Lawyer Up, Delete Facebook, Hit Kim Jong-Un
March 23, 2018 7:59 PM   Subscribe

Day 248: Trump has, after much whining and the threat of a veto, signed the House spending bill, keeping the US government open until September. Early reports (because, of course, it was put together and shoved through in a rush) are that it's not great, with way too much irresponsible spending on the military, but it's much better than could be expected given this administration. A policy solution for DREAMers is not included, which Trump tried to blame on Democrats, leading to Trump supporters confusingly calling for American residents who aren't citizens to be looked after by the government. [This is an American politics thread: to keep it manageable for mods, please read and abide by these instructions.] posted by Merus (2185 comments total) 111 users marked this as a favorite
 
[Official reminder: help keep these threads information-dense and not a headache to moderate. If you haven't read the thread, go read it, and please don't fill the thread with early one-liners and chatter!]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:11 PM on March 23 [14 favorites]


to me, the appointment of bolton is the biggest thing to happen since election day 2016. that guy has blood on his hands from the run up to the iraq war, and i'm certain he'd love to add a couple hundred thousand--or more--to the list.
As fucking stupid as W was--and don't get me wrong he was **Fucking Stupid** and eager to finish daddy's business--manipulating trump into war will be far easier. just wait til he's angry about something else, and be the last one in the room with him. And there wont be any asinine yellowcake donkey circuses at the UN this time... because the UN wont even know what we do til the day after. god help us.
posted by wibari at 8:11 PM on March 23 [38 favorites]


I put it in the post, Eyebrows!

I story I missed but would have included: Trump has formally directed that transgender people cannot serve in the military.
posted by Merus at 8:14 PM on March 23 [16 favorites]


[Yes but you still get it with a staff tag anyway so people know it's Rlly Srs!]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:19 PM on March 23 [62 favorites]


So on Tumblr people a lot of people got an email telling them they interacted with Russian troll accounts, and they're posting about it, and already I've seen three posts saying it's baseless Red Scare nonsense, or maybe propaganda. Like this meme. Or a text post: "anyone else noticing how many of the russian ~propoganda~ blogs have black in their url???????"

And another text post: "We thought tumblr didn’t understand their own website but then they sent a mass callout post baselessly accusing users of being Russian spies so maybe they understand their website better than we could have ever imagined."

So that's the scoop. I think the propaganda worked. Either that or it's still ongoing. So you might want to have some links in your back pocket to show ppl. I actually wanted to ask if someone remembers where the original reporting came from. I found some from BuzzFeed and more recent stuff on Daily Beast.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 8:24 PM on March 23 [18 favorites]


Wisconsinites, note that there is an election on April 3rd! But not special elections. A judge ordered the governor to hold special elections to fill two vacant seats in the legislature. In response, the governor and legislature are interested in adjusting the law surrounding special elections.
posted by Jpfed at 8:30 PM on March 23 [14 favorites]


Oh yeah, consistently any of those links I shared on tumblr gets no notes except once, a driveby one along the lines of, 'oh so i guess it's all fake huh??'

anyway im expecting to see more the posts you've mentioned Rainbo Vagrant. I've not bothered with debunking via links just pointing out propa doesn't need to be based on lies, and swerving to point out CIA took advantage of social fractures in the soviet bloc. Not holding my breath.
posted by cendawanita at 8:31 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


George Will finds out that yes, the face-eating leopards will even eat his poor befuddled "principled conservative" face. Who could have predicted it?

WaPo OpEd: The second-most dangerous American
... because of Bolton’s West Wing proximity to a president responsive to the most recent thought he has heard emanating from cable television or an employee, Bolton will soon be the second-most dangerous American. On April 9, he will be the first national security adviser who, upon taking up residence down the hall from the Oval Office, will be suggesting that the United States should seriously consider embarking on war crimes. ... How can the president square his convictions with Bolton’s? Let’s say this one more time: Trump. Has. No. Convictions.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:35 PM on March 23 [41 favorites]


Has anyone seen the complete memo posted? The excerpt in that The Hill article seems to draw a difference between trans troops and “trans troops with gender dysphoria”, and I’m kind of confused.
posted by corb at 8:35 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


[There is an active fucking fuck thread if you just need to primal scream or express disgust.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:38 PM on March 23 [14 favorites]


Has anyone seen the complete memo posted? The excerpt in that The Hill article seems to draw a difference between trans troops and “trans troops with gender dysphoria”, and I’m kind of confused.

I see it as basically inventing a delineation between 'trans troops who won't ask us to pay for anything' and 'trans troops that expect us to take care of them as a matter of course'.
posted by Quonab at 8:40 PM on March 23 [17 favorites]


Bolton wants a first-strike nuclear conflict with a non-nuclear nation. I'm too weary to cite this, just google "Bolton" and "Nuclear" together, you'll see it.

So this is where we are. Not just war crimes headed our way, but unforgivable ones we will never live down as a nation.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:40 PM on March 23 [22 favorites]


So it’s basically selectively denying troops part of their compensation based on a specific medical need. Real defensible.
posted by Artw at 8:45 PM on March 23 [25 favorites]


I'm not super familiar with the lines around gender dysphoria as a diagnosis and whatnot, so forgive me if this is out of turn... but it sure seems like the policy is "Transgender servicepeople are fine as long as they maintain a cis identity while they're in the service and as long as they haven't transitioned before joining and as long as they don't plan to transition until after they leave."

This sounds a lot like "Don't ask, don't tell" but like they're trying to create carve-outs for some reason? Maybe because they think it's more defensible in court against discrimination cases (which it still plainly is)?

I really want this put in front of the Mattis fans at every turn, 'cause this shit has his name on it. He's not the good guy everybody hopes for.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:56 PM on March 23 [29 favorites]


It's because Donald Trump and/or conservatives find it somehow morally reprehensible that we pay for any medical care for gender transition despite it costing less than the amount the military spends on boner pills.
posted by runcibleshaw at 9:00 PM on March 23 [26 favorites]


And medical care effectively being part of pay in the US. They are happy to see troops paid less.
posted by Artw at 9:01 PM on March 23 [8 favorites]


So they'd be fine with trans troops who paid for their own medical costs, just like most trans civilians do? I'm not being sarcastic. Most of my friends (all non military) had to pay for their own surgeries out of pocket. Many get their hormones at a sliding scale clinic that doesn't take insurance. So... they're okay to join?
posted by AFABulous at 9:05 PM on March 23 [4 favorites]


Worthwhile Twitter thread here from transgender veteran Charlotte Clymer.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:05 PM on March 23 [14 favorites]


so what if we just decided to guarantee a job for everyone?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:39 PM on March 23 [10 favorites]


This is yet another quality Trump politics post from a user who specializes in them. Well done, merus!
posted by notyou at 10:01 PM on March 23 [15 favorites]


I don't feel like we can take anything this administration says on trans troops in good faith, especially now. They already lost on this once in court. It's sure to go back again on Monday. But what they're doing is going away from any last remaining shred of attempting to appeal to moderates/independents in the midterm. This is pure red meat, hate all the gays, hate all the trans and turn out every last homophobic FOX viewer possible. There's no principal here, its all ex post facto rationalizing from the political end, that's why they're reduced to dredging up discredited DSM terms like "gender dysphoria " from the 50s.

And that's why Mattis is no better than any of the rest. He knows trans servicemembers are serving fine right now. He's read the 1000s of pages of analysis under Obama that led to changing the military's stance in a controlled process. And now he's changing it to suit the Republicans' political ends.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:01 PM on March 23 [22 favorites]


Here's the story from The Hill: Trump moves to ban most transgender people from serving in military (John Bowden and Avery Anapol)

It links to the memo itself here. That includes the full report that was prepared by Mattis' Panel of Experts.

There are some valid medical reasons in there. In general, anyone who needs ongoing medication (e.g. antidepressants, synthetic thyroid, cholesterol and blood pressure meds) is disqualified from service without a waiver. It's very common for trans people to take synthetic hormones, obviously. Also typically disqualified are "anyone who had undergone chest or genital surgery [...] and anyone with a history of major abnormalities or defects of the chest or genitalia, including hermaphroditism and pseudohermaphroditism." Which, physically transitioning is in many ways a deliberate major abnormality. It also says that normally, any major surgery will disqualify someone from serving, and trans people already have an exception to that rule, and .... that's not fair? Those sections seem to be complaining that there's already different standards for trans people.

This is the money quote, I think, when it comes to explaining the reasoning: "The concept of gender transition is so nebulous, however, that drawing any line -- except perhaps at a full sex reassignment surgery -- would be arbitrary, not to mention at odds with current medical practice, which allows for a wide range of individualized treatment. [....] The wide variation of transition-related treatment, with all the challenges that entails for privacy, fairness, and safety, weigh in favor of maintaining a bright line based on biological sex -- not gender identity or some variation thereof -- in determining which sex-based standards apply to a given Service member. A person's biological sex is generally ascertainable through objective means. Moreover, this approach will ensure that biologically-based standards will be applied uniformly to all Service members of the same biological sex. Standards that are clear, coherent, objective, consistent, predictable, and uniformly applied enhance good order, discipline, steady leadership, and unit cohesion, which in turn, ensure military effectiveness and lethality. "

This is right after a section listing out different sex-based standards, i.e. sleeping quarters, latrines, and physical standards. The gist of it seems to be that the military has these sex-based standards that servicemembers have to comply with, and trans people screw all that up.

so uh. it's kind of about bathrooms.

I only skimmed it, though.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 10:01 PM on March 23 [6 favorites]


anyone who needs ongoing medication...is disqualified from service without a waiver

Like birth control? What?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 10:08 PM on March 23 [19 favorites]


A servicemember with a legitimate medical condition that interferes with or precludes service needs that issue addressed on an individual basis -- and solely based on their ability to perform. Tons of people on active duty take medication for ongoing conditions. If you've got a medical thing going on that could cause a huge problem if, say, you can't get that medicine while on deployment or whatever, that's a thing you take up with your doctor. That's not a matter of being transgender anymore than the matter of "oh noes women have periods" interferes with service.

You can either do the job or you can't. It's no different than the bullshit reasons why they barred women from serving in combat arms for so long (and other groups going farther back).

If they were concerned about a specific medication interfering with service, they'd address that as an issue. They aren't. They're cutting people out based on gender identity out of bigotry, which is why this hasn't held up in court.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:20 PM on March 23 [30 favorites]


I mean I'm not reading the whole thing tonight, or probably ever, but it reads to me like they just list out a lot of problems and don't bother to consider any solutions. Even though these seem like solvable problems.

There's a section on how transitioning limits a servicemember's active duty and may make them undeployable for over a year, because of surgery recovery, and lab monitoring for the first year of HRT. But so, logically. A person who has already transitioned and doesn't need or want more surgery, who probably just needs a maintenance regimen for their hormones and may not even need that, whose mental health is probably the best it's ever been - they should be okay to serve.

Birth control in the military: The Challenge of Accessing Birth Control in the Military, The Atlantic

I don't know much at all about the military, to be clear, i just know stuff about transgenderness
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 10:21 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


anyone who needs ongoing medication...is disqualified from service without a waiver

I assume this applies to their leaders’ boner pills?
posted by SakuraK at 10:26 PM on March 23 [6 favorites]


As a refresher, the military already commissioned a RAND study to evaluate the issue of trans troops and found they were fit to serve and would have no significant cost or noticeable detriment to the service.
Between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender men and women already serve in active duty, the researchers estimated—a fraction of one percent of the total force. The costs of letting them serve openly and access military health care would be “overwhelmingly small” as a percentage of military spending.

No more than 140 active-duty service members a year would likely seek gender-transition hormone treatments, for example; even fewer would seek transition-related surgeries. That would add between $2.4 million and $8.4 million to an annual military health care budget of more than $6 billion, the researchers estimated.

Those medical treatments would also limit when and where between 25 and 130 active-duty service members could deploy in any given year. For comparison, the Army alone has 50,000 active-duty soldiers who cannot deploy for other reasons. [...]

Eighteen other countries already allow transgender people to serve in the military, including such close U.S. allies as Australia, Canada, Israel, and the United Kingdom. They have seen “no significant effect” on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or overall readiness since they opened their ranks, RAND researchers found.
posted by chris24 at 10:27 PM on March 23 [42 favorites]


It's because Donald Trump and/or conservatives find it somehow morally reprehensible that we pay for any medical care for gender transition despite it costing less than the amount the military spends on boner pills.

The military spends $84 million a year on erectile dysfunction pills. Trans care would cost $2.4 - 8.4 million a year. So trans care costs 10 to 30 times less than what the military spends on boner pills.
posted by chris24 at 10:33 PM on March 23 [74 favorites]


The full list of the 84 accounts tumblr suspended

(in other news, conspiracy tinhatting continues)
posted by cendawanita at 10:37 PM on March 23 [4 favorites]


There's a section on how transitioning limits a servicemember's active duty and may make them undeployable for over a year, because of surgery recovery

Which is some incredible and arbitrary stupidity right there, anyway, since a significant percentage of people who transition socially and hormonally (and thus "medically", I guess?) forego genital surgery for various reasons. The idea that surgery forms an essential and fundamental part of gender transition is honestly weird and ignorant.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 10:48 PM on March 23 [6 favorites]


"Weird and ignorant" sums up this entire administration.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:56 PM on March 23 [54 favorites]




I read the full 55 page report and it just...really, really makes me sad. Like, they’re not wrong that trans people are at higher risk for suicidality, anxiety, and depression, and that those things compound with PTSD or with families who turn their backs, but like - maybe those things wouldn’t be the case if there was more integration, and maybe people should be allowed to take the risk! Maybe families would be more decent if the military said yes, or maybe we could be their family like every soldier with a shitty birth family ever!
posted by corb at 11:23 PM on March 23 [64 favorites]


There's no principal here, its all ex post facto rationalizing from the political end, that's why they're reduced to dredging up discredited DSM terms like "gender dysphoria " from the 50s.
I'm confused, gender dysphoria is the term that most trans people, doctors and therapists use these days. The latest DSM calls it gender dysphoria too, but the old DSM called it "gender identity disorder" which isn't used anymore.
posted by floomp at 11:34 PM on March 23 [6 favorites]


Serious question...does anything need to be done to keep MetaChat from going down due to high traffic volume? Because I predict it will get really busy in there around 7pm on Sunday night.
posted by sexyrobot at 1:41 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


The former Cambridge Analytica figures working in Australia
The head of data operations for Cambridge Analytica during the US election campaign has been sacked from the Sydney start-up where he recently found work.

Following queries from the Herald regarding his position and a week of revelations regarding alleged privacy breaches at his old employer, Joshua Coe was let go by local data firm Hyper Anna.

(...) Ms Nguyen said "Even though there is no proof or information in regards to Josh’s involvement in the breach, at Hyper Anna we put data privacy and ethical treatment of data above all, hence we have taken the action to relieve Josh of his duty here."
posted by moody cow at 2:20 AM on March 24 [10 favorites]


but [the bill] is much better than could be expected given this administration.

I know it can be crippling to my own productivity, and probably most of MetaFilter's, but I wonder if the administration's constant daily barrage of shitstorms and WTFs is actually impeding their own work, too? There's little time for organized demolishing when you're busy dealing with daily collapses.

And by "wonder", I mean "hope and pray".
posted by rokusan at 2:53 AM on March 24 [12 favorites]


the Atlantic has an interesting piece that relates to that, rokusan

Trump Can't Get What He Wants and Doesn't Know Why
Trump’s grandiose, semi-authoritarian claim, “I alone can fix it,” in his speech accepting the 2016 Republican nomination was a subject of intense criticism, but in retrospect it seems to have represented not so much a vision of how Trump could transform the presidency but a mistaken impression of how the presidency already worked. Though political scientists and some journalists have explained clearly how the power of the bully pulpit is badly overrated, this was yet another case in which Trump had not carefully studied the realities of politics.

He seems to have subscribed, and may still subscribe, to an extreme version of what Matt Yglesias termed the “Green Lantern Theory of the Presidency,” in which presidents are superheroes who get what they want through sheer force of will. This is not, however, the way Washington really works, and while Trump has experienced that, he doesn’t seem to have quite come to understand it, thus his fury and threat on the spending bill Friday.
trump thinks that he should get his way because he’s the president, damnit, but that’s not how politics works. he’s going to continue to grind through staff because no one can make his way of operating work.

he’s used to his obstacles being personal, where he can bully and bluff and wheedle his way through by beating one person at a time. now his opponent is a complex system and he can’t find any leverage. he can get what he wants as long as it was something the republicans were going to do anyway, and then he hits a … wall.

what i expect to see next is him trying to exercise power in the areas where the executive does have unilateral power, because those are the only places he won’t be constantly stymied. unfortunately, under the current AUMF, one of those areas is warfare.
posted by murphy slaw at 3:10 AM on March 24 [66 favorites]


He seems to have subscribed, and may still subscribe, to an extreme version of what Matt Yglesias termed the “Green Lantern Theory of the Presidency,” in which presidents are superheroes who get what they want through sheer force of will. This is not, however, the way Washington really works, and while Trump has experienced that, he doesn’t seem to have quite come to understand it, thus his fury and threat on the spending bill Friday.

This. And also, there is not one person in the White House who knows or is interested in knowing how government works, because they have the same misinformed opinion about it as Trump. This absolutely includes the generals, who are used to the fact that the military is a thing the president actually has some control over, and probably don't think much about the rest of society.
posted by mumimor at 3:31 AM on March 24 [13 favorites]


Keep in mind the trans military ban 2.0 is a distraction, tossed bone and a mission/mandate.

The_donald and other related areas of the internet are totally losing their shit over Trump signing the budget over A) DACA and B) continued lack of wall, paid for by Mexico.

Now for a public service announcement: KILL YOUR TELEVISION FACEBOOK.
posted by loquacious at 3:35 AM on March 24 [11 favorites]


Small clarification on the Cambridge Analytica business: its not the police doing the raid, it'll be the Information Commissioner's own enforcement team, who have vastly more limited powers.
posted by threetwentytwo at 3:39 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]


They are probably allowed to politely ask what all the shredded paper is but not to follow up to strongly when they are told it’s confetti for a party.
posted by Artw at 3:52 AM on March 24 [10 favorites]




Regarding any assumptions of biological sex with respect to trans people, the assumption that biological sex means squat is suspicious as hell to me and any political figure, puppet or “leader” using biological sex as any kind of measure of the potential of a person’s capabilities outside reproductive capability is failing to achieve jack shit outside of their own gross and terrible political agenda.

And trans bodies are not a “kind of like” a deliberate abnormality. That’s an absolutely wrong and violent phrase to be normalizing onto trans bodies and I would like all people cis queer and trans to reflect on why it’s violent and consider maybe not speaking of trans bodies in that way.

Trans bodies are a normal variation of the species and trans people with trans bodies need trans care. Mattis has decided that trans people with trans bodies requiring trans care are unfit to serve in the military, which is discriminatory and stupid. Like most actions which attempt to limit trans peoples abilities to exist in society.
posted by Annika Cicada at 4:21 AM on March 24 [89 favorites]


 after inexplicable delays in getting the warrant

I was wondering about that. A commenter at Ars Technica linked this BBC article which has something of an explanation:

Ms Denham demanded access to the firm's databases and servers after it missed her Monday deadline...

Labour's shadow digital economy minister Liam Byrne said Ms Denham's powers did not allow her to apply for a digital search warrant "quickly and quietly". Instead, she has "told the world she's going to court", giving Cambridge Analytica and others time to hide any evidence, he told the Today programme.

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve said her legal powers were inadequate and this matter had highlighted a need for "greater powers and greater sanctions". Ms Denham said she was using all the powers she had under the law but would not know whether evidence had been tampered with until her team of forensic experts gained access to the offices.

posted by mediareport at 4:37 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]


I'm as freaked about Bolton as anyone in the fucking fuck thread, but other than an nascent authoritarian foundation, does this administration have what it takes to wage a new war? GW's administration took about 2 years to groom a casus belli and march into Iraq. And that was with a US population easily fomented by a wasp sting they got on 9/11. It'd be interesting to see some polling, but after 15 years of war in the gulf, my gut feel is that it'll be hard to find anyone in the US cheering a new military adventure.
posted by klarck at 4:37 AM on March 24 [5 favorites]


Casus belli? How quaint a notion, klarck.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 4:50 AM on March 24 [21 favorites]


John Bolton: the new recurring herpes of conservative administrations.
posted by chillmost at 5:02 AM on March 24 [22 favorites]


So on Tumblr people a lot of people got an email telling them they interacted with Russian troll accounts, and they're posting about it, and already I've seen three posts saying it's baseless Red Scare nonsense, or maybe propaganda. Like this meme. Or a text post: "anyone else noticing how many of the russian ~propoganda~ blogs have black in their url???????"

I have a tumblr where I repost cute puppies and kittens and I do it as a mood manipulation specifically meant for my wife. I apparently interacted with 20+ russian troll accounts. What a time to be alive and looking at cute animals!
posted by srboisvert at 5:46 AM on March 24 [30 favorites]


I wondered what the hell was meant by you-know-who tweeting "Obama Administration legalized bump stocks", and USA Today looked into that. The short answer is that in 2010 and again in 2012, the ATF determined that bump stocks can't be regulated at the executive level because they aren't, themselves, a kind of firearm.

I'd consider it a stretch to call that "legalization", because it was a finding rather than a directive. But that could be argued either way, since Trump (if he doesn't encounter something shiny over the weekend) apparently plans to treat them as regulable anyway, by banning them. So I guess theoretically Obama could have done so?(Practically, of course, it would have the same backlash as DACA.)

In 2013 after Sandy Hook, Dianne Feinstein introduced a bill that would ban them (along with other gun control measures), and very unsurprisingly, Republicans in the Senate killed it.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:56 AM on March 24 [17 favorites]


Trump’s grandiose, semi-authoritarian claim, “I alone can fix it,” in his speech accepting the 2016 Republican nomination was a subject of intense criticism, but in retrospect it seems to have represented not so much a vision of how Trump could transform the presidency but a mistaken impression of how the presidency already worked.

The full quote was "Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it." I was watching when he said that, and my first thought was that anybody who knows even 1% about "the system" knows that no one person alone, ever, could "fix it." And that only a fucking moron would believe that "the system," being populated by minds woefully less brilliant than Trump's all these years, was lacking only that crucial One Person with the cojones to "fix it" to set it straight. At the time I didn't know whether that moron was Trump, his followers, or both.

Also, how could from anybody outside said system ever know the system better than people who had spent their careers within that system? If one person ever *could* know the system better than anyone else, wouldn't they know how stupid it sounded to say that, let alone to claim they could fix it by themselves? If one person could know the system better than anyone else, in fact, wouldn't their conclusion likely be that the system *couldn't* be "fixed," per se? At any rate, wouldn't somebody who knew the system better than anyone else, who could fix it alone, be able to articulate a plan for governance somewhat more coherently than Trump had on the campaign? It's an infinite regression of Trumpian stupidity, but I guess the joke was on me.
posted by Rykey at 6:04 AM on March 24 [27 favorites]


No more than 140 active-duty service members a year would likely seek gender-transition hormone treatments, for example; even fewer would seek transition-related surgeries. That would add between $2.4 million and $8.4 million to an annual military health care budget of more than $6 billion, the researchers estimated.

For context: Trump spent $6 million of government funds on his visits to Mar A Lago in 2017.
posted by srboisvert at 6:10 AM on March 24 [74 favorites]


For context: Trump spent $6 million of government funds on his visits to Mar A Lago in 2017.

It makes me feel better to pretend it's an investment, and Mueller's got this one down so pat, that when all the paperwork drops, a whole lot of Trump's assets, including those clubs' operating accounts, are going to be seized.
posted by mikelieman at 6:16 AM on March 24 [15 favorites]


my gut feel is that it'll be hard to find anyone in the US cheering a new military adventure.

As far as triggering liberals goes, starting a war with Iran is one of those things right at the top. Also, since the AUMF gives the executive carte blanche to start wars they don’t even need popular opinion on their side. Nuke the plateau and let the Democrats sort out the (metaphorical and literal) fallout. They don’t need to run a sophisticated media driven disinformation campaign. Which is why it’s so fucking scary right now.
posted by Talez at 7:00 AM on March 24 [10 favorites]


I have a tumblr where I repost cute puppies and kittens and I do it as a mood manipulation specifically meant for my wife. I apparently interacted with 20+ russian troll accounts. What a time to be alive and looking at cute animals!

I get periodic follows on Instagram from random Scottish Fold-themed accounts (with generic names, sometimes in wonky English, like scottish_fold_lovers and scottishfoldworlds), presumably due to following the Hana and Maru account. They only ever post stock photos of Scottish Fold cats; some of the earliest ones had text in Cyrillic in the profile, but they seem to have gotten rid of that recently.

I'm wondering if this is some subsidiary of Russian cybercrime and/or the Kremlin-linked troll complex, and if so, and if step 1 is “get people to follow you with cute kitteh pictures” and step 3 is some variant on “profit”, what step 2 could be.
posted by acb at 7:08 AM on March 24 [11 favorites]


acb: I get periodic follows on Instagram from random Scottish Fold-themed accounts (with generic names, sometimes in wonky English, like scottish_fold_lovers and scottishfoldworlds), presumably due to following the Hana and Maru account. They only ever post stock photos of Scottish Fold cats; some of the earliest ones had text in Cyrillic in the profile, but they seem to have gotten rid of that recently.

I'm wondering if this is some subsidiary of Russian cybercrime and/or the Kremlin-linked troll complex, and if so, and if step 1 is “get people to follow you with cute kitteh pictures” and step 3 is some variant on “profit”, what step 2 could be.


I can see that happening a lot, because a Russian troll, if smart, isn't going to tweet "I am a #russiantrollaccount, follow me!" They will sneak in with stuff they know you are into - whether it's cute cats, gardening, Game of Thrones, or any other innocuous interest. So: step 1, get people to follow you with kitteh pics, step 2, gradually start talking about politics, geared of course to the interests of the follower (for a Democrat, say bad things about Kirsten Gillibrand or Kamala Harris, etc.), step 3, profit!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:26 AM on March 24 [15 favorites]


I'm as freaked about Bolton as anyone in the fucking fuck thread, but other than an nascent authoritarian foundation, does this administration have what it takes to wage a new war? GW's administration took about 2 years to groom a casus belli and march into Iraq. And that was with a US population easily fomented by a wasp sting they got on 9/11. It'd be interesting to see some polling, but after 15 years of war in the gulf, my gut feel is that it'll be hard to find anyone in the US cheering a new military adventure.

A lot has changed in the past 15 years, and the goldfish memory of a significant swath of the American public is gunning for war, with Iran or North Korea. Maybe you haven't noticed the various and sundry voices of conservative commentators, pundits, Congressfolk, and White House officials all sabre-rattling towards this end, but we've moved way beyond needing any kind of justification to launch a war against Iran or North Korea.

Remember Bush & Co. pushed distorted and doctored intelligence to push the WMD narrative in Iraq. Remember that literal millions of people marching against the invasion didn't stop them. And that's just neocons. This further-to-the-right-than-that administration has proven they don't even need to bother with that much; they're well aware there's somewhere between 25%-30% of the population who will roar with glee at the prospect of war, and that's good enough for them.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 7:26 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]


@voxdotcom:
Trump’s biggest fans aren’t buying his excuses not to veto the omnibus spending bill https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/3/23/17156968/trump-omnibus-right-wing-spending


@JoyAnnReid:
Retweeted Vox
One of the things that’s amazing about politics is that conservatives often seem to have more awareness and respect for Pelosi (and Schumer’s) political skills than some liberals do. The right is crystal clear about how badly “Chuck and Nancy” rolled Trump on that omnibus budget.
posted by chris24 at 7:27 AM on March 24 [65 favorites]


I have heard, and unfortunately I can't find the reference (maybe it was just a Daily Kos post), that Nancy Pelosi is the closest we have to LBJ right now. She really has done a damn fine job with herding Democratic cats. I think that is why so many dislike her - they are afraid of her because she is smart and capable.

If - pipe dream - we can ride the Blue Wave to a Dem majority in the House, have Nancy Pelosi as our Speaker, impeach Trump and Pence - I think Pelosi would make a damn fine interim President. She has a demonstrated skill at getting people to work together.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:31 AM on March 24 [64 favorites]


Can I get any kind of points for spending the last decade hollering like an old man that FaceBook is a scourge on society, and cannot be trusted in any way with our data? Even fake internet points?

I can't think of an Internet company I would rather see burned to the ground.
posted by rokusan at 7:32 AM on March 24 [56 favorites]


Yeah, folks should stop calling for Pelosi to step down. She is really good at this.
posted by notyou at 7:40 AM on March 24 [64 favorites]


but I wonder if the administration's constant daily barrage of shitstorms and WTFs is actually impeding their own work, too?

Tom Nichols sums this up in the WaPo as a best case scenario with regards to Bolton’s hire:
Bolton’s views are dangerous, and, yes, he could very well be the vehicle by which the United States yet again chooses a preventive war that no one knows how to finish. The more likely outcome, however, is also the one that would, somewhat pathetically, also be the best one: that Bolton turns out to be just another celebrity hire who thinks he has been brought on board to help steer the ship of state — only to find that the rudder has long been broken, and the captain is already extending yet another plank to be walked.
posted by peeedro at 7:41 AM on March 24 [18 favorites]


I'm pretty much trapped on Facebook due to my job, but man are they testing my patience. Apart from this data mining scandal, I am constantly frustrated by Facebook's blatant white supremacy. I have a number of Black comrades who get regular timeouts and bans for criticising killer cops, alt-righties, and systemic racism. Most of them have alt accounts as a given stop-gap measure to get around this. Yet when a blatantly white supremacist or Islamophobic page opens up, harassing people and organizing, I report them and invariably get that "thanks for reporting, but this doesn't violate our standards" message. They ask for feedback for their response, and I point out their inconsistencies, and nothing changes.

It all feels very Sisyphean, but I can't not do something. I just don't harbor any illusions that this platform I'm stuck inside is blatantly racist. As above, so below, I suppose.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 7:47 AM on March 24 [64 favorites]


GW's administration took about 2 years to groom a casus belli and march into Iraq. And that was with a US population easily fomented by a wasp sting they got on 9/11.

The difference is that G.W. and co did groom and lead to get what they wanted. They at least considered that there could be consequences for not doing so. If Trump wants a war, he can order a first strike and consequences be damned. Partially because he doesn't really think of having to deal with them and partially because even if he considers them he may think that it'll get him out of Mueller's noose.

Bolton doesn't really care if Trump gets impeached afterwards. As long as the first strike generates the war he wants (or the miraculous regeim change he claims would result), he doesn't care if it's President Trump or Pence left to fight it.
posted by Candleman at 7:47 AM on March 24 [6 favorites]


I'm on Tumblr and have noticed people being really blasé about the whole thing but as I'm involved in a very volatile fandom, I can see how these IRA trolls could manipulate some of these people since a lot of them are young and angry. Tumblr users have a tendency to post and reblog things that are demonstrably wrong and fulfill the old adage, "A lie travels around the globe while the truth is putting on its shoes." They are definitely not known for being aware, self-reflective, or prone to hyperbole.
posted by nikitabot at 7:55 AM on March 24 [6 favorites]


Well over half of any remaining left-wing failure to appreciate Nancy Pelosi is simple sexism. But I think there's also an unspoken feeling that, dammit, all the Democrats everywhere should already be gay space communists, rather than blue cats/dogs in need of wrangling. Which isn't, like, wrong, but, you know, serenity prayer. She's changing what really can be changed, and doing a really excellent job of it.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:57 AM on March 24 [48 favorites]


Maybe he meant he could “fix” the system in the sense of “prearrange the outcome,” drawing on Putin’s help?
posted by wenestvedt at 8:14 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]


Yeah, folks should stop calling for Pelosi to step down. She is really good at this.

She shouldn't step down, but she have mentored and be passing the torch to someone with a generation or two more of political future ahead of them at this point. She's earned whatever retirement she chooses, but her skills HAVE TO BE learned by the Journeymen...
posted by mikelieman at 8:29 AM on March 24 [19 favorites]


Aya Hirano, the phenomenon you describe sounds like something that a good investigative reporter could use to earn a heck of a Pulitzer.
posted by rokusan at 8:35 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


Pelosi is a fine Bad Cop, which is probably the easiest way to be a successful speaker or leader anyway. You sure can't succeed at it by being nice-nice. She's just a little bit too last generation for the newer Democrats.

I don't see or smell sexism from those on the left who dislike her or want her out. Ageism, maybe.
posted by rokusan at 8:37 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]


but I wonder if the administration's constant daily barrage of shitstorms and WTFs is actually impeding their own work, too?

Absolutely it has. Despite Trump's claims that it's the Dems who are blocking everything and holding everything up, a fairly significant part of the reason they haven't been more successful at fulfilling their agenda via legislation is that the more conservative members of Congress won't cooperate. And that's because Trump fucking contradicts himself every five minutes, and about half the time he (seems to) agree with the most radically conservative viewpoint. So the conservative Congresspeople are emboldened to hold their ground and torpedo any bills they consider "too bipartisan", because it's entirely possible Trump won't sign the bill into law - he said he wouldn't on Twitter. And despite all evidence that Trump will sign pretty much any bill put in front of him, the "normal" Republican members of Congress don't trust him - McConnell has said more than once that he won't bring various bills to the floor for a vote because he doesn't know if Trump will sign it or not; because McConnell & Schumer & a small bipartisan group of Senators will meet with Trump on a Tuesday to hammer out a bill, and they think they've got a viable version ready for a vote, and then Wednesday morning Trump goes ballistic on Twitter about some element of the bill that completely contradicts the Tuesday meeting, and now nobody knows if the bill would actually be signed.

Take Obamacare repeal, for example - that should've been a walk in the park for a Republican-dominated Congress, gone in the first ten minutes of the first day. But long before McCain's dramatic thumbs-down (on legislative principle & ego), Trump kept waffling between "fix it, make it better", and "make it go away", so neither house of Congress could come up with a bill that would satisfy all the different Republican factions, because each faction had evidence that their Obamacare fix was the one Trump supported. And eventually they ran out of time to ram anything through without Democratic support. So Obamacare is still here.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:50 AM on March 24 [17 favorites]


I don't see or smell sexism from those on the left who dislike her or want her out.

Counterpoint: the difference in how she and Schumer are treated.
posted by chris24 at 8:59 AM on March 24 [70 favorites]


I don't see or smell sexism from those on the left who dislike her or want her out. Ageism, maybe.

I (really) don't mean to start an argument, but look for people who say she's not liberal enough or too corporate, etc, but who like Biden. See also people who don't like Booker because he's too corporate and not liberal enough but like Biden. This is of course not to say that everyone who dislikes Pelosi or Booker but likes Biden is a pure and total misogynist/racist, but the pattern of opinion points to latent misogyny/racism.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:03 AM on March 24 [91 favorites]


@JoyAnnReid:
Retweeted Vox
One of the things that’s amazing about politics is that conservatives often seem to have more awareness and respect for Pelosi (and Schumer’s) political skills than some liberals do. The right is crystal clear about how badly “Chuck and Nancy” rolled Trump on that omnibus budget.


Partly I think is the same phenomena of people not liking photographs of themselves. Other people think you look great because they see the whole picture. You on the hand think it is terrible because you only look to see if the things you think are your flaws show up and you ignore all the rest.
posted by srboisvert at 9:05 AM on March 24 [6 favorites]


but who like Biden

I think most folks think Biden's career is over, so it's OK to be fond of the old guy since he's not in a position to do harm. (Mostly.)
posted by SPrintF at 9:11 AM on March 24 [4 favorites]


Apart from this data mining scandal, I am constantly frustrated by Facebook's blatant white supremacy

I really, really don’t understand why Zuckerberg gets a pass for this, tbh. Facebook has been racist, misogynist, homophobic, and transphobic in how they selectively enforce rules since forever, and has not attracted the vitriol that Twitter has.

The simplest explanation is that both companies are run by people who are racist, misogynist, homophobic, and transphobic, even if they aren’t aware of their bigotry. They should be fucking treated as such.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:19 AM on March 24 [44 favorites]


I think most folks think Biden's career is over, so it's OK to be fond of the old guy since he's not in a position to do harm.

Look, I like Biden but when he was VP and still a possibility to jump in the race, Bernie supporters had a 20% favorability of Hillary and a 80% favorability of Joe. They're both "corporate, neo-liberal" Dems. Both voted for the Iraq War. There's really no way to explain this but misogyny. And ignoring it or pretending what is in front of our face isn't what it is does nothing but perpetuate it and lead to another woman being damaged by it.
posted by chris24 at 9:19 AM on March 24 [124 favorites]


And if you don’t “smell” sexism with respect to how Nancy Pelosi is regarded by the left, your nose isn’t worth shit.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:19 AM on March 24 [80 favorites]


[One deleted - Sorry, we're not going ten rounds on Hillary Clinton's personal qualities vs Bernie, what percentage of people's attitudes about her is sexism, etc. We're just not. Been there.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:43 AM on March 24 [13 favorites]


I think most folks think Biden's career is over,

I don't think that's true -- it might be true of people who are fond of Biden, but he very nearly ran in 2016, and he's been making intermittent noises about running in 2020. I think a lot of people think his career isn't over. I'm emphatically not going to debate the merits of Biden-as-candidate, but his career certainly wasn't over in 2015/2016 -- when we were debating his merits -- and may or may not actually be over now in 2018. So if it's true that 'people think' his career is over and therefore are fond of him: people were wrong, and might be wrong now, and if their fondness for Biden is predicated on the assumption that he's never running again they should be prepared to rethink it if he does run -- they shouldn't necessarily change their opinion (that's up to them) but they should at least interrogate it closely.

I think many folks think Biden's career isn't over and that's why it's important to hold a clear picture of him, rather than one informed by nostalgia for the years of his vice-presidency.

What that picture should be I leave open until he actually declares himself in the running, because, oh my, I do not want to start pre-debating the 2020 primaries.
posted by cjelli at 9:48 AM on March 24 [4 favorites]


When you're surrounded by shit all the time, you stop smelling it. And then when someone points out to you that you stink, you assume there's something wrong with their nose.
posted by biogeo at 9:48 AM on March 24 [23 favorites]


I think most folks think Biden's career is over, so it's OK to be fond of the old guy since he's not in a position to do harm. (Mostly.)

Just take your ball and go home, Joe. Apparently you can't even set an example of adult discourse.

Is there anybody left in politics who can stand at a podium without threatening to start a fight on the playground, tossing insults, or using potty language?
posted by BlueHorse at 9:49 AM on March 24 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty much trapped on Facebook due to my job, but man are they testing my patience. Apart from this data mining scandal, I am constantly frustrated by Facebook's blatant white supremacy. I have a number of Black comrades who get regular timeouts and bans for criticising killer cops, alt-righties, and systemic racism. Most of them have alt accounts as a given stop-gap measure to get around this. Yet when a blatantly white supremacist or Islamophobic page opens up, harassing people and organizing, I report them and invariably get that "thanks for reporting, but this doesn't violate our standards" message. They ask for feedback for their response, and I point out their inconsistencies, and nothing changes.

It all feels very Sisyphean, but I can't not do something. I just don't harbor any illusions that this platform I'm stuck inside is blatantly racist. As above, so below, I suppose.
Aya Hirano, the phenomenon you describe sounds like something that a good investigative reporter could use to earn a heck of a Pulitzer.


you mean like previously, previously, previously, and previously, which feature articles by ProPublica, Ijeoma Oluo, an okay news site tied to a garbage op-ed page, and ProPublica?
posted by anem0ne at 10:14 AM on March 24 [39 favorites]


When you're surrounded by shit all the time, you stop smelling it. And then when someone points out to you that you stink, you assume there's something wrong with their nose.

Exactly this. While the current Prez has shown himself capable of being rolled at tic-tac-toe, and his staff is in and out through a revolving door, I think that the likes of troll farmers might well be a little more skilled at this chess thing, whether eleven-dimensional or not. Or, rather, I think they are skilled at judo - using their opponents' weak points against them. And what better way to sandbag a great candidate than by using our unexamined, unconscious sexist and/or racist biases against her (or him?). We are going to have to wake up and smell our shit to keep this Blue Wave going.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:15 AM on March 24 [10 favorites]


Is this the right thread for the giant multi-city march for sane firearms policy or is that being followed elsewhere? Cuz it’s huge, folks.
posted by murphy slaw at 10:17 AM on March 24 [45 favorites]


Just take your ball and go home, Joe. Apparently you can't even set an example of adult discourse.

As Tapper pointed out, two tough guys with nine Vietnam deferrments between them for bone spurs and asthma.
posted by Talez at 10:19 AM on March 24 [8 favorites]


Yeah, folks should stop calling for Pelosi to step down. She is really good at this.

Gee, when you don't self-lobotomize when it comes to policy and process, it's amazing what you can get done.

On the other side, you've got 'serious' republicans like Lindsey Graham trying to fundamentally alter 1/5 of the economy with bubble gum and an completely unearned sense of self-confidence.

It's not just that they don't know how to govern. They're so far gone that they don't know that they don't know how to govern. It's Dunning-Kruger all the way down.

You've got a party that has been in opposition, and at war on reality for so long, that they are fundamentally incompetent at all aspects of their jobs. It's one of the major reasons why they cheat (along with the fact that their policies are shit).
posted by leotrotsky at 10:23 AM on March 24 [23 favorites]


It's not just that they don't know how to govern. They're so far gone that they don't know that they don't know how to govern. It's Dunning-Kruger all the way down.

Building on that. I mean, look at the legislation they've passed. First, of course, is that they can't pass shit, even though they control all the branches of government. Which is embarrassing, but that's what happens when 1/3 of your caucus is gibbering morons high on their own supply.

But even one thing they managed to pass, a tax cut, was so bubble gum and baling wire that they were literally scrawling shit in the margins at the last minute. And, of course, they fucked it up. First with the corporate deductions. And even now it's still fucked up beyond belief.

Seriously, you're Republicans, how the hell do you not have a tax cut bill in the hopper ready to go? That's a goddamn layup for you cretins.

I mean, if you're any lobbyist, regardless of industry, you've got to be giving the Democrats a hard look. There's plenty of corporate types you can swing with donations, and they're competent, and they can actually deliver on stuff when you elect them.

The Republicans are no good to anyone anymore except the racists, the fascists, and the Russians.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:41 AM on March 24 [62 favorites]


I know "boner pills" are a perennial favorite on metafilter, but could we please stop doing that? I've had erectile dysfunction since my early 30s. There's really nothing funny about it.
posted by double block and bleed at 11:31 AM on March 24 [38 favorites]


It also says that normally, any major surgery will disqualify someone from serving,

AFAIK, neither hysterectomy nor mastectomy disqualifies someone from serving. Neither does losing a foot. Major surgeries that don't affect one's ability to do the job haven't traditionally been disqualifications.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:39 AM on March 24 [13 favorites]


The problem isn't the "boner pills" it's that something that is not very crucial but only used by people with dicks is always covered but other types of crucial health care aren't- It shows an extreme bias in health care both military and civilian.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:43 AM on March 24 [65 favorites]




The Republicans are no good to anyone anymore except the racists, the fascists, and the Russians

If you are a white oligarch, government inaction and dysfunction is just fine, because any halfway functional government will stop you from stealing everything that isn't bolted down.
posted by benzenedream at 12:12 PM on March 24 [6 favorites]


Is this the right thread for the giant multi-city march for sane firearms policy or is that being followed elsewhere? Cuz it’s huge, folks.
we just came home from the Boston March for Our Lives and it felt like it was actually bigger than the 2017 Women's March, which until now was the biggest protest event in the Trump era.

Our local March for Our Lives event had felt more subdued than past protests. We used pretty much the same route as the post Charlottesville/BLM march (aka, the Troll Zoo protest) and that event had more noise, more singing and more chanting. This was a lot more somber and several attempts to get chants going ran out of steam pretty quickly.

With that said, I was struck with this phenomenon as we entered the office building canyons of the Back Bay. There were chants further ahead of high school kids yelling "What do we want? GUN CONTROL! When do we want it? NOW" and because of acoustics it echoed back to us from above, like a chorus of disembodied spirit children telling us that we failed them.
posted by bl1nk at 12:14 PM on March 24 [94 favorites]


With that said, I was struck with this phenomenon as we entered the office building canyons of the Back Bay. There were chants further ahead of high school kids yelling "What do we want? GUN CONTROL! When do we want it? NOW" and because of acoustics it echoed back to us from above, like a chorus of disembodied spirit children telling us that we failed them.

Honestly, if I maintained any social media profiles, I’d want to know if there was a way to will them to some organization that would haunt the fuck out of whoever was responsible for my untimely death.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:20 PM on March 24 [5 favorites]


This is the picture going around showing the scale of the March in DC and wow
posted by The Whelk at 12:24 PM on March 24 [44 favorites]


I need a picture showing it is bigger than Trump's inauguration crowd. I need it.
posted by Justinian at 12:31 PM on March 24 [26 favorites]


Yeah, I was at the NYC march and it seemed almost as big as the 2018 Women's March. The announcers said 200,000, but I haven't seen confirmation.

DC was supposedly half a million to a million. So as large or larger than Trump's inauguration.
posted by chris24 at 12:31 PM on March 24 [6 favorites]


At the Philly march, State Rep. Brian Sims said this during his speech: "No more racism disguised as economic policy. No more sexism disguised as religious beliefs. No more weapons of war disguised as hobbies and heritage. No more white fragility. No more thoughts and prayers."

He's my state rep and I love him.
posted by mcduff at 12:35 PM on March 24 [140 favorites]


Not exact but an indication.

Trump vs March for Our Lives.

More March pix to compare to Trump's above.
posted by chris24 at 12:36 PM on March 24 [5 favorites]


The march here in Omaha was pretty weak sauce, but it's kinda cold and wet today. Instead, there's this from Rob Reiner on twitter:
"If you’re not moved by what these kids are doing, you’re dead inside. I’ve said it before but whenever a ship is going down, you always hear “women and children first. If ever we’re going to keep this ship of state afloat, we’re gonna have to look to the women and children."
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 12:36 PM on March 24 [45 favorites]


Portland's was/is so jammed that I couldn't get close enough to the stage hear the speakers. A parade of signs and conga dancers on Broadway street too.
posted by msalt at 12:45 PM on March 24 [13 favorites]


The kids organizing the march are completely unstoppable. One of them even threw up in the middle of her speech, at the podium - and after a few seconds of someone helping her clean herself off, she turned back to the mike and hollered "I just threw up on international television and it feels great!" and went back to her speech.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:45 PM on March 24 [176 favorites]


GOP incumbent in PA-06 is dropping out of the race. This was pretty much the sole hope for the Republicans holding the seat, which went Clinton 53-43.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:46 PM on March 24 [60 favorites]


AFAIK, neither hysterectomy nor mastectomy disqualifies someone from serving. Neither does losing a foot. Major surgeries that don't affect one's ability to do the job haven't traditionally been disqualifications.

So there’s a couple of complicated things going on here that I think people may not be aware of. Ie, there’s a lot wrong in the policy, but I think it’s important to be aware of specifically which pieces.

The first thing is that recruiting standards and retention standards have always been different. When I joined the service, for example, before 9/11, any mental health issues were disqualifying unless you met some very specific circumstances. However, I acquired mental health issues on active duty, and remained for several more years - in part because I was valuable and had already been trained, and in part because there is a strong cultural opposition to removing people who were injured in service and still wanted to continue. However, there was not a strong objection to removing people who had issues they had not disclosed before joining -asthma was a big one, as was epilepsy, from what I recall.

Standards opened up quite a bit as I recall, once the Iraq war started, with waivers for physical health, mental health, and criminal records for critical shortage jobs - however, that was pretty resoundingly criticized for a lot of reasons, and once the drawdown happened, was undone. So while I’m not aware of what the precise state of recruiting is at the moment, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it was “no major surgeries”.

However, that shouldn’t affect retention, even if you want a more lethal force. Because even if any individual surgery has a lengthy recovery time, there’s nothing saying you have to get them immediately one after the other, you could easily space out surgeries around deployments, and all the stuff about people who want to continue serving would still apply. ALSO, it could even be a benefit if people wanted genital surgery, because reconstructive surgery is totally a thing necessary for some wounds and it would give military surgeons practice that would be useful in the field. So any arguments based on surgery for retention are I feel completely discriminatory based on feelings about said surgery.

The second thing is: you know, you don’t realize how gendered the standards are in the military until you get outside it. Standards that would be completely unacceptable in civilian life. Like body fat and weight percentages, where people are measuring your hips and seeing if your neck is too thick. At the time, it all seemed perfectly normal, but there are actually huge issues with the entire program and it’s been sued for being racially discriminatory before as well, because people’s bodytypes are different.

I strongly suspect that at least 60% of the “problems integrating” could be eliminated by doing some things that have been urged on gender equality grounds, like having physical tests tailored to specific jobs, not your gender, or by stopping body-policing people if they can perform the physical fitness tests, or by having less gross uniform standards than “centered on the slope of the breast”, for example.
posted by corb at 12:52 PM on March 24 [45 favorites]


Out in the Detroit burbs, a march oganized in part by some wonderful high schoolers.

We met outside the small town hall, and began the march through a playground in memory of all those young gun violence victims who will never go past adolescence.
posted by NorthernLite at 1:28 PM on March 24 [11 favorites]


there was not a strong objection to removing people who had issues they had not disclosed before joining -asthma was a big one, as was epilepsy, from what I recall.

One of my exes joined the military and promptly got thrown out for asthma. He'd had asthma as a child and believed it was gone, had no symptoms for years - in coastal California. Move him to Georgia in July for basic training, and suddenly he was dealing with unfamiliar trees full of deadly attack pollen, and he couldn't breathe.

I suspect a lot of the medical dismissals are conditions that seemed entirely under control and benign in their home environment; move the person into another climate zone and all those "minor issues" that had gone away five years ago come back with a vengeance.

So I can understand making admission requirements much stricter than retention requirements. However, none of that explains how a post-op trans person would somehow be a medical burden on the military.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:28 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


Page 8 of the report (page 16 of the PDF of the memo) has a section about accession (recruitment) standards prior to the Obama-era review. It says that chest and genital surgeries and such are disqualifying under DoDI 6130.03, which seems to apply to recruitment, not retention. Here's another summary from page 36 of the PDF:
Historically, absent a waiver, the Department has barred from accessing [entering] into the military anyone who had undergone chest or genital surgery (e.g., removal of the testicles or uterus) and anyone with a history of major abnormalities or defects of the chest or genitalia, including hermaphroditism and pseudohermaphroditism. 101 Persons with conditions requiring medications, such as anti-depressants and hormone treatment, were also disqualified from service, unless a waiver was granted.
These standards have long applied uniformly to all persons, regardless of transgender status. The [Obama-era] Carter policy, [which was scheduled to take effect July 1 2017,] however, deviates from these uniform standards by exempting, under certain conditions, treatments associated with gender transition ... For example, under the Carter policy, an applicant who has received genital reconstruction surgery may access without a waiver [under certain conditions] ... In contrast, an applicant who received similar surgery following a traumatic injury is disqualified from military service without a waiver. Similarly, under the Carter policy, an applicant who is presently receiving [HRT] may access without a waiver ... In contrast, an applicant taking synthetic hormones for the treatment of hypothyroidism is disqualified from military service without a waiver.
(sorry, I tried to make that as short as I could.) So, like, it definitely feels like they're full of shit in some ways, but I don't know which parts are bullshit and which not. But anyway that's their reasoning.

(the Carter policy is confusingly named for Secretary Ashton Carter who ordered the review that culminated in the report that recommended the updated policies for transgender servicemembers.)
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 1:40 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


If you can watch Emma Gonzalez's speech (and long moment of silence) from today's march without getting teary-eyed, you're made of stronger stuff than I am.
posted by octothorpe at 1:42 PM on March 24 [78 favorites]


Not exact but an indication.

Trump vs March for Our Lives.

More March pix to compare to Trump's above.


So, we just got back. There were a lot of people. We came down from the north right at noon, they had already closed off Archives metro station and we got off at Gallery Place, walked down to Archives where we stopped and watched the screens through the whole thing. We maybe could've made it down to the Mall, but we could hear and see pretty well from there.

It's hard to compare crowds but the inauguration covers the whole huge area of the Mall, this was only on part of the Constitution side, they had between Constitution and Penn Ave and 7th to 10th Streets closed off. It very much smaller than the Women's March, which was absurd. That covered the ENTIRE Mall in all directions, the metro was incapacitated for hours. Today we walked straight out of the march and straight onto a train back at Gallery.

The crowd today was definitely angrier. The Women's March crowd was angry, and scared even, but also a lot of levity and novelty factor of people just being there for history or something. This wasn't scared, but it was angry. And well informed. There weren't a lot of funny signs, and the ones there were very black. Like this kid. But mostly anti-NRA signs. A lot of fuck Trump and fuck Paul Ryans. A lot of signs with actual policy requests. People informed about what the PLCAA is.

And the kids were beyond impressive. That little girl blew me away when she said she could vote in "seven short years".
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:52 PM on March 24 [70 favorites]


Oh, and there were people EVERYWHERE registering voters. Hopefully every rally in the country had similar numbers of people registering, because they were on top of it in DC.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:03 PM on March 24 [60 favorites]


Emma Gonzalez's six minutes and twenty seconds of silence to my breath away. I don't think I ever saw something like that before. This wasn't like a "moment of silence"-- it was raw and defiant and only explained after the fact. It took insurmountable courage.
posted by meese at 2:08 PM on March 24 [92 favorites]


Lincoln, NE had a nice turnout and the high school girl who started the local March movement read their manifesto and it was well received. NE being what it is, I suppose, there were parts of it stating that it was not trying to ban guns or demonize gun owners and that the NRA may have started out with good intentions. But then she decried them for their inability to accept sensible law changes or restrictions. Also a big part of the manifesto addresses the false narrative of mental health as being a reason for shootings. All in all a good day despite the chilly wind and inability of the marchers to sustain a chant.
posted by PussKillian at 2:11 PM on March 24 [10 favorites]


ALSO, it could even be a benefit if people wanted genital surgery, because reconstructive surgery is totally a thing necessary for some wounds and it would give military surgeons practice that would be useful in the field.

Mary Roach’s 2016 book Grunt devotes a chapter to reconstructive surgeries on penises and testes and mentions in passing how much phalloplasty has advanced in recent years due to gender reassignment surgeries.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:17 PM on March 24 [14 favorites]


Is there anybody left in politics who can stand at a podium without threatening to start a fight on the playground, tossing insults, or using potty language?

Yes, and they spoke at the March for our Lives in DC today. Watching Naomi Wadler, Yolanda Renee King and Emma Gonzalez on CNN motivated me to get off my ass and join the sister march in my city today.

These girls are 11, 9, and 17 years old respectively, and they made me feel proud and hopeful about the future of the country for the first time in years.

Emma's speech has already been posted in this thread but you can watch Naomi's here and Yolanda's here.
posted by mrmurbles at 2:18 PM on March 24 [57 favorites]


Gonzalez For President 2036
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:19 PM on March 24 [46 favorites]


It strikes me, watching Emma Gonzalez's amazing speech, that although the issue is gun violence, THIS is the opposition. Decency. Militant, unafraid, decency.

It's like Patton Oswalt's thing about his late wife's dichotomy of the world into chaos and kindness. Gonzalez is representative of kindness, and although today I am frankly despairing because of Bolton and renewing my expatriation efforts, I am so, so, so, so proud to share a citizenship with Gonzalez and her allies.
posted by angrycat at 2:22 PM on March 24 [45 favorites]


Emma Gonzalez is a national treasure, and my new hero.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 2:23 PM on March 24 [25 favorites]


These kids make me want to go back in time and shake the shit out of my younger self, yelling, "STOP THINKING IT'S UNCOOL TO CARE ABOUT THINGS AND FIGHT FOR THEM!"
posted by runcibleshaw at 2:27 PM on March 24 [36 favorites]


I really, really want sociologists and historians to explain how this generation of kids became so powerful and competent.
posted by meese at 2:30 PM on March 24 [12 favorites]


Rainbo Vagrant: I understand you are trying explain how the military is erroneously applying cis body standards 1:1 onto trans bodies and then further comparing those standards against each other to arrive at a closest guess to help everyone here better understand how the trump administration is justifying being shitty to trans people, but I think you’re missing a few caveats in your analysis and explanations:

GRS (genital reconstruction surgery) when performed on a trans person is NOT going to have the same effect on a person as when GRS is performed on a cis person. The two surgeries may be attempting a similar outcome (body congruency) but they cannot be compared to each other as the same. The context of the body is different between cis people and trans people. That’s a HUGE and meaningful difference which must be driven home always. Standards which apply for cis bodies do not cleanly map to trans bodies. This type of comparison needs to be repeatedly exposed for the falsehood it is. Again: Cis bodies are not trans bodies. We can’t abstractly apply rules for one to the other and expect a harmless outcome. Even when trying to get into the minds of these bigots to understand their how their stupid fucking justifications work we must always be calling out the basic flaws in their worldview and exposing them as fraudulent and damaging.

If policies for trans people expose hypocrisy in the standards applied to cis people, then the cis standards are ridiculous for cis people and they need to be changed for cis people in the military.

Cis standards only mean something to trans people when Cis standards are erroneously applied to trans people, which leads to erasure and discrimination and policing and violence and lower life quality and life expectancy for trans people.

Hugs offered to anyone who needs them. Shits rough y’all.
posted by Annika Cicada at 2:30 PM on March 24 [10 favorites]


Decency. Militant, unafraid, decency. < Costello/Lowe with the theme music.
posted by rc3spencer at 2:32 PM on March 24 [7 favorites]


I really, really want sociologists and historians to explain how this generation of kids became so powerful and competent.

Trevor Noah mentioned on his show that the victims of Parkland are pretty privileged and are using that privilege to demand change. Paraphrasing he said something along the lines of them demanding "No, I don't want to speak to the waiter this is not good enough, get me the manager. NOW!"
posted by PenDevil at 2:36 PM on March 24 [25 favorites]


Emma's speech has already been posted in this thread but you can watch Naomi's here and Yolanda's here.

Naomi's speech is amazing. Speaking not only as a child of gun violence, but as and for females of color everywhere who have not been heard, not been recognized, not been mourned. 11 years old. The future and present is female.
posted by chris24 at 2:38 PM on March 24 [35 favorites]


I was here at the DC march, and it's hard to tell but I'd say this is the biggest since the women's march; felt bigger than the march for science. Tons of kids. I'd guess about half the crowd was under 20, at least around us.

It was interesting to me how much they used extremist gun nut rhetoric on big screens to get people fired up - lots of cutting to shots of Loesch or LaPierre or Alex Jones ranting. Pretty solid and media-savvy editing. Everything was organized really well. I too was impressed with how many people were registering voters.
posted by aspersioncast at 2:41 PM on March 24 [13 favorites]


I really, really want sociologists and historians to explain how this generation of kids became so powerful and competent.

I suspect it has something with all the time they waste with their faces glued to those dang phones, just learning about the world and making art and building and managing massive networks of friends based on social affinity rather than geographic or racial proximity. Like a bunch of glassy-eyed robots.
posted by contraption at 2:42 PM on March 24 [158 favorites]


I really, really want sociologists and historians to explain how this generation of kids became so powerful and competent.

there are powerful and competent people in every generation and they are often heard before their more apathetic cohorts become the majority and their dull and uncaring voices are finally heard - or if this majority feels betrayed and done in by their world and political system, they become angry and hateful voices that drown out the competency

that's what happened to MY generation and perhaps others

do not take the victory of the powerful and competent for granted - do not assume that the righteous of a generation shall prevail

civilization is a long and difficult struggle
posted by pyramid termite at 2:46 PM on March 24 [44 favorites]


I really, really want sociologists and historians to explain how this generation of kids became so powerful and competent.

The internet and smart phones. Seriously. Think about how limited social interactions used to be as recently as like, 2000. Kids saw and talked to their teachers, their parents, and some other kids in their town. If they were really lucky, their parents could afford a computer and dialup internet, and they could use that a little each day. And that was pretty much it until college if they were lucky enough to be able to go. Now they're talking and interacting with each other constantly from birth or at least the time they start school. They're almost never out of contact with their friends, and have access to essentially all the information in the world, and people from all over the world, all the time. The amount of practice and social experience they're able to acquire dwarfs what we could even 10-15 years ago.

There have always been smart and articulate kids, but now there's so many more of them, and they're able to use those same tools to demand a platform too.

Trevor Noah mentioned on his show that the victims of Parkland are pretty privileged and are using that privilege to demand change. Paraphrasing he said something along the lines of them demanding "No, I don't want to speak to the waiter this is not good enough, get me the manager. NOW!"

Yea, we'd be kidding ourselves if we didn't acknowledge this is a factor. These are kids of doctors and lawyers from one of the richest public schools in Florida. The march today had VERY high production values. A lot of social and monetary capital went into putting this together in 5 weeks. But the thing is, they know that too, and they're acknowledging it themselves, and explicitly saying they want to speak up for the other communities without that privilege. Several of the speakers talked about non-mass shooting gun deaths, and disproportionate impact on people of color, and it wasn't just the students of color saying that, the white kids were saying the same thing.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:48 PM on March 24 [143 favorites]


Trevor Noah mentioned on his show that the victims of Parkland are pretty privileged and are using that privilege to demand change.

One of the things that really impressed me about March for Our Lives was the speaker assortment, and the things they chose to talk about. I was afraid it would be dominated by white boys talking about school shootings but these kids absolutely know they're privileged, acknowledged the privilege, and used it to speak about kids who are less privileged. They also had kids speak who were not students at Parkland, and some of those kids spoke about the kind of gun violence that has been hurting non middle class, nonwhite children endemically for decades.

I've seen some frustration on social media about the fact that (as ever) nobody cares about gun violence until it affects middle class white people, and that frustration is totally legitimate.

I also think these kids are mindful of that, aware of that history. It wasn't just the speeches that motivated me, it was the organization, the thoughtfulness, and while obviously some adults had to have been involved I believe this thing truly was led by students, and the job they did was inspiring.
posted by mrmurbles at 2:48 PM on March 24 [35 favorites]


I was here at the DC march, and it's hard to tell but I'd say this is the biggest since the women's march; felt bigger than the march for science. Tons of kids. I'd guess about half the crowd was under 20, at least around us.

Estimates I'm seeing run around a million. I have hope.
posted by scalefree at 2:50 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


NYC was great; so many chants led by young girls and amplified throughout the crowd. The whole scope is so amazing. About a dozen Trump supporters at Columbus Circle.
posted by armacy at 2:55 PM on March 24 [5 favorites]


I am beginning to recognize that Hillary's loss to Darth Gump was like Obi-wan's death. It made the rebel forces even more powerful than we could imagine.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:04 PM on March 24 [45 favorites]


I really, really want sociologists and historians to explain how this generation of kids became so powerful and competent.

We had kids like this at my high school. Kind of a lot of them, actually. But nobody listened when they shouted, or protested, or or or, and we didn’t have social media or, really, non shitty internet.

I’m glad kids are using their privileges to stand up for things. But kids have been doing this in every generation. They just didn’t have the timing right.
posted by schadenfrau at 3:04 PM on March 24 [53 favorites]


I don't see or smell sexism from those on the left who dislike her or want her out. Ageism, maybe.


This has been linked before. Everyone should read it.

The Nancy Pelosi Problem
Gender scholars would not be surprised. For a 2010 paper in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, the Yale researchers Victoria Brescoll and Tyler Okimoto showed study participants the fictional biographies of two state senators, identical except that one was named John Burr and the other Ann Burr. (I referred to this study in an October 2016 article for this magazine called “Fear of a Female President.”) When quotations were added that described the state senators as “ambitious” and possessing “a strong will to power,” John Burr became more popular. But the changes provoked “moral outrage” toward Ann Burr, whom both men and women became less willing to support.
GOP incumbent in PA-06 is dropping out of the race.

SwingLeft's job just got easier! Also: Costello was one of the Republican legislators calling for the impeachment of the entire panel of judges who made the ruling on PA's redistricting. He can fuck right off.

I've seen some frustration on social media about the fact that (as ever) nobody cares about gun violence until it affects middle class white people, and that frustration is totally legitimate. I also think these kids are mindful of that, aware of that history.

From what I've seen the Parkland students have been very open about the fact that their tragedy is perceived to have happened to Nice White Suburban Kids. One of their talking points is that POC victims of gun violence get overlooked (and are more likely to be affected by it), and white ones have pointed out that not even their own black/brown classmates were getting the same amount of attention as themselves.

They're more aware of intersectionality and adept at addressing it and using their privilege than the majority of adults I know. Really excited to watch this generation grow up and seeing what they do.
posted by schroedinger at 3:05 PM on March 24 [65 favorites]


Jonathan Tamari ‏(Philidelphia Inquirer): This would leave GOP in a huge lurch, hand the R nomination to a little known lawyer & likely PA6 to Dems. Hearing Costello did say this but Rs hope to convince him to stick it out thru the primary - and then replace him with a chosen candidate. Very doubtful he runs in Nov.

Republicans hate democracy.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:10 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


I really, really want sociologists and historians to explain how this generation of kids became so powerful and competent.

In addition to the other points raised above (greater connectivity and visibility), I have been kicking around a theory in my head that the latest vogue for positive parenting - you know, the kind of "permissiveness" that allegedly creates bratty snowflakes - is having a positive effect on young people. Families are smaller, parents are more attuned to their kids rather than just expecting obedience and a "children should be seen and not heard" attitude, corporal punishment is falling out of favor, non-neurotypical kids are given support and IEP's and medication instead of being written off as bad kids.

Not in every family, not enough, not universally, but I think families treat their children better, on the whole, and it's come back to reward us in the form of smart, empathetic kids who aren't afraid to step up and speak out. If these kids are our future, I hope I live to see them change it!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 3:11 PM on March 24 [51 favorites]


I really, really want sociologists and historians to explain how this generation of kids became so powerful and competent.

It's not that these particular kids are more competent than others. It's that these are the kids that the news are covering.

17 years ago there were a shit-ton of kids alongside me protesting the war in Iraq, and demonstrating against Dubya at the GOP protest in 2003. I was one of these kids in the early 90s protesting Bush Senior. They were just as articulate and organized and competent as these kids. You just never heard about them, or if you did, you were told that they were destructive rioters.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:12 PM on March 24 [114 favorites]


I’m glad kids are using their privileges to stand up for things. But kids have been doing this in every generation. They just didn’t have the timing right.

As T.D. Strange said--this generation has been empowered through the Internet and social media. Older generations were competent, but there wasn't an infrastructure for organizing that would allow kids to connect and build movements like these ones have. Nor did they grow up learning how to navigate the media and laughing at videos of people who do it badly. The rise of comedic political shows and viral videos don't do much for changing minds, but they're a crash-course in learning what not to do when you get your face on TV. That, and the power that comes if you're able to regularly present solid, simple arguments while keeping a cool head and peppering in clever one-liners.
posted by schroedinger at 3:13 PM on March 24 [15 favorites]


I mean, I know it's really counter productive, but part of me wishes they'd march to NRA's headquarters in Fairfax with torches.
posted by leotrotsky at 3:15 PM on March 24 [10 favorites]


Plus years of active shooter drills at school.
posted by armacy at 3:16 PM on March 24 [5 favorites]


It's not that these particular kids are more competent than others. It's that these are the kids that the news are covering.

That's because the news is racing to catch up with the kids' widespread support on social media. The newsmedia isn't setting the agenda here, they're just trying to stay relevant.
posted by leotrotsky at 3:16 PM on March 24 [22 favorites]


Sorry, I post and then think of a new thing. One non-material thing I think these kids have over previous generations is a better understanding of intersectionality and looking for the best ways to maximize coalition-building by incorporating it into their arguments. I don't think any of us should pretend that this was something prior generations were very good at--or at least those of us who came from privileged spaces.

That's because the news is racing to catch up with the kids' widespread support on social media. The newsmedia isn't setting the agenda here, they're just trying to stay relevant.

Exactly.
posted by schroedinger at 3:18 PM on March 24 [9 favorites]


Plus they've spent their entire formative years reading and watching dystopian fiction in which teenagers have to save the world because the adults suck. Harry Potter and the Hunger Games, y'all.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:18 PM on March 24 [140 favorites]


I mean, I know it's really counter productive, but part of me wishes they'd march to NRA's headquarters in Fairfax with torches.

Hard not to agree...

WaPo: NRA host taunts Parkland teens: ‘No one would know your names’ if classmates were still alive
posted by chris24 at 3:18 PM on March 24 [23 favorites]


‘No one would know your names’ if classmates were still alive

I'm sure all of them would be delighted to fade into obscurity in exchange for their classmates still being alive.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 3:22 PM on March 24 [156 favorites]


Plus they've spent their entire formative years reading and watching dystopian fiction in which teenagers have to save the world because the adults suck. Harry Potter and the Hunger Games, y'all.

This also explains their rather excellently different take on the black bloc.
posted by Buntix at 3:24 PM on March 24 [20 favorites]


wow, NRA, you really nailed it. nothing gets teens to shut up and be compliant more than adults belittling them when they stand up for themselves.

have you considered daring them to raise more money than you for the 2018 election? they’d probably quit and go right home.
posted by murphy slaw at 3:26 PM on March 24 [87 favorites]


17 years ago there were a shit-ton of kids alongside me protesting the war in Iraq, and demonstrating against Dubya at the GOP protest in 2003. I was one of these kids in the early 90s protesting Bush Senior. They were just as articulate and organized and competent as these kids. You just never heard about them, or if you did, you were told that they were destructive rioters.

10-30 million worldwide, every continent including Antarctica represented in the largest event in human history; but American press refused to recognize us so officially it didn't happen. What's different now? Total agreement, social media is leading the way & the press is forced to play catch-up if they want to stay relevant.
posted by scalefree at 3:27 PM on March 24 [57 favorites]


They’re running Season 5 of their gun-control reality show, featuring the freshest cast of characters yet in their modern march on Washington — except this time for less freedom,

how much freedom did those 17 dead people get?
posted by pyramid termite at 3:34 PM on March 24 [9 favorites]


Plus they've spent their entire formative years reading and watching dystopian fiction in which teenagers have to save the world because the adults suck. Harry Potter and the Hunger Games, y'all.

The Hunger Games only killed 11 kids a year; that's a much lower body count than Wayne LaPierre. Guns kill 1,300 children every year.

I mean, at least President Snow wouldn't lie to you.
posted by leotrotsky at 3:43 PM on March 24 [34 favorites]


Harry Potter and the Hunger Games, y'all.

Yes! Really. (I mean, there are other structural reasons I think are more important, but this is real):

@CharlotteAlter:
One thing I noticed while reporting on the #NeverAgainMSD students ahead of the #MarchForOurLives: this is not just a generation that has grown up with school shootings— it’s also a generation that grew up reading Harry Potter. Harry Potter has almost become their playbook: the Ones Who Lived fighting an “evil” force that has infiltrated the government and brainwashed adults using only the powers they’ve learned in school: illumination, protection, disarmament.

They refer to HP a lot. They call Rick Scott “Voldemort.” Bill Nelson is “a cross between Dumbledore and a dragon.” .@Emma4Change, who is still reading book 7, compared this battle to the showdown between the Dumbledore’s Army and the Death Eaters inside the ministry of magic. Other parallels they mentioned: They’re aided by a beloved principal & teachers. Gov officials are often useless. Their opponents use unfair tactics against children (one mentioned the Cruciatus curse.) I couldn’t help noticing there’s even a family of redheads on their side. Many of them pointed out that “Expelliarmus,” the disarmament spell, is the go-to spell for Hogwarts kids. Disarmament is the #MarchforOurLives strategy, both literally and rhetorically. They want to both reduce gun violence AND disarm the NRA using jokes, facts, social media.
The Parkland teens have done a damn amazing job of acknowledging their privilege and using it to bring others into the conversation in communities where regular gun violence doesn't get the kind of attention this is getting now.
posted by zachlipton at 4:08 PM on March 24 [109 favorites]


Annika Cicada: yeah, I feel like I should apologize for how I was failing to frame things and just copy pasting chunks from this document designed to justify bigotry. I'm really glad you explained what was wrong with their reasoning. I wouldn't have been able to.

Forgot to say this earlier - there's a section cherry picking studies to say that transitioning doesn't address gender dysphoria, and doesn't have good long term outcomes. ..... In terms that are exactly that vague. That's the justification for rejecting post-op recruits.

I wish more media people were talking about the Obama era report, because the contrast could not be more clear.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 4:08 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


I really, really want sociologists and historians to explain how this generation of kids became so powerful and competent.

I suspect it has something with all the time they waste with their faces glued to those dang phones, just learning about the world and making art and building and managing massive networks of friends based on social affinity rather than geographic or racial proximity. Like a bunch of glassy-eyed robots.


yeah, that darned social media -- it's almost as if it's a two-edged sword ...
posted by philip-random at 4:12 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


In addition to the other points raised above (greater connectivity and visibility), I have been kicking around a theory in my head that the latest vogue for positive parenting - you know, the kind of "permissiveness" that allegedly creates bratty snowflakes - is having a positive effect on young people. Families are smaller, parents are more attuned to their kids rather than just expecting obedience and a "children should be seen and not heard" attitude, corporal punishment is falling out of favor, non-neurotypical kids are given support and IEP's and medication instead of being written off as bad kids.

Plus a lot of parents are out there protesting with their kids today.

A lot of these protesters are not exactly "young families". They're teens with parents in their 40s and 50s thanks delayed parenthood.
posted by srboisvert at 4:13 PM on March 24 [13 favorites]


WaPo: NRA host taunts Parkland teens: ‘No one would know your names’ if classmates were still alive

BuzzFeed: Nevada Congressman Mark Amodei gets a 17 year old high school student suspended because the student called his office and told a staffer to "get off their fucking asses and do something" about gun violence. The ACLU has since gotten the suspension overturned.

Punishing children who take an interest in how government works is right up their alley.
posted by elsietheeel at 4:15 PM on March 24 [137 favorites]




Millennials might have actually figured out that if they voted at the same percentage of boomers there wouldn't be a Republican party or a Conservative movement at any level in large swaths of the country. It would die as a forgotten relic of a barbaric time.
posted by Talez at 4:26 PM on March 24 [27 favorites]


BuzzFeed: Nevada Congressman Mark Amodei gets a 17 year old high school student suspended because the student called his office and told a staffer to "get off their fucking asses and do something" about gun violence. The ACLU has since gotten the suspension overturned.

Punishing children who take an interest in how government works is right up their alley.


His response: “They were pretty passionate and correct in terms describing this guy’s First Amendment rights, but…I think those apply to my guy too,” Amodei said.

The First Amendment protects speech rights against the government. That's you and your staff, you ignorant fuckwit.

Man, it's depressing how many of our elected officials couldn't pass a basic civics test.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:29 PM on March 24 [113 favorites]


Millennials might have actually figured out that if they voted at the same percentage of boomers there wouldn't be a Republican party

I'll believe it when I see it. Milennial turnout was reportedly 3% in the Illinois primary for example. Compared to 40+% for those over 50. There's a reason the establishment and moderate types mostly won.
posted by Justinian at 4:32 PM on March 24 [19 favorites]


I mean, I know it's really counter productive, but part of me wishes they'd march to NRA's headquarters in Fairfax with torches.

I don't want that, because I want them to live. And I do not want the story of this march to be upstaged by violence.

The majority of those who marched today would probably love to go to the NRA HQ, throw rocks through the windows, burn it down and dance on the ashes. I'd gladly join them. But in the long run, that wouldn't help us win. Confrontation makes the enemy more powerful, simultaneously allowing them to claim victimhood while pundits bleat about unjustifiable acts "on both sides."

These kids, the leaders of this movement, will defeat the NRA by rendering it irrelevant. By backing politicians who will legislate it into irrelevance, and working to defeat politicians who won't. By winning the image battle and showing the NRA as the morally bankrupt spent force it is.

What we say about the NRA is ultimately much more effective than what we say to them.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:53 PM on March 24 [9 favorites]


[Enough on the totally hypothetical pitchforks and torches at the NRA.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:10 PM on March 24 [8 favorites]


Millenials just need to vote more to make a difference - they don't need to vote at the same rate as Boomers*. The right is unpopular. If, like, another few percentages of younger people voted, we would have this thing.


*I always feel guilty w/the complaining about Boomers because my dad is very left wing and has only grown lefter as he's aged and because many of my political mentors are Boomer activists. So #NotAllBoomers, etc
posted by Frowner at 5:30 PM on March 24 [31 favorites]


His response: “They were pretty passionate and correct in terms describing this guy’s First Amendment rights, but…I think those apply to my guy too,” Amodei said.

Your guy didn't exercise his First Amendment rights, he used his position with your office to punish someone who did. Which is exactly what the First Amendment is there to ensure doesn't happen.

The school's response was also weak as shit.
posted by nubs at 5:56 PM on March 24 [64 favorites]


Every single transgender person is braver than Donald Trump.
Yes.

Una Mujer Fantástica is quite something.
posted by j_curiouser at 6:01 PM on March 24 [5 favorites]


Millennials might have actually figured out that if they voted at the same percentage of boomers there wouldn't be a Republican party

That was the major theme of a speech given by a high school kid at my local small town march today. It does seem different this time.
posted by contraption at 6:13 PM on March 24 [7 favorites]


Republican Donor Launches Gun Control Advocacy Group During the March For Our Lives
Hoffman made headlines in the aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – an area where he has personal and professional ties – when he said he would refrain from donating to politicians who do not back a ban on assault weapons.
...
In total, those supporting the initiative have donated at least $600,000 alone to Republican candidates and committees in the 2017-2018 election cycle. Hoffman said the next step is using this influence to personally lobby the leaders of Congress, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, along with Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

“What [this group] intends to do is show those who are not on the right side of the movement, that maybe you’re fearful of the money from the NRA, then get on the right side of this movement. But there’s a movement elsewhere that can help. That those who stay on the wrong side of this movement they’re [going to] lose their traditional donor money,”
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:16 PM on March 24 [12 favorites]


> ...at my local small town march today.

That's a phrase one might not have seen so casually strung together before 2018. So there's that going for us.
posted by klarck at 6:18 PM on March 24 [45 favorites]


One non-material thing I think these kids have over previous generations is a better understanding of intersectionality and looking for the best ways to maximize coalition-building by incorporating it into their arguments.

A lot of movements for change from previous generations were splintered by playing coalitions off against one another. It's one of the reasons why an intersectional point of view is so important; it helps keep solidarity strong, particularly for the more privileged, and means that groups like Black Lives Matter can support movements like March for our Lives without fear of compromise or betrayal.

If American unions had been more comfortable with supporting civil rights in the 60s, when unions started to be dismantled, America would be a very different place.
posted by Merus at 6:22 PM on March 24 [56 favorites]


My favorite sign of the day:

"What if these kids are the answer to your thoughts and prayers? Are you listening?"
posted by msalt at 6:25 PM on March 24 [145 favorites]


Millennials might have actually figured out that if they voted at the same percentage of boomers there wouldn't be a Republican party.

Look. I'm thirty. I voted for the first time in 2016. This is because I never learned about registering to vote—or voting in general!—when I was growing up. Hell, I learned about primaries for the first time within the last year. (This was, unfortunately, too late to be able to vote in this year's, though I guess I'll be ready for 2020.)

I know the story is that Millennials are lazy and entitled, but I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of other people my age were failed by their parents, too.

(The good news is that this experience taught me a lot of things that I'd like to teach my children. So I have hope for them, even if I have none for myself.)
posted by ragtag at 6:36 PM on March 24 [36 favorites]


John Bolton gave an interview to Radio Free Asia this week, just before being named National Secuirty Advisor. It's goddamn insane.
RFA: What should the U.S. be prepared to offer North Korea in exchange for denuclearization? Economic aid? A peace treaty?

Bolton: I don't think we should offer them economic aid. That happened in the context of the Agreed Framework, where they took the heavy oil shipments and yet did not dismantle their nuclear program. There's no way we should give North Korea a peace treaty. They're lucky to have a meeting with the president of the United States. I think if they want economic progress for the people of North Korea, they should the end the charade of a divided peninsula. They should ask for reunification with South Korea. That's the best way to aid the people of North Korea.

...

RFA: Experts who talk with North Korea say there is not enough time to prepare for summit talks with North Korea. What do you think?

Bolton: We have plenty of experts. The kind of expert we need really is less about North Korea, and more about nuclear weapons. I think we've got plenty of time. I think it's a mistake to treat this like a normal summit meeting, with months and months of preparation by lower-level people. We know what the subject is here, at least from the US point of view: It's North Korea eliminating, dismantling its nuclear weapons program and, as I say, we'd be happy to store the program in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. That's what the conversation ought to be about. If it's about anything else, it's a waste of time.
So, they're going to demand Kim Jong-Un give up nuclear weapons, in exchange for nothing except the end of his regime. That should go well.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:40 PM on March 24 [59 favorites]


I’ve a bit of a track record when it comes to telling about people not voting in the midterms. I don’t think it’ll be a problem this year.
posted by Artw at 6:48 PM on March 24


The march in DC was large and very well-organized. It wasn't as large as the Women's March, but very heartening. Many, many parents with children.
posted by acrasis at 6:51 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


so north korea developed nuclear weapons as an insurance policy against outside attempts at "regime change".
bolton's plan for a high level summit is to tell them to dismantle unilaterally, and then prove that they were correct to build nuclear weapons in the first place by demanding voluntary regime change.

at this point he should just call up Kim Jong Un and say "you might as well nuke Los Angeles, we're gonna glass you anyway".

this isn't diplomacy. it's not even force projection. it's an attempt to impose the death penalty on an entire country, and pretend there will be no consequences for doing so.

the most bloodthirsty maniacs at the pentagon are going to shit their pants if he tries to push this as actual US policy.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:05 PM on March 24 [28 favorites]


Mini corndogs... There's a reason Trump hasn't tweeted about her. She'll destroy him.

@BoStillTalking
@StormyDaniels what snack foods do you recommend for watching you on "60 Minutes" tomorrow night? Nachos and wings feel so January, you know? #StormySunday #TheStormIsComing

@StormyDaniels
Retweeted Bo Wilson
Tacos and mini corndogs just seems so right...and yet, so wrong. I believe the more traditional choice is popcorn, however.

---

And if you haven't read the Times profile on her today, it's good.

Stormy Daniels, Trump’s Unlikely Foe, Is ‘Not Someone to Be Underestimated’
posted by chris24 at 7:15 PM on March 24 [70 favorites]


The kind of expert we need really is less about North Korea, and more about nuclear weapons.

Cool, cool. That's the kind of moderating voice we need in the room with Donald Trump.
posted by contraption at 7:29 PM on March 24 [4 favorites]


It's in the Style section? The article is about her professional achievements and business acumen. Jesus, NYT.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:33 PM on March 24 [18 favorites]


It's in the Style section? The article is about her professional achievements and business acumen. Jesus, NYT.

I initially thought the same thing, but I've recently photographed Dr. Ruth and author James Patterson for WaPo and both features - which were about their lives and careers - ran in the big weekend Style section, like this is in the Times. And neither of them is an adult actress or style icon so I don't think it's an insult.
posted by chris24 at 7:43 PM on March 24 [16 favorites]


Millennials might have actually figured out that if they voted at the same percentage of boomers there wouldn't be a Republican party.

I think it's difficult to underestimate the 'both sides-ism' that permeated culture at the turn of the 21st century. South Park is the most obvious example, and I also hate it, so I'll go ahead with that. George W. Bush stealing an election was turned into a scoffable joke, where caring about the fact that Democracy was subverted by cronyism made you into a douchebag. Libertarian fuckboys that they are, Stone and Parker continued that line of thought in potentially one of the most influential satirical shows of the decade. They're always in the bag to make liberal caring into the same demon as reactionary bigotry, and it's not like they're alone. Family Guy has an ostensibly left leaning mouthpiece in Brian Griffin, but usually undercuts his points by making him into a pompous dick. Even a shows that are good, e.g. Community and The Simpsons, are eager to both chop the legs off of any left leaning character, while also indicating that the very effort of democracy is worthless, due to inherent corruption.

I think at least part of it is that Gen X was a defeated generation from the word go, and they were largely behind all of those creations. Caring has been presented as deeply uncool essentially throughout the 90s and early 2000s, and detached cynicism against a universally bad democratic system has been offered as the alternative, correct disposition. Perhaps some of it is backlash against boomer parents, and their failed hippydom... perhaps some of it is that even in the bad parts of the 90s and 2000s economies things were never that bad, and were framed against roaring growth of the 80s and 90s. Certainly a great deal is that marginalized voices never had actual outlets until the widespread adoption of networked technology (which also has its downsides in spreading conspiracy thinking, alongside giving the same opportunity to white supremacy).

As someone who's a leading edge of the Millenial generation, I hope that caring becomes cool again. I spent way too much of my 20s and teens sneering at those who cared, and even mistakenly voted for Michael Badnerik once due to that (my apologies). In no small part, I believe that this was shaped by toxic masculinity and fed by cultural touchstones who showed care-ers to be nagging, deluded busybodies . I know from talking to my non-voting friends, there was a similar naive detachment, with the thought that your vote never counts. As the relatively comfortable three decades of political indifference recede with the ascension of American fascism, I hope that sneering white boy cynicism is taken along with it. Put another way: bury the Ricky Gervaises
posted by codacorolla at 7:52 PM on March 24 [152 favorites]


This is the prize I get for staying silent during active shooter drills.

Yeah, my friends' kid had a devastating sign that said something like, "Learned about active shooters before I learned to read."
posted by TwoStride at 7:56 PM on March 24 [19 favorites]


[Deleted a big derail about Gen X that somehow devolved into arguing about Dan Harmon; please do better about not carrying on obvious derails just because they're a topic you like.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:47 PM on March 24 [18 favorites]


hey wanna discuss American collapse?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:16 PM on March 24 [9 favorites]


I don't see or smell sexism from those on the left who dislike her or want her out... ageism maybe.
Counterpoint: the difference in how she and Schumer are treated.


He's also a decade younger, though, and presents as a lot more with the times. I mean, he's still old guard, but he's a lot cuspier.

Weird coincidence, and yeah I know it's anecdote, not data. I fly coast-to-coast a lot, enough that I know all the brands of compression socks and sleeping pills very well. A ffew weeks ago, I was seated two seats away from Schumer. Last year I was just behind Pelosi.

Pelosi was with handlers that wouldn't let anyone really approach her, so I didn't get to talk to her. She spent what seemed the whole flight complaining about someone not doing something "properly" in a garden somewhere, some kind of flowerbed issue... I couldn't quite follow. But I spent a solid 15 minutes speaking with Schumer (mostly about Trump and Mueller) who appeared to be flying alone. A lot of people took selfies with him.

I know, I know: just one story. But when people say she seems disconnected or he seems sort of approachable, I remember that, I suppose because it fits my own tiny sliver of experience.

I will grant that sexism and racism play big, often subconscious roles in our minds (and so do our own tiny anecdotes, yes), but it remains possible to prefer A over B politician without it being a sexist or racist thing, and if you don't even allow that possibility, you're insulting the intellect and judgement of a whole lot of people. That never goes well!
posted by rokusan at 10:53 PM on March 24 [9 favorites]


I mean I'm a screaming red leftist and I've had lots of time to interact with democratic politicians (Dear god Schumer has given the same speech to Hoftstra for as long as I can remember) and I'd kind of prefer Pelosi to any of them, at the level of negotiation, cause I think Biden and Schumer are in ideological ruts and I just don't *like* them in the sense I feel they don't have any skin in the game and they're the very symbol of the useless cruft we need to get rid of , but I still think Pelosi has the legislative/negotiation skill to create majorities cause dear god there hasn't been a decent democratic whip in ...ever?

Like I actively loathe Biden and Schumer but Pelosi seems useful?
posted by The Whelk at 11:05 PM on March 24 [33 favorites]


It's in the Style section? The article is about her professional achievements and business acumen. Jesus, NYT.

Style sections of newspapers were orignally set up explicitly as women's sections, as opposed to the news, sports and business sections which were for men. The one here in Portland was literally titled "Women's Day" instead of Style.

That sexism ran in both directions, and the declaration of the first "men's" section as news is just as artificial as defining the women's section as "style." And deprecating style, fashion, celebrity news and other subjects designated as "feminine" is IMHO just as misogynist as forcing women into those categories.

Put it another way: like Stormy Daniels, I do some live shows and sell words for a living, though mine are slightly blander. I would happily appear in the Style section over News because -- especially with books -- that's a better to find paying customers.
posted by msalt at 11:07 PM on March 24 [6 favorites]


Style is also the section in both NYT and WaPo which ran complete pandering Ivanka puff pieces. If Style is supposed to appeal to me, I vote for more empowered women like Stormy and fewer ads for unqualified princesses.
posted by SakuraK at 11:21 PM on March 24 [8 favorites]


I will grant that sexism and racism play big, often subconscious roles in our mines, but it remains possible to prefer X over Y without it being a sexist or racist thing [...]

I know for a fact that the kids in my family were named after beloved relatives. None the less, their names all happened to be among the most popular Australian nanes for the year of their birth. If it happened by chance it's one whacking great coincidence.

I don't think it was chance: I think that when my family named our kids there were a bunch of relatives that might have been honoured, and each of them could have been remembered by one of several names (e.g., John / Jack / Johann). Popular culture means some names are more familiar than others, so even though we thought we were highly constrained in our choices we were edged into making the same decisions that lots of other people did.

What I'm saying is, that we all have reasons, but we're also affected by the zeitgeist. There's pretty good evidence IMO to suggest that people judge powerful women more harshly than men. You really might not be affected by this, but if those studies are correct then most people are probably being unfair to Pelosi while giving Schumer an easy pass.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:27 PM on March 24 [41 favorites]


Today's 'Candorville' comic by Darrin Bell sums up our state of "Trump Overload" pretty well.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:44 PM on March 24 [16 favorites]


I will grant that sexism and racism play big, often subconscious roles in our minds (and so do our own tiny anecdotes, yes), but it remains possible to prefer A over B politician without it being a sexist or racist thing, and if you don't even allow that possibility, you're insulting the intellect and judgement of a whole lot of people. That never goes well!

You have that backwards. Look at the most recent presidential election. Before November 2016, Trump was already known to be a serial liar, swindler, completely ignorant of government, a man of low character, arguably the most unqualified person to ever represent a major party, and yet a large percentage of the electorate chose him. Saying that people were influenced by racism and sexism is the charitable, face-saving option. Because otherwise we're saying that people were just complete idiots who deserve to have their intellect and judgment disparaged.

And since when are we concerned about honoring intellect and judgment anyway? According to stereotype, women are hysterical and constantly swayed by their periods, black people have animal urges and are unable to engage in long term thinking, latinos are hot-blooded and overly passionate, and asians can at best only imitate the achievements and accomplishments of their betters by hours of robotic tiger-mom-driven study. So in saying that a whole lot of people are entitled to the presumption of pure, high-minded rationality, we mean default people, aka white males. Only they get the intellectual benefit of the doubt in the first place. I mean, black voters had to endure eight years of our judgment being insulted by conservative pundits claiming the only reason we voted for Obama was because he was also black. We didn't get to vaguely threaten "that never goes well" because black supremacy isn't a thing.
posted by xigxag at 12:15 AM on March 25 [74 favorites]


i'm practical, when it comes down to it, when push comes to shove, would you vote for this imperfect candidate? if yes, then carry on. it's true people will have different opinions, articulated or expressed biases or not. keeps the candidate honest anyway. if anything, the current fallout in tumblrland has made it more stark for me. i like hearing opposing opinions but i find it extremely not worth my time when it's launched itself into pure theory with no consideration of what's going on elsewhere. if I want stan wars, i'll go to the fan forums.
posted by cendawanita at 12:44 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]


[One deleted. Let's maybe not extend the Schumer/Pelosi "which one seems more likable" (&tc) derail. Thanks.]
posted by taz (staff) at 1:05 AM on March 25 [5 favorites]


Let me get this right, one of the things Trump was so angry about in the budget is the tiny amount of money for his stupid wall. Has anyone reminded him that he repeatedly promised that Mexico would pay for it?
posted by adept256 at 2:31 AM on March 25 [15 favorites]


Actually reminding him is pointless, but we should certainly remind his supporters if they share any of his outrage, they are supporting US taxpayers paying for the wall.
posted by adept256 at 2:43 AM on March 25 [5 favorites]


re: great comment above about TV/Press racing to catch-up to the social media movement these kids have organised, this is your Arab Spring and regime change is what they want. The vicious tenor of the attacks on them from the Maga gang suggest a few of them realise this.
posted by Wilder at 3:02 AM on March 25 [5 favorites]


His supporters don't care about Mexico not paying for the wall. Because nobody actually believed that Mexico would pay. It was a way to give Mexico and Mexicans the middle finger while maintaining the tiniest of nearly invisible fig leaves. Trump used the Mexico paying shtick to get across "See? I hate Mexicans! They are awful! Don't you guys hate Mexicans too?" without saying it in those words. I'd call it a dog whistle but it was more like a dog foghorn played over a 10 billion watt amplifier.

It had nothing to do with actually paying for the wall.
posted by Justinian at 3:48 AM on March 25 [59 favorites]


this is your Arab Spring and regime change is what they want

The Arab Spring is hardly the most comforting analogy that could be drawn.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:52 AM on March 25 [48 favorites]


I know Nuzzi copped a lot of flack for the nymag story What Hope Hicks Knows, but this Behind the story: Olivia Nuzzi on how she got Hope Hicks to talk in the Columbia Journalism Review is something to behold.

A gem like:
I wrote back, “I’m happy to conduct the interview while the president watches Fox & Friends, if that would be more convenient.”
And this just takes the cake:
If I had more time, I probably would have included something about the issue of reliability in general with White House officials. Like, I have five of these senior White House officials, and the ones I’m quoting on the record are Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The people I’m quoting on the record here are known liars. When you’re saying, This is what they’re saying happened, and it’s in direct conflict with what people on background, or deep background, are saying happened, who do you believe there? I guess you go with the known liars who are on the record? But who the fuck knows, right?

It’s hard to know who to believe. Most of the time it’s probably no one. In this case, because I had multiple White House officials saying one thing, and because, I think, at least three of them were on the record, I guess you report what’s on the record, right? You report that versus the one person off the record who says, You know, actually, it’s X, Y, or Z. Well, if that’s true, then why don’t you go on the record with it or on background?

But again, who the fuck knows? It’s a difficult thing; I think about it all the time. They are saying this thing is true, but they also say that the sky is orange.
posted by moody cow at 4:00 AM on March 25 [38 favorites]


Before November 2016, Trump was already known to be a serial liar, swindler, completely ignorant of government, a man of low character, arguably the most unqualified person to ever represent a major party, and yet a large percentage of the electorate chose him. Saying that people were influenced by racism and sexism is the charitable, face-saving option. Because otherwise we're saying that people were just complete idiots who deserve to have their intellect and judgment disparaged.

I'm still mystified that anyone could consider voting for him after hearing him speak. It's nonsensical word salad every time he's off a script. It's clear to me that this guy shouldn't be in charge of anything, and sounds like he's got dementia (and I have some experience with knowing what that sounds like).

I've wondered about this a lot. Does everyone sound like that to them? Are they just reacting to appealing soundbites and ignoring the rest? Do they just not know how to follow a logical argument at all? It's scary to me that these folks are driving heavy machinery, or manufacturing products that I use in daily life. And I don't think it's lack of education, it's not just that Trump's using logical fallacies, he's incoherent and clearly deeply emotionally stunted and broken. This is obvious to anyone who pays the slightest attention. Maybe it's that many folks have a lack of language and skills talking about feelings? I know I didn't have the capacity to talk helpfully about my emotions until I was taught the words to describe them.

I don't like the word "stupid," both because it's an insult and it doesn't explain anything. But what's with people that they heard this guy and didn't immediately go, "He should see a doctor"?
posted by leotrotsky at 4:31 AM on March 25 [73 favorites]


leotrotsky, I think that’s just it: to a not-inconsiderable part of the electorate, any verbal display of expertise whatsoever does sound just like Charlie Brown’s teacher. They have no way of distinguishing word salad from a sensible, well-constructed argument bolstered by evidence. Without content to assess, they default to looking for nonverbal cues in the presentation, and – here’s the part that’s truly bizarre to me, and clearly to most of us here as well – they like and trust the cues they’re picking up from Trump.

What to you and me plainly looks like the flailing, desperate reassertion of competence in a once-dominant man in physical and mental decline registers to some kernel of his audience as confidence and vigor. They tune into that wavelength and aren’t bothered in the least by the inarticulate congeries spraying from his piehole.
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:09 AM on March 25 [56 favorites]


here’s the part that’s truly bizarre to me, and clearly to most of us here as well – they like and trust the cues they’re picking up from Trump.

As Deray says, behold the power of whiteness. 2016 proved that for a big chunk of America, the worst white man is better than any POC or woman. And they literally went for the worst.
posted by chris24 at 5:19 AM on March 25 [82 favorites]


why would people vote for trump? to flip the rest of the country off?

or could it be explained that 49% of the american people have below average intelligence? someone was bound to represent them sooner or later

all i know is the guy's an obvious con artist and i have yet to understand how it is that so many people cannot see that - i'm not even sure that the seeming dementia isn't an act - maybe it's a means by which he can put off the day of reckoning as far as possible - or maybe people think that having him in office will put off their day of reckoning - of having to face the reality of where the u s is

i expect more reality denial and sheer willful ignorance as trump's failings become very obvious
posted by pyramid termite at 5:31 AM on March 25 [6 favorites]


Well, as usual, ¿por qué no los dos? Or, hell, why not go for the hat trick: racism, toxic masculinity and Dunning-Krugerish incompetence. It doesn't take that many people presenting with that particular cluster of pathologies to sway elections, especially if they show up at the ballot box at higher rates than those not so afflicted.
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:36 AM on March 25 [9 favorites]


(And, of course, if active vote-suppression measures are deployed against a big chunk of the rest of the electorate.)
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:37 AM on March 25 [3 favorites]


to flip the rest of the country off?

If you think the establishment Republicans won't help you and the Democrats are busy helping minorities and not you, what else can you do but just flip the whole country off?
posted by Talez at 5:38 AM on March 25 [6 favorites]


It's scary to me that these folks are driving heavy machinery, or manufacturing products that I use in daily life.

It's actually more likely that they're small business owners.

So, my family has been quite lucky in terms of a lack of toxic individuals in our lives. No one's grandma was a raging abusive narcissist, we don't have an obnoxious racist uncle, there's no estranged sibling who refuses to hold down a job so he doesn't have to pay child support. We're just generally all pretty stable, generally down to earth folks. My husband's family is the same. But since I've been on the internet, I've realized that this good fortune in not having to endure toxic, disordered people on the daily is not the case for a huge number of people that I care about. I have a lot of internet friends who have escaped from, or who are forced to hold at arms length, their families of origin because of the toxicity, narcissism and abuse. The perpetrators of that toxicity think they are normal, that that's the way everyone is, that that's the best way to be, and they look at Trump and see a reflection of themselves. That's Trump's cult of personality base, right there (as opposed to people who joust pull the lever for the R and don't pay much attention otherwise). It's people who think a rambling word salad of narcissistic bluster and shit-talk is a standard mode of discourse, because that's how they talk, too.

It's like that wretched tv show where the serial killer creates a cult of other serial killers
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:40 AM on March 25 [78 favorites]


Being in the South and having FB 'friends' I haven't blocked for professional reasons, who voted for Trump, I can say they have certain things in common:

1) Racism and Misogyny. The biggest reason they voted for Trump was to get back at Obama and put Hillary in her place, in equal amounts. It wouldn't have mattered who the R was , they would have voted for him.

2) Fox News/Tea Party Anti-Establishmentism. The fact that Trump was an 'outsider' fit with the rhetoric they've been spoon-fed since the 90's, and the opponent being a Clinton just made it juicer. (Ironically, none of them would ever consider voting non-Republican... establishment Republicans were just RINOs).

3) Reactionary Projection. This is the part is don't see getting talked about a lot: all the Trump voters I know, regardless of education level or economic status, consistently talk and post about how they feel about things, their opinions on those things, carefully cherry-pick facts that support those feelings, and ignore any facts which contradict. Not just ignore, but seem to believe those facts just don't exist, because they don't fit their internal narrative. It's not that they're okay with Trump's word-salad dementia, it doesn't seem to exist for them. In much the same way that many of us (I'll cop to this myself) projected an image of the Progressive Savior onto Obama, despite his own words and actions to the contrary, so do these people believe things about Trump that are not only not in evidence, but directly opposed by actual reality.

I do not say that these people are stupid. They are almost universally upper-middle class wealthy, all did well in high school, about half or so have 4-year college degrees, all have either some kind of specialized training or were military. They're not stupid. They're functional and successful in the ways that are important to them... but they are completely driven by their emotions, while claiming rationality.

Oh, and they're all white men, but I guess that goes without saying.
posted by Kelrichen at 6:17 AM on March 25 [79 favorites]


[Please discontinue this same "why did they vote for Trump???" conversation we've been repeating nonstop with all the same conclusions since Nov '16. Please post news updates or analysis or similar substantive info rather than chat. If there's nothing going on, just take a break from the thread.]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:31 AM on March 25 [25 favorites]


I was in Boston where my favorite sign said, "When I said I'd rather die than go to math class? That was hyperbole, assholes."

But I really feel the need to point out that while these kids are taking the stage and actively making change, there are millions of American kids who don't care, and it's dangerous to ignore them.

I work in a conservative high school in Massachusetts--a town that voted for Trump--and trust me when I say you would be stunned and horrified at what comes out of the mouths of my students. My students didn't walk out, they didn't march as a group. They don't care.

I don't have an intelligent conclusion to this but I guess I just want you all to know there are still millions of American kids who could give a fuck about school shootings. And it makes me sad.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 6:38 AM on March 25 [50 favorites]


I work in a conservative high school in Massachusetts--a town that voted for Trump--and trust me when I say you would be stunned and horrified at what comes out of the mouths of my students. My students didn't walk out, they didn't march as a group. They don't care.

I don't have an intelligent conclusion to this but I guess I just want you all to know there are still millions of American kids who could give a fuck about school shootings. And it makes me sad.


On the bright side, these kids are still in high school, which means still living at home under the influence of their parents. Republicans hate colleges and universities for a reason: college exposes their sheltered little darlings to a wider range of outlooks and opinions. The same could be said for any institution or event that cuts the apron strings. A lot of conservative parents want to isolate and abuse their children because it keeps kids dependent on them and forced to conform to their values.

Some of these un-woke, unaware kids might become fierce fighters for what is right once they leave home. And Metafilter will be here when they need advice on how to deal with their awful families.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 6:53 AM on March 25 [54 favorites]


I work in a conservative high school in Massachusetts--a town that voted for Trump--and trust me when I say you would be stunned and horrified at what comes out of the mouths of my students. My students didn't walk out, they didn't march as a group. They don't care.

The strange thing is, they don't strictly have to. Mass has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. The number of deaths that have occurred by your typical school shooting you could count on the fingers of a double arm amputee. Only three people have been killed in MA on school grounds in the past two decades. One was Sean Collier, the campus cop the Boston bombers shot, one was a drug deal gone bad, and the other was a hit.

They don't even realize this isn't a problem for them because for your random kid to come shoot up a school in Mass it requires extraordinary resources that they probably don't have.
posted by Talez at 7:02 AM on March 25 [19 favorites]


On the topic of less-woke kids, this Jezebel piece compares and contrasts community response to school shootings in Benton, Kentucky and in Parkland. It’s illuminating and depressing reading.
posted by faineg at 7:04 AM on March 25 [8 favorites]




I do not say that these people are stupid. They are almost [a]universally upper-middle class wealthy, all did well in high school, about half or so have 4-year college degrees, all have either some kind of specialized training or were military. . . . [b]and they're all white men . . .

Conversely, [a] and [b] are probably better predictors of going to college etc. than intelligence. See also the president's "success."


Meanwhile, Trump (or realistically, whatever's left of his state dept.) is planning two dinners with Emmanuel Macron. I'm very curious about who's actually setting these things up nowadays.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:34 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]


Tamara Keith (NPR) reports that the crazy new lawyers will not be joining the Trump team after all:
@tamarakeithNPR: Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow confirms to me that Joe di Genova and his wife/law firm partner will not be joining the President’s legal team after all. “The President is disappointed that conflicts prevent [them] from joining the President's Special Counsel legal team.”
This follows some serious morning cable-news-live-tweeting/bald-face-lying by Trump himself:
@RealDonaldTrump: Many lawyers and top law firms want to represent me in the Russia case...don’t believe the Fake News narrative that it is hard to find a lawyer who wants to take this on. Fame & fortune will NEVER be turned down by a lawyer, though some are conflicted. Problem is that a new ... lawyer or law firm will take months to get up to speed (if for no other reason than they can bill more), which is unfair to our great country - and I am very happy with my existing team. Besides, there was NO COLLUSION with Russia, except by Crooked Hillary and the Dems!
@MattGertz: It's possible Trump flipped over to CNN, which was talking about whether diGenova and Toensing were in or out during that hour.

Left, CNN, 7:19 am
Right, Trump, 7:40 am
About which Maggie Haberman (NYTimes) noted:
@maggieNYT: This is a prelude to the lawyers who got announced last week, Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing, being conflicted out because she represents other witnesses, including Corallo. ... Can't be stressed enough - he's a sitting president with personal wealth and few if any white shoe firms want to work for him.
posted by pjenks at 7:42 AM on March 25 [31 favorites]


And now there's a Washington Post story (Josh Dawsey and Carol D. Leonnig):
In another blow to Trump’s efforts to combat Russia probe, diGenova will no longer join legal team
and a NYTimes story (Maggie Haberman, Michael S. Schmidt, Mark Landler):
Trump Won’t Hire 2 Lawyers Whose Appointments Were Announced Days Ago
posted by pjenks at 7:49 AM on March 25 [13 favorites]


This Liberal Sports Radio Host Thinks He Can Take Down Mitch McConnell

Things have been so weird lately that I was sure this meant he had challenged McConnell to a fist fight.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 7:55 AM on March 25 [12 favorites]


On the bright side, these kids are still in high school, which means still living at home under the influence of their parents. Republicans hate colleges and universities for a reason: college exposes their sheltered little darlings to a wider range of outlooks and opinions.

When I was entering college, my favorite book EVER was Anthem, by Ayn Rand. I wept when I finished it.

Look at my username.

Double irony. My job is helping people with money avoid paying transfer taxes.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:57 AM on March 25 [69 favorites]


A bit more morning news
@PhilipRucker: [VA Secretary] Shulkin’s expected firing is rolled out by Trump confidant Chris Ruddy on Sunday TV.
[clip from ABC's thisweek]
following yesterday's cryptic tweet from Maggie Haberman
@maggieNYT: Expect another personnel shuffle this coming week in the Trump administration
If I were a gambler, I'd put money down on "personnel shuffling" tonight at [checks TV Guide] 6:55pm.
posted by pjenks at 8:04 AM on March 25 [16 favorites]


When I was entering college, my favorite book EVER was Anthem, by Ayn Rand. I wept when I finished it.

My freshman year, I started a libertarian group and invited my dad as a guest speaker (though this was sort of an extinction burst because I spent a lot of high school rebelling by being kinda left-ish and becoming a vegetarian).

So, yeah. It's a process.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:07 AM on March 25 [6 favorites]


In another blow to Trump’s efforts to combat Russia probe, diGenova will no longer join legal team

That article he wrote about America benefiting from the indictment of the President must have been pretty

*fumbles with sunglasses*

...indicting.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:14 AM on March 25 [15 favorites]


Even Fox isn't a safe enough space for these idiots.

@mkraju:
Told line-item veto was ruled unconstitutional, Mnuchin says: “Congress can pass a rule that allows them to do it.” Told Congress would have to pass a constitutional amendment, Mnuchin says on Fox: “We don’t need to get into a debate ... There are different ways of doing this.”
posted by chris24 at 8:32 AM on March 25 [45 favorites]


I don't think the "gun fatalism" described in the Jezebel article is insurmountable. Here in red-state Montana, the city of Helena was host to both a March For Our Lives rally and a pro-gun* counter rally. The pro-gun group had 150 attendees, and MFOL had 1000. In addition there were MFOL protests in several other towns, but there were no other gun rallies that I'm aware of.

*Strangely, autocorrect tried to change pro-gun to pro-Trump. I mean it's not wrong, but the spellings are pretty different.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:02 AM on March 25 [12 favorites]


A lot of conservative parents want to isolate and abuse their children

Let’s not do this, please.

People, and parents, universally want to guide their children to be what they consider the model of good adults is. They all try various tactics, liberal and conservative, some more successful than others. I know liberal and conservative families alike that try to keep their kids from what they believe are poisonous or bigoted views, and I know liberal and conservative families alike that believe in exposing their kids to both sides so they can make educated choices.

People change their politics many times in their lives, and it is a beautiful thing - but it doesn’t have to be because of previous abuse or isolation.
posted by corb at 9:04 AM on March 25 [18 favorites]


Decades before Cambridge Analytica scooped up 50 million Facebook accounts, their billionaire backer Robert Mercer made his name leading an IBM research project on computational translation, using a completely different public dataset (Toronto Star):
The second problem was solved by a tip in the 1980s about where to score massive amounts of translated text, which would allow the programmers to detect patterns in data and develop algorithms based on that.

That news came from older IBM colleague John Cocke.

“John was on a plane and ... he struck up a conversation with the guy next to him and then suggested they have a drink together,” Mercer’s colleague Peter Brown recalled at the 2013 Conference on Empirical Methods on Natural Language Processing.

“Before he knew it the guy was telling John about the proceedings of the Canadian House of Parliament which were — and probably still are — kept in computer-readable form in French and in English.”

Canadian government employees had already done the work.
Thanks, Canada.

Bonus points for finding Mercer's completely idiotic CS story about why he hates "Big Government".

Here are two of their original papers from 1993.
posted by pjenks at 9:04 AM on March 25 [12 favorites]


Even Fox...

@FoxNewsSunday
NEW: Fox News Poll show strong support for stronger gun control
- Require Universal Checks: 91%
- Require Mental Health Checks: 84%
- Raise Legal Age to 21: 72%
- Put Armed Guards in Schools: 69%
- Ban Assault Weapons: 60%
posted by chris24 at 9:12 AM on March 25 [23 favorites]


Standard note that Fox polling is a reputable outfit, does not have the issues that Fox News has.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:14 AM on March 25 [16 favorites]


Standard note that Fox polling is a reputable outfit, does not have the issues that Fox News has.

Yep. The interesting thing to me was how Fox News was covering it. Or that they promoted it at all.
posted by chris24 at 9:20 AM on March 25 [3 favorites]


Let’s not do this, please.

Why can't we do this? There's actual science behind the idea that stricter, authoritarian parenting tends to lead the children of these parents to grow up to be conservative. Some 36% of parents who homeschool their kids do so for "religious and moral instruction". We need to examine how reactionaries are created, and their upbringing demonstrably has a lot to do with it.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 9:21 AM on March 25 [106 favorites]


I was in Boston where my favorite sign said, "When I said I'd rather die than go to math class? That was hyperbole, assholes."

And.... now it's my favorite, too. Thanks for that.
posted by rokusan at 9:26 AM on March 25 [3 favorites]


DailyBeast: ‘Stormy Will Eat You Alive’: How a Porn Star is Making Trump World’s Lives Hell - In public and on his Twitter feed, President Trump has kept mum about L’affaire Stormy. Behind the scenes, he’s spooked
In that final month on the trail, there was something else weighing on Trump’s mind, even more than the assault allegations. According to three top campaign officials, speaking to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations, Trump began pressing senior staffers about the specific dates that the women were alleging that the assaults, affairs, or harassment took place.

If the date fell within the time period of the early stage of his marriage to Melania Trump—and the birth of their son Barron—Trump would suddenly care more about the story and quiz campaign aides more closely about it. Officials concluded that Trump’s true concern was not so much being accused of sexual harassment as it was, in the words of one aide, about “pissing off Melania.”

One of these accounts of a consensual relationship that drew Trump’s intensified interest was published at the website The Smoking Gun under the title, “Donald Trump And The Porn Superstar.” The piece reported on Trump’s alleged “sexual affair” with Stephanie Clifford, an adult-film actress known by her stage name, “Stormy Daniels.” Such an affair would have taken place not only while Donald and Melania Trump were newlyweds, but soon after Barron was born.

A year into the Trump era, the story of Stormy has morphed from a late-campaign nuisance into large-scale presidential crisis.

“The president may be able to fire Mr. [Robert] Mueller and others who may challenge him, but he cannot fire me, or my client. We will not be going away any time soon,” Michael Avenatti, Daniels’ attorney, told The Daily Beast. “If they [in Trumpworld] are upset about what has transpired over the last two weeks, they are really going to be upset when they see what is going to transpire over the next few months—because the last two weeks haven’t been a warm-up lap.”

Inside the chronically chaos-driven Trump White House, Stormy Daniels is a high-profile hassle and headache that now must be managed on a daily basis. According to two sources familiar with the situation, the White House press operation has at least one person whose job it is to monitor the latest developments on the Daniels front.

And in response to Trump buddy Chris Ruddy saying it was a hoax on this morning on the Sunday shows, and news reports that Trump is saying that to staffers...

@MichaelAvenatti
@ChrisRuddyNMX You are correct, Ms. Clifford's claims are yet another "hoax" - similar to other infamous "hoaxes" like the moon landing, 9/11, etc. Is this, along with claims that I worked on some campaigns 25 yrs ago, the best you guys can come upon with to discredit us? #basta

@MichaelAvenatti
Note: (a) not all of our evidence will be mentioned/displayed tonight – that would be foolish; (b) we are not sure what CBS will include but we know a lot from the full interview will have to be cut bc of the time allowed; (c) tonight is not the end – it’s the beginning. #basta
posted by chris24 at 9:29 AM on March 25 [33 favorites]


It's pretty fun to watch this Avenatti guy run circles around Trump's "best" lawyers.
posted by rokusan at 9:39 AM on March 25 [34 favorites]


Fame & fortune will NEVER be turned down by a lawyer, though some are conflicted. Problem is that a new ... lawyer or law firm will take months to get up to speed (if for no other reason than they can bill more)

Yeah, call your lawyers bill-padding fame-chasers; that'll help.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:47 AM on March 25 [64 favorites]


Yeah, call your lawyers bill-padding fame-chasers; that'll help.

I think his initial point is that being lawyer to the POTUS is supposed to be prestigious like being appointed to the queen or some shit. Then he takes a detour to slam elitist lawyers and he's just turned it into a flaming bag of dog turds.
posted by Talez at 9:50 AM on March 25 [9 favorites]


On the topic of less-woke kids,

I'm obviously all in favor of high school age kids who have half a grip on what's actually going on in the world, and what it's in their interest to get active about. But a quick reflection on my own high school crowd (way back when) reveals a vast majority of unformed brains and hearts who were still mostly thinking and talking in line with what their parents thought when it came to the big deal political stuff (even if they liked different music). Jump ahead a few years to college/university age and things were changing (for some), but that is very much the difference between still being officially a "child" and not, I think.

So I'm not going to despair if even a majority of 14-18 year olds don't know what's good for them. The adults on the other hand ...
posted by philip-random at 9:50 AM on March 25 [3 favorites]


Why can't we do this? There's actual science behind the idea that stricter, authoritarian parenting tends to lead the children of these parents to grow up to be conservative. Some 36% of parents who homeschool their kids do so for "religious and moral instruction". We need to examine how reactionaries are created, and their upbringing demonstrably has a lot to do with it.

The objection was not to the argument that "authoritarian parenting tends to lead the children to grow up to be conservative". The objection was to the characterization that the authoritarian parents were universally themselves conservative.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:51 AM on March 25 [9 favorites]


The best indication the tide is turning... Ds in swing districts running on gun control. IL-06 is rated by Cook R+2 and currently has a R congressman.

@Alex_Roarty (McClatchy)
Dem nominee in key #IL-06 race, who backs an assault-weapons ban: “Thank you, thank you, thank you to the kids in Parkland."

Democrats think Parkland-fueled activism can neutralize the NRA
Sean Casten remembers that shortly after he announced his campaign for Congress last year, a Democratic friend told him he had better avoid talking about gun control or risk an “onslaught” from the National Rifle Association.

He’s ignoring the advice.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you to the kids in Parkland,” said Casten, now the Democratic nominee in a battleground suburban Chicago House race who — in a break from his party’s recent past — supports an assault-weapons ban.

“Politically, I feel extremely fortunate that they basically made it possible for someone like me to say I’ll be honest and open with my positions and can still fend this off,” he said.
posted by chris24 at 9:54 AM on March 25 [29 favorites]


Santorum can't stand not being the dumbest fucking person on TV
"How about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem, do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations that when there is a violent shooter that you can actually respond to that," Santorum said on CNN's "State of the Union."
posted by Talez at 9:56 AM on March 25 [40 favorites]


Speaking of dinosaurs, why does Rick Santorum still exist?
posted by rokusan at 9:58 AM on March 25 [18 favorites]


Because then we wouldn't have a word for that mix of lube, smegma and fecal matter.
posted by Talez at 10:00 AM on March 25 [60 favorites]


The objection was to the characterization that the authoritarian parents were universally themselves conservative.

This is all bullshit. We know conservatives have a shit time with reality and authoritarianism. If I can stand it when people slag white het cismen (and they should) then conservatives can tolerate these truths.
posted by TypographicalError at 10:06 AM on March 25 [32 favorites]


"How about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem, do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations that when there is a violent shooter that you can actually respond to that," Santorum said on CNN's "State of the Union."

There's a reason why he repeated won the "Dumbest Person in Congress" award.

In the words of former Senator Bob Kerrey, "Santorum? Is that Latin for asshole?"
posted by leotrotsky at 10:13 AM on March 25 [19 favorites]


I don’t think you can see all this stuff going on with culture wars and home schooling and conservative news bubbles and not conclude that Conservatives are HEAVY on indoctrination and isolation these days. Some kids escape it, others don’t.
posted by Artw at 10:13 AM on March 25 [29 favorites]


The objection was to the characterization that the authoritarian parents were universally themselves conservative.

Looking back at those two posts, this doesn’t seem to be an accurate expression of either the objection or the characterization in question.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 10:21 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]


[Let's maybe just drop the whole theory-of-parenting-mind thing in general here.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:24 AM on March 25 [16 favorites]


Because the medium is the message, journalists on Twitter are much franker - and snarkier - there than in their publications/programmes, not least since Trump makes himself perpetually, nakedly available on that platform while eschewing interviews and press conferences. Exempli gratia:

@RealDonaldTrump: Many lawyers and top law firms want to represent me in the Russia case...don’t believe the Fake News narrative that it is hard to find a lawyer who wants to take this on. Fame & fortune will NEVER be turned down by a lawyer, though some are conflicted. Problem is that a new ... lawyer or law firm will take months to get up to speed (if for no other reason than they can bill more), which is unfair to our great country - and I am very happy with my existing team. Besides, there was NO COLLUSION with Russia, except by Crooked Hillary and the Dems!

The Toronto Star's @ddale8: This is from the superb “no no, ignore your lying eyes, everyone is desperate to be with me” Trump tweet genre. Previous examples include the “I swear I actually disbanded my CEO councils myself” and “I swear I have a choice of 10 top experts for every vacant position” tweets.

Bloomberg's @spettypi: With Dowd and diGenova out, Sekulow is the winner of Trump Lawyer Survivor.[...]

MSNBC's @AriMelber: Making money by stiffing employees has drawbacks — there are *many* different reasons law firms won’t rep Trump, but one of them is how many law firms in NY he effectively stole from by not paying bills.

The Washington Post's @jdawsey1: Trump hired diGenova largely based on his Fox News hits. After he met him Thursday, the hire unraveled. POTUS legal team is now down to two: the curlicued Ty Cobb who sometimes elicits Trump grumbles, and Jay Sekulow, a conservative lawyer and radio host.

Also: Source writes to me of Joe di Genova: "He didn't even make it a Scaramucci!"
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:36 AM on March 25 [48 favorites]


I know a lot of people know this, but just to emphasize...

The kind of damage created by assault rifles is different from a handgun's. CPR is not going to save someone from an explosive wound that's taken out major organs. A bullet from a handgun goes through the body like you've pushed a pencil through it. A bullet from an assault rifle is like you've detonated a small grenade inside someone. Learning CPR is about as useful as learning to hide under your desk when the atom bombs come.
posted by xammerboy at 11:47 AM on March 25 [55 favorites]


I mean, there's also the simple point that CPR wouldn't be necessary to help gunshot victims if there are no gunshot victims, but.

Santorum can go guzzle a whole oil barrel's worth of himself.
posted by anem0ne at 11:54 AM on March 25 [26 favorites]


For your Sunday viewing pleasure, a portrait of one Mr Mick Mulvaney, who, through sheer lack of discernible character, is repulsively odious, even by Trump administration standards.

A heads up, it's on Facebook. Going forward, would Instagram be a better platform for these drawings? Or is there another platform the fine folks here would prefer?
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 12:19 PM on March 25 [15 favorites]


someone from an explosive wound that's taken out major organs.

Explosive rounds are not needed here. Anything with high enough kinetic energy (high velocity and/or high calibre) will leave a small entry wound and a big gaping hole of an exit wound. The shock wave will also cause plenty of damage, even if the bullet doesn't hit bone. Poorly trained CPR is only going to push out blood from the arterial wounds; there's a reason that battlefield medicine is a specialisation with specific training.
posted by jaduncan at 12:21 PM on March 25 [26 favorites]


For various reasons (mostly their availability/popularity), handguns account for many more human deaths than other guns. (I think; sometimes statistics are unclear.) And of course, most instances of death-by-gun do not involve a shooter who intends to kill a maximum number of people. The usual motivations are criminal gain, domestic/personal conflict, and suicide (plus no motivation at all in the case of accidents).

Sometimes these basic facts are used to pooh-pooh actions that focus on assault weapons (however we define those), and it's argued that creating policy focused on reducing massacres is more about emotions and headlines than about cold, hard reality. When the assault weapons ban was in effect from 1994 to 2004, there was a definite reduction of mass shootings compared to the times before and after… but a negligible impact on overall gun violence.

To me, what's irrational isn't pushing to ban assault weapons, but treating every law/policy as pointless unless it addresses every conceivable related issue. It's like a serial murderer's lawyer pointing out that her client's actions account for a statistically miniscule percentage of American deaths ("Did you know more people were killed by vending machines last year than by my client?"), and hence locking him up would hardly accomplish anything.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:26 PM on March 25 [51 favorites]


: Trump Tweet>"Problem is that a new ... lawyer or law firm will take months to get up to speed (if for no other reason than they can bill more), which is unfair to our great country -"

Geez, can't imagine why a lawyer wouldn't jump at the chance of representing a client who accuses the entire profession of bill padding.

Talez: "I think his initial point is that being lawyer to the POTUS is supposed to be prestigious like being appointed to the queen or some shit."

Ah, the "Exposure" ploy.

chris24: "@FoxNewsSunday
NEW: Fox News Poll show strong support for stronger gun control
[...]
- Raise Legal Age to 21: 72%
"

How could this possibly be constitutional? IE: if you buy into the idea that the 2nd amendment guarantees access to these weapons as a right how the heck could this pass muster. Honestly I can't wrap my head around the 21 year old drinking age but at least drinking isn't a constitutional right.
posted by Mitheral at 12:31 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


Trump Tweet>"Problem is that a new ... lawyer or law firm will take months to get up to speed (if for no other reason than they can bill more), which is unfair to our great country -"

Also, what the hell is unfair to our country about it? This isn't the government-paid White House lawyer he's hiring. This is his personal lawyer.
posted by Weeping_angel at 12:44 PM on March 25 [19 favorites]


From Cynthia Nixon's interview with Glamour magazine:
GLAMOUR: You’ve talked a lot about "better Democrats" and "real Democrats." What does "a real Democrat" mean to you in 2018?
CN: A real Democrat doesn’t slash taxes on the wealthy. A real Democrat doesn’t slash corporate taxes. A real Democrat doesn’t give away billions of dollars in economic development money to his cronies and his donors with no strings attached. A real Democrat doesn’t lose us $25 billion in revenue in eight years—money our state desperately needs to put into our schools, our transit system, and our public housing. The fact of the matter is, our working class doesn’t look like the working class from 1955. Our working class is largely women and people of color—it’s people like social workers and daycare workers, people who run senior centers and after-school youth programs and people who work in schools. We need to fund those things. We need to fund those things because we need those services. We also need to protect the people who are doing those jobs, and make sure there's $15 minimum wage—not just in the city, but in every part of the state.


Sady Doyle notes:
It took Cynthia Nixon roughly 30 seconds to address what Bernie Sanders has been angrily refusing to acknowledge for 3 straight years
posted by neroli at 12:46 PM on March 25 [185 favorites]


if you buy into the idea that the 2nd amendment guarantees access to these weapons as a right how the heck could this pass muster.

Even the Heller decision, which explicitly said individuals have the right to own guns, recognized that the Second Amendment is not absolute - just like every other amendment, it has limits. As one analysis puts it:
It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.
And that is why states such as Massachusetts can continue to regulate both which guns can be sold (AR-15 sales? Nope) and who can buy them (Boston and some other communities make it particularly tough to get a license to carry a concealed weapon).
posted by adamg at 12:47 PM on March 25 [18 favorites]


Also, what the hell is unfair to our country about it? This isn't the government-paid White House lawyer he's hiring. This is his personal lawyer.

At the risk of treading ground well trod, he thinks he's the leader of the country. He thinks that what's bad for him is, by extension, bad for the country. This is not a man who can make such subtle distinctions as those between trump the man, and trump the public servant. Just one more statement in a long line that shows he fundamentally doesn't understand the position he's in.
posted by mrgoat at 1:03 PM on March 25 [11 favorites]


Russell Berman, The Atlantic: A Domestic Budget to Make Barack Obama Proud
In the $1.3 trillion spending bill that President Trump reluctantly signed on Friday, lawmakers did more than reject the steep cuts in dollars and programs that Trump proposed for domestic agencies a year ago. Across much of the government, Republican leaders agreed to spending levels that matched or even exceeded what Obama asked Congress to appropriate in his final budget request in 2016—and many of which lawmakers ignored while he was in office.
Interesting political price for the Republicans to pay to get Democrats to agree to increases in defense spending. Also an example of the Trump administration not having appointees to key roles which might have otherwise influenced the budget.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:07 PM on March 25 [19 favorites]


Also, what the hell is unfair to our country about it? This isn't the government-paid White House lawyer he's hiring. This is his personal lawyer.

Assuming he does pay the lawyers, is there a way to be sure he's paying from his personal accounts and not from some White House or other governmental account?
posted by Servo5678 at 1:14 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


Gun control: ignore the guns themselves and focus on the weak point — ammunition. Constitution doesn’t say squat about bullets.

Tax the everloving shit out of ammo, and require a cigarette-style tax stamp for it. The stamp is to nail hand-loaders and the like. Make it mandatory for all gun ranges to check and record the tax status on any ammo brought to the range, with huge fines and personal jail time for failing to do so.

...or tax the gunpowder, then tax the brass, then tax the primer. Stamp/licenses required for each. Leave a loophole for black powder if you want. Hell, tax different calibers differently. Double the cost of a .308, but quintuple the cost of a 5.56, .223, whatever. If bullets are five bucks apiece, fewer people decide its worth it. Especially if getting caught with unlicensed ammo means you lose your house to fines.

Worked for cigarettes. Ammo has a shelf life too.
posted by aramaic at 1:30 PM on March 25 [71 favorites]


It took Cynthia Nixon roughly 30 seconds to address

My heart doesn’t want to love again

And yet
posted by schadenfrau at 1:36 PM on March 25 [24 favorites]


Is anybody else planning on watching the 60 Minutes thing tonight? Chat? FanFare?
posted by rhizome at 1:36 PM on March 25 [7 favorites]


Is anybody else planning on watching the 60 Minutes thing tonight? Chat? FanFare?

This is the type of programming that I would normally stab myself in the eye with a shrimp fork rather than watch, because sleazy celeb sex scandals are gross and stupid. However, my need to vicariously enjoy Trump's abject suffering and misery is so profound that I won't miss a single fucking second and have stockpiled an assortment of Stormy Snacks. #GoStormy #StormySunday #AvenattiByNature
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:43 PM on March 25 [41 favorites]


How could this possibly be constitutional?

Apart from the Heller decision cited above, it's also the same way that the voting age is 18.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:44 PM on March 25 [6 favorites]


A heads up, it's on Facebook. Going forward, would Instagram be a better platform for these drawings? Or is there another platform the fine folks here would prefer?

Mltshp?
posted by notyou at 2:00 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]


Will the 60 minutes Avenatti debacle be streaming anywhere? I’m having a migraine and sound makes me feel murderous rage, but at least I could direct that rage at supporting Stormy jnstead if contemplating destroying a radiator.

Also, thank you to everyone who marched. I had previously committed to attend a round table where youth of color talked about what would make their lives better on a day to day basis. The speakers (who were generous in sharing their time) want to be seen and heard and loved and respected, in case you were wondering.
posted by bilabial at 2:02 PM on March 25 [8 favorites]


TrumpFilter: a flaming bag of dog turds
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:16 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


Minor Left Update: the Denver DSA petitioned to add some lanagauge to the Denver Democratic Party Platform and it passed! The language is:

"We believe the economy should be democratically owned and controlled in order to serve the needs of the many, not make profits for a few."
posted by The Whelk at 2:27 PM on March 25 [61 favorites]


Will the 60 minutes Avenatti debacle be streaming anywhere?

I just read three 'how to watch the thing' articles, and two of them said it'll be streaming at 7 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on CBSN.
posted by box at 2:31 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


They shoulda gone with "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" and seen if anyone noticed!

The DSA is showing us how you build a political party. The contrast with the Greens is so stark that I'm starting to believe they could be a foreign-backed spoiler party aimed at destabilizing America. But that would be crazy.
posted by Justinian at 2:32 PM on March 25 [31 favorites]


Phlegmco(tm ) Going forward, would Instagram be a better platform for these drawings? Or is there another platform the fine folks here would prefer?

I respectfully request that the mods allow the <img> tag for these portraits.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:39 PM on March 25 [6 favorites]




Tax the everloving shit out of ammo, and require a cigarette-style tax stamp for it. The stamp is to nail hand-loaders and the like. Make it mandatory for all gun ranges to check and record the tax status on any ammo brought to the range, with huge fines and personal jail time for failing to do so.

...or tax the gunpowder, then tax the brass, then tax the primer. Stamp/licenses required for each. Leave a loophole for black powder if you want. Hell, tax different calibers differently. Double the cost of a .308, but quintuple the cost of a 5.56, .223, whatever. If bullets are five bucks apiece, fewer people decide its worth it. Especially if getting caught with unlicensed ammo means you lose your house to fines.

Worked for cigarettes. Ammo has a shelf life too.


And put ALL of the proceeds into a fund for the treatment non-self-inflicted gun shot wounds.

That way it is immune from a govt tax grab charge and it does some social good that nobody sane could disagree with.
posted by srboisvert at 3:03 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]




BTW, CBS often delays the start of their Sunday night programming if sports goes long, depending on time zone. I expect this will happen tonight, since they are showing college basketball.
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:07 PM on March 25


Re: 60 Minutes start time and basketball--there's ~ 50 minutes left in the basketball game. So I'd guess 7:30 Eastern start.
posted by johnny jenga at 3:26 PM on March 25


It is only very recently that the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution was understood to mean that everyone has the Constitutional right to own weapons. It was usually understood throughout history as a means of guaranteeing the United States would be able to create a militia army of U.S. citizens in times of need. This was necessary because the U.S. had no standing army.
posted by xammerboy at 3:58 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


60 Minutes is apparently going to be delayed due to basketball, but the embargoed quotes on the interview still lifted at 7pm. Here's the transcript.
posted by zachlipton at 4:02 PM on March 25 [36 favorites]


Stormy Daniels: I was in a parking lot, going to a fitness class with my infant daughter. T-- taking, you know, the seats facing backwards in the backseat, diaper bag, you know, gettin' all the stuff out. And a guy walked up on me and said to me, "Leave Trump alone. Forget the story." And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, "That's a beautiful little girl. It'd be a shame if something happened to her mom." And then he was gone.

Anderson Cooper: You took it as a direct threat?

Stormy Daniels: Absolutely.

Stormy Daniels: I was rattled. I remember going into the workout class. And my hands are shaking so much, I was afraid I was gonna-- drop her.

Anderson Cooper: Did you ever see that person again?

Stormy Daniels: No. But I-- if I did, I would know it right away.

Anderson Cooper: You'd be able to-- you'd be able to recognize that person?

Stormy Daniels: 100%. Even now, all these years later. If he walked in this door right now, I would instantly know.

Anderson Cooper: Did you go to the police?

Stormy Daniels: No.

Anderson Cooper: Why?

Stormy Daniels: Because I was scared.


Jesus H.
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:07 PM on March 25 [63 favorites]


Yeah, Stormy is brave as hell.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:10 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


The Duke-Kansas game is in overtime. Roger Stone's fingerprints are all over this.
posted by theodolite at 4:10 PM on March 25 [12 favorites]


Stormy Daniels: I was in a parking lot, going to a fitness class with my infant daughter. T-- taking, you know, the seats facing backwards in the backseat, diaper bag, you know, gettin' all the stuff out. And a guy walked up on me and said to me, "Leave Trump alone. Forget the story." And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, "That's a beautiful little girl. It'd be a shame if something happened to her mom." And then he was gone.
Well, that also explains why she is fighting back. If that had happened to me, there would be no limit to my anger.
posted by mumimor at 4:12 PM on March 25 [20 favorites]


Interesting fact, Adultery is still, technically, a crime in New York , so this Stormy thing constitutes a contract to cover up a crime.

Thin, but hey..
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 4:16 PM on March 25 [17 favorites]


Spoiler alert:

The contents of the DVD remain a mystery for now.

Anderson Cooper: You seem to be saying that she has some sort of text message, or video, or-- or photographs. Or you could just be bluffing.

Michael Avenatti: You should ask some of the other people in my career when they've bet on me bluffing.

posted by diogenes at 4:16 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


Okay, are they going to show the whole 60 minutes or just cut in to where they would have been? This is bullshit.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:20 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


They'll likely show the episode in its entirety, from the beginning.
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:22 PM on March 25


Okay, are they going to show the whole 60 minutes or just cut in to where they would have been? This is bullshit.

They start from the beginning (this often happens in sportsball season). But now I don't have to watch since we got the transcript! Hooray!
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:22 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]


"That's a beautiful little girl. It'd be a shame if something happened to her mom." And then he was gone.

I think we've got a bunch of thugs here, Dan.
posted by Capt. Renault at 4:29 PM on March 25 [10 favorites]


It'd be a shame if something happened to her mom.
I dunno -- normally, this kind of b-movie dialogue would be just the thing to set off my bullshit detector. But I could imagine that any goons Trump would hire would be just the sort of low-rent amateur goons that would take their cues from b-movie dialogue.
posted by neroli at 4:31 PM on March 25 [32 favorites]


i wouldn't say 'we finally got him,' but the scenario she describes is likely devastating to trump's ego. like, just brutal.
Anderson Cooper: He was showing you his own picture on the cover of a magazine.

Stormy Daniels: Right, right. And so I was like, "Does this-- does this normally work for you?" And he looked very taken-- taken back, like, he didn't really understand what I was saying. Like, I was-- does, just, you know, talking about yourself normally work?" And I was like, "Someone should take that magazine and spank you with it." (LAUGH) And I'll never forget the look on his face.
so. 'got' in the John-Oliver-dunking-tiger-mascot sense? no. 'got' in the sense of showing the world what he is? yeah. not that it wasn't known. but now it is confirmed.
posted by halation at 4:32 PM on March 25 [6 favorites]


@csmcdaniel:
Stormy Daniels says she and her daughter were threatened to "Leave Trump alone."

Worth pointing out: Trump security — including the current COO of the Trump Org — were accused of assaulting, and threatening a 12 year old boy and his mother in 1995.

There's also this @JasonLeopold story about a lawyer facing off against the Trump Organization.

He got a phone call where he was told "if you keep fucking with Mr. Trump, we know where you live and we’re going to your house for your wife and kids."
It does seem to fit an established pattern of threats from these goons.
posted by zachlipton at 4:33 PM on March 25 [76 favorites]


If they're preempting it for college basketball, I don't think we finally got him.

Dude, this is America. Aliens from Alpha Centauri could literally land on the White House lawn and start blasting, and nobody would interrupt a March Madness game to cover it.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:34 PM on March 25 [70 favorites]


Michael Cohen is exactly the guy who would arrange something like that. He sees himself as Ray Donovan. Like, literally. He tweets with a #raydonovan hashtag. But without video it will come to nothing; Trump's supporters will call it fake news. I don't see how anything in this interview will amount to a hill of beans.

There are almost certainly campaign finance violations in addition to the salacious stuff. Yes, that got John Edwards. No, it won't matter with Trump.

If people are gonna liveblog one liners it's probably better in chat though? Y'all gonna get deleted.
posted by Justinian at 4:34 PM on March 25 [6 favorites]


Stormy's account of being threatened in such clichéd fashion might surprise people who don't know about Trump's longstanding ties to the mob...
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:35 PM on March 25 [13 favorites]


It seems to me, still, that the real story in the Stormy Daniels thing is the payment; am I missing something? Like, they had sex (and ugh, I hate the fact that she blames herself for putting herself in that situation and felt she had to go along), and there were threats (but without the thug who delivered the threats, that cant go anywhere) , but its the payment from Cohen that seems the big deal from where I sit? In terms of it being an illegal contribution.
posted by nubs at 4:36 PM on March 25 [6 favorites]


i wouldn't say 'we finally got him,'

No, but Michael Cohen got Trouble, capital-T. And that's sure to spill over.
posted by Capt. Renault at 4:36 PM on March 25


[Quick reminder: please avoid snarky one-liners, and contextualize your remarks rather than liveblogging. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:37 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


Pence secretly drafted Trump’s latest transgender military ban
A separate source independently confirmed to ThinkProgress Saturday that Pence was involved, characterizing him as forming his own ad hoc “working group,” including Anderson and Perkins, separate from the panel of experts Mattis had assembled. Though it bears Mattis’ signature, the report released Friday appears to reflect the findings of Pence’s working group and not the committee report that Mattis submitted to Trump last month. Mattis’ original document is not currently publicly available, but it was widely reported that Mattis favored an inclusive approach that resembled what had originally been proposed by Defense Secretary Ash Carter under President Obama in 2016.

How exactly Pence overruled Mattis’ recommendation over the past month the source did not know. But his working group’s influence is apparent. In particular, the report features numerous anti-trans talking points that FRC and other anti-LGBTQ groups have used in various campaigns favoring discrimination against transgender people.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:38 PM on March 25 [50 favorites]


can someone comment on whether the transcript is the whole episode in its entirety? I was going to try and watch the episode right now while I'm at work but if I could just read it later and know I won't be missing anything that'd be great.

apologies if that's been answered above, have not been able to do more than skim the last ~ 200 comments
posted by robotdevil at 4:42 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


BARF BARF BARF
Stormy Daniels: Yeah. He was like, "Wow, you-- you are special. You remind me of my daughter." You know-- he was like, "You're smart and beautiful, and a woman to be reckoned with, and I like you. I like you."
BAAAAAAAAAAAAAARF
posted by schroedinger at 4:51 PM on March 25 [40 favorites]


robotdevil, so far the transcript is following the broadcast accurately.
posted by Surely This at 4:52 PM on March 25


TBH, having the basketball game run long and then immediately cutting over to 60 minutes will probably lead to this episode getting bigger viewership than it would have otherwise.

David Dennison must be so pleased.

From screenshots I’ve seen, Daniels is dressed fairly conservatively with minimalist makeup. I wish that didn’t increase her percieved credibility, but it probably does.
posted by murphy slaw at 4:56 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


Her interview was extremely credible, and why shouldn't it be? She's telling the truth.
posted by lalex at 5:01 PM on March 25 [15 favorites]


BARF BARF BARF

I'm gonna suggest rather than everyone expressing their revulsion we all instead favorite schroedinger's post and leave it at that.

Me: Of course everybody's grossed out. It goes without saying, doesn't it? That's like saying you hate Nazis. Who doesn't?

Also Me: Oh wait 2016 and 2017 happened. I guess we can't all take that for granted anymore.

posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:05 PM on March 25 [7 favorites]


Oh, I by no means wanted to impugn her credibility. I just meant that there are people out there who are biased against her due to her line of work who might take her more seriously because she chose a neutral look. (Which is awful, but good on her for having the media savvy to anticipate it)

I find her entirely credible. Bare minimum, you don’t try to legally constrain the speech of someone who’s just making shit up. And there’s nothing in her story that is out of character for what we know about Trump.
posted by murphy slaw at 5:07 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


Her interview was extremely credible, and why shouldn't it be? She's telling the truth.

Ok, it was extremely weird that her lawyer said this 30 seconds after I posted. He's also great and I love his dead eyes. Anyway, I think this is a good insight:
@MaggieNYT: Standout part of this interview is Stormy Daniels saying she wasn’t attracted to Trump. He was incredibly proud of the “Best Sex I Ever Had” NY Post front page. That won’t sit well.

@yashar: It's this kind of slight (in Trump's mind) that usually gets him to comment on an issue his advisors have asked him not to talk about. Not the bigger accusations like Stormy saying she was threatened.
I was just yesterday thinking it's remarkable that Trump has never tweeted about this; maybe tonight's the night. Do we think he sat down to watch the interview thinking she would at least say he was great in bed?
posted by lalex at 5:10 PM on March 25 [11 favorites]


There's a bit more on the "60 Minutes Overtime" site.

Why the Stormy Daniels story matters
COOPER: Correct. If Stormy Daniels' story is true that a thug came up to her in a parking lot in Las Vegas in 2011—this is long before Donald Trump was a presidential candidate—I mean, if somebody is using intimidation tactics, physical intimidation tactics, it's probably not the first time they've done it. So that's a potential story I would imagine people would look at of how this kind of thing happened before? And I don't know the answer to that.
posted by Surely This at 5:11 PM on March 25 [9 favorites]


I think what Stormy is showing is that this story isn't going anywhere. I remember Lewinsky. It's entirely possible that stuff like this swallows up the rest of Trump's presidency. Once the Democrats are in charge if they're smart they'll drown him in investigations.
posted by xammerboy at 5:22 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]


[Oh my cod, people. Enough.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 5:38 PM on March 25 [12 favorites]


From what I can tell, none of the Stormy details are truly new, insofar as she's already shared before (and it matches Trump's behavior to a tee). But that doesn't minimize the significance of this as an event. It's like the publication of Fire and Fury (but perhaps more consistently credible); there's a distinct new level of high interest in this stuff, from outside the usual circles. So while Donald's creepiness wrt Ivanka was public knowledge before 2015, the number of Americans now aware of it must have gone up by like 20% (while I suppose the number of people who watched the end of an NCAA basketball game probably increased by 10%...)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:38 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


Stormy with a Chance of Meatloaf.

Gosh, I’ve been waiting a long time to use that one
posted by furtive at 5:39 PM on March 25 [37 favorites]


More good news in the fight against gun violence this weekend — as of Friday the CDC can study it as a public health crisis for the first time in 20 years.

This NPR interview transcript with the guy who was in charge of this before the Dickey amendment is interesting. Apparently he was able to influence Dickey enough over the years that Dickey came to regret having authored the prohibition before he died last year.

There’s still no specific budget for this research, and the language is not ideal but the guy who used to do the resesrch thinks its a step forward, so it’s definitely better than nothing.
posted by mrmurbles at 5:40 PM on March 25 [32 favorites]


So while you all are making presidential dick jokes, David Shulkin is going to be kicked out of the administration this week.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:41 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]


I don't know enough about Shulkin to know if that's a good or bad thing. Any context?

I mean, some google searches talk about corruption in his department and so on, but you'd think that would be a bonus for Trump.
posted by Archelaus at 5:44 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


I think Anderson Cooper was very clever in his framing. As closely as I've been following all this, in the first 30 seconds of the piece he says that Trump denies it ever happens, and that they're suing her for $20 million for breaking the NDA, and I was like, "Wait, how did she break the NDA if it never happened?" (Even though, duh, I already knew all that and already made fun of Team Trump for that, but Cooper juxtaposed it very clearly so that it struck me anew.)

The use of the Bush appointee to talk about the campaign cash issues was good, and juxtaposing this with Jonathan Edwards was very good, like this was pitched at "centrists" who think any accusation must be overblown because of partisanship, and GOP voters who like the tax cuts and the Reaganomics, but not the rest of Trumpism.

The mention in the accompanying material that there was plenty more salacious and sleazy material that 60 Minutes opted not to use -- well that's just genius.

I also think Cooper was a good choice for the interview because he's very calm and unruffled, but he doesn't come across as square -- there was no sense he was judging her about the sex (or the porn), nor was there any sense he was dodging anything as too embarrassing to talk about. I made my kids leave the room when I watched it, but afterwards I was like, "Yeah, okay, my kids probably could have watched that," because Cooper made it very straightforward and matter-of-fact and unsensationalized and non-salacious, which I think will help bring the import of the story home to voters who are uncomfortable with sex on the evening news. It was very professional and very straightforward, and Cooper projected no hint of salacious interest. It was really well done for reporting (and interviewing) on a high-profile political sex scandal with serious legal ramifications.

Also, Stormy Daniels mimicking Donald Trump hitting on her is so devastatingly on point that I'm sure it convinced a million people.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:45 PM on March 25 [73 favorites]


> I think what Stormy is showing is that this story isn't going anywhere. I remember Lewinsky. It's entirely possible that stuff like this swallows up the rest of Trump's presidency. Once the Democrats are in charge if they're smart they'll drown him in investigations.

only to the extent that it doesn't get in the way of doing the very large quantites of very real work we have to do in the next two to four years. Obstruction can be good and necessary, but so is Actual Grownups doing Actual Grownup Things in our government.
posted by Old Kentucky Shark at 5:45 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


@kyletblaine (CNN)
I know a lot of people are saying there's no news in the Stormy Daniels interview, but remember there's a whole new audience watching tonight who probably have not followed every single development in this story.

---

And this from Rick Wilson was written before it aired, but seems accurate in how it'll affect Trump. Between her saying she didn't find him attractive and didn't want to have sex with him, saying she turned him down the second time they met, saying he and Melania sleep in different rooms... She's in his head rattling some pots and pans.

@TheRickWilson
1/ It's not what she reveals tonight...it's what it does to Trump's head. If he summoned Cohen to Mar a Lago, it means he's in a raving, shit-hot panic.
2/ His impotent, restrained fury at not being able to tweet at her is delicious
3/ And if she questions his virility, the size of his junk, or his prowess as a lover...whoooo wheeee is he going to be sitting there limp and hopeless with rage.
posted by chris24 at 5:52 PM on March 25 [39 favorites]


What was the timing of the interview? I thought Cooper asking Karen McDougal about "did he compare you to his children" was ODD and out of context (of that interview) but not so much based on this interview on 60 minutes, where she brought it up.
posted by armacy at 5:54 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


My (utterly ignorant) take on Shulkin is that it's kind of a wash, both from a personnel and a messaging perspective. He predated trump in the VA and I think there was briefly some hope he wasn't a Trumpist creature, but the corruption and general erraticness has suggested that he ate the Submission-loaf and isn't much better than an outside appointee. His replacement might be worse, but it's hard to see his replacement being a lot worse.

As for the message you take from this, it seems every administration member who gets the ax can be spun in multiple ways. You can read it as the executive in disarray and the wheels coming off the bus, you can read it as Trump consolidating power, you can read it as him building up enemies on the outside of his administration who might have damaging information, you can read it as him feeling more confident in his autocracy. Depending which tea leaves you're reading this might be a sign of weakness or a show of strength.
posted by jackbishop at 6:17 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


And a married man with a newborn having unprotected sex with an adult film star. A man idolized by million of rightwing "Christians." Sure, they don't care cuz they're terrible people, but we need to never stop calling out their hypocrisy and vileness.

@Franklin_Graham (Dec 2017)
Never in my lifetime have we had a @POTUS willing to take such a strong outspoken stand for the Christian faith like @realDonaldTrump. We need to get behind him with our prayers.
posted by chris24 at 6:18 PM on March 25 [41 favorites]


Maybe someone needs to put Matthew Calamari (great villain name) in a photo line up. Because why not send the COO?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:19 PM on March 25


i figure they kept it in the can that long because
a) they wanted to make sure they were airtight against a slander charge
b) 60 Minutes is weekly.
posted by murphy slaw at 6:19 PM on March 25 [6 favorites]


Josh Marshall:
I think maybe the best part of this story is that Trump invites Stormy over to have sex and he burns through four hours watching a shark attack documentary
posted by murphy slaw at 6:21 PM on March 25 [50 favorites]


Call me when there's something actionable.

Wait. You can’t think of a half a dozen ways this is actionable? You can’t imagine calling a congressperson and going on record to request an investigation of campaign funding problems? You can’t imagine having a conversation with a child about bodily autonomy, the right to say no, the right to leave a situation even if someone might suggest you ‘were asking for it?’ You can’t imagine requesting that NPR be actually fair and balanced when it covers things like this? You can’t imagine defending Stormy Daniels tomorrow around the water cooler when someone accuses her of being a money grubbing blabber mouth (or worse?) you can’t imagine writing Avenatti a mildly disappointed letter because he kept referring to Stormy as ‘this woman?’ (Was that a deliberate call back to Bill Clinton? I couldn’t tell. At any rate, I didn’t like it in the transcript.)

This isn’t actionable? What has been actionable so far? I’m seriously asking. What about this makes you feel there is nothing you can do?

I’m baffled. The past year+ has shown so many people that doing something is helpful.
posted by bilabial at 6:22 PM on March 25 [23 favorites]


And a married man with a newborn having unprotected sex with an adult film star. A man idolized by million of rightwing "Christians." Sure they don't care cuz they're terrible people, but we need to never stop calling out their hypocrisy and vileness.

"Christian" leaders love a story of the redemption of a straight, white man.

At least this presidency is finally putting the final nail in the coffin of evangelical self-righteousness. Everyone knows how craven they are for temporal power.
posted by Talez at 6:22 PM on March 25 [11 favorites]


You could (and I do) argue that this was all perfectly normal for Donald Trump all his life, and has been gradually getting more normal for larger sections of this country all MY life (and I'm a decade younger than Donny).

@Franklin_Graham Never in my lifetime have we had a @POTUS willing to take such a strong outspoken stand for the Christian faith like @realDonaldTrump.
The "Christian faith" has (d)evolved over the last few decades to where it is now to so many, like Trump and Graham, based on racism, sexism and greed, not morality and honor. "Evangelical self-righteousness" lives on, just as it does for ISIS.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:28 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


A political consultant who helped Stormy with her possible campaign for governor back in 2009 has released screenshots of an email from back then that confirms the shark week and spanking stories.

@AndDube (Andrea Dubé)
9 years, y’all. NINE YEARS.

I have lived with the spanking/ shark week knowledge for ALMOST A DECADE. #stormydaniels #60minutes

Welcome to hell. 👋

SCREENSHOT
Yep. She said one time he made her sit with him for three hours watching "shark week." Another time he had her spank him with a Forbes magazine.
posted by chris24 at 6:32 PM on March 25 [51 favorites]


Breaking: Former Cambridge Analytica workers say firm sent foreigners to advise U.S. campaigns (WaPo)
Cambridge Analytica assigned dozens of non-U.S. citizens to provide campaign strategy and messaging advice to Republican candidates in 2014, according to three former workers for the data firm, even as an attorney warned executives to abide by U.S. laws limiting foreign involvement in elections.

The effort was designed to present the newly created company, whose parent, SCL Group, was based in London, as “an American brand” that would appeal to U.S. political clients, according to former Cambridge Analytica research director Christopher Wylie.

Wylie, who emerged this month as a whistleblower, provided The Washington Post with documents that describe a program across several U.S. states to win campaigns for Republicans using psychological profiling to reach voters with individually tailored messages. The documents include previously unreported details about the program, which was called “Project Ripon” for the Wisconsin town where the Republican Party was born in 1854.

U.S. election regulations say foreign nationals must not “directly or indirectly participate in the decision-making process” of a political campaign, although they can play lesser roles.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:34 PM on March 25 [35 favorites]


I find Nate Silver's argument here (ok it's less an argument than an assertion captain pedant) convincing. The media is all over this story because of the humiliating (to trump) salaciousness of it. They claim it's because of the campaign finance, threatening, blah blah blah, but they aren't spending nearly this much time on much more serious violations of law and ethics so that argument rings hollow.

Not to say that this isn't a story, only that the media isn't being honest about why they are running with it so hard.
posted by Justinian at 6:37 PM on March 25 [14 favorites]


@jamesgibney (Bloomberg)
When you consider the behavior Trump exhibited in the Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal episodes, the question shifts from "How could the Russians have kompromat on Trump?" to "How could the Russians NOT have kompromat on Trump?"
posted by chris24 at 6:37 PM on March 25 [77 favorites]


The "Christian faith" has evolved over the last few decades to where it is now to so many, like Trump and Graham, based on racism, sexism and greed, not morality and honor. "Evangelical self-righteousness" lives on, just as it does for ISIS.

Are there any conservative churches or denominations that renounce Trump?
posted by scalefree at 6:39 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


Who cares if they're covering it because it's salacious. It's the president of the United States, a man elected and supported primarily by a supposedly moral and righteous section of the electorate, a man trying to limit the rights of LGBT based on supposedly moral, biblical reasons. The sex part of it is a story regardless of the campaign finance issue.
posted by chris24 at 6:40 PM on March 25 [46 favorites]


Anderson Cooper: Did you ever see that person again?

Stormy Daniels: No. But I-- if I did, I would know it right away.

Anderson Cooper: You'd be able to-- you'd be able to recognize that person?

Stormy Daniels: 100%. Even now, all these years later. If he walked in this door right now, I would instantly know.


That part is interesting to me because I would not be surprised if "that person" is someone who is currently working for Trump. It would be a hell of a way for her to send a message.
posted by azpenguin at 6:59 PM on March 25 [52 favorites]


Yea, they forfeited the right to complain about salacious coverage years ago when they impeached Clinton over it. I want every last detail out. I want the uncensored Stormy DVD running on loop on CNN. I want the media doing the one thing they really know how to do here, play up sex scandals to the max. And ideally they'd have on every megachurch pastor in the country to answer for their congregation's votes for Trump, and every "family values" Republican should be asked about this repeatedly, in every interview, exactly like they did to Democrats in the 90s.

And as long as he's distracted over Stormy and who knows how many more will come after her, his attention is off of firing Mueller.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:00 PM on March 25 [55 favorites]


CBS: Why the Stormy Daniels story matters: Anderson Cooper talks about his 60 Minutes interview with the porn star: "I think there's more to come on this story."
SILVIO: And there were many tawdry details that you and the 60 Minutes team decided to leave out of this story.

COOPER: Yeah. Of course. I mean, yes. There are many, many tawdry details which we did not include in the story because it's just, you know, that's not our interest.
So we have these details to look forward to.
posted by chris24 at 7:01 PM on March 25 [23 favorites]


If it's not in your interest get goddamn Howard Stern on the line to do an interview
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:18 PM on March 25 [29 favorites]


The Hill:
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) raised questions on Sunday about whether President Trump's recently selected national security adviser, John Bolton, can obtain a full security clearance.

In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," Kaine expressed concern at what he suggested were Bolton's "contacts with foreign governments," notably in Russia, pointing to a 2013 video for a Russian gun rights group in which Bolton appeared.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:33 PM on March 25 [96 favorites]


Former Cambridge Analytica workers say firm sent foreigners to advise U.S. campaigns

I really hope Mueller has much more on Cambridge Analytica, and that the charges go beyond Nix to the Mercers.

In light of the recent dirt on the company showing disregard for law at the highest levels, the coincidence of the Mercer Yacht parked alongside that of Dmitry Rybolovlev a year ago down near Mar-a-Lago looks even fishier.

Especially when coupled with at least one other similar coincidence last year: after the Whitehouse said Trump would be at Mar-a-Lago for Thanksgiving, the yacht of another oligarch, Roman Abramovich (who was on the new sanctions list before Trump basically ignored it), showed up to Palm Beach just before Thanksgiving and a week ahead of it's scheduled arrival. The Mercer yacht was there again too.

Nothing criminal on the surface of course, but I really hope the FBI has been monitoring the Mercers throughout all this, or that someone with more dirt on them at least flips for Mueller.
posted by p3t3 at 7:44 PM on March 25 [28 favorites]


We've got to be cautious about the timing of tawdry details releases because people might be shorting the penis length betting market.
posted by XMLicious at 7:55 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]


Tomorrow's front page of the Daily News is brutal.
posted by chris24 at 8:44 PM on March 25 [32 favorites]


Here’s what’ll happen after Trump’s dick pic comes out:

1. Charlie Kirk argues small dicks are actually the best kind of dicks

2. Fox News says Hillary’s never shown a picture of her vagina what is she hiding

3. NYT interviews man in a rural diner who loves Trump even MORE now
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:53 PM on March 25 [77 favorites]


"(LAUGH) it was sort of-- I had it coming for making a bad decision for going to someone's room alone and I just heard the voice in my head, "well, you put yourself in a bad situation and bad things happen, so you deserve this."
(...)
Anderson Cooper: Did you want to have sex with him?
Stormy Daniels: No. But I didn't-- I didn't say no. I'm not a victim, I'm not--


who could find this this "salacious?" who is capable of being more bothered by any theoretical video than by this? who is not more viscerally upset by this than by any 'tawdry' theoretical dick pics? who does not know the exact experience she's recounting and assuming responsibility for, whether or not it's ever happened to you? raise your fucking hands
posted by queenofbithynia at 8:59 PM on March 25 [91 favorites]


@DavidJollyFL (Former FL R congressman and NeverTrumper)
Maybe not my place, but a woman who suggests she was not interested in having a relationship with a man but felt compelled to as self-punishment for the bad decision of going to his room may be the most important societal conversation to come from this @60Minutes interview.
posted by chris24 at 9:03 PM on March 25 [132 favorites]


A political consultant who helped Stormy with her possible campaign for governor back in 2009 has released screenshots of an email from back then that confirms the shark week and spanking stories.

whoa Andrea Dubé now has a followup tweet, with additional comments in the thread:
Here’s a story:

On July, 23, 2009, my friend’s car was blown up. On the *SAME NIGHT* my house almost burned down when the gas line mysteriously exploded.

We were both “campaign advisors” on #StormyDaniel’s possible Senate race against David Vitter. [video link to news coverage of car explosion]
posted by lalex at 9:34 PM on March 25 [67 favorites]


Matt Shuham, TPM: Lewandowski: ‘I Could See A Scenario’ In Which Trump Is His Own Chief Of Staff

Me, I could see a scenario where Trump pretends to be someone else being his Chief of Staff.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:40 PM on March 25 [39 favorites]


Maybe not my place, but a woman who suggests she was not interested in having a relationship with a man but felt compelled to as self-punishment for the bad decision of going to his room may be the most important societal conversation to come from this @60Minutes interview.

Women have been told that all of our lives. "If you didn't want it, why did you go/dress like that.." etc. To the point that so many of us, (including, apparently, Stormy) just totally internalize it. Stormy may do even moreso because she's a sex worker, and if there's anything people love, it's treating sex workers like they're less than human.

We need to protect Stormy and others like her by not letting jackasses make even one more snide remark about sex workers without encountering a fierce blowback. Stormy Daniels is smart, accomplished, brave and strong in the face of some pretty nasty people trying to keep her quiet. And if those traits aren't good enough to make of all the gross, disgusting men who would slut shame every woman into silence reconsider that tactic, then there truly is nothing else. And for some, that may be the case. But really, fuck them. I'm sick of them deciding how to frame everything. We write the stories now.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:42 PM on March 25 [77 favorites]


It's probably uncontroversial that the recently announced ban of transgender troops isn't meant as a distraction from Mueller or Daniels but is a blatant reminder to Trump's fundamentalist base as to why they should stick with him despite the incontrovertible fact that he is a liar and serial adulterer. Because, regardless of his sins, he's the guy who's going to stick it to the LGBTQs. (Just like jailing and deporting minorities is a reminder to the racist base.) But it occurs to me that the leak Pence is the one who drafted the policy might be a slight underhanded betrayal by the VP -- a below the radar pitch to the evangelicals that it'll still be okay if they dump Trump; Pence will still be their guy.
posted by xigxag at 9:43 PM on March 25 [14 favorites]


Dylan Matthews, Vox: Why the Stormy Daniels story matters, in one paragraph

Specifically:
This is about abuse of power, pure and simple, a point that Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, makes extremely well in his own interview with 60 Minutes’ Anderson Cooper:
Anderson Cooper: There are people who argue that this much ado about nothing, that if this was not a story about, an adult film actress and the President of the United States, no one would pay attention.

Michael Avenatti: This is about the cover-up. This is about the extent that Mr. Cohen and the president have gone to intimidate this woman, to silence her, to threaten her, and to put her under their thumb. It is thuggish behavior from people in power. And it has no place in American democracy.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:46 PM on March 25 [86 favorites]


But it occurs to me that the leak Pence is the one who drafted the policy might be a slight underhanded betrayal by the VP -- a below the radar pitch to the evangelicals that it'll still be okay if they dump Trump; Pence will still be their guy.

Could be, but that's a higher level of calculation than we have any reason to believe this administration is capable of.

I'm inclined to believe that they just throw Pence the occasional policy bone as a reward for his steadfast loyalty.
posted by mrmurbles at 9:49 PM on March 25 [12 favorites]


I wonder if Mattis leaked the Pence trans policy story since he was getting slammed for the new policy.
posted by chris24 at 10:33 PM on March 25 [12 favorites]


The other reason the Stormy Daniels matters is that Daniels is playing in Trump's domain. The manipulation of media for fame, the projection of an outsize personality onto the worlds' screens, and the constant attention grabbing. By the standards of reality tv she is an extremely potent player in the game. Trump will lash out in reaction to her and in doing he will commit more foolish acts that are likely to hurt him.

Not to mention if Michael Cohen gets hit with an indictment for campaign finance violations he might just flip.
posted by rdr at 11:57 PM on March 25 [7 favorites]


Lost in the Pelosi-Schumer criticisms is why the hell California (and therefore the rest of the US) still has to put up with Feinstein. California is solidly blue yet we can't seem to rid ourselves of this pol who really is and long has been out of touch with the electorate she is supposed to represent with things like this in an opinion piece from The Hill calling for no confirmation for Haspel:

Haspel should not be confirmed to head the CIA even if she is “a consummate professional,” as some CIA colleagues have described her, or “a good deputy director” this past year, as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said. It’s fine to weigh these positives when considering someone for a position, but they cannot possibly outweigh the negatives associated with a record that includes running a program that was illegal under both U.S. and international law.

Failing to promote her to head the CIA would not be punishment, as some have claimed. Despite this huge black mark, she already has ascended to great heights within the agency.

Some U.S. senators such as Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Heinrich (D-N.M.), have expressed their opposition to Haspel’s nomination. Others, such as Feinstein, are reserving judgment but demanding more information be made public about Haspel’s role in the program prior to her confirmation hearing.


How much more information does Feinstein need? One, she already knows Haspel was responsible for torture. Two, she ought to goddamn well know that as a D Senator she has no business casting a vote in support of any Trump nominee. Ever. Party discipline, dammit!

I'll admit I do not yet know much about her challenger de León, and the numbers look lopsided but he will likely get two chances: one in the primary and then again in the general because top two and no R in sight.

Paging, chrysostom, is this PPIC Polling meaningful yet?

Poll::::Date:::::::::::::Sample:::::MoE::::Feinstein (D)::::de Leon (D)::::Spread
PPIC 3/4 - 3/13::::::::931 LV:::::::4.5:::::42::::::::::::::::16:::::::::::Feinstein +26
PPIC 1/21 - 1/30:::::::1042 LV::::4.4 :::::46::::::::::::::::17:::::::::::Feinstein +29
PPIC 11/10 - 11/19::::1070 LV::::4.3 :::::45::::::::::::::::21:::::::::::Feinstein +24

Seems like there is a lot of potential growth for based on just initial lack of name recognition, and the GOP is nowhere so if anything happens between now and November?

PPIC A majority of likely voters (52%) have a favorable opinion of Feinstein (38% unfavorable). A majority also say they either have never heard of de León (45%) or don’t know enough about him to have an opinion (19%).
posted by Gotanda at 12:01 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


please don't tell trump one of his authoritarian mates has just managed to table (BrE meaning) an Anti-Fake News Bill [actualfax real] today in the Malaysian parliament.
posted by cendawanita at 12:20 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


NYT, At a Crucial Juncture, Trump’s Legal Defense Is Largely a One-Man Operation
The second phase, which is now focused on the question of a presidential interview with Mr. Mueller, had been led by Mr. Dowd. One reason Mr. Dowd quit was that, against his advice, Mr. Trump was insistent that he wanted to answer questions under oath from Mr. Mueller, believing that it would help clear him.

Mr. Dowd had concluded that there was no upside and that the president, who often does not tell the truth, could increase his legal exposure if his answers were not accurate.
@OrinKerr: This is a nice way of saying that Dowd left because his client plans to perjure himself.
posted by zachlipton at 12:26 AM on March 26 [72 favorites]


And censorious Singapore had its Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods – Causes, Consequences and Countermeasures grill Facebook, where they now can use the Cambridge Analytica news to build a case against these tech companies.

these countries are not great role models for freedom of speech anyway.
posted by cendawanita at 12:28 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]


NYT, At a Crucial Juncture, Trump’s Legal Defense Is Largely a One-Man Operation

Nobody has said it in this many words yet but it sounds like Ty Cobb, not the baseball one but the one famous for representing Trump and blabbing with Dowd about the case in front of a journalist in a big restaurant, was sidelined already?
posted by SakuraK at 12:38 AM on March 26


Ty Cobb is a White House lawyer, a government employee. He doesn't represent Trump personally. These clowns may not understand the distinction, but it's important.

I also imagine Cobb's credibility may have taken a hit because he kept insisting the investigation would end. His prediction back in August:
I’d be embarrassed if this is still haunting the White House by Thanksgiving and worse if it’s still haunting him by year end
A few indictments and guilty pleas later, it became "by the end of the year, if not shortly thereafter" and then "January or so" and then (in January) "four to six weeks."

I realize this kind of time estimating is Trump Administration SOP (cf. dragging Stormy Daniels along about a slot on The Apprentice, one of the aspects of this story that deserves more attention; that's pretty crappy behavior), but even Trump must be starting to doubt this guy by now.
posted by zachlipton at 12:48 AM on March 26 [10 favorites]


Trump’s Legal Team Is Bigger Than It Looks
President Donald Trump’s legal team is bigger than it looks. Two sources familiar with the president’s team have told The Daily Beast that about half a dozen attorneys affiliated with a conservative non-profit have been helping Jay Sekulow represent the president.
posted by PenDevil at 1:02 AM on March 26 [7 favorites]


Thanks, zachlipton - the fact that Ty Cobb the Lawyer worked for us and not for Trump was completely lost on me. I thought he was making those unrealistic predictions to soothe Trump; now I understand he was making them to soothe himself.
posted by SakuraK at 1:02 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]


So the ACLJ is a way for conservative billionaires to get Jay Sekulow's legal team to do work and get a tax deduction for it? Sounds legit.
posted by benzenedream at 1:32 AM on March 26 [11 favorites]


Lost in the Pelosi-Schumer criticisms is why the hell California (and therefore the rest of the US) still has to put up with Feinstein. California is solidly blue yet we can't seem to rid ourselves of this pol who really is and long has been out of touch with the electorate she is supposed to represent

A minor point of pedantry: given how quickly she walks back comments that get press, it's less 'out of touch' and more 'bad instincts'.

Anyway, the reason seems to be because she's wily as fuuuuuck - she was an important player in getting Trump to briefly agree to Democratic gun control positions over the objections of the Republicans in the room. If you can get a more blue D in there, go for it, but there are worse Ds.
posted by Merus at 1:45 AM on March 26 [11 favorites]


Two sources familiar with the president’s team have told The Daily Beast that about half a dozen attorneys affiliated with a conservative non-profit have been helping Jay Sekulow represent the president.

Couldn't this be viewed as a campaign contribution?
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:13 AM on March 26 [15 favorites]


@davidaxelrod:
Memo to Gen. Kelly:
Stormy Daniels reports that the @POTUS became more compliant after been spanked.
Desperate times demand desperate measures.
posted by chris24 at 3:36 AM on March 26 [75 favorites]


@trumpsalert: realDonaldTrump appears to be following @CNN. (This bot cannot tell if it was a new follow or the result of the account being reactivated.)

Somebody is trying out a new channel this morning?
posted by zachlipton at 4:15 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


about half a dozen attorneys affiliated with a conservative non-profit have been helping Jay Sekulow represent the president.

Hear that, Mueller? Not one, but SIX fucking morons totally out of their depth are gunning for you.
posted by Rykey at 4:27 AM on March 26 [33 favorites]


Somebody is trying out a new channel this morning?

I guess he wants to see how the Stormy story is playing on the Twitters. Outside of his RWNJ corner of it.

Also, another good thing to come out of the interview last night is the simple fact she did it. And on the biggest mainstream news show. Despite the NDA, despite physical, legal and financial threats she spoke out. I think a big part of why they fought so hard on this against her is to stop an avalanche of people coming forward.* Bannon in Fire and Fury said they did hundreds of these NDAs. Even if he's off by an order of magnitude that's a lot of women, lots of lurid stories, lots of distractions that will consume his presidency, end his marriage, erode his base.

Stormy and MacDougal are big cracks in the dam and very damaging on their own. But it's what it could lead to when the dam breaks that is the real danger for him. Because you know he paid for abortions.

* Another reason I think is that proof of infidelity invalidates the vast majority of pre-nups.
posted by chris24 at 4:27 AM on March 26 [27 favorites]


Weird that for someone who will pick a fight with anyone on Twitter when it comes to Stormy Daniels, El Presidente is shtum.
posted by PenDevil at 4:29 AM on March 26 [12 favorites]


He can't even brag/lie correctly. Yes, it has been many years that we've been seeing these good economic numbers, because you're riding Obama's wave. You meant "since we've seen these kind of numbers", Mr. I Have The Best Words.


@realDonaldTrump
The economy is looking really good. It has been many years that we have seen these kind of numbers. The underlying strength of companies has perhaps never been better.
posted by chris24 at 4:44 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


@mkraju (CNN)
Stormy lawyer @MichaelAvenatti says on @NewDay that “we have a whole host of evidence” that they will reveal over the “next weeks and months” to show Michael Cohen, with Trump’s knowledge, knew of efforts to silence and threaten her. “We’re just getting started.”

@CBSThisMorning
“Isn’t it interesting that we have a president that will tweet about the most mundane matters, but he won’t tweet about my client, the affair, the agreement or the $130,000 payment. You know why he won’t tweet about it? Because it’s true,” claims @MichaelAvenatti
VIDEO

@TODAYshow
“She was prepared to discuss intimate details relating to Mr. Trump. She can describe his genitalia.” Stormy Daniels' attorney Michael Avenatti on her latest interview
VIDEO

@ShimonPro (CNN)
Stormy Daniel’s lawyer @MichaelAvenatti refuses to say if Mueller’s office has contacted them.

CBS This Morning: Have you been contacted by federal investigators or the special counsel?

AVENATTI: I’m not going to answer that question.

---

@matthewjdowd (ABC)
A porn star hired a better attorney than the President has, or even can. Let that sink in for a moment.

@maggieNYT
Can't be stressed enough - he's a sitting president with personal wealth and few if any white shoe firms want to work for him.

@yashar (New York mag)
It really is quite remarkable. Law firms that go to great lengths to get clients like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, firms that represent people charged with murder, are refusing to represent the President of the United States..

---

"She can describe his genitalia."

I love the mindfuck, low-key threat of this line.
posted by chris24 at 5:05 AM on March 26 [107 favorites]


Another reason I think is that proof of infidelity invalidates the vast majority of pre-nups.

Given his very public history of what we might very politely term "dalliances," if Donald Trump's lawyers let him sign a prenup that didn't explicitly account for the possibility that he would stray from the marital bed, then they and he are idiots all. We already know that Trump doesn't get the best legal advice that would in potential be available to him, for reasons we've gone over at great length in these threads, but it's inconceeeeeeeivable to me that he wouldn't have backstopped himself against that specific eventuality.

(Of course, it was also inconceivable to me that every last safeguard against electing this dull-normal shitbird and hater of women President would fail. I'm not sure where that leaves us.)
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:13 AM on March 26 [11 favorites]


@yashar (New York mag)
It really is quite remarkable. Law firms that go to great lengths to get clients like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, firms that represent people charged with murder, are refusing to represent the President of the United States..


@truthiness2010
Replying to @yashar
They just have a few requirements: you tell them the truth, you follow their advice and you pay your bills. Can't see what the problem is myself.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:19 AM on March 26 [68 favorites]


if Donald Trump's lawyers let him sign a prenup that didn't explicitly account for the possibility that he would stray from the marital bed, then they and he are idiots all.
RON HOWARD: They and he are idiots all.
Trump's lawyers have never had to DEFEND any of their contracts in court, since up to know DJT has been able to settle his way out of everything. As we've seen by their lack of attention to details in the Daniels' NDA, there's no upper limit to them getting spanked by civil courts when they can't settle their way out for a change.
posted by mikelieman at 5:21 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


As with most Trump dalliances, it was short-lived.

@TrumpsAlert
realDonaldTrump appears to no longer follow @CNN. (This bot cannot tell if this was an unfollow, suspension or block.)
posted by chris24 at 5:23 AM on March 26 [10 favorites]




Please hurry on that one. It is so crushing to have my kid not want to apply for their "dream" schools due to financial burdens.
posted by mikepop at 6:16 AM on March 26 [10 favorites]


Well we just expelled 60 Russian diplomats in response to the Skripal poisoning.

Nothing from Two Scoops yet reveling in the triumph or the tough stance.
posted by Talez at 6:17 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]




Last week, the senior senator from Hawaii introduced the Debt-Free College Act of 2018...

Fuck yeah, don't play their bullshit "concerned about deficits" game.
So, eventually — barring the abolition of the filibuster — you’re gonna need a pay-for, right?:

A couple of things: First, this program is scalable, so we can make down payments and climb the hill to get all the way to where we want to go, eventually. And second of all, if there’s a conversation about revenue in the future, it’s not that I’m unwilling to negotiate. It’s just that Republicans are tactically skillful about never talking about paying for what they want, and Democrats are always very earnestly trying to satisfy the 13 people who are still doing Third Way work on K Street, and it’s a game that disadvantages Democrats, and I don’t want to play it anymore.
posted by chris24 at 6:18 AM on March 26 [95 favorites]


You know, one thing we need along with debt-free college is debt-relief for people who are already burdened. For various reasons which boil down to luck, I don't have college debt, so I don't have a dog in this fight - but I would sure love to see something which at least scales down payments to something rationally linked to income - if you're not making much, a $200/month "income linked" payment is still a lot, for instance.
posted by Frowner at 6:18 AM on March 26 [53 favorites]


Funnily enough, I scanned both the WaPo and NYT stories and they kind of missed something from the statement.

He shut the Seattle consulate down because it was too close to Boeing and a submarine base.

Even when he does the right thing he's a fucking idiot.
posted by Talez at 6:21 AM on March 26 [9 favorites]


Well, this has taken some time. I guess the procedure is: Kushner meets someone from the Russian side in a park and says we need to take action now, dad is getting cornered. Russian guy goes back to HQ and asks what can we give them? HQ says they can have Seattle and the UN, those are not really important these days, with most of the action being in Washington.
Russian guy gets back to Kushner who gets back to Trump and almost all are happy. Now Trump and all his hangers-on including republican congress can say "see: no collusion". The Russians can keep up whatever it is they are doing. We can just sigh and wait for Muellermas.
The end.
posted by mumimor at 6:25 AM on March 26 [16 favorites]


@NatashaBertrand: Big AP investigation finds that George Nader wired $2.5 million to Trump fundraiser Elliott Broidy through a company in Canada to bankroll an effort to persuade the U.S. to take a hard line against Qatar.
posted by Dashy at 6:33 AM on March 26 [39 favorites]


from the "doth protest too much department":

Cohen’s Lawyer Sends Stormy Daniels Cease And Desist After CBS Interview
Cohen’s lawyer, Brent Blakely, charged that Clifford made “false and defamatory statements” during the “60 Minutes” interview, specifically when she claimed that she was threatened in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011 not to discuss her relationship with Trump.

Blakely denied that Cohen has anything to do with the threat.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Clifford did not suggest that Cohen was behind the threat.
please cease and desist from making accusations that you did not make, says very not guilty man Michael Cohen.
posted by murphy slaw at 6:41 AM on March 26 [85 favorites]


You know, one thing we need along with debt-free college is debt-relief for people who are already burdened. For various reasons which boil down to luck

Jubilee Now!
posted by The Whelk at 6:47 AM on March 26 [38 favorites]


Despite porn stars and Playboy models, white evangelicals aren’t rejecting Trump. This is why. (Andrew L. Whitehead, Joseph O. Baker and Samuel L. Perry, WaPo)
Why are white Christians sticking so closely to Trump, despite these claims of sexual indiscretions? And why are religious individuals and groups that previously decried sexual impropriety among political leaders suddenly willing to give Trump a “mulligan” on his infidelity?

Our new study points to a different answer than others have offered. Voters’ religious tenets aren’t actually what’s behind Trump support; rather, it’s Christian nationalism — their view of the United States as a fundamentally Christian nation. […]

Many voters believed, and presumably still believe, that regardless of his personal piety (or lack thereof), President Trump would defend what they saw as the country’s Christian heritage — and would help move the nation toward a distinctly Christian future. Ironically, Christian nationalism is focused on preserving a perceived Christian identity for America irrespective of the means by which such a project would be achieved.

Hence many white Christians believe Trump may be an effective instrument in God’s plan for America, even if he is not particularly religious himself.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:45 AM on March 26 [39 favorites]


Absolutely nothing matters to these people whatsoever except hurting people not like them, and Trump does that for them.
posted by Artw at 7:47 AM on March 26 [67 favorites]


Given that "Shark Week" is a euphemism in some places for the menstrual period, I am slightly relieved to see that the references to Shark Week re: Stormy involve _actual sharks_.
posted by delfin at 7:48 AM on March 26 [12 favorites]


Voters’ religious tenets aren’t actually what’s behind Trump support; rather, it’s white Christian nationalism — their view of the United States as a fundamentally white Christian nation.

FTFY
posted by PenDevil at 7:50 AM on March 26 [48 favorites]


Hence many white Christians believe Trump may be an effective instrument in God’s plan for America, even if he is not particularly religious himself.

Ironically, the Trump regime makes some tenets of Christianity seem more believable, because I'm pretty certain Donald Trump is the foretold Antichrist.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:52 AM on March 26 [21 favorites]


Hence many white Christians believe Trump may be an effective instrument in God’s plan for America, even if he is not particularly religious himself.

See also: Why evangelicals are calling Trump a “modern-day Cyrus.” It's from March 5 (a few eons ago) but I've not seen it posted here. The fact is that Trump and his handlers/minions are really good at identifying and weaponizing narratives that are completly nonsensical for anyone outside the target group.
posted by elgilito at 7:52 AM on March 26 [7 favorites]


Some fundamentalists I know put everything on a balance scale and say the coming abortion ban will save hundreds of thousands of lives per year and who cares if the instrument to bring that to them is a sleazebag.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:53 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


I mean, it's pretty clear Christian conservatives haven't read the Constitution and are phenomenally unfamiliar with the Gospels, esp. the Gospel of Matthew, given how they pray loudly and publicly.

Oh, and unlike the figure they claim to follow, they failed Satan's temptation in Matthew 4.
posted by anem0ne at 7:54 AM on March 26 [39 favorites]


Our new study points to a different answer than others have offered. Voters’ religious tenets aren’t actually what’s behind Trump support; rather, it’s Christian nationalism — their view of the United States as a fundamentally Christian nation. […]

So, in other words, for these people, The Handmaid's Tale is a how-to manual, not a novel or TV series. I'm not afraid of martial law, because I don't think these people have the smarts to carry out any kind of coup (and besides, martial law is hard to implement; the Trumpkins can't just snap their fingers and say "coup!") but it's telling that this is their ideal.

Fortunately their numbers are diminishing - one-quarter of Americans say they are "not religious" (most are still spiritual, some are not).
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:54 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


When the Rpy Moore thing was happening it was revealed that the bulk of Evangelicals embrace and even celebrate paedophilia, so I don’t know why we would expect anything from them - they are a moral black hole.
posted by Artw at 7:55 AM on March 26 [28 favorites]


That AP story about George Nader and Elliot Broidy should be paired with this NYTimes story on Broidy’s influence peddling, Fund-Raiser Held Out Access to Trump as a Prize for Prospective Clients:
After Mr. Trump’s election, Mr. Broidy quickly capitalized, marketing his Trump connections to politicians and governments around the world, including some with unsavory records, according to interviews and documents obtained by The New York Times. Mr. Broidy suggested to clients and prospective customers of his Virginia-based defense contracting company, Circinus, that he could broker meetings with Mr. Trump, his administration and congressional allies.

Mr. Broidy’s ability to leverage his political connections to boost his business illuminates how Mr. Trump’s unorthodox approach to governing has spawned a new breed of access peddling in the swamp he vowed to drain.

Mr. Broidy offered tickets to V.I.P. inauguration events, including a candlelight dinner attended by Mr. Trump, to a Congolese strongman accused of funding a lavish lifestyle with public resources. He helped arrange a meeting with Republican senators and offered a trip to Mar-a-Lago, the president’s private Florida resort, for an Angolan politician. And he arranged an invitation to a party at Mr. Trump’s Washington hotel for a Romanian parliamentarian facing corruption charges, who posted a photograph with the president on Facebook.
posted by peeedro at 8:05 AM on March 26 [12 favorites]


[I know there's always fodder but let's try not to get deep into an nth round of Evidence That Evangelicals Stan Hypocritically For Trump -> free-form beefing about how much they suck. Like a lot of perennial catch-all topics, it's not a new conversation and not one we generally improve on when we cycle back around to the greatest hits.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:05 AM on March 26 [17 favorites]


I called my (evangelical) mother last night, and 60 minutes was on in the background. She mentioned Ms. Daniels specifically, and when I said I had no interest in hearing about it her response was "women care about these things". I didn't ask her to elaborate, but I hope and suspect that the constant drip-drip-drip of the Daniels news is having a cumulative effect on women like her.
posted by Slothrup at 8:07 AM on March 26 [33 favorites]


Megan Flynn, WaPo: ‘Mr. Santorum, CPR doesn’t work if all the blood is on the ground.’ Many doctors and surgeons expressed dismay at his statements via social media.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:25 AM on March 26 [80 favorites]


> Santorum argued that they should try to learn how to respond to a mass shooter as an individual rather than demanding large-scale change from lawmakers.

This is so (willfully?) stupid I'm at a loss for how to respond to it. Isn't "large-scale change" the whole point of "laws"? Is Santorum an anarchist? Does he think the bucket of rocks in every classroom "solution" is a communist plot because presumably the idea is to have more than one person throwing rocks?
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:35 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


Martial Law is quite as easy as a snap of the fingers, if America is as prepared as Canada was. Don't be so quick to dismiss the possibility.
posted by Yowser at 8:36 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


The horrifying personal threat made toward Daniels/Clifford in 2011 is too disturbingly real despite the mob-movie cliche aspect. A Twitter account called the Sparrow Project noted the parallel to this event, which happened in 2009 but wasn't made public until last year thanks to an FIOA request. “If You Keep Fucking With Mr. Trump, We Know Where You Live”.

Trump has goons, and one of them (we don't know who) called a lawyer named Kristopher Hansen with that threat (specifically mentioning his family). It happened after Hansen's clients had decided not buy the struggling Trump Entertainment Resorts. (Or declined to sell them to Trump, or something, the article didn't detail that part of it much.)

From his following/looming around Hillary at the town hall debate, to the interactions with Jim Comey, to the countless stories of other victims of Donald Trump... this is his pattern, his default mode. It's cruelty both for personal gain and for its own sake.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:40 AM on March 26 [33 favorites]


questions on Sunday about whether President Trump's recently selected national security adviser, John Bolton, can obtain a full security clearance.

If Kushner can help out with a Saudi coup and Qatari blockade with an interim clearance, Bolton can start a few wars before Kelly does anything about it. If Kelly is still even there.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:43 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]


[A few comments removed. Folks, please continue to try to not-so-much with one-liners; and if there's a discussion to be had about NYC housing there should be a thread about it because as much as it like everything else can be connected in a holistic sense to The State Of Things, these threads get all the more unwieldy when they're used as not just US politics catch-alls but literal "here is a thing that is up" catch-alls. Please keep it more focused.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:48 AM on March 26 [12 favorites]


‘Locker Room Talk’: Trump Fans Charged In Anti-Muslim Terror Plot Say It Was Just Bluster
WICHITA, Kansas ― A trio of anti-Muslim Kansas militiamen who discussed plans to murder Somali refugees were hoodwinked by fake news on Facebook and unfairly exploited by a federal government targeting them for their conservative beliefs, their defense attorneys argued this week.

“Locker room talk,” Federico said, echoing the phrase then-candidate Trump used to describe the “Access Hollywood” tape in which he discussed how he could sexually assault women and get away with it because he was famous.
White privilege y'all. Talking about murdering refugees is just locker room talk.
posted by Talez at 8:50 AM on March 26 [79 favorites]


Anna North, Vox: Stormy Daniels makes Donald Trump sound a lot like Harvey Weinstein
It’s true that Daniels has never claimed to be a victim of sexual misconduct. And on Sunday, she described her sexual encounter with Trump — she says there was only one, though the two stayed in touch afterward — as completely consensual. But what she described, both in that initial encounter and in a later meeting that didn’t end in sex, is still deeply disturbing.

Only Daniels can decide whether she feels personally violated by Trump’s behavior. But other Americans are certainly entitled to their opinions of Trump, and in Daniels’s telling, he’s a powerful man who tried to use promises of career advancement as a tool to convince a woman to sleep with him, then threatened and intimidated her to keep her quiet.

It’s long been possible to draw parallels between Trump and producer Harvey Weinstein, but in the wake of Daniels’s 60 Minutes interview and other recent revelations, those parallels look even clearer. And while Daniels said she does not feel she is part of the #MeToo narrative, Trump seems more part of it than ever.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:52 AM on March 26 [25 favorites]


In "a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on" news: WaPo's A fake photo of Emma González went viral on the far right, where Parkland teens are villains.

The animation bounced around conservative Twitter before it received a signal boost Saturday from actor Adam Baldwin.

He tweeted to a quarter of a million followers with a hashtag reading “#Vorwärts!” — the German word for “forward” and an apparent reference to the Hitler Youth, whose march song included the word.


...In case anyone needs any more confirmation.
posted by rp at 8:55 AM on March 26 [60 favorites]


TheBeat w/Ari Melber @TheBeatWithAri: "It's Monday and Trump currently has more lawyers working to silence women than he has on his Russia criminal defense team."

One problem, among many, that Trump appears to have created for himself is that by attempting to change legal horses in midstream, he's underestimated how many firms now have conflicts of interest because they're already representing other parties affected by Mueller's wide-ranging investigation.

Senior CNN writer Katelyn Polantz @kpolantz on the top "Reasons Why Big Law Firms Have Told Me They Won’t Rep Trump":
1 Already repping subjects in investigation
2 He’s a “difficult” client
3 Could hurt relationships w corporate clients
4 Could hurt associate recruiting
5 Key partner is “busy”
6 He attacked judge/rule of law
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:00 AM on March 26 [71 favorites]


Holy shit, I knew Baldwin was a far right shithead and Gamergator, but I didn't know he'd gone Full Nazi.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:00 AM on March 26 [39 favorites]


Neanwhile, back on the planet...

Trump, Lighthizer Reach Deal To Export Weak Standards, Pollution To South Korea (Sierra Club)

Today, the U.S. and South Korea reached an agreement “in principle” on the six-year-old U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) in which, among other things, South Korea has agreed to double the number of higher-polluting U.S. vehicles that may be imported each year without having to meet Korea’s stricter auto emissions standards. South Korea also agreed to consider the weaker U.S. standards when developing their 2021-2025 auto emissions standards.

Of immediate interest to groups such as us Brits, who are locked in super-secret trade deal negotiations with the US, South Koreans who may not want their local vehicle production put at a disadvantage, and, well, anyone who enjoys breathing.
posted by Devonian at 9:00 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


Bloomberg: North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un Visiting China, Sources Say
Kim Jong Un has made a surprise visit to Beijing on his first known trip outside North Korea since taking power in 2011, three people with knowledge of the visit said. Further details of the visit, including how long Kim would stay and who he would meet, were not immediately available.
It's hard to say what this means in isolation, but any step at all towards North Korea and its leadership being less isolated is probably a good step towards a lessening of tensions.
posted by cjelli at 9:00 AM on March 26 [13 favorites]


About the Baldwin / Hitler Youth thing: a line I've seen a few times from the far right is that the Parkland activists are like the Hitler Youth. Because they're young and politically active, and also that usual thing about Nazis and gun control. It's extremely dumb, but Baldwin wasn't explicitly going Nazi with that tweet.
posted by skymt at 9:10 AM on March 26 [12 favorites]


I'm not ready for this Monday morning onslaught, and it's afternoon already here.

We've had the Facebook / CambAnal (sorry) garbage fire upgraded to multi-dumpster fire status. The revelations of wrong and ethically dubious actions just keep piling up, and yes, this was Facebook's business model all along. And Google's, and Twitter wishes it had a business model like this. And then there's outright illegality: Cambridge Analytica sent foreigners to advise U.S. campaigns, former workers say.

There's transgender military ban 2.0, and Kelly is pointing to Pence's working group as the responsible party.

There's the actual formal expulsion of Russian diplomats in retaliation for the assassination of a former spy on UK soil. And the closure of the Seattle consulate?

There's the March for Our Lives, which is a real sign of hope in this whole sordid gun violence saga - Gun Marches Keep Republicans on Defense in Midterm Races.

And then there's Stormy - from upthread, Stormy with a Chance of Meatloaf. The low grade B-movie goon in a parking lot, the straight-up threats of "I could pick out the goon" and "I can describe his genitalia" - she is obviously very smart, but I hope to hell she's got round-the-clock protection. She obviously has better lawyers than the President of the United States, who has been playing lawyer Survivor. Apparently Karen McDougal and Summer Zervos have pretty good legal teams too.

So anyway, having looked at all this:

In astronomy, we can sometimes infer the presence of massive things by the gravitational pull they exert, even though they don't emit light. Trump's silence on Twitter about Stormy is one such thing. The absence of comment shows discipline from someone who has shown minimal capacity for discipline in any other area. There's something huge out there.

And then there's the supermassive black hole of the Special Counsel investigation - I don't know what the end game is there, but the brief moments where we have news coverage, a guilty plea or an indictment, and then silence again - something is coming, and I have to believe that something scary for Trump has to be good news for us and the country and the rest of the world. It's just - I'm not sure how much time we have left, so if we could hurry it along a tiny tiny bit here...

And to think, I started this comment by saying that I wasn't ready for this onslaught.
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:19 AM on March 26 [41 favorites]


Baldwin's "Vorwärts" is both Nazi-accusatory and surface-level Nazi. Like an Ann Coulter tweet, but with a smidge more plausible deniability. I'd shelve it with other dog whistles that are made to look like... dog hearing aids, or something. Another example would be Trump's racist use of the name "Pocahontas", which (unbelievably enough) is ostensibly about accusing someone of being anti-Native-American.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:21 AM on March 26 [20 favorites]


Martial Law is quite as easy as a snap of the fingers, if America is as prepared as Canada was. Don't be so quick to dismiss the possibility.

If you're thinking about the invocation of the war measures act in October 1970, I'd say that was a very different situation and applying martial law to a whole and vast country would be really difficult. It mostly affected Montreal, and even though we can see in retrospect that it was excessive, it wasn't that unpopular at the moment it was invoked due to unfolding events.

But I'm sure the armed forces down south are somewhat prepared for that, since they have to be prepared for almost anything.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 9:23 AM on March 26


Baldwin wasn't explicitly going Nazi with that tweet.
In the current atmosphere of "alternative facts", it's what I'm going with. ANYONE associating the March for Our Lives movement with Nazi Youth are themselves totally Nazi or totally Stalinist. Full stop.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:24 AM on March 26 [44 favorites]


Trump's racist use of the name "Pocahontas", which (unbelievably enough) is ostensibly about accusing someone of being anti-Native-American.

Speaking of that, the guy who popularized the term, Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr, got a Trumpian tongue bath last night (and then he returned the favor).
posted by adamg at 9:25 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]


Neanwhile, back on the planet...

Trump, Lighthizer Reach Deal To Export Weak Standards, Pollution To South Korea (Sierra Club)


Related -- Why Is China Treating North Carolina Like the Developing World? (Doug Bock Clark for Rolling Stone, March 19, 2018)
How lax regulation made it cheaper for China to outsource pork production – and all of its environmental and human costs – to the U.S.

In July 2013, Larry Pope, the CEO of Smithfield Foods, the largest pork producer in America, was called to testify before a U.S. Senate committee about the pending sale of his company to a Chinese conglomerate now known as WH Group. The $7.1 billion purchase, the largest-ever foreign takeover of its kind, had attracted concerns. The Chinese pork manufacturer had a checkered health record, allegedly feeding its hogs illegal chemicals, and Smithfield had a long history of environmental problems at its farms, including a $12 million fine for several thousand clean-water violations. But the worries did not stop there. The Chinese government had a track record of using nominally private entities as proxies for state power. "To have a Chinese food company controlling a major U.S. meat supplier, without shareholder accountability, is a bit concerning," said Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley. "A safe and sustainable food supply is critical to national security. How might this deal impact our national security?"
...
Today, Smithfield sends more than a quarter of its pork abroad, especially to China, which received nearly 300,000 tons in 2016. Part of what made the company such an attractive target is that it's about 50 percent cheaper to raise hogs in North Carolina than in China. This is due to less-expensive pig-feed prices and larger farms, but it's also because of loose business and environmental regulations, especially in red states, which have made the U.S. an increasingly attractive place for foreign companies to offshore costly and harmful business practices.
Emphasis mine, because we Americans need to be reminded that we aren't a pinnacle of health and human rights on our own terrain.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:28 AM on March 26 [81 favorites]


Baldwin's "Vorwärts" is both Nazi-accusatory and surface-level Nazi.

Yes, I'd wager that this reference was meaningless to 99% of the people who read it. Of the 1% who did get the reference, probably half are serious students of history while the other half are actual Nazis.

And I highly doubt very many serious students of history follow Adam fucking Baldwin on Twitter.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:41 AM on March 26 [28 favorites]


Trump's silence on Twitter about Stormy is one such thing. The absence of comment shows discipline from someone who has shown minimal capacity for discipline in any other area. There's something huge out there.

Someone on twitter pointed out last night that Trump's pattern is this: when someone make him angry, he tweets. When someone shames and embarrasses him, he doesn't respond. I'm not sure that is always the case, but it is an interesting thesis and speaks to what might be going on here; I don't expect that he's been muzzled effectively by anyone, because that has never worked in the past.
posted by nubs at 9:51 AM on March 26 [34 favorites]


Does it really matter when these clowns embrace the actual, literal verbiage of nazis? I think to some extent we've let people get a pass on the fact that they're embracing the evil and corrupt thinking of these historical monsters so long as they don't put on the outfit and say the words. Other than being sort of a frosting of these people can look at this happening in the past and think it's still okay it's pretty much the same thing if they just come to this fuckery by inventing it from first principles. Perhaps when we get bogged down in this is-it-or-not we're working the flip side of the coin where it's asserted someone isn't racist because they don't burn crosses or say "the n-word."

tl;dr: Baldwin has been a small-n nazi in public for years now in every policy and platform way that matters. Hiim deploying Third Reich wording represents, at best, a coat of paint.
posted by phearlez at 9:56 AM on March 26 [14 favorites]




Regarding trumps silence on stormy/last night - I think he deleted it since it doesn't appear on his feed any longer, but I both Quote tweeted and screencapped the following, posted at 6:33 am today:

"Because of the $700 & $716 Billion Dollars gotten to rebuild our Military, many jobs are created and our Military is again rich. Building a great Border Wall, with drugs (poison) and enemy combatants pouring into our Country, is all about National Defense. Build WALL through M!"

Definitely written by someone who isn't not angry.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:57 AM on March 26


drugs (poison) and enemy combatants pouring into our Country

According to post-2001 precedent, non-uniformed enemy combatants can be disappeared and tortured to death with impunity.

Pay attention to language. It lays the groundwork.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:01 AM on March 26 [79 favorites]


loose business and environmental regulations, especially in red states, which have made the U.S. an increasingly attractive place for foreign companies to offshore costly and harmful business practices

Isn't that why we sent all the manufacturing to China in the first place? The circle is now complete and holy shit that was fast eh?
posted by Meatbomb at 10:07 AM on March 26 [28 favorites]


Note that the "Wall through M" tweet was posted on the 25th, and is still up.

Couple of tweets today, but they look like somebody else wrote them.
posted by shenderson at 10:10 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]


Because of the $700 & $716 Billion Dollars gotten to rebuild our Military

Gotten? What the ever-loving hell is this? Not that I expect good grammar from him, but good lord. It's like how in comments about pop culture I see a lot of the use of phrasing such as "this movie got released on March 2" and I want to say "No, it was released."

Gotten. My god. I expect so little anymore, and boy do I get it.
posted by Servo5678 at 10:25 AM on March 26 [7 favorites]


Anyone who eats, drinks or breathes in North Carolina knows all about Smithfield's (and companies like Smithfield's) waste lagoons, whether from pigs or poultry.

Think about those the next time a hurricane brings flooding to the state.
posted by delfin at 10:25 AM on March 26 [16 favorites]


Sorry, what’s wrong with gotten? Garner’s Modern English Usage says it’s a totally standard American form.
posted by stopgap at 10:30 AM on March 26 [10 favorites]


Mitch McConnell, of all people, introduces legislation to remove hemp from the controlled-substance list.
posted by hanov3r at 10:30 AM on March 26 [9 favorites]


Sorry, what’s wrong with gotten? Garner’s Modern English Usage says it’s a totally standard American form.

Seriously? Then I apologize and retract my gripe. In elementary school back in the 1980s, "gotten" was drilled into us as wrong, wrong, wrong and it's stuck ever since.
posted by Servo5678 at 10:31 AM on March 26 [6 favorites]


Build WALL through M!

Instructions unclear; built wall through Montana. Please advise.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:32 AM on March 26 [46 favorites]


Sorry, what’s wrong with gotten? Garner’s Modern English Usage says it’s a totally standard American form.

It tends to crack up my British friends, who do not have that word in their vocabularies. But it's perfectly correct in American english.
posted by holborne at 10:33 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


In the context of trump talking money, gotten is always appropriate but only if prefixed by ill-.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:35 AM on March 26 [44 favorites]


Mitch McConnell, of all people, introduces legislation to remove hemp from the controlled-substance list.

Did he just get a bunch of shares in a rope company or something?
posted by Artw at 10:37 AM on March 26 [23 favorites]


The security firm UpGuard claims to have discovered a large code repository originating from AggregateIQ, a Canadian political data firm active in the 2016 US presidential race, was left publicly downloadable online. It reveals the inner workings of microtargeting systems like those of Cambridge Analytica. They posted part 1 of their analysis this morning.

In this first installment of “The AIQ Files,” we take a closer look at the suite of political data and microtargeting tools possessed by AggregateIQ and exposed in this data repository - in turn revealing the inner workings of the kind of influencing prowess in which Cambridge Analytica claimed expertise, to the campaigns of customers like Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and Donald Trump.

posted by StrawberryPie at 10:41 AM on March 26 [27 favorites]


This is the second time I've run into somebody with a horror of forms of "get." I don't understand what's wrong with it, but it's definitely being taught in primary schools somewhere that "get" is the new "ain't." If it's "get" in all its permutations, then fine: you're like that person. But if it's just "gotten" you were taught was wrong? Naw: "We didn't get drunk, we got just shy of drunk, we should have gotten more beer, then we could've gotten drunk." Unless you sub a whole other word, what's right to use instead of "gotten" in that last two? "Then we could have achieved a state of inebriation."

"Money acquired to build a wall" would probably be too hifalutin for his base.

For me the problematic word is "through." Even if he means Mexico not Montana, if he's demanding a wall through it, that's new. Is he admitting we stole TX?
posted by Don Pepino at 10:44 AM on March 26 [7 favorites]


Instructions unclear; built wall through Montana. Please advise.

I think he meant we should hire Judy Dench and Ralph Fiennes to build it.
posted by cmfletcher at 10:52 AM on March 26 [12 favorites]


I (American) remember reacting to a line in Harry Potter with "Why did Dumbledore just say 'have got' when 'have gotten' would more correct? That's surprisingly colloquial for a scholarly character". And now today I learned the word is an archaism mostly gone from Britain but not the USA or Canada.

Trump's "M" isn't short for Mexico, but "Military" (in turn short for "military funding", i.e the bogus idea that the omnibus bill's military funding can partly be routed into the wall). He likes to abbreviate not-normally-abbreviated words when they occur close to the end of a tweet (to stay under the character limit, I assume). Of course this makes reading them all the more confusing, although his Strange Capitalization sort of helps to figure out which Word he had in mind. My bet is he doesn't know how to use the cursor at all, so that's his lazy alternative to pressing "delete" a whole bunch of times and rewriting the whole T.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:53 AM on March 26 [10 favorites]


tfw you leave a git server open and someone finds the tools you wrote for the election.

Looks like they're finding more and more of the threads.
posted by Talez at 10:55 AM on March 26 [28 favorites]


"Gotten" has the following approved usage:

"After just two years, national hero and Congressional candidate Stephanie Clifford has now gotten more money from book deals and speaking engagements than she was forced to pay in penalties after revealing the images that brought a swift end to the Trump presidency."
posted by gurple at 10:56 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


W used "has-got" frequently.

And he still has a bad case of the Has-Gots.

This lurked in my brain for 12 years!
posted by andreap at 10:57 AM on March 26


[Folks, I think we've gotten as much out of this linguistic sidebar as we're gonna.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:00 AM on March 26 [95 favorites]


I get what you did there
posted by phearlez at 11:02 AM on March 26 [20 favorites]


This is a bad universe.

Vanity Fair: Gird Yourself: A Description of the Presidential Loins Seems Nigh
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:03 AM on March 26 [16 favorites]


I’ve a bit of a track record when it comes to telling about people not voting in the midterms. I don’t think it’ll be a problem this year.

My daughter and I attended the March for Our Lives here in Indianapolis -- where marchers stood in line for hours in six inches of snow in order to get into the State House, where the protest was held -- and many of her friends, of high school and college age, were talking about how they couldn't wait to be able to vote. There were many people passing out voter registration forms.

In astronomy, we can sometimes infer the presence of massive things by the gravitational pull they exert, even though they don't emit light. Trump's silence on Twitter about Stormy is one such thing. The absence of comment shows discipline from someone who has shown minimal capacity for discipline in any other area. There's something huge out there.

Josh Marshall has used this analogy since the beginning of the Trump/Russia scandal to point out that all the behavior on the Trump side suggests that there is something there, and it's terrible.
posted by Gelatin at 11:04 AM on March 26 [29 favorites]




Justice Dept. Revives Push to Mandate a Way to Unlock Phones (Charlie Savage for NYT, March 24, 2018)
Federal law enforcement officials are renewing a push for a legal mandate that tech companies build tools into smartphones and other devices that would allow access to encrypted data in criminal investigations.

F.B.I. and Justice Department officials have been quietly meeting with security researchers who have been working on approaches to provide such “extraordinary access” to encrypted devices, according to people familiar with the talks.

Based on that research, Justice Department officials are convinced that mechanisms allowing access to the data can be engineered without intolerably weakening the devices’ security against hacking.
...
A National Academy of Sciences committee completed an 18-month study of the encryption debate, publishing a report last month. While it largely described challenges to solving the problem, one section cited presentations by several technologists who are developing potential approaches.

They included Ray Ozzie, a former chief software architect at Microsoft; Stefan Savage, a computer science professor at the University of California, San Diego; and Ernie Brickell, a former chief security officer at Intel.
Found via Ars Technica, which has some extended coverage: Feds pushing new plan for encrypted mobile device unlocks via court order -- "Weakening security makes no sense," top Apple VP tells Ars. (Cyrus Farivar)
"[The] proposed encryption schemes are not considered ready for deployment until they have undergone careful scrutiny by experts regarding their effectiveness, scalability, and security risks and been subject to real-world testing at realistic scale in the relevant contexts," the report concluded.
...
Several lawyers and computer scientists reiterated to Ars that creating such a system and compelling companies to implement it could potentially be fraught with numerous problems, both legal and technical.

"A hardware-based backdoor would shift the burden onto smartphone users to go through extra inconvenience in order to secure their information," Stanford University legal fellow Riana Pfefferkorn told Ars by email. Pfefferkorn recently wrote a paper on the subject.

"The result would be that careful criminals would be more scrupulous about using app-level encryption, but unsophisticated criminals—and innocent everyday smartphone owners—probably wouldn't do a perfect job of it," elaborated Pfefferkorn. "That seems to be good enough for law enforcement, though."

A seemingly similar proposal, known as "key escrow," was first proposed under the Clinton administration in the 1990s, when mobile devices and encryption itself were far less sophisticated. The basic premise was that computers containing a special "Clipper Chip" would give the government access to devices when needed. Federal authorities would incentivize inclusion of the chips in commercial devices by requiring them in order for companies to do business with the government. However, under scrutiny, the underlying tech failed and the plan was essentially dead on arrival.
Maybe someone could whisper to Trump (or state on TV) that "this was Clinton's idea"and get him to torpedo this line of inquiry.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:29 AM on March 26 [12 favorites]


Cuomo goes to black church, says Jews can’t dance

Next up: Jewish dance-off in Albany.
posted by zarq at 11:29 AM on March 26 [12 favorites]


Maybe someone could whisper to Trump (or state on TV) that "this was Clinton's idea"and get him to torpedo this line of inquiry.

Clipper was indeed a Clinton-era thing, though WJ not HR.

Mostly I find that being in my late-40s means a lot less righteous anger. Or at least it did. Now we're having this same stupid fucking discussion again, twenty-five years later. Our populace is more invested in technology now but they're also more pants-wetting about terrorism, even as they get in their cars and die in wrecks in numbers that pale in comparison, threat-wise. I have no idea whether we'll win this one again.
posted by phearlez at 11:35 AM on March 26 [12 favorites]


My daughter and I attended the March for Our Lives here in Indianapolis -- where marchers stood in line for hours in six inches of snow in order to get into the State House, where the protest was held -- and many of her friends, of high school and college age, were talking about how they couldn't wait to be able to vote. There were many people passing out voter registration forms.

I attended the MfOL in NYC Saturday and was immediately swarmed by at least a couple dozen folks directly above the Columbus Circle subway station with voter registration forms, clip-boards, coordinated t shirts and in a couple cases very large signs being worn on backpack contraptions.

At some point during the march we passed yet more voter registration volunteers and when they asked a young woman in front of us carrying a large, glittery gold sign saying "Guns have fewer regulations than my vagina" if she was registered to vote yet she replied wistfully "not yet" which is when I realized that she and her friend marching in front of us were maybe all of 15.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:36 AM on March 26 [39 favorites]


Republican operative Arthur Schwartz, a Jewish, pro-Israel activist, wasn’t amused by Cuomo’s shtick.

“The governor should focus more on governing and less on Jew jokes,” he fumed.


Please make me agree less with Republican operatives, Cuomo.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:36 AM on March 26 [9 favorites]


tfw you leave a git server open and someone finds the tools you wrote for the election.

Abramson has a better interpretation of what that github leak means.

"The allegation here appears to be—and again, I wish Gizmodo or anyone else had a clue how to report this story clearly—that Trump's digital marketing campaign was illegally funded through in-kind contributions by foreign entities, including intellectual property and software."
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:40 AM on March 26 [52 favorites]


Let's not overlook that the setup for Cuomo's joke was "Man, do you black people know how to dance!"
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:41 AM on March 26 [18 favorites]


Stormy Daniels’s Boring Interview Was Actually Brilliant Once again, she proves she’s a worthy adversary for Trump (Rhonda Garelick | NY Mag)
Last night’s 60 Minutes interview with Stormy Daniels set off so few fireworks, with so little new information, that it would be tempting to dismiss its importance. As Slate put it, “If you were hoping for a TV event that would do serious damage to the Trump presidency … [it] was a let down.” Let’s not be hasty here, though. Buried within the interview’s vanilla blandness lay some lessons worth pondering — if we want to save our republic. But the important parts were easy to miss.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:44 AM on March 26 [18 favorites]


While it largely described challenges to solving the problem, one section cited presentations by several technologists who are developing potential approaches.

They included Ray Ozzie, a former chief software architect at Microsoft; Stefan Savage, a computer science professor at the University of California, San Diego; and Ernie Brickell, a former chief security officer at Intel.


Hilariously, cryptographer Steven M. Bellovin says one of the three proposals for "exceptional access" has already been broken.
posted by RichardP at 11:48 AM on March 26 [7 favorites]


just a small point of pedantry: gitlab != github.

both are independent companies from each other using the same repository system, git.
posted by anem0ne at 11:55 AM on March 26 [11 favorites]


So Ryan Zinke, among other issues, thinks diversity isn't important (and appears to think that diversity means not getting good people). During his 2017 reorganization, 40% of the senior staff who were reassigned were minorities or women.
posted by suelac at 11:56 AM on March 26 [17 favorites]


So Daniels's lawyer has teased further evidence for weeks, and how does the White House respond to the 60 Minutes interview?
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said on Monday that President Donald Trump does not believe porn actress Stormy Daniels’ claim in a “60 Minutes” interview that she was threatened in 2011 not to share the details of her alleged relationship with Trump.

“The president doesn’t believe any of the claims that Ms Daniels made last night in the interview are accurate,” Shah said in the daily press briefing when asked about the alleged threat made against Daniels.

Asked for the basis of Trump’s belief, Shah said that “there’s nothing to corroborate her claim.”
Shah then stated "If Ms. Clifford has further evidence, why doesn't she show it? Is she chicken? Bwuck bwuck chickennn!" [FAKE]
posted by murphy slaw at 11:57 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


The piece on UpGuard's site sure reads more like a pitch for whatever their services are, rather than a report on possible damning evidence of treason against a sitting president.
posted by runcibleshaw at 11:57 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Yeah, sorry, gitlab. My typo entirely.
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:58 AM on March 26


Suburban voters angry with Trump threaten GOP grip on House (Kari Lydersen, Michael Scherer | WaPo)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:00 PM on March 26 [8 favorites]


Claiming Executive Privilege To Avoid Mueller Could Backfire For Trump (Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux | FiveThirtyEight)
Will President Trump sit down for a one-on-one interview with special counsel Robert Mueller? It might be more likely after the president’s lead lawyer on the Russia investigation resigned last week. The lawyer, John Dowd, had reportedly advised the president against such a move, and now he’s out.

If Trump does talk to Mueller, there’s a possibility that he could invoke executive privilege to try to avoid answering some of the special counsel’s questions. That would be the first formal invocation of executive privilege in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, although legal experts say Trump is already expanding the power by instructing or allowing aides to refuse to answer questions in congressional testimony in case he wants to claim it later. The power of executive privilege isn’t unlimited. But because the courts and Congress have never established firm boundaries around it, any invocation of executive privilege in this context, whether formal or informal, could lead to a legal showdown in the courts if Congress or Mueller decided to challenge him — and it could also have serious political ramifications.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:09 PM on March 26 [4 favorites]


> tfw you leave a git server open and someone finds the tools you wrote for the election.


It is so weird seeing tools that are in my tech circle publishing this sort of thing. If I run into the researcher from UpGuard at a meet up, I owe them a beverage or three.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:13 PM on March 26 [6 favorites]


NPR added a detail I hadn't seen in regard to the surprise omnibus bill and Trump's veto threat - emphasis mine:
But less than four hours later Trump summoned the cameras to explain why he had gone ahead and signed the bill after all — with no changes. It turned out he had done the signing earlier, shortly after sending that veto threat via tweet.

Many of the president's most ardent supporters were taken by surprise. Not a few felt betrayed.

("Stabbing me in the back!" shouted Rush Limbaugh from atop the conservative talk radio world as he watched the president's news avail. Limbaugh had assured listeners the day before that Trump could not and would not sign the spending bill. )
Not sure why that's in parenthesis, but I'll celebrate any circular firing squads on the right. Maybe the left can give them some pointers in this.

Oh, and FUCK YOU NPR for turning this into an other case of "both sides":
Does Congress really vote on big important bills without reading them?

Short answer: Yes, it does so routinely, and for several reasons. First, ask yourself, when was the last time you read anything 2,200 pages long?
...
Back in 2009, one of the Senate Democrats fashioning what became Obamacare had to admit he had not read all the "statutory language" it contained. Some of his constituents were outraged, but the senator said such objections were misplaced. Just before Christmas last year, it was the Democrats protesting the rapid sequence of rollout-to-roll call for the Republican tax cut bill.
One of the Senate Democrats not reading Obamacare after months of public debates after releasing a 1,000-page plan for public review for overhauling the health care system equals having to vote on hand-written notes in the Tax Bill. I was pissed off enough to contact the Ombudsman and call them on this weak "but both sides!" BS.

But the article did highlight some more good points to note:
3. Why is the bill so all-encompassing and the bottom line so enormous?

[First, this is a bill to fund the entire government, except for Social Security, military and other pensions, and the interest payments on the national debt, and that's always a huge cost.]

The bottom line in dollars was a mind-boggling record, in part because President Trump demanded and got the biggest increase in defense spending in 15 years. Also escalating the price tag was the Democrats' insistence on rough parity for spending increases for domestic programs as well.
This is the type of "both sides" that I can accept - when it's accurate.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:15 PM on March 26 [46 favorites]


legal experts say Trump is already expanding the power by instructing or allowing aides to refuse to answer questions in congressional testimony in case he wants to claim it later.

It's probably fair to say that, stupidly, the Republican Congress is aiding and abetting Trump in expanding executive privilege by letting his people get away with their odious "we aren't claiming executive privilege, but I am refusing to answer anyway" claims.

But as with Mueller, this dodge has a short shelf life. Matters will likely be quite different under a Democratic Congress. Which may (tttcs) not be that far in the future.
posted by Gelatin at 12:16 PM on March 26 [6 favorites]


“The president doesn’t believe any of the claims that Ms Daniels made last night in the interview are accurate,” Shah said in the daily press briefing when asked about the alleged threat made against Daniels.

This is a really, really stupid tactic if she does have evidence. She'll probably never be able to prove being threatened (no eyewitnesses, etc.,) but "I don't remember having an affair with that woman" is an unbelievably bad idea for a guy who not only claims to be the smarter than anyone else but also once said that he has "one of the great memories of all time."

Maybe he'll sing Shaggy's 'It Wasn't Me" at a press conference.
posted by zarq at 12:25 PM on March 26 [10 favorites]


They could easily have refused to offer specific comment due to it being an ongoing legal matter, and even subtly questioned her veracity, but to state that none of her claims are accurate seems like setting up a chain of future self-owns that keeps on giving.

You'd think that a guy who has been philandering and covering it up for 40+ years would have developed some skill at it.
posted by murphy slaw at 12:30 PM on March 26 [7 favorites]


Maybe he'll sing Shaggy's 'It Wasn't Me" at a press conference.

Late night TV beat him to it.
posted by Talez at 12:32 PM on March 26 [10 favorites]


See also: Why evangelicals are calling Trump a “modern-day Cyrus.” It's from March 5 (a few eons ago) but I've not seen it posted here. The fact is that Trump and his handlers/minions are really good at identifying and weaponizing narratives that are completly nonsensical for anyone outside the target group.

Quick, someone tell them Cyrus was Iranian, and watch their heads explode.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:36 PM on March 26 [19 favorites]


You'd think that a guy who has been philandering and covering it up for 40+ years would have developed some skill at it.

He's never had to, beyond chucking a few thousand bucks in the direction of whomever he wanted to shut up and bullying them into a signing a garbage NDA. This has always been enough, because until recently he was nobody special: just one more gross old rich dude among dozens. But now that he's slimed his way, with the aid of foreign agents and home-grown Nazis, into the most prominent public office in the nation, he's painted a great big target on his own back. I wonder if he briefly realized this on election night, and that's why he looked so stricken.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:38 PM on March 26 [38 favorites]


"…Others, such as Feinstein, are reserving judgment but demanding more information be made public about Haspel’s role in the program prior to her confirmation hearing."

Gotanda: How much more information does Feinstein need? One, she already knows Haspel was responsible for torture. Two, she ought to goddamn well know that as a D Senator she has no business casting a vote in support of any Trump nominee. Ever. Party discipline, dammit!

Who knows what Feinstein's actually going to do, and she may have burned through a bunch of benefit-of-the-doubt already, but a possible non-negative explanation for her actions could be not intending to vote for Haspel, but holding out the (false) possibility of that to get more details of Haspel's actions on the record and publicized.
posted by JiBB at 12:50 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


Can somebody help me understand the difference between the AggregateIQ/GitLab story, and this Cambridge Analytica/GitHub story from last year?

I mean, Cambridge Analytica is a (slightly?) different entity than AggregateIQ, and GitLab is a different entity than GitHub. But what is different about the code that was exposed?

Also... When I first read that story from last year, I just assumed Cambridge Analytica made that code available so that people at the Internet Research Agency could download and use it. I mean... Why is that not the assumption that everyone is leaping to with this new story?

Disclaimer -- I'm at work and haven't had the time to try to read the new report yet and fit it into my own understanding. Hoping someone can make it easier for me when I do get to it, which might not be for a couple of days, because Life.
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:50 PM on March 26


The problem isn't the "boner pills" it's that something that is not very crucial but only used by people with dicks is always covered but other types of crucial health care aren't- It shows an extreme bias in health care both military and civilian.

posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:43 AM on March 24 [60 favorites +] [!]


I believe erectile dysfunction is dismissed too easily here. I suspect a large proportion of medication for the condition is used recreationally, which may be the reason for dismissal, but that doesn't diminish the real pain that men who can no longer function sexually with their partners face. It is core to their sexual identities, and may be just as painful as having a body out of step with one's internal sexual identity. It is not necessary to disparage medication for erectile dysfunction in order to criticize strongly the military's or even society's mistreatment of transgender people. I believe that empathy for everyone equally is not only the morally correct stance, but it sells much better politically.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:08 PM on March 26 [24 favorites]


Can somebody help me understand the difference between the AggregateIQ/GitLab story, and this Cambridge Analytica/GitHub story from last year?

The last-year story is just about one tool, which looks to just go through the Twitter stream and find people mentioning $candidate + $ideaword (gun-control, taxes, etc.). I swear, I just had an epiphany that "sentiment analysis" is just finding people who mention two things (or more, in larger shops, I imagine). CA's defense on this was "that API key wasn't even registered to us!" but they could just as easily had their underlings register for their own API keys (probably to avoid going over usage limits).

Today's story is about more stuff. The things that the script above fed its cleaned-up data.
posted by rhizome at 1:10 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]


I mean, Cambridge Analytica is a (slightly?) different entity than AggregateIQ, and GitLab is a different entity than GitHub. But what is different about the code that was exposed?

The earlier CA exposure looked like a pretty small-scale twitter scraper/analyzer maybe even suitable for interactive use (albeit via CLI). The AIQ leak shows ambitions for a much larger data warehouse project, though I haven't had time to look and see if that's what it really became.
posted by Jpfed at 1:12 PM on March 26


This is due to less-expensive pig-feed prices and larger farms, but it's also because of loose business and environmental regulations, especially in red states, which have made the U.S. an increasingly attractive place for foreign companies to offshore costly and harmful business practices.
Emphasis mine, because we Americans need to be reminded that we aren't a pinnacle of health and human rights on our own terrain.

posted by filthy light thief at 9:28 AM on March 26 [46 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


I drive through Duplin, Pender, and Onslow counties to get to my in-laws' home on the beach. This is where the brilliant hog farmers of North Carolina figured out that they could aerosolize pig waste, spraying it into the air to let the wind dissipate it. (NB: that article also details the story of one decent farmer who developed alternative methods of disposal when he realized how much he was harming his neighbors.) Those areas smell bad all the time and it is just another example of right-wing politicians allowing private businesses to socialize costs. Turns out they are also helping to keep China's air cleaner than it would be otherwise.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:20 PM on March 26 [38 favorites]


Tech-health companies stepping in where local services have been restricted or shuttered: Birth Control Apps Find A Big Market In 'Contraception Deserts' (NPR, March 26, 2018)

It's a piece looking at app-centric remote access healthcare providers that offer birth control pills or patches, or even rings, after an "online doctor visit," with delivery to your doorstep or a local pharmacy, focusing on NURX birth control provider (Available in CA, NY, DC, WA, IL, PA, VA, FL, IN, MI, MA, MN, NJ, MO, NC, OH, CO and TX), with links to Lemonaid Health (Same Day Online Doctor Visits to answer questions and potentially provide treatment services, sending medication/ patches/ rings to your local pharmacy, Available in AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, IL, MD, MI, MO, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, VA, and WA. "Other states coming soon.") and Maven Clinic ("healthcare designed exclusively for women," no obvious mention of where their services are available).

This is good, in light of the reality of Contraception deserts, before we get to Healthcare For Everyone, Everywhere.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:24 PM on March 26 [37 favorites]


Intercept: ICE Uses Facebook Data to Find and Track Immigrants, Internal Emails Show

In the(/case of a) future, Facebook will have to undergo denazification. And of course Thiel's Palantir appears as an evil garnish:

“I am going to see if our Palantir guy is here to dump the Western Union info in there since I know there is a way to triangulate the area he’s sending money from and narrow down time of day etc,” responded Jen Miller, an ICE agent on the email thread.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:29 PM on March 26 [18 favorites]


I swear, I just had an epiphany that "sentiment analysis" is just finding people who mention two things (or more, in larger shops, I imagine).

Sometimes, but not always. I've worked alongside people using much more sophisticated sentiment analysis tools, but the approach you use depends a lot on how much data you have available. If you're analyzing all of Twitter, just using the simplest possible approach is fine, because even if 95% of the sentiments people express are too subtle to detect, the remaining 5% will be more than enough for a lot of purposes. In other scenarios (e.g. law enforcement looking to find people who express sympathy with terrorist groups) missing 95% of what you're looking for is considered unacceptable.

(I'm not saying that's a good application of sentiment analysis, just that it's a realistic scenario where someone would pay researchers to develop the necessary techniques.)
posted by shponglespore at 1:29 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Sure, I appreciate that distinction, and I'm sure in some cases the code is doing its own inference of the terms used, but for this they're really just searching for preset terms. "What are some 'Hillary good' words? What are some 'Hillary bad' words? OK, let's roll." This is to say, "sentiment analysis" isn't figuring out what categories the things people say fit into, it's building the categories and finding people/utterances that fit them. The sentiments being prebuilt is the difference. Kind of a fancy survey, really.
posted by rhizome at 1:34 PM on March 26


Mental Wimp: Turns out they are also helping to keep China's air cleaner than it would be otherwise.

I've been meaning to put together something on this, but it's been a while, so here's a few links about China's decision to stop taking foreign waste:

China to U.S.: Please stop sending us your junk (Jacopo Prisco for CNN Money, September 11, 2017)
For decades, shipping containers have been loaded with American scrap and waste and dispatched to China for recycling.

It's a $5 billion annual business that is now in danger of sinking.

Beijing notified the World Trade Organization in July that it plans to ban the import of 24 varieties of solid waste, including types of plastic and unsorted paper commonly sent from the U.S.

China said that the ban would take effect from September, giving American companies little time to prepare. ISRI estimates that roughly a fifth of the trade is at risk.

The announcement has made U.S. recyclers that trade with China very nervous.

"In the short term we're going to see a significant drop of exports from the U.S. into China, and there is a little bit of panic in the market," said Adina Adler, an official at the U.S. Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).

"We respect what the Chinese government is trying to do ... and we want to be helpful, but they gave us practically no time for any kind of transition," said Adler.

Recycling Chaos In U.S. As China Bans 'Foreign Waste'
(NPR, December 9, 2017)
Like many Portland residents, Satish and Arlene Palshikar are serious recyclers. Their house is coated with recycled bluish-white paint. They recycle their rainwater, compost their food waste and carefully separate the paper and plastic they toss out. But recently, after loading up their Prius and driving to a sorting facility, they got a shock.

"The fellow said we don't take plastic anymore," Satish says. "It should go in the trash."

The facility had been shipping its plastic to China, but suddenly that was no longer possible.
Plastics Pile Up as China Refuses to Take the West’s Recycling (Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura for New York Times, Jan. 11, 2018)
Ever since China announced last year that it no longer wanted to be the “world’s garbage dump,” recycling about half of the globe’s plastics and paper products, Western nations have been puzzling over what to do when the ban went into effect, which it did on Jan. 1.

The answer, to date, in Britain at least, is nothing. At least one waste disposal site in London is already seeing a buildup of plastic recyclables and has had to pay to have some of it removed.

Similar backups have been reported in Canada, Ireland, Germany and several other European nations, while tons of rubbish is piling up in port cities like Hong Kong.

Steve Frank, of Pioneer Recycling in Oregon, owns two plants that collect and sort 220,000 tons of recyclable materials each year. A majority of it was until recently exported to China.

“My inventory is out of control,” he said.
China has pulled back on buying secondary fiber from the U.S., causing a stir and leading to plummeting prices (Megan Workman for Recycling Today Magazine, March 2018)
A lot can happen in a year. This time last year, Recycling Today reported how pricing for recovered fiber had skyrocketed and records were set in five consecutive months, with old corrugated containers (OCC) and mixed paper seeing the most gains. Both recovered fiber grades had reached levels that were more than double what they were selling for that same time in 2016. One source said at the time that the price hikes were “explosive,” “crazy” and “risky.”

Recyclers are citing risky business a year later, but for reversed reasons: Prices for recovered fiber grades have plummeted.

While the boom in early 2017 was a result of steady demand from China, that country has since pulled back on its buying of recovered paper shipped from the United States. This has created an oversupply of mixed paper in the U.S.
...
U.S. mixed paper pricing averaged $16.94 per ton in February, for a $76.95 per ton price spread between that grade and OCC.

As a result, recyclers in the U.S. have been piling up thousands upon thousands of bales of mixed paper when possible and even landfilling and incinerating this material. Others have found alternative outlets, selling recovered fiber typically destined for China to India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Several U.S. paper mills have been buying mixed paper loads that would have headed to China prior to the implementation of its import ban.

“We’re only buying the cleanest of the clean,” says a paper mill source who is buying mixed paper and other grades of recovered fiber. “We are demanding that MRFs (material recovery facilities) and brokers sell us only the highest quality paper that they can get because the market demands that right now. Any mixed paper below specification grade is simply not marketable, so any recovered fiber that has excess contamination, prohibitives or outthrows must be put in storage, go to landfill or [be] used as waste to energy.”
Where is Trump's anger at the US trade deficit for recyclables?
posted by filthy light thief at 1:39 PM on March 26 [54 favorites]


My problems with the Trump Tower / Alfa Bank email back-channel theory were that it was both less secure and less convenient than other, more readily available channels like WhatsApp. Also, who would have set it up at each end without being able to coordinate through an existing secret channel? But now the whole thing makes sense. You see, in Ye Old Days hackers would often use hacked computers for file repositories. And having hacked into one, they would set up an automatic "phone home" routine to restore their access if the server changed its address or they were locked out. This is all very amateurish nowadays, but it's easy and relatively deniable. More deniable than a Dropbox account, anyway. And it does look as though the initial approaches were somewhat amateurish.

So now we know that gigabytes of data were illegally flowing internationally, and it was distributed to a lot of unsophisticated recipients. Maybe the Trump Tower server was a repository for data meant for Trump's campaign team only; maybe it was just used to reduce the number of multi-gigabyte files that had to be sent internationally. The initial transfer to the Trump Tower server could be slow and secretive to avoid NSA attention, and it couod be sent onwards from there quickly and using normal file transfer commands. Whether the server was ever actually used this way or not, I think it makes a lot more sense than the idea that it was used for emails.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:40 PM on March 26 [13 favorites]


Mental Wimp: Erectile dysfunction is a genuine medical problem. It's not great for non-sufferers to joke about "boner pills" . But to feel that ED means (in one sense or another) being less of a man, or somehow unfit for good sex... that strikes me as a psychological and societal problem, as something that society and individuals have to accommodate even as medical advances can contribute. Men should give themselves permission (and be given permission by the individuals and the media in their lives) to feel sexually okay regardless of whatever mischievous schemes their body parts plan for. And they should also, of course, get medication when needed, because the less unnecessary suffering in the world, the better.

I don't feel much differently about sexual reassignment surgery or hormones as treatment for gender dysphoria. After all, when and where those things aren't possible, it should still be possible for trans people to comfortably identifying as their real gender, and society should validate it. Surgery/hormones ideally allow further fulfillment, not 100% of the story. (The role can be totally crucial -- there are people for whom lack of medical intervention will guarantee some measure of misery no matter how supportive the world around them is -- I'm just syaing it's just not 100% of the story.)

This stuff relates to one of my fears regarding stories about Donald's dalliances: the public is going to conflate superficial nonsense with his general awfulness as a person, just as happens with fat jokes hurled his way. Hypothetically, despite near-universal assumptions, the man has an impressively sized dong that looks a third its real age, is perpetually erect, and has contributed to thousands of tremendous, beautiful sexual experiences. (Although that's obviously precluded a bit by his constant rape-adjacent behavior -- see how tough this stuff is to disentangle?) It means nothing regardless.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 1:45 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


Here’s what’ll happen after Trump’s dick pic comes out:

1. Charlie Kirk argues small dicks are actually the best kind of dicks

2. Fox News says Hillary’s never shown a picture of her vagina what is she hiding

3. NYT interviews man in a rural diner who loves Trump even MORE now

posted by T.D. Strange at 8:53 PM on March 25 [64 favorites +] [!]


I want this to happen. I want to live in a time when we can see POTUS's dick, but not his tax returns.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:58 PM on March 26 [7 favorites]


So, is there any hope that the current round of mass protest, March for Our Lives, will be a catalyst for actual change? Because I remember similar optimism around the Occupy Wall Street movement and we all know how that ended (with a barely audible whimper). Apologies, but I'm getting old and cynical.
posted by Vindaloo at 2:04 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]


I've always read the ED drug point made here on MeFi, perhaps made poorly and insensitively, as more about a society that values and treats those with ED -- i.e. men -- as a more important health issue that's okay to spend any amount of money on, while many other health and spending issues that affect women and LGBT are not treated as such. Meaning it's not directed at the sufferers, but the culture that values them more.
posted by chris24 at 2:05 PM on March 26 [69 favorites]


I've always read the ED drug point made here on MeFi, perhaps made poorly and insensitively, as more about a society and culture that values and treats those with ED -- i.e. men -- as a more important health issue that's okay to spend any amount of money on, while many other health and spending issues that affect women and LGBT are not treated as such.

posted by chris24 at 2:05 PM on March 26 [+] [!]


That's certainly the point, but it often bleeds over into mockery of ED medicine and assertions that it is frivolous. I've never needed it myself, but I can certainly see how terribly vital it would be if I did. Some men even undergo surgery so they can mechanically achieve erections.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:08 PM on March 26


[Probably enough on the erectile dysfunction thing now; I think the points made all around add up to a reasonable summary of how and why it can be a complicated point of discussion on MeFi and within discussions in general of health policy and availability etc, but god help me let's not spend more time than we need to focusing speculatively on everything in the general ballpark of our stupid president's penis.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:11 PM on March 26 [38 favorites]


So, is there any hope that the current round of mass protest, March for Our Lives, will be a catalyst for actual change? Because I remember similar optimism around the Occupy Wall Street movement and we all know how that ended (with a barely audible whimper). Apologies, but I'm getting old and cynical.


It appears this movement is light years ahead of Occupy Wall Street in terms of organization and goal-setting. Thousands register to vote at March for Your Lives demonstrations.

Voter mobilization is a huge first step.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 2:12 PM on March 26 [39 favorites]


Cohen’s Lawyer Sends Stormy Daniels Cease And Desist After CBS Interview

Washington Post: Stormy Daniels Accuses Trump Attorney of Defamation
Stormy Daniels ramped up her legal battle against President Trump on Monday, alleging in court that his personal attorney Michael Cohen defamed her by insinuating that she lied about an affair with Trump more than a decade ago.

Daniels amended her existing lawsuit against Trump, adding Cohen as a defendant in the pending case. The expansion of the lawsuit in a California federal court comes one day after the adult-film actress’s widely watched interview on “60 Minutes.”[...]

Besides accusing Cohen of defamation, the amended complaint broadens Daniels’s contention that the confidentiality agreement was illegal, because it lacked Trump’s signature. The new complaint says the payment violated federal laws that impose limits on campaign donations and require those donations to be publicly reported. [emphasis added, because this is not your father's White House sex scandal]
It's as though Mickey "Sez Who?" Cohen isn't a very good lawyer at all…
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:13 PM on March 26 [51 favorites]


Oh god, Cohen was the “sez who” guy? This whole situation is so deliriously stupid.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 2:17 PM on March 26 [9 favorites]


It's as though Mickey "Sez Who?" Cohen isn't a very good lawyer at all…

posted by Doktor Zed at 2:13 PM on March 26 [+] [!]


He's always reminded me of this guy.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:18 PM on March 26


Cohen also sent a cease and desist to Stormy for a claim - that he ordered a goon to threaten her - that she did not make in the interview.
posted by PenDevil at 2:23 PM on March 26 [37 favorites]


It appears this movement is light years ahead of Occupy Wall Street in terms of organization and goal-setting. Thousands register to vote at March for Your Lives demonstrations.

That's because they made lack of leadership and structure a goal, which was

... counterproductive.
posted by leotrotsky at 2:39 PM on March 26 [16 favorites]


Asked for the basis of Trump’s belief, Shah said that “there’s nothing to corroborate her claim.”

It requires an amazing level of chutzpah to say that someone shouldn't be believed because there is no corroboration while simultaneously suing someone for $20million dollars in an effort to hold them to an NDA which prevents them from providing such corroboration. Scanners-head-exploding level of chutzpah.
posted by Justinian at 2:43 PM on March 26 [16 favorites]


So, is there any hope that the current round of mass protest, March for Our Lives, will be a catalyst for actual change? Because I remember similar optimism around the Occupy Wall Street movement and we all know how that ended (with a barely audible whimper). Apologies, but I'm getting old and cynical.

Think about how things happen. We have this model from television that there's, like, an uprising and then everything is different. But actually social change takes a long, long time and a lot of work on multiple vectors, and there are often - so often! - things that fizzle out along the way.

Each time there's a mass movement, it mobilizes new people and informs others who are not mobilized. The next time, those mobilized people are ready to go and many of the people who were informed the first time become mobilized. People's opinions shift and their ideas of what is possible and what is important shift. It's disappointing that Occupy Wall Street didn't bring about immediate social change, but at least here in MPLS it brought a bunch of people into activism and spun off a number of smaller, long-term projects that worked on housing policy.

Political struggle is long, so horribly long - if you see major change in a generation, you're lucky. Consider the Civil Rights movement - it wasn't just the fifties/sixties, it was....well, where do you really begin, since there have always been Black activists agitating? I mean, I guess you could say that the Civil Rights movement begins around WWI and the Great Migration, right? And builds momentum until there's a historical opening after WWII?

There are a lot of things that were true in 2009 that aren't true now - we don't have a Democratic president (so that percentage of liberals who are always quiestist during a Democratic administration isn't a problem), we don't have a president who is adroit at managing public opinion (and who frankly backed the banks), we were not as far on the road to precarity and total climate change as we are now, social media has become more pervasive (bad in many ways, but also good for some kinds of organizing)...all these things mean that a gun control movement expresses different social concerns and has different traction than Occupy did.
posted by Frowner at 2:44 PM on March 26 [60 favorites]


Oh god, Cohen was the “sez who” guy? This whole situation is so deliriously stupid.

He’s also the “it’s not illegal to rape your wife” guy.
posted by Weeping_angel at 2:44 PM on March 26 [15 favorites]


Is there any hope that the current round of mass protest, March for Our Lives, will be a catalyst for actual change? Because I remember similar optimism around the Occupy Wall Street movement

OWS had no specific goals in mind - the focus was on "the 1% are rigging everything so they get richer and everyone else gets poorer, and that's destroying America." Which was true enough that it got a whole lot of attention and participants, but doesn't lead to any specific desired changes.

The MFOL has a goal: Gun control laws. We know what those are; we know how to make them happen. (At least technically - I mean that we know what kind of laws would be needed, and what kind of text they would contain.) More importantly, that's a goal that anyone can take back to their state, county, or even city, and ask for specific changes for very obvious public safety reasons.

Where cities are blocked from preempting state laws (FLA, UT, NV, etc), they might have to come up with methods of gun discouragement that aren't based on ownership or carrying (10% sales tax on gun-related sales, possibly), but they can also work to elect legislatures that will make the changes the people want.

Occupy had a long list of "these things are wrong and need changing," but no concise list of "here's what we want instead," and no method for having a coherent discussion that would lead to that list.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 2:51 PM on March 26 [20 favorites]


I'd urge people not to dunk on Occupy too hard. It wasn't perfect, but I think it was a step in our history that made these movements today possible.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:56 PM on March 26 [83 favorites]


It says something -- about both these threads and the times we're living in -- that the now-mercifully-terminated ED discussion was actually originally about President That Guy's genital essentialism (the trans ban), not his genitals. But in the end, it's all just one giant glob of grossness with this guy.

O tempore! O filis!
posted by shenderson at 2:56 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


Occupy Wall Street also wasn't during an election year. It peaked September-November 2011, a year too early. If it had happened during 2012 it probably would've been a bigger issue in the election.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:07 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


Because I remember similar optimism around the Occupy Wall Street movement and we all know how that ended (with a barely audible whimper).

Seriously? You think occupy achieved just a whimper? Bernie Sanders would not have had the momentum to pull the Democratic Party out of it's it neo-liberal hole if not for Occupy putting inequality front and center. A lot of the politically active and political activists you see today cut their teeth on the occupy movement.

Occupy may not have defeated Wall Street but I do think it put a crack in the foundation. That was not nothing.
posted by srboisvert at 3:11 PM on March 26 [47 favorites]


“So I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me? You write a story that has Mr. Trump’s name in it, with the word ‘rape,’ and I’m going to mess your life up…for as long as you’re on this frickin’ planet…you’re going to have judgments against you, so much money, you’ll never know how to get out from underneath it."

--Michael Cohen, from this Newsweek profile by Nina Burleigh from August that compares him to Andy Kaufman
posted by salix at 3:16 PM on March 26 [35 favorites]




Nevada lawmaker: 'Rumor mill' says Ryan headed for exit

“The rumor mill is that Paul Ryan is getting ready to resign in the next 30 to 60 days and that Steve Scalise will be the new Speaker,” [NV GOP Rep.] Amodei told Nevada Newsmakers, referring to the Majority Whip.


Ryan might be ready to scuttle off into the shadows and give a fresh goon the gavel.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:39 PM on March 26 [21 favorites]


"Nevada lawmaker: 'Rumor mill' says Ryan headed for exit"
Oh, please let this be true! And may be never be able to get a Korbel old fashioned sweet without a garnish of spittle in any supper club in Wisconsin 'til the end of his days so help me Fighting Bob.
posted by Floydd at 3:42 PM on March 26 [31 favorites]


“The rumor mill is that Paul Ryan is getting ready to resign in the next 30 to 60 days and that Steve Scalise will be the new Speaker,” [NV GOP Rep.] Amodei told Nevada Newsmakers, referring to the Majority Whip.

Ryan might be ready to scuttle off into the shadows and give a fresh goon the gavel.


Aw come on, at least give us the pleasure of watching Ironstache humiliate your ass in the November elections, Paul!
posted by Existential Dread at 3:43 PM on March 26 [12 favorites]


It makes no sense though. Ryan is only 48. He’s basically scuttling his career in politics.
posted by Talez at 3:45 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


I'm an Old, and by the standards of this thread a bit on the normie side and I'm here to tell you that Occupy definitely had an effect. And a bunch of stuff both before and after it, too. These things don't so much change laws as change discourse and norms. They make being liberal or socialist more accepted and acceptable. They bring new vocabulary into the public sphere. Before Occupy, no one outside of leftist activism used the term "income inequality" but because of Occupy, newscasters stated saying it and people who were nowhere near Occupy protests began to get computable with it enough to use it to describe their own concerns.

Thinking about the Women's March... Did we throw Trump out of the White House that very day? No, but a whole bunch of the activists currently working day and night to flip districts got their start through that march. In PA 18, there was a pre-existing activist group--led by a woman, started after the march--that that just helped get Conor Lamb elected. They had been working on the ground for nearly a year before the special election was even announced.

There have been massive changes in norms and discourse on the left in my lifetime. (And the right, which I think we've all noted--and much of that was due to activism too, however much it may have been astroturfed or done by utterly loathsome people.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 3:47 PM on March 26 [71 favorites]


It makes no sense though. Ryan is only 48. He’s basically scuttling his career in politics.

I wonder if he's hoping that by bowing out voluntarily, something horrid might not be brought to light?
posted by Slackermagee at 3:48 PM on March 26 [10 favorites]


Where does Steve Scalise fit on on the rabid right wing lunatic scale? Would he be likely to be more or less dire than Ryan as the speaker?
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 3:50 PM on March 26


It makes no sense though. Ryan is only 48. He’s basically scuttling his career in politics.

Or getting out of the limelight before the Mueller investigation findings become public and before the GOP takes a drubbing in a wave election (*knock on wood*), allowing him to sit the shitstorms out as a right-wing commentator and come back as a "time for a change" presidential candidate in 2024.
posted by deludingmyself at 3:53 PM on March 26 [23 favorites]


If those rumors are true, Ryan is probably seeing some really bad polling and may want to get out instead of losing an election.
posted by azpenguin at 3:56 PM on March 26 [10 favorites]


He's decided to run in 2020 and knows he has to establish anti-Trump cress which he can't do as Speaker.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:59 PM on March 26 [7 favorites]


I'm not accustomed to thinking of Paul Ryan as a person rather than an avatar of terribleness, but having recently left a soul-crushingly stressful job for mental health reasons, I wonder if he didn't just wake up one morning and think "hey, you know what, FUCK THIS."
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:02 PM on March 26 [41 favorites]


Because I remember similar optimism around the Occupy Wall Street movement and we all know how that ended (with a barely audible whimper).

Aside from the other stuff above, and the non-negligible (and I would assert actually pretty big) contribution to the discourse and our way of looking at income classes, OWS brought us Strike Debt and Rolling Jubilee. So not only did they amp up the discussion of how crippling college debt loads are for the younger (than me, anyway) generation, they did something about people being harmed by debt collectors.

We talk a lot about the distance between aspirational changes and actual incremental work, but OWS was an aspirational movement that got a lot of attention and then generated an incremental project. They should not be looked at as failing, they should be seen as poster children for the right way to evolve.
posted by phearlez at 4:04 PM on March 26 [7 favorites]


Where does Steve Scalise fit on on the rabid right wing lunatic scale?

Up there.

Would he be likely to be more or less dire than Ryan as the speaker?

Probably not less!
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:04 PM on March 26 [8 favorites]


Where does Steve Scalise fit on on the rabid right wing lunatic scale? Would he be likely to be more or less dire than Ryan as the speaker?

Let's put it this way. He got shot while warming up for the congressional ballgame last year. This year he was a primary sponsor of concealed carry reciprocity in the House. A+ rating from the NRA.

He's very conservative: has a terrible record on LGBT issues, anti-abortion, supported Trump's various immigration bans.

He's not part of the Freedom Caucus but he's fairly wingnutty.
posted by murphy slaw at 4:06 PM on March 26 [29 favorites]


Because I remember similar optimism around the Occupy Wall Street movement and we all know how that ended (with a barely audible whimper).

This is arguably (if only arguably) true in other places there were Occupations, but the only reason folks were able to stand up Occupy Sandy so quickly in the New York City area was because of the region-wide links that had been forged at the time of OWS. Not merely stand it up quickly, actually, but run it so effectively, right out of the gate.

Forgive me, but I don't think the many, many thousands of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans whose lives were materially improved by their interactions with OS in the terrifying days and weeks after the storm regard it as a whimper, barely audible or otherwise.

(Heads up, BTW, that that is a self-link.)
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:15 PM on March 26 [15 favorites]


I wonder if he didn't just wake up one morning and think "hey, you know what, FUCK THIS."

Ryan has been one of the fig leaves providing cover for the toxic austerity and obstruction that has characterized the GOP's last decade. Any reason he wants to leave is good enough for me, and we need to hang the worst government behaviors of the Obama years around his little chicken neck if he dares to pop up in politics again.

[edit, snuck the word "electoral" in there for some reason]
posted by aspersioncast at 4:20 PM on March 26 [6 favorites]


Thinking about the Women's March... Did we throw Trump out of the White House that very day? No, but a whole bunch of the activists currently working day and night to flip districts got their start through that march.

I would add to this the instant large protests when the Muslim ban first hit. While it didn't stop the whole xenophobic shitshow, the mass effort involved very clearly saved lives. It also provided a huge wake-up call to this administration to let them know their bullshit would not go unchallenged and it galvanized resistance much like the Women's March did. I fully believe the protests for the Muslim ban slowed or stopped a whole lot more fascist bullshit from this administration. They saw people would take to the streets immediately and gum up the airports. After that, the regime dialed their shit back and tread more carefully. It didn't fix everything, but imagine where we'd be if that didn't happen at all.

It also let the rest of the world know the whole country hasn't slid off into a big chasm of Islamophobia. I read more than one piece during those protests about how important they were outside the United States. Think about all the times we see big protest movements in other countries and how that shows a divide between the population and their corrupt or oppressive governments. Think about how often we say of other countries, "The problem isn't the people, it's the government." Why would that be any different when the US is the country that people are watching?

As others have said, there is no single moment and no single movement to fix everything that's wrong. But they add up, and those additions boost morale and engagement. All of that matters.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:28 PM on March 26 [86 favorites]


It makes no sense though. Ryan is only 48. He’s basically scuttling his career in politics.

Nah, coming in and out of the system is a badge of honor for some of these guys. Look, we're not just career politicians! We are out here in the real world with you guys, our lives in these K St lobby shops makes us just like you Mr Shopkeeper!

He's either got something lined up or this is a trial balloon to see what phone calls he gets with opportunities when this gets out there. Perhaps he doesn't want to be minority leader. Perhaps the intel they're getting about who is more or less likely to be bounced leads him to believe that those who remain later wouldn't even want him to be that and he wants to go out on a high. Perhaps it's just a matter of the benjamins, a la when Cantor bailed out before his remaining term was even over. But assuming this means the end of him politically doesn't jibe with history.
posted by phearlez at 4:29 PM on March 26 [7 favorites]


Would he be likely to be more or less dire than Ryan as the speaker?

What murphyslaw said, but it kind of doesn't matter how Scalise is individually because the Freedom Caucus controls who get and stays in the Speaker slot and they'd never let in somebody more moderate, and they also control what a Republican Speaker can and can't get away with doing in the House. So really, the key is ensuring that there is not a Republican Speaker after this year.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:33 PM on March 26 [6 favorites]


“The Speaker is not resigning,” [Spokesperson AshLee] Strong told the Washington Examiner in a statement.
And Scalise's office is denying the rumor as well:
"Whip Scalise is proud to serve alongside Speaker Ryan, and fully supports him to remain Speaker,” spokesperson Lauren Fine said. “Our whole leadership team is focused on working with President Trump to deliver more conservative wins for the country, and also ensuring we keep the majority so we can continue implementing President Trump's agenda that is getting our economy back on track."

Lawmakers and political observers have been speculating about Ryan’s departure but few believe he would jump ship in the middle of the election cycle. Scalise would have to be elected speaker by the full House and could not simply replace Ryan. Ryan is visiting the Czech Republic this week and plans a press conference Tuesday.
This sounds more like Mark Amodei talking smack on a local podcast, which bottom-feeding aggregator outlets like The Hill recycle as poli-clickbait.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:35 PM on March 26 [8 favorites]


He's decided to run in 2020 and knows he has to establish anti-Trump cress which he can't do as Speaker.

Ha. That ship has sailed, turn around, sailed back, circumnavigated the globe, sought the Northwest passage, been ice-locked over the winter, returned in disgrace, retired due to metal fatigue, scuttled, and is now serving as an artificial reef for marine life.

He will never live this down. We will never let him. Coward. Traitor. His name should be synonymous with Quisling and Judas. Parents will stop naming their children Paul to avoid the association.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:44 PM on March 26 [95 favorites]


Paul Ryan's approval rating is 24%. He's hated by the Republican base almost as much as by Democrats. He has no future running for president.
posted by chris24 at 5:04 PM on March 26 [21 favorites]


Scalise is a wingnut conservative but at least he's a bog-standard wingnut conservative whereas Ryan is a true believing granny starver that somehow got the press to fawn all over him as a "policy wonk."
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 5:07 PM on March 26 [8 favorites]


Note that while Ryan’s nationwide approval is terrible, in Wisconsin he was net zero approval (44-44) in the latest polls. He also won re-election with 65% of the vote last time. Even a major wave this year might not swamp him.

If he decides not to run, it may just be that he’s not looking forward to being in the minority.
posted by murphy slaw at 5:21 PM on March 26 [8 favorites]


It appears [March for Our Lives] is light years ahead of Occupy Wall Street in terms of organization and goal-setting.

Yes, which means it can raise funds and get permits and leases and so forth. These things are fundamental to any large movement.

It's been reliably reported that Russian state actors were inspiring/sponsoring activists on both sides of controversial issues. These are not new tactics; the agents provocateurs are just being used by a foreign government rather than a domestic one.

Micah White, one of the Occupy movement's founders, described being approached by a Russian agent and warned that they were using similar tactics with other groups. There's no reason to think that Russia gave up after failing with Micah White: maybe this is why Occupy was ultimately paralysed by endless internal debates about everything and no way to enforce decisions. I'm pretty sure the consequences were what Russia would have wanted anyway: no effective change to financial regulation, but a lot of angry activists and news stories showing tent cities in American financial

The good side of all of this is that even failed activist groups can nurture future activism, and people inspired by single-issue campaigns can bring their enthusiasm to other groups. That seems to be happening, and even the Republicans can see the Democratic Party (which is both the greatest hope and the greatest obstacle to serious social and economic reform in the US) is the beneficiary.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:21 PM on March 26 [16 favorites]


There's no reason to think that Russia gave up after failing with Micah White: maybe this is why Occupy was ultimately paralysed by endless internal debates about everything and no way to enforce decisions.

For a little while I was confused about why my fellow leftists weren't really talking about Russia's efforts to interfere in the election. But I've come to understand that they're mainly just annoyed at the way centrist liberals keep inventing wild, baseless conspiracy theories to discredit anyone to the left of them. Look, it's ok if you're not a Socialist, but can folks stop trying to paint us all as Russian agents or credulous followers of Russian agents? There are a thousand good reasons someone might be left of center... We're not dupes.

Apologies for picking on you specifically, but this is definitely a recurring theme in these threads.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 6:22 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


Scalise is a wingnut conservative but at least he's a bog-standard wingnut conservative whereas Ryan is a true believing granny starver that somehow got the press to fawn all over him as a "policy wonk."

To be fair, Ryan is a conventionally-attractive conservative white dude who is capable of putting at least three words together in some sort of vaguely intelligent-sounding order so how could they not fawn
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:26 PM on March 26 [7 favorites]


If he decides not to run, it may just be that he’s not looking forward to being in the minority.

Well but that's what all the retiring wimps are doing.
posted by rhizome at 6:30 PM on March 26


[Couple deleted; let's not dig in on oh but Jill Stein, leftists v centrists v who's holding their positions in good faith vs who's been duped by Russians etc blah blah; I get why people want to dig back but unless more info comes out this is imponderable and we've been around this tree so many times before.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:35 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


Shark Person (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
Like many viewers (including my colleague Christine Emba), I was struck by Stormy Daniels’s remarks on “60 Minutes” that she wound up engaging in a sexual encounter with Donald Trump because “I had it coming for making a bad decision for going to someone’s room alone.” I think the best way of showing how screwed up this is is to rewrite her account a la “Cat Person.”

Shark Person

Stormy met Donald on a weekend night in the middle of July 2006. He was there to play golf, and she was riding around the golf course in a golf cart as part of a promotion. They wound up riding from one place to another in a golf cart together. She could tell that he thought she was cute.

“I want to come talk to you later,” he told her. […]

When she went inside, he was lounging in his pajamas, and she worried for the first time that she might have misread the interaction. In her mental picture of this evening, he was dressed to go to dinner and they were going to ride the elevator down together to a restaurant with brass railings and white tablecloths and steak, making small talk, but instead he was sprawled on his couch wearing pajama pants that looked like hand-me-downs from Hugh Hefner. She told him this, and he got upset, defensive, as though she was the one who had misread things.

“I thought we would just relax here,” he said.

They would up eating in the room, because it became clear that they were not going to eat anywhere else. While they waited for the food he kept bringing the conversation back to himself and to his show, which was a reality TV competition, and to a magazine that he was on the cover of. The more he spoke, the more she became aware he thought this was a good technique to impress a woman — that he was genuinely trying to prove himself to her with this information; the knowledge of this vulnerability touched her. There was something affecting in the fact that, although he was much older than she was, he could still be so bad at something.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:36 PM on March 26 [36 favorites]


In her mental picture of this evening, he was dressed to go to dinner and they were going to ride the elevator down together to a restaurant with brass railings and white tablecloths and steak, making small talk, but instead he was sprawled on his couch wearing pajama pants that looked like hand-me-downs from Hugh Hefner.

OK, I'm un-gaying myself so I can marry Alexandra Petri
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:40 PM on March 26 [21 favorites]




The discussion of that Alaska law is a fascinating look into the minds of R legislators:
Initiatives are constitutionally protected against repeal [including major changes] by the Legislature for two years after passage, but can be amended in minor ways.

..."the core intent behind the initiative was to create an automatic voter registration process,” she said. “The opt-out provisions are at the heart of that process."

Coghill said it was a matter of opinion, adding that he believed the voter initiative was just about making it easier to register not about automatic voter registration.
He also insists that voting needs to be something you choose to sign up for; the gov't isn't supposed to just allow people to vote just because it happens to be their legal right: “I just wanted to make the case that the burden of the willingness to vote still belongs to the voter.”
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 7:17 PM on March 26 [43 favorites]


"Whip Scalise is proud to serve alongside Speaker Ryan, and fully supports him to remain Speaker,” spokesperson Lauren Fine said. “Our whole leadership team is focused on working with President Trump to deliver more conservative wins for the country, and also ensuring we keep the majority so we can continue implementing President Trump's agenda that is getting our economy back on track."


In political speak "Full Support" usually indicates life support will be pulled in under 2 weeks.
posted by srboisvert at 7:23 PM on March 26 [7 favorites]


The Stormy Daniels scandal is not about sex – it’s about threats, bribes and silence (Sarah Kendzior, Globe & Mail )
When the news broke in January that U.S. President Donald Trump had allegedly had sex with adult film actress Stephanie Clifford (known professionally as Stormy Daniels), it seemed relatively benign due to the severity of his other controversies. Mr. Trump spent the past year being investigated for Kremlin ties and obstruction of justice, tolerating neo-Nazis, allegedly abusing presidential power to enhance his personal wealth, threatening nuclear war, and generally plunging the U.S. into a toxic mix of chaos and autocracy.

Thanks to a complicit and compliant GOP, he has gotten away with nearly every offence. Would the words of a porn star really matter?

As it turns out, yes. The most significant aspect of the Stormy Daniels case is not the sexual relationship, which she says was consensual – a rather novel concept given the many allegations of sexual assault levelled at Mr. Trump. What matters is the Trump team’s alleged use of non-disclosure agreements, payoffs, and threats to intimidate a target into silence – allegations that Mr. Trump and his enthusiastic backers have had to defend for decades. By refusing to stand down, Ms. Daniels provides valuable insight into how Mr. Trump maintains power – and prompts disturbing questions about what those who are too scared to speak might have to say.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:31 PM on March 26 [36 favorites]




You ... seem ... surprised?

They're conservatives. By the mere act of posing as a conservative they've already told everyone they don't care about facts.

I mean, ignoring or destroying facts is sort of a key premise of being a political conservative. Sorta like how being able to run is key to being a long distance runner?
posted by aramaic at 7:52 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


This will guarantee an undercounting and shift in distribution from cities to rural areas. They're going to rig the census.

Elect Dems in 2018 and hold up all defense spending in R states until they back down. Criminals are a cowardly, superstitious lot.
posted by benzenedream at 7:56 PM on March 26 [17 favorites]


Re: the Census - is this something that can be controlled by Congress (assuming we can flip the majority this year)?
posted by Kelrichen at 7:57 PM on March 26


By the mere act of posing as a conservative they've already told everyone they don't care about facts.

I'm not entirely sure about that. re: the census

I think that its more that if the facts don't suit their purposes, 'conservatives' of a certain ilk will just manipulate how facts are determined.

This particular ploys sounds really old-school. Ginned up by people who understand how data is collected and interpreted - by deliberately sabotaging the methodology, they can torture the data more easily to come up with conclusions that they prefer, that they can use to back up a narrative.

As a scientist, I'm usually less interested in the conclusions (basically, an editorial for my the research presented is interesting and important) of a peer-reviewed paper and more about the methodology/ methodologies used and specific bits of data that it/ they produced.
posted by porpoise at 8:21 PM on March 26 [10 favorites]


Kellyanne Conway first shat out the incredibly effective "alternative news" 42.8 Scaramuchis ago, objective.

This is amateur hour, but I guess so is the critical thinking abilities/ (or more importantly, the lack of integrity of the information they are exposed to, sabotages what critical thinking abilities are latent) of a sufficient number of eligible voters who ended up being able to have their vote counted.
posted by porpoise at 8:36 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


JUST IN: The U.S. Dept. of Commerce announced that a question on citizenship status will be on the 2020 census questionnaire, and stated that the decision "follows a request by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to add a question on citizenship status to the 2020 decennial census."

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra @AGBecerra:
#BREAKING: Filing suit against @realdonaldtrump's Administration over decision to add #citizenship question on #2020Census. Including the question is not just a bad idea — it is illegal:

SFChronicle: Citizenship Question On 2020 Census May Result In Undercount
The size of your child's kindergarten class. Homeland security funds for your community. Natural disaster preparation. Highway and mass transit resources. Health care and emergency room services....
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:45 PM on March 26 [69 favorites]


Ryan is the epitome of the Peter Principle - He does NOT want the job, literally no-one else can do it, and if he quits the lunatics take over the asylum. He was kicked into his lofty position by dint of not screwing up too much. Now every action he takes screws it up. Either with his horrified electorate (Hello IronStache!) or with the Ultra Cons.

He knows he's going to lose to IronStache, who's all about Tip O'Neil and all politics is local. Paul Ryan does not have the ground game, the fearless meet-and-greet and legit worker cred Randy Bryce does.

Ryan either bows out and hands over power to someone in a safe seat, or wow, things get fun!

RANDY BRYCE. REGISTER TO VOTE. VOTE RANDY BRYCE. You might just save our Nation!
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:50 PM on March 26 [16 favorites]


The DOJ will of course argue that it's not illegal to ask about citizenship, only illegal not to count the non-citizens if they answer in the negative with regard to citizenship status.

Lower courts have been taking a fairly broad discretion in looking at the intent behind moves like the travel bans when deciding these questions. I expect district courts will do the same here, but I still have little faith in the SC with the Gorsuch hijacking.
posted by Justinian at 8:53 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]


That Petri column is an interesting departure from her usual style, because it's much more a rumination/imitation than a jocular riff. This part in particular mimics the original (although the sentences are much longer, which may be intended as parody by exaggeration)… but it doesn't copy it exactly, and it's like whoa:

The thought of what it would require to correct his notion of what was about to happen seemed overwhelming. She was not physically attracted to him, but she was physically in a hotel room with him, and to have to explain to him that his equation was faulty — that her presence in his room, and the fact of the industry she worked in did not mean that she had agreed to anything further — seemed exhausting. And it could be, as well, that he had operated with this equation for years, reverse-engineering this very setup from punchlines of jokes at which he laughed too hard, so that, in his mind, all that was required was to manufacture these conditions and that what happened next would then seem inevitable, and not the result of dozens — maybe hundreds — of indulgences on the behalf of women who were too tired or too curious or too anything else to correct it. So she consented. It was easier to consent than to have to wrestle with what it would mean if she did not consent and he persisted.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:16 PM on March 26 [66 favorites]


Trump's trade war potentially good news for Canada.
posted by Mitheral at 9:25 PM on March 26


if she did not consent and he persisted.

Holy goddamn I'm not always as impressed by Petri as some MeFites but that paragraph manages to do a whole lot of amazing things at once.

If there's one prediction about this presidency that's held true (there's a bunch, we all knew it was a dumpster fire from the get-go), it's that comedic talent would thrive.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:44 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


That is not comedy. That is tragedy, written in simple, clear language. I have been in similar circumstances, made a similar choice, and there is nothing comic about it. Reading that paragraph makes me wonder if she (Petri), too, has experienced similar circumstances.
posted by W Grant at 10:57 PM on March 26 [60 favorites]


Trump's trade war potentially good news for Canada.

Eh. Maybe for the LNG sector but not for the average sector:

Today's CBC: Why a U.S-China trade war could be a 'net negative' for Canada
A trade war between the United States and China could potentially provide benefits to a handful of industries in Canada but the overall impact would be negative for the Canadian economy, some experts warn.

"Any Canadian businesses that are selling products that could be substituted for Chinese products that have the tariffs being applied could benefit from this," said Craig Alexander, senior vice-president and chief economist of the Conference Board of Canada.

"But overall it's going to be a net negative."

...
See also this Ottawa Citizen's columnist opinion piece at CNN: How Justin Trudeau copes with Trump lies
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:48 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


WaPo editorial board: The Fed just sent Congress a message
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:16 AM on March 27 [2 favorites]


Alexandra Petri also has a superb piece back in October on a similar theme: Movies that wouldn't exist if male protagonists hadn't "put themselves in that situation". I don't think I've seen this point made elsewhere, or definitely not so well.
posted by kelper at 12:57 AM on March 27 [29 favorites]


Apologies if this belongs in a different thread (or threads) but apparently ICE is using backend facebook data to track down immigrants.

Not saying we don't very much need to disband ICE, but this is a problem for The Intercept:
Due to editing errors, this story and its headline originally reported that the investigation referred to in the ICE emails targeted an immigrant. The story also said that the search for the target of the investigation was underway in New Mexico and suggested that the investigation was related to an immigration violation. The documents reported on in the story do not establish that the target of the investigation was an immigrant or that the individual was being pursued for immigration violations. The target of the investigation was, according to the documents, based in the New York metropolitan area, while several of the ICE agents on the emails were based in New Mexico. Additionally, this story has been updated to include a comment from Facebook stating that the site handed over the information to ICE in response to requests related to an investigation into an alleged child predator.
And the reporter deleted their Twitter apparently?

What...what do they think an editor does over there exactly?
posted by zachlipton at 1:12 AM on March 27 [42 favorites]


That Petri paragraph sounds straight out of a modern Middlemarch.
posted by Standard Orange at 2:53 AM on March 27 [10 favorites]


Isn't The Intercept the rag that got NSA whistleblower Reality Winner arrested through its carelessness?
posted by moody cow at 3:52 AM on March 27 [14 favorites]


idea for possible McSweeny's article: a collection of Mattis's increasingly agonized annotations in his different books. Like, maybe he's now studying how to hypnotize malignant narcissists.

Mattis isn't a hero of mine, but sometimes you go into the unraveling of society and just take what you can get
posted by angrycat at 3:57 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


I am one of only three people in my office during the day, so I am not at liberty to speak up if someone says something I disagree with.

Yesterday we were talking about Stormy Daniels, and one of my co-workers frowned about halfway through and said "then again, she is a porn star, though, so...."

All I really can do in such situations is get quiet and turn away.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:39 AM on March 27 [17 favorites]


Dan Webb and Tom Buchanan Latest Lawyers to Decline to Join Trump’s Legal Team
Two more high-power attorneys have had to turn down President Donald Trump. Tom Buchanan and Dan Webb confirmed to The Daily Beast that Trump reached out to them about representing him, and that they couldn’t do it.

“President Trump reached out to Dan Webb and Tom Buchanan to provide legal representation,” they said in a statement. “They were unable to take on the representation due to business conflicts. However they consider the opportunity to represent the President to be the highest honor and they sincerely regret that they cannot do so. They wish the president the best and believe he has excellent representation in Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow.


*snort*
posted by PenDevil at 4:51 AM on March 27 [34 favorites]


Isn't The Intercept the rag that got NSA whistleblower Reality Winner arrested through its carelessness?

Whether Glenn Greenwald is Russian compromised ala Assamge or less exotically just an easily led fuckwit has indeed been a subject of conversation around here, yes. Trusting The Intercept as a sole source on anything inadvisable.
posted by Artw at 4:53 AM on March 27 [8 favorites]


Doesn't it kind of depend on who is writing the article at the Intercept? He may be a little too leftie for some, but Schahill is pretty legit.
posted by bootlegpop at 4:55 AM on March 27


Probably don't need a whole Intercept derail, but yes, in addition to outing Reality Winner, they were co-founded by Glenn Greenwald, who has become a useful idiot since he let bothsidesism about the US and Russia take over parts of his brain.

It's not the most trustworthy publication when it comes to US politics. Fact-checking seems to be somewhere sub-Vox, but they have less of a liberal agenda and more of a broad anti-US agenda. That can be a useful perspective, but . . . grain of salt.
posted by aspersioncast at 4:56 AM on March 27 [11 favorites]


So, is there any hope that the current round of mass protest, March for Our Lives, will be a catalyst for actual change? Because I remember similar optimism around the Occupy Wall Street movement and we all know how that ended (with a barely audible whimper).

I'd like to add to the several fine responses to this point that Occupy Wall Street got the topic of income inequality to be part of the national conversation, which the so-called "liberal media" had previously steadfastly failed to do.

This new movement has people talking about sensible gun control, whereas after the Sandy Hook shooting, there was no national conversation at all. These kids have in a few weeks moved the Overton window from a place it took the NRA years and millions of dollars to get there.

Becoming a topic of national dialogue isn't a sufficient condition to enact change, but it is necessary.
posted by Gelatin at 5:05 AM on March 27 [40 favorites]


How Trump favored Texas over Puerto Rico: A POLITICO investigation shows a persistent double standard in the president’s handling of relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria.
Within six days of Hurricane Harvey, U.S. Northern Command had deployed 73 helicopters over Houston, which are critical for saving victims and delivering emergency supplies. It took at least three weeks after Maria before it had more than 70 helicopters flying above Puerto Rico.

Nine days after the respective hurricanes, FEMA had approved $141.8 million in individual assistance to Harvey victims, versus just $6.2 million for Maria victims.

During the first nine days after Harvey, FEMA provided 5.1 million meals, 4.5 million liters of water and over 20,000 tarps to Houston; but in the same period, it delivered just 1.6 million meals, 2.8 million liters of water and roughly 5,000 tarps to Puerto Rico.

Nine days after Harvey, the federal government had 30,000 personnel in the Houston region, compared with 10,000 at the same point after Maria.

It took just 10 days for FEMA to approve permanent disaster work for Texas, compared with 43 days for Puerto Rico.

Seventy-eight days after each hurricane, FEMA had approved 39 percent of federal applications for relief from victims of Harvey, versus 28 percent for Maria.
posted by chris24 at 5:14 AM on March 27 [66 favorites]


Now I'm just a simple interwebs commenter and don't know about that whole world of "facts" and "numbers" that the undeleted classes are on about, but

W/r/t polling, is it not likely that extra-national attentions could have influenced / distorted / outright-created incorrect polling? That is, if we accept the premise that Russian troll farms roiled teh socialz, and leet haxors scoured voting systems across multiple states, is it not likely that polling was also targeted for use in keeping a horse race a horse race?

If polls were Trump-ahead, at all, ever, wouldn't that have endangered the operation by mobilizing "opposition" voters? Hillary's 99% liklihood was the biggest evar in history, right? What if it was more 40%? If I was a canny international criminal usurping organization, I'd be all up in Nate Silver's bidness.

But I suppose that's just the way we think of things, down here below the fold.
posted by petebest at 5:14 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Reading that paragraph makes me wonder if she (Petri), too, has experienced similar circumstances.

This makes my skin crawl. I'm sure most women are aware that if we write about sexual pressure, sexual coercion, or sexual violence in any fictional or satirical context, readers will speculate about our own real-life sexual experiences as much as or more than about our viewpoints and artistry and capacity for imaginative empathy. but being aware of it doesn't mean we like it.

you can just assume that every woman has experienced the company of a man who expects things from us we do not care to supply, no matter what we did in response or had done to us. no need to wonder. you'll be wrong in one or two percent of cases but so what.

maybe you're a woman too, I don't know and it makes no difference.
posted by queenofbithynia at 5:29 AM on March 27 [40 favorites]


This will guarantee an undercounting and shift in distribution from cities to rural areas.

I don’t actually understand you here. What do you mean?
posted by corb at 5:34 AM on March 27


Why The President Has No Personal Attorney
I can think of lots of reasons no respected or prestigious lawyers are willing to represent the President. But I suspect this may be one of them that gets less attention than it should. From TPM Reader JB …

"No big law firm can rep Trump because of powerful partners (especially female) redlining it and the associate recruiting pr disaster it would trigger (especially with young women). Repping Trump is a political statement no large law firm can afford to make. Big city lawyers are disproportionately Dems.

Most firms now have at least a few powerful female partners and they ALL have 50 percent young women as associates. Of course many of the men despise Trump too, but it is the women who are saying you represent this fucking pig and I will quit tomorrow and everyone knows they mean it. And any firm that represented Trump may as well just give up on attracting female associates. It would become their entire brand overnight, and it is a terrible black mark. The top firms are interchangeable, so it doesn’t take much to drop to the bottom of young associates’ list. Yes, the fact that he won’t pay, will fucking lose spectacularly and along the way will inevitably force his lawyer to choose between suborning perjury and quitting (if he can), but the truth is it’s the Trump brand they just can’t afford. He’s a Swastika."
posted by chris24 at 5:34 AM on March 27 [114 favorites]


shift in distribution from cities to rural areas. --- I don’t actually understand you here. What do you mean?

Not my comment, but non-citizens will be reluctant to complete the census, resulting in an undercount of them in the areas where they are located, which is overwhelmingly urban areas. Apportionment of representatives and distribution of federal block grants is determined by population from the census, meaning dollars and political power will not flow as it should to urban areas, but disproportionately to rural areas, which as with the electoral college and the Senate will be unjustly advantaged. Needless to say, rural areas are very much white and this is just another manifestation of white supremacy.

It will also fuck up government and civil services because budgets, personnel and resources will be determined on a faulty distribution of population.
posted by chris24 at 5:39 AM on March 27 [34 favorites]


I don’t actually understand you here. What do you mean?

Trump DOJ Pushes For Citizenship Question On Census, Alarming Experts
“People are not going to come out to be counted because they’re going to be fearful the information would be used for negative purposes,” said Steve Jost, a former top bureau official during the 2010 census. “This line about enforcing voting rights is a new and scary twist.” He noted that since the first census in 1790, the goal has been to count everyone in the country, not just citizens.
Adding Citizenship Question Risks 'Bad Count' For 2020 Census, Experts Warn
Some experts fear, however, that reintroducing a citizenship question to all census participants in 2020 could discourage people from participating at a time of growing distrust in sharing personal information with the government.

In a recent memo written by Census Bureau staffers, researchers said that survey takers conducting field tests last year noticed a "new phenomenon" of increased fear among immigrant participants, many of whom referenced concerns about the "Muslim ban" and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "Respondents reported being told by community leaders not to open the door without a warrant signed by a judge," the researchers wrote in the memo, adding that they saw "respondents falsifying names, dates of birth, and other information on household rosters."
Trump DOJ Could Effectively Be Reviving A Long-Term Attack On Voting Rights
However, should the Trump Justice Department get its way in a new push to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, it could breathe new life into the effort. The result could be that some states draw their legislative districts in ways that reduce the voting power of minority communities and boost the power of white ones.
...
Drawing legislative districts so that they equalize according to the number of legal citizens a district has instead of its total population would have huge implications for the political power of areas with a relatively high non-citizen populations, including immigrant communities. An analysis by Andrew Beveridge, a sociologist and demographics expert at CUNY, said that using citizen voting age instead of total population would result in a shift in voting power that would “substantially favor increasing the number of Republican-dominated districts.”
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:44 AM on March 27 [43 favorites]


but the truth is it’s the Trump brand they just can’t afford

I guess this is the 'business conflicts' excuse that the firms are using to turn down the gig?
posted by like_neon at 5:44 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


@RealDonaldTrump: Many lawyers and top law firms want to represent me in the Russia case...don’t believe the Fake News narrative that it is hard to find a lawyer who wants to take this on. Fame & fortune will NEVER be turned down by a lawyer, though some are conflicted. Problem is that a new ... lawyer or law firm will take months to get up to speed (if for no other reason than they can bill more), which is unfair to our great country - and I am very happy with my existing team.

Mother Jones's impromptu interview with Ted Olson by David "Russian Roulette" Corn: Top Republican Lawyer: No One’s Asking to Be on Trump’s Legal Team
I asked Olson about being recruited for Trump’s squad. He rolled his eyes, suggesting that this was never going to happen and that it was not just a matter of conflicts.[...]

So this didn’t get too far? I queried. Olson shrugged in an I’m-not-getting-into-details way. “Who knows how these trial balloons happen?” he said, in a manner that definitely suggested he knows how they happen. He then joked, “Joe [diGenova] lasted longer. At least two days.”

So is Trump going to have trouble finding attorneys? Olson shrugged again. “Let me ask this a different way,” I said. “In the last few days has any lawyer come up to you and said, ‘I’m willing to work for Trump?'”

Without hesitation, Olson said, “No.” Not at all? “Not at all.”

Washington, I noted, is full of Republican lawyers who generally do not mind being in the middle of headline-generating scandals and earning a bit of notice. Olson laughed: “That’s right.” And not one of them had contacted him to say he or she was willing to sign up? “No,” he repeated.
Trump had better be happy with his existing team of attorneys 'cos he's burning his bridges with the legal profession.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:46 AM on March 27 [22 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: Yesterday we were talking about Stormy Daniels, and one of my co-workers frowned about halfway through and said "then again, she is a porn star, though, so...."

Sometimes it helps to encourage these folks to finish their sentences. It gets their prejudice out in the open. Of course, that may not be a good idea if you're not willing and able to engage with it. But sometimes, someone else does the work, and it even happens that hearing themselves say it out loud causes a glimmer of self-awareness.
So I might be tempted to wait politely, and then say "...Yes?"
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:47 AM on March 27 [49 favorites]


I'm sure some of these lawyers are conflicted out, and Trump's history of not paying bills isn't great (although lawyers will take on way worse high-profile clients in high-profile cases for the publicity), but I think the real reason Trump's unable to find representation at this point is that he is absolutely crystal clear he intends to perjure himself, against the advice of his attorneys, and it's a crime for a lawyer to knowingly allow a client to perjure himself (except in a very limited way in a criminal case). That's why Dowd resigned -- he was pressuring Trump not to talk to Mueller because that is all you can do when your client intends to perjure himself, and when Trump was clear he was going to ignore that advice, Dowd was forced to withdraw representation because it would be a crime (usually a felony) to allow his client to provide false testimony under oath. Any other lawyer who takes on Trump is going to have to immediately withdraw because Trump intends to commit perjury. He's not going to be able to hire or hang on to a competent lawyer until he either a) agrees to tell the truth or b) agrees to refuse to talk to Mueller. Or c) it becomes a criminal case, in which case he has a right to counsel, and the attorney is allowed a little leeway to allow the accused to testify in his own defense, even if he perjures himself, as long as the lawyer doesn't help him do it. You watch, if he gets indicted, better lawyers will be willing to represent him in the criminal case only. Nobody competent is going to touch any non-criminal part of this with a ten-foot pole.

I don't really care about Ty Cobb one way or the other, but I most sincerely hope that Jay Sekulow loses his license when he presents Trump to testify falsely. It'd be gravy if he went to jail for felony suborning of perjury. He is a terrible person, a bad lawyer, and a disgrace to the profession.

Actually the most entertaining way for this to go down would be for a particularly arrogant lawyer to take on Trump as a client, convinced he can control Trump, and get him to agree to tell the truth to Mueller, and then have Trump start lying his ass off while he's testifying, forcing the attorney to withdraw representation during the doubtless highly public testimony.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:47 AM on March 27 [106 favorites]


Mother Jones's impromptu interview with Ted Olson by David "Russian Roulette" Corn: Top Republican Lawyer: No One’s Asking to Be on Trump’s Legal Team

Ted Olson also had this to say yesterday...

“I think everybody would agree: This is turmoil, it's chaos, it's confusion, it's not good for anything,” Olson said Monday on MSNBC's “Andrea Mitchell Reports.” “We always believe that there should be an orderly process, and, of course, government is not clean or orderly ever. But this seems to be beyond normal.”
posted by chris24 at 5:51 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


I've spent a lot of Favorites this morning on the folks who've spelled out all the concrete and measurable good that came of Occupy Wall Street, but I just wanted to add that I don't think we would have gotten the Mitt Romney "47%" tape, nor would it have gotten the traction it did, if Occupy hadn't changed the conversation.
posted by whuppy at 5:58 AM on March 27 [69 favorites]


More Putin contacts for everyone's favorite coffee boy.
When Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, attention fell on his meetings with a mysterious Maltese professor named Joseph Mifsud, who, according to court documents, told Papadopoulos that the Russians had thousands of Hillary Clinton emails — nearly two months before the Democrats themselves knew that their computers had been hacked.

But European security officials say another set of meetings Papadopoulos held in Europe in the months before and after the 2016 election should alarm US investigators. That’s because the person with whom he met, Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, is known to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin — a relationship that goes beyond Greece’s traditional ties to Russia through the Eastern Orthodox Church and a growing relationship brought on by Greece’s economic collapse.

“Like much of the Greek economic and security establishment, the Ministry of Defense is considered compromised by Russian intelligence,” said one NATO military intelligence officer, who like the others in this story declined to be identified by name because of the sensitivity of his work. “Specifically, we have been officially warned against briefing Greek ministry representatives about sensitive intelligence operations involving the Russians” because of concerns about his apparent links to their intelligence services. [...]

Papadopoulos also was not the only Trump-connected figure who met Kammenos. Over the weekend of Trump’s inauguration, Kammenos was photographed at social events talking with incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus and Trump political adviser Steve Bannon. That was in contrast to Kammenos’s visit to Washington in 2015, when President Barack Obama’s secretary of defense, Ash Carter, canceled an already scheduled meeting with him. Photographs showing Priebus and Bannon with Kammenos were distributed by the Greek Defense Ministry.
posted by chris24 at 6:15 AM on March 27 [28 favorites]


Ryan is visiting the Czech Republic this week and plans a press conference Tuesday.

Come to think of it, why's Ryan visiting the Czech Republic, with its Putin-aligning President and Prime Minister and its deep penetration by Russian intelligence?
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:18 AM on March 27 [9 favorites]


Or c) it becomes a criminal case, in which case he has a right to counsel

I think I would weep for joy if Donald Trump needed a public defender, because of all the "conflicts" in representing him.
posted by mikelieman at 6:18 AM on March 27 [34 favorites]


petebest: W/r/t polling, is it not likely that extra-national attentions could have influenced / distorted / outright-created incorrect polling?

Polls that are answered by Web visitors are easily gamed (and hence almost totally untrustworthy). In fact, at least one online poll probably was skewed by Russian activity -- one that Donald proudly pointed to after the first debate, which claimed that just about everyone thought he "won" it.

But mainstream media sources (despite less-than-total tech savviness), are definitely aware of the flaws of online polling, and the polls they emphasize are are resistant to such tricks. You can spam social media with fake people that fool real people, but you can't spam phone-based polls with fake people that fool the pollsters, unless you have super-secret bleeding-edge AI voice software. Someone could have hacked into a server storing poll data, but we have no evidence that happened. (We can speculate, yes, but at that point we could speculate that, say, the content of news articles was changed just before publication -- either change would be very difficult to pull off undetected, given the amount of data that underlies things like news articles and polls.)

It's important to remember that the 2016 polls weren't actually very wrong. They downright nailed the popular vote totals, and the individual states were almost all in the margin of error. Anyone who dismisses a poll of Americans' level of support for policy X or politician Y, on the basis of "2016 polls were wrong", is considering an irrelevant factor (the electoral college).

Hillary's 99% liklihood was the biggest evar in history, right? What if it was more 40%? If I was a canny international criminal usurping organization, I'd be all up in Nate Silver's bidness.

Basically no experts ever said it was that high. FiveThirtyEight in particular was conservative enough (with numbers I think ranged from the 70s to the low 90s) that people throughout the campaign were yelling at Nate for being underconfident in Hillary. (He's expressed amusement at the ironic turnaround.)

The main reason she was given a much stronger edge in polls and betting markets is the high number of swing states that leaned her way, of which she only needed a few, thanks to the solid votes in her bag. Her victory condition was like getting at least 1 instance of heads in a series of three coin flips, whereas Donald had to get all tails -- that example gives a 12.5% likelihood to him and 87.5% to her. A one-in-eight event can of course be expected to happen about once every eight trials, and no one should bet their life savings against it. (For a set of 6 trials, there's a greater than 50% chance of the rare one-in-eight event occurring -- probability is weird and fun.)

One difference between my analogy and reality is that the states don't have independent odds; if something affected votes in one state, the same thing would probably affect the others. FiveThirtyEight took that fact into account, and they believe their final odds would have been closer to 50-50 if there had been more time for polls between the Comey letter (a "black swan" if there ever was one) and Election Day. But the underlying point remains.

The widespread misinterpretation of Hillary's sub-90% chance as a guarantee is partly due to the human bias for optimism. It could be argued that given this bias, and the extreme negatives a Trump presidency posed, the experts had a responsibility to alter their calculation of odds so that people would be less complacent, like setting a watch far ahead, an act of dishonesty to compensate for habitual tardiness. But that's a whole other can of worms.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:27 AM on March 27 [27 favorites]


We should really start dropping hints about how he isn’t smart enough to represent himself and he really shouldn’t do that.
posted by Artw at 6:28 AM on March 27 [72 favorites]


i’m surprised that any of trump’s attorneys have lasted this long. how would you ever be able to assure yourself that he wouldn’t commit perjury? he has almost certainly bullshitted to his lawyers about the facts of the case. he could give you every assurance that he was going to stick to an agreed-upon story in his testimony, but how do you know he’s not bullshitting you?

a belligerent client who can’t be relied upon not to lie under any circumstances is basically impossible for an ethical lawer to represent. so Trump has Sekulow, and his brand of partisan hack is the best he can hope for.
posted by murphy slaw at 6:32 AM on March 27 [2 favorites]


Why does he not simply get a lawyer who is a criminal also?
posted by Artw at 6:36 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


The New York Times: It’s No Cold War, but Relations With Russia Turn Volatile
Each time Russia has been accused of having a hand in acts like the seizure of Ukrainian government buildings in Crimea or the 2014 shooting down of a Malaysian passenger plane over eastern Ukraine, in which nearly 300 people were killed, Moscow has responded with a mix of self-pity, fierce denials and florid conspiracy theories that put the blame elsewhere.

In the case of the poisoning in Salisbury, Russia’s denials became so baroque that even the state-run news media had a hard time keeping up.

After officials denied any Russian role and insisted that neither Russia nor the Soviet Union had ever developed Novichok, the nerve agent identified by Britain as the substance used against the Skripals, a state-controlled news agency published an interview with a Russian scientist who said he had helped develop a system of chemical weapons called Novichok-5. The agency later amended the article, replacing the scientist’s mention of Novichok with an assertion that the “chemical weapons development program of the U.S.S.R. was not called ‘Novichok.’”

posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:36 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


Why does he not simply get a lawyer who is a criminal also?

Michael Cohen is very busy right now
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:37 AM on March 27 [54 favorites]


John Paul Stevens: Repeal the Second Amendment
In 2008, the Supreme Court overturned Chief Justice Burger’s and others’ long-settled understanding of the Second Amendment’s limited reach by ruling, in District of Columbia v. Heller, that there was an individual right to bear arms. I was among the four dissenters.

That decision — which I remain convinced was wrong and certainly was debatable — has provided the N.R.A. with a propaganda weapon of immense power. Overturning that decision via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple and would do more to weaken the N.R.A.’s ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option.

That simple but dramatic action would move Saturday’s marchers closer to their objective than any other possible reform. It would eliminate the only legal rule that protects sellers of firearms in the United States — unlike every other market in the world. It would make our schoolchildren safer than they have been since 2008 and honor the memories of the many, indeed far too many, victims of recent gun violence.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:37 AM on March 27 [92 favorites]


i’m surprised that any of trump’s attorneys have lasted this long. how would you ever be able to assure yourself that he wouldn’t commit perjury?

That's why Dowd quit. If he is in charge when Trump goes to testify under oath (as Trump is apparently eager to do) he'd be disbarred. Trump shouldn't go anywhere near an interview room, under oath or not, if he wants to survive.
posted by Talez at 6:40 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Why does he not simply get a lawyer who is a criminal also?
Maybe the lawyers who are also criminals don't want to step into the spotlight.
posted by Kriesa at 6:41 AM on March 27 [7 favorites]


I'm guessing that when diGenova came on board Trump immediately disclosed his plans to commit perjury and diGenova noped the fuck out.
posted by Talez at 6:43 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


Since I've never heard about it before, I'm curious how the law interprets "allowing" a client to commit perjury. Like is there really no defense available along the lines of "He absolutely could not be stopped from lying"? Would a judge (or whoever is responsible for disciplining that attorney) respond with "Then your responsibility was to quit"?

I'm not about to feel sorry for anyone who chooses to represent Donald. But given this rule, doesn't a client like him become a legal hot potato? By the time he testifies, his most-recently-hired lawyer is screwed? I feel like this issue must have come up plenty of times in case law, because the world doesn't lack for compulsive liars.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:45 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


Each time...Moscow has responded with a mix of self-pity, fierce denials and florid conspiracy theories that put the blame elsewhere

dang no wonder those folks over at the kremlin get on with Trump so famously
posted by halation at 6:48 AM on March 27 [13 favorites]


Overturning that decision via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple

Yup. You just highlight and delete it, changes apply automatically.
posted by BS Artisan at 6:48 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


Like is there really no defense available along the lines of "He absolutely could not be stopped from lying"? Would a judge (or whoever is responsible for disciplining that attorney) respond with "Then your responsibility was to quit"?

Your responsibility is to quit unless it would grossly harm the client in the case. Then and only then can you send a defendant up the stand if they intend to lie.
posted by Talez at 6:48 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


STEVENS: Overturning that decision via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple

Ten out of ten for intentions. Minus several million for practicality.
posted by delfin at 6:49 AM on March 27 [24 favorites]


So at some point does Trump have a public defender appointed for him? I mean, assuming this becomes a criminal matter. Or will Trump decide that he's the only one qualified to represent himself, and we'll have the privilege of hearing the president talk about the gold fringe on the US flag in the courtroom?
posted by logicpunk at 6:49 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


You also can't question the client in a way that would allow them to lie (you have to let the other side do it) and you can't use their false testimony in your closing arguments.
posted by Talez at 6:50 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: Yesterday we were talking about Stormy Daniels, and one of my co-workers frowned about halfway through and said "then again, she is a porn star, though, so...."

Sometimes it helps to encourage these folks to finish their sentences. It gets their prejudice out in the open. Of course, that may not be a good idea if you're not willing and able to engage with it. But sometimes, someone else does the work, and it even happens that hearing themselves say it out loud causes a glimmer of self-awareness.
So I might be tempted to wait politely, and then say "...Yes?"


I would have gone with "So you think he filmed it and paid her?"

It's interesting to me that people think because someone has sex on camera for money that they must therefore be more likely to have sex with anyone at any time. In my life though a few different career focuses it's been my experience that doing something for my work has made me about ten times less likely to want to do it in my off time. Do these people think that Stephen Curry is always up for a pickup game if you walk up to him on the street?
posted by phearlez at 6:55 AM on March 27 [45 favorites]


Sentient Moustache Ty Cobb and Notorious Fraudster Jay Sekulow are still working on Trump's personal legal team and will presumably continue to represent him in the Russian investigation.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:56 AM on March 27 [2 favorites]


You also can't question the client in a way that would allow them to lie (you have to let the other side do it) and you can't use their false testimony in your closing arguments.

That's in a criminal case only, though. In a non-criminal case the lawyer generally has an ethical duty to inform the tribunal if they know their client has perjured themselves and refuses to correct or retract their testimony, even if it would mean a perjury charge for the client. Model Rules 3.3(a)(3) and 3.3(b).
posted by jedicus at 7:00 AM on March 27 [9 favorites]


Christopher Steele's Other Report: A Murder In Washington
The FBI possesses a secret report asserting that Vladimir Putin’s former media czar was beaten to death by hired thugs in Washington, DC — directly contradicting the US government’s official finding that Mikhail Lesin died by accident.

The report, according to four sources who have read all or parts of it, was written by the former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, who also wrote the famous dossier alleging that Russia had been “cultivating, supporting and assisting” Donald Trump. The bureau received his report while it was helping the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department investigate the Russian media baron’s death, the sources said.

posted by PenDevil at 7:01 AM on March 27 [33 favorites]


Republicans Hope “Hillary Clinton” Still Scares Red-State Voters:
Republicans have struggled mightily at the ballot box since Donald Trump took office. They lost a U.S. Senate seat in dark-red Alabama last December and a House seat in heavily conservative western Pennsylvania earlier this month. In those races, the usual rhetoric about abortion and immigration did little to buoy Republican candidates, and even a recent tax cut failed to rally GOP voters. So, to reverse that trend, Republicans are turning back the clock to 2016.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee on Monday unveiled a new ad campaign that focuses on—who else?—Hillary Clinton. The ads hope to use the former presidential candidate as a weapon against 10 Senate Democrats up for re-election in states that went for Trump two years ago. The ads, which the NRSC says will run on Facebook for two weeks, highlight a pair of remarks Clinton made about Trump voters that she felt compelled to later walk back: her “basket of deplorables” comments last year and similar ones she made this month about Trump appealing to voters by “looking backwards.”
posted by octothorpe at 7:02 AM on March 27 [9 favorites]


Sentient Moustache Ty Cobb and Notorious Fraudster Jay Sekulow

I'm not up on these details, but are the able to represent people in federal criminal court too, or is there a license endorsement or something that's needed?
posted by mikelieman at 7:02 AM on March 27


So at some point does Trump have a public defender appointed for him? I mean, assuming this becomes a criminal matter. Or will Trump decide that he's the only one qualified to represent himself, and we'll have the privilege of hearing the president talk about the gold fringe on the US flag in the courtroom?

Or he finds a way to throw Ivanka under the bus for the all the collusion charges, after hearing about the infamous Bluth corollary, wherein they can't charge a husband and wife for the same crime.
posted by Mayor West at 7:04 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Sentient Moustache Ty Cobb works for the White House legal team, not Trump's personal team. Though he reports directly to Trump. This is one of those fine distinctions that Trump himself probably doesn't understand.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:04 AM on March 27 [19 favorites]


"Since I've never heard about it before, I'm curious how the law interprets "allowing" a client to commit perjury. Like is there really no defense available along the lines of "He absolutely could not be stopped from lying"? Would a judge (or whoever is responsible for disciplining that attorney) respond with "Then your responsibility was to quit"?"

It is absolutely your responsibility to quit. If your client surprise-perjures himself during trial, you have more options. But if you know your client intends to perjure himself, you're ethically obligated to withdraw from representation, if possible. Here's a short overview in reasonable layman's terms. (There are much more thorough treatments of the issue but they tend to get into the weeds with the rules of professional conduct and get fairly inside baseball.)

"I'm not about to feel sorry for anyone who chooses to represent Donald. But given this rule, doesn't a client like him become a legal hot potato?"

Yep!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:06 AM on March 27 [20 favorites]


> Not saying we don't very much need to disband ICE, but this is a problem for The Intercept:

zachlipton (and everyone else who chimed in), that is a genuinely astonishing editorial fuckup from the intercept, a deeply unimpressive correction (it should be at the top of the article) and that’s the first and last time that I link them.

For anyone who missed the earlier comments, they apparently took an article about ICE tracking down a child predator using FB data and, during the editorial process, changed the story to be about tracking down immigrants. (At least, that’s their explanation at the moment.) They inserted falsehoods into a moderately interesting story about two deeply awful institutions that can easily be criticised without resorting to lies.

I put the source in my original comment so that people would know that they were clicking a link to the intercept (I tend to agree with the criticism of Greenwald here) but I’ve now asked the mods if they could add a line to explain that the story as originally reported is false. Thanks for drawing attention to their “correction”.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 7:07 AM on March 27 [23 favorites]


That’s pure Greenwald all over, even if it’s not his byline - never one to let a story stand in its merits.
posted by Artw at 7:09 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


Sentient Moustache Ty Cobb and Notorious Fraudster Jay Sekulow

I'm not up on these details, but are the able to represent people in federal criminal court too, or is there a license endorsement or something that's needed?


Basically they just ask the court for permission.

I actually think Trump would not have a hard time finding criminal defense attorneys to represent him. Can you imagine how famous you'd get for defending him in court? Hell, he's got Dershowitz on his side already, and Trump is more famous than OJ. It's the white shoe firms with expertise in these arcane political matters that want nothing to do with him.
posted by dis_integration at 7:11 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


Note that a criminal case is different -- the accused has a right to speak in his own defense, AND he has a right to an attorney, and the confluence of those two rights means that a lawyer fulfilling that Constitutional obligation to provide the attorney may be unable to stop his client from speaking in his own defense -- and lying. But it's not Constitutional for the client to then be unrepresented, so basically you have to let them do it, not participate by questioning the client further or by using that testimony in your case, but also not hurt your client by "cross-examining" him yourself, and let the prosecution demolish them on cross.

But in a civil case, or where you're not the accused in a criminal case, or where nobody's indicted you yet, you're just kinda fucked, keeping-a-lawyer-wise, if you keep lying and lying and lying, Trump-style. There's no right to an attorney unless and until you're accused of a crime, and if attorneys all consider you radioactive because of your perjury problem, you're just SOL.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:16 AM on March 27 [11 favorites]


Vladimir Putin’s former media czar was beaten to death by hired thugs in Washington, DC

The guy who got so drunk he beat himself to death with a baseball bat the night before his scheduled meeting with the DOJ? Naw. That kind of ridiculous violence and cover-up would attract the white-hot glare of . . . Chuck Todd's Media Scrutiny™
posted by petebest at 7:17 AM on March 27 [37 favorites]


they apparently took an article about ICE tracking down a child predator using FB data and, during the editorial process, changed the story to be about tracking down immigrants. (At least, that’s their explanation at the moment.) They inserted falsehoods into a moderately interesting story about two deeply awful institutions that can easily be criticised without resorting to lies.

I really don't mean to defend the Intercept, but

*Why was ICE involved if they weren't looking for an alien?
*I have the sad expectation that ICE couches many of their straight-up racist crackdowns on brown people as being "really" about child predators or drug dealers or other things that anglos will believe brown people do without any real evidence except their foreign-seeming-ness.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:20 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


Trump is more famous than OJ.

Johnnie Cochran and Bob Kardashian are dead, F. Lee Bailey isn't licensed, and Bob Shapiro doesn't do criminal stuff these days. Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld mostly do wrongful convictions, Carl Douglas mostly does police misconduct, and Gerry Spence doesn't want to mess up his perfect record.

None of those guys are going anywhere near Trump.
posted by box at 7:22 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


*Why was ICE involved if they weren't looking for an alien?

This answers that question and more.
posted by drezdn at 7:25 AM on March 27 [7 favorites]


“If he’s full of shit, then I must quit!” could have been a real memorable trial moment.
posted by Artw at 7:25 AM on March 27 [65 favorites]


New from Foreign Policy, Meet Trump's New, Homophobic Public Health Quack. This guy is going to be the new CDC Director if we can't stop him.

His low-lights include:
in 1989, when I reported in and around Fort Hood, the Army’s largest training and staging area, located in Texas. Terrified 18- and 19-year-old soldiers found to be infected with HIV would be isolated to a special barracks wing, known on the base as the “HIV hotel” or “the leper colony,” where they were treated like prisoners until they either developed full-blown AIDS or were discharged dishonorably.
and
Outside of his work with the military, Redfield, a devout Roman Catholic, was associated with Americans for a Sound AIDS/HIV Policy (ASAP), a Christian organization headed by W. Shepherd Smith Jr. ASAP backed the idea of mandatory testing for HIV and isolation or identification of those infected with HIV.
He also fucked with vaccine data showing efficacy (it wasn't) during a time we needed good news which led to an investigation of his research (during which time hundreds more military personnel were given the vaccine that showed zero clinical improvement) and was removed from his position as a researcher at Walter Reed.

Fuck this guy. Hashtag Not my CDC Director
posted by Sophie1 at 7:37 AM on March 27 [93 favorites]


STEVENS: Overturning that decision via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple

Ten out of ten for intentions. Minus several million for practicality.


That spontaneous generation of "but... but...." notions in your head is the sound of the Overton window shifting.
posted by Killick at 7:38 AM on March 27 [39 favorites]


This is an observation about news from a while ago so I apologize if someone else has already made it:

I keep thinking about that story a while back about how Trump allegedly prefers McDonalds because the food is made before you arrive, making it more difficult to poison. And then Russia did a very scary, very public assassination attempt with a military-grade nerve agent, when they could've just shot/stabbed/strangled the targets in their home. Sure, it was a message to other spies, but I wonder if there was a small component of psychological warfare towards Trump too?
posted by bluecore at 7:43 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


Terrified 18- and 19-year-old soldiers found to be infected with HIV would be isolated to a special barracks wing, known on the base as the “HIV hotel” or “the leper colony,” where they were treated like prisoners until they either developed full-blown AIDS or were discharged dishonorably. [...] He also fucked with vaccine data showing efficacy (it wasn't) during a time we needed good news which led to an investigation of his research (during which time hundreds more military personnel were given the vaccine that showed zero clinical improvement) and was removed from his position as a researcher at Walter Reed.

Imagine this shitheel as CDC director during the next pandemic. It's not as flashy as the nuclear war-hawks or the climate change denialists, but this too is a hire that invites hundreds of thousands or millions of unnecessary US deaths.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:50 AM on March 27 [47 favorites]


STEVENS: Overturning that decision via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple

Ten out of ten for intentions. Minus several million for practicality.


This is a form of paralytic cynicism. Even in the halcyon days of 2015 would you have thought that high school students would marshall their civic energy and organize a protest march for gun control that rivaled the largest protest marches in the history of America?

Amendments to the US constitution already exist and they are proof that it can be done. Rather famously the 18th was overturned by the 21st largely as result of the St. Valentines Day massacre where 6 gang members and a mechanic were gunned down and a nation was shocked and horrified. Every time you have an alcoholic drink you are celebrating the adaptability of the US constitution. That bourbon barrel aged imperial porter is liquid constitutional change with notes of Jimmy Carter.

Is is neither Ought nor Immutable. Things can get better and as we have seen things can also get worse. Where does cynicism lead? There is a reason that a major component of Russia's disinformation campaign was and still is the cultivation of cynicism in the American electorate.
posted by srboisvert at 7:54 AM on March 27 [64 favorites]


Redfield falsified data.

Not that I'm complaining, but I have to put a note to file every time there's a freaking accidental scribble on a consent form and I have a study monitor looking up my asshole with a flashlight for every low risk comparison study and this guy falsifies data and he's going to be CDC director.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:59 AM on March 27 [50 favorites]


Under most rules of professional conduct (can't speak to all), if the client refuses to correct the false testimony/evidence then the attorney has a duty to disclose it to the court (I.e. judge) to the extent necesssary even if it would otherwise be privileged. The judge then decides whether to make a statement to the jury, declare a mistrial, do something else, or do nothing. The attorney has a duty of candor to the court that supersedes the duty of confidentiality (in addition, failing to correct the false evidence can be considered participating in a client's fraud on the court, qualifying for the crime-fraud exception to privilege).
posted by melissasaurus at 7:59 AM on March 27 [17 favorites]


It is absolutely your responsibility to quit. If your client surprise-perjures himself during trial, you have more options. But if you know your client intends to perjure himself, you're ethically obligated to withdraw from representation, if possible.

And certainly there are lawyers out there who give no fucks about this ethical responsibility at all. But no matter how unethical you might be, you'll probably still shy away from doing it in one of the most high-profile legal cases in all of American history.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:01 AM on March 27 [2 favorites]


> Sure, it was a message to other spies, but I wonder if there was a small component of psychological warfare towards Trump too?

If they know Trump enough to know his predilection for fast food they also know he doesn't read his briefings or even understand the news so how's he expected to find out about this having happened, much less have the self-awareness to apply someone else's experience to his own?
posted by komara at 8:04 AM on March 27 [7 favorites]


Thank you for the answer, Eyebrows McGee. That's an informative PDF. I also found another solid-looking page discussing it: You think your client is going to lie on the stand—The classic dilemma of a criminal defense lawyer.

Now I wonder if a secretly-good-person lawyer could agree to represent Trump, smile along as he details his ridiculous plans to lie/cheat his way out of justice, then when it's showtime, inform anyone questioning him "The statement my client just made is false and he knows it." After all, it looks like the core reason it's wrong to allow client perjury is that it is a form of presenting false evidence, and that should cancel that out, right?

In this hypothetical, the lawyer could add "I had to 'let' him do this, because if he'd fired me, you wouldn't get the whole truth you're getting now." It would be a great movie moment, but obviously the fallout for that lawyer's career could be enormous.

Stevens: Overturning [Heller] via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple

delfin: Ten out of ten for intentions. Minus several million for practicality.

Killick: That spontaneous generation of "but... but...." notions in your head is the sound of the Overton window shifting.

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is obviously vastly more qualified to discuss it than non-lawyer me... but I think the Overton window is exactly why 2A doesn't have to be repealed, unless the goal is abolishing militias (those being the one thing the amendment unquestionably protects). Any future where repeal is a possibility has long crossed a threshold of massive popular support for gun regulation equal to or greater than what courts used to happily consider 2A-compatible (as Stevens obviously knows). Courts would follow that sentiment unless democracy itself breaks down even further, which is an entirely different crisis to have. So if actual repeal were feasible, it would be a formality, like enacting a constitutional amendment guaranteeing marriage equality (still a very good idea!) when we already have both a 14th amendment and public sentiment favoring gay rights.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:05 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


This is a form of paralytic cynicism. Even in the halcyon days of 2015 would you have thought that high school students would marshall their civic energy and organize a protest march for gun control that rivaled the largest protest marches in the history of America?

This is a form of looking, realistically, at the current state of America. Submitting an amendment requires a 2/3 majority in both House and Senate, either of which will be somewhat lucky to creep into 50%+ Democratic control in 2018. Ratifying it requires 3/4 of state legislatures to agree; 3/5 of them are currently under Republican control. Reaching any of these thresholds is left as an exercise for the reader, particularly when the conservative media machine howls day and night about how gun ownership is the cornerstone of all civil rights, how only tyrants seek to disarm a populace, how guns in public places make them safer places, and how terribly important it is to get out and vote because otherwise the liberals are going to seize all your guns and institute Communism.

I would like to live in a world in which moderate Republicans would look at this swelling of opinion around reasonable restrictions on gun ownership and say "you know, the hardcores in my base of constituents will not like this but it is reasonable to act on this for the common good." This is not that world. This is a world in which any Republican who even hints at sympathizing with repealing 2A will be instantly primaried and driven out of office. So-called moderate Republicans refuse to vote against things that their constituents _hate_ -- remember the "skinny repeal" vote? -- unless they get an explicit hall pass from party leadership. Getting large numbers of Repubs to defect on what is _the single key issue_ for many of their constituents is also left as an exercise for the reader.

Right now the hard right continues to push for an Article V convention to modify the Constitution to their liking. They are fruitcakes and it's not going to happen. But _they are closer to that goal_ than we on the left are to modifying the Constitution in a progressive direction. We need to focus on getting the "well-regulated" clause in 2A to be repeated loudly and often and stress that additional regulations _do not violate that clause in any way_, which is supported by vast portions of America's legislative and judicial history. Rambling about "well, let's just repeal 2A and ban all the guns" does nothing but rev up the crazies like the peasant in Holy Grail -- SEE! SEE! THAT'S WHAT I'M ON ABOUT! THEY'RE COMING FOR ALL OUR GUNS! -- and _revved-up crazies vote_.

Aim for the possible. Especially while you're in such a disadvantageous minority position that not much is possible.
posted by delfin at 8:14 AM on March 27 [7 favorites]


Andy Borowitz on Facebook: "Before you say, 'This country will never get rid of guns,' replace the word 'guns' with 'slavery' and think for a moment or two."

In related news, Lincoln, which dramatizes the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, is currently available on Netflix.
posted by Gelatin at 8:19 AM on March 27 [43 favorites]


"Before you say, 'This country will never get rid of guns,' replace the word 'guns' with 'slavery' and think for a moment or two."
Exactly. And that's not a pie in the sky analogy. They are directly related issues.
Atlantic- 'Southern men thus carried weapons both “as a protection against the slaves” and also to be prepared for “quarrels between freemen.”
Quarz- Gun ownership stats in the US.
posted by rc3spencer at 8:22 AM on March 27 [16 favorites]


that's not a pie in the sky analogy. They are directly related issues

When the Black Panthers took to carrying rifles, California Governor Ronald Reagan himself signed the law prohibiting the practice.
posted by Gelatin at 8:26 AM on March 27 [34 favorites]


> "Before you say, 'This country will never get rid of guns,' replace the word 'guns' with 'slavery' and think for a moment or two."

Fair enough, but to be complete, it also took an actual civil war to end slavery.
posted by mosk at 8:30 AM on March 27 [66 favorites]


"Before you say, 'This country will never get rid of guns,' replace the word 'guns' with 'slavery' and think for a moment or two."

I'm thinking. Thinking about the bloody civil war that was fought over the practice. Thinking about the century that followed of repression and third-class citizenship for racial minorities in the areas where slavery had been practiced. Thinking about how subsequent legislation putting federal teeth behind racial equality caused massive political shakeups, the departure of the Dixiecrats and the Southern Strategy. Thinking about how much further we really have to go in this country.
posted by delfin at 8:32 AM on March 27 [35 favorites]


Thinking about how much further we really have to go in this country.
Yes! in a historical perspective, we are still in the aftermath of the Civil War and the writing of slavery into the Constitution's hypocritical declaration of human rights and legislation of how to conduct slavery simultaneously.
For one of the best explanations of America's unique legacy and problem in world history, consult Baldwin (the US's best therapist). I Am Not Your Negro
Peck's film is one of the best companion pieces to To Kill A Mockingbird ever.
posted by rc3spencer at 8:37 AM on March 27 [13 favorites]


Same-sex marriage went from DOMA in '96 to nationally legal in 2013. It may take 15-20 years to get reasonable gun control in place but it can and needs to happen.
posted by cmfletcher at 8:38 AM on March 27 [18 favorites]


Same-sex marriage went from DOMA in '96 to nationally legal in 2013. It may take 15-20 years to get reasonable gun control in place but it can and needs to happen.

Same-sex marriage did not have the obstacle of an actual Constitutional Amendment that said anything about whether there were gender requirements for a marriage.

One of the other reasons that we may be having problems getting reasonable gun control in place may be because people keep conflating "gun control" with "repeal the Second Amendment" or "Confiscate guns". The gun lobby does enough of this - but those supporting gun control can also make the same mistake, either intentionally or by accident.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:43 AM on March 27 [13 favorites]


"Before you say, 'This country will never get rid of guns,' replace the word 'guns' with 'slavery' and think for a moment or two."

...

When the Black Panthers took to carrying rifles, California Governor Ronald Reagan himself signed the law prohibiting the practice.

OK, so the two proposals before us are "full-scale civil war between a coalition of the Northeast/Western states and the rest of the country" and "convince minorities to embrace open carry at what will almost certainly be a horrific cost to them in state-sanctioned violence against them."

Do we have any ideas for repealing the second amendment that aren't genocidal? No? Then maybe we should drop it, and focus on realistic policy goals that can be achieved when and if the GOP loses the House next year.
posted by Mayor West at 8:48 AM on March 27 [16 favorites]


unless the goal is abolishing militias (those being the one thing the amendment unquestionably protects)

I don't think this is true. Before Heller, militias were used as the justification for the right to keep and bear arms, but not as the thing actually being protected. After Heller, the prefatory clause is no longer important at all, according to a wafer-thin majority of SCOTUS. And I think this actually opens the doors to more regulation, not less. One prior regulatory limit was whether a gun was the kind of gun a militia member might carry - an AR-15 seems to fall safely within that category. No more! Now, guns like those can be limited or controlled, because Heller tells us that the Second Amendment isn't really about militias at all. Even Scalia said as much in his decision.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:49 AM on March 27 [8 favorites]


Same-sex marriage went from DOMA in '96 to nationally legal in 2013. It may take 15-20 years to get reasonable gun control in place but it can and needs to happen.

I remember 2004 and Bush winning because of "God, guns, and gays." Almost 15 years later, it's much harder to gin up opposition to gay rights and gay marriage, and even God is losing value as a touchstone in many areas, especially New England and the West Coast. That leaves guns, and I think the March For Our Lives movement is the start of something big.

I prefer cautious optimism to cynicism. The latter seems to want us to just crawl back into bed and give up, but cautious optimism gives us room for hope while realizing that change is a struggle and takes time, often more time than we would wish. The Civil Rights movement didn't spring up full-blown in the 1960's. Neither did the second wave of feminism. I can't think of very many human-rights progressions that took a nation by storm instead of occurring in steps (and sometimes two steps forward and one step back).
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:52 AM on March 27 [20 favorites]


Because we're living in the darkest timeline, CNN's latest poll shows 42% approve of Trump, the highest in 11 months
President Donald Trump's approval rating has rebounded to its highest level since the 100-day mark of his presidency, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, even as his approval ratings for handling major issues remain largely negative.

Overall, 42% approve of the way Trump is handling the presidency, 54% disapprove. Approval is up 7 points overall since February, including 6-point increases among Republicans (from 80% to 86% now) and independents (from 35% to 41% now). Trump's approval rating remains below that of all of his modern-era predecessors at this stage in their first term after being elected, though Trump only trails Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama by a narrow 4 points at this point in their first terms.

Trump's approval ratings have seesawed over the last four CNN polls -- from 35% in December up to 40% in January, down to 35% in February and back up to 42% now. Looking at intensity of approval, however, the share who strongly approve of Trump's performance (28% in the new poll) and strongly disapprove (46%) have held relatively steady over a similar time frame, suggesting the fluctuation in Trump's ratings comes largely among those whose views on the President aren't that deeply held.
CNN's Poll was conducted from March 22nd to 25th, suggesting neither the White House dysfunctionality last week nor the ongoing Stormy Daniels scandal affected his overall approval rating (even though his numbers are all net unfavorables on specific issues, except for the economy).
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:54 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


OK, so the two proposals before us are "full-scale civil war between a coalition of the Northeast/Western states and the rest of the country" and "convince minorities to embrace open carry at what will almost certainly be a horrific cost to them in state-sanctioned violence against them."

The country is not divided neatly into states with people on your side and the other people, and minorities are neither tools nor a biddable them. This is both a bad and wrong model.
posted by The Gaffer at 9:01 AM on March 27 [10 favorites]


It may take 15-20 years to get reasonable gun control in place but it can and needs to happen.

I am in complete agreement on the need. Whether it can depends on how we define "reasonable" and if we can persuade Joe Public that it is indeed reasonable. Persuading enough of the middle that gun control in and of itself is not an extremist and unconstitutional position. Persuading enough of that middle to come out and vote against the Hardcore Patriots who view any restrictions at all as unthinkable, and to do so in places where those hardcores are in higher concentrations.

We can win a lot of battles in this fight. We must. If we frame it as all-or-nothing, we will not.
posted by delfin at 9:03 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


> W/r/t polling, is it not likely that extra-national attentions could have influenced / distorted / outright-created incorrect polling? That is, if we accept the premise that Russian troll farms roiled teh socialz, and leet haxors scoured voting systems across multiple states, is it not likely that polling was also targeted for use in keeping a horse race a horse race?

It's virtually impossible to game telephone polls. Pollsters call a random sample of telephone numbers for each poll. Most people don't get called, and it's impossible to predict who's going to be in the sample. In theory, it's possible to do this with internet panel polls. (You'd get a bunch of your people to sign up for the panel and then try to feed them bogus data.) However, pollsters have statistical procedures to detect call center employees faking data – their data will stick out as statistically anomalous over time. This happens occasionally; people do get fired for this, and their data gets thrown out. Presumably, pollsters can use similar techniques to detect people trying to game internet panel polls, and along with taking steps to verify that their participants are real people and live where they say they live. It's unlikely that someone could game a sophisticated pollster like Ipsos, who had decades of experience doing internet panel polls in France before contracting with Reuters to do political polls in the US as well, without being detected.

Hillary's 99% liklihood was the biggest evar in history, right? What if it was more 40%? If I was a canny international criminal usurping organization, I'd be all up in Nate Silver's bidness.

Nate Silver and 538 gave Trump about a one in three chance of winning based on the polling. It was the pundits who were wildly overconfident about a Clinton win, not the stats nerds at 538 who based their analysis on the actual polling and a good understanding of probability theory. They'd been sounding the alarm for months before the election that a Trump victory was a not at all unlikely. Nobody wanted to listen.
posted by nangar at 9:06 AM on March 27 [13 favorites]


From the Office of the Press Secretary: President Donald J. Trump Sparks Renewed Focus on American Infrastructure

Jesus, not again. If you want a vision of the future, imagine Infrastructure Week stamping on a human face - forever.
posted by marshmallow peep at 9:08 AM on March 27 [85 favorites]


Rather than the herculean task of scrapping the 2nd Amendment, wouldn't it be easier to start interpreting “well-regulated militia” as actually meaning something other than “white dudes gonna white dude”?
posted by acb at 9:08 AM on March 27 [14 favorites]


They'd been sounding the alarm for months before the election that a Trump victory was a not at all unlikely. Nobody wanted to listen.

I remember someone setting up a less pessimistic more pundit-friendly poll aggregator and everyone coping over it because it showed bigger Clinton margins.
posted by Artw at 9:11 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Rather than the herculean task of scrapping the 2nd Amendment, wouldn't it be easier to start interpreting “well-regulated militia” as actually meaning something other than “white dudes gonna white dude”?

It would, but the Supreme Court Republicans have made clear that we can get that interpretation over their dead bodies. So it'd be dependent on other extremely significant victories -- a Democratic president replacing Anthony Kennedy, or a successful court-packing push.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:12 AM on March 27 [5 favorites]


komara: "If they know Trump enough to know his predilection for fast food they also know he doesn't read his briefings or even understand the news so how's he expected to find out about this having happened, much less have the self-awareness to apply someone else's experience to his own?"

Well there is always the possibility his handler warned him directly as an intimidation tactic.

Gelatin: "Andy Borowitz on Facebook: "Before you say, 'This country will never get rid of guns,' replace the word 'guns' with 'slavery' and think for a moment or two." "

He's right, an Australian style weapons ban would probably require a bloody civil war to enact.

cmfletcher: "Same-sex marriage went from DOMA in '96 to nationally legal in 2013. It may take 15-20 years to get reasonable gun control in place but it can and needs to happen."

Regulation can happen, a orderly repeal of the 2nd is wildly unlikely.
posted by Mitheral at 9:12 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Reuters: New York state will sue to block Census citizenship question, joining California's suit.
posted by jedicus at 9:13 AM on March 27 [54 favorites]


Aren't phone polls necessarily going to be skewed in particular demographic directions, though? They're more difficult to game intentionally, but they'd also be facing a fair bit of challenge when it comes to getting a representative sample, given the severe dropoff in landline use and the insidious plague that is spam/scam robocalling. Anecdotally, I know very few people who will even answer a call if the contact isn't known to them. Few people even have landlines these days, and most of them are older or tend to live in more rural areas (given spotty cell coverage). I know I've read countless articles in the past 5-10 years outlining these known problems, and I have not heard of any potential fixes to overcome these issues. I'd be curious to know whether workarounds exist.
posted by halation at 9:14 AM on March 27 [5 favorites]


I'm not convinced that the vicissitudes of Trump's approval rating are anything to worry about. It goes up a little, and it goes down a little, but there hasn't been any strong trend one way or the other since June. Actually, there was a bit in WaPo about how the fact that his approval rating never changes might be the bigger problem.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 9:16 AM on March 27 [20 favorites]


Nothing about this screams "well-regulated."

He's right, an Australian style weapons ban would probably require a bloody civil war to enact.

Worth noting that gun ownership is extremely concentrated, with 3% of the population owning 50% of the guns. Each of those individuals in that 3% only have two hands with which to fire those guns, so I suspect the likelihood of a bloody civil war is a bit overstated.

At any rate, if we don't disarm the cops at the same time as much of the populace we won't really be solving our gun violence problem.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:18 AM on March 27 [12 favorites]


I would happily holler about repealing the 2nd if it makes regulation sound like a reasonable compromise that can actually happen. The middle doesn't move to the left without a more lefty left tugging everyone along.
posted by like_neon at 9:18 AM on March 27 [34 favorites]


Scott Adams' (sorry) take on the telephone poll issue, ten years ago.
posted by Melismata at 9:20 AM on March 27


I remember someone setting up a less pessimistic more pundit-friendly poll aggregator and everyone coping over it because it showed bigger Clinton margins.

Sam Wang maybe. The bug he ate on TV doesn't sufficiently atone for that fucking graph I stared at every day leading up the election. It got to point a week or two out when his model was returning 100% odds for Hillary until they patched it to cap at 99%. I totally bought it.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 9:23 AM on March 27 [8 favorites]


I'm not convinced that the vicissitudes of Trump's approval rating are anything to worry about. It goes up a little, and it goes down a little, but there hasn't been any strong trend one way or the other since June. Actually, there was a bit in WaPo about how the fact that his approval rating never changes might be the bigger problem.

Which further underscores that Republicans are vile and need to be, at the very least, ejected from office and barked into silence when they try to float their brainfarts as legitimate viewpoints.
posted by anem0ne at 9:25 AM on March 27 [7 favorites]


Before you start worrying about Trump's approval rating, head over to fivthirtyeight and note that even with his approval breaking 40% he is still the least popular president (at this point in his presidency) since they started doing approval polling during the Truman administration.

And (relatively speaking) nothing bad has happened yet.

No energy crisis, no massively unpopular legislation like the Civil Rights Act, no hostage crisis, no recession. Trump is getting the presidency on easy mode and he's still widely perceived as doing a terrible job.
posted by murphy slaw at 9:27 AM on March 27 [22 favorites]


And (relatively speaking) nothing bad has happened yet.

well, except for puerto rico, but with the way the media hasn't been covering that...
posted by anem0ne at 9:29 AM on March 27 [56 favorites]


Whoa, check out how Ford's approval drops off a cliff 31 days into his administration.

He took office on August 9, 1974, and pardoned Nixon on September 8.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:32 AM on March 27 [11 favorites]


yes, should have included a caveat of "nothing bad from the point of view of major media and the average member of the public".

we talk about crises as serious as the ones mentioned on the daily here but they're not getting any traction in the public consciousness.
posted by murphy slaw at 9:32 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


The more I think about it, the more I'm persuaded that the second amendment should be repealed purely because it's so confusingly written. It's a horse assembled by committee that adds way more noise than signal to our national conversations.

by like_neon: I would happily holler about repealing the 2nd if it makes regulation sound like a reasonable compromise that can actually happen. The middle doesn't move to the left without a more lefty left tugging everyone along.

I'm normally way in favor of this line of thought in other areas. Like, we definitely need people who actively argue for UK-style handgun ban. But given the very-well-based view that the current interpretation of the amendment is what's ridiculous, the move for repeal feels (just to me) a bit like campaigning to repeal the 3rd amendment so that we can finally legalize marijuana. Even as it stands in striking opposition to gun nuts, "repeal 2A" concedes much more of the argument than they've earned.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:44 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Existential Dread: "
Worth noting that gun ownership is extremely concentrated, with 3% of the population owning 50% of the guns. Each of those individuals in that 3% only have two hands with which to fire those guns, so I suspect the likelihood of a bloody civil war is a bit overstated.
"

And a 1/3rd of Americans own the other 50%. About the same percentage as Southern families that owned slaves.
posted by Mitheral at 9:48 AM on March 27 [8 favorites]


cmfletcher: "Same-sex marriage went from DOMA in '96 to nationally legal in 2013. It may take 15-20 years to get reasonable gun control in place but it can and needs to happen."

Only fifteen years ago, "57% of Americans supported a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman" and yet we now have same sex marriage.

Right now 60% of Americans support stronger gun laws so we're already way ahead.
posted by octothorpe at 9:52 AM on March 27 [39 favorites]


I'm trying to figure out if and what the connection between Pence and Redfield is.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:55 AM on March 27 [2 favorites]


Before Heller, militias were used as the justification for the right to keep and bear arms, but not as the thing actually being protected. After Heller, the prefatory clause is no longer important at all, according to a wafer-thin majority of SCOTUS.

Said majority composed of those who claim to be "originalists" and "strict constructionalists" who believe the plain text of the Constitution should prevail.
posted by Gelatin at 9:56 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]


I'm not convinced that the vicissitudes of Trump's approval rating are anything to worry about. It goes up a little, and it goes down a little, but there hasn't been any strong trend one way or the other since June.

I don't plan to freak out just because Trump's popularity barely tops 40%. Big deal. Trump has his crazy base, and he has a fluctuating set of Republicans that can be embarrassed out of the tribal urge to say he's doing a good job. But he's wildly unpopular and simply does not seem capable of doing anything that will cause this nation to look at him in a new light.

If and when Democrats take back either or both houses of Congress this year (tttcs), Republicans will scream about blocking Trump's initiatives and investigating his incompetence, corruption, and treason. And the so-called "liberal media" will give a disproportionate megaphone to those voices in the name of "balance." But I don't see any reason at all Democrats should be the least bit forgiving or in the mood to compromise once they take office.
posted by Gelatin at 10:06 AM on March 27 [12 favorites]


Fluttering hellfire - this should help in your search. Americans for a Sound AIDS/HIV Policy has changed it's name in recent years to CAFI, Children's AIDS Fund International.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:12 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


I would happily holler about repealing the 2nd if it makes regulation sound like a reasonable compromise that can actually happen. The middle doesn't move to the left without a more lefty left tugging everyone along.

Yes, we need to stop treating the second amendment like it's a Commandment from G-d that we'll be smited for questioning. Be the shift in the Overton Window that you want to see.
posted by Lyme Drop at 10:13 AM on March 27 [42 favorites]


chris24: How Trump favored Texas over Puerto Rico: A POLITICO investigation shows a persistent double standard in the president’s handling of relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria.

And it's not apples to apples, but then there's California's fires and related floods: Trump approved a major disaster declaration on Jan. 2, 2018, to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by wildfires from December 4, 2017 and continuing, and personally, Trump only visited California to view and promote border wall prototypes, and to attend a GOP fundraiser in Los Angeles, in March, month after the natural disasters, at which point that Guardian article noted that "No president since Franklin Roosevelt has waited this long to visit California."

Even Fox News commented on the fact that Trump didn't visit California in his first year in office, something that hadn't been done in 64 years, since Dwight D. Eisenhower. (That article also notes that Trump's claims of “serious voter fraud” in California as well as in Virginia and New Hampshire were not backed up with any evidence.)
posted by filthy light thief at 10:14 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


I suspect the likelihood of a bloody civil war is a bit overstated.
I have witnessed many punk shows in the 80s where the 4-6 nazi punks intimidated and ruined the experience of 100+ other audience members until it was pointed out that there were only 4-6 nazis there. It was over shortly after that. No civil war needed, just the correction of the behavior of a tiny number of bullies.
posted by rc3spencer at 10:19 AM on March 27 [52 favorites]


from the "christ, what an asshole" dept.

At Q&A in Provo, Mitt Romney says he's more conservative than Trump on immigration
“For instance, I’m a deficit hawk,” Romney said. “That makes me more conservative than a lot of Republicans and a lot of Democrats. I’m also more of a hawk on immigration than even the president. My view was these DACA kids shouldn’t all be allowed to stay in the country legally.”

Romney said he is against giving legal residence to those 1.8 million people.

“That was not my posture,” Romney said. “So I was more conservative than others in my party. Now I will accept the president’s view on this, but for me, I draw the line and say, those who’ve come illegally should not be given a special path to citizenship.”

Romney said he believes DACA recipients “need to do more” to justify permanent residency, such as attending community college, getting a degree, serving in the military or serving in needed occupations like teaching.

Romney, as he has since his campaign began, emphasized the ways he agrees with Trump on policy, rather than focusing on their past differences.
posted by murphy slaw at 10:25 AM on March 27 [14 favorites]


It’s no surprise the man who is exceptionally cruel to animals is exceptionally cruel to other humans.
posted by Talez at 10:31 AM on March 27 [51 favorites]


So, Mexico's def not paying for the wall, and neither is that spending bill that just passed so...from Josh Dawsey and Mike DeBonis at WaPo:
President Trump frequently said Mexico would pay for a wall along the southern border as he sought the presidency in 2016. Now, he is privately pushing the U.S. military to fund construction of his signature project.

Trump, who told advisers he was spurned in a large spending bill last week when lawmakers only appropriated $1.6 billion for the border wall, has begun suggesting the Pentagon could fund the sprawling construction, citing a “national security” risk.

After floating the notion to several advisers last week, he told Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) that the military should pay for the wall in a meeting last Wednesday in the White House residence, according to three people familiar with the meeting. Ryan offered little reaction to the notion, these people said, but senior Capitol Hill officials later said it was an unlikely prospect.
TL;DR of the article is basically everyone involved going "lol no" with a side of "you don't have the votes now, and you definitely will not have the votes by the end of the year."
posted by yasaman at 10:33 AM on March 27 [17 favorites]


from the "christ, what an asshole" dept.

At Q&A in Provo, Mitt Romney says he's more conservative than Trump on immigration


So much for Mittens being some kind of "compassionate conservative" anti-Trump. (Never mind that that hope was... kind of forgetful.)

Setting aside the soul of the Republican party (as if they hadn't already done that themselves), isn't this just dumb from a strategic perspective, if you're angling for some kind of comeback? Even if you see it as expedient to appeal to the Asshole Bloc, you're not going to win the Biggest Asshole Contest with Trump around.
posted by cudzoo at 10:33 AM on March 27 [8 favorites]


I've discounted the possibility of Romney having any actual principles since he spouted off about the 47% who pay no taxes to a bunch of rich donors when he thought no one was looking. He's just a mediocre white guy who sways with the prevailing winds on the right.
posted by murphy slaw at 10:35 AM on March 27 [57 favorites]


Setting aside the soul of the Republican party (as if they hadn't already done that themselves), isn't this just dumb from a strategic perspective, if you're angling for some kind of comeback?

Romney has pivoted so often (eg, Romneycare/Obamacare) based on perceived prevailing voter trends that this is par for the course: he needs to win the Republican primary in order to win a seat in the Senate, and if he does win the primary he is very likely win the general no matter what policies he's endorsing and whether or not he's changed them up in the last few months -- it's a (theoretically) safe seat for a generic Republican, and somewhat safer for Romney personally. Running in Utah at all was a strategic decision to get himself back into the Senate -- one of the first confirmations that he was planning on running was when he started updating all his social media platforms to say he lived in Utah and not Massachusetts (Romney owns multiple homes in multiple states and could have chosen to run elsewhere).

Presumably, he's assessed (rightly or wrongly) that endorsing Trump is the best strategic move to get him into the Senate at this stage of the election given that he's chosen to run in Utah. He may well pivot after the April primaries; or he may pivot once he's in office; or maybe he genuinely does support Trump's policies while disliking Trump personally. Time will tell.
posted by cjelli at 10:44 AM on March 27 [7 favorites]


"Romney said he believes DACA recipients “need to do more” to justify permanent residency, such as attending community college, getting a degree, serving in the military or serving in needed occupations like teaching."

Trump's ICE is currently deporting graduates, doctors, military veterans so Mitt it looks like you are less hawkish than the Cheeto.
posted by Mitheral at 10:48 AM on March 27 [43 favorites]


The idea that Romney likes anything other than accumulating wealth and personal power seems unwarranted based on past evidence. He was even more of a "look, I'll say whatever you want me to, just nominate me already" candidate than Kerry, and that's not easy.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:55 AM on March 27 [28 favorites]


Maggie Haberman, NYT:

@maggieNYT:
Per two senior administration officials, Trump continued to rail privately about the omnibus bill, and has become convinced of things that aren’t true about it.

Trump has been watching Fox, which had Coulter on Jeanine Pirro slamming Trump over the wall funding. That type of thing - as well as his conviction it includes Planned Parenthood funding - are animating him.
posted by Existential Dread at 11:03 AM on March 27 [24 favorites]


The idea that Romney likes anything other than accumulating wealth and personal power seems unwarranted based on past evidence. He was even more of a "look, I'll say whatever you want me to, just nominate me already" candidate than Kerry, and that's not easy.

(That’s deeply unfair to John Kerry, but I’m not about to drag this thread into that derail.)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:04 AM on March 27 [12 favorites]


[Really let's not.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:07 AM on March 27 [17 favorites]


Agreed, you can amend that to "the public perception of John Kerry swayed by a litany of attack ads" and I still stand by it just fine. Romney is that much of an empty suit.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:15 AM on March 27 [2 favorites]


Mattis, Pentagon quiet on new transgender policy
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis declined to answer questions Monday on the Pentagon’s new transgender policy, citing ongoing litigation that could make all of the department’s changes moot anyway.

“Right now, because these are matters under litigation, I’m not going to discuss them further,” Mattis said.

Late Friday night the White House released a memo from President Donald Trump amending his original July tweets and an August 2017 White House memo on the issue, which had directed a ban on all transgender service in the military.
It's possible that Mattis is keeping mum because he expects the policy to be thrown out in court and he doesn't want to piss off the rest of the administration. Or he's just an asshole, your choice.
posted by murphy slaw at 11:15 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


If and when Democrats take back either or both houses of Congress this year (tttcs), Republicans will scream about blocking Trump's initiatives and investigating his incompetence, corruption, and treason. And the so-called "liberal media" will give a disproportionate megaphone to those voices in the name of "balance." But I don't see any reason at all Democrats should be the least bit forgiving or in the mood to compromise once they take office.

The Democrats should not be forgiving, solicitous, or compromising. At the very minimum, the Republicans should not be treated as legitimate anythings, nor should they be given any consideration.
posted by anem0ne at 11:16 AM on March 27 [39 favorites]


I'm trying to figure out if and what the connection between Pence and Redfield is.

Pence is the vampire. Redfield eats spiders.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:26 AM on March 27 [29 favorites]


Pence is the vampire. Redfield eats spiders.
yep, checks out
posted by halation at 11:28 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


Hey fellas, remember that curious story about the Canadian company (Stephanie Condon, zdnet) that was "discovered" something something Cambridge Analytica?

Okay so buried down deep in this particular article about the company, AggregateIQ, or AIQ, was a nifty tidbit. [Someone asked what the relationship was and it looks like AIQ built code that CambrAn used.]

AIQ left code online that someone found "exposing the political data and microtargeting tools that various Republican campaigns used to try to influence voters in the United States' 2016 election cycle."

So it seems obvious, but I'd never seen it explicitly spelled out that CambrAn only served Republican campaigns (or, arguably, assholes-only). Per the article,

they also reveal AggregateIQ (AIQ)'s connection to Ukrainian steel magnate Serhiy Taruta, head Ukraine's newly formed Osnova party.

Ukraine political party? What an odd connection (cue musical motif). Hm. Well, let's get to that nifty tidbit:

The exposed information confirms prior reporting that AIQ built a software program for Cambridge Analytica called Ripon (named for the town of Ripon, Wisconsin, where the Republican Party was founded).

Huh.
posted by petebest at 11:46 AM on March 27 [44 favorites]


> After floating the notion to several advisers last week, he told Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) that the military should pay for the wall in a meeting last Wednesday in the White House residence, according to three people familiar with the meeting. Ryan offered little reaction to the notion, these people said, but senior Capitol Hill officials later said it was an unlikely prospect.

That "little reaction" bit is killing me. I bet Ryan looked like Sad Ben Affleck while Trump was going on with this nonsense.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:46 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]




> Actually, there was a bit in WaPo about how the fact that his approval rating never changes might be the bigger problem.

It really freaks me out that given everything that has happened since Trump took office, roughly 40% of Americans still approve of him and his policies (or what he represents, at least).
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:53 AM on March 27 [15 favorites]


I figure about 30% of it is the Crazification Factor bottom floor and the rest is the people who don't think about presidential politics at all unless they have some suffering they need to assign blame for. They have jobs, houses, and cars, and things haven't gotten worse for them since Obama left, so everything's fine.
posted by murphy slaw at 12:03 PM on March 27 [15 favorites]


Stormy Daniels on 60 minutes "drew 22 million viewers, according to Nielsen, more than the much-hyped recent telecasts for the Grammys and the Golden Globes. ... The episode was the best performer for “60 Minutes” since the airing of Steve Kroft’s interview with Barack and Michelle Obama after the 2008 election, which had more than 25 million viewers. The ratings on Sunday were probably helped somewhat by a strong lead-in, the college basketball game, which Kansas won, 85-81. The rise of streaming has fractured the television audience, and it has become a rarity for a show to draw more than 20 million viewers. The exceptions are live broadcasts of major sporting events and awards shows."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:04 PM on March 27 [23 favorites]


(the 30% crazy factor also lines up with the rough percentages that "strongly approve" of Trump's performance)
posted by murphy slaw at 12:05 PM on March 27


The NRA thing shows how bad actors can easily get around laws about foreign influence in politics. What the NRA is saying is that they received foreign funds but those monies weren't directly used for campaigning as that would be illegal. But ... those monies were possibly used to pay for other tings the NRA does and "So what if we took money we would normally use to pay for those other activities and transferred it to our political arm". Basically saying "It's legal for us to move money around the organization."

So since they couldn't possibly be stupid enough to talk about this cunning plan in say some e-mails they are totally going to get away with it.

/Narrator: They are that stupid
posted by cirhosis at 12:10 PM on March 27 [16 favorites]


A rare double posting of drawings in the same thread but I seem to be quite animated these days as far as art goes.

This would be John Bolton, who truly frightens me because his only solution to anything seems to be war.

The very best spin I can put on this is perhaps it's Trump's attempt to frighten North Korea, like Nixon tried to do in the Vietnam War, by convincing the North that he's unstable and might nuke them. But given Trump's baleful knowledge of history, I don't think so.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 12:13 PM on March 27 [18 favorites]


NRA Acknowledges Receiving Foreign Funds, Moving Money Between Accounts

So the NRA says:

"Our review of our records has found no foreign donations in connection with a United States election, either directly or through a conduit."

As mentioned in the article, "in connection with" is a careful phrase that implies (but doesn't actually mean) that no money was used in a United States election.
posted by diogenes at 12:15 PM on March 27 [7 favorites]


It's a lucky thing for the NRA's accountants that cash donations aren't fungible. Otherwise how would they keep track of the individual dollars involved? /s
posted by murphy slaw at 12:17 PM on March 27 [15 favorites]


"Romney said he believes DACA recipients “need to do more” to justify permanent residency, such as attending community college, getting a degree, serving in the military or serving in needed occupations like teaching."

Get a degree and we might not deport you.

"According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2017–2018 school year was $34,740 at private colleges, $9,970 for state residents at public colleges, and $25,620 for out-of-state residents attending public universities."

On the chance that we might not deport you gamble between $40,000 and $235,000 to get a degree and then we might require you to work where we tell you or alternatively risk your life in a war. Oh and keep in mind that that the policy may change at least every 4 years depending on how the electoral winds blow.

This is a great illustration of why you should never ever take any advice from someone in private equity. Their whole M.O. is to load you up with debt and then leave your bones on the side of the road for some other vultures to pick over.
posted by srboisvert at 12:45 PM on March 27 [41 favorites]


I've thought for years that we need a political movement that advocates for repeal of the second amendment. It doesn't matter if it's unrealistic, do it anyway. Pull the Overton window hard. Make it the anti-NRA: raise money and donate it to candidates and politicians who support repeal. Give candidates letter grades. Keep pushing.

Right now every politician who supports gun control says "I'm a big supporter of the second amendment, but..." Let's change that.
posted by medusa at 12:46 PM on March 27 [32 favorites]


Guys. I got a meeting with my Republican Representative on Thursday to discuss the Russia investigation. My plan is to emphasize "this is a crucial moment in American history," briefly lay out the 9 points in the "collusion" section of my site (http://2016activemeasures.org) and then give him specific actions we want him to take. I don't have long to put this together. Can you help me find bill numbers for the various "protect the Mueller investigation" and "establish an independent commission bills in the House? Anything else I should say?

You can send me private messages.
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:48 PM on March 27 [153 favorites]


I've thought for years that we need a political movement that advocates for repeal of the second amendment. It doesn't matter if it's unrealistic

I don't think it's unrealistic to update the Constitution since we've learned that militias are useless. The didn't do shit during any contemporary national emergency or crisis that I've ever found. I welcome counter-examples, but never get any.
posted by mikelieman at 12:49 PM on March 27 [7 favorites]


not abusing the edit window...

I know that the Heller ruling makes this argument seem less persuasive, but you know, Heller could be reversed some day, and it's still the right thing to do.
posted by mikelieman at 12:51 PM on March 27


To the contrary, the National Guard is often indispensable during emergencies.

But that's part of the point -- we already have a "well regulated militia;" it's called the National Guard. That doesn't mean any yo-yo gets to tote around a hotrod rifle just for kicks.
posted by Gelatin at 12:52 PM on March 27 [36 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee: Stormy Daniels on 60 minutes "drew 22 million viewers, according to Nielsen, more than the much-hyped recent telecasts for the Grammys and the Golden Globes. ... The episode was the best performer for “60 Minutes” since the airing of Steve Kroft’s interview with Barack and Michelle Obama after the 2008 election, which had more than 25 million viewers.

I'm going to treasure this as a double-hit on Trump: first, it was Stormy Daniels, the other party in his extra-marital affair, not an appearance by Trump himself, who drew those viewers, and that still didn't beat Obama's numbers.

At this point, I'll take such small pleasures when I get them.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:59 PM on March 27 [33 favorites]


But that's part of the point -- we already have a "well regulated militia;"

In New York, the law defines the Organized Militia, which is the mostly NY/National Guard, and the unorganized militia, everyone else. It's clear that the Organized/Guard isn't the problem here, it's the gun fetishists who have rendered the Constitutional ideals, which provide for the Organized Militia moot, so I don't see an effect on the National Guard from the repeal of the 2nd Amendment.

I apologize for unintentionally lumping in those serving honorably with the idiots causing the issues.

And yes, I should be more precise, "The unorganized militia has proven itself unnecessary for the security of a free state, and I haven't seen any counter-examples.
posted by mikelieman at 1:03 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]


I don't have long to put this together. Can you help me find bill numbers for the various "protect the Mueller investigation" and "establish an independent commission bills in the House? Anything else I should say?

You should throw up an Ask Metafilter post!

I don't have the bill numbers, and honestly I think you know the material better than I do (on top of nothing coming to mind for you to discuss with your rep). You do awesome work! You'll do great at the meeting. Make sure you have an elevator pitch and leave the rep with specific action items (which you seem to be already working on).
posted by wires at 1:04 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]


I think the fear is that if we start mucking around with getting rid of amendments, we run the risk of mucking around with more than one of them, and people are a little scared to open that particular box, particularly when there are tons of other possible legal remedies.

But hey, that's a slippery slope argument if I ever heard one. At this point any actual activity toward gun control seems positive.

I still think the best way to get some traction is through a regulatory structure like cars: age restriction, carry a license, insurance, and proof of the latter, and have to regularly pass inspection/relicensing. A waiver for subsistence hunters. You know, a "well-regulated" system.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:04 PM on March 27 [9 favorites]


much like his motion in DC on the 15th of this month:

Manafort Files Motion To Dismiss Mueller Indictment In Virginia
Paul Manafort on Tuesday filed a motion to dismiss special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment against him in Virginia, arguing that Mueller overstepped his authority by indicting Manafort with crimes unrelated to Russian election meddling.
IANAL - how common is it for indictments approved by a grand jury to have summary dismissal requested by the plaintiff, and how common for them to be overturned in this way? Is Manafort just shooting the moon?
posted by murphy slaw at 1:08 PM on March 27 [6 favorites]


Hey, so speaking of the census, I live in Providence county, RI, and I'm filling out the survey right now. I've never filled out a census before. When I checked white, it then said "Enter, for example, German, Irish, English, Italian, Lebanese, Egyptian, etc." Has it always done that?
posted by Ruki at 1:09 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


OnceUponATime - that's AWESOME! YOU ROCK!

I'm hoping others will be able to give more specific answers, but if you have time to look at EVERYTHING:

Here's all the bills for "Russia" per the Congress.gov search.

There's also the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act - House and Senate
posted by kristi at 1:10 PM on March 27 [7 favorites]


washingtondc.craigslist.org: SEEKING LEAD ATTORNEY FOR DIFFICULT CLIENT

screenshot here in case the link dies
posted by octothorpe at 1:11 PM on March 27 [75 favorites]


Ruki, I don't remember supplying my ethnicity like this ten years ago, but....it was ten years ago.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:12 PM on March 27




It seems to me that the situation that would most closely resemble what the framers had in mind is that the states would each maintain a well regulated militia and each state's national guard fills that roll. Back in the framer's time, I imagine that the typical member of the militia would keep their weapon and all their other gear stored at home and break it out when deployed.

The implicit threat being that the federal government needs watch their step as each and every state has it's own military force to counter the federal government's standing army. The colonies banded their militias together to overthrow a tyrannical government once and they'll do it again if we need them to.

The national guard still fits that role pretty well to me and I think would be a MUCH MUCH more effective deterrent against tyranny than a bunch of random gun nuts with their guns.
posted by VTX at 1:12 PM on March 27 [5 favorites]




We have an obviously Jewish last name, and I don't know how I feel about telling this government that there are two Ukrainian Jews living here. 'Cause, you know, this timeline sucks. I'm going to try to skip that part.
posted by Ruki at 1:16 PM on March 27 [14 favorites]




Ruki - the 2010 Census form said:
NOTE: Please answer BOTH Question 5 about Hispanic origin and Question 6 about race. For this census, Hispanic origins are not races.

5. Is this person of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?

_ No, not of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin
_ Yes, Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano
_ Yes, Puerto Rican
_ Yes, Cuban
_ Yes, another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin - Print origin, for example, Argentinean, Colombian, Dominican, Nicaraguan, Salvadoran, Spaniard, and so on. ______________

6. What is this person's race? Mark [X] one or more boxes.

_ White
_ Black, African Am., or Negro
_ American Indian or Alaska Native - Print name of enrolled or principal tribe: ______________
_ Asian Indian
_ Chinese
_ Filipino
_ Japanese
_ Korean
_ Vietnamese
_ Native Hawaiian
_ Guamian or Chamorro
_ Samoan
_ Other Asian - Print race, for example, Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Pakistani, Cambodian, and so on. __________
_ Other Pacific Islander - Print race, for example, Fijian, Tongan, and so on. ______________
_ Some other race - Print race. ______________
posted by kristi at 1:20 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


Ruki, you're always welcome at my place, as long as you bring the Kid, too.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:24 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


I worked as an enumerator (census taker) and crew leader during the last census, in NYC. The number of people who wanted "Hispanic/Spanish/Latin@/Puerto Rican" put down as answer for #6 was so substantial that we were given extra training in how to respond to folks who gave once and in some cases insisted on giving an "invalid" answer. After cursory explanation that the information they were supplying appeared to fall under the previous question we were instructed to again reread the question and mark whatever reply was given, including "Some other race: Hispanic/Latin@ etc" even though we knew the census doesn't consider those categories to be races.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:27 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


The implicit threat being that the federal government needs watch their step as each and every state has it's own military force to counter the federal government's standing army. The colonies banded their militias together to overthrow a tyrannical government once and they'll do it again if we need them to.

Except there wasn't really a permanent standing army in the US until WWII, because the the people who wrote the constitution distrusted standing armies.
posted by runcibleshaw at 1:29 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Back in the framer's time, I imagine that the typical member of the militia would keep their weapon and all their other gear stored at home and break it out when deployed.

This is one of those really common things that people expect to be true, but it actually wasn't universally true; I'm mostly familiar with Pennsylvania, where this was certainly not the case -- I can't speak to the other states. But as the state was deeply engaged in the frontier conflicts of the 18th century its citizens had every theoretical reason to be armed -- and mostly were not.

Most people didn't have guns, and most militias needed to provide their members with arms when the militias were called up. For example:
When militia companies were finally raised in 1776, Washington wrote to the Committee of Safety in Pennsylvania that the militia had been showing up in his camp without any guns. He stated plainly:
“I have not a Musket to spare to the Militia who are without Arms. This demand upon me, makes it necessary to remind you, that it will be needless for those to come down who have no Arms, except they will consent to work upon the Fortifications, instead of taking their Tour of military Duty, if they will do that, they may be most usefully employed.”
During the month of August, 1777, five months after Pennsylvania’s most radical Militia Law passed, Adams watched as militia turned out for muster in Philadelphia. He wrote home on the 26th that “The militia are turning out with great alacrity both in Maryland and Pennsylvania. They are distressed for want of arms. Many have none, others have little fowling pieces. However, we shall rake and scrape enough to do Howe’s business, by the favor of Heaven.”
This is reflected in state-level militia laws of the period, which explicitly call for the state to arm the militias:
[Per the 1777 Militia Act] The County Lieutenants ensured that militia units turned out for military exercises, provided the militia units with arms and equipment at the expense of the state, located substitutes for those who declined to serve, and assessed and collected the militia fines.
If you think about it, that makes sense: arms need to be maintained, which is easier to do centrally, and membership in the militia fluctuates over time, but the militia is rarely called out -- so it's a lot cheaper and simpler to keep the arms store in an armory and issue them as needed, rather than be constantly checking them in and out.
posted by cjelli at 1:32 PM on March 27 [22 favorites]


It did let me mark just white without having to add anything else. I don't like that they added that at all. There is no good reason for THIS administration to know what flavor of white someone is. There are plenty of bad reasons, though.
posted by Ruki at 1:32 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Kansas City Star, That citizenship question on the 2020 Census? Kobach says he pitched it to Trump
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach encouraged President Donald Trump to add a question about citizenship status to the U.S. Census during the early weeks of Trump’s presidency.

More than a year later, Trump’s administration has moved to enact that exact policy for the 2020 census.

“I won’t go into exact detail, but I raised the issue with the president shortly after he was inaugurated,” Kobach said Tuesday.

“I wanted to make sure the president was well aware.”
This has been the plan, since the beginning, pushed by Trump officials who flatly don't believe non-citizens should count for anything.
posted by zachlipton at 1:33 PM on March 27 [38 favorites]


Ruki, here's the NPR explainer for that question, which is new for the 2020 census:
The bureau has conducted extensive research into how to collect more accurate data about race and ethnicity in 2020. The data play a critical role in drawing legislative districts, enforcing civil rights laws and analyzing health statistics.

Researchers at the bureau have recommended adding check boxes for the largest ethnic groups and a write-in area for smaller groups under the racial categories in a proposal that would radically overhaul the race and ethnicity questions on the census.

But that extensive change would have required the White House's Office of Management and Budget — which sets the standards on race and ethnicity data for the Census Bureau and other federal agencies — to approve an Obama-era proposal that census experts say the Trump administration is not likely to move forward.

Nevertheless, in a report released last year, researchers at the Census Bureau wrote that it has been trying to address community concerns about the race and ethnicity questions, including a "call for more detailed, disaggregated data for our diverse American experiences as German, Mexican, Korean, Jamaican, and myriad other identities."
The Obama-era proposals mentioned above were about changing how Latinx responses were recorded and including more options for African and Middle Eastern races.

The census is so important that I'm super bummed of what should be important planning and (future) genealogical information has been politicized so much :/
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 1:34 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]


Ruki: I've never filled out a census before. When I checked white, it then said "Enter, for example, German, Irish, English, Italian, Lebanese, Egyptian, etc." Has it always done that?

No, this is new (NPR, Nov. 30, 2017)

When looking up reports on concerns about the added questions about race on the census, one of the top hits is a well-written "debunking" article from Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which Wikipedia currently notes:
was founded by white nationalist activist John Tanton, whom CNN describes as "a retired Michigan ophthalmologist who has openly embraced eugenics, the science of improving the genetic quality of the human population by encouraging selective breeding and at times, advocating for the sterilization of genetically undesirable groups." The Hill notes that Tanton's opposition to immigration is driven by a desire for a white majority United States.
So when CIS says "don't worry, this trend started before Trump" (and that "before Trump" change was less than 20 years ago), red flags should fly wildly. On the other side, The American Prospect warned of An Insidious Way to Underrepresent Minorities back in 2015, ahead of the recent efforts to expand White and Black or African American categories (NPR, March 13, 2018).

While this more granular data would help some agencies (health agencies were noted, for providing more region-appropriate support for genetic issues that are more common from one country/region than another), it also makes the form harder to fill, and might set off "government prying" flags for people of lots of different ethnicities, though minorities are more likely to have concerns (that are founded and realistic, based on past experiences) about anti-immigration policies and policing.

In other words, even if this came from a place of honest intent and care for appropriate support and services, the current political/ real world environment has poisoned government outreach to minority communities and people.

And I was ready to fight with someone about picking Rhode Island, but it looks like the Census Bureau chose Providence County, where the demographics (Census quick facts), the bureau says, mirror the rest of the country (Census quick facts). Carry on, Census folks.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:38 PM on March 27 [10 favorites]


The national guard still fits that role pretty well to me and I think would be a MUCH MUCH more effective deterrent against tyranny than a bunch of random gun nuts with their guns.

When was the last time the National Guard resisted an oppressive federal government? The two biggest shows of force I can remember were the Kent State massacre and when Gov. Blanco gave orders to "shoot and kill" looters in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which were basically practical articulations of Nixon and Bush's policies towards protesters and minorities.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:42 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


The departures from this administration, in the style of Tom Lehrer and Animaniacs.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:43 PM on March 27 [27 favorites]


This is reflected in state-level militia laws of the period, which explicitly call for the state to arm the militias:

Indeed, it appears many 2nd Amendment advocates have never read Article 1...
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
posted by mikelieman at 1:43 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]


I don't think it's unrealistic to update the Constitution since we've learned that militias are useless. The didn't do shit during any contemporary national emergency or crisis that I've ever found.

Can we ditch the Electoral College while we're at it? It also didn't do shit during a contemporary national emergency.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:45 PM on March 27 [38 favorites]


Don't continue to fool yourselves about 'militias' defending against a government. The 2nd amendment was a power play during the ratifying of the Constitution by the slave owning state economies. Mainly Virginia at the time.
truthout on the slave states move.
History of slave patrols at the founding of US.
posted by rc3spencer at 1:52 PM on March 27 [35 favorites]


the the people who wrote the constitution distrusted standing armies.

How did they feel about 50 Billion in secret military spending? (them's 2013 dollars)

Including $4 Billion to defend against foreign espionage which apparently was foiled by fucking Facebook
posted by petebest at 1:52 PM on March 27 [10 favorites]


Back in the framer's time, I imagine that the typical member of the militia would keep their weapon and all their other gear stored at home and break it out when deployed.

This is one of those really common things that people expect to be true, but it actually wasn't universally true


I'd recommend a relevant book called The Minute Men as another example of truth being very different from popular perception and myth.

There's a huge, rousing misperception of the British at Lexington & Concord being fought off by dudes who just grabbed their rifle off the shelf 'cause all those guys were so hardened by their frontier living and God-given 'Murican talent with guns. The truth is the militia very much expected a conflict and planned for it, they trained a lot, and many of them already had prior military training and combat experience.

There was simply never a point where a bunch of 'Muricans grabbed the family rifle to throw off tyranny. But like a lot of myths, a great many people can't stand to let that one go.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:58 PM on March 27 [27 favorites]


That truthout article has some interesting facts about the 2nd Amendment and explains how it got there, as a counter to Article 1, Section 8's possible interpretation to not let the militia respond to slave insurrections.

Madison's First Draft:
"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country [emphasis mine]: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person."
vs..
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State [emphasis mine], the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
posted by mikelieman at 1:59 PM on March 27 [9 favorites]


No matter what Romney says or does contra Trump, or worse than Trump, he goes down in history as one of the people personally responsible for Trump. Beyond his self-deportation bullshit setting the stage and magnifying the xenophobia Trump exploited, his solicitation and acceptance of Trump's endorsement in 2012 despite his birtherism brought Trump into the rightwing mainstream enough to win in 2016. Romney is one of the few people who single-handledly could've ended this nightmare by having any morals and spine and rejecting the overt racism. Instead he embraced it for a chance to be president.
posted by chris24 at 2:07 PM on March 27 [31 favorites]


Dear lord, shouldn't the 2nd Amendment probably be on the list of Things Not to Re-Litigate for the Five-Millionth Time in Catchall Threads?
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:11 PM on March 27 [38 favorites]


Trump has his crazy base, and he has a fluctuating set of Republicans that can be embarrassed out of the tribal urge to say he's doing a good job. But he's wildly unpopular and simply does not seem capable of doing anything that will cause this nation to look at him in a new light.

While there are blocks of Americans who have more or less made their minds up about Trump one way or the other, there's still a significant group remaining who haven't. From the recent CNN polling article above: "Trump's approval ratings have seesawed over the last four CNN polls -- from 35% in December up to 40% in January, down to 35% in February and back up to 42% now. Looking at intensity of approval, however, the share who strongly approve of Trump's performance (28% in the new poll) and strongly disapprove (46%) have held relatively steady over a similar time frame, suggesting the fluctuation in Trump's ratings comes largely among those whose views on the President aren't that deeply held." [emphasis added, because how on earth can some people possibly not have formed an informed opinion about Trump yet? How?!? And yet…]

AP-NORC Poll: Trump Benefiting from Economic Policies
Trump remains unpopular with the majority of Americans, 58 percent. But 42 percent say they now approve of the job he’s doing as president, up seven points from a month ago. [...]

The poll suggests that at least some of the president’s improving standing is tied to the economy, which has steadily grown and added jobs, continuing a trajectory that began under President Barack Obama. Nearly half of Americans surveyed — 47 percent — say they approve of how Trump is handling the economy, his highest rating on any issue. When it comes to tax policy, 46 percent of Americans back Trump’s moves.
And since the AP poll finds nearly half of paycheck-earners report Trump's tax law has nearly increased their take-home pay, they pull a quote from an ordinary (Republican) American as an illustration:
Heather Dilios, a 46-year-old social worker from Topsham, Maine, is among them. Dilios, a Republican, estimates she’s now taking home between $100 to $200 more per paycheck as a result of the new tax law. That’s more than she expected when Trump signed the legislation.

Dilios said it’s more than the dollar amount that’s driving her support for the law.

“It’s more about being able to keep what is rightfully mine rather than giving it to the government,” she said.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:17 PM on March 27 [6 favorites]


That's a hell of a quote from a social worker.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:19 PM on March 27 [138 favorites]


Can we ditch the Electoral College while we're at it?
As long as you're doing major Constitutional Reconstruction, let's just lose the Senate, at least in its "equal representation for each state" form. There is so much that is totally outdated in that "American Holy Document", that I felt that back in the just-after-Watergate-70s, we had an opportunity (and some capable persons in government and civic life) to do a New Constitutional Convention without screwing the pooch. That window slammed shut with the election of Ronald Reagan, and neither Bill Clinton nor Barack Obama gave me the confidence to reopen it a crack.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:24 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


I wonder if Ms. Dilios adjusted her withholdings on her W-4 to account for the flaws in the new tax law. Boy, I sure hope she's saving all that money in her fat new paychecks for the debt she'll owe in April 2019...
posted by palomar at 2:25 PM on March 27 [39 favorites]


That's a hell of a quote from a social worker.

It didn't say she was a particularly good social worker.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:26 PM on March 27 [18 favorites]


Also I'm very curious if she's going to find herself with a smaller than usual tax refund/actual tax bill next year, i.e. are the actual tax rates being withheld correct? $100-200 per paycheck (presumably every two weeks) is a lot more of a cut than I'd expect for that salary paid by that sort of work.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 2:26 PM on March 27 [12 favorites]


As long as you're doing major Constitutional Reconstruction, let's just lose the Senate, at least in its "equal representation for each state" form.

You can't. This is quite literally the only thing that can't be changed even with a Constitutional Amendment.
posted by Justinian at 2:26 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


(The usual caveat applies where I suppose you could try to render the Senate vestigial like the House of Lords, but that could not include changing the equal representation for each state formula.)
posted by Justinian at 2:27 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that quote makes it clear just how poor a job we progressives have done in educating people about what their tax dollars get them.

I've seen people from all walks of life and all political philosophies hold quite strongly the idea that the federal government takes their tax dollars and just straight up gives them to Those People Who Do That Thing I Don't Like instead of working hard like themselves and to the military to use to buy nails and toilet seats at $30k a pop.

Nothing about roads, parks, mail, schools, the arts, science, etc.

Also, from people all over the socioeconomic and political spectrums, I've heard expressed the idea that when they get tax dollars for something, it's because they truly deserve it either by dint of their hard work or because they're oh so clever in exploiting loopholes, but when Those People get tax dollars, it's because they're lazy liars and cheats.

We've got to combat these Randian and Reaganian beliefs about taxes if we want a truly first world nation for everyone.
posted by lord_wolf at 2:30 PM on March 27 [61 favorites]


A "social worker" getting a tax cut of over $100 a pay period? Based on a usual bi-weekly paycheck, that's over $2500 in 2018. More likely a Manager of a Social Agency with a Top 10% income.

And as I said, I once dreamed of a Constitutional Convention to totally rebuild our broken system from the ground up. There have been a lot of nations created since this one that get it a lot more right.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:32 PM on March 27 [12 favorites]


A "social worker" getting a tax cut of over $100 a pay period?
Actually I've been getting a $104.00 tax break per pay period (twice a month). I'm just an audio editor at an east coast university, making barely under 50k a year. I don't know why it's such a huge break. It'll probably be a terrible let down come taxes due in 2019 (ala Bush tax cuts), but there it is.
posted by rc3spencer at 2:36 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


It'll probably be a terrible let down come taxes due in 2019 (ala Bush tax cuts), but there it is.

Yeah, everyone should definitely recalc their withholdings...
posted by mikelieman at 2:39 PM on March 27 [10 favorites]


Aside from the Nomic-style amendment paradox of amending Article V to eliminate the equal representation clause and then eliminating the Senate, there are other ways to fix this problem, including eliminating their authority and powers over a generation until whether by rule or norm the Senate doesn’t really matter (a la the House of Lords). Best of all though would be a new Constitition that left leaning people litigate through every available avenue like their lives depend on it (because elected Democrats wouldn’t). The left will never win under the current constitutional order, which is rigged against them six different ways.
posted by gerryblog at 2:44 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


A "social worker" getting a tax cut of over $100 a pay period?

I make just a hair under $50k and I was getting a tax break of over $100 every bi-weekly paycheck after the tax cut went through. That's over $2600 a year that I would fully expect them to bill me for in 2019, had I not adjusted my W-4 immediately to compensate. I'd rather run the "risk" of having the government deduct too much in taxes and get a refund next year, than have to pay because I believed their free-money bullshit in the first place.
posted by palomar at 2:46 PM on March 27 [11 favorites]


[Hi folks, it's been a chatty afternoon but at this point, let's reel this sucker back in some. If you want to chitchat there is Chat, and there's so much to read and enjoy on the site -- best space operas, this person befriending a bee, a record store in Nairobi, mapping imaginary cities, appreciating Smokey and the Bandit, and there's some great local comments in the religion in Singapore thread.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:51 PM on March 27 [43 favorites]


Nothing about roads, parks, mail, schools, the arts, science, etc.

"The roads around here are terrible; nobody's taking care of them."
"Parks? Who needs parks? I never go to parks; I shouldn't have to pay for them."
"Eh, I just use email anyway. And Amazon has free shipping."
"Why should I have to pay for other people's kids' education?"
"If art and science can't make a profit, the gov't shouldn't be supporting them. No handouts!"

The points to make in favor of taxes are:
* Firefighters
* Safety standards enforcement - like the ones that say the city has to provide clean drinking water, and your neighbor can't burn tires in his front yard
* More safety standards: licensing; air traffic control (ask if they think if it's okay for anyone with enough money to buy a plane and fly it wherever they want)
* Even more: Medical standards, the kind that mean a "psychic healer" can't declare himself a doctor
* Court system, both criminal and civil - so you can help lock up someone who breaks into your house and steals your TV, and so you can sue your boss if he decides not to fix the broken windows after a storm, and says you can all work in the snow, just wear a jacket.

Pick examples that will be compelling to the audience. For a lot of middle-aged white guys, anything related to public access or child support is going to be "meh, why should I be paying for that? It doesn't help me." They need reminders of what the government brings them that they believe is "just how things work" rather than "someone pays for this to happen, and pays more to keep it organized so it can keep happening."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 2:51 PM on March 27 [49 favorites]


The tax cuts, and particularly the deceptive withholding guidelines, were specifically designed to make the new folks elected this coming fall look like the bad guys.

This shit always seems to work for the actual bad guys. Over and over again.
posted by yesster at 2:52 PM on March 27 [54 favorites]



There's a huge, rousing misperception of the British at Lexington & Concord being fought off by dudes who just grabbed their rifle off the shelf 'cause all those guys were so hardened by their frontier living and God-given 'Murican talent with guns. The truth is the militia very much expected a conflict and planned for it, they trained a lot, and many of them already had prior military training and combat experience.


And wherever they might have kept their muskets, they were forbidden by law from keeping powder at home.

Hence powder houses/

One of which was in Lexington.
posted by ocschwar at 3:18 PM on March 27 [15 favorites]


Former prosecutor and defense attorney Ken "Popehat" White: I once got a cold call from a guy who wanted to sue his last lawyer for malpractice. He had hired the last lawyer to sue the lawyer before that for malpractice, who had been suing the lawyer before that for malpractice. It would be smarter to take on that guy than to take Trump.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:21 PM on March 27 [75 favorites]


The. Best. People.
The lure of another television personality has President Trump reportedly considering Fox News' Pete Hegseth to run the Department of Veterans Affairs. But while Hegseth's experience as a combat veteran and commentator on Fox would seem to appeal politically to the president, his appointment could extend two disruptive narratives playing out in the White House: marital infidelity and nepotism.

An APM Reports investigation has found Hegseth engaged in two extra-marital affairs with co-workers during two marriages and paid his brother — who had no professional experience — $108,000 to work for him while chief executive of a non-profit. And while running a political action committee in his native Minnesota, Hegseth spent a third of the PAC's money on Christmas parties for families and friends.
posted by chris24 at 3:33 PM on March 27 [19 favorites]


I just realized something:
we should thank our lucky stars that Bill O'Reilly doesn't have a prime time slot on Fox anymore.
posted by murphy slaw at 3:38 PM on March 27 [22 favorites]


Politico: How much is Rick Gates telling Mueller about Trump?
When Rick Gates struck a plea deal last month with special counsel Robert Mueller, the 45-year-old former Trump campaign official likely avoided decades behind bars and salvaged a chance to watch his children grow up. The question is what Gates offered Mueller in return. Though it is a virtual given that Gates will sell out his business partner and Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, less understood is the direct threat Gates could pose to President Donald Trump.

That’s the conclusion of several lawyers involved in the Russia case and more than 15 current and former Trump aides and associates interviewed by POLITICO to determine how much danger Gates’ guilty plea could pose to the president and his inner circle, and how alarmed they might be by his testimony.

While Gates now wears a GPS monitor around his ankle, in 2016 he wore a Secret Service lapel pin that gave him easy access to Trump on the campaign trail and at Trump Tower.

“He saw everything,” said a Republican consultant who worked with Gates during the campaign. The consultant called Gates one of the “top five” insiders whom Mueller could have tapped as a cooperative government witness. One defense attorney in the case said Gates’ plea has triggered palpable alarm in Trump world.

Manafort may have struck a larger public profile, but Gates spent more time in Trump’s orbit. Manafort left the Trump campaign under a cloud of scandal in mid-August 2016. Gates, his right-hand man, stayed on through the election before assisting the Trump inauguration and Trump’s early presidency.

Worst of all for the White House, Gates lacks hard-wired loyalty. He is not family, like Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., or his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Nor is he among true Trump believers like Corey Lewandowski and Brad Parscale. “Let’s be honest, Don Jr. is not ratting out his dad. Gates is different,” said Paul Rosenzweig, who served as a senior counsel to Whitewater independent counsel Ken Starr.
posted by chris24 at 3:54 PM on March 27 [39 favorites]


Mueller initially indicted Gates and Manafort on a combined 12 counts last October, then filed an additional combined 32 counts against both of them in February.

Since they were both indicted at the same time it seems unlikely Mueller needs Gates to get Manafort.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:41 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Never mind Bill O'Reilly - be thankful Glenn Beck doesn't have a Fox show anymore. Think of the conspiracy theories that our federal government would be spending time investigating..
posted by wittgenstein at 5:01 PM on March 27 [7 favorites]


Since they were both indicted at the same time it seems unlikely Mueller needs Gates to get Manafort.

Manafort isn't Mueller's reason for flipping Gates. Gates is probably the person on everyone's CC list for all the various different shenanigans that the campaign, transition, and inauguration committees, so Gates is important for OTHER targets.
posted by mikelieman at 5:14 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]


Coons/Tillis: S.1741 - Special Counsel Integrity Act

Buzzfeed's Emma Loop @LoopEmma reported earlier today:
.@ChrisCoons and @SenThomTillis put out a statement on special counsel Robert Mueller: "We urge President Trump to allow the Special Counsel to complete his work without impediment, which is in the best interest of the American people, the President, and our nation.”

On the timing of this statement, Tillis’ office says: "No one thing or event prompted the release of today’s statement, Senators Tillis and Coons are simply reiterating their position on Special Counsel Mueller."
On one hand, the two-week congressional recess would be the perfect time for Trump to try to fire Mueller (though I haven't found any chatter from Trumpland to suggest he's in one of his firin' moods); on the other, Tillis, a political figure far less popular than Mueller, needs a bone to throw to his constituents when he faces at town hall meetings. (And since he's been implicated in the Cambridge Analytica affair, a little bipartisan cover could help.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:14 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]




“Diversity of opinions” always means going more conservative and heartless and not getting a social democrat and a liberation anarchist go at it in your op-ed eh?
posted by The Whelk at 6:23 PM on March 27 [83 favorites]


“Diversity of opinions” always means going more conservative and heartless and not getting a social democrat and a liberation anarchist go at it in your op-ed eh?
"Hang women who have abortions!"
Well he's "ideologically interesting" and I'm sure he's grown since then.
"EAT THE RICH!"
That's class warfare and you should feel ashamed of yourself!
posted by Talez at 6:30 PM on March 27 [49 favorites]


So long, snowflake..

A departing GOP congressman shares his thoughts about how unfair he feels it is that constituents wanted him to take positions on all of Trump's and the GOP's insane policies..
posted by Nerd of the North at 6:48 PM on March 27 [22 favorites]


That Slate article linked by Nerd of the North opens with a nice example of the tendency among quite a few Republican leaders (including, frequently, White House officials) to treat the president of the USA as… just this guy, you know?

It only took a week for Pennsylvania Rep. Ryan Costello, a moderate Republican representing suburban Philadelphia, to recognize the headwinds that Donald Trump’s presidency would create for him and members in similar districts.

“After the travel ban,” Costello said in an interview Tuesday. It wasn’t just the overwhelming protests at airports but all the protesters who gathered at his office, too. They were linking him, their Republican member of Congress, with the decisions of the new Republican president. He remembered “the expectation that, somehow, I needed to issue a statement within X number of minutes or somehow I was complicit, or whatever they were trying to accuse me of.”

posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:56 PM on March 27 [20 favorites]


He remembered “the expectation that, somehow, I needed to issue a statement within X number of minutes or somehow I was complicit, or whatever they were trying to accuse me of.”

Yes. That's it exactly. Complicit - helping to commit a crime or do wrong in some way

Used in a sentence: You are complicit for the rest of your life, Ryan Costello, and not even resigning will absolve you.

You had the power to stand up against this, and instead choose to do nothing and try to reap your tax cuts, just like every other Republican did. All of you are complicit.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:02 PM on March 27 [103 favorites]


I needed to issue a statement within X number of minutes or somehow I was complicit, or whatever they were trying to accuse me of.
It's like, holy shit people. I need a few minutes to decide whether to lean in and use naked bigotry in my quest to retain political power.

The reason they were happy to declare you complicit, asshat, is because how you act in situations like these exposes your true character and you failed that test HARD.
posted by Talez at 7:04 PM on March 27 [37 favorites]


"Build WALL throuh M!"

Remember that incomprehensible tweet? Apparently, the Washington Post has figured out what it meant.

Trump floats using military budget to pay for border wall
Still angry about the budget deal he signed last week, President Donald Trump has floated the idea of using the military’s budget to pay for his long-promised border wall with Mexico, despite the fact that such spending would likely require approval from Congress.

Trump raised the funding plan with House Speaker Paul Ryan at a meeting at the White House last Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the discussion who spoke on condition of anonymity.

And he’s publicly tweeted that building “a great Border Wall” is “all about National Defense,” and called to “Build WALL through M!”, meaning the military.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:16 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


Wasn’t he all about how the military needed the extra money for something or other the other day?
posted by Artw at 7:58 PM on March 27


I like this approach!

The health of all Americans is all about National Defense! Build Medicare for all through M!

Full utilization of the talents of all Americans is all about National Defense! Fund guaranteed employment through M!

Eliminating dependence on fossil fuels is all about National Defense! Build an alternative energy grid through M!
posted by murphy slaw at 8:09 PM on March 27 [41 favorites]


Huh, did people really think M meant Mexico? I thought y'all were joking. The whole tweet capitalized "Military" a couple of times, and then he just ran out of room or patience and abbreviated it.
posted by xigxag at 8:10 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


It's Donald "Covfefe" Trump we're talking about here. Personally, I thought he might have meant Michigan.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 8:13 PM on March 27 [41 favorites]


As I said above, "capitalize certain Terms and then use single-letter abbreviations for those Ts at the end" is a very non-obvious style choice on his part. Hence, inducing that M means Military is basically solving an inane little puzzle. (To this day, his tweet from a year ago ending with "Easy D!" is a mystery, though the likeliest answer is "Decision", given the context being a court case. MSNBC's Chris Hayes discussed both of those Things recently)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:19 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Per two senior administration officials, Trump continued to rail privately about the omnibus bill, and has become convinced of things that aren’t true about it.

I am sure this is just a filled-in macro:
Per ___ senior administration officials, Trump continued to rail privately about the _____________, and has become convinced of things that aren’t true about it.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:48 PM on March 27 [39 favorites]


Kathleen Parker was still blaming Bill Clinton for Trump's rise as recently as November of last year, although to be fair, she took issue with Sarah Palin before that was a cool thing to do for a "conservative". Anyway, here she is again with a healthy dose of what-about-Bill-Clinton, but she does manage to call out the family-values crowd.

Kathleen Parker, WaPo OpEd:
I’m not ashamed to be appalled by this sleazy saga. Nor am I ashamed to lay blame squarely at the president’s feet. Yes, I am judging, as I wonder whether anyone is taught anything anymore about proper conduct. ... That so many among the family-values cohort betray no offense at the porn star and the president — or rationalize looking away — is the real shame.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:52 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


"Two Party Opera", the semi-ingenious comic featuring caricatures of all the historical Presidents, reminds us that very tawdry sex-and-payoff scandals pre-date Trump AND Clinton, going as far back as the 'non-consecutive' Grover Cleveland.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:59 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


Lili Loofbourow on the story that many pundits are not seeing in the Stormy Daniels scandal: The Stormy Daniels Scandal is not gossip.
posted by suelac at 9:03 PM on March 27 [15 favorites]


It's Donald "Covfefe" Trump we're talking about here. Personally, I thought he might have meant Michigan.

If Trump wants to built a wall through/in/near Michigan, I'm OK with that as long as I get to be on the side he and his base are not on.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:20 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


The Atlantic explains why it hired a columnist who wants a quarter of American women put to death
It's like The Atlantic saw what the NYTimes was doing and decided to tell them to hold their gimlet.

Like, the article opens up with a brief overview of Williamson's greatest hits:
Online outrage was immediate, drawing attention to his other greatest hits: transgender women commit genital mutilation and are “effigies” of women; rape accusers should be publicly named; the poor are lazy and their communities should be abandoned; and a comically fabulated account of meeting a black child he compared to a primate and described as "three fifths" of a Snoop Dog. The Atlantic itself described him as "gratuitously nasty" way back in the mists of 2016.
Then it sets up the hypothesis:
To well-off center-leaning liberals, Williamson is the perfect post-Trump conservative: superficially literary, ostentatiously nasty, profoundly disgusted by the weak, yet (and this is super-duper important) opposed to the current president.
and then pretty much uses the editor's own words to hang him and the entire publication.

I mean, for as many good articles as they put out in the past, I'd always looked askance at them for having people like Chait and Friedersdorf. This pretty much puts them on my blacklist and I am ashamed to have ever given them money.
posted by anem0ne at 9:33 PM on March 27 [34 favorites]


The conclusions of that article are the same as the liberal vs. conservative conclusions about ruTpm: liberals took him literally but not seriously, conservatives took him seriously but not literally. Same with Williamson.
posted by um at 10:04 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]




That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.

@MarkTokes: BREAKING: Rod Rosenstein has officially been served a subpoena to appear and produce documents to the Committee of the Judiciary on April 5, 2018.

He now must turn over all documents regarding:
Clinton Email Server
McCabe Firing
FISA Abuses
+ more
posted by scalefree at 10:44 PM on March 27 [34 favorites]


So this happened yesterday.

China says North Korea pledges denuclearization during friendly visit
China’s Foreign Ministry cited Kim in a lengthy statement as telling Xi that the situation on the Korean peninsula was starting to improve because North Korea had taken the initiative to ease tensions and put forward proposals for peace talks.

“It is our consistent stand to be committed to denuclearization on the peninsula, in accordance with the will of late President Kim Il Sung and late General Secretary Kim Jong Il,” Kim Jong Un said, according to the statement.

North Korea is willing to talk with the United States and hold a summit between the two countries, he said.

“The issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace,” Kim said.

[...] China briefed Trump on Kim’s visit and the communication included a personal message from Xi to Trump, the White House said in a statement.

“The United States remains in close contact with our allies South Korea and Japan. We see this development as further evidence that our campaign of maximum pressure is creating the appropriate atmosphere for dialogue with North Korea,” the statement said.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 10:58 PM on March 27 [6 favorites]


Er, my bad, the dateline says March 26, but the announcement was made today (Wednesday China time). Reuters must have edited this from an older article (bad Reuters, bad!).
posted by J.K. Seazer at 11:03 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


This pretty much puts them on my blacklist and I am ashamed to have ever given them money.

I'm ashamed to have written for them, and won't be doing so again.
posted by adamgreenfield at 11:40 PM on March 27 [39 favorites]


This is an interesting article in its own right, but I think it's worth reading in this context because if the Right's bogeyman, George Soros, can surreptitiously support elections around the country, there's probably a lot more going on on their side: What If Prosecutors Wanted to Keep People Out of Prison?
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:11 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


Simply repealing the 2nd Am. would be a mess. We would need to replace it with a Constitutional ban, otherwise there's a strong argument it becomes a matter for state government under the 'general police power' (i.e. the public safety function) and devolution of powers not reserved.

There can be no new Civil War. Gun nuts may have AR-15s but they don't have AGM-65s or JDAMs or Apaches or F-16s or B-52s.

The ghastly scenario is a few months of non-stop mini Ruby Ridges, and maybe some confrontation between Federal and state/local law enforcement, and that would be destabilizing enough that it would be hard to predict the political consequences.
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:47 AM on March 28 [6 favorites]


The ghastly scenario is a few months of non-stop mini Ruby Ridges, and maybe some confrontation between Federal and state/local law enforcement, and that would be destabilizing enough that it would be hard to predict the political consequences.

There's probably a whiteboard in a room in the Kremlin with that scenario written in a box, with numerous paths of arrows pointing to it.
posted by acb at 3:06 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


And as I said, I once dreamed of a Constitutional Convention to totally rebuild our broken system from the ground up.

So is the far right
posted by thelonius at 3:22 AM on March 28 [17 favorites]


The ghastly scenario is a few months of non-stop mini Ruby Ridges, and maybe some confrontation between Federal and state/local law enforcement, and that would be destabilizing enough that it would be hard to predict the political consequences.
And everything old is new again. Almost nothing is more american than confrontations between Federal and state/local law enforcement. < Whiskey Rebellion of 1794
"Historian Steven Boyd argued that the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion prompted anti-Federalist westerners to finally accept the Constitution and to seek change by voting for Republicans rather than resisting the government."
posted by rc3spencer at 3:33 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


He now must turn over all documents regarding:
Clinton Email Server
McCabe Firing
FISA Abuses
+ more


oh no

what has saved Hillary Clinton from jail up until now is that no one has ever investigated anything she or her staff have been involved in, not even once
posted by delfin at 3:50 AM on March 28 [56 favorites]


Oh, this will be fun.

45's pals in real estate hate Amazon, because it's depressing retail property. So he's desperate to hit Bezos by... well, that's the hard part. But he's trying.

I have noted before that 45's ability to make powerful, well-funded, implacable enemies will run as far ahead of his office's ability to deal with them as Napoleon ran ahead of his logistics in the march on Moscow (and with comparable attrition rates). This is a - ahem - prime example.

Oh, and it's scandalously corrupt at the highest possible level. Nearly forgot that bit.
posted by Devonian at 4:06 AM on March 28 [22 favorites]


So I finished a first draft of the slides I want to print out and go through with my House Rep, about what he can do and why he should do it, about Russia and collusion. My meeting is tomorrow at 4pm. I'd appreciate any feedback folks have (by MeFi mail). I'm fairly nervous about this.

I think there is probably too much information here already to get through in the fifteen minutes I am scheduled for. But I really just want to make sure he knows this stuff. I don't think he's heard it from Fox News. And then I want to be the voice of his conscious, prodding him to act.

(If the beginning seems abrupt, it's because I left off the intro slide, which has personally identifying information on it.)
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:09 AM on March 28 [63 favorites]


All these scenarios of armed conflict between seditious gun nuts and Federal forces assume, unwontedly in my opinion, that the latter would willingly enforce the law of a post-Second Amendment Republic.
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:13 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


By the way, I just want to say... all those links I've collected on the site, and then screenshotted for these slides that I'm now presenting to a member of congress... Those came from MeFi.

By collecting news from more sources than I could possibly ever follow on my own and sharing it here, you guys make it possible to piece together all these little details which have been drip-dripping out from all over, into a coherent picture of what is going on. I think without MeFi the world would make very little sense to me right now. And I certainly would not be talking to my congressional rep (again.)

Thank you all so much.
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:19 AM on March 28 [123 favorites]


@Tom_Winter (NBC)
NBC News: In a court filing tonight in the Special Counsel's case against Alex van der Zwaan it identifies a Person A (an associate of Paul Manafort) as having ties to the Russian intelligence service, GRU, in 2016 when Rick Gates was in contact with Person A.
- NBC News: Here's the filing. Person A is identified in previous pages as an associate of Paul Manafort: SCREENSHOT OF FILING

@AriMelber (MSNBC)
Retweeted Tom Winter
This new Mueller filing says Trump’s campaign chair *and* deputy campaign manager *knew* their associate was a former Russian intelligence officer. As they say in court, Um.

@joshtpm
Retweeted Tom Winter
Unless I’m mistaken Person A is almost certainly Konstantin Kilimnik. Not entirely new info. But Gates affirmative knowledge and then Manaforts wld be major development.
posted by chris24 at 4:20 AM on March 28 [42 favorites]


@renato_mariotti
Big news: Mueller told the court that Gates knew that he and Manafort were working with a former Russian intelligence officer.

@peterjukes
Retweeted Renato Mariotti
BREAKING: Roger Stone was in contact with GRU's Guccifer during Trump campaign. Now it appears Manafort and Gates were in contact with a former GRU officer too.
Just in case you hadn't noticed that's THREE Trump campaign officials in contact with Russian military intelligence
posted by chris24 at 4:37 AM on March 28 [81 favorites]


Exclusive: Spurned by top lawyers, Trump's defense elevates Washington outsider
(Karen Freifeld | Reuters)
A little-known former prosecutor with a doctorate in medieval history will play a central role on U.S. President Donald Trump’s legal team, as many top-tier lawyers shy away from representing him in a probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

Andrew Ekonomou, 69, is one of a handful of lawyers assisting Jay Sekulow, the main attorney representing Trump in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Sekulow told Reuters on Tuesday that after the departure of Washington attorney John Dowd from Trump’s personal legal team last week, Ekonomou will assume a more prominent role. Ekonomou said he has been working with Sekulow on the Mueller probe since June.

The elevation comes at a crucial time in the Mueller probe, as Trump’s team is negotiating the terms under which the president himself may be interviewed. Sekulow is now the last man standing of a trio of personal lawyers hired last spring to assist Trump on the probe. Combative New York lawyer Marc Kasowitz exited the team last summer.

... Trump has tried to tap top-tier lawyers to represent him but been repeatedly rebuffed, according to people familiar with the matter. For example, on Monday, Dan Webb, a former U.S. attorney in Illinois, said Trump had reached out to him and a Washington colleague, but business conflicts prevented them from representing the president.

Savannah Law School professor Andrew Wright, former associate counsel in the Obama White House, said it is unusual for a president to turn to lawyers like Ekonomou who are untested on the national scene and not part of the elite white-collar bar.

“He’s well past the A-team grab space,” Wright said.
insert B.A. Baracus joke here
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:49 AM on March 28 [21 favorites]


Not to start something on the 2nd Amendment, but Trump "responded" to Justice Stevens this morning:
@realdonaldtrump: THE SECOND AMENDMENT WILL NEVER BE REPEALED! As much as Democrats would like to see this happen, and despite the words yesterday of former Supreme Court Justice Stevens, NO WAY. We need more Republicans in 2018 and must ALWAYS hold the Supreme Court!
He really thinks that the Supreme Court has something to do with constitutional amendments, doesn't he? His quotidian idiocy is really sort of suffocating.
posted by pjenks at 4:54 AM on March 28 [12 favorites]


Stormy Daniels' lawyer files motion to depose Trump, lawyer Michael Cohen
The lawyer for adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who says she had sex with Donald Trump in 2006, has filed a motion in federal court asking for permission to depose the president and his lawyer, Michael Cohen.
The move comes amid a lawsuit against Trump, alleging that he never signed a nondisclosure agreement that his lawyer had arranged with Daniels, and just days after a revealing interview on CBS' "60 Minutes" in which she detailed an alleged affair with the married mogul and claimed she was threatened in 2011 if she went public.

posted by PenDevil at 4:56 AM on March 28 [22 favorites]


Have you guys seen this fuckery/batshittery?

Robert Mercer’s Secret Adventure as a New Mexico Cop
Why was the fabulously wealthy Trump donor wearing a badge and a gun in a tiny desert town? To obtain something that’s impossible to buy.
By Zachary Mider (Bloomberg)

(Spoiler: the thing that's impossible to buy is nationwide concealed carry granted to off duty police officers.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:25 AM on March 28 [63 favorites]


He really thinks that the Supreme Court has something to do with constitutional amendments, doesn't he?

Well, the Supreme Court does interpret how Constitutional amendments affect legislation via their decisions. Such as D.C. v. Heller, for instance, which is a kick to the face of anyone who wants to see reasonable gun control in their lifetimes.

Not that I am suggesting that Cheeto has any understanding of that relationship. It is in many ways more offensive that he suggests that the Supreme Court should be, in and of itself, a partisan body that WE or THEY can "hold."
posted by delfin at 5:25 AM on March 28 [6 favorites]


(Spoiler: the thing that's impossible to buy is nationwide concealed carry granted to off duty police officers.)

Never in a million years would I have thought of that. I honestly first thought that he was going to hunt poor people for sport without repercussions.
posted by Talez at 5:28 AM on March 28 [58 favorites]


My first thought was more along the lines of "the ability for one hot second to actually believe he's as powerful as he believes he should be." But yeah, three deadliest game also occurred to me.

Apparently several of these little rural police departments run similar auxiliary officer programs and this is the win-win proposition they offer. We get free labor, you get to pack heat wherever you want.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:32 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


Unless I’m mistaken Person A is almost certainly Konstantin Kilimnik. Not entirely new info. But Gates affirmative knowledge and then Manaforts wld be major development.

Konstantin Kilimnik, who's come up a few times in the megathreads, is of course "Kostya, the guy from the GRU".

Washington Post: Manafort Associate Had Russian Intelligence Ties During 2016 Campaign, Prosecutors Say
The FBI has found that a business associate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had ongoing ties to Russian intelligence, including during the 2016 campaign when Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, were in touch with the associate, according to new court filings.

The documents, filed late Tuesday by prosecutors for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, also allege that Gates had said he knew the associate was a former officer with the Russian military intelligence service.[...]

Prosecutors made the allegation without naming the Manafort associate but described his role with Manafort in detail. The description matches the Russian manager of Manafort’s lobbying office in Kiev, Konstantin Kilimnik.[...]

Prosecutors explained that van der Zwaan had lied and withheld documents about information that was “pertinent” to their investigation — that Gates had been in direct contact during the presidential campaign with a person who “has ties to a Russian intelligence services and had such ties in 2016.”

They said when van der Zwaan was interviewed by the FBI in November, he told investigators that Gates had informed him that Person A was a former GRU officer.

Kilimnik ran Manafort’s office in Kiev during the 10 years he did consulting work there, The Post reported in 2017.

During his August 2016 meeting with Kilimnik, Manafort has said he and his longtime Kiev office manager discussed, among other topics, the ongoing campaign, including the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails. Stolen DNC emails had been released by WikiLeaks the previous month and the hack was widely suspected to be the work of Russia.

During Kilimnik’s time working for Manafort in Kiev, he had served as a liaison for Manafort to the Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, with whom Manafort had done business. Emails previously described to The Post show that Manafort asked Kilimnik during the campaign to offer Deripaska “private briefings” about Trump’s effort. A Deripaska spokeswoman has said the billionaire, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was not offered and did not receive such briefings.[...]

Manafort has also denied knowingly communicating with Russian intelligence during the campaign. He told the New York Times last year, however, “It’s not like these people wear badges that say, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer.’ ”
To update the scorecard, the GRU was running Kilimnik, Guccifer 2.0, and Rinat Akhmetshin, the "active measures campaigns" specialist who met with Donald Jr., Manafort, and Kushner at Trump Tower in June, 2016.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:43 AM on March 28 [31 favorites]


@marcorubio
Latest absurd freak out is over #census2020 citizenship question. In every nation citizenship matters, so shouldn’t we know how many we have? And districts apportioned based on # of people not here legally dilutes the political representation of citizens & legal residents.


@ThePlumLineGS (WaPo)
Actually, this @marcorubio quote might be highly newsworthy.
Is Rubio saying that undocumented immigrants *should not* be counted in the census for purposes of representation?
If so, that's a tacit admission to the apparent purpose of this change. The admin doesn't say this.


@steve_vladeck (CNN, Lawfare, UTLaw prof)
As @ThePlumLineGS points out, this is @marcorubio saying the quiet part out loud—and admitting that (one) purpose of adding a citizenship question is to find a way to _not_ count “all persons,” never mind that that’s exactly what Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment requires.

---

And the USA Today Editorial Board.

"Non-citizens need to be counted. They pay taxes, have kids in public schools and contribute in many ways to communities. The Supreme Court has even ruled that non-citizens count toward the drawing of political districts..."
posted by chris24 at 6:10 AM on March 28 [107 favorites]


During his August 2016 meeting with Kilimnik, Manafort has said he and his longtime Kiev office manager discussed, among other topics, the ongoing campaign, including the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails. Stolen DNC emails had been released by WikiLeaks the previous month and the hack was widely suspected to be the work of Russia.

I observe that this new filing from the Special Counsel, comes mere days after, Paul Manafort files motion to dismiss Mueller indictment in Virginia where Manafort alleges
None of the alleged conduct has any connection to coordination between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government. All predates the Trump campaign and Mr. Manafort’s brief involvement in it by years.
Well done Special Counsel. Well done.
posted by mikelieman at 6:11 AM on March 28 [37 favorites]


The good news about Bolton is he might not last long.

WaPo: For John Bolton, Russia is part of a new ‘axis of evil’
The Trump administration seems to be hardening on Russia, but not fast enough for its incoming national security adviser. John Bolton wants President Trump to go on the offensive against Moscow — and not just when it comes to Vladimir Putin’s interference in American democracy.

Speaking last month at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security, Bolton laid out his proposed strategy to respond to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and to Russian aggression around the world. Bolton did not know that, only weeks later, he would be in a position to push his strategy as the top foreign-policy aide to the president.

The Trump administration has not done enough to respond to Russia’s attack on the United States and our democratic institutions, Bolton said, and Putin must pay a heavy price for his actions.

“I think that this is actually now the perfect time for President Trump to pivot to make it clear that he’s not going to permit additional [Russian] meddling, or meddling by any other foreign government in our election process,” Bolton said. “Whether [the Russians] were trying to collude with the Trump campaign or the Clinton campaign, their interference is unacceptable. It’s really an attack on the United States Constitution.”

The United States should respond in “cyberspace and elsewhere,” Bolton said, suggesting offensive action against the Russian operatives that perpetrated the interference. Only if the response is overwhelming will Russia and other countries be deterred.

“I don’t think the response should be proportionate, I think it should be very disproportionate,” he said.

But Bolton doesn’t want Trump to stop there. As he explained during his extensive remarks, the United States should also push back on a range of Kremlin transgressions: its support for Syria, its alliance with Iran, its undermining of North Korea sanctions, and its coordination with China to thwart the West.

In Bolton’s worldview, Russia is part of a larger set of challenges that must be addressed together. America’s adversaries form a network that works together in complex ways. Bolton asserted that Russia and China “fly wingman for each other” at the United Nations and have a “de facto territorial division of labor around the world.”
posted by chris24 at 6:16 AM on March 28 [13 favorites]


The Trump administration seems to be hardening on Russia, but not fast enough for its incoming national security adviser. John Bolton wants President Trump to go on the offensive against Moscow — and not just when it comes to Vladimir Putin’s interference in American democracy. ... The United States should respond in “cyberspace and elsewhere,” Bolton said

Did he... did he just call for getting involved in a literal land war in Asia?

Every day I wake up thinking "they can't possibly out-dumb themselves today," and every day I am wrong.
posted by Mayor West at 6:24 AM on March 28 [38 favorites]


Well done Special Counsel. Well done.

Also yesterday out of the blue several Senators spoke out or released statements that Trump should let Mueller do/finish his job. Politics Twitter consensus was something had happened behind the scenes to make them worry.

And then Mueller files something that shows knowing cooperation between two senior Trump campaign officials and a Russian spy. Well played Special Counsel indeed.
posted by chris24 at 6:25 AM on March 28 [45 favorites]


now the perfect time for President Trump to pivot

They'll never learn, will they?
posted by SPrintF at 6:26 AM on March 28 [19 favorites]


The United States should respond in “cyberspace and elsewhere,” Bolton said...

Did he... did he just call for getting involved in a literal land war in Asia?


With anyone else I'd assume it meant financial sanctions, cutting Putin and the oligarchs off from their money abroad. But Bolton probably means land war in Asia.
posted by chris24 at 6:27 AM on March 28 [7 favorites]


I'm sure the Kremlin won't give the order to cut Bolton loose until he has done enough damage to the United States first. His role is not to be a precision instrument of policy but a fragmentation grenade rattling around inside the body politic.
posted by acb at 6:29 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


This census question feels like a real camel's-nose-under-the-tent moment. Hence Rubio's statement. He's always struck me as somewhat earnestly evil, so I'm not surprised he'd be one of the first to go there.
posted by angrycat at 6:38 AM on March 28 [13 favorites]


Wouldn't it be easy for Rubio to come back and say "No no, you count both, but you would now know how many are citizens and how many are not." which still works under the 14th right?

I mean, it's still a potentially evil-making stat to be collecting, but that's how I could interpret what he meant.
posted by like_neon at 6:58 AM on March 28


He seems pretty clear in that he doesn't want to count those "not here legally" at all when apportioning districts.

districts apportioned based on # of people not here legally dilutes the political representation of citizens & legal residents.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:01 AM on March 28 [6 favorites]


Hey Marco, you know what else dilutes the political representation of citizens and legal residents? The fucking US Senate and Electoral College.
posted by Slothrup at 7:03 AM on March 28 [62 favorites]


Yes, but it doesn't necessarily mean he meant they weren't ticked off as a number. So at the end of the censues you have x number of citizens and x number of non-citizens, policies are then based on just the number of citizens. Everyone is counted still in this terrible system
posted by like_neon at 7:04 AM on March 28


"Non-citizens need to be counted. They pay taxes, have kids in public schools and contribute in many ways to communities. The Supreme Court has even ruled that non-citizens count toward the drawing of political districts..."

The thing is, you don't even need a moral or a political argument about it. It's the goddamn census. It should accurately reflect the population of the country because inaccurate data leads to flawed decision making. This is like trying to change mathematics because you have a phobia of the number 13.
posted by dis_integration at 7:07 AM on March 28 [46 favorites]


According to Wikipedia:
Decennial U.S. Census figures are based on actual counts of persons dwelling in U.S. residential structures. They include citizens, non-citizen legal residents, non-citizen long-term visitors and undocumented immigrants. The Census Bureau bases its decision about whom to count on the concept of usual residence. Usual residence, a principle established by the Census Act of 1790, is defined as the place a person lives and sleeps most of the time.
The 1790 Census was the first one, so we've included non-citizens for as long as we've been doing the census (228 years).
posted by kirkaracha at 7:12 AM on March 28 [32 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Rubio's remark comports with the way many Americans would naturally assume the census already works -- that undocumented residents aren't "supposed" to be counted and this question just clarifies that. Of course, the Constitution itself very clearly states otherwise. There's no reason to suppose Rubio had anything else in mind -- he is explicitly taking the unconstitutional tack on this, because he's not just talking about policymaking like where to send government funding, he's talking about apportionment.

But honestly, if we're talking about how the system ought to work instead of how it does, I have a micron of sympathy for the view, insofar as the effect of counting noncitizens is to increase representation for their neighbors, not themselves. The argument that they pay taxes and so forth and "therefore" should be counted doesn't quite hold up for me, because the benefits for them are indirect at best. (For a much stronger example of modern-day malapportionment, see "prison gerrymandering", the practice of locating prisons to strategically advantage certain areas by adding population of people who legally can't vote.)

Instead, they should be given full legal status yesterday, because the real travesty is the various forces that result in a shadow class. Citizenship should be as easy to obtain as uninformed Americans (like the ones I mentioned in the first paragraph) usually assume it is ("Why don't they just get in line?").
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:20 AM on March 28 [22 favorites]


So at the end of the censues you have x number of citizens and x number of non-citizens, policies are then based on just the number of citizens.

This is almost certainly unconstitutional under the “all persons” language used here and there throughout the Constitution, and probably also under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment.

(But I’m not a lawyer. )
posted by notyou at 7:20 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


The thing is, you don't even need a moral or a political argument about it. It's the goddamn census. It should accurately reflect the population of the country because inaccurate data leads to flawed decision making.

I'm constantly revising downward the estimated portion of Americans who give a shit about data and accurately comprehending the world. Traditional American anti-intellectualism has for a long time now made us a place where it's worse to be called wrong than to be wrong; add new reality-shaping information technology to the mix and you get a hundred million Rubios.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:22 AM on March 28 [21 favorites]


@Eric_Jotkoff (Dem strategist)
Not the first time @marcorubio has flirted with this. He was against the Census counting undocumented immigrants in 2010.
Should The Census Count `illegal Immigrants? In Florida?

Before backtracking to @bethreinhard. Rubio Backtracks From Census Comment
posted by chris24 at 7:23 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


Rubio's statement is wrong and bad in a number of different ways. I was just pointing out that the Twitter rebuttals above seem to be only addressing one interpretation of his stupid ass statement.
posted by like_neon at 7:24 AM on March 28


districts apportioned based on # of people not here legally dilutes the political representation of citizens & legal residents.

Aside from the fact that this is exacrly what the constitutiom requires... Many US citizens have non-citizen relatives. They may be deterred by thus question from responding to the census, out of fear for their relatives.

So there is a good chance that this question will result in an undercount of US citizens, thus "diluting their representation."
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:33 AM on March 28 [16 favorites]


WaPo: Another shoe just dropped in the Mueller probe
That means Mueller is now alleging that Trump’s deputy campaign manager knew in the fall of 2016 that his and Manafort’s business associate had ties to Russian intelligence. What’s more, The Post adds, based on previous reporting, that Manafort has said he and the associate discussed in August 2016 the “hacking of Democratic National Committee emails.” One month previously, WikiLeaks — widely believed to be a Russian cut-out operation — had released stolen DNC emails.

First, let’s note the reasons for caution about this story. As Paul Rosenzweig, who was special counsel during Ken Starr’s investigation of Bill Clinton, pointed out to me today, we don’t yet know how deep this associate’s “ties” to Russian intelligence remained at that point. And we don’t know what the discussions about the stolen emails really amounted to. It’s perfectly possible they were merely talking about something that was in the news. A Manafort spokesman has claimed this to be the case, adding that eventually it will be shown that no “conspiracy” was being discussed.

But Rosenzweig also said that these new revelations do raise some important possibilities. First, it suggests that Manafort — who was Trump’s campaign chair deep into August 2016 — likely knew his associate had connections to Russian intelligence, since if Gates knew, Manafort also probably knew. “At a minimum that says something about his willingness to work with people who have ties to Russian intelligence agencies,” Rosenzweig said. “That raises the question of whether Manafort was a conduit of Russian influence on the campaign,” though he may have been an “unwitting dupe” in this regard.

Second, and perhaps more important, Mueller may have put this information in the filing in part to increase the pressure on Manafort. Mueller’s investigators are “showing Manafort some of their cards as a way to increase the pressure on him to cooperate,” Rosenzweig says. Indeed, Politico recently reported that people around Trump are deeply worried about what Gates can tell Mueller, because that might end up inducing Manafort to conclude that his legal jeopardy is so severe that he should flip. Gates can perhaps tell Mueller what Manafort knew at the time about the associate’s ties to Russian intelligence.

Finally, putting this information in the filing might end up protecting the Mueller probe itself. “Mueller’s biggest strategic risk is being fired,” Rosenzweig said. “The more they put Russia into the equation, the harder it is for Trump to fire him.” As we have already seen, Trump has now begun to directly attack the Mueller investigation, and he has gotten rid of lawyers such as John Dowd who are advising caution. The new Mueller filing, however, could make it that much harder politically for Trump to try to shut down or hamstring the probe. And if that’s what this latest shoe dropping accomplishes, that itself will leave a pretty big footprint.
posted by chris24 at 7:40 AM on March 28 [39 favorites]


One month previously, WikiLeaks — widely believed to be a Russian cut-out operation

Huh, I think that's the first time I've seen WikiLeaks thusly characterized in a major news outlet. Incoming ragetweets from Assange in 3…2…1…
posted by murphy slaw at 7:44 AM on March 28 [33 favorites]


Second, and perhaps more important, Mueller may have put this information in the filing in part to increase the pressure on Manafort. Mueller’s investigators are “showing Manafort some of their cards as a way to increase the pressure on him to cooperate,” Rosenzweig says.

My first thought this morning was that this seemed like gradually increasing pressure on Manafort to cooperate. "Oh, the threat of these *gestures widly* charges doesn't scare you enough", *drops new charge*. "how about now?"
posted by Twain Device at 7:49 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


because that might end up inducing Manafort to conclude that his legal jeopardy is so severe that he should flip

If he flips, he dies. Possibly his family dies too. Possibly his family dies first. Maybe not immediately. Maybe not next year. But eventually.

He’s not going to flip.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:49 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


Regarding whether or not the census should count non-citizens for the purpose of representation, we already have a pretty strong (understatement) of what the founders intended.

For the purposes of representation, slaves were counted. Three-fifths, of course, but they were counted.

You wanna argue intent, argue with *that*, Rubio, you obscene little prick.
posted by notsnot at 7:58 AM on March 28 [38 favorites]


I think the killing of an American citizen on American soil would be too far for Putin. Or for the US to take. The reaction to a Russian murdered on British soil caused an international outrage that resulted in over a hundred diplomats expelled and possible further financial sanctions.

And Putin's goal is chaos and the diminishment of the US. A full fledged constitutional crisis/impeachment proceedings isn't a bad thing for him. Yes, he wants access to his and his oligarchs' money, but what would we learn from Manafort flipping we don't already suspect/know now? Sure it *might* lead to further financial sanctions, but in my opinion, the likelihood of additional sanctions is higher if he kills an American in America. That's a bigger risk to him than Manafort turning.
posted by chris24 at 7:58 AM on March 28 [6 favorites]


Depends on whether or not the killing has a signature with flamboyant calligraphy pointing clearly to its provenance, like the UK one did. There are far more subtle and deniable methods of striking a target than nerve agents and polonium.
posted by delfin at 8:02 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


Poor Paul Manafort. All he wanted was to live a little large on his laundered blood money and hang out with the cool kids*. And now here he is, and it's a beautiful day. Well, I just don't understand it.

* "cool kids" in this case = a bunch of the world's most vile oligarchs
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:03 AM on March 28 [25 favorites]


Incoming ragetweets from Assange in 3…2…1…

It's a full two Scaramuccis old, but: bask in the gentle schadenfreude
posted by Mayor West at 8:07 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


Incoming ragetweets from Assange in 3…2…1…

He can't because the Ecuadorian embassy has locked down his Internet privileges for being a naughty boy.
posted by Talez at 8:09 AM on March 28 [46 favorites]


Andrew Ekonomou, Trump's hot new lawyer has some … impressive credentials?:
Sekulow said Ekonomou, who works under contract as an assistant district attorney in Brunswick, Georgia, was a “brilliant strategist” who has handled complex investigations for decades. Ekonomou assisted Sekulow in a famous case involving the religious group Jews for Jesus before the Supreme Court in the 1980s.

While Ekonomou has also worked on criminal matters, he has not handled cases as high-profile and complex as the Mueller probe.

In an interview, Ekonomou told Reuters that he “prosecutes a lot of murders for the D.A.”

When asked about his biggest cases of late, Ekonomou said, “That’s basically it. Nothing earthshaking.”

Ekonomou said he is up to the task of defending Trump, saying he has practiced law for more than four decades.

“I’ve been tested plenty of times,” Ekonomou said. “Just because you’re not a Beltway lawyer doesn’t mean you don’t know what you’re doing.”
posted by murphy slaw at 8:15 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


That link about Assange's internet privileges being shut down led me to this, which...PJ Harvey? That's a bummer.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:15 AM on March 28 [11 favorites]


Stormy Daniels' lawyer files motion to depose Trump

I got all excited until I figured out it was the other meaning of "depose".
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:20 AM on March 28 [56 favorites]


In other news, House GOP to push balanced budget amendment after recess: report.

You know, right before the Democrats are poised to wipe them out in the House, force them to clean up the mess.
posted by Talez at 8:21 AM on March 28 [15 favorites]


I think the killing of an American citizen on American soil would be too far for Putin. Or for the US to take.
Wasn't too far for Pinochet, and we were 'friends' with Chile and their grand experiment at the time.
Letelier assassination in DC.
posted by rc3spencer at 8:21 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


I wonder whether we’ll ever see a timeline of when Assange crosses the rubicon to being a Kremlin puppet. I know he started out as an anti-authority hacker with leanings towards the anti-US radical left, and at some point became a committed Putin-parroting puppet. It would be interesting to see how the FSB/GRU engineered this: did they channel him into a path where there was only one way forward, or did he jump into the boat of his own initiative, perhaps out of a shared hatred of liberalism?
posted by acb at 8:22 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


In other news, House GOP to push balanced budget amendment after recess: report.

In any functioning democracy, passing a balanced budget amendment after digging a giant hole with corporate tax cuts and then jumping in it with a massive spending bill would be the end of a political party for a generation.

Unfortunately, we live in America.
posted by murphy slaw at 8:24 AM on March 28 [43 favorites]


I wonder whether we’ll ever see a timeline of when Assange crosses the rubicon to being a Kremlin puppet.

I’m guessing much earlier than anyone here is going to be comfortable with, TBH.
posted by Artw at 8:25 AM on March 28 [15 favorites]


A fun game to try to pinpoint which month Assange made that crossing based on footage in real time: a rewatch of Poitras's Risk.
posted by rc3spencer at 8:28 AM on March 28


Trump proposal would penalize immigrants who use tax credits and other benefits
Current rules penalize immigrants who receive cash welfare payments, considering them a “public charge.” But the proposed changes from the Department of Homeland Security would widen the government’s definition of benefits to include the widely used Earned Income Tax Credit as well as health insurance subsidies and other “non-cash public benefits.”

The changes would apply to those seeking immigration visas, or legal permanent residency, such as a foreigner with an expiring work visa.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:32 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


I think the killing of an American citizen on American soil would be too far for Putin. Or for the US to take.

Oh come on at this point Trump's claim that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and get away with it seems like a reasonable claim so yeah the people who haven't flipped yet are people who aren't going to flip because they'd die if they did.
posted by winna at 8:36 AM on March 28 [6 favorites]


A balanced budget amendment to the US Constitution is about as likely as a this-amendment-repeals-the-2nd amendment. The people who actually understand how government spending works have zero interest in this, nor would it actually pass both houses with 2/3, but it plays well to the teahadi base.
posted by delfin at 8:39 AM on March 28 [10 favorites]


Hey Marco, you know what else dilutes the political representation of citizens and legal residents? The fucking US Senate and Electoral College.

That's the other other problem with Rubio's statement: 'In every nation citizenship matters, so shouldn’t we know how many we have? And districts apportioned based on # of people not here legally dilutes the political representation of citizens & legal residents.'

The proposed change to the Census would use the citizenship questions already in the ACS; those questions don't ask about legal residency. Nor has the Census historically asked about it, because it's a settled question that the Census cares about people who live in the United States, full stop, and apportionment cares about where people live, full stop. And so: it would be impossible to actually use the census -- from what's been announced publicly -- to apportion districts to exclude undocumented immigrants unless you also excluded legal residents.

One thing I've been thinking about a lot in the last day is the Census of 1920; in the midst of a major rural-to-urban population shift, Congress -- for partisan political reasons -- simply decided to not reapportion any districts. It wasn't until nearly a decade later that the districts were changed to reflect the population growth in the interim -- but left us locked us into a static, unchanging 435-member House as it existed in 1910, which has created increasing problems of representations -- for example, electoral college votes are equal to senators + representatives; but each state has at least one representative regardless of population, and so the number of electoral votes per voter varies between high- and low-population states.

The citizenship question is plainly an attempt to skew the Census and thus, indirectly, reapportionment. But the reason the Trump Administration and the GOP haven't been attacking apportionment and representation directly is because they substantially already won that fight nearly a century ago.
posted by cjelli at 8:46 AM on March 28 [15 favorites]


Public lands news!

** BLM is holding or has held public scoping meetings for new monument management plans for Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument (GSENM) and Bears Ears National Monuments, respectively.
-- Public meetings for GSENM will be in Kanab and Escalante, UT later today and tomorrow, respectively. Sorry for the short notice on this.

-- Public comments for Bears Ears are due within 15 days of March 27. Public comments for Grand Staircase are due within 15 days of March 29. If you wish to comment, plan on getting your comments in by the first week of April to be safe.
** The existing monument management plan (MMP) for GSENM (large PDF link) generally works well. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the government to consider all reasonable alternatives; it would be helpful for the BLM to receive comments requesting that they use the existing MMP to govern both GSENM lands within the Trump boundaries and also those lands declared removed by Trump.
-- A shortcoming on GSENM's existing MMP is that it kicked the can on grazing when it was written. You can request that the BLM consider as a reasonable alternative grazing plans drafted and submitted during the scoping phase by environmental groups.
** For Bears Ears, I get the sense that environmental groups are generally deferring to the wishes of the affiliated tribes who are supposed to be involved with monument management. A helpful public comment may be to request that BLM consider all reasonable alternatives and requests submitted by tribes affiliated with the monument. However, I'm not sure whether the tribes intend to participate in this process or whether they intend to fight this one mainly in the courts.

** Reminder: Go here to comment on Grand Staircase Escalante, and go here to comment on Bears Ears.
posted by compartment at 8:47 AM on March 28 [36 favorites]


However, I'm not sure whether the tribes intend to participate in this process or whether they intend to fight this one mainly in the courts.

One can be considered to have waived a legal claim if it was not brought up during the public comment process. I'm sure the tribes are aware of that, and will pursue multiple avenues of dissent.
posted by suelac at 8:58 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


The Washington Post: A congressional Republican cops to the real reason he’s retiring — working with Trump isn’t fun
Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) didn't try to be diplomatic when he announced over the weekend he would be retiring from Congress after just two terms: President Trump was a major factor.

“Whether it's Stormy Daniels,” he told the Daily Local News on Sunday, “or passing an omnibus spending bill that the president threatens to veto after promising to sign, it’s very difficult to move forward in a constructive way today.”

posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:58 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


But the proposed changes from the Department of Homeland Security would widen the government’s definition of benefits to include the widely used Earned Income Tax Credit as well as health insurance subsidies

I'm not able to access the full draft legislation at the moment. If anyone is able, and if this information is currently available: what is meant here by 'health insurance subsidies' -- does that include benefits or tax breaks offered through employers, or is it referring strictly to Marketplace subsidies? And are the penalties retroactive -- that is, does having claimed EITC in previous tax years affect immigration status?
posted by halation at 8:59 AM on March 28


I want to highlight the post for this fascinating article from Foreign Policy: Nobody Knows Anything About China; Including the Chinese Government.
We don’t know the real figures for GDP growth, for example. GDP growth has long been one of the main criteria used to judge officials’ careers — as a result, the relevant data is warped at every level, since the folk reporting it are the same ones benefitting from it being high. If you add up the GDP figures issued by the provinces, the sum is 10 percent higher than the figure ultimately issued by the national government, which in itself is tweaked to hit politicized targets.
...
Beijing’s official population is 21.7 million; it may really be as high as 30 or 35 million.
...
The government’s solution to this is an increasing faith in big data, a belief that by circumventing lower-level officials it can gather information directly from the source. Huge amounts of money are being poured into big data, including efforts at predictive policing and the widespread monitoring of dissidents. The government requires Chinese firms, and foreign firms with a Chinese presence, such as Apple, to store and hand over data on a vast scale. But big data itself is prone to systematic distortions, misplaced trust, and the oldest rule of coding: garbage in, garbage out.

posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:10 AM on March 28 [15 favorites]


CNN:
A US Army veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan has been deported to Mexico, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said. The deportation follows an earlier decision by US authorities to deny Miguel Perez's citizenship application because of a felony drug conviction, despite his service and the PTSD he says it caused.
...
Perez has said he was surprised to be in ICE detention and mistakenly believed that enlisting in the Army would automatically give him US citizenship, according to his lawyer, Chris Bergin. His retroactive application for citizenship was denied earlier this month. While there are provisions for expediting troops' naturalization process, a main requirement is that the applicant demonstrate "good moral character," and the drug conviction was enough to sway the decision against his application, Bergin said.

posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:15 AM on March 28 [12 favorites]


Caveats about reading into oral arguments still apply, but this is the legacy of losing a Supreme Court seat:

Just got out of SCOTUS. Weird arguments, but I’m skeptical the liberals have the votes in Gill to prohibit extreme partisan gerrymandering. They appeared desperate to find a standard; Gorsuch and Alito seemed smugly confident that they wouldn’t succeed. Breyer proposed putting over the partisan gerrymandering cases for one monster reargument—taking out a blackboard and debating different theories. Sounds like a Hail Mary to me. Would he float that if he had the votes in Gill? I don’t think so. Kennedy still doesn’t like partisan gerrymandering, but he seemed as frustrated as ever by the search for a standard. He could still come around. But I don’t think he’s there yet. It’s a mess.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:16 AM on March 28 [19 favorites]


It seems to me that, since Republicans have shown themselves willing to steal Merrick Garland's SCOTUS seat in an attempt to secure favorable rulings, surely the lack of a Senate filibuster-proof majority is the only thing stopping them from packing the courts, just as FDR tried to do.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:20 AM on March 28


> I’m skeptical the liberals have the votes in Gill to prohibit extreme partisan gerrymandering. They appeared desperate to find a standard; Gorsuch and Alito seemed smugly confident that they wouldn’t succeed.

Great - if we can't find a standard, the Supreme Court will endorse the "anything goes" standard. It would be a perfect companion to Citizens United - any amount of money is acceptable, and any amount of creative district drawing.
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:21 AM on March 28 [8 favorites]


what is meant here by 'health insurance subsidies' -- does that include benefits or tax breaks offered through employers, or is it referring strictly to Marketplace subsidies? And are the penalties retroactive -- that is, does having claimed EITC in previous tax years affect immigration status?
"DHS proposes to define subsidized health insurance as any health insurance for which the premiums are partially or fully paid by a government agency, on a non-earned basis, including but not limited to, advanced premium tax credits, tax credits, or other forms of reimbursement. Subsidized health insurance may include non-emergency benefits under Medicaid, CHIP, and health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that has a premium tax credit or costsharing subsidy.

DHS proposes codifying the public charge inadmissibility determination as a prospective determination. Except for the absence of a required affidavit of support, DHS intends to base a public charge inadmissibility determination on the totality of an alien’s circumstances at the time the determination is made. [...]

DHS also proposes that USCIS would consider evidence of whether an alien has health insurance as part of the health factor for public charge inadmissibility determinations.... Therefore, DHS proposes that USCIS would consider whether an alien has non-subsidized health insurance as part of the health factor for public charge determinations. Lack of health insurance would be a negative factor in the totality of the circumstances for any person, while having nonsubsidized health insurance would be a positive factor for a person with a medical condition."
posted by melissasaurus at 9:21 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


Non-citizens need to be counted. They pay taxes, have kids in public schools and contribute in many ways to communities

Indeed they do. And I’ll take it further. Let non-citizens vote, at least in state and local elections. This obsession with whether or not you have citizenship in order to vote feels absurd to me. If you live here, pay taxes here, you should vote here. This is your home, and you belong here but for a slip of paper that says you belong to some other plot of land somewhere else. It’s absurd. We’re a representative democracy. Let’s represent.

Draw the line at Federal elections if you want. Require three years residency. Or five. Or seven. Whatever. But if this is their home, it doesn’t feel wrong to give them some say in how it’s run. Hell, if you’re really worked up and fear they’ll have too much representation, just limit their input to…oh, I don’t know, how ‘bout three-fifths of a vote?

OK, that last bit might veer into snarkasm, but my point stands. Shift the goalpost.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 9:35 AM on March 28 [16 favorites]


You're saying there shouldn't be taxation... without representation?

I dunno man, sounds un-American.
posted by Artw at 9:37 AM on March 28 [27 favorites]


Tell it to District residents.
posted by phearlez at 9:41 AM on March 28 [42 favorites]


Let non-citizens vote, at least in state and local elections.

This is already happening in some places.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:42 AM on March 28 [13 favorites]


Oh man, you just made my day! That is lovely to read. I rather miss reading news that puts a smile on my face.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 9:50 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


Jon Taylor on Twitter: BREAKING: A federal judge has denied Trump's motion to dismiss our emoluments lawsuit, finding that the plaintiffs—DC & Maryland—have standing! The case was brought by the Attorneys General of DC and Maryland, and we have the honor of serving as their co-counsel. #Emoluments
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:56 AM on March 28 [104 favorites]


Today’s big partisan gerrymandering case: Maryland (Benisek v. Lamone)

This account makes it sound like Roberts wants to strike down the Dem gerrymander in Maryland, which undoubtedly means a fucked up “distinction” between the Maryland and Wisconsin cases.

Just prepare for a world where Republican gerrymandering is explicit legal, while Democratic gerrymandering is explicitly illegal, because that’s happening.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:56 AM on March 28 [26 favorites]


And I’ll take it further. Let non-citizens vote...this obsession with whether or not you have citizenship in order to vote feels absurd to me.

I hear where you're coming from, but making it far, far easier to become a citizen substantially solves the same issue and a bunch of other issues besides, and wouldn't require (for example) passing a new amendment to amendment to re-write the 14th & 15th Amendments to consider non-citizen voting, and to protect such voters when they do vote. It goes without saying that it would be far easier to change our immigration laws than it would be to pass a new amendment, so if you want fair treatment fast it would be better to focus on citizenship at the federal level. (I do get your point on shifting the frame of the debate, though.)

The underlying problem is that we're denying people who should be citizens a range of rights, including the right to vote -- but other rights as well; the debate about how to handle apportionment and voting rights is really only symptomatic.
posted by cjelli at 10:01 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


Dems want an investigation of whether Zinke’s Interior Department underwent an illegal racist and partisan purge to go along with the illegal racist and partisan purge at the State Department.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:13 AM on March 28 [46 favorites]


Constitutional Challenge To Trump's Decision To Hold On To His Business Interests Can Move Forward

This is the enoulments clause case filed by DC and Maryland and supported by Norm Eisen’s CREW.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:19 AM on March 28 [27 favorites]


This account makes it sound like Roberts wants to strike down the Dem gerrymander in Maryland, which undoubtedly means a fucked up “distinction” between the Maryland and Wisconsin cases.

Just prepare for a world where Republican gerrymandering is explicit legal, while Democratic gerrymandering is explicitly illegal, because that’s happening.


Nothing I've read (including that Princeton link) makes it sound like a judgement against gerrymandering in either case would apply to any specific party. I've been looking at it as "a win in either case by the plaintiff is a win for democracy", but if anyone has any insight on that I'd be interested as I am a total law and court layman.

On NPR this morning they also mentioned that the plaintiffs in the Maryland case were arguing that gerrymandering infringed on the voter's first amendment rights specifically to address Kennedy's previous reluctance in these cases. Maybe it was just my optimism hoping that a win in that case is a win for all.
posted by history_denier at 10:21 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


Just prepare for a world where Republican gerrymandering is explicit legal, while Democratic gerrymandering is explicitly illegal, because that’s happening.

I can’t imagine how a ruling could provide this outcome without specifically referring to the political parties having different rights under the constitution, which seems like Fall-of-the-Republic-level stuff.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:25 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


That link about Assange's internet privileges being shut down led me to this, which...PJ Harvey? That's a bummer.

It is indeed.

I ought to note, for the sake of fairness, that the article you linked to's about a year old, and feelings about Assange among many people I know have shifted significantly in that timeframe. As the copy about WikiLeaks being more widely understood as a "Russian cut-out operation" indicates, there's a general sense abroad that WikiLeaks is not a cause to embrace, and Assange in particular has earned his shunning. Plenty of holdouts, yes, but not as many people doubling down on their earlier defense of him as I'd expected. He's just that toxic and egregious, I guess.

If it makes you feel any better, I've spoken directly with some of the folks named in that article about their support of him, and made my feelings clear regarding the wisdom and the cost of that support. People want to seem like, I dunno, Beauvoir signing a petition against the war in Algeria — they want to use the platform their fame affords them to speak publicly on behalf of something righteous. But what they very definitely do not want to do is seem like Beauvoir signing a petition arguing for the right of adults to have sex with children (as she actually did!). Like anyone else, public intellectuals, and pop heroes acting as public intellectuals, want to stay on the right side of history, and casting their lot with Julian Assange is not the way to do that.
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:29 AM on March 28 [13 favorites]


NYT: Trump’s Lawyer Raised Prospect of Pardons for Flynn and Manafort as Special Counsel Closed In
A lawyer for President Trump broached the idea of Mr. Trump pardoning two of his former top advisers, Michael T. Flynn and Paul Manafort, with their lawyers last year, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions. The discussions came as the special counsel was building cases against both men, and they raise questions about whether the lawyer, John Dowd, was offering pardons to influence their decisions about whether to plead guilty and cooperate in the investigation.

The talks suggest that Mr. Trump’s lawyers were concerned about what Mr. Flynn and Mr. Manafort might reveal were they to cut a deal with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, in exchange for leniency. Mr. Mueller’s team could investigate the prospect that Mr. Dowd made pardon offers to thwart the inquiry, although legal experts are divided about whether such offers might constitute obstruction of justice.

Mr. Dowd’s conversation with Mr. Flynn’s lawyer, Robert K. Kelner, occurred sometime after Mr. Dowd took over last summer as the president’s personal lawyer, at a time when a grand jury was hearing evidence against Mr. Flynn on a range of potential crimes. Mr. Flynn, who served as Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser, agreed in late November to cooperate with the special counsel’s investigation. He pleaded guilty in December to lying to the F.B.I. about his conversations with the Russian ambassador and received favorable sentencing terms.

Mr. Dowd has said privately that he did not know why Mr. Flynn had accepted a plea, according to one of the people. He said he had told Mr. Kelner that the president had long believed that the case against Mr. Flynn was flimsy and was prepared to pardon him, the person said.

The pardon discussion with Mr. Manafort’s attorney, Reginald J. Brown, came before his client was indicted in October on charges of money laundering and other financial crimes. Mr. Manafort, the former chairman of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign, has pleaded not guilty and has told others he is not interested in a pardon because he believes he has done nothing wrong and the government overstepped its authority. Mr. Brown is no longer his lawyer.
posted by chris24 at 10:30 AM on March 28 [22 favorites]


The denial from Dowd is something else.

“There were no discussions. Period,” Mr. Dowd said. “As far as I know, no discussions.”
posted by chris24 at 10:35 AM on March 28 [12 favorites]


Seems like a good day to still be interviewing lawyers.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:37 AM on March 28 [7 favorites]


The citizenship question is plainly an attempt to skew the Census and thus, indirectly, reapportionment. But the reason the Trump Administration and the GOP haven't been attacking apportionment and representation directly is because they substantially already won that fight nearly a century ago.

Which is why I've been saying that as soon as the Democrats control government, they need to scrap the stupid century-old law that caps the number of Representatives and ensure that future growth is proportional to population. Doing so should, at the very least, keep the House out of Republican hands for the foreseeable future, and may help skew the Electoral College to high-population blue states into the bargain.
posted by Gelatin at 10:37 AM on March 28 [18 favorites]


three people with knowledge of the discussions

So, any guesses as to who these three people are? And why are they leaking this? A warning to Trump, or a goad to push him towards trying to issue pardons? I didn't see any mention in the article of how presidential pardons don't cover state crimes, or any discussion of other downsides to the use of presidential pardons beyond how they might or might not play into the obstruction case. What's up with that?
posted by yasaman at 10:43 AM on March 28


cjelli: I hear where you're coming from, but making it far, far easier to become a citizen substantially solves the same issue and a bunch of other issues besides, and wouldn't require (for example) passing a new amendment to amendment to re-write the 14th & 15th Amendments to consider non-citizen voting, and to protect such voters when they do vote.

It's an art of the possible thing -- not to re-open that can of worms, but this is kind of like repeal of 2A as an "alternative" to gun regulation. Letting noncitizen residents vote even while they (as voters) aren't adequately protected on a Constitutional level shouldn't have to wait for dramatic immigration reform at the national level. It's not either/or.

As far as the possible rulings in gerrymandering cases... even Russia pretends to have true elections. Will the Supreme Court ever make an explicitly partisan ruling? I highly doubt it. Could they reach opposite conclusions about the two states, based on flimsy justifications? Sure. Will the Overton window shift to a point that Republican leaders discuss the Democratic party as inherently illegitimate, as text and not subtext, or even sing the praises of one-party rule? Very distinctly possible. They've talked about the federal government forcibly removing local leaders who permit sanctuary cities. Stay alert and don't lose heart.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:50 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


What’s more, The Post adds, based on previous reporting, that Manafort has said he and the associate discussed in August 2016 the “hacking of Democratic National Committee emails.” One month previously, WikiLeaks — widely believed to be a Russian cut-out operation — had released stolen DNC emails.

First, let’s note the reasons for caution about this story. As Paul Rosenzweig, who was special counsel during Ken Starr’s investigation of Bill Clinton, pointed out to me today, we don’t yet know how deep this associate’s “ties” to Russian intelligence remained at that point.


Then again, we know Donald Trump specifically called on Russia to do more hacking, specifically Hillary Clinton's emails, so there's that bit of evidence. Besides, is any intelligence asset ever "former"?
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:56 AM on March 28 [7 favorites]


Another chapter in Mark Zuckerberg and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Quarter:

@AMillenialDog:
MARK ZUCKERBERG: aw gee whiz, leaking millions of peoples' data sure was a big oopsie!!! Can this week possibly get any worse?
THE NATIONAL FAIR HOUSING ASSOCIATION: [quietly cracking knuckles] yes, absolutely, we thought you'd never ask

tl;dr: NFHA is suing Facebook for allowing landlords to prevent "undesirable" classes of people from being shown housing ads, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
posted by murphy slaw at 10:58 AM on March 28 [135 favorites]


Just prepare for a world where Republican gerrymandering is explicit legal, while Democratic gerrymandering is explicitly illegal, because that’s happening.
-
I can’t imagine how a ruling could provide this outcome without specifically referring to the political parties having different rights under the constitution, which seems like Fall-of-the-Republic-level stuff.

This would be trivial for the Court to do as long as they educate themselves a little on how gerrymandering works. There are algorithms which are facially neutral but will reliably produce Republican-favored maps due to how Democrats tend to cluster in cities. The Court could just bless that algorithm as a gold standard process which should always be acceptable and let all other gerrymanders get challenged on a case-by-case basis.
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:59 AM on March 28 [11 favorites]


WRT pardons for Manafort and Flynn.

Isn't a pardon an admission of guilt? So over simplified, if Trump says "hey, Manafort and Flynn are pardoned" doesn't that create the situation where Trump accepts: "Yeah, my dudes were in bed with the Russians" and open up he and his family to the next step of the investigation?

Like a pardon is great for those guys, but it puts an even clearer target on Trump himself?
posted by Twain Device at 11:02 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


NFHA is suing Facebook for allowing landlords to prevent "undesirable" classes of people from being shown housing ads, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
hmm . . that sounds familiar . . <way back when DOJ sued Trump real estate for discrimination.

"The suits charged Fred Trump, Coronet Hall, and the other defendants with “steering black persons away from predominantly white apartment buildings and into predominantly black or racially mixed apartment buildings, denying housing or making housing unavailable on the basis of race, discriminating in the provision of brokerage services and representing to persons that dwellings are not available for inspection, sale or rental when such dwellings are in fact so available, based on the race of those persons.” These actions, the suits asserted, violated the Fair Housing Act and various civil rights laws."
posted by rc3spencer at 11:09 AM on March 28 [12 favorites]


There are algorithms which are facially neutral but will reliably produce Republican-favored maps due to how Democrats tend to cluster in cities.

I'd love to learn more about this. Can you give an example of an algorithm that reliably produces urban-only districts without also producing rural-only districts?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:11 AM on March 28


I ought to note, for the sake of fairness, that the article you linked to's about a year old, and feelings about Assange among many people I know have shifted significantly in that timeframe.

I will also note, for the sake of fairness, that Assange was a rapist a year ago and the year before that and the year before (and so on) that so I don't have any patience for people just getting woke about him this past year.
posted by Squeak Attack at 11:13 AM on March 28 [31 favorites]


Like a pardon is great for those guys, but it puts an even clearer target on Trump himself?

Yes, you lose your 5th Amendment rights as to the charges pardoned, so you can't refuse to answer questions (from Johnny Law) afterwards. I wouldn't say Mueller would love it, because I don't think he has any extra motivation beyond the four corners of his remit, but he could certainly use it. Pretty sure the Polonium Fusiliers know this, too.
posted by rhizome at 11:17 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


Isn't a pardon an admission of guilt?

ProPublica: Ruling for the majority in the 1915 case Burdick v. United States, Supreme Court Justice Joseph McKenna ruled that a pardon "carries an imputation of guilt; acceptance a confession of it." For a time, President Ford reportedly carried this excerpt in his wallet.

It seems clear that even while the acceptance of a federal pardon constitutes an acknowledgement of guilt, not all parties are capable of accepting or rejecting a pardon: for example dead people, unindicted people pardoned as part of a mass amnesty, or people whose sentences are commuted. So presumably those people are not required to acknowledge guilt.

Maybe Trump could issue a mass amnesty for people working for his campaign. whether they committed crimes or not? Fun times.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:19 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


More saying the quiet parts out loud.

@rebeccaballhaus (WSJ)
Trump campaign fundraising off the decision to add the citizenship question to the 2020 census. “GOOD NEWS: We are asking about citizenship.”
SCREENSHOT OF EMAIL

@AriBerman (MoJo)
This is proof citizenship question had nothing to do with enforcing Voting Rights Act & is all about weaponizing voter suppression & anti-immigrant sentiment https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/03/donald-trump-rigging-2020-census-undercounting-minorities/
posted by chris24 at 11:22 AM on March 28 [53 favorites]


or people whose sentences are commuted

Yep. See: Scooter Libby
posted by rhizome at 11:23 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


I will also note, for the sake of fairness, that Assange was a rapist a year ago and the year before that and the year before (and so on) that so I don't have any patience for people just getting woke about him this past year.

Nobody could possibly agree with you more than I. But we all have friends and family that may not be as woke as we might like, and — should you believe in doing so in the first place, I guess — it takes constant, respectful engagement to move them toward the place we might wish they'd been all along.

Getting people to see Assange for what he is has been one of those longer-term challenges for me. It's required a great deal of investment in time, patience and energy, to say nothing of risked friendships, and I'm delighted to see that the Overton window on him has shifted. But that just wasn't true a year ago.
posted by adamgreenfield at 11:26 AM on March 28 [6 favorites]


Nixon was given a general pardon for all crimes he "may have committed" as President, and so was never charged with any crime; therefore the idea that his pardon constituted a voluntary acceptance of guilt regarding a specific crime seems nonsensical. However, now that Flynn and Manafort have been indicted, they would have to raise their pardons in court, which would constitute an acceptance of guilt. Similarly, Arpaio has legally accepted his guilt, even while he claims otherwise.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:27 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


It's an art of the possible thing -- not to re-open that can of worms, but this is kind of like repeal of 2A as an "alternative" to gun regulation. Letting noncitizen residents vote even while they (as voters) aren't adequately protected on a Constitutional level shouldn't have to wait for dramatic immigration reform at the national level. It's not either/or.

I think this is exactly unlike that comparison: 'repeal the 2nd amendment' isn't an alternative to gun regulation -- repeal would enable gun regulation because it would moot Heller and other precedents. And rhetorically, shifting to 'repeal' shortcuts around the raising of the 2nd amendment as an implicit moral defense: it asks us to consider what is right rather than simply what is constitutional. Pushing for regulations or pushing for repeal are both efforts that push in the same direction, in different ways.

Whereas 'non-citizens should be allowed to vote in federal elections' actually is an alternative to immigration reform and granting people citizenship: is the issue letting people vote? Or is the issue citizenship? Is the issue erasing the wall between how the law treats citizens and non-citizens, or is holding that wall the same but throwing the door wide open so that people can cross through it freely? Those are two positions that don't necessarily align, although they're also not necessarily opposed to each other either. The rhetoric doesn't align in quite the same way, and I'm not sure that 'let everyone vote regardless of citizenship' helps advance the cause of granting more people citizenship. 'Is it right to let non-citizens vote?' and 'Is it right to deny residents citizenship?' are different questions, even if they're related ones.

It's also reversed in that the various constitutional protections we have voting do center on citizenship, and so, practically speaking, it would be harder to defend the rights of non-citizens to vote -- if they could -- than it would be for citizens; and considering the attacks on citizens voting rights over the last decade, I'm not convinced that giving not-citizens the theoretical right to vote would actually do as much as we might want if we can't also guarantee those rights equivalently to citizens -- and the simplest way do that is, again, by giving them citizenship. So when it comes to the art of the possible, I disagree that letting non-citizens residents vote in federal elections -- which is where this conversation started, with the Census changes and Rubio's comments -- is actually more possible than immigration reform. That's definitely a debatable point, though, and probably comes back to (like so much else) what Congress looks like in 2018 and 2020, because either approach is moot right now.
posted by cjelli at 11:30 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


Just prepare for a world where Republican gerrymandering is explicit legal, while Democratic gerrymandering is explicitly illegal, because that’s happening.

Illegal? Let us consider: mathematically impossible.
posted by rhizome at 11:33 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


[If pardoned] you lose your 5th Amendment rights as to the charges pardoned, so you can't refuse to answer questions (from Johnny Law) afterwards.

In theory, sure, but what could happen is that Manafort could still refuse to answer, be held in contempt, then pardoned from that, then hauled into court again, then refuse again, then he's in contempt again, then pardoned again, ad infinitum.
posted by xigxag at 11:46 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


I'm skeptical that that strategy would work.
posted by rhizome at 11:48 AM on March 28 [6 favorites]


Illegal? Let us consider: mathematically impossible.

Since people don't read links, I will be a spoilsport and point out that Democratic gerrymanders are still possible (witness Maryland); Wasserman was merely saying that because of geographic urban clustering it is often true that Republican gerrymanders are somewhat more effective in many areas.

In this case you can draw districts in Wisconsin where 6 of 8 are R+7 or greater, while it is only possible to draw a Democratic map where 6 of 8 are D+6.5. And that's sketchy difficult. But the mathematically impossible thing referred to very specific criteria (6/8 D+7 districts) in a very specific place (Wisconsin).
posted by Justinian at 11:53 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


pardoned again, ad infinitum

Fortunately we have Presidential term limits. The situation you're describing would not be a good situation for any defendant and avoiding it would likely be a major motivating factor towards co-operation.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:53 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Y'all are missing the larger point here. Trump pre-emptively pardoning someone in the Mueller investigation, like Manafort, might be an effective way to keep them from flipping on Trump, but it would also be indisputable evidence of Trump using his power to obstruct an investigation into himself. On top of that, Mueller already has cooperating witnesses/co-conspirators for whom the pardon means nothing now. It would be an extremely stupid move on Trump's part, which means he'll probably do it.
posted by runcibleshaw at 11:53 AM on March 28 [20 favorites]


Vox: 10 legal experts on why Trump can’t pardon his way out of the Russia investigation.

Someone asked whether accepting a Federal pardon and therefore confessing to guilt can be used as evidence in a related state prosecution. Any ideas?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:57 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


it would also be indisputable evidence of Trump using his power to obstruct an investigation into himself.

Dude already went on national television and bragged he fired the head of the FBI in order to shut down the investigation and then invited the Russians in to the Oval Office where he bragged that he fired the head of the FBI in order to shut down the investigation. And Rs still have his back. I don't understand why you think that pardoning Manafort or Flynn would be any different.
posted by Justinian at 11:57 AM on March 28 [24 favorites]


Y'all are missing the larger point here. Trump pre-emptively pardoning someone in the Mueller investigation, like Manafort, might be an effective way to keep them from flipping on Trump

A pardoned Manafort is required to flip, because they can't not answer questions.
posted by rhizome at 11:57 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Of course he can refuse to answer questions. I don't understand your reluctance to believe Trump would pardon him again for any new charges relating to a refusal to answer questions.
posted by Justinian at 12:00 PM on March 28 [3 favorites]


Someone asked whether accepting a Federal pardon and therefore confessing to guilt can be used as evidence in a related state prosecution. Any ideas?

Covered in that Vox article:
Put another way, if Trump pardoned Michael Flynn for false statements to the FBI, Flynn could not assert false statement liability to justify pleading the Fifth in front of Congress. (If he faced state criminal charges for the same conduct, then the Fifth could still be asserted, although that is hard to imagine in the Russia investigation context.)
posted by rhizome at 12:00 PM on March 28 [2 favorites]


"will Manafort be assassinated/pardoned" is always an easy square in Political Megathread Bingo
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:01 PM on March 28 [38 favorites]


rhizome, my question is whether the acceptance of the Federal pardon itself can be used as evidence of guilt in a state prosecution, which is not answered there.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:05 PM on March 28


A pardoned Manafort is required to flip, because they can't not answer questions.

Can he receive a pardon then just not answer questions? I’ve never actually understood what compels him to in this case.
posted by Artw at 12:12 PM on March 28


my question is whether the acceptance of the Federal pardon itself can be used as evidence of guilt in a state prosecution, which is not answered there.

Professional guess: probably? It is fact as already established by the court, or through acceptance, acknowledged by the defendant. However, it could also be prejudicial to the defendant in the new prosecution, and there are rules about that, and I have no idea what the applicable rules would be.

So as with all legal questions: it depends.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:15 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Can he receive a pardon then just not answer questions? I’ve never actually understood what compels him to in this case.

People can be compelled to answer questions or be in contempt of court, unless they are citing their Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination. If the crime has been pardoned and there is no risk of a state prosecution for the same conduct, there is no possibility of self-incrimination, so there is no Fifth Amendment right. Such a defendant refusing to answer questions could be guilty of contempt of court.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:19 PM on March 28 [3 favorites]


Remind me what Trump pardoned Arpaio for again?
posted by Justinian at 12:21 PM on March 28 [13 favorites]


One of the points of the quote I pasted referred to the likelihood of state charges overlapping the federal ones for which they are pardoned. Unless I misunderstand, it seems moot because how do you leverage a pardon for, oh, lying to the FBI, in a state case for, let's say, money laundering? The two cases may derive from the same acts, but I'm thinking that due to the specificity of the pardon it would be hard to use it for any more than assessing credibility in general. That may be a good thing to do regardless, but I don't know (IANAL).
posted by rhizome at 12:21 PM on March 28


And contempt of court can result in confinement until answers are forthcoming.
posted by Mitheral at 12:21 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]




They can't complain if there's nobody to complain to.
posted by rhizome at 12:42 PM on March 28 [6 favorites]


I mean, for as many good articles as they put out in the past, I'd always looked askance at them for having people like Chait and Friedersdorf. This pretty much puts them on my blacklist and I am ashamed to have ever given them money.

Before the internet The Atlantic was a fine magazine. The internet is awesome at turning existing things into crappy clickbaity short-form outragey or cutesy vehicles for adware.

Old man shouts at "The Cloud" and then pulls out his CBT worksheet.
posted by srboisvert at 1:02 PM on March 28 [24 favorites]


The Supreme Court has, in the past, recognized or suggested limits on the president's power to pardon contempt of court specifically, since it makes it possible for the executive branch to completely neuter the judicial branch and render courts completely powerless.

If Trump attempted to do this -- repeatedly pardon contempt of court charges to prevent Manafort (let's say) from testifying and prevent the court from compelling him -- it would be a genuine constitutional crisis where one branch stole the powers belonging to another branch and literally broke our system of checks and balances. The proper remedy would appear to be impeachment, as it is with so many of Trump's antics, so it puts us in a bit of a bind since Congressional Republicans are idiots with no love for the Constitution.

But then, before Marbury v. Madison, the Court didn't have the power to declare laws unconstitutional, and it basically created that for itself out of its interpretation of the Constitution. It's possible the Supreme Court would find that the executive branch's use of the pardon to circumvent the judiciary (instead of its more proper use of providing mercy or correcting excessive sentences or the like) was unconstitutional in the same manner, in that it's clear in the Constitution that the judiciary is a co-equal branch of government and must have some method to exercise its power.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:21 PM on March 28 [11 favorites]


I don't understand your reluctance to believe Trump would pardon him again for any new charges relating to a refusal to answer questions.

AFAIK presidents can't pardon coercive contempt of the "You are going to stay in jail until you testify" kind because they aren't offenses. Arpaio's was punitive contempt.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 1:22 PM on March 28 [6 favorites]


But then, before Marbury v. Madison, the Court didn't have the power to declare laws unconstitutional, and it basically created that for itself out of its interpretation of the Constitution.

Nah, everyone knew the court could do that. It's discussed in the Federalist as if it's obvious.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 1:24 PM on March 28


AFAIK presidents can't pardon coercive contempt of the "You are going to stay in jail until you testify" kind because they aren't offenses. Arpaio's was punitive contempt.

Assuming that's true wouldn't it simply mean they should lie and face a pardonable perjury charge rather than refuse to testify and face a coercive contempt charge?

If the president is lawless I don't see how the law can shield us.
posted by Justinian at 1:29 PM on March 28 [3 favorites]


East Manitoba, you asked earlier about algorithms and background on jerrymandering.

Several months ago, Five Thirty Eight did a fantastic series on gerrymandering. It also has an interactive map where you can tinker around with different theories on districting. I highly recommend the podcast.

On the discussion of "different rules" for Republicans and democrats at the Supreme Court. Despite protestations of being "bound" by precedent, it's clear that the Supreme Court is formed of people who bring their own preconceptions and philosophies to each question. I reached the conclusion 20 years ago based on a constitutional litigation course that involved reading hundreds of pages of opinions, dissents, dissents joining in parts, etc. Over the years the court has become more partisan. I was especially disgusted by the outcry over Sonya Sotomayor's comment about a wise Latina during her confirmation hearings, which was either blind or hypocritical.

I have no doubt that any gerrymandering decisions will have justices drawing on different precedents depending on the party doing the gerrymandering and certain justices will be "forced" by precedent to opine against plaintiffs in Wisconsin while explaining while seemingly similarly situated plaintiffs in Maryland are subject to a completely different line of precedent.
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 1:30 PM on March 28 [15 favorites]


Assuming that's true wouldn't it simply mean they should lie and face a pardonable perjury charge rather than refuse to testify and face a coercive contempt charge?

That would be the way to go - if, of course, you trusted the president to pardon you. And we all know how reliable the president is, and how well he supports his former employees when they get into trouble.

Counting on him to pardon a contempt of court charge is a reasonable plan, when the other option is "the court gets to hear the full truth about what happened." Counting on him to pardon a perjury charge leveled against someone that he's already said "dude was a loser so I fired him"... I don't see that happening.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:46 PM on March 28 [2 favorites]


The White House Believes Police Shootings Of Black Men Is Not A National Issue

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that President Trump considers the high-profile police shootings of black men to be "local matters" that federal officials should stay out of.

Asked for President Trump's response to the recent shooting of Stephon Clark in Sacramento, an unarmed black man killed by two white officers in his grandmother’s backyard, Sanders said that while it was "certainly a terrible incident," it was "a local matter" to be handled by local authorities.

When Sanders was pressed further on whether the president feels "like he needs to do something" about black mothers fearing for their sons' lives, she responded:

"I think we should do every single thing we can every day to protect the people of this country — whether they're black, white, hispanic, male or female, rich or poor — we look for ways to protect the individuals in this country, particularly children."


I've said before that I don't hate anyone, I didn't even hate Fred Phelps, but I'm coming mighty damn close with SHS right about now.
posted by elsietheeel at 2:03 PM on March 28 [45 favorites]


A mining firm executive griped to Zinke about federal pollution rules. The Secretary apologized (WaPo):
“Hello, Secretary. Good to see you again. Phil Baker with Hecla Mining Company,” said the executive, Phillips S. Baker Jr. “I’m here to tell you and others about the impediments to mining from the permitting regime we

Before he could explain the impediments, Zinke responded: “On behalf of the United States government, we apologize.”
...
Hecla, which is seeking to operate two new mines in Montana, was recently labeled a “bad actor” by the state Department of Environmental Quality because of Baker’s ties to the defunct Pegasus Gold of Spokane, Wash.

Pegasus operated three Montana mines, including a gold mine near an Indian reservation. The company, for which Baker was chief financial officer, went bankrupt in 1998. That left the state and federal governments to foot the bill for a $100 million cleanup of cyanide, arsenic and other contaminants that polluted adjacent land and waterways.
Taxpayers are still waiting for an apology for paying to clean up after his shitty business.
posted by peeedro at 2:06 PM on March 28 [62 favorites]


Also on the topic of gerrymandering, I recently went to the fifth and final conference in a country-wide "Geometry of Redistricting" tour, and it was amazing. Organized by professor Moon Duchin from Tufts, the slides and videos are 100% worth watching, especially her lecture which was outstanding. I unfortunately don't think there's video from her SF lecture yet.
posted by cybertaur1 at 2:10 PM on March 28 [17 favorites]


ErisLordFreedom: Counting on him to pardon a contempt of court charge is a reasonable plan, when the other option is "the court gets to hear the full truth about what happened." Counting on him to pardon a perjury charge leveled against someone that he's already said "dude was a loser so I fired him"... I don't see that happening.

Yes, this distinction is critical. Trump only ever plays for Team Himself, and only for emotional rather than personal gain, so the future doesn't come down to "pardon or not pardon". He won't do it to advance the interests of Team Collusion, as a quid pro quo. He will do it if the immediate short-term alternative (people learn some terrible truth) is worse. And he'll do it if it boosts his base support (which is questionable because after each Mueller indictment, the deplorables tend to disown the indicted person as Actually a Hillary/Obama/Podesta Stooge All Along -- they'll appreciate the Liberal Tears, but they'll become more fractured).
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:13 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


[Let's leave the pardon thing there for now; we've been over it before and not clear there's anything new to go on.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:14 PM on March 28 [4 favorites]


Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that President Trump considers the high-profile police shootings of black men to be "local matters" that federal officials should stay out of.

That didn't seem to be the standard when it came to the murder of Katie Steinle.

Or killings in Chicago.

Wonder why...
posted by chris24 at 2:16 PM on March 28 [37 favorites]


BuzzFeed has a leaked EPA talking points email on climate change:
  • Human activity impacts our changing climate in some manner. The ability to measure with precision the degree and extent of that impact, and what to do about it, are subject to continuing debate and dialogue.
  • While there has been extensive research and a host of published reports on climate change, clear gaps remain including our understanding of the role of human activity and what we can do about it.
  • As a key regulatory voice, it is important for the Agency to strive for a better understanding of these gaps given their potential significant influence on our country’s domestic economic viability.
  • Administrator Pruitt encourages an open, transparent debate on climate science.

posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:20 PM on March 28 [5 favorites]


New Yorker cartoon with interesting interpretation of the Census issues...

Remembering that during the primary campaigns, Marco Rubio was considered one of the 'more moderate' Republican Presidential Candidates, so his comments, awkward as they are, just reinforces my belief that any GOP President right now would be equally disastrous, and Trump's stupidity and history of spectacular failures may indeed save us from some of the worst of it.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:21 PM on March 28 [11 favorites]


While there has been extensive research and a host of published reports on climate change, clear gaps remain including our understanding of the role of human activity and what we can do about it.

Ah, the good old "our knowledge is incomplete" argument. When your opponent has to invoke the God of the Gaps to support their point, they don't have one.

There are horrible things happening all across Trump's Cabinet, but every minute that Pruitt runs EPA is lost time in a race that we're already losing.
posted by murphy slaw at 2:26 PM on March 28 [37 favorites]


Really capturing the spirit of the age, Donald Trump Jr. got on twitter at 6 this morning to denounce the unenjoyability of non-white Disney princesses.

@DonaldJTrumpJr
We need Disney Princesses that let kids enjoy childhood rather than subjecting them to never ending identity politics. #DisneyPrincess


In an apparent effort to ingratiate himself with his father by adhering to his anti-shark deathcult, he also instagrammed himself last week murdering a large shark with his son.

Would Don Jr. leading a shark-extinction crusade to get his dad to notice him really be so surprising?
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:27 PM on March 28 [30 favorites]


In an apparent effort to ingratiate himself with his father by adhering to his anti-shark deathcult, he also instagrammed himself last week murdering a large shark with his son.

That's actually really weird. Drawing attention to the Stormy interview? Why would he ever do that? I know, they are all incredibly stupid, but to this day I can't believe that every single day brings a new example.
posted by mumimor at 2:32 PM on March 28 [5 favorites]


Shulkin's out.

@realDonaldTrump
I am pleased to announce that I intend to nominate highly respected Admiral Ronny L. Jackson, MD, as the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs....
....In the interim, Hon. Robert Wilkie of DOD will serve as Acting Secretary. I am thankful for Dr. David Shulkin’s service to our country and to our GREAT VETERANS!

posted by Rust Moranis at 2:35 PM on March 28 [4 favorites]


Really capturing the spirit of the age, Donald Trump Jr. got on twitter at 6 this morning to denounce the unenjoyability of non-white Disney princesses.

@DonaldJTrumpJr
We need Disney Princesses that let kids enjoy childhood rather than subjecting them to never ending identity politics. #DisneyPrincess


I started typing a really furious rant, because fuck that, but then I headed to the internet to figure out if there was a new Disney princess he might have been referring to and I guess this may be in response to the "We need a Disney princess who's had an abortion" tweet [WaPo] that a Pennsylvania Planned Parenthood branch briefly published before deleting. Apparently it's making the rounds on conservative Twitter.
posted by corb at 2:36 PM on March 28 [5 favorites]


We need Disney Princesses that let kids enjoy childhood rather than subjecting them to never ending identity politics. #DisneyPrincess

Does that mean he's going to stop calling Elizabeth Warren "Pocahontas" then? Because you know he doesn't understand that Pocahontas was anything but a Disney Princess of Color.

P.S. Tiana is the best Disney Princess the end.
posted by elsietheeel at 2:37 PM on March 28 [18 favorites]


ugh how many animals are going to have to fucking die to make this absolute dipshit feel better about his divorce
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:39 PM on March 28 [41 favorites]


I guess this may be in response to the "We need a Disney princess who's had an abortion" tweet [WaPo] that a Pennsylvania Planned Parenthood branch briefly published before deleting. Apparently it's making the rounds on conservative Twitter.

I would bet anything that it's not that he's referring to, but Jordan Peterson. Like half of Peterson's garbage is reactionary deconstructions of Disney films and he has a weird thing with Disney specifically. The only part that's hard to fathom is the idea of Don Jr. reading a book. Maybe he has a velvet-draped attendant read it to him or something.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:40 PM on March 28 [4 favorites]


Remember when Trump's White House doctor talked for an hour about how amazing Trump's health was?

Trump has nominated that doctor, Admiral Ronny Jackson, to be the new Secretary for Veterans Affairs.

This is normal!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:40 PM on March 28 [68 favorites]


I knew it was a mistake when I clicked on this link:

WaPo: As Stormy Daniels tells her story, six conservative Americans debate whether Trump is a role model

And sure enough, it was a mistake. It's like a report from an anthropological expedition where the reporters went in with a spirit of wide-eyed wonder, and came across people who were distributed across the full breadth of the political spectrum, all the way from die-hard Trump supporters to reluctant Trump supporters. Yeah.

You can find such gems as:

White Christian housewife: "My daughters know that whether he is a good president or a bad president, God allowed him to be in this position.”

Hispanic Catholic lady: Trump has proved himself as “a great role model” - “I think he’s doing a bang-up job”.

White female secretary of the College Republicans: “Can you please tell me how you have lost rights as a woman now? Please. I haven’t lost my rights. My life is still the same.”

Alabama's top black Republican (no kidding, that's the description their local paper apparently used): “Everything he can do by himself he’s done, pretty much. And he’s doing that with the full onslaught of one thing after another. I’ve never seen a president bombarded the way he’s been bombarded. ... If we just throw a person under a bus because they’ve been accused, how many leaders would be left?”

I realize that the entire point of the article was to pick cherries, but I'm not sure how to wrap my brain around these apparently sincere beliefs.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:40 PM on March 28 [21 favorites]


I didn't see anyone post this yet -- sorry if it's a double.

WaPo: Most Americans haven’t seen pay increases from tax cuts — but most Republicans have
About a fifth of Democrats and a fifth of independents who are employed said they hadn’t seen increases in their paychecks, and more than half of Republicans said they had. The same split exists among those who do and don’t approve of the job Trump is doing.
The article goes on to say it's tough to know if this is just because the rich are getting richer (probably) or because Democrats who saw increases don't want to give Trump any credit (who could blame them) but either way, I think it raises a really interesting point about the midterms. Even if the tax scam actually puts dollars in wallets (before they get clawed back because of faulty withholding next tax season), it probably won't buy the GOP many votes they didn't already have.
posted by saturday_morning at 2:43 PM on March 28 [14 favorites]


Hispanic Catholic lady: Trump has proved himself as “a great role model” - “I think he’s doing a bang-up job”.

Me too, but in the British sense:

bang up
verb
1.
(transitive, adverb) ( prison slang) to lock up (a prisoner) in his or her cell, esp for the night
posted by srboisvert at 2:53 PM on March 28 [3 favorites]




WaPo: Most Americans haven’t seen pay increases from tax cuts — but most Republicans have

Where's the dichotomy? Republican loyalists know that when elected Republicans say "real Americans" they mean "Republicans," and expect to be treated accordingly. In that sense most real Americans did get their pay increases. People outside that definition should realize that while they are legally are of the same class and with the same rights, they are no longer de-facto "real."
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:55 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Jeb Bush says he goes home to children who actually love him.
posted by rdr at 3:00 PM on March 28 [8 favorites]


my belief that any GOP President right now would be equally disastrous

That social worker who loves her some Trump tax cuts yesterday just borked my brain. We're livin' in a cuckoo clock!
posted by petebest at 3:04 PM on March 28 [3 favorites]


. Human activity impacts our changing climate in some manner. The ability to measure with precision the degree and extent of that impact, and what to do about it, are subject to continuing debate and dialogue.

. While there has been extensive research and a host of published reports on climate change, clear gaps remain including our understanding of the role of human activity and what we can do about it.

. As a key regulatory voice, it is important for the Agency to strive for a better understanding of these gaps given their potential significant influence on our country’s domestic economic viability.

. Administrator Pruitt encourages an open, transparent debate on climate science.


Four points. Four lies.

The biggest is the implication that acknowledging and doing something about climate change will have a negative impact on the domestic economy. It won't. It will have a negative impact on some of the GOP's biggest contributors, but the net effect will be increased economic activity and more jobs.

The second biggest? That Pruitt is interested in open, transparent debate. On any topic.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:05 PM on March 28 [12 favorites]


GOP seeks to avoid Dem upset in Arizona
(The Hill)
Republican groups are dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars into Arizona in the hopes of keeping any prospect of another Democratic upset in next month's special election at bay.

The GOP says it's confident about the party will keep control of the seat last held by by ex-GOP Rep. Trent Franks, which represents a historically Republican area with a strong core of reliable GOP voters and retirees.

Still, national Republican groups have recently committed to more than a half-million dollars to keep what should be a safe seat that President Trump won by 21 points in 2016.