any legitimate reasoning behind the whole "Democrat wave not a wave after all" panic a few days ago? Or the polls claiming so?

Tightening job market and trending polls. I wouldn't say it was a panic, though.
posted by Coventry at 6:16 PM on February 8


If a few million for a parade is a waste of money on a small penis compensation stunt, what do you call $25 billion for a border wall?
posted by Miss Cellania at 6:17 PM on February 8 [3 favorites]


The concern over the "wave" is a matter of data. Trump's approval ratings have improved from 36-37 to 42ish and the generic ballot advantage for the Dems has fallen from around 11-12 to around 6. So it's an empirical concern not one based on logical deduction or something.

The special elections this week had fairly consistent results with what we saw before the tightening, though, so for now the general consensus is "something to keep an eye on" rather than "OH MY GOD WHY".
posted by Justinian at 6:21 PM on February 8 [9 favorites]


Rand of course also voted for the budget-destroying tax cuts...but apparently that was different?
posted by rockindata at 6:25 PM on February 8 [10 favorites]


Basically, the media was slow to react to wide Dem leads in the generic congressional ballot, and then over-reacted to some narrowing of that lead.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:28 PM on February 8 [5 favorites]


Rand of course also voted for the budget-destroying tax cuts...but apparently that was different?

He actually believes that supply-side and trickle down economics shit works.
posted by Talez at 6:32 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]


It’s elementary Aqua Buddhanomics, really.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:33 PM on February 8 [9 favorites]


And also that all taxation is slavery.
posted by Coventry at 6:34 PM on February 8 [3 favorites]


In the Rob Porter saga, the NYTimes story about how the White House "could have done better over the few hours or last few days in dealing with this situation" points out the contradiction between the White House statement and their reporting:
Among the questions he left behind was whether Mr. Kelly and other members of Mr. Trump’s inner circle had been willing to ignore serious allegations of domestic violence to protect a trusted aide. Raj Shah, the deputy White House, said that Mr. Kelly had not been made “fully aware” of them until this week. But two people close to the White House said that Mr. Kelly and Joe Hagin, the deputy chief of staff for operations, as well as Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, had known of the issues since late fall.
The WaPo hints at why they may have mishandled the response to his departure:
But the White House decided to, instead, provide Porter a ringing endorsement. It opted to provide the kind of statements you would expect if they were convinced of Porter's innocence.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was just as effusive.

“I have worked directly with Rob Porter nearly every day for the last year, and the person I know is someone of the highest integrity and exemplary character,” Sanders said. “Those of us who have the privilege of knowing him are better people because of it.”

Exactly how these statements found their way into the public domain is something we're likely to see reporters dig into Thursday. Could it have been steered by communications director Hope Hicks, who is reportedly dating Porter?
posted by peeedro at 6:38 PM on February 8 [12 favorites]


He's not actually going to win, although the fact that he's the Republican nominee is horrifying enough.

Too soon.
posted by petebest at 6:41 PM on February 8 [60 favorites]


What does it mean that during the catastrophic Bush administration we had the West Wing, and during the peaceful and prosperous Obama administration we had House of Cards and Veep? What are those scriptwriters and producers going for? And what are the consequences?

West Wing started in 1999. And television in general is about the recent past, not the present. I mean, they want to catch the Zeitgeist, but the production process for a new series takes nearly a year, so.

Political tv shows in particular I think should be understood as a retrospective processing of our history. So the president on Scandal, for example, is the most obvious, he's like a Republican Bill Clinton. The prez on West Wing is like a cross between Clinton and the older Bush. The House of Cards guy, from what I've read, is like a Democratic Dick Cheney. And I have to imagine that Veep is partially inspired by the walking meme Joe Biden.

As for consequences, though, I think it's important to note that - television production is almost always reactive. They're trying to catch the zeitgeist, not create it. It's a very rare show that looks forward, to try to shape people's minds and opinions. Usually they pick a segment of the market and cater to those opinions.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 6:42 PM on February 8 [9 favorites]


It looks like the White House duped Hatch into making a statement of support for Porter
The White House officials told Hatch’s office that the story was the product of a “smear campaign” being orchestrated against Porter by his political enemies. Among those they pinpointed was former Trump campaign manager (and current outside adviser to the president) Corey Lewandowski, according to two sources familiar with the conversations. Multiple White House staffers told Hatch himself that Lewandowski “was digging into Rob’s previous marriages,” recalled one source, who said Porter himself was among the officials who fingered Lewandowski.
posted by Talez at 6:46 PM on February 8 [12 favorites]


I just read the Intercept story on Porter. It is way beyond the pale, and unimaginable that anyone would try to defend him. And the people whose job it is to know the details should quit in shame.

Wait, those words also apply to ...
posted by Dashy at 6:53 PM on February 8 [13 favorites]


There's an interesting little deception in the Republican budget deal. Instead of actually raising the debt ceiling according to law, they are simply suspending the law for one year. So Treasury can borrow more money to keep government operating as needed but Republicans don't have to explicitly own up to the amount of new debt they are incurring if they were to actually raise the debt ceiling by a couple of trillion dollars.

This isn't going to fool anybody who actually cares about these details and most of the rest of the public doesn't know the difference as long as the government stays open, so is of little real consequence. Democrats would just as soon suspend the debt ceiling law forever. But it illustrates extremes that Republicans can go to deal with the cognitive dissonance they are feeling regarding deficits.
posted by JackFlash at 7:07 PM on February 8 [11 favorites]


If John Kelly was still an active duty general he could be court martialed himself for covering up domestic abuse by his direct subordinate.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:08 PM on February 8 [67 favorites]


Porter himself was among the officials who fingered Lewandowski.

That explains why Lewandoski quit, certainly.

As for strategy in the mid-terms, how about an effort to make sure every (old, young, minority) voter meets the voter-exclusion-law standards in each state? Offer a service to check everyone's registration and make sure it is up to date, make sure they have the photo ID required and start the process to get one if they don't, etc.

I would give money tonight to such an effort.
posted by msalt at 7:10 PM on February 8 [12 favorites]


Re: "game theory," referenced above in this thread and in several previous incarnations of the Our Collective Nightmare Thread

Game theory is a branch of mathematics concerned with finding the optimal strategies by two individuals interacting whose goals do not necessarily align. It does not simply mean "whatever I think the smart strategy is." If you're not making at least some attempt to analyze and understand strategies explicitly in terms of the payoff functions over the outcome space for the two parties, you're not making a game theory argument. Without context, references to game theory and certain specific strategies like "tit for tat" are meaningless -- tit for tat is a successful strategy only in the context of the very specific construction of the iterated prisoner's dilemma game, and without an analysis of why and how the current political situation resembles that game in terms of its payoff matrix and restrictions, bringing it up is a non sequitur. I would argue the current situation is very unlike the iterated prisoner's dilemma, as IPD is a symmetric game, with each player's payoff function the same, while I think the Republicans and Democrats have very dissimilar payoff functions.

This isn't to say that a game theory-based analysis of the interactions of the House and Senate Democrats and Republicans would be worthless; I think it would be fascinating. But I haven't seen anyone who's referenced "game theory" so far do anything that even gestures at such an analysis. Instead there mostly seem to be references as to how obviously stupid the Democrats are from a "game theory" perspective, stated as a bald assertion. The reality is, the "game" (in the game-theoretic sense) that the Democrats and Republicans are playing is extremely complex compared to the standard model systems, and I don't think it's obvious what anyone's complete payoff function really is, even to the individuals in the "game."
posted by biogeo at 7:11 PM on February 8 [48 favorites]


The White House officials told Hatch’s office that the story was the product of a “smear campaign” being orchestrated against Porter by his political enemies. Among those they pinpointed was former Trump campaign manager (and current outside adviser to the president) Corey Lewandowski, according to two sources familiar with the conversations. Multiple White House staffers told Hatch himself that Lewandowski “was digging into Rob’s previous marriages,” recalled one source, who said Porter himself was among the officials who fingered Lewandowski.

Because the White House is a junior high school, now
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:14 PM on February 8 [5 favorites]


Because the White House is a junior high school, now

Pretty much, Kellyanne Conway’s cousin and Mike Pence’s nephew, both Trump staffers, are dating (WaPo neglects to include the word "nepotism" in their reporting).
posted by peeedro at 7:16 PM on February 8 [13 favorites]


Pretty much, Kellyanne Conway’s cousin and Mike Pence’s nephew, both Trump staffers, are dating

All part of the centuries-long breeding program to produce a GOP Kwisatz Haderach.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:21 PM on February 8 [46 favorites]


acrasis, you have my deep sympathy. These will never be called the best of times.
posted by wintermind at 7:22 PM on February 8


msalt: "As for strategy in the mid-terms, how about an effort to make sure every (old, young, minority) voter meets the voter-exclusion-law standards in each state? Offer a service to check everyone's registration and make sure it is up to date, make sure they have the photo ID required and start the process to get one if they don't, etc.

I would give money tonight to such an effort.
"

You want to give to Spread The Vote.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:33 PM on February 8 [16 favorites]


"IL-12: Bost (R) Lean R => Toss Up"

This is kind-of a big deal that's been getting a lot of coverage. The challenger is really good -- county prosecutor, Navy vet, Notre Dame grad, spent a lot of time attacking the opiod epidemic as prosecutor. There's not much room for Bost to attack him on being soft on crime, soft on drugs, irreligious, or unpatriotic. Bost has been frequently underestimated as a politician, but he's definitely in trouble and has a very strong opponent.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:42 PM on February 8 [7 favorites]


75 minutes until we know whether the government shuts down again.
posted by suelac at 7:46 PM on February 8 [3 favorites]




@frankthorp: The Senate is now ADJOURNED until 12:01am Friday. The shutdown will happen.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:56 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]


Kellyanne Conway’s cousin and Mike Pence’s nephew, both Trump staffers, are dating

Is stomach acid harmful to an LED monitor if quickly wiped off? Asking for a friend.
posted by uosuaq at 7:57 PM on February 8 [11 favorites]


75 minutes until we know whether the government shuts down again.

There's already going to be a lapse of at least a few hours, Rand Paul assured that. The Senate will start a new legislative day at midnight, and vote on the budget caps/CR deal. The House is expected to vote "between 3 and 6am", but that vote is still uncertain. The Freedom Fucks are apparently not backing it, and the informal twitter count I saw earlier had "less than 40" Democrats who would cross over. That's cutting it close.

The government day for many workers starts at 6am
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:58 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]


This is great for the Dems, right? Gives them leverage while making it much harder to paint them as the irresponsible ones.
posted by Coventry at 7:59 PM on February 8 [3 favorites]


If a few million for a parade is a waste of money on a small penis compensation stunt, what do you call $25 billion for a border wall?

I call it a huge new graft opportunity for the Trump family. Seriously, has anyone checked who owns the companies that will be given the contracts for the wall?
posted by happyroach at 8:13 PM on February 8 [5 favorites]


Surprising exactly no one, anywhere, WaPo: Top White House officials knew of abuse allegations against top aide for months
In January 2017, when McGahn learned of the allegations, he wanted Porter to stay put because he saw the Harvard Law-trained Capitol Hill veteran as a steadying, professional voice in the White House, according to people familiar with the matter. His view didn’t change in June, when the FBI flagged some of its findings to the White House. Nor did he act in September, when he learned the domestic violence claims were delaying Porter’s security clearance, or in November, when Porter’s former girlfriend contacted him about the allegations, according to these people.

A White House spokesman said that McGahn — who had access to detailed FBI interviews conducted for Porter’s security clearance — and Kelly feel misled by Porter, saying he downplayed his ex-wives’ accusations in conversations with them.

When McGahn informed Kelly this fall about the reason for the security clearance holdup, he agreed that Porter should remain and said he was surprised to learn that the 40-year-old had ex-wives.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:15 PM on February 8 [26 favorites]


If you're not making at least some attempt to analyze and understand strategies explicitly in terms of the payoff functions over the outcome space for the two parties, you're not making a game theory argument.

Time for some Game Theory.

How Game Theory Explains Washington's Horrible Gridlock.

We Asked a Game Theorist How Democrats Should Fight Trump.
posted by scalefree at 8:37 PM on February 8 [12 favorites]


While I found those interesting note the bottom line super duper advice from the game theorist for Democrats is, literally and I quote, "I would say, consider major changes in the electoral system".

Thanks, chief.
posted by Justinian at 8:47 PM on February 8 [19 favorites]


Seriously, has anyone checked who owns the companies that will be given the contracts for the wall?

I don't think that will be determined until there's an appropriation for it. I agree it will almost certainly be a vast boondoggle, though.
posted by Coventry at 8:48 PM on February 8


Thanks, scalefree, those are interesting links.
posted by biogeo at 8:48 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]


While I found those interesting note the bottom line super duper advice from the game theorist for Democrats is, literally and I quote, "I would say, consider major changes in the electoral system".

Buddy of mine wrote a book on Game Theory, I'll run them past him & see what he says.
posted by scalefree at 8:51 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]


This negotiation process is much too complex and informal for game theory to provide useful insight. It doesn't even have precise objective functions or terminal conditions, unlike, say, nuclear deterrence theory, where the application of game theory was basically math-envy bullshit.
posted by Coventry at 8:57 PM on February 8 [3 favorites]


The government is now officially shut down. 17 days after it was also shut down.

This is no way to run a country.
posted by Justinian at 9:01 PM on February 8 [31 favorites]


Here we go again. If this is going to keep happening, they need to come up with better contingency plans. My husband has to commute an hour to work tomorrow to be informed verbally, face to face, that he should drive another hour and go back home.
posted by booksherpa at 9:06 PM on February 8 [6 favorites]


Chad Pergram (FOX Congressional reporter): After the Senate clears the budget pact, it will ship the bill over to the House. Hse Rules Cmte must meet overnight to tee up debate of for flr debate, likely between 5-7 am et

The House bill needs a blend of approximately 150 Republicans and about 70 Democrats to pass. But the vote counting is a little tenuous in the House and some sources express skepticism to Fox that the bill will pass.

The last whip count I saw had Democratic votes at "under 40". The official Freedom Caucus is 31, but there will be more defections than just those. Technically only 11 Democrats would have to vote yes if Ryan only lost 31, but there's a lot of room for error.

No one has put forth any idea on what happens if the house vote fails.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:08 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]


This should be rather entertaining. Nunes: We've 'grappled' with approaching Chief Justice Roberts. I'm sure Roberts will really appreciate being drawn into Nunes's conspiracy theories & be urged (can't force, Separation of Powers) to take a stand on them.
posted by scalefree at 9:27 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]


I'm sure Roberts will really appreciate being drawn into Nunes's conspiracy theories

Do you think that Nunes is even aware that Chief Justice Roberts personally selected and appointed all 11 FISA court judges? Do you think Roberts will appreciate Nunes questioning the integrity of him and his appointments?
posted by JackFlash at 9:42 PM on February 8 [27 favorites]


The AP lede is fire - "The last time Sen. Rand Paul was in the news for a scuffle, it involved a neighbor who allegedly tackled him in his yard over a lawn dispute. Thursday night, the Kentucky Republican took on the entire U.S. Senate”
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:46 PM on February 8 [24 favorites]




It all passes. And with that the Democrats throw away any leverage they have and DACA will just get continually punted. I'm sure when the Republicans refuse to consider the Dream Act in both houses we'll have some wonderful stirring speeches.
posted by Talez at 4:27 AM on February 9 [2 favorites]


"How dare those negotiators only save half of the people the bank robbers took hostage and started executing. They should have blown up the whole bank, killing everyone instead!"
posted by Freon at 5:08 AM on February 9 [6 favorites]


And now back to GOP: Trump

Porter himself was among the officials who fingered Lewandowski.

Corey dated Hope before Rob dated Hope and omg you guys, like, I think Hope is super sweet and everything but I worry she's not making good life choices okay?

Not to mention those dudes are both, like, totally grody. And I wish they'd just bury that Newt guy, he like, keeps showing up in all these scenes he's not supposed to be in, it's, like, stupid.
posted by petebest at 5:10 AM on February 9 [13 favorites]


having seen Rex Tillerson's interview where he "aw shucks, the Russians are going to still keep interfering and there's nothing we can do but let them know we are watching...." I was really mystified that 1. he would admit that since it is Trump's position that they are not

and 2. he seems so unconcerned...hmm


But see, if there's a huge Blue wave in November you could just as easily attribute such a dramatic swing to ......you got it.....Russia interfeared BUT NOW WE MUST REVERSE THEIR MEDDLING...

same as the different treatment of the Memos but better...
posted by Wilder at 5:19 AM on February 9 [7 favorites]


I would give money tonight to such an effort."

>>>You want to give to Spread The Vote.


Spread the Vote looks perfect, although there are only three states so far, FL, GA, and TN. Here's Tennessee to see what they're looking for. Maybe some intrepid MeFites want to save the voting world for their state?

As an aside, this was interesting:
In Georgia, you can vote with your student ID if you go to a public or technical college or university, but not if you attend a private college (for instance, Spelman, Morehouse, and Clark Atlanta, three of the biggest and most prestigious Historically Black colleges in the country. All private. All in Georgia. Those students can't vote with their student ID).
Huh. How odd.
posted by petebest at 5:21 AM on February 9 [49 favorites]


David Weigel in the WaPo:
Eight months after Democrats began to release their “Better Deal” agenda, they are on the cusp of passing some of it into law — by tucking it into this week’s must-pass spending bill.

“This budget agreement shows that the Better Deal agenda is more than a set of ideas; now, it’s going to be real policies,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a statement. “It delivers on exactly what we laid out last year: rural broadband, child care and assistance with college tuition.”

In negotiations, Democrats checked off several items in the Better Deal, a compendium of policies backed by Democrats in the past and brainstormed in meetings last spring and summer. The new items include $5.8 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant program; $20 billion in infrastructure spending, including rural broadband funds, with no corresponding cuts; and a special joint committee on fulfilling pension obligations, with the results to be voted on by the end of the year.
I guess the Dems weren’t as feckless as we feared?
posted by GrammarMoses at 5:21 AM on February 9 [16 favorites]


I guess one way you could avoid the elections getting hacked would be to have on-site registration, pen-and-paper ballots and counting votes by hand. I realize that's hugely impractical for a nation of like 350 million people but I'm drawing a blank as to what the other options are.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:23 AM on February 9 [3 favorites]


I realize that's hugely impractical for a nation of like 350 million people but I'm drawing a blank as to what the other options are.
Why is it more impractical in a country of 350 million than in a country of 300.000? It all happens at the local level anyway: local organizers set the whole thing up, control the voters and count the votes, then send the results to the next level, who send it on to the next. It can in principle be scaled up to any population size, you just need to determine the optimal largest size of the smallest entity — maybe 5.000?
posted by mumimor at 5:30 AM on February 9 [17 favorites]


Yeah that's my thoughts on it, too. Was just anticipating a lot of pushback against the idea.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:34 AM on February 9


I guess one way you could avoid the elections getting hacked would be to have on-site registration, pen-and-paper ballots and counting votes by hand.

Also some kind of federal law mandating minimum safeguards on voting, vote counting and best practice ballot design. That would mitigate that every county in the USA has their own way of doing things and they're continually changing with whatever decision the local county clerk came up with that morning.
posted by PenDevil at 5:36 AM on February 9 [4 favorites]


The /r/military thread about the parade is amusing.
posted by Jpfed at 5:46 AM on February 9 [10 favorites]


Note that the votes weren't even close, especially in the Senate. We have to face the possibility that, at least in the Senate, the leader of the caucus has lost control over conservative members. And whatever positive results came out of this bill can be reversed. You can't have a blue wave when you're demoralizing your base left and right because Manchin et al decide that it's vitally important for them to show "bipartisanship" by signing on for slashing the safety net and supporting white supremacist attacks on civil rights and immigration. A Minority Leader who doesn't seem particularly jazzed about standing up for what's right and who almost seems willing to be steamrolled by his right flank doesn't give me hope that whatever gains they made today are anything but fleeting and ephemeral. If the Democrats fail to take either chamber because they kept on voting against the interests of their constituents, especially the next generation of potential voters, all of this supposed good news will be for naught. It's crumbs that can easily be swept away by another two years of unified GOP control, let alone four to eight. It won't matter that CHIP is extended when the GOP finally decides that the US government is a two-party system in name only and decides to do away with it altogether.

Joke all you want, but the hubris and lack of foresight I'm seeing is terrifying. All this belief in the polling, that being "not those guys" is enough, that somehow centrist Republicans will find morals and ethics...it seems ridiculous to constantly be defending the behavior of the Congressional Democrats right now. It's been, what, three days since Trump was on live TV repeatedly saying he wants a shutdown? So where was the constant hammering of this on every channel by leadership? All we got was mush about bipartisanship and how they totally trust GOP leadership and we'll do something at some point that in all likelihood won't even work. Schumer was handed a fucking fully-dressed turkey on a platter and not only did he do nothing, he started giving the GOP hand-wrapped gifts for no reason. Not only did he not even bother getting a coherent message out before crumpling, he didn't bother to see if there was messaging that worked. That's what activists and potential voters and the base are seeing, and who can really blame them for believing that there's almost no Democrats willing to fight for them?
posted by zombieflanders at 5:58 AM on February 9 [14 favorites]


The Rob Porter debacle becomes the Rob Porter scandal (Aaron Blake | WaPo)
White House spokesman Raj Shah wouldn't elaborate Thursday on when Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and others became aware of allegations of spousal abuse by now-former staff secretary Rob Porter. And now we know why: It's pretty damning.

The Washington Post's Josh Dawsey and Beth Reinhard report that White House counsel Donald McGahn knew for a year about allegations Porter's ex-wives made against him to the FBI and that Kelly learned about them this fall, as they were holding up Porter's full security clearance. And yet Porter kept rising in the White House.

It's really difficult not to call this a scandal now.

It's not clear that either McGahn or Kelly knew the full extent of the allegations or that they included spousal abuse, but the best possible explanation is that they seemed to have a real lack of curiosity. It also raises the question of who else in the White House knew, including the president himself.

... They seemed to try their hardest not to find out whether someone they respected as a colleague might have done something truly awful, and when they did, they were prepared to defend him until they could no longer do so, because of either hubris or incompetence. And now they have a full-blown scandal on their hands.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:13 AM on February 9 [36 favorites]


Rob Porter’s Ex-Wife Warns Hope Hicks: He’ll Abuse You Next
This was the first thing I thought when I read the extremely triggering Intercept article. I've been in exactly that type of abusive relationship, and we are a whole "ex-wives club" of victims of the same man.
posted by mumimor at 6:15 AM on February 9 [12 favorites]


Jesus, Democrats can't even see Lucy getting ready to pull the ball even when someone is showing the previous plays on rewind and slow-mo:
I asked Kentucky Rep. John Yarmouth, another Democrat who voted for the budget, why he thought the pressure on House Republicans to accept a Senate compromise would work this time when the same strategy didn’t work for the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill.

“Going into an election year,” he said, “I don’t think Paul Ryan wants to see, every night on the news, Dreamers being torn away from their families.”
That's a quote that'll fit nicely on the headstone for a Dem majority.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:18 AM on February 9 [13 favorites]


“Going into an election year,” he said, “I don’t think Paul Ryan wants to see, every night on the news, Dreamers being torn away from their families.”

THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HE WANTS TO SEE BECAUSE THAT’S HIS BASE.
posted by Talez at 6:23 AM on February 9 [70 favorites]


I realize that's hugely impractical for a nation of like 350 million people

That part's not the issue.

I guess one way you could avoid the elections getting hacked would be to have on-site registration,

Several states do this already and extending it would be relatively simple.

pen-and-paper ballots

This is already the most common way of voting in the US.

and counting votes by hand.

Hand-counting is error-prone on ballots with lots of races, like American ballots. Parliamentary systems get away with hand-counting because their national elections generally have only one race on the ballot instead of 25 to 100 or more. You really want a scanner (which doesn't need to be networked) doing this.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:24 AM on February 9 [8 favorites]


Yes, that would be my main point: make voting offline again.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 6:26 AM on February 9 [5 favorites]


Democrats' 'Resistance' to Trump Is Eroding, and So Are Their Poll Numbers - Will Stancil, The Atlantic.
The notion that the president “constitutes a crisis in American governance,” is waning among party leaders, jeopardizing their mid-term advantage.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:33 AM on February 9 [19 favorites]


Here (Canada) we vote on paper ballots. Some polling stations use optical scanners to enter the data, some use manual counting. The ballots are kept for audit purposes.

I think though focusing on that is misguided. The election is getting hacked by gerrymandering, voter suppression, disenfranchisement and information hacking (leaked emails, fake news, etc). Those are extremely effective tools; not as obvious or straightforward, but also much harder to fix.
posted by Bovine Love at 6:52 AM on February 9 [6 favorites]


It feels to me like the Dems are reading all the polls wrong (eg Democrats' 'Resistance' to Trump Is Eroding, and So Are Their Poll Numbers - Will Stancil, The Atlantic).

They're seeing those numbers slip and thinking, oh, god, find me a way to capitulate more, I've gotta get my belly closer to the ground, when it seems more or less obvious to me that sacking up and winning one of these fights would see those numbers turn around.

Of course they haven't won a fight since the Great Society, so they've got no experience to work from
posted by TheProfessor at 6:52 AM on February 9 [9 favorites]


The election is getting hacked by gerrymandering, voter suppression, disenfranchisement and information hacking (leaked emails, fake news, etc). Those are extremely effective tools; not as obvious or straightforward, but also much harder to fix.

I am totally on board with fixing these things, too.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 6:59 AM on February 9 [5 favorites]


They're seeing those numbers slip and thinking, oh, god, find me a way to capitulate more, I've gotta get my belly closer to the ground, when it seems more or less obvious to me that sacking up and winning one of these fights would see those numbers turn around.

Well, Dems are empirically responsive to their margin of victory in a way that Republicans are not. It doesn't seem like *too* much of a stretch to say that this might apply to polls as well: the more popular they perceive themselves to be, the more progressive they let themselves be.
posted by Jpfed at 7:02 AM on February 9 [5 favorites]


Democrats' 'Resistance' to Trump Is Eroding, and So Are Their Poll Numbers - Will Stancil, The Atlantic.

It is? I'm in Indiana, where organized resistance is gaining momentum like I've never seen, and—

OH. You meant resistance is eroding among—how did you put it?—"the highest circles of Democratic party politics." Pardon me, but that's not who I think of when I think of "Democrats." Actual people who vote Democratic are pissed off, and we're motivated, and we're organizing, and we'll be rattling the cages of those "highest circles" as soon as we leverage enough power to.
posted by Rykey at 7:03 AM on February 9 [76 favorites]


Hand-counting is error-prone on ballots with lots of races, like American ballots

Mexico (a nation of 111 million) uses paper ballots and hand counting. The election is organized by an independent election board that hands out free voter id. On the day of the vote, each ballot is counted by a the polling station chief, a secretary and representatives of each of the parties.
posted by Omon Ra at 7:04 AM on February 9 [11 favorites]


Of course they haven't won a fight since the Great Society,

I'll have to refresh my memory on exactly when Lyndon Johnson passed Obamacare, Lily Ledbetter, and the ARRA. Do you have a link, or are you maybe going a little too far with the hyperbole?
posted by Jpfed at 7:07 AM on February 9 [30 favorites]


The Dems may be fluttering about at high levels right now. But, while we need anything we can get out of them, these aren’t the people who are going to save us. That’s going to be done at the grassroots and local levels. Look at how many people have signed up to run. Look at the projects like Postcards to Voters. Look at the women who have finally said “enough” and who are working like hell to do something about it. Look at the primary challenges that are starting to pop up.

If you want to put the fear of god into the established Dems, losing more elections won’t do that. Winning elections without their help, on the other hand, would. The message there is “we don’t need you if you’re not going to work for us and we can replace you.” If there’s a blue wave this fall, methinks the credit isn’t going to go to the DNC. It will go to Indivisible and the Women’s March and countless other groups. So don’t try to read election results based on what’s going on at the top levels. This ain’t their game to win anymore.
posted by azpenguin at 7:10 AM on February 9 [51 favorites]


So, the Senate floor schedule has HR 2579 on the floor starting Monday. This is a tangentially-health-care related bill that has passed the House, but which will serve as the vehicle for the immigration legislation in the Senate. (The entire text of the bill will be replaced by whatever the Senate can come up with.)

I’m not sure what the pros and cons are for taking a previously-passed House bill, but the Senate does this fairly regularly, especially on spending bills. My understanding is that as a stand-alone bill, a discharge petition could get it to the House floor. If the Senate can pass something.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:10 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]


Omon Ra: "Mexico (a nation of 111 million) uses paper ballots and hand counting"

Does Mexico have upwards of 100 races on each ballot though? Remember that in some places Americans elect things like tax collector. That is what makes hand counting difficult and error prone.
posted by Mitheral at 7:12 AM on February 9


So is the Hastert rule effectively dead as of today? Ryan needed Dem votes to pass the budget deal this morning in spite of the HFC's opposition.
posted by susuman at 7:14 AM on February 9 [3 favorites]


Of course they haven't won a fight since the Great Society,

I'll have to refresh my memory on exactly when Lyndon Johnson passed Obamacare, Lily Ledbetter, and the ARRA. Do you have a link, or are you maybe going a little too far with the hyperbole?
posted by Jpfed at 9:07 AM on February 9 [3 favorites +] [!]


I'm going too far.

But if I were gonna try to defend my own hyperbole, or to redefine "winning" as really blowing the other guys out of the water, I'd point out that we got the ACA passed, but without a public option, that we got Ledbetter but not the ERA, and that we got the ARRA, but not real sanctions/restrictions on Wall Street to the tune of Glass-Steagal and not any widespread convictions of the dudes who made 2008 happen.

I mean you're right tho

(edited for quote italics)
posted by TheProfessor at 7:14 AM on February 9 [2 favorites]


>Hand-counting is error-prone on ballots with lots of races, like American ballots

Mexico (a nation of 111 million) uses paper ballots and hand counting. The election is organized by an independent election board that hands out free voter id. On the day of the vote, each ballot is counted by a the polling station chief, a secretary and representatives of each of the parties.


The size of the country isn't the issue, it's the information density and number of possible choices on the actual ballots -- and elections in the United States tend to have a huge number of races, with a huge number of different possible votes. My understanding (never having voted in Mexico) is that the balloting system there has you voting for a party -- you generally get a ballot with under ten actual choices. Whereas ballots in the United States tend to be more complicated.

Search for sample ballots in various American states -- you might have to mark dozens of decisions about individual candidates across multiple races in one election; it's an order of magnitude more complicated than voting for a particular party.
posted by cjelli at 7:21 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]


Also....

Mexico (a nation of 111 million)

123 million. 83.5 million registered voters.

The US has a population of 323 million, 235 million of whom are eligible to vote. 200 million registered to vote in 2016.
posted by zarq at 7:28 AM on February 9


It occurs to me that with the exception of George HW Bush, the Republican Party has had successively dumber, more corrupt, and more authoritarian Presidents for my entire life.

The first President I was ever aware of was Reagan. And a great many people seemed to think that the Republicans had hit the bottom of the barrel when it came to sheer stupidity in a politician. Surely no one dumber than Reagan will ever be elected we said, and laughed at his stupidity and general dunderheadedness.

Reagan was also the first blatantly senile President in my lifetime, and again we on the left were sure the Republicans would never elect anyone suffering from age related mental degeneration again (though we also joked that since Reagan was so dumb it was hard to tell when he'd started going senile).

Reagan also set a mark for foolish corruption. Unlike the directed criminality of Nixon, Reagan's presidency was a vague cloud of people breaking the law for their own ends (much like his Presidency was a vague cloud of people promoting their own agendas without any actual President running things).

Then we got a respite with Bush Sr, who was wishy washy, mean mouthed, milquetoast, and medium evil, but not stupid or diabolical.

Following Clinton we got Bush Jr, who yet again inspired comments that the Republicans had finally reached the rock bottom in terms of stupidity among Presidents and no President could ever be dumber than Junior.

Junior also set new lows in attacks on civil liberties. This, we assured ourselves as entirely due to the "War on Terror" and no future President could go any further...

And now we have Trump. Dumber than Junior and Reagan, meaner than Junior and Reagan, and he's ahead of Reagan in that Reagan's Alzheimer's only really kicked in during his last two or three years in office, while as far as can be guessed Trump entered office with Alzheimer's about as far advanced as Reagan's was when he left office.

The attacks on civil liberties are worse than ever (and, Obama never really did anything to fix the situation Junior had left). Looking back on Junior it seems almost quaint to recall that we said he was ushering in Fascism, now that we have literal white supremacists stomping around the White House.

I can no longer cling to the illusion that this is as bad as it can get, and I see no reason to suppose the Republicans will reverse course now. Assuming Trump is booted from office in 2020 (far from assured) I feel confident that in 2024 the Republicans will manage to nominate someone who will make Donald J Trump look like a thoughtful, restrained, intelligent person.

I'm not sure how they'll achieve that, but I'm sure they'll manage somehow, the Republicans seem to have an endless ability to find ever worse candidates and, for reasons that are utterly baffling to me, to love those candidates.

I suppose the reasons boil down, basically, to racism, misogyny, and tax cuts, but yeesh. Couldn't the Republicans nominate someone smarter and less corrupt to implement their evil agenda?
posted by sotonohito at 7:32 AM on February 9 [36 favorites]


So is the Hastert rule effectively dead as of today? Ryan needed Dem votes to pass the budget deal this morning in spite of the HFC's opposition.

No. The pedophile rule is a majority of the majority not that the majority needed to come from the majority.
posted by Talez at 7:32 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]


So is the Hastert rule effectively dead as of today? Ryan needed Dem votes to pass the budget deal this morning in spite of the HFC's opposition.

No. A majority of Republicans still voted for the budget deal. And practically too, Ryan is still giving the HFC a veto over any potential DACA deal, he's not going to allow a vote on something like the Durbin bill if it passes the Senate.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:33 AM on February 9


The higher "if we can't pass it by ourselves we won't bring it to the floor" standard was violated, but even most of the House Freedom Kooks get the idea that _something_ had to pass even while they grumble about it.

DACA, on the other hand, is a hard stop for them; if Ryan puts a DACA bill giving any path to citizenship to Dreamers on the floor for any reason, there will be an immediate no-confidence vote on Ryan's Speakership. Which is why if you happen to know any Dreamers, don't put them on your bowling team's long-term roster.
posted by delfin at 7:36 AM on February 9 [2 favorites]


Then we got a respite with Bush Sr, who was wishy washy, mean mouthed, milquetoast, and medium evil, but not stupid or diabolical.

If you haven't already, I highly recommend reading the Jon Meacham biography of HW, Destiny and Power. Bush I had a group that named themselves "The Vulcans": Cheney, Scowcroft, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Rice. They were war hawks who pushed the first Iraq war, and were hyper-aggressive regarding foreign policy.

The problem with both Bushes is that they were, as you noted, milquetoast and wishy washy. This is one of the dangers that Trump represents as well. Presidents who surround themselves with experts but are not strong in their leadership tend to get over-run by their advisors and cabinet -- all of whom have their own agendas. With Trump, his advisors have reportedly been at each others' throats. But Bush I bequeathed his to his son, who have them free rein and allowed them to run wild. Cheney and Rumsfeld in particular.

It's not enough for a President to not be diabolical or overtly evil. They have to also not surround themselves with those who are, and to make sure they're held on short leashes.
posted by zarq at 7:43 AM on February 9 [17 favorites]


Either the Congressional Democratic leadership knows something we don't, or they're a bunch of spineless cowards and dumb as a bag of hammers to boot.

I'm hoping it's the former, but I feel fairly confident that it's the latter.

Maybe there's some super duper double top secret reason they can't explain to us plebes that they think now all their leverage is gone the Republicans will not only hold a vote on DACA, but enough Republicans will defect from the Party line to allow it to pass. But I can't imagine what that would be.

I'm reminded not so much of Lucy and the football, as Obama and the unemployment benefits. Remember how, back in the darkness of the recession, Junior's tax cuts were set to expire and in exchange for continuing them forever, Obama took extending unemployment benefits by six months. He got a tiny gain in exchange for every bit of leverage he had.

Why would the Republicans ever let there be a DACA vote? Ryan would be out of the speakership in a fetal heartbeat if he allowed there to be a DACA vote, and while McConnell's position in the Senate isn't so precarious, there's no benefit for him in holding a vote and some downside.

Besides, if they don't hold a vote at all they get to crow to their constituents about how they played the Democrats and gave them more libural tears to drink.

So I'm at a loss to explain the actions of the Democrats. Are they really such cowards lacking all principle, or is there some deep thing I'm missing here?
posted by sotonohito at 7:44 AM on February 9 [11 favorites]


My understanding (never having voted in Mexico) is that the balloting system there has you voting for a party.

You're right, we don't vote for so many positions, 10-15 at most. This is a sample ballot for president. I can't comprehend voting for 100 things on one go. This explains the need for a butterfly ballot.
posted by Omon Ra at 7:47 AM on February 9


Here's an article about the Meacham book: "George Bush Sr book reveals a more dangerous Dick Cheney than anyone knew. Destiny and Power shows a VP with more authority than almost all his predecessors, making plain Bush Jr’s administration could have been even worse"

Response at the time by Rumsfeld: "'He's getting up in years': Rumsfeld says Bush Sr wrong in criticism of son's aides. Bush Jr ‘made his own decisions’ says former defense secretary, who is labelled arrogant and damaging to president in new biography of George HW Bush"
posted by zarq at 7:52 AM on February 9


Fwiw, scan-tron ballots, with locked retention AND precinct level manual auditing of representative samples is all the security we need, however it still leaves the whole "Both scanners are down" issues as well as the "The rolls don't list you so we need to go through the manual exception process turns into a distributed denial-of-service" attack still open to be resolved.
posted by mikelieman at 7:52 AM on February 9 [6 favorites]


On the most recent episode of Chapo Trap House they posited that the Democratic Party generally lacks a strong ideology, and would rather be a marginal corporatist party than a successful socialist party. I'm beginning to believe that's true. They also said:

-If a politician offers a political program that will clearly improve peoples' lives in a concrete, meaningful way, they will vote for that politician.

-Only politicians with strong ideological commitment are likely to offer such a political program and be able to carry it out without compromising the bulk of it as soon as is convenient.

If you buy these premises, the DSA's candidates are actually generally more electable than Democratic rank and file. Thus far we've seen the Democratic Party either fail to provide them any resources or, even worse, actively work against them. I'm hoping the DSA is able to overcome this and make a foothold, because the Democratic Party desperately needs an infusion of left ideology.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:53 AM on February 9 [11 favorites]


the DSA's candidates are actually generally more electable than Democratic rank and file. Thus far we've seen the Democratic Party either fail to provide them any resources or, even worse, actively work against them.

To be clear, are you talking here about DSA members running in Democratic party primaries as Democratic candidates for office? Or something else?
posted by cjelli at 7:59 AM on February 9


The NYTimes' Trump whisperers Haberman and Baker are floating this trial balloon for the White House, Unwelcome Attention for John Kelly, the Man Enlisted to Bring Calm:
For now, it is Mr. Kelly who is in trouble. The president has little tolerance for aides who attract negative media attention that spills onto him, and in recent days Mr. Kelly has drawn a string of unwelcome headlines. He roiled negotiations over immigration legislation by declaring that some immigrants were “too lazy” to apply for legal status. And he initially defended a deputy accused by two ex-wives of physically abusing them.

All of which has again fired up the will-he-last speculation that has erupted periodically in the six months Mr. Kelly has been in office. Mr. Trump has recently asked advisers what they think of Mick Mulvaney, who currently holds twin posts as director of the White House budget office and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as a possible chief of staff, according to two people briefed on the discussions.
posted by peeedro at 7:59 AM on February 9 [2 favorites]


The choice isn't between impossibly tallying everything by hand and Russian-tampered online systems. There is a system that combines the best of hand-done ballots and machine counting, it makes voting as easy as taking your SAT, at least in terms of filling in little ovals and it's in use in a lot of place. Optical-scanning systems involve permanent ballots that can be tallied by machine so you get results fast and that can be viewed by hand if you need to have a recount. I still miss the old voting machines here in Boston - the Wizard-of-Oz lever you had to pull to close your curtain and then to register your vote made such a satisfying thunk, and now voting is like filling out a withdrawal slip at the bank - but I'm not worried my vote won't be tallied.
posted by adamg at 7:59 AM on February 9 [7 favorites]


So I'm at a loss to explain the actions of the Democrats. Are they really such cowards lacking all principle, or is there some deep thing I'm missing here?

One cynical part of my brain wonders if it's calculated accelerationism. Have they decided that doing showy #Resistance stuff like Pelosi's filibuster and then folding in the actual fight will give them the best shot in the midterms? I mean that theory does still make them cowards lacking all principle, but it offers some logical motivation behind their otherwise inexplicable actions.
posted by contraption at 8:00 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]


To be clear, are you talking here about DSA members running in Democratic party primaries as Democratic candidates for office?

Yes, exactly. To my knowledge, the DSA only runs candidates as Democrats. They have an entryist strategy.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:01 AM on February 9 [5 favorites]


Unwelcome Attention for John Kelly, the Man Enlisted to Bring Calm

Buried down in the article is this gem: "[Kelly] appeared as a character witness in a 2016 court-martial of a Marine colonel accused of sexually harassing two female subordinates. Mr. Kelly praised the colonel as a “superb Marine officer.”"

It's almost like all generals aren't good people just because they're generals, and maybe John Kelly has always been a fucking monster.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:02 AM on February 9 [54 favorites]


Believe it or not, the story gets worse:
A 33-year Marine officer and former commander of the Wounded Warrior Regiment, he was sentenced to two months in the brig last year after pleading guilty to sending sexual text messages to a female enlisted subordinate, obtaining and using testosterone without a prescription, and driving drunk to his own arraignment aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia.

Master Police Officer Linda Kuehn, a spokeswoman for the department, told Military.com Tuesday that the charges against Tomko include three counts of aggravated sexual battery, three counts of indecent liberties with a child, and one count of felony cruelty to children.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:13 AM on February 9 [46 favorites]


One cynical part of my brain wonders if it's calculated accelerationism. Have they decided that doing showy #Resistance stuff like Pelosi's filibuster and then folding in the actual fight will give them the best shot in the midterms? I mean that theory does still make them cowards lacking all principle, but it offers some logical motivation behind their otherwise inexplicable actions.

It's far more likely that they want to play both sides in the hopes of everyone loving them rather than having to commit to a concrete ideology and having someone hate them.

Then everyone hates them because they have no spines to stand up for what's right when necessary.
posted by Talez at 8:18 AM on February 9 [8 favorites]


NBC News: Sen. Tim Kaine demands release of secret Trump war powers memo
Kaine, a member of the Armed Services and the Foreign Relations committees, sent a letter Thursday night to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seeking a seven-page memo the administration has kept under wraps for months.
...
Kaine has been leading the charge for Trump to outline his legal rationale for a U.S. bombing campaign in Syria last April in response to President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical attacks on civilians. Kaine and others worry that such action compromises congressional oversight over military action.

There is a new urgency to obtain the memo given increasing U.S. involvement in Syria and recent Trump administration rhetoric on North Korea. Shortly after the 2017 bombing raid, several members of Congress called on Trump to justify it under U.S. and international law. Article I of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war.

“The fact that there is a lengthy memo with a more detailed legal justification that has not been shared with Congress, or the American public, is unacceptable,” Kaine said in the letter to Tillerson, obtained by NBC News.

“I am also concerned that this legal justification may now become precedent for additional executive unilateral military action, including this week’s U.S. airstrikes in Syria against pro-Assad forces or even an extremely risky ‘bloody nose’ strike against North Korea,” Kaine wrote.
On a sort-of-related note, WaPo: Breaking with tradition, Trump skips president’s written intelligence report and relies on oral briefings
For much of the past year, President Trump has declined to participate in a practice followed by the past seven of his predecessors: He rarely if ever reads the President’s Daily Brief, a document that lays out the most pressing information collected by U.S. intelligence agencies from hot spots around the world.

Trump has opted to rely on an oral briefing of select intelligence issues in the Oval Office rather than getting the full written document delivered to review separately each day, according to three people familiar with his briefings.

Reading the traditionally dense intelligence book is not Trump’s preferred “style of learning,” according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
If you think you've read this story before, you have not: there was a lot of coverage in early 2017 about how Trump wanted a 'bullet point' memo, and how he wanted it be 'shorter,' but he apparently doesn't even read that one anymore.
After several months, Trump made clear he was not interested in reviewing a personal copy of the written intelligence report known as the PDB, a highly classified summary prepared before dawn to provide the president with the best update on the world’s events, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
...
Leon Panetta, a former CIA director and defense secretary for President Barack Obama, said Trump could miss important context and nuance if he is relying solely on an oral briefing. The arrangement also increases pressure on the president’s national security team, which cannot entirely replace a well-informed commander in chief, he said.

“Something will be missed,” Panetta said. “If for some reason his instincts on what should be done are not backed up by the intelligence because he hasn’t taken the time to read that intel, it increases the risk that he will make a mistake.”

“You can have the smartest people around you — in the end it still comes down to his decision,” he added.
...
Mark Lowenthal, a career intelligence officer who served as a CIA assistant director from 2002 to 2005, said Trump does not have to read the PDB if he is getting an extensive oral briefing. He warned, however, that a short briefing on a few select items would leave the president ill-equipped for major decisions over the long term.

“Then he’s really not getting a full intelligence briefing,” Lowenthal said. “You need to get immersed in a story over its entire course. You can’t just jump into an issue and come up to speed on the actors and the implications. The odds are pretty good that something will arise later on for which he has no intelligence basis for helping him work through it.”
....
Aides say Trump receives his in-person intelligence briefing nearly every day, although his publicly released schedules indicate that the sessions have been taking place about every two to three days on average in recent months, typically around 11 a.m.
They don't quite say come out and say this, since they don't quite have the sourcing to support it, but it also seems clear that Trump not only doesn't read the intelligence briefings, he also isn't briefed daily -- at the same time as he pushes for expanded war powers. That's not a great combination.
posted by cjelli at 8:20 AM on February 9 [64 favorites]


Either the Congressional Democratic leadership knows something we don't

Yes. They know the minority party doesn't actually have any power. I wish their voters knew this.

Sure, they could fillibuster the budget bill, and shut down the government, temporarily. Until people get really pissed because their family members aren't getting paychecks and they can't get the services they need. Just long enough for everyone to get really angry at Democrats, and then Republicans kill the fillibuster and move on without having to compromise with Democrats ever again.

You want Democrats to do things? ELECT MORE DEMOCRATS! Give them the majority. Then they will actually have the power to do the things you want.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:20 AM on February 9 [80 favorites]


I’m not sure what the pros and cons are for taking a previously-passed House bill, but the Senate does this fairly regularly, especially on spending bills.

“All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.”

— Article I, Section 7, Clause 1

Whether it's fucking stupid to call a bill as having originated in the house if you completely hollow it out afterwards is left as an exercise for the reader. But the same thing happened with the ACA.
posted by phearlez at 8:22 AM on February 9 [5 favorites]


Guardian: California police worked with neo-Nazis to pursue 'anti-racist' activists, documents show

Compare and contrast:

(1) The officer’s write-up about an African American anti-fascist activist included a photo of him at the hospital after the rally and noted that he had been stabbed in the abdomen, chest and hand. Ayres, however, treated the protester like a suspect in the investigation. The police investigator recommended the man be charged with 11 offenses, including disturbing the peace, conspiracy, assault, unlawful assembly and wearing a mask to evade police. As evidence, Ayres provided Facebook photos of the man holding up his fist. The officer wrote that the man’s “Black Power salute” and his “support for anti-racist activism” demonstrated his “intent and motivation to violate the civil rights” of the neo-Nazi group.

(2) Officers also worked with TWP member Derik Punneo to try to identify anti-fascist activists, recordings revealed. Officers interviewed Punneo in jail after he was arrested for an unrelated domestic violence charge. Audio recordings captured investigators saying they brought photos to show him, hoping he could help them identify anti-fascist activists. The officers said, “We’re pretty much going after them,” and assured him: “We’re looking at you as a victim.” Ayres’s report noted that Punneo was armed with a knife at the neo-Nazi rally and that one stabbing victim told officers he believed Punneo was responsible. Using video footage, Ayres also noted that Punneo was “in the vicinity” of another victim at the time he was injured, but the officer said the evidence ultimately wasn’t clear. Punneo and McCormack, who could not be reached for comment, were not charged.

Stabbed black guy who was photographed with a raised fist: guilty.

Nazi with domestic violence charges who was observed stabbing people: victim.

ACHPAB.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:23 AM on February 9 [75 favorites]


Are they really such cowards lacking all principle, or is there some deep thing I'm missing here?

There is a not-that-deep-thing you're missing, which is that congressional Democratic leadership is answerable to their caucus, and a lot of the Democratic members of Congress are pretty conservative and prone to revolt if they're pushed too far. This is because they represent conservative districts and states, and the values and actions they take are in line with that representation. As frustrating as it may be for you and I, the reality is that the majority of the country is wildly more conservative than we are, and this places extremely strong constraints on what it is possible for more liberal Democrats to achieve. The Democratic leadership passed Obamacare knowing the effect it would have on the next election, and sure enough, in 2010 we got our assess kicked, and many of the freshmen Democratic representatives elected with the 2008 Obama wave were not reelected for a second term, and the Republicans rode the anti-Obamacare wave to claim state legislatures all over the country, redrawing congressional districts and sending the House even more right-wing. The Democrats passed Obamacare anyway because getting some kind of healthcare reform was critical, even though the real solution, universal coverage, was politically out of reach, but they knew the cost they'd pay for it. They were not cowards or idiots, they were simply making a difficult political calculation.

I get really sick of people characterizing the Democratic leadership as cowards and idiots. Yes, they are flawed humans who make mistakes. And we should not hesitate to criticize their bad decisions when we see them. But they've also been here before and borne the political scars of their difficult past decisions. Refusing to acknowledge the extremely difficult constraints they're operating under, and the extremely difficult decisions they've made in the past, and how these factors might color their current decision making, these are fundamentally defeatist positions. Because no human being could possibly live up to the standard you're setting, and so at a core level what you're effectively communicating is that good political leadership is impossible, and anyone who attempts it will fail so badly that they are worse human beings than if they had never tried at all.

So please, criticize Pelosi and Shumer and whomever else you like for their decisions you disagree with. Do it all day long, and try to create political leverage to force them to change their decisions to ones you're happier with. And if you think there's someone who would make better decisions, campaign to get them elected instead. But please stop calling the people who are fighting their best for us in an arena few others want anything to do with cowards and idiots.
posted by biogeo at 8:24 AM on February 9 [83 favorites]


indecent liberties with a child

This is diplomatic-sounding legalese for "he has been charged three times with attempting (or actually committing) sexual assault of one or more children under the age of 16."

The article notes that there were three victims.
posted by zarq at 8:24 AM on February 9 [18 favorites]


On a sort-of-related note, WaPo: Breaking with tradition, Trump skips president’s written intelligence report and relies on oral briefings

The real question here is whether he mutes Fox and Friends when being briefed or whether he just turns the volume down a bit.
posted by dis_integration at 8:25 AM on February 9 [6 favorites]


The Congressional Democrats' actions are not inexplicable. They got a lot of what they wanted from the budget deal. An article linked upthread shows that the Democrats got some of what they wanted.

As the minority party, they didn't get absolutely everything they wanted. But... that's kinda life when you're in the minority. Maybe it's just my experience as a Wisconsinite under 8 years of unified Republican rule but it seems pretty unusual that the Dems got any concessions at all for anything.

On preview, what OnceUponATime said.
posted by Jpfed at 8:26 AM on February 9 [23 favorites]


On the most recent episode of Chapo Trap House they posited that the Democratic Party generally lacks a strong ideology, and would rather be a marginal corporatist party than a successful socialist party

Here's a better explanation.

Since at least the 1960s the Republicans have been stealing racist voters from the Democrats (and it's been working for them). See "Southern strategy" etc.

In response, the Democrats have been stealing the votes of Republicans who are capitalist but anti-racist.

So the divisions between the parties have become less and less about economics and more and more about race.

If you think there are a lot of voters out there who are both socialist and anti-racist, you're gonna have to prove it by getting them to show up and vote. Because to date, they never really have.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:26 AM on February 9 [14 favorites]


Yes. They know the minority party doesn't actually have any power. I wish their voters knew this.

Thank you. Public opinion was against a shutdown. They're playing the hand they've got, against an opponent who cares not a bit about the rules.

Anyway, I actually came here to post what cjelli just posted about Tim Kaine. I hope this gets more attention. The constitutional crisis continues.
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:28 AM on February 9 [16 favorites]


There is a not-that-deep-thing you're missing, which is that congressional Democratic leadership is answerable to their caucus, and a lot of the Democratic members of Congress are pretty conservative and prone to revolt if they're pushed too far. This is because they represent conservative districts and states, and the values and actions they take are in line with that representation.

Except that this isn't necessarily correct. For example, here's a bit from the article ZeusHumms linked above:
The outcome of any final immigration deal is unknown, in part because Democrats voluntarily relinquished much of their leverage by striking a bargain on the budget. But there can be little doubt that many in the party were prepared to make serious—and politically unpopular—policy concessions to Trump. At one point, that reportedly included funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border (opposed by 60 percent of Americans). As it stands, Democrats in both houses appear to be on the brink of dropping demands to protect the “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children (protections that are supported by 74 percent of Americans).
Note that those figures are among all Americans, which in practically all cases means that strong support among Democrats and middling-to-strong support among independents is thrown off by very low GOP numbers. It also doesn't square with the Senators and Reps from safely blue states and districts that also threw their constituents overboard.

You want Democrats to do things? ELECT MORE DEMOCRATS! Give them the majority. Then they will actually have the power to do the things you want.

Because it's so easy to elect more people who don't seem to care whether you or your family is attacked by brownshirts and/or deported back to places where they will be de facto sentenced to death.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:37 AM on February 9 [8 favorites]


> H.R. 4980, the Preventing the Allocation of Resources for Absurd Defense Expenditures (PARADE) Act.

#notgoosesteppingist
posted by theora55 at 8:41 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]


Aw, crap. Rick Nolan [D-MN-08] is retiring. Seat has a PVI of R+13, went for Trump 54-39. Tough seat to hold.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:42 AM on February 9 [6 favorites]


Because it's so easy to elect more people who don't seem to care whether you or your family is attacked by brownshirts and/or deported back to places where they will be de facto sentenced to death.

They care. They just can't save them without hurting a lot of other people. "You should have let them shoot the OTHER hostages" is not a great rallying cry. People depend on the work of the EPA and the CDC, among many, many others.

Give them a majority. Take the gun out of Republican hands. Then all the hostages can live.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:43 AM on February 9 [29 favorites]


Mitheral: "Remember that in some places Americans elect things like tax collector."

Monstrous.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:44 AM on February 9 [74 favorites]


"You should have let them shoot the OTHER hostages" is not a great rallying cry.

"Elect more Democrats when you're not sure who they'll let be shot" ain't one either.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:45 AM on February 9 [14 favorites]


The choice isn't between impossibly tallying everything by hand and Russian-tampered online systems. There is a system that combines the best of hand-done ballots and machine counting, it makes voting as easy as taking your SAT, at least in terms of filling in little ovals and it's in use in a lot of place. Optical-scanning systems involve permanent ballots that can be tallied by machine so you get results fast and that can be viewed by hand if you need to have a recount. I still miss the old voting machines here in Boston - the Wizard-of-Oz lever you had to pull to close your curtain and then to register your vote made such a satisfying thunk, and now voting is like filling out a withdrawal slip at the bank - but I'm not worried my vote won't be tallied.
This is the system we use here in Cincinnati/Hamilton County, OH. It works really well. If I recall correctly from a book I once read on elections, the downside to using them is that the printing costs for the ballots are the highest because they require more precise printing. Not sure if that has changed in the subsequent years since that book was published. Costs would be increased as well if you had to provide the optical scan ballots in lots of different languages.
posted by mmascolino at 8:46 AM on February 9


Give them a majority. Take the gun out of Republican hands. Then all the hostages can live.

But god damn it, it's not enough to let the hostages live for another couple years. The hostages need to be freed, the hostage-takers need to be disempowered and punished, and steps need to be taken to prevent future hostage-taking. There has to be a way out of the darkness and it's not enough for the alternative to be "sit down in the darkness and hope somebody turns the light back on."
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:48 AM on February 9 [16 favorites]


zombieflanders: It's true that a strong majority of the public support protecting or even expanding DACA, but it's also true that a majority oppose shutting down the government over it. Maybe that would still have been the right thing to do, maybe it'd wouldn't have been. But "the public would have supported it" isn't a reason for it to have been the right thing to do because they wouldn't and didn't.
posted by Justinian at 8:51 AM on February 9 [13 favorites]


If you think there are a lot of voters out there who are both socialist and anti-racist, you're gonna have to prove it by getting them to show up and vote. Because to date, they never really have.

Who would they have shown up to vote for? I agree with you that the division between the parties has centered race much more in recent years while economic issues get left in the margins. This has meant that there have been almost no anti-racist, socialist politicians to turn out these voters. I believe that the enormous mass of Americans who rarely or never vote contains a pretty significant chunk of people who would be receptive to a socialist message, but we rarely get to hear one.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:52 AM on February 9 [3 favorites]


Oh, and stop pretending that passing Obamacare was some sort of guarantee of failure in the midterms. It was also a failure of messaging, a failure to keep the conservative wing in line, a failure to organize beyond election years, a failure to organize beyond the federal level, and an intense desire to play nice with the GOP; all of which absolutely fell on Democratic leadership, including Obama.

The idea that 2010 and 2014 were 100% inevitable calamities that were out of their hands is rubbish. Even if the bleeding couldn't have been stopped, it could have been slowed.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:54 AM on February 9 [31 favorites]


I’d say it would be reasonable to acknowledge that Congressional Democrats have to choose from a smorgasbord of terrible choices. It’s not even a matter of finding the diamond in the pile of shit right now, it’s basically just a pile of shit. They are damned no matter what they pick, and the reality of a government run by a malignant narcissist enabled by an enthusiastic Republican Party is that being visibly obstructionist, even for things that anyone with a sense of justice and morality would obstruct, will set Trump and the GOP off to do things that are even more inhumane. Nothing is off the table at this point. Cancel elections? Drop bombs on someone? Start creating lists of registered Democrats and accuse them of crimes against the state? We’re poised on the verge of an outright dictatorship and there are no good moves for elected Democratic officials right now, except to mitigate what they can, and to encourage voters to mobilize before the GOP gets it into their head to throw the lawbook out entirely.

And that is *before* getting to the finer point of realizing that Congressional Democrats aren't necessarily going to support policies that Democratic voters support.

And yeah, the hostages do need to be freed, but right now the hostage-takers are threatening to blow the place up. You’re not going to win the stand-off by trying to out-tough the GOP when you are outnumbered and when the GOP can easily, handily consolidate behind party lines and just nuke it all. They have obviously already demonstrated their willingness to do that.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:58 AM on February 9 [16 favorites]


To clarify, I am not saying that Democrats shouldn’t obstruct because then the GOP will be even meaner. I’m saying that it’s a careful balancing act between obstructing what they may and not appearing to be such a threat that the GOP decides to go full autocrat. Which they have the power and, apparently, the will to do at any moment. Right now they’re confronting the loon with the explosive vest and they need to wait for backup. We’re the backup.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:01 AM on February 9 [4 favorites]


Hey y'all, is this sort of armchair politicking around tortured hostage metaphors either productive or informative?
posted by runcibleshaw at 9:03 AM on February 9 [28 favorites]


biogeo The main reason I don't accept that explanation, basically that the Democrats are giving in because there's a lot of conservative Democrats (and that America is basically a conservative country) is because that's not what any of the actual people in power are saying.

Schumer isn't out there saying "look, this is the best we could do, we know McConnell and Ryan won't let there be a DACA vote, but we had to take this deal because that's all our caucus would let us take".

Schumer is out there saying "I trust Mitch McConnell will give us the DACA vote!"

Maybe you're right and the Democrats had to throw away any chance of leverage here. But I don't see how pretending to be such morons they buy McConnell's Lucy and the football level blatant lies fits that.

Am I just to assume that when Schumer and so his fellow high ranking Democrats tell me that they trust McConnell and Ryan that they're lying and I have to somehow puzzle out their true, noble and honorable, motives? That seems like an invitation to conspiracy theorizing.
posted by sotonohito at 9:04 AM on February 9 [7 favorites]


Hey y'all, is this sort of armchair politicking around tortured hostage metaphors either productive or informative?

There are many ways in which it is not a metaphor and it will become even less of a metaphor very