... the great wolf Fenris rose from the deep
April 27, 2018 8:14 AM   Subscribe

German chancellor Angela Merkel is set to meet with Trump today, as late night television analyses Trump's call-in to Fox & Friends (Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert) and Alexandra Petri evokes Ragnarök.
posted by nangar (2365 comments total) 90 users marked this as a favorite
 
[One deleted. Hi gang, friendly reminder we're trying to keep the catch-all threads less noisy and more signally, and that goes double for the beginning of a new thread. Thanks!]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:24 AM on April 27 [17 favorites]


Echoing Doktor Zed from the start of the previous thread:
Please consider MeFi chat for hot-takes and live-blogging breaking news and the MetaTalk venting thread for catharsis and sympathizing. And please bear in mind the MetaTalk on expectations about U.S. political discussion on MetaFilter.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:26 AM on April 27 [6 favorites]


More from Trump's schedule for today (unofficial White House Dossier website):

10:30 am || Hosts a celebration for U.S. Olympians; North Portico
11:45 am || Meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel
1:50 pm || Hosts a press conference with Merkel; East Room
2:40 pm || Hosts the 2018 White House Correspondents’ Association Scholarship Winners; Diplomatic Reception Room
posted by filthy light thief at 8:28 AM on April 27


I assume Merkel is coming here because a sizable number of Trump's posse would be arrested the moment they set foot on German soil? They're a bit less amused by holocaust denial and neo-nazis than we are here.
posted by Mayor West at 8:32 AM on April 27 [33 favorites]


Oooh, the leopards: I Joined the Tea Party to Drain the Swamp. Trump Isn’t Helping. Mr. Meckler, an activist based in Northern California, is a co-founder of the Tea Party movement.
I can't stop laughing, sorry.
posted by mumimor at 8:43 AM on April 27 [48 favorites]




Petri's piece is darkly hilarious: "This was not the kind of interview where if you just sat there long enough you would discover something new; it would simply get more and more alarming as it doubled back on itself, it would be an interview drawn by M.C. Escher or Salvador Dalí where you were trapped and circling around and around in a dream-landscape with a nightmare physics that bore no resemblance to reality and every clock in the studio melted."
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:56 AM on April 27 [21 favorites]


I Joined the Tea Party to Drain the Swamp. Trump Isn’t Helping.

If I remember right, the Tea Party was named after a political movement protesting the unconscionably corrupt acts of an autocrat who placed himself above the law
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:57 AM on April 27 [60 favorites]


Oh please let this be effective. My schadensense might not be able to handle this much freude, but it would be worth it. So worth it.

Puerto Rico opens bid for statehood, enlists 5.6 million islanders in US (SLWashington Examiner).
In one of nearly a dozen media appearances, Rosselló threatened Wednesday night on "The Daily Show, " “If you go against the people of Puerto Rico, we will vote you out.”
...
“The call is for all Puerto Ricans to activate themselves during elections in the United States, no matter which political party they sympathize with or that they belong to no political party. The goal is for each Puerto Rican residing inside and outside the Island to serve as spokespeople for the causes that benefit Puerto Rico,” he said.
I don’t know enough about the politics of statehood in Puerto Rico, but I sure as hell like the idea of Puerto Ricans wielding enough political influence to maybe get some justice for the island.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:57 AM on April 27 [143 favorites]


Apparently Puerto Rico could become a state via ordinary legislation. It seems unlikely to happen without a Democratic President and 60 Democratic Senators. But Puerto Ricans in the mainland can certainly make a tremendous impact in helping to achieve that situation.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:03 AM on April 27 [43 favorites]


So the news today is that they come up with a deal for nuclear disarmament, weapon facilities are dismantled, international inspectors are put on site, in return economic sanctions are reduced and Trump now wants to take credit for his brilliant diplomacy.

Oops, sorry, I was referring to the Iran deal which Trump wants to blow up.
posted by JackFlash at 9:09 AM on April 27 [38 favorites]


> haven't heard a peep about arming teachers since they started showing up en masse and surrounding capitol buildings

That's because the news cycle moved on. Took a bit longer this time, but I also haven't heard any Parkland kids on TV for a week or so either. People pretended that this time things would be different, but from what I can tell, the outrage has subsided again, and our national preoccupation and attention has focused on Cosby, Brokaw, North and South Korean, Stormy Daniels, and whatever Meuller does today, since it's Friday.

There was also a Wafflehouse shooting, so there's a new shooting outrage.

We'll get back to being upset about kids being murdered when the next school shooting happens. We'll come up with dumb solutions like arming teachers with guns and souvenir baseball bats and rocks, and giving kids bulletproof blankets at $600 a pop, all while not being able to afford books.

I know I am being a cynic, but it really feels like this one is lost.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:09 AM on April 27 [19 favorites]


Responding to Trump's tweet about the HPSCI's report—"Just Out: House Intelligence Committee Report released. “No evidence” that the Trump Campaign “colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia.” Clinton Campaign paid for Opposition Research obtained from Russia- Wow! A total Witch Hunt! MUST END NOW!"—former CIA Director John Brennan tweets:
A highly partisan, incomplete, and deeply flawed report by a broken House Committee means nothing. The Special Counsel’s work is being carried out by professional investigators—not political staffers. SC’s findings will be comprehensive & authoritative. Stay tuned, Mr. Trump....
Meanwhile, the HPSCI's Minority Report has been posted and pulls no punches:
One year later, the Committee’s Majority has shattered its commitment by rushing to end its investigation prematurely, even as it continues to investigate President Donald Trump’s political opponents, our intelligence agencies, law enforcement, and diplomatic corps, and former members of the Administration of President Barack Obama.

In so doing, the Majority has not only failed to meet the mandate given to the HPSCI by the Speaker of the House and the Minority Leader, but they have engaged in a systematic effort to muddy the waters, and to deflect attention away from the President, most recklessly in their assault on the central pillars of the rule of law. Their report, as with their overall conduct of the investigation, is unworthy of this Committee, the House of Representatives, and most importantly, the American people, who are now left to try to discern what is true and what is not.

The Majority’s report reflects a lack of seriousness and interest in pursuing the truth. By refusing to call in key witnesses, by refusing to request pertinent documents, and by refusing to compel and enforce witness cooperation and answers to key questions, the Majority hobbled the Committee’s ability to conduct a credible investigation that could inspire public confidence. The Majority’s conduct has also undermined Congress’ independent investigative authority. Their repeated deferrals to the White House allowed witnesses to refuse cooperation, and permitted the Administration to dictate the terms of their interaction with Congress, or evade congressional oversight altogether, setting a damaging precedent for future non-cooperation by this President and, possibly, by his successors.
And then it begins to get angry...
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:14 AM on April 27 [75 favorites]


From February: Gun control support surges in polls.

News coverage subsides, people's heartfelt opinions and motivations for voting are more sticky. And, sadly, we can count on plenty more massacres before November, and before future elections. Change in the long-term is possible.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:14 AM on April 27 [17 favorites]


Third GOP retirement from the NY State Senate this week (Bonacic, SD-42). Trump 50-45, Obama 54-45.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:18 AM on April 27 [16 favorites]


There was also a Wafflehouse shooting, so there's a new shooting outrage.

And a wafflehouse beating of a PoC. Guess when you're all over and open 24/7, notoriously even through natural disasters, you're gonna figure as a location in some shit.
posted by phearlez at 9:20 AM on April 27 [5 favorites]


So, has anyone else had the stomach to listen to his Fox and Friends rant? Cause. Wow. I mean.


Wow.


Wow.


He's screaming at them. Incoherently. Just. Completely unintelligible.
posted by odinsdream at 9:21 AM on April 27 [18 favorites]


Trump Called Fox & Friend to Yell About How Not Mad He Is
Like an irate sports fan on the horn with his favorite drive-time sports radio broadcast, Donald Trump called into the President Breakfast Hour this morning to yell about how not angry he is. In a rambling, very on-brand monologue, the president ranted about James Comey, the news media, the Department of Justice, the tilt of the Earth's axis, the Walgreen's that won't accept an expired coupon, and the New York subway system. It was another banner performance in this, the Golden Age of Rich, Powerful People Screaming About Being Persecuted.
...
Anyway, another banner day in this terrible simulation of America, a land of many "customs." Between the president's "angry voicemail from your estranged step-dad" phone call and Kanye's "come on, deep down you knew this would happen" tweet storm, we need to put all communications in rice. Wifi routers, cellphones, the dial-up modem in the sunken place, all of it. Vow of silence in America. Shhh.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:23 AM on April 27 [23 favorites]


Trump told the Olympians that the Paralympics were hard to watch
FUCK YOU ♿️
posted by angrycat at 9:25 AM on April 27 [187 favorites]


I'm on mobile right now and can't listen to/watch it...is there a transcript somewhere? (and how does it handle the unintelligible screaming heh heh :)
posted by sexyrobot at 9:25 AM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Transcripts are great, but, I dunno, I totally get why people avoid listening to him, and I understand that position and often skip listening to him myself, as much as possible. But, wow, this is something really unique. He's talking to his... basically his biggest TV fans. He *loves* these people, and they love him. And it's still amazingly hostile, for what should have been a cakewalk. They're constantly trying to get a word in edgewise or follow up on basic points, or ask obvious next-step questions, and he's just completely off the rails and he's literally screaming for half an hour.
posted by odinsdream at 9:28 AM on April 27 [23 favorites]


Washington Post published an annotated transcript of the Fox&Friends rant.

It's truly batshit insane, but oddly I think it's not being thought of as insane by the target audience. Would like to be proven wrong.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:29 AM on April 27 [13 favorites]


The Minority Report has an interesting email from NRA delegate Rick Erickson to Rick Dearborn, a longtime senior advisor to Jeff Sessions and a senior Trump campaign official:
“Switching hats! I’m now writing to you and Sen. Sessions in your roles as Trump foreign policy experts / advisors. […] Happenstance and the (sometimes) international reach of the NRA placed me in a position a couple of years ago to slowly begin cultivating a back-channel to President Putin’s Kremlin. Russia is quietly but actively seeking a dialogue with the U.S. that isn’t forthcoming under the current administration. And for reasons that we can discuss in person or on the phone, the Kremlin believes that the only possibility of a true re-set in this relationship would be with a new Republican White House.”
No wonder Republicans want to repeal the Logan Act.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:31 AM on April 27 [51 favorites]


Not sure if this has been talked about yet, but it does seem rather significant: Koreas agree to work toward peace and 'complete denuclearization'

Complete with a handshake on both sides of the DMZ
posted by mrjohnmuller at 9:32 AM on April 27 [8 favorites]


Koreas agree to work toward peace and 'complete denuclearization'

My gut says this is all homework so when Trump shows up in June, Kim Jong-un says "okay, now remove the US troops and nukes from the peninsula or the deal is off".
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:35 AM on April 27 [26 favorites]




Koreas agree to work toward peace and 'complete denuclearization'

My gut says this is all homework so when Trump shows up in June, Kim Jong-un says "okay, now remove the US troops and nukes from the peninsula or the deal is off".


North Korea has never hidden that its definition of "denuclearization" includes removing all nuclear-capable forces, which includes essentially all U.S. Air Force and Navy combat assets currently assigned to U.S. Forces Korea.
posted by Etrigan at 9:39 AM on April 27 [19 favorites]


Trump told the Olympians that the Paralympics were hard to watch

I was wondering about this so I found the official transcript and it sounds like he is referring to time constraints. Which would be understandable for any other president.

Of course I would not put it past him at all to be making some crass statement. Lord knows he has not shied away from it before in reference to people with disabilities.
posted by history_denier at 9:39 AM on April 27 [6 favorites]


North Korea has never hidden that its definition...

Exactly. Which surprises me that this doesn't come up when the pundits ponder "why such a 180 from NK on the peace deal?"
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:40 AM on April 27 [4 favorites]


Change in the long-term is possible.

And I feel like the Parkland students and their group are playing a long game. Their biggest push is to register 18 year olds to vote, to push Fall '18 candidates to deny the NRA access, and to elect pro gun-control candidates. That agenda takes more than a couple of months.
posted by anastasiav at 9:42 AM on April 27 [52 favorites]


I'm on mobile right now and can't listen to/watch it...is there a transcript somewhere? (and how does it handle the unintelligible screaming heh heh :)

This pair of images kind of sums it up. Before/after. The latter taken right before they hung up on him.
posted by scalefree at 9:48 AM on April 27 [9 favorites]


It's only tea leaves at this point, but teen voter registration has been surging in several places. If they actually turn out to vote, this could make a large difference.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:50 AM on April 27 [36 favorites]


If you can only read the transcript of yesterday's rant, I suggest making it all caps and eliminating spaces between words and punctuation. Maybe, just maybe that would give you a sense of how nonsensical it all was.
Both Seth Myers and Trevor Noah did a good job of recapping the crazy, and now I am eagerly awaiting the Australian, Norwegian, British and German comedic takes. Comedians around the world have been given the greatest gift.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:52 AM on April 27 [5 favorites]


Sorry, didn't post the actual link. Here it is. Before/after,
posted by scalefree at 9:58 AM on April 27 [9 favorites]


'Mass firing' at conservative site RedState
Multiple sources told CNNMoney that they believed conservative critics of President Trump were the writers targeted for removal.

"Insufficiently partisan" was the phrase one writer used in a RedState group chat.

"They fired everybody who was insufficiently supportive of Trump," one of the sources who spoke with CNNMoney said, adding, "how do you define being 'sufficiently supportive' of Trump?"
...
"Of those who make less under their contracts, they mostly tossed those who had been openly critical of the president," the source said. "It seems to have been a cost saving measure, but the deciding factor between any two people seems to have been who liked the president and who didn't."
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:01 AM on April 27 [26 favorites]


Did Erik Erik Erikson already get purged or is he part of this one?
posted by scalefree at 10:04 AM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Wikipedia: In January 2014, RedState owner Eagle Publishing was acquired by Salem Media Group. In October 2015, Erickson announced he would be leaving the site by the end of the year to focus on his radio show.

Since it's Salem-owned, the only surprising thing is this didn't happen in 2016. I mean honestly, how profitable can a website be if your only pageviews are from David Brooks?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:06 AM on April 27 [15 favorites]




It worked out pretty well for Claire McCaskill in 2012.

Also, Blankenship has been badly trailing in several recent polls. Probably even West Virginians don't want to vote for an actual murderer.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:12 AM on April 27 [7 favorites]


Chrysostom: "It worked out pretty well for Claire McCaskill in 2012.

Also, Blankenship has been badly trailing in several recent polls. Probably even West Virginians don't want to vote for an actual murderer.
"

It's a perversion of the norms of the election process to use primaries this way. But tribalism trumps norms every time, as McConnell has demonstrated.
posted by TypographicalError at 10:21 AM on April 27 [4 favorites]


From the Dept. of Unsurprising But Still Good News: Judge tosses Manafort civil suit challenging special counsel
posted by cudzoo at 10:24 AM on April 27 [35 favorites]


I'm surprised that RedState thinks this is a good business move. Their whole niche over the past two years has been that they're consistently willing to criticize Trump and Trumpism from a conservative perspective. What are they going to be now, recycled Breitbart?
posted by J.K. Seazer at 10:28 AM on April 27 [6 favorites]


Today in "did you dumbfucks learn nothing from 2016" news:

They're desperate. Manchin's basically a Republican but he's all they've got. They need to keep his seat to try to win back the Senate. To do that, the Democrats need to keep all of their current seats and then win two from the Republicans. If Manchin loses to a Republican, that means they'll need to take three R seats for a slim majority. Which would probably be Arizona, Nevada and Tennessee, all of which are somewhat competitive now, but would normally be out of their range.
posted by zarq at 10:30 AM on April 27 [10 favorites]


The tone of Trump's tweets continue to suggest that he single-handedly negotiated the end of Korea's nuclear program instead of the reality that it has fallen apart, its testing tunnel collapsed, with deadly radiation seeping over its border. How long will this denial persist? As he continues with these negotiations, giving North Korea everything it ever wanted, will we continually be asked to accept that this is all part of some "great deal" he put together?

Yes, it seemed like 5 minutes ago we would and should have agreed to just about anything to get the nuclear program stopped, but the reality of the situation just completely reversed itself. A "deal-maker" would be taking advantage of that to help mitigate the suffering of millions of people living under one of the harshest authoritarian regimes on the planet. Right? Because right now it seems like Trump is still pretending that North Korea has a nuclear program.

Why do I always feel like Trump knowledge about these crises are a day or two at least behind what the nightly comedy shows know?
posted by xammerboy at 10:33 AM on April 27 [12 favorites]


There is a lot less downside risk in helping a Republican extremist win a primary for a legislative seat than for the presidency.
posted by LarsC at 10:33 AM on April 27 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised that RedState thinks this is a good business move. Their whole niche over the past two years has been that they're consistently willing to criticize Trump and Trumpism from a conservative perspective. What are they going to be now, recycled Breitbart?

The cynic in me assumes they were offered a huge wodge of "investment" from Mercer or the like to house clean any anti-Trump elements, and business success in terms of eyeballs has nothing to do with it.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:35 AM on April 27 [10 favorites]


Also, any Dem running against Blankenship gets an inside track to the "I support coal miners!" vote, since at that point the bar is not murdering them.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:35 AM on April 27 [14 favorites]


If Manchin loses to a Republican, that means they'll need to take three R seats for a slim majority. Which would probably be Arizona, Nevada and Tennessee, all of which are somewhat competitive now, but would normally be out of their range.

Ahem. Texas. #TeamBeto.
posted by scalefree at 10:36 AM on April 27 [44 favorites]


Petri's riffs are wonderful:

...everyone on the panel stared into the camera with the hollow, shark-like gaze of people realizing that hell is empty and all the devils are here.

Nixon's wandering about the halls of the WH, talking to portraits of dead presidents now seem, well, charming.
posted by mule98J at 10:38 AM on April 27 [13 favorites]


I'm surprised that RedState thinks this is a good business move. Their whole niche over the past two years has been that they're consistently willing to criticize Trump and Trumpism from a conservative perspective.

They realized that their entire readership had consisted of a few dozen Nevertrump Republican pundits hired by media outlets and a few dozen more ever-hopeful centrist Democrats, and have decided to drop the charade and make some real money off the base.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:42 AM on April 27 [8 favorites]


To be perfectly honest, I have zero faith that Beto will beat Cruz. The Texas Organizing Project estimates that Republicans can expect 850,000 more voters than Progressive Democrats.

I hope he wins. Wouldn't bet the cattle ranch on it, though.
posted by zarq at 10:42 AM on April 27 [6 favorites]






Canadians and/or hockey fans may be better able to sit through Trump's entire rant due to the immunity built up from watching Don Cherry's Coach's Corner segments. The similarities are remarkable.
posted by rocket88 at 10:46 AM on April 27 [18 favorites]


ANOTHER very short term special in PA, I guess.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:48 AM on April 27 [1 favorite]


@Bernstein: Scooplet: Have heard from four good sources that Milo Inc. — Milo Yiannopoulos's post-Breitbart "talent factory" — has gone belly up.
posted by The Whelk at 10:49 AM on April 27 [30 favorites]


@Bernstein: Scooplet: Have heard from four good sources that Milo Inc. — Milo Yiannopoulos's post-Breitbart "talent factory" — has gone belly up.

Politico: Yiannopoulos’ business implodes after death of crypto-billionaire (Matthew Mellon)
posted by zarq at 10:53 AM on April 27 [13 favorites]


I wonder what the ETA is on Milo trying to reinvent himself as a progressive for attention and $$$.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:55 AM on April 27 [14 favorites]


[A few deleted; let's not kick off into a back-and-forth over Dems are Repubs, Har Just Kidding, But Not, But Yes.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:57 AM on April 27 [11 favorites]




This joint press conference with Merkel is going to be picked over mercilessly on late night TV. He is barely containing slurring entirely.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:06 AM on April 27 [7 favorites]


Politico: Yiannopoulos’ business implodes after death of crypto-billionaire (Matthew Mellon

There are some astounding details in there
posted by The Whelk at 11:08 AM on April 27 [6 favorites]




Trump is referring to trade deficits not only by ignoring services, but by referring to specific industries, in this case car production. The President seems to believe that trade is not truly fair unless every country exports the same quantity of the same goods; for example, Switzerland should export as many cocoa beans as it imports.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:13 AM on April 27 [31 favorites]


Christ, these joint press conferences are rough. It's just brutal and painful to watch Trump counterposed against An Actual World Leader like Merkel or Macron.

Merkel giving Trump a surprising amount of credit for the NK situation. Maybe she's taking the 'Macron is the TrumpWhisperer' media chatter to heart? (Not to mention the daft criticism of her own relationship with Trump, which never seems to take into account that Merkel is, well, a woman, and Trump is, well, Trump...)
posted by halation at 11:16 AM on April 27 [7 favorites]


There is a lot less downside risk in helping a Republican extremist win a primary for a legislative seat than for the presidency.

If you are doing this, in AD 2018, you are not on the side of the angels. If you are doing this while people are desperately trying to claw our country back from Trumpism, you do not care about the people who are being targeted by it.

Placing extremists and supporting extremists in primaries means voters are hearing extremist language. We have learned from Trump that it affects everyday hate crimes, the behavior of children in school, and makes communities fear.

If you are willing to increase that for partisan political gain, all I can say is may God forgive you because I and the others affected certainly will not.
posted by corb at 11:17 AM on April 27 [110 favorites]


This is your regular reminder that Joe Manchin is facing a primary challenge from Paula Jean Swearingen, a progressive candidate with strong local ties to West Virginia who could actually be successful at peeling off some independents in the general election. Her campaign might be a long shot, but if you've got money and/or time to donate, I think this is a race that merits it.
posted by biogeo at 11:20 AM on April 27 [28 favorites]


The House report is an utter joke, but this also looks new:
(U) Michael Flynn: On July 15, 2016 retired Lieutenant General and Trump natioanl security advisor Michael Flynn forwarded an email to communications advisor [READCTED] in an attempt to connect a friend from the military with the campaign's social media operation. Flynn included the following editorial comment: "There are a number of things happening (and will happen) this election via cyber operations (by both hacktivists, nation-states and the DNC). This statement does not necessarily indicate non-public knowledge, and could have instead reflected commentary on then-current public events-including the mid-June attribution of the DNC hack to Russia by the security firm CrowdStrike, and the subsequent claim of credit by the then-unknown persona Guccifer 2.0.
Flynn is casually tossing around the idea that there are "cyber operations" during the election, as if that's normal and not a crucial national security concern. And that parenthetical "(and will happen)" is curious if not damning—why does he know things will happen? Naturally, the report doesn't explore the implications of this.
posted by zachlipton at 11:24 AM on April 27 [24 favorites]




Artw: "Trump-State Democrats Outpace GOP in Fundraising for Senate"

Yeah, Dem fundraising has been pretty impressive. As we've talked about, there's definitely not a 1:1 between fundraising and votes. But it does serve as a proxy for voter enthusiasm, especially when it's mostly small-dollar donations. This is a confirmation of what polling has shown, which is that Dems are more enthused than Republicans.

Whether that translates into victory remains to be seen - you can still go out and vote for someone you are underwhelmed by - but it is a positive sign.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:32 AM on April 27 [6 favorites]


Trump: "Ronnie Jackson, Admiral, Doctor is one of the finest men I have met in a long time. High quality. High quality family. I just met them."

He goes on to complain that these are "false accusations about a great man" and how mean Washington is. Says he called Jackson today and told him he's "an American hero": "you've exposed the system for some horrible things. I've had it happen to me with the Russian collusion hoax, it's a hoax, but I came into the job understanding that things happen, he didn't." He says they're "putting choice very very strongly" (more privatization of the VA).

I...I'm still stuck on the fact that he just called him "Ronnie Jackson Admiral Doctor."

He thinks most embassies are just a single story (yes, really) and is claiming he signed half his name on the paperwork to build a billion-dollar embassy in Jerusalem, but he stopped signing and called the ambassador, who told him they can do it for just $150K. Trump decided to make it $3-4-hundred-thousand instead.
posted by zachlipton at 11:34 AM on April 27 [20 favorites]


Trump Merkel conference derailing into his usual number-tossing real estate deal bragging.
posted by rc3spencer at 11:34 AM on April 27 [5 favorites]


He thinks most embassies are just a single story

We can't reasonably expect this President to know anything about multi-story buildings
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:36 AM on April 27 [51 favorites]


zachlipton: I...I'm still stuck on the fact that he just called him "Ronnie Jackson Admiral Doctor."

Kind of like "Mister Senor Love Daddy"?

Kidding, but it makes me curious: behind the closed White House doors, is there actually that close a relationship among a president and their staff, or is there usually more social "distance" and formality?
posted by wenestvedt at 11:38 AM on April 27


Bredesen releases internal poll showing him leading in TN Senate 51-41 [MOE: +/- 4%].
posted by Chrysostom at 11:39 AM on April 27 [10 favorites]


Ronnie Jackson, Admiral, Doctor is one of the finest men I have met in a long time. High quality. High quality family. I just met them.

Of course he compliments his "high quality family." Not only is he a racehorse theory eugenicist, but Ronny had been so nice to him about when he said “he has incredible genes.” Just repaying the compliment about his pure racial bloodline, normal president stuff.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:41 AM on April 27 [30 favorites]


We can't reasonably expect this President to know anything about multi-story buildings

He knows all about them! Trump Tower has 58 68 floors and Trump World Tower has 72 90!
posted by kirkaracha at 11:46 AM on April 27 [3 favorites]


To close it out... @ddale8: Trump brings up his low popularity in Germany: "That means I'm doing a good job," he says, since he's fighting for the United States. Merkel seemed to give him the look she gives him.

I made you all a screenshot of the look.
posted by zachlipton at 11:47 AM on April 27 [67 favorites]


He thinks most embassies are just a single story (yes, really) and is claiming he signed half his name on the paperwork to build a billion-dollar embassy in Jerusalem, but he stopped signing and called the ambassador, who told him they can do it for just $150K. Trump decided to make it $3-4-hundred-thousand instead.

In Jerusalem. One of the most contested cities in the world. There's a reason the expert-based design cost so much.
posted by scalefree at 11:48 AM on April 27 [9 favorites]


I knew that look Merkel gave him looked familiar.

(twitter link to David Mack showing Angela Merkel of Germany side-by-side with Jim Halpert of the Office.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:59 AM on April 27 [13 favorites]


The Hill: FIFA refers to ethics rules after Trump tweets on US World Cup bid
"The U.S. has put together a STRONG bid w/ Canada & Mexico for the 2026 World Cup," Trump tweeted. "It would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the U.S. bid. Why should we be supporting these countries when they don’t support us (including at the United Nations)?"
Straight-up mob language from Trump over the World Cup. And now he's getting ethics tips from FIFA of all places. FIFA.

God, I hate this fucking timeline.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:00 PM on April 27 [124 favorites]


Meanwhile, at the FCC, Ajit Pai is intentionally delaying his Net Neutrality repeal and no one knows why (Motherboard):
More than four months after the Trump FCC formally voted to kill net neutrality, the rules remain on the books. And there’s every indication that the agency is intentionally delaying the final, killing blow—just to further help AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast.

While numerous news outlets claimed net neutrality officially died this week, that’s not technically true. Before net neutrality rules can truly be scrubbed from the books, the repeal needs to not only be posted to the Federal Register, but the US Office of Management and Budget needs to sign off on the flimsy replacement protections proposed by the FCC.

But consumer advocates this week pointed out that the FCC appears to be intentionally delaying the final repeal via intentional, bureaucratic gridlock. [...]

So why is the Trump FCC stalling on formally killing rules it professes were devastating to the telecom sector?

The most popular theory is that ISPs and the FCC wanted more time to garner support for their effort to pass a bogus net neutrality law. A law they promise will “solve” the net neutrality feud once and for all, but whose real intention is to pre-empt tougher state laws, and block the FCC’s 2015 rules from being restored in the wake of a possible court loss.
Pai's campaign to kill Net Neutrality have been marked with the hamfisted incompetence of the rest of the Trump administration, but he keeps trying. Meanwhile, over a hundred mayors across the US have taken the Cities Open Internet Pledge already, so check to see if yours has.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:04 PM on April 27 [28 favorites]


There's a reason the expert-based design cost so much.

I can't decide whether the new US Embassy in Jerusalem being immediately reduced to rubble by Hamas would help or hinder the Trump agenda.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:05 PM on April 27 [3 favorites]


Bredesen releases internal poll showing him leading in TN Senate 51-41 [MOE: +/- 4%].

This is fascinating. Garin has a pretty good track record according to 538.
Our survey data suggests that, not surprisingly given the polarization in American politics today, the Tennessee electorate is “settled” in to their Senate choices even this far out from November, meaning there is a low amount of persuadable voters. First, just 8% of Tennessee voters say they are undecided in the Senate election, and BOTH Bredesen (91% committed support) and Blackburn (91% committed support) voters are locked into supporting their respective candidates.
Bredesen started out with a 5% lead and it has climbed slowly and steadily for the last 5 months. This in a state which Trump took with 61%(!) of the vote and where he still has a 50% approval rating! Anyone looking at the state on paper would think there was no way a Dem could win a Senate seat. But Bredesen was known for his bipartisan efforts as governor, so now we have a horse race.
posted by zarq at 12:07 PM on April 27 [15 favorites]


Blackburn has long embodied the monied elements of Tennessee. Brentwood, the rich sections of the large cities, etc. These are the people who like Blackburn. So that doesn't help with the average Tennessean. Tennessee has such large bastions of liberal cities, that you really have to capture the entire rural market to do well. Alienating the country folk by siding with the people that legit probably have more money than Trump does not endear to the average Tennessean.
posted by Twain Device at 12:20 PM on April 27 [6 favorites]


Placing extremists and supporting extremists in primaries means voters are hearing extremist language. We have learned from Trump that it affects everyday hate crimes, the behavior of children in school, and makes communities fear.

The extremist language we all hear comes from the mainstream Republican party. It is baked into its platform. Championed by its candidates and elected officials. From the likes of Ted Cruz, for example. Or Mitch McConnell.

It's been that way for years. Trump was not the first Republican in existence to fearmonger about minorities, women's rights, the poor, gay rights, immigrants, Muslims and Democrats. They won't be the last.
posted by zarq at 12:29 PM on April 27 [22 favorites]


So, has anyone else had the stomach to listen to his Fox and Friends rant?

I actually paused it during his caterwauling about the Justice Department to try and capture their dumb faces in ink, but the exercise wasn't as satisfying as I'd hoped it would be. They are exceedingly bland people.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 12:40 PM on April 27 [66 favorites]


Placing extremists and supporting extremists in primaries means voters are hearing extremist language ...
If you are willing to increase that for partisan political gain, all I can say is may God forgive you because I and the others affected certainly will not.

In West Virginia there are three Republican rivals for the Senate primary.

There's Evan Jenkins who is famous for saying "West Virginia is under attack from Barack Obama and a Democratic Party that our parents and grandparents would not recognize." He heartily supported Trump's DACA repeal. He supported Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. He opposes carbon cap and trade. He voted twice for Obamacare repeal. He is vehemently anti-abortion.

There's Patrick Morrisey who as state attorney general sued to block Obamacare and sued the EPA in many cases on behalf of Logan Coal, Murray Energy, National Mining, to repeal the Clean Power Plan and a dozen others. He filed briefs to overturn gun permit laws in New York and New Jersey. He is 100% anti-abortion with no exceptions. He filed suit to prevent sanctuary cities and sued to overturn DACA.

And then there's Blankenship.

All three of these are typical shitty Republicans with nary a hair's breadth of difference between them on policies. If I were a Democrat running against them, I'd rather take my chances against the one who murdered coal miners for profit.

They are all extremists and to imply that it is up to Democrats to support the Republican "moderates" is bullshit. Republicans need to clean their own house. Democrats first duty is to keep a Republican, any Republican, from winning.
posted by JackFlash at 12:54 PM on April 27 [32 favorites]


This is something I ran into. Just in case you were wondering whether Trump filled positions with "yes people," his deputy communications director is named Jessica Ditto.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:02 PM on April 27 [22 favorites]


JackFlash: "They are all extremists and to imply that it is up to Democrats to support the Republican "moderates" is bullshit. Republicans need to clean their own house. Democrats first duty is to keep a Republican, any Republican, from winning."

Firstly, I am not asking you or anyone else to support Republican "moderates" (I agree with quotes, fwiw). I am asking people who are not Republicans to not vote for shitty Republican candidates in Republican primaries.

Secondly, I agree with the principle of keeping Republicans out of every office. However, Republicans as a group have a moral right to self-government, as far as I'm concerned. (That is, if you're willing to concede that they should exist at all...) And honestly, how do you expect Republicans to clean house if we fuck up their shit all the time? I mean, yes, maybe they won't, but if you believe in democracy, you're obligated to allow that chance.
posted by TypographicalError at 1:10 PM on April 27 [8 favorites]


They are all extremists and to imply that it is up to Democrats to support the Republican "moderates" is bullshit.

Well, if I actually say or imply such a stupid thing, you can complain about it. Since I didn't, there's no need to quote me saying something else, is there?

You're creating a strawman to argue something I didn't say. Cut it out. Or make your point without quoting me.

Republicans need to clean their own house.

The comment I was replying to made it sound like one Republican is better than another, and only some of them are extremists. It also said we need to protect our children from hearing the bad ones. My point is that they're all extremists. One of the reasons I said so is that the person commenting was a very vocal Republican on this site during the election, so I thought it a counterpoint worth noting.

But no, Republicans do not "need to clean their own house." They have proven incapable of doing so. The general public needs to be taught when they are being pandered to, lied to and when fear is being used to scare them into voting a particular way. Educating them to respond differently when racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and other hatreds are being used to manipulate them. The only way to do that is by pointing it out when it happens and running progressive candidates that don't.

Democrats first duty is to keep a Republican, any Republican, from winning.

The Democrats have a lot of "first duties." This is one of them. Another is that they shouldn't compromise the civil rights of women, minorities, the poor and others in order to get into office.
posted by zarq at 1:11 PM on April 27 [10 favorites]


> They are all extremists and to imply that it is up to Democrats to support the Republican "moderates" is bullshit. Republicans need to clean their own house. Democrats first duty is to keep a Republican, any Republican, from winning.

You're arguing against helping moderates, but the original statement was:

There is a lot less downside risk in helping a Republican extremist win a primary for a legislative seat than for the presidency.

Democrats, of course, have no responsibility to help GOP moderates win primaries, but that's not what was put forth here, so to argue against it is beside the point. I don't think many Democrats are out there trying to help GOP extremists win primaries, but when there are credible reports of the party doing just that in West Virginia, I think it's wise to note the many ways it could backfire. There's a big difference between refusing to help a moderate, which is ethically and morally defensible, and helping an extremist, which is not.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:12 PM on April 27 [7 favorites]


Why should Democrats help Republicans win anything? Republicans out-fundraise and out-spend Democrats by an order of magnitude. They have billionaires in their pocket. They can win their own damn elections or not. If Democrats want to elect moderates, they can help moderate Democrats win elections.
posted by Autumnheart at 1:14 PM on April 27 [4 favorites]


NPR has an extraordinary story today about conservatives recognizing that they're losing the culture war no matter what, and they're angry about it!
At the core of the problem for many American conservatives is a feeling that the culture war has been irrevocably lost to their ideological opponents.

"Politics is downstream from culture. And I do think that it's true that conservatives have lost in many ways the culture," said Matt Lewis, a conservative columnist for The Daily Beast who has previously worked for conservative outlets like The Daily Caller and Human Events.

He also said, "There is a sense on the right that is apocalyptic and fearful."

Earlier this month, Jesse Kelly, a writer for the mainstream conservative website The Federalist, wrote that Americans on the left and right can't get along anymore, that domestic unrest could be coming and that the best alternative course would be to just split the country up.

"We're just not on the same page on anything anymore. Rather than the constant fighting and before it gets really nasty, I think we should just go our separate ways," Kelly told NPR.

Kurt Schlichter, a columnist for the conservative Townhall.com, recently wrote a column speculating about whether there could be another civil war. He concluded there could be one and predicted how the left would lose a violent conflict if it came to it.

"We want to be treated with respect, and we will not tolerate anything less which is just unacceptable for this to continue. I'm tired of Hollywood spitting on us. I am tired of academia spitting on us. I'm tired of the news media spitting on us," he said.

How odd that a culture that refuses to respect others -- people of color, LGBTQ people, liberals, teachers, etc. etc. -- gets its feathers ruffled when their waning influence and deplorable opinions means no one else respects them, either.

The only way standing astride history yelling "stop" worked for William F. Buckley was get him a good living as a pundit; that model doesn't scale to conservatives in general.
posted by Gelatin at 1:16 PM on April 27 [97 favorites]


Earlier this month, Jesse Kelly, a writer for the mainstream conservative website The Federalist, wrote that Americans on the left and right can't get along anymore, that domestic unrest could be coming and that the best alternative course would be to just split the country up.

"We're just not on the same page on anything anymore. Rather than the constant fighting and before it gets really nasty, I think we should just go our separate ways," Kelly told NPR.


Nah, dude, you're coming with us, and you're going to have a vote, and that's fucking it white man. That's it. You don't get an outsized influence any more, and you don't fucking get your own goddamn country to fuck up again like you've tried to continually fuck up this one.

Jesus, fuck. These conservative blow-hards. They are so goddamn afraid of just living in a society that doesn't give their ridiculous, abusive feelings space to trample over everyone else.
posted by odinsdream at 1:25 PM on April 27 [166 favorites]


"We want to be treated with respect, and we will not tolerate anything less which is just unacceptable for this to continue. I'm tired of Hollywood spitting on us. I am tired of academia spitting on us. I'm tired of the news media spitting on us," he said."

This analysis from a tumblr blog seems to fit:

> Sometimes people use “respect” to mean “treating someone like a person” and sometimes they use “respect” to mean “treating someone like an authority”
> and sometimes people who are used to being treated like an authority say “if you won’t respect me I won’t respect you” and they mean “if you won’t treat me like an authority I won’t treat you like a person”
> and they think they’re being fair but they aren’t, and it’s not okay.

[I've seen this attributed to the tumblr stimmyabby but I can't find the original post]
posted by bluecore at 1:26 PM on April 27 [176 favorites]


If they don’t like America, they can leave. Isn’t that the line they ALWAYS use when liberals express opposition to the direction the country is going?

And the Tumblr quote also came directly to mind.

I also like Isaac Asimov:

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

Your ignorance is not just as good as our knowledge.
posted by Autumnheart at 1:29 PM on April 27 [50 favorites]


The guy who insists that the proper response to being disrespected for his deplorable stances is violence would be pathetically funny if some hadn't already put that opinion into practice.
posted by Gelatin at 1:30 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


(Sometimes people use "respect" to mean... attribution.)
posted by hades at 1:31 PM on April 27 [12 favorites]


What's hilariously ironic is that the Hollywood that "spits on them" gave them Reagan, Charlton Heston, Clint Eastwood, and every revisionistic American exceptionalist trope that they cling to as the real america.
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:35 PM on April 27 [61 favorites]


They literally elected a reality television star for President.
posted by Autumnheart at 1:41 PM on April 27 [43 favorites]


So why is the Trump FCC stalling on formally killing rules it professes were devastating to the telecom sector?

So it won't further hurt Republicans in the upcoming elections, of course. Every single thing any political appointee or elected official does is either purely motivated by or significantly affected by the primary goal of maintaining and increasing political power.
posted by The World Famous at 1:41 PM on April 27 [5 favorites]


Secondly, I agree with the principle of keeping Republicans out of every office. However, Republicans as a group have a moral right to self-government, as far as I'm concerned. (That is, if you're willing to concede that they should exist at all...) And honestly, how do you expect Republicans to clean house if we fuck up their shit all the time? I mean, yes, maybe they won't, but if you believe in democracy, you're obligated to allow that chance.

I used to believe this, but something switched in me, something deep and gut-level, watching Romney and then the Tea Party and then Republican state governments slowroll Obamacare, and then a year of Trump welded the switch in the NOPE position.

The US is a rigged democracy, the other side have an agenda that ends in totalitarianism and oligarchy, and frankly, in most places where its possible to game the rules, the Republicans either created the loophole or set about to systematically exploit it. If turning their weapons against them is expedient, sure. The Republicans do not have a moral right to self-government, because they are trying to take that right away from everyone but billionaires through raw power games.

We win moral superiority by not being assassins or terrorists and believing that democracy is the best form of government. We want the world to not be a Malthusian hellscape and we believe in active management to make it not so.

My caveats are these
1) Effectiveness. I think the DCCC funding Blankenship is a terrible f**king idea. Dude is a billionaire, let him spend his own money if he wants it so bad. The man has plenty of rope to hang himself and the rest of the Republican nominees in WV. He's a convicted felon and a murderer and a demonstrated history of putting his foot in his mouth. Save your powder for the general, DCCC.
2) When we take back power, we gotta fix the loopholes the Republicans put there. We get objectively better results when there aren't loopholes to buy influence. Nothing would kibosh this whole cycle of toxic conservative influence-buying than fixing the Citizens United loophole. Elections are stupid who's-got-more-money showmanship. Cut. that. out.
3) Loud demonstrations of respect and gratitude when the other side plays the game fair, loud denunciations and mocking when they don't, and media to amplify both. The Republicans have blatantly partisan media, and I'm sorry, but we need the same. If there was a liberal Fox, CNN and MSNBC would still get to be centrist and "unbiased", and we could all heap scorn on both sides. Being too good to play the media game gets us nowhere. If the DCCC wants to know where I think they should spend their money, it's on setting up a much more robust media arm. Too bad I'll never live to see it.
posted by saysthis at 1:43 PM on April 27 [29 favorites]


Like, the AI fearmongers, or Stephen Hawking warning about how aliens will conquer us, the conservatives' fears are a reflection on their own mindset. Conservatives fear the cultural shift because it means that those who were once marginalized and oppressed by them will be in power. And these cultural conservatives assume that those in power will turn right around and oppress the former majority in turn. See the recent articles linked here about racism and fear of loss of privileged status (i.e. racism) being the cause of and not symptom of "economic anxiety".
posted by runcibleshaw at 1:44 PM on April 27 [11 favorites]



Earlier this month, Jesse Kelly, a writer for the mainstream conservative website The Federalist, wrote that Americans on the left and right can't get along anymore, that domestic unrest could be coming and that the best alternative course would be to just split the country up.

Haha, and lose that sweet, sweet blue-state money? LOL no, you don't get to have your authoritarian Arcadia. That didn't fly in the 1860's and it won't fly now. You're coming with us, kicking and screaming. You'll love the blue-state, big-government quality of life you'll have, trust me!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:50 PM on April 27 [31 favorites]


I think the DCCC funding Blankenship

Sorry if I'm being That Guy, but the DCCC has nothing to do with this, or with any Senate race. The DCCC is the party committee that tries to get Democrats elected to the House. The Blankenship ads are being funded by an independent superPAC, Duty and Country.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:50 PM on April 27 [35 favorites]


There's a big difference between refusing to help a moderate, which is ethically and morally defensible, and helping an extremist, which is not.

The point is that they are all extremists. I see nothing wrong with telling people that if they have to vote for a Republican in a primary that they vote for the one who most honestly reflects Republican values.

Blankenship kills a few coal miners with safety violations. His Republican opponents kill thousands of people by taking away their medical care but pretend they are not. The first is an obvious wolf and the others are more subtle wolves in sheep's clothing. Some people are unable to grasp subtlety, so offer them the real Republican thing. There's nothing dishonest about that.

I'm all for closed primaries but some people here are opposed. People can't argue for open primaries and then pretend there is some "moral rule" that means open primaries are really closed.
posted by JackFlash at 1:51 PM on April 27 [5 favorites]


Sorry if I'm being That Guy, but the DCCC has nothing to do with this, or with any Senate race. The DCCC is the party committee that tries to get Democrats elected to the House. The Blankenship ads are being funded by an independent superPAC, Duty and Country.

Super PACs are a completely corrupt loophole, come on.
posted by odinsdream at 1:53 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Furthermore, if the Trump administration and groups like the Bundys are any indication, the right is decidedly disorganized and doesn’t have the stamina or the organizational capability for violent conflict. They have gun culture, okay, but what practical use is that, really? The alt-right and young white dudes making up today’s neo-Nazis have some technical proficiency among them, but they don’t have the psychological stamina to maintain their position against even continual opposition, much less overwhelming opposition. They don’t even show up to their own rallies. When faced with large counter-protests, they fade like cotton candy in the rain.

More than any of that, the culture of the right has devolved to a point where they can’t recognize reality and separate it from perception or fantasy. It depends on media reinforcement and an echo chamber without conflicting viewpoints. If you so much as turned off their power or disrupted their internet, they literally would not have an accurate framework of the real world.

And finally, they are extremely spread out geographically. Living in rural areas and small, isolated towns does not make one an effective conflict-winner when the majority of your opponents live in urban areas with all the technology and resources.

In practical terms, I suppose it would really depend on whether law enforcement or the military decided to throw their hat in the ring for the right. But barring that, there’s nothing about the right wing that demonstrates that they could sustain themselves as a society and every indication that they are utterly incapable of it. Every state with a predominantly conservative government is an economic disaster. There isn’t a single one that can point to its policies creating a thriving quality of life for its population.
posted by Autumnheart at 1:53 PM on April 27 [11 favorites]


Sorry if I'm being That Guy, but the DCCC has nothing to do with this, or with any Senate race. The DCCC is the party committee that tries to get Democrats elected to the House. The Blankenship ads are being funded by an independent superPAC, Duty and Country.

Super PACs are a completely corrupt loophole, come on.
posted by odinsdream at 5:53 AM on April 28 [+] [!]


Still, I completely messed that one up. That Guying totally appropriate here. [excuse about mornings and coffee but still, sorry]
posted by saysthis at 1:57 PM on April 27 [3 favorites]


Super PACs are a completely corrupt loophole, come on.

No argument here. But I think it's worth being accurate about who is doing what. Especially when people like to say "the Democrats" as if every part of the party is centrally controlled and moves in lockstep, which is not at all true.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:57 PM on April 27 [12 favorites]


and before it gets really nasty, I think we should just go our separate ways

Jessie Kelly, you absolute dumbshit, "going our separate ways" is EXACTLY how this gets really nasty.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 1:58 PM on April 27 [18 favorites]


Jessie Kelly is still around? His 2010 campaign against Giffords made my skin crawl.
posted by eckeric at 1:58 PM on April 27


The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raises money for Representative candidates. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raises money for Senate candidates.

And they are only one source of fundraising among many. They are as analogous to the Democratic Party as the United Way is to charity fundraising. Large and well-placed organizations, to be sure, but definitely not the only avenue by which candidates receive funds or endorsements.
posted by Autumnheart at 2:02 PM on April 27 [6 favorites]


From the NRA delegate email to Session's aide:

Happenstance and the (sometimes) international reach of the NRA placed me in a position a couple of years ago to slowly begin cultivating a back-channel to President Putin’s Kremlin.

Putin's guys are so good the assets they recruit think they lucked into their good fortune to be part of the plot.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:04 PM on April 27 [66 favorites]


Furthermore, if the Trump administration and groups like the Bundys are any indication, the right is decidedly disorganized and doesn’t have the stamina or the organizational capability for violent conflict. They have gun culture, okay, but what practical use is that, really? The alt-right and young white dudes making up today’s neo-Nazis have some technical proficiency among them, but they don’t have the psychological stamina to maintain their position against even continual opposition, much less overwhelming opposition. They don’t even show up to their own rallies. When faced with large counter-protests, they fade like cotton candy in the rain.

They're LARPers at heart. They want to roleplay being big, bad, soldiers of righteousness, but actually getting up at 5 AM to drill and train in all weathers? No, thank you, we'd rather sleep in and smoke weed and play Call of Duty. The sense of actual duty and discipline they would need to form a working movement like the Sons of Jacob in The Handmaid's Tale does not exist.

Preppers and right-wing wanna-be tough guys have this huge overlap because they are preparing for a fantasy world that does not and will not exist outside their own heads. In real time, communities undergoing disaster tend to pull together rather than fracture (there was a user on MeFi who posted their own experience of undergoing the Bosnian conflict).

There's a reason the military has boot camps/basic training. I surmise that one of the reasons for past authoritarian takeover success in other countries had to do with most of their young men having military training and a large percentage of veterans (who could train recruits at short notice) in the population. We don't have a draft, we don't have compulsory military service, veterans as a percent of the population are decreasing (and becoming less white and more female) -- unless there is a large-scale pulling together on the part of the police and military I don't think there is capacity for any martial law takeover on the part of the right.

It's bad enough that militarized police can do great damage to communities of color. But that has garnered resistance in the form of Black Lives Matter, and support for gun control is growing, not decreasing, and shows no signs of stopping.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:06 PM on April 27 [37 favorites]


JackFlash: "The point is that they are all extremists. I see nothing wrong with telling people that if they have to vote for a Republican in a primary that they vote for the one who most honestly reflects Republican values. "

Why would a Democrat have to vote for a Republican in a Republican primary? It is not mandatory in any place that I know. It seems to me that a Democrat would have a choice to simply not vote for any extremist.
posted by TypographicalError at 2:17 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


In real time, communities undergoing disaster tend to pull together rather than fracture (there was a user on MeFi who posted their own experience of undergoing the Bosnian conflict).

That’s Dee Xtrovert, and her comment is here.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:21 PM on April 27 [33 favorites]


and before it gets really nasty, I think we should just go our separate ways

I'm reading The City and The City right now, and I've got some ideas...
posted by soren_lorensen at 2:22 PM on April 27 [13 favorites]


NRA prepares for the big ugliness. < CNN on coming investigation into Torshin relationship.

"The skepticism among some NRA officials about the pair of gun-loving Russians may have been well-founded.
Torshin's years-long involvement with the NRA had all the hallmarks of a Russian influence operation, Russia experts said. Russian operatives often look to build relationships with polarizing groups -- on either end of the political spectrum -- to breed division and advance the Russian agenda.
"We could give them the benefit of the doubt and say this is just a natural interest and affinity; this guy Torshin and this woman Butina are just gun aficionados," said Alina Polyakova, a Russia expert and foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution.
But given Torshin's stature -- a former Russian senator and now a deputy head at the Russian central bank -- that is exceedingly unlikely, experts said.
"To me this seems like part and parcel of an influence operation," Polyakova said.
Torshin did not respond to requests for comment."
posted by rc3spencer at 2:22 PM on April 27 [32 favorites]


LA Times, Trump administration aims to block California on fuel economy targets
The Trump administration is speeding toward all-out war with California over fuel economy rules for cars and SUVs, proposing to revoke the state's long-standing authority to enforce its own, tough rules on tailpipe emissions.

The move forms a key part of the Environmental Protection Agency's fuel economy proposal, which the agency plans to submit to the White House for review within days.

The EPA plan would freeze fuel economy targets at the levels required for vehicles sold in 2020, and leave those targets in place through 2026, according to federal officials who have reviewed the plan. That would mark a dramatic retreat from the existing law, which aimed to get the nation's fleet of cars and light trucks to an average fuel economy of 55 miles per gallon by 2025.
posted by zachlipton at 2:22 PM on April 27 [7 favorites]


@ReutersPolitics: BREAKING: Judge in Stormy Daniels' suit against Trump lawyer Michael Cohen orders 90-day stay in case due to 'large potential factual overlap' between it and criminal proceedings
posted by zachlipton at 2:25 PM on April 27 [54 favorites]


Jill Stein says she won’t fully comply with Senate Russia investigation
Stein also refused to hand over material relating to her campaign’s platform on Russia. It’s unclear what her platform on Russia was, although she not only claimed multiple times that NATO had “surrounded” Russia with nuclear weapons — even though less than 10 percent of Russia’s land border touches any NATO member-states — but further selected a vice presidential candidate who described the 2014 destruction of Flight MH17 over Ukraine as a false flag attack to make Russia look bad.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:42 PM on April 27 [57 favorites]


Jill Stein says she won’t fully comply with Senate Russia investigation

"Useful idiot" was way too generous an assumption.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:45 PM on April 27 [105 favorites]


It looks like Merkel and Macron are playing good cop bad cop here. A friendship to remember and an enemy you can't forget. It's worth remembering that Germany's position in the EU gives Merkel a whole lot more options in a trade war.
posted by adept256 at 2:51 PM on April 27 [16 favorites]


Just in case you were wondering whether Trump filled positions with "yes people," his deputy communications director is named Jessica Ditto.

As others have said before, "Go home, writers. You're drunk." Although one may feel that such statements are minimizing the real damage being done by this shambles of an administration, light-hearted gallows humor really does help me get through it all. That and regularly reading the MeFi ranting thread. Highly recommended.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:01 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


Tracking how many key positions Trump has filled so far

No nominee: 208
Awaiting nomination: 4
Formally nominated: 129
Approved: 315
posted by kirkaracha at 3:08 PM on April 27 [11 favorites]


The cost of Donald Trump’s deserted government
Job vacancies are fast becoming a singular threat to President Donald Trump’s administration, with a record number of openings that stretch from low-level appointments to the secretary’s office at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
...
For millions of Americans, the consequences are real. Vacancies have stalled pay raises for thousands of federal workers. A mortgage rule to help home buyers has been stuck in limbo for more than a year. And the Internal Revenue Service is short bodies to push out regulations related to the new tax law, stymieing businesses.
...
Fifteen months into his term, Trump has sent fewer nominees to the Senate than his predecessors, and his musical-chairs management style has created openings even as he fills others.
...
“Right after the glow of the election victory, it’s easy to hire people into your White House. But with every passing month, it gets trickier,” said Brookings fellow Kathryn Dunn Tenpas. “And why would you, as a Republican on the outside looking in, want to work for an entity that chews up and spits out its employees?”
posted by kirkaracha at 3:17 PM on April 27 [20 favorites]


NYDN: The city of Seattle filed a motion Friday to vacate all convictions and drop all charges for marijuana possession for anyone arrested in the city between 1996 and 2010 — a move that would affect 542 people, according to officials.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:27 PM on April 27 [133 favorites]


Vanity Fair:
...Talk of [John] Kelly being jettisoned is ramping up again. According to sources familiar with the situation, White House officials and Trump confidantes are currently discussing the possibility of moving Kelly to head the Department of Veterans Affairs. These people say that the collapse of Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson’s nomination has created an opening for Trump to slide Kelly into the role. It would give Kelly a soft landing, while also having the benefit of putting a qualified official in charge of the sprawling department. “They’re looking for a place for Kelly to land that won’t be embarrassing for him,” one Republican briefed on the conversations said.

...There has also been talk that Trump wouldn’t replace Kelly at all, instead relying on a coterie of deferential principals similar to the governance structure of the Trump Organization.
Jörmungandr is uncoiling to meet Fenris.
posted by Iridic at 3:27 PM on April 27 [11 favorites]


The government may be deserted, but it's the opposite on the bench: McConnell Cements a Legacy for Trump With Reshaped Courts

President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are rapidly filling U.S. federal courts with young conservatives who will shape American law for generations to come.

The Republican-led Senate confirmed Trump’s 15th appeals court nominee this week — more than the last five presidents at this juncture — with eight of the new judges in their 40s, and seven in their 50s. McConnell set the stage Thursday to confirm six more, one day after a committee voted to cut debate time, which if approved would further speed things up.

The court realignment is the product of the Senate Republican leader playing a long game by holding up then-President Barack Obama’s court nominees and then closely collaborating with Trump’s White House Counsel Don McGahn. Both men have made it a priority to advance judges ensconced in originalist legal thinking favored by the Federalist Society, which distrusts New Deal-era jurisprudence and seeks to limit the federal government’s ability to assert powers that aren’t explicitly enumerated in the Constitution.
...
Trump’s judges reverse the demographic diversity sought by Obama. A full 67 percent of his appellate court judges are white males, compared with 33 percent under Obama and 63 percent under President George W. Bush, according to data compiled by Russell Wheeler, a visiting scholar at the Brookings Institution. Meanwhile, 76 percent of his district court jurists are white men, compared with 36 percent under Obama and 63 percent under Bush.
...
“If we lived in a normal time these nominations would be on the front page of every newspaper. They’d be the main story on every newscast,” she said. “There’s such an endless supply of outrages from this administration that it’s hard to get people to focus on the courts. And yet this is what Donald Trump is going to leave behind. It’s truly frightening.”

posted by zachlipton at 3:28 PM on April 27 [53 favorites]


What exactly is the reasoning behind lifetime appointments? I mean, from a "this is a good idea because" point of view?
posted by maxwelton at 3:30 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


What exactly is the reasoning behind lifetime appointments? I mean, from a "this is a good idea because" point of view?

posted by maxwelton at 3:30 PM on April 27 [+] [!]


I think the idea was to insulate them from passing political winds. With this new crowd, no worries. They will stay wedded to their partisan hackery until the day they die (see, e.g., Scalia, Tonino).
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:33 PM on April 27 [16 favorites]


Even outside of the current situation, I think there's a strong argument for limiting terms to say, 20 years.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:34 PM on April 27 [12 favorites]


Or 18 years.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:47 PM on April 27 [9 favorites]


It would take a constitutional amendment to change it though, no? So, not going to happen in the forseeable future, where things are so broken that even passing annual budgets is nearly impossible. Would be nice (so would getting rid of the electoral college, if we're making wishes) but a lot of other things would have to change first before term limits for federal judges could be more than a distant dream.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:28 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


I'm totally on Team Term-Limit. Life expectancy has changed a lot over the past 200 years, and while Trump is exploiting the system more blatantly, past administrations have also been increasingly weighing age more heavily in relation to experience for lifetime appointees. Age has always been a factor, but it needs to be lower on the list of qualifications.
posted by p3t3 at 4:29 PM on April 27 [7 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 House:
-- Walter: Why isn't the Dem lead on the generic ballot bigger?

-- Cohn: Signs are pretty positive for Dems.

-- NY-22: GOP worried that Rep Tenney's extremism is jeopardizing an already iffy seat.

-- NJ-02: GOP publicly saying this seat (formerly LoBiondo) is probably lost.

-- PA-07 (old): Rep Meehan's sudden resignation means another special election for a district that is going to disappear. This one will probably also be scheduled on the same date as the general.
** 2018 Senate -- WV: Worth noting after our earlier discussion of this race, GOP-aligned PACs are dumping big bucks into trying to torpedo Blankenship's candidacy.

** Odds & ends -- Retirements threatening GOP hold on NY Senate.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:30 PM on April 27 [26 favorites]


From the "I don't get no respect" article:

The 2018 midterms are coming up in just a few months. Midterms are often about exciting your base and running against the other side.

Democrats are doing that by running against Donald Trump. Republicans may find that tapping into these feelings about losing power in society is the best way to motivate their base.


Evangelicals have gotten by with saying Trump's morals don't matter because he's giving them all the candy they've always wanted. I would like to see them open up a real culture war though, not just racism & spite masked as such, with him in the White House. He just can't play the part. He can barely get through most days pretending he understands the job let alone pretending he has any concept of piety, morality or ethics. It would fail miserably.
posted by scalefree at 4:53 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


CNN, Several White House medical unit staffers describe pressure to hand out meds. As I've said before, I have no problem with them handing out reasonable quantities of sleeping pills for foreign travel, but some of the stuff in this article goes well beyond that: one Obama official was given 20 Provigil tabs as a "parting gift" before they left the administration, antibiotics for both an official and his wife without an examination, prescriptions not written for the actual recipient, poor or non-existent recordkeeping, "one person described it as "standard practice" for parents to pick up Ambien for their children."
posted by zachlipton at 4:55 PM on April 27 [15 favorites]


And to go with that, White House: No evidence that Ronny Jackson ‘wrecked’ a vehicle as president’s physician. He was involved in three "incidents in government vehicles" in five years (one where a bus hit his side mirror), but they say alcohol was not a factor.

Not sure why we're believing the White House, but here we are.
posted by zachlipton at 4:58 PM on April 27 [6 favorites]


It would take a constitutional amendment to change it though, no?

Not according to the op-ed:
The plan has the advantage of potentially being achievable by statute, rather than requiring a constitutional amendment.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:06 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


The government may be deserted, but it's the opposite on the bench: McConnell Cements a Legacy for Trump With Reshaped Courts

The theft of a SCOTUS seat is only part of it, McConnell denied Obama some 120 appointments by slow walking for years and then effectively shutting down the nomination process entirely for 18 months. They stole close to 1/12th of the federal judiciary from Democrats. And it's already paying dividends. Judges appointed by Trump are already cementing Republican control in perpetuity. Just today the 5th Circuit ruled against Texas' voter ID law, and the appointment of 3 Trumpjudges means there's almost no chance of an en banc review.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:10 PM on April 27 [46 favorites]


That should be ruled FOR Texas and against the challenge to the voter ID law.

Wouldn’t want to accidentally give false hope.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:17 PM on April 27 [5 favorites]


The Constitution's Article III has long been interpreted to grant judges life tenure. But the text actually has some leeway. It states that judges "shall hold their offices during good behaviour" and receive "a compensation, which shall not be diminished" while in office. The rest of the Supreme Court's structure, and what it means to "hold" the "office" of a Supreme Court justice, is left to Congress.

In the article's interpretation, that means that so long as you retain the title of justice and continue to draw a salary, you can be withdrawn from active duty on the Court by a statutory term limit. I'm dubious, but I don't see any alternative remedies.
posted by Iridic at 5:18 PM on April 27


MetaFilter: Wouldn’t want to accidentally give false hope.
posted by reductiondesign at 5:23 PM on April 27 [36 favorites]


Trump came up with a new way to spell it wrong: "House Intelligence Committee rules that there was NO COLLUSION between the Trump Campaign and Russia. As I have been saying all along, it is all a big Hoax by the Democrats based on payments and lies. There should never have been a Special Councel appointed. Witch Hunt!"
posted by zachlipton at 6:25 PM on April 27 [9 favorites]


It would take a constitutional amendment to change it though, no?

Not according to the op-ed:
The plan has the advantage of potentially being achievable by statute, rather than requiring a constitutional amendment.
OK, with all due respect to Ben Feuer of the "California Appellate Law Group," there is no fucking way that revoking lifetime tenure could happen without a constitutional amendment. I've actually reviewed the underlying law review article before, last time it was linked here probably, and it doesn't really support that proposition, either.

At the very least, the word "potentially" is doing a LOT of work here. The authors of that article affirmatively recommend a constitutional solution, and say that the statute-only solutions present "close constitutional questions" and have serious pitfalls. On review of his law firm bio, the LA Times opinion author seems to deal with California state legal issues a lot more often than federal issues. I'm not a big fan of credentialism, but interestingly everyone involved seems to have a Northwestern connection - I'm guessing the LA Times opinion author studied with the HLR article authors during law school and believes he is citing their work favorably.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 6:29 PM on April 27 [7 favorites]


There's an effort underway by conservative groups, spearheaded by Rick Santorum with support from Pence, to take yet another shot at repealing Obamacare (note: Washington Examiner link) as part of a last-ditch effort to give conservative voters a reason to turn out for the midterms:
Politically, the now-defunct assessment had been that passing a health-policy overhaul would scare too much of the public in an election year, making it a nonstarter. The growing understanding, though, is that Republicans are already at risk of losing to a “blue wave” this fall anyway, and that bold action to energize conservative grassroots might be the only way to stop the wave.

The Left is going to be energized this fall regardless of what Congress does, and those parts of professional suburbia that just won’t vote for Republicans under Trump also aren’t going to become even more anti-GOP than they already are. Indeed, as this is exactly the demographic that suffers the most under Obamacare, it might be slightly less likely, not more, to oppose the GOP if Republicans do actually pass reform.

But giving conservative voters a “win” on Obamacare would surely drive up Republican turnout.
Note that when the article describes the plan as "still better than deficit-neutral," that translates to "will spend less money on health insurance for Americans." Oh, and they want way more health savings accounts, because everyone loves those, right?
posted by zachlipton at 6:50 PM on April 27 [5 favorites]


There's an effort underway by conservative groups, spearheaded by Rick Santorum with support from Pence, to take yet another shot at repealing Obamacare as part of a last-ditch effort to give conservative voters a reason to turn out for the midterms.

It's a bold strategy Cotton, let's see if it pays off for them.

Exit poll of AZ-08 voters by @ppppolls

- Health care was a top issue for 58%, not a top issue for 17%

- Voters sided w/ Tipirneni by 2 points on health care 45% - 43%

- 40% less likely to back Lesko because she supports GOP on health care. Only 33% more likely.

- 41% think best path forward is repeal, 54% say keep ACA and make fixes as necessary.


Exit poll of PA-18 voters by @ppppolls

- 52% said healthcare was either the most important issue or very important in their vote, and Conor Lamb won those voters 62-38

- 39% of voters in PA-18 supported Obamacare repeal, 53% opposed. Among independents- who Lamb won 58-41 - just 33% supported repeal efforts with 63% opposed.

- 41% of voters said Saccone’s support for GOP health care agenda made them less likely to vote for him to only 28% who said more likely. By contrast 48% of voters said Lamb’s health care positions made them more likely to vote for him, only 27% less likely

- Lamb beat Saccone 45-38 on which candidate voters thought was more in line with them on health care, and the advantage for Lamb extended to 50-34 with independents.

- PA-18 voters supported the Affordable Care Act 44-42 in a Trump +20 district.
posted by chris24 at 7:13 PM on April 27 [22 favorites]


But giving conservative voters a “win” on Obamacare would surely drive up Republican turnout.

McCain may never vote again, and it's hard to see how anything has changed to move Murkowski or Collins into a full repeal vote, especially now that the "easy" win of repealing the individual mandate is already done. Plus they lost a Senate seat in Alabama since the last time.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:17 PM on April 27 [7 favorites]


I mean, there's a reason you don't see McConnell's name anywhere near this thing: he's the guy who would actually have to get the votes. But bribery, and "we'll personally blame you for the loss of our majority" are powerful drugs. And a bit of kayfabe to try to bring out the base even without the votes could be part of this plan.

What we know is that midterm voters identify health care as one of their top concerns. And it's likely we'll have an announcement of huge premium hikes just before the midterms, increases that can easily be blamed on Republicans for failing to pay insurers. Those numbers will come out, and voters will be told to blame the party that's in control of all branches of government. Independents now have a favorable view of the ACA (55%). Democrats are going to win by making this about health care, not a national referendum on Trump, and Republicans have absolutely no answer.

So despite the lack of votes in the Senate, there's a reason they're so desperate to come up with something, or at least make it look good while they fake a few punches.
posted by zachlipton at 7:50 PM on April 27 [17 favorites]


I'd bet a lot that there's going to be delay in releasing the 2019 premium numbers, regardless of the impact on the health system. If the blue wave looks inevitable, they're going to be desperate to stave it off, dragging out the bad news till after the midterm is ratfuckery 101.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:56 PM on April 27 [4 favorites]


BuzzFeed, Chris Geidner, Trump Jr. And Emin Agalarov Stayed In Touch During The Transition
A direct line of communication between the Kremlin-connected Agalarov family and the Trump family was open during the transition after President Donald Trump’s presidential election, BuzzFeed News has learned.

The “first of a series” of text messages was sent between Emin Agalarov and Donald Trump Jr. two days after the 2016 election, a source familiar with the communications told BuzzFeed News.

The communications continued through at least December 2016, according to information made public Friday.
Aras Agalarov had "an expensive painting" sent to Trump Sr. the day after the Trump Tower meeting, apparently as a birthday gift. On November 28, 2016, Goldstone emailed Trump's assistant with a document "related to the Magnitsky Act." This reveals another lie in Don Jr's first statement about the Trump Tower meeting, which claimed there was no further contact:
In Trump Jr.’s second statement after the news of the Trump Tower meeting came out in July 2017, he referenced the Magnitsky Act by name, and said of the brief meeting, “That was the end of it and there was no further contact or follow-up of any kind. My father knew nothing of the meeting or these events.”

Friday’s report from the Democrats makes clear there was follow-up — and precisely the follow-up Trump Jr. had told them to make at the meeting. In that second statement, Trump Jr. wrote that he had interrupted Veselnitskaya when she was talking about the sanctions law and told her “that her comments and concerns were better addressed if and when he held public office.”

Graff forwarded Golstone’s Nov. 28, 2016, email to Steve Bannon, then one of Trump’s closest advisers, that same day.

She added a short note to the top: “The PE [President Elect] knows Aras well. Rob is his rep in the US and sent this on. Not sure how to proceed, if at all. R.”
posted by zachlipton at 8:19 PM on April 27 [29 favorites]


It's amazing that every statement they've made about the Trump Tower meeting has turned out to contain falsehoods that attempt to minimize its significance and their culpability. And we keep finding these lies nearly a year after the fact. For people who maintain they did nothing wrong, they sure tried to cover it up repeatedly.
posted by zachlipton at 8:22 PM on April 27 [44 favorites]


Didn't Hope Hicks supposedly say at one point that there were some Don Jr. emails about the Trump Tower meeting that would never come out, or that they needed to make sure would never come out?
posted by chris24 at 8:29 PM on April 27


Ah sorry, that was Don Jr. emails before the meeting, not after. So much obstruction and treason to keep track of.
Mr. Corallo is planning to tell Mr. Mueller about a previously undisclosed conference call with Mr. Trump and Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, according to the three people. Mr. Corallo planned to tell investigators that Ms. Hicks said during the call that emails written by Donald Trump Jr. before the Trump Tower meeting — in which the younger Mr. Trump said he was eager to receive political dirt about Mrs. Clinton from the Russians — “will never get out.” That left Mr. Corallo with concerns that Ms. Hicks could be contemplating obstructing justice, the people said.
posted by chris24 at 8:33 PM on April 27 [3 favorites]


Giuliani, in Meeting With Mueller’s Office, Is Said to Be Negotiating Trump Interview

We are not this lucky. Can we possibly be this lucky?
posted by scalefree at 8:44 PM on April 27 [14 favorites]


Those who have been following this clownshow for an endlessly long while will note with glee the name of the sender of the thank you note for the aforementioned painting: Meredith McIver.

Meredith! Haven't seen any signs of plagiarism yet though.
posted by zachlipton at 8:53 PM on April 27 [36 favorites]


Politically, the now-defunct assessment had been that passing a health-policy overhaul would scare too much of the public in an election year, ... Republicans are already at risk of losing to a “blue wave” this fall anyway, and that bold action to energize conservative grassroots might be the only way to stop the wave.

Maybe there are polls somewhere suggesting conservative support for repeal, but based on last year when they tried to repeal and they couldn't even get a majority because of all the outrage from their constituents, my guess is that "bold action to energize conservative grassroots" is spin-speak for bold action to procure campaign funds from donors and lobbyists. That seems to be the only demo that truly wants repeal anymore.
posted by p3t3 at 8:58 PM on April 27 [5 favorites]


The Republicans’ Desperate Obsession With Nancy Pelosi, Jeet Heer for The New Republic.
If the Republicans continue to throw darts at Pelosi, it may be because they have no alternative. Except in the most pro-Trump districts, Republicans can’t run wholeheartedly in praise of a historically unpopular president. And Republicans are much more reliant on negative partisanship than their opponents, defining themselves in opposition to Democrats rather than for a positive agenda.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:05 PM on April 27 [18 favorites]


What we know is that midterm voters identify health care as one of their top concerns. And it's likely we'll have an announcement of huge premium hikes just before the midterms, increases that can easily be blamed on Republicans for failing to pay insurers. Those numbers will come out, and voters will be told to blame the party that's in control of all branches of government.

Democratic pundits will tell voters that the premium increases are due to Trump and the Republicans' sabotage. Trump and the Republicans will tell voters that the premium increases are because Democrats' obstruction prevented Republican reforms of the failing Obamacare.

The media will say "Both sides!" And that will be that.

I will be surprised if Democrats are able to get much mileage from the increase in healthcare premiums. It might even work against them.
posted by JackFlash at 9:16 PM on April 27 [7 favorites]


Giuliani, in Meeting With Mueller’s Office, Is Said to Be Negotiating Trump Interview

Goddamn it, no negotiating! Under oath, by subpoena if necessary, like Clinton had to do.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:24 PM on April 27 [16 favorites]


Goddamn it, no negotiating! Under oath, by subpoena if necessary, like Clinton had to do.

They subpoenaed Clinton because the actual investigation came up with basically no wrongdoing. Mueller doesn't really even need Trump's testimony, at this point USC 1001 lying charges would be superfluous piling on, the case for obstruction is already made just in public statements, and the collusion/RICO/actualfuckingtreason case doesn't need Trump either.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:02 PM on April 27 [8 favorites]


We are not this lucky. Can we possibly be this lucky?

Oh, we are this lucky. This is our fortune. Which one of you side-eyed the Monkey’s Paw?
posted by notyou at 10:06 PM on April 27 [8 favorites]


On the stay in the Stormy Daniels lawsuit -- I haven't seen this question addressed in any of the news stories I've read. Does the stay also put arbitration proceedings on hold until this is all resolved? Because that's at least a half win for Daniels right there, if so.
posted by msalt at 10:17 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Mueller doesn't really even need Trump's testimony

We have a precedent for what to do if a special counsel wants to question a president. I don't want the rules to be different for Republican presidents. Trump should have to testify under oath because we've established that's what we do, not due to whether or not Mueller needs his testimony.

I admit I want an A Few Good Men-style meltdown, but I'd settle for a Caine Mutiny. But I'm really fucking tired of the news treating it like it's up to Trump when the question has already been answered.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:18 PM on April 27 [42 favorites]


We used to have judicial opinions for Special Investigatons and the Executive’s requirements therein, but those rules were allowed to lapse after the Clinton Special Investigations, and one assumes so were the judicial opinions regarding the Executive, so we’ll probably need to re-litigate this stuff. It never ends.
posted by notyou at 11:09 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Talked with three different teachers tonight on a group hike. Apparently they’re ready to march on the state Capitol again Monday after the legislature voted themselves a Friday off, most likely to avoid the sea of red shirts. These teachers ain’t playing around.
posted by azpenguin at 11:55 PM on April 27 [50 favorites]


From NBC Nightly News: Russian lawyer who met with Kushner, Don Jr. admits to being an informant
“I am a lawyer and I am an informant,” Natalia Veselnitskaya tells NBC News’ Richard Engel in an exclusive interview. She previously claimed she “wasn’t an agent for anyone” at her 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
One Russian source (Google translate) transcribes her statement,
Но в интервью NBC она называет себя адвокатом и "информатором" Генпрокуратуры. "С 2013 года я поддерживала активные контакты с генеральной прокуратурой", - признает Весельникая. Это признание последовало за обнародованием электронной переписки Весельницкой с одним из руководящих сотрудников генпрокуратуры Сергеем Бочкаревым, которая касалась компании Дениса Кацыва Prevezon Holdings, обвинявшейся в нью-йоркском суде в отмывании денег. Весельницкая выступала адвокатом Prevezon Holdings.
But in an interview with NBC, she calls herself a lawyer and "informer" of the Prosecutor General's Office. “Since 2013, I've maintained active contacts with the Prosecutor General's Office,” Veselnikaya admits. This recognition was followed by the publication of electronic correspondence Veselnitskaya with one of the senior staff of the Prosecutor General's Office Sergei Bochkarev, which concerned the company Denis Katsyva Prevezon Holdings, accused of a New York court of money laundering. Veselnitskaya acted as a lawyer for Prevezon Holdings.
Remember how one of the Trump Jr.—Rob Goldstone emails mentioned that “the crown prosecutor of Russia” was offering “to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russian Federation”?

But even more interesting, and amazing left out of the above clip (but shown on subsequent MSNBC programs) is another response during the same interview in which Veselnitskaya says something about being associated with a military unit with distant connections to the FSB. On The 11th Hour MSNBC's ex-Navy-intelligence pundit Malcolm Nance interpreted this as a blatant reference to the GRU, and said that Veselnitskaya taking the interview appears to be a message of some sort from Putin to the Trump administration.
posted by XMLicious at 12:28 AM on April 28 [26 favorites]


Ah—I guess the Russian-language site I link to above, svoboda.org, is actually Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, funded by the U.S. government.
posted by XMLicious at 1:06 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]


North Korea has never hidden that its definition of "denuclearization" includes removing all nuclear-capable forces, which includes essentially all U.S. Air Force and Navy combat assets currently assigned to U.S. Forces Korea.

In other words, NK's terms are that the US pulls out of South Korea, which significantly reduces US forces in Southeast Asia. Such a reduction would send a clear signal regarding the US's ability to challenge further Chinese pressure in the region, and I doubt this would be acceptable to the US or its allies, particularly Japan.

Assuming the reports are correct, and NK's nuclear program is falling apart, this offer looks like NK giving away almost nothing at all in return for the US handing the region to China.
posted by daveje at 1:28 AM on April 28 [6 favorites]


This is why KJU met with South Korea first & separately, I think. So he could shove a wedge in between us & SK, threatening to...err, blow up...the freshly won peace if we don't withdraw. He may be weird but he ain't stupid. Sadly, Trump is.
posted by scalefree at 1:44 AM on April 28 [6 favorites]


Also why Kim met with China recently, I'm guessing, too.
posted by Rykey at 4:22 AM on April 28


Tom Nichols (NeverTrumper, Naval War College prof)
1/ I am not enough of an internal North Korea politics expert to know why Kim is doing what Kim's doing. But from a 30,000 foot IR perspective, I have just a couple of ideas.
2/ First, what does it cost Kim to do any of this? Nothing. He has faced down the United States, given Trump the finger, matched our rhetoric, and in return he's....kept his nuclear arsenal and gotten a summit out of it. A win by any definition for North Korea.
3/ Kim has solidified his family's legacy, and now it's time to get rid of those sanctions. So he placates China, and reaches out to SK...again, offering *nothing* in return but vague "one day, we'll all be 'denuclearized' together" promises.
4/ In one swoop, Kim has done all this:
- raised himself to "international leader" stature
- gotten the US to treat him like a peer
- kept his nuclear program
- cracked open the chance for ending at least some sanctions
- gotten the royal treatment in SK without involving the US
5/ If, on top of all this, he's ending his testing because he blew up his own testing site accidentally, than it's a great time to take a breather. So far, all I see here is gain for the North Koreans. The gain for everyone else is: no war in Korea, which is great.
6/ But to attribute this to tough US diplomacy strikes me as reversing causality. (Again, I'm willing to be shown evidence from Korea experts here.) NK has weathered the US storm with a defiant GFY on nukes. Now they can afford to look magnanimous.
7/ And since the US leadership and policies are so unstable, Kim's able to make the case that this should be an "in the family" arrangement in Asia that excludes the kooky Americans. That's how it seems to me, anyhoo.
ADD/ The Korea handshake is not nothing. But the irony is that Trump's unhinged behavior and nutty tweets may have been the space Kim need to look *reasonable* by comparison. In other words, Trump's claiming a win when in fact Kim is walking off with all the chips on the table.
posted by chris24 at 4:52 AM on April 28 [54 favorites]


WaPo (Max Boot): Don’t let the Korea summit hype fool you. We’ve been here before
The meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea was acclaimed as “historic.” The two leaders hugged, “smiled broadly, shook each other’s hand vigorously and toasted each other with glasses of champagne.” Reporters noted that the “opening formalities seemed surprisingly relaxed, exceeding the expectations of many people, including perhaps those of the principals themselves. The South Korean leader said we must “proceed together on a path of reconciliation and cooperation.” The North Korean leader replied that “you will not be disappointed.”

Sound familiar? It should, because the news coverage of the 2000 meeting between South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang parallels the euphoria over Friday’s meeting in Panmunjom between Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Il’s son. If anything, the 2000 meeting produced more tangible results: Not only declarations about ending the Korean War and uniting the two countries, but also concrete steps toward creating a joint South Korean-North Korean industrial park in Kaesong, allow South Korean tourists to visit the North, and to reunify families long divided by the demilitarized zone. Between 1998 and 2008, South Korea provided some $8 billion in economic assistance to North Korea in the hope that all of this aid would create a kinder, gentler regime. Kim Dae-jung won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 for his efforts.

And yet the Sunshine Policy, so widely heralded at the time, is now widely judged a failure. Despite North Korea’s promises, it did nothing to ease the repression of its populace or to end its nuclear and missile programs. It turned out Kim Dae-jung only achieved that “historic” 2000 summit by offering Kim Jong Il a $500 million bribe. Another summit was held in 2007, arranged by Moon Jae-in, then an aide to President Roh Moo-hyun, and it too was rapturously acclaimed. But the next year, a conservative government took power in Seoul and ended the Sunshine Policy. [...]

The two Koreas do not have the power to conclude a peace treaty because South Korea was not a party to the 1953 armistice. It was an agreement between the United States (acting on behalf of the United Nations Command), China and North Korea. If there is to be a peace treaty, it will involve those powers, not just South Korea.

Also, there is disagreement on whether the testing site collapsed. Jeffrey Lewis, an arms control expert, talks about it here.

No, North Korea’s nuclear test mountain did not collapse.
posted by chris24 at 5:04 AM on April 28 [21 favorites]


To all the pollyanna pundits out there hyping Trump's NK diplomacy, I'd like to ask two questions: First, when has North Korea ever kept its word following negotiations; second, when has Trump ever struck a deal that didn't eventually blow up in his face?
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:09 AM on April 28 [16 favorites]


Walsh continues to show that he comes by his otherwise manifest vileness naturally and is not just a craven partisan.

Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom)
Sadly, I don't believe a thing the Republican House Intel Committee puts out. They're simply doing Trump's bidding.

I'd feel the same way if Hillary were Prez and the Dems controlled that Committee.

I'll wait for the only non-partisan findings: The Mueller probe.
posted by chris24 at 5:53 AM on April 28 [7 favorites]


Walsh is serving his purpose: being one of the last Reasonable Men to hold up Mueller as the gold standard of investigation until he is sadly forced to change his mind because it turns out that Mueller once didn’t cross the street to spit on a picture of Bill Clinton so this is all hopelessly partisan.
posted by Etrigan at 6:00 AM on April 28 [13 favorites]


The House Dems minority report is very well put together. It’s 98 pages long, so not exactly easily digestible, but they pretty expertly lay out every single item the committee failed to follow up on while laying out the cases for active measures, collusion, and obstruction of justice. Nothing new in there of course (though some of the NRA details were new to me), but overall I’m quite glad that there appear to be very competent Dems on that committee.
posted by Room 101 at 6:06 AM on April 28 [24 favorites]


Did Erik Erik Erikson already get purged or is he part of this one?

He’s over at the Resurgent, and trying to soften the blow of the RedState purge:
@EWErickson I don't have the budget for it long term, but the firings at RedState were so sudden and unexpected that I've offered to put the writers on the Resurgent's payroll for now. Just sad to see.
posted by corb at 6:07 AM on April 28 [4 favorites]


If only everyone had the benefit of an Erick Erickson protecting them when they lose their job.

Hey... maybe the government could do it? We could pay for it with taxation!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:12 AM on April 28 [36 favorites]


Not at all alarming: Trump sets Tester trap, calls for resignation (Axios). "President Trump tweeted this morning that Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, a red-state Democrat up for reelection, “should resign” because allegations he made against White House doctor Ronny Jackson, who withdrew as Trump’s nominee to head Veterans Affairs, "are proving false.”"
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:56 AM on April 28 [14 favorites]


This excerpt was adapted from Dambisa Moyo’s new book, Edge of Chaos: Why Democracy Is Failing to Deliver Economic Growth—and How to Fix It.
posted by infini at 7:03 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


The more immediate News out of North Korea problem (as in right now today, not as in they still have nukes and could use them) is that Fox News and all of its poisonous cousins are reporting nothing else except how President Trump did the impossible and made all of this happen (How? What did he do? What has, in fact, happened? I guess FOX News viewers will never know), and how all of the presidents before him couldn't do it (Do what?), and therefore he is the Greatest Of All Time.

And every single person you know (or know by internet) who rides the Trump Tripe Transit System immediately swallowed it whole, and is now going to be even more insufferably wrong, if possible, forever.
posted by tzikeh at 7:36 AM on April 28 [3 favorites]


Kurt Schlichter, a columnist for the conservative Townhall.com, recently wrote a column speculating about whether there could be another civil war. He concluded there could be one and predicted how the left would lose a violent conflict if it came to it.

Just took a look at his body of work. He has a bunch of fiction & it's all uncomfortably reminiscent of The Turner Diaries, the racist novel about triggering a race war that inspired Tim McVey to blow up the Federal building in OK. Schlichter's stuff isn't as explicitly racist but I'm sure it's in there. Sometimes I despair of this grand experiment of ours.
posted by scalefree at 7:38 AM on April 28 [10 favorites]


Schlichter is in the same category as Jack Posobiec, Mike Cernovich. He's a troll like them, just with a better resume. That he has a column at Townhall shouldn't lead anyone to believe he's not a racist, fascist extremist. (Townhall was founded by Heritage but now is owned by Salem and is practically Breitbart but with more "credible" writers.) And in fact, Schlichter was recruited into writing on politics by Andrew Breitbart.

Mediaite: 7 Most Insane Quotes About Killing Liberals in Kurt Schlichter’s ‘Second Civil War’ Fantasy Article

Gawker: Army Man's Erotic Tale About ISIS Is This Year's Greatest Work of Fiction
Schlichter’s story, “What Defeating ISIS Would Look Like,” is right at home at the objectively bad right-wing viral site IJReview, where it has been deemed an “editor’s choice.” Its premise is simple: in the near future, Marco Rubio is elected president and annihilates the entire Syrian city of Raqqa, which ISIS uses as its de facto capital. It’s also home to about 200,000 civilians, who in this story are murdered by bombs. [...]
“You will attack aggressively in order to destroy all ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria. You will kill all ISIS fighters who do not surrender. Your priority is the destruction of ISIS forces. The safety of civilians is secondary.” [...]

Americans leveled the towns, often using the napalm that had just been reintroduced into the American arsenal, and followed up with infantry.
And here you can see a Twitter search for the times he's used the word "racist", for examples of his sparkling wit and great intellect.
posted by chris24 at 8:43 AM on April 28 [12 favorites]


I have to give Kurt props for squaring the circle here:

Why Democrats Would Lose the Second Civil War, Too
Do I think there will be a civil war? No, but there could be. This is the Age of Black Swans, and anything is possible – we could easily see the country split into red and blue. Civil war is unlikely, but never underestimate Democrat stupidity and hatred. The Schlichter family learned that lesson a century and half ago, the last time the Democrats decided to try to impose their hatred of basic human rights on the rest of the country, when an army of Democrats burned our family hometown.
I'm sure many of his followers will be shocked to learn their ancestors were on the wrong side of the War of Northern Aggression. A few might even take exception to that idea.
posted by scalefree at 8:48 AM on April 28 [9 favorites]


Civil War schimvel War, all I know is that the parties at the Manhattan Commune will be lit
posted by The Whelk at 8:53 AM on April 28 [14 favorites]


Azerbaijan: Site of unopened Trump-branded hotel is on fire

BAKU, Azerbaijan — A building in Azerbaijan that once was intended to be a Trump-branded hotel has caught fire.

Azerbaijani firefighters were on the scene of the fire at the 33-story building in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku on Saturday afternoon. There were no reports of injuries.


No word yet if the 33 story building is actually 33 stories, or if it has sprinklers.
posted by I paid money to offer this... insight? at 8:57 AM on April 28 [19 favorites]


As I've said before, I have no problem with them handing out reasonable quantities of sleeping pills for foreign travel, but some of the stuff in this article goes well beyond that: one Obama official was given 20 Provigil tabs as a "parting gift" before they left the administration, antibiotics for both an official and his wife without an examination, prescriptions not written for the actual recipient, poor or non-existent recordkeeping, "one person described it as "standard practice" for parents to pick up Ambien for their children."

Meh, who cares? The only way this is really offensive is the way it's offensive all across our culture - that there's one set of rules for one privileged group and another for everyone else. Modafinil/provigil is mostly harmless and plenty of people - particularly the 'brain hackers' out in Silicon Valley - use it regularly and with no real harm. It's not hard to get it on the internet from India. I've taken it myself and it's basically jitters-free caffeine. Antibiotic overprescription is also a problem but for our world, not based on one-off docs handing it out.

Take my opinion with a grain of salt, I suppose, since more often than not I consider prescription-only restrictions to be rent-seeking for physicians and pharma companies. If I was supreme leader you could get almost any of it if you just signed a waiver.
posted by phearlez at 9:32 AM on April 28 [11 favorites]


Antibiotic overprescription is also a problem but for our world, not based on one-off docs handing it out.

yeah but a hundred thousand one-off docs handing out cipro like candy is part of what got us here. (that and antibiotics as growth boosters for meat animals and needless antibiotics in things like soaps.)
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:38 AM on April 28 [19 favorites]


Not at all alarming: Trump sets Tester trap, calls for resignation (Axios). "President Trump tweeted this morning that Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, a red-state Democrat up for reelection, “should resign” because allegations he made against White House doctor Ronny Jackson, who withdrew as Trump’s nominee to head Veterans Affairs, "are proving false.”"

Jeff Zeleny (CNN)
In response, a spokeswoman for @JohnnyIsakson, GOP chair of VA committee: “Senator Isakson has a great relationship with Senator Tester. He doesn’t have a problem with how things were handled. I don’t know for sure but highly doubt he’s seen the president’s tweets this morning.”
posted by chris24 at 10:14 AM on April 28 [6 favorites]


Trump’s Role in Midterm Elections Roils Republicans
Congressional and party leaders and even some Trump aides are concerned that the president’s boundless self-assurance about politics will cause him to ignore or undermine their midterm strategy.
...
Over dinner with the president and other Republican congressional leaders this month, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, phrased his advice for the president in the form of a reminder: Mr. Trump should never forget his central role in the 2018 campaign, Mr. McConnell said, explaining that Republicans’ prospects are linked to what he says and does and underscoring that their one-seat advantage in the Senate was in jeopardy.
...
But Mr. Trump was not moved. “That’s not going to happen,” he said at different points during the evening, shrugging off the grim prognoses, according to multiple officials briefed on the conversation.
...
According to advisers, the president plans to hold a fund-raiser a week in the months to come and hopes to schedule regular rallies with candidates starting this summer.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:58 AM on April 28 [8 favorites]


NPR has an extraordinary story today about conservatives recognizing that they're losing the culture war no matter what, and they're angry about it!

Washington Monthly (David Atkins): Conservatives Will Never Get the Respect They Crave. They Don’t Deserve It
...But at a certain level, this tired conservative whine is correct: the people who lead and create culture don’t respect them. Artists, actors, inventors, comedians, entrepreneurs, academics, musicians, journalists and professionals across almost all creative industries have no patience for what passes for modern conservatism. And why should they?

Conservatism is fundamentally about preserving current in-group power structures and maintaining established social hierarchies. It keeps the powerful in power, and keeps the downtrodden underfoot. Insofar as government helps keep rich, powerful white men rich and powerful, conservatives love it and rally around the flag. Insofar as it helps equalize the balance of power, they despise it and want to drown it in a bathtub. This has always been the case for conservatism throughout history across the globe (replace “white” with “relevant regional powerful ethnic/religious majority” and it applies in all cases), and it has never been more true than of American conservatism today under Trump.

Promethean culture-bringers tend to stand in opposition to this ethic. Artists deconstruct and challenge paradigms of power. Inventors disrupt established orders. Comedians provide a softened way to speak harsh truths that would otherwise go unspoken. Academics poke holes in established doctrines and question the nature of accepted reality. Journalists afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. And so on. This is the process by which, slowly but surely, societies change and rights are wronged if only over generations. It’s the method that gives us the confidence to assert, despite frequent steps backward, that the moral arc of the universe does bend slowly toward justice. Conservatives and totalitarians of all political stripes frequently attempt to coopt culture bringers toward their own ends–and certainly some in these professions possess conservative political instincts and agendas–but even the tightest regimes aren’t proof against creative cultural subversion in pursuit of justice.

Like a classic Rodney Dangerfield character, conservatives feel like they can’t get no respect from the “liberal elites.” The more conspiratorial among them assert a grandiose plot to deny them their birthright, often with anti-Semitic overtones. But what really annoys them is that they aren’t taken seriously by the people who create and change culture. That’s where a large part of the sense of grievance comes from.

And they never will be. Culture is created mostly in urban environments, where traditions and ethnicities and influences mix and merge, often in conflict and often in cooperation, creating new understandings and new experiences. Goods and ideas are traded. People are more free to express their identity than elsewhere. Cities are also economic powerhouses. Large companies are centered there, picking the best possible talent. Artists congregate for inspiration. Universities absorb and interpret these influences free of old doctrines. [...]

And just what are these traditions the modern conservative wants respected? They’re very rarely stated out loud, and when they are it’s usually in code: family, God, country. But dig deeper and it’s the sort of deplorable stuff that no one involved in the creation of culture would ever want to countenance: that women should serve as obedient reproductive vessels; that white men are biologically and culturally superior to others; that the ability of corporate executives to get rich from polluting air and exploiting workers is a greater freedom than that of communities not to be poisoned and abused; that it’s the inherent right of powerful countries to bomb less powerful ones and steal their resources; that being rich is a sign of divine favor, and the poor deserve their plight; and so on.

These are bad ideas. They are deplorable. They appeal to our baser instincts, and they preserve the power of society’s abusers at the expense of its victims. In every case, the hindsight of history looks with displeasure on those who defended such things. And in every case, the heroes are not only the activists, but also the culture bringers who pushed slowly but surely to drag societies into a better place...
posted by chris24 at 11:01 AM on April 28 [183 favorites]


Breaking My Silence on RussiaGate, by Jill Stein

Concerns about foreign interference should not distract us from interference in plain sight originating from within our own borders. That includes the actions of the Democratic National Committee, which biased its party’s own primaries, effectively disenfranchising millions of Bernie Sanders’ voters[...] The actions of the Russian Internet Research Agency, on the other hand, appear to be the opposite of sophisticated and strategic [...] the Internet Research Agency may in fact be a “click-bait” factory intended to generate advertising revenue, and not an election meddling operation. The insignificant numbers of the Internet Research Agency’s social media posts – compared to the vastness of the social media universe – further diminishes the claim that it had significant impact on the election outcome. Facebook posts from the Internet Research Agency amounted to a mere 0.0004% of total Facebook content; Russian-associated tweets accounted for 0.02% of election related tweets, and Russian-linked Youtube videos had hit totals only in the hundreds, hardly the stuff of viral transmission. [...]

The letter we are releasing today [...] to the Senate Intelligence Committee details how their bipartisan investigation into our campaign – the flagship of an independent opposition political party – intrudes into First Amendment rights protecting freedom of speech and political liberty for all Americans. While we provided documents responsive to the Committee’s requests, we declined to provide Constitutionally protected materials, including the internal policy deliberations of our campaign, the flagship for an opposition political party. This request intrudes into the First Amendment rights of political and associational freedom that are critical to political liberty for all Americans.


Uh huh. To summarize: "Hillary cheated Bernie and the Democrats are the real baddies, Russia hardly did anything wrong, and we are not going to tell you about how we decided on our pro-Putin platform. Because of Free Speech." I for one am convinced.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:21 AM on April 28 [67 favorites]


According to advisers, the president plans to hold a fund-raiser a week in the months to come and hopes to schedule regular rallies with candidates starting this summer.

Oh no, Bre'er Fox, that briar patch has too many thorns! Whatever you do, don't throw me in there! And that Fox News one looks even worse! I'll be just ripped to shreds!
posted by scalefree at 11:24 AM on April 28 [5 favorites]


Oh my God, Jill Stein. If you want the Green Party to be a "flagship for an opposition political party," maybe try running people in races that they can actually win, instead of just running a vanity candidate for President every four years. Otherwise, just shut up and go away.
posted by Weeping_angel at 12:17 PM on April 28 [76 favorites]


Remember when everyone gave Jill Stein money for recounts and she just pocketed it? She’s a scam artist through and through.
posted by Artw at 12:21 PM on April 28 [64 favorites]


Remember when everyone gave Jill Stein money for recounts and she just pocketed it? She’s a scam artist through and through.

Did she just pocket it? I am totally willing to believe she did, but I would like to see some details if you've got them.
posted by Frowner at 12:56 PM on April 28 [7 favorites]


I believe she announced some plan to donate whatever was left after “expenses”, which were considerable (which is odd since she didn’t really do anything) and then nothing more was really heard of it.
posted by Artw at 1:04 PM on April 28 [4 favorites]


Well...
Green Party nominee Jill Stein will receive $2 million in refunds after initial estimates were well above the final costs of the failed presidential recount attempts in three battleground states, according to officials.

Stein will use the leftover funds to launch a new voter integrity group.
launch a new voter integrity group says the Russian asset.
posted by chris24 at 1:06 PM on April 28 [39 favorites]


Are there any Korea experts out there who can help me understand how important the US has been in the recent changes in tone between the countries, if at all? We pay a lot of attention to Trump, but my assumption has been that the shift (to the extent there has been one) has largely been the result of the election of Moon Jae-in.

If that's the case, and if there is meaningful, diplomatic progress, I think Trump will get a lot of largely undeserved credit - just as Obama or Bush would have if they had been in office at the time. That's not to say he might not still mess it up, though for the good of the world I would prefer if he didn't.
posted by tarshish bound at 1:14 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


Stein's statement is even worse than "Hillary cheated Bernie and the Democrats are the real baddies, Russia hardly did anything wrong." It goes all the way into "I can't tell the difference between a longtime figure and major financial supporter in Democratic politics working the party system to give herself an advantage in a primary and a foreign power that whose primary interests are a general weakening of US health/power and whose values are entirely inimical to those the green party ostensibly represents." And that's granting the assumption that anything Clinton's been shown to have done is actually cheat-y.
posted by wildblueyonder at 1:14 PM on April 28 [40 favorites]


Well but she believes she wasn't a Russian asset and at any rate isn't one now, so everybody can just chill.
posted by rhizome at 1:19 PM on April 28 [4 favorites]


Conservatives Will Never Get the Respect They Crave. They Don’t Deserve It
[The average American conservative] goes to Twitter and he’s got some you know guy calling him [an] a-hole … this is sort of like a pervasive all-out attack if you’re a conservative.
Have you ever considered---and I'm just spitballing here--maybe not acting like assholes?
posted by kirkaracha at 1:24 PM on April 28 [73 favorites]


Not an expert but I did live in Notheast China and South Korea from 2002-2013. In my opinion the 2007 crash and the poor response by America to it had the greatest effect, because that is when the conversation and planning in the region started to focus on a recentering of The world from America to China. The actions since the beginning of the Trump presidency have just confirmed that this process is inevitable to people in the region.
posted by wobumingbai at 2:02 PM on April 28 [22 favorites]


By Stein's logic, she only knows about the actions she considers "disenfranchis[ement]" because someone else's rights were grossly violated, evidently by the same Russians she is otherwise eager to claim are harmless.
posted by kewb at 2:03 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


Have you ever considered---and I'm just spitballing here--maybe not acting like assholes?

I believe they consider that sort of request an attack on their First Amendment rights. For those among them claiming the mantle of religion, reading such a request officially counts as martyrdom.
posted by kewb at 2:05 PM on April 28 [12 favorites]


Is Stein one of those dipshit leftists who still sees Lenin's beautiful dream alive in Putin's reactionary, minority-persecuting, gay-bashing authoritarian kleptocracy, just because they stand against whatever Washington is for and all evil comes from Washington? Or is she not even that idealistic?
posted by acb at 2:26 PM on April 28 [11 favorites]


I’m pretty much putting Stein supporters in the same deplorable bin as Trump supporters at this point, in terms of overall harm to society.
posted by Behemoth at 2:31 PM on April 28 [25 favorites]


Two things we know as a fact;
1) Jill Stein took Russian money to go to Russia and sit at Putin's table (along with Michael Flynn) at the Russia Today gala dinner not long before the election (December 2015 IIRC?)
2) Green's provided the margin of victory for Trump in at least two key states in the 2016 election.

Most of the rest is speculation.
posted by msalt at 4:13 PM on April 28 [20 favorites]


3) Russians also tried to help Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein presidential campaigns
It turns out Donald Trump wasn’t the only candidate the Russians allegedly tried to help during the 2016 presidential campaign.

A 37-page indictment resulting from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation shows that Russian nationals and businesses also worked to boost the campaigns of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Green party nominee Jill Stein in an effort to damage Democrat Hillary Clinton. [...]

On or about Nov. 3, 2016, just five days before the election, the Russians tried to boost Stein’s campaign by buying an ad to post on the Instagram account “Blacktivisit,” according to the indictment. The ad read in part: “Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein. Trust me, it’s not a wasted vote.”
posted by chris24 at 4:19 PM on April 28 [27 favorites]


3) Stein refused to cooperate with the Senate investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election.
4) Stein repeatedly downplays her Russian contacts, much like Trump.

There's as much smoke around Stein as there is around Trump.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:20 PM on April 28 [39 favorites]


So this is A) apparently totally real & B) very very frightening. I give you Cursed-a-Lago, cursed images taken at Mar-a-Lago. I am not responsible for any nightmares you may have tonight. You have been warned. (not entirely real)
posted by scalefree at 4:26 PM on April 28 [13 favorites]


Do I have to know who those people are to know what "cursed" refers to?

As for Stein, I'm still trying to figure out why she and Joy Reid should be interpreted differently.
posted by rhizome at 4:37 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


So no less an authority than Rep. Dana Rohrabacher says that Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin are "probably spies." It's really not a mystery what was going on here.

But the crowd at Trump's rally is chanting "NOBEL" at him when he mentions Korea, so here we are.
posted by zachlipton at 4:38 PM on April 28 [10 favorites]


"I know things about Jon Tester that if I said them he would never be elected again."

Glad he's keeping Tester's terrible secrets close to the vest. Some information should be kept confidential, not like Ted Cruz's dad killing JFK.
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:43 PM on April 28 [27 favorites]


Everyone has noticed and remarked on the fact Republican lawmakers seem to be resigning/retiring at higher-than-usual numbers these days. There's been lots of speculation as to the cause, including that some of them are being deservedly forced out, that others may want to get far away from the blast site before the "blue wave
bomb goes off and they're covered in fallout, or simply that with the success of billionaire tax cuts, the wholly bought members of Congress have accomplished their missions and now they're ready to collect their 30 pieces and slink off to the darkness whence they came.

But according to Rep. Mo Brooks (R), nope!! The real reason for the Republican mass exodus is death threats at the hands of the Evil Leftists! Seriously.
posted by xigxag at 4:50 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


This whole Nobel prize thing is one more Obama resentment chip. The idea of Trump winning the Nobel Peace Prize is to most sane people akin to that guy at the Phillies game who jammed his own fingers down his throat so that he could projectile vomit all over a fan who had asked him to rein his shit and the fan's child. That's what this idea of Trump and the Nobel is: hot dog beer projectile puke over Obama's legacy and anyone who supports it.

I mean, that's really all it is. It is the meanest spirited thing, this idea that this walking slurry of racism and ignorance is entitled to the Nobel. And when he doesn't get it, it'll go from the lust to projectile vomit over Obama's legacy to feeling persecuted because of the lack of projectile vomit on Obama's legacy.
posted by angrycat at 4:56 PM on April 28 [35 favorites]


cursed images taken at Mar-a-Lago

I feel that these are being posted from the future, where they have been entered into evidence in court.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:56 PM on April 28 [8 favorites]


@kylegriffin1 [VIDEO]: Trump now claims that Natalia Veselnitskaya is only saying she's an "informant" with ties to the Kremlin because Putin realized how hard Trump has been on Russia and he wants to make the U.S. more chaotic. (via Fox)

This is really really weird. He's so determined to say there's no collusion he seems to be saying Veselnitskaya is part of a Russian plot to cause chaos in the US, yet takes no responsibility for the resulting national security threat.
posted by zachlipton at 4:58 PM on April 28 [22 favorites]


Do I have to know who those people are to know what "cursed" refers to?

"Cursed" images is a sort of meme "the kids" on "the internet" use to describe pictures that are weirdly creepy or off-putting. The opposite being a "blessed" image.
posted by threeturtles at 5:00 PM on April 28 [7 favorites]


Cursed-a-lago is like the other end of People of Wal-mart.
posted by valkane at 5:05 PM on April 28 [11 favorites]


As for Stein, I'm still trying to figure out why she and Joy Reid should be interpreted differently.

rhizome: the Joy Reid thread is here.

posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:13 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


Didn’t somebody upthread say that Veselnitskaya doing the interview was a signal from Putin to Trump?
posted by gucci mane at 5:38 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


New Evidence of Obstruction of Justice in House Intelligence Committee Minority Report by Ryan Goodman at Just Security
FBI General Counsel and FBI Director’s chief of staff listened in on James Comey’s side of at least some phone conversations with the president, in which Mr. Trump reportedly engaged in efforts to alter the course of the Russia investigation.
...
Both the FBI Director and Deputy Director interpreted one of the president’s phone calls as threatening Comey if he did not lift the cloud of the Russia investigation.
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:08 PM on April 28 [54 favorites]


New Evidence of Obstruction of Justice in House Intelligence Committee Minority Report

Called it.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:15 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


Daniel Dale
Trump: "Any Hispanics in the room? Hispanic? Nah, not so many, that's okay."

---

Bueller? Bueller?
posted by chris24 at 6:18 PM on April 28 [5 favorites]


Trump threatens to "close down the country" if he doesn't get more border wall funding in September.

No Bra'er Trump, not a government shutdown right before the midterms!
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:18 PM on April 28 [41 favorites]




Trump’s Reality Distortion Field Could Help Tank Republicans This Fall (B. Hart | NY Mag)
One of President Trump’s most bedrock character traits is his refusal to truly reckon with any piece of information that reflects poorly on him. This self-aggrandizing, reality-denying flavor of egotism has defined Trump for decades, through his roller-coaster business career and into political life. In recent months, it has sometimes veered into the straight-up delusional, as when he reportedly claimed last year that it wasn’t actually his voice on the Access Hollywood tape.

Trump’s insistence that everything is going great was validated in unprecedented fashion when he won the presidency despite some of the strongest headwinds imaginable, shocking almost everyone — possibly including, on some deep level, himself.

But now, finally, the president’s unwavering confidence may finally be about to take a serious electoral toll.

The New York Times reported on Saturday that in the runup to the midterm elections this fall, President Trump is simply not listening to advisers and lawmakers who tell him what anyone can plainly see: Republicans are in deep trouble.

President Trump is privately rejecting the growing consensus among Republican leaders that they may lose the House and possibly the Senate in November, leaving party officials and the president’s advisers nervous that he does not grasp the gravity of the threat they face in the midterm elections.

Congressional and party leaders and even some Trump aides are concerned that the president’s boundless self-assurance about politics will cause him to ignore or undermine their midterm strategy. In battleground states like Arizona, Florida and Nevada, Mr. Trump’s proclivity to be a loose cannon could endanger the Republican incumbents and challengers who are already facing ferocious Democratic headwinds.

In election after election over the last year and a half, Democrats have vastly overperformed their expected vote share, largely thanks to animus toward the president. ...
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:46 PM on April 28 [18 favorites]


Why wouldn't trump be confident? I honestly believe he thinks Russia will do what's needed to keep the SS Trump afloat: They threw the biggest election in the land to him, how hard could it be to throw a few smaller ones?
posted by maxwelton at 6:58 PM on April 28 [7 favorites]


I wouldn't be at all shocked if his messaging to other elected officials is "nice office you've got here, shame if something crazy happened in the coming election, eh?"

(Which has the paranoid side of me wondering what, exactly, will the country do if this blue wave, which looks very real, turns out to just not quite garner enough votes in several races where even exit polling indicated that the (D) beat the (R).)
posted by maxwelton at 7:03 PM on April 28 [6 favorites]


Why wouldn't Trump be confident, option B: he's a narcissist who got lucky once in politics so now he thinks he's the authority on the subject. You will never convince a guy like Trump that a single stroke of luck or accident of birth or outcome of privilege at one thing doesn't make him know more than a lifetime of experience and scholarship in that field.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:07 PM on April 28 [34 favorites]


Why wouldn't trump be confident?

You’d have to read the rest of the linked article, maxwelton.

(I originally quoted much more, but trying not to clutter up the thread. Also, my phone now hangs forever trying to post/comment/edit on MeFi, so a warm thanks to all who’ve continued contributing to these threads in thoughtful ways. I’m here reading, if not posting or commenting, and grateful.)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:07 PM on April 28 [7 favorites]


Russia will do what's needed to keep the SS Trump afloat: They threw the biggest election in the land to him
But they did not do it alone. If some of their 2016 Partners-in-electoral-crime in the Republican Party are openly pessimistic, then that's big news. Or it's a big fake-out, providing low expectations for the GOPutin Party to exceed.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:22 PM on April 28 [3 favorites]


Michelle Wolf has been doing an incredibly vicious set at the WHCD (I don't know how anybody can possibly do the job, but I also have no earthly idea what purpose 80% of these attacks served and am really not a fan), and then closes by telling the assembled press they act like they secretly love Trump: "you helped create this monster, and now you're profiting off of him, and if you're going to profit off of Trump you should give him some money because he doesn't have any. Trump is so broke [Audience: how broke is he?] he grabs pussies because he thinks there might be loose change...Good night. Flint still doesn't have clean water!"
posted by zachlipton at 7:50 PM on April 28 [37 favorites]


yeah vicious to the point of uncomfortableness. Her mini-chunk on Sarah Huckebee Sanders was brutal and SHS was literally sitting next to the podium on the dais.
posted by mmascolino at 7:55 PM on April 28 [4 favorites]


I agree it was vicious to the point of being uncomfortable but that's all this ridiculous charade deserves. Colbert tried the hah-hah but still uncomfortable approach and the WHCD kept chugging along. Probably because Bush didn't share Trump's antipathy for the press and could usually laugh along. So the charade continued. Maybe Wolf absolutely sticking in the shiv will finally do the job.

Because palling around with and pretending Sarah Sanders et al aren't the enemies of the free press and, by extension, the American people... that's not sustainable and does no one a service. I'm glad Wolf didn't play along and if anything I wish she'd gone harder. They don't deserve respect and neither does this ridiculous conceit that the press and the White House are not bitter antagonists. And I'm glad she reserved her last blast for the Press itself, pointing out that while they are now Trump's enemy, they created him and profit off him and they need to reckon with that.

She was speaking truth to power. It wasn't always very funny but it was almost all true.
posted by Justinian at 8:11 PM on April 28 [123 favorites]


yeah vicious to the point of uncomfortableness. Her mini-chunk on Sarah Huckebee Sanders was brutal and SHS was literally sitting next to the podium on the dais.

uncomfortable for the people in the room, glorious and cathartic for me. Total Colbert at the WHCD moment.

Worth checking out her SHS bit just to see Sanders' stone face; I especially liked this part:
I like Sarah. She's so resourceful. Like, she burns facts, and then uses the ash to create a perfect smokey eye.

Like, maybe she's born with it. Maybe it's lies.
posted by lalex at 8:14 PM on April 28 [80 favorites]


I agree, lalex. God forbid the Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda should be made uncomfortable.

It went beyond Colbert, I thought, as it was far more direct. His was brilliance but it had a facade of... respect for the institutions involved, maybe, even if the people were being shredded? This didn't. I'd say it was more like Stewart on Crossfire except it did entirely retain the joke format. So perhaps somewhere in between Stewart and Colbert.
posted by Justinian at 8:17 PM on April 28 [7 favorites]


The fact that @Maggie Haberman is mad about it:
That @PressSec sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive.
means it must have been good. Criticism for her job performance of increasingly ridiculous lies, OH NOES!
posted by lalex at 8:32 PM on April 28 [30 favorites]


I guess I'm not sure what the point of retaining the joke format was at this point. If you want to stand up there and say how much these people suck (and they do, indeed, suck very much and should be told that at every opportunity), just say it without the laughter. I don't want to laugh at Sarah Sanders; I want her gone. Nothing is funny about this anymore.

I can't quite put my finger on why, but this didn't feel like telling truth to power to me. Large potions just felt like attacking people who suck. And that's a perfectly fine thing to do, but they're not quite the same. Stewart on Crossfire was about 'stop because you're hurting America.' There was an intended purpose behind it. This just felt like a litany of personal attacks. And that just left me empty.

That ending though, "I think what no one in this room wants to admit is that Trump has helped all of you," that's damn fine stuff.
posted by zachlipton at 8:37 PM on April 28 [18 favorites]


My favorite part was the venomous look on Kellyanne Conway's face when the camera panned to her after Wolf had just said, "You guys gotta stop putting Kellyanne on your shows. All she does is lie. If you don't give her a platform, she has nowhere to lie. It's like that old saying, 'If a tree falls in the woods...how do we get Kellyanne under that tree?' I'm not suggesting she gets hurt, just stuck."
posted by Lyme Drop at 8:44 PM on April 28 [75 favorites]


Michelle Wolf called out Sarah Huckabee Sanders as a lying liar that lies. While looking at her about five feet away. I'm not sure what the fuss is about.
posted by wallabear at 8:51 PM on April 28 [51 favorites]


Is the "intense criticism of her physical appearance" that Haberman references the joke about turning lies into perfect smoky eye shadow? That's the only thing I remember referencing SHS' appearance in any way. If so that's pretty weak sauce. One can certainly argue that even that small reference doesn't belong but it can't possibly be held to be "intense criticism of her physical appearance."
posted by Justinian at 8:52 PM on April 28 [16 favorites]


I might be undercutting my point above here, but I don't care. You have to watch this video of Trump attempting to use an umbrella while getting off Air Force One.
posted by zachlipton at 8:52 PM on April 28 [7 favorites]


My favorite part:

Wolf: "Trump is so broke..."
Audience partly responsible for current Hellworld, in monotone unison: "How broke is he?"
Wolf: "He had to borrow money from Russia and is now compromised and susceptible to blackmail and possibly responsible for the collapse of the Republic."
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:53 PM on April 28 [120 favorites]


I was partial to Wolff saying that she would have gone and dragged Trump back to the dinner but apparently in Trump's America he's the only pussy you're not allowed to grab.
posted by Justinian at 8:54 PM on April 28 [59 favorites]


Loved it. It's a roast. They're fucking Nazis. I don't care if Goebbels and facilitators are upset. Burn it all down.
posted by chris24 at 8:55 PM on April 28 [72 favorites]


Eh, Wolf also compared SHS to Aunt Lydia from The Handmaid's Tale (played by Ann Dowd, 62) and to a softball coach, which I kinda took in context as code for butch. So yes, there were some definite digs at SHS's not being traditionally comely.

But everything else was utterly brutal in a much more appropriate way.
posted by Room 101 at 9:00 PM on April 28 [3 favorites]


Oh, gotcha. I haven't seen THT yet so that went over my head. I assumed it had something to do with being a terrible misogynistic christofascist.
posted by Justinian at 9:02 PM on April 28 [4 favorites]


Saying that Pence would love The Handmaid's Tale was worth the price of admission
posted by The Gaffer at 9:03 PM on April 28 [38 favorites]


@mschlapp: (CPAC head)
My wife @mercedesschlapp and I walked out early from the wh correspondents dinner. Enough of elites mocking all of us


@ashleyfeinberg:
replying to @mschlapp
yes, how dare these powerful elites pick on a simple... [checks notes] koch brothers lobbyist

@LOLGOP:
replying to @mschlapp
You guys haven’t stuck it to the elites this hard since you gave billionaires trillions in tax cuts

@ParkerMolloy:
replying to @mschlapp
Students walk out of VP's commencement speech: mocks them as “children fleeing from political speech that they disagree with,” also talks about the importance of “learning to listen to a different POV.”

A comedian says a joke that gave him the sads: [marches out, tells the world, safe space, etc]
posted by chris24 at 9:12 PM on April 28 [120 favorites]


The only thing wrong here is Wolf didn't go after the reporters present by name as well. Starting with Haberman.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:13 PM on April 28 [32 favorites]


@MegKinnardAP: If the #WHCD dinner did anything tonight, it made the chasm between journalists and those who don't trust us, even wider. And those of us based in the red states who work hard every day to prove our objectivity will have to deal with it.

I don't care about the "civility" and "decency" complaints that are already pouring in from people who think Donald Trump is a decent human being, and the idea that the most powerful people in the country need to be protected from jokes made about them is stupid, but I am concerned about trust.

I realize that a great deal of right-wing complaints about the press are made in bad faith, and that great harm is being done when those bad faith complaints keep getting treated as legitimate grievances. But there is a propaganda-fueled nationwide crisis of trust in media right now that's destroying democracy and rendering the truth non-existent, and I've yet to see a compelling strategy of how we're even going to try to get out of that hole. I do feel like the DC press corps putting on tuxedos to listen to abortion jokes is primarily digging the trust hole deeper, and I'm not sure what benefit was gained from it.
posted by zachlipton at 9:15 PM on April 28 [4 favorites]


I don't want to laugh at Sarah Sanders; I want her gone.
15 years ago, Tom Lehrer said (and I FPP'd it) "I don't want to satirise George Bush and his puppeteers, I want to vaporise them."(The interviewer notes: "he quickly adds: 'And that's not funny.'")

It must be noted (a) that after declining his invitation to this year's dinner, Trump scheduled a rally/fundraiser the same day and sent messages to his supporters that it would be "where the REAL people are".
(b) nobody (without a specific portfolio) has profited more from the Trump Presidency than Maggie "one b" Haberman.
(c) what were the Schlapps even doing at the dinner? Didn't they get Trump's (fundraising) message?
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:19 PM on April 28 [9 favorites]


Sorry, but 'don't make jokes that make the Nazis mad' is a shitty shitty argument. Because that's what that boils down to. Don't like it, then end the fucking event. It's not our fault or Wolf's fault. The biggest reason we're here in the situation where we have to supposedly worry about the denigration of the press is the press's own dereliction of duty.
posted by chris24 at 9:20 PM on April 28 [48 favorites]


Michelle Wolf treated the event like she was at a low rent locker room dumpster fire, and... well, what can you say? That's a fairly accurate picture of where the country's at, and it's not like she said anything more crass than our president has...
posted by xammerboy at 9:27 PM on April 28 [14 favorites]


Even if you loathe the WHCD (which I totally can appreciate), everything’s weirder now that the President is too chickenshit to even attend. It’s like a roast, but the (primary) person being roasted lacks any sense of humor and isn’t even in the room.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:28 PM on April 28 [7 favorites]


I recall Colbert ended his WHCD with a few well-aimed critiques of the press people seated before him, but not nearly this harshly. I guess Wolf decided she had to go in harder to avoid getting 'ho-hummed' away.

And I've said it before and I'll say it again: if the Press (not the WHCs but their bosses) had treated Donald like the mid-level mobster that he has always been, he'd be in a Federal Prison instead of the White House today.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:37 PM on April 28 [28 favorites]


holy shit i just watched it and that was the most savage wolf attack I've seen since The Neverending Story

i was watching in a state closely verging on panic and the it was very cathartic in the end. michelle wolf is a friggin boss.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 9:47 PM on April 28 [29 favorites]


Yeah, if anyone is more upset at Michelle Wolf's performance than they are at literally any given day of this White House, they need to reassess their priorities. And their sense of reality.

And good on her for calling the press out for enabling this shit.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:58 PM on April 28 [82 favorites]


the great Wolf Michelle rose from the deep
posted by uosuaq at 10:00 PM on April 28 [75 favorites]


Having a rewatch here and gut-busting laughing again.
posted by wallabear at 10:40 PM on April 28 [12 favorites]


i mean, this is what michelle wolf does for a living. they knew who they were hiring. excellent work, too
posted by eustatic at 11:57 PM on April 28 [8 favorites]


There were a few that got absolute silence. Have to go back & see which they were & whether I agree with the audience or not on those.
posted by scalefree at 12:05 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


looking back at colbert, I suppose that performance was one joke for the crowd for every joke at the crowd's expense, and he would switch back and forth. but, wolf was a writer for seth meyers, so
posted by eustatic at 12:08 AM on April 29


The Michelle Wolf video is five times better than I expected - especially toothsome/bone ravagingly sad were the cutaways to Kellyanne Conway and SH-S not laughing at jokes about them. Not laughing at all not smiling either. They weren’t funny jokes. Who hired this bitch? I’m making some calls.
Points also for mentioning how not-rich Trump is.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:25 AM on April 29 [8 favorites]


Yeah, if anyone is more upset at Michelle Wolf's performance than they are at literally any given day of this White House, they need to reassess their priorities. And their sense of reality.

Indeed. Many of us are socialized to be more outraged at breaches of etiquette than breaches of justice.
posted by supercrayon at 1:25 AM on April 29 [79 favorites]


didn't know she was half norse, but: prescient fpp title, or what?
posted by progosk at 1:39 AM on April 29 [11 favorites]


C-SPAN's full video of this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner (start at about 31:30 to skip any Trump rally crap) and many previous WHCDs. In addition to Michelle Wolf they started off with a sequence from Stephen Colbert, Chris Licht &co.'s Our Cartoon President.
posted by XMLicious at 1:40 AM on April 29 [3 favorites]


Fuck that was great. Michelle Wolf was given the pulpit and she did exactly what she had to do - make rich comfortable people, uncomfortable. People like that live in a bubble where even when they fuck up they still get to hang out (Reince Preibus ffs - has he no shame?). She let them know that we know how shit they are and we don't forget.
posted by awfurby at 1:53 AM on April 29 [23 favorites]


SHS got all the politeness she deserved. All of this "I can do something horrific, but it is impolite to directly state that I did so" can die in a fire.
posted by jaduncan at 3:13 AM on April 29 [22 favorites]


@mschlapp: (CPAC head)
My wife @mercedesschlapp and I walked out early from the wh correspondents dinner. Enough of elites mocking all of us
You are at the White House Correspondent's Dinner. You are at the WHITE HOUSE Correspondent's Dinner. YOU ARE AT THE WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT'S DINNER!
posted by Horkus at 3:31 AM on April 29 [52 favorites]


I don’t mind attacks on SHS for what she does, but I do hate attacks on her for what she looks like, because many awesome ladies also don’t meet trad beauty standards and fuck those standards. But attacks for being a liar, she deserves every one.
posted by corb at 3:33 AM on April 29 [18 favorites]


SHS got all the politeness she deserved. All of this "I can do something horrific, but it is impolite to directly state that I did so" can die in a fire.
This. It's a game Republicans have played for ages, not just now in the Trump era (but absolutely more out in the open now). The do and/or say something outrageous, and when they are called on it, they pretend to be outraged that someone would say that about them. In the Guardian article about the roast, Spicer, of all people gives us this: It was absolutely disgusting. The idea that people clapped at that. It’s one thing to celebrate the first amendment but that, tonight, was one of the most disgusting and deplorable things I’ve ever heard in my life. The language, the references were way over the line.
What?? That little evil lying gnat was disgusted? Sorry, Spicer, you don't get to go there.
posted by mumimor at 3:34 AM on April 29 [39 favorites]


LInk to Guardian article
posted by mumimor at 3:35 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


No one attacked SRS for her looks. That's a lie Maggie Habs made up to keep her access to Trump to continue her insipid "journalism."
posted by Yowser at 3:36 AM on April 29 [49 favorites]


I'm of the opinion that performing at the White House Correspondents' Dinner cannot particularly be classified as 'speaking truth to power', and the dismissive responses we're seeing from the media are why. The dinner is a light, comedy-focused event. Almost anything said there can be brushed off as a mean joke.

Speaking truth to power involves them being forced to recognise the truth. One of the reasons why Stewart on Crossfire was so effective was that it wasn't a format for jokes and you couldn't dismiss what he was saying as part of a performance. He was earnestly, disappointedly, telling the hosts - left and right - that their show did not justify its existence.

Next year, picket the fucking dinner.
posted by Merus at 3:36 AM on April 29 [7 favorites]


In an interview with the Guardian, Spicer, who quit as press secretary last summer, was visibly angry as he said: ‘It was absolutely disgusting. The idea that people clapped at that. It’s one thing to celebrate the first amendment but that, tonight, was one of the most disgusting and deplorable things I’ve ever heard in my life.‘

“...and I've heard myself say that Hitler didn't gas his own people so I really know disgusting and deplorable when I hear it!”
posted by XMLicious at 3:52 AM on April 29 [39 favorites]


Thanks for the link to the Guardian article, mumimor. I loved this quote:

One Democratic congressman told the Guardian he found Wolf’s speech “crass” and “vulgar”, but another defended her, observing: “What, Trump is president but suddenly there are boundaries now?”
posted by Bella Donna at 4:26 AM on April 29 [72 favorites]


Lawfare (Orin Kerr): Did Donald Trump Jr. Admit to Violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act?
The recently-released Minority report of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) discloses a copy of an e-mail sent by Donald J. Trump Jr., on September 21, 2016, to a group of top Trump campaign officials. The e-mail is interesting because Trump may have confessed in it to committing a federal crime, specifically 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2). It's just a misdemeanor based on the facts we know. But depending on the circumstances, the violation could also be a felony.

Here are the law-nerd details.

We learned back in 2017 that Trump Jr. exchanged direct messages on Twitter with the Wikileaks account during the 2016 Presidential campaign. We knew that Wikileaks had sent Trump Jr. a message that included guessed login credentials of a default account on an about-to-launch anti-Trump website, and that Wikileaks encouraged him to visit the site. But we didn't know if Trump Jr. or anyone else had actually used the username and password. [...]

The Minority report reprints an e-mail from Trump Jr. in which he admitted to just that...
posted by chris24 at 4:34 AM on April 29 [27 favorites]


FBI shadows Russian MMA great Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator event in Chicago.

They appear to be casting a pretty wide net if they are chasing down leads from 10 years ago when Trump had a stake in a MMA league.
posted by srboisvert at 5:06 AM on April 29 [6 favorites]


Jamil Smith (Rolling Stone)
If some in the press were as hemmed up by this @WhiteHouse’s open embrace of white supremacy, misogyny, mass incarceration, environmental pollution, corporate corruption, and defecation on the First Amendment as they are about what a comedian said, we might be getting somewhere. This @WhiteHouse gaslights the public and endangers the press. Its platform is a to-do list for those wanting to exacerbate inequality. Its @POTUS mocks and slanders with abandon. Its Cabinet is a rogues’ gallery. Let’s be as alarmed about that as some are about @michelleisawolf.

I’m all for not lowering myself to Trump’s level, but that isn’t what @michelleisawolf seems to have done. She called everyone out on their bullshit, and folks can’t deal. And the Flint thing was a masterstroke. That they are talking about her jokes and not that proves her point.


David Corn (Mother Jones)
Whatever one might think of Michelle Wolf's performance, it's clear that anyone who works for or supports Trump has no basis for complaining about vulgarity or personal insults. Your house is made of very thin glass.
posted by chris24 at 5:14 AM on April 29 [133 favorites]


Here are the law-nerd details.

Tl;dr: In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread. More white collar crimes such as using stolen/guessed credentials to log into the websites of political opponents, which are not a particularly big deal in context, are often not prosecuted at the federal level.
posted by jaduncan at 5:16 AM on April 29 [7 favorites]


Remember BBC Dad? Well, the reason he was on BBC is he's a North Korea expert. His thoughts on the idea Trump is responsible for the possible SK-NK rapprochement:
@JChengWSJ: Mike Pence: "The fact that N. Korea has come to the table without the U.S. making any concessions speaks to the strength of President Trump’s leadership and is a clear sign that the intense pressure of sanctions is working."
Robert E Kelly
Retweeted Jonathan Cheng
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. First, there’s no actual evidence that Trumpian belligerence led to this, only a strong desire of Trump defenders to claim a ‘win.’ Yes, it might be the reason, but we don’t know, so let’s stop saying this as if it’s self-evidently true. It’s not.

Second, we did actually make a concession: POTUS agreed to meet the world’s worst human rights abuser in exchange for nothing, which experts in this area counseled against for decades. Let’s all cringe at the coming photos of the leader of the free world yukking it up w/ an orwelian gangster.

Third, US pressure is filtered through China through which NK’s trade and finance flow. So if Trump pressure worked, then be sure to thank China a lot. (Trump does deserve credit for pushing China a lot on NK.)

Fourth, US analysts, & politicians especially, constantly overrate how much others’ choices are driven by what we do. Our hegemony goes to our head. NK has a long record of doing whatever the hell it wants regardless of global opinion, so our default position should be that NK does what it does for internal reasons firstly. Not that it ignores international opinion, just that we should be cautious about ascribing foreign causation to an opaque regime we don’t understand well. So my sense is that Kim is bargaining primarily because he had the ability to nuke CONUS, so he can approach us from a position of strength. Now that nuclear deterrence with the US is assured - ie, now that the US will never launch an Iraq-style regime change war against NK, bc we don’t want them to nuke the US homeland in retaliation - they are safe to come and look for a deal.

Basically, they’re going shopping. So they’ll talk to anyone now - Moon, Trump, Abe, Xi, Putin, even the IOC. Why not? See what you can get for it. How can they cash out this hugely awesome capability? Naturally Trump thinks this is about him, but it’s not. Kim’s meeting with everyone now. And if no deal is forthcoming, then they just return to their defensive crouch and wait for the storm to blow over and everyone adjusts to a NK with nuclear weapons. We adjusted to Cultural Revolution China with nukes. We adjusted to Pakistan with nukes. Remember how everyone freaked out when Pakistan got nukes? A weak state wracked by Islamic fundamentalism? Despite the dire predictions, nothing happened, and in time everyone got exhausted and just gave up and adapted. I’d bet that’s NK’s model for the future: get a sweet deal or dig in and hold till the rest of us tire, get bored, get distractede, get bewitchedi by the latest Trump scandal, and gradually gets accepted as a de facto nuclear state. Yes, it will take longer, bc it’s NK, which is uniquely scary, but I’d guess we’ll adapt. END

ADDENDUM: Some readers have brought up that SoKo's ForMin credited Trump for bring NoKo to the table: South Korea credits Trump for opening door to talks with North. Ok. Perhaps. It's possible. But she doesn't really know either. A far more obvious explanation is that she is flattering Trump. Diplomats and leaders around the world have learned pretty quickly that the best way to keep on Trump's good side and avoid tariffs and US harping, is to flatter the president. Look at Abe. He's a master at that. The South Koreans were terrified last year that Trump was going to start a war. If flattering this affirmation-craving president is a way to avoid a national catastrophe that is good politics. END
posted by chris24 at 6:11 AM on April 29 [58 favorites]


Leverage-creator and Crazification Factor–coiner Jon Rogers compares and contrasts the two performances from last night and the press's reactions to them:
Look, the #WHCD should probably stop booking actual comedians. That shit's going to happen. That's a comedian's job. If the press isn't going to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted, somebody has to.
Of course prominent conservatives are going to freak out. That's what they do now. THAT'S THEIR JOB. Permanent huff. You could have the gentlest fucking goof on earth up there, and if a single barb drifted their way, there would be walk-outs.
There are people in that room who support a wildly incompetent morally monstrous child who's poisoning public discourse & derailing America's relationship with the world, is it too goddam much for just one night for somebody to not have to pretend that its okay? To NOT normalize?
Next year the #WHCD should skip the comedian and instead get treatment more in line with what they deserve -- like, say, shrimp cocktail left at room temperature for a day.
Let's focus on the real victims of the #WHCD , the poor people who have to return to their guaranteed jobs tomorrow at influential institutions where they shape the national priorities of both culture and politics with zero accountability, but who had a sad for a full half hour.
Tonight the President stood on stage in front of thousands and described how the Democrats were traitors who actively encouraged multinational crime gangs to come to America to murder your children and sell drugs. But Michelle fucking Wolf is the problem for insulting reporters.
We're never coming back from this. Not all the way.
And of course Trump went on Twitter this morning to brag about his "great evening" in Michigan ("The enthusiasm, knowledge and love in that room was unreal."), falsely boast about his poll numbers vs. Obama's, and criticize the WHCD he was too cowardly to attend ("a very big, boring bust...the so-called comedian really “bombed.”"). Best of all, he recommended for next year, the WHC hire the Fox hack who helped put a NJ GOP chapter into the red with his exorbitant speaking fees—grifters respect grift.

Flint still doesn't have clean water!
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:18 AM on April 29 [62 favorites]


But there is a propaganda-fueled nationwide crisis of trust in media right now that's destroying democracy and rendering the truth non-existent, and I've yet to see a compelling strategy of how we're even going to try to get out of that hole.

(1) stop pretending there's just what people say and no real truth

(2) stop smooching nazis
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:26 AM on April 29 [26 favorites]


@mschlapp: (CPAC head)
My wife @mercedesschlapp and I walked out early from the wh correspondents dinner. Enough of elites mocking all of us


I thought Pence was the team's flouncer.
posted by ctmf at 6:34 AM on April 29 [10 favorites]


What I found compelling about Michelle Wolf's presentation was the barely concealed anger. She is angry and she has good reasons to be angry. And for a lot of the elites sitting in that room, that anger is an embarrassment, regardless if they are media or congresspeople, and regardless if they are Republicans or Democrats. Almost all of those people have failed, and they know it. The Trump presidency is a huge failure of all US institutions. Everyone would like to point the blame at one place, but the reality is that everyone owns it. (And something similar is happening all over the world right now, it's not just the US, it's the reality we are all living).
posted by mumimor at 6:36 AM on April 29 [69 favorites]


What I found compelling about Michelle Wolf's presentation was the barely concealed anger.

Yes. Ending with a flat non-joke pointing out that Flint still doesn't have clean water was the most obvious statement that she actually means it. I feel like she had almost no distance between her comic persona and her, and that was exactly what made it great.
posted by jaduncan at 6:43 AM on April 29 [63 favorites]


It's absurd to pretend that comparing Sarah Huckabee Sanders to Aunt Lydia is commentary on her "looks." It's commentary on the fact that she's a woman who is complicit in defending and extending a christofascist patriarchy that viciously oppresses other women.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 6:49 AM on April 29 [125 favorites]


@MegKinnardAP: If the #WHCD dinner did anything tonight, it made the chasm between journalists and those who don't trust us, even wider. And those of us based in the red states who work hard every day to prove our objectivity will have to deal with it...

Greg Sargent (WaPo)
Retweeted Meg Kinnard
This is how the media ends up rewarding bad-faith right wing attacks on the press. There *is no point at which* right wing critics will *ever* concede that the press is behaving objectively. It's a sucker's game. Choose not to play it.

Greg Sargent
Here's the ultimate irony in this @michelleisawolf thing. Media's response today is to say, "we need to prove to Trump voters that we can be objective." But in pointing out how much the Trump WH lies, Wolf was saying what every media figure knows to be *objectively* true.

---

So surprised that Politico is just as craven and complicit as the NYT.

Kyle Cheney (Politico)
Michelle Wolf didn’t fail just because she was (spectacularly) one-sided. It was because she was unnecessarily cruel on a night the WHCA was trying to showcase decency and purpose. Undermined an otherwise meaningful night.
posted by chris24 at 6:54 AM on April 29 [13 favorites]


Max Fisher: Maybe these repeated WH Correspondent Dinner controversies suggest that the contradiction between celebrating a profession dedicated to imposing accountability, while also fostering bonhomie between that profession and the institution it monitors, is on some level irreconcilable? No one would be surprised if the “Annual Dinner of Banking Executives And Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Regulators” regularly erupted in awkwardness and controversy

David Atkins: It’s Time for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner to End
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:56 AM on April 29 [20 favorites]




Gosh, Wolf's speech was really a horrible attack on decorum and dangerous to the First Amendment.

Brianna Sacks (Buzzfeed)
This Trump supporter repeatedly yelled at the press, calling media “degenerate filth” and to get out of his country after the Michigan rally concluded
VIDEO
posted by chris24 at 7:15 AM on April 29 [24 favorites]


AV Club headline seems to sum it up:
Michelle Wolf speaks truth to assholes at tonight's White House Correspondents' Dinner

It’s a minor point amongst many but “Fox News is here. Ladies, you know what that means: Cover your drink” is a good one.
posted by Artw at 7:18 AM on April 29 [72 favorites]


Quinta Jurecic (Lawfare managing editor)
I see that today we will be arguing about feminist solidarity with Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Goodbye ... (pssst: the protection of victimized white womanhood has played an instrumental role throughout American history in upholding various systems of power and is not an uncomplicated thing)
posted by chris24 at 7:21 AM on April 29 [56 favorites]


When SHS has that “I so wish all of you little children would just understand the majesty and grace of our lord and savior Donald J Trump” look on her face while swatting away facts and replacing them with lies she does look a lot like Aunt Lydia.
posted by Glibpaxman at 7:25 AM on April 29 [25 favorites]


Proud to note the first time I called to kill the WHCD with fire on here was the 2011 thread on the blue. At that time I said, "No one will ever top Colbert", but Michelle Wolf was at least his equal. Let's get her a daily show.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:26 AM on April 29 [13 favorites]


Would you settle for a Netflix show?
posted by emelenjr at 7:29 AM on April 29 [12 favorites]


Geez, it's too bad that the WHCD isn't a safe space for the supporters of the pussy-grabber-in-chief. I'll take a knee to protest the way they were treated.
posted by nubs at 7:29 AM on April 29 [7 favorites]


You'll be happy to know that Mike Allen and Axios' thoughts on the WHCD are just as ridiculous as you'd imagine.

Some highlights:

Be smart: That creates a new hurdle for the White House Correspondents' Association to lure President Trump, who has snubbed the dinner the last two years.

Yes, being nice to the Nazis so the head Nazi attends your party is THE most important thing.

Why it matters: If the dinner can only attract liberal presidents and liberal comedians, the conclusion is inevitable.

Yes, if we piss off the Nazis, then we might no longer get our party.

She made several uses of a vulgarity that begins with "p," in an audience filled with Washington officials, top journalists and a few baseball legends (Brooks Robinson, Tony La Russa and Dennis Eckersley).

Oh no, she quoted the president in front of the president's staff and some athletes. I would think the players would be used to it, after all it's just locker room talk.
posted by chris24 at 7:30 AM on April 29 [101 favorites]


This culture war double standard makes me want to scream into the void eternally.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:32 AM on April 29 [43 favorites]


Feminist author and Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti:

"I have spent years defending women on both sides of the aisle from sexist attacks & digs on their appearance. Michelle Wolf did neither - she rightly blasted Sanders' character & her penchant for lying to the American people. Saying Wolf's criticism was about Sanders' appearance is a way for conservatives to draw away attention from the fact that the press sec lies on the regular. That's it."

---
@mschlapp: My wife @mercedesschlapp and I walked out early from the wh correspondents dinner. Enough of elites mocking all of us
Angus Johnston
"We think free speech includes hearing Milo’s important perspective."
—Matt Schlapp

---

And a reminder that Schlapp was the one who told ex-RNC chair Michael Steele to basically get over it when a CPAC exec made racist comments about him in a speech there.
posted by chris24 at 7:42 AM on April 29 [72 favorites]


This culture war double standard makes me want to scream into the void eternally.

For your convenience:

Metafilter: Screaming into the void eterenally
( link to Fucking-Fuck-X-The-Enfuckenating MetaTalk thread )
posted by mikelieman at 7:44 AM on April 29 [7 favorites]


A more serious take on the double standards we are dealing with: Amid the opioid epidemic, white means victim, black means addict
posted by mumimor at 7:44 AM on April 29 [33 favorites]


@mschlapp: My wife @mercedesschlapp and I walked out early from the wh correspondents dinner. Enough of elites mocking all of us

The word 'schlapp' means limp or floppy. 'Nuff said.
posted by Too-Ticky at 7:47 AM on April 29 [4 favorites]


From November 2016, but appropriate this morning.

Saladin Ahmed
publicly disrespecting fascists is absolutely crucial to resistance as it lets others know that they are not alone with the monsters
posted by chris24 at 7:52 AM on April 29 [100 favorites]


Meanwhile David Trone continues to try to buy a congressional seat in MD.

This shit should be illegal. I don't care if it's Tom Steyer or the Kochs, we need to curtail billionaire influence on politics, and if we get out of this Trump mess I really hope there'll be the political will to make it happen.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:02 AM on April 29 [7 favorites]


White House tree: Emmanuel Macron's sapling disappears

The White House hasn’t said anything about where it went; the speculation is that it’s in quarantine and/or awaiting replanting in the fall, which is supposed to promote better root development.
posted by notyou at 8:14 AM on April 29 [10 favorites]


Maggie Haberman: That @PressSec sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive.

Michelle Wolf
Hey mags! All these jokes were about her despicable behavior. Sounds like you have some thoughts about her looks though? 😘

Peter Daou
TRY THIS: Now replace Sarah Sanders with Hillary Clinton in this @maggieNYT tweet and tell me if you could ever imagine a mainstream journalist saying it. EVER.

---

Mika Brzezinski: Watching a wife and mother be humiliated on national television for her looks is deplorable. I have experienced insults about my appearance from the president. All women have a duty to unite when these attacks happen and the WHCA owes Sarah an apology.

@hilzoy
I absolutely don't get this line of criticism at all. Some people's looks were disparaged. E.g.: "Mitch McConnell isn't here. He had a prior engagement. He's finally getting his neck circumcised." But Sanders wasn't one of them.

Quinta Jurecic (Lawfare)
"a wife and a mother" is a way to say that criticizing SHS is an incursion into the private, domestic space of the home and therefore off limits. but ... she's the White House press secretary

---

Daniel Dale: Trump warns Montana Sen. Jon Tester that he could ruin him: "I know things about Tester that I could say too. And if I said 'em, he'd never be elected again."

Jeet Heer (New Republic)
President says he has secret information on Senator which could destroy him. Press ignores. Comedian tells rude jokes. Press has a freak-out. What a world.
- There was a comedian who once made crude jokes about the Emperor Caligula and his court. Historians blame her for the death of civility that destroyed the empire.
posted by chris24 at 8:36 AM on April 29 [94 favorites]




David Atkins: It’s Time for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner to End

It should have ended in shame and embarrassment the night Colbert pantsed everybody for letting George W. Bush routinely pretend objective reality doesn't exist.

That it has continued since is a national disgrace that far outweighs anything Wolf may have said last night. Criticisms of her performance from the media and the right are an act of spectacular bad faith that only prove her point.

And Colbert's.
posted by Gelatin at 8:44 AM on April 29 [22 favorites]


My wife @mercedesschlapp and I walked out early from the wh correspondents dinner. Enough of elites mocking all of us

Your wife works for the President of the United States. How elite is that? Even with this President.
posted by scalefree at 8:46 AM on April 29 [34 favorites]


For those arguing that Wolf attacked or didn't attack Huckabee-Sanders about her appearance, I think it boils down to her joke about her eye shadow and burning facst to make the ash for "her perfect smoky eye. Maybe she's born with it, maybe it's lies."

When I was listening to the stand-up act last night as it was broadcast, that line sounded not like "burning facts" but burning fat, which really felt like a personal attack. Once I realized that it was burning facts, I still felt like it was a shot on Huckabee-Sanders' appearance that wasn't necessarily called for and could be construed as an attack on a woman's appearance, her make-up skills, how she performs femininity, etc.

For the record, overall, I thought the performance was generally funny, and definitely scathing. There were a few clunkers that landed (the abortion joke about pushing/pulling it out and the joke about the malfunctioning airplane engine, for example), but overall it was a hard-hitting set.

I was surprised, however, that Huckabee-Sanders didn't say anything. As a stand-in for the president, I was expecting her to give a speech, take some shots at the press. I don't know why she was there sitting at the head table if she wasn't participating.
posted by sardonyx at 8:47 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]


Feminist author and Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti:

"I have spent years defending women on both sides of the aisle from sexist attacks & digs on their appearance. Michelle Wolf did neither - she rightly blasted Sanders' character & her penchant for lying to the American people. Saying Wolf's criticism was about Sanders' appearance is a way for conservatives to draw away attention from the fact that the press sec lies on the regular. That's it."


And just as importantly, about how the so-called "liberal media" covers for her by not pointing out when she lies.
posted by Gelatin at 8:48 AM on April 29 [21 favorites]


This Wolf backlash feels like a bunch of people desperately wanting to not live in interesting times.
posted by angrycat at 8:52 AM on April 29 [23 favorites]


One Democratic congressman told the Guardian he found Wolf’s speech “crass” and “vulgar”, but another defended her, observing: “What, Trump is president but suddenly there are boundaries now?”

Decency in the face of indecency is not a thing that should be tolerated, just like tolerance of intolerance. Nazis get punched, authoritarians get their authority mocked.
posted by scalefree at 8:52 AM on April 29 [10 favorites]


Fascinating focus group footage from Frank Luntz on NBC's MtPr this morning. Revealed that Dems and Republicans have splintered on even being able to discuss issues. Republicans don't want to be called out for supporting racists and racist policies, and Dems don't want to meet racists and racism halfway on policy.
posted by rc3spencer at 8:53 AM on April 29 [24 favorites]


"I have spent years defending women on both sides of the aisle from sexist attacks & digs on their appearance. Michelle Wolf did neither - she rightly blasted Sanders' character & her penchant for lying to the American people. Saying Wolf's criticism was about Sanders' appearance is a way for conservatives to draw away attention from the fact that the press sec lies on the regular. That's it."

I think it's legit to point out that if a white conservative man had made the same joke about a liberal woman, it would've been interpreted as mysoginist. I think if you can't put yourself in the space where you realize that that would be true, you've got some wild partisan blinders on. The context matters a lot, but focussing on things like makeup is still something that raises red flags (cue a clip reel of all the news articles about women public figures that start with "Dressed in a sleek black skirt and white blouse..." etc.). Avoiding things like makeup when talking about a woman is a good strategy since it definitely allows people to misinterpret and is per-se sexist.

Still a good joke tho. SHS is a lying liar and that eyeshadow is a bit much.
posted by dis_integration at 8:55 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Mike Huckabee: "The WHCD was supposed to celebrate the 1st Amendment. Instead they celebrated bullying, vulgarity, and hate. They got all dressed up so they would look nicer when they had a hired gun savagely attack their guests. Do they really wonder why America has no respect for them? Sad!" [...] "The WHCD was supposed to celebrate the 1st Amendment. Instead they celebrated bullying, vulgarity, and hate. They got all dressed up so they would look nicer when they had a hired gun savagely attack their guests. Do they really wonder why America has no respect for them? Sad! [...] Sincere and heartfelt THANKS to @maggieNYT for having guts to publicly denounce the vicious vile attack on @PressSec at WHCD. @PressSec handled it professionally but I pray her kids never see that. I pray more they never bully another person like that. [...] Those who think that the tasteless classless bullying at the WHCD was an example of the 1st Amendment should never condemn bullying,bigoted comments, racist bile or hate speech. People should be free to speak but held accountable for it.

Also Mike Huckabee: It's not fair that ppl are criticizing Justice Ginsberg for skipping SOTU! Security concerns wouldn't allow her to bring CPAP machine into House Chamber.

Also Mike Huckabee: Had a colonoscopy today. My doctor was actually Russian. Now THAT is what I call RUSSIAN MEDDLING! They put me to sleep w/ same stuff Michael Jackon used. When I woke up, I MOON-walked right out of the hospital!

Also Mike Huckabee: For Cinco de Mayo I will drink an entire jar of hot salsa and watch old Speedy Gonzales cartoons and speak Spanish all day. Happy CdMayo!
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:56 AM on April 29 [25 favorites]


Fascinating focus group footage from Frank Luntz on NBC's MtPr this morning. Revealed that Dems and Republicans have splintered on even being able to discuss issues. Republicans don't want to be called out for supporting racists and racist policies, and Dems don't want to meet racists and racism halfway on policy.

I post many of the links I see here onto FB where my very Republican best friend growing up sees them. He made me promise not to discuss politics when I come home for visits & flat out asked me once if I thought he was a racist. Of course I said no, what else could I say?
posted by scalefree at 9:03 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


This is so obviously a nice distraction for members of the press to ponder instead of Wolf's very valid criticisms of them. Haberman's motivation is also absurdly obvious, in my opinion—it's a game and positioning for access to the administration carried out with the veneer of civility.

That Haberman and other members of the press do not tweet in a tizzy every single day about the constant stream of actually vulgar and awful things Trump says and does speaks for itself.
posted by defenestration at 9:03 AM on April 29 [35 favorites]


This Wolf backlash feels like a bunch of people desperately wanting to not live in interesting times

Interesting times that they helped unleash. That's what they're refusing to come to terms with. This SHS kerfuffle is the only distraction they've been able to light upon.

@PressSec handled it professionally but I pray her kids never see that.

I don't pray, but I do hope her kids find some way to come to terms with the fact that their mother voluntarily supported an authoritarian hatemonger's hateful authoritarian regime by freely choosing to take a job that consists entirely of publicly lying for him; accepting the underlying truth of Wolf's statement seems far more painful than hearing the language Wolf chose to couch it in.
posted by halation at 9:05 AM on April 29 [37 favorites]




"No, but voting for racists makes you complicit in perpetuating racist policies. That's not any better."
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:05 AM on April 29 [15 favorites]


"No, but voting for racists makes you complicit in perpetuating racist policies. That's not any better."

But then we would not be friends anymore. He still gets the message whether we admit it or not. It's not like I've stopped my posting & he keeps reading them.
posted by scalefree at 9:07 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Wolff is a black liberal woman. Trump’s chorus of enablers would have problems with anything she said, so why not go all out?

Fuck, I would have just screamed wordlessly into the mic for 20 minutes.
posted by bibliowench at 9:10 AM on April 29 [9 favorites]


(Still, the Schlapps later attended NBC and MSNBC's after party.)

Sure, they had those tasty little shrimp pastries. They're to die for! Also, down with the elites.
posted by scalefree at 9:12 AM on April 29 [25 favorites]


The eyeshadow thing is total beanplating, but making fun of something someone chooses to do to their own face is totally fair game and good grief this is all very stupid.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:12 AM on April 29 [20 favorites]


I think if you can't put yourself in the space where you realize that that would be true, you've got some wild partisan blinders on.

Respectfully disagree.

"I actually really like Sarah. I think she's very resourceful. Like, she burns facts, and then she uses the ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like, maybe she's born with it; maybe it's lies."

'I actually really like Hillary. I think she's very resourceful. Like using slave labor in Haiti to make the perfect pantsuit. Maybe it's good design, maybe it's corruption.'

And Wolf said she has the perfect smoky eye. Which is complimentary and which is the proper term for it. If other people think her makeup is perhaps a bit much, that's not what Wolf said. It's a distinctive identifying trait of SHS like HRC's pantsuits.
posted by chris24 at 9:15 AM on April 29 [19 favorites]


The eyeshadow thing is total beanplating
And also a brilliant metaphor. I was stunned more by the great writing when I heard that.
posted by rc3spencer at 9:15 AM on April 29 [9 favorites]


Add slumlord to the ever-lengthening "Ways Sean Hannity is a Scumbag" list.

Sean Hannity raised rent by nearly 50% on blue-collar Georgia tenants in Michael Cohen-backed real estate venture
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:17 AM on April 29 [17 favorites]


Myself, wanna know more about these press softball games SHS coaches. I wanna see Jim Acosta explaining to her how he missed the take-a-bribe sign.
posted by riverlife at 9:19 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]


@michelleisawolf Why are you guys making this about Sarah’s looks? I said she burns facts and uses the ash to create a *perfect* smoky eye. I complimented her eye makeup and her ingenuity of materials.
posted by scalefree at 9:20 AM on April 29 [64 favorites]


I don't know why she was there sitting at the head table if she wasn't participating.

She was thrown to the Wolf to create video footage of her sitting there stone faced so the Republican pundits could show it and wring their hands over the dignity of a mother being attacked. It will play well with the base.
posted by Candleman at 9:21 AM on April 29 [13 favorites]


@rolandscahill When people are more outraged at a smoky eye joke than the kids of Parkland being mocked, something is seriously wrong
posted by scalefree at 9:23 AM on April 29 [100 favorites]


The outrage outrages me. Trump wasn't at a roast and wasn't joking when he called women ugly, made fun of the handicapped, etc. Wolf came nowhere near the kind of disgusting comments Trump made on the campaign trail and continues to make as president.

And the outrage is such a played out game. Conway and Huckabee are outraged? I have never seen an interview with either of them where they are not outraged. Give me a break.
posted by xammerboy at 9:30 AM on April 29 [52 favorites]


scalefree: my very Republican best friend growing up... flat out asked me once if I thought he was a racist. Of course I said no, what else could I say?

"Yes."

Lying to racists about them "not" being racists to make them feel better results in only that: racists absolve themselves of being racist and continue on being racist and feeling good about it.
posted by tzikeh at 9:30 AM on April 29 [38 favorites]


Wolff is a black liberal woman.

Actually, no. There was a whole bit on the Daily Show about her being mistaken for black. I believe she is Jewish.
posted by obliquity of the ecliptic at 9:32 AM on April 29 [12 favorites]


Lying to racists about them "not" being racists to make them feel better results in only that: racists absolve themselves of being racist and continue on being racist and feeling good about it.

He knows it's a lie of convenience, he's not feeling good about it. And I get to continue to be the one hole in his information bubble & by extension those of everyone we grew up with who're also on FB. I'm sure he gets it on both sides, schoolmates asking why he stays friends with me.
posted by scalefree at 9:36 AM on April 29 [5 favorites]


Michelle Goldberg (NYT)
The ❄️❄️❄️ response to @michelleisawolf is blowing my mind. If you're offended by a comedian mocking our sadistic rulers maybe shut up forever about college students and their safe spaces.

Mikel Jollett
Has anyone considered maybe the reason the press is so angry about Michelle Wolf is bc they know she was dead right about THEM? "He helped you sell your papers, books and TV. You helped created this monster and now you're profiting off of him."

LOLGOP
What if I told you you democracy is in more need of defense than your access to Sarah Sanders is.

ana marie cox
The most offensive line in Michelle Wolf’s routine was “Flint still doesn’t have clean water;” if something else she said bothers you more than that then maybe we shouldn’t trust your judgment about anything.

Robin Thede
There were two speeches last night:
- Michelle Wolf: “Sarah Huckabee Sanders tells lies”
- Trump: “Mexico is World War Z and I will shut the country down if Congress doesn’t pay for my wall”
Press Coverage - MICHELLE WOLF IS A MONSTER

@seb4466
If I were SHS I'd feel more offended by her defenders. If a woman these people considered beautiful received the same comments, these people would have rightly considered it an attack on lies. Their own thoughts are turning it into something else.
posted by chris24 at 9:39 AM on April 29 [125 favorites]


I may have been wrong about this.

The North Korean Nuclear Test Site
South Korea reports that Kim Jong Un has offered to close North Korea’s nuclear test site at Punggye-Ri in May. He says he will invite US and South Korean experts to examine the site before its demolition to see that it is still usable.
posted by scalefree at 9:47 AM on April 29


Wolff is a black liberal woman.

Is this a joke that I’m just not getting?
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 9:49 AM on April 29


Michelle Wolf on the Daily Show - Pulling a Rachel Dolezal

Whether Michelle Wolf is Jewish is up for debate. The Jewish Women's Archive seems to think not. But that's enough of this derail.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:50 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]


Sean Spicer
Tonight’s #WHCD was a disgrace

Philip Lewis (HuffPost)
retweeted Sean Spicer
I was sitting at the table in front of you. You gave a standing ovation to the journalist who won an award for a story about your resignation. You looked like you were having a good time!

---

The Intercept: Muslim refugee admissions dropped 94 percent from January 2017 to November 2017, from 50 percent of all refugees entering the U.S. to less than 10 percent.

Judd Apatow
retweeted The Intercept
This is what people should be outraged about. A racist President and his PR people and GOP backers supporting lies and corruption.
posted by chris24 at 9:53 AM on April 29 [39 favorites]


TPM: House Intel Member Gowdy: ‘I Am Awaiting The Mueller Investigation’
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said Sunday that he places more faith in federal investigators’ conclusions on Russian election meddling than those of Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, of which he is a member.

“The President, when he looks at your report, feels vindicated,” CBS’ “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan told Gowdy in an interview. “Are you saying he should not?”

“I want to be careful how I phrase this,” Gowdy responded. “No report— The best we can do is say what we’ve learned.”

“I can’t say what’s in the universe of witnesses we have not talked to,” he continued. “And I have always maintained I am awaiting the Mueller investigation. They get to use a grand jury. They have investigative tools that we don’t have.”

“Executive branch investigations are just better than congressional ones. So we found no evidence of collusion. Whether or not it exists or not, I can’t speak to, because I haven’t interviewed the full panoply of witnesses.”
posted by chris24 at 10:01 AM on April 29 [18 favorites]


>White House tree: Emmanuel Macron's sapling disappears

Hey! Finally a topic I'm qualified to talk about! It's true that fall would be a better time to plant a tree, spring would be the second-best. The problem is the phytosanitary certificate. Unless Macron planned this gift 6 months ago and had the tree in quarantine or bare-rooted in cold storage (which, to be honest, is possible. We've had a lot of practice in plant-giving since Japan gave us the cherry trees), then the tree needs to be quarantined. It's possible someone gave the OK for the ceremony and then put the tree somewhere safe.
posted by acrasis at 10:03 AM on April 29 [37 favorites]


'Member Mifsud? Markedly missing, maybe murdered.

(from a couple weeks ago but I don't remember seeing it here)

Intercept. The Absent Professor: a key Trump-Russia intermediary has been missing for months, as the case for collusion grows stronger
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:09 AM on April 29 [10 favorites]


Just so everyone understands: Kim's nuclear program fell apart, literally. His testing area is a shambles and deadly nuclear radiation is seeping out of the testing area. It's so over, the one thing Kim probably can't do is continue it.

Kim's master is Xi. Xi can militarily crush North Korea at any time. Xi gives North Korea its daily operating expenses for things like food and shelter. Kim does not start negotiations or finish negotiations or make any decision about anything of consequence without Xi's approval.

The outcome Xi and Kim want is to basically make North Korea like China by restoring its economic independence and well-being without sacrificing its authoritarian rule. The possible reality of a North Korean uprising that leads to millions of people storming its border is Xi's nightmare, as is being drawn into some kind of global war on its behalf.

What I think is going to happen is that Trump will go over there and basically open up trade with the country in return for ending the nuclear program that has, in reality, already ended. Trump will come home and claim a great victory. North Koreans can look forward to likely centuries more of drudgery.

Clinton gave the Chinese the internet on a bet that they wouldn't be able to control it, and that once the country was open to free information and business their regime would crumble. It hasn't worked out like that. It turns out you can control the internet. It turns out you can have a capitalist economy run by dictators. That's the new reality Xi wants to bring to North Korea by playing Trump in a sucker's game that only he could fall far (given that it now requires pretending their nuclear program is still operational when it's just not).
posted by xammerboy at 10:09 AM on April 29 [15 favorites]


Usually I'm dismayed that the news of the day is immediately washed away by Trump saying something crazy, but I'll be glad when it happens to this WHCD conversation.
posted by diogenes at 10:14 AM on April 29 [11 favorites]


xammerboy: to be clear, are you saying that there's conclusive agreement that North Korea's test site collapsed, and this claim that the collapse is not total by Jeffrey Lewis is wrong? How much North Korea's hand has been forced in offering peace is something that's pretty important to be sure about.
posted by ambrosen at 10:15 AM on April 29 [3 favorites]


“I can’t say what’s in the universe of witnesses we have not talked to,” he continued. “And I have always maintained I am awaiting the Mueller investigation. They get to use a grand jury. They have investigative tools that we don’t have.”

“Executive branch investigations are just better than congressional ones. So we found no evidence of collusion. Whether or not it exists or not, I can’t speak to, because I haven’t interviewed the full panoply of witnesses.”


The oscillating of pronouns from 'I' to 'we' is fascinating.

What me/we worry? "¯\_(ツ)_/¯"
posted by srboisvert at 10:25 AM on April 29 [8 favorites]


deadly nuclear radiation is seeping out of the testing area

Can we have a cite on this? Everything I've seen has either talked nebulously about "worries" over radiation or explicitly said that the Chinese government has reported no evidence of increased radioactive traces in samples taken at the border.
posted by XMLicious at 10:42 AM on April 29 [6 favorites]


It turns out you can control the internet. It turns out you can have a capitalist economy run by dictators.

Tim Snyder writes about this delusion that Americans suffered from that markets inevitably lead to freedom in "The Road to Unfreedom." In the context of the former Soviet Union...
Wild privatization was not at all the same thing as a market economy, at least as conventionally understood. Markets require the rule of law, which was the most demanding aspect of the post-Soviet transformations. Americans, taking the rule of law for granted, could fantasize that markets would create the necessary institutions. This was an error. It mattered whether newly independent states established the rule of law, and above all whether they managed a legal transition of power through free elections. In 1993, Yeltsin dissolved the Russian parliament and sent armed men against its deputies. He told his western partners that this was streamlining needed to accelerate market reforms, a version of events accepted in the American press. So long as markets were invoked, politicians of inevitability could see an attack on a parliament as a step towards democracy.
It's a really good book that has helped make sense of how we got here, for me. I just finished it so let me indulge in one more big block quote...
"Russia enabled and sustained the fiction of “Donald Trump, successful businessman,” and delivered that fiction to Americans as the payload of a cyberweapon. The Russian effort succeeded because the United States is much more like the Russian Federation than Americans would like to think. Because Russian leaders had already made the shift from the politics of inevitability to the politics of eternity, they had instincts and techniques that, as it turned out, corresponded to emerging tendencies in American society. Moscow was not trying to project some ideal of their own, only to use a giant lie to bring out the worst in the United States.
...
The essence of Russia’s foreign policy is strategic relativism: Russia cannot become stronger, so it must make others weaker. The simplest way to make others weaker is to make them more like Russia. Rather than addressing its problems, Russia exports them; and one of its basic problems is the absence of a succession principle. Russia opposes European and American democracy to ensure that Russians do not see that democracy might work as a succession principle in their own country. Russians are meant to distrust other systems as much as they distrust their own.
...
America was crushed by Russia in the cyberwar of 2016 because the relationship between technology and life had changed in a way that gave an advantage to the Russian practitioners of active measures.
...
Politics is international, but repair must be local. The presidential campaign of 2016, the biography of Donald Trump, the anonymous businesses, the anonymous real estate purchases, the domination of internet news, the peculiarities of the Constitution, the astonishing economic inequality, the painful history of race—to Americans, all of this can seem like a matter of a special nation and its exceptional history. The politics of inevitability tempted Americans to think that the world had to become like the United States and therefore more friendly and democratic, but this was not the case. In fact, the United States was itself becoming less democratic in the 2010s, and Russia was working to accelerate the trend."
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:56 AM on April 29 [59 favorites]


The outcome Xi and Kim want is to basically make North Korea like China by restoring its economic independence and well-being without sacrificing its authoritarian rule.

Also, to decouple Seoul from Washington (the demand for “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula, which would include a removal of nuclear-capable US forces, is part of that). The desired outcome would presumably include a totalitarian North Korea gradually harmonising with China and the South, with Chinese investment into the economy and the old-fashioned Stalinist system of control being replaced with more modern forms of totalitarianism based on algorithmic surveillance, and a Hong Kong-like South Korea, which is nominally a democracy, but with Beijing having power of veto over participation.
posted by acb at 10:58 AM on April 29 [9 favorites]


The oscillating of pronouns from 'I' to 'we' is fascinating.

“We may have committed some light treason.”

Meanwhile, in Handmaidgate:

@alexanderchee:
Sarah has decided she’s proud of the Aunt Lydia comparison, “that hard-working and fearless woman.”
posted by Artw at 11:01 AM on April 29 [22 favorites]


More from the piece I linked to above. The author, Cheryl Rofer, is retired chemist with experience in nuclear policy.
The aftershocks could be the cavity collapsing in stages, or they could be the cavity and tunnels collapsing. Or it could be things happening in the rest of the mountain, as the jolt of the blast destabilizes things. It could be that the blast also fractured rock throughout the mountain. Landslides can be seen around the mountain, and its surface contours have been altered.

None of this is extraordinary for nuclear test sites. To say that it represents the mountain’s collapse is an exaggeration, as is the phrase “Tired Mountain Syndrome.”

A few articles have indulged in scare talk about radioactive material escaping from future tests. That would be a mostly local concern, if indeed the mountain is so fractured. There would be no point to another test where the chimney has formed, and North Korea has additional tunnels in other places in the mountain.

It’s likely that the North Koreans would find such an escape undesirable for other reasons. They have been extremely careful to contain their tests; escape of material would allow other countries insight into the design of their nuclear weapons.

US intelligence officials have said that the test site remains operational.

Closing the site would probably involve dynamiting the tunnel entrances. The tunnels could be opened in the future. North Korea destroyed the cooling tower for their plutonium reactor in 2008, in a similarly symbolic gesture. They built it back later.

Even if the test site were damaged, that is likely a small part of Kim’s calculation in offering a pause in testing, and even a closing of the test site. The larger factor is that he feels that he now has a deterrent against American and South Korean attack.
posted by scalefree at 11:02 AM on April 29 [10 favorites]


There's suddenly this narrative about the NK nuclear testing facilities being in shambles..how the hell would they have ever been truly re-useable? Wouldn’t it be safer to excavate a new tunnel for each test? Wouldn’t converting a sufficiently deep mine be a straightforward process?

As far as leaking radiation goes, remember that Central Asia, North America and Australia have seen hundreds of above ground tests, so a bit of leakage probably not a huge concern so long as the dear leader feels he's safely upwind.
posted by bonobothegreat at 11:04 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]


Also, to decouple Seoul from Washington (the demand for “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula, which would include a removal of nuclear-capable US forces, is part of that).

And Trump will walk right into the trap: SecDef confirming that US military posture is on the Korean Peninsula is on the table for negotiations with Pyongyang. Major implications for US power and presence across the region. Got to wonder how Seoul & Tokyo will react.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:04 AM on April 29 [10 favorites]


Seems Massachusetts is down to the Crazification limits: The Mass. Republican Party held its statewide nominating convention yesterday. Incumbent Gov. Charlie Baker, one of the few classic New England Republicans still alive, easily won the party nomination. But homophobe Scott Lively got 27.6% of the vote (676 delegates), which forces a primary in September (in Mass., both parties have a rule that anybody who gets at least 15% of the vote at a convention gets a primary). Lively is best known for a) helping Ugandans craft their strict anti-gay laws (although he denies calling for gays to be put to death) and b) for writing a book claiming it was gay Nazis who were responsible for the Holocaust (bonus fun fact: Lively started researching the book after he got tired of people calling him a Nazi). Lively also ran in 2018 as an independent; got almost 20,000 votes.
posted by adamg at 11:08 AM on April 29 [15 favorites]


Just to be clear, the North Korean test site is a mine shaft with some sensors. Digging a new mine shaft (if necessary) would not be the most difficult step in continuing their nuclear weapons development program.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:08 AM on April 29 [5 favorites]


The desired outcome would presumably include a totalitarian North Korea gradually harmonising with China and the South, with Chinese investment into the economy and the old-fashioned Stalinist system of control being replaced with more modern forms of totalitarianism based on algorithmic surveillance, and a Hong Kong-like South Korea, which is nominally a democracy, but with Beijing having power of veto over participation.

If any country is suited for installation of a nationwide high-tech surveillance grid it's North Korea. We've seen in in Africa how communication technology can leapfrog generations in a previously flat, disconnected environment. I see no reason why the same can't be true of surveillance. As they work to unify North & South it could be used as a wedge to bring South Korea to heel with interoperability as the carrot.
posted by scalefree at 11:13 AM on April 29


@alexanderchee:
Sarah has decided she’s proud of the Aunt Lydia comparison, “that hard-working and fearless woman.”


I wish this was real but it's based on a parody Facebook page that is for some reason the top search on Facebook for SHS and not explicity marked as a parody.
posted by dis_integration at 11:19 AM on April 29 [23 favorites]


Ah boooooo.
posted by Artw at 11:29 AM on April 29


Digging a new mine shaft (if necessary) would not be the most difficult step in continuing their nuclear weapons development program.

If there's one thing the North Koreans are good at it's tunneling; there are several long tunnels, with underground troop complexes, running south of the border, including some rumoured to reach Seoul.

If reunification did happen, perhaps the Seoul tunnel could be reused for a Hyperloop system.
posted by acb at 11:46 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Here's a little blast from the past, the last "Where's bin Laden?" joke ever told, at the 2011 WHCD.
posted by scalefree at 11:49 AM on April 29 [4 favorites]


NRA Convention Bans Guns To Protect Mike Pence
Guns will be barred during Vice President Mike Pence’s appearance at an upcoming National Rifle Association convention to protect his safety — prompting survivors of the Parkland school shooting in Florida to wonder why the gun group won’t agree to gun restrictions elsewhere to protect children.
posted by zakur at 11:51 AM on April 29 [115 favorites]


Any discussion of N. Korea should include Russia; the ties run deep. Could they have been intermediaries?.
posted by adamvasco at 11:51 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]


If only there was a national gun fellowship that could take up the cause of the NRA & lobby to allow guns at their convention.
posted by scalefree at 11:54 AM on April 29 [19 favorites]


Kim's master is Xi.

Yes and no. Notwithstanding any sanctions, there is a whole lot of illicit trade over North Korea's borders with China and Russia, not to mention on the high seas - by way of comparison, think about all the illicit border crossings and trade between Mexico and the US, with the world's richest nation to exercise control on one side. So realistically there is only so much China can do to control North Korea.

The alliance between China, Russia, and North Korea is a strategic one in that the obvious alternative to the status quo is the government of the South taking over a unified Korean peninsula, and neither China nor Russia wants an(other) land border with a staunch US ally. I believe at least China was quite fed up with Kim Jong Il and mainly only tolerated his regime for that reason (and the aforementioned difficulties in enforcing sanctions) - they were not actually particularly close, let alone a proper master / servant duo.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 12:03 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


The NewYorker article linked above by infini is a must read. I can't find one quote to take out, just know that this is not just about how American eugenics inspired Hitler, but also about how the Nazis are very obviously inspiring the guy who had Hitler's speeches next to his bed.
posted by mumimor at 12:04 PM on April 29 [14 favorites]


The Facebook apology ad is running relentlessly during the NBA playoffs. Their message is basically, "remember how much you liked us before you learned what we really do?" And that's it.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:18 PM on April 29 [16 favorites]


I find all the nay-saying on the left about the apparent thaw on the Korean Peninsula a bit suspicious. Are we sure that we just don't want to allow our (domestic) political opponents a victory?

I mean, it's probably fair to say that Trump will try to take more credit than he deserves, but this is the first time in my lifetime that an end to the permanent Mexican Standoff in Korea looks genuinely possible. I'm sure that North Korea won't turn into a liberal democracy or anything, but bringing the country more fully into the international community will at least open doors and allow its citizens more exposure to the outside world than they've had so far. Peace is almost always preferable to war, or to a permanent armed seige. It's a big step in the right direction, and one that I never expected to see.

I'd love to see a stable, peaceful North Korea, one with better standards of living for its citizens and better relations with the rest of the world; even if it's still viciously authoritarian, that looks like a big improvement over the status quo. I'll still welcome that if it comes during the Trump administration, even if I view it as more of a fluke than some kind of diplomatic masterstroke.

Am I missing something?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:21 PM on April 29 [8 favorites]


Am I missing something?
In the best scenario, we are at an "only Nixon could go to China" situation. Which is good, and not good. China hasn't at all become a liberal democracy, but I think every single one of my Chinese friends would testify that the situation is better now than it was. China still kills more of its own citizens than most other countries, and imprisons more dissidents than even Russia. But life is better there than under the cultural revolution, and we all trade with them and get friends from there.
posted by mumimor at 12:28 PM on April 29 [5 favorites]


re: Lying to racists about being racist when asked point blank "do you think I'm a racist?"

I haven't had a chance to try it out yet, but I've rehearsed saying, "I think we all have racist thoughts. I know I do. I try hard to notice them in myself and really challenge them, and make sure they don't turn into racist actions. I'd like to think you do the same. Do you?"
posted by kristi at 12:29 PM on April 29 [55 favorites]


Am I missing something?

Pure Partisanship manipulating the brain? I dunno. I definitely don't feel good when Trump gets a win of any kind. But this seems like a good thing so far.

That being said, I doubt Trump had much to do with this, it seems like everything is coming from SK diplomacy. My real concern is that Trump will totally fuck it up by making absurd demands at the upcoming summit, like asking the Kim regime to give up their nukes, which they definitely will never do.
posted by dis_integration at 12:31 PM on April 29


Sure mumior, but that seems like it was kind of always the best case scenario.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:31 PM on April 29




I haven't had a chance to try it out yet, but I've rehearsed saying, "I think we all have racist thoughts. I know I do. I try hard to notice them in myself and really challenge them, and make sure they don't turn into racist actions. I'd like to think you do the same. Do you?"

I haven't given up on having that conversation. I'm biding my time & looking for the right opening. Just not on Facebook messenger.
posted by scalefree at 12:38 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


Sure mumior, but that seems like it was kind of always the best case scenario.
Yeah, I agree, and if Trump somehow makes a deal with the Koreas, I'm all with applauding it. (though I hope to god he won't get a Nobel prize for it).
posted by mumimor at 12:40 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


This. A thousand times this.

@HaroldItz Michelle Wolf taught quisling journalists what the First Amendment looks like when you don’t care about access. #WHCD
posted by scalefree at 12:44 PM on April 29 [119 favorites]


BuzzFeed, The Justice Department Deleted Language About Press Freedom And Racial Gerrymandering From Its Internal Manual, in which Zoe Tillman fires up the Wayback Machine to find out what Sessions has been up to.

The press remains more concerned with Michelle Wolf's speech than whether DOJ cares about press freedom and racial gerrymandering.
posted by zachlipton at 12:54 PM on April 29 [60 favorites]


this is the first time in my lifetime that an end to the permanent Mexican Standoff in Korea looks genuinely possible.

We've been here before in 2000 and it fell apart and North Korea ended up with nukes.


Are we sure that we just don't want to allow our (domestic) political opponents a victory?

Max Boot who wrote the above is a lifelong Republican.

Robert Kelly, North Korea expert and SK-NK rapprochement skeptic is also a lifelong Republican.

As is Tom Nichols, who is also a skeptic.

Boot and Nichols are NeverTrumpers, but pretty much any sane foreign policy Rs are.

I hope peace comes and life improves for the NK people. But I don't trust Kim – he actually hasn't given up anything yet – and I don't trust Trump, he's a malevolent idiot.
posted by chris24 at 1:02 PM on April 29 [16 favorites]


Kim doesn't have anything to give up except the nukes, and he'd be an idiot to do that. I suppose signing a peace treaty could be viewed as a concession but, one, it's obviously purely symbolic (though a vital one!) and, two, the South gains as much from an official peace as the north.

So what could Kim concede here? I'm genuinely curious.
posted by Justinian at 1:04 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


China still kills more of its own citizens than most other countries, and imprisons more dissidents than even Russia.

The US really doesn't have a whole lot of room to judge other nations for imprisoning huge swaths of its populace or allowing the state to gun down civilians in broad daylight without consequence.

We do it more than Russia. More than China. By these metrics, we're the bad guys. Full stop.
posted by schmod at 1:07 PM on April 29 [31 favorites]


That's... pretty close to Trump's defense of Putin being a killer. One reason China jails fewer people per capita than the USA is that they just kill them extra judicially instead. And let's not even talk about purely political prisoners.

The US justice system has brutal problems. It still isn't China or Russia.
posted by Justinian at 1:10 PM on April 29 [30 favorites]


Kim doesn't have anything to give up except the nukes, and he'd be an idiot to do that. I suppose signing a peace treaty could be viewed as a concession but, one, it's obviously purely symbolic (though a vital one!) and, two, the South gains as much from an official peace as the north.

So what could Kim concede here? I'm genuinely curious.

Well, if there is anything to learn from the breakdown of the Soviet Union, he has nothing and there is no secret conspiracy. NK is broke, the population are dying at catastrophic levels and there is no way out. Kim's main interest at this point would be to get out alive and still wealthy.
posted by mumimor at 1:10 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


So what could Kim concede here? I'm genuinely curious.

North Korea currently has 3 detained Americans and 4 detained South Koreans who have been held for 1 to 5 years.

They could also allow visitation to South Koreans. They could allow family reunification. They could also stop being (maybe) the worst human rights abusers in the world.

They could agree to no further nuclear tests and to limits on their ICBMs and nukes. (I agree with you that they won't give them up.)
posted by chris24 at 1:11 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]


The US justice system has brutal problems. It still isn't China or Russia.
You're right it's much worse. More racist, more hypocritical, more capitalist. And growing in both.
posted by rc3spencer at 1:14 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Well it sounds as though he is willing to give up at least part of his nuclear program. He seems at least willing to cease further development. Possibly he feels like now that he actually has the nukes and rockets that he wants, he's in a position of strength from which he can bargain? Or perhaps he's decided that nukes or not, any kind of serious military action by him would result in him and his entire country being wiped off the face of the earth? Or perhaps he's always been personally ambivalent about the whole nukes thing but powerful factions of his inner circle which he had deemed it necessary to appease have been pushing for it, only now their influence has waned? Maybe he's even decided that the US has gone completely crazy and he'd better lower the stakes because who knows what will happen with such an erratic adversary. I mean, maybe Trump did have a role in precipitating this, albeit more by accident than design. Or maybe he just sees his country falling apart soon, and sees legitimization on the international stage as the only path toward maintaining his power.

It's really hard to know what his exact motivation is, but progress is progress. I'm not too concerned with what a bunch of pundits have to say, Republican or otherwise—pundits are usually wrong and there are so many of them, all trying to say something original, that you can find a few to back up almost any interpretation of public events. It looks to me like we're on the verge of peace, and if that happens it'll be a good thing.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 1:20 PM on April 29


What happened in East Germany was that the Soviet Union no longer supported the regime. I have no idea wether Gorbachov had thought about the consequences or not, but there was a domino effect, maybe one that already started with with Solidarity in Poland, and then first went slowly and then all at once.
The parallel here is that China said stop to NK last year, because they were going over the top. Without Chinese support, there is no way NK can sustain itself.
posted by mumimor at 1:26 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


No need for complex theories about what is motivating NK. Everyone in Asia has watched America cede it’s leadership role in Asia. China, South Korea and North Korea would all like stability and profit in the region. With America gone China, North Korea and South Korea can continue to make money and stop spending it on a situation that is a relic of America’s Cold War.
posted by wobumingbai at 1:29 PM on April 29 [8 favorites]


If you think race does not factor into imprisonment in China, I've got some news about how dozens of ethnic minorities are treated in PRC.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:40 PM on April 29 [50 favorites]


The difference is that East Germany still had social structures that were not dependent on totalitarian dictatorship; the culture and structure of society were sufficiently close to West Germany to allow easy integration into a less repressive system. When the repressive apparatus of a dictatorship collapses, if there are no more liberal norms for the society to fall back on, what results is chaos. Those who can, make out like bandits, as happened in the USSR. Meanwhile, ordinary people fall back on family/tribal structures and ancient hatreds and vendettas return. As such, while dictatorship is a bad thing (and one as brutal as North Korea is extremely bad) and freedom is good, suddenly dismantling the North Korean dictatorship and bringing in freedom would be more like explosive decompression.
posted by acb at 1:49 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


West German poured a fuck-rob of money into East Germany. That makes a big difference and stopped it being Russia. No idea if SK is in position to do that with NK to a sufficient degree that would help.
posted by Artw at 2:04 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]


The difference is that East Germany still had social structures that were not dependent on totalitarian dictatorship; the culture and structure of society were sufficiently close to West Germany to allow easy integration into a less repressive system.
Sorry, this is not something I can recognize. East Germany had been under totalitarian regime since 1933, and 200.000 Germans reported to Stasi, the internal surveillance agency. I have several personal experiences, including having a Stasi roommate.
East Germany is still not fully integrated, in spite of Western Germany pouring tons of money in there, and a lot of Germany's issues with the far right are situated in the old East. That said, other issues contributed to the problems we see today in the former east block.
IMO, what happened in the former Soviet Union and several former East block nations was to a large extent deliberated by neo-conservatives and libertarians within the US government and the World Bank who made the whole region into a randian experiment. At the time I really wondered why the US Democrats and European Social Democrats didn't put up more of a fight, because in my view, they had great arguments. But in later conversations it became clear to me that they didn't think that themselves. Probably they were dumb, but here we are.
posted by mumimor at 2:07 PM on April 29 [30 favorites]


I think that North Korea has probably already made the best/most powerful nuclear weapons that they realistically are going to be able to make. I think Kim has realized this and has realized that further development would just be throwing good money after bad. He’s probably got a couple of them stashed somewhere (waiting for them to figure out their ICBM technology, which I haven’t heard ANY talk of them suspending), and doesn’t really need/want to waste money trying to figure out the better/stronger nuclear weapons. He’s got what he needs already.
posted by Weeping_angel at 2:10 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]


Regarding both the WHCD and Fenris, Monster of the River Ván… When I watched Thor: Ragnarok, I found myself wishing the movie had eschewed everything “serious” because its overall tone was so committed to humor, which meant the rare grave moments (like the deaths of key characters) put it into an uncanny valley.



My reaction to Michelle Wolf’s speech was basically the opposite: I’m glad she brought on the venom, but I wish she had bothered even less with the joke-telling aspect, because what humor there was was spread so thin (apart from a few especially sharp jabs). Just twenty minutes of righteous invective would have hit the spot for me more. Obviously there are a ton of good reasons that didn’t happen (the venue, the inevitable sexist reaction, etc). I’m just one person and what she did was definitely correct for the context, so kudos to her. (Also, I suppose that Thor movie had to kill people off for plot reasons or whatever.)

Specific reactions: I cringed when she made a Hillary-failed-to-visit-State-X joke. That narrative needs to die ten years ago, and feeds into “Russia-gate is an excuse” (even though logically it shouldn’t because crimes are crimes).



I’m very, very glad she brought up Donald’s indebtedness. That’s a major fact that doesn’t get enough attention apart from inside-baseballers like us, because the “Trump means wealth” narrative is so entrenched for the American public. It stands in the way of people really grasping the nature of the scandals (e.g all the money laundering and associated leverage, which is a connection she specifically made).
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:12 PM on April 29 [13 favorites]


Politico, Ronny Jackson won’t return to old job as Trump’s physician. This as the White House continues to insist Jackson is innocent of everything and attacks Tester.
posted by zachlipton at 2:23 PM on April 29 [26 favorites]


Politico, Ronny Jackson won’t return to old job as Trump’s physician.

So when he was "in talks to withdraw" from the VA nomination a few days ago, it was less "trying to keep my old job" and more "trying to fend off a court-martial."
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:35 PM on April 29 [18 favorites]


Am I missing something?

I don't expect a peace treaty to be had, really. I expect it to break down in negotiations. But here's the thing: Kim Jong Un is working hard to build diplomatic bridges with China and South Korea. If the deal collapses, Kim isn't going to get the blame. If we had competent leadership the situation would be different. but this is like saying, Hey, we've always wanted to go to Mars, so what if the pilot is a Golden Retriever? Why all the skepticism? Is it just because he's a dog?

And that's if Trump doesn't give away whatever Kim asks for just so he can have a "win".
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:35 PM on April 29 [5 favorites]


Also, how much does anyone think this is going to convince Kim to disarm?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:38 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]


Also, how much does anyone think this is going to convince Kim to disarm?

Yeah, North Korea has previously cited Libya as exactly the reason they need nukes. It's kinda *the* case study in 'give up nukes, get killed/overthrown.'
posted by chris24 at 3:53 PM on April 29 [5 favorites]


Former George W. Bush ethics lawyer ditches GOP, to seek U.S. Senate in Minn. as Democrat
Richard Painter, a longtime Republican who was chief ethics lawyer for George W. Bush's White House, intends to run for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota this year as a Democrat, according to a filing he made recently with federal elections officials.
...
He announced last month that he was forming an exploratory committee ahead of deciding whether to run. At that time, he said that although he's a longtime Republican and served as chief ethics lawyer in George W. Bush's White House, he's unsure whether he would run as a Republican, Democrat or independent.

"I need to think about whether there's a place for me" in the GOP, he said at the time. "I'm going to be considering any and all options." He described himself as "a centrist in many ways — right up the middle." He said he has supported Democrats.
At least he's not running as an independent to play spoiler, but Minnesota needs to put Tina Smith back in that seat, we don't need reliable liberal votes picked off by a "centrist", even someone like Painter.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:56 PM on April 29 [30 favorites]


At least he's not running as an independent to play spoiler, but Minnesota needs to put Tina Smith back in that seat, we don't need reliable liberal votes picked off by a "centrist", even someone like Painter.

Minnesota MeFites: how strong is the Republican challenger? Last I heard, Tim Pawlenty was saving himself for Governor, and the Republican running is one Karin Housley - is she deep-pocketed or with any Kasich-like "I'm a reasonable Republican, moderates love me!" appeal? (I know the idea of Kasich as a "reasonable moderate" is laughable by any standards other than 2018 but here we are.)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:17 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


It's kinda *the* case study in 'give up nukes, get killed/overthrown.'

Ukraine gave its nukes back to Russia after the USSR collapsed. That didn't work out so well for them either. South Africa voluntarily disarmed after apartheid ended and, while the successor state is still in place, it isn't exactly a glowing success story of peace, harmony, and prosperity.

Giving up your most powerful weapons doesn't have a very good track record.
posted by Justinian at 4:35 PM on April 29 [6 favorites]


Am I missing something?

Absolutely. The change is, South Korea has a liberal government again, just as they did in 2000 (when the current president was a major official involved in the peace talks that fell apart). Since then, conservative SK governments have had no interest in peace.

None of which has anything to do with Trump.
posted by msalt at 4:44 PM on April 29 [16 favorites]


WaPo, ‘Ready, shoot, aim’: President Trump’s loyalty tests cause hiring headaches. To summarize: "The FBI vet on Ronny Jackson wasn't done when Trump named him. Senior officials didn't know Rob Porter was even married. But a potential State hire was recently nixed for re-tweeting a 2016 tweet critical of Trump over Access Hollywood."
The failed nomination of Ronny L. Jackson, the president’s physician, to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs was the latest example of the sometimes haphazard way Trump unilaterally elevates people with whom he has a personal rapport.

Trump’s operating principle is “ready, shoot, aim, as opposed to ready, aim, shoot,” said one White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to comment candidly,

A Republican strategist who works closely with the West Wing was even more blunt: “The Trump White House vetting machine is an oxymoron. There’s only one answer — Trump decides who he wants and tells people. That’s the vetting process.”
...
The Office of Presidential Personnel, which is run by Johnny DeStefano, employs Katja Bullock, 75, who has worked in the same office during the past three Republican administrations. But the office has come under scrutiny since a Washington Post report revealed that it is as much a social hub as a rigorous operation, with young former campaign workers hosting happy hours, playing drinking games and smoking electronic cigarettes there.
posted by zachlipton at 4:51 PM on April 29 [20 favorites]


He said he has supported Democrats.

Excellent. He's welcome to do so in the future. But that's no qualification to represent Democrats. If he truly wants that, he can start at the bottom and build up better bona fides than having worked for the less incompetent Bush.
posted by Candleman at 4:57 PM on April 29 [18 favorites]


It sounds like I was wrong and N. Korea's testing tunnel collapse is not a huge obstacle to them continuing their nuclear program. But I still don't think he's in anywhere near the negotiating position he was before the accident. I still think he has an agreement with Xi to negotiate peace, probably with a promise of economic support if it all works out.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think all of this signals North Korea may be at a breaking point, in which case giving them what they want would be a lot like shoring up East Germany's economy right before it fell apart. I wonder what games Russia and East Germany would have played had they been aware that technology was coming that would make surveillance infinitely cheaper and more scaleable.

The comparison with East Germany is a really good one. South Koreans still regard Northerners as lost countrymen and family. The economic vacuum I think is similar. The biggest employer in East Germany was the Stasi. 6 out of 10 East Germans were employed by them. If East Germany can get over that vacuum I think North Korea probably could too if given the chance.

I never understood why when Russia collapsed there wasn't a massive American influx of funding. Every carrot needed to induce Russia to move to being fully democratic should have been offered. They needed a lot of support privatizing previously centralized industries too. Ultimately, I think like Afghanistan and Iraq it was a case of Americans thinking the mission was accomplished much too early. Over and over again the U.S. seems incapable of thinking about the day after the regime falls.

Anyway, I don't know the right answer, but I find it concerning that every media story is basically "Kim wants x,y,z. Can Trump deliver it?" I'm not reading anyone talking about alternatives, other than Bolton, and his alternatives are crazy town.
posted by xammerboy at 5:11 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]


West German poured a fuck-rob of money into East Germany. That makes a big difference and stopped it being Russia. No idea if SK is in position to do that with NK to a sufficient degree that would help.

They are not. There are figures I'll dig up when I get to a better spot, but essentially the difference was the DDR was two-thirds smaller economically than the BRD and was about a third of the population. DPRK is at least two orders of magnitude smaller than the ROK economically but closer to 50% of the population.

Also, at the time of reunification, BRD was I think in the top 10 economies, whereas ROK is 12? 13?

Oh, and the BRD had a stable American government helping to back it, whereas the ROK has a... questionable American regime that seems unwilling to put any real support for this.
posted by anem0ne at 5:29 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]


I never understood why when Russia collapsed there wasn't a massive American influx of funding.

As I understand it the American administration of the time was utterly high on the magic of market forces and sent a bunch of assholes to advise on how to fuck it up good and proper instead. And so Putin.
posted by Artw at 5:31 PM on April 29 [29 favorites]


South Koreans still regard Northerners as lost countrymen and family. The economic vacuum I think is similar.

Sorta. Younger generations think this but in the way conservatives think liberals are Americans.

And the economic and technological difference is quite staggering, to the point that defectors from the North who come to the South go to a special school to learn basics of modern Korean society, with things like classes on how to use ATMs.
posted by anem0ne at 5:31 PM on April 29 [9 favorites]


I never understood why when Russia collapsed there wasn't a massive American influx of funding.

As I understand it the American administration of the time was utterly high on the magic of market forces and sent a bunch of assholes to advise on how to fuck it up good and proper instead. And so Putin.


Pretty much, palettes of money and experts and threats and god knows what was sent to make sure a Randian free market paradise of easily exploitable resources and then surprise! the mafia took over.
posted by The Whelk at 5:48 PM on April 29 [38 favorites]


I mean, that was pretty much the plan from the beginning right? It's the plan for here too, explicitly.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:04 PM on April 29 [11 favorites]


The young Kim Jong Un doesn't exactly seem to be as into the whole idea of "North Korea/Juche" thing as his father and grandfather were. I wonder how far South Korea could get with selling Kim the following package:

1) We'll set you, Kim Jong Un up as some kind of quasi-royal family within the new "Unified Korea", but you won't actually be running things. In exchange,

2) Unified Korea and ..

3) We kick out the United States. (I'm actually wondering about this one a lot right now, because Trump is just dumb enough and just racist enough to be tricked into the idea of removing the US military presence, and letting China "Hong Kong" the whole peninsula.)
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 6:06 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


1) We'll set you, Kim Jong Un up as some kind of quasi-royal family within the new "Unified Korea", but you won't actually be running things.

I'm pretty sure that's never going to be on the table? Like, is this a serious exercise or some "The GOP will impeach Trump and fund schools and healthcare responsibly" type of bullshit thought experiment?
posted by anem0ne at 6:18 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


Thought experiment, of course, but why not? Kim Jong Un is amazingly cheap compared to the GDP of South Korea.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 6:19 PM on April 29


It doesn't even make sense to discuss it because while Kim Jong Un May be cheap it's a complete non-starter for the half of population that is conservatives in SK, the half the population that is liberals in SK, whatever tattered remnants there are of royalists in the SK given that there's no familial link between them and the Yi Dynasty.

To have a thought experiment on that is even more patently ridiculous than suggesting that the Republican party likes people of color.
posted by anem0ne at 6:25 PM on April 29 [8 favorites]


Like, Korean conservatives despise the Kim regime and family because they view him as the avatar of evil. Korean liberals despise the Kim regime and family because they torture people and block reunification.
posted by anem0ne at 6:27 PM on April 29 [6 favorites]


I think it would be more likely to set up Kim Jong Un for life as a Troma film director.
posted by benzenedream at 6:32 PM on April 29 [7 favorites]


6 out of 10 East Germans were employed by them.

Ummm? Not exactly. They had a huge network of informants who cooperated to a greater or lesser degree, and most certainly not all of them working on an ongoing and full time basis. Most of them were coerced into their assistance through blackmail, threats, etc. So that 60% is a bit overblown.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:32 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


So, I know there are a lot of unknown unknowns with any sort of Korean reunification or preace treaty, but can we avoid bizarre and utterly bizarre cuckoopants imagineering about the thing? People were bad enough about screaming how "we're" all gonna die about NK nukes months ago, and now this sort of thing?

We can have lots of thought experiments that have no real basis in reality that maybe won't distract from the matter at hand, like will Elon Musk's Mars colony allow poors into it, or will Antarctica become the new frontier for wheat farming after global climate change hits.
posted by anem0ne at 6:34 PM on April 29 [32 favorites]


Kim Jong Un up as some kind of quasi-royal family

That is a non-starter. With a cult of personality like the Kim line, they have to be supreme leader or they are nothing. Allowing North Koreans to no longer be under direct and complete control of the Kim dynasty completely dismantles the Kim dynasty.

Any 'liberalization' of relations (exchange of information/ people) between North and South Korea would be disasterous to the Kim regime - when N. Koreans as a population realizes how the Kim regime has been lying to them, well, it's pitchfork and torches for reals time.

Kim Jong Un wants money (mostly for him, but if its for his people [after Kim and his cronies gets their cut] that's still a win for him) and concession that he can continue to operate NK how it has always been operated.
posted by porpoise at 6:34 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


I can't wait for the invention of perfect virtual reality, so we can just plug people like Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump into it while the rest of us go on with the business of improving things.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:38 PM on April 29 [15 favorites]


I think everyone is falling for the instant narrative saying that we will know if this is a good or bad deal when we don't have the details or even whether there will be a deal. The Chamberlain analogy is correct. You have to wait to see who played whom.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:04 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]


I never understood why when Russia collapsed there wasn't a massive American influx of funding.

There was, and much of it flowed right on out of the old USSR. When I was selling real estate in Miami in the late 1990's and early 2000's I heard stories from my Broker about the community we specialized in. Russians came with cash, bought high end homes with the cash, then took out standard no documentation mortgage loans for 80% loan to value, then took out home equity lines of credit and/or second mortgages to get the remaining 20% of their purchase price out of the home and then they would disappear and the home would go into foreclosure. This happened multiple times in one community. It happened in several places in Dade and Broward Counties in the early 1990's.
posted by W Grant at 7:11 PM on April 29 [17 favorites]


Well. This is weird. What happened to Emmanuel Macron's gift of a White House oak?
French President Emmanuel Macron brought it during his White House visit last week and, with cameras clicking, planted it with President Donald Trump on the South Lawn on Monday. But by the end of the week, photographs appeared to show that the tree had vanished.

It was replaced by grass, its whereabouts unknown.
Snopes has no information, as yet.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:35 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


Rosie M. Banks: "Minnesota MeFites: how strong is the Republican challenger? Last I heard, Tim Pawlenty was saving himself for Governor, and the Republican running is one Karin Housley - is she deep-pocketed or with any Kasich-like "I'm a reasonable Republican, moderates love me!" appeal?"

Yeah, Pawlenty is running for governor. I haven't heard too much about Housley, but her platform seems to be pitching her as quasi-moderate. She's a two term state senator, and lost the GOP nom for LG in 2014 (in MN, you run as a ticket with the gov candidate). I have not seen much that indicates that she's on an unstoppable rise to success, I'll put it that way.

It's terrific that Painter is not running an indy campaign. I think he probably would not have thrown the election to the GOP, but it was certainly a danger. In the Dem primary, Painter has pretty much zero chance in the convention (if he pursues that) and not much of one in the primary.

(for the record, I am not Minnesotan)
posted by Chrysostom at 7:39 PM on April 29 [7 favorites]


It was replaced by grass, its whereabouts unknown.

This is such a "and of course" thing to me. Like, nope, they couldn't just literally leave a tree be in this goddamn hell year. Even that has to be made into some kind of Issue or Scandal. It's like they're compulsively corrupt.
posted by odinsdream at 8:19 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]


The assumption from my Twitter sources is that the oak had not completed its required quarantine and has to serve its time. A tweet said the French edition of Huffpost suggested that.
posted by Peach at 8:20 PM on April 29 [5 favorites]


This is such a "and of course" thing to me. Like, nope, they couldn't just literally leave a tree be in this goddamn hell year.

Yup. Literally they can't even plant a tree and leave it there right without Trump having a spite fit. Most likely, anyway.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:23 PM on April 29


Pretty much, palettes of money and experts and threats and god knows what was sent to make sure a Randian free market paradise of easily exploitable resources and then surprise! the mafia took over.

From what Bill Browder said in his interview on Preet Bharara's podcast, that was exactly the situation that precipitated the death of Magnitsky. Browder went in to make pots of money in the circus, Magnitsky was his lawyer, and presto! things changed.
posted by Peach at 8:24 PM on April 29 [5 favorites]


I've said my piece on what I thought about Michelle Wolf's set, but the handwringing over it has gotten far, far worse (the word "handwringing" is now actually trending on DC twitter, it's that bad). The WHCA President put out a statement about how the event is supposed to honor civility and great reporting, "not to divide people." It's a sick joke that takes more offense at whether people were divided when whether the White House lies to the press and dreams of jailing journalists.

We were talking a bit last night about whether Wolf's set was speaking truth to power, and I've been thinking about a speech I saw Jake Tapper give last week that was about, well, speaking truth to power. In my view, Tapper has struck out to build himself a niche where he stands for neutrality and civility. He takes great care to ensure nobody would possibly know if he has any personal view at all on taxes or immigration or any other policy issue, going so far as to not vote in races he covers. But he will stand up and call it out when someone says something he views as indecent, whether that's Trump mocking a disabled reporter or retweeting anti-Muslim bigotry.

Tapper clearly takes great pride in this. But there's no attempt to grapple with the central contradiction: why is it inherently indecent to make fun of a disabled man but it's just policy to deport Dreamers or ban Muslims? Why is a vile retweet worthy of breaking neutrality and standing up to say "this is wrong," but legislation that would take away health insurance from millions of people is just a policy debate about which we must hear all sides? When Tapper and the WHCA are making a stand for civility or decency, they're putting concern about verbal attacks over policies that amount to actual violence against millions of people. And I can't wrap my head around a worldview where you believe it's a moral imperative to speak out when you think someone has said something awful, but not when someone wants to use the state to do something far worse to far more people.

For all the handwringing by the media over Wolf's set, I've yet to see anyone actually engage with what she said at the end, the bit that really cut deep about the assembled press helping create this monster. Nobody will even touch that one to try to refute it let alone grapple with it. And nobody cares that Flint doesn't have clean water. Because apparently everyone is more concerned about whether our tone is suitably decent than the indecency of poisoning a city.

p.s. almost nobody seems to have picked up on the (hopefully intentional) of homophone joke behind the Sarah Sanders bit. Here's the joke:
I actually really like Sarah. I think she's very resourceful. Like, she burns facts, and then she uses the ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like, maybe she's born with it; maybe it's lies. It's probably lies.


There's a "burned fat —> ashes —> lye —> lie" thing going on here.
posted by zachlipton at 8:26 PM on April 29 [47 favorites]


The French Ambassador confirms the tree has to go to quarantine and will be replanted after.

He's also already addressed the inevitable follow-up question about what's the point of quarantining it after you planted it once: "The roots were enclosed in a plastic protection."

I very much hope this completes your Sunday evening tree news.
posted by zachlipton at 8:28 PM on April 29 [24 favorites]


This whole tree thing eerily reminds me of this episode of the delightful 80's political satire "Yes, Prime Minister," in which the French president gives the Queen a dog, but it has to be quarantined; but of course the dog/quarantine issue is just subtext for a larger (though equally silly) power struggle.

Politics is usually at least part farce and part tragedy, but recently those seem to be the only two flavors.
posted by tarshish bound at 8:30 PM on April 29 [5 favorites]


Caroline O. (Shareblue)
Media & society have a natural tendency to normalize those in power, by virtue of the fact that they are in power. This is what we're seeing as much of the WH press corps directs more outrage at criticism of the admin's lies than they've ever directed at the lies themselves. From the very beginning, most of the DC press corps treated Trump as just another candidate. Even their criticism of Trump is inherently rooted in the assumption that he is just another president, like the others. They've never stepped outside of that box. They criticize Trump for saying X or doing Y, but inherent in that criticism is the assumption that Trump actually cares about the norms he's violating or the institutions he's degrading. Each incident is framed as an isolated blow, rather than part of an intentional assault.

Possibly the worst part about the DC press corps' criticism of Michelle Wolf is that they're gaslighting the American people. They're doing the exact same thing Trump, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, & the rest of the administration do on a daily basis. They're criticizing Wolf for something that never happened, and they're insisting that what we all saw with our own eyes is not what actually happened. I actually re-watched the entire thing today to make sure I wasn't going crazy. (I'm not).

Instead of focusing on the substance of Wolf's criticism — that Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a complicit oppressor on behalf of an authoritarian regime-in-the-making — they diverted America's attention to a joke about eyeshadow. The reason they're focusing on eyeshadow rather than the actual target of Wolf's criticism is because to acknowledge the substance of her joke would require them to confront the fact that they either lie, enable liars, or turn a blind eye to lies to maintain the access they need.

---

The WHCA President put out a statement about how the event is supposed to honor civility and great reporting, "not to divide people."

NYCSouthpaw
Little by little, people surrender willingly, and the authoritarians get what they could never have taken with their own strength.
Now it’s the official position of the White House Correspondents Association that it’s not only wrong but CONTRARY TO THE SPIRIT OF THE ORGANIZATION to point out Sarah Sanders’ lies in front of Sarah Sanders. That’s very sad.
posted by chris24 at 8:34 PM on April 29 [128 favorites]


He's up late:

Headline: “Kim Prepared to Cede Nuclear Weapons if U.S. Pledges Not to Invade” - from the Failing New York Times. Also, will shut down Nuclear Test Site in May.

I understand that this conversation was sourced directly from Seoul and was widely reported. I'm going into logic-vapor-lock trying to figure out if he's just learning about this, or if he's just reflexively trashing the NYT because why not.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:37 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


South Korea was not a party to the original ceasefire, and can’t formally sign a peace treaty. Only the US can. And that’s why there’s no point blue-skying a bunch of nonsense about reunification; because as soon as ruTpm realizes he can extort South Korea in exchange for a treaty signature the whole thing will dissolve.
posted by um at 8:53 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


This is really really weird. He's so determined to say there's no collusion he seems to be saying Veselnitskaya is part of a Russian plot to cause chaos in the US, yet takes no responsibility for the resulting national security threat.

Putin told Veselnitskaya to say she is working for the Kremlin ... but she is lying ... but how can she be lying if she's taking orders from Putin ... DANGER WILL ROBINSON LOGIC CIRCUITS OVERLOAD
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:01 PM on April 29 [8 favorites]


Brian Fallon (former HRC spokesman)
The overreaction to Michelle Wolf by DC journos desperate to prove their neutrality regarding Trump just proves what a shitshow the press coverage of the Dem nominee in 2020 is going to be.
posted by chris24 at 9:17 PM on April 29 [106 favorites]


February 22, 2018.

"l'm delighted to announce 'Nice Lady' Michelle Wolf as our featured entertainer this year," said Margaret Talev, president of the WHCA. "Our dinner honors the First Amendment and strong, independent journalism. Her embrace of these values and her truth-to-power style make her a great friend to the WHCA. Her Pennsylvania roots, stints on Wall Street and in science and self-made, feminist edge make her the right voice now."
posted by chris24 at 9:29 PM on April 29 [45 favorites]


I can't imagine anyone better to talk about Roy Cohn, Trump, Angels in America, and the Manhattan elite than Frank Rich, and fortunately we finally have just that: The Original Donald Trump. It's a great piece because it tries to explore not simply who Cohn was, but who is responsible for letting such horrible people maintain power for so long, and it's not the white working class of Ohio (what follows is from Rich's little summary):
Though much has been written about how Cohn taught Trump how to cheat, connive, and bully, it wasn’t until I saw Cohn again on stage in the new revival of Angels that I appreciated there was a less examined question raised by their symbiosis: How did men as outrageous as both Cohn and Trump flourish and gain power in New York for decades despite their vicious, even criminal, careers? Might there be Deplorables responsible who are not necessarily working-class, conservative, or even Republican, but are instead card-carrying elites in liberal Democratic Manhattan? That is the riddle I wanted to solve, and the story I was compelled to tell.
It's so well-written. I'll give you a paragraph, but go read it:
For years it’s been a parlor game for Americans to wonder how history might have turned out if someone had stopped Lee Harvey Oswald before he shot JFK. One might be tempted — just as fruitlessly — to speculate on what might have happened if more of New York’s elites had intervened back then, nonviolently, to block or seriously challenge Trump’s path to power. They had plenty of provocation and opportunities to do so. Trump practiced bigotry on a grand scale, was a world-class liar, and ripped off customers, investors, and the city itself. Yet for many among New York’s upper register, there was no horror he could commit that would merit his excommunication. As with Cohn before him, the more outrageously and reprehensibly Trump behaved, the more the top rungs of society were titillated by him. They could cop out of any moral judgments or actions by rationalizing him as an entertaining con man: a cheesy, cynical, dumbed-down Gatsby who fit the city’s tacky 1980s Gilded Age much as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s more romantic prototype had the soigné Jazz Age of the 1920s. And so most of those who might have stopped Trump gawked like the rest of us as he scrambled up the city’s ladder, grabbing anything that wasn’t nailed down.
posted by zachlipton at 9:37 PM on April 29 [49 favorites]


The overreaction to Michelle Wolf by DC journos desperate to prove their neutrality regarding Trump just proves what a shitshow the press coverage of the Dem nominee in 2020 is going to be.

"Trump has been historically unpopular, divisive, and even unproductive--so why can't Democrats find an opponent who has never worn white after Labor Day? What's wrong with the Democratic Party? Are they no longer fit to lead?"
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:57 PM on April 29 [27 favorites]


The coverage of Wolf is bullshit in the same way that the coverage of Clinton was bullshit. Women who speak their minds get nitpicked while powerful men get away with murder.
posted by medusa at 10:14 PM on April 29 [126 favorites]


I listened to an interview on Crooked Media with the New Yorker reporter that wrote the article about the Cohen investigation heralding the end of the age of Trump. One of the parts I found really interesting was that in his opinion white collar crime is basically legal in America and especially if you are a billionaire individual versus a mega-corporation. No one looks into their crimes. The economy of New York city basically runs on them.

Since everyone in his economic bracket commits crimes right and left by default, the question of how does someone like Trump come to be, why does it seem like Flynn and everyone in Trump's orbit don't even bother hiding their crimes, is really systemic and applicable to a whole American white collar class of people. The interview also left me a little deflated, because I'd like to think Trump's going to be nailed for something really heinous, not something rampant.

Other interesting tid-bits from the interview: Very few people work in the Trump organization. Most of the deals are brokered by Trump family members directly. You also know Trump's laundering money because he's building buildings in strange locales where they could serve no other business purpose.
posted by xammerboy at 10:14 PM on April 29 [39 favorites]


I thought Wolf's crassness was pointed. Like, it's time to stop pretending this whole thing isn't a shit show. The presidency, the White House Press corps, the media circus, all of it.

The one part I didn't like was the abortion joke. I don't think abortion is murder but I'm not that cavalier and cold about it either. It was almost a caricature of how a conservative would portray a liberal's thoughts about abortion. But then this could have been because the joke totally went over my head. I didn't get it at all.
posted by xammerboy at 10:22 PM on April 29 [7 favorites]


At the beginning of her set she talked about liking the monkfish. Monkfish is usually called Chilean Sea Bass to make it sound more palatable. She was telling them she wasn't going to make this more palatable to them.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:36 PM on April 29 [60 favorites]


It says so much about the state of the press corps, and even more surprisingly, the conservative pundit class, and what they profess to care about that Sarah Sanders' eyeshadow has been the subject of a day's worth of beanplating, while I haven't seen a single tweet mention the abortion joke (one review called it unsuccessful and a groaner). I don't think 99% of America cares about the WHCD in any way shape or form, but a bunch of reporters putting on tuxedos to listen to abortion jokes is a straight-up caricature of the worst image some people have of Washington.
posted by zachlipton at 10:38 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


The reaction to Colbert in 2006 was the same, so that bodes well for Wolf. The WHCD Association was so cowed the guest the next year was Rich Little. I guess we have to wait a year to see if they've learned anything.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:01 PM on April 29 [11 favorites]


From that great Roy Cohn piece:

➽ Rupert Murdoch: Whenever Roy wanted a story stopped, item put in, or story exploited — i.e., Ferraro and her family — Roy called Murdoch. Roy was also Rupert’s attorney.

I had no idea Barbara Walters was Roy Cohn's beard:
Many of Walters' other friends were horrified that she would even talk to Cohn, but what Walters reveals for the first time in "Audition" is that Cohn somehow got a warrant for her father's arrest dismissed. He had failed to show up for a New York court date because the family was in Las Vegas at the time.

Jesus. Read the article, then go sharpen your pitchforks.
posted by benzenedream at 11:22 PM on April 29 [12 favorites]


So, nothing kills a joke like explaining it, but since the Republicans and their allies in the media are deliberately trying to distract from Michelle Wolf's targeted critique of them by claiming the jokes about Sarah Huckabee Sanders are about her appearance, here goes. The transcript of her full set can be found here.

Wolf made four jokes about Sanders, but people only seem to be talking much about the first three of them. Frequently in comedy, when you have several jokes on a single topic, the jokes will be structured together in a fairly typical way. The first joke introduces the topic, the next jokes circle around the core conceit, and the final joke drives straight at the target. This is exactly what Wolf did in her set:

1. Sanders is like Aunt Lydia from "The Handmaid's Tale." Those making a big point of how offensive this was claim she must be making a comparison based on looks. Wolf doesn't directly flesh out this comparison so in and of itself this could be a possible interpretation, if not for the fact that it leads into the next three jokes.

2. Sanders is unpredictable and can be like a softball coach. Again, those claiming offense suggest she's calling Sanders butch. But that's not actually the logic of the joke. The verbatim joke is:
Every time Sarah steps up to the podium, I get excited because I'm not really sure what we're going to get: you know, a press briefing, a bunch of lies or divided into softball teams. "It's shirts and skins, and this time, don't be such a little bitch, Jim Acosta."
In other words, Sanders sometimes behaves as a normal press secretary and gives a press briefing, sometimes acts like she's giving a normal press briefing but only spouts obvious lies, and sometimes eschews even the trappings of a normal press briefing and instead treats the journalists like a bunch of children that it's her unpleasant responsibility to manage. Her choice to compare Sanders to a softball coach is relevant to the core logic of the set, as we'll see, but it's pretty clear that what she's mocking is Sanders's unpredictability and willingness to lie and browbeat as part of her role as press secretary.

3. The makeup joke that has attracted the most commentary. Now we're closing in on the core target of this set of jokes. Sanders seems to effortlessly combine her lies in defense of the administration, which is the most overtly misogynistic administration we've had in recent history, with performative femininity. Those determined to find offense mostly suggest this has something to do with Sanders's looks, but it's not: this is about the way she chooses to present herself and how that relates to the job she does. Even some of the people claiming great offense at this reveal the same pattern that Wolf is mocking, when they claim that for Wolf to treat "a wife and mother" with such disrespect is unacceptable. Michele Wolf is saying that Sarah Huckabee Sanders uses her femininity in the service of misogyny. You might say that this is an overinterpretation, or at least an idiosyncratic interpretation, of the joke, but Wolf's final joke on Sanders makes the core logic of all four of them clear:

4. Her final joke strips away any ambiguity and goes straight to the point:
And I'm never really sure what to call Sarah Huckabee Sanders. You know, is it Sarah Sanders? Is Sarah Huckabee Sanders? Is it Cousin Huckabee? Is it Auntie Huckabee Sanders? Like, what's Uncle Tom but for white women who disappoint other white women?
(My emphasis.) This is one hell of an attack, and in some ways I'm surprised this one doesn't seem to be getting more attention, but acknowledging this final joke, even to demonstrate outrage at it, would also have to acknowledge that Wolf's target isn't Sanders's appearance, it's her behavior. The central target of all four of Wolf's jokes is that Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a traitor to her gender. Sanders is like Aunt Lydia in that both are traitors to other women. Sanders is like a softball coach and uses that rare role of female power to support misogynists. Sanders lies with smoky eyes so that she can use performative femininity to bolster her job as the mouthpiece of misogynists. Sanders is the white woman version of an Uncle Tom.

Now, I think there's plenty to be offended at in Michele Wolf's jokes about Sanders, depending on where you're coming from. Personally I think her attack is pretty much on point, but I can absolutely see things in her set that would bother reasonable people. But one thing she's definitely not doing is attacking Sanders's appearance, except that aspect of her appearance that Sanders chooses very deliberately, her performative traditional femininity, and only because of how Sanders uses it in service to misogynists.

(Thanks to my wonderful spouse for helping me to fully understand all of the above. She's an obsessive reader of the megathread, but rarely comments herself, and I thought this particular insight was worth sharing.)
posted by biogeo at 11:22 PM on April 29 [262 favorites]


I just watched the Wolf thing, and it's like...

I didn't think it was that funny. There were definitely moments, i cracked up at Mike Pence being not gay and stormy eyes, but a lot of it consisted of her just saying things that are true. Like, no, nobody thinks Trump is good in bed, and Kellyanne Conway does have the perfect name for her job. Lol abortion if you're gonna do it really do it, I just heard a comedian being blasé and silly about something that's controversial, which is the oldest punchline ever. Also what's the deal with airline food.

Then I realized, ha-ha, the joke is that she has to say it to a room full of journalists.LOL people in Flint still drink cancer! They do!

Overall I liked it because yes, most conservative talking points are already punchlines. And now that they're horrified and disgusted, can we take back whining about free speech too? This is America dammit and I am disgusted that we can't just have a conversation about Huckabee's eyebrows of fact ashes and Trump's overcompensating for obvious impotence and lack of money. We need to hear both sides, and it's an assault on American freedom and dignity that we can't have this conversation without snowflake conservatives whining about a golden age when facts didn't matter, support the troops because what do you think they're fighting for.
posted by saysthis at 11:42 PM on April 29 [5 favorites]


It's hard not to see the Cohn piece as an extension of Adam Davidson's great New Yorker story xammerboy was just discussing: we keep handing the country over to crooks and con men, make them suffer no consequences for the massive destruction and suffering they leave in their wake, and often bring them back around for second and third acts no matter how big their cons. We're bringing back the crooks responsible for the Iraq War and the Financial Crisis and giving them yet more power. This was the second truest thing George W. Bush ever said (the first is his commentary on Trump's inauguration):
There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again

We've spent decades letting ourselves get fooled by the same assholes.
posted by zachlipton at 11:47 PM on April 29 [13 favorites]


Speaking of trees...I wonder what the reporters on the white house beat would think if they could see the forest their safe and leafy glen is part of. You know, the invasive bark-beetle-infested forest where those bits not being bulldozed are on fire.

But it's hard to argue they don't have a point about focusing on the jogger found on the glen's lawn, which is clearly signed "no running".

One tree on fire is a story, they tell me, but a whole forest of them burning is the new normal.
posted by maxwelton at 11:57 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


Just read the whole thing.

Michael Hayden: The End of Intelligence
We in the intelligence world have dealt with obstinate and argumentative presidents through the years. But we have never served a president for whom ground truth really doesn’t matter.
Mr. Hayden is a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.
posted by scalefree at 12:10 AM on April 30 [49 favorites]


I'm starting to think the solution to the Syria problem we're headed for may be to make it go away. Syria, I mean.

@BenjaminNorton The US has repeatedly bombed Syria; Israel has illegally launched over 100 airstrikes on Syrian and ally targets, often violating Lebanese airspace. Turkey illegally invaded and is carving up north Syria, and Saudi and Qatar spent billions arming extremist Salafi death squads.
posted by scalefree at 12:31 AM on April 30 [4 favorites]


> South Koreans still regard Northerners as lost countrymen and family. The economic vacuum I think is similar.

Sorta. Younger generations think this but in the way conservatives think liberals are Americans.

Corroborating what anem0ne is saying here, my local PBS station has been showing this episode of NHK World's (Japanese national television) program Asia Insight. That page isn't showing me video unfortunately—maybe it's geo-locked or just not posted online—but here's the accompanying text:
N.Korean Defectors Become Company Presidents in S.Korea

Each year, over one thousand defectors escape the restrictive nation of North Korea to seek a new life in the South. Even if they succeed, persistent discrimination against North Koreans prevents them from feeling truly accepted into the new society. In response, a handful of defectors have taken an ambitious approach: Starting their own companies, they seek social positions as company presidents that ensure respect from those around them. In this episode, we follow the North Korean entrepreneurs who have defied their former nation, justifying their new lives by emerging victorious in the business world.
posted by XMLicious at 12:40 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I guess my disappointment with Wolf's set isn't that it was mean or disrespectful (wtf) or even not funny (it was). It's that calling out administration figures for being ridiculous is so unnecessary by now - we know. We know. They know. We all know.

I was hoping she would spend a lot more time on the media figures pretending not to notice or actively carrying water for these clowns. That's who needs to be humiliated into doing their fucking jobs. (Well both, but trumpists are un-shameable, so why bother?)
posted by ctmf at 1:35 AM on April 30 [9 favorites]


Sorta. Younger generations think this but in the way conservatives think liberals are Americans.

Let’s not forget the nontrivial fraction of the young Korean left that are completely uncritical of the North, to the extent of throwing shade on defectors. While I think it’s healthy to push back against some of the more indiscriminate demonizing of the North right-wing governments in the South have always done (and in which the Trump administration has more recently indulged), I’ve honestly sometimes been taken aback by the naiveté some younger Korean activists display in blaming the North’s difficulties entirely on the US.

The juche regime is still, by any standard, a criminal enterprise. Kim is still responsible for starving, imprisoning, torturing and murdering his people in vertiginous numbers. You can recognize the real crimes against humanity and the Korean people committed by the South, both during and after the years of the military dictatorship, without excusing those of the North.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:53 AM on April 30 [5 favorites]


Michelle Wolf has nothing to apologise for. Her critics do, though, Arwa Mahdawi/The Guardian

She's mostly saying what most of us are saying, but it's a nice piece to put up on FB if you have a lot of "friends" talking about "tone" there.
That said, trumpism is like a weird disease, spreading rapidly all over the world*, where nothing makes any sense any more and it's OK to say the most crazy lies and spout the most idiotic and/or hateful tweets. Now a bunch of semi-respectable journalists who aren't even all trumpists are tweet-lying about what Michelle Wolf said on live television, where everyone could see what she actually said. No problem. Except how can we then expect any of these journalists to hold anyone accountable anymore?
Like during the Bush years, only the comedians can be trusted to tell the truth, but as Jon Stewart said back then, that is not their job, at all. And the truth is not a joke.

*It seems the Danish PM has been involved in a drunken late-night twitter fight with two comedians, one of whom is in drag, which he could only loose because he is wrong (he tried to bully his wife's boss into not firing her and the tabloids got hold of the story). All fun, but not fun, people will still vote for his corrupt a** in what was formerly the least corrupt nation in the world.
posted by mumimor at 2:13 AM on April 30 [25 favorites]


President Echo is up & at it again.

@MattGertz During the 6 am and 7 am hours, Fox & Friends weekend host Pete Hegseth floated the idea of Greg Gutfeld hosting the WHCD, saying Trump shouldn't go unless he does.

Left, Fox & Friends, 6:11 am
Right, Trump, 7:45 am
posted by scalefree at 2:56 AM on April 30 [9 favorites]


But there's no attempt to grapple with the central contradiction: why is it inherently indecent to make fun of a disabled man but it's just policy to deport Dreamers or ban Muslims?

Reading Comey's book, I came to the conclusion that he made the same mistake as Tapper -- so determined to remain "neutral" and "non-partisan" that he let himself be used. There is no virtue in being open minded toward arguments that are not offered in good faith. No point in debating with someone who knowingly lies, who doesn't correct those lies or apologize when called on them.

Then I realized that this was a point Fred Clark had made several times... Continuing to presume good faith in someone who has shown that they are insincere is a grave mistake.

It made me think of Elie Wiesel's line "We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." That quote has a lot of implications I'm not very comfortable with, if I take it seriously (it's not very compatible with pacifism.) But in this context I can see the wisdom. The "neutrality" of the press and law enforcement definitely helped Trump, who leveled so many allegations he knew to be false, and got them treated by everyone as if they might be true.

It also made me think of this quote from Hillary Clinton's book "What Happened": "I came to see partisan politics as the most viable route in a democracy for achieving significant and lasting progress. Then, as now, plenty of progressive activists preferred to stand apart from party politics. Some saw both Democrats and Republicans as corrupt and compromised. Others were discouraged by repeated defeats."

It takes some courage to take sides on issues where half the population disagrees and will angrily attack you for your position. It does not require so much courage to be "non-partisan" and to take sides only on issues of decorum, which more people can agree on, and which have lower stakes.
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:13 AM on April 30 [62 favorites]


Eric Boehlert (Shareblue)
btw, the NYT chief WH correspondent lashing out at comic for making fun of GOP administration clearly violates NYT twitter policy. I'm sure @deanbaquet will be handing out demerits soon....
also, NYT has yet to publish article on fact its chief WH correspondent sparked controversy by publicly siding w/ WH by attacking comic.....while she's under contract to write WH book

---

Yep, Haberman has a seven figure book deal to write about the Trump White House. Something she and the Times have neglected to mention as they jump to protect and coddle someone who has seemingly been confirmed as one of her main sources.
posted by chris24 at 4:46 AM on April 30 [121 favorites]


Michelle Wolf’s Joke About Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ Eye Makeup Was Totally Fine

I haven't watched the bit, but it seems like there's criticism on the makeup part of the joke but the real butt of the joke being that Sanders constantly lies? Not challenged at all.
posted by like_neon at 5:15 AM on April 30 [6 favorites]


And I know people are sick of talking about this, but Kathy Griffin did a great tweetstorm going from A to Z on the bullshit of this whole "controversy." Too much to post here, but this article has a lot of it for the Twitter adverse.

HuffPo: Kathy Griffin Nails The Hypocrisy Of Critics Calling On Michelle Wolf To Apologize
posted by chris24 at 5:15 AM on April 30 [13 favorites]


In case there was any doubt about what this is really about.

Natasha Bertrand (Atlantic)
.@mschlapp on @CNN: “Journalists should not be the ones to say that the president or his spokesperson is lying.”

---

Jelani Cobb (New Yorker)
Been apparent for a long time that media liberalism, the kind that prizes civility above all else, is incapable of understanding the potentially mortal threat Trumpism represents. Your civility will not save you.

---

Mike Drucker (Full Frontal)
“Sarah Huckabee Sanders has perfect eye makeup.”
“I deeply hurt for all women in America who must suffer these types of comments every day.”

“We should murder any woman who ever gets an abortion.”
“Whoa whoa whoa don’t censor this guy, let’s hear what he has to say!”
posted by chris24 at 5:25 AM on April 30 [120 favorites]


@Maggie Haberman: That @PressSec sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive.

Katie Halper
I kinda feel that someone who laughed in Keith Ellison’s face when he suggested Trump would win the primary shouldn’t feel comfortable commenting on humor, etiquette or, actually, anything.
Ellison (July 2015): Trump has got some momentum. And I'd think we'd better be ready for the fact that he might be leading the Republican ticket.

Stephanopoulos: I know you don't believe that.

Haberman (laughing uncontrollably, with pix): Sorry to laugh.
posted by chris24 at 5:33 AM on April 30 [29 favorites]


What's a puppet to do?

@AFP #BREAKING Putin, Macron in favour of keeping Iran nuclear accord: Kremlin
posted by scalefree at 5:33 AM on April 30 [13 favorites]


One might be tempted — just as fruitlessly — to speculate on what might have happened if more of New York’s elites had intervened back then, nonviolently, to block or seriously challenge Trump’s path to power. They had plenty of provocation and opportunities to do so. Trump practiced bigotry on a grand scale, was a world-class liar, and ripped off customers, investors, and the city itself. Yet for many among New York’s upper register, there was no horror he could commit that would merit his excommunication. As with Cohn before him, the more outrageously and reprehensibly Trump behaved, the more the top rungs of society were titillated by him. They could cop out of any moral judgments or actions by rationalizing him as an entertaining con man: a cheesy, cynical, dumbed-down Gatsby who fit the city’s tacky 1980s Gilded Age much as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s more romantic prototype had the soigné Jazz Age of the 1920s. And so most of those who might have stopped Trump gawked like the rest of us as he scrambled up the city’s ladder, grabbing anything that wasn’t nailed down.

I think this interpretation is wrong. Trump path wasn't paved by people who were merely entertained or titillated by his excesses. It was paved by people who commited similar offenses but on a smaller scale who were afraid to call him on it lest they themselves be called out. That and bribes. Lots and lots of bribes. Which entangle both the giver and receiver in guilt.
posted by srboisvert at 5:37 AM on April 30 [24 favorites]


The only bigger joke than the WHCD is that the NYT has a twitter policy.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:42 AM on April 30 [9 favorites]


Hey, in good news, awful UK home secretary Amber Rudd has resigned, de facto for lying about deportation targets, although the phrase "inadvertently misled" is how they're massaging it. (As you probably recall, AR called for a "hostile climate" for undocumented migrants and oversaw the crackdown on Caribbean British immigrants who'd been recruited to come to the UK to work in the sixties and had never gotten modern documents. So all those people were getting shipped back to countries they'd not lived in since the sixties, getting refused cancer treatment and access to the NHS generally, getting evicted - it's a different style of fucking over immigrants than Trump's, because it seemed to lean much more heavily on getting individual landlords and employers to turn Stasi, but much the same in spirit. )

Anyway, she's the true heir of Thatcher and while of course the 1% will never lack, at least she's not Home Secretary anymore.
posted by Frowner at 6:20 AM on April 30 [32 favorites]


‘Who the hell is this person?’ Trump’s Mar-a-Lago pal stymies VA project
Bruce Moskowitz, an internist and friend of Trump confidant Ike Perlmutter, who advises the president informally on vet issues, objected to the $16 billion Department of Veterans Affairs project because he doesn’t like the Cerner Corp. software he uses at two Florida hospitals, according to four former and current senior VA officials. Cerner technology is a cornerstone of the VA project.

With the White House’s approval, Moskowitz has been on two or three monthly calls since November with the contracting team responsible for implementing the 10-year project, according to two former senior VA officials. Perlmutter, the Marvel Entertainment chairman, has also been on some of the calls, they said.

Many doctors and health IT experts are skeptical of the VA deal — especially after the problem-ridden implementation of a similar system at military hospitals. However, the involvement of Moskowitz and Perlmutter, which has not previously been reported, infuriated clinicians involved in the VA project, including former Secretary David Shulkin, according to one of the sources, a former senior VA official. Several officials said they thought contract negotiations had been wrapped up earlier this year and had no idea why the project was being held up.

“Shulkin would say, “Who the hell is this person who practices medicine in Florida and has never run a health care system?” said the source.
This is why selling access to the President through his golf course is bad. One random private doctor in Florida can derail a $16 billion IT project because he doesn't like the interface. Now imagine that, only with Russian spies.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:37 AM on April 30 [70 favorites]


There's a Roy Cohn quote from Angels in America that should be quoted to those wringing their hands over the WHCD, "You want to be Nice, or you want to be Effective?"
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:45 AM on April 30 [7 favorites]


Somebody's got a case of the Mondays. Also I don't think he gets to decide that.

@realDonaldTrump The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is DEAD as we know it. This was a total disaster and an embarrassment to our great Country and all that it stands for. FAKE NEWS is alive and well and beautifully represented on Saturday night!
posted by scalefree at 6:45 AM on April 30 [5 favorites]


He's right, just not for the reasons he thinks.
posted by cardboard at 6:48 AM on April 30 [23 favorites]


Mika Brzezinski: Watching a wife and mother be humiliated on national television for her looks is deplorable. I have experienced insults about my appearance from the president. All women have a duty to unite when these attacks happen and the WHCA owes Sarah an apology.

So Haberman is protecting her million dollar book deal, and other reporters and outlets are protecting their sources and/or pissed that Wolf called out their bullshit enabling. Wonder why Mika is being intentionally obtuse about the joke and abetting fascism?

"I watch “Morning Joe” every morning. We now know that Mika and Joe are engaged. Congratulations, you guys. It's like when a Me Too works out."

Ah.
posted by chris24 at 6:52 AM on April 30 [23 favorites]


Hopefully this will be the last WHCD, cause Michelle killed it.
posted by odinsdream at 6:54 AM on April 30 [20 favorites]


What's a puppet to do?

@AFP #BREAKING Putin, Macron in favour of keeping Iran nuclear accord: Kremlin


Seeing as it's not diplomatic tit-for-tat or sanctions related, I think Putin is fine with trump screwing over as many deals as possible and lowering the standing of the US in the international community. So, no threats of peetape release over the secret backchannel for this one.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:55 AM on April 30 [4 favorites]


the fact that the WHCD and its assorted defenders are way more upset and embarrassed by the fact a comedian did what she was invited to do than the fact that their insufferable annual neoliberalism-themed Wonk Prom arguably gave us Trump in the first place speaks volumes
like, i hope the dinner is finally dead, but it's still years too late
posted by halation at 6:59 AM on April 30 [15 favorites]


Ike Perlmutter. His previous achievements include deciding Marvel comics shouldn’t publish the Fantastic Four, trying not to put women or black people in Marvel movies, and the failed Inhumans TV show.
posted by Artw at 7:03 AM on April 30 [13 favorites]


Bruce Moskowitz, an internist and friend of Trump confidant Ike Perlmutter, who advises the president informally on vet issues, objected to the $16 billion Department of Veterans Affairs project because he doesn’t like the Cerner Corp. software he uses at two Florida hospitals, according to four former and current senior VA officials. Cerner technology is a cornerstone of the VA project.

To be fair, Cerner is terrible. But the solution to that is better funding for the VA, so they aren't stuck using Cerner because they can't afford Epic.
posted by robotdevil at 7:08 AM on April 30 [9 favorites]


Or not scrapping the VA's internal system that they spent billions to develop in the first place. But the specifics of the IT system aren't really the point, it's the process that allows one fucko with a Mar Largo membership to subvert the entire government decisionmaking apparatus by paying Trump directly.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:13 AM on April 30 [41 favorites]


How Michelle Wolf Blasted Open the Fictions of Journalism in the Age of Trump
(Masha Gessen | The New Yorker)
Wolf’s monologue—sharp, unflinching, and pointedly unfunny in places—called bullshit on the role laughter has been performing in Trump’s America. Over the last year and a half, much of the culture has sought relief in humor in much the same way as citizens of extremely repressive countries. Back in the early nineties, in her book “How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed,” the Croatian writer Slavenka Drakulić described laughter as the ultimate personal triumph over the daily humiliations of life under Communist rule. In today’s Russia, people make jokes about the fear Vladimir Putin inspires (he opens the fridge and the jellied meat begins to quake, but he reassures it by saying he is getting the yogurt) or the suicidal nature of Russian foreign policy (we’ll retaliate against American sanctions by bombing the Russian city of Voronezh), the same way that they used to joke about Leonid Brezhnev’s inability to talk or stay awake during official functions. Jokes serve a transparent purpose: they reclaim the power to define—and inhabit—reality. They also reclaim the goodness of laughter, for regimes weaponize laughter to mock their opponents, creating what the cultural theorist Svetlana Boym called “totalitarian laughter.” Its opposite is anti-totalitarian laughter.

I recognize laughter in the age of Trump as though it were a cousin of anti-totalitarian laughter. It is the reaction to seeing act-based reality, as when “Saturday Night Live” essentially reënacts White House press conferences, or when late-night comedians offer up what amounts to straightforward reportage and analysis. The hunger for a reflection of reality is so desperate that, I have discovered repeatedly over the last year and a half, one can reliably get laughs simply by quoting Trump during a public talk. ...

Wolf’s routine burst the bubbles of civility and performance, and of the separation of media and comedy. It plunged the attendees into the reality that is, in the Trump era, the stuff of comedy. Through her obscene humor, Wolf exposed the obscenity of the fictions—and the fundamental unfunniness of it all. Her last line, the most shocking of her entire monologue, bears repeating: Flint still doesn’t have clean water.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:55 AM on April 30 [103 favorites]


Democrats lose ground with millennials - Reuters/Ipsos poll - Chris Khan, Reuters
The online survey of more than 16,000 registered voters ages 18 to 34 shows their support for Democrats over Republicans for Congress slipped by about 9 percentage points over the past two years, to 46 percent overall. And they increasingly say the Republican Party is a better steward of the economy.

Although nearly two of three young voters polled said they do not like Republican President Donald Trump, their distaste for him does not necessarily extend to all Republicans or translate directly into votes for Democratic congressional candidates.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:22 AM on April 30 [4 favorites]


the crackdown on Caribbean British immigrants

I apolgize if this is a derail, but: No. They weren’t “immigrants.” As I understand it, the “Windrush generation” were and are citizens of the British Commonwealth and subjects of Her Majesty the Queen fully entitled to reside in the United Kingdom should they so choose. Treating them like immigrants, documented or otherwise, is at the heart of this whole racist debacle.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:44 AM on April 30 [67 favorites]


I wish I could comb through the social media posts and other commentary from everyone -- Republican, Democrat, liberal, progressive, moderate, men, women, etc -- reacting with such performative horror over Wolf's (no relation) comments to see what they've said in the past when people -- and not just comedians -- have said truly vile and disgusting things about the physical appearance of Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Hillary Clinton, Serena Williams, Janet Reno, Elizabeth Warren, and various other women who aren't correctly (in their eyes) performing American femininity by being white and conservative.

And they increasingly say the Republican Party is a better steward of the economy.

Stuff like this and the South Korean President saying Trump deserves a Nobel for his role in the recent NK/SK developments makes me want to give up hope.

Republicans get such out-sized and unearned praise and rewards for every little thing they do; when a Democrat accomplishes something, it's dismissed as something that was easily accomplished or something for which their predecessor deserves more credit, etc.

It's disturbingly similar to the mediocre male/competent female dynamic in the workplace....
posted by lord_wolf at 8:45 AM on April 30 [37 favorites]


@AFP #BREAKING Putin, Macron in favour of keeping Iran nuclear accord: Kremlin

Oh, great, now I have doubts about the accord. Sigh.
posted by Bovine Love at 8:46 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Treating them like immigrants, documented or otherwise, is at the heart of this whole racist debacle.

I'm sorry (and I apologize for the mistake) - I mistyped. I was trying to convey that they had moved to the UK from the commonwealth, not that they weren't citizens. I was thinking of all the various things Amber Rudd has done and I got them jumbled because I was thinking of all that "hostile climate" stuff. It's absolutely true that the Windrush generation are citizens and it's a disgrace to treat them otherwise.
posted by Frowner at 8:47 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


The Daily 202: The Intercept breaks open Democratic squabbles as midterm elections approach - David Weigel with Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve, WaPo
The website’s series of scoops on intra-Democratic arguments started with a sprawling and buzzy January story on how the DCCC was “throwing its weight behind candidates who are out of step with the national mood.”

The publication's exposure of the family feud is playing into a narrative that Democrats' biggest risk to their goal of capturing the House majority in this year's midterm elections — with President Trump hanging around the GOP's neck — is themselves. That is, the progressive anti-Trump energy driving the party is leading to a plethora of messy Democratic primaries and some serious differences over how to approach them.
...
The Intercept’s punchy focus on Democratic politics is in large part the work of D.C. bureau chief Ryan Grim, who spent years running the HuffPost’s political team.

In an email, Grimm said that the Intercept's coverage “was fueled by the insight that the Bernie/Hillary divide exists on Twitter and in Washington but not in the real world,” and that the DCCC was barreling into primaries where all of the local party’s factions had already gotten behind a candidate. Grimm was referring to the endless ink spilled by Washington journalists about the 2016 primary rivalry between Hillary Clinton — then the establishment candidate — and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who waged a surprisingly strong primary challenge from the left.
...
“The thinking was that that would help explain to our audience why we were doing short items about individual races here and there,” said Grim. “We didn’t realize how much of a nerve it would strike. Immediately, other campaigns started reaching out saying, 'Hey, that’s happening here, too!' And with so many races happening, the chances of some really good stories emerging go way up.”
Emphasis theirs.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:48 AM on April 30 [4 favorites]


Fmr. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro:
Obviously, Netanyahu's announcement tonight on the Iranian nuclear program is fully coordinated with the US side. The call with Trump yesterday and Pompeo's visit would have locked it in. Ironically, if he has clear evidence of an Iranian violation of the JCPOA, that could be used as a reason to stay in the deal and use the sanctions snapback. That's a way to toughen sanctions on Iran, but keep the Europeans (and even Russia and China) on board. If Trump wanted more time before exiting the JCPOA so he could work the North Korea negotiations without an immediate crisis in Iran distracting at the same time, that would be a pretty sophisticated play. But there is no doubt that is not the strategy. Netanyahu wants the JCPOA gone, as does Trump. In all likelihood, Trump will seize on Netanyahu's announcement to justify his decision (long since locked-in) to withdraw. Interesting question is how the Europeans will react, and if they will find this staging and the information presented credible. I recall in 2009 when Obama, Gordon Brown, & Francois Hollande revealed the existence of Iran's then-secret enrichment facility in Qom, it was a well-coordinated use of agreed-upon intelligence, & led all parties to sign up for tougher sanctions, including eventually UNSCR 1929. We'll see if tonight's revelations produce that kind of consensus. Not sure that is the priority, though. End.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:54 AM on April 30 [4 favorites]


> Stuff like this and the South Korean President saying Trump deserves a Nobel for his role in the recent NK/SK developments makes me want to give up hope.

If the events of the past two years have *improved* Millennials' (as a group) opinion of the Republican party, then yeah, I don't know what to tell you or anyone else.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:56 AM on April 30 [19 favorites]


Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker):
IRON MAN: You won’t get away with destroying the universe, Thanos.

MAGGIE HABERMAN: This is an attack on Thanos’ appearance! I can’t be convinced otherwise.

WHCA: We apologize to Thanos for the hero’s comments. While the universe is important, Thanos deserves the utmost respect
posted by salix at 9:04 AM on April 30 [83 favorites]


It's important not to over interpret single poll results, and reading down makes it pretty clear that poll is basically the same trend away from party identification we've been seeing for years:

Only 28 percent of those polled expressed overt support for Republicans in the 2018 poll - about the same percentage as two years earlier.

But that does not mean the rest will turn out to back Democrats, the survey showed. A growing share of voters between ages 18 and 34 years old said they were undecided, would support a third-party candidate or not vote at all.


You can't really interpret that as increased support for Republicans. You can read it as caution for increased turnout predictions, but turnout is always fickle, and we have lots of good other indicators that Democratic enthusiasm will be up in November, like all of the special results.

Wait for November for despair, if Democrats fail to retake the House, then its time for wailing and seriously considering your exit America plan. But not yet, and not based on a single poll.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:09 AM on April 30 [21 favorites]


Democrats lose ground with millennials - Reuters/Ipsos poll - Chris Khan, Reuters

The media is so desperate to tell a "Democrats in disarray!" story, it's pathetic. They haven't released the full cross-tabs, but here are some quotes from the article:
Only 28 percent of those polled expressed overt support for Republicans in the 2018 poll - about the same percentage as two years earlier.

A growing share of voters between ages 18 and 34 years old said they were undecided, would support a third-party candidate or not vote at all.

Two years ago, young white people favored Democrats over Republicans for Congress by a margin of 47 to 33 percent; that gap vanished by this year, with 39 percent supporting each party.

The shift was especially dramatic among young white men, who two years ago favored Democrats but now say they favor Republicans over Democrats by a margin of 46 to 37 percent, the Reuters/Ipsos poll showed.
So, Dems still winning 2/3 of the millenial vote, there isn't increasing support for the GOP, and the decrease in support for the Dems in favor of nonvoting/3rd party is among mostly white men. Also, current 18 year olds aren't millennials.
posted by melissasaurus at 9:10 AM on April 30 [62 favorites]


As a millennial who has lost faith in the Democratic party over the past two years, I would bet that a huge portion of those polled are dissatisfied because they've moved to the left of the Democrats, not the right. And this squares with how the poll shows the same percentage of support for Republicans now as two years earlier.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:16 AM on April 30 [62 favorites]


citizens of the British Commonwealth and subjects of Her Majesty the Queen fully entitled to reside in the United Kingdom should they so choose

Not true, actually; Commonwealth citizens do not have automatic right of abode in the UK. They're free of certain forms of immigration control and can vote in elections while UK-resident, but they have to go through normal immigration channels if they wish to reside permanently. Those who arrived prior to the enactment of the Immigration Act 1971 have the right to remain indefinitely, as the law then in place made citizens of the Commonwealth citizens of the UK and colonies; those who arrived after 1973 do not have the right to remain in the UK indefinitely (UK immigration law re Commonwealth citizens changed because of British accession to the EU in 1973). The so-called "Windrush generation" all arrived pre-1973, but I'd argue that their mistreatment is part of a larger and more general and cynical crackdown on immigration driven by Tory fear of the sentiments that led to Brexit (that's included things like, a few years back, vans like this one driving around British cities).
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 9:18 AM on April 30 [6 favorites]


Stuff like this and the South Korean President saying Trump deserves a Nobel for his role in the recent NK/SK developments makes me want to give up hope.

FWIW, while that sort of thing does make me hate Pres. Moon for being such a goddamn spineless shit, it's very much 사대주의 (sadaejuui), which is a derogatory way of referring to the humiliating, meatloaf-eating, embarrassing, self-abasing kowtowing to a greater power that Moon's been doing. It works, I guess, with someone like Trump, but the cost is just. so. fucking. high.

This sort of "serving the great" is pretty much baked into historical Korean foreign policy, though, given that for most of its 5ish millennia history it was a shrimp struggling to survive next to larger powers. 사대 (sadae) is the less nasty way of referring to it, and it's pretty much what Korea did to China until about 1910 (when Japan annexed it) and what it did to the US until Moon's election in 2017, when it turned to 사대주의.

In short I hope Pres. Moon ends up in prison like all of his predecessors, but instead of corruption, for being a fucking groveling cur.
posted by anem0ne at 9:20 AM on April 30 [14 favorites]


As a millennial who has lost faith in the Democratic party over the past two years, I would bet that a huge portion of those polled are dissatisfied because they've moved to the left of the Democrats, not the right.

The too-conservative-for-Republican strategy of grumbling about politicians, showing up for primaries, but still voting for Republicans has paid off very handsomely for conservatives electorally. I wonder whether too-left-for-Dems will follow a similar strategy.
posted by Jpfed at 9:23 AM on April 30 [15 favorites]


I wonder whether too-left-for-Dems will follow a similar strategy.

If Stein voters had voted for Clinton, she would have won Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire, which would have given her 273 electoral votes and the presidency.

If too-left-for-Dems didn't figure this out after Nader in 2000, and didn't learn their lesson in 2016, I have no hope for them. At this point I can only assume they're accelerationists.
posted by 0xFCAF at 9:31 AM on April 30 [66 favorites]


Republican Senate Candidate, Who Has Called for Country 'Free From Jews,’ Could be Dianne Feinstein’s Challenger
The man in question is Patrick Little, an extremist with hardline anti-Semitic views who is backed by David Duke and other far-right extremists. Little will be squaring off in a top-two primary with 10 other Republicans as well as Democrats and independents on June 5 for the chance to oppose veteran Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. According to a recent poll, released last week, he very much has a chance of winning the right to face off with the incumbent.

A poll conducted by local ABC News affiliates along with the polling company Survey USA, suggested that Little is polling at 18 percent of the vote on the Republican ticket, a full 10 points ahead of his next strongest opponent. The 84-year-old Feinstein, who first entered office way back in 1992, at the start of Bill Clinton’s first term, remains a solid favorite to win the state—polling at 39 percent.

It’s unclear how predictive the poll will prove to be, or whether many Californians are intimately familiar with Little’s views, but the notion that he has any viability at all in the state is likely to raise alarm. Little has said he believes Jews should have no say over white non-Jews and wants to see them removed from the country altogether. On Gab, a social media site with large swaths of extremist users, he argues that the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, whose proprietors praise Adolf Hitler and have appeared to call for acts of violence against Jewish people, is too Jewish.

posted by zarq at 9:32 AM on April 30 [10 favorites]


The too-conservative-for-Republican strategy of grumbling about politicians, showing up for primaries, but still voting for Republicans has paid off very handsomely for conservatives electorally. I wonder whether too-left-for-Dems will follow a similar strategy.

The far right sector of the Republican Party is backed by Koch, Mercer, and other billionaires and superPACs. Sadly, there's no equivalent on the far left (and never will be). Far-right Republicans who grumble and vote are being rewarded by their politicians rapidly moving right, but their votes are not the primary reason the politicians are moving right.

If arch-capitalist third way style governance is the best the far left can hope to get, it's no surprise that many of them don't bother ratifying it with their votes.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:33 AM on April 30 [3 favorites]


I would bet that a huge portion of those polled are dissatisfied because they've moved to the left of the Democrats, not the right.

This is still an angle of attack for Republicans. If they can't get Millennials to vote Republican, they can still demoralize the opposition and suppress their interest in voting. It doesn't take much:
"The DCC is keeping your candidates from being nominated."
"Hillary shows the Democrats are no different from Republicans"
"Joy Reed shows the hypocrisy of the Democrats"

Expect a lot of similar stuff in the next six months, along with a lot of piling that shows Republicans gaining strength.
posted by happyroach at 9:34 AM on April 30 [27 favorites]


The Birth of Godly Trump, the Humble Teacher
The paintings are of course at one level just comical schlock. Most levels, really. But what I want to focus on is the idealized Trump we find in these paintings, a sort of gentle teacher, humbly dispensing lessons, reprising various biblical motifs. This is needless to say, quite different from any actual Trump who has ever walked the earth. Even if you like, perhaps especially if you like Trump, he is the archetypical dominator of enemies. He’s a disruptor. He’s a lot of other things. But this is the most positive read. But here we have the creation of this alternative, godly Trump, which you actually see increasingly in various Christian art produced over the last year which incorporate Trump into scenes communing with or taking guidance from Jesus.

There’s only so much we can draw from [Jon] McNaughton’s painting, though the sales reproductions of his work and his growing fame on the Trumpist right give some indication of how much he resonates. This kind of hagiography is one small part of a story we are fools to miss. Even as President Trump in some ways losing grip over the Presidency, he is tightening his grip on the Republican party. He’s not losing ground on that front. His grip is intensifying and transforming what the core of the GOP is.
Interactive version of McNaughton's One Nation Under God, featuring Jesus holding the Constitution. If you look closely, he seems to be pointing at the part that says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." Thomas Jefferson's nearby, erecting "a wall of separation between Church & State." And James Madison, who said "religion & Gov will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."

"Under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1948. If McNaughton loves Trump so much he should update his painting of Obama golfing during a nuclear attack.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:43 AM on April 30 [11 favorites]


The far right sector of the Republican Party is backed by Koch, Mercer, and other billionaires and superPACs. Sadly, there's no equivalent on the far left (and never will be).

You mean you've been commenting here without receiving your monthly check from George Soros? Join the union, you scab.
posted by biogeo at 9:53 AM on April 30 [29 favorites]


Future debate question: "President Trump, what part has humility played in your success?"
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:54 AM on April 30 [8 favorites]


If too-left-for-Dems didn't figure this out after Nader in 2000, and didn't learn their lesson in 2016, I have no hope for them. At this point I can only assume they're accelerationists.

In my own experience of hardcore third-party voters: not so much "accelerationists" (though there are some) as mostly white, all with at least middle-class families even if they are not, all with a lot of cultural capital and family safety nets, and all cite "principles" "I voted my conscience" etc. as a reason for third-party voting. So not people who are really going to suffer under a Trump or other Republican regime, because white and privileged. To them it's all about Their Principles and Their Conscience.

My state, California, is not a swing state, so a few Stein/Johnson/etc. voters (we still have the Peace and Freedom party on the ballot!) don't matter. But the Fuck Everyone Else I Got My Principles is eye-rolling.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:56 AM on April 30 [27 favorites]


Compare: ... the great wolf Fenris rose from the deep

to: How Michelle Wolf Blasted Open the Fictions of Journalism in the Age of Trump (Masha Gessen | The New Yorker)

Seriously, writers? Seriously?
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:56 AM on April 30 [15 favorites]


the South Korean President saying Trump deserves a Nobel for his role in the recent NK/SK developments makes me want to give up hope.

That's not exactly what he said and the distinction is kinda important.

Elise Hu (NPR's Korea correspondent)
Moon's statement on Trump and the Nobel was in Korean -- a nuanced language and like any language, the context can affect the translation...
- Blue House confirmed this straight translation into English: “President Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize. The only thing we need is peace.”
- AFP is translating it this way: "President Trump can take the Nobel prize. All we need to take is peace," making more clear Moon was responding to a former winner's wife suggesting that MOON win the prize. AFP: Trump can have Nobel Peace Prize: S. Korea president
- Here it is in Korean: 노벨상은 도널드 트럼프 미 대통령이 받아야 하고 우리는 평화만 가져오면 된다
And again, he was responding to a letter from Kim Dae Jung's wife, which said Moon deserves a Nobel for the successful summit
posted by chris24 at 9:59 AM on April 30 [74 favorites]


AFP is translating it this way: "President Trump can take the Nobel prize. All we need to take is peace," making more clear Moon was responding to a former winner's wife suggesting that MOON win the prize. AFP: Trump can have Nobel Peace Prize: S. Korea president

And this is the reason that MetaFilter deserves every dime in subscription and more. Thanks chris24!!!
posted by Sophie1 at 10:04 AM on April 30 [67 favorites]


In my opinion, people who are too-left-for-Dems, who refuse to vote strategically and steadfastly view their vote as a declaration of their purity and principles, and either give it to candidates who they are completely in line with or not at all, are definitely open to being easily exploitable as useful idealogues.
posted by defenestration at 10:04 AM on April 30 [7 favorites]


This is still an angle of attack for Republicans. If they can't get Millennials to vote Republican, they can still demoralize the opposition and suppress their interest in voting. It doesn't take much:
"The DCC is keeping your candidates from being nominated."
"Hillary shows the Democrats are no different from Republicans"
"Joy Reed shows the hypocrisy of the Democrats"

Expect a lot of similar stuff in the next six months, along with a lot of piling that shows Republicans gaining strength.


I shouldn't be surprised, but nevertheless am a little, that the name Hillary Clinton is still, this far out from the election, such an effective wedge on the left. It's the stupidest goddamn thing to see, but you can see it in action every single day in progressive subreddits and the like. Thankfully, while you see anti-Hillary articles upvoted like crazy, top comments are often voices of reason saying "hey wtf are we doing", which makes me think astroturf, but still, that signal keeps getting boosted.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:04 AM on April 30 [17 favorites]


I'm too left for the Dems but I still vote for them on harm reduction principles. People who think they can just roll their eyes and make a jerking-off motion at the political system of the biggest and most dangerous nation in the world are not doing so in good faith.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:12 AM on April 30 [113 favorites]


Netanyahu's giving a big multimedia presentation (in English) about Iran right now.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:15 AM on April 30


For a palate-cleanser and some practical advice: Turning the Southwest Blue With Brown and Beautiful Millennials (Cristina Tzintzún and Manuel Pastor, The American Prospect):
The possibility of that kind of progressive turnaround is illustrated by the arc of the state of California. In the early 1990s, the Golden State looked much like red-state America today: agitated by anti-immigrant sentiment, strained by the economic distress of deindustrialization, and riddled by political polarization (few remember that Rush Limbaugh actually got his bombastic start in talk radio in Sacramento just prior to that era of unease). Today’s California is very different, of course: protecting immigrants against federal overreach, raising (not cutting) taxes to provide services, and tackling disparities in education and the labor market.

Getting there was a matter of demographic change, to be sure, but it was also the result of a great deal of work to change the electorate. Efforts by groups like California Calls lured new and occasional voters to the polls by combining community organizing with electoral mobilization—a strategy called “integrated voter engagement.” Such efforts have been crucial to winning state ballot measures to hike taxes on the well-off in both 2012 and 2016, and “de-felonize” drug use, effectively freeing many from state prison, in 2014.
Note - I have lived in California all my life, and I do remember the Pete Wilson, Proposition 184 (three-strikes), Proposition 187 (anti-immigrant), Proposition 8 (anti-same-gender marriage) laws. And we had not just Rush, but Michael Savage, a notorious conservative bigot blowhard (who lived in actual San Francisco!). It took time - some 20-ish years to go from Wilson to Jerry Brown - but we did it, we turned blue and liberal, and if we can do it you can do it.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:15 AM on April 30 [22 favorites]


I probably should have gone looking for the quote--thanks to chris24 for posting it.

But, to gloss this:
1. 노벨상은 (Nobel Prize)
2. 도널드 트럼프 미 대통령이 (Donald Trump Am. President (subj.))
3. 받아야 하고 (receive, and)
4. 우리는 (for us)
5. 평화만 (only peace)
6. 가져오면 된다 (get, it's enough)

The AFP's translation is a lot better, than the Blue House's, since I'd render it as "Donald Trump can have the Nobel Prize, because all we want and need is peace and peace alone."

That said, for the Blue House/청와대 (Cheongwadae), aka, the White House of the ROK, to stand by that original translation of Trump deserving it pretty much means that I stand by my previous statement of Pres. Moon being a fucking shameless twit. That is the official, democratically elected government of a technically sovereign nation groveling to a petty orange tyrant.

I say technically sovereign, because in the event Trump wants to get his war on in the peninsula, the current SOFA means that the entire ROK military would immediately fall under the Joint Command, which would be led by... the United States.
posted by anem0ne at 10:16 AM on April 30 [18 favorites]


In my opinion, people who are too-left-for-Dems, who refuse to vote strategically and steadfastly view their vote as a declaration of their purity and principles, and either give it to candidates who they are completely in line with or not at all, are definitely open to being easily exploitable as useful idealogues.

when I encounter these sort of arguments, I tend to go with, "You know, the real stuff of democracy is not what you do on voting day, it's what you do every day. The stands you take, the causes you support, the arguments you make, the agitations you pursue. Voting day is the one day you get ground level pragmatic and opt for the least evil option that has a chance of winning. Don't be a f***ing idiot."
posted by philip-random at 10:18 AM on April 30 [51 favorites]


zachlipton: There's a "burned fat —> ashes —> lye —> lie" thing going on here.

dirigibleman: She was telling them she wasn't going to make this more palatable to them.

I was impressed before, but now I want to read the transcript to try and parse more nuanced and layered jokes.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:20 AM on April 30 [4 favorites]


melissasaurus: The media is so desperate to tell a "Democrats in disarray!" story, it's pathetic. They haven't released the full cross-tabs, but here are some quotes from the article

This is why I love MetaFilter - people trying to look at the actual data behind stories on stats.

Media literacy isn't just being critical of the story that is being told, but doing a bit of work to understand the details behind the packaged narrative. It means doing more than reading headlines, which is the problem with media super-saturation: all the outlets are vying for attention, so the less exciting details are often overlooked.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:30 AM on April 30 [25 favorites]


From @rtraister: Between reaction to Wolf - who was fucking devastating and brilliant- & those caping for Brokaw and not understanding Wapo piece (& Wolf's routine) as about whole systems that enact and cover up power abuses, I am learning a lot about how many Aunt Lydias there really are out there.

(I've read HMT a few times, I guess I'm going to actually have to watch the new version, aren't I?)
posted by Sophie1 at 10:31 AM on April 30 [8 favorites]


Michael Hayden: The End of Intelligence
We in the intelligence world have dealt with obstinate and argumentative presidents through the years. But we have never served a president for whom ground truth really doesn’t matter.
Mr. Hayden is a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.


This morning, NPR made a big deal of how unprecedented it was that former "spies" would speak publicly about political issues.

They did not make a big deal about how unprecedented it is to have POTUS publicly attack intelligence agencies for findings that are inconvenient to him politically -- or personally.

Indeed, the phrasing -- "President Trump has raised doubts about the intelligence agencies and their findings regarding Russia's meddling in the 2016 election" -- makes it sound as if Trump has legitimate and good-faith questions about the consensus of the US intelligence community, and not just stubborn refusal to believe information that undermines his ego and his legitimacy.
posted by Gelatin at 10:34 AM on April 30 [61 favorites]


filthy light thief: now I want to read the transcript to try and parse more nuanced and layered jokes.

... it's 2018, and I look forward to really getting into a WHCD transcript. To better appreciate the jokes.

To bring this back to current affairs of the world: As two Koreas shake hands, Hidden Cobra hackers wage espionage campaign -- North Korea ramps up espionage hacks that target the US and 16 other countries. (Dan Goodin for Ars Technica, April 27, 2018)
As Kim Jong Un became the first North Korean leader to step into South Korea, his generals continue to oversee teams of increasingly advanced hackers who are actively targeting the financial, health, and entertainment industries in the US and more than a dozen other countries. The so-called GhostSecret data reconnaissance campaign, exposed Tuesday by security firm McAfee, remains ongoing. It is deploying a series of previously unidentified tools designed to stealthily infect targets and gather data or possibly repeat the same type of highly destructive attacks visited upon Sony Pictures in 2014.

Last month, McAfee reported finding Bankshot, a remote-access trojan attributed to Hidden Cobra—a so-called advanced persistent threat group tied to North Korea—infecting Turkish banks. In this week's report, the security firm said the same malware was infecting organizations all over the world. McAfee researchers also found never-before-seen malware that was infecting the same organizations. One tool included many of the capabilities of Bankshot, including its ability to compromise computers that connect to the SWIFT banking network and permanently wipe data from infected computers. The tool also had digital fingerprints found in Destover, the name given to malware that was used in the Sony Pictures intrusion.
The article goes on to treat this is "typical" cyber intelligence gathering, instead of cyber warfare. I'm not sure what to take from that, TBH.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:40 AM on April 30 [2 favorites]


The annotated transcript of Wolf's speech has been posted a few times up page, but I'm doing it again here because you owe it to yourself to read it. It's amazing.

And the reaction from the press about what she said, from people like Maggie Haberman and Andrea Mitchell, is the more disheartening thing about the blowback. The president is a malignant narcissist, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyanne Conway are malignant liars, and Flint still doesn't have clean water. But sure, let's all take the time to say that SHS needs an apology for calling her Aunt Lydia and having a smoky eye made with burnt facts.

Stupidest timeline.
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:53 AM on April 30 [56 favorites]


Max Fisher has some thoughts on the issues with Netanyahu's Iran presentation, which are also useful if you're catching up with what he said.
posted by zachlipton at 10:54 AM on April 30 [3 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** MN Senate special -- Mentioned yesterday, Richard Painter, W's ethics lawyer, is going to run for the Dem nomination in the special to fill out the rest of Franken's term. He had been mulling an independent run, which at least had a chance of putting a Republican in the seat. He's seen as having very little shot of getting the nomination, leaving appointed Dem Tina Smith in a pretty safe position.

** OH-12 special -- GOP in pitched battle over the nomination between mainstream and far right. The party is very concerned that the Dems could pick up this seat, after the recent PA and AZ results.

** 2018 Senate:
-- MO: Emerson poll has McCaskill and Hawley tied, 45-45 [MOE:+/- 4.2%]. Meanwhile, Hawley campaign is pushing an internal that has him up 47-46 [MOE:+/- 4%]. That's not very impressive for an internal that you're using to prove you are credible.

-- IN: The three-way GOP primary is getting seriously ugly.

-- Vox round-up of all the vulnerable Dem seats.

-- Parts 2 & 3 of David Byler series of trying to construct a Senate model. Takeaway fact: Senate polls this far out are about 80% accurate of the election result.
** 2018 House:
-- WP: Dems now targeting rural districts in addition to suburbs.

-- Enten: Specials spell trouble for GOP. (with funky web design).

-- More analysis of margins in specials from DKE.
====
Two Florida state House special elections tomorrow
posted by Chrysostom at 10:59 AM on April 30 [29 favorites]


@ReutersPolitics: JUST IN: Stormy Daniels files defamation lawsuit against President Trump - court filing

Here's a copy of the complaint, via Michael Avenatti. The suit alleges Trump defamed her when he tweeted that she lied about the man who threatened her in 2011.

Trump is now discussing the "caravan" of asylum-seekers: "people don't realize what a big country Mexico is" and our border "has the worst laws." He's talking about how hard the wall will be to climb, despite the fact the people in question are here to present themselves and claim asylum.
posted by zachlipton at 11:00 AM on April 30 [41 favorites]


Netanyahu's speech emulated a certain POTUS who also likes to use props and not answer questions. I guess we'll see how he liked it when it comes up on his TiVo tonight.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:08 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Now a bunch of semi-respectable journalists who aren't even all trumpists are tweet-lying about what Michelle Wolf said on live television, where everyone could see what she actually said. No problem.

Hardly for the first time. Recall that during the 2000 Presidential debates, the so-called "liberal media" had to make up for George W. Bush's telling obvious whoppers by running with bad-faith conservative commentary -- but I repeat myself -- that Al Gore "sighed" too much when Bush told said whoppers. The media's performance has not improved since, and here we are.
posted by Gelatin at 11:14 AM on April 30 [48 favorites]


Netanyahu's speech emulated a certain POTUS who also likes to use props and not answer questions.

How's the corruption case against him going?
posted by Artw at 11:15 AM on April 30 [4 favorites]


Republicans don't want to be called out for supporting racists and racist policies,...

This is an interesting example of cognitive dissonance on the part of Republicans. They've internalized the idea that racism is bad, even though they are racist. The way they reduce their dissonance is by believing wholeheartedly that their racism is not racism and really, really resent it when that fiction is identified.

One interesting aspect of this phenomenon is that they've redefined racism to be "discriminating against another 'race' (or other category) without good justification," and they feel they have good justification (lazy blacks, illegal Hispanics, terrorist Muslims, emotional women, etc.) for their racism/ethnism/xenophobia/sexism, so magically they aren't any of those things. In fact, by a happy coincidence, they've been fed those justifications for years by the very party that they reliably pull the lever for.

And here we are.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:16 AM on April 30 [27 favorites]


Stormy Daniels files defamation lawsuit against President Trump - court filing

Is there a better partnership in this entire hellscape than Avenatti and Stormy Daniels, who are very clearly cut from the same cloth? If The Writers were smarter they would have written Daniels as single so she and Avenatti could have a lavish wedding at the end.
posted by lalex at 11:16 AM on April 30 [11 favorites]


Maggie Haberman embodies all the worst qualities of access journalism. She is exactly the type of reporter who looks at Trump and sees a great big golden egg rather than a fascist dumpster fire. Haberman was exactly the type of journalist called out by Wolf, which is why Haberman is making shit up rather than addressing content. Tell Trump to start buying full page ads again, rather than journalists, if he wants his thoughts directly repeated by the NYT.
posted by benzenedream at 11:18 AM on April 30 [65 favorites]


Wow, that complaint from Avenati/Clifford/Daniels -

Basically they think they have him in a double bind - by tweeting that Stormy's story about being threatened to keep away from/quiet about Trump in 2011 was a "total con job" and a lie, Trump either is lying because he was responsible for it (which they claim is the most likely scenario since no one/few people knew of the story at the time) or if he wasn't directly/indirectly behind the threat then he necessarily acted with "reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of his statement because he would have had no way of knowing."
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:23 AM on April 30 [29 favorites]


Trump campaign has paid portions of Michael Cohen's legal fees: Sources (ABC News)
The Trump campaign has spent nearly $228,000 to cover some of the legal expenses for President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, sources familiar with the payments tell ABC News, raising questions about whether the Trump campaign may have violated campaign finance laws.

Federal Election Commission records show three payments made from the Trump campaign to a firm representing Cohen. The “legal consulting” payments were made to McDermott Will and Emery — a law firm where Cohen's attorney Stephen Ryan is a partner — between October 2017 and January 2018.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:24 AM on April 30 [34 favorites]


scalefree: my very Republican best friend growing up... flat out asked me once if I thought he was a racist. Of course I said no, what else could I say?

I use some paraphrase of this: "We're all racist to some degree, but I tend to believe that someone not working to reduce the impact of racism and knowingly supporting policies that increase is deserving of the epithet. Only you know what's in your own heart."
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:25 AM on April 30 [31 favorites]


Here's a copy of the complaint, via Michael Avenatti. The suit alleges Trump defamed her when he tweeted that she lied about the man who threatened her in 2011.

OMG. READ THIS! IIRC, suing someone for defamation is a really high hurdle to clear. Fucking 2018, and here we are.

OH, and he pulls in the publisher of the Daniels' article which in 2011 was not published. SUPPOSEDLY spiked because -- yes -- Michael Cohen threatened the publisher.

Discovery in this is going to be wild. Invest in Popcorn Futures.
posted by mikelieman at 11:27 AM on April 30 [36 favorites]


"l'm delighted to announce 'Nice Lady' Michelle Wolf as our featured entertainer this year," said Margaret Talev, president of the WHCA.

From Charles Pierce:
Last night’s program was meant to offer a unifying message about our common commitment to a vigorous and free press while honoring civility, great reporting and scholarship winners, not to divide people. Unfortunately, the entertainer’s monologue was not in the spirit of that mission.

--Margaret Talev
Faced with an administration* and a president* dedicated to poisoning both the spirit and the institutions of free government, and faced with an administration* and a president* dedicated only to looting those institutions that it cannot destroy, the representatives of the elite political media, through the woman at the head of their formal association, Margaret Talev, have determined that bowing to the fauxtrage aimed at a comedian on behalf of the administration*’s paid liar is the proper way to respond to the weekend’s festivities.
...
Think of how things have slid from the days when William Lloyd Garrison published his first issue of The Liberator in Boston in which Garrison wrote what I consider the essential statement of purpose for any country with a First Amendment.
I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as Truth, and as uncompromising as Justice. On this subject I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen—but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest—I will not equivocate—I will not excuse—I will not retreat a single inch—and I will be heard. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead.
Horribly uncivil, that. But vigorous, for sure, and proudly free.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:28 AM on April 30 [84 favorites]


Kim's master is Xi. Xi can militarily crush North Korea at any time. Xi gives North Korea its daily operating expenses for things like food and shelter. Kim does not start negotiations or finish negotiations or make any decision about anything of consequence without Xi's approval.

This is exactly the perspective of a Chinese undergraduate student I had dinner with Saturday night. He said that the Chinese people are keenly aware that Kim is mostly a puppet regime and that Xi uses him to further Chinese interests in the region. As long as Kim stays in his sandbox he can do whatever he wants, but when his antics start to affect China's interests either locally or globally, he has to watch his ass.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:35 AM on April 30 [6 favorites]


Garrison's an interesting choice to bring up in a discussion of the First Amendment, since he was almost killed for his beliefs - by his fellow Bostonians:
The crowd broke down the door of the shop and found Garrison in the loft under planks that Campbell had piled over him. They tied a rope around his waist and lowered him out a second floor window down into the hands of the mob in Wilson's Lane. Most of his clothes were torn off. They began to drag him towards Boston Common, some shouting for tar and feathers, others for a hanging.
posted by adamg at 11:35 AM on April 30 [8 favorites]


Acting Director of ICE Plans to Retire From Agency
Under Mr. Homan, ICE increased total arrests significantly. At the same time, the proportion of people arrested who didn’t have criminal convictions on their records increased.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:40 AM on April 30 [6 favorites]


This is why I love MetaFilter - people trying to look at the actual data behind stories on stats.

Agreed. And if I may make a brief positive aside in the interest of elevating people's mood, another thing I love about MetaFilter is the willingness of commenters to acknowledge when they're wrong about something. I've been struck over the last several weeks how frequently that happens here, and how unusual that is in political discussions generally. If you ctrl-F any of the last several iterations of the US politics megathread for words like "wrong" and "mistake," you'll find in each of them a handful of comments saying things like "I was wrong" and "I made a mistake."

This is, to borrow an epithet from the previous Republican nightmare administration, a reality-based community. Even when I disagree with other commenters here, I respect and value you all for that.
posted by biogeo at 11:42 AM on April 30 [80 favorites]


Metafilter: I was wrong.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:45 AM on April 30 [9 favorites]


Mental Wimp: One interesting aspect of this phenomenon is that they've redefined racism to be "discriminating against another 'race' (or other category) without good justification," and they feel they have good justification (lazy blacks, illegal Hispanics, terrorist Muslims, emotional women, etc.) for their racism/ethnism/xenophobia/sexism, so magically they aren't any of those things.

Yep. Even people like the Bell Curve Dude and his acolytes, which is racism distilled to a literal (bad) science, get defended as "not racist" because the racism isn't, like, a jumble of emotional impulses, but rather a set of justifications. (While at the same time, Donald Trump is called "not racist" by some because his apparent racism isn't some structured ideology, but rather the emotional-jumble kind. Win-win.)

Relatedly, just about the only argument I've ever encountered for why the Veselnitskaya meeting was not collusion/conspiracy is that getting dirt on one's opponents is something all politicians would do, so you can't blame them for it. Which is like saying that stealing a pie on the windowsill is not an act of "theft" if the pie smells good enough. Sheesh. If you want to call it "justifiable theft", fine (and good luck), but don't twist language like that.

Charles Pierce, quoted by kirkaracha:

Margaret Talev, have determined that bowing to the fauxtrage aimed at a comedian on behalf of the administration*’s paid liar is the proper way to respond to the weekend’s festivities.
...
Think of how things have slid from the days when William Lloyd Garrison published his first issue of The Liberator in Boston in which Garrison wrote what I consider the essential statement of purpose for any country with a First Amendment.


I don't really disagree with Pierce, but it's very silly to compare two individuals with non-comparable places in society and say "gosh, things have slid". Garrison wasn't the head of the White House Correspondents' Association, he was an extremist (with a good cause) and mostly alien to the establishment of his time. One may as well say (and, in my opinion, on slightly better ground) that things are dramatically better, because in the old days we had Robert E Lee whipping enslaved people but now we have Michelle Williams speaking truth to power.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 11:46 AM on April 30 [6 favorites]


FWIW, while that sort of thing does make me hate Pres. Moon for being such a goddamn spineless shit, it's very much 사대주의 (sadaejuui), which is a derogatory way of referring to the humiliating, meatloaf-eating, embarrassing, self-abasing kowtowing to a greater power that Moon's been doing. It works, I guess, with someone like Trump, but the cost is just. so. fucking. high.

Credit where due department: Though NPR's national political reporting is, generally, terrible in the way it bends over backwards to accommodate Republican bad faith, they have seemed to make a habit of pointing out, when mentioning a foreign leader praising Trump, that nearly every other country has figured out that's the way to Trump's good side.

"Hi, America, your president is easily manipulated by praise, sincere or otherwise. I'm Steve Inskeep and this is NPR." [fake]
posted by Gelatin at 11:47 AM on April 30 [7 favorites]


A French journalist friend I met during my grad program for Korean studies retweeted the Reuters reporting as follows, "Very clever on the part of Moon Jae-in: It costs nothing, it makes Trump happy, and it ensures that this one stays focused and will make a little extra effort."
posted by spamandkimchi at 12:03 PM on April 30 [3 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: I recently had a terrific meeting with a bipartisan group of freshman lawmakers who feel very strongly in favor of Congressional term limits. I gave them my full support and endorsement for their efforts. #DrainTheSwamp

@costareports: sources quite familiar w/ this meeting tell me that term limits for congressional *staffers* was discussed by some lawmakers. But the idea was shelved when someone pointed out it wouldn't be best to make that a Constitutional amendment.

What? I mean... What?
posted by zachlipton at 12:06 PM on April 30 [41 favorites]


How's the corruption case against him going?

Netanyahu's the primary suspect in three different corruption cases, not one.

He keeps being questioned by the police, but charges haven't yet been filed. Two members of his inner circle have been granted immunity from prosecution. The Israeli Attorney General asked the police last week to review whether evidence in the third case strengthens the first two. They are looking to establish a pattern by Netanyahu of influence peddling, bribery, graft and media manipulation.

His Israeli approval rating is high enough that this is probably not a wag the dog situation. He appears to genuinely believe that Iran is a threat to Israel's safety.
posted by zarq at 12:11 PM on April 30 [4 favorites]


The coverage of Wolf is bullshit in the same way that the coverage of Clinton was bullshit. Women who speak their minds get nitpicked while powerful men get away with murder.

posted by medusa at 10:14 PM on April 29 [83 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Contrast this with the wide latitude that SHS and Kellyanne Conway get when they use outrageous lies to support a powerful man. Imagine the press's excoriation if they were serving Hillary Clinton's administration...
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:14 PM on April 30 [14 favorites]


zachlipton: What? I mean... What?

Hear what you want to hear, and repeat what you think you heard, except louder than those who know the truth. Ta-da! You have made a new, stronger truth!
posted by filthy light thief at 12:15 PM on April 30 [6 favorites]


They've internalized the idea that racism is bad, even though they are racist. The way they reduce their dissonance is by believing wholeheartedly that their racism is not racism and really, really resent it when that fiction is identified.

There was a really striking example of this covered on The Daily Show recently. The linked clip describes a white family who made an extremely racist display with black mannequins and Confederate flags on their front porch. The family insists the display isn't racist, offering as justification "everybody hates everybody, it depends on what you hate." As Roy Wood Jr. says, "It's crazy that even people who admit that they're doing racism, don't want to be labeled as racist."
posted by biogeo at 12:17 PM on April 30 [18 favorites]


Monkfish is usually called Chilean Sea Bass...

No, it's Patagonian toothfish that's relabeled that way.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:19 PM on April 30 [15 favorites]


Mattis seems to imply that Bibi's presentation caught him by surprise, even though some were speculating that it was coordinated with the WH. There's a lot of talk that it's recycled old news meant to influence certain people.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:19 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


An oddly titled, but slightly illuminating, article from NPR: In Retirement, America's Spies Are Getting Downright Chatty (NPR, April 30, 2018)

Some former CIA and FBI spooks started speaking out in part to reassure the country in the light of the Snowden leaks, and others are now talking to support the reputation of their agencies against the slander of Trump. And then there's John Brennan, who is not prolific on Twitter, but under his best impression of Sam the Eagle as his user pic, he tweets against Trump (and sadly for Ronny Jackson, a terrific doctor and Navy officer, but not qualified for the job).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:26 PM on April 30 [3 favorites]


Hear what you want to hear, and repeat what you think you heard, except louder than those who know the truth. Ta-da! You have made a new, stronger truth!

And/or uncompensated hearing loss; and/or mental incapacity.

The NYorker article on How American Racism Influenced Hitler has this bit:
Ian Kershaw’s monumental two-volume biography (1998-2000) found a plausible middle ground between “strong” and “weak” images of Hitler in power. With his nocturnal schedule, his dislike of paperwork, and his aversion to dialogue, Hitler was an eccentric executive, to say the least. To make sense of a dictatorship in which the dictator was intermittently absent, Kershaw expounded the concept of “working towards the Führer”: when explicit direction from Hitler was lacking, Nazi functionaries guessed at what he wanted, and often further radicalized his policies
Which I think the evidence supports this. Trump has no clue what direction the EPA should take, so Pruett does his worst. Substitute any policy, and I believe this model bears out.
posted by mikelieman at 12:28 PM on April 30 [14 favorites]


LA Times, ICE held an American man in custody for 1,273 days. He’s not the only one who had to prove his citizenship, on the horrors of the immigration machinery locking up US citizens.
posted by zachlipton at 12:31 PM on April 30 [46 favorites]


Not true, actually; Commonwealth citizens do not have automatic right of abode in the UK. They're free of certain forms of immigration control and can vote in elections while UK-resident, but they have to go through normal immigration channels if they wish to reside permanently.

Eep! I stand corrected. Carry on!
posted by adamgreenfield at 12:42 PM on April 30 [4 favorites]


Maggie Haberman embodies all the worst qualities of access journalism. She is exactly the type of reporter who looks at Trump and sees a great big golden egg rather than a fascist dumpster fire.

Maggie Haberman is 45's Judith Miller
posted by duoshao at 12:43 PM on April 30 [35 favorites]


With not a word written about the Trump administration's lack of action against the opioid epidemic*, municipalities are teaming up to take on the pharmaceutical industries (NPR, April 30, 2017 - audio only at the moment, transcript to come later). There's not much there, except the drug distributers' rep saying "don't look at us, it's the doctors' fault." A bit more information on the multi-municipality effort, as of December 10, 2017, focused on counties across Tennessee; cities and counties in Michigan were banding together, also back in Dec. 2017; and the Yurok tribe, from northern California, filed a Federal RICO case "against Titans of Pharmaceutical Industry," in March 2018.

* Meanwhile, Trump White House is months late on strategy on drugs despite opioid emergency (John Fritze for USA TODAY, April 27, 2018)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new numbers on the opioid crisis, saying the number of overdose visits to hospital emergency rooms soared last year, the latest evidence the nation's drug crisis is getting worse. AP
May these industry titans get taken down by a thousand cuts, particularly if the government decides this is the best time for a laissez-faire approach to an epidemic that adds more than 46 deaths per day.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:46 PM on April 30 [7 favorites]


As a millennial who has lost faith in the Democratic party over the past two years, I would bet that a huge portion of those polled are dissatisfied because they've moved to the left of the Democrats, not the right.

Are there any polls directly rather than inferentially measuring this? Specifically is anybody measuring growth of the DSA? 'Cause that would tell the tale.
posted by scalefree at 12:46 PM on April 30


It's so weird that I hated these fuckers during the Bush years but they're moderately less horrible now.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:47 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Maggie Haberman has also done some worthwhile reporting on Trump and it would be good to resist the urge to make one journalist who happens to be a woman symbolic of everything we hate about the media's shitty symbiotic relationship to the current administration and just dunk on her reflexively all the damn time. It was weird when we were dropping references to how lame and awful Louise Mensch is every time Twitter came up even if it had nothing to do with her and Haberman is definitely on her way to becoming a watchword in the same way and it's always, always, always a woman, isn't that funny?
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:47 PM on April 30 [14 favorites]


> It was weird when we were dropping references to how lame and awful Louise Mensch is every time Twitter came up even if it had nothing to do with her and Haberman is definitely on her way to becoming a watchword in the same way and it's always, always, always a woman, isn't that funny?

Pretty sure Haberman's reporting has something to do with Haberman.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:50 PM on April 30 [20 favorites]


that Al Gore "sighed" too much when Bush told said whoppers.

Remember when the press went all gaga for Reagan's sighing and saying "There you go again..."? Good times, good times.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:50 PM on April 30 [21 favorites]


Maggie Haberman has also done some worthwhile reporting on Trump and it would be good to resist the urge to make one journalist who happens to be a woman symbolic of everything we hate about the media's shitty symbiotic relationship to the current administration and just dunk on her reflexively all the damn time.

Maybe it's less about her being a woman and more about her having a million-dollar book contract to protect?
posted by Gelatin at 12:51 PM on April 30 [18 favorites]


The DSA measures their membership growth, which has been booming.
posted by rc3spencer at 12:51 PM on April 30 [13 favorites]


I agree that this criticism should be broader than any one reporter and especially any one woman (and many of Haberman's male colleagues have been just as bad, though not on the WHCD in particular) but it's not always a woman; the mantle of What's Wrong With Opinion Journalism is shared by Bret Stephens and Chris Cillizza, with a hard-charging Kevin Williamson threatening to overtake Bari Weiss in third.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:51 PM on April 30 [10 favorites]


It was weird when we were dropping references to how lame and awful Louise Mensch is every time Twitter came up...

Nope.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:53 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


Look, foreign investment in Iran, which was so wished for in this deal, never materialised due to the uncertainty created by the Trump government. No-one had the confidence when the POTUS was so against it. So it's as if they're still under sanctions, while Trump shit-talks the deal.

The only thing that happens if this deal is ended, is that Iran gets to start making nuclear weapons again.

That's the only thing that changes.
posted by adept256 at 12:55 PM on April 30 [5 favorites]


@Elizrael: The Knesset just passed a law allowing the Israeli PM & Defense Minister to declare war or carry out a military operation "in extreme circumstances" without consulting the rest of the ministers or even the (smaller) security cabinet.
This isn't ominous at all. no siree. I mean, it's not as if the Israeli PM and Defense Minister have been spending the last couple months engaging in bigoted, violent rhetoric based on lies and stereotypes, right?
posted by zombieflanders at 12:59 PM on April 30 [29 favorites]


It was weird when we were dropping references to how lame and awful Louise Mensch is every time Twitter came up...

Memory can be selective, but I only remember this being brought up as a caveat whenever someone linked to one of her "scoops."
posted by Behemoth at 1:00 PM on April 30 [9 favorites]


Maggie Haberman is 45's Judith Miller

Nicely put. And Miller’s now an out alt-right shitbird.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:00 PM on April 30 [12 favorites]


It can be simultaneously true that specific reporters like Haberman and Mensch frequently engage in bad behavior that deserves criticism and that there is an element of sexism in women being disproportionately selected as the current synecdoche for Bad Journalism.
posted by biogeo at 1:13 PM on April 30 [32 favorites]


Am fully in favour of never mentioning Louise Mensch again, ever, under any circumstances.
posted by Artw at 1:21 PM on April 30 [28 favorites]


NBC News, Kelly thinks he's saving U.S. from disaster, calls Trump 'idiot,' say White House staffers
White House chief of staff John Kelly has eroded morale in the West Wing in recent months with comments to aides that include insulting the president's intelligence and casting himself as the savior of the country, according to eight current and former White House officials.

The officials said Kelly portrays himself to Trump administration aides as the lone bulwark against catastrophe, curbing the erratic urges of a president who has a questionable grasp on policy issues and the functions of government. He has referred to Trump as "an idiot" multiple times to underscore his point, according to four officials who say they've witnessed the comments.
...
Current and former White House officials said Kelly has at times made remarks that have rattled female staffers. Kelly has told aides multiple times that women are more emotional than men, including at least once in front of the president, four current and former officials said.

And during a firestorm in February over accusations of domestic abuse against then-White House staff secretary Rob Porter, Kelly wondered aloud how much more Porter would have to endure before his honor could be restored, according to three officials who were present for the comments. He also questioned why Porter's ex-wives wouldn't just move on based on the information he said he had about his marriages, the officials said.

Some current and former White House officials said they expect Kelly to leave by July, his one-year mark. But others say it's anyone's guess. What's clear is both Trump and Kelly seem to have tired of each other.
Don't worry, the White House has anonymous spokespeople on staff to try to clean up the mess, er, by also providing further evidence of sexism?
The White House spokespeople said they haven't seen Kelly have a negative effect on the morale of women staffers. If anything, they said during meetings Kelly is the "bigger gentleman" who steps in when aides use foul language to note "a lady is present" and similarly says he shouldn't use foul language in front of a lady if he's used an expletive. The spokespeople, who would not speak for the record, said it's possible Kelly may have said women are more emotional than men, with one of them agreeing that "generally speaking, women are more emotional than men."
There's also a portion where Kelly is quoted as telling lawmakers "he doesn't even understand what DACA is. He's an idiot." The White House spokespeople helpfully acknowledged Kelly may have said Trump doesn't know what he's talking about while denying he would have called him an "idiot."
posted by zachlipton at 1:24 PM on April 30 [40 favorites]


I mean, at least he wont be attending future WHCD's, writing a tell-all book, or getting a job at the Kennedy school once he leaves, right?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:27 PM on April 30 [3 favorites]


May these industry titans get taken down by a thousand cuts, particularly if the government decides this is the best time for a laissez-faire approach to an epidemic that adds more than 46 deaths per day.

The municipalities suing the pharmaceutical companies are the government.
posted by JackFlash at 1:29 PM on April 30 [5 favorites]


from the Kelly piece:
In one heated exchange between [Kelly and Trump] before February's Winter Olympics in South Korea, Kelly strongly — and successfully — dissuaded Trump from ordering the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from the Korean peninsula, according to two officials.
sure, ok.
posted by lalex at 1:39 PM on April 30 [16 favorites]


In one heated exchange between [Kelly and Trump] before February's Winter Olympics in South Korea, Kelly strongly — and successfully — dissuaded Trump from ordering the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from the Korean peninsula, according to two officials.

Kelly missed a bet. He should have told Trump they were withdrawn the next day, told him they were redeployed when Trump changed his mind a week later, and spent the whole time watching TV. Trump would have thought he's a genius.
posted by Gelatin at 1:44 PM on April 30 [8 favorites]


The problem is that Trump also spends his time watching TV.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:48 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Heh. In Doonesbury, Honey is told by Mao Zedong that the Great Wall must be dismantled, but then changes his mind a week later, so Honey tells him that she had people working all night to recreate the Wall exactly as it was before.
posted by Melismata at 1:49 PM on April 30 [18 favorites]


Good, approved jokes for the White House Correspondents’ dinner 2019 (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
Oh wow, when has there ever been a gathering like this? (This is a rhetorical question; anyone who yells “slightly before the French Revolution” will be removed.)

They say that the Trump administration has eroded many of the cherished norms of democracy. But I saw Macdonald and Ornstein the other day, and they both looked fine! Norm Macdonald and Norm Ornstein. One is a comedian, and the other is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute! They’re named Norm, and they both look fine. There has been no erosion of America’s cherished Norms. All right!

Boy, these activist schoolchildren are just AWFUL. Demanding that teachers not be allowed to have arms. I don’t know about you, but without arms, how can a teacher write on the blackboard?

My wife!

You know why liberals are so worried about climate change? Because if it got any warmer, those snowflakes would melt! All right! We can all laugh together in this room!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:50 PM on April 30 [68 favorites]


Mike Huckabee, a 24 hour play in two parts
If you lack a sense of humor, get "offended" by slights you create, or just can't bring yourself to tolerate those you disagree with DO NOT watch my show 2nite!
posted by kirkaracha at 1:51 PM on April 30 [12 favorites]


I don't have a William Lloyd Garrison quote but I have this:

"When you see Abe Michelle at Freeport the WHCD, for God's sake tell him her to 'Charge Chester! charge!'... We must not be parrying all the while. We want the deadliest thrusts. Let us see blood follow any time he she closes a sentence."
posted by hyperbolic at 1:58 PM on April 30


Good, approved jokes for the White House Correspondents’ dinner 2019 (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)

Alexandra Petri is a national treasure.
posted by acb at 2:05 PM on April 30 [4 favorites]


Hear what you want to hear, and repeat what you think you heard, except louder than those who know the truth. Ta-da! You have made a new, stronger truth!

To Trump things are true because they are useful. When they stop being useful they also stop being true.
posted by scalefree at 2:08 PM on April 30 [11 favorites]


Reading Comey's book, I came to the conclusion that he made the same mistake as Tapper -- so determined to remain "neutral" and "non-partisan" that he let himself be used.

I think Comey made the same mistake J. Edgar Hoover and other F.B.I directors have historically made to put the welfare of the F.B.I. before the good of the country. Comey's own story is that he found a Russian document claiming that the F.B.I. was under the control of Attorney General Loretta Lynch. He felt this was part of a disinformation campaign to discredit his agency, and to counter it, he made a public speech harshly condemning Clinton's use of a private email server as deeply irresponsible.

Comey's own story then is that he greatly exaggerated the importance of Hillary's actions to protect the reputation of the F.B.I. He not only put their reputation before the public's interest in the truth, he hobbled her candidacy. He greatly weakened what he thought would be her future Presidency with an issue that causes many people to this day to label her a criminal. Comey's thinking that Hillary would obviously become president doesn't excuse his actions. All he's said is that in order to protect the reputation of the F.B.I. he merely thought he was weakening an entire branch of government by tarnishing its chief officer.

Not only is this still crazy wrong, it's arguably a more damaging outcome than the Russians were hoping for by tarnishing the reputation of the F.B.I., and that's even if Hillary had won the presidency.
posted by xammerboy at 2:08 PM on April 30 [24 favorites]


NBC News, Kelly thinks he's saving U.S. from disaster, calls Trump 'idiot,' say White House staffers
White House chief of staff John Kelly has eroded morale in the West Wing in recent months with comments to aides that include insulting the president's intelligence and casting himself as the savior of the country, according to eight current and former White House officials.

No one survives sharing a space with Trump without losing their dignity and self-esteem. It's impossible. Kelly was obviously a vile person already, but he managed to keep the worst parts out of the public view.
posted by mumimor at 2:10 PM on April 30 [5 favorites]


So does DSA have a plank or policy regarding strategic voting? Would be very useful thing to have, no?
posted by scalefree at 2:10 PM on April 30 [4 favorites]


NBC News, Kelly thinks he's saving U.S. from disaster, calls Trump 'idiot,' say White House staffers

Yes that's exactly who we need ready to step in & take over to save us. A general.
posted by scalefree at 2:13 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


scalefree: "So does DSA have a plank or policy regarding strategic voting? Would be very useful thing to have, no?"

A quick google reveals this. Personal conversations with DSA members indicate that it's very much a personal decision, but you can rest assured that most people who have thrown in with them are interested in at least trying to work within the Democratic party.
posted by TypographicalError at 2:13 PM on April 30 [4 favorites]


"I never gave anybody hell! I just told the truth and they thought it was hell."

-- Harry Truman
posted by kirkaracha at 2:14 PM on April 30 [28 favorites]


So does DSA have a plank or policy regarding strategic voting? Would be very useful thing to have, no?

posted by scalefree at 2:10 PM on April 30 [+] [!]


Additional info to that provided by TypographicalError.

From DSA strategy document:
In the short term, we need to engage in electoral activity for several important reasons: to defend existing rights; to put forth new demands for social and economic justice that could change public conversations and thereby create openings for more fundamental structural reforms down the road; to attract new members to DSA and thereby build our capacity as an organization; and to build and sustain non-electoral activism. The nature of our electoral activism will vary based on local political conditions. But it will include supporting progressive and socialist candidates running for office, usually in Democratic primaries or as Democrats in general elections but also in support of independent socialist and other third-party campaigns outside the Democratic Party.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:17 PM on April 30 [6 favorites]


Popehat has an analysis of the Trump defamation claim.

TL;DR: Don't ever get your hopes up about defamation standing up in court. The question for defamation in court basically boils down to "Is this a statement of fact that is provably false?" and it's not difficult to prove that Trump has never been within ten feet of a fact, false or otherwise. To my layperson's eyes what Trump said about Cheryl Jacobus seems defamatory, but that claim was easily dismissed.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:18 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


It takes some courage to take sides on issues where half the population disagrees and will angrily attack you for your position. It does not require so much courage to be "non-partisan" and to take sides only on issues of decorum, which more people can agree on, and which have lower stakes.

So, first and foremost, I want to thank some of the people who have broken down the Wolf jokes, most especially biogeo, whose excellent comment let me see that it was not in fact SHS's trad-femininity being attacked - I've seen a lot of those and so when I heard some of the early commentary about her being attacked for being butch I believed it, but was wrong to do so. Thanks Metafilter for setting me straight.

The issue of decorum, though, or more specifically, civility, is one that I think deserves a deeper dive than over the WHCD fracas, because it's an interesting thing that strikes really hard at two important, but competing interests. Because I very much disagree that the issue of decorum has lower stakes - I think it has enormous national stakes, just not the ones that the people talking about it are openly admitting. It's not so much about who we are as individuals - it's more as a temperature measurement of how much we can respect each other and coexist civilly as participants in a nation who at least trust that everyone is doing their best.

And so it matters that there's a breakdown in civility, because what that breakdown in civility is revealing is simply that we don't. We do not trust each other, and many of us have really good reasons not to trust each other, and that can't be won back by just papering it over and all of us agreeing not to say mean things in public. We have a breakdown in civility because we can no longer trust that everyone in the nation is attempting to reach roughly the same goals via different means or with different priorities.

And why this is a problem for us is because historically, when large segments of the population have decided that they can't trust large segments of the other half, it means violence - stochaistic violence at the very least, organized violence at the worst. I think it's no accident that William Lloyd Garrison was quoted - an excellent and amazing man, but one writing just before the American Civil War - at a time when it was abundantly clear even before the secession that large segments of America had enormously different goals and interests that could not be reconciled.

At the same time - we are already there, and there is another important American value, which is opposing tyranny and monstrousness whenever it exists, which is right the fuck now. If your free speech isn't to oppose this monstrous administration, I don't know what the hell you are saving it for. I believe that everyone has a moral responsibility to speak up now, to reassure the rest of the American population that this isn't a mass insanity and that something will exist after this.

So I suppose while I think there are competing interests and reasons to support civility and decorum in general, I think the other issue is more important right now but would still really love it if we could manage not to go into a shooting war.
posted by corb at 2:18 PM on April 30 [45 favorites]


my very Republican best friend growing up... flat out asked me once if I thought he was a racist. Of course I said no, what else could I say?

You could say "Your outcomes are racist even if you aren't"

But then I live in Chicago where is there is an awful lot of accidentally perfectly racist outcomes from people who are not supposed to be conservatives.
posted by srboisvert at 2:28 PM on April 30 [19 favorites]


A couple of my favorite quotes which directly address the calls for civility:
MLK: I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.
Elie Wiesel: We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
I also very much agree with Richard Morgan's bit in Altered Carbon about politics and civility, which I quoted in the Netflix threads, but as much as I like the quote I don't think I'm gonna quote him here next to MLK and Elie Wiesel because, well, sorry Richard Morgan.
posted by Justinian at 2:29 PM on April 30 [55 favorites]


So does DSA have a plank or policy regarding strategic voting? Would be very useful thing to have, no?

In addition to the resources others have linked, you might be interested in this recent episode of the socialist podcast The Dig, which is dry and technocratic enough to appeal to most MeFites: The DSA at the Ballot Box. Two members of the DSA’s National Electoral Committee have a nuanced conversation about the organization's electoral strategy and discuss how they promote pragmatic socialist electoral work as an essential addition to the day-to-day direct action that the DSA engages in around the country.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 2:31 PM on April 30 [7 favorites]


JackFlash: The municipalities suing the pharmaceutical companies are the government.

Except all "governments" aren't the same, even if they sometimes align and support similar goals. These municipalities are not a subset of the federal Trump administration, which has failed to do anything of substance with regard to the opioid epidemic. They represent a diverse set of policies, priorities and voices, at a more local level. Yes, there are some of the same influences, and voters, behind these local, regional and even state governments as exist at the federal level, but they appear to be more concerned about people dying and companies profiting off of addiction.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:31 PM on April 30


Following up on civility:

The Wolf at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner In the age of Trump, calls for civility are calls for servility
Calls for press-corps civility are in fact calls for servility, and should be received with contempt. Some might argue that insults do not deserve the same protection as investigative journalism, but that is a distinction without a difference. Anyone who wants to outlaw or apologise for the former will end up too timid to do the latter.

In open societies, self-censorship—in the name of civility, careerism or access preservation—is a much greater threat to the media than outright repression. The only person owed an apology here is Ms Wolf, for being scolded by the very people who invited her to speak, and who purport to defend a “vigorous and free press.”
posted by scalefree at 2:35 PM on April 30 [74 favorites]


WHCA President Talev, she of the craven statement on Wolf, was so upset with Wolf's performance that she attended Wolf's after-party.
posted by chris24 at 2:40 PM on April 30 [30 favorites]


In a rare break from the usual excellent analysis, emptywheel writes a sermon on hope.
Everyone gets involved in bitter tea sometimes, the physical and mental orgy of picayune matters that happen to cause big emotions. But with practice, bitter tea can involve us less, and we can get to the impossible and glorious task of being human.

Once when I was a child, my mother put all of this to me another way: You don’t work for the light. You work, and one day you find the light has been shining on you.
posted by kingless at 2:41 PM on April 30 [11 favorites]


That piece is on emptywheel (blog), not by emptywheel (writer).
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 2:55 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


WHCA President Talev, she of the craven statement on Wolf, was so upset with Wolf's performance that she attended Wolf's after-party.

Pity she didn't go to the NBC/MSNBC after-party, she could have commiserated with the Schlapps. That's Matt standing behind Andrea Mitchell who also abhorred the speech: "comedian was worst since Imus insulted Clinton’s". Her opinion on the last has evolved; at the time (2011) she called it "saucy entertainment".

District 1 stands united - for itself.
posted by scalefree at 2:57 PM on April 30 [13 favorites]


Erik Wemple, The president is seeking to destroy journalism. Now let’s debate dinner entertainment!: "The president of the United States is committed to undoing journalism, and the country’s top journalists are debating a dinner format."

James Downie, Trump was outrageous in Michigan. So where’s the outrage? Beyond Trump's second "Are there any Hispanics in the room?" moment, this happened, as I noted at the time, and it's wild this didn't register as a major story:
Then there was Trump’s bizarre spin on the news that the Russian lawyer who met with Trump officials in the summer of 2016 was a self-described “informant” for the Russian government:
I guarantee you, I’m tougher on Russia, nobody ever thought. In fact, have you heard about the lawyer? For a year, a woman lawyer, she was like, ‘Oh, I know nothing.’ Now all of a sudden she supposedly is involved with government. You know why? If she did that, because [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the group said, ‘You know, this Trump is killing us. Why don’t you say that you’re involved with government so that we can go and make their life in the United States even more chaotic.’ Look at what’s happened. Look at how these politicians have fallen for this junk. Russian collusion — give me a break.
Just . . . what? The president’s defense of his campaign team is that the person they were meeting with is taking orders from Putin? While it’s not Trump’s first attempt to spin away the investigation, he is certainly hitting a new level of twisted nonsense.
...
Perhaps the president’s remarks generated so little coverage because much of it was par for the course — a rambling diatribe of non-sequiturs, half-truths, boasts and outright lies. But if media outlets have a day and a half to spend hang-wringing over a comedian’s roast, surely they can squeeze in some horror at the president’s rhetoric. Pretending his words are now normal will get the country nowhere.
CNN, White House correspondents think about changing dinner for Trump era, with the worst of all possible ideas:
Lots of ideas are bouncing around, both among correspondents and outsiders:

-- Invite pair of comedians, one with a liberal bent and one with a conservative bent.
posted by zachlipton at 3:10 PM on April 30 [29 favorites]


Lots of ideas are bouncing around, both among correspondents and outsiders:

-- Invite pair of comedians, one with a liberal bent and one with a conservative bent.


Dueling comedians sounds fun but only if everyone dresses in togas.
posted by vverse23 at 3:15 PM on April 30 [7 favorites]


Popehat say Ms. Daniels' case will likely get throw out because "Trump's tweet can only be taken as trash talk."

What about Sean Spicer's assertion that Tweets "are considered official statements by the president of the United States"? Has that been retracted?
posted by kirkaracha at 3:15 PM on April 30 [17 favorites]


-- Invite pair of comedians, one with a liberal bent and one with a conservative bent.

oh ffs, are they truly so addicted to both-sidesism that they're gonna do that? it'll be just like any scientific report.

they'll invite an actual expert in the field, and they'll invite a no-talent conservative hack.
posted by anem0ne at 3:16 PM on April 30 [48 favorites]


-- Invite pair of comedians, one with a liberal bent and one with a conservative bent.

Brilliant idea. Given equal time, side by side, they'll both be equally funny, right? That's how these things work.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:21 PM on April 30 [12 favorites]


Popehat say Ms. Daniels' case will likely get thrown out because "Trump's tweet can only be taken as trash talk."

It's trash-talk because his lips are moving. But he is the President of the United States and his trash can be tremendously damaging and should be subject to extra scrutiny in the case of defamation. Is "trash-talk" even a legal term? Shouldn't it be in Latin? Verba Ex Quisquiliarum
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:22 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


zachlipton quoting James Downie: Just . . . what? The president’s defense of his campaign team is that the person they were meeting with is taking orders from Putin?

Huh, that problem at the core Donald's "explanation" of Veselnitskaya's new revelation flew right over my head when I first read it. I suppose it's because the man's native language is bullshit, so translating it into coherent arguments is a sort of idle exercise, like converting it to Morse code. Instead, I was subconsciously seeing how the explanation works from his perspective (something like: "almost everyone is out to get me, Donald Trump, so everyone — sneaky bastards those people are — arranged for this").

There's even an existing conspiracy theory (not yet Donald-endorsed but give it time) that the Trump Tower meeting was a kind of sting operation, because something something Veselnitskaya should have been kept out of the country by the Obama administration something. To which I say, obviously that's bonkers (as with the supposedly phony dossier, why wouldn't the Democrats publicize it in 2016???). But even if it were the case, it doesn't look super for the president's campaign to fall for a sting. If someone mischievously arranged for Donald Trump to fire bullets into a dummy that he thought was alive… he really shouldn't be president regardless of how questionable setting that up might be.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 3:37 PM on April 30 [3 favorites]


ABC, EXCLUSIVE: EPA whistleblower says Pruitt 'bold faced lied' to Congress
A whistleblower from the Environmental Protection Agency says that Administrator Scott Pruitt was "bold-faced lying" when he told members of Congress that no EPA employees were retaliated against for raising concerns about his spending decisions.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News' Kyra Phillips, former deputy chief of staff Kevin Chmielewski said he was "100 percent" forced out after raising concerns about Pruitt's spending on first-class travel.

Chmielewski said a manager called him into his office and said: "Hey — Administrator Pruitt either wants me to fire you or put you in an office so that he doesn't have to see you again,” Chmielewski told ABC News.
...
Chemeilewski also said that he isn't criticizing the administrator because he doesn't disagree with his political agenda. Chmielewski worked on President Donald Trump's campaign said he is still loyal to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. He said he thinks the president doesn't have the full story when it comes to Pruitt.

"I'm a pretty credible source. No one in this world can say that I'm not a Republican and no one in this world can say that I'm not the biggest fan of the president or the vice president," he said. "I would still go through a brick wall for the guy today, either one of them."
posted by zachlipton at 3:42 PM on April 30 [43 favorites]


Trump: "I guarantee you, I’m tougher on Russia, nobody ever thought. In fact, have you heard about the lawyer? For a year, a woman lawyer, she was like, ‘Oh, I know nothing.’ Now all of a sudden she supposedly is involved with government. You know why? If she did that, because [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the group said, ‘You know, this Trump is killing us. Why don’t you say that you’re involved with government so that we can go and make their life in the United States even more chaotic."

Trump just gave everyone a textbook description of how kompromat works. The Russians set you up in a compromising situation to betray your country and then use the exposure of that betrayal at their convenience to advance their aims.

Trump is flat out admitting that he was compromised by the Russians. Now he's using the Marian Barry defense: "Bitch set me up."
posted by JackFlash at 3:48 PM on April 30 [47 favorites]


I guarantee you, I’m tougher on Russia, nobody ever thought.

That is correct, Mr. Predisent. No one has ever thought that you are tougher on Russia.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:54 PM on April 30 [13 favorites]


"I'm a pretty credible source. No one in this world can say that I'm not a Republican and no one in this world can say that I'm not the biggest fan of the president or the vice president," he said. "I would still go through a brick wall for the guy today, either one of them."

Sounds like a guy who smells blood in the water and is now lobbying for Pruitt's job.
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:00 PM on April 30 [7 favorites]


CNN, Manu Raju, Exclusive: Pence's doctor alerted WH aides about Ronny Jackson concerns last fall
Vice President Mike Pence's physician privately raised alarms within the White House last fall that President Donald Trump's doctor may have violated federal privacy protections for a key patient -- Pence's wife, Karen -- and intimidated the vice president's doctor during angry confrontations over the episode.

The previously unreported incident is the first sign that serious concerns about Ronny Jackson's conduct had reached the highest levels of the White House as far back as September -- months before White House aides furiously defended Jackson's professionalism, insisted he had been thoroughly vetted and argued allegations of misconduct amounted to unsubstantiated rumors.
posted by zachlipton at 4:01 PM on April 30 [30 favorites]


NPR reporting: "Wolf's reaction to Republicans being upset about her making fun of Sarah's looks? 'Everyone who's heard my routines knows I don't pull any punches.'" Wow, NPR not only made it sound like she did it, but was in your face proud of doing it.

-------------

Similarly, how, how, how can Trump now claim that he's been harder on Russia than anyone else?
posted by xammerboy at 4:07 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


how, how, how can Trump now claim that he's been harder on Russia than anyone else?

Because he has a great relationship with the Blacks.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:09 PM on April 30 [4 favorites]


how, how, how can Trump now claim that he's been harder on Russia than anyone else?

Category error. Read my Hayden link above. Truth is not a thing that exists independent of utility in Trump's mind. Facts do not precede opinions to him, they follow them. "I want this to be true therefore it is true." The logical result of his narcissism is solipsism.
posted by scalefree at 4:17 PM on April 30 [7 favorites]


Trump Said He Didn't Discuss His "Shithole" Countries Comment With Nigeria's President.
"We didn't discuss it. You do have some countries that are in very bad shape and very tough places to live in," Trump said.
...
Standing next to Trump in the Rose Garden on Monday, [Nigerian President Muhammadu] Buhari steered clear of the drama, saying that he would not address the fact that the US president might have called his country a "shithole place" because he was not sure if it was true.

“I'm not sure about, you know, the validity or whether that allegation against the president was true or not," he said. "So the best thing for me is to keep quiet."
Omarosa: President @MBuhari FYI he said it.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:20 PM on April 30 [17 favorites]


Truth is not a thing that exists independent of utility in Trump's mind. Facts do not precede opinions to him, they follow them. "I want this to be true therefore it is true." The logical result of his narcissism is solipsism.

If there are the things we do because we want to do them and the things we do because we want to have done them/be the kind of person who does them, Trump's unique genius is to decouple the latter from the former. The result is the prize without the actual hassle of working for it, something that is perhaps the event horizon of privilege elevated to its platonic ideal.
posted by acb at 4:24 PM on April 30 [4 favorites]


Trump's doctor may have violated federal privacy protections for a key patient -- Pence's wife, Karen

This I learned today. Pence's wife is officially known as SLOTUS.
posted by JackFlash at 4:28 PM on April 30 [5 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
The White House is running very smoothly despite phony Witch Hunts etc. There is great Energy and unending Stamina, both necessary to get things done. We are accomplishing the unthinkable and setting positive records while doing so! Fake News is going “bonkers!”

Unthinkable: Accomplished
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:51 PM on April 30 [43 favorites]


If I didn't know how well such vapid bullshit works on his base, I'd laugh at tweets like those.
posted by Rykey at 4:57 PM on April 30 [7 favorites]


We are accomplishing the unthinkable

no argument from me on this one
posted by halation at 4:59 PM on April 30 [55 favorites]


It can be simultaneously true that specific reporters like Haberman and Mensch frequently engage in bad behavior that deserves criticism and that there is an element of sexism in women being disproportionately selected as the current synecdoche for Bad Journalism.

Mensch is not, and has never been, a professional journalist. She's not even pretending to be one. She was a right wing UK politican, now turned conspiracy moneygrabber.

Haberman ostensibly is one of our leading national journalists at the most prestigious paper in the country. And as the NYT White House beat reporter, she arguably has the most important and most prestigious pure journalism position in the entire country.

That is why she draws a disproportionate share of criticism for the failings of American national political journalism both writ large, and specific to her. She does nothing to abate those criticisms by responding with anger and defensiveness to her critics on twitter literally on a daily basis, as noted earlier today in flagrant violation of the NYT's alleged policy on use of social media. She both deserves greater scrutiny by virtue of her position, and specifically invites it through her actions, even apart from the actual content of her stories.

If you're looking for an example of a male practitioner of her brand of vapid access trumps all journalism, there's plenty of venom both here and in the broader left spectrum for people like David Gregory, Wolf Blitzer and Chris Cillizza.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:03 PM on April 30 [41 favorites]


Chris Cillizza’s stupid tweet is equally stupid, we should acknowledge that.
posted by Artw at 5:32 PM on April 30 [3 favorites]


NYT, Mueller Has Dozens of Inquiries for Trump in Broad Quest on Russia Ties and Obstruction
Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russia’s election interference, has at least four dozen questions on an exhaustive array of subjects he wants to ask President Trump to learn more about his ties to Russia and determine whether he obstructed the inquiry itself, according to a list of the questions obtained by The New York Times.

[Read the questions here.]

The open-ended queries appear to be an attempt to penetrate the president’s thinking, to get at the motivation behind some of his most combative Twitter posts and to examine his relationships with his family and his closest advisers. They deal chiefly with the president’s high-profile firings of the F.B.I. director and his first national security adviser, his treatment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and a 2016 Trump Tower meeting between campaign officials and Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.

But they also touch on the president’s businesses; any discussions with his longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, about a Moscow real estate deal; whether the president knew of any attempt by Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to set up a back channel to Russia during the transition; any contacts he had with Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime adviser who claimed to have inside information about Democratic email hackings; and what happened during Mr. Trump’s 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant.
I've got to assume someone on the Trump legal side leaked this, presumably to try to ensure Trump doesn't sit down with Mueller, but wow if that list doesn't have questions about a lot of different types of crimes.
posted by zachlipton at 5:52 PM on April 30 [65 favorites]


I've got to assume someone on the Trump legal side leaked this, presumably to try to ensure Trump doesn't sit down with Mueller, but wow if that list doesn't have questions about a lot of different types of crimes.
Or Trump himself sent them to a "friend" or several "friends" to ask for advice, and they sent them to the Times. If there is one thing we have learnt the last few months it is that Trump is the primary leaker from the White House. Heck, maybe Trump himself sent them directly to the Times, since nothing makes any sense. However, if the legal team is not completely moronic, which is obviously a fair question, they would have advised against leaking this.
posted by mumimor at 5:59 PM on April 30 [4 favorites]


I've noticed that most of Haberman's non-feigning stories about Trump have a co-author... probably how she explained herself when Donald made his critical "two b's" tweet about one of her co-written articles.

But the Frank Rich essay supported something I've been saying all along... Donald Trump does not require "normalizing"; he (with all his crimes) has been considered perfectly normal by the media, especially the New York media, all along.

And Michelle Wolf's biggest mistake (besides taking shots at the gathered media, which Colbert barely survived doing even with his white male privilege) was trying to write smart and giving those whose heads she went over easy ways to misinterpret her.

One thing we are learning from the Reign of Trump is how much deep dry rot is in the very core of America, and how long and difficult a process will be required to dig it out. He's not the cause, just a symptom, like the persistent cough that leads to a diagnosis of lung cancer.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:01 PM on April 30 [15 favorites]


John Paul Brammer
The issue is broader than the Sarah Huckabee Sanders joke. It’s that the reaction to it is indicative of how many in media are able to consider for her a humanity and interior they are not willing to consider for Black, Brown and LGBTQ people affected by Trump’s policies. I have seen media narratives that buy into the Trump administration’s assertion that we are pests, units, criminals with little pushback and, while there has been outrage, it has broadly not been based in our feelings or our capacity to suffer pain.

This selective empathy is not empathy at all. It is the prioritizafion of maintaining the status quo, the coddling of the powerful at the expense of the marginalized. The responses have been: "She is a mother, she is a wife, she is a human being." Mothers, wives, human beings are being rounded up, ripped from their families and sent away every day, and you have no such vehemence to spare for them.
posted by chris24 at 6:15 PM on April 30 [117 favorites]


From the list of questions:
• What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?

This is one of the most intriguing questions on the list. It is not clear whether Mr. Mueller knows something new, but there is no publicly available information linking Mr. Manafort, the former campaign chairman, to such outreach. So his inclusion here is significant. Mr. Manafort’s longtime colleague, Rick Gates, is cooperating with Mr. Mueller.
What does Mueller know? We know that Manafort offered Deripaska "private briefings" during the campaign, but outreach for assistance would be an entirely new ballgame.
posted by zachlipton at 6:20 PM on April 30 [13 favorites]


Washington Post: Pentagon to determine whether Ronny Jackson will face investigation

Sic Semper Wraithannis
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:22 PM on April 30 [14 favorites]


I've got to assume someone on the Trump legal side leaked this, presumably to try to ensure Trump doesn't sit down with Mueller

I agree that it likely came from Trump's side, but I can't wrap my head around any scenario where it was a good idea or good for Trump. (Although coming from Trump's side and being poor strategy certainly aren't mutually exclusive.)
posted by diogenes at 6:25 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, the Washington Post has a smaller scoop: Trump-allied House conservatives draft articles of impeachment against Rosenstein as ‘last resort’
Conservative House allies of President Trump have drafted articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees the ongoing special counsel probe, setting up a possible GOP showdown over the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The document, which was obtained by The Washington Post, underscores the growing chasm between congressional Republican leaders, who have maintained for months that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III should be allowed to proceed, and rank-and-file GOP lawmakers who have repeatedly battled the Justice Department during the past year.

The draft articles, which one of its authors called a “last resort,” would be unlikely to garner significant support in Congress. But the document could serve as a provocative political weapon for conservatives in their standoff with Mueller and the Justice Department.

Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus — led by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a Trump confidant — finalized the draft in recent days. It came after weeks of disputes with Rosenstein over the Justice Department’s response to congressional requests for documents about the decisions and behavior of federal law enforcement officials working on the Russia investigation and other federal probes, including the investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s email server.
After Nunes's attempt to leverage Comey's memos out of the DoJ blew up in the House Trumpists' faces, this seems like another Hail Mary from them, though the WaPost is happy to pass along the leak.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:27 PM on April 30 [12 favorites]


@mawilner: #Israel operation findings “consistent with what the United States has long known,” White House says: “#Iran has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program that it has tried and failed to hide.”

@mawilner: The White House tells me it has corrected its statement: #Iran had, not has, a “robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program.”

JFC this is why you hire people that have perhaps read a book for fun in their lives
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:28 PM on April 30 [53 favorites]


The issue is broader than the Sarah Huckabee Sanders joke. It’s that the reaction to it is indicative of how many in media are able to consider for her a humanity and interior they are not willing to consider for Black, Brown and LGBTQ people affected by Trump’s policies.

Or just for Democrats.

Imagine this level of elite media outrage over comments about Clinton. Or imagine Mika or Andrea Mitchell calling for respect for Kirsten Gillibrand in 2020 because she's a mother. The very idea is absurd.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:33 PM on April 30 [35 favorites]


@mawilner: The White House tells me it has corrected its statement: #Iran had, not has, a “robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program.”

The distinction is enormous here, and the White House put out blatantly false statements and let them persist for hours. We knew Iran had such a program. Experts, such as the Director of National Intelligence and IAEA, say they don't now. I'll let Andrea Mitchell take it away:

@mitchellreports: The problem with White House statement tonight on Iran: no argument that Iran HAD a nuclear program BEFORE JCPOA but DNI Coats testified in February Iran currently complying with nuclear deal. So did Pompeo at confirmation hearing 4/12. How do they explain discrepancy?

And if your concern is that Iran is going to secretly start such a program again, why would you possibly want to cancel the deal that allows inspectors to nose around and look for evidence of that?
posted by zachlipton at 6:34 PM on April 30 [22 favorites]


Incidentally, the National Enquirer has thrown Michael Cohen under a bus on the cover of this week's issue, presumably on behalf of their old friend Donald Trump: Trump’s Top ‘Fixer’ — Payoffs & Threats Exposed. (I haven't seen them do a hit piece like this on someone from Trump's inner since they tried to kneecap Michael Flynn—about the time Mueller turned up the heat on him to plea bargain.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:51 PM on April 30 [13 favorites]


I eagerly await Trump tweeting answers/denials to some of Mueller's questions within 48 hours.
posted by chris24 at 6:54 PM on April 30 [17 favorites]


> The distinction is enormous here, and the White House put out blatantly false statements and let them persist for hours.

At other times, this would have been described as a feckless foreign policy. There would have been hearings and calls for resignations of the Secretary of State and senior staffers, or at least stern words about the rank incompetence on display.

In this timeline, though, it's just a collective shrug. I'm just glad the bombing hasn't started ... yet.
posted by RedOrGreen at 6:58 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


Question 50. What was with that burger tweet
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:11 PM on April 30 [12 favorites]


Looks like there are enough signatures to get Medicaid expansion on the ballot in Idaho this fall.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:11 PM on April 30 [38 favorites]


@mawilner: The White House tells me it has corrected its statement: #Iran had, not has, a “robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program.”

@tomgara: It's amazing that this exact distinction is the thing Iran hawks were trying to fudge around today, and the White House just crashed through it like the Kool-Aid man
posted by zachlipton at 7:19 PM on April 30 [33 favorites]


The Hill:
Senate Democrats are planning to take a first step next week toward forcing a vote to restore the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) net neutrality regulations.

Democrats have been gathering signatures under the Congressional Review Act to force a vote to overturn the decision by the FCC to repeal the net neutrality rules. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) tweeted on Monday that Democrats will file the petition to force the vote on May 9. The vote could take place as soon as the week after.

[...]

It appears that Democrats may have the votes to win on the Senate floor. They currently have 50 votes in favor of the measure, including GOP Sen. Susan Collins (Maine).

If Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is absent from the Senate, that would be enough to win a Senate vote. McCain has been absent all year as he undergoes treatment for brain cancer.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:21 PM on April 30 [54 favorites]


I've got to assume someone on the Trump legal side leaked this, presumably to try to ensure Trump doesn't sit down with Mueller, but wow if that list doesn't have questions about a lot of different types of crimes.

"The questions fall into categories based on four broad subjects. They are not quoted verbatim, and some were condensed."

we live in interesting times
posted by lalochezia at 7:27 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


The president*'s camp leaked the questionnaire because they're trying to crowd-source the answers.

It was only a few Scaramuccis ago that we heard about multiple failed attempts to find real legal representation.
posted by Dashy at 7:30 PM on April 30 [16 favorites]


He'll probably crib his answers from Fox and Friends tomorrow morning.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:34 PM on April 30 [8 favorites]


Question 50. What was with that burger tweet

I'm still on the case. The sands of time will slip through our fingers, more Trump scandals will come and go, but the whole time I will be here. Watching. Waiting.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:40 PM on April 30 [27 favorites]


And, in the case of the burgers: Eating.
posted by SPrintF at 8:05 PM on April 30 [3 favorites]


and what happened during Mr. Trump’s 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant.

Look, all of us, all human beings, are going to have to watch the pee tape


We need to just do it and get it over with, band-aid style
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:12 PM on April 30 [20 favorites]


Trump's doctor may have violated federal privacy protections for a key patient -- Pence's wife, Karen

Meanwhile Pruitt wants to rejigger the EPA so that people can't cite medical studies against pollutants without forcing the researchers to deeply violate patient privacy.
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:16 PM on April 30 [10 favorites]


In the latest EPA scandal du jour, Pruitt's agency granted a financial hardship waiver to CVR Energy Inc (CVI.N), an oil refinery owned by billionaire Carl Icahn and former adviser to President Donald Trump, exempting the Oklahoma facility from requirements under a federal biofuels law.

In addition, Andeavor (ANDV.N), one of America’s biggest refining companies, which reported about $1.5 billion in net profit last year, was also identified as having received hardship waivers from Trump’s EPA.

Having $1.5B in profits is a hardship, but we're residing the prices poor people pay for housing.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:52 PM on April 30 [44 favorites]


When Mueller questions Trump, his whole presidency will depend on whether or not he will get caught in a lie. If he is, that's some divine justice shit.
posted by xammerboy at 9:53 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


It seems a consensus might be forming that the reason we’re seeing this extensive list of questions now is because a trump-Mueller sit down isn’t gonna happen without a subpoena.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:55 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


“What efforts were made to reach out to Mr. Flynn about seeking immunity or possible pardon?”

Yeah, I don't see Trump being able to answer that one, considering Flynn has already told Mueller the answer. Trump's going to claim he can't be subpoena'd. The questions show what he's afraid of. Maybe Mueller is hoping for a public outcry?
posted by xammerboy at 10:15 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


I'm still on the case. The sands of time will slip through our fingers, more Trump scandals will come and go, but the whole time I will be here. Watching. Waiting.

I read through the tweet thread. Any idea where that photo was taken? Exif data was blank. ( Now you have ME going down this rabbit hole... )

Maybe we should take this to MeMail?
posted by mikelieman at 10:28 PM on April 30


When Mueller questions Trump, his whole presidency will depend on whether or not he will get caught in a lie. If he is, that's some divine justice shit.

Assuming Dems take the house and Senate in 2018 and both are in an impeaching mood. Otherwise we're left with McConnell and Ryan voicing "serious concerns" while doing jack shit.
posted by benzenedream at 10:43 PM on April 30 [7 favorites]


When Mueller questions Trump, his whole presidency will depend on whether or not he will get caught in a lie.

I can't really see how. If Trump lies under questioning, it will be:
1) Fake news, never happened
2) Explained by SHS that her Orange Lord and Slaverer didn't understand the questions and/or answers
3) Clearly meant as a joke
4) Obviously trapping the Democrats in a game of 5D Go Fish
5) Moot as Boehner will refuse to bring articles to floor, citing Hastert Rule
6) Tweeted that Many People are Saying that If a Man is Fired After asking Questions, then a Man is No One and his Questions don't Count.
7) Decided to prospectively and/or retroactively pardon himself
8) Loudly declaimed that Hillary lost, worst loss ever, get over it, and by the way lock her up
9) Forgotten after another scandal that happens two hours later
posted by xigxag at 10:51 PM on April 30 [16 favorites]


Trump's going to claim he can't be subpoena'd. The questions show what he's afraid of.

Trump's lawyers will claim he can't be subpoena'd. Trump insists he's ready to sit down with Mueller, under oath, and rattle off his Alternative Facts until Mueller understands who's really in charge here. Trump is oblivious to the idea that what he says might not legally be the truth, and that he could be held accountable for lying. (And why would he know this? He's had a long career and always gotten away with it before.)

I expect it to happen (T testifying under oath) at some point; it'll be fun to watch how many Republicans abruptly realize they have better things to do than hold elected office that week. I am looking forward to seeing the resignation letters fall like confetti.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:54 PM on April 30 [6 favorites]


The list of topics that Mueller provided to the Trump team should scare the crap out of Trump and his legal team. He would be an absolute idiot to do anything but invoke the 5th. So I assume he'll answer all of it.

Ok more seriously I would expected a protracted legal battle to force Trump to testify followed by the 5th.
posted by Justinian at 11:09 PM on April 30 [8 favorites]


For any sane client, I'd expect taking the 5th. I'm really not sure Trump's capable of that, especially since, AFAIK, "taking the fifth" doesn't prevent them from asking questions - you just get to repeat, over and over, "I invoke my right not to answer as indicated by the fifth amendment," or the short version, "Fifth again."

But you have to have the mental acuity to stick to that even when the question is really interesting or annoying, and I don't think the president would be able to repeat "I take the fifth... the fifth... the fifth..." if he's asked a lot of those questions. I bet he believes that saying "I don't know anything about that" is the same as taking the fifth.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:26 PM on April 30 [9 favorites]


It seems a consensus might be forming that the reason we’re seeing this extensive list of questions now is because a trump-Mueller sit down isn’t gonna happen without a subpoena.ave

It came from Team Trump, absolutely. Word is the questions were transmitted orally not written so it pretty much had to have.
posted by scalefree at 11:38 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


Roy Moore will not go away. He's filling a lawsuit against three women alleging a political conspiracy. I'm sure this will be good for his grifting but I'm guessing he'll drop the suit well before discovery begins.
posted by rdr at 11:39 PM on April 30 [3 favorites]


Invite pair of comedians, one with a liberal bent and one with a conservative bent.

Comedy has a well-know liberal bias.
posted by msalt at 11:48 PM on April 30 [6 favorites]


Trump's Razor, now with twice the crime!

Trump’s Nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize Was Apparently Forged. Twice.
posted by scalefree at 11:54 PM on April 30 [19 favorites]


Roy Moore will not go away. He's filling a lawsuit against three women alleging a political conspiracy. I'm sure this will be good for his grifting but I'm guessing he'll drop the suit well before discovery begins.

It's like no-one ever told him that the truth is a valid defense, and that in civil court it's the preponderance of evidence that prevails, and he's going to have to show evidence of the defendant's claims' falsehood.

However this IS Alabama, so who knows what the local court rules are?
posted by mikelieman at 11:55 PM on April 30


Canaries, coalmine:
Chaplains in the 101st Airborne Division have fired the longstanding Jewish lay leaders at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, allegedly without providing any reason, effectively ending Friday night Shabbat services for Jewish soldiers and their families.

The two ranking chaplains also refused to support the Jews’ attempts to celebrate Passover on March 30, the first night of the eight-day long religious celebration, allegedly because it conflicted with Christians’ Good Friday observances and would save money during the installation’s four-day holiday.
According to Army Times this is being taken seriously, which is good, but I just can't imagine this happening even a few years ago.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:14 AM on May 1 [116 favorites]


It's like no-one ever told him that the truth is a valid defense, and that in civil court it's the preponderance of evidence that prevails, and he's going to have to show evidence of the defendant's claims' falsehood.
Apparently he had more important things to worry about when he was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama. Twice.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:51 AM on May 1 [4 favorites]


One of the horrific things about the last 3-4 years for me has been the constant reminders that antisemitism is very, very much still a thing, and that some members of various faith groups genuinely hate Jews. It is quite horrific, and I'm not even Jewish.* This form of prejudice seems so oddly medieval.

* although my stepmother's mother ran away from Nazi Germany fast enough to avoid the fate of her more trusting family, friends and neighbours. It's a small world in that respect.
posted by jaduncan at 12:53 AM on May 1 [34 favorites]


I can't. I can't. I just can't. Where's the current "fucking fuck" thread? Because I can't.

Trump gaffes on attack aircraft sale to Nigeria
WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday sought to trumpet last year’s $600 million deal for military aircraft previously blocked by the Obama administration over human rights concerns.

But Trump tripped up at their Rose Garden news conference, following the lead of a foreign reporter’s question about the turboprop A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft at the heart of the deal, repeatedly calling them “helicopters.”

“We make the best military equipment in the world, and our friends can now buy that equipment,” Trump said. This administration has championed a more transactional foreign policy, and Trump was in full dealmaker-in-chief mode.

Ironically, the Nigerian government did take delivery of foreign-made military helicopters on Monday, according to a Nigerian Air Force release: Two Mi-35M helicopter gunships from America’s strategic competitor, Russia.

“We love helicopters. He loves them more than I do,” Trump said of Buhari, who was standing beside him at a separate podium. “He likes buying helicopters, and they’re buying a lot of helicopters.”
Have I mentioned that I can't?
posted by scalefree at 1:00 AM on May 1 [27 favorites]


Here's an excellent rebuttal on Netanyahu's absurd presentation, the one he dumbed down for Trump the moron. Loved the way it was presented: in English, not his native tongue; huge letters, lots of pictures but nothing new. All of the information in it is at least 3 years old. As pretexts for war go this is right up there with Colin Powell holding up a vial of "anthrax" at the UN.

Anyway, let's have an expert explain it for us. I give you Jeffrey Lewis aka Arms Control Wonk. It's a long thread, you can follows the rest of it on Twitter.

@ArmsControlWonk Let's go through Netanyahu's dog-and-pony show. As you will see, everything he said was already known to the IAEA and published in IAEA GOV/2015/68 (2015). There is literally nothing new here and nothing that changes the wisdom of the JCPOA. 1/10
posted by scalefree at 1:18 AM on May 1 [15 favorites]


FWIW, CNN's article on the questions indicates that their sources say it's not a list of questions from Mueller but questions Trump's legal team anticipates might be asked based on conversations with Mueller's team. That makes total sense to me - I don't think we're anywhere close to the endgame that he'd be letting the specific questions slip yet.
posted by Candleman at 1:49 AM on May 1 [10 favorites]


FWIW, CNN's article on the questions indicates that their sources say it's not a list of questions from Mueller but questions Trump's legal team anticipates might be asked based on conversations with Mueller's team. That makes total sense to me - I don't think we're anywhere close to the endgame that he'd be letting the specific questions slip yet.

This amuses me greatly. The document should be titled "things we think our client might have exposure to".
posted by jaduncan at 2:04 AM on May 1 [39 favorites]


I thought the Super Tucano was Brazilian. Why is the US selling them?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:41 AM on May 1 [1 favorite]


This selective empathy is not empathy at all. It is the prioritizafion of maintaining the status quo, the coddling of the powerful at the expense of the marginalized. The responses have been: "She is a mother, she is a wife, she is a human being." Mothers, wives, human beings are being rounded up, ripped from their families and sent away every day, and you have no such vehemence to spare for them.

Defense of SHS on the grounds of being a "mother, wife, and human being" is a pathetically obvious dodge from having to address Wolf's point that she's also the presidential press secretary who routinely lies to the press and holds them in obvious contempt.
posted by Gelatin at 2:50 AM on May 1 [29 favorites]


I was digging around trying to remember some details about the Russia story (like who Dmitry Firtash is -- apparently the feds have "thousands of intercepts" of him) and I learned a couple of other new names to me, in the process. I apologize if these links where posted here at the time and I just missed them, but in case they weren't...

This story by Nicholas Fandos of the NYT was reported in December... In May of 2016 an N.R.A. activist named Paul Erickson wrote to Sessions' former chief of staff, who was then working in the Trump campaign, “Putin is deadly serious about building a good relationship with Mr. Trump. He wants to extend an invitation to Mr. Trump to visit him in the Kremlin before the election. Let’s talk through what has transpired and Senator Sessions’s advice on how to proceed.”

This story by Natasha Bertrand for the Atlantic was published at the beginning of April: "A Suspected Russian Spy, With Curious Ties to Washington"
"Asked whether Manafort coordinated with [Sam] Patten and/or Kilimnik on Klitschko’s reelection campaign, a spokesman for Manafort said he had “nothing to add.”

Patten describes himself as an “international political consultant” on his website, but he worked at the Oregon office of Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL Group, helping to fine-tune the firm’s voter targeting operations in the runup to the 2014 midterm elections."
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:18 AM on May 1 [9 favorites]


FWIW, CNN's article on the questions indicates that their sources say it's not a list of questions from Mueller but questions Trump's legal team anticipates might be asked based on conversations with Mueller's team.

Trump's attorneys leak their own attorney work product...so that he can can cite the leaks as evidence that the criminal investigation into his theft of an election is corrupt and should be shut down:
So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were “leaked” to the media. No questions on Collusion. Oh, I see...you have a made up, phony crime, Collusion, that never existed, and an investigation begun with illegally leaked classified information. Nice!
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:17 AM on May 1 [23 favorites]


I thought the Super Tucano was Brazilian. Why is the US selling them?

Looks like the American versions (and the Afghan ones passing through US ownership) are final-assembled and do avionics install in Jacksonville. Which isn't weird for US procurement; Beretta had to open a US factory to make service pistols.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:28 AM on May 1 [2 favorites]


Defense of SHS on the grounds of being a "mother, wife, and human being" is a pathetically obvious dodge

Also worth noting is that a certain Democratic candidate for president meets that criteria, and—oops, wrong team, sorry. Carry on.
posted by Rykey at 4:57 AM on May 1 [41 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened! Witch Hunt!

"Chief, someone broke into the police station and destroyed the evidence!"
"Damn it! Now we can't use the evidence to prove that a crime occurred, meaning that the guy who destroyed the evidence isn't guilty of obstruction of justice! Boys, we've been bamboozled by a master non-criminal."
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:04 AM on May 1 [57 favorites]


So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were “leaked” to the media. No questions on Collusion.

His reading comprehension is so low that he can't deduce that a question is about collusion if it doesn't contain that word.
posted by diogenes at 5:14 AM on May 1 [50 favorites]


It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened! Witch Hunt!
I still can't believe this man has a degree from any college.
posted by rc3spencer at 5:23 AM on May 1 [20 favorites]


although my stepmother's mother ran away from Nazi Germany fast enough to avoid the fate of her more trusting family, friends and neighbours.

So how do you know when it's time? Is it when other countries start publicly announcing that they will give political asylum to Americans who migrate?
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:26 AM on May 1 [7 favorites]


"What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?"

Seems pretty collusiony to me.
posted by chris24 at 5:29 AM on May 1 [9 favorites]


Mulvaney’s CFPB Considers Moving Staff to Basement. Or to Dallas.
The analysis put together by Mulvaney’s advisers lays out multiple ways to trim the budget over the next two years. Requiring CFPB staff “without a business need to work in an office” to stay home could save as much as $18.3 million, while shared desks might reduce expenditures by another $18.3 million.
...
Adding 70 work spaces in the basement of the CFPB’s main Washington building may save $16.6 million, and relocating staff to Dallas would decrease spending by $2.4 million. Other ideas in the one-page document include moving workers to offices in Northern Virginia or the Maryland suburbs, though doing so is actually estimated to increase costs.
Hard to overstate how demoralizing this is to the professional attorneys that came on to the CFPB under Warren and Cordray. They're going to kill the agency one way or another.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:37 AM on May 1 [47 favorites]


So how do you know when it's time? Is it when other countries start publicly announcing that they will give political asylum to Americans who migrate?

When other countries announce they'll give asylum to refugees, it's too late. You have to leave before the country you're leaving decides it doesn't really want you to leave so much as just kill you or throw you in prison.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 5:42 AM on May 1 [8 favorites]


You know it's really about insulting women's looks when they... [checks notes] ...insult two women's looks to express their outrage.

Ryan Reilly (HuffPo):
“The Debbie Wasserman Schultz doppleganger... attacked Sarah Huckabee Sander’s looks...” - Laura Ingraham tonight
posted by chris24 at 5:51 AM on May 1 [26 favorites]


Mulvaney’s CFPB Considers Moving Staff to Basement. Or to Dallas.
The analysis put together by Mulvaney’s advisers lays out multiple ways to trim the budget over the next two years. Requiring CFPB staff “without a business need to work in an office” to stay home could save as much as $18.3 million, while shared desks might reduce expenditures by another $18.3 million.
...
Adding 70 work spaces in the basement of the CFPB’s main Washington building may save $16.6 million, and relocating staff to Dallas would decrease spending by $2.4 million. Other ideas in the one-page document include moving workers to offices in Northern Virginia or the Maryland suburbs, though doing so is actually estimated to increase costs.


Our racist right wing government has being doing this for some time. There are plenty advantages (as seen from their perspective):
1) even leftwing people in the boondocks love this, reasoning that if they have to live there, it's only fair that government officials must too. No regard of practicalities like where the meetings with politicians etc. actually take place. One tiny agency was sent to a remote island and now spend huge amounts of money on transportation every week.
2) most senior staff have family who work in the city, and thus are not really able to move. So they find new jobs voluntarily and can be replaced with junior people from small universities who are looking for a fast career track, and who are then very friendly towards their political masters.
3) the moving process in itself disrupts everything in the afflicted units radically for several months, even years, and inactivates vital functions that the administration hates but can't get rid of legally.

In other words, a kinder egg of hate and disruption.
I wonder who first thought of this. It can't be our stupid corrupt idiots.
posted by mumimor at 5:51 AM on May 1 [14 favorites]


It costs the secret service more than 18.3 million to provide protection for a weekend and a round of golf at the southern kremlin.
posted by cmfletcher at 6:01 AM on May 1 [28 favorites]


I still can't believe this man has a degree from any college.

Between the Wolff book (10 Scaramuccis ago), and the Phone-a-Fox-and-Stunned-Friends screaming freakout (5 . . . days ago), it would likely be a good idea to consider that he's dangerously unfit for office and has been the whole time.

Any cursory review of his earlier-in-life interviews will show he's able to speak normally. Assholically, sure, but normally. Now - he's not able to speak (think?) normally. The founders were not envisioning a madness-of-king-george situation where we elected him (fraudulent) or where the balance-of-powers shrugged and ignored it (mcconnelled).
posted by petebest at 6:15 AM on May 1 [30 favorites]


The founders were not envisioning a madness-of-king-george situation
I was thinking more of an Ubu Roi situation. Actually have been since spring of 2016.
posted by rc3spencer at 6:17 AM on May 1 [13 favorites]


“The Debbie Wasserman Schultz doppelgänger... attacked Sarah Huckabee Sander’s looks...” - Laura Ingraham tonight


Liz: Jack just say Jewish this is taking forever
posted by The Whelk at 6:21 AM on May 1 [105 favorites]


It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened! Witch Hunt!

Jeff Smith*
It's possible to commit felony obstruction of justice w/o the underlying act being a felony. #trustme


* Former Missouri state senator (D) convicted of 2 felony counts of conspiracy to obstruct justice for interfering with an FEC probe.
posted by chris24 at 6:30 AM on May 1 [58 favorites]


“The Debbie Wasserman Schultz doppelgänger... attacked Sarah Huckabee Sander’s looks...” - Laura Ingraham tonight

Liz: Jack just say Jewish this is taking forever

The best thing I can say about Laura Ingraham's radio work is that at least you can't actually see the reflex fascist salute.
posted by jaduncan at 6:33 AM on May 1 [7 favorites]


FWIW, CNN's article on the questions indicates that their sources say it's not a list of questions from Mueller but questions Trump's legal team anticipates might be asked based on conversations with Mueller's team.

Whether Trump's team leaked questions direct from the special counsel's office or was just guessing at what Mueller will want to chat about, really great job on getting that until now publicly unknown Manafort line of inquiry out there. The best people.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:34 AM on May 1 [7 favorites]


“We make the best military equipment in the world, and our friends can now buy that equipment,” Trump said.

"Now"? The US has been the world's leading arms dealer for years.
When American firms dominate a global market worth more than $70 billion a year, you’d expect to hear about it. Not so with the global arms trade.
...
The numbers should stagger anyone. According to the latest figures available from the Congressional Research Service, the United States was credited with more than half the value of all global arms transfer agreements in 2014, the most recent year for which full statistics are available. At 14 percent, the world’s second largest supplier, Russia, lagged far behind. Washington’s leadership in this field has never truly been challenged. The US share has fluctuated between one-third and one-half of the global market for the past two decades, peaking at an almost monopolistic 70 percent of all weapons sold in 2011.
...
Though seldom thought of this way, the US political system is also a global arms distribution system of the first order. In this context, the Obama administration has proven itself a good friend to arms exporting firms. During President Obama’s first six years in office, Washington entered into agreements to sell more than $190 billion in weaponry worldwide—more, that is, than any US administration since World War II. In addition, Team Obama has loosened restrictions on arms exports, making it possible to send abroad a whole new range of weapons and weapons components—including Black Hawk and Huey helicopters and engines for C-17 transport planes—with far less scrutiny than was previously required.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:53 AM on May 1 [14 favorites]


Here's how The New York Times describes their source:
[The questions were] read by the special counsel investigators to the president’s lawyers, who compiled them into a list. That document was provided to The Times by a person outside Mr. Trump’s legal team.
The "disgraceful leaking" is coming from inside the White House.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:55 AM on May 1 [27 favorites]


The "disgraceful leaking" is coming from inside the White House.
John Barron, Esq.?
posted by rc3spencer at 7:00 AM on May 1 [7 favorites]


It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened! Witch Hunt!

Nixon Sees 'Witch-Hunt, Insiders Say #stupidWatergate
posted by kirkaracha at 7:01 AM on May 1 [9 favorites]


John Barron, Esq.?

Did... did the President leak the list because it didn't have the word "collusion" in it? Is that what we're dealing with?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:04 AM on May 1 [38 favorites]


And hey, the the Daily Beast's Sam Stein observes, "Leaks about the Mueller team’s interactions with the Trump legal team seem to have picked up since Rudy joined the crew". With Trump's follow-up ranting about the leak of these questions, he argues that Team Trump's plan could be:
Step 1. leak the questions
Step 2. claim the leak is a disgrace
Step 3…… argue that the Mueller probe is off the rails?
Rightwing noisemakers Hugh Hewitt and Sean Hannity are already banging the drum over these questions—which, to repeat, were collected and paraphrased by Trump's own lawyers, not the Special Counsel—as overly broad and potential perjury traps. This could be a prelude to attacking Mueller's integrity or simply the only way to get through to Trump that he shouldn't sit down for an interview unless he takes the Fifth repeatedly.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:06 AM on May 1 [14 favorites]


"What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?" --- Seems pretty collusiony to me.

Brian Beutler (Crooked Media)
It’s hard to read these Mueller questions and see how this story ends without several indictments stemming from collusion-related crimes.

Jeet Heer (New Republic)
Exactly. At least 12 or 13 questions are sharply directed at collusion. I don't understand meme that Mueller is only interested in obstruction.
posted by chris24 at 7:08 AM on May 1 [20 favorites]


Rightwing noisemakers Hugh Hewitt and Sean Hannity are already banging the drum over these questions—which, to repeat, were collected and paraphrased by Trump's own lawyers, not the Special Counsel—as overly broad and potential perjury traps.

Your daily reminder that in this context, "perjury traps" means "things Trump would lie about," with a side order of "because he's obviously guilty."
posted by Gelatin at 7:30 AM on May 1 [56 favorites]


This is Giuliani's 'hold my beer' moment for Trump's 3 Stooges legal team.
posted by rc3spencer at 7:35 AM on May 1 [15 favorites]


Because IANAL, I wonder: if it can be shown the leak was from the WH, and was attorney work product... does that mean they violated their own attorney-client privilege? And if so, would that go towards negating claims of privilege going forward?
posted by Kelrichen at 7:41 AM on May 1 [10 favorites]


My hypothesis for the point of all this is that they've tried to run him through these questions in private but crashed hard into the brick wall of President Toddler's attention span, and as a last resort they're hoping that he'll care more about them if he sees them on Fox & Friends.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:46 AM on May 1 [59 favorites]


It's going to go like this, isn't it?

Press: Why did you leak the question list
SHS: We did not. It's a terrible thing. The investigation is out of control
45: I did leak it. It was the best leak. NO COLLUSION.
posted by Devonian at 7:49 AM on May 1 [47 favorites]


It's going to go like this, isn't it?

Press: Why did you leak the question list
SHS: We did not. It's a terrible thing. The investigation is out of control
45: I did leak it. It was the best leak. NO COLLUSION.


There'll be a few rounds of "The president has been very clear that he didn't leak the question list" from SHS before he tweets it.
posted by Etrigan at 7:52 AM on May 1 [15 favorites]


rc3spencer: I still can't believe this man has a degree from any college.

There are other concerns about his mental health, which would impair him now but would allow him to pass college courses in his youth. But that's an unnecessary tangent.

Back to your regularly scheduled news updates: Some 'Caravan Migrants' Allowed To Apply For U.S. Asylum (NPR, May 1, 2018)

tl;dr/l: of the 200 asylum seekers in San Diego, Eight migrants — three women, four children and an 18-year-old — who claimed to be fleeing violence in their home countries were allowed through the gate at the border separating Tijuana, Mexico, from San Diego on Monday evening, according to caravan organizers.
Reuters reports: "The first to enter were part of a small group from the caravan who Mexican officials let walk over a pedestrian bridge on Sunday and who have been camped at the San Ysidro gate ever since, when the CBP said the facility between Tijuana and San Diego was saturated. A larger group of about 150 people has not been let onto the bridge and was preparing for a second night sleeping in an open plaza on the Mexican side."
CBP has some ugly policies in place that, if not reviewed critically, can make it seem like the delay is just part of their normal operating procedure
The San Ysidro facility can hold about 300 people, according to Pete Flores, the CBP’s San Diego field office director. The agency processed about 8,000 asylum cases from October to February, the equivalent of about 50 a day.

Asylum seekers are typically held for up to three days at the border and then turned over to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. If they pass an initial screening, they may be detained or released into the US with ankle monitors.
The way that Guardian article is currently written is vague, possibly on purpose, if that language is coming from CBP. Are people held outside the CBP facilities and told to wait to come in? Or are they detained within? Either way,
“They have been well aware that a caravan is going to arrive at the border,” Nicole Ramos, an attorney working on behalf of caravan members, said at a news conference. “The failure to prepare, and failure to get sufficient agents and resources is not the fault of the most vulnerable among us. We can build a base in Iraq in under a week. We can’t process 200 refugees. I don’t believe it.”
Again, a bureaucrat could say "look, we have limitations, sorry" and brush this off. Or they could say "we realized there would be an incoming group of asylum seekers, so we approved staff overtime in advance to process individuals and families currently at this facility, so we would have the necessary capacity."

But that would be humane, and that's not how CBP operates in the time of Trump.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:01 AM on May 1 [26 favorites]


would that go towards negating claims of privilege going forward?

Privilege and the work product doctrine is generally applied on a per document or per communication basis, that's why there's a "taint team" or special master right now, they have to review each and every document. Disclosing some work product publicly probably wouldn't effect future claims as to other future documents. And work product isn't necessarily waived by third party disclosure like a privileged communication would be, see this massive pdf for everything you could ever want to know about privilege, scroll down to p268-269 for what might be relevant here.

But there's still no good reason to leak your own speculation as to your client's potential criminal liability. Except for constructing a FOX News narrative about rogue witch hunts.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:04 AM on May 1 [6 favorites]


What if Trump answered Mueller's questions with @swear_trek gifs?

Twitter | ThreadReader
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:08 AM on May 1 [5 favorites]


filthy light thief: An oddly titled, but slightly illuminating, article from NPR: In Retirement, America's Spies Are Getting Downright Chatty (NPR, April 30, 2018)

That was the segment from yesterday morning. The subsequent afternoon segment was just shy of a Trump puff piece: Ex-CIA Director On National Security, Post-Truth 'Assault On Intelligence'
AILSA CHANG, NPR: But when you say the White House is causing great harm to the public's trust in the intel community, is that where all the blame should lie? I mean, you observe in your book there have been a lot of leaks from the intelligence community during this administration, many probably from career professionals. Along with that, you and several of your former colleagues have become some of Trump's most outspoken critics now. Can you blame the public if trust in the intel community is eroding when that community looks angry and fractured and willing to undermine this particular White House?
That's right, intelligence leaks are what broke the public trust of the intel community, along with the mean words about Trump. Oh, but there's more...
CHANG: You talk about Trump's disparaging style. You have criticized him and his use of Twitter. He's gone really hard on Twitter after Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, calling him names like Little Rocket Man. But here we are. Kim Jong Un and President Trump are trying to figure out a date and place to meet face to face for the first time. What do you think now? Is Trump's Twitter diplomacy, his belligerent style actually working here?
There's the set-up for a take-down, and there's the set-up to take sides, and this whole piece felt like former CIA Director Michael Hayden (on his book tour circuit) was against Trump, so Chang was taking sides with Trump.

You know, for balance.

(I know, to have both the interviewer and interviewee to be strongly against something comes across as preaching to the choir, or shouting into an echo chamber, but there's a difference between questioning an interviewee and normalizing abnormal behavior to allow the interviewee to push back.)
posted by filthy light thief at 8:09 AM on May 1 [13 favorites]


But that would be humane, and that's not how CBP operates in the time of Trump.

I have no doubt things are worse now than under prior administrations, but to be completely fair, I’m not convinced “humane” is a word that has ever been routinely applied to describe CBP operations.
posted by nickmark at 8:18 AM on May 1 [5 favorites]


The subsequent afternoon segment was just shy of a Trump puff piece

I wouldn't even go so far as to say it was "just shy;" you're quite right to point out that Alisa Chang spent the entire segment advocating for Trump's position. The equivalence she drew in the first question you cited might be forgivable naivete if someone had just woken up from sleeping since 1971, but it's inexcusable for someone as aware of what the public record about Trump has established as someone in Chang's job should be.

As for the second question, it's been pointed out on NPR that Kim got something he wanted, a meeting with the American president, for free with no preconditions. Trump's meeting is less a brilliant use of Twitter diplomacy than an impulsive own-goal on par with "do not congratulate." And again, Chang is presumably aware of such.

Michael Hayden is certainly deserving of pushback, but it doesn't have to take the form "assume Trump is correct." Shame on Chang and NPR.
posted by Gelatin at 8:19 AM on May 1 [14 favorites]


So as not to abuse the edit window, it's also beyond comprehension why Chang would frame a question about public distrust of the intelligence community stemming from its perceived opposition to Trump when Trump is historically unpopular and has been since taking office. It doesn't follow at all that being perceived as being opposed to Trump would make anyone other than Trump voters distrust the intelligence community, but that opposition is nearly as clearly partisan rejection of objective reality as Trump himself demonstrates on a daily basis.

Trump voters do not speak for all of us, and loyal Americans have been doing a pretty good job over the past couple of years of pointing that out. Including having nearly three million more of them voting for Hillary Clinton.
posted by Gelatin at 8:27 AM on May 1 [29 favorites]


The US has been the world's leading arms dealer for years.

And for some of us that is a giant stain on the national conscience, and it's infuriating that the president is crowing about it while the rest of American non-extraction-industry manufacture continues to see its safety-netless, soon-to-be-unemployable workers off-shored or replaced by robots.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:33 AM on May 1 [9 favorites]


@fullfrontalsamb
Hi @DennisDMZ! We know it normally takes three days but we took five minutes and wrote some jokes for you. How'd we do?

The callback is solid craftsmanship.
posted by Artw at 8:36 AM on May 1 [41 favorites]


The best thing I can say about Laura Ingraham's radio work is that at least you can't actually see the reflex fascist salute.

You can hear her heels click through the gif
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:03 AM on May 1 [5 favorites]


Pruitt update: Albert Kelly, the former banker who was banned from the profession after arranging a mortgage for the house that Pruitt bought at a $100,000 discount from a lobbyist (NB: no causal link between the two has been established) and then got a job overseeing reform of the federal Superfund program, has resigned.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:04 AM on May 1 [24 favorites]


Oliver Darcy:
The Hill drops out of future White House Correspondents Dinners: “In short, there's simply no reason for us to participate in something that casts our profession in a poor light. Major changes are needed to the annual event.”
Full letter from chairman James Finkelstein, self-acknowledged friend of Trump.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:06 AM on May 1 [11 favorites]


Why Were Mueller’s Questions for Trump Leaked?
...why would someone close to Trump’s legal team want to release a road map of the president’s potential missteps? Here are the leading theories.

To Convince Trump Not to Do the Interview
...
To Convince the Public That Mueller Is Biased
...
To Convince Congress to Stop Mueller
posted by kirkaracha at 9:09 AM on May 1 [3 favorites]


NYC readies for May Day rallies for worker andi immigrant rights

Union Square at 4pm my friends and comrades, the theme is Workers Without Borders.

May Day rallies against austerity draw thousands all over the globe
posted by The Whelk at 9:15 AM on May 1 [31 favorites]


Trump Says There’s No Evidence of Collusion. There Is So Much Evidence Already.
Of course, what Mueller knows about collusion and what the public knows about collusion are two different things. Even we mere civilians have access to a great deal of information on cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russia. Whether this body of information amounts to proof of collusion is something you could dispute if you took an especially stringent definition of the terms “proof” and “collusion.”

You might know that a man ran into a building with a gun, then a person was shot in the building, and then the man ran out. All this would be evidence he committed the murder, while perhaps falling short of proof. Proof is a very high standard to meet. But evidence of collusion? There’s simply no question that there is evidence. Lots and lots of it.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:18 AM on May 1 [20 favorites]


rc3spencer I still can't believe this man has a degree from any college.

One of the dirty secrets, that isn't really all that secret, about every major university and **especially** the really prestigious Ivy League schools, is that there are basically two universities. One exists to actually educate students and produce real graduates. The other exists to give pretend degrees to pretend students who are favored for one reason or another.

Being a high powered sportball player is one way to get into the pretend college track. Being rich and having powerful family and a history of donations to the university is another way to get in.

Mostly the scions of wealth and power go to the business school and get an MBA. It would be wrong to say that all MBA's are awarded basically as certificates that the recipient was rich and partied for six years, but a great many are.

George W Bush, not a noted mental giant, has an MBA basically because he was rich, his family was powerful, and the schools he went to give MBA's away to rich and powerful people who will stick around and shower them with cash.

Trump, you may note, went to the business school and got a BS in Economics. Which is kind of the same only he only he cut the partying short at four years instead of doing six to get an MBA.

It's shameful and revolting, but it's hardly something that began with Trump. To the children of the elites a "degree", usually an MBA, from an elite school is just part of being elite. It has nothing to do with mental achievement or education. Many top universities offer an MBA program with no thesis requirement, Bush the Younger took advantage of that, so they don't even have to pay some poor smart kid to write their thesis for them.

Really, given his wealth and his father's elite pretensions, the only way Trump could have not had a degree is if he'd dropped out of college. As long as he was willing to stick around Wharton was going to give him a degree even if he was incapable of signing his own name.
posted by sotonohito at 9:27 AM on May 1 [51 favorites]


This is super cool and also normal.
Trump doc says Trump bodyguard, lawyer 'raided' his office, took medical files

In February 2017, a top White House aide who was Trump's longtime personal bodyguard, along with the top lawyer at the Trump Organization and a third man, showed up at the office of Trump's New York doctor without notice and took all the president's medical records.

The incident, which Dr. Harold Bornstein described as a "raid," took place two days after Bornstein told a newspaper that he had prescribed a hair growth medicine for the president for years.

In an exclusive interview in his Park Avenue office, Bornstein told NBC News that he felt "raped, frightened and sad" when Keith Schiller and another "large man" came to his office to collect the president's records on the morning of Feb. 3, 2017. At the time, Schiller, who had long worked as Trump's bodyguard, was serving as director of Oval Office operations at the White House.
posted by Brainy at 9:33 AM on May 1 [66 favorites]


The surprising / disappointing thing about the Mueller questions (if that's what they are) is that I could have written those questions. They don't refer to events or knowledge outside the domain of anyone paying close-ish attention to the news. If we're hoping that Mueller knows something we don't, that's not implied by these questions.

On the other hand, the questions emphasize that we're a hair's breadth away from collusion already. The stuff we already know constitutes collusion, and the really bad stuff we know just needs some proof of Trump's direct involvement.

We're already at the point where seemingly everyone in the campaign but him was knowingly colluding with the Russians. If his knowing involvement is confirmed I would like to think the whole thing crumbles, Republican majority or not.
posted by xammerboy at 9:36 AM on May 1 [5 favorites]


If we're hoping that Mueller knows something we don't, that's not implied by these questions.

This question indicates new information: "What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?"
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:37 AM on May 1 [6 favorites]


Or, you know, it's possible that Mueller knows as well as the rest of us that anything provided to the WH will be treated with faithless indiscretion & thus, the questions offered up ahead of time were scoped to things that are already known to the public at large.
posted by narwhal at 9:40 AM on May 1 [23 favorites]


When you're playing against idiots, 2-d chess thinking is perfectly adequate.
posted by narwhal at 9:40 AM on May 1 [19 favorites]


Why is Dr Bornstein revealing these crimes more than a year after the fact? I'm guessing he was hoping to reconcile with the Big Man, and to reap the benefits, but has run out of patience. Maybe he wants to remind Trump that he has a story to tell?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:42 AM on May 1 [7 favorites]


Oh good, keeping the May Day theme and general The Death of Stalin vibe by introducing a Doctors Plot. Well done writers.
posted by Artw at 9:42 AM on May 1 [26 favorites]


Trump doc says Trump bodyguard, lawyer 'raided' his office, took medical files

If true, this is massively illegal.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:42 AM on May 1 [15 favorites]


NY Post headline: OLD MAN BREAKS HIPAA
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:43 AM on May 1 [126 favorites]


The surprising / disappointing thing about the Mueller questions (if that's what they are)

Given that they seem to have been most likely leaked by the White House / Trump & Co., it seems reasonable to assume that anything surprising or disappointing in them might as likely as not be purposeful action on Trump's part rather than a truthful recitation of the actual questions presented -- and in turn, Trump's implication that the list of questions is the same as the list topics being investigated should not be taken seriously.

I like to speculate as much anyone, but we only have a very biased source to speculate off of here, and I think it's far too soon to be either pleased or disappointed about it -- because we don't really know what 'it' is.

Speaking of speculation though: while it's entirely possible that Trump is, in fact, the healthiest president who ever has lived -- as Dr. Bornstein & Dr. Jackson have stated on the record -- I am, shall we say, suspicious that Trump's records, including his pseudonymous lab records were taken. Maybe that was merely punitive; but it's also at least possible -- hear me out on this -- that Trump has some previously undisclosed health problems and may not, in fact, live to be two hundred.

At the very least, this in conjunction with the questions raised about Dr. Jackson suggest that Trump's previously 'all mentally fine, no need to ask questions' exam should, perhaps, be redone in a more transparent fashion (and that we shouldn't take the existing results seriously). At this point, given how Bornstein, Trump, and Jackson have behaved, we effectively do not know anything about Trump's health.

The Mueller probe is important, but we also deserve to know whether or not the President is competent -- physically, mentally -- to serve, and also whether he's been honest about his health.
posted by cjelli at 9:49 AM on May 1 [10 favorites]


The surprising / disappointing thing about the Mueller questions (if that's what they are) is that I could have written those questions. They don't refer to events or knowledge outside the domain of anyone paying close-ish attention to the news. If we're hoping that Mueller knows something we don't, that's not implied by these questions.

Maybe yes, maybe no.

The 7 most intriguing questions Robert Mueller wants to ask Trump
1. “What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?”

2. “How was the decision made to fire Mr. Flynn on Feb. 13, 2017?”

3. “What did you think and do in reaction to the news that the special counsel was speaking to Mr. Rogers, Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Coats?”

4. “Did you discuss whether Mr. Sessions would protect you, and reference past attorneys general?”

5. “What did you think and what did you do in reaction to the news of the appointment of the special counsel?”

6. “What discussions did you have regarding terminating the special counsel, and what did you do when that consideration was reported in January 2018?”

7. “During a 2013 trip to Russia, what communication and relationships did you have with the Agalarovs and Russian government officials?”
Those are just the questions. The reasons why they're intriguing are in the article.
posted by scalefree at 9:49 AM on May 1 [7 favorites]


>Asked how he could justify saying Trump would be the healthiest president ever,
Bornstein said, "I like that sentence to be quite honest with you and all the
rest of them are either sick or dead."

I have to admit, this is a pretty good line from the zany doc.


It has kind of a 'if you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead? / living!' quality to it, but also: Obama is very much alive, isn't sick, and, I would presume, based on various reporting about their diets, lifestyles, and exercise routines, healthier than Trump. It's a zinger, but it's also flatly false, and that's pretty problematic when we're talking about the President's health -- and when, at the time he was being asked, we were talking about the candidate's health in an actionable fashion that voters would be considering when casting their ballots.
posted by cjelli at 10:04 AM on May 1 [19 favorites]


Obama, hell. I'd put Jimmy Carter up against Trump any day of the week. Dude's 93 & still building houses. Respect.
posted by scalefree at 10:13 AM on May 1 [92 favorites]


Add Dr. Harold Bornstein to the Basket Of Deplorable But Valuable Temporary Allies Against The Rise Of Neo-Fascism
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:14 AM on May 1 [6 favorites]


Obama is very much alive
I know, what the hell's he talking about! Even Dubya seems to be doing okay, and I, too, think Carter will outlive Trump. I thought he was going to die of that cancer, but he seems to have brushed it off as easy as if it were a little flake of imaginary dander on the shoulder of a French potentate.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:19 AM on May 1 [13 favorites]


W. has a sub 25 minute 5k time. He's not even in the top half of living presidents with respect to his health and fitness.
posted by cmfletcher at 10:20 AM on May 1 [20 favorites]


I just got a political survey call, focusing on California's upcoming primaries. They wanted to know all about my preferences for the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

I have never heard of this position. (Apparently it's currently held by Tom Torlakson, who can't run again. Name's familiar; that's the end of what I know about it.) The person doing the survey was nicely supportive of me frantically googling names and details so I could make answers that fit the questions.

Among the questions was: Of the two main candidates - Marshall Tuck (I) and Tony Thurmond (D), "which of them managed a failing school district?"

WTF?

There were several other slanted questions. I said I'm most likely to vote for Lily Ploski (again, whom I've never heard of, but in 30 seconds of googling I'm making decisions based on keywords from snippet articles), but since she's not a frontrunner, all the questions were about the other two.

Someone is gathering data to prove that one of them is An Awesome Upstanding Dude Who Will Create The Future Our Children Need, and the other is that rat-bastard who is funded by special interest money and doesn't care about children.

I did my part to say that the Democrat is the Awesome Dude and the "I" (... you don't run as R in California general elections if you can avoid it) is the money-hungry sociopath. A bit of searching supports this claim, so I don't feel guilty inventing opinions based on "lemme type that word you just mentioned into a search box mkay?" (I think she was happy to get any answers, rather than either "too busy; can't talk" or "... nope, no opinion on any of that; don't know anything about it.")
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:21 AM on May 1 [11 favorites]


Well, to be fair he has to stop to plein air paint whenever he sees a dog or himself reflected in a store window.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:22 AM on May 1 [4 favorites]


I thought he was going to die of that cancer, but he seems to have brushed it off as easy as if it were a little flake of imaginary dander on the shoulder of a French potentate.

Excellent callback. You should apply for Sam Bee's show! I see what I did there.
posted by scalefree at 10:30 AM on May 1 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: I see what I did there.
posted by scalefree at 10:30 AM on May 1 [17 favorites]


Among the questions was: Of the two main candidates - Marshall Tuck (I) and Tony Thurmond (D), "which of them managed a failing school district?"

Given that it was evidently a push poll, let me guess: Stepped in to manage a failing school district and turned it around?

One unwelcome development of so many corporate villains in the Trump administration is that they're good at deploying reasonable-sounding explanations for their undesirable agenda (see the scheme to break up the CPB in the name of "saving taxpayer money," even as EPA chief Scott Pruitt sets a bunch on fire for his own aggrandizement).
posted by Gelatin at 10:31 AM on May 1 [4 favorites]


The surprising / disappointing thing about the Mueller questions (if that's what they are) is that I could have written those questions.

These aren't all the questions. They're the first round of questions. If you ask Trump the questions, then you can ask follow-up questions/note where he's lying.

Also, lawyers tend to ask questions that they already know the answers to.

Finally, all they have to do to get Trump to testify under oath is tell him Obama doesn't have the stones to.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:33 AM on May 1 [8 favorites]


These aren't all the questions. They're the first round of questions. If you ask Trump the questions, then you can ask follow-up questions/note where he's lying.

It's not necessarily even the full first round. These were leaked by Trump, he could've just left a few out that were even more uncomfortable than the ones he had leaked.
posted by scalefree at 10:35 AM on May 1 [7 favorites]


Will Trump now retract his complaints about Hillary Clinton getting the debate questions in advance?
posted by kirkaracha at 10:38 AM on May 1 [57 favorites]


Also, lawyers tend to ask questions that they already know the answers to.

And whether he asks questions about certain topics or not, Mueller (and team) presumably know a lot of answers from the cooperative guilty please they've already had, not to mention their raid on Manafort's home and other evidence (*cough*Russian money laundering*cough*).

Trump would be a fool to speak to Mueller in any form if he can avoid it. And yet he says he wants to.
posted by Gelatin at 10:44 AM on May 1 [2 favorites]


The Mueller probe is important, but we also deserve to know whether or not the President is competent -- physically, mentally -- to serve, and also whether he's been honest about his health.

I expect one of the strategies at trial will be to claim incompetence. We'll have a court-ordered exam at that point.
posted by mikelieman at 10:49 AM on May 1 [1 favorite]


I'm thinking about this whole "raid on his doctor" thing. It may be about most pure "L'état, C'est Moi" thing Trump has done in office & that's saying a lot. He put his personal thug on the White House payroll then while still employed there sent him to his personal physician's office to steal his property & presumably hand it over to him, all for personal reasons. Since we're doomed to live out Stupid Watergate is this the actual Stupid Watergare of Stupid Watergate? What was the lawyer there for, to say "I'm a lawyer so this isn't illegal"?
posted by scalefree at 10:50 AM on May 1 [29 favorites]


That whirring sound? Richard Nixon turning over in his grave.
posted by scalefree at 10:53 AM on May 1 [2 favorites]


I'm trying to puzzle this out, because I'm no expert in journalistic ethics and protecting sources. But:

-someone on Trump's team leaks Mueller's questions to the press.
-Trump then claims the leak is from Mueller's side, and attempts to use it to discredit the investigation.

Is there not real, genuine public interest at this point in being very clear where the leak originated from? Trump and his team are using the media to try to create a narrative that is based on a fundamental lie that the member of the media who received the leak can blow wide open. Or does the duty to protect sources mean that this is one of those instances where those who play by the rules and follow their ethics are not only at a disadvantage, but can be played like this?
posted by nubs at 10:53 AM on May 1 [13 favorites]


I expect one of the strategies at trial will be to claim incompetence.

A strategy of the defense? I don't see Trump ever agreeing to let his attorney(s) do that.
posted by zakur at 10:54 AM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Longtime reader, first-time commenter.

ErisLordFreedom, Tony Thurmond is the former state assembly rep for the East Bay Area. He and his office were instrumental in helping me get my health insurance back when Blue Cross canceled it. IMO he’s a mensch.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 10:54 AM on May 1 [56 favorites]


Is there not real, genuine public interest at this point in being very clear where the leak originated from?

The NYT said specifically that the leak isn't from Mueller's team and that it was from someone who received it from Trump's legal team. There's no need for them to burn their sources to rebut claims that Mueller is leaking.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:55 AM on May 1 [13 favorites]


Is there not real, genuine public interest at this point in being very clear where the leak originated from?

Funny you should ask...

Mueller's former assistant says grammatical errors prove leaked questions came from Trump
posted by scalefree at 10:56 AM on May 1 [79 favorites]


Given that it was evidently a push poll, let me guess: Stepped in to manage a failing school district and turned it around?

No, I think it was pointing at "who was so terrible at managing that their district was a complete failure?" ("Turned it around" was definitely not part of the question, although that might be part of the pitch they use later.)

There was also a question about who was supported by billionaire funding, and that one had an easy answer. And a question about "which of them is part of the problem in today's legislature" or something like that. "Part of the problem" was definitely part of the question. (I said I didn't know. I can google for whose policies I support quickly; I can't ID track records that fast.)

I politely did not ask, "do you have any options to the left of 'very liberal?' Because I've seen what passes as very liberal these days, and I'm not sure I want to vote for any of that."

It did seem like it was intended to be a conservative poll - the surveyor seemed slightly taken aback at "strongly disapprove" of the president, but kept going, and turned out to be pleasant to talk with. She seemed grateful to have found someone willing to have opinions even if I was googling for them on the spot. She complemented my typing speed.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:59 AM on May 1 [5 favorites]


The discrepancy in current right-wing perceptions of Iran and North Korea, with respect to present and future nuclear capabilities, is just infuriating. It's gospel for them that Obama "gave Iran nukes" when the reality is very obviously the opposite of that, just because the agreement isn't everything-for-nothing.

It's like if some master art thief were put in federal prison and the narrative was "They let him go free!" because
(a) they gave him his bail money just for showing up in court -- free money for a criminal, can you believe it?
(b) he'll have a parole hearing in ten years -- ten years is nothing, man
(c) he still mutters in his sleep how much he hates art museums -- a true justice system would induce a total change of heart
(d) he isn't under 24-hour surveillance -- he could theoretically dig his way out of his cell with a spoon

and introducing (e) we found his blueprints for crimes he was planning to commit before he got arrested and tried, and surely that means he's already nabbed a Picasso right under the prison guards' noses

Meanwhile, when it comes to NK, they're hailing Donald as a success on the basis of Kim saying some words. (Which isn't nothing, and deserves serious kudos to the new South Korean administration, but is being treated by the base as total victory.)

And if (going by new leaks) Kelly had to stop him from unilaterally withdrawing all troops before the Olympics (!), then there's a solid possibility of an outcome with little to no means of confirming the reality of whatever nuclear wind-down NK claims it will do. But it won't matter, see, because Trump and Kim have such a "great relationship"! It won't matter where the June talks go (assuming they happen at all, there might be a conflict with Infrastructure Week), even if nobody signs anything. The MAGgots are going to say the problem is solved permanently, because Trump's word is bond and his sheer grit makes dictators quake. Gaaaaaahhhhh.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 11:00 AM on May 1 [15 favorites]


foxy_hedgehog, a quick look at Thurmond's page and track record told me that "yep, I can support this guy." I'll look into the differences between him and Ploski, but but I can tell I'll be happy if Thurmond wins.

Also, I discovered that you can't (effectively) Google for "Thurmond" and any political keywords to find info about him; instead, you get links to pages about Strom.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:02 AM on May 1 [2 favorites]


No, I think it was pointing at "who was so terrible at managing that their district was a complete failure?"

I'm sure that's what they meant to imply; my point is that "managed a failing school district" would also apply to someone in the situation I mentioned, however dishonest that portrayal may be. But since when have conservatives achieved office by being honest?
posted by Gelatin at 11:03 AM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Rolling Stone: Better Call Cohen: The Shady Cases of a Trump Lawyer's Personal Injury Practice
A Rolling Stone investigation found that Cohen represented numerous clients who were involved in deliberate, planned car crashes as part of an attempt to cheat insurance companies. Furthermore, investigations by insurers showed that several of Cohen's clients were affiliated with insurance fraud rings that repeatedly staged "accidents." And at least one person Cohen represented was indicted on criminal charges of insurance fraud while the lawsuit he had filed on her behalf was pending. Cohen also did legal work for a medical clinic whose principal was a doctor later convicted of insurance fraud for filing phony medical claims on purported "accident" victims. Taken together, a picture emerges that the personal attorney to the president of the United States was connected to a shadowy underworld of New York insurance fraud, a pervasive problem dominated by Russian organized crime that was costing the state's drivers an estimated $1 billion a year.
On the other hand, he was involved in on only "a tiny, tiny fraction" of the President's legal work, so this probably doesn't amount to anything
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:10 AM on May 1 [43 favorites]




Via Teen Vogue, my own wording: Georgia gubernatorial candidate threatens to murder teen with shotgun in campaign ad

Displays so many of the poisons in the heart of American conservatism: toxic masculinity, a twisted concept of paterfamilias, hatred of the young, gun fetishism while displaying extreme gun irresponsibility, threats of violence against those below one's station.

The only thing missing is making the teenage boy he's pointing a gun at non-white, but seeing as he's shown as trying to date Kemp's daughter that would require having Kemp murder him on screen with the shotgun. It'll probably be another election cycle or two before that becomes normal in campaign ads.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:17 AM on May 1 [44 favorites]


@ZoeTillman: Q: What do you think is the most serious threat to the rule of law in America today?
Rosenstein [at Law Day event]: "I don't think there's any threat to the rule of law in America today," points to Trump's Law Day proclamation

thisisfine.gif

Counterpoint: Crimes are no longer a disqualification for Republican candidates
posted by zachlipton at 11:19 AM on May 1 [16 favorites]


I was a juror in a federal insurance fraud trail where the defendant faked car accidents and doctor's injury reports. We convicted him of multiple felonies.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:19 AM on May 1 [15 favorites]


Look, if it's appropriate to threaten your daughter's prom date with a gun, how is that not also appropriate to campaigning?

Obligatory Ron Howard Voice: It's not appropriate to either situation. You look like an insecure ass.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:19 AM on May 1 [15 favorites]


Holy cow. A walking talking Jimmy McGill was *this close* to becoming White House Chief of Staff.

What a world.
posted by notyou at 11:20 AM on May 1 [6 favorites]


The television character Tony Soprano was not designed to make the viewer struggle to decide whether he would make a superior President to the actual President
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:24 AM on May 1 [9 favorites]


Trump's efforts to discredit Mueller investigation appear to be having some effect. New Monmouth poll finds 54% support continuing special counsel probe -- down from 60% two months ago. Six-point uptick in those who want probe to end, now at 43%

You know, I really don't like to think most of my countrymen are idiots, and I certainly don't like to say out loud that most of my countrymen are idiots. But if those polling numbers are true, well, then I don't see how I can avoid it: most of my countrymen are idiots.
posted by holborne at 11:27 AM on May 1 [77 favorites]


Displays so many of the poisons in the heart of American conservatism: toxic masculinity, a twisted concept of paterfamilias, hatred of the young, gun fetishism while displaying extreme gun irresponsibility, threats of violence against those below one's station.

I was going to go find some lyrics, but suffice to say that there's at least one country song (probably more) about threatening a boy with gun violence that is taking their daughter out on a date. Brian Kemp is playing directly to the base.
posted by Fleebnork at 11:29 AM on May 1 [3 favorites]


McSweeney's - MORE APPROPRIATE WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS’ ASSOCIATION DINNER JOKES FOR 2019
Good evening, and welcome to the 2019 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. After last year’s uproar, I’ve been instructed to use only dignified language and humor considered appropriate for our current cultural discourse.

Low-IQ crazy Kellyanne Conway is here tonight. Kellyanne came to Mar-a-Lago three nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!

Sarah Huckabee Sanders has also graced us with her presence. She gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem.

I see Fox News in the back, which is a failing pile of garbage and the enemy of the American people. I never watch Sean Hannity, who I once called “the dumbest man on television!”

A few members of the Trump cabinet showed up this year, such as Liddle Jeff Sessions, who lied to Congress under oath. He is an untruthful slimeball. And there’s Mike Pence, who is weak, both physically and mentally. Don’t threaten gay people, Mike!

I’m so glad to see the Trump family represented. Let’s see, there’s Crooked Don Jr., who embarrassed himself and the country with his email lies. I refuse to call Ivanka Trump a bimbo, because that is not politically correct. And let’s not forget Eric, who should be forced to take an IQ test. Not very bright.

As for the First Lady, I did try and fuck Melania. She was married. I moved on her like a bitch. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.

In closing, I will reserve my most civil words for the president himself, who has finally made an appearance at this dinner. Bad (or sick) guy!
posted by chris24 at 11:30 AM on May 1 [136 favorites]


Jill Stein says refusal to cooperate with Russia investigation is about ‘standing up on principle’

During a CNN interview on Tuesday, former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein defended her refusal to fully cooperate with the Senate’s investigation of Russian meddling, arguing that her decision not to turn over some campaign communications with representatives of the Russian government is a matter of “principle.” “What we didn’t turn over was material that basically protects the civil liberties of all Americans,” Stein said. “We’re standing up on a principle, and that is the principle that is part of the First Amendment — our right to, basically, freedom of association, and that needs to be protected.”

I'm glad Stein is standing up for our First Amendment right to freely associate with hostile foreign governments and receive our orders to suppress the vote to help elect an insane fascist dictator, that we might keep our kompromat from being revealed.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:37 AM on May 1 [52 favorites]


NYT: Two Top Aides to Scott Pruitt Quit the E.P.A. Unexpectedly

Those would be Albert Kelly who ran the Superfund program and Pasquale Perrotta, who was chief of security.

Some notes on Albert Kelly:
Mr. Kelly, widely known as Kell, was a longtime business associate of Mr. Pruitt’s in his home state of Oklahoma who previously had a banking career before being barred from working in the finance industry. Before joining the E.P.A. Mr. Kelly led an Oklahoma bank that issued a mortgage for a home purchased by Mr. Pruitt through a shell company registered to another business partner of Mr. Pruitt’s, Kenneth Wagner. Mr. Wagner now holds a senior position at the E.P.A.
How in the world did even the quiescent GOP Senate approve a nominee as manifestly sketchy as Scott Pruitt?
posted by notyou at 11:38 AM on May 1 [18 favorites]


Republicans would have elected a tapdancing llama if it had worn a sign around its neck reading "I WILL DESTROY THE EPA!"
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:40 AM on May 1 [54 favorites]


Bloomberg, Puerto Rico Workers Protest U.S. Plan to Slash Their Pensions
“We prefer to fight against the board rather than die in our homes without money,” Andres Miranda, vice president of the Federal Association of Pensioners and Retired People, said during the march. “If Rossello gives up on defending us, we will not. We will fight for what belongs to us.”
Tear gas is flying

EmilyGorcenski: Oh good I'm glad we found a way to ship CS gas there but not working power transmission equipment.
posted by zachlipton at 11:43 AM on May 1 [73 favorites]


@JaxAlemany [CBS News]: .@KaciSokoloff just spoke w Dr. Harold Bornstein, who refused an interview but said that NBC's piece was "a pretty good story." Bornstein also said that he spoke to the NBC reporter “in the bathroom” of his office. He signed off with: "Sweetheart, this is watergate, goodbye!"

what?
posted by zachlipton at 11:44 AM on May 1 [53 favorites]


He signed off with: "Sweetheart, this is watergate, goodbye!"

Today's Moment of Dystopian Normalization Clarity: seeing yourself happy to have Dr. Benway/MegaJacoby return to the story.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:49 AM on May 1 [40 favorites]


Robert Mueller Likely Knows How This All Ends (Garrett M. Graff for Wired, May 1, 2018)
The beginning of May marks the longest period of public silence from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team since his first charges last October—more than two months without any new plea deals, fresh indictments, or publicly “flipped” witnesses.
But there's been plenty of activity, culminating with the leaked list of questions.
Taken as a whole, the leaked questions help shape and underscore some key takeaways (truncated here, more thoughts written up in the article):
1. Mueller always knows more than we think.
2. Mueller is building a bulletproof case.
3. There are more loose threads than ever.
4. We still don’t know the biggest, most important evidence.
There’s an ever-growing pile of evidence that exists that hasn’t become public yet. That includes, obviously, the evidence that George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, and Rick Gates all traded to Mueller for their plea deals over the last seven months....
5. Mueller likely already knows how this story ends. Add up the four above points and it seems clear that Mueller might actually be relatively close to wrapping up the investigation. Given that the FBI raid on Michael Cohen’s office, stemming from an investigation by federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York, was sure to provoke a reaction from President Trump—the investigative equivalent of kicking a hornet’s nest—it seems likely that Mueller and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who approved the raid, understood that one or both of them might be fired by the president in its wake. It seems likely that before they took such a provocative step on the case that they could see their way through to the investigation's end.
Meanwhile, in the health-of-our-social-networks: Mark Zuckerberg Says It Will Take 3 Years to Fix Facebook (Steven Levy for Wired, May 1, 2018)
Zuckerberg recognizes the difficulty of remaking his systems to proactively catch harmful content. "I think this is about a three-year transition to really build up the teams, because you can't just hire thirty thousand people overnight to go do something," he says. "You have to make sure that they're executing well and bring in the leadership and train them. And building up AI tools—that's not something that you could just snap your fingers on either."

But Zuckerberg says the three-year journey is already well under way. "The good news is that we started it pretty early last year. So we're about a year in. I think by the end of this year we'll have turned the corner on a lot of it. We'll never be fully done. But I do really think that this represents a pretty major shift in the overall business model and operating model of the company."
Wait, what? You're a year into a three year process, but the fact that Cambridge Analytica were able to grab a TON of user information from Facebook through authorized channels only came to light for the public in March 2018?

That link is to a QZ general timeline of events, which notes that CA was working with Brexit leave campaigners and Trump, but leaves out a key fact [that isn't tied to any specific time that I've seen] where Brad Parscale bragged about how directly Trump's team was working with Facebook, including having embedded, self-identified Republicans
“I wanted people who supported Donald Trump,” he says, adding that he calls the employees “embeds” and that they taught him everything about the technology.

“I want to know everything you would tell Hillary’s campaign plus some,” Parscale says he told them.

Parscale also says he heard the Clinton campaign, which also used Facebook advertising extensively, did not use embeds and turned down Facebook’s offers to have employees essentially join the campaign.
Yeah, so what was the trigger roughly a year ago that made Facebook look more closely at how they treated ads? Because it seemed like micro-targeting political ads was a key business feature they offered to any takers.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:53 AM on May 1 [31 favorites]


Ryan Goodman (Just Security cofounder & co-EIC, former DoD Special Counsel)
Big Reminder

1. Most interesting Mueller Q is on "any outreach by...Paul Manafort to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign"

2. Recall CNN scoop Aug '17:

US intelligence intercepted Russians relaying "conversations with Manafort, encouraging help from the Russians".

Link to CNN Aug '17 piece on intercepts of Russian agents relaying "conversations with Manafort encouraging help from the Russians" and "their efforts to work with Manafort...to coordinate information that could damage Hillary Clinton's election prospects."
posted by chris24 at 11:54 AM on May 1 [9 favorites]


Mark Zuckerberg Says It Will Take 3 Years to Fix Facebook

So, not in time for either the mid-terms or the 2020 presidential election, then? Quelle surprise.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:59 AM on May 1 [22 favorites]


At this point, given how Bornstein, Trump, and Jackson have behaved, we effectively do not know anything about Trump's health.

Racist grandpa's in his 70's. He's overweight. He reportedly eats "one McDonald's meal a day consisting of two Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fish sandwiches and a chocolate shake — a menu that would total at least 2,400 calories and more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium." He has rage issues. He doesn't exercise, except for waving his arms around at rallies and going golfing, an incredibly sedentary sport.

He doesn't smoke. That's about all he's got going for him.

He is obsessed with lying to make himself look better. It's probably safe to say reality is worse than any current estimations.
posted by zarq at 12:02 PM on May 1 [21 favorites]


Mark Zuckerberg Says It Will Take 3 Years to Fix Facebook
So, not in time for either the mid-terms or the 2020 presidential election, then? Quelle surprise.


But Facebook *will* be ready to launch a dating service sooner than that, so.
posted by anem0ne at 12:02 PM on May 1 [11 favorites]


what?

He thinks his office may be bugged but not his bathroom. Normally I'd say it's excessive paranoia & the mark of a crank but with this lot...?
posted by scalefree at 12:03 PM on May 1 [9 favorites]


MSNBC [video]: WATCH: Sarah Huckabee-Sanders denies that Trump's personal doctor's offices were "raided." "As is standard operating procedure for a new president, the White House medical unit took possession of the president's medical records."

So why was Trump Organization Chief Legal Officer Alan Garten there? Surely it's not standard operating procedure for a lawyer from the President's private business to show up at the doctor's office.
posted by zachlipton at 12:08 PM on May 1 [35 favorites]


...and going golfing, an incredibly sedentary sport.

Even more sedentary if you take a golf cart like Trump does.
posted by PenDevil at 12:14 PM on May 1 [3 favorites]


The sending of goons to illegally snatch medical files is a longstanding presidential tradition dating back to Taft's inauguration. These days the baseball-bats-with-nails-in-them are more metaphorical, but the ceremony still carries emotional weight
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:17 PM on May 1 [39 favorites]


Rosenstein [at Law Day event]: "I don't think there's any threat to the rule of law in America today," points to Trump's Law Day proclamation

Oh look, he found a spine after all (about the Freedom Caucus drawing up articles of impeachment against him): "They can't even resist leaking their own drafts....I don't have anything to say about docs like that nobody has the courage to put their name on...I can tell you there have been people making threats privately and publicly against me, and I think they should understand by now that the Department of Justice will not be extorted..any threats are not going to effect our job."
posted by zachlipton at 12:25 PM on May 1 [11 favorites]


So why was Trump Organization Chief Legal Officer Alan Garten there?

Because Trump doesn't trust any of the White House lawyers with a job this sensitive. They might be tempted to obey the law & he couldn't take the risk.
posted by scalefree at 12:27 PM on May 1 [10 favorites]


Mark Zuckerberg Says It Will Take 3 Years to Fix Facebook

So, not in time for either the mid-terms or the 2020 presidential election, then? Quelle surprise.

But Facebook *will* be ready to launch a dating service sooner than that, so.


I was just asked by Facebook if a post in the Illinois Birding Network group page contained hate speech. I suppose it depends on your opinion on whether rose-breasted grosbeak should be in Illinois. Hopefully nobody likes the Illinois Bird Network Nazis.
posted by srboisvert at 12:49 PM on May 1 [20 favorites]


I was just asked by Facebook if a post in the Illinois Birding Network group page contained hate speech.

Likely related to a bug this morning that led to people being asked 'is this hate speech y/n' about literally every post in their feed

move fast and break society and then break more things trying to fix society, i guess
posted by halation at 12:52 PM on May 1 [11 favorites]


Yep. Happened in my knitting and my beekeeping groups.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:54 PM on May 1 [5 favorites]


Everyone knows that knitters and beekeepers have been at war for decades.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:58 PM on May 1 [65 favorites]


“We’re standing up on a principle, and that is the principle that is part of the First Amendment — our right to, basically, freedom of association, and that needs to be protected.”

IANAL, but freedom of association is very far from an absolute liberty. When there's a crime committed, in particular, one's associations are obviously germane to a legal inquiry and can be the basis of a crime in itself (conspiracy, racketeering, and so on).

It's no surprise to me, though, that a lot of people didn't know better about what they probably thought of as just oppo research. There's the criminal stuff and there's the geopolitical stuff -- there's some overlap, but that this all gets conflated together tends to confuse people and obfuscate some important points. Namely, that discounting one side of this doesn't make the problem of the other side go away.

With regard to Dr. Bornstein, if there wasn't a HIPAA release provided to him, that's a problem...for him. But shouldn't he already be in violation for disclosing to a reporter the meds he prescribed to Trump?

About the Freedom Caucus DoJ impeachment draft -- I keep being amazed at the audacity of the argument that DoJ misled the FISA court because of the Steele dossier when A) it's a matter of court record that the investigation long pre-dated the dossier and, B) nothing in the dossier I'm aware has ever been disproven while, on the contrary, it keeps being validated. (Yeah, I know: the strategy is that it's all about the pee tape being self-evidently not credible and using that to impugn the credibility of everything and anything else. It's just so blatantly dishonest and, also, it's foolish to stake your claim on the basis that there's something just too outrageous for Trump to have done.)
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:00 PM on May 1 [6 favorites]


Rosenstein [at Law Day event]: "I don't think there's any threat to the rule of law in America today," points to Trump's Law Day proclamation

"Rod is a survivor," as Comey said of him. But in Rosenstein's particular position and place in history, being a survivor isn't the worst thing he could be.
posted by Jpfed at 1:02 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Here's a clip of Dr Bornstein discussing the situation. Let's just say he does not acquit himself very well. I have questions & I think you will too.

@riotwomenn More weird Trump.

Dr. Harold Bornstein, Trump's doctor for 30 yrs +, says that in Feb 2017, Trump's personal bodyguard, a top lawyer at the Trump org & a 3rd dude raided Bornstein's office without notice, taking all trace of Trump including photos & Trump’s medical records.
posted by scalefree at 1:28 PM on May 1 [11 favorites]




The parallels between Nixon and Trump are certainly uncanny, as someone upthread mentioned.

In that spirit here's a pretty darn decent podcast on Watergate from Slate.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 1:58 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


White House ignores executive order requiring count of civilian casualties in counterterrorism strikes
The Trump administration has chosen to ignore an executive order that requires the White House to issue an annual report on the number of civilians and enemy fighters killed by American counterterrorism strikes.

The mandate for the report, which was due May 1, was established by former president Barack Obama in 2016 as part of a broader effort to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding drone operations in places such as Yemen, Somalia and Libya. The White House has not formally rescinded the Obama-era executive order but has chosen not to comply with some aspects of it.

“The executive order that requires the civilian casualty report is under review” and could be “modified” or “rescinded,” a White House spokesman said. The White House declined to say who is conducting the review, how long it has been ongoing and when it is expected to be completed.
...
A separate requirement, imposed as part of last year’s defense budget, requires the Pentagon to submit to Congress by May 1 a list of all U.S. military operations that caused civilian deaths. It’s unclear whether the Pentagon, which did not respond to requests for comment, will meet that federally mandated requirement.
posted by zachlipton at 1:58 PM on May 1 [12 favorites]


This is interesting, from the NBC piece:
Bornstein said that Trump cut ties with him after he told the New York Times that Trump takes Propecia, a drug for enlarged prostates that is often prescribed to stimulate hair growth in men. Bornstein told the Times that he prescribed Trump drugs for rosacea and cholesterol as well.

The story also quotes Bornstein recalling that he had told Rhona Graff, Trump's longtime assistant, "You know, I should be the White House physician."

After the story ran on February 1, 2017, Bornstein said Graff called him and said, "So you wanted to be the White House doctor? Forget it, you're out.' "

Two days after the story ran, the men came to his office.

"I couldn't believe anybody was making a big deal out of a drug to grow his hair that seemed to be so important. And it certainly was not a breach of medical trust to tell somebody they take Propecia to grow their hair. What's the matter with that?"
Bornstein doesn't seem all that familiar with HIPAA. It's a total(!) breach of medical trust to tell people what medications your patient is taking. It's insane that he would think otherwise.
posted by zarq at 1:59 PM on May 1 [79 favorites]




"And it certainly was not a breach of medical trust to tell somebody they take Propecia to grow their hair. What's the matter with that?"

That's the part I thought made him sound bad in the clip I posted.
posted by scalefree at 2:09 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


That's the part I thought made him sound bad in the clip I posted.

I didn't like him describing the raid as being raped.
posted by zarq at 2:20 PM on May 1 [43 favorites]


You know who else had his goons break into a doctor's office?
posted by kirkaracha at 2:21 PM on May 1 [9 favorites]


I have a feeling the makers of Propecia are not exactly thrilled about this particular endorsement.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:22 PM on May 1 [8 favorites]


I politely did not ask, "do you have any options to the left of 'very liberal?' Because I've seen what passes as very liberal these days, and I'm not sure I want to vote for any of that."

I'd be tempted to choose "centrist" or "slightly right of center" since what's considered "left of liberal" these days used to be considered dead center prior to the last few decades of Overton window fuckery (see RomneyCare -> ObamaCare -> socialist plot).
posted by duoshao at 2:30 PM on May 1 [3 favorites]


"As is standard operating procedure for a new president, the White House medical unit took possession of the president's medical records."

My understanding is that in Australia and the UK, medical records belong to the doctor, not the patient. For instance, when a medical practice is sold, a good part of the value is the patient list and medical history. I suppose data privacy legislation may have changed this to some degree, in that patients may have the right to, e.g., view some records or require that they be destroyed, but the underlying ownership hasn't changed.

Are things different in the US? Is a patient allowed to demand all copies of their records, including the originals? Is a patient ever entitled to seize them? Are there special laws about records regarding a President?
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:32 PM on May 1


WHO OWNS YOUR MEDICAL RECORD?
Within the health information management industry, there is often great confusion as to who actually has ownership over an original copy of a medical record: the physician or the patient? The physician is creating the records; however, he or she is creating them based on the happenings of a patient, so the question remains... who actually owns the original medical record?

Most would guess the patient takes ownership; however, this is not entirely the case. The physical medical record actually belongs to the physician who created it and the facility in which the record was created. The information gathered within the original medical record is owned by the patient. This is why patients are allowed a COPY of their medical record, but not the original document. Every healthcare facility is required by law to maintain the original medical record of patient that receives care and must safeguard it from loss, damage, alteration, and unauthorized use. The original medical record is considered a legal document and may not be removed from the facility's premises without a court order.
posted by scalefree at 2:35 PM on May 1 [25 favorites]


These days the baseball-bats-with-nails-in-them are more metaphorical, but the ceremony still carries emotional weight

Westminster has the Usher of the Black Rod, and Washington has this.
posted by acb at 2:36 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


That's for US. Relevant law is HIPAA Privacy Rule.
posted by scalefree at 2:36 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


Laura Hudson at The Verge has a thoroughly-sourced tutorial on how to achieve the Sarah Huckabee Sanders smoky eye look.
Step 1: Primer
While it might be tempting to skip this step, primer ensures that your smoky eye will stay locked in and won’t smear or settle into fine lines as the day or night wears on. It’s always important to lay a solid foundation for your work — by carefully patting primer over your lids and under your eyes, or consistently eroding the basic notion of truth — before moving into the next steps of this process.
posted by sgranade at 2:37 PM on May 1 [16 favorites]


It's Pruitt O'Clock!

WaPo: Lobbyist helped broker Scott Pruitt’s $100,000 trip to Morocco
A controversial trip to Morocco by Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt last December was partly arranged by a longtime friend and lobbyist, who accompanied Pruitt and his entourage at multiple stops and served as an informal liaison at both official and social events during the visit.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:37 PM on May 1 [18 favorites]


CNN: Robert Mueller asks for 2 more months before Michael Flynn sentencing

I guess this is Bob telling us that we have until early July to enjoy our innocence before we all have to watch the tape.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:38 PM on May 1 [47 favorites]


CNN had another report, clearly from White House/Trump Org sources, that said Bornstein got all flustered and couldn't get his photocopier to work and ended up handing the original records to Schiller. And I can certainly believe that Dr. Bornstein is the type of person to have an inoperative photocopier.

But the really suspicious bit is the timeline. You'd think that the White House Physician would want copies of the President's medal records sometime before the inauguration. If that wasn't done, that's something else Dr. Jackson should be investigated for. But this apparently happened in February, just after Bornstein broke confidentiality and blabbed about the Propecia. And the Trump Organization's lawyer was present, and I'll go out on a limb and assume he didn't join the military, rise to high levels in the military's medical system, and be invited to join the White House Medical Unit.
posted by zachlipton at 2:45 PM on May 1 [6 favorites]


In today's truly insane shit from Trump supporters... Kanye thinks slavery was "a choice."

Thank god a staffer there called him out on this shit and noted there are actual real-world consequences to what he's doing. But even so, I just... I can't. I just can't. What in the actual hell.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:46 PM on May 1 [27 favorites]


[A few deleted. Friendly reminder, aiming for fewer one-liner riffing type comments.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:49 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Today in “primary challenges are unequivocally good and we need way more of them” news: Feinstein drops opposition to legal pot, giving legal marijuana a new ally
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:59 PM on May 1 [59 favorites]


[Aaaaand several comments deleted. Sorry. much as I get the frustration about this kind of thing, launching into a big sidebar about how people should feel about hypothetically watching the hypothetical pee tape isn't gonna to be a productive use of our electrons.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:59 PM on May 1 [26 favorites]


In addition to the problem with giving them the original records, I'm kind of curious what it would take to meet the threshold of coercion to get Bornstein off the hook if he gave them the records without a HIPAA release. I suppose the letter from the WH physician might have included the release, but anything's possible with this bunch.

It seems to me, though, that calling attention to this is about 90% likely to cause trouble for Bornstein and 0% trouble for Trump (personally, anyway).

Bornstein is emblematic of all of Trump’s relationships. Many people self-select for being easily compromised and, when not, are almost always compromised by the association eventually, anyway.

I feel like there must be some Svengali-like talent he wields in his personal relationships -- it sounds like he's capable of being charming and flattering and leads people to believe that's the "real" Trump, gets them to disregard reports to the contrary, and then leverages the sunk-cost fallacy to string them along when they begin to have doubts. Oh, wait: I've just described conmen and abusers. Of course I have.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:59 PM on May 1 [15 favorites]


In today's truly insane shit from Trump supporters... Kanye thinks slavery was "a choice."

I'm having a lot of trouble accepting that what he said is what he meant. He's spoken out against racism and the abuse/murder of African-Americans in many ways and forums, both in his work and in various appearances, including after Charleston. I can't wrap my mind around the idea that he would be victim-blaming slaves for slavery. Even given his monumental ego, his public, narcissistic persona and his blatant attempts at self-promotion -- it's a bridge too far.

He has to know blaming slaves for their own slavery is an attitude that will both deeply hurt and offend millions of people. It's inconceivable that he wouldn't.

I don't know how to reconcile all that with his words.
posted by zarq at 3:04 PM on May 1 [4 favorites]


If Bornstein genuinely cared that he was coerced into giving up the records, he would have reported that to HHS immediately. He's not ignorant of HIPAA. CMS makes you reup that training periodically.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 3:05 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


The real reason Mueller hasn’t called Ivanka Trump. The special counsel seems to be leaving the president's children for last.
That someone so close to the major events under scrutiny would not be interviewed is unusual, former prosecutors and Justice Department lawyers said. But Mueller’s decision to steer clear of the first daughter – at least for now – is a signal of his “don’t poke the bear until you have to” strategy.
posted by scalefree at 3:06 PM on May 1 [32 favorites]


Since we're doomed to live out Stupid Watergate is this the actual Stupid Watergate of Stupid Watergate?

"Stupid Watergate" might be redundant. The original Watergate burglars were caught because a security guard found some duct tape on the latches of the doors leading from the parking garage to the offices so the doors couldn't lock. He removed the tape and went about his business, and they taped the latches again. Then he got suspicious and called the cops.

One of the burglars was a locksmith who had already successfully picked the locks at the Watergate.

The burglars had a spotter posted in a Howard Johnson’s across the street, but he didn't warn them because a) he was engrossed by Attack of the Puppet People on TV and b) the officer in the patrol car that should normally have responded was at a bar getting drunk and trying to get laid so plainclothes officers drove up without sirens.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:08 PM on May 1 [50 favorites]


He's not ignorant of HIPAA

Counterpoint: Bornstein today to CNN: "I couldn't believe anybody was making a big deal out of a drug to grow his hair that seemed to be so important. And it certainly was not a breach of medical trust to tell somebody they take Propecia to grow their hair. What's the matter with that?"

We can go with "has a reckless disregard for" instead of "ignorant of" if you'd like.
posted by zachlipton at 3:08 PM on May 1 [15 favorites]


zarq: He's spoken out against racism and the abuse/murder of African-Americans in many ways and forums, both in his work and in various appearances, including after Charleston. I can't wrap my mind around the idea that he would be victim-blaming slaves for slavery... I don't know how to reconcile all that with his words.

I think I can (although IANA Kanye expert): Black Lives Matter and associated ideas are becoming more widely accepted over time, and that makes him less special if he continues to express them. To be clear, ego isn't his sole motivation — he was probably more sincere before than he is now.

(I wouldn't be surprised if a specific motivator is jealousy of Colin Kaepernick in particular — I don't think anyone before had quite that iconic position, in the American public mind, when it came to the current movement.)

fluttering hellfire: If Bornstein genuinely cared that he was coerced into giving up the records, he would have reported that to HHS immediately.

Rightly or otherwise, he thought his office was wiretapped by agents connected to the president, so he was probably reluctant to consider contacting a different agency of the same executive branch.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 3:21 PM on May 1 [3 favorites]


So, prediction time. Assuming things don't fall apart & something meaningful does come of NK/SK/US summiting (very big if), it's Moon who will get the Peace Prize no matter what he says about "Trump can have it". The Nobel committee aren't idiots, they know Trump's a narcissist who means great harm to the world. Same of Kim. And when he does Trump will of course absolutely lose his marbles because it's HIS HIS HIS. He'll lash out at several targets of opportunity, just whoever's in his orbit at the time. It'll be ugly & childish & embarrassing & frightening. I'll make a further prediction & say Moon offers the actual medal to him as a pacifier as well as some kind of statement about a joint win. It'll probably work, grudgingly at first. And then after some time preening with his new toy we'll be off to the next crisis.
posted by scalefree at 3:27 PM on May 1 [14 favorites]


Is it possible that Kanye West doesn't care about black people who aren't Kanye West?
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:29 PM on May 1 [26 favorites]


I don't know how to reconcile all that with his words.

I'm not at all interested in apologizing for Kanye, and deeply put off by those who do. Watching that clip, though, I had two thoughts. First, it's heavily edited, so I'm not sure if broader context would explain anything or not. Second: he emphasizes his "free thinking" an awful lot.

He reminds me so much of all the contrarian edgelord types I've known who say something volatile or controversial just to make the point that they're "free-thinking" or "independent." Not bound by conventional wisdom or whatever. I've seen that shit before: dudes get wildly upset if you challenge their ridiculous statements. And they don't argue it in any frame of reality, either.

I get the impression that's what he's really about. For him, it's not over whatever point he's trying to make about slavery or Trump at all. And watching his face when he gets taken to task? This really strikes me as a guy who isn't challenged often at all. He's surrounded by too many yes-people. And he's blind to the harm his bullshit is causing by virtue of his huge platform. He wants to show he's different and pat himself on the back for it and get others to praise him for it, too. Kinda like a lot of other Trump supporters.

Telling me 2+2=5 doesn't show me you're a free thinker, but it sure does tell me something else important about how you think.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:29 PM on May 1 [33 favorites]


VanLathen's The Red Pill podcast "Kanye West Emergency Episode - Wake Up, Mr. West'
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:31 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


While the headlines are dominated by flaming dumpsters, the damage continues. On the Washington Post site right now, the top three headlines look like this:

Lobbyist helped arrange Scott Pruitt’s $100,000 trip to Morocco
Malfeasence, naked corruption, waste of taxpayer dollars ...

Trump lashes out as questions in Mueller probe published
A president under investigation, going all Hamlet on us as he fumes over firing the Special Counsel appointed due to his firing of his FBI director.

And then, below that:
Trump’s former health secretary: Americans will pay more because GOP weakened Obamacare
Tom Price said people buying insurance on government-run marketplaces will face higher prices because the tax law repealed the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate. ... Price left his position at HHS in September after Politico reported on his use of taxpayer-funded charter flights.
It's just layers of corruption all the way down, as they loot the public treasury.
posted by RedOrGreen at 3:31 PM on May 1 [11 favorites]


The Hill, Peter Sullivan, Trump officials abruptly pull back from decision on Medicaid lifetime limits, in which they were about to announce they were rejecting Kansas's astonishingly cruel proposal to limit Medicaid benefits to just three years in someone's life, but cancelled that announcement "due to internal administration disagreements."
posted by zachlipton at 3:33 PM on May 1 [16 favorites]


I don't know how to reconcile all that with his words.

It reminds me of Marilyn Manson. One moment, the shock-rocker was the most sensible voice on the Mike Moore documentary about school shootings, and then, a few years later, he was all I AM THE BEAST GRAR HAIL SATAN GIVE ME ALL THE ABSINTHE. From this, one can only conclude that being a celebrity must be a potent neurotoxin.
posted by acb at 3:35 PM on May 1 [8 favorites]


Metafilter: I can certainly believe that [metafilter] is the type of person to have an inoperative photocopier.

Politico: FCC’s O’Rielly broke federal law at CPAC
Republican FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly violated federal law by advocating for the reelection of President Donald Trump during CPAC in February, according to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

Asked about a future FCC potentially reversing the agency's rollback of net neutrality rules, O'Rielly said, “What we can do is make sure as conservatives that we elect good people to both the House, the Senate and make sure that President Trump gets reelected."

With those words, O'Rielly violated the Hatch Act, which forbids most federal officials from engaging in partisan advocacy, OSC’s Erica Hamrick wrote in a letter today to the Project on Government Oversight.

O'Rielly told OSC he was just trying to answer the question by offering what he saw as "the only sure way to prevent regulatory ping-pong." Hamrick, however, said his words still amounted to illegal advocacy, as he "did in fact have an answer to the moderator’s question that was not partisan — legislative action by the Senate," yet still made the comment about reelecting Trump.

OSC only issued a warning but cautioned O'Rielly that it would deem another violation "willful and knowing," which could subject him to penalties ranging from further reprimand to removal from office.
It's nice to see the Hatch Act flexing its muscles. Now use it all the time.
posted by saysthis at 3:36 PM on May 1 [46 favorites]


CNN, House conservatives push Sessions, Rosenstein to disclose key details in probes, in which the Freedom Caucus demands to see the unredacted memo detailing the scope of Mueller's investigation and wants to know whether Sessions had any involvement in approving the Cohen raid.

@RepMarkMeadows: If he believes being asked to do his job is ‘extortion,’ then Rod Rosenstein should step aside and allow us to find a new Deputy Attorney General—preferably one who is interested in transparency

The use of the word "us" in there is fascinating, seeing as Meadows, as a member of the House, would have no involvement in finding or confirming a new Deputy Attorney General. Could it have something to do with the fact he talks to Trump routinely? And presumably would like to know all the details about the Mueller investigation so he can tell Trump about it?
posted by zachlipton at 3:42 PM on May 1 [43 favorites]


[Folks, the Kanye subthread seems to have wound down - let’s let it go peacefully. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:44 PM on May 1 [9 favorites]


@mkraju: "He dictated that whole letter. I didn't write that letter," Bornstein said on Tuesday of the letter he signed saying Trump would be the “healthiest” person ever elected as POTUS. "I just made it up as I went along."

No kidding.
posted by zachlipton at 4:15 PM on May 1 [66 favorites]


Something tells me Dr. Bornstein will soon be joining Carter Page, Sam Nunberg, and Randy Credico in MSNBC's Cavalcade of Batshit Cranks.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:30 PM on May 1 [20 favorites]


That someone so close to the major events under scrutiny would not be interviewed is unusual, former prosecutors and Justice Department lawyers said. But Mueller’s decision to steer clear of the first daughter – at least for now – is a signal of his “don’t poke the bear until you have to” strategy.

True, but it's also easier to trap someone in lying to the feds if you have the testimony of full retinue of other witnesses already in hand. Testifying last is the worst position to be in -- the full picture and confirmed details are already known.
posted by Capt. Renault at 4:37 PM on May 1 [8 favorites]


ELECTION RESULT

GOP HOLD in Florida House 39:
Tomkow [R] 61.9%
Shirah [D] 38.1%
Margin changes compared to previous races:

vs 2016 presidential result margin: Dem underperformance of about 5 points.
vs 2016 HD-39 result margin: Dem improvement of about 1 point.

(Florida House partisan balance in next update)
posted by Chrysostom at 4:47 PM on May 1 [7 favorites]


my very Republican best friend growing up... flat out asked me once if I thought he was a racist. Of course I said no, what else could I say?

Framing racism in terms of emotion is a tool for protecting the oppressive system and the people who reap its benefits. To white Americans, the word racist means, "I feel personal animosity, fear, or other ill will when it comes to people who aren't white." This is a very convenient definition. If you pass that test, congratulations -- you are not racist! Please accept this complimentary fig leaf and go about your business.

Negative feelings make it easier for people to really double down on active bigotry. But positive feelings or simple indifference also play a part in oppression: they allow the beneficiaries of racism to keep trundling along under the soothing illusion that justice is being served, that society is fair, that there's nothing wrong with this picture and people really seem to be making such a damn *fuss* over nothing, don't they? Funny enough, it's that *fuss* that seems to be coaxing a lot of white Americans back toward the outright racial hostility that many of us assumed was on the wane. Because the fuss -- from Colin Kaepernick, from Black Lives Matter, from friggin' Star Wars including a black protagonist -- is threatening the integrity of the cherished illusion.

One of the keenest ironies in this situation is that many white Americans are so committed to maintaining the illusion of a just society that when its injustices are pointed out to them, they reflexively edge closer and closer to the very racial resentment that they so stringently disavow.

Here are some facts: black people are incarcerated at 5x the rate of white people; the median wealth of a black household in 2013 was $1,700 compared to the white median of $117,000; black public school students living in poverty get 34% less funding than white public school students experiencing the same levels of poverty; et cetera. For each of these facts, the just-world response will boil down to, "that must be their fault -- there must be something wrong with them -- they didn't do _____, and maybe if they did _____ this would stop happening."

Start with the notion that there are really only two explanations for racial inequality: the system is unjust, or it's their fault. If I profess not to feel any ill will toward people of color, and if I am then informed of these facts about racial disparity, and if my response boils down to, "no, society is fair and all of these awful problems are their fault" -- then to put it in the very mildest terms, I certainly seem to be passing some serious judgments on a group of people toward whom I claim to harbor no ill feelings.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 4:55 PM on May 1 [119 favorites]


Dammit, correction on those FL HD-39 numbers:

1 point underperformance vs 2016 prez.

5 point improvement on 2016 HD-39 race.

(I missed a county)
posted by Chrysostom at 4:58 PM on May 1 [18 favorites]




WaPo is now reporting the source of the softball questions: Jay Sekulow, making the president*'s tweets about them all that more obviously lies.

And oh yeah, "breaking" (WaPo would rather your attention go to this part, but yawn): Mueller raised the possibility of a subpoena for our dear leader back in March.
posted by Dashy at 5:37 PM on May 1 [5 favorites]


Is "Active Measures" the Documentary That Will Take Down Trump?

Masha Gessen's Rule for Survival #3: "A Documentary Will Definitely Save You"
posted by Rust Moranis at 5:40 PM on May 1 [25 favorites]


From that WaPo article:
In the wake of the testy March 5 meeting, Mueller’s team agreed to provide the president’s lawyers with more specific information about the subjects that prosecutors wished to discuss with the president. With those details in hand, Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow compiled a list of 49 questions that the team believed the president would be asked, according to three of the four people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly. The New York Times first reported the existence of the list.
posted by Dashy at 5:44 PM on May 1 [8 favorites]


I don't think it's entirely a yawn. There's a coordinated campaign here to try to make Mueller look unreasonable by claiming the investigation has gone all over the place and Mueller has to be stopped because, look, he's not even asking about collusion (narrator: he is). And there's a good case that Trump's lawyers are trying to manipulate him through the press to convince him not to volunteer for an interview. Mueller threatening a subpoena says something about how far along he is in his investigation. Threatening to issue a subpoena for the President is a pretty huge step.
posted by zachlipton at 5:45 PM on May 1 [13 favorites]


ELECTION RESULT

Dem HOLD in Florida House 114:
Fernandez [D] 50.1%
Vargas [R] 46.7%
Margin changes compared to previous races:

vs 2016 presidential result margin: Dem underperformance of about 10 points.
vs 2016 HD-114 result margin: Dem improvement of about 2 points.

GOP lead in the Florida House is unchanged on the day's results: 76-41 (3 vacancies).


=> If you're wondering, Clinton's performance was an anomaly here - Obama had won by less than a point, and the district frequently goes GOP downballot. Florida watchers are saying this is a good Dem performance.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:50 PM on May 1 [24 favorites]


Is "Active Measures" the Documentary That Will Take Down Trump?

Since the trailer doesn't actually reveal anything new I'm gonna go ahead and say no.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:06 PM on May 1 [15 favorites]


Hm. It seems we have a significant divergence between the NYT and WaPo stories about the Mueller questions. From the NYT article we have Mueller providing a list of questions to the Trump team:
When Mr. Mueller’s team relayed the questions, their tone and detailed nature cemented Mr. Dowd’s view that the president should not sit for an interview. Despite Mr. Dowd’s misgivings, Mr. Trump remained firm in his insistence that he meet with Mr. Mueller. About a week and a half after receiving the questions, Mr. Dowd resigned, concluding that his client was ignoring his advice.
However, the WaPo article says that Mueller only provided broad subject areas and it was Sekulow who actually drafted the questions:
After investigators laid out 16 specific subjects they wanted to review with the president and added a few topics within each one, Sekulow broke the queries down into 49 separate questions, according to people familiar with the process.
In terms of sourcing, NYT says they were provided the list by "a person outside Mr. Trump’s legal team," and as far as I can tell that seems to be their only sourcing. The WaPo article, as I've quoted, sources their info to three out of of four people who are "familiar with the encounter," where "the encounter" is the March 5 meeting where Mueller brings up the possibility of subpoena, and an unspecified number of "people familiar with the process."

One extra interesting detail from the WaPo article:
The president and several advisers now plan to point to the list as evidence that Mueller has strayed beyond his mandate and is overreaching, they said.

“He wants to hammer that,” according to a person who spoke to Trump on Monday.
I mean, if I'm reading this correctly, this seems like the WaPo telling the NYT, "you're being played, friend-o, and we have on-the-record receipts."
posted by mhum at 6:10 PM on May 1 [60 favorites]


House Democrats say Pruitt sought to open an EPA office in his hometown of Tulsa, complete with a conference room, secure parking space, and a SCIF, because I guess one $43,000 phone booth wasn't enough for him.
posted by zachlipton at 6:11 PM on May 1 [24 favorites]


Since the trailer doesn't actually reveal anything new I'm gonna go ahead and say no.

What's already known publicly is already pretty damning. If someone can lay it out clearly and simply for those who don't follow this avidly, it would go a long way towards counteracting the administration's silly spin that some folks are probably currently convinced by (e.g. the 49 questions don't include the word collusion, so that means there wasn't any).
posted by duoshao at 6:19 PM on May 1 [8 favorites]


WaPo telling the NYT, "you're being played, friend-o, and we have on-the-record receipts."

More of this please. WaPo could have a daily section dedicated to calling out the NYT for being stenographers for the bad guys.
posted by diogenes at 6:29 PM on May 1 [58 favorites]


And they aren't being played. They know exactly what they are doing, and they continue to do it for "access" and page views.
posted by diogenes at 6:34 PM on May 1 [17 favorites]


Regardless of who wrote the questions, according to both the Times and the Post Trump's team has had the questions for almost two months. And they were leaked shortly after Rudy "Noun-Verb-9/11" joined the team. The president doth protest too much, methinks.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:36 PM on May 1 [7 favorites]




The president and several advisers now plan to point to the list as evidence that Mueller has strayed beyond his mandate and is overreaching, they said.

Yeah, good luck with that. Rosenstein’s order appointing the special counsel says:
(b) The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James 8. Corney in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including:

(i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and
(ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and
(iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).

(c) If the Special Counsel believes it is necessary and appropriate, the Special Counsel is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters.
A Few Cheers For The Appointment Of A Special Counsel
Section 600.4(a) of the Code of Federal Regulations is among the provisions related to the appointment of a special counsel. In addition to providing that a special counsel’s jurisdiction is established by the Attorney General, section 600.4(a) provides that the Special Counsel has jurisdiction

“to investigate and prosecute federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel’s investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses.”
...
Section 600.(4)(a), which is referenced in Rosenstein’s order, would seemingly allow the special counsel to investigate efforts to obstruct the Russia-related investigation, since obstruction of justice is specifically enumerated as something a special counsel has authority to investigate.
...
But the order's other grant of authority to the special counsel is so broad (particularly the portion authorizing the counsel to look into matters “that arose or may arise directly from the investigation” specifically identified in the order) that some have suggested the counsel's authority extends to routine violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by Trump organizations.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:36 PM on May 1 [8 favorites]


Dowd went on the record with AP about Mueller threatening a subpoena, though I was always assuming it was him. Dowd quit over a month ago, specifically citing disagreements over whether Trump should answer questions as the reason for his resignation. Now that he's quit, he's trying to run a smear campaign to keep Trump from agreeing to testify.
posted by zachlipton at 6:40 PM on May 1 [7 favorites]


And they aren't being played. They know exactly what they are doing, and they continue to do it for "access" and page views.

Maybe. But no matter what we think of the NYT, I believe there's still an institutional bias against putting out plainly false things under their own bylines; instead, they'd prefer to hew to the journalistic convention of putting the false things into the mouths of spokespeople and/or anonymous sources so they can truthfully print stuff like "a senior White House official said 'X'", where X is transparently false, because it is definitely true that someone did say X whether or not X itself is true. In this case, I don't see any of this kind of hedging in the NYT. Repeatedly, they put the questions themselves as originating from Mueller himself without any buffer of "so-and-so said" or "according to so-and-so" type of phrases.
posted by mhum at 6:44 PM on May 1 [5 favorites]


But that characterization of the questions' origin is in unresolvable tension with WaPo's. Given the difference in sourcing, and the potential that the person "outside Trump's legal team" is Dowd who as just mentioned is interested in casting Mueller as an overreacher, I'd tend to trust the Post.

But speaking of the Times, here's a fun little nugget from their story about the EPA aide resignations:
Mr. Pruitt, who is the subject of 11 federal investigations, is now seeking to establish a legal defense fund, according to four people familiar with his plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not directly involved with setting up the fund. These people said they expect Mr. Pruitt to operate the fund privately, with no E.P.A. affiliation.

....

Mr. Rizzi also said the creation of such a fund could cause further headaches for Mr. Pruitt should energy companies or other industries regulated by the E.P.A. contribute to it. “These funds raise a lot of uncertainties in the tax area and the ethical area,” he said.
Gee, YOU THINK?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:53 PM on May 1 [43 favorites]


But that characterization of the questions' origin is in unresolvable tension with WaPo's.

Indeed, that's what I was hinting at with the "getting played" phrasing (and assuming that the WaPo's multiple sources are better than the NYT's probably sole source). Basically, it seems that the NYT's source straight up lied to them about the exact origin of the questions and they fell real hard for it. If they had hedged their article with more "according to a person with knowledge of the situation" type stuff, I think they would find it much less embarrassing, even though the ultimate effect would still be the same -- i.e.: to get this lying source's spin and agenda into the paper of record.
posted by mhum at 7:05 PM on May 1 [5 favorites]


Kevin Drum: Has Israel Stopped Sharing Intel With the Trump Administration?
A few weeks ago I heard Ronen Bergman speak to a group of about 50 people, mostly Israelis. He is Israel’s leading national security journalist, and recently published an incredible book called Rise and Kill First, a history of the Israeli security services. He wouldn’t get into details about what Trump told the Russians during that Oval Office meeting, but he said it was “much worse” than what is “publicly” known, and that Trump essentially revealed the “crown jewels” of Israeli intelligence operational methods in Syria. He said the Israeli intelligence community is absolutely livid; has come to the conclusion that the administration is “chaotic” and absolutely cannot be trusted with any sensitive information; and will not reveal to the Americans any information unless it doesn’t care whether such information is publicly known.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:26 PM on May 1 [90 favorites]


Now that [Dowd has] quit, he's trying to run a smear campaign to keep Trump from agreeing to testify

Is that because he loves the President, or because he loves not being in jail?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:38 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Let's see how things are going with Dr. Bornstein. NYT, Trump’s Onetime Physician Says Trump Aides Raided His Office, Describing a Year of ‘Torture’:
In a brief phone call with The Times on Tuesday, Dr. Bornstein did not elaborate on what he told NBC except to say that his earlier interviews with a reporter for the newspaper had caused him “torture for more than a year.” He demanded an apology and a large donation in his name to Tufts University, where he completed medical school. The Times declined both requests.
He apparently asked the Times to make a large donation to Tufts back when he talked to them last year too.

Amusing as this all is, the President, who made a scandal out of Hillary Clinton's health during the campaign, has now not received any kind of medical examination from a trustworthy doctor.
posted by zachlipton at 7:48 PM on May 1 [42 favorites]


Amusing as this all is, the President, who made a scandal out of Hillary Clinton's health during the campaign, has now not received any kind of medical examination from a trustworthy doctor.
It also means he is going to run out of whatever drugs he takes soon.

Indeed, that's what I was hinting at with the "getting played" phrasing (and assuming that the WaPo's multiple sources are better than the NYT's probably sole source). Basically, it seems that the NYT's source straight up lied to them about the exact origin of the questions and they fell real hard for it. If they had hedged their article with more "according to a person with knowledge of the situation" type stuff, I think they would find it much less embarrassing, even though the ultimate effect would still be the same -- i.e.: to get this lying source's spin and agenda into the paper of record.
See? The source has to be Trump himself. Otherwise it would be routine to hedge the article.
posted by mumimor at 8:13 PM on May 1 [5 favorites]


Amusing as this all is, the President, who made a scandal out of Hillary Clinton's health during the campaign, has now not received any kind of medical examination from a trustworthy doctor.

Exactly. It was always COMPLETELY obvious that Trump dictated that doctor's letter - I mean, "healthiest president ever"? "All the tests were positive"? So in that sense this confirmation is small potatoes. Yet the situation is still appalling and unacceptable.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 8:26 PM on May 1 [16 favorites]


See? The source has to be Trump himself. Otherwise it would be routine to hedge the article.

Someone on Fox just said his WH sources say Trump leaked it so everybody would be on the same page. Maybe Kanye can write a song called No Collusion & they can all learn to sing it in harmony.
posted by scalefree at 8:27 PM on May 1 [11 favorites]


I've had a secret bingo space reserved for "on drugs" since 2015.

Bornstein is just... it's just another example of this stew of malfeasance and just inexplicable mind-gibbering weirdness that surrounds Trump and that everyone is apparently just like *shrug* sounds legit, and it makes me feel like I'm on drugs.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:27 PM on May 1 [32 favorites]


Wait, did Bornstein's letter actually say "all the tests were positive"?
posted by runcibleshaw at 8:31 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Yes. Yes it did.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 8:34 PM on May 1 [13 favorites]


Dr. Jen Gunter annotated and tore apart Bornstein's letter.
posted by adamg at 8:36 PM on May 1 [15 favorites]


Yes, yes it did, and if you go find Tehhund, there's an outside chance you'll find him at the exact several hundred posts somewhere in megathread #godknowshowmany where we talked at length about exactly what he might have tested positive for.

I'm so tired of this all.
posted by Dashy at 8:38 PM on May 1 [34 favorites]



Amusing as this all is, the President, who made a scandal out of Hillary Clinton's health during the campaign, has now not received any kind of medical examination from a trustworthy doctor.


Where are the democrats on this? Why isn't TRUMP'S HEALTH IN QUESTION the big headline right now? He just had a very public breakdown on Fox and now we have confirmation that the last medical exam Trump had was from a doctor who was unstable at best, and the one before the inauguration was literally forged and dictated by Trump himself who then ordered that a crime be committed to cover up the evidence.

Do we not have anyone on our side who wants to maybe bring this up???
posted by mmoncur at 9:24 PM on May 1 [79 favorites]


President Trump has made 3,001 false or misleading claims so far
In the 466 days since he took the oath of office, President Trump has made 3,001 false or misleading claims, according to The Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president.

That’s an average of nearly 6.5 claims a day.

When we first started this project for the president’s first 100 days, he averaged 4.9 claims a day. Slowly, the average number of claims has been creeping up.

Indeed, since we last updated this tally two months ago, the president has averaged about 9 claims a day.
He's lying nearly twice as much now as when he started. How is that possible?
posted by scalefree at 9:30 PM on May 1 [64 favorites]


He's lying nearly twice as much now as when he started. How is that possible?

And that's not even counting the constant yammering of "no collusion! no collusion!" which has yet to be verified as false.

He's panicking. He's unhappy, and lonely, and people are not doing what he tells them to do, and he's constantly being told that people hate him, and all of the threats and bribe offers that worked to get him out business trouble are not working here. So he's doubling down on what's always worked before: insisting that he knows what's really going on, and saying loudly, "THIS IS WHAT'S HAPPENING," in the hopes that other people will quietly agree, at least in public.

He forgot that (1) everything he says is being recorded and discussed, not like reality TV where it goes through an editor first, and (2) he can't fire the public.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:00 PM on May 1 [28 favorites]


I personally prefer the definitely-not-previously-dictated claim of Ronny Jackson that if Trump hadn't eaten hamburgers he could have lived to 200 and has incredibly good genes.
"I told the president if he'd had better diet over the last 20 years he could have lived to 200 years old. The answer is he has incredibly good genes, it’s just the way God made him.

He had great findings across the board but his cardiac health stood out. Hands down he is in the excellent range.

He continues to enjoy the significant long-term cardiac and overall health benefits that come from a lifetime of abstinence from tobacco and alcohol."
I also now assume that he has cardiac issues related to weight/cholesterol.
posted by jaduncan at 1:33 AM on May 2 [13 favorites]


Kevin Drum: Has Israel Stopped Sharing Intel With the Trump Administration?

Probably not, if you think about it. "Intelligence" covers an awfully wide range of things, some of which are automated, and Israel isn't going to stop, e.g., sharing day-to-day intercepts just because they're irritated. Also, I don't suppose Israel is sharing information purely out of a sense of disinterested altruism. They want the US's intervention in Syria to be effective, for instance, and they certainly don't want to be blamed for withholding information if anything goes wrong. That being said, I bet they're being more cautious, and I wouldn't be surprised if US officials use a degree of self-censorship to keep sensitive information away from the Sieve President. Trump reportedly receives his briefings on slips of cardboard, printed in large letters, so I don't think keeping things from him would be difficult.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:06 AM on May 2 [5 favorites]


A thought/question: there is no way Trump can handle being questioned along the lines of what has been laid out here. One thing is that he can't not lie. Another that he is incompetent and doesn't have a grasp of where it is going, even if he spoke the truth where he could and claimed the fifth for the rest, he wouldn't know what was what. Third, those are many questions, how long would it take to get through them all with follow ups? One or two whole days? He doesn't have the stamina.
Anyway what I thought is that for this to not end in a conspiracy theory Dolkstoss style, some of this questioning needs to be in public and televised. Not because it would be great entertainment, though it would, but because otherwise the Trumpists will believe that the deep state engaged in an evil plot to take down their hero. Some of them still will, obviously, but I think a lot of Republican voters who haven't really engaged will be shocked to see the reality of Trump's crimes.
And this is important regardless of what happens with the Russia investigation. Trump is far more crooked than Nixon was, and as I understand it, a president Pence can't just pardon him out of the stuff he did before he was president? Or what? Trump is probably going to jail at some point, and it really needs to be clear to all those who adore him that he is a criminal, or there will be far too interesting times.
posted by mumimor at 2:17 AM on May 2 [17 favorites]


Dolkstoss
posted by XMLicious at 2:44 AM on May 2 [8 favorites]


From last night, Isakson continues to support Tester.

Manu Raju (CNN)
GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson says to @GaryTuchmanCNN that Trump's statement is "false" that Ronny Jackson allegations of misconduct were wrong. He says our story from last night about Pence's doctor raising concerns about Jackson "corroborates" allegations.

VIDEO
posted by chris24 at 3:20 AM on May 2 [8 favorites]


as I understand it, a president Pence can't just pardon him out of the stuff he did before he was president?

He could, if they were Federal crimes. The president can't pardon state crimes, which is what you may be thinking of.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:47 AM on May 2 [5 favorites]


America's huge success in cutting smog at risk of being eroded, experts warn - Oliver Milman, Guardian
Scientists and public health experts say Trump administration’s bid to undo pollution rules are ‘extremely counterintuitive and worrying’
...
US scientists and public health officials have warned that the stunning improvements [in air quality] in American cities have already [started] to slow and are even in danger of reversing. They point to diminishing returns from existing regulations and the Trump administration’s zeal in demolishing recent rules designed to improve air quality and combat climate change.

“The actions of this administration are extremely counterintuitive and worrying,” said Christine Todd Whitman, who was administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under president George W Bush. “Time will be lost, pollution will be increased and lives will be endangered. It’s not that we will turn into Beijing or Delhi tomorrow but people take clean air for granted now and we can’t slide back to the smogs we once had.”
Never take anything for granted.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:04 AM on May 2 [50 favorites]


@mkraju: "He dictated that whole letter. I didn't write that letter," Bornstein said on Tuesday of the letter he signed saying Trump would be the “healthiest” person ever elected as POTUS. "I just made it up as I went along."

That fits in with Trump's style, all right.

(Though it's important also to remember that a lot of Trump's cronies are not -- the erosion of environmental and consumer protection, just as two examples, also fit right in with the agendas of those he appointed to run those departments, and others.)
posted by Gelatin at 5:30 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


Finns to troll Trump: http://www.projecttrumpmore.com/.

Like Rushmore, but on an iceberg, with a livestream of him melting.

Story on The Independent with more details.
posted by Buntix at 5:32 AM on May 2 [21 favorites]


From last night, Isakson continues to support Tester.

Sen. Isakson has Parkinson's disease. He was just re-elected in 2016, and everyone assumes this will be his last term as he has been hospitalized multiple times since then. People in Georgia generally think of him as "the good senator" (Sen. Perdue being the evil senator from hell). It's nice to see him ever so slightly putting country before party here.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:34 AM on May 2 [8 favorites]




I think a lot of Republican voters who haven't really engaged will be shocked to see the reality of Trump's crimes.

There is quite a lot of evidence to suggest that's not how any of this works. If you want to change people's minds, be on the winning side; no-one wants to be wrong, so if it appears as if they are wrong, they'll update their memories so that they had strong concerns about Trump all along.
posted by Merus at 5:43 AM on May 2 [67 favorites]


Sen. Isakson has Parkinson's disease. ... It's nice to see him ever so slightly putting country before party here.

There are no atheists Republicans in foxholes terminal stages.
posted by Etrigan at 5:46 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


I was just watching Morning Joe and guest General Hayden, former NSA head and present to promote his recent book The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies. Hayden made the point that not enough attention has been devoted to what the Russians got out of the Trump Tower meeting via standard, competent tradecraft: a very soft initial approach but informed by we know not what. He summarized their gleanings as learning that 1) the Trump campaign was interested in and willing to deal; 2) and were unbothered by information with blatant Russian provenance; 3) and that, contrary to campaign law fundamentals, they would take the matter to the FBI and fInally, 4) due to 3) the Russians acquired another piece of kompromat.

The latter point made me wonder whether any of the little pieces we've learned were actually revealed by the Russians, presumably as a way to keep Trump et al in line, e.g., "See what a shitstorm resulted from the revelation of this one meeting? Just imagine how awful it will be when we release the pee tape [$BigKompromat]."
posted by carmicha at 5:56 AM on May 2 [16 favorites]


Where are the democrats on this? Why isn't TRUMP'S HEALTH IN QUESTION the big headline right now?

This is where having a media mouthpiece comes in so handy. The role of Fox News is frequently to say the tactless shit that would be unseemly when coming from a politician's mouth (except for Trump who wouldn't know tact if it peed on Obama's bed) that nonetheless serves the party's messaging and goals. So, Fox can go on and on forever and ever about HILLARY CLINTON TOTES DYING RIGHT BEFORE OUR EYES and then Republican politicians can tweet out some mealy-mouthed "She's probably fine gosh I sure do wish we were talking about the issues right now instead [narrator: he does not wish that]" non-statement that gets forgotten 30 seconds after it drops. The politician gets to sound vaguely adult and serious at whisper-level while there is simultaneously a klaxon blaring NEENER NEENER YOUR CANDIDATE IS BASICALLY THE WALKING DEAD HA HA SUCKERS!!!

If we had a Fox News on our side, it would be talking about nothing but the health and fitness to serve of the President, all day every day non-stop, and Chuck and Nancy could tweet out "Gosh, we think there's more important things for the American people to be worrying about or something *mumble*".
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:58 AM on May 2 [49 favorites]


... we have confirmation that the last medical exam Trump had was from a doctor who was unstable at best, and the one before the inauguration was literally forged and dictated by Trump himself...

It was presumably quite convenient for Trump to discover that Jackson was pre-compromised. Have to wonder if he was actively leveraged via a combo of blackmail and bribery to produce the statement he did, or whether it was just working towards the fuhrer. You'd think the former would potentially be a bit illegal.
posted by Buntix at 6:07 AM on May 2 [6 favorites]


@mkraju: "He dictated that whole letter. I didn't write that letter," Bornstein said on Tuesday of the letter he signed saying Trump would be the “healthiest” person ever elected as POTUS. "I just made it up as I went along."

I'm not well versed in it, but wouldn't this be in violation of NYS Education Department licensing standards regarding Practicing with negligence, Practicing with incompetence, and/or Failing to maintain patient records for six years?
posted by mikelieman at 6:08 AM on May 2 [8 favorites]


From last night, Isakson continues to support Tester.

Sen. Isakson has Parkinson's disease. He was just re-elected in 2016, and everyone assumes this will be his last term as he has been hospitalized multiple times since then.


Just once, I would really like to see any kind of backbone from a Republican who is actually up for reelection at some point.
posted by saturday_morning at 6:16 AM on May 2 [19 favorites]


REPUBLICANS VOTE FOR CANDIDATES WHO LOOK REPUBLICAN Pacific Standard
. . .see also hoisting, Hamlet, petards, racists, and the sad weird mechanism that is US politics.
posted by rc3spencer at 6:24 AM on May 2 [3 favorites]


Did Trump Bribe Ukraine to Stop Cooperating With Mueller?

Ukraine, Seeking U.S. Missiles, Halted Cooperation With Mueller Investigation
”In every possible way, we will avoid irritating the top American officials,” Mr. Ariev said in an interview. “We shouldn’t spoil relations with the administration.”
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:01 AM on May 2 [49 favorites]


NYTimes: Ukraine, Seeking U.S. Missiles, Halted Cooperation With Mueller Investigation
In the United States, Paul J. Manafort is facing prosecution on charges of money laundering and financial fraud stemming from his decade of work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

But in Ukraine, where officials are wary of offending President Trump, four meandering cases that involve Mr. Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, have been effectively frozen by Ukraine’s chief prosecutor.
...
Volodymyr Ariev, a member of Parliament who is an ally of President Petro O. Poroshenko, readily acknowledged that the intention in Kiev was to put investigations into Mr. Manafort’s activities “in the long-term box.”

“In every possible way, we will avoid irritating the top American officials,” Mr. Ariev said in an interview. “We shouldn’t spoil relations with the administration.”
...
David Sakvarelidze, a former deputy prosecutor general who is now in the political opposition, said he did not believe that the general prosecutor had coordinated with anybody in the United States on the decision to suspend the investigations in Ukraine, or that there had been a quid pro quo for the missile sale.
There's a lot more detail in the full article about the ways in which this ties directly back to the Mueller probe.
posted by cjelli at 7:02 AM on May 2 [18 favorites]


RedOrGreen: Lobbyist helped arrange Scott Pruitt’s $100,000 trip to Morocco
Malfeasence, naked corruption, waste of taxpayer dollars ...

...
It's just layers of corruption all the way down, as they loot the public treasury.


With Pruitt so keen to re-brand EPA tokens (NY Times, April 11, 2018), perhaps we could go with more truth, honesty and transparency, he could go for Environment Pillaging Agency. Or rebrand the whole Trump presidency under The New EPA (Extensive Pillaging Administration).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:05 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


I made a misleading typo in my comment, about ten up, describing General Hayden’s remarks. It should have read: 3) and that, contrary to campaign law fundamentals, they would NOT take the matter to the FBI... Carmicha regrets the error.
posted by carmicha at 7:11 AM on May 2 [12 favorites]


Exploitation Permit Authority.
posted by acb at 7:18 AM on May 2


Where are the democrats on this? Why isn't TRUMP'S HEALTH IN QUESTION the big headline right now?

This is where having a media mouthpiece comes in so handy.


This is where the Democrats forget that they don't have a plan to have one - they just get lucky sometimes.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:20 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


I'm not well versed in it, but wouldn't this be in violation of NYS Education Department licensing standards regarding Practicing with negligence, Practicing with incompetence, and/or Failing to maintain patient records for six years?


Wait, do you mean to imply that Trump's obviously incredibly sketchy Dr. Feelgood quack might not be quite on the up-and-up?
posted by Cookiebastard at 7:34 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


Oh, and for those wondering if the questions are going to be coming from Muller's team - not any time soon:
Trump Lawyers Said to Lack Security Clearance Amid Mueller Talks

Donald Trump’s current team of lawyers lacks the security clearances needed to discuss sensitive issues related to a possible presidential interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Trump’s former lead lawyer John Dowd had been the only member of the president’s personal legal team with a security clearance, the people said. When Dowd quit in March over disagreements with Trump on legal strategy, Jay Sekulow became the lead lawyer on the investigation and is still waiting for his clearance.
So yeah. Nobody on the Trump legal team can get the really detailed Russia-related questions, because they cannot legally be told them.
posted by jaduncan at 7:41 AM on May 2 [63 favorites]


To be fair to Democrats, "what if Fox news but liberal" has been tried in various forms and MSNBC is the closest thing to that that ever actually succeeded. A bunch of anti-authoritarians aren't quite as disposed as a bunch of Fascists to unquestioningly absorb every word uttered by the teevee people. I'm as fire-breathing as the next megathread denizen, but the closest I can handle is Crooked Media podcasts and even though I like them a lot (I AM GOING TO LOVETT OR LEAVE IT TOMORROW NIGHT! AMA!) I don't listen to every single show because, like, I don't get whatever endorphin hit that Fox News junkies get from having anger and fear poured into their head-holes for hours a day. (I am angry and I am afraid but these are not pleasant! I'd like them to stop! This is not a fun ride for me!) I don't think I'm unusual amongst my fellow Dems.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:41 AM on May 2 [86 favorites]


Liberal TV News will never be as popular as Fox, and the reason is the same as why we love watching The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, etc.
Shitty sociopathic people are simply more entertaining.
posted by rocket88 at 7:51 AM on May 2 [5 favorites]


Egregious Personal Aggrandizement
posted by Myeral at 7:51 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


Extremely petty Leftist update : Proud Boy sees sign he doesn’t like, it doesn’t go well
posted by The Whelk at 7:53 AM on May 2 [97 favorites]


Proud Boy sees sign he doesn’t like, it doesn’t go well

He tries so hard!
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:55 AM on May 2 [11 favorites]


Why not fire breathing Leftist news, your boss is stelaling from you! You’re owed better! Life doesn’t have to be miserable? You nothing to loose but your chains! Let us gather in the spirit of community!
posted by The Whelk at 7:56 AM on May 2 [37 favorites]


How Trump’s ‘Fake News’ Obsession Started a Global Plague of Censorship (Daily Beast)
    "The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists counts at least 21 journalists around the world who are in jail expressly for publishing what governments have deemed to be 'fake or fictitious news.'"
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:59 AM on May 2 [17 favorites]


To be fair to Democrats, "what if Fox news but liberal" has been tried in various forms and MSNBC is the closest thing to that that ever actually succeeded.

Fox News literally has daily talking points distributed to on-air talent to make sure everybody's on the same page with the propaganda of the day. If that's what it takes to win I'll be sad about it but I'll let us lose.
posted by scalefree at 7:59 AM on May 2 [3 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump

A Rigged System - They don’t want to turn over Documents to Congress. What are they afraid of? Why so much redacting? Why such unequal “justice?” At some point I will have no choice but to use the powers granted to the Presidency and get involved!


This reads like something he either didn't write himself or had help in editing, which is alarming.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:01 AM on May 2 [20 favorites]




(What I am saying is make me an anchor on your Red Roses Report)
posted by The Whelk at 8:04 AM on May 2 [11 favorites]


Why not fire breathing Leftist news, your boss is stelaling from you! You’re owed better! Life doesn’t have to be miserable? You nothing to loose but your chains! Let us gather in the spirit of community!

Sadly unlikely to take hold on a medium that requires either ad support or the backing of interested billionaires. Not saying there isn't an audience for it, but one of the frustratingly self-perpetuating things about capitalism is that there's little room in the marketplace of ideas for an idea about burning down the market and building something better from the ashes.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:05 AM on May 2 [12 favorites]


Dissent will always be commodified unless you're talking about outright seizing means.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:16 AM on May 2 [4 favorites]


I mean, we’re not saying Don’t seize the means here
posted by The Whelk at 8:21 AM on May 2 [46 favorites]


"what if Fox news but liberal"

Yeah, they've got the scaremongering, hate-filled, base-enraging news media machine and we've got the comedy.
posted by jontyjago at 8:26 AM on May 2 [5 favorites]


Yeah, they've got the scaremongering, hate-filled, base-enraging news media machine and we've got the comedy.

Oddly “Michelle Wolf goes to far!!!” probably didn’t need to be a talking point distributed from a centeral hierarchy in “liberal” media because they are all very well trained.
posted by Artw at 8:31 AM on May 2 [8 favorites]


GOP retirement watch:

#1: NY state Sen Tom Croci (R-SD-03) retiring. District went 51-45 Trump, 55-45 Obama. GOP currently only controls the Senate by 1 vote (a Dem who caucuses with them); this is the FOURTH GOP retirement in a Dem-winnable district in the last two weeks.

#2: Florida state Senate president Joe Negron (R-SD-25) retiring. District went Trump 54-42 (districts were redrawn since 2012). Half of the Senate is up this fall, GOP controls by 7.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:34 AM on May 2 [11 favorites]


Proud Boy sees sign he doesn’t like, it doesn’t go well.

Oh man, I needed that. Seattle, I love you so much.
posted by loquacious at 8:38 AM on May 2 [7 favorites]




PA Governor Tom Wolf sets the date for the Meehan (PA-7) special election to be the same as the Nov. 6th General. The winner of the special will only be in office for the two months remaining in Meehan's term, and then the winner of the new PA-5 will take over. But, it probably means that the winner of the new PA-5 will be seated early as they're likely to be the winner of the PA-7 special election. (This gives me a headache, and I'm only voting in these elections.)
posted by gladly at 8:41 AM on May 2 [3 favorites]


This is where having a media mouthpiece comes in so handy.

This is where the Democrats forget that they don't have a plan to have one - they just get lucky sometimes.


Sometimes I wonder if Democratic politicians were as bamboozled as Republicans by the latter's decades-long marketing campaign to establish the myth of the "liberal media." It seems at times as if Democrats genuinely expect the media to have their backs, or at least be interested in reporting facts.

Hillary Clinton may well have paid a price for her distrustful relationship with the media, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that her suspicions -- especially of the New York Times -- were unfounded.
posted by Gelatin at 8:41 AM on May 2 [22 favorites]


Why not fire breathing Leftist news, your boss is stelaling from you! You’re owed better! Life doesn’t have to be miserable? You nothing to loose but your chains! Let us gather in the spirit of community!


Last I checked the Daily Worker/People’s Weekly were reduced to pressing copies of their papers on undergrads in student unions in exchange for donations, before giving up print entirely.

It’s hard to imagine this succeeding where CurrentTV and AirAmerica failed, but I’d like to be proven wrong.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:42 AM on May 2 [3 favorites]


Is Proud Boy code for something? I don't get it.
posted by orrnyereg at 8:46 AM on May 2


It's the name of a right-wing Stupid Militia.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:48 AM on May 2 [21 favorites]


gladly: "PA Governor Tom Wolf sets the date for the Meehan (PA-7) special election to be the same as the Nov. 6th General. The winner of the special will only be in office for the two months remaining in Meehan's term, and then the winner of the new PA-5 will take over. But, it probably means that the winner of the new PA-5 will be seated early as they're likely to be the winner of the PA-7 special election. (This gives me a headache, and I'm only voting in these elections.)"

Yeah, this was expected for the specials. One thing to note is that, in PA, special candidates are picked by the party, so they'll probably intentionally pick the same candidate as in the general for new PA-05. But they don't *have* to do that.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:48 AM on May 2 [3 favorites]


Fire-breathing leftist podcasts like Chapo Trap House, Discourse Collective, Delete Your Account, No Cartridge, The Dig, Feminist Killjoys, PhD, Street Fight... These are what's really hot in leftist media right now. Podcasts are the pamphlets of the 21st century. Low barrier to entry, low cost, easy access, high listenership.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:49 AM on May 2 [45 favorites]


Was about to say...huh? Everyone has given up on print. Need a better argument.
posted by Melismata at 8:52 AM on May 2


Pence hails Joe Arpaio as a "tireless champion of the rule of law."

Aside from the fact that Arpaio is a piece of shit who has only ever been interested in laws as a way to screw his enemies, this is pretty dumb from an electoral standpoint. If the AZ Senate candidate is McSally, the GOP have a good shot at holding the seat. If it's Arpaio, they are very likely done for.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:54 AM on May 2 [28 favorites]


Pence hails Joe Arpaio as a "tireless champion of the rule of law."

To certain conservatives, "law and order" has a definite meaning, and it has nothing to do with justice.
posted by Gelatin at 8:56 AM on May 2 [76 favorites]


"Rule of Law" in the mouths of white supremacists is another dogwhistle for violent repression of people of color, which was certainly Joe Arpaio's raison d'etre
posted by Existential Dread at 8:57 AM on May 2 [53 favorites]


Pence hails [convicted criminal] as a "tireless champion of the rule of law."
posted by jaduncan at 9:01 AM on May 2 [52 favorites]


If we’re talking fire breathing podcasts I’m going to recommend this episode of Season Of The Bitch, the all lady left podcast with activist and scholar Jane McAlevey for really putting into historical context the labor struggles of today and providing has to combat it (hint, it’s the same stuff that worked 90yesrs ago, the sit down strike was created for a reason)

I have always maintained a strict no newspaper policy for the left although Democratic Left, The House organ of DSA, is getting s facelift and redesign (and may include some original cartoons by someone you all know and love hint it’s me)
posted by The Whelk at 9:01 AM on May 2 [40 favorites]


Fire-breathing leftist podcasts like Chapo Trap House, Discourse Collective, Delete Your Account, No Cartridge, The Dig, Feminist Killjoys, PhD, Street Fight... These are what's really hot in leftist media right now. Podcasts are the pamphlets of the 21st century. Low barrier to entry, low cost, easy access, high listenership.

This is a good point - there are podcasts for just about everything now (decluttering! astrology! cats!) - and a lot of people are getting their news from them, or from the Internet, now. TV and radio seem to be mostly for older people and/or rural people without good internet access. I get all my news from Vox.com, washingtonpost.com, etc., and only check TV news like CNN occasionally (or when it's inflicted on me like at the gym).

I think the kind of people who are more likely to watch TV all the time are now the kind of people likely to vote R and be susceptible to hate-filled propaganda like Fox in the first place. When I hear about people being brainwashed by Fox I hear that the TV is on as a constant background noise, not "this program is on and I want to watch it." Which is incomprehensible to me - I like my peace and quiet, and I like to pick and choose what I want to listen to when, so podcasts are ideal.

So I agree that the Dem base is just not the kind to be reached by a TV news propaganda arm. Fox news watchers are a TV audience in the first place.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:07 AM on May 2 [11 favorites]


TV is different from print is different from audio.

I do agree that podcasting is where it's at for new media for all the reasons already described but it's not a mass format yet. There's relatively low barrier for creators but a higher barrier for consumers. You have to have a smartphone. You have to have wifi or lots of data (I'm currently being throttled by my provider until tomorrow which means that unless I remember to download my podcasts before I leave home or my office, they aren't on the menu for me). You have to know what podcasts even are, which I assure you my parents do not. My husband has tried to set up his parents with some history podcasts and they just don't get the concept. The pull model of media is fundamentally different from the push model that everyone prior to Gen X grew up with. My parents canceled Netflix after the initial 3 months I gifted them because they couldn't figure out what to do with it. They want their TV to tell them what is on right now do you want to watch it y/n, they do not want their TV to be like "So, what do you feel like watching tonight?" And podcasts are sorta like that too. You have to already know what you want and then go get it.

There are eleven-billionty finely-segmented political podcasts out there. There are 3 national cable news channels, one of which is a 24-hour single-minded messaging megaphone for Fascists. Chapo just can't compete with that at this time.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:28 AM on May 2 [48 favorites]


Remember that Trump started the whole health debate by claiming that Hillary had dementia, and meanwhile the guy is so out of shape he can't even walk for a couple blocks with other world leaders during one of his first international meetings, instead riding behind them in a golf cart.
posted by xammerboy at 9:28 AM on May 2 [9 favorites]


I want to add, that the sites I like such as Vox all have writers who also do podcasts, so if I'm checking out a story, chances are I'll find a podcast as well. Liberal websites act as an open system (here's a podcast, for further reading check here, links to scholarly papers, etc.) but TV news like Fox is not going to refer its listeners to podcasts, let alone anything published in an actual academic journal. TV news functions as a closed system for a captive audience.

Liberals, by and large, are not the kind of captive audience that conservatives are. Nor are we driven by fear and ignorance. That's good (fear and ignorance are Very Bad Things) but that means we won't be as susceptible to propaganda nor will we crawl over broken glass to vote because of fear and hate.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:29 AM on May 2 [7 favorites]


Podcasts are the pamphlets of the 21st century. Low barrier to entry, low cost, easy access, high listenership.

Sure: but to extend that metaphor, cable news are the penny press of the 21st century. And while ChapoTrap House (for example) has more than twenty thousand paying listeners, more than 60K twitter followers, etc etc -- it's still several entire orders of magnitude less listened to than Fox News is watched (the official Fox News Twitter account has over 17 million followers, as one point of comparison; even if we assume that a lot of those are bots -- that's still a rather large number).

As an audience issue, even if you add up every leftist podcast together you probably wouldn't come close to Fox New's overall reach -- and given that part of Fox New's influence is that it's integrated and capable of presenting a unified messaging front, I don't think that combining them would be actually be fair (see also: Sinclair Broadcasting, where having many stations repeating one message is more effective in driving messaging than many different stations saying different things; or the One America News Network, or The Blaze, or any of the other far-right Fox News alternatives that have sprung up in the last few years).

'High listenership' as an absolute -- sure. As a relative measure? Podcasts aren't playing in the same ballpark as cable news. That's not to knock podcasts (really! podcasts are great!), just to emphasize the point being made wasn't per se about the complete absence of fire-breathing voices on the left, but rather the lack of a comparable single counterweight to Fox News in size, scope, and influence: there isn't one. Instead, there's a constellation of different but broadly aligned views, which is certainly a healthier system in and of itself, but not one capable of driving the same kind of in-lockstep messaging that Fox News and its emulators can accomplish -- for good or for ill.
posted by cjelli at 9:32 AM on May 2 [15 favorites]


Someone should challenge Trump to jog...hell, let's just say 400 metres, without stopping, on live TV. Tell him Bill Clinton did it, so it should be a snap for history's healthiest President.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:34 AM on May 2 [21 favorites]


...and then there's the Globe and the Enquirer - pamphlets you're almost forced to stare at while standing in line at the grocery store. I sometimes wonder, if someone took a copy when they started shopping and it wound up crumpled behind the soda bottles, would a store manager be likely to jeapordize a couple hundred bucks worth of food sales by getting upset at someone over that? It seems to me if this happened a lot, it wouldn't make sense to keep them on display.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:37 AM on May 2 [6 favorites]


NYTimes: Trump to Add Clinton Impeachment Lawyer Emmet Flood to Replace Ty Cobb
President Trump plans to hire Emmet T. Flood, the veteran Washington lawyer who represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment, to replace Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer who has taken the lead in dealing with the special counsel investigation, who is retiring, according to two people briefed on the matter.

In a phone interview, Mr. Cobb said he informed the president weeks ago that he wanted to retire. He said he planned to stay at the White House, likely through the end of the month, to help Mr. Flood transition into the new job.
...
Mr. Flood is expected to take a more adversarial approach to the investigation than Mr. Cobb, who had pushed Mr. Trump to strike a cooperative tone. Mr. Flood initially spoke with the White House last summer about working for the president, but the talks ultimately fell apart because Mr. Flood did not want to deal with Mr. Trump’s longtime New York lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, who was overseeing the president’s dealings with the special counsel at the time.

Mr. Flood’s hiring has not been made final, the people cautioned, noting Mr. Trump’s practice of reneging on personnel decisions after they are reported in the press.
Emphasis mine. Leaving Flood aside, the real news here is that Ty Cobb wants to get the heck out of representing the President as soon as is politely possible.
posted by cjelli at 9:39 AM on May 2 [35 favorites]




The Daily 202: Trump's big gambit has paid off — at least for him. Michael Scherer, WaPo
THE BIG IDEA: When it comes to electoral politics, this is not normal long ago became the new normal. The latest transgression by the transgressor in chief just doesn’t seem to move the needle. (Send a bodyguard to raid a doctor’s office? Yawn.) Barring something major, like firing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, it’s not clear the daily outrages have much more downside. And that’s good news for President Trump, who needs the upside of outrage to stay afloat.

Though many who work in Washington are wary of saying it, Trump’s big gambit has so far paid off — at least for him. He broke onto the scene as a political punchline making an argument no one else dared: He would gain more from breaking political, democratic and social norms than he would lose. To put it another way, losers behave like elites. Winners speculate baselessly about President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
...

... when Democratic strategists try to figure out how to go beyond those already driven to the streets by anger toward Trump, things quickly get complicated. Research by the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA has consistently pointed to the limits of targeting the spectacle of Trump. “I don’t think Stormy Daniels is going to produce one additional vote in almost any race that we run in 2018,” says Guy Cecil, who is overseeing the digital spending for the outside House and Senate Democratic groups this year. “We need to put a whole new set of issues in front of people.”

To highlight just how counterintuitive this can be for partisans, Cecil points to focus groups Priorities did with “Color of Change” in late 2017.

“Overusing Donald Trump with black millennials is not only not effective, it actually decreases their likelihood to turnout and vote,” he says. “For 70 percent of our black millennials in ad testing and online panels, the fact that Donald Trump won, that he was the reaction to the first black president, is a sign that the whole system is rigged against them, that in fact their vote doesn’t actually contain power.”

That means Democrats need to bring something new to the table.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:46 AM on May 2 [20 favorites]


Politico, Van Jackson, What Kim Jong Un Wants From Trump
What Kim wants is utterly at odds with decades of U.S. policy toward North Korea. Maybe that’s OK given the abysmal failure of that policy, which saw the Kim regime attain its dream of acquiring nuclear weapons while keeping its people in appalling conditions. America’s past positions are certainly not something Trump is beholden to. More disconcertingly though, there hasn’t been any meaningful public discussion about aspects of North Korea policy other than denuclearization, such as human rights protections or the long-term merits of the U.S. troop presence in South Korea. Without a serious public debate, Trump could saunter into a meeting with Kim and unwittingly trade away American interests that were long assumed to be important but simply never discussed. In return, because of what Kim’s goals are, Trump will inevitably not get the denuclearization he seeks, and it is unclear if something less or different is acceptable to the United States.

How acceptable, for instance, is a peace treaty if North Korea makes only symbolic progress toward denuclearization? Is an arms control solution—which would leave North Korea the ability to strike regional targets but not U.S. territory—acceptable? Is American strategy in Asia—which necessitates a forward military presence in places like South Korea—more or less of a priority than achieving denuclearization? In short, what alternative futures in Korea most and least serve U.S. interests? There’s no sign that Trump has wrestled with these questions.

And even if Americans disagree about the answers to questions like these—and I suspect they do—the absence of any meaningful discussion about them makes it entirely likely that Trump and Kim reach a deal that’s good for each of them personally but not good for the United States. It’s plausible, for example, that Kim and Trump could agree to a peace treaty ending the Korean War and a commitment to rollback North Korea’s nuclear arsenal so that it no longer includes ICBMs but does allow Kim to retain some nukes. That would do significant damage to the credibility of U.S. alliances in the region, turning them into the depreciating asset—or increasing liability—that Trump always viewed them as anyway.
posted by zachlipton at 9:48 AM on May 2 [9 favorites]


Fox News is a C&C (command and control) server for a human botnet of people who haven't applied the NoWhitePower patch.

The way you deal with C&C servers is to either block them from a network, or take them over. If George Soros was really the Leftist Lex Luthor he is made out to be, his priorities would be (a) bankrupt Rupert Murdoch, and leave him sobbing in a ditch (b) buy Fox News and pivot it to talking about actual middle class concerns, and the 70% of stuff most people approve of despite partisan leanings. People watching Fox are addicted to the 1-minute Hate of Others! but the Others don't have to be local immigrants, they could just as easily be Oligarchs and Foreign Meddlers.
posted by benzenedream at 9:51 AM on May 2 [21 favorites]


From my experience, conservatives love podcasts as long as they're broadcast on AM radio stations.
posted by mcdoublewide at 9:53 AM on May 2 [19 favorites]


Mr. Flood’s hiring has not been made final, the people cautioned, noting Mr. Trump’s practice of reneging on personnel decisions after they are reported in the press.

Whoa cjelli you were right to bold the fact that it’s bonkers that people explicitly say “we can’t trust that the president won’t change his mind immediately on this” although one would think at that point the responsible thing for the reporter would be not to print it.
posted by winna at 9:55 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


That means Democrats need to bring something new to the table.

What, like livable wages and accessible healthcare, maybe? Undoing racist policies? Maybe a federal jobs guarantee or legalization of marijuana and expansion of voting rights?

Democrats offer positive stuff all the time. The problem isn't a lack of "things to vote for rather than against." Rather, the challenge is in finding a way to overcome a media that doggedly refuses to pay attention to issues and new initiatives when they could instead focus all their cameras on a dumpster fire.

They didn't give Trump's empty podium endless screen time because Clinton lacked for policy proposals. This is a tired, bullshit argument made by pundits who don't want to be accountable for themselves.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:00 AM on May 2 [126 favorites]



From my experience, conservatives love podcasts as long as they're broadcast on AM radio stations.


Another example of "press button, receive propaganda". The woman who directed The Brainwashing of My Father says that his transformation into a right-wing crank came because he had a long commute and he just clicked the radio on and accepted whatever was coming through the speaker rather than putting the thought into, say, going to the library and getting audio books out, or figuring out what podcasts are, or any of the other alternatives that take time and consideration beyond just pushing the "on" button.
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:03 AM on May 2 [33 favorites]


That means Democrats need to bring something new to the table.

Republicans. Specifically GOP Congressional leadership. McConnell, Ryan, the lot. Trumpists hate em, Democrats hate em. What's not to love? A two prong messaging campaign; one prong keeps Dem voters engaged by focusing on Trump & the other prong sways Republicans by hammering away at GOP leadership which they already hate paired with already popular across the board Dem policies without emphasizing the Dem origin. We could do worse.
posted by scalefree at 10:09 AM on May 2 [4 favorites]


There's relatively low barrier for creators but a higher barrier for consumers. You have to have a smartphone.

I've listened to thousands of hours of podcasts, and never used my smartphone once for that purpose. Maybe this makes me crazy and/or impossibly backward, but I listen using my desktop computer and attached speakers, usually while I'm doing some other task, either online or off. Am I unusual in this regard?
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 10:10 AM on May 2 [10 favorites]


That means Democrats need to bring something new to the table.

Something positive and concise to run towards would be good.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:12 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


As literally just mentioned: What, like livable wages and accessible healthcare, maybe? Undoing racist policies? Maybe a federal jobs guarantee or legalization of marijuana and expansion of voting rights?
posted by Chrysostom at 10:13 AM on May 2 [37 favorites]


Dennis Miller hasd cancelled his joke on Kanyes advice

Man, talk about jokus interruptus.
Miller's quip abstention has produced more blue balls than a Spalding factory in Smurf Village, babe!
Comedy fans are walking around hunched over like Kubrick's prehistoric man with a bad case of sciatica.
It's so bad people are offering Carrot Top five bucks to finish them off in the alleyway, cha-cha!
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:16 AM on May 2 [47 favorites]


Yeah, the world of possibilities really breaks open when you take into account Chomsky's "The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."
posted by rhizome at 10:17 AM on May 2 [28 favorites]


Am I unusual in this regard?
Not to me, same here. Listening on my phone seems weird to me.
posted by rc3spencer at 10:17 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


legalization of marijuana

So I know this will be on the ballot in some places and Medicaid expansion in others. When will we know a final list of ballot measures in the different states for November?
posted by C'est la D.C. at 10:18 AM on May 2


scaryblackdeath: "What, like livable wages and accessible healthcare, maybe? Undoing racist policies? Maybe a federal jobs guarantee or legalization of marijuana and expansion of voting rights?"

It's worth noting that while these are broadly Democratic positions, not all of them are Democratic Party positions. It's a party with a big enough tent to accept forced-birth advocates and drug warriors. Democrats are obviously better, but these leftist positions aren't planks.
posted by TypographicalError at 10:19 AM on May 2 [5 favorites]


That means Democrats need to bring something new to the table.

Honestly, 'the table' is the problem, at this point. Because 'the table' is controlled by the media. The ad-supported, increasingly-owned-by-wealthy-conservative-activist-investors media. Democrats don't need to come up with something new; they need to come up with a new way of being heard. Get angry. Flip the table.
(ノ ゜Д゜)ノ ︵ ┻━┻

(admittedly, podcasts aren't gonna be the answer, and i don't know what will be, but 'hope that well-crafted policy is somehow shiny enough to distract, for once, a bunch of well-coiffed idiots who earn their bread and butter by maintaining their breathless 24h both-sides narrative' is an even longer shot than it was in 2016)
posted by halation at 10:19 AM on May 2 [24 favorites]


Red State: Does Socialism Have a Future in Texas? (Gus Bova, Texas Observer)
Ever since the record-breaking storm hit Houston, the local DSA chapter, which has around 300 members, has gone out nearly every weekend to perform free “muck and gut” operations for Houstonians in need. The group crowdfunded more than $125,000 for the work, donating a lar