"Colluding about Russians--I'm not sure that's even a crime."
July 30, 2018 8:01 AM   Subscribe

In the last couple days of U.S. politics: The New York Times' publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, met with Donald Trump and 'implored him to reconsider his broader attacks on journalism.' Or, as Trump put it, "Spent much time talking about the vast amounts of Fake News being put out by the media & how that Fake News has morphed into phrase, “Enemy of the People.” Sad!"

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Corey Stephens' spokesman tweeted that three majority-black U.S. cities were 'shitholes.' In other Virginia news, 5th district Congressional candidate Denver Riggleman is revealed to be a fan of what the Cook Report calls 'Bigfoot-themed erotic art.'

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez' team made a great ad for Kaniela Ing, a Hawaiian Democratic Socialist who's running for Congress.

Politico's Patrick Temple-West and Victoria Guida were not surprised to find that "Eye-Popping Payouts for CEOs Follow Trump's Tax Cuts"

Ezra Klein, writing for Vox, reflected on demographic change, "the core cleavage of our politics."

Natasha Bertrand, for The Atlantic, laid out links between the DHS and the FSB: "How Russia Persecutes its Dissidents Using U.S. Courts"

In the Washington Post, a team of writers described how the "Trump Team Seeks to Control, Block Mueller's Russia Investigation"

Meanwhile, Jonathan Chait, in New York magazine, asked "Why are so many leftists skeptical of the Russia investigation?"

And, Axios reports that President Trump declared--more than once and to the amusement of senior administration officials--"I hate the wind!"

(post title c/o criminal lawyer Rudy Giuliani)
posted by box (1110 comments total) 116 users marked this as a favorite
 
They don't even bother spinning anymore.
Giuliani appeared on CNN's New Day on Monday to opaquely defend Trump's accusations against Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Trump on Sunday tweeted that Mueller, who is leading the investigation into whether the Trump campaign was involved with Russia's interference in the 2016 election, has "conflicts of interest," including a "very nasty and contentious business relationship" with Trump.

CNN's Alisyn Camerota asked for some clarity on what that entailed, but Giuliani claimed he couldn't explain. He merely insisted that there was some dispute that "wasn't settled, even to this day" — but said it should be Mueller who provides the details. "How can the president make this claim, and not support it?" asked a bewildered Camerota, to which Giuliani responded simply: "Because he doesn't have to."
The sheer arrogance is breathtaking. Just throw out whatever you want to be the truth and claim the other side both must substantiate it and disprove it. Reality doesn't matter anymore.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:07 AM on July 30 [109 favorites]


The now-traditional megathread reminder: Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort remains in jail, and now Michael Cohen appears to be warming up for his solo aria.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:08 AM on July 30 [46 favorites]


Centrist Democrats are out of ideas (orig. headline: 'Third Way's "Social Contract for the Digital Age" is Lame') - Matthew Yglesias, Vox
Notes of political caution can be valuable, but caution is not a policy vision.
...
Third Way, the premier policy and advocacy organization for business-friendly Democrats, recently met in Columbus, Ohio, to “offer an attractive alternative to the rising Sanders-style populist left in the upcoming presidential race,” NBC News’s Alex Seitz-Wald reported from the event. Third Way president Jonathan Cowan was even more pointed in comments to New York magazine’s Gabriel Debenedetti, saying, “the ideas primary starts now. So we’re actually doing this for a very straightforward reason: to stand up and launch a serious, compelling economic alternative to Sanderism.”

But judging by Third Way’s 12-point plan for the American economy, dubbed “A New Generation of Ideas: A Social Contract for the Digital Age,” there’s little evidence to suggest that they have ideas that are serious, compelling, or even an actual alternative to the ideas of the left.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:09 AM on July 30 [13 favorites]


CNN just dug up the clip of Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway using rhyming captions to reject conclusions of collusion, in favor of delusion and illusion. I would like to see a video supercut of cable news talking-heads grimacing in response to some clip of a Trump-adjacent organism behaving in some absurd or disgusting manner which they are now expected to analyze.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:14 AM on July 30 [5 favorites]


Also, quoting the last thread from Doktor Zed:
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 ZeusHumms at 8:15 AM on July 30 [15 favorites]


There's a certain strain of leftists that despise the US so much (and to be fair, there's plenty of real abuses and horrors that can drive that) that they have convinced themselves that Russia is just the same or in fact better. So Greenwald wouldn't necessarily have to be compromised, just have gone so far down that road that he would rather stay blind than admit he was wrong.
posted by tavella at 8:17 AM on July 30 [18 favorites]


From six homes to a city jail: Paul Manafort, who redefined lobbying, faces trial

Rachel Weiner and Tom Hamburger
WaPo - Public Safety (!)
Two years ago, Paul Manafort was on top of the world.

He could stay in condos at Manhattan’s Trump Tower or along Alexandria’s waterfront, at his Hamptons compound or his mansion inside a gated Palm Beach country club. His suits were custom-made by expensive tailors. He was leading the campaign of the next president of the United States.

Now, he wears a green jumpsuit and sleeps on a bed of concrete in Alexandria’s jail. The lights come on at 5 a.m.; it’s always cold and the food is bland. He is mostly alone, in protective custody.

On Tuesday, when his trial on bank and tax fraud charges begins in federal court in Alexandria, prosecutors working with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will seek to keep him behind bars.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:20 AM on July 30 [43 favorites]


Also also, I forgot to mention that there's a currently-ongoing discussion in MetaTalk about politics megathreads. (It's at 120 comments right now, so, y'know, quick breezy beach read.)
posted by box at 8:20 AM on July 30 [10 favorites]


Hey Harvard peeps, this give you any ideas?

Siva Vaidhyanathan (Center for Media & Citizenship)
Two major historians have resigned from @Miller_Center to protest the appointment of Trump mouthpiece Marc Short, an unaccomplished hack who has supported white supremacy.
- Mel Leffler, former dean of the @UVA_College, and @WillHitchUVA, author of a best-selling book on how we underestimate the presidency of Eisenhower, have expressed their disgust and disappointment in a stirring letter.
- "Your decision was made without adequate faculty discussion, deliberation, and a vote. The practice of faculty governance did not prevail. Had we been consulted, we would have argued that the appointment of Mr. Short violates the values of the Center. Mr. Short has been a partisan activist during his entire professional career. He has associated himself with people and institutions who disregard, circumvent, and even violate the norms and laws that are fundamental to civil discourse and democratic politics. In his recent work in the White House Mr. Short has associated himself with ongoing attacks on a free media. He has associated himself with rhetoric and policies that have empowered and emboldened white supremacists and that have led to spectacular increases in racist and misogynistic talk and behavior."


(To be clear, they only resigned from the Miller Center, not their professorships. The Miler Center is a prestigious institute affillaited with UVa. "The Miller Center is a nonpartisan affiliate of the University of Virginia that specializes in United States presidential scholarship, public policy, and political history and strives to apply the lessons of history to the nation’s most pressing contemporary governance challenges. The Miller Center is committed to work grounded in rigorous scholarship and advanced through civil discourse.")
posted by chris24 at 8:21 AM on July 30 [37 favorites]


Meanwhile, Guiliani just gave a rambling interview in which he compared Michael Cohen to Shakespeare's Iago and Brutus:
He turned out to have a close friend betray him, like Iago betrayed Othello, like Brutus put the last knife into Caesar. It happens in life, that you get double-crossed.
Which, if he'd known one damn thing about Shakespeare...

"Yeah! Trump is just like Caesar!"

"You mean like in the Public Theatre's production last y---"

"No! Not like that! I mean, Trump is just like Othell-- oh. Wait. Shit"
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:22 AM on July 30 [68 favorites]


Many leftists like me are skeptical of the amount of energy and hope Democrats are pinning on the FBI to save them from the fact that they are a lost party captured by financiers and foundations, divorced from their base.

Unwilling to help their voters and unable to inspire them, they’re pinning the future of the party on a couple of cops instead of developing a real platform that wins elections.
posted by JoeBlubaugh at 8:25 AM on July 30 [66 favorites]


I swear, once the repercussions of the GOP's billionaire tax-grab really settle in, we're all going to feel like we've been fucked by Bigfoot

I'm getting word that the Republican party is into that, nm
posted by duffell at 8:29 AM on July 30 [26 favorites]


“Between Traditions and Trump”, an exploration of the Texas German community and the 2017 Wurstfest of New Braunfels, Texas from German public television network ZDF. Includes a first-generation German immigrant un-ironically talking about all the crime caused by foreigners and how he can't wait for The Wall to be built, as well as some recent German immigrants already planning to emigrate elsewhere or saying they'll leave if Trump is re-elected. Additionally, an interview with the head of the Texas German Dialect Project at UTexas Austin, who says that he expects Texas German to be extinct within 20 years because the younger generations have not been taking it up.

Also, pertaining to the proliferation of the right wing in Germany itself, “Meeting Point Kiosk” about the culture of places we might call convenience stores in the U.S. except that some of them serve alcohol and have small spaces to sit down. I really hope the political attitudes of the people shown aren't representative of non-recent-immigrant Germans. Both documentaries released last year and in German with English subtitles.

New Braunfels in 2018 also the location of one of the separated-child detention centers according to some media reports, although ProPublica's map makes it look as though it's in a neighboring town.
posted by XMLicious at 8:30 AM on July 30 [17 favorites]


Many leftists like me are skeptical of the amount of energy and hope Democrats are pinning on the FBI to save them from the fact that they are a lost party captured by financiers and foundations, divorced from their base.

Republican Party has been subsumed by fascist white ethnonationalists but centrist third way people are the real problem? Jesus Fuck it's like a reductio ad absurdum of "both parties are the same".

Unwilling to help their voters and unable to inspire them, they’re pinning the future of the party on a couple of cops instead of developing a real platform that wins elections.

But the voters are the ones that choose the candidates... 🤔
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:30 AM on July 30 [80 favorites]


JoeBlubaugh, you might be interested in this other thread, then, which might be more up your alley: Getting Power and Keeping It
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:32 AM on July 30 [3 favorites]


[Folks remember to refresh yourselves on how we hope these megathreads go. They're not for rehashing the same old political arguments. Bring something to the table, contribute to the ongoing conversation. Thanks.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:32 AM on July 30 [15 favorites]


You can see the next generation of Republican leadership being hatched in real time. When you see scary things in the news, just look for the grifters.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 8:37 AM on July 30 [14 favorites]


There's a certain strain of leftists that despise the US so much (and to be fair, there's plenty of real abuses and horrors that can drive that) that they have convinced themselves that Russia is just the same or in fact better. So Greenwald wouldn't necessarily have to be compromised, just have gone so far down that road that he would rather stay blind than admit he was wrong.

I feel that his 500k salary suggests more than innocent stupidity. He wouldn't have to be compromised to say such idiotic and damaging things, but the fact that he is likely the highest paid non-tv journalist and he says these damaging things, should remove reasonable doubt about his culpability.

(Coming to this conclusion was not easy for me because I used to have great admiration for Jeremy Schahill, but his articially inflated salary combined with his willingness to carry water for Greenwald has unfortunately put him in the same box as Greenwald.)

I kind of wish that we could ban relitigating Greenwald like we ban 2016.
posted by bootlegpop at 8:38 AM on July 30 [11 favorites]


Tellingly, Greenwald was just one data point in today’s Daily Intelligencer piece (linked at the end of the previous thread). Folks clearly wanted to talk about him in particular (understandably: he’s a lightning rod), but he’s not the only evidence cited to support the piece’s thesis (Reese’s Pieces?).
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:43 AM on July 30 [4 favorites]


Unwilling to help their voters and unable to inspire them, they’re pinning the future of the party on a couple of cops instead of developing a real platform that wins elections.

If the voting system is compromised, then it doesn't really matter what the platform is. I mean sure, it can be thrilling to show your power and influence via the party platform, but if the end result is "You lost by 5000 votes in the following districts, which means you don't have Congress or the Presidency", then it's kind of irrelevant.
posted by happyroach at 8:44 AM on July 30 [14 favorites]


It's worth adding to the mix this follow-up to the Times meeting: New York Times Publisher and Trump Clash Over President's Threats Against Journalism.

It contains a couple of points worth noting. One, a slight tweak of Sulzberger, for not pushing harder with this: "I told him that although the phrase ‘fake news’ is untrue and harmful, I am far more concerned about his labeling journalists ‘the enemy of the people,’” Mr. Sulzberger continued. “I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.” (emphasis mine.)

Already has, Mr. Sulzberger. At least you could have added "may have" and mentioned my former colleagues. I'd have loved to see Trump's reaction.

Of course, we know what that reaction would have been, because this is Trump. He always talks tough about people-- until he's face-to-face with the person. Like how he says Mexico's going to pay for the wall, until he's in the room with Mexican President Nieto, and how nobody's tougher on Russia, until he has a cozy chat with his boss, Putin.

So it's no surprise Trump once again sucked up to his enemy in person:
"In a telephone interview, Mr. Sulzberger described the meeting with Mr. Trump, whom he had met only once before, as cordial... Mr. Sulzberger said, by the end of the session, he felt that Mr. Trump had listened to his arguments. The president, Mr. Sulzberger recalled, told him he was glad that he had raised those issues and would think about them."

... and then was Mr. Tough Guy on Twitter. Still, the Times got in a nice little twist-of-the-knife at the end:

"This weekend, The Times published an article about Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, which noted that they had invited the younger Mr. Sulzberger to a dinner at their home in Manhattan in honor of Nikki R. Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations." et tu, Ivanka?
posted by martin q blank at 8:44 AM on July 30 [10 favorites]


Christina Wilkie: NEW: Giuliani just moved the goal posts in 2 big ways on Fox & CNN :
1. He's no longer claiming Trump didn't collude with Russia. He's claiming "collusion is not a crime."
2. He's not saying Trump did not know abt 2016 Russia mtg in advance. He's saying Trump did not ATTEND it.


I can't tell if there's some mad genius to Giuliani's defending Trump by implicating him in crimes or if he's just gone totally senile.
posted by octothorpe at 8:44 AM on July 30 [42 favorites]


I feel that his 500k salary suggests more than innocent stupidity. He wouldn't have to be compromised to say such idiotic and damaging things, but the fact that he is likely the highest paid non-tv journalist and he says these damaging things, should remove reasonable doubt about his culpability.

Should we maybe think of him as a media executive at this point, rather than as solely a journalist?
posted by XMLicious at 8:49 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


Rand Paul caves, will support Kavanaugh. [not sure its fair to call it caving, frankly, since this seemed like the foregone conclusion from the very start].
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:49 AM on July 30 [16 favorites]


This is what I continually don't get about "the left" complaining about candidates Democrats run.

AOC defeated Crowley 15,897 to 11,761.

Less than 30,000 votes total in a district with 200,000 registered Democrats and 300,000 registered voters.

It's not institutional Democrats locking out socialists, it's the people who either don't want to run or don't convince enough people in the primary. There is literally nothing stopping any leftists from running as a Democrat in the primaries as an insurgent candidate. It's not like there's this massive third wave machine holding primaries hostage. You don't have things like preselection, branch stacking, and other bullshit in other Westminster systems where the institution can keep radical voices down and force them to fight in the general. When you can pick up a safe seat for 12,000 votes (less than 2% of the population, 4% of the voters) you might just have to come to terms that the Democrats who show up on primary day don't want as leftist policies as you might, or they might be happy with their current MOC, and you need to be OK with that and fight the good fight against fascism in the voting booth.

Sometimes they'll agree with you. And that's cool too.

Now, third way Democrats that won't endorse populist/progressives? Fuck those guys.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:52 AM on July 30 [69 favorites]


Rand Paul caves, will support Kavanaugh. [not sure its fair to call it caving, frankly, since this seemed like the foregone conclusion from the very start].

Headline: Mammoth Cave caves, is now a cave.
posted by duffell at 8:53 AM on July 30 [20 favorites]


Trump and Giuliani have been running in the same New York circles, for decades...I suspect Trump has information that could be used to leverage Giuliani...including the Presidential Pardon.

Giuliani is exhibiting the symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome, but I think it's really a veiled cry for help...

Giuliani knows Trump is cornered, and doomed...but as long as Trump is President, he has Rudy by the short hairs...

As a hostage, however, Rudy also doesn't want to get killed by the SWAT team, when they eventually storm the building...

This explains why Giuliani is "helping" Trump, but doing such a bad job of it...
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 8:54 AM on July 30 [5 favorites]


Rudy Giuliani, attorney for President Trump: "Colluding about Russians -- I'm not sure that's even a crime. The hacking is the crime."

Oh, Rudy. First off, the question is about collusion "with", not "about". Which I think is important, from a legal sense.

Secondly, if the hacking is a crime...and a group of people came together to coordinate and plan said crime...and then the crime happened...well, geez, I think you can grab whatever word you want then, if you don't like "collusion". How about "organized crime"? Or maybe "racketeering"? "Conspiracy", has a nice ring. "Aiding and abetting", perhaps.
posted by nubs at 8:54 AM on July 30 [24 favorites]


Should we maybe think of him as a media executive at this point, rather than as solely a journalist?

I thought that through for a bit after initially just wanting to disagree because it seemed like a valid notion on the face of it. However, I feel that simultaneously running go-fund-me's while getting that salary would, at minimum, make him a very bad media executive, both from a PR and a practicality standpoint. So, I guess my response would be that one could refer to him that way, but that it doesn't justify his salary, since he is bad at it and the size of the media holdings that he is in charge of do not justify the size of his salary. Whether he is paid 500k for his writing, for his management, or for both, he's still ridiculously overpaid to an extent otherwise unheard of.
posted by bootlegpop at 8:56 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


A map showing counties where the majority of people did not vote

Which tells me like, the entire rust belt is up for grabs if you want it.
posted by The Whelk at 9:03 AM on July 30 [50 favorites]


Do we need another round of “land don’t vote”? The author of that tweet also says in the same thread:

“anyone who wants to earnestly say that the election was ~stolen by russia~ needs to explain this map first“ (sic)

So, yeah.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:07 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


Giuliani’s media appearances have gone from schadentastic to somewhat worrying, for me. Like this is not what you do if your plan is to win in a court of law. This is what you do if you’re trying to craft a narrative for the personality cult that will make courts of law irrelevant.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:08 AM on July 30 [86 favorites]


Also there's apparently some dodgy methodology in terms of whether that map is using overall population, eligible voters or registered voters as the denominator when they come up with the turnout percentage.

The message is sound, though, inasmuch as we need to get people to fucking turn out.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:09 AM on July 30 [5 favorites]


In other Virginia news, 5th district Congressional candidate Denver Riggleman is revealed to be a fan of what the Cook Report calls 'Bigfoot-themed erotic art.'

To which Chuck Tingle (previously, previously) has pointed out:

"there is PLENTY wrong with DENBER WIGGLEMAN, but there is nothing wrong with getting hard for bigfoot or having other preferred pound that may seem unique" .... "WE ALL GET HARD AROUND BIGFOOT" (links to Twitter)
posted by jb at 9:10 AM on July 30 [52 favorites]


The message is sound, though, inasmuch as we need to get people to fucking turn out.

No doubt: turnout. That means canvassing, outreach, donating (where possible), and getting out into the world and talking to other voters. Thanks to all who continue to contribute to these threads in useful and meaningful ways.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:10 AM on July 30 [7 favorites]


I am a skeptic rather than an independent. I feel both parties spew an inordinate amount of nonsense but, with the Democrats, it is at least rarely malignant. I therefore vote the nonmalignant party line since I really have no other viable choice...
posted by jim in austin at 9:11 AM on July 30 [6 favorites]


Giuliani’s media appearances have gone from schadentastic to somewhat worrying, for me. Like this is not what you do if your plan is to win in a court of law. This is what you do if you’re trying to craft a narrative for the personality cult that will make courts of law irrelevant.

Or "oh shit the mob is going to kill me if I say the wrong thing."
posted by Melismata at 9:13 AM on July 30 [4 favorites]


Do you know the source of this data?

A map showing counties where the majority of people did not vote

Which tells me like, the entire rust belt is up for grabs if you want it.
posted by The Whelk at 9:03 AM on July 30 [5 favorites +] [!]

posted by bluesky43 at 9:18 AM on July 30


Just to be... anyway Trump will not be impeached on 'collusion' as it is not a legal term. Conspiracy perhaps or just we have enough votes and it'll be cathartic/fun/giggles, but NOT collusion.
posted by sammyo at 9:24 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]


From the prior thread:

He actually wrote a pretty good book about how right wing economics have been disastrous for the country. The stupid stuff he's said the last few years was a real surprise to me.

Chait's a breed of "liberal" who is also rather socially conservative - hence his routine screeds about political correctness, collegiate athletics, and other topics adjacent to the proximity of youth to his lawn. This is why he failed so spectacularly in 2016, being one of the first to breathlessly flog the Clinton Foundation on nothing but conjecture.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:24 AM on July 30 [17 favorites]


Metafilter: vote the nonmalignant party line
posted by sammyo at 9:26 AM on July 30 [14 favorites]


Part of that map in Missouri are counties that overlap the Mark Twain National Forest. There's not a lot of population and with some digging I could probably figure out the relationship of polling place to distance from residents. I'm guessing with how rural it is and how tedious it is to get around, that depresses turnout.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:27 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]


Map source
posted by The Whelk at 9:28 AM on July 30 [4 favorites]


Do you know the source of this data?

I think it comes from Philip Kearney's blog here.
posted by gladly at 9:29 AM on July 30 [4 favorites]




Are there any good resources for finding the latest issue-based polling? Specifically I'm interested in how the Russia investigation is faring; my feeling is that it's not really penetrating the mass consciousness on the level it deserves, but I'm basing that more on headlines I've seen in the past few months than on the actual concrete data, something I'd like to change.
posted by miltthetank at 9:31 AM on July 30


The Whelk, did you drop the hyphen from "ouch-funded" (as in, "profiting from human injuries and illness")?
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:32 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]


Chait's a breed of "liberal" who is also rather socially conservative - hence his routine screeds about political correctness, collegiate athletics, and other topics adjacent to the proximity of youth to his lawn. This is why he failed so spectacularly in 2016, being one of the first to breathlessly flog the Clinton Foundation on nothing but conjecture.

Chait would really like to be the left flank of a Republican nation and his position as a moderate (and the right flank of American liberals) really distresses him and causes him to lash out.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:33 AM on July 30 [7 favorites]


Medicare For All would save a few ...trillion dollars

But wouldn't it necessarily also kind of blow up the insurers?

And given that they are giant corporations who make enormous political donations, this always strikes me as a non-starter without campaign finance reform first.

Or do most of these plans have the .gov hiring UHC and the like to process Medicare claim forms? Or something?
posted by wenestvedt at 9:33 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]


Secondly, if the hacking is a crime...and a group of people came together to coordinate and plan said crime...and then the crime happened...well, geez, I think you can grab whatever word you want then, if you don't like "collusion". How about "organized crime"? Or maybe "racketeering"? "Conspiracy", has a nice ring. "Aiding and abetting", perhaps.

Marcy Wheeler
Wonder if someone w/ready access to the relevant databases could search how many times US Attorney Rudy Giuliani charged conspiracy?

@Nothing_Here19
Replying to @emptywheel
From a quick and dirty search, I found 273 opinions concerning conspiracy from the SDNY with Giuliani as counsel.
posted by chris24 at 9:34 AM on July 30 [23 favorites]


I don't think I saw this in the previous thread, although I was expecting somebody to have posted it.

Former Trump lawyer Jay Golberg was on Erin Burnett over the weekend and he gave an absolutely scathing interview about just how incompetent Giuliani is, about the fact that he doesn't understand how to run a defence case and shouldn't have been hired, about how Giuliani running his mouth off whenever somebody points a camera in his direction is damaging Trump, and so on.

It was a bit of a shock to watch it, as there are so few people who are on Trump's side (or who were on Trump's side) to offer these opinions. Most of the cable news mouthpieces seem to be willing to bend over backwards to support Rudy and whatever he is saying that day.

Yes, I realize the people will argue that Goldberg is just mounting a defence that involves throwing Giuliani to the wolves after the bus has backed over him repeatedly, but still, it was an interesting bit of TV.

(I've linked to a non CNN source because I couldn't seem to find the clip on the CNN site. It also provides a brief summary of the interview.)
posted by sardonyx at 9:34 AM on July 30 [7 favorites]



Map source


For those who tmnl;dr (too many nested links; didn't read) the map represents "eligible voters" not "registered voters." So I assume US citizens over the age of 18. So correcting this is not just getting registered voters out to vote, but also registering voters (and fighting voter suppression).
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:35 AM on July 30 [24 favorites]


But wouldn't it necessarily also kind of blow up the insurers?

I'm guessing there are multiple competing Medicare-for-All plans, but from the DSA's organizing page, the plan includes "a jobs initiative and severance for those affected by the transition to government-run healthcare."

Of course, whether those corporations take this without a fight is another thing entirely, but at least there is a plan to help displaced workers.
posted by miltthetank at 9:38 AM on July 30 [8 favorites]


Just to be... anyway Trump will not be impeached on 'collusion' as it is not a legal term. Conspiracy perhaps or just we have enough votes and it'll be cathartic/fun/giggles, but NOT collusion.

Impeachment is not a legal term either. Legal meaning something that goes to a court of law. Impeachment is a political act and the powers of impeachment are written broadly and can be brought for just about any reason that Congress wants.
posted by runcibleshaw at 9:42 AM on July 30 [9 favorites]


From No Collusion! to Collusion is so great, everybody does it!

TPM: Rohrabacher: ‘Not A Person In This Town’ Would Reject Russian Dirt On An Opponent
posted by chris24 at 9:42 AM on July 30 [34 favorites]




miltthetank: "Are there any good resources for finding the latest issue-based polling?"

Political Polls is a good Twitter account of publically released polls, including issue stuff.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:44 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]


Also...
posted by runcibleshaw at 9:46 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


I'd like to see that map compared against population density and ratio of polls per eligible voter.
posted by Karmakaze at 9:48 AM on July 30 [3 favorites]


But wouldn't it necessarily also kind of blow up the insurers?

Well, not right away. A transition of that scope is going to take massive amounts of time and people. And you can bet any savvy insurer is going to demand sweet concessions and other payoffs to make that massive transfer of data happen in a timely manner.

In the meantime, there will be a slow attrition of their employees to other fields. Healthcare insurance is largely about numbers and stats, so the people with those skills can find work. I know for a fact that the marketing and sales skills are transferable to unrelated fields. And that the rest is literally paperwork/administrative stuff that every company does.

The specialized stuff, like coding, will still be needed for the growing national healthcare system, and so those folks should have some opportunities within it.
posted by emjaybee at 9:49 AM on July 30 [8 favorites]


Centrist Democrats are out of ideas (orig. headline: 'Third Way's "Social Contract for the Digital Age" is Lame') - Matthew Yglesias, Vox

I'd like to see some data on the demographics of Third Way. My suspicion is that they're mostly rich white Boomers who fear losing their personal positions of prominence and influence to a younger, more multicultural generation. They agree, or at least empathize, with most of the Left's goals, but feel like they're entitled to the accolades.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:53 AM on July 30 [8 favorites]




This explains why Giuliani is "helping" Trump, but doing such a bad job of it...

no, he's just an asshole and always has been. nothing he's doing is unusual behavior for him.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:55 AM on July 30 [8 favorites]


TPM: Rudy’s Big Admission?
...Now let’s get to what Giuliani said this morning. In a back and forth with CNN’s Alisyn Carmerota, he appears to say that two days before the meeting with the Russian lawyer there was a planning meeting to prepare for that meeting. This prep meeting would have been on June 7th, 2016. Giuliani says that meeting included Don Jr., Jared Kushner, Manafort, Rick Gates and others.

Now, I’ve had some off the grid moments in the last ten days. But I don’t think I’d ever heard of this planning meeting. If nothing else, it suggests that the Trump team took the planned encounter with the Russian government emissary much more seriously than they’ve suggested to date. And then there’s Rick Gates, Manafort’s deputy. As we know, Gates is now a cooperating witness. Big problem for the Trump Team, if he was at such a planning meeting.

Giuliani’s key aim throughout is to insist that Trump was not in that meeting. He seems to allow that Cohen was in the meeting, just that Cohen’s lying about Trump’s presence. But that point (Cohen’s presence) is less clear to me. Again, watch the video.

The other point is the date: June 7th. That’s the date when Trump made that primary election night victory speech where he teased his upcoming anti-Hillary speech where he’d reveal a bunch of new dirt on Hillary, a speech that ended up never happening.

What Giuliani appears to be saying is that earlier that day the top people in Trump’s campaign had a planning meeting to prep for the dirt meeting with the Russians two days later. This is hardly surprising. But it lines up perfectly with what many have long suspected: that Trump was so excited about the dirt his campaign was going to receive from Russia two days later that he couldn’t help but brag about it in public that night.

Conservative radio host Michael Savage:

Michael Savage
IS GIULIANI NUTS? OR WORKING AGAINST TRUMP?
posted by chris24 at 9:57 AM on July 30 [60 favorites]


Yes, Medicare For All will blow up the health insurance industry, much like the Emancipation Proclamation blew up the cotton plantation industry.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:57 AM on July 30 [187 favorites]


In the meantime, there will be a slow attrition of their employees to other fields. Healthcare insurance is largely about numbers and stats, so the people with those skills can find work. I know for a fact that the marketing and sales skills are transferable to unrelated fields. And that the rest is literally paperwork/administrative stuff that every company does.

A large chunk of them would transition to federal workers. Also, there’s no need to just blow up insurers completely. There will still be people who will want their hospitals with gold plated toilet seats and to be treated like a Tahitian prince while they are there. There still will be private treatment and private insurance but it will be a premium not a necessity.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:58 AM on July 30 [19 favorites]


In other Virginia news, 5th district Congressional candidate Denver Riggleman is revealed to be a fan of what the Cook Report calls 'Bigfoot-themed erotic art.'

Pounded In the Butt By The Unnecessary Kinkshaming of Legitimately Terrible People Who Can and Should Easily Be Shamed For Their Genuinely Shameful Non-Kink-Related Positions and Activities
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 10:02 AM on July 30 [74 favorites]


There's a lot of different models of universal coverage and many (most?) countries with it still have private insurance (as a supplement to what the national system provides). It's not as big a market, obvs, but it exists and has salespeople and call centers and marketers and adjusters.
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:04 AM on July 30 [10 favorites]


My suspicion is that they're mostly rich white Boomers who fear losing their personal positions of prominence and influence to a younger, more multicultural generation.

They are definitely the people who could read that Koch headline and think “maybe we can use that” and not “fuck off, Nazi”.
posted by Artw at 10:04 AM on July 30 [14 favorites]


yes as a monsterfucker ally i believe that monsterfucking should not be judged on par with naziism. that is all.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:04 AM on July 30 [40 favorites]


vibrotronica: Medicare For All will blow up the health insurance industry, much like the Emancipation Proclamation blew up the cotton plantation industry.

And I will cackle loud and long!
posted by wenestvedt at 10:04 AM on July 30 [11 favorites]


Of course single payer blows up the insurance market. Practically all the savings are going to be realized by reducing the multiple layers of billing, differential pricing and associated paperwork and the vast majority of that cost is payroll. Getting rid of all that billing bullshit is where single payer saves.

It's amazing how much of the Cheeto's circle's flailing about bad actions is straight from the organised crime play book. They are constantly casting about that Foo's action in revealing their knowledge of illegal activity is wrong because it shows a lack of personal loyalty. And that therefor they shouldn't be held to account for that illegal activity.

Or to quote Jon Stewart paraphrasing G. Gordon Liddy: "Because of Mark Felt's unethical behavior, I went to jail for crimes... I committed!"


sammyo: "Just to be... anyway Trump will not be impeached on 'collusion' as it is not a legal term. Conspiracy perhaps or just we have enough votes and it'll be cathartic/fun/giggles, but NOT collusion."

Impeachment doesn't require a "crime". The Cheeto could be impeached for his bad hair cut.

Artw: "Charles Koch Says He Could Work With Democrats if Ideals Align"

That's a pretty big if that just means he's blowing smoke.
posted by Mitheral at 10:06 AM on July 30 [8 favorites]


Just want to repost darkstar's excellent comment from the prior thread re: the Bigfoot crap. Yes, kinkshaming is appropriate.
As always in these cases, it’s about the rank hypocrisy. Kinks that harm no one are fine, unless you are running for public office as a member of a party that has constantly lionized plain vanilla sexual expression as the One True Way Endorsed by the Creator of the Universe Under Threat of Eternal Torture, while doing its best to shun, demean, stigmatize, suppress and criminalize non-heteronormative sexual expression and behavior.

posted by darkstar at 3:03 AM on July 30
posted by lazaruslong at 10:07 AM on July 30 [34 favorites]


“He did not participate in any meeting about the Russia transaction ... the president did not,” Giuliani said. “And the other people at the meeting that [Cohen] claims he had without the president about it say he was never there.”
Pointed out by Aaron Blake in this WaPo article
posted by Brainy at 10:07 AM on July 30 [41 favorites]


the Russia transaction

Quid meet Quo.
posted by chris24 at 10:09 AM on July 30 [15 favorites]


@chucktingle
white supremacy and a unique preferred pound are completely unrelated. bigfoot erotica is not wrong and white supremacy is. this is not political issue it is issue of equating preferred pounds to villainy. thinking bigfoot is handsome is okay bu being a devil is not
posted by Artw at 10:12 AM on July 30 [59 favorites]


But wouldn't it necessarily also kind of blow up the insurers?

That's... the whole point? They're rent-seekers, skimming billions of dollars off the top of health care costs to line the pockets of a huge, endlessly greedy ruling class. I will never understand why the leftist wing of the Dems (or the DSA, for that matter) isn't making this their primary platform: an ER visit costs $100; the rest of the $1500 you're billed for it is being given to middlemen all the way down the chain.
posted by Mayor West at 10:13 AM on July 30 [85 favorites]


Ha, the walkback tour begins.

Felicia Sonmez (WaPo)
This is pretty extraordinary: Giuliani has been getting grilled on Fox News for the past 15 minutes over his comments this morning.

Josh Marshall
Rudy: Take Two! I Meant to Say The Pre-Planning Meeting Did NOT Happen. VIDEO
- Here's part two of Rudy's walk back. VIDEO

---

THE. BEST. PEOPLE.
posted by chris24 at 10:14 AM on July 30 [31 favorites]


Chuck Tingle would make an excellent Pope.
posted by contraption at 10:16 AM on July 30 [45 favorites]


Mitheral - though as I mention above there’s some old school centrist types who’ll probably give this some thought, I suspect the real target here is right-Dems like Manchen.
posted by Artw at 10:18 AM on July 30


The special counsel is not on a fishing expedition. He knows exactly what he’s looking for. The sloppiness and ineptitude of the Trump coterie — which make Nixon’s Watergate conspirators seem like Oceans 11 — virtually ensure that some evidence of wrongdoing is there. The problem is that many powerful and ruthless people are involved in different parts of Russia’s money-laundering scheme. Overcoming the pushback from those quarters may prove the most challenging part of Mueller’s job.
Foreign Policy in Focus: - Trump’s Dirty Money.
Russian money saved Trump when his projects were on the verge of collapse. Will it now be the cause of his political demise?
posted by adamvasco at 10:18 AM on July 30 [13 favorites]


They're rent-seekers, skimming billions of dollars off the top of health care costs to line the pockets of a huge, endlessly greedy ruling class.

I don't disagree. At the same time, though, the top employer in my region is a health system (both hospitals and a very large insurance arm). Their executives and management class can go pound sand, but please don't forget about the call center workers getting paid $10/hour etc... I believe that we can transition away from private insurance in a way that will minimally impact them, but we shouldn't forget they exist.
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:21 AM on July 30 [13 favorites]


The Map: appears to show “who got the most votes, between Trump, Clinton, and Didn’t Vote”. This is a different thing from “majority of people didn’t vote”; a 34-33-33 plurality will also show up as gray.

On the other hand, I see Memphis, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Houston colored in gray, so it’s not all rural areas. I think the point is that there’s some upside there.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 10:22 AM on July 30


Rudy: Take Two! I Meant to Say The Pre-Planning Meeting Did NOT Happen.

Skipping crucial words. It's clearly contagious.
posted by Stoneshop at 10:22 AM on July 30 [14 favorites]


TPM: Rohrabacher: ‘Not A Person In This Town’ Would Reject Russian Dirt On An Opponent

Then-House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, 2016: "There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump."
posted by kirkaracha at 10:24 AM on July 30 [38 favorites]


Call center employees and claims processing personnel will transition relatively seamlessly, with the former insurers most likely outsourcing those functions from government. Toll collectors can go find productive work.
posted by M-x shell at 10:25 AM on July 30 [5 favorites]


My question about blowing up the insurers isn't an objection (because I am on board with health insurance companies being imploded like an old building) -- but more a question of how to do it when they will fight so hard against it with their endless campaign contributions?
posted by wenestvedt at 10:28 AM on July 30 [6 favorites]


>But wouldn't it necessarily also kind of blow up the insurers?

That's... the whole point? They're rent-seekers, skimming billions of dollars off the top of health care costs to line the pockets of a huge, endlessly greedy ruling class. I will never understand why the leftist wing of the Dems (or the DSA, for that matter) isn't making this their primary platform: an ER visit costs $100; the rest of the $1500 you're billed for it is being given to middlemen all the way down the chain.


There's not one 'whole point' of Medicare For All, I think: for a lot of people, 'the point' of it is that it means that they personally, and people generally, get good, cheap healthcare. Medicare For All polls well in part because everyone needs healthcare and American healthcare needs improvement; that it also would involve deconstructing or downscaling insurance companies isn't, for many people, either a pro or a con, particularly -- it's a method to the end of good healthcare, not an end to itself (particularly for people who work for insurers making okay but not great money).

For precisely that reason, there's a lot of discussion around specific Medicare For All plans that involve job transitions, etc, for people currently employed in the insurance sector; that doesn't make Medicare For All an employment program any more than getting rid of the middleman makes it a 'soak the rich' plan, even if that might be what it does. (It might be one or the other or something else for specific people; I'm just speaking generally.)

There's a comparable thing happening with a lot of the support for teacher's unions in several states -- people are willing to turn out to vote to support unions because they're pro-teachers, rather than turning out to vote to support teachers because they're pro-union (while other people are the opposite): 'education' unifies even while people disagree about the methods to that end.
posted by cjelli at 10:29 AM on July 30 [8 favorites]


We've tried the insurance model. It doesn't work unless you have a lot of money. Either it gets blown up or it will crash down on it's own. The health care system is a beast that feeds off of money. The more you give it, the more it wants. This isn't sustainable. There will be some pain in the transition, but it will be more painful if we wait for the collapse.
posted by azpenguin at 10:31 AM on July 30 [8 favorites]


Remember the travel ban? We went to airports, there were magic markers and poster-making supplies, sang some songs, lawyers setup at Starbucks, the "SEE YOU IN COURT" tweet? For those of us who aren't directly impacted, it's easy amid all the other harms being inflicted to forget what harm is being done.

NBC, U.S. citizen's family was denied visas under Trump's travel ban. Then he died by suicide.
Five days after his suicide, the government issued waivers for his family. Waivers are exemptions from the travel ban granted if the government decides that the denial of visas would cause undue hardship, their issuance are in the U.S. interest and the applicants don’t pose security risks.

“The only visas that are getting issued are extreme cases that hit the media,” said Julie Goldberg, an American lawyer with an office in Djibouti. In June, Goldberg won a class action lawsuit in federal court to reissue visas for Yemenis in Djibouti, like Salem’s family, who had theirs revoked after the travel ban.

“It shouldn’t be a tragedy that happens in order for someone to get a waiver,” Goldberg said.

A week after Salem died on July 18, his family stepped onto U.S. soil — too late to attend his funeral.
So your family is separated until someone commits suicide, then you're allowed to get a visa.

Vox, Trump’s travel ban is supposed to make exceptions for worthy cases. A new lawsuit alleges it isn’t.
A group of people whose visas have been denied or held in limbo under President Donald Trump’s travel ban are suing the administration in the first lawsuit over the ban since the Supreme Court upheld it in June.

The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California under the name Emami v. Nielsen, names Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and various government agencies as defendants. It was filed by a group of 36 people — some of them visa applicants themselves, some of them the US citizen or permanent-resident family members of visa applicants. Between them, they represent all five of the Muslim-majority countries affected by the current ban. (Vox has uploaded a copy of the complaint in the lawsuit.)

They’re not trying to reopen the question of whether the ban itself is legal or constitutional. Instead, they’re asking the administration to explain how it grants waivers under the ban — and to justify the gap between what the administration portrays as a clear and generous waiver process, and overwhelming anecdotal evidence that people who should be considered for waivers are getting flatly denied or held in administrative limbo.
posted by zachlipton at 10:35 AM on July 30 [45 favorites]




TPM: Rohrabacher: ‘Not A Person In This Town’ Would Reject Russian Dirt On An Opponent

Recall in 2000 that when an anonymous person leaked the Bush strategy book to the Gore campaign, the Gore campaigned called the FBI and turned it over to them.
posted by JackFlash at 10:35 AM on July 30 [150 favorites]


Artw: "Charles Koch Says He Could Work With Democrats if Ideals Align"

That's a pretty big if that just means he's blowing smoke.


Yeah the intended audience of statements like that is current Republican kochsuckers, not potential Democratic ones.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:48 AM on July 30 [6 favorites]


Yeah the intended audience of statements like that is current Republican kochsuckers, not potential Democratic ones.

The Koch brothers spent decades makign sure that the only republicans getting elected were cowardly lickspittles.

Then those cowards got more scared of Trump than they were of the Kochs.

If Charles Koch wants to get into a contest over who can scare the GOP electeds more, I'll root for nervous breakdowns. Go Charlies! Go Donny! Fight Fight Fight!
posted by ocschwar at 10:52 AM on July 30 [12 favorites]


"Centrist Democrat" means so many different things to different people. Many of you would probably consider me part of the "huge, endlessly greedy ruling class" because I own a house, a car, and a business, though I make so little my son's been on and off Medicaid depending on the year. I understand the point of view of people who have so little invested in the system that blowing up everything seems like a good idea. But there are lots of good progressives who don't want to see their hard-earned retirement savings crater because the government nationalizes a big segment of the economy in a thoughtless way. Not that I'm saying insurance-company buyouts are the way to go, just that it's far from a no-brainer. And if it's done in a way that collapses the economy (or even APPEARS to collapse the economy, as we know the GOP will blame everything on the other party, deserved or not, and the media will echo that blame at every turn), there goes Socialism in the U.S. for generations. We could lose SS, Medicare, unemployment, everything.

Everyone hates politics because it's really hard to find workable compromises when everyone really just wants their way. But that's what democracy is. I like progressive policies, and I'd rather have progressive populism than reactionary populism, but I trust hard work and compromise over ideological purity and extremism. Please be willing to work with people like me and not write me off. I'm willing to work with leftists who stop calling me names and are willing to look at the huge swathes of common ground we have.
posted by rikschell at 10:56 AM on July 30 [41 favorites]


Josh Marshall, TPM, So What On Earth Was Giuliani Doing This Morning? (PAYWALLED LINK):
We’ve now had Rudy Giuliani go on CNN and appear to concede that top campaign leaders met two days before the infamous Trump Tower meeting to prepare for how to handle the meeting with the Russian government lawyer. A couple hours later he appeared on Fox News and claimed that none of that was true, that he’d been denying Michael Cohen’s false claims. But there’s one big problem – key to what happened here – that is barely being discussed. In the first TV appearances, Giuliani listed a series of claims made by either Michael Cohen or Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis. Giuliani appeared to concede a lot but drew the line on whether President Trump attended any of these meetings or knew about them in advance. The problem is that neither Cohen or Davis has ever said any of those things.

So what on earth happened here? What is Giuliani talking about?

In his second interview Giuliani basically confirmed what seemed to me to be the most likely explanation. Cohen and/or Davis have been shopping to reporters various claims about events surrounding the Trump Tower meeting. Reporters will take claims like that and try to confirm them. One of the first steps is to take the claims to the other side (in this case the Trump legal team) and see whether they will confirm, deny or possibly provide evidence which refutes those claims.

Something like seems to have happened here – Giuliani describes a process like that in the early afternoon Fox appearance. But when Giuliani went on CNN this morning he forgot what was public and what wasn’t. So he went forward and discussed purported claims that no one has in fact published or possibly even said.

If you take Giuliani’s current claims (after the Fox News take two explanation) at face value, he went on TV, got confused about what was and wasn’t public and then refuted key elements of these as-yet-unpublished claims. The problem is he wasn’t clear what he was refuting and what he was confirming. That’s why he had to go back on Fox to clarify.

In his new version of events, he puts out yet another timeline of alleged meetings. Giuliani says that Cohen claims that on the day of the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians, Don Jr poked his head into Trump’s office and told his father about the meeting. Giuliani says Cohen claims to have witnessed this but that Cohen is lying.

Giuliani also says Cohen claims there was a meeting to prepare for the meeting with the Russian lawyer. But he now says it was three days earlier, not two, as he claimed this morning. Giuliani says this meeting actually never happened and the only meeting the same day was about Judge Curiel, the Mexican-American federal judge Trump attacked as biased against him.
My head hurts.
posted by zachlipton at 11:03 AM on July 30 [46 favorites]


Rudy: Take Two! I Meant to Say The Pre-Planning Meeting Did NOT Happen. VIDEO

🎵 Everyone was in the room where it happened. 🎵
🎵 Everyone knows that the game was played. 🎵
🎵 The art of the deal. 🎵
🎵 How the Russians get paid. 🎵
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 11:05 AM on July 30 [25 favorites]


All your questions about Medicare for All, answered. Doesn't sound like thoughtless populist reactionism to me.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 11:13 AM on July 30 [17 favorites]


But there are lots of good progressives who don't want to see their hard-earned retirement savings crater because the government nationalizes a big segment of the economy in a thoughtless way.

I have little patience for this argument against Medicare-for-All or other nationalized healthcare program. It's the exact same argument made by right-wingers for keeping the coal industry around. Yes, the transition away will cost jobs in the short term. Yes, people who have invested their savings in a harmful, predatory industry will lose some of it.

Giving everyone access to life-saving healthcare is worth a few portfolio boo-boos in my book.
posted by FakeFreyja at 11:14 AM on July 30 [101 favorites]


@DavidNakamura: In news conf with Italy's PM, Trump reiterates government shutdown threat over immigration: "If we don’t get border security after many, many years of talk within the United States, I would have no problem doing a shut down."

He was reading off the page here. This wasn't some ad-lib like he usually does.

As a reminder, Democrats are on the record as being perfectly to give him billions for the wall if he'll sign a bill for Dreamers. He won't take the deal, because he'll only back a bill that includes massive cuts to legal immigration.
posted by zachlipton at 11:14 AM on July 30 [25 favorites]


But there are lots of good progressives who don't want to see their hard-earned retirement savings crater because the government nationalizes a big segment of the economy in a thoughtless way.

As someone who has $4,000 cash (my political slush fund) invested in a health care mutual right now (I like the irony) the market can take the entire thing if people stop dying because they couldn't get healthcare.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 11:18 AM on July 30 [58 favorites]


But there are lots of good progressives who don't want to see their hard-earned retirement savings crater because the government nationalizes a big segment of the economy in a thoughtless way.

I'm pretty sure that's the key message in that sentence, FakeFreyja, not an objection to Medicare for All.

Look, I come from a state (Italy) with nationalized healthcare. I desperately want the US to become a state with nationalized healthcare. I also want it to happen in a way that doesn't break the economy (or rather, can be construed as breaking the economy) or our political future. The ACA was a clear net win for everyone and yet it was used by the Tea Party to incinerate the Democratic Party and then salt the ground where it once stood for good measure.

Tear it all down is good in theory, but not in practice. I want whoever does it to HAVE A PLAN and not just aspirational magical thinking.
posted by lydhre at 11:23 AM on July 30 [10 favorites]


The Democrats tried hard work and compromise on health care. That was Obamacare. As someone who is currently covered thanks to the AMA marketplace, it works pretty well. But the Republicans are not interested in negotiation, compromise, or governing in any way. They want to destroy us so that can have total domination, true one-party rule. Forget Trump, look at how Mitch McConnell has operated this entire decade. They will not honor agreements with us, because they don't think we're Americans. They don't think we're on the same team any more. They will lie to us, manipulate the legislative process, and go back on their word as soon as possible. We know this, because we've lived this. They are not operating in good faith, because they hate us.

We cannot compromise with Republicans because no compromise will stick!
posted by vibrotronica at 11:24 AM on July 30 [103 favorites]


How much stress over money is relieved for everyone if healthcare is unfucked?
posted by Artw at 11:24 AM on July 30 [79 favorites]


Since 100 Days Out, Democrats Are on the Brink of winning 23 seats and gaining a majority in the House of Representatives, Cook Political profiles The Republicans Open 42 Seats.

So it looks like All That's Left Is The Vote

posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:35 AM on July 30 [6 favorites +] [!]


Please, please, please, don't anyone get complacent. Work as hard as though the polls were reporting the reverse numbers. We know that the GOP has all kinds of rat-fucking and voter-suppression tricks up its sleeve, so don't ever consider any margin safe. Ever.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:27 AM on July 30 [46 favorites]


But there are lots of good progressives who don't want to see their hard-earned retirement savings crater because the government nationalizes a big segment of the economy in a thoughtless way.

I think we can all agree that the government ought not do anything thoughlessly; and while there are certainly some advocates of basically every idea who do so thoughtlessly, and therefore there are certainly thoughtless advocates for some form of Medicare For All, a lot of thoughtfulness went into, for example, the Conyers bill in the House or the Sanders bill in the Senate, already.

'Repeal and replace' was a thoughtless slogan because there was never any real, concrete proposals for what to replace the ACA with that could be passed into law -- as the failure of real & replace showed. It's not clear that there's unity on the details of what Medicare For All should, in practice, do -- there are some significant differences between the Conyers and Sanders bills -- but that's several steps of agreement within the Democratic leadership far beyond what the Republican party has managed to achieve. By the time there are actually enough Democrats in office to pass Medicare For All, there will doubtless be a lot more thinking and a lot more debate and a lot of contention about particular parts of Medicare For All; 'thoughtlessly' is not something anyone need worry about.
posted by cjelli at 11:31 AM on July 30 [14 favorites]


Yes, Medicare For All will blow up the health insurance industry, much like the Emancipation Proclamation blew up the cotton plantation industry

It blew up the industry in a rogue nation that was currently at war with the United States.

Anyway, the difference between this flippant metaphor and Medicare for All is that the literal millions of people who work for the health insurance get the same vote as you and I. And it's extremely naive to think that "you lost your job, but it was for the greater good" isn't going to be an easy sell.
posted by sideshow at 11:31 AM on July 30 [3 favorites]


Giving everyone access to life-saving healthcare is worth a few portfolio boo-boos in my book.

Removing toll keepers is good for the economy, and your portfolio. Medicare for All will result in a kind of peace dividend for all industries except one. That's a win as far as I'm concerned.
posted by M-x shell at 11:32 AM on July 30 [13 favorites]


PACs use paid ‘trackers’ to follow candidates at public events

My god, they want to expose hypocrisy and inconsistencies in ... Democrats
posted by armacy at 11:33 AM on July 30


We cannot compromise with Republicans because no compromise will stick!

Then we need to figure out how to get 60 votes in the Senate.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:33 AM on July 30 [7 favorites]


"But there are lots of good progressives who don't want to see their hard-earned retirement savings crater because"
Because they invested in something that was very obviously about to break? And then it broke earlier than they guessed it would because of some boneheadery by the government? It's a gamble; why do we need to worry about people who made bad bets? (I mean, I think we need to give everybody pensions so they don't have to gamble and then pray that the money will be there for them to eat and stay homed for the last twenty+ years of their life. The way we would do if we were a civilized society instead of a bunch of zebras being chivvied around by a pack of bloodyfanged hyenas that crap in gold toilets. Barring a shift to nonhyena rule, I say don't count on retirement investments, and don't invest in coal right when it's becoming obvious that we're running out of it or in the health insurance industry right when it's the very most clear that it's terminal.)
posted by Don Pepino at 11:44 AM on July 30 [7 favorites]


And it's extremely naive to think that "you lost your job, but it was for the greater good" isn't going to be an easy sell.

I too want to live in the future where we have already enacted Medicare for All and we're worrying about the political fallout.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:45 AM on July 30 [45 favorites]


The ACA was a clear net win for everyone and yet it was used by the Tea Party to incinerate the Democratic Party and then salt the ground where it once stood for good measure.

Actually, there was room to drive a stake into ACA because it couldn't cover everyone. Because it relied on "market solutions," 8 million people were left out of its benefits. People whose employers would have had to cover them opted to either cut their hours or lay them off to avoid doing so. The penalties, which had to exist to satisfy the needs of insurance companies, pissed everyone off. Turns out that doing all the things to keep capital happy made people pretty unhappy. No Republican solution is going to change that. And even so, ACA has been popular enough to resist the Republican tear-down efforts. A Medicare for All system that gives everyone direct benefits will speak for itself. ACA was vulnerable to attack at all because it didn't go far enough. Yeah, Republicans will work on tearing down Medicare for All, too, because destruction of things that actually benefit Americans is kind of their jam. At least we can put to rest the premise that the critiques rest on ideological grounds other than misarchism.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 11:46 AM on July 30 [15 favorites]


I trust hard work and compromise over ideological purity and extremism

That and not rocking the boat too much because we want to let the wealth management machine—which the wealthy deign to let the rest of us pick up scraps from in exchange for complicity and dependence—do its thing, and don't want to jeopardize the retirement savings of those who have them, are also the reason why there are forest fires above the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia right now, the Northwest Passage through Northern Canada that we learned about in grade school has thawed and has cruise ships and yachts traveling through it in the summer, and why ice loss in Antarctica from 2012 to 2017 happened at five times the rate it was occurring at from 1992 to 2002. (Note the article at that link describes a comprehensive study of studies, not an individual study.)

If indeed your choices and compromises and pulling yourself and others back from “extremism” actually preserved Medicaid for your son during his life, a world literally on fire is also part of that legacy.

The endless compromising which just so happened to also furnish a near-optimal environment for continuously accelerating transfer of wealth into the hands of the 1%-and-up has left us unable to back any further into the corner—we are up against the wall. It's taking measures necessary for the mere survival of many people which you are calling extremism and ideological purity.

Heal the sick, tax the rich.
posted by XMLicious at 11:46 AM on July 30 [46 favorites]


Still trying to figure out the difference between Medicare and Medicaid.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:47 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


Medicaid, underpaid. Medicare, silver hair.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:48 AM on July 30 [156 favorites]


Medicare--old people
Medicaid--poor people
posted by Melismata at 11:49 AM on July 30 [4 favorites]


Because they invested in something that was very obviously about to break?

I don't know about y'all, but I don't really choose where my retirement money is invested. It's all mutual funds and index funds and whatnot, handled through my 401k (well, 403b).
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:49 AM on July 30 [8 favorites]


Medicaid looks like it uses existing insurance companies.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:50 AM on July 30


We definitely should demand a medicare-for-all transition that does the least amount of harm to current private health insurance employees and adjacent industries. But listen, even if the health insurance industry did "implode" to make way for medicare-for-all, there are about 500,000 health insurance employees (according to these statistics), and there are about 30 million uninsured Americans (from this article [both stats from 2016]). In the worst case scenario where every current health insurance employee is temporarily unemployed, we still have at least 60 times more people than that who can go to a doctor and get treatment without fear of what it will cost (and hell even the people who lose their jobs can still go to a doctor). We should all be wary of unintended consequences of large scale societal changes, but fretting about your investment portfolio while people have to choose between going bankrupt or getting cancer treatment is the absolute worst of takes.
posted by runcibleshaw at 11:51 AM on July 30 [57 favorites]


See, I'm actually down with single-payer. I'm even down with "fuck the rich" rhetoric, in principle. It's just that in practice it sounds juvenile and unserious. There's a lot of us out here who aren't arms dealers but just happen to own a house or a 401k; we aren't the enemy here, and we aren't thrilled about being your collateral damage.

(I don't actually have much of a portfolio, but I'm guessing there are a lot of "safe" mutual funds deeply invested in health care companies, because it's such a large sector of the economy. In principle I also think the whole stock market is a bad idea and basically just gambling, but again, blowing it up would hurt a lot of people who were just trying to play by the rules as they understood them, along with of course hurting the evil people who absolutely deserve to get hurt.)
posted by rikschell at 11:53 AM on July 30 [8 favorites]




C'mon guys. Let's do a little cursory googling before clutching the pearls on behalf of the insurance industry employees:

What support will we give to the many employees who will need to find new jobs?

They will have first priority for getting employment in the new system, receive training support and be eligible for two years of employment transition benefits, as per H.R. 676. This support applies to “clerical, administrative, and billing personnel in insurance companies, doctors offices, hospitals, nursing facilities, and other facilities whose jobs are eliminated due to reduced administration."
See: U.S. House of Representatives Bill Number 676 Section 303 (H.R. 676).
posted by Kitty Stardust at 11:56 AM on July 30 [27 favorites]


It doesn't have to (and probably shouldn't) happen in one big bang; they could make Medicare age-based eligibility sweep downward over time so that we reach universal eligibility within a few years. Now, you need to be 65 years old, but every calendar year that age could decrease by 5 or 10 years. The insurance industry will have some time to deal and plan before most people become eligible for Medicare.
posted by Jpfed at 12:00 PM on July 30 [4 favorites]


guys I think we need to have a big deraily argument about whether fully-automated luxury gay space communism is taking the needs of people who suffer from zero-gravity sickness into account, this argument is timely and cannot wait
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:01 PM on July 30 [138 favorites]


Medicare age-based eligibility sweep downward over time so that we reach universal eligibility within a few years.

Kiddiecare, or Medicare plan 2,was supposed to cover everyone under 18. Keep the eligibility widening from both ends until everyone is covered
posted by The Whelk at 12:03 PM on July 30 [16 favorites]




And yes, that quote is verbatim.

I really didn't believe you* and had to listen to it myself and holy shit, he did say that.

*Not that I don't trust you but my brain just wouldn't accept it. I mean, who says that?
posted by octothorpe at 12:09 PM on July 30 [19 favorites]


C'mon guys. Let's do a little cursory googling before clutching the pearls on behalf of the insurance industry employees

You may have solved this problem for the workers, but think of those shareholders! Where will they get their dividend checks from? The horror.
posted by dis_integration at 12:12 PM on July 30 [12 favorites]


I also own a house and a 401K. Personally, I'm a lot more concerned about losing it all because someone in my family gets really sick than I am about taking a hit to my retirement fund because scamming the sick is no longer profitable.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 12:13 PM on July 30 [143 favorites]


Then we need to figure out how to get 60 votes in the Senate.

Easy. 51 senators, majority leader and nuke the filibuster. The only way the Dems overcome the structural bias of the Senate and enact laws that start to level the playing field and implement their agenda is to nuke it. And if Chuck won't, then he needs to go.
posted by chris24 at 12:14 PM on July 30 [19 favorites]


Health care is about 14% of the S&P 500. Bear in mind that’s all kinds of health care companies, not just insurers. That puts a -14% worst-case bound on potential value loss for a broad portfolio. For reference, that basically puts the S&P at about 2400, which is where it was last summer.

The thing is, though, that reducing health costs is a huge boon to basically all other sectors of the economy. Blue Cross passed U.S. Steel as GM’s #1 supplier way back in the 1980’s.

Some folks will be over-invested in health stocks for some reason, but they’ll have plenty of time to diversify before laws change, and the whole sector won’t disappear overnight anyway.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:15 PM on July 30 [17 favorites]


McClatchyDC reports the Feds are examining suspicious money movements linked to Russian Maria Butina and her associates.

"Federal investigators have traced a number of suspicious financial transactions involving Maria Butina, a Russian gun rights activist who was arrested July 15; a Republican operative and several obscure companies, people familiar with the matter say. [...] However, it could not be learned whether the suspicious transactions related to the NRA or led investigators to a channel for large movements of money to the group. [...] The inquiry into possible Russian attempts to infiltrate and influence the NRA began before Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 elections and even before Trump’s inauguration, said two sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter is confidential. While it has overlapped with Mueller’s inquiry, the NRA investigation is being overseen by the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia."

Meanwhile, Politico got a scoop that Butina met with suspected Kremlin spy Oleg Zhiganov, who was working under the cover of Russian Cultural Centre director he was expelled back in April over the Skropal poisoning. Butina's lawyer says it was just one dinner and maybe some events at the embassy…
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:16 PM on July 30 [19 favorites]


The sound you just heard was a thousand D.C. neo-cons' heads exploding over Trump's response to a question at the joint press conference with Italian PM Giuseppe Conte…

MSNBC (@MSNBC): BREAKING: Asked if he’d meet with Iranian Pres. Rouhani, President Trump says he would “meet with anybody ... I'm ready to meet whenever they want to," with no preconditions.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:20 PM on July 30 [32 favorites]


BREAKING: Asked if he’d meet with Iranian Pres. Rouhani, President Trump says he would “meet with anybody ... I'm ready to meet whenever they want to," with no preconditions**.

**Muellers need not apply.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:23 PM on July 30 [86 favorites]


Additionally, an interview with the head of the Texas German Dialect Project at UTexas Austin, who says that he expects Texas German to be extinct within 20 years because the younger generations have not been taking it up.

Thanks for linking that documentary, I'll have to watch it. I live in a heart of Texas German country and it's a super interesting twist to rural Texas life. In particular, the dying out of the dialect makes me sad because Texas German is my favorite type of Texas accent. I knew a family who had been in the US for at least 4 generations and still had that German accent (mixed with thick Texas drawl) to the extent that it was difficult at times to understand them.

Anyway, unfortunately, it's also Trump country to a great extent. Those immigrants are different from us because...well, you know how they are. (I.e. it's racism, basically.)
posted by threeturtles at 12:24 PM on July 30 [2 favorites]


Great, he can go have a photo op summit with the Ayatollahs and then declare peace while they ramp up their nuke program to be a full-fledged member of the nuclear club, just like DPRK. Hell, the Iranians will probably be more responsible with their nuke material than the Russians, anyway. MAGA.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:25 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


Medicare--old people
Medicaid--poor people


One very important thing to remember is that Medicare does NOT cover long term nursing home care or assisted living. So when people end up in long term care that they cannot afford, that bill is actually covered by Medicaid. Medicaid cuts can be catastrophic to elder care.
posted by azpenguin at 12:34 PM on July 30 [76 favorites]


In principle I also think the whole stock market is a bad idea and basically just gambling, but again, blowing it up would hurt a lot of people who were just trying to play by the rules as they understood them, along with of course hurting the evil people who absolutely deserve to get hurt.

Yes, good people can have their livelihoods and stability caught up in the exploitation of human vulnerability and misery, but perpetually preserving the system isn't the answer. There are some prominent historical examples of people with wealth tied up in evil systems being compensated when the system is abolished.
posted by XMLicious at 12:36 PM on July 30 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile:

Rudy Giuliani’s rambling new statements on Michael Cohen and the Trump Tower meeting, decoded (Andrew Prokop | Vox)

“The president’s lawyer went on TV, and everyone is confused.”
In a series of television appearances on Monday morning, Rudy Giuliani tried to rebut Michael Cohen’s reported claims that Team Trump isn’t telling the whole story about the infamous Trump Tower meeting with a Russian delegation from back in 2016.

But in doing so, Giuliani seemed to reveal new information about just what former Donald Trump attorney Cohen has been saying — information that had not yet become public.”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:40 PM on July 30 [7 favorites]


My original comment wasn't meant to be pearl-clutching over the ins-and-outs of single payer, but an explanation of why what some of you would paint as "Centrist Democrats" feel some anxiety about those inside and outside the party who seem pretty gleeful about putting us up against the wall when the revolution comes just because we own stuff or have kids in college. Then got a lot of pushback on how I'm trash for worrying about retirement accounts instead of people without insurance, as if I'm not concerned about BOTH. I want the leftiest possible candidates to get elected, but in North Carolina that's not very lefty. If you're not willing to listen to the concerns of people who have a stake in the status quo, you're going to seriously limit your voter base. I'm aware that the status quo is not fair and needs to be changed, but I'd appreciate finding a rhetorical way to bring in older/wealthier people as allies rather than painting us all as Enemies of the People.
posted by rikschell at 12:40 PM on July 30 [17 favorites]


here goes Socialism in the U.S. for generations. We could lose SS, Medicare, unemployment, everything.
Once you have a constituency for social programs they are hard to uproot, particularly universal programs such as public schools, Medicare, Social Security, and public libraries. For all the hate Pelosi seems to get, she articulated this when she said "You'll like it once it's passed" (or something to that effect that was widely mocked) with regards to Obamacare. Schumer and his centrist friends in the Senate are complete and utter snakes though. Rooting centrism out of the undemocratic upper chamber will be difficult.
posted by bookman117 at 12:45 PM on July 30 [6 favorites]


To further expand: I think once you make Medicare universal it will be impossible to roll back, especially once the private insurance industry is wiped out. Same goes for the jobs guarantee and most everything else on the progressive wish list (whatever you might make of them). The only area I can think of where inertia works against us is on antitrust as the economy continues to concentrate into fewer and fewer hands, thus making it harder and harder to break them up.
posted by bookman117 at 12:48 PM on July 30 [2 favorites]


People realize that in the UK with its NHS there’s still a private health insurance industry, right? Most people don’t use it and It’s not an all consuming behemoth which destroys people’s lives the way the current US one is, but it still exists.
posted by Artw at 12:55 PM on July 30 [17 favorites]


[Folks maybe wrap up the derail about people's individual investments/stake here? Up to you but I suggest moving on from this.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:57 PM on July 30 [13 favorites]


Cool, can we now freak out about this? A religious liberty task force? Looking for any reassurances that this won't 100% be used to help "Christians" discriminate against all those classes of people they don't seem to like.
posted by runcibleshaw at 1:01 PM on July 30 [36 favorites]


People realize that in the UK with its NHS there’s still a private health insurance industry, right? Most people don’t use it and It’s not an all consuming behemoth which destroys people’s lives the way the current US one is, but it still exists.
That private health industry does not posses the might to destroy the NHS, which is the sort of thing I was referring to when saying that universal Medicare would be even harder to get rid of once it's gone/greatly diminished in the US. In fact the NHS is a great example of what I just pointed out. All anyone needs to do anything in the UK is a majority in the lower house, yet that institution has survived conservative government after conservative government. Checks and balances aren't what keep a government in place. It's the will of the people.
posted by bookman117 at 1:01 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


If you're not willing to listen to the concerns of people who have a stake in the status quo, you're going to seriously limit your voter base.

I hear what you're saying, and your concerns are totally valid--destroying the concept of private health insurance overnight would indeed be a reckless thing that could do some serious damage to the macro economy. Luckily, no one's proposing we do that (with the possible exception of j_curiouser, whose tongue appears to be firmly entrenched in his cheek). We're proposing a system in which we announce a public option for health care, which people are free to switch to as soon as it's figured out, funded, and implemented. In practice, that probably means anywhere between 6 and 18 months of lead time, which is plenty of time for people employed at insurance giants to find jobs elsewhere. And there'll be lots! Because a nationalized healthcare system needs a lot of people to make it work! And anyone who doesn't want to make the jump from Blue Cross to AmeriCare (or whatever) can probably find work in any of the hundreds of other sectors of private industry, every single last one of which will suddenly be swimming in capital because they've been relieved of the burden of paying the employer subsidy on health care for their employees.

Meanwhile, yup, it's totally possible that your 401(k) will take a beating overnight. Is that indicative of a sick economy, or some other looming economic disaster? No, it's a reaction to a decades-old "safe bet" investment suddenly being turned on its ear. Sort of like how it wasn't great to be too heavily invested in buggy-whips circa 1910, or Beanie Babies in 2010. You're not entitled to have your investments be profitable. On top of which, health insurance is a really hideously evil thing to be investing in, when you get right down to it: you're betting on the profitability of a huge company who makes its money by making healthy people pay more in premiums than sick people use in benefits. Its margins come from denying care to critically ill people. It's barbaric. It should be burned to the ground, and the ground salted beneath it. I've also got a 401(k) tied up in god-knows-what-sort of investment, but I can say without hesitation: if cratering my investments for five years means that millions of people can stop worrying about bankruptcy, misery, or death, you can have every last dollar of it.
posted by Mayor West at 1:03 PM on July 30 [44 favorites]


This thread just made me realize I need to check my investments and be sure to divest from any health insurance companies that are in there.
posted by bookman117 at 1:08 PM on July 30 [10 favorites]




Which tells me like, the entire rust belt is up for grabs if you want it.

This is quite true, and I also think folks need to keep reminding themselves just how close the 2016 election was. The Republicans were as surprised as anybody that they won, and it would not have taken much for it to go the way that everyone expected it to. My guess is the Russians were as well.

While very serious, and certainly worth investigating to its core, there's no evidence that the Russian influence campaign — probably the biggest and longest-running foreign influence campaign in US history — would have been able to move the election outcome had it not been extremely close (electorally, obviously, not popular-vote-wise). They may have been the straw that broke the camel's back, but it would be unwise to ignore the rest of the burden on the camel, which is a lot easier to reduce.

There are more than enough votes available in the Midwest to push the needle out of the electoral danger zone where foreign meddling could have an effect, and I think that's what the eventual campaign, and its associated strategy, needs to concentrate on: hope for the best (in terms of the investigation), but assume the worst (that nothing will change), and construct a campaign with broad appeal particularly in powerful low-population states.

Virtually the only way the Democrats could lose in 2020 would be to alienate enough people in those low-population/high-per-capita-EC-vote states that they decide the devil they know (Trump) is better than one they don't. There is a path to defeat there, though admittedly a narrow and seemingly remote one, if the Democrats slew hard enough left and scare enough conservative or moderate-leaning people in various swing states that they lose the EC. I don't know what exactly they'd need to do to convince some hypothetical moderate in Ohio or Pennsylvania that they're scarier than Trump & Friends (the mind reels), but at this point I don't know if probing too hard at that boundary is really a smart plan, given the high stakes.

sack the c-suite and put some GS-15s in charge. way better jobs program than MDA or some defense bullshit.

If you were going to do this, I'd suggest you follow the model that the FDIC/OTS uses. They are very good at stepping into failing banks and taking them over and winding them down in an orderly way. That's basically what you'd want to do to the insurance companies — at least to the ones who would be insolvent given a Medicare-for-all scenario. (There are probably some companies that would be able to remain in business, selling various add-on products and "concierge care" coverage and whatever.) You impose various capital requirements and if/when insurance companies start to fail the various tests, you send in the guys in windbreakers on Friday afternoon and grab all the computer systems, etc., and do an orderly wind-down, transitioning their customers with as little disruption as possible.

Having been a customer of an OTS-closed bank, it was a pretty smooth process and could just as easily apply to insurance as it could to banking. Insurance companies merge with each other all the time, so it's not really a moon shot or anything.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:14 PM on July 30 [15 favorites]


if the Democrats slew hard enough left and scare enough conservative or moderate-leaning people in various swing states that they lose the EC. I don't know what exactly they'd need to do to convince some hypothetical moderate in Ohio or Pennsylvania that they're scarier than Trump & Friends (the mind reels),

Doing shit like this while being careful to not scare wealthy donors and retirees in the Bay Area who are invested in health insurance companies. Pretty much what the "Third Way" centrists are advocating.
posted by bookman117 at 1:22 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


People with investments, which includes me, aren't trash or Enemies of the People; it's just that we figuratively own livestock which are transmission vectors for stuff that affects humans because of the nature and inter-linkedness of our economy. A century-plus ago before public health measures were a thing bovine tuberculosis was transmitted to humans regularly; farmers large and small and avaricious and good-hearted were definitely impacted when they had to change their husbandry practices over the decades it took to prevent that. But then kids didn't catch an uncurable life-long potentially-lethal disease from drinking a glass of milk any more.

To keep everyone safe, your 401k may need to be vaccinated or quarantined; but yes, if you are heavily invested in the business of Martin Shkreli types even through no fault of your own, those sorts of organizations will have to be dissolved. The discipline of modern finance is supposed to be capable of compensating for and distributing and hedging against this kind of regulatory risk, but if smaller investors are shut out of those kinds of safeguards, maybe you can make planning for ensuring equal access to those sorts of capabilities for smaller investors your contribution to the cause.

(But really... you should be blaming the people who shut you out of those benefits of the financial system in the first place even when you put your money in “safe” synthetic investments, not “extremists” who are trying to bring what is a basic feature of most developed societies to the richest country in the world—an event which should be surprising exactly nobody and which no financial firm could claim to find unexpected.)
posted by XMLicious at 1:28 PM on July 30 [22 favorites]


From a very practical point of view, as a middle-aged, middle-class person with a house, car, decent income etc. the amount of money that I have invested in the healthcare industry is not even close to enough to let me afford the cost of healthcare.

And I think that's true of far more people than not.
posted by Foosnark at 1:32 PM on July 30 [54 favorites]


I'm aware that the status quo is not fair and needs to be changed, but I'd appreciate finding a rhetorical way to bring in older/wealthier people as allies rather than painting us all as Enemies of the People.

With the utmost respect, I don't understand why you are letting this stuff get to you. 90% of what goes on in these threads is masturbation venting and favourites-baiting. Nobody here has any political power or influence. What is said and discussed here will have no implications beyond the blue.

On a wider scale, the political left in Anglo-America is foggy from decades of near complete irrelevance. Don't be swayed by promises of the moon from a group that plans to buy a ladder. Save your worrying until November at the earliest. If by some miracle a (D) House majority and Senate supermajority result, then we can start an earnest decision of pragmatic policy outcomes.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 1:36 PM on July 30 [12 favorites]


[Seriously WALK AWAY from the personal attacks.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:36 PM on July 30 [35 favorites]


I'm not really sure this debate about viability of 401k investments in the off-chance of that Medicare for All ( or for More than Now ) occurs in the next 30 years is too relevant. Trade and national security policy, or even global climate change are much more likely to affect investments in the next few years. Either way, its kind of tone deaf to be worrying about losing a few percent of retirement income when the society one is to be retiring to won't be worth living in if things keep going on as they do.
posted by localhuman at 1:40 PM on July 30 [3 favorites]


Y'all made jessamyn come out of retirement with your bullshit I hope you're happy.
posted by Tevin at 1:42 PM on July 30 [182 favorites]


Please remember to distinguish between healthcare and healthcare insurance. Medicare for All is healthcare insurance, not healthcare. Healthcare will remain private.
posted by M-x shell at 1:49 PM on July 30 [6 favorites]


I've been looking for a good writeup on this. NYT, Trump Administration Mulls a Unilateral Tax Cut for the Wealthy
The Trump administration is considering bypassing Congress to grant a $100 billion tax cut mainly to the wealthy, a legally tenuous maneuver that would cut capital gains taxation and fulfill a long-held ambition of many investors and conservatives.

Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said in an interview on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit meeting in Argentina this month that his department was studying whether it could use its regulatory powers to allow Americans to account for inflation in determining capital gains tax liabilities. The Treasury Department could change the definition of “cost” for calculating capital gains, allowing taxpayers to adjust the initial value of an asset, such as a home or a share of stock, for inflation when it sells.

“If it can’t get done through a legislation process, we will look at what tools at Treasury we have to do it on our own and we’ll consider that,” Mr. Mnuchin said, emphasizing that he had not concluded whether the Treasury Department had the authority to act alone. “We are studying that internally, and we are also studying the economic costs and the impact on growth.”
...
Capital gains taxes are overwhelmingly paid by high earners, and they were untouched in the $1.5 trillion tax law that Mr. Trump signed last year. Independent analyses suggest that more than 97 percent of the benefits of indexing capital gains for inflation would go to the top 10 percent of income earners in America. Nearly two-thirds of the benefits would go to the super wealthy — the top 0.1 percent of American income earners.
posted by zachlipton at 1:53 PM on July 30 [24 favorites]


Y'all made jessamyn come out of retirement with your bullshit I hope you're happy.

They should be afraid. Very afraid. She'll turn this car around.
posted by azpenguin at 1:53 PM on July 30 [30 favorites]


Wow. I just finished reading through the entire Third Way proposal and I can say without reservation that as a person who came of age in the 1990's it is **EXACTLY** the sort of thing I'd expect from a group with "Third Way" in its name.

It's weak, insipid, uninspiring, and cowardly. It's worse than uninspiring, it's anti-inspiring. In an America where student loan debt is the second biggest form of personal debt that exists, just barely behind housing loans, there is absolutely no one who is going to get excited about a program to try to sort of encourage universities to assure that graduates have job skills which are guessed might be what is needed to get a job earning enough so you can can pay off your crushing debt burden before you die.

A "Small Business Bill of Rights"? Really‽ That's what they think the American voter is clamoring for? No one who is going to vote Democratic in 2018 is thinking to themselves "what we really need is more rights for businesses, that's the problem in America today!"

And yes, I know they aren't actually talking about extra rights, special rights you might even say, for businesses but that's how they branded it.

Oh, and rather than bolstering Social Security they want to add a complex new voluntary system for businesses to create a quasi-Social Security system to supplement Social Security?

I'm also amazed that the're sticking with the Third Way name. You'd think that name would be forever tainted by it's monumental destruction and failure, but apparently not.

rikschell I think perhaps you're vastly overestimating the left's animosity for you and people like you. When we say "eat the rich' we aren't talking about people with a house and a 401k. Unless your income is >$1,000,000/year I don't think you're going to need to worry about the left coming for you.

I think mostly you're wrongly equating moderate upper middle class success with "being rich". From your description of yourself and your finances you aren't rich.
posted by sotonohito at 1:56 PM on July 30 [47 favorites]


Nobody here has any political power or influence.

Not to be argumentative (and totally agreeing with the larger point you were making), but I think we all have political influence. All we have to do is vote, and we've exercised that power, but we can also lobby, canvas, donate, and jawbone our friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors. There are also phone banks and postcard mailing efforts. If you don't think this is political power, then you don't understand how the right seized it.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:56 PM on July 30 [15 favorites]


If you're not willing to listen to the concerns of people who have a stake in the status quo, you're going to seriously limit your voter base.

This is only true because of systemic voter disenfranchisement and because the US is not particularly democratic. The number of people who would see nothing but upside from Medicare for All is higher than 50%.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 1:56 PM on July 30 [8 favorites]


"My client didn't do it, and if he did, it wasn't a crime."

Giuliani describes this as a "very familiar lawyer's argument." It is a very familiar lawyer's joke, primarily because it is a terrible argument. I say this as someone who actually tried just that argument, in a jury trial, in 2002. Needless to say, the jury was not impressed. In fact, I have never once been able to get to the end of that story without people laughing at me for it, and until today I was pretty sure I was the only actual lawyer to ever make that argument with a straight face. But this is 2018 and that particular strain of idiocy is apparently no longer limited to first-year lawyers, but extends even to the Best People.
posted by mabelstreet at 2:00 PM on July 30 [88 favorites]


Anyone else see "religious liberty task force" and immediately think of Octavia Butler's Parable of the Talents with the roving Christian brainwashing armies?
posted by giraffe at 2:00 PM on July 30 [20 favorites]


"My client didn't do it, and if he did, it wasn't a crime."
---
Giuliani describes this as a "very familiar lawyer's argument."


Yes, from shitty defense attorneys with guilty clients.
posted by chris24 at 2:01 PM on July 30 [30 favorites]


The Trump administration is considering bypassing Congress to grant a $100 billion tax cut mainly to the wealthy, a legally tenuous maneuver that would cut capital gains taxation and fulfill a long-held ambition of many investors and conservatives.

This is terribly insidious. It gives massive amounts away to the wealthy, but it also gives small amounts to ordinary people who have modest IRAs and 401(k)s. And I believe that's the grease that will get the wheel rolling. Defined-contribution retirement plans have shifted the capital gains tax landscape in this country, and for the very much worse. The GOP dangles these small amounts to the middle class in order to get them to swallow starving the gummint. The game is unceasing and dishonest as hell.

We need to get back to defined benefit retirement plans and goddam taxing the marginal shit out of excess income. Confiscate nearly everything over $1M per annum.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:03 PM on July 30 [23 favorites]


I haven’t been able to get Parable of the Talents out of my head. Concentration camps for people of color, children taken away from their parents, and a demagogue elected president with the slogan “Make America Great Again.” Spooky stuff. It reads as a much more plausible and insightful dystopia than The Handmaid’s Tale to me; I’m hoping we’ll get a film or TV adaptation of it.
posted by EarBucket at 2:05 PM on July 30 [14 favorites]


We need to get back to defined benefit retirement plans and goddam taxing the marginal shit out of excess income. Confiscate nearly everything over $1M per annum.

Hell, just taxing capital gains at the same rate as ordinary income would be a great start.
posted by Existential Dread at 2:06 PM on July 30 [29 favorites]


The Treasury Department could change the definition of “cost” for calculating capital gains, allowing taxpayers to adjust the initial value of an asset, such as a home or a share of stock, for inflation when it sells.

Need to read (and think) about this some more, but what kind of jiggery-pokery is this?

So a taxpayer will be able to readjust the cost of the asset to a higher $$$ figure based on the rate of inflation over the time the asset was held, which means the gap between the original cost and the eventual sales price (the gain to be taxed) will narrow. IOW there will be less gain to tax and less tax to be paid. But... inflation does not just work on one side of this -- what about that part of the asset's gain that is due to plain old inflation? Why should the asset holder be entitled to book the value of inflation on the sales side, but discount it on the cost side?
posted by notyou at 2:07 PM on July 30 [4 favorites]


Srsly, thinking, "I have a house, a barely above water small business and a 401K, therefore I am numbered among the rich" is a problem, not a sign that the communists are coming to take your shit away. Having a house and some retirement savings makes you more fortunate than many Americans but it doesn't make you rich, unless you own an enormously valuable historic home or something.

If you have a house and some savings, you are going to be far better off, both materially and psychically, if you stop identifying with the wealthy and their interests.

Between the end of WWII and the start of the Inequality Wars, owning a house and having some savings was characteristic of the comfortable working class.
posted by Frowner at 2:08 PM on July 30 [127 favorites]


It gives massive amounts away to the wealthy, but it also gives small amounts to ordinary people who have modest IRAs and 401(k)s.

Quite the opposite [for ordinary people]: it benefits people who have regular taxed brokerage accounts instead of 401k’s and IRA’s. Retirement accounts are exempt from capital gains taxes, and are taxed as income after retirement.

If you’re a middle-class investor with your savings in retirement accounts, a capital gains tax cut benefits you not at all.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:14 PM on July 30 [25 favorites]


Shareblue: Jeff Sessions creates ‘religious liberty task force’ to protect bigots
Sessions started his remarks at the Justice Department Monday by warning that “a dangerous movement, undetected by many, is now challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom.”
One example of this supposedly dangerous “movement” threatening America?

The lawsuit against Jack Phillips, who was a guest at Sessions’ announcement of the task force.

“We’ve all seen the ordeal faced so bravely by Jack Phillips,” Sessions said. Phillips is the Colorado baker who fought all the way to the Supreme Court for the “right” to discriminate against gay people by refusing to bake wedding cakes for them.

posted by jazon at 2:14 PM on July 30 [11 favorites]


it also gives small amounts to ordinary people who have modest IRAs and 401(k)s.

Retirement savings like those don't deal with capital gains taxes. When you sell funds in them, it just goes into a pool of money that you can pull out. It's taxed as income, not capital gains.

The proposal would help people that have invested in post-tax stocks or funds which would benefit the middle class, but of course it's mostly of benefit to the rich.
posted by Candleman at 2:15 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


There wouldn't necessarily be a major reduction of the health care sector right away anyway, insurers would likely just be nationalized for the most part. In fact, I believe BlueCross already won the bid to transition into the flagship nationalized health insurance company back when wonks in HHS were still prepping for a possible public option (pre-passage of the ACA). There's no reason to think that nationalization would disrupt the economy in a negative way or impede economic growth.

Trying to integrate private insurers into our new health care system (under the ACA) has actually created a much more expensive (to the government, not just to individuals), complex and haphazard system than something like single payer would be. It's the people who directly make money off of health insurance that want private insurance to stay -- namely, insurers, pharma companies, doctors, and some hospitals. The reason we still have private insurance is that Obama cut deals with all of those folks very early in the health care reform process because he wanted them on board -- or at least not actively fighting against him -- while he was pushing the ACA through Congress. (And btw doctors were considered extremely formidable possible foes to the ACA. Because they will just plain old not make as much money under any sort of public system, where price lists are published by the government and there are set limits on what they can bill (like is true for public insurance now). And doctors' resistance is where things like student loan debt also become a big issue, because doctors claim that becoming a doctor would be unaffordable under a public system due to medical students' large debt burdens. And the AMA/doctors are such a formidable political force because they're EVERYWHERE and they are often considered pillars of their communities. But anyway, that's kind of irrelevant, I just think it's interesting).

Anyway, Obama's decision to cut deals with all those lobbies was a political decision, it wasn't ideological or even logistical. And in retrospect, personally, I think he was right to go the incremental route and just get the ACA passed however he had to. But from wonks' perspective the hard part in putting health care reform together wasn't in conceptualizing a single payer system or even a public option -- those are quite straight forward both to understand and to implement, and we have plenty of practice with things like Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, etc etc etc -- the hard part was to try to find a way to deliver a public good (health care) WITHOUT a public option and without cutting private insurers out of the process. Insurers make health care HARDER to give people, not easier. Keeping them in the loop makes things HARDER. Their existence even within our current system is already a major concession, not a necessity. And an expensive (again, to the government, not just individuals) concession at that.

Frankly, businesses (other than insurers) have actually traditionally been seen as likely allies of nationalized health care because under a public/nationalized system, they wouldn't have to pay employees' health insurance costs. Personally, I would offset their cost savings through the implementation of more/bigger corporate taxes. But if anything, nationalized care should be a boon to most business. Which would in theory be a boon to the economy blah blah blah.

Also, if we had an NHS in the US, things like tax laws would likely need to shift because another reason why businesses have been "willing" to take on so much of the burden of paying for health insurance on behalf of their employees is because wages are taxed at such high rates relative to other sorts of income and because there are relatively stringent caps on them, whereas fringe benefits (like health insurance) aren't subject to all that regulation. So another goal would be to make it so that fringe benefits aren't so privileged (by taxes) over wages as a way for employers to compete against each other for employees -- and reducing the privileged position of fringe benefits would theoretically lead to an increase in wages. Altogether, if paying for insurance wasn't something that employers could/would offer, and therefore couldn't be a basis by which they competed for employees, we should theoretically see an increase in wages for people below executive level (where the fringe benefits v wage increases issue REALLY come into play) regardless of changes to tax law, though.
posted by rue72 at 2:21 PM on July 30 [13 favorites]


It gives massive amounts away to the wealthy, but it also gives small amounts to ordinary people who have modest IRAs and 401(k)s.

I will never understand what it is in American character that makes us resent the poor receiving even a penny from our pockets, while we clap as the rich swallow the remaining 99 cents they turned us upside-down for.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 2:22 PM on July 30 [80 favorites]


> If you have a house and some savings, you are going to be far better off, both materially and psychically, if you stop identifying yourself as rich.

This is a really good point... I am at a point in my life where I'm pulling down considerably more than I was, say, 5 years ago. But I'd also been mired in debt and just barely squeaking by until then. So, now that I am in a place where I have gone from living month to month to actually having a bit of a buffer in case something goes wrong, having a house, and having a bit of luxury cash on top of my monthly living expenses, I feel rich relative to how I did before.

Yet it all seems so precarious, like it could go away at any moment... because, when it comes down to it, any economic disruption could have a wave that ends up affecting me... and in a few months, I could have nothing at all.

Yet, I still think of myself as being impossibly well off compare to how I felt before- and I think it's easy to see that as "rich," especially if many of your peers don't have this safety buffer.

If you are in a place at all where a market crash, or loss of a job, or massive inflation can affect you to that degree, then you are not rich. You may be doing better than many of your peers, but you are likely still very much dependent on a regular paycheck. The truly wealthy will simply be less wealthy, they certainly won't be living in anxiety of not being able to make a mortgage payment or retire with at least something to show for it.
posted by MysticMCJ at 2:25 PM on July 30 [25 favorites]


Would an unintended effect of this tax plan be to give money back to largely Dem voting folks in hot coastal real estate markets? Plenty of the Dem base in CA/NY own property that has appreciated beyond the 250k/person real estate capital gain carve out - seems sort of weir to throw them a bone when every other move has been calculated to hurt them (see discussion of making SALT deduction changes permanent).
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:26 PM on July 30




I get why it's a lawyer's joke, but is it an inherently bad argument to say "My client didn't do it and it's not a crime if they did?"

That's how one might defend someone accused of any number of things that aren't really crimes or shouldn't be per the Constitution (e.g flag-burning or sodomy); that's not a contradiction if it happens the client didn't even do the thing.

The problem with Giuliani's argument is the things we're discussing do easily cross into criminality, e.g if the promised Hillary dirt is considered a "thing of value" from a foreign government, and especially if it turns out -- as every sign suggests! -- that the Trump Campaign was at least passively an accessory to the criminal hacking of Podesta and the DNC.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:32 PM on July 30 [5 favorites]


Frankly, businesses (other than insurers) have actually traditionally been seen as likely allies of nationalized health care because under a public/nationalized system, they wouldn't have to pay employees' health insurance costs.

It's about the power, not the money. Employees are scared of striking, quitting, and/or starting their own business that might serve as competition as long as employer provided health insurance is basically the only option. Plus, as Bill Kristol or someone equally odious put it in a column many years ago, universal public health insurance would legitimize the welfare state. It takes power and authority away from employer's hands and puts it in the hands of the government. Self-styled "pragmatic centrists" don't see the big picture here, but the right sure does.
posted by bookman117 at 2:32 PM on July 30 [15 favorites]


Srsly, thinking, "I have a house, a barely above water small business and a 401K, therefore I am numbered among the rich" is a problem, not a sign that the communists are coming to take your shit away. Having a house and some retirement savings makes you more fortunate than many Americans but it doesn't make you rich, unless you own an enormously valuable historic home or something.

True, but as far as messaging I would assume that nationalists and conservatives are going to be blathering about dekulakization in the early Soviet Union, and GRU social media accounts pretending to be leftists will enthusiastically endorse a replay of it under other names, so it's worth formulating a better-than-handwavy response rather than leaving class delineation as self-evident. When it comes to eating the rich we should specifically convey who is good with ketchup.
posted by XMLicious at 2:35 PM on July 30 [5 favorites]


I get why it's a lawyer's joke, but is it an inherently bad argument to say "My client didn't do it and it's not a crime if they did?"

Not only is that not a bad legal argument it's a bog-standard one made by any decent lawyer. It's called "argument in the alternative". The issue is that while it's a great legal argument it's a truly terrible one from a PR and political standpoint and Giuliani's job is to make PR arguments and not strictly legal ones.
posted by Justinian at 2:35 PM on July 30 [6 favorites]


I get why it's a lawyer's joke, but is it an inherently bad argument to say "My client didn't do it and it's not a crime if they did?"

It's not that it's logically or legally impossible, it's that it makes him sound like Lionel Hutz.
posted by theodolite at 2:36 PM on July 30 [27 favorites]


a little late to chime in on this issue, but:
the Eric Holder who authorized and justified the assassination abroad of U.S. citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki and later his son?

as disqualified as torture enabler Yoo.
posted by 20 year lurk at 2:37 PM on July 30 [15 favorites]


Anyway, Obama's decision to cut deals with all those lobbies was a political decision, it wasn't ideological or even logistical. And in retrospect, personally, I think he was right to go the incremental route and just get the ACA passed however he had to.

Do you think the ACA would be in a better position today with or without the public option? Do you think the fact that private premiums rose as more sick people got insured through them helped or hurt its popularity? Was it worth preserving the filibuster to not have it?
posted by bookman117 at 2:38 PM on July 30


Was it worth preserving the filibuster to not have it?

I'm gonna go with yes, here. Can you imagine the devastation that would be going on right now if Republicans could pass any bill they wanted with 50 votes in the Senate? It's been bad enough when they only get one relatively narrow reconciliation bill per year.
posted by Justinian at 2:40 PM on July 30 [16 favorites]


Reposting from the previous thread, because I'm still curious and haven't been able to figure this out myself.

1) Elections occur with the government shut down because of him and his hugely unpopular position. Yes, his stand may fire up his racist core, but they're most likely already motivated and voting...

posted by chris24 at 8:38 AM on July 29 [23 favorites +] [!]


Question: Can national elections be run with the federal government shut down? Who would be in charge of taking certifications from the states, for example?
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:40 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


I get why it's a lawyer's joke, but is it an inherently bad argument to say "My client didn't do it and it's not a crime if they did?"

This is the kind of argument you can make to a judge, not a jury. I personally think that people exaggerate how "bad" this kind of argument is. The vast majority of people have made their minds up about Trump. (In fact, people who don't agree or don't care are painted as tools of the Russians etc. because it's so "obvious" that he is guilty).

The people who already hate him and/or think he's guilty really enjoy these kind of logical "gotchas" (not only is Trump guilty, but I'm smart enough to see through the hype!) but it's red meat which means that it's not particularly important how accurate or important the criticisms are. Just that it makes people feel smart if they "get" it.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 2:41 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


@AliceOllstein: Federal judge Dolly Gee just ordered the Trump admin to transfer all separated migrant children out of one of the shelters with the most reported abuses. Lawyers submitted extensive evidence that migrant children held at the Shiloh facility in Texas were forced to take powerful psychotropic drugs without their parents' consent. Judge says to cut that out.

Meanwhile, more of Giuliani's nonsense: "when I say the Trump campaign, I mean the upper levels of the Trump campaign. I have no reason to believe anybody else did. But the only I checked with were obviously the top 4 or 5 people." We're now qualifying "no collusion" to mean 'just these 4 or 5 people didn't collude.'

@Denver4VA: Check out this video on my research into the Bigfoot myth. I sure don't know what Bigfoot Erotica is, @LeslieCockburn knows more about that than I do apparently - but I can talk about Bigfoot theories all day. See the video here #bigfoot #va05 [6:23 video featuring the candidate discussing bigfoot]

I haven't gone to look for it, but I'm confident there's a bigfoot erotica community out there that's now furious he's turned his back on them. More significantly, it's notable that he feels compelled to comment on this, but not about the whole propensity for palling around with white supremacists thing.
posted by zachlipton at 2:45 PM on July 30 [24 favorites]


It gives massive amounts away to the wealthy, but it also gives small amounts to ordinary people who have modest IRAs and 401(k)s.

Quite the opposite [for ordinary people]: it benefits people who have regular taxed brokerage accounts instead of 401k’s and IRA’s. Retirement accounts are exempt from capital gains taxes, and are taxed as income after retirement.


Yeah, Huffy, you're right and I'm wrong. I didn't think it through. Not even Roths will benefit, since they pay no tax at all on the gain. So the sop to the middle class is even smaller, since it's limited to any non-qualified investments.

But I haven't seen any evidence that the size of the sop makes any difference. Even if it's a dollar, Trumpies say, "Good for me. And someday I'll be billionaire, so good for me again."
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:46 PM on July 30


I get why it's a lawyer's joke, but is it an inherently bad argument to say "My client didn't do it and it's not a crime if they did?"

IANAL, but it's a pretty shitty legal argument here too, not just PR, because clearly collusion is an umbrella term for the variety of illegal activities probably committed, not the precise criminal statute. And conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to commit computer crimes and conspiracy to facilitate/accept foreign involvement in elections are obviously crimes. As the many Mueller indictments already show.
posted by chris24 at 2:48 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


"Every man who is his own lawyer has a fool for client." What if someone has Giuliani as a lawyer?
posted by kirkaracha at 2:48 PM on July 30 [5 favorites]


Question: Can national elections be run with the federal government shut down?

Elections are run entirely by the states (typically through local governments). The Feds have nothing to do with them.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:48 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


Can you imagine the devastation that would be going on right now if Republicans could pass any bill they wanted with 50 votes in the Senate? It's been bad enough when they only get one relatively narrow reconciliation bill per year.

In fact I can imagine the devastation, and I don't see how it's much different from what we already have. Their number one priority is tax cuts which they simply pass under reconciliation. They couldn't even get their own votes together in the House on immigration, which was the number one theme of Trump's campaign. Fundamentally they are the party of "No." They don't believe in government so anything that gums up the works and subverts the popular will is in their favor. It's not an accident that we are unique among first world countries in not having universal health care and also that we are unique in having so many ways to stop legislation from passing. If it were in their favor to nuke the filibuster, don't you think McConnell would have already done it? When has he ever shown procedural restraint before? He knows it's in his interests to have it.
posted by bookman117 at 2:52 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, more of Giuliani's nonsense: "when I say the Trump campaign, I mean the upper levels of the Trump campaign. I have no reason to believe anybody else did. But the only I checked with were obviously the top 4 or 5 people." We're now qualifying "no collusion" to mean 'just these 4 or 5 people didn't collude.'

Next week: "Well, three of those five colluded, but it would be impossible to tell which ones, and you can't just convict someone on a percentage."
posted by dng at 2:53 PM on July 30 [9 favorites]



Question: Can national elections be run with the federal government shut down?

Elections are run entirely by the states (typically through local governments). The Feds have nothing to do with them.

posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:48 PM on July 30 [+] [!]


Understood, but these are elected offices that are part of the legislative branch of the federal government. So, the state's attorney general certifies the election results, and then the representative or senator presents herself to the corresponding chamber for inclusion. Is that right? So no federal office needs to be involved other than the chamber? And they can operate during a shutdown?
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:54 PM on July 30


Look up the broken windows fallacy if you want an instant refutation for those that talk about how big the health care industry is or their retirement fund or whatever.
posted by Yowser at 2:56 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, more of Giuliani's nonsense: "when I say the Trump campaign, I mean the upper levels of the Trump campaign. I have no reason to believe anybody else did. But the only I checked with were obviously the top 4 or 5 people." We're now qualifying "no collusion" to mean 'just these 4 or 5 people didn't collude.'

Listen at end to audio: off camera Fox News person saying, “Oh my God”
posted by PenDevil at 2:56 PM on July 30 [26 favorites]


Freelance Demiurge: "Nobody here has any political power or influence. "

Um, hello, Borough Tax Collector here.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:57 PM on July 30 [174 favorites]


In case I'm being too obtuse, I'm saying that health care in America is a disaster and actually a drag on the economy.
posted by Yowser at 3:00 PM on July 30 [5 favorites]



Question: Can national elections be run with the federal government shut down?


I don't think that's the worrisome question. My question is, do people KNOW that elections still run during a shutdown? If anyone assumes they don't, or gets misinformed about it by the Republicans, it could have a huge effect on turnout.

We need to educate people on this fast.
posted by mmoncur at 3:01 PM on July 30 [7 favorites]


@McDeereUSA
From this point forward, any time we are discussing Trump-Russia, we will never again describe the alleged misconduct as “collusion.” We will only describe it as an alleged “conspiracy.”

(Reporters — this means you too. Especially you too.)
posted by chris24 at 3:01 PM on July 30 [23 favorites]


Kochs not backing GOP Senate candidates in IN, ND, NV.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:04 PM on July 30 [27 favorites]


Yowser: I'm saying that health care in America is a disaster and actually a drag on the economy.

I think you are right, and not just because people can't switch jobs, start their own businesses, etc. It's because we spend more and get less. We talk about how much money would be freed up if we didn't have so much defense spending - I thing the same would be true of health care.

Plus, having people stress out over things like "how will I pay the rent if I have to take time off to get chemo?" is immoral.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 3:05 PM on July 30 [27 favorites]


My mom and mother-in-law are both Trumpies and both had serious medical situations that put them in the hospital last year. They were worried about their bills and constantly bitched about how inefficient the medical system was. They still love Trump.

Since I was one of their caregivers I refrained at yelling about how if I had my way it'd be taken care of and they wouldn't have to worry about it.

Having your loved ones go through a serious health condition is difficult enough without the additional burden of having to worry about being able to pay for it or destroying your family's (or even families') futures. I wonder how many people are treated for anxiety over medical care.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:10 PM on July 30 [19 favorites]


Can anybody in the hive mind tell me how worried I should be about banks asking people about whether they are citizens and freezing their assets? Is this a normal-horrible thing that happens, or is it a new-horrible thing that happens?
posted by ragtag at 3:16 PM on July 30 [26 favorites]


My mom and mother-in-law are both Trumpies and both had serious medical situations that put them in the hospital last year. They were worried about their bills and constantly bitched about how inefficient the medical system was. They still love Trump.

Since I was one of their caregivers I refrained at yelling about how if I had my way it'd be taken care of and they wouldn't have to worry about it.


My mum is an alcoholic and never cared for me and a lot of stuff is just bad. But last year her friend called me and said I needed to take action so I did. Getting care for an alcoholic is really difficult even in a socialist paradise. It takes hours and hours of negotiation, both with the healthcare people and the alcoholic. If they are ill, no-one believes them, and if they have opinions or feelings, no-one respects them.
I'm not going to write a long story here but just comment that universal healthcare means my mum has 24/7 care now, and that she is better than ever, and even sometimes happy. I also want to say that it wasn't an easy process. No one loves a drunk old lady. But I think a lot of Americans here would see what I have now as literal paradise.
posted by mumimor at 3:27 PM on July 30 [54 favorites]


And I forgot the relevant point: My mum has become a socialist
posted by mumimor at 3:28 PM on July 30 [56 favorites]


Bloomberg, Kavanaugh Sided With Trump Casino in 2012 to Thwart Union Drive
Six years before President Donald Trump nominated him for the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh sided with Trump Entertainment Resorts’ successful effort to thwart a unionization drive at one of its casinos.

Kavanaugh was one of three Republican-appointed judges who in 2012 voted unanimously to set aside an order by the National Labor Relations Board that would have required the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to bargain with the United Auto Workers.

The casino has since shut down. But labor advocates point to the case -- as well as ones where he backed management at Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Venetian hotel and at SeaWorld after an orca killed a worker -- as evidence that Kavanaugh may hobble enforcement of workplace laws and the already-embattled union movement.
No part of this is ok, but this stands out:
At arguments in 2012, an attorney for the company accused the UAW of mounting an “elaborate hoax” that could create a "bandwagon effect" where workers don’t vote against the union because they think it will win anyway.
Kinda like how people didn't vote for Clinton because they thought she would win anyway, huh?
posted by zachlipton at 3:32 PM on July 30 [30 favorites]


@ChuckTingle: please enjoy new tingler DON’T VOTE FOR VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL HOPEFUL DENBER WIGGLEMAN BECAUSE HE IS FULL OF HATE, NOT BECAUSE BIGFOOT MAKES HIM HARD out now on amazon
(link in the tweet)

Thank God for Chuck Tingle.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:33 PM on July 30 [73 favorites]


Tingle 2020

Though he’d probably make for a better ...

... Secretary of the Interior

—————

Trump vs. the Times: Inside an Off-the-Record Meeting (David Remnick | The New Yorker)
On July 20th, the new publisher of the Times, A. G. Sulzberger, visited the Oval Office at the invitation of President Trump. The meeting was meant to be off the record. As a matter of policy, Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the Times, will not attend such meetings without being able to report on them. Instead, Sulzberger went to the session accompanied by James Bennet, the editorial-page editor. The meeting, which Trump clearly intended as a way both to introduce himself to Sulzberger and to complain about coverage, became, in the course of more than an hour, something a great deal more revealing.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 3:37 PM on July 30 [18 favorites]


I've been musing on the current medicare for all proposals. All the numbers thrown around medicare for all assume that the entire burden of the cost will be passed directly to taxpayers, resulting in eye-popping numbers. I don't see why it needs to be that way - we could just as easily implement a corporate tax amounting to, say, the average contribution that employers with health insurance are currently paying for their employees. Employers who give their employees better than average healthcare will benefit, employers who provide crappy insurance or no insurance will have to pay more in taxes, and taxpayers pick up any shortfall.

I wanted to do some envelope math to estimate how much the tax revenue from businesses would be, and I came up with around a trillion dollars a year. That's around a third of the necessary cost to implement medicare for all. It's totally doable, we just need the political willpower.
posted by zug at 3:42 PM on July 30 [4 favorites]


It's obviously doable; everyone else already does it.

Mayor West: " And anyone who doesn't want to make the jump from Blue Cross to AmeriCare (or whatever) can probably find work in any of the hundreds of other sectors of private industry, every single last one of which will suddenly be swimming in capital because they've been relieved of the burden of paying the employer subsidy on health care for their employees. "

It's likely the cost savings will go to corporate mattresses and executive bonuses rather than a hiring spree.
posted by Mitheral at 3:45 PM on July 30 [5 favorites]


The strongest economies in the world have universal healthcare. Obviously, it can't change from day to day, but it is also obvious that it can be done.
posted by mumimor at 3:51 PM on July 30






The strongest economies in the world have universal healthcare.

True, but only in the general sense. Certainly not in the British sense.

Some of them (like Japan, and I believe Germany) are more in the "what Obamacare should have been" style (health insurance, but very heavily regulated / price controlled) as opposed to the single-payer model.

Either way is fine with me, it is certainly true that the amount of money and stress the US system causes seems to be unique in the developed/rich world.

(Even if you have good health insurance! You still don't even know how much anything will cost until afterwards, and if something happens to be "out of network" that you weren't informed of, you can be looking at tens or hundreds of thousands in bills... as I have)
posted by thefoxgod at 4:08 PM on July 30 [6 favorites]


Hey remember that junk debt that nearly destroyed the entire world’s economy? It’s baaaaack

"Now it is happening again, as investors and money managers scramble to buy floating-rate debt — debt offering interest payments that will increase as global interest rates rise, as they are expected to over the next few years. A big new source of floating-rate credit is the market for “leveraged loans” — loans to highly indebted businesses — that are packaged into securities known as “collateralized loan obligations,” or CLOs. Because the market seems to have an insatiable appetite for CLOs, leveraged lending and CLO issuance through the first half of the year are already up 38 percent over last year’s near-record levels."

That's CLO, not CDO, two totally different things.… The sequels are never as good as the originals.… {grimace}
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:28 PM on July 30 [8 favorites]


Meanwhile, in North Korea:

U.S. spy agencies: North Korea is working on new missiles (WaPo)
U.S. spy agencies are seeing signs that North Korea is constructing new missiles at a factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, according to officials familiar with the intelligence.

Newly obtained evidence, including satellite photos taken in recent weeks, indicates that work is underway on at least one and possibly two liquid-fueled ICBMs at a large research facility in Sanumdong, on the outskirts of Pyongyang, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe classified intelligence.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:36 PM on July 30 [5 favorites]


You guys, I hate Twitter links but this —

>> Meanwhile, more of Giuliani's nonsense: "when I say the Trump campaign, I mean the upper levels of the Trump campaign. I have no reason to believe anybody else did. But the only I checked with were obviously the top 4 or 5 people." We're now qualifying "no collusion" to mean 'just these 4 or 5 people didn't collude.'

> Listen at end to audio: off camera Fox News person saying, “Oh my God


— just turn the sound way up, and savor it. I've never made Italian chef air kiss gestures before, but it is belissimo.
posted by RedOrGreen at 4:54 PM on July 30 [43 favorites]


From the article on BoA asking for citizenship info:
We contacted Bank of America for comment and they sent the following statement:

"Like all financial institutions, we’re required by law to maintain complete and accurate records for all of our customers and may periodically request information, such as country of citizenship and proof of US residency. This is not unique to Bank of America. This type of outreach is nothing new and the information must be up to date. Therefore we periodically reach out to customers, which is what we did in this case.

Over time, we reach out to all customers to verify their information, not only specific customers. If we don’t hear from a customer in response to our outreach, as a last resort, we may restrict the account until we can confirm it is in compliance with regulatory requirements."


Later on Friday, they sent the following updated statement:

"Updated statement:

Like all financial institutions, we’re required by law to maintain complete and accurate records for all of our customers and may periodically request information as required by law and regulation. This is not unique to Bank of America. This type of outreach is nothing new and the information must be up to date. Therefore we periodically reach out to customers, which is what we did in this case.

Over time, we reach out to all customers to verify their information, not only specific customers. If we don’t hear from a customer in response to our outreach, as a last resort, we may restrict the account until we can confirm it is in compliance with regulatory requirements."
Sounds like asking for "country of citizenship" and "proof of US residency" may not be totally free and clear on the legality front.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:02 PM on July 30 [5 favorites]


But the only [ones] I checked with were obviously the top 4 or 5 people.

So, like Manafort, Flynn and Papadopoulos? Or other top people? ... I wish they'd had time to pester him about which 4-5 people he meant.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:08 PM on July 30 [5 favorites]


Some new FinCEN rules went into effect in May that now require banks to collect and verify more info on customers (both individuals and companies) than previously. My bet is BoA way overextended themselves when they set their new internal rules.
posted by skycrashesdown at 5:09 PM on July 30 [4 favorites]


With opening arguments scheduled for tomorrow in Alexandria at Manafort's EDVA trial, Manafort has just dropped his appeal in his D.C. Federal Court case against the ruling that the Special Counsel's authorization letter does give Mueller the authority to prosecute him for crimes unrelated to the 2016 election, and Mueller's asked the judge to reject Manafort's request to remove 50 exhibits related to his lobbying work for former Putin-aligned Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. (Courthouse News)

Mueller argues that these exhibits show, in detail, how Manafort earned $60 million in Ukraine, a significant percentage of which he failed to report on his tax returns and laundered through Cyprus bank accounts. Moreover, Mueller's going to name the names of the oligarchs who paid Manafort, something that no doubt sends chills down any number of spines. (Bloomberg)
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:17 PM on July 30 [38 favorites]


Koch funded libertarian think tank admits Medicare For All would save a few ...trillion dollars

The Left: NO SHIT, SHERLOCK
The Right: pffft, two trillion is scarcely any trillions
posted by flabdablet at 5:36 PM on July 30 [47 favorites]


Joyce Alene (MSNBC legal expert, fmr US Atty)
1/ Collusion has become a short hand term that is widely used for the entire range of conduct Trump & people in his orbit have engaged in, that makes us suspicious about his relationship with Russia.
2/ Today, in the face of mounting evidence that Trump may have had advance notice of the Trump Tower meeting with Russians, Rudy Giuliani engaged in his most recent goal post-moving exercise, maintaining that even if there was collusion, it's not a crime.
3/ Technically that's true, in the sense there is no crime titled "Collusion." There is, however, the crime of conspiracy–an agreement between 2 or more people to defraud the US. One of the co-conspirators must take a step towards the crime, called committing an "overt act."
4/ So, Rudy says Collusion, Mueller says conspiracy. No court is going to call the whole thing off on that basis.
5/ To close the loop, there is a law that prohibits "collusion." 18 USC 201, the fed'l bribery statute, makes it a crime for a public official to seek or accept a thing of value in return for colluding in a fraud on the US. So, it's entirely possible collusion isn't dead yet.
posted by chris24 at 6:16 PM on July 30 [56 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** OH-12 special:
-- Big money pouring into unexpectedly close race.

-- GOP state legislator claiming voter fraud was key to Balderson's (very narrow) primary victory, and that conservatives won't vote, as a result.
** 2018 House:
-- CA-50: Tulchin Research poll has GOP incumbent Hunter up 51-42 on Dem Campa-Najjar [MOE: +/- 4.89%]. This poll was commissioned by the Campa-Najjar campaign. Trump won the district 55-40, but Hunter may be vulnerable due to lackluster fundraising and an active FBI investigation into campaign finance abuses.

-- FL-12: St Pete Polls has GOP incumbent Bilirakis up 49-30 on Dem Hunter [MOE: +/- 4.0%]. District went Trump 57-39.

-- FL-16: St Pete Polls has GOP incumbent Buchanan up 44-35 on Dem Shapiro [MOE: +/- 4.0%]. District went Trump 54-43.

-- Cohn: Early narrative of Dem wins mostly in well-educated suburbs seems to be off, as Dems look to make gains in all kinds of districts. Wasserman a little skeptical of this analysis.
** 2018 Senate: WI: Emerson poll has incumbent Dem Baldwin up 49-40 on Nicholson, or 50-36 on Vukmir [MOE: +/- 4.2%].

** Odds & ends:
-- WI gov: That Emerson poll has likely Dem nominee Evers up 48-41 on GOP incumbent Walker. Note that this is a couple points closer than the Marist poll the other day, and is more like what the current consensus seems to be.

-- OH gov: Guardian profile of Rich Cordray.

-- Pew study finds voter turnout in primaries up considerably versus 2014, especially on the Dem side. There were also a lot more contested primaries, though, so it's hard to disentangle the effect of that versus the effect of increased enthusiasm.

-- Vox: States where Dems could retake legislative control (tl;dr: CO, MN, NY, ME, WI, NH, AZ, FL, MI).
posted by Chrysostom at 6:45 PM on July 30 [29 favorites]


Daily Beast, Mystery Sting Targets U.S. Senator for Dirt on Russia Sanctions
A U.S. senator known for her outspoken criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin was hit with a bizarre impersonation attempt by someone hoping to get inside information on American sanctions targeting Russia, according to emails and an audio recording obtained by The Daily Beast.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) was contacted through her staff last November by an individual who said he worked for the foreign ministry of Latvia, a tiny Baltic nation supportive of efforts to rein in Russian aggression. The man said he was trying to set up a phone call between the senator and Edgars Rinkevičs, the Latvian foreign minister.

The purpose of the meeting, he said in an email, was to discuss “prolongation of anti-Russian sanctions” and “general security with Kaspersky laboratory case.”
...
But before the call could take place, Shaheen’s office contacted the Latvian embassy to confirm Vaiders’ bona fides. The embassy responded that the outreach attempt was fake.
The voicemail that just weirdly ends with a pause and then a sudden "we are calling from Latvia" before hanging up is a nice touch.
posted by zachlipton at 7:04 PM on July 30 [41 favorites]


WI gov: That Emerson poll has likely Dem nominee Evers up 48-41 on GOP incumbent Walker. Note that this is a couple points closer than the Marist poll the other day, and is more like what the current consensus seems to be.

I've lived in Kentucky for almost 25 years, but I grew up and went to college in Wisconsin, all my family still lives there, I try to get back at least once a year. I hate what Walker and his Koch-funded ilk have done to this state. Gerrymandering, voter ID, the Supreme Court, robbery of natural resources, decimating funding of the UW system, so much other stuff. I don't just want him to not get reelected; I want him to die a painful, lonely death..
posted by chaoticgood at 7:40 PM on July 30 [19 favorites]


zachlipton: The voicemail that just weirdly ends with a pause and then a sudden "we are calling from Latvia" before hanging up is a nice touch.

"I can't come to school today... um, this is my dad. Okay bye"
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:46 PM on July 30 [93 favorites]


but it also gives small amounts to ordinary people who have modest IRAs and 401(k)s.

The average amount American boomers have in their retirement savings is about $10K less than the estimated cost of medical care during retirement for a senior couple that lives to 85.
posted by srboisvert at 8:03 PM on July 30 [11 favorites]




“Hi, this is Arturs Vaiders. I work for the minister of foreign affairs and I left you a message about trying to do a call with the senator and the minister. Could you respond on our email, please? Thank you,” the individual said in a heavy accent.

I'm half Latvian. Can't speak the language but I grew up hearing it all the time. He's not Latvian, I can say that much. No self respecting Lett would leave the S off his name. In Latvia all male names end in a sibilant S, all female names with A. If it's not there already you add it to indicate the person's gender. It's a cultural linguistic quirk you'd have to be familiar with Latvians to know.
posted by scalefree at 8:23 PM on July 30 [59 favorites]


Daily Beast, Swin, Rudy Giuliani on His Odd Cable News Blitz: I Was Trying to Kill a New York Times Story
In an interview with The Daily Beast on Monday night, Giuliani appeared to blame the maelstrom he kicked up on inquisitive New York Times reporters who he suggested had compelled him to proactively spin a potentially damaging story that may or may not actually be real. Several veterans of the Trump campaign, like much of the viewing public, were left befuddled.

“I don’t know, man,” one senior 2016 Trump campaign aide simply messaged The Daily Beast when asked to deconstruct Giuliani’s performance.
...
In subsequent interviews on Monday, the president’s lawyer claimed that, in fact, he was only speaking off of as-yet unverified details from reporters who had contacted Team Trump to ask about the planning meeting.

Giuliani told The Daily Beast that this included reporters from The New York Times, such as the paper’s star Trump reporter Maggie Haberman, who had reached out about the alleged pre-meeting meeting. So, he added, “Jay [Sekulow] and I spent a great deal of [Sunday] trying to run it down."

Giuliani said that he believes they managed to "shut it down" and help kill the story, and speculated the journalists had also found other reasons not to run the item. Giuliani and Sekulow—according to Giuliani—had to "go to [alleged participants’] lawyers, and they had to go back to their notes, because nowadays no one wants to be inaccurate”—a rather ironic statement.
...
“We don’t talk about sourcing, and wouldn’t now—but I have lost the thread of what the former mayor is talking about,” Haberman said
Giuliani is happy to admit that he debased himself and incriminated his client to try to kill a Times story, and the worst part is that I'm pretty sure Trump loves it.
posted by zachlipton at 8:26 PM on July 30 [26 favorites]


I've said this before, but I believe Trump and Giuliani are in a folie a deux.

At this point, I want Lance Dodes to weigh in and confirm it publicly.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:14 PM on July 30 [3 favorites]


Can you imagine the devastation that would be going on right now if Republicans could pass any bill they wanted with 50 votes in the Senate? It's been bad enough when they only get one relatively narrow reconciliation bill per year.

Just a brief reminder that the Senate Republicans can pass any bill they want with 51 votes any time they want. They can eliminate the filibuster whenever they want, just as Democrats can when they have the majority. The filibuster is nominally preserved because the majority party believes that if they voluntarily tie their own hands, the other side will voluntarily do the same when they take power. I say "nominally" because when you put it that way, it shows how little sense such a voluntary and non-binding "deal" makes. The real reason it is preserved is that the centrist members of both parties often prefer to pass nothing than to pass what the majority of their own party wants. They (implicitly) refuse to vote to nuke the filibuster because they would rather the 60 vote threshold kill most legislation than that their own party median pass its preferred bills. Thus the Republicans don't pass right-wing legislation not because they think that preserving the filibuster will somehow prevent the left from passing left-wing legislation when it is in power in the future, but because right now their centrists want to prevent the right-wing from passing those bills. Similarly, when Democrats take charge, there will be a lot of talk about preserving the filibuster to prevent future Republican perfidy, but that's just more BS (as if the Republicans would pause for one nano-second to nuke the filibuster just because Democrats preserved it X years ago!). The real reason will be that centrist Democrats prefer gridlock and the status quo to left-wing policies getting through.
posted by chortly at 9:26 PM on July 30 [28 favorites]


The real reason it is preserved is that the centrist members of both parties often prefer to pass nothing than to pass what the majority of their own party wants. They (implicitly) refuse to vote to nuke the filibuster because they would rather the 60 vote threshold kill most legislation than that their own party median pass its preferred bills.

I think there can be several reasons, and to this one I’d add that the filibuster gives every individual senator more power in relation to party leadership, who will of course be the ones responsible for deals and agenda and so on already, leaving the power to say “no” the only real opportunity for leverage. Senators that vote to eliminate the filibuster are voting to reduce their power and their independence, which seems an unlikely vote to cast.
posted by notyou at 9:35 PM on July 30 [13 favorites]


Someone upthread pointed out that universal health insurance makes starting new businesses less risky, as well as giving some power back to labor. Both of these things might be true, and I get they’re meant as sweeteners, but they should take a back seat to the following: universal health insurance leads to better health, longer life, and more happiness for the greatest number of people, and that is why you should support it.

Because, when you get down to it, I’m not sure the other reasons bear much scrutiny. My country (Australia) has a public insurer and I don’t think we’re particularly entrepreneurial, or that the rank-and-file labour movement (as opposed to the Australian Labor Party) is all that powerful. It wouldn’t surprise me if the same were true of other countries which have public health insurance or nationalized health care.
posted by um at 9:51 PM on July 30 [10 favorites]


i didn't watch the attorney general's christening of the religious liberty inquisition, but i read the prepared remarks: "Freedom of religious is indeed our 'first freedom'..." (sic). lol.

this religious liberty stuff is important. i read it so you don't have to.

guest panelists include AAG John Gore, Kerri Kupec (public affairs attorney, DOJ), Derrick Max (of Cornerstone Schools?), Professor (Michael?) McConnell (Spells & Potions), Asma Uddin (Berkeley), Shay Dvoretzky (JonesDay), Emilie Kao (Heritage), Jack Phillips (Bigotplace Cake Shop). an archbishop and a senator are present.

um. some pretty unpleasant stuff in there:
A dangerous movement, undetected by many, is now challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom. There can be no doubt. This is no little matter. It must be confronted and defeated.
...
We have gotten to the point where courts have held that morality cannot be a basis for law; where ministers are fearful to affirm, as they understand it, holy writ from the pulpit; and where one group can actively target religious groups by labeling them a “hate group” on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs.
of course none of that is true. not even remotely. it is the nonsense girding some american xtianist heretics' sense of grievance against modernity. there follows some assertion of the primacy of the natural right to freedom of conscience, and a couple choice jefferson quotations featuring the word god. freedom of religious (sic) "is one of the reasons that this country was settled in the first place."
The promise of freedom of conscience brought the Pilgrims to Plymouth, the Catholics to Maryland, the Quakers to Pennsylvania, the Scot-Presbyterians to the middle colonies, and Roger Williams to Rhode Island.
there follow more grievances and a list of efforts and accomplishments by this administration in the face of the terrible persecutory zeitgeist. and a more or less nothing announcement of the founding of the inquisition, under Beth A. Williams of the Office of Legal Policy and AAG Jesse Pannuccio, to implement the October religious liberty guidance memo and achieve message unity throughout the department. it is emphasized that the administration is working hard and will be only more aggressive in efforts to accommodate the faithful.
As our nation grows order, we must not let it depart from this magnificent tradition.
i guess the archbishop then addressed the flock, because the attorney general's remarks wrap up with his introduction.

a casual read. the attorney general appears to be unaware of the establishment clause of the first amendment:
Our Founders gave religious expression a double protection in the First Amendment. Not only do we possess freedom to exercise our beliefs but we also enjoy the freedom of speech.
he's not _wrong_ (note: he says "expression") ... but he is far from forthright. seriously gaslampin' the first amendment.

overall, this event, the office it empanels & its activities appear to be a mass of interpenetrating establishment clause violations. some troubling language; the tacit understanding that we're mostly talking about xtians (some statistics that likely include persons of nonxtian faith are offered, about 3/4 through the remarks, a mosque & a synagogue are mentioned).

i fear it could be read as neutral by a person not well-schooled on the first amendment, or a not-particularly self-critical person of sincere faith, xtian or otherwise.

me, i have a conscience. it is a conscience unaffiliated with any particular faith tradition & probably not deist at all. anyway, i've good reason to believe my conscience isn't included in his usage when the attorney general states "We will take potential burdens on one’s conscience into consideration before we issue regulations or new policies."
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:51 PM on July 30 [51 favorites]


the filibuster gives every individual senator more power in relation to party leadership

The filibuster doesn't really have anything to do with individual Senators any more -- it's basically just become a generic 60-vote threshold, streamlined into standard Senate procedure with no need (or opportunity) for individual Senators to do anything special. So it's not all Senators who prefer the filibuster -- most of them get no more power from it than they do with the 50-vote threshold. In particular, it's not the left- or right-wing Senators who have or want to preserve the power the filibuster gives, but the centrists. With a 60-vote threshold, the status quo dominates and only very centrist new policy gets through, and even then, it takes a lot of bribing of the swing voters (the centrists). Most of the left- and right-wingers would happily drop the threshold down to 50 if it allowed more left- or right-wing policies through, but they rarely say as much when it would just antagonize the centrists of their own party who prefer the 60-vote threshold.
posted by chortly at 9:59 PM on July 30 [4 favorites]


and where one group can actively target religious groups by labeling them a “hate group” on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs.

SPLC got them shook
posted by edeezy at 10:04 PM on July 30 [43 favorites]


i haven't read the "October memo" yet but i did just scan its 20 principles, referenced by the attorney general. notable: it does, to the establishment clause, what justice scalia did to the first clause of the second amendment. mere surplussage: "...the right of all Americans to exercise their religion freely, without being coerced to join an established church or to satisfy a religious test...." (emphasis mine). it gets an explicit call-out but still short shrift in principle 8. shocking are a favorable citation of "clinton guidelines" (#18) and "Religious employers are entitled to employ only persons whose beliefs and conduct are consistent with the employers' religious precepts" (#19). that is qualified a bit in each explanatory blurb, but the damage is done by the bold heading.
haven't read the rest. amn't gonna just now. may be back with the paranoid exegesis anon.
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:23 PM on July 30 [4 favorites]


I’m trying to understand what the definition of “employer” is. C-level? Director? Manager?

I found this: https://definitions.uslegal.com/e/employer/

An employer is a person or entity who hires another to performs service under an express or implied agreement and has control, or the right to control, over the manner and means of performing the services. An employer has the right to control an employee.

Since I’m a Sr. manager and I hire people, am I an employer? Is my Sr. director above me my employer? Or is employer interpreted as “the people at the very top who are legally liable for the company”?

I’m curious if I could get fired by my director for being trans even if the company at large is committed to LGBTQ+ non-discrimination.
posted by nikaspark at 10:43 PM on July 30 [6 favorites]


"entities that are organized for religious purposes and engage in activity consistent with, and in furtherance of, such purposes" (per principle 19 at p.6 of the october memo) enjoy an explicit "exemption from Title VII's prohibition on religious discrimination in employment." the explanation notes those not qualified to title vii's exemption might find succor in the religious freedom restoration act (which the principles also cite favorably) and creative lawyerin'. but i wouldn't put too much stock in this document's unskewed representation of the state of the law and jurisprudence.

i think the title vii exemption is this bit here:
This subchapter shall not apply to ... a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society with respect to the employment of individuals of a particular religion to perform work connected with the carrying on by such corporation, association, educational institution, or society of its activities.
there is almost certainly some jurisprudence interpreting that. of course i am not your lawyer, nikaspark, but it sounds like the company-at-large you describe is not a religious entity such as described in the exemption; the superior you call your director is not either. can imagine the case where your director demands accommodation of their somehow-religiously-based-requirement-to-not-be-exposed-to-you.

though i'm no expert, i think don't panic just yet (any more than ambient levels of ongoing panic). this is a statement of principles to inform the priorities and organization of the resources of the department of justice. stochastically (am i doing this right?), to those who already are religious bigots, and already are paying attention, this says, if you've been not discriminating because you think the department of justice of the federal government is going to prosecute you for civil rights violations, well, we're probably not going to prioritize that. it'll shake up the rank and file of us attorneys, a bit i bet, if they're not already shook. think it'll take a little while for the types of employers whose associations haven't already been actively lobbying and running test cases through the courts in hopes of xtian dominionist hegemony, to get the message.

that said, the dangerous bigots and 'phobes don't need much encouraging to express animus, and who knows how the rightwingosphere has covered the event or the memo. so stay aware.
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:16 PM on July 30 [8 favorites]


My bet is BoA way overextended themselves when they set their new internal rules.

Working toward the Fuhrer again, I see.
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:13 AM on July 31 [6 favorites]


PACs use paid ‘trackers’ to follow candidates at public events

My god, they want to expose hypocrisy and inconsistencies in ... Democrats


They could report back. As 'reporters', a body of people who could track and identify inconsistencies and inform not only a PAC but the general public. If only some body of companies and employees might be expected to undertake that role, share transcripts, and render trackers obsolete.

Another sign that the general market is failing to provide essential services.
posted by jaduncan at 2:59 AM on July 31 [6 favorites]


HAHAHAHAHA!!!

@realDonaldTrump
The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade. I never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas. They love my Tax & Regulation Cuts, Judicial picks & more. I made them richer. Their network is highly overrated, I have beaten them at every turn. They want to protect their companies outside the U.S. from being taxed, I’m for America First & the American Worker - a puppet for no one. Two nice guys with bad ideas. Make America Great Again!
posted by chris24 at 3:24 AM on July 31 [64 favorites]


There is no depth of stupidity his narcissism will not plumb.
posted by jaduncan at 3:26 AM on July 31 [40 favorites]


This looks like Mothra is turning on Ghidorah and there'll be a fight, and all Godzilla needs to do is watch and pick off whoever's left. That's far too optimistic, but I'd be up for a Mothra vs Ghidorah battle royale.
posted by Grangousier at 3:58 AM on July 31 [44 favorites]


This FEMA HR leader story is really something. I guess it’s credible if Elijah Cummings is saying so, but it is convenient that the incompetent FEMA leader (Brock Long) can use someone else as a scapegoat for his failures. It is sad that I see something this horrific as possibly politically motivated, though.

FEMA official harassed women and hired some as possible sexual partners for male employees
The personnel chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency — who resigned just weeks ago — is under investigation after being accused of creating an atmosphere of widespread sexual harassment over years in which women were hired as possible sexual partners for male employees, the agency’s leader said Monday.

The alleged harassment and other misconduct, revealed through a preliminary seven-month internal investigation, was a “systemic problem going on for years,” said FEMA Administrator William “Brock” Long. Some of the behavior could rise to the level of criminal activity, he said.

Some of the claims about the agency’s former personnel chief are detailed in a written executive summary of the investigation provided to The Washington Post. FEMA officials gave other details and confirmed that the individual under investigation, whose name was redacted from the report, is Corey Coleman, who led the personnel department from 2011 until his resignation in June.
posted by rainydayfilms at 3:59 AM on July 31 [6 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade. I never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas. They love my Tax & Regulation Cuts, Judicial picks & more. I made them richer.

Greg Sargent (WaPo)
Retweeted Donald J. Trump
The Koch brothers "love my tax and regulation cuts" is a very useful admission, coming from an alleged economic populist and scourge of the financial elite.
- Come to think of it, Trump has now admitted that the "globalist" elites love his tax cuts.

---

"I made them richer." Coming soon to a Democratic ad near you.
posted by chris24 at 4:09 AM on July 31 [95 favorites]


The globalist Koch Brothers

It's because Ed Koch was Jewish, right? (Apparently, the Koch Bros. are not).
posted by pjenks at 4:54 AM on July 31 [9 favorites]


And, Axios reports that President Trump declared--more than once and to the amusement of senior administration officials--"I hate the wind!"

Axios glosses this: "Why this matters: The Trump administration's energy policies are hurricanes of contradiction. They reveal an extraordinary gap between the president and his administration." Trump is, of course, limited wholly by his short attention span: “"His policy is, wherever he goes he likes what they have," said a source with direct knowledge of the internal White House energy discussions. "Even if it's contrary to what he said at the last place. He basically just tells everyone what they want to hear; that's his energy policy."”

The problem is this translates into incoherent policy and conflicting legislative strategies: “"The biggest contradiction," the source with direct knowledge of the internal discussions said, is that "Trump will literally say 'we'll save coal' and in the next sentence that we'll become 'energy independent.' You can't do both. The natural gas boom is coming at the expense of coal."” And the result: “A source close to the process described it this way: "Random ideas bubble to the surface, and if nobody objects, they become policy."”

Vox's David Roberts (@drvox) looks at how mainstream reporters and readership try to work around the damage of Trump's cognitive impairment:
Even now, people try to analyze Trump based on a framework of incentives, strategies, and long-term goals. It's almost irresistible. So we continue to under-appreciate how much of what's going on traces back to the simple fact that Trump is personally bizarre & disordered.

Our minds simply rebel at the fact that global events, decades-old alliances, and longstanding norms of political conduct are being shaped by the human equivalent of a goldfish, who carries nothing with him from situation to situation but his resentments.

We prefer narratives, even lurid, doomful narratives, over the notion that our collective fate depends on random gusts of cultural wind. We could literally go to war if the wrong thing airs on Fox & Friends. It is too absurd to be real life, so we project more depth onto it.

But Trump has no plan, not on Mueller, not on Russia, not on NATO, not on anything. His plan is to shout his reaction to the last thing he saw on Fox. It's to hire the last grifter who flattered him. It's to lash out at the last personal slight, real or perceived. That's it.

Anyway I've said all this before and everyone knows it on some level. There's just a whole set of practices, a whole vocabulary, built up around analyzing normal people in that role. We have no language for analyzing goldfish.
This is not to say that people around Trump, in his business world or now in politics, don't plan and scheme with long-term goals in mind or that Trump, a malignant narcissist and con man, doesn't instinctively manipulate others with his own interests at heart. It's just that sometimes he hooks up with a Steve Bannon or a Paul Manafort and sometimes with a Rudy Giuliani or a Michael Cohen. At his core, he's cognitively impaired.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:01 AM on July 31 [70 favorites]


In case you're wondering exactly how badly the NYT is misunderstanding everything about Sulzberger's meeting with Trump, the article just showed up in my Twitter feed as an ad for the paper.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:32 AM on July 31 [6 favorites]


Not going to link to it, but it is worth noting that the President has also now embraced the Giuliani line.

"Collusion is not a crime, but that doesn’t matter because there was No Collusion (except by Crooked Hillary and the Democrats)!"
posted by lazaruslong at 5:47 AM on July 31 [5 favorites]


[A couple deleted. Sorry, but there have been a ton of comments here already about how the US healthcare / insurance system is bad, and at this point it's probably best for this topic to get its own post.]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:01 AM on July 31 [8 favorites]


The predisent's tweets shaved a few IQ off my pre-coffee morning. Which is probably why this has no effect:

Within months, DoD will start standing up a new combatant command, a new space-procurement agency, and a new Space Operations Force.

It's everything that's great about the military, in the infinite vastness of space!

*shlpp*
posted by petebest at 6:02 AM on July 31 [9 favorites]


Reaching back into the thread a bit, but re: Trump's noise about shutting down the government in October— any reason to suspect he might be floating the idea of trying to suspend the midterm election by claiming there's no federal government in operation to oversee it?

Yes, WE may know that he can't do that, and even *he* may know it (and if not, certainly everyone around him does)... but in this nightmare timeline, I could see him issuing one of his fiat-tweets proclaiming that the election needs to be suspended just to get his base riled up when the election proceeds. It just seems like a convenient way to subvert democracy, play strongman, and say "if we lose, it's because the election was rigged" again.
posted by Rykey at 6:16 AM on July 31 [11 favorites]


"Collusion is not a crime, but that doesn’t matter because there was No Collusion (except by Crooked Hillary and the Democrats)!"

Now watch how many mainstream media headlines echo his tweet, even though their articles will presumably point out it's nonsense. And that's on top of the many Twitter accounts that will re-tweet it (pro-Trump bots also repackage his tweets as their own without attribution). This is how Trump manipulates his coverage into reinforcing his message—which in this case is "I didn't do it, and my lawyer says it's not a crime (except when it's done by my political opponents).".

And this was just one out of a sputtering tweet-rant that ranged from the Koch Bros. and "Great Border Security" to Rush Limbaugh ("a great guy who truly gets it!") and 3-D Plastic Guns ("Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!"). We'll see how incoherent he is tonight in Florida at his rally for Rep. Ron DeSantis, who's running for governor ("Has my Full & Total Endorsement!"). The odds are, however, he hasn't gotten "no collusion" and "Crooked Hillary" out of his system, especially not with a Manafort trial beginning today.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:17 AM on July 31 [8 favorites]


The media has failed us on almost every level since Trump started his birther campaign until today. He may be a moron, but he is an absolute savant at manipulating the press. There is no counter force that I have seen.
posted by chaz at 6:23 AM on July 31 [36 favorites]




The media has failed us on almost every level since Trump started his birther campaign until today. He may be a moron, but he is an absolute savant at manipulating the press. There is no counter force that I have seen.

I don't think he really is a savant at manipulating the press, because I don't think he consciously strategies on how to manipulate a door handle. I think his particular brand of loudmouthed moron-ness just happens to make our 4th estate money and they care about that more than anything else.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:28 AM on July 31 [52 favorites]


The media has failed us on almost every level since Trump started his birther campaign until today. He may be a moron, but he is an absolute savant at manipulating the press. There is no counter force that I have seen.

This is why he thinks he can bullshit his way out of the investigation simply by repeating catchphrases:
"No Collusion", "Witch Hunt", "Mueller's 13 Angry Democrats". Why wouldn't he? This technique worked in the election - "Crooked Hilary", "Build The Wall", and so on.
posted by thelonius at 6:29 AM on July 31 [9 favorites]


America's Finest News Source at it again: Giuliani Insists Breaking The Law Not A Crime
posted by schmod at 6:36 AM on July 31 [44 favorites]


He may be a moron, but he is an absolute savant at manipulating the press.

This is exactly as damning of the corporate news as it ought to be.

Managers, Editors, and Owners: Failing all of us for money. (Or, a backstage pass. Or Trump-brand "beliefs".)
posted by petebest at 6:37 AM on July 31 [9 favorites]


WikiLeaked: Over 11,000 messages from private WikiLeaks chat released
These are in addition to the Manafort text messages she recently released. Over at The Hill, Ali Breland summarizes:
An activist has published 11,000 direct messages on Twitter between the Wikileaks account and a group of its supporters.

The direct messages were published by Emma Best on her own website....

Some of the direct messages were previously published, but this is the first time all of the direct messages have been posted.

The messages show that Wikileaks wanted the GOP to defeat Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential elections.

"We believe it would be much better for the GOP to win," the Wikileaks account states to a supporter named "Emmy B" in one of the messages from 2015.

Another Twitter message from the Wikileaks account describes Clinton as a "bright, well-connected, sadistic sociopath."
posted by mcdoublewide at 6:41 AM on July 31 [39 favorites]


We'll see how incoherent he is tonight in Florida at his rally for Rep. Ron DeSantis, who's running for governor ("Has my Full & Total Endorsement!")

Speaking of whom, this ad featuring his wife is so bizarre I thought it was a satirical SNL sort of thing at first.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:41 AM on July 31 [12 favorites]


Lawfare with their excellent movie trailer (print version) of today's wonderful event. Paul Manafort’s Virginia Trial: The Charges and the Stakes for Trump

"Manafort’s former employer, the nation’s tweeter-in-chief, has followed the proceedings. The same day in May that Judge Ellis asked about the special counsel’s scope during the dismissal hearing, President Trump noted the judge’s questions and publicly praised Ellis as a “highly respected” judge and “really something special, I hear.” When Manafort was ordered to jail in June, Trump tweeted (incorrectly describing the revocation of Manafort’s bail as a sentencing): “Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort … Very unfair!” Trump told reporters that day that the charges against Manafort had “nothing to do with our campaign. But … I feel a little badly about it. They went back 12 years to get things that he did 12 years ago.”

Possible shiny objects coming for a month or more to anger the goldfish daily.
posted by Harry Caul at 6:43 AM on July 31 [16 favorites]


Another Twitter message from the Wikileaks account describes Clinton as a "bright, well-connected, sadistic sociopath."

I knew how much blame deserved to be apportioned to Wikileaks, I really did, but the anger just burns hotter with every day that passes.
posted by lydhre at 6:45 AM on July 31 [58 favorites]


The Senate Judiciary Committee is currently holding an oversight hearing on family separation and related issues. I am glued to it.
posted by prefpara at 7:19 AM on July 31 [17 favorites]


WikiLeaked: Over 11,000 messages from private WikiLeaks chat released
These are in addition to the Manafort text messages she recently released.


So you're saying that private Wikileaks chat was released the same week Glenn Greenwald purged his Twitter account... 🤔
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 7:22 AM on July 31 [45 favorites]


Notes from an oversight hearing I should not watch because it's taking a year off my life:

Grassley at least expressed that people probably shouldn't be abused even if they are immigrants. Feinstein said everything you'd expect.

But now Cornyn is up with his opening statement. He visited some "well-managed" facilities, which he is now praising. He's suggesting that the reports of poor conditions are untrue. He's saying that the real issue here is that "some disagree" with our immigration laws, and to them, his message is: tough titties ("I guess a zero-tolerance policy means you're enforcing the law"). He's a fleshy skin suit stretched over right-wing talking points. There are other shitty things he's doing (like misrepresenting positions Democrats have taken and pretending they haven't offered any solutions) but there's not enough life in me left to type them all up. Cornyn is here to defend internment camps, and I have no further words for that.

Durbin next. Even knowing that he and other Democrats are powerless to do anything, it is such a relief to hear him speaking the truth and defending common decency and justice. It's also good to see him very directly calling out Secretary Nielsen for lying. He is calling this a "humanitarian disaster." Yes, it is. Thank you. Sorry, he's talking about hundreds of "lost children" and I'm crying.
posted by prefpara at 7:31 AM on July 31 [87 favorites]


Zero-tolerance is a form of extremism. We need to associate "zero-tolerance" with "extremism" in the public's mind.
posted by M-x shell at 7:42 AM on July 31 [18 favorites]


Hmmm. I dunno, I’m feeling extremely zero tolerance-ish about Nazis, and I am pretty ok with that.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:48 AM on July 31 [49 favorites]


any reason to suspect he might be floating the idea of trying to suspend the midterm election by claiming there's no federal government in operation to oversee it?

I mean, it’s a non-starter, right? Since the federal government doesn’t oversee elections—states do—nothing short of force/violence is going to put any weight to that idea. Governors and their Secretaries of State will simply ignore any suggestions to that effect—if not publicly denounce them.

I like to hope things haven’t gotten that stupid yet. But in the stupidest timeline, it’s hard to say for sure.
posted by Brak at 7:49 AM on July 31 [6 favorites]


I mean, it’s a non-starter, right? Since the federal government doesn’t oversee elections—states do—nothing short of force/violence is going to put any weight to that idea. Governors and their Secretaries of State will simply ignore any suggestions to that effect—if not publicly denounce them.

Yep. When the election concludes and the Secretary of State certifies the results all of the winners are awarded their certificate of election by the Governor. When Congress reconvenes the VP (in the case of the Senate) and Clerk of the House (in the case of the House) collect the certificates of election in each chamber and they are printed in the Congressional Record.

You can actually see them in the first issue of each Congress's Congressional Record.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 7:59 AM on July 31 [2 favorites]


Hmmm. I dunno, I’m feeling extremely zero tolerance-ish about Nazis, and I am pretty ok with that.

The problem with any zero-tolerance policy is that the things you have to do to wipe something out entirely end up running ramshod over other important values.
posted by M-x shell at 8:05 AM on July 31 [6 favorites]


Further notes from an oversight hearing I should not watch because it's taking a year off my life:

Grassley is introducing letters in opposition to family separation. And now it's time for the witnesses: Ms. Carla L. Provost, Acting Chief, U.S. Border Patrol (CBP); Mr. Matthew Albence, Executive Associate Director, Enforcement and Removal Operations (ICE); Commander Jonathan D. White, Ph.D., LCSW-C, CPH, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Federal Health Coordinating Official for the 2018 UAC Reunification Effort; Mr. James R. McHenry III, Director, Executive Office for Immigration Review (DOJ); and Ms. Jennifer Higgins, Associate Director, Refugee, Asylum and International Operations Directorate (USCIS).

(I feel like I must be hallucinating it, but I keep hearing what seems like children's voices in the background. I wonder if someone brought kids to the hearing.)

The witnesses are giving opening remarks.

Provost: here to defend zero tolerance, because consequences are good. This is just following orders for 2018. CBP is here to enforce the law, guys. She's also here to remind us that parents were separated from kids and prosecuted under Obama, too. (I don't want to freak you guys out with my SJW radicalism, but #AbolishICE does not go far enough. CBP needs reform. And our immigration laws need to change.)

Albence: Here to tell us that ICE is misunderstood. They are doing so much for us, you guys. He's super proud to report how many thousands more dangerous criminals ICE has deported recently. He's claiming 9/10 ICE arrests are of criminals. (I have no idea whether or not that's true, but wondering which law the eleven year old girl violated who was in that ambulance ICE pulled over a few months back. He's a monster. All of these people should be shunned and unemployable. But he knows he can comfortably show his face in polite society. That shames us, frankly.) He's now telling us that the court order requiring family reunification has resulted in problems such as released people not later showing up for hearings, and people faking family units. He wants Congress to close up all the immigration loopholes that plague him so.

White: (This is petty, but he legit looks like a ghoul (on the Uncle Fester spectrum).) He's at HHS, but has also been at ORR. He wants to clarify what it is that HHS is doing. But he's not using the words "intern children in camps and load them up on antipsychotics after forbidding them to hug" so I'm not feeling more clear. He's now saying that the children they "serve" have been smuggled or trafficked (I mean, absolutely some were, but he's using that to insinuate that the families being separated are fake, and the children are better off separated).

McHenry III: "the mission statement of the Department of Justice is..." (this guy is just doing another round of <3 <3 <3 enforce the law <3 <3 <3 zero tolerance). He does want us to know that DOJ doesn't have a role in separation or reunification. DOJ isn't personally running the camps, guys. Glad that's been straightened out.

Higgins: here to clarify USCIS's role in the expedited removals at the southern border. USCIS performs the credible fear screenings. Higgins wants us to know that the people who perform those screenings are A++.
posted by prefpara at 8:06 AM on July 31 [17 favorites]


(I feel like I must be hallucinating it, but I keep hearing what seems like children's voices in the background. I wonder if someone brought kids to the hearing.)

Based on my experience: Yes, and probably wearing shirts printed with "Keep Families Together" or similar. If you haven't seen them in any of the wide-angle shots they're probably not positioned to hold up signs on camera and get kicked out/threatened by Capitol Police, but that's a thing that happens at hearings on contentious topics.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:09 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


Pounded In the Butt By The Unnecessary Kinkshaming of Legitimately Terrible People Who Can and Should Easily Be Shamed For Their Genuinely Shameful Non-Kink-Related Positions and Activities

True, but that said, this is still in the running for my tweet of the week—
I need a TV/radio ad where a low, menacing voice says: “Denver Riggleman: Jacking it to Bigfoot, sticking it to Virginia.”
—@HalHaneyArt
posted by octobersurprise at 8:10 AM on July 31 [35 favorites]



I mean, it’s a non-starter, right? Since the federal government doesn’t oversee elections—states do—nothing short of force/violence is going to put any weight to that idea. Governors and their Secretaries of State will simply ignore any suggestions to that effect—if not publicly denounce them.


Yep. When the election concludes and the Secretary of State certifies the results all of the winners are awarded their certificate of election by the Governor. When Congress reconvenes the VP (in the case of the Senate) and Clerk of the House (in the case of the House) collect the certificates of election in each chamber and they are printed in the Congressional Record.

This is all fair enough. But: 31 states with GOP legislatures and 26 with GOP-controlled governments.

And it's not like the Republican Party in the states has been any more responsible than in the Congress or the White House or the Supreme Court.
posted by TheProfessor at 8:10 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


Just in a side note I think everyone should watch the posted video for Ing For Hawaii

That’s what effective political advertising looks like.
posted by The Whelk at 8:12 AM on July 31 [22 favorites]


>Hmmm. I dunno, I’m feeling extremely zero tolerance-ish about Nazis, and I am pretty ok with that.

The problem with any zero-tolerance policy is that the things you have to do to wipe something out entirely end up running ramshod over other important values.


I'm of a mind that, simultaneously and without contradiction, (1) zero-tolerance policies on the governmental side are generally not great because laws and policies and human evaluation are all imprecise and some flexibility is needed to ensure fairness and reasonableness, but also (2) zero-tolerance policies on the non-governmental side (eg, banning nazi content on twitter) can be totally fine when they're backstopped by a governmental checks and balances. If banning all fascists from Facebook inadvertently ends up banning some not-really-fascist people -- that's fine, and if it's not fine for some reason that can go to to the legal system and the government to resolve.

We are also so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so far away from any actual, real zero-nazi-tolerance policies having unreasonable impacts on anyone that it seems kind of pointless to be discussing that hypothetical: maybe if/once Twitter/Facebook starts simply not tolerating Nazis, rather than Zuckerberg's defense of heartfelt holocaust deniers (as opposed to disingenuous ones), then maybe we can start the countdown to begin contemplating a plan to how to plan for the countdown to begin to worry about 'first they came for the Nazis.'
posted by cjelli at 8:19 AM on July 31 [33 favorites]


Yet further notes from an oversight hearing I should not watch because it's taking a year off my life:

Grassley asks Albence about the conditions in which ICE detains families. Aren't they actually pretty nice? Grassley is also claiming to be concerned about reports of abuse.

Albence says ICE's family detention centers are super duper, and any allegations of abuse get reported and may be investigated (whew!). [I missed a few minutes due to having to do actual work].

Feinstein is talking about the Alien Protection Act from 2000 which tried to stop ICE abusing kids and the long and difficult history here. She's "struck" by the fact that there are thousands of minors with HHS. She's concerned about the fact that family separation was not done carefully, and family units were not documented. So she wants to know from White what documents children arrive with.

White is struggling with this question. "This is a novel situation."

Guys, I have to stop liveblogging this. What am I doing? Why did I start?
posted by prefpara at 8:22 AM on July 31 [30 favorites]


Thanks prefpara. I couldn't last a minute with it on. This situation is so awful and listening to these people talk about it in beaurocratese and smug-right-wing-ese - couldn't hack it.
posted by Golem XIV at 8:25 AM on July 31 [7 favorites]


Jeff Beau Sessions: "We will take potential burdens on one’s conscience into consideration before we issue regulations or new policies."

Hmmm, I wonder how they'll balance the conscience of baker who doesn't want to bake cakes for Teh Gaze vs. a Quaker who doesn't want to pay for war?
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:29 AM on July 31 [24 favorites]


I just saw video of Giuliani's bizarre 'collusion is not a crime' statement and that guy's leg is pounding like a jackhammer. This is what gamblers call a tell, when someone's mouth is flapping around making good noises while the body language tells the real, contradictory story. I'm no expert, but it looks anxious, like there is a primal lizard brain motive to prepare to RUN FOR YOUR LIFE. Or he's dreaming about chasing a rabbit.
posted by adept256 at 8:30 AM on July 31 [56 favorites]


This is all fair enough. But: 31 states with GOP legislatures and 26 with GOP-controlled governments.

Yeah, and they’re all running for re-election, or for vacant Congressional seats, or for governor. They’re spending tons of money on these races. Nobody’s cancelling elections.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:30 AM on July 31 [4 favorites]


This is all fair enough. But: 31 states with GOP legislatures and 26 with GOP-controlled governments.

Well, yeah, but we're talking about the feds trying to interfere based on a shutdown.

Plus the 14th amendment says if you deny the right to vote in federal elections you lose your seats in Congress.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:33 AM on July 31


Sessions: "We will take potential burdens on one’s conscience into consideration before we issue regulations or new policies."

Dude, you signed off on child concentration camps.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:34 AM on July 31 [72 favorites]


This is all fair enough. But: 31 states with GOP legislatures and 26 with GOP-controlled governments.

And if they want the 116th House to not have anyone from those states, more power to them. Representatives' terms end at noon on 3 January 2019. At that moment, everyone who hasn't been re-elected isn't a Representative any more.

There's a lot of things to be reasonably worried about, but just asserting without reason or logic that they're going to stay in office even though their terms are over, which would be such a direct, wholesale, and blatant abandonment of democracy, isn't one of them.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:36 AM on July 31 [3 favorites]


"entities that are organized for religious purposes and engage in activity consistent with, and in furtherance of, such purposes" (per principle 19 at p.6 of the october memo) enjoy an explicit "exemption from Title VII's prohibition on religious discrimination in employment."

My god, this isn't a slippery slope. This is a fucking monster water slide.

"Hobby Lobby is dedicated to providing craft materials and hobby supplies consistent with a Christian lifestyle."

"Chick-fil-A prepares the finest fried chicken in a manner consistent with Biblical principles and creates a Christian dining experience to all who are welcomed into our gustatorial embrace."
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:37 AM on July 31 [28 favorites]


This is why he thinks he can bullshit his way out of the investigation simply by repeating catchphrases:
"No Collusion", "Witch Hunt", "Mueller's 13 Angry Democrats". Why wouldn't he? This technique worked in the election - "Crooked Hilary", "Build The Wall", and so on.


It works when he's CAMPAIGNING, preaching to the choir. Which is his ONLY actual talent, given the right self-selected audience that will respond to it.

Uniformly, the courts have ignored it. And THAT'S the flaw in Trump's "strategy" here. He's campaigning against a personal legal issue. Bold strategy.
posted by mikelieman at 8:41 AM on July 31 [8 favorites]


Sessions: "We will take potential burdens on one’s conscience into consideration before we issue regulations or new policies."

The same sick fuck who also quotes Romans 13 to demand people acquiesce to his will.
posted by ocschwar at 8:45 AM on July 31 [15 favorites]




Any overt messing with the elections, or results of the elections, brings us straight to civil war, and I don't think that the Republicans are so far gone that they're ready to risk civil war just yet. I could be in error, but I don't think I am.

The Republican Party is morally bankrupt and completely willing to sell us out to Russia if they can get more tax cuts for billionaires out of it, but I don't think they're ready to start (or even risk starting) an actual civil war. The 2018 elections will go on, and they'll try to illegally influence them by overly broad voter purges, racist voter ID laws, and letting the Russians hack them. How successful those attempts to cheat will be I don't know. But they won't do anything so blatant and open as cancel the elections.

Even the most milquetoast third way blue dog DINO wouldn't stand for canceled elections or Trump declaring election results to be invalid and just appointing the people he thought should have won. More important, the Republicans know it and they know that a civil war would not please the billionaire class, so they won't do it.

I worry about a lot of things, including less overt election cheating, but I don't worry about canceled elections.
posted by sotonohito at 8:48 AM on July 31 [7 favorites]


Uniformly, the courts have ignored it.

Until you reach the Supreme level, where the Republicans in robes have his back.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:48 AM on July 31 [3 favorites]


My god, this isn't a slippery slope. This is a fucking monster water slide.

Yeah the intent was, I assume, to empower, for example, a religious summer camp or school or charity to hire only people of the appropriate faith. That seems OK, but how do you prevent gaming of the system?
posted by thelonius at 8:49 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


Yeah the intent was, I assume, to empower, for example, a religious summer camp or school or charity to hire only people of the appropriate faith.

No, the intent was for Hobby Lobby to not have to pay taxes and Chik-Fil-A to be able to fire gay people. The cover is to empower the Catholic Church not to be forced to ordain lesbian priests, which is of course bullshit of the highest order.
posted by Etrigan at 8:52 AM on July 31 [43 favorites]


Any overt messing with the elections, or results of the elections, brings us straight to civil war, and I don't think that the Republicans are so far gone that they're ready to risk civil war just yet. I could be in error, but I don't think I am. [...] I worry about a lot of things, including less overt election cheating, but I don't worry about canceled elections.

I don't worry about it, necessarily (maybe because my worry gland was destroyed by overuse and is now atrophied and necrotic). But I will no longer consider any outcome implausible if its only requirements are the failure of institutions and the inaction of those in power.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:53 AM on July 31 [7 favorites]




[Folks, "will they cancel the election" and "we'll have civil war" are speculative topics we've been over and over and over; there's plenty of already actually happening horrible shit to worry about, let's not add another round of those.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:55 AM on July 31 [24 favorites]


No, the intent was for Hobby Lobby to not have to pay taxes and Chik-Fil-A to be able to fire gay people.

I'm thinking of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, not Sessions' thing, to be clear
posted by thelonius at 8:55 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


Flake has actually weaponized doing nothing?

"Mitch McConnell kept the Senate in session in August (instead of recessing), so they could confirm Trump's judicial nominees, but Flake took his own recess for most of August. He's on judiciary, so now they can't confirm the judges."

That is gold-plated ratfucking. To craven rules-lawyers like me, that is a thing of beauty. Also, far left Dems? Take note of this tactic.
posted by eclectist at 8:57 AM on July 31 [109 favorites]


The cover is to empower the Catholic Church not to be forced to ordain lesbian priests, which is of course bullshit of the highest order.

I just want to turn attention to this absolute jewel of a pun which may have bypassed some, which I intend to steal without attribution.
posted by adept256 at 8:57 AM on July 31 [16 favorites]


Flake is currently in Zimbabwe, observing their elections, and tweeting about how great it is to hand-count votes by kerosene lamplight. Guys, I think he's actually trolling Trump.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:02 AM on July 31 [93 favorites]


"Flake took his own recess for most of August. He's on judiciary, so now they can't confirm the judges."

And he's gone to Zimbabwe as an official observer of their first democratic elections since Mugabe. So, even better.

Oops - what faintofbutt said.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:03 AM on July 31 [11 favorites]


Flake has actually weaponized doing nothing?

"Mitch McConnell kept the Senate in session in August (instead of recessing), so they could confirm Trump's judicial nominees, but Flake took his own recess for most of August. He's on judiciary, so now they can't confirm the judges."

That is gold-plated ratfucking. To craven rules-lawyers like me, that is a thing of beauty. Also, far left Dems? Take note of this tactic.


Daily Beast round up of similar attempts at state and national levels. TLDR? Penalty of arrest by the Sergeant at Arms (or Texas Rangers) solve the situation.
posted by beaning at 9:05 AM on July 31 [6 favorites]


My god, this isn't a slippery slope. This is a fucking monster water slide.

The Daily Beast's headline isn't hyperbolic, "Jeff Sessions’ ‘Religious Liberty Task Force’ Declares Holy War on LGBT People"

No, the intent was for Hobby Lobby to not have to pay taxes and Chik-Fil-A to be able to fire gay people.

And to preserve faith-based adoption agency funding when they discriminate against same-sex adoptive families -- which is what Archbishop Kurtz was there to talk about yesterday. In the DOJ!
posted by gladly at 9:06 AM on July 31 [33 favorites]


And it's not like the Republican Party in the states has been any more responsible than in the Congress or the White House or the Supreme Court.

Can confirm. Source: NC resident.
posted by yoga at 9:09 AM on July 31 [5 favorites]


Ryan Gallagher of The Intercept has published a timeline of wikileaks public statements on Trump along with its leaked private messages to figures in the Trump campaign/admin. The utter mendacity is just ...
Privately, 8 Nov 2016 (day of the election, before results announced): WikiLeaks advises Donald J Trump Jr that Donald Trump shouldn't concede the election if he loses & instead should blame "rigging" and "media corruption" to "keep his base alive." (Source: Twitter DMs - copies released by Donald J Trump Jr.)

Publicly, 10 Nov 2016 (after Trump election victory announced): WikiLeaks claims in a Reddit AMA that "allegations that we have colluded with Trump, or any other candidate for that matter...are just groundless and false." (Source: Reddit.)
posted by octobersurprise at 9:12 AM on July 31 [40 favorites]


Mom says medics didn't take daughter to hospital, saying she couldn't afford it

Single. Fucking. Payer. Now.


If you didn't click the link you should. The daughter - Crystle Galloway - died five days after the ambulance crew refused to transport her. She is a black woman who had given birth via C Section less than a week prior. This is like a perfect storm of race, healthcare, and sexism. The mom quotes the fire/rescue people as thinking Galloway was drunk, instead of, you know, taking a health history and realizing what might be going on.

Jesus fucking zombie Christ.
posted by anastasiav at 9:12 AM on July 31 [63 favorites]


Penalty of arrest by the Sergeant at Arms (or Texas Rangers) solve the situation.

If the GOP has to threaten one of their own with arrest I'm going to call that a favorable midterm environment.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:12 AM on July 31 [35 favorites]


Flake Zimbabwe work: Is kerosine like aluminum, just something you spell differently? Anyhow that actually does seem like a good time. Not menially just counting stuff, but being hands on in the work of democracy, knowing each ballot is a person, demonstrating a commitment to democracy, even though it's dull work.

To be honest I don't have much respect for Flake, his voting record doesn't reflect his counter-current statements. It's telling about his character, that he goes to Zimbabwe to support democracy, perhaps because it's easier than at home.
posted by adept256 at 9:19 AM on July 31 [11 favorites]


"Trump is moving ahead of the story." (Wikileaks DM from 7/27/2016, the same day Trump called for Russia to release Clinton's emails)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:26 AM on July 31 [49 favorites]


NYT: Facebook announced on Tuesday that it has identified a coordinated political influence campaign, with dozens of inauthentic accounts and pages that are believed to be engaging in political activity ahead of November’s midterm elections, according to three people briefed on the matter.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:37 AM on July 31 [20 favorites]


thanks for your efforts, prefpara. those witnesses really suck. they think the laws and policies are just and fair, that their organizations have commendably effected those policies, and that everything is right in the process except for the pearl-clutching of certain senators, the public and the involvement of naive and irresponsible courts. only uncle fester seems to behave as though he has an inkling of the magnitude of the crime he and his colleagues have brought about & responds clearly and directly to questions. & only relative to those other ghouls.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:37 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


"Trump is moving ahead of the story."

Smoke, meet gun. Just what we thought all along. He was in on it but couldn't keep his mouth shut.
posted by M-x shell at 9:39 AM on July 31 [61 favorites]


"Trump is moving ahead of the story." (Wikileaks DM from 7/27/2016, the same day Trump called for Russia to release Clinton's emails)

posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:26 AM on July 31 [7 favorites +] [!]


By the way, this seems like the smoking gun. With Cohen's insistence that Trump was aware of the meetings DJTJR was taking, the fact that WL was conspiring with him and the Russian operatives on pushing the messages, and the fact that the Russian operatives were working at the direction of Putin pretty much seals the deal.

Hurry the fuck up, Mueller. Democracy won't wait.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:40 AM on July 31 [46 favorites]


Facebook announced on Tuesday that it has identified a coordinated political influence campaign, with dozens of inauthentic accounts and pages that are believed to be engaging in political activity ahead of November’s midterm elections

I'm sure Facebook will come down hard and decisively on this campaign around December.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:41 AM on July 31 [32 favorites]


My apologies, M-x shell. You comment didn't appear until I posted mine. You stole my idea before I had it.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:46 AM on July 31 [2 favorites]


@Mental Wimp: We're all friends. No one's trying to scoop anyone here.
posted by M-x shell at 9:48 AM on July 31 [8 favorites]


Soooooo the Wikileaks DMs are why Russian Asset Glenn Greenwald deleted like 20k tweets last week, right?

Because he had advance notice?

Lol that piece of shit.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:59 AM on July 31 [55 favorites]


I don't get it. Can someone lay out what the deal is with Greenwald, Wikileaks, Trump, etc. for those of us who don't know the details?
posted by runcibleshaw at 10:04 AM on July 31 [8 favorites]


I don’t think anyone knows the exact story, but what it looks like, so far, is that Greenwald and Wikileaks (and very probably others) were some of the cut outs through which Putin and the FSB conspired with the Trump campaign to steal the 2016 election, and that Wikileaks, Assange, and possibly (probably) Greenwald were very aware of this.

Greenwald might still just be a useful idiot, but if so his idiocy is truly world historical.

They were all knowingly part of a foreign intelligence operation to subvert the US presidential election, and they were successful.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:08 AM on July 31 [60 favorites]




I don't get it. Can someone lay out what the deal is with Greenwald, Wikileaks, Trump, etc. for those of us who don't know the details?

And while it's difficult to say how much effect their actions had, it's pretty clear that they secretly did what they could to advance Trump's interests. The "secretly" is important because support for Wikileaks has always basically been a left-wing thing and they have an aura of leftishness. If people had known that they weren't just stringent critics of the Democratic Party but active supporters of Trump,their friends and allies would mainly have abandoned them.

Assange and them have let a lot of people down and done a lot of harm to left-of-center people generally. Their whole deal (whether this includes Greenwald or not) has been this slow decline from being incredibly admired to begging for political favors from a white supremacist politician. It would make a fantastic movie, but unfortunately we have to live with it.
posted by Frowner at 10:23 AM on July 31 [17 favorites]


Within months, DoD will start standing up a new combatant command, a new space-procurement agency, and a new Space Operations Force.

In space, no one can hear you siphon billions of dollars of defense appropriations off to your cronies in the military industrial complex.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 10:25 AM on July 31 [44 favorites]


@jeanguerre: Commander Jonathan White of HHS just admitted he warned Trump @realDonaldTrump & Sessions about "significant risk of harm" & "psychological injury" as consequence of zero tolerance & was ignored
@AliceOllstein: HHS official says 429 children remain in the agency's custody whose parents have been deported. @SenKamalaHarris is pressing him on a deadline for those reunifications. .@KamalaHarris grills ICE and HHS officials, who confirm that separated children are not charged to call their parents but parents ARE charged to call their children.

CNBC, John Kelly expected to stay at White House through 2020 election, but Trump expands shortlist for chief of staff
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has committed to remaining in his post through the 2020 election, according to two White House officials. Kelly, who hit his one-year mark in the White House on Monday, had been expected to step aside as early as this summer.

But President Donald Trump, who asked Kelly to stay on, has also expanded his shortlist for potential Kelly replacements, sources say. According to three Trump associates and two White House officials, the shortlist now includes Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin as well as Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.

The shortlist also includes Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Nick Ayers, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence.
This was a weirdly coordinated story this morning, Kelly supposedly sticking around through 2020, presumably in response to that earlier story that had him calling the White House a "miserable place to work." Somebody may be shopping that around, but it's clear the knives are out too.

Jeffrey Toobin, Should Democrats Bother Fighting Brett Kavanaugh’s Confirmation? History Suggests Yes
Bad news for Donald Trump has been good news for Brett Kavanaugh. The past several weeks have been among the most tumultuous of Trump’s Presidency—with a widely panned European tour and summit with Vladimir Putin, and a series of embarrassing disclosures from Trump’s onetime lawyer Michael Cohen. The unfolding scandals have had the effect of pushing Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, to an afterthought in news coverage. The near-blackout on Kavanaugh has stalled any political momentum against his nomination. How can Kavanaugh be defeated if no one is paying attention to him? For the judge and putative Justice, no news is good news.
Chuck Grassley has refused to obtain all of Kavanaugh's Bush-era papers, documents which may well implicate him in the worst of that administration's horrors. Susan Collins apparently wants to vote without seeing the documents.
posted by zachlipton at 10:31 AM on July 31 [39 favorites]


As much as I'd like to be delighted about the rift between the Koch's and Trump, I fear the Third Wayers may have just found themselves a sugar daddy.
posted by klarck at 10:32 AM on July 31 [13 favorites]


It’s War!: The Kochs Kneecap Trump in an Attempt to Make the G.O.P. Theirs Again - Tina Nguyen, Vanity Fair.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:18 AM on July 31


From the article:
“I know this is uncomfortable,” said Emily Seidel, the C.E.O. of Americans for Prosperity, during a speech. “If you are a Democrat and stand up to [Senator] Elizabeth Warren ”—the regulatory-allergic Kochs’ ultimate progressive boogeyman—“to corral enough votes for financial reform that breaks barriers for community banks and families, you’re darn right we will work with you...

See, here's an interesting tactic that aspiring conservative politicians can use, join the Democrat party and use Koch money to undermine the party from within. Now, I can't believe I am the first person to think of this, so it begs the question: who's already doing this?
posted by Vindaloo at 10:34 AM on July 31 [13 favorites]


Within months, DoD will start standing up a new combatant command, a new space-procurement agency, and a new Space Operations Force.

In space, no one can hear you siphon billions of dollars of defense appropriations off to your cronies in the military industrial complex.


True. I read this also as Trump proactively neutralizing the military as a political threat by distracting them with a new service, creating all new turf wars.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:36 AM on July 31


Facebook announced on Tuesday that it has identified a coordinated political influence campaign, with dozens of inauthentic accounts and pages that are believed to be engaging in political activity ahead of November’s midterm elections

And it's in huge letters across all the major news sites.

Are we really that smart here at Metafilter? I feel like this should have been a big deal months ago.
posted by Melismata at 10:40 AM on July 31 [13 favorites]


Can someone lay out what the deal is with Greenwald, Wikileaks, Trump, etc. for those of us who don't know the details?

Simplified, the chain of contact goes Trump ⟷ Roger Stone ⟷ Julian Assange ⟷ GRU. Roger Stone was separately also in direct contact with the GRU hacker Guccifer 2.0, who leaked the hacked DNC e-mails to Wikileaks. (There are a lot of other people entangled in this web of communications, so it would be unsurprising if Greenwald heard about the rumored Clinton e-mails through Wikileaks.)

Given the information in Special Counsel's recent GRU indictment and what we know of the Trump campaign's op sec, we can safely say that Mueller knows virtually everything. The question is how much classified intel is he willing to bring into court as evidence.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:43 AM on July 31 [11 favorites]


So maybe Flake has actually weaponized doing nothing?

Not really, no. There are plenty of judicial nominees in the pipeline, none of which require Flake's vote on the Judiciary Committee to move forward. And Flake will be back soon enough.

I'm not really sure where this rather viral thread came from, but I haven't seen any sign he's actually held up anything by popping over to Zimbabwe. They invoked cloture on a circuit court nominee yesterday without him just fine. Also, the election he's monitoring in Zimbabwe isn't going so well. Also, in a presumably unrelated commentary, Jesse Waters said some racist shit about Zimbabwe last night.
posted by zachlipton at 10:45 AM on July 31 [25 favorites]


This is why he thinks he can bullshit his way out of the investigation simply by repeating catchphrases:
"No Collusion", "Witch Hunt", "Mueller's 13 Angry Democrats". Why wouldn't he? This technique worked in the election - "Crooked Hilary", "Build The Wall", and so on.

>>It works when he's CAMPAIGNING, preaching to the choir. Which is his ONLY actual talent,
>>given the right self-selected audience that will respond to it.


A thought I just had hit me like a punch in the gut. He's trying to make sure that any jury trial against him ends up hung. He's giving anyone in his base the excuses to vote "not guilty" should they be on the jury. And his lawyers will work like hell to make sure at least one of them is. It's kind of brilliant. And depressing...
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:53 AM on July 31 [5 favorites]


DHS secretary warns Russia: Stop meddling in American democracy or 'you will pay a high price'

Nielsen: "Mister Putin, hear our solemn vow: for every election you subvert, we will not hesitate to put thousands of migrant children in prison."
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:56 AM on July 31 [38 favorites]


Giuliani Insists Breaking The Law Not A Crime

If you look through federal law, there's no statute under which you can be charged with the crime "breaking the law". Therefore breaking the law is legal. QED.
posted by The Tensor at 10:57 AM on July 31 [55 favorites]


ZeusHumms: It’s War!: The Kochs Kneecap Trump in an Attempt to Make the G.O.P. Theirs Again - Tina Nguyen, Vanity Fair.

Vindaloo: See, here's an interesting tactic that aspiring conservative politicians can use, join the Democrat party and use Koch money to undermine the party from within. Now, I can't believe I am the first person to think of this, so it begs the question: who's already doing this?

The Koch Brothers are nuanced and calculating in more long-term ways than many conservatives, and are known to bet on both sides to cover their bases.

Two cases on this point - they co-funded a climate change study that (re)confirmed climate change, through the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project/ study/ thing (previously on MetaFilter, April 1, 2011).

And Breaking With Trump's GOP, Koch Brothers Praise Democrats On Immigration (NPR, May 17, 2018)
For the first time, the LIBRE Initiative — the Hispanic outreach arm of the Koch network — is putting money behind efforts to praise Democrats on the federal level, and doing so with control of Congress on the line in the midterm elections.

"This stands out. People when they talk about the Koch network ... they point at areas like tax reform, where we've worked very closely with Republican members," said Wadi Gaitan, a spokesman for the LIBRE Initiative. "Here on this issue, we have Democrats where we want to make sure that their constituents are aware that they are working on a permanent solution for DREAMers and on border security. So it certainly is a unique effort."

It's a novel approach for a network that has made a name for itself for funding causes on the right — and has only very sparsely praised anyone in the Democratic Party.
But it's not only to back Democrats - they're also backing like-minded Republicans:
Democratic Reps. Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, as well as Democratic Reps. Raul Ruiz and Pete Aguilar of California will be the recipients of this political ad push, as will Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del. Luján is the chairman of House Democrats' campaign committee.

Republicans still make up more than half of the beneficiaries of this ad blitz — six GOP House members and three GOP Senate lawmakers will get kudos from the Koch network. They have already pledged to spend nearly $400 million in 2017-2018 to back the Koch Network's policy goals in various states and the federal level, including the free market policy gains achieved by the Republican-controlled Congress.
Emphasis mine, in case you think the Koch brothers have flipped parties or something.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:03 AM on July 31 [11 favorites]


Stop meddling in American democracy or ‘you will pay a high price’

If you prefer option 2, please make your check payable to Essential Consultants, LLC the Trump Foundation ... umm... let us get back to you on that.
posted by dirge at 11:11 AM on July 31 [8 favorites]


Mental Wimp: Hurry the fuck up, Mueller. Democracy won't wait.

Manafort Trial Begins, Ushering In New Phase In Mueller Probe (NPR, July 31, 2018)
In pretrial arguments, prosecutor Greg Andres told the court that the government would only bring up Manafort's campaign work in the context of a witness from a bank that gave him a loan, with the expectation that the banker would win consideration for a post in the Trump administration.

"I don't anticipate that a government witness will utter the word 'Russia,' " Andres said.
...
The prospective jurors already have filled out a lengthy questionnaire that asks about their experience with the criminal justice system and their familiarity with Ukraine. Manafort's work for the pro-Russian government in Ukraine plays a central role in the allegations against him, because prosecutors say he concealed income from that work from U.S. tax officials and allegedly laundered more than $18 million in proceeds.
...
The heart of the government's case involves nine years of Manafort's lucrative lobbying and consulting for Ukraine and its former leader Viktor Yanukovych, work the U.S. government said Manafort should have registered with the Justice Department. The grand jury indictment accused Manafort of funneling the money to offshore accounts in Cyprus, the Seychelles and other locations, as well as failing to report it to the IRS.

When Yanukovych fled to Russia, Manafort and his business partner Richard Gates experienced a severe cash crunch, and the men allegedly began leveraging real estate to take out new loans, providing false or incomplete profit and loss statements and other data to banks.
...
Responding to allegations that Manafort took the campaign job with Trump in 2016 to pay off debts he owed to a Russian oligarch, the defense fund website asserts that he was "motivated solely by his appreciation and ardor for our country."
...
Authorities initially detained him more than 100 miles away in the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Va. His lawyers cited the distance in a bid to postpone the trial until autumn at the earliest.

Instead, Ellis directed U.S. marshals to move Manafort to the detention center in Alexandria, near the courthouse. That facility has housed a variety of prominent defendants including Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, and spies Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames.

The judge told potential jurors that the trial would last no more than three weeks.

When it is over, Manafort will not quite be done with the justice system. He faces a separate trial in late September in Washington, D.C.
This probably isn't the sort of answer you wanted, Mental Wimp, but it shows that the courts aren't delaying this case as Manafort's team wished they would. And compared to other major special investigations, Mueller's team is moving fast (538 summary of actions to date, compared to other special investigations; dated Jul. 13, 2018).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:15 AM on July 31 [23 favorites]


This was a weirdly coordinated story this morning, Kelly supposedly sticking around through 2020, presumably in response to that earlier story that had him calling the White House a "miserable place to work." Somebody may be shopping that around, but it's clear the knives are out too.

The WSJ separately reported on the Kelly leak: Kelly Agrees to Remain Chief of Staff Through 2020 at Trump’s Request "White House chief of staff John Kelly told staff on Monday that President Trump had asked him to remain in his post through the 2020 election, White House officials said, a request that comes as tensions between the two men have eased in recent months. Mr. Kelly told staff he agreed to the president’s request, one of the officials said."

Despite appearances to the contrary, the Trump White House looks like it's signalling that there's some sort of calming influence at work. (And Kelly's in it for the xenophobia, which is still good business there.)

Meanwhile, Bob Woodward, who has made a post-Watergate career of balancing access journalism with staying on top of common wisdom inside the Beltway, plans to reveal the ‘harrowing life’ inside Donald Trump’s White House (Washington Post). His latest is called "Fear: Trump in the White House". Simon & Schuster's leaked press release promises it “reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies.”

The title was inspired by Trump's remark in an interview with Woodward and Bob Costa back in April 2016, “Real power is, I don’t even want to use the word: ‘Fear.’ ”
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:20 AM on July 31 [4 favorites]


Oliver Roeder for FiveThirtyEight: Why We’re Sharing 3 Million Russian Troll Tweets
FiveThirtyEight has obtained nearly 3 million tweets from accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency. To our knowledge, it’s the fullest empirical record to date of Russian trolls’ actions on social media, showing a relentless and systematic onslaught. In concert with the researchers who first pulled the tweets, FiveThirtyEight is uploading them to GitHub so that others can explore the data for themselves.

The data set is the work of two professors at Clemson University: Darren Linvill and Patrick Warren. Using advanced social media tracking software, they pulled the tweets from thousands of accounts that Twitter has acknowledged as being associated with the IRA. The professors shared their data with FiveThirtyEight in the hope that other researchers, and the broader public, will explore it and share what they find. “So far it’s only had two brains looking at it,” Linvill said of their trove of tweets. “More brains might find God-knows-what.”
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:32 AM on July 31 [75 favorites]


@jeanguerre: Commander Jonathan White of HHS just admitted he warned Trump @realDonaldTrump & Sessions about "significant risk of harm" & "psychological injury" as consequence of zero tolerance & was ignored

This is a good friend from high school and one of the smartest and kindest person I’ve known. I feel a little better knowing someone like him, someone who clearly gives a shit about the kids in his care, is working in the larger morass that is this government’s bureaucratic hellscape.
posted by bibliowench at 11:39 AM on July 31 [41 favorites]


The FiveThirtyEight dataset release is neat; I wonder if someone will be able to do something similar with the Facebook accounts that were just shut down. Obviously FB is dodgier about access to their data (I mean, unless you pay them, obvs) but I'd think a partial accounting of the accounts that were closed should be possible just based on their publicly-released numbers of accounts, followers, events created, etc.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:41 AM on July 31


@jeanguerre: Commander Jonathan White of HHS just admitted he warned Trump @realDonaldTrump & Sessions about "significant risk of harm" & "psychological injury" as consequence of zero tolerance & was ignored

In the interest of accuracy, this report turned out to be a little exaggerated. White testified that he raised concerns within DHS and was ignored (still, good for him indeed). He did not say he specifically warned Trump and Sessions or otherwise say exactly who he warned.
posted by zachlipton at 11:45 AM on July 31 [7 favorites]


NYT: Facebook announced on Tuesday that it has identified a coordinated political influence campaign, with dozens of inauthentic accounts and pages that are believed to be engaging in political activity ahead of November’s midterm elections, according to three people briefed on the matter.

Something interesting that's come out of this is that the pages Facebook removed (they're careful to say they aren't attributing it to Russia or providing any attribution at all at this point, though they say the accounts "in some cases have connected with known IRA accounts") were involved in creating about 30 events on Facebook, which they invited real people to attend. The reason Facebook went public today is that one of these was a United the Right 2 counterprotest in Washington DC, set for August 10-12, and they wanted to warn people in advance. Facebook says that the "inauthentic" people worked with the admins of legitimate pages to co-host the event. Facebook deleted the event and notified the 2,600 people who said they were interested in attending.

Apparently real organizers of the event are quite upset that Facebook has deleted a permitted anti-hate protest backed by local DC groups. It's quite the mess.
posted by zachlipton at 11:56 AM on July 31 [25 favorites]


See, here's an interesting tactic that aspiring conservative politicians can use, join the Democrat party and use Koch money to undermine the party from within.

"Democratic Party," please. "They call themselves the Democratic Party. Let's just call people what they call themselves and stop the Mickey Mouse here."
posted by kirkaracha at 11:57 AM on July 31 [22 favorites]


At this point I have to say that I have tremendous respect for the fan. It has handled an awful lot of shit.
posted by srboisvert at 12:16 PM on July 31 [81 favorites]


So you're saying that private Wikileaks chat was released the same week Glenn Greenwald purged his Twitter account... 🤔
@zatchry: Glenn Greenwald deleted over 27,000 tweets on July 22nd. Today 11,000 WikiLeaks Twitter DMs were published, where Greenwald’s tweets were linked to 47 times - most of the tweets among those he deleted.
posted by monospace at 12:19 PM on July 31 [58 favorites]


prosecutor Greg Andres told the court that the government would only bring up Manafort's campaign work in the context of a witness from a bank that gave him a loan, with the expectation that the banker would win consideration for a post in the Trump administration.

I love the understatement here. We're ONLY going to bring up Mueller's ties to the campaign to show that the Chairman of the campaign had the motive ( loan ), means ( Trump Admin office ), and opportunity ( did I mention that Chair of the campaign thing? ), and that the potential appointment is the quo to the loan's quid.

ONLY that...
posted by mikelieman at 12:20 PM on July 31 [14 favorites]


I wonder if a brilliant legal mind like Greenwald thinks that deleting tweets puts them out of Mueller's reach. Because those still exist on Twitter's servers, if not in Mueller's hands already.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:27 PM on July 31 [9 favorites]


Chris Hayes: I'm personally opposed to the psychological torture of children, but I also understand there's a big divide in this country between those who oppose child torture and those who favor it and we need to start listening to each other.

Some A+ shade from Chris Hayes who has had enough of this shit.
posted by Justinian at 12:33 PM on July 31 [111 favorites]


Murray Waas has a bombshell for the New York Review of Books, or at least UXO: Flynn, Comey, and Mueller: What Trump Knew and When He Knew It
Previously undisclosed evidence in the possession of Special Counsel Robert Mueller—including highly confidential White House records and testimony by some of President Trump’s own top aides—provides some of the strongest evidence to date implicating the president of the United States in an obstruction of justice. Several people who have reviewed a portion of this evidence say that, based on what they know, they believe it is now all but inevitable that the special counsel will complete a confidential report presenting evidence that President Trump violated the law.[...]

I have learned that a confidential White House memorandum, which is in the special counsel’s possession, explicitly states that when Trump pressured Comey he had just been told by two of his top aides—his then chief of staff Reince Priebus and his White House counsel Don McGahn—that Flynn was under criminal investigation. This memo, the existence of which I first disclosed in December in Foreign Policy, was, as one source described it to me, “a timeline of events [in the White House] leading up to Flynn’s resignation.” It was dated February 15, 2017, and was prepared by McGahn two days after Flynn’s forced resignation and one day after Trump’s meeting with Comey.[...]

The memo’s own statement that Trump was indeed told that Flynn was under FBI investigation was, in turn, based in part on contemporaneous notes written by Reince Priebus after discussing the matter with the president, as well as McGahn’s recollections to his staff about what he personally had told Trump, according to other records I was able to review. Moreover, people familiar with the matter have told me that both Priebus and McGahn have confirmed in separate interviews with the special counsel that they had told Trump that Flynn was under investigation by the FBI before he met with Comey.[...]

A person with first-hand knowledge told me that during interviews with the special counsel, both McGahn and Priebus confirmed that they had informed Trump during this meeting that Flynn was being investigated by the FBI. Further, according to three current and former administration officials, McGahn also relayed to President Trump that Flynn had told the FBI the same false story he’d earlier told Pence (that Flynn had never spoken to Kislyak about sanctions). Because Trump and McGahn knew of Flynn’s misstatements to the FBI, they would have understood the legal jeopardy Flynn was in: it is a felony to lie to the FBI—precisely the federal criminal charge Flynn would later plead guilty to.
The case for obstruction of justice looks like it's not only rock-solid against Trump but also could entangle Pence for misleading the public about Flynn's calls with Kislyak.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:34 PM on July 31 [61 favorites]


Honestly he's probably more afraid of being proven a liar online than anything related to the Mueller investigation. The man has a pathological need to not only be right, but to have always been right.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:35 PM on July 31 [6 favorites]


T.D. Strange: "I wonder if a brilliant legal mind like Greenwald thinks that deleting tweets puts them out of Mueller's reach. Because those still exist on Twitter's servers, if not in Mueller's hands already."

Or on The Wayback Machine.
posted by octothorpe at 12:36 PM on July 31 [42 favorites]


Honestly he's probably more afraid of being proven a liar online than anything related to the Mueller investigation.

Maybe, but depending on exactly what he had advanced knowledge of he's getting pretty close to becoming a member of the criminal conspiracy himself.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:37 PM on July 31 [11 favorites]


So Doktor Zed just beat out my summary of Waas's fascinating story (you're great, Doktor Zed!), and it's really worth reading in full for the review of all the events surrounding the Flynn story, but I want to highlight one thing in there, which is that the Administration's defense of Trump's "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go" is based on a nonsensical argument.

Trump's lawyers have argued that Trump thought Flynn had been cleared at the time Trump asked Comey to let Flynn go. This makes no sense—there's no reason to let someone go who has already been cleared of wrongdoing—, but they're stuck with it because to argue otherwise is to admit guilt. They argue that Flynn told everyone the FBI said he was fine, so I guess Trump was just making meaningless requests of the FBI Director when he asked to let Flynn go. What the story here proves is intent: Trump knew full well that Flynn was in legal jeopardy when he made the request.

Another other important detail is this one: "Aside from McGahn, Eisenberg, and Burnham, the special counsel has interviewed five other attorneys who currently work for the White House counselor or have previously done so, according to administration records." It's clear that Mueller is seriously, and in detail, investigating every aspect of Flynn's firing and Trump's request to Comey. I don't know how you can look at that and not think the President isn't the target of a criminal investigation, whether Mueller's office will put it in such terms or not.
posted by zachlipton at 12:50 PM on July 31 [23 favorites]


If the GOP has to threaten one of their own with arrest I'm going to call that a favorable midterm environment.

As a brief moment of pedantry, the Senate Sergeant at Arms can only "arrest" a sitting Senator as a means to drag them into the Senate chamber to force a quorum. McConnell isn't threatening to throw anybody in jail.
posted by schmod at 1:02 PM on July 31 [5 favorites]


The case for obstruction of justice looks like it's not only rock-solid against Trump but also could entangle Pence for misleading the public about Flynn's calls with Kislyak.

In this "Stupid Watergate", Pence is Agnew. I predict Pence's departure "to spend more time with his family" or something about the time the shit hits the poor, overworked fan. Yes. I find that I am also sympathetic to the fan. This isn't what it signed up for.
posted by mikelieman at 1:03 PM on July 31 [27 favorites]


As a brief moment of pedantry, the Senate Sergeant at Arms can only "arrest" a sitting Senator as a means to drag them into the Senate chamber to force a quorum. McConnell isn't threatening to throw anybody in jail.

Further pedantry: Flake's absence doesn't jeopardize a quorum. You can't drag someone into the Senate chamber simply because you might lose a vote.
posted by Justinian at 1:04 PM on July 31 [5 favorites]


Speaking of wayback machines. Here's NYT from July 28, 1974.
Rhymes with blubstruction.
posted by Harry Caul at 1:04 PM on July 31 [3 favorites]


Remember The Nation's controversial story a year ago, A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack, based on a Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity report arguing that the DNC hack was an inside job. After much outcry, they conducted an independent review of the story, learned that VIPS themselves are conflicted about it, and appended an editor's note that's very much of the "just asking questions" tone.

Well, independent investigative journalist Duncan Campbell has a big update to that in ComputerWeekly, of all places, Briton ran pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign that helped Trump deny Russian links. It's a very detailed article, here's the guts of it:
A British IT manager and former hacker launched and ran an international disinformation campaign that has provided US President Donald Trump with fake evidence and false arguments to deny that Russia interfered to help him win the election.

The campaign is being run from the UK by 39-year-old programmer Tim Leonard, who lives in Darlington, using the false name “Adam Carter” [yes, he really grabbed that from the BBC show Spooks/MI-5. Also, we learn later in the article the Leonard is the guy who created PeerGuardian back in the day]. Starting after the 2016 presidential election, Leonard worked with a group of mainly American right-wing activists to spread claims on social media that Democratic “insiders” and non-Russian agents were responsible for hacking the Democratic Party. The hacking attacks had damaged Trump rival Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
...
One document – a tip-off file obtained in June 2017 by Leonard’s site from an “anonymous source” – took new disinformation all the way to the White House and the CIA.

The untitled file included complex details explaining how to unlock information inside a tranche of files released by Guccifer 2.0 in London. Metadata in the files had been manipulated to “prove” that the documents could have been stolen by a Democratic National Committee (DNC) employee. Until the file arrived, the information hidden in the files, created by the GRU hackers and known only to them, had not been detected by security experts.

The document, rewritten for propaganda effect, was published three weeks later and claimed to be the work of a new fake personality called Forensicator, which claimed that stolen DNC documents were copied to a computer located in the eastern US. If correct, it was devastating news for US intelligence – because it cleared the Russians.

Some former intelligence officials, from a group called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), backed up the claim. A group, including William Binney, a former technical director at the US National Security Agency (NSA), and former CIA officer Ray McGovern, were persuaded, without checking the file data, to say that the hacking was the work of insiders.

According to former NSA technical manager Tom Drake, “Ray’s determination to publish claims he wanted to believe without checking facts and discarding evidence he didn’t want to hear exactly reproduced the Iraq war intelligence failures which the VIPS group was formed to oppose”. He and other VIPS members refused to sign McGovern’s report.

But the VIPS endorsement was repeated by American media, from respected left-wing publication The Nation to controversial right-wing site Breitbart News. The ploy succeeded – and made it to the White House. Binney was invited on to Fox News and said allegations that Russia had hacked the DNC were unproven. Trump then told CIA director Mike Pompeo to see Binney to find evidence to support the claims. Pompeo met with Binney on 24 October 2017.
...
A month after visiting CIA headquarters, Binney came to Britain. After re-examining the data in Guccifer 2.0 files thoroughly with the author of this article, Binney changed his mind. He said there was “no evidence to prove where the download/copy was done”. The Guccifer 2.0 files analysed by Leonard’s g-2.space were “manipulated”, he said, and a “fabrication”.
...
Despite accepting that there was no evidence, Binney and McGovern have not retracted the claims in the 2017 VIPS report at the time of writing.
...
If a story was published, he said, the publication would “end up spontaneously combusting”, and the author of this article would “burn”.
The Nation needs to retract the story at this point.
posted by zachlipton at 1:11 PM on July 31 [64 favorites]


So maybe Flake has actually weaponized doing nothing?

So he's...flaking?
posted by LooseFilter at 1:11 PM on July 31 [5 favorites]


@gelles: Paul Manafort owned a $21,000 jacket "made from an ostrich” according to prosecutors. *Correction: the ostrich jacket cost was only $15,000

darth is already on the job with the photoshop.

Also, @joshchafetz: For the record, you can get a whole ostrich for like 5% of that price ... ostrichgrowers.com/birds.php (less if you're willing to raise it from a chick)

Manafort's defense appears to consist of blaming Rick Gates for everything. No word yet on whether Gates will be blamed for buying the ostrich jacket.
posted by zachlipton at 1:18 PM on July 31 [16 favorites]


Another other important detail is this one: "Aside from McGahn, Eisenberg, and Burnham, the special counsel has interviewed five other attorneys who currently work for the White House counselor or have previously done so, according to administration records."

This all sounds incredibly damning. Mueller has a paper trail on Trump's awareness about Flynn's legal jeopardy, along with multiple witnesses to back it up. He could indict Trump tomorrow on the basis of this.

(Thank you for the compliment, Zach—I'm regularly in awestruck by your timely posts and news coverage. Case in point, this absolutely mad Tim Leonard story.)

I predict Pence's departure "to spend more time with his family" or something about the time the shit hits the poor, overworked fan.

I see Pence more as a Trump dead-ender. His fawning deference to Trump in public seems unfeigned. Besides, there's got to be a reason Manafort steered Trump to choose him for VP over Chris Christie.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:19 PM on July 31 [11 favorites]


So you're saying that private Wikileaks chat was released the same week Glenn Greenwald purged his Twitter account... 🤔
@zatchry: Glenn Greenwald deleted over 27,000 tweets on July 22nd. Today 11,000 WikiLeaks Twitter DMs were published, where Greenwald’s tweets were linked to 47 times - most of the tweets among those he deleted.


My hatred of Greenwald is slightly smaller than my hatred of bad reporting statistics, so I will take a second to point out:
  • Greenwald deleted all pre-2016 tweets.
  • There are 11,127 twitter dms in that page (according to my \[201\d-\d\d-\d\d \d\d:\d\d:\d\d\] regex)
  • 6,621 of those are identified as from 2015
  • Of those 6,621 the string ggreenwald/status appears 17 times
  • In the remainder ggreenwald/status appears 15 times
  • Without magic you can't refer to a tweet that hasn't yet been published
So it's basically inevitable that most of those would be among the deleted.

That doesn't mean it's not meaningful that they were deleted; perhaps they are why he picked 2016 as his cutoff. But that the majority would be among those deleted given that date needs more context to mean something.

For anyone who is curious, here's every 2015 linked Greenwald tweet:
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/596310063947583488
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/598795278985076736
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/605031324576022529
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/610116225436360706
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/610456930658701312
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/614043035173789696
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/616588231287664640
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/618035800077434880
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/621304019529691136
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/621805788345016320
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/624549716706074624
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/624549948374319104
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/631640239908503552
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/631640907478106112
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/631641508140183552
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/659472568508923912
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/662038840895537152

and all the 2016+ ones:
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/708297237550538752
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/708298791129128960
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/757542910841741312
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/758660672557285376
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/760193506342297600
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/771389830706200576
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/771390671580168192
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/771384680906194944
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/777525911453392897
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/783665856547000320
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/784852906080174080
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/793888570549370884
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/794632586891055104
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/807558607315341312
https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/852636102401945600
posted by phearlez at 1:20 PM on July 31 [21 favorites]


Art propagandist Jon McNaughton is back with another piece of work. Of special note:
- Thin Trump
- John Bolton
- Melania complete with fur coat
- All 3 rowers (Ben Carson, Sarah Sanders & James Mattis) are rowing opposite the direction the boat & Trump are pointed

@McNaughtonArt My new painting – “Crossing the Swamp”
“Never give up. Never lower your light.
Never stop till the swamp is dry.” – Jon McNaughton
For a list of figures in the boat: http://jonmcnaughton.com/crossing-the-swamp/
posted by scalefree at 1:25 PM on July 31 [12 favorites]


there's got to be a reason Manafort steered Trump to choose him for VP over Chris Christie.

Thank God for small favors, sometimes.
posted by Melismata at 1:26 PM on July 31 [3 favorites]


To head off a lot of questions, I would remind people that ostrich leather is a real thing, and yes, it's pricey. There's nothing really weird about some assholes expensive coat being made of it.

( Oh, there's plenty of 80's apartheid-era South Africa references in that wikipedia article, btw, because ... of course, why go in for half-measures and dog-whistles when you can use v8 powered chevy air-raid sirens. )
posted by mikelieman at 1:26 PM on July 31


So, following up on phearlez's great work there; Archive.org doesn't have most of those tweets captured.

But it does have ONE.

https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/610116225436360706
So @thesundaytimes has just quietly deleted one of the key lies in its story - just deleted it - with no note
with an image link of a screenshot about Snowden and a Sunday Times story.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 1:33 PM on July 31 [12 favorites]


@gelles: Paul Manafort owned a $21,000 jacket "made from an ostrich” according to prosecutors. *Correction: the ostrich jacket cost was only $15,000

"See my vest, see my vest, made from real gorilla chest!"
posted by scalefree at 1:42 PM on July 31 [42 favorites]


@McNaughtonArt My new painting – “Crossing the Swamp”

Wait, the National Mall didn't look like that before Trump took office. Is he saying that Trump turned it into an alligator-infested swamp? Why is Dan Aykroyd there holding binoculars? I don't think Mike Pence would be too comfortable with Melania Trump holding him that way. Would it be wrong to hope for a Southern Comfort-type situation?
posted by kirkaracha at 1:48 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]


If you really want to go down the research rabbit hole of trying to figure out those deleted tweets you can google the full url. Picking a few at random I came up with news/blog postings where they'd been inlined. Sometimes that gets you some pull quotes, depending on if they used twitter's embed blockquote scheme, sometimes you just get a feel for the topic. Once in a while they're cached by google too, like this pretty banal one.
posted by phearlez at 1:52 PM on July 31 [3 favorites]


- All 3 rowers (Ben Carson, Sarah Sanders & James Mattis) are rowing opposite the direction the boat & Trump are pointed

As much as I like to make fun of Trump and his henchmen, rowboats are propelled by rowers with their backs towards their destination.
posted by dazed_one at 2:11 PM on July 31 [13 favorites]


Trump is depicted way too slim in that swamp crossing.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:12 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]


Jon McNaughton, or as one of the Twitter replies dubs him, "Thomas KKKinkade"
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:14 PM on July 31 [62 favorites]


In previous allusions to classic paintings, Spectator USA's illustration of Trump decked out as Napoleon from Napoleon Crossing the Alps astride the Twitter logo instead of a horse.
posted by XMLicious at 2:25 PM on July 31 [3 favorites]


Feel free to delete if this has already been asked / answered, but re: Greenwald's deleted tweets

Do we know anything about the period of his tweeting life that he decided to delete entirely? Like he didn't delete specific tweets. He panic deleted an entire timespan.

What made him pick those dates to memory hole?
posted by schadenfrau at 2:26 PM on July 31 [2 favorites]


As much as I like to make fun of Trump and his henchmen, rowboats are propelled by rowers with their backs towards their destination.

Look at their hands. In a freehand canoe style row you pull with the lower hand & push or scoop with the upper; Carson & Mattis are moving the boat to the right. You're right about Sanders though, she's got an oarlock & she's pulling her oar with both hands so it moves the boat to the left. Ivanka really needs an oar too, the slacker.
posted by scalefree at 2:26 PM on July 31 [12 favorites]


What made him pick those dates to memory hole?

i'm guessing it had to do with the phrase "reasonable doubt"
posted by poffin boffin at 2:34 PM on July 31 [8 favorites]


Collusion is not a crime.

Neither is "Stealing."

Robbery? Yes. Theft (petit and grand)? Sure. In most places, though, there is no crime called "stealing." But no one would take you seriously if you claimed that being accused of stealing doesn't matter because stealing "isn't a crime."
posted by mabelstreet at 2:34 PM on July 31 [33 favorites]


[a buncha oar analysis]

I think it's maybe just based on this.
posted by whatnotever at 2:36 PM on July 31 [6 favorites]


I like how McNaughton made sure to put Ben Carson in the same spot as the only black guy in the original painting. That's what you call "historical accuracy".
posted by The Tensor at 2:44 PM on July 31 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter: [a buncha oar analysis]
posted by dragstroke at 2:44 PM on July 31 [23 favorites]


Buzzfeed provides some super-serious art criticism of "Crossing the Swamp". And Darth (@darth)'s retouched version is perfect.

What I can't decide is if McNaughton is, at heart, more of true believer than a grifter-propagandist. He's been painting his Mirror Universe–based Constitutional camp for ages like he'd found his true calling as Norman Lincoln Rockwell, but he's also turned his kitschy artistic career into a successful money-making enterprise. He's either the Tea Party's Jack Chick or its Thomas Kinkade IV.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:47 PM on July 31 [10 favorites]


From the pool report of Hogan Gidley's AF1 press gaggle:

*Why is Eric Trump on this trip?* "I don't know."
posted by zachlipton at 2:54 PM on July 31 [18 favorites]


BuzzFeed, Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier, Russian "Agent" And A GOP Operator Left A Trail Of Cash, Documents Reveal, in which Leopold's SAR sources deliver again:
A $45,000 payment to an undisclosed law firm. A cash withdrawal for $14,000. Almost $90,000 sent to or from a Russian bank. These and other bank transactions totaling nearly $300,000, none of which have been made public, offer the first detailed look at how an accused foreign agent and a Republican operative financed what prosecutors say was a Russian campaign to influence American politics.

Anti-fraud investigators at Wells Fargo flagged the transactions — by Paul Erickson, a conservative consultant from South Dakota, and Maria Butina, who is in jail awaiting trial on charges of secretly acting as a Russian agent — as “suspicious,” noting in some cases that they could find no “apparent economic, business, or lawful purpose” to explain them. Now counterintelligence officers say the duo’s banking activity could provide a road map of back channels to powerful American entities such as the National Rifle Association, and information about the Kremlin’s attempt to sway the 2016 US presidential election.

Cash withdrawals, most of them from Erickson’s personal and business accounts, make up $107,000 of the financial transactions now being investigated. The largest of those withdrawals — $14,000 — occurred in December 2015, when Erickson reportedly traveled to Moscow as part of an NRA delegation. The visit was sponsored by a Russian gun rights organization started by Butina, federal authorities say.

The duo also deposited about $90,000 in cash in their accounts, which has made it difficult for investigators to determine the source or purpose of the funds.
Where is Paul Erickson?

If I may, while we're asking, where is Joseph Mifsud?
posted by zachlipton at 3:02 PM on July 31 [35 favorites]


Am I right ti interpret Commander White's cagey responses as "I need to finish the job of reunifying the families, and I need to protect the unaccompanied kids, so I'm not going to name names here, but you can FOIA my office."?
posted by ocschwar at 3:17 PM on July 31 [2 favorites]


[A few comments deleted; we don't need a 3-D printer gun thing in here, there was another thread on that recently.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:18 PM on July 31


If I may, while we're asking, where is Joseph Mifsud?

In Putinger's Box. The novichok has and has not been released.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:27 PM on July 31 [6 favorites]


Erica Orden got out of WSJ, but she's still doing it at CNN: Exclusive: Mueller refers foreign agent inquiries to New York prosecutors
Special counsel Robert Mueller has referred a collection of cases to New York federal prosecutors concerning whether several high-profile American lobbyists and operatives failed to register their work as foreign agents, according to people familiar with the matter.
The transfer of the inquiries marks an escalation of Mueller's referrals to the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York in the period since he turned over a case involving President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

Since the spring, Mueller has referred matters to SDNY involving longtime Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta and his work for his former firm, the Podesta Group, and former Minnesota Republican Rep. Vin Weber and his work for Mercury Public Affairs, the sources said. One source said that former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig, a former partner at law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, is also part of the inquiry.

None of the entities involved have been charged with wrongdoing, and there is no indication the SDNY inquiry will result in criminal charges. It's not clear whether they are considered one case or separate matters, these people said, though all involve inquiries into whether the men improperly performed work on behalf of groups associated with Ukraine without registering with the Justice Department as foreign agents.
posted by zachlipton at 3:30 PM on July 31 [13 favorites]


Bloomberg, U.S. Plans Higher Tariffs on $200 Billion in Chinese Imports
The Trump administration will propose raising to 25 percent its planned 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports, a move that would ratchet up pressure on Beijing to return to the negotiating table, three people familiar with the internal deliberations said.

The U.S. imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese products in early July, and the review period on another $16 billion of imports ends Wednesday. President Donald Trump has threatened an additional $200 billion with levies of 10 percent, a level the administration may raise to 25 percent in a Federal Register notice in coming days, one of the people said. The change isn’t final yet and may not go forward after a public review, the people said.
🎵 There's a war going on out there somewhere, and Jeff Flake isn't here 🎵

In other news, Trump is holding a rally in Florida, and he's handed the stage over to Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis. How much of a Trump fan is DeSantis? His latest campaign ad is bonkers, featuring a depiction of how he's turned his family into a Trump-worshiping cult.

Speaking of cults, don't miss the QAnon people in attendance at the rally, even right up front in the camera shot.

It's just about August 2018, and Trump is discussing his position on stage at the primary debates and shouting out Corey Lewandowski, who is apparently in attendance. Melania gets a shoutout too (she's at home), so that's nice. Eric is there because "he loves this political stuff," which is not really more of an answer than the previous "I don't know."
posted by zachlipton at 4:27 PM on July 31 [13 favorites]


I promise I won't liveblog this, but:

Um, Clip: "US Steel just announced that they're building six new steel mills. And that number is soon going to be lifted, but I'm not allowed to say that, so I won't."

Then he went on to explain he can be Presidential but he won't, and does his impression of a boring President. Polls meanwhile, are "fake just like everything else," which is almost immediately followed by him citing a poll about how popular he is.

Wow. Saying we should need ID to vote, he claims you need photo ID to buy groceries.

And Democrats want to "let MS-13 rule our country." I'm done now.
posted by zachlipton at 4:45 PM on July 31 [33 favorites]


His latest campaign ad is bonkers, featuring a depiction of how he's turned his family into a Trump-worshiping cult.

Holy shit, you were not kidding.
posted by Rumple at 5:47 PM on July 31 [16 favorites]


Those poor kids
posted by emjaybee at 6:04 PM on July 31 [4 favorites]


Wow. Meuller's team has released all the exhibits they introduced in the trial today. They intend to do this every day.

US v. Manafort, Day 1
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 6:09 PM on July 31 [57 favorites]


Just saw on Horizon (a local political news show on PBS here in AZ) this evening where a business professor acknowledged how a significant part of the boost in quarterly GDP could easily be attributed to 1) the tax reduction that gave people larger tax refunds (i.e., disposable cash), and 2) the pre-tariff-implementation rush to buy goods before their costs went up. Neither of which effects is sustainable/repeatable.

At which point, it struck me as almost certainly part of the calculation to implementing both policies: that they would result in a short-term boost to the economy and positive numbers that the GOP could crow about and campaign on through the summer before the midterm elections, not caring that they will end up blowing up the deficit and ruining the economy in the longer term.
posted by darkstar at 6:17 PM on July 31 [12 favorites]


Trump-endorsed radio show has promoted ex-CIA agent’s call for right-wing rebellion.
Michael Scheuer, who favors “elimination” of Trump’s enemies, is a frequent guest on Trump-backed radio show.
posted by adamvasco at 6:28 PM on July 31 [5 favorites]


Daily Beast, Woodruff, Accused Russian Spy Maria Butina Told American CEO: Send Cash to Moscow. This is a wild tale:
[Maurice] Greenberg is a main source of funding for the Center [for the National Interest], which arguably has closer relationships with Kremlin officials than any other Washington think tank. From fiscal year 2012 to fiscal year 2015, its total net revenue was $11.6 million; Greenberg’s $5.6 million in contributions nearly half of its income. Greenberg is chairman emeritus of the Center’s board and received its lifetime achievement award in 2017.

According to multiple sources familiar with her actions, Butina appeared to be aware that the Russian bank in which Greenberg had invested was in trouble.

Sources familiar with Butina’s activity told The Daily Beast that she approached his Starr investment empire and recommended he invest more money in the flailing bank. The move left observers shocked and disturbed—a little-known twenty-something who was closely linked to a top official in the Russian Central Bank appeared to be telling a major American financier how to handle his Russia investments.

These sources said it was unclear if she was acting alone, providing a covert message on behalf of the Russian government, or looking to enrich herself through a potential transaction. The fact that Butina carried business cards claiming she was a Central Bank employee only added to the confusion. (A person familiar with her testimony to the Senate intelligence committee said Butina claimed she never actually worked for the bank, but rather distributed the cards to enhance her status.)

Dimitri Simes, the president of the Center for the National Interest, learned about Butina’s outreach, according to two sources, who said he communicated to her that she needed to drop it.

Regardless, Butina’s efforts to influence Greenberg’s investment decisions did not succeed. Reuters reported on August 27, 2015 that the Russian Central Bank seized InvesttorgBank, intended to investigate the bank’s financial health and protect its creditors. The Central Bank concluded the bank was racked by “massive fraud,” according to court filings’ characterization of their assessment.
----

NBC News, Ben Collins and Ben Popken [yes, the Consumerist, RIP, guy], Facebook's new foreign influence report excluded most divisive rhetoric: "Facebook released only some of the pages and content publicly, declining to release the depth some pages went to stoke racial tension."
NBC News was able to retrieve some of the pages Facebook deleted via a web archive search, which allows people to see internet pages that have been deleted. A review of some of the deleted pages from groups identified by Facebook as part of the “inauthentic coordinated behavior” found efforts to target people based on liberal politics as well as Hispanic and African heritage.

One deleted post called for protesters to occupy the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

An event that was initially titled “Stop Ripping Families Apart! DC,” posted by a group called “Resisters,” was later retitled “Stop Ripping Families Apart! Take over ICE HQ” once more users said they would attend. On Facebook, 131 people marked themselves as having attended the June 27 rally outside of ICE’s Washington offices.
...
People who run disinformation campaigns benefit whether they are discovered or not, Brookie said. Either they go undetected and can sow discord, or they are revealed and people begin questioning the legitimacy of all people in a debate, he said. That appeared to have already happened on Monday, with one organizer of a counterprotest for next month’s white supremacist rally clarifying on Twitter that entire event was not a Russian front.
...
Clint Watts, a former FBI special agent and MSNBC contributor, said the page administrators typically draw in followers with generic messages around group identity, then the page owners start hitting them with the most divisive posts once a group’s identity has been formed, helping to push its followers to the extremes. “They were hoping to instigate a conflict along racial issues,” Watts said. “The Kremlin seeks to infiltrate audiences along any and all divisive social issues, then once the audience is won, push them politically.”
This reminds me of a fascinating experiment conducted on commuter rail in the Boston area a while back. The experimenters hired pairs of Spanish-speaking people to wait for the trains alongside commuters, with no other special instructions other than to be there. Commuters exposed to Spanish speakers were more likely in subsequent surveys to favor reducing immigration from Mexico and not allowing Dreamers to stay in the country. Disinformation ops, and the Trump campaign in general, seem to have zeroed in on the same tactic.

----

The government has a problem. It's supposed to come up with reasons why it wants to change regulations, and most of the actual reasons are things they don't want to admit. So if they want to freeze fuel efficiency standards, they have to get creative. Hence: US says driving would be riskier if fuel standards tougher:
Overall, “improvements over time have better longer-term effects simply by not alienating consumers, as compared to great leaps forward” in fuel efficiency and other technology, the administration argues. It contends that freezing the mileage requirements at 2020 levels would save up to 1,000 lives per year.

New vehicles would be cheaper — and heavier — if they don’t have to meet more stringent fuel requirements and more people would buy them, the draft says, and that would put more drivers in safer, newer vehicles that pollute less.

At the same time, the draft says that people will drive less if their vehicles get fewer miles per gallon, lowering the risk of crashes.
That heavier vehicles kill more pedestrians and cyclists (and people in lighter vehicles) doesn't seem to have been considered. Also: the safety problems associated with destroying the earth's climate.

----

ProPublica built an awesome Political Ad Collector for Facebook. It's a browser extension that sends all the political ads you see to their database, so researchers can study ads and targeting to see how different messages are targeted to different people. The collected ads can be searched here.

----

More fun times with Hogan Gidley, on just how low of a point we've come to:
Q Hogan, speaking just generally, is it a crime to collude with a foreign government to interfere with a U.S. election?

MR. GIDLEY: I'm not an attorney. I'd have to refer you to either in-house counsel for that question or to outside counsel in Rudy Giuliani.
posted by zachlipton at 6:30 PM on July 31 [20 favorites]


Vanity Fair, Gabe Sherman, “Don McGahn Hates Rudy with Intensity of 1,000 Burning Suns”: Is Trump Ready to Cook Giuliani?
The appearances have attracted the wrong kind of notice. “Trump thinks he’s saying too much,” one Republican close to the White House told me. Another Trumpworld figure elucidated: “Trump likes that Rudy is a fighter. He knows there’s a give and take. The give is Rudy is going to fight for him. The take is that you’re going to get some crazy, too.”

The crazy on show in the last few days has given ammunition to his West Wing critics. Two of his most vocal detractors are Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn. ”Kelly [has] been trying to get rid of Rudy for two months,” one outside adviser to the White House told me. “And Don McGahn hates Rudy with intensity of 1,000 burning suns.” Of course, McGahn and Kelly have their own problems with the boss. According to two sources, Trump has clashed frequently with McGahn, whom Trump has told people is too cautious. One flash point: a source said McGahn has told Trump that the Justice Department should not cooperate with the House Freedom Caucus’s request for documents in their effort to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Kelly, meanwhile, is a survivor. Yesterday afternoon, Trump marked his first year as chief with a tweet. “Congratulations to General John Kelly. Today we celebrate his first full year as @WhiteHouse Chief of Staff!” Trump wrote. Afterward, according to two sources familiar with the matter, Trump turned to aides and said, “Now can I get rid of him?” But The Wall Street Journal reported that Kelly told staffers Trump had asked him to stay on at least until 2020.
...
Meanwhile, Trump is acting increasingly besieged. Advisers I spoke with said the president is “furious,” “frustrated,” and “flustered” that the Mueller probe is grinding on, and he’s personally hurt by Cohen’s betrayal. Last week, sources told me that Trump told Deputy Chief of Staff Bill Shine to ban CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins from a White House event because he was angry that she asked questions about Cohen. Trump has also been sending messages to Cohen on Twitter that he won’t pardon him, a source said. “He’s just letting him know, you’re done.”
posted by zachlipton at 6:34 PM on July 31 [15 favorites]


Also, things are getting more tangled for Maria Butina.

[Betsy Woodruff; The Daily Beast] Accused Russian Spy Maria Butina Told American CEO: Send Cash to Moscow
The 29-year-old Russian national also braced one of America’s best-known businessmen, pushing him to increase his investments in his bank in Moscow—a bank that was facing trouble with Kremlin authorities.

The encounter, detailed to The Daily Beast by multiple sources, paints a more detailed picture than previously known of the actions of the alleged foreign agent in the United States. It indicates that courting American politicos wasn’t her only mission. She also took keen interest in contentious, complex matters involving international finance—all while attempting to influence the primary financier of what would become Washington’s most Trump-friendly foreign policy think tank.

[...]

The story starts in June 2008, with legendary American businessman Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the one-time CEO of insurance and financial services giant AIG. Greenberg’s Starr Russia Investments III bought 20 percent of Investtorgbank, a Russian bank. Banki.ru reported that the fund Greenberg headed paid about $100 million for its share of the bank. In August of 2009, Starr invested another $8 million in the bank, according to court filings in the state of New York.

The next year, bank chairman Vladimir Gudkov boasted that business was booming. The bank was looking to expand into Siberia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, he told Interfax. He sounded proud that Greenberg’s first foray into investment in the Russian banking sector would be with his bank.

But within a few years, things went south. In December 2014, according to court filings, the Russian Central Bank started auditing the bank’s books. Lawyers for Starr say Gudkov and others in the bank engaged in egregious self-dealing, frittering away tens of millions of dollars. The Russian government auditors concluded that by the end of 2014, the bank was insolvent.
But it doesn't stop there! Our good friend Alfa Bank pops up again, although not with The Little Server That Could(tm), but with Paul Erickson (again).

[Jason Leopold/Anthony Cormier; BuzzFeed] Russian "Agent" And A GOP Operator Left A Trail Of Cash, Documents Reveal
Anti-fraud investigators at Wells Fargo flagged the transactions — by Paul Erickson, a conservative consultant from South Dakota, and Maria Butina, who is in jail awaiting trial on charges of secretly acting as a Russian agent — as “suspicious,” noting in some cases that they could find no “apparent economic, business, or lawful purpose” to explain them. Now counterintelligence officers say the duo’s banking activity could provide a road map of back channels to powerful American entities such as the National Rifle Association, and information about the Kremlin’s attempt to sway the 2016 US presidential election.

[...]

Among the suspicious transactions cited by the bank and federal investigators:

• About $89,000 passed between Erickson’s US accounts and one held by Butina at Russia’s Alfa Bank. In 2014, Erickson received $8,000 from Butina’s Alfa account. Between June 2016 and March 2017, Erickson sent a dozen wires to her Alfa account totaling $27,000.
It's money laundering all the way down!
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 6:34 PM on July 31 [11 favorites]


Q Hogan, speaking just generally, is it a crime to collude with a foreign government to interfere with a U.S. election?

Pod Save America today had a segment about how we've all been playing to Trump's hand in continuing to call it "collusion". It's not "collusion", it's a criminal conspiracy to violate campaign finance law, and a separate criminal conspiracy to hack into the DNC and Clinton campaign email servers. That's the crime, conspiracy. Democrats need to call it what it is, a criminal conspiracy to steal the election. Just like Watergate.

And part of that, they need to start accusing Republicans of currently conspiring with Russia to steal 2018. The Trump administration is doing nothing to secure the elections against proven ongoing attacks, because the Republican party welcomes further attacks on America.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:36 PM on July 31 [67 favorites]


In a letter to @benjaminwittes (lawfareblog), the Justice Department formally acknowledged that the President of the United States lied in a speech to Congress:

The Justice Department Finds 'No Responsive Records' to Support a Trump Speech
It isn’t every day that the U.S. Department of Justice acknowledges formally that the President of the United States lied in a speech to Congress. But that’s how I read a letter I received a few days ago from the department’s Office of Information Policy in connection with one of my Freedom of Information Act suits against the department.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:39 PM on July 31 [39 favorites]


Protesters from Cosecha Boston are currently trying to occupy the home of Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun to protest a research contract ICE has with the school. Aoun lives on Beacon Street on Beacon Hill; the street is closed from Joy Street to Park Street.
posted by adamg at 6:55 PM on July 31 [11 favorites]




Everyone talked with Woodward': Trump White House braces for new book

“Unlike previous administrations, this White House had no process for making officials available to the legendary reporter.”

Annie Karni | Politico
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:20 PM on July 31 [5 favorites]


It's time to face the truth about Anzus: it's worse than no treaty at all

If Reynolds is correct in saying that the US-Australia alliance is now being questioned it should be a matter for some concern. For reasons of geography alone it's always going to be important for the US; and the rise of Chinese influence in the region means that an alliance is probably more important for Australia now than it has ever been.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:28 PM on July 31 [5 favorites]


Anyone else see "religious liberty task force" and immediately think of Octavia Butler's Parable of the Talents with the roving Christian brainwashing armies?

I immediately thought of something I read huge times ago to the effect that any organization that has the word "freedom" in its name, it's usually working very hard to restrict yours. A quick search revealed it was from the blue -- Atom Eyes, four years ago.

Incidentally, a year ago today* we were talking about the birth of a new unit of measurement: the scaramucci. July 31, 2017 saw Anthony Scaramucci ejected from the White House.

*33.2 scaramuccis ago for those who have trouble converting.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:31 PM on July 31 [35 favorites]


"I read these emails so you don't have to" Dept.

The latest from Trump's fundraising efforts: For the second month, the Campaign is doing a month-end "rush to meet our fundraising goals", with a promise of triple-matching everything raised in the last few hours. Last month it was 24 hours, this month 12 hours; maybe they're less desperate this month. They're also claiming the constant fundraising is to ensure funding from "small contributors, not big donors"... which raises the question "then who is providing the 3X matching funds?"

Also, about once a month, the Trump Spam includes a "how are we doing" poll. Very 'push-poll'. Well, I responded to the latest one and made clear how much I opposed everything they're doing... no direct response, just more Spam. I had to include my email address with the response, and I used the one I was already getting spammed in. Maybe next time I'll use another email address along with my "I hate you" responses; see if that puts me on the mailing list again.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:33 PM on July 31 [3 favorites]


Wow. Saying we should need ID to vote, he claims you need photo ID to buy groceries.

Nice, we're hitting the "it's a banana, Michael, how much can it cost? 10 dollars?" phase of the Arrested Development Presidency.
posted by BeginAgain at 7:35 PM on July 31 [55 favorites]


What the Paul Manafort Trial Could Tell Us About the Mueller Investigation

Adam Davidson | The New Yorker
This week, Paul Manafort began the first of two trials. This one, prosecuted in federal court in Virginia, is for tax and bank fraud. A later trial, to be held in Washington, D.C., will focus on money laundering and Manafort’s work as an unregistered agent of the government of Ukraine. Neither trial, on the surface, has much to do with the Trump campaign. Many of the charges against Manafort cover crimes committed years before he worked for Trump’s campaign. However, this trial will likely play a central role in the investigation into collusion between the Trump camp and Russia. This prosecution will almost certainly show that the man running the campaign in its crucial period, as it shifted from a long-shot lark to a serious effort, was desperate and taking wild and irresponsible risks.

The trial, at its core, is about several dozen financial transactions that occurred between 2008 and the present, which, documentary evidence has already shown, seem likely to be instances of both bank fraud and illegal tax avoidance. These transactions can be cleanly divided into two: there were the wild, flush years, in which Manafort appears to have had more money than he knew what to do with, and the broke years, in which Manafort was taking increasingly frantic risks to find a few bucks. The nadir of his hunger for cash came just days before he became Trump’s unpaid campaign chair.

... There is another way to see the trial. Besides applying pressure on Manafort to coöperate, it could be something of a prelude. The indictment and the opening statement by Uzo Asonye, an assistant United States attorney, paint a vivid picture of a man under enormous financial strain, just as he took control of the campaign. Suddenly, he was given a valuable asset—proximity to Trump—and, for a bit, his ability to influence the man who could be President. The fact pattern laid out by the prosecutors raises the question: what did this desperate man do when he was handed a lifeline at the moment he most needed it? He took no payment, directly, from the Trump campaign. So, what did he get and what did he offer in exchange? Though these questions are unlikely to be asked directly in the trial, Mueller and the public want them answered.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:37 PM on July 31 [10 favorites]


Been waiting all day for this news, and it's here.

@daveweigel: BIG: Michigan's Supreme Court will allow an anti-gerrymandering measure on the ballot. State GOP/Chamber of Commerce had fought hard to keep it off.

Here's the Detroit News story with details.
posted by zachlipton at 7:37 PM on July 31 [77 favorites]


Can I share my secret fear? I am afraid there will be a MAGAhead on the Manafort jury who will refuse to convict even in the face of overwhelming evidence and it will be used by Trump as evidence this is all a witch hunt.
posted by Justinian at 7:38 PM on July 31 [26 favorites]


That MI gerrymandering ruling is huge. Polls have shown the ballot measure winning and Michigan is a top 5 worst gerrymandering state.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:41 PM on July 31 [45 favorites]


In other news, Trump is holding a rally in Florida, and he's handed the stage over to Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis. How much of a Trump fan is DeSantis? His latest campaign ad is bonkers, featuring a depiction of how he's turned his family into a Trump-worshiping cult.

Okay, this ad is bonkers, but in the context of the Florida gubernatorial race, it's not quite as bonkers as it looks. The Democrats running in the primary have all done ad spots hauling out their kids and putting them on display. I think the DeSantis ad is making a little joke at their expense.
posted by Daily Alice at 7:46 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]


Good time to remember maybe my best law professor Sam Bagenstos is running for Michigan Supreme Court. Flipping Michigan from gerrymandered and Republican controlled to non-partisan with fair courts and Democratic legislature and governor would be a massive win setting the stage for 2020.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:47 PM on July 31 [30 favorites]


My semi educated guess is that a non-partisan districting plan in Michigan would net 1 additional "safe" Dem seat but move a couple additional currently Republican seats into the competitive category which could flip around depending on the national environment.
posted by Justinian at 7:47 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]




ELECTIONS NEWS

** OH-12 special:
-- Trump coming to campaign for Balderson on Friday (story by friend of Chrysostom Jess Wehrman!).

-- PPP poll has Balderson up 48-44 on Dem O'Connor [MOE: +/- 4.0%].

-- Monmouth poll of the race coming tomorrow.
-- 2018 House:
-- TX-06: PPP poll has incumbent GOPer Wright up 48-39 on Dem Sanchez [no MOE listed]. District went 54-42 Trump.

-- CA-25: IMGE Insights poll has Dem Hill tied 47-47 with incumbent GOPer Knight [no MOE listed]. IMGE is a GOP firm; poll was at behest of a group supporting net neutrality.

-- CO-06: Same IMGE poll has Dem Crow tied 45-45 with incumbent GOPer Coffman.

-- NY-19 : Same IMGE poll has incumbent GOPer Faso up 49-44 on Dem Delgado.

-- Weekly check-in with the 538 generic ballot average shows D+6.9 (47.0/40.1).
-- 2018 Senate:
-- FL: Mason-Dixon poll has GOPer Scott up 47-44 on incumbent Dem Nelson [MOE: +/- 4.0%].

-- NV: Suffolk poll has incumbent GOPer Heller up 41-40 on Dem Rosen [MOE: +/- 4.4%].
-- Odds & ends:
-- NY gov: Siena poll has Cuomo up 60-29 on Nixon in the Dem primary [MOE: +/- 3.9%].

-- NY AG: Same Siena poll has James at 25, Maloney at 16, Teachout at 13, and Eve at 4. Lots of undecideds, obviously.

-- NV gov: That Suffolk poll has GOPer Laxalt up 42-41 on Dem Sisolak.

-- AL gov: Cygnal poll has incumbent GOPer Ivey up 56-42 on Dem Maddox. [MOE: +/- 3.06%]. Cygnal is a GOP-aligned pollster. That's actually a little closer than one would expect.

-- GA gov: Gravis poll has Dem Abrams up 46-44 on GOPer Kemp [MOE: +/- 3.8%].

-- SD gov: Anzalone Liszt Grove poll has GOPer Noem up 46-42 on Dem Sutton [MOE: +/- 4.4%]. This poll was on behalf of the Sutton campaign. Note that the Dems last won the SD governorship in 1974.

-- Billionaire Tom Steyer to drop at least $110M on the midterms in various ways (backing ballot initiatives, candidate funding, voter mobilization).

-- Mentioned earlier, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that an initiative to establish an independent redistricting commission can stay on the ballot. The measure, which is considered likely to pass, would likely result in MI's 9-5 GOP delegation moving to 7-7 or even 8-6 Dem.
===
ICYMI: You can now get your elections news in blog form. So swing by or add it to your feed reader, if you like.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:56 PM on July 31 [37 favorites]


Good time to remember maybe my best law professor Sam Bagenstos is running for Michigan Supreme Court. Flipping Michigan from gerrymandered and Republican controlled to non-partisan with fair courts and Democratic legislature and governor would be a massive win setting the stage for 2020.

And provided everyone left-of-silly gets on board with the gubernatorial race (no matter the outcome of the primary next Tuesday), it could be a nice election night in Michigan this November after all.

Thanks for sharing the gerrymandering news: you’re right, it’s big news here. So big, there’s already a clunky political cartoon about today’s ruling up on the Detroit Free Press site, in fact.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:56 PM on July 31 [5 favorites]


In tonight's special election in TX SD-19, we're going to a runoff between Dem Gallego and GOPer Flores. Combined Dem total was 61%, about 6 points better than Clinton did there in 2016.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:00 PM on July 31 [17 favorites]


I just want to post a clip of Trump saying you need photo ID to buy groceries. I realize nothing matters, but that's the kind of gaffe that would have followed around other Presidents for years.

Bush couldn't even shake off his grocery store situation despite the fact he kind of got a raw deal there.
posted by zachlipton at 8:04 PM on July 31 [41 favorites]


Okay, this ad is bonkers, but in the context of the Florida gubernatorial race, it's not quite as bonkers as it looks. The Democrats running in the primary have all done ad spots hauling out their kids and putting them on display. I think the DeSantis ad is making a little joke at their expense

I don't think people in general have a problem including family in campaign ads, it's a regular thing. I think the issue is more likely to be that he has his kid building a race wall.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 8:19 PM on July 31 [12 favorites]


Can I share my secret fear? I am afraid there will be a MAGAhead on the Manafort jury who will refuse to convict even in the face of overwhelming evidence and it will be used by Trump as evidence this is all a witch hunt.

One would think all but the most evasive & deceptive of them would get disqualified in jury selection. It would certainly be grounds for mistrial when discovered.
posted by scalefree at 8:31 PM on July 31 [2 favorites]


Baked Alaska moved to Phoenix in a failed gambit to join the Trump 2020 campaign and is currently working as a dogwalker and living in his parents' vacation home.

Ostracism and incivility are effective.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:39 PM on July 31 [39 favorites]


From filthy light thief's earlier comment regarding the Koch brothers' apparent softening: Two cases on this point - they co-funded a climate change study that (re)confirmed climate change, through the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project/ study/ thing (previously on MetaFilter, April 1, 2011).

This is true, but the implication that the Kochs did it as some sort of climate change champions is a misrepresentation. The Koch's hired a man-made global warming denier with the confidence that he would find no warming and certainly no man-made warming. The Kochs were not expecting the result. The scientist, Richard Muller, a UC Berkeley prof, called himself a converted skeptic based on the research he conducted with their funding. I suspect Chuck and Dave did not consider it money well spent.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:40 PM on July 31 [60 favorites]


Buzzfeed provides some super-serious art criticism of "Crossing the Swamp"

The swamp is also quite narrow. It looks like about 3 rowboat lengths. I'm thinking they accurately gauged that boat+crew's maximum range.
posted by srboisvert at 8:42 PM on July 31 [2 favorites]


He offered to do follow up studies. They ddeclined to chip in.
posted by ocschwar at 8:42 PM on July 31 [14 favorites]


This is a rather vague report, and it's obviously something that demands an investigation to confirm what's happened, but I don't know anything besides this right now:

@Law_Mana: The child died following her stay at an ICE Detention Center, as a result of possible negligent care and a respiratory illness she contracted from one of the other children. The events took place in Dilley Family Detention Center in south Texas.
posted by zachlipton at 8:57 PM on July 31 [13 favorites]




I've read previously that the Russian tweets were written in broken English and of poor quality, but the examples shared at 538 look pretty sophisticated:
“#Clinton Campaign said they pitched a story to #TheDailyBeast to attack #BernieSanders. Why are we not surprised?”
— @BLACKMATTERSUS, Oct. 13, 2016 (14,433 followers)
I would not read these tweets and immediately know they were fake. In fact, I think just the fact that they had a strategy of dividing Democrats, as well as a racial strategy, local news, and gamer strategy, is more sophisticated than I've previously heard credited.
posted by xammerboy at 9:06 PM on July 31 [25 favorites]


Trump has also been sending messages to Cohen on Twitter that he won’t pardon him, a source said. “He’s just letting him know, you’re done.”

What the hell? Somebody subpoena those DMs. And somebody else FOIA all the others.
posted by notyou at 9:16 PM on July 31 [28 favorites]


The child died following her stay at an ICE Detention Center, as a result of possible negligent care and a respiratory illness she contracted from one of the other children. The events took place in Dilley Family Detention Center in south Texas.

A charitable interpretation says the administration is guilty of second degree murder.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:18 PM on July 31 [18 favorites]


I would not read these tweets and immediately know they were fake.

The tell is the vague question-begging, "why are we not surprised?" That kind of forced-teaming always sets off alarm bells, and "@BLACKMATTERSRUS" ain't helping. Maybe it's just a case of not being able to bullshit a bullshitter, which I'm thinking reflects badly on me, but looking at the structure of the messages I find myself filtering a lot more. Said another way, I mostly don't have time for badly-spoken people even if I agree with them, and I know English well.
posted by rhizome at 9:19 PM on July 31 [10 favorites]


I just returned from a road trip where we drove through North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Montana. Along the way, we stopped in many economically prosperous and struggling towns. Two observations stuck out. These were things I knew, but weren't top of mind until they were literally in front of my face:

1. Most of the towns in the Midwest are overwhelming white, and by overwhelming, I mean I wouldn't be surprised if many locals have never met a person of color in their lives. Any fear of immigrants is perceived through media or imagined.

2. All of the towns are divided into strip malls and historical villages. The strip malls are comprised of the corporate mega-businesses tending to daily needs as well fast food chains, and the historical villages are made up of coffee shops, t-shirt stores, and tattoo parlors. It is crystal clear who has taken the recession proof jobs away from local workers.
posted by xammerboy at 9:23 PM on July 31 [40 favorites]


"@BLACKMATTERSRUS" ain't helping

BLACKMATTERS US was the name of the tweeting organization, not BLACKMATTERS R US (which would sound fake to me as well). I think a part of the problem here is similar to the ones doctors face concerning sales reps. They're all aware of the studies saying doctors who accept even free pens prescribe the rep's drugs, but they accept them anyway because they believe they're personally immune to that kind of persuasion.

I'm not saying that's what's happening with you, of course ;-)
posted by xammerboy at 9:38 PM on July 31 [5 favorites]


Finding reasons you theoretically would have doubted a tweet's source is trivial in hindsight when you already know it's a bullshit source. It's much more difficult when you don't already know the answer at which you want to arrive because that tweet looks pretty standard for the sort of crap that was flying around in 2016. I guarantee you we could find similar comments to the tweet right here on Metafilter if we looked back at the pre-election threads (nota bene: don't) and I'm pretty sure the GRU had better things to do than infiltrate Metafilter.
posted by Justinian at 9:49 PM on July 31 [22 favorites]


Note to Democrats: Fuck the White Working Class
It's just pathetic that this keeps coming up again and again, as if Trump voters and the white working class are the only goddamn prize in the electorate. Democrats, we're told, and liberals, especially, have to, got to, must try to get them on board or our victories are hollow and our policies are meaningless.
...
...what's missing is a recognition that the non-white working class is firmly with the Democratic Party. In fact, it's the base that has sustained the Democrats for several elections, and if the policies of the party are accepted by the non-white working class, then you're either saying that non-whites don't know that Democrats are bad for them or you're just fucking privileging white workers as being the only representatives of a class.
...
I've said this before and I'll say it again: Why is it just up to liberals?...I'm not gonna act like racists are children. I'm gonna treat them like fuckin' grown-ups and not fuckin' patronize them and speak gently so they don't roll on the ground in a tantrum. I'm gonna tell 'em they're fuckin' racist and that racism is objectively wrong and they should be ashamed of their ignorant selves. And if they don't like being made to feel bad for being racist, don't fucking be racist. Now, tell me whatever stupid shit you wanna say about how you have black friends.
...
Just think: non-white Americans, with an assist from some white Americans, could end up being responsible for changing things to actually make shit better for the white working class. That many of them won't understand it, as they didn't when Barack Obama was getting them health care, is the triumph of the GOP politics of hate and fear and ignorance.
Ceterum autem censeo Trumpem esse delendam
posted by kirkaracha at 10:07 PM on July 31 [82 favorites]


It's much more difficult when you don't already know the answer at which you want to arrive because that tweet looks pretty standard for the sort of crap that was flying around in 2016. I guarantee you we could find similar comments to the tweet right here on Metafilter if we looked back at the pre-election threads (nota bene: don't) and I'm pretty sure the GRU had better things to do than infiltrate Metafilter.

This is 100% true. I know actual, real life people who I knew pre-2016 who offered the same lines as what we now know to be pure Russian propoganda at the time pre-election.

The power of the Russian/Republican allied message was in force multiplication. They took 30 years of Republican demonization of the Clintons gleefully abetted by our "liberal" media (who we now know to also have been working at best tacitly as pro-Trump agents) and amplified it beyond anyone's conception.

That doesn't mean that the "both sides" or "Clinton is just as bad" sentiment wouldn't have been there anyway, but it became the overriding environment through Russian information warfare targeted to our media desperate to do anything to hurt Clinton already.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:30 PM on July 31 [14 favorites]




The story starts in June 2008, with legendary American businessman Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the one-time CEO of insurance and financial services giant AIG.

JFC, just when I thought this whole story couldn't get any shittier, there's fucking HANK GREENBERG right there.
posted by mikelieman at 12:58 AM on August 1 [4 favorites]


That is a... novel argument against fuel-efficient cars:
The Trump administration says people would drive more and be exposed to increased risk if their cars get better gas mileage, an argument intended to justify freezing Obama-era toughening of fuel standards.
Going by this logic, the longer people live the higher the risk of sustaining an injury during their lifetime - mandatory executions for everyone reaching a certain age! I'm only half kidding! Because I would not put it past this administration!
posted by PontifexPrimus at 1:10 AM on August 1 [15 favorites]


Well, it does explain why there are so many more traffic deaths in Europe, where people drive puny, economic cars. Wait, it doesn't. Because there aren't.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:13 AM on August 1 [39 favorites]


Just realised that Trump's proposed Space Force is proabably just Putin's way (would not be surprised if he brought it up in a meeting with Trump considering Trump had never mentioned it during his campaign) of getting us back for Reagan's Star Wars program which caused the USSR (and the USA) to spend a boatload of cash on a boondoggle.

Also would Space Force still be under the command of the Air Force? My impression is that each branch guards it's jurisdiction like Gollum and the One Ring and taking a hefty chunk of that away from the Air Force (X-37B anyone?) would have USAF generals rioting in the streets.
posted by PenDevil at 4:08 AM on August 1 [7 favorites]


Hannity: "I'm dismissing that person, because I don't believe you, if you cut a deal to get out of jail, you are going to be honest. You are basically bribed and paid"

I always think they can't be that shameless and they always prove me wrong.


Yep. I'm sure former prosecutor and judge Jeanine Pirro sitting right there has never, ever offered or accepted a plea deal more than a few thousand times once in her career. It's 7AM where I am and I've already hit outrage fatigue for the day.
posted by Rykey at 4:21 AM on August 1 [4 favorites]


I'm sure former prosecutor and judge Jeanine Pirro sitting right there has never, ever offered or accepted a plea deal

Do you mean for other people or for herself?
posted by PenDevil at 4:26 AM on August 1 [10 favorites]


My son asked me about Trump cuddling with Russia.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:40 AM on August 1 [89 favorites]




Trump feud with Koch network exposes rift between populist forces and establishment GOP

I'd like to see the WaPo stop calling them populists, since that's just validating their propaganda. Why not just say "Trumpist forces"?
posted by duoshao at 5:05 AM on August 1 [12 favorites]


From Reddit, and I don’t know the source, but

First report of a child killed by ‘negligent care’ in Trump’s camps

I don’t just want Trump, Sessions, and the rest in jail. I want every Republican who’s enables this by refusing to impeach or offering support in jail.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:15 AM on August 1 [36 favorites]


Hannity: "I'm dismissing that person, because I don't believe you, if you cut a deal to get out of jail, you are going to be honest. You are basically bribed and paid"

Hannity may be the greatest unacknowledged heir of Andy Kaufman. This deadpan act of his has been kept up for years.
posted by jaduncan at 5:20 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


To be clear, I’m shaky about the source because the story is sourced from a series of tweets from an immigration lawyer. It looks like nothing else is verified.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:20 AM on August 1 [2 favorites]


Also would Space Force still be under the command of the Air Force?

Unless the Apollo projects wrapped up with a "well, that was fun, last person out get the lights, willya", it stands to reason each branch has some amount of "space stuff" whether it's "rods of god", sneaky satellites, or LEO jets or something.

Trump - no doubt believing this would lead to a parade for him - "announced" / blurted out a distinct new branch of armed services, thereby throwing a spanner in everything and basically starting a very long round of internecine punch-ups. It's really the only narrative that fits with what we know he's capable of.
posted by petebest at 5:21 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


To be clear, I’m shaky about the source because the story is sourced from a series of tweets from an immigration lawyer. It looks like nothing else is verified.

THe one detail it adds is this was respoiratory illness (not a surprise, since the hieleras are brreeding grounds for it). THe lady's twitter feed is filling up with requests from reporters. We'll know more soon.
posted by ocschwar at 5:28 AM on August 1 [3 favorites]


President Trump has made 4,229 false or misleading claims in 558 days

WaPo | Fact Checker
That’s an overall average of nearly 7.6 claims a day.

When we first started this project for the president’s first 100 days, he averaged 4.9 claims a day. But the average number of claims per day keeps climbing the longer Trump stays in office. In fact, in June and July, the president averaged 16 claims a day.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:35 AM on August 1 [20 favorites]


This is the America I don't give a shit about understanding.
posted by bluesky43 at 5:41 AM on August 1 [30 favorites]


Also would Space Force still be under the command of the Air Force?

As with most things Trumpian, this whole thing is so stupid. We've had a "Space Force" since 1982 and it is under Air Force command.

Air Force Space Command, sometimes referred to informally as U.S. Space Command, is a major command of the United States Air Force, with its headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.
posted by chris24 at 5:42 AM on August 1 [17 favorites]


As with most things Trumpian, this whole thing is so stupid. We've had a "Space Force" since 1982 and it is under Air Force command.

Yes, but Trump seems to want a new branch of the US Military on equal footing with the other branches if I understand his impaired rantings correctly.
posted by PenDevil at 5:44 AM on August 1 [4 favorites]


RE: Space Force. The Planetary Radio podcast did a good episode doing a dive into Space Force and what it could mean for our current military space organizations. TLDL: there are some problems with how access to space is organized across the branches of the military and Space Force is one potential way to reorganize it, but maybe not the best way.
posted by runcibleshaw at 6:12 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Alex Jones, Pursued Over Infowars Falsehoods, Faces a Legal Crossroads, Elizabeth Williamson, NYT
In the five years since Noah Pozner was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., death threats and online harassment have forced his parents, Veronique De La Rosa and Leonard Pozner, to relocate seven times. They now live in a high-security community hundreds of miles from where their 6-year-old is buried.

“I would love to go see my son’s grave and I don’t get to do that, but we made the right decision,” Ms. De La Rosa said in a recent interview. Each time they have moved, online fabulists stalking the family have published their whereabouts.

“With the speed of light,” she said. “They have their own community, and they have the ear of some very powerful people.”

On Wednesday in an Austin courtroom, the struggle of the Sandy Hook families to hold to account Alex Jones, a powerful leader of this online community, will reach a crossroads. Lawyers for Noah Pozner’s parents will seek to convince a Texas judge that they — and by extension the families of eight other victims in the 2012 shooting that killed 20 first graders and six adults — have a valid defamation claim against Mr. Jones, whose Austin-based Infowars media operation spread false claims that the shooting was an elaborate hoax.
posted by mcdoublewide at 6:25 AM on August 1 [85 favorites]


In the five years since Noah Pozner was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., death threats and online harassment have forced his parents, Veronique De La Rosa and Leonard Pozner, to relocate seven times. They now live in a high-security community hundreds of miles from where their 6-year-old is buried.

This is terrorism.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:29 AM on August 1 [137 favorites]


The most fucked-up thing about that article isn't necessarily that Jones is being sued by the Sandy Hook families and the guy he falsely accused of being the Parkland shooter, it's the counter-suits. Depending on the judges' levels of dumbfuckery, the horrifying possibility that, by the end of the day, Jones may not only be allowed to continue to enable their harassment, but also get six-figure payouts from each court case for alleged infringements of his 1A rights could become reality.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:32 AM on August 1 [12 favorites]




While I respect its logic, I'm not on board with "Stop saying collusion and start saying conspiracy", because doing that is still letting the other side dictate our terms. It's collusion and conspiracy.

Trump's constant "No collusion!" isn't some kind of technically-correct-but-dishonest equivocation, it's just a simple lie like "the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period". Neither statement requires policing our language in response so that, by God, he won't get away with lying next time; he already lied. His intended sentiment is that he and the Kremlin aren't in a quid pro quo. But we know they are, because the Trump Tower meeting was collusion (and conspiracy).

And while I'm on the subject, it's frustrating that the current typical media narrative is that we don't have proof of it, just mere overwhelming evidence. Again, a year ago, Junior tweeted out proof. It's as crystal clear as the case for obstruction (which various outlets have also discussed as if we have to wait for a trial to determine, which I guess is standard for news stories on possible crimes, but still, ugh).

I can imagine an alternate timeline where the Putin entanglements were initially called "conspiracy", so Trump's rant of choice became "No conspiracy!", and various anti-Trumpers acknowledged that there's no specific crime called conspiracy" (because it's always "conspiracy to ___") and hence we should use the less precise but more accurate term "collusion".

Instead of treating any given accusation as the "wrong" one to make (assuming it's not something the regime hasn't done -- though at this point I can't think of crimes they haven't tangled with, up to and including genocide), we need to to that all the accusations have merit and these people have guilt pouring out their nostrils.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:56 AM on August 1 [35 favorites]


Also would Space Force still be under the command of the Air Force?

Trump said that the Space Force will be it's own "separate but equal" department. By the way, he just announced the creation of Space Force, and that it would be its own department, in a televised speech without telling anyone in advance. There were previous discussions about whether or not the military should have the capability to defend satellites, and, if so, who should be responsible for it, but he went from overhearing a couple sidebar discussions to simply announcing in public it would happen and be its own department without talking to anyone. I think he just thought the sound of the words "separate but equal" would resonate with his base.
posted by xammerboy at 6:58 AM on August 1 [8 favorites]


I just want to post a clip of Trump saying you need photo ID to buy groceries. I realize nothing matters, but that's the kind of gaffe that would have followed around other Presidents for years.

A thought occurs. The last time Trump paid for anything in a supermarket personally probably would have been when you still paid for weekly groceries via check which sure as hell would have involved ID. At least I remember my mother doing as much as a kid.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 7:11 AM on August 1 [11 favorites]


Last week, sources told me that Trump told Deputy Chief of Staff Bill Shine to ban CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins from a White House event because he was angry that she asked questions about Cohen.

For the record, these are the questions Collins asked:
Did Michael Cohen betray you, Mr. President?
Mr. President, did Michael Cohen betray you?
Mr. President, are you worried about what Michael Cohen is going to say to the prosecutors?
Are you worried about what is on the other tapes, Mr. President?
Why is Vladimir Putin not accepting your invitation?
While "betray" is strong language, that's exactly how Giuliani would later characterize Trump's feelings about Cohen in his CNN interview on Monday: "[Trump] turned out to have a close friend betray him, like Iago betrayed Othello, like Brutus put the last knife into Caesar."

Collins's question about Putin declining Trump's invitation, however, is what I suspect really got her disinvited. He's quite prepared to discuss the contentious topic of Michael Cohen with the press, but his buddy Vova is off limits.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:14 AM on August 1 [12 favorites]


The Space Force idea seems to me like a pretty transparent attempt to create a personally loyal Trump army. The space stuff will be secondary after the fact that such an organization will, by necessity, have its own security, special forces, and heavily armed non-space presence, all of which can be influenced with Trump-style leadership and personal loyalty pledges to create a modern praetorian guard. It's the makings of a secret police with the ability to launch and fully control their own spy satellites and unstoppable space based weapons.
posted by feloniousmonk at 7:15 AM on August 1 [11 favorites]


Trump's constant "No collusion!" isn't some kind of technically-correct-but-dishonest equivocation.

No, but his saying collusion is not a crime is nothing but this type of semantics game. His base hears "collusion is not a crime" and walk away believing it's not illegal to accept help from another country in an election.
posted by xammerboy at 7:15 AM on August 1 [3 favorites]


The Space Force idea seems to me like a pretty transparent attempt to create a personally loyal Trump army.

Never attribute to malice, that which can be attributed to stupidity.

Trump thinks F-35 stealth fighters are literally invisible to the naked eye, in the first meeting to plan Space Force he no doubt will ask to see designs of a space fighter 'you know... like the X-Wing from Space Wars'.
posted by PenDevil at 7:20 AM on August 1 [14 favorites]


The last time Trump paid for anything in a supermarket personally

There's a good chance dude has never done any grocery shopping.

The Space Force idea seems to me like a pretty transparent attempt to create a personally loyal Trump army.

Nah, he's got ICE and CBP for that.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:21 AM on August 1 [16 favorites]


I expect Lockheed-Martin will show Trump a blank piece of paper and say it is the designs for an invisible airplane and Trump will negotiate the price down to $2 billion per plane, thus saving taxpayers 1.4 billion.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:23 AM on August 1 [27 favorites]


So apparently the deficit is growing at an alarming rate...

@edbott
This is the part in a typical Trump operation where the principals grab as much money as they can and then declare bankruptcy, sticking the creditors with the mess.

Republicans are generally very bad at economics and numbers and to a certain extent do this every time, but in collaboration with this guy you have to wonder if they can pull off something truly unrecoverable.
posted by Artw at 7:34 AM on August 1 [54 favorites]


CNN's Marshall Cohen, Katelyn Polantz, and Tal Yellin have launched the Paul Manafort Trial Tracker, which provides a full timeline for his various cases, which can be filtered by venue and appeal status. This is definitely going to be a handy tool going forward. And today at the EDVA, two more witnesses for the prosecution will be taking the stand, Courthouse News reports: "Democratic strategist Daniel Rabin, a partner with the Rabin Strasberg media consultancy, who helped Manafort produce political ads for television in Ukraine in 2012" and an FBI agent whose name has not been disclosed.

Meanwhile, all this morning Trump has been on another extended Twitter rant*, claiming "Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders. He worked for me for a very short time. Why didn’t government tell me that he was under investigation. These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion - a Hoax!" and "Russian Collusion with the Trump Campaign, one of the most successful in history, is a TOTAL HOAX. The Democrats paid for the phony and discredited Dossier which was, along with Comey, McCabe, Strzok and his lover, the lovely Lisa Page, used to begin the Witch Hunt. Disgraceful!"

More chillingly, he issued this modal directive: "This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!"

If Trump's like this on only the second day of the first trial, imagine what he'll be like in a week or once the D.C. trial is underway.

* "The president is president of the United States, so they are considered official statements by the president of the United States."—Sean Spicer
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:35 AM on August 1 [31 favorites]


Kris Kobach’s Lucrative Trail of Courtroom Defeats
With his help, the town of 7,000 passed an ordinance in 2006 that punished employers for hiring illegal immigrants and landlords for renting to them. But after two years of litigation and nearly $300,000 in expenses, the ordinance was largely gutted. Now, it is illegal only to “knowingly” hire illegal immigrants there — something that was already illegal under federal law. The town’s attorney can’t recall a single case brought under the ordinance.
So he's been traveling from town to town, whipping up the racists into a frenzy, getting them to pass an ordinance against illegals, then he's getting hired on to defend the ordinance which then gets struck down by the court. So Kobach had to figure out a way to keep the scam going:
The legal process would have been far shorter and less costly if Kobach hadn’t insisted on rewriting the ordinances during the litigation, said Omar Jadwat, who heads the ACLU’s immigration project.
Nevertheless...
Former Valley Park Mayor Whitteaker said Kobach was “worth every penny.”
Wow. Just, wow.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:00 AM on August 1 [37 favorites]


While "betray" is strong language, that's exactly how Giuliani would later characterize Trump's feelings about Cohen in his CNN interview on Monday: "[Trump] turned out to have a close friend betray him, like Iago betrayed Othello, like Brutus put the last knife into Caesar."

... the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.

——

Reunited, an Immigrant Family Tries to Put Their Life Back Together
(Jonathan Blitzer | The New Yorker)
Last Friday morning, I had breakfast with a Honduran woman named Wendy Santos and her two daughters, Valeria and Aleisha, in the kitchen of their new home in suburban Maryland. Aleisha, who is three, was playing a game she recently invented for herself. “Copy, copy,” she said, looking at us, expectantly. She slid off her chair and walked up to each person, waiting for an answer. “Copy, copy,” Santos, Valeria, and I replied in turn. Aleisha chuckled and moved on, satisfied. In June, Santos and her two daughters had crossed the border near El Paso, Texas, where they were arrested and separated under the Trump Administration’s zero-tolerance policy. Santos spent the next forty-five days being moved from one detention center to another in Texas, while Valeria and Aleisha were held together in a facility for children in Arizona. “In the shelter,” Valeria, who is sixteen, told me, “we had roll call every thirty minutes, and the staff had walkie-talkies.” Aleisha had learned to imitate their sign-offs.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:04 AM on August 1 [8 favorites]


I'd like to see the WaPo stop calling them populists, since that's just validating their propaganda.

Though it might sound like one, "populist" is not a compliment.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:08 AM on August 1 [8 favorites]


Hiring a lawyer on the grift to defend racist and unconstitutional anti-immigration ordinances: $2.4 million and eventual municipal bankruptcy

Validating your unjustified persecution complex: priceless
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:09 AM on August 1 [14 favorites]


If Trump's like this on only the second day of the first trial, imagine what he'll be like in a week or once the D.C. trial is underway.
Probably something like this (Nixon statements on Watergate investigation), but at a 6th grade reading level, with much more all caps, repetition, bullying and greed.
posted by Harry Caul at 8:10 AM on August 1 [4 favorites]


First report of a child killed by ‘negligent care’ in Trump’s camps

If you have any hand in reporting on this child, please please please make sure the headline and lede are correct about it. The child died after detention, from a bug picked up in detention.
posted by ocschwar at 8:13 AM on August 1 [2 favorites]


That statement from Nixon reads like a speech by Abraham Lincoln compared to anything Trump has said out loud in public.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:13 AM on August 1 [10 favorites]


Mueller looks up from the papers at his desk and puts another checkmark next to obstruction on his whiteboard.

Michael D. Shear (NYT)
‏Retweeted Donald J. Trump
Mueller is investigating whether @realDonaldTrump’s used Twitter to intimidate or pressure Jeff Sessions: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/26/us/politics/trump-tweets-mueller-obstruction.html

Today, @realDonaldTrump uses Twitter to pressure Sessions to end the Russia investigation:
@realDonaldTrump:..This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!
posted by chris24 at 8:14 AM on August 1 [29 favorites]


Ted Cruz leads Beto O'Rourke 41 to 39 in Texas Lyceum poll

Within the margin of error. Git 'im, Beto.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:23 AM on August 1 [84 favorites]


Mind you, that's an outlier, so far. Average is Cruz +6.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:29 AM on August 1 [23 favorites]


Trump said that the Space Force will be it's own "separate but equal" department. By the way, he just announced the creation of Space Force, and that it would be its own department, in a televised speech without telling anyone in advance.

It takes an Act of Congress to modify the structure of DoD & create a new branch of the military. Trump has the instincts & drive to be a dictator but for the time being at least he has to work with the government we have. Which will never pass a law creating a Space Force. It's pure Trump smoke & mirrors.
posted by scalefree at 8:32 AM on August 1 [6 favorites]


Oregon D senator threatening Facebook, Twitter, etc. with liability for what they publish. (Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act basically gives neutral intermediaries freedom from liability for the content on their platforms.)


David McCabe (Axios)
Ron Wyden: "I just want to be clear, as the author of section 230, the days when these [platforms] are considered neutral are over." cc: all of Silicon Valley
posted by chris24 at 8:32 AM on August 1 [37 favorites]


Trump Boosts Manafort’s Credibility Then Quickly Backpedals All In One Tweet
(Kate Riga | TPM)
As the second day of the Paul Manafort trial gets underway, President Donald Trump threw his old pal a bone — then quickly snatched it back.

After bolstering Manafort’s credentials, Trump quickly washed his hands of his former campaign chairman. He also threw in that the Manafort case is completely divorced from the Russia-Trump collusion investigation, seeking to distance himself from Manafort’s legal troubles.

Though the trial will center on Manafort’s alleged bank and tax fraud among other things, he was still charged as part of Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s probe in a move many saw as an attempt to get Manafort to flip on others connected to the Trump campaign.

However, Trump’s attempt to minimize Manafort’s closeness to him has been a frequent team Trump tactic, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway becoming the most recent aide to emphasize their separation.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:36 AM on August 1 [5 favorites]


Trump continues to rant and rage on Twitter: "Looking back on history, who was treated worse, Alfonse Capone, legendary mob boss, killer and “Public Enemy Number One,” or Paul Manafort, political operative & Reagan/Dole darling, now serving solitary confinement - although convicted of nothing? Where is the Russian Collusion?"

n.b. Donald Trump and Paul Manafort have known each other since the 80s. The first client of Manafort's lobbying firm Black, Manafort & Stone was none other than Trump, Trump and Manafort having been introduced by either Roy Cohn or Roger Stone. (Just Security—A Timeline of Paul Manafort’s Relationship with the Trump World)
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:56 AM on August 1 [18 favorites]


Beto O'Rourke is on a 34 day tour of Texas right now with 3 or so Town Halls EVERY DAY and it is charming AF. All of it streamed on Facebook. Yesterday he was in Seminole, Lubbock, Amarillo and Muleshoe . Today he's in Pampa and soon off to Childress and Wichita Falls. His infectious energy continues to inspire.

It's my birthday tomorrow and I told my husband I wanted to go on another canvass. I am now a "Beto Ambassador," a program they started for some of us super fans who are way into this, but don't work for the campaign. I run a facebook group, H-town For Beto, I think I bragged here when we started it and it was around 300 people. We will have 3000 in just a few more days. It's crazy active fun and we all share our canvassing stories, where we are going to phonebank, and Beto pictures and how we are going to do this.

So many of us want this SO BAD. And our congressional seats that are up for grabs too. We are working. It's freaking hot out, but there's still at least one canvass every day. 10 to 30 every weekend. I can't stand phone banking but there's even more of those because you can be inside in the AC.

Campaigning helps keep away the crazy. Whenever the news gets weird I just look up another Event on Beto For Texas. (links to map of all the canvasses and phonebanks and meetings. The black stars are official campaign HQs the Beto folks have opened. The blue stars are "Grassroots HQ" that people have opened out of their houses usually). It's really fun being a part of this it's so hopeful. I really hope it happens.
posted by dog food sugar at 9:01 AM on August 1 [125 favorites]


Trump continues to rant and rage on Twitter: "Looking back on history, who was treated worse, Alfonse Capone, legendary mob boss, killer and “Public Enemy Number One,”

He forgot tax fraud.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:08 AM on August 1 [34 favorites]


Thank you, dog food sugar! Please know you’re inspiring others (including me) to stay involved street-level as well this election.

———

Paul Manafort trial: FBI agent testifies, describes Manafort’s Alexandria condo as a ‘large luxury unit’ (WaPo)

FBI agent describes items seized during search of Manafort’s condo
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:08 AM on August 1 [4 favorites]


This whole administration has turned into a criminal version of Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me.”
posted by azpenguin at 9:17 AM on August 1 [22 favorites]


Cruz is so scared of Beto and honestly it's Great??? Like holy shit I am so excited for Beto's run to really hit the ground and I am so hyped up to see how he does. He's shown himself to be really, really good at deftly defusing everything Cruz throws at him and redirecting things to issues, values, and willingness to engage with his community, too.

(fun fact: Beto also looks exactly like my brother-in-law if you aged him up about twenty years. It's a little unsettling.)
posted by sciatrix at 9:19 AM on August 1 [21 favorites]


This whole administration has turned into a criminal version of Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me.”

Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me." you say?
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:20 AM on August 1 [17 favorites]


A bit more insight on the Beto/Cruz poll from Jonathan Tilove with the Austin American-Statesman:
The races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general are not close, according to the poll conducted for the Lyceum, an organization for young Texas leaders.

“Most of the Republicans are sitting pretty with pretty solid leads, except for the one for Senate,” said Josh Blank, research director for the Lyceum poll.

Blank also noted that 53 percent of the 19 percent undecided among likely voters identify as Republicans, 21 percent as Independents and 26 percen as Democrats.

“Even though the numbers themselves are close, the undecided pool skews heavily Republicans, so assuming these people show up and vote, you could basically take those numbers and add five or six points to the margin.” Blank said.
posted by mcdoublewide at 9:22 AM on August 1 [5 favorites]


so assuming these people show up and vote

So how do we demoralize Texas Republicans as much as possible

Where is their shame button
posted by schadenfrau at 9:26 AM on August 1 [20 favorites]


who was treated worse, Alfonse Capone, legendary mob boss, killer and “Public Enemy Number One,” or Paul Manafort, political operative & Reagan/Dole darling, now serving solitary confinement - although convicted of nothing?

The DOJ should listen to the great humanitarian God Emperor and put Manafort in gen pop.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:26 AM on August 1 [16 favorites]


In the five years since Noah Pozner was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., death threats and online harassment have forced his parents, Veronique De La Rosa and Leonard Pozner, to relocate seven times.

Spotify is hosting Infowars podcasts (they are notoriously picky about who they host) so spend your streaming revenue accordingly.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:30 AM on August 1 [39 favorites]


So how do we demoralize Texas Republicans as much as possible

Convince them that Cruz is an enemy of Our Prophet and Savior Trump? Might as well give them a taste of the old divide and conquer medicine.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 9:30 AM on August 1 [3 favorites]


> So how do we demoralize Texas Republicans as much as possible

>> Convince them that Cruz is an enemy of Our Prophet and Savior Trump? Might as well give them a taste of the old divide and conquer medicine.

You mean Rafael ("Ted") Cruz, born in Canada, right?
posted by mikelieman at 9:34 AM on August 1 [9 favorites]


ISTR after the last round of Russian indictments, QAnon had unexpectedly gone dark for a while. Does anyone know if that’s still the case, or has Q resumed activity?
posted by Andrhia at 9:34 AM on August 1


Paul Manafort trial: FBI agent testifies, describes Manafort’s Alexandria condo as a ‘large luxury unit’ (WaPo)

I could be wrong, but I seem to recall the leaked text messages of Manafort's daughters discussing their father's alleged Russian (Ukrainian?) mistress that he'd gotten a condo for here in the US near NYC. Does anyone know if Mueller raided that too?
posted by bluecore at 9:37 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Well, leading the WaPo's "Post Most" just now, Q was pretty prominent at the Tampa rally.
posted by rp at 9:38 AM on August 1 [4 favorites]


ISTR after the last round of Russian indictments, QAnon had unexpectedly gone dark for a while. Does anyone know if that’s still the case, or has Q resumed activity?

"Q" is posting again and the QAnon community is full of beans. Look closely for the signs and shirts.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:39 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Jordan Weissmann (Slate)
The frightening thing about QAnon isn't that a bunch of Americans believe in a looney conspiracy theory (what else is new).

It's that they're waiting for Donald Trump to arrest his entire political opposition.

These people are ready for military rule.
posted by chris24 at 9:41 AM on August 1 [56 favorites]


“In the shelter,” Valeria, who is sixteen, told me, “we had roll call every thirty minutes, and the staff had walkie-talkies.” Aleisha had learned to imitate their sign-offs.

I picture a future where kids play Kidnappers and Immigrants.
posted by srboisvert at 9:42 AM on August 1 [8 favorites]


(they are notoriously picky about who they host)

I don't think Spotify is especially picky about which podcasts it carries.

I mean, yes, FUCK Infowars, of course. It does not deserve a platform. (And your favorite musicians deserve to get paid.) But it's also listed in iTunes and in Apple's Podcasts app, so I'm not sure why Spotify specifically is the object of calls to boycott.
posted by Mothlight at 9:44 AM on August 1 [9 favorites]


John Light at TPM (Prime) writes:
Manafort Judge Has Some Opinions About Wealth

The Manafort trial judge has a lot of thoughts on how the prosecution should be framing its case, and it’s emerging as an early theme just halfway through the second day of trial.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis told prosecutors Wednesday that he doesn’t want them using the word “oligarch” to describe the rich, Putin-linked Russians and Ukrainians with whom Manafort had dealings. On Tuesday he pushed Uzo Asonye, a member of the Mueller prosecution team, to get to the point when Asonye detailed Manafort’s lavish lifestyle. It “isn’t a crime to have a lot of money,” the judge observed in front of the jury.

There’s a legal argument for why the judge would caution prosecutors in this way: It’s his job to make sure the jury isn’t being steeped in prejudicial information about the defendant. “We’re not going to have this case tried that he associated with despicable people,” Ellis said Wednesday, adding, “that’s not the American way.”

But it is notable that Ellis seems particularly sensitive to the prosecution insinuating that there’s something inherently suspicious about a man who takes millions from a foreign power, and then spends that money on things like luxury rugs and ostrich jackets. There’s nothing illegal in that, the judge wants us to know. And it’s particularly interesting that this argument comes from the judge himself, not from Manafort’s defense lawyers — who must be thrilled.
emphasis is mine
posted by lazaruslong at 9:46 AM on August 1 [48 favorites]


The DOJ should listen to the great humanitarian God Emperor and put Manafort in gen pop.

There is a reason Trump wants Manafort in gen pop and it isn't humanitarian. It is hard to kill or threaten a potential stool pigeon in solitary.
posted by srboisvert at 9:46 AM on August 1 [6 favorites]


Paul Manafort trial: FBI agent testifies, describes Manafort’s Alexandria condo as a ‘large luxury unit’ (WaPo)

FBI agent describes items seized during search of Manafort’s condo

posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:08 AM on August 1 [+] [!]


I sure as hell hope the Judge Ellis is as critical of the defense's use of loaded language as he seems to be of the prosecutions. Otherwise, he's just tipping the scales and Justice won't notice because she's blind.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:47 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Here's a half-formed thought:

The evil impulses which drive Gamergate, conspiracism, Trumpism – basically, the surge of noxious reactionary bullshit we've seen over the last decade – have always been part of human nature. From time to time, these impulses flare up and gain the upper hand, often with tragic results.

But, for a while, we'd devised a system of norms and controls which kept at least some of it in check – a cultural immune system, of sorts. It must be acknowledged that this stability was a very imperfect stalemate, which was rife with injustices – and which left the more privileged among us blissfully ignorant of that fact. But, at least, facts occasionally mattered. Gibbering conspiracy theorists and open racists were unlikely to win elections. Harrassment campaigns against marginalized groups were not a thing, at least not on the scale and level of organization and impunity that we see today.

But then, the internet came along, and undermined those norms and systems. The host was attacked by a virus which it had no immunity against.

So far, this is all well worn territory. What I see discussed less often, though, is this: we're going to have to establish new norms and controls which can resist the new form of attack.

We've already started to grapple with this – largely in the form of questions like "what responsibilities does Facebook have with regard to Russian psyops campaigns?", or "what should Twitter do to control bad actors?".

But the questions we're asking so far strike me as crude and insufficient. The internet has transformed the mechanics of culture in dramatic and far-reaching ways – so the changes to our norms will need to be equally dramatic and far-reaching. Simply tinkering with the policies of specific social networks, while necessary, is just the beginning. We're gonna have to re-evaluate much more fundamental things, and some of that is gonna be difficult and uncomfortable.

We're going to have to rethink what "free speech" means, in an era when technology empowers bad actors to weaponize speech (to a degree that can destabilize entire countries). We're gonna have to grapple with the basic idea of "privacy", when anonymity can be both a shield and a weapon. We're gonna have to consider whether an internet which acknowledges no national borders is a good thing – and what the alternatives might be – and what nations and borders actually are in a global information age. Beyond these political and legal questions, we're gonna have to rethink, from first principles, our assumptions about every social custom and norm.

And we're gonna have to identify problems and find solutions that we can't even conceptualize yet.

I don't have any answers to these questions. But we need to start acknowledging the scope of the problem: our task is nothing less than to invent a new cultural fabric which can maintain some kind of stability and sanity amidst the new technological realities.

Like I said: a half-formed thought. I don't think I'm expressing myself well. I just think that the solution to this mess is gonna have to be a lot deeper than passing laws and adjusting Facebook policies. Our entire culture is gonna have to adapt.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:48 AM on August 1 [37 favorites]


This QAnon explainer (Will Sommer, Daily Beast) has a very clear assessment that I've understood all along but wasn't able to put into words:
QAnon is unusual, according to University of Miami professor Joseph Uscinski, because it offers Republicans an alternate view of the world when they already control nearly the entire government. Usually, “conspiracy theories are for losers,” Uscinski said,

“Normally you don’t expect the winning party to use them, except when they’re in trouble,” Uscinski said.
posted by mcdoublewide at 9:51 AM on August 1 [45 favorites]


You mean Rafael ("Ted") Cruz, born in Canada, right?

This is Texas. We're not afraid of Latinx folks here, and in fact Latinx/Anglo relations are a big part of one of Cruz' first initial attempts to knock O'Rourke down a peg: he started by emphasizing his own last name and heavily implying that Beto O' Rourke's (Spanish) nickname was a stunt picked up by an Irish-American dude overemphasizing his relationship with Latinx communities.

My reaction--and a lot of local Texan liberal reactions--was to roll my eyes and go "Okay, Ted," but I actually think Beto's response was a lot savvier: he publicly challenged Ted to a televised series of five debates, two of them to be held in Spanish so that all Texans could listen to the issues from each of the candidates. Beto O'Rourke, of course, is fluent in Spanish--he grew up on the border in El Paso, and he's had that nickname since he was a teenager by all accounts. Cruz, on the other hand, is not--my understanding is that he's vaguely proficient but certainly not fluent, especially not in real time. Texas is a very bilingual state, and there are an awful lot of folks here who are more comfortable in Spanish than in English.

It was a really elegant response, because it simultaneously highlighted Cruz' real disconnect from Latinx communities, emphasized the authenticity of O'Rourke's connections to and willingness to listen to Latinx constituents, and placed Cruz in the position of having to openly decline and publicly admit that his grasp of Spanish is too poor for two of the proposed debates. It means that Cruz couldn't then go after him for ignoring people's preferred names, for example, or pivot the debate to being a comparison of authenticity and political beliefs, or accuse O'Rourke of attacking him personally and not the issues. It was smart, and it was an example of high road politics avoiding traps that a less butter-wouldn't-melt-in-my-mouth good faith response would have floundered in.

Incidentally, Cruz' birth in Canada is much less of a problem for him than his status as specifically Cuban-American: according to both a Mexican-American friend of mine and my wife's observations from the pawn shop, many Mexican-Americans have a lot of distaste for Cubans and Cuban-Americans, and certainly Mexico and Cuba have had a tense relationship for many years. This might be another reason he's hesitant to play up being Latinx too hard: he isn't generally seen as an authentic Latinx dude within the largest Latinx population in Texas by far, which is Mexican-Americans, and embracing authenticity is actually not an unalloyed positive move for him as a politician.
posted by sciatrix at 9:56 AM on August 1 [98 favorites]


Like I said: a half-formed thought. I don't think I'm expressing myself well. I just think that the solution to this mess is gonna have to be a lot deeper than passing laws and adjusting Facebook policies. Our entire culture is gonna have to adapt.

I concur. Perhaps culture should be more about building each other up; about the human experience never being zero-sum; about the inherent rights and responsibilities of mankind toward each other and the worlds we live in.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:58 AM on August 1 [6 favorites]


Where is their shame button

I have yet to see compelling evidence that they have one
posted by poffin boffin at 9:58 AM on August 1 [26 favorites]


Ted Cruz leads Beto O'Rourke 41 to 39 in Texas Lyceum poll. Within the margin of error. Git 'im, Beto.
---
Mind you, that's an outlier, so far. Average is Cruz +6.


New Quinnipiac poll has Cruz leading Beto by 6 points, 49-43. (MOE 3.5)

That's down from 11 points, 50-39, in May.

And 43 percent don't know enough about O'Rourke to form an opinion.
posted by chris24 at 9:59 AM on August 1 [8 favorites]


I don't think Spotify is especially picky about which podcasts it carries.
This is anecdotal, but almost every podcaster I've talked to has said that Spotify's podcast submission form is effectively a black hole. Outside of the popular stuff, there appears to be virtually no rhyme or reason about what gets approved, but it's definitely a more curated/restricted selection than Apple, Google, or any of the other big directories.
posted by schmod at 9:59 AM on August 1 [3 favorites]


House Rules Committee Chairman @PeteSessions: "A big-time guy in Highland Park, who went and killed his wife, just gunned her down. And that was because the judge was unfair, and the woman was unfair. And she demanded something, and he was out. And it was frustration."

Cook has TX-32 as Tossup.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:01 AM on August 1 [17 favorites]


I think that's honestly what has carried Beto this far: he has been building his name recognition and openly campaigning against Cruz for two years now, and he has made a clear and obvious effort to build bridges between his campaign and all of Texas--not just the cities, and not just the usual stops. His pointed visit to every county in Texas, the second-largest state in the Union, is honestly kind of unprecedented. He's taking a ton of effort to ensure that his prospective constituents think of him as someone who will listen to them, who will fall over himself to make it easy for them to talk to him and hear their concerns, whether or not they can even necessarily vote right now. He's making himself accessible at a time when many Republican Texans--including Cruz himself!--are hiding behind increased barriers to engagement from angry public members.

I don't think that clever hot takes will get him into office. I think that what will get him into office is that slow build of connection, authenticity, and trust, and to his credit that is what he's been doing for this entire campaign. I'm really excited to see how far he gets, and I will be doing my best to see that everyone in my communities has access to polls and voter registration this fall.
posted by sciatrix at 10:02 AM on August 1 [44 favorites]


This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further.

On Capitol Hill and around D.C., people are reacting to Trump telling Sessions to unrecuse himself from the Russia probe and fire Mueller. Schumer and Pelosi have responded, although they're apparently leaving it to others to call it obstruction of justice.

Rep. Ted Lieu (@tedlieu): "Just because @realDonaldTrump obstructs justice in full public view by calling on Sessions to interfere in Mueller investigation doesn't mean it's not obstruction of justice. Like when @POTUS went on TV & said he fired Comey due to Russia investigation. That was also obstruction."

Rep. Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff):
The President of the United States just called on his Attorney General to put an end to an investigation in which the President, his family and campaign may be implicated."

This is an attempt to obstruct justice hiding in plain sight. America must never accept it.
Bloomberg's Shannon Pettypiece (@spettypi): “That moment when Susan Collins hears Trump's Tweet on Sessions: "Jeez!" she gasped as she was read the tweet. "This is unbelievable."” (Her colleague Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) adds: "BUT Susan Collins also said she sees NO chance that Mueller will be fired despite Trump’s “intemperate” tweet")

Meanwhile, Trump's lawyers are trying to wish it away. Giuliani tells the Washington Post, “He carefully used the word, 'should'." Trump's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow insists, “The president has issued no order or direction to the Department of Justice on this.”

And in case Trump's preparing for a Saturday Night Massacre and not just letting his id do the tweeting, marches are ready to go:

Bluewave Crowdsource's Holly Figueroa O'Reilly @AynRandPaulRyan):
Get your marching shoes ready, y'all.
Trump is effectively calling on Sessions to fire Mueller.

If that happens, we'll be ready.

We have 350k people signed up to take to the streets within hours.
#MarchForTruth
#WednesdayWisdom

https://act.moveon.org/event/mueller-firing-rapid-response/search/?source=MFT
MoveOn's Ben Wikler (@benwikler): "If Sessions actually follows Trump’s orders and fires Mueller this morning, we hit the streets at 5pm tonight. (In DC, go to to the White House right away.) If it happens after 2, nationwide protests are at noon tomorrow. Find your local gathering spot: http://TrumpIsNotAboveTheLaw.org"
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:02 AM on August 1 [40 favorites]


The Q thing is interesting from a history of conspiracy theories point of view, it’s mostly older people for one and it never has to end - it’s not fixed on any one thing. Everything gets pulled into it and explained away, they even sell apps to help you decode them because given any length of time in America something becomes a direct mail scam. It’s a combination of a never ending TV show and the doubling down of When Prophecy Fails. It’s a highly adapted memetic virus building off previous ones.

I was talking online recently about the need to effectively combat climate change is so big and life altering people just ...stop thinking about it, as a kind of defense mechanism. So I think it’s very telling that a lot of people, from all sides of the political spectrum, have retreated into fantasy - and I don’t mean watching too much TV or not keeping up with the news - I mean actively believing and buying init narratives that are objectively not true.

It’s all very Goremghast.
.
posted by The Whelk at 10:03 AM on August 1 [38 favorites]


[siren gif]

OH-12 special poll in from Monmouth:

Potential voters: Balderson 44 / O'Connor 43
Standard midterm model: Balderson 46 / O'Connor 45
Low turnout: Balderson 49 / O'Connor 44
Dem surge: O'Connor 46 / Balderson 45
posted by Chrysostom at 10:09 AM on August 1 [16 favorites]


^ This looks good.

”Motivated base and gains among independents boost Dem”
The race to fill the open seat in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District has shifted from a Republican advantage last month to a toss-up now, according to the Monmouth University Poll. Different voter models suggest that the race could go either way. The underlying GOP-lean of this district benefits State Senator Troy Balderson. But an increase in Democratic enthusiasm and a shift in independent voter preferences have boosted the standing of Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:13 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]




House Rules Committee Chairman @PeteSessions:

Yeah well fuck you Pete I just donated $20 to your opponent, Colin Allred.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 10:23 AM on August 1 [20 favorites]


chris24: David McCabe (Axios)
Ron Wyden: "I just want to be clear, as the author of section 230, the days when these [platforms] are considered neutral are over." cc: all of Silicon Valley


You mean all "social" platforms that allow people to comment? Like MetaFilter?

There's a difference between saying a platform is neutral and it actively fosters hate and violence. On that topic, let's look at what Facebook is (not) doing:

Facebook’s fight against bad content is a mess (Hanna Kozlowska for Quartz, July 23, 2018)
Facebook is trying to have it both ways.

As a private company, it can ban whatever bad content it wants from its site, so it outlaws nudity and hate speech. But it also says that it doesn’t want to be the arbiter of truth, so it doesn’t remove patently false information that plagues its platform.

Its convoluted—often seemingly arbitrary—policies leave Facebook performing mental gymnastics to decide what should be banned, and what should remain. On a day-to-day level, the confusing rules—in addition to the sheer amount of content uploaded to the platform—mean that a lot of illegal or harmful content lingers, for countless more eyes to see.

Its battle against bad content is as chaotic and muddled as the company’s policies on what is allowed on the platform, and what’s banned.

What does Facebook do with fake news?

Facebook likes to talk about its efforts to limit misinformation on its platform. But the war against fake news doesn’t actually include taking down fake news—except in rare instances.
Meanwhile, [Democrats in] Congress just showed us what comprehensive regulation of Facebook would look like -- Sen. Mark Warner has a new policy paper that targets misinformation and data privacy (Casey Newton for The Verge, July 31, 2018)
It’s now much clearer — or rather, it would be clear, in a world in which Democrats had the power to regulate. On Monday, Axios’ David McCabe published a fascinating policy paper from the office of Sen. Mark Warner. The paper outlines a comprehensive regulatory regime that would touch virtually every aspect of social networks.
...
Here are some highlights of the ideas presented.

Misinformation, disinformation, and the exploitation of technology.
...
Privacy and data protection.
...
Competition: Require tech companies to continuously disclose to consumers how their data is being used; require social network data to be made portable (now on the front page); require social networks to be interoperable; designate certain products as “essential facilities” and demand that third parties get fair access to them.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:24 AM on August 1 [28 favorites]


The Democrats Have to Fight for Our Democracy Because the Republicans Won’t - Martin Longman, Washington Monthly
Last week, Stanford political science professor Adam Bonica wrote a column for the New York Times that helped explain both why the Republicans are so motivated to mess with people’s voting rights and why the Democrats would be well-advised to fight back as forcefully as possible.

The simplest way of explaining this is that the demographics and voting preferences of the electorate have developed in such a way that higher voter turnout helps the Democrats and hurts the Republicans. This is unfortunate for two reasons. First, it gives the Republicans a strong motivation to discourage civic engagement and participation, and to go after people’s voting rights and all efforts to make voting easier and more convenient. Second, it makes the Democrats look like they’re being partisan when they promote civic engagement and participation and work to protect people’s voting rights. From the Republicans’ point of view, easier registration, more days of early voting, more voting machines/shorter lines, vote-by-mail, etc., are all partisan efforts to take away their jobs and their majorities. And, the thing is, it’s simply true that they’ll generally do worse if more people vote.

There’s two conflicting values at play here. It’s a seriously dangerous development that one party is so threatened and frankly disadvantaged by voter participation that they (with a major assist from the Supreme Court) are systematically looking to roll back voting rights and reforms. The more the Democrats push back, the less consensus on the basic American value of representative democracy there will be. Yet, if the Republicans are the only ones willing to use their power to shape electoral law, they will ultimately succeed in their quest to destroy our system of government and the values that underpin it.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:30 AM on August 1 [40 favorites]


On Donald's tweets: what happens to the tweets in any court case is going to be a ruling on whether words mean anything.
posted by bluesky43 at 10:31 AM on August 1 [8 favorites]


Chrysostom: House Rules Committee Chairman @PeteSessions: "A big-time guy in Highland Park, who went and killed his wife, just gunned her down. And that was because the judge was unfair, and the woman was unfair. And she demanded something, and he was out. And it was frustration."

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”

People, heal thyselves: Under New Rules, Cheaper 'Short-term' Health Care Plans Now Last Up To 3 Years (NPR, Aug. 1, 2018)
People who don't get insurance through their jobs will now be able to buy short-term policies that may be cheaper than Affordable Care Act coverage. These plans won't have to cover as many medical services and are exempt from covering people with preexisting conditions.

The departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury announced new rules Wednesday that make it easier for consumer to replace ACA insurance with these short-term policies.

The policies were originally limited to three months, but they can now last up to a year, and be renewed to last as long as three years. The plans have been a priority of President Trump who says he wants consumers to have access to cheaper health insurance.

Short-term plans don't have to meet the Affordable Care Act's consumer protection and coverage requirements so many will not cover services such as mental health care or prescription drugs. And insurance companies can deny customers coverage on these plans if they have a pre-existing medical condition and charge people more if they are likely to need medical care.
Puerto Rico's Wounded Medicaid Program Faces Even Deeper Cuts (NPR, Aug. 1, 2018)
Blue tarps still dot rooftops, homes lack electricity needed to refrigerate medicines, and clinics chip away at debts incurred from running generators. Yet despite these residual effects from last year's devastating hurricanes, Puerto Rico is moving ahead with major cuts to its health care safety net that will affect more than a million of its poorest residents.

The government here needs to squeeze $840.2 million in annual savings from Medicaid by 2023, a reduction required by the U.S. territory's agreement with the federal government, as the island claws its way back from fiscal oblivion.

Overall, Puerto Rico faces a crushing debt of more than $70 billion — much of it due to the territory's large Medicaid expenses. That's on an island where the average household earns $20,000 annually and diabetes and hypertension are widespread.

But physicians, health insurers and former government officials say the drastic cuts demanded provide far too little money to care for a population still traumatized by Hurricane Maria.
It sounds like* The Origins of the Puerto Rican Debt Crisis (Greg DePersio for Investopedia, updated May 31, 2017) mismanagement or abuse of its bonds, and reliance on "ephemeral" tax breaks that, once gone, meant companies left the island and economy was in serious trouble.

* because I am just reading this now and cannot provide qualified evaluations of this article.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:37 AM on August 1 [13 favorites]


Definitely Not Sean Spicer: Yeah well fuck you Pete I just donated $20 to your opponent, Colin Allred.

Important note from Allred's Wikipedia page:
In November, Allred will face long-time incumbent Sessions for the 32nd District seat. This is considered a swing district because in the November 2016 election, Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received marginally more votes than Donald Trump; Sessions was re-elected without there being any Democratic challenger.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:40 AM on August 1 [10 favorites]


The Q thing is interesting from a history of conspiracy theories point of view ... it never has to end - it’s not fixed on any one thing. Everything gets pulled into it and explained away ...

Metaconspiracy: The original template for this was devised back in the 90s.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 10:43 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


From August's first press briefing:
Press Sec Sanders tells Cecilia Vega of ABC news shes "not sure" when trump last went to the grocery store . . . but "if you go to the grocery store and you buy beer and wine, youre going to show your ID," she said.

of all the ridiculousness to double down on . . .
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:51 AM on August 1 [19 favorites]


Yes, but Trump doesn't drink.
posted by schmod at 10:53 AM on August 1 [27 favorites]


Another good takeaway from the Data For Progress polls - basically there’s no policy too Leftwing for people under 45.
posted by The Whelk at 10:57 AM on August 1 [30 favorites]


More from today's press briefing...

CNN (@CNN): "“It’s not an order, it’s the President’s opinion,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says about President Trump’s tweet calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end the Russia investigation https://www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/trump-today-08-01-18/index.html"

NBC's Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) calls it what it is: "The president has made this kind of rhetoric seem normal. In fact, it’s norm-shattering. The head of our government is impugning a lawfully predicated investigation overseen by his own appointee, using language one might expect to hear from a mafia boss."
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:57 AM on August 1 [69 favorites]


"Someone should rid me of this turbulent priest. I mean, that's just my opinion."
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 11:04 AM on August 1 [77 favorites]


Metaconspiracy: The original template for this was devised back in the 90s.

X-Day cannot fail you, you can only fail it.
posted by Artw at 11:06 AM on August 1 [9 favorites]


I often think of one of the defining characteristics of Trumpism as being that he makes the subtext the text. But in the case of the defense of his obstruction of justice, it seems to me there's an important never-spoken subtext to the defense that "it's not an order, it's the President's opinion" and similar defenses. That subtext is that Trump can't obstruct justice because he's nothing but a cheerleader - a figurehead with no actual power in his own administration, and his tweets and ranting is ignored by those Trump administration folks and allies who "get it."

Now, that's not actually true - Trump actually does have power, and as President his instructions are followed, his words matter. But I hear fairly frequently from Trumpists I know that it's foolish to "take him seriously" or to pay attention to his tweets and what he says in rallies, because that's just for show or whatever.

I wonder if the way to defeat that subtext is to force it to be the actual text - to force people like SHS to come right out and say (falsely) that Trump's opinions carry no weight, that even in his own administration, he is only followed if he executes a written executive order (which he wouldn't know how to do by himself anyway).
posted by The World Famous at 11:08 AM on August 1 [18 favorites]


Re: social networks being "neutral" and the section 230 that Wyden is talking about, it's sort of ... not quite what it sounds like ... But also it was written in '96 and Google literally did not even exist. Which is a pretty slam dunk case for overhauling it.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 11:09 AM on August 1 [2 favorites]


Right on, The World Famous. And I similarly grapple with the problem of how much the media is complicit in all this. Right now, the Boston Globe is splashing the headline "Trump calls on Sessions to end Russia investigation" in big letters. Since it really was just a stupid thing that he said, should they be reporting on it? Since he's the leader of the free world? Ok, then yeah, I guess. But do they really need to report every stupid thing and give fuel to his base? I need a nap.
posted by Melismata at 11:13 AM on August 1 [3 favorites]


Jordan Weissmann (Slate): The frightening thing about QAnon isn't that a bunch of Americans believe in a looney conspiracy theory (what else is new). It's that they're waiting for Donald Trump to arrest his entire political opposition. These people are ready for military rule.

@nycsouthpaw
Qanon is a fascist fantasy. It takes a nationalist leader who, in reality, is deeply imperiled by the law and imagines him beyond the law’s reach and in full command. It posits Trump’s problems as a stalking horse for the destruction of the opposition party through mass arrests. The conspiracy theory’s currency with Trump’s base should be acknowledged for what it is—a yearning to live in a dictatorship under one party rule.
posted by chris24 at 11:14 AM on August 1 [48 favorites]


The Q thing is interesting from a history of conspiracy theories point of view, it’s mostly older people for one

I'm sorry if this sounds ageist (and maybe it is), but I swear to God: the lack of digital literacy among older folks is a huge reason for the clusterfuck we're in.

People of all ages are clueless about the internet – but older folks, in general, are really clueless. They don't understand how the profit motives work. They don't understand how network effects and information bubbles distort things. They don't understand that literally anyone can post literally anything online – and that includes official-looking "news" sites, videos with production values that were once only accessible to multi-million-dollar companies, etc.

Like, I can go buy a domain for $10, buy a professional-looking WordPress theme for $10–50, get some cheap hosting for $10/month, and spin up a "news" site in an afternoon, without leaving my apartment. I can run ads to promote it, pay Facebook to put its articles in your news feed, and give it all the appearance of a Real Official News Source, for less time and money than it took to print a church recipe book 20 years ago.

That's just one of many ways that people circulate disinformation online, of course – but I suspect that many folks have no idea how easy this kind of thing is, for those who know the technology.

And that's just blogs. Twitter and Facebook are even more radically different than the media that Boomers grew up with, and thus even harder for them to navigate without getting misled and confused. It's a problem.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 11:15 AM on August 1 [75 favorites]


Meanwhile at today's press briefing, Sarah Sanders is continuing her normalization of Trump's tweets:

CNN's Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins):
Zeleny: Does the president know that Jeff Sessions can't stop the investigation?
Sanders: The president is very well aware of how the process works.
Her colleague Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1): “.@PressSec: "The President is not obstructing, he's fighting back."”

And then she ups the ante to full-blown gaslighting, reading from a prepared text:

Esquire's Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza):
Sarah Sanders just came pretty close to blaming 9/11 on the press

Specifically she said press reports in the 90s about US intelligence capabilities caused Osama bin Laden to stop using his satellite phone.* What this has to do with Trump and his supporters’ recent attacks on the press is a mystery.
* NBC's Dafna Linzer (@DafnaLinzer) : "The bin laden phone call anecdote she offered has long been considered an urban myth: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/21/AR2005122101994.html"
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:19 AM on August 1 [31 favorites]


and thus even harder for them to navigate without getting misled and confused.

Another hypothesis besides unfamiliarity, confusion and being mislead is these people are reality shopping for sites that confirm their bigotry and hate. There's plenty of easily accessible and well-known sites that don't lie to them. They choose to ignore them. And in fact attack them and their reporters.

And evergreen tweet:

Daniel Kibblesmith
Your parents in 1996: Don't trust ANYONE on the Internet.

Your parents in 2016: Freedom Eagle dot Facebook says Hillary invented AIDS.
posted by chris24 at 11:20 AM on August 1 [117 favorites]


Since it really was just a stupid thing that he said, should they be reporting on it? Since he's the leader of the free world? Ok, then yeah, I guess. But do they really need to report every stupid thing and give fuel to his base? I need a nap.

Part of me (only part) thinks maybe Trump's tweets should never be reported on - that they are, themselves, sufficient reporting on themselves for anyone who wants to know what he tweeted. Reporting on them is, as you point out, merely re-publishing them and ensuring wider distribution of his propaganda to those who wouldn't otherwise see them.

And if he tweets something horrible that can get him in trouble, then let it get him in trouble, and then report on the trouble. Let the lack of reporting on his tweets drive him to tweeting more and more outrageous stuff in an effort to get coverage, and let those increasingly outrageous tweets get him into actual trouble.

But again, only part of me thinks maybe that.
posted by The World Famous at 11:21 AM on August 1 [13 favorites]


There's plenty of easily accessible and well-known sites that don't lie to them. They choose to ignore them.

I mean, sure, of course. But it certainly doesn't help that they also can't distinguish between deliberate disinformation and legitimate attempts at journalism. These are not contradictory hypotheses.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 11:24 AM on August 1 [5 favorites]


BuzzFeed, Hamed Aleaziz, Retired Immigration Judges Protest How A Deportation Case Was Handled
A Philadelphia immigration judge was removed from a high-profile case and replaced with a judge who would order the man in the case immediately deported, a move that smacks of judicial interference by the Trump administration, according to a letter signed by a group of retired judges this week.

Advocates call the removal of a judge in the middle of a case the latest in a line of steps by the Trump administration to undercut the independence of immigration judges, further a political agenda, and accelerate deportations.

“As a democracy, we expect our judges to reach results based on what is just, even where such results are not aligned with the desired outcomes of politicians,” read the letter, signed by 15 former judges and members of the immigration appeals board, and circulated Monday.
The Appeal, Emma Whitford, More Than A Month After Anti-ICE Protests, Detained NYC Immigrants Still Denied In-Person Hearings, in which ICE stopped transporting detained immigrants to court in New York, blaming the protests, but the protest camp is long gone and they're still refusing, running everything through a janky video conferencing setup. And a government lawyer objects to letting a detained immigrant's wife sit up front they could see each other on camera.

BuzzFeed, John Stanton, The “Zero Tolerance” Immigration Policy Is Driving Immigrants Into The Dangerous Desert. A central bipartisan premise of immigration policy has been deterrence: if we make things awful enough, they won't come. It doesn't work, but it does endanger more lives:
The slowdowns at ports of entry, family separations, and other policies are having potentially deadly consequences, Williams and other activists warned. It’s become common for frustrated parents clutching their children to run into car traffic at Nogales port, where they are arrested for illegal entry into the United States, in a desperate attempt to force CBP officers to hear their claims, Williams said. On an almost daily basis, one of the families staying in shelters in town disappears, lured into the Sonoran Desert by coyotes.

“We think what’s most commonly happening … is people arrive at the port, realize the line situation, and they don’t even get into the line,” Williams said. Instead, they go into the desert and attempt to cross the border illegally. “It’s the logical thing to do.” But it’s also an incredibly dangerous decision. Because the migration “lanes” are controlled by drug cartels, families with no money are often forced to carry drugs as payment. Others are used as decoys, marched into the desert to distract Border Patrol agents while others ferry drugs across the border.

“I’ve heard of people being forced at gunpoint,” said Fife, who points out that even those who aren’t used as mules or pawns by the cartels face immense dangers in the open desert. In many cases, coyotes don’t accompany immigrants very far into the United States, but instead leave them with a little bit of water and instructions on what landmarks to look for as they walk.

Given the sheer numbers of families CBP is finding, Fife said it’s not a matter of if but when the bodies of entire families start being found in the Arizona desert.

“The death toll is going up,” Fife warned.
posted by zachlipton at 11:27 AM on August 1 [23 favorites]


U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis told prosecutors Wednesday that he doesn’t want them using the word “oligarch” to describe the rich, Putin-linked Russians and Ukrainians with whom Manafort had dealings.

This is bad. If the judge doesn't understand that Manafort was dealing with the Russian government through these intermediaries, who are not simply rich individuals, he fundamentally doesn't get the case.
posted by xammerboy at 11:31 AM on August 1 [21 favorites]


@chrisgeidner: On 2-1 vote, 9th Circuit affirms lower court ruling halting any efforts to pull federal funding under Trump’s sanctuary cities executive order, but ends nationwide injunction, limiting the injunction to the challengers.

So a win, though limiting the injunction only to San Francisco is a problem. Here's the opinion.
posted by zachlipton at 11:32 AM on August 1 [3 favorites]


Why Trump needs to 'be cautious' in his war of words with Iran

The US, therefore, can no longer rely on its old partners in Europe to make the strategy of confronting Iran work. Instead, the Trump administration is looking to Riyadh and Jerusalem - its closest friends today - and hoping for a little help from Moscow.
posted by infini at 11:34 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


these people are reality shopping for sites that confirm their bigotry and hate

Yes, but also it's basically impossible to search for information on certain topics without wading through multiple pages of highly-ranked disinformation. Like, if you read that Hillary has TB or whatever and want to verify, searching for that is probably going to give you pages of right-wing blogspam before you encounter anything true.

(Recent non-political example from my life: Googling for information on medical CBD brings up many pages of stuff from like, weedco.420, before anything useful. Yes, there are better places and ways to search for this information, but the baseline Google search is actively polluted.)
posted by uncleozzy at 11:34 AM on August 1 [20 favorites]


Meanwhile, in Michigan, Abdul El-Sayed is running for Governor and his speech on the goverment imperative to end poverty (look., partical issues and solutions! Focused on children and the elderly! ) is a must
posted by The Whelk at 11:38 AM on August 1 [24 favorites]


The conspiracy theory’s currency with Trump’s base should be acknowledged for what it is—a yearning to live in a dictatorship under one party rule.

And the construction of whatever fantasy is necessary to make such a thing palatable, i.e. a massive pedophile conspiracy
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:45 AM on August 1 [8 favorites]


That subtext is that Trump can't obstruct justice because he's nothing but a cheerleader - a figurehead with no actual power in his own administration, and his tweets and ranting is ignored by those Trump administration folks and allies who "get it."

Trump's self image is that of a spectator, a viewer, a passive observer. Not surprising for someone who watches as much TV as he does. He's probably always talked to his screen; as a narcissist he probably believes the people in it hear him & talk directly to him. Not helped by the fact that that in the last few years they literally do. It's part & parcel of the paradox that is Trump.
posted by scalefree at 11:49 AM on August 1 [8 favorites]


Trump's tweets are considered official statements by the President of the United States according to Sean Spicer, the Department of Justice (sometimes), and the Kremlin.

They should be reported but not just repeated without analysis. They should be fact-checked.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:54 AM on August 1 [17 favorites]


> Specifically she said press reports in the 90s about US intelligence capabilities caused Osama bin Laden to stop using his satellite phone.* What this has to do with Trump and his supporters’ recent attacks on the press is a mystery...

* NBC's Dafna Linzer (@DafnaLinzer) : "The bin laden phone call anecdote she offered has long been considered an urban myth...

Not only that but when Trump's best Russian mafia stabbing-guys-in-the-throat-with-a-broken-margarita-glass buddy Felix Sater was trying to portray himself as a sort of heroic U.S. James Bond figure last year, he claimed that the way he started his career as an government informant in 1998 and managed to be the only member of his group of financial crime co-conspirators to not go to prison, was by presenting the prosecutor with one of Osama bin Laden's phone numbers as proof of his top-shelf underworld contacts.
posted by XMLicious at 11:55 AM on August 1 [3 favorites]


WaPo, Senate Republicans shoot down extra funds for election security
Senate Republicans voted down a bid Wednesday to direct an extra $250 million toward election security in advance of the 2018 midterms, despite heightened warnings from intelligence officials that foreign governments will try to interfere in the contests and evidence that some lawmakers have already been targeted.

The 50 to 47 vote fell far short of the needed 60 votes to include the $250 million amendment, proposed by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), in an appropriations package that the Senate was set to approve Wednesday. Only one Republican senator — Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), who frequently prioritizes deficit concerns — voted for the additional funds.

Three other Republicans did not vote: Sens. Richard Burr (N.C.), who chairs the Intelligence Committee, Jeff Flake (Ariz.) who is traveling in Africa, and John McCain (Ariz.), who is in Arizona receiving treatment for a serious form of brain cancer. All four of those Republicans have been critical of President Trump’s refusal to prioritize a more robust response to resist foreign government interference in future election cycles..
...
Members of the GOP have argued that the extra funds are not necessary, as Congress has only recently approved $380 million in grants to help improve election security in 2018. Although there is some bipartisan consensus that $380 million is not enough to stave off every threat, several Senate Republicans have said that there should be an assessment of how states are using those funds before the federal government throws more money at the problem.
Ah, we've finally found the one defense problem Republicans don't want to throw more money at, and it's the one trying to get them elected.
posted by zachlipton at 11:56 AM on August 1 [75 favorites]


> And that's just blogs. Twitter and Facebook are even more radically different than the media that Boomers grew up with, and thus even harder for them to navigate without getting misled and confused. It's a problem.

One of my Boomer age co-workers walked past my desk this morning, saw that I was on CNN, and said "You believe that fake news website?" At first I assumed she was kidding, and said "For real?" and then she got really, uncharacteristically serious and said "Uh huh. You can't believe anything on that fake news site." I told her I didn't necessarily believe *everything* I read on news websites, but that I hated the term "fake news" and that people just use it as a shield to dismiss news they don't want to hear. She just frowned and walked away. I don't think I would have had the heart to ask her which sites she *does* believe.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:57 AM on August 1 [53 favorites]


Washington Post is on the Dilley child death story.

Still no further details coming except the real name of the attorney involves.
posted by ocschwar at 12:06 PM on August 1 [4 favorites]


Mueller is looking at Trump’s tweets for obstruction of justice. And Trump just handed him more potential evidence.
...this is hardly the first time that Trump has broadcast a desire to change the course of the investigation. Whether any of those tweets rise to the level of obstruction of justice or may be used to build such a case, we don't know. But Trump has clearly played with fire — and is continuing to do so.

Let's review other tweets that could similarly factor into the obstruction probe, ranked by how troublesome they seem to be.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:09 PM on August 1 [6 favorites]


Specifically she said press reports in the 90s about US intelligence capabilities caused Osama bin Laden to stop using his satellite phone.* What this has to do with Trump and his supporters’ recent attacks on the press is a mystery...

* NBC's Dafna Linzer (@DafnaLinzer) : "The bin laden phone call anecdote she offered has long been considered an urban myth...

In today's briefing, Sarah Huckabee Sanders deliberately juxtaposed the WH supporting a free press and against violence towards anyone with a responsibility of the press to be fair and accurate. The invited implication is that the WH would not support a free press and would support violence when they deem the press to not be fair and accurate.

This is a truly remarkable slight of hand and I'm astonished that no one in the press briefing followed up on this. The press has to stop being defensive about it's own behavior and refuse to accept these kind of equivalences.
posted by bluesky43 at 12:12 PM on August 1 [32 favorites]


If the judge doesn't understand that Manafort was dealing with the Russian government through these intermediaries, who are not simply rich individuals, he fundamentally doesn't get the case.

I think the judge is just trying to quarantine the case as completely as possible from any Trump-related brouhaha, so that it's decided on its own merits. Which is fine -- it's a strong case.
posted by rue72 at 12:22 PM on August 1 [8 favorites]


“It’s not an order, it’s the President’s opinion,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says about President Trump’s tweet calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end the Russia investigation"

in addition to those cases noted by kirkaracha, above, just last week, on july 23, testifying before a senate hearing on the president's meetings with the leaders of the dprk and russia (c-span calls them "summits" but they clearly were nadirs), U.S. secretary of state pompeo stated,
It is the case that the president calls the ball. His statements are in fact policy.... This president runs this government. His statements are in fact U.S. policy.
See c-span hearing coverage at 2:53:20.

i'd be inclined to believe the secretary of state over the press secretary, in normal times. here, pompeo and huckabee sanders both enjoy the same degree of no credibility at all.

i think it is clear pompeo's assertion is not true, nor do I think we want it to be true. consider the tweets purporting to ban transsexual persons from serving in the military, which is not (yet?) policy. so much damage has been done by the media reporting his tweets as statements of policy. that said, the public's (and media's) inability to know what policy is or to whom to look for articulation of policy is unworkable and unacceptable.
posted by 20 year lurk at 12:24 PM on August 1 [8 favorites]


That judge demanding that nobody talk about Manafort's wealth or the wealth of his solicitors is par for the course in a justice system that prioritizes preservation of private property as its prime directive.

If, like me, you needed something to wash the taste of oligarchy out of your mouth after reading that news story, enjoy "It's Basically Just Immoral to be Rich", from Current Affairs.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 12:28 PM on August 1 [8 favorites]


Milton "I♥NY" Glaser has outdone himself.
posted by emelenjr at 12:28 PM on August 1 [27 favorites]


> And that's just blogs. Twitter and Facebook are even more radically different than the media that Boomers grew up with, and thus even harder for them to navigate without getting misled and confused. It's a problem.

One of my Boomer age co-workers walked past my desk this morning, saw that I was on CNN, and said "You believe that fake news website?"


I'm a Boomer, I've been using the internet since 1984 and computers since 1982. I understand why Millennials resent being referred to as a class of people. I do too.
posted by bluesky43 at 12:28 PM on August 1 [28 favorites]


Zachlipton: Apparently real organizers of the event are quite upset that Facebook has deleted a permitted anti-hate protest backed by local DC groups. It's quite the mess.

Following up on this, the Shut It Down DC Coalition, which includes local Black Lives Matter and DSA chapters among many others, has released a statement:
Earlier today, Facebook deleted numerous Facebook pages, including our event to protest Unite the Right 2, Jason Kessler's anniversary celebration of when neo-nazis murdered Heather Heyer in Charlottesville and injured several others. The Shut It Down DC Coaliton has been meeting for weeks, and the Facebook page in question was managed by real local organizers. [...]

The only evidence connecting our page to Russia/the Internet Research Institute is a single admin account for the Resisters, which was an admin for 7 minutes. All other evidence (such as the use of VPNs and sock accounts) represent common practices for anti-fascists in today's climate. We believe Facebook's claims against us are an attempt to look like they are doing something about Russia in the context of Facebook stock prices plummeting 20% last week.
posted by galaxy rise at 12:30 PM on August 1 [33 favorites]


rue72: I think the judge is just trying to quarantine the case as completely as possible from any Trump-related brouhaha, so that it's decided on its own merits.

The prosecutors don't want this tied to Russia, at least as reported to NPR yesterday in an article I quoted upthread: Manafort Trial Begins, Ushering In New Phase In Mueller Probe (NPR, July 31, 2018)
In pretrial arguments, prosecutor Greg Andres told the court that the government would only bring up Manafort's campaign work in the context of a witness from a bank that gave him a loan, with the expectation that the banker would win consideration for a post in the Trump administration.

"I don't anticipate that a government witness will utter the word 'Russia,' " Andres said.
There's a plan, and perhaps even the judge has been informed of it.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:39 PM on August 1 [3 favorites]


Mike Pompeo: "It is the case that the president calls the ball. His statements are in fact policy."

Except when he says that he's willing to talk to Iranian President Rouhani without preconditions, apparently.
posted by Slothrup at 12:40 PM on August 1 [5 favorites]


Paul Manafort spent more than $929,000 on suits between 2010 and 2014.

You know, I never had a new pair of jeans until I was eleven. I'm not saying he *should* be hung, but hanging's too good for him.
posted by aspersioncast at 12:42 PM on August 1 [51 favorites]


20 year lurk: i'd be inclined to believe the secretary of state over the press secretary, in normal times. here, pompeo and huckabee sanders both enjoy the same degree of no credibility at all.

i think it is clear pompeo's assertion is not true, nor do I think we want it to be true. consider the tweets purporting to ban transsexual persons from serving in the military, which is not (yet?) policy.


If I'm getting this right, it's not that Sarah Sanders is saying tweets don't count as policy or that the president is just some guy (although she definitely intends the "just some guy" subtext). Her argument is that any statement along the lines of "X should do Y" isn't an order for X to do Y. Per her logic, he could print the tweet onto an executive order and it still wouldn't be a policy, just a statement letting us know what his personal opinions are. He just feels that Sessions should stop Mueller, but far be it from him to tell Sessions such.

So it's just like Henry II's "turbulent priest" remark that Joey Buttafoucault referenced -- or Trump's own mafia-style "I hope you can see your way to letting Flynn go", which Republicans defended on the basis of "What's wrong with hoping?"

The transgender ban's implementation is only being stopped by courts at the moment; although there was some internal foot-dragging to implementation, that tweet is being regarded as policy.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:43 PM on August 1 [4 favorites]


“It’s not an order, it’s the President’s opinion,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says about President Trump’s tweet calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end the Russia investigation"

I didn't threaten anyone, I just said he had a nice family and it would be a shame if anything were to happen to them.
posted by rocket88 at 12:47 PM on August 1 [35 favorites]


ahem. think i should have written "transgender" rather than "transsexual" above.
it further appears that the 2017 tweet has been followed up by a "policy," in march of this year, which bans enlistment of persons of gender other than that assigned at birth. ACLU discussion. the president's march 23 memo.
my apologies for misrepresentation and less-than-optimal vocabulary.
posted by 20 year lurk at 12:50 PM on August 1 [4 favorites]


Look, it would be ridiculously simple to slice the Gordian Knot that is Trump's tweets in half. He has two accounts, @POTUS & @realDonaldTrump. Let one be official orders & one be personal commentary. Done.

But Trump clearly doesn't want that, it would hamper his freedom to do anything the hell he wants at any given moment & making him stop & think which account he's using or even tell us which tweets belong in which category would be an unconscionable impingement on that absolute freedom.
posted by scalefree at 1:02 PM on August 1 [14 favorites]


QAnon is unusual, according to University of Miami professor Joseph Uscinski, because it offers Republicans an alternate view of the world when they already control nearly the entire government. Usually, “conspiracy theories are for losers,” Uscinski said,

“Normally you don’t expect the winning party to use them, except when they’re in trouble,” Uscinski said.


Fascinating. I wonder if this is serving a very specific function for Trump. I have the sense that some of the people who have supported him are contrarian types who like to think they’re smarter than others and/or know something others don’t, and my guess is that people with that personality trait could be more vulnerable to conspiracy theories in general. In the absence of QAnon, would this subset of his 2016 voters - who may not be particularly tied to a party - latch onto someone like Louise Mensch?
posted by eirias at 1:10 PM on August 1 [8 favorites]


"Some feel that we as a society are sitting in a burning room, calmly drinking a cup of coffee, telling ourselves, 'This is fine,'" Burr said about Russia's interfering efforts. "That's not fine."

I guess a GOP senator reading thisisfinedog.jpg into the congressional record to describe the treasonous conspiracy nexus that got his party into power is one way to experience the waning days of this civilization.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:11 PM on August 1 [129 favorites]


If I'm getting this right, it's not that Sarah Sanders is saying tweets don't count as policy or that the president is just some guy (although she definitely intends the "just some guy" subtext). Her argument is that any statement along the lines of "X should do Y" isn't an order for X to do Y. Per her logic, he could print the tweet onto an executive order and it still wouldn't be a policy, just a statement letting us know what his personal opinions are.

Here's the full exchange about whether Trump now wants to intervene in the Russia probe (NBC video):
Q: Does that tweet this morning mark a change in posture by the president?

Sanders: It's not an order. It's the president's opinion, and it's ridiculous that all of the corruption and dishonesty that's gone on with the launching of the witch hunt. The president wants… has watched this process play out, but he also wants to see it come to an end, as he has stated many times, and we look forward to that happening.
It's just this side of a mafia-style threat in terms of deniability, but the GOPers are clinging to it.

CNN's Manu Kraju(@mkraju):
Senate Republicans today for the most part downplaying Trump tweet calling on Sessions to end Mueller probe, with most saying Sessions can't end it since he's recused and dismissing the tweet as Trump just blowing off steam.

Asked if Trump's tweet should force Senate to take up a bill he co-sponsored to protect Mueller, Thom Tillis told reporters: "He wants to see the investigation closed. He didn’t say anything in the record that I reviewed this morning that he wants him fired. There’s a difference"

As he was leaving the Capitol, I tried to ask Dean Heller - in a difficult reelection race where he needs Trump's support - if he has any concerns about Trump calling on Sessions to end the Mueller probe. He shut his car door on us without acknowledging the question and drove off.
Part of the problem with processing Trump is that some people seem to be waiting for him to cross the Rubicon each time he says or does something that breaks the norms and/or the law—and he never quite does. What Trump and his loyalists are really doing, though, is flooding the media with bullshit in the wake of these occasions, making the ground swampier and swampier, and harder and harder to navigate. At some point, we'll become completely mired down and stuck, but Trump will have won his victory over the truth much earlier.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:19 PM on August 1 [7 favorites]


A Timeline of Team Trump’s Flip-Flopping on Robert Mueller
...Trump’s animosity towards Mueller didn’t always exist in its current state. In fact, there have been instances where Mueller was openly praised by White House staff. Trump’s whiplash-inducing public opinions on Mueller over time have seemed to oscillate as fast as the news cycle.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:23 PM on August 1


Today's Democracy Now! is focused on the Facebook actions which included deleting the Shut It Down DC Coalition rally page and the majority of the episode involves an interview with Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of media studies and director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia, in a remote interview from Charlottesville. A recurring topic which I found fascinating was a clip of Narendra Modi yukking it up on stage with Zuckerberg and discussion of the congruences between Modi's rule of India and Hindu nationalism and the sorts of Facebook-mediated anti-democratic phenomena we've had reports of from South Asia and South-East Asia, as well as discussion of zero-rating. Professor Vaidhyanathan has authored a new book, Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy. (interview starts at around 12:45 in the full showdirect .mp4 link, alt link, .torrent)
posted by XMLicious at 1:32 PM on August 1 [9 favorites]


I am now in favor of a statutory maximum income above which all wealth and income is taxed at 100%, unless child poverty nationwide is under 5%. When child poverty falls below that mark, the cap is lifted, until it rises above 5% again.

Align your incentives, motherfuckers.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:34 PM on August 1 [172 favorites]


BuzzFeed, Adolfo Flores, 500 Fathers And Their Kids Declare A Strike At An Immigrant Detention Center In Texas
A group of 500 fathers detained with their sons at an immigration detention facility in Texas were set to begin a hunger strike Wednesday while their children were to begin a protest of their own, refusing to participate in any school activities.

Organizers of the protest, in statements distributed by the advocacy group RAICES, said that the fathers and their sons, who are being held at the Karnes Detention Center, in Karnes City, Texas, agreed to the strike to press US authorities to expedite their cases. The fathers were separated from their sons at the border under the Trump administration's “zero tolerance” policy, then reunited with their children, and are now being detained with no idea of when they might be released.
...
RAICES said the fathers said they planned to place themselves in the detention center’s three patio areas and refuse to eat. Their sons were expected to refuse to participate in school activities.
The facility appears to be over capacity as well.
posted by zachlipton at 1:39 PM on August 1 [41 favorites]


Eyebrows, I'll sign that. And you get to have a second home if and when everyone in the country has a first one.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:40 PM on August 1 [25 favorites]


The Rise of QAnon is a Sign that Trumpism Might Not be Primarily About Trump at All
I don't think QAnon-style thinking is just a sideshow. I think it's the point of conservatism now. Not every pro-Trump conservative believes the specific QAnon theories, but they all believe that their enemies -- who now include not just all Democrats but every Republican who won't genuflect to Trump -- are unspeakably evil. You can give this an anodyne name like "negative partisanship," but it's far beyond that. Conservatives don't just believe the rest of us have bad ideas. They don't just think we're dangerously wrongheaded. They think we're the epitome of pure, satanic, civilization-threatening evil. They may not believe that we're all pedophiles, but they think we're all as evil as pedophiles. They may not think we're all directly tied to an elitist conspiracy intended to enchain and impoverish everyone on the planet who isn't part of the plot, but they think we're evil enough to do anything, including that and more.

So I'm not sure that Trumpism requires Trump at all. Trump is the center of a personality cult because he's the first politician at his level who seems to regard us as the unholy monsters that rank-and-file conservatives believe we are. Moreover, he seems to relish the idea of a holy war
against us.

But if Trump were out of the picture, or if he seemed to waver in the fight, they'd still think that we're pure evil. Trump isn't the point -- the fight against us is the point. Trump is just, in their belief, the greatest fighter they've had.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:48 PM on August 1 [67 favorites]


Oh yeah the whole thing is just propelled with these fantasies of revenge and punishment
posted by The Whelk at 1:50 PM on August 1 [9 favorites]


Oh yeah the whole thing is just propelled with these fantasies of revenge and punishment

One of their top 5 catchphrases is "now comes the PAIN." Caps always included. They're our bloodthirsty arena spectators and their Hillary-wearing-children's-faces Grand Guignol fantasies are the dark mirror of their own sadism.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:55 PM on August 1 [17 favorites]


Ah god, my parents just asked me what all this Q stuff is about
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:10 PM on August 1 [11 favorites]


[If anyone wants to split off a QAnon thread with some of this stuff contained in its own more persistently-referenceable place, that'd be fine, especially if it's hitting the news and gonna be its own thing.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:12 PM on August 1 [22 favorites]


I have the sense that some of the people who have supported him are contrarian types who like to think they’re smarter than others and/or know something others don’t, and my guess is that people with that personality trait could be more vulnerable to conspiracy theories in general.

This triggered the realization in me that the two biggest conspiracy buffs I know (one JFK assassination theorist, one both chemtrails buff and 9/11 truther) are very, very smart people in the rest of their lives, but seem to have wandered off into the wilderness in just a few areas. The JFK guy talked my ear off for an hour and a half at a party, after I had known him for a couple of years as a baseball aficionado who published a baseball literature magazine, school board member, and candidate for mayor and is an excellent analyst of social policy. The guy is passionate; I couldn't pull away because he wouldn't stop talking. The other guy is pretty chill (he's a leftish libertarian) and has a great acerbic take on things that aligns very well with mine, but then he goes off on these two topics...
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:17 PM on August 1 [9 favorites]


Harris, Carper Introduce Legislation to Ensure LGBTQ Community Represented in Census and ACS (Press release from Harris, July 31, 2018)
Today, U.S. Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) and Tom Carper (D-DE), both members of the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced the Census Equality Act, legislation to require the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure the approximately 10 million Americans who identify as LGBTQ are properly counted for and represented in Census data collection efforts. The Census Equality Act requires the Census Bureau to begin the process of adding questions related to sexual orientation and gender identity to the decennial census and American Community Survey (ACS).

LGTBQ communities face many challenges related to this undercounting, chief among them underrepresentation, lack of resources, and discrimination. Despite the fact that millions of Americans identify as LGBTQ, only an estimated .1% of elected officials are LGBTQ. LGBTQ undercounting in the Decennial Census and the ACS result in an inadequate distribution of resources and social services including Medicaid, Section 8 housing vouchers, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
You can track S.3314's progress, or lack there-of, here.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:17 PM on August 1 [9 favorites]


Buzzfeed look at the OH-12 special features this:
One Ohio-based Republican strategist believes an O’Connor victory could help lift Democratic challengers in at least five other districts, making those House races too close for comfort.

“I’m looking at the map here,” the strategist said. “If I’m Chabot, if I’m [Bill] Johnson, if I’m [Bob] Gibbs, if I’m [Mike] Turner, if I’m [Dave] Joyce, and if I’m [Steve] Stivers, you’ve got to run like your hair’s on fucking fire. Democrats have enthusiasm out the fucking wazoo right now.”

All incumbents in a midterm climate like this must “either run unopposed or run scared,” regardless of what happens in the Ohio 12th, a senior aide to a member of Ohio’s Republican congressional delegation said.

“If you’re not running scared,” the aide added, “you’re a moron.”
posted by Chrysostom at 2:24 PM on August 1 [12 favorites]


Guardian: Surrounded by fire, California politicians question links to climate change

Man, the "this is fine" dog really is a popular meme.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:25 PM on August 1 [28 favorites]


I'm putting together a QAnon post, LM. Folks, please feel free to add your links there.
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:30 PM on August 1 [11 favorites]


I don't know, Rust, I think...well, this is sort of a half-baked theory, but I think a lot of the resistance to climate change is an offshoot of the Just World Fallacy, where you admit there are systems a lot larger than you and that we have screwed them up and are now reaping the consequences, but there's nothing at all that can be done on an individual level to stop it. It has to be collective action. If your entire political and moral philosophy is built around individualism (as so much of the United States' political dialogue is), it's terrifying to stare into this abyss and realize there's nothing you, personally, can do. It has to be all of us five years ago and since it wasn't, we're going to reap the whirlwind. The ship has sailed and there's' not much to be done.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:33 PM on August 1 [28 favorites]


I'm a Boomer, I've been using the internet since 1984 and computers since 1982. I understand why Millennials resent being referred to as a class of people. I do too.
As someone who seems to match those start dates pretty exactly, I don't think NotAllBoomers is a wise position. While technically true, our cohort is clearly the primary problem.
posted by bcd at 2:38 PM on August 1 [33 favorites]


If you're inclined to help Ray Walston, Luck Dragon explain QAnon to his parents, here's a post where you can do so.
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:41 PM on August 1 [12 favorites]


WaPo, Mueller offers to limit investigators’ questions for Trump in special counsel’s latest effort to secure presidential interview

I'm skeptical here, because Rudy is spewing so much nonsense on this topic that I can't remotely trust anything coming out of the administration, but here we are. I'm also not understanding why this is a negotiation at all. Just subpoena the guy already.
posted by zachlipton at 2:52 PM on August 1 [8 favorites]


If im Mueller, maybe i think the dude is so addled i can get him to cross some of the lines his legal team has established as no-go zones (maybe without him even realizing it). worst case scenario is he refuses to talk about something and your back at the subpoena.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:57 PM on August 1 [11 favorites]


I recently visited Glacier national park. Climbing the mountains, you see how the whole ecosystem, the wildflowers, forests, and animals they feed are all dependent on the water that covers the mountain in an intricate web of small rivers emanating from the glacial snow. It's stunningly, breathtakingly, beautiful.

At one of the vistas was a small sign that neutrally presented some basic facts about global warming, along with the almost certain prediction that this environment, thousands of years old, will shortly disappear. Of course, this was enough to excise a number of American tourists who loudly complained that the sign made it sound like global warming is potentially a bad thing, its causes unnatural, and unfairly linked the earth's warming to CO2 in the atmosphere.

It made me feel so angry, hopeless, and helpless all at the same time.
posted by xammerboy at 2:59 PM on August 1 [52 favorites]


[One deleted; in another venue it'd be fine to pursue this but in this thread, let's just skip an n'th iteration of "boomers v millennials" stuff.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:01 PM on August 1 [4 favorites]


Given 45's anguished turbulent priest yelp, I strongly suspect the renewed attempt by Mueller to set up the Presidential Interview includes somewhat less patience about delays. The recent handing-off of more investigations to the feds also suggests a clearing of the decks prior to engagement.
posted by Devonian at 3:03 PM on August 1 [6 favorites]


I'm guessing also there is great tension about what would happen if Trump is subpoenaed. It could be dragged out until Cavanaugh is confirmed, and we don't really know what SCOTUS would do, right?
posted by angrycat at 3:08 PM on August 1


Has there been info in one of these threads recently that's basically "Where are the best places to spend the little money I have to spend if I want to save the country?" What I mean is, whats organizations (voter rights, family separation, GOTV) and specific candidates would benefit the most from a little cash?
posted by coffee and minarets at 3:11 PM on August 1 [3 favorites]


Paul Manafort, political operative & Reagan/Dole darling, now serving solitary confinement - although convicted of nothing? Where is the Russian Collusion?"

Worse than Capone!

Trump's right, surely something like house arrest would be more appropriate than solitary confinement. Provided, of course, this fucking super genius doesn't use this freedom to call his mates and get their story straight.
posted by adept256 at 3:12 PM on August 1 [7 favorites]


If im Mueller, maybe i think the dude is so addled i can get him to cross some of the lines his legal team has established as no-go zones (maybe without him even realizing it).

Would this lead to problems with admissibility?
posted by contraption at 3:14 PM on August 1


WaPo, Mueller offers to limit investigators’ questions for Trump in special counsel’s latest effort to secure presidential interview

I suspect there are a great many questions that Mueller no longer needs to ask Trump, because he already knows the answers.
posted by azpenguin at 3:15 PM on August 1 [5 favorites]


I ran into what is - unsurprisingly - another really beautiful talk transcript from (MeFi's own) Maciej Cegłowski, titled "Legends of the Ancient Web":
The important thing is to recognize that there is a fight, and a need for individual acts of creative resilience.
It draws a line from the invention of radio to the rise of Father Coughlin, Roosevelt, Goebbels - virtuosos (in very different ways) of the new medium. The analogy to the current situation is so explicit that it barely needs to be said.
Radios don't just talk to us anymore, they listen, and they know how to whisper algorithmically-targeted messages to us in ways we’ll find persuasive.

It is a scary world we're building. And building it this way is a choice, not a necessity. We can't un-invent the Internet, but we can decide that the right way to fund it is not by building a Panopticon.

(It would be worth an FPP, maybe - it's from May 2017 but I don't see it posted... it's a thought-provoking read)
posted by RedOrGreen at 3:15 PM on August 1 [27 favorites]


WaPo, Mueller offers to limit investigators’ questions for Trump in special counsel’s latest effort to secure presidential interview

ABC has a slightly different version of the story, which says Mueller wants to question Trump about obstruction, which may have sent him on his rants today. Rudy I'm sure has been telling him he can't obstruct and this request ended that illusion.

Special counsel Mueller wants to ask Trump about obstruction of justice: Sources
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office wants to ask President Donald Trump about obstruction of justice, sources close to the White House tell ABC News. According to sources, the president learned within the last day that the special counsel will limit the scope of questioning and would like to ask questions both orally and written for the President to respond to.

According to sources familiar with the President’s reaction Wednesday morning, that was the genesis for his early morning tweet storm. Trump took to twitter in one of his strongest attacks against the federal probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, saying: "This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!"
posted by chris24 at 3:17 PM on August 1 [4 favorites]


If im Mueller, maybe i think the dude is so addled i can get him to cross some of the lines his legal team has established as no-go zones (maybe without him even realizing it). worst case scenario is he refuses to talk about something and your back at the subpoena.

If you look at Trump's track record, this makes a ton of sense. You never know whether you'll get a prepared and guarded Trump or off-the-rails bullshit Trump, so it's worth getting him to sit down for an interview if only to roll those dice. If the interviewer makes so much as a sympathetic-sounding noise in Trump's direction, the dude might explode in a mess of unintended confessions.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:19 PM on August 1 [5 favorites]


Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office wants to ask President Donald Trump about obstruction of justice, sources close to the White House tell ABC News. According to sources, the president learned within the last day that the special counsel will limit the scope of questioning and would like to ask questions both orally and written for the President to respond to.

Southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) offers some insights into this situation:
They've always wanted to ask him about obstruction. Part of their original task was to look into obstruction, as credibly described by Comey. Much of the list of questions months ago was on obstruction. He's ranting bc his lawyers encouraged a delusion which has been punctured.

Ty Cobb kept telling Trump to make nice and it would all be over soon. Then Rudy Giuliani came along and told Trump they'd get tough and, once Rudy got a chance to smooth talk everyone and whisper in a few reporters' ears, it would all be over soon. It was never realistic.

One journalistic approach to this situation is to try to cover the developments from inside Trump's head, in which case the revelation that Mueller wants to ask him about obstruction of justice can be a shocking stand-alone exclusive.

Another is to recognize the president doesn't comprehend the extremely-easy-to-understand legal peril he is in, deliberately surrounds himself with supplicating fools, flies into rages when confronted with reality, and appears badly incapable of managing the duties of his office.
Of course, it's easier, and safer, for the media to cover the Trump-Mueller standoff from an ostensibly neutral vantage just to avoid getting caught in the blast radius of Trump's periodic explosions or taking more flack for peddling "fake news".
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:31 PM on August 1 [26 favorites]


"I suspect there are a great many questions that Mueller no longer needs to ask Trump, because he already knows the answers."

That's why he wants to ask them.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:37 PM on August 1 [65 favorites]


I'm curious: What's stopping Mueller from saying "Mr. President, I promise I only want to ask you about X," but then surprising Trump's legal team with questions about Y? Does Mueller really need to take "I'll only talk to you if you serve up the questions on a silver platter" seriously?
posted by emelenjr at 3:47 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Ben Sisario (NYT)
Spotify says it is removing an unspecified number of Alex Jones podcast episodes for violating its hate speech policy, after user uproar.
posted by chris24 at 3:52 PM on August 1 [63 favorites]


I just worry with all this talk about Qanon we're going to forget about Jade Helm.
posted by misterpatrick at 3:55 PM on August 1 [15 favorites]


We've already forgotten about the Bowling Green Massacre.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:08 PM on August 1 [47 favorites]


I'm curious: What's stopping Mueller from saying "Mr. President, I promise I only want to ask you about X," but then surprising Trump's legal team with questions about Y? Does Mueller really need to take "I'll only talk to you if you serve up the questions on a silver platter" seriously?

Integrity, I imagine. However, like Trump blathers on about talks with Iran, the first step is to get them in the same room. Mueller might possibly be the best segue'er in the country, and getting Trump to accede to questions almost certainly puts Trump in danger of being Shyamalan'ed.
posted by rhizome at 4:10 PM on August 1 [2 favorites]


I'm curious: What's stopping Mueller from saying "Mr. President, I promise I only want to ask you about X," but then surprising Trump's legal team with questions about Y? Does Mueller really need to take "I'll only talk to you if you serve up the questions on a silver platter" seriously?

A voluntary interview can be voluntarily terminated. Whoever is with Trump would say "we're done here", motion for Trump to get up, and they'd immediately leave the room. If they come in with a subpoena, ignoring a valid subpoena is contempt of court.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 4:10 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


I was curious about whether or not President Clinton was able to limit the topics of questions; it doesn't sound like he was, although his testimony wasn't treated the same as normal grand jury testimony.

Testing of a President: The Overview; Clinton Agrees to Testify for Lewinsky Grand Jury; Starr Retracts Subpoena
Mr. Clinton will be permitted the unusual courtesy of having his lawyers at his side, unlike other grand jury witnesses, when he gives his videotaped testimony on the agreed-upon date of Aug. 17. Mr. Starr was willing to agree to many of Mr. Clinton's conditions in exchange for the President's decision not to challenge the subpoena on constitutional grounds and further delay the lengthy investigation, lawyers said.

Mr. Clinton will be the first sitting President to testify under oath in a grand jury investigation in which he is a potential target.
When the President Testified: People in the Room Recall Clinton’s 1998 Interrogation
Kenneth W. Starr, the independent counsel, had subpoenaed Mr. Clinton but later withdrew the subpoena after the president agreed to give testimony voluntarily under certain conditions. The session was to take place in the White House, not at the courthouse. Prosecutors would have no more than four hours to ask their questions. And the president’s White House and personal lawyers could be in the room, unlike in normal grand jury proceedings.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:26 PM on August 1 [4 favorites]


I was curious about whether or not President Clinton was able to limit the topics of questions; it doesn't sound like he was, although his testimony wasn't treated the same as normal grand jury testimony.

He engaged in a voluntary interview and his counsel was present. They could step in on any obvious traps or badgering.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 4:29 PM on August 1 [2 favorites]


A closer example would probably be W and Cheney's interviews for the Valerie Plame investigation.
posted by rhizome at 4:45 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


One can only hope that they send Rudy in with him, he'd likely give it all away without being asked
posted by mbo at 4:45 PM on August 1 [7 favorites]


Ignoring a valid subpoena is contempt of court.

Giuliani says the president cannot be subpoenaed. My expectation is that this will go to the Supreme Court, because no sane lawyer would let Trump be questioned voluntarily. It's not just that Trump is unpredictable, and could inadvertently start confessing to crimes. At this point, there are an absurd number of questions where there is good chance any answer Trump gives would lead to charges against him. If he lies and Mueller can prove it, that's a crime. If he tells the truth, that's a crime. If it's not a lie and not a crime, the answer is likely politically toxic. The good news is almost no one believes the court will rule in Trump's favor, even when taking into account how conservative it is.
posted by xammerboy at 4:54 PM on August 1 [6 favorites]


I've read speculation ( can't remember where) that Mueller is no longer trying to interview Trump since he's now become a 'target' of the investigation, and targets are rarely interviewed.
posted by localhuman at 4:59 PM on August 1 [3 favorites]


The good news is almost no one believes the court will rule in Trump's favor, even when taking into account how conservative it is.

Even if Brett Kavanaugh gets on the Court?
posted by kirkaracha at 5:08 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Corky Siemaszko: Former Ohio State wrestling coach urged Rep. Jim Jordan's accusers to recant, texts show
Retired Ohio State wrestling coach Russ Hellickson reached out to two ex-team members and asked them to support their former assistant coach, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a day after they accused the powerful congressman of turning a blind eye to alleged sexual abuse by the team doctor, according to the wrestlers and text messages they shared with NBC News.

The former wrestlers said their ex-coach made it clear to them he was under pressure from Jordan to get statements of support from members of the team.

Hellickson’s appeal to help Jordan came after the congressman repeatedly said that he had no idea that team doctor Richard Strauss was allegedly molesting the athletes — contradicting three wrestlers who told NBC News that Jordan must have known since the abuse was frequently discussed in the locker room.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:15 PM on August 1 [12 favorites]


People of all ages are clueless about the internet – but older folks, in general, are really clueless. They don't understand how the profit motives work. They don't understand how network effects and information bubbles distort things. They don't understand that literally anyone can post literally anything online – and that includes official-looking "news" sites, videos with production values that were once only accessible to multi-million-dollar companies, etc.

It's not just the internet, though. About ten years ago my brother (who is a freaking idiot) got into some internet-based conspiracy video about a secret One World Government and 9/11 and some other crap. He made my mom watch the "documentary" that broke it all down and she, for some reason, demanded I also watch it.

She is a PhD in nursing and at the time active professor. But she thought the case made by this video was strong and pretty convincing, though I think she wanted me to watch it on some level knowing I would tear it apart for her.

The video quality was amateurish at best. Mid-90s local public service announcement kinda quality. The cherry picked facts and "unbelievable coincidences" were just examples of various common fallacies. But the parts that really had me yelling at the screen were when they would have some random man sitting in a plain room giving an interview and asserting things as if they were facts. "Who IS that guy? There's not even a caption telling us WHO HE IS! Why is he supposed to know this stuff?" Literally there wasn't even a cursory attempt at presenting the speakers as experts or even identifying them.

But my mom hadn't noticed. It was just a man who looked knowledgeable speaking authoritatively and she had nodded along. Once I pointed out that he was literally a random dude and there was no reason to believe him, the illusion was ruined. But for some reason a lot of people, maybe most people, don't think critically when someone tells them something, ESPECIALLY if that is presented in a news/documentary context. Especially if the presenter is a white male who looks like their idea of an "expert" or authority figure.

I had a liberal arts education. The kind of education which is frequently mocked for being people talking about their opinions about useless things. But what it DOES is teach you how to argue, how to pick apart someone else's argument, how to spot flaws. How to support your opinions with facts. How to, in other words, think critically. I don't think it's a coincidence that it's also the kind of education that is taught less and less as emphasis on testing and math and science has increased.
posted by threeturtles at 5:19 PM on August 1 [105 favorites]


> Of course, it's easier, and safer, for the media to cover the Trump-Mueller standoff from an ostensibly neutral vantage just to avoid getting caught in the blast radius of Trump's periodic explosions or taking more flack for peddling "fake news".

Emphasis mine. I've been extremely critical of how much many members of the media are happy to "catapult the propaganda" as Dubya once put it, but I'm not the one who has to deal with the death threats from his fanatical supporters. Republicans have marshaled animus against others to advance their political goals for many decades, but in addition to the amplifying effect that social media has on these campaigns and the massive amount of gasoline that's being added by Russia's psy-ops efforts, I feel like the Republicans of yesteryear would occasionally throttle things back when they got out of hand -- or, at the very least, there was a healthy enough faction of the GOP that wasn't comfortable with it (at least overtly) and would try to push things in a less chaotic direction.

So, while the Cillizzas and Habermans of the world get no sympathy from me for actively carrying water for Trump (and quite a lot of criticism), I can at least understand that some journalists might fear for their own safety if they take their reporting in a direction that might put them directly in Trump's crosshairs. Aside from the small but nonzero chance that he would actively bring the apparatus of the state down on them, there's an even more real concern that one of his unhinged supporters might take things beyond a nasty tweet -- not that getting nasty tweets isn't distressing in and of itself. We are definitely going to need brave journalists who are willing to take those small but nonzero chances in order to survive this, but I don't quite feel comfortable demanding that any particular journalists put themselves at risk.

I kind of waver back and forth on this stuff, between anger that more journalists aren't doing their jobs and understanding that their jobs have gotten a lot harder to do without fear of reprisal. Part of it might be that my wife is a journalist, and while her reporting is totally unrelated to Trump and only occasionally touches on local politics, she's been very frightened by the "fake news" / "crooked media" stuff, because she understands that, left unchecked, it won't stop when all of Trump's enemies in the national political press are gone. Republicans have been bullying the press for a long time, but now they have a greater ability to turn their hostile words into the actions of others. If the tactic works, it will be copied by others.

I don't really have a central thesis or anything here, but the words "and safer" jumped out at me, because we've been talking and thinking about these issues a lot in our house. Actual physical safety is a legitimate concern here.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:24 PM on August 1 [12 favorites]


Even if Brett Kavanaugh gets on the Court?

I put the over-under on a ruling upholding a subpoena at around 8-1 before Kavanaugh. Theoretically that should mean it would be no worse than 7-2 with Kavanaugh. My panic and anxiety kicks in occasionally and tells me I'm being too optimistic, though.
posted by Justinian at 5:25 PM on August 1 [8 favorites]




How Kavanaugh being added to the court isn’t a conflict of influence re: Kennedy’s kid is and Kavanaugh’s past statements is beyond me.
posted by gucci mane at 5:38 PM on August 1 [8 favorites]


Turns out the Broidy affair actually did involve Broidy, and not Trump.

Who knew so many models were into guys with the sex appeal of Jabba the Hutt.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:50 PM on August 1 [5 favorites]


White House briefings grow rare under Trump
(Jason Schwartz | Politico)

“July’s three briefings, during which the press secretary took questions for a combined 56 minutes, tied a low for any month during the Trump presidency.”

——

Democratic takeover could bring first black speaker (Politico)

“The next speaker of the House could be a black Democrat. And Congress would never be the same.”

“In 230 years, there’s never been a black speaker, or any black lawmaker seriously in the running for the post. That could change after voters go to the polls in November.”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:01 PM on August 1 [17 favorites]


It's only been 15 days since the Russia summit.

Let that sink in.
posted by schmod at 6:03 PM on August 1 [68 favorites]


Intercept, but possibly significant: Saudi Arabia Planned to Invade Qatar Last Summer. Rex Tillerson’s Efforts to Stop It May Have Cost Him His Job.

So not just Putin but Salman and bin Zayed have their fingers in the administration and are able to fuck with domestic policy.

Why not just put a fucking "For Sale" sign on the White House already and make it official.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 6:05 PM on August 1 [8 favorites]


No need for a sign, when everybody in the world that matters already knows.
posted by darkstar at 6:13 PM on August 1 [12 favorites]


RE: the whole Capone tweet thing - I gotta admit, I fell into the "laughing about" category of people that Josh Marshall at TPM describes here. I didn't put this together at first, but it's really goddamn obvious now:
Capone is No Accident

People are either surprised, incredulous or laughing about President Trump defending his former campaign manager Paul Manafort by comparing him to the notorious gangland killer Al Capone. They shouldn’t. To Trump, Capone was a winner. He was rich. Everybody gave him respect. But he was brought down on BS charges, mundane financial crimes. He was treated very unfairly, to use the President’s signature phrase. This isn’t hyperbole or a mere attack. Over a forty-plus year career, Trump was deep in business with some of the most notorious and violent mobsters of the late 20th century. Trump managed not to get in to trouble first because he had the right friends but just as much because he kept the relationships largely passive. He laundered their money. His main overt act was willful obliviousness. Trump Tower itself was a notorious haven for all sorts of organized crime figures, mostly from other countries. Mostly from Russia and the former Soviet Union.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:13 PM on August 1 [74 favorites]


Josh Marshall, whom I respect, has come a very long way in the past year. For him to be explicitly saying Trump was in bed with the Russian mafia, and specifically money laundering for them, is far, far from his very circumspect writing earlier in 2017.
posted by darkstar at 6:44 PM on August 1 [29 favorites]


Who knew so many models were into guys with the sex appeal of Jabba the Hutt.

Then let's hope that the hush money payments are the metaphorical long chain that someone will one day use in yet another parallel to Jabba.
posted by Behemoth at 6:55 PM on August 1 [19 favorites]


Democratic takeover could bring first black speaker

The Speaker of the House doesn't have to be an elected member of the House, and Obama's out of a job. (Mostly kidding.)
posted by kirkaracha at 7:15 PM on August 1 [7 favorites]


> Democratic takeover could bring first black speaker
*open article*
*ctrl-f barbara lee*
no results :(
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:39 PM on August 1 [14 favorites]


Josh Marshall, whom I respect, has come a very long way in the past year. For him to be explicitly saying Trump was in bed with the Russian mafia, and specifically money laundering for them, is far, far from his very circumspect writing earlier in 2017.

Yeah, it's pretty striking to me also. Not only has he been circumspect, his writing and perspective have been proved to be pretty ahead of their time and consistent as things have progressed. He's not a firebrand internet type, so this language is pretty blistering for him.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:42 PM on August 1 [13 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** OH-12 special:
-- Monmouth poll has race ranging from R+5 to D+1, depending on turnout model used [MOE from 4.3 to 5.3 depending on model]. Previous polling has had GOPer Balderson with low single digit leads.

-- GOP worried about implications race has for other vulnerable GOP reps. District went Trump 53-42, so even a narrow Balderson victory bodes ill.
** 2018 Senate:
-- DE: Gravis poll of the Dem primary has incumbent Carper up 51-19 on progressive challenger Harris [MOE: +/- 3.3%]. In the general, Carper leads either GOP candidate by about 8 points.

-- AZ: OH Predictive poll has presumptive Dem nominee Sinema leading each of the GOP candidates (Arpaio: 54-36; Ward: 51-41; McSally: 48-44) [MOE: +/- 4.0%].

-- TX: Texas Lyceum poll has incumbent GOPer Cruz up 41-39 on Dem O'Rourke [MOE: +/- 4.67%]. Meanwhile, a Quinnipiac poll has Cruz up 49-43 [MOE: +/- 3.5%]. RCP average for the race is currently Cruz +6.5.

-- Dem-aligned Senate Majority PAC buying $17M in TV time in IN, MO, NV, ND, TN, WV.
** Odds & ends:
-- TX gov: The earlier mentioned polls have incumbent GOPer Abbot leading Dem Valdez 47-31 (Texas Lyceum) or 51-38 (Quinnipiac).

-- IL gov: Illinois Public Opinion poll has Dem Pritzker up 39-26 on GOP incumbent Rauner[MOE: +/- 5.0%]. IPO is a Dem-aligned pollster.

-- Obama released an endorsement list of 81 candidates in various races, second list apparently to come.

-- MI GOP may drop nomination of GOP Supreme Court justice who ruled for keeping the redistricting commission on the ballot.

===
Tomorrow, primaries in Tennessee (Why Thursday? Nobody actually knows). DKE preview here; the big show is the GOP governor primary.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:50 PM on August 1 [20 favorites]


To round out the evening, the responses from Trump's two most prominent fired DoJ figures to his tweet to Sessions is a study in contrasts:

Sally Yates (@SallyQYates): "Today our president called on his (recused) AG to shut down the investigation of his own campaign. As shocking as that is, what’s even more dangerous is that we’ve gotten used to it. The rule of law won’t evaporate overnight, but it can slip away—if we let it."

Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara): "I typically gave orders to my prosecutors in sensitive criminal investigations by public tweet because why not"
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:59 PM on August 1 [60 favorites]


Vermont Secretary of State trolling Trump:
We’re strongly opposed to Shopper ID laws. There has been no evidence that grocery fraud occurs on a widespread basis, and restrictive Shopper ID laws only serve to prevent eligible shoppers from buying their groceries on shopping day.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:06 PM on August 1 [111 favorites]


What the actual fuck is this nonsense?

@nytpolitics: Obama ordered Dijon on his hamburger. Bush fumbled in the grocery aisle. And Trump says you need an ID to buy groceries. [corrected typo]

Yes, because obviously an effort to disenfranchise millions of voters is the same thing as liking an extremely common condiment.

The story goes on to quote Trump's friend spewing nonsense:
Presumably an expert in all things regarding the checkout lane, Mr. Catsimatidis, the owner of Gristedes, did not see why critics were seizing on the president’s assertion that an ID was needed to buy groceries.

“You need a photo ID to buy groceries if you’re using a credit card or if you want to use a check,” Mr. Catsimatidis said. “Doesn’t that sound logical?”

Why the Times allows him to tell an unrefuted lie about his own business is beyond me.
posted by zachlipton at 8:57 PM on August 1 [21 favorites]


You need a photo ID to buy groceries if you’re using a credit card or if you want to use a check

I used my debit card to buy groceries all the time and they never check my ID even though I wrote CHECK ID in the signature block.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:07 PM on August 1 [30 favorites]


Yeah, you don't need ID to use a credit card. Or rather it may be store policy in some places but it's not a law and plenty of places don't require it. If you want to use a check you should go sit in the corner and think about what you did.
posted by Justinian at 9:08 PM on August 1 [46 favorites]


Definitely Not Sean Spicer: "A voluntary interview can be voluntarily terminated. Whoever is with Trump would say "we're done here", motion for Trump to get up, and they'd immediately leave the room. "

Assuming anyone has that sort of control over him if he gets wound up.
posted by Mitheral at 9:16 PM on August 1 [2 favorites]


From Talking Points Memo:
I think we should be prepared for the President to fire Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein in order to claw his way toward either finding someone who will fire Mueller or simply doing the job himself.
It's always been talked about, but largely as unthinkable. Now, I don't know. The longer the investigation draws out, the more heated and nervous Trump acts, and more and more his tweets suggest this is the endgame. Firing Mueller will likely prompt a real vote to impeach and throw the country into turmoil.
posted by xammerboy at 9:34 PM on August 1 [5 favorites]


This is a pet peeve of mine -- Visa merchants cannot require you to show ID to complete a purchase. See Card Acceptance Guidelines for Visa Merchants [pdf] page 36 - "Therefore, merchants cannot as part of their regular card acceptance procedures refuse to complete a purchase transaction because a cardholder refuses to provide ID.". That page also talks about how SEE ID is a complete waste of you and your merchant's time.
posted by 0xFCAF at 9:42 PM on August 1 [18 favorites]


Working in a bank, when people say they lost their cards, we ask them whether their signature was on the back, and from what I can tell the main reason why is in case somebody found the card and attempts to forge the signatures for checks (which isn't super common, but does happen).
posted by gucci mane at 9:48 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


"Obama ordered Dijon on his hamburger. Bush fumbled in the grocery aisle. And Trump says you need an ID to buy groceries. [corrected typo]"

One of my GIANT pet peeves is that every time Obama did something NORMAL CHICAGO, DC pundits freaked out about what a snob he was when really it was typically a very working class Chicago thing to do. They freaked out when he was anti-ketchup-on-hot-dogs (as all good and right-thinking people are); they freaked out when he wanted Dijon on his burger but like EVEN IN PEORIA I could buy six kinds of local mustard at the major chain supermarket deli (Kroger) because MUSTARD IS IMPORTANT and ordering Dijon on a burger is a VERY NORMAL THING that your average steamfitter or steelworker might do! Like we literally cannot help it if the rest of the country has bad taste in mustard and doesn't have an entire section of a grocery aisle dedicated to mustard varieties, plus fresh mustards in the deli section, that is your own problem.

And the time Michelle Obama said "obie-gynie" and it turned into a national incident that was a referendum on how ghetto she was? THAT IS JUST HOW WOMEN IN CHICAGO TALK ABOUT THE GYNECOLOGIST, I literally had no idea it wasn't a thing until I went to grad school in the south and nobody knew what an "obie-gynie" was, ALL THE SUPER-WHITE RICH LADIES ON THE NORTH SHORE SAY OBIE-GYNIE, IT IS JUST CHICAGO, IT IS NOT GHETTO.

Anyway Obama liking Dijon burgers is not a sign of his elitism and disconnection from the regular folks like Trump not knowing how to grocery shop; it's a sign that the DC press knows jack shit about Chicago and doesn't get good mustard on their burgers.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:55 PM on August 1 [173 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee: "MUSTARD IS IMPORTANT and ordering Dijon on a burger is a VERY NORMAL THING that your average steamfitter or steelworker might do! Like we literally cannot help it if the rest of the country has bad taste in mustard and doesn't have an entire section of a grocery aisle dedicated to mustard varieties, plus fresh mustards in the deli section, that is your own problem."

The Dijon mustard thing was really weird. I live in boring small city Canada and even the smallest of super markets is going to have a dozen mustard choices of which Dijon is the second least exciting right after plain yellow prepared mustard. It was a real marker that the people initiating these outrage fests were both very old and very white bread where this Grey Poupon commercial seemed edgy.
posted by Mitheral at 10:07 PM on August 1 [10 favorites]


People are either surprised, incredulous or laughing about President Trump defending his former campaign manager Paul Manafort by comparing him to the notorious gangland killer Al Capone.

The odd thing to me is that it's really an apt comparison. Many in the Ukraine believe Manafort is partly responsible for the mass killings during their Maidan protests. That's as brutal as anything Capone was involved with. Plus, it's clear Manafort was involved in a multi-million dollar effort to launder Russian money and hide his earnings from the government, which is pretty much just like Capone. So... when Trump says can you believe they're treating Manafort like Capone, I'm pretty much baffled unless the strategy is to pre-empt anyone else from making the comparison. It's like the Magritte painting of a pipe only with the caption "Can you believe Democrats are saying this is a painting of a pipe?"
posted by xammerboy at 10:32 PM on August 1 [50 favorites]




you people are too fast. Anyway, I'm not vetting for prior postings, because c'mon.

Why the left needs to wise up to the growing Trump-Russia scandal,Ryan Cooper, The Week, 23 July 2018
I strongly suspect that over the next six months to year, Russiagate will become a greater source of public attention, and therefore a decent potential vulnerability for Trump. If so, it would be senseless to avoid bringing that attack, in addition to a strong traditional policy program. You don't have to be a frothing nationalist to be concerned that the president is taking dictation from some ruthless dictator.

As a concrete matter, whatever the reason for Trump's deference to Putin, it is definitely bad for the left. Having an American president (even a feckless, incompetent one like Trump) act as cat's paw for a merciless, reactionary plutocrat is unquestionably terrible. And whoever wins the 2020 Democratic primary — say Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders — is highly likely to face a serious campaign of dirty tricks from Russian intelligence. Email hacking will be attempted, any compromising past history dug up, and third-party candidates boosted up — all in an attempt to throw the election to Trump. It probably won't move that many people, but Trump only won by less than 100,000 votes spread across three states. It's a threat that needs to be reckoned with.
The Question of Russia and the Left: A response to Ryan Cooper, Corey Robin, 23 July 2018
My approach to this, as I’ve said, is simply to have better security measures, and whatever you do, not to fan the flames of the discussion. So by all means, I strongly recommend that Ryan and others who are legitimately concerned about this, to use their platforms, every day, every week, to push both the Republicans and the Democrats (because, again, at the state level there is evidence that both parties are not taking care of this issue) to protect balloting systems, to beef up the cybersecurity, and all the rest. But I also think it’s imperative to avoid all this talk of third party candidates, of attacking candidates for their compromising history, and the like as somehow a Russian op. Because again, there’s no way to distinguish a candidate digging up dirt on another candidate, as part of the course of normal politics, from a Russian op. The only result will be more paranoia, more anxiety, and more delegitimation of perfectly legitimate political and electoral efforts, and as a result, a winnowing of the political space.
America's Heart Of Darkness, Elizabeth Breuning, Washington Post, 24 July 2018 - "This particular horror — Trump and his failures, whatever ridiculous thing he has said or done today, whatever international incident he causes on Twitter tomorrow, however authentic the next panic is — will pass. What will last is the frank revelation of a point that, while ugly and dark, is at least true: You really don’t have the choices you ought to in American democracy, because of decisions made without your consent by people of wealth and power behind closed doors. It’s possible to continue to participate in a democracy after that. But not with a quiet mind."

In the Land of Willful Amnesia, Megan Garber, The Atlantic, 26 July 2018
History may be written by the victors, but it is revised by them, too. And those in power—the ones who decide who will get second chances, and who, conversely, will not—are, on top of everything else, the stewards of the national memory. Hannah Arendt, considering the intersection of politics and language, was concerned not just for the fate of facts, but also for a broader possibility: that a “mixture of gullibility and cynicism” would make those facts—and collective memory itself—effectively irrelevant. People, she worried, might become so suspicious of each other that they would cease to accept the notion of meaningfully shared realities. Everything was possible and nothing was true.

Those fears are at play when Americans are constantly asked—constantly being primed—to look away, to be distracted, to cede attention, to forget. And when, whether through Sean Spicer and a revisionist publicity tour or through Donald Trump and a revisionist presidency, recency alone is presented as the salient fact of any matter.
After Trump’s Russia Summit, Freaked-out Republicans Are Supporting Mueller Probe, Jon Chait, New York Magazine, 26 July 2018 - "The party’s diminishing enthusiasm for tormenting Rosenstein, after having ramped up for months and months, is hard to explain as anything but a response to Helsinki. Trump defied his national security advisers to attend the meeting at all, and continued to grapple with both his own advisers and Republicans in Congress after."

Cohen claims Trump knew in advance of 2016 Trump Tower meeting, Jim Sciutto, Carl Bernstein and Marshall Cohen, CNN, 27 July 2018 - "Cohen alleges that he was present, along with several others, when Trump was informed of the Russians' offer by Trump Jr. By Cohen's account, Trump approved going ahead with the meeting with the Russians, according to sources."

The Case for a Trump-Russia Conspiracy Just Got a Little Stronger, Natasha Bertrand, The Atlantic, 27 July 2018
“It’s certainly one of the more relevant data points that we’ve had,” said the former federal prosecutor Jeff Cramer. If Trump approved the meeting, it was “clearly a violation of criminal law”—specifically, the campaign-finance laws that prohibit campaigns from soliciting things of value from foreign nationals. “And it gives color to all the cover-ups,” Cramer said. Trump and his surrogates have denied that the president knew about the meeting approximately 20 times over the last year. Trump also personally dictated a misleading statement about the meeting on his son’s behalf, which left out the fact that the Russians had offered the campaign dirt on Clinton.
If You Work For Trump, Should You Quit?, Stephen L. Carter , Eli Lake , and Virginia Postrel, Bloomberg, 29 July 2018 - "Resigning is a) selfish b) selfless c) both d) neither. Discuss."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:46 PM on August 1 [28 favorites]


Maybe we should let the grocery store outrages go. Grow out of them, A&P style, the best Zwingli of bees in your brains.
posted by notyou at 10:48 PM on August 1


Josh Marshall, whom I respect, has come a very long way in the past year. For him to be explicitly saying Trump was in bed with the Russian mafia, and specifically money laundering for them, is far, far from his very circumspect writing earlier in 2017.

Marshall has a PhD in history, iirc. He's not a tabloid guy or a shock jock. That's why I keep going back to him.

The frightening thing is that as events have developed, Seth Abramson has been proved right and in fact prescient, over and over, and the distance between him and Marshall -- opposites in almost every regard -- is getting pretty narrow.
posted by msalt at 11:24 PM on August 1 [13 favorites]


It's like the Magritte painting of a pipe only with the caption "Can you believe Democrats are saying this is a painting of a pipe?"

This is such a great image for the whole Russia situation.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:02 AM on August 2 [33 favorites]


Trump was tweeting well past midnight last night about some Fox news analyst's book “The Russia Hoax, The Illicit Scheme To Clear Hillary Clinton & Frame Donald Trump” and thanking "Chairman Kim Jong Un" for returning American remains—"Also, thank you for your nice letter - l look forward to seeing you soon!". Now he's up again on Twitter this morning, picking a fight with Charles Koch over some statement or another of his about Trump and foreign workers, to which Trump responds, "AMERICA FIRST!" And this is just a warm-up for his appearance at a mid-term campaign rally in Wilkes-Barre, PA tonight.

It's all reminiscent of Trump's veiled confession at a 2016 campaign rally: "Look, we have the greatest business people in the world and we don’t use them. We use political hacks. Some of these business people are not nice people. Who cares? You care? I don’t think so. Some of these business people are vicious, horrible, miserable human beings. Who cares? Who cares? Some of these people, they don’t sleep at night! They twist, and turn, and sweat! And their mattress is soaking wet! Because they’re thinking all night about victory the next day against some poor person that doesn’t have a chance. And these people – unfortunately, I know them all. These people would love to represent us against China, against Japan, against all of these countries…These people. They feel crazy! They feel angry! They cannot believe the deals that are made. We will do things we have never done before." (partial video) {emphases added, because we can't say he didn't warn us}
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:46 AM on August 2 [43 favorites]


The Ryan Enos study cited in Klein's piece on "the core cleavage of our politics" should be pretty scary and also sadly should be totally expected (more white fragility). On the other hand, I'm trying to keep it positive these days and results like this tell Dems exactly where to put resources and intensive ground game for 2018 and 2020 to try to roll some things back. Not to convince committed 45 voters but to retain voters with outreach and by retaining their better natures if such things even exist.

"Enos goes on to note that his findings match what we saw in 2016: The biggest gains Donald Trump made over Mitt Romney’s performance “were in the places where the Latino population had grown most quickly. ... For example, Luzerne County, adjacent to Scranton, Pennsylvania, had experienced an almost 600 percent growth in its Latino population between 2000 and 2014, and, after decades of voting Democrat in presidential elections, gave Trump 12 percentage points more votes than it had given to Romney in 2012.”
posted by Gotanda at 5:59 AM on August 2 [3 favorites]


Eyebrows, I feel like the East Coast is (sadly) lacking in right-thinking, mustard-loving German immigrants compared to the Midwest.

As a result, people born within fifty miles of the Atlantic Ocean, national pols, and reporters are simply betraying their parochialism & ignorance when they open their mouths and show us that they don't understand bratwurst, wheat beers, good mustard, or good pork recipes.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:03 AM on August 2 [21 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee:
One of my GIANT pet peeves is that every time Obama did something NORMAL CHICAGO, DC pundits freaked out about what a snob he was when really it was typically a very working class Chicago thing to do.
"Apparently regular American pizza just isn't thick enough for Mr Fancysuit"
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:10 AM on August 2 [12 favorites]


'Cause why not have another weird scandal: The Interior Department’s inspector general will be asking if [Interior Secretary Ryan] Zinke colluded to have the chairman of Halliburton, one of the leading companies with business before the department, build the secretary the microbrewery he's long wanted
posted by octothorpe at 7:01 AM on August 2 [39 favorites]


And the time Michelle Obama said "obie-gynie" and it turned into a national incident that was a referendum on how ghetto she was? THAT IS JUST HOW WOMEN IN CHICAGO TALK ABOUT THE GYNECOLOGIST, I literally had no idea it wasn't a thing until I went to grad school in the south and nobody knew what an "obie-gynie" was, ALL THE SUPER-WHITE RICH LADIES ON THE NORTH SHORE SAY OBIE-GYNIE, IT IS JUST CHICAGO, IT IS NOT GHETTO.

Not only that but you almost never hear the term ghetto in Chicago. You will rarely hear "hood" if people are trying to discuss generic predominately black or Latino areas but you will hear South-side or West-side or the actual specific neighborhood names. Ghetto tends to be something used by people who don't actually know where in Chicago the neighborhoods are and what they are actually called or by people who are deliberately trying to be really overtly racist and proudly ignorant (FOX news for example). Maybe it is used sometimes by rappers trying to scare those people too but still pretty rare as they are more likely to call out their actual neighborhoods.
posted by srboisvert at 7:12 AM on August 2 [4 favorites]


Vanity Fair, relying on a mix of named and unnamed GOP sources plus the ever-available Steve Bannon, published an interim account of Trump 2020: Inside the Trump 2020 Campaign’s Wild, Disorganized Attempt to “Keep America Great”—The president is running his re-election campaign precisely the way he governs—playing three opposing power centers off each other, and listening mainly to his own instincts. It’s going to get ugly, and soon.
Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell privately told Trump he would “go down big on the issue [of immigrant family separation,” a Republican briefed on the conversations told me. And so, Trump, who prides himself on an umbilical connection to his base, did the most un-Trumpian of things: he blinked.[...] “He felt trapped,” recalled a Republican who spoke with the president during the deliberations. Walk the policy back, and he risked angering his hard-line anti-immigration base; dig in and it would further galvanize Democrats and independents to vote against Republicans in November, likely tilting the House, and possibly even the Senate, in their favor, and facilitating the possibility of an impeachment trial. “This election is very simple,” Steve Bannon told me recently. “It’s an up-or-down vote on impeachment.”

For days, Trump had claimed that only Congress could nullify the policy. Shortly before boarding Air Force One for Duluth, however, the president had signed a hastily drafted executive order that effectively ended the family separations. “He was very unhappy,” the Republican who spoke with him recalled. “He was perturbed the immigration issue had gotten out of hand. He’s feeling that being president isn’t as fun as it should be. He thinks he’s not getting the credit he deserves about the economy and North Korea. He said, ‘These people around me don’t know how to sell.’ It’s why he’s going bananas on Twitter. His state of mind is frustration.”[...]

“The best way to win in 2020 is to win in 2018,” said [Establishment Republican operative] Bill Stepien, with a straight face.[...] Despite the gloomy outlook for Republicans—a recent Real Clear Politics poll average showed Democrats with a six-point advantage—Stepien did his best to spin the White House’s message that Republicans could limit the damage in the midterms. “This is not an easy time to run and win as a Republican,” Stepien conceded. “[Trump] is trying to get all the people who voted for him in 2016 back out to the polls in 2018. The goal is to make those people who are presidential-year voters into midterm-election voters.”[...]

Looming over all of this, of course, is Mueller, and whether his investigation will have any electoral purchase. Stepien’s boss, White House counselor Johnny DeStefano, had joined the conversation. “We’ve been poring through this verbatim in these surveys, and you don’t see the word ‘Mueller’ or ‘Russia’ or any of that stuff,” DeStefano said.

“We look at the front pages of daily key in-state newspapers every day,” Stepien added. “Compare and contrast that with what The Washington Post or New York Times is saying.”
This article came out earlier this week, however, before Trump put the spotlight back on the Mueller probe by rant-tweeting all day yesterday. Trump's tendency to stewing in his own paranoia and pitting internal factions against each other doesn't help, either. And Steve Bannon lurks outside the tent, pissing in.
The paradox of the Trump campaign is that its biggest asset, Trump, is also at times its most intractable—a weapon that threatens, at any moment, to blow up in its face. He’s a constant critic of his own operation. “Trump trusts absolutely nobody,” a former top West Wing official told me. That includes Stepien and DeStefano. In recent months, Trump has complained to aides that he’s not being well served by the White House political operation, according to multiple Republicans who’ve spoken with Trump. Trump has told people he questions DeStefano’s loyalty after DeStefano developed a close relationship with the president’s long-suffering chief of staff and nemesis, John Kelly. “Trump openly questions Johnny,” a former official told me. “He asks people, ‘Is he to be trusted?’” A source said Trump has also complained that Stepien is too cautious because Stepien was among advisers who told Trump not to take sides in Republican primary elections.

Seeking other counsel, Trump has increasingly turned to a shadow political operation, composed of a few very familiar faces. The outside group was put together by, of all people, Trump’s former campaign chairman Steve Bannon. Members include 2016-campaign veterans like Lewandowski, Bossie, and communications director Jason Miller; former national-security aide Sebastian Gorka; Breitbart Washington editor Matthew Boyle; and former Trump aide Sam Nunberg. Throughout the day, Bannon checks in by phone with his allies to hash out talking points that Trump surrogates can deploy in the media.[...]

“Populist nationalism is on the move everywhere in the world,” Bannon boasted. Events seemed to be breaking his way in Washington too. “It’s like my white board’s there and Trump is checking shit off,” Bannon said. He marveled at Trump’s border crackdown and decision to launch a global trade war. “Trump is on the full MAGA agenda,” he said. Bannon admitted that he and Trump still don’t speak, but he gets his ideas to Trump through other channels, mainly Lewandowski and Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows.
The third faction is led by Jared and Ivanka, who have been regrouping after their recent setbacks and whose ally Brad Parscale has been at the digital forefront of Trump 2020. None of these cliques can do anything, howevr, if Trump is unseated by a primary challenger (unlikely as that is), impeached after the Mueller probe (less unlikely), or simply decides to quit and not run again (who knows?—Roger Stone plants the capricious possibility “He could just decide, ‘I’ve made America great again. I’ve kept all my promises. Now I’m gonna play golf.’”). And that's where Mike Pence comes in—“Pence wants to inherit the Trump base, so that’s why you see him saying these obsequious things. It’s so pathetic,” a prominent Republican told VF, and an unnamed GOP strategist argued, “Republican members of Congress like Pence. They’d much rather have Pence than Trump.”
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:12 AM on August 2 [28 favorites]


My first thought after reading Talking Points Memo yesterday was to wonder if we're going to have a Saturday Night Massacre this week. Given Trump these days, it could all happen between 3-4 AM over twitter.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:15 AM on August 2 [3 favorites]


Doktor Zed: Of course, it's easier, and safer, for the media to cover the Trump-Mueller standoff from an ostensibly neutral vantage just to avoid getting caught in the blast radius of Trump's periodic explosions or taking more flack for peddling "fake news".

But when you're already called "fake news," what else do you have to lose? If Trump really retaliates against news orgs instead of ranting about it, there would be serious pushback. (Then again maybe not? Fucking hell, 2018.)


xammerboy: At one of the vistas was a small sign that neutrally presented some basic facts about global warming, along with the almost certain prediction that this environment, thousands of years old, will shortly disappear. Of course, this was enough to excise a number of American tourists who loudly complained that the sign made it sound like global warming is potentially a bad thing, its causes unnatural, and unfairly linked the earth's warming to CO2 in the atmosphere.

Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change (Nathaniel Rich for the New York Times, Aug. 1, 2018)
Prologue
The world has warmed more than one degree Celsius since the Industrial Revolution. The Paris climate agreement — the nonbinding, unenforceable and already unheeded treaty signed on Earth Day in 2016 — hoped to restrict warming to two degrees. The odds of succeeding, according to a recent study based on current emissions trends, are one in 20. If by some miracle we are able to limit warming to two degrees, we will only have to negotiate the extinction of the world’s tropical reefs, sea-level rise of several meters and the abandonment of the Persian Gulf. The climate scientist James Hansen has called two-degree warming “a prescription for long-term disaster.” Long-term disaster is now the best-case scenario. Three-degree warming is a prescription for short-term disaster: forests in the Arctic and the loss of most coastal cities. Robert Watson, a former director of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has argued that three-degree warming is the realistic minimum. Four degrees: Europe in permanent drought; vast areas of China, India and Bangladesh claimed by desert; Polynesia swallowed by the sea; the Colorado River thinned to a trickle; the American Southwest largely uninhabitable. The prospect of a five-degree warming has prompted some of the world’s leading climate scientists to warn of the end of human civilization.
But that's probably too wordy and too political to put up next to all the signs in all the national parks, public beaches, ski resorts, and government facilities.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:27 AM on August 2 [48 favorites]


abandonment of the Persian Gulf

What does this mean and why specifically call out this one body of water?
posted by M-x shell at 7:44 AM on August 2


I assume they’re referring to the gulf states, not the gulf itself.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:48 AM on August 2 [2 favorites]


Doktor Zed: It's all reminiscent of Trump's veiled confession at a 2016 campaign rally: "Look, we have the greatest business people in the world and we don’t use them. We use political hacks. Some of these business people are not nice people. Who cares? You care? I don’t think so.

See these monsters? They're terrible! But they work for us, they're our monsters. Just like saying ICE are worse than MS-13 -- the real monsters are on our side.

Manafort Trial: Prosecutors Detail Spending On Luxuries Purchased With Offshore Funds (NPR, August 2, 2018)
Thursday is Day 3 of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's federal trial on bank and tax fraud charges in Alexandria, Va.

Prosecutors are zipping right along in their case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye told the court Wednesday the government expects to close its case by the end of next week.

That was good news to Judge T.S. Ellis III, who has frequently cajoled both sides to keep things moving. Ellis wrapped up Day 2 by saying he's "hoping we can finish this case much sooner than anyone expected."

To that end, the government plowed through eight witnesses on Wednesday, including a political consultant, representatives of two luxury menswear boutiques, home contractors, a real estate agent and a comptroller of a local Mercedes-Benz dealership. All of the vendors said Manafort paid them by international wire transfer, mostly from accounts in Cyprus.

Here's a quick look at what to expect in the day ahead, and a few moments of levity from the day that was
There's not a lot more in that article that isn't already in this thread, but the focus on a speedy trial is still interesting to me. Knock this one down, set up the next?
posted by filthy light thief at 7:48 AM on August 2 [6 favorites]


What does this mean and why specifically call out this one body of water?

The Persian Gulf region features the highest heat indexes of the inhabited world and recent temperature/humidity records there are cracking wet bulb temp. That's the point at which the heat will kill a person, even if they're naked, in the shade and soaking wet. Essentially the Gulf is ground-zero for the post-human climate.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:50 AM on August 2 [48 favorites]


The biggest lie we still teach in American history classes - Sean Illing, Vox.
“The idea that we’re always getting better keeps us from seeing those times when we’re getting worse.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:58 AM on August 2 [41 favorites]




The goal is to make those people who are presidential-year voters into midterm-election voters.

If that's Trump's goal he's actually doing a pretty good job of achieving it, but I'm not sure he's gonna be happy with the results.
posted by contraption at 8:05 AM on August 2 [32 favorites]


There's not a lot more in that article that isn't already in this thread, but the focus on a speedy trial is still interesting to me. Knock this one down, set up the next?

Well, the bank fraud and money laundering that Manafort is accused of is pretty much the raison d'etre of the FBI and US Attorney's office, so it's not like there's a lot to deal with that's off the procedural flowchart here.
posted by mikelieman at 8:05 AM on August 2 [4 favorites]


the focus on a speedy trial is still interesting to me

The federal court in Alexandria is known as the "Rocket Docket" and has its own rules and protocols to make for some of the fastest trials in the country. Judge Ellis is a real hard charger about keeping things moving ahead. And there's the speculation into Mueller's strategy that he chose the venue to get a conviction as quickly as possible.
posted by peeedro at 8:09 AM on August 2 [12 favorites]


The prospect of a five-degree warming has prompted some of the world’s leading climate scientists to warn of the end of human civilization.... But that's probably too wordy and too political to put up next to all the park signs.

Based on what I heard at the park, no progress has been made on the discussion of global warming. Many people still don't accept its real, or even that it necessarily has downsides. Moreover, they're incredibly angry anyone would think otherwise.

Global warming more than any other issue makes me despair for humanity. The science is basic, clear, well understood, and non-controversial. The causes and the solutions (at least in terms of started) are clear. The stakes couldn't be higher.

I often feel like I'm in some really awful tragic farce of a movie where we've found out an asteroid will hit the earth in ten years, can stop it by shooting a missile at it, but don't for a never ending series of dumber and less plausible reasons.
posted by xammerboy at 8:26 AM on August 2 [71 favorites]


I often feel like I'm in some really awful tragic farce of a movie where we've found out an asteroid will hit the earth in ten years, can stop it by shooting a missile at it, but don't for a never ending series of dumber and less plausible reasons.

Worse still, we've had sets of smaller missile for 60 years that could help greatly ameliorate the problem but we never fired most of them because one blew up on the launch pad and another almost did.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:37 AM on August 2 [5 favorites]


Do we have any idea how long Manafort's trial is supposed to take?
posted by yoga at 8:39 AM on August 2


The reporting I’ve seen said 3 weeks.
posted by jedicus at 8:41 AM on August 2


"Conspiracy Against the United States"
"Rudy Giuliani, attorney at law"
"Stephen Miller immigrant cruelty porn"
"Proud Graduate of Trump University"
Share the plot of your favorite Trump scandal in five words or less
posted by growabrain at 8:41 AM on August 2 [3 favorites]


The jurors were told the Manafort trial would take no more than three weeks, but I’ve often heard it’s expected to take two weeks.
posted by Andrhia at 8:41 AM on August 2 [1 favorite]


How Did the End of the World Become Old News?
In other words, it has been a month of historic, even unprecedented, climate horrors. But you may not have noticed, if you are anything but the most discriminating consumer of news. The major networks aired 127 segments on the unprecedented July heat wave, Media Matters usefully tabulated, and only one so much as mentioned climate change.
...
...it is perhaps important to remember that the media did not ignore these stories, or the month of global climate horrors that gave rise to them. Television networks covered those heat waves 127 times. That is, actually, a very lot! They just utterly failed to “connect the dots,” as Emily Atkin put it incisively at The New Republic —broadcasters told the story of the historic temperatures, but chose not to touch the question of why we were seeing so many of them, all at once, with the atmosphere more full of carbon, and the planet hotter, than it has ever been at any point in human history.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:43 AM on August 2 [42 favorites]


Lawfare updates their 2017 article on 7 theories about the Russian Affair: Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes take a look at what they thought then and what we know now.
posted by suelac at 9:00 AM on August 2 [7 favorites]


Senator Chris Coons of Delaware advises Rudy Giuliani on 52 USC 30121 (My favorite.)

For the record, the Russian criminals broke 52 USC 30121 when they reached out to the Trump Campaign to discuss -- a thing of value -- opposition research on Hillary Clinton.

THEN, the campaign itself became liable under 18 USC 2 and 18 USC 371, when they ACTUALLY took an illegal meeting at Trump Tower with the Russian Criminals.

THEN, lying about it, they earned an 18 USC 1001
posted by mikelieman at 9:09 AM on August 2 [46 favorites]


Climate change ruptures the shared hallucinatory reality that capitalism is the only way to properly run a society. Climate change is caused by global capitalism, and we can't stop it without ending global capitalism. Those empowered by global capitalism are working night and day to stop us from doing anything about it. That's why everyone feels so paralyzed and transfixed by its horror at the same time. Our only hope is that we wake up from the nightmare before crashing to the ground.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:10 AM on August 2 [67 favorites]


Saudi Arabia Planned to Invade Qatar Last Summer. Rex Tillerson’s Efforts to Stop It May Have Cost Him His Job.

In the before-times, this would be big news. Y'know, the son-in-law of POTUS abusing his top-secret security clearance to help a monarch from who he's seeking funds plan a coup and invasion of a U.S. ally containing a U.S. airbase (ironically, the invasion would use U.S. weapons)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:24 AM on August 2 [45 favorites]


> Based on what I heard at the park, no progress has been made on the discussion of global warming. Many people still don't accept its real, or even that it necessarily has downsides. Moreover, they're incredibly angry anyone would think otherwise.

The American way of life will never be up for negotiation.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:32 AM on August 2




One Second Before Awakening: Climate change is caused by global capitalism, and we can't stop it without ending global capitalism.

This might be extending a derail, but... would addressing climate change really entail "ending global capitalism"?

To me this feels semantic. By way of comparison, current American capitalism is enmeshed with our dysfunctional healthcare system, and it's obviously imperative for the country to shift to something universal that treats healthcare as a basic right. If and when that happens, does that mean "capitalism" was ended? Are European countries "post-capitalist"? Most people don't think so. Surely you could (in theory) have an equivalent massive change/takeover to the energy industry.

Unless the issue is that capitalism inherently requires unsustainable growth, and a world where climate change was kept truly in check would require such a dramatic alteration of our way of life (in terms of, like, what people do and how they do it) that no matter what you label the "before" picture, the "after" picture has to be called something different. That does make sense to me.

I just don't know if it's correct, and I suppose that comes down to the non-binary nature of the threat climate change is posing. (It's not like a Hollywood movie scene where the heroes have X minutes to prevent everyone from getting infected by Scary Disease but if they access the McGuffin before then, the day is totally saved... and more like a real-life version of that, where every passing minute means more people acquiring a more virulent strain of infection and there's no solid line between a happy ending and a sad one).
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:58 AM on August 2 [8 favorites]


Capitalism leans itself to maximized resource consumption and therefore maximized waste and the forces of capitalism counter anything that would oppose that waste.
posted by Artw at 10:04 AM on August 2 [11 favorites]


Though I was thinking about posting something, there's an already open Climate Change FPP.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:07 AM on August 2 [4 favorites]


[Let's not get further into a capitalism derail, thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 10:07 AM on August 2 [8 favorites]


Our old friend Dinesh D’Souza has dumped a new movie, "Death of a Nation" and RogerEbert.com's Peter Sobczynski has this to say about it:
In concluding my review of “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party” (2016), the previous film from conservative pundit-turned-conspiracy theorist/hack filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, I offered the mild critique that “it may well be the single dumbest documentary that I have ever seen in my life.” Good thing that I added that qualifier “may well be” because with his latest effort, “Death of a Nation,” he has managed to outdo his earlier works to such an extent that this could be considered the “Mission: Impossible—Fallout” of crackpot cinematic screeds. In fact, the only thing preventing me from dubbing this one of the dumbest movies of any type that I have ever seen in my life is the fact that I am not entirely certain that something as shabbily constructed and artistically bankrupt as this actually qualifies as a movie in the first place.

posted by octothorpe at 10:20 AM on August 2 [54 favorites]


The Rotten Tomatoes page (0%) is a thing of beauty, especially this from Variety's Owen Gleiberman: "In "Death of a Nation," Dinesh D'Souza is no longer preaching to the choir; he's preaching to the mentally unsound."
posted by zachlipton at 10:26 AM on August 2 [32 favorites]


Phys.org on the coming 'climate refugee' crisis from Middle East and North Africa.

This summer is pointing to parts of Western Europe becoming a desert as well. The white nationalist racists are going to have a tough go of it and probably have to do a conceptual reorg once the refugees are not so easily skin-color coded.
posted by srboisvert at 10:30 AM on August 2


WIRED and CNN contributor Garrett M. Graf (@vermontgmg) makes some inferences about what we've learned in the past week about the Special Counsel investigation and offers some possibilities about where it could be heading (Thread Reader version):
THREAD: I keep thinking about this CNN report from last night that Mueller's referred cases about Tony Podesta, Vin Weber, and maybe others, to SDNY. I think this is one of the biggest developments on Mueller's probe we've seen recently. Here's why:
1) This move evidently took place perhaps as early as April—or earlier—which means we're still MONTHS behind in our public understanding where Mueller is in his work. He's not leaking, and we're glimpsing the totality of his investigation only through soda straws....
2) The fact Mueller turned this investigation over to SDNY prosecutors, like he did with the Cohen investigation, means he's continuing to be judicious about only staying focused on the Russia end of his probe....
3) Exactly as we would expect him, after looking at past efforts like his Ray Rice domestic violence probe, he's laser-focused on the question of the Russian conspiracy. Other crimes he finds? He hands those off....
4) He's not on a broad "Witch Hunt." That's significant because it means that the cases/threads that Mueller *IS* holding onto aren't tangential. I outlined recently the 9 areas where Mueller is still probing: ....
WIRED: What Robert Mueller Knows—And 9 Areas He'll Pursue Next
5) So if Mueller is still investigating what we think he is—including George Nader, Erik Prince, the Seychelles, Cambridge Analytica, and more—that means they're *DIRECTLY RELATED* to the underlying Russia probe.
6) That means there's a LOT more to go in this investigation—and that in ways we can't see right now, but that Mueller surely knows, these pieces actually all fit together. This probe is big. And it's far from over....
7) By telling us what Mueller's NOT investigation, CNN's report on Podesta/Weber actually gives an important window into what he is investigating. And the consequences of that are really eye-opening. Look at how much more there is to go: /END
Incidentally, Naval War College professor and #NeverTrump'er Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) has tweeted out a concise breakdown of the US intelligence community's investigation of the Trump campaign: “Okay, since the post-FISA Russia gaslighting has begun, let's sum up why the Trumper arguments about "no collusion" and "no crime" and all that crap are not only wrong, but morally deficient. Yes, including the Fusion and Steele issue.” (ThreadReader version)
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:35 AM on August 2 [32 favorites]


@KenDilanianNBC: The NSA and CyberCom director just said he is prepared to conduct operations against foreign actors seeking to interfere in US politics. That’s news.

Today's press briefing is a Very Special Episode on election security. It's pretty much the entire national security contingent of the administration standing up to say stuff that the President won't, and I guess they're hoping we won't notice the difference.

Coates says what's happening now is "not the kind of robust campaign we saw in the 2016 election."

He also says he is "not in a position fully to understand what happened in Helsinki," which is a disturbing position to be in.
posted by zachlipton at 10:44 AM on August 2 [31 favorites]


The white nationalist racists are going to have a tough go of it and probably have to do a conceptual reorg once the refugees are not so easily skin-color coded.

Watch what happens when much of the southern tier of the continental US becomes uninhabitable, and note in particular which among the populations affected are dubbed "climate refugees" in the media when they straggle northward.
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:57 AM on August 2 [35 favorites]


@shaneharris: Hmm. Asked if Russia is the only country interfering in our elections, Sarah Sanders says "There are others," "our intelligence shows that there are a number of others" considering interference, but won't name them. Really?? Why not? This is very significant if true.

@ZekeJMiller: .@PressSec pressed on whether the press is the enemy of the people: I'm here to speak on behalf of the president and he's made his comments clear

@SCOTUSblog: National Archives tells Sen. Judiciary Chairman Grassley that it can't complete review of his request for Kavanaugh White House records (many fewer than Dems want) until late October, suggesting potential delay in #SCOTUS confirmation

Grassley's office put out a statement saying they still plan to have a confirmation hearing in September. So "fuck it, we'll do it live" is how we confirm Republican Supreme Court Justices too.
posted by zachlipton at 11:00 AM on August 2 [19 favorites]






The Washington Post: Manafort trial Day 3: Jury sends unusual request to Judge T.S. Ellis III to bring a birthday cake into the courthouse, presumably for a juror’s birthday.

“You may indeed bring in birthday cake for Friday,” said Ellis. “I quit having birthdays years ago.”


“But, please ensure the cake does not conceal any polonium-laced blowdarts,” he didn't add.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:28 AM on August 2 [4 favorites]


OK, so I guess it’s time to pay up all those cake bets.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:30 AM on August 2 [13 favorites]


Grassley's office put out a statement saying they still plan to have a confirmation hearing in September. So "fuck it, we'll do it live" is how we confirm Republican Supreme Court Justices too.

So they're going to follow the Pruitt model of rushing the confirmation to make sure they can say with a straight face that when they voted they didn't know about whatever incriminating documents were in the pipeline.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:34 AM on August 2 [18 favorites]


So they're going to follow the Pruitt model of rushing the confirmation to make sure they can say with a straight face that when they voted they didn't know about whatever incriminating documents were in the pipeline.

Republican Senators already know that the President's campaign is under criminal investigation, and that the Special Counsel wants to interview the President in person.

Republican Senators already know that the President's Supreme Court nominee is one of the few people in the country to have written a law review article arguing that Presidents should be immune from investigation. Not indictment, investigation. The nominee argued that it is the role of the Congress to impeach bad actors, presumably without the benefit of the bad actors being subject to investigation prior to their trial. This is the man the President wishes to grant a lifetime appointment as one of the most powerful people in the country.

Why? Republican Senators already know why.

Republican Senators know that this vote is one of the most important decisions they will ever make, and they are going to choose to aid in the destruction of the rule of law in this country. They are going to choose to aid the abolition of the office of a President under the law and its replacement by the office of a Monarch above the law.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:48 AM on August 2 [87 favorites]


@shaneharris: Hmm. Asked if Russia is the only country interfering in our elections, Sarah Sanders says "There are others," "our intelligence shows that there are a number of others" considering interference, but won't name them.

Bolton, Wray, and Coates all call out Russia, but Sanders isn't the only one in the Trump inner circle who won't.

On Monday at the DHSC Cyber Summit, Pence blamed the Obama administration: "We inherited a cyber-crisis. The previous administration all but neglected cyber-security, even though the digital threats were growing more numerous and more dangerous by the day. #DHSCyberSummit" As an example, he mentioned the 2014 hack of the White House—but carefully blames it on "a foreign government" when we know it was Russia.

What's truly concerning in light of Pence promising "strength and action" is that the Trump administration changed the US Nuclear Posture to expand the first-use of nukes against "significant non-nuclear strategic attacks" on US infrastructure (PDF - page 21). In a truly worst-case scenario, by leaving the adversary vague when talking about cyberattacks, Team Trump keeps its options open for pinning the blame on any future cyberattacks on Iran if they consider them out of compliance with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty…
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:00 PM on August 2 [6 favorites]


A Bunch of Guys Running in Democratic Primaries Are Attacking EMILY’s List - Kara Voght, Mother Jones.
2018 is hardly the first time EMILY’s List has been attacked for its influence. Almost every election since the 1990s has yielded news stories about the group’s increasing power, and that growing footprint has had its attendant number of critics. But in the past, those attacks have generally come from Republicans.
...
But the criticism has been much more rampant this cycle, coming heavily from progressives and fellow Democrats who would have likely once championed the group’s efforts. In an election year that’s been defined not only by women candidates, but also women voters and volunteers, it’s easy to see why they’re irked—EMILY’s List-backed candidates have been, on the whole, winning, and the group’s attacks have been crippling to otherwise viable campaigns.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:02 PM on August 2 [12 favorites]


ZeusHumms: it’s easy to see why they’re irked—EMILY’s List-backed candidates have been, on the whole, winning, and the group’s attacks have been crippling to otherwise viable campaigns.

O RLY?
In the days leading up to Maine’s June 12 primary, Maine Women Together, a Portland-based political action committee, launched a barrage of Facebook attacks on Adam Cote, a leading candidate running in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Six ads, almost exclusively aimed at a female audience, called out Cote’s past as a self-identified Republican and lambasted him for a debate appearance in which he referred to his opponent’s gun control stance as “political theater.”
...
Cote hasn’t been the only Democrat to attack EMILY’s List in 2018. David Min, who lost in the primary for California’s 45th District, slammed fellow Democrat and eventual primary winner Katie Porter in an advertisement for taking money from “Washington insiders.” In Pennsylvania’s 7th District primary, District Attorney John Morganelli, a staunch anti-abortion Democrat, took issue with the group after EMILY’s List spent $370,000 to boost the primary’s eventual winner, Susan Wild, stating that the organization had mischaracterized his record.
Those two seem to have problems with their "otherwise viable" campaigns. It's a loss for everyone that so much was put into primary contests when they could be focused on the future elections, but it doesn't sound like they were based on lines.

In other words, it sucks that those candidates had such unpleasant beliefs that could be used against them.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:13 PM on August 2 [35 favorites]


Gershom Gorenberg: Netanyahu weakens support for Israel in the United States
To start: the nation-state law is awful. It is a mix of the unnecessary and the atrocious. It declares that Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people, which has been true for 70 years without need of bombastic legislation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition to confirm it.

For a state to be a democracy, though, it must constantly work to protect the rights of minorities. The law does the opposite. It demotes Arabic from its erstwhile status as an official language equal to Hebrew. It contains a provision that encourages planning authorities to build communities intended for the Jewish majority, and that may permit banning Arabs from them. The law loudly tells Israel’s Arab citizens that their citizenship is lesser and unequal.

The law is also a prominent piece of Netanyahu’s wider agenda of illiberal democracy. Legislation passed in the same hectic parliamentary week, for instance, is intended to keep high schools from inviting lecturers from human rights group to speak to students. Principals want open-minded civics education; the government wants to close doors.

The illiberal agenda isn’t new. But Netanyahu is less inhibited in implementing it since Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. Netanyahu no longer needs to worry about displeasing the leader of Israel’s essential strategic ally. The opposite is true: The more the prime minister acts like a strongman, the more likely he is to increase Trump’s affection.
[...]
Even before Trump, reticence about criticizing Israel was weakening among Democratic politicians and liberal American Jews. By tying himself to Trump, Netanyahu is accelerating the trend.

[Randi] Weingarten’s statement is emblematic. She is the leader of a labor union with 1.7 million members strongly supportive of the Democratic Party. She’s also a proudly identifying Jew.

In Congress, dissatisfaction among Democrats with Israeli actions in Gaza and the West Bank is becoming more visible. In May, 13 senators signed a letter pressing the administration to act to “alleviate the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.” Another letter, from 76 members of Congress, was addressed directly to Netanyahu, pressing him to cease the demolition of Palestinian villages in the West Bank.

This is a positive change. For Israelis trying to change the country’s direction, it has long been dispiriting to watch Democratic politicians drop their critical thinking at the door in AIPAC conventions.

If more Democrats draw a line between support for Israel and support for Netanyahu’s destructive policies, I’d count that as one of the rays of light in these dark times.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:15 PM on August 2 [16 favorites]


Video: ICE Officers Separate Man from Family Without Showing ID or Warrant

They might be secret police, beholden to no rule of law and disappearing people on camera, but at least they're stupid enough to show their faces.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:17 PM on August 2 [46 favorites]


They are going to choose to aid the abolition of the office of a President under the law and its replacement by the office of a Monarch above the law.

This—when Trump and his friends at Mar-a-Lago chuckle about “Maybe we'll try President-for-life here some day! Ha ha ha!” they're talking about undoing the American Revolution.
posted by XMLicious at 12:19 PM on August 2 [18 favorites]


Video: ICE Officers Separate Man from Family Without Showing ID or Warrant

Everything about those guys said "bounty hunters" to me.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:25 PM on August 2 [7 favorites]


But the criticism has been much more rampant this cycle, coming heavily from progressives and fellow Democrats who would have likely once championed the group’s efforts.

I just saw this when Sara Benincasa responded to criticism from an account whose main function seems to be amplifying divisive voices on the left. I'm not saying this account isn't real, but it's so stereotypical, it seems like a caricature.
posted by gladly at 12:29 PM on August 2 [3 favorites]


Video: ICE Officers Separate Man from Family Without Showing ID or Warrant

Everything about those guys said "bounty hunters" to me.


I have wondered if ICE Officers have a ghastly quota that they have to meet, for whatever reason.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:38 PM on August 2 [5 favorites]


[As noted above, there is an active climate change thread right now - please take that thread there. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:41 PM on August 2




Vanity Fair, relying on a mix of named and unnamed GOP sources plus the ever-available Steve Bannon, published an interim account of Trump 2020: Inside the Trump 2020 Campaign’s Wild, Disorganized Attempt to “Keep America Great”—The president is running his re-election campaign precisely the way he governs—playing three opposing power centers off each other, and listening mainly to his own instincts. It’s going to get ugly, and soon.

Something interesting happened to this Vanity Fair story: Steve Bannon is using it to make himself sound important, as BuzzFeed notices:
Bannon, however, is also already looking ahead to 2020. In a Vanity Fair story published online this week about Trump’s reelection campaign, Bannon portrays himself as a key part of the unofficial operation. Bannon, according to Vanity Fair, has set up a "shadowy political operation" that includes a group of the president's outside political advisers. An original version of the story said Bannon regularly holds morning conference calls with allies involved in the operation. When asked by BuzzFeed News about the conference call, two of those political advisers mentioned in the article, Corey Lewandowski and Jason Miller, denied being part of any group affiliated with Bannon. By Wednesday, Vanity Fair had switched the mention of the conference call to a line saying that Bannon “checks in by phone with his allies,” without explicitly noting the change. (Gabriel Sherman, the reporter who wrote the story, declined to comment, as did a spokesperson for Vanity Fair.)

The change in the story illustrates the complications with Bannon’s return: He’s using the media to help with his comeback and to associate himself with Trump’s inner circle, which is then quick to distance itself from him.
posted by zachlipton at 12:45 PM on August 2 [15 favorites]


> I just saw this when Sara Benincasa responded to criticism from an account whose main function seems to be amplifying divisive voices on the left. I'm not saying this account isn't real, but it's so stereotypical, it seems like a caricature.

This is a serious problem. There's no Turing test to prove that @DirtbagMcSteiniac isn't actually on Putin's payroll, and though a Twitter rando isn't as pernicious as someone like Greenwald, tens of thousands of them become a serious problem -- tying up resources, driving wedges between different groups, and just creating a fog of war that provides cover for the real villains to do bad things.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:47 PM on August 2 [14 favorites]


Do We Remember That Manafort Picked Pence?
Do we remember that Mike Pence was Paul Manafort’s choice for Veep? Trump was set on Chris Christie and didn’t seem terribly comfortable with Pence. But Manafort was dead set on it and even resorted to tricking Trump about mechanical problems on his plane to keep Trump in Indianapolis to seal the deal with Pence.
...
...it’s a good example of how key a player Manafort was on the Trump campaign during a critical period of the campaign. How could he not be? He was the campaign manager. That’s a pretty key job.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:57 PM on August 2 [72 favorites]


Lisa Blatt, Bullshitico: I’m a Liberal Feminist Lawyer. Here’s Why Democrats Should Support Judge Kavanaugh.
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
Scott Lemieux, LGM: “I’m A Soulless Careerist, Here’s Why Liberals Should Support Judge Kavanaugh”
Here’s the thing: there’s nothing liberal or feminist about claiming that there is a single “most qualified” person for a job like this. There are literally thousands of people perfectly well “qualified” to cast predictable votes and lightly edit opinions written by elite recent JDs. As is most often the case with job searches — the myths of meritocracy notwithstanding — this is about picking among many perfectly well-qualified candidates.

Speaking of the pernicious myth of the One Indispensable Man, Tina Smith will win re-election in November and cast the same votes Al Franken would have. As it happens, her opponent Karin Housley lived in the same neighborhood as my parents for a year or three, was by all accounts a very nice woman. Look for my forthcoming op-ed, “As a liberal, I saw Karin Housley jogging without littering or tripping anybody, so Democrats should support her.”
posted by tonycpsu at 1:00 PM on August 2 [46 favorites]


While your "blah blah blah" summary is accurate, and the entire column boils down to the awfulness of a handful of top Supreme Court lawyers who, whatever their supposed liberal bona fides, are awful (see, for instance, Neal Katyal fighting to ensure workers can't ever sue their employers), I want to point to this paragraph:
Months later, I asked Kavanaugh to join a panel at Georgetown Law School to review a film about college debate. He responded that he knew nothing about debate but nevertheless was happy to help. When a law student asked him how debate had shaped his career, he answered: “I actually never debated, but I did play football, and the two are basically the same.” He then offered this advice: “Practice, learn to get along with all of your teammates, learn from your mistakes, and have fun.” It was clear that judge cared about mentoring and teaching law students and was invested in helping others to succeed.
What kind of nonsense is this? "I asked him to do a job he's unqualified for, he answered a question with platitudes in an effort to muddle through it, and therefore he truly cares." This would be a dumb anecdote in a letter of recommendation for a summer camp counselor, and a smart person thinks it's an argument for giving the guy a lifetime job on the Supreme Court?
posted by zachlipton at 1:09 PM on August 2 [83 favorites]


She's so liberal she defended Philip Morris from being sued and the Washington Racist Team Names from having their shitty racist trademarks diluted.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:12 PM on August 2 [54 favorites]


“I actually never debated, but I did play football, and the two are basically the same.” He then offered this advice: “Practice, learn to get along with all of your teammates, learn from your mistakes, and have fun.”

This reasoning is astonishing coming from a potential Supreme Court Justice. I mean, I actually never performed open heart surgery before, but I did play football, and the two are basically the same. Practice, learn to get along with all of your teammates, learn from your mistakes and have fun. Also, the patient’s dead.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:22 PM on August 2 [86 favorites]


iirc Gorsuch was also a rich well of pseudo-folksy horseshit. Let's just eliminate the judiciary and replace it with councils of sitcom dads
posted by theodolite at 1:48 PM on August 2 [27 favorites]


Yes and it was Jeff Flake who gave so few fucks about taking that confirmation seriously he asked Gorsuch the horse or ducks question.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 1:56 PM on August 2 [15 favorites]


“I actually never debated, but I did play football, and the two are basically the same.” He then offered this advice: “Practice, learn to get along with all of your teammates, learn from your mistakes, and have fun.”

It probably means I'm a bad person that I read this and thought it was kind of a funny way of saying he thinks competitive debate as a sport is useless bullshit.
posted by The World Famous at 2:07 PM on August 2 [5 favorites]


Politico: RNC warns donors to steer clear of Kochs -- The move escalates the fight between President Donald Trump and the powerful network.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:07 PM on August 2 [10 favorites]


Yes and it was Jeff Flake who gave so few fucks about taking that confirmation seriously he asked Gorsuch the horse or ducks question.

The question, asked by Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake on behalf of his teenage son, is typically debated on Reddit AMAs, something Gorsuch, who appeared surprised, was not aware of. (Mahita Gajanan for Time Magazine, March 21, 2017)

Yup, sitcom dads all the way down.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:08 PM on August 2


The World Famous: It probably means I'm a bad person that I read this and thought it was kind of a funny way of saying he thinks competitive debate as a sport is useless bullshit.

Except for the fact that football is srs bznss in much of the country and for many people, much in the same way that debate is a serious undertaking for certain serious people. You can win debates! In other words, to make light of either football (which might be the case) or debate (which is totally the case, because why else would you compare skills in one sport with another very different one, because the rules differ, if nothing else).

Meanwhile, DeVos Seeks To Rewrite The Rules On Higher Ed (NPR, Aug. 2, 2018)
The U.S. Education Department is going back to the drawing board on some basic rules of higher education, including one concept that has been in place for 125 years.

The goal? Unleash innovation to better serve students.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has called for a "major shift" in how we provide higher education: "We have to give students a much wider venue of opportunity, starting in high school and middle school, to help guide them into a productive future."

Critics, though, call this move giving free rein to bad actors.

"Basically what these regulations allow is for these institutions that care about nothing but profit to come in and screw students in the name of innovation," says Amy Laitinen, who directs higher education policy at the left-leaning New America Foundation.

This week, the department officially announced (PDF) that it is reopening "negotiated rule-making," a public comment and deliberation process, in order to rewrite a long list of rules meant to define the value of a college education.
The article continues with an overview of the proposals and what changes they might bring, with links to previous coverage. In case you need it after reading more, here's the venting MeTa.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:19 PM on August 2 [8 favorites]


BuzzFeed, Remember Trump’s Tweet Saying He Was Pulling Out Of The G7 Summit Agreement? No One Ever Did Anything About It.
Shortly after leaving the G7 Summit in Canada in June, President Donald Trump tweeted to say he had instructed US officials not to endorse a statement he had agreed just hours earlier with other world leaders. Trump was displeased with something Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during the summit’s closing press conference, which the president was following on TV from Air Force One.

But almost two months on, those instructions from Trump have never been acted upon, apparently ignored, two sources who were directly involved in the G7 process told BuzzFeed News.

US inaction means Trump effectively endorsed the final statement after all.
...
“The White House and State Dept. are actively ignoring the tweets of the president,” one of the sources said. “It's like there's a reality TV president, in his own bubble, thinking he controls stuff. It's like The Truman Show.”
The election security press briefing today was the same thing, serious people ignoring the explicit words of the President and hoping nobody notices the difference. It's also just like being around a relative with dementia after they've presented some kind of nonsensical plan: you tell them their idea sounds great and then carry on with whatever you were doing anyway because you've learned nothing good comes from continuing to argue about it.

Also, note the old Rite-aid price tag: @Fahrenthold: A reader found @realDonaldTrump’s vodka—discontinued in 2011–still on sale in Annapolis. In the Schnapps aisle, reader says.
posted by zachlipton at 2:20 PM on August 2 [35 favorites]


those instructions from Trump have never been acted upon,

I think that's the only way the WH can function in the world these days.
posted by Melismata at 2:35 PM on August 2 [3 favorites]


WSJ, Michael Rothfeld, Rebecca Ballhaus and Joe Palazzolo, Top Trump Donor Agreed to Pay Michael Cohen $10 Million for Nuclear Project Push, Sources Say
A major donor to President Trump agreed to pay $10 million to the president’s then-personal attorney if he successfully helped obtain funding for a nuclear-power project, including a $5 billion loan from the U.S. government, according to people familiar with the matter.

The donor, Franklin L. Haney, gave the contract to Trump attorney Michael Cohen in early April to assist his efforts to complete a pair of unfinished nuclear reactors in Alabama, known as the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant, these people said.

Had he been paid the success fee, Mr. Cohen’s deal with Mr. Haney could have been among the most lucrative of the known consulting agreements he secured after Mr. Trump’s election by emphasizing his personal relationship with the president, according to people familiar with his pitches.
...
The agreement was made shortly before Mr. Cohen’s home, office and hotel room were raided by federal agents on April 9, according to the people familiar with the contract. It is no longer in effect, one of them said.
...
James Thurber, a professor of government at American University, said success fees are “outside the ethical norms” among Washington lobbyists and are frowned upon. Century-old court rulings deemed fees contingent on lobbyists obtaining public funds or killing legislation unenforceable and counter to public policy, saying they encouraged corruption, he said. Several lobbyists contacted by the Journal said $10 million was an unheard-of sum to pay a consultant for government-related work.
I thank Professor Thurber for offering his opinion, but I wish it came in cartoon form.
posted by zachlipton at 2:39 PM on August 2 [27 favorites]


But almost two months on, those instructions from Trump have never been acted upon, apparently ignored, two sources who were directly involved in the G7 process told BuzzFeed News.
More relevant then Trump's staff conspiring to ignore him (as likely as that may be in some ways..) is the fact that announcing an intention to give instructions is not the same as giving instructions. For a guy who assured us "nobody knows the system like I do", Trump seems to have very little idea how things actually work and not enough curiosity to find out.

Just saying to the press "we're going to do X" is not equivalent to actually doing it. It's like Michael Scott declaring bankruptcy -- that's not how it works. (Ironically, however, declaring bankruptcy is a process with which Trump is very familiar..)
posted by Nerd of the North at 2:44 PM on August 2 [5 favorites]


!

[The Guardian] Suspected Russian spy found working at US embassy in Moscow
Exclusive: Russian is understood to have had full access to secret data during decade at embassy
US counter-intelligence investigators discovered a suspected Russian spy had been working undetected in the heart of the American embassy in Moscow for more than a decade, the Guardian has learned.

The Russian national had been hired by the US Secret Service and is understood to have had access to the agency’s intranet and email systems, which gave her a potential window into highly confidential material including the schedules of the president and vice-president.
Important point, though: The Secret Service knew about it in January 2017. They didn't do anything. They just had her quietly fired with no investigation. Free to go, no questions about what she might have gotten into in the last decade. Nope, don't want the fuss of having a Russian spy outed.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 3:10 PM on August 2 [66 favorites]


Important point, though: The Secret Service knew about it in January 2017. They didn't do anything. They just had her quietly fired with no investigation. Free to go, no questions about what she might have gotten into in the last decade. Nope, don't want the fuss of having a Russian spy outed.

So why are we hearing about it now?
posted by dilaudid at 3:13 PM on August 2 [3 favorites]


Presidents have often been accused of being weak, perhaps because they could not achieve their agenda by influencing other branches of government. But until now, when have they been accused of lacking the ability to issue clear orders to the Executive Branch? The weakest President in the country's history, the Head of State has been reduced to a Talking Head of State, his Executive Orders rendered into Executive Spitballs.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:15 PM on August 2 [5 favorites]


But almost two months on, those instructions from Trump have never been acted upon, apparently ignored

THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yo, I'll tell you what I want, what I really, really want.
EXECUTIVE BRANCH EMPLOYEES: So tell me what you want, what you really, really want.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I wanna, (ha) I wanna, (ha) I wanna, (ha) I wanna, (ha)
[But the EXECUTIVE BRANCH EMPLOYEES have already left the room]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:16 PM on August 2 [48 favorites]


“The White House and State Dept. are actively ignoring the tweets of the president,” one of the sources said.

Let's bear in mind that these are Trump's public utterances. We've had numerous accounts of people in the administration ignoring what he says in private. This includes policy decisions in meetings and day-to-day operations in the White House. Not to mention Washington Post correspondent Daniel Drezner's massive curated Twitter thread "I'll believe that Trump is growing into the presidency when his staff stops talking about him like a toddler."

It's reasonable to infer his aides and staff are doing this because he's cognitively impaired.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:20 PM on August 2 [21 favorites]


Most of the government is designed to act with some amount of gradual deliberation. In the case of Trump having a temper tantrum, that deliberation can result in him forgetting about the issue at hand, and no executive action occurs. But there are things which are designed to occur quickly. For example, the system which launches the nation's nuclear arsenal is designed to allow an immediate counterattack on the President's order, so that said arsenal is not rendered inoperable by any missiles which are already incoming. Even if no such incoming missiles actually exist.

So, that's nice.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:24 PM on August 2 [1 favorite]


Foreign Policy, Internal Documents Show How Trump Administration Misled Public on Poverty
At one point, the draft asserts that “people experiencing a housing crisis in a community have fair and equal access and are connected to available housing and related assistance based on their strengths and needs.”

In the margin, an official from the Council of Economic Advisers wrote: “Massive waiting lists for vouchers—not sure this is our strong suit,” an apparent reference to the U.S. government’s program to help low-income families obtain housing.

The draft also also noted the $18 billion had been allocated to Puerto Rico after devastating hurricanes in 2017. In response, an official from the Council of Economic Advisers wrote: “Pretty sure that’s peanuts compared to what the mainland got so you may want to rethink this.”
...
In another email, Mari Stull, the senior State Department advisor, described the U.N. report as “propaganda.” She ridiculed the finding that the United States has the highest child poverty rates among the mostly high-income countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

“Based upon my own experience, my sons are destitute poor and living off the welfare state of Mom—so guess they contributed to the ‘youth poverty’ crisis in America,” she wrote.

A source familiar with the exchange said many people who received Stull’s email within the State Department were “outraged” and “sickened” by the remark.
...
Stull was a food lobbyist and wine blogger before the Trump administration appointed her to a senior leadership post at the State Department’s Bureau of International Organization Affairs, which oversees U.S. diplomatic relations with the United Nations.
posted by zachlipton at 3:28 PM on August 2 [32 favorites]


THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yo, I'll tell you what I want, what I really, really want.

I wanna really, really, really wanna hear Daddy say he loves me.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:38 PM on August 2 [4 favorites]


Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
They asked my daughter Ivanka whether or not the media is the enemy of the people. She correctly said no. It is the FAKE NEWS, which is a large percentage of the media, that is the enemy of the people!
1:24 PM - 2 Aug 2018
Orwell would be proud.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 3:47 PM on August 2 [34 favorites]


Since the president can’t form new memories there’s probably no reason to enact any of his plans. All the evil work of the administration is done by embolded parties who know now know noone is going to stop them.
posted by The Whelk at 3:48 PM on August 2 [16 favorites]


They asked my daughter Ivanka whether or not children should be separated from parents. She correctly said no. It is the BROWN CHILDREN, which is a large percentage of the children, that should be separated from their parents!

[fake]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:50 PM on August 2 [11 favorites]


They asked my daughter Ivanka whether or not children should be separated from parents. She correctly said no. It is the BROWN CHILDREN, which is a large percentage of the children, that should be separated from their parents!

[fake]

not quite fake.

Ivanka Trump Blames Family Separation At Border On Parents
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:52 PM on August 2 [8 favorites]


It's also disgusting that Ivanka puts family separation in the past tense.
posted by Harry Caul at 4:00 PM on August 2 [11 favorites]


...the Head of State has been reduced to a Talking Head of State...

East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94, I will totally fucking steal that...
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:07 PM on August 2 [4 favorites]


ProPublica, Worker Charged With Sexually Molesting Eight Children at Immigrant Shelter (cw: "This story includes graphic details of alleged sexual violence against minors.")
A youth care worker for Southwest Key has been charged with 11 sex offenses after authorities accused him of molesting at least eight unaccompanied immigrant boys over nearly a year at one of the company’s shelters in Mesa, Arizona, federal court records show.
It, um, gets inordinately worse in the next paragraph.

The man ultimately responsible for overseeing this system is currently busy recounting his electoral college victory nearly two years ago and expressing his dissatisfaction with the way newscasters covered it.
posted by zachlipton at 4:12 PM on August 2 [50 favorites]


“Based upon my own experience, my sons are destitute poor and living off the welfare state of Mom—so guess they contributed to the ‘youth poverty’ crisis in America,” she wrote.

They do appear to be adults. If they actually can't support themselves and are dependent on support from their mom then they are actually part of the youth poverty crisis. They just may not know it yet.
posted by srboisvert at 4:20 PM on August 2 [6 favorites]


Trump is also busy meeting with Scott Adams. So, you know, lots of important things to do that take away time from making sure you don't rip children away from their parents and put them in the care of a rapist.
posted by zachlipton at 4:28 PM on August 2 [14 favorites]


Fun fact about MetaFilter's own Scott Adams: remember that (strangely now-deleted) blog post he made in 2016 about how he really didn't think Trump would turn out to be Hitler, but if he did, he, Scott Adams, was going to personally assassinate him? Here's the quote:
My promise: If Trump gets elected, and he does anything that looks even slightly Hitler-ish in office, I will join the resistance movement and help kill him. That’s an easy promise to make, and I hope my fellow citizens would use their Second Amendment rights to rise up and help me kill any Hitler-type person who rose to the top job in this country, no matter who it is.
So I guess Scott doesn't think building concentration camps for kids or quoting Hitler by calling the press "enemies of the people" is even slightly Hitler-ish, or else he just passed up his best shot at making good on his word.
posted by contraption at 4:45 PM on August 2 [70 favorites]


Trump is also busy meeting with Scott Adams.

Adams repeatedly claims that he blocks Nazis, but he's proud to meet with someone that embraces them.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:46 PM on August 2 [4 favorites]


Ivanka Trump Blames Family Separation At Border On Parents

That's really not fair. Technically, it's her dad's fault, not both her parents'.
posted by The World Famous at 4:55 PM on August 2 [125 favorites]


Adams needs Trump to provide inspiration for his Pointy Haired Boss, otherwise he'd have a lot more original jokewriting to have to do.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:59 PM on August 2


Will Sommer @willsommer
The QAnon believer accused of shutting down a bridge near the Hoover Dam with an armored truck [Matthew P. Wright] now says his defense attorney has to go through right-wing journalist @LauraLoomer if he wants to talk to him.
2:20 PM - 2 Aug 2018
This just feels 100% wrong. I know the guy is a nutjob who was threatening people with a rifle but JFC, to be sold out and used by these bottom feeding hacks is beyond the pale.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 5:03 PM on August 2 [15 favorites]


It's reasonable to infer his aides and staff are doing this because he's cognitively impaired.

I can only guess that future generations will assume that Trump's growing dementia was benevolently covered up by the administration, like FDR's polio, and that the public at large was unaware of the president's serious illness.

Narrator: "They were not."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:26 PM on August 2 [20 favorites]


They asked my daughter Ivanka whether or not the media is the enemy of the people. She correctly said no. It is the FAKE NEWS, which is a large percentage of the media, that is the enemy of the people!

Later, at the Wilkes-Barre rally…

ABC's Tara Palmeri (@tarapalmeri): “Even these horrible and horrendous people” - Trump talking about us, talking about his election win {video}
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:29 PM on August 2 [7 favorites]


ABC's Tara Palmeri (@tarapalmeri): “Even these horrible and horrendous people” - Trump talking about us, talking about his election win {video}

Related, today: 'Putin's private army': Murdered journalists were investigating 'mercenaries'

Given enough time following his role model he won't just be stochastically targeting journalists.
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:02 PM on August 2 [12 favorites]


Will Sommer @willsommer
The QAnon believer accused of shutting down a bridge near the Hoover Dam with an armored truck [Matthew P. Wright] now says his defense attorney has to go through right-wing journalist @LauraLoomer if he wants to talk to him.
2:20 PM - 2 Aug 2018
I was sure I read that wrongly, but no. The guy actually believes his defense attorney is part of a vast conspiracy to screw him and only by having a wingnut journalist present at all times can he protect himself.
posted by um at 6:22 PM on August 2 [15 favorites]


Adams repeatedly claims that he blocks Nazis, but he's proud to meet with someone that embraces them.

On his Twitter feed, "Nazi" appears to mean anyone who disagrees with him, so....
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:49 PM on August 2 [1 favorite]


While your "blah blah blah" summary is accurate, and the entire column boils down to the awfulness of a handful of top Supreme Court lawyers who, whatever their supposed liberal bona fides, are awful (see, for instance, Neal Katyal fighting to ensure workers can't ever sue their employers),

The idea that a SCOTUS seat should be judged on qualifications alone is a fucking farce. SCOTUS is a political body, period. These are not judges. They're politicians. The debate between the attitudinal model [pdf] and the idea that judges just "apply precedent" was comical pre-Bush v. Gore and decisively disproven afterwards, anyone now claiming that Justices just "call balls and strikes" or apply "originalist" reasoning, therefore the only relevant concern is what Ivy league school they went to is either A) the Federalist Society or B) paid to perpetuate the cult of credentialism that the Supreme Court bar and all of BigLaw gets off on and gets rich on getting off on.

Democrats have no langauge on how to fight this shit. Judges are political, especially Republican appointed ones cleared by the Federalist Society specifically because the promised to enact radical Republican policies. The judicial matters, we have to fight any Republican appointed judge, just like they fought any judge appointed by Obama. It doesn't fucking matter what school he went to, no Democrat should vote for a Republican nominee, ever again. No Republican nominee should ever again be granted unanimous consent on the floor of the Senate. Much less traded 6 nominees for lifetime appointments for two days of recess like our fucking fearless leader Chuck Schumer did yesterday.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:54 PM on August 2 [34 favorites]


Quiet polling day, but we've got a PPP poll in NY-24. Dem challenger Balter up 47-43 on GOP incumbent Katko [MOE not listed].

Cook has the district as Likely R.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:56 PM on August 2 [14 favorites]






Doktor Zed: "
It's reasonable to infer his aides and staff are doing this because he's cognitively impaired.
"

If true it's pretty wrong on a couple levels. First the US presumably has a president for a reason and the buck shouldn't stop with unelected aides and staff. Second if a President can no longer president he should be impeached rather than just handing the reigns of the country to whomever happens to be standing around.
posted by Mitheral at 7:30 PM on August 2 [13 favorites]


Hey, Dem pickup in the Shelby County, Tennessee mayoral race, about 55-45. Shelby is home to Memphis, and is Tennessee's most populous county.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:21 PM on August 2 [48 favorites]


Re. The G7 situation, I think it’s more likely that after the guy who’d been in charge quit, no one in the administration could figure out whose action item it was to move things forward.

Somewhere on a WH email server is a lengthy email chain that starts off with polite inquiries, cycles through increasingly desperate entreaties, and ends in crickets from senior management.
posted by skye.dancer at 8:25 PM on August 2 [4 favorites]


Nixon's people used to ignore his rantings as well. He would given drunken instructions to do crazy shit and they would just nod and do their own thing and hope he never brought it up again.

Trump is a stupider, more ignorant, more corrupt Nixon.
posted by Justinian at 8:32 PM on August 2 [26 favorites]


USA Today, Trump administration says ACLU — not government — should find deported parents, in which today's status report features the government's position that they should turn over whatever identifying information they happen to have on the deported parents of separated children, and the ACLU "should use their considerable resources and their network of law firms, (non-governmental organizations), volunteers, and others" to find them. The ACLU thinks the government should do the work themselves, seeing as how they're responsible for the situation, and at least supply the complete information they already have.

Daily Beast, Spencer Ackerman, Inside the Secret Taliban Talks to End America’s Longest War:
That seriousness was manifested through Taliban leaders showing pliability about the future of the U.S. troop presence. Despite their strident public position that U.S. troops must withdraw, the Taliban communicated to Raphel and Kolenda that there were circumstances under which they can envision living with a continued American military presence. And they again vowed that an Afghanistan open to Taliban political participation would not host a foreign terrorist presence, satisfying the central U.S. objective of the 17-year war.
Mother Jones, Bribery Trial Reveals Jeff Sessions’ Role in Blocking EPA Action Targeting One of His Biggest Donors
Sessions has long had close ties to Balch and Drummond—the companies respectively ranked as his second- and third-biggest contributors during his Senate career, collectively donating nearly a quarter of a million dollars to his campaigns. And as Mother Jones and the Project on Government Oversight have previously reported, then-Sen. Sessions directly intervened with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to block the cleanup at the center of the federal bribery case.

Upon becoming attorney general, Sessions had a glaring conflict of interest in a criminal prosecution that he was technically overseeing as the nation’s top law enforcement official. Yet despite questions from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and others, he repeatedly refused to say whether he had recused himself from the matter. His silence seems even more questionable given evidence introduced as part of the case.

Billing statements, meeting minutes, and other records briefly made public during the trial—and quickly placed under seal by the judge presiding over the case, but not before Alabama columnist Kyle Whitmire saved copies—reveal that Sessions and his Senate staff coordinated more closely with the defendants than previously known. The documents indicate extensive contact on the EPA action between Sessions’ office and Roberson, Gilbert, and McKinney, including at least 13 phone calls and two in-person meetings in Washington, DC. And they show that Drummond’s attorneys at Balch & Bingham coached Sessions’ staff on how to attack the EPA’s position and that Sessions’ staff reported back to the lawyers about their interactions with the agency.
Daily Beast, National Enquirer Boss David Pecker Tiptoes Away From His Pal Trump as Scandal Swirls and Circulation Drops, in which the National Enquirer has gone silent on Trump since the Cohen raid. From there, the article takes a turn to Ari Emanuel and someone from his agency trying to scrub Pecker's Wikipedia page.

The Boston Globe has a follow-up to this weekend's bombshell report on the TSA/Federal Air Marshall Quiet Skies program, which surveilled 5,000 US citizens on domestic flights in recent months for seemingly no reason: TSA says ‘Quiet Skies’ surveillance snared zero threats. A briefing for Congressional staff on the program revealed that none of the 5,000 citizens monitored were found to be suspicious or warranted any further scrutiny, though it's unclear whether any of them were deemed to have a "cold penetrating stare." The TSA says the program will continue.
posted by zachlipton at 8:40 PM on August 2 [37 favorites]


Lawfare published a major update to their seminal article: Seven Theories of the Case, Updated: One Year Later, What More Do We Know About L’Affaire Russe?. The article examines the possible theories in light of the last year of bombshells, and is well worth reading for a factual look at how all the pieces could fit together.

Marcy Wheeler thinks something is missing though: Lawfare’s Theory of L’Affaire Russe Misses the Kompromat for the Pee Glee. While Lawfare focuses on the lack of explicit evidence supporting kompromat, Wheeler notes that there's lots of kompromat, in a sense broader than any possible pee tape, in plain sight; everything we've learned about these people is compromising:
To sustain their case that “there’s not a lot of evidence that any kind of deal was ever struck,” they neglect a number of other points. They don’t mention, for example, that a week after the Trump Tower meeting, the Russians released the first of the stolen files. They don’t mention that (contrary to Don Jr’s massaged testimony and most public claims since), there was a significant effort in November 2016 to follow-up on that June 9 meeting. They don’t mention that that effort was stalled because of the difficulty of communicating given the scrutiny of being President-elect. They don’t mention that the same day the Agalarov people discussed the difficulty of communicating with the President-elect, Jared Kushner met the Russian Ambassador in Don Jr’s office (not in transition space) and raised the possibility of a back channel, a meeting which led to Jared meeting with the head of a sanctioned bank, which in turn led to a back channel meeting in the Seychelles. And inexplicably, they make no mention of the December 29, 2016 meeting, at which — almost certainly on direct orders from Trump relayed by KT McFarland — Mike Flynn got the Russians to stall any response to Obama’s sanctions, a discussion Mike Flynn would later lie to the FBI about, in spite of the fact that at least 6 transition officials knew what he really said.

Why does Lawfare ignore the basis for the plea deal that turned Trump’s one-time National Security Advisor into state’s witness, when laying out the evidence in this investigation?

All of which is to say that even with all the evidence Lawfare ignores in their summary, they nevertheless lay out the evidence that Trump and the Russians were engaged in a call-and-response, a call-and-response that appears in the Papadopoulos plea and (as Lawfare notes) the GRU indictment, one that ultimately did deal dirt and got at least efforts to undermine US sanctions (to say nothing of the Syria effort that Trump was implementing less than 14 hours after polls closed, an effort that has been a key part of both Jared Kushner and Mike Flynn’s claims about the Russian interactions).

At each stage of this romance with Russia, Russia got a Trump flunkie (first, Papadopoulos) or Trump himself to publicly engage in the call-and-response. All of that led up to the point where, on July 16, 2018, after Rod Rosenstein loaded Trump up with a carefully crafted indictment showing Putin that Mueller knew certain things that Trump wouldn’t fully understand, Trump came out of a meeting with Putin looking like he had been thoroughly owned and stood before the entire world and spoke from Putin’s script in defiance of what the US intelligence community has said.

People are looking in the entirely wrong place for the kompromat that Putin has on Trump, and missing all the evidence of it right in front of their faces.

Vladimir Putin obtained receipts at each stage of this romance of Trump’s willing engagement in a conspiracy with Russians for help getting elected. Putin knows what each of those receipts mean.
posted by zachlipton at 8:47 PM on August 2 [66 favorites]


Hannity: "I'm dismissing that person, because I don't believe you, if you cut a deal to get out of jail, you are going to be honest. You are basically bribed and paid"
I always think they can't be that shameless and they always prove me wrong.

Also Hannity: Waterboarding, on the other hand, results in perfectly reliable information. Not that Hannity would know, since he still hasn't been waterboarded.
posted by jaduncan at 2:08 AM on August 3 [20 favorites]


USA Today, Trump administration says ACLU — not government — should find deported parents, in which today's status report features the government's position that they should turn over whatever identifying information they happen to have on the deported parents of separated children, and the ACLU "should use their considerable resources and their network of law firms, (non-governmental organizations), volunteers, and others" to find them.

A cynic might suggest that the US Govt are proposing this purely so that they can provide insufficient information and then turn around in a few months time and say something like:
"The failing and dishonest ACLU has still not managed to reunite these poor children with their parents. Sad!"
posted by faceplantingcheetah at 3:39 AM on August 3 [13 favorites]


EDIT: Replace "US Govt" with "Trump administration".
posted by faceplantingcheetah at 3:41 AM on August 3 [5 favorites]


Bloomberg, Trump Fury Over Mueller ‘Conflicts’ Dates to Oval Office Meeting
President Donald Trump sat with Robert Mueller in the Oval Office in May of last year to interview him for a job: director of the FBI.

The next afternoon, Trump was in another Oval Office meeting when an aide interrupted with news that Mueller had taken a different post: special counsel to investigate Trump’s campaign.

Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who attended both meetings, were blindsided, according to a person familiar with both meetings. The president immediately blasted Sessions for not knowing the announcement was coming and challenged how the person he’d just interviewed for the FBI job -- and who Trump said had a past dispute with him over golf club fees -- could now be investigating him, the person said.
...
“If a guy just turned you down for a job, it certainly creates a question as to whether you could be perfectly objective in making an important decision about that person," said Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who said there are additional conflicts the legal team is aware of but not making public.

It’s not clear whether Trump turned down Mueller for the job before the special counsel’s appointment, but from that moment on, Trump has complained to aides about a perceived grudge.

Sessions was so rattled by the president’s anger in that interrupted Oval Office meeting that he resigned verbally that day and later submitted a formal letter of resignation, according to the person briefed on the meeting. The Justice Department declined a request for comment.
...
For months, those close to Trump tried to tamp down his concerns, assuring him Mueller would conduct a fair investigation and not be swayed by an old fight over golf club payments or being turned down for a job he already held for 12 years.
So you don't exactly have to read very far between the lines to see that this is a story Rudy is shopping to somehow discredit Mueller, though there isn't even that much new information here: we've known for over a year that Trump interviewed Mueller for the job. But it will give them something to yell about on Fox News, so here we are.
posted by zachlipton at 4:38 AM on August 3 [22 favorites]


Treating family reunification as (holy hell) the responsibility of the ACLU and not the institutions that separated them is straight out of a 2003 Onion headline: 'Well, You Try To Reconstruct Iraq,' Says U.S. Defensive Department
posted by InTheYear2017 at 4:41 AM on August 3 [66 favorites]


All other evidence (such as the use of VPNs and sock accounts) represent common practices for anti-fascists in today's climate.

This is 100% true, but also why activists should lean less heavily on Facebook, because you are putting all of your organizing on a platform that can delete it at will because you are using pseudonyms. Also, it seems like Facebook has no idea what to do about Kremlin interference in our processes. (I say Kremlin, not Russian, because the Russian people are by and large perfectly fine folks who should not be defined by Putin’s actions)
posted by corb at 4:45 AM on August 3 [9 favorites]


Wave your tiny American Flag today, Diane Black lost the TN Governor primary race.

The race is a major defeat for Black, who held a powerful chair role in the House as the head of the Budget Committee and could have had a future in House Republican leadership. An early favorite in the race, she had Vice President Mike Pence’s endorsement and was running as Trump’s candidate (despite never actually getting the president’s formal endorsement). Her loss indicates that running close to Trump doesn’t guarantee success, even in a deeply red state like Tennessee.
posted by Twain Device at 4:47 AM on August 3 [38 favorites]


Hey, Dem pickup in the Shelby County, Tennessee mayoral race, about 55-45. Shelby is home to Memphis, and is Tennessee's most populous county.

Yep. We had a blue wave in the county-wide races. Shelby County includes Memphis proper (heavily Democratic) and most of the suburbs (mostly Republican). County-wide you'd still expect the Memphis numbers to weight things pretty heavily Democratic, but it's not as sure a thing as in the city. At least we do have party primaries for most positions, as opposed to the free-for-alls you get in city races. The preceding county mayor was a Republican, so this brings it back.

Statewide, turnout in the Republican primary was way higher than in the Democratic primary. We don't have party registration, but there have been more Republican voters in the last couple of decades than Democratic voters. But also there was way more action on the GOP primary ballot, with a wild 4-way gubernatorial primary where the top two candidates nuked each other in TV commercials all spring and summer, for not being crazy enough. So of course a dark horse blew past them, to everyone's amusement.

No runoffs in Tennessee, thank God. For Governor we have the former mayor of Nashville vs. the owner of an HVAC company. For Senator we have Trumpy Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn vs. former Governor Phil Bredesen.

No, I don't know why Tennessee runs their (non-presidential) primaries on Thursdays, but it's been that way since 1796. At least we have early voting.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:03 AM on August 3 [17 favorites]


The race for the Ohio 12th has narrowed from "lean Republican" to "toss up". Trump won the district 53-42; it had been held by Pat Tiberi, who stepped down at the beginning of the year. (This is one of my old districts, and one of the terribly gerrymandered ones; in this case, it's "pick up a chunk of Columbus and then go on out to Zanesville". )

Trump tweeted an endorsement of the wrong congressperson. (This happens to be my other old district, which was also "pick up a chunk of Columbus and then go on out to nearly Cincinnati and also throw in Athens, too". )
posted by damayanti at 5:16 AM on August 3 [12 favorites]


I offer Jeff Tiedrich's Twitter. Some selections:
the guy who took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to demand that the Central Park Five all die for a crime they didn't commit has no business complaining about how poorly his guilty-as-fuck campaign manager is being treated in prison

loving how these career criminals like Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort are having their lives of crime blow up in their faces because they chose to associate with President Reverse Midas, the human tire fire who leaves a path of destroyed lives and ruined reputations in his wake

remember how Hillary freaked the fuck out and had a twitter meltdown because she was called to testify about Benghazi? of course you don't. she sat and calmly answered questions for eleven hours, because she hadn't done anything wrong and she's not a whiny-ass bloated man-child
posted by exogenous at 5:17 AM on August 3 [126 favorites]


Trump administration says ACLU — not government — should find deported parents

Even on its face, this argument is so outrageous and disgraceful I hope it's used as evidence of this administration's utter abdication of its responsibilities in some future prosecution.

"The ACLU 'should use their considerable resources and their network of law firms, (non-governmental organizations), volunteers, and others'?" In what universe would those be more than a tiny, tiny fraction as effective as the federal government of the United States' funding, Cabinet-level legal firepower, actual-government organizations, and full-time paid employees?
posted by Rykey at 5:29 AM on August 3 [50 favorites]


So you don't exactly have to read very far between the lines to see that this is a story Rudy is shopping to somehow discredit Mueller

See also Vanity Fair, in which anonymous GOP sources are sending up distress flares about Trump's unstable behavior: “The Manafort Trial Is Spinning Him Into A Frenzy”: Inside The White House, Trump Is Going Crazy—Threatening To Fire Rosenstein And Talking About A Timeline To End The Mueller Probe
Whether it’s confidence, bluster, or delusion, Trump is venting to advisers both inside and outside the White House that the Manafort trial proves Mueller has nothing on him and his family, because Manafort’s trial doesn’t involve Russia or the 2016 campaign. “The Manafort trial is spinning him into a frenzy,” one Republican in frequent contact with the president told me. Another Republican told me Trump thinks “the only thing the trial shows is that Manafort is a sleaze.”

Sources say Trump is increasingly taking his legal defense into his own hands—very much at his own peril. The Sessions tweet crossed a line into what many interpreted to be outright obstruction of justice. Trump also is arguing that he wants to sit for an interview with Mueller, against his lawyers’ advice, The New York Times reported. This is partly driven by Trump’s frustration with his legal team’s inability to end the Mueller probe. As I reported this week, Trump is angry with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani for giving a series of erratic television interviews that seemed to disclose a previously unknown strategy meeting at Trump Tower that took place days before Don Jr.’s infamous sit-down with a Russian lawyer to get “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Trump is also unhappy with White House counsel Don McGahn, who in the past stood in the way of Trump’s effort to fire Mueller.

Trump’s latest attacks on Mueller are partly being enabled by conversations with his attorney Emmet Flood, one source told me. “Emmet feels there’s nothing there with collusion, so it’s fine for Trump to comment and tweet,” the source explained. This person added that Trump appears to be in earnest about his desire for Sessions to end the Mueller probe, and spoke of a timeline of a couple of weeks. Otherwise, Trump has threatened to fire Rosenstein himself.

Inside the White House, West Wing advisers fear that Trump is careening toward disaster with few guardrails. One prominent Republican close to the White House told me Chief of Staff John Kelly made his decision to stay on past his one-year mark, in part, to be present in case Trump makes a calamitous decision. “Kelly knows he’s the last bulwark against insanity in that White House,” the Republican said.
Trump's longstanding obsession with Vanity Fair is well known, and the magazine, having covered Trump in New York for decades, is a fine conduit for rumors out of D.C., especially those that interested parties want to circulate.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:34 AM on August 3 [16 favorites]


Well Iranians are conducting exercises in the Strait of Hormuz overnight and have threatened to block the strait if they can't sell oil.

This is fine.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 6:08 AM on August 3 [16 favorites]


One prominent Republican close to the White House told me Chief of Staff John Kelly made his decision to stay on past his one-year mark, in part, to be present in case Trump makes a calamitous decision. “Kelly knows he’s the last bulwark against insanity in that White House,” the Republican said.

What? Is this serious? There has been no lack of insanity from the WH (see SHS yesterday at the briefing) and Kelly sure as hell was there for all of that.
posted by bluesky43 at 6:35 AM on August 3 [13 favorites]


> last bulwark against insanity

I'm not being flippant when I say I suspect in this situation "insanity" means "dropping nukes." Kelly is racist as anyone else (if not more so!) in the Trump administration but he probably understands what would happen if President Trump had access to the nuclear arsenal without someone in Kelly's position who could talk him down.
posted by Tevin at 6:46 AM on August 3 [27 favorites]


What? Is this serious?

Well, it's what someone wanted to put out there. "One prominent Republican close to the White House" does not, of course, give us any clue as to whether their motives are to reassure the outside world while palace intrigue rages on or to backstab Kelly by talking him up in the pages of a magazine Trump reads. VF also mentions a couple of unnamed "sources familiar with the matter" of the Kelly's standing with Trump: "From Trump’s point of view, the sources said, it was an offhand comment, not a formal commitment to keep Kelly. “Trump is like, ‘Whatever, we’ll deal with Kelly after the midterms,’” a source said."

It's astonishing that we have to practice the equivalent of Kremlinology on the Trump White House by reading between the lines of glossy magazine articles, yet here we are.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:47 AM on August 3 [20 favorites]


What? Is this serious?

I'm perfectly happy to let a racist prevent nuclear war.
posted by M-x shell at 7:14 AM on August 3 [11 favorites]


he probably understands what would happen if President Trump had access to the nuclear arsenal without someone in Kelly's position who could talk him down.

It strikes me that Kelly's 'restraining' influence so far hasn't stopped Trump doing anything. And he's got to go along for the racist ride of his life. I also find it hard to believe - given everything we've seen - that any of this lot have any higher ideals that they could adhere to over trying to placate and amuse their man-baby boss. Though I imagine that if Trump goes down, we'll have the story of the higher ideals that made them stick to their post despite his raging fascim all over their memoirs.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 7:14 AM on August 3 [8 favorites]


Re: Iran trying to remind everyone that invading Iran has serious consequences...

Does anyone who knows anything about the region beyond periodic New Yorker articles (my own level of expertise) have any fucking idea what Saudi Arabia’s end game is?

Like from what I can piece together so far, KSA under Prince MBS knows that is is fucked in the near future due to a combination of oil prices and climate change, and has entered into an alliance with the UAE against both Qatar (for reasons I do not pretend to understand) and Iran. KSA and UAE have further allied with Israel against Iran. KSA, UAE, and Israel seem to be active belligerents, deliberately trying to provoke the USA into leading another goddamn invasion.

KSA scares me because it appears to be in an existential crisis, and people do fucking insane things when threatened with nonexistence.

But how is this supposed to end? What does war with Iran get you that will help you out of your “my income has dropped to zero and also my entire country is becoming lethally uninhabitable” problem?

Just what the fuck is the end game? Literally colonize Iran? Isn’t Iran going to be fucked much the same way?

What the fuck do they all want?
posted by schadenfrau at 7:19 AM on August 3 [21 favorites]


Even on its face, this argument is so outrageous and disgraceful I hope it's used as evidence of this administration's utter abdication of its responsibilities in some future prosecution.

This was planned.

"The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever,”

-- John Kelly, White House Chief of Staff

We need "Nuremberg" levels of trials here.
posted by mikelieman at 7:19 AM on August 3 [62 favorites]


It strikes me that Kelly's 'restraining' influence so far hasn't stopped Trump doing anything.

People keep saying this and it makes me crazy because it is on its face absurd

There is no way to know if Kelly or anyone else has prevented any given set of horrors from the evidence of the horrors they have either not prevented or have actively abetted

That is not how knowing things works
posted by schadenfrau at 7:21 AM on August 3 [52 favorites]


I'm perfectly happy to let a racist prevent nuclear war.

I am hopeful that the was a "Manchurian Candidate" analysis paper done by Rand back in the 50's or 60's, and that secretly, they've implemented the protocol to change the authentication codes to new ones that aren't at risk of being disclosed to the Kremlin. I have no evidence to support this hypothesis, but I need to hold onto it as an article of faith to prevent the despair from being overwhelming.
posted by mikelieman at 7:24 AM on August 3 [6 favorites]


Revealed: Ice teams up with Nicaragua even as US decries Ortega’s crackdown, Charles Davis, The Guardian
The Trump administration is quietly partnering with a government it publicly accuses of killing its own people, in an effort to speed up the deportation of Nicaraguan citizens, the Guardian can reveal.

The partnership between Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the government of Nicaragua’s president, Daniel Ortega, began a week before mass protests erupted in the Central American country, and it continues despite a war of words between Washington and Managua.

This week, the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, declared the Ortega government responsible for “indiscriminate violence” that has left scores dead and thousands injured since protests began three months ago. “The United States stands with the people of Nicaragua,” she said. ....

Under the agreement, Ice provides training for “authorized foreign partners” on how to access the US’s electronic travel document system, a database of foreign nationals that includes biographic and biometric information that its partners can use to identify their citizens.

The system allows the Nicaraguan government to upload travel documents that Ice agents can then print out “at detention facilities or field offices”.
posted by mcdoublewide at 7:35 AM on August 3 [27 favorites]


What the fuck do they all want?
My amateur, barely informed impression has always been that Saudis don't want their vast amount of poor people to ever rise up against their rule.
So constant demonization of Shia wherever they can, by whatever means is the goal and the tool. Keep the war on Iran and everywhere-proxies as issue no.1, so that inequality and oppression does not come up so easily domestically.
posted by Harry Caul at 7:36 AM on August 3 [3 favorites]


he probably understands what would happen if President Trump had access to the nuclear arsenal without someone in Kelly's position who could talk him down.

I don't actually think Kelly would even bother trying to talk him down--I think he would just order the military to ignore the order. And given how much the Trump administration has already marginalized Trump's stated wishes, I think that kind of coup-in-effect would probably work. I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if Trump has already tried to order a nuclear launch or two. I'm happy to have nuclear war averted however that happens, but I do believe that Trump is utterly cognitively impaired, and I wish that more White House staff would speak up about it (even anonymously) if it could force a 25th Amendment reckoning.
posted by Emera Gratia at 7:41 AM on August 3 [12 favorites]


"Isn’t Iran going to be fucked much the same way?"

Parts of Iran are basically Persian Gulf-type desert, yes, but the most populous areas enjoy a Mediterranean or Caspian climate (relatively mild, and wet), and huuuuuuuuge portions of it are sparsely-inhabited mountainous regions, some of which are tall enough to have year-round snow, and they have a robust and growing ski resort industry. I mean I wouldn't want to farm it -- they're pretty arid mountains (traditionally inhabited by nomadic grazers who followed a summer/winter pasturing schedule) -- but it's gonna be hella cooler and more inhabitable than KSA as the temperature starts to rise.

Although I think a great deal of the dispute between the two nations is a traditional Sunni/Shi'ite battle, and an Arab/Persian battle, over who are "real" Muslims and who is the proper leader of the Muslim world. (Plus all the effort that's been put into radicalizing young men to advance radical versions of Islam has frequently led to those radicalized men attacking the other country for being the "wrong" sort of Muslims -- bombings, murders, general terrorism.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:44 AM on August 3 [13 favorites]


What the fuck do they all want?

Well, I mean... any despotic regime facing the possibility of downfall usually has the choice of packing up the suitcases full of cash and fleeing, or moving around whatever chess pieces are available in the hope that somehow things will go back to the way they were. If history is anything to judge by, most despots go with option B.
posted by Behemoth at 7:49 AM on August 3 [4 favorites]


What the fuck do they all want?

I haven't been to KSA yet, and they are not really interested in letting people in who don't have business there. So take this with a whole bag of salt:
I think that the Saudis, like the Americans and the Israelis were scared out of their minds by the Iranian revolution, and they haven't really overcome that fear and insanity. Someone like me would say that was close to 40 years ago and nothing has happened, and all those three would say that its because of their efficient deterrence. Then I'd roll my eyes. Qatar shares a natural gas field with Iran so the two countries have to cooperate, and it also runs Al Jazeera, which is strongly critical of all the Arab Muslim authoritarian governments (except Qatar, obvs.). Iran has been vastly strengthened across the Middle East and Central Asia because of the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and interventions in Syria and Yemen (its mostly the KSA who are intervening in Yemen, but supported by the USA), which naturally stokes the existential dread the KSA and Israel already feel.

I don't really think the KSA or Israel want an actual war with Iran. When Iraq went to war with Iran with lots of American support, it ended badly. But they are like little kids in a schoolyard who want their big brother standing right behind them with a huge atomic bomb sized stick, because they are very, very frightened. Obama wasn't happy with that role, but Trump and his courtiers all love it, and they all have fun imagining what they can do to the "baddies". This is supposed to deter the Iranians.

I also don't think sectarian divides play a strong role here. I think they played a role in Iraq because a Sunni minority ruled over a Shia majority. And there may or may not be something similar going on in Syria. Qatar is led by rulers who are Wahabists just like the Saudis.
posted by mumimor at 7:51 AM on August 3 [9 favorites]


so i can't find any text on this but according to Dara Lind on a podcast recently, the ACLU does in fact have a network of contacts in the relevant countries, and they've been TRYING to get the government to share information so that the ACLU can help find the parents who have already been deported. The government has so far refused to share information, citing privacy concerns.

This court document from Thursday seems to be a 180 then, and I would interpret it mostly as bad-faith negotiation with the ACLU. like, "We'll give you what you've been asking for if you take the whole responsibility off of us." With a side dish of "hey maybe we really could pass the buck."

The podcast she was on was Vox's "Today Explained" on Aug 2nd. She said that while the ACLU is pushing and investigating to hold the government accountable, they are also trying to work in partnership to solve the problem, and overall are being a little less adversarial than you might expect.

I'd assume there are paths of information that are open to NGOs but not to the government. Specifically, talking to people who don't trust governments. It makes sense for the ACLU and other NGOs to supplement the government's efforts, to cover the areas they can't reach, even though they're not equipped to take on the whole shebang.

While the govt's filing is outrageous, it's more than a little tiresome to get all outrage here and no information.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 7:57 AM on August 3 [4 favorites]


"The US economy has performed better when the president of the United States is a Democrat rather than a Republican, almost regardless of how one measures performance."

At the American Economic Association, authors Alan Blinder and Mark Watson compare the economic records of Republican and Democratic presidential administrations, focusing on the period since World War II when data on gross domestic product and employment have been collected in a consistent manner. They find GDP tends to grow much faster under Democratic presidents (averaging 4.33% per year) than Republican presidents (averaging 2.54% per year).

At The Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky offers some insight:
The report quickly notes that this isn’t just because Democrats are smarter economic managers. The main reason they cite, in fact, is “oil shocks.”

...While the Democratic advantage surely involves some luck, it can’t be all luck... The numbers are the numbers. You think if they were reversed, the Republicans would have forgotten to mention that the economy has been in recession four times as often under Democratic administrations as under Republican ones? The truth, according Blinder and Watson, is that the economy has been in recession 28 percent of the time under GOP presidents and 7 percent of the time under Democrats.
posted by mcdoublewide at 8:00 AM on August 3 [54 favorites]


...While the Democratic advantage surely involves some luck, it can’t be all luck... The numbers are the numbers. You think if they were reversed, the Republicans would have forgotten to mention that the economy has been in recession four times as often under Democratic administrations as under Republican ones? The truth, according Blinder and Watson, is that the economy has been in recession 28 percent of the time under GOP presidents and 7 percent of the time under Democrats.

It's because Democrats want to tax and spend to keep the fucking economy running and Republicans loot it. If you stop money moving by shoving it into another zero on the bank account of the 1% what the fuck do you think is going to happen? Duh. The middle class are going to have less of it to spend, aggregate demand drops, prices drop, oh look RECESSION!

The Republicans get in power, try supply side economics one more time to loot the country again just to make sure and then the Democrats come in, fix the mess, and the Republican base goes nuclear over "big government" doing something useful.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:06 AM on August 3 [77 favorites]


Paul Manafort trial Day 4: Testimony resumes with Manafort’s tax preparer (WaPo)

They’re updating throughout the day.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:15 AM on August 3 [9 favorites]


There is no way to know if Kelly or anyone else has prevented any given set of horrors from the evidence of the horrors they have either not prevented or have actively abetted

I don't know: we have Kelly on record encouraging shite things as long as they involve migrants and their families. And there isn't a single person, as far as I can see, in a position of authority in the WH who hasn't encouraged something horrific and disturbing when it fit their hobby horse. Going by all the evidence we have I have no idea what Kelly or the others would actually consider a 'horror' worth stopping Trump over, but I see that they actively encourage him in some of his most awful impulses going off their public comments.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:33 AM on August 3 [3 favorites]


Cook Political moves TX Senate rating: Likely R => Lean R
posted by Chrysostom at 8:35 AM on August 3 [82 favorites]


Rolling Stone: The NRA Says It’s in Deep Financial Trouble, May Be ‘Unable to Exist’ -- A legal filing against the state of New York paints a grim picture of the powerful gun group
posted by Chrysostom at 8:51 AM on August 3 [124 favorites]


It's because Democrats want to tax and spend to keep the fucking economy running and Republicans loot it.

My idiot-republican brother-in-law "explained" to me in Dec. 2016 that there was no conservative party in the US anymore - it was just liberals/Democrats on one hand, and a republican party dominated by a anti-government faction. As with most everything else we've disagreed on, he was clearly wrong about this - the Democratic party /is/ the conservative party, with a progressive faction they don't really pay attention to. All the things the democratic party is for - civil rights, environmental protection, social safety nets, strong international engagement, a functioning economy etc - are conservative in the sense that they have been part of the established order for 50+ years, and are now under attack and at risk of disappearing. If actual conservatives who vote republican ever got over their dumb-ass hang-up about which team they're on and voted their principles, we could have a chance at a functioning government. But they, including my intellectually void B-I-L, insist on saving 'their' party and will be damned if they ever switch sides.

god he is just so goddamned stupid
posted by logicpunk at 8:56 AM on August 3 [31 favorites]


Cook Political moves TX Senate rating: Likely R => Lean R
posted by Chrysostom 22 minutes ago [19 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]

Rolling Stone: The NRA Says It’s in Deep Financial Trouble, May Be ‘Unable to Exist’ -- A legal filing against the state of New York paints a grim picture of the powerful gun group
posted by Chrysostom 6 minutes ago [12 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


This was a better mood enhancer than actual mood enhancers
posted by schadenfrau at 9:00 AM on August 3 [90 favorites]


I don't know: we have Kelly on record encouraging shite things as long as they involve migrants and their families. And there isn't a single person, as far as I can see, in a position of authority in the WH who hasn't encouraged something horrific and disturbing when it fit their hobby horse. Going by all the evidence we have I have no idea what Kelly or the others would actually consider a 'horror' worth stopping Trump over, but I see that they actively encourage him in some of his most awful impulses going off their public comments.

I would suggest that when they are Working Toward the Führer they CAN NEVER find a "'horror' worth stopping Trump over."

I'd bet that Trump didn't come up with this strategy to deter asylum seekers other than the broad strokes of, "We need to stop (set of people the perceive as undesirable) from their so-called-abuse of The Law to claim asylum...."
posted by mikelieman at 9:04 AM on August 3 [3 favorites]


Chrysostom:
>>Rolling Stone: The NRA Says It’s in Deep Financial Trouble, May Be ‘Unable to Exist’ -- A legal filing against the state of New York paints a grim picture of the powerful gun group

>This was a better mood enhancer than actual mood enhancers


INDEED!

PLEASE read the NRA's filing!

Their insurer got busted with their "Carry Guard" scheme, which offered coverage where it shouldn't have.

Their insurer entered into a consent agreement, and paid a 7M fine. Then NYS circulated a notice about the "Reputational Risk" of doing business with the NRA.

And -- I have experience in financial services "Risk Appetite" -- when the suits factored in the taint the NRA caused their PR efforts, they dropped the NRA like they were radioactive.

And the NRA's feelings were hurt.

I feel like I'm tripping.
posted by mikelieman at 9:28 AM on August 3 [84 favorites]


That filing has the NRA putting the phrase "gun promotion organization" in scare quotes as if they're not actually a gun-promotion organization. What cheek!

I hate those guys.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:31 AM on August 3 [12 favorites]


> when the suits factored in the taint the NRA caused their PR efforts, they dropped the NRA like they were radioactive.

I bet it would take only a small handful of people to ensure that the NRA could never keep its insurance coverage for very long. I'm imagining a modest, respectful, picketing where a few people just stand outside the insurance company headquarters with factual signs - "This Insurance Company Underwrites the NRA".

Given the locations of large insurance company offices - even if they are in nominally red states I bet they are in blue cities - it would take very little public shaming to convince the insurance company executives that they didn't need this hassle.
... the NRA reveals that its longtime insurer broke off negotiations this winter and “stated that it was unwilling to renew coverage at any price.” [Emphasis in original.] The NRA claims it “has encountered serious difficulties obtaining corporate insurance coverage to replace coverage withdrawn.” In addition, the NRA contends that “multiple banks” have now balked at doing business with it “based on concerns that any involvement with the NRA — even providing the organization with basic depository services — would expose them to regulatory reprisals.”
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:37 AM on August 3 [42 favorites]


The NRA actively marketed “Carry Guard,” a policy to reimburse members for legal costs incurred after firing a legal gun. In May, the state of New York found that Carry Guard “unlawfully provided liability insurance to gun owners for certain acts of intentional wrongdoing.”

Never has the term “moral hazard” been more spot-on.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 9:39 AM on August 3 [66 favorites]


Fearing Trump’s Slipperiness, Associates Saved Evidence Against Him (Allegra Kirkland | TPM)

“Character is destiny.” - Heraclitus
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:50 AM on August 3 [45 favorites]


schadenfrau People keep saying this and it makes me crazy because it is on its face absurd

There is no way to know if Kelly or anyone else has prevented any given set of horrors from the evidence of the horrors they have either not prevented or have actively abetted


Well, yes, you're technically correct which is the best kind of correct.

But to cite another Groening cartoon, you're also edging close to tiger repelling rock territory here.

Sure, we don't know if Kelly has prevented Trump from doing X or not. But at some point we have to ask: is he preventing it, or has it just not happened, can he prevent it if Trump tries, and would he want to prevent it if Trump tried?

So far I'm pretty iffy on all of those questions. Trump doesn't appear, like Nixon, to be getting drunk and issuing orders to drop nukes that he forgets about in the morning. If Trump had ordered nukes to be dropped and people just "forgot" to pass along that order, we'd have heard about it on twitter by now.

And I'm not at all sure I accept the proposition that Kelly is a voice of reason who'd try to restrain Trump from ordering an atomic first strike on whatever random place piqued his outrage. Kelly has proven himself to be a pretty vile person with a hard on for attacking at least some places the US isn't even involved in a war with (yet).

Obviously I can't say for sure that you're wrong, maybe Kelly really is a behind the scenes hero who has prevented WWIII; that's not incompatible with being a horribly racist vile bigot. But it seems weird to simply assume that Kelly is a restraint on Trump rather than assuming that Trump just hasn't decided to nuke semi-random places (yet).
posted by sotonohito at 9:59 AM on August 3 [9 favorites]


McClatchy: Georgia election officials knew system had ‘critical vulnerabilities’ before 2016 vote

Georgia Secretary of State Kemp is now the GOP nominee for governor, of course.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:00 AM on August 3 [27 favorites]


Rolling Stone: The NRA Says It’s in Deep Financial Trouble, May Be ‘Unable to Exist’ -- A legal filing against the state of New York paints a grim picture of the powerful gun group

The rumor on Twitter is that this is a half-truth concocted for a fundraising campaign. Or even if it is true, it will be used as the basis for a fundraising campaign.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:06 AM on August 3 [12 favorites]


A reminder that Kemp was overseeing Georgia elections when servers containing election data were wiped after a lawsuit was filed contending those specific systems were insecure and potentially hacked by the Russians.
posted by Freon at 10:07 AM on August 3 [46 favorites]


The rumor on Twitter is that this is a half-truth concocted for a fundraising campaign. Or even if it is true, it will be used as the basis for a fundraising campaign.

That was my first thought too. How often have we seen GOP letters begging for another donation before "the deadline of midnight tonight!"? This is just another way to rally the base and get them to fork over their money.
posted by Servo5678 at 10:13 AM on August 3


What we know about a reported hunger strike by fathers in immigration detention

(Dara Lind | Vox)
Fathers being held in an immigration detention facility after reunification with their children engaged in a protest Thursday out of frustration and despair over being “restrained from our freedom as human beings,” as one father put it.

According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, the protest was minor: a brief sit-in. But according to the Texas advocacy and legal services group RAICES, which announced the protest, what’s going on is much more serious: a hunger strike.

Here’s what we know.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:15 AM on August 3 [12 favorites]


the NRA reveals that its longtime insurer broke off negotiations this winter and “stated that it was unwilling to renew coverage at any price.”

Pffft. Why would they need insurance? They've got guns!
posted by flabdablet at 10:16 AM on August 3 [7 favorites]


My assumption about the NRA whining was that it was just drama for the sake of making their suit sound not frivolous. But fund-raising also works.
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:21 AM on August 3 [2 favorites]


How to flip a witness, as explained by a former federal prosecutor - Jen Kirby | Vox
Michael Cohen has been giving hints that he might flip on Donald Trump. Here’s what that means — and how it might happen.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:22 AM on August 3 [2 favorites]


Fearing Trump’s Slipperiness, Associates Saved Evidence Against Him

Nothing like taking notes on a criminal fucking conspiracy.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:30 AM on August 3 [40 favorites]


I'd bet that Trump didn't come up with this strategy to deter asylum seekers

Miller. All day every day.
posted by jaduncan at 10:32 AM on August 3 [18 favorites]


The Miserable People

Miserable.

Every time I see them, this is the word that prevails.

Whenever I encounter a supporter of this President on social media now, or scan the crowds at his propaganda rallies, or see his surrogates bloviating on talk shows or pounding upon pulpits, I am left with the same conclusion: they are a people bereft of joy.

posted by Artw at 10:41 AM on August 3 [54 favorites]


About the NRA: I believe they are on the verge of bankruptcy. Because when an organization is corrupt, daily management and simple bookkeeping become really complicated. You are always in the business of hiding stuff, from the authorities, from your stakeholders/members and from the general public. It consumes all your time, and you loose track of your lies. At the same time, the moral corruption and lying that they apply to the gun rights discussion infects their understanding of their position. If it's OK to lie about guns, it's also OK to lie about the day to day administration of the organization. I bet they are doing a ton of "study trips" and "lobbying" that are just plain old grifting.

They may try to fundraise, and paint themselves as victims, but nothing they do can see daylight, so those are dangerous strategies. I bet the suit is a desperate gamble, because they literally are hanging in the ropes and have no other choice.
posted by mumimor at 10:54 AM on August 3 [26 favorites]






You know, maybe arms manufacturers—an industry that is dependent on government contracts—might want to think twice about cozying up to an organization that has been infiltrated by foreign agents.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 11:07 AM on August 3 [9 favorites]


Definitely Not Sean Spicer: The Republicans get in power, try supply side economics one more time to loot the country again just to make sure and then the Democrats come in, fix the mess, and the Republican base goes nuclear over "big government" doing something useful.

One thing that I haven't seen tied to this story of "the economy is better under Democrats" is stability. For example: California Heads For Showdown With Trump EPA Over Fuel-Efficiency Standards (NPR, August 2, 2018) -- "The automakers are going to be facing years of uncertainty, right? Their investments in fuel-efficient technologies are now in question."

Obama sets a long-term plan for improved fuel efficiencies. Companies set up investment and development strategies based on that plan. Trump comes along and says "good news, you don't have to do that any more!" California says "We still require improved fuel efficiencies to improve air quality, and do some part to slow climate change. Have you seen our droughts and fires? We want less of that, thanks." Trump says "Oh yeah, we'll see you in court!" Meanwhile, what happens to all those major investments and developments?

And because Trump won't be in power forever, we'll get that same whiplash in small towns when ICE is defunded or restructured. As Private ICE Lockups Grow, Towns Could See Economic Boon (NPR, Aug. 3, 2018) -- until they go away, and the town loses its government employer. (Sad detail slipped into the story - "Lara's Bakery is one of the few businesses left downtown. Each morning, employees fill the glass cases with glazed doughnuts and Mexican pastries like pan dulce and pumpkin empanadas." -- Emphasis mine, in advance of the tragic tales of the face-eating leopards visiting Raymondville, Texas.)

Also, the facility that is being re-opened for ICE a detention center that was torched by inmates in 2015.

For years before the riots, immigrants at Willacy had complained about overcrowding, rodents and physical and sexual abuse.

Maybe the complex should have been left to burn to the ground.

But to temper the pendulum shock of de-funding ICE and taking these good-paying jobs from dwindling rural communities, Democrats could distribute other government facilities throughout the country, has been discussed before. It would be amazing if federal offices were relocated into federal detention centers. The renovations alone to turn holding cells into business spaces would keep local economies humming for a while, and if phased in, could be real, lasting boons to local economies AND decrease congestion and house prices in the greater Washington DC area.

Heck, it could even be a money-saver in the long-term by scaling down salaries to be high on the local levels, instead of needing to allow people to get housing in the DC metro area. In return, it would likely bring local salaries up, with all the associated work that follows a long-term government building.

Sure, Republicans would try to gut budgets when the pendulum swings and the GOP is back in power, but then they'd be attacking local communities! Win-Win-Win! Even if they outsourced work to consultants to "save money," if the government offices had enough time to get established in a region, there would also be a related growth of consultants who support the government operations, as is always the case. So the ebb and flow would be between private and public agencies in the region.

A liberal/socialist can dream, can't he?
posted by filthy light thief at 11:07 AM on August 3 [27 favorites]


If the NRA actually closes up shop, I'll donate $100 to the Andrew Cuomo 2020 campaign.
posted by Glibpaxman at 11:10 AM on August 3 [8 favorites]


MetaFilter: "We rise together, homie."
posted by tonycpsu at 11:13 AM on August 3 [22 favorites]


We interviewed the man who took video of his Latino coworkers starting a wildcat strike in Indianapolis

"Sometimes we don’t come together. But if they can do it, we can do it. And we can all come together. There’s power in numbers."
We’re the ones, the workers — we make the heads get rich. Treating us lesser than isn’t even cool. We’re the reason the hub was getting built. Ain’t no owners out there in their hard hats. We’re the ones putting our life on the line. So you gotta respect us.

They’re a cool company. I don’t really have anything against them. But when you see wrong being done, you should step up and do something about it.
...
It was life-changing to me to see that happen. Because it was like, dang, they really came together. And that’s why I’m not mad about the video, about getting fired. Because it’s five million people who saw that. And it might change their view on things. Empowering people.

So me losing a job is nothing compared to the big picture. If we can get it in our heads that we are the people, and if we make our numbers count, we can change anything.
Serious kudos to that guy, his small action, and his views of it all. I hope he can get another job near his kid.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:42 AM on August 3 [81 favorites]


"... the NRA reveals that its longtime insurer broke off negotiations this winter and “stated that it was unwilling to renew coverage at any price.” [Emphasis in original.] The NRA claims it “has encountered serious difficulties obtaining corporate insurance coverage to replace coverage withdrawn.” In addition, the NRA contends that “multiple banks” have now balked at doing business with it “based on concerns that any involvement with the NRA — even providing the organization with basic depository services — would expose them to regulatory reprisals.”"

Since the NRA's already been exposed as taking money from Russians being investigated by Mueller, why would any bank want to touch their cash? You are GUARANTEEING you'll be part of the Mueller investigation.

But I came in to talk about insurance. My school district, for extremely complicated historical reasons that took a court case to finally unwind, had school cops who were not municipal cops, who were chartered officers but not covered by the various qualified immunity statutes that municipal and state officers get. We decided to take away their guns (because school is not prison and students are not criminals and armed guards are not appropriate), and they desperately wanted to keep them, which sent us 10 rounds with them and their union and various insurers and finally to a court case (which we won). But what we discovered during this process is that a) literally nobody was willing to insure "cops" who didn't have qualified immunity for using their guns. It was uninsurable at any price; and b) the school district's insurance was FLATLY unaffordable if we had armed employees (who weren't municipal cops on loan). Because the tort liability for having sue-able employees with guns in the building was way, way, way too high. Only two companies would even talk to us about insuring us and the quotes were insane. Guns are fucking dangerous, and nobody wants to insure guns that aren't immune from tort liability. This is why "arm teachers" programs aren't really going anywhere -- the schools' insurers will drop them like a hot potato -- and I suspect it plays into the NRA's difficulty in getting insurance as well. (That and all the libel.)

(And I remain pretty convinced that the way to cut the gun lobby/industry off at the knees is simply to remove all those protections that mean guns don't have to be insured, and let homeowners' insurance and so on raise the rates to adequate levels to cover theft and accidental firings and suicides and homicides and rampage shooters.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:52 AM on August 3 [128 favorites]


The fact that the NRA are filing this lawsuit is baffling to me.

Have they not considered what's going to come up during discovery?

If you have obvious literal skeletons in your closets, you typically don't go around filing frivolous defamation lawsuits.
posted by schmod at 12:06 PM on August 3 [8 favorites]


(I’m not sure where to post this at but is anybody here going to the right-wing rally in Portland tomorrow that may or may not erupt into a full-blown riot? Lmk bc I’m pretty sure I’m going although I have a lot of anxiety about it!)
posted by gucci mane at 12:13 PM on August 3 [8 favorites]




They played the Village People's "Macho Man" as intro music to the Trump rally in PA today
posted by angrycat at 12:16 PM on August 3 [9 favorites]


They played the Village People's "Macho Man" as intro music to the Trump rally in PA today

Somebody is trolling somebody and I swear to God I don't know who.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:17 PM on August 3 [87 favorites]


They played the Village People's "Macho Man" as intro music to the Trump rally in PA today


I realize these music choices are a relatively small thing, but the complete lack of self-awareness they constantly demonstrate is still so crazy.
posted by bluemilker at 12:18 PM on August 3 [7 favorites]


Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says the documents show the commission had a bias to find voter fraud.

It was a voter fraud commission? Isn't that's kind of its job albeit a shitty one?
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 12:35 PM on August 3


Their purpose was not to find if there was voter fraud, but that there was voter fraud.
posted by marshmallow peep at 12:38 PM on August 3 [32 favorites]


It was a voter fraud commission? Isn't that's kind of its job albeit a shitty one?

The job is to fairly research it, including the determination of if and to what extent the phenomenon exists. This is, in a different field, the difference between scientists and people who wear lab coats whilst starting with their conclusion.
posted by jaduncan at 12:38 PM on August 3 [16 favorites]


It was a voter fraud commission? Isn't that's kind of its job albeit a shitty one?

posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 12:35 PM on August 3 [+] [!]


Kinda. It depends on whether you're talking about Trump and the GOP's conception or the general idea of a commission on X. Usually, the latter means investigating whether X occurs and how to promote/stop it if it does. The former believed they needed to create evidence of voter fraud so people would have to show a picture ID at the grocery storevoting booth.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:40 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


It was a voter fraud commission? Isn't that's kind of its job albeit a shitty one?

No. It was a sham commission created by racist asshole Kris Kobach, based on the "research" of racist assholes like Hans von Spakovsky, to make something that literally happens as much as people claim being abducted by UFOs sound like an enormous problem that needed thinly-disguised Jim Crow-level voter suppression laws to fix. It was on legally shaky ground before Kobach and Spakovsky et al were laughed out of court for being--say it with me now--racist assholes.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:40 PM on August 3 [15 favorites]


The fact that the NRA are filing this lawsuit is baffling to me.

Have they not considered what's going to come up during discovery?

If you have obvious literal skeletons in your closets, you typically don't go around filing frivolous defamation lawsuits.


My comment above about their bankruptcy came out of experience with a corrupt organization we were doing important business with, that we couldn't easily get out of. From the time when they began forging their books and generally doing *very bad things* (about 2004), they regularly threatened us with lawsuits, and sometimes, we would accept bad deals out of court. We got the best lawyers and all, but in the end, going to court is always a risk if you don't know exactly where the other part stands. Specially in a civil suit where you don't have full access to their documentation. It ended when I had an intuition and sat down with my business partner and analyzed their public accounts in 2014. We realized that the numbers didn't add up, and that they weren't signed by their accountant. We half-guessed, half-calculated they were running huge deficits, and from there on, we chose a new strategy. That's another long story and not so relevant here*, but I can recognize the moves in NRA - and also in Trump. I don't think Trump has had many or even any valid cases, but he's had a lot of out of court settlements because his counterparts haven't wanted to take the risk of losing, even if it was a small risk.

*Well, maybe there is the point that if your opponents are politically elected/hired and have a loyal political base, the judicial system can't solve it for you, no matter what they have done and how obvious it is that they have done it. They can shoot a man on Fifth Avenue. You have to go through politics. You still have to be firmly grounded in the law and use a shit-ton of money on lawyers. But the only thing that works is political action. The only legal thing that could have stopped Trump would have been if he had been convicted for tax fraud and money laundering before he ran for president.
posted by mumimor at 12:43 PM on August 3 [16 favorites]


Highlight of today's Manafort trial.
12:58 p.m.: Attorney: Paul Manafort would not have left evidence ‘around’ if he was trying to break law

During a break, Paul Manafort’s lead attorney Kevin Downing offered a bit of Manafort’s defense on charges of failure to report foreign banks accounts. Essentially, he argued that if Manafort had known he was doing something illegal, he wouldn’t have been so easy to catch.
“Nobody intending to violate the law would leave the evidence around for his accountant to find it,” Downing said in court.
Judge T.S. Ellis III made the same point, summarizing the defense as, “There’s a trail in these documents that would lead to the truth, and somebody who violated the law wouldn’t have done that.”
The trial is on lunch break until 1:30 p.m.
That's where we are. Manafort is too stupid to be guilty.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 12:45 PM on August 3 [37 favorites]


he argued that if Manafort had known he was doing something illegal,

Last time I checked, ignorance of the law doesn't mean you get off the charges.
posted by Twain Device at 12:47 PM on August 3 [31 favorites]


Well the law is water whose currents are shaped by cash.

And someone like Manafort gets shaped around in a big way.
posted by Slackermagee at 12:50 PM on August 3 [6 favorites]


I was amazed by that comment by Ellis. I mean, perhaps another reading of the facts is: Manafort knew full well he was breaking the law, but he believed he was completely above the law and didn't really give a shit that there was an evidence trail.
posted by Sublimity at 12:57 PM on August 3 [15 favorites]


I am now pretty circumspect of Ellis. He's been enjoying giving the prosecuting attorneys a hard time, but I was willing to chalk that up as an eccentric judge not wanting to appear biased towards the DoJ. But a justification of Manfort's ignorance seems tilted towards the trumpian perspective. If he's in the tank for trump that will demoralize the shit out of me.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:59 PM on August 3 [14 favorites]


I'd love to know the context of Ellis summarizing the defense there. Having never attended a criminal trial, is that something judges do? Is that meant to help the defense? Or is it the judge saying, "You realize this is what you're saying?" without adding "and that's ridiculous?"
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:00 PM on August 3 [2 favorites]


Judge T.S. Ellis III made the same point, summarizing the defense as, “There’s a trail in these documents that would lead to the truth, and somebody who violated the law wouldn’t have done that.”
What does this mean? People leave around evidence of their crimes all the time.
posted by gucci mane at 1:00 PM on August 3 [20 favorites]


Whether the judge is in the tank or not (he's not), it's up to the prosecution to prove willful actions. That whole 6th amendment thing applies even when the defendant is a total shitbag.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 1:01 PM on August 3 [3 favorites]


Essentially, he argued that if Manafort had known he was doing something illegal, he wouldn’t have been so easy to catch.

Technically he wasn't easy to catch. He's on trial for actions that took place years ago. The only reason they were discovered was because he decided to commit other crimes while leading a presidential campaign, which happened to be made up of other crime-committing (and evidence-turning) folks.
posted by melissasaurus at 1:02 PM on August 3 [23 favorites]


The NRA loosing their insurance is going to have a serious impact on the short term viability of gun ranges almost all of which in the US have insurance through the NRA. Long term I imagine someone will step up (after all we have ranges in Canada) but it could really spike the cannon of ranges that don't have a large reserve to weather the insurance storm.
posted by Mitheral at 1:05 PM on August 3 [8 favorites]


Senate Democrats to end boycott, plan to meet with Kavanaugh later this month
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, had held off scheduling the traditional one-on-one sessions as they tussled with Republicans over releasing documents from Kavanaugh’s voluminous paper trail, primarily from his time in the George W. Bush White House.

But Schumer and Feinstein will start meeting with President Trump’s pick to succeed retired justice Anthony M. Kennedy after the Senate returns from its truncated recess Aug. 15, a senior Senate Democratic aide said. They will press Kavanaugh on releasing his papers from his tenure as Bush’s staff secretary — which Republicans argue are irrelevant in assessing his fitness to be a justice — and “question him about their contents.”

“In addition to questioning Judge Kavanaugh on health care, women’s freedom, presidential power and other issues, Senate Democrats intend to demand that he call for and support the release of all of his files from his time in the Bush White House,” the aide said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to freely describe party strategy. “Democrats will urge Judge Kavanaugh to ask the National Archives and President Bush to adhere to the same standard that was met for Justice [Elena] Kagan’s confirmation.”
...
The National Archives has started reviewing Kavanaugh’s documents from his time as associate White House counsel but said it won’t finish going through all of them until late October. Still, Senate Republicans plan to go ahead with confirmation hearings in September, as a private legal team led by Bush’s presidential records representative conducts a separate review of Kavanaugh’s paperwork and provides them to the Senate.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:13 PM on August 3 [6 favorites]


Somebody posted a pic on Twitter of a violin so small it was strung with nanofiliments and that is the violin on which I will play my sad song for the NRA's troubles.

Though honestly I would prefer to see all of its leadership go to jail after losing all their money.

But anything that hurts their evil organization is good by me.
posted by emjaybee at 1:18 PM on August 3 [10 favorites]


I don't know enough about Senate procedure to know whether the decision by Schumer and Pelosi is actually just totally surrendering for no benefit at all or not. But I do know that it looks like the weakest of wimpiest cowardice to everyone in the USA.

"We shall stand firm on principle and we refuse to meet with Kavanaugh until he releases his papers. Nevermind we're meeting with him now."

Serious question: are they gaining anything at all here? Or even by meeting with him, or showing up for his confirmation hearings and asking real questions instead of spending their time commenting on what a farce the entire thing is and reading excerpts from their favorite Harry Potter fanfic?

There's losing, which seems inevitable here, and there's losing in the most pathetic, spineless, cowardly, and submissive to Republicans possible way, which seems to be the choice Schumer and Pelosi made.

Yet the two of them are Senators, and I'm not, so am I missing something major here, or are they really that totally into weird politics flavored BDSM games? Would they have lost anything by standing on principle?
posted by sotonohito at 1:19 PM on August 3 [12 favorites]


@MikeScarcella: New: DC federal judge says rescission of DACA still unlawful, despite new purported justification. Judge: "A conclusory assertion that a prior policy is illegal, accompanied by a hodgepodge of illogical or post hoc policy assertions, simply will not do."

Here's that opinion. The upcoming Texas DACA case is more frightening.

Some updates from today's status hearing in the ACLU's separated kids lawsuit. @JohnLGC:
Judge Sabraw: the government’s reunification of remaining parents is “unacceptable” - “appears there is no plan.” “It was disappointing” - judge Sabraw on the filing yesterday. “There needs to be someone in charge” for reunifications. “The reality is there are still close to 500 parents who have not been reunited.” “There will be a permanently orphaned child...that is 💯 the responsibility of this adminis