None Dare Call It Treason
July 17, 2018 9:40 AM   Subscribe

Donald Trump, current occupier of the Oval Office, has returned to the US after a tumultuous six-day international tour in which he again declared himself "a very stable genius" after disrupting the NATO summit in Brussels (Rolling Stone), lied about predicting Brexit while criticizing PM Theresa May over her handling of it (The Sun), called the European Union "a foe" of the US (CNN), and then met with President Vladimir Putin in a two-hour, closed-door, off-the-record session that culminated in a joint news conference so shameful (Washington Post) and obsequious (NYTimes) that people are debating if it was treasonable (Business Insider). … And halfway through this trip, on Friday the 13th, Special Counsel Robert Mueller issued a new indictment (PDF) of 12 Russian intelligence officers in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign (NY Times), and on Monday, the Department of Justice DoJ Release: charged Russian national and NRA Mariia Butina, who lobbied the National Rifle Association and the National Prayer Breakfast on behalf of Russia (New York Times) and met Trump in 2015 (CNN), Conspiracy to Act as an Agent of the Russian Federation Within the United States (DoJ press release).

To recap the Helsinki meeting, a.k.a., the "Surrender Summit" (CNN):
• CNN: Trump Sides with Putin Over US Intelligence (although Trump thought it went well immediately afterward)

• NBC Trump Attacks Mueller At Joint News Conference With Putin, Advances Conspiracy Theories

• The New Republic: How Russians Saw the Helsinki Summit—Beneath the widespread jubilation over Putin's triumph, a few folks worry Trump capitulated so spectacularly that it's almost certain to provoke backlash.

• Washington Post: Trump Says Summit With Putin Was ‘Even Better’ Than NATO Meeting As Growing Number Of Republicans Criticize His Helsinki Comments.
Also in the news:
• Washington Post: Judge Temporarily Halts Deportation of Reunified Families

• Government Executive: Trump Moves Hiring of Administrative Law Judges Out of the Competitive Service & Judges' Union: Supreme Court Decision an 'Excuse' to Politicize ALJs

• Reuters: U.S. Treasury moves to protect identities of 'dark money' political donors

• NY Times: ‘Warning Lights Are Blinking Red,’ Top Intelligence Officer Says of Russian Attack.—The comments by Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, demonstrate the persistent divisions within the Trump administration on Russi

• NPR: China Files WTO Complaint Over U.S. Tariffs on $200 Billion of Imports

• Toronto Star: U.S. files World Trade Organization Complaint Against Canada’s Retaliatory Tariffs

• Politico: FCC Sends Sinclair Mega-Deal to Likely Doom—The FCC’s decision is a significant blow for Sinclair, which has been a frequent target for Democrats and liberal groups.

• Newsweek: U.S. Jerusalem Embassy To Cost 100 Times More Than Trump Claimed

• Washington Post: Jared Kushner Lacks Security Clearance Level To Review Some Of The Nation’s Most Sensitive Intelligence In White House Role (Incidentally, tenants allege Kushner firm pushed them out of their homes (AP).)
Which brings us to this morning, in which NBC's HansNichols (@HansNichols) reports: JUST IN: Rod Rosenstein was summoned to the WH today, four days after he indicted 12 Russian Intelligence Officers. He was seen leaving the WH at 11:28AM. Unclear if he met with President Trump, who is still in the residence and hasn't showed up in the West Wing this morning.

Today is the 544th day of the Trump administration.

As always, please consider MeFi chat for hot-takes and live-blogging breaking news, the current MetaTalk venting thread for catharsis and sympathizing, and funding the site if you're able. Also, for the sake of the ever-helpful mods, please keep in mind the MetaTalk on expectations about U.S. political discussion on MetaFilter.
posted by Doktor Zed (2519 comments total) 152 users marked this as a favorite
 
Nichols has just updated that to "a routine meeting in which he did not meet with Trump," for the record.
posted by Archelaus at 9:45 AM on July 17 [5 favorites]


Just to add to the recap: Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, remains in jail.

(One of the few small bright spots in this story.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:47 AM on July 17 [46 favorites]


[General notice, there's plenty of "omg wtf" reaction to yesterday in the previous thread, and there's the venting thread for emotional processing. Let's keep the signal high and the noise low in here.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:47 AM on July 17 [23 favorites]


Trump will be meeting with some members of Congress at 2PM, and will open the meeting with remarks on the Putin summit. I can foresee no complications from this.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:48 AM on July 17 [14 favorites]


I mean, aside from how messed the eff up this whole thing is, the Putin conference was the dictator cherry on top. I don't consider myself particularly patriotic, but when the sitting President sides with Putin over the US intelligence agencies...that's gonna be bonkers in the future history books.
posted by Kitteh at 9:50 AM on July 17 [14 favorites]


Hopefully Dems will use the new criticism of Trump to push through laws restricting the president's ability to be a traitor. What ever happened to the bill maintaining sanctions on ZTE, for example?
posted by msalt at 9:50 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


President Trump does a great job and doesn’t let America down at all (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
I don’t know what Trump was thinking going in. He tweeted that “if I was given the great city of Moscow as retribution for all the sins and evils committed by Russia over the years, I would return to criticism that it wasn’t good enough,” which sounded like he thought he might be handed Moscow. This did not happen.

Instead, this did.


Putin: Thank you for being here. Although can we truly say that anyone is anywhere? I, personally, choose to believe that nothing exists, which means that I can regard all of this with an amused detachment. If any of this were real or had any meaning, you would be awash in despair, and I would not be able to answer for my crimes. But it is all an empty farce. Speaking of which, here is Donald Trump, the president of the United States.

Trump: You must understand that, like, a week ago, Russia and the United States had a worse relationship than they had ever had. I assume ever. If there is any history between these beautiful nations, do not tell me! I have not gotten to it yet, and I would hate to hear any spoilers. But this morning we fixed it. The next time we meet, maybe Vladimir Putin will give me Moscow.

Putin: Sure. Sure. Why not? Why should I not give him Moscow? What is Moscow? What is anything?

Question: If you were upset at Russia right now, President Trump, why would that be?

Trump: I’m not upset at Russia. Mostly, I am disappointed … in America. Most of the blame for our relationship with Russia is that America until now has acted as though we were some sort of special place with higher standards than the rest of the world, where we claimed to believe in democracy and the rule of law, which just means you cannot torture people or have a really good parade, and the media often says mean things about you based in fact. None of that is good.

Putin: Imagine if any of this were really happening!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:53 AM on July 17 [88 favorites]


I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, mefi.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:53 AM on July 17 [221 favorites]


Just to add to the recap: Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, remains in jail.

Last night, Rachel Maddow reported that Manafort's VA trial got postponed so that it will now start next Monday (it was supposed to start today) despite this trial being in the supposed "rocket docket" and with a judge that also likes to move quickly. She didn't really speculate on why there was such an unusual postponement, but just as a layperson, I wonder if it might be because there are more indictments in the offing or at least something more coming down the pike from the Mueller investigation that could affect Manafort's case. Especially given this interesting detail: "Manafort is the only person in the case thus far that has not agreed to plead guilty or agreed to work with special counselor Robert Mueller or investigators."
posted by rue72 at 9:54 AM on July 17 [16 favorites]


If you want change, you have to reach for the Overton Window.

Here's how: treason is a capital crime. Let's see how GOP concerns about "civility" go when everywhere they turn people are openly discussing who should be prosecuted and made to face the ultimate sanction.
posted by ocschwar at 9:54 AM on July 17 [24 favorites]


From Helsinki, I bring you a sunny photo gallery of the Summit's surroundings
posted by infini at 9:54 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


I won't link it, but the Daily Caller has published an article just to dox the founder of Sleeping Giants. It doesn't accuse him of any wrongdoing, just describes what Sleeping Giants is, gives the guy's name and city of residence, and declares him "unmasked."
posted by contraption at 9:54 AM on July 17 [12 favorites]


Meanwhile, the EU and Japan make a comprehensive trade deal: Japan-EU trade deal 'light in darkness' amid Trump's protectionism (Guardian article)
posted by mumimor at 9:55 AM on July 17 [8 favorites]


"Manafort is the only person in the case thus far that has not agreed to plead guilty or agreed to work with special counselor Robert Mueller or investigators."

Well, of course, there are all the indicted Russians and Russian entities, who are unlikely to ever be tried.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:55 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Winning Is Not Enough: "Democrats are focused on taking back power—but our democracy depends on them keeping it. To do that, they have to start thinking differently." - Paul Glastris, Washington Monthly. (presumably written before this past weekend's events).
As Democrats think and argue about how to win back power, and what policies to implement when they do, one crucial fact is missing from the conversation: it will take something very special—some very new thinking—to avoid the fate that always befalls Democrats, namely, losing control of government after two years*.
...

Does Policy Really Matter?

Are you not sold on [suggestions for various policies and policy themes]? That’s fine. My aim is not necessarily to convince you of the wisdom of this or that particular policy idea. It is to convince you of the necessity for the Democrats to have new policy ideas, and to base them at every step on the imperative of winning by margins big enough to ensure the continuation of American democracy. If you don’t like my policy ideas, I invite you to come up with your own.

The point of championing new policy ideas [such as Medicare-for-all] is not so much to persuade voters of any particular policy, but, rather, to remake the Democratic Party into one that is more in the interests of average Americans, that does truly put more power in voters’ hands. If the party does this, and gets the message out using the power of Congress, then it has a shot at convincing more Americans that Democratic candidates are on their side. Policy ideas are important not because most voters will learn the details and think through the implications, but because they can give a candidate and a party an identity that voters can, well, identify with.
...

Republicans, looking at their control of Washington and most state governments, and considering the rise of conservative regimes and ethno-nationalist parties in Europe and around the world, may see themselves as the new sun party. But changing demographics cut against that story.
...

Demography, however, isn’t destiny. And even if the decisive demographic shift in politics Democrats are hoping for comes, it is still several election cycles away. For now, Democrats are going to have to manufacture a majority under difficult conditions, and hold on to it, or America a decade from now might not have a democracy at all.


*[[Here's] a quiz for you: Since 1981, for how many years has the Democratic Party controlled the White House and both houses of Congress?

The answer is four: the first two years of Bill Clinton’s first term, and the first two years of Barack Obama’s first term. That’s it.]
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:56 AM on July 17 [45 favorites]


Can someone explain to me why, as was oft-repeated towards the end of the last thread, the republicans don’t have to care because they “own the senate and house in perpetuity going forward”?
posted by constantinescharity at 10:02 AM on July 17 [4 favorites]


New to me snark: "TRE45ON".
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:03 AM on July 17 [168 favorites]


Can someone explain to me why, as was oft-repeated towards the end of the last thread, the republicans don’t have to care because they “own the senate and house in perpetuity going forward”?

Gerrymandering.
posted by Sphinx at 10:06 AM on July 17 [40 favorites]


Deseret News: 'Puppy pistol?' Utah gun rights activist says she was duped by Sacha Baron Cohen
Key quote justifying her willingness to promote the use of rocket-propelled grenades by toddlers: "I objected the entire way. They assured me it was what Benjamin Netanyahu wanted."
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:07 AM on July 17 [41 favorites]


From Helsinki, I bring you a sunny photo gallery of the Summit's surroundings

It is so very strange to see my Helsinki simultaneously so insulted and so much its resist-through-perkele self.
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:07 AM on July 17 [5 favorites]


Don't forget our old friend: voter suppression headlined by a packed Supreme Court.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:07 AM on July 17 [27 favorites]


Can someone explain to me why, as was oft-repeated towards the end of the last thread, the republicans don’t have to care because they “own the senate and house in perpetuity going forward”?

A combination of voter suppression, gerrymandering House districts and the inexorable migration of people toward urban centers, leaving rural states dominated by a dwindling population of largely conservative whites who still get 2 senators per state.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:08 AM on July 17 [59 favorites]


constantinescharity, this comment from the previous thread helps me put it in perspective.
posted by Melismata at 10:08 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Also, control of the Supreme Court.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 10:08 AM on July 17 [3 favorites]


I think anyone claiming confidence that the Republicans will control the House either in February or in the long term is mistaken. Gerrymandering only goes so far if people don't want to vote for you.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:08 AM on July 17 [9 favorites]


In Arizona not long back, Doug Ducey got the legislature to add two more judges to the Arizona Supreme Court. So, in addition to the Goldwater Institute hack with no previous judgeship experience that he got to appoint to a vacancy, he also got to appoint two more judges. Remember that if you're worried about Republican pushback to Dem court packing. The GOP does not play nice. If they get the presidency and both houses, hell yes you pack the court.
posted by azpenguin at 10:08 AM on July 17 [49 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Trump thinks "Putin's got my back, if things start to go south, I can rely on him to keep me in the life of luxury I'm accustomed to", not realizing that Putin gains more from Trump's ongoing failure and will drop him like a wet sack of garbage when the time is right.
posted by AzraelBrown at 10:09 AM on July 17 [15 favorites]


How is yesterday's news playing in the Russian media?
posted by Keith Talent at 10:10 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Barack Obama: 'You have to believe in facts' Former US President Barack Obama delivered the line in a speech at an event in South Africa to commemorate Nelson Mandela's 100th birthday. His comments were seen as a riposte to the current US administration.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 10:10 AM on July 17 [28 favorites]


Can someone explain to me why, as was oft-repeated towards the end of the last thread, the republicans don’t have to care because they “own the senate and house in perpetuity going forward”?

The Senate is going to become more and more structurally biased toward low population states that will vote Republican. The house has a smaller version of that but the force multiplier of computerized gerrymandering and likely control of a large number of state legislatures after the 2020 census, as well as a DoJ that is unlikely to enforce what little of the VRA the Roberts court deigns to leave in place.
posted by PMdixon at 10:11 AM on July 17 [10 favorites]


Well here's something that might get the GOPs attention:
Four 'blue' states sue Federal Government over local tax reduction loss
The governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland on Tuesday announced they would sue the federal government for taking away taxpayers' ability to deduct the full amount of state and local taxes they pay from their federal returns.
posted by bluesky43 at 10:12 AM on July 17 [59 favorites]


I'll wait to be convinced that corporate Dems are truly committed to taking back power, but if they are, at the first chance they get they will need to:

- Pack the Court
- Push statehood for DC and Puerto Rico
- Automatic Voter Registration

At a minimum. We need a new VRA, end lifetime judicial appointments, tie representation to population, end the Electoral College, and a whole bunch of other stuff as well.
posted by Existential Dread at 10:15 AM on July 17 [109 favorites]


Can someone explain to me why, as was oft-repeated towards the end of the last thread, the republicans don’t have to care because they “own the senate and house in perpetuity going forward”?

Senate: Rural, conservative states are overrepresented in the Senate. The bluer states are more populous but still get the same number of senators as the redder, smaller states.

House: Total number of house seats is currently limited to 435. California is about 704k people/house seat, Wyoming is 568k/house seat. A lot of the house seats are republican gerrymanders which the ...

Supreme Court: is unlikely to overturn. The court currrently sits at 5-4 conservative and will likely be 6-3 conservative because the disproportionately rural-conservative senate votes to confirm.
posted by nathan_teske at 10:18 AM on July 17 [27 favorites]


Well, it's a relief that Rosenstein's meeting at the White House was "for routine meetings", though I would argue that nothing is routine when it comes to this White House. (MoveOn's Rapid Response Events for a Mueller/Rosenstein firing is probably cocked right now.)

And that's not even getting into the unexpected closed-door & closed-to-the-press emergency meeting Trump's having today at 2 p.m.—possibly over "Tax Reform 2.0"—and there's a rumor about a surprise press conference with Trump that I've been fruitlessly chasing…
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:18 AM on July 17 [4 favorites]


[Having covered the future prediction thing, let's not drive off further in that direction, but instead let's bring it back to present-day actual-event updates.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:19 AM on July 17 [6 favorites]


From the proverbial Martian point of view, it's pretty striking that when you have speakers emphasizing the value of living in reality, or dictionaries posting definitions for "quisling" and "treason", it's immediately understood as throwing shade on Republicans specifically. In principle any party/ideology could "own" the concepts, and up until very recently, loyalty to the USA was obviously the more conservative than liberal concern (hence the new hemming/hawing from Republican leaders). "Enough bullshit!" signals alliance with libbish/leftiness almost as much as "No more Nazis!" (which of course is its own little riddle, that one).
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:21 AM on July 17 [23 favorites]


Don't forget when NPR tweeted the Declaration of Independence, and Trump supporters assumed it was referring to their preferred Tyrant.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:23 AM on July 17 [67 favorites]


Winning Is Not Enough: "Democrats are focused on taking back power—but our democracy depends on them keeping it. To do that, they have to start thinking differently."

This is a fantastic article that everyone should read. Thanks for posting it.
posted by Jpfed at 10:24 AM on July 17 [12 favorites]




Arnold Schwarzenegger on the summit:

"President Trump, I just saw your press conference with President Putin and it was embarrassing. I mean, you stood there like a little wet noodle, like a little fanboy. I was asking myself, 'When are going to ask him for an autograph or a selfie or something like that.'"

The former California governor accused Trump of "selling out his country," and asked the president, "what's the matter with you?"
posted by porn in the woods at 10:32 AM on July 17 [114 favorites]


Charlotte almost voted to stop the 2020 Republican convention from coming to town - Tara Golshan, Vox
Despite determined progressive activism, Charlotte’s City Council agreed to host the RNC.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:41 AM on July 17 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Trump thinks "Putin's got my back, if things start to go south, I can rely on him to keep me in the life of luxury I'm accustomed to"

I think Putin has an iron hand in a velvet glove in his dealings with Trump. Also, I think that Putin is extremely angry over Russians being indicted for Russian intelligence/political work conducted on Russian soil, and sees it as an aggressive move toward him personally on the part of the Mueller investigation.

For my part, I hope that not only does the investigation and subsequent American legal action undo Trump and take him from power, but that it gives aide to an international effort to bring legal action against Putin and take him from power, too. He didn't just interfere in the US election, he has attempted this against other countries (namely the UK and France) and he is instigating a lot of very serious international incidents. This is an international problem that hopefully we can form a coalition to stop. BEFORE it becomes WWIII, rather than after.

Anyway, I haven't had a chance to watch Putin's recent interview with Fox News in full yet, but he had a very striking interchange where he started referencing JFK's assassination. The Daily Beast article (with embedded video of the interview) describes it in a much more genteel way than I myself would:

Later, Wallace confronted Putin about his long list of “political enemies” that have ended up dead. In an attempt at moral equivalence, Putin asked, “Haven’t presidents been killed in the United States?”

Citing the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Putin went on, “That’s something that happens on the U.S. soil. All of us have our own set of domestic problems.”


Putin citing the JFK assassination in that context sounds like an implied threat and makes me wonder about his use of fear (rather than just bribes) in keeping these traitors in check. I guess it doesn't matter much anyway, everyone knows that Putin is a murderer -- of course he uses fear as a weapon. But I still find that interchange pretty interesting in terms of understanding his perspective on his relationship with Trump.
posted by rue72 at 10:45 AM on July 17 [32 favorites]


Prior to 2016 I knew practically nothing about Trump

Read Doonesbury (and see how Garry Trudeau called it 30 years ago).

Also look for some SNL skits from the 80s.

He's been an asshole for a long, long time.
posted by Melismata at 11:02 AM on July 17 [94 favorites]


I think anyone claiming confidence that the Republicans will control the House either in February or in the long term is mistaken.

The question is going to be how deep the blue wave is - but the Republicans are definitely going to be taking huge losses. I understand feeling like everything terrible is happening in this timeline, but them continuing to control the House is just not even within the realm of possibility at this rate.
posted by corb at 11:04 AM on July 17 [5 favorites]




A good news followup to the earlier reporting that the Army was discharging immigrant recruits, Army abandons legal effort to expel an immigrant soldier on path to citizenship (WaPo). The Army has agreed in a court filing to comply with it's own policies and not discharge a reservist who came to the US at age 12. Unfortunately, there is no update to the "at least 40" other unnamed soldiers being discharged from the original AP reporting, hopefully this outcome provides them a path of action.
posted by peeedro at 11:07 AM on July 17 [21 favorites]


but them continuing to control the House is just not even within the realm of possibility at this rate

it seems overly optimistic to discount the probability of further election tampering though.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:07 AM on July 17 [44 favorites]


Quoting myself from a previous thread:
it would be nice if more white people learned the skills of compartmentalizing righteous anger, not letting it show, and de-centering yourselves by (at first, before saying your piece) listening to / soothing the anger and anguish of people who don't listen to or respect you, because IF those people are reach-able, usually they have to feel that you've heard them first.

Those of us who are low in the social hierarchy on multiple axes, we do it all the time to survive. It's not fair. It's not fun. It's hit or miss. But it works often enough for me that I keep doing it. Again, it'd be helpful if more white people, especially white men, deployed these de-centering skills. Most white men can do it with their bosses. It doesn't seem to occur to them to do it with anybody else... because, I presume, people who would reciprocate are often lower in the hierarchy so why would it occur to you (general you, not directing this at anybody in-thread) to listen to or do emotional labor for them; and with people who don't reciprocate, it's unpleasant, so if you're lucky enough that you don't have to, then you choose to avoid it entirely.

This is my personal request for Mefites who identify as Facebook-using, woke White people -- not just Americans but y'all in other countries too -- especially if you're cishet, abled, neurotypical, & normatively comfortable generally -- to consider joining this Facebook group. I'm not naming it in-thread because I prefer some degree of anonymity here, however fig leafy. Here's the group's non-FB site which talks about the techniques, but I don't know if they're doing much there.

Technically, it's for progressives who want to practice talking persuasively to conservatives. In practice, for me as a WoC (and for woke White people there who I've talked with privately), it's entirely about pushing back against Love Me I'm A Liberal White-centrism. (OK, the exercises about framing points in terms of conservative values of "loyalty, authority, sanctity" have come in useful with some not-entirely-rabid Trumpists in my life.)

I hope that for you, it could be about practicing persuasive, self-decentering, "framing-this-like-talking-to-my-boss" techniques on White progressives who are in denial about how White-centric they are. The rank-and-file White members are largely in denial. It's mostly women, so White Women's Tears is a factor that I have to deal with when I speak up, but if you're White, those Tears are unlikely to target you. There's a scattering of PoC, both woke and not-woke. There are some woke White people who have pushed back against the prevailing White Fragility mindset.

Behind the scenes, using kalessin's excellent rubric for concrete actions to de-Whitify an org, I've had promising initial discussions with some of the leadership, ie, steps that would need to happen for this group to be able to attract and keep a critical mass of PoC, both rank-and-file, and leadership. Y'all could help me by joining, and by practicing "I'm-phrasing-this-like-talking-to-my-boss" comments that would role model a more humane mode of being White, for the current White-centric, White-fragile membership.

I join in there in small doses myself. I take weeks-long breaks when my mental health needs it. If you did the same, I'd be so happy. It's both short- and long-term work towards pushing the moral arc of the universe towards justice. If we can't even persuade White-fragile people who are nominally in our side, then I might as well give the fuck up entirely. I need you. Please check it out. If you decide it's not for you, please consider telling me your impressions, so that I can give leadership a fuller picture of what's repelling people. MeMail me any questions.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:07 AM on July 17 [114 favorites]


Request thingie: can people listing names of senators, members of congress and other electable or elected humanoids add (R), (D), (I) or (weathervane) as applicable? Not all of them are readily identifiable as one of those categories by their quotations alone by people not fully acquainted with US politics.
posted by Stoneshop at 11:10 AM on July 17 [40 favorites]


You reap what you sow
posted by Damienmce at 11:10 AM on July 17 [3 favorites]


Putin citing the JFK assassination in that context sounds like an implied threat and makes me wonder about his use of fear (rather than just bribes) in keeping these traitors in check.

Could be, but I think the simpler read is that he's referring by implication to the CIA Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory in order to draw equivalence to the Putin regime's use of its intelligence services to squash political opposition.
posted by AndrewInDC at 11:15 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


Damienmce - generally helpful and useful and entirely well intentioned comments like that are framed with the construction “what about...?”, which you might want to stick to avoid wasting people’s time.
posted by Artw at 11:15 AM on July 17 [15 favorites]


cybercoitus interruptus, I nope'd out of that Facebook group idea just reading the front page description. I am a trans woman, I am a socialist, and I am under fucking direct attack. I am *way way* beyond this "talk it out" civility bullshit. If the group is about something OTHER THAN THAT then it needs to take a look at the way it presents itself, cause as-is it triggers the kind of absolute bullshit initiatives that try to brush aside the severe impact of white supremacy calling for its victims to discuss things nicely as they're under direct fucking attack.
posted by odinsdream at 11:19 AM on July 17 [80 favorites]


I think anyone claiming confidence that the Republicans will control the House either in February or in the long term is mistaken.

Gerrymandering a double-edged sword. In the short term, it buys you political control disproportionate to the number of votes you actually control. In the long-term, though, it leaves you extremely susceptible to electoral surges, since the districts that you've carefully engineered to control 53% of the vote won't survive a 6-point swing in general voter turnout. IF the Blue Wave happens, and IF it's as significant as polling was suggesting in April and May, then yes, the House could easily go blue. Possibly it could approach the 2/3 threshold needed for impeachment conviction, if the outlying D+9 generic polling results turn out not to be noise.

That said, it would be exceptionally naive to assume that the GOP will take this lying down. It's too late to un-gerrymander the swing states, but you'd better believe they'll resort to every voter suppression tactic ever devised by man if it looks like one or both chambers of Congress is at risk. Trump's margin of victory in the three key swing states was substantially less than the number of people who were prevented from voting. What sort of monstrous things do you think they'll do to save Scott Walker's job? Ted Cruz's?
posted by Mayor West at 11:20 AM on July 17 [8 favorites]


Request thingie: can people listing names of senators, members of congress and other electable or elected humanoids add (R), (D), (I) or (weathervane) as applicable? Not all of them are readily identifiable as one of those categories by their quotations alone by people not fully acquainted with US politics.
posted by Stoneshop at 2:10 PM on July 17


Seconding this. Thank you!
posted by yoga at 11:20 AM on July 17 [5 favorites]


Speaking of the thread title, the Washington Post reported just yesterday:
John A. Stormer, a Cold War-era anti-communist author and pastor whose widely circulated book “None Dare Call It Treason” warned of Soviet subversion in America and helped catapult arch-conservative standardbearer Barry Goldwater to the Republican presidential nomination in 1964, died July 10 at a rehabilitation center in Troy, Mo. He was 90.
posted by adamg at 11:22 AM on July 17 [13 favorites]


[If folks want to give feedback on the Facebook group, please take it over to MeMail rather than having an extended sidebar in this thread. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:22 AM on July 17 [5 favorites]


I assume that at this point there's a ninja team of State Department lawyers in a windowless basement somewhere, poring over the fine print of the Alaska Purchase.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 11:23 AM on July 17 [11 favorites]


IF the Blue Wave happens, and IF it's as significant as polling was suggesting in April and May, then yes, the House could easily go blue. Possibly it could approach the 2/3 threshold needed for impeachment conviction, if the outlying D+9 generic polling results turn out not to be noise.

Heads up—the 2/3 number for conviction applies solely to the Senate, and only 1/3 of the Senate is up at a time. (In this case, the mostly-Democratic third.)
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:25 AM on July 17 [8 favorites]


It is looking like Fox, the NRA, and about half of Congressional Republicans are involved in this mess. What are the odds they will favor a fair election and a peaceful transition of power when they have a vested interest in retaining power to avoid jail?
posted by fings at 11:27 AM on July 17 [26 favorites]


Oi oi oi Arnie... yes I know he was a Republican, and he is a groper, but his needling of Trump just makes me swoon. He is the alpha male that Trump knows in his heart he can never be, and hearing him speak from the heart, like an angry German grandpa... you go Arnold! And the best part is I am pretty sure Trump actually hears this. He respects and envies the real celebrity.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:27 AM on July 17 [19 favorites]


Just read the article a few folks have linked, Winning Is Not Enough. One suggestion is adding Puerto Rico and DC as states, which I always assumed was something difficult. Apparently all we have to do is win:

All it takes is a majority vote in Congress and a presidential signature to add a state, and the country has done so thirty-seven times since its founding.
posted by Emmy Rae at 11:32 AM on July 17 [34 favorites]


and a presidential signature

So we'll need a veto-proof majority, which is unlikely.

Frankly, we'll need a veto-proof majority to do almost anything, I fear. But that's no reason not to try.
posted by suelac at 11:35 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


"... and a presidential signature"

When can we get one of those president things people keep talking about?
posted by KeSetAffinityThread at 11:35 AM on July 17 [18 favorites]


> ZeusHumms:
"Since 1981, for how many years has the Democratic Party controlled the White House and both houses of Congress?"
ZH, Since 1981, for how many years has the Republican Party controlled the White House and both houses of Congress?
posted by theora55 at 11:36 AM on July 17 [4 favorites]


You reap what you sow

You can read that article here, but since you didn't what you're doing is making a false equivalence. The Yeltsin campaign hired US campaign and image consultants to teach them 101-level campaign practices like how to poll, how to stay on message, and the basics of political advertising. You're implying there is a reasonable comparison to a series of Russian cyber attacks and probable campaign finance law violations, at the very least. That is weaksauce whataboutism.
posted by peeedro at 11:38 AM on July 17 [60 favorites]


"... and a presidential signature"

I'm not unaware of the difficulty here, but I assumed that adding a state took some sort of act of the other states, like a constitutional amendment would. I suspect there is more than one person here who doesn't remember all these things from 9th grade civics so I wanted to share.
posted by Emmy Rae at 11:39 AM on July 17 [6 favorites]


Since 1981, disregarding seated presidents and incumbent vice-presidents, how many times has the Republican Party won the popular vote for the presidency?

I had a dream last night that the editorial board of TIME Magazine announced they had had a change of heart, and from now on the magazine would be a proudly liberal, progressive publication. I don't know what this means.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:40 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


From Zach Everson @Z_Everson

DC's Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4C unanimously supported the complaint to revoke the Trump Hotel DC's liquor license because @realDonaldTrump "is not a person of good character"

You can scroll up in that thread and see Republican campaign organization and candidate spending at the hotel.
posted by jgirl at 11:42 AM on July 17 [102 favorites]


Reuters Politics: Trump says he meant to say in Helsinki that he saw no reason why it would not be Russia that interfered in elections

⚰ RIP Satire ⛼
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:42 AM on July 17 [31 favorites]


In case its been a long 24 hours for anyone else the verbatim quote from trump yesterday was "I have President Putin; he just said it's not Russia. I don't see any reason why it would be."

Next question for Republican senators - even if we take him at his word how can we be okay with someone who cant be trusted not to get meanings 180 degrees wrong in internationally televised announcements.

I mean, fine, let him take Steve Harvey's job, or host the fucking Oscars, or something.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:45 AM on July 17 [33 favorites]


Current state of the union: CNN talking heads are discussing the possibility of Mueller subpoenaing the President's Russian translator.

For the last couple of days, CNN has been sounding like the evidence-based counterpart to InfoWars.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:47 AM on July 17 [12 favorites]


and a presidential signature

So we'll need a veto-proof majority, which is unlikely.


I am not a Constitutional scholar, but on a straightforward reading of Article 4, Section 3, adding new states does not require approval by the President.
New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.
The Constitution appears to vest authority for adding states solely with the Congress. Moreover, it doesn't give any rules for how that works, so I would assume simple majority is enough.

Just as a note here: The U.S. Constitution is, at the end of the day, pretty badly written.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 11:49 AM on July 17 [35 favorites]


Reuters Politics: Trump says he meant to say in Helsinki that he saw no reason why it would not be Russia that interfered in elections [real, real, I tell you!]

But wait, that's not all from Reuters:
MORE: Trump says he meant to say in Helsinki that he saw no reason why it would not be Russia that interfered in elections

MORE: Trump says his administration will move aggressively to repel any efforts to interfere in 2018 election
Caveat from the Toronto Star's Daniel Dale (@ddale8): "Remember the Charlottesville saga: Trump expressed his true views, there was an outcry, he dutifully read a staff-written walk-back statement, then soon after he abandoned the walk-back and even more forcefully expressed his true views."
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:50 AM on July 17 [103 favorites]


Since 1981, for how many years has the Republican Party controlled the White House and both houses of Congress?

Eight by the election: 2001-2007 and 2017 on.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:52 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


While I don't pretend any amazing insight into Trump, I do think it's incorrect for people to assume that he must be blackmailed.

It may well be that Putin is blackmailing Trump, but I don't think that hypothesis is necessary to explain what we're observing.

Trump loves dictators. People have noted that Trump is mean and insulting to other world leaders, but has nothing but good things to say about Putin. However, Putin is not alone in getting praise from Trump. Trump also had nothing but good things to say about Duterte, Erdogan, and lately Kim. In fact, his insults seem limited to democratically elected leaders. It isn't that he praises just Putin, it's that he praises dictators in general.

It's similarly possible to explain Trump's attacks on NATO and the EU without invoking blackmail. Trump is nationalist and isolationist, he's not happy with any sort of large organization and greatly prefers individual, one on one, deals which he both imagines he is good at negotiating and which he imagines he can exploit and abuse more easily than he can in a multilateral sort of situation.

Trump's ego knows no bounds, and I have no doubt at all that he is supremely confident that if he could get Merkle, or Macron, away from the EU and able to do a one on one deal he could easily exploit them and take their money.

Like most isolationists he isn't fond of military alliances. He'd be happy using the US military as enforcers for a sort of global mafia protection racket, but if the US isn't getting paid in cash for military protection he sees it as the US losing.

Again, I'm not arguing that blackmail is impossible. I'm just arguing that it isn't necessary to explain his actions. His own narcissism and racist ideology lead to an anti UN, anti NATO, anti EU, viewpoint. It may well be that Putin is manipulating Trump in a number of ways, but I'd bet that at the most he's simply steering a willing Trump in a direction he's eager to go anyway.

I also suspect Trump has an inferiority complex when it comes to dictators. He sees them as people who have achieved something he greatly desires and has failed to obtain. He wants to be a dictator like they are, so he butters them up because he wants to be what they are.
posted by sotonohito at 11:52 AM on July 17 [102 favorites]


Reuters Politics: Trump says he meant to say in Helsinki that he saw no reason why it would not be Russia that interfered in elections


Some context for his remarks, which are contradictory and make no sense:
""Once again, full faith and support for America's intelligence agencies. I have a faith full faith in our intelligence agencies...I have full faith and support for America's great intelligence agencies, always have...I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place. Could be other people also. A lot of people out there...In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word would instead of wouldn't. The sentence should have been...'I don't see any reason why it WOULDN'T be Russia.' Sort of a double negative. So you can put that in, and I think that probably clarifies things.""
Trump accepts the conclusion that it was Russia, while insisting that it probably wasn't Russia. If you dispute the thing you say you're accepting, you don't actually accept it; that's not how words work.

'I think that probably clarifies things' indeed.
posted by cjelli at 11:54 AM on July 17 [44 favorites]


I understand feeling like everything terrible is happening in this timeline, but them continuing to control the House is just not even within the realm of possibility at this rate.

At the rate where Trump is still near his best popularity numbers since the inauguration, you mean? The generic ballot has come back towards the good guys some since its lows a few months ago, thankfully, but as Harry Enten says the numbers are currently consistent with anything from a popular-vote tie for the House (which means Rs probably pick up some seats) to a completely unprecedented 15 points D win which would be a Democratic megatsunami.

We should try to be optimistic-but-realistic. I have confidence the Democrats will pick up seats but the Rs continuing to control the house isn't just "within the real of possibility" it's probably a better chance than Trump had of winning the election, and we know how that turned out.
posted by Justinian at 11:55 AM on July 17 [31 favorites]


For myself, I hope that Trump isn't impeached. I hope that the midterms take back the Senate, the Dems have the guts to pack the Supreme Court and the remaining two years of Trump's term destroy the Republican party. The Reuters quote above from Trump is BS. He knows it, the Republicans know it and any sound minded American knows it.
posted by bluesky43 at 11:57 AM on July 17 [6 favorites]


The President disputing the idea that he insulted NATO: "I can tell you, when I left, everybody was thrilled." [real]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:58 AM on July 17 [69 favorites]


East Manitoba, we're gonna need a [real] or [fake] on that.
posted by Emmy Rae at 12:02 PM on July 17 [11 favorites]


President Trump: "I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place; could be other people also."

By adding that final ad hoc clause to his scripted remarks, Trump is declining to unambiguously accept the intelligence community's conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. He appears to be physically incapable of doing that.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:02 PM on July 17 [26 favorites]


Lot of folks rightfully pointing out that no clarification, retraction, 180* flip was made in the sit-down interview Trump did with Hannity right after yesterday's appearance.

Why can he only say the (marginally) right things when he is reading them off of a prepared sheet of paper - i cant help but think of Charlottesville day 2 here - and EVEN IF THATS TRUE WHY DID HIS PEOPLE NOT HAVE A PAPER IN FRONT OF HIM YESTERDAY THAT SAID THE RIGHT THINGS?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:03 PM on July 17 [10 favorites]


For myself, I hope that Trump isn't impeached.

Absolutely not. Even with Democrats as checks, the sheer amount of damage and graft he would be capable of is unacceptable.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 12:04 PM on July 17 [33 favorites]


"I can tell you, when I left, everybody was thrilled."

But not for the reason he thinks! whomp whomp!

On a tangent, for those who found HMQ's coded brooch choices during Trump's visit too subtle, here's an even lengthier but no less fascinating examination of the different signals sent by the sartorial statements of Putin vs. Trump.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:05 PM on July 17 [61 favorites]




>President Trump: "I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place; could be other people also."

By adding that final ad hoc clause to his scripted remarks, Trump is declining to unambiguously accept the intelligence community's conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.


It (ironically) reads as if he actually did forgot to leave in a 'not' -- as in, 'I accept...that Russian's meddling took place -- NOT.'

Very curious who convinced Trump that he needed to walk this back, and what (if anything) they'll do now that he essentially failed to walk it back despite having merely to read some words off a piece of paper in front of him and then not immediately contradict what he was saying. I would be equally shocked if people resigned over this and if people didn't resign over this.
posted by cjelli at 12:10 PM on July 17 [4 favorites]


It's similarly possible to explain Trump's attacks on NATO and the EU without invoking blackmail.

Sure it's possible. But it's very convenient that sowing discord between and within the US, UK, and France (aside from the USSR, the key states of the WWII alliance) keeps an international coalition from forming that's strong and united enough to put a stop to Putin's tricks. This is about Putin empire-building and wanting to do it with no interference -- and, if possible, while performing the additional hat trick of building that empire using US resources.

Who knows or even cares why Trump thinks he's doing what he does. Ultimately, it's at Putin's behest, so it's in service of Putin's aims. If we agree that these are Russian-instigated attacks and that Trump is a puppet (at best or foreign asset at worst) then we need to think about what Russia wants, not what Trump does.
posted by rue72 at 12:12 PM on July 17 [7 favorites]


Trump's bullshit statement is not playing well on CNN. And they are the masters of both-sidesism, this is actually a great opportunityism, and expect-a-pivotism excuses for Trump. So it doesn't sound like Trump's attempt to clean this up is going to fly with anybody except the Fox News sycophants. I assume it will fly with them, anyway, since they're so far in the tank.
posted by Justinian at 12:13 PM on July 17 [6 favorites]


"I accept that the world is round. Could be other shapes also."
posted by neroli at 12:14 PM on July 17 [171 favorites]


Here's video of his double negative "clarification", which is so much worse than reading it. He's reading off a piece of paper, and clearly shows zero interest in the words that are coming out of his mouth.

@poniewozik: Gloria Borger: Trump "looked like he was in a hostage tape."

But the key part is when he says "Could be other people also. A lot of people out there." The White House spin yesterday, as funneled through Axios, was "Trump seems constitutionally incapable of taking anything Mueller finds seriously." And sure enough, here is is "constitutionally incapable" of reading the damn piece of paper they put in front of him without ad-libbing a variation of the 400 pound hacker line to cast doubt.
posted by zachlipton at 12:15 PM on July 17 [40 favorites]


The statement is absurd on its face. But you want to watch the video of him delivering it. His performance says everything you need to know. It’s an amazing display of performative contradictions and makes him look guilty as shit. Bad optics, man.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:15 PM on July 17 [17 favorites]


Trump's bullshit statement is not playing well on CNN. And they are the masters of both-sidesism, this is actually a great opportunityism, and expect-a-pivotism excuses for Trump.

Chris Cuomo yesterday was all in on Trumps behaviorist being unacceptable and instead had his both-sides faith folcused on an imaginary bipartisan cavalry of democrats and republicans coming together to tackle Trump. I am guessing his centrist dreams have been frustrated?
posted by Artw at 12:18 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Trump's attempts to forge a lasting peace with North Korea were preceded by his threats of fire and fury.

Trump's adulatory praise of NATO and delight in its supposedly increased funding was preceded by his denouncing of his allies as greedy fiscal sponges, and questioning whether NATO still had any purpose.

Trump insults very large numbers of people and organizations; sometimes he turns around and praises them, sometimes he continues to insult them.

But Trump's attempts to forge a lasting peace with Vladimir Putin were preceded by... praise of Vladimir Putin. The Russian President is Trump's North Star: the only controversial political figure he is incapable of insulting no matter how much it would benefit him in domestic politics. Why is that? The only plausible explanation is that Vladimir Putin has power over Donald Trump: the ability to deny him personal benefits, or to damage him. The only plausible explanation is that Donald Trump's personal interest in aiding a foreign enemy supersedes and nullifies his oath to protect the United States.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:18 PM on July 17 [39 favorites]


My concern with regards to how this plays out, assuming as i am that it follows the Charlottesville script is this - how do we make sure Trump has another opportunity to "further clarify" his true thoughts on the matter. Didnt the "good people on both sides" (Day 3) Charlottesville statement happen in the lobby of trump tower? Am i wrong in thinking that the prolonged outrage over Heather Hayer's murder by white supremacists forced him into continuing to address it? what is the similar impetus here?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:18 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


This sad, embarrassing wreck of a man (George Will, WaPo)
America’s child president had a play date with a KGB alumnus, who surely enjoyed providing day care. It was a useful, because illuminating, event: Now we shall see how many Republicans retain a capacity for embarrassment.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:20 PM on July 17 [45 favorites]


It's like a sixth-grader inventing a really elaborate lie to cover up another lie, and not realizing that the adults can see through it because they are adult and he is a sixth grader. It's actually really humiliating. Maybe it's true that Melania hates him.
posted by mumimor at 12:21 PM on July 17 [54 favorites]


> This sad, embarrassing wreck of a man (George Will, WaPo)

For anyone else who's confused here: George Will is the author of this piece, not the subject.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:21 PM on July 17 [128 favorites]


Bloomberg, Mueller Asks Manafort Judge to Give Immunity to Five Witnesses
Special Counsel Robert Mueller asked a judge to give immunity to five people who may testify at next week’s bank-fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Mueller didn’t identify the five witnesses in a court filing Tuesday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. He said the five are likely to invoke their right against self-incrimination if they don’t receive immunity. Their names will only be made public if they are called to testify, he said.
Vague, but this strikes me as a particularly bad sign for Manafort if Mueller has five apparently guilty people with a big incentive to talk lined up to testify against him next week.
posted by zachlipton at 12:22 PM on July 17 [66 favorites]


In the video where the lights go out while he's sort-of reaffirming his trust in US security, note how Trump's posture changed during the blackout. When the lights came back on, his arms are crossed in a guarding, defensive posture. Weak!
posted by maniabug at 12:24 PM on July 17 [8 favorites]


This burn is so George Will:
Precision is not part of Trump’s repertoire: He speaks English as though it is a second language that he learned from someone who learned English last week.
posted by zakur at 12:29 PM on July 17 [56 favorites]


Thanks for the new post.

The Trump/ Putin news conference feels like the tipping point. It feels like June 1914, when Gavrilo Princip shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand, triggering the start of WWI a month later. The US President calls the EU a foe, declines to hold Russia accountable for manipulating the US presidential election, is a public jerk to long-time allies, and befriends leaders of long-time problem countries. Putin owned pres. PantsOnFire. No discussion of Crime, human rights. The US is a powder keg right now, and a lying, corrupt asshole has the detonator.

Meanwhile, the Democratic National Party is silent, and Democratic leaders are under attack. It's way past time for the opposition to President Corrupty McFlamingPants to step the fuck up.

We need a March To Repudiate Trump. Daily, if necessary. Impeachment? Fuck yeah. It would damage the GOP and we need to damage them until their very name is dust.
posted by theora55 at 12:31 PM on July 17 [11 favorites]


I was just at the grocery store (in eastern MA) when all phones went off with a loud, loud warning. Turned out to be a flash flood warning but the instant looks of absolute concern and panic on everyone's faces followed by relieved chuckles was something. No nukes today!

How I hate this timeline.
posted by lydhre at 12:32 PM on July 17 [72 favorites]




For anyone else who's confused here: George Will is the author of this piece, not the subject.

Well he is the columnist that implying that individuals were pretending to be assault victims at colleges because efforts to combat the problem have made victimhood a "coveted status that confers privileges." So we kinda do need that clarification.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:33 PM on July 17 [10 favorites]


I said the word would instead of wouldn't

This is historic, regardless of what the meaning of "is" is. This is forcing supporters to take him at his word that he's incapable, or take him at his initial word that he supports Putin over the US intelligence community. Technically better than yesterday because they have a fig leaf, but anyone clutching at Trump's fig leaf should know just how little it covers, and that he could snatch it away in a tweetstorm at any second. Maybe this is the end, maybe not, but the last seven days have lasted years and will be recalled for decades.

Politically, just the statement that you said one thing, and meant the opposite in so many words, is weak and indefensible to all sides, and has so much meme potential and replayability as a soundbite. He might as well have it tattooed.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 12:34 PM on July 17 [9 favorites]


Bloomberg, Mueller Asks Manafort Judge to Give Immunity to Five Witnesses
Special Counsel Robert Mueller asked a judge to give immunity to five people who may testify at next week’s bank-fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
...

posted by zachlipton at 12:22 PM on July 17 [4 favorites +] [!]


Mueller seems to be a man slowly tightening the thumbscrews until he gets what he needs.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:35 PM on July 17 [4 favorites]


Trump was reading for a typewritten script during his "clarification" moment but he made some handwritten additions, including: "THERE WAS NO COLLUSION" [real, cnn WH producer's tweet w a photo]

Again, how come no one suggested hand-writing in all caps I ACCEPT OUR IC'S CONCLUSION RUSSIA DID IT on his notes yesterday?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:36 PM on July 17 [37 favorites]


Watch his body language at 2:35 of this clip (just after the lights out bit). He crosses his arms and hunches over as he says "I accept our intelligence agency's conclusion," reading it off the damn piece of paper they obviously put in front of him and said "just read this." And then he finds himself surprised at what he's saying and starts ad-libbing the "could be other people also. There's a lot of people out there."

I thought the usual hostage video protocol was a subtle duress signal, not "blurt out contradictory statements once you realize what you're reading."

I am desperately curious what excuses they rejected before they came up with "double negative." One possibility: @ashleyfeinberg: "what if we just say it was opposite day" "was it opposite day though?" "hm, good point. [gets up to yell down the hall] YO CAN SOMEONE CHECK IF YESTERDAY WAS OPPOSITE DAY"
posted by zachlipton at 12:36 PM on July 17 [63 favorites]


Jonathan Livengood: "
I am not a Constitutional scholar, but on a straightforward reading of Article 4, Section 3, adding new states does not require approval by the President.

New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

The Constitution appears to vest authority for adding states solely with the Congress. Moreover, it doesn't give any rules for how that works, so I would assume simple majority is enough.
"

I'm not one, either, but I believe Article 1, Section 7 controls here:
Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States[.]
Certainly, Eisenhower signed the Hawaii Admissions Act.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:36 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


Pompeo to testify in Senate after criticism of Trump-Putin summit (Politico)
By BURGESS EVERETT and ELANA SCHOR
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee next week to discuss a pair of controversial summits held by President Donald Trump, according to Republican aides.

Pompeo will appear before the committee in open session on the afternoon of July 25 to answer questions about Trump’s meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:40 PM on July 17 [10 favorites]


Politically, just the statement that you said one thing, and meant the opposite in so many words, is weak and indefensible to all sides, and has so much meme potential and replayability as a soundbite.

Yep. I don't know about y'all, but for those of us who do still make the effort (fruitless and idiotic though it may be pretty much all the time) to discuss this with believers or near-believers or pseudo-believers in other electronic venues this is exactly what I was thinking as well. Remember that these followers all to often don't say much beyond basic blurbs of "Love America or Get Out! / Don't like it? Leave!" or "I think Trump has a plan / He did-said X or Y for a REASON!" and this gives a helluva shiny bit of ammo to throw in their face when they act like he's the Nth dimensional chess master they purport him to be.

I don't say this lightly and I know some of you folks here may think it is a waste of time to even engage with folks of that caliber, and I get it, but A) if I were to silence/block off the entirety of that population from my life I'd be left with about 4 people and mefi to converse with and B) some of them, albeit a small amount really can/will admit to logical conclusions if you press the right buttons in the right order. It's a long shot but I've managed to get true believers on the record conceding that Trump's not perfect or that he made a mistake or otherwise make them look very silly along the way to the observers of said discussion by pointing out their hypocritical moments. It's a fine line between troll feeding and productive effort but I think it can, at times, be fruitful. I, of course, don't expect it of others because damn that emotional labor/time sink, it's a doozy.

A small thing, certainly. But when arguing with small minds one takes all you can get.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:43 PM on July 17 [16 favorites]


East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94: "I can tell you, when I left, everybody was thrilled."

“Everyone was smiling, everyone was happy, the men all had erections, and every single one of the women was ovulating left and right.” (Definitely Not Sean Spicer (Melissa McCarthy) on SNL, back in the optimistic days of February 2017)

In other news: Bill to save net neutrality gets first Republican vote in US House -- 176 Democrats and one Republican are on board—but 41 more votes are needed. (Jon Brodkin for Ars Technica, July 17, 2018)
The congressional bill to reinstate net neutrality rules has finally received support from a House Republican.

US Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) today announced his support for the bill. Coffman is signing a discharge petition that would force the House to vote on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution; the resolution would reverse the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of its net neutrality rules.

The US Senate approved the CRA resolution in May, with votes from all members of the Democratic caucus and three Republican senators. While 176 House Democrats have signed the discharge petition, Coffman is the first House Republican to do so.

"I hope more Republicans will join this effort and stand on the side of American families who rely on and overwhelmingly support a free and open Internet," said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass), who submitted the CRA resolution that passed in the Senate.

The petition needs 218 signatures, and Republicans hold a 236-193 majority in the House, so it's still a long shot. But advocacy groups that support net neutrality praised Coffman for becoming the first House Republican to sign the petition.
At this point, I'll take any break from purely party votes as a (very small, faint) glimmer of hope.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:50 PM on July 17 [18 favorites]




Vice's Motherboard: Top Voting Machine Vendor Admits It Installed Remote-Access Software on Systems Sold to States

Shout out to the good people at Vote Allegheny for being on top of this issue and being the source of the info in this article regarding Allegheny and Venango Counties. Pittsburgh area MeFites are encouraged to join, contribute, volunteer and/or just get on the mailing list. Meetings are generally held Sundays in Squirrel Hill, but if you're going check first because sometimes they are cancelled.
posted by M-x shell at 12:50 PM on July 17 [18 favorites]


Best Twitter response:
"I meant to say *don't* grab them by the pussy."
posted by neroli at 12:55 PM on July 17 [72 favorites]


I am not a Constitutional scholar, but on a straightforward reading of Article 4, Section 3, adding new states does not require approval by the President.

Anything that

(1) Requires approval by both House and Senate
(2) Has any effect outside of Congress itself or has the force of law

Has to be sent to the President for approval, acquiescence, or veto.

The only things that require House and Senate approval, but not presidential, are congressional housekeeping matters that affect both chambers, like setting up a joint committee.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 12:58 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


Or impeachment.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:00 PM on July 17 [29 favorites]


@JDiamond1: A banker who negotiated bankruptcy dealings with Trump in the 90s just emailed me to say Trump’s excuses today re Russia reminded him of their dealings. Trump’s attorneys insisted then they agree nothing Trump said in negotiations was binding unless it was put in writing. “Watching him now on tv saying that virtually everything he said yesterday was taken out of context and he really believes in what the US intelligence agencies have concluded. He is unbelievable and nothing has changed in the past 25 years.”

Metaphor alert: @ChadPergram: Lightning from big thunderstorm just hit Capitol Dome. Big rumble echoed through Rotunda and Statuary Hall. Lights dimmed. This is ahead of the All-Star game to be played just blocks from here later tonight

Continuing metaphor alert: @dnewhauser [video]: Water is streaming through the ceiling in the Cannon tunnel in the Capitol
posted by zachlipton at 1:05 PM on July 17 [46 favorites]


Trump was reading for a typewritten script during his "clarification" moment but he made some handwritten additions, including: "THERE WAS NO COLLUSION" [real, cnn WH producer's tweet w a photo]

Good grief, that handwritten note looks like it was scrawled in Trump's hallmark black Sharpie magic marker. It's legit his sign of protest.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:06 PM on July 17 [5 favorites]


President Trump: "I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place; could be other people also."

Oh brother, now we're going to have five more bullshit TV days of "He only called MS-13 animals, not the other Mexican animals. What's your perspective, Brett?"

Again, how come no one suggested hand-writing in all caps I ACCEPT OUR IC'S CONCLUSION RUSSIA DID IT on his notes yesterday?

Because they wisely stopped doing that after DO NOT CONGRATULATE.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:06 PM on July 17 [12 favorites]


Guys, we know how to create new states. Congress passes an Enabling Act (as a regular law) the territory writes a constitution, it gets approved (by a vote and/or Congressional approval, per the terms of the Enabling Act), and the territory elects a state government. Lots of examples.

Getting a new state admitted is likely to be politically fraught, but it was pretty much all the other times, too. Congresses have never been blind to the political effects of adding new states. Some of the state borders, and the order when they were admitted, result directly from political considerations of the time (not even just over slavery! Lots of reasons!)
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:06 PM on July 17 [17 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. GoblinHoney, these threads are pretty heavily moderated to keep noise/riffing/etc comments down. You can read the Metatalk linked in the FPP for more info.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:08 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


This adding a state business is getting well off into the weeds, but both Puerto Rico and DC have written constitutions and applied for statehood several times, but been shot down in Congress.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:11 PM on July 17 [4 favorites]


The Constitution appears to vest authority for adding states solely with the Congress. Moreover, it doesn't give any rules for how that works, so I would assume simple majority is enough.

Usually there's been an enabling act to admit new states and the act is signed by the president. For example, the Enabling Act of 1802, signed by Thomas Jefferson, "authorized the residents of the eastern portion of the Northwest Territory to form the state of Ohio." The Enabling Act of 1889, signed by Grover Cleveland, "permitted the entrance of Montana and Washington into the United States of America, as well as the splitting of Territory of Dakota into two states: North Dakota and South Dakota."
posted by kirkaracha at 1:17 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


You know what I think of when I hear the words “Enabling Act,” don’t you?
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:25 PM on July 17 [5 favorites]


Randy Rainbow on Facebook:
Donald just fixed everything by retroactively amending the transcript of his televised statement about election meddling to read, “I don’t see any reason why it WOULDN’T be Russia,” instead of "WOULD be Russia." He also clarified that he likes to grab women by their puppies.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:32 PM on July 17 [47 favorites]




Right. Usually there is an enabling act. But not always. The reason my original comment is mistaken comes much earlier, at the end of Article 1, Section 7, as GCU Sweet and Full of Grace pointed out. Oh well.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 1:35 PM on July 17


It has been established that Biff Tannen in Back to the Future was based on Trump.

I was thinking that the scene in Helsinki reminded me of when the groveling Biff Tannen was washing George McFly's truck.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:42 PM on July 17 [15 favorites]


[Folks let's ease back on the riffing, new states, etc, and steer back toward actual updates.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:42 PM on July 17 [10 favorites]


In his written remarks, he also crossed out "anyone involved in that meddling to justice", which is something a non-guilty person would totally do.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:51 PM on July 17 [48 favorites]


A little historical context. It seems that Putin's playbook is not entirely original.

In 1975 Brezhnev made the same (he thought secret) offer to Ford - of Russian help with his election.

President Ford declined the offer and lost the election to Jimmy Carter.
posted by 6thsense at 1:55 PM on July 17 [39 favorites]


NPR's Lucian Kim has been (@Lucian_Kim) has been looking into a Russian Ministry of Defense statement from this morning and its implications (per Tass).
Breaking: Russian MoD says in statement that it's ready to implement agreement on international security Putin and Trump reached in Helsinki.

Russian MoD says it's "ready to activate contacts with US colleagues via general staffs and other existing communication channels to discuss extending Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, cooperation in Syria, other current issues of ensuring military security."

Also note the Russian MoD statement uses a word that can be translated as "agreements" or "understandings." So MoD could be jumping gun, especially as Russian diplomats were at summit, not Russian generals.
Or the fix could have been in well before the Helsinki summit, and Putin's generals are less circumspect than his diplomats.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:57 PM on July 17 [7 favorites]


I don't know, and wouldn't care to predict, whether his performance in Helsinki and sudden reversal will ultimately prove to be the snowflake that causes the avalanche but I do believe that the number one threat to Trump is not the criticism of his political adversaries or the press or the supposedly-principled (but consistently ineffective) critics in his own party.

In my opinion the surest way to end Trump's so-far unwavering support from his base is to make him look weak by the standards that his authoritarian-loving hordes use to judge strength. They worship the man because they seem him as strong, powerful, a winner -- all the things they themselves would like to be. If he ever loses that aura he'll never get it back -- and I believe he's well aware of it. He is potentially vulnerable at this point but also particularly dangerous -- seeing his aura of invincibility under threat it's quite conceivable he'll do something monstrous and cruel as a show of strength to his base. What that is and whether it succeeds in restoring his luster with the base I can't guess but I think it's very likely he'll do something unpredictable in an attempt to shore up his "strong man" image and change the narrative from "Trump looked like a loser in Helsinki."
posted by Nerd of the North at 1:58 PM on July 17 [14 favorites]


The Scotsman [to head off the communism discussion from the end of the last thread, this is, in fact, the true Scotsman], Donald Trump’s Turnberry firm paid £50,000 by US Government for weekend visit
US federal government spending records seen by this newspaper show a series of payments worth a total of £52,477 were made by the State Department to SLC Turnberry Limited, the company behind the South Ayrshire hotel and golf course.

The five-figure windfall, which represents the first example of how Mr Trump’s firm was paid for his contentious working visit to the UK, has been condemned by ethics watchdogs, with one group accusing the 72-year-old of “using the power and authority of his office to profit personally”.

The US taxpayers’ money went towards hotel rooms used by Mr Trump and his staff during his two-night stay at Turnberry, which the president said would be dominated by meetings and calls. He ended up playing two rounds of golf at the historic course.
The actual cost could be higher, those are just the payments we've seen so far. Following publication of this report, Eric Trump declared that they only sell their rooms to the US Government at cost: "Thanks @dmartosko. These people are so knowingly dishonest - while not required, we have decided that for any United States Govt business, we charge our COST and do NOT profit from these stays. Much more would be spent if they stayed elsewhere. #FakeNews #NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished"

This announcement came as a surprise to the reporters who track government spending at Trump properties, who would like to know when this policy was quietly implemented and would like to see proof to substantiate the claim they aren't profiting.
posted by zachlipton at 2:01 PM on July 17 [40 favorites]


In his written remarks, he also crossed out "anyone involved in that meddling to justice", which is something a non-guilty person would totally do.

That phrase looks like something someone forgot to delete from an earlier draft, so I think this edit is actually the innocuous mark-up of a statement that was written and edited in haste.

Otherwise it looks like it would read:

"I have on numerous occasions noted our intelligence findings that Russia attempted to interfere in our elections. Anyone involved in that meddling to justice Unlike previous administrations, my Administration has and will continue to move aggressively to repel any efforts to interfere in our elections."
posted by AndrewInDC at 2:02 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


I have to say, I don't understand why anyone is treating today's "clarification" as any kind of reversal. All Trump said was that he accepts the Intelligence Community's conclusion that Russia meddled in the election, and that he didn't see any reason why it wouldn't have been Russia. The latter statement is functionally the same as not seeing any reason why it would have been Russia (because he ignores the reasons and goes with his gut) and the former statement doesn't tell us anything about Trump's own conclusions. He can accept that the IC believes it was Russia, while himself believing it could have been "a lot of other people." Someone should ask him again WHO and WHAT he believes, which he refused to answer at the press conference.
posted by SpaceBass at 2:03 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


As much as I want to see this moment as a tipping point, I feel like we've already had so many tipping points it no longer matters.

Tearing kids from their families and traumatizing them with incarceration and no plans for reunion was a tipping point. We should all be out in the streets over this, not just one day, but all the time. Republicans were scared of this, but they ducked and mumbled and it really does look like the pressure has largely blown over for them. Puerto Rico should've been a tipping point. Charlottesville should've been a tipping point. Hell, I'm probably forgetting some tipping points.

Tipping points have become normalized. Republicans have gotten used to it.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:06 PM on July 17 [89 favorites]


> I have to say, I don't understand why anyone is treating today's "clarification" as any kind of reversal.

When plausible deniability meets a gullible audience, the threshold for substantiating evidence approaches zero. Merely mouthing the words in today's press conference will satisfy the hardcore Trumpists and Congressional Republicans (but I repeat myself.)
posted by tonycpsu at 2:06 PM on July 17 [7 favorites]


Butina has been indicted. I don't have a copy yet, but there's a fun new surprise for (extremely screwed) US Person 1:

@woodruffbets: The new indictment of Butina says US Person 1 - presumably Paul Erickson - helped for Butina "for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation"
posted by zachlipton at 2:12 PM on July 17 [36 favorites]


I’m kind of surprised they sent him out to do the whole “I meant to say NOT!” “clarification.” When I first read it, it sounded exactly like something Sarah Huckabee Sanders would be trotted out to say. Do you think they asked her and even she was like, “Um, that’s too ridiculous, even for me...”?
posted by Weeping_angel at 2:15 PM on July 17 [9 favorites]


> I have to say, I don't understand why anyone is treating today's "clarification" as any kind of reversal.

I called my Senators' offices today, with the message, "Trump is lying, and it's time to call his lies, "Lies", and him a "Liar", clearly and often. I used the term "gaslighting" and "abusive" specifically. "None of this is Normal"...
posted by mikelieman at 2:16 PM on July 17 [28 favorites]


Nerd of the North: In my opinion the surest way to end Trump's so-far unwavering support from his base is to make him look weak by the standards that his authoritarian-loving hordes use to judge strength.

Yes! And by splitting the difference as he's now done, Trump loses just about everyone, or at least fails to help himself with anyone. Given that it's already so damn obvious where his loyalties lie here, I suspect the politically smarter thing for him would have been doubling down on the Putin worship -- pushing the Overton window by sheer force of will.

Few Americans appreciated his groveling to Vladimir, except his core "take that, cucks!" alt-right support. So then what does he do? Bends to the "establishment" by explicitly reversing himself on the groveling! (The basic reason is straightforward -- his whole real estate career was telling different audiences different stories, and he will never adjust that strategy to a world where people can easily compare the two stories he told.)

Going into Helsinki, he could have won so many points by "looking tough" on Russia. If that wasn't an option for him, thanks to Kremlin leverage plus his genuine admiration for dictators, then the next best thing would be wearing the admiration proudly. "I'm with Putin to the bitter end because he knows how to run a country, dammit!"

So his sort-of-walkback is heartening on two levels. It suggests Putin still doesn't control all his strings (unless this is multidimensional chess on his part, but I doubt that) and it weakens him anyway, though the downside is that moderate-ish Republicans now have enough deniability to drop their ~concerns~.

I also believe that tipping points and avalanches are the wrong metaphor. This isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. Everything that saps just a little more of his support, credibility, and personal energy is a step in the right direction.

Also, it's up to us to keep making this a thing, rather than deciding "the moment's past". Call your reps today, call them tomorrow. Force them to not cling to their hope that this will all just sort of go away. It won't.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:19 PM on July 17 [9 favorites]


Wired recap: What Robert Mueller Knows—and 9 Areas He'll Pursue Next (Garrett M. Graff, July 16, 2018)
...Spoiler alert: Nearly all of these open avenues involve not only Americans, but sometimes even senior campaign, transition, and White House aides to Donald Trump.

While it’s entirely possible that some investigative avenues for Mueller’s team won’t pan out into criminal charges, we do know that he and the FBI have had sustained, sometimes even years-long interest in the following lines of inquiry—none of which have yet appeared publicly in court:

1. How do Erik Prince, the Seychelles, and the inauguration fit in?
2. How do the UAE, Qatar, and Jared Kushner fit in?
3. What role did Sergey Kislyak, the GOP convention, and the finances of the Russian Embassy play?
4. How do Roger Stone, WikiLeaks, and other Americans and Brits fit into the GRU indictment?
5. What did Mueller learn from George Papadopoulos, Rick Gates, and Michael Flynn?
6. What’s in those 291,000 Michael Cohen documents?
7. What’s up with that Trump Tower meeting?
8. How relevant is Cambridge Analytica and was there a coordinated effort by the Trump campaign or associates to gather intelligence or untoward opposition research on Hillary Clinton?
9. Do people like Carter Page and Felix Sater matter?

These nine distinct areas of open questions are hardly encyclopedic—this list doesn’t even count unanswered questions about, for instance, the role of the Russian intelligence service FSB in its own attacks on Democratic targets (an operation known as Cozy Bear) or loose ends from previous indictments, like the activities of DC superlobbyists Tony Podesta and Vin Weber. And it doesn’t count the numerous salacious questions still unproven in the Steele dossier, like what exactly happened at the Moscow Ritz.
...
I didn't include the paragraphs and links answering those questions, and there's nothing groundbreaking or new here, but it's another good summary of what might come next on various fronts.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:21 PM on July 17 [15 favorites]


Top officials, including national security adviser John Bolton, were involved in crafting the remarks that Trump delivered from the Cabinet Room.

To be fair, they had to be pulled away from their work on the Ark of the Covenant, so it's not unusual for them to be a bit distracted.
posted by chavenet at 2:27 PM on July 17 [25 favorites]


NBC News, Ben Collins and Alyssa Newcomb, House Republicans float online conspiracy theories in hearing about social media 'censorship'
Rep. Lamar Smith, R–Texas, accused Google of blocking searches to “Jesus, Chick-fil-A and the Catholic religion," none of which are blocked by Google. “Jesus” returns almost a billion results. In a since-deleted Facebook post circulated by several blogs, a Christian publisher accused Google of banning their advertisements because of the “faith we express.”

Google responded to the company, Concordia Publishing, by saying that the search giant does not allow specific users to be targeted with ads according to their faith, and that Google had not banned the content of the ad. It is unclear why Smith believed Google banned Chick-fil-A.

Rep. Steve King, R-Ia., asked why Gateway Pundit, which incorrectly implicated three different people for separate terror attacks last year, was losing traffic on Facebook. Gateway Pundit pushed a rumor that a Michigan man who was at a wedding 1,000 miles away was driving the car that slammed into a crowd at a protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year, killing one woman and injuring 19. The founder of the website was later sued for its coverage. Gateway Pundit also misidentified the gunman in the Las Vegas shooting rampage last October that left 58 dead, claiming he was a Democrat by a different name who was “associated with an anti-Trump army.” The post was later deleted.

Several Democratic lawmakers raised the question of why Congress was spending one of its final working days before a five-week August recess focusing on the “fantasy” that Facebook, YouTube and Twitter suppress conservative viewpoints.
I know Steve King is...Steve King, but a Republican member of Congress citing Gateway Pundit's traffic numbers as a cause Congress needs to address is an incredible low point for society.
posted by zachlipton at 2:36 PM on July 17 [70 favorites]


President Ford declined the offer and lost the election to Jimmy Carter.

In the transcript Ford sort of acknowledges the offer without really accepting or rejecting it:
Brezhnev: I wish to tell you confidentially and completely
frankly that we in the Soviet leadership are supporters of your election
as President to a new term as well. And we for our part will do
everything we can to make that happen.

Ford: I thank you for that. I expect to be elected and I think that
that meets the interests of the further development of Soviet-American
relations, and of the cause of strengthening detente.
So Ford didn't exactly cover himself in glory, here, but I suspect he was taken aback by the offer and not ready to flip the table during an otherwise positive "yes, detente" exchange. Certainly a better response than, "If it's what you say I love it."
posted by The Tensor at 2:43 PM on July 17 [7 favorites]


‘Putin’s Favorite Congressman’ Now Engulfed in NRA Spy Case (The Daily Beast, Jackie Kucinich and Spencer Ackerman)
Pro-Kremlin GOP Congressman Dana Rohrabacher met with a Putin ally in Russia in August 2015, The Daily Beast has confirmed, matching an account in Monday’s blockbuster FBI affidavit against accused Russian spy Maria Butina.
posted by mcdoublewide at 2:48 PM on July 17 [42 favorites]


We should all be out in the streets over this, not just one day, but all the time. Republicans were scared of this, but they ducked and mumbled and it really does look like the pressure has largely blown over for them.

We ARE out in the streets all the time. A large spontaneous protest erupted in front of the White House just last night and I'm about to get on the Metro to go to the march that's starting in an hour. The Republicans aren't out of office yet, but November is coming. I hear you that it's frustrating that the wheel of justice turns so slowly but we ARE putting our shoulders to it and pushing it forward as fast and hard as we can.
posted by rue72 at 2:48 PM on July 17 [94 favorites]


It's a clickbaity title, but both the official White House and Kremlin transcripts of the Helsinki press conference have edited out the question, "President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election?" The White House Transcript Is Missing the Most Explosive Part of the Trump–Putin Press Conference.
posted by peeedro at 2:52 PM on July 17 [54 favorites]


The White House Transcript Is Missing the Most Explosive Part of the Trump–Putin Press Conference.

For what it's worth, the Washington Post transcript I linked to in the FPP is missing the first part of Reuters reporter Jeff Mason's question, "President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election?", which apparently the mic didn't pick up while the English translation to Putin's previous answer was going on:
STAFF: (OFF-MIKE)

QUESTION: And did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?

PUTIN: (THROUGH TRANSLATOR) Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.
The WaPo still hasn't corrected this, however.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:03 PM on July 17 [11 favorites]


Document: Indictment Against Mariia Butina
(lawfareblog)

Looks like she really was an imminent flight risk.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 3:06 PM on July 17 [7 favorites]




Stand Up Republic has a new damning anti-Trump ad out about dictators.
posted by corb at 3:17 PM on July 17 [14 favorites]


Uhhhhhhhh. Bloomberg, Trump Decided Russia Indictments Should Come Pre-Summit, Sources Say
President Donald Trump gave the go-ahead to announce new Russian election-hacking indictments before his meeting with Vladimir Putin rather than after -- in the hopes it would strengthen his hand in the talks, according to accounts from people familiar with the decision.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein went to Trump last week and offered him the choice: before or after the Putin summit on Monday in Helsinki? Trump chose before, ultimately putting the issue into the spotlight just 72 hours before the high-stakes meeting, the people said.
...
The episode involved a rare move by Rosenstein, who invoked an exception on national security grounds that allowed him to brief Trump about ongoing grand jury proceedings -- even though Special Counsel Robert Mueller continues to investigate whether anyone close to Trump colluded with Russia and whether the president sought to obstruct the probe.

Rosenstein announced the indictments on Friday. He said then that he “briefed President Trump about these allegations earlier this week. The president is fully aware of the department’s actions.” He didn’t disclose that he’d given Trump a choice on the timing.
Gave him a choice? WHAT THE FUCK ROD?
posted by zachlipton at 3:26 PM on July 17 [38 favorites]


Now with a southern accent, killer Putin-Talking-To-Trump impression (sans shirt of course), and with Pa-Paw vocabulary utilization (gawd do I love Trae Crowder, let me count the ways):

...So, I'f you're keeping score at home, your boy has at this point sided with literally Nazis and, then later, the fucking Russians.

So my second question for you is: What would your Pa-Paw say?! If he was here right now what would your Pa-Paw say?

... And I know the sad reality is there's a lot of Pa-Paws in this country right now who are pro-Trump Pa-Paws and you know what? Their sorry-ass Pa-Paws need to go back to fucking Pa-Paw School because I tell you right now real O.G. American Pa-Paws know that you don't fuck with Nazis or the fucking Russian government. What the Fu....RR!

The question you gotta ask yourself is: What kind of Pa-Paw are you gonna be, in the future, for your grandkids?

And that's not a sexist question. It's two-thousand eighteen aight; ladies can be Pa-Paws too so my question stands: What kinda Pa-Paw are you gonna be?

Fuck the Nazis. Fuck Putin. Fuck Donald Trump. Be a better Pa-Paw.

posted by RolandOfEld at 3:29 PM on July 17 [57 favorites]


I'm not concerned that Rod Rosenstein gave the President the choice of whether to release the indictments before or after the summit, in the name of diplomacy and national security. It reminds me of Mueller's willingness to tell Trump that he's not a "target" of the investigation. These are meaningless concessions that make it less likely for the naïve Trump to fire either Rosenstein or Mueller before the investigation can be completed.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:34 PM on July 17 [36 favorites]


Goddamnit. I can't help but enjoy Twitter sarcastic Bill Kristol:
"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Clarification by Donald J. Trump: Where he said "will" he meant "won't."
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:35 PM on July 17 [20 favorites]


I think its time again to revisit The Madness of King George
posted by robbyrobs at 3:39 PM on July 17 [6 favorites]


Trump just offered one of the boldest lies of his presidency
Zach Beauchamp | Vox

“Trump on Russia and the 2016 US election: You gonna believe me or your lying ears?”

The entire nation (world?) is getting a crash course in being gaslit. By the most powerful man in the world.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 3:51 PM on July 17 [23 favorites]


Vanity Fair, Gabe Sherman, “This Was the Nightmare Scenario”: The West Wing Revolts After Trump Embraces Putin
As he flew home from Helsinki on Air Force One following his disastrous press conference with Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump reacted with surprise at the horror and outrage that was being expressed by much of the American political world. By the time he landed, the surprise had turned to anger. “He was enraged there was a lack of people out there defending him,” one Republican close to the White House told me. The mood among West Wing advisers was downright funereal. “This was the nightmare scenario,” another Republican in frequent contact with the administration said.
...
While National Security Adviser John Bolton, according to a source, thought Trump’s remarks were ill-advised, he believed that walking them back would only add fuel to the outrage pyre and make the president look weak. But Chief of Staff John Kelly was irate. According to a source, he told Trump it would make things worse for him with Robert Mueller. He also exerted pressure to try to get the president to walk back his remarks. According to three sources familiar with the situation, Kelly called around to Republicans on Capitol Hill and gave them the go-ahead to speak out against Trump. (The White House did not respond to a request for comment.) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan held televised press conferences to assert that Russia did meddle in the election.
posted by zachlipton at 3:53 PM on July 17 [66 favorites]


The weathervanes are swinging. I just got an email from my congressman Leonard Lance (R, NJ-07). Quote: "I am proud to be a cosponsor of the DETER (Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines) Act. Introduced in the House by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Brad Schneider (D-IL) and in the Senate by Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), this legislation makes clear to Russia and other countries that there will be severe repercussions for any future interference in our democratic process."

It seems to lay out some mechanisms to monitor federal elections for interference and kick in sanctions after the fact. If there are any proactive measures in the bill, he's not talking about them. He does mention the sanctions Congress passed, like, months ago, the ones that didn't happen, remember those. But he's boasting about how he voted them through.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 3:56 PM on July 17 [14 favorites]


Stand Up Republic has a new damning anti-Trump ad out about dictators.

This ad desperately needs some text—people aren't going to recognize most of that stuff:
  • Donald Trump praised Iraq's Saddam Hussein
  • He praised Turkey's Recep Erdoğan...
  • ...whose thugs beat protestors on American soil
  • He praised China's killing of students in Tiananmen Square
  • He praised North Korea's murderous Kim Jong-Un
  • And he's repeatedly praised Vladimir Putin
posted by The Tensor at 4:03 PM on July 17 [11 favorites]




If the GOP could block Obama from nominating a Supreme Court justice because there wasn't enough time left in his term (or, more realistically, for presidenting while black), surely the Dems can block The Traitor from nominating one because he's not fulfilling his oath to defend the Constitution.
posted by kokaku at 4:08 PM on July 17 [4 favorites]


From the Salt Lake Tribune, owned by the Huntsman family.

Come home, Ambassador Huntsman, your country needs you
Ambassador Huntsman, you work for a pawn, not a president. It’s time to come home. There is no other reasonable course of action to take after Monday’s disgraceful joint news conference with President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As Utahns, many of us were a bit stunned last year when you accepted the job as U.S. ambassador to Russia, but your explanation made sense: It was a role you took on, much like your tenure in China, out of a deep sense of duty.

But that duty is to your country and the best way now to serve your country is not by holding on to some title and being the emissary of a president who doesn’t share your values, or American values, for that matter.

It’s by resigning immediately and speaking out against a president who attacks our allies, gives comfort to our adversaries and undermines our moral standing, our commitment to democratic ideals and our interest in human rights every time he opens his gaping mouth...
posted by chris24 at 4:10 PM on July 17 [58 favorites]


If the GOP could block Obama from nominating a Supreme Court justice because there wasn't enough time left in his term (or, more realistically, for presidenting while black), surely the Dems can block The Traitor from nominating one because he's not fulfilling his oath to defend the Constitution.

Not without being the majority in the Senate, they can't.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:11 PM on July 17 [23 favorites]


Gave him a choice? WHAT THE FUCK ROD?

This seems like the classical method of dealing with toddlers. Instead of giving President Big Boy an opportunity to tell him that he couldn't have his press conference, he got where he needed to be by presenting the forced choice. That's a quality parenting move, right there.

Seriously, who knows what the hell was happening, but I'm going to interpret it this way because SOMEHOW it makes the world seem more sane.
posted by god hates math at 4:12 PM on July 17 [36 favorites]


Not without being the majority in the Senate, they can't.

Yeah, it's not complicated. If you have 51 Senators (or 50+VP) you can do whatever you want. You can prevent a nominee from being heard or you can ram through a nominee against mass opposition.
posted by Justinian at 4:13 PM on July 17 [7 favorites]


Just because the story now is that Trump decided to release the indictments before the summit doesn't mean that actually happened. If he supposedly released the indictments so he could pressure Putin about them during the summit then he would've, y'know, actually pressured Putin about them
posted by kirkaracha at 4:19 PM on July 17 [5 favorites]


Yeah, it's not complicated. If you have 51 Senators (or 50+VP) you can do whatever you want. You can prevent a nominee from being heard or you can ram through a nominee against mass opposition.

They have 50 which means Democrats can deny quorum but that would be setting off the Tsar Bomba in the Senate.

Also Manchin would never go for it in a million years. (cue TD Strange's rant on conservative Democrats and throwing them all out)
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 4:21 PM on July 17 [5 favorites]


Jared is trying to duck service on the DNC's hacking lawsuit, including the Secret Service sending the process server away and an attempt by certified mail being returned unaccepted. The DNC is asking for permission to just send him the complaint by normal first class mail.
posted by zachlipton at 4:24 PM on July 17 [45 favorites]


Beto goes there. Cruz freaks.
Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke, who is challenging Sen. Ted Cruz, said Tuesday that President Donald Trump's performance at a summit with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin merits impeachment. And he blasted Cruz for failing to denounce Trump, who shocked U.S. intelligence and law enforcement by taking the former KGB spy chief's word that Russia did not meddle in the 2016 election.

The Cruz campaign shot back by asserting that O'Rourke's stance on impeachment makes him "so radical and reckless that he is unfit to serve in the U.S. Senate." [...]

"Standing on stage in another country with the leader of another country who wants to and has sought to undermine this country, and to side with him over the United States -- if I were asked to vote on this I would vote to impeach the president," O'Rourke, a three-term congressman from El Paso, said in response to a question from The Dallas Morning News. "Impeachment, much like an indictment, shows that there is enough there for the case to proceed and at this point there is certainly enough there for the case to proceed." [...]

Cruz later retweeted this story and used it to hit his rival. "This partisan extremism may resonate great in Hollywood, but it doesn't reflect the views of the majority of Texans," he wrote.
posted by chris24 at 4:25 PM on July 17 [46 favorites]


I'll believe the weather vane is swinging when the Rs step up to protect Mueller. I'm not saying that they won't, but that's the point at which I'm stop going to stop sneering at their expressions of concern.
posted by angrycat at 4:25 PM on July 17 [13 favorites]


I would add a 10th item to Wired list: What is going on with the share of Rosneft and connection to Tillerson via Deripaska-Yanukovich-Manafort? (This might be where Carter Page matters)

There's not been a public confirmation/denial of Tillerson talking to Mueller and he's kept a super sleepy low profile since being fired.

Extra Credit: What's up with the burger pic and that plot of undeveloped land in Florida?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 4:26 PM on July 17 [11 favorites]


They have 50 which means Democrats can deny quorum but that would be setting off the Tsar Bomba in the Senate.

And wouldn't actually stop a Supreme Court nomination. It might delay it but it would ultimately fail. See for example this article on Vox about quorums and quorum breaking. Key sentence: "What quorum-breaking is not good for, however, is indefinitely blocking a high-priority measure like a Supreme Court nomination. "
posted by Justinian at 4:27 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


The minority Democrats can't deny quorum quorum all by themselves, even if they refused to show up en masse, but they should keep an eagle eye open for when Republicans don't show. All the Democrats need is a single Senator to issue the quorum challenge if there are less that 50 Senators present.

They also must gum things up with every dilatory motion possible, and refuse unanimous consent for anything, even the motion to adjourn for lunch.
posted by Gelatin at 4:27 PM on July 17 [24 favorites]


The minority Democrats can't deny quorum quorum all by themselves,

They can given that McCain is out. Unless they wheel him in on a hospital bed he won't be showing up in the Senate.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 4:30 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


In light of yesterday's news about the NRA: Many Political Tax-Exempts No Longer Required to Report Donors ( Laura Davison and Bill Allison, Bloomberg.

"Many tax-exempt groups that participate in politics will no longer be required to disclose their donors to the Internal Revenue Service, the Treasury Department said.

"The change means that so-called Section 501(c)4 groups, known as “social-welfare” organizations, no longer have to tell the IRS who gave them donations. The groups can be engaged in politics, so long as they don’t spend more than half of their money on campaign advertisements or activities to sway an election. Donors do not have to be disclosed to the public."
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:32 PM on July 17 [9 favorites]


Time: Arizona State Senate Candidate Reveals He Killed His Mother in 1963

A Republican Arizona state Senate candidate is shocking gun control advocates by sharing details about shooting and killing his mother in apparent self-defense more than 50 years ago. [...] Wilson told some of his story at a Moms Demand Action forum in Tucson last week while speaking to the importance of a “good guy with a gun.” He didn’t say the person he killed was his mother.

Bragging about killing your mom to own the libs, normal country stuff.
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:33 PM on July 17 [125 favorites]


They can given that McCain is out.

The theory is that because one Democrat has to be present to make a quorum call that would be 51 Senators. The article I linked explains that this might not necessarily be the case. However it also explains that a quorum gambit will not stop the Supreme Court nomination from getting through so it doesnt matter anyway.
posted by Justinian at 4:33 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


There's a live broadcast of the #OccupyLafayettePark protest on Twitter/Periscope.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:37 PM on July 17 [8 favorites]


Although Trump is clearly under the influence of Putin in some form or other, the likelihood that Paul Erickson is US Person #1 is particularly interesting. Assuming that he is indeed this person, this story emerges in the context of a political party with leaders asserting that “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump." Although he said he was joking, he must have had some inkling that this statement was on some level true.

I think the the Kremlin are aaaaall up in the NRA and conservative activist organizations and general--Paul Erickson is just the first one we've seen. I expect we'll be seeing a whole lot more links being drawn between Russian governmental agents and Republican party figures, donors, and activists.

In such a context, the Kevin McCarthy/Paul "Keep it in the Family" Ryan exchange is especially damning. If I were they, I'd be wondering just how much putrescence Robert Mueller is about to pull into the light.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 4:41 PM on July 17 [11 favorites]


The Senate has the authority under the Constitution to compel attendance if there’s not a quorum (Article I section 5)

The relevant Senate rule (Rule VI) is pretty mild:
Whenever upon such roll call it shall be ascertained that a quorum is not present, a majority of the Senators present may direct the Sergeant at Arms to request, and, when necessary, to compel the attendance of the absent Senators, which order shall be determined without debate; [and they can’t do anything else without a quorum]
posted by Huffy Puffy at 4:42 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


It doesn't sound like Trump's attempt to clean this up is going to fly with anybody except the Fox News sycophants.

Yeah, but that's a lot of people. Here are the talking points I heard repeated by a cop in my liberal college town:
1. The U.S. is no different than Russia. The U.S. fixes elections.
2. Our intelligence community lies. The Iraq war was plot.

As far as I'm concerned this is a really astounding and very dangerous development. Law and order worshiping, flag waving Republicans now believe the government and law enforcement agencies are our enemy because Trump says so without missing a beat. A good portion of United States citizens will believe it's raining when it's sunny out, enough to paralyze any action that could be taken against Russia or Trump.

And what's even stranger is they've taken liberal talking points and pushed them to their extreme. Liberals are fully aware that the U.S. has fixed elections, but most of us still believe there is a difference between the United States and authoritarian regimes, at least in our worldwide intentions. Many of us believe the books were cooked in regards to the Iraq war, but few of us think it was to purposefully mire the U.S. in a pointless war.
posted by xammerboy at 4:46 PM on July 17 [22 favorites]


Reveal: Immigrant kids held in second Phoenix office seen bathing in sinks

With footage of children as young as 5 being taken into the another office building by defense contractors. Wherever the GOP weathervane might supposedly be pointing, it's not toward human decency.
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:48 PM on July 17 [36 favorites]


This was ‘not’ what Trump meant to say (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
What he is trying to say is he meant to say something different, or rather, he wished he had said something different, because people are yelling at him now.

This happens to the best of us, he is sure you understand. This often happens. “Not” is such a small word. Who among us has not forgotten to use the word “no” or “not” at a critical time? Who among us has not shouted “I OBJECT!” at a wedding when they meant “I DON’T OBJECT!” or “Please murder my spouse” when you meant “Please do NOT murder my spouse!” or “Please, hack the DNC and see if you can leak Hillary Clinton’s emails, Russia!” which maybe should have included a “not”? It can be so easy to forget a “not” at a crucial time, for instance in the sentence “I love you” or “It is possible that there were very fine people on both sides here in Charlottesville.”

In Trump’s view, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” was missing a “not,” as of course was President Ronald Reagan’s description of the Soviet Union as an “evil empire.” The point is, these are subtle distinctions that are easy to get lost.

The good news is you can just stick it in later when you remember, and people will accept instantly that that is what you meant. I am not saying that sticking a belated “not” at the end is not a genius move, but this was literally suggested by a humor expert in the movie “Borat,” so.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:03 PM on July 17 [26 favorites]


yesterday's news about the NRA: Many Political Tax-Exempts No Longer Required to Report Donors

As a practical matter, this doesn't really change anything. A 501(c)(4) currently must file annually with the IRS a Form 990 and also attach a Schedule B that lists the names and addresses of the donors. But only Form 990 is available for viewing by the public. The Schedule B with the donor list is squirreled away at the IRS, never to be seen again.

The new ruling just does away with the Schedule B which the public never gets to see anyway. And the IRS doesn't do anything with the Schedule B unless it is somehow related to some other fraud involving donors. So this ruling to get rid of a secret Schedule B doesn't really change much of anything.

The 501(c)(4) organization is intended to be used for civic uses such as rotary clubs, little league teams, veterans groups, etc. But a loophole allows 50% of money to be used for political purposes, such as the NRA. Political activists want to have it both ways -- use a civic organization to do politics but at the same time do politicking anonymously. This is not the original intent of the 501(c)(4).

This is the reason that 501(c)(4) organizations have become the preferred mechanism for laundering millions of dollars anonymously to political causes. The only fix is to completely ban 501(c)(4) organizations from any political activity, forcing all political donations to go to 527 groups or PACs that do require disclosure of donors.
posted by JackFlash at 5:36 PM on July 17 [34 favorites]


As an addendum, there are different disclosure rules for 501(c)(3) charities. A private foundation, such as the Trump foundation is required to provide its Schedule B list of donors to the public. This is to prevent the sort of financial shenanigans that were revealed for the Trump Foundation that are all to common with private foundations.

On the other hand public charities such as the Clinton Foundation are allowed to have anonymous donors and are not required to file a Schedule B of donors. But in a concession to full transparency, the Clinton foundation does publish on their web site a list of major donors voluntarily. No good deed goes unpunished as the NYT and WaPo rooted through that list to suggest completely unfounded improprieties.
posted by JackFlash at 5:43 PM on July 17 [26 favorites]


I'm not sure the "would"/"wouldn't" switcharoo really fits with the rest of the stuff he said. From the transcript:
[Jonathan Lemire from the AP:] Just now, President Putin denied having anything to do with the election interference in 2016. Every U.S. intelligence agency has concluded that Russia did.

What -- who -- my first question for you, sir, is who do you believe?
My second question is would you now, with the whole world watching, tell President Putin, would you denounce what happened in 2016 and would you warn him to never do it again?

[Four paragraphs about the DNC server]

TRUMP: With that being said, all I can do is ask the question. My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others, they said they think it's Russia. I have President Putin; he just said it's not Russia.

I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be. But I really do want to see the server.

But I have -- I have confidence in both parties. I -- I really believe that this will probably go on for a while, but I don't think it can go on without finding out what happened to the server. [More server stuff]

So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.
He spends way more time blabbing about the DNC server than he does answering the question. When he actually does address the question:

1) He equates Putin's opinion with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and the consensus of the US intelligence community, but makes Putin's statement more definitive: "they think it's Russia" vs. "he just said it's not Russia."
2) He says "I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be" and brings up the server again.
3) He equates Putin and the US intelligence community again: "I have confidence in both parties."
4) More blabbing about the server.
5) He equates Putin and the US intelligence community again, "but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today."

He continually equates Putin with US intelligence but finishes two statements that show he thinks Putin's position is stronger. It's much more likely when he said " I don't see any reason why it would be" he said what he meant to say.

I know, context and logic. I blame myself.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:46 PM on July 17 [27 favorites]


By the fucking way, Trump supposedly decided to announce that we indicted 12 Russian officials for intervening in the election the day before the summit. So instead of saying, "all I can do is ask the question," something like "we know they did, we just indicted a dozen guys" would've been better.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:55 PM on July 17 [7 favorites]


$10 bucks says that soccer ball is bugged.

Also: I wonder if Mueller has grounds to supoena those translators in the closed door meeting? Obviously it would have to be relevant to the investigation, but then again, we are in the land of uncharted territory that is shitstorming with a chance of WTF.
posted by floweredfish at 5:55 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


In contrast to his usual practice of referring to other national leaders by their first names, during the joint press conference he only says "the president" or "President Putin." Don't wanna disrespect the boss.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:02 PM on July 17 [26 favorites]


Hey everybody, I just got back from the #OccupyLafayettePark rally protesting Trump's behavior at the Treason Summit. Did anybody else go? Pretty good turnout. Avenatti could have been more of a firebrand, but I liked how he talked about the importance of independence as an American value. There was also a lot of very cathartic chanting. Here's a pic I took right before the first speaker.
posted by rue72 at 6:04 PM on July 17 [60 favorites]


Gee, what a surprise. CNN: Cambridge Analytica's Facebook data was accessed from Russia, MP says
The now infamous Facebook data set on tens of millions of Americans gathered by a Cambridge University scientist for a firm that went on to work for Donald Trump's 2016 campaign was accessed from Russia, a British member of parliament tells CNN.

Damian Collins, the Conservative MP leading a British parliamentary investigation into online disinformation, told CNN that a British investigation found evidence that the data, collected by Professor Aleksandr Kogan on behalf of Cambridge Analytica, had been accessed from Russia and other countries. The discovery was made by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), Britain's data protection authority, Collins said.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:05 PM on July 17 [24 favorites]


WaPo, ‘She was like a novelty’: How alleged Russian agent Maria Butina gained access to elite conservative circles. There's a lot in here, but I think the most notable (and the most likely to lead to Republicans mounting a "this is a setup, why didn't you stop her?" campaign) is that the FBI has been keeping an eye on her since she came to the US on a student visa in August 2016:
But by August 2016, when she moved to the U.S. on a student visa, the FBI was watching, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

Rather than question or confront her, they said, officials decided to track her movements to determine whom she was meeting and what she was doing in the U.S. — the kind of monitoring that is not uncommon when foreign nationals are suspected of working on behalf of a foreign government.

By then, Butina had already publicly quizzed Trump about his views on Russia and briefly met his eldest son at an NRA convention. After the FBI began monitoring her, Butina attended a ball at Trump’s inauguration and tried to arrange a meeting between him and a senior Russian government official at last year’s annual National Prayer Breakfast.

By 2017, after she had enrolled as a graduate student at American University in Washington, Butina began probing groups on the left as well, trying unsuccessfully to interview a D.C.-based civil rights group about its cyber-vulnerabilities for what she said was a school project, according to a person familiar with her outreach.

On Sunday, alerted that she was preparing to leave Washington for South Dakota, where monitoring her would be more difficult, federal authorities arrested Butina.
...
As scrutiny grew of Russian actions during the campaign, Butina’s work in her role as a graduate student at American University attracted notice as well. She sparked alarm at one Washington-area civil rights group in June 2017, when she asked to interview the group’s director about its vulnerability to cyberattacks for a school project.

“It was in­cred­ibly suspect activity,” said Jon Steinman, co-founder of CyberHill, a cybersecurity firm that consulted with the group. Steinman said he immediately contacted the FBI and was interviewed about the episode at length in January.

Driscoll, Butina’s attorney, said the inquiry was not surprising given that she was enrolled in a cybersecurity program. An American University spokesman confirmed that Butina graduated with a master’s degree in May but otherwise declined to comment.
She really wasn't very subtle, was she?
posted by zachlipton at 6:06 PM on July 17 [42 favorites]


North Carolina Republicans’ Latest Judicial Power Grab May Have Backfired Spectacularly
Up to this point, the Republican scheme was going as planned. But in June, everything fell apart. Shortly before the registration deadline, a 32-year-old Raleigh attorney named Chris Anglin jumped into the state Supreme Court contest—as a Republican. Anglin was a registered Democrat until June 7, just before he entered the race. He insists that he is not a Democratic plant, instead declaring himself a “constitutional Republican” running to “stand up for the independence of the judiciary.” Anglin also implied that he was running to protest the GOP’s cancellation of judicial primaries, which he considered an assault on “the judiciary as a coequal branch of government.” He has hired a Democratic strategist, Perry Woods, to run his campaign.

North Carolina GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse has already called Anglin “the enemy,” seemingly acknowledging that there is a very good chance he will siphon votes from Jackson, the Republican incumbent. (It certainly sounds like Anglin is, at the least, an irritated Democrat who decided to exploit Republicans’ manipulations for liberal gains.) If he does split the GOP vote, then Earls—an unapologetic progressive and civil rights attorney—will have an easier time winning the seat, giving Democrats a 5–2 majority on the state Supreme Court. And Republicans’ endless intrigue will have backfired.

There is, alas, still time before the November election for Republican legislators to pass another law targeting Earls—a new rule that no one named “Anita” may appear on the ballot would not be surprising given the GOP’s increasing lack of subtlety. But for now, it appears that Earls has a better shot than ever at winning. If Republicans hadn’t intervened, Jackson might have coasted to reelection on incumbency advantage alone. Now her seat is in serious jeopardy. And if she loses to Earls, Republicans will have only their own buffoonery to blame.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:15 PM on July 17 [52 favorites]


There is, alas, still time before the November election for Republican legislators to pass another law targeting Earls

I fail to see how a law changing the eligibility requirements after someone has declared and after the registration deadline has passed would not be illegally ex post facto. Is that only applicable to criminal statutes?
posted by Justinian at 6:23 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


The Unwinding of Donald Trump
David Remnick | The New Yorker
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:36 PM on July 17 [9 favorites]


All of these “now we’ll see who in the Republican Party...” takes are already dated. Trump could shit his pants on camera and smear it all over himself while moaning incoherently and half these people would blame it on how mean the press is and the other half would insist it was actually a Churchillian feat of statescraft.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:39 PM on July 17 [56 favorites]


I liked this line from Nate Silver yesterday:

If you always predict that this isn't the straw that will break the camel's back, you'll almost always be right but will also always miss when the straw breaks the camel's back.
posted by diogenes at 6:43 PM on July 17 [50 favorites]


Gun rights were a huge issue in the MO Senate race between Blunt and Kander. Blunt only won by 2.8%. I am still pretty salty over that loss and I want to know if Natasha Fatale was part of it.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:47 PM on July 17 [11 favorites]


Yes, the federal ex post facto clause applies (according to precedent dating to 1798) only to criminal statutes. There is some ongoing originalist opposition to this reading, but it is generally considered settled law -- AFAIK Thomas is the only current justice to have gone on record opposing it.

That said, there might be a number of other state or federal constitutional issues with a state legislature seeking to intervene in an ongoing judicial race.
posted by shenderson at 6:59 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


Last night, Rachel Maddow reported that Manafort's VA trial got postponed so that it will now start next Monday

And today, Judge Ellis denied Manafort's request to move it from (comparatively liberal) Alexandria to (more conservative) Roanoke. At this point, I've stopped counting how many of Manafort's court requests have been turned down, but his lawyers have yet to mount a successful significant challenge to Mueller's team.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:00 PM on July 17 [13 favorites]


@Comey: This Republican Congress has proven incapable of fulfilling the Founders’ design that “Ambition must ... counteract ambition.” All who believe in this country’s values must vote for Democrats this fall. Policy differences don’t matter right now. History has its eyes on us.

Dude...You're a material witness who needs to be able to say that you're acting without partisanship, and everyone in the country hates you, so you're really really really not helping. Please shut up. When we need you to take an oath and recount stuff you saw, we'll call you.
posted by zachlipton at 7:05 PM on July 17 [72 favorites]


He can't shut the fuck up. All Comey had to do to avoid this future was shut the fuck up and follow the fucking DOJ rules. All he has to do now to play his part in mitigating whatever is still possible to salvage is shut the fuck up. The Resistance doesn't need you Jim Comey. You can't help here, you've fucking done enough already. Shut up.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:18 PM on July 17 [83 favorites]


Staff no doubt scurrying about, setting up a red hat rally for Donny.
posted by davebush at 7:23 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


I can't remember the exact thread and I am in too much overall incapacitating misery to find it right now, but in the lead up to the election, on the day of the Comey letter, one Mefite was having a bit of a meltdown asking why he felt the need to sabotage the election and ruin everything and why did he do it, and many other Mefites told them to calm the fuck down, no one even cares about shit like the Comey letter, but it turned out that person was right and everyone else was wrong, and I feel like we owe that person an apology, and I think about that almost every day. And I will never ever forgive Comey under any circumstances whatsoever, and I find this resolve strengthening every single time he goes on Twitter and opens his sanctimonious yapper.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 7:23 PM on July 17 [51 favorites]


one Mefite was having a bit of a meltdown

Like I don't know that this was me? But it seems like it probably was? From this description?
posted by Justinian at 7:24 PM on July 17 [86 favorites]


odinsdream: I nope'd out of that Facebook group idea just reading the front page description. I am a trans woman, I am a socialist, and I am under fucking direct attack. I am *way way* beyond this "talk it out" civility bullshit

I replied to odinsdream privately, and for the record I'm saying to y'all too, yes this group is about civility to assholes on the other side. My ask, and I apologize I should have been clearer before, is not directed at White marginalized folks who are directly under attack and fighting for their lives. It's also NOT about asking anybody to be civil to assholes on the other side. That's what the group is about, but there's nothing forcing members to participate in that.

My ask is to White normative folks, whose energy is not occupied with survival on multiple levels (including financial). To those folks, please consider joining, to practice talking persuasively about racial issues and Whiteness, to White-centric liberals who hate Trump.

This group is young enough that I'm hoping I can help build justice into it. I have raised trans rights with leadership (got no pushback, got abstract agreement, got acknowledgement that they're just realizing as a result of my questions that they're the problem. It's a start). I will keep pushing leadership about how they and their membership can prioritize, in specific concrete policy, fighting for marginalized peoples, people who are trans especially. If I hit a wall on trans rights, disability rights, etc, all that MeFites have taught me about things that I have privilege on cuz I'm cishet, abled, femme, thin, and neurotypical, I will tell them (politely, cuz that's me) to fuck off and exactly how they are driving me away.

Right now, I am in a position to influence policy about these matters. But policy will be less effective, and more work for woke PoC like me, if the In Denial White People heavily outnumber the Woke White People. So I am asking White cishet normatives, who feel like their mindset and blood pressure are ok with this, to consider joining. To set a higher standard about how to be and talk White, for White cishet normatives on OUR side.

Thanks to you who've MeMailed me. Something I learned from MeMail: you have to take a quiz to join that asks, eg, "Do you think people who support Trump are worthy of respect and have something to bring to the conversation?" I joined the group before they instituted the quiz. But I've been talking to White people about Whiteness, and to men about sexism, for about 20 years and I always act like I respect them. Like I think they have something to bring to the conversation, even though internally I'm often rolling my eyes like Tracy Ullman's Angele Merkel. It's a hoop I have to jump through for them to be willing to hear me. If you're willing to give this a try, maybe think of it like that? Anyway, if you join because of my ask, that question is irrelevant because you'll be focusing on White-centric, Trump-hatin' progressives.

Obviously you'd be role modelling pushing for trans, LGBQA, disability, neuroatypical, etc rights, too, but Whiteness is the thing I have repeatedly witnessed being a major problem.And I can't tackle Whiteness by myself without these White people on OUR side making me a target of their tears and defensiveness. That's what I need you for. I can push for trans, etc, rights more effectively because I'm cishet, abled, neurotypical, femme, thin, all that.

Again, MeMail me any questions or concerns or feedback.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 7:28 PM on July 17 [24 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 House:
-- CA-48: (mentioned earlier) Monmouth poll has Dem challenger Rouda leading GOP incumbent Rohrabacher in each of their three turnout models:
potential voters: Rouda up 46-43
midterm turnout: Rouda up 47-45
Dem surge: Rouda up 48-44
-- More on very impressive Dem fundraising in 2Q. Plus detailed roundup on race totals.
** 2018 Senate: WV: Convicted killer Don Blankenship apparently has the signatures to get on the general election ballot under the Constitution Party banner. Still unclear if he will be able to avoid the state's "sore loser" law.

-- OH-12 special: Dave Weigel race profile.

-- Odds & ends:
-- NY gov: Zogby poll has Cuomo leading Nixon 63-22 for the Dem nomination. [MOE +/- 3.7%]. Cuomo easily leads various general election configurations, including if Nixon runs on the WFP ticket.

-- New governor race ratings from Governing. NH/MD/AL move right, IA/OH/PA/AZ move left.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:32 PM on July 17 [29 favorites]


I want to make an addendum to an earlier comment I made.

I think it is weird that Tillerson has completely dropped out of public view. He was the Secretary of State that Russia wanted installed. He gets fired and then...nothing?

Everything Tillerson told Trump not to do (and I assume he had the backing of the Russian government) Trump did anyway. He was a failure as an installation. Since his former boss hates him and his handlers find him incompetent, why wouldn't he spill every last bean to Mueller? He has to resurface at some point in this investigation. Either whatever grift he was in, wasn't significant enough to bother running after or it's so significant that it's a bomb.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:33 PM on July 17 [25 favorites]


The New Yorker article linked to above (and again) written by David Remnick is a worth while read in its clarity.

Speaking from the White House Cabinet Room on Tuesday, Trump tried to take his listeners for fools as he explained that he had merely been misunderstood by the press. This was one of the most shameless walk-back attempts in the history of the American Presidency. Reading from prepared notes, which always lends to his delivery a hostage-like cadence, Trump tried to half-apologize to the American intelligence community for equating its analysis with that of Putin and the F.S.B. And, with that, the lights suddenly went out. ...

Trump’s incredible journey to Europe was an act contrary to the interests of his country. Now we will see who, particularly in the Republican Party, will stand up not to applaud the Great Leader but to find the capacity to say what is obvious and what is true.


Indeed, who in the Republican Party?
posted by bluesky43 at 7:36 PM on July 17 [8 favorites]


This sad, embarrassing wreck of a man (George Will, WaPo)

You know what's infuriating? Watching Will, the late Charles Krauthammer, Andrew Sullivan and other old media conservative commentators twist themselves into knots to deny that their decades of genial country club fascism isn't directly responsible for leading us to this precipice.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:38 PM on July 17 [141 favorites]


Joe Lieberman endorses Joe Crowley over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. What's up with this? Is Crowley really going to try to win this?
posted by great_radio at 7:40 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


Everything Tillerson told Trump not to do (and I assume he had the backing of the Russian government) Trump did anyway. He was a failure as an installation. Since his former boss hates him and his handlers find him incompetent, why wouldn't he spill every last bean to Mueller?

I assume Mueller still has a lot of evidence under wraps that he's working to put into incontrovertible packages and which we know nothing of, because, well, he's running a tight ship and that's been his MO so far. I would bet a significant sum of money and/or a cake that he already has some pretty shocking testimony from Tillerson.
posted by jackbishop at 7:46 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]




Ye gods, I feel for the Onion, trying to do satire in this timeline. Me, I'm trying to figure out how to get to the timeline where Jimmy Carter won a second term, Margaret thatcher was hit by a bus in grade school, and kissinger was tried and convicted at Den Hauge. I'm pretty sure that's the timeline with fully automated luxury gay space communism.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:07 PM on July 17 [43 favorites]


Trump, egged on by Tucker Carlson [video] to bash NATO, says that the people of Montenegro are "very aggressive people" and "they may get aggressive, and congratulations, you're in World War III."

In unrelated news, Seattle Police Department investigating string of dumpster fires
posted by zachlipton at 8:09 PM on July 17 [9 favorites]


Didn't Crowley withdraw and say he wasn't running on Twitter?

Joe Lieberman is a pile of garbage who likes taking the Democratic Party down from within like it's his job, so I wouldn't trust him in this issue.
posted by schroedinger at 8:13 PM on July 17 [12 favorites]


> Joe Lieberman endorses Joe Crowley over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. What's up with this? Is Crowley really going to try to win this?

Sore loser game respect sore loser game.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:18 PM on July 17 [5 favorites]


Joe Lieberman endorses Joe Crowley over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Fucking Joe Lieberman is a boil upon the ass of American democracy. It figures that he of all people would be publicly rooting for Crowley, turns out they have a lot in common.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 8:18 PM on July 17 [4 favorites]


We've talked about this. New York makes it very difficult to get off the ballot, and the WFP has him on there. Unless I see some actual evidence that Crowley is really campaigning, I don't think there is any factual basis.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:20 PM on July 17 [15 favorites]


Trump, egged on by Tucker Carlson [video] to bash NATO, says that the people of Montenegro are "very aggressive people" and "they may get aggressive, and congratulations, you're in World War III."

That's a dead link, but there's a long writeup of the interview here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5964479/Trump-refuses-call-Russia-adversary-blasts-Brennan-bad-guy-Fox-interview.html
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:26 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Trump, egged on by Tucker Carlson [video] to bash NATO, says that the people of Montenegro are "very aggressive people" and "they may get aggressive, and congratulations, you're in World War III."

A) Needs [real/fake] tag.

B) Them's fightin' words. As Jay Gatsby said:
"I was promoted to be a major, and every Allied government gave me a decoration — even Montenegro, little Montenegro down on the Adriatic Sea!"

Little Montenegro! He lifted up the words and nodded at them — with his smile. The smile comprehended Montenegro’s troubled history and sympathized with the brave struggles of the Montenegrin people. It appreciated fully the chain of national circumstances which had elicited this tribute from Montenegro’s warm little heart.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:26 PM on July 17 [10 favorites]


> New York makes it very difficult to get off the ballot

Is switching his residency not enough? And does he not have a working phone? I'm not saying he wants to run against AOC, but I do feel like he's hanging out there making it look like he's powerless so that he can keep his options open.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:27 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


Is switching his residency not enough?

He'd have to move out of state.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:35 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


A) Needs [real/fake] tag.

Real, all too real. Here's a series of clips from the interview. They're all horrible.

@atrupar .@TuckerCarlson is airing his Helsinki interview with President Trump in just a few minutes. Follow me for a video thread.
posted by scalefree at 8:38 PM on July 17 [5 favorites]


Replacement Montenegro-bashing video link.

Montenegro aside, the real purpose of this is to make it clear to our NATO allies, and Russia, that Trump has no interest in honoring our commitments if they ever should need us.
posted by zachlipton at 8:38 PM on July 17 [9 favorites]


Also, hasn't Putin been messing with Montenegro lately? Wonder who mentioned their "aggression" to Trump.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:43 PM on July 17 [9 favorites]


On Tucker Carlson just now, Carlson, engaged in a crude pantomime of a thoughtful man, pointed out that Article V requires the other NATO members to come to the defense of any member under attack. Quoth Tucker: “Why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack? Why should my son die for Montenegro?” And then Trump wheezes something in response about his thoughts exactly plus, “Montenegro is full of very aggressive people.”

There are many asinine aspects to their conversation but I feel like it bears pointing out that in 2016, Russia actually tried to enact a coup in Montenegro - like a real coup, with grenades and guns and such. This was rather under reported in the Western media but it is very much true.

Of course, it’s not just Montenegro - there’s stuff going on in Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia and Macedonia, too, but given he specifically mentioned Montenegro, I thought it was worth mentioning.
posted by Aubergine at 8:48 PM on July 17 [91 favorites]


Unless I see some actual evidence that Crowley is really campaigning, I don't think there is any factual basis.

Joe Lieberman's endorsement is evidence that Crowley is campaigning. A seasoned campaigner like Lieberman is very unlikely to waste his media access by endorsing a defunct campaign. He probably reached out to Crowley – or Crowley to him before contacting the WSJ. If Crowley didn't welcome the endorsement then he has an easy remedy: he can ask the WSJ to print a statement saying that he declines Lieberman's support, that he hopes AOC wins and that he doesn't want people to vote for him.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:53 PM on July 17 [7 favorites]


Lieberman II. Good fucking god, here’s hoping that shit gets put down.
posted by Artw at 9:00 PM on July 17 [4 favorites]


I sincerely doubt there is any statement so dipshitty for Joe Lieberman could make that would jeopardize his media access. There's always a market for his Sensible Centrism horseshit.

Again, show me actual evidence of Crowley campaigning. Are there phone calls to voters, is there canvassing, is he holding campaign events, is he even doing anything on social media? If I see that, I'm happy to call him a backstabbing jerk. Until then, I'm not going to.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:06 PM on July 17 [17 favorites]


Carlson, engaged in a crude pantomime of a thoughtful man

Thank you so much for this, it's exactly the description of Tucker Carlson's shtick I've been fumbling for every time I see his weird squinty mugging. It's like a cargo cult imitation of an intellectually engaged interviewer.
posted by contraption at 9:08 PM on July 17 [41 favorites]


We were just thinking, "Hey, we haven't heard from Rick Perry lately, what is he up to? Could he just be doing his job in a scandal-free fashion?" A couple of googles later...

Texas A&M University leaders say Energy Secretary Rick Perry wasn't involved in a $2.5 billion nuclear weapons lab contract that partly went to his alma mater. Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp said Tuesday the National Nuclear Security Administration had favorably scored their proposal to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory near Santa Fe, New Mexico, before the former Texas governor signed off. Sharp was once Perry's college roommate at Texas A&M.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:12 PM on July 17 [9 favorites]


Joe Lieberman's endorsement is evidence that Crowley is campaigning.

Lieberman's op-ed:
But for Mr. Crowley to have a chance at getting re-elected, he will have to decide if he wants to remain an active candidate. I hope he does.
...
Mr. Crowley faces a difficult choice. I know because I faced the same one in 2006 after losing a Democratic primary. I ran as an independent because I wanted all the voters to decide whether I deserved to continue to serve them in the Senate. It was a risk, but I concluded it was worth it to know that I had taken my fight for the kind of government I believed in as far as I possibly could.
This isn't really evidence of Crowley campaigning: this is evidence of Lieberman's continued awfulness and his need to continually justify his leaving the Democratic party. He has a long track record of wanting to make the Democratic Party more conservative, and it's not hard to believe that Lieberman would do this without Crowley's assent.

If Crowley didn't welcome the endorsement then he has an easy remedy: he can ask the WSJ to print a statement saying that he declines Lieberman's support, that he hopes AOC wins and that he doesn't want people to vote for him.

On the one hand, sure, that would be good (I don't think that would need to go to the WSJ though? he could just tweet about it); on the other hand, if Crowley doesn't, but also continues to, you know, not do any campaigning, the 'not doing any campaigning' part should probably be what we pay attention to. Did he contact Lieberman? Is he hiring new campaign staff? Is he making calls? So far the only thing Crowley has been accused of is a negative: of not actively removing himself from a ballot. That's...not the same thing as campaigning, as already discussed at length.

Maybe he's secretly campaigning and this is all a long game, but if he is we can still be angry about that when the secret is actually out.
posted by cjelli at 9:13 PM on July 17 [19 favorites]


Yeah, let’s save our ire for Lieberman.
posted by notyou at 9:16 PM on July 17 [10 favorites]


Joe Lieberman's endorsement is evidence that Crowley is campaigning.

Or, you know, misogyny.
posted by odinsdream at 9:33 PM on July 17 [16 favorites]


Re: Crowley. His campaign site is still accepting donations, urging, "Please contribute so we can get our message out and win the campaign." Crowley's got two Twitter accounts, both verified, both work-related; in one, he's clear not running.

On July 12, on JoeCrowleyNY, he posted, "Lots questions about WFP line. Was honored to have their support. I’m not running. For record you can only be removed from the ballot if 1) you move out of NY; 2) die; 3) be convicted of a crime; 4) accept a nomination for another office (in a place I don’t live)." He follows with, "I don’t plan on moving out of New York, have a clean record, hope God’s will is that I don’t die, and won’t commit what I honestly believe to be election fraud."

Over on the repjoecrowley account, he's just angry with Trump. ("Did Putin write this for you?" in response to a Trump NATO tweet.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:40 PM on July 17


So he's not running but he wants us to know he's eligible to stay on the ballot just in case he got elected anyway.
posted by scalefree at 9:48 PM on July 17 [4 favorites]


Carlson, engaged in a crude pantomime of a thoughtful man, pointed out that Article V requires the other NATO members to come to the defense of any member under attack. Quoth Tucker: “Why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?”

Because less than 24 hours after the September 11 attacks NATO honored Article 5 for the first time in its history and helped the US invade Afghanistan. Their sons and daughters fought and died to support us.

Montenegro (population 642,550) joined NATO in 2017.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:59 PM on July 17 [100 favorites]


@JakeTapper From February: Montenegro to increase troop presence in Afghanistan, per request of US.

Because of course.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:22 PM on July 17 [63 favorites]


Is switching his residency not enough?

He'd have to move out of state.


Considering the question of where Crowley actually lives has been dogging him for many years (those articles are from 2011 and 2013, respectively), I'm not convinced that would be all that difficult for him.

On the one hand, sure, that would be good (I don't think that would need to go to the WSJ though? he could just tweet about it); on the other hand, if Crowley doesn't, but also continues to, you know, not do any campaigning, the 'not doing any campaigning' part should probably be what we pay attention to.

It's New York, so I'm not sure how much he'd have to split the vote to act as a spoiler and make the Republican candidate have a viable shot -- but even if that's impossibly farfetched "doing nothing" is still not, in this scenario, actually doing nothing -- what it is doing is creating confusion and uncertainty among the voters in the district, distracting Ocasio-Cortez's campaign at a point when it should be moving on to focusing on the general election, and derailing a decent chunk of the media coverage about Ocasio-Cortez into talking about this petty feud instead of her actual platform. I don't believe for a minute that a veteran politician like Crowley doesn't know exactly how much harm he's doing with this wishy-washy foot-dragging inaction.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:28 PM on July 17 [16 favorites]


I don’t know how he’s creating confusion. He says he’s not running. He’s never even said he might run. The only people who’ve said he’s running are Ocasio-Cortez and her supporters. If she hadn’t made a big fuss about it in the the socials, the idea that he’s running wouldn’t even be out there.
posted by chrchr at 11:01 PM on July 17 [7 favorites]


It's New York, so I'm not sure how much he'd have to split the vote to act as a spoiler and make the Republican candidate have a viable shot

As to this, it's impossible. The Republican would come in, like, fourth behind AOC, Crowley, and blank.
posted by Justinian at 11:05 PM on July 17 [8 favorites]


NYT, Shane Goldmacher, Who Needs Small Donors When You Have Friends? Ask Gov. Cuomo. How to lie with statistics:
Now, mindful of the party’s insurgency, and facing a vigorous primary challenge from Cynthia Nixon, Mr. Cuomo has raced to find small donors. He has offered a chance to win Billy Joel tickets. His daughters emailed supporters to ask for $5. And he has invested in a raft of digital ads and advertised an unlimited-drinks happy hour in Manhattan for only $5, though the format had to be scotched to avoid running afoul of state rules.

But campaign disclosures on Tuesday revealed the extent to which Mr. Cuomo remains dependent on big donors — and some of the maneuvers undertaken to obscure that fact.

One donor contributed 69 times to Mr. Cuomo in the final days before the deadline — 67 of them $1 donations, driving down his average donation size. The donor, Christopher Kim, shares the same address on his filing as one of Mr. Cuomo’s campaign aides, Julia Yang.

“We appreciate his enthusiasm,” said Abbey Collins, a spokeswoman for Mr. Cuomo’s campaign. “Going forward, we’ll put measures in place to count contributions like this differently.”

But Mr. Kim was just one in a line of aides, relatives, roommates, allies, appointees and lobbyists sprinkled through Mr. Cuomo’s filing, giving tiny sums like $1 and $5.
...
The cumulative effect of these donations was negligible: of the $6 million raised in the last six months, only 1 percent came from those donating $250 or less. All told, Mr. Cuomo earned more in interest payments on his campaign war chest (nearly $154,000) than he collected in total contributions from donors who gave less than $1,000 (just under $110,000).
posted by zachlipton at 11:07 PM on July 17 [16 favorites]


Aubergine: [#45:]“Montenegro is full of very aggressive people.”

I'd get aggressive too if someone had shoved me aside like that.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:49 AM on July 18 [13 favorites]


The Guardian, Parents of MH17 victims lash out at 'bully' Trump: 'You have no idea what love is'
The Perth parents of three children who died when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine have condemned the US president Donald Trump for his refusal to hold the Russian president Vladimir Putin to account over the tragedy.
In a scathing post on his Facebook page on Tuesday, Anthony Maslin challenged Trump on the “irrefutable facts” surrounding the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines plane by a Russian missile in 2014. His partner Rin Norris described both leaders as “bullies”.
...
“Mr Trump, you invented and speak a lot about ‘fake news’. But let’s try talking about something that’s not fake ... let’s call them irrefutable facts,” Maslin said in his post.

“You have no empathy for your fellow man, and you clearly have no idea what love is. So you have nothing.”
[emphasis mine]

Never a truer word said. Trump has nothing good in his life, so he has nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
posted by vac2003 at 1:10 AM on July 18 [103 favorites]


who will be speaking at the 2020 DNC?
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Historic Win and the Future of the Democratic Party
In late December, 2016, Isra Allison, one of B.N.C.’s lead organizers, called Ocasio-Cortez just as she was leaving an anti-pipeline demonstration in Standing Rock, North Dakota. “She told me what B.N.C. was about,” Ocasio-Cortez recalled. “I was just, like, ‘O.K., I’m listening.’ By that time, they had policy plans, and Sanders was the political shorthand.” Ocasio-Cortez e-mailed Allison a video of a speech she had made at Boston University on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day and a description of her work as a waitress: “Having that small business experience opened my eyes to tons of issues—from labor law, to immigration. . . .”

In her early conversations with Allison and others at B.N.C., Ocasio-Cortez was unnerved. “Where did I get off?” she said. “I mean, I’m going to tell people that I, as a waitress, should be their next congresswoman?”

[...]

When I asked her about her political heroes, though, there was no mention of anyone in the Marxist pantheon. She named Robert F. Kennedy. In college, reading his speeches—“that was my jam,” she said. R.F.K., at least in the last chapter of his life, his 1968 Presidential campaign, tried to forge a party coalition of workers, minorities, and the middle class.
posted by kliuless at 2:48 AM on July 18 [13 favorites]


Re: Crowley. His campaign site is still accepting donations

Usual grift. He can retire from the scene and pocket all those sweet sweet donations. Or, he can bank them for some future campaign. Right?
posted by Gotanda at 3:14 AM on July 18


> Chrysostom:

-- NY gov: Zogby poll has Cuomo leading Nixon 63-22 for the Dem nomination. [MOE +/- 3.7%]. Cuomo easily leads various general election configurations, including if Nixon runs on the WFP ticket.


Meanwhile, former Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner's baffling campaign for governor is going nowhere.
posted by maurice at 3:32 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


I just saw a union-bashing cartoon advertisement from the Center for Union Facts on MSNBC on my Comcast cable, promoting the “Employee Rights Act”. (Which, obviously, has nothing to do with employee rights.)
posted by XMLicious at 3:38 AM on July 18


Someone should wait a week or two and then ask Trump a question about MH-17. He'll be like 85% likely to go off on a rant about MS-13.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:26 AM on July 18 [46 favorites]


[A couple deleted. Folks please drop the Crowley thing until such time as there is actual news to discuss.]
posted by taz (staff) at 5:53 AM on July 18 [15 favorites]


Carlson, engaged in a crude pantomime of a thoughtful man, pointed out that Article V requires the other NATO members to come to the defense of any member under attack. Quoth Tucker: “Why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?”

Carlson didn't shirk at the idea of other people's sons and daughters invading Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein.
posted by Gelatin at 6:05 AM on July 18 [13 favorites]


Montenegro, with a standing army of 1,950, has had troops fighting for the US in Afghanistan for years, even before they officially joined NATO in 2017. And they increased the number in 2017 after the US requested more help from NATO. Currently 45 of their 85 personnel trained in international operations are fighting our war in Afghanistan. The war in defense of the US against AQ and Taliban that again is the only time Article 5 has been invoked.
posted by chris24 at 6:22 AM on July 18 [44 favorites]


Kushner Has Been Dodging A DNC Lawsuit Service Notice For Months
The Democratic National Committee has been trying and failing for months to force documents into White House adviser Jared Kushner’s hands to let him know that he is being served with a lawsuit, according to a Tuesday Bloomberg report.

The DNC sued Kushner back in April for alleged collusion with the Russians to alter the 2016 election. Since then, they have come up against a ridiculous multitude of obstacles in trying to officially deliver the notice to him.

After being rejected from his Manhattan apartment three times and from his Washington residence by the Secret Service, they finally tried to just send the documents in the mail. No dice. No one would sign for them and they got returned.

The committee reportedly asked a judge Tuesday for permission to simply mail the summons and complaint to Kushner in ordinary first class, so the package does not require a signature.

Per Bloomberg, the DNC sued Kushner alongside Russia, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks for interference in the 2016 election.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:25 AM on July 18 [28 favorites]


For anybody that is interested in going out on the streets tonight, there's going to be a nationwide vigil at 8pm/sundown hosted by Confront Corruption/Demand Democracy (which is a coalition of liberal groups, including MoveOn).

Personally, vigils aren't my jam. It feels like we're mourning something that's already lost when we hold a vigil -- but democracy isn't lost! But I know it might be meaningful for others-- and it's likely going to be a huge event. Rachel Maddow plugged it on her show last night and whole their site crashed immediately afterward!
posted by rue72 at 6:26 AM on July 18 [4 favorites]


The Democratic National Committee has been trying and failing for months to force documents into White House adviser Jared Kushner’s hands to let him know that he is being served with a lawsuit, according to a Tuesday Bloomberg report.


Should be pretty easy. Just pretend to be a Russian agent and hand them to him.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:28 AM on July 18 [35 favorites]


Not that we couldn't have guessed but confirmation by someone who was there.

[CNN] @NewDay "I quit because I couldn't be proud of where I worked anymore," says Beck Dorey-Stein, former WH stenographer: "I felt like President Trump was lying to the American people ... he wasn't even going the extra mile to have the stenographers in the room"
posted by scalefree at 6:29 AM on July 18 [30 favorites]


And in "Where Are They Now" news, Nikki Haley in her role as UN Ambassador is doing a livestream with Heritage Foundation.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:36 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Using the SS to avoid a process server seems like obstruction to this non lawyer.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:36 AM on July 18 [30 favorites]


Using the SS to avoid a process server seems like obstruction to this non lawyer.

Whatever it is, it's not smart. He's going to be served with the suit by some means. Maybe they can deliver it to him on the floor of a Democratically controlled House when it holds hearings on the integrity of the 2016 election. That should play well for the cameras.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:43 AM on July 18 [16 favorites]


New poll from NBC.

61% think America less respected now, 24% more.

59% aren't confident that the government is doing enough to prevent election interference from other countries.

68% think Russia is unfriendly or an enemy of the US, an increase from July 2017 when 59% thought so.

Conducted before the Helsinki fiasco.
posted by chris24 at 6:44 AM on July 18 [62 favorites]


That Bloomberg article notes that the court's been asked for permission to serve the suit by regular mail. An amusing if somewhat derelict alternative is service by publication. Maybe Bezos would be willing to publish it as a special insert in the Post, gratis.

Democracy dies in the suck on this one Jared.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:47 AM on July 18 [42 favorites]


Bloomberg's Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) reports this morning on the fuse to the deficit bomb that Trump's fiscal policies have lit:
The White House OMB now projects the deficit will rocket to $890B this year and top $1T through 2021.
cc, uh, Larry Kudlow.

… 2017 … 2018 …… 2019 …… 2020 …… 2021
______________________________________
3,316 … 3,232 … 3,424 … 3,616 … 3,841
3,982 … 4,212 … 4,510 ...4,692 … 4,851
______________________________________
… 665 ……… 890 … 1,085 … 1,076 … 1,1011


Federal debt will hit $25 Trillion in fiscal 2021 - four full fiscal years after Trump took office - under his OMB's own estimates.
Rule of thumb: $1 trillion is about $3,000 more borrowed for every person in the United States. Every year.
These projections are about conscious choices, not a sudden turn in the economy like 2008. Trump signed laws passed by Congress lowering tax rates and increasing spending. The rest is math.
This is Larry Kudlow *3 weeks ago!* in his walkback of false claim the deficit is coming down rapidly telling @EamonJavers he still thought it would come down in *2018*:
Larry Kudlow just called me to say that his comment today that the deficit "is coming down rapidly" was misinterpreted. "I was referring to future deficits," he said. "I'll stand by that…because we believe there's going to be an investment boom going on."
Of the people who criticized him today, Kudlow says: "Ether they misunderstand or they are ideologically opposed to our program,"
On the deficit, he said: "I think it will come down in 2018, and the big reductions will come in future yuears."
Larry Kudlow used to work at OMB.
Don't think there's ever been a non-recession year when the deficit jumped by $225 billion - but that's what's happening this year.
Meanwhile, Kudlow is being interviewed on CNBC by fellow always-wrong financial talking head Jim Cramer at the Delivering Alpha Conference, telling him the administration is considering further tax reform plans, predicting economic growth could top 4% for "a quarter or two", and assuring him "there is no recession in sight". And for the coup de grâce, "There are a number of people on the hill... who would like to make a lot of the tax cuts... permanent," Larry Kudlow says of potential additional tax cuts. "Not only did we have a successful tax cut, but we want to keep it that way." He is high on his own supply-side.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:55 AM on July 18 [18 favorites]


Joe Crowley
@JoeCrowleyNY
Still not running.
9:50 AM · Jul 18, 2018
posted by Chrysostom at 6:58 AM on July 18 [30 favorites]


The one thing saving me from throwing up today, is that only one Montenegrin soldier died in Afghanistan, and not in combat.

THis is treason. And it's well past the point where we need to explicitly discuss capital prosecutions.
posted by ocschwar at 6:59 AM on July 18 [12 favorites]


Has any member of the press reached out to Mattis on his comments about NATO helping Montenegro and vice versa?
posted by PenDevil at 7:01 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


Mattis is in hiding because of Theranos.

Few people come out of Bad Blood looking good. Those who do are Theranos' whistleblowing employees who had to put up with being stalked and sued by the secrecy-obsessed company. On the other side of the coin are those deserving our scorn. The Steve Jobs-obsessed [Elizabeth] Holmes, obviously, and her unpleasant-sounding co-conspirator and boyfriend Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani. But equally deserving of scorn are all the credulous rich and powerful old men who bought into this house of cards.

Men like General James Mattis, who described Holmes as having "one of the most mature and well-honed sense of ethics—personal ethics, managerial ethics, business ethics, [and] medical ethics that I've ever heard articulated." (Holmes is now under indictment for wire fraud and has been charged with fraud by the SEC....)


Arguably he should resign, as a Sec. Def. who can't show his face publicly can't really do the job. But, that would also be kinda scary right now. Who the fuck would sign on to replace him? Gorka? Erik Prince?
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:02 AM on July 18 [19 favorites]


Beck Dorey-Stein, former WH stenographer

She can probably get a job at the New York Times.
posted by great_radio at 7:06 AM on July 18 [44 favorites]


Carlson, engaged in a crude pantomime of a thoughtful man, pointed out that Article V requires the other NATO members to come to the defense of any member under attack. Quoth Tucker: “Why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?”

Pourquoi mourir pour Dantzig?
posted by orrnyereg at 7:17 AM on July 18 [8 favorites]


Trump inaccurately says Queen Elizabeth reviewed honor guard for first time in 70 years during his visit.
"We met with the Queen, who is absolutely a terrific person, where she reviewed her honor guard for the first time in 70 years, they tell me," Trump said. "We walked in front of the honor guard and that was very inspiring to see and be with her. And I think the relationship, I can truly say is a good one. But she was very, very inspiring indeed."

Contrary to Trump's statement, however, the queen has reviewed her honor guard many times over the last 70 years. The tradition often takes place during visits from foreign officials, including during former President Obama's visit in 2011.
posted by scalefree at 7:20 AM on July 18 [22 favorites]


"We met with the Queen, who is absolutely a terrific person, where she reviewed her honor guard for the first time in 70 years, they tell me,"

Had this been true it would've been the best shade imaginable for the Grabber in Chief.
Honor guard indeed.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:27 AM on July 18 [8 favorites]


Iris Gambol: Re: Crowley. His campaign site is still accepting donations, urging, "Please contribute so we can get our message out and win the campaign." Crowley's got two Twitter accounts, both verified, both work-related; in one, he's clear not running.

A comment only on the campaign financing side of things: zombie campaigns are a thing (a website developed by the Tampa Bay Times, who developed a database of 102 zombie campaigns). The tagline sums it up pretty clearly: "The campaign is over. The candidate might be dead. But the spending never stops."

In other news: Lawsuit Says Migrants Were Subjected To Dirty Detention Facilities, Bad Food And Water (NPR, July 18, 2018)
Migrants detained in recent months at the U.S.-Mexico border describe being held in Customs and Border Protection facilities that are unsanitary and overcrowded, receiving largely inedible food and being forced to drink foul-smelling drinking water.

In a lawsuit filed against Attorney General Jeff Sessions by the Los Angeles-based Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law, some 200 individuals detained under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy were interviewed, many of them relating poor conditions.

In the suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in California and viewed by NPR late Tuesday, the group is demanding that the government meet minimum standard conditions as laid out in the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement (PDF). The Department of Justice could not immediately be reached for comment.

The filing contains the stories of migrants arriving mainly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador who were detained at various locations at different times, including one facility referred to by several interviewees as the "Dog House" or "Dog Pound," and another as the "Ice House." Last names of detained interviewees have been redacted.
If we can't tangle Jeff Sessions in Russia indictments, there are the humanitarian crimes. And if he ducks those, there's got to be a way to make them stick on high level government or private contractor managers, because this can't just be shrugged off when the administration (finally/eventually) changes.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:28 AM on July 18 [34 favorites]


"Little Montenegro! He lifted up the words and nodded at them ...
Literally, the first thing I said to myself after seeing Trump's despicable remarks was "Little Montenegro!"

I think the the Kremlin are aaaaall up in the NRA and conservative activist organizations and general--Paul Erickson is just the first one we've seen. I expect we'll be seeing a whole lot more links being drawn between Russian governmental agents and Republican party figures, donors, and activists.

Christopher Stroop's remarks on the history of the American Christian Right's affinity for Russia are relevant here. Also Jeet Heer's remarks on the history of Russophilia in the far right.

(What I find troubling is the degree to which this intersects with a kind of cynical anti-anti-Trumpism/anti-"Russophobia" on the left.)
posted by octobersurprise at 7:33 AM on July 18 [11 favorites]


Has any member of the press reached out to Mattis on his comments about NATO helping Montenegro and vice versa?

Not that I can find, but Reuters is reporting that Mattis is "open to the possibility of the first talks since 2015 between the defense chiefs of the United States and Russia." No word on if the talks will take place under a swinging bare light bulb.

Not keen to talk to us, though. @ChiefPentSpox hasn't tweeted for days.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:35 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


“Montenegro is full of very aggressive people.”

I wonder if this deal didn't go the way Trump wanted:

Donald Trump to invest in hotel market in Montenegro [The Caterer, March 2007].

Petulant spite/revenge generally seems to be a good bet for explaining his actions.
posted by Buntix at 7:38 AM on July 18 [36 favorites]


I haven't had a chance to check this today, and might have missed important events, but the thing that struck me when I saw his petulant attempt at rolling everything back because he's bad at words was something like this:

For everyone rushing to excuse Trump for Helsinki, accepting his (clearly bullshit) claim that he misspoke, why aren't we taking him at his word? He can't, by his own admission, speak clearly and without mistakes at the most crucial, most important times. He confuses his words, he says, he makes mistakes and says the opposite of what he meant. The words of the president create policy and steer the direction of the nation. Yes, lots of "normal" people make mistakes, even in crucial times. The role of the president is not a job for normal people with garbled speech. It's a role for the most capable, the most clear, the most reliable. Trump is, by his own admission, incapable of the job that is needed. Let's all take him at his word, and move forward with article 25, as the president is incapable of performing the duties of the office.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:40 AM on July 18 [105 favorites]


The words of the president create policy and steer the direction of the nation. Yes, lots of "normal" people make mistakes, even in crucial times. The role of the president is not a job for normal people with garbled speech. It's a role for the most capable, the most clear, the most reliable.

I'll note that nearly three million more people were persuaded by this very argument when Hillary Clinton made it in 2016.
posted by Gelatin at 7:42 AM on July 18 [28 favorites]


What I find troubling is the degree to which this intersects with a kind of cynical anti-anti-Trumpism/anti-"Russophobia" on the left

I would not be at all surprised if GRUbots were pushing these notions in far left circles as well. Some of the messaging coming out of some feeds I follow is getting weird. "THE USA HAS MESSED WITH ELECTIONS TOO YOU GUISE" is the general theme which, yes, all true, but I don't get the connection between that and laying down our arms and letting Russia do as it pleases to us, now.
posted by EatTheWeak at 7:55 AM on July 18 [15 favorites]


It makes me quite angry that a conservative could ask, “Why should my son die for Montenegro?” to which I’m sure a Montenegrin would reply, “And why should my son die for your compromised shithole of a nation?”

There’s something deeply infuriating to me about the idea of placing human beings, as citizens of allies, on some hierarchy of “worth defending”, even though they are treaty-allies through a treaty that is to the benefit of America.

This modern American conservative trend of pretending a vast world order created largely to serve America is bad, if only because it pays lip service to the value of other nations, or appears to help, is absurd. We’ve come to the point where the anti-“cuck” concern of aesthetic strength at all costs dismembers a realpolitik which is to their advantage anyway!
posted by constantinescharity at 7:58 AM on July 18 [51 favorites]


MetaFilter: Some of the messaging coming out of some feeds I follow is getting weird.
posted by petebest at 7:58 AM on July 18 [18 favorites]


This modern American conservative trend of pretending a vast world order created largely to serve America is bad, if only because it pays lip service to the value of other nations, or appears to help, is absurd. We’ve come to the point where the anti-“cuck” concern of aesthetic strength at all costs dismembers a realpolitik which is to their advantage anyway!

The stupid thing is we're doing this economically too.

If China had a fully convertible currency we'd be consigned to the economic scrap heap by now.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:02 AM on July 18 [5 favorites]


Personally, vigils aren't my jam.

I agree. I think the resistance has a chance here to reclaim patriotism from the Trumpistas, and patriotism looks better with a show of strength, not weakness. I've pulled an American flag out of my neighbor's garbage, and I'm going to bring it to the next protest I go to. I was worried my next protest would be in response to Mueller getting fired, but I expect there will be some focusing on the tre45on soon.

"Putin sucks!" has a nice cadence to it, the same as "U! S! A!" Imagine chanting that at any rally, making it so common that even seeing the words brings up the rhythm in your head.

Republicans have been knocked back on their heels, and we need to force them on this. Tell them they can't be a patriot if they support Putin, and make them take a stand.

Many Republicans in congress don't support Putin, of course, and they can point to things like the 2017 sanctions that were passed nearly unanimously, but that doesn't mean we can't press them on it. Tell them they need to do more, like make a public denouncement, vigorously defend the Intelligence community, and secure the US from election interference. And they need to protect Mueller and Rosenstein, since they're fighting Putin even while Trump defends him.
posted by hydrophonic at 8:03 AM on July 18 [11 favorites]


Not that I can find, but Reuters is reporting that Mattis is "open to the possibility of the first talks since 2015 between the defense chiefs of the United States and Russia."

n.b. Reuters clarifies in its headline that this is not an official statement but rather comes from anonymous leaks: "Exclusive: Trump's Defense Chief Open To First Talks With Russian Counterpart - Sources" Specifically, "Two U.S. officials, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said Mattis was open to the possibility of talks. They did not suggest he was actively seeking discussions with Shoigu, either in person or by telephone." (The Pentagon declined to comment on this story and said it hadn't received any invitations from Moscow for talks.)

In the context of the Russian Ministry of Defense's statement yesterday about being "ready for practical implementation of the agreements in the sphere of international security reached by Russian and US Presidents" and "to enliven contact with the US colleagues, between our General Staffs", however, it's ominous. Either Mattis is quietly receptive to this arrangement or Trumpists in the Pentagon are leaking the idea that he is in order to further their agenda.

And Trump concluded this morning's Twitter rant about him and Putin at Helsinki by promising "Many positive things will come out of that meeting." and "Big results will come!"

Meanwhile, on the Kremlin front, the New York Daily News reports, Russia Wants to Interrogate Ex-U.S. Ambassador McFaul, Other Americans In Criminal Case
Putin had mentioned the alleged crimes* of American-British financier Bill Browder when responding to questions about the 12 Russian military intelligence officers indicted in the U.S. in the hacking of Democratic emails during the 2016 election.

Browder, who became rich in Moscow during the relatively lawless days of the 1990s post-Soviet Union, is a common bête noire for the Putin government, though prosecutors claimed Wednesday that American intelligence services may have also been involved in an illegal scheme.

A list of U.S. officials announced by Russia’s Prosecutor General's office on Tuesday included members of the State Department, Department of Homeland Security and CIA, as well as McFaul.
* At the Helsinki press conference, Putin—trotting out the same pitch as the Trump Tower meeting—falsely claimed Browder had donated $400 million to Hillary Clinton's campaign, which the next day, the Russian prosecutor’s office revised down to $400,000. Politifact rates this a "Pants on Fire" lie, but it was part of Putin's package deal of "mutual" law enforcement and intelligence access that Trump thought sounded great.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:07 AM on July 18 [8 favorites]


Many Republicans in congress don't support Putin, of course, and they can point to things like the 2017 sanctions that were passed nearly unanimously, but that doesn't mean we can't press them on it.

Of course we can press them on it. The trouble is, they are genuinely worried that if they speak out against Trump, they will be primaried out by someone who's a real nutcase.
posted by Melismata at 8:08 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


I would not be at all surprised if GRUbots were pushing these notions in far left circles as well. Some of the messaging coming out of some feeds I follow is getting weird. "THE USA HAS MESSED WITH ELECTIONS TOO YOU GUISE" is the general theme

Whataboutism has long been a staple of Soviet/Russian propaganda.
posted by hydrophonic at 8:09 AM on July 18 [28 favorites]


(Although everyone might be aware of the story of Bill Browder, if not, here's an interview with James O'Brien from last year.)
posted by Grangousier at 8:11 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Chyron: "Prof Cohen: Do you prefer impeaching Trump or nuclear war with Russia?"
Twittersphere has been very packed this morning but this is probably the most disturbing part of last night. Fox News are preemptively and subliminally setting up argument against any Trump impeachment in the minds of remaining conservatives. It gives a line which Republicans can work off and it can be used on the offensive against calls to impeachment. For those who have drunk the Kool-Aid it serves as a direct "support Dear Leader or the world will end!". For those who who are using those who have drunk the Kool-Aid it serves as a "Democrats will just start shit up with our mortal enemy and who wants that?".

Witness Cruz vs Beto yesterday. Beto was pretty much "fuck Trump the traitor we need to get him out" and Cruz responded with clutching his pearls and "my stahrs this man is so radical and unfit for the illustrious and reasoned US Senate!"
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:13 AM on July 18 [19 favorites]


The "Russophilic" right and "anti-Russophobic" left may have contradictory worldviews, but their attitudes both make sense in the context of those worldviews, if you focus on different meanings of the word "Russia". It's the same with different meanings of any country's name: the government of Russia is fascist, the people are as varied as any nation's people.

Each camp then gets into the weeds by conflating those things and pretending they can't be distinguished. The lefty ones do this by supposing that the government basically does represent the people and hence any opposition to the activities of the former is "really" xenophobia (well, this plus a combination of stigginit to the USA, as though there couldn't possibly be two shitty governments on the same world stage).

The righty ones do it by projecting the government's attributes onto the people, and imagining a populace of 100% pale Christianish authoritarians. That means ignoring the country's gay, Muslim, and anti-authoritarian citizens (plus millions who stay away from politics-etc). This is just a variation of how they conceptualize the USA itself, similarly glossing over inconvenient exceptions to their desired ethnostate as "not real America".

This conflation is also how some people attempt to deflect accusations of a Vladimir-Donald collusion/conspiracy by saying "Look at all the Russian casualties of recent American attacks in Syria! Some Russian agent he is, right?" The thing is, killing Russians doesn't exactly make someone anti-Putin -- he kills a lot of Russians too.

Also, once you un-conflate these things, you see how absurd it is to treat Russian election meddling as "retaliation" for Americans doing the same. If my creepy neighbor maliciously shaves my cat, and then I shave his cat, I didn't "get revenge" -- all that happened is two creepy humans shaved two innocent cats.

So in short, it makes sense to consider Trump and his Trumpists and to be anti-Russian in exactly the same way they are anti-American. They have zero loyalty to some group of people whose only commonality is living within arbitrary borders. Their loyalty is to plutocrats generally, regardless of borders, exactly as we have seen in nationalists like them throughout history.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:14 AM on July 18 [26 favorites]


Trump is, by his own admission, incapable of the job that is needed. Let's all take him at his word, and move forward with article 25, as the president is incapable of performing the duties of the office.

Well, I mean, the problem here is the "we" who can move forward with the 25th amendment:
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office
are themselves either in this up to their necks or are gonna ride the Trump train as long as they possibly can for personal enrichment and/or political ideological gains. It's gonna take a lot more than Newt Gingrich and Neil Cavuto being kinda grumpy to convince those people that it's time to consider Trump dead weight and pitch him over the side.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:14 AM on July 18 [5 favorites]


The trouble is, they are genuinely worried that if they speak out against Trump, they will be primaried out by someone who's a real nutcase.

And yet none of the incumbents who've already won their primaries, or already lost their primaries, or don't face re-election until 2022, or have already announced retirement, are doing anything concrete either.

They want this. The only question is how comfortable they are saying so in front of the cameras.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:14 AM on July 18 [45 favorites]


In case you were wondering about Kavanaugh's feelings re Mueller, Manu Raju writes of Trump Supreme Court pick: I would 'put the nail' in ruling upholding independent counsel.
posted by Jpfed at 8:15 AM on July 18 [6 favorites]


"THE USA HAS MESSED WITH ELECTIONS TOO YOU GUISE"

When coming from a conservative, this is never a good faith argument, so you can disregard. Like, they just woke up yesterday and found their local propaganda outlet saying this and were like, "Sounds like something I could own libs with!" and ran with it. They know nothing about the topic, and 2, 5, 10, 20 years ago would have had an opinion somewhere on the scale between "I literally do not give a single shit" and "U!S!A! U!S!A!".
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:16 AM on July 18 [38 favorites]


I think it would make sense for Dems with media access to stop allowing this to be framed as Russian influence and instead use the term Kremlin influence, Kremlin intelligence, Kremlin agents, Kremlin control...
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:17 AM on July 18 [38 favorites]


Meanwhile, on the Kremlin front, the New York Daily News reports, Russia Wants to Interrogate Ex-U.S. Ambassador McFaul, Other Americans In Criminal Case

Getting your foreign buddy to intimidate your political enemies for you is devilishly clever and by "devilishly clever" I mean totally on brand for our darkest timeline.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:19 AM on July 18 [5 favorites]


But above all, brand the Russian government's actions as Putin's. If you're going to rule as an autocrat, then the rouble stops there.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:19 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


Chyron: "Prof Cohen: Do you prefer impeaching Trump or nuclear war with Russia?"

This is really badly worded if it is supposed to imply that impeaching Trump would lead to nuclear war with Russia. As it stands it asks us to choose between impeaching Trump on one hand and nuclear war with Russia on the other, which doesn't exactly put us on the horns of a dilemma.
posted by Jpfed at 8:20 AM on July 18 [38 favorites]


When coming from a conservative, this there is never a good faith argument, so you can disregard.

A good rule of thumb. Good faith arguments don't support Republican positions, and haven't since time out of mind, so they don't bother. What's more, parroting bad faith argument serves one of the only true principles of modern movement conservatism, which is "pissing off liberals." Liberals value good faith debate, so in accordance with cleek's law, conservatives don't. They take positive glee in irritating liberals with the bad faith of their arguments. (Look at Tucker Carlson, for example -- chided by Jon Stewart about the uselessness of "Crossfire," Paul Begala stepped down, and Carlson stepped it up.)
posted by Gelatin at 8:23 AM on July 18 [9 favorites]


Vanishing Point
As the GOP increasingly comes to resemble a personality cult, is there any red line—video tapes? DNA evidence? a war with Germany—President Trump could cross and lose party support? “Very doubtful,” say a dozen GOP members of Congress stuck hard behind the MAGA eight ball.
...
What is the red line for a contemporary GOP increasingly built around a personality cult? I put that question to a dozen Republicans in the House and Senate, a mix from across the ideological spectrum and from every region of the country. The conversations revealed a lot about the Trump GOP, but the red line, with respect to Trump’s behavior generally, or his conduct specific to the Mueller probe, was vanishingly thin and difficult to detect. And every time you think you see it—pee tape, porn-star liaison, erratic diplomacy, threats to fire Mueller—it keeps moving. As Republican senator Jeff Flake of Arizona put it, “I don’t know that there is one.”
Ceterum autem censeo Trumpem esse delendam
posted by kirkaracha at 8:30 AM on July 18 [21 favorites]


The one thing saving me from throwing up today, is that only one Montenegrin soldier died in Afghanistan, and not in combat.

Sadly, nearly 1000 NATO soldiers have died in Afghanistan since 9/11.

Not to mention that NATO keeps US soldiers alive.


Nicholas Grossman
1870-71: Franco-Prussian War, 433K dead

1914-1918: WWI, 17.6M dead, including 116K Americans

1939-1945: WWII, 54M dead in Europe, including 277K Americans

1949: NATO founded

1949-Present: No major European wars

2018: "NATO's stupid. What does it do for us anyway?"
posted by chris24 at 8:31 AM on July 18 [90 favorites]


What is the red line for a contemporary GOP increasingly built around a personality cult?

Losing elections. Let's start 11/6/18.
posted by chris24 at 8:32 AM on July 18 [50 favorites]


(Look at Tucker Carlson, for example -- chided by Jon Stewart about the uselessness of "Crossfire," Paul Begala stepped down, and Carlson stepped it up.

"If only Stewart were nicer to poor Tucker he might not have doubled down and turned into the raging fucking asshole he is today"
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:34 AM on July 18 [8 favorites]


I think David Rees's SHAME THEORY analysis, one day after the Comey firing, is still 100% spot on.
posted by theodolite at 8:36 AM on July 18 [21 favorites]


Politico reporting on comments by Rohrabacher: "Indictment of NRA-linked Russian is 'stupid'"

Rohrabacher is such a wretched lying traitor to his country. I will cheer when he is voted out of office, and I hope he's put behind bars so he can't profit from some plum lobbyist job.
posted by StrawberryPie at 8:37 AM on July 18 [23 favorites]


"If only Stewart were nicer to poor Tucker he might not have doubled down and turned into the raging fucking asshole he is today"

Alternately, "Stewart was dumb to attack Tucker Carlson for 'hurting America' because he assumed Tucker Carlson likes America.”
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:39 AM on July 18 [4 favorites]


From the Politico Artilce, Rohrabacher said:

“I know I had dinner with [Butina] along with another member, along with a visiting delegation to Russia,” he said. “Is that something we should be worried about?”

Wonder who just felt a bus roll over them?
posted by Twain Device at 8:47 AM on July 18 [11 favorites]


2018: "NATO's stupid. What does it do for us anyway?"

18th Century: 400,000 Europeans each year die from Smallpox
1796: Edward Jenner invents first Smallpox vaccine
1950: Polio kills or paralyzes half a million per year
1955: Jonas Salk invents Polio vaccine
1979: Smallpox eradicated and Polio eradicated in the US
2018: "Vaccines are stupid. What do they do for us anyway?"

I see a trend.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:53 AM on July 18 [95 favorites]


[Talking Points Memo] @Tierney_Megan Attorneys for Andrew Miller — a Roger Stone aide who had sought to squash a subpoena for Mueller’s probe — just emerged from an 1.5 hour sealed matter in Chief Judge Howell’s courtroom. 5 members of Mueller’s team were in the courtroom as well.
posted by scalefree at 8:57 AM on July 18 [19 favorites]


Just as a reminder regarding Bill Browder, as with all things involving Trump and Putin, its all about the Magnitsky Act. Bill Browder was the guy who hired Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky to investigate corruption in Putin's government. Magnitsky uncovered a $230 million government corruption scam that involved Putin. For this, Magnitsky was jailed, tortured and murdered at the hands of Putin.

Browder was the person who was behind the campaign that brought about the bipartisan Magnitsky Act which freezes the foreign assets and restricts the movement of Putin and his oligarchy outside of Russia.

And Monday we all saw Trump nod approvingly when Putin offered to exchange the 12 indicted Russian agents in exchange for turning over Browder to Putin and his murderous thugs.

This is the exact same issue that led to the Trump Jr. meeting at the Trump tower -- the Magnitsky Act. And Monday everyone witnessed open collusion between Trump and Putin.

Although born an American citizen, Browder emigrated to the UK decades ago and is a British citizen, but one can certainly imagine Trump twisting Theresa May's arm in her desperation for a U.S. trade deal with a hard Brexit pending.
posted by JackFlash at 8:59 AM on July 18 [113 favorites]


In case you were wondering about Kavanaugh's feelings re Mueller, Manu Raju writes of Trump Supreme Court pick: I would 'put the nail' in ruling upholding independent counsel.

So even if Congress passed a new law to protect Mueller, a Kavanaugh-added SCOTUS would most likely overrule that law, unless John Roberts somehow sided with the left?
posted by gladly at 9:00 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]




Congressman Ryan Costello (R - PA) speaking up on CNN

just fucking words unless he actually starts doing shit.

i've had more productive wanking sessions than anything these republican chucklefucks have done in front of the news cameras with their "grave concerns"
posted by anem0ne at 9:09 AM on July 18 [31 favorites]


In case you were wondering about Kavanaugh's feelings re Mueller, Manu Raju writes of Trump Supreme Court pick: I would 'put the nail' in ruling upholding independent counsel.

Grounds for impeachign Kavanaugh right there. No need to increase the size of the court.
Impeach. Replace. Move on. For the agenda in 2019
posted by ocschwar at 9:12 AM on July 18 [25 favorites]


Let's not pick on Senator Flake; he's engaged in critical business.
posted by jgirl at 9:14 AM on July 18 [6 favorites]


Increasing the court is much easier than impeachment. Impeachment requires 67 to convict in the senate. Adding to the court only 51 once the filibuster is nuked.
posted by chris24 at 9:14 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


Poll: Americans more divided over Kavanaugh than any other recent Supreme Court pick

Only a small fraction of Democratic voters - 17 percent - said that the Senate should approve Kavanaugh, compared to a large majority of Republicans - 71 percent - saying he should be confirmed, according to the survey. [...] Sixty-nine percent of Republicans said that the Senate should go ahead and hold a vote on Kavanaugh before the midterms while only 18 percent of Democrats agreed.

Surprisingly low numbers for Republicans.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:17 AM on July 18 [8 favorites]


Well that's not good.

@nycsouthpaw The government's argument to keep Maria Butina in pretrial detention includes this section.
posted by scalefree at 9:21 AM on July 18 [35 favorites]


Surprisingly low numbers for Republicans.

From Nate Silver:
Kavanaugh's numbers in this poll (+4) are the worst of any SCOTUS nominee that Gallup has tested. By comparison, Gorsuch was a +13.

Prior to Kavanaugh, the least popular nominees per Gallup were Bork (+6) and Miers (+8).
posted by Jpfed at 9:24 AM on July 18 [19 favorites]


@nycsouthpaw The government's argument to keep Maria Butina in pretrial detention includes this section.

So in the movie, is she going to be played by Keri Russell?
posted by JackFlash at 9:27 AM on July 18 [13 favorites]


Just as a reminder regarding Bill Browder, as with all things involving Pussy grabber and Putin, its all about the Magnitsky Act.

I was startled but not surprised to hear his name come out of Putin's mouth.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong or missing something here:
After the end of the Cold War there's a ton of instability. "Shock Therapy" is instituted by Yeltsin to convert the state-controlled economy into a market economy. (This is the 'lawlessness' that Browder literally capitalized upon, and yes just TONS of hand-waving here for brevity's sake.) The people who used to control the branches of government that were in charge of the various aspects of the economy made a relatively smooth transition into ownership of the private companies that took over those economies.

They proceeded to extract the wealth of Russia's economy by forceful theft, and became even more powerful than they were when they were government officials. Putin comes to power in the diminished Russian government, puts the richest oligarch (as these former government "czars" are by now) in a cage, in court, on national television and then throws him into jail and loses the key.

Browder explains that if you imagine yourself as the seventh richest (smartest, most powerful, etc.) oligarch in Russia, and you just saw the guy who was at the top of the ladder you're already pretty damn high up on get tossed into a dungeon, you might be interested in striking a deal to make sure you weren't the next guy thrown off. Or the next guy, or the one after that, etc.

The deal is something like 50% of profits. When your profits are billions of dollars and after the split you still have billions of dollars, that's not a bad-looking deal. Meanwhile, Putin is instantly the richest man on Earth.

But let's go back to the forceful theft part. The oligarchs will do anything to suck money out of Russia, and now they have the blessing of the Russian Government to do so. Browder objects when an oligarch steals a large tax payment he makes to the Russian Government, hires an attorney—Magnitsky—who is then murdered by the Russian Government while refusing to recant official testimony he gave in court against the oligarch who stole Browder's company's tax payment. Stealing taxes to the government is how the oligarchs get rich. They do that for a few decades, and they get very rich. Russia starves, freezes.

Browder goes home to UK first to plead his case, and meets a brick wall. (Lots of rubles in London, right?) Then he tries his old home and petitions Congress. It's a ripping story he tells, and despite Obama's Russian Reset strategy, convinces first Congress (like 99% of it, I'll leave objecting members as a project for my fellow conspiracy-ists) then Obama to put the Magnitsky Act into law.

Several other nation-states write similar laws. And now the rich Russian oligarchs can't spend their money in the world economy unless some asshole like Donald Trump or Michael Cohen or Elliot Broidy or Rex Tillerson or Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (meet your American Oligarchs!) launders it for them.

Or they get the sanctions lifted.

So. America is already a capitalist economy and doesn't require the messy transition. All the American Oligarchs need is a way to steal the taxes of the American people and net them in their own pockets. They can privatize the valuable economic resources controlled by the American governments while dismantling the oversight of their theft.

Cancel your subscriptions.
Vote.
Love one another.
posted by carsonb at 9:30 AM on July 18 [80 favorites]


ummmmmm guys?

"Trumps son should be concerned': FBI obtained wiretaps of Putin ally who met with Trump Jr.

The FBI has obtained secret wiretaps collected by Spanish police of conversations involving Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of Russia’s Central Bank who has forged close ties with U.S. lawmakers and the National Rifle Association, that led to a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. during the gun lobby’s annual convention in Louisville, Ky., in May 2016, a top Spanish prosecutor said Friday.

José Grinda, who has spearheaded investigations into Spanish organized crime, said that bureau officials in recent months requested and were provided transcripts of wiretapped conversations between Torshin and Alexander Romanov, a convicted Russian money launderer. On the wiretaps, Romanov refers to Torshin as “El Padrino,” the godfather.

“Just a few months ago, the wiretaps of these telephone conversations were given to the FBI,” Grinda said in response to a question from Yahoo News during a talk he gave at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington. Asked if he was concerned about Torshin’s meetings with Donald Trump Jr. and other American political figures, Grinda replied: “Mr. Trump’s son should be concerned.”

posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:31 AM on July 18 [52 favorites]


> Well that's not good.
@nycsouthpaw: The government's argument to keep Maria Butina in pretrial detention includes this section.


For those who can't / won't follow the Twitter link, the FBI is alleging that Butina, age 29, was in a relationship with US Person 1, age 56, but that was a "duplicitous relationship" because she treated it as part of her job, complained about it, expressed disdain for continued cohabitation, and offered at least one other person sex in exchange for "a position within a special interest organization".

This is ... yeah, not good.

Also per that Twitter thread, Butina and US Person 1 (age 56) had packed their belongings, rented a U-Haul, wired $3500 to Russia, and written to their landlord to terminate their lease on July 31st.

(Fun fact: Sean Hannity is 56 years old. But no, it's not him.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:34 AM on July 18 [39 favorites]


So in the movie, is she going to be played by Keri Russell?

Long & short of it, she lived & slept with Person 1 & complained about having to do so. Not taken by gov't as evidence of a local tie of the sort that would keep her from fleeing if released.
posted by scalefree at 9:36 AM on July 18


Here's a link to the full pretrial detention motion (via Brad Heath; USAToday)
posted by melissasaurus at 9:36 AM on July 18


And we've arrived at day three of the Putin/Intelligence Community flip flop:

Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie)
BREAKING
Q: "is Russia still targeting the U.S.?"
Trump: "No."
Just now in the Cabinet meeting.


wonder how marco rubio and newt gingrich, so pleased with yesterday's "walk-back" will wrap their heads around this one.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:39 AM on July 18 [45 favorites]


@nycsouthpaw The government's argument to keep Maria Butina in pretrial detention includes this section.

Okay, look. She was only a 29-year-old Russian woman showing interest in a politically-connected 56-year-old American man and using his connections to further her own climb. How was he to know? What possible reason would a middle-aged American political operative have to be suspicious of the interests of a much younger Russian woman? She wasn't technically half his age. C'mon.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:40 AM on July 18 [40 favorites]


For reference, U.S. Person 1 is GOP operative Paul Erickson -- the age lines up, he's been heavily involved with the NRA in the same timeframe as Butina, and the NY Times sourced the "back-channel to President Putin's Kremlin" e-mail to him back in 2017.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:41 AM on July 18 [24 favorites]


Q: "is Russia still targeting the U.S.?"
Trump: "No."
Just now in the Cabinet meeting.


*wipes sweaty brow*

BOY, THAT'S A RELIEF
posted by entropicamericana at 9:44 AM on July 18 [28 favorites]


How was he to know?

He went home with the waitress student, the way he always did. How was he to know she was with the Russians, too?
posted by octobersurprise at 9:53 AM on July 18 [45 favorites]


Okay, I'm gonna try to piece this narrative together:

1) Putin becomes world's wealthiest person by stealing from the oligarchs in Russia.
2) Bill Browder, one of these wealthy individuals who has his tax payment stolen, watches as the attorney he hires is tried for crimes and murdered before he can appear in court.
3) Bowder sifts through international connections to get the Magintsky Acts passed in a few countries. Putin's inner circle can no longer move their money around on the international stage as freely, as the dollar is now denied to them as a means of laundering money.
4) Russia annexes Crimea.
5) Maria Butina moves to the US, seduces Paul Erikson, and works the back channel connection through the NRA.
6) Pee tape
7) Trump, now compromised, is goaded into running for President. Manafort is suggested as his campaign manager.
8) Manafort is fired
9) Trump Tower meeting
10) Trump is elected!
11) Preet Bharara is fired to end the investigation into Trump's enterprises from the NY state angle.
12) Comey is fired to end the Russia investigation. Mueller takes his place.
13) Many guilty pleas, and insane shenanegans later, we learn of all of these events.

Seems like an EXTREMELY compelling, simple narrative.

I'm missing the Seychelles meeting and the attempts from other powers to influence the current administration. I think a similar story could be woven for Qatar/UAE/Saudi Arabia/Israel/China.

MeFites, as a lurker and a bystander, how am I doing at piecing together this narrative?
posted by thebotanyofsouls at 9:54 AM on July 18 [92 favorites]


Wasn't Manafort at the Trump Tower meeting? I feel like he was fired later.
posted by SpaceBass at 9:57 AM on July 18 [7 favorites]


More from the government's motion of pre-trial detention for Butina, per Marcy Wheeler (@emptywheel)—"The Oligarchs are funding the spies in the US":
3. Butina Has Ties to the Russian Oligarchy
In addition to her ties to the Russian government, there is evidence that Butina is well- connected to wealthy businessmen in the Russian oligarchy. Her Twitter messages, chat logs, and emails refer to a known Russian businessman with deep ties to the Russian Presidential Administration. This person often travels to the United States and has also been referred to as her “funder” throughout her correspondence; he was listed in Forbes as having a real-time net worth of $1.2 billion as of 2018*. Immediately prior to her first trip to the United States in late 2014, Butina engaged in a series of text messages with a different wealthy Russian businessman regarding budgets for her trip to the United States and meetings with the aforementioned “funder.” Individuals such as these wealthy businessmen could, through their wealth and influence, be in a position to offer a safe harbor for Butina.
* Maybe Forbes billionaires Boris Rotenberg (Putin crony) or Gleb Fetisov (ties to Alfa Group).
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:57 AM on July 18 [9 favorites]


Hmmm ...
American Conservatives Played A Secret Role In The Macedonian Fake News Boom Ahead Of 2016
Buzzfeed, July 18, 2018, at 12:24 p.m. ET

posted by octobersurprise at 9:58 AM on July 18 [35 favorites]


@SpaceBass, yes, you're correct on a google search. I put those two events in the wrong order. My intention was to briefly include the history behind the Maginstky act, as now I see with Putin bringing Bowder's name into the narrative how important those events were for shaping the events we see today.
posted by thebotanyofsouls at 10:00 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Q: "is Russia still targeting the U.S.?"
Trump: "No."
Just now in the Cabinet meeting.
The nation’s top intelligence officer said on Friday that the persistent danger of Russian cyberattacks today was akin to the warnings the United States had of stepped-up terror threats ahead of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
...
“The warning lights are blinking red again,” Mr. Coats said as he cautioned of cyberthreats. “Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.”
...
Mr. Coats [went on to say] that the United States knows what the Russians are doing and that Mr. Putin’s government is responsible for the cyberattacks.
That was only five days ago.

What Trump said yesterday was that he 'misspoke' and does agree with the intelligence community; that was clearly a lie several times over, but in case there was any lingering shadow of doubt -- which there should not have been -- he clearly either is lying or he distrusts the assessment.
posted by cjelli at 10:00 AM on July 18 [41 favorites]


Wasn't Manafort at the Trump Tower meeting?

Yep, yep, yep. As was Jared Kushner. Calling it Don Jr's meeting obfuscates their participation, but they were the big "gets" for Putin's lawyer-agent Natalia Veselnitskaya and GRU operative Rinat Akhmetshin.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:01 AM on July 18 [6 favorites]


Fox News tries mightily to explain Trump's "No." response to "Is Russia still targeting the U.S.?", in a segment that literally includes the phrases:
We're working really hard to make this sound reasonable.
and
I'm spit-balling here, so just work with me, I'm developing this thought ...
video from Lis Power of Media Matters
posted by pjenks at 10:01 AM on July 18 [53 favorites]


Meanwhile, today Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) is pandering to sewing up the hinterland vote by introducing the Go Pack Go Act:
“Every Packers fan across our state should be able to watch Packers games,” said Senator Baldwin. “My Go Pack Go Act would give Packers fans in every Wisconsin county the opportunity to watch Packers games and cheer on our beloved green and gold.”

...In Wisconsin, nearly 400,000 people live in 13 counties that have been assigned to an out-of-state market, in either Minnesota or Michigan. Senator Baldwin’s Go Pack Go Act would require cable, satellite and other video providers to provide their Wisconsin subscribers with access to programming from the broadcast television stations in a Wisconsin media market.
posted by carmicha at 10:02 AM on July 18 [16 favorites]


This is ... yeah, not good.

On the contrary, it's just getting good
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:02 AM on July 18 [27 favorites]


Fox News: Fair and Balanced We Report, You Decide We're Working Really Hard to Make This Sound Reasonable.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:03 AM on July 18 [95 favorites]


From a Time article published literally 4 days ago:

Nielsen said her agency will help state and local election officials prepare their systems for cyberattacks from Russia or elsewhere. She said U.S. intelligence officials are seeing “persistent Russian efforts using social media, sympathetic spokespeople and other fronts to sow discord and divisiveness amongst the American people, though not necessarily focused on specific politicians or political campaigns.”
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:04 AM on July 18 [5 favorites]


We're Working Really Hard to Make This Sound Reasonable

None dare call it reason.
posted by Grangousier at 10:09 AM on July 18 [134 favorites]


> We're working really hard to make this sound reasonable.

After Trump won the election I made a comment here about how a lot of people were going to get a crash course in emotional labour, but even so I vastly underestimated the lengths to which millions of people would be willing to go to in order to prop up this grotesquely incompetent rich white man. Not that I sympathize with them or would ask anyone else to, but...can you imagine? It must be *exhausting*.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:15 AM on July 18 [11 favorites]


Meanwhile, today Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin is pandering to sewing up the hinterland vote by introducing the Go Pack Go Act:

It would be interesting if it works. Baldwin, up for re-election this year, is according to DW-NOMINATE the 4th most liberal Senator in a state that went for Trump.
posted by Jpfed at 10:17 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


So the Buzzfeed article about Macedonian fake news sites mentions
Paris Wade, had founded Liberty Writers News, a hyperpartisan conservative site based in the United States. The pair would achieve a certain level of infamy after a late November 2016 profile by the Washington Post portrayed them as misinformation merchants who were getting rich by stoking fear and anger. Wade is now a Republican candidate for the Nevada State Assembly.
The linked Paris Wade campaign site is... something. Like, I'm not sure what I was expecting from the founder of Liberty Writers News but it was not this.
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:17 AM on July 18 [8 favorites]


Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein went to Trump last week and offered him the choice: before or after the Putin summit on Monday in Helsinki? Trump chose before, ultimately putting the issue into the spotlight just 72 hours before the high-stakes meeting, the people said.
...


So the post-summit meeting at the White House with Rosenstein was to cook up this story?
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:24 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


Trump: "So let me just say that we have two thoughts. You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server. Why haven't they taken the server? Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee? I've been wondering that. I've been asking that for months and months, and I've been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server? I want to know, where is the server? And what is the server saying?"

In case you were wondering about this babble, Trump is not talking about the Clinton server. He is talking about the DNC server the Russians hacked. For low information people, Trump is insinuating that it is the DNC that committed a crime. Trump is covering for the Russians commission of a crime by blaming the victims.

First off, this makes no sense because there is no server at the DNC. Most of the stolen information was in the cloud so there is no server to take. The DNC IT technicians gave the FBI forensic copies of their server information which they used to help establish the Russian hacking.

But more importantly, the DNC is a private, not government, entity. Neither Donald Trump nor the FBI have a right to peruse the contents of the DNC documents or seize their server without their permission. Trump's insistence that he has a right to view the documents of his political opponents at the DNC is straight out of Watergate. That's the crime that led to Nixon's threatened impeachment and resignation.
posted by JackFlash at 10:37 AM on July 18 [113 favorites]


Forensic copies are better than the original. They're digitally signed & tamper resistant. You also get snapshots of the system RAM so you can see any malware running in them. As always he's talking out his ass.
posted by scalefree at 10:49 AM on July 18 [17 favorites]


First off, this makes no sense because there is no server at the DNC. Most of the stolen information was in the cloud so there is no server to take. The DNC IT technicians gave the FBI forensic copies of their server information which they used to help establish the Russian hacking.

Additionally, from the indictments of the Kremlin's GRU Officers, it appears quite possible that our Allies were up on them at the time with their own surveillance, keyloggers, and rootkits and pretty much watched the attacks happen.
posted by mikelieman at 10:49 AM on July 18 [8 favorites]




As always he's talking out his ass.

This won't stop his deplorables from parroting "where is the server?!" on social media as if they are dropping unassailable truth bombs, however.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:58 AM on July 18 [12 favorites]


In trying to make macro-sense of all this, especially with some significant pieces coming together now, I find it’s important to keep two essential ideas in mind: first, whatever all of this awful mess finally turns out to be (who was doing what & why, who is ultimately responsible, etc.), it will not be a tidy, linear narrative with a handful of prime movers. It’s most likely a hive of scum and villainy with overlapping wants and goals, some main characters, and lots of useful idiots.

Second (for me, key to understanding it all in a holistic sense, the basic ‘why’), this really looks like it’s mostly about money. Certainly power is a motivator, and there are White Supremicist and/or Christianist true believers aplenty, all of the major players we’re aware of—Putin, Trump, all Russian and American oligarchs—view government, politics and political power as tools to gain more wealth. I don’t think most of them have a politically ideological bone in their bodies, and all available evidence points to a long-term, loosely collaborative effort to grab and leverage tools of political power and psychopathically use them as needed to vastly enrich themselves without limit.

I mean, duh, but for the rest of us, because politics and government is life, because it actually affects us, it can be surprisingly hard to understand that we’re defending and fighting for something to which our adversaries are mostly indifferent. To us, it’s life; but to them, it’s a means to an end, a tool, and they don’t care how its use affects anyone else as long as their desires are met.

So Putin meeting Trump was no version of a summit or diplomacy between states. It was a mob boss meeting with an employee/mark, and using him as needed to advance his personal interests. I expect that Putin understands that Trump’s usefulness is winding down and may soon end, thus his kind of Hail Mary play of personally and directly bringing up Browder. It’s about the damn Magnitsky Act and maybe always has been. (When ongoing billions of dollars are at stake and in play, is any more complex motivation really needed?)
posted by LooseFilter at 11:01 AM on July 18 [34 favorites]


@thebotanyofsouls:
Somewhere after #3 and before #6, I'd add another item:

Oligarchs, unable to move money freely due to Magnitsky act restrictions, begin to launder money using real estate transactions for Trump branded properties
posted by duoshao at 11:02 AM on July 18 [74 favorites]


Is anyone else of the impression that the Republican congress and Fox News are preparing to ditch Trump the moment Kavanaugh is confirmed?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:04 AM on July 18 [5 favorites]


@thebotanyofsouls
And another item shortly after with Don Jr's quote about a disproportionate share of Trump Org money coming from Russia.
posted by duoshao at 11:04 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Is anyone else of the impression that the Republican congress and Fox News are preparing to ditch Trump the moment Kavanaugh is confirmed?

Didn’t happen after Gorsuch, won’t happen now.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 11:08 AM on July 18 [25 favorites]


Is anyone else of the impression that the Republican congress and Fox News are preparing to ditch Trump the moment Kavanaugh is confirmed?

Doubt it they want permanent tax cuts and there's always a chance, G-d forbid kein ayin hora, RBG doesn't stick it out to 2020.
posted by PenDevil at 11:08 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


Is anyone else of the impression that the Republican congress and Fox News are preparing to ditch Trump the moment Kavanaugh is confirmed?

What? Like President Pence wouldn't put him on the Court?
posted by The World Famous at 11:09 AM on July 18 [12 favorites]


Former senior CIA official Michael Scheuer is calling for Trump supporters to kill Trump opponents:

Finally, this week saw a significant and quickening advance toward the moment when those millions of well-armed citizens who voted for Trump, and who have been abused or wounded by Democrats, their Antifa-thugs, and their thug-civil servants for exercising their franchise to elect Trump, cannot be, in good conscience, patient for much longer. . . .

It is, of course, far better if Trump does so, and I pray and believe he will. That said, the sheer, nay, utter joy and satisfaction to be derived from beholding great piles of dead U.S.-citizen tyrants is not one that will be missed if Trump does not soon do the necessary to save the republic. But if he fails, the citizenry must act to ensure that Hillary’s predictive words are proven correct. “If Trump wins,” she apparently said, “we will all hang.”

posted by EarBucket at 11:13 AM on July 18 [19 favorites]


The Fintan O'Toole article entitled Trial runs for fascism are in full flow, which has been linked/quoted in these threads more than once, is on track to become the most read Irish Times article ever with over 1 million readers so far and it's about to be translated into Hindi.
posted by roolya_boolya at 11:18 AM on July 18 [33 favorites]


What in the shit, EarBucket, are you sure of that source? Because that’s over the several lines they usually cross and way over the horizon.
posted by Artw at 11:20 AM on July 18 [16 favorites]


Former senior CIA official Michael Scheuer is calling for Trump supporters to kill Trump opponents:

Yes, but he's basically been calling for that general kind of mass violence for years and years and years; he openly called for people to stage a violent coup back in 2014, for example, and directly called for Obama's assassination.

I don't think that's indicative of very much except that Michael Scheuer is a terrible human being -- he isn't evidence of some sea-change in Republican opinion, he's the proverbial murderous carpenter who sees every problem as being solved by hammer-murder.

[Real] but [not politically important], I don't think.
posted by cjelli at 11:22 AM on July 18 [33 favorites]


BuzzFeed, Ruby Cramer, A Critical Factor In 2020: Democrats Make Significant Cut To Caucus States: "By next year, Democrats could see the number of caucus states cut in half — a potential blow to insurgent candidates ahead of the next presidential election." Or, as I would put it, a win for people who like more accessible elections that don't put as much of a burden on people who want to vote:
By next year, Democrats could see the number of caucus states cut in half.

Four states have already moved from a caucus system to a traditional primary: Maine, Minnesota, Colorado, and, as of last month, Idaho made the switch. Party officials say two more states — Nebraska and Washington — are now considering the same change. And as Democratic Party members prepare to adopt changes to the nominating process at their annual summer meeting next month — including a new rule to “encourage” the use of primaries over caucuses “whenever possible” — caucus states may face new outside pressure to embrace state-run primaries.

The shift could leave just seven caucus states on the nominating calendar. For more than 20 years, Democrats have held caucuses in no fewer than 14 states.
...
The [Unity Reform Comission] proposed a number of changes to the caucus system that would require states to offer same-day registration, to publicly report the results of caucus voting, to create a new mechanism for absentee voting, and to ensure that every caucus site is accessible to people with disabilities and English-language limitations.
The Atlantic, Vann R. Newkirk II, Voter Suppression Is Warping Democracy
The new data support perhaps the worst-case scenario offered by opponents of restrictive voting laws. Nine percent of black respondents and 9 percent of Hispanic respondents indicated that, in the last election, they (or someone in their household) were told that they lacked the proper identification to vote. Just 3 percent of whites said the same. Ten percent of black respondents and 11 percent of Hispanic respondents reported that they were incorrectly told that they weren’t listed on voter rolls, as opposed to 5 percent of white respondents. In all, across just about every issue identified as a common barrier to voting, black and Hispanic respondents were twice as likely, or more, to have experienced those barriers as white respondents.

The numbers not only suggest that policies such as voter-ID requirements and automatic voter purges do, indeed, have strong racial and ethnic biases, but also that there are more subtle barriers for people of color that compound the effects of these laws. Fifteen percent of black respondents and 14 percent of Hispanic respondents said that they had trouble finding polling places on Election Day, versus 5 percent of whites. This finding squares with research indicating that frequent changes to polling-site locations hurt minority voters more. Additionally, more than one in 10 blacks and Hispanics missed the registration deadline to vote in 2016, as opposed to just 3 percent of whites. And black and Hispanic respondents were twice as likely as white respondents to have been unable to get time off work for voting.
...
In the case of the country’s most marginalized voters, past and present conspire. It’s often been reported that cultural and economic anxieties drove white voters to Trump, and that their gravitation has also corresponded with a weakening of democratic norms. But black and Hispanic voters are even more anxious and desperate, and that’s at least in part because democratic norms—if this trial run of racially inclusive democracy can even be referred to as a “norm”—are crumbling in their hands. Blows to the hard-won victory of the franchise already helped turn the tables in one election. But black and Hispanic voters are worried just as much about the elections to come.
posted by zachlipton at 11:24 AM on July 18 [28 favorites]


My intention was to create a narrative that can be copied and pasted onto social media. Let me see if I can recreate that, with some sources (on preview, @doushao, I did include that direct Trump tower quote in the following collection of links):

~~~~
1) Putin, after gaining power, privatizes state assets and profits off of them, including the oil and gas industry.
2) Bill Browder has some of his tax payments confiscated and hires Sergei Magnistky to represent him and get his money back. Sergei dies, and Bowder builds connections in the US and Britain until the US, then several other countries, pass laws like the Magnistky Act. This restricts the oligarchic circle around Putin from moving their wealth freely, so ...
3) Trump's properties serve as a great way to move those roubles into far more fungible US dollars.
4) There may or may not have been a pee tape, but I promise that is the least of Trump's legal worries. Whatever the kompromat, Putin puts Trump under his thumb and ...
5) Goads Trump into running for President. Conveniently, Paul Manafort is appointed chairman of the campaign.
6) The Trump Tower meeting happens. Paul Manafort is forced out shortly thereafter.
7) The election shenanegans happen that we are all familiar with, and Trump becomes President! How convenient, that. We are (still, rightfully) in a state of shock here on the Blue, and resistance against this oddity forms immediately.
8) Preet Bharara, US attorney is fired, before his investigations into Russian money laundering can come to fruition.
9) Comey is fired for refusing to stop the Russia investigation.
10) Mueller is appointed, and we got to where we are now through the thousands of links posted here on MeFi.
~~~~~

I have had friends who argue that this is so enormously complicated, and fundamentally, it's not really THAT complex actually. it's criminal, it's huge, but not COMPLICATED AND TOO MUCH. I feel as if not enough attention has been given to Bill Bowder's story and why he is so hated in Russia - and what that says about the state of the Kremlin-oligarchy complex there.

Since that's out of the way, serious shot out to Doctor Zed, zachlipton, Chrysostom, and the many others who have made rich, thought out comments much more substantiative than myself.

And a thank you to corb, for being here and being the respectful voice of the conservative movement - your story that you've shared here has moved me deeply, and I am grateful you share your perspective and that you continue to be here in spite of some members who want to argue you down when you share a view very different than yours.
posted by thebotanyofsouls at 11:29 AM on July 18 [96 favorites]


This Rapid City Journal timeline on the career of Paul Erickson makes him look like the Zelig of the last 40 years of right-wing politics. From performing an anti-Mondale skit at the '84 RNC, to working for Richard Viguerie and Pat Buchanan, to running with the Afghani Mujahideen and the Nicaraguan Contras, it's all there. Other high points include lobbying for Mobutu Sese Seko, being John Wayne Bobbitt's agent, and receiving executive producer credit on the 1988 anti-communist action film Red Scorpion, based on a story conceived by Jack Abramoff and staring Dolph Lundgren!
posted by octobersurprise at 11:31 AM on July 18 [12 favorites]


Browder, not Bowder. The edit window is still open!
posted by M-x shell at 11:32 AM on July 18


Muchas gracias! I may have dyslexified another name or two in there - it took me three times to type Magnitsky's name correctly even after copying and pasting the wikipedia link.

(totally one of those, "you may be a gringo when ..." moments). /derail
posted by thebotanyofsouls at 11:34 AM on July 18


Summit critics have Trump derangement syndrome – says Trump, By David Smith in The Guardian
The US president might be regretting his partial climbdown on his drawing a moral equivalence between the Kremlin and American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, which triggered accusations of treason.

“Some people HATE the fact that I got along well with President Putin of Russia,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday. “They would rather go to war than see this. It’s called Trump Derangement Syndrome!”
I don't know what to say anymore
posted by mumimor at 11:36 AM on July 18 [10 favorites]


By next year, Democrats could see the number of caucus states cut in half — a potential blow to insurgent candidates ahead of the next presidential election

I’ll just note that caucuses and convention delegates were far less likely to support Trump than general voters were. I think we need more caucuses -yes, accessible ones, yes, held on the weekends - not less.
posted by corb at 11:38 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Also, Magnitsky, not Magnistky.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:39 AM on July 18


I think we need better voters, but that might be a big ask.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 11:39 AM on July 18 [11 favorites]


We've been through this before, but I think it's honestly appalling to institute a system where people have to publicly defend their choice of candidate. Doesn't matter if it's on a national holiday, that's not an equitable way to hold a primary.
posted by lydhre at 11:41 AM on July 18 [22 favorites]


Yeah, I understand the impulse, corb. I really do. But the problem isn't that there weren't enough caucuses it's that a ton of Republican voters were ignorant racists. Fiddling with the primary system can't fix that.

I'm on record opposing caucuses. That's still my position. But I admit it troubles me that, for example, Barack Obama would never have become President without the caucus system (or at least not when he did) and I don't really have a good answer for that. There are costs to everything and we can't know how things would have shaken out in a different world.
posted by Justinian at 11:42 AM on July 18 [6 favorites]


@thebotanyofsouls, your summary has caused a lightbulb moment for me. It’s short and understandable. I’d like to share it, if you don’t mind?
posted by samthemander at 11:43 AM on July 18 [4 favorites]


Caucuses depress turnout. You cannot fix democracy by reducing participation in the democratic process.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:44 AM on July 18 [33 favorites]


Press briefing is happening now:

this is incredible - they cant come up with a story. SHS just said that the "no" in the cabinet meeting was about more questions not about russian meddling, then she says there is no election today so they cant be targeting it, then pivots to defending our election systems and reading a list of things theyve done.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:44 AM on July 18 [19 favorites]


Maybe without the Iowa caucus but it's not like the others helped Obama win. What helped Obama was the name recognition from winning Iowa - which he might have done anyway - and doing well in the Southern primaries.

Caucuses are garbage. If Iowa is going to remain first, it can stay as it's tradition and probably a big enough thing there that people can get days off and plan around it. But the rest go.
posted by asteria at 11:44 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


WaPo, Lisa Rein, Trump loyalists at VA shuffling, purging employees before new secretary takes over
Ahead of Robert Wilkie’s likely confirmation to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, Trump loyalists at the agency are taking aggressive steps to purge or reassign staff perceived to be disloyal to President Trump and his agenda for veterans, according to multiple people familiar with the moves.

The transfers include more than a dozen career civil servants who have been moved from the leadership suite at VA headquarters and reassigned, to lower-visibility roles. The employees served agency leaders, some dating back more than two decades, in crucial support roles that help a new secretary.

None say they were given reasons for their reassignments.

The moves are being carried out by a small cadre of political appointees led by Acting Secretary Peter O’Rourke who have consolidated power in the four months since they helped oust former Secretary David Shulkin.
If you read on, you'll find that the Center for Women Veterans is in trouble for, depending on your perspective, highlighting the campaign successes of women veterans, many of whom are Democrats, or violating the Hatch Act.
posted by zachlipton at 11:44 AM on July 18 [15 favorites]


> I don't think that's indicative of very much except that Michael Scheuer is a terrible human being

JFC. How does that dude type with permanently clenched fists?
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:45 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


I’ll just note that caucuses and convention delegates were far less likely to support Trump than general voters were. I think we need more caucuses -yes, accessible ones, yes, held on the weekends - not less.

The key problem with the Republican primary was multiple candidates splitting the non-Trump vote (winner-take-all states instead of proportional delegate allocation exacerbated the problem). You don't need caucuses to avoid Trumps; approval voting (where vote-splitting is not a thing) would also have done the trick, and more people would get to participate.
posted by Jpfed at 11:45 AM on July 18 [5 favorites]


@OKnox: White House's @PressSec says Trump was saying "no" to taking questions, not "no" to whether Russia is still targeting the US...

@swin24: Again, from being one of several people standing right there at the time, this is simply not true. If I’m to be extra generous, it is as plausible as the “sort of a double negative...” thing:

I guess they've just decided they'll go with the "it was a misunderstanding" excuse every time now. Here's the video, if you want to judge for yourself.

@jdawsey1: "Certainly, we believe that the threat still exists," Sarah Sanders says, when asked if the Russians are still targeting US elections.

She says "we are taking steps to prevent it." Of course, "we believe the threat" is not nearly the same thing Coats said.
posted by zachlipton at 11:48 AM on July 18 [12 favorites]


You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server. Why haven't they taken the server?

A couple good takedowns from yesterday of the whole server BS. TL;DR, there were 140 servers, mostly cloud servers and the FBI was provided images of the servers by Crowdstrike, a DOJ approved vendor founded and run by a former FBI agent. Oh, and if Rs think they're biased, ask them why the National Republican Congressional Committee uses Crowdstrike.

Politico: What Mueller Knows About the DNC Hack—And Trump Doesn’t

DailyBeast: Trump’s ‘Missing DNC Server’ Is Neither Missing Nor a Server
posted by chris24 at 11:49 AM on July 18 [40 favorites]


If there's a problem with a primary's barriers to entry being too high, you reform that with a different system of election than simple plurality, so people don't have to make difficult decision between establishment-they-tolerate and newcomer-they-like. And there are lots of other reasons to change that anyway, first-past-the-post is basically always sub-optimal.

(I also think the calendar of primaries should be reformed substantially so that Iowa and New Hampshire don't have their weirdly disproportionate power on our system. Either a single national primary, or some kind of cycled/randomized system for the order of the states. One proposal I like is to divide the country into four regions, each with a regional primary spaced one or two weeks apart, and rotate the order of Primary Month each election year.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 11:49 AM on July 18 [7 favorites]


Maybe without the Iowa caucus but it's not like the others helped Obama win.

The others absolutely helped Obama win. He greatly overperformed in caucuses. One of the big strengths of his campaign (and weaknesses of Clinton's) was that he and his people understood delegate allocation and where they could get the most bang for their buck delegate-wise. He still won the popular vote by a smidge so as I said we can't know for a certainty what happens in a different system. But every analysis of 2008 would show that he got a huge boost from a smart delegate strategy focused on racking up big numbers in caucus states.
posted by Justinian at 11:50 AM on July 18 [7 favorites]


Press briefing is happening now:

this is incredible - they cant come up with a story. SHS just said that the "no" in the cabinet meeting was about more questions not about russian meddling, then she says there is no election today so they cant be targeting it, then pivots to defending our election systems and reading a list of things theyve done.
I would never have predicted it but I am surprisingly pleased with the performance of new White House Communications Director Bill Shine. If this is typical of the quality of work we can expect then may he enjoy his position for many Scaramuccis to come.
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:52 AM on July 18 [7 favorites]


It doesn't matter about the DNC back-end architecture. 45 will go on about the 'missing server' like he did those blasted Clinton emails, despite there being no there there. It's pure conspiracy theory, and as impervious to evidence as any such. His base don't want to hear anything else.
posted by Devonian at 11:52 AM on July 18 [17 favorites]


she says there is no election today so they cant be targeting it

Trump is already campaigning for 2020, even before we get into the primaries for the 2018 midterms election that...is currently effectively already happening.

But the nature of the Gish Gallop (Sarah Saunter?) is that you just keep throwing out so many lies that it's hard to focus on any particular one, so.
posted by cjelli at 11:54 AM on July 18 [13 favorites]


Reporter asked the White House position on bringing the translator in for Congressional testimony . . . and Huckabee Sanders punts to the State Dept.

They must be genuinely shook if she didnt even bother gaslighting on that one.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:57 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


6) The Trump Tower meeting happens. Paul Manafort is forced out shortly thereafter.

At the risk of decompressing the convoluted timeline, these two events are months apart. The Trump Tower meeting took place on June 9th, and Manafort left the Trump Campaign on August 19th. (It was campaign manager Corey Lewandowski who was forced out in June, eleven days after the Trump Tower meeting, which, notably, he did not attend.)

Manafort resigned only after NPR confirmed the Trump Campaign’s involvement in changing the RNC platform on Ukraine and the NYT ran a story about Manafort receiving $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments from Ukraine's former president's party from 2007 to 2012.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:58 AM on July 18 [9 favorites]


Shadow Politics: Meet the Digital Sleuth Exposing Fake News -- Buried in media scholar Jonathan Albright's research was proof of a massive political misinformation campaign. Now he's taking on the the world's biggest platforms before it's too late. (Issie Lapowsky for Wired, July 18, 2018)

An interesting, long read, providing background to how Jonathan Albright got involved with parsing the connections between far right groups, fake news, and connections to "neutral" platforms like Facebook and YouTube, even content on Amazon and CafePress, and links to NYT, WaPo, and CNN, where the stories were distorted in the conservative/ far right retellings, as first reported by Carole Cadwalladr on 4 Dec. 2016 for The Guardian.

The article also notes he identifies Facebook's focus on ad sales to be a red herring, distracting from the thousands of fake profiles and misleading groups, like the fact that a Russian page called Blacktivist had more Facebook likes than the real Black Lives Matter group, as discovered by CNN and reported on Sept 28, 2017. His research lead to the Washington Post article titled Russian propaganda may have been shared hundreds of millions of times, new research says (posted on Oct. 5, 2017). This was following Facebook's earlier statement to Congress that Russian-bought ads reached 10 million people (CNN Money, Oct. 3, 2017).

Unfortunately, there's positive coda here, just a fluffy "they're working on it!" paragraph:
Meanwhile, tech giants have begun taking some responsibility for the mess they made. Facebook and other tech companies have started making major changes to their ad platforms, their data-sharing policies, and their approaches to content moderation.
Followed by a link to a story about a low-yield (maybe?) malware laden Chrome extension, FaceMusic from May 12, 2018.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:58 AM on July 18 [13 favorites]


The nature of Trump's relationship with truth means that there is a sense in which he didn't mean, in so many words, "Russia is not currently a threat to American elections". He didn't mean anything so specific and fact-like. He just meant "no" the same way he means "Fake News". That's not "News that states Z when the reality is Not Z", and it's not even "News that says things I don't like". It's "Fie on your news! I say it's spinach and I say the hell with it!" The "no" is a mixture of rejecting the notion of Russian meddling and dismissing anyone's right to ask the question.

This is made clear by his follow-up, which is his usual style of "book report by kid who didn't read the book": "We're doing very... well.. on Russia. Probably as well as anybody has ever done on Russia. And there's been no president ever as tough as I have been on Russia, all you have to do is look at the numbers, look at what we've done..."
posted by InTheYear2017 at 11:59 AM on July 18 [9 favorites]


@biannagolodryga: .@maggieNYT asks @WHPressSec abt Russia’s call to intv @Billbrowder & @McFaul: “Pres will meet w/ his team & we’ll let you know when we have an announcement on that front.” Acknowledges the topic was discussed privately bween Trump & Putin.

Good god, we're not ruling out handing a former Ambassador to Russia? That's terrifying.

We're now re-litigating why Trump said "no": "I'm interpreting what the President said, not reversing it." And some actual solidarity, when Sanders tried to cut off Hallie Jackson and called on Jordan Fabian, of The Hill, Fabian stopped and told Jackson to go ahead! On the other hand, that didn't work when April Ryan tried to ask about voter suppression without being called on: "I asked you a question because you choose not to call on me." (It eventually works and she's called on later)
posted by zachlipton at 12:03 PM on July 18 [40 favorites]


Good god, we're not ruling out handing a former Ambassador to Russia? That's terrifying.

I expect this will be walked back inside 24 hours. It's not a sustainable position.
posted by Justinian at 12:04 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Exceptional_Hubris: [SHS] says there is no election today so they cant be targeting it

Nerd of the North: I am surprisingly pleased with the performance of new White House Communications Director Bill Shine. If this is typical of the quality of work we can expect then may he enjoy his position for many Scaramuccis to come.

cjelli: Trump is already campaigning for 2020, even before we get into the primaries for the 2018 midterms election that...is currently effectively already happening.

But the nature of the Gish Gallop (Sarah Saunter?) is that you just keep throwing out so many lies that it's hard to focus on any particular one, so.


And before 2020, we have midterms mere months away, ones that might determine if Trump is still in office and eligible to run again in 2020. So yeah, there are elections to be targeting right now, because they could be tampering with voter registration rolls, trying to gain control of voting machines, and generally spreading misinformation and stoking fear to hype up conservatives to counter the storied Blue Wave.

In other words, is the fact that she was able to pivot from a scummy false answer to focus on what might be actual accomplishments notable?

Again, I am so very sad and tired that the Trumpisms that should bring giggles, and would have if said by GWB, now stoke fear and rage.
On Tuesday, Trump read from a printed statement, and said he had misspoken. "The sentence should have been, 'I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia,' sort of a double negative," Trump said. "So you can put that in, and I think that probably clarifies things pretty good."
Which in turn makes me think of a now-old Sacha Baron Cohen/Borat bit where he's trying to learn how to tell jokes to get better at going on dates or something, and the comedy teacher tries explaining the classic "Not!" reversal, except Borat waits three beats too long.

(And how are we not more focused on Trump's mental health if he's offering a reversal because he didn't negate a critical statement until a day later, and by written statement? "Oh, people forget things" is not a suitable brush-off. This. Is. Not. Normal.)
posted by filthy light thief at 12:09 PM on July 18 [9 favorites]


House Democrats rolled out their new campaign slogan for the midterms: For the People.

That strikes me as a lot better than "a better deal". Not a high bar, admittedly, but definitely better.
posted by Justinian at 12:10 PM on July 18 [60 favorites]


@samthemander, please share widely. Doctor Zed PM'd me OnceUponATime's 2016ActiveMeasures site which I had not, before today, bookmarked for posterity even though it gets dropped in almost every thread (and I have yet to see it in this one, so let that be here for those who have not looked at it yet).

My intent was to pull together one thread of the narrative (she?they?) have spun together to make sense of why Bill Bowder's name being dropped on Monday was such a huge hint as to how the pressures from the Russian oligarch side created this problematic situation, and how, in the end, it's not actually a really COMPLEX story there's just a ton of evidence all over the place and nobody's putting that evidence into context.

Except OnceUponATime. You're doing the world a service by keeping that documentation and putting it into the context of "NOW" because for many, that's where we are at and thus, that style of narrative is the one that speaks to them. Didn't give a shout out to you before, but I've visited your site multiple times from the time you started it to now and it's ... incredible to see how much there was then and just how much evidence there is now.

On preview, @Doctor Zed, I did miss that note, but do not care to repost the text with the edit so that it can be copied and pasted for others to share on social media. There are so many nuances I did NOT touch on (Crimea's annexation was in my first list and not in my second one, for instance, as although it ties into Russia it doesn't tie directly into how the oligarch class is struggling to hide their money), so as people share I encourage you to include links to steps I forgot and use my comment as more of a soundbite format than a be-all-end-all "simple explanation". As OnceUponATime's site goes into great detail about, the context about how we got here involves a lot of different players, each trying to manipulate a compromised President, for ends that they want. For UAE/Qatar/Saudi Arabia, it's leverage in conflicts in the region. With Russia, it's the ability to launder money freely. With China, it's leverage over the SE asian economy and military sphere.

At risk of making our recent history a derail from history in the making, gonna tap out from any further comments about my comment.
posted by thebotanyofsouls at 12:12 PM on July 18 [4 favorites]


Good god, we're not ruling out handing a former Ambassador to Russia? That's terrifying.

Per the aggregator site Meduza, among the others whom Putin wants the US to hand over is Kyle Parker, the congressional staffer who was instrumental in creating the Magnitsky Act:
The list of names also includes Homeland Security Department official Todd Hyman (who testified in a deposition against Prevezon, a Russian company accused of laundering proceeds from the fraud uncovered by Sergey Magnitsky), Svetlana Engert (who supposedly stole criminal case materials from Russia), Alexander Shvartsman (who supposedly oversaw Browder's stay in the U.S.), Jim Rote (a supposed CIA agent acting as Browder's “financial manager”), Robert Otto (who supposedly served as deputy director of a U.S. intelligence agency until January 2017), David Kramer (who recently served as an adviser to the U.S. State Department), Jonathan Wiener (a long-time aide to John Kerry and an adviser on national security), and Kyle Parker (a recent U.S. State Department official), according to [Russian Attorney General’s Office spokesman, Alexander] Kurennoi.
It's insane the Trump administration didn't reject this immediately.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:19 PM on July 18 [51 favorites]


Most of the questions at the press briefing were reasonably impressive, but Sarah Huckabee Sanders managed to find a friendly face to run out the clock with the last question about how the new president-elect of mexico may be trying to legalize all drugs. . . a literally friendly face:

Wow. Final question in today's briefing came from the Virginia co-chair of Trump's 2016 campaign committee, John Fredericks. Below left: Fredericks speaking as Trump campaign co-chair in 2016. Below right: Fredericks at the WH asking a question today.

(credit to Christina Wilke of CNBC for the side by side images that make this impossible to deny)
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:22 PM on July 18 [28 favorites]


It doesn't matter about the DNC back-end architecture. 45 will go on about the 'missing server' like he did those blasted Clinton emails, despite there being no there there. It's pure conspiracy theory, and as impervious to evidence as any such. His base don't want to hear anything else.

True! Still, worthwhile to have handy an explainer (here's one from Politifact) to share with any less than committed Trumpist who wanders into the room.
posted by notyou at 12:24 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


The nature of Trump's relationship with truth ... He didn't mean anything so specific and fact-like.

Thank you. Even now, after everything we've seen over the last three years, I still see people – including people here in these MeFi threads! – trying to parse Trump's remarks (and those of his defenders) as if they represent a coherent worldview (however misguided or deceptive).

People: they fucking don't. The Trumpian use of words is fundamentally different than the way most people use words. Someone coined the phrase "verbal chaff" in a recent thread, and that captures it nicely. (Dazzle camouflage might also be an appropriate analogy.)

In the Trumpian mode, words do not function as signifiers of objects or concepts. Their purpose is not to illuminate meaning, but to obscure and confuse it. They aren't trying to win the debate by presenting an argument (not even a deceptive one) – they're cheating their way out of participating in the debate in the first place, by muddying the water to such a degree that no one can tell which way is up. They're the guy who, when challenged to a fight at a bar, deliberately responds so bizarrely and erratically that their challenger doesn't even know what's going on. Sarah Sanders at the podium is a squid emptying her ink sac on a predator.

It's contradictory and incoherent and irrational by design.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 12:24 PM on July 18 [100 favorites]




Martin Wolf of the FT [truncated and extracted because of mega paywalls though one can register for 5 free articles a month]

How we lost America to greed and envy
The US president is hostile to the core values the country used to stand for
MARTIN WOLF


Nobody of course owns the US, apart from Americans. Yet, for westerners and many others, the US stood for something so attractive that it seemed to be “ours” — the guarantor not just of its own freedom and prosperity, but that of hundreds of millions of others. My father, a refugee to the UK from pre-second-world-war Austria, had no doubt. The US was the bastion of democracy. It had saved Europe from falling to Nazi or communist dictatorships. As a journalist and documentary film-maker, he knew about its mistakes. But the US was not just any great power. It embodied the causes of democracy, freedom and the rule of law. This made him fiercely pro-American. I inherited this attitude.

In the postwar world, US policy had four attractive features: it had appealing core values; it was loyal to allies who shared those values; it believed in open and competitive markets; and it underpinned those markets with institutionalised rules. This system was always incomplete and imperfect. But it was a highly original and attractive approach to the business of running the world. For those who believe humanity must transcend its petty differences, these principles were a start.

Yet today the US president appears hostile to core American values of democracy, freedom and the rule of law; he feels no loyalty to allies; he rejects open markets; and he despises international institutions. He believes that might makes right. The Chinese president Xi Jinping and Russian president Vladimir Putin have might. He admires them. German chancellor Angela Merkel and UK prime minister Theresa May are decent women trying to lead democracies. He abuses them.

[...]

The poor state of so many Americans is in part the product of plutocratic politics: a relentless and systematic devotion to the interests of the very rich. As I have argued before, a politics of low taxes, low social spending and high inequality is sustainable in a universal suffrage democracy only with a mixture of propaganda in favour of “trickle down” economics, splitting the less well off on cultural and racial lines, ruthless gerrymandering and outright voter suppression. All this has indeed happened.

These are the politics of “pluto-populism” or of “greed and grievance”. They have been stunningly successful in making Republicans attractive to many in the white working class. The structural biases in voting are also remarkable. In the past three elections for the House of Representatives, it took 20 per cent more voters for the Democrats to win a seat than for the Republicans, on average. Republicans have also won the presidency twice in the last two decades despite losing the popular vote.


Mr Trump is the logical outcome of a politics that serves the interests of the plutocracy. He gives the rich what they desire, while offering the nationalism and protectionism wanted by the Republican base. It is a brilliant (albeit unplanned) combination, embodied in a charismatic personality that offers validation to his most passionate supporters. Will Trump’s protectionism do many in his base any good? No. But, in their eyes, he is a real leader, at last.

Who lost “our” America? The American elite, especially the Republican elite. Mr Trump is the price of tax cuts for billionaires. They sowed the wind; the world is reaping the whirlwind. Should we expect the old America back? Not until someone finds a more politically successful way of meeting the needs and anxieties of ordinary people.

posted by infini at 12:29 PM on July 18 [32 favorites]


Wow. Final question in today's briefing came from the Virginia co-chair of Trump's 2016 campaign committee, John Fredericks. Below left: Fredericks speaking as Trump campaign co-chair in 2016. Below right: Fredericks at the WH asking a question today.

I suspect we'll see more of this; as it gets harder to answer legit journalists' questions, makes sense to fill the room with ringers.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 12:31 PM on July 18 [9 favorites]


There's an outpouring of grief for a vision, for that American dream, and for the soft power that has been squandered and ground to dust beneath the heel. And those who ground it down don't even hear it because they don't read/see anything but that one single source. Tears fall on deaf ears.
posted by infini at 12:31 PM on July 18 [9 favorites]


From way upthread about the "Confront Corruption" candlelight vigils tonight...

I just wanted to remind folks that candle light vigils (a million people! every Saturday! for weeks and weeks!) were instrumental to the protest movement which led to the impeachment and removal of South Korea's corrupt president Park Geun-hye.

I'm hosting the one in my area, and I can tell you that since Maddow promoted it last night, the number of RSVPs has gone up by a factor of five over night. There is a TON of interest in this event all of the sudden with literally dozens of organizations offering to co-sponsor and cross-promote it. I'm kind of nervous, actually!

(I'm in communication with organizers and would be happy to answer questions.)
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:32 PM on July 18 [53 favorites]


@MEPFuller: The resolution stating the support of Congress for ICE is adopted 244-35, with 133 Democrats voting present, 34 Democrats voting no, 18 Democrats voting yes, 226 Republicans voting yes, and one Republican — Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) — voting no.

----

@Mike_Eckel: At Butina hearing, lawyers reveal ongoing federal fraud investigation in South Dakota; linked to unnamed “U. S. Person 1” from original indictments

Paul Erickson's problems continue to worsen on a nearly hourly basis now.
posted by zachlipton at 12:37 PM on July 18 [21 favorites]




“When I use a word,” Trumpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Trumpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
posted by kirkaracha at 12:39 PM on July 18 [36 favorites]


I suspect we'll see more of this -- as it gets harder to answer legit journalists' questions, makes sense to fill the room with ringers.

On January 21, 2017, the day after the inauguration, Trump Reportedly Brought His Own Staff to Cheer During C.I.A. Speech

Filling the room with ringers has literally been going on since Day 1.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:41 PM on July 18 [27 favorites]


A protest in Hays, KS:

Hays resident Darrell McGinnis describes himself as an old man with a sign.

McGinnis stood outside the U.S. Post Office in Hays at the corner of Eighth and Fort streets in Hays on Tuesday morning, saying he had started his protest a little later than he’d planned due to strong rains that moved through the area overnight.

Holding a sign reading “Vladimir Trump” on one side and “No!” on the other, McGinnis said he was there to protest the favorable comments made Monday by President Donald Trump toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.

[...]

“I have never made a sign in my life or walked a sidewalk in my life,” said McGinnis, noting he didn’t even tell his wife until he needed help making his sign of wood, Styrofoam and homemade lettering. “I’m so disturbed by yesterday. I feel so depressed. It is very sad. I just don’t want to die with things like this.”
posted by Emmy Rae at 12:43 PM on July 18 [95 favorites]


Filling the room with ringers has literally been going on since Day 1.

He filled the lobby at Trump Tower with ringers when he announced he would campaign for the Presidency.

(Which folks he declined to pay until they complained to the FEC.)
posted by notyou at 12:46 PM on July 18 [33 favorites]


In the Trumpian mode, words do not function as signifiers of objects or concepts. Their purpose is not to illuminate meaning, but to obscure and confuse it.

Trump, while personifying that style to a remarkable degree, hardly invented it. George Orwell discussed the style in "Politics and the English Language" (PDF) (text link) back in 1946 (and the essay's themes would, of course, get a more thorough examination in his 1984).
posted by Gelatin at 12:55 PM on July 18 [7 favorites]


Shots fired through window of Albany County Democratic HQ (Albany NY)

The building is on a through street between Central and Washington. Very few people are just wandering around here.

This wasn't an accident, or related to the summertime rash of violence. Radicalized Extremism was triggered in someone, and they flipped their shit and voila, they're no-longer a "responsible gun owner", but a homegrown terrorist.
posted by mikelieman at 12:56 PM on July 18 [25 favorites]


House Democrats rolled out their new campaign slogan for the midterms: For the People.

That sounds dismayingly like the same kind of bland focus-grouped pap the Dems have been putting out for decades. We're in an unprecedented, existential crisis where we are faced with extinction if we can't rally the people out of an apathetic fog and get them to the polls, and this is the message we go with? It seems carefully crafted to be perfectly anodyne and avoid making anybody mad, when we should be making every effort to get peoples' attention and show them why they ought to be mad.

No joke, I think the Democratic message should be "Free Stuff!" Troll the bastards. Lean right into the worst stereotypes the right can think to throw at us, then explain how the rest of the civilized world allows their normal citizens to have nice things and offer a plan to get us there too. When asked how we'll pay for it, respond aggressively and unapologetically: by repealing tax breaks for the rich, by levying new taxes on the rich, and by just doing the things that need doing.
posted by contraption at 12:59 PM on July 18 [27 favorites]


Vice Exclusive: Over 60 House Democrats are forming a Medicare for All Caucus

Now that's more like it.
posted by contraption at 1:01 PM on July 18 [17 favorites]


I cannot emphasize enough how fucking insane and traitorous it is that the WH is even considering turning the former US ambassador to Russia and other Americans over to Putin for prosecution because he doesn't like the sanctions they helped implement. It alone is worthy of impeachment.
posted by chris24 at 1:02 PM on July 18 [130 favorites]


I'm going to take the position that the official Democratic slogan is going to matter to the tune of ~ 0 votes.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:04 PM on July 18 [46 favorites]


That sounds dismayingly like the same kind of bland focus-grouped pap the Dems have been putting out for decades.

I mean, I kinda like it. I think it's a given that they aren't going to pick a slogan like "FUCK TRUMP AND FUCK YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM" so we've got to be realistic. They could have gone with something like "Defending America", I guess, but this way they can use it both for foreign and domestic issues. Taxes? For the People! Health care? For the People! Trump is a scumsucking lying narcissistic manbaby traitor? For the People!
posted by Justinian at 1:04 PM on July 18 [34 favorites]


I'm going to take the position that the official Democratic slogan is going to matter to the tune of ~ 0 votes.

That's basically what the spokesperson said in the article.

I like this slogan. It clearly points to the basic Democratic vs Republican divide.
posted by Emmy Rae at 1:09 PM on July 18 [11 favorites]


Gallup, Immigration Surges to Top of Most Important Problem List. That's a record high of 22% listing immigration (the graph behind the link showing the change over time is fascinating, as it spikes with various panics largely unrelated to any actual change in migration patterns). In second place: Dissatisfaction with government/Poor leadership

What terrifies me is that the economy and health care are near the bottom of the list, at 4% and 3%, respectively. Democrats can win on health care, but Trump continues to provoke crises, hurting thousands of people in the process, and it works.

----

In other news, Streetsblog, Slowly and Stealthily, Trump’s DOT Starves Transit Expansion Projects of Federal Funds
Under U.S. DOT Commissioner Elaine Chao, the Federal Transit Administration is dragging out the disbursement of expansion grants and threatening to stop releasing capital funds to transit agencies altogether.
...
Fiscal Year 2018 ends on September 30. But so far, the FTA has only released $1.3 billion of the $2.6 billion that was appropriated. Transit agencies now perceive a risk that the funds will be left unspent by the FTA and never reach them.

During this fiscal year, the FTA has approved only three transit projects for construction grants. And two of those — Caltrain Electrification and Maryland’s Purple Line — only advanced after concerted public pressure campaigns. Another eight projects have received approvals for earlier stages of the funding process.
They've yet to bother to pick anyone to run the Federal Transit Administration, and seem determined to kill federal transit funding entirely, despite the wishes of Congress, who continues to appropriate funds for it.
posted by zachlipton at 1:09 PM on July 18 [30 favorites]


@MEPFuller: The resolution stating the support of Congress for ICE is adopted 244-35, with 133 Democrats voting present, 34 Democrats voting no, 18 Democrats voting yes, 226 Republicans voting yes, and one Republican — Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) — voting no.

I want to see who voted yes. I strongly suspect Claire "there's nothing wrong with the status quo even under Trump" McCaskill. I really wish her primary challengers had a stronger game and any sort of fighting chance.
posted by Foosnark at 1:12 PM on July 18


I would wager my entire life's savings that Claire McCaskill didn't vote yes on this House measure.
posted by Justinian at 1:13 PM on July 18 [52 favorites]


Trump, egged on by Tucker Carlson [video] to bash NATO, says that the people of Montenegro are "very aggressive people" and "they may get aggressive, and congratulations, you're in World War III."

Uh-huh. Here's video of Trump aggressively shoving the PM of Montenegro out of the way so he can get in front of the cameras. I thought it was crude and embarrassing, but we expect that. Little did I know how close we came to WWIII.
posted by adept256 at 1:14 PM on July 18 [35 favorites]


Period reminder that Elaine Chao, the U.S. DOT Commissioner, is Mitch McConnell's wife.
posted by StrawberryPie at 1:19 PM on July 18 [20 favorites]


I'm going to take the position that the official Democratic slogan is going to matter to the tune of ~ 0 votes.

Well, it never has, right? It's just part of the boilerplate machinery of campaigning that gets done because we need a slogan, so we pay the people to come up with the slogan and test the slogan and promote the slogan, and then everyone who's supposed to be using and selling it openly admits that the whole process is dumb and the slogan is dumb, but hey it's marginally better than the last one and who cares anyway?

If it's that pointless, don't have a slogan. Or, maybe, pick something provocative that will get some coverage and perk up some of the people who would otherwise assume the Democratic party is stumbling along doing the same old tepid thing it's been doing.
posted by contraption at 1:19 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


@AliABCNews: NEW: Sens. Flake and Coons will intro a nonbinding resolution tomorrow expressing support of DOJ Russia investigation and reaffirming US intelligence community's assessment about 2016 election meddling. It's nonbinding, but they want all 100 senators to give "unanimous consent"

Oh good. Another nonbinding resolution. That will do as much as tweeting about it.

@rabrowne75: First on CNN: President Trump's military parade in DC is expected to cost $12M according to US officials, nearly as much as the now canceled military exercise with South Korea, Freedom Guardian, which Trump called "tremendously expensive" & said cost "a fortune" (est. cost $14M)

Comparing it to the cost of actual military exercises, which provide training in activities other than sweating in period uniforms while trying not to pass out, is a truly inspired way to frame it.

In further bullshit news, Ivanka Trump wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal: Training for the Jobs of Tomorrow, in which she calls on companies to sign the "Pledge to America’s Workers—a commitment to invest in the current and future workforce." 100% of the clothes bearing her name are made overseas.

I want to see who voted yes. I strongly suspect Claire "there's nothing wrong with the status quo even under Trump" McCaskill. I really wish her primary challengers had a stronger game and any sort of fighting chance.

Here's the list. Sen. McCaskill did not vote at all, as this was a resolution in the House.
posted by zachlipton at 1:20 PM on July 18 [39 favorites]


The Citations Needed podcast just came out with the second in their two-part examination of the Trump-Russia scandal's impact on the left. Those curious why so many leftists seem annoyed about the way liberals have been talking about this issue will find a well-researched and well-reasoned explanation here.

For over two years, the U.S. government has been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election - interference broadly considered to be in favor of candidate Donald Trump. As a result, a bizarre flip has occurred with the Right and Left: Polls show liberals now trust the FBI and CIA, while many right-wingers – though by no means all – suddenly act concerned about the so-called “deep state.” Liberals have been turned into even more extreme hawks, not just on the issue of Russia, but anything that shores up support for American intelligence agencies broadly seen, fair or not, as a check on the unhinged Trump administration.

Given that so much of RussiaGate coverage is about the alleged manipulation of Black activists, anti-fracking protesters, the Green Party – and even Bernie Sanders supporters - to attack Hillary Clinton and her campaign, the consequence has been the media, time and again, framing Leftist dissent as de facto Russian propaganda.

Today we ask: what is the collateral damage of RussiaGate on left-wing activists and media? Who does Red Scare 2.0 benefit, and how can we be honest about "foreign influence" without losing our minds over it?


Part 1 - RussiaGate Year 3: How Liberals' Martial Posture Harms the Left

Part 2 - RussiaGate Year 3: Using the Nonstop Specter of Russia to Tarnish Black Activists
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 1:21 PM on July 18 [4 favorites]


My Leftist friends on FB seem to be incensed about any talk of Russia or treason, posting stuff like “How nice it is to be temporarily out of the country where liberals are foaming about 'treason' like some thawed Cold War right-wing loons.” (I should note that this is a direct quotation of a public post by a semi-famous Leftist.)

I genuinely don’t get it. Are they still stinging from the McCarthy days or something? Why is it even slightly controversial at this point to say that 45 is obviously in Russia's pocket, or that it’s at least borderline treason?
posted by holborne at 1:24 PM on July 18 [22 favorites]


For the people

Would rather see that be We the People.
posted by M-x shell at 1:24 PM on July 18 [23 favorites]


Nearly everyone dares. None care to listen.
posted by evilDoug at 1:25 PM on July 18


It's just part of the boilerplate machinery of campaigning that gets done because we need a slogan, so we pay the people to come up with the slogan and test the slogan and promote the slogan, and then everyone who's supposed to be using and selling it openly admits that the whole process is dumb and the slogan is dumb, but hey it's marginally better than the last one and who cares anyway?

You're missing the point. We can't judge the slogan until we see it in the context of a campaign logo. Then we can evaluate how many votes the party can expect to gain or lose due to the font choices, kerning, color scheme, and slogan.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 1:27 PM on July 18 [6 favorites]


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:
"It’s about people versus money – we’ve got people, they’ve got money.”
posted by kirkaracha at 1:28 PM on July 18 [63 favorites]


My Leftist friends on FB seem to be incensed about any talk of Russia or treason

I think I'm lucky, all but one of my leftist friends are incensed over this whole thing.

I've spoken before about the one friend who scoffed at any discussion of Russia during the election and for most of 2017. Strangely (sarcasm), he has been silent about Russia, and Clinton's emails and election hacking as of late.
posted by Twain Device at 1:34 PM on July 18 [4 favorites]


Given that so much of RussiaGate coverage is about the alleged manipulation of Black activists, anti-fracking protesters, the Green Party – and even Bernie Sanders supporters - to attack Hillary Clinton and her campaign, the consequence has been the media, time and again, framing Leftist dissent as de facto Russian propaganda.

Ugh we need to not let this "divide and conquer" bullshit actually work on us!
posted by rue72 at 1:35 PM on July 18 [19 favorites]


Real weird that people can't seem to understand that you can think another (arguably less democratic) country directly interfering with democratic elections and influencing corrupt officials is bad, while at the same time understanding that the United States has done, and continues to do, bad things in other countries as well. Like, I don't see any lefties or Democrats demanding we bomb Russia. As for the FBI and the DOJ, it's either hope they do their jobs in a competent and ethical way, or just kind of abandon all hope until Republican don't control the government anymore. Again, you can both think that the FBI investigating a corrupt administration is good, and understand that the same FBI often tramples on the civil rights of Americans. None of these things are mutually exclusive.
posted by runcibleshaw at 1:37 PM on July 18 [43 favorites]


House Democrats rolled out their new campaign slogan for the midterms: For the People.

That strikes me as a lot better than "a better deal". Not a high bar, admittedly, but definitely better.


Data point of one Canadian province, but Ontario's new right-wing populist government just campaigned on that very slogan.

tl;dr low bar indeed
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:39 PM on July 18 [4 favorites]


Would rather see that be We the People.

Fuck yes.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
A better "mission statement" for the DEMs could never be brainstormed. Period.
posted by mikelieman at 1:39 PM on July 18 [23 favorites]


I bet it didn’t cost like its expected to sway 0 votes.
posted by Artw at 1:42 PM on July 18 [8 favorites]


KHN, Christina Jewett and Shefali Luthra, Immigrant infants too young to talk called into court to defend themselves
The Trump administration has summoned at least 70 infants to immigration court for their own deportation proceedings since Oct. 1, according to Justice Department data provided to Kaiser Health News.
...
The number of unaccompanied children called in to court since Oct. 1, 2015, swells to 2,900 if kids up to 5 are included. The total will rise between now and Sept. 30, when the fiscal year ends, noted Susan Long, a statistician at Syracuse University and director of TRAC, a repository of immigration and federal court data. There’s also an ongoing backlog in entering the data.
...
In the removal cases, children have no right to an appointed lawyer, but rather to a list of legal aid attorneys that the child’s current caregiver can contact.

And young children rarely know the details of why they fled their home country, especially without a parent present, noted Eileen Blessinger, a Virginia-based immigration lawyer who has been aiding parents she was connected with through advocates on the Texas-Mexico border.

“Think about it as a parent. You’re not going to tell your child they might be killed, right?” she said. “A lot of the kids don’t know.”
...
Benson recounted being in immigration court in 2014 when a judge asked for a crying baby to be removed from the courtroom. She said she paused to inform the judge that the baby was the next respondent on the docket — and asked that the child’s grandmother stand in.
A December memo weakened the guidelines that instruct immigration judges on procedures to protect children in court, warning judges not to be too sympathetic to children.
posted by zachlipton at 1:43 PM on July 18 [54 favorites]


Trump, egged on by Tucker Carlson [video] to bash NATO, says that the people of Montenegro are "very aggressive people" and "they may get aggressive, and congratulations, you're in World War III."

This conversation is not an accident. Currently there are 14 people on trial in Montenegro for plotting to assassinate the Prime Minister and install a pro-Russian government. The whole point of NATO is to defend against Russian aggression in Europe. Once again, Trump is taking the side of the Russians.

It's always about the Russians.
posted by JackFlash at 1:46 PM on July 18 [103 favorites]


None of these things are mutually exclusive.

And it's not like Trump is putting a stop to the terrible shit the US does abroad (as far as I can tell his stance is "withdraw the US from multilateral agreements that actually do good things, keep going with or double down on shit the US does abroad that is awful"). So, like, here's an opportunity to possibly bring down someone who is doing all the shit you say you don't like, via an investigation into him potentially knowing all about and taking part in another country doing the shit you say you don't like. This seems like a win-win? And an opportunity, once it's over, to make a very good point about "see, we didn't like it when it was done to us so let's stop doing it!"

Ugh we need to not let this "divide and conquer" bullshit actually work on us!

A lot of leftists would not consider themselves to be part of any "us" with liberals or Democrats.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:46 PM on July 18 [12 favorites]


Gallup, Immigration Surges to Top of Most Important Problem List. That's a record high of 22% listing immigration (the graph behind the link showing the change over time is fascinating, as it spikes with various panics largely unrelated to any actual change in migration patterns).

Gah. Yeah, that's awful. HOWEVER, some of that has to be due to respondents' disgust at the government's actions lately wrt separating children from parents/guardians and desire to see it fixed.
posted by notyou at 1:49 PM on July 18 [5 favorites]


And an opportunity, once it's over, to make a very good point about "see, we didn't like it when it was done to us so let's stop doing it!"

That's the thing, nobody is calling for this, or even talking about the coups the US has fomented in the last decade. This is not ancient history. There's no reason to think that the US is going to stop being an imperial power that meddles in other countries, and nobody in either party or in any three letter agency cares.
posted by dilaudid at 1:50 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


I genuinely don’t get it. Are they still stinging from the McCarthy days or something? Why is it even slightly controversial at this point to say that 45 is obviously in Russia's pocket, or that it’s at least borderline treason?

If by "McCarthy days" you mean 1947-1991, four decades of the right using the red scare to attack and bully the left and justify a half-dozen wars in which millions were killed, then yes, that is indeed what has made certain older members of the left wary of anti-Russia speech. Most of us who came of age after 1991 have no problem seeing Russia in its modern guise, but I do try to cut some slack for certain older lefties who have trouble adjusting. Indeed, in other respects I might be one of them, eg with the FBI, which may be instrumental in bringing down Trump, but which I have trouble celebrating given its many decades of terrorizing the left. It can be hard to adjust during pivotal transformative periods like now.
posted by chortly at 1:54 PM on July 18 [15 favorites]


Interesting to me about this slogan...

For the People Is a tremendous Card Driven Wargame about the Civil War. Also by the same designer as We the People Which was the first CDG, and is about the Revolutionary War.
posted by Windopaene at 1:58 PM on July 18 [6 favorites]


> If by "McCarthy days" you mean 1947-1991 [...] then yes, that is indeed what has made certain older members of the left wary of anti-Russia speech

A vast majority of the cries of McCarthyism I've seen from leftists are coming from people who couldn't legally drink a beer in 1991. This is not a bunch of battle-hardened old lefties dealing with whiplash, it's young dirtbag lefties who hitched their accerationist wagon to anti-anti-Trumpism and don't want to own the unintended consequences.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:59 PM on July 18 [52 favorites]


Would rather see that be We the People.

Fuck yes.


"We the People" is tied so much to the white, poor-ish, Republican population that thinks voting for the "Buying a 3rd Yacht Relief Act" is their (literal) God given duty, it's practically a cliché.

Seriously, anytime someone uses "We the People" as a slogan, the next thing I except to hear is some argument that repealing the ACA and dying on the street from cancer is actually the most American thing we can do.
posted by sideshow at 2:01 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Agree with it or not, there is a widespread perception on the left that accusations of being Russian stooges or "useful idiots" are disproportionately leveled at leftist thinkers and activists, reminiscent of the way civil rights activists were labeled "communist" in the 50's and 60's. A prominent example of this happened when NPR put out a hit piece about Anoa Changa because she went on Sputnik once and got 3 retweets from Russian bots.

This isn't about leftists approving of Russia or Trump or even denying that any collusion happened. This is leftists worrying that their voices will be further marginalized because of centrist paranoia.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 2:02 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


I guess I just see it as shorthand along the lines of "DON'T YOU SUPPORT THE TROOPS???". Lately, it's never used honestly.
posted by sideshow at 2:03 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


For the People Is a tremendous Card Driven Wargame about the Civil War. Also by the same designer as We the People Which was the first CDG, and is about the Revolutionary War.

Yeah, but we're all stuck in Steve Jackson's Illuminati, apparently.
posted by mikelieman at 2:03 PM on July 18 [23 favorites]


This is potentially troubling. The bulk of the story is about Rohrabacher's trip to his handlers in Moscow, but he was accompanied by a senior Democrat who allegedly has ethical issues of his own. It might be nothing, but it might be a case of very fine people on both sides:
Meeks told The Daily Beast that Rohrabacher set up the August 2015 trip and that he went along as a Democratic “counterbalance” to Rohrabacher’s pro-Russian politics.
[…]
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Meeks, a Queens Democrat, “one of the most ethically challenged members of Congress.” He had been under an Ethics Committee investigation in 2012 after Meeks received a $40,000 loan from someone who pleaded guilty to unrelated mortgage fraud; the committee cleared Meeks of wrongdoing.
Caveat: I know nothing about US politics, this just worries me.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:05 PM on July 18 [7 favorites]


My Leftist friends on FB seem to be incensed about any talk of Russia or treason

As a bona fide card-carrying leftist, I confess that I find the misogynistic and racist policy positions/statements, the incoherent immigration malignancy, the horrid SCOTUS picks, the EPA's fire sale, the erosion of the professional civil service and the welfare state, the undermining of universal enfranchisement, the overall vocal domestic fascists, etc. etc. all slightly more alarming than Russian election tampering.

Not saying it's not a big deal, just that all those things are bigger for me. Because even if the Russians somehow swayed ten million voters, which is extremely unlikely (possible I suppose, but really not very likely), that would still mean close to 53 million people intentionally voted for this dumpster fire of a garbagemonster candidate. I am far more worried about that than Russian election interference, because it implies that if it wasn't Russia it probably have been something else - I am no longer living in a shared reality with tens of millions of my fellow Americans, who would gladly sell me and more than half of the rest of us out to anyone who tickles their chauvin-ethnonational-ist death-cult fancy.

On the other hand, addlepated TrumpyTrump has pretty clearly been doing some treason by almost any definition of the term except whichever one his enablers are contorting themselves around in order to avoid having to actually censure or impeach him.

On yet another hand, Jill Stein.
posted by aspersioncast at 2:06 PM on July 18 [22 favorites]


"For The People" isn't too bad. It's too vague, but it has a faint echo of Corbyn's "For the many, not the few", which is a fantastic slogan. Corbyn has the advantage of a labor register to draw from where it's relatively normal to say "the interests of the very wealthy and the commonality are opposed". "For the people" is about as close as the Dems are going to get - until we elect more social democrats, socialists and leftists generally. But then....

~~
One's twitter left mileage may vary. Anarchists and Bree Newsome (among the people I follow) are pretty consistent on the "this thing with Russia is very worrying" line, both of them on the general "consolidation of a racist, homophobic, white supremacist fascist movement worldwide is a bad thing that is, yea verily, actively worse than what's gone before" front.

The anarchists are dirtbag left-adjacent and will meet all your "prisons and state violence are not okay even if it's an anti-US power" needs, also your "Stalin was horrible and Russia isn't even communist anymore so stop with the Hot Young Stalin If Stalin Were The Asshole Cis Straight Dude In Your Program memes" needs.

As ever, there's a very wide range of left narratives about Russia, ranging from pretty legit critiques of the Democrats/liberals generally to Stupid Aggro I Believe It No Matter What The Facts Suggest Also I Don't Read Books, Only Memes, And If You Disagree You Are A Running Dog stuff.
posted by Frowner at 2:08 PM on July 18 [16 favorites]


Because even if the Russians somehow swayed ten million voters, which is extremely unlikely

They didn't need to sway 10 million, only 80 000 votes in the swing states.
posted by PenDevil at 2:08 PM on July 18 [50 favorites]


"We the People" is tied so much to the white, poor-ish, Republican population that thinks voting for the "Buying a 3rd Yacht Relief Act" is their (literal) God given duty, it's practically a cliché.

We the People was also the name of Jerry Brown's radio show and Oakland political action organization in 1995, before he was mayor. I don't think the right has any claim to the phrase.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 2:10 PM on July 18 [5 favorites]


This is potentially troubling. The bulk of the story is about Rohrabacher's trip to his handlers in Moscow, but he was accompanied by a senior Democrat who allegedly has ethical issues of his own.

Joe in Australia did you read the article you linked to? Meeks says "he went along as a Democratic “counterbalance” to Rohrabacher’s pro-Russian politics. "

The main message of the Russians to the legislators, Meeks said, was to decry Barack Obama, denounce the U.S. and NATO as aggressors, and attack a piece of human-rights sanctions legislation known as the Magnitsky Act that Rohrabacher has subsequently been accused of violating.

“There was somebody from the Russia Duma that was there, and I can recall getting into a shouting match with this member of the Duma who was putting down America and putting down President Obama and I went back at him,” Meeks said, describing the Russian legislator as a male in his late forties or early fifties; Torshin, who was a legislator in 2015, is in his sixties.

Meeks said he was unfamiliar with Torshin. Asked if he was familiar with Butina and if she was involved in the Russian meetings on the trip, Meeks said, “Not that I know of, no.”

Meeks added, “My dialogue was 180 degrees different than the dialogue of Mr. Rohrabacher.”

posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:14 PM on July 18 [4 favorites]


Too bad we can do nothing about the excesses of this president (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
Boy, it is really awful what the president has said, and I could not denounce it more. I mean, I could denounce it more. I will denounce it more. I wish that there were something else I could do, but I am only a senator.

A senator, as you know, is someone empowered by the Constitution to go on cable news and state opinions. A senator can do nothing to restrain the executive branch. In the system of checks and balances designed by the Founding Fathers, the Senate is neither.

The Senate is an appendix, a vestigial organ whose function no one can determine, so it just sits there and sometimes rumbles ominously after meals. Aside from its traditional role of acting as a rubber-stamp for judicial appointees, it is a kind of cheery bobblehead designed by the Constitution to stare at what the Executive is doing and offer tacit approval. It is decorative, not functional — like a pocket square, or a succulent in a dentist’s waiting room, or the “Share On Facebook” button at the bottom of an article.

It is sort of a VIP box, from which you can view your democracy careening helplessly like a malfunctioning Roomba, screaming but powerless to help. (Not to be confused with a VP box, where you have to sit with an expression of beatific tranquility and see only the good in whatever the president has most recently done, and blink maybe less than the average person should blink?)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:19 PM on July 18 [76 favorites]


You know, since every time these threads go into a discussion of general striikes and the like, they decay into reasons why it's just too hard to do in the US, here's a little side trip:

Doomsday prepping.

In prisons, guards know that when the inmates start hoarding commissary goods in their cells, it's an indication that a riot may be in the offing.

So start doing the same thing. Store non-perishable foods. Toothpaste. Toilet paper. Standard disaster prep that you're supposed to be storing up anyway. Get your friends to do the same thing. Keep the drumbeat going until the people around you start fearing the prospect of a general strike a little less.
posted by ocschwar at 2:19 PM on July 18 [20 favorites]


that is indeed what has made certain older members of the left wary of anti-Russia speech

That gulag tho
posted by kirkaracha at 2:19 PM on July 18


We the People ... For the People ...

In before derail ban, I would like to add that For the People does have the benefit of reclaiming Abraham Lincoln from Trump.
posted by M-x shell at 2:21 PM on July 18 [4 favorites]


Going back to what JackFlash said yesterday about 501(c)(4) organizations and IRS Schedule B, I disagree about the importance of eliminating Schedule B. Even if it's never seen by the public, the fact that it's available for investigators is a big deal.

The 501(c)(4) organization is intended to be used for civic uses such as rotary clubs, little league teams, veterans groups, etc. But a loophole allows 50% of money to be used for political purposes, such as the NRA. [...] The only fix is to completely ban 501(c)(4) organizations from any political activity, forcing all political donations to go to 527 groups or PACs that do require disclosure of donors.

I agree with the intent but I'd like to suggest a slightly less restrictive set of rules: those organizations can use a small amount of their funds (e.g. 20% of their regular budget, or maybe just special-purpose donations) for political purposes, but not at the state or federal level (i.e. at the city or county level, or for other kinds of special administrative districts). That's the level where organizations like that could have a legitimate need to influence government activities, and AFAICT that level of government is pretty resistant to influence peddling by outside parties. I suspect a majority of 501(c)(4) groups that aren't just a front for lobbying would be fine with a rule like that, but many would oppose an outright ban on political activities.
posted by shponglespore at 2:22 PM on July 18 [4 favorites]


@YanceyRoy (Newsday): NEW: @NYGovCuomo announces his office is prepared to send a referral to the state A.G. to conduct a criminal investigation of the Trump Foundation. This would go quite a step further than the civil lawsuit, @NewYorkStateAG previously launched. @ZephyrTeachout had called for this.
posted by melissasaurus at 2:26 PM on July 18 [61 favorites]


Caveat: I know nothing about US politics, this just worries me.

Meeks is a real dirtbag so he could easily be just as corrupt
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:27 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


I confess that I find the...all slightly more alarming than Russian election tampering.

The thing is that Russian tampering enabled all of those things you listed and will continue to do so. Russian oligarch money continues to flow through the NRA and other dark money groups to influence policy and encourage the sell off of American resources in the same model as Russia. So, yes, we have to fight the daily fallout of SCOTUS picks and malignant policies. All of that is exhausting and awful, but fighting off and prosecuting interference from Russia and other countries has to be a top priority too. Otherwise we are just cutting off individual heads of the hydra as they grow back.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 2:27 PM on July 18 [54 favorites]


Foreign Policy:
Every year since a Russian missile downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew, the U.S. State Department has issued a statement to mark the anniversary.

But on the anniversary this year—a day after U.S. President Donald Trump met in Helsinki with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin—the State Department was conspicuously silent about it.

Officials there prepared a draft statement that was sharply critical of Russia for its alleged role in the attack. But for reasons the State Department has not explained, it was never issued.

posted by neroli at 2:28 PM on July 18 [57 favorites]


And another thing...
that would still mean close to 53 million people intentionally voted for this dumpster fire of a garbagemonster candidate.

The core Republican Christian conserviate base (probably some 20 million people) are single issue abortion voters who would vote for a sack of hammers with "I will ban abortion" taped on the front. Another 10 million or so are single issue "kill the Federal government, except fot the Defense Dept" anti-tax voters.
posted by PenDevil at 2:29 PM on July 18 [16 favorites]


@CBSEveningNews: WATCH: President Trump tells @jeffglor he would hold Russian President Vladimir Putin "responsible" for election meddling

Does he think if he says contrary things all the time, telling everyone what he thinks they want to hear, nobody will notice? Like, does he think Putin doesn't know what he says unless he's standing next to Putin?
posted by zachlipton at 2:31 PM on July 18 [15 favorites]


A prominent example of this happened when NPR put out a hit piece about Anoa Changa because she went on Sputnik once and got 3 retweets from Russian bots.
I see a ton of spin, promoted by conservative groups like FAIR and RT pushing the usual narrative but it really seems dishonest to characterize the actual NPR story at https://www.npr.org/2018/06/20/621726963/conservatives-and-liberals-both-take-to-rt as a smear. It’s simply a statement of fact that being promoted by Russian state media raises the question of whether they’re using you to promote their agenda. I realize that that makes people like Changa defensive but that doesn’t make a legitimate cause for concern into a smear.
posted by adamsc at 2:33 PM on July 18 [10 favorites]


@YanceyRoy (Newsday): NEW: @NYGovCuomo announces his office is prepared to send a referral to the state A.G. to conduct a criminal investigation of the Trump Foundation. This would go quite a step further than the civil lawsuit, @NewYorkStateAG previously launched. @ZephyrTeachout had called for t

Which I think means they can subpoena his tax returns.
posted by chris24 at 2:38 PM on July 18 [28 favorites]


The core Republican Christian conserviate base (probably some 20 million people) are single issue abortion voters who would vote for a sack of hammers with "I will ban abortion" taped on the front. Another 10 million or so are single issue "kill the Federal government, except fot the Defense Dept" anti-tax voters.

There's also a contingent of white people who are super jazzed about racism, and a separate contingent who voted for Obama twice and then got angry at black people for continuing to insist that racism is still a thing even after "they" got a turn in the Oval Office.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:39 PM on July 18 [17 favorites]


The thing is that Russian tampering enabled all of those things you listed and will continue to do so.

The reason I'm het up about Russia is the same reason I'm het up about the racism, misogyny, oligarchy, etc.... Because it's all the same thing, it's all global fascism and it is coalescing around Russia as its enabler and axis of power. Also, The Russia Stuff is perhaps the only thing that could possibly bring this monster and his crime family to any semblance of justice.

I'm, I'll confess, not much of a patriot. I was writing letters on behalf of Latin American prisoners of conscience at the age of 14, knowing full well who enabled the various coups that put them behind bars and dissapeared their families. I think borders are bullshit. But this country is full of jingoists who will overlook any amount of fuckery in the name of U!S!A! U!S!A! but maybe could be persuaded to not re-elect a traitor. So I'm all in on pointing the treachery out as often as possible.
posted by soren_lorensen at 2:39 PM on July 18 [76 favorites]


CNN: Speaking to CBS, Trump said he would consider Putin culpable [for election meddling] because he's Russia's leader.

"I would because he's in charge of the country just like I consider myself to be responsible for things that happen in this country," Trump said. "So certainly as the leader of the country you would have to hold him responsible."


In other words, President Trump considers Putin to be as guilty of election meddling as President Trump is of writing and producing the global hit single "Despacito".
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:40 PM on July 18 [13 favorites]


They didn't need to sway 10 million, only 80 000 votes in the swing states.

They had fantastic targeting on where to apply force (social media & election system hacking) thanks to Cambridge Analytica.
posted by scalefree at 2:42 PM on July 18 [22 favorites]


I must confess i;m not really sure how you can be concerned about fascism and not concerned about Russia's backing of fasicsm - maybe it's an Assange True Believer thing?

Would agree that anyone making outdated Communism references or invoking McCarthy as if he was anything other than a nazi himself is unhelpful.
posted by Artw at 2:44 PM on July 18 [16 favorites]


Daily Beast, Ackerman, U.S. Officials ‘at a Fucking Loss’ Over Latest Russia Sell Out
Current and former American diplomats are expressing disgust and horror over the White House’s willingness to entertain permitting Russian officials to question a prominent former U.S. ambassador.

One serving diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he was “at a fucking loss” over comments that can be expected to chill American diplomacy in hostile or authoritarian countries – a comment echoed by former State Department officials as well.

“It’s beyond disgraceful. It’s fundamentally ignorant with regard to how we conduct diplomacy or what that means. It really puts in jeopardy the professional independence of diplomats anywhere in the world, if the consequence of their actions is going to be potentially being turned over to a foreign government,” the U.S. diplomat told The Daily Beast.
...
The current U.S. diplomat said the openness to turning over McFaul capped off a shocking week for U.S. geopolitics.

“The president has first and foremost his interests at the top of his mind, as opposed to the government’s. That’s very clear over the past week and a half, between shitting on our NATO allies and kissing Putin’s ass,” the diplomat said. “He cares more about himself than the nation and any of us who serve it.”

The diplomat continued: “Either he’s compromised by Putin or he’s a pussy, in which case he should grab himself.”
posted by zachlipton at 2:45 PM on July 18 [99 favorites]




I see a ton of spin, promoted by conservative groups like FAIR

Is there something I don't know about FAIR?
posted by edeezy at 2:48 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Putin Says He Misspoke Too, Withdrawing Claim Clinton Got Millions Stolen From Russia.
THE RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, Vladimir Putin, dashed the hopes of conspiracy theorists across America on Tuesday by withdrawing the startling claim he made the day before in Helsinki, that Hillary Clinton’s campaign had received $400 million in donations from investors accused of tax evasion in Russia.

What he had intended to say, according to a Russian government spokesperson, was that business associates of the U.S.-born investor William Browder had donated $400,000 to Clinton’s campaign. (According to public campaign finance records, that figure also appears to be inflated.)

Alexander Kurennoi, a spokesperson for Russia’s prosecutor general, told reporters that Putin stood by his demand that the United States should make Browder, and a number of former American diplomats and intelligence officers described as his accomplices in a criminal plot, available for questioning.

Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, acknowledged on Wednesday that Putin had directly requested the American president’s help in interrogating former American officials, including Michael McFaul, the United States Ambassador to Russia during the Obama administration.
posted by scalefree at 2:51 PM on July 18 [8 favorites]


Putin Says He Misspoke Too, Withdrawing Claim Clinton Got Millions Stolen From Russia.

Could we please try to include the publication of stories we quote here? This one's from The Intercept, which has its own axe to grind (for instance, they don't address just how inflated Putin's new $400,000 claim is, but they're fine with repeating it).
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:04 PM on July 18 [13 favorites]


Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)
For @realDonaldTrump to help Putin harass and endanger @McFaul, an American ambassador, would meet my definition of providing aid and comfort to an enemy.
posted by chris24 at 3:09 PM on July 18 [129 favorites]


Not saying it's not a big deal, just that all those things are bigger for me.

The problem with that position is that it allows one to excuse interference if its in the service of what you consider the greater good. It is exactly the position of Republicans who may be troubled by election interference but, you know, the Supreme Court, and tax reform, and packing the circuit judgeships, and immigration. These are more important.

Imagine had there been interference to aid Democrats instead of Republicans, and it had handed us the Presidency. Now we'd have two additional Supreme Court seats. We could have passed progressive legislation. We'd have all those circuit court seats. What if there was so much interference that Dems had gotten a filibuster proof majority and had used it to pass voting rights bills, and medicare for all, and so on. Considering the interference as a secondary issue would allow you to say that, yes, it was bad... but we got all these important things so it was worth it. Just as many Republicans do.

I disagree. Once your elections and democracy have been undermined none of the other stuff matters anymore. The integrity of your democracy is the single most important issue for a (democratic) country. So, yeah, this is more important than health care and immigration and tax reform and etc etc. It's not more important than voter suppression and corrupt Republican electoral practices for the same reason, except I guess in the sense that its a foreign actor and so we have no domestic redress we can attempt.
posted by Justinian at 3:14 PM on July 18 [54 favorites]


I will say I understand how it can be a lower priority if one doesn't believe it changed the outcome. But I don't think we can be confident in that analysis anymore, if we ever could be. I think there's very good reason to think Donald Trump is only President of the United States because of the Russian interference. Yeah you can point to how many votes he got and would have gotten even in the absence of that interference. But...

Analogy: If I take 12 grams of Tylenol that's not super good for my liver. Maybe I should not have done that. It's bad. But if you then try to force me to take 4 more grams I'm gonna be more than a little upset about that since it might well kill me even if my liver was already unwisely working overtime on the first 12 grams.
posted by Justinian at 3:17 PM on July 18 [9 favorites]


CNN:
A Republican congressman from Minnesota has a long history of making deeply misogynistic comments on the radio, including lamenting that women can no longer be called "sluts."

CNN's KFile reviewed several months of audio from Rep. Jason Lewis on the "Jason Lewis Show," a syndicated radio program Lewis hosted from 2009 until 2014 with the tagline "America's Mr. Right." In one instance, while arguing that "young single women" vote based on coverage of birth control pills, Lewis said those women were not human beings and were without brains.
Lewis is from MN-02, which went Trump 46.5-45.3, currently listed as Tossup by Cook.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:21 PM on July 18 [40 favorites]


Speaking of Cook, they move IA-03 (Young) from Lean R to Tossup.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:23 PM on July 18 [16 favorites]


Joe in Australia did you read the article you linked to? Meeks says "he went along as a Democratic “counterbalance” to Rohrabacher’s pro-Russian politics. "

That sounds like a potentially self-serving justification to me.

Maybe it's SOP for Democratic Party chaperones to accompany individual Republican politicians on dubious trips abroad, but Meeks was in no position to monitor Rohrabacher's meetings. If it was framed as "the two leading members of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats met with members of the Russian Duma" then it wouldn't have raised my eyebrows at all. But, that's not how it was framed: the article notes that
“it was an unusual time for prominent American legislators to visit Russia. Bilateral relations had turned acrimonious after Russia invaded Ukraine, annexed the Crimean Peninsula, and shot down the civilian passenger plane Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. While Rohrabacher and Meeks were in Russia, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and other colleagues met with pro-American political figures in Ukraine …”
Given that Meeks has allegedly violated ethical standards by accepting a loan from someone guilty of real estate fraud (of all things) I think it's worth noting in case there are future developments.posted by Joe in Australia at 3:34 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


[A few things removed, let's really not go in another round of "let me tell you what I have decided your priorities really are", it's one of the least productive lines of conversation to happen on MetaFilter.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:38 PM on July 18 [21 favorites]


I went and Googled Paul Erickson since I know little beyond "he's a former treasurer" and saw this:

(for those who don't want to click my Imgur link, Wiki summary in top right corner says:)
Paul Erickson, Activist - Paul Erickson is a traitor to the American people who has been involved in several Republican presidential campaigns.
Think that's a recent Wiki update, or...? I loled
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:49 PM on July 18 [8 favorites]


American Conservatives Played A Secret Role In The Macedonian Fake News Boom Ahead Of 2016
— Buzzfeed, July 18, 2018, at 12:24 p.m. ET


Do any of these headlines sound familiar?
“Obama’s Ex-Boyfriend Reveals Shocking Truth That He Wants To Hide From America,”
“Putin to NWO Agents and Satan Worshipers: I’m Coming for You!”
“HUGE Scandal – Chelsea isn’t Bill Clinton’s Daughter?”

I recognize a couple, and I don't even do the TweetFace.

When first contacted by phone, Wade told a reporter that “I don’t know anything about” collaborating with a Macedonian publisher. Goldman, however, eventually issued a written statement that acknowledged the partnership.

Arsov initially said he mostly knew about Goldman and Wade from the Washington Post profile. He then said that their only connection was that he had commissioned a small number of articles from Wade’s brother, Alex. Only after more than two weeks of interviews did Arsov disclose their extensive cooperation.


Everyone in the article denies everything at first and then, eventually, tells some truth. Like, they've all done the same role-playing exercise about what they'll say when found out.

Arsov still has his law practice, but Facebook’s crackdown has killed off many of Veles’ politics websites.

“When [your] Facebook page is removed, you cannot work anymore,” Arsov said.


It's just as accurate to say the opposite. Which is why the small-time-ness of these operations grates a bit - it's not really about a Macedonian fake news site, is it.
posted by petebest at 3:51 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


I see a ton of spin, promoted by conservative groups like FAIR
Is there something I don't know about FAIR?
That was a poor choice of words. What I was trying to express is that while they style themselves as progressive, I only see them pushing false equivalence, attacking non-ideologue reporters, or otherwise doing things which further the conservative cause. As with RT, getting someone not to vote in a two party system has the same practical impact as getting them to vote for the Republican.
posted by adamsc at 3:52 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


But the nature of the Gish Gallop (Sarah Saunter?)

The Huckabee Hop, surely.
posted by petebest at 3:54 PM on July 18 [25 favorites]


I am far more worried about that than Russian election interference, because it implies that if it wasn't Russia it probably have been something else - I am no longer living in a shared reality with tens of millions of my fellow Americans, who would gladly sell me and more than half of the rest of us out to anyone who tickles their chauvin-ethnonational-ist death-cult fancy.

Absent Russian interference, we would have the presidency and the Court, at the least. And possibly the Senate, depending on how much you're willing to imply the general "both sides are the same" environment inflamed by Russian propaganda to down ballot effects. Even the hardest leftists should care that treasonous collusion was the determining factor. And at a margin of 70k votes, it was. You can't build luxury gay space communism if we're constantly fighting to save gains going back to the New Deal, and the determining reason all that is in danger is a foreign attack on our democracy.

Sure you can say Comey determined the outcome, or Clinton tactics, or something else, but with a margin that small, the absence of any of those things changes the outcome. Russian collusion did matter. It did steal the election. It did derail any hope of any type of leftward movement, socialist or neoliberal or anything in between, for at least 4 years and set back the march of progress far more than just 4.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:55 PM on July 18 [38 favorites]


The Swiss cheese model of accident causation

At minimum Russia interference is one of the holes. More maximally you could see it as an active force in getting all of the holes to align.
posted by Artw at 3:59 PM on July 18 [22 favorites]


Wether we like it or not we are fighting the electoral college. In the future I would not be surprised to see presidential candidates losing the election with 7-8 million popular votes, coming down to seams of voter activity in the low tens of thousands determining opposite electoral votes. We’re already at 2.8 million popular votes overridden by 80 thousand “electoral deciding” votes and there’s no reason that margin won’t get wider.

That kind of election is ripe for people to hack and fuck with. There’s no popular vote anymore, there’s only 50-state GOTV strategies on the left countered by voter suppression and manipulation on the right.
posted by nikaspark at 4:07 PM on July 18 [27 favorites]


CBS News has aired the first part of Jeff Glor's interview with Trump, in which Trump is reversing himself at top speed.
GLOR: "You say you agree with U.S. intelligence that Russia meddled in the election in 2016."

TRUMP: "Yeah and I've said that before, Jeff. I have said that numerous times before, and I would say that is true, yeah."
But:
GLOR: "So if you believe U.S. intelligence agencies, is Putin lying to you?"

TRUMP: "I don't want to get into whether or not he's lying. I can only say that I do have confidence in our intel agencies as currently constituted. I think that Dan Coats is excellent, I think that Gina is excellent, I think that we have excellent people in the agencies, and when they tell me something it means a lot."
As for the Special Counsel:
Glor: "You said you'll sit with the Special Counsel before. Has anything changed in the past six months that has made you more or less likely to [interview with special counsel Robert Mueller]?"

President Trump: "My lawyers are working on it. There's no collusion. I didn't deal with Russia. I have nothing do with Russia with respect to my race. I won that race rather easily and I can tell you that I think frankly 2020 is going to be even better than we did in 16."
CBS is splitting the remainder of this interview to air tomorrow on CBS This Morning and CBS Evening News. The question is if they're doing this purely to drum up ratings or to tempt the administration into more back-tracking and reversing. (So far, Glor is taking heat for not being very thorough or insistent.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:16 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Glor: Could you answer my fucking question?
posted by kirkaracha at 4:18 PM on July 18 [7 favorites]


Oh, there's more from CBS:
Glor: "Saturday, you told us your doctrine is strength and achieving peace through strength. After Helsinki, Lindsey Graham said you showed weakness."
{crosstalk}
Trump: "I totally disagree. I think I did great at the news conference. I think it was a strong news conference."
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:22 PM on July 18 [3 favorites]


Joe in Australia: "Caveat: I know nothing about US politics, this just worries me."

I have to say, this is exactly the sort of statement that non-US Mefites get (rightfully) angry about, in threads about things in their own countries.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:25 PM on July 18 [16 favorites]


I have to say, this is exactly the sort of statement that non-US Mefites get (rightfully) angry about, in threads about things in their own countries.

On the one hand, sure. But on the other hand, that’s not an equivalent thing at all.
posted by Celsius1414 at 4:28 PM on July 18 [10 favorites]


It is when it’s in a thread on US politics. I mean:

“I know nothing about [subject of thread], but”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:34 PM on July 18 [3 favorites]


Border Patrol Accused of Giving Children Rotten Food and Undrinkable Water. The more we learn, the more disgusted I am. #AbolishICE
posted by zug at 4:36 PM on July 18 [49 favorites]


Politico:
The Interior Department’s internal watchdog has launched a full investigation into a real estate deal involving a foundation established by Ryan Zinke and developers including Halliburton Chairman David Lesar, which was first reported by POLITICO last month, according to a letter the office sent to House Democrats on Wednesday.

The inspector general’s probe will focus on whether Zinke violated conflict of interest laws, the latest official inquiry of Zinke’s activities in his 16 months helming the department.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:40 PM on July 18 [15 favorites]




There's one thing I'm thinking about, but not able to totally parse: look at how everything is totally out in the open. Last night (I think, time is weird now) Colbert mentioned how Butina was openly bragging in class about her side job as a spy And it's not just her, it's the whole madhouse, they don't even pretend to adhere to any laws or rules. I totally get why Mueller has to get real evidence for everything, but we all basically know what happened +/- some details. We haven't seen Trump's tax returns, but we do know he went bankrupt and was dependent on Deutsche Bank and Russians after that. Etc., etc.
This is somehow different from both Nixon's crimes and BushII's, as well as from Reagan's lies and manipulations, even as it is also an extension of something that was there. And it's essential to what and who Trump is. It's packed into that quip about shooting someone on 5th Avenue.
Trump and the trumpists disregard all societal norms, but they also depend on the rest of us upholding them. As a former journalist, I have much more patience with the NYTimes (and other media) than a lot of people here, but it is also obvious that they are letting themselves be manipulated by the trumpists, to a degree that is dangerous for democracy.
I think I need to stop rambling, but to me it seems this is a very important aspect to deal with if we ever return to normalcy.
posted by mumimor at 4:43 PM on July 18 [30 favorites]


Politico, Trump’s Russia spin falls flat with GOP
The president’s effort to clean up his disastrous Monday news conference is falling flat on Capitol Hill — and White House aides are doing little to assuage an increasingly frustrated GOP. The reason: Threats from Republican lawmakers about confronting the president or pushing bills to punish Russia for further election interference are ringing hollow inside the White House, which has grown accustomed to panic, followed by inaction, on Capitol Hill.

A number of hawkish senators alarmed by the president’s remarks have yet to hear from chief of staff John Kelly, who frequently reassures nervous Republicans, and some senators are barreling forward with efforts to combat Russian interference in the fall elections. Increasingly, they view their own efforts to blunt Russia as distinctly separate from whatever Trump or his administration is doing or saying at any given time.

“In the end, we can present people with information. But you can’t force anyone to say what you want them to say, especially the president of the United States,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). “Our job is to pass laws and do things that are for the good of the country … and one of those things should be [imposing] strong deterrence measures with pre-positioned penalties should [Russian meddling] ever happen again.”

"I'm not going to try to excuse what the White House is doing. What we need to do is focus action here in Congress," added Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).
...
Trump’s Tuesday remarks, when he said he misspoke Monday while standing beside Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, are “probably the best we’re going to be able to get, right?” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 3 GOP leader.

“He attempted to clarify it, but ineffectively,” Thune said. “The last couple days certainly haven’t been an example of a willingness to express support for what the intelligence community is clearly telling us.”

Narrator: they will not take any action. (The narrator advises that non-binding resolutions do not constitute action, for reasons that are right there in the name.)


WaPo, Kavanaugh’s role in Bush-era detainee debate now an issue in his Supreme Court nomination. Guess who the DOJ official who signed the letter stating Kavanaugh shouldn't face a criminal investigation for lying to Congress over this: Brian Benczkowski, who was just confirmed to run the DOJ criminal division.
posted by zachlipton at 4:44 PM on July 18 [37 favorites]


@totallyallen
You know America is in trouble when everyone starts learning how the government works.
posted by Artw at 4:56 PM on July 18 [76 favorites]


It is when it’s in a thread on US politics. I mean:

“I know nothing about [subject of thread], but”



Given how the rest of the world has to put up with so much of our crap, I’m willing to cut the non-USians in these threads some slack.
posted by darkstar at 5:11 PM on July 18 [49 favorites]


Occupy Lafayette Park is raising funds to hire a mariachi band to play outside the White House.
posted by Sophie1 at 5:12 PM on July 18 [32 favorites]


Threats from Republican lawmakers about confronting the president or pushing bills to punish Russia for further election interference are ringing hollow inside the White House, which has grown accustomed to panic, followed by inaction, on Capitol Hill.

Like I said above, tipping points have become normalized. They're used to living in a tipping point now.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:20 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Damn, I wanted to be wrong this time.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:21 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Alleged Russian Spy Was Working to Infiltrate Religious Right As Well As Gun Groups
(Ed Kilgore | NYMag)

“The more we learn about freshly indicted Russian spy suspect Maria Butina, the stranger the 29-year-old Siberian woman’s story becomes.”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:22 PM on July 18 [10 favorites]


I think Joe in Australia knows US politics far better than the average American does, and quite a bit better than the average Mefite does.

His self-effacing comment was clearly meant to defuse any resentment we natives might feel at a foreigner, no matter how well informed, presuming to judge us -- in vain apparently, but not through any fault of Joe's.
posted by jamjam at 5:23 PM on July 18 [56 favorites]


(I don’t disagree. And I’m sorry for contributing to the meta conversation in here, but maybe let’s take it to MeTa if we have to?)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:26 PM on July 18


Bernstein is on Anderson Cooper and finally making the point that journalists are shirking their duty by allowing Republican lawmakers to get away with talking shit about Trump off the record and saying how dangerous he is but not being willing to say anything negative about him on the record. He said that journalists as a whole need to do better reporting. He also spoke about how we have to really come to grips with the fact that the President of the United States cannot be trusted with our intelligence, nor can he be trusted to be alone with any world leader much less Vladimir Putin. His demeanor was very shaken; he even snapped at Jeffrey Toobin for his nervous laughter at that point. It was quite something.

I know journalists tend to think very highly of Carl Bernstein so I hope they take his words to heart.
posted by Justinian at 5:33 PM on July 18 [74 favorites]


Alleged Russian Spy Was Working to Infiltrate Religious Right As Well As Gun Groups

It's kind of interesting that after the Russians regained their gay hating, abortion restricting spirituality (post-godless Communism) and became hypercapitalist oligarchs the Republicans all of a sudden started to feel kinship.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 5:36 PM on July 18 [12 favorites]


MSNBC is teasing a sitdown with Lester Holt and FBI director Wray regarding Russian interference that looks quite juicy.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:38 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Everyone's favorite, the New York Times Opinion page with "Sort of a double negative".
This is truly an American crisis moment.

Trump’s base of supporters have an undying loyalty to him because he has the same for them. He still has high approval among Republican voters because he has executed an unprecedented policy of defending only their concerns, which at their root are about racial insecurity and hostility, no matter how they try to dress it up.

Trump has no desire or intention to reach out to the rest of America or try to be the president of all of America. His mission is to lift this hostile minority over the horrified majority.

Trump’s supporters love this. Finally, someone is unapologetically fighting for white supremacy, white culture and white identity, for protectionism, xenophobia and Christian supremacy. No matter how much he lies, no matter how much he fumbles, no matter how much he betrays the greater America, Trump will remain the hero of white, Republican, racist America.

And, because these people were such a large portion of the Republican Party even before Trump emerged as their champion, traditional Republicans who at least talked the game of inclusion, of principles and of Christian, family values, are now tucking their tails to save their behinds.
Pretty mild title but packs a wallup most of the way through. I'm happy to see the NYT airing pieces like this.
posted by thebotanyofsouls at 5:38 PM on July 18 [73 favorites]


I'm happy to see the NYT airing pieces like this.

Their token opinion writers provide cover for the apologists writing ostensible news pieces. Oh, and they have a shitload of Trump defending opinion writers too. So.

Trump and the trumpists disregard all societal norms, but they also depend on the rest of us upholding them. As a former journalist, I have much more patience with the NYTimes (and other media) than a lot of people here, but it is also obvious that they are letting themselves be manipulated by the trumpists, to a degree that is dangerous for democracy.

Yes. They are. They have been the entire time. To the point that "manipulated" isn't really the word.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:43 PM on July 18 [13 favorites]


I think the word that Trump has been looking for this week is "splunge" which means "I trust Putin, but maybe not,, and I'm not weak. No collusion!" As long as he keeps having to say all these words that are obviously contradictory, he'll look more and more trapped.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:47 PM on July 18 [6 favorites]


Someone coined the phrase "verbal chaff" in a recent thread, and that captures it nicely. (Dazzle camouflage might also be an appropriate analogy.

Guys sorry to get up on my hobbyhorse again here, but there is no need to reinvent the wheel. The correct academic term for Drumpf's method of discourse is bullshit[pdf].

Someone who lies and someone who tells the truth are playing on opposite sides, so to speak, in the same game. Each responds to the facts as he understands them, although the response of the one is guided by the authority of the truth, while the response of the other defies that authority and refuses to meet its demands. The bullshitter ignores these demands altogether. He does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:47 PM on July 18 [34 favorites]


David Frum: The Crisis Facing America
America is a very legalistic society, in which public discussion often deteriorates into lawyers arguing about whether any statutes have been violated. But confronting the country in the wake of Helsinki is this question: Can it afford to wait to ascertain why Trump has subordinated himself to Putin after the president has so abjectly demonstrated that he has subordinated himself? Robert Mueller is leading a legal process. The United States faces a national-security emergency.
RT by Steven Hall, former CIA Chief of Russian Operations: From a counterintelligence perspective, something is going on behind the scenes. Before Helsinki I was less sure; post Helsinki, I feel sick.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:51 PM on July 18 [53 favorites]


WaPo, Tom Jackman and Rosalind S. Helderman, Alleged Russian agent Maria Butina ordered to remain in custody after prosecutors argue she has ties to Russian intelligence . Curious how much worse this got for Erickson? Scroll down, because it got very, very, very bad (I'm omitting some of the details previously covered, such as her disdain for living with Erickson):
Prosecutors revealed Wednesday that after executing several search warrants, they learned Butina “was in contact with officials believed to be Russian intelligence operatives.”

A memo written by Kenerson states that Butina maintained contact information for employees of the Russian FSB, the successor agency to the Soviet Union’s KGB, and was “likely in contact with the FSB throughout her stay in the United States.”

Among the documents seized by the FBI from Erickson’s residence was a handwritten memo titled “Notes on Maria’s ‘Russian Patriots In-Waiting’ Organization,” according to an exhibit submitted by prosecutors. The memo included the question, “How to respond to FSB offer of employment?”
...
To buttress the government’s claim that Butina was a Russian government agent and a possible flight risk, Kenerson entered three photos into evidence. One of them was a surveillance photo of Butina and a Russian diplomat having dinner in a Washington restaurant in March. A menu board in the photo matches one featured in a photo of La Piquette, a French restaurant in Cleveland Park.

Kenerson said the man was “suspected of being a Russian intelligence operative” and the photo was taken shortly before he was ordered to leave the country as part of U.S. sanctions. Driscoll said the photo was simply two Russians having dinner together in America and proved nothing.
...
In direct messages exchanged through Twitter, prosecutors said, she and Torshin agreed that she could operate only in secret.

“Only incognito!” she wrote in one message in October 2016. In a note in March 2017, Torshin wrote, “You have upstaged Anna Chapman,” a reference to a Russian spy who had lived freely in the United States for years before her 2010 arrest.

Ominously, the handwritten memo has a redaction: "meet w/ [REDACTED]?" Can't wait to find out who that is.
posted by zachlipton at 6:07 PM on July 18 [34 favorites]


Im pretty amazed that the FSB operates more or less openly on Twitter DM. As far as your average prosecutor is concerned, that's little better than the US mail. Much less FBI counterintel.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:11 PM on July 18 [3 favorites]


From the Jeff Glor interview (via Josh Marshall):
GLOR: But would you, are you more likely to sit an interview now?

TRUMP: My lawyers are working on that. I've always wanted to do an interview, because look, there's been no collusion. There's been no talk of Russia. There's been no phone call. There's been nothing. And it's I call it a witch hunt. That's exactly what it is. It's a it's a vicious witch hunt. And you know what? It's very bad for our country. Very, very bad for our country.
Um, what phone call? Nobody has said anything about a phone call. The only phone calls I'm aware of were the ones Flynn most definitely made after the election. So why is Trump suddenly denying a phone call nobody mentioned?
posted by zachlipton at 6:19 PM on July 18 [48 favorites]


It's like the interview where Trump denies the pee-pee tape by saying "anyway, I was never in that room for that period of time". Wait...what?
posted by uosuaq at 6:21 PM on July 18 [12 favorites]


Jim Sciutto (CNN)
.@FBI Director Wray just now leaves no wiggle room: #Russia “continues to engage in malign influence efforts to this day.” #AspenSecurity


Ken Dilanian (NBC)
Wray: Mueller is conducting a professional investigation and he is a straight shooter. Not a witch hunt. #AspenSecurity
posted by chris24 at 6:24 PM on July 18 [23 favorites]


Did we know this already?

NYT, David E. Sanger and Matthew Rosenberg: From the Start, Trump Has Muddied a Clear Message: Putin Interfered

"Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election."
posted by reductiondesign at 6:31 PM on July 18 [30 favorites]


This is truly an American crisis moment.

Trump’s base of supporters have an undying loyalty to him because he has the same for them.


Two sentences in and only half right. Keep doing you, NYT.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:36 PM on July 18 [25 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 House:
-- NC-13: SurveyUSA poll has incumbent GOPer Budd up 40-35 on Dem Manning [MOE: +/- 4.7%]. The district went Trump 53-44.

-- Polling of GOP-held districts finds that a majority of voters think the GOP is more corrupt than the Democrats, including self-identified independents.

-- Wasserman: GOP fundraising numbers are putting them at serious risk.
** Odds & ends:
-- NY gov: Quinnipiac poll has Cuomo up 59-23 on Nixon in the Dem primary [MOE: +/- 6.2%]. Cuomo also easily wins the general, even with Nixon and indy Miner running.

-- NY AG: Same Quinnipiac poll has this race much closer. NYC Public Advocate James is at 26; Rep Maloney at 15, law prof Teachout at 12, and former Cuomo admin official Eve at 3.

-- California Supreme Court has ordered Proposition 9, the one to split the state into three states, removed from the fall ballot.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:54 PM on July 18 [18 favorites]


Did we know this already?

NYT, David E. Sanger and Matthew Rosenberg: From the Start, Trump Has Muddied a Clear Message: Putin Interfered


The news that Putin personally ordered election interference dovetails with the Steele Dossier, but this is new:
And ultimately, several human sources had confirmed Mr. Putin’s own role.

That included one particularly valuable source, who was considered so sensitive that Mr. Brennan had declined to refer to it in any way in the Presidential Daily Brief during the final months of the Obama administration, as the Russia investigation intensified.

Instead, to keep the information from being shared widely, Mr. Brennan sent reports from the source to Mr. Obama and a small group of top national security aides in a separate, white envelope to assure its security.
People in the IC or adjacent to it—"nearly a dozen people who either attended the meeting with the president-elect or were later briefed on it"—decided now is the time to leak this information. Expect more like this to come as Trump and Putin try to cement whatever their grand bargain was in Helsinki.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:58 PM on July 18 [35 favorites]


WaPo, As Russians describe ‘verbal agreements’ at summit, U.S. officials scramble for clarity
Two days after President Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, Russian officials offered a string of assertions about what the two leaders had achieved.

“Important verbal agreements” were reached at the Helsinki meeting, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, told reporters in Moscow Wednesday, including preservation of the New Start and INF agreements, major bilateral arms control treaties whose futures have been in question. Antonov also said that Putin had made “specific and interesting proposals to Washington” on how the two countries could cooperate on Syria.

But officials at the most senior levels across the U.S. military, scrambling since Monday to determine what Trump may have agreed to on national security issues in Helsinki, had little to no information Wednesday.

At the Pentagon, as press officers remained unable to answer media questions about how the summit might impact the military, the paucity of information exposed an awkward gap in internal administration communications. The uncertainty surrounding Moscow’s suggestion of some sort of new arrangement or proposal regarding Syria, in particular, was striking because Gen. Joseph Votel, who heads U.S. Central Command, is scheduled to brief reporters on Syria and other matters Thursday.
...
Putin is expected to speak about the summit in a speech Thursday.
So Russia keeps saying we agreed to things, and the Pentagon and State Department have no idea what they're talking about. Cool, cool.
posted by zachlipton at 7:02 PM on July 18 [51 favorites]


I've seen mentioned that one of the difficulties of the upcoming election is that far more Democratic seats are up for re-election than Republican seats. Is there some way to find out what that balance will look like for Congressional elections in 2019 and 2020?
posted by lazugod at 7:04 PM on July 18


Is there some way to find out what that balance will look like for Congressional elections in 2019 and 2020?

Here's the map for 2020. All those red states you see are places the GOP needs to defend seats.
posted by Jpfed at 7:08 PM on July 18 [3 favorites]


decided now is the time to leak this information.

Based on what we’ve seen so far, is there any reason to believe Trump didn’t just tell Putin “this is what these intelligence people keep saying about you?” When do we find out if these sources are even still alive?
posted by zachlipton at 7:09 PM on July 18 [6 favorites]


All House seats are up every 2 years so this only applies to the Senate. In the Senate elections this year 25 of the 33 seats are held by Democrats (or Democratically aligned Independents). 25/33. 10 of those are in states that Trump won, including some of the reddest states in the country like WV. It's hard to imagine a worse map for Senate Democrats than this years map.

In 2020 there will be 20 Republican seats and 11 Democratic seats up for election, and 2 where the incumbent will be determind in this years election.
posted by Justinian at 7:09 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


> This is truly an American crisis moment.
>
> Trump’s base of supporters have an undying
> loyalty to him because he has the same
> for them.
Two sentences in and only half right. Keep doing you, NYT.
I love snark as much as the next MeFite, but that's not a fair characterization of the opinion piece you're quoting. To start, the section quoted is 13 paragraphs into the piece, written by a person of color who has been a consistent and outspoken critic of the Trump presidency, and the piece then goes on to explicitly call out and condemn the white supremacy which is at the core of Trump's appeal to his most fanatic supporters.

In short, it's a long way from, and substantially preferable to, the "we sent a particularly credulous reporter to a heartland diner to find out whether economic anxiety was a factor in the election" pieces that have been relentlessly (and justifiably) mocked here. It not some sort of historic turning point in the media coverage but it's not nothing, either.
posted by Nerd of the North at 7:09 PM on July 18 [42 favorites]


NYT, David E. Sanger and Matthew Rosenberg: From the Start, Trump Has Muddied a Clear Message: Putin Interfered

"The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation."
posted by chris24 at 7:11 PM on July 18 [3 favorites]


You know what we really need to do? Push Trumpists into admitting/declaring that "SUPPORT TRUMP = SUPPORT PUTIN". That should shave enough people who like Trump for 'other reasons' off his base to ensure an electoral disaster. Send Sasha Baron Cohen (or somebody) to hand out "SUPPORT TRUMP SUPPORT PUTIN" signs/hats/shirts at his rallies.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:11 PM on July 18 [5 favorites]


Also, having House Reps have to defend their seats every 2 years is bullshit and ridiculous and should be changed in the Constitution. They spend essentially every waking moment of their political career having to fundraise and campaign for the next election.
posted by Justinian at 7:11 PM on July 18 [13 favorites]


Or alternately, go full public funding.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:12 PM on July 18 [53 favorites]


So Russia keeps saying we agreed to things, and the Pentagon and State Department have no idea what they're talking about. Cool, cool.

Wasn't that the point? Putin decided there wouldn't be anyone but translators in the room so that he could later claim whatever he wants, and trump wouldn't remember what he said one way or the other. I thought that was the obvious deal from the beginning.
posted by mrgoat at 7:13 PM on July 18 [25 favorites]


Expect more like this to come as Trump and Putin try to cement whatever their grand bargain was in Helsinki

Trump already tipped his hand. A weakened NATO, new US/Russian bilateral military relations (including a capitulation in Syria and w/r/t the Kurds) and further Russian expansion into the former Soviet satellites in central Eurasia. Not the Baltic, for now.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:13 PM on July 18


> There's been no phone call. There's been nothing.
> Um, what phone call? Nobody has said anything about a phone call.

Trump's great that way. Who did who did you not call when you didn't call them, Mr. Trump? When didn't you not call the person you didn't talk to? What didn't you discuss with the person you didn't not call when you didn't not talk to them?
posted by nangar at 7:17 PM on July 18 [9 favorites]


from the Butina NY Mag piece linked above,

Yikes. Erickson’s continued freedom may depend on him playing the role of a deceived and spurned lover rather than a collaborator of a foreign spy.

But in a story that now includes espionage, guns, sex, and conservative politics, there’s no telling what else is on tap.


The guy managed John Wayne Bobbitt. And Pat Buchanan. Seriously, paging Fawn Hall, please report to the recombobilizer area . . . I'm used to Hollywood and video games eating themselves, but that's more cultural. This is some fucked-up political-sewage-line-explosion times.
posted by petebest at 7:20 PM on July 18 [10 favorites]


Yikes. Erickson’s continued freedom may depend on him playing the role of a deceived and spurned lover rather than a collaborator of a foreign spy.

If you want to play that role successfully, don't leave behind handwritten notes that say “How to respond to FSB offer of employment?” [real!]
posted by scalefree at 7:24 PM on July 18 [34 favorites]


Um, what phone call? Nobody has said anything about a phone call. The only phone calls I'm aware of were the ones Flynn most definitely made after the election. So why is Trump suddenly denying a phone call nobody mentioned?

I'm gonna guess it's the three blocked number calls Donny Jr. made before and after the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with the Russians.
posted by chris24 at 7:26 PM on July 18 [21 favorites]


Oh my god, it's no wonder that a) John Brennan has been totally beating up Trump online and b) Trump trashes Brennan every chance he gets.

BRENNAN GAVE HIM THIS INFO ON 1/6/17. Jesus Christ, he must be ready to shriek every time Trump opens his lying fucking treasonous mouth!
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:34 PM on July 18 [71 favorites]


T.D. Strange: "Im pretty amazed that the FSB operates more or less openly on Twitter DM."
This struck me too. I haven't been reading all the actual affidavits & indictments over the whole course of things - preferring instead to keep my "fuck it, it's not my problem" options open - but I just read the Butina affidavit. It really does beggar belief that anyone - official state agent, or simply just some private group doing some meddling - would communicate so openly over an insecure network.

Reading the quotes in the affidavit, it looks like they were either communicating in clear Russian or English (hard to tell if the little clues in word order/choice & cadence are those of a not-native English speaker, or due to a clear translation that leans a little towards transliteration). While there's stuff in there that could conceivably be coded signals - her reference to his illness, & his reply about attempting to get out of hospital, for example - it's also pretty clear that the meat of it, which ties in pretty well with the election ratfucking, is out in the open.

I mean, I've known lefty activists to employ more opsec when organising a simple protest against a mining company in the middle of a city street with the full approval of police than appears to be in play here…

On the other hand, you could also assume all those conversations are cover for something deeper - a thin smear of sacrificial dirt to hide and distract from the real Big Operation - but that way lies paranoia…
posted by Pinback at 7:34 PM on July 18 [6 favorites]


I keep coming back to "a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation." There's no way the CIA wouldn't have convinced the Times not to print this if this guy was still a source, no way the Times would have printed it without confirming they weren't putting someone in danger. They'll print stories about intelligence programs, not discuss specific human sources.

Whoever this source was, they just can't be one anymore. Whether they're now enjoying a quiet life under an assumed identity in Kansas or something less pleasant is another story.
posted by zachlipton at 7:51 PM on July 18 [12 favorites]


On the other hand, you could also assume all those conversations are cover for something deeper - a thin smear of sacrificial dirt to hide and distract from the real Big Operation - but that way lies paranoia…

I think there were so many Russian influence operations going on at once that Butina was maybe the sloppiest one that got caught by not even Mueller, just regular FBI in the course of business because she was so blatant.

We already know about two different teams of Russian GRU military intelligence from this week's indictments, that would be the "Big Operation". But the FSB isn't nearly the same monolithic force as we'd probably picture from the KGB cold war days, today there's 50 different oligarchs, all with their own set of FSB ties and loyalists beholden to their interests like Butina. Sure they're working for Putin ultimately, but also for their patron and not necessarily clued in on every other oligarch and his other team also attempting to appease Putin's wishes to gain favor. So if Putin said "fuck with the Americans, and call in all our favors on Trump", there would've been competing oligarchs all trying to deliver the US election to Putin through their ties to the TrumpOrg and Republicans generally. How many more Butina's are there that are smarter? 50? 100? One for every Republican congressman and Senator? We know that Republicans were at the very best, fertile ground for influence, and at worst, actively seeking Russian aide.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:55 PM on July 18 [31 favorites]


If the goal was undermining faith in American democracy at home and American leadership abroad, what better way than to engineer the election in the most shoddy way possible, extract benefits in the most blatant way possible, undermine NATO, drum up trade wars and then once the op is blown extend a big middle finger to no real effect in the Senate? And with the desired effects in disrupting foreign relations?

I'm sure Putin and company would have been pleased for the grift to last longer, but I don't think it's paranoia to suggest that this thing was set up to ultimately benefit its planners even once exposed. Why wouldn't you try for that?
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:58 PM on July 18 [26 favorites]


I love snark as much as the next MeFite, but that's not a fair characterization of the opinion piece you're quoting. To start, the section quoted is 13 paragraphs into the piece, written by a person of color who has been a consistent and outspoken critic of the Trump presidency, and the piece then goes on to explicitly call out and condemn the white supremacy which is at the core of Trump's appeal to his most fanatic supporters.

That's great but it still repeats, as a premise, a fallacy that the NYT needs to retire: Trump is in no way loyal to those voters. Not one bit. Sorry, wrong is wrong.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:03 PM on July 18 [6 favorites]


I keep coming back to "a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation.

If the source wasn't blown/dead/Kansan before Monday, what are the chances Donny blabbed to Putin in their meeting. On all of this.
posted by chris24 at 8:07 PM on July 18 [3 favorites]


Given the Spies Like Us vibe this has taken on, I'm imagining Trump bringing a blind interpreter and then passing Putin notes.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:08 PM on July 18 [8 favorites]


I'm sure Putin and company would have been pleased for the grift to last longer, but I don't think it's paranoia to suggest that this thing was set up to ultimately benefit its planners even once exposed. Why wouldn't you try for that?

If I were Putin, and had executed a flawless geopolitical victory exceeding all conceivable stretch goals, from this point forward I'd play for style points and entertainment value.
posted by johnny jenga at 8:11 PM on July 18 [39 favorites]


@nycsouthpaw:
I’d speculate the intel sources here reasonably concluded that Trump has already burned their sources and methods to Putin.
posted by chris24 at 8:19 PM on July 18 [28 favorites]


@zachlipton: "When do we find out if these sources are even still alive?"

One of the Fusion GPS lawyer, I think during congressional testimony, said that one source for the Steele Dossier had been killed already, so it's reasonable to presume that others have since died as well. As for if we find out, we probably never will! I don't even think we know which source referenced in that testimony died.
posted by gucci mane at 8:20 PM on July 18 [4 favorites]


Whoever this source was, they just can't be one anymore. Whether they're now enjoying a quiet life under an assumed identity in Kansas or something less pleasant is another story.

I wish I could find the site now that tracked all of them, but basically a wave of various Putin associates started to die after Trump started receiving security briefings and continued to do so until around May or June after he took office. One of them was a general in the FSB. So.
posted by schroedinger at 8:26 PM on July 18 [25 favorites]


Looking for a silver lining to the darkening clouds on the horizon, I found this optimistic take from former Obama-era State Department and Defense Department official Ilan Goldenberg (@ilangoldenberg) (re-formatted from Twitter):
I had a conversation a few months ago with a former Russian official that made it clear to me they have no idea of the significance of what they did. They are celebrating now but in the long this is really going to hurt them. Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: you guys should not have actively been playing in our politics and media. It’s a dangerous game.

Him: come on you guys have CNN & BBC playing in your hotel room upstairs (we were in Moscow). It’s the same thing

Me: there is a difference between state run media & free media. But beyond that you guys were on social media pretending to be Americans while also stealing emails from US citizens.

Him: and what does the CIA do? You interfere in other countries’ elections all the time

Me: but you don’t understand how central democratic elections are to who America is as a country. Our government system and pride in it is essential to our national character & a core element of American nationalism & identity

Him: you guys are just oversensitive

This conversation captures something important. The Russians don’t understand why what they did has sparked such outrage in the US. For them free elections just aren’t that big of a deal. And of course Trump is making all this much much worse by validating Russia’s actions.

They are convinced that what they did worked. And they are right in the short term it has. They couldn’t have a better POTUS. But in the long-term they may come to regret this. Eventually (hopefully in 2021) Trump goes. When he does it will be a generation before the US & Russia can have any kind of functional relationship. US politics won’t allow it after what the Russians did. They’ve touched 3rd rail. And objectively Russia is still a second rate economic and military power that can’t truly compete on a global level with the US.

In the long run they will come to regret having turned themselves into public enemy number 1 in the eyes of the US public & sabotaging the possibility of a functional US-Russia relationship.
It's idealistic, of course, but it also captures the limits of a certain type of parochial Russian cynicism I've encountered from time to time.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:30 PM on July 18 [47 favorites]


If the source wasn't blown/dead/Kansan before Monday, what are the chances Donny blabbed to Putin in their meeting. On all of this.

He had plenty of chances over the past 18 months, such as the Lavrov Kislyak Oval Office meeting in May 2017. Or the first solo chat with Putin.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:31 PM on July 18 [4 favorites]


If it's provably true that Trump divulged the identities of sources who were then killed that's potentially explosive. Especially if one of them was a citizen of a country other than Russia....

The absence of a state of war between the US and Russia, and the unthinkability of inviting one no doubt figured and figures into the calculus re: actual treason charges. Note how quickly WWIII bogeyman shushing was attempted.

However, no state of war is required to be guilty of espionage. And while there might be an argument that the chief executive cannot commit espionage, this conspiracy was embarked upon before Trump became President. Not to mention all the facilitators.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:32 PM on July 18 [4 favorites]


basically a wave of various Putin associates started to die after Trump started receiving security briefings and continued to do so until around May or June after he took office. One of them was a general in the FSB.

That would be Oleg Erovinkin, former KGB and FSB general (December 2016, cause of death unconfirmed). In addition to the "trail of dead Russians", I'd note Sergei Mikhailov, senior FSB cyberintelligence officer, was arrested in January 2017 for treason.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:41 PM on July 18 [17 favorites]


Good lord! Huckabee says that Trump is seriously considering Putin's offer to turn over American citizens to Russian interrogators in exchange for Russian spies. This includes former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul. Trump says "it is an incredible offer".

Anyone working for the State Department in any manner having to do with the Russia desk should consider seeking political asylum in Canada. This is sounding more and more like Germany in the 1930s.
posted by JackFlash at 8:44 PM on July 18 [67 favorites]


In the long run they will come to regret having turned themselves into public enemy number 1 in the eyes of the US public & sabotaging the possibility of a functional US-Russia relationship.

I might feel more confident about this possibility if I hadn't heard the Trumpie who called in to CSPAN on Monday to thank Russia at great length for interfering in the election and saving the US from Hillary. I suspect she is not an outlier. The GOP and their base do not consider us or Mike McFaul or Barack Obama to be real Americans and consider Putin less of an adversary and menace than most of the US population.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:52 PM on July 18 [24 favorites]


basically a wave of various Putin associates started to die after Trump started receiving security briefings and continued to do so until around May or June after he took office. One of them was a general in the FSB.

Right after Trump was told about US assets inside Trump’s inner circle Putin sacked some of the cyber security people in his inner circle
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:52 PM on July 18 [30 favorites]


When and where did Huckabee say that?
posted by chris24 at 8:53 PM on July 18


The GOP and their base do not consider us or Mike McFaul or Barack Obama to be real Americans and consider Putin less of an adversary and menace than most of the US population.

Tha's why all of this is happening. Republicans hate us far more than Putin.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:54 PM on July 18 [26 favorites]




It's idealistic, of course, but it also captures the limits of a certain type of parochial Russian cynicism I've encountered from time to time.

Well Justinian commented on this above in another context, but we have all been taught from a very young age that the process of our political system matters much more than the outcome of those processes and also that our process includes mechanisms to correct errors in the process. The Russian Special Measures or whatever attacked that directly. We are still responding via our process and so far we are crippled, but still here. I continue to have faith that our process will win out in the end but the current situation is a close case to be sure.

There is a lot riding on the next election.
posted by notyou at 9:23 PM on July 18 [11 favorites]


The SHS bit on allowing the Russians to interrogate former American officials is her boilerplate response whenever she has no idea WTF the Administration is actually doing and needs to stall.

Still kinda bad when that’s the best you can do when the question is when will you be handing over a former Ambassador to another nation for interrogation.
posted by notyou at 9:30 PM on July 18 [6 favorites]


The most charitable read on SHS's response to that question is that she's actually so fucking dumb she thinks "Hey are you guys gonna hand a diplomat over to the Russians?" is the sort of thing she needs to hedge on.

The more evidence-based read of it is she heard that and thought, "Oh shit, the boss might want to do this stupid shit, I'd better not put myself into another corner where I look like a dumb ass for saying he's gonna do X when he winds up doing Y instead." Maybe without so many words or such abstract thinking, but still.

She either didn't fucking know how insane that is, or she actually thinks it's possible the answer might be something other than no.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:34 PM on July 18 [17 favorites]


I guess what we all need to filter our priors through is that Trump is negotiating for Trump and the rest of us are chits.
posted by notyou at 9:35 PM on July 18 [13 favorites]


This would be the perfect opportunity for the 4th Estate to take a stand of some sort. Boycott White House press briefings. Refuse to relay any soundbites from any Senator or government official that is not a direct answer to a short list of questions about Trump and Russia.

Fox won't buy in to that, but come on.

Our democracy is at stake.
posted by yesster at 9:36 PM on July 18 [3 favorites]


This isn't just Huckabee. Trump in his own words said "it's an incredible offer."

Folks, just a few weeks ago people never thought Trump would put innocent children in cages. There are no longer limits to the unthinkable.
posted by JackFlash at 9:40 PM on July 18 [75 favorites]


There is no rock bottom. None.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:42 PM on July 18 [26 favorites]


I can’t tell if the Republicans would let Trump sell out Americans to Putin or not.
posted by gucci mane at 9:49 PM on July 18


I mean specific Americans, not just the entire country.
posted by gucci mane at 9:49 PM on July 18 [3 favorites]


Scott Walker accepted $1mil from a Russian oligarch via a super pac in 2016, and then his state went to Trump. Mitch McConnell received $2.5mil from the same Russian oligarch in 2016 and then refused to release a bipartisan statement warning Americans their election integrity was under attack by Russia.

It's all coming out, finally. Fingers crossed that people care. I also heard a scary statistic that a significant number of Americans don't value democracy...
posted by jbenben at 9:52 PM on July 18 [79 favorites]


I can’t tell if the Republicans would let Trump sell out Americans to Putin or not. I mean specific Americans, not just the entire country.

Specific Americans? I think most elected Republicans would be fine with other elected Republicans disappearing into the basement of the Lubyanka.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:58 PM on July 18 [5 favorites]


Well, we're not going down (this road much farther) without a fight. And I mean everywhere. Here in Oregon, in super-red eastern Oregon, Trump-enabler Greg Walden, Congressman from Oregon District 2, usually wins in a walk. Not this time! For the first time in his two decades amassing millions from the NRA and the pharmaceutical companies, Walden has an election fight on his hands. Jamie McLeod-Skinner is going to take him to mat! There are 20 counties in this district, and there are volunteers in all of them and they are fired up.

Average work-a-day Americans can't get their hands on Trump, but we can get his enablers, like Walden. Phone bank, go door-to-door, give money -- do something in the analog world, not just online.
posted by slab_lizard at 10:19 PM on July 18 [93 favorites]


"I think there were so many Russian influence operations going on at once that Butina was maybe the sloppiest one that got caught by not even Mueller, just regular FBI in the course of business because she was so blatant … But the FSB isn't nearly the same monolithic force as we'd probably picture from the KGB cold war days"
Oh, yeah, 100% agree/aware of that, and it's exactly how someone would go about it if they were Putin & had plenty of ex-KGB/FSB operatives-turned-oligarchs at their disposal. And yeah, somebody out of that pool, either by design, chance, or direct order, is going to be the sacrificial lamb / miner's canary / dumb bunny whose purpose is to push the limits of the possible until they get caught

I guess I'm just surprised about how dumb the whole Butina thing is and, despite that, how far it managed to go & how much damage it did before it was shut down. Yes, she's obviously been watched closely from pretty much the exact second she first set foot on US soil - but she was still allowed to play her fairly large part in fucking the elections. Yes, stopping & revealing that may have started the Cold War back up in earnest, with all the possibilities that entails - but not doing that has resulted in what amounts to being pwned at 2 levels of the Executive, with an option on the 3rd.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't, I guess…
posted by Pinback at 10:57 PM on July 18 [7 favorites]


That's great but it still repeats, as a premise, a fallacy that the NYT needs to retire: Trump is in no way loyal to those voters. Not one bit. Sorry, wrong is wrong.

Obviously Blow would disagree with you. So do I. Trump is loyal ...to the base desires of his Trumpsters, which mirror his own. He refuses to disavow outspoken racists and dictators. He disrespects that bossy, pantsuit-wearing Clinton. He pardons vile, scummy people. Over and over again, utterly without restraint, he flogs liberals and that's all the loyalty they need. Many persist in believing that Trump's hardcore devoted followers are naively voting against their own interests, but I think they themselves are the naive ones. Trumpsters may be voting against their economic concerns, but progressives of all people should realize that humans have needs that go beyond mere capital. Trump's hardcore supporters as a group, more than anything else, want to see him causing pain to minorities, women, the poor, left-leaning celebrities /intellectuals, and "social justice warriors." They care far more about seeing libs humbled than they do about "clean coal" jobs, taxes, medical coverage and the stupid wall. If he is loyal to them in bringing the pain, they will be loyal to him. They crave his shit sandwiches because they taste like sweet revenge.
posted by xigxag at 11:06 PM on July 18 [33 favorites]


I can’t tell if the Republicans would let Trump sell out Americans to Putin or not.

I'm curious what makes you think they wouldn't?

Pretty much everything I've seen of the Republicans, from the presidency, to the congressional halls, to the judicial courts, to the rank and file footsoldiers and stormtroopers and their handmaidens with almost zero exception (some Republicans, I'm sure, are very fine people) suggests to me that they'd sell everything and anything out like a sale on President's Day to Putin to maintain their decrepit, white, Christian, straight man hold on power.
posted by anem0ne at 11:08 PM on July 18 [21 favorites]


US Officials ‘at a fucking loss’ Over Latest Russia Sell Out
Current and former American diplomats are expressing disgust and horror over the White House’s willingness to entertain permitting Russian officials to question a prominent former U.S. ambassador.

One serving diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he was “at a fucking loss” over comments that can be expected to chill American diplomacy in hostile or authoritarian countries – a comment echoed by former State Department officials as well.

“It’s beyond disgraceful. It’s fundamentally ignorant with regard to how we conduct diplomacy or what that means. It really puts in jeopardy the professional independence of diplomats anywhere in the world, if the consequence of their actions is going to be potentially being turned over to a foreign government,” the U.S. diplomat told The Daily Beast.
Former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power:
Let’s recall why Putin began making outrageous, false accusations against @McFaul: Mike stood up for human rights and against Russian oppression. That terrified Putin. The fact that @realDonaldTrump won’t stand up for an American patriot is a travesty
Former US National Security Advisor Susan Rice:
Beyond outrageous. Amb. McFaul served our country honorably and with full diplomatic immunity. If the White House cannot defend and protect our diplomats, like our service members, they are serving a hostile foreign power not the American people.
McFaul responds:
I hope the White House corrects the record and denounces in categorical terms this ridiculous request from Putin. Not doing so creates moral equivalency between a legitimacy US indictment of Russian intelligence officers and a crazy, completely fabricated story invented by Putin.
posted by darkstar at 11:09 PM on July 18 [64 favorites]


Seriously. With all of the concerns Republicans have had over the Trump regime's behavior, they're still deliriously overjoyed with the policy results that are happening. I've had runny shits after a night of drink and White Castle or Taco Bell with more moral fiber than any Republican officeholder.

Trump selling Americans out is a-fucking-okay with them so long as they get to install another hard-right ideologue willing to strip citizenship from women, brown people, and queers. Trump selling out patriots is a-fucking-okay with them so long as they get their next trillion-dollar tax cut for the 1%.

I'd be thrilled to be proven wrong. I don't expect to be.
posted by anem0ne at 11:12 PM on July 18 [15 favorites]


I can’t tell if the Republicans would let Trump sell out Americans to Putin or not.

I don’t see any reason why they would.
posted by mach at 11:13 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Oops, I meant wouldn’t.
posted by mach at 11:14 PM on July 18 [115 favorites]


Based on what we’ve seen so far, is there any reason to believe Trump didn’t just tell Putin “this is what these intelligence people keep saying about you?”

One possible reason:

Reuters, February 27, 2018 / 9:03 PM / 5 months ago
Kushner loses access to top intelligence briefing: sources
Mark Hosenball, Warren Strobel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, has lost access to the most valued U.S. intelligence report, the President’s Daily Brief, as the White House imposes greater discipline on access to secrets, two U.S. officials familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

...
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:19 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Two Party Opera is a comic that comments on current events using caricatures of past Presidents and this one, featuring the Father of Our Country and Russia's Catherine the Great, is hilariously relevant.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:21 AM on July 19 [6 favorites]


FYI - UK police say they now know who did the Novichok poisoning, having recovered the container that held the nerve agent and compared CCTV footage with airport data. No official announcement of names, but it's apparently a number of Russians.

Or Republican senators - hard to say. [snark]
posted by Devonian at 12:22 AM on July 19 [38 favorites]


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, has lost access to the most valued U.S. intelligence report, the President’s Daily Brief, as the White House imposes greater discipline on access to secrets, two U.S. officials familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Yes, it's clear that right now we are to some extent protected by Trump's lazy ignorance, the plan was clearly to have Jared passing top secret information to the Russians (again: it happened in plain sight). But I've noticed that Trump is actually quite good at remembering stuff he deems important, often things his Russian overlords want him to remember.
posted by mumimor at 12:55 AM on July 19 [5 favorites]


The craziest part of the Kushner back-channel story is how freaked out by it Kislyak was. He probably thought he was being punked.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:38 AM on July 19 [7 favorites]


We haven't heard much about Jared or Ivanka for ages. I don't know whether it's because they've been supplanted by better bottom-feeders, or whether their survival instincts finally kicked in.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:30 AM on July 19 [3 favorites]


Ivanka presented something about education at the cabinet meeting where Trump denied what we had all heard him say.
posted by mumimor at 2:42 AM on July 19


When and where did Huckabee say that?
---
"The President's going to meet with his team and we'll let you know when we have an announcement on that," she said.


Ok. I was thinking Mike Huckabee had chimed in. He was on Fox 10p last night so I was curious if he'd doubled down on it. Good to know it was just another reference to Huckabee Sanders' comments.
posted by chris24 at 3:11 AM on July 19


Trump tweeted this January 7th, 2017. So the day after his top secret briefing on the Russian attack he was revealing/lying about the information from it to try to cover his ass.

@realDonaldTrump
Intelligence stated very strongly there was absolutely no evidence that hacking affected the election results. Voting machines not touched!
posted by chris24 at 3:20 AM on July 19 [10 favorites]


Just spitballing here, but given that HRC's strategy book and other shit was stolen by the Russians, shouldn't every Democratic candidate running in 2018 be locking that shit up as tightly as possible? Is that, in addition to getting out the vote, the Democratic play here? Is locking said shit up even possible?

Asking as one who doesn't understanding the mechanics of the hacking at all.
posted by angrycat at 3:42 AM on July 19 [4 favorites]


...shouldn't every Democratic candidate running in 2018 be locking that shit up as tightly as possible?

Hopefully switching on 2-factor authentication and religiously drilling into campaign workers head to not click on any link or enter their passwords into anything that asks for it is standard operating procedure these days.
posted by PenDevil at 3:49 AM on July 19 [15 favorites]


The top story on CNN's home page right now wonders if the President is a Russian asset.

The President's failure to uncork unequivocal criticism of Putin raises fears he's been compromised by Russia
posted by chris24 at 3:52 AM on July 19 [27 favorites]


The fact that our living rooms are full of water and there are ships sailing down the street outside raises fears that it may have been raining a bit.
posted by Grangousier at 4:06 AM on July 19 [61 favorites]


Hopefully switching on 2-factor authentication and religiously drilling into campaign workers head to not click on any link or enter their passwords into anything that asks for it is standard operating procedure these days.

Maybe campaigns should stop relying on publicly facing/routed email and password-secured websites for anything sensitive?
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:47 AM on July 19 [8 favorites]


This would be the perfect opportunity for the 4th Estate to take a stand of some sort.

/deadpan. *checks watch*. Yeah, now is good. Why not. I don't see any reason why they-

Y'know here's the thing though; Even *if* we allow the corporate media's allowance of, infatuation with, joyous reveling in, Trump's campaign as a result of being 99.9% sure it's never going to happen - okay. Complete malpractice, unforgivable in hindsight, but hey, that's showbiz.

After 11/9 though- c'mon. The utter lack of will or ability to speak the clear, simple truth about this Predisent is beyond the pale. It's callow, or craven, or possibly layered institutional insanity, but the solution to it has never been obfuscated.

As an example, the opinion pieces of Charles Blow are the news articles they should always have had - how hard would it be to source those pieces? None. None more hard. But because of the way a capitalistic press works, they, and we, are totally screwed on this version. Thanks to this river of bad decisions, everything from Meet the Press to evening news at five is irretrievable.

Only a complete re-invention of network news will work now, and until that gets up and running we have a truly dysfunctional information system as our only solidly binding tie in the midst of this mess.
posted by petebest at 4:49 AM on July 19 [16 favorites]


Hopefully switching on 2-factor authentication and religiously drilling into campaign workers head to not click on any link or enter their passwords into anything that asks for it is standard operating procedure these days.

Hopefully. Although, having spent my entire career working around computers, I won't be remotely surprised if we see more easily preventable hacks.

Require users to choose strong passwords, and they'll start storing them in Google Docs or something. Require 2FA on all accounts, and they'll decide that the system is too hard to use, and start using some unauthorized alternative. Block their network access to that system, and...well, you get the point.

My last employer hired a company to phish us periodically, so they could see exactly who would fall for a real phishing attempt. The numbers were shockingly high. This was a software development company.

I haven't dug much into the technical details of the Russian hacks, but what I have read about is bog-standard social engineering. Hacking a well secured system is hard. But creating a well secured system is also hard – such that many managers decide that it isn't worth the trouble. And tricking people into unlocking the door for you is easy.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:51 AM on July 19 [43 favorites]


Didn’t Macron’s team deliberately put in fake files with their real ones as a strategy?
posted by gucci mane at 5:40 AM on July 19 [8 favorites]


When I think of honeypots, I think of large collections of false and misleading stuff to make the enemy respond in ways that will weaken them...
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:46 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


Didn’t Macron’s team deliberately put in fake files with their real ones as a strategy?

Previous post on the bleu about this.

posted by PenDevil at 5:47 AM on July 19 [7 favorites]


New cover of TIME. A creepy photo merge of Putin and Trump.

New cover of the New Yorker. Face plant.
posted by chris24 at 5:48 AM on July 19 [13 favorites]


That photo merge is very much like the older Biff, don't you think?
posted by Myeral at 6:04 AM on July 19 [7 favorites]




Former NSA guy this morning:
John Schindler @20committee
My GOP DC Friends:

If you (and it's plural, quite plural) stuck your d*ck in Comrade Butina call your lawyer now, this morning, to set up a chat with the FBI. You are in deep trouble. This will not look good when it comes out.

And it will.

You know who you are....
5:38 AM - 19 Jul 2018
Wow. Uh... Wow.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 6:13 AM on July 19 [139 favorites]


Hopefully switching on 2-factor authentication and religiously drilling into campaign workers head to not click on any link or enter their passwords into anything that asks for it is standard operating procedure these days.

Speaking here as someone on the front lines of IT, that's a hope that will come to exactly nothing.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, sufficiently blatantly a scam that at least one user in a large organization won't fall for it. There's a security company in the UK that does an annual test of a random large organization, it's a simple test, they have someone dressed at about the same level as other people in the company approach random employees and ask "what's your password?" No bigger setup, no introduction as the new guy in IT, just a random person asking "what's your password?" More than 25% tell him their password.

I don't know what it is exactly, but some people seem to shut off the reasoning and thinking parts of their brains when dealing with computers. It isn't age related, I've encountered plenty of younger people who are total doofuses when it comes to computers. Some flatly refuse to learn, the phrase "I'm not a computer person" comes up often with these people and they seem to take a perverse, often aggressive, pride in steadfastly refusing to even try to learn how to use a computer properly. They memorize detailed step by step recipes, like spells or prayers, for every single thing they do on the computer, and are apparently absolutely incapable of doing anything but following those steps with robotic precision or (perversely) managing to install the most difficult to remove malware they can find.

I'd love to live in a world where more training helps. But it won't.

There is only one thing that will actually help when it comes to security: absolutely rigid, unyielding, and restrictive security policies implemented on the computers and servers with the full backing of the highest authority in the organization and a draconian approach to dealing with any manager who even **HINTS** at obstructing those policies or trying to work around them.

Regular security audits which are aimed at identifying leaky employees and then ruthlessly firing them is another plus. I don't care if Bob is the greatest X to be found, if he gives his password to anyone who asks you either fire his ass or you give up on the idea of securing your computers, there is no third option.

This, of course, is incredibly inconvenient. Security is always something you buy at the cost of convenience, and trying to secure an organization facing hostile state level action is going to be massively difficult and horribly inconvenient.

I'm highly doubtful that even with the example of the Clinton campaign being invaded by the GRU anyone in the DNC is willing to take the steps needed to really secure their IT, especially not the sort of crazy levels of security it will take to hold off Russia. I'm highly doubtful that there is anyone high enough in the Democratic Party who even understands the problem that they can even try to get it fixed.

And I'm doubtful that a massively distributed and mostly volunteer staffed group like the Democratic Party can be secured anyway. It'd be trivially easy for a Republican or Russian plant to volunteer for a county party, be useful and work up to the state party, and so on. The Democrats are desperate for volunteers and have no real vetting involved (source: I am a volunteer with local Democratic party and there was absolutely no vetting at all, I showed up, I volunteered, I got put into a job).

TL;DR: The Democratic Party is a nightmare from a security standpoint and it is highly unlikely that any security measures they can be reasonably expected to implement will be effective. Going forward I think it's possible to win even with that situation, but it'll be tougher.
posted by sotonohito at 6:17 AM on July 19 [58 favorites]


John Schindler @20committee
My GOP DC Friends:

If you (and it's plural, quite plural) stuck your d*ck in Comrade Butina call your lawyer now, this morning, to set up a chat with the FBI. You are in deep trouble. This will not look good when it comes out.

And it will.

You know who you are....
5:38 AM - 19 Jul 2018


Wow. I’d hate to be on that guy’s list.
posted by flarbuse at 6:27 AM on July 19 [9 favorites]


sotonohito: "I don't know what it is exactly, but some people seem to shut off the reasoning and thinking parts of their brains when dealing with computers."

It's not computers; people don't care about security/think security is stupid/don't realize the consequences of being lax with security. Place I work we've got access to certain private zones (store and work rooms) located in public areas controlled by combination locks. We also have dozens of workers with two way radios and base stations sprinkled around where the public can hear radio traffic (EG: at the counter of retail locations). At least once a month someone will make a plea for knowledge to a door code over the radio and if I don't _immediately_ respond with a strong demand to not announce it over the radio some "helpful" person will tell every person within earshot of a radio what the door code is.
posted by Mitheral at 6:30 AM on July 19 [24 favorites]


Exactly, sotonohito. Securing computer systems is difficult enough when you have the proper staffing and funding, and a management structure that actually understands and supports the effort. And, in my experience, you almost never have those things. Certainly not in a volunteer organization, nor in most organizations whose primary mission is non-technical.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:31 AM on July 19 [5 favorites]


Just to catch up with Trump's former campaign manager, yesterday Reuters reported that D.C. Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied Manafort's request to suppress evidence seized by the FBI from his home. So that's another legal challenge from his team that's failed.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:35 AM on July 19 [20 favorites]


I think the search for the mythical "rational Republican" can be called off: 79% of Republicans support Trump's handling of the press conference with Putin.
Americans are split on whether the allegations of Russian interference are a serious issue (50%) or a distraction (47%). This breaks cleanly along party lines, with 85 percent of Republicans seeing it as a distraction and 85 percent of Democrats seeing it as a serious issue. Among Independents, 56 percent see it as a serious issue.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 6:36 AM on July 19 [27 favorites]


Going forward I think it's possible to win even with that situation, but it'll be tougher.

Hmm. I think classically you’re supposed to turn your weakness into a strength, and change the terms of engagement.

If the Dems can’t secure anything against a hostile state actor and are powerless to get the Feds to do anything about it, then, well, you can’t do anything about it — so you lean into the transparency and make it a strength.

Lefty positions don’t have anything to hide. They are popular. Open your fucking doors and tell everyone everything if the alternative is to have things selectively leaked so they can tell outright lies about you. If there’s nothing to lose by being completely transparent, you go transparent, and change the conversation to the actual things you stand for.

Which for the left is a fucking win.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:39 AM on July 19 [47 favorites]


@KenDilanianNBC:
Former DNI James Clapper has now confirmed on the record what NBC News and others have reported: That the US has evidence of Putin’s direct involvement in US election interference. Clapper said that evidence was shown to Trump.
posted by chris24 at 6:39 AM on July 19 [93 favorites]


At this point, the sheer mass of collusiony cruft is getting so large it’s warping space-time. I can’t even keep track of the key parts, anymore, it’s metastasized so much.

1. The Trump Foundation is being run corruptly as a private money-laundering entity for the Trumps, and it looks like the DA in New York has pretty much an open-and-shut case.

2. There are obvious, blatantly unconstitutional emolument violations by Trump in his use and promotion of his properties.

3. There are credible reports that the Russians have kompromat on the Trumps, ranging from shady financial entanglements to a pornographic videotape involving the President.

4. The Russians hacked US voting machines, the DNC, and the Clinton campaign. They used WikiLeaks as a clearinghouse for the hacked information. The Russians funneled dark money to the GOP through the NRA. (Holy cow, just re-read that sentence!) They staged hundreds of impostor social media accounts to talk up Trump and the Republicans and to spread disinformation and sow discord among the Democrats. They used Facebook to microtarget US citizens for their campaign of deception and . Mitch McConnell refused to issue a joint statement with Obama that the Russians are trying to influence the elections even though he knew it was true.

5. The Trump campaign and admin actively sought this assistance from the Russians. They then bent over backward in a half-dozen key ways to favor the Russians after receiving all of the above assistance (lobbied successfully to change the RNC’s platform on the Ukraine, working to undermine NATO, providing cover for Putin’s despotism, etc.).

6. The President fired the Director of the FBI in order to try to shut down the investigation into all of the above, then bragged about this obstruction on TV, then bragged about it to Vladimir Putin, then bragged about that on TV, too.

7. There are a couple dozen people who have now been indicted for money laundering, obstruction, election tampering, and I don’t know what all else in this mess. In response, the Republicans, and Trump especially, are doing their best to discredit the country’s Department of Justice, and the FBI in particular.

And I’ve left out about a dozen other key points in all this, plus the Logan Act violations, the Hatch Act violations, the back-channel with the Russians, the nepotism, the loose treatment of critical national intel, the infantile name-calling, the bald-faced lying, lying, lying every time he gives a speech, the grotesquely racist and fascist deployment of ICE and travel bans and equivocation on White Supremacists, the corrupt/incompetent/willfully destructive Cabinet appointees, the quid pro quo all over the place.

And this doesn’t even get into the areas of just gross incompetence or negligence, such as starting a trade war with the rest of the world, nearly starting a nuclear war with North Korea, taking credit for NK stopping it’s nuclear program, taking credit for the Obama economic rebound, taking credit for saving businesses and industries that are still foundering, the painfully obvious ignorance about almost everything he talks about, the painfully obvious patronizing way he deflects when he doesn’t have an answer to a question, the painfully obvious ineptitude at deal-making which is supposed to be his one skill...it’s all too much!

It’s all too much. This feels like what it must have been like to live in Ancient Rome under one of its less savory emperors. I can’t even process it all in my mind anymore. At what point does this lunacy end and we get to go back to just being generally dissatisfied and disillusioned with our government?
posted by darkstar at 6:41 AM on July 19 [216 favorites]


There’s also the open question of whether Cambridge Analytica (and related Ventures backed by US billionaires) was an entirely parallel criminal enterprise, one that had some degree of contact with Russian efforts or was basically a different armcod the same thing (my bet).
posted by Artw at 6:48 AM on July 19 [14 favorites]


TL;DR: The Democratic Party is a nightmare from a security standpoint

I would generalize that to 'political parties are nightmares from a security standpoint' -- the GOP was also hacked in 2016, that we know of, and Trump's phone security seems like a disaster waiting to be revealed.

The only problem unique to the Democratic Party's security was being targeted by Russia -- most political groups are effectively secured through obscurity, and had the GOP been targeted in the same way that the DNC was targeted I imagine we'd have a very different 2016 election.

(Alternate hypothetical hot take: the GOP was targeted in the same way and that turned up usable blackmail instead of risotto recipes, so the play was to talk about it privately rather than release it publicly.)
posted by cjelli at 6:53 AM on July 19 [25 favorites]


The Oathkeepers are off to protest Maxine Waters today.

Maxine Waters has requested no counter-protest as they don't want the OKs baiting counter-protestors into justifying violence.


Don't counterprotest.

Take pictures, and use them to assemble a picture book of people who should be persona non grata in nearby restaurants.
posted by ocschwar at 6:59 AM on July 19 [62 favorites]


Mid-term election news:

Washington Post: House GOP Refuses to Renew Election Security Funding as Democrats Fume Over Russian Interference:
House Republicans plan to vote Thursday on a spending bill that excludes new money for election security grants to states, provoking a furious reaction from Democrats amid a national controversy over Russian election interference.

At issue is a grants program overseen by the federal Election Assistance Commission and aimed at helping states administer their elections and improve voting systems; Democrats want to continue grant funding through 2019, while Republicans say the program already has been fully funded.[...]

Sessions said Congress has fully funded election assistance grants that were created under the Help America Vote Act passed in the wake of the contested 2000 election. He said states still have money left from this year’s $380 million appropriation — and that lawmakers have not been made aware of any outstanding needs as the November midterm elections approach.
Politico: States Slow to Prepare for Hacking Threats—Most states aren’t planning to use federal funds to make major election upgrades before November.
Only 13 states said they intend to use the federal dollars to buy new voting machines. At least 22 said they have no plans to replace their machines before the election — including all five states that rely solely on paperless electronic voting devices, which cybersecurity experts consider a top vulnerability.

In addition, almost no states conduct robust, statistic-based post-election audits to look for evidence of tampering after the fact. And fewer than one-third of states and territories have requested a key type of security review from the Department of Homeland Security.

Almost none of the 40 states that responded to POLITICO provided full details of how they plan to spend their shares of the money.
People: Michelle Obama Launches Voter Registration Campaign with Tom Hanks and Lin-Manuel Miranda
Miranda has joined forces with former First Lady Michelle Obama and some other famous friends to launch a new voter registration nonprofit called When We All Vote.

When We All Vote aims to increase voter registration rates in all 50 states — hoping to make waves in a political landscape where registration rates are low. [...] When We All Vote is embracing a three-pronged strategy to achieve its registration and participation oriented goals: volunteer recruitment; improved voter registration processes; and increased conversation across the United States. This approach will involve recruiting on-the-ground people and organizations in all 50 states, and extensive social media and digital outreach.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:59 AM on July 19 [75 favorites]


Americans are split on whether the allegations of Russian interference are a serious issue (50%) or a distraction (47%). This breaks cleanly along party lines, with 85 percent of Republicans seeing it as a distraction and 85 percent of Democrats seeing it as a serious issue. Among Independents, 56 percent see it as a serious issue.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 6:36 AM on July 19 [+] [!]

To be fair, I know quite a few sane and rational people of different political views who think it is a distraction, mostly because they trust the system too much. Even to this day, their argument is it couldn't happen because the adults would have stopped it. I think it goes like this: society and government depends very strongly on social norms. You can't legislate your way out of everything. And the more involved you are in government (including reporting about government), the more those norms become a part of your identity and understanding of reality. You can't imagine that a US administration is as out of control as this one is, and imagining it is so much a danger to your entire existence that you will avoid it as long as possible.
posted by mumimor at 7:00 AM on July 19 [10 favorites]


From the previous thread:

This was a one on one meeting, with no set agenda

Two on two, translators on both sides. Trump's was Marina Gross, a State Dept translator.


Do we know who Putin’s translator was? And is someone monitoring this person’s well-being? I cannot imagine that given the number of Putin subordinates who seem to die suddenly, this can be a sought-after position.

On an entirely different level, consider the Donald’s word salad and trying to render that somehow faithfully for the most powerful man on the planet.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:01 AM on July 19 [4 favorites]


darkstar: 4. The Russians hacked US voting machines

Is this confirmed? I thought we didn't have evidence of this, partially because that kind of evidence is hard to find and because we just don't have a federal entity tasked with auditing these machines (because states run their own elections and we can't compel them on a Federal level to allow a Federal audit unless they request help.) But maybe I missed a news story? I know they accessed ~500k voter records but did they actually hack voting machines?
posted by bluecore at 7:01 AM on July 19 [6 favorites]


It’s all too much. This feels like what it must have been like to live in Ancient Rome under one of its less savory emperors.

I was having the same feeling this morning when I tried to go reference some of the Flynn and Kislyak details and got sucked back down a rabbit hole of stuff I already know but have half-forgotten already from disaster overload.

Like related to the Flynn stuff alone, there's Jared's role in the backchannel meetings and his recurring selective amnesia on his SF86, Yates' firing after she tried to warn the White House about Flynn, which then set the stage for Comey's firing and all that mess, and then Sessions' lies and subsequent recusal, which he hasn't even kept his word on btw. Oh and meanwhile Kislyak and his embassy buds were getting those fishy irregular six figure "payroll" payments that got the feds' attention after the election.

So many other scandals happening at the same time, and it all keeps growing and mutating. It can't end soon enough.
posted by p3t3 at 7:06 AM on July 19 [22 favorites]


I know they accessed ~500k voter records but did they actually hack voting machines?

Your understanding is correct; they are not known to have hacked voting machines. (However, I am nearly certain they wanted to; this is probably why Russia wanted to send "election observers". Any machine is vulnerable to physical access, but current voting machines fall to attackers with physical access particularly quickly.)
posted by Jpfed at 7:09 AM on July 19 [10 favorites]


Exactly, sotonohito. Securing computer systems is difficult enough when you have the proper staffing and funding, and a management structure that actually understands and supports the effort

Y'all did see that news story about ESS installing PC-Anywhere on their tabulation servers, "for support" purposes. It was totally a secret. No risk there.

And that's a "Best of Breed" solution, where they can't get it right.

When your opponent is up in your phone switch, there's nothing you can do to remedy that except go totally dark. Face to face in SCIFs
posted by mikelieman at 7:12 AM on July 19 [18 favorites]


RE: voting machines, I think you’re right. It’s reported that they hacked into state and local elections agencies, stole cituzens’ private data, and “breached an unidentified company that sells voter registration software and then posed as an employee of that company in “over 100” fake messages to election administrators in several Florida counties. Those emails contained malicious software embedded in Word documents.”

No reports of voting machines being hacked, however.
posted by darkstar at 7:24 AM on July 19 [3 favorites]


The uncertainty surrounding Moscow’s suggestion of some sort of new arrangement or proposal regarding Syria, in particular, was striking because Gen. Joseph Votel, who heads U.S. Central Command, is scheduled to brief reporters on Syria and other matters Thursday.

Marcy Wheeler (@emptywheel): Again, someone involved in RU attack told me 14 hours after polls closed of a move on Syria. This is payoff to Putin for election assistance.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:38 AM on July 19 [33 favorites]


chris24: Trump tweeted this January 7th, 2017. So the day after his top secret briefing on the Russian attack he was revealing/lying about the information from it to try to cover his ass.

@realDonaldTrump
Intelligence stated very strongly there was absolutely no evidence that hacking affected the election results. Voting machines not touched!


Note the very narrow focus: hacking voting machines. That leaves a whole lot of ground open for interaction, which we now know was the case. Also, he can say that he won the votes fair and square, so he doesn't have any "hanging chad" nonsense to lessen his win.

Except the Russian operations are in some ways worse than election tampering - they undermine US democracy, diplomacy and stoked partisan fights. We can patch and harden election systems, but the rest takes much more time and work to fix.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:44 AM on July 19 [11 favorites]


Going back anywhere from 8 to 14 years, I've seen alternative and paranormal podcasts (and their guests) that previously seemed independent start shilling anti-America / pro Russia propaganda.

The most blatant example of this type of propaganda ideas to go mainstream is InfoWars and Breitbart. The latest op I've noticed is this whole Qanon phenomenon (which is VERY dangerous at this point.)

I think using podcast content to surreptitiously shape opinions is/was very effective. It considerably muddied the waters in a few ways...

- Podcasts concerned with the paranormal rose up in the early aughts post 9-11. Very quickly paranormal content merged inextricably with conspiracy theory content, it was a very potent mix. There were a lot of unanswered questions in the aughts, it scratched an itch people had.

- My memory is FLOODED with specific examples here. Long story short, in each case a guest or host would take something based in fact, and then twist the fact to twist the audience towards a specific outcome. The government (or factions within the gov't) do occasionally lie, we know this. Those occassions were/are exploited on alternative podcasts to push specific narratives.

An example is Pizzagate. Human trafficking and pedo crimes are rampant and it IS horrifying. Pizzagate came out of hacked (and likely doctored) emails, tho, and in any case sex crimes are not limited to one party or another...

...And even the attitude that in America we are only either for one of two political "teams" is a manufactured choice presented repeatedly as fact by BOTH mainstream and alternative media. (The way we have been polarized against each other, therefore preventing us from working together, is CRAZY.)

Another key example of this phenomenon are the complaints about the Clinton Foundation and HRC's integrity, which created just enough wiggle room for election hacking in certain states to slide by largely unchallenged in 2016. We know it worked because Trump was sworn into office.

The (sometimes valid, sometimes not) criticism of HRC and other powerful establishment Democrats has dramatically shifted public perceptions to this day, currently it has paved the way for what I dub the "Qanon Op." The Qanon op and the public movement it is creating domestically and abroad is highly toxic. It is designed to create an actual civil war within America, IMHO.

(Please research Qanon on your own, I can't bring myself to provide links. In essence, supposedly rogue factions within the US govt are posting insider info on Reddit or 4chan, thus proving Trump is fighting the deep state. In fact, it's very obviously a propaganda arm of the folks behind the Trump administration. Anyone can prove this to themselves by reading actual policy the Trump admin is pursuing and enacting. The breadcrumbs Qanon drops make for very exciting cliffhanger-type experiences, I know. But it's the propaganda arm of a public criminal operation. Right now it primarily seeks to shape public perception of indictments and guilty pleas from the Mueller Investigation. We should be calling it the "Election Investigation" or the "Trump Investigation" since that's what's being investigated - but whatever. The name of the special investigation is just another point where the media helped frame public opinion in a way unhelpful to the public *sigh*

Where was I? Right. Look into Qanon yourself. Watch how long it takes spin from what's being pushed via Qanon to show up in mainstream media and polls of public attitudes. Have a drink ready.)

Other similar ops being perpetrated I've noticed recently include...

- The ballot initiative in California to split it into 3 separate states as a gambit to cripple CA's political and practical resistance to foreign and domestic anti-democratic forces (read: global organized crime.) That said, we have so much money laundering going on here in CA between tech startups, the entertainment industry, and building booms that CA local governments are already super heavily compromised. The folks that already operate undercover now want to come out into the open. They feel emboldened. CA has electronic ballot counting. Should be interesting to watch this November...

------

Sorry if this all seems unrelated. I've been watching it all unfold since at least 2004, it's really fascinating (and frightening) how some weird anomalies from 14 years ago are now fitting into the larger picture. Some people worked very patiently over a very long period of time to convince the American public (and other countries, too - we see you Brexit!!) across different demographics and different generations (baby boomers, gen x, millennials) that democracy doesn't work and corruption is insurmountable.

-----

In fact democracy does work, the corruption IS surmountable, and we have not yet entirely lost the rule of law or our minds. We don't have to accept widespread corruption. We don't have to accept the veneer of social justice at home while our country drops bombs on innocents overseas. We can embrace diplomacy, the rule of just laws, and fair economic policies.

Tell everyone you know to be involved, be a voter this November. Do research and support grassroots candidates. Urge folks you know to put the same effort in.
posted by jbenben at 7:46 AM on July 19 [39 favorites]


Well, at least now the Republicans want to get to the bottom of things and make absolutely clear what happened behind closed doors at the Putin mee-

Sorry, receiving new information...

Ah, okay, they blocked a motion to subpoena the only American witness to that meeting, the translator.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 7:46 AM on July 19 [66 favorites]




While "US Person 1" (Erickson) has gotten a lot of press in the Butina saga, "US Person 2" has received much less attention. This is someone who (according to the affadavit accompanying the criminal complaint) emailed with Butina and Erickson in March 2016 to set up "friendship and dialogue" dinners in DC and NYC, where (Paragraphs 27-28):
BUTINA told US Person 2 that [Aleksander Torshin] expressed to her that he was "very much impressed by you and expresses his great appreciation for what you are doing to restore relations between the two countries" ... and that a representative of the Russian Presidential administration had expressed approval for "building this communication channel." BUTINA additionally assured US Person 2 that he should not worry as "all that we need is yes from Putin's side. The rest is easier."
The affadavit says some of the "friendship and dialogue" dinners "are believed to have taken place in the District of Columbia", but when (in Twitter DMs, Paragraphs 32-33) Torshin asks Butina in early-October 2016 about how the "Russia-USA friendship society" was going, she replies
"It's not alive. We are currently 'underground' both here and there. Now, private clubs and quite [sic] influence on people making decisions is the trend. No publicity."

More revealing is Butina's email to "US Person 2" on February 8, 2017, where she thanks him for a recent dinner (Paragraph 48):
"Our delegation cannot stop chatting about your wonderful dinner. My dearest President has received 'the message' about your group initiatives and your constructive and kind attention to the Russians."
It seems very likely that she is referring to the US-Russian dinner hosted by George O'Neill Jr. on February 1, 2017, on the eve of the National Prayer Breakfast (with Torshin, Butina, Rohrbacher, and others in attendance).

Thus, it seems likely that "US Person 2" is George O'Neill Jr.

The complaint against Butina makes O'Neill's April 2017 defense of the dinner quite amusing
...the suggestion that American conservatives might be susceptible to manipulation by foreign officials certainly betrayed a lack of understanding about those American conservatives who have not signed up for membership in good standing among the neoconservatives...
This timeline by Ladd Everitt is one of the first places I saw to make the O'Neill connection.
posted by pjenks at 7:50 AM on July 19 [17 favorites]


"Sorry, receiving new information...

Ah, okay, they blocked a motion to subpoena the only American witness to that meeting, the translator."


Yes. Of course they did. Current elected officials in the Senate and House are highly compromised. I don't think the American public will accept it, though. We're too curious at this point and we want to know what happened in that meeting.

I guess we'll see.
posted by jbenben at 7:52 AM on July 19 [12 favorites]


About that Schindler tweet: as soon as she was arrested and the affidavit came out, the first thing I wondered was if any of the involved GOPers had slept with her. If that’s the case, these guys truly are idiots. You have a friendly lady who makes no secret that she’s working with Russians in high places, and then you get in bed with her? Well, then you’re getting fucked in more ways than one. This is basic spycraft. She’s not doing this because she likes you, she’s doing this for the kompromat. She, and her collaborators, now are able to absolutely ruin you and sooner or later they’ll be sure to remind you of that. Dance, monkey, dance.
posted by azpenguin at 7:56 AM on July 19 [34 favorites]


Ah, okay, they blocked a motion to subpoena the only American witness to that meeting, the translator.
This is again one of the norm-breaking things that makes it so difficult to deal with Trump. Yes, we all know he is a liar, but if it becomes acceptable to call in translators as witnesses, it will practically end high-stakes diplomacy. Just think of the Republican resistance to the Iran deal, if it had been acceptable to subpoena the translators then, it could have ended in all sorts of madness, and certainly no deal.
It could perhaps be done after Trump has been successfully impeached, so they could point to the unusual case of a criminal president. But I think even quite a few Democrats will hesitate before that.
posted by mumimor at 7:56 AM on July 19 [15 favorites]


Please research Qanon on your own, I can't bring myself to provide links.

ReplyAll has a very good podcast episode about this. It's called The QAnon Code. They put it out right after Rosanne got fired, because she's a QAnon believer and her ~fateful tweet~ was a reference to a QAnon trope.
posted by rue72 at 8:06 AM on July 19 [12 favorites]


This is again one of the norm-breaking things that makes it so difficult to deal with Trump.

I agree, but honestly I feel like this is already a case of "stop the patient from bleeding out before worrying about the chronic arthritis."
posted by Behemoth at 8:07 AM on July 19 [8 favorites]


Pizzagate came out of hacked (and likely doctored) emails, tho, and in any case sex crimes are not limited to one party or another...

Pizzagate came out of applying 4chan slang to Podesta's emails. Child pornography, shortened to "cp" is referred to as "cheese pizza" and if you extrapolate from that to Podesta's emails then yeah, it looks like Democrats are running a child sex ring. It's basically apophenia on a massive scale.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:07 AM on July 19 [15 favorites]


escape from the potato planet: Hacking a well secured system is hard. But creating a well secured system is also hard – such that many managers decide that it isn't worth the trouble. And tricking people into unlocking the door for you is easy.

Anecdote: a local political party office is looking to "borrow a computer" until November. That doesn't sound like they'd reformat it and have someone with a half-decent IT background harden it at all, but rather that they'll trust someone to give them a computer that isn't already malware-ridden. People are still way too trusting. Now I want to get involved just to have more confidence in the local office.


Why Did Russia Attack The 2016 Election? This Week's Whirlwind Offers New Clues (NPR, July 19, 2018)
A pyrotechnic week of geopolitical intrigue has yielded new clarity about the whys and wherefores of the Russia imbroglio, including one insight straight from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Why did Putin order the campaign of active measures that have been directed against the United States and the West since before the 2016 election?

There appear to be many reasons, but A pyrotechnic week of geopolitical intrigue has yielded new clarity about the whys and wherefores of the Russia imbroglio, including one insight straight from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Why did Putin order the campaign of active measures that have been directed against the United States and the West since before the 2016 election?

There appear to be many reasons, but the latest one to break through may be how strongly Putin feels the United States had been waging such a campaign against him and Russia.
I was ready to get shouty about NPR, but this new bit is interesting, and jives with the optimistic take from former Obama-era State Department and Defense Department official Ilan Goldenberg (@ilangoldenberg) posted by Doktor Zed upthread.

Republicans Force Democrats To Go On Record Over Immigration Agency (NPR, July 19, 2018)
[Photo caption] People hold up signs July 16 in Washington, D.C., as they protest ICE. Getting rid of the agency has become a popular rallying cry among progressives, but the House on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a symbolic measure voicing support for ICE.

House Republicans claimed a political victory Wednesday after the House voted 244-35 in favor of officially supporting the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, a vote intended to force Democrats to take a position amid calls from progressives to abolish the agency.

But Democrats largely avoided taking any position at all. Instead, they tried to refocus the immigration debate away from ICE and toward the ongoing controversy over President Trump's policies for handling asylum claims and the separation of families at the southern U.S. border.

The split is the latest evidence that immigration has become one of the biggest and most intensely partisan issues of the 2018 midterm elections.
The structure of this article is so very confusing. Did the GOP score a win because they forced the Dems to get squirly about abolishing ICE, counter to this being a rallying cry from the (liberal) public and 19 top ICE investigators, who asked DHS officials to split up the agency because they don’t want to be linked to Trump’s immigration policies (Vox, June 29, 2018)
The investigators, who work for ICE Homeland Security Investigations, sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen last week, asking her to split their division from the agency’s immigration enforcement arm, which has been the target of public backlash over the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

Their request, which was first reported by the Texas Observer, stems from a widespread misunderstanding about the work that ICE investigators do. Special agents with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) do not investigate immigration infractions or handle deportations —that falls to ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).

ICE investigators instead build criminal cases against international drug smuggling operations, sex trafficking rings, and cross-border gangs (like MS-13). That involves a lot of collaboration with local police, and ICE investigators say their association with the controversial immigration enforcement mission is making it hard for them to do their jobs.
Or was it a win for the GOP because they got to be on the side of good for once? And isn't a large part of the disdain and downright hatred for ICE due to inhumane treatment of asylum seekers? More from NPR:
Republicans were clear from the start that they wanted to vote on the nonbinding resolution to support ICE as a political exercise. Republicans want to demonstrate that all Democrats are being pushed to the left by progressives, like Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., on ICE.
Oh no, not the briar patch! Don't make Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris our progressive leaders!
Republicans named Harris and Warren during debate on the floor. Warren has said ICE should be replaced with "something that reflects our morality and that works." Harris has said ICE needs to be examined and lawmakers should "probably think about starting from scratch."
Those ideas sound terrible! So, so ... humane!

Why is InfoWars allowed on Facebook? Zuckerberg: Because it doesn’t cause “harm” (Cyrus Farivar for Ars Technica, July 18, 2018)
In a Wednesday interview with Recode's Kara Swisher, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook draws a distinction between information that is objectively false and words that are meant to incite physical violence or "attack individuals" verbally.

"There are really two core principles at play here," he said. "There's giving people a voice, so that people can express their opinions. Then there’s keeping the community safe, which I think is really important. We're not gonna let people plan violence or attack each other or do bad things. Within this, those principles have real trade-offs and real tug on each other. In this case, we feel like our responsibility is to prevent hoaxes from going viral and being widely distributed."

Zuckerberg went on to explain that Facebook would examine sites that were flagged as "potential hoaxes"—in other words, limiting their spread across the site.

"Look, as abhorrent as some of this content can be, I do think that it gets down to this principle of giving people a voice," he continued.

"Even if it's a hoax?" Swisher continued.

"Yeah," Zuckerberg said. "I mean, at some level, it's hard to always have a clear line between... I'm not defending any specific content here. I think a lot of the content that's at play is terrible. I think when you get into discussions around free speech, you're often talking at the margins of content that is terrible and what should... but defending people's right to say things even if they can be bad."

He added that Facebook is "moving toward the policy of misinformation that is aimed at or going to induce violence, we are going to take down because that's basically... The principles that we have on what we remove from the service are, if it’s going to result in real harm, real physical harm, or if you’re attacking individuals, then that content shouldn't be on the platform. There’s a lot of categories of that that we can get into, but then there's broad debate."
Now your response to the useless "Is Facebook Good for the World?" poll (Forbes, June 16, 2018) can be a resounding "no, it intentionally fosters hoaxes and misinformation, which is how we got Donald Trump as president, which lead to increased corruption, hatred and actual, physical harm."
posted by filthy light thief at 8:10 AM on July 19 [24 favorites]


According to the Sunlight Foundation
"The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights has altered messaging on its website related to Section 1557, the provision of the Affordable Care Act prohibiting discrimination, including sex discrimination. Advocates and experts say the changes to informational webpages about Section 1557, detailed in the latest Web Integrity Project report, could foreshadow a shift in policy regarding the prohibition of sex discrimination as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) prepares to release new regulations as soon as this month. "

FROM RAW STORY: "Jeff Sharlet is a researcher and author on the GOP’s “C” Street house in Washington, DC and The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.

"Sharlet explained that the cozy relationship between Christian conservatives and Russians stems from the conservatism in Russia, mainly Putin’s crusade against LGBT people and revival of the Russian Orthodox Church.

“The Fellowship, that organizes the National Prayer Breakfast, particularly admire him because they’re theology, their religious view, is built around their understanding of Jesus, the strong man. They believe Christianity gets it wrong when speaking to every day people. They’re called to administer to elites like Trump and Putin, who can bring peace together. That’s their vision. That’s what they created the prayer breakfast for.”


Trump + his GOP enablers are trying to establish a Christo-Fascist Theocracy, and ladies it's going to be up to us to stop it. #RESIST #VOTETHEMOUT #TREASONSUMMIT #IMPEACH #TRE45ON (emphasis mine)
posted by pjsky at 8:13 AM on July 19 [22 favorites]


Why did Putin order the campaign of active measures that have been directed against the United States and the West since before the 2016 election?

pretty sure he's still sore about dubya's "pooty-poot" nickname
posted by entropicamericana at 8:13 AM on July 19


>Ah, okay, they blocked a motion to subpoena the only American witness to that meeting, the translator.

This is again one of the norm-breaking things that makes it so difficult to deal with Trump. Yes, we all know he is a liar, but if it becomes acceptable to call in translators as witnesses, it will practically end high-stakes diplomacy. Just think of the Republican resistance to the Iran deal, if it had been acceptable to subpoena the translators then, it could have ended in all sorts of madness, and certainly no deal.


Respectfully, I don't think that's true -- there's generally no need to subpoena a translator because you could just subpoena one of the many, many, many other people involved in the meeting(s) instead; the only reason the translator matters here is because Trump broke norms by holding a one-on-one (two-on-two) meeting in private with no transcription that had no stated goal and therefore no preparatory meetings. That's highly unusual, and not how the Iran deal was negotiated -- there's an extensive paper trail for the Iran deal, there were dozens of people involved at all stages of the work, there was press coverage of practically every step. There's no really a need to subpoena the translators, there, because you could just subpoena the negotiators, or demand documentation or or or.

I think subpoenaing the translator would be a good thing, because the White House -- both here and in the JCPOA negotiations -- could probably rightfully assert executive privilege, and then we could actually test that assertion and see if it holds up in this specific case, rather than assuming that it does or doesn't. I (not a lawyer) would make a common-sense argument that when the Executive takes actions to hide its own activities from Congress and the public and from its own internal oversight bodies, there's a higher bar to clear in showing that privilege should apply -- I think there's a reasonable take that says asking the translator to testify should happen because Congress needs to know and the Executive branch needs to know and the public needs to know what the fuck the president actually said, and that outweighs the executive's need for privacy to conduct government; while also holding that translators, in 99.99% of cases, should be protected from testifying because that information could be obtained other ways without compromising negotiations.
posted by cjelli at 8:13 AM on July 19 [39 favorites]


The thing that really freaks me out about PizzaGate and QAnon is the seemingly non sequitur focus on "pedophile rings" and child pornography, coupled with the ease with which a hacker with access to someone's systems could plant child porn on them and call in a tip. It feels like these true believers are being primed for something.
posted by contraption at 8:13 AM on July 19 [15 favorites]


"Pizzagate came out of applying 4chan slang to Podesta's emails. Child pornography, shortened to "cp" is referred to as "cheese pizza" and if you extrapolate from that to Podesta's emails then yeah, it looks like Democrats are running a child sex ring. "



This is only partially correct (you have to believe everything on 4chan is independent and organic, which I promise you it is not) and either way I am describing how these pieces have been linked together and used to shape opinions and create political movements.
posted by jbenben at 8:17 AM on July 19


Buzzfeed just did a big bit on Lane Davis, AKA Seattle4Truth, the gamergater turned alt right conspiracy theorist who murdered his dad and who was of course obsessed with secret pedophile rings and did everything he could to spread that shit.
posted by Artw at 8:19 AM on July 19 [10 favorites]


Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media. I look forward to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed, including stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear........

6:24 AM - 19 Jul 2018
Is the president (again) calling the free press the enemy of the people? MUST BE THURSDAY!

Just saying, if HRC had called free press the enemy of the people Congressional Republicans would shut the fucking entirety of society down until she was impeached.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:21 AM on July 19 [42 favorites]


The thing that really freaks me out about PizzaGate and QAnon is the seemingly non sequitur focus on "pedophile rings" and child pornography, coupled with the ease with which a hacker with access to someone's systems could plant child porn on them and call in a tip. It feels like these true believers are being primed for something.

They are. I can’t find it at the moment bc I’m on mobile, but there was a NYT or WP article on exactly this — framing dissidents by planting child pornography on their computers is a well known Kremlin tactic.

The article I remember focused on a dissident who’d fled to London, was raided for CP on a tip, and who has the forensic analysis to show it was planted. More frightening was the fact that this was like...a known thing.

Putin and the FSB absolutely do this. And at this point it won’t matter if you can prove it’s fake, because the crazies want to believe.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:23 AM on July 19 [33 favorites]


Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media. I look forward to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed, including stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear........


The next half of that tweet is also weird:
....proliferation, cyber attacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more. There are many answers, some easy and some hard, to these problems...but they can ALL be solved!
The President discussed 'Ukraine' with Putin. We don't know what was discussed, but we're already planning a second meeting to 'start implementing' ...something? Cool. Glad we cleared that up.
posted by cjelli at 8:26 AM on July 19 [16 favorites]


the Russian operations are in some ways worse than election tampering

The Republicans already stole an election back in 2000, presumably without Russian help. I'm still not convinced that propaganda works on people who aren't already susceptible, but I guess I've always also had a gag reflex to advertising in general.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:26 AM on July 19 [9 favorites]


Note the very narrow focus: hacking voting machines. That leaves a whole lot of ground open for interaction, which we now know was the case. Also, he can say that he won the votes fair and square, so he doesn't have any "hanging chad" nonsense to lessen his win.

Consider this attack, consistent with the indictment of GRU officers working on orders from the Kremlin.

Attack the election rolls by (1) compromising the software used to validate them and (2) phishing/malware/rootkits on the Board of Elections computers and just purging records.

Then, on election day, all these people show up to vote, and...
Poll worker: You're not here.

Voter: I should be.

Poll worker: Well me and another poll worker ( to enforce fairness ) will now go through a 20 minute long Provisional Ballot process.
Repeat.

How many voters bailed out without voting, due to the long lines?

The number of people whose records need to be tampered with, to eliminate 80,000 potential voters, who can't deal with a 3-4 hour of wait to offset the 80k or so votes that swayed the Electoral College is left as an exercise to the reader.
posted by mikelieman at 8:28 AM on July 19 [51 favorites]


The President discussed 'Ukraine' with Putin. We don't know what was discussed, but we're already planning a second meeting to 'start implementing' ...something? Cool. Glad we cleared that up.

Well we won't know anytime soon because the Republicans on the HPSCI voted in lockstep to quash Adam Schiff's subpoena of Marina Gross.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:29 AM on July 19 [6 favorites]


cjelli, I think we agree about this, I had written a much longer post taking into consideration that the first broken norm is the proposition of a meeting without any aids present. But then I thought of how the Republicans have been acting in bad faith at least since the Clinton administration. Trump isn't the beginning of this at all. He is more extreme, but he is the tip of a huge iceberg of Republican norm-breaking and probably corruption.
posted by mumimor at 8:29 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


Mueller Just Released This List of 500 Pieces of Evidence Against Manafort

2A - 2E are immunity orders for witnesses A-E, which I don't recall hearing that Mueller had prevailed on.
posted by mikelieman at 8:35 AM on July 19 [4 favorites]


I would wager my entire life's savings that Claire McCaskill didn't vote yes on this House measure.

....uh, right, that was the wrong legislative body. :facepalm:

I'm having second thoughts about quitting caffeine.
posted by Foosnark at 8:36 AM on July 19 [7 favorites]


Even after the horrors of the past 18 months I'm still struggling to wrap my head around the likelihood, given last night's NYT story and the sudden treason arrests/executions of highly placed Russian officials in 2017, that the president(-elect, depending on timing) straight up spied for another government, obtaining inside information on U.S. informants within Russia, and then handing that data over to Putin so he could plug the leaks. Even coming after his display of fealty in Helsinki it's something different to consider that the entire time this lunatic has been in power, he's been guilty of a capital crime.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:38 AM on July 19 [56 favorites]


there was a NYT or WP article on exactly this — framing dissidents by planting child pornography

perhaps this Dec. 9, 2016 NYT piece by Andrew Higgins, "Foes of Russia Say Child Pornography is Planted to Ruin Them"
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:39 AM on July 19 [6 favorites]


Other similar ops being perpetrated I've noticed recently include ...

Big question I've been banging on about for years is—who paid for the Birthers? Orly Taitz, a rich—in upper-middle class terms—but not fabulously wealthy woman, spent several years flying around the country hosting seminars and filing complaints. And she wasn't the only one! At the time I liked to joke about her being a Russian agent. Now ... I'm not so sure. And did Trump latch on to that nonsense instinctively or was it something else? I honestly don't know, but the possibilities seem much different than they did 5 years ago.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:42 AM on July 19 [30 favorites]


I see a ton of spin, promoted by conservative groups like FAIR and RT pushing the usual narrative but it really seems dishonest to characterize the actual NPR story at https://www.npr.org/2018/06/20/621726963/conservatives-and-liberals-both-take-to-rt as a smear. It’s simply a statement of fact that being promoted by Russian state media raises the question of whether they’re using you to promote their agenda. I realize that that makes people like Changa defensive but that doesn’t make a legitimate cause for concern into a smear.

This reminds me of the Reason crowd using the strategy of pointing out small mistakes, even grammar, as a cause for discrediting an entire argument. Even if the mistake is true it is often completely irrelevant to the larger point. But the goal of this strategy is not to give a logical reason for rejecting an argument. It is to provide a convenient excuse to people already emotionally wanting to reject an argument.

The other value in providing a bit of both-siderism and 'broken window' style arguments is that it effectively innoculates the readers against subsequent larger reasonable claims. When RT throws out these little doses of informational small pox that seemingly go against their own well being they are actually rendering their audience immune to the much larger arguments against them and providing themselves with fig leaves for when they accused of naked bias.
posted by srboisvert at 8:44 AM on July 19 [7 favorites]


Big question I've been banging on about for years is—who paid for the Birthers? [...]

posted by octobersurprise at 8:42 AM on July 19


Epony...hopeful?
posted by bcd at 8:45 AM on July 19 [7 favorites]


Look into Qanon yourself. Watch how long it takes spin from what's being pushed via Qanon to show up in mainstream media and polls of public attitudes. Have a drink ready.)
posted by jbenben at 9:46 AM on July 19


I suspect this might be because the Qanon/Great Awakening crowd is much bigger than most people think.

The first I heard of it was the Reply All podcast. I thought it was pretty bonkers, but assumed it was an internet-only weird 4chan thing with no real traction outside of shut-in conspiracy theorist types. But when I brought it up at water cooler talk at work (academia, small college town), every single person there was familiar with it. Everyone had an "aha" moment - they also thought it was an isolated idea from their crazy brother/mother/friend. One person said that their parents asked them to set up a Chromecast for them solely so they could more comfortably watch Qanon-focused youtube channels on their TV instead of on their phone. This was repeated by another person who had the same request. Basically everyone knew at least one person deeply and loudly into the "Great Awakening", and there's no telling how many quietly follow it.
posted by FakeFreyja at 8:48 AM on July 19 [26 favorites]


It was old news by the time it showed up on the Reply All podcast.

I'm trying to tell you about something I've been watching develop behind the scenes since 2004 across multiple related platforms.
posted by jbenben at 8:53 AM on July 19 [6 favorites]


wat
Robert Mueller just submitted his list of evidence for the Paul Manafort trial and look whose name is all over the first 30 items.
Tad Devine.
Bernie Sanders' Chief Strategist.

Ex. No. 18 - 2014-06.14 Email T. Devine to K. Kilimnik, R. Gates, et al re Ukraine Trip
Ex. No. 19 - 2014.06.19 Email T. Devine to K. Kilimnik re Can u resend the talking points
posted by Brainy at 8:54 AM on July 19 [78 favorites]


The Bernie Sanders campaign, yep. Also Jill Stein.
posted by jbenben at 8:55 AM on July 19 [11 favorites]


> Ex. No. 18 - 2014-06.14 Email T. Devine to K. Kilimnik, R. Gates, et al re Ukraine Trip
Ex. No. 19 - 2014.06.19 Email T. Devine to K. Kilimnik re Can u resend the talking points


I move to suspend the rules on relitigating the 2016 primaries.

(ETA: Not joking.)
posted by tonycpsu at 8:56 AM on July 19 [87 favorites]


The number of people whose records need to be tampered with, to eliminate 80,000 potential voters, who can't deal with a 3-4 hour of wait to offset the 80k or so votes that swayed the Electoral College is left as an exercise to the reader.

Indeed. If we're speculating about barriers to entry, we also have no way of knowing how much e.g. undermining the VRA affected turnout.

There's Ivans popping out of the woodwork, but if McConnell et al hadn't been perfectly willing to disenfranchise Americans on their own, it wouldn't have mattered as much.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:56 AM on July 19 [10 favorites]


So Trump is back to calling journalists "the enemy of the people" again, huh? It was three weeks ago today that a man walked into the paper I once worked for and shot and killed five people, including two former colleagues, one of them a friend I worked closely with. Hell, the last of the funerals was just a week ago.

The other day the editor of the paper, my old boss, Rick, wrote a column addressed to Trump, at one point saying, "Look, you and I both know you were not responsible for this."

I like Rick an awful lot, he's a good guy, but I'm not ready to go there. Assuming facts not in evidence, a lawyer might say. The shooter's defamation case against the paper ended in 2015. Why go shoot up the place now? Sorry, I think the president of the United States calling reporters the enemy, over and over and over again, might just have something to do with it, might have given him the idea or legitimized thoughts he had been reluctant to act upon. And I think it might just come out at trial. So let's not give Trump the benefit of the doubt just yet.

(To be fair, Rick later wrote, "I had to stop myself from wondering if your rhetoric was the feather’s weight of hate that tipped the gunman into a fit of homicidal rage." So maybe he's just more charitable than I am.)

Sorry to be sounding off so far after the events. I left for a long-planned vacation the day after the shooting, and was largely off the grid camping for two weeks, No news, no MeFi (!), nothing. Got back Sunday night. I'd hoped that when I came back this "enemy of the people" stuff would be gone. Damn. I'd say its time to pack for another two weeks' excursion but it'll still be the same when we get back.

So... I know we all have a lot to be angry about, be it detaining children and separating families, handing over the keys to to the country to Putin, and so much more -- but let's not forget that Trump is *still* inciting hatred and violence against reporters, who, though flawed and imperfect, are largely fighting the good fight here.
posted by martin q blank at 8:57 AM on July 19 [82 favorites]


Another user in that Twitter thread notes that Devine worked for Manafort Davis prior to joining the Sanders campaign, so that they have a connection isn't a bombshell in and of itself. (Also he worked on Democratic campaigns before the Manafort job, so it's not a matter of a career GOP or Russian operative crossing over to work for Sanders)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:59 AM on July 19 [17 favorites]


Robert Mueller just submitted his list of evidence for the Paul Manafort trial and look whose name is all over the first 30 items.
Tad Devine.


Not really a surprise given what we already knew about Devine, but I wouldn't have expected a direct link from Devine to Manafort's crimes like those emails suggest.
posted by stopgap at 9:00 AM on July 19 [4 favorites]


[Motion denied.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:04 AM on July 19 [113 favorites]


If the investigation leads into the political left the community must be allowed to discuss it, or become just another echo chamber.
posted by Rumple at 9:10 AM on July 19 [4 favorites]


If that happens, then yes. It hasn't yet.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:11 AM on July 19 [9 favorites]


If that happens, then yes. It hasn't yet.

And it doesn't have to relitigate the primaries since it didn't affect the result.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:12 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


It would not surprise me at all for a number of Dem operatives to get uncovered as being up to their neck in this
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:13 AM on July 19 [5 favorites]


Do we know who Putin’s translator was? And is someone monitoring this person’s well-being? I cannot imagine that given the number of Putin subordinates who seem to die suddenly, this can be a sought-after position.

If you, as a Russian translator, rise to the level of serving Putin, you know what you need to remember and what you need to forget about meetings like these. And this would not have been your first such meeting.

On an entirely different level, consider the Donald’s word salad and trying to render that somehow faithfully for the most powerful man on the planet.

Putin knows all about Trump's ways of blathering, bluffing and going off-subject; he's a KGB operative who speaks English, German and Swedish, and it is just normal operational spycraft for him to know the mannerisms and speech patterns of someone he's dealing with, including detecting any deviations. He probably needs a 'translator' only as a second source for their side of the meeting, and they may well have a covert signal for "I know what he's saying, just make it appear to Trump's translator that you're doing your best".
posted by Stoneshop at 9:14 AM on July 19 [15 favorites]


I was discussing the Pizzagate thing with friends over the weekend and what really throws me off is that these guys want to storm a pizza place with assault rifles looking for children, based on absolutely no evidence, when in actuality the work has already been done for them and they’re going after the totally wrong place. Jeffrey Epstein has already been convincted, and the flight logs for his private jet where he regularly had underaged girls flying on it includes names like Donald J. Trump and Bill Clinton, so it’s not like anybody needs to go far to find the pedophiles. If I were them, I’d be demanding to know what Donald Trump and Bill Clinton were doing flying on a private jet with a bunch of 14-year-old girls multiple times.
posted by gucci mane at 9:15 AM on July 19 [27 favorites]


I suspect this might be because the Qanon/Great Awakening crowd is much bigger than most people think.

Yup. There's billboards. It's big.

I continue to be unsure as to whether QAnon is a random basement-dwelling Pepe, a Russian disinfo op, a US intelligence disinfo op, or some combination of the three. The goal's pretty clear, however, and it's terrifying.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:18 AM on July 19 [15 favorites]


CSPAN @cspan
Sen. @RandPaul: "Trump derangement syndrome has officially come to the Senate. The hatred for the President is so intense that partisans would rather risk war than give diplomacy a chance."

9:02 AM - 19 Jul 2018
Wow, I totally did not see that one coming.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:20 AM on July 19 [15 favorites]


2A - 2E are immunity orders for witnesses A-E, which I don't recall hearing that Mueller had prevailed on.

AFAICT immunity orders are entirely non-discretionary: "the United States district court . . . shall issue . . . upon the request of the United States attorney for such district, an order requiring such individual to give testimony . . . which he refuses to give or provide on the basis of his privilege against self-incrimination".

The actual motions for immunity orders have been filed under seal (case docket), but the motion to seal them was filed publicly, which is what yesterday's press coverage was about.
posted by shenderson at 9:20 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]


Wait. I thought the thread title was a backhand reference to the very recent death of author John Stormer, who wrote, of course, None Dare Call It Treason. Did I miss a reference somewhere? This timeline is absurd.
posted by young_simba at 9:21 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


The hatred for the President is so intense that partisans would rather risk war than give diplomacy a chance.

Unlike Iran, no one is threatening to go to war with Russia.
posted by Slothrup at 9:22 AM on July 19 [3 favorites]


Ray Walston, Luck Dragon: It would not surprise me at all for a number of Dem operatives to get uncovered as being up to their neck in this

I've been waiting for that myself -- not talking about Sanders in particular, just various elected Democrats. Why wouldn't Russia try playing both sides, at least a little? Vulnerability to Russian influence coincides almost, but not entirely, with the Republican Party. It was specifically Hillary Clinton and her circle that Putin feared; she was his reason for ordering hacks/attacks on other Democrats. And he (or some other oligarch) disliked Mitt Romney enough to persuade the Trump team to not make him Secretary of State. Not that Romney is some kind of stalwart anti-Kremlinite now, of course.

I just hope that any Dem-compromising was limited to low-level stabs in the dark, and that (to the extent it exists) Dem reluctance to really pull out all the stops on Trump is for conventional political reasons and not anything more sinister. To be clear: by and large I'm proud of the party! Just ruminating.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:23 AM on July 19 [9 favorites]


Why wouldn't Russia try playing both sides, at least a little?

Well we know he's got his fingers in the Stein campaign and she functioned only as a spoiler candidate in crucial states. It's all a cumulative effect.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:24 AM on July 19 [11 favorites]


It would not surprise me at all for a number of Dem operatives to get uncovered as being up to their neck in this

I've been waiting to see when we'd find out who they are and how deep it goes, rather than if--we knew a long time ago that Jill Stein was compromised, and it says pretty clearly, right in Dugin's Foundations of Geopolitics, that Russia should "use its special services within the borders of the United States to fuel instability and separatism, for instance, provoke 'Afro-American racists'." Russia should also:
[I]ntroduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements – extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics.
Any application of these strategies would involve playing both sides internally, against themselves, as well as fighting political opponents in the other party. Prepare yourselves for more revelations along these lines.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:25 AM on July 19 [22 favorites]


Ok it is kind of ridiculous that we have to walk on eggshells about this when there’s only one vector from the left that could have hurt the Clinton campaign in 2016. It wouldn’t be “Dems” in general that Putin targeted.

And these wounds won’t heal if we don’t acknowledge that they exist.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:26 AM on July 19 [18 favorites]


Those Devine-Manafort email subjects looked really bad until I noticed the dates on them — January ads and an election discussed in 2010, talking points in 2014. It’s not a great look by any means, but it’s also not a slam dunk Bernie-and-Trump-were-coordinating-behind-the-scenes sort of thing, either.
posted by Andrhia at 9:27 AM on July 19 [7 favorites]


The RNC and NRA doing a season of the Bachelorette with a Russian spy is a little too on point with the current era. Also fucking hilarious in a we're all going to die kind of way.
posted by srboisvert at 9:28 AM on July 19 [19 favorites]


>Wait. I thought the thread title was a backhand reference to the very recent death of author John Stormer, who wrote , of course, None Dare Call It Treason

Good grief, no. It comes from this couplet by the Elizabethan courtier Sir John Harington: "Treason doth never prosper, what's the reason?/For if it prosper, none dare call it Treason." (Devonian suggested it in the last thread, and I expect he wasn't thinking about that crackpot Stormer's book either.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:28 AM on July 19 [43 favorites]


The latest communication between Devine/Manafort/Gates is 2014.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:28 AM on July 19 [3 favorites]


The hatred for the President is so intense that partisans would rather risk war than give diplomacy a chance.

Republican/libertarian Rep. Justin Amash had a suprisingly good response to that on Twitter albeit without calling out Paul by name:
I believe that this aspect of libertarianism—the desire to seek friendship and peace whenever possible—is among its most appealing qualities.
We must not, however, fall for the logical fallacy that because diplomacy and dialogue are good, @POTUS’s performance at the press conference was good.
Yet, that’s precisely the false conclusion some are making. I’ve heard it said that anyone who disapproves of what took place at the press conference is pro-war or anti-Trump. No, some of us are just concerned about the bizarre behavior of our president at a press conference.
I suspect that many of the people defending the press conference performance did not watch it in its entirety—or at all. If they had, they would know that it didn’t achieve the desired effect of bringing America and Russia closer; in fact, it did just the opposite.
The impression it left on me, a strong supporter of the meeting, is that “something is not right here.” The president went out of his way to appear subordinate. He spoke more like the head of a vassal state.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:30 AM on July 19 [51 favorites]


2014.03.31 Email T. Devine to R. Gates, et al re Call - Important
2014.03.31 Email T. Devine to R. Gates, et al re Draft Proposal
2014.06.09 Email T. Devine to R. Gates, et al re Kyiv
2014.06.14 Email T. Devine to K. Kilimnik, R. Gates, et al re Ukraine Trip
2014.06.19 Email T. Devine to K. Kilimnik re Can u resend the talking points
posted by Sophie1 at 9:30 AM on July 19 [4 favorites]


Devine joined Bernie Sanders' team in November 2014.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:33 AM on July 19 [9 favorites]


I'm sorry but the fact that the emails slightly predate his work for Bernie's campaign doesn't make this okay at all. It's severely not okay. None of this is okay. My god, people.
posted by odinsdream at 9:37 AM on July 19 [48 favorites]


I hesitated posting it here (and I don't mean to re-litigate anything) because of the dates...but if they're innocuous, why are they in evidence?

I mean, we can't know until it's presented at trial (so I guess we're pre-litigating) but there have been several times now where the metaphorical ground has opened up beneath us. This might be one of those times.
posted by Brainy at 9:39 AM on July 19 [5 favorites]


I'm having second thoughts about quitting caffeine.

Looks like you picked the wrong week, yes.
posted by The Tensor at 9:40 AM on July 19 [33 favorites]


The hatred for the President is so intense that partisans would rather risk war than give diplomacy a chance.

"You know, if we just *joined* Russia, then we couldn't go to war with them."
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:42 AM on July 19 [6 favorites]


there’s only one vector from the left that could have hurt the Clinton campaign in 2016

I don't see that: Green Party, opposing Democratic campaigns, activist groups like Black Lives Matter or even Move On, are all open to infiltration by people working in degrees large and small to influence their messaging and actions, and could all be used to undermine a mainstream lefty political campaign. More importantly, they're vulnerable to being used in divisive ways even if actual human operatives are not working inside them (e.g., BLM starts to gain momentum, establish Blacktivist to pull members and visibility away, and skew messaging/focus on that set of issues).

There are likely no Grand Conspirators in this aspect of Russian election interference, just lots of smaller players, astroturfing, etc., simply spoiling the soup and making people angry at one another internally, confusing and obfuscating issues and messaging, which (as we've seen) can paralyze effectiveness on a large scale. More than, say, re-litigating the 2016 primaries, we need to be open to the idea that more than a few people on all sides are not good, honest actors, and we're still finding out the truth of what happened--who was actually honestly participating, and who was doing their job as persuaded or paid by Russians.

The latest communication between Devine/Manafort/Gates is 2014.
Devine joined Bernie Sanders' team in November 2014.


This is more damning to me, not less. It looks like Devine got sent out on his mission on 2014 and had to go dark, observing radio silence until his work was done. My questions about Tad Devine are not, were you done with those people when you started working for these people, but rather, how can anyone who has ever worked for those people be considered trustworthy, ever? It's that he worked for Manafort at all, not when.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:42 AM on July 19 [43 favorites]


if they're innocuous, why are they in evidence?

If a witness lied under oath, and emails turned up that would contradict their statement, the emails would be in evidence even if the content of the email was innocuous.

We don't know what's in the emails. Devine hasn't been charged with anything. There is no productive conversation that can be had about this with the information we do know. It's certainly interesting, and I'm glad that Mueller is looking into it, but there's nothing here that's damning of Devine or of Sanders from what is public.
posted by cjelli at 9:43 AM on July 19 [13 favorites]


It's certainly something damning if Devine has to be granted immunity to testify. If the emails were innocuous, why lie about them?
posted by localhuman at 9:45 AM on July 19 [4 favorites]


It is worth remembering that Russia refined the concept of military deception, maskirovka in Russian, to a high degree.

One of the principles of maskirovka is hiding something by letting an opponent find a less well concealed decoy. Having found the decoy, the opponent is convinced that they have seen through the deception and thus overlook the truly hidden something. Let the enemy see a badly camouflaged machine gun nest and they stop looking for concealed things before they find your well concealed mortars. Sometimes maskirovka involves sacrificing actual assets in order to let the opposition feel confident that they've found something important.

Which brings me to Maria Butina.

I can't help but wonder if she's part of a maskirovka operation, that her rather blatant spying was intended to get her caught and thus provide a false confidence that we'd found "the" Kremlin agent and discourage us from looking for other, better concealed, agents.

How many others are there, more subtle and better concealed, than Butina?

And yes, it seems as close to certain as anything can be, that there are Democrats who are compromised. I hope they're found, or come forward, as quickly as possible.
posted by sotonohito at 9:46 AM on July 19 [79 favorites]


Washington Post: House GOP Refuses to Renew Election Security Funding as Democrats Fume Over Russian Interference:

and

yesterday's news about the NRA: Many Political Tax-Exempts No Longer Required to Report Donors

So, if you wonder how confident the GOP is, these are their responses to the revelations regarding Russian hacking of US elections and its funneling of money to them through the NRA. Their first reactions are to make sure no more money is spent on preventing the hacking and that no one can see that money is being funneled to them by a hostile foreign power through a supposed "gun rights group." This isn't the play of a party running scared of the public's knowledge of their perfidy, it's the play of a party who expects to keep up the game indefinitely.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:46 AM on July 19 [33 favorites]


Please research Qanon on your own, I can't bring myself to provide links.

I'm sorry, but this use of the word "research" has become an immediate red flag for me. I remember getting in a Lyft car in San Francisco a few years ago and hearing the driver tell me about the "research" he was doing online, and before he got to the next phoneme I knew I was in for some high-test 9/11 trutherism. And so it turned out to be.

Ever since the Web became a cornucopian neverland full of enough superficially-plausible antifactlets to substantiate any wild-ass theory, host to discussion boards and forums packed to the rafters with half-bright, gotcha-craving Dunning-Krugeroids, this is all "research" has meant. It's hard to put a finger on exactly what the term now denotes, but it's somewhere between a naively cargo-cultish take on critical inquiry and a Body Snatchers inversion of critical thought posing as and successfully supplanting the thing itself.
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:48 AM on July 19 [84 favorites]


Manafort's daughter Andrea is also involved:

81 2012.11.19 Email Chain D. DeLuca to P. Manafort, A. Manafort, J. Browning re Contract
88 2012.08.21 Check from A. Manafort to McEnearney
90 2012.08.31 A. Manafort Landtech Receipt
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:49 AM on July 19 [3 favorites]


I can't help but wonder if she's part of a maskirovka operation, that her rather blatant spying was intended to get her caught and thus provide a false confidence that we'd found "the" Kremlin agent and discourage us from looking for other, better concealed, agents.

I just got done reading "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold," and this same thought briefly crossed my mind.
posted by Krazor at 9:49 AM on July 19 [9 favorites]


All this speculation about Sanders is nuts. Not only do we not know the content of those emails, it's no secret that Devine worked as a consultant for Manafort-Gates on Ukraine. I think that's super squicky, and think Bernie should've steered clear of Devine and anyone that's part of the DC consultant world. But that's how you play ball. Shit, we can pull the same circumstantial stuff to show how Clinton is connected through the Podesta firm to all kinds of skullduggery. None of this is helpful for anything but brewing the left-wing version of Qanon.
posted by dis_integration at 9:50 AM on July 19 [47 favorites]


It's certainly something damning if Devine has to be granted immunity to testify. If the emails were innocuous, why lie about them?

The list of people asked to testify in exchange for immunity has not been released, has it?
posted by Jpfed at 9:52 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


"All this speculation about Sanders is nuts. Not only do we not know the content of those emails, it's no secret that Devine worked as a consultant for Manafort-Gates on Ukraine. I think that's super squicky, and think Bernie should've steered clear of Devine and anyone that's part of the DC consultant world. But that's how you play ball. Shit, we can pull the same circumstantial stuff to show how Clinton is connected through the Podesta firm to all kinds of skullduggery. None of this is helpful for anything but brewing a leftwing version of Qanon."

I agree Bernie should have steered clear of Devine.
posted by jbenben at 9:53 AM on July 19


FCC votes against Sinclair/Tribune merger, likely dooming deal
The unanimous vote to refer the merger to a judge was finalized on Wednesday evening.

Sinclair's problems stem from its plan to divest some stations in order to stay under station ownership limits. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai proposed the designation order on Monday, saying that Sinclair's proposal to divest certain stations "would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law."
That's right, the merger plan was too blatantly illegal even for Ajit Pai.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 9:53 AM on July 19 [35 favorites]


The latest communication between Devine/Manafort/Gates is 2014.
Devine joined Bernie Sanders' team in November 2014.


So did Devine offer to work for free too?
posted by JackFlash at 9:54 AM on July 19


I don't think anyone is saying "don't talk about Devine because we can't say anything bad about [Sanders / the left]". More like, "the mods have urged us literally hundreds of times to avoid relitigating the primaries, so let's exercise a modicum of patience and wait for some facts before we go near that can of worms".

We'll know more soon enough.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:54 AM on July 19 [38 favorites]


Ever since the Web became a cornucopian neverland full of enough superficially-plausible antifactlets to substantiate any wild-ass theory, host to discussion boards and forums packed to the rafters with half-bright, gotcha-craving Dunning-Krugeroids, this is all "research" has meant.

I don't have anything to say in reply, other than agreement--I just wanted to quote this to express my admiration for this sentence. Look at that magnificent bastard sitting up there: "cornucopian neverland," "antifaclets," "gotcha-craving Dunning-Krugeroids." The clever perspicacity on display here has made my morning.

(Look, I know he's a professional writer and all, and is supposed to be good with the word-things, but damn, in our dystopian present you gotta savor the small delights when they appear.)
posted by LooseFilter at 9:55 AM on July 19 [49 favorites]


2014.06.14 Email T. Devine to K. Kilimnik, R. Gates, et al re Ukraine Trip
2014.06.19 Email T. Devine to K. Kilimnik re Can u resend the talking points


JFC, Konstantin Kilimnik is a GRU agent. Devine's high-powered resume with Al Gore, John Kerry, and Michael Dukakis may have impressed Sanders, but Kilimnik would have been interested in him for exactly the same reasons.

But frankly, if we're going to re-litigate 2016—and let's not—it's too early for anything more than speculation based on e-mail subject lines.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:57 AM on July 19 [21 favorites]


Without knowing what those emails touched on (though, I suspect they have to do with the immediate post-election strategy related to Kremlinite Victor Yanukovich), it's difficult to say how bad these revelations are. However, apparently Mr. Devine was emailing with known Russian spy Kostantin Kilimnik and R. Gates, whom I have to suspect is Rick Gates, Manafort's top henchman--not former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Another thing to keep in mind, is that Mueller has access to waaaay more than these 500 items. There may be many more pieces of evidence involving Devine. Maybe they are all innocuous or Devine working to undermine Manafort and Yanukovich's plans.

However, the first email mentioned is from 2006-01-03 and ended on 2014-06-19. I have a very hard time believing that these are the only relevant communications over an 8 year period. Having one's top campaign official emailing with a GRU agent, though...that's something one would want to know before bringing them on, and it leaves me feeling even more disturbed about this entire situation.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 10:00 AM on July 19 [6 favorites]


Email, Shmemail.

I'm much more excited about the Manafort exhibits having a comprehensive list of companies that the prosecution has financials and ledgers for. Yeah, I'm weird, but this has always been a cluster of cases that revolve around good-old-fashioned money laundering as well as bank and tax fraud.
posted by mikelieman at 10:01 AM on July 19 [17 favorites]


this has always been a cluster of cases that revolve around good-old-fashioned money laundering as well as bank and tax fraud.

Though it is important to point out that is what Manafort is currently being charged with, not necessarily the sum total of his crimes.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 10:04 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]




Manafort is on trial for bank fraud and money laundering — but also of violations to the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Given the dates and subject lines, perhaps the prudent speculation is that these Devine emails are establishing his history and long relationship with furthering Russian interests as the first step in the logic chain proving he continued to do so through the 2016 election.

Does that mean Devine also has such a history? I dunno. That’s where the speculation starts to get less prudent.
posted by Andrhia at 10:12 AM on July 19 [3 favorites]


Tax topics:

WSJ, Richard Rubin, House GOP Push to Extend Tax Cuts Meets Resistance in Senate
House Republicans are busily preparing what they call “Tax Reform 2.0,” an extension of tax cuts they passed last year that are scheduled to expire after 2025. So far, their Senate counterparts aren’t so interested.

House Republicans expect to vote on their tax plan in September, and one leading option is a three-bill package: Extension of expiring tax cuts, expansion of incentives for savings and policies to promote innovation.

The tax-cut extension, the largest of the three bills, is the one that is most likely to become a campaign-season talking point and also least likely to become law this year.
...
One of those Democrats, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, said she backed making the “tax cuts for regular families” permanent but that they should be paid for. One suggestion she made was lowering the income cap for child tax-credit eligibility, which now starts phasing out at $400,000 for married couples.

“I don’t know how they look in the mirror. I can’t remember how many righteous lectures I got from my Republican colleagues about the debt and deficit,” she said.
Politico, House votes to prevent IRS from punishing churches engaging in politics
The House voted Thursday to make it harder for the government to punish churches that get involved in politics.

In a 217-199 vote, lawmakers approved legislation barring the IRS from revoking the tax-exempt status of churches that back political candidates, unless it is specifically approved by the commissioner of the agency.

The provision, buried in a budget measure setting IRS funding for the upcoming year, amounts to a backdoor way around the so-called Johnson amendment, a half-century-old prohibition on nonprofits getting involved in political campaign activities.
...
“It’s now impossible for Congress and the White House to deny their objective: to politicize the trusted charitable nonprofit community by authorizing unlimited, unfettered and untraceable political money to flow through the nonprofit sector to benefit partisan special interests,” said Tim Delaney, head of the National Council of Nonprofits.
Politico, Why filing taxes isn’t easy, in which Congress doesn't really want you to file your taxes quickly and easily because they're in bed with H&R Block, Intuit, and Grover Norquist, who thinks Americans won't oppose taxes unless they have to suffer to file them:
The Trump administration unveiled a “postcard-sized” tax form late last month that will supposedly make it easier for Americans to do their own taxes. The move was nothing more than a publicity stunt—as a number of commentators noted, the administration achieved its postcard-sized ambitions only by requiring millions of Americans to submit supplementary worksheets that actually complicate the task of tax preparation.

The real action on tax filing right now is happening on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, where Congress is working hard to ensure that doing your taxes remains a time-consuming and expensive endeavor. The House of Representatives has passed two bills in recent weeks that seek to stop the IRS from simplifying the tax-filing process. One is pending in the Senate Finance Committee. The other cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee in late June, with a floor vote likely this summer.

At issue are two innovations that, if adopted by the IRS, would radically reduce the time and expense incurred in filing federal income tax returns. The first is free online tax preparation paired with electronic filing: The IRS could offer an easy-to-use product that assists you in completing your tax return, then allows you to submit your return online—all at a price of $0. A second and even more pioneering possibility is “pre-population”: the IRS could allow you to begin the filing process with an already filled-out return rather than making you enter each item of information from scratch.
More on that from ProPublica/Quartz: Millions of Americans pay unnecessary tax filing fees—but they may be able to get a refund

@RichardRubinDC: Sen. Whitehouse (at a Finance markup of IRS commissioner nominee) on Trump "cavorting" with Putin: "If he had been dragged out on a leash and done pet tricks, it could not have been more humiliating.” Whitehouse and Warner pushing (more forcefully than I had heard before) for committee access to Trump tax returns.
posted by zachlipton at 10:16 AM on July 19 [33 favorites]


"The thing that really freaks me out about PizzaGate and QAnon is the seemingly non sequitur focus on "pedophile rings" and child pornography, coupled with the ease with which a hacker with access to someone's systems could plant child porn on them and call in a tip. It feels like these true believers are being primed for something.
posted by contraption at 8:13 AM on July 19"


The thing is, I think, that it has nothing to do with elaborate preparation for some future internet 'op'

4Chan and the rest of the alt-right were for YEARS dead center of jail-bait, child-porn, barely-illegal culture on the internet.

MRAs and Red-Pillers and Incels and all these folks are the same people who were, not at all long ago, advocating that ephebophilia be separated in the public consciousness from pedophilia and that age of consent laws should be lowered, since marriage has 'historically' taken place between very young women and much older men.

All of this is projection on a grand scale. I'd bet you any amount of money that the guy who stormed into the pizza joint had spent time on 4Chan advocating for his right to receive an underage girl by arranged marriage and that the guy who shot killed his father after calling his parents 'leftist pedophiles' in Seattle was pissed that he was the one who should've been getting these underage girls

These people are so much sicker than even the Blue (rightly) wants to imagine
posted by TheProfessor at 10:18 AM on July 19 [44 favorites]


The first is free online tax preparation paired with electronic filing: The IRS could offer an easy-to-use product that assists you in completing your tax return, then allows you to submit your return online—all at a price of $0. A second and even more pioneering possibility is “pre-population”: the IRS could allow you to begin the filing process with an already filled-out return rather than making you enter each item of information from scratch.

Huh. We already have both of those in Canada. Pre-population made for the easiest tax filing ever this year. Less "pioneering" than travelling a road already trodden.
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:19 AM on July 19 [14 favorites]


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering a plan that would drastically and unilaterally restrict legal immigration to only the wealthiest and most privileged applicants.

An archaic federal immigration provision called the “public charge” test is currently being drafted by the Trump administration. Immigrants coming to the United States would generally fail this new rewritten test if they had a medical condition and no source of subsidized health insurance. [...]

[I]f every American citizen were forced to take the Trump administration’s test, more than 100 million people — roughly one-third of the U.S. population — would fail. The report also estimates that at least half of all people in the country could fail the test over a period of several years, when factoring in possible economic downturns, job insecurity, health problems, or other factors.


This would force immigrants to to not use social services or face deportation. Legal immigrants won't be able to feed their kids on food stamps.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:28 AM on July 19 [17 favorites]


At this point Hillary's emails are about the only ones clean in all this.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:32 AM on July 19 [60 favorites]


CNBC, Trump lays into the Federal Reserve, says he's 'not thrilled' about interest rate hikes
In a stinging and historically rare criticism, President Donald Trump expressed frustration with the Federal Reserve and said the central bank could disrupt the economic recovery. Presidents rarely intercede when it comes to the Fed, which sets the benchmark interest rate that flows through to many types of consumer debt. Fed officials, including Chairman Jerome Powell, have raised interest rates twice this year and have pointed to two more before the end of 2018.

Trump, in an interview with CNBC, said he does not approve, even though he said he "put a very good man in" at the Fed in Powell.

“I’m not thrilled,” he told CNBC's Joe Kernen in an interview to air in full Friday starting at 6 am. “Because we go up and every time you go up they want to raise rates again. I don't really — I am not happy about it. But at the same time I’m letting them do what they feel is best.”

“But I don’t like all of this work that goes into doing what we’re doing.”

Markets reacted to Trump's comments, with stocks, the dollar and Treasury yields all falling.
...
The president acknowledged that his comments are unusual but said he doesn’t care.

“Now I’m just saying the same thing that I would have said as a private citizen,” he said. “So somebody would say, ‘Oh, maybe you shouldn’t say that as president. I couldn’t care less what they say, because my views haven’t changed.”

“I don’t like all of this work that we’re putting into the economy and then I see rates going up,” he said.
This is not ok.
posted by zachlipton at 10:32 AM on July 19 [56 favorites]


Scott Hutchins, has been named as head of Research Programs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Hutchins' previous position was global leader of integrated field sciences for Corteva Agriscience. His work at Corteva—the newly created agricultural division of DowDuPont Inc.—focuses on chemical solutions to pest management. He is also a former president of the Entomological Society of America, serving in that role in parts of 2006 and 2007, a spokesman there said.

Color me shocked.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:33 AM on July 19 [6 favorites]


We already have both of those in Canada.

We have it in South Africa too.
posted by PenDevil at 10:34 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


Vice: Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen blames both sides for violence in Charlottesville

“It’s not that one side is right and one side is wrong,” Nielsen told Peter Alexander from NBC News at a national security conference in Colorado on Thursday.

I'm starting to question her character.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:43 AM on July 19 [72 favorites]


Daily Beast, DHS Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen Won’t Say Putin Wanted Trump to Win
“I haven’t seen any evidence that the attempt to interfere in our election infrastructure was to favor a particular political party,” she said. “I think what we’ve seen on the foreign influence side is they were attempting to intervene and cause chaos on both sides, whether it’s in Charlottesville, where we saw them on both sides, whether it’s in Syria, both sides. So I would not necessarily say that was the purpose.”

Later in the event, however, when pressed by reporters in the audience, Nielsen said she agreed with the Intelligence Community assessment. But she would not specifically say she agreed with it on the question of Putin’s motives.
Counterpoint: "In a joint press conference with Trump on July 16, Putin said he wanted Trump to win.“Yes, I did,” the Russian leader asserted. “Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.”"

Counterpoint: "We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump"

And see also Rust Moranis's comment above where she blames Nazis and not-Nazis for Charloteesville.

This cabinet is full of sycophants, but there's a compelling argument to be made that she's the worst. And her agency is supposed to be assisting with election security.
posted by zachlipton at 10:46 AM on July 19 [42 favorites]


I know Pruitt doesn't even go here, but we're still learning about hilariously awful Pruitt scandals. Politico, Annie Snider, EPA staff worried about toxic chemical exposure — for Pruitt
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's staff sought to protect him from exposure to toxic formaldehyde from an office desk last year, emails show — just months before his top political aides blocked the release of a report on health dangers from the same chemical.

In the spring of 2017, as Pruitt was finishing the more than $9,500 redecoration of his office, a top career official in the administrator's office noticed a California warning that one of the ornate desks their boss wanted contained formaldehyde, which the state classifies as a carcinogen. It's unclear whether Pruitt ultimately ordered that desk as part of the renovation — which included artwork from the Smithsonian, framed photographs of Pruitt and President Donald Trump and a standing "captain's" desk — but the documents show that his staff took steps to protect Pruitt from exposure to the chemical.
...
"Sorry to bother you with this but we need some help. The desk the Administrator wants for his office from Amazon has a California Proposition 65 warning. What I am asking is can someone in your area tell us whether it is OK to get this desk for the Administrator related to the warning?" Allen wrote April 7 to Cleland-Hamnett and another career official in the office, referring to a California state chemicals law.
...
The email exchange about the desk last spring took place just months before top aides to Pruitt took steps to block a health assessment produced by another division within the agency that found the levels of formaldehyde that many Americans breathe in daily are linked with leukemia, nose-and-throat cancer and other ailments. The chemicals industry has fought the assessment, which could prompt federal and state regulators to issue new restrictions on the chemical, and could lead to class-action lawsuits.
posted by zachlipton at 10:55 AM on July 19 [32 favorites]


In a stinging and historically rare criticism

Here we see yet another ridiculous component of media normalization vis-a-vis Trump.

There's nothing "stinging" about this. Stinging would imply incisiveness. Trump doesn't have barbs or incision, he bloviates logorrhea. Like a toddler: "I don’t like all of this work that we’re putting into the economy and then I see rates going up."
posted by aspersioncast at 11:00 AM on July 19 [14 favorites]


*_Response to President Putins Proposal_*

It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it. Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt.

Sarah Sanders
Weak. Sauce. And note the signature: Trump won't sign his own name to it.

Why does it always take 24 hours for them to walk back their batshit Russia stuff?
posted by zachlipton at 11:00 AM on July 19 [16 favorites]


...but President Trump disagrees with it,

Did he disagree before or after calling it a fantastic offer?
posted by PenDevil at 11:02 AM on July 19 [31 favorites]


Why does it always take 24 hours for them to walk back their batshit Russia stuff?

Time difference between DC and Moscow means they have to wait until late at night to get their marching orders. Not really joking.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:04 AM on July 19 [49 favorites]


> Did he disagree before or after calling it a fantastic offer?

He actually called it an incredible offer, so I'm totally expecting SHS to say with a straight face that she meant incredible as in "too extraordinary and improbable to be believed" at her next briefing.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:10 AM on July 19 [21 favorites]


[Mefites digesting the Fed news...coming up with new ways to scream about the current administration...]

Causing chaos in another arena is what Trump always does when he's under criticism from yet another self-inflicted scandal. Expect more lashing out on red-meat topics for his base—immigration is always a good bet, but maybe he'll try to provoke Iran or North Korea again—as pressure mounts in the aftermath of the Helsinki summit.

Speaking of which, the Washington Post reports on Gen. Vogel's press conference this morning: ‘No further direction’ on Syria since Trump-Putin summit
U.S. forces are legally restricted from cooperating with Russia in Syria despite what the Kremlin has described as a proposed deal between President Trump and Russian President Vladi­mir Putin to expand military interactions there, a senior general said Thursday.

Gen. Joseph Votel, who heads U.S. Central Command, told reporters the U.S. military was prohibited by law from doing anything jointly in Syria that goes significantly beyond limited communications to prevent forces from coming into accidental conflict.[...]

“We have received no further direction than we’ve currently been operating under,” Votel said.

Russian officials have spoken more expansively than their U.S. counterparts about the substance of the two leaders’ conversation in Finland. Antonov, who spoke to reporters in Moscow, said one idea under discussion was a joint U.S.-Russian counterterrorism campaign in Syria, adding Trump had “listened … with interest.”[...]

The general also pointed out Centcom was barred under the National Defense Authorization Act, which guides military operations from “coordinating, synchronizing, collaborating with the Russian forces.” Those restrictions were enacted after Moscow's seizure of Crimea in 2014.

Going beyond current communications, Votel suggested, would require a legal waiver or some other action by Congress.
On the Moscow end, CNN's Ryan Browne (@rabrowne75) reports, “Following the Trump-Putin summit & subsequent Russian statements it wanted to cooperate more with the Pentagon, Russia's Ministry of Defense tweets out videos of tests of its air launched hyper-sonic missile & a nuclear-powered cruise missile, weapons "unveiled" by Putin in March.” Which syncs up with Trump's "my way, or the nuclear war way" bargaining tactic.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:17 AM on July 19 [3 favorites]


Does that mean Devine also has such a history?

The thing is there's literally no way to know, and at this point taking positions yay or nay just reveals our own prejudices and inflames old arguments. It's entirely possible Devine is just as scummy as Manafort. Washington is a fucking cesspool and there is an entire industry of these type of people floating around in it. The trial begins next week and we'll find out then.

I think people need to get used to the idea that there could be Democrats and leftists swept up in this because there is no reason they would have limited their efforts solely to the right and the GOP (other than it probably being easier because they're both fascists).

I also think people should be aware these necessary investigations, of which this is hopefully just the beginning, could touch a lot of people, some of which we might generally have a positive opinion of. A lot of the people who are nominally on our side, especially in the Dem consultant world, are just as scummy as the people we're fighting, they're just not criminals.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:19 AM on July 19 [14 favorites]


“I don’t like all of this work that we’re putting into the economy and then I see rates going up,” he said.

Someone smack him on the head with a basic understanding of monetary policy. They're raising rates *because* the economy is humming along. Low unemployment means the Fed is scared wages will go up, and if wages go up, it causes (*gasp*) some minor inflation.

I think raising rates is stupid too. We can handle some inflation if it comes with wage raises that outpace it. But inflation fucks with the value of rich people's wealth, so it's unacceptable.

No idea what Trump's objection to it is except that he lives on debt-financing.
posted by dis_integration at 11:20 AM on July 19 [22 favorites]


Why does it always take 24 hours for them to walk back their batshit Russia stuff?

Time difference between DC and Moscow means they have to wait until late at night to get their marching orders. Not really joking.


Also, for the initial (Fox) news cycle to run. Low-information voters cling to the initial "headline," not later corrections.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:25 AM on July 19 [8 favorites]


House Dems chant USA USA after Rep. Steny Hoyer calls for more election security (CNN video)
posted by salix at 11:31 AM on July 19 [49 favorites]


One of the principles of maskirovka is hiding something by letting an opponent find a less well concealed decoy. Having found the decoy, the opponent is convinced that they have seen through the deception and thus overlook the truly hidden something.
...
posted by sotonohito at 9:46 AM on July 19 [+] [!]


It's good to remember that Russia produces good chess players. This gambit reminds me of this.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:32 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


House Dems chant USA USA after Rep. Steny Hoyer calls for more election security (CNN video)
posted by salix at 11:31 AM on July 19 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]

OK, that was really hilarious. More of that!
posted by mumimor at 11:33 AM on July 19 [8 favorites]


HOLY SHIT GUYS THE DEMS JUST WON ON SOMETHING:

Burgess Everett on twitter:
McConnell WITHDRAWS Bounds nomination (I can hear democrats literally cheering in Durbin's office)
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:40 AM on July 19 [67 favorites]


It's certainly something damning if Devine has to be granted immunity to testify.

That's not really how immunity works. This is more like "don't talk to a cop without a lawyer even if you didn't do anything wrong"-type stuff. Not saying he's innocent, but asking for immunity does not mean that one is hiding something "certainly...damning."
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:40 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


Bloomberg, Ilya Arkhipov, Putin Tells Diplomats He Made Trump a New Offer on Ukraine at Their Summit
Vladimir Putin told Russian diplomats that he made a proposal to Donald Trump at their summit this week to hold a referendum to help resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine, but agreed not to disclose the plan publicly so the U.S. president could consider it, according to two people who attended Putin’s closed-door speech on Thursday.
...
Putin’s proposal would call for a vote conducted under international auspices by the residents of the separatist territories on their status, the people said. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the details of what Putin said about Ukraine at the summit, saying only, “Some new ideas were discussed. They will be worked on.”
posted by zachlipton at 11:40 AM on July 19 [7 favorites]


Thread moves fast, but:
I'm highly doubtful that even with the example of the Clinton campaign being invaded by the GRU anyone in the DNC is willing to take the steps needed to really secure their IT, especially not the sort of crazy levels of security it will take to hold off Russia. I'm highly doubtful that there is anyone high enough in the Democratic Party who even understands the problem that they can even try to get it fixed.

This is very incorrect. I've been volunteering on the data analytics side of the DNC (well, the PA DCCC, but I've been to national trainings too) and they are extremely aware of the vulnerabilities and have been locking down their systems. They've also instituted phishing training and are conducting phishing testing. This is not just in the DCCC, this is across the various Democratic wings. Obviously you are only as secure as your most gullible user, but they're hardly ignoring the problem.
posted by schroedinger at 11:42 AM on July 19 [41 favorites]




HOLY SHIT GUYS THE DEMS JUST WON ON SOMETHING:

Well, one Republican did the thing, for once.

Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), the only African-American member of Senate GOP conference, tells leaders that he can't vote for 9th Circuit Court nom Ryan Bounds because of racially insensitive remarks. Told leaders he need more time to review Bounds. McConnell withdraws nomination.

This proves how much leverage Susan Collins and Bob Corker and Jeff Falke actually have and refuse to use. And Tim Scott too except when they nominate an actual KKK member for the Circuit Court.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:45 AM on July 19 [93 favorites]


For context on the rejection of Trumps racist judicial nominee ryan bounds Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted this shortly before the vote was pulled back:

"We've been waiting on Senate floor for an hour to vote on the latest radical, unqualified judge. But one R has cold feed and all of a sudden the vote may be cancelled.
Reminder of what can happen when one single Republican Senator decides to do the right thing."
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:45 AM on July 19 [97 favorites]


Vladimir Putin told Russian diplomats that he made a proposal to Donald Trump at their summit this week to hold a referendum to help resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine, but agreed not to disclose the plan publicly so the U.S. president could consider it, according to two people who attended Putin’s closed-door speech on Thursday.

Since when have we ever gotten leaks from Putin? I would not be surprised if this is Putin authorising leaks to make Trump look like a weakling again.
posted by PenDevil at 11:52 AM on July 19 [11 favorites]


If Putin didn’t have kompromat before, he does now in the contents of the closed door meeting. They’re going to just drip out all the crazy shit that was proposed and Trump probably agreed to.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:53 AM on July 19 [19 favorites]


Oppose the Confirmation of Ryan Bounds to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (a template to send to representatives, from The Leadership Conference, "the nation's premier civil & human rights coalition")

Dude was the chair of his local Bar Association's equity, diversity and inclusion committee, but he "reluctantly gave up his position" at the insistence of the bar's board of directors based on people finding out he was a terrible person in college, and probably just worse at hiding his disdain for others than he is now. Here's his resignation letter
"I write to you today with a heavy heart,'' it read. "Unfortunately it has come to my attention that the board seeks my resignation, citing editorials I wrote as a college student nearly a quarter-century ago. I have acknowledged that those editorials were poorly worded and ill-conceived pronouncements of a youth who had much to learn about the world. I sincerely wish the board would judge me not on decades-old words, but by the work we have done together.''
Poorly worded? Here's his words (PDF, with links to original publications):
“During my years in our Multicultural Garden of Eden, I have often marveled at the odd strategies that some of the more strident racial factions of the student body employ in their attempts to ‘heighten consciousness,’ ‘build tolerance,’ ‘promote diversity,’ and otherwise convince us to partake of that fruit which promises to open our eyes to a PC version of the knowledge of good and evil. I am mystified because these tactics seem always to contribute more to restricting consciousness, aggravating intolerance, and pigeonholing cultural identities than many a Nazi bookburning.”
That's right -- "PC" efforts to "promote diversity" are worse than Nazi bookburning. How was that poorly worded? Fuck this dude.

Thank you, Tim Scott, for joining the Democrats in trying to make the US a little less terrible.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:54 AM on July 19 [29 favorites]


> Thank you, Tim Scott, for joining the Democrats in trying to make the US a little less terrible.

So, like ... the rest of the Republicans in the US Senate were OK with this guy getting a lifetime judicial appointment?

I just find it so surprising that, for example with Kavanaugh, we are scraping around for angles to appeal to Murkowski or Collins because they are women who might have a milligram of concern for women's rights. Even if we're pigeonholing women - what about Joni Ernst? And what about the forty-fucking-eight other Republican senators?

Sorry, did I say I find it surprising? I meant *un*surprising, of course.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:00 PM on July 19 [4 favorites]


RedOrGreen: I just find it so surprising that, for example with Kavanaugh, we are scraping around for angles to appeal to Murkowski or Collins because they are women who might have a milligram of concern for women's rights. Even if we're pigeonholing women - what about Joni Ernst? And what about the forty-fucking-eight other Republican senators?

Maybe it's because GOP SO WHITE
In the House, two-thirds of the new Democratic members are of color, with seven Hispanics, six African-Americans, three Indian-Americans, a Japanese-American and a Vietnamese-American: Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida, whose family fled Vietnam when she was a baby.

All of the freshman Republicans are white, with just 14 of the 293 GOP seats in both chambers held by people of color. Three of Congress' 49 black lawmakers are Republicans.
Despite the fact that 115th Congress sets new high for racial, ethnic diversity as it inches towards representing the gender and ethnic diversity of the United States, if you look a bit deeper, you'll see that the diversity is coming in from the Democrats by and large.
House minority increases have largely come among newly elected Democrats, though Republicans have also seen an uptick. Since 2001, the number of House Democrats who are minorities increased by 27, from 56 then to 83 now. There was an increase of eight representatives among House Republicans over the same period, rising from four then to 12 now.
Fun related link: The changing face of Congress in 5 charts

Yes, let's focus on the charts, because this photo looks like a lot of old, white men raising their hands. No, it's not all old, white men, but they're the clear majority in that unscientific sampling of the reps.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:12 PM on July 19 [15 favorites]


A thing about racism in the GOP (and the USA in general) is that it doesn't even require 50%+ support to entrench itself. Just enough of a foothold, say 30% or more, that opposing it becomes "rocking the boat".

Twenty years ago, it's "This kind of thinking has no place in our party, and we abhor/condemn it in full". Today it's "Well, not really my place to vocally object; I don't want to bring politics into the nomination process."
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:24 PM on July 19 [11 favorites]


They’re going to just drip out all the crazy shit that was proposed and Trump probably agreed to.

The genius thing is that they can say anything, even if Trump didn't agree to it, even if it was never proposed. There's no record of the meeting. Who can dispute it?
posted by octobersurprise at 12:33 PM on July 19 [27 favorites]




Jeezus they actually did something. Or is it non-binding?
posted by maggiemaggie at 12:44 PM on July 19 [3 favorites]


Every time I hear this story, i wonder if CIA or State bugged/placed a wire on our translator, or at least has already sat them down for a debrief/readout. The idea that "no one knows what was said! -shrug-" is insane to me. I'm really hoping that some adult in the room knows what is going on and we just haven't heard about it yet (please please please).
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 12:44 PM on July 19 [8 favorites]


"Resolution expressing opposition" = so non-binding it hurts. Also, they waited to pass it until after the White House got its weaksauce "denial" out there so it wouldn't look like they were coming down on the president rather than agreeing with him.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:50 PM on July 19 [30 favorites]


Good grief, no. It comes from this couplet by the Elizabethan courtier Sir John Harington: "Treason doth never prosper, what's the reason?/For if it prosper, none dare call it Treason." (Devonian suggested it in the last thread, and I expect he wasn't thinking about that crackpot Stormer's book either.)

This. Back at the dawn of time when I was an English major, I wrote a paper on Harington. He was a tremendously prominent fellow in Elizabeth I's court, but one who was pretty hard to research in the 1980s. This couplet in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations was the only trace I could find that you might run across if you were not a grad student. Now he has all of two entries in Bartlett's, so 100% increase.

I vaguely recall that he had some rivalry with Will Shaxberd, and I suspect Harington would be much aggrieved that in only a single couplet of his extensive works survives in the popular imagination 400 years on, and everyone assumes it's one of Shakespeare's. Argh.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:50 PM on July 19 [29 favorites]


Trump lays into the Federal Reserve, says he's 'not thrilled' about interest rate hikes

“Now I’m just saying the same thing that I would have said as a private citizen,” he said. “So somebody would say, ‘Oh, maybe you shouldn’t say that as president. I couldn’t care less what they say, because my views haven’t changed.”


Of course, he's lying. During the campaign, Trump was saying just the opposite, that the Fed was using low interest rates to help Democrats and should raise them.
posted by JackFlash at 12:53 PM on July 19 [23 favorites]


White House: Trump ‘Disagrees’ With Putin’s Proposal To Question Americans

Sarah Suckupabee Sanders:
“It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it,” Sanders said in a written statement. “Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt.”
"A proposal that was made in sincerity"? She sucks up to her boss's boss as well as her boss does.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:56 PM on July 19 [12 favorites]


Or is it non-binding?

It's barely resolving, much less binding. "It is the sense of the Congress . . ." that sending State Department people to be interrogated by Putin is bad, mmmkay?

Note they didn't say "Russia", just "a government headed by Vladimir Putin". ?

I mean - ? Baby steps? I guess.
posted by petebest at 1:03 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


This is the unanimous version of Jeff Flake having "concerns"
posted by MysticMCJ at 1:09 PM on July 19 [12 favorites]




If it were any other president (yes, even W) I would laud an attempt to normalize relations between the US and Russia, but WITAF!? is the correct response here.
posted by runcibleshaw at 1:12 PM on July 19 [5 favorites]


Hey, let's invite Putin to Washington.

What could possibly go wrong?
posted by katster at 1:13 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]


Before or after the election I wonder.
posted by dilaudid at 1:16 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]


petebest: Note they didn't say "Russia", just "a government headed by Vladimir Putin".

That's not really a euphemism, though. Referencing "adversarial nations" or something would be, since then Trump and co could wriggle out by saying Russia isn't adversarial, but that phrasing is quite explicit. Plus, the enemy here is Putin, not Russia per se.

It's definitely mediocre, but mediocre is better than worst-possible-scenario, namely for the GOP to drop the other shoe and its undying allegiance to the Kremlin. As it is, they're underscoring the TRE45ON by way of contrast. They remain amenable to some combination of voter opinion and "patriotism". Keep up the phone calls!
posted by InTheYear2017 at 1:16 PM on July 19 [4 favorites]


I mean, it's not like Putin being on our soil makes it any more or less likely that Russia will try to interfere in elections. He's not a supervillain, just a rich fascist with a global coterie of oligarchs interested in accreting power and money.
posted by Existential Dread at 1:18 PM on July 19 [3 favorites]


Could Mueller arrest him while he's here? I mean, its no crazier than anything else that's happened.
posted by Brainy at 1:22 PM on July 19 [8 favorites]


That would be way crazier than anything else that's happened. We're talking nuclear war levels of crazy. Arresting a foreign head of state? Not happening.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 1:24 PM on July 19 [26 favorites]


Lemme guess: They'll time the stupid ass military parade to happen when Putin visits. *eyeroll so hard I can see the ceiling of my skull*
posted by yoga at 1:26 PM on July 19 [34 favorites]


@ChrisJansing: DNI Coats tells @mitchellreports he doesn't know what happened in POTUS-Putin meeting. "If he had asked me how that ought to be conducted, I would have suggested a different way, but that's not my role. "

@shaneharris: Coats says he didn’t know [in advance] that Kislyak and Lavrov met with Trump in the Oval Office—the meeting where Trump exposed an Israeli intelligence source. “Probably not the best thing to do,” Coats says of the meeting.

@KenDilanianNBC: Coats wishes Trump didn’t meet with Putin alone, wishes Trump didn’t mischaracterize what happened in 2016, wishes Trump didn’t host the Russian ambassador in the Oval Office. But, “It is what it is,” he said, channeling Trump’s entire cabinet.

@attackerman: Asked if he's considered resignation, Coats pauses for a bit & says: "That's a place I don't want to go to, publicly. ... Are there days when you go ugh, what am I doing? Yeah.... As long as I have the ability to see the truth & speak the truth, I'm on board."

@NatashaBertrand: Coats reiterates: "We are under attack," says Russians are by far the most aggressive

@juliaioffe: .@mitchellreports: "We have some breaking news out of the White House, announcing that Vladimir Putin will be coming to the WH in the fall."
DNI Coats: "Say that again?...Oooookay. That's gonna be special.

Oh my god this photo of him finding out.
posted by zachlipton at 1:28 PM on July 19 [78 favorites]


Democratic Senators Slam Trump's Pick To Run Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (NPR, July 19, 2018)
Democrats on the powerful Senate Banking Committee said Kathy Kraninger is not qualified to be the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency the White House has nominated her to run.

Republicans at her nomination hearing Thursday said her management experience at the White House Office of Management and Budget qualifies her for the job.

"I have the utmost confidence that she is well prepared to lead the bureau in enforcing federal consumer financial laws and protecting consumers in the financial marketplace," said Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho.

But Democrats say she has no financial industry regulation experience. And they say she's been involved in some of the worst debacles of the Trump administration, including the response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the White House's zero-tolerance policy which resulted in the detention and separation of immigrant children and parents at the border.

"These are innocent children who may be scarred forever by this policy,"
said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. "It is fundamentally immoral and you, you were part of it Ms. Kraninger. It is a moral stain that will follow you for the rest of your life. And if the senate votes to give a big promotion to you after this, it is a stain on the senators who do so."

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said he has obtained emails showing that Kraninger was an architect of the administration's "botched" response to hurricane damage in Puerto Rico.

"Three and a half million American citizens who just happen to call Puerto Rico their home, but they are American citizens like you and I are, faced their darkest hour," he said. "And instead of turning to help them you pinched pennies. And worst of all, I think you treated them as second-class citizens.

"That does not give me the faith that when you have to stand up for seniors, service members, students, homeowners against some of the biggest financial institutions in this country that you'll do that. If you couldn't do it for the people of Puerto Rico, I don't know how you're going to do it for anybody else."

In response to questions about her role in hurricane response or the zero-tolerance immigration policy, Kraninger parried, saying, "I don't think it's appropriate for me to get into the details of my advice" to the various agencies involved.

"You're dodging," Warren said about that repeated answer.

In a heated exchange, Warren tried to pin down Kraninger, asking her whether she was involved in any way with "developing or implementing the policies that led this administration to take thousands of children away from their parents at the border."

Kraninger replied, "Senator, I had no role in setting the policy."

"It was developing or implementing," Warren interrupted, repeating the words of her question. As Kraninger declined to discuss her role, Warren pressed her in dramatic terms.

"I will remind you, you are under oath and lying to Congress is a crime," Warren said.

Kraninger said it was a "slippery slope" to answer such questions.

Warren shot back: "No, it's not a slippery slope. You don't want to characterize because you don't want to admit that you had something to do with this. This was a policy that was designed to traumatize children and families as a way of scaring them away from the border even if they were seeking asylum even if they were fleeing death threats, gang violence, domestic abuse."
I tried to limit my pull-quoting here, but DAMN. Emphasis mine because MORE OF THIS!
Sen. Brown, D-Ohio, questioned Kraninger's view of free markets as a cure-all. He said he met with her and raised questions about such problems as payday lenders charging 600 percent interest rates. "Your answer to all of these seemed to be that the market will take care of this," Brown told Kraninger.

But Kraninger said she will protect Americans from predatory financial practices if confirmed. "Under my stewardship, the bureau will take aggressive action against bad actors who break the rules by engaging in fraud and other illegal activity," she said.
Start with your boss.
Earlier this week, Warren released a staff report that makes a case for why Kraninger isn't qualified to run a financial regulatory agency and which is also highly critical of her "disastrous" work at OMB. "A close look at her record shows consistent mismanagement, often with devastating results for poor and vulnerable people," the report says.
...
Until Kraninger is approved by the Senate, Mulvaney will continue as acting director of the CFPB. Mulvaney says he is changing the bureau's mission to make it a much less aggressive regulator. He dropped a predatory lending lawsuit against an online lender charging 900-percent interest rates. And he's reconsidering an Obama-era rule that would force payday lenders to make sure their customers can afford their loans.

These and other moves have sparked sharp criticism from consumer advocates who fear they'll see more of the same from Mulvaney's deputy at OMB. Kraninger is expected to be confirmed, though the timing of that remains uncertain.
#ForThePeople sounds pretty good about now.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:35 PM on July 19 [80 favorites]


Mister Putin goes to Washington.
posted by Pendragon at 1:40 PM on July 19 [11 favorites]


Lemme guess: They'll time the stupid ass military parade to happen when Putin visits.

Trump's parade is scheduled for Veterans Day, Nov. 11, not even a week after the mid-term elections. Do not underestimate the chances Putin will come over for a congratulatory visit—or that he'll make sure he'll be able to congratulate Trump on them.

@juliaioffe: .@mitchellreports: "We have some breaking news out of the White House, announcing that Vladimir Putin will be coming to the WH in the fall."
DNI Coats: "Say that again?...Oooookay. That's gonna be special.


Washington Post's Shane Harris (@shaneharris): Per WH statement, the invitation to Putin came from John Bolton. He would be the one to inform other agencies about this. He obviously didn’t tell the Director of National Intelligence.

Bolton, a nasty bureaucratic infighter, made sure to snub Coats in order to embarrass him in public like this, probably as payback for Coats speaking out earlier about Russian information warfare* during the election.

* Brian Klass, writing in the Washington Post, "Stop calling it ‘meddling.’ It’s actually information warfare."—"These continuing attacks are neither meddling nor ‘interference,’ another euphemism. They’re a part of gibridnaya voyna — Russian for ‘hybrid warfare.’ The best term for what we’re talking about would be ‘information warfare.’"
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:47 PM on July 19 [38 favorites]


Mick "Pay Me and I'll Consider Your Request" Mulvaney? Well I see he hasn't died of shame yet. What a public servant, eh? Pruittastic!
posted by petebest at 1:47 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]




Speaking of midterm meddling, here's a....thing:

Politico Magazine: Why Russia Will Help the Democrats Next

The idea is that Russia or some other rival state (e.g. China) will try to help Democrats take at least one house of Congress to create gridlock in the government and block any potential for Trump to take decisive foreign policy moves. I can't figure out if this is trying to scare Republicans into doing something on election security, or preemptively dismissing Democratic victories as illegitimate. Maybe both?

(Politico Magazine often posts articles by interest-group mouthpieces that are clearly just parroting the company line of whoever pays them, but this is by an actual journalist, Garrett Graff, who used to run the magazine and seems to just be making a living as an independent writer now.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:02 PM on July 19 [4 favorites]


Could Mueller arrest him while he's here? I mean, its no crazier than anything else that's happened.

He'd obviously have diplomatic immunity. And the Murtaugh option is probably suboptimal in this case.
posted by Justinian at 2:09 PM on July 19 [9 favorites]


Mick "Pay Me and I'll Consider Your Request" Mulvaney? Well I see he hasn't died of shame yet. What a public servant, eh? Pruittastic!

He'll still serve the public in his current "authority" longer because Trump nominated someone (L.A. Times, June 16, 2018)
Under a time limit in the law by which he was appointed in November, Mulvaney would have been required to leave the consumer bureau job on June 22 if the White House hadn’t nominated someone to be the permanent director.

Kraninger’s nomination triggers a provision in the Federal Vacancies Reform Act that allows Mulvaney to serve until the Senate confirms or rejects the pick. That process could take months.

Consumer advocates have feared that Trump would select a straw-man nominee simply to extend Mulvaney’s time as the acting director.

In her current role, Kraninger works for Mulvaney, who in addition to being CFPB acting director also is the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.
And because Mulvaney has been so awful in his current position, in addition to Kraninger's lack of experience, the whole process could be even more drawn out. (DS News, "a leading source for monthly news in the greater servicing industry")
It is widely expected that Kraninger will face a tough confirmation vote in the Senate, as Mulvaney has introduced a slew of changes to the Bureau that have been opposed by consumer advocates and Democrats. Nor does it sound like Kraninger—who has worked with Mulvaney at the OMB—will veer sharply away from the path that Mulvaney has forged in recent months.

The White House’s initial statement suggested Kraninger would bring "fresh perspective and much-needed management experience" to the BCFP, "which has been plagued by excessive spending, dysfunctional operations, and politicized agendas.” The White House statement continued: “As a staunch supporter of free enterprise, she will continue the reforms of the Bureau initiated by Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, and ensure that consumers and markets are not harmed by fraudulent actors."
...
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, also stated his opposition to Kraninger’s nomination. He told the Boston Globe, “Nothing I’ve seen makes me think that she should have this job, except she’s such an ally, she’s worked for Mulvaney and that tells me a lot. She will have a challenge because it’s clear that rank-and-file Republicans want to emasculate this agency."

Lauren Saunders, Associate Director of the National Consumer Law Center, said Kraninger “does not appear to have any consumer protection experience that qualifies her to lead an important agency that oversees the largest banks and protects the public from risky mortgages, tricks and traps, and other abuses by Wall Street giants.”

Karl Frisch, Executive Director of consumer watchdog group Allied Progress echoed those concerns, saying, “Kathy Kraninger has zero relevant experience that qualifies her to be America's chief consumer advocate.”
Really, Sherrod Brown, that was what you chose to say to goad the GOP? Or were you trying to speak their language of machismo and alphas vs betas?

Other critics, spot on.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:12 PM on July 19 [4 favorites]


@emmaplatoff [handwritten court filing, with more in the thread]: 17 y/o girl, separated from her mom, on a 2 y/o girl being held in the same "cage": "When I came back the little girl was crying and needed a new diaper. No one was helping her. The guards treat her like any other older kid. They call her name and expect her to get in line."
posted by zachlipton at 2:15 PM on July 19 [49 favorites]


... preemptively dismissing Democratic victories as illegitimate.

I mean, that's my assumption at this point frankly. Now they should release some scandalous hacked Republican emails, and/or expose some assistance to various Democrats in 2016, and then it's "everyone is corrupt," "both sides do it," "why even show up to vote," and bye bye blue wave. The DNC should prepare a response to this possibility right now.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 2:17 PM on July 19 [5 favorites]


> This video of Coats finding out that Putin got invited to the White House is...I don't even.

Seconding watching this, the body language is truly something else to behold. From the point that "Twitter" is mentioned, you can watch our Director of National Intelligence have a very brief moment of visible dread, followed by him becoming incredibly visibly nervous, complete with holding on to the chair for dear life while fidgeting non-stop. I swear you can see his veneer of nervous laughter break through to what looks like inner screaming a few times.
posted by MysticMCJ at 2:25 PM on July 19 [35 favorites]


filthy light thief: In a Wednesday interview with Recode's Kara Swisher, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook draws a distinction between information that is objectively false and words that are meant to incite physical violence or "attack individuals" verbally.

And it seems I should have read that Recode interview, because Zuck says much worse things: Why Facebook Wants to Give You the Benefit of the Doubt -- Mark Zuckerberg’s remarks about Holocaust denial once again showed Facebook’s optimism about human nature. (Alexis C. Madrigal for The Atlantic, July 19, 2018)
In an unusually revealing moment for Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg told Recode’s Kara Swisher on Wednesday that he didn’t support taking down content about Holocaust denial on Facebook. Zuckerberg is Jewish, and he finds such denials “deeply offensive,” he said. But Holocaust deniers were not “intentionally getting it wrong.”

When Swisher followed up that “in the case of Holocaust deniers, they might be,” Zuckerberg retreated to a stance he’s never quite made explicit before. “It’s hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent,” he said.
Zuckerberg: The Recode interview -- Everything was on the table — and after Facebook’s wildest year yet, that’s a really big table. (Kara Swisher for Recode, July 18, 2018)
In this 90-minute interview we talked about a range of things, from news to data to privacy to China to his political ambitions. As you will hear, Zuckerberg can cling closely to talking points, but he also did reveal more than he has about this annus horribilis for him and, well, the rest of us.

While many are justifiably angry at him and at Facebook, I decided to not strafe the billionaire entrepreneur. I tried instead to engage him in a conversation about how he has mishandled his growing power and responsibility and what he planned to do about it.

I think the interview gives a picture of an earnest and canny tech leader who is also grappling with the darker side of his creation. At one point, I asked him who was to blame and who should pay the price for the Cambridge Analytica controversy and he rightly named himself, as the person who invented Facebook. “Do you want me to fire myself on this podcast?” Zuckerberg joked. Spoiler alert: He did not.
1 hour 22 minute recording with condensed, lightly edited version of the conversation, and full transcript for your reading (dis)pleasure.
Okay. “Sandy Hook didn’t happen” is not a debate. It is false. You can’t just take that down?

I agree that it is false.

I also think that going to someone who is a victim of Sandy Hook and telling them, “Hey, no, you’re a liar” — that is harassment, and we actually will take that down. But overall, let’s take this whole closer to home...

I’m Jewish, and there’s a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened.

I find that deeply offensive. But at the end of the day, I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong, but I think-

In the case of the Holocaust deniers, they might be, but go ahead.

It’s hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent. I just think, as abhorrent as some of those examples are, I think the reality is also that I get things wrong when I speak publicly. I’m sure you do. I’m sure a lot of leaders and public figures we respect do too, and I just don’t think that it is the right thing to say, “We’re going to take someone off the platform if they get things wrong, even multiple times.” (Update: Mark has clarified these remarks here: “I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that.”)

What we will do is we’ll say, “Okay, you have your page, and if you’re not trying to organize harm against someone, or attacking someone, then you can put up that content on your page, even if people might disagree with it or find it offensive.” But that doesn’t mean that we have a responsibility to make it widely distributed in News Feed. I think we, actually, to the contrary-

So you move them down? Versus, in Myanmar, where you remove it?

Yes.
Italics are my emphasis. This is where Alexis C. Madrigal sees Zuckerberg being an optimist. I see him trying to capitalize on chaos and discord -- because those things draw attention to Facebook, and makes him money.

Zuck's clarifications are pretty weasely (sorry weasels):
I enjoyed our conversation yesterday, but there’s one thing I want to clear up. I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that.

Our goal with fake news is not to prevent anyone from saying something untrue — but to stop fake news and misinformation spreading across our services. If something is spreading and is rated false by fact checkers, it would lose the vast majority of its distribution in News Feed. And of course if a post crossed line into advocating for violence or hate against a particular group, it would be removed. These issues are very challenging but I believe that often the best way to fight offensive bad speech is with good speech.

I look forward to catching up again soon.

Mark
Emphasis mine because it's nonsense.

Here's the rub, Zuck -- advocating for violence isn't necessary, because people make (il)logical connections - some population of Others is bad, and they did a bad thing, and they're making life for Us worse because of their actions. So how do you stop those actions? Violence is one possible response, but you don't have to say "let's attack the Others," you just make them so bad, or make them less than human, that attacking them could be justified to oneself, possibly for the good of Us.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:28 PM on July 19 [24 favorites]


Sarah Kendzior (@ sarahkendzior) has been on a Cassandra-like tear on Twitter since the summit, but the Putin invitation draws special denunciation from her:
People will call this "trolling" but it's much more serious than that. This is a hostile dictatorship and its treasonous American partners flaunting the annihilation of US sovereignty

This is the guiding logic of the Trump admin: As I've been saying, they enjoy the flagrancy. Autocrat logic: "We know that you know what we did, and there's nothing you can do about it."

And this: Trump doesn't want to get caught and be punished, but he delights in being caught and going unpunished

They *want* you to know what's happening, from little tells like Trump dropping Russian state TV into his tweets* to massive displays of treasonous allegiance like in Helsinki.

They want you to know so long as there are no serious consequences.

Because there have been no consequences and they want to flaunt their triumph.

Also "bad optics" for Trump: giving state secrets to Lavrov in the Oval. Confessing to obstruction of justice to Lester Holt. Asking Russia at a presser to get HRC's emails.

Yet no consequences.
* @RealDonaldTrump, this afternoon, "Will the Dems and Fake News ever learn? This is classic!"—along with a propaganda video clip of Sec. Clinton promoting the so-called "Russian reset" from Russian state TV Channel One.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:32 PM on July 19 [40 favorites]


"Yet no consequences" should be the Trump family motto.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:44 PM on July 19 [34 favorites]


Jonathan Swan, one of Trump's preferred recipients of his anonymous leaking, writes in Axios, "Sources close to Trump tell Axios that they're already speculating about whether Trump ends up firing Coats. Per a source with knowledge, Trump has never had much affection for Coats."

This is in response to Coats's "STUNNING interview" with Andrea Mitchell, which "is already catching heat and attention among Trump loyalists. I've already had two phone calls from sources close to Trump expressing their astonishment. The fact that Trump’s own intelligence director is saying these things is extraordinary. A moment of true and startling independence. Reveals how concerned Coats is about what happened with Putin."
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:51 PM on July 19 [25 favorites]


Real Clear Health, New Medicaid Work Requirements Already Jeopardizing Thousands. This article makes a compelling connection: the FCC wants to dismantle the Lifeline program, which helps low-income families get internet access, and Medicaid eligibility is also linked to Lifeline eligibility. Since Arkansas now requires Medicaid recipients to go online to report their work status, losing your internet could mean losing your Medicaid, and vice versa.

And to what end: Study finds Medicaid expansion boosts employment. It turns out that the Medicaid expansion doesn't encourage idleness, as Republicans claim; it helps people with disabilities be employed. What a concept, having health care means you're more likely to be able to work, and you're more likely to work if earning some money doesn't mean you lose your health care. Here's the paper: Hall, J. P., Shartzer, A., Kurth, N. K., & Thomas, K. C. (2018). Medicaid Expansion as an Employment Incentive Program for People With Disabilities. American Journal of Public Health, e1–e3. https://doi.org/10.2105/ajph.2018.304536

USA Today editorial, Trump determined to kill Obamacare in darkness. Nothing new here, but notable to have this from USA Today, and it's prefect for forwarding to your skeptical relatives.

Politico, CMS plots path forward for Kentucky work requirements after court setback
The Trump administration is redoubling efforts to allow Kentucky to impose controversial Medicaid work requirements after a federal court halted its attempt to overhaul the safety-net program three weeks ago.

CMS plans to announce that it will open a new 30-day federal comment period on the Kentucky plan — allowing the administration to potentially show it's addressing the court's concerns, according to two individuals with knowledge. While the state’s bid already went through a similar process last year and was approved in January, Trump administration lawyers are said to be confident that the strategy will allow them to surmount a federal judge’s misgivings, although advocates and external observers have doubts.

Federal health officials have approved Medicaid work requirements in three other states. Arkansas' program is already in effect, and officials remain confident that Indiana and New Hampshire's will move forward.
If you'd like to help stop this, you can submit comments to CMS opposing work requirements in both Kentucky and Mississippi. This actually works: part of the reason the Kentucky requirements were blocked was that the judge found CMS didn't adequately address the comments they received. Note that your comments are part of the public record; you could use initials if you wish.
posted by zachlipton at 2:55 PM on July 19 [30 favorites]


Good news everyone!

Three Top FBI Cybersecurity Officials to Retire
Scott Smith, the assistant FBI director who runs the Bureau’s cyber division, is leaving this month. His deputy, Howard Marshall, also left in recent weeks. Mr. Marshall has accepted a job at Accenture , a consulting firm that is expanding its cybersecurity portfolio. Mr. Smith is also expected to move to the private sector.

David Resch, executive assistant director of the FBI’s criminal, cyber, response and services branch, is departing the bureau as well. Mr. Resch, who was named to his senior post by FBI Director Christopher Wray in April, supervised Mr. Smith and Mr. Marshall.

posted by PenDevil at 2:59 PM on July 19 [12 favorites]




Three Top FBI Cybersecurity Officials to Retire

Spiffing. That makes four including Jeffrey Tricoli from last week (WSJ—FBI Official Overseeing Election-Meddling Task Force Has Left—Departure of Jeffrey Tricoli for private-sector job comes just months before Nov. 6 midterm elections).
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:06 PM on July 19 [9 favorites]


@RealDonaldTrump, this afternoon, "Will the Dems and Fake News ever learn? This is classic!"—along with a propaganda video clip of Sec. Clinton promoting the so-called "Russian reset" from Russian state TV Channel One.


Since this video was recorded, Russia has:

- Illegally annexed Crimea
- Killed hundreds of civilians on MH17
- Interfered with Brexit, the 2016 election, and other elections around the globe
- Deployed a nerve agent in the UK
posted by chris24 at 3:12 PM on July 19 [53 favorites]


Uhhhh. The official Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs account has set their twitter profile pic to a picture of Maria Butina with #FreeMariaButina screened across it.

I'm really not comfortable with the extent to which international relations between nuclear powers consists of trolling.
posted by zachlipton at 3:17 PM on July 19 [47 favorites]


I'm really not comfortable with the extent to which international relations between nuclear powers consists of trolling.

Especially since i'm not sure which side would be more eager to nuke American cities--with all their minorities and liberals.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 3:21 PM on July 19 [12 favorites]


Speaking of which, I'm not entirely confident this is real, but former Bond girl and Playboy model Robbin Young posted copies of her purported 2016 DMs with Guiccifer 2.0 in which the Russian front encourages Seth Rich conspiracy theories.

@ericgeller: If these screenshots are real, a former Playboy model broke the news that the Russian DNC hackers encouraged the Seth Rich conspiracy theory, which is the most 2018 thing ever

She claims to have sent topless pics too.

I think it's actually a serious story though. If this holds up, this means going back to everyone who spread Rich conspiracy theories and asking why they were helping Russian intelligence.
posted by zachlipton at 3:24 PM on July 19 [23 favorites]


I'm really not comfortable with the extent to which international relations between nuclear powers consists of trolling.

Trolling is propaganda. They know exactly who they are targeting- 4chan.
posted by dilaudid at 3:25 PM on July 19 [6 favorites]


WaPo, Justice Department plans to alert public to foreign operations targeting U.S. democracy. That...why is this some kind of revolutionary new policy?

----

Politico, Ryan says conservatives must 'fight back' against the alt-right
Conservatives should "fight back" against the alt-right and white nationalists, and do a better job reclaiming classic terms to stamp out identity politics, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said on Thursday.

“We have to go back and fight for our ground and re-win these ideas and marginalize these guys the best we can to the corners,” Ryan said. “Do everything you can to defeat it.”

Ryan made the comments in conversation with National Review senior editor Jonah Goldberg. The two conservatives spoke at an event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute. Ryan had harsh words for the alt-right, an umbrella term for extreme right-wing individuals who reject mainstream conservatism and often embrace racism and white supremacy.

“That is not conservatism. That is racism. That is nationalism. That is not what we believe in. That is not the founding vision, that is not the founders’ creed,” Ryan said.
I happened to be listening to Chance the Rapper's new track as I read this, so my reaction is right there: Fu-u-u-u-u-uck, fuck fuck you
posted by zachlipton at 3:48 PM on July 19 [18 favorites]


WaPo, Justice Department plans to alert public to foreign operations targeting U.S. democracy. That...why is this some kind of revolutionary new policy?

Meanwhile, back at the Aspen Security Forum, ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) covers Rosenstein's announcement: NEW: The Justice Department is releasing the first report of its cyber digital task force, which was established in February, says Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein. (with video)
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:50 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


“That is not conservatism. That is racism. That is nationalism. That is not what we believe in. That is not the founding vision, that is not the founders’ creed,”

That is your president.
posted by chris24 at 3:50 PM on July 19 [32 favorites]


[Folks, the Manafort evidence thing was covered upthread already.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:56 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]


“That is not conservatism. That is racism. That is nationalism. That is not what we believe in. That is not the founding vision, that is not the founders’ creed,” Ryan said.
See this is the thing. Conservatives are mainly concerned with the maintenance of the status quo because it works for them. The alt-right also want to see that status quo that works for them. In fact, they want to go back to when the status quo worked better for both them and conservatives. Their interests are aligned because of a naked desire to be the unquestioned top of some default social strata.

Progressivism and liberalism (like proper liberalism not centrists saying "I'M LIBERAL! I LIKE THE GAYS!") is abhorrent because, whether they consciously realize this or not, they don't know whether they'll be top of the heap or have the boot on their neck this time.

I'm sorry but your fundamental philosophy of faux meritocracy cloaked in individualism and a pathological fear of people actually working together? You and the alt-right are literally aliases of each other.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 4:04 PM on July 19 [19 favorites]


You know, like how there's not a fucking reason why Morning in America only has two black people in it.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 4:08 PM on July 19


The Trump Voters Thanking Russia for Its Help
Skimming #MAGA Twitter, it’s easy to see the outlines of the pro-Russian-meddling argument emerging: America interferes in other countries’ elections, so it can’t be that bad; exposing Democrats’ hacked emails was a victory for transparency; keeping Clinton out of office was so urgent and important that it warranted some foreign intervention.
...
But as evidence of communication with Russia mounted in the months that followed, Trump’s allies were forced to pivot repeatedly. They argued that the president hadn’t broken any laws; that any candidate in his position would have done the same thing; that Clinton would have lost regardless of Russia’s interference, so the whole point is moot.

Given this pattern of deflection and rationalization, is it really so implausible that a significant segment of Trump-backers might complete the journey from denying Russian meddling to celebrating it? Already, GOP voters’ attitudes toward Russia have warmed considerably in the years since then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney identified the country as America’s top geopolitical foe. According to Gallup, the percentage of Republicans who view Russia as “friendly” or an “ally” has doubled since 2014—from 22 percent to 40 percent.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:09 PM on July 19 [8 favorites]


The Double Down From Hell:
Trump Invites Putin to D.C. for Second Meeting

Ed Kilgore | NYMag

“Of all the advice the White House has heard about how the president can help his party going into a tough, crucial midterm election, I am reasonably sure no one came up with this idea.”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:11 PM on July 19 [23 favorites]


While Trump was in the room receiving that briefing with the highly sensitive evidence linking Putin to the hacking, his Twitter account was whining about leaks to NBC.

@JasonLeopold: Funny email from ODNI I obtained via #FOIA. On Jan 6, 2017, while Trump rec'd briefing on dossier/Russia interference from IC, his acct tweeted abt leaks to NBC and called on Congress to investigate Someone at ODNI replied: "He is literally in the secure room with his team"
posted by zachlipton at 4:13 PM on July 19 [36 favorites]


Russia-friendly Rep. Rohrabacher doubts hacking indictment, plans to consult outside ‘experts’
David Weigel | WaPo
On July 3, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) talked with a local news station in his district about a topic on which he has often strayed from the pack: the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee. Rohrabacher, who has urged friendlier relations with Russia, said that there were plenty of questions about the hack, and that it might have been an “inside job,” followed by a years-long coverup.

“I went to Julian Assange of course to talk to him personally, the guy who of course disclosed all of these emails, and he adamantly said the Russians weren’t in it,” he told Fox LA reporter Elex Michaelson. “And, by the way, if we could in some way guarantee that he can get out of the Ecuadorian Embassy, he said he told me he has absolute proof, just actual, not just words, but he’s got proof that the Russians did not hack.”

Ten days later, the Justice Department indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers, fingering them for the email hacks that roiled and wounded Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. For many people, the indictment put to rest several alternative theories of how the DNC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta were hacked.

In a short interview, Rohrabacher said that he wanted to know more.

“The explanation of the indictment is so complicated and technical that it is hard for anyone to judge whether it’s accurate,” he said. “There are experts that will be able to judge whether it’s accurate. I know that there are a number of intelligence agents, people experienced with this area of technically, the VIPS. They’re experts in cyber warfare. I plan to talk to them to see if the information provided in the indictments is something that they are willing to accept as possible as compared to what they said in the past.”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:18 PM on July 19 [14 favorites]


Trump Didn’t Know The Apprentice Was About Apprenticeships Until Today
Speaking to a crowd at a White House event called Pledge to America’s Workers, Trump came across a line in the prepared text that included the word apprenticeships. Then he went off script: “That’s an interesting word for me to be saying, right? The Apprentice. I never actually put that together until just now,” he said.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:30 PM on July 19 [106 favorites]


This comes from the genius.

Btw, I think the Trump family motto should be "I do what I want," said in the Cartman voice.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:44 PM on July 19 [4 favorites]


Barack Spinoza: “I went to Julian Assange of course to talk to him personally, the guy who of course disclosed all of these emails, and he adamantly said the Russians weren’t in it,” he told Fox LA reporter Elex Michaelson.

I imagine the Aussie rapist's "proof" that the hack wasn't Russian (assuming he wasn't just vomiting words but had a notion in mind) is that wholly-debunked assertion about download speeds.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 4:44 PM on July 19 [4 favorites]


Btw, I think the Trump family motto should be "I do what I want," said in the Cartman voice.

The fact that about 1/3 of South Park's viewers (plus, semi-secretly, the creators) thought Cartman was the protagonist is itself partly responsible for the entire parade of horribles.
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:48 PM on July 19 [27 favorites]


“That’s an interesting word for me to be saying, right? The Apprentice. I never actually put that together until just now,” he said.

Canada’s president can explain quantum physics.
posted by nikaspark at 4:48 PM on July 19 [85 favorites]


“I went to Julian Assange of course to talk to him personally, the guy who of course disclosed all of these emails, and he adamantly said the Russians weren’t in it,” he told Fox LA reporter Elex Michaelson. “And, by the way, if we could in some way guarantee that he can get out of the Ecuadorian Embassy, he said he told me he has absolute proof, just actual, not just words, but he’s got proof that the Russians did not hack.”

Remember kids: When there's a good chance you're mentioned in a conspiracy's indictment, it's always a good strategy to go on record stating your direct connection to one of the people involved in the conspiracy the indictment is in reference to.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 4:49 PM on July 19 [17 favorites]


A Theory of Trump Kompromat
Why the President is so nice to Putin, even when Putin might not want him to be.

Adam Davidson | The New Yorker
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:54 PM on July 19 [20 favorites]


I went to Julian Assange of course to talk to him personally, the guy who of course disclosed all of these emails, and he adamantly said the Russians weren’t in it,

What is it with these people? You don't just ask the crook if they did the thing and take their word for it.

The police investigation revealed no fault by the police. <----- How is this satisfactory in anyone's mind?
posted by adept256 at 5:07 PM on July 19 [10 favorites]


That New Yorker article by Adam Davidson (linked by Barack Spinoza) is worth reading because it's not too long and defines a concept I don't think was much out there: "sistema", the Russian network of criminals and plutocrats who keep each other in check with the threat of kompromat. A key point is that Putin isn't a puppetmaster over the whole sistema, just the present ringleader of the highest inner circle, sort of like feudalism.

The article suggests that money-laundering-related blackmail on Trump is likelier than a sexual sort, but I'm pretty convinced it's both. There's no reason they'd avoid the redundancy like "well, that's enough kompromat now" (and Putin isn't going to be the only blackmailer here). And Trump clearly does care about keeping some parts of his sex life secret, as obviously evidenced by his many NDAs with mistresses.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:24 PM on July 19 [10 favorites]


The same New Yorker article makes the important point that under sistema, even Trump himself might not know the specifics of any potential kompromat, just that it may exist: "But, now, [Trump] is much like everyone else in sistema. He fears there is kompromat out there—maybe a lot of it—but he doesn’t know precisely what it is, who has it, or what might set them off."
posted by reductiondesign at 5:30 PM on July 19 [8 favorites]


Not a fan of exoticising Russianisms - kompromat instead of dirt or blackmail material, or sistema instead of the system - but that's a good article and makes some perceptive points about how things are and how that might influence behaviour, Barack Spinoza. I expect the degree of informality of the thing will be of great help to the GOP, who will be able to say "show me the contract!" "where's the documentary evidence?" for every link in the chain.

I do wonder about that Helsinki deal: surely whatever security team swept the room last bugged the hell out of it, but it's presumably the Russian side. Historically, have these kinds of meetings been secure, or like Swiss cheese? Sure, we citizens of the world don't know what was agreed, but does the CIA?
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 5:32 PM on July 19 [5 favorites]


That is racism.... That is not the founding vision, that is not the founders’ creed - Ryan

WTF more than a third of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention were slave owners. Enough with the founding fathers deification; if you weren't a wealthy white male, they devised new ways to exploit you.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:35 PM on July 19 [32 favorites]


Politico, Ryan says conservatives must 'fight back' against the alt-right

Oopsie, Va GOP Candidate Corey Stewart’s Staffer Was in Alt-Right Hate Rally Chat: A staffer for Trump-endorsed candidate Corey Stewart was in a Facebook group for Unite the Right 2, which discussed whether to invite violent skinhead and paramilitary groups to the rally (thedailybeast).
posted by peeedro at 5:36 PM on July 19 [6 favorites]


Kevin Collier, Buzzfeed: The Russians Who Hacked The DNC Have Targeted At Least Three 2018 Campaigns, Microsoft Says
"The same Russian intelligence agency charged with hacking Democrats’ emails in 2016 has targeted at least three candidates running for election in 2018, a Microsoft executive said.

Speaking on a panel at the Aspen Security Forum on Thursday, Tom Burt, Microsoft's vice president for customer security and trust, said that his team had discovered a spear-phishing campaign targeting three candidates running for election in 2018. Analysts traced them to a group Microsoft has nicknamed Strontium, which is closely tracked by every major threat intelligence company and is widely accepted to be run by the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency.

Burt declined to name the candidates during the event, citing privacy concerns, and didn’t say which party they belonged to, but implied they were candidates of note and running for reelection."
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:47 PM on July 19 [19 favorites]


The absurd 24 hours unleashed by one bad White House answer on Russia
How White House press secretary Sarah Sanders unleashed a Putin-related firestorm.

Alex Ward | Vox
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:26 PM on July 19 [5 favorites]


WaPo, Seung Min Kim, Democrats seize on failure of judicial pick to demand all of Supreme Court nominee’s documents
The forced withdrawal Thursday of a Trump judicial nominee over his college writings inflamed the battle over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, with Democrats escalating their demands to see all of his past documents, even though that could top 1 million pages.
...
Senate Democrats, who have so far declined to sit down with Kavanaugh for courtesy meetings until the two parties reach a deal on documents, immediately pounced on the failure of Bounds’s nomination over his writings to argue that the Supreme Court nominee needs to produce all of his paperwork.

Kavanaugh worked for five years in the George W. Bush White House, including as staff secretary, which made him the conduit for all paperwork that went through the administration.

“A lower-court nominee’s college writings are relevant, but a Supreme Court nominee’s White House writings aren’t?” asked Matt House, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) “I don’t think so.”
----

NYT op-ed, Sarah Smarsh, Liberal Blind Spots Are Hiding the Truth About ‘Trump Country’. I will not copy/paste the entire column, though I really want to:
Yes, my father is angry at someone. But it is not his co-worker Gem, a Filipino immigrant with whom he has split a room to pocket some of the per diem from their employer, or Francisco, a Hispanic crew member with whom he recently built a Wendy’s north of Memphis. His anger, rather, is directed at bosses who exploit labor and governments that punish the working poor — two sides of a capitalist democracy that bleeds people like him dry.

“Corporations,” Dad said. “That’s it. That’s the point of the sword that’s killing us.”
...
Among the 30 states tidily declared “red” after the 2016 election, in two-thirds of them Mrs. Clinton received 35 to 48 percent of the vote. My white working-class family was part of that large minority, rendered invisible by the Electoral College and graphics that paint each state red or blue.

In the meantime, critical stories here in “red states” go underdiscussed and underreported, including:

Barriers to voting. Forces more influential than the political leanings of a white factory worker decide election outcomes: gerrymandering, super PACs, corrupt officials. In Kansas, Secretary of State Kris Kobach blocked 30,000 would-be voters from casting ballots (and was recently held in contempt of federal court for doing so).

Different information sources. Some of my political views shifted when my location, peer group and news sources changed during my college years. Many Americans today have a glut of information but poor media literacy — hard to rectify if you work on your feet all day, don’t own a computer and didn’t get a chance to learn the vocabulary of national discourse.

Populism on the left. Today, “populism” is often used interchangeably with “far right.” But the American left is experiencing a populist boom. According to its national director, Democratic Socialists of America nearly quadrupled in size from 2016 to 2017 — and saw its biggest one-day boost the day after Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s recent primary upset. Progressive congressional candidates with working-class backgrounds and platforms have major support heading into the midterms here in Kansas, including the white civil rights attorney James Thompson, who grew up in poverty, and Sharice Davids, a Native American lawyer who would be the first openly lesbian representative from Kansas.
posted by zachlipton at 6:26 PM on July 19 [35 favorites]


Speaking of which, I'm not entirely confident this is real, but former Bond girl and Playboy model Robbin Young posted copies of her purported 2016 DMs with Guiccifer 2.0 in which the Russian front encourages Seth Rich conspiracy theories.

Possibly not—it looks like the screenshots of the chat logs are inconsistent with Twitter's UI and may have been doctored. The Guccifer 2.0 Chat Hoax—The Private Twitter Conversation between Robbin Young and Guccifer 2.0 is a Hoax…But Why? and Part Two (Medium)

Did we know this already?

NYT, David E. Sanger and Matthew Rosenberg: From the Start, Trump Has Muddied a Clear Message: Putin Interfered


It looks like we did after all (which would explain why the IC was willing to let the NYT run with it). While the detail of the White Envelope is new, the ultra-sensitive source is almost certainly the same as the one mentioned in this Washington Post article from June last year Obama’s Secret Struggle To Punish Russia For Putin’s Election Assault:
Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.

Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.

But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.[...]

The material was so sensitive that CIA Director John O. Brennan kept it out of the President’s Daily Brief, concerned that even that restricted report’s distribution was too broad. The CIA package came with instructions that it be returned immediately after it was read. To guard against leaks, subsequent meetings in the Situation Room followed the same protocols as planning sessions for the Osama bin Laden raid.
And in Michael Isikoff and David Corn's Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump
At the first principles meeting, Brennan had serious news for his colleagues: The most recent intelligence indicated that Putin had ordered or was overseeing the Russian cyber operations targeting the U.S. election. And the IC was now certain that the Russian operation entailed more than spy services gathering information. It now viewed the Russian action as a full-scale active measure.

The intelligence was so sensitive it had not been put in the President's Daily Brief. Brennan had informed Obama personally about this, but he did not want this information circulating through the national security system.[...]

But the secret source in the Kremlin, who two years earlier had regularly provided information to an American official in the U.S. embassy, had warned that a massive operation targeting Western democracies was being planned. The development of the Gerasimov doctrine was another indication that full-scale information war against the United States was a possibility.
More excerpts from Russian Roulette in which they talk about the source here and here and here. It's safe to assume the Brennan's top-secret Russian source is dead—even if he were in jail, this amount of public revelation would be unacceptably risky.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:27 PM on July 19 [23 favorites]


"And, by the way, if we could in some way guarantee that he can get out of the Ecuadorian Embassy"

Welp, there's Assange's payoff for helping get Trump elected. Rohrabacher is floating a trial balloon.
posted by duoshao at 6:34 PM on July 19 [13 favorites]


Possibly not—it looks like the screenshots of the chat logs are inconsistent with Twitter's UI and may have been doctored. The Guccifer 2.0 Chat Hoax—The Private Twitter Conversation between Robbin Young and Guccifer 2.0 is a Hoax…But Why? and Part Two (Medium)

This appears to be written by a Seth Rich conspiracy theorist who writes "We are not going to quit until we bring justice for Seth Rich." Like, in a quick look, he spends his time analyzing how QAnon theories fit into whatever theories he has going on.

I think it's entirely possible, maybe even probable, the screenshots are doctored. Apparently they aren't even new, and she's been saying some of this stuff for over a year, just the first time anybody noticed I guess. Young claims to have talked to the FBI, so that's presumably the kind of thing we'd find out eventually. Mueller surely has authentic copies of all of Guccifer 2.0's DMs. The guy who wrote these medium posts needs to prop up his Seth Rich theories and insist they aren't part of a Russian intelligence plot.
posted by zachlipton at 6:44 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]


NYT op-ed, Sarah Smarsh, Liberal Blind Spots Are Hiding the Truth About ‘Trump Country’.

I am sympathetic to this woman's opinion, but the fact remains that study after study on the motivations of Trump voters demonstrate that they were driven by xenophobia and racial animus. This is not one study. Multiple studies have come out with these conclusions. Her personal experience does not trump (heh) science. And frankly, it is extremely common for someone to not have a problem with "the good ones" (i.e. the ones they know) while wanting to get rid of all the others.
posted by schroedinger at 6:48 PM on July 19 [48 favorites]


That xenophobia and racial animus is not innate. It is seeded, incubated, nurtured, and fostered in so many cohesive ways. There is a huge propaganda apparatus at work.

It's the same propaganda apparatus that makes poor, middle, and even upper-class people cast votes on behalf of the interests of billionaires, counter to their own.

The "motivations" of Trump voters aren't even theirs. They've been infected with a powerful virus.
posted by yesster at 6:56 PM on July 19 [21 favorites]


schroedinger: I am sympathetic to this woman's opinion, but the fact remains that study after study on the motivations of Trump voters demonstrate that they were driven by xenophobia and racial animus.

But going by the excerpt it sounds like her point is that "Trump Country" isn't Trump Country. It's not saying Trump voters shouldn't be smeared as a bunch of racists, it's saying rural Americans shouldn't be smeared as a bunch of Trump voters (which is to say, as racists).
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:03 PM on July 19 [18 favorites]


It's not saying Trump voters shouldn't be smeared as a bunch of racists, it's saying rural Americans shouldn't be smeared as a bunch of Trump voters (which is to say, as racists).

She makes the point that there are shitty racist people in blue states, which is true and something people on the left should not forget. But, like, the majority of people in the Midwest and South did vote for Trump. #NotAllRuralVoters doesn't change that.
posted by schroedinger at 7:10 PM on July 19 [6 favorites]


In my limited experience the beating heart of Trumpism is in the suburbs and exurbs.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:10 PM on July 19 [51 favorites]


When are moderate rurals going to denounce these radical extremists?
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:13 PM on July 19 [38 favorites]


It's not saying Trump voters shouldn't be smeared as a bunch of racists, it's saying rural Americans shouldn't be smeared as a bunch of Trump voters (which is to say, as racists)


Or in practical terms, the 50 state strategy. We have to consider all states, even deep red ones as winnable. To regard any state as irredeemably "Trump Country" makes the GoP's job easier.
posted by happyroach at 7:19 PM on July 19 [58 favorites]


NYT, Farhad Manjoo, What Stays on Facebook and What Goes? The Social Network Cannot Answer
So to recap: Facebook is deeply committed to free expression and will allow people to post just about anything, including even denying the Holocaust. Unless, that is, if a Holocaust denial constitutes hate speech, in which case the company may take it down. But if a post contains a factual inaccuracy, it would not be removed, but it may be shown to very few people, reducing its impact.

On the other hand, if the misinformation has been determined to be inciting imminent violence, Facebook will remove it — even if it’s not hate speech. On the other other hand, if a site lies repeatedly, spouts conspiracy theories or even incites violence, it can maintain a presence on the site, because ultimately, there’s no falsehood that will get you kicked off Facebook.

All of this fails a basic test: It’s not even coherent. It is a hodgepodge of declarations and exceptions and exceptions to the exceptions.
posted by zachlipton at 7:26 PM on July 19 [50 favorites]


It's not saying Trump voters shouldn't be smeared as a bunch of racists, it's saying rural Americans shouldn't be smeared as a bunch of Trump voters (which is to say, as racists)


That article says that rural white voters feel that the enemy is "the bosses" and "the corporations" but went ahead and voted Republican in 2016 anyway Full Stop

That article doesn't say that by far the largest and loudest message Trump had was "build the wall." That article doesn't say that white, rural, working class Trump voters are aghast at what is happening to brown migrants and refugees right this very minute, because they are in favor of it. It doesn't say that they were against a Muslim Ban, because they were in favor of that. But hey, they aren't racist to good old "Filipino Gem" down at the plant, where real Americans work. Go ask "Gem" how much racial bullshit and shitty "hilarious" nicknames he's been given by his white, rural, working working class co-workers.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 7:37 PM on July 19 [34 favorites]


Buzzfeed, "Congratulations, Mr. President: Zuckerberg Secretly Called Trump After The Election"

The private call between Zuckerberg and Trump, which was confirmed by three people familiar with the conversation, is just one in a series of private endorsements from Facebook employees of the Trump campaign’s ad efforts on the platform. The company declined to comment on the call. The White House press office did not respond to a request for comment.

[..] These memos and presentations indicate Facebook took the methods it learned from the Trump campaign to further refine a marketing model called “Test, Learn, Adapt” (TLA), which it currently uses to assess its own advertising. These internal documents are a candid recognition by Facebook of the GOP candidate’s advertising success and reveal the degree to which the company views Trump not just as a potential regulator or a source of misinformation, but also, above all, a valued customer.


Bonus fun, the comments are all "Grrr I'm cancelling Facebook - oh noes how will I comment on Buzzfeed?! LOL"
posted by petebest at 7:39 PM on July 19 [7 favorites]


It's the same propaganda apparatus that makes poor, middle, and even upper-class people cast votes on behalf of the interests of billionaires, counter to their own.
"If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you."
It's why Nixon railed endlessly about “law and order” to send his message to the South.

It's why Reagan started the welfare queen myth.

It's why Bush went with crack babies.

Jesus Fucking Christ it's why we had "Tough on Crime" that let Congress and Clinton get away with a complete savaging of welfare back in the '90s. People were so fucking scared of Willie Fucking Horton coming in and murdering them in the dead of the night that their safety net was shredded without even a whimper of voting backlash from the electorate. They voted for more of it. They put Newt in the fucking driver's seat of Congress.

We write way too many words to restate what LBJ figured out over 50 years ago.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 7:48 PM on July 19 [91 favorites]


This appears to be written by a Seth Rich conspiracy theorist who writes "We are not going to quit until we bring justice for Seth Rich."

Well, that took a quick turn for the crazy. There's not much space between obsessively studying screenshots and obsessively constructing conspiracy theories. And Robbin Young tells Kim Dotcom (yes, blue-ticked @KimDotcom), "I recently had my DM's with #Guccifer2.0 authenticated, by a reputable company, and I will be adding them to the autobiography I'm currently writing." But she also says, "...I sincerely enjoyed direct messaging with Guccifer 2.0, and I miss him! 😔 I’m a patriotic American and I love the USA, but I believe G2 was telling the truth when he said he was a Romanian."

This truly is the stupidest timeline.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:36 PM on July 19 [5 favorites]


Okay, people are getting weird about an article that's making the same point people in these threads have made multiple times. I think it makes enormous sense to keep our mental concept "working class rural person" cleanly separate from "Trump supporter", to note that the former isn't necessarily white like the latter almost certainly is, to note that the latter actually skews wealthy, etc.

It seems like the article could have used a couple paragraphs establishing as a given that yes, Trump and his supporters are fundamentally racist, no question. Otherwise it gets pattern-matched by the reader into the stupidly overdone Anxiously Forgotten Man type piece.

But what I'm put off by is the notion that this same principle of fundamental deplorability extends beyond Trumpism to ~rural America~ as a whole. It very much doesn't. Rural America is less Republican than urban America is Democratic -- that's exactly why both areas are so easy to exploit with gerrymandering!

(Also, I guess the writer's father in particular comes off to a lot of people as, like, obviously some kind of Trump voter? I'll grant that he may well have a bunch of condescending attitudes toward his nonwhite coworkers, but it's pretty clear the implication is no, he does not support Trump at all. But having given it a second read, I can see where people would assume otherwise, e.g the rant against the British royals and the general tone about which he's written, as though she has to excuse something about him.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:43 PM on July 19 [12 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 Senate -- WV: Trafalgar Strategy poll has Sen Manchin up 50-40 on Morissey [MOE: +/- 2.88%]. Meanwhile, a GOP-aligned group is cancelling a big TV/radio buy.

** 2018 House:
-- CA-49: Public Opinion Strategies poll has GOPer Harkey up 46-43 on Dem Levin [MOE: +/- 4.9%]. This was an internal poll for Harkey; Levin had released his own internal last week showing him up 49-46. Probably about tied, in other words.

-- Lots of progressives running, many in Dem-favored districts, so the Dem caucus should be considerably leftier post-election.
** OH-12 special -- DCCC is dropping $250k for an ad buy. Dem O'Connor claims internal polling shows him trailing only 45-43; public polling has shown the gap more like 7, but House specials can be difficult to poll. Cook has the race as Tossup.

** Odds & ends:
-- Sabato moves ratings for three governor races, all to the left: AZ (Leans R), IL (Likely D), IA (Tossup).

-- Youth voter registration surged after Parkland shooting.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:51 PM on July 19 [33 favorites]


I guess I'm at a loss as to when its ok to refer to a group which isn't monolithic without qualifiers and when it isnt. Like, if one posts "white people need to do better" about voting for Trump that receive nods ('cause we do) and #notallwhitepeople would be roundly mocked (and should be). But "rural people need to do better" is controversial even though the fraction of rural people who voted for Trump is actually higher than the fraction of white people who voted for Trump.

I don't really understand how it works. It can't be about privilege; white rural voters have massively disproportionate political power. So ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
posted by Justinian at 8:51 PM on July 19 [18 favorites]


From Julia Ioffe in the WaPo, The surreal world: Vladimir Putin has his own version of reality. And President Trump believes it.
To Russian observers, it seemed like nothing else really happened at the summit. No agreement was signed, and apparently, no issue of substance was discussed: not Syria, not Ukraine, not human rights. (Still, the Russian Ministry of Defense jumped on the vague talk of cooperation, saying Tuesday that it was ready to implement Trump and Putin’s vision of national security.) But the news conference after the meeting showed that Trump is an ally on the most fundamental level. This is why, the day after the summit, the Russian mission to the United Nations issued a tweet asserting disproven information about the MH17 disaster. The Kremlin was clearly feeling good about its truth.

“We were right about everything all along, and all we needed was some patience for everyone else to realize it,” Moscow political scientist Ekaterina Schulmann says of how this turn of events is perceived in Russia. “Life is just a string of confirmation of our wisdom and vision. You just need to see it the right way.”

This isn’t an academic question of interpretation. Seeing it the right way — or the wrong way — has real policy implications. If America is at fault for everything that’s gone wrong in its relationship with Russia, as Trump seems to agree, then why do we impose sanctions on Russian officials and companies? This has been Russia’s position all along. Even before Trump’s inauguration, his then-national security adviser Michael Flynn was planning on unwinding Russia sanctions unilaterally. This suited the Russians just fine. In public statements, the Kremlin made clear that sanctions imposed by Washington could be undone only by Washington; Russia had absolutely nothing to do with it. You imposed the sanctions for no reason, the logic went; you remove them for no reason. To do anything else would be to admit fault, and this is something Putin, the consummate zero-sum man, does not do. It shows weakness, it paves the way to defeat.

Now Putin has what he wanted: a man in the White House who really understands him, who sees things from the same perspective, who sees things the right way. As Putin put it Monday: “Yes, I did [want Trump to win]. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.” He meant, of course, what Russia defines as normal. After Helsinki, it’s clear that Trump’s definition is just about the same.
posted by peeedro at 8:53 PM on July 19 [12 favorites]


"I'm very highly educated. I know words, I know the best words. But there's no better word than stupid."
*ahem*
posted by mce at 9:10 PM on July 19 [4 favorites]


“That is not conservatism. That is racism. That is nationalism. That is not what we believe in. That is not the founding vision, that is not the founders’ creed,”

In a lot of ways it kind of is though, is the thing; see Ben Franklin on the threat of "swarthy Palatine boors", or Thomas Jefferson on the inherent inferiority of Africans. Pretending that white supremacy isn't a fundamental part of America's foundational story may make you feel better, but it just isn't true. (I have multiple "Revolutionary Patriot" ancestors; every single one of them owned slaves. Tell me how racism wasn't some part of their creed. Go on, I'll wait.)
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 9:20 PM on July 19 [47 favorites]


It is said correctly that the rural support for Trump feeds off racism. That racism , in turn, feeds off despair and a sort of Trump's mirror. The fear that is projected on to urban areas comes from the disintegration of the rural areas. While crime has gone way down in the cities in the past 25 years, it has gone considerably up in the rural areas and rural states. Heroin, drugs in general, the death of family farming: people have commented that Hitler took root in an economic crisis. The nation as a whole does not have a crisis, but many rural places do.
As I said the Trump's mirror effect takes place. They project their own disorders on to others: the cities (which they see as crime-ridden, black, homosexual, liberal) and immigrants (which they see as crime-ridden and undercutting wages).
I haven't bothered reading a single article of what do rural Trump voters think. I just imagine that the news accounts will get it wrong. But I've been there, lived that. In my comedy days I used to tell a joke: maybe someday we'll live in a trailer, ma.
The response, the bigotry and the small-mindedness of rural Trump supporters is not justified, but the suffering is real and should not be ignored. The suffering is so bad that returning to coal sounded like an answer. The suffering is so bad that a second-rate hustler like Trump succeeded.
I do recognize that Hillary had a platform dealing with rural poverty. At the same time I believe the problems are under-addressed. I remember a Native American leader in Arizona saying in 2016, no one is talking to us.
A workable plan that addresses the economic and social upheaval in the red areas needs to be a visible part of the Democratic platform. It's not pandering to people who will never vote for Democrats. It is addressing a wound that has been caused by unequal economic expansion. America: we're in it together. And that's my proposal for a slogan
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:21 PM on July 19 [55 favorites]


I don't really understand how it works. It can't be about privilege; white rural voters have massively disproportionate political power.

There is a strong difference between disproportionate political power and actual political power. If you have, to abuse a classic example, 7 wolves and a lamb voting about what to eat for dinner, it won't make the lamb feel any better because the wolves said he gets four votes instead of one.

The only privilege rural areas and voters in them have is the privilege of watching their towns die. Communities that were once vibrant are ghost towns now, and I'm frankly not sure what if anything can bring them back. The people who live in these fading towns are not in any way powerful just because hucksters lie to them to get a few more seats. No one is actually helping get them what they need.
posted by corb at 10:28 PM on July 19 [37 favorites]


Also, I guess the writer's father in particular comes off to a lot of people as, like, obviously some kind of Trump voter? I'll grant that he may well have a bunch of condescending attitudes toward his nonwhite coworkers, but it's pretty clear the implication is no, he does not support Trump at all. But having given it a second read, I can see where people would assume otherwise

The article isn't "my Arkansas socialist father, or my Blue Dog Democrat father is outraged that he is being disenfranchised by Republican gerrymandering." It never is. It's always about white people in districts where the majority of white people voted for Trump, who aren't so happy with him now. Trump was an obvious disaster since forever. His first campaign speech was Mexicans are Rapists. These white people feel bad because they couldn't see an obvious huckster coming from miles away have buyer's remorse. Non-white people are in cages and camps. Besides all of the other ones that we just regularly incarcerate because white voters love "tough on crime." Cry me a river.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:31 PM on July 19 [23 favorites]


Regarding all the IT security stuff: once upon a time I did law firm IT. At one firm, you cannot imagine the amount of pushback against abolishing the 10 year old password convention of username+"xx" I encountered. It's some kind of testimony about human nature (or maybe just lawyers) that this only went by the wayside because of mistrust of co-workers (as vs. external threats).

I can give 2016 campaigns a pass on not understanding how much they were being targeted, maybe. But now that we know, why keep relying on protocols that are so vulnerable to both technical exploitation, or social engineering? I know groupware-based intranets are a pain in the ass but c'mon.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:35 PM on July 19 [10 favorites]


My final point, I am not saying that all Trump voters are big racists. I am saying that Trump campaigned on white resentment and there was a bunch of racist stuff and the obviously horrible racists loved him for his racism and that wasn't enough to get these other white guys to vote for Hillary.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:48 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]


There is a strong difference between disproportionate political power and actual political power. If you have, to abuse a classic example, 7 wolves and a lamb voting about what to eat for dinner, it won't make the lamb feel any better because the wolves said he gets four votes instead of one.

What's with this obfuscation? If we're talking about the Senate and Electoral College, it's the wolves that are getting four votes instead of one: the predators on the flanks of the bulk of the more numerous and actually productive (urban) populations.

There is a strong difference between disproportionate political power and actual political power. If you have, to abuse a classic example, 7 wolves and a lamb voting about what to eat for dinner, it won't make the lamb feel any better because the wolves said he gets four votes instead of one.

False dichotomy. Rural conservatives can both be overrepresented in a systematic sense, and still have their objective interests (or at least those related to their class position) betrayed by the pols who fill those seats.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:03 PM on July 19 [21 favorites]


The Democrats' fundamental and insoluble data security problem was Republican criminality. You don't see banks or resource companies trying to hack their competitors: that's not because they're virtuous but because the consequences are so very severe. Trump's campaign was a criminal enterprise and even so their solicitation and acceptance of the stolen data was amazingly foolhardy. Mustn't grumble though: it might be the thing that saves us all.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:05 AM on July 20 [26 favorites]


No one is actually helping get them what they need.

No one who has ever voted republican has voted to help those folks. Point me at a single republican party plank which explicitly promises to brings help to this mythical small town inhabitant. And I mean something specific, not the usual brain-dead "if you just make rich people richer, it will help you too!" BS.

The republicans turn their noses up at these "losers" until they need their vote. Just in this thread are stories of conservative politicians condemning their constituents to misery to stick it to the "libs" (for daring to offer medicare expansion, and that's just one example). So, please.

Unreality, cheese pizza, etc., etc

Is anyone else here a regular visitor to youtube? I am, but I watch some music videos, some industrial videos, and the like. I subscribe to a bunch of channels with names like "Martha's Machine Shop" and "Walter's Woodworking" and "The Voice from some Remarkably Tiny Country". So youtube generally only shows me stuff like that when I do visit the youtube home page.

If you're like that, you might be surprised (as I was): try opening a "private browsing" window and visit youtube. It's the weirdest--and not in a good way--bunch of BS. Lots of Jeebus and "miracle" videos. Lots of supernatural stuff. Lots of science denialism. Lots of what looks like BS aimed at easy marks. It's fucking nuts. If that's the exposure "low information" people get, it's no wonder we're where we are.
posted by maxwelton at 12:34 AM on July 20 [38 favorites]


The Democrats' fundamental and insoluble data security problem was Republican criminality.

Just a reminder that back in 2000, someone sent debate prep material for GW Bush to the Gore campaign, and they immediately called the FBI.
posted by PenDevil at 12:48 AM on July 20 [90 favorites]


No one who has ever voted republican has voted to help those folks. Point me at a single republican party plank which explicitly promises to brings help to this mythical small town inhabitant.

no - this is one of those small town 101 things that people don't get - when it comes to local and state benefits the action is often done through local and state representatives who are quite often republicans - there has been a trend in the last 10 years of representatives who don't work this process because of no-tax ideology but those are exceptions

if you want examples of what's going on i suggest you pick an area and study the local media - there's always examples of people trying to bring economic development and government benefits such as military bases, prisons, regional offices, etc etc etc

don't you recall all the figures that say the blue states are financially subsidizing the red states with federal tax dollars? how do you think this happens without republicans manipulating the system to get the government to pay their areas off?

it's a lot more complicated than you've made it sound
posted by pyramid termite at 2:55 AM on July 20 [31 favorites]


I read Obama's speech at Mandela's 100th birthday celebration, and in perhaps a shall we say really baked moment I got tremendous vertigo thinking about how aliens are going to be all WTF when TV waves with Obama and then Trump cross their alien TV wave listening gadgets.

I mean, really, our first alien contact will probably be some alien dude who had to just come down and say WTF guys in person.
posted by angrycat at 3:35 AM on July 20 [21 favorites]


It's the same propaganda apparatus that makes poor, middle, and even upper-class people cast votes on behalf of the interests of billionaires, counter to their own.

"If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you."


Plus we are all now just temporarily embarrassed former KGB Russian oligarchs.
posted by srboisvert at 3:37 AM on July 20 [25 favorites]


try opening a "private browsing" window and visit youtube. It's the weirdest--and not in a good way--bunch of BS. Lots of Jeebus and "miracle" videos. Lots of supernatural stuff. Lots of science denialism. Lots of what looks like BS aimed at easy marks. It's fucking nuts. If that's the exposure "low information" people get, it's no wonder we're where we are.
Fox News gets a lot of well-earned criticism for their role in the war on rationality but I think history will regard YouTube as a near equal partner. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear that anyone in power at Google cares about the corrosive effect they’re having on the world, especially given their greater reach to children.
posted by adamsc at 4:05 AM on July 20 [33 favorites]


Nathaniel Rakich and Dhrumil Mehta, 538: What Some Early, High-Quality Polls Can Tell Us About The Race For The House
...Not only is Monmouth University’s polling operation one of only six pollsters with an A+ grade in FiveThirtyEight’s pollster ratings, but it’s also great about polling elections that otherwise don’t get much attention.

This week, Monmouth released a poll of California’s 48th Congressional District, where Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher faces a stiff challenge from Democrat Harley Rouda. Let me enumerate all the reasons I love this poll:
    ....
  • ...it’s the sixth U.S. House poll2 that Monmouth has conducted this year. We’re always in favor of pollsters focusing on a handful of important but less high-profile races rather than being one of dozens to poll the same old swing states.
  • Third, Monmouth doesn’t just release one set of toplines: It releases three, reflecting the very real uncertainty about which voters will turn out in November. (If there’s one thing you take away from reading FiveThirtyEight, it should be not to be afraid of uncertainty.) Among what Monmouth calls “potential voters” — those who have voted in any election since 2010 or have newly registered to vote — Rouda leads 46 percent to 43 percent. Among voters who are likely to vote based on historical midterm turnout, the Democrat is up 47 percent to 45 percent. And among likely voters in a “Democratic surge” scenario, Rouda defeats Rohrabacher 48 percent to 44 percent. (All three leads are within the margin of error.)
... we’re interested in what the poll can tell us about the battle for the House generally, in addition to what it means for Rohrabacher. The 48th District has a FiveThirtyEight partisan lean of R+4, meaning that it is 4 percentage points more Republican-leaning than the nation as a whole. Yet according to an average of Monmouth’s two likely-voter models, the Democrat is leading in this district by 3 points. That implies that the national political environment is leaning Democratic by 7 points ...
posted by nangar at 4:10 AM on July 20 [21 favorites]


if you want examples of what's going on i suggest you pick an area and study the local media - there's always examples of people trying to bring economic development and government benefits such as military bases, prisons, regional offices, etc etc etc

And then those same Republicans turn around and vote down Medicaid expansion, and criminalize women's health, end state employee pensions, raise taxes on goods while refusing to fund public schools and slash state income taxes for the rich, all while gerrymandering and suppressing the vote to remain permanently in power. Local Republicans voting to open another new (tax free) prison or pipeline aren't voting in their constituent's broad interests either, they're trying to secure a bigger slice of the crony capitalism pie for their local equivalent of the Koch brothers and selling it because it maybe bring in 20 more jobs to a community desperate for anything. Acting like there's any difference between State and National Republicans is obfuscation too. Where do you think they try out Heritage Foundation white papers before taking it national? And look at Kansas or Oklahoma for the archetype of local Republicans acting so nobly to help out the little man.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:33 AM on July 20 [50 favorites]


Right? Kansas seems like a prettt explicit object lesson in what happens when those gosh darn well meaning republicans get local power and “try and help the little people”.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:05 AM on July 20 [17 favorites]


The "motivations" of Trump voters aren't even theirs. They've been infected with a powerful virus.
A germ theory of Trump voters not only lets them off the hook, but ignores all the smaller power structures that enable and perpetuate this thinking. Epidemiology doesn't really seem like a useful heuristic here, unless you can stretch it a lot farther.

Fox News gets a lot of well-earned criticism for their role in the war on rationality but I think history will regard YouTube as a near equal partner.

Eh, soapbox vs. platform. Most YouTube videos get fewer than ten hits.
posted by aspersioncast at 5:13 AM on July 20 [4 favorites]


Hooray we're in the Distract cycle!

Trump Threatens Tariffs on Every Chinese Good

President Trump told CNBC that he’s ready to escalate the U.S.-China trade war and put tariffs on every Chinese good imported to the U.S. — worth $505.5 billion.

Axios: “Trump’s tariffs are introducing a new, wildly unpredictable issue into the midterm elections, thanks to their heavy impact on states with critical Senate races as well as their likely role in House races across the country.”
(via Politicalwire)

Wow, he's really good at this.
posted by petebest at 5:17 AM on July 20 [9 favorites]


This is your periodic reminder that most people don't vote, and this is especially true of people who are struggling.

Rural Americans are struggling harder than even Americans in general. This suppresses turnout, so it's natural that the most motivated (read: most moneyed and/or most racist) turn out.

My take (as, y'know, someone who lives here) is that rural Americans who have any human contact at all (e.g. are a farmer and sell their produce, go to the library, go to playgroups with children, etc.) are progressive (and they're also strained to the breaking point on time and money). It's the commuters and shut-ins who are both assholes and have plenty of time to vote.

So please please please consider that before you take that a rural county voting +30 for Trump means that literally everyone there is evil. I'll bet you anything that turnout was like 40% and that it's those who can afford to vote who did.
posted by ragtag at 5:21 AM on July 20 [50 favorites]


Trump Threatens Tariffs on Every Chinese Good

So I guess we can expect the 2020 election to be a proxy war between Russian and Chinese intervention, each looking to get their interests represented.
posted by duoshao at 5:23 AM on July 20 [2 favorites]


That xenophobia and racial animus is not innate. It is seeded, incubated, nurtured, and fostered in so many cohesive ways. There is a huge propaganda apparatus at work. It's the same propaganda apparatus that makes poor, middle, and even upper-class people cast votes on behalf of the interests of billionaires, counter to their own. The "motivations" of Trump voters aren't even theirs. They've been infected with a powerful virus.

Sorry but these voters have agency. The fact that they reality shop to Fox/Breitbart who confirm their bigotry and hatred, who tell them 'you're not the real racists, they are' is still their responsibility.

Fox and Rs didn't create racism, they weaponized an existing and dominant strain of American thought. The sooner we accept that these voters will never vote D - at least not in numbers to justify making any special effort beyond trying to help other working poor - the better off we will be. We already are the party that advocates for their well being and financial success and they have forever chosen otherwise because racism is more important to them.
posted by chris24 at 5:24 AM on July 20 [22 favorites]


So please please please consider that before you take that a rural county voting +30 for Trump means that literally everyone there is evil.

Literally no one here is doing this.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:24 AM on July 20 [18 favorites]


Speaking of Kansas...

Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez To Rally Democrats In Deep-Red Kansas
The trip is unusual on several fronts. For one, Trump won Kansas in 2016 by 20 percentage points, making it seemingly inhospitable for Democrats, much less democratic socialists. Moreover, Sanders is a 76-year-old Jewish senator from Vermont, while Ocasio-Cortez is a 28-year-old Latina from the Bronx who is poised to become the youngest member of Congress.

This political odd couple is scheduled to headline an evening rally in Kansas City, Kansas, for Brent Welder, a labor lawyer running in a crowded Democratic primary in Kansas’ 3rd District. The district, represented by four-term Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder, is on Democrats’ target list as they aim to seize the GOP-controlled House in November. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton narrowly carried the district in 2016.

Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are also scheduled to campaign together in Wichita for Democrat James Thompson, a civil rights lawyer running in Kansas’ 4th District. Like Ocasio-Cortez and Welder, Thompson was an activist for Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:27 AM on July 20 [16 favorites]


You can always go on Open Secrets and put your dink ass rural hometown's zipcode in and get receipts on who your high school townie cohort is giving money to.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:29 AM on July 20 [26 favorites]


I've been following James Thompson since he ran in the special congressional election for Pompeo's vacated seat and came closer than any Democrat has in decades (with very little help from the state party by the way). He seems like a great candidate who deserves more attention.
posted by maggiemaggie at 5:46 AM on July 20 [3 favorites]


Also, from Thompson's Facebook feed, Ocasio-Cortez/Sanders are in WIchita tonight, and the venue was changed to accommodate overflow crowds.
posted by maggiemaggie at 5:50 AM on July 20 [7 favorites]


Because of course, Russian firm indicted in special counsel probe cites Kavanaugh decision to argue that charges should be dismissed (WaPo):
A Russian company accused by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III of being part of an online operation to disrupt the 2016 presidential campaign is leaning in part on a decision by Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh to argue that the charge against it should be thrown out.

The 2011 decision by Kavanaugh, writing for a three-judge panel, concerned the role that foreign nationals may play in U.S. elections. It upheld a federal law that said foreigners temporarily in the country may not donate money to candidates, contribute to political parties and groups or spend money advocating for or against candidates. But it did not rule out letting foreigners spend money on independent advocacy campaigns.

Kavanaugh “went out of his way to limit the decision,” said Daniel A. Petalas, a Washington lawyer and former interim general counsel for the Federal Election Commission.
posted by peeedro at 6:08 AM on July 20 [14 favorites]


You can always go on Open Secrets and put your dink ass rural hometown's zipcode in and get receipts on who your high school townie cohort is giving money to.

I just searched for my ZIP code and 100% (yes, literally every dollar) of the political donations this year are to progressive or Democratic recipients.

(Also it seems like this is a good way to find allies in your area. Thank you so much for pointing me to it! ♥)
posted by ragtag at 6:08 AM on July 20 [36 favorites]


Eh, soapbox vs. platform. Most YouTube videos get fewer than ten hits.
Go find one of Jordan Peterson’s videos, one of the many anti-feminist or white supremacy-friendly gamers’ and tell us that the average video’s hit count is the relevant number we should care about. It’s usually not more than one or two YouTube auto-play suggestions from those guys to stuff which used to be restricted to sites like Stormfront, but too many people assume YouTube is more legitimate.
posted by adamsc at 6:08 AM on July 20 [11 favorites]


Trump Threatens Tariffs on Every Chinese Good

Including his own?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:15 AM on July 20 [20 favorites]




Maxwelton, wow good point. I just tried that with youtube. Naïvely sent them the following feedback with screenshot.

Mods I hope this doesn't fall too far afield; delete as needed.

---------------
Not signed in to youtube
Visit youtube.com
Observe content

Conspiracies
Miracles / mysteries
Weird tricks
Secrets
Exploitive sexual imagery
Irresponsible/ dangerous acts
Abuse/manipulation/violence
Drug culture
Terror
Bodily mutilation
Toxic mythology

Maybe my favorite is the fool shooting a pane of bulletproof glass point blank. As in, not favorite, but what is this even doing here.

The above list is from a single page load just now. This is what many people see over and over. I'm not saying any of this should be banned, but RECOMMENDED? On the front page? Do you think this is healthy? Appropriate for children? Encouraging healthy participation in democracy?

Who curates this content? How are the decisions made?

Our society is on the brink of civil war. Are you helping or hurting? Who is responsible for this? WHY?
posted by maniabug at 6:23 AM on July 20 [47 favorites]


So please please please consider that before you take that a rural county voting +30 for Trump means that literally everyone there is evil. I'll bet you anything that turnout was like 40% and that it's those who can afford to vote who did.

This is an empirical idea that I'd like to check. How does turnout compare in urban vs. rural areas? But my search-fu is terrible. I want to see the absolute percentages, but every article I find talks about how percentages changed, or talks about turnout vs. race or party affiliation or anything but urban vs. rural. Someone else, please do better than I did.

Anyway, here's the best I could find, and it's about 2008 and 2012. It indicates that, in 2008 and 2012, turnout was higher in rural areas than it was in cities. In 2008, urban turnout was less* than 57.9% and rural turnout was 67.2%; in 2012 urban turnout was less than 52.5% and rural turnout was 54.9%.

*I say "less than" rather than giving a specific figure because the urban turnout itself is not explicitly given in the article; there's an overall turnout, small-city turnout, and rural turnout; since the small-city and rural turnout figures are both higher than the overall, the remaining turnout (in larger cities) must be less than the overall.

Just to get another view on the subject I manually calculated the state-wise correlation between 2016 turnout percentage vs. urban population percentage. The correlation is not significant (but if your curiosity is killing you, it's slightly negative, consistent with the notion that rural areas have slightly better turnout than urban).
posted by Jpfed at 6:24 AM on July 20 [10 favorites]


too many people assume YouTube is more legitimate.

Fair point, and giving these people a platform is clearly a huge problem (see also book, Face and our old pal Twitter). It's wild how the generation that was telling me about the perils of an untrustworthy Wikipedia is now taking crank videos as gospel truth because "I saw it on the internet."

It is also interesting the extent to which YouTube isn't as easily analyzed as a social media platform. But along those lines I also think it's really difficult to analyze YouTube in the same terms as Fox News.
posted by aspersioncast at 6:24 AM on July 20 [3 favorites]


President Trump told CNBC that he’s ready to escalate the U.S.-China trade war and put tariffs on every Chinese good imported to the U.S. — worth $505.5 billion.

The US is about to commit economic seppuku on the altar of Trump right before mid terms.

How the fuck does this not end with Republicans tossed into the wilderness for a generation? Oh yeah, IOKIYAR.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 6:25 AM on July 20 [8 favorites]


We already are the party that advocates for their well being and financial success

I would be deeply grateful if anyone can explain precisely - step by step - what the proposed Democratic plan is to transform the massive amount of rural communities throughout the nation, small towns with less than 1000 and often less than 500 people - into vibrant, growing places of financial success where people want to come and kids don’t want to leave. Because right now, it looks like the only plans are to staunch the bleeding and to get folks retrained so they can get other jobs outside their communities, which would help those individuals but exacerbate the community problem.

The problem of rural America is deep and may even be unsolvable - I don’t know, because few people are seriously talking about it as a broad scale, comprehensive problem. And that’s what makes people prey to anyone who gives lip service to the whole problem. “Make America Great Again” sounds awesome to people who felt their grandparents were better off than they are. Even though Trump is incompetent and demented and unable to deliver on his vague promises even if he wanted to. Hope, when it comes without reason, is another evil.
posted by corb at 6:26 AM on July 20 [22 favorites]


Trump Threatens Tariffs on Every Chinese Good

CNBC (@CNBCnow), at the opening of the markets: Dollar index falls sharply as Trump accuses EU, China & others of 'manipulating their currencies' and says Fed 'tightening now hurts all that we have done'

The US is about to commit economic seppuku on the altar of Trump right before mid terms.

I really wish we could embed images because the trading graph looks like the dollar is going cliff-diving.

Here's Bloomberg's dollar index spot for up-to-the-minute status. I can hardly wait to see how Larry Kudlow tries to gaslight the business community into thinking this doesn't exist.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:29 AM on July 20 [10 favorites]


I would be deeply grateful if anyone can explain precisely - step by step - what the proposed Democratic plan is to transform the massive amount of rural communities throughout the nation, small towns with less than 1000 and often less than 500 people - into vibrant, growing places of financial success where people want to come and kids don’t want to leave. Because right now, it looks like the only plans are to staunch the bleeding and to get folks retrained so they can get other jobs outside their communities, which would help those individuals but exacerbate the community problem.

The problem of rural America is deep and may even be unsolvable - I don’t know, because few people are seriously talking about it as a broad scale, comprehensive problem. And that’s what makes people prey to anyone who gives lip service to the whole problem. “Make America Great Again” sounds awesome to people who felt their grandparents were better off than they are. Even though Trump is incompetent and demented and unable to deliver on his vague promises even if he wanted to. Hope, when it comes without reason, is another evil.


I mean, there was a presidential candidate in 2016 who had a multi-stage plan to try and help rural communities begin sharing in the benefits of a strong economy, a plan which included more than just job re-training, and she talked about it extensively. Were you not listening then?
posted by lazaruslong at 6:31 AM on July 20 [88 favorites]


I mean, really, our first alien contact will probably be some alien dude who had to just come down and say WTF guys in person.

It'll just be a spaceship making a massive speed of light U-turn and hauling ass off in the other direction
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:34 AM on July 20 [8 favorites]


I'm a working-class Democrat who grew up in a rural area. I've never voted for a Republican in my life, thank you very much! I happily participated in the Democratic surge in VA last year when we flipped 15 seats in the state's House of Delegates that were formerly held by Republicans, and came just shy of regaining a majority. I've been reading y'all's comments debating whether I exist or not. Unfortunately, most of you seem convinced I don't.

We have a good chance winning a majority in Congress this year. But, for that to happen, we're going to have to replicate what happened in VA last year nationwide. Democrats in red states and Republican districts – Democrats a lot of you are insisting don't exist – are going to have turn out in big enough numbers to flip gerrymandered districts, like we did in in Virginia.

I live in a Congressional district, VA-05, that's just flippable. Cook rates it as R+6. If Rakich and Mehta's extrapolations about the partisan lean of the electorate this year are right, that's just enough to win. We've got some advantages. The incumbent dropped out in an embarrassing fashion at the last minute. The replacement Republican seems to have had a hard time getting his campaign off the ground. The Democrat, Leslie Cockburn, has built a pretty strong grassroots organization. (538 gives this district a stronger R lean than Cook, but like I said, we have some advantages in this race.)

Democrats in red districts do exist! We pulled off quite a few upsets in my state last year. I hope some of you will be willing to support candidates trying to flip Republican-held districts this fall. That's what it's going to take to retake Congress. We can do this, and we'd appreciate your help in doing so.
posted by nangar at 6:35 AM on July 20 [66 favorites]


I mean, there was a presidential candidate in 2016 who had a multi-stage plan to try and help rural communities begin sharing in the benefits of a strong economy, a plan which included more than just job re-training, and she talked about it extensively. Were you not listening then?

Would love to see a video of rural focus groups being told those plans were Trump's and watch them approve, then watch their faces when they tell them those were actually Clinton's plans.
posted by M-x shell at 6:35 AM on July 20 [29 favorites]


I really wish we could embed images because the trading graph looks like the dollar is going cliff-diving.

It's cliff diving except in one key exchange.

The USDCNY just hit a new high of 6.80 last night.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 6:37 AM on July 20 [1 favorite]


That New Yorker article by Adam Davidson (linked by Barack Spinoza) is worth reading because it's not too long and defines a concept I don't think was much out there: "sistema"

The term is what the updated Neapolitan camorra calls itself: "il Sistema". This is why M. Gessen calls Putin's Russia a mafia state (and sees Trump emulating him).
posted by progosk at 6:37 AM on July 20 [10 favorites]


I would be deeply grateful if anyone can explain precisely - step by step - what the proposed Democratic plan is to transform the massive amount of rural communities throughout the nation, small towns with less than 1000 and often less than 500 people - into vibrant, growing places of financial success where people want to come and kids don’t want to leave. Because right now, it looks like the only plans are to staunch the bleeding and to get folks retrained so they can get other jobs outside their communities, which would help those individuals but exacerbate the community problem.

Well it is isn't tornadoes. Which sets the Democratic Party apart from those who worship at the shrine of Shumpeteer's destructive creation.
posted by srboisvert at 6:38 AM on July 20 [1 favorite]


I would be deeply grateful if anyone can explain precisely - step by step - what the proposed Democratic plan is...

well the real solution is "we are going to subsidize your lifestyle choice," but that doesn't play well to the rah-rah make-my-own-way real-america facade that people in rural communities like to play-act. if you take them at their word that they want to have a job and be a bread-winner, then job training is the rational solution, but honestly they are not acting rationally: they want a world that doesn't exist, is not going to exist, and when you try to calmly explain this, they behave like children. So in order not to piss them off and provoke a tantrum, you say things like "job training" and try to shovel money at them in a way that makes it seem like they earned it so they can continue to believe they are independent winners.
posted by logicpunk at 6:38 AM</