Abusing public office for private enrichment
May 21, 2018 11:19 AM   Subscribe

There is only one Trump scandal.
The sheer volume of Trump scandals can seem difficult to keep track of.

There’s the ongoing special-counsel investigation into whether the Trump campaign aided a Russian campaign to aid Trump’s candidacy and defeat his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton; there’s the associated inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice when he fired former FBI Director James Comey, whom he had asked not to investigate his former national-security adviser; there are the president’s hush-money payments to women with whom he allegedly had extramarital affairs, made through his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, and facilitated by corporate cash paid to influence the White House; there is his ongoing effort to interfere with the Russia inquiry and politicize federal law enforcement; there are the foreign governments that seem to be utilizing the president’s properties as vehicles for influencing administration policy; there’s the emerging evidence that Trump campaign officials sought aid not only from Russia, but from other foreign countries, which may have affected Trump’s foreign policy; there are the ongoing revelations of the president’s Cabinet officials’ misusing taxpayer funds; there is the accumulating evidence that administration decisions are made at the behest of private industry, in particular those in which Republican donors have significant interests.

The preceding wall of text may appear to some as an abridged list of the Trump administration’s scandals, but this is an illusion created by the perception that these are all separate affairs. Viewed as such, the various Trump scandals can seem multifarious and overpowering, and difficult to fathom.

There are not many Trump scandals. There is one Trump scandal. Singular: the corruption of the American government by the president and his associates, who are using their official power for personal and financial gain rather than for the welfare of the American people, and their attempts to shield that corruption from political consequences, public scrutiny, or legal accountability.
Hat-tip to zachlipton for the link, the tags, and the contrasting minimalist inspiration.
Let's be kind to one another, and keep signal-to-noise ratio high. In the words of Doktor Zed: 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 carsonb (2381 comments total) 156 users marked this as a favorite
 
Thanks for the new thread!

Some light reading from the Guardian: 'Jesus never charged a leper a co-pay': the rise of the religious left.
From healthcare to tax and immigration, Rev William Barber and the Poor People’s Campaign are driven by faith to focus on the disadvantaged


Also (dragging this over from the previous thread):

Politico has launched the Women Rule Candidate Tracker, which will track how women’s political representation is changing — or isn’t changing — in the 2018 midterm elections. More women are running for office than ever: 600 women either ran for office this year, are currently running for office, or have said they'll run for U.S. House, Senate or Governor.

As of May 16, 80 women had advanced in primary elections, 444 women are awaiting primaries and 76 women have lost.
posted by zarq at 11:23 AM on May 21 [29 favorites]


Jesus never charged a leper a co-pay...

There wasn't a cover charge for the loaves and fishes, either.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:29 AM on May 21 [35 favorites]


Abusing public office for private enrichment

which I'm pretty damned sure has been at the heart of the Mueller investigation from the get-go
posted by philip-random at 11:30 AM on May 21 [9 favorites]


Some food for thought 538 cooked up on Friday. Fair warning: it's about polls and Twitter.

Very Few Voters Actually Read Trump's Tweets: Perry Bacon Jr. & Dhrumil Mehta

A recent Gallup poll indicates only 8% of American adults admit to following 45's account, but only 4% admit to following and regularly reading the tweets.

This amounts to approximately 10 million people who consume the—holy shit, I just realized the mascot for Twitter is a bird because it regurgitates food into its babies' mouths.

Anyway, 10 million isn't a small number, but it's less than the official follower numbers being claimed. This would make sense, after discerning the demographic and robotic nature of the claimed followers.

Only about 15% of Republicans who have an account admit to following. Of course these days, this raises the question of "What is a Republican?" Despite this, Democrats apparently have more exposure to Trump's tweets than Republicans do.

538 comes to the agreeable conclusion that Twitter is ultimately just a stream-of-consciousness rather than a megaphone. And that various media outlets are doing the amplifying for him and should be more careful regarding this press coverage. On the other hand, these things are also treated variously as Schrödinger's Official Presidential Statements, ridiculous trial balloons, and extremely telegraphed decisions.

Personally, I'm curious to see information regarding the tweets we know were written by 45 versus those written by someone like Stephen Miller. I know someone was looking into a way to decipher the tweets written by different people on that same account, but I'm interested in pattern recognition for the content and topics covered as well as things like vocabulary, grammar, and syntax.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 11:41 AM on May 21 [17 favorites]


‘The Onion’ Has Finally Read Michael Cohen’s 2013 Email Regarding His Client Donald Trump And Would Like To Discuss The Matter Further At His Convenience
In 2013, we published a piece by Mr. Trump titled “When You’re Feeling Low, Just Remember I’ll Be Dead In About 15 Or 20 Years.” Mr. Trump’s column, which was thoroughly vetted by our editors, simply endeavored to offer any of The Onion’s over 10 billion readers who had found themselves depressed about the state of the world a hopeful reminder that he would mentally and physically deteriorate and most likely die very soon.

Shortly thereafter, we apparently received an email from Mr. Cohen. Unfortunately, this email must have been improperly sorted by one of the Malaysian children who work in our mailroom, and was only discovered crumpled up under a pile of journalism awards in a remote corner of our offices last week. We read the email, and given Mr. Trump’s ascension to the presidency since its writing, we want to apologize for the delay and would be delighted to meet with Mr. Cohen in person—at the White House, perhaps?

In the spirit of transparency, here is Mr. Cohen’s letter, printed in full:
...
We believe the removal of the piece in exchange for influence over the president’s decision-making constitutes a more than reasonable deal, and we implore Mr. Cohen to meet with us without delay. We are happy to schedule around his upcoming court appearances.
Politico discussed the email in their How Trump changed everything for The Onion
posted by zachlipton at 11:50 AM on May 21 [80 favorites]


This is a good OP. Its good to see this finally distilled down to the essence of what it is - corruption. As one of the articles mentioned, if foreign policy can be bought, not to mention trade wars diminished into disputes, then who can trust this admin? Who in this case referring to the rest of the world, and the so called allies the US media keeps referring to, without acknowledging that that they change according to their budget and the leader's whims and fancies.
posted by infini at 11:51 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


Those "shaping reality" don't seem to understand the world outside of their hyper screened bubble. Reality doesn't change, nor the floods, droughts, typhoons, tsunamis, and all the signs of the end of bees and insects.
posted by infini at 11:54 AM on May 21 [5 favorites]


That would be some quite astonishing and frankly implausible reach for Twitter, which has never had the same numbers as Facebook. Are you sure they are not just getting them second hand?
posted by Artw at 11:55 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]




This was a good read this morning - The Coup Has Already Happened
posted by msbutah at 12:03 PM on May 21 [18 favorites]


On May 14th, the New Poor People's Campaign launched a "season of organizing" -- 40 days of action -- that includes voter registration drives and a mass mobilization/recommitment in D.C. on June 23rd.
(NY Mag) Unlike the original Poor People’s Campaign headed up (in the days soon after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination) by Ralph David Abernathy, its revival a half-century later is by design not focused on Washington, D.C. As co-organizer Reverend William Barber II (already famed for the Moral Mondays movement he led in North Carolina) told the Los Angeles Times last week, a truly national movement is needed to reverse the many measures against poor people that have intensified in the last several years:

Much of what happens to hurt poor people happens in state capitols, not in the Congress. Healthcare is blocked in state capitols. Voting laws are written in state capitols. Denial of living wages happens in state capitols. Cutting money from public education happens in both federal and state, but so much of it happens at the state level.
If like me, thinking about Trump and Congress engenders more unfocused internet despair-reading than actual on-the-ground organizing energy, look up what the Poor People's Campaign is doing (in your neck of the woods and nationwide).
posted by spamandkimchi at 12:04 PM on May 21 [29 favorites]


Over the past year, my personal, mental relationship with Robert Mueller has made me understand why some people venerate saints. Not that I think he is one, but

1. seeing his picture calms me down and makes me feel that someone, somewhere, is working against evil

2. I'm hopeful that someday, somehow, he will do something that will ease my psychic burdens

I never really got why someone would, say, have a little picture of Saint Whoever in their pocket, but now it totally makes sense to me. I don't know if the Mueller investigation will really add up to much -- the part of my brain that thinks it will is the same part that thought Hilary was a lock-in -- and I'm not sure how healthy it all is, but man, it makes me feel a little better that it's going on.
posted by Rinku at 12:06 PM on May 21 [130 favorites]


but man, it makes me feel a little better that it's going on.

Yes same and it's a very interesting frequent mental derail for me to ponder the comforts of idolatry here and now in 2018.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:15 PM on May 21 [11 favorites]


So, SCOTUS just delivered a potential death-blow today to enforcement of any workers' rights by ruling employees cannot organize as a class in a dispute with employers, and must accept individual forced arbitration.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:20 PM on May 21 [15 favorites]


New Yorker, The Diplomat Who Quit the Trump Administration
John Feeley, the Ambassador to Panama and a former Marine helicopter pilot, is not averse to strong language, but he was nevertheless startled by his first encounter with President Donald Trump. Summoned to deliver a briefing in June, 2017, he was outside the Oval Office when he overheard Trump concluding a heated conversation, “Fuck him! Tell him to sue the government.” Feeley was escorted in, and saw that Mike Pence, John Kelly, and several other officials were in the room. As he took a seat, Trump asked, “So tell me—what do we get from Panama? What’s in it for us?” Feeley presented a litany of benefits: help with counter-narcotics work and migration control, commercial efforts linked to the Panama Canal, a close relationship with the current President, Juan Carlos Varela. When he finished, Trump chuckled and said, “Who knew?” He then turned the conversation to the Trump International Hotel and Tower, in Panama City. “How about the hotel?” he said. “We still have the tallest building on the skyline down there?”
...
“In private, he is exactly like he is on TV, except that he doesn’t curse in public,” he told me. Feeley sensed that Trump saw every unknown person as a threat, and that his first instinct was to annihilate that threat. “He’s like a velociraptor,” he said. “He has to be boss, and if you don’t show him deference he kills you.”
posted by zachlipton at 12:25 PM on May 21 [90 favorites]


Great FPP link for this incarnation of the US Politics Quarantine thread -- thanks carsonb and zachlipton.

I think you could make an argument that there really is more than one Trump scandal, but the central premise of the Grand Unified Trump Scandal Theory, that all the seemingly-disparate scandals are just manifestations of one or a few underlying scandals, is important and correct.

I'd argue that there are at least three related but somewhat independent scandals here. One is as identified by the FPP: the boundless corruption of Trump and his cronies. But there is also the incredible incompetence of Trump and his cronies, which is slightly different. Arguably, the complete inability of the Trump administration to fulfill basic requirements of the federal government, like adequately staffing the State department, is better seen through the lens of their inability to govern and their fundamental indifference towards governing, rather than personal enrichment. Not that these are entirely unrelated; the appointment of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State probably at least partially involved a hope that a businessman in that role would make it easier for the Trump syndicate to enrich themselves through international business deals. But this is a case where their incompetence actually conflicted with their corruption, ultimately leading to Tillerson's departure.

The third semi-independent scandal here is the corruption of the GOP. If the corruption of the Trump syndicate were the only scandal, then there would be no responsibility to place on those members of the GOP who are outside Trump's orbit. But of course, the entire GOP party leadership and apparatus willingly yoked themselves to Trump, and continue to protect him and his cronies, using the levers of government that they control to obstruct justice at every turn. This is a tremendous scandal in its own right, independently of any specific corrupt act that Trump performs.

Each of these three scandals was on display well before the election. Trump's utter corruption through numerous statements and actions, of course, but perhaps the most significant moment was when he stated during the debates that he'd accept the results of the election "if I win." This was as clear a rejection of the rule of law as anyone could make. Trump's incompetence was also clear, of course, throughout the election season, as numerous policy proposals and statements about plans for his presidency revealed a complete lack of understanding of how government works in America. Numerous news reports made it clear that Trump had little to no idea of how bills become law, how the executive and legislative branches interact, etc. And the GOP's corruption was incontrovertible as soon as the party embraced Trump, as one "NeverTrump" leader after another backed down and ate his meatloaf.

Which leads to a fourth scandal, more fundamental than the others. All of these scandals were clear well before the election, and the American people still elected Trump. Yes, there was voter suppression and Kremlin psy-ops and ratfucking of various sorts, and by the popular vote the American public in fact rejected Trump, but the fact is that the only reason any of that mattered is because it was close enough. As someone said closer to the aftermath of 11/9 (I can't remember if it was someone here or linked from here), the 2016 presidential election was the easiest ethics, civics, and basic reasoning test of our lifetimes, and the American people failed it. Trump should have received only a lunatic fringe of voters. The real scandal is our racist, misogynist, nativist, know-nothing, irrational, greedy, selfish, violent, cowardly, and fame-obsessed society. Trump and his scandals are merely the apotheosis of everything that is worst in us.
posted by biogeo at 12:26 PM on May 21 [174 favorites]


seeing his picture calms me down and makes me feel that someone, somewhere, is working against evil

Just a reminder that these candles are available on Etsy for your Mueller idolatry needs.
posted by kelborel at 12:28 PM on May 21 [20 favorites]


[A few comments removed; folks, let's please try to keep the noise level down, and skip e.g. elaborate headcanon or plot outlines for imagined Trump et al episodes. There's enough weird bullshit actually happening and documented to keep these threads busy as is.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:34 PM on May 21 [14 favorites]


seeing his picture calms me down and makes me feel that someone, somewhere, is working against evil

He's watching over my cubicle.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:49 PM on May 21 [23 favorites]


I am absolutely serious about getting a portrait tattoo of Mueller on my back ala roger stone's Nixon, just as soon as a trump immediate family member (including by marriage) goes to jail.

my wife isn't wild about the idea but I keep trying to focus her on the fact that by the time she has to deal with it one (or more!) of these repugnant pieces of shit will have lost their freedom.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:52 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


Thorzdad: So, SCOTUS just delivered a potential death-blow today to enforcement of any workers' rights by ruling employees cannot organize as a class in a dispute with employers, and must accept individual forced arbitration.

Elaboration: Supreme Court Decision Delivers Blow To Workers' Rights (NPR, May 21, 2018)
In a case involving the rights of tens of millions of private-sector employees, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote (PDF), delivered a major blow to workers, ruling for the first time that workers may not band together to challenge violations of federal labor laws.

Writing for the majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch said that the 1925 Federal Arbitration Act trumps the National Labor Relations Act and that employees who sign employment agreements to arbitrate claims must do so on an individual basis — and may not band together to enforce claims of wage and hour violations.

"The policy may be debatable but the law is clear: Congress has instructed that arbitration agreements like those before us must be enforced as written," Gorsuch writes. "While Congress is of course always free to amend this judgment, we see nothing suggesting it did so in the NLRA — much less that it manifested a clear intention to displace the Arbitration Act. Because we can easily read Congress's statutes to work in harmony, that is where our duty lies."
GOP's stalling Obama's Supreme Court nomination pick pays off ... for now. Congress wrote the (now dated) law, and Congress can re-write it. 2018 is looking to be a(n even more) tumultuous year.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:54 PM on May 21 [39 favorites]


This was explicit in the NPR article posted by flt:
Notably, Ginsburg's dissent is five pages longer than the majority's opinion. And Gorsuch spends time in his opinion to respond point by point to the minority's arguments.
Just a bit of pointed snark.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:57 PM on May 21 [23 favorites]


Bernie Sanders to Seek Reelection to U.S. Senate
According to campaign spokesperson Arianna Jones, Sanders plans to seek the Democratic nomination in Vermont’s August primary. If he wins, she said, he would “respectfully” decline the nomination and run as an independent in the general election. Sanders would, however, accept the endorsement of the Vermont Democratic Party.

“That is what he has done in the past, and that is what he looks forward to happening in 2018,” Jones said, referring to Sanders’ 2006 and 2012 Senate runs.
Man...this guy.
posted by zachlipton at 1:05 PM on May 21 [45 favorites]


Bernie...time to sit down and let somebody else be the firebrand progressive. You're squandering your goodwill, buddy. We need to all hang together or we will hang separately, etc.

GOP's stalling Obama's Supreme Court nomination pick pays off ... for now. Congress wrote the (now dated) law, and Congress can re-write it. 2018 is looking to be a(n even more) tumultuous year.

All the more reason to have a Blue Wave. As was pointed out in the previous thread, many Democrats have not necessarily been that great on labor (I would add from the 90's on when the Third Way held sway). We need More and Better Democrats (tm) or at least Democrats who are willing to have their colleagues' backs if we're talking red-state Dems. The good news is that it's a law, and laws can be re-written; it's not like it's enshrined in the Constitution and will need an amendment.

P.S.: thank you for the new thread!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:19 PM on May 21 [20 favorites]


If he wins, she said, he would “respectfully” decline the nomination and run as an independent in the general election.


Which — props to Bernie for his politics which I really, really like — but this just seems rather dickish.

Basically, it allows him to reap the benefits of the Dem primary cycle to hone his brand, crowd out any Dem competition from getting the nom, and then turn around immediately after he’s cleared the field and stick his thumb in the Dem party’s eye.

I know he has his issues with the official Dem party, but it seems that integrity would lead one to not seek their nomination if you already know you wouldn’t accept it.

As long as he caucuses with the Dems once elected, I guess it’s a wash and the party is otherwise happy to let it happen. Glad to have him in the Senate, in any event.
posted by darkstar at 1:20 PM on May 21 [27 favorites]


[I would be delighted if y'all could contain (a) the speculative what-ifing about Bernie Sanders re: future actions to a minimum and (b) the speculative what-ifing about the 2016 primaries and alternate universe electoral outcomes to literally zero. We do not need another rehash.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:28 PM on May 21 [31 favorites]


Hmmmm: Mick Mulvaney: Make House Democrats 'Put Up or Shut Up' About Pelosi
On Sunday, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney strongly endorsed the idea that House speaker Paul Ryan should step down in order to trigger an election that would force House Democrats to vote for unpopular Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. At a conference in Colorado sponsored by THE WEEKLY STANDARD, Fox News host Bret Baier asked Mulvaney what he thought of the idea that Ryan should step down and allow his likely successor, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to become speaker this year.

"I've talked with Kevin about this privately but not as much publicly,” Mulvaney replied. “Wouldn't it be great to force a Democrat running in a tight race to have to put up or shut up about voting for Nancy Pelosi eight weeks before an election? That's a really, really good vote for us to force if we can figure out how to do it."
...

Asked to respond to Mulvaney's remarks, McCarthy spokesman Matt Sparks tells TWS that McCarthy "opposes holding a speaker election" anytime between now and November.
I would put the chances of this actually happening at 'lower than low,' but it feels weird that the idea is even being floated publicly.
posted by cjelli at 1:29 PM on May 21 [6 favorites]


NBC's Meet the Press FIRST READ: Don’t Get Distracted. The Biggest Weekend Story Was the Other 2016 Trump Tower Meeting
On Sunday, President Trump asked the Justice Department to investigate whether anyone infiltrated or surveilled his campaign — reacting to the reporting that an informant talked to two Trump officials (George Papadopoulos and Carter Page) after the FBI received evidence that the two men had suspicious links with Russia.[...]

But ask yourself the question: What will this past weekend be known for — Trump’s saber-rattling, or the reporting that the investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign is MUCH MORE COMPLEX than we originally knew and that those 2016 contacts could have formed the administration’s foreign policy?

We’re putting our money on the latter development.

Here was The New York Times from this weekend [Trump Jr. and Other Aides Met With Gulf Emissary Offering Help to Win Election]

“Three months before the 2016 election, a small group gathered at Trump Tower to meet with Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son. One was an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation. Another was an emissary for two wealthy Arab princes [of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates]. The third was a Republican donor [Erik Prince] with a controversial past in the Middle East as a private security contractor. The meeting was convened primarily to offer help to the Trump team, and it forged relationships between the men and Trump insiders that would develop over the coming months — past the election and well into President Trump’s first year in office, according to several people with knowledge of their encounters.”

Don’t get distracted — that reporting of a second Trump Tower meeting in 2016 was the biggest news from the weekend.
The very first thing Sunday morning, Trump tweeted, "Things are really getting ridiculous. The Failing and Crooked (but not as Crooked as Hillary Clinton) @nytimes has done a long & boring story indicating that the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt has found nothing on Russia & me so now they are looking at the rest of the World!" (The article's co-writer Ronen Bergman @ronenbergman tweeted, "I wish we could have made it even longer. So many interesting details had to be left out.")

See also: Washington Post: There Was A Second Trump Tower Meeting, And Yet Again It Contradicts The Trump Team’s Past Collusion Denials
NY Magazine: Why the New Times Report on the Gulf Meeting Is Freaking Trump Out

Comic Relief: Tina Fey as Natalia Veselnitskaya explaining the original Trump Tower meeting on last weekend's SNL.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:29 PM on May 21 [46 favorites]


Hmmmm: Mick Mulvaney: Make House Democrats 'Put Up or Shut Up' About Pelosi

The backstory here isn't entirely about forcing a vote on Pelosi so they can cut yet more attack ads about how terrible she is. It's about this weekend's story about trying to shove Paul Ryan out the door before the midterms.

"Hey we should have a stunt vote for speaker to attack Pelosi" is an unubstle excuse for "Kevin McCarthy is plotting a coup."
posted by zachlipton at 1:36 PM on May 21 [12 favorites]


Basically, it allows him to reap the benefits of the Dem primary cycle to hone his brand, crowd out any Dem competition from getting the nom, and then turn around immediately after he’s cleared the field and stick his thumb in the Dem party’s eye.

It looks to me more like a kind of fusion voting in which Democrats in the district can vote to have the party endorse Sanders whether or not he runs as a Democrat. It's not the only system you could have for primaries and it has advantages and disadvantages, but it's not unique to Sanders or obviously unfair.
posted by This time is different. at 1:36 PM on May 21 [9 favorites]


At a conference in Colorado sponsored by THE WEEKLY STANDARD, Fox News host Bret Baier asked Mulvaney what he thought of the idea that Ryan should step down and allow his likely successor, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to become speaker this year.

"I've talked with Kevin about this privately but not as much publicly,” Mulvaney replied. “Wouldn't it be great to force a Democrat running in a tight race to have to put up or shut up about voting for Nancy Pelosi eight weeks before an election? That's a really, really good vote for us to force if we can figure out how to do it."


The Republicans are going to pick the House Speaker regardless of what the Democrats do. Why would the Democrats have to vote for Pelosi, or for anybody at all? A natural reaction to such a foolhardy stunt would be to abstain, and let whatever crackpot the Republicans pick drag down their popularity some more.

It says much, though, about Republican unpopularity in that they're trying their usual tactic of pointing and shrieking and demonizing someone (and a woman, of course). Nice of you to admit Republicans have stitch-all to run on after a year and a half on your watch, Mulvaney.
posted by Gelatin at 1:36 PM on May 21 [9 favorites]


Mick Mulvaney is the White House Budget Director. So of course he’s engaging in explicit, hyperpartisan electioneering, because having members of the President’s budget staff doing that is a thing now.
posted by darkstar at 1:37 PM on May 21 [34 favorites]


...ruling for the first time that workers may not band together to challenge violations of federal labor laws.

I eagerly await (not) the inevitable move to ask a court to invalidate unions based on this ruling. This could easily be another Citizens United in its disasterous (for the non-wealthy) follow-on effects.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:39 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


It's not the only system you could have for primaries and it has advantages and disadvantages, but it's not unique to Sanders or obviously unfair.


Ah — that makes sense...thanks for the clarification!
posted by darkstar at 1:40 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Axios, Peter Navarro pushed Stefan Halper for Trump job

Halper reportedly was interested in an ambassadorship in Asia sometime after he finished up meeting with Page, Papadopoulos, and Clovis for the FBI's investigation during the campaign. I don't even...what?
posted by zachlipton at 1:44 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I'll have to read that SCOTUS decision and dissent later because whether I agree or not they'll probably have more information than my 5 minutes of googling. It just seems like the newer law should have priority over the older law and the newer law makes it sound like arbitration agreements that prevent employees from engaging "in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection" would be illegal to me and making a class action lawsuit sure sounds like concerted activity for the purpose of mutual aid or protection to me. But I'm not a lawyer so...
posted by Green With You at 1:47 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


TPM: ‘WORSE Than Watergate’: Trump Campaign Fundraises Using ‘Demand’ Of DOJ
President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign used his recent “demand” that the Justice Department investigate special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe in a fundraising email Monday.
Contrast with: CNN: Legal fees made up more than 20% of Trump's campaign spending so far this year

Leaving aside whatever graft is probably happening in the Trump 2020 campaign disbursements, insofar as those legal fees essentially help protect Trump-the-person, this is effectively the President threatening the DoJ and then earning money off the threat.
posted by cjelli at 1:47 PM on May 21 [36 favorites]


Shiva Ayyadurai, the Man who Invented Email (tm), who is now running as an independent against Elizabeth Warren, dropped his First Amendment lawsuit against Cambridge, MA after the city dropped its demand he stop parking his campaign bus, emblazoned with a tasteful "Vote for the Real Indian" banner, outside his campaign HQ (after the city learned it was not parked there permanently). Of course, he couldn't leave well enough alone - he also filed a demand the city acknowledge "terms of surrender" that, among other things, it knew he would expose Warren's role in the city building commissioner issuing the equivalent of a stop-order against the bus. The city basically responded, "Nuts" only in a few more words. The judge ignored his demand and simply dismissed the case.
posted by adamg at 1:49 PM on May 21 [6 favorites]


WH statement following Trump's meeting with DOJ officials:
“Based on the meeting with the President, the Department of Justice has asked the Inspector General to expand its current investigation to include any irregularities with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s or the Department of Justice’s tactics concerning the Trump Campaign. It was also agreed that White House Chief of Staff Kelly will immediately set up a meeting with the FBI, DOJ, and DNI together with Congressional Leaders to review highly classified and other information they have requested.”
posted by zachlipton at 1:49 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Axios: Exclusive: Peter Navarro pushed Stefan Halper for Trump job
President Trump's top trade adviser, Peter Navarro, recommended appointing Stefan Halper, an academic and suspected FBI informant on the Trump campaign, to a senior role in the Trump administration, Axios has learned.

During the presidential transition Navarro recommended Halper, among other people, for ambassador roles in Asia. A White House official said Halper visited the Eisenhower Executive Office Building last August for a meeting about China.

[...] Halper, who already knew Navarro in the context of being a China scholar and interviewing for his anti-China book and film, pitched himself for an ambassadorship in Asia, according to a source briefed on their interactions. Navarro says he submitted Halper’s name for the Asian ambassadorship — we have not been able to confirm the country — along with around a dozen other people for roles in the region. [...]

This is personal for President Trump, who yesterday demanded a Justice Department probe into the FBI. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein then authorized an Inspector General probe into the FBI's use of FISA for counterintelligence operations.
Add this to Navarro's clashes within the Trump White House over China trade policy and "unprofessional behavior", and his odds of being the next departure from the administration have shot up.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:59 PM on May 21 [8 favorites]


Meanwhile in further "dehumanization of latinx immigrants" news we have this official white house statement: What You Need To Know About The Violent Animals Of MS-13
posted by poffin boffin at 2:00 PM on May 21 [9 favorites]


There's a jaw-dropping five alarm scandal involving the middle east here. AP, The princes, the president and the fortune seekers. It's long, read it all.
After a year spent carefully cultivating two princes from the Arabian Peninsula, Elliott Broidy, a top fundraiser for President Donald Trump, thought he was finally close to nailing more than $1 billion in business.

He had ingratiated himself with crown princes from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who were seeking to alter U.S. foreign policy and punish Qatar, an archrival in the Gulf that he dubbed “the snake.”

To do that, the California businessman had helped spearhead a secret campaign to influence the White House and Congress, flooding Washington with political donations.

Broidy and his business partner, Lebanese-American George Nader, pitched themselves to the crown princes as a backchannel to the White House, passing the princes’ praise — and messaging — straight to the president’s ears.

Now, in December 2017, Broidy was ready to be rewarded for all his hard work.

It was time to cash in.

In return for pushing anti-Qatar policies at the highest levels of America’s government, Broidy and Nader expected huge consulting contracts from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, according to an Associated Press investigation based on interviews with more than two dozen people and hundreds of pages of leaked emails between the two men. The emails reviewed by the AP included work summaries and contracting documents and proposals.
AP dumped a pile of relevant documents. You can scroll down to "Nader passages messages from the UAE for Broidy to deliver to the President" and "the Oval Office meeting."

Included is a summary by Broidy of his meeting at the White House. For example:
I highlighted that Qatar has strengthened its rela tionsh ip with Iran and continues to dest abilize Libya and Syria.Jared offered no immediate comment but asked what the administration should do about the dispute with Qatar and its neighbors. I told him we should do nothing and allow the disagreement to run its course. We cannot accept their role as sponsors of terror.

Finally, I told Jared that I hoped the administrat ion w ould examine this closely and not allow this unacceptable behavior to continue. I asked Jared if he knew that Qatar was paying Cory Lewandowski $500,000 per month to represent their efforts. Jared was shocked and repeated it back to me. Jared offered no further comments to my remarks.
Broidy goes on to describe how he pitched a meeting between Trump and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and bashed Qatar to Trump. The taking points communicated in Broidy's meeting with Trump all nicely match up with exactly the messages Nader sent Broidy from the UAE government.
posted by zachlipton at 2:02 PM on May 21 [72 favorites]




> It was time to cash in.

Perfectly aligned with the thread title, and the motto/epitaph for the Trump administration.

> I asked Jared if he knew that Qatar was paying Cory Lewandowski $500,000 per month to represent their efforts.

$500,000 per month. This is fine.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:13 PM on May 21 [39 favorites]


From zarq's Politico link in the last thread: Bernie’s army in disarray about the Our Revolution article. Here are two quotes that really sum up the problems (or, the amazing bullshit) of the politics of purity.

'Our Revolution leaders said that what they’re building goes much deeper than winning elections. The focus, said Larry Cohen, the group’s volunteer chairman, “is not that scoreboard. The focus is: Can we grow in actually measurable ways in this movement?”'

and

'As for Our Revolution’s record in elections, Weaver said, “They’re trying to focus on getting the right shade of blue — they’re not always focused on the transactional approach of ‘electability.’”'

WTF?! An embarrassing waste of time and energy. And I'm worried that the scorched earth tactic the article describes about their endorsement of Stacey Abrams (who I support) will hurt her campaign in the general.
posted by feste at 2:14 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]




poffin boffin: Meanwhile in further "dehumanization of latinx immigrants" news we have this official white house statement: What You Need To Know About The Violent Animals Of MS-13

I want to make a kids book about real animals that are dangerous to people, like the koala ("These are koalas. Although they appear cuddly, they have sharp teeth and claws that they will use to defend themselves") and compare them people who have been falsely accused of being associated with MS-13 ("this is a teenager who was imprisoned for 7 months for flashing a gang sign, and was accused of being in MS-13 because of that. Gang signs aren't violent, and he is a person, and thus not a "violent animal," unlike a threatened koala.")

You know, for the kids this administration and all the xenophobic hate-mongers who fan the flames of fear to bolster their own political careers and normalize the abnormal behavior of Donald Trump.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:28 PM on May 21 [23 favorites]


The Hill: DOJ, Trump reach deal on expanded Russia review

So much for Rosenstein blockading this meddling.
posted by cudzoo at 2:40 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Worthy of its own FPP (along with the guardian and other PPC links) is this : THE SOULS OF POOR FOLK, an audit of America 50years after the first Poor Peple’s Campaign, grim but essential reading from the IPS
posted by The Whelk at 2:43 PM on May 21 [10 favorites]


It appears that the UAE/Saudi princes don't think to highly of Jared Kushner (From the AP's Broidy-Nader article, linked above by zachlipton):
Broidy met Trump once again on Dec. 2. He reported back to Nader that he’d told Trump the crown princes were “most favorably impressed by his leadership.” He offered the crown princes’ help in the Middle East peace plan being developed by Jared Kushner. He did not tell Trump that his partner had complete contempt for the plan — and for the president’s son-in-law.

“You have to hear in private my Brother what Principals think of ‘Clown prince’s’ efforts and his plan!” Nader wrote. “Nobody would even waste cup of coffee on him if it wasn’t for who he is married to.”
Is Nader the first to adopt "Clown Prince"? Has a nice ring to it.
posted by pjenks at 2:48 PM on May 21 [34 favorites]


Let me see if I've got this straight. The story we've been told is that Elliott Broidy supposedly hired Michael Cohen to negotiate a $1.6 million payout for his affair, funneling money through Essential Consultants and pulling the same shenanigans Trump used for the Stormy Daniels deal. This was leaked publicly, almost preemptively, and Broidy stepped down as the RNC's deputy finance chair.

Following the election, both Cohen and Broidy went into business, separately, in which they'd take large sums of money from people who wanted stuff from Trump. Broidy's effort, after teaming up with Nader, makes Cohen's look like peanuts; the AP says up to $600M over five years was involved (assuming the AP's documents are really genuine, and how we've come to see them has got to be an even more interesting story, because this is pretty clearly email hacking (by Qatar?) to throw people under the bus big time).

Per Avenatti's leaked SARs, Cohen/Broidy payments continued as late as March 2018.

So what's the chance the two stories are really unrelated? Both these guys are pulling the same scam, money is going back and forth. I don't think it's really outlandish to think there's a connection here. And Broidy was an RNC officer while he was doing all this.

Please also enjoy the bit where Nader calls Jared the "Clown prince" and says his mid-east clients mock his peace plans: "nobody would even waste cup of coffee on him if it wasn’t for who he is married to."
posted by zachlipton at 2:49 PM on May 21 [44 favorites]


cudzoo: So much for Rosenstein blockading this meddling.

The details are still pretty vague:
President Trump and the Department of Justice on Monday reached an agreement to allow the inspector general to investigate conservative claims of FBI wrongdoing in the Russia probe, diffusing at least for now a burgeoning crisis between Trump and senior law enforcement officials.

"Based on the meeting with the President, the Department of Justice has asked the Inspector General to expand its current investigation to include any irregularities with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's or the Department of Justice's tactics concerning the Trump Campaign," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

The Justice Department had already made the referral to Inspector General Michael Horowitz on Sunday, in an apparent effort to ratchet down tensions.

But the White House also announced that chief of staff John Kelly will "immediately set up a meeting" with Trump allies on Capitol Hill to "review" the classified materials that had sparked the standoff. It is unclear whether Trump ordered the Justice Department to turn over the documents.
(The Hill via MSN.com, because I can't access The Hill at the moment)

I appreciate that this was spun (here, at least) as a "conservative claim" of FBI wrongdoing, then as a "burgeoning crisis between Trump and senior law enforcement officials."
posted by filthy light thief at 2:52 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


Maybe Broidy took the public blame for the 1.6 mil playmate affair as the cost of doing business
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:54 PM on May 21 [9 favorites]


Fun fact: Even criminals are actual human beings. They might not be nice people, but they are people.
posted by Daily Alice at 2:55 PM on May 21 [19 favorites]


Is Nader the first to adopt "Clown Prince"? Has a nice ring to it.

First definite (non-OCR error) example in Google Books is for a poem mocking Crown Prince Wilhelm's military failures in World War I.
posted by The Tensor at 3:09 PM on May 21 [9 favorites]


Adam Schiff @RepAdamSchiff sees through Trump's demands: "Giuliani removes all doubt – the White House effort to force DOJ to give investigatory materials to Congress is really about the defense team getting their hands on them. If the President is charged with a crime, he has a right to see the evidence. Not before."

If this DoJ deal means that they have to share information with Devin Nunes—whom Trump called "a very courageous man" at the Gina Haspel's CIA swearing-in ceremony today—that means the Trump White House gets to see it.

Politico: DOJ, Trump Strike Murky Deal in FBI Informant Spat
The breadth of the agreement was not immediately clear. The Justice Department had previously indicated that sharing details about its informant could risk lives and endanger national security. It's also unclear who will be permitted to view the documents. The Justice Department typically shares its most sensitive information with the so-called "Gang of Eight" — the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate, as well as the Republican and Democratic leaders of each chamber's Intelligence Committee.[...]

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said the documents requested by Trump will "indicate what the informant found." He also said the memos "should be made available to us on a confidential basis," he added. "We should be at least allowed to read them so we know this exculpatory evidence is being preserved.” It's unclear if there were any arrangements made for the White House to view the documents.

Trump’s lawyers also want to interview the FBI officials who made the decision to connect the informant with the campaign.

“It’s the FBI who has the onus for having invaded the campaign,” Giuliani said.

Giuliani predicted the Justice Department would place redactions on some parts of the material.

“But as long as they turn over the vast majority of it it gives you a real sense” of what the FBI was doing. “The question is what are the justifications for it? Did the justifications continue? Did they pick up anything valuable? That’s the most important thing to do. We think they didn’t.”
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, the Trumpists there are pressing their advantage—Grassley Seeks DOJ Documents on Official’s Contacts With Dossier Author, Politico reports. "In a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Iowa Republican requested emails, phone logs, handwritten notes and text messages regarding former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr’s communications with Christopher Steele, who wrote the dossier. The report was commissioned by Fusion GPS, where Ohr’s wife worked."
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:16 PM on May 21 [11 favorites]


ruling for the first time that workers may not band together to challenge violations of federal labor laws.

Don’t worry, the pickets outside your homes are /individual/ pickets.

Which is to say, there is a solution to this ruling, and its name is Direct Action. I don’t know how the “traditional” unions will be handling this, but unless they’re planning to call out the national guard to deal with wildcat strikes (which tbh is always possible in this reality) I don’t see how they plan to stop the workers from organizing.
posted by corb at 3:19 PM on May 21 [24 favorites]


More hints at what's coming in the DOJ IG report, about which we're going to have a lot of competing leaks now that the draft is completed and interested parties are looking at it. AP, Watchdog report to fault FBI for Clinton probe delay
An upcoming report from the Justice Department’s internal watchdog is expected to criticize senior FBI leaders for not moving quickly enough to review a trove of Hillary Clinton emails discovered late in the 2016 campaign, according to people familiar with the findings.

The FBI’s timing has been a sore point for Clinton supporters, who say then-director James Comey’s announcement of the new review less than two weeks before the Nov. 8, 2016, election contributed to her loss. The agency’s findings affirming its decision not to pursue criminal charges against Clinton were disclosed two days before the vote — too late, her supporters say, to undo the damage.

Some FBI officials knew in September 2016 of the emails on former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s laptop but the bureau did not obtain a warrant to review them until the following month. Clinton allies say the candidate’s name could have been cleared much faster if the FBI acted on the emails as soon as they knew of their existence.

An inspector general report examining a broad range of FBI actions during the Clinton email investigation will criticize officials, including Comey, for not moving fast enough to examine the email trove and for a weekslong delay in getting a warrant, according to people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press.
So when Comey did his whole nationwide media tour to discuss how he had two options, disclose or stay silent, he was apparently missing the third option, which was to manage his department in such a way this didn't happen in the first place.
posted by zachlipton at 3:21 PM on May 21 [53 favorites]


WSJ, Michael Cohen Helped Trump Donor Seek Investment From Qatar Fund
President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer helped a major donor to Mr. Trump’s inauguration pitch a nuclear-power investment to the Qatari sovereign wealth fund at a meeting in April, according to people familiar with the matter.

The donor, Franklin L. Haney, is seeking to complete a pair of unfinished nuclear reactors in Alabama known as the Bellefonte Nuclear Plant. His company is lobbying the Trump administration for an extension of tax credits, federal disclosures show.

Mr. Haney, 77, recently hired Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, as a consultant, one of the people familiar with the matter said. It isn't clear how much Mr. Haney paid Mr. Cohen. On April 5, Messrs. Cohen and Haney met with the vice chairman of the Qatar Investment Authority, Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani, to seek an investment in the plant, the people familiar with the matter said.
posted by zachlipton at 3:40 PM on May 21 [11 favorites]


Dam Friedman, Mother Jones: "Michael Cohen Met With Qatari Official and Nuclear Plant Owner Last Month"
At a meeting in Miami on April 5, Franklin Haney, the owner of an inoperative nuclear power plant in Hollywood, Alabama, sought a major investment for his facility, according to two sources familiar with the gathering. His target, the sources say, was Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, Qatar’s minister of economy and commerce and deputy chairman of the Qatar Investment Authority, the $300 billion sovereign wealth fund of the natural gas-rich Persian Gulf state. Also at the meeting, according to the sources, was Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer. (Several days later, Cohen’s office and home would be raided by federal agents.) Now, as the Trump scandal expands to include Cohen’s business deals and possible interactions between Trump associates and officials of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, any relationship between Cohen and Qatar would likely be of interest to federal investigators.
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:46 PM on May 21 [6 favorites]


Interesting to see Qatar pop back up in the news again after last summer's diplomatic crisis that 45 had some bizarre (or par for the course, I guess) tweets about.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 3:48 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


Some reactions to the Gorsuch Court from:

Matt Stoller: It was Obama DOJ #resistance hero @neal_katyal who both endorsed Gorsuch and argued the case that just gutted labor law. #Resist

Brian Highsmith: I know this is an uncomfortable conversation, but progressives must understand+confront role that Big Law—including heroes who’ve done great work serving in Dem admins—has played in undermining legal rights of vulnerable workers and consumers, esp through attack on class actions

Zach Carter: 1. It is remarkable how much right-wing economics work isn't really about markets at all, just straight up power 2. This isn't about efficiency or distribution or productivity. It's about how prohibitions against outright theft are enforced. 3. There isn't really a serious neoliberal / libertarian argument in *favor* of violating contracts and stealing wages -- it undermines the whole theory, in fact 4. But there will be a whole libertarian barrage behind the freedom to agree to forced arbitration and contract away your right to hear a case in court 5. Which just shows that when push comes to shove, libertaria is more interested in rule by employer than rule of law. It likes private courts more than real courts. 6. There's a bunch of stuff you can't contract away because it's foundational law stuff. Imagine an employer asking workers to sign a contract forfeiting their right to own a firearm as a condition of employment. 7. But hey, your right to be heard in a court of law? Exactly the sort of thing a private center of power should be able to wrest away from you.

Marshall Steinbaum: Mandatory arbitration & class action waivers in employment (or any) contract aren't just exploitative to the parties to those "contracts;" they're also against policy. Our antitrust laws, among others, rely on private actions to **enforce the law**. /1 Right-wing judges don't think that those laws should exist, but instead of overturning them by legislation they whittle away their enforcement mechanisms by over-reading the Federal Arbitration Act as a blanket application of the Coase Theorem. /2 All of this is motivated by the deep-seated libertarian hatred for democracy. To them, it's fine as long as it protects property and expansive rights for property owners. But the moment it acts to limit those rights, undemocratic application of state power is justified.

Also Steinbaum: The New Deal settlement took direct action & radical unionism off the table in exchange for a seat at the table. That settlement is long gone; it's time for working people to act accordingly.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:55 PM on May 21 [78 favorites]


The Qatar/UAE/Saudi situation is in the news because those countries are putting it there. This isn't an accident; it's been carefully orchestrated. BuzzFeed has an interesting story on this a little while back: How Two Persian Gulf Nations Turned The US Media Into Their Battleground, "For the last year, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have been leaking emails to journalists." The story goes into some detail on Broidy's emails, "which hackers apparently accessed after tricking his wife into providing credentials to access Broidy’s email accounts and the email server of one of his companies, Broidy Capital Management."

And there are a lot of ethical issues here. Much of this material does seem to have been hacked by nation-states. That doesn't mean ignoring blockbuster stories like Broidy and Nader's schemes, but we're going on about a year now of information warfare between the two countries, largely waged in the US press, and essentially nobody seems to be interested in covering that story instead of what the documents say.

The comparison to the Podesta emails is tempting, but doesn't really hold up. Emails, even hacked emails, containing evidence of potential crimes (failure to register as a foreign agent if nothing else) and foreign entanglements by associates of the President have inherent news value that vastly exceeds the sum total of anything contained in Podesta's Gmail account. But there's a danger in what the press keeps doing here, which is to make the story entirely about the contents and not at all about how the emails came to be. We certainly saw this in 2016, where the DNC and Podesta emails were treated as manna from heaven and the question of where they came from wasn't discussed until it was far too late. This isn't the same thing, but it's the same pattern of behavior where another extremely important story, the hacking, is largely being ignored in favor of what is in the hacked documents, assuming they are all, in fact, genuine.

Also, I'd just like to register a complaint that someone burst into a pizzeria with guns over Pizzagate, yet this article discusses how Trump sold a photo op with someone convicted of 10 counts of sexually abusing minors despite unspecified objections from the Secret Service and nobody seems to care
posted by zachlipton at 4:10 PM on May 21 [60 favorites]


infini: "This is a good OP. Its good to see this finally distilled down to the essence of what it is - corruption."

They should have been impeaching him on day one for emoluments clause violations. It's not as salacious as a blow job but it has implications for actual bad things happening to the state.
posted by Mitheral at 4:14 PM on May 21 [18 favorites]


It sounds like the UAE and Saudi Arabia were trying to buy influence in the Trump administration through Cohen, Broidy, Flynn, Bannon. Qatar in turn tried to buy it from Kushner and through purchasing Trump condos.

This is "diplomacy by other means" in the hybrid warfare era.
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:15 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


I just want to suggest that the best part of the AP's scoop on George Nader is that he used the codename.... "Vader" to conceal his identity.
“We ran all data bases including FBI and Interpol and found no issues with regard to Mr. Vader.”
Fire the writers.
posted by schmod at 4:17 PM on May 21 [26 favorites]


Speaking of hacking and a Presidential campaign that treated email security as the most important issue facing the nation, Politico, ‘Too inconvenient’: Trump goes rogue on phone security
The president, who relies on cellphones to reach his friends and millions of Twitter followers, has rebuffed staff efforts to strengthen security around his phone use, according to the administration officials.

The president uses at least two iPhones, according to one of the officials. The phones – one capable only of making calls, the other equipped only with the Twitter app and pre-loaded with a handful of news sites – are issued by White House Information Technology and the White House Communications Agency, an office staffed by military personnel that oversees White House telecommunications.

While aides have urged the president to swap out the Twitter phone on a monthly basis, Trump has resisted their entreaties, telling them it was “too inconvenient,” the same administration official said.

The president has gone as long as five months without having the phone checked by security experts. It is unclear how often Trump’s call-capable phones, which are essentially used as burner phones, are swapped out.
posted by zachlipton at 4:19 PM on May 21 [68 favorites]


Lock him up! Lock him up! Lock.... nobody?
posted by contraption at 4:31 PM on May 21 [12 favorites]


Speaking of hacking and a Presidential campaign that treated email security as the most important issue facing the nation, Politico, ‘Too inconvenient’: Trump goes rogue on phone security

D.C. is filled with illicit cell phone trackers, the local NBC TV reported: Potential Spy Devices Which Track Cellphones, Intercept Calls Found All Over D.C., Md., Va.
The technology can be as small as a suitcase, placed anywhere at any time, and it's used to track cell phones and intercept calls. The News4 I-Team found dozens of potential spy devices while driving around Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia. [...] The device, sometimes referred to by the brand name StingRay, is designed to mimic a cell tower and can trick your phone into connecting to it instead. [...]

The News4 I-Team asked Turner to ride around the capital region with special software loaded onto three cell phones, with three different carriers, to detect the devices operating in various locations.[...] And the I-Team found them in high-profile areas like outside the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue and while driving across the 14th Street bridge into Crystal City. The I-Team got picked up twice while driving along K Street — the corridor popular with lobbyists.
It's estimated only half of these cell phone trackers belong to US law enforcement—the rest are espionage hardware.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:39 PM on May 21 [36 favorites]


> The president, who relies on cellphones to reach his friends and millions of Twitter followers, has rebuffed staff efforts to strengthen security around his phone use, according to the administration officials.

>D.C. is filled with illicit cell phone trackers


Yeah, it is 100% certain that those Trump cell phone conversations are intercepted routinely by various foreign governments.

It is simultaneously too high value and far too easy pickings for the situation to be otherwise.
posted by flug at 4:59 PM on May 21 [12 favorites]


I almost forgot that John Kelly's phone had been hacked at some time before the transition.

One can only hope that the various Russian/Turkish/Israeli rootkits will try to coexist on his phone(s) and pull a Reservoir Dogs. Or that so much intel is leaving through the front door anyway that this won't even matter.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:07 PM on May 21 [6 favorites]


It's amazing that George Nader has been in the news this long (though I've lost all ability to estimate time) and only today have I learned about his sex abuse convictions. And even more wild, I have no idea whether or not they'll ultimately prove relevant to everything else he's up to here. Probably not but, ugh, who knows.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:10 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


Yeah, it is 100% certain that those Trump cell phone conversations are intercepted routinely by various foreign governments.

Why would they even need to do so when twitter exists.
posted by poffin boffin at 5:17 PM on May 21 [8 favorites]


From that article in Politico
Giuliani predicted the Justice Department would place redactions on some parts of the material.

“But as long as they turn over the vast majority of it it gives you a real sense” of what the FBI was doing. “The question is what are the justifications for it? Did the justifications continue? Did they pick up anything valuable? That’s the most important thing to do. We think they didn’t.”
That doesn't sound like the sort of thing a lawyer should say, and it's definitely not the sort of thing you'd say if you thought your client were innocent. “Did they pick up anything valuable?”, forsooth.

I mean, the whole thing is fundamentally incoherent: Giuliani is Trump's private lawyer, and in that capacity he has no grounds for seeking disclosure from the prosecution before charges are laid. But here he is, arguing that Trump in his role as Chief Executive is entitled to know details of an investigation into alleged crimes. That may be a plausible legal argument, if only because it's a weak spot in the US Constitution, but in context it's an “Ain't no rule says a dog can't play basketball” argument. This obviously isn't the sort of accommodation Trump could get from a court, so Giuliani – an officer of the court! – is basically telling Trump how to stymie an investigation. In fact, Trump has a duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed”, so the advice is possibly not just a breach of Giuliani's duty to the court, it's an act of collusion with a criminal.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:22 PM on May 21 [36 favorites]


In Missouri's multifaceted governor's scandal Judge Eric Burlison has named the Special Prosecutor who will decide where or not to re-file charges related to Greitens' sexual misconduct in 2015.

Special Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker is Jackson County Prosecutor. Jackson County is the second largest county in Missouri, in the Kansas City area and on the opposite side of the state from St. Louis, where the crime took place and where Gardner is located. FYI Baker is a Democrat, so we are certain to keep hearing bleating about the charges being politically motivated.
In his order, [Burlison] noted that Baker's office would serve as special prosecutor 'with regard to the investigation and possible prosecution of Eric Greitens in alleged criminal activity in regard to an incident on March 21, 2015, and other incidents involving the same victim from that date through September 1, 2015.'

It wasn't clear whether additional charges beyond invasion of privacy are possible.
Due to the statue of limitations, the Special Prosecutor will have about a month to decide whether or not to re-file charges related to the original charge. Statute of limitations issues may affect some of the other charges available for filing, as it has now been over three years since at least some of the events that happened.

In related news: posted by flug at 5:25 PM on May 21 [24 favorites]


It's amazing that George Nader has been in the news this long (though I've lost all ability to estimate time) and only today have I learned about his sex abuse convictions. And even more wild, I have no idea whether or not they'll ultimately prove relevant to everything else he's up to here.

This is from AP story:
When Nader landed at Dulles Airport outside Washington, D.C., a team of FBI agents working for Mueller was there to meet him. He was relieved of his electronic devices and later agreed to cooperate.
This detail lends itself to a pretty obvious guess why a pedophile might quickly decide to cooperate with Mueller's team.
posted by peeedro at 5:28 PM on May 21 [25 favorites]


I know this genre is played out but...

If Obama summoned the FBI Director and Attorney General to demand the evidence in an investigation into his conduct, he would've been impeached by the end of the day.
posted by chris24 at 5:43 PM on May 21 [78 favorites]


WaPo: The slippery slope of the Trump administration’s political embrace of calling MS-13 ‘animals’
The problem with that language and with turning it into the same sort of politicultural fight that we see with, say, kneeling in the NFL is that Trump’s rhetoric about MS-13 is not now or ever has really been about MS-13. Instead, it’s directly about the threat posed by immigrants to the United States, an argument that took another form in the very first minutes of his presidential campaign, when he called some immigrants from Mexico criminals and rapists. The idea has been to use specific examples of bad actors within or associated with the immigrant community as avatars for that community on the whole and to then enact policies that target immigrants broadly.
[emphais mine]
posted by triggerfinger at 5:54 PM on May 21 [48 favorites]


The idea has been to use specific examples of bad actors within or associated with the immigrant community as avatars for that community on the whole and to then enact policies that target immigrants broadly.
They give Trumpism too much credit to suggest that only immigrants are being demonized and will be targeted. Next on the "animals" list will be all the other street gangs, because the Trumpist rank and file already knows what kind of people are in those. After that will be the "deviants".
posted by Etrigan at 5:59 PM on May 21 [23 favorites]


D.C. is filled with illicit cell phone trackers

Serious question: If this is true, which I don't doubt, how come we don't have recordings of Trump talking to Hannity or something like that? Sure it would be illegal, but also ratings gold.
posted by Dr. Send at 6:07 PM on May 21 [6 favorites]


Don't forget the "agitators". It's a term out of vogue, but I'm sure we can .. wait, I googled and Trump said it last year.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:08 PM on May 21 [8 favorites]


I cannot believe how much I cannot believe. That document calling human beings animals over and over again is from whitehouse.gov? This is an actual white house release?
posted by agregoli at 6:09 PM on May 21 [56 favorites]


Next on the "animals" list will be all the other street gangs, because the Trumpist rank and file already knows what kind of people are in those.

But gangs like the Klan? "Very fine people."
posted by triggerfinger at 6:11 PM on May 21 [34 favorites]


I think reminding each other frequently of the difference in the treatment of Trump versus Obama by the GOP and the corporate media is an important vaccination against normalization, and it's never played out. This is not normal, and it's not acceptable.
posted by biogeo at 6:14 PM on May 21 [51 favorites]


Daily Beast, Elliott Broidy’s Company Got Its Biggest U.S. Government Contract Ever While He Pitched Trump Administration, in which Broidy's just cashing checks from everybody.
posted by zachlipton at 6:16 PM on May 21 [21 favorites]


how come we don't have recordings of Trump talking to Hannity or something like that?

Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to intercept some conversations with solicitations for bribes. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.
posted by duoshao at 6:17 PM on May 21 [12 favorites]


GOP's stalling Obama's Supreme Court nomination pick pays off ... for now. Congress wrote the (now dated) law, and Congress can re-write it. 2018 is looking to be a(n even more) tumultuous year.

I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but in order to rewrite the law, Democrats need to win the House, Democrats need to win the Senate, Democrats need to win a super-majority in the Senate because McConnell will filibuster everything, and then Democrats need to win the White House to avoid a veto. This ain't happening in 2018.

The best Democrats can hope for is to win at least one house of congress and slow down the terrible things Trump and the Republicans want to do going forward. That would be a valuable accomplishment.

But Democrats are a long, long way from being able to undo the damage already done. Elections have consequences and the 2016 election will have very long lasting consequences.
posted by JackFlash at 6:27 PM on May 21 [17 favorites]


I've come to think of Trump's rise to power as part of a larger trend: the counterreaction of authoritarianism, or the Dictators Strike Back. Democracy was on an upswing throughout the last half of the twentieth century, along with concepts like human rights and international rule of law. This trend really picked up steam in the '90s, but before that there was significant pushback with the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. While authoritarian states were collapsing elsewhere, Jiang Zemin's China was figuring out how to combine one-party rule with a free market economy.

Then in the 21st century two things happened:

1. The election of Putin in Russia, who figured out his own (perhaps China-inspired) solution to running a successful dictatorship in the modern world - the Kleptocracy, or mafia state.

2. The American reaction to 9/11 showed the world that the United States was no longer willing to lead. Without an existential threat like the Soviet Union, America became preoccupied with its own fears and internal divisions. This has given hope to the leaders of other world powers that they can make their own impression on the globe and expand their influence without hindrance.

Since 2000 Kleptocracies have been on the rise, both because of countries attempting to duplicate China's example and because of the active efforts by Russia to sabotage the political process in other nations. Trump is a wannabe kleptocrat. That's all he is, right to the bones, and his era is an attempt (by him and the Republican Party) to remold the United States into something more like Russia. They're doing this for self-interested reasons rather than ideological ones, because that's what kleptocracy is: the victory of self-interest over ideals and rule of law.

I don't think Trump or the Republicans will succeed in changing the United States, because their preferred way of doing things is just too foreign to take permanent root in American soil, and American institutions are too strong. But the struggle continues.
posted by Kevin Street at 6:31 PM on May 21 [32 favorites]


I don't think Trump or the Republicans will succeed in changing the United States, because their preferred way of doing things is just too foreign to take permanent root in American soil, and American institutions are too strong.

I was born in the 70s, and for the entire time I've been politically conscious (which started sometime around the end of the Reagan era) we've been moving, in an accelerating way, back toward the plutocratic, mafia-like politics of the Gilded Age. And as in the Gilded Age, the air of magical thinking, unvarnished greed, and total, soul-rotting hypocrisy has been thickening all along the way.

There is nothing foreign about what is happening under Trump.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:39 PM on May 21 [108 favorites]


I don't think Trump or the Republicans will succeed in changing the United States

See, I disagree because I don't think Trump and the Republicans are trying to change the United States; I think they're a reflection of the United States. At least roughly half of it.

They aren't an aberration, they are an emergent property.
posted by Justinian at 6:39 PM on May 21 [67 favorites]


They are a retrograde death spasm. All this stupid bullshit shall be retconned.
posted by vrakatar at 6:51 PM on May 21 [6 favorites]


They're an emergent property, but right now they're greatly aided by this worldwide trend of rising authoritarianism. As the most naked kleptocrat, Trump only got into office with Russian help. America is many things, but it's not as fundamentally corrupt as Trump would like it to be, and I don't think he'll have much success in changing it. He's more like a virus that will ultimately strengthen the organism by alerting its immune system to a new threat. Nor will the Republicans succeed in changing America into the Randian fantasy world that they want to achieve.
posted by Kevin Street at 6:51 PM on May 21 [5 favorites]


Too early for any of this kind of sweeping synthesis. All we get now is a horribly intense and granular civics lesson.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:53 PM on May 21 [36 favorites]


America is many things, but it's not as fundamentally corrupt as Trump would like it to be
I really hope you’re right but I’m fearful of how quickly this can change. One of the more toxic things the right-wing propaganda organs have spread is the idea that the status quo was already that corrupt, more or less excusing everything as either inevitable or even balancing things out. It’s disturbing how many people are willing to respond to provable corruption with some babble about the Clinton Foundation, equate police shooting someone with a crook shooting an officer, etc.
posted by adamsc at 6:58 PM on May 21 [22 favorites]


Boston Globe: Federal judges in Boston are often sharply critical of ICE tactics.
In January, Chief US District Judge Patti B. Saris likened a group of Indonesian Christians facing possible deportation by the Trump administration to Jewish refugees trying to escape the Nazis. In April, Judge Indira Talwani rebuked ICE for arresting a Chinese national outside the courtroom after she had been placed on probation for fraud.
posted by adamg at 7:02 PM on May 21 [23 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 House:
-- SC-05: Archie Parnell, who as the special election candidate came surprisingly close to flipping this seat is resisting calls to drop out after it has come to light he has a history of spousal violence. Ugh, very disappointing.

** MI-13: John Conyers III, son of the former holder of this seat has been ruled to not have met signature requirements to run in the primary (he is, of course, appealing). The challenge was ultimately from IAN Conyers, JCIII's cousin, who is also running for the seat.
** 2018 Senate:
-- WV: As discussed in the last thread, murderer Don Blankenship now plans to run as candidate for the Constitution Party. Online legal opinion seems divided on whether he has much of a chance getting around the state's sore loser law. If he gets the go ahead, this would seeming be a considerable boost to Manchin's chances of getting re-elected.

-- Politico roundup of WV and OH internecine tensions.
** Odds & ends:
-- Longtime North Dakota SOS Al Jaeger had dropped out of the GOP primary after a state convention endorsed his opponent Will Gardner (who had campaigned mostly on a strong voter ID platform). Gardner dropped out today after it came to light that he pleaded guilty a few years ago to peeping through women's windows. Jaeger is now jumping back into the race as an independent.

-- Federal court orders Texas to implement online voter registration for DMV interactions within 45 days.

-- New York Democrats to consider resolution to kick turncoat state Senator Simcha Felder out of the party.

-- Sounds like the right-to-work amendment that Missouri gov Greitens refused to move from the November general to the August primary has been moved to August by the legislature. The goal here is to suppress turnout.
====
Tomorrow: two special elections in Arkansas (both in very red districts), plus primaries in Arkansas, Georgia, and Kentucky, plus runoffs in Texas. Also of interest, a special election that would give Dems control of the Miami-Dade County government.

Previews: WP on GA gov, Vox on GA gov, Vox on TX gov, Vox on AR gov, DKE general roundup, 538 general roundup.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:03 PM on May 21 [29 favorites]


Boston Globe, Trump’s tweets include grammatical errors. And some are on purpose
But it’s not always Trump tapping out a Tweet, even when it sounds like his voice. West Wing employees who draft proposed tweets intentionally employ suspect grammar and staccato syntax in order to mimic the president’s style, according to two people familiar with the process.

They overuse the exclamation point! They Capitalize random words for emphasis. Fragments. Loosely connected ideas. All part of a process that is not as spontaneous as Trump’s Twitter feed often appears.

Presidential speechwriters have always sought to channel their bosses’ style and cadence, but Trump’s team is blazing new ground with its approach to his favorite means of instant communication. Some staff members even relish the scoldings Trump gets from elites shocked by the Trumpian language they strive to imitate, believing that debates over presidential typos fortify the belief within his base that he has the common touch.
...
Staff-written tweets do go through a West Wing process of sorts. When a White House employee wants the president to tweet about a topic, the official writes a memo to the president that includes three or four sample tweets, according to those familiar with the process.

Trump then picks the one he likes best, according to the two people, neither of whom wanted to be named because they’re not authorized to talk about the operations. Sometimes Trump will edit the wording and sometimes he’ll just pick his favorite for blasting out to his 52 million Twitter followers.
Looking stupid to own the libs is what we've reduced the presidency to.
posted by zachlipton at 7:09 PM on May 21 [88 favorites]


In a turf war with Trump White House aides, free-range Trumpists are strategically leaking to CNN: Trump Listening to Outside Advisers, Not Insiders, On Fight With DOJ—Outsider advisers urged Trump to attack DOJ
A loose and informal group of Trump advisers outside the White House, some of whom think the President is being ill served by White House chief of staff John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn, have been aggressively campaigning to attack Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as part of a "deep state" plot against the President. The campaign has focused on pressing Trump-friendly media and the President himself to push Rosenstein to reveal details about the investigation that both the Justice Department and FBI do not want disclosed.[...]

The members of this group working to persuade the President and Trump-friendly media include ousted former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, former deputy campaign manager David Bossie, President of the Trump Hispanic Advisory Council (and CNN commentator) Steve Cortes and many others. None of those reached for comment wanted to talk on the record. It was not clear how much Nunes is part of any of these conversations.[LOL–ed.]

The group over the weekend seemed to win a battle with White House insiders and succeeded in convincing the President to formally side with Nunes over his own Justice Department.[...]

Sunday morning, the group was trying to convince Trump to write a letter demanding that Rosenstein turn over material about the confidential source to Nunes. By Sunday afternoon, the President had tweeted what seemed to members of this outside group to be such an order.[...]

A member of the outsider group tells CNN that he felt the President was formally ordering the Justice Department to turn over the documents to Nunes, but that since Rosenstein attempted to blur that issue with others by assigning it all to the inspector general of the Justice Department to sort out, they would keep pushing for the President to issue a more direct order.

But some allies of the President believe that his push might actually hurt the cause of releasing this information. GOP congressional sources told CNN's Sarah Westwood that Trump's latest intervention might instead make the Justice Department less inclined to hand over the documents requested by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee. If the FBI's use of a confidential source becomes the subject of an active investigation, the sources said, Justice Department officials might have even more reason to withhold records from lawmakers than they do already. That's why Trump's allies on Capitol Hill had pressed the President to assist them with their quest for documents—not to help them get a separate investigation opened. Now, some members and staffers fear Trump's attempts to help may backfire.
It seems ludicrous of CNN to give the likes of Lewandowski and Bossie the benefit of anonymous leaking when they both appear regularly on their network, especially when Trump supposedly "hates leaks". What's the betting that Bannon et al. are doing this because they have Trump's tacit approval to put pressure on Kelly and McGahn to let the Trumpists fight this out?
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:20 PM on May 21 [8 favorites]


"There was some talk about the Libyan model last week, and you know, as the President made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn't make a deal," Pence said in an interview that aired Monday evening on Fox News.

When it was noted that the comparison could be interpreted as a threat, Pence replied: "Well, I think it's more of a fact."
Why would North Korea show up to talk now that the President, Vice President, and National Security Advisor have all threatened to kill Kim in a particularly painful fashion?
posted by zachlipton at 7:27 PM on May 21 [33 favorites]


The obscenely graphic political cartoons draw themselves.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:33 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


This is an actual white house release?

Honestly when I first saw it I immediately assumed it was fake, because surely? right? come ON. So I searched the document title on the white house website. And there it was, oozing disgustingly everywhere like an infected butt abscess.

my desired outcome is no longer impeachment but old testament judgment. i have my seder plate and my glass of wine ready.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:45 PM on May 21 [83 favorites]


HuffPo: Blake Farenthold May Have Been Hired Illegally At His New Lobbyist Job | A Texas newspaper filed a lawsuit alleging the Calhoun Port Authority hired the disgraced former lawmaker without public notice, in violation of state law.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:51 PM on May 21 [9 favorites]


They don't know what the Libyan model is. Actually, Pence might know but is acting like he doesn't so as not to make Trump look even worse. What a craven toady.

This summit is in two weeks. Are they going to go ahead with it without a deal already worked out? That's insane. And a recipe for disaster. These things aren't where you work out a deal, they are photo ops where you sign an already-agreed-to arrangement!
posted by Justinian at 7:51 PM on May 21 [15 favorites]


I don’t see how they plan to stop the workers from organizing.

Same as they always do. Fire a few, and see who crosses that line. Fire a few more and repeat.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 8:05 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


One of the more toxic things the right-wing propaganda organs have spread is the idea that the status quo was already that corrupt, more or less excusing everything as either inevitable or even balancing things out.

Right, just like workplace discipline, there is eventually a tipping point where even the good ones decide "fuck it, why would I be the only one following the so-called rules?"
posted by ctmf at 8:13 PM on May 21 [11 favorites]


Tomorrow: two special elections in Arkansas (both in very red districts), plus primaries in Arkansas, Georgia, and Kentucky

The primary in KY-6 has turned ugly late, Gray got a fair bit of pushback in the district (and national condemnation) for turning negative after promising not to. Gray's ad wasn't that bad, the other candidate in the race State Sen. Reggie Thomas has been calling McGrath a "carpetbagger" from the beginning, but maybe the first time Gray has seemed worried.

All these candidates are good, for Kentucky values of "good" Democrats, it's a shame they're all packed into one district. Although this is the only other plausibly Dem district in the state and John Yarmouth has a well deserved lock on Louisville. I still think Gray is the only one that can actually win here, so I hope he pulls it out tomorrow.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:15 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


That's one of a couple tomorrow I'm a little worried about losing a winnable general race.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:37 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


There are not many Trump scandals. There is one Trump scandal. Singular: the corruption of the American government by the president and his associates, who are using their official power for personal and financial gain rather than for the welfare of the American people, and their attempts to shield that corruption from political consequences, public scrutiny, or legal accountability.

Called it:
This is a thing everybody is very reluctant to accept, that despite his slogan Trump has no loyalty, not even a twisted one, to America. What he has is a loyalty to money & its sources. If those sources are Russian or Chinese, that is where his loyalties lie for as long as their money is streaming towards him. As a narcissist who can only comprehend atomic (as in unitary not nuclear) transactions, as soon as the transaction (the side directed at him at least) is complete he loses loyalty to its source. He is the personification of greed.
posted by scalefree at 9:00 PM on May 21 [21 favorites]


D.C. is filled with illicit cell phone trackers

Serious question: If this is true, which I don't doubt, how come we don't have recordings of Trump talking to Hannity or something like that?


Probably three reasons:
1) Cellphones promiscuously broadcast so-called metadata ("Hello! I'm a phone! My home service provider is XXXX and my number is YYYYYYY!"). This can't be encrypted, so all you need to do to pick it up is pretend to be a cell phone tower;
2) Actual calls are encrypted, and even if the encryption isn't strong, the fact that it's there means it would be illegal to intercept the call;
3) Publicly admitting you hacked the President's calls would probably earn you a visit from very serious people in dark suits.

But as a matter of fact there are undoubtedly people with those recordings, taken by cellphone interception or otherwise, and the reason we haven't heard them is that proof of wrongdoing is more valuable as evidence/kompromat than as material for the gossip pages of a newspaper.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:07 PM on May 21 [7 favorites]


** MI-13: John Conyers III, son of the former holder of this seat has been ruled to not have met signature requirements to run in the primary (he is, of course, appealing). The challenge was ultimately from IAN Conyers, JCIII's cousin, who is also running for the seat.

Do you want A War of the Roses? Because this is how you get a War of the Roses.
posted by happyroach at 9:19 PM on May 21 [12 favorites]


Nunes and Meadows Are Undermining Trump’s Argument Against the Mueller Investigation (ASHA RANGAPPA and JED SHUGERMAN, Slate)
The text of Article II or the rest of the Constitution does not support the unitary theory. Rather, proponents of the unitary executive look to Justice Scalia’s lone dissent in Morrison v. Olson, a 1988 Supreme Court case which challenged the law giving Congress authority to appoint an Independent Counsel as a violation of the separation of powers. In Morrison, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, writing for a 7–1 majority, upheld the constitutionality of Congress’ creation of an independent counsel, selected and supervised by judges. But Justice Scalia disagreed, stating, “We should say here that the President’s constitutionally assigned duties include complete control over investigation and prosecution of violations of the law, and that the inexorable command of Article II is clear and definite: the executive power must be vested in the President of the United States.” (That’s Justice Scalia’s own original emphasis on the word “complete.”)

One of us has argued previously that Scalia was wrong on his own originalist terms. Historically, most prosecution in England and America was private prosecution until the end of the 19th century. The first Congress also allowed some law enforcement officials to be removable by federal judges, and it contemplated giving the Supreme Court the power to appoint the attorney general and giving district judges the power to appoint district attorneys. Many early state constitutions also reflected that prosecutors had a mixed judicial role. Scalia’s dissent was contradicted by American history.

If supporters of the unitary executive really believe these powers are exclusively committed to the executive branch, why are they silent about such congressional overreach?
But Scalia also overlooked Congress’ investigatory and prosecutorial powers, in some of the ways that Nunes and Meadows are illustrating now.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:40 PM on May 21 [13 favorites]


WOSU (Ohio public media), Study: Plan Exempting High Unemployment Counties From Medicaid Work Rules Benefits White Areas
Many people who receive Medicaid in Ohio could soon have to work at least 20 hours a week to receive the government health insurance. The Ohio Department of Medicaid is waiting for federal approval of the plan.

But under the state’s proposal, people in counties with high unemployment would fall under a special exemption.

The proposal, which would exempt people in 26 overwhelmingly white Ohio counties from the work requirements, has officials at the Center for Community Solutions concerned.

John Corlett, president of the nonpartisan policy and advocacy group, says the new proposal would disproportionately affect urban Medicaid recipients in cities like Cleveland. It all comes down to county unemployment figures compared to city unemployment rates, he said.

“They don’t allow the requirements to be waived for communities within a county where the county may not have a high unemployment rate, but a particular community within a county, like for example the city of Cleveland, has an unemployment rate as high as some of these other communities that have been exempted,” he said.
First Michigan, now Ohio. These plans all just magically happen to exempt rural white unemployed Medicaid recipients from work requirements while targeting black communities.
posted by zachlipton at 9:45 PM on May 21 [69 favorites]


Going to be hi-lareous if it results in unemployed PoC moving to white areas.
posted by Mitheral at 9:57 PM on May 21 [14 favorites]


> Johann Georg Faust:
"Some food for thought 538 cooked up on Friday. Fair warning: it's about polls and Twitter.

Very Few Voters Actually Read Trump's Tweets: Perry Bacon Jr. & Dhrumil Mehta

A recent Gallup poll indicates only 8% of American adults admit to following 45's account, but only 4% admit to following and regularly reading the tweets.

This amounts to approximately 10 million people who consume the—holy shit, I just realized the mascot for Twitter is a bird because it regurgitates food into its babies' mouths.

Anyway, 10 million isn't a small number, but it's less than the official follower numbers being claimed. This would make sense, after discerning the demographic and robotic nature of the claimed followers.

Only about 15% of Republicans who have an account admit to following. Of course these days, this raises the question of "What is a Republican?" Despite this, Democrats apparently have more exposure to Trump's tweets than Republicans do.

538 comes to the agreeable conclusion that Twitter is ultimately just a stream-of-consciousness rather than a megaphone. And that various media outlets are doing the amplifying for him and should be more careful regarding this press coverage. On the other hand, these things are also treated variously as Schrödinger's Official Presidential Statements, ridiculous trial balloons, and extremely telegraphed decisions.

Personally, I'm curious to see information regarding the tweets we know were written by 45 versus those written by someone like Stephen Miller. I know someone was looking into a way to decipher the tweets written by different people on that same account, but I'm interested in pattern recognition for the content and topics covered as well as things like vocabulary, grammar, and syntax."


I don't follow 45 but I do grab all his Tweets (since March at least) into a Google Spreadsheet. Help yourself if it looks useful.
posted by Samizdata at 9:57 PM on May 21 [6 favorites]


Kaye Brennan writing in Just Security takes care not to bury the lede:
Getting to the Bottom of the Trump Tower Meeting
Donald Trump Jr. has no memory of Rinat Akhmetshin attending the infamous June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting, even though he was apparently dressed entirely in pink, and according to at least one attendee, did most of the talking.
([real], although I had to check)
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:59 PM on May 21 [52 favorites]


D.C. is filled with illicit cell phone trackers

Presumably the Secret Service has a cell repeater and portable jammers to keep dipwad in a bubble?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:24 PM on May 21


Presumably the Secret Service has a cell repeater and portable jammers to keep dipwad in a bubble?

If you rely on jammers and repeaters then you just know some weird radio shadow will mess things up for you. I mean, you have to presume that people might be trying to attach to Trump's phone all the time. I suppose the right thing to do is rewrite the phone's firmware so it declines to connect to unauthorised cell towers, but apparently the USA's IT budget doesn't stretch that far. At least, they declined to give Obama a guaranteed-secure phone capable of running arbitrary apps.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:38 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I don’t see how they plan to stop the workers from organizing

Same as capitalist gangsters always do. See: Ludlow massacre
posted by benzenedream at 11:19 PM on May 21 [17 favorites]


At least, they declined to give Obama a guaranteed-secure phone capable of running arbitrary apps.

Isn't that ("guaranteed security" and "arbitrary apps") impossible?
posted by entity447b at 11:42 PM on May 21 [10 favorites]


With all this animals talk I'm reminded of how often Trump uses the phrase "fired like a dog" "moved on her like a bitch"

It's part of his personality, rendering people he doesn't like into animals that can than be abused.

And given that he apparently likes to contemplate hurting animals, we now have a president that Tony Soprano would find morally disgusting.
posted by angrycat at 3:27 AM on May 22 [33 favorites]


fwiw, re: iran
EU to reactivate 'blocking statute' against US sanctions on Iran for European firms - "EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced that the bloc plans to kickstart a 1996 law that would prohibit European companies from complying with US sanctions on Iran."

also btw from last year...
If the U.S. Reimposes Sanctions on Iran, Allies Will Follow[?] - "When I asked SWIFT's lawyers [in 2012] if they would voluntarily cut off Iran from their network, they arrogantly refused. When the White House found out that I was drafting an amendment for an upcoming Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs markup, Szubin put on a full-court press to stop it. But once again, thanks to some bipartisan negotiating, the amendment was adopted by the committee and within hours SWIFT was working with the European Union to find a way to comply." (emphasis added; SWIFT)
posted by kliuless at 3:33 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


If you rely on jammers and repeaters then you just know some weird radio shadow will mess things up for you. I mean, you have to presume that people might be trying to attach to Trump's phone all the time. I suppose the right thing to do is rewrite the phone's firmware so it declines to connect to unauthorised cell towers, but apparently the USA's IT budget doesn't stretch that far. At least, they declined to give Obama a guaranteed-secure phone capable of running arbitrary apps.

There are anti-stingray apps on Android, so it would be possible to hook up some level of protection. I would however assume that more serious adversaries would seek to 0-day compromise the legitimate cell towers.
posted by jaduncan at 3:46 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Same as capitalist gangsters always do. See: Ludlow massacre

Or the Battle of Blair Mountain. There are dozens of similar examples.
posted by ryanshepard at 4:29 AM on May 22 [7 favorites]


Last night, Trump endorsed Asa Hutchinson (a Chamber-of-Commerce-type Republican) for Arkansas governor over Jan Morgan (a person who declared her gun range a Muslim-free zone).

I want this to be something else, but two weeks of early voting have already happened, so it's probably just that a)polling says Morgan isn't going to win and that b)Asa would probably win in the general, while Morgan would probably be another Roy Moore (that's election Roy Moore, not teenagers Roy Moore).
posted by box at 4:56 AM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Yesterday I was offline and driving, so I turned on the radio to hear how things were going with Trump's tweet-declaration. As it turned out, there was some other scandalous development instead, I don't even remember wether it was the one about N Korea or the one about Iran, and I suddenly realized that no news editor is going to let three Trump-related disasters into one ten-minute newscast, let alone the hourly 3 minute versions. It's just too much crazy. I am not in America, but I'd bet it isn't much different if you are getting your news in your truck somewhere in the US.
Most people don't follow these endless threads, so the get the edited version of the insanity, and they have no idea how crazy it is. And I can actually follow the editors' reasoning. If our daily news looked like these threads, a lot of people wouldn't believe it. Even more people would believe Trump calling it all fake news. I was working at a left-wing paper during the run-up to the Iraq war, and when we reported the facts we were accused of propaganda, even by otherwise smart people, because they could not imagine that the US government would lie to their allies. This now is a hundred, or several hundred times worse. I don't know what the solution is, but there is a huge information gap, and the Trumpists are using it to their advantage.
posted by mumimor at 5:16 AM on May 22 [62 favorites]


Lawmaker introduces crowdfunding bill to pay for Trump's wall. I had 2 reactions to this:
A) Why don't you grow a brain and use the funds from all the coffers you assholes are looting for your fucking wall?
B) The people who will donate to this crowdfund are fewer than you think, and have fewer nickels to rub together.

Pardon me while I try to put even one Even together to Don't.
posted by yoga at 5:47 AM on May 22 [11 favorites]


I’m wondering how much of this federal insanity state and local governments can survive. Like, what degree of collapse of our federal institutions will start to have knock-on effects that people in far-flung states can’t ignore? I’m not talking about active policy changes (which I know are already affecting people in practical ways). I’m talking about the federal government functioning poorly because of incompetence, understaffing , and/or being at war with itself. So far the insanity is both more and less than I predicted - I never thought so much scandal would accumulate and come out in a year and a half, but somehow life in my midwestern state capital, in my federally funded research group, is proceeding as ever.
posted by eirias at 6:21 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Crowdfunding for government projects

What a great idea

We could call it "targeted accruals across economic systems"

TAxES for short
posted by saturday_morning at 6:22 AM on May 22 [167 favorites]


Eirias, I'm wondering about the same thing - when will people in blue states and cities start feeling the pinch? California, where I live, is: blue, wealthy, and has good people in government for the most part. And yet, even here, we have the Stephon Clark police shooting and the unfortunate guy who had the nerve to be found with Mentos (!) by an off-duty police officer, meaning, police violence against young men of color is an issue even here in blue, well-governed Arcadia.

My assumption is, as I've said before, that the people who will feel the pinch first and hardest are the ones who live in pockets of blue in red states (and thus are more dependent upon the federal government being on their side), as well as vulnerable people (in particular, immigrants, young men of color, and LGBT-especially-T folks). Well-heeled suburbanites, otoh, probably won't be affected unless and until the economy crashes.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 6:31 AM on May 22 [5 favorites]


Just a reminder that runoff elections are happening in four states today. I can only speak to Texas, but the dems are facing off for governor are Lupe Valdez and Andrew White. Lupe is the first Hispanic lesbian sheriff elected in Texas, she served for ten years, and is slightly left of White. White is the son of former governor, and is a centrist democratic who believes he can peel off republicans from Gregg Abbott.

In district 32, Pete Sessions, this good progressive dems are running, I'm going for Lillian, but won't be devastated if her opponent wins. Since he's a former football player, and he's flush with cash, the odds are in his favor.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:40 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


meaning, police violence against young men of color is an issue even here in blue, well-governed Arcadia.
Has anyone ever suggested that police violence is less of a problem in blue, well-governed Arcadia? That strikes me as one of those problems, like school segregation, that is not actually better in blue states than in red ones.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:44 AM on May 22 [15 favorites]


zachlipton: Boston Globe, Trump’s tweets include grammatical errors. And some are on purpose
Presidential speechwriters have always sought to channel their bosses’ style and cadence, but Trump’s team is blazing new ground with its approach to his favorite means of instant communication. Some staff members even relish the scoldings Trump gets from elites shocked by the Trumpian language they strive to imitate, believing that debates over presidential typos fortify the belief within his base that he has the common touch.
Looking stupid to own the libs is what we've reduced the presidency to.

Counterpoint: they're (unwittingly?) employing scammer email tactics, namely to filter out smart users who would immediately recognize the scam, thus ensuring that only the most gullible users respond, and to fool the victim into believing the scammer is not very sophisticated and can be tricked by the victim -- he's a great business man, but also a man of the people who's telling it like it is and not bothering with fancy words and formatting!
posted by filthy light thief at 7:08 AM on May 22 [44 favorites]


but somehow life in my midwestern state capital, in my federally funded research group, is proceeding as ever.

This is what fascism looks like, this is what the banality of evil looks like.
posted by nikaspark at 7:13 AM on May 22 [42 favorites]


Guardian: Rudy Giuliani won deal for OxyContin maker to continue sales of drug behind opioid deaths

I'm not saying that Giuliani should be executed, I'm saying that Trump says it.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:15 AM on May 22 [72 favorites]


Education Department Launches 'Top-To-Bottom' Review Of Teachers' Grant Program (NPR, May 22, 2018)
It's a financial nightmare for public school teachers around the country: Federal grants they received to work in low-income schools were converted to thousands of dollars in loans that they now must pay back.

NPR revealed these problems in a series of recent stories. The Department of Education now tells NPR it has launched a new, "top-to-bottom" internal review of all aspects of the TEACH grant program. Officials say the review is aimed at fixing the issues and that the department is "absolutely committed to improving" the program.
FUCKING HELL. Are you sure that this isn't a feature, not a bug? "Oops, those lazy/ liberal teachers don't get *free government money,* now they'll have to pay back their loans! Our bad! Let's convene another working group to investigate this. We'll have a meeting in June to plan for this commission, and then another in ... oh, how does October look?" (Yes, as of May 20, DeVos' national school safety commission has met twice so far, including an earlier meeting that was focused on planning, and it was only 4 strong, at least as of March 21, 2018 -- DeVos, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar -- a stellar line-up from Ms. "I trust parents and teachers, not Washington")

Fuck this sham of an administration and their grift that damaging America.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:21 AM on May 22 [74 favorites]


There’s definitely a lot to unpack in Trump’s fundamental carelessness and lack of competency. It goes all the way back to his campaign announcement speech and was on full display at the RNC, and his administration has been more and more of it. All the theories fit — it helps the scammer ID the mark. It shows his common touch. It helps the tribe sneer at the other and it helps them virtue signal one another. But the worst, maybe, is after all of that it tells us that competency and care simply do not matter — power and social position do. That’s a fundamental attack on the promise (however yet unrealized) of democratic meritocracy.

Frightening.
posted by notyou at 7:24 AM on May 22 [11 favorites]


Going to be hi-lareous if it results in unemployed PoC moving to white areas.

I get you’re coming from a good place, but I don’t love the implications either of “ha-ha, now you’ll have to live with POC!” or that unemployed POC would just move to jobless counties so they could get state aid - it ties into a lot of negative stereotypes about people not wanting to work.

Honestly I also think it’s reasonable to exempt people who will have an exceedingly hard time finding jobs from employment requirements, but also think it should be expanded to urban areas as well. More people getting good things rather than less.
posted by corb at 7:25 AM on May 22 [14 favorites]


Joanna Smialek, Bloomberg News: "Twitter Bots Helped Trump and Brexit Win, Economic Study Says"
Automated tweeting played a small but potentially decisive role in the 2016 Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s presidential victory, the National Bureau of Economic Research working paper showed this month. Their rough calculations suggest bots added 1.76 percentage point to the pro-“leave” vote share as Britain weighed whether to remain in the European Union, and may explain 3.23 percentage points of the actual vote for Trump in the U.S. presidential race.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:26 AM on May 22 [16 favorites]


First Michigan, now Ohio. These plans all just magically happen to exempt rural white unemployed Medicaid recipients from work requirements while targeting black communities.

It's amazing how the only time I ever hear about counties, it's in the context of a policy that somehow just happens to make life shittier for people who aren't cis white hetero men.
posted by Etrigan at 7:32 AM on May 22 [13 favorites]


Poll: Support for vaccines falls

The number of Americans who believe vaccinations are crucial to public health has fallen by ten percent in the last ten years, according to a new survey. A poll for Research America found that 70 percent say vaccinations for diseases like measles and polio are “very important.” That number is down from the 80 percent in November of 2008 who said the vaccines are crucial.

We're all getting stupider and the stupid is encroaching on all fronts. America is gorging on irrationality and the destination will be calamitous beyond reckoning.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:34 AM on May 22 [73 favorites]


Probably three reasons:
1) Cellphones promiscuously broadcast so-called metadata ("Hello! I'm a phone! My home service provider is XXXX and my number is YYYYYYY!"). This can't be encrypted, so all you need to do to pick it up is pretend to be a cell phone tower;
2) Actual calls are encrypted, and even if the encryption isn't strong, the fact that it's there means it would be illegal to intercept the call;
3) Publicly admitting you hacked the President's calls would probably earn you a visit from very serious people in dark suits.

But as a matter of fact there are undoubtedly people with those recordings, taken by cellphone interception or otherwise, and the reason we haven't heard them is that proof of wrongdoing is more valuable as evidence/kompromat than as material for the gossip pages of a newspaper.


The metadata is still pretty useful.

Even if the president's phone is secured the people he calls probably don't have the same level of IT support and you can target them for some spearfishing in order to capture the president's conversations from the other side of the call.
posted by srboisvert at 7:37 AM on May 22 [7 favorites]


Surprise, surprise - trying to undo rules that everyone was planning to address, even if they were complaining and lobbying against them IS BAD FOR BUSINESS -- Nothing Certain In Search For 'Regulatory Certainty' At EPA (NPR, May 22, 2018)
In his first address to career employees last year he told the gathered room at the EPA, "Regulators exist to give certainty to those that they regulate. Those that we regulate ought to know what we expect of them, so that they can plan and allocate resources to comply."

He's cited this in his efforts to delay, repeal or roll back the Clean Power Plan, the Waters of the U.S. Rule, and a string of other measures.

But some argue that many of his actions as EPA administrator are having the opposite effect, and that they could be setting a troublesome precedent going forward.

With so many regulations now in limbo, farmers, agriculturalists and others who are regulated by the EPA are "in a state of sort of perpetual uncertainty," says Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union.
Nothing like trying to budget and invest for Trumpian uncertainty. In the words of our brave leader: "if it happens, it happens."
posted by filthy light thief at 7:41 AM on May 22 [10 favorites]


B) The people who will donate to this crowdfund are fewer than you think, and have fewer nickels to rub together.

So, funny thing... in 2011, a year after passing SB1070, Arizona passed a bill to create a fund to build border fencing in the state. It was launched with a lot of hoopla and publicity. Real Americans were going to secure the borders, no matter what Washington thought. They were planning to raise $50 million.

The fund closed down at the end of last year after raising the massive sum of $270,000. So, if crowdfunding is the way you think you can build the wall, please proceed, lawmaker.
posted by azpenguin at 7:47 AM on May 22 [54 favorites]


EPA bars AP, CNN from summit on contaminants

The Latest on a hearing with EPA chief Scott Pruitt on a widespread contaminant in drinking water: [...] Guards barred an AP reporter from passing through a security checkpoint inside the building. When the reporter asked to speak to an EPA public-affairs person, the security guards grabbed the reporter by the shoulders and shoved her forcibly out of the EPA building.

All perfectly normal.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:50 AM on May 22 [63 favorites]


> Automated tweeting played a small but potentially decisive role in the 2016 Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s presidential victory

"Hey, that angry Twitter egg is right!" *goes off to vote against my own interests*
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:50 AM on May 22 [6 favorites]


That would be a n00b move. What you want to do is have all your angry Twitter eggs ceaselessly amplify news stories, real and fake, that reinforce your goals then let the social media’s feed sorting algorithms plop them down in front of people so they don’t even know eggs were involved. THEN you have your angry Twitter eggs go harass normal people because, hey, tradition.
posted by Artw at 7:54 AM on May 22 [14 favorites]


NBC News: Interior Dept. moves to allow Alaska bear hunting with doughnuts, bacon

The Trump administration is moving to reverse Obama-era rules barring hunters on some public lands in Alaska from baiting brown bears with bacon and doughnuts and using spotlights to shoot mother black bears and cubs hibernating in their dens. [...] Under the proposed changes, hunters would also be allowed to hunt black bears with dogs, kill wolves and pups in their dens, and use motor boats to shoot swimming caribou.

Cruelty shall be the whole of the Law.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:57 AM on May 22 [51 favorites]


Automated tweeting played a small but potentially decisive role in the 2016 Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s presidential victory

I’m not sure how we can really stop this honestly, and it’s a real problem that is only going to increase. People are easily influenced and now the tools to influence them are relatively cheap and easy for agents of all types to use. While I’m indignant about Russia, I would also be indignant if it was all homegrown.
posted by corb at 7:59 AM on May 22 [10 favorites]


“While aides have urged the president to swap out the Twitter phone on a monthly basis, Trump has resisted their entreaties, telling them it was ‘too inconvenient,’ (an) administration official said.

I know it's fun to dump on this clown and I'm not giving him a pass from showing some willingness to engage in proper security practices. But if the IT staff can't handle this process in the manner of walking up and handing him an identically configured app-only phone and walking away with the old one then he's right, that is more inconvenient than it needs to be.

I'm more disconnected from this space than I used to be, but in years past there was a small but steady business in doing minor surgery on smartphones to remove the cameras so they'd be acceptable for use in medium-security environments. People I knew in DTRA or who worked at Navy Yard would get their iPhones altered in this way so they could take them to work. There's no reason that sort of thing can't be done for Trump's phones, but including removing the microphone from a data-only phone.

In some ways this is identical to the way that State Department IT failed Clinton (and Powell and Rice and Kerry etc) by being unable/unwilling to set up a proper solution. Personally I think it's stupid in a multitude of ways that Trump is a tweet-raging manbaby who can't be deprived of his rant receptacle, and ultimately it's his Executive branch and if their IT blows that's on him. But that's about larger process and care - of which they show none - and we should avoid dunking on users for insisting on getting their jobs done. Sadly, rage-tweeting horseshit is the job our country elected Trump to do.
posted by phearlez at 8:01 AM on May 22 [19 favorites]


I’m not sure how we can really stop this honestly, and it’s a real problem that is only going to increase.

Computational propaganda” is a developing field of study.
posted by XMLicious at 8:08 AM on May 22 [15 favorites]


LRB - The Drift towards War.
This does not mean that war is inevitable, but the drift towards it is unmistakable and accelerating, whether or not anyone actually wants it. Trump, who has done nothing to stop gun violence in the US, has shown no more inclination to prevent regional warfare in the Middle East.
posted by adamvasco at 8:15 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Under the proposed changes, hunters would also be allowed to hunt black bears with dogs, kill wolves and pups in their dens, and use motor boats to shoot swimming caribou.

The Trapper and the Furrier by Regina Spektor gets more apt for this administration by the day.
(It inspired my 2017: Despair and Hope playlist)
posted by mikepop at 8:25 AM on May 22 [6 favorites]


But if the IT staff can't handle this process in the manner of walking up and handing him an identically configured app-only phone and walking away with the old one then he's right, that is more inconvenient than it needs to be.

I would not at all be surprised to learn that he doesn't want the IT staff to have any of his passwords, and then complains that having to re-input them on a new phone is too much effort.
posted by Etrigan at 8:27 AM on May 22 [16 favorites]


SecretAgentSockpuppet: "Just a reminder that runoff elections are happening in four states today."

Primaries are in four states today, one of which (Texas) is having primary runoffs.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:36 AM on May 22 [8 favorites]


I'm trying to imaging a worse job than doing IT support in the current Whitehouse.
posted by octothorpe at 8:37 AM on May 22 [36 favorites]


but somehow life in my midwestern state capital, in my federally funded research group, is proceeding as ever.

I spent a year as a contract archives cataloger at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, working mainly with SS records related to deportations of Jews to death camps and the seizure of their assets. Maybe the most unnerving thing about it was the commonplace, bureaucratic banality of the documentation of the destruction of thousands of lives - all rubber stamped, signed, and in duplicate. Right down to the coffee stains and the occasional cigarette ash burn. Hundreds of rolls of microfilm worth of it. *

Fascism doesn't represent a stark departure from the norm of a modern state, but the re-purposing of its machinery for evil (or still more evil) purposes. For those who weren't the targets of the Nazis, it very much felt like things were "proceeding as ever", or even improving.

I've said in the past here that I don't think the US is likely to be susceptible to a broad, Nazi-style campaign against racial / ethic minorities, and I still think that's the case. But serious damage is obviously being done to the democratic institutions that serve as a bulwark against fascism here, and I don't think we should let the fact that they continue to function for the time being lull us into complacency about the danger we're facing.

* And, contrary to stereotypes of German efficiency, filled with the same errors, inconsistencies, and angry handwritten annotations from up and down the chain of command.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:42 AM on May 22 [112 favorites]


Cook moves four House seats right:
CA-39 (R - open) | Lean D => Toss-up
CA-49 (R - open) | Lean D => Toss-up
NE-02 (R - Bacon) | Toss-up => Lean R
SC-05 (R - Norman) | Likely R => Solid R
Rationales are: possible top two primary lockout in the CA seats, not nominating Ashford the other night in NE, and this spousal abuse thing in SC. No argument on SC, I think the other three remain to be seen.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:45 AM on May 22 [12 favorites]


For those who weren't the targets of the Nazis, it very much felt like things were "proceeding as ever", or even improving.

In the diaries of Victor Klemperer there's an anecdote in which a non-Jewish friend of Klemperer tells him that the situation must be improving for Jews in Germany, because he was suddenly seeing more and more Jews walking openly in the streets: he had no idea that this was because Jews had been forbidden from using public transportation. That's what it's like.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:53 AM on May 22 [130 favorites]


I’m not sure how we can really stop this honestly, and it’s a real problem that is only going to increase.

Something like:

(1) Social media companies, you have to ensure that all the ads on your platform are legal and that any directly or indirectly paid activity on your platform is legal. That is, if someone hires people to do stuff on your platform, you have to make sure that those people are legally permitted to do that stuff for pay, and that the legal stuff they're doing has whatever disclaimers or disclosures are required.

(2) Every year, we are gonna audit your asses, and you gotta pay us 1.0003^(number of times someone is exposed to illegal activity) dollars. That is, for 10,000 impressions it's a pittance, and at 100,000 impressions your fine is more than half of US GDP.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:59 AM on May 22 [10 favorites]


Honestly I also think it’s reasonable to exempt people who will have an exceedingly hard time finding jobs from employment requirements, but also think it should be expanded to urban areas as well.

Not it's not reasonable, because it against the fucking law. Obamacare, the law of the land, says that the only requirement for Medicaid eligibility is income. Not work status, not health status, not wealth status and not drug status. Income. That's it.

Trump is simply failing to enforce the law and allowing red Republican states to receive waivers to the law in order to keep people from receiving the benefits they are due according to law.

This work requirement is similar to the drug testing requirement. When states required drug testing requirements for food stamps they found that 99% of recipients passed. The cost of the testing was greater than the money saved. The only purpose was to create bureaucratic barriers to eligibility.

The fact is that 80% of Medicaid recipients live in homes that have working adults. For those not working, the most common reasons not working are caring for family members, because they themselves are ill or disabled, or going to school.

And further, the working percentage is even higher in the states that expanded Medicaid because the working poor, those below the poverty level, are now eligible for Medicaid.

The purpose of these work requirements is not to encourage work. It is simple cruelty, to create more barriers, more hoops, more paperwork, more bureaucratic bullshit to discourage participation in Medicaid. If you don't fill out your documentation properly, you can be excluded from Medicaid for the next year.

And these dumbass Republicans don't even know that the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't even reliably measure the employment rate in rural counties. They simply do not have the sampling resolution to do so. Just to get a reasonable approximation, the BLS has to lump together several rural counties in order to have enough samples to come up with a number. The only reason for Republicans' county level exemptions is to hurt people of color and help white people.

The beauty of Obamacare Medicaid is that it eliminated the patchwork of arbitrary, differing, and confusing requirements in each state. There is now one simple requirement across the country -- low income. (In states that accepted Medicaid expansion money)

So no, these aren't reasonable exemptions because there should be no exemptions to a requirement that shouldn't even exist.
posted by JackFlash at 9:00 AM on May 22 [110 favorites]


ryanshepard, thank you for that horrible and unsettling image - as it should be.

I don’t feel complacent exactly. I feel like I’ve been on the crescendo of some kind of slow-motion panic attack for some time, especially this week (though perhaps this is the wrong thread for feelings). The fact that everything around me is proceeding as usual while it looks from the news like our democracy is dying is jarring. Is this what gaslighting feels like?

Rosie M. Banks, I guess you could say I live in that sort of place (reddish-purple state, blue city). I am dependent on two layers of government for my salary and I guess three layers for transportation (transit subsidies etc). I would think people in other parts of this red state would be more vulnerable than I am, because we are a rich city and much of the rural part of the state is poor and actually receives higher per capita government support, but I guess I can’t be sure.
posted by eirias at 9:03 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]




Ella Nilsen, Vox: The Democratic establishment torched this woman veteran in a Kentucky congressional race
Amy McGrath has been a fundraising and viral success — and voters will decide today if they’ll listen to the establishment.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:10 AM on May 22 [8 favorites]


I've said in the past here that I don't think the US is likely to be susceptible to a broad, Nazi-style campaign against racial / ethic minorities, and I still think that's the case.

The US has a long history of Nazi-style campaigns against minorities. It's why Hitler believed he'd get away with it.
posted by Merus at 9:17 AM on May 22 [17 favorites]


Vox, don’t use figurative stuff in headlines in 2018. I had to check that a woman wasn’t literally set on fire.
posted by erisfree at 9:20 AM on May 22 [59 favorites]


Today is Primary Runoff Election day in Texas. The big one is the Democratic nominee for Governor, the candidates are Lupe Valdez, former Dallas County Sheriff, and Andrew White, son of former governor Mark White. Valdez was leading White by about double in the primary election, but fell short of 50% so it moved to runoff.

The Texas Tribune has a good rundown, but the question basically boils down to the now standard Democratic infighting over the question of electibility, White is seen as more electable by many and not just centrists. Houston's biggest LGBT group endorsed White, which many outsiders found surprising since Valdez is a lesbian. Their rationale is that while White is explicitly running as a conservative Democrat he has a better chance of winning than Valdez and even a conservative Democrat would be better than another term of Greg Abbott.

In the closely watched District 21 race to determine who will replace outgoing long term and extremely influential Rep Lamar Smith (you may remember him as the Republican chair of the House Science Committee who denies global warming), the primary election has gone to a runoff for both the Democrats and the Republicans. Despite Smith handily winning reelection year after year this is seen as a possible pickup for Democrats which has given the seat more attention than it otherwise might get.

On the Democratic side the two entering the runoff are Mary Wilson and Joseph Kopser. In that election, as in the runoff, Kosper was the choice of the Democratic establishment getting both money and endorsements from the national party and prominant Democrats. Kosper outspent Wilson by close to 20 to 1. Wilson ran a grassroots campaign against the active opposition of the national Party and came in first in the primaries by a hair: 30.93% of the votes for her vs 28.98% for Kosper.

Again, the debate centers around electibility and the belief by some that only a conservative Democrat can win in Texas. It got ugly when Kosper put out what was seen by many as a push poll to emphasize the fact that Wilson is a lesbian. The San Antonio Express News has a good rundown of the primary election and its outcome.

On the Republican side, which is more likely to win TX-21 in the general election, both are far right wing Republicans and the real debate is over who is the most right wing.

Chip Roy is Ted Cruz' former chief of staff, he argues that birthright citizenship should end, the IRS should be abolished, and the US should adopt a national sales tax.

Matt McCall has run Tea Party supported primary challenges against Lamar Smith in prior elections and pledges that he will not vote for any debt limit ceiling increase that doesn't also include eliminating at least one department of the government. McCall would also like to abolish the 17th Amendment and end direct election of Senators.

Both candidates went for personal attacks during the primary, and are continuing that during the runup to the runoff.

Roy is the likely victor on the Republican side. The Austin-American Statesman has a good rundown of the two Republican candidates.

The TL;DR is that if the Republicans win in TX-21 (as is likely) then the person replacing Lamar Smith will, somehow, be even more of a right wing extremist than Smith was.
posted by sotonohito at 9:21 AM on May 22 [12 favorites]


Joanna Smialek, Bloomberg News: "Twitter Bots Helped Trump and Brexit Win, Economic Study Says"

Good news everybody! Twitter Is Going To Limit The Visibility Of Tweets From People Behaving Badly -- Act like a jerk, and Twitter will start limiting how often your tweets show up. (Alex Kantrowitz for Buzzfeed, May 15, 2018)

But of course Twitter explains (again) why it won't block Trump (back in January 2018) -- Twitter said that blocking or censoring the accounts of world leaders runs contrary to the social network's goal of fostering a "global, public conversation."
posted by filthy light thief at 9:31 AM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Kevin Drum at MoJo has a couple of interesting items back-to-back today.

First, Who Did Playboy Model Shera Bechard Really Have an Affair With?
It always seemed odd that Broidy had paid Shera Bechard $1.6 million for her silence ... [leading] Paul Campos to make the case that it was actually Donald Trump who had the affair, with Broidy taking the fall for him. [But the case was purely speculative.] ... After reading this AP story it sure seems a helluva lot more likely that Campos was right. By last November Broidy could practically smell his deals finally coming together. There was the $600 million deal with the UAE plus another deal worth $1 billion that he was pitching to Saudi Arabia. If he thought that taking a fall for Trump could be the final brick that would bring this all together, why wouldn’t he do it?
Next, and again perfectly in line with the thread title again, ZTE Lives! Thanks, Donald.
China recently invested $500 million in an Indonesian project that will feature Trump-branded hotels and a golf course. The investment looks like it’s already paying off.
Abusing public office for private enrichment? They're using anti-corruption guidelines as a To-Do list, and national security can get fucked as long as the spice keeps flowing.
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:33 AM on May 22 [28 favorites]


It's estimated only half of these cell phone trackers belong to US law enforcement—the rest are espionage hardware.

Strictly speaking, they are all espionage hardware. I think this means that half are foreign espionage hardware.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:33 AM on May 22 [18 favorites]


That Vox story on the Kentucky race is weak tea. "The Democratic establishment" apparently just means Amy McGrath's opponent Jim Gray, who once said the DCCC encouraged him to run, though the party hasn't made any endorsements in the race. In fact, various national Democrats chastised Gray for an ad that points out that McGrath moved to the district specifically to run for Congress and had never lived there before (she had been in the military and is a Kentucky native, but from further north in the state). Gray apparently constitutes the Democratic establishment because he has prior political experience as mayor of Lexington and 2016 Senate candidate, not because the party is doing anything at all to tilt the scales on this race, and his ad constitutes "torching" McGrath because Vox likes it when people click on articles.
posted by vathek at 9:34 AM on May 22 [25 favorites]


This morning, there was a classified congressional briefing on election security, including statements from FBI Director Wray, DNI Coates, and DHS Secretary Nielsen. We don't know exactly how the briefing went (re: classified), but at a press event following the briefing, CNN's Manu Raju asked about Russian election interference in 2016:
Manu Raju: Do you have any reason to doubt the January 2017 intelligence community assessment that said it was Vladimir Putin who meddled in the election to help President Trump win?

Sec. Nielsen: I do not believe I've seen that conclusion.

Manu Raju: The January 2017 assessment?

Sec. Nielsen: That the specific intent was to help President Trump Win - I am not aware of that, but I generally have no reason to doubt any intelligence assessment...I want to be very clear that what we have seen the Russians do is attempt to manipulate public confidence on both sides.
...
Manu Raju: The assessment did say that Putin orchestrated this cyber campaign with the intention of helping Donald Trump, do you have any disagreement with that?

Sec. Nielsen: I do believe that Russian did and will continue to try and manipulate Americans perspective on a variety of issues.
Since that happened,
DHS is now claiming that @mkraju's question "did not reflect the specific language in the [IC] assessment," but that's false. The report said Russia tried to help Trump win, which is what Manu said.
It's mind-boggling to imagine that the DHS Secretary wouldn't have read the January 2017 assessment -- remember, she was at this event to brief Congress ahead of the next election; this is literally her job -- so it seems more likely that Nielsen has read it and knows that admitting it in public would infuriate Trump. Nielsen already allegedly drafted a resignation letter after being criticized within the White House previously; this is -- probably -- yet another instance of Trump's bad leadership leading to people lying on his behalf in order to avoid his wrath.

Within the last fortnight, the Senate Intelligence Committee -- chaired by a Republican -- publicly endorsed the Jan. 2017 assessment. The people in office who seriously disagree with it are (1) Trump, (2) the White House, and (3) the Nunes-chaired House Intelligence Committee. This is (probably) a cabinet secretary lying to the public for what are, essentially, political reasons.

(Nielsen also previously probably lied on Trump's behalf at her confirmation hearing in January, downplaying his 'shithole' comments and claiming to not know if Norway's population was predominately white and therefore claiming to be unable to draw any conclusions about whether Trump's comments were racially motivated.)
posted by cjelli at 9:34 AM on May 22 [52 favorites]


There is only one Trump scandal.

A/K/A GUTTS: Grand Unified Theory of Trump Scandals.
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:39 AM on May 22 [13 favorites]


1. seeing his picture calms me down and makes me feel that someone, somewhere, is working against evil

I wonder if the best possible thing for Donald Trump wouldn’t be a Mueller investigation of infinite length. The knowledge that he’s there keeps us calm, myself included (and I suspect many on both sides of the aisle in Congress included), and that calmness works to Trump’s advantage. As Rebecca Solnit said, we keep waiting for the coup, and it already happened.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:40 AM on May 22 [11 favorites]


sotonohito: "The Texas Tribune has a good rundown, but the question basically boils down to the now standard Democratic infighting over the question of electibility, White is seen as more electable by many and not just centrists. Houston's biggest LGBT group endorsed White, which many outsiders found surprising since Valdez is a lesbian. Their rationale is that while White is explicitly running as a conservative Democrat he has a better chance of winning than Valdez and even a conservative Democrat would be better than another term of Greg Abbott."

There's also been a lot of talk that Valdez hasn't been running a very strong campaign - it took her weeks to name a campaign manager, etc. Maybe some of that's politically motivated, but it does seem like she's not meeting the O'Rourke standard.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:40 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


@BenjaminWittes writes about the maneuvering and compromises of Wray and Rosenstein:
If Wray and Rosenstein can reach an accommodation they can live with—even a bad one—the exigent need to protect the Mueller investigation may well justify a step that would otherwise be unacceptable...

Second, let’s all be a little bit humble about judging these men. I have had harsh words for Rosenstein in the past, and Wray has handled some things suboptimally, in my view. But they are both right now in a simply impossible situation. And they are playing a critical role.
posted by Jpfed at 9:44 AM on May 22 [16 favorites]


Hot takes about Trump's cellphone seem to miss what should be an obvious point: Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) aren't commonly used against consumers, our risk analyses, awareness of how to handle device security, and consequently what's available to us are informed by this fact.

This is emphatically not the case with the fucking President, where likely most or all of the attacks are going to be APTs.
posted by odinsdream at 9:44 AM on May 22 [34 favorites]


Mid-day news roundup:

Capping off earlier speculation but leaving the field open for this fall, NYDaily News: Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood to remain in office until year's end
State lawmakers have decided to keep Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood in office through the end of the year.

The Legislature will hold a joint meeting of the Senate and Assembly later Tuesday afternoon to officially designate Underwood as the state's new attorney general, replacing the disgraced Eric Schneiderman, sources said.
...
Underwood, who was the solicitor general, has been running the Attorney General's Office since Schneiderman was forced to resign earlier this month. She has said she does not intend to run for the office in November.
Per CBS's Mark Knoller, Trump just cast doubt on whether or not there will be a summit between the US and NK this June:
“We’re moving along. We’ll see what happens," says Pres Trump of planned summit with Kim Jong-un. But in Oval Office photo op with Pres Moon, @POTUS prepared for a postponement. "If it doesn’t happen, maybe it will happen later.” "It may not work out for June 12th."
And despite the announcement that there would be a meeting between 'congressional leaders' and the DoJ about the Mueller investigation / 'informant' 'scandal,' it's still unclear who's actually going to be involved: the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee now say that they had previously rejected an offer to be briefed on the issue, in order to preserve the security of the informant, and that they have yet to be invited to this newly-announced meeting.
posted by cjelli at 9:45 AM on May 22 [13 favorites]


> The Democratic establishment torched this woman veteran in a Kentucky congressional race

That Vox article is making plenty of flawed assumptions, and it's one in particular that drives me nuts - It's assuming that they need to win over Trump voters, and that because there are 100,000 more registered democratic voters than Republican, that the Registered democratic voters that "flipped" to Trump are the decisive voters.

The reality is:
- Democratic turnout was very poor in that region over the past few elections, so it's not that Democratic voters "flipped" - they didn't vote in the first place.
- "Trump voters" cannot be "won over" in this election. You are not going to get someone who is a Trumpist to vote for EITHER an openly gay man or a woman for a position of authority.
- KY regional results are not always correlated to national results
- The KY democratic party is weird and frustrating, and any rational analysis of the party cannot be based on behavior of the nation as a large

Beyond that, that article is painting Gray in an extremely negative light- Outside of being a "big-city, older millionaire", Gray is someone who is very beloved for his past leadership as Mayor of Lexington, and is viewed in an extremely positive light by the people in the region - and he has been successful as an openly gay man in a region that is, putting it lightly, not the most tolerant of LGBT folk. He's had to overcome a lot of adversity to get to where he is. I don't think he should have run an attack ad against her, I think that was a really giant mistake - but to paint this as "Woman veteran newcomer attacked by THE ESTABLISHMENT" is conveniently ignoring a significant portion of Grays story, and it's also ignoring a significant amount of HER story...

It's really frustrating that the focus is on McGrath's lack of political experience as a virtue. She has actual positions that are much more engaging to those who would vote for her than 1. Veteran and 2. Outsider - For example, she believes strongly that healthcare is a human right, and that's one of her top campaign points.

This article is everything wrong with election coverage distilled into a single piece.
posted by MysticMCJ at 9:46 AM on May 22 [45 favorites]


Sorry, posted too soon: what this means is: it is absolutely worth it to spend enormous amounts of resources (money, people, time) to target Trump's personal phone, especially because of how he uses it to consume information and communicate, with Twitter and via calls, texts, emails, etc..

Given only what's publicly known right now, it's safe to assume his device has been compromised. He clearly refuses technical advice, and it's a severe issue as a result.
posted by odinsdream at 9:47 AM on May 22 [13 favorites]




McGrath and Gray are both good candidates. The DCCC did encourage Gray to get in the race after McGrath had already declared, but he might have done that anyway, he'd been openly debating his next political move ever since losing the Senate race. I've talked to some people in KY and they got the impression McGrath wasnt getting a lot of donor response at first, and that's why Gray got another call. McGrath has seemingly closed that initial money gap with more name recognition, she'd probably be fine from that perspective in the general now.

The DCCC does candidate recruitment, pretty much the whole point of their existence is to call people like Jim Gray and Phil Bredesen and ask them to run. They haven't pulled any underhanded tricks against McGrath like they did against Laura Moser in TX-7.

I do think Gray has the better chance to win, but that's based on his actual record as Mayor, it's not because he's going to win over Trump voters as some kind of stealth DINO. He's the most popular Mayor of Lexington in my lifetime, basically no one I know has a bad word to say about him. McGrath could win too in a wave environment, but she's going to have a lot more work to do without Gray's track record and popularity, and she might only be in office two years, where Gray could win several terms. If I had to pick, let's just take the lay up here please. Gray would be a bog standard business friendly Democrat that won't be a progressive firebrand like maybe McGrath would, but I can't see him voting against the party line much at all either.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:09 AM on May 22 [9 favorites]


It always seemed odd that Broidy had paid Shera Bechard $1.6 million for her silence ...

Why indeed would he do this...

Susan Simpson (The View From LL2)
Dec 1, 2017: Elliott Broidy makes first payment under a $1.6M hush agreement negotiated by Michael Cohen, the president's personal attorney, that prevents Brechard from speaking of her affair/abortion with David Dennison.

Dec 2, 2017: Broidy gets a private meeting with Trump. ARTICLE SCREENSHOT

Dec 4, 2009: Broidy pleaded guilty to bribing a political official as part of a pay-to-play scheme by giving ~$140K to a model that the political official was having an affair with.
posted by chris24 at 10:15 AM on May 22 [41 favorites]




octothorpe: I'm trying to imaging a worse job than doing IT support in the current Whitehouse.

What's that you say? Well, maybe just barely. [YT]

--
odinsdream: This is emphatically not the case with the fucking President, where likely most or all of the attacks are going to be APTs.

I've heard the infosec staff from Harvard deliver talks at the springtime Security Camp in Boston a few times in recent years, and they are under constant, agile, thoughtful attack at all times, in addition to the same flood of garbage probes that everyone faces 24/7. Ugh, it was exhausting just getting walked through some of the timelines of particular incidents. Godspeed to you, nerds.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:18 AM on May 22 [7 favorites]


Israel and Evangelicals: New U.S. Embassy Signals a Growing Alliance
While Israel has long depended on the support of the Jewish diaspora, the Netanyahu government has made a historic and strategic shift, relying on the much larger base of evangelical Christians, even at the risk of turning off American Jews who may be troubled by some evangelicals’ denigration of their faith.

The paradox is well known: The beliefs of many evangelical Christians that Israel is special to God — and, for some, a marker in apocalyptic prophecies — lead many to hawkish support of the Jewish state while they simultaneously insist that salvation awaits only those who accept Jesus as their savior.

Mr. Netanyahu’s calculation mirrors that of his strong ally in Washington, where Mr. Trump has tapped a wellspring of evangelical support. Many of his top evangelical advisers attended the embassy dedication as well as private meetings with Mr. Netanyahu last week.

But liberal Israelis warn that the increasingly close ties between the Israeli right and the Christian right are accelerating a polarization that is turning support for Israel into a partisan question in Washington; not one Democratic lawmaker attended the embassy opening.

Liberal Jews also complain of a double standard, noting that Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing government is far more vigilant about allegations of bigotry on the political left than among its conservative backers.
[...]
David M. Friedman, the American ambassador to Israel who presided over the embassy dedication, said evangelical Christians “support Israel with much greater fervor and devotion than many in the Jewish community.”

“You’re running a country, you need friends, you need alliances, you need to protect your people,” he said in an interview.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:29 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


As an IT guy, yeah. Trump seems like a nightmare to try and work with. He's one of those people who has to be right about everything, and who believes they already know everything so you can't tell him anything. My guess is that since most tech is likely completely opaque to him, Trump has decided it's just unimportant toys and that anyone who really pays much attention to technology is a fool and probably some sort of overgrown child.

Result is that he does stupid stuff with his tech, you can't tell him not to, you can't explain why doing what he did is a bad idea, and he will continue to do it because he sees any sort of security arrangements as just overgrown children playing with meaningless toys.

Naturally all of that masks a fundamental fear of technology that has developed since his formative years. Note his fascination with the White House phone system, which is old school enough he can at least sort of pretend to get it, his declaration that digital catapults for aircraft carriers were crap and everyone should use steam, and so on.

He's the sort of client every tech has had experience with, and that every tech dreads. When they're above you in a company it's time to dust off the resume because sticking around will be a miserable experience.

Chrysostom Yes,it's also true that Valdez has run a strangely incompetent campaign (her debate performance was also awful). I left that off though because despite her campaign being seemingly incompetent, she's got a double digit lead over White so clearly she must be doing something right even though it looks really incompetent from the outside.

Either that or the insider/outsider, more left / less left, straight white guy / lesbian Latina, dichotomy is more significant than her not very well run campaign.
posted by sotonohito at 10:30 AM on May 22 [12 favorites]


Twitter explains (again) why it won't block Trump (back in January 2018) -- Twitter said that blocking or censoring the accounts of world leaders runs contrary to the social network's goal of fostering a "global, public conversation."

Then don't block POTUS45. RealDonaldTrump is just a personal account; it should be subject to the standard terms of use.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:32 AM on May 22 [53 favorites]


Mark Zuckerberg's face as Nigel Farage praises the social network for enabling Brexit, Trump, and the Italian election results

Is he happy? Sad? One can never tell with replicants.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:34 AM on May 22 [13 favorites]




Someone has to nail the Twitter leadership down on the question of whether it's conceivably possible for a world leader's account to violate the rules so egregiously that it is blocked. If the answer is no, then perhaps for the sake of honesty they should just remove the "report" button from those accounts. (Although the resultant excitement from deplorables about an "officially" unchained Donald might not be worth it.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:39 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


“We’re moving along. We’ll see what happens," says Pres Trump of planned summit with Kim Jong-un. But in Oval Office photo op with Pres Moon, @POTUS prepared for a postponement. "If it doesn’t happen, maybe it will happen later.” "It may not work out for June 12th."

He never fucking knows. He says stuff like this all of the time because he has no clue what's going on and tries to bluff his way through these statements to sound like a big man, and because he thinks keeping people guessing helps his ratings (not his approval ratings, his TV ratings which are the only ratings he cares about). He's a fool and the longer the world has to deal with him, the worse off we all are.
posted by Servo5678 at 10:40 AM on May 22 [31 favorites]


An actual sinkhole has opened on the White House lawn. It’s growing Heather Timmons, Quartz [real]
“It was noticeably bigger between Sunday and Monday,” Herman said. “It’s more than a foot long right now,” he said. A second sinkhole has opened up right next to it, he said.
Pithy metacommentary on irony and/or narrative made manifest is left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by Freon at 10:46 AM on May 22 [64 favorites]


CBS's Bianna Golodryga @biannagolodryga from Trump's pool spray with President Moon today: “What’s your next question?” Trump’s response after being asked if he has confidence in Rod Rosenstein.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:47 AM on May 22 [8 favorites]


Daniel Nexon, LGM: The Constitutional Crisis is That There is No “Crisis”
Of course, we’ve been in a constitutional crisis, at the very least, since Trump fired FBI director James Comey under transparent pretenses, only to immediately admit that the real reason was Comey’s handling of the Russia probe. Subsequent revelations have clarified that, prior to the firing, Trump pressured Comey to order the FBI to limit its investigation. [...]

Thus, various commentators have called for “red lines,” such as the “firing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, Attorney General Jeff Sessions” or “Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.” A number of senators, including Republicans, have proclaimed “red lines,” such as firing special prosecutor Robert Mueller. But it remains unclear whether any such “red lines” exist, and for whom they matter. [...]

In his classic work, Arms and Influence, Thomas Schelling writes that:
“Salami tactics,” we can be sure, were invented by a child…. Tell a child not to go in the water and he’ll sit on the bank and submerge his bare feet; he is not yet “in” the water. Acquiesce, and he’ll stand up; no more of him is in the water than before. Think it over, and he’ll start wading, not going any deeper; take a moment to decide whether this is different and he’ll go a little deeper, arguing that since he goes back and forth it all averages out. Pretty soon we are calling to him not to swim out of sight, wondering whatever happened to all our discipline
Salami tactics work by exploiting ambiguity. They involve incremental violations—of borders, political commitments, or institutional norms—that can be excused away; they always seem to fall short of inviting retaliation. [...]

We might argue that Trump is a creature of “probes” and “testing.” That’s always been the nature of his confidence game. It would follow that salami tactics are a basic part of his arsenal. But I think this misreads the situation. Trump is also a creature of impulse. Whether the issue is withdrawing American troops from the Korean peninsula or firing Mueller, we see a pattern in which his advisors and aides constantly run interference. Trump wants to do something risky, for national security or his own political survival, and those around him scramble to ‘satisfy’ him while avoiding a crisis—or preventing the crisis from, so to speak, going nuclear. Everyone involved then breathes a sigh of relief.

The problem: in practice, this process produces a steady stream of “small violations” that are never enough to shift GOP elites, or provide a clear rallying cry for Democrats, and that buy even more time to propagandize the Republican base. [...]

The crisis never comes, and thus we continue on a very dangerous path.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:49 AM on May 22 [77 favorites]


Speaking of The White House lawn, did that tree French President Emmanuel Macron brought make it out of quarantine and get replanted?
posted by jazon at 10:54 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


> It is absolutely worth it to spend enormous amounts of resources (money, people, time) to target Trump's personal phone, especially because of how he uses it.

Yeah, if I'm a nation state, maybe I break into every Apple Store in DC and replace their entire stock of iPhones with my slightly modified version of the hardware, which features always-on, always transmitting microphones.

Just in case some staffer gets the bright idea of walking to a store to buy a "random" iPhone with the belief that it might be safe to do so - like Trump ordering food from McDs.

Sure, it would be somewhat expensive. But imagine the payoff.

And if I can imagine this scenario, I am sure that foreign intelligence services have done better. Maybe they suborn the gold master iOS (and Android, equal time) software to behave in a certain way only when the GPS coordinates are in a certain range. Why not? It would be undetectable in usage testing, and all you need is to bribe a few people with access to the code and the two engineers who audit that obscure module.

If your target is the President himself, what level of investment might be justified? What pressure might you bring to bear?

Meanwhile, this jackass can't even be bothered to listen to basic advice from his own experts.
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:55 AM on May 22 [14 favorites]


An actual sinkhole has opened on the White House lawn.

Maybe that's what happened to that tree they planted.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:58 AM on May 22 [9 favorites]


Re: Broidy and Bechard: let’s imagine that Campos’ and Drum’s speculation is right, the affair was Trump’s, and Broidy’s money was meant to buy access. That happened in December and we found out about Daniels in January. The different price tags for the two hush payments surprised me. Is that why Daniels spoke up? Because she got wind of this other case somehow and realized she’d been stiffed? Or do we already have some other explanation for the timing?
posted by eirias at 10:58 AM on May 22 [5 favorites]


Don't be ridiculous; nobody would replace an entire iPhone store on the off-chance that the President's new phone is going to be one of them.

They just need to plant an intern near him so that when the president mutters something about "damn network is slow" the intern says "I can fix that for you! Let me install this app that speeds up the access!" And what they've got is some 99-cent "security speedup" app in the iStore that mostly does some pointless "monitor your batter life" activity, but is written to allow backdoor access if a specific password is given on installation.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:01 AM on May 22 [8 favorites]


And if they want to plant someone near him, they don't go for White House staff; that place has actual security. (Sort of.) They look for waiter openings at Mar-a-Lago.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:03 AM on May 22 [10 favorites]


Point is, there are uncountable ways to compromise a device under these circumstances, and he's clearly refused to let people who know better advise him. The device *is* compromised.
posted by odinsdream at 11:03 AM on May 22 [9 favorites]


Or you know, just have Trump give up allied sourced intelligence directly to your face in the Oval Office.
posted by PenDevil at 11:08 AM on May 22 [55 favorites]


Rationales are: possible top two primary lockout in the CA seats

If we don't take the House because a bunch of narcissists wouldn't drop out of the primary despite being behind in the polling... well, I actually won't be surprised. But seriously, drop the fuck out of these races if you're not one of the top 2 polling Democrats. Or I will be very cross with you.
posted by Justinian at 11:15 AM on May 22 [11 favorites]


Really, though, pour one out for the foreign intelligence agencies that have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on 0-day exploits to compromise the President's phone only to realize that audio feeds of Fox & Friends are already widely available.
posted by 0xFCAF at 11:15 AM on May 22 [35 favorites]


> They just need to plant an intern near him

Maybe that's what the Germans did.

> They look for waiter openings at Mar-a-Lago.

And maybe that's what the Ukrainians did.

> nobody would replace an entire iPhone store on the off-chance that the President's new phone is going to be one of them.

If I'm the Chinese intelligence service, are you *sure* I wouldn't? Actually, maybe I suborn FoxConn.

> just have Trump give up allied sourced intelligence directly to your face in the Oval Office.

Yeah, if you're the Russians, you don't really need any of this, do you?
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:15 AM on May 22 [11 favorites]


I imagine the Russians' main concern is how to avoid the other countries' surveillance operations when getting information from the White House.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:20 AM on May 22 [20 favorites]


But seriously, drop the fuck out of these races if you're not one of the top 2 polling Democrats

On top of too many giant assholes running, part of the problem seems to be the lack of reliable polling in House districts. There's pretty much just internal poll results, which lets the trailing candidates claim that they're not actually trailing.

If billionaires like Tom Seyer wanted to do some actual good with their money, paying for some legitimate polling in key House races could help. It's not the first thing I'd do with a billion dollars, but it's better than an impeachment billboard.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:24 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


I imagine the Russians' main concern is how to avoid the other countries' surveillance operations when getting information from the White House.

The Oval Office is probably bugged like a Cuban embassy. It's a wonder all the competing frequencies aren't making people's ears bleed.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:25 AM on May 22 [6 favorites]


ErisLordFreedom: RealDonaldTrump is just a personal account; it should be subject to the standard terms of use.

Except Tweets by @realDonaldTrump are official statements of the @POTUS, per Justice Department back in Nov. 2017.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:28 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


It's not the first thing I'd do with a billion dollars, but it's better than an impeachment billboard.

But that might mean only running his self-aggrandizing television commercials every 15 minutes instead of every 10 minutes. Crazy talk. Good point about the polling though. There's got to be someone who can intervene here. We've got a golden opportunity to pick up a bunch of seats here in CA and we're on the verge of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
posted by Justinian at 11:29 AM on May 22


Yeah, if I'm a nation state, maybe I break into every Apple Store in DC and replace their entire stock of iPhones with my slightly modified version of the hardware, which features always-on, always transmitting microphones.

I'm kinda wondering if doing something similar hasn't occurred to the WH IT guys? There's probably big bucks out there for some recordings of SCOTUS/Hannity late-night love calls. You could always blame it on "hackers."
posted by Thorzdad at 11:29 AM on May 22 [5 favorites]


An actual sinkhole has opened on the White House lawn. It’s growing Heather Timmons, Quartz [real]

Soon, The Orb will rise.
posted by mikepop at 11:40 AM on May 22 [52 favorites]


An actual sinkhole has opened on the White House lawn. It’s growing Heather Timmons, Quartz

That's an odd combination of growths
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:48 AM on May 22 [41 favorites]


Something weird is going on with the Ipsos generic ballot poll. Sample seems to have changed to far more Trump voters.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:50 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted; let's not go down the sinkhole...uh... rabbit hole.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:56 AM on May 22 [9 favorites]


Something weird is going on with the Ipsos generic ballot poll. Sample seems to have changed to far more Trump voters.

That may be true but the charts at that link aren't saying anything like that? It's just another way of expressing the generic ballot margin over time? Or are you basing the claim on info from someplace else.
posted by Justinian at 12:01 PM on May 22


Trump admits North Korea nuclear summit 'may not work out'.
The Bolton Administration Has Already Begun - Foreign Policy In Focus - May 16th. The hard-right national security adviser successfully tanked the Iran deal. His next target? The North Korea talks.
posted by adamvasco at 12:02 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


This seems to be real? Shining achievement: is Trump’s celebratory Kim​ Jong-un coin a little premature?

The newly minted coin commemorates a summit that hasn’t happened yet – let’s hope the North Korean leader turns up

From The Guardian.
posted by mumimor at 12:05 PM on May 22 [7 favorites]


CBS's Bianna Golodryga @biannagolodryga from Trump's pool spray with President Moon today: “What’s your next question?” Trump’s response after being asked if he has confidence in Rod Rosenstein.

“My next question is ‘Why don’t you want to answer my question about your confidence in Rod Rosenstein?’”
posted by msalt at 12:05 PM on May 22 [54 favorites]


But it remains unclear whether any such “red lines” exist, and for whom they matter.

That's polite of the author to say, but it's pretty clear to whom they don't matter.

Why is anyone surprised when the party has made it an article of faith that the institutions of government are a problem to be rid of is not particularly interested in making sure those institutions can operate without interference? Why is anyone surprised when the core value of the modern GOP is doing anything at all to avoid accountability of private power ... doesn't want leadership to be accountable to public institutions, even if it's leadership they may privately/quietly recognize as corrupt and incompetent?

Modern Republican core values are operating as expected here. The fact that they have little to do with loving the institutions that have made America great isn't a shock.
posted by wildblueyonder at 12:06 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


From a few weeks ago, Dutch news magazine Zembla released a ½-hour documentary “Pounds And Poison From Moscow” (in English; “pounds” as in £) about Sergei Magnitsky's murder, the U.S. Magnitsky Act, the 2016 Trump Tower meeting (the one with Russia, obv), the repeated frustrated attempts during the last 6 years to get an equivalent to the Magnitsky Act enacted in the Netherlands, and the numerous assassinations in London by the Russian government.

(content warning: descriptions of murders and close-up forensic photos of injuries on Magnitsky's limbs)

Includes extensive interviews with Ben Browder, the American-British friend and associate of Magnitsky who champion the legislation in the U.S. and has been working in the Dutch and EU legislatures, and an interview with Heidi Blake, a Buzzfeed journalist whose book Poison In The System about the London killings was nominated for a Pulitzer.

There's also an interview with Natalia Veselnitskaya who alleges that Browder has “killed too many people already”. I guess because the Russian government claims that the financial fraud Magnitsky, Browder, and others were investigating when he died—supposedly due to a heart attack in their version—was actually perpetrated by them and they have been trying to cover it up? And she didn't meet with the Trump campaign on behalf of the Russian government, but “it would have been an honor” if she had.

At the end the Zembla documentary suggests that the Skripal poisoning has prompted... the Dutch Parliament, I think? to reconsider their own version of the Magnitsky Act. English Google results seem to indicate that nothing conclusive has happened yet.

Also btw last year Nikolai Gorokhov, a lawyer for Magnitzky's family, mysteriously fell from a fourth-story balcony in Moscow. He survived but suffered a skull fracture that put him in the hospital for quite a while and has no memory of what happened, but believes someone was trying to kill him.
posted by XMLicious at 12:09 PM on May 22 [14 favorites]


Stopped Clock Jennifer Rubin, WaPo: Did Rosenstein and Wray play Trump?
I would suggest a third take on the meeting: Wray and Rosenstein, with Mueller’s full backing, might be setting up Trump. We know Mueller is already pursuing an obstruction-of-justice inquiry that might relate to acts such as Trump firing former FBI director James B. Comey, falsely accusing him of illegally leaking confidential material, pressuring Comey to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn, helping draft a phony cover story to explain the June 9 Trump Tower meeting and conducting an extended campaign to smear, discredit and disrupt the work of the FBI and the special counsel. In that vein, wouldn’t a meeting directly ordering Wray and Rosenstein to conduct what amounts to a wild goose chase and to put confidential material into the hands of congressional allies be part of the pattern of possible obstruction they are investigating?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:23 PM on May 22 [18 favorites]


WH statement following Trump's meeting with DOJ officials:
“... It was also agreed that White House Chief of Staff Kelly will immediately set up a meeting with the FBI, DOJ, and DNI together with Congressional Leaders to review highly classified and other information they have requested.”


It's been unclear since that was announced what 'a meeting' would entail or who 'congressional leaders' meant, specifically. Now we know. Per Politco's Kyle Cheney,
NEWS: White House [through Sarah Huckabee Sanders] says meeting between DOJ and lawmakers will be Thursday [May 24th]. Reps. NUNES, GOWDY, FBI Director Wray, DNI Coats and DOJ's Ed O'CALLAHAN. No White House officials.

No Dems, either, apparently.
And no involvement from the Senate Intelligence Committee, either.

Neither Nunes nor the White House is acting in good faith, here.
posted by cjelli at 12:30 PM on May 22 [31 favorites]


NYT, Chances of China Trade Win Undercut by Trump Team Infighting. This is just a long litany of how not to have a trade negotiation. As Ilan Goldberg summarizes:
As someone who was part of diplomatic talks, this story on how Trump team screwed up China negotiations is a textbook case of nearly EVERY SINGLE THING you should NOT do. Bodes badly for North Korea summit. Let’s pick it apart step by grueling step

Before the talks. Fail to prepare. Don’t have sufficient deliberations to come to a common negotiating position as a team. This is where you need an engaged POTUS to listen to the disagreements among the team & set guidance. Of course Trump won’t do that.

During the talks. Because you failed to prepare have “profanity laced shouting matches” amongst yourselves in front of the Chinese encouraging them to exploit splits in the US team.

Have the President publicly tweet sensitive concessions he plans to make causing a backlash in Congress that shuts down those options before they’ve even been offered or negotiated. now you’ve taken away your negotiating space.

Also leak China’s concession to the press causing them to have to deny the concessions publicly and forcing the Chinese to & take a harder line. Now you’ve taken away your counterpart’s negotiating space.

After the talks fail have various members of the team come out with different positions that publicly criticize the results of the negotiations and each other. Because that sends a good signal before the next negotiating round.

Top it off with a front page NY Times story where clearly many of the US negotiators disparaged each other to the press. Because I’m sure they’ll now work really well as a team going forward.

Good luck with the North Korea summit. Glad we got rid of the JCPOA to negotiate a better deal. And of course we’ll get the ultimate deal on Israel-Palestine. God help us all
And remember, this is yet another problem entirely of Trump's own making. He's the one that started these trade talks and hired a bunch of idiots to run them.

----

McClatchy, Trump works to cut high-skilled visas in NAFTA deal
The administration wants to limit the number of eligible professions and decrease the number of visa renewals of Treaty NAFTA , or TN, visas as the countries renegotiate the 1994 trade deal. Trump, who has forced the renegotiation, has threatened to scrap it unless it addresses the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico.

“At the negotiating table, the U.S. statements have been basically, ‘Look, we want to scale this back, we don’t want to agree to expand it (visas),’" said Eric Miller, a trade consultant who has worked for the Canadian government and continues to advise them on the negotiations.

The discussions over the visas are continuing even though Congress passed a bill in 2016 barring any administration from trying to change the number of visas granted to a country as part of trade negotiations, after past presidents did just that.

Some people on Capitol Hill who have studied the 2016 law’s language say the administration can work around it by modifying the existing trade agreement instead of writing a new one.
...
Negotiators from the United States, Canada and Mexico missed an informal deadline last week set by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. to complete talks to allow lawmakers to vote on a new treaty this year. Talks continue, but it's highly unlikely now that Congress will consider the treaty this year, given their schedule and the upcoming midterm elections.
posted by zachlipton at 12:35 PM on May 22 [22 favorites]


Stopped Clock Jennifer Rubin, WaPo: Did Rosenstein and Wray play Trump?

"People" have been saying that the result was going to be DOJ throwing this to the Inspector General, i.e. "somewhat of a black hole," since about an hour after the tweet went out. Furthermore, would that Rubin exercised as much curiosity about DOJ regulations regarding its leadership acting as undercover agents as much as she does toward her own imagination.
posted by rhizome at 12:36 PM on May 22


Just got a fundraising email from CREW:
As you may have seen in the news last week, President Trump’s 2018 public financial disclosures were just released, and they immediately raised some very serious questions. By finally disclosing his payment to Michael Cohen, President Trump called the accuracy of his 2017 disclosures into question as he failed to report the Cohen loan in them, despite the fact that he was legally required to do so. (For a few links to articles covering last week’s breaking news, please see below.)

In response to this discrepancy and referencing CREW’s prior complaints on the matter, Office of Government Ethics Director David Apol referred these disclosures to the Department of Justice, publicly signaling that the government’s main ethics office believes the loan from Michael Cohen should have been disclosed on President Trump’s 2017 public financial disclosure. This kind of letter from OGE to the Justice Department about a potential disclosure violation by the president is extraordinary (it appears to be a first in OGE’s 40-year history), and it is gratifying that CREW’s complaint helped to spur it.

What does this mean? If the President intentionally failed to disclose the loan from Cohen last year, that is a crime. Failure to properly disclose information required to be reported can result in civil penalties of up to $50,000 and criminal penalties including imprisonment of up to one year. Federal law further prohibits anyone from knowingly and willfully making “any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation” in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch, with violations punishable by up to five years in prison.

What happens next? In response to this groundbreaking news, we have filed a criminal complaint against President Trump, calling for an investigation into whether he knowingly and willfully failed to report the Cohen loan on his 2017 disclosure forms. There is substantial evidence that President Trump had knowledge of the loan when he filed his public financial disclosures last year, despite his failure to report it. If the DOJ is not already investigating the president’s failure to disclose the loan last year, it should open an investigation immediately to determine whether there is evidence of a crime, including whether the President did, in fact, knowingly and willfully fail to disclose the loan.

This complaint is one of more than 200 legal actions we have taken concerning this administration. We are working to counter seemingly daily ethics violations from the White House, Administrator Scott Pruitt and the EPA, dark money groups, and others. We couldn’t do any of this without your much-needed support.
I gave. I'll give again.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:41 PM on May 22 [23 favorites]


How anti-abortion forces learned to love Trump
President Donald Trump on Tuesday night addresses the anti-abortion group that calls him the most "pro-life president" ever. It's the exact same group that just two years ago begged Iowa caucus voters to nominate “anyone” but Trump.

“I’m totally eating my words,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, who's feting Trump at the group's annual gala in Washington. “It’s the happiest wrong I’ve ever been."
...
The Title X changes come on the heels of executive actions to undo an Obamacare requirement that most employers provide contraception in their employee health plans; the expansion of federal prohibitions on foreign aid to nongovernmental organizations that even mention abortion; the establishment of a federal office to review complaints from health care workers who have moral objections to performing some procedures; and deep cuts to the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.
...
The Trump White House and SBA List are so in sync that the group encouraged guests at Tuesday's bash to stay at the Trump International Hotel. The organization even held a contest to win a trip to the gala that includes free accommodations at the venue. An SBA List spokeswoman said the group had already reserved a bloc of rooms at the Trump hotel, adding that it was “fun” for its attendees to stay at a Trump venue.
posted by zachlipton at 1:08 PM on May 22 [11 favorites]


Stopped Clock Jennifer Rubin

Rubin has to have made a sizable pile of cash by now from her near daily MSNBC appearances blasting trump. It's like trump has been a huge blessing to the bottom line of all the vocal #nevertrumpers.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:13 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


@chrisgeidner: Meanwhile, @MichaelAvenatti is back in court in New York, claiming: "We have reason to believe that plaintiff Michael Cohen, or members of his team, have begun to leak select audio recordings to the media that were seized in the FBI raids" — specifically about Stormy Daniels.

I'm not sure Avenatti is the most credible person to complain about leaks right now, but this seems to be entering a newly disturbing phase.
posted by zachlipton at 1:17 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Justinian: "That may be true but the charts at that link aren't saying anything like that? It's just another way of expressing the generic ballot margin over time? Or are you basing the claim on info from someplace else."

Here's the data. On April 1, Clinton voters were 48% of respondents. On May 17, 43.8% of respondents.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:21 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


@W7VOA: "I do have a real sense" that Kim Jong Un would find American investment, technology and know-how of "real value to his people," says @SecPompeo.

@Joshua_Pollack: NK Vice FM, last week: "The U.S. is trumpeting as if it would offer economic compensation and benefit in case we abandon nuke. But we have never had any expectation of U.S. support in carrying out our economic construction and will not at all make such a deal in future, either."

@nktpnd: It's amazing how the administration has a completely made-up version of North Korea in its head that's entirely divorced from everything North Korea is saying and doing. This isn't to say Kim Jong-un isn't interested in pursuing reform under his New Strategic Line, but he's not interested in total liberalization—rather, he'll want to see scores of Kaesongs around North Korea. What Pompeo is offering is effectively a poison pill for the regime.
posted by zachlipton at 1:29 PM on May 22 [14 favorites]


"I do have a real sense" that Kim Jong Un would find American investment, technology and know-how of "real value to his people," says @SecPompeo.

Even the most amateur NK pundit would know any investment into NK is going straight into the DPRK leaderhip hidden bank accounts. This is just outright bribery.
posted by PenDevil at 1:32 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


What Pompeo is offering is effectively a poison pill for the regime.

seems like that's pretty much his whole thing, given what he demanded of iran...
posted by anem0ne at 1:41 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


Thanks Chrysostom. There does seem to be a meaningful change in the partisan makeup of the respondents in the last few weeks. The number of Republicans (and thus Trump voters) is up significantly while the number of Democrats is down marginally. But they aren't using special sauce to weight the respondents as far as I can tell? They're just reporting the raw results.

That partisan swing, plus a modest uptick in Republican support for Republican candidates (from very very high to very very very high) would be enough to account for much of the shift. So the question is whether that represents Republican enthusiasm kicking in or is a statistical anomaly. Perhaps previously depressed Republicans are now more likely to pick up the phone and say "yes, I am liking the racist and warmongery policies I am seeing and will now definitely vote for more racism and warmongering."
posted by Justinian at 1:42 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


OR maybe the Hillary voters are all out organizing and are too busy to respond?
posted by contraption at 1:44 PM on May 22


Could be a lot of reasons, we won't know until we see some more votes!
posted by Justinian at 1:46 PM on May 22


I just find it interesting that other pollsters have shown broadly similar trends to each other, and then we have Ipsos falling very suddenly off of a cliff.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:48 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


@MichaelAvenatti is back in court in New York, claiming: "We have reason to believe that plaintiff Michael Cohen, or members of his team, have begun to leak select audio recordings to the media that were seized in the FBI raids" — specifically about Stormy Daniels.

I'm confused. The FBI seized materials from Cohen's office. So doesn't he have the right to release any of them any way he likes (unless he has promised confidentiality to his client)?
posted by msalt at 1:51 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Just ran across this 1951 quote from Senator Fulbright (Arkansas)
Scandals in Government are not a new phenomenon. What seems to be new about these scandals is the moral blindness or callousness which allows those in responsible positions to accept the practices which the facts reveal. It is bad enough for us to have corruption in our midst, but it is worse if it is to be condoned and accepted as inevitable.
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:56 PM on May 22 [14 favorites]


I think I see whats leading to the partisan shift, Chrysostom, though it just pushes the question of causation back one level. The change in the age of respondents from early-mid april to now is striking. 18-34 is down from 36% of respondents to 28%, while 65+ goes from 10% to 18%. 35-49 is down about 4% while 50-64 is up about 4%

So the shift in the age histogram is huge with the fraction of the youngest respondents down the most, then the next youngest down half that, the next oldest up the same amount, and the very oldest up the most. Since age is hugely correlated with support for Trump that'll almost by itself explain the change.

Like I said that just pushes the question back one level though. Maybe young people are busy, like, living their lives what with the warm weather arriving while old folks are still sitting in front of Fox News waiting for the call.
posted by Justinian at 2:05 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


@ACLU: BREAKING: A federal court in Virginia has sided with Gavin Grimm saying that federal law protects transgender students from being forced to use separate restroom facilities. [article; opinion]
posted by melissasaurus at 2:11 PM on May 22 [95 favorites]


@ACLU: BREAKING: A federal court in Virginia has sided with Gavin Grimm saying that federal law protects transgender students from being forced to use separate restroom facilities. [article; opinion]

GOOD!
posted by zarq at 2:14 PM on May 22 [12 favorites]


Mueller tightens the vice:

Michael Cohen’s Business Partner Agrees to Cooperate as Part of Plea Deal
A significant business partner of Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer, has quietly agreed to cooperate with the government as a potential witness, a development that could be used as leverage to pressure Mr. Cohen to work with the special counsel examining Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Under the agreement, the partner, Evgeny A. Freidman, a Russian immigrant who is known as the Taxi King, will avoid jail time, and will assist government prosecutors in state or federal investigations, according to a person briefed on the matter.

posted by PenDevil at 2:17 PM on May 22 [37 favorites]


Inae Oh, Mother Jones: "Lesley Stahl Shares Anecdote Explaining Why Trump Keeps Attacking the Press"
At one point Trump started ranting against the press, and Stahl said she took the opportunity to ask him what the point of his attacks were.

“Why do you keep hammering at this?” she recounted to PBS’ Judy Woodruff.

According to Stahl, who was paraphrasing, Trump replied, “You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.”

posted by OnceUponATime at 2:27 PM on May 22 [66 favorites]


*State* or federal. No federal pardons for state crimes!
posted by kerf at 2:27 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Paul Campos has more deeply irresponsible yet increasingly compelling speculation on the Broidy affair: Hey, Look: More Evidence That Broidy May Have Been Covering for Trump in That Playmate Affair

The story as we've been told it doesn't make a ton of sense. Broidy has a past history (yes yes, eponysterical, no relation to the best of my knowledge) of making payments to the mistress of the public official he's bribing.

A couple days after the Cohen raid, somebody calls up the Wall Street Journal to explain that there's another NDA on behalf of "David Dennison," but this David Dennison isn't Trump; it's Broidy. And Broidy promptly announced the affair with Shera Bechard and the subsequent pregnancy and abortion. Sure, there's getting out ahead of the story, but this was really convenient.

And then two days before Broidy gets his Oval Office meeting with Trump last November, the one where he repeats the Saudi/UAE talking points he's been handsomely compensated to pass along, Broidy wires $200K that ends up with Keith Davidson, followed by further payments that end up with Essential Consultants and Michael Cohen.

Again, this is a guy who has a prior conviction for bribing public officials, a scheme that involved paying the woman an official was having an affair with. And somebody (Qatar?) has hacked his emails and is spreading all kinds of dirt around. There isn't much in the way of actual evidence for Campos's theory that Broidy is covering up an affair for Trump, but it's hard to ignore the theory. And it's surely in both of their nature. I hear Trump has a story he likes to tell about that; something about "you knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in."
posted by zachlipton at 2:28 PM on May 22 [39 favorites]


phearlez: "I know it's fun to dump on this clown and I'm not giving him a pass from showing some willingness to engage in proper security practices. But if the IT staff can't handle this process in the manner of walking up and handing him an identically configured app-only phone and walking away with the old one then he's right, that is more inconvenient than it needs to be."

It's likely that the Cheeto insists on installing some questionable piece of malware and the "difficulty" is the time it takes him to get D.Jr to install some tetris knock off.


RedOrGreen: "Yeah, if I'm a nation state, maybe I break into every Apple Store in DC and replace their entire stock of iPhones with my slightly modified version of the hardware, which features always-on, always transmitting microphones.

Just in case some staffer gets the bright idea of walking to a store to buy a "random" iPhone with the belief that it might be safe to do so - like Trump ordering food from McDs.

Sure, it would be somewhat expensive. But imagine the payoff.

And if I can imagine this scenario, I am sure that foreign intelligence services have done better.
"

I'm reminded of this pair of stories:
By the way, the gentleman also told the story of how [the British] also bugged every new car going into Northern Ireland, and thus knew everything [Sinn Fein leader] Gerry Adams was discussing. They did this because Adams always conducted mobile meetings and always used new cars.
posted by Mitheral at 2:33 PM on May 22 [36 favorites]


> There isn't much in the way of actual evidence for Campos's theory that Broidy is covering up an affair for Trump, but it's hard to ignore the theory.

It's just that it would be unbelievably stupid for the same person to pull the same stunt (bribing someone by paying off his mistress) twice, and it would be monstrously idiotic for Trump to agree to such a scheme.

Which means, basically, it must be true.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:34 PM on May 22 [14 favorites]


The Onion finally reads Michael Cohen's email from 2013 ...

Five years ago: this happened.

This week: this happened.
posted by WaspEnterprises at 2:36 PM on May 22 [21 favorites]


John Ward, Florida congressional candidate, is under fire for saying that he didn’t believe hurricane evacuees from Puerto Rico should be allowed to register to vote in the Sunshine State.
He's trying to walk it back, sort of:
First of all, I don’t think they should be allowed to register to vote,” Ward said. “And it’s not lost on me that, I think, the Democrat Party’s really hoping that they can change the voting registers in a lot of counties and districts. And I don’t think they should be allowed to do that.”
Anyone know of a good ass mechanic? I may need a new one.
posted by Mitheral at 2:43 PM on May 22 [12 favorites]


Congress passes rollback of banking rules put in place after financial crisis, sending bill to Trump to sign
The House voted to exempt small and regional banks from some of the most stringent rules put in place after the financial crisis, while also loosening some of the rules aimed at keeping the biggest banks from failing. The measure does not repeal the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, as some in the GOP had hoped, but it does represent the most significant scaling back of the rules to date.

Supporters say the rollback frees banks from needlessly onerous rules and will boost economic growth, while critics say it exposes the economy to unnecessary risks at a time when banks are posting record profits.

The bill is near certain to become law. It is backed by the White House and was passed by the Senate in March.
posted by zachlipton at 2:43 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


Yeah, that bill was the second strike against Sen. Warner. His vote for Haspel was the third. THROW THE BUMS OUT!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:48 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


Beware the “Reasonable” Take on the Mueller Investigation
So far, I’m sticking to my belief that Donald Trump probably didn’t personally collude with Russia. Beyond that, though, there’s just a mountain of evidence that points to massively illegal and unethical activity running through every facet of both the Trump campaign and the Trump White House. And that mountain is just what’s on the public record now. Once we learn everything that Mueller has discovered, the mountain is likely to turn into a super volcano.

I’m not surprised to hear some conservatives promoting the “reasonable” version of the Mueller investigation. But I am surprised that even some liberals are starting to hint at accepting it. I sure hope this doesn’t gain any more traction. There’s no need to go all X-Files on this, but there’s also no reason to downplay any of it. What Trump has done, and is still doing, almost certainly is Watergate 2.0.
I think it's possible Trump didn’t collude personally with Russia during the campaign, but I have no doubt the campaign was full of collaborators and Trump is totally guilty of obstruction of justice (and other corruption).
posted by kirkaracha at 2:48 PM on May 22 [24 favorites]


Under the proposed changes, hunters would also be allowed to hunt black bears with dogs, kill wolves and pups in their dens, and use motor boats to shoot swimming caribou.

this attitude combined with the administrations frankly prurient glee in calling people "violent animals" is extremely disturbing to me.
posted by poffin boffin at 2:51 PM on May 22 [49 favorites]


> XMLicious:
"“Computational propaganda” is a developing field of study."

Yeah, but effectively counterattacking programmatically is an issue. I am pretty sure you folks know I am no bot (because none of you have talked to my ex-wife), but, in the last 30 days, I have had my Twitter account frozen THREE times for "automated activity" which, for reasons of security by obscurity, no one will tell me what triggered said blocks.
posted by Samizdata at 2:52 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


John Ward, Florida congressional candidate, is under fire for saying that he didn’t believe hurricane evacuees from Puerto Rico should be allowed to register to vote

The other option would be to adapt to the changing district and earn the votes of these new constituents from Puerto Rico. /shrug
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 2:54 PM on May 22 [13 favorites]


We already know Trump probably "colluded" with Russia. It's in the open! Don Jr was offered a meeting with Russian intelligence at which dirt on Clinton would be provided. He agreed enthusiastically and immediately called a blocked number. He met with the agents of the Russian government along with the most senior members of the campaign. He again called the blocked number immediately after the meeting. Donald Trump has a blocked number.

So we know based solely on public information that Trump probably colluded. I say only probably because it's kinda possible the number Don Jr called was't Trump. But who else would it have been? Besides Trump himself the only person senior to Don Jr in the campaign apparatus was Lewandowski the campaign manager and he was present at the meeting. Occam's razor and common sense both suggest the number Don Jr called before and after the meeting was Trump. They further suggest the conversation wasn't about the Yankees.

That's collusion. Or, as Mueller may view it, conspiracy to defraud the United States.
posted by Justinian at 2:57 PM on May 22 [55 favorites]


Nixon did’t personally break into the DNC’s Watergate offices, either. But that’s a distinction without a difference.
posted by msalt at 3:00 PM on May 22 [74 favorites]


didn’t collude personally

My opinion is pretty much the same as it was back in Sept, 2017.

"I totally believe that Trump "doesn't know anything" about the collusion his son, son-in-law, campaign manager, national security adviser, and attorney general, along with his laywer and some old friends, were getting up to. Of course he doesn't know. Who would tell him? The idiot confessed to obstruction of justice on national TV and leaked classified intel to the Russian ambassador in the Oval Office. Why would you tell him anything? But he knew one thing: he knew he was not supposed to ask any questions. He is good at not asking questions. He is good at forgetting things. And that what people have paid him for, his whole life."

(Original comment cites examples involving violations of labor laws at Trump Tower, money laundering at Trump Taj Mahal, and more money laundering, probably, at Bayrock.)

But now Trump himself is linked not only by his behavior encouraging and covering for Russia, and his citing of Russian propaganda on the campaign trail and amplification of the leaks... But also by the money from Viktor Vekselberg, the meetings with Torshin and Butina (including a public promise to Butina that he would consider scaling back sanctions), his false statements on behalf of Don Jr about the Trump Tower meeting, and his obstruction of the investigation by firing Comey.

So while he may not know all the details ("I don't ask questions!") I can no longer doubt that he knew something was up with his campaign's relationship with Russia, and was okay with it, and is now working to cover it up.
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:03 PM on May 22 [32 favorites]


The Quvenzhane Wallis version of "Annie" I watched recently has a Michael Cohen-like fixer character. At one point he says to his politician boss: "You pay me a lot of money not to tell you about stuff like that."

I assume that's how it works with Trump too.
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:12 PM on May 22 [11 favorites]


Johnny Wallflower: "Yeah, that bill was the second strike against Sen. Warner. His vote for Haspel was the third. THROW THE BUMS OUT!"

Better put a note on your calendar for 2020, then.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:17 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Reason, Prison Reform Bill Passes The House; Is Prison Reform Dead?. This is a good quick look at the state of the FIRST STEP Act, which just passed the House, and the problems with doing prison reform without sentencing reform, which Sessions adamantly opposes.
posted by zachlipton at 3:22 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


John Ward, Florida congressional candidate, is under fire for saying that he didn’t believe hurricane evacuees from Puerto Rico should be allowed to register to vote in the Sunshine State.
He's trying to walk it back, sort of:
“First of all, I don’t think they should be allowed to register to vote,” Ward said. “And it’s not lost on me that, I think, the Democrat Party’s really hoping that they can change the voting registers in a lot of counties and districts. And I don’t think they should be allowed to do that.”

I mean, I'd kind of say that is not so much walking it back as explicitly reaffirming his view that they shouldn't be allowed to register to vote.
posted by jaduncan at 3:34 PM on May 22 [25 favorites]


The laws of the United States speak to something re: culpability called "willful blindness,"
"the situation where the actor, aware of the probable existence of a material fact, does not take steps to ascertain that it does not exist. Willful blindness would require an awareness of a high probability of the existence of the circumstance. United States v. Jewell, 532 F.2d 697, 700 n. 7 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 426 U.S. 951 (1976)."
Thus the prosecution's task would be to show he WAS aware of the issue of conspiracy with Russian criminals, and didn't do anything to ensure it would not happen.

For example, by not publicly asking the Russians to hack his opponent's emails
posted by mikelieman at 3:34 PM on May 22 [12 favorites]


Cohen's business partner strikes plea deal. Cohen's tough talk about not flipping might evaporate sooner than later.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:35 PM on May 22 [11 favorites]


CNN, Trump's lawyers seek to narrow scope of special counsel interview
"We said we wanted the questions limited to Russian collusion," one of the sources with knowledge of the President's legal strategy tells CNN. Since that aspect of the investigation deals with the Trump campaign and transition team's interactions with Russians, it would exclude questions about Trump's actions once in office. And even within the pre-presidency category, Trump's lawyers want to narrow what questions the prosecutors can ask.

The focus on Trump's conduct prior to assuming the presidency also would exclude questions about the firing of then-FBI Director James Comey and possible obstruction of justice. One possibility Trump's lawyers are discussing is a combination of in-person and written answers: a limited Trump interview on Russia pre-presidency matters plus written answers to questions regarding obstruction. Trump's lawyers are insisting on an audio recording of any interview with the President, so there is no question exactly what was said.
Yeah. Good luck with that.

----

Politico, GOP fundraiser subpoenas AP over hacked emails, setting up legal showdown
A top Republican fundraiser has subpoenaed the Associated Press for information about the source of hacked emails that formed the basis of recent reports about him, people familiar with the matter tell POLITICO.

The AP has received the subpoena from Elliott Broidy — the subject of several recent articles about his efforts to lobby President Donald Trump and the U.S. government to adopt a hard-line stance against the Persian Gulf state of Qatar — and is planning to resist it, according to the outlet’s director of media relations, Lauren Easton.

The impasse sets up a potential legal standoff over press protections at a time when political battles are increasingly being waged via leaks of hacked data. A copy of the subpoena obtained by POLITICO demands the AP turn over all its information about its sources, including their names, along with information about how the AP obtained the hacked emails.
posted by zachlipton at 3:37 PM on May 22 [13 favorites]


Cohen's business partner strikes plea deal. Cohen's tough talk about not flipping might evaporate sooner than later.

A thought experiment: how much leverage would you have to have against you to flip if the Mafiya knew the intimate details of all of your family, could almost certainly drop a world of physical/legal hurt on all of them, and quite aside from just them flipping would make an instant enemy of both an unhinged US President and a famously murderous Putin?
posted by jaduncan at 3:39 PM on May 22 [8 favorites]


I doubt Cohen has anything to worry about from Putin. Putin doesn't give a shit as long as there is disarray here. He probably relishes trump's woes because it means we're that much closer to a full blown Constitutional crisis.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:42 PM on May 22 [10 favorites]


But Cohen's partner did just flip. So it's clearly not out of the question.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:42 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


I honestly don’t think Trump is physically capable of answering a direct question with a clear answer, which makes a lot of this lawyerly quibbling moot.
posted by valkane at 3:43 PM on May 22 [15 favorites]


Depends what his allegations are. He might have quite a lot to worry about from Putin if said allegations are likely to provoke a new range of sanctions or solidify Western/EU resolve to keep the existing sanctions going.
posted by jaduncan at 3:43 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


He might have quite a lot to worry about from Putin if said allegations are likely to provoke a new range of sanctions

What it seems to look like is a ton of state criminal charges from which Cohen has no cover of Presidential pardon. It's not looking good for him at any rate.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:46 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


I don't really care all that much how Trump answers, but he needs to be asked questions under oath like Bill Clinton had to do.

I mean, sure, I'd love something along Caine Mutiny/A Few Good Men lines as a bonus, but we need to follow precedent and the rule of law.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:48 PM on May 22 [18 favorites]


As one might expect, in KY-06, Gray doing well in Lexington, McGrath doing well in outlying areas. Still up in the air.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:51 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Trump’s tweets include grammatical errors. And some are on purpose

Lousy Grammar Doesn't Make You a Working-Class Hero
Here’s the thing, Embattled White Working Class Voters. By and large, the people you’re taught to hate have your interests somewhat at heart when they get into government. Forget what kind of coffee they drink, movies they watch, or leafy greens they gobble down with their tofuburgers. Forget all you’ve been told about coastal elites and their condescension. Stop falling for this hooey.

The president* and the people around him think you’re all sub-literate morons to whom broken gorilla English will appeal. They think you love him for his misplaced commas, dangling modifiers, and weird CapiTalization FeTish. They think you will identify with a high-end Manhattan con-man because he talks like you do, and they think you talk like you took an ESL class on Neptune. They think your very real economic anxiety is best expressed in language one small step above grunts, groans, and banging on rocks with heavy sticks.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:51 PM on May 22 [45 favorites]


I don't really care all that much how Trump answers, but he needs to be asked questions under oath like Bill Clinton had to do.

While that's true, it should be noted that lying carries the same penalty whether or not he is under oath. It's just charged under a different section of the USC.
posted by Justinian at 3:52 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


Trump's lawyers are insisting on an audio recording of any interview with the President, so there is no question exactly what was said.

Lordy, I hope there are tapes.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:53 PM on May 22 [36 favorites]


> [...] in the last 30 days, I have had my Twitter account frozen THREE times for "automated activity" which, for reasons of security by obscurity, no one will tell me what triggered said blocks.

> I don't follow 45 but I do grab all his Tweets (since March at least) into a Google Spreadsheet. Help yourself if it looks useful.

Not trying to be a smartass or anything; in fact, I sincerely appreciate the gesture. Just trying to highlight some of the potential rules for the game we're playing right now. For example, I'm not surprised about which of my actions resulted in receiving unsolicited calls from Russia's country code.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 3:55 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Here’s the thing, Embattled White Working Class Voters Who Voted Trump and Read Esquire...
posted by contraption at 3:59 PM on May 22 [35 favorites]


The impasse sets up a potential legal standoff over press protections at a time when political battles are increasingly being waged via leaks of hacked data. A copy of the subpoena obtained by POLITICO demands the AP turn over all its information about its sources, including their names, along with information about how the AP obtained the hacked emails.

Could be a guy sitting on their bed who weighs 400 pounds, someone in the Ecuador embassy, a GRU agent, who knows?

HURF DURF BUTTER EMAILS
posted by benzenedream at 4:20 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Cooper Fleishman
Donald Glover fans have taken over Trump fanpage /r/thedonald and now they're waging war on /r/The_Donald
http://www.reddit.com/r/thedonald
posted by chris24 at 4:35 PM on May 22 [90 favorites]


KY-06 still tight, but it looks McGrath may have it.

Abrams looks she may wrap up GA gov pretty early.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:46 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


And Amy McGrath has won the Dem nomination in KY-06, Gray conceding.

It's been pointed out that there was a huge increase in turnout in the rural counties of the district from the 2016 primary, not much change in the more Gray-favoring areas. So she may be a stronger candidate for the district than some have been saying.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:58 PM on May 22 [17 favorites]


If McGrath does win tonight and can win the general, that's the kind of statement victory in a Republican strong lean district the progressive wing desperately needs. These are the races progressive candidates need to win to take a much bigger role.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:02 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


So she may be a stronger candidate for the district than some have been saying.

10 seconds early. I'm surprised she's done this well, but that's a good surprised, she's a great candidate on policy and personally. Winning the general would be huge.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:05 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


The one and only Steve Kornacki notes a couple of small factoids about the Georgia gov. race:
In tiny, 99% white Towns County in far northern Georgia, Stacey Abrams looks like she's edged out Stacey Evans in the early vote -- 61 to 59.

Meanwhile, in equally small Terrell County, which has the fifth highest concentration of black residents of Georgia's 159 counties, Abrams is crushing it in the early vote, 73-27%.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:16 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


Trump is working his way through a teleprompter speech, and then: "your vote in 2018 is every bit as important as your vote in 2016, although I'm not sure I really believe that. I don't know who the hell wrote that line." Then he goes back to bashing Schumer and Pelosi, claiming that Pelosi is in favor of MS-13 (he's going to Long Island tomorrow to bash immigrants some more).
posted by zachlipton at 5:21 PM on May 22 [39 favorites]


Trump's decompensating before our eyes/TV cameras.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:27 PM on May 22


Then he goes back to bashing Schumer and Pelosi, claiming that Pelosi is in favor of MS-13

At a "Campaign for Life Gala" he ridiculed Nancy Pelosi for claiming that all human beings are people.

Then, exactly as at the State of the Union Address, he brought up to the stage another white couple who "adopted" a white child from an opiate-addicted mother. Then he groped the child.

Just having a regular one.
posted by Rust Moranis at 5:28 PM on May 22 [12 favorites]


Fletcher with substantial lead over Moser in TX-07.

Allred way up on Salerno in TX-32.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:28 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Paul Campos has more deeply irresponsible yet increasingly compelling speculation on the Broidy affair: Hey, Look: More Evidence That Broidy May Have Been Covering for Trump in That Playmate Affair

Paul Waldman, in a WaPo opinion piece, officially goes there and adds this layer to the theory:
There’s one more piece to this puzzle. We all know about Trump’s weird relationship with his daughter Ivanka Trump, how he often comments on her body and says things like “If she weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.” Both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, the Playboy model who says she had an affair with Trump, said that Trump compared them to his daughter, which is a rather odd thing to say to a woman you’re having sex with. Whatever the true nature of Trump’s feelings, it’s clear that he’s attracted to women who remind him of Ivanka Trump. I bring this up because Shera Bechard is a dead ringer for Ivanka Trump. An absolute dead ringer.
posted by peeedro at 5:31 PM on May 22 [46 favorites]


@daveweigel:
Every Dem establishment-preferred candidate in the TX runoffs won the early vote big: Fletcher in #TX07 (70-30), Kopser in #TX21 (60-40), Ortiz Jones in #TX23 (78-22), Hegar in #TX31 (59-41), Allred in #TX32 (71-29).
(note that's early vote only, today's in-person vote yet to be counted)
posted by Chrysostom at 5:33 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


Bechard (and Daniels, to an extent) do look like Ivanka.

The creepy interpretation is as stated in the WaPo piece. The less creepy (but still creepy given Trump's statements in the past) interpretation is that Trump obviously has a type; thin, modely blondes with a certain look. Ivanka's mother Ivana looked like that (and therefore resembled Bechard and Daniels) so it is no suprise that Ivanka also looks like that. So Trump doesn't creepily lust after these other women because they look like Ivanka, he makes creepily lusty comments about Ivanka because she looks like Ivana, and Bechard, and Daniels etc.

I can't believe this is real life.
posted by Justinian at 5:38 PM on May 22 [36 favorites]


I don't know who the hell wrote that line

Here's the clip, which is worth watching to see just how surprised Trump is by the words that are coming out of his mouth.

For all the things Trump upends, he doesn't really do things so much as observe things happening around him and periodically yell unhelpful suggestions in their general direction. He's still just the guy watching cable news yelling at the set about how he could do a better job; he just now gets to enjoy seeing how much people care about his pronouncements.
posted by zachlipton at 5:38 PM on May 22 [20 favorites]


> Johann Georg Faust:
"> [...] in the last 30 days, I have had my Twitter account frozen THREE times for "automated activity" which, for reasons of security by obscurity, no one will tell me what triggered said blocks.

> I don't follow 45 but I do grab all his Tweets (since March at least) into a Google Spreadsheet. Help yourself if it looks useful.

Not trying to be a smartass or anything; in fact, I sincerely appreciate the gesture. Just trying to highlight some of the potential rules for the game we're playing right now. For example, I'm not surprised about which of my actions resulted in receiving unsolicited calls from Russia's country code."


Нет, приятель, совсем нет. Not thinking you are a smartass at all. (Although my opinion on 45 is not good and I am far from subtle.) I just have this weird thing about archiving information. I still have a complete archive of all the Ferguson documents that were released.
posted by Samizdata at 5:40 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


Here's a surprise from Kentucky: the incumbent GOP House Majority Leader, Jonathan Shell, has apparently lost the primary in HD-71, 51-49.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:43 PM on May 22 [37 favorites]


No AP call yet, but all the online punditry are calling GA gov for Abrams. If she won in November, she'd be the first black woman governor.

On the GOP side, LG Cagle is leading with 41%. He needs to break 50 in order to avoid a runoff (which would presumably help out Abrams).
posted by Chrysostom at 5:47 PM on May 22 [11 favorites]


G. Elliott Morris (Crosstab)
Voters will cast about 100,000 ballots in #KY06 Democratic primary tonight tonight. They cast under 80k there in 2016. We’ll see if that sticks in November!

---

25% increase over a presidential election year primary in a midterm primary. D enthusiasm even in red Kentucky.
posted by chris24 at 5:49 PM on May 22 [38 favorites]


In the special to determine control of the Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners, we're heading to a runoff. The race is nominally non-partisan, but Democrat Eileen Higgins finished first with about 35% over two Republicans.

She might have a shot in a runoff - south Florida has a lot of turf wars between political families, two of whom were the Republicans. Might supress some turnout on the right in round 2.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:52 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


Programming note: no Kornacki on MSNBC yet, but he's doing periodic cheap-ass live primary coverage from his office on Twitter.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:58 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Here's a surprise from Kentucky: the incumbent GOP House Majority Leader, Jonathan Shell, has apparently lost the primary in HD-71, 51-49.

To a high school math teacher angry about the bill stripping teachers of their pensions.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:00 PM on May 22 [86 favorites]


Gina Ortiz Jones looks to have won TX-23 Dem primary handily. She will face off with incumbent Will Hurd, race is probably a toss-up.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:01 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


Thanks, T.D. Strange. Always appreciate your KY insights.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:02 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


>John Ward, Florida congressional candidate, is under fire for saying that he didn’t believe hurricane evacuees from Puerto Rico should be allowed to register to vote

>The other option would be to adapt to the changing district and earn the votes of these new constituents from Puerto Rico.


And of course the best option would have been to help the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico rebuild their infrastructure so they wouldn't have to flee to the mainland.

It's a crime that the press has allowed Trump to get away with his depraved indifference to U.S. citizens that aren't white men.
posted by JackFlash at 6:05 PM on May 22 [41 favorites]


In AR GOP gov, incumbent Asa Hutchinson (regular crazy) has won over gun range owner Jan Morgan (industrial strength crazy) handily.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:34 PM on May 22 [12 favorites]


Looks like former Rep John Barrow will be the Dem nominee for GA Secretary of State. There have been some pretty eyebrow-raising shenanigans in this office, so a pickup is important; Barrow is seen as the strongest candidate.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:36 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


Brian Beutler (Crooked Media)
“It was sort of like a gift,” Giuliani said of stolen emails that Trump campaign officials solicited publicly and privately, retaining his title as America’s worst lawyer.
HuffPo: Giuliani’s New Stance On Russian Collusion: So What? It’s Not Illegal.
In a recent interview with HuffPost, Giuliani initially disputed the notion that Trump’s daily citing, in the final month of his campaign, of Russian-aligned WikiLeaks and its release of Russian-stolen emails constituted “colluding” with Russia.

“It is not,” Giuliani said.

Then he switched tacks.

“OK, and if it is, it isn’t illegal... It was sort of like a gift,” he said. “And you’re not involved in the illegality of getting it.”
---

Matthew Segal (ACLU)
Literally the “it fell off a truck” defense.
posted by chris24 at 6:49 PM on May 22 [92 favorites]


For all the things Trump upends, he doesn't really do things so much as observe things happening around him and periodically yell unhelpful suggestions in their general direction. He's still just the guy watching cable news yelling at the set about how he could do a better job

But when he changes the channel to someone with whom he totally agrees, such as cynical conspiracy theory–purveyor Sean Hannity, he can't stop agreeing with the screen about how THAT'S TOTALLY RIGHT!

e.g. His tweets this evening (because his speech today to the pro-life zealots didn't provide enough of a narcissistic fix): "If the person placed very early into my campaign wasn’t a SPY put there by the previous Administration for political purposes, how come such a seemingly massive amount of money was paid for services rendered - many times higher than normal...
"...Follow the money! The spy was there early in the campaign and yet never reported Collusion with Russia, because there was no Collusion. He was only there to spy for political reasons and to help Crooked Hillary win - just like they did to Bernie Sanders, who got duped!"

Please note, the Trump White House has almost finished its second month without the calming influence of Hope Hicks.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:02 PM on May 22 [7 favorites]


GA GOP gov looks virtually certain to go to a runoff between LG Cagle and SOS Kemp.

Pleasingly, Michael Williams, the "deportation bus" guy, got about 5%. He had also given up his state senate seat to run.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:07 PM on May 22 [39 favorites]


He was only there to spy for political reasons and to help Crooked Hillary win

Exactly. Which is why the FBI didn't say anything about the investigation until AFTER the election.

And how many Republicans are we up to who were helping Hilary win?
posted by chris24 at 7:10 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


TX-07 Dem is over, goes strongly for Lizzie Fletcher over Laura Moser, about 68-31.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:10 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


TX-32 Dem also over, with well-funded ex-football player Colin Allred winning about 69-30 over Lillian Salerno.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:11 PM on May 22 [5 favorites]


In AR-02, nationally backed candidate Clarke Tucker wins with about 58%, avoiding a runoff.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:13 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Trump: "If the person placed very early into my campaign wasn’t a SPY put there by the previous Administration for political purposes..."

I must once again applaud Mueller's team. Their style of keeping it close to their vest, giving no-one anything to work with until indictments drop, has Trump and Giuliani pretty much free-associating their worst fears to the general public.

( Narrator: The CI wasn't a political agent )
posted by mikelieman at 7:15 PM on May 22 [14 favorites]


TX-21 Dem goes to Joseph Kopser, about 58-41 over Mary Wilson.

Texas Dems consistently going for the more moderate candidates tonight.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:16 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Follow the money! The spy was there early in the campaign

The Qanon folks have already brought this back around to their theories, claiming that "follow the money" is something their supposed 4chan informant says, in case you're wondering how this is playing in cuckoo land. This crap has a direct line into the White House.

Meanwhile, they don't seem to care that someone with an actual child porn conviction is now involved in these scandals, if you somehow thought any of this involved good faith.
posted by zachlipton at 7:19 PM on May 22 [30 favorites]


Re: the racist NY attorney from the previous megathread: And don’t miss the riff track of him hiding behind his umbrella.

Oh my god, that was amazing. I really needed that. I strongly recommend viewing that for anyone who needs a bit of catharsis right now.

posted by biogeo at 10:11 AM on May 19 [6 favorites +] [!]


Citizen acts like a dick to immigrants, gets hounded night and day by the media. President does it and gets normalized.
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:19 PM on May 22 [7 favorites]


Must be a weird corollary to “one death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”
posted by Burhanistan at 7:25 PM on May 22 [9 favorites]


WSJ, Israeli Intelligence Company Formed Venture With Trump Campaign Firm Cambridge Analytica
A company owned by Joel Zamel, an Israeli entrepreneur whose work has drawn the scrutiny of special counsel Robert Mueller, formed a strategic partnership with a data firm for President Donald Trump’s campaign in a joint bid to win business from the U.S. government and other clients after the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Psy-Group, one of Mr. Zamel’s firms, signed a memorandum of understanding with Cambridge Analytica LLC, a digital media firm that helped propel Mr. Trump to the presidency, these people said, Facebook Inc. in March suspended Cambridge over allegations that it improperly harvested the data of millions of Facebook users, accusations that in part led to the firm’s closure earlier this month.

The Dec. 14, 2016, memorandum, as described to The Wall Street Journal, outlines a partnership whereby the two firms could cooperate on a case-by-case basis to provide intelligence and social-media services, or pitch business to an array of clients.

A person familiar with the work of Psy-Group, a private intelligence firm, said the partnership was intended in part to help win government contracts—something that Cambridge and its parent company, SCL Group, were aggressively seeking to do as their allies in the Trump administration took power, according to people familiar with the efforts.
posted by zachlipton at 7:30 PM on May 22 [17 favorites]


“Your vote in 2018 is every bit as important as your vote in 2016 — although I’m not sure I really believe that,” Trump ad libs. “I don’t know who the hell wrote that line.”

Wasn't Trump the one who criticized Obama and Hillary for using a teleprompter?
posted by msalt at 7:50 PM on May 22 [30 favorites]


In TX Dem gov, Lupe Valdez has won the runoff, 53-47 over Andrew White.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:50 PM on May 22 [14 favorites]


In more Texas politics on the "Who will replace Joe Straus?" front we've got a series of 4 articles from the Texas Monitor profiling 4 candidates for the speakership, the first from March with the rather unsettling series of paragraphs:

King says he wants to create a system where bills, even marginal or unpopular, get to the floor without arbitrary intervention by the speaker or leadership of either the majority or minority party...

...All of this might sound to hard-line conservatives like a candidate throwing bones to moderates and Democrats for support. King calls it “treating everyone the way they want to be treated.”

“Everybody in the House has to have a role. One of the ways you do that is to level the playing field — is to set up the rules of order to allow people to get their bills to the floor, to have votes. If I were to completely cut out the Democrats — someone once told me that if your opponents don’t have something to do, they’re going to find something to do and you’re not going to like it.”

That “something to do,” in past sessions was form alliances that allowed Straus to block bills like property tax reform and several important to social conservatives like the “bathroom bill.”
(link contained in the original article)

Second in the series is Tan Parker, who seems like a total ass, which means he's probably the perfect person to get the speaker role.

Thirdly, we have a profile of John Zerwas, who, according to the article is on a list of "...'bounties' on what they (Joe Straus' opponents) called a 'Dirty Dozen' of those priority House incumbents." of which "...Zerwas was at the top of its list."

Basically the article goes on to say that Zerwas is probably the only Republican who has the temerity to stand against tea party republicans in the 2019 Texas Lege Session, but he most likely doesn't stand a chance in hell of winning the speakership.

Moving on to the last in the series is a profile of Eric Johnson, a Democratic representative and the first african-american rep to run for speaker of the house, who appears to have a bad ass progressive voting record, but, who unfortunately doesn't stand a chance

I weep, I weep for my home state
posted by nikaspark at 8:03 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


TX-32 Dem also over, with well-funded ex-football player Colin Allred winning about 69-30 over Lillian Salerno.

ahahahaha yesssssss THERE WAS A REASON I LEFT, Y’ALL
posted by dogheart at 8:08 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


From the end of the last thread, regarding finding perfectly contrary comments for he same politician:

It's a text search of closed captioning files, time-indexed to the source material.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:44 AM on May


Is there a search engine for this? Or does one leech a bunch of .sub titles from the network's webpage, or -? Asking for a friend.
posted by petebest at 8:09 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


i mean i’m sad for the team and the volunteers, who were amazing, but i have a certain bittersweet satisfaction here
posted by dogheart at 8:14 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Another nice surprise: in GA HD-180, incumbent GOP member Jason Spencer - who you might remember threatened to lynch a former colleague for calling for removal of Confederate statues - has lost his primary.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:20 PM on May 22 [38 favorites]


NEWS: White House [through Sarah Huckabee Sanders] says meeting between DOJ and lawmakers will be Thursday [May 24th]. Reps. NUNES, GOWDY, FBI Director Wray, DNI Coats and DOJ's Ed O'CALLAHAN. No White House officials.

Adam Schiff @RepAdamSchiff:
"The White House has directed the DOJ and FBI to hold a partisan briefing on infomation the President wants given to his allies in Congress. No Democrats allowed.
"This is another serious abuse of power. There’s a bipartisan mechanism called the Gang of 8. They need to use it."

The Hill's Katie Bo Williams @KatieBoWill:
"House Intel Ranking Member Adam Schiff says they have been told by the Department of Justice and FBI that Chairman Nunes has “refused” to receive briefings alongside Democrats.
"Having spoken with Schiff, it sounds like he still anticipates that he will receive a separate, identical briefing on the same material that the DOJ briefs Nunes on—they just won’t receive it together.
"To clarify: DOJ is still providing the same information to Schiff, they’re just not receiving the briefings at the same time."

Abuse of power issues aside, this sounds as though Nunes is almost frightened of being in the same room as Schiff during these tense briefings—this won't be the first time the DoJ had to separately pass along the same exact information to the HPSCI Dems.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:26 PM on May 22 [66 favorites]


TX-32 Dem also over, with well-funded ex-football player Colin Allred winning about 69-30 over Lillian Salerno.

Yeah, I was afraid of that when I was getting a 4-color card stock giant flyer every day from Allred's campaign, and nothing in the last two weeks from Lillian. I know we had at least one Mefite working on Lillian's campaign, including, iirc, moving down here to the Dallas area to do so. My sympathies to everyone who worked so hard for a really great, truly inspirational woman.

But, Colin looks to be a good man. He says the right things, and in any case, he's a fuckton better than Pete Sessions, that old collaborating two-faced reprobate. So, even if it's not our preferred candidate, we need to keep action going to defeat Pete.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:27 PM on May 22 [17 favorites]


TX-07:
“The key objective here is to beat John Culbertson ... if this night turns out like it looks like it’s going to turn out, I encourage everyone to support [Lizzie Fletcher],” Moser says, to applause
I know it's not as colorful, but I'm seeing mostly party unity coming out of Dem primaries so far. Evans also endorsed Abrams immediately in GA gov.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:35 PM on May 22 [45 favorites]


i had moved down to dallas to work for lillian, but i got off that race a month ago for. well. very valid reasons, let’s say that. i would work for her again in any other endeavor. but i cannot say i’m displeased with this result.

(i’m gonna go work for the next six months to displace bruce rauner, because i love chicago and i love illinois, but mostly because my boss there will be my boss from hillary, who is a man i know i can trust absolutely. that’s important to me, after texas.)
posted by dogheart at 8:42 PM on May 22 [53 favorites]


Texas Tribune: GOP state House primaries almost all went for the more moderate candidate.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:43 PM on May 22 [12 favorites]


I wasn't expecting to come here and post a review of the Roseanne season finale, but I'm doing that, because it's about more than Roseanne: The Roseanne Season Finale Is a Fairy Tale
The trials and tribulations of the Conner family have been touted as representative of a “real” America, as one of the few stories to give us a picture of the forgotten white working class. But again and again, the show refuses to connect any of Roseanne Conner’s cracks about Trump or fake news with the real ramifications of her positions. She believes that the government shouldn’t pay for people’s health care, but she’s thrilled to take FEMA assistance when their house floods. Her knee surgery will still be paid for with federal money, but because they’re getting the money after a flood rather than the basic need for health care, it’s acceptable. Earlier in the season, we were supposed to smile Roseanne as opened her heart to the new neighbors, a Muslim family that she initially assumed had purchased fertilizer to make bombs rather than to fertilize their lawn. But we’re not supposed to draw any through line between that grudging tolerance and the MAGA hat she keeps hanging in her laundry room.

With the end of the revival’s first season and the early glimmers of what fall TV will bring, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey has suggested that new episodes of Roseanne will now lean less on the politics, and instead will stick more to stories about “family trials and tribulations.” This looks like a way to emphasize universality, but it’s also precisely the problem with this entire season: It rejected the idea that there is a meaningful connection between politics and the family, and instead posited that you can draw a line between stories about a down-and-out working-class family without affordable health care and sufficient employment — that they are either about the family, or they are about politics. That line of thinking suggests that if Roseanne just stops joking about Hillary Clinton, the show will no longer be about politics in America. That if the Conners just hang in there long enough, their house will flood and they’ll be rescued by a potent, metastable mixture of Trump, God, and aid from the federal government — and somehow it won’t be about politics.

If the best future Roseanne can offer for working-class families is to wait around for a flood, then it’s not actually a show about an underrepresented reality in America. It’s a fairy tale masquerading as gritty realism. At their very best, fairy tales use fantasy to elucidate buried truths of the human condition — mermaids demonstrate the pain of transformation, and witches are a tangible embodiment of threat — and they use unbelievable plots to illuminate the unseen darkness and beauty of human existence. But Roseanne’s season-ending fairy tale, its final gesture of improbable wish-granting, is not illuminating. It’s a way for the show to hide.
The show is as much a fairy tale as the politician she praises. The working class struggles are rooted in the real problems we face as a country, but the answers are fantasy. That disconnect between politics and family is everywhere; you see it in all the "oh it's just politics; can't they get along?" talk. There's no recognition that people's political choices are directly correlated with policies that impact their family, that not being able to afford a necessary knee replacement has nothing to do with immigrants, isn't a normal state of affairs in countries with the wealth we have, and has an awful lot to do with voting for the people who have spent the past decade fighting efforts to try to make health care affordable. Roseanne, the modern GOP, there's no policy there, just team loyalty. And when you dramatize that, you're left with a deep nihilism: politics has nothing tangible to offer, it's just a team sport, so you might as well wear your team colors and hurl insults at the other guys. And then you cash your FEMA check and reassure yourself that you're not like those people, because you've earned it somehow, that all your problems are magically solved by God and the benevolence of Trump's disaster declaration rather than the hard work of slowly trying to make this country better a little bit at a time. GOP voters voted for a fairy tale, and now they got one for political entertainment too.

p.s. you're awesome, dogheart!
posted by zachlipton at 9:02 PM on May 22 [58 favorites]


In the charming GOP Dallas County Commissioner race, the really amazingly racist guy loses by an eyelash to the only quite racist guy.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:45 PM on May 22 [12 favorites]


ELECTION RESULT

GOP HOLD in Arkansas Senate 16:
Davis [R] 76.7%
Gallegos [D] 23.3%
Margin changes compared to previous races:

vs 2016 presidential result margin: Dem underperformance of about 1 point.
no good district margin numbers -a Dem has not run in this race in several cycles
posted by Chrysostom at 10:15 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]


Remember the sinkhole outside Trump's Mar-A-Lago resort which appeared almost exactly a year ago? Now there is a sinkhole on the White House North Lawn, just outside the Press Briefing room. Sadly, there has been a cover-up at the White House. There is a Team Sinkhole T-shirt for sale at Amazon. Or you can follow the White House Sinkhole's own twitter account.

Could this be a sign of things to come for America? Best laugh I've had all morning.
posted by whitelotus at 12:19 AM on May 23 [18 favorites]




Betsy should be given a failing grade & made to repeat her confirmation hearing. This is just embarrassing. Every day it becomes clearer & clearer that the primary policy of the Trump administration is to leverage & sell off America itself, its resources, reputation & alliances to the benefit of Trump & his cronies.

Betsy DeVos doesn’t know the mission of her own civil rights office.
At a hearing of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) asked DeVos what should have been a simple question.

“I am concerned about the low performance of your civil rights office,” Fudge said. “Could you please just state for me the mission of your civil rights office?”

“The office of civil rights is committed to protecting the civil rights as determined under the law of this land,” DeVos replied. “And we do so proudly, and with great focus each day.”

“That’s not the mission statement,” Fudge noted. “Do you know what it is?”

Apparently, she does not.

“Perhaps you can share it,” DeVos said. “I have not memorized the mission statement.”

The Department of Education Office of Civil Rights mission statement consists of a single sentence that would fit in a tweet: “The mission of the Office for Civil Rights is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation through vigorous enforcement of civil rights.”
posted by scalefree at 2:19 AM on May 23 [50 favorites]


She actually did the thing where you just restate the question as an answer and hope no one notices. Teachers around the world just face palmed themselves.
posted by xammerboy at 2:44 AM on May 23 [51 favorites]


I think the sinkhole means the first lady will have to start a new tunnel
posted by mbo at 2:52 AM on May 23 [86 favorites]


John Ward, Florida congressional candidate: “First of all, I don’t think they should be allowed to register to vote,” Ward said. “And it’s not lost on me that, I think, the Democrat Party’s really hoping that they can change the voting registers in a lot of counties and districts.

This is your regular reminder that "Democrat Party" is a sophomoric but intentional insult, and every time the media prints or airs a quote with this phrasing, they're handing the Republican an opportunity not only to air their talking points but also publicly insult their opposition without criticism, repercussion, or even passing comment. It's an inherently biased act in favor of Republicans, and news media should stop treating is as "misspeaking" and refuse to air or print any quote that contains that petty garbage.
posted by Gelatin at 3:25 AM on May 23 [21 favorites]


Dave Weigel (WaPo)
Georgia Republicans outvoted Democrats by around 50,000 ballots in #GAgov primary. Four years ago, the margin was around 290,000 votes.


Matthew Isbell
Votes cast in the respective primaries has broken down to 55% GOP, 45% Dem. This is a stark improvement from 2014, where it was 65% GOP to 35% DEM. Dems did well around the black-belt of Georgia and made gains in Atlanta suburbs #gagov #GAPrimary
TURNOUT MAP


PublicPolicyPolling
With late reporting Democratic areas in, looks like Dems cast 48% of the vote in Georgia’s open primary. In 2016 it was only 37%, and Hillary still only ended up losing the state by 5. Another strong marker of comparative enthusiasm in 2018
posted by chris24 at 3:55 AM on May 23 [27 favorites]


The US has a long history of Nazi-style campaigns against minorities. It's why Hitler believed he'd get away with it.

We obviously have a history of it, but I do not believe that we're facing extermination camps for, say, Arab-Americans or Latinos in the US in 2018. We'll see.
posted by ryanshepard at 4:22 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


friends, I read that article about the possible upcoming civil war in the democratic party over impeachment in The New Yorker and it's truly bumming me out. Mostly because I am scared and angry and ready to march, and yeah I know the numbers don't support impeachment because there is zero GOP support, but fuck me. Are we really supposed to take Mueller's findings and say, 'hmmm, yes, the madman who has already caused calamity and is poised to do much worse has committed serious crimes, but let's carry on for another two years?

I mean, I can understand in that context why a voter would be apathetic and not vote (2018) or angry and take to the streets (post 2018 or who the hell knows).

A couple of organizers at yesterday's Tuesday's with Toomey were talking about how they were frightened apropos of what had happened w/r/t Trump and the DOJ in the last few days, and the guys on Pod Save America sound freaked. I'm freaked.
posted by angrycat at 4:32 AM on May 23 [15 favorites]


I've said in the past here that I don't think the US is likely to be susceptible to a broad, Nazi-style campaign against racial / ethic minorities, and I still think that's the case.
---
The US has a long history of Nazi-style campaigns against minorities. It's why Hitler believed he'd get away with it.
---
We obviously have a history of it, but I do not believe that we're facing extermination camps for, say, Arab-Americans or Latinos in the US in 2018. We'll see.


We're separating children from their parents and basically putting them in concentration camps. We're sending former refugees -- people who have been here decades, in some cases with US citizen family -- back to countries like Honduras where they will be in extreme danger of harm and death. We have rightwing individuals and groups plotting and attacking mosques and black churches and killing Sikhs, blacks, liberals, Muslims while the president calls them fine people. A president and White House and Party that calls immigrants animals, not people. A president's son who says Democrats - a party dominated by POC - aren't people. A president who tried to ban a religion that's 98% POC. A president who pardoned a man who ran latino concentration camps. A White House that puts out press releases of crimes by minorities.

We're already in 30s Germany. We're already in a Nazi-style campaign against racial/ethnic minorities.
posted by chris24 at 4:39 AM on May 23 [142 favorites]


There were 10 years between Nazis coming to power and the implementation of the Final Solution. It's been 16 months since Republicans took all three branches of government.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:03 AM on May 23 [29 favorites]


Our president on Twitter this morning: Everybody is with Tomi Lahren, a truly outstanding and respected young woman! @foxandfriends
posted by octothorpe at 5:06 AM on May 23


I think it's very difficult to use actual 1930s Germany as a comparison point to the US, while at the same time it's rhetorically useful and has emotional resonance. 1930s Germany was organized very differently from the US and was coming off of a series of crises very different from those the US has experienced. We're simply not going to see identical actions and social formations, and I think that it's very tricky to argue "we are in Nazi Germany"/ "No we're not". I think that the use of Nazi Germany as a metaphor is substantially about waking people up/emotional stuff rather than an invitation to argue whether X American thing is the equivalent to the freikorps.

It's also important, IMO, to remember that Germany wasn't a utopia pre-Hitler - the Weimar Republic had many admirable features, but it still had prisons, poverty, discrimination, totally normalized violence against women, violent strike-breaking, etc. I think what's important about the German example is the move from bad to worse - what was sudden, what was rooted in already-existing practice, what was popularly supported, what was enforced by violence, etc.

I also think it's important not to forget scale, and scale of dissent. In Nazi Germany and in territories conquered by the Nazis, dissent started out as very dangerous and became completely deadly. We have operating room right now that the left did not.

Germany is small, at least compared to the US. It's easy to govern from the center. It's far easier to enforce uniform policies. In the US, we have areas of relatively decent governance, we have basically dissident federal courts, etc. We have tools against the center that the left in Nazi Germany did not have.

This isn't, like, a call to complacency - it's a call to action. We have people in power who are morally no different from Nazis, but they also face constraints that the Nazis didn't, and we have to work those constraints as hard as possible. It would be better to hold the line even at today's atrocities than to slide further into the pit.
posted by Frowner at 5:08 AM on May 23 [93 favorites]


So while [Trump] may not know all the details ("I don't ask questions!") I can no longer doubt that he knew something was up with his campaign's relationship with Russia, and was okay with it, and is now working to cover it up.

Since Trump also seems to have been involved in money laundering shenanigans for the Russians that at best follow that same pattern (and at worst involve Trump's direct and criminal participation), this analysis appears to be sound.

From the information in the public domain, there's no question that Trump's campaign received illegal assistance from Russia -- campaign contributions from foreign nations are illegal, and that goes for in-kind contributions. It's also clear from the information in the public domain that Trump and his people -- including several Congressional Republicans -- are working furiously to cover it all up. The only question is how much more Mueller knows, and what charges will be forthcoming.

As Doonesbury's Mark Slackmeyer once said, everything known to date could lead one to conclude he's guilty. That's guilty! Guilty, guilty, guilty!
posted by Gelatin at 5:17 AM on May 23 [7 favorites]


It's more interesting to compare nazi germany to US history as it had already existed. We had examples like institutional slavery by private ownership, and the profitability of repeated genocide for them to consider. Also the ideas (modern at the time) of eugenics and redlining for them to ponder.
posted by Harry Caul at 5:23 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]


Julian Sanchez
Just so we’re clear...

Guy who had a couple meetings with Papadopolous: basically a mole inside the campaign.

Papadopolous himself: basically a coffee boy; not even really part of the campaign.

🤔


Will Saletan
Ditto for Carter Page: a freelancer we barely knew, but surveillance of him = surveillance of Trump.
posted by chris24 at 5:42 AM on May 23 [74 favorites]


A useful recap of what Mueller's investigation is doing and likely outcomes. NYT. For me, I hope this drags on until 2020. The thought of Pence becoming president is gawdawful.
posted by bluesky43 at 6:00 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Trump's lawyers are insisting on an audio recording of any interview with the President, so there is no question exactly what was said.

I'm sure Mueller's people will have, ah, no objections whatsoever -- they'll want something they can play in court, after all. But for crying out loud, Trump's poor syntax, off-the-cuff delivery, and tendency to tailor his speech to what he thinks his audience wants to hear means there is question exactly what Trump said plenty of times, even when he's on tape. Only recently, his defenders reinterpreted his "animals" comment ("he isn't referring to immigrants in general, just MS-13!"). And his apologists pretend he didn't actually confess to obstruction of justice to Lester Holt on live TV.
posted by Gelatin at 6:06 AM on May 23 [6 favorites]


And I should also say that the high school math teacher who won the primary in Kentucky gives me great hope. Mobilize the teachers too!
posted by bluesky43 at 6:07 AM on May 23 [9 favorites]


Can't wait to see the equivalencies drawn today about how a drink thrown on Tomi Lahren is a form of violence the left is totally ignoring, too busy with their whining about police violence and alt-right rallies and sexual assault and all...
posted by Rykey at 6:09 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Letter to the editor, LA Times:
To the editor: So, the president wants to investigate the FBI to see whether his campaign was infiltrated.

What makes this all so unbelievable is the fact that it was his son and campaign manager who met with Russians to see whether they could get dirt on their opponent. It was Michael Flynn who was in Moscow being charmed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was son-in-law Jared Kushner who wanted a loan from Qatar (and after Kushner was denied the investment, Qatar was subject to a sudden change in U.S. foreign policy by the Trump administration).

If this is indeed a "witch hunt," then why has so much turned up?

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has been proceeding methodically. Former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort has been indicted, and Flynn has pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with Mueller. Donald Trump Jr. has been called out for his phony Russian adoptions story.

If our president has nothing to hide, let's see his tax returns and his business' complete financial records.

Robert G. Brewer, Sherman Oaks
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:12 AM on May 23 [48 favorites]


Kim Jong Un is said to be worried about North Korea falling to a military coup while he's rubbing shoulders with Trump in Singapore.

Trump guaranteed his security. Presumably we'd drop in the 101st to restore the regime.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:14 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


zachlipton: The Qanon folks have already brought this back around to their theories, claiming that "follow the money" is something their supposed 4chan informant says, in case you're wondering how this is playing in cuckoo land. This crap has a direct line into the White House.

Meanwhile, they don't seem to care that someone with an actual child porn conviction is now involved in these scandals, if you somehow thought any of this involved good faith.


For what it's worth, a quick Twitter search for "qanon nader" shows a number of people musing about the same thing... but also some probably-genuine QANONers reckoning with the issue. One expresses disappointment in the president (really!), but the main line of rhetoric is to present George Nader as "Robert Mueller's star witness" and such, which is about what I'd expect here. Oh, and also that he's a "friend of the Clintons" like that doesn't apply equally to Trump (in terms of the time periods when the three of them traveled in the same circles).

Gelatin: But for crying out loud, Trump's poor syntax, off-the-cuff delivery, and tendency to tailor his speech to what he thinks his audience wants to hear means there is question exactly what Trump said plenty of times, even when he's on tape.

One key difference is that questioning involves follow-ups that he is legally obligated to answer. No one in the room at the meeting about ICE was going to ask "Hold on, Mr. President, precisely who are you calling animals?" but investigators would do the same for whatever word salad he concocts about "no collusion!", and expertly enough to lead him to spilling at least a few beans.

I don't have the highest hopes for testimony ever happening, but if it did the actual output should be meaningful, and the subsequent debate will be more like "Is it really fair to hold Dear Leader to any kind of legal standard at all, what about Crooked H", etc, rather than a question over whether or not Trump admitted to anything. (Which is close to where we are now anyway, considering how Trump's own defenders talk about "flipping" and such.)

octothorpe: Our president on Twitter this morning: Everybody is with Tomi Lahren, a truly outstanding and respected young woman! @foxandfriends

It's not as bad as "Melanie", but still a bit embarrassing to misspell Tammai Lorrond's name like that
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:23 AM on May 23 [5 favorites]


per zarq:

Some light reading from the Guardian: 'Jesus never charged a leper a co-pay': the rise of the religious left.
From healthcare to tax and immigration, Rev William Barber and the Poor People’s Campaign are driven by faith to focus on the disadvantaged


As someone who is constantly driven crazy by how the moniker of "Christian" has been co-opted by ultra-right evangelicals and Prosperity Gospel shitheads, I find this incredibly exciting.
posted by schroedinger at 6:28 AM on May 23 [57 favorites]


Trump: "If the person placed very early into my campaign wasn’t a SPY put there by the previous Administration for political purposes..."

I must once again applaud Mueller's team. Their style of keeping it close to their vest, giving no-one anything to work with until indictments drop, has Trump and Giuliani pretty much free-associating their worst fears to the general public.


The obvious pushback from the Democratic camp would be to point out six or seven of Trump's public own-goals and deplorable statements -- including the Access Hollywood tape -- and then say "we didn't need a spy."

(Also too, "follow the money?!" I realize Trump is all about projection, but he really, really is tempting fate by so many public invocations of Watergate.)
posted by Gelatin at 6:29 AM on May 23 [5 favorites]


A useful recap of what Mueller's investigation is doing and likely outcomes. NYT. For me, I hope this drags on until 2020. The thought of Pence becoming president is gawdawful.

Seconding your recommendation of that NYT flowchart. But I keep in mind that Flynn has flipped, and if Pence is lying about not knowing Flynn was compromised, perhaps because of the WH briefing Yates had given prior, then Pence could be Spiro-Agnewed out before The Shit Hits The Fan.
posted by mikelieman at 6:33 AM on May 23 [10 favorites]


The thought of Pence becoming president is gawdawful.

I know this is ye age-old debate, but for as evil as Pence is he is not the type to send off nuclear missiles in a fit of pique. He'd be more effective at some evil things but less people might die worldwide. I don't know if he has the same boner for gutting the State Department, and most of the terrible things he'd do (stacking the courts, destroying the rights of marginalized groups, anti-choice measures, etc) are happening anyway because they're under the purview of current appointees who are actually capable of doing their jobs. We might also see less defects of civil servants--it's easier to combat a sane enemy and he's not leading the Deep State charge. He also hardly inspires the same level of fervor.
posted by schroedinger at 6:36 AM on May 23 [9 favorites]


I'm sure Mueller's people will have, ah, no objections whatsoever -- they'll want something they can play in court, after all. But for crying out loud, Trump's poor syntax, off-the-cuff delivery, and tendency to tailor his speech to what he thinks his audience wants to hear means there is question exactly what Trump said plenty of times, even when he's on tape.

There are worse examples of Trump being deposed. I think this is the most recent example available, and man, I'd PAY MONEY to stream the Mueller's team deposition on PPV.

Donald Trump gives deposition on provocative rhetoric
posted by mikelieman at 6:37 AM on May 23 [9 favorites]


Pence is incredibly horrible, but keep in mind that he lost Indiana. He's not charismatic, he's not beloved, he has few connections, he doesn't have Trump's ties to the mob and oligarchs worldwide. He may be a clearer thinker than Trump, which should in theory make him more dangerous, but it's precisely Trump's incoherence and loose-cannon qualities which rile up the base. Pence will end up thinking about how to do the horrible things he wants to do, and that will weaken him. Pence is a terrible person, but he will be a lot easier to fight.
posted by Frowner at 6:54 AM on May 23 [40 favorites]


Guys can we not, we've been round the Pence v Trump carousel a number of times.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:57 AM on May 23 [20 favorites]


[Agreed, please let's take it as read that there are many reasons to oppose Pence too, and not get into a "which is worse" thing; it only ends in endless recrimination.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:02 AM on May 23 [16 favorites]


Our president on Twitter this morning [re-tweets Fox News]

He went on a capitalization spree with this one: "SPYGATE could be one of the biggest political scandals in history!" And then he moved on to "Criminal Deep State", "Phony Collusion with Russia", "a made up Scam", and "a major SPY scandal".

Seriously, though, NYU historian and CNN commentator Ruth Ben-Ghiat has written up a very helpful analysis of how Trump conveys his message to his Twitter followers. "Wherever they are in the message, the all-capitalized words allow this professional marketer to isolate slogans he most wants you to notice and absorb -- usually phrases connected to his aim of discrediting people or media outlets critical of him and his presidency." This is a technique straight out of the political direct mail letters pioneered by the New Right in the 70s and 80s.

In addition, Trump's repetition of key words and phrases is basic advertising and sales practice with which Trump is well aquainted. He's not simply complaining about "Fake News", for example; he's promoting the very concept of "Fake News". This toxic phrase, having entered our cultural lexicon, counts as his biggest rhetorical triumph. Worse, it's succeeded as a propaganda campaign among his followers to discredit critical news sources. The 2017 Gallup/Knight Foundation Survey on Trust, Media and Democracy found, "Four in 10 Republicans consider accurate news stories that cast a politician or political group in a negative light to always be “fake news.”"

Meanwhile, the Top Minds on /r/The_Donald are now promoting "#SPYGATE (Operation Boomerang)" as their next meme project for Internet saturation...
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:11 AM on May 23 [13 favorites]


GOP lawmaker: Julian Assange is a ‘very honorable man’

If you guessed Rohrabacher, you win absolutely nothing because of course it's Rohrabacher.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:14 AM on May 23 [40 favorites]


I'd like to remind everyone that Umberto Eco's article Ur-Fascism (which has seen the rounds here before, this is not new information) is a good whetting stone to help keep our minds sharp when pondering "where is the potential rise of fascism occurring?"

The article answers a lot of the preliminary questions for us, and I don't want to derail this thread with that conversation, I just want to put this here as a helpful guide to better shape our sentiments and understandings and perspectives for the days ahead.
posted by nikaspark at 7:29 AM on May 23 [15 favorites]


Democrats are hiding from the Mueller investigation and have no coherent message on it: despite the indictments and guilty pleas by some of Trump’s top campaign aides, a majority of Americans answer “no” when asked whether the investigation has uncovered any crimes.

Max Bergmann:
Democrats are unbelievably losing the political fight over the Russia scandal. This is of their own doing. They've ceded the field and aren't fighting the fight. They want this to be bipartisan but the GOP has decided to go on offense - "witch hunt!"/deep state/liberal FBI 1/ Meanwhile the public have lost the plot and are lost. They don't know basic facts - 20+ indictments, 4 Trump campaign officials indicted, a suspected Russian agent on the campaign - b/c no one is hammering home these facts. 2/ Reminding the public of known facts is not the media’s job. That is the job of politicians. But Dems have no message on the Russia investigation. Instead they are scared to talk about it and think it’s too confusing. 3/ Instead, Democrats want to talk about process – the need for an investigation! And are literally on the defensive “defending the investigation” or “protecting Mueller,” while the GOP is on offense attacking Mueller. 4/ But by focusing on the process, the public has forgotten what the investigation is all about! And the GOP effort is working. The public now generally views the investigation along partisan lines, despite Dems deliberately trying to avoid being seen as partisan. 5/ However, when the public is reminded of key facts – people have pleaded guilty! - or reminded of why this investigation happened – they had these sketchy meetings they lied about! - it has a real impact. 6/ So for Dems this situation is solvable! But to solve it you need a clear message. 7/ But this is where the political consultant industrial complex says don’t talk about Russia! Polls say talk about Health care and puppies! Yes talk about that! But it is possible to walk and chew gum. 8/ First, Trump scandals are having an impact on his approvals. W/o them Dems in tough spot - w/ 4% unemployment, Trump is drafting off of the Obama economy. So talk about cleaning up Washington, stopping corruption and holding Trump accountable. 9/ Lastly, Dems need to shape the coming battlefield over the outcome of the Mueller investigation. Do you not think Mueller will find evidence of serious of crimes by the POTUS and his associates? If not, I have some land to sell you… 10/ So knowing what’s coming – perhaps it makes sense to spend time NOW working to shape public opinion. 11/ Imagine it is May 2008 and you know the financial crash is coming in September 2008 – what would be the politically smart thing to do? Talk about Wall Street! Subprime mortgages, financial regulations, etc. But pollsters w/d tell you you’re crazy! No one cares... 12/ So knowing what's coming, Dems s/d get ahead of the curve. Convey to the public what the investigation is about, hammer key facts, and make the public question the president's behavior. There is so much to work with. END
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:43 AM on May 23 [45 favorites]


The US has a long history of Nazi-style campaigns against minorities. It's why Hitler believed he'd get away with it.
We obviously have a history of it, but I do not believe that we're facing extermination camps for, say, Arab-Americans or Latinos in the US in 2018. We'll see.
We're separating children from their parents and basically putting them in concentration camps. We're sending former refugees -- people who have been here decades, in some cases with US citizen family -- back to countries like Honduras where they will be in extreme danger of harm and death. We have rightwing individuals and groups plotting and attacking mosques and black churches and killing Sikhs, blacks, liberals, Muslims while the president calls them fine people. A president and White House and Party that calls immigrants animals, not people. A president's son who says Democrats - a party dominated by POC - aren't people. A president who tried to ban a religion that's 98% POC. A president who pardoned a man who ran latino concentration camps. A White House that puts out press releases of crimes by minorities.

We're already in 30s Germany. We're already in a Nazi-style campaign against racial/ethnic minorities.


i'd also like to point out that even as the concentration and extermination camps were in full swing, many germans of the time didn't quite believe that they were real, so.

so, like...
We obviously have a history of it, but I do not believe that we're facing extermination camps for, say, Arab-Americans or Latinos in the US in 2018. We'll see.


i mean, sure, i guess if you want to believe we're not on the path to extermination camps for marginalized folk, that's fine and all. you might not be in the line of fire, but then again, that's what the whole niemöller quote was about and it's good to know who's likely to ignore the signs.
posted by anem0ne at 7:47 AM on May 23 [28 favorites]


So, like, which is it? Should we only be talking about red meat issues that effect the daily lives of the American voters because no one but nerds cares about Russia, like I keep getting told? Or should we hammer about Russia day and night, like I have also been told?
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:48 AM on May 23 [23 favorites]


Reporters are being barred from the EPA's chemicals summit again today.

"I’m standing at EPA’s chemicals summit, where I’m told by security that I can’t enter and can’t stand inside because it is invite only and no press. They were polite but refused to call public affairs staff, even if I gave them the number (which they said they didn’t have)." - Emily Holden on Twitter
posted by marshmallow peep at 7:49 AM on May 23 [30 favorites]


Democrats are unbelievably losing the political fight over the Russia scandal. This is of their own doing.

Just last week (or more? I don't know how time works anymore) we were talking about how the American people don't care about Russia and it's a losing conversation for Dems to have and instead Dems must STAY ON MESSAGE about JOBS and HEALTHCARE. I wish we could talk about what to prioritize in messaging without this constant lens of "the Democrats managed to fuck everything up again despite the advantages they totally definitely have". Please. I have to get through these 6 months until the midterms and I am an atheist so I have no one to pray to.
posted by Emmy Rae at 7:51 AM on May 23 [52 favorites]


But Dems have no message on the Russia investigation. Instead they are scared to talk about it and think it’s too confusing.

What part of "Trump sold the country out to the Russians to help him get elected" is confusing?

Okay, okay, we can keep it simple: "Trump sold the country out to the Russians." Heck, he himself blew an Israeli intelligence op that planted a listening device at ISIS headquarters by blabbing to the Russians.

And while it may not be "illegal," because the President can declassify whatever he pleases, it's wrong.

So maybe the Democrats should adapt the message of another prominent conservative, Barry Goldawater: "In your hearts, you know he's wrong."
posted by Gelatin at 7:55 AM on May 23 [8 favorites]


49 Democrats in Congress (16 Senators and 33 Representatives) just voted to roll finance oversight back to the pre-2008 crash days, and six gave cover to appoint a torture fetishist to the CIA. These were battles that were winnable by a united caucus, and yet apparently no one even tried to stop them.

That they can't summon up the courage or organization on something else that should be criminally easy to push back on shouldn't be surprising anymore.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:01 AM on May 23 [35 favorites]


But Dems have no message on the Russia investigation. Instead they are scared to talk about it and think it’s too confusing.

"The Trump Campaign illegally met with Russian criminals in Trump Tower, and Trump Jr. admitted it on twitter fora all the world to see"

is the most succinct talking point I can distill.
posted by mikelieman at 8:04 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]


I don't think Democrats are necessarily fucking things up. I think we may be losing the information war for a number of fascinating reasons that will probably be written about extensively. We know that POTUS colluded with a hostile foreign power to obtain the presidency. How are people not in the streets? I mean, is this even disputable any more? I guess because people have jobs and kids and a limited tolerance for engaging in this bullshit.

I think when the history of this is written, it's going to be about the same human psychology that's created horrors of the past. Apathy. Tribalism. The reaction to limited resources. The reaction to the unknown that's demonized for political purposes. Hate and fear and ignorance. A lack of empathy.
posted by angrycat at 8:06 AM on May 23 [10 favorites]


Y'all, please see the title of this thread. The Russian collusion and all the illegal, immoral, and unethical acts are not separate from a Democratic message about jobs and healthcare and whatever else "real Americans" really care about. Trump and his cronies, along with the GOP, sold out the American people to enrich themselves, their friends and their corporate donors. It's not hard.

Unrelated, and ignore if derail, but I don't understand the Democrat/Democratic thing and why people are so worked up about it.
posted by runcibleshaw at 8:12 AM on May 23 [9 favorites]


What good does being in the streets do? It doesn't seem to make a difference.
posted by agregoli at 8:14 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


I don't think Democrats are necessarily fucking things up.

Losing several major battles in a matter of weeks, on decisions that will have decades of impact, when they could have won them is the definition of fucking things up.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:14 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


"The Trump Campaign illegally met with Russian criminals in Trump Tower, and Trump Jr. admitted it on twitter fora all the world to see"

is the most succinct talking point I can distill.


I'm fond of "The Republicans sure act like they think Trump is guilty."

(Or they know it.)

And don't forget that Trump basically confessed to obstruction of justice on live TV and Twitter. With Lester Holt, and again in demanding that the Justice Department justify its investigation of his to his lickspittles in Congress.

The things we know about what Trump and his people did is a massive scandal. The fact that the Republicans are politicizing it means they know they have no defense on the merits. And that's entirely apart from whatever else Mueller knows.
posted by Gelatin at 8:15 AM on May 23 [8 favorites]


But Dems have no message on the Russia investigation. Instead they are scared to talk about it and think it’s too confusing.

Do Republicans have a clear and coherent message on the Russia investigation? Ryan, McConnell, and much of the congressional leadership have been exactly not at the forefront of Republican messaging on this; Burr and a lot of the lower-level Republican senate leadership has been clear in supporting the investigation and defending the IC assessments over Russian interference in the election. They've mostly framed this as wanting to let the investigation go forward, but not quite coming out as attacking the President. And then, there are a lot of individual Democrats who absolutely have been messaging constantly about Trump & the existing Russia investigation.

So this isn't quite a 'Democrats vs. Republicans' issue -- what seems to be happening is that there's a coterie of closely-involved Republicans -- Nunes chief among them in Congress -- who are essentially colluding with the White House, and the White House in turn with Fox News & other conservative news outlets, to offer up a cohesive media message. Mueller, for legal reasons, doesn't want to go public with a media strategy.

Basically I take issue with this: "Democrats are unbelievably losing the political fight over the Russia scandal. This is of their own doing. They've ceded the field and aren't fighting the fight. They want this to be bipartisan but the GOP has decided to go on offense - "witch hunt!"/deep state/liberal FBI "

That's not a GOP thing. Yes, the people who are doing that are members of the GOP, but that's not a GOP-led decision and it's not a united GOP that's putting out that messaging. What's a White House led talking point, which the GOP aren't exactly all echoing -- Tillis has been pushing for legislation to protect Mueller, Burr has been vocal in supporting the IC assessments, etc etc. You could write a twitter thread (or an article) that asks: 'why isn't the GOP fully backing Trump? the GOP has the votes to end the Mueller investigation and prevent impeachment!' -- and maybe someone over on Brietbart has, I don't know.

The point being: I think the framing of this is completely off. The inherent problem here isn't one of party unity -- neither party is united on how to message about the Russia investigation. The problem is one of asymmetry -- that Trump & his closely-held group of co-conspirators are, well, conspirators, and given that he's in the White House he has a large megaphone to amplify and coordinate a response. On the other side, there's...Mueller, who can't engage in those tactics; and basically no other counterweight. The counterweight should be the press, but because of how divided press consumption is that isn't quite working: as long as Fox News has such a lock on such a large segment of the population, and as long as Fox News supports the president, it is going to be really hard to push back against Trump's chosen narrative with the Fox News-watching segment of the population. (And as long as Trump being outrageous gets CNN views, sort-of-likewise for CNN; &c, &c.)

Basically: what message could Democrats have that would make Fox News turn on Trump? That's not an trivial issue.
posted by cjelli at 8:15 AM on May 23 [15 favorites]


PLEASE do not start a "are the Democrats fucking up/no they are not fucking up" line of argument in here.
posted by agregoli at 8:16 AM on May 23 [22 favorites]


runcibleshaw:"Trump and his cronies, along with the GOP, sold out the American people to enrich themselves, their friends and their corporate donors. It's not hard."

The problem with summarizing this way is that you'll never convince the average Trump supporter that there is anything wrong with personal encrichment, no matter the circumstances - so even if you can get said Trumpeter to agree that Trump's actions were illegal, they will immediately dismiss the illegality as unimportant.
posted by namewithoutwords at 8:17 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


"In your hearts, you know he's wrong."

In your guts, you know he's nuts.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:21 AM on May 23 [62 favorites]


It's two different groups of people telling us these things. The "red meat issues only, Russia is a DISTRACTION" crowd is made up of leftier-than-thou Salon / The Nation / Chapo types who were skeptical of the Russia investigation from the beginning and aren't going to let facts get in the way of their story. The "Democrats are doing the Russia thing wrong" crowd is made up lazy mainstream pundits who do believe that there was/is collusion and corruption, but also believe that there's ONE WEIRD TRICK to getting a nation that's been desensitized to scandal to suddenly grab their torches and pitchforks and demand impeachment.

In the world we're actually living in, no amount of Democrats doing anything is going to change what Robert S. Mueller does with his investigation, and that's all that really matters. The noise is just two different constituencies competing for their version of how to blame Democrats for everything.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:23 AM on May 23 [36 favorites]


We know that POTUS colluded with a hostile foreign power to obtain the presidency. How are people not in the streets?

Because there is a media organization that is working very hard to advance the counter-argument that "no, we don't 'know' that" and that it's "fake news". And that media organization is assisted by the other myth that "you know why you're poor? It's those other people taking your jobs (it has nothing to do with us corporations cooking the books so that we get everything and trying to pit y'all against each other)".

You are assuming htat everyone is working from the same series of assumptions about the state of the world. They aren't.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:27 AM on May 23 [11 favorites]


I think when the history of this is written, it's going to be about the same human psychology that's created horrors of the past. Apathy. Tribalism. The reaction to limited resources. The reaction to the unknown that's demonized for political purposes. Hate and fear and ignorance. A lack of empathy.
That history may have been recently published. Mishra's Age of Anger.
A history of militant lowbrows engaging in resentful violent nihilism often, as a feature of our post-Enlightenment culture.
posted by Harry Caul at 8:27 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


We're already in 30s Germany. We're already in a Nazi-style campaign against racial/ethnic minorities.

By 1933, Germany had Dachau, by 1937 Buchenwald. I'm not saying that the US is a model of civil liberties or tolerance at all, but some sense of perspective is useful here.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:27 AM on May 23 [14 favorites]


Basically: what message could Democrats have that would make Fox News turn on Trump? That's not an trivial issue.

There is no message that would make Fox News turn on Trump, short of "the president announced today that he will be changing his party designation to Democratic." Fox News is the party mouthpiece of the GOP. Trying to figure out a strategy to get them to change their stripes is as productive as trying to reach out to Trump voters. You're not going to convince them, because you can't reason your way out of something you didn't reason your way into. Our only chance is to blast an equally loud message from the other side, which starts with high-profile D's trumpeting the Mueller investigation every. single. day. until the press has no choice but to cover it. Take a page from the GOP book of deflection, and pivot every question into talking points about the president's corrupt team and the money he took in exchange for unknown services rendered to hostile foreign governments. Beat that dead horse until the carcass is no longer recognizable. This is an honest-to-god national disgrace, and if the media won't report it of their own accord, it's up to the Dems to goddamn well MAKE them cover it.
posted by Mayor West at 8:28 AM on May 23 [11 favorites]


In the world we're actually living in, no amount of Democrats doing anything is going to change what Robert S. Mueller does with his investigation, and that's all that really matters.

What Democrats and their media personalities can do is point out that what Trump is doing about the investigation is itself a scandal. Republicans have decades of experience in running fake scandals -- Whitewater, Benghazi, Emailgate, etc etc -- and Democratic presidents did not respond with public acts of obstruction of justice.
posted by Gelatin at 8:34 AM on May 23 [6 favorites]


We're already in 30s Germany. We're already in a Nazi-style campaign against racial/ethnic minorities.

By 1933, Germany had Dachau, by 1937 Buchenwald. I'm not saying that the US is a model of civil liberties or tolerance at all, but some sense of perspective is useful here.


It's almost as if the growth of an American version of racist fascism and oppression would have different details and different branding than the Nazi Germany of 80-90 years ago.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:37 AM on May 23 [18 favorites]


What Democrats and their media personalities can do is point out that what Trump is doing about the investigation is itself a scandal. Republicans have decades of experience in running fake scandals -- Whitewater, Benghazi, Emailgate, etc etc -- and Democratic presidents did not respond with public acts of obstruction of justice.

If they really wanted some rhetorical effect, they could emphasize that this is not just a scandal, but that the GOP government is actively disloyal to the United States.
posted by The Gaffer at 8:38 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]


Beat that dead horse until the carcass is no longer recognizable. This is an honest-to-god national disgrace, and if the media won't report it of their own accord, it's up to the Dems to goddamn well MAKE them cover it.

Adam Schiff has been a good example. His committee's minority report garnered some media attention, feeding as it did into the media's hunger for lazy "he-said, she-said" storylines, and his twitter feed and public statements are both appropriately dramatic for the criminal enterprise currently occupying the White House and for playing to the media's other bias, sensationalism.
posted by Gelatin at 8:39 AM on May 23 [8 favorites]


By 1933, Germany had Dachau, by 1937 Buchenwald. I'm not saying that the US is a model of civil liberties or tolerance at all, but some sense of perspective is useful here.

Dachau was just a prison for political prisoners (which was also bad) until around 1938.
posted by srboisvert at 8:39 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


For insight on the messaging question, I (unsurprisingly) recommend Alexandra Erin's thread.

Some key points are (1) staying "above the fray" to avoid low blows from the other side is a mistake (one of her catchphrases is "you can't withhold ammunition from a munitions factory") and (2) the notion of Russia-Lago vs "issues" is a false dichotomy, because a corrupt government is also one that isn't working for you, the people.

For more insight and some strong encouragement, I highly recommend this thread of hers. It reiterates another valuable message, which is that when say Democrats will win in November, it's not a prediction, it's a promise.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:41 AM on May 23 [12 favorites]


What good does being in the streets do? It doesn't seem to make a difference.

South Korea, 2016

Ukraine, 2014

We may only need 3.5% of the population.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:41 AM on May 23 [22 favorites]


I'm fond of "The Republicans sure act like they think Trump is guilty."

From the Washington Post last week: Now We Know What Trump Will Say When We Learn What He’s Hiding—"It has been said many times: For a man protesting his innocence, Trump sure does act guilty. And that, more than anything, creates the air of mystery shrouding this topic. But at least we now know what he’s likely to say if and when we learn what he is hiding."

And last month:
Why Do Trump’s Defenders Assume He’s Guilty?—Atlantic Monthly
Trump Keeps Saying He’s Innocent. So Why Does He Keep Sounding Like He’s Guilty?—Washington Post
Republicans Can't Understand Why Trump Is Acting Guilty—NYMag

And last December:
Republicans Are Acting Like Trump's Guilty—The Week

And last July:
Fmr. Watergate prosecutor: Trump 'is clearly acting guilty'—NBC

And March of last year:
If Trump Is Innocent, Why Is He Acting So Guilty?

Sometimes it takes a lot of repetition for a message to sink in. But note the increasing frequency with which this is occurring.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:41 AM on May 23 [53 favorites]


> What Democrats and their media personalities can do is point out that what Trump is doing about the investigation is itself a scandal. Republicans have decades of experience in running fake scandals -- Whitewater, Benghazi, Emailgate, etc etc -- and Democratic presidents did not respond with public acts of obstruction of justice.

I'm not sure who "their media personalities" are here, but elected Democrats have been using phrases like "obstruction of justice" in regards to Trump's behavior for at least a year now. If the media isn't set up to allow those statements to rise to the top of the nightly newscasts, no amount of Democratic working of the refs is going to change that, because the media ecosystem generally follows the money rather than the demands of the people they're covering. That the Republican worldview is often more aligned with the corporate interests of media conglomerates is unfortunate, but it's not something Tom Perez, Keith Ellison, Nancy Pelosi, or Chuck Schumer can do a damn thing about.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:43 AM on May 23 [8 favorites]


the notion of Russia-Lago vs "issues" is a false dichotomy, because a corrupt government is also one that isn't working for you, the people.

Exactly. I like the phrase "Trump is selling you out" because it applies to so many situations (China, big business, drug companies, as well as Russia) and because it's a psychological bridge for Trump fans. Yeah I know he spoke to you and promised a lot, but....
posted by msalt at 8:47 AM on May 23 [6 favorites]


[Gonna suggest that we leave it here on the generic "how hopeless are things", "how similar to Nazi Germany are things", "how much do Dems suck", and related general themes we've explored many times. Fully understand where those feelings are coming from, but spending all our idle time reinforcing them to each other isn't great for everyone's mental health. If you need to vent those feelings, there's the venting thread. Let's keep this thread for updates and more-specific/constructive/novel stuff.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:47 AM on May 23 [20 favorites]


South Korea, 2016

Ukraine, 2014


Slovakia & Armenia, 2018.
posted by progosk at 8:48 AM on May 23 [9 favorites]


If the media isn't set up to allow those statements to rise to the top of the nightly newscasts, no amount of Democratic working of the refs is going to change that

I didn't mean to imply that Democrats aren't doing so art all -- as I mentioned, Schiff brings plenty of righteous fire. But yeah, working the media refs seems to be more effective for Republicans than Democrats, in part, perhaps, because the media seems to have accepted that Republican complains about the so-called "liberal media" were made in good faith. And NPR, in particular, seems utterly desperate to normalize this president and pretend that his scandals fit into their normal worldview. (Ron Howard narrator voice: They don't.)
posted by Gelatin at 8:50 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Reminding the public of known facts is not the media’s job.

This is _exactly_ the media's job. They Are. Not. Doing. It.
(Not doing it well, at any rate. It's arguable they cough up the odd fact in the course of droning a both-sides narrative)
posted by petebest at 8:51 AM on May 23 [34 favorites]


Meanwhile the public have lost the plot and are lost. They don't know basic facts - 20+ indictments, 4 Trump campaign officials indicted, a suspected Russian agent on the campaign - b/c no one is hammering home these facts. 2/ Reminding the public of known facts is not the media’s job. That is the job of politicians.
Bull fucking shit. That anyone would say this underscores just how completely and effectively the right wing has co-opted the systems of public discourse in our country. This is why everyone seems to feel they need to blame the Democrats for everything: everyone else, including our nonpartisan media, has abrogated all responsibility for maintaining a functioning society.

PLEASE do not start a "are the Democrats fucking up/no they are not fucking up" line of argument in here.

I would love it if people would stop skewing every news story with a "Democrats are fucking this up" angle in here. At this point it's borderline trolling. But as long as that narrative keeps appearing in these threads, I think it's absolutely vital that it be pushed back against. Because it's false, and because it promotes despair, and because it serves the interests of the vast right-wing conspiracy. Criticizing individual Democrats for bad decisions is great: criticism is valuable and how we get better. Criticizing specific Democratic party policies or tactics is great. "Democrats are fucking this up, like they always do" is false and worthless.
posted by biogeo at 8:52 AM on May 23 [75 favorites]


Vox: After months of debate, the Senate has finally reached an agreement on a bill to curtail sexual harassment on Capitol Hill. And Senate leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell have promised the bill will pass in “short order.”
posted by Chrysostom at 8:57 AM on May 23 [7 favorites]


This is _exactly_ the media's job. They Are. Not. Doing. It.
Actually their job is to generate revenue for their owners, and most of them do that with consistent professional loyal ingenuity.
posted by Harry Caul at 9:03 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]


Also, I'm despairing at ever getting final numbers out of the state of Arkansas, but it was a GOP Hold for the other state Senate seat as well, looks like probably about the same performance as the 2016 presidential results (no Dem had run for this seat in quite some time, so no district comparison).
posted by Chrysostom at 9:05 AM on May 23 [5 favorites]


BBC: Trump lawyer 'paid by Ukraine' to arrange White House talks

Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, received a secret payment of at least $400,000 (£300,000) to fix talks between the Ukrainian president and President Trump, according to sources in Kiev close to those involved.

The payment was arranged by intermediaries acting for Ukraine's leader, Petro Poroshenko, the sources said, though Cohen was not registered as a representative of Ukraine as required by US law. The meeting at the White House was last June.

Shortly after the Ukrainian president returned home, his country's anti-corruption agency stopped its investigation into Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.

posted by Rust Moranis at 9:17 AM on May 23 [56 favorites]


BBC: Trump lawyer 'paid by Ukraine' to arrange White House talks

Just a reminder that for some, including myself, the whole "what the heck is the deal with Trump and Russia?" thing began when Trump's people changed a Republican platform plank on Ukraine, and only on Ukraine, prior to the convention.

Trump's campaign has been up to its eyebrows in the Russia scandal since before he was officially nominated.
posted by Gelatin at 9:21 AM on May 23 [55 favorites]


Just a reminder that for some, including myself, the whole "what the heck is the deal with Trump and Russia?" thing began when Trump's people changed a Republican platform plank on Ukraine, and only on Ukraine, prior to the convention.

Poroshenko has no love for Russia, so I don't think it makes sense to file this under "Trump-Russia".
posted by BungaDunga at 9:26 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Poroshenko came to power after the Russia-backed autocrat was kicked out of the country. If anything, getting him into the room with Trump hurts the Russian line that everyone in power in Ukraine are fascists and that's why they needed to annex Crimea.

Foreign heads of state paying off the President's fixer in order to get face-time with Trump is terrible in ten thousand ways, and it's further evidence that the guys around him are willing to use their proximity to the President for basically anything as long as it comes with a payday.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:31 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Know what the Democrats aren't fucking up?

Running a candidate in every damn seat. Losing an election in Arkansas with 25% of the vote is still a far cry better than getting 0% of the vote because we didn't run a candidate.

25% is still 1 in 4 people. Those folks have family members, coworkers, and neighbors who voted for the other side. We only need to convince one of the other three to vote for us, and that 25% is now more engaged, more likely to vote in the general elections for statewide/national candidates, and helping keep the Democratic party alive in local races (where we can win local races on local issues and help bolster the Democratic Party's reputation in these not-quite-purple states).

Maybe next time we'll learn some lessons, and get 35% of the vote -- and more the time after that. We aren't going to build momentum by doing nothing, and 25% is a solid foothold. There's a lot we can do with 25%, even if it isn't going to win us any elections today.

Last year, I wrote about finding a small pocket of blue in West Virginia. 1 in 4 people won't win an election, but if they work together, they can still provide a really fucking good support network and provide a strong counter-narrative amid a sea of hatred.
posted by schmod at 9:32 AM on May 23 [109 favorites]



The payment was arranged by intermediaries acting for Ukraine's leader, Petro Poroshenko, the sources said, though Cohen was not registered as a representative of Ukraine as required by US law. The meeting at the White House was last June.

...

Just a reminder that for some, including myself, the whole "what the heck is the deal with Trump and Russia?" thing began when Trump's people changed a Republican platform plank on Ukraine, and only on Ukraine, prior to the convention.

...

Poroshenko has no love for Russia, so I don't think it makes sense to file this under "Trump-Russia".


It's all part of the same con. Ukraine wants US support in its dormant but hot war with Russian backed separatists. Cohen sounds like he's been in their ears suggesting that if they lay off their guy Manafort and show a little appreciation ($$$) he can see his way to making Trump more agreeable to their cause. The whole point is to use the fact that he's president to shake down everyone they can.
posted by dis_integration at 9:32 AM on May 23 [7 favorites]




The change involved softening a statement of support for pro-Western elements in Ukraine, which certainly tilted to Russia's advantage.
The issue is of interest to investigators in Congress and the team working for Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller because the idea of arming Ukrainians in the fight against pro-Russian separatist forces was staunchly opposed by the Russian government — and, it seems, the Trump campaign as well.
And according to this story, Trump himself directed the change.
posted by Gelatin at 9:34 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]


This BBC scoop is absolutely part of the bigger Trump-Russia scandal, as much a quid pro quo as Ukraine receiving a multi-million dollar missile deal from the Trump administration after they stopped cooperating with Mueller about Manafort. If anything, it's worse that other countries in addition to Russia can use the scandal to leverage Trump.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:34 AM on May 23 [13 favorites]


U.S. Sanction Power May Be Reaching Its Limit
The response to the Iran decision shows the global economy won’t be bossed around forever.

posted by infini at 9:35 AM on May 23 [6 favorites]


Maybe next time we'll learn some lessons, and get 35% of the vote -- and more the time after that. We aren't going to build momentum by doing nothing, and 25% is a solid foothold. There's a lot we can do with 25%, even if it isn't going to win us any elections today.

idk if it's the terrible chronic pain hangover making me super emotionally labile but this comment gave me a lot of hope, thank you.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:35 AM on May 23 [36 favorites]


The "is the media doing its job on the Russia investigation?" is missing the point. On balance I think the answer is mostly "yes" except for Fox News... but the majority of Americans either watch Fox News or don't watch/read the news at all. It doesn't matter how well the NYT/WaPo/CNN/MSNBC/whoever covers the story if someone's entire consumption of the news consists of stories occasionally pushed onto their Facebook feed. Or scuttlebutt around the metaphorical water cooler from some dude who watches Fox News and Infowars.

People in this thread who read or watch the news daily, like me, are major outliers.
posted by Justinian at 9:53 AM on May 23 [9 favorites]


The Committee to Investigate Russia has an Everything We Know About Russia and President Trump timeline.

The timeline was originally at Bill Moyers' web site.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:59 AM on May 23 [21 favorites]


>Poroshenko has no love for Russia, so I don't think it makes sense to file this under "Trump-Russia".

This BBC scoop is absolutely part of the bigger Trump-Russia scandal, as much a quid pro quo as Ukraine receiving a multi-million dollar missile deal from the Trump administration after they stopped cooperating with Mueller about Manafort. If anything, it's worse that other countries in addition to Russia can use the scandal to leverage Trump.


Yes, I think this absolutely qualifies as part of the overarching issue. The chronology matters:

1. Manafort takes money from the then-pro-Russian Ukrainian government, then convinces (somehow) Trump to back off on support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia
2. Ukraine starts investigating Manafort
3. Mueller starts investigating Trump/Russia
4. Ukraine backs off investigating Manafort, starts paying Cohen
5. Trump authorizes weapons sales to Ukraine

What's more in Russia's interest at step (3)? Blocking the Mueller investigation into steps 1 & 2, or blocking some absolutely-large but contextually-small arms sales to Ukraine -- arms sales that might go through anyway under a more Ukraine-friendly administration if Trump is kicked out of power as a result of the investigation?

It's all part of the overarching omniscandal -- the Poroshenko portion is (it seems) part of the coverup of the initial scandal, a continuance that, because of the constraints imposed by the investigation, might have been the least-worst option for Trump/Russia. Yes, Poroshenko has no love for Russia. But consider the alternative for Trump & Russia if he had kept digging into Manafort's scandals.
posted by cjelli at 9:59 AM on May 23 [12 favorites]


On balance I think the answer is mostly "yes" except for Fox News...

And also (lest we forget) Sinclair Broadcasting.
posted by cjelli at 10:01 AM on May 23 [7 favorites]


Trump Is Already the Anti-Abortion Movement’s Best President Ever - Reagan was an inspirational leader for the RTL movement, and George W. Bush was a true believer. But Trump delivers. As president he has done many things to damage his self-proclaimed reputation as a great deal-maker. But the deal he struck with those who desperately want to deny women reproductive rights is going strong
posted by growabrain at 10:01 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]


In addition, Trump's repetition of key words and phrases is basic advertising and sales practice with which Trump is well aquainted.

Narcissists use repetition to convince people to go along with their internal script of how things "really are". They also have trouble changing their internal scripts and will, for example, keep complaining about a situation that's resolved or blaming someone for something it's been established the other person didn't do. Maybe there's a little skill involved with his repetition, but mostly it's a narcissistic personality trait being milked by people who know something about marketing.
posted by camyram at 10:03 AM on May 23 [37 favorites]


The problem with summarizing this way is that you'll never convince the average Trump supporter that there is anything wrong with personal encrichment, no matter the circumstances - so even if you can get said Trumpeter to agree that Trump's actions were illegal, they will immediately dismiss the illegality as unimportant.

I think the low-hanging fruit no one is picking is flagrantly tying everything to the Constitution. Trump, on national television, called for Russia to carry out a cyberattack on the United States. Mike Flynn registered himself as a foreign agent and is now a convicted felon. Paul Manafort registered himself as a foreign agent too.

The important stuff happened in public and can't be explained away as fake news. All the Special Counsel investigation is doing is sweeping away the flimsy lies and pretenses they've been trying to excuse themselves with since it all came out.

The legal details and interpretations of courts' interpretations of interpretations built up like barnacles don't matter, it's like getting Al Capone for tax evasion. The authors of the Constitution wouldn't have known what a cyberattack was, but Trump definitely levied war against the United States and thus committed treason. They also would have never heard of the office of the National Security Advisor and today no one knows what an emolument is but the authors of the Constitution incontrovertibly intended for it to be unconstitutional for someone to become President by trading favors and money with European powers, to install paid foreign agents into the top echelon of the U.S. government, and to proceed with selling the services of said U.S. government to European powers and what they would have called Oriental potentates.
posted by XMLicious at 10:06 AM on May 23 [20 favorites]


I think the low-hanging fruit no one is picking is flagrantly tying everything to the Constitution. Trump, on national television, called for Russia to carry out a cyberattack on the United States. Mike Flynn registered himself as a foreign agent and is now a convicted felon. Paul Manafort registered himself as a foreign agent too.

Trump's properties, which he didn't even bother to put into a blind trust, routinely take payments from foreign governments in an obvious violation of the emoluments clause. Trump was in violation of the Constitution from the moment he swore, falsely, to preserve, protect, and defend it.

The authors of the Constitution wouldn't have known what a cyberattack was, but Trump definitely levied war against the United States and thus committed treason.

Mitch McConnell was presented with evidence of Russian interference in the election, and told Obama and Biden that he would not only deny knowing about it but also claim that any move by Obama to tell the American people was a partisan attempt to influence the election itself. The Constitution requires an overt act of aiding enemies of the United States before at least two witnesses; there you have it.
posted by Gelatin at 10:13 AM on May 23 [44 favorites]


Hey, at least not all Republicans are turning a blind eye to obstruction of justice:
Immigration hard-liners’ anger toward Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf for her warning about a federal sweep for undocumented migrants in Northern California led an Iowa congressman to propose criminal penalties Monday for officials who talk about such operations in advance.

Republican Rep. Steve King introduced the “Mayor Libby Schaaf Act of 2018,” which would ban officials from “the purposeful broadcast ... of information relating to any imminent action by a federal law enforcement officer or agent.” Violations could result in up to five years in prison.

King said his bill would make clear that disclosing an imminent enforcement would amount to obstruction of justice.

“I want lawless, sanctuary city politicians to hear this message clearly: If you obstruct ICE, you are going to end up in the cooler,” King said in a statement.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:17 AM on May 23 [7 favorites]


NBC's Kyle Griffin @kylegriffin1: Federal judge rules that Trump can't block Twitter users.
Naomi Reice Buchwald, United States District Judge, Memorandum And Order, 17 Civ. 5205 (NRB)

This case requires us to consider whether a public official may, consistent with the First Amendment, “block” a person from his Twitter account in response to the political views that person has expressed, and whether the analysis differs because that public official is the President of the United States. The answer to both questions is no.
Let the Great Unblocking begin, @Jack!
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:21 AM on May 23 [70 favorites]


Trump Is Already the Anti-Abortion Movement’s Best President Ever - Reagan was an inspirational leader for the RTL movement, and George W. Bush was a true believer. But Trump delivers. As president he has done many things to damage his self-proclaimed reputation as a great deal-maker. But the deal he struck with those who desperately want to deny women reproductive rights is going strong
I guess this a clear signal that Pence is getting what he signed up for: Gilead.
posted by mumimor at 10:22 AM on May 23 [7 favorites]


Waiit, does that mean all public officials are prohibited from blocking people on Twitter? And presumably other social networks?
posted by Etrigan at 10:34 AM on May 23 [15 favorites]


Seems pretty unambiguous to me.
posted by contraption at 10:38 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]


> Republican Rep. Steve King introduced the “Mayor Libby Schaaf Act of 2018,” which would ban officials from “the purposeful broadcast ... of information relating to any imminent action by a federal law enforcement officer or agent.” Violations could result in up to five years in prison.

Oh good. Can we apply this to Devin Nunes for leaking stuff related to an active FBI information? How about applying it to Trump for leaking an active intelligence-gathering operation?

What's that? I missed the little asterisk where it says this law only applies to DemocRATs? Of course, of course.

(And in response to runcibleshaw's question, that stupid childish RAT is the whole reason for the "Democrat party" phrasing favored by Republicans, as Gelatin described way upthread.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:38 AM on May 23 [17 favorites]


Quoting myself: Trump's properties, which he didn't even bother to put into a blind trust, routinely take payments from foreign governments in an obvious violation of the emoluments clause. Trump was in violation of the Constitution from the moment he swore, falsely, to preserve, protect, and defend it.

I've been thinking about this concept, and believe that pushing the narrative that Trump is a liar should be an easy job for Democrats, and questioning the sincerity of his oath of office could hit Trump where it hurts -- undermining his legitimacy. How could Trump have been sincere about preserving and protecting the Constitution when he was in violation the moment he took the oath? Oh, his defenders say he didn't know what an "emoluments clause" is? How could Trump be sincere about the oath when he doesn't even know what it means?

Trump breaks promises all the time. He's full of big talk and short on hands delivering. So far all he's really accomplished is give corporations a big tax cut, which, let's face it, just shows you where congressional Republicans' priorities really were.

Trump can't be trusted. He's been given a chance, and he's muffed it again and again. He's a phony. There's no "we'll see what happens;" we know what happens. He's full of baloney, the truth is not in him, and it shows, again and again.
posted by Gelatin at 10:39 AM on May 23 [11 favorites]


Federal judge rules that Trump can't block Twitter users.

So how exactly is something like this enforced? Like, what if he simply ignores the ruling and continues to block people?
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:54 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Fox and Friends test-running their hot take for when it starts here.

Fox Host: Kim Probably Hates That ‘He Has To Murder His People’
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:56 AM on May 23 [21 favorites]


So how exactly is something like this enforced? Like, what if he simply ignores the ruling and continues to block people?

I don't know legal ruling criteria from my arse, but it would seem they would need to have a provision to enforce Twitter to specifically manage that (ie. remove the block option from trumpito's tweeter settings).
posted by Burhanistan at 11:04 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


David Von Drehle, WaPo Opinion: "Now we know what Trump will say when we learn what he’s hiding"
"Urging [Nunes] to keep at it, Kimberly A. Strassel of the Wall Street Journal wrote that he might sort out “who was pulling the strings” that appear to tie former Trump advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos to Russia, “and what was the goal? . . . Entrapment?”

She was echoing Nunes himself, who during an earlier interview with Fox News used the term “setup” rather than Strassel’s fancier word. But the idea was the same, and by week’s end it was everywhere. The influential Townhall website went with “spying.” The website for radio bigfoot Rush Limbaugh referred to “an infuriating story of entrapment.”
...
Where I come from, only guilty people trot out the I-was-stung defense. Indeed, the most infamous use of this jargon in Washington — the late Marion Barry’s “Bitch set me up!” — followed the mayor’s dismayed realization that his crack-smoking had been caught on hidden camera.
...
But at least we now know what [Trump] is likely to say if and when we learn what he is hiding."
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:05 AM on May 23 [16 favorites]


msalt: Wasn't Trump the one who criticized Obama and Hillary for using a teleprompter?

And now we know why - teleprompters make you say the darnedest things.

Doktor Zed: Meanwhile, the Top Minds on /r/The_Donald are now promoting "#SPYGATE (Operation Boomerang)" as their next meme project for Internet saturation...

Where the boomerang is the president's own words, swinging around to smack him in the back of the head?

Speaking of fake news, Wired got an exclusive sneak peak at Facebook's three new announcements on fake news:
The first new announcement is a request for proposals from academics eager to study false news on the platform. Researchers who are accepted will get data and money; the public will get, ideally, elusive answers to how much false news actually exists and how much it matters. The second announcement is the launch of a public education campaign that will utilize the top of Facebook’s home page, perhaps the most valuable real estate on the internet. Users will be taught what false news is and how they can stop its spread. Facebook knows it is at war, and it wants to teach the populace how to join its side of the fight. The third announcement—and the one which the company seems most excited about—is the release of a nearly 12-minute video called “Facing Facts,” a title that suggests both the topic and the repentant tone.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:06 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]




Where I come from, only guilty people trot out the I-was-stung defense. Indeed, the most infamous use of this jargon in Washington — the late Marion Barry’s “Bitch set me up!” — followed the mayor’s dismayed realization that his crack-smoking had been caught on hidden camera.

Let's not forget that the floating of the "perjury trap" trial balloon was to prepare people for the fact that Trump was likely to lie under oath by denying his illegal activities. Activities that Mueller, of course, knows all about.

But it isn't a perjury trap even when it turns out the prosecutor knew you were going to lie. A Morton's fork, maybe, but not a perjury trap.
posted by Gelatin at 11:08 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]


Gelatin: Oh, his defenders say he didn't know what an "emoluments clause" is? How could Trump be sincere about the oath when he doesn't even know what it means?

In all fairness, nobody reads the terms and conditions

(coming soon: that argument, in non-ironic form, from a Fox News near you)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 11:13 AM on May 23 [9 favorites]


@awprokop (Vox): Mueller has put off Papadopoulos's sentencing for months while his cooperation has continued. Today he tells court he's ready to move ahead with it.
posted by pjenks at 11:13 AM on May 23 [14 favorites]


Kushner receives permanent security clearance.

Ctrl+F "backchannel" - 0 results

Ctrl+F "SF-86" - 0 results
posted by Rhaomi at 11:15 AM on May 23 [42 favorites]


The problem with summarizing this way is that you'll never convince the average Trump supporter that there is anything wrong with personal encrichment, no matter the circumstances - so even if you can get said Trumpeter to agree that Trump's actions were illegal, they will immediately dismiss the illegality as unimportant.

Well.... Almost.

If the **RIGHT PEOPLE** are doing it, then yes personal enrichment no matter what the circumstances is good.

But if the wrong people are doing it, then personal enrichment in the most legal possible circumstances is either inherently bad, evidence of crime, or evidence of racist beliefs about that group.

Personal anecdote. I had a job that involved a lot of driving in the company of a Trump supporter. One one occasion he was complaining bitterly about a contractor, a gentleman from somewhere in India who had moved to the US decades ago. He told me that all "those people" care about is money.

Several days later he was explaining to me that Trump ripping off his contractors was just good business practice and Trump would be a fool to have done anything else.

Personal enrichment, even under blatantly criminal circumstances, is conditional based on the race or other in group/out group status of the person in question.
posted by sotonohito at 11:15 AM on May 23 [42 favorites]


Trump, on national television, called for Russia to carry out a cyberattack on the United States

Just my two cents -- I don't think this is the best talking point anymore. In the sense that we now have better ones. I mean, you and I agree that it indicates an openness to accepting help.

But for a lot of people, it seems like "If Trump were really up to something shady, would he really announce it like that?"

Tucker Carlson let Rep Eric Swalwell come on his show to try to describe evidence of collusion [Facebook video]. Swalwell did his best to lay out the timeline over Carlson's incredulous chuckles, but when he got to that bit about soliciting hacked emails on national television, he couldn't stop Carlson from derailing the whole segment into an argument over the significance of that one line. "So you think President Trump is so dumb he tries to send secret messages to Russia via televised news conference?" "So DID Russia ever find those 30,000 missing emails? No? They're still missing?" "Do you think its possible he was joking?" "Do you think it's a crime to joke about Russia?"

(And also... "Do you think it's a crime to try to improve relations with Russia?" "Did you know the US killed 200 Russians in Syria a little while ago, and Trump sent weapons to Ukraine and bombed Assad? He's actually TOO tough on Russia.")

Anyway, there's much stronger evidence now against Trump. Maybe if you find yourself arguing with right wingers, try to lead with "Viktor Vekselberg gave Michael Cohen $500,000, why?" And "Paul Manafort offered briefings to to Oleg Deripaska, why?" And "Natalia Veselnitskya attended Trump's inauguration. Why?"

If nothing else you might make them aware of something that wasn't covered on Fox News...
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:18 AM on May 23 [10 favorites]


@markknoller: "I called them 'animals' the other day and was met by rebuke," says @POTUS of his description of MS-13 gang members. "They're not people. They're animals," he reaffirms.

This is a really messed up event.
posted by zachlipton at 11:21 AM on May 23 [35 favorites]


Step 1: Use the term "animals" when spewing a response about people crossing the border. Get AP and others to back down, beg forgiveness and murmur "context" after their first, honest reports.

Step 2: Put a document about "MS-13 animals" on the White House web site.

Step 3: Trump on "alien minors" crossing the border: "They look so innocent. They’re not innocent.” (via Daniel Dale's Twitter)
posted by maudlin at 11:21 AM on May 23 [30 favorites]


Homan just now: "I think the president is too kind describing them as animals. Animals kill for food, MS-13 kills for pleasure."

New Homeland Security head. A lot of people are going to die if this isn't stopped.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:26 AM on May 23 [55 favorites]


schmod: Know what the Democrats aren't fucking up?

Running a candidate in every damn seat. Losing an election in Arkansas with 25% of the vote is still a far cry better than getting 0% of the vote because we didn't run a candidate.

25% is still 1 in 4 people. Those folks have family members, coworkers, and neighbors who voted for the other side. We only need to convince one of the other three to vote for us, and that 25% is now more engaged, more likely to vote in the general elections for statewide/national candidates, and helping keep the Democratic party alive in local races (where we can win local races on local issues and help bolster the Democratic Party's reputation in these not-quite-purple states).

Maybe next time we'll learn some lessons, and get 35% of the vote -- and more the time after that. We aren't going to build momentum by doing nothing, and 25% is a solid foothold. There's a lot we can do with 25%, even if it isn't going to win us any elections today.


I flagged your comment as fantastic, schmod. I am heartened to see Democrats both running and winning in races that many haven't touched for years. Even in races where we don't win, merely running candidates is a signal to the other side that we're serious, not cowed or complacent. And running candidates strengthens our local Democratic party apparatus and gives us a deeper bench to draw on in the future.

When we vote, we win. When we build our party from the ground up, we launch our future Barack Obamas, Hillary Clintons, Kirsten Gillibrands, etc. who become stars on the national scene.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:31 AM on May 23 [45 favorites]


Waiit, does that mean all public officials are prohibited from blocking people on Twitter? And presumably other social networks?

Yes, the genie is being let out of the bottle. The collateral damage will be a lot of harassment of government officials in the name of "freeze peach", but it's the long overdue of responsibility of Twitter (and Facebook and Google, et al.) to shut that shit down with some real community moderation and enforcement of T.O.S. participation rules.

So how exactly is something like this enforced?

A nice class action lawsuit against Twitter/Facebook/Google should get their attention.

(And it's another occasion to give thanks to MeFi's dedicated mod team and the site's robust moderation tools. It just goes to show that building a healthy community is easier if taken seriously early on instead of being kicked down the road at every opportunity.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:31 AM on May 23 [31 favorites]


Step 1: Use the term "animals" when spewing a response about people crossing the border. Get AP and others to back down, beg forgiveness and murmur "context" after their first, honest reports.
Step 2: Put a document about "MS-13 animals" on the White House web site.
Step 3: Trump on "alien minors" crossing the border: "They look so innocent. They’re not innocent.” (via Daniel Dale's Twitter)


Also: if you stack this up against undocumented teens being falsely accused of being in MS-13 and Trump wildly overstating the number of MS-13 members in America, even without Step 3 we're basically already in the territory of Trump saying that immigrant's aren't human, because Trump & ICE (and others) have basically expanded the definition of 'MS-13' to overlap with 'people of color we don't like.'

Or, going farther back, this is Trump and the Central Park Five all over again (but worse): condemning a group of people on the basis of crimes that they didn't commit, and then justifying that call on the basis of the nature of crimes in question, totally sidestepping the need for evidence of actual findings of culpability.

Except it's (but worse) because Trump has a huge say in determining whether the state actually does the due diligence to determine who is and isn't a member of the gang.

And then it's (but worse) because the same argument extends backwards from the framing of 'illegal alien' -- if crimes make you subhuman, and undocumented immigrants are inherently committing crimes, well: we're basically in the first step of 'first they came for' territory. This rhetoric is incredibly dangerous.
posted by cjelli at 11:31 AM on May 23 [77 favorites]


... and Rod Rosenstein (via Dan Dale again): Rod Rosenstein on "alien children": "We're letting people in who are creating problems. We're letting people in who are gang members. We're also letting people in who are vulnerable. Many of these alien children who have no parents, no family structure...develop gang ties."

The Deputy Attorney General. Fuuuuuuuck.
posted by maudlin at 11:34 AM on May 23 [22 favorites]


CBO report on Federal Subsidies for Health Insurance Coverage for People Under Age 65: 2018 to 2028 is out
The agencies expect insurers to raise premiums for benchmark plans offered through the marketplaces in 2019 by an average of roughly 15 percent over the premiums charged in 2018. Part of that increase is projected to occur because plans are expected to have a less healthy mix of enrollees after the penalty related to the individual mandate is no longer levied beginning on January 1, 2019. In total, CBO and JCT expect, premiums for nongroup health insurance will be about 10 percent higher in 2019 than they would have been if the individual mandate penalty remained in place and was enforced. The lack of a direct payment for CSRs and the rising costs of health care per person are also anticipated to contribute to the overall increase.
A 15% average increase in ACA health insurance premiums, mainly caused by Republican sabotage. Slap that into a 30 second ad and get it in front of every voter in America.
posted by zachlipton at 11:34 AM on May 23 [47 favorites]


US gov’t employee in China left with brain injury after strange sounds, pressure -- The case draws eerie similarities to mysterious "health attacks" in Cuba. (Beth Mole for Ars Technica, May 23, 2018)
The US government issued an alert Wednesday following reports that a government employee stationed in southern China experienced “subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure” and sustained a brain injury.

The case draws clear and eerie parallels to mysterious health problems that affected US diplomats in Cuba, who also experienced unexplained episodes of unusual sounds and pressure followed by diagnoses of traumatic brain injury.

Responding to an email from the New York Times, a spokesperson for the United States Embassy in Beijing said that the unnamed employee was working in the US consulate in the city of Guangzhou, just northwest of Hong Kong, and experienced a variety of symptoms from late 2017 until April of this year. In statements to the BBC, she noted that the employee had been sent back to the US. Last Friday, the 18th of May, “the embassy was told that the clinical findings of [an] evaluation matched mild traumatic brain injury,” she wrote.
...
Guesses and notions of what could explain their experiences and injuries abound, including malfunctioning surveillance equipment and a covert sonic weapon. But no clear leading hypothesis has emerged, and US officials have not suspected foul play from Cuba or China in either case.

Still, the US government is on edge. The embassy in Cuba remains staffed by a skeleton crew, and a travel alert is still in place. For those in China, the government urges vigilance: “While in China, if you experience any unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena accompanied by unusual sounds or piercing noises, do not attempt to locate their source. Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present.”
posted by filthy light thief at 11:35 AM on May 23 [14 favorites]


Trump is now proposing a scheme by which we deduct "a rather large amount of money" from foreign aid for every person from a country who comes here, "if we give them aid at all, because despite all the reports we hear, I don't believe they're helping us one bit."

Yeah. That will really help improve living conditions in these countries so people don't make desperate journeys to the United States.
posted by zachlipton at 11:36 AM on May 23 [16 favorites]


Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
posted by kirkaracha at 11:39 AM on May 23 [42 favorites]


Chrysostom: Vox: After months of debate, the Senate has finally reached an agreement on a bill to curtail sexual harassment on Capitol Hill. And Senate leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell have promised the bill will pass in “short order.”
Introduced by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the bill promises to address major flaws in the current sexual harassment reporting process for members of Congress and congressional staff by reforming the Congressional Accountability Act. (It’s similar to what Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has been pushing.)

Specifically, the legislation eliminates mandatory “cooling off” periods before victims of harassment can file complaints against their harassers, doubles the length of time victims have to file a lawsuit in federal court (from 45 to 90 days, it appears -- ed.), and requires members of the Senate to pay back the Treasury for any settlements related to the harassment they committed.

Currently, if a congressional staffer is harassed, the Office of Compliance initiates a four-step process: a 30-day counseling period, a mediation effort, an administrative hearing or civil action (a lawsuit), and an appeals process. Victims can’t even make a formal complaint about sexual harassment until three months have passed, including a 30-day period after enduring a mediation process with their harasser.
...
In a statement, Gillibrand, who tried to force a vote on a harassment bill in the Senate last week, praised the bill, saying:
Today’s announcement of a bipartisan deal in the Senate that would finally end a system designed to protect harassers in the halls of Congress is an important step forward. By passing this reform, we can finally make sure that when a member of Congress sexually harasses or discriminates against someone on their staff, the taxpayers are not left holding the bag, and it finally removes the barriers that were preventing many victims of harassment and discrimination from reporting what had happened to them, like the absurd “cooling off period” before a formal complaint could even be filed.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:41 AM on May 23 [15 favorites]


The speed with which his regime is adopting the language of dehumanization and their eagerness in competing to be the most radical is a five-alarm bell. This rhetoric and behavior is self-perpetuating and given enough time necessitates committing actual atrocities. And it's happening very fast, and without any cover of an obvious inciting incident. There isn't much time.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:42 AM on May 23 [82 favorites]


Trump is now proposing a scheme ...

I have a rule about political discussion -- if an idea starts with "Why don't we just...", then it is a dumb idea.

Maybe it's dumb because the speaker hasn't thought through the second- and third-order effects, maybe it's dumb because there's no way most people will stand for it, maybe it's dumb because it's already been tried and failed, maybe it's dumb because it's already been tried and is actually current policy. But it's still gonna be dumb.
posted by Etrigan at 11:45 AM on May 23 [13 favorites]


Betsy Woodruff, Trump Gang Dragnet Caught a Teen Who ICE Said Looked Like He Was in MS-13. He Wasn’t. This is another one, right in Suffolk County where Trump is making declarations about "animals" right now.
posted by zachlipton at 11:47 AM on May 23 [30 favorites]


triggerfinger: The problem with that language and with turning it into the same sort of politicultural fight that we see with, say, kneeling in the NFL

Speak of the devil: NFL changes national anthem policy to ban kneeling (Sam Farmer for the San Diego Union-Tribune, May 23, 2018)
NFL owners reached a consensus Wednesday on their national anthem policy, addressing the most controversial and divisive issues in recent memory.

Under the new policy, players who do not choose to stand for the anthem before games will have the option of staying in the locker room. But a club will be fined if players or league personnel are on the field and do not stand “and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.”

“We want people to be respectful of the national anthem,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “We want people to stand — that’s all personnel — and make sure they treat this moment in a respectful fashion. That’s something we think we owe. [But] we were also very sensitive to give players choices.”

Shortly after the NFL announced its new policy at the league’s annual May meetings, the NFL Players Assn. tweeted its response and lamented it was not consulted about the decision.
That's right, it's a decision by the old white men about what the players, 70% of whom are black, can or can't do before the game starts. Speaking of the players: USA Today's "For The Win" (FTW) section picked up some player responses on Twitter -- my favorite:
Well with all due respect sir, the guys protesting don’t force the networks to show it on TV. They don’t force the media to cover it. The people don’t get to escape their reality’s that players are protesting for. There’s no relax button for them

— Damon Harrison Sr. (@snacks) May 23, 2018
(And football fans mocked Trump's "Spygate" tweet and tied it instead to the time the Patriots videotaped the NY Jets' practice, which was dubbed Spygate ... back in 2007)
posted by filthy light thief at 11:52 AM on May 23 [25 favorites]


@JohnFPfaff:
MS-13 is responsible for 207 murders since 2012.

Between 2012 and 2016, there were over 76,000 murders in the US.

That means MS-13 is responsible for less than 0.3% of all US murders during that time.

The dog whistle deafens.
...
And [that] data all comes from the CIS, an anti-immigration group. So, if anything, they’re going to take a very generous definition of “MS-13-affiliated.” And this is the best they can do.
...
And yes, the CIS study says 207 *arrested,* not 207 were convicted. So the conviction rate is likely lower, but the undiscovered murder rate perhaps higher. But murder clearance still high enough that… we have a good sense of scale here.
This isn't really about crime, and it isn't really about MS-13. MS-13 is, by almost all accounts, a terrible gang. It's also not one that's big enough to warrant the king of response Trump has on offer -- which makes sense in that Trump is only using the gang as a proxy for immigration writ large.
posted by cjelli at 12:00 PM on May 23 [53 favorites]


MS-13 is, by almost all accounts, a terrible gang. It's also not one that's big enough to warrant the king of response Trump has on offer -- which makes sense in that Trump is only using the gang as a proxy for immigration writ large.

I would also imagine that Trump's, ah, endorsement can only aid MS-13 by bolstering its rep. Nice job breaking it, hero. (Obligatory warning: TVTropes link)
posted by Gelatin at 12:07 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


Zephyr Teachout just announced she's running for NY AG. [tweet]
posted by melissasaurus at 12:08 PM on May 23 [28 favorites]


Kushner receives permanent security clearance.
@lrozen: Kushner’s lawyer Abbe Lowell has excellent PR sensibilities. Got everyone to make this headline, not that JK was questioned by Mueller again.
So, now we know that Mueller's team interviewed Kushner for 90 minutes in November 2017 and for 6-7 hours last month (WaPost, Philip Rucker, today). The first interview is said to have centered on Michael Flynn, while
in mid-April, Kushner sat for six to seven hours of questions that covered many topics, including his work on the Trump campaign, the transition and in the White House, according to the person familiar with the matter. This person said Kushner was asked in the April session about Trump’s decision in May 2017 to fire Comey.
posted by pjenks at 12:12 PM on May 23 [19 favorites]


Trump: "Our people are rougher than them. Toughness is the only language they understand." [...] "I'll tell you, the ICE guys are rougher than MS-13. They're rougher, they're tougher, they're meaner. They throw these guys into the wagons, the rolling jails, and people are applauding, and it's like a war, like an occupied territory. When you see these guys getting tossed in wagons, people are cheering. And in one way it's wonderful and one way it's terrible."

The audience is applauding. This is not a drill.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:14 PM on May 23 [57 favorites]


Loin girding time. Just be here in the morning pls

Opinion: US strategy on Iran entails regime change
The US may have forgotten that Washington toppled Iran's first democratic government back in 1953, replacing it with the Shah's dictatorship — but the Iranians haven't

Iran says U.S. will face same fate as Saddam Hussein if it attacks: TV

The Art of the Regime Change
And make no mistake: If war does come and the result is more lives lost and more dollars squandered, and it maybe even ignites a broader regional conflict, the fault will rest solely with the man who currently sits in the Oval Office. No amount of dust kicking, blame casting, and semiliterate tweeting will be able to disguise that fact.
posted by infini at 12:17 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


Trump used to keep a book of Hitler speeches by his bedside and echoed Hitler in his speech withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:18 PM on May 23 [10 favorites]


MS-13 is responsible for 207 murders since 2012.

I was wondering how this number stacks up against the number of people killed by US police so far in 2018, and I found this WaPo page.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:18 PM on May 23 [24 favorites]


They're rougher, they're tougher, they're meaner.

dads, hug your fucking sons once in a while. maybe it'll inoculate them from fetishizing this Rough Men Ready To Do Violence shit.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:24 PM on May 23 [58 favorites]


melissasaurus: "Zephyr Teachout just announced she's running for NY AG. [tweet]"

Also throwing their hats in: NYCity Public Advocate Letitia James, former Cuomo and Hillary aide Leecia Eve.

All three are women, Eve and James are African-American.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:35 PM on May 23 [22 favorites]


I'll tell you, the ICE guys are rougher than MS-13.
MS-13 is a bunch of homicidal sociopaths who would kill you as soon as look at you, and are so dangerous that we need to break all the rules to get 'em out of here pronto... but they've got NOTHING on our border patrol guys, who by the way you should venerate unconditionally.
posted by Mayor West at 12:36 PM on May 23 [116 favorites]


"I'll tell you, the ICE guys are rougher than MS-13. They're rougher, they're tougher, they're meaner...it's like a war, like an occupied territory. When you see these guys getting tossed in wagons, people are cheering. And in one way it's wonderful and one way it's terrible."

That Trump is holding ICE as being 'rougher than MS-13' as a defense of ICE and not a condemnation should, alone, put a lie to the idea that any of this is uniquely about MS-13's actions. He's seeking an excuse for future violence, not an end to current violence.

This isn't entirely new in kind -- it's a pattern that Trump has been building on -- but Trump hasn't quite ever articulated this a defense of state-sanctioned violence on this scale. And given that scale of influence that his Presidency grants him is the main thing that makes him important, that scale absolutely matters. We should be taking this both seriously and literally: if there's ever a time a slippery slope argument is justified, this is it.
posted by cjelli at 12:38 PM on May 23 [42 favorites]


I was wondering how this number stacks up against the number of people killed by US police so far in 2018

Sigh. When I'm benevolent dictator, every public discussion of public health issues (e.g., causes of death) will result in little butler robots showing up with signs indicating just how big of a deal the topic is or isn't.
Some guy's presidential campaign: Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.

Helpful Robot:
 ------------------------------------------------------------------
| Deaths in the US Due to Terrorism Since from 1970-2016: 3,648[1] |
| Deaths in the US Due to Drunk Drivers, Per Year: over 10,000 [2] |
 ------------------------------------------------------------------
                                |
                                |
                                |
                                |
Vote Trolley Problem 2020.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:41 PM on May 23 [44 favorites]


Benjy Sarlin (NBC)
"Giuliani said he was concerned that the president would become a target or that the interview would be a perjury trap because the 'truth is relative'"
WaPo: In reversal, Giuliani now says Trump should do interview with Mueller team
- “They may have a different version of the truth than we do,” Giuliani said.
- Perjury shouldn't really be a thing because the concept of a shared objective reality is itself absurd isn't usually what you hear from former prosecutors
posted by chris24 at 12:41 PM on May 23 [56 favorites]


Trump's supporters think his corruption is a sign of being a good politician. All politicians are corrupt. Hillary's speaking fees and foundation payments are the same as the payoffs to Cohen, only more transparent and honest in nature.

Trump ran on being corrupt. He doesn't pay taxes, because he's smart. He can fix the loopholes, because he knows best where they are. Trump refuses to stop running his businesses while in office. His tax scam was likely illegal and his businesses almost unquestionably unconstitutional.

I understand that Fox News has created an alternate reality where all politicians are corrupt. I'll even grant there's a point in there somewhere. I also understand making a Faustian bargain that accepts that Trump is crook, but will ban abortion and keep American white.

What I don't understand is that he's transparently selling his country's interests to Russia, China, Qatar, etc. in exchange for personal gain, and no one is even batting an eyelash. I really thought that would be a red line for his base.

Anyway, at first the whole degradation of norms thing didn't really strike me as particularly important, but now that I see half the country doesn't care about Trump's corruption I stand corrected.
posted by xammerboy at 12:54 PM on May 23 [53 favorites]


From the same article linked by Benjy Sarlin and chris24:

“I guess I’d rather do the interview. It gets it over with it, it makes my client happy,” he said. “The safe course you hear every lawyer say is don’t do the interview, and that’s easy to say in the abstract. That’s much harder when you have a client who is the president of the United States and wants to be interviewed.”

I think this can be filed into the "talking about Trump like a three-year-old" folder. So one question whose answer I honestly don't know: When Trump reads/hears Giuliani saying this, will he be angry at the condescension (which happened in the past)... or simply pleased at what could be read as loyalty ("He wants to make me happy")? Depends on the hour of day, I suppose.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:56 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


So things seem to be going full murderous authoritarian. What do we do? Who is organizing to stop this? How can I help? (If you tell me to vote in November I will personally come to your house and say very mean things to you)
posted by runcibleshaw at 12:58 PM on May 23 [12 favorites]


And make no mistake: If war does come and the result is more lives lost and more dollars squandered, and it maybe even ignites a broader regional conflict, the fault will rest solely with the man who currently sits in the Oval Office. No amount of dust kicking, blame casting, and semiliterate tweeting will be able to disguise that fact.


That's all right. It's people's desire to believe that'll do it.
posted by trig at 1:05 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 House:
-- DCCC dumping in $1.6M into CA-39/A-48/CA-49 in an effort to avoid Dems getting locked out of the top two spots.

-- VA-05: Something weird is afoot with incumbent GOP Tom Garrett, and he may be retiring. District went 53-42 Trump, might be reachable with no incumbent.
** 2018 Senate -- TX: JMC poll finds Ted Cruz up 47-40 on Dem nominee O'Rourke [MOE: +/- 4.1%].

** Odds and ends:
-- Wrap-ups on yesterday's primaries from Vox and 538.

-- TX gov: That JMC poll mentioned above finds LG Abbott up 48-38 on Dem nominee Valdez.

-- OK gov: SoonerPoll finds Dems competitive in potential gubernatorial matchups. Outgoing GOP gov Fallin is massively unpopular, so Dems may have a shot here.

-- WI gov: PPP poll has likely Dem nominee Evers up 49-45 on incumbent Walker [MOE:+/- 3.9%].

-- Court rejects appeal by Kris Kobach of the contempt finding against him.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:09 PM on May 23 [29 favorites]


- Perjury shouldn't really be a thing because the concept of a shared objective reality is itself absurd isn't usually what you hear from former prosecutors

We're really doing this? This is happening? The defense is going to be that in this post-modernist era there's actually no such thing as truth? I guess I'm not actually surprised but still.

Zephyr Teachout just announced she's running for NY AG

Third times the charm I guess? Teachout seems like a good person but I don't think will go any further than the last two times she ran for office. I still think Preet would be a good AG though I agree it would be symbolically important to elect a woman. Of the declared candidates I lean towards, on balance, Leecia Eve. But I'm not as averse to establishment types as a lot of people.
posted by Justinian at 1:23 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


We're really doing this? This is happening? The defense is going to be that in this post-modernist era there's actually no such thing as truth? I guess I'm not actually surprised but still.

"Place your left hand on the Bible and raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear to say anything at all that occurs to you to say?"

...might work for Trump at that.
posted by Gelatin at 1:27 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


"I'll tell you, the ICE guys are rougher than MS-13. They're rougher, they're tougher, they're meaner."

So ICE is rougher, tougher, and meaner than animals? It sounds like we may have a serious problem on our hands.
posted by flarbuse at 1:32 PM on May 23 [24 favorites]


I still think Preet would be a good AG though I agree it would be symbolically important to elect a woman.

He hasn't gone full Sherman-esque, but he still sounds like 95% no.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:42 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]




I'll tell you, the ICE guys are rougher than MS-13. They're rougher, they're tougher, they're meaner.

In 2016, 61 alleged MS-13 members in the Boston area were arrested on a variety of RICO charges (hmm, who was president then?). As of yesterday, 48 of the 61 have either pleaded or been found guilty, some for the particularly brutal murders of teens as young as 15 in East Boston (one of whom was both shot and stabbed repeatedly by several MS-13 members). ICE had nothing at all to do with the investigation, the indictments, the arrests, the trials or the sentences (look at who's missing in the long list of credits in this press release). It was dogged and standard police work by the FBI, State Police and local police in several cities that have declared themselves sanctuaries, aided by community members who felt they could trust at least the local police.
posted by adamg at 1:48 PM on May 23 [69 favorites]


Kushner receives permanent security clearance.

Yesterday, as USA Today reported, Trump signed the security clearance reform bill — but indicated he may not comply with it.
President Trump signed a bill Tuesday aimed at reducing the backlog of security clearance investigations — but later reserved the right not to comply with it on constitutional grounds. In a signing statement Tuesday night, Trump said provisions of the bill — the Securely Expediting Clearances Through Reporting Transparency Act of 2018, or SECRET Act — encroach on his authority as commander-in-chief. Among the provisions Trump objected to: A section requiring the White House Office of Administration to report on its process for conducting security clearance investigations for White House officials.

That process came under scrutiny in January when it was revealed that Staff Secretary Rob Porter — the official responsible for the entire paper flow in and out of the Oval Office — had been working without a permanent security clearance for more than a year. His clearance had been held up because of allegations of domestic violence from two ex-wives.[...]

The security clearance bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously after the National Background Investigations Bureau stopped releasing statistics about the backlog in security clearances. Most of the bill simply instructs the administration to provide Congress with reports on the problems causing that backlog.

But Trump said in his signing statement that the Constitution makes him responsible for the security clearance process. [...] Trump also argued that because the Constitution gives the president the power to recommend to Congress measures he believes are "necessary and expedient," Congress can't tell the intelligence community to make recommendations unless the president signs off on them.
And today, the NYT publishes a story sourced by Kushner's lawyer about how the uncertainty over his security clearance has been sorted out. What a coincidence.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:52 PM on May 23 [26 favorites]


). It was dogged and standard police work by the FBI, State Police and local police in several cities that have declared themselves sanctuaries, aided by community members who felt they could trust at least the local police

Some months ago I crashed my bike near a park near Boston, right by a group of Salvadorans who were there chilling out.

They helped me to my feet. They checked that I had a working phone and could use it to call 911 if I needed to.
They asked me if I was going to do that. I said I was not sure. So they fled.

Let that sink in.

They fled in fear because someone was about to call 911 to ask for medical help for himself.

Fuck Trump.
posted by ocschwar at 1:53 PM on May 23 [152 favorites]


Who is organizing to stop this? How can I help? (If you tell me to vote in November I will personally come to your house and say very mean things to you)

The Democratic party is organizing to stop this, and Indivisible (if you can't find a local group go start one!), and Swing Left and Flippable and so on. Also Amnesty International, CREW, and the ACLU, and Moms Demand Action and The Women's March and United We Dream and and Black Lives Matter, and so on. Just... us. That's who is organizing. There's no cavalry. We need to do the stuff we're already doing, but we need more of us doing it.

It may not seem like glamorous work to help those groups by knocking on doors and phone banking and writing postcards and letters to the editor and fundraising and holding house parties and so on, but it's the real work that needs to be done right now. This is what organizing looks like!

I mean... 42% of the country, and all three branches of government are on team Trump right now. Also, pretty much the whole military, and a majority of wealthy people and corporations, and the majority of civilian gun owners. Also several very popular propaganda outlets. Also a bunch of religious leaders. Those are not trivial advantages.

On our side we have 1) the truth 2) the law 3) the bureaucracy 4) The actual majority of the population 5) Trump&co's utter incompetence. Those are not trivial either.

It's not clear who will win. There are no rules to history, and it could go either way. But it's pretty clear to me that we have a better chance of winning elections and court cases than we have of winning a violent conflict.

We should be doing more than just voting. We should continue to protest and donate and write and speak and sue and thwart and try to rally more people to our cause... But we should also appreciate that our best chance right now is still a bunch of indictments from Mueller combined with winning at least one house in November. And we can't do much to help with the indictments.

You can say mean things if you want, but I think voting in November and getting as many other people to vote too is the most important. Do all the rest too, but know that the elections are our best chance, and maybe our last really good chance, for a while.
posted by OnceUponATime at 1:53 PM on May 23 [78 favorites]


Miami New Times, Guard Threatens to Arrest Activist Recording Conditions at Miami ICE Facility
Every day, dozens of elderly people and parents with small children are forced to arrive before the sun rises at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's office in Miramar, where they stand for hours in long lines without shelter from the sun or rain. And there isn't enough parking for everyone forced to arrive for ICE check-ins, so tow trucks have been filmed waiting to haul immigrants' cars away. Some people are detained at their meetings and never return.

Now, after activists have published multiple videos of the horrid conditions outside the facility, security guards have begun threatening to "detain" activists documenting the problems. Yesterday local organizer Maria Asuncion Bilbao was trying to post a Facebook Live stream of the line of immigrants forced to stand in the rain when a guard whipped out a pair of handcuffs and threatened to arrest her.
ICE blames security contractors and says they're not responsible.
posted by zachlipton at 2:10 PM on May 23 [45 favorites]


The defense is going to be that in this post-modernist era there's actually no such thing as truth? I guess I'm not actually surprised but still.

Gorsuch is the intended audience for the sentiment.
posted by rhizome at 2:29 PM on May 23


I would also imagine that Trump's, ah, endorsement can only aid MS-13 by bolstering its rep.*

That's a good point, and I wonder if it's a feature, rather than a bug.

1. Exaggerate danger posed by MS-13 (and, by proxy, all immigrants)
2. Exaggeration is pointed out
3. Meanwhile, MS-13 actually becomes more dangerous because of all the free advertising
4. "See, I was right about MS-13!" (and, by proxy, all immigrants)
posted by gurple at 2:31 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


UK, peeps. Bannon's about to be interviewed on Newsnight.
posted by popcassady at 2:33 PM on May 23


WSJ, Trump Administration Weighs New Tariffs on Imported Vehicles. Up to 25% on imported cars, which will also somehow be justified on national security grounds because words mean nothing anymore and there's no such thing as truth, just ask Giuliani.
posted by zachlipton at 2:33 PM on May 23 [17 favorites]


Liar: Stop Calling Me a Liar!
Tucked within a fresh New York Times Magazine piece by Mark Leibovich about the White House press office is a gem of an encounter between the author and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“It certainly bothers me,” she said of the “liar” rap. “Because one of the few things you have are your integrity and reputation.” She added that “there’s a difference between misspeaking or not knowing something than maliciously lying.”
...
No one would argue that a person’s integrity isn’t of paramount importance, I said. But I asked Sanders if there is a danger in linking your integrity to a president who might not always be known for accuracy. There have been many instances where the president has not told the truth, I said.

“But you’re asking about me,” Sanders said, not challenging the premise.

True, I said, but she has to speak for him. I asked the question another way: “Is it possible to be factual if you’re speaking for someone who is trying to make a point that is not factual?”

“Uh, I don’t know,” Sanders said. “I’m not following totally.”
posted by kirkaracha at 2:43 PM on May 23 [56 favorites]


We've got "animals" to label immigrants generally through the MS-13 bit (which doesn't qualify for anything regarding subtlety anymore), large camps of people awaiting deportation, an immigration paramilitary force (and it's actual militia analogues along the border) successfully infiltrated by white supremacists (via FBI reports), and the president shouting about how rough they should be.

Outside of the mass removal part of ethnic cleansing, has the Bosnia level stuff started already and will we actually start to hear about it when it does?
posted by Slackermagee at 2:43 PM on May 23 [15 favorites]


Brian Beutler, How the Media Rewards Bad Faith
The notion that Republicans didn’t actually care about infosec practices, and that reporters knew they didn’t care, isn’t just bitter gloss on bygone reporting decisions. It is a fact reporters themselves have let on in their collective response to serial Trump-era infosec lapses. It is so taken for granted in the halls of power that Republicans don’t actually care about this issue, and never did, that nobody even bothers to ask them to square their hair-on-fire behavior in 2016 with their insouciance today. Two years ago, House Speaker Paul Ryan repeatedly and publicly requested that Clinton be stripped of her security clearance because of her email practices. On Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the Trump phone-breach story broke, he held a routine Capitol briefing for reporters and fielded zero questions about it.
...
There’s a broad (and correct) media consensus that Republicans feign outrage about alleged infractions, then proceed to do much worse when in power—that right-wing politics is built on a foundation of feigned outrage and bad faith. But there’s also a broad (and incorrect) consensus that this should not factor in to how journalists interpret and report on the parties.
Josh Marshall, Stop Talking about “Norms”
As I said, we’re confusing ourselves, confusing ourselves with the language of norms. Norms are tripwires to avoid abuses of office. But even as we see in front of our eyes the most extreme abuses of office we’re still talking about norms. That’s nuts. The abuses of office are the big thing.
...
The other problem with “norms” – perhaps the really critical one – is that they can easily sound like some precious bureaucratic niceties which simply aren’t that important. I was listening to the aforementioned CNN segment and it started to sound like that to me – ornate concepts from a world of foreign or elusive proprieties. Who before Trump talks so much about “norms”? It can all sound frivolous and precious. Maybe you need a President who will upset the apple cart a bit and try new things?

Again, we’re confusing the issue. It’s not norms. The President is trying to obstruct and stymie and hamstring a lawful investigation into his own crimes and those of his associates: by repeatedly lying, firing and threatening to fire people, intervening in law enforcement decisions in his own interest, fabricating fake stories to impede the investigation. The list goes on and on and even those of who know better are becoming inured to it. The President is in the midst of a massive, more or less public and months long effort to cover up his own crimes and the crimes of his associates. That’s really clear-cut. It’s obvious to anyone why that’s not okay. So we need to state that clearly so everyone will know what is at stake. We should stop talking around the issue and say this as clearly as we can because our future depends on it.
posted by zachlipton at 2:53 PM on May 23 [51 favorites]


We aren't going to build momentum by doing nothing, and 25% is a solid foothold. There's a lot we can do with 25%, even if it isn't going to win us any elections today.

In Texas in November, the person running against Greg Fucking Abbott will be a lesbian Latina. Do I think Lupe Valdez will win? No, unless something really dramatic happens between now and then. But is it a big deal that she will be on the ballot? That a lot of people will vote for her? That she was the choice of the Texas Democratic Party? Yeah, I think it matters. It's the Overton Window moving, bit by tiny bit.
posted by threeturtles at 3:11 PM on May 23 [55 favorites]


We aren't going to build momentum by doing nothing, and 25% is a solid foothold. There's a lot we can do with 25%, even if it isn't going to win us any elections today.

It's the Overton Window moving, bit by tiny bit.


I was speaking with my dad on Sunday about gun control, and talking about repeal of the 2nd amendment. He said it could never happen, and I told him it all starts with people talking about it.

There was a time in this country when what is now suggested by members of the GOP was "crazy talk" supported by only a small minority. But they kept talking, and organizing, and running for office and moving the window.

And now we're going to move it back.
posted by rocketman at 3:19 PM on May 23 [28 favorites]




guess there's not gonna be a cushy ambassadorship in his future then.
posted by poffin boffin at 3:26 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Johnson is actually the brother of Jets owner Woody Johnson, who's a Trump supporter and a real asshole (but I repeat myself). Woody is on a leave of absence from the team while he serves as Ambassador to the United Kingdom. There are no halfway-decent NFL owners.
posted by vathek at 3:27 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


The TPM article linked by zachlipton also makes a good point about "conflicts of interest" — the phrase is meant as a kind of tripwire to head off the possibility of corruption. The corruption itself, in the near-pure form we're seeing, isn't a conflict of interest, it's mutual interests — the public good doesn't even factor in as an "interest" to conflict with anything.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 3:32 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


"Many of these alien children who have no parents, no family structure... develop gang ties."

So... I guess we should go ahead and have ICE separate parents from their children even more. That will solve the problem.
posted by Behemoth at 3:39 PM on May 23 [19 favorites]


Something weird is going on with Tom Garrett (R-VA-5). The freshman lawmaker says he's not resigning, but his chief of staff no longer works there, suddenly, and he might not run for reelection, though we have no idea why. That could put the likely-R seat (Trump +11) in play.
posted by zachlipton at 3:43 PM on May 23 [12 favorites]


FBI confirms Trump gave Kushner a security clearance over career professionals:

Rep. Don Beyer:
Today the White House and Jared Kushner’s representatives are saying that the decision to grant Mr. Kushner’s clearance was made by career personnel, and that this decision was the deserved outcome of an above-board process.

Both claims are false or misleading. 1/ he claim that Kushner's clearance was granted by ‘career’ personnel and not the White House contradicts the FBI, which told us "the granting or suspension of Mr. Kushner’s clearance would be the responsibility of the client adjudication entity, in this case, the White House"👇2/ [pic] The suggestion that Mr. Kushner has been adequately forthcoming during this process, or that he deserves a security clearance, is belied by his constant failure to honestly disclose his foreign contacts and business conflicts, and to properly complete his ethics filings. 3/ Kushner had to update his SF-86 multiple times after failing to disclose connections with foreign officials and entities, including an attempt to set up a back-channel communication with the Kremlin. He has also been fined for repeated failure to file ethics disclosures. 4/ JHared Kushner does not deserve a permanent security clearance.

Kushner has been deceptive and dishonest, and there are many reasonable questions about whose interests he is serving in his efforts to influence US foreign policy. 5/ That the White House kept him in his position and granted him a permanent security clearance makes it clear that Congress needs to step in and create new safeguards for this process, which it should do by passing legislation I put forward: the Security Clearance Review Act. 6/6
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:54 PM on May 23 [48 favorites]


Some legal analysts have said that one potential problem for the President based upon the idea that the President can't be indicted is that he could then lose his 5th Amendment privilege. Because the idea behind the 5th Amendment is that you can't be forced to incriminate yourself, and if you can't be indicted then nothing you say can incriminate you. I'm no legalologist but that seems like a problematic analysis. Because while it may be true (nb: untested) that a sitting President can't be indicted, he or she could be indicted for those crimes once he or she is no longer President.

If you can still be arrested, tried, and jailed for something you still have a 5th amendment privilege even if that arrest etc can't be carried out for a few years. But as I said I'm no lawyerologist.
posted by Justinian at 3:57 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


I'm making a special exception-that-proves-the-rule to my "don't quote the nonsense that comes out of Giuliani's mouth" rule because Giuliani now says he last talked to Trump a "couple weeks ago." He says other unspecified lawyers are talking or corresponding with Trump.

This concludes your regularly scheduled reminder that spouting uninformed random nonsense is Giuliani's only purpose in this process and that nobody speaks for Trump but Trump (and he doesn't really speak for himself either).
posted by zachlipton at 4:06 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


It's just over a month since Rudy Giuliani said he would be joining Trump's legal team and "I don’t think it’s going to take more than a week or two to get a resolution." Is September 1 sooner or later than two weeks?
posted by kirkaracha at 4:10 PM on May 23


Looks like there's at least one halfway-decent [NFL] owner
...
Johnson is actually the brother of Jets owner Woody Johnson, who's a Trump supporter and a real asshole (but I repeat myself). Woody is on a leave of absence from the team while he serves as Ambassador to the United Kingdom. There are no halfway-decent NFL owners.


The new terrible policy was decided by unanimous consensus of the owners. This includes Paul Allen (Seahawks) who had previously appeared capable of acting like a decent human being. Jed York (49ers, also previously capable of decency) chose to abstain rather than making a stand against the policy.

There are no halfway-decent NFL owners. Not even the Packers.
posted by saturday_morning at 4:16 PM on May 23 [26 favorites]


I'm making a special exception-that-proves-the-rule to my "don't quote the nonsense that comes out of Giuliani's mouth" rule because Giuliani now says he last talked to Trump a "couple weeks ago."

Giuliani and Trump were said (by Giuliani!) to have spoken over the phone this past weekend!

WAPO: Justice Department calls for inquiry after Trump demands probe into whether FBI ‘infiltrated or surveilled’ his campaign
“It would depend on if they subpoena him. And if they subpoena him, there will be litigation. So no timeline on that,” Giuliani said. “That’d be unfortunate, but it could happen.”

Throughout the weekend, Trump appeared consumed by the revelations about the role played by the FBI source in the Russia investigation, repeatedly tweeting about the matter and consulting by phone with Giuliani.

“He called me very early, 6:30 a.m., and we spoke Saturday night,” Giuliani said. “We concluded last night that he should do something to ask the Justice Department.”
Giuliani in the original Italian-American means "squidink nozzle," apparently.
posted by notyou at 4:22 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Josh Marshall caught something buried in a recent NYT story: In Michael Cohen’s Rolodex, an Investor Tied to Russia Saw Pay Dirt. After explaining that Cohen didn't do much for Columbus Nova, pitching them on "alcohol-infused ice pops, distressed taxi medallion loans and an oil and gas operation in the United States" that they didn't want to invest in and not delivering the investors they sought, we get to the ninth paragraph:
The consulting contract, a copy of which was reviewed by The New York Times, did not specify the services Mr. Cohen was to provide. Representatives for Columbus Nova have said that Mr. Vekselberg, one of seven Kremlin-linked oligarchs who were hit with sanctions in April by the Trump administration in retaliation for Russian meddling in the 2016 election and other aggressions, has never owned the firm and had no role in its decision to hire Mr. Cohen as a consultant. Mr. Vekselberg met with Mr. Cohen multiple times, a person briefed on their discussions said. Although the purpose of those meetings is unclear, Mr. Vekselberg would have an interest in the administration’s stance on Russia.
Seems significant.
posted by zachlipton at 4:34 PM on May 23 [23 favorites]


There are no halfway-decent NFL owners. Not even the Packers.

I'd boycott the NFL for this but I'm already doing that for a dozen other shitty things that they've done.
posted by octothorpe at 4:39 PM on May 23 [19 favorites]


Contrast with the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks statement today after police released video of their violent arrest of Bucks player Sterling Brown
The abuse and intimidation that Sterling experienced at the hands of Milwaukee Police was shameful and inexcusable. Sterling has our full support as he shares his story and takes action to provide accountability.

Unfortunately, this isn't an isolated case. It shouldn’t require an incident involving a professional athlete to draw attention to the fact that vulnerable people in our communities have experienced similar, and even worse, treatment.

We are grateful for the service of many good police officers that courageously protect us, our fans and our city, but racial biases and abuses of power must not be ignored.

There needs to be more accountability.

The Milwaukee Police Department and local officials have acknowledged the challenges they are working to address, and we urge them to enact higher standards and more direct accountability. We all want to be able to trust each and every officer serving to protect us.

Incidents like this remind us of the injustices that persist. As an organization, we will support Sterling and build on our work with local leaders and organizations to foster safe neighborhoods and better our community.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:06 PM on May 23 [37 favorites]


Waiit, does that mean all public officials are prohibited from blocking people on Twitter? And presumably other social networks?

The ruling looks like it's saying that an official public announcement/discussion platform can't block people:
We hold that portions of the @realDonaldTrump
account -- the “interactive space” where Twitter users may directly
engage with the content of the President’s tweets -- are properly
analyzed under the “public forum” doctrines set forth by the
Supreme Court, that such space is a designated public forum, and
that the blocking of the plaintiffs based on their political speech
constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the First
Amendment.
So, presumably, any official who kept a personal account separate from the "elected person in an official role" account would be able to block all they want on their personal account.

So how exactly is something like this enforced?

Assuming the target won't just comply ("we must assume that the President and Scavino will remedy the blocking we have held to be unconstitutional"):
1) Back to court to insist that Twitter be required to enforce this ruling, on the grounds that they're aiding illegal behavior if they won't (this may seem obvious, but it's rather a legal stretch) or
2) Back to court to sue Mr Trump for contempt of the court order, and for denying people access to their elected officials - with a punitive monetary award to the victims, presumably to *handwaves* pay them for the hassle of setting up a second, unblocked account, and the continued hassle of having to deal with two accounts.

I don't assume he'll comply. I do assume Twitter will react to a court order demanding they remove the block button from his account - and that of any other official political accounts. "React to" may not mean "comply" (because among other things, I bet they don't actually have that code written), but since they don't want to be the target of a nationwide class-action lawsuit for voter interference, I expect them to be scrambling to do *something* about it.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:06 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


There have been a lot of obituaries for amazing people on the front page recently. Luis Posada was not someone who deserves to be in their company. But his story does explain a lot about how our foreign policy in the past has led to problems in Latin America now.
posted by TedW at 5:19 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Bleacher Report points out the obvious with this bullshit NFL anthem policy: Why is the NFL handling this so poorly, crafting a policy based on fear, not practicality? The answer remains clear, according to a variety of league sources: an intense fear of President Donald Trump.

This is a fact. This is the truth. This is the core basis for the NFL's decision. This has been told to me before, and it was reiterated by several people Wednesday.

"Our league," one team official said, "is f--king terrified of Trump. We're scared of him."

What does the NFL fear? It fears boycotts of games. It fears people not watching its product on television. It fears people not buying its products.

There is, however, no proof that any of this would happen.

In fact, the NFL recently signed a streaming deal with Verizon for $2 billion. The NFL's bottom line remains fat and happy.

The NFL's actions reflect something scary about America now. Everything is transactional. Social justice. The plight of civil rights of certain American citizens. All of it is secondary to money, and fear of a boorish president.

posted by TwoStride at 5:20 PM on May 23 [54 favorites]


Mueller Asked About Money Flows to Israeli Social-Media Firm, Source Says
posted by adamvasco at 5:24 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


More on car tariffs from the Post:
German officials have grown frustrated trying to convince Trump that Germans don’t want to buy from American companies, which specialize in large sport-utility vehicles rather than smaller cars more suited to European lifestyles.

Trump has obsessed over German cars above all others, according to a senior White House official familiar with the talks. Though the president is now driven in an armored black Cadillac limousine known as “the beast,” he has owned various foreign models, including Maybach, Rolls Royce, Mercedes Benz and McLaren.
Somehow I suspect this has more to do with him not liking Merkel than any actual trade policy, seeing as we've largely stopped making any vehicles that Germans not actively engaged in the construction trade would possibly want to buy (the top three bestselling vehicles in the US right now are all pickup trucks) or pay to refuel.
posted by zachlipton at 5:31 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


Waiit, does that mean all public officials are prohibited from blocking people on Twitter? And presumably other social networks?
My non-lawyer read is that the answer comes down to what blocking does on Twitter other than ensuring that you won't see messages from the blocked person: it also prevents the blocked account from seeing tweets, searching for them, or viewing other people's replies in context. Since Trump is using his account officially, the argument is that hinders you from seeing official Presidential communications and participating in the conversations around them. So I'd think the second question is only true to the extent that other social networks follow Twitter's behaviour in this regard: if it works more like Twitter's mute function the argument that you've suffered some injury would go away as long.
posted by adamsc at 5:44 PM on May 23


Because last time went so well...

@realDonaldTrump
Will be interviewed on @foxandfriends tomorrow morning at 6:00 A.M. Enjoy!

---

And about that Nobel...

Jonathan Cheng (WSJ)
KCNA: "We will neither beg the U.S. for dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us. Whether the U.S. will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision…of the U.S."
posted by chris24 at 6:04 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


It's a taped interview so they can edit the unhinged ranting into something barely resembling coherence. Even Fox doesn't trust Trump not to lose it live on air again.
posted by Justinian at 6:08 PM on May 23 [15 favorites]


"It's a taped interview so they can edit the unhinged ranting into something barely resembling coherence.

Sneak Preview
posted by mrgoat at 6:16 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


InTheYear2017 linked to two tweets by Alexandra Erin above. I think they're worth posting, at least partially. They're definitely worth reading.

LRT: Trump is blaming the Democrats for pushing the investigation and whipping up public sentiment against him regardless of what they do. Sitting on the sidelines to try to prove him wrong won't work... they'll still pay the political price for attacking him but reap no benefit.
The media keeps making the same mistake, too: being extra accommodating to try to fend off or disprove Trump's accusations of bias. He happily accepts the concessions and attacks them anyway.

Because the concessions prove that it works.
Trump's goal is not to come to an understanding or an equitable division of anything. His goal is to take all the marbles, have everyone agree that he is the greatest, and destroy anyone who might be a threat.
You can't get on his good side except by showing you are willing to give up everything, to be sacrificed for his gain.
So once you commit yourself to the goal of working with him, finding common ground with him, you will inevitably give up more and more at no benefit to yourself until you wise up or get used up.
The Democrats, I think, want to believe they are better than the man who ran on "lock her up".
They are missing how hard it would be to sink to his level. Just honestly pointing out his corruption would not do it.

The Democrats want to run on the issues.

I say: great!

They need to realize Trump is an issue. His criminal associations are issues. His corruption is an issue. His systematic dismantling of government protections is an issue.

Once they take the idea of running against Trump off the table, what can they run on? Running on health care is impossible if you can't explain how Trump threatens it. Running on real tax reform is impossible if you won't explain the GOP tax scam.
They can't even promise the American people straight talk and a square deal and have it mean anything if they aren't willing to call Trump a liar and point out specific lies.
Hopefully as campaign messaging comes together they will start to realize these things.

In the meantime, if you have any contact with a candidate or their campaign, give them a little nudge.

Ask them what they will do about Trump.
Tell them your number one issue and area of concern as a voter is Trump and the direction he is taking the country.
The left-wing tendency to say "Let them call names, we'll fight them on the issues" has handed the right an enormous weapon for destroying their credibility on the issues.
Meanwhile the right is so audaciously bad on the issues that pointing it out sounds like name calling.
You cannot stay out of the gutter and hope to win a fight when the fight is in the gutter.
Especially not when you are being dragged into it anyway.
The saying "Never mud-wrestle a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it." is cute and folksy but does not apply when the pig knocks you down into the mud and attempts to gore you to death.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay, babies, it feels like it's been a while since I've really buckled down and done this, but I want to talk a bit about the State of the Union, so to so to speak, and what is a bit scary to me right now but what fills me with hope.
As many of you know, I met with journalist and fellow weird Twitter pundit @KillerMartinis yesterday and we had a pretty wide-ranging conversation that did touch on politics and where we might be heading.
Right now trying to look ahead to the November elections kind of feels like staring in shock across a blood-drenched battlefield. There's a lot of horror likely to continue unfolding between now and then.
I'm not going to mince words: the fascism is getting more open. Each time it does and we try to sound the alarm and are told "It's too early, you're exaggerating", it helps set a new baseline by which the *next* level will also be treated as no big deal.
But we've got the syllogism of "undocumented immigrants are gang members and gang members are animals" going out in official White House statements and publications, and the less explicit one between "immigrants" and "undocumented", also "Spanish speakers" and "brown people"....
...and the only reason to classify a group of people as animals is to excuse treating them as less than human, and that's where we're at on immigration. Dehumanization and "warehousing" in camps.
I've talked before about how Trump's methodology -- and more generally the fascistic methodology -- is to always double down, always accelerate. The only victory they care about is total victory, so they will push until they fall apart or they win everything.
This is why Trump never walks back these kinds of statements and won't let his PR people walk them back for long, and why it feels like the rate of change itself is changing. We're not just accelerating, we're accelerating by more and more each time.
This is what scares me. I said this the other day, when the White House put out the release with the repeated references to "violent animals", that it downright terrifies me. Because of how open it is. How little hesitation the political apparatus is showing in embracing it.
This, on the other hand, is what fills me with hope: A Fitting End to Paul Ryan's Fraudulent Political Career

It is not possible for Trump to miscalculate in his power grabs because he's not calculating. He *must* keep grabbing more and more, faster and faster all the time, because the whole thing falls apart if he stops.

But it also might fall apart if he keeps going.
The prospect of a GOP defeat in November... look, to be very bluntly honest, not only is it not a sure thing we're going to win, but we don't even automatically win even if we do win.
The rise of fascist autocracy could mean that six months from now, the White House feels perfectly secure declaring any unfavorable election result invalid and enough of the country goes along with it to make it either real, or a real problem (as in: civil war).
But right now, the story is that the GOP is in trouble and expecting a defeat or at least a terribly close contest for control of Congress in November. And as long as that story is still being told, it will be hard for them to convincingly claim they were robbed come November.
I don't want us to be complacent. Our biggest weapon going into November is going to be ENTHUSIASM.

Confidence that we WILL win can be a great way to deflate turnout, sadly.

Confidence that we CAN win might just make it happen.... [remainder at Thread Reader]
posted by triggerfinger at 6:25 PM on May 23 [30 favorites]


The North Korea statement also takes aim at Pence directly, calling him a "political dummy":
At an interview with Fox News on May 21, the U.S. Vice-President Pence has made unbridled and impudent remarks that north Korea might end like Libya, military option for north Korea never came off the table, the U.S. needs complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization, and so on. As a person involved in the U.S. affairs, I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the U.S. vice-president. If he is vice-president of 'single superpower' as is in name, it will be proper for him to know even a little bit about the current state of global affairs and to sense to a certain degree the trends in dialogue and the climate of detente. We could surmise more than enough what a political dummy he is as he is trying to compare the DPRK, a nuclear weapon state, to Libya that had simply installed a few items of equipment and fiddled around with them.

Soon after the White House National Security Adviser Bolton made the reckless remarks, Vice-President Pence has again spat out nonsense that the DPRK would follow in Libya's footstep. In view of the remarks of the U.S. high-ranking politicians who have not yet woken up to this stark reality and compare the DPRK to Libya that met a tragic fate, I come to think that they know too little about us. To borrow their words, we can also make the U.S. taste an appalling tragedy it has neither experienced nor even imagined up to now.
Are we going for the Nobel Political Dummy Prize now?

Meanwhile, from our side: Trump administration wants more high-level talks with North Korea before summit
The Trump administration wants additional high-level talks with North Korea and assurances from Kim Jong Un that he is committed to giving up his nuclear program before next month's planned historic summit in order for the meeting to go ahead, a senior administration official involved in planning for the talks told CNN.

"We need to have more conversations about what we would be talking about before we know if this is going to be useful," the official said.
North Korea's statement is obviously inflammatory and threatening, but it also points to a simple reality, which is that the US doesn't have a negotiating position, and everyone in the White House is saying different things all the time. There's no plan here, just people spouting nonsense that range from absurdly high expectations of a deal to threats to violently brutalize KJU's internal organs.

Anyway, do those sound like the words of a country that's about to give up nuclear weapons?
posted by zachlipton at 6:30 PM on May 23 [15 favorites]


Adam Schiff stated on Maddow just now that the Justice/FBI meeting with Congress tomorrow will be with the Gang of Eight. Which is not at all what Trump, Nunes, Meadows et al. had in mind.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:39 PM on May 23 [19 favorites]


(or so he was told by "the head of an intelligence agency who is also a cabinet member").
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:41 PM on May 23


That's Torturer Gina Haspel, yes?
posted by Justinian at 6:45 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Schumer and Warner are in this.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:47 PM on May 23


I'm betting it was Dan Coats. He's about the most rational person in that clown car.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:56 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


Speaking of the "it's not the media's job to repeat facts", Most Don’t Know Mueller Has Uncovered Crimes (via Politicalwire)

A new Navigator Research survey finds that 59% of Americans believe that special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation has not yet uncovered evidence of crimes, even though Mueller has already obtained five guilty pleas and 17 criminal indictments.

Matthew Yglesias: “That suggests that the press as a whole has not done a good job of actually conveying factual information to our audience, that Democrats’ messaging on the investigation has not been clear enough on the most damning point (Trump, even if otherwise innocent, is guilty of hiring crooks and trying to prevent an investigation into their activity), and that Trump’s counterstrategy of muddying the waters around the investigation has been fairly successful.”


We need to get out of this sixties mentality of The News asap. They, more than Trump, are responsible for this continuing. They're responsible for this *existing* too, but we're so far beyond that now. Fire corporate news. Find another way.
posted by petebest at 7:05 PM on May 23 [40 favorites]


Mueller's office has an interesting filing opposing greater public access to the Manafort search warrants and other documents. It kind of reads as a rebuttal to Giuliani and recent polls of sorts, taking pains to point out that "the Special Counsel's investigation is not a closed matter, but an ongoing criminal investigaiton with multiple lines of non-public inquiry." It includes a reminder as to how many criminal charges they've filed so far (22 individuals and entities) and an appendix listing them all, just for good measure.
posted by zachlipton at 7:08 PM on May 23 [26 favorites]


Adm. Rogers, maybe? He retires next week.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:09 PM on May 23


Place yer bets on the North Korea summit happening.

Surprisingly objective reporting too, because money.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:21 PM on May 23




@mattzap: From what I understand, there will be 2 briefings on the FBI source tomorrow — the 1st with Nunes/Gowdy, the 2nd with the Gang of 8/Gowdy. John Kelly is going to both — contrary to what Sarah Sanders said. But this has evolved so much today who knows what tomorrow brings.

Yeah this is just all kinds of shenanigans here. Why does Nunes have to have his own meeting first?
posted by zachlipton at 7:26 PM on May 23 [10 favorites]


There is literally no reason to hold two meetings unless the first meeting with Nunes/Gowdy is completely political in nature and concerns how to weaponize intelligence against Mueller and the Democrats. This is unacceptable and Schiff et al should demand to be let in.
posted by Justinian at 7:30 PM on May 23 [27 favorites]


So he can have a head start to run over to the White House and blab to Donald?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:30 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


Nunes and Gowdy are going to make some demand or threat of Rosenstein that they don't want Democrats to see them make, but fuck me if I can figure out what it is.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:32 PM on May 23 [8 favorites]


Oh but wait there's more. @burgessev: Speaker Paul Ryan will not attend Gang of Eight meeting, per @AshLeeStrong: "The speaker has a longstanding schedule commitment and will not be attending. Chairmen Gowdy and Nunes will continue to lead in this space for House Republicans."

Ryan could stop this anytime he wanted to. Instead, he's sticking his fingers in his ears and refusing to hear it.
posted by zachlipton at 7:34 PM on May 23 [36 favorites]


Schiff and co should come to the White House at the same time as Nunes and Gowdy and maybe get a little physical if they are denied entry.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:35 PM on May 23 [20 favorites]


Media Matters's Matt Gretz reviewed all 487 of Sean Hannity’s segments about the first year of Robert Mueller's investigation and has reached a conclusion about his intentions—Study: Sean Hannity Spent The Last Year Laying the Groundwork For an Authoritarian Response to the Russia Probe
To watch Hannity’s broadcast over the last year is to plunge into a strikingly paranoid vision of America today.

“A soft coup is underway right here in the United States of America,” Hannity said last June, “in an attempt to overturn November's election results and forcibly remove a duly elected president from office, sinister forces quickly aligning in what is becoming now, in my mind, a clear and present danger.”[...]

Hannity presents his show as the only venue willing to tell the truth about the story, casting reporting about Trump, Russia, and the 2016 election not as the result of serious journalism, but as part of a plot against the president.[...]

This study reveals the four prongs of the overarching strategy Hannity has followed over the past year: delegitimizing the press, defending Trump from collusion claims, and creating a counternarrative that targets the investigators. All of those build to the authoritarian endgame Hannity's conspiracy theory is courting -- which is supported by the series of guests who help sell his tale to the Fox audience.

I. Delegitimizing the press: “The media has been corrupt and lying to you, the America people.”[...]
II. The defense: “Tinfoil hat conspiracy theories about so-called Trump Russia collusion” (which isn’t a crime)[...]
III. The counter-attack: Trump as victim of “the biggest abuse of power corruption case in American history”[...]
IV. The authoritarian endgame: “Mueller's probe is tainted. Hillary is a criminal.”[...]

Trump is listening. [...] Egged on by Hannity, he reportedly threatened to fire Mueller and Rosenstein in order to curtail the probe into his activities and those of his allies, and he regularly suggests his perceived enemies have broken the law and publicly pressures the Justice Department to respond.

If Trump ever takes such dire steps as firing Mueller and Rosenstein -- or forcing investigations of his enemies -- he has every reason to believe that Hannity’s propaganda effort will keep the Republican base on his side, forestalling any real accountability.
(Incidentally, Gertz was able to get a couple of sentences about this dire situation into the Washington Post article Democratic Leaders Face Pressure To Counter Trump’s Attacks On Mueller’s Russia Investigation.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:06 PM on May 23 [27 favorites]


While we're at it, why is Kelly present at these meetings? His boss is the person under investigation. That the White House has any role here at all is massively inappropriate.
posted by zachlipton at 8:11 PM on May 23 [50 favorites]


Why does Nunes have to have his own meeting first?

Either the content in the two meetings will be different or Nunes doesn’t want anyone able to contradict his lies about what he is told. Which is silly, because it isn’t like anyone is actually calling out his lies when he makes them.
posted by winna at 8:23 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


I think the most plausible explanation is that the meeting with Kelly, Nunes, and Gowdy serves two purposes. One, it lets them coordinate strategy. And two... remember that meeting is first. They get to put out their own spin and framing without rebuttal exactly like they did with the Comey memo bullshit they pulled. A lie travels halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its pants.
posted by Justinian at 8:27 PM on May 23 [10 favorites]


German officials have grown frustrated trying to convince Trump that Germans don’t want to buy from American companies, which specialize in large sport-utility vehicles rather than smaller cars more suited to European lifestyles.

Yeah, they'll have a hard time convincing anyone of that, since Ford Group has a greater European market share than BMW Group and Daimler Group, not to mention a greater market share than Toyota, Honda, Kia, Volvo, Mazda, etc.

Ford was the #3 best-selling car brand in Europe in 2017.

Germans buy lots of cars from American companies, but generally not the ones manufactured in the U.S.
posted by The World Famous at 8:31 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


In Q1 2018, Ford was the #5 best selling car manufacturer in Germany, behind VW, Mercedes, Audi, an BMW, but ahead of every other brand in the world. Opel, which is part of General Motors, was #6.
posted by The World Famous at 8:34 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


It's a confused piece, but not necessarily on the part of the German officials. These are giant multi-nationals, and their foreign models are often very different to the American models. The German officials may well be saying 'no-one wants the cars that America makes for its own market' and it's being interpreted by the article as 'no-one wants American cars'.
posted by Merus at 8:44 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


Ford is essentially stopping manufacture of cars in the US. And it's the cars made in the US that are of concern here.
posted by Mitheral at 8:44 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


Trump is listening. [...] Egged on by Hannity, he reportedly threatened to fire Mueller and Rosenstein

At This late date, we can safely assume Hannity and Trump are sharing the same 12 neurons. Trump talks to Hannity more than his wife.
posted by benzenedream at 8:47 PM on May 23 [7 favorites]


In more 'disappointing union news from the front', we have: Planned Parenthood Is Asking Donald Trump’s Labor Board For Help Busting Its Colorado Union.

It's hardly the first progressive organization to engage in union-busting - the NLRB's case files reveal a lot of sad stories, and I know we're seeing a lot of it all over the country - but it still definitely hurts in the current climate. While no one expects for-profit corporations to care about the workers who run their operations, it's reasonable to expect nonprofits to do so.
posted by corb at 9:17 PM on May 23 [28 favorites]


Sitting on the sidelines to try to prove him wrong won't work... they'll still pay the political price for attacking him but reap no benefit.

I play a lot of video games and doing so has, I think, given me some insights that apply to the larger world. I used to play a lot of Mechwarrior Online. Big, stompy robots that shoot each other. It's a slower and more tactical game than your standard issue military shooter like Call of Duty.

In one game mode one team is tasked with defending a base against attack and the other team must try to capture the base. If you're the attacking team, you MUST attack, you have to be aggressive as it's the obviously the only available strategy. The defenders, on the other hand, can sit back in the base and wait for the attackers to come to them. They can fall back into the base or they can counter-attack. Much as Trump and the GOP are basically stuck being on the attack while the Dems have the option of playing defense or trying to attack the GOP right back.

When you get right down to it, defending has two possible outcomes. You hold the line or your fall back. You might get lucky and fall back slowly while making your attackers bleed more than you. Make it a war of attrition, as it were. That is almost never the case so it's either hold ground or lose ground. You never, ever, gain ground while playing defensively. The attackers generate some momentum and it's hard to turn that back around.

The teams that do the best in that game mode live by the old saying, "The best defense is a good offense." It keeps the attacking from building or maintaining their momentum. Most importantly, it adds the third option of gaining ground.

So, to me, all else being equal the odds break down like this.

Defend:
Chance of gaining ground: 0%
Chance of holding ground: 50%
Chance of losing ground: 50%

Attack the attackers:
Chance of gaining ground: 33%
Chance of holding ground: 33%
Chance of losing ground: 33%

"Ah, but what if you defend until the moment is ripe to counter-attack?" asks the straw-man in the corner.

Well, the teams that are coordinated enough to actually pull that off simply don't bother. Defending is just losing as slowly as you can. You want to win? Attack hard and fast. Teams that start out defending and then counter-attack are teams that start out losing and manage to turn it around. It's orders of magnitude more successful to start out aggressive and stay that way.

That doesn't necessarily mean attacking the same way the other team is but it DOES mean figuring out an effective means of attack and then attacking them HARD and I really think that's what everyone on "our team" should be doing.
posted by VTX at 9:34 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


Planned Parenthood, aside from turning to the Trump administration, appears to be playing hardball locally, too. A week after Emily Sirota, a candidate for Colorado House District 9, publicly reiterated her support of the organization’s unionization efforts, Planned Parenthood leadership endorsed her primary opponent Ashley Wheeland, despite Sirota’s longstanding support of reproductive rights.

What the fuck. That does it, I am voting in the Democratic primary this summer and I am voting for Sirota. I hadn't seen a whole lot of difference between the two candidates in that I thought they were both acceptable, though their transportation platforms are both nonexistent. And hey, PPRM: consider my usual charitable priorities altered while y'all keep this shit up.
posted by asperity at 9:36 PM on May 23 [10 favorites]


In more 'disappointing union news from the front', we have: Planned Parenthood Is Asking Donald Trump’s Labor Board For Help Busting Its Colorado Union.

That's Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood Inc. (PPRM), the local Colorado affiliate, and not the national organization, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). The Intercept keeps saying that 'Planned Parenthood leadership' took anti-union actions, which implies this is something the national organization leadership did -- but the union itself talks about the PPRM leadership taking actions, not the national leadership, and explicitly notes that 'Planned Parenthood Federation of America has chosen to be neutral on matters of unionization,' including this case -- in other words, this is some misleading garbage from The Intercept.

Seriously: The Intercerpt linked that facebook post from the union itself in that article , so they ought out to know this is a local issue with PPRM and not a national issue with PPFA. But they repeatedly frame this as an action that 'Planned Parenthood' is taking or that the 'Planned Parenthood leadership' is taking. It isn't, and they aren't.

Planned Parenthood isn't union-busting, and The Intercept should be ashamed for implying that it is; PPRM looks like it is, and they should be yet more ashamed still.
posted by cjelli at 9:39 PM on May 23 [73 favorites]


But they repeatedly frame this as an action that 'Planned Parenthood' is taking or that the 'Planned Parenthood leadership' is taking. It isn't, and they aren't.

It's shorthand? I'm not seeing the problem, the first words of the article are "Colorado Planned Parenthood", and "Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains" and "Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood" are both there before they shorten it to just Planned Parenthood the same way they go from NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado to NARAL later. That's easier for me to read and follow but I don't know about others.
posted by edeezy at 9:47 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


@awprokop (Vox): Mueller has put off Papadopoulos's sentencing for months while his cooperation has continued. Today he tells court he's ready to move ahead with it.

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti @renato_mariotti has posted Twitter thread with a very good analysis of all Mueller's possible motives and options behind this (Thread Reader version). His final point, on whether Papadopoulos will be sentenced at the same time as a guilty plea from a completely new target he helped flip or will be thrown to the mercy of the court for not panning out: "Papadopoulos could still be required to cooperate, although it would be harder to motivate him after his sentencing. Realistically, however, prosecutors are cautious about proceeding with scheduling sentencing for cooperators. They don't do it until the cooperation ends."

Given how indiscreet he's been, Mueller may have decided that Papadopoulos would be a liability on the witness stand.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:50 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


>It's shorthand? I'm not seeing the problem

1. The article as a whole was sufficently ambiguous that it got posted to here as "Planned Parenthood" did a thing; that's evidence that it is in practice misleading
2. The union uses the shorthand "PPRM leadership" as shorthand specifically to remove the ambiguity, so a need for shorthand doesn't excuse the ambiguity.

Apologies for brevity; phone typing isn't great on these threads.
posted by cjelli at 9:56 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


Planned Parenthood isn't union-busting, and The Intercept should be ashamed for implying that it is; PPRM looks like it is, and they should be yet more ashamed still.

The wording is needlessly confusing, but it's my PP affiliate and my state house district and the flames on the sides of my face didn't stop me from noting the difference between the national org and local affiliate. So much rage for what PPRM's doing here.
posted by asperity at 10:03 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


DC Examiner Senior Editor Dave Brown @dave_brown24 zooms in on an AP photo*: Item #9 on Mike Pompeo's to-do list for the 23rd: "Call Lavrov"

Wall Street Journal Seoul Bureau Chief Jonathan Cheng @JChengWSJ notices: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be heading to Pyongyang, says Chosun Ilbo, citing Russian news agencies. (On May 31st, per Chosun article)

* Why do Trump and his aides have such trouble covering up their goddam notes?
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:04 PM on May 23 [17 favorites]


Remember how Trump got the unqualified Jim Bridenstine through as the head of NASA? While that remains a thing that totally sucks, it took an unexpected turn:

WaPo: NASA head Jim Bridenstine, once doubtful, confirms he believes humans are the leading cause of climate change
During testimony before the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on commerce, justice, science and related agencies, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) asked Bridenstine whether he believes greenhouse gases are the primary cause of climate change. Bridenstine quickly replied in the affirmative.

“The National Climate Assessment, that includes NASA, and it includes the Department of Energy, and it includes NOAA, has clearly stated it is extremely likely, [that] is the language they use, that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming, and I have no reason to doubt the science that comes from that,” Bridenstine said.

Schatz followed up by asking, “Is it fair to call this an evolution of your views?”

Bridenstine replied: “Yes.”

On further questioning from Schatz, Bridenstine also committed to defending the independence and integrity of climate science at NASA.
Whoops.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:13 PM on May 23 [83 favorites]


In Q1 2018, Ford was the #5 best selling car manufacturer in Germany, behind VW, Mercedes, Audi, an BMW, but ahead of every other brand in the world. Opel, which is part of General Motors, was #6.

Ford of Europe builds cars that Europeans will drive (in countries where roads are narrow and gasoline is more than six bucks a gallon), not F-150's and Explorers; none of them are built in the US. (And Opel and Vauxhall got sold off a few years ago and are no longer part of GM.)
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 10:14 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


I got burned a couple of threads back after I enthusiastically scooped everyone with something from The Intercept that later turned out to be highly misleading / actually false. I’ve been keeping an eye on them since, and I have to say that I now treat them as being as reliable as The Daily Mail, which is to say, not at all.

Their bad faith and willingness to lie (or exaggerate to the point of falsehood or whatever), means that they are completely useless as a source, because even if you read very carefully and analytically, separating statements from innuendo, there’s no way to know whether the statements that they’re making are even true to the best of their knowledge.

I’d happily never see a link to them again.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 11:04 PM on May 23 [42 favorites]


Huh. Watching CNN at the moment and they are not both siding the Nunes shit in the slightest. It’s like they’re growing a spine just when it doesn’t matter any more.
posted by Artw at 11:13 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


Given how their bungling incompetence completely fucked over Reality Winner, I've mentally relegated the Intercept to "unserious fringe noise"
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 11:19 PM on May 23 [27 favorites]


i would advise taking controversial news that causes internal discord from plausibly compromised sources (such as glenn greenwald’s the intercept) critically, with a level head, and prioritize them appropriately..
posted by polyhedron at 1:20 AM on May 24 [7 favorites]


There have been many instances where the president has not told the truth, I said.

“But you’re asking about me,” Sanders said, not challenging the premise.


That last bit there is how one should do journalism. Bravo.
posted by Gelatin at 2:56 AM on May 24 [63 favorites]


For the first time in history, D House candidates are approaching gender parity. 43% of candidates thus far are women, by far the highest ever for a major party with the previous high being 29%. And it's 51% of candidates where there's no incumbent.

Meanwhile, Rs are at a 30 year low of 7% women candidates.
posted by chris24 at 4:02 AM on May 24 [40 favorites]


It's shocking to me that like 45% of women still vote for the Republicans. I mean, it's also shocking that 55% of men vote for them but I grok voting to maintain your own privilege more than I grok voting to maintain someone else's privilege. Or maybe unconsciously white women have decided that maintaining white privilege trumps (hah!) gender inequality? Or even consciously I guess.
posted by Justinian at 4:19 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]




Plenty of women are fine with male supremacy. Most (all?) Evangelical women, for example. They used to call that “false consciousness.” I personally call it self-defeating, but I’m about as far from Evangelical as you can get.

Also, Elizabeth Drew, who knows from impeachment, has written that the number of Trump’s impeachable offenses keeps growing:
In fact, Trump’s interference with the federal investigation of himself makes Nixon look like a pussy-cat, but then, unlike Trump, Nixon didn’t have a Congress controlled by his own party to protect him. Trump is clearly colluding with some right-wing House Republicans to mess with the Justice Department...
posted by GrammarMoses at 4:33 AM on May 24 [14 favorites]


Is the number of women candidates as a whole increasing, or is the fall in Republican women candidates swallowing up the gain in Democratic ones?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:35 AM on May 24


Is the number of women candidates as a whole increasing, or is the fall in Republican women candidates swallowing up the gain in Democratic ones?

From 2016, D women candidates rose from 29% to 43%. R women fell from 12% to 7%. So still a big net increase.

The graph in the link is really telling. A perfect hockey stick.
posted by chris24 at 4:38 AM on May 24 [9 favorites]


Ford is essentially stopping manufacture of cars in the US.

Er, I was all like "cite?" but I'd forgotten they said that , it was an FPP as well iirc.

The catch is "cars" - Ford will still make gas-guzzling SUVs and the Mustang. Which . . is a car but also a horse? They're not building horses tho.

But srsly what does it take to put a Tesla-class electric watermelon engine in a Mustang? Have bass speakers pump out burbling idle noises at the stoplight, whatever, just gimmie the EV, Ford!

(Narrator: He doesn't get the EV)
posted by petebest at 4:44 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]


It's a taped interview so they can edit the unhinged ranting into something barely resembling coherence. Even Fox doesn't trust Trump not to lose it live on air again.

CBS's Mark Knoller @markknoller tallies it up:
By my count, it's Pres Trump's 23rd interview with Fox News since taking office. Far more than any of the other networks:
ABC -1
CBS – 1
CNN – 0
NBC – 3 (4 if you count CNBC).
But Fox got their red meat from Trump—"Maybe you shouldn't be in the country."—and Trump's going to get his distraction in the media from today's Rosenstein briefing on Capitol Hill.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:24 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]


Zuckerberg set up fraudulent scheme to 'weaponise' data, court case alleges - bit of a weird one as the company suing is itself some kind of weird privacy violating scraper.
posted by Artw at 6:00 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


Now Paul Ryan is attending the Nunes-Gowdy briefing, so he can go ask for another several million dollar check.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:33 AM on May 24


That Guardian article and headline are misleading, at best.

What happened is that Six4Three is/was an app developer that was entirely reliant on Facebook's "app economy" and had its image-recognition-based business model undermined when FB revised their user data restrictions, and so Six4Three sued FB for unfair competition under California's UCL.

As a part of its campaign it set up a "gripe site" to recruit similarly-burned developers to sign on to its platform of demands for 'developer rights' in the "Facebook app economy." Facebook then went after the "gripe site" on a copyright basis (for use of "Facebook" in the domain name), prompting the Federal action for a declaratory judgment by Six4Three (which was filed in late 2016).
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:45 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


“The evidence uncovered by plaintiff demonstrates that the Cambridge Analytica scandal was not the result of mere negligence on Facebook’s part but was rather the direct consequence of the malicious and fraudulent scheme Zuckerberg designed in 2012 to cover up his failure to anticipate the world’s transition to smartphones,” legal documents said. . . .

In its latest filing, Six4Three alleges Facebook deliberately used its huge amounts of valuable and highly personal user data to tempt developers to create platforms within its system, implying that they would have long-term access to personal information, including data from subscribers’ Facebook friends.

Once their businesses were running, and reliant on data relating to “likes”, birthdays, friend lists and other Facebook minutiae, the social media company could and did target any that became too successful, looking to extract money from them, co-opt them or destroy them, the documents claim.

Six4Three alleges up to 40,000 companies were effectively defrauded in this way by Facebook. It also alleges that senior executives including Zuckerberg personally devised and managed the scheme, individually deciding which companies would be cut off from data or allowed preferential access.


If I'm reading it right, Facebook doesn't deny this was their practice. They say they can do it because . . . that's right, Free Speech. Because . . . Okay, I don't know why that's supposed to work.
posted by petebest at 6:46 AM on May 24 [12 favorites]


Daniel Dale: Breaking: Trump issues letter to Kim Jong Un cancelling their summit.

"You can't fire me! I quit!"
posted by PenDevil at 6:48 AM on May 24 [35 favorites]


Il Douche is tweeting off the rails again. This time SPYs!, money! etc.
posted by Harry Caul at 6:51 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


It's shocking to me that like 45% of women still vote for the Republicans. I mean, it's also shocking that 55% of men vote for them but I grok voting to maintain your own privilege more than I grok voting to maintain someone else's privilege. Or maybe unconsciously white women have decided that maintaining white privilege trumps (hah!) gender inequality? Or even consciously I guess.

Misogyny, and male supremacy, starts as soon as you’re born. It’s there for every developmental stage. It invades your most intimate relationships. Every single thing you’re taught about and by the world is steeped in it from the moment you are born. In general, developmental trauma has a profound effect on your experience of the world, and, more perniciously, on your very sense of self. (I have theories on this, obviously. But the Stepford Wife trope becomes way creepier the more you read about developmental trauma.)

Some day maybe we’ll get serious research on the developmental effects of misogyny, racism, and other minority status — and I do not expect them to be the same — but that day is not today.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:51 AM on May 24 [25 favorites]




What Happened in Vegas -- The days, weeks, and months after the worst mass shooting in modern American history (Amanda Fortini for the California Sunday Magazine)

It's a good, long piece that looks at how Vegas has, and hasn't, changed in the wake of Stephen Paddock killing 58 people and injuring more than 500 more (a figure that has been revised up to 851, encompass not only victims of gunshot wounds but those injured from shrapnel, trampling, and attempts to scale barbed-wire and chain-link fences while fleeing). Unfortunately, the article claims "He didn’t appear to be acting for any ideological cause. His motive remains hazy, mysterious," even reposting some of the conspiracy theories mentioned by locals, when new evidence shows he was probably a far-right extremist. Still, a good in-depth look at what happened before, during and after the shooting.

tl; dr: even though this was a tragedy that has left a mark on many people, the worst worst mass shooting in modern American history became just another forgettable tragedy in a matter of days, in part because of the Harvey Weinstein stories, the aftermath of the devastating hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, and the terrorist attack in Lower Manhattan.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:57 AM on May 24 [21 favorites]


They say they can do it because . . . that's right, Free Speech. Because . . . Okay, I don't know why that's supposed to work.

Anti-SLAPP motions are about a particular meaning of "free speech," and can have a surprisingly wide application.

Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16(e) divides “protected activity” into four categories. The first two categories include speech or petitioning activity that either occur in or are made “in connection with” legislative, executive, or judicial proceedings. The third category addresses statements made in certain other public forums relating to “an issue of public interest.” Finally, the fourth category serves as a sort of catchall encompassing various other forms of speech or petitioning activity “in connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest.”

This would probably be that last prong. And that may not be wrong, these data privacy questions are indeed a matter of public interest and that complaint is super shady imo. Lots of sensational language about how awful Facebook and Zuck are, but little substance in terms of anything actionable. And the gravamen of the underlying California UCL complaint is that Facebook was wrong to revise its privacy rules because it harmed app developers reliant on all of that personal data, and used its platform to exert leverage and pick winners and losers among those developers. No one is an angel here.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:59 AM on May 24


So do the taxpayers get refunded for the Kim Jing-Un challenge coins?
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:07 AM on May 24 [49 favorites]


Breaking: Trump issues letter to Kim Jong Un cancelling their summit.
Dear Mr. Chairman:

We greatly appreciate your time, patience, and effort with respect to our recent negotiations and discussions relative to a summit long sought by both parties, which was scheduled to take place on June 12 in Singapore. We were informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant. I was very much looking forward to being there with you. Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting. Therefore, please let this letter server to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place. You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but our are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.

I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately, it is only that dialogue that matters. Some day, I look very much forward to meeting you. In the meantime, I want to thank you for the release of the hostages who are now home with their families. That was a beautiful gesture and was very much appreciated.

If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write. The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth. This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history.

Sincerely yours,
1) Kim Jong Un demoted from Supreme Leader
2) Royal We
3) Commas on sale at Costco?
4) Non sequiturs à gogo
5) "Mine's bigger"
6) Is "hostages" the diplomatically-correct term?
7) I cancelled the summit but call me if you change your mind. Passive/aggressive much?
8) "great prosperity and wealth." Always be closing.

Also: Nobel Punk Out Prize
posted by kirkaracha at 7:10 AM on May 24 [61 favorites]


Holy shit, is that the actual text of our cancellation?
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:17 AM on May 24 [60 favorites]


It's real.

Edit: AP article.
posted by Emmy Rae at 7:18 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]


Oh my god. It's happened again. My rage reserves have run dry.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:23 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]


The actual letter says "serve" not "server." Small favors.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:23 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


There are several typos in the text here that are not in the original text. The actual letter is still an embarrassment but does not say "server to represent" or "but our are so massive."

This isn't to pick on kirkaracha, who I assume was quickly transcribing what I've only seen as an image.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:24 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]


Conservative subreddits that were all HAIL GREAT TRUMP THE KOREAN PEACE BRINGER NOBEL PRIZE TIME LIBS OWNED last week are already cheering the cancellation as brilliant because Kim called Pence stupid and Kim was going to cancel anyway and nobody thought Kim was serious about the talks. One more battle won in the total war against Eurasia Eastasia North Korea.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:24 AM on May 24 [11 favorites]


for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world

anyone care to venture a guess as to wtf that is supposed to mean? its bad for the world for the summit not to happen but good for both the US and NK? Srsly?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:26 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]


This isn't to pick on kirkaracha, who I assume was quickly transcribing what I've only seen as an image.

My bad, couple of transcription errors. Sorry about any confusion.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:26 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]


Yeah the typos aren’t in the original, but the narcissism and dimwittedness are true to the source.

Good grief what a terrible time this is.
posted by notyou at 7:26 AM on May 24 [22 favorites]


Was this letter just written so his base could think they could have written this letter? I believed it was fake at first because surely this could never go out as diplomatic correspondence. I...it’s such a small thing compared to his everyday evil but I am legitimately stunned.
posted by corb at 7:29 AM on May 24 [33 favorites]




It's shocking to me that like 45% of women still vote for the Republicans. I mean, it's also shocking that 55% of men vote for them but I grok voting to maintain your own privilege more than I grok voting to maintain someone else's privilege. Or maybe unconsciously white women have decided that maintaining white privilege trumps (hah!) gender inequality? Or even consciously I guess.

I'm thinking of a comment in a MeFi thread about white people (specifically women in this case) calling the cops on black people who were doing very innocuous things (basically Existing While Black). Some white women, especially those from a more conservative and/or religious background, have an almost childlike approach to the world where they look to white men (cops, husbands, in this case political leaders) to protect and guide them. It's a leftover from Victorian times when well-off white women, and white women who aspired to middle-class prosperity, were the Angel in the House, protected by a big strong husband who dealt with the outside world.

This, I think, is behind a lot of the "white women voted for Trump" phenomenon. They are or aspire to be protected by strong men, and Trump fits into that. (I think this is behind why a lot of older, white women defended Al Franken on the Democratic side. Franken was the big, strong man who was going to make them feel all cozy and protected and defended against the baddies.)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:31 AM on May 24 [12 favorites]


Thoughts on Planned Parenthood: (1) If we're separating "Planned Parenthood" from the regional affiliates that do most of the work, then PPFA shouldn't get credit for the good things their affiliates are doing either. For example, it doesn't look like the national org has any clinics, so I guess we should stop referring to those clinics' services as something that "Planned Parenthood" provides.

(2) The national org's professed neutrality on unionization is no different from "neutrality" on any other issue of consequence: it is simply a tacit endorsement of entrenched power. Neutrality on unionization is anti-union, just as neutrality on abortion is pro-forced-birth.

Planned Parenthood is a crucially important force for good in this country, but this still isn't OK.
posted by shenderson at 7:33 AM on May 24 [20 favorites]


We had weeks of "Noble Trump through his in-your-face tweets has brought peace to the Korean peninsula. He heap big statesman." It's so bloody obvious that Trump had nothing to help the peace process and yet the press was so fawning.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:35 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]


This, I think, is behind a lot of the "white women voted for Trump" phenomenon. They are or aspire to be protected by strong men, and Trump fits into that. (I think this is behind why a lot of older, white women defended Al Franken on the Democratic side. Franken was the big, strong man who was going to make them feel all cozy and protected and defended against the baddies.)

This is a weirdly demeaning way to talk about what you seem to be describing as Stockholm syndrome

I do recall a few articles after the election that indicated that women who voted for trump were more motivated by fear of losing male protection, though from what was always left implicit. So whether it was from men, black people, both, or a more general amorphous sense that everything would descend into a rapey Hobbesian nightmare unless white men are in charge is unclear. But all of those things are bound up with male supremacy.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:38 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


White won't vote for Trump because of white supremacy, not Stockholm syndrome.
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:42 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]




Christ. Trump's letter to Kim reads like some staffer put together a standard boiler-plate note and then Trump mad-libbed in a bunch of his favorite words and general wannabe mafia talk.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 7:44 AM on May 24 [24 favorites]


White women vote for Trump because of white supremacy, not Stockholm syndrome.

Exactly. They calculate that white supremacy benefits them more than gender equality would. That's why racial bias was the main predictor as to whether or not someone would vote Trump. That applies to women too.
posted by Emmy Rae at 7:45 AM on May 24 [25 favorites]


So now in addition to the Scaramucci measurement, we have the summit coin too?
posted by Melismata at 7:45 AM on May 24 [18 favorites]


Therefore, please let this letter server to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place.

Truer words were never blathered.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:47 AM on May 24 [7 favorites]


Can we start referring to that as the shitcoin? Please?
posted by jferg at 7:48 AM on May 24 [29 favorites]


I'm thinking of a comment in a MeFi thread about white people (specifically women in this case) calling the cops on black people who were doing very innocuous things (basically Existing While Black). Some white women, especially those from a more conservative and/or religious background, have an almost childlike approach to the world where they look to white men (cops, husbands, in this case political leaders) to protect and guide them. It's a leftover from Victorian times when well-off white women, and white women who aspired to middle-class prosperity, were the Angel in the House, protected by a big strong husband who dealt with the outside world.
I know quite a few women who infantilize themselves by default. It's creepy and sometimes it depresses me and makes me think nothing will ever change. But then I remember all of my friends who don't. Also, if those infantilizing women are relatively close to me, I'll call them on it. I don't know that it works, but at least they are noticed.
posted by mumimor at 7:48 AM on May 24 [9 favorites]


RIP this coin, May 21st 2018 - May 24th 2018

Now it's certain to become a collector's item of great worth, and appear in the reboot of Brewster's Millions when Donald Glover puts it into a pop machine.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:49 AM on May 24 [21 favorites]


Can we start referring to that as the shitcoin? Please?

I was thinking Mootcoin; it has a nice polysemy.
posted by cortex at 7:50 AM on May 24 [29 favorites]


So Un was invited, but now he's uninvited. Unless they all change their minds again then Un can be ununinvited.

Also, based on the well-known axiom "Time is money", can we now conclude that 1 Mooch = 0.3 Shitcoin?
posted by Freon at 7:53 AM on May 24 [11 favorites]


A lot of people are comparing this to a breakup letter (and I implicitly did that above), but maybe the closer parallel is a rejection letter (for a job, school, magazine submission, etc) -- it has the whole "We regretfully decline your application, but you're welcome to try again" vibe.

A phrase that stuck out to me and hasn't been discussed much here or on Twiter: We were informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant. What does this even mean? Just generic "I don't care! Who cares!" ranting? So effing weird.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:53 AM on May 24 [21 favorites]


It's like a rejection letter to a job applicant at a bullying firm.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 7:56 AM on May 24 [29 favorites]


"We were informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant." What does this even mean?

Negging.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:57 AM on May 24 [35 favorites]


This is the regular reminder that the leader of North Korea's family name is Kim. His given name is Jong-un. Referring to him as "Un" is like referring to Trump as "Nald."
posted by neroli at 7:58 AM on May 24 [56 favorites]


White women vote for Trump because of white supremacy, not Stockholm syndrome.

False dichotomy -- it's both.

Many white women voted for Trump because Bring Back 1950. That was a world in which (white) women's roles were well defined, and the rules to succeed within that world were also well defined. Those rules were incredibly confining (to understate), of course, but How To Succeed In Life As A Woman was clear. You keep up your looks and your figure, you clip some coupons and keep a neat home and have the kids freshly washed and dinner on the table when your Man comes home, and .... you're set for life, your Man takes care of you, done. No need for any of this career, voting, having your own bank account and/or business confusion and ways to fail like modern life.

And there's some truth to it, really. We talk about the tightrope that women have to walk, strong but not too strong, the demands of Having It All, all the time. It's fucking hard.

There are Rules to follow in the 1950 social order, but if you followed them, you're safe. That's why the Rules must be upheld, and that's why white women voted for Trump.

Those Rules include and depend on on white supremacy. And buying into it is Stockholm syndrome.
posted by Dashy at 7:58 AM on May 24 [28 favorites]


I'm assuming no one is surprised by this. My guess is some group with influence within the inner circle realised they had fuck all prepared to enter the discussions and no way to even reach a nonsensical press release for the end of it.

Trump probably thought he could just do a Dennis Rodman and get all the kudos. Dennis Rodman's team was much more competent.
posted by michswiss at 7:59 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]


They calculate

I wish people would stop using this kind of terminology with respect to elections, but also kind of more generally. The vast majority of people do not calculate shit. Like literally almost no one. People act on emotion, and come up with rationalizations for their actions or positions after the fact.

I bet there’s a whole fascinating debate to be had about the various feedback loops between emotional response and belief systems, but people are not rational. That we think we are proves there’s a little Dunning Kruger in all of us.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:59 AM on May 24 [67 favorites]


'If you change your mind in the future about us calling off this meeting, just let us know...'
posted by Myeral at 8:00 AM on May 24 [11 favorites]


I'm assuming no one is surprised by this. My guess is some group with influence within the inner circle realised they had fuck all prepared to enter the discussions and no way to even reach a nonsensical press release for the end of it.

I'm surprised a faction with any grounding in the reality of international relations had enough sway with Trump to make this happen.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:00 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


we're separating "Planned Parenthood" from the regional affiliates that do most of the work, then they shouldn't get credit for the good things their affiliates are doing either
...
The national org's professed neutrality on unionization is no different from "neutrality" on any other issue of consequence: it is simply a tacit endorsement of entrenched power.


Planned Parenthood -- the national organization -- and the various regional affiliates all down to local clinics all share a common goal of providing healthcare to women, and all strive in concert to provide healthcare to women. In that the national organization (PPFA) enables and supports local affiliates in providing healthcare to women, raises money on behalf of those affiliates, lobbies (through a separate national organization), it absolutely deserves credit for the good things that local affiliates do when those good things are related to women's healthcare. PPFA doesn't deserve a ton of credit for a local clinic doing something that's good but not related to the core values of PPFA or to other clinics: if a local clinic invested heavily in renewable energy, that's great, but PPFA isn't a green energy organization and didn't meaningfully contribute to that project, and so PPFA wouldn't deserve credit for those energy credits. It does deserve credit when a clinic helps women. It does take a stand on issues where those issues overlap with issues of women's health: it advocates in favor of Net Neutrality because a free and open internet helps women access accurate health information. It does take a stand on immigrants rights and workers rights generally.

PPFA is neutral on a lot of issues, where those issues are orthogonal to providing healthcare to women. Whether or not this particular issue is one that PPFA should take a different stance on is a great question -- I can certainly see a case that supporting unionizing would help women, who work, and deserve representation; I can also see a case that, insofar as there are parts of the county with (1) bad access to healthcare, and (2) rapidly anti-union politicians, leaving this up to local affiliates to decide might be a better policy if your overall aim is 'get women healthcare.' That would be a good discussion to have. But -- returning to the article that started this discussion -- that Intercept piece was quite ill suited to starting that discussion because it never mentioned that PPFA is neutral on union organization.

Let me stress that: the issue of PPFA not taking a stand on organization wasn't in The Intercept piece. It was not an article about PPFA's neutrality; it was an article about PPRM's advocacy on one side. PPFA is not engaged in advocacy of that kind, but you wouldn't know that if you only read The Intercept; if you think that it's important to know that PPFA is neutral on this issue, again, you would not know that from reading The Intercept.

I'm less attempting to defend PPFA here (although, to be clear, I am: I think neutrality on this particular topic is probably fine; PP faces a lot of obstacles in a lot of areas, and I trust their judgement at the national level) than I am suggesting that a discussion about PPFA's role in PPRM's shitty anti-union behavior would best be left to a separate FPP where someone could pull together some actually-informative links on the topic, because that Intercept article is not a good jumping-off point.

This is my frustration with The Intercept: they do have a knack for finding interesting stories -- lifting up SEIU's fight with PPRM is certainly good, as demonstrated by the responses from people who are in the PPRM area and might not otherwise have heard about this -- but giving it misleading framing or inadequate context or clickbaity conclusions such that you can't really do much with their reporting. It often contains a kernel of truth, but you need to go chase down seven other sources just to confirm what that kernel is, which sort of defeats the point of using it as a news source; if all they did was run a twitter feed of 'hey here's some interesting stuff happening' that would be excusable, but they're trying to position themselves as Serious Reporters on Important Topics.
posted by cjelli at 8:02 AM on May 24 [16 favorites]


I wish people would stop using this kind of terminology with respect to elections, but also kind of more generally. The vast majority of people do not calculate shit.

Point taken. A better word to choose would have been "rationalize" or "feel" or something.
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:04 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


We had weeks of "Noble Trump through his in-your-face tweets has brought peace to the Korean peninsula. He heap big statesman." It's so bloody obvious that Trump had nothing to help the peace process and yet the press was so fawning.

But this is more of the same, is it not? Trump is playing the tough guy; it’s a pre-emptive breakup in an attempt to get some hand. Isn’t this a known part of his negotiating “strategy”?
posted by nubs at 8:05 AM on May 24


This is the regular reminder that the leader of North Korea's family name is Kim. His given name is Jong-un. Referring to him as "Un" is like referring to Trump as "Nald."

It feels more like referring to Bush 43 as "W" to distinguish him from his also-president father.
posted by Miss Cellania at 8:06 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


@DafnaLinzer: This letter was made public while foreign reporters are still inside North Korea where they went to witness test site dismantlement.
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:06 AM on May 24 [46 favorites]


Who the fuck is "Un"?
posted by anem0ne at 8:07 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]


It feels more like referring to Bush 43 as "W" to distinguish him from his also-president father.

Yeah, it's not.

I've gone over this a shit ton of times but just because you think some non-white foreigner's name can be split for your white American convenience does not make it so.
posted by anem0ne at 8:09 AM on May 24 [80 favorites]


do recall a few articles after the election that indicated that women who voted for trump were more motivated by fear of losing male protection, though from what was always left implicit.

It’s from other men. And - it’s more complicated than the easy hot takes would have it, unfortunately.

Misogyny, and the exploitation of women, has existed for a long, long time. It has been, in a sense, a prison that none of us can escape from. It is harder to be a woman alone in the world than it is to be a man in the same situation on very fundamental levels. It is also, in many places, unsafe.

Over time, women have clawed some few protections - pieces of making things better within a wholly misogynist system. Things like long-term alimony, understanding that a woman’s unpaid labor helped contribute to her husband’s success, and so she would continue to enjoy the fruits of that success. The social pressure on men to marry women that they made pregnant also had the effect of lowering the individual risk for a woman. And women not being expected to work outside the home meant that they only had one job, not two. Fault-based divorce meant that men were less likely to behave badly because it increased their financial risk. These things - while complete with problematic features, and able to exist only within that misogynistic system - had some good effects.

Now we are in kind of a weird place, where huge strides are being made towards women’s equality, but some of the first things being dismantled - both small and large - are those protective expectations - and it’s hard for a lot of people. When alimony awards are more about “let’s help you get on your feet again until you are working” rather than “his career is because of you”, there is a real loss of protection. Marriage, and childbearing, are riskier. Many men now have an expectation that women will work after marriage, /without/ losing the expectation that the woman is also responsible for all the emotional labor and the hard work of running a house.

The Republicans have, in the past, handled this by saying “let’s go back to a time when even if we weren’t advancing towards equality, you had some protections against the void.” Dems, from what I can see, tended to respond to this by saying “don’t worry, it will be better soon” but without showing their work. And for those of us like me, who have no faith things are really going to get better for women, that is a really hard ask. It’s saying “trust us”, while having taken an active step in dismantling protections, and it felt accelerationist and not really like those concerns were being heard.

Now we are in a seismic shift in politics - angry MRAs are taking over the Republican side and it doesn’t feel like they’re supporting those protections either - but also, Dems still aren’t showing up except for things the vast majority of men are willing to support and that is just not enough.

If I had to cast my vote on “who’s doing enough for women” I would be making a write in for schadenfrau. I don’t have politicians who are up to the end game standard, and I don’t believe that most if any of them even want it.
posted by corb at 8:10 AM on May 24 [35 favorites]


Anna Fifield (WaPo Asia bureau chief): South Korea's presidential Blue House seems blind-sided by Trump's cancelation of the summit: "We are attempting to make sense of what, precisely, President Trump means," says spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom.

South Korea's president has just called an emergency meeting at the Blue House, summoning his chief of staff, national security adviser, foreign minister, unification minister and intelligence chief. It's midnight in Seoul.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:16 AM on May 24 [45 favorites]


We are attempting to make sense of what, precisely, President Trump means

we reach, man
posted by thelonius at 8:17 AM on May 24 [30 favorites]


@DafnaLinzer: This letter was made public while foreign reporters are still inside North Korea where they went to witness test site dismantlement.

It can't be overstressed how Trump's letter was timed to cause the maximum embarrassment to the NK regime in front of representatives of the international press.

And earlier this morning, Trump told Fox & Friends:
Q: June 12th, you gonna be in Singapore?

Trump: We'll see what happens. I mean, right now, we're looking at it, we're talking about it, they're talking to us. We have certain conditions. We'll see what happens. But there's a good chance. And it would be a great thing for North Korea. If that happens, it would be a great thing for North Korea. Most importantly, it would be a great thing for the world. So we'll see what happens.
Here's hoping Fox remembers that he made them look like chumps as well.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:18 AM on May 24 [14 favorites]


We are attempting to make sense of what, precisely, President Trump means

You mean they haven't figured out yet that he has no idea what he's doing, he's not a politician, he has no interest in learning how to be a politician, and he's an abusive narcissist to boot? Oh, dear.
posted by Melismata at 8:21 AM on May 24 [26 favorites]



Trump: We'll see what happens. I mean, right now, we're looking at it, we're talking about it, they're talking to us. We have certain conditions. We'll see what happens. But there's a good chance. And it would be a great thing for North Korea. If that happens, it would be a great thing for North Korea. Most importantly, it would be a great thing for the world. So we'll see what happens.


That's Used Car Salesman speak for "No, but I don't want to be honest with my answer ".
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:21 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
Sadly, I was forced to cancel the Summit Meeting in Singapore with Kim Jung Un.

god damn it
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:22 AM on May 24 [18 favorites]


In global politics, some administrations are considered especially heinous. These are their stories.

jung jung
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:24 AM on May 24 [40 favorites]


Jungian slip?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:25 AM on May 24 [13 favorites]


Daniel Dale's comprehensive interview with the Arms Control Wonk (Jeffrey Lewis).
DD: Hi Jeffrey, it's Daniel Dale from The Toronto Star. Im writing about the North Korea news, and I just want to ask you for your assessment of how Trump has handled this file over the last couple of months. Anything you could say would be appreciated. Thank you!

JW: Goat rodeo

DD: Hahaha. 1) any chance you could expand this even into one sentence? 2) I will quote goat rodeo unless you object.

JW: This is a total goat rodeo.
posted by maudlin at 8:25 AM on May 24 [136 favorites]


Here's hoping Fox remembers that he made them look like chumps as well.

Narrator Voice: They won't.


So I can't help but wonder if this cancellation was meant as a distraction for the upcoming meetings with Rosenstein, or some other shoe they know is about to drop. I suspect some really powerful stuff is going to leak this afternoon, for better or worse.
posted by Twain Device at 8:26 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]


Three "we'll see what happens" plus one "if that happens" in one paragraph. Presidential eloquence.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:26 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


As far as I can tell the letter doesn't bother to hide that the reason for cancellation was a sense of personal slight -- it gives no cause more substantial besides Kim demonstrating "tremendous anger", like that was a new thing for either leader.

This alone is galling because Trump and his fans' whole thing about North Korea was that past presidents had failed, whether by being too lenient, too stringent, etc, but this time he'd do what it takes to get it done! And yet here he is overtly not getting it done by being a by-God special snowflake.

There are just two ways I can imagine for a true Trump stan to resolve this: One is basic cult-leader authoritarianism: Kim should just know that Donald and the USA deserve constant praise and zero scorn, and thus any further deterioration of a peace process is entirely the fault of Kim and NK. (It's different with Clinton/Bush/Obama because for non-God-emperors like them to expect that kind of deference is unseemly.)

The other notion, which I'm actually seeing here and there on Twitter, is that this letter and its bizarreness is All Part of the Plan, that Kim is being played like a fiddle here, somehow.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:27 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]


I think I’ve mentioned this in these threads before, but I’ve been doing a lot of reading about complex trauma lately, and one of the things that infuriated me most is the paucity of research I’ve been able to find (with my layman’s access, anyway) on trauma associated with systemic oppression. Last I looked, there was some stuff on how misogyny and sexism fuck with women long term, but there was like...one person trying to do some work on how racism trauma works. Which...what the actual fuck. And I’ve honestly never even looked very hard for anything about how toxic masculinity affects men developmentally, but uh, that should also be a thing.

Because I feel like the only way we can begin to obviate the effects of this shit is if we understand how it works — how it’s perpetuated, or transmitted, how it’s internalized, what protective factors can innoculate you against the most pernicious effects, how the effects can be reversed, all the things. And, more cynically, there are people who need to see the effects of systemic oppression medicalized before they’ll actually believe it’s a problem that needs to be addressed.

Anyway. Looking at this stuff through a trauma lens shines a new light on it, for me. I just wish we had more lights.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:27 AM on May 24 [40 favorites]


So I can't help but wonder if this cancellation was meant as a distraction for the upcoming meetings with Rosenstein, or some other shoe they know is about to drop

Increasing the odds of nuclear armageddon every time you need to distract from your crimes is a winning strategy and will surely end well.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:29 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]


Increasing the odds of nuclear armageddon every time you need to distract from your crimes is a winning strategy and will surely end well.

Agreed. I'm not saying its a winning strategy, I'm just saying its a strategy.
posted by Twain Device at 8:32 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]


Trump on Fox and Friends *this morning*: "I mean, right now, we're looking at it, we're talking about it, they're talking to us."

Later this morning: "Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says North Korea did not respond to repeated requests from U.S. officials to discuss logistics for the now-canceled summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un."
posted by Dr. Send at 8:33 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]


Dems, from what I can see, tended to respond to this by saying “don’t worry, it will be better soon” but without showing their work.

Respectfully, we're seeing different things. Democrats have been pushing -- on and off -- for a amendment to the Constitution to enshrine protects for women for literally decades. Democrats have passed legislation protecting women's rights to seek redress for unequal wages in the workplace.

From the 2016 party platform:
We will fight to secure equal pay for women, which will benefit all women and their families, particularly women of color who are disproportionately impacted by discriminatory pay practices, and against other factors that contribute to the wage gap. And we will combat the discrimination they face on and off the job.
...
Democrats will make sure that the United States finally enacts national paid family and medical leave by passing a family and medical leave act that would provide all workers at least 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child or address a personal or family member’s serious health issue. We will fight to allow workers the right to earn at least seven days of paid sick leave. We will also encourage employers to provide paid vacation.
...
We are committed to ensuring full equality for women. Democrats will fight to end gender discrimination in the areas of education, employment, health care, or any other sphere. We will combat biases across economic, political, and social life that hold women back and limit their opportunities and also tackle specific challenges facing women of color. After 240 years, we will finally enshrine the rights of women in the Constitution by passing the Equal Rights Amendment. And we will urge U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
I don't think it's fair to characterize any of that as saying 'don't worry about it.'
posted by cjelli at 8:33 AM on May 24 [74 favorites]


Q: Is Trump dumb enough to [insert text here]?
A: Yes. Always yes.

Today the inserted text is "anticipate that North Korea will be an honest and polite interlocutor and only say nice things about the United States of America".
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:34 AM on May 24 [9 favorites]


Boston Globe, Trump’s tweets include grammatical errors. And some are on purpose

Sadly, I was forced to cancel the Summit Meeting in Singapore with Kim Jung Un.

From the Boston Globe article:
“If the political conversation is about Donald Trump’s typos, that plays into the narrative that the coastal elites don’t understand ordinary Americans who make typos,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia. Farnsworth recently wrote a book on how presidents connect to supporters.
Another professor pointed out the intentionality that goes hand-in-hand with Trump's incompetence: "It’s what he uses language for — the strategic interests served by his sloppiness." And Trump also gets to disrespect Jong Un—which is immediately picked up by his followers and factotums, from Lou Dobbs on down.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:35 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


If I had to cast my vote on “who’s doing enough for women”

And, also: it's hard for Democrats, who control no branches of government, to pass any legislation for women or for anyone else as long as the Republican party is so generally anti-woman. When you cast your next vote, vote Democratic and change that.
posted by cjelli at 8:36 AM on May 24 [31 favorites]


So now in addition to the Scaramucci measurement, we have the summit coin too?

4 Scaramucci and 7 Summits ago....
posted by mach at 8:36 AM on May 24 [15 favorites]




it was weird when good, liberal white folks who are part of the resistance(tm) kept saying that the muslim bans were distractions for trump's crimes.

it's weird now when good, liberal white folks who are part of the resistance(tm) are now framing what could be the beginnings of a manufactured causus belli for a conflict on a peninsula filled with non-americans as a distraction for trump's crimes.
posted by anem0ne at 8:36 AM on May 24 [27 favorites]


here's just a nice random thought. like how we should avoid kabuki as an adjective for things not kabuki, how about when discussing matters where millions of lives are on the line, we don't call them "distractions"?

maybe if it's even less than that. thousands. hundreds of lives on the line, not part of a military feint in a hot war. maybe they're not "distractions".

it seems awfully easy to call them "distractions" when the faces aren't round-eyed and alabaster pale.
posted by anem0ne at 8:41 AM on May 24 [28 favorites]


i mean, all of these crimes against the republic are distractions from the crime against humanity that was the lack of response to (brown) american lives uncared for in puerto rico after maria, right?
posted by anem0ne at 8:43 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]


There’s never one unitary reason this administration ever does anything, because there’s no one actual in charge making consistent, rational, strategically considered decisions. It’s governance by racist evil hive mind, with an emotionally unstable, rock throwing toddler at the center of it.

So one advisor might have wanted a “distraction.” Another might want actual fucking war on the Korean Peninsula.

I know which one we should be more worried about, and which one should perhaps be occupying our thoughts.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:43 AM on May 24 [33 favorites]


The South Korean government chose to go out on a limb with Trump, who has unilaterally chosen to humiliate them on a matter of existential importance. America is a vastly powerful nation, and it's hard to avoid doing business with the American President, but who would do so willingly? What allied leader would now choose to stake their personal success on the trustworthiness of Donald Trump?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:57 AM on May 24 [61 favorites]


@ddale8: Trump is speaking on North Korea. Calls the cancellation "a tremendous setback for North Korea, and indeed, a setback for the world." Says the U.S. military is "ready." Says Japan and South Korea will pay the costs of any necessary U.S. military operation. Trump says a "lotta things can happen" such as the "existing summit could take place" or there could be a summit at a "later date."

@AP: BREAKING: President Trump says US military is `ready if necessary' to respond to `foolish or reckless act' by North Korea.

@HayesBrown: He also says ROK and Japan are "not only ready should foolish or reckless acts be taken" but also will "shoulder much of the cost of any financial burden, any of the costs associated by the united States in operations if such an unfortunate situation is forced upon us."

So we're back to this again. And threatening to stick South Korea, which has recently taken a strikingly conciliatory tone with North Korea, with the bill after I don't even know what, is a hell of a thing.
posted by zachlipton at 9:02 AM on May 24 [56 favorites]


"If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write."

Trump chose to announce the summit, schedule the summit, and cancel the summit. But the buck doesn't stop with him. It's the other guy's job to have a change of heart and fix the situation.

Is this man capable of taking responsibility for anything? (Yes, but only if it's something unambiguously positive, and most likely something he is not responsible for.)
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:03 AM on May 24 [12 favorites]


So do the taxpayers get refunded for the Kim Jing-Un challenge coins?

Disclaimer from White House Gift Shop website, per NPR's Steve Inskeep @NPRinskeep: "If Summit Does Not Occur You can Request a Refund but Most Supporters Have Said They Want This Heirloom of Political History Regardless of Outcome."

It's grifters—and arbitrary capitalization—all the way down.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:07 AM on May 24 [29 favorites]


Trump says a "lotta things can happen" such as the "existing summit could take place"

I'm trying to imagine how Kim Jong-Un might achieve this. Perhaps he could speedily commission a CGI propaganda video of Donald making a hole-in-one.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:09 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


The South Korean government chose to go out on a limb with Trump, who has unilaterally chosen to humiliate them on a matter of existential importance.

There's a likely precedent in Donny's outing of the Israeli agent, where the two countries are still cooperating at a base level, but the quality and efficacy of that cooperation absolutely plummets.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:11 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]


> The South Korean government chose to go out on a limb with Trump, who has unilaterally chosen to humiliate them on a matter of existential importance.

And:

> US military is `ready if necessary' to respond ... threatening to stick South Korea, which has recently taken a strikingly conciliatory tone with North Korea, with the bill

The US is not a reliable partner for any international relationship. That should have been obvious right from Trump's inauguration, painfully obvious when he blew a top-secret allied intelligence operation, then NAFTA, Paris, Iran, etc., etc., etc.

It should have been drummed into even our most obtuse friends by now: work with the US and you can expect to have the rug yanked out from under you at the worst possible time.

The problem is, our international partners are likely to have long memories, even if we clean house starting in January and hopefully in 2020. And we are going to need their help to clean up the mess. The FSM help us all.

(First, though, we have to get through to a new Congress in 24-ish Scaramuccis, which is also worth 72-odd Shitcoins.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:12 AM on May 24 [17 favorites]


Disclaimer from White House Gift Shop website, per NPR's Steve Inskeep @NPRinskeep: "If Summit Does Not Occur You can Request a Refund but Most Supporters Have Said They Want This Heirloom of Political History Regardless of Outcome

Makes me wonder if they never had plans to actually follow through with the summit and it was really just all about hawking cheap trinkets to the rubes.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:13 AM on May 24 [13 favorites]


You Can't Break Up With Me, Trump Tells Kim Jong-un, I Broke Up With You!
You can’t break up with me. I broke up with you. No, you hang up first.

So, after all the big talk about the Nobel Prize, and about how this would be the foreign policy triumph that would make the president* a president, the Singapore Summit is off. The South Koreans are back on a knife’s edge. The Chinese are laughing up their sleeves. And the rest of the world doesn’t trust the government of the United States as far as it can throw Trump Tower. However, we do have those commemorative medallions that already were struck, which likely will be the highest-priced items on whatever our future robot overlords have for an eBay.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:16 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]


His people and his pundits are going to say this is strategy. While this holds, they'll say he's not being suckered by Kim. When there are noises about things getting back on track for a(nother attempted) summit, they'll say he was wise to walk away from the table to make Kim crawl back and that he weakened Kim's posture.

But all of that requires utterly ignoring everything else we've seen from this White House. Like schadenfrau says above, there are a million bullshit things going on all at once, and they're all stupid and corrupt.

There's no strategy here. It's chaos all the way down. And his supporters will stuff their heads up their own asses and ignore that, too.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:22 AM on May 24 [14 favorites]


There's no strategy here. It's chaos all the way down.

The New Yorker's Jane Mayer @JaneMayerNYer: "For Art of the Deal-Ologists, including Tony Schwartz who wrote it, a key theme was Trump portraying himself as a winner when in fact his finances were cratering dizzyingly into irrecoverable debt."

It's the same scam, whether practiced in Trump Tower or the White House.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:29 AM on May 24 [52 favorites]


Given Pres. MOON's desire to resolve the conflict on the peninsula (it's kind of his main goal right now), I fully expect him to try to lure the very unpredictable and volatile leader back to talks with obsequiousness and flattery, and also try to get Kim Jong Un back on board.

This "attack North Korea but stick Japan and South Korea with the bill" is a non-starter, but I'm now increasingly wondering what will happen to the regular military exercises like Foal Eagle, Max Thunder, and Ulchi-Freedom Guardian. I expect they'll continue but this sort of thing Trump is spouting is inimical to the trust the allies have to grant each other.

It'll be really interesting of the US-ROK SOFA gets renegotiated--at the moment, in the case of a war on the peninsula, regardless of who starts it, South Korea loses command of its entire military because it gets folded into the UN Command (which is run by the US in this case). There have been many noises in the past to change that, particularly since Korea gained first-world status, and this sort of thing likely will increase calls to review this.

And this is before we talk about the very, very, very valuable land in Seoul currently used by US Forces Korea called Yongsan Garrison. It's smack dab in the middle of the city, by the Han River, between Jongo, Itaewon, and Gangnam. Think of this like having a large, busy military base in midtown Manhattan or River North Chicago. It was due to close down and move to Camp Humphreys (40 miles south), in the far suburbs of the Seoul Metro (I guess kinda like Dobbins ARB in Marietta/Atlanta Metro), by 2019, but this... especially with how the current American regime has been talking about troop drawdowns...
posted by anem0ne at 9:36 AM on May 24 [14 favorites]


@dsupervilleap: .@POTUS says the dialogue with North Korea 'was good until recently and I think I understand why that happened.' He declined to be specific, telling @jonkarl: 'Someday I’ll give it to you. You can write about it in a book.'

@DavidNakamura: Let me guess, Trump thinks his "good friend" Xi Jinping double-crossed him?

I see we've moved on to a new blame-deflection strategy that can't possibly go wrong this time.
posted by zachlipton at 9:37 AM on May 24 [17 favorites]


huge strides are being made towards women’s equality, but some of the first things being dismantled [...] Dems, from what I can see, tended to respond to this by saying “don’t worry, it will be better soon” but without showing their work.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill Obama signed as President, after it passed the Senate with 100% of Democrats voting for it and all but 5 Republicans voting against it.

Literally the first bill he signed. The very first thing after Democrats gained control of all three branches, the very first thing, was for women's equal pay.
posted by 0xFCAF at 9:41 AM on May 24 [167 favorites]


I knew there would eventually be a major "Trump abruptly ________" headline, but I'm still waiting for my preferred version.
posted by yhbc at 9:46 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


I'm assuming no one is surprised by this. My guess is some group with influence within the inner circle realised they had fuck all prepared to enter the discussions and no way to even reach a nonsensical press release for the end of it.

No one is surprised. (Given the other thread, I wonder if we will retire the Ron Howard narrator voice.) My guess is John Bolton convinced Trump never to negotiate for something he can demand by force. Except, of course, the US isn't in a strong position in the Korean Peninsula, something that never seems to diminish the faith a neocon like Bolton, who doesn't pay a personal price for military disaster, has in the use of force.
posted by Gelatin at 9:51 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


Think of this like having a large, busy military base in midtown Manhattan or River North Chicago.

Or like the Presidio in San Francisco.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:56 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Mueller Filing: Probe Is Ongoing With ‘Multiple Lines Of Non-Public Inquiry’
Special Counsel Robert Mueller stressed that his investigation into Russian election meddling was ongoing and consisted of “multiple lines of non-public inquiry,” in a court filing Wednesday evening in a lawsuit brought by media companies seeking the release of certain records related to the probe.

“Many aspects of the investigation are factually and legally interconnected: they involve overlapping courses of conduct, relationships, and events, and they rely on similar sources, methods, and techniques,” the special counsel said. “The investigation is not complete and its details remain non-public.”
...
“The fact that certain charges have been brought does not imply that the Special Counsel’s investigation into the assigned matters is closed,” Mueller said, arguing against the release of the records. “Nor does it imply that the search warrant materials could be unsealed at this time without creating a serious risk of jeopardizing the ongoing and interconnected aspects of the investigation.”
posted by kirkaracha at 10:01 AM on May 24 [29 favorites]


What To Make Of President Trump’s Letter to Kim Jong-un
Diplomatic communications are usually worded with great care and precision. They aren’t letters one person writes to another. They are documents which communicate specific realities and goals between states. In this case, I completely believe that Donald Trump himself wrote this letter or dictated it. In fact, I feel almost certain he did. The words resonate with a genuine hurt and anguish, mixed with moments of menace and still hope for the future. It reads needy. It’s like a letter you write to a romantic partner who has abandoned you without saying so. You write, hurt, finalizing what is already clear.

We are in an era of candor and transparency. But one would hope it goes without saying that this is no way to conduct diplomacy, certainly not when nuclear weapons are at the center of it.
...
We can rehearse [rehash?] all the reasons this fell apart. But fundamentally this was a massive goof by the President that ended up blowing up in his face. There’s simply no other way to put it. It’s not clear that we’re in a worse place now than we were before the meeting was announced. But we soon may be. It is notable that this report suggests the White House released this letter before informing the North Koreans of the decision. That was a bad, dangerous mistake. It seems, based on their initial response, that Trump had not consulted extensively and perhaps not at all with the South Koreans either.
...
It’s not good to have a President who is this emotionally needy or one that conducts dangerous foreign policy on whims and ignorance. The entire thing is a ridiculous and embarrassing chapter in our history.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:06 AM on May 24 [84 favorites]


Samantha Bee: Give him the Nobel Participation Prize.
posted by supercrayon at 10:08 AM on May 24 [81 favorites]


I did sign up for postcards to voters a while back and was immediately overwhelmed by it. I wasn't sure how to say something to someone in another state about a candidate I don't know on the back of a postcard.
posted by runcibleshaw at 10:09 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


@aawayne: The White House just called reporters to the Oval Office, where they found ... Sylvester Stallone. Via @justinsink He's pardoning boxer Jack Johnson, who was convicted of violating an old, racist law prohibiting the transport of women across state lines. [posthumously]

Meanwhile, Tom Garrett is doing a really weird Facebook Live. He doesn't seem to be quitting, but is furious as hell about former Virginia women’s basketball coach Joanne Boyle's adoption situation and the lack of response from DHS officials.

He's now moved on to a litany of complaints about people who don't like him, which has ranged from him insisting he's condemned Charlottesville Nazis and the idea that he wants to raise park fees is "excremental product of a bull." King David is now involved. I don't know. It's all really odd.
posted by zachlipton at 10:10 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]


I wasn't sure how to say something to someone in another state about a candidate I don't know on the back of a postcard.

I just pick one or two of the pre-supplied talking points. It doesn't take much to fill a postcard. In this situation the medium really is the message.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:14 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]


I wasn't sure how to say something to someone in another state about a candidate I don't know on the back of a postcard.

This is my formula these days...

"Hi. Hope you don't mind this friendly reminder from a volunteer about the upcoming election. Democrat Jane Doe is running for Specified Office.

Jane will fight for

* bullet point one from the campaign
* bullet point two from the campaign
* bullet point three from the campaign.

This is her slogan! Please make a plan to vote Tues May XXth.

Thank you!"
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:18 AM on May 24 [46 favorites]


(Almost always the required talking points are name of the candidate, office, date of the election, and slogan. So this covers them all while giving a little detail about why voting is in the voters' own best interest.)
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:20 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]


Trump just posthumously pardoned the first black World Heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson which people have been campaigning for since 2008. There's no question his conviction under the Mann Act was a racist miscarriage of justice. So, why didn't Obama pardon him? Perhaps it was a desire to keep the pardoning process non-political, or perhaps it was in regards to Johnson's physical abuse of women.

I had guessed that Trump took this action after being asked by Don King. In fact he was asked by Sylvester Stallone.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:31 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]


@kaitlancollins: Wow — @LauraAJarrett saw Emmett Flood leaving the Department of Justice alongside Nunes, Gowdy, Ryan and Kelly. Flood replaced Ty Cobb on Trump’s legal team earlier this year.

We're just not even bothering to give the appearance of good faith, are we?
posted by zachlipton at 10:32 AM on May 24 [48 favorites]


Emmet Flood, WH attorney dealing with the Russia probe, attended the the start of the DOJ meeting on confidential FBI source, I am told. He left meeting shortly after.
- via Manu Raju, CNN.

That was not, I think, previously announced as being part of the meeting plan (to the degree that there was a plan).
posted by cjelli at 10:33 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Maybe pardoning dead people without address any underlying injustice is performative nonsense?
posted by Artw at 10:35 AM on May 24 [14 favorites]


From Political Wire and the AP: Democrats Propose Swapping Tax Cut for Teacher Salaries
“Responding to teacher walkouts across the country, congressional Democrats on Tuesday proposed raising teachers’ salaries by canceling the tax cut for the nation’s top 1 percent of earners,” the AP reports.

“The Republican-controlled Congress was unlikely to support the idea of giving states and school districts $50 billion over a decade to fund the teacher raises at the expense of dismantling the hard-won tax bill.”

“But the proposal gives Democrats an issue they can use ahead of the November midterm elections. Teachers have won widespread support, even in conservative areas, as they complain about low pay.”
posted by Gelatin at 10:43 AM on May 24 [65 favorites]


The NFL Is So Scared of Trump That It Now Will Fine Teams If Players Don’t Stand for the Anthem - Edwin Rios, Mother Jones.

They weren't always this way towards him; his experience as a USFL team owner, led to a brutal smackdown by the NFL, and the end of the USFL.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:43 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]


The NFL Is So Scared of Trump That It Now Will Fine Teams If Players Don’t Stand for the Anthem - Edwin Rios, Mother Jones.

This is not normal.

This is fascism. With a side of oligarchy, but this is a symptom of fascism.
posted by Dashy at 10:46 AM on May 24 [61 favorites]




Maybe pardoning dead people without address any underlying injustice is performative nonsense?

I don't have a problem with pardoning dead people (Alan Turing) and the Jack Johnson conviction seems to have been a bunch of racist horseshit. I also think that we can address both older, non-pressing, smaller issues at the same time we address right now, big deal issues. That being said, that these people can support a single, individual black man who just happens to have been dead for 70 years while accepting support from and providing support to current day, active, white supremacists is yet more racist horseshit.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:04 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]




We're just not even bothering to give the appearance of good faith, are we?


On that note:
@tedbarrettcnn spots Flood entering the Senate for the Gang of Eight meeting. The WH attorney dealing with Russia probe attended both briefings today for at least part of the time, despite the WH saying this week no WH official would attend.
That there were two separate meetings was already weird; that Flood attended both meetings is weirder and worse.

Also:
White House chief of staff John Kelly just walked into the senate- I asked him why White House lawyer Emmet Flood was at the DOJ briefing. No response.
Morbidly curious how they try to spin this.
posted by cjelli at 11:11 AM on May 24 [18 favorites]


> White House lawyer Emmet Flood

Is he a White House lawyer, a personal lawyer for Trump, or are we no longer doing these distinctions as a country?

In fact, was Flood even formally employed in either capacity? There was an announcement that he would be, but maybe he's "volunteering his time" like Paul Manafort did? Do we know?
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:14 AM on May 24 [11 favorites]


Morbidly curious how they try to spin this.

I think that we're pretty far beyond that point. Like, they're not even trying to hide the ratfuckery so I would be astonished if they made any actual attempt to justify it beyond "it happened bc trump said so"
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:15 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


Don't we have a State Dept. or something?

We still don't have an ambassador to South Korea.
posted by chris24 at 11:17 AM on May 24 [42 favorites]


I think that we're pretty far beyond that point. Like, they're not even trying to hide the ratfuckery so I would be astonished if they made any actual attempt to justify it beyond "it happened bc trump said so"

I've said before how Trump's defenders basically don't even bother pretending that Trump isn't guilty; they talk about how he's supposed to get away with it.

Along similar lines, Trump's constant attacks on the probe and Federal law enforcement -- except BCP/ICE -- are a fairly startling tacit admission of guilt. Not to mention further obstruction of justice.
posted by Gelatin at 11:18 AM on May 24 [7 favorites]


VTDigger: Border Patrol checks citizenship on Amtrak Vermonter train at White River Junction, 94 miles south of the Canadian border.
Agents boarded multiple trains Friday through Monday, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol spokesperson Stephanie Malin confirmed Wednesday. ...

The Vermonter train, which travels daily between Washington, D.C., and St. Albans, does not cross any international borders.
posted by adamg at 11:19 AM on May 24 [54 favorites]


Wow, they're going full-on Papers Please.
posted by GrammarMoses at 11:20 AM on May 24 [67 favorites]


Don't they have some kind of gross handwavey "authority" for everywhere within 100 miles from an international border or something? Or is that DHS?
posted by poffin boffin at 11:20 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]


Border Patrol and, yep, 100 miles (and that includes coasts!). For what it's worth, this predates Dear Leader, as Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont can attest.
posted by adamg at 11:24 AM on May 24 [11 favorites]


The Vermonter train, which travels daily between Washington, D.C., and St. Albans, does not cross any international borders.

This may be a complete coincidence, but USCIS has a major service center in St. Albans, Vermont.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:24 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]


...everywhere 100 miles from an international border or something?

Yes, and it's been that way since at least 9/11. Anecdotally, my old man was stopped in Rochester (?), on a bus going from Buffalo to NYC, at least fifteen years ago. Rochester is a ways from the Canadian border by land, but for purposes of counting the 100 miles, the border was the shoreline of Lake Ontario, neatly encompassing most of upstate New York. This is nothing new.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:27 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]


Border Patrol and, yep, 100 miles (and that includes coasts!)

Plus the Great Lakes count as coastal borders, so in practice most of the US population lives in the "border zone."
posted by contraption at 11:27 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]


VTDigger: Border Patrol checks citizenship on Amtrak Vermonter train at White River Junction, 94 miles south of the Canadian border.

Ahh, yes, finally we're tackling the scourge of (check notes...) French Canadians coming here to steal our jobs.
posted by dis_integration at 11:31 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


Why is it the coast and not that 50 mile-or-whatever line that demarcs our waters?
posted by Slackermagee at 11:32 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


I really wouldn't be surprised if that location got this visit from the jackboots solely because it's so close to the 100-mile limit. Literally just some combination of throwing their weight around, "making a point", seeing what they can get away with, etc. Of course that's motivation is involved in most of their actions, but I mean they might not have bothered to concoct any other pretense.

On viewing more comments, Faint of Butt's point is definitely also worth consideration. Possibly someone in the agency's leadership figured it would be good to catch any person with the audacity to interact with immigration services. The fundamental operating principle here is that anyone seeking citizenship or residency (barring acceptably-white people) is a kind of scofflaw by definition (that's what Trump means when he rants about "loopholes" in the immigration system).
posted by InTheYear2017 at 11:32 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]


adamg's link notes that
Amtrak policies require passengers to provide government issued photo identification when asked “any time by Amtrak police or any law enforcement officer.” Government issued photo identification is not necessarily proof of citizenship, unless the ID is a passport or an enhanced driver’s license.
posted by XMLicious at 11:34 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


Though it's worth pointing out that an Amtrak customer's failure to follow Amtrak's policy on this matter could not have "be arrested by BCS" as a legal consequence.
posted by Quindar Beep at 11:37 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


>Don't we have a State Dept. or something?

We still don't have an ambassador to South Korea.


'But wait,' you might be thinking, 'Didn't Trump just nominate someone for that? A while ago?' Not quite!

Admiral Harry Harris, the head of the US military's Pacific Command, who had been officially nominated to be the US Ambassador to Australia -- which also doesn't currently have an ambassador -- was tapped 'to be nominated for' ambassador to South Korea, at the behest of Sec. State Pompeo. That was announced unofficially back at the end of April, and slid into the liminal area of 'formally announced to be nominated' last week. The official nomination only happened yesterday. He has yet to be confirmed by the Senate. The prior nominee fell through in large part, it has been reported, because he was opposed to military operations against North Korea:
According to the two people familiar with the discussions between Mr Cha and the White House, he was asked by officials whether he was prepared to help manage the evacuation of American citizens from South Korea — an operation known as non-combatant evacuation operations — that would almost certainly be implemented before any military strike. The two people said Mr Cha, who is seen as on the hawkish side of the spectrum on North Korea, had expressed his reservations about any kind of military strike.
Someone ought to ask Admiral Harris whether he was asked the same questions as Mr. Cha.
posted by cjelli at 11:39 AM on May 24 [14 favorites]


> Don't we have a State Dept. or something?

We still don't have an ambassador to South Korea.


Admiral Harry Harris was nominated only last Friday, but even that was Pompeo's idea to reshuffle him from a prospective ambassadorship to Australia. And it's a bad sign when the administration wants a career military officer and not a diplomat for the position.

Meanwhile, Trump's profoundly undiplomatic cancellation puts the US in a precarious position, as US Senate Foreign Relations Committee alumnus Frank Jannuzi @FrankJannuzi outlines in a Twitter thread:
Where does this leave us? Trump's early morning letter is a classic example of his incompetence - barely coherent, full of internal contradictions, at once conciliatory and deeply provocative, threatening, in essence, a nuke strike on DPRK. The letter should NEVER have been sent.[...]

DPRK has no doubt by now sized up our President, and found him to be a completely unreliable negotiating partner (e.g. Iran withdrawal, TPP withdrawal, Paris Accord withdrawal, threats one day, concessions the next). They will not easily re-engage.[...]

Moreover, DPRK has secured its flanks -- improved relations with China and ROK, leaving USA isolated in its attempt to assemble "maximum pressure" on DPRK going forward. DPRK makes USA appear to be the party walking away from diplomacy. A huge diplomatic defeat for USA.[...]

The entire fiasco leaves USA marginalized -- demonstrably incompetent in handling the fundamentals of diplomacy. No message discipline. No roadmap. A State Department team marginalized, their expertise squandered. A petulant White House appears thin-skinned and petty.[...]

I am in Seoul this week, meeting with our allies. I can report that this announcement takes ROK COMPLETELY by surprise. They had NO INKLING that Trump was about to pull the plug on the summit. So once again, damage done (serious harm) to US credibility as an ally.

Allies don't treat each other this way. Trump's temper tantrum has grave implications for our ally, and to do this to them at 1130 pm, with no warning (none was given), is inexcusable. This kind of snub has consequences long-term. How can Seoul trust DC going forward?

ROK will respond responsibly, maturely. They will sleep on this horrible development, and no doubt issue a modest, careful, controlled and hopeful message tomorrow, looking forward to a summit meeting in the future. But inside, they will be SEETHING mad, disappointed, crushed.
And Yonhap news agency reports that Moon expresses 'deep regret' over cancellation of U.S.-N. Korea summit, which is incredibly strong language, diplomatically speaking.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:45 AM on May 24 [58 favorites]


adamg: The Vermonter train, which travels daily between Washington, D.C., and St. Albans, does not cross any international borders.

adamg: Border Patrol and, yep, 100 miles (and that includes coasts!). For what it's worth, this predates Dear Leader, as Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont can attest.

contraption: Plus the Great Lakes count as coastal borders, so in practice most of the US population lives in the "border zone."

Indeed: Inside the Massive U.S. 'Border Zone' (Tanvi Misra for CityLab, May 14, 2018)
That’s striking because the border zone is home to 65.3 percent of the entire U.S. population, and around 75 percent of the U.S. Hispanic population, according to a CityLab analysis based on data from location intelligence company ESRI. This zone, which hugs the entire edge of the United States and runs 100 air miles inside, includes some of the densest cities—New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. It also includes all of Michigan and Florida, and half of Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to a prior rough analysis by Will Lowe, a data scientist at MIT.
Emphasis mine.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:49 AM on May 24 [17 favorites]


And if you live near or travel along the US-Mexico border, here's a user-made Google Map of Routes to Avoid - Border Patrol Checkpoints.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:51 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]


I am in Seoul this week, meeting with our allies. I can report that this announcement takes ROK COMPLETELY by surprise. They had NO INKLING that Trump was about to pull the plug on the summit. So once again, damage done (serious harm) to US credibility as an ally.

Again, do people really not realize how crazy and unqualified Trump is?
posted by Melismata at 11:52 AM on May 24 [14 favorites]


> Again, do people really not realize how crazy and unqualified Trump is?

There are probably literally millions of adult Americans who don't even know that there was a summit planned, and/or that it has been cancelled.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:01 PM on May 24 [30 favorites]


Rudy: “We want to see how the briefing went to today and how much we learned from it. If we learned a good deal from it, it will shorten that whole process considerably.”

Cool, looking forward to the 'attorneys allowed to attend classified briefings' thing getting rolled out to all defendants
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:03 PM on May 24 [56 favorites]


I feel like people not living under the constant barrage of horrors that is the US media currently, and also with the experience of having a lifetime of relatively normal human beings in the office of US president, might thus have normal human expectations of normal human behavior, and therefore might express not unusual levels of surprise when confronted with the shit smeared screaming racist moron reality.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:04 PM on May 24 [11 favorites]


Meanwhile, Trump's profoundly undiplomatic cancellation puts the US in a precarious position

Honestly whether or not Trump is beholden to the Russians it's hard to imagine a situation more favorable to them internationally. The US is diplomatically kaput. By cancelling the Iran deal and completely bungling the promising opportunity of rapprochement with DPRK, Trump has, in about 30 days, completely destroyed any credibility the US has on the international stage. Why would *anyone* *ever* make a deal with this country again? The next president (insh'Allah) will have to start from scratch with all our allies and be history's greatest diplomat to try and regain the ground lost here.
posted by dis_integration at 12:06 PM on May 24 [15 favorites]




If we're talking about the South Korean officials specifically: knowing that someone is erratic doesn't make their actions unsurprising, and it doesn't mean that such a person could never catch you off guard. Often, quite the opposite, since you have no basis to predict just what they will or won't do... so it's a surprise no matter what.

It's generally in-character for Trump to throw a fit and cancel something, but it's not like the chance of that happening this particular time was 99%. So South Korea didn't "know" that would happen, and had to operate with the presumption that the meeting was still on.

Now, that said, the letter puts them past the "fool me once" mark. So it's not impossible for SK to tell the world they truly can't trust Trump at all. One reason I grant that unlikely is their well-founded fears of affecting his temper. Don't confuse any apparent deference to him (like Moon's offhand suggestion that Trump could get a Nobel) for actual naivete rather than self-preservation.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:12 PM on May 24 [10 favorites]


Watch for Trump to start spinning this whole summit incident as the time he "almost" won a Nobel Prize, and really he was robbed of it, and the committee called him on the phone and told him he'd done more to deserve it than anyone else ever but their hands were tied etc.
posted by contraption at 12:19 PM on May 24 [22 favorites]


The failed Trump-Kim summit: the story of a trainwreck foretold.
posted by adamvasco at 12:19 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]


The next president (insh'Allah) will have to start from scratch with all our allies and be history's greatest diplomat to try and regain the ground lost here.

I think I've said this in a previous thread, but, I think Trump is going to be seen by the world as a huge anomaly and, while there will definitely be some damage to repair, I think most nations will be very happy to deal with a non-Trumpian White House again.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:25 PM on May 24 [13 favorites]


Trumpeters are trying to spin this ten different ways: Kim will come crawling back, or it’s a strong bargaining move, or he got his way with test site destruction, or North and South Korea will talk directly now. One woman on /r/The_Donald thinks Trump and Kim (who she calls Un) have already met and made a deal, but they’re just boosting public interest with this dance.
posted by msalt at 12:26 PM on May 24 [7 favorites]


I think I've said this in a previous thread, but, I think Trump is going to be seen by the world as a huge anomaly and, while there will definitely be some damage to repair, I think most nations will be very happy to deal with a non-Trumpian White House again.

after a certain point, the rest of the world may only decide to talk to democratic administrations and ignore republican regimes. americans will be viewed more like recurring cicadas, but they're terrible every eight years...
posted by anem0ne at 12:28 PM on May 24 [23 favorites]


The instability and chaos is not doing democracy good anywhere. It's no coincidence that there has been a global trend for authoritarians in many countries look to entrench their holds. Putin and Xi, both deeply entrenched, simply look more stable if you are Rwanda, Uganda, or what have you
posted by stonepharisee at 12:32 PM on May 24 [5 favorites]


Trump is going to be seen by the world as a huge anomaly

Assuming we get to a non-Trumpian administration again, I fully expect to suddenly never be able to find anyone who voted for Trump except for the handful of pundits whose entire careers rest upon it. This is gonna be like all the people who were totally never in favor of the Iraq invasion and how gosh, there just aren't that many people who really voted for W (especially the second time, when he actually did win the popular vote).

They're still going to whine and moan and rant about Democrats, but they will never once admit to having supported this insanity.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:32 PM on May 24 [37 favorites]


I think most nations will be very happy to deal with a non-Trumpian White House again.

And have to worry that in four years, white America elects another racist fascist imbecile.

It's not that other countries won't ever trust or like American leaders again, it's that they can't trust American voters ever again.
posted by chris24 at 12:34 PM on May 24 [49 favorites]


I think I've said this in a previous thread, but, I think Trump is going to be seen by the world as a huge anomaly and, while there will definitely be some damage to repair, I think most nations will be very happy to deal with a non-Trumpian White House again.

The problem with this idea is that it's now very plain to everybody how fragile any agreement we make is, and any agreement we enter into is going to have to take into account that we're eventually (or maybe almost immediately) going to elect a psychopath who's going to unilaterally cancel it. It doesn't matter that you're negotiating with Obama when Trump could happen next year and fuck the whole deal.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:35 PM on May 24 [22 favorites]


Yes, what Thorzdad said. A few weeks ago I met a smart young woman (late 20s) who was interning at a media outlet in D.C. (I forget which one), and I asked her what the atmosphere was like there.

Are people killing each other? I asked. Are Dems and Repubs fighting in the streets?

No, she said, everyone is just waiting for this to be over so things can get back to normal.

But aren't there lots of fights and jockeying for positions and trying to normalize Trump and...

No, she said a couple more times, everyone is just waiting for this to be over so things can get back to normal.

Don't confuse any apparent deference to him (like Moon's offhand suggestion that Trump could get a Nobel) for actual naivete rather than self-preservation.

Thanks for the reply, InTheYear2017, that answers my question (why the author was claiming that ROK people were shocked, shocked). Now if we could just convince the Trumpers et al that the naivete is all an act, not a real thing that shows a sign of weakness, that we know about this diplomacy thing WAY better than you ...
posted by Melismata at 12:36 PM on May 24 [5 favorites]


Trump might be viewed as an anomaly, but the damage is done. The world has seen that any deal that the US enters into can be scrapped at a whim. How much political capital are world leaders going to invest in trying to work out complex matters with the US, knowing full well that all of that work and risk-taking could pretty much vanish into thin air with a new administration? Trade deals are going to be viewed as very risky. Trying to tackle climate change... you're better factoring the US out and then if you get anything out of us, it's a bonus. Etc. The world knows that America cannot be trusted.
posted by azpenguin at 12:37 PM on May 24 [22 favorites]


I think I've said this in a previous thread, but, I think Trump is going to be seen by the world as a huge anomaly and, while there will definitely be some damage to repair, I think most nations will be very happy to deal with a non-Trumpian White House again.

I don't think it can be that simple. Unless we burn the Republican Party to the ground and salt the earth, even during a Democratic administration there's always going to be the looming knowledge that the opposition party will do anything it can to undo any deal you make, even if the people at the table right now are genuinely acting in good faith. If we have President Gillibrand (or whoever) in four years but the Teahadists are still running the GOP, then you'd have to be an idiot to sign a treaty with the U.S. and not hedge your bets against the next administration setting it on fire just because they can.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:37 PM on May 24 [10 favorites]


Via @conradchaffee:
Some senators seem unclear about what happened today.

Senator Gardner (R-CO): "I hope the North Korean people understand what Kim walked away from."

Senator Portman (R-OH): "Given the nature of the regime it’s not surprising that they canceled."
...
Ranking member Menendez (D-NJ) responds: "It seems to me that there is in effort to create alternative facts in which North Korea walked away. But it’s rather clear to me that this was President Trump’s decision. He walked away...This is a direct failure of the administration to have a credible and pragmatic policy and strategy... I’m afraid that that failure, and the president’s impulsive decisions, lost us leverage. I hope we can regain it, as well as reassure our allies."
...
Pompeo responds to Menendez: "Just for the record, I have a fundamentally different view of how it came to be that we unfortunately can’t have a meeting between our two leaders on June 12th."
...
[Later]
Pompeo: Senator, the diplomacy this administration has engaged in has gotten us this far...

Merkey: Well, where did it get us? We’re not going to the table. We’re walking away from the table.

Pompeo: Senator, we didn’t walk away from this.
The official spin from the Secretary of State and several Senate Republicans would appear to be, contrary to our own lying eyes, that it was really North Korea that cancelled the summit.

This is, to put it mildly, a complete breakdown in our consensus reality. Or possible lies. One or the other. There's really no way to tell.
posted by cjelli at 12:37 PM on May 24 [118 favorites]


There’s never one unitary reason this administration ever does anything, because there’s no one actual in charge making consistent, rational, strategically considered decisions. It’s governance by racist evil hive mind, with an emotionally unstable, rock throwing toddler at the center of it.

There's no strategy here. It's chaos all the way down.


Yeah, I generally think of Trump as a malevolent half-broken Roomba (sorry, Ricky, I love you, honey). He just caroms meanderingly from one thing to another mostly randomly, but usually in the shittiest possible direction.

Also, Don McGahn is the fucking White House Counsel. Emmet Flood is Trump's personal attorney, and if Kasie Hunt doesn't stop calling him a "White House lawyer," I may need to shotgun Pimm's until I fall into a coma.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:40 PM on May 24 [12 favorites]


“This Is RICO 101”: Why Robert Mueller Isn’t Taking Rudy’s Bait
This investigation is classic Mueller: he is doing a classic, organized crime case. This is RICO 101, working your way up and sideways. You pop a few guys for gambling, and no one is going to do a million years for gambling, but you’re gonna get their scratch pads, then you move on to their associates. You flip one guy who you arrest with no fanfare. It’s exactly what Mueller has been doing his whole goddamn life. It’s just that this time the boss of the family happens to be the leader of the free world. Mueller doesn’t care if he gets Trump. He doesn’t care if he doesn’t get Trump. He has no political agenda. He is digging through the layers and bringing back the truth, and the truth is going to be whatever it is going to be.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:42 PM on May 24 [72 favorites]


Senator Portman (R-OH): "Given the nature of the regime it’s not surprising that they canceled."

This seems like a pretty clear understanding of the Trump regime, assuming that's what the senator meant...
posted by mabelstreet at 12:44 PM on May 24 [15 favorites]


In this case, I completely believe that Donald Trump himself wrote this letter or dictated it. In fact, I feel almost certain he did.

Confirmed by the Washington Post's Seung Min Kim @seungminkim: Senior White House official tells us in the briefing room that Trump “dictated every word of the letter himself."

Every. single. word. (No wonder the White House official doesn't seem to want to be identified admitting this.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:44 PM on May 24 [54 favorites]


after a certain point, the rest of the world may only decide to talk to democratic administrations and ignore republican regimes. americans will be viewed more like recurring cicadas, but they're terrible every eight years...

Alternatively, the rest of the world may adopt the same attitude that the U.S. does towards "allies" like Egypt: that it's a terrible shame, but it's just more convenient to have a dictator or military oligarchy in charge and behaving predictably rather than a democracy that can elect the Muslim-Brotherhood-slash-Republicans and suddenly invade or threaten annihilation of random countries.
posted by XMLicious at 12:47 PM on May 24 [6 favorites]


but they will never once admit to having supported this insanity.

I think you're way underestimating the number of people like my parents that will insist that no matter what, it's better than a Hillary administration would have been. And the sheer number of Republicans that will insist that whatever happens in the next two and a half years that the problem was not what happened but that things didn't go far enough.
posted by Candleman at 12:49 PM on May 24 [24 favorites]


Since Trump says the U.S. is a "Third World" country, let's pay him to leave yt

Speaking on behalf of the Other 95% Of The Planet, what makes you think we want him?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:51 PM on May 24 [7 favorites]


after a certain point, the rest of the world may only decide to talk to democratic administrations and ignore republican regimes.

I would assume the opposite. They will only talk with Republicans, because Democrats believe in doing things the right way and being responsible to norms and obligations (even to deals made by people they don't like), and Republicans are more likely to respect deals made by other Republicans.
posted by agentofselection at 12:52 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]


WSJ, President Donald Trump Cancels North Korea Summit
The president ordered the White House to release the letter before alerting allies to avoid leaks, a White House official said.
Who cares if it leaks? You can't just do this.
posted by zachlipton at 12:53 PM on May 24 [44 favorites]


They won't have to wait until a particular political party becomes the administration. They'll just negotiate with the party directly. It already happened right under our noses.
posted by Jpfed at 12:54 PM on May 24 [11 favorites]


For future Republicans, trump will replace Reagan as the glowing embodiment of the Great Conservative President.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:55 PM on May 24 [11 favorites]




I would assume the opposite. They will only talk with Republicans, because Democrats believe in doing things the right way and being responsible to norms and obligations (even to deals made by people they don't like), and Republicans are more likely to respect deals made by other Republicans.

Yeah, but the Republicans are currently demonstrating that they're incapable of coming to an agreement on anything. You can't negotiate with Donald Trump any more than you can "negotiate" with mashed potatoes.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:57 PM on May 24 [10 favorites]


Just like the US is used to dealing with other countries when their political parties change (UK, Italy, etc.), I think other countries are used to adjusting when the winds change here. Ok, Carter. Oh, wait, Reagan. Ok, now Clinton. Give the rest of the world some credit.
posted by Melismata at 12:57 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]


I think you're way underestimating the number of people like my parents that will insist that no matter what, it's better than a Hillary administration would have been. And the sheer number of Republicans that will insist that whatever happens in the next two and a half years that the problem was not what happened but that things didn't go far enough.

This is one of those moments where I feel like I’m perpetually Mike Pence in this

“I don’t feel good.”
posted by Bacon Bit at 12:59 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


The big shift that may happen is if the global community moves off the dollar. That was a huge threat before the Iraq war, and I'd guess it has reappeared. It's clearly part of the threat from Iran now, and I'd guess China is all in at this point, which they weren't during the Bush regime. It's difficult to guess where Russia is, but probably they'd prefer Euros over Dollars.
The crash in 2008 interrupted a run against the dollar, because the Euro was still not established. I'm not certain the situation today is the same.
posted by mumimor at 12:59 PM on May 24 [16 favorites]


Also, Don McGahn is the fucking White House Counsel. Emmet Flood is Trump's personal attorney, and if Kasie Hunt doesn't stop calling him a "White House lawyer," I may need to shotgun Pimm's until I fall into a coma.

I think Flood is technically 'a White House lawyer' in that he was hired through McGahn's office to handle the White House response to the Mueller probe; that is, he is 'a White House lawyer,' he operates out of the Counsel's office, etc. But his only job within that office is to defend Trump in his capacity as the President from criminal charges; he has no oversight of the DoJ and no formal relationship to Congress. It is wildly inappropriate for him to have been at the meetings today, precisely because of the nature of his White House lawyership.

Giuliani, Sekulow, and Cohen* are Trump's personal non-White House lawyers.

*they've been evasive about that but srsly though
posted by cjelli at 12:59 PM on May 24 [17 favorites]


Shot: Republican Sen. Jeff Flake: ‘Our presidency has been debased’
“Our presidency has been debased,” Flake said. “By a figure who has a seemingly bottomless appetite for destruction and division. And only a passing familiarity with how the Constitution works.”

He added: “Simply put: We may have hit bottom.”
Chaser: Senate Advances Court Pick Who Said Planned Parenthood ‘Kills Over 150,000 Females A Year’
The Senate judiciary committee voted Thursday to advance U.S. District Court nominee Wendy Vitter, a vocal opponent of abortion rights who initially didn’t tell senators about her past extreme comments on the topic.

Every Republican on the committee voted for Vitter, a New Orleans lawyer and President Donald Trump’s choice for a lifetime seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Those GOPers were Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), John Cornyn (Texas), Mike Lee (Utah), Ted Cruz (Texas), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and John Kennedy (La.).
posted by zombieflanders at 1:00 PM on May 24 [22 favorites]


Yeah, but the Republicans are currently demonstrating that they're incapable of coming to an agreement on anything.

Speaking of...
House Chief Deputy Whip Patrick T. McHenry on Thursday said an immigration discharge petition that GOP leaders oppose will get to 218 signatures after the recess, and the only way they can stop it is finding legislation Republicans can pass — something he acknowledges is a big reach.

The discharge petition, which is just five signatures shy of the 218 needed, would force a vote on a queen of the hill rule that would set up votes on four immigration measures, with the one getting the most votes above the required simple majority threshold prevailing. The process is likely to produce a bill that a majority of Democrats and a minority of Republicans support.

GOP leaders argue it is equivalent to turning the floor over to Democrats and have urged their conference not to sign the discharge petition.

Yet two more Republicans, Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Tom Reed of New York, signed the petition Thursday before the House departed for its Memorial Day recess, bringing the total number of GOP signatories to 23.

With all but three Democrats signed on as well, the petition now has a total of 213 signatures, only five away from the 218 needed for one of the signatories to be able to call the queen of the hill rule up for a vote on June 25. Only two more Republican signatures are needed if the remaining three Democrats sign it.
posted by chris24 at 1:01 PM on May 24 [12 favorites]


Open #Floodgate®
posted by growabrain at 1:03 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]


R. Eric Thomas, Analyzing Trump's Breakup Letter to Kim Jong Un

I could quote more, but this really sums up everything: "This is that thing where summer lovin' turns to nuclear winter."

Wendy Sherman comes in second in the competition, describing the letter as a: "13-year-old stream of consciousness in a break-up letter over summer camp."
posted by zachlipton at 1:08 PM on May 24 [15 favorites]




White House statement on Flood & Kelly's attendance at the meetings today - paraphrasing, because it's an image instead of text: 'neither Flood nor Kelly attending the meetings, but made brief remarks prior to the meetings started to relay the President's desires for transparency...they departed before the meetings officially started.'

That's certainly better than staying for the briefings but 'they didn't attend the meetings they attended, they attended meetings that occurred in the same place with the same people but minutes before the official meetings' is already terrible: these were nominally briefings to aid the legislative branch's oversight. The President's whims should not enter in this; that they would attempt to do so undermines the independence of the legislature's oversight. To do this in person, rather than, say, a memo? Or a Presidential tweet? also suggests that the White House statement that they were there merely to 'impress upon the importance the President places on transparency' -- despite doing this in a way that minimized transparency on the part of the White House itself -- may not, ahem, itself entirely transparent.
posted by cjelli at 1:10 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]


(Snarkier take: 'White House: The part of the meeting attended by Trump's lawyer was not actually part of the meeting.')
posted by cjelli at 1:11 PM on May 24 [7 favorites]


WSJ, Roger Stone Sought Information on Clinton from Assange, Emails Show
Former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone privately sought information he considered damaging to Hillary Clinton from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The emails could raise new questions about Mr. Stone’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in September, in which he said he “merely wanted confirmation” from an acquaintance that Mr. Assange had information about Mrs. Clinton, according to a portion of the transcript that was made public.

In a Sept. 18, 2016, message, Mr. Stone urged an acquaintance who knew Mr. Assange to ask the WikiLeaks founder for emails related to Mrs. Clinton’s alleged role in disrupting a purported Libyan peace deal in 2011 when she was secretary of state, referring to her by her initials.

“Please ask Assange for any State or HRC e-mail from August 10 to August 30--particularly on August 20, 2011,” Mr. Stone wrote to Randy Credico, a New York radio personality who had interviewed Mr. Assange several weeks earlier. Mr. Stone, a longtime confidant of Mr. Trump, had no formal role in his campaign at the time.

Mr. Credico initially responded to Mr. Stone that what he was requesting would be on WikiLeaks’ website if it existed, according to an email reviewed by the Journal. Mr. Stone, the emails show, replied: “Why do we assume WikiLeaks has released everything they have ???”

In another email, Mr. Credico then asked Mr. Stone to give him a “little bit of time,” saying he thought Mr. Assange might appear on his radio show the next day. A few hours later, Mr. Credico wrote: “That batch probably coming out in the next drop...I can’t ask them favors every other day .I asked one of his lawyers...they have major legal headaches riggt now..relax.”

Mr. Credico said in an interview with the Journal that he never passed the message on to Mr. Assange or his lawyers, but “got tired” of Mr. Stone “bothering” him, and so told Mr. Stone he had passed along the message. Mr. Credico said he did so because he owed Mr. Stone a favor for helping him book Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson as a guest on his show.
...

Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said the emails hadn’t been provided to congressional investigators.

“If there is such a document, then it would mean that his testimony was either deliberately incomplete or deliberately false,” said Mr. Schiff, who has continued to request documents and conduct interviews with witnesses despite the committee’s probe concluding earlier this year.

A lawyer for Mr. Stone, Grant Smith, said the emails hadn’t been turned over to House investigators because they were “not encompassed within the scope of the committee’s request.” Mr. Stone said the emails were preserved at the request of the Senate, which is also conducting a Russian interference probe, but Mr. Smith said they hadn’t yet been turned over to investigators there.
...
As Mr. Credico has become more vocal about what he says are discrepancies in Mr. Stone’s account, Mr. Stone has responded with a series of threats, according to emails and text messages reviewed by the Journal.

In early April, in one of those emails, Mr. Stone accused Mr. Credico of serving as an informant.

“Everyone says u are wearing a wire for Mueller,” the April 7 email said. Two days later, Mr. Stone wrote: “Run your mouth = get sued.” Mr. Credico denies being an informant.
posted by zachlipton at 1:14 PM on May 24 [26 favorites]


A lot of people are up in arms about Flood, but Clinton's White House Counsel disagrees.

Jack Quinn
I said on CNN that it is appropriate for the White House Counsel to be at bipartisan intelligence briefing re Russia investigation. That office represents the presidency as an institution, not its occupant. Excluding him would only help justify the outrage of excluding Dems #CNN

Josh Marshall
Retweeted jack quinn
I at least partly agree with this. Flood is in the counsels office. He’s not that president’s personal atty. So it’s very different than if like Rudy were there. In Trumpland people find a way to be sleazy. But based on what we know this isn’t inapropriatw on its face.

---

And yes Quinn said White House Counsel rather than Special Counsel on the White House staff, but his point remains the same that he represents the office of the presidency, not the man. Still suspect imo, but here's an opposing view.
posted by chris24 at 1:17 PM on May 24 [6 favorites]


How possibly can emails from Roger Stone about WikiLeaks not be part of the House Intelligence Commiittee's request? What kind of investigation is Nunes running that wouldn't ask for such a thing? I know, I know, that was rhetorical.
posted by zachlipton at 1:17 PM on May 24 [14 favorites]


The rise of cryptocurrencies has created a unique opportunity for market forces to spearhead a shift toward a truly neutral reserve asset. With the leadership of the US – the issuer of the main international reserve currency – more unpredictable than ever, it is an opportunity that should not be missed.

Mapped: The Countries With the Most Foreign Currency Reserves


The London Metal Exchange is planning to introduce yuan-denominated metal products, according its chief executive, a sign the currency’s status in international finance is on the rise.

At present, investors are trading our products in US dollars. We would definitely like to explore the possibility of launching products denominated in offshore renminbi,” Matthew Chamberlain said in an interview in Hong Kong.


Dollar weakens as Trump nixes North Korea summit

From the "news" it seems the almighty dollar won't be replaced anytime soon, in fact Merkel is not going to discuss replacing it when she visits China.

Its massive, bigger than anyone else.
posted by infini at 1:17 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]


The official spin from the Secretary of State and several Senate Republicans would appear to be, contrary to our own lying eyes, that it was really North Korea that cancelled the summit.

Which is a tacit admission that Trump walking away was a huge, embarrassing, and possibly dangerous error.

Every Democrat who gets on TV and radio should say "If Republicans need to pretend Trump didn't do what he did, they need to work with us to exercise some oversight and restore sane and credible foreign policy."
posted by Gelatin at 1:19 PM on May 24 [25 favorites]


Pew asked Americans if the U.S. had a responsibility to accept refugees.

No group -- racial, by age, religious or political -- was less supportive of that idea than white evangelical Protestants.


Pretty sure it's because they are intimately familiar with Luke 10:25-37, the story popularly known as "The Snake".
posted by Jpfed at 1:19 PM on May 24 [8 favorites]


[Periodic mod note about how even though shit is crazy, which shit always is, please try to keep the low-hanging-fruit riffing to a minimum so the thread doesn't balloon faster than necessary.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:24 PM on May 24 [8 favorites]


You can't negotiate with Donald Trump any more than you can "negotiate" with mashed potatoes.

Well, they're both easily manipulated if you butter them up enough.
posted by Riki tiki at 1:25 PM on May 24 [100 favorites]


You know the Trump loyalists are a cult of personality because anything Trump does makes him a smart man and a brilliant dealmaker. Trump basically calls Obama a weakling traitor for considering meeting NK with few preconditions? Smart man! Trump agrees to meet NK with no preconditions? Brilliant dealmaker! Trump briefly acts conciliatory? Obviously that's the right thing to do and he's a good dealmaker. Trump loses it and pulls out, threatening nuclear armageddon? It's because he is a smart man who knows when to walk away. Literally any action Trump takes is more evidence of how brilliant a dealmaker he is.

Trump cannot fail, he can only be failed.
posted by Justinian at 1:57 PM on May 24 [40 favorites]


James "Spying on you? We-he're not spying on you" Clapper, former head of NSA says Russia turned the election for Trump

Russians not only affected the outcome of the 2016 presidential election — they decided it, says James Clapper, who served as the director of national intelligence in the Obama administration, and during the 2016 vote.

He also has a new book, yay. Is this too low-hanging? That the DNI and former NSA head says point-blank no-shit a foreign country swindled enough people into voting for a mobbed-up pinhead as president? I concede that these days it's pretty low hanging.
posted by petebest at 1:58 PM on May 24 [20 favorites]


Axios, Ivanka Trump now has full security clearance, too
Ivanka Trump's security clearance was upgraded to permanent Top Secret at the same time as Jared Kushner's upgrade on May 1, according to a person briefed on the matter. The White House declined to comment on this story.
Yeah, this all sounds really legit.
posted by zachlipton at 2:00 PM on May 24 [59 favorites]


James "Spying on you? We-he're not spying on you" Clapper, former head of NSA says Russia turned the election for Trump

Everyone knows the NSA is terrible because of leaks from a guy who lives in Moscow now as reported on by a guy who regularly distorts things to shift blame from Russia to Hillary Clinton.
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on May 24 [13 favorites]


Ivanka Trump's security clearance was upgraded to permanent Top Secret at the same time as Jared Kushner's upgrade on May 1

A remarkable coincidence that the extensive background checks concluded at exactly the same time!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:31 PM on May 24 [10 favorites]


NYT: Border Patrol Agent Kills Woman Who Crossed Into Texas Illegally, Authorities Say

The officer was searching for “illegal activity” in a culvert on a residential street in Rio Bravo, a border town about seven miles south of Laredo, when a group of undocumented immigrants started to hit him with “blunt objects,” United States Customs and Border Protection said. The officer, whose name was not released, fired at least one shot with his handgun, fatally striking the woman in the head.

A woman who lives next door to the site of the shooting disputed the federal agency’s account of the events, saying that the property does not have a culvert and that she did not see any weapons that the group could have used.

“They were on the very corner on that lot where there was a tree,” the woman, Marta V. Martinez, said in an interview Thursday morning. “There was no weapon. They were hiding.”


Murder and blatant coverup. Bear witness to these stories while the New York Times still deigns to print them between articles admiring Nazis.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:31 PM on May 24 [90 favorites]


WaPo, In an internal memo, the White House considered whether to simply ‘ignore’ federal climate research
Catanzaro, who prepared the memo for a meeting of senior White House and agency officials that took place a couple of days later, asked whether the Trump administration should “consider having a firm position on and a coherent, fact-based message about climate science — specifically, whether, and to what extent, anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are affecting the climate system, and what level of concern that warrants.”

The memo presented three options without endorsing any of them: conducting a “red team/blue team” exercise to “highlight uncertainties in climate science”; more formally reviewing the science under the Administrative Procedure Act; or deciding to just “ignore, and not seek to characterize or question, the science being conducted by Federal agencies and outside entities.”

It did not consider touting federal scientists’ findings.
posted by zachlipton at 2:40 PM on May 24 [28 favorites]


Buzzfeed: Border Patrol Agents Are Accused Of Brutally Attacking Migrant Kids: “These documents provide a glimpse into a federal immigration enforcement system marked by brutality and lawlessness.”

A 16-year-old girl sexually assaulted, a stun gun used on a boy, a 17-year-old run over by a patrol vehicle: These are just a few of the complaints levied by migrant children against US border authorities in a report published Wednesday. The report, compiled by the ACLU and the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School, is based on more than 30,000 pages of records related to complaints of abuse filed by unaccompanied immigrant minors and supporting documents from between 2009 and 2014. The documents were released through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

The complaints in this report predate a president and regime whose opinion is that migrant children "aren't so innocent" compared to the "animals." Imagine what's coming.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:44 PM on May 24 [58 favorites]


R. Eric Thomas, Analyzing Trump's Breakup Letter to Kim Jong Un
Today, the White House released a passive-aggressive letter from the President of the United States to Kim Jong Un cancelling their June 12th meeting and directing the North Korean leader to a YouTube link for Adele's "Rolling in the Deep." Like a friend who sends a screenshot of a private text fight to a groupchat, the Trump administration got up extra early today to accomplish all the petty they have planned.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:55 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]


White House statement on Flood & Kelly's attendance at the meetings today - paraphrasing, because it's an image instead of text: 'neither Flood nor Kelly attending the meetings, but made brief remarks prior to the meetings started to relay the President's desires for transparency...they departed before the meetings officially started.'

In response, Adam Schiff's Statement on Presence of Emmet Flood at Briefings, per NBC's Kyle Griffin @kylegriffin1:
Emmet Flood's presence and statement at the outset of both meetings today was completely inappropriate. Although he did not participate in the meetings which followed, as the White House's attorney handling the Special Counsel's investigation, his involvement — in any capacity — was entirely improper, and I made this clear to him.

His presence only underscore what Rudy Giuliani said: the President's legal team expects to use information gleaned improperly from the Justice Department or the President's allies in Congress to their legal advantage.
And immediately after the meeting, Schiff had told reporters, “Nothing we heard today has changed our view that there is no evidence to support any allegation that the FBI or any intelligence agency placed a spy in the Trump campaign or otherwise failed to follow appropriate procedures and protocols.”

In the end, though, this may well have been the political equivalent of marketing campaign by Trump, who, according to the AP, "told one ally this week that he wanted “to brand” the informant a “spy,” believing the more nefarious term would resonate more in the media and with the public."
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:03 PM on May 24 [23 favorites]


Like most people, I was expecting Trump to fuck this up, but like most people, I was still somehow shocked by how completely, thoroughly and distinctively he fucked it up.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:12 PM on May 24 [63 favorites]


Dang. Roger Stone is going to Prison.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:18 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]


I didn't expect the summit to go ahead... until they actually fucking scheduled it. Trump is a stupid old man who just says shit and then people have to actualize the shit he says and maybe I need to spend some time in the MetaTalk thread.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:19 PM on May 24 [12 favorites]


Politico, George Conway’s Tweets Raise West Wing Eyebrows
On some occasions, Conway has even gone outside the boundaries of Twitter when he couldn't contain his apparent grievance any longer.

“Drivel,” he told Reuters in an interview last week, referring to Rudy Giuliani’s assertion that the president cannot be the subject of a subpoena. He has also emailed people who have written things critical of Trump and quietly suggested improvements in their arguments, according to people who have received his unsolicited two cents.
...
But in conservative legal circles, his tweets are reverberating in a way that has not much at all to do with his wife. There, George Conway is seen as rebuking the silence of his fellow Federalist Society members—the elite, conservative lawyers who have generally chosen to give Trump a pass on his breaches of long-cherished legal norms and traditions in exchange for the gift of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
...
By keeping its collective mouth shut, the Federalist Society—a nationwide network of conservative lawyers with its power base in D.C.—has amassed huge influence in the Trump administration, essentially hand-selecting not only Gorsuch but recruiting ultraconservative judges to fill vacancies from appellate courts on down. It’s a status the organization does not want to jeopardize through rash tweets or the signing of petitions that might make one feel good on issues that matter less to them than a complete reorientation of the federal bench.

The executive vice president of the Federalist Society, Leonard Leo, has called around to prominent lawyers and funders in town, warning them not to get on the wrong side of the Trump administration, according to a source who was briefed on the calls. After all, Leo expects to play a lead role in at least one more Supreme Court pick during Trump’s tenure. (Leo did not return calls for comment.)

At times, the society has even broken with the mainstream of the conservative legal establishment in its effort to stand with the administration. On Friday, for instance, the Federalist Society is hosting a call “examining the legality of the Mueller Investigation.” The featured speaker is Steven Calabresi, a law professor and co-founder of the organization who has argued that Mueller’s probe is unconstitutional. Calabresi also happens to be a friend of Conway’s—it’s a small, Federalist Society world, after all.
...
In an interview, Calabresi admitted that Conway may be giving voice to what other members of the Federalist Society think but are too scared to say. “There is a range of viewpoints about Trump, including some people who are Never Trumpers but have been quiet about it, in part because of the judicial nominations,” he said.

But after Conway attacked his own argument that the Mueller probe is unconstitutional, Calabresi called back to amend his comments. “At this point, George is very far off the reservation of what many Federalist Society people think,” he said.
The article says he stepped down from partnership at his firm to move to DC and was fairly far into the process to run the Justice Department's civil division, a huge gig, when Comey was fired, which is the point he began to have second thoughts and started tweeting. I've always thought of his tweets as more of a wink-wink-nudge-nudge to his clients that he's not crazy whatever his wife does, but recasting this as a rebuke of the Federalist Society's silence on rule of law issues (if not outright complicity in exchange for having total control over the judiciary) is an interesting characterization.

Calabresi's argument that Mueller's appointment is unconstitutional is pretty crap too
posted by zachlipton at 3:20 PM on May 24 [20 favorites]


It seems to me the distinction between "spy" and "informant" is hard to parse and in fact a bit functionally blurry at times. The important point to make is that the FBI started investigating people in the Trump campaign because they were acting as agents of a foreign power, not because the FBI were Democratic party loyalists looking to get one over on Trump.
posted by contraption at 3:22 PM on May 24 [6 favorites]


Dang. Roger Stone is going to Prison.

Beg pardon?
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:23 PM on May 24 [5 favorites]


So Calabresi's true claim here is not the sensational one that Mueller is violating the Appointments Clause; it's the far more modest claim that Mueller is acting in excess of the authority that has been delegated to him, through his appointment, by the relevant regulations.

And surely the appropriate remedy for that scenario would be for Trump's handpicked Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to choose to fire Mueller. But he has chosen not to, because Mueller is doing a good job. The constitutional argument against Mueller is utter horse-shit.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:24 PM on May 24




> Trump is a stupid old man who just says shit and then people have to actualize the shit he says and maybe I need to spend some time in the MetaTalk thread.

In a better timeline, the damage he causes might be somewhat mitigated by people in a position to do something about it telling him "no" from time to time, but as it is they either lack the necessary convictions to do so, are attempting to use him to further their own goals whether or not they personally support all of Trump's, are True Believers, and/or would literally rather die than do anything that might put their reelection at risk.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:31 PM on May 24 [8 favorites]


CBOOOOOOOOOOO. An Analysis of the President’s 2019 Budget.

It's not like anyone is passing anything resembliing Trump's budget, but it shows how much the White House just makes stuff up.

@kylegriffin1: CBO estimates that the government will take in $1,900,000,000,000 less in revenue and spend $300,000,000,000 more over the next decade than the White House estimated under its latest budget proposal.
posted by zachlipton at 3:56 PM on May 24 [43 favorites]


Congressional Republicans are now proposing a Kickstarter for the border wall, so maybe they can do something similar for the missing two trillion in revenue. Surely Mexico would help out?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:59 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


6 Ways Trump Could Repurpose the Kim Summit Commemorative Coin
On Monday, the United States minted a garish commemorative coin to celebrate next month’s planned meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in Singapore. On Thursday, the meeting fell apart. Within hours, the coins were put on discount as the White House gift shop’s deal of the day, the original $24.95 price tag slashed to $19.95.

If you’re wondering why the White House would go ahead with the production of the coin given the meeting’s cancellation, the gift shop attempts to explain: “The Coin Will be Made Whether or Not the Summit Occurs as Scheduled, Because the Theme is Coming Closer to Peace and Celebrates the Act of Communication Among Countries.” Sounds like the coin maker isn’t granting refunds.
The Warning Coin version is nice.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:03 PM on May 24 [5 favorites]


Eric "Game Theory" Garland has become the living embodiment of the Galaxy Brain meme:

(RE: trump's pardon of Jack Johnson)
TRUMP ATTEMPTING TO SET PRECEDENT TO EXCUSE HUMAN TRAFFICKING OF PROSTITUTES.

PAY ATTENTION.

posted by Atom Eyes at 4:04 PM on May 24 [13 favorites]


This coin is not a coin of honour
No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here
posted by saturday_morning at 4:05 PM on May 24 [71 favorites]


> CBO estimates that the government will take in $1,900,000,000,000 less in revenue and spend $300,000,000,000 more over the next decade than the White House estimated under its latest budget proposal.

Well, it's not like the United States has any pressing needs that $2,200,000,000,000 could go towards fixing. I think we can all agree that the money is better off in Jeff Bezos' bank account, where it can be spent on personal mecha suits and other amusements, in addition to hardware and software systems capable of tracking the individual movements of every molecule on Earth.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:16 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]


CNN: Assange's refuge in Ecuadorian embassy 'in jeopardy'

While Assange has in the past claimed his position in the embassy was under threat, sources say his current situation is "unusually bad" and that he could leave the embassy "any day now," either because he will be forced out or made to feel so restricted that he might choose to leave on his own. His position there is "in jeopardy," one source familiar with the matter said.

{kisses fingers}
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:19 PM on May 24 [31 favorites]


Assange and his lawyers say he has been detained without charge for 2,720 days

That's not how this works. That's not how any of this works!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:29 PM on May 24 [70 favorites]


NYT, Turf War Between Kushner and Sessions Drove Federal Prisons Director to Quit
When Jared Kushner hosted a high-profile summit meeting on federal prison reform at the White House last Friday, some in attendance noticed that the man who was ostensibly in charge of the federal prison system, Mark S. Inch, a retired Army major general, was nowhere in sight.

Only Mr. Kushner and a few others knew that Mr. Inch, a genial former military police commander appointed to oversee the Federal Bureau of Prisons and its more than 180,000 inmates just nine months ago, had two days earlier submitted his resignation as the bureau’s director to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.

By the time President Trump entered the East Room, Mr. Inch had already been ordered to vacate his office and had begun packing up books and memorabilia from his 35-year military career.

Mr. Inch told Mr. Rosenstein he was tired of the administration flouting “departmental norms.” And he complained that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had largely excluded him from major staffing, budget and policy decisions, according to three people with knowledge of the situation. Mr. Inch also felt marginalized by Mr. Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, in drafting prison reform legislation, the officials said.
...
Early in the administration, Mr. Kushner and Mr. Sessions came to an agreement, according to a former administration official involved in their talks. Mr. Kushner would press ahead with prison reforms but avoid a politically divisive issue he cared even more strongly about, sentencing reform, which the attorney general and Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, both adamantly oppose.

But Mr. Sessions, not Mr. Kushner, controls the prison bureau. And he has quietly worked to ensure that any reforms that might be seen as excessively lenient toward inmates are put into place only after time-consuming study, according to officials.
posted by zachlipton at 4:36 PM on May 24 [19 favorites]


I would assume the opposite. They will only talk with Republicans, because Democrats believe in doing things the right way and being responsible to norms and obligations (even to deals made by people they don't like), and Republicans are more likely to respect deals made by other Republicans.

Foreign governments have already started dealing directly with states and cities to route around the chaos of the current federal administration. This started almost the moment Trump took office.
posted by srboisvert at 4:42 PM on May 24 [16 favorites]


Congressional Republicans are now proposing a Kickstarter for the border wall, so maybe they can do something similar for the missing two trillion in revenue.

Actually, I think they're on to something. Maybe we could revert to a Kickstarter for a couple other items in lieu of using taxes - the defense budget, say. I'd rather make my own tax dollar contribution to that fund optional, myself.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:20 PM on May 24 [9 favorites]


Arizona Daily Star, Parents, children ensnared in 'zero-tolerance' border prosecutions
Alma Jacinto covered her eyes with her hands as tears streamed down her cheeks.

The 36-year-old from Guatemala was led out of the federal courtroom without an answer to the question that brought her to tears: When would she see her boys again?

Jacinto wore a yellow bracelet on her left wrist, which defense lawyers said identifies parents who are arrested with their children and prosecuted in Operation Streamline, a fast-track program for illegal border crossers.

Moments earlier, her public defender asked the magistrate judge when Jacinto would be reunited with her sons, ages 8 and 11. There was no clear answer for Jacinto, who was sentenced to time served on an illegal-entry charge after crossing the border with her sons near Lukeville on May 14.
...
“I only wanted to ask about the whereabouts of my child in this country,” Chun said.

Kimmins responded she didn’t know where his child was and suggested he ask officials at the facility where he will be detained.
posted by zachlipton at 5:36 PM on May 24 [31 favorites]


NYT: Concerned by Trump, Some Republicans Quietly Align With Democrats

As the old saying goes: "Better late than never, oh wait I mean fuck off."
posted by Rust Moranis at 5:50 PM on May 24 [33 favorites]


Meanwhile, in Richard Spencer news:

@kulturalmarx:
everyone always says it's unrealistic when villains explain their entire diabolical plan to the protagonist and yet here we are
posted by Artw at 5:57 PM on May 24 [29 favorites]




Politico: "Perez infuriates liberals with Cuomo endorsement. The DNC chairman pits himself against Deputy Chairman Keith Ellison by intervening in the Democratic primary for New York governor."

ok well this is extremely fucking stupid and bad
posted by lalex at 7:02 PM on May 24 [22 favorites]


My understanding is that he endorsed Cuomo because Nixon failed to garner enough support to make the ballot. You need support of 25% of state delegates to get on the ballot and Nixon got less than 5%, with the remaining 95+% supporting Cuomo. So he's the nominee. That basically makes it Perez' job to endorse him.

I guess Nixon could run as a write-in primary candidate or something but the writing is on the wall.
posted by Justinian at 7:27 PM on May 24 [7 favorites]


Oh, apparently you can also submit enough signatures. That should be possible for Nixon which does make Perez' move seem premature. If she didn't make the ballot at all, fine go for it, but she still might.
posted by Justinian at 7:29 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]


I basically agree with DNC Deputy Chair Keith Ellison here, who "said in a statement Thursday, 'The Democratic Party should not intervene in the primary process. It is our role to be fair to all contestants and let the voters decide.'"

Just....why even get involved here, totally unnecessarily?
posted by lalex at 7:39 PM on May 24 [7 favorites]


re Roger Stone in deep doo-doo

And getting deeper.

CNN: Roger Stone's Finances Examined by Special Counsel
Special counsel Robert Mueller's team has been probing Roger Stone's finances as it summons a series of witnesses to gather more information about one of President Donald Trump's longtime advisers, according to people familiar with the situation.

Mueller's team has questioned associates about Stone's finances, including his tax returns.[...]

So far, Mueller's team has contacted at least eight of Stone's current or former associates, Stone told NBC News on Sunday. He subsequently told CNN "they are all young people who have no knowledge about my personal, political or business activities."[...]

Some of those names are still unknown, and Stone declined to provide them. In addition to subpoenaing Kakanis, Mueller's team subpoenaed Jason Sullivan, Stone's former social media adviser, to appear before the grand jury.
(These recent leaks about Stone seem more likely to be coming out of the DoJ/FBI/Treasury—the so-called Deep State striking back after Trump's #SPYGATE rantings.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:39 PM on May 24 [8 favorites]


Oh, apparently you can also submit enough signatures. That should be possible for Nixon which does make Perez' move seem premature. If she didn't make the ballot at all, fine go for it, but she still might.

She still might make the ballot and, if she wants, will be on the November general election ballot under the Working Families Party line (we have ballot fusion here in NY).
posted by lalex at 7:44 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


Right, like I said in my followup given she could still make the nomination ballot through a signature threshold Perez should have held off until seeing if that happened. Like you I don't see any real upside to coming out for Cuomo now.

I have no problem with Perez endorsing once Cuomo is the nominee, though, even if Nixon runs under the WFP line. His job is to endorse the Democratic nominee. But until Cuomo wins the nomination (or if Nixon doesn't get on the ballot) there's no reason not to wait.

The signature threshold seems to be 15,000. It sounds like Nixon has the organization to get that, yes?
posted by Justinian at 7:48 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]


I would be shocked if she didn't get enough signatures, and I agree with you that Perez/the DNC should endorse the winner of the primary (likely Cuomo), even if it does make me a little ill. I just see no point in doing this now and re-inflaming the progressive vs. establishment tensions in the party. But we agree!
posted by lalex at 7:51 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]


She still might make the ballot and, if she wants, will be on the November general election ballot under the Working Families Party line (we have ballot fusion here in NY).


It is my understanding that she has been on the record as saying she will not do this although I acknowledge I don't have receipts. It would be disasterous for WFP - even more than the initial endorsement.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:03 PM on May 24


Justinian: "The signature threshold seems to be 15,000. It sounds like Nixon has the organization to get that, yes?"

Probably. Getting on the ballot via signatures in New York is difficult and expensive, but Nixon is running a serious campaign here, and should be able to do it.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:42 PM on May 24


Speaking of such things, Letitia James got 85% of the delegate count to be the NY AG nominee. Zephyr Teachout and Leecia Eve got less than 25%, so will be going the signature route to get on the primary ballot.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:44 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]


AZ Central: Montini: The feds lost – yes, lost – 1,475 migrant children
"The Office of Refugee Resettlement reported at the end of 2017 that of the 7,000-plus children placed with sponsored individuals, the agency did not know where 1,475 of them were.

"Republican Sen. Rob Portman said, “It’s just a system that has so many gaps, so many opportunities for these children to fall between the cracks, that we just don’t know what’s going on — how much trafficking or abuse or simply immigration law violations are occurring.”"

Monstrous bureaucratic incompetence and callousness.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:15 PM on May 24 [71 favorites]


yeah, could we please not do this today? please.

Horseshit, we have to do this. Over half of America says that it's okay to call MS-13 animals. But Trump conflates MS-13/Mexicans/Latinos/Americans all the time. An awful lot of people don't do nuance. Hate crimes by white guys yelling something along the lines of "get out of my country!" are noticeably and obviously on the rise. People who look like me and my family are increasingly being confronted by random assholes. We separate refugees from their children and put people in camps owned by private companies. We passed Grim a while ago.

The amping up of dehumanizing rhetoric about minority populations is terrifying even for those of us brown people whose families have been here much longer than Trump's.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:15 PM on May 24 [119 favorites]


AZ Central: Montini: The feds lost – yes, lost – 1,475 migrant children

When you take children from their families, not to be seen again, that's not "losing" that's stealing.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:17 PM on May 24 [38 favorites]


That’s about one out of five children. A state run foster care system would be burned to the ground if it did that.
posted by kerf at 9:27 PM on May 24 [25 favorites]


anem0ne: "after a certain point, the rest of the world may only decide to talk to democratic administrations and ignore republican regimes. americans will be viewed more like recurring cicadas, but they're terrible every eight years..."

But you can't tell when America will lose it's mind again and unilaterally withdraw from anything out of pure spite for the previous administration or just because it's a Tuesday.

chris24: "And have to worry that in four years, white America elects another racist fascist imbecile.
"

Or a competent unabashed racist fascist.

Doktor Zed: ""The Office of Refugee Resettlement reported at the end of 2017 that of the 7,000-plus children placed with sponsored individuals, the agency did not know where 1,475 of them were."

$Deity! even the fucking Nazi's didn't lose 22% of the people they detained.
posted by Mitheral at 9:37 PM on May 24 [9 favorites]


1500 kids handed to traffickers or smugglers or the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is not "lost." It's some type of horrific ICE / CBP side business. I don't even know how to wrap my brain around the awfulness.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:41 PM on May 24 [33 favorites]


re Roger Stone in deep doo-doo / And getting deeper.

You'd think all these Trump guys and even the GOP generally would be HUGE fourth amendment fans, because you could pretty much pick any of them at random and be sure that going through their finances with a microscope would put them in jail.

posted by ctmf at 9:43 PM on May 24 [7 favorites]


But you can't tell when America will lose it's mind again and unilaterally withdraw from anything out of pure spite for the previous administration or just because it's a Tuesday.

Yeah, to be honest this is not how I imagined Pax Sinica would arise.
posted by anem0ne at 9:56 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]


Incidentally, I called this.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:02 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]


Lost -1400 children, i guess we know what Kelly's "or whatever" is...

Fema re: Puerto Rico- criminally negligent ethnic cleansing
ICE: racial police
GOP = Nazis
I know saying it and not doing anything is false comfort, but not saying it is complicity. These are the monsters of our times, they must be stopped.
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 10:09 PM on May 24 [28 favorites]


I really doubt this is the end of Trump's negotiating with North Korea. The letter says he's cancelling the summit, but that Kim should talk to him if he's willing to start negotiating again. Kim's already responding, and will continue to jerk Trump's chain from now until he leaves office. There's a reason common wisdom before Obama was to not negotiate with autocrats. Attention alone rewards them.
posted by xammerboy at 10:21 PM on May 24 [13 favorites]


$Deity! even the fucking Nazi's didn't lose 22% of the people they detained.

That’s a weirdly reassuring thing to say, actually. I mean, would you complain if they had?

Put that way, there is a remote possibility that those 1475 kids weren’t “lost,” but *got the fuck out of there* and are with some auntie or whatever and doing just fine.

Dead in a ditch is also a possibility. But there’s a glimmer of hope, at least.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:22 PM on May 24 [9 favorites]


From the article that was linked "A documentary from the PBS program "Frontline" said that the federal government has actually released some of the minors to human traffickers." This is a life threatening situation. It is not ok. These are only the 1,475 CHILDREN that we know about, from LAST YEAR. How many from this year are "misplaced" already? How many are being picked over by human traffickers tonight or being sold to their predators now, as I type this or now as you are reading it?
posted by W Grant at 10:33 PM on May 24 [23 favorites]


"Trump's Mirror" is a terrifying thing, but it is true far too often that whatever awful thing Donald or his 'people' accuse others of doing is something that they themselves are doing. I made the bad (and delete-worthy, I know) joke that the claims about the child prostitute ring in the pizza parlor basement meant that there IS one in the basement of Trump Tower. But with ICE handing over hundreds of children to traffickers, it's getting closer and closer to the terrible truth.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:44 PM on May 24 [8 favorites]


Isn’t Qanon also predicated on some massive fictional paedophile scheme? And here they are actually really running one - I expect it to have zero impact on the qanonists whatsoever.
posted by Artw at 11:00 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]


I am curious why this story is blowing up now when the NYT story landed a month ago. This should be an enormous scandal, and it was reported a month ago, and suddenly it’s very online.
posted by chrchr at 11:56 PM on May 24 [10 favorites]


if i may share with the class, i would like to give to y’all something i posted on twitter tonight. i believe it is relevant to the conversation that we have all been having since 2016. forgive me, i’m not fluent enough in html to blockquote, but i’ll break it up paragraph by paragraph. to wit—

pro fucking tip: don’t let your siblings die before you and your mom have to find them. i’m gonna carry the sounds she made to my fucking grave. my poor mom, y’all. my mommy.

she gave up so much so i can do what i do, and her reward is that she has to bury her own fucking kid. she had to close my sister’s eyes. she had to do that for her child.

i mean i know that what i’m feeling now is just a shadow of the pain Black people have had to endure for centuries. i know that. it’s part of why i do what i do.

we fought a lot, my sister and i. a loootttt. and i had to endure her resentment of me for a long while. but she was still my blood, and i loved her.

i loved her and she’s dead now. i have to go home and bury my big sister, who always loved me. and then i have to keep fighting. and this is so, so hard. and it’s worth it.

i believe with all of my heart that it’s worth it. everything we do. it all matters. keep fighting, you bastards. i’m crying now and i haven’t cried all day. but in the end, love wins. i promise you, love wins.

(thank you for everything, metafilter.)
posted by dogheart at 12:03 AM on May 25 [95 favorites]


Re the Q of how will the rest of the world trust the US, post-Trump: earlier today, through a series of vaguely-related coincidences, I was re-reading this bit of inside baseball from the 2003 Davos World Economic Forum. (BTW, the MeFi discussion at the time was not taken well by the author…)

A short summary would be that, outside the US, the political and business world was utterly sick of having to deal with the USA's self-absorbed "my way or the highway" unilateralism on any number of important subjects - war, the Middle East, climate change, IP, human rights, terrorism, decreasing resources, etc - and was already well on the path to deciding "it's easier to just do business in countries whose governments agree with yours".

Now that the USA has shown that not only will it elect a mentally-unstable narcissistic toddler (provided it promises to keep doing exactly what the world disliked 15 years ago, only harder), but that half its polity and voting public will happily ride that demented rattlesnake until the bitter end - well, do you think it'll be easy for the USA to regain (or, optimistically, keep) its position at the top?

Maybe if it was a one-off, the US would get a second chance. Arguably, post-Bush II, this is the second chance…
posted by Pinback at 12:44 AM on May 25 [8 favorites]


Isn’t Qanon also predicated on some massive fictional paedophile scheme? And here they are actually really running one - I expect it to have zero impact on the qanonists whatsoever.


Re: Trump's Mirror, I give you the FBI's FOIA archive on Jeffrey Epstein, of the Jane Doe v. Trump & Epstein child rape lawsuit infamy, over here is the woman with the pseudonym "Tiffany Doe"'s declaration in support of plaintiff's protection order, reading in part:
"5. In June, 1994 while performing my duties as a recruiter of adolescent woman to attend Mr. Epstein's parties, I met a 13 year old adolescent woman, the Plaintiff in this matter, at the Port Authority in New York City who said she had come to New York City in the hope of starting a modeling career."
Status of this case. She filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss on November 4th, 1996.

On Oct. 17, 2016, three weeks before the Nov. 8 election, Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen incorporated Essential Consultants LLC in Delaware.

on Oct. 27, 2016, Essential Consultants made a $130,000 payment to Daniels’ attorney at the time.

I will go vomit now.
posted by mikelieman at 1:58 AM on May 25 [11 favorites]


Re the Q of how will the rest of the world trust the US, post-Trump: earlier today, through a series of vaguely-related coincidences, I was re-reading this bit of inside baseball from the 2003 Davos World Economic Forum. (BTW, the MeFi discussion at the time was not taken well by the author…)

Good catch. It's really frustrating to see how people knew what was going to happen and couldn't stop it at all.

Now that the USA has shown that not only will it elect a mentally-unstable narcissistic toddler (provided it promises to keep doing exactly what the world disliked 15 years ago, only harder), but that half its polity and voting public will happily ride that demented rattlesnake until the bitter end - well, do you think it'll be easy for the USA to regain (or, optimistically, keep) its position at the top?

Maybe if it was a one-off, the US would get a second chance. Arguably, post-Bush II, this is the second chance…


Yeah, "they" gave Obama the Nobel prize for winning the US election. I don't think "they" are going to be as optimistic again.
posted by mumimor at 2:49 AM on May 25 [10 favorites]


From ten days ago, Y. Varoufakis (with A. Goodman) on U.S. credibility (and more), going forward.
posted by progosk at 4:12 AM on May 25 [2 favorites]


Blowing up trust in a bullying way is probably the real day that Trump finally became presidential.
At least he's following that norm.
posted by Harry Caul at 4:16 AM on May 25


To me the most mind-fucky thing isn't that this summit blew up, because Jesus, we knew that was going to happen. It's that the device that blew it up, the letter was dictated by Trump, and apparently its delivery was Trump-designed too. There's not a buffer between the Mad King and the actions of the U.S., is what I'm saying. Nobody stopped this or massaged this or did anything to shelter the world from the actions of this narcissist. That's terrifying.
posted by angrycat at 4:47 AM on May 25 [94 favorites]


At Trump Tower, Michael Cohen and Oligarch Discussed Russian Relations, By William K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess and Mike McIntire, New York Times
In Mr. Cohen’s office on the 26th floor, he and the oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, discussed a mutual desire to strengthen Russia’s relations with the United States under President Trump, according to Andrew Intrater, an American businessman who attended the meeting and invests money for Mr. Vekselberg. The men also arranged to see one another at the inauguration, the second of their three meetings, Mr. Intrater said.

posted by Freon at 7:12 AM on May 25 [12 favorites]


I'm so sorry for your loss, dogheart.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:19 AM on May 25 [35 favorites]


Melismata: A few weeks ago I met a smart young woman (late 20s) who was interning at a media outlet in D.C. (I forget which one), and I asked her what the atmosphere was like there.

Are people killing each other? I asked. Are Dems and Repubs fighting in the streets?

No, she said, everyone is just waiting for this to be over so things can get back to normal.


Emphasis mine, because if this is a media outlet that reports the news, then waiting for things to be over and get back to normal IS NOT WHAT THEY SHOULD BE DOING. For example, said this morning (audio only for now, transcript up later) Rachel Martin, talking to ex-Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen, said "the president's supporters will say 'it may be unconventional, it may be uncomfortable, it may be even risky, but maybe that rhetoric was what opened that window to the these talks in the first place," 1) as if the talks had happened (THEY DIDN'T, TRUMP CANCELLED THEM), and 2) as if Trump's supporters' ideas are worth airing without caveats.

Yes, I understand Martin was posing a question to Mullen to prompt a response, but that framing was based on something that hasn't happened BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT CANCELED IT AND SAID WE MIGHT HAVE A NUCLEAR WAR INSTEAD.

This is not normal. People who support Trump's tantrums and petty power plays on the global scale as normal are making the situation worse now, and for the future. Things will not go back to normal if we pretend things are normal now.

I'm not saying that journalists should go full #Resist, but call out authoritarian, fascist, corrupt actions as such. Say "Trump's supporters will say that his bombastic rhetoric got North Korea to the point of a meeting, even though Trump then cancelled the meeting." Don't skip past the uncomfortable truths because they're divisive - these truths are only divisive because many people realize that they're bad ideas and actions. /rant
posted by filthy light thief at 7:31 AM on May 25 [71 favorites]


I read "there" as applying to Washington D.C. in general rather than the media outlet in particular, but maybe I'm taking too charitable an interpretation. I know that my co-workers in DC media aren't assuming that we can just wait this out.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:34 AM on May 25 [16 favorites]


@jimsciutto: #NorthKoreanSummit back on? Defense Secretary James Mattis tells reporters “we have got some, possibly some good news on the Korea summit, where it may, if our diplomats can pull it off, may have it back on even.”
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:54 AM on May 25 [2 favorites]


New Jersey doing good stuff on climate change.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:59 AM on May 25 [7 favorites]


Am I the one who has to spend all day tomorrow making a youtube response video to this summit mess composed of news clippings over Katy Perry's song "Hot N Cold" in the "Ken Burns" crossfade style?

So god help me if that's my duty to democracy then so be it.
posted by nikaspark at 8:04 AM on May 25 [14 favorites]


@jimsciutto: #NorthKoreanSummit back on? Defense Secretary James Mattis tells reporters “we have got some, possibly some good news on the Korea summit, where it may, if our diplomats can pull it off, may have it back on even.”

Political Wire relays the WaPo quoting Trump himself (for whatever that's worth):
“President Trump had canceled the June 12 summit in Singapore on Thursday but now says it is possible that a meeting could take place as originally planned,” the Washington Post reports.

Said Trump: “We’ll see what happens. We are talking to them now. They very much want to do it. We’d like to do it. It could even be the 12th.”

I can hardly wait for a presidency that isn't four years of making it up as they go.
posted by Gelatin at 8:08 AM on May 25 [24 favorites]


If anyone in MN knows of public demonstrations or anything protesting the abuse of undocumented and immigrant children, please message me. Or if you have other action ideas. I'll keep calling my senators and rep but I truly am at a loss of what else to do.

Suggestions of orgs to donate to are welcome as well.
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:20 AM on May 25 [10 favorites]


Going into the holiday weekend, anonymous White House leakers are insinuating to the Washington Post that there could soon be another firing/resignation from the Trump administration—‘We’re Closed!’: Trump Vents His Anger Over Immigration At Homeland Security Secretary:
President Trump began berating Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in the Oval Office earlier this spring, according to administration officials, griping about her performance and blaming her for a surge in illegal border crossings.[...]

The president has chastised her on several occasions this spring, including a much publicized meeting earlier this month when he attacked her in front of the entire Cabinet. He has grown furious because his administration has made little progress building the border wall, and his most ardent supporters have blamed Nielsen for not doing more to halt the caravan of Central American migrants whose advance Trump saw as a personal challenge. [...]

Nielsen has complained that it is almost an impossible task working for Trump, according to administration officials and others familiar with her thinking, and that he doesn’t understand the nuances of immigration law.

It remains unclear, according to several people familiar with the situation, how much longer the relationship can last, but the strains illustrate the difficulty faced by Trump subordinates who are tasked with delivering policy solutions to match his most soaring promises.

“The president has a very rudimentary understanding of what the border is all about and how you secure it,” said a former DHS staffer who worked closely with Nielsen. “And she’s also not one of the border fire-eaters that have his ear right now. She’s in an impossible, no-win situation.”
And, the leakers would like to remind the Washington Post's readers, Donald Trump is a bigot:
The night before Trump delivered his first speech to Congress in February 2017, he huddled with senior adviser Jared Kushner and Miller in the Oval Office to talk immigration. The president reluctantly agreed with suggestions he strike a gentler tone on immigration in the speech.

Trump reminded them the crowds loved his rhetoric on immigrants along the campaign trail. Acting as if he was at a rally, he then read aloud a few made up Hispanic names and described potential crimes they could have committed, like rape or murder. Then, he said, the crowds would roar when the criminals were thrown out of the country — as they did when he highlighted crimes by illegal immigrants at his rallies, according to a person present for the exchange and another briefed on it later. Miller and Kushner laughed.

A senior White House official said that while the president did discuss the “crowd enthusiasm for crackdowns on criminal aliens,” the official disputed that Trump used Hispanic names to illustrate the point.
Nielsen can't claim she didn't know what she was getting into when she signed up: "Nielsen got a glimpse of Trump’s intense anger over immigration last June when she was present for part of a meeting where Trump, Kelly, Miller and then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson all began yelling and insulting each other, according to former and current administration officials." The. Best. People.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:42 AM on May 25 [32 favorites]


Emmy Rae, I sent you a memail - but for other folks, there are a bunch of Minnesota-specific resources at the bottom of this page. The legal orgs tend to be more email list-y, some of the others are facebook-centric.

I think another thing to do would be to write all your city reps stating your support for immigrants, hatred for ICE, etc and your willingness to vote on those lines. Frey is a flawed mayor, but he's making some noises that are not entirely bad and I think he needs to know that this will not cost him politically.

MIRAC and CAIR are the ones to follow on facebook for protest and call-in information.

I hate this too and feel like I want to do more but am not sure what.

There is also a program misleadingly called "Countering Violent Extremism" that targets Somali Minnesotans for "intervention". If you have the opportunity to convey non-support to politicians, that is worth doing.

Things are going to shit here - far more homeless people than I've ever seen before due to opiods and rising rents, gentrification rendering huge swathes of the city basically unrecognizable, garbage racist policing, everyone I know is either broke or poor.
posted by Frowner at 8:53 AM on May 25 [21 favorites]


A collection of excellent Ann Telnaes political cartoons at the Washington Post: The Big Con: A visual history of Trump's conflicts of interest.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:59 AM on May 25 [7 favorites]


he doesn’t understand the nuances of immigration law.

I assume one of the said nuances is that, as is regularly pointed out here, the majority of undocumented immigrants don't enter the country illegally. They enter on visas and overstay them. And border security has absolutely no effect on that method: unless we're willing to outright forbid foreigners from entering the US even for short-term visits, there's not actually a whole hell of a lot to be done about those.

OK, I lied above. If we really, really wanted to root out visa overstays, there's definitely more that could be done, but that gets into the second nuance he probably doesn't get: a lot of our economy is based on undocumented workers (to our shame, because it's an incredibly exploited sector of our workforce). Crack down on that, and several industries (agriculture, particularly) go into shock. Industry and politicians talk a good game about immigration enforcement, but at the end of the day, they don't actually want immigrants gone, just scared.
posted by jackbishop at 8:59 AM on May 25 [19 favorites]


@quancyclayborne:
For those of you getting discourage remember:

-- Trump is bleeding supporters like a stuck pig - the only ones remaining are his base (~25%)

-- Politico reported that 200 million people are now registred to vote, the largest in history.

If we can keep this up, we will win.

posted by Artw at 9:07 AM on May 25 [56 favorites]


Long thread on the Ipsos weirdness that is driving changes in the generic ballot and Trump approval averages.

Obviously, I don't want to be the unskewed polls guy, but this does seem odd.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:10 AM on May 25 [11 favorites]


Also, serious immigration control is almost entirely bullshit.

1. Capital can move as it pleases, which is inevitably going to work to human detriment. Even with total freedom of movement, people can't keep up with money, but with little freedom of movement for humans, capital movement will always be used to screw actual humans.

2. Did god make the borders? Borders were made by humans, almost always by horrible violence and without any popular accountability.

3. If nation states can fuck people over through violence and "free" trade, people will always try to go somewhere else. If the US is going to back violent regimes all around the world and then shut out the people who are trying not to die or be horribly impoverished, well, that's a very bad and hypocritical thing.

4. De facto, strict immigration controls between large countries with enormous borders can't be enforced without great expense and great brutality. You're going to get brutality no matter what as long as you're trying to control people who really, really need to move.

5. Hatred of foreigners is exacerbated by the politics needed for strict immigration controls, and hatred of foreigners is a gift to the right.

In a statist society, there's probably some administrative reasons for some small amount of border bureaucracy, but far more at the library-card level than what we have now.

Except for the bare minimum of evidence-based border bureaucracy, borders are some bullshit.
posted by Frowner at 9:13 AM on May 25 [88 favorites]


Why, Kim Jong Un, why? (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
We must mourn what might have been.

It would have been amazing. It would have been the greatest summit of our time. Thomas Jefferson would have fallen demurely off Mt. Rushmore to make room. “I am not worthy,” would have creaked from his enormous stone lips, as he fell, “but I shall clear the way for one who is: The man who has solved Diplomacy.”

We must cast our commemorative coins into the commemorative sea. There is nothing to commemorate. The brave new world, in which Oceania and Eastasia found peace at last, is no more. But Mike Pence has been protected. No one can call him a “political dummy” and expect to sit down with Donald Trump. Donald Trump will stand and walk and sit down with many people, very fine people, but this — he could not countenance this.

Perhaps Leader Kim knew this. Perhaps this was why he allowed his minister to insult Vice President Pence: because he knew what would have happened if he had sat down with Donald Trump.

North Korea, of course, would have completely denuclearized without asking for any concessions whatsoever. That would have been the very first thing that would have happened. The things that would have happened after that would have been so beautiful that thinking of them, and knowing that Leader Kim made them impossible, fills my heart with a raw ache. The commemorative coins would have sold out, immediately, and their value would have increased each year exactly the way the value of Beanie Babies hasn’t.

And now it can never be.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:25 AM on May 25 [15 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump (5:04 AM - 25 May 2018):
The Democrats are now alluding to the the concept that having an Informant placed in an opposing party’s campaign is different than having a Spy, as illegal as that may be. But what about an “Informant” who is paid a fortune and who “sets up” way earlier than the Russian Hoax?

Can anyone even imagine having Spies placed in a competing campaign, by the people and party in absolute power, for the sole purpose of political advantage and gain? And to think that the party in question, even with the expenditure of far more money, LOST!

"Everyone knows there was a Spy, and in fact the people who were involved in the Spying are admitting that there was a Spy...Widespread Spying involving multiple people.” Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist Senior Editor But the corrupt Mainstream Media hates this monster story!

Democrats are so obviously rooting against us in our negotiations with North Korea. Just like they are coming to the defense of MS 13 thugs, saying that they are individuals & must be nurtured, or asking to end your big Tax Cuts & raise your taxes instead. Dems have lost touch!

Very good news to receive the warm and productive statement from North Korea. We will soon see where it will lead, hopefully to long and enduring prosperity and peace. Only time (and talent) will tell!
posted by christopherious at 9:26 AM on May 25 [7 favorites]


But the corrupt Mainstream Media hates this monster story!

Now this is the moment when he became president.

Democrats are so obviously rooting against us in our negotiations with North Korea.

I don't really have a rooting interesting in this situation. I'm just trying to figure out what the fuck is going on.

asking to end your big Tax Cuts & raise your taxes instead

True. If you're rich.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:38 AM on May 25 [3 favorites]


I just don't think these nonsense statements by Trump achieve anything. People who think Trump is incompetent will continue to think so. People who profess to love Trump will continue to do so. People who aren't tuned in will continue to not be tuned in. He's just shouting into the void.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:38 AM on May 25 [6 favorites]


christopherious: @realDonaldTrump ... Can anyone even imagine having Spies placed in a competing campaign, by the people and party in absolute power, for the sole purpose of political advantage and gain?

What the what? First, recall that the Democrats were blocked on judicial nominations, and now your corrupt party is gladly ratfucking the country for decades to come with its political and religious extremist judges, so that pretty much indicates that the Dems had nothing near absolute power.

Also recall when you PUBLICLY ASKED Russia to hack your opponents emails? Of course not, that was in the past and you forever live in the present.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:41 AM on May 25 [17 favorites]


The obvious, literal interpretation of that tweet is that Donald Trump believes that the Democratic Party had absolute power during the 2016 campaign despite having a minority in the House and Senate. He thinks of the presidency as having absolute power. Which shouldn't really be a surprise.
posted by skymt at 9:47 AM on May 25 [42 favorites]


I really really hope we (the press, the left, etc.) don't take the bait and get bogged down in some stupid "spy" vs. "informant" debate. It's fine to correct the record, but for fuck's sake do it in the context of "Yes, the FBI, which though a nonpartisan agency is staffed mostly by conservatives, did find it necessary to employ an informant within the Trump campaign when it became apparent that members of that campaign were foreign agents engaged in crimes, some of which they have confessed and are awaiting sentencing for, and some of which remain under active investigation."
posted by contraption at 9:56 AM on May 25 [18 favorites]


Sen Chris Coons [D-DE]: Based on new information we learned this week, I’m very concerned that Donald Trump Jr. provided false testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

I’m asking the Committee Chairman to bring Trump Jr. back in to testify-in public this time. Here’s the letter I sent yesterday.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:58 AM on May 25 [66 favorites]




He knows all he has to do is yell "SPIES" and the NYT will run 5 days of "Spygate???" headlines.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:03 AM on May 25 [5 favorites]


This quote from DJT: "But what about an “Informant” who is paid a fortune and who “sets up” way earlier than the Russian Hoax?"

Does it seem to say "How dare you get information on me before the actual collusion started?" Because that's the way I read it. Maybe all the head-desking finally broke my brain.
posted by puddledork at 10:04 AM on May 25 [6 favorites]


Hmm, the plot thickens in VA-05:
Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett and his wife turned the congressman’s staff into personal servants, multiple former employees to the freshman Republican told POLITICO — assigning them tasks from grocery shopping to fetching the congressman’s clothes to caring for their pet dog, all during work hours.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:04 AM on May 25 [20 favorites]


‘A lot of dial tones’: The inside story of how Trump’s North Korea summit fell apart
Inside the White House residence, the first alarm sounded about 10 p.m. Wednesday when national security adviser John Bolton told Trump about North Korea’s public statement threatening a “nuclear-to-nuclear showdown” and mocking Vice President Pence as a “political dummy.”

Trump was dismayed by Pyongyang’s bellicose rhetoric, the same theatrics Trump often deploys against his adversaries. Bolton advised that the threatening language was a very bad sign, and the president told advisers he was concerned Kim was maneuvering to back out of the summit and make Americans look like desperate suitors, according to a person familiar with the conversations.
...
Tony Schwartz, who co-authored “The Art of the Deal” with Trump, said the president scotched the summit to save his ego.

“Trump has a morbid fear of being humiliated and shamed,” Schwartz said. “This is showing who’s the biggest and the strongest, so he is exquisitely sensitive to the possibility that he would end up looking weak and small. There is nothing more unacceptable to Trump than that.”
...
For Trump, the cancellation brings one silver lining — at least in the eyes of his lawyer. Giuliani said the president would now be free to focus on whether to sit for an interview with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team in the Russia investigation.

Still, Giuliani added, he believes Trump is more likely to eventually sit down across from Kim than Mueller.

“I think it is more inevitable than a Mueller interview,” Giuliani said. “At least they’re not going to try to trap him into Korean perjury.”
posted by kirkaracha at 10:04 AM on May 25 [8 favorites]


I just don't think these nonsense statements by Trump achieve anything. People who think Trump is incompetent will continue to think so. People who profess to love Trump will continue to do so. People who aren't tuned in will continue to not be tuned in. He's just shouting into the void.

The entire universe didn't blame the cancellation of the summit on Kim like they were Supposed To, so hello narcissistic injury and lots of word salad. I used to call it "ranting to the heavens" when my narcissist parent did it. Our ceiling fan heard a lot about how No One Else knew how to Do Things Correctly and How Dare people Underestimate their Brilliance.
posted by camyram at 10:12 AM on May 25 [18 favorites]


He knows all he has to do is yell "SPIES" and the NYT will run 5 days of "Spygate???" headlines.

Betteridge's law has a corollary: Even though the answer to the headline is almost always no, lots of people will still think it suggests yes.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 10:12 AM on May 25 [10 favorites]


“I think it is more inevitable than a Mueller interview,” Giuliani said. “At least they’re not going to try to trap him into Korean perjury.”

Ah, yes, the infamous Korean perjury trap. Just as the solution to the famous Chinese finger trap is to resist the urge to pull, a little known secret to avoiding a Korean perjury trap is—and this is counterintuitive, I know—to resist the urge to lie.
posted by Room 101 at 10:14 AM on May 25 [46 favorites]


Does it seem to say "How dare you get information on me before the actual collusion started?" Because that's the way I read it. Maybe all the head-desking finally broke my brain.

By pointing to what seems to be ongoing concern from the FBI about Russian contacts with his campaign, Trump is basically conceding that those contacts existed.

It's been fascinating seeing how much wrongdoing Trump and his apologists are willing to admit to, tacitly or otherwise, and how much more they imply by how desperately they work to try to cover it all up.
posted by Gelatin at 10:14 AM on May 25 [17 favorites]


On a lighter note: Because of filthy light thief's comment in a previous thread, 2 weeks ago I subscribed to my local weekly paper, which is independently owned (not owned by Sinclair or GateHouse). It's not cheap. In fact somebody left a voicemail confirming my subscription, and her tone was surprised and telegraphed "Is this a mistake? or a practical joke?" But I didn't really get, before reading all y'all's comments here since 11/08/16, about how vital this sort of thing is -- how lack of support for, and engagement with, local media and politics, corrodes democratic ideals and cornerstones that I grew up taking for granted.

This week's edition had 3 items that caught my eye, which I would otherwise never have heard about (there's a county-wide daily paper, owned by GateHouse, but it doesn't have the following items):

1. There have been 3 reports to police about a "nude 'bigfoot,'" some guy(s?) who's out at night / wee hours of morning, running, in the nude. Police spokesperson: "[In this city,] nudity, with no other lewd action, is not a criminal offense. . . . [Reports say no] lewd behavior accompanied the activities of the nude individuals." (!! I did not know this. I'm not ok with a guy exposing himself to me while staring at me, but an isolated guy enjoying the warming spring winds around his dangly bits when few people are likely to see him strikes me as funny...though maybe it would give cover to assholes, I dunno.)

2. At a local independent cafe, the local police department has a monthly "Coffee With A Cop" opportunity to have coffee with a cop and ask questions. I've heard the Police Chief speak before at a Resistance meeting, and grilled him a bit about how they check for white supremacist candidates for the police force. He fielded my questions satisfactorily. So I think I'll go to the next Coffee w/ Cop. I'm thinking about asking about what I've read here, and at CAIR, about how some police academies train recruits using anti-Muslim rhetoric & other bigoted exercises. If I need to pivot away from a charged topic like that, I'll ask about the line between indecent exposure and "nudity with no other lewd action."

3. A committee of residents, public officials and community leaders had their first meeting about making this small city a Not In Our Town (NIOT) community. (The article says that in the 1990s, there was a hate crime here against a Chinese-American, a stabbing resulting in a punctured lung.) At this meeting, the Police Chief encouraged people to especially report crime against immigrants. The organizers are planning future meetings.

Thanks to the MeFite who posted the NIOT link months ago in one of these threads. This article might not have caught my eye otherwise. It's ploddingly written. I'd half-heartedly thought about trying to get NIOT started here, but I'm not white, and I'm an introvert so I'm not well connected, and the task and risk to my faith in humanity seemed too much. Probably I'll find that this NIOT group is like most White-dominated groups, full of well-meaning Trump-hatin', White-oblivious & -defensive people, but I have found more woke White people speaking up to defend me when I open my mouth lately, so. Crossing fingers. Also I think I may offer social media help to the paper. Their twitter and Facebook pages haven't been updated since September 2017.

tl;dr: Your town, too, could be a NIOT town!
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 10:42 AM on May 25 [74 favorites]


But what about an “Informant” who is paid a fortune and who “sets up” way earlier than the Russian Hoax?

Let's not overlook this. To Trump, the campaign's illegal meeting with Russian criminals in Trump Tower, which was admitted publicly on Twitter by Donald Jr. is a "Hoax".

If he's that dissociated from reality, why bother trying to parse the rest of his rantings?
posted by mikelieman at 10:45 AM on May 25 [13 favorites]


“I think it is more inevitable than a Mueller interview,” Giuliani said. “At least they’re not going to try to trap him into Korean perjury.”

Jesus Kee-rist. This thing again. You know how to avoid a 'perjury trap'? Don't lie. Tell the truth, like you're supposed to. There. Simple. Done.

Ladies and gentlemen: Rudy Giuliani, legal mastermind. Every time he complains about a 'perjury trap', he's basically conceding that his client is going to lie, and that he has reason to lie.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:51 AM on May 25 [64 favorites]


It really would be a brilliant play on North Korea's part if they set up a call with Trump, goaded him into admitting a bunch of criminal or otherwise damaging stuff, and then released a recording of the call.
posted by The World Famous at 11:13 AM on May 25 [24 favorites]


Berkeley Breathed's first comic, the college-based "Academia Blues" from 1978, is being rerun on gocomics.com. And the one today was depressingly as true today as 40 years ago.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:22 AM on May 25 [19 favorites]


Jaw-droppingly bad business practices by Mickey "Sez Who?" have been found by the Forward: Exclusive: Michael Cohen’s Trump Org Emails Tied To Crooked ‘Taxi King’
Michael Cohen’s use of his Trump Organization email to conduct his taxi business has become more legally significant after his former medallion manager, Evgeny Freidman, agreed to work with federal prosecutors as part of a plea deal, according to experts and reports.

That’s because public records obtained exclusively by the Forward show that Cohen used his Trump email on multiple occasions to conduct business for his NY Funky Taxi Corp. medallion, which Freidman managed since at least 2012. Cohen’s taxi dealings were part of records seized by federal investigators after they raided his home and office.

David Shapiro, a financial crimes expert and former FBI forensics investigator, told the Forward that Cohen’s use of the “trumporg.com” address makes it much harder for him to argue he was only acting in a legal capacity for the company. Shapiro also said that it potentially exposes other members of the Trump Organization to federal investigations if Freidman testifies against Cohen.

“He’s conducting business, he’s not practicing law. There’s a potential conspiracy charge [against the Trump Organization],” Shapiro said.

“I am really astounded by the sloppiness of it all. It’s so careless.”
And if this situation wasn't stupid enough, "Shapiro added that investigators could now more easily subpoena all of Cohen’s Trump Organization emails going back a decade, when records show he started to conduct his taxi business with that address."
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:45 AM on May 25 [51 favorites]


So, today I actually had time to call my senators and reps during work (aka when someone actually answers the phone). I am represented in Washington by Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith and Keith Ellison. On each call I asked the person who answered "Has Senator/Rep X made a statement in response to Donald Trump's comments calling immigrants, including children, animals?"

Each time they said the person has not made a statement but they would be happy to pass along a message. I think it is a major failing even my notably liberal folks haven't made a statement. It concerns me that the Democrats aren't immediately and aggressively pushing back on that (I know there are one-off exceptions). I told the staffers that I think it is important to publicly rebuke these statements and ultimately to defund and disband ICE, which is acting in accordance with the White House's "animals" sentiment.
posted by Emmy Rae at 12:02 PM on May 25 [20 favorites]


oneswellfoop: "Berkeley Breathed's first comic, the college-based "Academia Blues" from 1978, is being rerun on gocomics.com."

Pedantry: It's "Academia WALTZ".
posted by Chrysostom at 12:02 PM on May 25 [6 favorites]


zachlipton: WaPo, In an internal memo, the White House considered whether to simply ‘ignore’ federal climate research

Meanwhile, facing the uncertain reality that we can't ignore: In a Warming West, the Rio Grande Is Drying Up -- Even in a good year, much of the Rio Grande is diverted for irrigation. But it’s only May, and the river is already turning to sand. (by Henry Fountain, with photographs and video by Josh Haner, for New York Times, May 24, 2018)
LEMITAR, N.M. — Mario Rosales, who farms 365 acres along the Rio Grande, knows the river is in bad shape this year. It has already dried to a dusty ribbon of sand in some parts, and most of the water that does flow is diverted to irrigate crops, including Mr. Rosales’s fields of wheat, oats, alfalfa and New Mexico’s beloved chiles.

Because last winter’s mountain snowpack was the second-lowest on record, even that irrigation water may run out at the end of July, three months earlier than usual. But Mr. Rosales isn’t worried. He is sure that the summer thunderstorms, known here as the monsoon, will come.

“Sooner or lat