"Collusion is not a legal term."
August 5, 2018 8:06 AM   Subscribe

Your lede: President Trump today confessed that his son, son-in-law, and campaign chair met in June 2016 with Russian agents in hope of obtaining Russian intelligence to sway the 2016 election. Trump - who denies advance knowledge of the meeting - defends it as "totally legal."

In the week that was: At Paul Manafort's trial, his accountant says she regrets doctoring loan applications, which creates a 'frenzy' in Trump, who is 'publicly roaring.'

QAnon is on the rise (post).

After Trump insults the Koch brothers, the RNC warns donors to stay away from them.

ICE has a new deportation partner--the government of Nicaragua. An ICE worker is charged with molesting children, 500 fathers stage a hunger strike, and a child dies in ICE custody. The administration says that the ACLU should find deported parents. Ivanka blames parents for family separation.

While Benjamin Netanyahu weakens support for Israel in the U.S., the Trump administration plans to end refugee status for millions of Palestinians.

Puerto Rico's Medicaid program faces deeper cuts, Senate Republicans block extra funds for election security, and Michigan's Supreme Court allows an anti-gerrymandering law on November's ballot. The gender gap among midterm voters looks to be huge.

The NRA claims it's in financial trouble (post), which may be related to Russian spy Maria Butina, who socialized with a Trump associate in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign (Lawfare updated their 'Seven Theories' about L'affaire Russe).

In other news, Michael Jordan and Melania Trump sided with Lebron James (he opened a school this week) over Trump, Betsy DeVos sought to remove regulations on higher education, Latino construction workers staged a wildcat solidarity strike (post), and Russia appointed Steven Seagal as a representative on U.S.-Russian humanitarian efforts.
posted by box (1630 comments total) 144 users marked this as a favorite
 
Narrator: it wasn't totally legal.

Thanks for pulling this together, box.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:10 AM on August 5 [47 favorites]


(Quoting 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 box at 8:13 AM on August 5 [7 favorites]


Is this like the recreation of a lost Shakespeare history played out IRL for some massively ultra-secret international RPG game consortium? Kick your son under the bus? If we all survive in a hundred years it'll make for an amazing opera.
posted by sammyo at 8:15 AM on August 5 [20 favorites]


Semi-serious question: does anyone remember who drove the narrative when "collusion" became the operative word? I can't tell if setting the goalposts at "collusion" was a fake-out by Republicans/the administration in the hopes that they could eventually say, "hahaha, collusion isn't illegal," or if it was--for lack of a better term--forces of accountability (Mueller, other investigators) who let that go because they didn't want to debate about it.

Part of me feels like people were throwing around "collusion" because they knew Trump & Co. would blow that off and be less likely to interfere than they would otherwise if they heard more damning and legally meaningful words like conspiracy.

At this point I'm wondering who thought they were being clever by framing this as collusion. If it was the investigators, then yeah, that does sound pretty clever in hindsight, but if it was the Trumpsters then it's kind of hilarious.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:20 AM on August 5 [9 favorites]


I think "collusion" was picked-up because it's a simple, understandable concept for average people. True, it's not a, per-se, "legal" term. But, the activities being investigated (which do carry legal terminology) pretty much meet the dictionary definition of "collusion." It's shorthand to avoid bogging down in legalese.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:42 AM on August 5 [7 favorites]


This collusion nonsense is like stabbing someone to death and saying that you can't be jailed because "stabby stabby bleedy bleedy" isn't a crime.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:46 AM on August 5 [150 favorites]


Does walking caricature Steven Seagal have to register as an agent working for the Russian government?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:49 AM on August 5 [11 favorites]


Hey, I just wanted to say thanks to all the Beto Ambassadors in these threads who have kept us apprised of the Senate race in Texas. I can't stand Ted Cruz and you've all made me genuinely excited enough about Beto that I've just donated to his campaign from all the way up here in MN. Go, go Beto!
posted by triggerfinger at 8:53 AM on August 5 [79 favorites]


92 days until the 2018 elections
820 days until the 2020 elections
posted by dilettante at 8:54 AM on August 5 [29 favorites]


Kick your son under the bus?

To be fair, Trump warned Jr. not to trust him back when he was a four year old.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 9:01 AM on August 5 [14 favorites]


I want to volunteer for a get out the vote campaign this year - I could do phone calls or in person canvassing, although a job means my hours would be limited. I could also make a small donation, though I don't have a lot of money and I'm not sure where it would be most effective (a particular candidate's campaign?).

Are any of you associated with an organization that could use volunteers, and that I could be useful to?
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:02 AM on August 5 [3 favorites]


I don’t remember when the “collusion” narrative started, but Trump himself was pushing the “no collusion” storyline just a few weeks ago in Helsinki.
posted by mantecol at 9:04 AM on August 5


The Washington Post's David Fahrenthold has dug up some new dirt in the Trump Org's finances: At President Trump’s Hotel In New York, Revenue Went Up This Spring — Thanks To A Visit From Big-Spending Saudis
The general manager of the Trump International Hotel in Manhattan had a rare bit of good news to report to investors this spring: After two years of decline, revenue from room rentals went up 13 percent in the first three months of 2018.

What caused the uptick at President Trump’s flagship hotel in New York? One major factor: “a last-minute visit to New York by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia,” wrote general manager Prince A. Sanders in a May 15 letter, which was obtained by The Washington Post.

Neither Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman nor members of the royal family stayed at Trump’s hotel, Sanders said: He said the Trump hotel didn’t have suites big enough to accommodate them. But “due to our close industry relationships,” he wrote, “we were able to accommodate many of the accompanying travelers.”

The previously unreported letter — describing a five-day stay in March that was enough to boost the hotel’s revenue for the entire quarter — shows how little is known about the business that the president’s company does with foreign officials.
Coincidentally, this news from the NY AG broke following Fahrenthold's disclosure: "On Friday, after this story was published online, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced that she was already conducting a separate investigation asking if Trump had violated the emoluments clause at his businesses in New York."
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:05 AM on August 5 [45 favorites]


"Collusion" has spiked a few times, but Trump hasn't seemed to understand that there's a difference between what the news reports and what is a legal term. The Google Trends is interesting, but I'm not sure what each of the spikes correspond to.
posted by explosion at 9:10 AM on August 5


@jfruh
MUELLER: so, this tweet, which outlines conspiracy to solicit assistance from a foreign power in violation of election law -- it's accurate?
DON JR.: [staring at word "wonderful"]: yes [sobs uncontrollably with joy]

posted by Artw at 9:11 AM on August 5 [58 favorites]


Mentioned previously: and it’s been updated

Anne Helen Petersen follows Beto O’Rourke, Ted Cruz’s oppontant as we makes rallies and appearances across western Rexas. It’s all very old school organizing, and Beto boosters seem very engaged.
posted by The Whelk at 9:11 AM on August 5 [14 favorites]


Are any of you associated with an organization that could use volunteers, and that I could be useful to?

Postcards To Voters!
posted by triggerfinger at 9:12 AM on August 5 [35 favorites]


Another postcarding option that landed in my mailbox yesterday. And MoveOn.org is one of several organizations that run text-banking (it's not from your phone, it's entirely anonymous).
posted by stevil at 9:16 AM on August 5 [7 favorites]


i like how the pope took one look at all the guillotine jokes on twitter and was like "ok i don't think they're kidding anymore, better speak up about the death penalty"
posted by poffin boffin at 9:17 AM on August 5 [42 favorites]


It is physically difficult as well as psychologically difficult for me to be in large crowds, so I have not attended demonstrations. I do have some extra funds so I've been giving donations to a number of causes. But that still didn't feel like enough. I wanted to do something physical, something that was at least a little inconvenient for me. I have been handwriting letters to Dump, HHS secretary, various congress people and the head of whatever agency has pulled the most egregiously awful stunt/horrifically bad act in a given week. It takes some time, and I want to be careful to state my case clearly and succinctly so the poor clerks who actually open and read them can do so relatively quickly--I limit my comment to one thing. I get satisfaction knowing they have to be opened, logged, and filed so there is a tangible record.

Also, I worked for companies that printed notecards back in the 80s and 90s and have a fairly large collection of samples of cards with unicorns, puppies, kittens, Pierrot's with a rose, etc. and I am using those up in this effort. That just makes me happy.
posted by agatha_magatha at 9:18 AM on August 5 [46 favorites]


I’ve been looking at some polling crosstabs and I’ve got to say to my fellow white men over 55: You’re a great disappointment to me. On the other hand it seems fitting and consistent with the American story that women, minorities and young people now step up to save the republic.

In 2018 this is a tweet by Bill Kristol.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:19 AM on August 5 [136 favorites]


I'm not sure why the confusion over the term "collusion" should bother anybody. It's not like the people doing the prosecuting are confused, and being clear on the legal meaning of the term won't move the needle on either side of the argument.

TRUMPIE: Hey, libtard! Y'all kept going on about Trump being busted for collusion, but he went to prison for conspiracy, money laundering, and obstruction of justice. HAR HAR HAR!

ME: My God, you're right. How could I have been so stupid? I'll think twice before playing lawyer like that again.
posted by Rykey at 9:19 AM on August 5 [38 favorites]


"Collusion" has spiked a few times, but Trump hasn't seemed to understand that there's a difference between what the news reports and what is a legal term. The Google Trends is interesting, but I'm not sure what each of the spikes correspond to.

One of the earliest spikes was from late April 2016 during the primary. Trump accused Kasich and Cruz of collusion for trying to team up to deny Trump primary wins. So maybe "collusion" is just a word Trump liked and the press grabbed onto it.
posted by peeedro at 9:20 AM on August 5 [4 favorites]


... surely this? do we even say that anymore?
posted by gusandrews at 9:29 AM on August 5 [26 favorites]


I feel like the Hope Hicks - Air Force 1 meeting fits in with Sarah Kendzior's long-held analysis that leaders in authoritarian states openly and brazenly flaunt the law or norms, as a powerful means of expressing their power and reinforcing a public assertion-through-action that normal rules don't apply to them. It's a form of advertising, in effect, designed to create a feeling of shock and awe through its very flagrancy.

If you haven't revisited the (as far as I can tell) January 2017 "Year One Under Authoritarianism" guide from Polish Journalist Martin Mycielski, it's worth doing so, because virtually every prediction from 18 months ago has come true. The Trump regime is following a playbook with a proven record of success.
posted by Rumple at 9:31 AM on August 5 [117 favorites]


The other media, I think, are focusing on issues which are pretty marginal. There are much more serious issues that are being put to the side.

One example...

There should be a lot more attention paid to what was mentioned yesterday in the previous thread: the Koch brothers' efforts to call a constitutional convention. This would be truly calamitous and must be stopped.
posted by duoshao at 9:32 AM on August 5 [25 favorites]


ProPublica's Trump, Inc. podcast devotes itself to "exploring the mysteries of the president’s businesses: who profits and at what cost?" It's well worth a listen.
posted by Paul Slade at 9:32 AM on August 5 [7 favorites]


Where the Heck Did the Term “Collusion” Come From?
On July 22, 2016, Wikileaks released more than 19,000 emails from top members of the Democratic National Committee. Two days after the release, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook told CNN that, according to “experts,” Russian state actors had stolen the emails from the DNC and were releasing them through Wikileaks “for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump.”

Mook did not use the word “collusion,” but the press, in reporting his comments, did. Within the hour, in an article timestamped at 9:55 a.m., the Washington Examiner reported that Paul Manafort and Donald Trump Jr, had responded to Mook’s allegations and “vigorously denied any kind of collusion between Trump Sr. and the Russian president.”... Ninety minutes later, at 11:27 a.m., ABC News repeated what it termed Mook’s “allegation of collusion between the campaign and Russia.” And three hours later, at approximately 12:35 p.m., Bernie Sanders’s campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “If there was some kind of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence or Russian hackers, that clearly has to be dealt with.”
posted by BungaDunga at 9:35 AM on August 5 [13 favorites]


I was listening to something that pointed out that the brazen, saying the quiet parts out loud nature of these chuckleheads is definitely helping them in the court of public opinion. If that tweet was leaked from a secret memo instead of blasted to the public, it would feel much more like a confession rather than yet another stupid slip-up. It’s a confession. The President just confessed. Again.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:36 AM on August 5 [7 favorites]


... surely this? do we even say that anymore?

Hang on, let me dig it out...

@bronzehammer
Well, I'd like to see ol Donny Trump wriggle his way out of THIS jam!
*Trump wriggles his way out of the jam easily*
Ah! Well. Nevertheless,
(10/1/16)

Latest few developments are an impressive test of the theory that that Donald Trump will face no consequences for anything ever, but I suspect we’re going to see it hold true.

Elections are in 92 days, vote.
posted by Artw at 9:39 AM on August 5 [18 favorites]


I can't tell if setting the goalposts at "collusion" was a fake-out by Republicans.

It was a term that was broad enough that it could be used to investigate many different crimes and any newly discovered crimes related to working with Russia. I think it may have also been used, because ultimately no crime needs to have been technically committed for Trump to be impeached. Another headfake being deployed by him and Rudy is all the legalese. Trump won't be impeached by a court of law.
posted by xammerboy at 9:42 AM on August 5 [3 favorites]


The flagrant Hope Hicks hookup makes me wonder what other meetings Trump is having on the road, in all these far flung places.
posted by Scram at 9:43 AM on August 5 [2 favorites]




... surely this? do we even say that anymore?

surelythis.com used to be a redirect to the WaPo story about the Access Hollywood tape. Later it was a redirect to the NYTimes story about Don Jr's "I love it" email. Now they've just given up.
posted by peeedro at 9:46 AM on August 5 [47 favorites]


I remember last year, every time an important issue came up that the media should have been making people aware of (about changing laws, social situations, etc) a distraction also came up. Trump would do something unusual and that would dominate the news cycle. This collusion talk is probably the GOP’s best friend at the moment. A lot of talk in circles by not-lawyers, a lot of energy spent, amounting to not much of anything.

Now is the time to pick some prizes and keep eyes on those until the mid-terms are over. No more tabloid fodder distractions.
posted by mantecol at 9:46 AM on August 5 [5 favorites]


Just to pick on Puerto Rico, the trade war has China proposing tariffs against coffee, among other things. (Do any of the states export coffee?)
Alto Grande here boasts that it is the coffee the pope drinks, although I think that goes back to Pope Innocent XXX.
A new study says Hurricane Maria caused 1139 excess deaths from landfall to December. This doesn't contradict the other study that topped out near 5,000. The prior study considered a longer amount of time (through January?) and they had a range of error that went as low as 1,000.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:49 AM on August 5 [6 favorites]


Do any of the states export coffee?

Hawaii.
posted by peeedro at 9:52 AM on August 5 [6 favorites]


Honestly, this is the most confused I have been in this entire Trump era. Melania is opposing Trump? Trump is tweeting his son had a meeting with Russians about getting dirt on Hillary? It's not that I don't see what's going on, it's that I really don't see the endgame at this point. It seems like we have moved beyond chaos to something else.
posted by bluesky43 at 9:54 AM on August 5 [8 favorites]


52 U.S. Code § 30121 - Contributions and donations by foreign nationals

It shall be unlawful for a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make;
- (A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election;
- (B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party

It shall be unlawful for a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.

---

David Frum
They knew they would be meeting with representatives of the Russian state.

They knew they were being offered Russian state intelligence.

They intended to use Russian intelligence offered by Russian agents against an American opponents.

They did not alert the FBI.
posted by chris24 at 9:56 AM on August 5 [160 favorites]


With the widespread speculation about Trump's relationship with Hope Hicks, then Melania's outburst can be read as a token of resistance.
posted by Rumple at 9:57 AM on August 5 [4 favorites]


It shall be unlawful for a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.

For instance the large number of foreign government officials who reported repeatedly receiving campaign solicitation emails from the Trump campaign. Did anything ever come of that?
posted by scalefree at 10:00 AM on August 5 [6 favorites]


Does anyone have a line on what Fox News' take on this mornings confessional tweet is? I have no tv or stomach to view directly, but I can imagine their spin on it is going to be the the ones the rebublicans are going to go with on Monday, and they've got all day to try different takes out.
posted by Catblack at 10:12 AM on August 5 [1 favorite]


He's [David Frum] right too that the United States' invasion of Iraq was a huge deal and done for the wrong reasons and under false pretenses, destabilized a significant portion of the world, and that no one were ever made accountable for what had been done.

"No one accountable" includes David Frum who was the speech writer for GW Bush that came up with the "Axis of Evil" speech that kicked it all off.

Never forget that the johnny-come-lately NeverTrumpers are not your friends. They are the same shitty people with the same shitty ideas as ever -- tax cuts for the rich, benefit cuts to the poor, and oppression of women and minorities. It's just that they think Trump is damaging their brand and hurting their cause.
posted by JackFlash at 10:14 AM on August 5 [99 favorites]


I can't stomach fox news but here's the clip from Trump's lawyer talking to George Stephanolpolous.
Short version:
Lawyer- nobody has identified any laws that were broken
George- yes they have.
posted by bluesky43 at 10:15 AM on August 5 [31 favorites]


Does anyone have a line on what Fox News' take on this mornings confessional tweet is?

"Don't confuse me with the facts! I've got a closed mind." -- Rep. Earl Landgrebe (R-IN), defending Nixon during the Watergate hearings
posted by chris24 at 10:18 AM on August 5 [26 favorites]


Fox showed Trump at a podium, showed a graphic with the whole tweet, and then put up the Jay Sekulow and George S. clips linked above. Sekulow says roughly -- what crime is it? (George answers conspiracy to defraud the US. I think.) And then (!!!) Sekulow says that as far as he knows Trump Jr. is not a target of the investigation. And they move on to the Manafort trial.
posted by puddledork at 10:22 AM on August 5 [3 favorites]


A helpful timeline from Vox on the Trump tower meeting.
posted by bluesky43 at 10:31 AM on August 5 [3 favorites]


and here's WaPo on the legality and time line of the Trump tower meeting statements.
posted by bluesky43 at 10:38 AM on August 5 [2 favorites]


Do any of the states export coffee?

Hawaii.


California has hopes.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:40 AM on August 5


Honestly, this is the most confused I have been in this entire Trump era. Melania is opposing Trump? Trump is tweeting his son had a meeting with Russians about getting dirt on Hillary? It's not that I don't see what's going on, it's that I really don't see the endgame at this point.

My sense is that it's confusing if you consider things through the lens of rationality, or normalcy, decency, basic compassion, or really even a sense of consequence or conscience--i.e., the ways that most of us human beings think. Trump's mind and consciousness are fundamentally disordered, and so he actually, literally does not perceive, conceive, or consider anyone or anything in the ways that most of the rest of us do.

There is also clearly a large helping of dumbness (likely caused by horrible, solipsistic self-absorption, venality and greed, rather than just brain-no-work-good) in Trump and those around him, and that should be weighed appropriately when the next stupid, awful thing happens, because if it looks stupid it probably is just stupid, and a thoughtful person can make themselves crazy looking for alternate explanations, because often there are none; stupid just stupids, selfish just...selfishes(?). (The people around Trump evoke, to me, those weird late-90s gimmick money give-aways, that used a clear, closed chamber that would blow around a whole bunch of cash while a random audience member/contestant would stand inside and try to literally grab as much cash out of the air as they could in 30 seconds, frantically and randomly snatching at the air around themselves in negligibly-successful attempts to get rich quick. That's the Trumpites in an image, except maybe for a more accurate metaphor they're standing on the backs of various poor, disenfranchised people to better reach the cash.)

I find that framing things like this helps me to remember that none of this is normal, and these people are not geniuses or masterminds; they're just profoundly selfish and amoral, and are willing to do things that most of us really probably wouldn't do, to enrich themselves in various ways, and to satisfy various disordered emotional needs. Trump is unfortunately a perfect storm, a savant of brazen disregard for norms, laws, ethics and morality, the ultimate Prophet of the Self; all of his actions serve that master, those ends, nothing else for him is real or true, and boy howdy have people (especially Russian-type people) been taking massive advantage of this.

In short, I only get confused when I try to understand the world in terms of (what I thought of as) normalcy, or typical human consciousness. When I remember that we're being forced to live in the world (the reality, the consciousness) of a malignant narcissist and his many sycophants, stuff actually makes more sense. Though no less horrifying, unfortunately. I hope that the rest of us, our national institutions and very character are robust enough for this particular, historically significant stress test. We are living in most interesting times, indeed.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:43 AM on August 5 [45 favorites]


If basically all the lawyers who work for Trump and have gone on TV to defend him don't end up disbarred for being appallingly bad lawyers to the point of malpractice, I will be very disappointed.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:43 AM on August 5 [60 favorites]


More analysis from WaPo.

Is this tweet, in and of itself, damning? Probably not. But obstruction-of-justice cases are about proving that someone had “corrupt intent” when they took the actions they did. And for the second time in less than a week, Trump tweeted something that suggested his intent wasn't terribly wholesome. He also suggested that he isn't as convinced as he'd like us to believe that there's nothing to see here.
posted by bluesky43 at 10:45 AM on August 5 [8 favorites]


Also I don't often look at Trumps twitter feed, but it is totally off the rails today. It's more than frightening.
posted by bluesky43 at 10:52 AM on August 5


@paulconstant
They're actually selling and buying shirts at Trump rallies that say "I'd rather be a Russian than a Democrat."

They're totally fine with just ignoring laws. Also these people hate America.
posted by Artw at 10:54 AM on August 5 [116 favorites]


MoveOn.org is one of several organizations that run text-banking

Donating feels sort of hollow so I've been looking for something to do that doesn't involve knocking on doors canvassing or protesting in the heat. This is perfect, thanks for the link!
posted by zrail at 11:01 AM on August 5 [3 favorites]


If basically all the lawyers who work for Trump and have gone on TV to defend him don't end up disbarred for being appallingly bad lawyers to the point of malpractice, I will be very disappointed.

I would kind of prefer they all stay actively in the Republican defense lawyer stable for a long long time. If the other side wants to load their guns with duds, blanks, damp squibs and backfires I am all for it.
posted by srboisvert at 11:02 AM on August 5 [5 favorites]


@paulconstant: They're actually selling and buying shirts at Trump rallies that say "I'd rather be a Russian than a Democrat."

When you replace European in this tweet with what she really means – White – it all makes sense.

@AnnCoulter
In 20 years, Russia will be the only country that is recognizably European.
posted by chris24 at 11:04 AM on August 5 [57 favorites]


You can also phone bank with SwingLeft.
posted by stevil at 11:10 AM on August 5 [9 favorites]


I would kind of prefer they all stay actively in the Republican defense lawyer stable for a long long time. If the other side wants to load their guns with duds, blanks, damp squibs and backfires I am all for it.

Y’know, you say that, but so far it’s working. That I can see, anyway, not a soul has yet to pay any kind of material cost for all the mis-, mal- and abfeasance we’ve seen lo these past two years.

That Ann Coulter tweet is appalling.
posted by adamgreenfield at 11:13 AM on August 5 [4 favorites]


That Ann Coulter tweet is appalling.
And nonsensical. Russia has always been, well, recognizably russian.
posted by Harry Caul at 11:24 AM on August 5 [17 favorites]


Has Ann Coulter ever been to Russian? Seems she has a skewed view of the vastness of the former Soviet Union and the various ethnicities contained therein.
posted by misterpatrick at 11:29 AM on August 5 [40 favorites]


And of the complex relationship of Russia's elites with Europe, at times copying them, at time straining for a distinct identity.

But really she means "I found some racists I like".
posted by Artw at 11:32 AM on August 5 [52 favorites]


That’s not even a dog whistle. That’s basically a bullhorn.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:00 PM on August 5 [17 favorites]


Kick your son under the bus?

"Don Jr? He's just a low level coffee son. He was with the family a very short time and in a very limited role."
posted by DreamerFi at 12:00 PM on August 5 [127 favorites]


The "russia stuff" is not a distraction. It's an operation that exploited divisions in our political system over race, class, money, and ideology. And it turns out that one party in America is more aligned with the global billionaire class. Not that the Democratic Party is totally innocent (see Podesta and Craig), but the russia stuff, the GOP platform, the looting of the government by Trump and his allies are all part of one thing. It's true that the other parts aren't receiving enough coverage, but what really needs to happen is for news orgs to connect the dots.
posted by runcibleshaw at 12:12 PM on August 5 [40 favorites]


Y’know, you say that, but so far it’s working. That I can see, anyway, not a soul has yet to pay any kind of material cost for all the mis-, mal- and abfeasance we’ve seen lo these past two years.

Didn't one of the people who plead out of a bunch of Mueller charges get disbarred? And didn't Anthony Scaramucci get owned by a bunch of divestment taxes he couldn't write off because he had to sell a bunch of stuff when he took the comms job but wasn't there long enough to have the taxes forgiven? Am I remembering this right?

Anyway these people are kind of the notable exceptions, I agree with your wider point.
posted by threementholsandafuneral at 12:13 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


If we all survive in a hundred years it'll make for an amazing opera.

I have spent arguably too much idle time constructing the plot to this opera, which at the current rate of events will be turning into "Stupid Ring Cycle" any day now.
posted by Vervain at 12:21 PM on August 5 [23 favorites]


If you're looking to donate but don't know where to give to maximize your ROI, take a look at the Great Slate.
Tech Solidarity is endorsing five candidates for Congress. Each of them is a first-time progressive candidate with a day job, an excellent campaign team, and a clear path to victory in a poor, rural district that is being ignored by the national Democratic Party.

In the second quarter of 2018, the Great Slate raised $467,488 for our candidates. To date, we've raised over $2M! Let's keep the momentum going!
posted by scalefree at 12:27 PM on August 5 [8 favorites]


"Don Jr? He's just a low level coffee son. He was with the family a very short time and in a very limited role."

Previously: "What if he's a loser?"
posted by box at 12:32 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


If you're looking to donate but don't know where to give to maximize your ROI, take a look at the Great Slate.

All those except IA-4 are pretty good seats but will only run up the score in the House if the blue wave materializes. IMHO the Senate is where you want to plow money to in terms of ROI. If the Democrats have the majority in the Senate all appointments for judicial roles will stop dead in the water until 2020 which will limit further damage Trump can do to the judiciary.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 12:35 PM on August 5 [8 favorites]


Remember, there was no collusion. Also, the collusion was broken when Trump got it. Also, when Trump returned the collusion, it was still in perfect condition.

The last refuge of any scoundrel is the technicality. The finer lines Team Trump have to walk in their denials, the closer the net may be getting.
posted by delfin at 12:37 PM on August 5 [15 favorites]


When you replace European in this tweet with what she really means – White – it all makes sense.

This is so weird, because for "Western chauvinists" for generations, Russian has been too un-European
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:37 PM on August 5 [14 favorites]


Seems to me like QAnon was an inevitability. I mean, you can't remain in a state of extreme cognitive dissonance for so long and still see the real world as it is.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:43 PM on August 5 [7 favorites]


The Day Trump Told Us There Was Attempted Collusion with Russia
Adam Davidson | The New Yorker
... On August 5, 2018, precisely forty-four years after the collapse of the Nixon Presidency, another President, Donald Trump, made his own public admission. In one of a series of early-morning tweets, Trump addressed a meeting that his son Donald, Jr., held with a Russian lawyer affiliated with the Russian government. “This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics - and it went nowhere,” he wrote. “I did not know about it!”

The tweet contains several crucial pieces of information. First, it is a clear admission that Donald Trump, Jr.,’s original statement about the case was inaccurate enough to be considered a lie. He had said the meeting was with an unknown person who “might have information helpful to the campaign,” and that this person “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children.” This false statement was, according to his legal team, dictated by the President himself. There was good reason to mislead the American people about that meeting. Based on reporting—at the time and now—of the President’s admission, it was a conscious effort by the President’s son and two of his closest advisers to work with affiliates of the Russian government to obtain information that might sway the U.S. election in Trump’s favor. In short, it was, at minimum, a case of attempted collusion. The tweet indicates that Trump’s defense will continue to be that this attempt at collusion failed—“it went nowhere”—and that, even if it had succeeded, it would have been “totally legal and done all the time.” It is unclear why, if the meeting was entirely proper, it was important for the President to declare “I did not know about it!” or to tell the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, to “stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now.”

The President’s Sunday-morning tweet should be seen as a turning point. It doesn’t teach us anything new—most students of the case already understand what Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner knew about that Trump Tower meeting. But it ends any possibility of an alternative explanation. We can all move forward understanding that there is a clear fact pattern about which there is no dispute:

• The President’s son and top advisers knowingly met with individuals connected to the Russian government, hoping to obtain dirt on their political opponent.

• Documents stolen from the Democratic National Committee and members of the Clinton campaign were later used in an overt effort to sway the election.

• When the Trump Tower meeting was uncovered, the President instructed his son and staff to lie about the meeting, and told them precisely which lies to use.

• The President is attempting to end the investigation into this meeting and other instances of attempted collusion between his campaign staff and representatives of the Russian government.

It was possible, just days ago, to believe—with an abundance of generosity toward the President and his team—that the meeting was about adoption, went nowhere, and was overblown by the Administration’s enemies. No longer. The open questions are now far more narrow: Was this a case of successful or only attempted collusion? Is attempted collusion a crime? What legal and moral responsibilities did the President and his team have when they realized that the proposed collusion was underway when the D.N.C. e-mails were leaked and published? And, crucially, what did the President know before the election, after it, and when he instructed his son to lie?

Earlier on Sunday, Trump wrote another tweet, one that repeated a common refrain: journalists are the enemy of the people. “I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People,” it read. In a way, he did provide a great service. He allowed us to move away from a no-longer-relevant debate about whether or not he and his campaign had done anything wrong. Our nation can now focus on another question: What do we do when a President has openly admitted to attempted collusion, lying, and a coverup?
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:45 PM on August 5 [106 favorites]


@saletan [with Sekulow transcript inside]: Latest Trump defense: Telling Comey to stop investigating Flynn is like telling J. Edgar Hoover to stop investigating MLK.

You see, because it would have been good if Kennedy told Hoover to knock it off, so obviously it's the same thing if Trump tells Comey to stop investigating his advisor.
posted by zachlipton at 12:59 PM on August 5 [5 favorites]


The New Yorker article begins with a overview of the Nixon Watergate scandal and builds from there. I feel like I'm 17 years old again except there is no Sam Ervin or Howard Baker in the Senate. And the corruption is so deep and so broad and lead by a lying misogynistic racist.
posted by bluesky43 at 12:59 PM on August 5 [12 favorites]


The NYT helpfully observes in their tweet of Michael Shear’s story on today’s admissions:

“It's illegal for a campaign to get such help from a foreign power.“
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:04 PM on August 5 [25 favorites]


That I can see, anyway, not a soul has yet to pay any kind of material cost for all the mis-, mal- and abfeasance we’ve seen lo these past two years.

This was linked back in May, but it's still relevant: Vox - Most Americans don’t realize Robert Mueller’s investigation has uncovered crimes

Five guilty pleas so far; sentencing has not yet taken place for most of them, but is currently scheduled for later this year (and will happen). Alex van der Zwaan, who was sentenced, spent a month in prison and two months under supervised release, paid twenty thousand dollars in fines, and was deported. And then you've got the ongoing Manafort trial and the whole Cohen ~situation~ just in terms of what's happening currently.

Politically, a lot of Republicans have lost primaries or special elections or have announced they aren't running for reëlection, which is likely not entirely unrelated (although it's also common for people to retire following a wave election in their party's favor, so proving causation here would be close to impossible.)

It's true that not enough people have paid real costs, but at the same time there are a bunch of people who are, metaphorically, in the process of reaching for their checkbook (leaving aside those who have already paid); people will pay real costs. That's no longer a question. The only questions are exactly who, when, and how large a cost.
posted by cjelli at 1:06 PM on August 5 [25 favorites]


In 2018 this is a tweet by Bill Kristol.

Bill Kristol's self-serving hypocrisy and tolerance for cognitive dissonance are bottomless. I hope no one with any decency or sense forgets that his 30+ years of braying moral squalor are directly responsible for where we find ourselves right now.
posted by ryanshepard at 1:41 PM on August 5 [51 favorites]


Bill Kristol's self-serving hypocrisy and tolerance for cognitive dissonance are bottomless. I hope no one with any decency or sense forgets that his 30+ years of braying moral squalor are directly responsible for where we find ourselves right now.

Every week or so a Bill Kristol tweet will show up on my timeline, and I'm fairly consistent in pissing into the wind by replying with something to the effect of, "You helped this happen." I hope someone shaves his head on November 4, 2020.
posted by rhizome at 1:57 PM on August 5 [13 favorites]


Rust Moranis: "In 2018 this is a tweet by Bill Kristol."

I'll do you one better:
Mr. @realDonaldTrump In my opinion everyone especially a President should love all,and not differentiate between them. I love @KingJames #MichaelJordan @RaufMahmoud and all athletes, and wish them all the best.

- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (@Ahmadinejad1956)
posted by Rhaomi at 1:58 PM on August 5 [44 favorites]


Bill Kristol's self-serving hypocrisy and tolerance for cognitive dissonance are bottomless. I hope no one with any decency or sense forgets that his 30+ years of braying moral squalor are directly responsible for where we find ourselves right now.

This is true but it is still important to notice when the shit-and-piss-covered flea-ridden plague-carry rats decide that it is finally time to get off a ship.
posted by srboisvert at 2:04 PM on August 5 [14 favorites]


I'll save my praise for when they actually leave the ship. People like Kristol will have to actively and publicly dismantle the foundations of this crap before they're able to redeem themselves, at a minimum. Goes for Rubin, too.
posted by rhizome at 2:04 PM on August 5 [8 favorites]


And again we have the most careful splitting if hairs and benefit of doubt giving: "attempted collusion". The media is so careful not to get out in front of this: what's next:" Trump was told about the meeting, but did he listen? Can we ever really know if Trump understood this might be accidental collusion-like behavior? "

Wake me when headline is " Treasonous Illegitimate President Jailed"
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 2:14 PM on August 5 [20 favorites]


For a lot of Americans, Trumps tweet is going to be a big deal. The mainstream media no longer has to parse its statements:

Trump's campaign team took Russia up on an offer to fix the American election. Says who? Says Trump.
posted by xammerboy at 2:29 PM on August 5 [11 favorites]


The mainstream media no longer has to parse its statements

And yet they will. It's all "by itself this one tweet isn't necessarily illegal" and so on. It's like somebody robbed a bank and the media is constantly "so this one frame we're examining from the security video isn't in and of itself illegal. Yes, he has a mask on but he could have just come from skiing. And the handwritten note he's handing the teller could be a birthday card. We would need more context to make a judgment".

Well goddamn it you've got other context. How about making a judgment? Watch the entire fuckin video.
posted by Justinian at 2:33 PM on August 5 [54 favorites]


I wish I shared your confidence, xammerboy. The American right no longer recognizes any distinction between truth and falsehood – there is only Us and The Enemy. I expect that most of them will go to their graves bitterly decrying the evidence of their own eyes. Trumpism is a cult of personality and grievance, not a political ideology as we usually understand the term.

That said, it does feel like we're nearing a turning point of some kind. A turn toward what, I don't know.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 2:40 PM on August 5 [8 favorites]


For a lot of Americans, Trumps tweet is going to be a big deal.

"I'd rather be a Russian than a democrat."
posted by Pendragon at 2:42 PM on August 5 [15 favorites]


The defense attorney on MSNBC threw out a great bon mot about investigations that I'd not heard before (in this context). The host asked if it was a bad sign for Don Jr that he hasn't been questioned yet given everything we know. She said there was an old saying in her line of work: "If you're not at the table, you're on the menu."

Yesssssss.
posted by Justinian at 2:45 PM on August 5 [161 favorites]


For a lot of Americans, Trumps tweet is going to be a big deal..."I'd rather be a Russian than a democrat."

Yeah, that's right — Pendragon has it. My reading of When Prophecy Fails tells me that any response to this revelation of yon core Deplorables will be in the nature of doubling and tripling down on their boy, whatever mental furniture they may need to reärrange to make it so.
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:04 PM on August 5 [3 favorites]


No Russian "forced" any Good White Male Heterosexual God-Fearing Christian Patriot to acknowledge that people with darker skin, different sexual preferences, different religious beliefs, different places of residence, different places of origin, different perspectives on the identities of the rightful owners of America, or different opinions on just about anything are also Americans in good standing.

Natural allies.
posted by delfin at 3:12 PM on August 5 [8 favorites]


The definition of truth on the Right has become operational: if it helps us stay in power, it's true.
posted by jamjam at 3:18 PM on August 5 [26 favorites]


Juggalo-Socialist solidarity today in Berkeley.

Peace, Land, and Faygo.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:27 PM on August 5 [57 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!

So many things wrong here, but what the hell does he think he'd be irrigating exactly? The Mendocino Complex fires are basically surrounding Clear Lake and the Carr fire is pushing up near two different lakes and surrounding a third. Does he think we're supposed to wet down the entire state on a routine basis or something?
posted by zachlipton at 3:32 PM on August 5 [65 favorites]


I'll do you one better:

At this point I half-expect to see the re-animated corpse of William F. Buckley spit some Public Enemy verse

🤞Fingers crossed🤞
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 3:33 PM on August 5 [33 favorites]


Tweeted like a guy whose understanding of forestry begins and ends on the golf course lawn.
posted by Scram at 3:33 PM on August 5 [81 favorites]


Peace, Land, and Faygo.

Yes. Along with having to think of David Frum and Bill Fucking Kristol as in some way potential allies, I also now find myself #downwiththeclown. 2018, my dudes.
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:34 PM on August 5 [41 favorites]


The GOP wants more logging in California to combat forest fires and to drain more lakes and streams in California for irrigation to combat drought conditions, but President Toddler got them backwards.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:45 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


The environment just needs to be balanced. If you kill half of everything living, the other half will be so much safer.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:32 PM on August 5 [21 favorites]


In parallel with the events in Portland of the past few days, a socialist bookshop here in London was attacked yesterday by a gang of masked rightwing terrorists.

This is in the heart of central London, mind you. They’re becoming emboldened everywhere, and I don’t much care for where any of this is heading.
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:38 PM on August 5 [67 favorites]


Democrats surging on eve of pivotal special election (Alex Isenstadt | Politico)
Republicans have deployed the full machinery of the party to avoid defeat in the final special election before the midterms. ... But in the final days ahead of Tuesday's election, signs were everywhere that Democrats are surging — from recent polling to the private and public statements of many Republicans, including the GOP candidate himself. The district has been reliably red for more than three decades, but the sheer size of the Republican cavalry made clear how worried the party is about losing it.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:42 PM on August 5 [10 favorites]


Hi everyone! I'm the idiot who said back in the day that donnie shitstain would drop out if he lost a few primaries, or never get elected. So I decided to stop making predictions, but....

it does feel like we're nearing a turning point of some kind.

I think we might just be there now, just a liiiitle mooore, come on, our national nightmare can end, come on Bob, do it right, nail this asshole.
posted by vrakatar at 4:49 PM on August 5 [12 favorites]


Along with having to think of David Frum and Bill Fucking Kristol as in some way potential allies, I also now find myself #downwiththeclown.

I also am operating on an open tag-in basis for anyone who wants the to stop the Nazis. Once that's handled, I'll have the bandwidth to worry about intentions and everyone's level of genuine concern. Every new person on a page that says "Nazi punks fuck off" today, I get back another little sliver of faith that we may yet get a chance to work out our other differences one day. It's fifth reel of the Rocketeer time until further notice.

I'm not saying anyone take their eye off the ball, or let George Will and Bill Kristol off the hook for advocating the very conditions which have led to this crisis. In fact, they're the very sort of fellows I'll be looking to for some genuine concession at last on a number of their economic arguments, when the time comes. They have thousands of readers, and influence over people that whether I like it or not, a guy like me can never reach. If the better portion of America's golf dads need to hear it from David Brooks to grasp that the Nazi problem is real, then fine. For now, that's fine. A burning building is a poor setting for nitpicking. I hate that it's taking this level of crisis to get folks to understand that we could lose democracy but goddamn, if they get there now, at least they got there.

Because for one thing, what if some of these feckless NeverTrumpers really mean it? Or what if they don't mean it now, but the difficult days ahead will lead to a genuine change in their hearts? Even adjusting for opportunism, cowardice, expedience and embarrassment, I can't rule out real learning occurring somewhere in the whole mess. People can change, damn it all. Cynicism is the most tempting feeling, it always seems to make the most sense, but we know that authoritarians count on that shit to do two thirds of their job for them. Our last real president instructed us to hope, so I do and I will. The task of repelling and smothering fascism is vast, perhaps endless, so there's no sense turning away anyone who comes looking to perform their portion of the work. Bill Kristol and Bill Maher are both more than welcome to grab a shovel if they really want to. Maybe on the other end of all this, they'll both be easier to live with.

For another thing: I've been unsure how to confess this a long time but you know what? A lot of ICP's catalog fucking slaps. May the Juggalo alliance grow ever stronger.
posted by EatTheWeak at 4:54 PM on August 5 [75 favorites]




I think we might just be there now, just a liiiitle mooore, come on, our national nightmare can end, come on Bob, do it right, nail this asshole.

I won't catastrophize – but even if Mueller presents clear evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Trump, we're a very long way from being out of the water. The turning point I mentioned isn't "Trump gets impeached and everyone lives happily ever after". The political situation in the US is utterly fucked, and it'll take a lot more than Mueller to fix that.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:08 PM on August 5 [41 favorites]


Boingboing: Border family separation isn't "zero tolerance" - CBP looked for parents to charge so they could kidnap kids

Does anyone have a second source on this? It looks like Boingboing is sourcing the Intercept on this and I struggle with them as a primary source.

But if this shit is true --
[...] as Congress has delved into the process, grilling the Trump officials who enforced the policy, an even crueler, more awful picture has emerged.

It turns out that border guards charged "less than a third" of the adults who crossed the border since the policy began -- but that they preferentially brought charges against parents so they could take their kids away.
-- if this is true, the administration specifically sought out opportunities to kidnap kids... holy fuck, dude. Let's get some additional sources on this please because holy fuck.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 5:27 PM on August 5 [76 favorites]


Okay but that's EXACTLY WHAT THE POLICY WAS. From the very top they WANTED to focus on snatching kids to "deter" others from coming to the border. Good for folks digging into this to produce the evidence but this has ALWAYS BEEN a shameless horrific policy that they Purposefully Designed to attack families.
posted by odinsdream at 5:34 PM on August 5 [18 favorites]


I won't catastrophize – but even if Mueller presents clear evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Trump, we're a very long way from being out of the water. The turning point I mentioned isn't "Trump gets impeached and everyone lives happily ever after". The political situation in the US is utterly fucked, and it'll take a lot more than Mueller to fix that.

It'll take US Courts and Juries. I'm on the "Since there's no 'normal' anymore, why shouldn't Bob Mueller indict a sitting President for felonies?"

Whether it's possible is an unanswered question. I can't think of a better time to resolve it.
posted by mikelieman at 5:35 PM on August 5 [6 favorites]


Frankly, I'm way more comfortable building a coalition with Juggalos than with David Frum or Bill Fucking Kristol.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:38 PM on August 5 [84 favorites]


The Intercept article cites a TRAC analysis, and the report goes into detail on where the numbers come from. TRAC maintains some of the most comprehensive data on immigration enforcement cases.
posted by zachlipton at 5:38 PM on August 5 [16 favorites]


The claim about the Trump administration preferentially targeting families over other irregular migrants is sourced from this TRACimmigration report. It argues that since fewer than a third of irregular migrants were prosecuted, the prosecution of families represents a deliberate choice rather than the consequence of a "zero tolerance" policy. I think that has to be broadly correct, although I suppose it's arguable that, e.g., unaccompanied adults tended to enter in ways that were less likely to lead to prosecution.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:42 PM on August 5 [6 favorites]


Does anyone have a second source on this? It looks like Boingboing is sourcing the Intercept on this and I struggle with them as a primary source.

Original sourcing is to an analysis by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University ,"Zero Tolerance" at the Border: Rhetoric vs. Reality. Looks pretty cut & dry.
posted by scalefree at 5:45 PM on August 5 [4 favorites]


I don’t think we can look toward some utopian ideal, at least not in the next hundred years or more. But what I think we can realistically hope for is a continuing series of victories on the socio-economic front.

I’m encouraged, for example, by the way we’ve gone in just 30 years from no gays in the military, then to DADT, to now having LGBTQ folks serving openly and gay marriage legalized.

Or how the past hundred or so years have seen such seismic advances as Women’s Suffrage, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, the Civil Rights Act, Roe v Wade, the Voting Rights Act, the ACA. While each was imperfect and has seen significant efforts to roll them back, they still stand as markers for our society.

We are seeing the pendulum in its backswing in favor of the conservatives right now, in favor of the plutocrats, the bigots. But each decade introduces some new advance for progressive values that, despite the periodic retreats, leaves us in control of just a little more territory.

In the midst of the struggle, as we agonize and suffer through the losses and remind ourselves to keep vigilant, this reassures me, this vision of a herky-jerky, but nevertheless inevitably forward, progress.
posted by darkstar at 5:45 PM on August 5 [46 favorites]


if this is true, the administration specifically sought out opportunities to kidnap kids... holy fuck, dude

Trump Chief of Staff General Kelly, in an interview with NPR, said in the effort to enforce U.S. border laws, "a big name of the game is deterrence." And separating families "could be a tough deterrent."

They aren't hiding anything. Right from the top of the administration, they openly stated that separation of families was intended as a deterrent. In other words, it was terrorism.
posted by JackFlash at 5:54 PM on August 5 [27 favorites]


Frankly, I'm way more comfortable building a coalition with Juggalos than with David Frum or Bill Fucking Kristol.

"Fuckin' MAGAs, how do they work?"
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:01 PM on August 5 [97 favorites]


Original sourcing is to an analysis by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University ,"Zero Tolerance" at the Border: Rhetoric vs. Reality. Looks pretty cut & dry.

Unfortunately, the data presentation there is terrible. THey need to tabulate apprehensiions with and without kids, versus prosecutions wiith and without kids. FOr the latter, they combine the number.
posted by ocschwar at 6:13 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


It turns out that border guards charged "less than a third" of the adults who crossed the border since the policy began -- but that they preferentially brought charges against parents so they could take their kids away.

The first part of this statement appears to be supported by the TRAC report, but the second does not. The TRAC report does show that less than a third of adults detained at the border were referred for prosecution. Based on the second half of the sentence, I expected to find that adults who crossed with children were referred for prosecution at a higher rate than adults who crossed without children. But I don't think it says that. What I think it says is that, because they only prosecuted a third, they exercised prosecutorial discretion. This means (a) they didn't *have* to prosecute parents just as a result of the zero tolerance policy, as they have suggested, and (b) that it wasn't a truly "zero" tolerance policy.

These are both useful facts, but they don't support the claim that they preferentially brought charges against parents.

On preview, ocschwar is right, the tables don't present comparable data. It's possible if they did, the claim would be supported, but we can't tell, as-is. It may be that the researchers didn't include the data in the format we want because they weren't trying to make the point that the Intercept and boing boing were trying to make.
posted by mabelstreet at 6:19 PM on August 5 [9 favorites]


Justin Baragona @justinbaragona
Here's the clip of that @cspanwj caller saying he's "going to shoot" Brian Stelter and Don Lemon if he sees them.

The host's immediate reaction to an overt death threat? Reminding the caller "you have to turn down that television and listen and talk through the phone."
10:06 AM - 5 Aug 2018
The 4th estate doing its job here. JFC. This is how numb we are. Death threat on cable tv? Doesn't even raise an awkward silence.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 6:33 PM on August 5 [36 favorites]


Hey Michigan! Your primary is on the 7th, and this round up of Abdul El-Sayed’s polices and speeches and background and platform makes the case that Means He’s The Real Deal.
posted by The Whelk at 6:38 PM on August 5 [16 favorites]


The 4th estate doing its job here. JFC. This is how numb we are. Death threat on cable tv? Doesn't even raise an awkward silence.

I took that as the steely stoicism of a seasoned and thus resigned CSPAN call-in host.

Hey Michigan! Your primary is on the 7th, and this round up of Abdul El-Sayed’s polices and speeches and background and platform makes the case that Means He’s The Real Deal.

Yes! And whoever wins the Dem primary (barring a victory by another opportunistic rich guy with a weird hairdo, as the local memes have it), everyone here needs to vote the Democratic nominee into the statehouse this November.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:43 PM on August 5 [7 favorites]


Axios, Swan, The TiVo presidency: Trump relives Trump
Like an NFL coach reviewing game film, Trump likes to watch replays of his debate and rally performances. But instead of looking for weaknesses in technique or for places to improve, Trump luxuriates in the moments he believes are evidence of his brilliance.

Behind the scenes: Trump commentates as he watches, according to sources who've sat with him and viewed replays on his TiVo, which is pre-loaded with his favorites on the large TV in the private dining room adjoining the Oval Office. When watching replays, Trump will interject commentary, reveling in his most controversial lines. "Wait for it. ... See what I did there?" he'll say.

"People think it's easy," Trump said in one riff about rally footage, per a source with direct knowledge. "I've been doing this a long time now and people are used to it, every rally, it's like, people have said P.T. Barnum. People have said that before. And they think that's easy, because hey, P.T. Barnum, he does the circus. ... They don't realize, it's a lot of work. It's not easy."

In the early weeks of the administration, Trump loved to relive his debate performances against Hillary Clinton. His favorite, according to sources with direct knowledge, was the St. Louis debate after the Access Hollywood tape leaked, when the Trump team invited Bill Clinton's sexual misconduct accusers as their guests in the live audience.

Trump used to enjoy rewatching the moment in that debate when Clinton observed, "It's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country."
"Because," Trump replied, "you'd be in jail."

A source who's discussed the moment with Trump told me, "He thinks it's the greatest thing that ever happened in the history of presidential debates."
posted by zachlipton at 6:58 PM on August 5 [34 favorites]


Thank you triggerfinger for donating to Beto in Texas. You were a part of something huge today. Cruz put out these stupid negative ads Friday saying Beto wants to legalize heroin. The campaign and the grassroots groups were immediately posting/emailing/texting: let's raise some money and sign up some volunteers and we all did. $1 million in just this weekend (facebook link) . Send a clear message: they go negative we grow stronger.

In Houston alone there were 9 organizing rallies to set up canvasses and phonebanks. I went to two, they were both SRO. In Houston there were 19 phonebanks and 35 canvasses in the last two days. I'm not the only one planning my days off around what I'm doing for Beto.

At one of the rallies I went to (these were events Beto isn't at, just people organizing locally) I meet this woman who travelled to Alabama to campaign for Doug Jones. She just moved here and is hosting a canvass next week. She was completely inspiring.

The campaign released their first ad, from facebook live streams called Showing Up (facebook link). That was the rally cry this weekend: show up. We have all got to SHOW UP.

The town hall today in Kerrville was very fun to watch. Robert Earl Keen was there. Anne Helen Petersen took a picture and posted it on her Twitter which has great photos of the day.

The day before that Beto saved some dogs outside of Alpine, TX.

THAT SAID. I still run into people that have never heard of him. Don't know there's an election coming up. Don't want to think about it. We are the 49th state in voter turnout for a reason. We have so much work to do.

When I was leaving one of the rallies some dude loading a truck started cat-calling me. Seriously? I am an overweight 51 year old lady. But instead of ignoring him I asked him if he knew who Beto O'Rourke was. He said he had seen his name around. I asked him if he was registered to vote, he said he thought he was but never bothered. I gave him a Beto push card and some bumper stickers I had in my bag. We talked about how to check your voter registration and how disenfranchised people are from voting. How wrong that was. He pulled up Beto's website and we looked at the Issues section on his phone. I told him I go to a lot of the Events listed in the Events section and they are fun you meet a lot of nice people that want to change things. We ended it super friendly right there which was really cool. I wished him a good day and he said the same to me.

I want change so much. I know it's there. I know I have to work for it.
posted by dog food sugar at 7:09 PM on August 5 [267 favorites]


In Houston alone there were 9 organizing rallies to set up canvasses and phonebanks. I went to two, they were both SRO

Hahaha Ted Cruz is so. fucked.

When I was leaving one of the rallies some dude loading a truck started cat-calling me. Seriously? I am an overweight 51 year old lady. But instead of ignoring him I asked him if he knew who Beto O'Rourke was

And you are a goddamn inspiration
posted by schadenfrau at 7:16 PM on August 5 [140 favorites]


I’m donating to Abdul’s campaign in MI from here in NY cause catching up on him and he’s inspiring and it looks like a reformandum on if money can trump candidates. (Or if utterly destroying local media does infact, work to destroy politics)

Plus, it looks like the Ocasio-Cortez offices are being used to phonebank for Abdul so that as good thing,
posted by The Whelk at 7:31 PM on August 5 [9 favorites]


Man, I wish Bill Nelson could generate a quarter of the effort being put into Beto's campaign! I just know we're gonna flip some red seats in the Senate and still fall short because Nelson will inevitably completely screw the pooch in a winnable purple state. Because fuck us that's why.
posted by Justinian at 7:35 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


And whoever wins the Dem primary(barring a victory by another opportunistic rich guy with a weird hairdo,

Speaking of that, I had a hinky feeling about a MI state Senate candidate, Renee Watson, being an (R) in Dem clothes, and sure enough her primary opponent claims the same on her website. I'm suspicious this is another Republican dirty trick.

OTOH it doesn't matter because all the districts I reside within (state seats, US House) are such gerrymandered contortions, that the actual shit-for-brains tea/trumpublicans will probably win. (Although I hold faint hope for my US House seat.)

I've been interested in gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer's career for five years, since she spoke on the legislative floor about being a rape survivor, when the rightwinger men were pushing another restrictive abortion law into effect.

Google reminds me she also defended two other female MI legislators who were reprimanded, one for using the word vagina.

During this campaign, she's adopted the "simple, catchy phrase" approach in ads and social ("fix the damn roads"), which seems to resonate with our pothole-plagued general population.
posted by NorthernLite at 8:08 PM on August 5 [2 favorites]


schadenfrau: "Hahaha Ted Cruz is so. fucked."

I mean, I hope so! Beto seems great, and he seems like he's running the right campaign. On the other hand, he's still down in the polls to an incumbent Senator, and a Dem hasn't won statewide office in Texas since *1994*. That's a tough row to hoe.

Justinian: " I just know we're gonna flip some red seats in the Senate and still fall short because Nelson will inevitably completely screw the pooch in a winnable purple state."

This, on the other hand, I am (somewhat) more relaxed about. Again, not that Scott can't win! But I notice that a lot of local FL politics folks are a lot more skeptical about that than national ones are.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:12 PM on August 5 [9 favorites]


I'd rather be a Russian than a democrat.

Their dads were saying "Better dead than red."

And fifteen years ago they were saying, "America, love it or leave it."

Well, GTFO, you whiny sycophantic twits. I'm positive Russia offers limitless asylum for useless aggrieved middle managers who totally honestly deserve some sex.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:14 PM on August 5 [92 favorites]


Apple has confirmed that they've pulled Alex Jones and Infowars podcasts from iTunes under their hate speech policy. One Inforwars podcast still remains, but they removed all episodes of the other ones, not just selected ones.
posted by zachlipton at 8:22 PM on August 5 [94 favorites]


Abdul El-Sayed’s polices and speeches and background and platform makes the case that Means He’s The Real Deal.

He sounds like a great guy and the sort of person Michigan needs. I just wish that DSA-aligned candidates wouldn't act as if I/P werea research-free zone. A similar error embarrassed AOC [previously] and El-Sayed has done pretty much the same thing. E.g., here he is on Facebook on May 17th:
Yesterday, our country’s Ambassador to the United Nations walked out of the chamber when the representative of the Palestinian people, 58 of whom were killed, was preparing to speak. Those Palestinian men, women, and children were civilians who died peacefully protesting our government’s divisive actions in the Middle East […]

Literally a day earlier the Chicago Tribune carried an AP report quoting a Hamas claim that fifty of those killed were its members. The IDF, quoted in the same report, says that fourteen of them were carrying out active attacks. A subsequent report by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center identifies most of the casualties by name and photo and institutional affiliation. It also provides the basis for that belief: i.e., what did the death notice say, did the deceased receive a military funeral from a paramilitary group, were they described as (e.g.) a Hamas operative in social media. This report, like its predecessors, is pretty detailed and I'm not aware of any attempt to rebut it.

I'm not suggesting that El-Sayed get up and dance the Hora with AIPAC but for goodness sakes: he's not running for Federal office; he's not expected to know minutiae of foreign events; why can't he apply the same prudent non-commitalism that he presumably applies to other things out of the area of his expertise? It's an utterly unforced error, and his casual attitude towards picking a side (which he shouldn't, anyway) is frankly prejudiced.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:43 PM on August 5 [5 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** OH-12 special:
-- Lots of last minute pieces before Tuesday's vote:
-- Enten: What will the result here imply for the midterms?

-- Politico: Signs may be indicating to a Dem surge

-- The Hill: Gov Kasich says state of race bodes ill for the party as a whole

-- GOP nominee Balderson refuses to say if he'll back Jim Jordan for speaker.

-- HuffPost summary - GOP nervous, Dems not sure if they can pull it off

-- WP summary - GOP doesn't seem too thrilled about Trump's visit

-- Cohn: Dems lead in early vote, but the turnout in a special is really uncertain, so hard to make anything of it.
** 2018 Senate: TX: Enten: Beto's chances are real, but narrow; maybe 25%.

** 2018 House:
-- NYMag expanding on that Amy Walter piece the other day that we may see a lot more districts break late.

-- Cook Political on the categories of districts Dems need to flip.
** Odds & ends:
-- Dem gubernatorial candidates embracing single-payer.

-- What last week's Democratic rout means for Memphis and Shelby County.
===
Tuesday: OH-12 special; primaries in KS, MI, MO, and WA; MO's anti-right-to-work initiative.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:48 PM on August 5 [22 favorites]


Honestly, I think reminding ourselves that Beto's campaign is a hard row to hoe but also one that can be done is the best mindset we collectively have going into 2018. There's a lot to be optimistic about here in Texas and a lot about Beto's policies and mindsets that could be so, so valuable in the Senate as a representative for Texas--remember all my stumping about the toughness of Southern/Texan/deep-red-state Dems and the progressive values and tough fighting they tend to bring to a table? That almost never reaches the level of the Senate, and I am so, so excited to see what someone from that kind of political background would bring to the Senate Democratic caucus.

We have to believe this can be done in order to do it. We have to believe we can throw our shoulders against the weal and make this happen to do it. If we don't have faith in ourselves--if we remind ourselves repeatedly just how rough it is for Democrats to win in Texas--we erode the enthusiasm and commitment we need to make this election happen. We will need powerful margins of victory to account for the new GOP strategy of restricting the right and access to votes--purged voter rolls, for one--and we have to remember that this is not ever going to be an easy sail to victory. But there are so, so many reasons to take heart and throw our skin into the game: reasons to be optimistic, to be excited, to be vulnerable in our hope.

I see Beto shirts all around me, but I'm in Austin. But one of the things that does have me so, so excited about him as a candidate is that he is a smart dude who knows how to counter Cruz' smear tactics--and I haven't once seen him fall prey to the kind of short-sighted political maneuvers that sometimes sink Dems who are either too easygoing on Republicans or else not smart enough to know how to reach out to people who aren't just like themselves and resonate.

This election will not be easy, but I think it is winnable. And that in and of itself has Ted Cruz terrified. It has Republicans on the ropes. It brings the fight to a GOP stronghold in a way that the federal party straight up does not do, by and large. And it's being driven by Texans who are enthusiastic about this candidate because he gives every impression of caring about his potential constituents and doing his damndest to connect with as many of them as he can. That's authenticity we don't really get to see very often.
posted by sciatrix at 8:49 PM on August 5 [85 favorites]


bluesky43: Honestly, this is the most confused I have been in this entire Trump era. Melania is opposing Trump? Trump is tweeting his son had a meeting with Russians about getting dirt on Hillary? It's not that I don't see what's going on, it's that I really don't see the endgame at this point. It seems like we have moved beyond chaos to something else.

I was recently thinking about a paper I read a few years ago: Propaganda as Signaling, by Haifeng Huang.

He found that exposure to contemporary Chinese propaganda doesn't persuade Chinese college students that the government's position is correct; it isn't necessarily intended to do that. Instead, propaganda demonstrates that the government is in control - and that helps to suppress dissent.

In other words, it's a demonstration of power, rather than an attempt to convince. "We can trumpet this obvious lie, and nobody will disagree with us. Do you dare to?"

So on some level, Trump and his circle may come out with these never-ending streams of nonsense via twitter and SHS and anonymous leaks because Trump is senile, or because he feels the net closing in and is increasingly nervous. Or, it may be a postmodern attempt at undermining the foundations of a consensus view of reality, Vladislav Surkov-style.

I think there's some truth to both outlooks, but I think it's also worth considering that his ability to constantly declare that up is down and black is white and Hillary colluded, not him, and that collusion is not a crime is... actually a demonstration of strength.

Everything Trump says and everything Trump does is totally unacceptable and is achieved through raw exercise of power over the GOP, and hence the US government and ultimately the US population. So far he's steamrollered his way through all opposition without facing any consequences. It's clear to me that he will try to steamroller over the results of the Mueller investigation, and over the discontent of the majority in the midterms.

I agree with escape from the potato planet - there's an inflexion point coming in the next few months, for better or worse. Thankfully there are grounds for optimism, but it's really important for everybody that it's a turn in the right direction.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:53 PM on August 5 [87 favorites]


That's a great comment, sciatrix, and I couldn't agree more. In my mind, I always think, "realistic, not fatalistic."
posted by Chrysostom at 8:55 PM on August 5 [16 favorites]


Absolutely. It's so hard to know when hope is worth it because it hurts so much if you let yourself be vulnerable and lose. I actually think that's one of the things that so often undermines progressive turnout: we're driven by hope and enthusiasm, not fear, and that means we're vulnerable to cutting our losses and disengaging after we've been burned once or twice by failure when we really, really wanted--needed!--to win.

I am hoping--ha!--that we, the Left, are learning how to drop our irony and our detachment and throw ourselves into caring about candidates whether or not the odds look good at the beginning. I mean, there's a happy medium: you can't keep getting hurt and hurt and hurt, because that's not sustainable. But at the same time, I think a lot of good races never get off the ground because you don't get a critical mass of enthusiastic people going "yeah we can do this" early enough to make something really go.

Mind you, now is not the time to try to spark enthusiasm for new runs. The ones that win will be the ones who have been agitating and building momentum since the dying months of 2016. But it's certainly the time to guard ourselves against allowing creeping doubt to undermine our actions and our choices. And I think that while you do want to be realistic--you want to keep yourself in a mindset of focusing on our victories more than on our defeats--you also want to be wary of letting realism slide into pessimism and depressed apathy, too. I'm careful about that because, well, this is Texas: those sentiments are real, and they are common, and they actively make victories harder to achieve by immobilizing our base.
posted by sciatrix at 9:06 PM on August 5 [17 favorites]


I think it's also worth considering that his ability to constantly declare that up is down and black is white and Hillary colluded, not him, and that collusion is not a crime is... actually a demonstration of strength.

That's how I read it too. People don't want to call their boss a liar, so psychopathic bosses reinforce their status by openly lying to people. And Trump's followers eat it up! They know he's lying, and they love the way it forces people to accept his reality.

What scares me is that he's laying the groundwork to lie about being indicted or impeached, or that he plans to disrupt those processes and then lie about what happened. E.g., what if Trump was indicted and just denied that it had happened? Fake news, made up by a bitter man who incidentally had just been fired? And he pardoned himself to protect the US Presidency just in case, so move on, nothing to see here.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:55 PM on August 5 [16 favorites]


RE: Melania disagreeing with Donald, what strikes me is that play-acting that type of dynamic allows Trump to have his cake and eat it, too. In other words, it allows him to throw the rawest of red meat to his base, and then when Melania, Ivanka, etc mildly disagree with 0.001% of it it allows them to take on this "I'm moderating the beast" persona.

This Slate article says much the same thing:
These statements can be read two ways. The first aligns with the liberal fantasy of Melania as a captive #resistance fighter . . .

The second interpretation and, to my mind, the correct one, is that these statements from the women closest to Donald Trump are deliberate decoys meant to soften the president’s image, conferring him humanity by association. Melania has occasionally used her platform in this way, but it has been Ivanka’s entire raison d’être in the Trump cinematic universe. Throughout Donald’s campaign and presidency, she has lent legitimacy to his most punishing policies through her tacit approval, tempering his misogyny with her hollow empowerment rhetoric and convincing journalists that she’s secretly working behind the scenes on behalf of common decency. By making public statements that gently criticize her father, and by leaking through anonymous sources that she disagrees with him, all while continuing to stand by him in every way that matters, Ivanka has helped clear the way for her father’s agenda by showing his conservative skeptics how to question but support their president, how to appear humane while never really turning on the man doing those inhumane things.
posted by flug at 10:35 PM on August 5 [55 favorites]


If basically all the lawyers who work for Trump and have gone on TV to defend him don't end up disbarred for being appallingly bad lawyers to the point of malpractice, I will be very disappointed.

Not sure any of them (other than Giuliani, who is literally senile) are incompetent. I know every state has different standards and enforcement, but my understanding is that a client has a right to the type of representation he or she wants, even if it objectively hurts his legal position.

IIRC there was a recent Supreme Court case where lawyers got in trouble for interfering with the wishes of clients on death row, because they chose a path that preserved pride while almost guaranteeing they would be executed.

So if Trump, with every advantage in the world, wants a lawyer who says incriminating things in public because it fits his personal form of delusion and denial, I'm pretty sure he has a right to that.
posted by msalt at 10:38 PM on August 5 [5 favorites]


Melania disagreeing with Donald, what strikes me is that play-acting that type of dynamic allows Trump to have his cake and eat it, too.

Hmm... Melania is very reticent in public, and there's considerable evidence that she doesn't like her husband. I'm not sure if the comparison to Ivanka holds up.
posted by nnethercote at 11:09 PM on August 5 [3 favorites]


In parallel with the events in Portland of the past few days, a socialist bookshop here in London was attacked yesterday by a gang of masked rightwing terrorists.

The parallels are not coincidental. The Patriot Prayer/ Proud Boy groups are highly organized and well-funded. They have rented buses that brought in fighters in tactical gear from all over the country, and those same buses no doubt drove them all down to Berkeley for the next round. Joey Gibson, the Patriot Prayer leader, actually led a cheer for Tommy Robinson at the rally, and I guarantee you that fewer than 1% of Americans have any idea who he is.

The good news is, even with heavy efforts to bring in fighters (about 300, I'd say), they were handily outnumbered by Antifa, and aside from a seemingly unprovoked police charge against the leftist side, there was no major violence between right and left. (Unless you count police as right, which is probably fair.)

Better yet, the relatively new mayor appointed as the new police chief an African American woman reformer police officer from Oakland (named Outlaw, no less) and she already sided with the police review commission against the police union in an earlier dispute. Sunday she called for an official review of the police's use of force in what is universally seen as a one-sided way against anti-fascists.
posted by msalt at 11:28 PM on August 5 [68 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!

@bri_sacks: .@CAL_FIRE says it has "no idea" what Trump's talking about in regards to "bad environmental laws" making California's fires worse.
"We have plenty of water for the firefight. The Mendocino complex is next to Clear Lake and the Carr fire has the Whiskeytown Lake and Lake Shasta"
“This doesn’t merit a response,” Evan Westrup, a spokesman for @JerryBrownGov, said when asked about the president’s hot take on California’s wildfires

Even if we try to take the most charitable interpretation of what he's complaining about, which is his demand that more water be pumped out of the Delta for agriculture, the water would go to farms, not to randomly spread it around forests hundreds of miles upstream in case there's a fire.

Does he literally think wildland fires are fought out of hydrants, and California fire crews are standing there baffled: "well we can't use any water, we've got to save the smelt?"
posted by zachlipton at 12:03 AM on August 6 [55 favorites]


Does he literally think

Not as such.
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:10 AM on August 6 [73 favorites]


Sean Spicer did an AMA in Reddit's The_Donald cesspit, someone asked him if Q is legit and he flat out said 'no' and now the Q subreddit's are having a meltdown.
posted by PenDevil at 12:22 AM on August 6 [76 favorites]


duoshao: There should be a lot more attention paid to what was mentioned yesterday in the previous thread: the Koch brothers' efforts to call a constitutional convention. This would be truly calamitous and must be stopped.

Below is more info on this issue that, unlike my comment in the last thread, is free of the taint of Maher-misogyny (sorry for not putting a trigger warning on that). There are 2 approaches gaining steam:
1. a "Balanced Budget Amendment" (BBA) meaning the Convention would theoretically be limited this one issue, which would get rid of Medicare, Social Security, etc;
2. a Convention of States, which would theoretically look at three issues, [Convention of States link] “limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, impose fiscal restraints, and place term limits on federal officials.” I keep writing "theoretically" because from what I've read, once they're at a Convention, there's nothing to stop them from re-writing the rules.

Peter Montgomery, Political Research Associates, Will Corporations, The Christian Right, And The Tea Party Get To Rewrite The Constitution? (Oct 16, 2017)
The Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force [would have even more states' support than the 28 out of 34 it needs -- the original article says "27," but one more has joined since it was published], but in the last two years, opponents of a convention have convinced legislators in four states—Delaware, New Mexico, Maryland, and Nevada—to rescind their earlier support. . . .

The successful campaign to withdraw Nevada’s calls for a convention was a bipartisan effort. An activist with Eagle Forum, the group founded by the late Phyllis Schlafly, helped win Republican support. Schlafly, one of the most ardent conservative opponents of a constitutional convention, described it as “playing Russian Roulette with the Constitution” . . . The John Birch Society has also long opposed convention proposals.

. . . Right-wing efforts to convene an Article V Convention depend on conservative domination of state legislatures. That makes the future of the Constitution itself one of the most important, if underappreciated, stakes in state-level organizing.

Balanced Budget Amendment advocates will make a major push in 2018 to reach the 34-state threshold. The Convention of States has more ground to cover, but it also has an aggressive battle plan grounded in grassroots pressure. Meckler claims that the Convention of States Project has “over 2.1 million supporters nationwide and an organized volunteer leadership team in all 50 states, in addition to our national staff and board of renowned legal advisors.” He outlined his strategy in 2013:

In roughly 4,000 state legislative districts around the country, you need roughly 100 people in each district to be willing to call their legislative representative and ask for a convention… That’s not a high bar. And I started talking to representatives all over the country and they said, “We don’t get 100 calls on anything. If you can generate a hundred calls then we’re going to be motivated to at least take a serious look.”
The article mentions that left-wing supporters of a Constitutional Convention ("Con Con") have been pushing it as a way to overturn Citizens United. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that going to go nowhere when so many states are controlled by Rs?

08/06/18, Robert Reich's Op-Ed in Eurasia Review, "The Biggest Threat to Our Democracy That You Haven't Heard Of," at 2:20 lists states that are likely to vote for an Article V Convention: 1. Washington 2. Idaho 3. Montana 4. Wyoming 5. Arizona 6. Minnesota 7. Wisconsin 8. Kentucky 9. South Carolina 10. Virginia

So if you live in one of those states, you could add this to your list of issues to bring up with your legislators.

Check out this 09/30/17 article from The Economist for excellent graphics that might motivate people to do something.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:32 AM on August 6 [9 favorites]


We should never stop taking these sorts of threats seriously but just calling the convention isn't enough. They would need enough support to ratify any amendments and that's a more difficult task which would require a coalition of states all across the political spectrum. That is unlikely for anything crazy. Hell, it's unlikely for anything sane.
posted by Justinian at 12:37 AM on August 6 [6 favorites]


(Yes, I know Robert Reich said something about a Constitutional Convention throwing out the requirement for 38 states to ratify any proposed amendment but I have no idea what he's on about 'cause that's clearly dumbass talk. Might as well say that 5 states will get together and proclaim they can amend the constitution by themselves, it's just as supportable.)
posted by Justinian at 12:42 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


So you think the below concerns are overblown, then? I don't know enough to disagree with you, but you're talking "unlikely" and I'm looking at all the "unlikely" things that have happened since 11/2016...

The Economist:
There is also the possibility that Congress could choose ratification by means of state conventions. This is a constitutionally approved alternative to ratification by state legislatures, which has so far been used only once—for the amendment that repealed the prohibition of alcohol. In that case many states determined the make-up of their convention by a popular vote which in effect became a referendum on the amendment. As a balanced-budget amendment might, in some states, be more popular with the public than with legislators, it might be more easily ratified by this unusual route. Polls have consistently suggested that 65-70% of the public support such an amendment in principle.

There is also a long game to be played. The states do not have to ratify the amendment all at once, or in a rush. The 27th amendment, which prevents members of Congress from raising their salaries, was proposed in 1789; it did not get its 38th ratification until 1992. Unless the proposers put a time limit on their amendment’s ratification—as has been the case for most 20th-century amendments—it can sit around accumulating ratifications in perpetuity [and] the federal government would have no way to block the process. . . .

And then there is, as there always seems to be, a nuclear option. Delegates could simply declare a new, lower threshold for ratification. Uniquely in matters concerning Article V conventions, there is actually some precedent for this. The Articles of Confederation, signed in 1777 and ratified by all 13 original states in 1781, required the unanimous consent of all states for any changes. The constitutional convention of 1787 ignored this, deciding that ratification by nine of them would be sufficient for their document to replace the articles. Unless Article V is amended first, a convention would have no constitutional power to change the ratification rules itself. But delegates still might try.
Political Research Associates:
Common Cause, which has led opposition to convention proposals . . . believes “there is too much legal ambiguity that leads to too great a risk that it could be hijacked by wealthy special interests pushing a radical agenda.”

One scholarly paper laid out the threats a convention could pose . . . Its authors, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Michael Leachman and Georgetown University law professor David Super, warned that delegates to such a convention, presumably under pressure from powerful interest groups, could write their own rules, set their own agenda, and declare a new ratification process for proposed amendments.

The possibility that delegates to a convention called for one purpose—say, to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment—could decide to act on other amendments once they convene is generally referred to as a “runaway” convention. Concern about this possibility has animated opposition from across the political spectrum.

The question of whether a convention could be restricted to dealing with amendments only on certain topics is hotly contested. Some, like Article V proponent Robert Natelson, argue that the threat of a runaway convention is a myth, and portray it as a conspiracy theory promoted by supporters of the status quo.54 But others note that the Constitution itself was written at a convention originally called “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.” Instead, delegates wrote an entirely new Constitution—and lowered the Articles of Confederation’s requirement that all states consent to amendments to a three-quarters threshold. Says David Super, “It turned out OK—the Articles were replaced with the vastly superior Constitution. But the point is this: No one—not Congress, not the Supreme Court and certainly not the president—has any authority to rein in a runaway constitutional convention.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:06 AM on August 6 [4 favorites]


I think the concerns that they could propose any amendments they wished even if it was ostensibly for a single issue convention are overblown given the amendment, no matter how proposed, must still be ratified by 3/4 of the states.

That brings us to the second concern, whether a convention could simply declare the part of the constitution which deals with ratifying amendments null and void. There's no mechanism for them to do it. It's about as concerning as Trump declaring himself President-for-Life. Yes, that's concerning. But somebody declaring the Constitution defunct and a new one to exist in its place could happen even in the absence of a convention. Basically you're asking how concerned I am that there will be a civil war. Which is to say: kinda, but that concern exists independently of whether they call an official convention or not.
posted by Justinian at 1:46 AM on August 6 [12 favorites]


I will say that I do have some concern for the medium to long term that a Convention allows amendments without going through Congress at all since we're already heading for a crisis where small unpopulated states wield disproportionate power and if it ever came to pass that a small minority of the population was able to amend the Constitution because the big majority of the population was concentrated in only a few states the country would fracture. But that's off in the distance somewhere and there's, like, five existential crises to worry about before then.
posted by Justinian at 1:56 AM on August 6 [11 favorites]


But somebody declaring the Constitution defunct and a new one to exist in its place could happen even in the absence of a convention.

In any sane third world country they would call that a Coup d'état. But I guess that's too French for them.
posted by DreamerFi at 1:59 AM on August 6 [7 favorites]


In any sane third world country they would call that a Coup d'état. But I guess that's too French for them.

Freedom Treason.
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:10 AM on August 6 [48 favorites]


On December 5, 1947, [Albert] Einstein and [Oskar] Morgenstern accompanied [Kurt] Gödel to his U.S. citizenship exam, where they acted as witnesses. Gödel had confided in them that he had discovered an inconsistency in the U.S. Constitution that could allow the U.S. to become a dictatorship. Einstein and Morgenstern were concerned that their friend's unpredictable behavior might jeopardize his application. Fortunately, the judge turned out to be Phillip Forman, who knew Einstein and had administered the oath at Einstein's own citizenship hearing. Everything went smoothly until Forman happened to ask Gödel if he thought a dictatorship like the Nazi regime could happen in the U.S. Gödel then started to explain his discovery to Forman. Forman understood what was going on, cut Gödel off, and moved the hearing on to other questions and a routine conclusion.
Well, perhaps that's it, folks.
posted by runcifex at 2:21 AM on August 6 [48 favorites]


A Convention is impossible. Never happen. The country would just as soon elect, say, a Donald Trump as to shoot itself in the foot like that.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:44 AM on August 6 [17 favorites]


Will Corporations, The Christian Right, And The Tea Party Get To Rewrite The Constitution?

Given who's taken control of the federal government and a ton of state legislatures and governorships, this is exactly who would rewrite the Constitution if it were possible. I'm in the "know nothing about this kind of thing" camp, but this is why, as imperfect as our current Constitution is, the idea of getting a new one scares the shit out of me.
posted by Rykey at 4:42 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


A convention could happen. But seeing it through to its bitter end, and imposing unpopular conservative mandates, is much more difficult than getting a simple majority in the Electoral College.

The bad guys could still win, but it's rather defeatist to imagine that not only could they do so, but that they will do so easily. I can't imagine California or New York accepting some batshit insane mandate imposed by the likes of Kansas. For that matter, depending on the mandate, there's a ton of people in Kansas who wouldn't go along with it either.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 4:46 AM on August 6 [5 favorites]


Republicans Seem Very Worried About Tuesday’s Ohio Special Election

(Margaret Hartmann | NYMag)
An August special election for a congressional seat Republicans have held for decades isn’t the kind of thing that would usually draw any interest from GOP leaders at the national level. But with House Speaker Paul Ryan, Vice-President Mike Pence, and even President Trump showing up in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District in recent days, it’s obvious that Republicans are very concerned about losing Tuesday’s special election, the last before voters head to the polls in November.

The congressional seat has been vacant since January, when nine-term congressman Patrick Tiberi resigned. President Trump won the district in the Columbus suburbs by 11 points in 2016, but Tuesday’s election is a toss-up. A month ago, a Monmouth University poll had Troy Balderson, a 56-year-old Republican state senator, leading his opponent by ten points. But a Monmouth poll released Wednesday showed Danny O’Connor, the 31-year-old Democratic candidate, trailing Balderson by only one point. As the Washington Post notes, when you dig a bit deeper into the polls, there’s even more bad news for Republicans:

O’Connor supporters are 16 percentage points more likely to say they have a lot of interest in this election than Balderson’s.

It hints at a troubling trend for Republicans that has been lapping at their feet in other primaries and special elections this year: In the Trump era, Democrats seem more motivated than Republicans to vote.
We fucking better be.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:57 AM on August 6 [46 favorites]


Apropos of our earlier discussion:

Why Michigan could see the biggest blue wave of all in the 2018 elections (Dylan Scott | Vox)
In the 2018 midterm elections in Michigan, Democrats are in good shape to keep a Senate seat and retake the governor’s mansion — and the Wolverine State also gives them a couple of chances to pick up House wins.

Two Michigan House elections are outright toss-ups, and a couple of others could be in play if Democrats build a big enough blue wave. The party must also replace one of its members, John Conyers, who was forced to step down over sexual misconduct allegations.

Michigan was the site of one of Donald Trump’s most shocking wins in 2016. But now, not only is he unpopular — 44 percent approval, 52 percent disapproval, per Morning Consult — but Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who is term-limited out, has been tainted by the Flint water crisis, and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, who is running for his seat, might be too. The environment is favorable enough here for the Democrats that election forecasters think they could take the state House, despite a sizable deficit in seats.

Here are the Michigan primary elections on August 7 you need to know about.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:13 AM on August 6 [13 favorites]


Radio New Zealand Sunday Morning“Beck Dorey-Stein: life as a White House stenographer” (.mp3, .ogg)—A fascinating interview by RNZ's Wallace Chapman, thanks to both the interviewer and interviewee. She mostly talks about living in Washington DC and traveling around the world on Air Force One and the rest of her time with the Obama administration, but also gets into some details and criticisms of Trump near the end of the ½ hour. She has written a book From the Corner of the Oval Office - One Woman's True Story of her Accidental Career in the Obama White House which recently made the NYT Best Seller List.

It's probably been mentioned repeatedly in previous threads but she observed, among other things, that Obama and earlier Presidents would have a stenographer present during every "one-on-one" interview with a journalist and the Press Office would release the transcript. This was partly so that what was said during the interview couldn't be misrepresented; but she speculates that Trump may have stopped doing this so that he has the opportunity to misrepresent what was said.
posted by XMLicious at 5:34 AM on August 6 [33 favorites]


So on some level, Trump and his circle may come out with these never-ending streams of nonsense via twitter and SHS and anonymous leaks because Trump is senile, or because he feels the net closing in and is increasingly nervous. Or, it may be a postmodern attempt at undermining the foundations of a consensus view of reality, Vladislav Surkov-style.

This makes sense, and my mind wanders in the direction of whether Trump or any of his idiot advisers know enough about anything to make this deliberate. But that doesn't matter. The goal seems to be to try to bend reality to enhance their power and this makes a lot of sense to me, and it's something that an intuitive authoritarian politician may arrive at on their own.

I agree with escape from the potato planet - there's an inflexion point coming in the next few months, for better or worse. Thankfully there are grounds for optimism, but it's really important for everybody that it's a turn in the right direction.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:53 PM on August 5


Something feels different in the discourse, and maybe its driven by the Mueller investigation closing in, Manafort's trial and the backlash to the Putin meeting. I dunno but as I wrote, it feels like beyond chaos. The midterm elections are critical and I am so grateful for all of you who are working to put in politicians who will resist.
posted by bluesky43 at 5:47 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


NYTimes: For mainstream Republicans, a profound political dilemma of the Trump era is whether to support the growing number of candidates who make racially divisive remarks and back causes that are championed by white nationalists
posted by octothorpe at 5:54 AM on August 6 [6 favorites]


I know it’s the NYT, but calling racist remarks “racially divisive remarks” is like calling diseases “medically divisive conditions.”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:59 AM on August 6 [113 favorites]




Look at a map for 13 reasonable states. 13 states is over 1/4 and can stop any constitutional amendment. Yes, the Constitution was ratified with 9 states, but it did so with the cooperation of the Confederation Congress, which willingly agreed to implement the new Constitution once it got 9 states.

All federal employees are sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:36 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Yes, I know Robert Reich said something about a Constitutional Convention throwing out the requirement for 38 states to ratify any proposed amendment but I have no idea what he's on about 'cause that's clearly dumbass talk

People worry about that because that is what really happened in 1787. People looked at the fundamental law creating and defining the United States and said "Ah, fuck it, what if we just ignored that?" And we just ignored it and, entirely contrary to established law, started following this new Constitution thing anyway.

That said, I doubt that this is something to seriously worry about. The people at the Convention could get away with this because they were in large part the people who had led the US through and to independence, who were widely and profoundly respected, and who represented a real and no-kidding brain trust of the brightest political minds in the country. They also could get away with it because the Articles of Confederation were (AFAICT lacking polling data from 1787) profoundly unpopular and causing severe and utterly intractable problems that sprang directly from their underlying nature. None of this is true now, especially not after 200+ years of hagiography around the Constitution.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:41 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Look at a map for 13 reasonable states. 13 states is over 1/4 and can stop any constitutional amendment.

13, eh? Writers must really be phoning it in.

——

The spot where Emmett Till’s body was found is marked by this sign. People keep shooting it up. (WaPo)

Divisive sign.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:44 AM on August 6 [27 favorites]


Talking about mass genocide of groups of people is now “racially divisive”.
posted by gucci mane at 6:45 AM on August 6 [16 favorites]


I know it’s the NYT, but calling racist remarks “racially divisive remarks” is like calling diseases “medically divisive conditions.”

Funny how all the overt racism by Trump & Co. gets reduced by the media to racially charged or whatever bullshit they minimize it with, but Sarah Jeong and her joke/satirical tweets are immediately called racist. Hmm, where's the "racially insensitive" now? (not that they're really racially insensitive either, but...)
posted by chris24 at 6:51 AM on August 6 [30 favorites]


An update on the London bookshop attack: the cretins themselves posted video of them invading the shop (non-cretinous mirror).

Not that this in any way lessens the seriousness of their assault on Bookmarks, but the video makes it abundantly clear, and then some, that the lackwits involved are hardly the hardened brownshirt cadres of their fantasies and our fears. The fact remains that an act of terrorism has taken place, but hardly one capable of instilling shock and awe in its victims; the workers on staff seem to have fended their attackers off with little more than an eyeroll and the kind of long-suffering patience one is no doubt forced to cultivate in the course of long thankless shifts at the till of a socialist bookshop.

I don't know just how to feel about this.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:08 AM on August 6 [22 favorites]


The worst part of that NYTimes article about Corey Stewart is this line: Prince William County began questioning arrestees about their immigration status, then turning them over to federal agents.

As if this was something that just happened like a rainy day. It was the result of a law that Stewart campaigned for and passed under the slogan of "what part of illegal don't you understand?" County police were directed by the Board of Supervisors to check the immigration status of anyone they detained, this was later watered-down to only apply to those who are arrested. The board also directed county government to cut off services to any undocumented resident, everything from elderly services to issuing business licenses. It wasn't something that just happened, it was a result of a law passed by Prince Willam Board of Supervisors championed by it's Chairman, Corey Stewart. The law was a failure in achieving its stated goals of reducing crime and government spending, but it did succeed it hassling a lot of people with the wrong skin color.
posted by peeedro at 7:08 AM on August 6 [10 favorites]


> NYTimes: For mainstream Republicans, a profound political dilemma

@rudepundit: Is it a "dilemma"? Because if you're a Republican and you don't automatically think, "Fuck those Nazis," you've legitimized the Nazis.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:19 AM on August 6 [79 favorites]


I am not really getting as to how Trump confessed on Twitter this weekend and there's not a flurry of activity. Arrest Don Jr, at least? DO SOMETHING
posted by angrycat at 7:26 AM on August 6 [40 favorites]


@rudepundit: Is it a "dilemma"? Because if you're a Republican and you don't automatically think, "Fuck those Nazis," you've legitimized the Nazis.

With very rare exceptions, "moderate" Republicans (and centrists of all flavors and parties) will always choose fascism over social democracy if given the choice.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:30 AM on August 6 [20 favorites]


U.S. restores some Iran sanctions lifted under Obama nuclear deal (WaPo)
The United States on Monday reimposed the first round of Iranian trade sanctions that had been suspended under the 2015 nuclear agreement, distancing itself from every other country that signed the agreement and putting the accord’s future in jeopardy.

Administration officials said the sanctions that have been waived for the past two and a half years will be snapped back officially on Tuesday morning at one minute past midnight.

From that moment on, Iran will be prohibited from using U.S. dollars, the primary currency used for international financial transactions and oil purchases. Trade in metals, and sales of Iranian-made cars will be banned. Permits allowing the import of Iranian carpets and food, like pistachios, will be revoked. So will licenses that have allowed Tehran to buy U.S. and European aircraft and parts — a restriction that comes just days after Iran completed the acquisition of five new commercial planes from Europe.

... There was no immediate reaction from Iran, but some Iranian officials have said the U.S. breach of its commitments under the deal frees them to resume their nuclear program.
Things are much easier to break than to build.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:36 AM on August 6 [17 favorites]


The people at the Convention could get away with this because they were in large part the people who had led the US through and to independence, who were widely and profoundly respected, and who represented a real and no-kidding brain trust of the brightest political minds in the country.

Counterpoint: they were mostly just rich. For every Hamilton or Jefferson there were a NUMBER of Hancocks. (IIRC.)

They also could get away with it because the Articles of Confederation were (AFAICT lacking polling data from 1787) profoundly unpopular and causing severe and utterly intractable problems that sprang directly from their underlying nature. None of this is true now,

Lol this is exactly true now though

And becoming truer
posted by schadenfrau at 7:37 AM on August 6 [8 favorites]


> I am not really getting as to how Trump confessed on Twitter this weekend and there's not a flurry of activity.

I think - or at least the sense I got - was that Trump's confession was yet another "modified limited hangout" effort, where they have been notified that something is coming, and this is the attempt to get out in front of the story a bit, and shade it to their advantage.

But this is frankly a confession of a criminal act, "totally legal" notwithstanding, so what's being shaded to advantage here? The two obvious things: "It went nowhere" and "I did not know about it".

So if I was in the prediction business (and we all quit the prediction business in November 2016) I'd predict that some big indictments are about to drop. Mueller has been working from the outside in - here are the Russian efforts to manipulate social media, here are the Russian hacking efforts - and the next logical step would be to indict the US co-conspirators.

"I did not know about it" - at this point, Junior and Jared are watching the wheels of the bus go round and round. I will offer a cake to the cake gods if we can get Ivanka swept up too, but that is probably far too much to hope for.
posted by RedOrGreen at 7:37 AM on August 6 [11 favorites]


I am not really getting as to how Trump confessed on Twitter this weekend and there's not a flurry of activity. Arrest Don Jr, at least? DO SOMETHING

You come at the king, you best not miss.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 7:40 AM on August 6 [52 favorites]


I feel like a sucker for even asking this, but is there any kernel of truth to Trump's weird claims that Hillary (and now, Adam Schiff?) was actually the one who colluded with Russia? Did this bizarre conspiracy theory arise from any actual real event or is it just Trump's Mirror?
posted by marshmallow peep at 7:41 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


a "dilemma"? Because if you're a Republican and you don't automatically think, "Fuck those Nazis," you've legitimized the Nazis.

Amen. And also, if “mainstream” Republican means “letting Nazis win” then the word has no fucking meaning and should be removed from the lexicon.
posted by corb at 7:42 AM on August 6 [10 favorites]


The "it went nowhere" defense is not a defense. The crime of conspiracy is complete with an agreement to commit a crime [pdf], and any sometimes requires any overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy. The crime is the agreement.

"We agreed to rob a bank but then Bob couldn't get us the guns" is a conspiracy to rob a bank, just like "we agreed with the Russians to hack the DNC, but then they did it and didn't give us the emails" is a conspiracy to steal the election.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:44 AM on August 6 [52 favorites]


Or: “incompetence is no defense to conspiracy.”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:47 AM on August 6 [6 favorites]


Just a random thought that's been in my head... Arizona's legislature has been republican controlled for... well, damn near forever it seems like. Tax cuts piled on tax cuts. Slicing and dicing the safety net. Racist laws (SB1070, anyone?) Pre-emption bills preventing cities from enacting liberal leaning policies. Giving guns more rights than people. Anti-abortion laws. Gutting environmental laws. Privatizing education. On and on and on. This feels like the first time in forever that we can ever think of the possibility of both houses and the governor's office going Democratic. I don't think it's likely; we're not gerrymandered since we've got an independent redistricting commission, we just have a metric farkton of old people. But if it does... well, then, Trump has provided the model. Tear it all down. No incrementalism. Kill off as many of the voter suppression laws as possible for a starting point. They'd have two years to tear down 20 years of GOP rule, but I think they can get most of it done if they have the guts.
posted by azpenguin at 7:48 AM on August 6 [28 favorites]


is there any kernel of truth to Trump's weird claims that Hillary (and now, Adam Schiff?) was actually the one who colluded with Russia?

Schiff was prank-called by comedians claiming to be Ukrainian politicians with dirt on Trump (apologies for the Daily Mail link; that's the least offensive site I could find a story on with a quick googling). Schiff has maintained that he knew it was bogus, played along, and immediately called the FBI.
posted by Etrigan at 7:49 AM on August 6 [15 favorites]


Should media quit covering Trump rallies? Absolutely not - Amanda Marcotte, Salon
Take, for instance, the video that Jim Acosta of CNN posted of the crowd at a rally in Tampa, surrounding the media section and screaming invective at the journalists there. That video is horrifying and, more importantly, provides a valuable snapshot of how out of control the Trump base has become. As Trump's scandals pile up, they are reacting by turning into monsters whose politics are solely those of destruction. These people are showing the world who they truly are and it's not a good look, to say the least.

Clearly, many progressives don't see it that way, because Acosta's video seems to have precipitated the recent flood of calls to quit covering Trump rallies. The fear appears be that because Trump supporters and Trump himself have gloried in the video of the harassment, retweeting it and praising it online, then its value is greater as pro-Trump propaganda than as journalism exposing the true nature of Trump rallies.

That concern is overrated. No doubt it's disconcerting to many liberals to realize that imagery that repulses them might read as exciting to someone else, but that doesn't justify the panic attack and desire to shut it all down. Just because jackasses see other jackasses and feel proud to be a jackass doesn't mean that everyone else who sees this will agree.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:49 AM on August 6 [11 favorites]


> The "it went nowhere" defense is not a defense.
> Incompetence is no defense to conspiracy.

Agreed on both counts, but I'd be willing to bet that it did go somewhere. That there was an explicit statement at that meeting from the Russian side about what material was going to be released and when ("If it is what you say I love it especially later in the summer"), and a quid pro quo was put on the table.

They sold out our country for electoral and financial gain.
posted by RedOrGreen at 7:50 AM on August 6 [9 favorites]


I feel like a sucker for even asking this, but is there any kernel of truth to Trump's weird claims that Hillary (and now, Adam Schiff?) was actually the one who colluded with Russia? Did this bizarre conspiracy theory arise from any actual real event or is it just Trump's Mirror?

When the DNC engaged the services of Christopher Steele it basically involved him reaching out to a lot of unsavory people in Russia to get details of Donny's treason.

But there's a gulf of difference between paying for the citizen of a NATO ally to assist and accepting the help of a foreign adversary in a quid pro quo.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 7:52 AM on August 6 [6 favorites]


BuzzFeed News: It's Looking Extremely Likely That QAnon Is A Leftist Prank On Trump Supporters


If it is a prank I hope they decide to shut it down before some crank shoots up another pizza restaurant.
posted by PenDevil at 7:52 AM on August 6 [50 favorites]


but I'd be willing to bet that it did go somewhere.

Exactly. They have lied every time about every single thing about this; that it happened at all, who was there, what it was about, who knew, etc, etc. Why would we possibly believe them that nothing came from it.
posted by chris24 at 7:53 AM on August 6 [12 favorites]


That concern is overrated. No doubt it's disconcerting to many liberals to realize that imagery that repulses them might read as exciting to someone else, but that doesn't justify the panic attack and desire to shut it all down. Just because jackasses see other jackasses and feel proud to be a jackass doesn't mean that everyone else who sees this will agree.

The problem, Salon contributor, is not 'liberals are afraid to know things'. The problem is that we no longer trust the media to present this in context. This footage is not going to be run as 'we infiltrated a Trump rally and look how insane this is' because the media in America have been cowed over decades of conservative attacks to treat any conservative activity, no matter how divorced from reality it is, as being reasonable. So instead, stop covering it.
posted by Merus at 7:55 AM on August 6 [22 favorites]


But there's a gulf of difference between paying for the citizen of a NATO ally

Not just a citizen, a former British MI-6 agent who was well respected by our intelligence agencies and who had worked with them before. A man who did extra investigation without pay because he was so concerned about the threat to America. A man who went beyond reporting back to his employer and went directly to the FBI to let them know what he knew because he was so concerned with what he found.

A foreign agent breaking the law doesn't go and report his work to the FBI.
posted by chris24 at 7:56 AM on August 6 [76 favorites]


When the DNC engaged the services of Christopher Steele it basically involved him reaching out to a lot of unsavory people in Russia to get details of Donny's treason.

Also- Fusion GPS has done work for some pretty unsavory people, including Prevezon, an oligarch-owned company. So, Clinton's law firm engaged Fusion GPS who engaged Steele, and Fusion GPS has also done work for Russian oligarchs, ergo Steele was actually feeding anti-Trump information from Putin back to Clinton.

Or something. It's also just Trump doing his usual "I know you are, but what am I?" to everything.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:57 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Interesting interview with Rick Wilson, a never-Trumper, author of a new book "Everything Trump Touches Dies," and Republican strategist under GHWB and Rudy Giuliani among others. He's generally a person I disagree with on absolutely everything, however, he was very clear in an interview this morning that he had spent his entire early career trying to convince people that the Republican party wasn't racist and he was wrong. It was/is racist and that faction needs to be purged. He also said "chicken shit" on morning TV which was apparently on a 7 second delay and has made national headlines instead of the part where he said that the party is racist. So, there's that.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:59 AM on August 6 [21 favorites]


Aside from Steele/Fusion/Russian stuff, there's a distinct but closely related "Democrats colluded" argument out there regarding Ukrainian officials. It's summarized in this Slate article Did the Clinton Campaign Really Collude With Ukraine? (In short, not close the to same thing as the Trump campaign's actions, though perhaps not a hundred and ten percent above-board, in the sense of not immediately referring everything to the FBI? Meh.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:04 AM on August 6 [4 favorites]


BuzzFeed News: It's Looking Extremely Likely That QAnon Is A Leftist Prank On Trump Supporters

If you'd like to decide for yourself, you can download a copy of "Q" (various languages and formats, including English) from the Wu Ming Foundation's website.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:05 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


BuzzFeed News: It's Looking Extremely Likely That QAnon Is A Leftist Prank On Trump Supporters

...What? What "leftist prankster" would spend over a year writing thousands of cryptic/insane messages to cultivate an environment conducive to a right-wing coup d'état? What leftist would devote a big chunk of their life to developing a conspiracy theory with the goal of killing leftists?

Pretty classy of BuzzFeed to go out of their way to try and pin what's being done by either foreign/domestic intelligence agencies or an extremely devoted basement-dwelling Pepe on the libs.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:06 AM on August 6 [21 favorites]


some Iranian officials have said the U.S. breach of its commitments under the deal frees them to resume their nuclear program.

read the JCPOA back when it was fresh & it was being widely criticized & misrepresented by american pundits, bureaucrats and legislators who had not read it. it has been some time, and that read was fairly shallow. on cursory rereview, i do not see any indication that the agreement(s) contains any provisions permitting Iran to resume "nuclear program" activities in the event of a breach by other parties: the agreement establishes extensive resolution mechanisms for disputes arising under the agreement.

the american party, however, having since disavowed the agreement, is not availing itself of the dispute resolution mechanisms prescribed therein.

main text of the JCPOA, at para. 26 notes
Iran has stated that it will treat such a re-introduction or re-imposition of the sanctions specified in Annex II, or such an imposition of new nuclear-related sanctions, as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part.
iran's resumption of the activities specified in annex i would be problematic for those parties to the agreement that would still prefer to preserve its goals and effect.

this is likely the intention of the sanctions renewal. (my attention/comprehension being imperfect, would welcome clarification, correction or alternative view from anyone with better insight).
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:10 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Or something. It's also just Trump doing his usual "I know you are, but what am I?" to everything.

Maybe, but I think it taps into something more effective. There's certainly the irony that the Trump machine embraces global trade when it suits them but mostly makes their successes by banging the protectionism drum. But if it's inevitable - and it seems more and more so by the day - that it's going to be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Trump campaign conspired with foreign governments, well, then it's in their interest to blur the line between what it means to hire foreigners to work on a campaign and to accept the assistance of foreign governments.

And really, if it goes no further than that then it's not an unreasonable "what's the diff?" question. It's not till you agree to look at the world the way it really works and the way people really make deals with each other that you have to simply acknowledge that of course it's different when you pay people up front for their work. But the political machinery has been demanding for decades now that we all pretend that people and organizations give other people money with no expectation of getting things in return. It's not a big divergence for the Trump folks to ask their followers to add in foreign governments to that ridiculous fiction.
posted by phearlez at 8:11 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Rick Wilson I think is kind of in the same place a lot of us (NeverTrump folk) have been in, where we judged the Republican party anecdotally by the sorts of people we hung out with and did work with and respected, those who volunteered their services and thought really hard about stuff, rather than statistically by how many of which types of people were in the party - forgetting that the people we would hang out with and do work with is a very limited part of the party.
posted by corb at 8:14 AM on August 6 [29 favorites]


And we have our first OH-12 poll where O'Connor is ahead, albeit 1 point (moe 5%). (He's been barely ahead in some Dem Surge models, but not in base models.) RCP average is Balderson +3.7%.

Tomorrow will be interesting.

@EmersonPolling
#OH12 TOO CLOSE TO CALL

🔵 @dannyoconnor1 47%
🔴 @Troy_Balderson 46%
🤔 Undecided 7%
*poll conducted prior to @RealDonaldTrump campaign stop

ANALYSIS: http://bit.ly/2M0SMfg
posted by chris24 at 8:17 AM on August 6 [27 favorites]


where we judged the Republican party anecdotally

Instead of by the concrete results of the policies advocated for and implemented? That's an .... interesting ... analytic method.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:24 AM on August 6 [32 favorites]


My concern about the Emerson poll is that it apparently excluded the Green candidate, who was pulling 2% in the Monmouth last week.

Still, it looks to be very close, which itself is a very bad sign for the GOP.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:27 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Yes, humans find real world human interactions more viscerally real than statistics or abstractions. Any strategy or mental model that does not account for the human part of humanity is not going to be successful or useful.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:29 AM on August 6 [24 favorites]


My money says QANON isn't really on the left or right, but just stirring shit for its own sake. That could be an IRA-style operation to sow discord (they've poxed every house they can), but I think it's even likelier a non-Russian troll who hit jackpot. There's not much apparent competence -- constant slip-ups, like printing its own passkey or whatever that's called, trying to pass off obviously faked photos as real, etc. Q might be a literal 15-year-old, a la Deez Nutz.

Meanwhile, just because the Q stuff is obviously raising the danger level doesn't mean that's an intent of its originator. Even now, some lefty folks think that covering Trump rallies could help the good guys by way of, well, heightening the contradictions. The Qanon stuff heightens a lot of contradictions, especially by focusing on behavior that is one of Trump's own horrible qualities (the sexualization of children) and by making Mueller a good guy, which in particular would never occur to any genuine rally-the-troops Trumper I can imagine.

The overall gist of "everything is under control" could be intended (unsuccessfully) to tamp down on the True Believers putting up resistance. On the flipside, I think that's an intention of the actually-right-wing Louise Mensch, whose narrative is basically identical to Q (Secret indictments everywhere! Crimes the media won't tell you about!) with Donald as villain instead of hero.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:42 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


#OH12 TOO CLOSE TO CALL

So I just spent a few minutes making calls for the campaign, mostly leaving messages on people's voicemail reminding them that the election was tomorrow and the hours for voting. As an introvert, this was hard as hell for me to do (I was afraid people could hear the sound of my heart nearly thumping out of my chest), but also, so so easy given how important this election is. Judging from the Google Doc we use as a script, there were 82 other people making calls along with me. And guess what, you can do it too!
posted by coffee and minarets at 8:42 AM on August 6 [48 favorites]


There's an active QAnon thread over here.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 8:44 AM on August 6 [7 favorites]


Yes, but very little has actually changed within the GOP vis-a-vis what they actually want. Pretty much everything they're asking for has been on their wish list for years or even decades before Trump ever came along. The murderous economic policies, racist voter suppression, super-restrictive immigration policies, sublimation of 1A rights (of leftists and marginalized groups) in favor of the 2A? All of that was proudly embraced by even those who consider themselves centrists.

The only real difference between the pre-Trump GOP and the current incarnation is what parts are being said out loud. Nevertrumpers and "moderates" can try and sidestep their complicity in where we are now and what horrible stuff they still want, but I'm sure as hell not gonna let them off the hook.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:46 AM on August 6 [22 favorites]


...What? What "leftist prankster" would spend over a year writing thousands of cryptic/insane messages to cultivate an environment conducive to a right-wing coup d'état?

The sort of self-described leftist who would hang out on 4chan – i.e., a stupid young leftist who lives and breathes meme culture and has no sense of perspective or real-world consequences. I can easily see a 20-year-old channer who fancies themselves an anarchist or leftist doing this for teh lulz.

Conspiracy-theorizing about the conspiracy theory seems like perhaps not a great use of time, but I wouldn't be surprised.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 8:49 AM on August 6 [16 favorites]


Conspiracy-theorizing about the conspiracy theory seems like perhaps not a great use of time, but I wouldn't be surprised.

Well then, it’s either someone who’s read Foucault’s Pendulum or someone who hasn’t :)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:53 AM on August 6 [20 favorites]




The only differences between the Trump administration and alt-NeverTrump Cruz administration are threatening to pull out of NATO, and the trade war stuff, and the tone around "both sides-ing" things like Charlottesville. Cruz or any other Republican administration wouldve nominated Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. Cruz or any other Republican administration would be sabotaging Obamacare after trying to repeal it. Cruz or any other Republican administration would've passed the exact same tax scam package giveaway to the rich. Cruz or any other Republican administration would be gutting the EPA and using the Congressional Review Act to rollback every regulation passed by Obama agencies in the last 8 years. Cruz or any other Republican administration would've pulled out of the Iran and Paris deals. Cruz or any other Republican administration would've unleashed the same ICE crackdowns and redefinition of religious liberty to mean Christians can opt out of laws at will.

So no. There's not some small part of the Republican party that was ever any different than now. You're looking at your party, the exact same as it's ever been. This is what Republican control looks like under any Republican. We have tons of proof of this on the state level. Kansas. Oklahoma. North Carolina. Wisconsin after Walker. Florida under Scott. This is your party, NeverTrump is not now and never was a thing.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:56 AM on August 6 [71 favorites]


NeverTrump is not now and never was a thing.

Meet the old GOP boss, same as the old GOP boss. Except, it seems, everyone will get fooled again.
posted by mephron at 9:01 AM on August 6 [4 favorites]


The race to be Trump’s antagonist in NYS

I like Zephyr Teachout. She has a habit of losing elections by wide margins, but the NYS AG seems like a perfect fit for her.
posted by gwint at 9:03 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


The only differences between the Trump administration and alt-NeverTrump Cruz administration are threatening to pull out of NATO, and the trade war stuff, and the tone around "both sides-ing" things like Charlottesville.

Yes Rs would be terrible no matter what, but destroying the post-WWII western liberal order, moving to overt fascism, attacking the free press, etc. is a bit more of a difference between traditional Rs and Trump than what you list.
posted by chris24 at 9:04 AM on August 6 [32 favorites]


> The only differences between the Trump administration and alt-NeverTrump Cruz administration are [...]

Yes, basically differences of tone rather than content, and a bit more success in keeping the quiet parts quiet instead of shouting those from the rooftops.

But - and I say this after fully granting the legitimacy of the argument - I do think there was some value in keeping the quiet parts quiet and at least retaining the consensus that those parts were unacceptable to say out loud in polite society. Yes, the actions would have been much the same, and resulted in broadly similar (and horrifying) outcomes for immigrants, minorities, women, etc. But if we had the social consensus that at least saying it out loud was unacceptable, that would have been of some value.

Again, this is lamenting the absence of a sliver of a silver lining to the massive fucking swampy cloud over our heads.

Damnit, Chris24.
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:05 AM on August 6 [9 favorites]


What's cracking me up on the Euro-leftist cabal > Q > Qanon new theory is that it also is echoed and precedented by Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday, also featuring deep-statish (Scotland Yard and anarchist collectivist co-members in this one) messaging and pursuits of each other while guessing the bigger picture.
I hope our current reality doesn't end as apocalyptic and mythic as Chesterton's though.
posted by Harry Caul at 9:07 AM on August 6 [5 favorites]


*shakes head* I think it's also hard for a lot of NeverTrumpers to realize just how many of the folks they worked alongside and knew and respected on a human level had picked up on that rot, even if they wouldn't admit it openly.

There's a lot of stated allegiance to ideals within the Republican party that seem to have neatly melted into the aether the moment the thought of giving up power raised its head. There's a lot of patriotic guff that seems to have vanished the moment Russian collusion appeared. And of course if you aren't yourself racist, it's easy to assume that... put it this way, it's easy to assume your neighbors and friends and colleagues are better than they really are.

I continue to weigh the reality of #NeverTrump by the actions of the people who pick up that identity, and by and large I have found them wanting--and the more power any given person has within the party, the more skeptical I feel about the courage of their convictions. But if there are more #NeverTrump people yelling "no," by all means, I support them--I support anyone taking concrete action to prevent the normalization of fascists walking in our national halls of power. I'm just... waiting to see more people demonstrate their stated morality with boots on the ground and votes in the seat, I suppose.
posted by sciatrix at 9:10 AM on August 6 [25 favorites]


Which is to say: I echo the consensus that taking the lofty, proud surface-level ideals of the GOP and making GOP representatives publicly lie on their bellies to better vomit those ideals into the latrine among the other refuse in the ditch is a pretty horrifying thing. And it's a horrifying thing because even those GOP supporters who generally have good hearts and think the best of people--and they do exist--seem to be tottering behind their bellwethers in terrifying droves to throw the best things about the nation into the ditch behind. Normalizing this is horrifying, and not enough of the men of power within the party seem willing to truly put their money where their mealy mouths are wringing.
posted by sciatrix at 9:14 AM on August 6 [6 favorites]


TPM Livewire: ‘Go Back To Your Country!’ Sikh Man Attacked While Posting Signs For GOPer
[Surjit Malhi, a Republican and longtime active member of the Turlock, California community, who is] of the Sikh faith was brutally attacked and told to “go back” to his home country while he was out putting up campaign signs for Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) last week.
When leaders are happy to scream out the quiet parts, the leopards will eventually come for your face - yes, even if you're out putting up campaign signs for the leopards.
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:22 AM on August 6 [83 favorites]


Meanwhile, in Alexandria, the Manafort trial prepares to start up again in half an hour.

Buzzfeed's Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) reports: "What can we expect this week in Paul Manafort's trial? Mueller's office says they're on track to finish their case in chief this week. We've heard from 14 witnesses so far. Assuming the govt still plans to have former Manafort associate Rick Gates testify, that'll be big."

And: "Here's the govt's witness list: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4637747/7-27-18-US-Manafort-EDVA-Witness-List.pdf … It has 35 names, but there's no guarantee we'll hear from all of them. New filing today from the govt says they intend to have at least one FBI forensic accountant read Manafort emails in court https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4637749/8-6-18-US-Trial-Brief-Witnesses.pdf"

Here's a recap from Courthouse News: Prosecutors Expected to Close With Manafort’s Right-Hand Man
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:28 AM on August 6 [15 favorites]


Yes Rs would be terrible no matter what, but destroying the post-WWII western liberal order, moving to overt fascism, attacking the free press, etc. is a bit more of a difference between traditional Rs and Trump than what you list.

Attacking the free press has been a staple of Republicanism for several decades, and is in large part how we landed in the current mess to begin with.

"Covert fascism" changing to "overt fascism" I'll give you, depending on your demographic group.
posted by delfin at 9:35 AM on August 6 [6 favorites]


Attacking the free press has been a staple of Republicanism for several decades

This is literally why we have FOX News to begin with, remember 40 years of "the liberal media"? Republicans built an entire alternative media complex specifically to push the idea of a person like Trump until he became reality. Republicans built FOX and the Rush radio empire. Not Trump. Republicans. Trump just walked in and took over what already existed.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:40 AM on August 6 [78 favorites]


But if there are more #NeverTrump people yelling "no," by all means, I support them--I support anyone taking concrete action to prevent the normalization of fascists walking in our national halls of power. I'm just... waiting to see more people demonstrate their stated morality with boots on the ground and votes in the seat, I suppose.

It's not just yelling 'no', but tangible action. I think there's a totally justifiable tendency to be really angry about what has happened and blame anyone that has worn the badge that the monsters in the halls of power now wear - and because some NeverTrumpers have fallen pretty publicly short of their responsibilities, to be cynical and claim no one believes it and it was all a mask. I share some of that horror. Watching NeverTrumpers fall by the wayside and kiss the ring has been a more advanced version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and watching it is literally tearing my body apart with revulsion.

But some people do believe it, sincerely, and have spent the years since November, 2016 trying to actually do good in the world - sacrificing connections, friends, and careers they have spent their entire life building in their righteous urge to put their bodies on the machines and stop this any way that they can. And it's easy to sneer (not that you personally are, but it's out there) and say 'well, you should known this would happen, you should have done it earlier', but almost none of us thought Trump would win, and some of us started that process even when we were pretty sure he wouldn't, just in case.

In better times, we called Evan McMullin Mefi's Adopted Own. I haven't seen that around lately, because the times are so horrific it's hard to have even a moment of levity. But he has been genuinely working hard in order to stop this. He formed an organization to stop this. He used Republican analysis to find out where the vulnerable moderate Republicans were, and then used Republican NeverTrump money from Republican NeverTrumper donors to target vulnerable voters in Alabama and tell them to vote against Roy Moore for betraying Republican values[WaPo]. It was the third-largest monetary intervention in the state, and Doug Jones beat Roy Moore by less than the number of write-in candidates. These things absolutely have real, concrete impacts.

If people want to say most NeverTrump elected officials have been spineless, I can't really argue with you there. But there's an enormous core of other high and mid level folks of the Republican party that have been trying to burn down people they used to be loyal to to save the country- who agree with people like Max Boot, for example, in saying things like:
Personally, I’ve thrown up my hands in despair at the debased state of the GOP. I don’t want to be identified with the party of the child-snatchers. But I respect principled conservatives who are willing to stay and fight to reclaim a once-great party that freed the slaves and helped to win the Cold War. What I can’t respect are head-in-the-sand conservatives who continue to support the GOP by pretending that nothing has changed.

They act, these political ostriches, as if this were still the party of Ronald Reagan and John McCain rather than of Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller — and therefore they cling to the illusion that supporting Republican candidates will advance their avowed views. Wrong. The current GOP still has a few resemblances to the party of old — it still cuts taxes and supports conservative judges. But a vote for the GOP in November is also a vote for egregious obstruction of justice, rampant conflicts of interest, the demonization of minorities, the debasement of political discourse, the alienation of America’s allies, the end of free trade and the appeasement of dictators.

That is why I join Will and other principled conservatives, both current and former Republicans, in rooting for a Democratic takeover of both houses in November. Like postwar Germany and Japan, the Republican Party must first be destroyed before it can be rebuilt.
posted by corb at 9:41 AM on August 6 [54 favorites]


Donald Trump has signed an executive order reimposing sanctions on Iran which will come into effect at midnight EST, and relates to the purchase or acquisition of US currency in Iran, the trade in gold and other precious metals, materials such as graphite, aluminium, steel and coal, and software used in industrial processes. They also target the country’ automotive sector.
The remaining sanctions to be reimposed on November 5 relate to Iran’s port operators and energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors. Crucially, they will also target its oil industry and foreign financial institutions with the Central Bank of Iran.
posted by adamvasco at 9:42 AM on August 6


Evidence that Donald Trump knows how to impose sanctions... check.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 9:55 AM on August 6 [10 favorites]


The NeverTrumpers are still AlwaysLimbaughs and AlwaysHannitys, so I have no use for them. But if they want to destroy the Republican Party to save it, we should let them.
posted by M-x shell at 9:56 AM on August 6 [18 favorites]


From the quoted part of corb's comment a few upthread:
That is why I join Will and other principled conservatives, both current and former Republicans, in rooting for a Democratic takeover of both houses in November.
Italics mine. I want principled conservatives working for a Democratic takeover. If not, I doubt they are principled.
posted by kingless at 10:01 AM on August 6 [53 favorites]


Silicon Valley strikes back against Infowars: Apple, Facebook and YouTube have all deleted Alex Jones channels/content from their sites in the last few days.
posted by octothorpe at 10:02 AM on August 6 [23 favorites]


Agreed on both counts, but I'd be willing to bet that (the Russian meeting) did go somewhere.

According to Trump, the meeting was about ending a program preventing the adoption of Russian children to the United States. This Russian program was itself a response to the Magnistky Act, which sanctions Russian human rights abusers and freezes their foreign assets. This act hurt Russian oligarchs, and Putin especially, hard financially. You can't really talk about lifting the Russian adoption program without talking about lifting the Magnistky Act, which is also talking about getting Putin his money back.

So, even according to Trump's own official story, the meeting was pretty much about getting Putin his money back. On the day of the Russian meeting, Trump's team was holding an all day meeting about getting dirt on Hillary. They had to break to attend the Russian meeting. Again, this is their own official story. Trump's team took a break in the middle of an all day meeting with him about getting dirt on Hillary, to meet with Russians to get dirt on Hillary, and no one told Trump about it or where they were going.

The story is a little disjointed, but you don't have to squint much for their official story to basically be, we met with the Russians, where they explained they would give us dirt on Hillary in return for lifting sanctions to get the Russian oligarchs access to the frozen money they hold for Putin. It's all right there in their official story. In fact, I originally thought Trump Jr.'s story was the prelude to a defense (probably coming) that the Russians did offer him quid quo pro but he was too stupid to know it.
posted by xammerboy at 10:03 AM on August 6 [8 favorites]


Now if they would just delete fox news.
posted by valkane at 10:04 AM on August 6 [7 favorites]


Attacking the free press has been a staple of Republicanism for several decades, and is in large part how we landed in the current mess to begin with. "Covert fascism" changing to "overt fascism" I'll give you, depending on your demographic group.

There's a difference between a de facto propaganda network and repeatedly and continuously attacking the press as the enemy of the people and encouraging violence against it.

And I'll add destroying the rule of law as another thing Alt-Prez Cruz wouldn't be doing like Trump is. Electing a fascist authoritarian criminal did that.

Italics mine. I want principled conservatives working for a Democratic takeover. If not, I doubt they are principled.

George Will is a writer. He wrote a column to his millions of readers saying Ds are the better choice. That is working for it.

Look, I get that these people helped cause this. I get the anger. But they're not supporting Rs anymore and this is an all hand's on deck situation. We need these people right now to peel away whatever edges of R support they can. R aren't going to listen to us. Some might listen to Will, Wilson, McMullin, whoever. And we need every vote. We can fight with them after Trump is defeated.
posted by chris24 at 10:07 AM on August 6 [49 favorites]


Silicon Valley strikes back against Infowars: Apple, Facebook and YouTube have all deleted Alex Jones channels/content from their sites in the last few days.

As someone pointed out, there's a real race to be second here after Apple took the lead. They want to be courageous, but not too courageous.
posted by Artw at 10:12 AM on August 6 [16 favorites]


the core republican platform (antichoice, anti-immigration, lgbt hate disguised as "religious values", hugely racist) is still revolting and unacceptable to women and minorities. i don't care that nevertrumpers are like "well this horrible shit is different from the horrible shit we wanted so we're gonna sigh loudly about it". i'm not interested in their opinions unless their opinions include the complete dissolution of the republican party, a rollback of every single action/law/executive order taken by the current administration, huge fucking astronomical reparations to every single immigrant affected by the current administration, and aggressive denazification of the right wing.

unfortunately i would probably settle for just seeing mcconnell in a wicker man so maybe don't let me set national policy
posted by poffin boffin at 10:12 AM on August 6 [69 favorites]


George Will is a writer. He wrote a column to his millions of readers saying Ds are the better choice. That is working for it.

Yes, and so is Max Boot. I get that and I'm glad that they're working for it. But as writers, they know that choice of words matters, so I wish Boot had chosen working instead. Rooting isn't enough.
posted by kingless at 10:15 AM on August 6 [6 favorites]


In better times, we called Evan McMullin Mefi's Adopted Own. I haven't seen that around lately, because the times are so horrific it's hard to have even a moment of levity. But he has been genuinely working hard in order to stop this.

McMullin is actually a perfect example of how nothing about the GOP has changed. I said it all before:
McMullin is an anti-woman scumbag that wants to defund Planned Parenthood and overturn Roe v Wade, a former Goldman-Sachs exec who gets upset when anyone wants to tax the rich more, and a former CIA agent. His policy regarding public lands is far more in line with violent wackjobs like the Bundys than anyone else. He supports privatization of wide swaths of public services, including the VA and most or all of the public school system. He wants to gut the social safety net and then make it harder for anyone to have access to it. He wants to appoint more "originalists" (read: bigots and corporate pawns) to the SCOTUS, specifically more like Scalia and Thomas (his words). He supports racist, anti-democratic (and anti-Democrat) voter suppression policies. Despite his claims that he believes in anthropogenic climate change, he refuses to support any legislation or regulation that would fix the problem. He does support fracking, increased offshore drilling, and defunding alternative power subsidies. 

Evan McMullin isn't your friend, folks. He isn't even actually a Third Way-style "moderate." He's just the right-wing fringe dressed up to look appealing to NeverTrumpers that are desperate for any way to remain conservatives without ever accepting responsibility for their conservatism getting us here in the first place.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:17 AM on August 6 [78 favorites]


Yes, and so is Max Boot. I get that and I'm glad that they're working for it. But as writers, they know that choice of words matters, so I wish Boot had chosen working instead. Rooting isn't enough.

"Rooting for" and "working for" are words you choose when you want to avoid at all costs the words "voting for."
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:18 AM on August 6 [44 favorites]


Yes, that would be the best word.
posted by kingless at 10:24 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


yeah, the fact that Will, McMullin et al., are trying to 'save' the Republican party at all indicates that they just want to go back to the time when they had plausible deniability about all the horrible consequences of their principles. They actually like all the horrible stuff, they just don't want to be seen liking it. Instead of stepping back and reflecting on how the current republican party is the logical endpoint of the principles it has championed, and maybe getting themselves some new principles in the process, they would really like you to forget that this unfortunate incident ever happened so they can get back to fucking that goat in peace.
posted by logicpunk at 10:26 AM on August 6 [25 favorites]


Look, I get that these people helped cause this. I get the anger. But they're not supporting Rs anymore and this is an all hand's on deck situation.

"Not supporting Rs anymore" by name maybe, but by all indications the policies are still safe.
posted by rhizome at 10:26 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


"Rooting for" and "working for" are words you choose when you want to avoid at all costs the words "voting for."

George Will: Vote against the GOP this November

And this is the article Boot links to in his column when he says:
"But a vote for the GOP in November is also a vote for egregious obstruction of justice, rampant conflicts of interest, the demonization of minorities, the debasement of political discourse, the alienation of America’s allies, the end of free trade and the appeasement of dictators.

That is why I join Will and other principled conservatives, both current and former Republicans, in rooting for a Democratic takeover of both houses in November. Like postwar Germany and Japan, the Republican Party must be destroyed before it can be rebuilt."
They are saying vote against the GOP. They're saying destroy the fucking thing.
posted by chris24 at 10:27 AM on August 6 [61 favorites]


[Folks, the NeverTrump thing is, at this point, a solid derail. Let's move on. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 10:33 AM on August 6 [27 favorites]


Meanwhile, Senator Rand Paul has gone all-in on his upgrade from isolationist to Russia-phile.

CNN: Rand Paul, in Moscow, Invites Russian Lawmakers to Washington
Sen. Rand Paul on Monday invited Russian lawmakers to Washington after meeting Russian members of parliament in Moscow.

"I am pleased to announced that we will be continuing this contact," Paul, a Kentucky Republican, said in Moscow. "We agreed and we invited members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Russia to come to the US to meet with us in the US, in Washington."

Paul is in Moscow meeting with Russian lawmakers in a trip he sees as a continuation of US President Donald Trump's diplomatic outreach to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and comes several weeks after Trump invited Putin to DC as well. Paul has been one of Trump's most outspoken supporters following the criticism Trump faced -- including from some within his own party -- for the US President's handling of his meeting with Putin in July.[...]

Paul is also expected to meet with Russian deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov and State Duma Foreign Affairs committee head Leonid Slutsky during his visit, and plans to continue speaking on Tuesday. The US delegation also plans to visit Saint Petersburg.

When asked by CNN whether the issue of Russian interference came up, Paul said he had "general discussions about a lot of issues."[...]

Russian state media also reported that Slutsky asked Paul about Maria Butina, the Russian national charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of Russia within the US.

"We are interested in non-proliferation (of small and medium-range missiles). We are interested (in the topic of) sanctions, we are interested in Maria Butina and her early release. We will continue our conversation with our American counterparts tomorrow on these and other most likely regional issues of the international agenda," Slutsky said, according to Russian state media.
It's worth asking why Paul would like to repatriate Butina as badly as the Russians, especially in light of J. D. Gordon's remark, "I wonder which prominent Republican political figures she hasn't come across."

As for how the Kremlin feels about Paul, Russia media analyst Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) breaks this down their new relationship:
#Russia's state TV:
The host responds to panelist's observation that Rand Paul is not well-liked in the US:
"At least he's one of the few loyalists."

#Russia's state TV is pretty specific as to why they consider Rand Paul "a loyalist":
🔻Voted against Russia sanctions
🔻Voted against Montenegro joining NATO
🔻Supported Trump's performance at the #HelsinkiSummit
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:34 AM on August 6 [34 favorites]


Ron Paul is also a Putin apologist.
posted by peeedro at 10:37 AM on August 6 [20 favorites]


News You May Have Missed for August 5, 2018. This is the FB group I founded, and run with a small group of volunteers. (MeMail me if you'd like to be involved.) A lot of our stories Mefites are aware of already but we have a science section that isn't covered in these threads (always at the end) and we have some stories you... may have missed.

Of note to Mefites (links at the post linked above, this is excerpted from the full thing to include only the stories I haven't seen mentioned in these mega-threads):


Rock the Vote has a website where you can check your voter registration status.


(3) White House Records

White House stenographers follow the president, record everything he says, and transcribe it for posterity and the press. NPR reports that the Trump White House routinely allows private presidential meetings without stenographers in attendance.

Russian transcripts and US transcripts of US-Russian conversations don’t always match, as was the case with accused spy Maria Butina, who was mentioned by Russia’s foreign ministry as a topic of discussion in a telephone call about which the White House version makes no mention [Guardian]. Not that the Russian foreign ministry isn’t above lying, but this has also happened with calls from Canada. “After Trump spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in April 2017, the two sides offered vastly different accounts of what was discussed,” reports CNN, in a story stating that the White House has now simply stopped providing readouts of calls with foreign leaders.

(4) Russian Hacking Round-up

(e) We keep being reassured that Russian hackers were unable to directly tamper with actual votes, and NYMHM is agnostic on this issue until further evidence comes to light, but notes that directly changing votes is not the only way to steal an election: for example, with voter registration data, likely voters’ social media can be targeted with messages to encourage them not to vote, or to vote third party, as has already been widely reported.

With access to the electrical grid, power outages in strategically-chosen minority-majority neighborhoods would suppress Democratic turnout. We absolutely don’t know that this happened, and you might expect a few power outages on any given day nationwide in any case, but our NYMHM volunteer in Nashville remembers a short power outage, and The Tennessean backs up her memory: a power outage at Casa Azafran Community Center (on Nolensville Road, in a neighborhood with a high Latino population) “caused a brief lull at the polls on the last day of early voting.” A brief internet search yields a story from WCPO Cincinnati about two polling places, Warren County Board of Elections office and Faith Building Church, hit by a power outage on Election Day, and another story by Myrtle Beach Online about an outage which hit the Homewood polling site in Conway, Florida. All power outages which affected any polling place should be investigated.


(5) Ethnonationalism On The Rise

Having ethnonationalism in common is apparently now enough to constitute a communal bond: hate group League of the South has launched a Russian-language page to promote “Southern nationalism.” Following Advance Local’s link to the League of the South’s page reveals they are also now planning a Chinese-language page. Their menu does not display any languages besides English and Russian.

(If you do decide to go to their page, be sure to do so in an incognito window, or internet algorithms may decide you like that sort of thing and start targeting you with related advertising.)


(11) No Assistance for Needy Families Yet

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program will expire Sept. 30. Republicans hope to “restructure” the program and are still working on details, so it hasn’t been renewed yet. [rollcall.com]



14. Climate Change Round-up

The climate change lawsuit filed by 21 young people against the federal government, Juliana v. United States, has been allowed by the Supreme Court to proceed. According to Forbes, the plaintiffs—who were between 7-18 when the suit was launched, allege that the U.S. government “caused climate change, violated the youngest generation's constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, and failed to protect essential public trust resources.” For more on the plaintiffs, see the link to the 2017 National Geographic story in the comments.

An interesting piece in NY Magazine (August 6) reflects on the fires around the world and asks how climate change became “old news.” Pointing out that heat records were broken all over the world in July, the writer notes that “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’s behind a paywall, but the New Republic also has a piece on the media’s failures on climate change.

In addition, Conn Hallinan points out in Counterpunch that climate change—likely to be intensified by the US withdrawal from the Paris Accords—extends the reach of disease-carrying ticks and fleas, while the Trump administration’s complete cut for funds to respond to Ebola means that the disease will spread. Other cuts to international health organization and proposed reductions in regulations covering factory farming will almost certainly lead to the spread of disease.

Meanwhile, if you missed the piece last December from the Center for Public Integrity on collusion between the fossil fuel industry and the White House, it’s not too to read it. Link in the comments.

(15) Fuel Efficiency Standards Kill People, According to the EPA

In a related story, the EPA has begun to unravel Obama-era fuel efficiency standards, which would have required a company’s line of new vehicles to achieve, on average, 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. As Vox points out, “weaker regulations will simultaneously help the dirtiest, hurt the cleanest, and derail years of tenuous progress in reducing environmental harm from a massive and growing source of pollution.” A showdown with California, which along with other states wants to maintain high fuel efficiency requirements, is expected.

Though the new guidelines were on track, according to the old version of the EPA, the present incarnation says they are technologically infeasible. This new EPA argues that because improved efficiency standards are costly and will raise the price of cars, people will not upgrade from less safe cars, and therefore will be more likely to die on the highway. Lowering fuel efficiency will save 1000 lives a year, according to the EPA. It does not calculate the number of lives lost to climate change. (Vox)

The #CleanCarStandards 60 day comment period is likely to start sometime next month, with hearings expected in LA, D.C., and Detroit. @EENewsUpdates


16. Bioengineered Lungs in our Future?

Despite the many exhortations at DMV offices, not enough people sign up to be organ donors and hence 1,400 Americans are waiting for a life-saving lung transplant. Now, bioengineered lungs may become a reality in five-ten years, thanks to researchers at the University of Texas. The researchers essentially cleared all but the basic structure from pig lungs and then regrew them, using cells from the recipient pigs’ lungs. All were successfully transplanted. The most significant advantage of bioengineered lungs is that they match the recipients’ own body and therefore do not trigger rejection. [Science Alert, Science Mag]
posted by joannemerriam at 10:41 AM on August 6 [28 favorites]


We Can Criticize U.S. Imperialism and Oppose Putin, Too
Putin, a self-enriching reactionary, is building an international alliance of autocrats, as evidenced by his partnerships with far-right nationalist parties in Hungary, France and Italy—partnerships built around the promotion of ethno-nationalism, xenophobia, racism, Islamophobia and the rejection of democracy. In this endeavor, he has also forged ties between Russia and the American religious Right, which shares his White Christian nationalist and anti-gay ideology. It is an open question whether Russian interference altered the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. But if the Russians get more adept at hacking state voting systems, it could be a real problem in the future. Unfortunately, discounting that interference reflects a tendency on parts of the Left to not take electoral politics seriously.

Such dismissal also risks alienating the very people whose interests the Left purports to champion—Black and Brown people, and immigrants. The cruel and gratuitous separation of refugee families seeking asylum, the rollback of Obamacare, withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, a colossal tax bill that shifted wealth upward, and the failure to raise the minimum wage (which Democrats would have raised)—all these things are happening because Trump got elected, and they are hurting the least among us the most.

A truly internationalist Left must persist in resisting reactionary global actors everywhere. As Bree Newsome, the young woman who took down the Confederate flag in Columbia, S.C., warned, the situation with Russia is not a side issue or a distraction: “The Trump-Putin alliance is part of the global white supremacist fascist movement. Let’s not forget that.”
posted by tonycpsu at 10:44 AM on August 6 [27 favorites]


WTF is with GOP Senators (and the occasional Rep), cozying up to Russia? There's not a whole lot of upside for the nation as a whole in pitching aside the system that worked well for it since 1944 and linking arms with a middling economic power that doesn't share many of our stated* national values (transparency, accountability, respect for human rights, support for democratic governance, et cetera).

Baffling.

--------
*Right, we too often fall short.
posted by notyou at 10:44 AM on August 6 [10 favorites]


WTF is with GOP Senators (and the occasional Rep), cozying up to Russia?

It's because Russia is seen by racists as the last bastion of a White Europe.
posted by PenDevil at 10:50 AM on August 6 [18 favorites]


Wait until they realize what continent it’s mostly on.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:55 AM on August 6 [44 favorites]


Also because Russia helped them win the White House and now they have to be nice to them or they might not be friendly to the Republican Party anymore. The conflict-of-interest in which is why we have an emoluments clause.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:56 AM on August 6 [36 favorites]


Also because the GOP is so over having to figure out how to solve actual American problems and address actual American's concerns for the last 40 years. Things like healthcare, voting rights, social services, wage growth, etc. Just letting Russia take over is much easier.
posted by Harry Caul at 11:00 AM on August 6 [7 favorites]


RNC was also hacked and nothing released. Maybe there's nothing dirty in whatever Russia got, but I know that every time a Trump & Co. email has been leaked or released through other means it's been criminal as hell.
posted by chris24 at 11:03 AM on August 6 [39 favorites]


Saudi state-run media threatening Canada for asking about detained women't rights activists. More than a bit over the top.
Story from AlJazeerayoutube
posted by Harry Caul at 11:08 AM on August 6 [6 favorites]


Well, maybe that’ll convince Trudeau to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:18 AM on August 6 [11 favorites]


More on Kremlin attitudes toward Sen. Paul from Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews)
Konstantin Kosachev, chair of the Council of the Federation Committee on Foreign Affairs, who is under U.S. sanctions, said that Rand Paul "has access to the top U.S. leadership, is close to Donald Trump, and we expect that we will be able to convey our signals through him."

#Russia's state TV:
@Dr_Ariel_Cohen: “We don’t know whether he [Rand Paul] delivered any secret messages from Trump to the Russian side. That is unknown to us.”
The host asks Konstantin Kosachev: “Did he or didn’t he?”
Kosachev, grinning: “It’s known to us, but I won’t tell.”
Kremlin trolling nothwithstanding, the odds have increased that Paul is serving as a back-channel between Trump and Putin.

@paulconstant
They're actually selling and buying shirts at Trump rallies that say "I'd rather be a Russian than a Democrat."


Russian state media got hold of one, per Davis: #Russia's state TV host says: ‘Look, these T-shirts are now being sold in the United States and are in high demand in the Republican camp. It says, "I'd rather be a Russian than a Democrat." Note how the trends change with the times."’
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:22 AM on August 6 [26 favorites]


gwint: A little bit of good news: Judge's ruling invalidates FEC regulation allowing anonymous donations to 'dark money' groups

Unfortunately, this is not the final say, and there are some notable loop-holes:
A U.S. District Court judge on Friday [August 3, 2018] issued a ruling invalidating a Federal Election Commission regulation that has allowed donors to so-called dark-money groups to remain anonymous, the latest development in a years-long legal battle that could have major implications for campaign finance.

Judge Beryl A. Howell ruled the FEC's current regulation of such groups, including 501(c) 4 non-profits, fails to uphold the standard Congress intended when it required the disclosure of politically related spending.

"The challenged regulation facilitates such financial 'routing,' blatantly undercuts the congressional goal of fully disclosing the sources of money flowing into federal political campaigns, and thereby suppresses the benefits intended to accrue from disclosure ... ," wrote Howell, an Obama appointee to the D.C district court. The decision is likely to be appealed.

The decision paves the way for new requirements that could force nonprofits to disclose donors who give least $200 toward influencing federal elections. (Social-welfare nonprofits such as Crossroads GPS are allowed to spend money on elections so long as it's not their "major purpose.")
But there is some optimism to balance those concerning notes:
The FEC now has 45 days to issue interim regulations that uphold the broader disclosure standards and 30 days to reconsider its original decision to dismiss a complaint about the Crossroads GPS' spending in the Ohio race.

The FEC could appeal the decision, but an appeal would require a unanimous vote from all of the remaining commissioners, since two seats remain vacant. Crossroads could also file an appeal.
30 days out is Sunday, September 2, 2018, and 45 days puts us at Monday, September 17, 2018, assuming those are two separate processes.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:23 AM on August 6 [5 favorites]


I'm a legal filing wonk, so this stuff interests me. I don't remember seeing it here, so FYI: A few days ago, NY filed a Motion To Dismiss in the NRA's lawsuit.

Basically, "Your honor, the plaintiff is full of shit"

And JFC, Barbara Underwood is loaded for bear.
posted by mikelieman at 11:39 AM on August 6 [21 favorites]


Marine kicked out of Marine Corps for role in Charlottesville white supremacist march
Vasillios Pistolis served 28 days of confinement at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina after being convicted at a court martial for disobeying orders and making false statements, in connection with his role in the deadly Charlottesville rally, in August 2017.

[...]

“Today cracked three skulls open with virtually no damage to myself,” he wrote on Aug. 12 — the day of the violent rally and counterprotest, in which Heather Heyer was killed.

Photographs taken at the rally depict Pistolis clubbing a counter-protester with a wooden flagpole.
posted by jgirl at 11:44 AM on August 6 [63 favorites]


Marine kicked out of Marine Corps for role in Charlottesville white supremacist march

And nothing of value was lost.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:49 AM on August 6 [27 favorites]


Trump Endorses Kris Kobach, Giving Kansas Democrats a Huge Gift

(Benjamin Hart | NYMag)
On Monday morning, President Trump un-shockingly overrode the advice of his advisers and enthusiastically endorsed voter-fraud obsessive and Kansas gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach. ... Trump’s intervention is also a godsend for likely Democratic gubernatorial nominee Laura Kelly. She would be delighted to run against Kobach instead of Colyer in the fall, seeing that he comes equipped with a few overhead bins’ worth of baggage.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:49 AM on August 6 [22 favorites]


Trump admin asks Supreme Court to re-kill already-dead net neutrality rules -- FCC and DOJ want to erase pro-net neutrality precedent as repeal faces lawsuit. (Jon Brodkin for Ars Technica, Aug. 6, 2018)
The Trump administration has asked the US Supreme Court to vacate the 2016 court ruling that upheld the Obama-era net neutrality rules in a strategy that could help uphold the Federal Communications Commission's recent repeal of those rules.

The rules themselves are no longer on the books, having been repealed by the FCC under Chairman Ajit Pai, Trump's pick to lead the commission. But broadband industry lobby groups appealed to the US Supreme Court in September 2017 anyway, asking the nation's highest court to rule that the Obama-era FCC exceeded its authority when it reclassified Internet providers in order to impose stricter regulations.

Lawyers for the FCC and Department of Justice filed a brief with the Supreme Court Friday, supporting the broadband industry's case. The DOJ and FCC noted that the case "appears to be moot" because of Pai's repeal of the net neutrality rules and that the future of net neutrality will be decided in a new case in which dozens of litigants sued Pai's FCC to reverse the repeal.

But instead of letting the 2016 US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruling stand, the DOJ and FCC argued that it shouldn't act as a precedent during the current litigation over Pai's repeal.
Related reading: Trump’s Supreme Court pick: ISPs have 1st Amendment right to block websites -- Net neutrality violates ISPs' right to edit the Internet, judge wrote. (Jon Brodkin for Ars Technica, July 10, 2018)
President Trump's Supreme Court nominee argued last year that net neutrality rules violate the First Amendment rights of Internet service providers by preventing them from "exercising editorial control" over Internet content.

Trump's pick is Brett Kavanaugh, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The DC Circuit twice upheld the net neutrality rules passed by the Federal Communications Commission under former Chairman Tom Wheeler, despite Kavanaugh's dissent. (In another tech-related case, Kavanaugh ruled that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of telephone metadata is legal.)

While current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai eliminated the net neutrality rules, Kavanaugh could help restrict the FCC's authority to regulate Internet providers as a member of the Supreme Court. Broadband industry lobby groups have continued to seek Supreme Court review of the legality of Wheeler's net neutrality rules even after Pai's repeal.
Editorial control? Prohibit or control the transportation of hazardous materials, like on rails, roads and in airplanes I'd get, but this is grotesque.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:51 AM on August 6 [25 favorites]


RNC was also hacked and nothing released. Maybe there's nothing dirty in whatever Russia got,

The theory that QAnon is JFK Jr. is more plausible than there being nothing dirty in the RNC emails.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:52 AM on August 6 [16 favorites]


Trump admin asks Supreme Court to re-kill already-dead net neutrality rules

I can't even tell how many negatives that is.
posted by Melismata at 11:53 AM on August 6 [4 favorites]


sever the zombie-head of freedom
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:04 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
Governor Jerry Brown must allow the Free Flow of the vast amounts of water coming from the North and foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Can be used for fires, farming and everything else. Think of California with plenty of Water - Nice! Fast Federal govt. approvals.

As a native of California with a background in climate science it especially rustles my jimmies to see him hold forth on western hydrology. There's no goddamned water to spare in CA. We're not going to put a sprinkler every 50 feet for 160,000 square miles.

But what haunts me the most is the assertion that all the water flows from the north, which is inexplicable. Unless you believe that north = up.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:06 PM on August 6 [91 favorites]


On Monday morning, President Trump un-shockingly overrode the advice of his advisers and enthusiastically endorsed voter-fraud obsessive and Kansas gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach. ... Trump’s intervention is also a godsend for likely Democratic gubernatorial nominee Laura Kelly. She would be delighted to run against Kobach instead of Colyer in the fall, seeing that he comes equipped with a few overhead bins’ worth of baggage.

We all thought Trump would be the easiest candidate to run against. Unless Kobach has been caught with a dead girl or a live boy it's still an upward climb with the risk of the world's second most vicious douchebag given the keys to the state in order to turn it into his own personal fiefdom.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 12:06 PM on August 6 [4 favorites]


But what haunts me the most is the assertion that all the water flows from the north, which is inexplicable. Unless you believe that north = up.

Or that north = white.
posted by Etrigan at 12:10 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Editorial control? Prohibit or control the transportation of hazardous materials, like on rails, roads and in airplanes I'd get, but this is grotesque.

Today is the day that Facebook, YouTube, and iTunes all kicked Alex Jones off their platform. All over the internet right wing nut jobs are crying "Free speech" while people like me argue "The first amendment does not require social media companies to host this garbage anymore than it requires traditional media companies to publish every letter to the editor they receive."

Alex Jones is leading a harassment campaign against the families of murdered kindergartners, and it is my opinion that anyone who amplifies his message is complicit, so I am thrilled to see Google, Facebook, and Apple finally taking some responsibility for what they publish.

I think "de-platforming" is consistent with the first amendment, and have tried to help Sleeping Giants in their campaign to get advertising networks to stop funding Breitbart, etc.

My argument generally takes this same form -- if you are delivering content to a large audience, you are a PUBLISHER and you have not only a right but also a DUTY to exercise editorial control over that content.

I am a little puzzled as to how to reconcile that with my preference for net neutrality, though. If ISPs are not publishers but merely common carriers, then why can't Facebook make the same claim? If publishers are allowed to decide not to carry content that does not meet their quality and ethical standards, why should they not be allowed to decide not to carry content that's not sufficiently profitable for them?

I could use some help resolving this tension. I hate contradicting myself.
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:12 PM on August 6 [21 favorites]


Today is the day that Facebook, YouTube, and iTunes all kicked Alex Jones off their platform. All over the internet right wing nut jobs are crying "Free speech"

An interesting juxtaposition with this:

President Trump's Supreme Court nominee argued last year that net neutrality rules violate the First Amendment rights of Internet service providers by preventing them from "exercising editorial control" over Internet content.

Almost like the right wing's support of free speech isn't sincerely held at all.
posted by dng at 12:17 PM on August 6 [24 favorites]


I am a little puzzled as to how to reconcile that with my preference for net neutrality, though. If ISPs are not publishers but merely common carriers, then why can't Facebook make the same claim? If publishers are allowed to decide not to carry content that does not meet their quality and ethical standards, why should they not be allowed to decide not to carry content that's not sufficiently profitable for them?

Content providers are numerous and it's easy to switch between them. Choosing the content that's provided is their job, and if you don't like the job they're doing you can get it from someone else. In contrast, ISPs are few and switching is hard. Because it's such a poor environment for competition, you don't want to let the market handle the question of "which ISP actually lets your packets through".
posted by Jpfed at 12:19 PM on August 6 [25 favorites]


If publishers are allowed to decide not to carry content that does not meet their quality and ethical standards, why should they not be allowed to decide not to carry content that's not sufficiently profitable for them?

Because you have to separate "publishers" from "carriers." Your internet should work like your phone. If you dial a number, it should go through to that number, no matter what carrier or who it is. If you go to a website, your ISP should deliver the content that website is sending. (Aside from clear dangers such as malware that can damage your computer and the network.) Publishers, on the other hand, are free to publish what they want subject to applicable laws (libel, etc.) You're paying your carrier to deliver that published content. The carrier should not have a say in what content you get and don't get.
posted by azpenguin at 12:24 PM on August 6 [51 favorites]


" We're not going to put a sprinkler every 50 feet for 160,000 square miles."

Oh please. He didn't even want to put a sprinkler every 50 feet in a building he built.

Obviously he wants to coat all of California in asbestos.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:28 PM on August 6 [90 favorites]


azpenguin: If you go to a website, your ISP should deliver the content that website is sending. (Aside from clear dangers such as malware that can damage your computer and the network.)

Even that, as far as I know, isn't something ISPs currently tend to bother with? I guess they block denial-of-service attacks on themselves, but they don't get into the business of keeping customers safe from malware or phishing, yeah?
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:28 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


Think of California with plenty of Water - Nice!

As usual, his stunning arrogance there’s an easy answer to fix the world that other people Just Aren’t Thinking Of is mind blowing.
posted by corb at 12:34 PM on August 6 [35 favorites]


But what haunts me the most is the assertion that all the water flows from the north, which is inexplicable. Unless you believe that north = up.

Or that north = white.


Sure, maybe the racism is part of it. But as an expat Son of the State of Jefferson, what I see here is Trump tapping into one of the deeper wells of resentment rural NorCal folks feel* toward folks from the richer, southern** parts of the state, which is that they may have all the money and culture and class, but where would they be without our water.

-----------------------
*It always felt performative to me, but if you pretend enough, maybe you start to believe it.
**Yeah, San Franciscans, up there you are part of Down South, too.
posted by notyou at 12:35 PM on August 6 [7 favorites]


>> If publishers are allowed to decide not to carry content that does not meet their quality and ethical standards, why should they not be allowed to decide not to carry content that's not sufficiently profitable for them?

> Because you have to separate "publishers" from "carriers."

To put it in the form of a futile analogy: the Democratic party (a publisher) is not obliged to equally advertise Republican positions in the flyers they mail you, but you should be pretty upset if your letter carrier decided not to deliver flyers from the Republican party to your mailbox "for your own good". Or if the Postal service decided that they would charge political parties extra for the privilege of on-time delivery into your mailbox instead of a deliberate 3-day hold - that would be unacceptable.

The question is, is Comcast more like the postal service (or your power company), or more like the New Yorker (or Breitbart). Phrased like that, the answer seems obvious.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:35 PM on August 6 [19 favorites]


Come on, let's stop acting like the fires thing is some kind of logical argument. He is just trying to pretend that the current California news item--fires--somehow supports the environmental policy of conservative Californians--allowing free exploitation of all natural resources, including allowing more logging, and diverting all natural surface water to commercial and agricultural use. Everyone knows that these policies will not help reduce fires. There is no argument, it's just "name a news item, and then claim you should get to do what you want".
posted by agentofselection at 12:38 PM on August 6 [46 favorites]


The question is, is Comcast more like the postal service (or your power company), or more like the New Yorker (or Breitbart). Phrased like that, the answer seems obvious.

Which one are Facebook and iTunes more like?
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:41 PM on August 6


Think of California with plenty of Water - Nice!

As usual, his stunning arrogance there’s an easy answer to fix the world that other people Just Aren’t Thinking Of is mind blowing.


Like how all of Kanye's tweets should be read as starting with "Liz Lemon..." and all fortune cookies should be read as ending with "...in bed", all of Trump's tweets should be read as starting with "Long-time listener, first-time caller...".
posted by Etrigan at 12:43 PM on August 6 [57 favorites]


Facts develop’: The Trump team’s new ‘alternative facts’-esque ways to explain its falsehoods

(Aaron Blake | WaPo)
As president, Donald Trump has uttered more than 4,000 falsehoods or misleading statements. And the spokespeople and advisers tasked with squaring Trump's version of reality with actual reality must often contort themselves accordingly. Early in the administration, this meant Kellyanne Conway talking about how the administration had “alternative facts.” Later, it was Sean Spicer explaining that he didn't “knowingly” lie to the American people.

On Sunday, they tried a couple of new tacks: asserting that “facts develop” and saying that the president “misspoke” — while saying something he has said dozens of times.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:44 PM on August 6 [7 favorites]


We all thought Trump would be the easiest candidate to run against. Unless Kobach has been caught with a dead girl or a live boy it's still an upward climb with the risk of the world's second most vicious douchebag given the keys to the state in order to turn it into his own personal fiefdom.

Agreed. While I think Laura Kelly is a very electable Democrat, there's just something about Kobach that really pushes the hate-dopamine button for Kansas conservatives. I'm assuming that he'll take the primary tomorrow, but I'd almost rather have the nearly invisible, no record to speak of, definitely won't drive turn out Colyer instead of Kobach.

My personal hope is that Kobach will continue to not be able to get out of his own way and end up turning off enough voters to drive down R turnout. The dream scenario is that he's so toxic that the KS-02 and KS-03 both flip, as well as the Governorship.
posted by god hates math at 12:46 PM on August 6 [4 favorites]


Politico tweet: BREAKING: Rick Gates, the longtime deputy of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is set to take the stand Monday afternoon in Manafort's trial on charges of bank and tax fraud related to overseas earnings

CNN Live blog on Manafort trial
posted by AFABulous at 12:47 PM on August 6 [21 favorites]


There is no argument, it's just "name a news item, and then claim you should get to do what you want".

He'll do anything for attention. He doesn't just name drop celebrities, he name drops issues. (and probably jumps on any trending hashtag. sad)

When he starts yapping about MLK Jr, he's really trying to make a (distracting) stink.
posted by puddledork at 12:54 PM on August 6


They're actually selling and buying shirts at Trump rallies that say "I'd rather be a Russian than a Democrat."

How long before there are shirts that say "I'd rather be an American than a Republican"?

'Cos I will totally buy one. One for all my friends, too.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:55 PM on August 6 [101 favorites]


Rick Gates is, for reasons that seem both slightly elusive and not particularly important at this stage, not testifying next. Rumors of his appearance/non-appearance seem to be invoked more as arguments than actual indications of his presence.
posted by zachlipton at 1:02 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


" We're not going to put a sprinkler every 50 feet for 160,000 square miles."

Oh please. He didn't even want to put a sprinkler every 50 feet in a building he built.

Obviously he wants to coat all of California in asbestos.


Trump Tower is more likely to have a person die in a fire than the state of California on a per capita basis if you extrapolate from recent data.
posted by srboisvert at 1:06 PM on August 6 [38 favorites]


>The question is, is Comcast more like the postal service (or your power company), or more like the New Yorker (or Breitbart). Phrased like that, the answer seems obvious.

Which one are Facebook and iTunes more like?


They're more like The New Yorker (or Condé Nast; or possibly Advance Publications -- that is, Facebook/iTunes are more like the publishing companies that own the New Yorker than they are like the magazine itself).

Facebook doesn't actually enable communication* or the sharing of information, except when it's carried over an ISPs pipes; newspapers and magazines don't distribute themselves except when carried over ISPs or through the postal service (or by freight carries to stores, traveling on public roads paid for through taxes). You can use Comcast to access Facebook and iTunes. You can't use iTunes or Facebook to access the internet.* Facebook self-admittedly curates the selection of posts you see when you log in, and you can't really opt-out of that curation because it exists both at the level of selecting stuff to show you and censoring things which therefore cannot be shown you.

That said, there's an admittedly granular issue in that Facebook is 'more' of a publisher when it comes to ad content and paid relationships other publishers and shows/magazines/etc, and 'less' of a publisher when it comes to social media content. It's a weird and still-kind-of-new thing. The question has some clear legal ramifications, and, well, Facebook is currently arguing that it's at least sometimes legally a publisher, which is a real about-face(book) from their position of a few years ago.

(*Except in areas where Facebook is itself an ISP, maybe)
posted by cjelli at 1:07 PM on August 6 [10 favorites]


Saudi state-run media threatening Canada for asking about detained women't rights activists. More than a bit over the top.

Gosh, I didn't have "Saudis joking about their involvement with 9/11 while threatening Canada" on my bingo card.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:10 PM on August 6 [29 favorites]


RNC was also hacked and nothing released. Maybe there's nothing dirty in whatever Russia got,

The stuff on the Dems was nothing dirty and that's why it was released. They knew the media would still spin it into something and the value in hoarding it was zero.

The stuff they have on the Republicans is probably way more valuable and usable for blackmail and thus will not be given away for free.
posted by srboisvert at 1:25 PM on August 6 [37 favorites]




@ReutersPolitics: JUST IN: Rick Gates testifies that he committed crimes with Paul Manafort

@qjurecic: This tweet has a beautiful simplicity to it

@aedwardslevy: i guess rick rolled
posted by zachlipton at 1:38 PM on August 6 [136 favorites]


[A philosophical debate on the nature of ISPs and social media needs to be in a thread that isn't this one. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:39 PM on August 6 [18 favorites]


@NBCNews BREAKING: Rick Gates in trial:

Prosecutor: "Were you involved in any criminal activity with Mr. Manafort?"

Gates: "Yes."

Prosecutor: "Did you commit any crimes with Mr. Manafort?"

Gates: "Yes."
posted by scalefree at 1:44 PM on August 6 [87 favorites]




The GAO produced a report on the border wall: CBP Is Evaluating Designs and Locations for Border Barriers but Is Proceeding Without Key Information

From the conclusion:
DHS plans to spend billions of dollars developing and deploying new barriers along the southwest border. However, by proceeding without key information on cost, acquisition baselines, and the contributions of previous barrier and technology deployments, DHS faces an increased risk that the Border Wall System Program will cost more than projected, take longer than planned, or not fully perform as expected. Without assessing costs when prioritizing locations for future barriers, CBP does not have complete information to determine whether it is using its limited resources in the most cost-effective manner and does not have important cost information that would help it develop future budget requests.
In other words, the government should find out how much stuff costs first or the project will be expensive, slow, and/or not work.

----

Speaking of things that are expensive, slow, and/or do not work:

@jjouvenal: Rick Gates admits on stand he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort.

@gelles: Rick Gates testifies that he and Paul Manafort had 15 foreign accounts they did not report to the federal government, and knew it was illegal. He said he did not submit the required forms "at Mr. Manafort's direction."

@jimsciutto: I have seen some cold stares in my life but watching Paul Manafort stare down his former deputy, arms crossed, as Rick Gates recounted the long list of his alleged crimes was remarkable. #ManafortTrial
posted by zachlipton at 1:59 PM on August 6 [81 favorites]


Almost like the right wing's support of free speech isn't sincerely held at all.

We've already established in this very thread that right-wing rioters are willing to enter a bookstore associated with opinions they don't like, harass and intimidate the staff and customers, and destroy books whose titles confuse and frighten them. I think we all know precisely what value they place on freedom of expression.
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:01 PM on August 6 [19 favorites]


I have seen some cold stares in my life but watching Paul Manafort stare down his former deputy, arms crossed, as Rick Gates recounted the long list of his alleged crimes was remarkable.

Ja? How does it stack up against, say, Mike Pence's Steely Intimidator?
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:02 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Always with the bluster and the drama with these guys. Til the money's gone.
posted by Harry Caul at 2:07 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


So if one were trying to explain the significance of this testimony to a person who had not been following these threads, how might one do that?
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:21 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Manafort and Gates avoiding paying taxes on millions of dollars of income and Manafort is boned.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:25 PM on August 6 [7 favorites]


As a long-time Californian, the whole water thing read to me like a dogwhistle to the State of Jefferson conspiracy theory, which shares more than a little DNA with the various GUBMINT OVERREACH conspiracy theories so beloved of this administration.

It is an article of ironclad faith among the AM Radio crowd and the right wing that Southern California (everything south of, say, Mendocino, which includes the SF Bay Area, Los Angeles, San Diego, etc) is "stealing" the precious bodily fluids water of good, pure (white) Northern California and using it for things like being liberal communist hippies and sheltering vast hordes of lawless brown people who use up social services and also take very long showers.

I'm not saying that Trump or his administration believe in the State of Jefferson nonsense (although nothing would surprise me at this point), but I think there's a non-zero chance that people in Trump's circle, and probably Trump himself, have heard from FOX News or Alex Jones or the talking badger in the White House hedges about this water thing and know it in their bones to be true, and, welp. Combine a room-temperature IQ with the self-control of a deranged magpie, and you get another Trump tweet special, where everyone who isn't a complete lunatic is baffled.
posted by scrump at 2:25 PM on August 6 [31 favorites]


So if one were trying to explain the significance of this testimony to a person who had not been following these threads, how might one do that?

It's damning. It's probably going to get Manafort convicted. And then Manafort will have to decide at his sentencing hearing whether he wants to try to come to some agreement with the government to get a reduced sentence.

If he does want to come to such an agreement, the government is going to ask him some hard questions about collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. And they are going to demand that he substantiate his answers.

This Gates testimony puts an enormous amount of pressure on Manafort to turn state's evidence on Donald Trump.
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:25 PM on August 6 [63 favorites]


(CNN) Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in 2013 asserted that it's a "traditional exercise" of presidential power to ignore laws the White House views as unconstitutional, as he defended the controversial practice of signing statements prevalent in George W. Bush's White House.

The comments could put a renewed focus on Kavanaugh's time serving as White House staff secretary, who had a role in coordinating Bush's statements accompanying legislation he signed into law. Critics contend that the Bush White House abused the use of signing statements to ignore laws passed by Congress, though Bush and his allies said such statements were no different than the practices of other administrations.
posted by Bella Donna at 2:29 PM on August 6 [32 favorites]


Rick Gates admits he stole money from Manafort so the defense is going to make him out to be the crook. But the rebuttal is to say that if your job is hiding money from the government for your boss, it pretty easy to skim a little for yourself.
posted by JackFlash at 2:38 PM on August 6 [11 favorites]


Here's a WaPo live-update about the Gates testimony, if anyone wants a link that's not a tweet.
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:40 PM on August 6 [5 favorites]


This Gates testimony puts an enormous amount of pressure on Manafort to turn state's evidence on Donald Trump.

But almost certainly not enough. I maintain that Paul Manafort will always be more frightened of Russian retaliation against himself and his family than he is of spending his life in prison.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:49 PM on August 6 [11 favorites]


You know, I used to think the same thing. I’m not so sure now. TPM Prime has a piece up on Manafort that makes him out to be a pretty unstable guy overall. I don’t think there’s any predicting his reaction. It could be pretty bonkers.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:52 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Rick Gates admits he stole money from Manafort so the defense is going to make him out to be the crook. But the rebuttal is to say that if your job is hiding money from the government for your boss, it pretty easy to skim a little for yourself.

"He is a crook because he stole some of the money we were hiding from the government. Don't trust him." isn't exactly the best defense against claims of hiding money from the government.
posted by srboisvert at 2:53 PM on August 6 [30 favorites]


Here's an NYT link.

Rick Gates Testifies He Committed Crimes With Paul Manafort
By Sharon LaFraniere and Emily Cochrane
Mr. Gates and Mr. Manafort were so close that some witnesses referred to them in one breath, almost as if they were one person. Now Mr. Gates’s testimony could help decide whether Mr. Manafort, 69, spends what could be the rest of his life in prison. The most serious of the 18 charges he faces carries a maximum of 30 years in prison.
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:57 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


@KarlBode: So an FCC IG report will soon be released confirming the FCC made up a DDOS attack during the #netneutrality repeal. Ajit Pai's trying to get out ahead of that report by throwing the former CIO under the bus and playing dumb.
posted by zachlipton at 2:58 PM on August 6 [47 favorites]


RNC was also hacked and nothing released. Maybe there's nothing dirty in whatever Russia got […]

There very likely is, but the important thing would be that they don't know there isn't. Regardless, I think we can be sure that there are lots and lots of emails about Trump and how awful he is and can anything be done to stop him – you know, all the stuff Republicans were saying before the election. They're scared.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:02 PM on August 6 [5 favorites]


It turns out that generous souls can donate air mileage in support of reuniting some of the immigrant families ripped apart by ICE via the Michigan Support Circle.
posted by Bella Donna at 3:05 PM on August 6 [11 favorites]


From the Wapo liveblog of the trial:
The heated confrontation came as prosecutors attempted to enter into evidence Rick Gates’s passport to show details of his travels to Ukraine and Cyprus. Ellis interrupted them.

“Let’s get to the heart of the matter,” he scowled.

“Judge, we’ve been at the heart …” prosecutor Greg Andres interrupted.

“Just listen to me!” Ellis bellowed from the bench.

By the judge’s way of thinking, Manafort’s defense was not contesting the places where Gates had traveled, and thus there was no reason to show jurors pictures of Gates’s passport. By Andres’s telling, Gates’s travels were relevant to the case, and defense attorneys had not conceded to any sort of instruction that would tell jurors where Gates had gone.

Ellis told Andres he was looking for ways to “expedite.”. . “We need to focus sharply,” Ellis told the prosecutor. Andres tried to explain his line of inquiry.

“Next question,” the judge snapped.

“The government … ” Andres started to say.

“Next question,” Ellis snapped again, his voice rising.
Umm, is that...normal? For the judge to dictate which questions the prosecution asks its witness?
posted by threeturtles at 3:07 PM on August 6 [31 favorites]


Ken Dilanian: Judge Ellis has consistently interjected himself into this trial in a heavy handed and officious way. The latest: “Let's get to the heart of the matter."

"Your honor, we've been at the heart of the matter," the prosecutor responded. Ellis then barked at him not to interrupt.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:10 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


The fuck is up with Ellis? Seriously...
posted by lazaruslong at 3:13 PM on August 6 [11 favorites]


The fuck is up with Ellis? Seriously...


From a random wiki article I just read, apparently he thinks the prosecution is pressuring Manafort to turn, not to actually prosecute Manafort?

Dunno if that's true, but it's one opinion.
posted by Lord_Pall at 3:15 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


I keep telling myself that Judge Ellis is acting like this to insulate himself from accusations of having had sympathy for the prosecution once Manafort is convicted or to avoid the appearance of bias more broadly, but I dunno.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 3:15 PM on August 6 [23 favorites]


Yeah I think you both have the thread of it, but goddamn. Judges generally show their lack of bias through cool impartial distance and a strict adherence to protocol, right? This dudes like all het up about shit that only seems to play to the defense’s advantage. My partisan radar is starting to act up.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:19 PM on August 6 [9 favorites]


He may (may) want to avoid the appearance of bias, but what he's accomplishing is making it look like he's pulling to get Manafort acquitted. If Manafort gets off on this (TTTCS), I don't see any way Ellis' behavior wouldn't come under some extreme scrutiny. Way less relevant stuff gets admitted in trials than the source of the money that Manafort didn't report. It goes directly to showing that he was indeed, paid that money.
posted by mrgoat at 3:22 PM on August 6 [16 favorites]


The fuck is up with Ellis? Seriously...

Federal judges rail on people to keep things moving and keep things fair. He's not playing sides and barking at an attorney for either side usually means nothing in terms of favoritism.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 3:23 PM on August 6 [7 favorites]


This seems like a providential place to remind us all — newcomers to this sorry tale as well as megathread veterans who may have missed or overlooked this piece when it first appeared, or forgotten about it since — just who Paul Manafort is.

I can't say I much care for Franklin Foer, but it's a decent account of how this onetime friend of Ferdinand Marcos, Lee Atwater and Jonas Savimbi earned his stripes. And yeah, it's very much not-pretty, precisely in the late-Scorsese mode.
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:25 PM on August 6 [13 favorites]


For those who can tune in, Rosie O'Donnell is on MSNBC, ripping Trump AND MSNBC, and the msm in general for their roles in getting him elected, and the platforms they continually give him. Good, smart fiery outrage. She came prepared for this time on camera.
posted by Harry Caul at 3:36 PM on August 6 [40 favorites]


Jared Kushner personally ordered a software developer at his newspaper to remove stories that were critical of his friends and real estate peers. ... Kushner in 2012 went around the editorial leaders at the New York Observer — the newspaper he owned and operated — to mandate the removal of a handful of articles from the website, according to emails obtained by BuzzFeed News. ...

Elizabeth Spiers, the former editor of the Observer who has been publicly critical of Kushner as he rose to political prominence, said she was not aware at the time that her boss was going around editorial leadership to order the removal of stories.

"If I had known about it, Jared and I would have had a big problem," she said. "Jared's such a coward. Went directly to Austin because he knew I wouldn't do it." Spiers said that Smith didn’t have any choice in the matter but to delete the stories since he was not an editorial employee.
posted by Bella Donna at 3:37 PM on August 6 [37 favorites]


n other words, the government should find out how much stuff costs first or the project will be expensive, slow, and/or not work.

I believe I've asked this before, and didn't receive any substantive affirmative response, but is there any careful analysis of building such a wall that conclusively proves it will make any difference whatsoever. The assumption of the GOP and the media universally is that the wall will work if it's just done correctly. But humans are ingenious and there is a non-zero probability that even the "best" wall will have a negligible impact on people entering without documentation or overstaying their welcome. You can't do a cost benefit analysis if there is no estimate of benefit.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:46 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


The assumption of the GOP and the media universally is that the wall will work if it's just done correctly.

Is there any reason to believe this, actually? I don't think I've ever heard anyone in the media say or imply that the wall would work, and for the Republicans (and I'm talking about both voters and leadership here) it's mostly about erecting a monument to dominance (and partially about getting to use a large construction project as a cover for all kinds of financial crimes, which is a time-honored tradition among conservatives). I don't think they do think the wall will work, and I know they don't care whether the wall will work.
posted by IAmUnaware at 3:58 PM on August 6 [15 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amounts of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire from spreading!

He's still asking why we haven't ever thought of just putting out the fires with all the water, with the addendum of "also you should cut down your last 40 trees." I am absolutely dead-certain that lumber-ogre Zinke whispered that one in his ear.
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:00 PM on August 6 [21 favorites]


The assumption of the GOP and the media universally is that the wall will work if it's just done correctly

They don't care. I got into a huge "discussion" with a bunch of Kelly Ward supporters on her page about the wall. I didn't try to change their minds about immigration or not being horrible people; the only point I was trying to make was that the wall wouldn't do what they wanted it to do. I had facts and figures and a bunch of rational why it wouldn't work. Zero people on that page engaged with the substance of any of my points. It was all just PROTECT OUR KIDS!!!1! WE NEED A WALL!!!111! It was incredibly frustrating.
posted by Weeping_angel at 4:02 PM on August 6 [13 favorites]


You can't do a cost benefit analysis if there is no estimate of benefit.

Here's the cost benefit analysis: If we spend [insert ungodly sum here], we'll keep the votes of the people who think the wall says "Fuck you" loudly enough to Mexico. It has zero to do with how reasonable people would assess the cost or benefit of the wall as an actual security measure or economic safeguard.
posted by Rykey at 4:05 PM on August 6 [6 favorites]


'Build A Wall' has been a classic supernazi slogan at least as far back as 1996, featured in Pat Buchanan's campaign, among many other Trump-like populist whistles. It's easy to say, easy to remember. Often it's best to surmise what the dumbest explanation for their fervor is. And that often is the reason. (Racism, American style.)
posted by Harry Caul at 4:08 PM on August 6 [6 favorites]


Kushner in 2012 went around the editorial leaders at the New York Observer — the newspaper he owned and operated — to mandate the removal of a handful of articles from the website, according to emails obtained by BuzzFeed News. ...

This is a model for what the Trumps and apparently a good part of the GOP base think a press should be.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:08 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Rick Gates admits he stole money from Manafort so the defense is going to make him out to be the crook.

NBC's Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) reports further: "Gates also had to admit just now his lie to the FBI. Will the jury believe an admitted liar? A jury believed murderer Sammy “the bull” Gravano when it convicted John Gotti. Gates is a calm, articulate presence on the stand. Cross examination will be fascinating."

Former Assistant United States Attorney Ken White (@popehat) explains the prosecution's tactic behind Gates's admissions:
"Fronting" is the term for prosecutors asking Gates very early on the stuff that damages him -- like him stealing from Manafort and lying to the FBI -- to take the sting out of later cross-examination. [...]

"Fronting," done right, rips the band-aid off. You get the witness to confirm the bad acts/info plainly, directly, and bluntly. Then move on. The other side will come back and dwell on it on cross, but that will seem a re-hash to the jury.

Protip: Always prep the witness well enough so that you don't learn NEW bad facts from them while fronting, resulting in your mouth hanging open for several seconds.

Or, I mean, so I've heard.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:09 PM on August 6 [34 favorites]


So as not to abuse Edit: The people Weeping_angel cites above would be the people to which my comment refers.
posted by Rykey at 4:09 PM on August 6


Wall technology has never advanced past the point where one can only defend a wall by being willing to shoot at those who would breach it. "Serious" cost-benefit analysis is a fool's errand.
posted by klarck at 4:10 PM on August 6 [7 favorites]


Sacha Baron Cohen Gets Joe Arpaio to Accept ‘Amazing Blow Job’ From Trump
Joe Arpaio on Sacha Baron Cohen: I ‘Never Agreed’ to Blow Job From Trump
...the 86-year-old Arpaio says that he “never agreed” to oral sex from the president who recently pardoned him. This is despite the fact that when Baron Cohen—in character as a Finnish internet celebrity named OMGWhizzBoyOMG—asked him directly, “If Donald Trump calls you up after this and says, ‘Sheriff Joe, I want to offer you an amazing blow job,’ would you say yes?” Arpaio answered, “I may have to say yes.”
...
As for Baron Cohen’s questions about “hand jobs,” the former sheriff seemed similarly perplexed, adding, “We were talking about illegals and working with your hands!”
LBJ:
This is not the first time this issue has come up in politics. US President Lyndon B Johnson famously told an aide to spread a story about a Congressional rival having a proclivity for pigs. When the aide protested that it wasn’t true, LBJ replied: “Of course it ain’t true, but I want to make the son-of-a-bitch deny it ….”
posted by kirkaracha at 4:12 PM on August 6 [8 favorites]


He's still asking why we haven't ever thought of just putting out the fires with all the water, with the addendum of "also you should cut down your last 40 trees." I am absolutely dead-certain that lumber-ogre Zinke whispered that one in his ear.

Here's an image of the Mendocino Complex fires, rapidly surrounding the largest lake entirely within the state. The water is right next to the fire; there's a dam and everything. It's not all in the Pacific. It's almost as if fighting gigantic fires is hard or something.

And if you look at the area that's burning, it's all hilly forest that nobody is going to irrigate. Wanting more water to be used in that region for agriculture is irrelevant.

Imagine if we had a President who talked to, idk a firefighter or someone before proclaiming the best way to fight fires.
posted by zachlipton at 4:14 PM on August 6 [29 favorites]


I don't think I've ever heard anyone in the media say or imply that the wall would work...

I agree. But not saying anything like, "The administration has offered no evidence of the effectiveness of the wall...," or "Experts we contacted did not offer any estimates of the how much the wall will reduce immigration of undocumented people..." leaves the average viewer or reader with the impression that the wall will be effective. I, personally, doubt it.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:16 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


I appreciate some of Sacha Baron Cohen's other work in that show, but fighting xenophobic fascism with a very recycled line of homophobia is Not Actually Helping Thanks
posted by InTheYear2017 at 4:18 PM on August 6 [29 favorites]


Your regular reminder that Sascha Baron-Cohen’s job is to grab attention and make money, not rescue the Republic from its own worst instincts.
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:25 PM on August 6 [23 favorites]


To be honest, I don't remember asking him to rescue the Republic, though it'd be awesome if he did.
posted by delfin at 4:26 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


I apologize; I jumped to the LBJ connection without thinking it through. Flagged as offensive etc.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:29 PM on August 6


@RudyGiuliani: There is a moron on Fox claiming I chain smoke cigarettes worrying about the President’s tweets. Don’t smoke cigarettes. Hate ‘me. Smoke only premium cigars and I hope this idiot is not a lawyer because if he is he should sue his Law School.

When your lawyer is having a normal one. Also, what does "hate `me" even mean? Did he mean "hate 'em?"
posted by zachlipton at 4:29 PM on August 6 [17 favorites]


A list of things Donald Trump Jr. has probably Googled in the past two days (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
  • mugs that say “wonderful son”
  • is it illegal if you do it to earn your father’s love
  • is it possible to do something wrong if you don’t know any laws and furthermore are rich
  • where in your online dating profile should you put the phrase “wonderful son” should it be before hunting or after hunting
  • part in the bible when God calls Jesus “my wonderful son”
  • clubs for wonderful sons to meet and network
  • is there anything better than “wonderful son” that your dad can say about you or is that the peak
  • was Darth Vader a good dad
  • should you share a tweet on your Instagram that says something wonderful about you but also implies you might have committed a crime
  • but what if it literally says you are wonderful
  • if someone says “my wonderful son” WITH a comma does that mean that they love you most
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:30 PM on August 6 [47 favorites]


At the risk of reading too much into this and sounding a note of hope (which feels irresponsible, even now): Gates' testimony here feels significant at least in that one of these guys who was expected to flip has, in fact, flipped.

It kinda removes the speculation from the "have these guys flipped?" and pushes it from hope to reality. One has flipped, which means others may, and so far the flip doesn't seem to have been a fake-out or a ruse.

I don't know how far it'll go, and I'm sure there will still be ugly disappointments and outright horrors ahead. We all know this will continue to get more ridiculous. But for once, a reasonable and realistic expectation was met, and that's good to see.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:36 PM on August 6 [10 favorites]


I don't think I've ever heard anyone in the media say or imply that the wall would work.

i don't think any of them know there's already a wall there that doesn't work, right now, today.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:36 PM on August 6 [18 favorites]


I am absolutely dead-certain that lumber-ogre Zinke whispered that one in his ear.

Or Devin Nunes
posted by banshee at 4:36 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


[A few deleted; if things are slow, just let it be, and we'll keep the signal higher than the "ugh these fuckers" reaction-chat.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:42 PM on August 6 [4 favorites]


Courthouse News provides a recap of Rick Gates's explosive testimony today: Star Witness for Mueller Takes the Stand at Manafort Trial

Tomorrow should be no less eventful as Manafort's lawyers get their turn with Gates: "Manafort’s attorneys Kevin Downing and Thomas Zehnle are expected to take a more offensive approach with Gates on cross-examination, following an opening statement where Zehnle asserted that Gates orchestrated “a grand conspiracy.”

"“Rick Gates got himself in trouble … because he embezzled millions of dollars from his longtime employer,” Zehnle said. “[Manafort] trusted him to do what is right. But he placed his trust in the wrong person: Rick Gates.”"
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:44 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]




>>Attacking the free press has been a staple of Republicanism for several decades
>This is literally why we have FOX News to begin with, remember 40 years of "the liberal media"?


This goes back to Richard Nixon, naturally, and his attack dog Spiro Agnew (whose words were written by William Safire and Pat Buchanan). The press were the "nattering nabobs of negativity" and Nixon represented the "Silent Majority."

It's all about removing all roadblocks to the exercise of raw power, and the paucity of Never Trumpers shows how few Republicans are against that project. A lot are stunned that said power wasn't granted to the perfect smooth, Machiavellian team player, some Mitch McConnell type, which was and remains incredibly naïve and stupid. Of course a blundering, dangerous master of domination politics would take control. It's the inevitable result.
posted by msalt at 5:23 PM on August 6 [16 favorites]


Trump wants to take on Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team of pipe-hitting prosecutors.

By himself. In a room. Alone.

Yes, please.


The part of me that wants to cry with joy at this prospect is making furious bets with the part of me that suspects Trump would only use such an opportunity to claim that Mueller's team is lying about what was said at the meeting.

Oh great, now the part of me that remembers that tape recorders exist, and the part of me that realizes Trump would still claim that Mueller's tapes are fake just sat down at the table...
posted by Rykey at 5:58 PM on August 6 [7 favorites]


He probably hasn't realized that alone means without recording devices. You know, like with Putin. Or Sulzburger. So you know, who would anyone believe?

Narrator: hundreds of tapes.
posted by Dashy at 6:16 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Wow, Propping Up Bob Menendez Might Not Have Been the Democrats' Smartest Move - Paul Blest, Splinter News.
Although not much polling on the race has been released, a Gravis poll taken in July showed Menendez and Hugin in a virtual tie. What’s almost as troubling for Democrats as the prospect of losing what should be a safe seat is the prospect of what they could end up having to spend to keep it in Democratic hands.
...

As [the NYTimes reported Sunday], Menendez “might get help” from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the campaign arm of the Senate Democratic caucus. The paper also reported the New Jersey State Democratic committee is already raising money for him—which is probably not something they want to be doing, considering at least four House seats are on the party’s radar for 2018.

It was plainly obvious to anyone who didn’t have their hands in the New Jersey Democratic machine what the right move was after the Menendez trial concluded: to cut him loose. And if the incumbent somehow manages to lose this seat, or if money spent on him prevents the Democrats from winning a flippable seat in Nevada or Arizona or Texas or Tennessee—all races that are essential for the party to win to keep its slim hopes of taking back the Senate alive—the Democrats will have no one to blame but themselves.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:27 PM on August 6 [12 favorites]


(i missed the word 'doesn't' realize, above. Too many negatives, you know how that goes)
posted by Dashy at 6:35 PM on August 6


I maintain that Paul Manafort will always be more frightened of Russian retaliation against himself and his family than he is of spending his life in prison.

I've long thought Manafort is unflippable. First, even if you give him a deal and shave a couple hundred years off his sentence, he will still have a couple hundred years to go. Second, the threat of Russia killing him and his entire family is real. Third, Trump's squawks that he hardly knows Manafort and that he has been treated so unfairly all indicate Trump is seriously thinking about pardoning him. Fourth, his family and the nation already know he's the scum of the earth. His reputation isn't something that can be restored. I could go on... The good news is that I think Manafort is almost uniquely unflippable. I think the rest will fold.
posted by xammerboy at 6:37 PM on August 6 [7 favorites]


It has always seemed weird to me that Senate Democrats stood behind Menendez while cutting Franken out (which I'm not saying was the wrong move). It's true that Menendez was acquitted so he wasn't going to resign but there was no reason to get involved in his primary to tip the scales to him.
posted by Justinian at 6:42 PM on August 6 [8 favorites]



There is a moron on Fox claiming I chain smoke cigarettes worrying about the President’s tweets. Don’t smoke cigarettes. Hate ‘me. Smoke only premium cigars


I'm not sure what Dr. Freud would enjoy more, the "hate me" Freudian slip or the desperate attempt to point out how large his smokeables are...
posted by mmoncur at 6:47 PM on August 6 [21 favorites]


More on today's courtroom squabbles: Manafort prosecution’s frustration with judge leads to fiery clashes (Politico)
At that point, Ellis noted that [prosecutor] Andres was looking at the lectern. “You’re looking down as if to say, ‘This is B.S.,’” the judge complained.

Andres seemed angered by the accusation and said the judge was leaping to conclusions. “We don’t do that to you,” the prosecutor said.

When the judge mentioned an earlier complaint he made about lawyers rolling their eyes, Andres interrupted again and the atmosphere grew tense. “I find it hard to believe I was both looking down and rolling my eyes,” he said.

Andres pressed on with his argument that the payments to Manafort were not political contributions, this time adding the charge that every time the government tried to elicit testimony about why the payments were made, “Your Honor stops us.”

“The record will reflect I rarely stopped you,” Ellis insisted.

“I will stand by the record,” Andres snapped.

“And you will lose,” the judge shot back.

The exchange then descended into an open squabble, as Andres asked for an example of testimony they’d brought out that was wasn’t relevant.

“I don’t have to give you an example. I want you to shorten it,” the judge declared.

The conflict seemed to de-escalate after that point.

“We’re all tired,” Andres said, while asking for “a slight bit of leniency” when questioning Gates, since the defense used its opening argument to attack his credibility.

“I didn’t want to be disrespectful,” the prosecutor said just before court recessed for the day.

“Don’t worry about it,” the judge replied. “I’m not concerned about it at all.”

Ellis said he recalled from his time as a lawyer the emotions involved in a high-stakes trial.

“I realize the stress … I remember the pressure. … I’m trying to minimize the stress time, is all I’m trying to do,” he said, prompting laughter from many and somewhat breaking the tense atmosphere that overtook the courtroom during his protracted sparring with Andres.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:54 PM on August 6 [15 favorites]


A broad and lengthy piece by Franklin Foer at The Atlantic, How Trump Radicalized ICE: A long-running inferiority complex, vast statutory power, a chilling new directive from the top—inside America’s unfolding immigration tragedy.
posted by peeedro at 6:58 PM on August 6 [14 favorites]


I will not liveblog it, but Don Lemon is on CNN right now directly responding to the president’s racist personal attacks agains him and other African-Americans. It’s pretty searing.

He’s laying out Trump’s racist record in detail.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:09 PM on August 6 [70 favorites]


Huh.

Judge Thomas Selby Ellis III Born on May 15, 1940, in Bogotá, Colombia, Ellis graduated from Princeton University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in 1961. Ellis served in the United States Navy as a Naval aviator from 1961 to 1967.[2] Ellis earned a Juris Doctor magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1969. Harvard awarded Ellis a Knox Fellowship for study in England. He then received a Diploma in Law in 1970 from Magdalen College, Oxford. Ellis then entered private practice with the law firm of Hunton & Williams (now Hunton Andrews Kurth), founded in Richmond, Virginia, where he remained until 1987. His practice included a wide range of commercial litigation matters. He often worked with fellow Hunton & Williams attorney John Charles Thomas, who became Virginia's first African-American Supreme Court Justice. Ellis also was a lecturer at the College of William and Mary, from 1981 to 1983.

United States v. Rosen was also a pioneering use of the silent witness rule in a courtroom. The rule allows for sensitive (classified, or otherwise) evidence to be hidden from the public, but available to the jury & counsel, by the use of "substitution" of code-words using a "key card," to which witnesses and the jury would refer during the trial, but which the public would not have access to. Most previous attempts by the government to use the rule had been banned by various judges or the case had been settled before trial. Ellis was the first to allow it, although he limited it to 4 minutes of use at trial, and devised a "fairness test" as to whether the rule should be allowed, and to how much it would make the trial "closed." Critics worried about the Fifth Amendment due process and Sixth amendment Confrontation Clause implications of the use of this rule. In particular, Ellis describes it as a "partial closing" of the trial, while the Sixth Amendment guarantees a public trial.


Decoder rings are Go!
posted by petebest at 7:21 PM on August 6 [9 favorites]


Wow, Propping Up Bob Menendez Might Not Have Been the Democrats' Smartest Move

If we win Tennessee and Texas but lose fucking New Jersey because the Schumer machine backed our version of Jeffery Epstien over literally any other candidate, and lose Florida because Bill Nelson is a goddamn moron who wouldn't beat a cardboard cutout of Bill Nelson...well I don't know what I'll do but it won't be contribute to the DSCC or Schumer reelection.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:25 PM on August 6 [7 favorites]


Friendly reminder to donate to individual campaigns and go knock doors. (I would actually say that probably you should knock doors for the statewide campaign if you're past the primary as the best possible use of your time.)
posted by dogheart at 7:32 PM on August 6 [9 favorites]


If Menendez does win, he should be stripped of all privileges that come with seniority.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 7:36 PM on August 6 [7 favorites]


Isn't the reason that Manafort is unflippable because that Trump has quite effectively telegraphed that if he's found guilty, he'll be pardoned?
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:47 PM on August 6


I knocked doors for 4 1/2 hours in 95 degree heat Sunday for Claire McCaskill.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:49 PM on August 6 [115 favorites]


T.D. Strange: "and lose Florida because Bill Nelson is a goddamn moron who wouldn't beat a cardboard cutout of Bill Nelson"

Bill Nelson definitely doesn't know how to win elections. Except for 1972, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2006, and 2012.

It is true he lost one in 1990.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:09 PM on August 6 [29 favorites]


I was comforted when you said that Florida pols are more sanguine about his chances than the polls might indicate. Say the same thing about New Jersey pls.
posted by Justinian at 8:10 PM on August 6


Haven't been watching it much yet, tbh. Menendez is damaged goods, absolutely. I still am very skeptical of a GOP win in New Jersey in the current environment, particularly when the GOP candidate is a Big Pharma guy. I am open to persuasion on the matter, but right now, I don't see the evidence for it.

Personal bet: Menendez win in the mid single digits.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:18 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Isn't the reason that Manafort is unflippable

No, it's more like that if he flipped, his family will be murdered and there'll be concerted efforts to abduct, torture, and kill him while he's in prison.
posted by porpoise at 8:18 PM on August 6 [7 favorites]


Only one other president has ever acted this desperate (William D. Ruckelshaus | WaPo OpEd)
President Trump is acting with a desperation I’ve seen only once before in Washington: 45 years ago when President Richard M. Nixon ordered the firing of special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox. Nixon was fixated on ending the Watergate investigation, just as Trump wants to shut down the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

... In October 1973, Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refused and resigned. As deputy attorney general and next in line, I was ordered by the president to fire Cox; I also refused and resigned. Cox was finally fired by Solicitor General Robert H. Bork. The result is what came to be known as the Saturday Night Massacre.

Neither Richardson nor I saw any justifiable reason for Cox’s dismissal. When it became clear that Cox would not give up his pursuit of the Oval Office tapes, Nixon took the only action he could to protect himself: He tried to get rid of the man charged with investigating him.

... Trump might attempt to shut down the Mueller investigation, but if he fires the special counsel, he could face the same result Nixon faced. He would look like a president with something to hide. He would unleash forces bigger than one man, because Americans believe no one is above the law, not even the president.

... It’s hard to believe that, 45 years later, we may be in store for another damaging attack on the foundations of our democracy. Yet the cynical conduct of this president, his lawyers and a handful of congressional Republicans is frightening to me and should be to every citizen of this country. We are not playing just another Washington political game; there is much more at stake.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:22 PM on August 6 [21 favorites]


Obviously he wants to coat all of California in asbestos.

I thought this was just a joke until I went over to r/news on reddit today:

EPA is now allowing asbestos back into manufacturing
On June 1, the EPA authorized a “SNUR” (Significant New Use Rule) which allows new products containing asbestos to be created on a case-by-case basis...

...The report states that the agency will no longer consider the effect or presence of substances in the air, ground, or water in its risk assessments.

...The U.S. is one of the only developed nations in the world that has placed significant restrictions on the substance without banning it completely. New data revealed that asbestos-related deaths now total nearly 40,000 annually...

... the chlor-alkali industry is the only industry in the country that still uses asbestos, reportedly importing about 480 tons of the carcinogen each year from Russia and Brazil.
posted by p3t3 at 8:23 PM on August 6 [50 favorites]


Re Nelson, @Taniel:
I may be beating a dead horse insofar as my TL is concerned, but it's not alright to write a full profile of FLSen without noting that 10% of Floridians are disenfranchised & that Scott significantly restricted rules & restricted electorate he now runs in.

There's going to be three months of this isn't there? Just think of how we'd be covering an election occurring under these conditions if it were happening outside of US.
posted by zachlipton at 8:29 PM on August 6 [13 favorites]


I Support My Large, Sweaty Adult Son, But I Will Throw Him Under The Bus In A Heartbeat (Bob Vulfov, McSweeney's)
Folks, what more is there to say? I love my big, enormous boy who wears suits because I drilled into his head from birth that there’s nothing classier than a suit. I wholeheartedly support my 40-year-old, sopping wet boy and I believe he is innocent of all wrongdoing. There’s nothing wrong with what he did! However, if it becomes clear that there is something wrong with what he did, please know that my brick-headed, CrossFitting child acted on his own and I knew nothing of it.

My elephant-murdering baby boy is a paragon of morality. He and his weird body that he can’t control while standing or sitting have always acted in accordance with the law. I can think of no person more law-abiding than my always-drenched adult son. Various housekeepers raised him to be a good boy. I wasn’t there to do it because I was too busy flirting with women by bragging about how many chairs I own. If my gigantic ham of a son somehow grew up to be ensnared in a Special Counsel investigation, that is completely on him and I cannot be held responsible. He’s wonderful, but I barely know this massive, oafish boy.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:29 PM on August 6 [37 favorites]


He would look like a president with something to hide. He would unleash forces bigger than one man, because Americans believe no one is above the law, not even the president.

Maybe that was true in ‘73. Today, though? I’m not so sure. The march of the GOP off into the far distance to the right, and their purposeful, meticulous polarization of the nation, puts the idea that Americans will overwhelmingly turn their backs on Trump, should he pull another Saturday Night Massacre, into serious question. I honestly believe that a very-much-not-insubstantial horde of Americans would openly celebrate Trump doing something so brazen.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:37 PM on August 6 [30 favorites]


fluttering hellfire, I am high-fiving you from the internet! I hope they had snacks and a cold bottle of water for you, at the very least.
posted by dogheart at 8:40 PM on August 6 [4 favorites]


I honestly believe that a very-much-not-insubstantial horde of Americans would openly celebrate Trump doing something so brazen.

Yeah. I think the majority of Americans would support the rule of law. But enough would cheer on Trump if he goes full l'etat c'est moi that the GOP would likely simply say "fuck you, that's my name. What are you going to do about it?"

So the question is, I think, not whether most Americans support the rule of law but rather what most Americans are willing to do and see done in their name if the rule of law begins to fail. One hopes we don't get to that. But the odds of it happening have been creeping upwards for years.
posted by Justinian at 8:47 PM on August 6 [26 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** OH-12 special:
-- Emerson poll has Dem O'Connor up 47-46 on GOPer Balderson [MOE: +/- 5.0%]. Of note, Green candidate apparently not included; poll was prior to Trump rally.

-- GOP using special to road-test a midterm strategy of polarization

-- Balderson seemed to have put his foot in it a bit today, saying that "We don't want Franklin County representing us" and that in the primary, "we beat Delaware County and we beat Franklin County." Those two counties represent 59% of the voters in the district.

-- Overthink the returns as they come in by checking against this model, or this model, or this model.
** 2018 Senate: NJ: Dems starting to get a bit worried about Menendez, at least as a resource sink.

** 2018 House:
-- CA-10: Garin Hart Yang poll has GOP incumbent Denham tied 48-48 with Dem challenger Harder [no MOE listed]. Poll looks to have been commissioned by the DCCC. Cook has district as Tossup.

-- KS-04: Change Research poll has GOP incumbent Estes up 42-38 on Dem challenger Thompson [MOE: +/- 2.25%]. Poll looks to have been commissioned by the Thompson campaign. Cook has district as Safe R.
** Odds & ends:
-- KS gov: GOP was hoping to keep Trump out of the race; endorsement of Kobach may help him in the primary, hurt him in the general.

-- RI gov: RWU poll has incumbent Dem Raimondo up 39-37 over likely GOP nominee Fung [MOE: +/- 4.8%].

-- Vox: Michigan could be a serious blue wave.

-- NAACP suing to block North Carolina from putting constitutional amendments on the ballot. The legislature's actions were possibly illegal, and the state GOP has gone to some pretty absurd lengths to subvert democracy. Gov Cooper also intends to sue over two of the measures.

-- Primary previews from 538 and DKE primary previews plus Taniel's races to watch.

posted by Chrysostom at 8:59 PM on August 6 [37 favorites]


Late to this, but re: reporting from BoingBoing / The Intercept / TRAC Immigration:

On preview, ocschwar is right, the tables don't present comparable data. It's possible if they did, the claim would be supported, but we can't tell, as-is. It may be that the researchers didn't include the data in the format we want because they weren't trying to make the point that the Intercept and boing boing were trying to make.

Neither the BoingBoing article nor the Intercept article were very responsibly written, in that they each suggest, but fail to demonstrate, that the TRAC data indicates that CBP disproportionately referred adults with children for criminal prosecution.

If you dig deep enough into the information presented on the TRAC site, and make a few modest assumptions, you can in fact make some headway toward a determination. But it doesn't seem to support the story those two sources want to tell.

Assumption 0: The reality is not better than the data reported by the government and acquired by TRAC.

The TRAC article cites a WaPo article (footnote [3]), stating,
Nearly 2,000 immigrant children were separated from parents during six weeks in April and May, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
This Vox article, citing the AP's acquisition of DHS data, pinpoints the number at 1,995 children from April 19 to May 31.

Assumption 1: The child separation rate over the entire 8.7 weeks from April through May was consistent with the referenced 6 weeks (43 days).

This would yield 2,830 detained children over those two months, or about 1,415 per month.

On the TRAC data page (footnote [2]), choose the headers:
  • Month and Year
  • Child/Family Group
  • Special Initiatives
Under Month and Year, choose 2018-04. You will find that the CBP reported detaining 38,875 individuals crossing the border that month, broken down as follows:
  • Child (Unaccompanied)  4,318
  • Family Unit (child)     5,144
  • Family Unit (adult)     4,537
  • Other            24,876
Assumption 2: All the children are in the first two categories.

Then:
  • The family units are comprised of about 53% children (i.e. about 100 adults per 113 accompanied children).
  • Proportion of adults traveling with children vs adults traveling without children ≈ 1:5.5
Now, note that the number of criminal referrals is 4,578 (felony) + 2,432 (misdemeanor) = 7,001.

Assumption 3: All 7,001 are adults, since the originally linked TRAC article states that children "presumably weren't subject to the zero-tolerance prosecution policy".

Then the rate of criminal referrals is 7,001 / (24,876 + 4,537) ≈ 23.8%, or 1:4.2. (You don't really need this, but it's maybe worth knowing.)

Assumption 4: For all felony and misdemeanor criminal referrals of adults travelling with children, the adults and the children are detained, separately.

Since one in 5.5 adults is traveling with one or more children, at a rate of 1:1.13 adults per children, then all else being equal, we should expect that about 1,273 of the 7,001 adults would be separated from 1,438 children in the month of April.

This is right about on target with the 1,415 we estimated up front.

Now, if it turns out that only felony criminal referrals results in family separations, the 1,415 estimate would be 50% above an expected 941 separations in April, in which case we really might be looking at a deliberate policy of targeting families.posted by perspicio at 9:05 PM on August 6 [20 favorites]


EPA is now allowing asbestos back into manufacturing

per petebest a month ago: Russian mining firm puts Trump's face on its asbestos products
Uralasbest, one of the world’s largest producers and sellers of asbestos, has taken to adorning pallets of its product with a seal of Trump’s face, along with the words “Approved by Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States”.
(Image of stamp with Russian text “Одобрено Дональдом Трампом — 45-м Президентом США ★”)
posted by XMLicious at 9:32 PM on August 6 [31 favorites]


ABC Radio National Background Briefing“When the dust settles: Home renovators, the next wave of asbestos-related deaths” (.mp3)—about the deaths and illness of home renovators due to working in homes containing asbestos in Australia, where it kills more people each year than die from car accidents, as well as an interview with a woman who contracted mesothelioma because when she was a child her immigrant family went to proudly watch their home being build and she would sweep up the dust left over from construction work.
posted by XMLicious at 9:45 PM on August 6 [31 favorites]


This is going to backfire. West Virginia are moving to mobile phone voting for this midterm elections - software is a ‘Blockchain voting system’ by “Votez”, a 2018 startup with $2m of funding [real}

Twitter thread outlining the gaping security holes already apparent.

Clarification: currently for overseas voters and troops only.
posted by Rumple at 9:56 PM on August 6 [16 favorites]


Worth noting that this is a pilot strictly for overseas voters. Not that that obviates the many concerns, but it limits the scope.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:00 PM on August 6


Weird how 120% of the population of West Virginia are currently residing in Russia ([fake], just to be on the safe side)
posted by Merus at 10:05 PM on August 6 [2 favorites]


Exactly. They're not Russian hackers, they're "overseas voters."
posted by mabelstreet at 10:26 PM on August 6 [6 favorites]


I see no reason why Manafort should fear any reprisal by Putin. In the very worst case scenario, he may be able to identify a handful of Putin-controlled bank accounts that the Feds aren't already aware of. Hardly worth a dramatic escalation of international tensions.

Putin quietly kills people who he sees as threats to his power. He publicly kills people whom he can brand traitors to his base, to serve as an example of his power and a warning to those who won't play his games.

Manafort played along with Putin and furthered his agenda. Putin has been quite open and proud of what he accomplished in Ukraine, Brexit, and the US Elections. Anything Manafort testifies to will only add to the chaos and distraction of the US news cycle, and weaken the current US Government - giving Putin a lot more room to operate, internationally.

I'm sure Putin would have preferred if Trump had simply lifted the sanctions and given his bank accounts back, but a sidelined US and UK are just as valuable, if not more. ...Especially considering the very real threat of sustained damage to the US and UK economies under Brexit and Trumponomics. Sanctions don't mean much if you don't need access to dollars, or the US or UK market.
posted by Anoplura at 10:31 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


I hope a true account comes along some day (ha!), but Manafort strikes me as being like the Paul Giamatti character in The Negotiator. He's a guy who knows a guy. A big-ticket weasel, closer to the gambling/entertainment mob world than the political one.
posted by rhizome at 11:08 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Paul Manafort's image in Eastern Europe is more a very effective bagman.
posted by jaduncan at 11:42 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Facing the Challenge of Fascism in Trump's America - Henry Giroux in a conversation with Ian Masters from a couple of days ago
posted by growabrain at 12:30 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


BuzzFeed, Vera Bergengruen, Accused Russian Agent's Journey To Washington Began In South Dakota: "Maria Butina learned about Americans on a very local level — and found that gun rights would be a winning issue to get close to conservatives." A look at Butina's (and Erickson's) activity in South Dakota. A highlight:
“Maria Butina was incredible,” the organizer of a week-long summer camp for teenage Republicans tweeted in July 2015, with a photo that shows Butina speaking, with Erickson standing behind her holding a map. “The kids *loved* her stories of working for freedom in Russia.”

Now that organizer, Dusty Johnson, is the Republican candidate for South Dakota’s lone US House seat and has found himself having to explain to critics how an alleged Russian agent ended up speaking to kids at his event.

“Expecting that people at a summer camp would sniff out a Russian spy as part of a 25-minute speech about freedom is probably expecting more than any rational person could,” he told the Argus Leader newspaper.
posted by zachlipton at 1:39 AM on August 7 [23 favorites]


[video] @yashar What a find by @JakeSherman - Trump talking about McCain's service in Vietnam during an interview with Dan Rather in 1999!

"He was captured...does being captured make you a war hero? I'm not sure, I don't know."
posted by scalefree at 2:06 AM on August 7 [11 favorites]


Trump talking about McCain's service in Vietnam during an interview with Dan Rather in 1999!

Imagine that I’m doing the clapping-hands emoji here:
He. Does. Not. Understand. Sacrifice. So. He. Hates. It.
posted by Etrigan at 3:17 AM on August 7 [40 favorites]


"The Iran sanctions have officially been cast." Is that an deliberate "Alea iacta est" reference in this morning's tweet? Hopefully not since Caesar's crossing the Rubicon meant the point of no return.
posted by autopilot at 3:30 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States. I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!

Nothing says WORLD PEACE like threatening everyone.
posted by Justinian at 3:37 AM on August 7 [65 favorites]


Why does Yahser Ali consider that video a "find"? It was even a famous remark of his, "I prefer soldiers who weren't captured" regarding McCain. Was there some popular defense of "He doesn't really believe it, he's just attacking military service to score political points" even though that would be even worse and make little sense?
posted by InTheYear2017 at 4:04 AM on August 7 [9 favorites]


Bill Nelson definitely doesn't know how to win elections. Except for 1972, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2006, and 2012.


Nelson is done. I live in Florida and you wouldn’t know he was running. Florida is a lost cause of transplants who don’t want to pay taxes and the racist, revisionist whites of northern FL that might as well be Mississippi. I’m predicting that FL goes red in the mid terms. I hope it doesn’t and I will gladly eat a cake and all that but I’m done with this place. Time to go to bluer pastures.

(Btw, it’s no surprise to me the QAnon story took flight during Trump’s Tampa event. FL is full of Alex Jones acolytes)
posted by photoslob at 4:14 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]




From the WaPo's Dana Milbank, This veteran supported Trump. Until Trump deported his wife.
Sgt. Temo Juarez was a Trump guy. An Iraq combat veteran who served as a Marine infantryman and then an Army National Guardsman, his friends called him a “super conservative.” With his wife, he brought up their two daughters in Central Florida. He supported Trump in 2016, eager for a change.

But now, “I am eating my words,” he told the military newspaper Stars and Stripes in an interview published last week.

On Friday, Juarez and his family became the latest victims of Trump’s zero-tolerance policy on immigration.

On that day, his wife, Alejandra, left the country under a deportation order. She had come to the United States from Mexico illegally as a teenager two decades ago and had until now being living undisturbed with Temo, a naturalized U.S. citizen, and daughters, both natural-born Americans. This week, Temo will fly to Mexico with his daughters, 9-year-old Estela and 16-year-old Pamela — and leave his younger daughter there, even though English is her first language. He can’t do his construction job and take care of her in Florida by himself.

Temo Juarez believed Trump would deport only illegal immigrants who were criminals, and his wife had no record.

Instead, as the family fought Alejandra’s deportation, young Estela, with unicorns on her T-shirt, wept as she spoke to TV cameras: “I really do want to stay with my mom and dad. I want us to be together and stay in my house. I don’t want to go to Mexico. I want to stay here.”

For Sgt. Juarez, this was the Trump administration’s unique way of saying, “Thank you for your service.”
posted by peeedro at 4:59 AM on August 7 [86 favorites]


Why does Yahser Ali consider that video a "find"?

It's a previous iteration of the statement that underscores his blindness to the concepts of service & sacrifice.
posted by scalefree at 4:59 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


I see no reason why Manafort should fear any reprisal by Putin. In the very worst case scenario, he may be able to identify a handful of Putin-controlled bank accounts that the Feds aren't already aware of. Hardly worth a dramatic escalation of international tensions.

Because Manafort may have enough dirt to topple Putin's most valuable US asset?
posted by Thorzdad at 5:07 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


Because Manafort may have enough dirt to topple Putin's most valuable US asset?

At this point does Putin care if Trump is toppled? The chaos that ensues the topplin' might be part of the fun.
posted by ian1977 at 5:22 AM on August 7 [15 favorites]


At this point does Putin care if Trump is toppled? The chaos that ensues the topplin' might be part of the fun.

The administration's intransigence and slow walking on implementing the sanctions imposed by the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act keeps a lot of Russian money accessible to the US and vice versa. They lose Trump they lose that bulwark.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 5:32 AM on August 7 [4 favorites]


> Temo Juarez believed Trump would deport only illegal immigrants who were criminals, and his wife had no record.

"Then they came for my wife, which was a drag because I'd been cool with the whole thing until then."
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:57 AM on August 7 [93 favorites]


Legal immigrants, Miller is coming for us.
Details of the rulemaking proposal are still being finalized, but based on a recent draft seen last week and described to NBC News, immigrants living legally in the U.S. who have ever used or whose household members have ever used Obamacare, children's health insurance, food stamps and other benefits could be hindered from obtaining legal status in the U.S.
But when he went for his citizenship interview in August 2017, the USCIS officers told him they were going to revisit the decision to waive the fake passport incident, meaning he could potentially lose his green card as well.

Rose Hernandez is the supervising attorney at the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition's naturalization clinic. She said the clinic's model has completely changed in light of the crackdown. She now sends six information requests to government agencies to check on green-card holders' backgrounds before she advises them to file for citizenship. If the government finds something she doesn't, the fear is the applicants could lose their green cards and be sent home.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 6:00 AM on August 7 [37 favorites]


Why does Yahser Ali consider that video a "find"?

Guessing becaused it presaged his 2015 grotesque callowness by 16 years? Most of the pre-Obama Trump comments are just ordinarily distasteful and arrogant. 2015 began the quiet-parts-loud offensive that laid waste all norms and roiled the calm waters of corporate news.

In some of those interviews he's even lucid - completing thoughts, for example. But reading from The Oligarch's script that early is somewhat unusual, perhaps? I dunno.
posted by petebest at 6:06 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


So the guy might not be given legal status because he used social security to help cover the shortfall from his 80 hour working week for care costs for his disabled daughter? Am I reading that right? This is what Stephen Miller and his 'pals' want??
posted by Myeral at 6:12 AM on August 7 [26 favorites]


Putin absolutely wants Trump to remain and win reelection because it is incomprehensible that anyone (a) crazier than Trump and (b) more subservient to Putin would replace him.

(I know, I know, in this age never rule out ANYTHING. But while I have next to no faith left in America as a whole, President Gohmert would be a bridge I still think it's impossible to cross.)
posted by delfin at 6:13 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Stephen Miller and his ‘pals’ want to get rid of any nonwhite people they can reach, to further their goal of making America whiter. It’s literally ethnic cleansing in slow motion.
posted by obliviax at 6:23 AM on August 7 [64 favorites]


The Cybersecurity 202: Warrantless device searches at the border are rising. Privacy advocates are suing. (WaPo)
Customs and Border Protection searches of cellphones, laptops and other electronic devices have spiked dramatically over the past two years, and they’re expected to rise in the August vacation season.

Privacy advocates worry that these searches, if conducted without a warrant or suspicion of wrongdoing, could expose people’s financial information, location data and other intimate details to border agents who do not have a good reason or legal justification to see the data. And they've filed a bevy of lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of those searches.

...Device searches at the border climbed steadily for several years but jumped by 11,000 — nearly 60 percent — in the last months of the Obama administration and in President Trump’s first year in office. Border agents searched 30,200 devices in the 2017 fiscal year, up from 19,051 the year before, according to the most recent CBP statistics.
posted by peeedro at 6:23 AM on August 7 [10 favorites]


I'm thinking of traveling to Europe for vacation this year and honestly at this point I'd just as soon leave my phone at home and get a burner while I'm there. People traveling for work don't have that option of course. Such unconstitutional bullshit.
posted by emjaybee at 6:29 AM on August 7 [7 favorites]


Bannon reminds me a little bit of these American actors who, their career is over in the States and they come to Europe and do commercials.

“We have seen right-wing groups come and go,” Udo Bullman, a European Parliament member from Germany since 1999 and the president of the body’s second-largest group, the Socialists and Democrats, told HuffPost in an email. “They never lasted long... their only unifying feature is hatred. And that never takes you far.”
posted by infini at 6:36 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]




New Details About Wilbur Ross’ Business Point To Pattern Of Grifting
A multimillion-dollar lawsuit has been quietly making its way through the New York State court system over the last three years, pitting a private equity manager named David Storper against his former boss: Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. The pair worked side by side for more than a decade, eventually at the firm, WL Ross & Co.—where, Storper later alleged, Ross stole his interests in a private equity fund, transferred them to himself, then tried to cover it up with bogus paperwork. Two weeks ago, just before the start of a trial with $4 million on the line, Ross and Storper agreed to a confidential settlement, whose existence has never been reported and whose terms remain secret.

It is difficult to imagine the possibility that a man like Ross, who Forbes estimates is worth some $700 million, might steal a few million from one of his business partners. Unless you have heard enough stories about Ross. Two former WL Ross colleagues remember the commerce secretary taking handfuls of Sweet’N Low packets from a nearby restaurant, so he didn’t have to go out and buy some for himself. One says workers at his house in the Hamptons used to call the office, claiming Ross had not paid them for their work. Another two people said Ross once pledged $1 million to a charity, then never paid. A commerce official called the tales “petty nonsense,” and added that Ross does not put sweetener in his coffee.

There are bigger allegations. Over several months, in speaking with 21 people who know Ross, Forbes uncovered a pattern: Many of those who worked directly with him claim that Ross wrongly siphoned or outright stole a few million here and a few million there, huge amounts for most but not necessarily for the commerce secretary. At least if you consider them individually. But all told, these allegations—which sparked lawsuits, reimbursements and an SEC fine—come to more than $120 million. If even half of the accusations are legitimate, the current United States secretary of commerce could rank among the biggest grifters in American history.
posted by scalefree at 7:00 AM on August 7 [47 favorites]


What has two thumbs and voted in the Missouri primary this morning? This chick.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:03 AM on August 7 [106 favorites]


Legal immigrants, Miller is coming for us.

Per the poem, thisvis why when the Nazis come for the “illegal” immigrants I say A LOT.

It’s also why certain dumb relatives of my wife get a response they are not expecting when they say something stupid about me “doing it right”.

And I’m not even the right skin color or socio-economic group to be at risk. Yet.

The Nazis are coming for everyone, eventually.
posted by Artw at 7:04 AM on August 7 [65 favorites]


The West Hollywood City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday night urging that President Donald Trump’s star be removed from the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

"The star isn’t in West Hollywood, which has no power over it, but the resolution urges the city of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to take action."
posted by kirkaracha at 7:05 AM on August 7 [10 favorites]


teenage Republicans

What a sad pair of words.
posted by maxwelton at 7:08 AM on August 7 [73 favorites]


Certainly holds a meaning at this point in time that it didn't before.
posted by Artw at 7:10 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


It is difficult to imagine the possibility that a man like Ross, who Forbes estimates is worth some $700 million, might steal a few million from one of his business partners.

If 2018 kills anything, please let it be the myth that the rich will ever be content with their current fortune, and that graft is anything other than standard operations procedures for these people.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 7:15 AM on August 7 [83 favorites]


94th primary voter at my precinct in Michigan this morning. Hold on to your butts, as they say.

I’ll share (relevant or interesting) local and on-the-ground updates as primary day unfolds.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:27 AM on August 7 [31 favorites]


Only one other president has ever acted this desperate (William D. Ruckelshaus | WaPo OpEd)

President Trump is acting with a desperation I’ve seen only once before in Washington: 45 years ago when President Richard M. Nixon ordered the firing of special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox. Nixon was fixated on ending the Watergate investigation, just as Trump wants to shut down the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.


Ruckelshaus is one of my heros, really.

This also confirms my sense that there is a shift in what's going on with the Trump WH.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:29 AM on August 7 [7 favorites]


My partner has been eligible to apply for citizenship for a good few months now. We... haven't applied. And with this news going on, I don't think we're going to any time soon.

I'm traveling to France for a conference in a week and a half, and the week I'll be spending there is one of the two weeks that's the first time my partner has had time off in nearly a year. We were going to meet up with friends and organize a vacation when I was done with my conference. It was going to be amazing.

We called it off about eight months ago, when my partner first became scared to cross the border and assume they'd be allowed back.

I'm so tired and so incredibly angry.
posted by sciatrix at 7:29 AM on August 7 [88 favorites]


Headlines have shifted.

U.S. Accuses Iran of Terror Plots in Effort to Sway Europe
European officials, some skeptical that Iran is behind the plots, say the nuclear deal benefits the region
posted by infini at 7:30 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


From HuffPo

Karl Rove Likens Trump To Stalin, Tells Him To ‘Tone Down’ Anti-Press Rants

Trump’s attacks on the media are “over the top” and “not helpful to our country,” says the longtime Republican strategist.
“I grew up during the time of the Cold War,” said Rove, per Mediaite. “That is a phrase that was used by Stalin against the enemies of the Communist regime. I think the president would be well advised to tone down the rhetoric.”
posted by jgirl at 7:30 AM on August 7 [15 favorites]


When Karl Rove asks you to tone it down....
posted by Floydd at 7:34 AM on August 7 [81 favorites]


2004, Suskind quoting Rove: "The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore." He continued "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Rove being uncomfortable is fine with me.
posted by Harry Caul at 7:39 AM on August 7 [54 favorites]


Rove is just another one of these Republican bigwigs who almost certainly supports most if not all of Trump's policies, but is annoyed by how Trump has taken the lid off the pot so that everyone can see what's boiling in there.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:43 AM on August 7 [88 favorites]


I quite like that Suskind quote, and was surprised to hear it show up on the most recent album by The National, but the attribution is suspect.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:46 AM on August 7 [5 favorites]


@NewYorkStateAG (Barbara Underwood): I am leading 19 AGs and filing a brief in federal court to defend unaccompanied minors’ access to abortion services. All women have a constitutionally-protected right to these services—including these young women. #JusticeForJane

Press release.

Amicus brief [pdf].
posted by melissasaurus at 7:50 AM on August 7 [75 favorites]


Underwood is sure kicking ass.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:14 AM on August 7 [11 favorites]


Don't get too exercised. As said above, this is about appearance and whether it harms the ability to get the results he wants, not whether the statements are themselves offensive - which he doesn't say. Rather than calling those statements offensive it's "tone down the rhetoric," making this out to just be a poor choice of words. He even manages to find a way to do a little bothsideserism with “calling names is not helpful to our country from any side.”
posted by phearlez at 8:14 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


photoslob: "Nelson is done. I live in Florida and you wouldn’t know he was running."

Totally possible! On the other hand, I remember reading very similar comments here about Ralph Northam. That was right before he romped to victory in Virginia.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:20 AM on August 7 [15 favorites]


A bit of morning snark from Representative Judy Chu from CA 27th Congressional District (Pasadena):

This meeting was primarily about adoptions. SLTwitter

For those of you who don't want to click - Rep. Chu is at a puppy adoption event in Pasadena.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:22 AM on August 7 [62 favorites]


Late preview articles: 538 on OH-12 special, Vox on primaries.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:27 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


PSA: The public comment period on the 2020 Census closes at 11:59 pm today. Please use this link respond to the Trump administration's inclusion of a "citizenship question" on the final census form.

As an example, here's a boilerplate I've adapted from the SPLC:
Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to strongly oppose inclusion of a citizenship question in the 2020 Census and to urges the U.S. Department of Commerce to remove it from the data collection forms.

The Department's intention to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census serves no useful purpose. In fact, it will degrade the quality of the census data by depressing response rates – while increasing the cost to taxpayers.

Worse, it will trigger further mistrust in immigrant communities already living in fear because of Donald Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric and the Trump administration's over-aggressive enforcement actions.

Such ideology-driven measures have proven to introduce under-counting. For example, on the first Monday that Alabama's 2011 law requiring a citizenship question for public school enrolment took effect, over 2,200 students were absent from schools across the state.

This is simply a bad idea – one motivated by an extremist anti-immigrant agenda rather than utility. The Department has not even estimated the cost or time that seeking responses to the citizenship question will entail.

The Census must provide accurate information if it is to be used fairly, not only in its practical purpose of informing the annual distribution of approximately $700 billion in federal funds, but also in its Constitutional mandate to apportion U.S. representatives among the states.

We need every person counted for the sake of our nation.

Thank you,
The Department of Commerce stops accepting public comments at midnight tonight.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:39 AM on August 7 [34 favorites]


[A few deleted; we don't honestly need to debate Karl Rove; again if things are slow it's fine for them to be slow and we don't have to have ten reactions to every little social media burp from some asshole.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:43 AM on August 7 [14 favorites]


Nelson is done. I live in Florida and you wouldn’t know he was running. Florida is a lost cause of transplants who don’t want to pay taxes and the racist, revisionist whites of northern FL that might as well be Mississippi. I’m predicting that FL goes red in the mid terms. I hope it doesn’t and I will gladly eat a cake and all that but I’m done with this place. Time to go to bluer pastures.

My perspective as someone who lives in Miami (which admittedly is a whole different world than most of the state) --

I'm not seeing a lot about the senate race in general. What I am seeing is a lot of frustration with Scott specifically about the water crisis and a lot of frustration around the water crisis in general. Most of the discussions I'm seeing around the mid-terms are questions about who to vote for in the governor primary and a decent amount of discussion among FL-27 Democrats on who can beat Donna Shalala in that primary.

I do wonder if after the primary, I'll see more about Nelson. But the only things I'm seeing about Scott are about how shaped the conditions that have led to the red tide. I'm not saying that it isn't an uphill battle -- we've managed to elect Scott twice for reasons vastly passing my understanding -- but I'm not sure if I'd count out Nelson yet. I feel like we'll get a better handle on what the ground is like after the primary.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 8:44 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


Totally-normal-not-an-asshole-judge: Tensions at the Paul Manafort fraud trial grew so heated Monday that the judge suggested that one of Robert Mueller’s prosecutors was crying during a discussion out of the jury’s earshot, according to a transcript of the proceedings.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:52 AM on August 7 [10 favorites]


What has two thumbs and voted in the Missouri primary this morning? This chick.

Me too. I was there about 15 minutes after the polls opened and apparently was the second one to vote. I expect turnout should be pretty good given the number of yard signs, though, and unless rural areas are somehow highly susceptible to the Koch Brothers propaganda, Prop A is going to crash and burn and sink into the swamp.
posted by Foosnark at 8:55 AM on August 7 [17 favorites]


I'm Still With Mel!
posted by riverlife at 8:57 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Minnesota Attorney General — Now Democratic Frontrunner for Governor — Relied on Government Employees for Campaign Work, They Say - Rachel M. Cohen, The Intercept
Lori Swanson, Minnesota’s three-term attorney general and current candidate for governor, has presided over an office culture in which professional success is linked to the willingness of employees to participate in Swanson’s campaign work, eight former and current employees of the attorney general’s office told The Intercept.

Swanson, a moderate Democrat who was first elected in 2007, has kept a remarkably low profile throughout her 11 years in office, largely avoiding crowds and close media coverage. Just last month, Minnesota Public Radio described her as “an atypically private politician who runs a tightly-controlled office and makes few public appearances.” Unlike nearly all other politicians across the country, she maintains no personal or professional presence on Twitter or Facebook.

None of this is by accident, according to sources familiar with Swanson. Lawyers and other employees who have worked for her describe a highly politicized office in which burnishing Swanson’s image is a primary focus.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:08 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


Are the transcripts of the Manafort trial available somewhere for download?
posted by ltl at 9:13 AM on August 7


Something like 43rd ballot in my teeny tiny precinct in Michigan today. Exciting!
posted by zrail at 9:18 AM on August 7 [12 favorites]


unless rural areas are somehow highly susceptible to the Koch Brothers propaganda

We just drove through rural south-eastern Missouri this weekend and saw a ton of "No on Prop A" signs. I was surprised when I looked it up, because I'd assumed from the "Protect your pay" tagline that it was about taxes.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:23 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


CNN is running a live feed of Manafort trial updates. Here are its recent headlines:
—Gates says he and Manafort were interviewed by FBI about Ukraine in July 2014
—Mystery of 'fake' invoices solved [Gates created them from information provided by Manafort]
—Email showed Manafort directing Gates to move money from foreign account
—Gates gets into the gritty details on "shelf companies" and Cypriot accounts

The Washington Post has similar live coverage.
—12:14 a.m.: Manafort’s response to large tax bill? ‘WTF,’ Gates testifies.
—11:50 a.m.: Gates: Manafort actively hid accounts
—11:25 a.m.: Gates explains mystery invoices
—11:18 a.m.: Gates explains FBI interviews in 2014
—10:57 a.m.: Gates: Manafort grew worried when his name appeared on account
—10:35 a.m.: Gates gives primer on shell companies
—10:17 a.m.: Rick Gates explains how Ukrainian billionaires paid Manafort
—9:37 a.m.: Behind judge’s clash with prosecutors, sharp opinions about special counsels
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:23 AM on August 7 [21 favorites]


New Poll: 43% of Republicans Want to Give Trump the Power to Shut Down Media
The “enemy of the people” talk is working. A plurality of self-identified Republicans say they want Trump to have the power to take “bad” media outlets out.
Freedom of the press may be guaranteed in the Constitution. But a plurality of Republicans want to give President Trump the authority to close down certain news outlets, according to a new public opinion survey conducted by Ipsos and provided exclusively to The Daily Beast.

The findings present a sobering picture for the fourth estate, with respondents showing diminished trust in the media and increased support for punitive measures against its members. They also illustrate the extent to which Trump’s anti-press drumbeat has shaped public opinion about the role the media plays in covering his administration.

All told, 43 percent of self-identified Republicans said that they believed “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior.” Only 36 percent disagreed with that statement. When asked if Trump should close down specific outlets, including CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, nearly a quarter of Republicans (23 percent) agreed and 49 percent disagreed.

Republicans were far more likely to take a negative view of the media. Forty-eight percent of them said they believed “the news media is the enemy of the American people” (just 28 percent disagreed) while nearly four out of every five (79 percent) said that they believed “the mainstream media treats President Trump unfairly.”
posted by scalefree at 9:26 AM on August 7 [39 favorites]


JustKeepSwimming: "a decent amount of discussion among FL-27 Democrats on who can beat Donna Shalala in that primary."

Here's a poll of that race. Primary polling tends to be not great, especially House races, but she certainly appears to be considered the strong front-runner at this point.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:28 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Floydd: When Karl Rove asks you to tone it down....

Remember that he's not saying "stop attacking the press, just do it more subtly."

Meanwhile, A Study Found Bankruptcy Soared Among Americans 65 And Older (NPR, August 6, 2018) -- The number of Americans age 65 and older who file for bankruptcy has tripled since 1991.

Graying of U.S. Bankruptcy: Fallout from Life in a Risk Society
The social safety net for older Americans has been shrinking for the past couple decades. The risks associated with aging, reduced income, and increased healthcare costs, have been off-loaded onto older individuals. At the same time, older Americans are increasingly likely to file consumer bankruptcy, and their representation among those in bankruptcy has never been higher. Using data from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, we find more than a two-fold increase in the rate at which older Americans (age 65 and over) file for bankruptcy and an almost five-fold increase in the percentage of older persons in the U.S. bankruptcy system. The magnitude of growth in older Americans in bankruptcy is so large that the broader trend of an aging U.S. population can explain only a small portion of the effect. In our data, older Americans report they are struggling with increased financial risks, namely inadequate income and unmanageable costs of healthcare, as they try to deal with reductions to their social safety net. As a result of these increased financial burdens, the median senior bankruptcy filer enters bankruptcy with negative wealth of $17,390 as compared to more than $250,000 for their non-bankrupt peers. For an increasing number of older Americans, their golden years are fraught with economic risks, the result of which is often bankruptcy.
You can view the whole PDF from SSRN.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:29 AM on August 7 [10 favorites]


Interesting review of the (Repentant Swamp Monster) Rick Wilson book in The Week: Trump haters will love Rick Wilson's scathing new book, Everything Trump Touches Dies. It's quite the rehab job for someone who isn't above invoking a little racism and jingoistic Islamophobia in his Masters' Satanic Service.

Wilson steeps the book in a trenchant analysis of how Trumpism functions as a Cheeto-smeared mirror inverse of traditional conservative values, specifically fiscal responsibility and limited government.

Yup. I remember all those Conservative champions who resisted W's expansion of the government (DHS, Patriot Act, ICE, militarized police forces) and deficit spending/no-bid contracts while waging an expensive war. That was totally a thing that happened.

Wilson also takes the media to task for conducting "softly-lit interviews with 'Ma and Pa Soybean' farmer" and expresses skepticism at what this "coal-country Kristof"-style of reporting accomplishes: "It's a disgusting sort of contemptuous paternalism, and it's a shtick, it's not analysis," he tells me. "It's not a real penetration into what is actually going on in the lives and minds of these people. When you scratch that surface more than a couple of millimeters, you find that is there is a lot of racial animosity."

Cool. So contempt for racists is another thing I can add to the IOKIYAR pile?
This quip seems calculated to appeal to the type of liberal the lives in Rush Limbaugh fever dreams who is just looking for a reason to roast poor innocent dirt farmers. Media liberals love to explore the Trumpist psyche because it creates the narrative that Third Way Rainbow Capitalist Meritocracy that could maaaaaaaybe use a few tweaks around the edges is the humane alternative to corn-pone fascism. Whatever keeps them from having to engage in an actual examination of how America's unholy marriage of corporate, fundamentalist religious, and carceral power hems us in and robs us of real liberty.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 9:29 AM on August 7 [12 favorites]


Whatever keeps them from having to engage in an actual examination of how America's unholy marriage of corporate, fundamentalist religious, and carceral power hems us in and robs us of real liberty.

So... stop talking so much about the opinions of feelings of the white working class (in swing states) and take a hard look at the machine that molds these opinions and feelings and why it exists?
posted by puddledork at 9:35 AM on August 7 [7 favorites]


All told, 43 percent of self-identified Republicans said that they believed “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior.” Only 36 percent disagreed with that statement. When asked if Trump should close down specific outlets, including CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, nearly a quarter of Republicans (23 percent) agreed and 49 percent disagreed.

The article goes on to add:
[S]waths of self-identified Democrats and Independents supported anti-press positions as well. According to the survey, 12 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of Independents agreed that “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior” (74 percent and 55 percent, respectively, disagreed). Additionally, 12 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of Independents agreed that “the news media is the enemy of the American people” (74 percent and 50 percent, respectively, disagreed)
The Daily Beast frames this as 'Trump's rhetoric is working,' but I'm not entirely convinced this is really a Republican thing, or a 'Trump's war on the media' thing: if you have only a small minority of Republicans actually supporting action against the news outlets Trump repeatedly cites, that reads like 'Republicans don't support Trump's anti-media war' -- it reads like people are non-specifically aggravated about 'media,' where 'media' includes not only CNN but also Breitbart and Infowars (and there's a whole separate thread to discuss those). Or: there are a bunch of people here on Metafilter who are pretty vocally anti-NYT, for example. Those same people don't support Trump, and I'd be curious to see what this polling would show in, say, 2015 or will show (hopefully) in 2021.
...
There was a good discussion on the 538 podcast this week on, well, basically this: how do you frame legitimate critiques of the media when the President is making illegitimate critiques, in a way that doesn't empower Trump and yet also doesn't mis-state your own beliefs? (They did not have a solution; it's not really a solved problem.)
posted by cjelli at 9:40 AM on August 7 [12 favorites]


From the Washington Post's live coverage of the Manafort trial:
12:25 a.m. Gates makes one of his first references to the Trump campaign[...]Gates was describing how in 2015 and 2016, Manafort’s once lucrative work in Ukraine had dried up, and his company was in dire financial straits. He said the company, DMP International, did not acquire any new clients in 2015, and to his knowledge, was not earning income in 2016.

In March of that year, Gates said, he went to work for “one of the presidential campaigns.” Manafort, Gates said, hired him. We know that campaign was Trump’s, though Gates did not say the president’s name, and there was no further discussion of that work.
Gates then went into detail about the company's dire finances in 2015 and 2016, with vendors going unpaid and Manafort applying for loans (using falsified business documents). All this makes Manafort's offer to work for free for the Trump campaign that much more suspicious.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:46 AM on August 7 [39 favorites]


All this makes Manafort's offer to work for free for the Trump campaign that much more suspicious.

Given his history of being funded by various Russian agencies and previous failure to register as a foreign agent, we should probably just explicitly state that he worked for the Trump campaign without being paid by it.
posted by jaduncan at 9:50 AM on August 7 [48 favorites]


Has anybody yet pointed out that the Trump campaign should have realized that if you're not paying for the service, you're the product being sold?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:53 AM on August 7 [79 favorites]


The NYTimes has a puff-piece exit interview with Paul Ryan, This Is the Way Paul Ryan’s Speakership Ends, in which he's not asked to account for himself, is allowed to dodge every serious question, and doesn't engage with any discussion of Trump other than to call him a troll. But there was this gem:
Trump used to call Ryan “Boy Scout.” “I thought it was a compliment,” said Ryan, a former altar boy and habitual people-pleaser. But after the Republican-controlled Congress passed a few bills Trump announced to Ryan that he would stop using the nickname. “So I guess he meant it as an insult all along,” the speaker said. “I didn’t realize.” Ryan shrugged.
The BSA is a garbage organization, but most Boy Scouts are awesome, so fuck Donald Trump. Also Paul Ryan claims, like Ivanka, to have been a secretly moderating force:
Ryan made a determination after Trump’s election that to defy the president too forcefully would invite a counterreaction. He tends to speak of the commander in chief as if he were sharing a coping strategy on dealing with a Ritalin-deprived child. “It boomerangs,” Ryan says of being too critical of Trump. “He goes in the other direction, so that’s not effective.” He added, “The pissing match doesn’t work.”

Ryan prefers to tell Trump how he feels in private. He joins a large group of Trump’s putative allies, many of whom have worked in the administration, who insist that they have shaped Trump’s thinking and behavior in private: the “Trust me, I’ve stopped this from being much worse” approach. “I can look myself in the mirror at the end of the day and say I avoided that tragedy, I avoided that tragedy, I avoided that tragedy,” Ryan tells me. “I advanced this goal, I advanced this goal, I advanced this goal.”
posted by peeedro at 10:20 AM on August 7 [6 favorites]


Not a quote: "Also, I then repeatedly normalised him in public and/or campaigned for him to have access to all executive powers."

Thanks for that!
posted by jaduncan at 10:23 AM on August 7 [24 favorites]


Given his history of being funded by various Russian agencies and previous failure to register as a foreign agent, we should probably just explicitly state that he worked for the Trump campaign without being paid by it.

Which is no doubt what Mueller's team is setting up for Manafort's D.C. trial. They're playing a long, slow game.

Meanwhile, Mickey "Sez Who?" Cohen's legal problems continue to swell, the Wall Street Journal reports: Former Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Under Investigation for Tax Fraud—As legal pressures mount, Cohen’s bank loans are also under scrutiny by prosecutors
In previously unreported developments, federal prosecutors in New York are examining whether Mr. Cohen committed tax fraud, people familiar with the investigation said.

Federal authorities are assessing whether Mr. Cohen’s income from his taxi-medallion business was underreported in federal tax returns, one of the people said. That income included hundreds of thousands of dollars received in cash and other payments over the last five years, the person said.

Prosecutors also are looking into whether any bank employees improperly allowed Mr. Cohen to obtain loans for which he didn’t provide adequate documentation, people familiar with the matter said. In particular, federal investigators are looking closely at Mr. Cohen’s relationship with Sterling National Bank—which provided financing for Mr. Cohen’s taxi-medallion business—including whether Mr. Cohen inflated the value of any of his assets as collateral for loans, according to people familiar with the matter.

Convictions for federal tax- and bank-fraud may carry potentially significant prison sentences, which could put additional pressure on Mr. Cohen to cooperate with prosecutors if he is charged with those crimes, according to former federal prosecutors.

As part of the inquiry into Mr. Cohen’s relationships with banks, federal authorities have been investigating whether Mr. Cohen made misrepresentations or false statements on loan applications, people familiar with the matter said.
On top of all that, federal prosecutors have subpoenaed Jeffrey Getzel, the accountant Cohen used to have in common with "Taxi King" Evgeny "Gene" Freidman.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:28 AM on August 7 [8 favorites]


type of liberal the lives in Rush Limbaugh fever dreams who is just looking for a reason to roast poor innocent dirt farmers.

Just who are those "poor innocent dirt farmers".

The median household income of farm owners is $82,000. The median household income for everyone else is $59,000. Only 1.6% of farm owners are African American.
posted by JackFlash at 10:30 AM on August 7 [22 favorites]


Kitty Stardust: So contempt for racists is another thing I can add to the IOKIYAR pile?

Only Nixon can go to Trumpland.

peeedro:
Trump used to call Ryan “Boy Scout.” “I thought it was a compliment,” said Ryan, a former altar boy and habitual people-pleaser. But after the Republican-controlled Congress passed a few bills Trump announced to Ryan that he would stop using the nickname. “So I guess he meant it as an insult all along,” the speaker said. “I didn’t realize.” Ryan shrugged.
The BSA is a garbage organization, but most Boy Scouts are awesome, so fuck Donald Trump.
I'm pretty confident Trump's use of the nickname is entirely divorced from the actual Boy Scouts (to which his own foundation once donated an amount suspiciously identical to the application fee right when one of his failsons was the age to join). What Donald meant is "goody-two-shoes". Of course Paul Ryan is plenty evil, but he doesn't wear it proudly, he dismisses Trumpisms rather than embrace them, etc.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:37 AM on August 7 [6 favorites]


Accused Russian Agent's Journey To Washington Began In South Dakota

As a guy who grew up in Sioux Falls, I particularly appreciated this passage:
The first thing she noticed when she got off the plane in Sioux Falls was that it smelled like home — “the frosty air and even the smell of the local flora reminded me of my native Siberia,” she wrote in an article for a Russian magazine in 2016.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:38 AM on August 7 [16 favorites]


Alleged Mosque Bombers Got Orders From Militia ‘Higher-Ups,’ Members Say Three members of a fringe militia are charged with bombing a Minnesota mosque. They say they were part of a larger network.
posted by Artw at 10:42 AM on August 7 [9 favorites]




Federal authorities are assessing whether Mr. Cohen’s income from his taxi-medallion business was underreported in federal tax returns, one of the people said.

I'm surprised Mueller didn't start with tax fraud against every person in this probe, as it's his easiest way to make Trump's pardon power worthless. As soon as you convict someone of federal tax fraud, you've set up a nearly automatic conviction under (unpardonable) state laws for state tax fraud.
posted by msalt at 11:06 AM on August 7 [7 favorites]


Graying of U.S. Bankruptcy: Fallout from Life in a Risk Society

Wait a minute, I thought that the Boomers had stolen everything. Which is it?
posted by Melismata at 11:08 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


They prey on each other as well.
posted by Artw at 11:09 AM on August 7 [17 favorites]


Wait a minute, I thought that the Boomers had stolen everything. Which is it?

Some boomers have stolen everything while others have lost everything. Same as it ever was, except more so.
posted by zrail at 11:09 AM on August 7 [26 favorites]


Anyone miss the nuclear arms race? Well we've got a new one. China's 'waverider' hypersonic technology.
posted by Harry Caul at 11:13 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


(to which his own foundation once donated an amount suspiciously identical to the application fee right when one of his failsons was the age to join)

Holy crap, Cheapskate Cheeto! I'd forgotten this wasn't Fake News™
WaPo (The Trump Foundation's) smallest-ever gift, for $7, was paid to the Boy Scouts in 1989, at a time when it cost $7 to register a new Scout. Trump’s oldest son was 11 at the time. Trump did not respond to a question about whether the money was paid to register him.
Rolling Stone Most of the reporting on the Trump Foundation took place during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, when it was discovered that the money it brought in had been used for everything from purchasing a six-foot-tall portrait of Trump for $20,000 to paying the $7 it cost Donald Jr. to register for the Boy Scouts.
posted by achrise at 11:13 AM on August 7 [18 favorites]


Kevin Drum took a look at the elderly bankruptcy story making the thread today and found it wanting:
Something happened very broadly during the mid-80s and mid-90s, and whatever it was affected everyone, not just the elderly. Since 2001, however, bankruptcies haven’t changed much among any age group, including the elderly.

This is the story. Credit card debt, the dotcom bubble, the housing bubble, the 2005 bankruptcy law, the rising cost of long-term nursing care—these are all stories. If you want to dig deeper and tell them, fine. But can we drop this endless scaremongering about a massive increase in elderly bankruptcies obtained solely by cherry picking the starting year and providing no surrounding context?
posted by notyou at 11:16 AM on August 7 [30 favorites]


In which the E.U. threatens to sanction businesses that stop doing business with Iran over U.S. sanctions. (NBC)

"The European measures are aimed at allowing firms to recover damages from bodies that enforce American sanctions, and ban companies from complying with the sanctions without E.U. permission."
posted by mrgoat at 11:21 AM on August 7 [23 favorites]


Comment on several of the ghastly links above: in the beginning during the -30's, the Nazis weren't planning the Holocaust. They had a number of different deportation plans going while they ramped up the not-formally-government hoodlums and the concentration camps. At this point, we are in 1936, rather than in 1938. But 1938 couldn't happen without the normalizing during the previous years.
posted by mumimor at 11:26 AM on August 7 [41 favorites]


Charlottesville DSA's Call for Action Against White Supremacy on August 11-12

Charlottesville denied “Unite the Right” organizer Jason Kessler's permit application for a repeat so this year's sequel is in Washington DC's Lafayette Park, right across the street from the White House.

According to the rally's website:
Don’t forget to bring these items:
  • Water
  • Bodycam
  • American or Confederate Flag 4′ x 4′ or smaller, preferable detachable from the pole (for potential transit on trains)
The Confederate Flag is helpfully and unironically linked to patriotic-flags.com.

You might think a bunch of white power jagoffs would use an ordered list instead of a bunch of paragraphs with manually-added numbers for their instructions, but no.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:28 AM on August 7 [5 favorites]


Nelson Muntz Richard North Patterson, The Boston Globe: The humiliating demise of Paul Ryan
Thus ended Paul Ryan’s fatal deception. He becomes in history what he always was in fact — the avatar of a fiscally-ruinous wealth transfer to America’s 1 percent. His legacy? Trillion-dollar deficits with no end in sight, the largest explosion of peacetime debt in memory. Plutocracy beckons; a government stripped of solvency cannot serve the rest.

Somewhere Ayn Rand smiles.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:29 AM on August 7 [51 favorites]


White nationalists are coming to D.C. Here’s the best way to protest.
The best way to resist white supremacists is to massively outnumber them in a disciplined show of nonviolent force. Physical clashes and shouting matches, even if provoked by the white supremacists, provides them with a bullhorn and a victim card to play. Instead, a mass gathering at a separate location, a clear message of unity against hate and strict nonviolent discipline are the way to go.
...
One year later, on Aug. 12, demonstrators should come together to manifest a massive rejection of the white nationalist agenda. The counterprotesters should avoid a direct physical confrontation with the neo-Nazis, however, and instead rally in a different location. Ideally, the anti-Nazi groups would gather in large groups all around the city. They could, for example, congregate on the rooftops of D.C. apartments, hotels and business establishments, and wear the same color and shout the same message at the same time. Such dispersed, low-risk tactics were used in civil resistance movements in places like Chile, Serbia and Turkey.

This would send a powerful message of solidarity without the same level of risk of violent escalation. No matter what, counterprotesters should commit to nonviolent discipline. Failure to do so typically benefits the other side.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:32 AM on August 7 [32 favorites]


Also from that excellent Boston Globe article:
Next came Trump. This moment, too, was rich in irony. For the stark truth is that Trump is a political mutation spawned by Paul Ryan’s big ideas.

Those ideas — promoting free trade, slashing entitlements, and shredding the social safety net – offered nothing to a base beset by economic insecurity and racial anxiety. To win their votes, Ryan and his party offered diversionary scapegoats — feckless bureaucrats, lazy welfare recipients, secular elites, job-stealing immigrants, and venal minorities practicing “identity politics.”

Then Trump ripped the party’s mask off. He exploited white identity politics. He insisted that free trade and nonwhite immigration betrayed American workers. He pledged to preserve entitlements. He promised to “drain the swamp” — and wall off Mexicans.

The base loved him for it.

Abruptly, the party became Trump’s hostage; Ryan, his court eunuch. Ryan stood mute as Trump vilified Muslims, shafted Dreamers, and separated refugees from their kids. He supported Devin Nunes in reducing the House Intelligence Committee to rabid pit bulls bent on killing the Russia investigation to protect Trump from impeachment. Cruelest of all, Trump signed a version of Ryan’s donor-driven fiscal fakery into tax law. Reality, indeed, bites.
posted by Melismata at 11:33 AM on August 7 [19 favorites]


provides them with a bullhorn and a victim card to play

They'll work with the material provided. If the entire counter protest is silent and sitting down peacefully they'll say someone coughing is an attempt to use biological weapons on them.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 11:34 AM on August 7 [14 favorites]


kirkaracha: American or Confederate Flag 4′ x 4′ or smaller, preferable detachable from the pole (for potential transit on trains)

Because you don't want to tangle your flag on transit ... or you don't want to bloody your flag while using the pole as a weapon, like former Marine Pistolis --

jgirl: Photographs taken at the rally depict Pistolis clubbing a counter-protester with a wooden flagpole.


zachlipton: @KarlBode: So an FCC IG report will soon be released confirming the FCC made up a DDOS attack during the #netneutrality repeal. Ajit Pai's trying to get out ahead of that report by throwing the former CIO under the bus and playing dumb.
Pai blamed the spreading of false information on employees hired by the Obama administration and said that he isn't to blame because he "inherited... a culture" from "the prior Administration" that led to the spreading of false information. Pai wrote:
I am deeply disappointed that the FCC's former Chief Information Officer [David Bray], who was hired by the prior Administration and is no longer with the Commission, provided inaccurate information about this incident to me, my office, Congress, and the American people. This is completely unacceptable. I'm also disappointed that some working under the former CIO apparently either disagreed with the information that he was presenting or had questions about it, yet didn't feel comfortable communicating their concerns to me or my office."
Pai's admission came in a statement (PDF) yesterday. "It has become clear that in addition to a flawed comment system, we inherited from the prior Administration a culture in which many members of the Commission's career IT staff were hesitant to express disagreement with the Commission's former CIO in front of FCC management," he also said.
Trump must have ordered those mirrors in bulk and handed them out to all his lackeys and like-minded liars. Behold, Ajit Pai's Big Lie, a long article from Mike Masnick for Tech Dirt, on Nov. 27th 2017:
You might think that the "Big Lie" is the idea that the 2015 rules killed investment. And that is a lie. Actual evidence from financial reports has proven that completely false repeatedly. But, that's a smaller lie here. Ajit Pai's Big Lie is the idea that gutting all net neutrality protections is somehow returning FCC policy to the way things were two years ago, and that "for decades" the FCC kept out of this debate. All of that is wrong. And, unlike the other lie concerning investment -- where Pai and others can fiddle with numbers to make his claims look right -- Ajit Pai knows that the Big Lie is false.
He's just another Republican, trying to rewrite history so he's the hero.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:39 AM on August 7 [34 favorites]


> [Ajit Pai is] just another Republican, trying to rewrite history so he's the hero.

I wonder when the leopards will come for him.

Once the ISPs no longer have to abide by net neutrality rules, all it takes is for one or two of the rabid conservative pot-stirrer blogs (or NRA-TV, say) to be cut off by an ISP on the grounds of [whatever], and conservatives will suddenly re-discover why the ISPs should just be dumb pipes without favoring content flowing through them. (Oh, so ISPs should be neutral as to content on the network? Hmmm, what should we call this concept...)

And then, who will they turn their outrage on? Maybe the FCC, full of Obama-era moles? Will Ajit Pai survive that, with his obviously-brown name?

(Sorry, just not feeling very charitable today.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:51 AM on August 7 [10 favorites]


More booming sounds, from Rick Gates:
Prosecutor Greg Andres showed Gates a series of emails from Manafort, which showed that Gates’ former boss requested that Gates use his position in the Trump campaign to offer a series of favors to Stephen Calk, the founder and CEO of Federal Savings Bank, one of the banks that extended Manafort a loan in 2016.

First, Calk’s name was added to a list of national economic advisers to the campaign. Then, in November 2016, Manafort wrote Gates, “We need to discuss Steve Calk for Sec of the Army. I hear the list is being considered this weekend,” indicating that wanted Gates’ help getting Calk considered by the presidential transition for the cabinet level job.
Hmm. Now, what else, and to whom else, did Manafort sell from the campaign? Perhaps, a position on Ukraine?

Prosecution done, defense questioning up next.
posted by Dashy at 11:54 AM on August 7 [48 favorites]


Hawaii's primary is on Saturday (but early voting is underway now!); Honolulu Civil Beat has great 2018 election coverage here. A few articles:

Sherry Campagna’s Quest To Unseat Hawaii’s Most Popular Politician [Gabbard]

Chad Blair: You’d Be Surprised Which Candidates Favor Legalizing Pot (for Hawaii politics news, follow @chadblaircb on twitter)

The Hawaii Republican Party’s Slow Path To Extinction

Hawaii Elections Officials Already Have 112,000 Ballots In Hand

Civil Beat Poll: Case Has Big Lead In 6-Way Race For Congress (This is for HI-1; featuring DSA-endorsed Kaniela Ing)

A Livelier Ige Comes Out Swinging In One-On-One Interview (Governor)
posted by melissasaurus at 11:56 AM on August 7 [9 favorites]


No matter what, counterprotesters should commit to nonviolent discipline.

"No matter what" indicates the writer can't imagine that violent self-defense might be necessary against Nazis that committed acts of mass terroristic violence (including murder) against counter-protestors the last time they convened.

Civility's the game you win when the other player murders you and I worry that whatever it takes to wake up those who still don't understand this might also entail the death of many of the people who currently do understand it.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:58 AM on August 7 [49 favorites]


“I can look myself in the mirror at the end of the day and say I avoided that tragedy, I avoided that tragedy, I avoided that tragedy,”

... and then Ronald Reagan appears.
posted by multics at 12:00 PM on August 7 [23 favorites]


"No matter what" indicates the writer can't imagine that violent self-defense might be necessary against Nazis that committed acts of mass terroristic violence (including murder) against counter-protestors the last time they convened.

Obviously they imagined it; that's why they said to counter-protest in a separate location.
posted by Jpfed at 12:05 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Obviously they imagined it; that's why they said to counter-protest in a separate location.

Heather Heyer was killed four blocks away from the rally the last time. An antifascist no-go perimeter zone is not a solution here. Otherwise we might as well just give them DC. More than we already have, I mean.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:09 PM on August 7 [46 favorites]


Here's what I don't get. There was violence at last year's rally, and someone got killed. WHY are they even allowed a permit this year? Why are they allowed poles for their flags?
posted by Soliloquy at 12:10 PM on August 7 [77 favorites]


As an advocate of non-violence, I agree that when they are attacking you, it's too late for non-violence; which doesn't mean abandoning non-violence, it means pre-empting violence. Don't give them a target, don't fight on their playing field. Sue them, boycott them, shame them. Don't stand in front of them.... because even if you're ok with violence, there are much more effective ways to violently fight fascists then finding a whole bunch of them in a crowd and standing in front of them yelling and waving. Like, that's what they want.

If you really think violence is necessary or acceptable, at least violence smarter.
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 12:14 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


Soliloquy: Here's what I don't get. There was violence at last year's rally, and someone got killed. WHY are they even allowed a permit this year? Why are they allowed poles for their flags?

I can't glean this from research, but it looks possible that it's not officially, explicitly the same group(s)? Hence, barring them on the basis of last year's murder would amount to a generic No Nazis rule, which I'm okay with but localities often aren't.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:14 PM on August 7


I can't glean this from research, but it looks possible that it's not officially, explicitly the same group(s)? Hence, barring them on the basis of last year's murder would amount to a generic No Nazis rule, which I'm okay with but localities often aren't.

It's called Unite The Right 2. It has the same name and is explicitly a sequel. There's no forgivable reason for permitting it in DC.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:18 PM on August 7 [47 favorites]


Meanwhile overseas: AP Investigation: US allies, al-Qaida battle rebels in Yemen.
posted by adamvasco at 12:18 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


Three members of a fringe militia are charged with bombing a Minnesota mosque. They say they were part of a larger network.

So, organized terrorism.
posted by Gelatin at 12:19 PM on August 7 [42 favorites]


Reminder that Heather was coming back from protecting a Black neighborhood that the Nazis were planning on terrorizing.
And let's not pretend that we can count on police to do their jobs.
And as for not confronting Nazis at their location, is Lafayette Park not currently occupied by anti-ICE/baby-jailers? Not sure how that's going to work.
posted by Sweetdefenestration at 12:21 PM on August 7 [31 favorites]




And let's not pretend that we can count on police to do their jobs.
Yes, but I'd expect a 31% white police force to behave differently than a 77% white police force.
posted by MtDewd at 12:29 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


CarolineO pointed out this NBC article from Feb 2018:
Manafort received three separate loans in December 2016 and January 2017 from Federal Savings Bank for homes in New York City, Virginia and the Hamptons.

The banker, Stephen Calk, president of the Federal Savings Bank, was announced as a member of candidate Trump's Council of Economic Advisers in August 2016.
So if Manafort got Gates to do that bit of quid pro quo for him, what did he do himself?
posted by Dashy at 12:29 PM on August 7 [10 favorites]


Heather Heyer was killed four blocks away from the rally the last time. An antifascist no-go perimeter zone is not a solution here. Otherwise we might as well just give them DC. More than we already have, I mean.

Personally I think they should have stuck with the plan of giving them their own dedicated trains and then just given them some time in the Rosslyn tunnel.
posted by phearlez at 12:30 PM on August 7 [5 favorites]


Government Study Says Trump's Wall is Total Bullshit
I know, I know, it’s a shocking twist—the border wall that President Trump campaigned on, promised Mexico would pay for, and has made no actual progress on since entering office is actually total bullshit that has no basis in reality, according to a new study from the Government Accountability Office.

Apparently, Customs and Border Protection did not research a few minor details when proposing costs for the wall, like what the terrain is like, what parts of the border need to be blocked to stop migrants from crossing, and who actually owns the land the wall would be built on. No big deal, right?
Ceterum autem censeo Trumpem esse delendam
posted by kirkaracha at 12:36 PM on August 7 [27 favorites]


Ted Cruz asks Trump to campaign for him in Texas

Maybe there's only a 33% chance of Cruz losing the election, but at least there's a 100% chance of him continuing to debase himself.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:42 PM on August 7 [69 favorites]


So, uh, it turns out there’s already a thread for the Michigan primary. My bad. If, like me, you didn’t know about it: here ya go.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:45 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Mother Jones, Ex-Trump Campaign Aides Are Lobbying for Bosnia’s Pro-Russian Separatist Party
Representatives of a Russian-backed Serbian separatist party in Bosnia, whose leader has been sanctioned by the Treasury Department, have been courting Trump administration officials and allies and recently signed up two former Trump campaign officials to help them connect with Republican lawmakers.

Former Trump campaign aides Jason Osborne and Mike Rubino have registered with the Justice Department to lobby for the political party of Milorad Dodik, the president of Republika Srpska, the Serbian enclave in Bosnia. Dodik has talked of his republic seceding from Bosnia and merging with Serbia, escalating tensions in a country governed by the 1995 Dayton Accords, which ended a bloody three-year war among former Yugoslavian states. The United States sanctioned Dodik last year for undermining the accords through his calls for secession and other actions.

Dodik has won backing from Russia, which has embraced his opposition to Bosnia joining NATO and generally supports nationalist parties and movements, especially those in Eastern Europe. Russia allegedly supported an attempted coup in nearby Montenegro to stop the state from joining NATO. A Bosnian publication reported earlier this year that Russian intelligence helped train a paramilitary unit that acts as a security force for Dodik.
Naturally, a meeting with Rohrabacher was high on the agenda, as was one with Bannon, and a party at the Trump Hotel with lots of administration officials. The lobbying firm lists the same address as Corey Lewandowski's house, but Lewandowski continues to insist he's not a lobbyist and has nothing to do with any of this. A claim rather undercut by his April trip to Belgrade with Osborne and Rubino. More claims of dubious merit can be found inside.
posted by zachlipton at 12:47 PM on August 7 [18 favorites]


would you like to discuss the employment rate and wage growth?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:48 PM on August 7 [5 favorites]


And let's not pretend that we can count on police to do their jobs.
Yes, but I'd expect a 31% white police force to behave differently than a 77% white police force.


DC cops are just garbage in all different ways but don't think they'll be on your side. You can look back to the nonsense arrests of journos and prosecutions from the inauguration or you can look at the fact that the new chief was the second in command back when they treated the World Bank protesters in an unconstitutional way such that it cost the city a shitton of money.

And as for not confronting Nazis at their location, is Lafayette Park not currently occupied by anti-ICE/baby-jailers? Not sure how that's going to work.

Lafayette Park ain't terribly small.
posted by phearlez at 12:48 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


From the GAO report on the Trump Wall [emphasis mine]:
However, the strategy did not include analysis of the costs associated with deploying barriers in each location or segment, which can vary depending on topography, land ownership, and other factors. Without assessing costs, consistent with leading practices for capital decision making, CBP does not have complete information for prioritizing locations to use its resources in the most cost-effective manner.
How can it be cost-effective if it's not effective at all? And why is CBP not called out for lack of efficacy data and analysis?
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:49 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


That is really disturbing. This region can’t handle another war. I mean, no where can handle another war. Bosnia is really really not recovered.
posted by sio42 at 12:50 PM on August 7 [6 favorites]


The fact that a bunch of white supremacists created a rally in which there was an ISIS-style vehicle-ramming attack, and then celebrated the attack and the death of the victim, and are permitted to have another rally, is such a failure of counter-terrorism. I don’t even have more wording than that, it’s just horrendous and despicable. That’s not even counting the gang beating of DeAndre Harris in a parking garage. Even the fucking Attorney General called this domestic terrorism. It’s just honestly mind blowing.
posted by gucci mane at 12:52 PM on August 7 [86 favorites]


Pai blamed the spreading of false information on employees hired by the Obama administration and said that he isn't to blame because he "inherited... a culture" from "the prior Administration" that led to the spreading of false information.

This got turned up a notch.

@dellcam: Several top FCC officials were informed this year that the investigation into fake cyberattack claims at FCC had shifted “to an investigation of false statements made in responses to congressional inquiries.” Case was referred to DOJ in December.

If we're going to investigate people for lying to Congress now, I have a list.
posted by zachlipton at 12:56 PM on August 7 [22 favorites]


@jjouvenal: BREAKING: Rick Gates admits he may improperly submitted personal expenses to Trump's inaugural committee.

Woah, a whole new scandal comes out of nowhere. As the Post puts it:
“Did you submit personal expenses to the inaugural committee for reimbursement?” Downing asked in the middle of a heated exchange on the topic.

“It’s possible,” Gates conceded.
posted by zachlipton at 1:04 PM on August 7 [41 favorites]


Speaking of the FCC, the cyber intelligence firm GroupSense has a forensic analysis of one of the email addresses used by Russia's online influence operation to post on multiple social media platforms, fraudulently obtain a PayPal account to pay for 2016 election ads on Facebook, and post fraudulent comments to the FCC Net Neutrality filing site, SHARK20385: A look into automated weaponization of stolen credentials and the impact to Internet forum and social media discourse [pdf]:
GroupSense investigated an email address listed in the Mueller indictment, Case 1:18-cr-00032-DLF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY LLC; filed 02/16/18. The email address “allforusa@yahoo.com” was identified as being “engaged in operations to interfere with elections and political processes.” The email address was found in the GroupSense BreachRecon database along with its password. That password appeared to be computer generated and inspired further investigation, netting 9.5 million addresses with similar seemingly computer generated passwords. The “allforusa@yahoo. com” email address was associated with an active Reddit account used to aggressively push AllforUSA stories. GroupSense research also shows the possible use of compromised addresses to operate Facebook and Twitter accounts that distributed a wide variety of inflammatory memes. Further, some of the addresses are associated with comments posted on the FCC Net Neutrality debate site.
Coverage from WaPo, The strange birth, death and rebirth of a Russian troll account called ‘AllForUSA’:
The report highlights how data breaches fuel nefarious online activity, giving criminal hackers and disinformation teams an endless supply of cheap accounts to use individually or for networks of “bots,” automated accounts controlled by a single operative. All this typically takes place without the original owners knowing what happened to their creations.

The GroupSense discovery also underscores how disinformation operations such as the Russian one named in the indictment, the Internet Research Agency, work across multiple platforms to bolster the credibility and prominence of their posts. Acquiring and repurposing real accounts — created by people who had forgotten or simply abandoned them — probably helped Russians evade detection by offering the illusion of authenticity, experts say.
posted by peeedro at 1:07 PM on August 7 [13 favorites]


Here's what I don't get. There was violence at last year's rally, and someone got killed. WHY are they even allowed a permit this year? Why are they allowed poles for their flags?

Their request in DC hasn't reached final approval yet, the last I read, so it's still possible that a permit isn't issued (but odds are that it will be).

Their permit in Charlottesville was denied on the basis of how last year's rally went (which they were fighting in court until recently); that's why they're moving it to Washington DC and doing it on National Park ground. Per NPS,
The National Park Service says it must approve First Amendment events even though last year's rally was connected to three deaths.

"We are confident in the ability of our law enforcement officers to be prepared," said National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst. He said officials are in talks with Kessler and company ahead of the rally. Those talks in part are meant to help law enforcement agencies prepare for the follow-up to last year's violent demonstration. The U.S. Park Police will lead security efforts, but other Washington-area law enforcement agencies are expected to provide additional support. "We will plan accordingly and be ready for what comes," said Litterst.
...
Kessler will not be charged any fees for this permit or be required to get insurance. However, the federal government will shoulder security costs -- an unknown amount at this time. Litterst said his branch approves 5,000 permits a year and aims to keep the public safe at demonstrations, when they fall on park lands. The event is sure to bring controversy, but he said it is mandatory to protect First Amendment rights and public safety.

"Ultimately we provide the venue for Americans to speak freely and the people that hear the message will ultimately be the judges," said Litterst.
(I'm not saying those are good reasons, just 'here are the reasons NPS has given for why they're being allowed a permit so far'.)
posted by cjelli at 1:09 PM on August 7 [5 favorites]


Nate Cohn is hammering that we should not look at the OH-12 early vote numbers tonight and make any inferences about the final result even though they might be very favorable for O'Connor.

But I'm going to look at them. He can't tell me what to do.
posted by Justinian at 1:10 PM on August 7 [30 favorites]


Well, if you wanna peep numbers...

Dave Wasserman (Cook)
Here's my latest estimate of what Danny O'Connor (D) needs in each #OH12 county to win today's special election (2-party vote share):

Delaware: 47%
Franklin: 64%
Licking: 42%
Marion: 32%
Morrow: 31%
Muskingum: 42%
Richland: 43%

Keep in mind, O'Connor (D) only needs to carry 1/7 counties in #OH12 to win the district. Also keep in mind: there are no meaningful inferences to be drawn from early vote totals tonight.
posted by chris24 at 1:15 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


Nate Cohn is hammering that we should not look at the OH-12 early vote numbers tonight and make any inferences about the final result even though they might be very favorable for O'Connor.

But I'm going to look at them. He can't tell me what to do.


Maybe the mods can set it up such that any premature celebration in-thread tonight automatically redirects to the first of the two 2016 election night threads :/

——

North Korea has not taken steps to denuclearize, U.S. national security adviser says

“The remarks were a dismal acknowledgment that little progress has been made nearly two months after the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore.”

Felicia Sonmez | WaPo
[CW: John Bolton]
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:19 PM on August 7 [8 favorites]


I've been breathlessly following the live coverage of the Manafort trial, and can I just say how utterly delicious it is that so much of the evidence that is bringing that asshole down is incriminating emails?

I can't wait to see the entire Trump circus hoist by its own motherfucking petard.
posted by Sublimity at 1:23 PM on August 7 [87 favorites]


Oh look here’s John Bolton taking a break from pressuring Iran toward doing something retaliatory by ratcheting up the shit on North Korea, too.
posted by notyou at 1:27 PM on August 7


Reminder of why even a close Dem loss in OH-12 bodes ill for the GOP:
Fact: there are 68 R-held House districts *less* Republican than #OH12, per @CookPolitical PVI (there are also 119 less R than the old #PA18, where Conor Lamb (D) won in March).
Consensus seems to be that R+4.5 is probably the balance here; higher than that, good news for GOP. Lower than that, good news for Dems.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:27 PM on August 7 [9 favorites]


Saudi state-run media threatening Canada for asking about detained women't rights activists.

This escalating situation is causing a diplomatic and economic rift that would be unthinkable in any era other than the Age of Trump.

CNBC reported on Sunday: Saudi Arabia Slashes Economic Ties With Canada Over Civil Rights Activists:
Saudi Arabia will suspend new trade and investment with Canada after the North American country's foreign ministry urged Riyadh to release arrested civil rights activists, it said in a statement released to the official Saudi Press Agency on Sunday.

It also gave the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave the country and recalled its own ambassador to Canada, the statement by the Saudi foreign ministry said, adding it retained "its rights to take further action."

The Saudi ministry had been briefed that the Canadian foreign ministry and the Canadian embassy urged the Saudi authorities to "immediately release" civil rights activists, the statement said.
The Saudi government has now canceled the scholarships of 16,000 of its students studying in Canada, also ordering them to leave the country and find academic programs elsewhere (Newsweek).

Reuters's David Ljunggren (@reutersLjungg): State Department spokeswoman on the Canada-Saudi dispute: "Both sides need to diplomatically solve this together. We can't do it for them, they need to resolve it together"
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:29 PM on August 7 [11 favorites]


zachlipton: @jjouvenal: Woah, a whole new scandal comes out of nowhere. As the Post puts it:
“Did you submit personal expenses to the inaugural committee for reimbursement?” Downing asked in the middle of a heated exchange on the topic.

“It’s possible,” Gates conceded.


Does this finally answer the Mystery of the Really Expensive Inauguration? If so, that's definitely nice to know... but I confess a little disappointment, as now the Trump people can just blame Gates for misleading/grifting them, rather than be implicated in something particularly nefarious.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 1:29 PM on August 7 [6 favorites]


The Hawaii Republican Party’s Slow Path To Extinction

I am shocked, shocked! that a state where whites are the minority would reject the Party of White Supremacy. #KeepTheLeopardsOut That's basically what happened in California - and remember, California was purple rather than blue up until Pete Wilson did a proto-Trump and basically condemned his party to death in the state.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:31 PM on August 7 [19 favorites]


I think the Gates admission re the inaugural committee grift probably indicates that almost everyone involved in the inauguration was grifting the inaugural committee.
posted by notyou at 1:32 PM on August 7 [42 favorites]


I've been hearing for years that email is dead because of texting but it seems more like getting caught doing shit has bigger impacts. NASA culture shifted strongly after the Columbia accident report left egg on the fact of a lot of people who 'wrote down' shit they really wished they hadn't. Treasonous shitbags have less capacity to learn but even they may eventually get with the program.

Does this finally answer the Mystery of the Really Expensive Inauguration? If so, that's definitely nice to know... but I confess a little disappointment, as now the Trump people can just blame Gates for misleading/grifting them, rather than be implicated in something particularly nefarious.

Only till the communication chain makes it clear they were in on the grift, or the number and scope of obviously baloney claims makes it clear to those not drinking the koolaid (because let's not kid ourselves, obviously they will continue to assert up is down for the sake of their base far past the point where any non-MAGAheads will believe it) that they were doing payoffs/payouts willy-nilly.
posted by phearlez at 1:34 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


The Saudi government has now canceled the scholarships of 16,000 of its students studying in Canada, also ordering them to leave the country and find academic programs elsewhere (Newsweek).

I'm pretty proud of my country right now. Stand tall and firm Canada you are on the side of decency.

But I will add that Saudi Arabia has already been looking to cut off a lot of student funding for about a year now. The new guy in charge already instituted all kinds of changes affecting graduate studies which previously had ridiculously generous open ended funding. They just started requiring progress reports and implemented funding time limits.
posted by srboisvert at 1:51 PM on August 7 [15 favorites]


I am shocked, shocked! that a state where whites are the minority would reject the Party of White Supremacy. #KeepTheLeopardsOut That's basically what happened in California - and remember, California was purple rather than blue up until Pete Wilson did a proto-Trump and basically condemned his party to death in the state.

What disgusts me is all the handwringing over the "one party rule". The GOP died in Hawaii from being out of step with the populace. Perhaps the answer is for a new party aligned with the public to make an appearance?
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:51 PM on August 7 [20 favorites]


[Minnesota Attorney General] Swanson denies steering AG staff into political duties - Briana Bierschbach, Minnesota Public Radio.
The Swanson campaign swung back hard at the report [in The Intercept] Tuesday, denying the allegations and calling it a “political attempt to settle scores.”
...
Swanson’s running mate, retiring congressman Rick Nolan, was also recently under fire after MinnPost reported a former staffer, Jim Swiderski, was allowed to leave in 2015 instead of face disciplinary actions after women in the office reported he sexually harassed them.

In 2016, Swiderski was briefly hired back as a contractor on Nolan’s re-election bid. The ticket is still facing backlash over the allegations, which spurred the creation of the hashtag #WhereIsLori after an initial slow response from the campaign.

And it’s not the first time the culture inside Swanson’s office has been questioned. Concerns surfaced as early as Swanson’s first term as attorney general. In her first year alone, more than 50 of 150 attorneys had either been fired or quit, and an attempt to unionize staff in the office, who are at-will employees, was pushed back by her administration.

Concerns in the office were briefly under the scrutiny of the Office of the Legislative Auditor in 2008, which found some attorneys feared retaliation and felt pressure in “obtaining favorable media attention rather than the methodical legal work required to successfully litigate cases,” according to the report.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:58 PM on August 7 [4 favorites]


What disgusts me is all the handwringing over the "one party rule". The GOP died in Hawaii from being out of step with the populace.

I think TFA does a good job of justifying some concern though a crap job putting it in order of seriousness. You're not wrong about that as a generic complaint; if they want to elect Republicans, run better Republicans and maybe have a national brand that isn't so horribly toxic. The article starts out doing a shitty job of justifying the concern, making it sound like generic oh woe what will ever happen if Dems don't have someone to fight them and make them work for it single party crap. If that's all it is, so what? You'll get what you get in majority dem cities and regions like you do in Washington D.C. where it's going to be a dem winner but the real decision gets made in the primary.

But you do eventually get to this:
“On the floor a lot of items just sail through without much debate or discussion,” she said. “Having open debates is what democracy is about; we shouldn’t be shying away from them.”

When the majority caucus meets, it’s literally every member of the Senate who leaves the floor to gather in the private room. On the House side, it’s just the five Republicans who are left sitting there while the debate happens behind closed doors.
I could give a shit whether the varying factions are all within a single party or not, but if you have organizational rules that don't acknowledge this layout and let the horse trading all happen in private without minutes or reporting? That's just asking for decision opacity at best and corruption at worst. But that's not a D/R problem, that's a chamber rules issue and it's fixable without artificially propping up a party that can't manage itself.
posted by phearlez at 2:06 PM on August 7 [23 favorites]


Heh. Has anyone worrying over that actually met the Democrats?
posted by Artw at 2:08 PM on August 7 [5 favorites]


Worry about what, corruption? Lack of transparency? Pay to play and favoritism abetted by secret deals? If you're under the impression you can't have that happen under Dem control I can refer you to Chicago or a good Marion Barry autobiography.
posted by phearlez at 2:11 PM on August 7 [10 favorites]




Per my note, above, re: Don Lemon’s response last night to Trump’s personal, racist attacks:

Don Lemon to Trump: LeBron James is not dumb, and you’re a straight-up racist.

Avi Selk | WaPo
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:25 PM on August 7 [59 favorites]


When the majority caucus meets, it’s literally every member of the [Hawaiian] Senate who leaves the floor to gather in the private room.

Isn't that effectively what happens federally, because of things like the Hastert Rule and so forth? There's not much that the Democratic minority can do if the Republican caucus has already decided which way they're going to vote and Democratic motions are never brought to the floor.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:29 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


North Korea has not taken steps to denuclearize, U.S. national security adviser says

Reminder: North Korea never agreed to denuclearize.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:33 PM on August 7 [14 favorites]


Reminder: North Korea never agreed to denuclearize.

The art of the deal, ladies and gentlemen.

——

Betrayed’ Paul Manafort stares down ex-partner Rick Gates (Politico)

womp womp
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:36 PM on August 7 [16 favorites]


New Poll: 43% of Republicans Want to Give Trump the Power to Shut Down Media

This is disturbing. I would also like to see a poll showing how many Democrats want to see the government shut down Fox News though.
posted by Justinian at 2:40 PM on August 7 [6 favorites]


phearlez: "You're not wrong about that as a generic complaint; if they want to elect Republicans, run better Republicans and maybe have a national brand that isn't so horribly toxic."

It would seem like there is an opening for a non-GOP based alternative to the Democrats in Hawaii. Other countries have local-only parties, no reason we couldn't here.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:45 PM on August 7 [6 favorites]


Charlottesville Isn't Playing the Media's "Both Sides" Game Any Longer:

"[A] lot of journalists, locked into a mode of neutral reporting unsuited to stories about racism, also want “the other side.” That’s why, if you’re reporting in Charlottesville, there’s a question you’ll have to answer if you want to interview certain activists, people of color, clergy members, educators and others affected by last year’s Unite the Right rally:

Will you also be interviewing a white supremacist for your article?

If the answer is anything but no, you’re probably not getting your interview. "
posted by lord_wolf at 2:47 PM on August 7 [94 favorites]


This is disturbing. I would also like to see a poll showing how many Democrats want to see the government shut down Fox News though.

Even with a true Fake News propaganda outlet like Fox, Ds overwhelmingly reject this.

"According to the survey, 12 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of Independents agreed that “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior”"
posted by chris24 at 2:48 PM on August 7 [6 favorites]


Even with a true Fake News propaganda outlet like Fox, Ds overwhelmingly reject this.

"According to the survey, 12 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of Independents agreed that “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior”"

I'm not in that 12% but I don't...vehemently disagree.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:49 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


If you're under the impression you can't have that happen under Dem control I can refer you to Chicago or a good Marion Barry autobiography.
posted by phearlez


Please don't use my city as a punchline.
posted by agregoli at 2:50 PM on August 7 [9 favorites]


Even with a true Fake News propaganda outlet like Fox, Ds overwhelmingly reject this.

I don't think the question in the survey works for this purpose, though. A Democrat asked that question in that survey would rightly be thinking they are answering the question "Should TRUMP have the authority to close CNN, MSNBC, etc."

I realize that's not what the question literally says but we know as a factual matter that people are often answering a slightly different question than the literal reading. Unless someone polls a different survey specifically about a Democratic President and Fox News this is all academic since we can't know the answer.
posted by Justinian at 2:55 PM on August 7 [4 favorites]


"According to the survey, 12 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of Independents agreed that “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior”"

I'm not in that 12% but I don't...vehemently disagree.


Well...what bad behavior, exactly? Criminal behavior?
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:58 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


"According to the survey, 12 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of Independents agreed that “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior”"

This is really vague as stated. I think most people would agree there should be some standards of conduct for press organizations and that those that run afoul of the law should be prosecuted (potentially shutting them down as a byproduct.) That prosecution would fall to the executive branch and be done under the President's authority, but there's a world of difference between "people publishing libel and inciting violence should be prosecuted by the appropriate federal authorities" and "Donald should get to wave his hand and get Jim Acosta locked up in a gulag."
posted by contraption at 2:58 PM on August 7 [11 favorites]


Accounting Today, Manafort’s former tax accountant fired by firm after testimony
Paul Manafort’s former accountant was fired from a Virginia firm after she told the court she was aware that Manafort’s tax returns contained false information.

Cindy Laporta testified Friday in the government’s case against the former Trump campaign chairman, saying she went along with the scam because she was worried Manafort and his right-hand-man Rick Gates would sue. Laporta was given immunity from prosecution for her testimony.

Virginia-based Kositzka, Wicks & Co. said in a statement Tuesday it was “shocked by Ms. Laporta’s testimony, which clearly represents that she failed to meet the firm’s high standards for professional and ethical conduct in her work for Mr. Manafort.” In a follow-up email, the company said: “She is no longer working here.”
posted by zachlipton at 2:59 PM on August 7 [31 favorites]


For folks catching up on tonight’s primaries:

Every August 7 primary election you should know about, briefly explained (Vox)

“Democrats’ efforts to spur a ‘blue wave’ will be put to the test, again.”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 3:07 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


journalistic bad behavior

I've been wondering lately if Breitbart or Infowars or even Fox meet the standard for sedition? I once heard Michael Savage come within a breath of calling for a military coup.
posted by M-x shell at 3:11 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


The Justice Department has, in what is surely a great use of government resources, filed an appeal to argue that Trump can block people on Twitter:
Nor is the @realDonaldTrump account a “forum” for public expression. Donald Trump uses it not to provide a platform for public discussion, but to disseminate his own views to the world.
...
Donald Trump’s tweets are the whole raison d’etre of his personal Twitter account. The heart of the @realDonaldTrump account are the tweets posted by Donald Trump (or, on occasion, by Daniel Scavino on his behalf) expressing Donald Trump’s own views. The “intended purpose” of the account (Forbes, 523 U.S. at 672-73) was not to provide an opportunity for other Twitter users to communicate to or about Donald Trump, but rather to provide him with an opportunity to communicate to them.
posted by zachlipton at 3:15 PM on August 7 [8 favorites]


I've been wondering lately if Breitbart or Infowars or even Fox meet the standard for sedition?

This is a really awful road to go down. I have enormous problems with what these people are doing, and if they've broken the law (*gesticulates in the direction of harassing Sandy Hook families*), that should be addressed, but we shouldn't go for pretty-much-literally "enemy of the people" stuff just because they do.
posted by zachlipton at 3:17 PM on August 7 [15 favorites]


The “intended purpose” of the account (Forbes, 523 U.S. at 672-73) was not to provide an opportunity for other Twitter users to communicate to or about Donald Trump, but rather to provide him with an opportunity to communicate to them.

Sounds like a job for ANYTHING BUT TWITTER.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:22 PM on August 7 [27 favorites]


Remember Trump's obsession with the FBI headquarters? GSA chief may have misled Congress about White House involvement in FBI headquarters, according to draft of inspector general report (WaPo):
The administrator of the General Services Administration, which manages the FBI headquarters project, may have misled Congress about White House involvement in the project, according to a portion of a soon-to-be published report from the agency’s inspector general that was obtained by The Washington Post.

Last year the GSA and the FBI scrapped a long-delayed plan to build an FBI headquarters campus in the Washington suburbs in favor of a proposal to build a smaller headquarters in downtown D.C. and relocate some staff to Alabama, Idaho and West Virginia.

President Trump has said he supported the new plan. Although GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, speaking to the House Appropriations Committee in April, mentioned discussions of funding with the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, she downplayed the role of the White House in the decision-making process.

The conclusions section of the inspector general’s report, which is expected to be released publicly in the coming weeks, states Murphy’s testimony “was incomplete and may have left the misleading impression that she had no discussions with the President or senior White House officials about the project.”
Trump's interest, from the Always Be Grifting angle, is that the original plan was to trade land in Va or Md with a private developer for the land that currently houses the FBI headquarters. This location on Pennsylvania Ave would be redeveloped privately and could possible host a hotel or mixed use retail space that would compete with Trump's nearby hotel, so of course he moved to block private redevelopment of the FBI headquarters.
posted by peeedro at 3:24 PM on August 7 [22 favorites]


Sounds like a job for ANYTHING BUT TWITTER.

I think the president opining on the ratings/looks/effectiveness of TV personalities and the low IQ/criminality/dangers of ethnic minorities would look odder in any other medium.
posted by jaduncan at 3:27 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


Virginia-based Kositzka, Wicks & Co. said in a statement Tuesday it was “shocked by Ms. Laporta’s testimony, which clearly represents that she failed to meet the firm’s high standards for professional and ethical conduct in her work for Mr. Manafort.” In a follow-up email, the company said: “She is no longer working here.”

It took them this long to figure out that one of their top accountants was a crook? Manafort was indicted for money laundering almost a year ago. You would think the firm would go over every return filed by Laporta for Manafort with a fine-toothed comb. So much for internal auditing controls. Who would hire this company in the future?
posted by JackFlash at 3:38 PM on August 7 [32 favorites]


Nor is the @realDonaldTrump account a “forum” for public expression. Donald Trump uses it not to provide a platform for public discussion, but to disseminate his own views to the world.

Maybe @realDonaldTrump should start a blog on a paid server rather than free-riding on Twitter's infrastructure for public discussion.?
posted by mikelieman at 3:43 PM on August 7 [19 favorites]


Virginia-based Kositzka, Wicks & Co. said in a statement Tuesday it was “shocked by Ms. Laporta’s testimony”

Laporta wouldn't have been the only person working on Manafort's accounts, and she almost certainly raised her concerns with other members of the firm. They're trying to cover themselves.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:46 PM on August 7 [38 favorites]


Jim Sciutto: Under cross-examination now, Rick Gates says he has met with team of Special Counsel RobertMueller *20 TIMES* since he struck his plea deal in February.

20 times is no biggie right?
posted by Justinian at 3:51 PM on August 7 [19 favorites]


Gates totally got out of major criminal liability solely for rolling on Manafort when the case was pretty strong purely with the paper trail.
posted by chris24 at 3:54 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]



If you're under the impression you can't have that happen under Dem control I can refer you to Chicago or a good Marion Barry autobiography.
posted by phearlez

Please don't use my city as a punchline.
posted by agregoli


Or mine, either.
posted by jgirl at 3:55 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Laporta wouldn't have been the only person working on Manafort's accounts, and she almost certainly raised her concerns with other members of the firm.

If true, then they would be accomplices in a crime and since she has immunity, Laporta could be flipped on them. On the other hand, I think it is just a case of piss poor internal auditing.
posted by JackFlash at 3:58 PM on August 7


Major OH-12 news:
.@Clevelanddotcom can confirm: @DannyOConnor1's #OH12 watch party has an open bar, while @Troy_Balderson's party has a cash bar #partylikeajournalist
posted by Chrysostom at 4:00 PM on August 7 [56 favorites]


If true, then they would be accomplices in a crime and since she has immunity, Laporta could be flipped on them. On the other hand, I think it is just a case of piss poor internal auditing.

Or as likely a case of no internal auditing. Which makes it easier to work with dipshit clients who ask for all this criming. I suppose if you're in that business you can sleep if you have the attitude, "Sure, do your criming, and when you get busted, I'm telling the truth."

I had a client ( Programming sub-contracting ) who would instead of stiffing me, would give me say, a check for a few hundred, and a few hundred in cash.

I took it, but photocopied the check and cash so that WHEN he got busted, I would have a complete file to turn over to the investigators of the shit he pulled.
posted by mikelieman at 4:03 PM on August 7 [10 favorites]


Piss poor internal auditing... or flat out complicity in this kind of white collar crime.

Laporta knew exactly what was up. No fucking doubt that all of her colleagues and the principals at the firm knew exactly what was up. For that matter, her professional peers with similarly high value clients know what's up.

She knew when it was in everybody's benefit to pretend not to notice that their own golden geese were pulling shady shit. When is it in a bookkeeper or accountant's best interest to be a whistleblower on obvious money laundering and fraud?
posted by Sublimity at 4:03 PM on August 7 [9 favorites]


When is it in a bookkeeper or accountant's best interest to be a whistleblower on obvious money laundering and fraud?

When you want to stay out of jail and preserve the reputation of your business?
posted by JackFlash at 4:12 PM on August 7 [5 favorites]


At a minimum minimum, all of their principals should lose their licenses.
posted by M-x shell at 4:13 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


I'm growing concerned about the Manafort trial. The judge basically testified for the defense at one point today and a judge making his opinion clear can absolutely have a big effect on a jury. Reports are that Mueller's guys are very unhappy with Ellis' behavior in the trial.
posted by Justinian at 4:15 PM on August 7 [55 favorites]


When is it in a bookkeeper or accountant's best interest to be a whistleblower on obvious money laundering and fraud?

When you want to stay out of jail and preserve the reputation of your business?


They run the odds. There are a lot of rich people who didn’t come by it honestly or who don’t mind a “little” dishonesty to keep more of it, and a small fraction of them will ever be caught.
posted by Etrigan at 4:31 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Let's see. It only took a several years, and also a special federal prosecutor investigating the president for treason, to surface Laporta's own wrongdoing.

Betting most other practitioners in the field aren't particularly concerned about getting caught when everyone's happy, right?
posted by Sublimity at 4:34 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


This is going to backfire. West Virginia are moving to mobile phone voting for this midterm elections - software is a ‘Blockchain voting system’ by “Votez”, a 2018 startup with $2m of funding [real}

This has gotten worse: Voatz source code public on GitHub (like of the username/passwords included variety, including for their access to a financial services API and database credentials, not stuff that's intended to be open source), companies listed as providing security audits say they didn't do so, the company identifies a free SSL certificate checker site as proof of their security (it demonstrates they configured a feature on their web server not horribly, not that the voting system has undergone a security audit), botched an election they ran at a Republican County Convention in April that had to use backup paper ballots, and plenty of other awfulness.

Even just for overseas voting, this does not seem like a company that should be running elections right now.
posted by zachlipton at 4:36 PM on August 7 [46 favorites]


Charming Excitement Parfait Steve Kornacki is on MSNBC . Ohio polls just closed. Missouri polls close at 7CST. Prop A is the big issue here. Eric Greitens, in a parting shot before leaving office, moved that referendum from November to the August primary to depress Democrat turnout in the general. Dumbass.

When I went canvassing Sunday, State Auditor Nicole Galloway came to the office to give us some good words. She's been meeting with other volunteers around the state and the consensus that Prop A, in her words, is 'going to go down in flames'.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 4:37 PM on August 7 [5 favorites]


Polls have closed in Ohio! Get your 538 liveblogging on here.
posted by Tsuga at 4:38 PM on August 7


I TOLD YOU I WOULD LOOK AT THE EARLY VOTE.

Danny O’Connor 10,878 80.5%
Troy Balderson 2,579 19.1%
posted by Justinian at 4:40 PM on August 7 [21 favorites]


That's reportedly just the Franklin County early vote which is O'Connor's base.
posted by Justinian at 4:41 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


BTW Nicole Galloway is the only Democrat in a high state office. She's been doing a fantastic job and told us that since taking office she's uncovered 300mm in fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 4:42 PM on August 7 [6 favorites]


Missouri polls close at 7CST.

CDT.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:43 PM on August 7 [14 favorites]


Even just for overseas voting, this does not seem like a company that should be running elections right now.

Also, the blockchain is antidemocratic, grounded in the worst sort of ancap values, thermodynamically irresponsible, and has a mode of functioning that cannot be explained to the average voter (not as in “expeditiously,” as in “at all”). The litany of blockchain exploits predicated on its unnecessary complexity is long and grows longer by the week. For all these reasons, I don’t want systems of democratic governance anywhere near any blockchain until all these issues are successfully addressed and resolved.
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:43 PM on August 7 [30 favorites]


Judge Ellis certainly seems to be sticking his oar in. From the Washington Post's Day 6 coverage of the Manafort trial:
5:27 p.m.: Judge questions how closely Manafort watches money

Just before the jury left for the day, Rick Gates echoed other prosecution witnesses in saying Paul Manafort kept a close eye on his financial affairs.

“Mr. Manafort in my opinion kept fairly frequent updates,” Gates said, after a discussion of movement between their consulting firm’s offshore accounts. “Mr. Manafort was very good at knowing where the money was and where it was going.”

Judge Ellis, as he has repeatedly, interjected.

“He didn’t know about the money you were stealing,” Ellis said, “so he didn’t do it that closely.”

The comment by the judge goes to a question at the heart of the trial — how much fraud could possibly have gone on under Manafort’s nose without his knowledge.
But Courthouse News's Brandi Buchman (@BBuchman_CNS) says this isn't unusual for him:
There are reporters who know Ellis better than I but I've covered Ellis long enough to say this confidently: none of this behavior is out of the norm for him. He has a biting wit, he is SHARP and he puts pressure on prosecutors regularly. He interjects. He is an active judge.

I don't enjoy telling readers what to think. That's a personal choice of my own. But I will say this - people who find the judge's method bizarre - do your homework. Dig around. You will see his character/style in this trial is no different than those past.

I get the frustration - esp. if you're at home rooting for the Special Counsel. It seems wildly out of the ordinary, and to some, they believe unfair. But again, I can only say - the interjection, the jokes etc.. all totally normal for Ellis.[...]

You don't have to like what he says and I'm not asking you to. But if you're at home panicking, I beseech you to consider the man's history as a judge, take a few deep breaths, and think critically.
Tomorrow, the trial starts first thing, with the defense continuing their cross-examination of Gates at 9:30 am.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:43 PM on August 7 [35 favorites]


538 live blog of today's primaries and the Ohio special.
posted by nangar at 4:45 PM on August 7


Popehat also seems bemused at people being shocked at Ellis' behavior. Apparently federal judges are just big assholes? I guess I don't think it be like it is, but it do.
posted by Justinian at 4:46 PM on August 7 [19 favorites]


Also, the blockchain is antidemocratic, grounded in the worst sort of ancap values, thermodynamically irresponsible, and has a mode of functioning that cannot be explained to the average voter (not as in “expeditiously,” as in “at all”).
Average voter? Hell, you'd have to look really long and hard to find a judge who was qualified to evaluate conflicting claims about it if it came to a dispute and you might not find one.
posted by Nerd of the North at 4:51 PM on August 7 [8 favorites]


well I haven't been before all that many judges but based on my experience I'm comfortable stating that all judges everywhere have inherently testy, snappish temperaments on the bench, even/especially to the parties they end up ruling in favor of, and are totally the kind of people who corner their distant cousins at family gatherings to lecture them about The Blockchain #judgefacts
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:55 PM on August 7 [14 favorites]


This story is bonkers, even by 2018 standards. ProPublica, Isaac Arnsdorf, The Shadow Rulers of the VA, in which a committee of Mar-a-Lago members, who are not government employees or advisors in any official capacity, are giving orders to the VA:
Last February, shortly after Peter O’Rourke became chief of staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs, he received an email from Bruce Moskowitz with his input on a new mental health initiative for the VA. “Received,” O’Rourke replied. “I will begin a project plan and develop a timeline for action.”

O’Rourke treated the email as an order, but Moskowitz is not his boss. In fact, he is not even a government official. Moskowitz is a Palm Beach doctor who helps wealthy people obtain high-service “concierge” medical care.

More to the point, he is one-third of an informal council that is exerting sweeping influence on the VA from Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida. The troika is led by Ike Perlmutter, the reclusive chairman of Marvel Entertainment, who is a longtime acquaintance of President Trump’s. The third member is a lawyer named Marc Sherman. None of them has ever served in the U.S. military or government.

Yet from a thousand miles away, they have leaned on VA officials and steered policies affecting millions of Americans. They have remained hidden except to a few VA insiders, who have come to call them “the Mar-a-Lago Crowd.”
...
But hundreds of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and interviews with former administration officials tell a different story — of a previously unknown triumvirate that hovered over public servants without any transparency, accountability or oversight. The Mar-a-Lago Crowd spoke with VA officials daily, the documents show, reviewing all manner of policy and personnel decisions. They prodded the VA to start new programs, and officials travelled to Mar-a-Lago at taxpayer expense to hear their views. “Everyone has to go down and kiss the ring,” a former administration official said.
...
In one instance, Perlmutter alerted Shulkin to what he called “another real-life example of the issues our great veterans are suffering with when trying to work with the VA.” The example came from Karen Donnelly, a real estate agent in Palm Beach who manages the tennis courts in the luxury community where Perlmutter lives. Donnelly’s son was having trouble accessing his military medical records. After a month of dead ends, Donnelly said she saw Perlmutter on the tennis court and, knowing his connection to Trump, asked him for help. Perlmutter told her to email him the story because he’s “trying to straighten things out” at the VA, she recalled. (Donnelly separately touched off a nasty legal dispute between Perlmutter and a neighbor, Canadian businessman Harold Peerenboom, who objected to her management of the tennis courts. In a lawsuit, Peerenboom accused Perlmutter of mounting a vicious hate mail campaign against him, which Perlmutter’s lawyer denied.)
...
Besides advocating for friends’ interests, some of the Mar-a-Lago Crowd’s interventions served their own purposes. Starting in February 2017, Perlmutter convened a series of conference calls with executives at Johnson & Johnson, leading to the development of a public awareness campaign about veteran suicide. They planned to promote the campaign by ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange around the time of Veterans Day.

The event also turned into a promotional opportunity for Perlmutter’s company. Executives from Marvel and its parent company, Disney, joined Johnson & Johnson as sponsors of the Veterans Day event at the stock exchange. Shulkin rang the closing bell standing near a preening and flexing Captain America, with Spider-Man waving from the trading pit, and Marvel swag distributed to some of the attendees. “Generally the VA secretary or defense secretary don’t shill for companies,” the leader of a veterans advocacy group said.
...
Perlmutter also facilitated a series of conference calls with senior executives from Apple. VA officials were excited about working with the company, but it wasn’t immediately obvious what they had to collaborate on. As it turned out, Moskowitz wanted Apple and the VA to develop an app for veterans to find nearby medical services. Who did he bring in to advise them on the project? His son, Aaron, who had built a similar app. The proposal made Apple and VA officials uncomfortable, according to two people familiar with the matter, but Moskowitz’s clout kept it alive for months. The VA finally killed the project because Moskowitz was the only one who supported it
...
The memo recommended easing Shulkin out and relying on Perlmutter for help replacing him. “Put [Shulkin] on notice to exit after major legislation and key POTUS VA initiatives in place,” the memo said. “Utilize outside team (Ike).” Although several factors contributed to Shulkin’s downfall, including the ethics scandal and differences with the White House over legislation on buying private health care, three former officials said it was his friction with the Mar-a-Lago Crowd over the Cerner contract that ultimately did him in..
There's even more nonsense inside, including messwith with the Cerner contract for the VA's new electronic medical records system, personal email for government business, more conflicts of interest, their role in forcing Shulkin and other officials out, etc...
posted by zachlipton at 4:57 PM on August 7 [75 favorites]


I'm very much hoping O'Connor wins tonight (I wrote & mailed 100 postcards to that effect) but the emails are killing me.

Yesterday I received no fewer than 13 emails from info@dannyoconnorforcongress.com, with absurd and ultimately exhausting subject lines, but the icing on the cake is the email I just got. Although all of these emails were from the same email address, the name attached to it was different for each. The most recent email had the wildly misleading name of "me, Danny (2)" which made it appear as though I had sent an email and Danny had replied.

Is this something that every Democratic campaign just has to do?
posted by cybertaur1 at 4:59 PM on August 7 [15 favorites]


Popehat also seems bemused at people being shocked at Ellis' behavior. Apparently federal judges are just big assholes? I guess I don't think it be like it is, but it do.

Marcy Wheeler as well. Seems most regular court watchers are "eh, that's not that weird" and making fun of the drop-in reporters freaking out.
posted by chris24 at 5:02 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


I forgot, because this not seemed nearly as big as issue locally I thought it would be, pedigreed Democrat Lacy Clay MO-1 is being primaried from the left by Cori Bush. This definitely did not make it on the radar of Southwest City as much as it did the younger, hipper areas.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:04 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


In Virginia a special prosecutor has been appointed to investigate allegations of election fraud committed by the campaign of Rep. Scott Taylor (R, VA-02). Four Taylor campaign workers are accused of forging signatures of voters, some dead or moved out of state, to help an independent candidate get on the ballot.

This move was calculated to split the Democratic vote in November as the independent candidate is the previous cycle's Democratic challenger, but she is currently facing federal fraud and theft charges.

After Barbara Comstock, Taylor, a freshman congressman and former Navy SEAL, is considered the most vulnerable Republican in the state's congressional delegation. The district is rated toss-up (Sabato) or lean-R (Cook). in 2016 Trump won this district by 4 point and Taylor beat a woefully underfunded opponent by 22 points, in 2017 Northam carried the district by 4 points.

The Democratic challenger is Elaine Luria, a retired Navy officer and small business owner. She has out-raised Taylor $945,000 to $740,000 in the second quarter and currently trails by less than $200,000 in cash on hand.
Sorry Chrysostom if this is your turf 😊
posted by peeedro at 5:06 PM on August 7 [27 favorites]


St Louis County (which St Louis City is not a part of...long story) Has a contest for County Executive which is incomprehensible and about as pleasant as monkeys flinging poo at each other. I think County really needs a third option of 'Will you two both go away?'
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:07 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


I mean, I *was* going to mention it tonight....
posted by Chrysostom at 5:07 PM on August 7 [5 favorites]


The event also turned into a promotional opportunity for Perlmutter’s company. Executives from Marvel and its parent company, Disney, joined Johnson & Johnson as sponsors of the Veterans Day event at the stock exchange. Shulkin rang the closing bell standing near a preening and flexing Captain America, with Spider-Man waving from the trading pit, and Marvel swag distributed to some of the attendees. “Generally the VA secretary or defense secretary don’t shill for companies,” the leader of a veterans advocacy group said.

Reminder to all concerned parties that Nazi-Captain-America was, of course, not the real Captain America, and there's no reason to believe this was the real Spider-Man, either.

Real talk, though: stories like this leave me pondering the (hopeful, never taken for granted) return to rational government under a sane president, and just how much work will have to go into repairing all the agencies and practices this GOP regime has destroyed--and how much the GOP will fight every effort at a return to normalcy, too.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:10 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


Popehat also seems bemused at people being shocked at Ellis' behavior. Apparently federal judges are just big assholes?

A lot of them are. They are appointed for life. They are answerable to no one (except in the most extreme circumstances). They don't have fellow justices on their case like the Supreme Court. They rule alone. They can issue expensive sanctions at their whim in the tens of thousands of dollars to lawyers who displease them in some procedural manner. They rule their courtroom like a kingdom and they are the king and everyone must show appropriate deference to them. They are untouchable. A federal court is a quite unique environment.
posted by JackFlash at 5:11 PM on August 7 [18 favorites]


Steve Kornacki, and only Steve Kornacki, is available via Periscope if you'd like to just see him descend into madness without the interruption of anything else that constitutes MSNBC. He says he'll have to leave occasionally to be on TV, if you don't see him at that link.
posted by zachlipton at 5:23 PM on August 7 [8 favorites]


Justinian:
Jim Sciutto: Under cross-examination now, Rick Gates says he has met with team of Special Counsel RobertMueller *20 TIMES* since he struck his plea deal in February.
20 times is no biggie right?

Yup. In fact, my understanding is it's the same as in town.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:26 PM on August 7 [44 favorites]


Balderson is moving up on O'Connor as election day vote is being counted but virtually all the vote counted so far is from Balderson territory. Need to see some Franklin and Delware.

If Balderson wins it will be because he is getting a hometown boy bump in Muskingham where he is a bunch ahead of his benchmark. But there is WAY more vote in Franklin than Muskingham so O'Connor just needs a strong showing in his base area to counteract that. Plus Delaware county is a wildcard. If it swings a bit towards blue (which it might) that would take care of Balderson's bump from Muskingham by itself.
posted by Justinian at 5:38 PM on August 7 [5 favorites]


nice - been a while since I've seen that on the site
posted by awfurby at 5:38 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Note: Basically nobody is voting for the Green party candidate. Talking less than 1%. Good. Bless your hearts, greens.
posted by Justinian at 5:40 PM on August 7 [8 favorites]


Muskingham

Muskingum.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:41 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


Thanks, Chrysostom. I have brought shame upon my family.
posted by Justinian at 5:44 PM on August 7 [14 favorites]


I know a lot of Ohio people, so this is familiar territory to me.

Anyway, looks like both candidates are over-performing in their strong areas, very sharp urban/rural divide here. Makes it hard to say where we end up.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:45 PM on August 7


Balderson is moving up on O'Connor percentage-wise (53.4-45.9 now) but blue's lead in total votes is holding at just over 6000. STILL NADA from Delaware.

Always gives you confidence in the integrity of an election when a swing district that could decide the election hasn't reported a single non-early vote when everybody else is 30-100% in.
posted by Justinian at 5:55 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


Cybertaur1:

I'm very much hoping O'Connor wins tonight (I wrote & mailed 100 postcards to that effect) but the emails are killing me.

Yesterday I received no fewer than 13 emails from info@dannyoconnorforcongress.com, with absurd and ultimately exhausting subject lines, but the icing on the cake is the email I just got. Although all of these emails were from the same email address, the name attached to it was different for each. The most recent email had the wildly misleading name of "me, Danny (2)" which made it appear as though I had sent an email and Danny had replied.

Is this something that every Democratic campaign just has to do?


No! Please forgive another bit of Beto euphoria, but his e-mail strategy is amazing! Not every e-mail asks for money. E-mails are always clear about who they come from in the campaign. (I haven't checked if it is the same e-mail address, but it is definitely not misleading like the ones you speak of and I have seen other Dems do that for this mid-term.) It is rare to get more than one a day and is not uncommon to only get one - three per week.

It's a breath of fresh air and I have done more for him time and money wise as a candidate than others running right now not only because if he wins he will be directly representing me, but because I believe in his platform and his campaign has been *incredibly* respectful to me and how I see them deal with other people.

My major disagreement with him is he wants to term limit himself. If, as a senator, he is as good as he is on the trail, I really want him to stick around for a whole lot more than two terms.

(Oblig for those who haven't looked yet: Beto)
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 5:58 PM on August 7 [12 favorites]


Man wouldn't it be crazy if there was a tie and then the Republican won anyway on a literal coin toss? But then we find out 100 black people weren't allow to vote in the special election even though they lived in the district? Nah nothing like that could ever happen.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:02 PM on August 7 [4 favorites]


Those were separate districts.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:04 PM on August 7


Popehat also seems bemused at people being shocked at Ellis' behavior.

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) on the Manafort trial:
In many ways, this has played out like a typical white collar criminal trial by federal prosecutors. There is overwhelming evidence of Manafort’s guilt and the most damning evidence are documents and emails that he wrote or saw. Some of them will be impossible to explain away.

That is important to keep in mind as you consider what happened today. There has been a lot of discussion, for example, about the behavior of Judge Ellis during the trial. There is no question that Ellis was wrong to comment on the testimony of Gates in front of the jury.

But in my years trying federal criminal trials, I’ve seen far worse, including judges who fell asleep in the middle of trial. Ultimately nothing Ellis is doing will effect the outcome of the trial. Manafort is almost certainly doomed and Judge Ellis knows it.

That is typical for white collar cases brought by federal prosecutors. Usually the defendant is screwed and the trial judge bends over backwards to throw them a bone because the judge knows the defense will appeal the conviction and is doomed to lose.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:04 PM on August 7 [13 favorites]


Looks like some Deleware County is starting to come in.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:06 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


I don’t think I’m seeing what the rest of you are seeing. From these numbers, it seems like a fairly safe win for O’Connor.

O’Connor is already ahead by 5%, and the remainder of the vote is predominately from Delaware. He’ll probably pick up another 1% margin when the non-Delaware counties finish reporting. It is really conceivable that swingy Delaware will take a hard enough right turn to overcome a 6% lead?
posted by darkstar at 6:12 PM on August 7


Reuters's David Ljunggren (@reutersLjungg): State Department spokeswoman on the Canada-Saudi dispute: "Both sides need to diplomatically solve this together. We can't do it for them, they need to resolve it together"
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:29 PM on August 7

Excuse me. Who asked the US State Department to "solve" anything for us? We've got our own government, our own diplomats, and our own foreign policy. We certainly don't need Big Brother USA to solve our international situations for us, especially given the current inability of the country to the south to solve any of its own international (or national) situations.

posted by sardonyx at 6:14 PM on August 7 [10 favorites]


I don’t think I’m seeing what the rest of you are seeing. From these numbers, it seems like a fairly safe win for O’Connor.

I dunno, but Nate Cohn said a minute ago that he thinks Balderson has a tiny edge right now. I think the very first election day results from Delaware looked quite good for Balderson.
posted by Justinian at 6:14 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Precincts around metro Detroit run out of ballots due to higher than predicted turnout

(I have mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, yay, on the other hand, having less than a ballot for every registered voter plus an extra couple dozen for possible spoiled ballots seems less than responsible to me)
posted by mostly vowels at 6:14 PM on August 7 [30 favorites]


And there it is, O'Connor's lead is down to just over 2k votes now with the Delaware e-day vote and the rest of MuskingUM. Virtually all the vote left to count is in Franklin and Delware. Richland is only 30% in but there's hardly any votes there.
posted by Justinian at 6:16 PM on August 7


I don’t think I’m seeing what the rest of you are seeing. From these numbers, it seems like a fairly safe win for O’Connor.

O’Connor is already ahead by 5%, and the remainder of the vote is predominately from Delaware. He’ll probably pick up another 1% margin when the non-Delaware counties finish reporting. It is really conceivable that swingy Delaware will take a hard enough right turn to overcome a 6% lead?


Delaware County is a major Republican stronghold, and the current edge O'Connor has is likely due to early ballots, which almost always swing to the left.
posted by duffell at 6:16 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Ah, gotcha — thanks for the clarification.


*commences worrying with the rest of you*
posted by darkstar at 6:18 PM on August 7


Btw, less than a 0.5% margin in the OH-12 will trigger a mandatory recount.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:27 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


Still early, but...

@Taniel
Missouri: 90,000 ballots counted, & the GOP's new 'right-to-work' law is going down 67-33.

And of these 90,000 voters, more voted in the GOP primary than in the Dem primary—so these returns were certainly not a given.
posted by chris24 at 6:31 PM on August 7 [8 favorites]


NY Times is currently showing O'Connor only leading by 0.4% (49.9% to 49.5%).
posted by octothorpe at 6:31 PM on August 7


Btw, less than a 0.5% margin in the OH-12 will trigger a mandatory recount.

I'm starting to think Balderson will clear that margin with a win (though maybe only just).

For my money, the most important race of the night is the St. Louis County (which includes Ferguson) Prosecutor's race. A reform candidate is going up against the machine that failed to indict Darren Wilson. Still waiting on results!
posted by duffell at 6:31 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


Everything is in except 60% of Delaware and 10% of Franklin. This is really close. Like... really close. The question is whether the rest of Delaware looks more like the first batch of votes out of there or the second batch. First batch were strong for Balderson. Second batch was much, much closer.
posted by Justinian at 6:38 PM on August 7


Yeah, I'm surprised at how much closer that second dump of results from Delaware Co was. Maybe I shouldn't write this race off just yet...
posted by duffell at 6:40 PM on August 7


A third dump of vote out of Delaware and O'Connor hanging on!! I'm so excited. About a basically meaningless special which gets redone in 3 months.
posted by Justinian at 6:41 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


@Nate_Cohn: So close, but here's the simplest way to explain it right now. Delaware is 50% in, Rs are +2500 on eday there. D+1400 overall, so if Rs doubles up in Delaware they'd just slightly pull ahead. Obviously, Ds could do better in Del. Or kill it in Franklin. Still soooo close

O'Connor needs to run the table with those last votes in Franklin County. This is getting dangerously close to being an endless process of counting provisional and military ballots.

On the bright side:
@Redistrict: Franklin Co. is already at 57% of its raw 2016 turnout & there are still 13 precincts left to count there. By comparison, the most R county (Morrow) is at just 46% of its 2016 turnout & it's entirely reported. #OH12
@danpfeiffer: This is most important takeaway from OH-12 no matter who wins and it’s the one that should scare Republicans
posted by zachlipton at 6:45 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


are these same two guys going to be on the ticket in November?
posted by skewed at 6:47 PM on August 7


Yeah, I'm surprised at how much closer that second dump of results from Delaware Co was.

It's a very heterogeneous county, there's a lot of variance in R intensity.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:48 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


In Missouri Senate, McCaskill wins Dem nod in a shoo-in, Hawley wins GOP nod slightly closer.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:50 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


It seems likely that the race will come down to a margin within the number of votes cast for the Green Party. If O’Connor loses, I expect to hear a lot about the “spoiler” vote. It’s another good example of why Ranked Chice Voting is gaining traction in the US and throughout the world.
posted by darkstar at 6:51 PM on August 7 [8 favorites]


New Delaware County numbers in, and Balderson takes a 1,031 vote lead.

There's speculation there could be upwards of 9,000 provisional ballots out there, based on past years, and those may break Democratic, but we're not getting into a great situation for O'Connor now.
posted by zachlipton at 6:52 PM on August 7


Eh. I've long since written off Green Party voters. They're no likelier than die-hard Trump voters to up and decide to vote for the Democrat.
posted by duffell at 6:53 PM on August 7 [16 favorites]


It seems like Greens get about twice the proportion of votes (1.0 vs 0.5) in those rural, strongly R counties than the D urban one.
posted by Rumple at 7:02 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Numbers get updated dozens of times over the course of the count, and links to live vote counts have already been posted for those who want to follow along in realtime. Liveblogging every time the number of precincts reporting increases by 0.2% probably isn't great for signal-to-noise, or thread size.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:04 PM on August 7 [4 favorites]


I keep vacillating between being excited about this race and remembering that it's one district in central Ohio and it's going to re-fought in three months.
posted by octothorpe at 7:05 PM on August 7 [9 favorites]


Nate Silver:
Franklin County is now almost fully reported, and O’Connor had pulled into a 200-vote overall advantage. But almost all the outstanding vote is in Delaware County, and that has favored Balderson so far. We still aren’t sure of where the outstanding precincts are in Delaware. And provisional ballot could even come into play. Still, you’d rather be Balderson.
Why "could even"? Why wouldn't provisional ballot come into play?
posted by cybertaur1 at 7:06 PM on August 7


He means, "the margin could be narrow enough for the number of provisionals to possibly change the election result."
posted by Chrysostom at 7:07 PM on August 7 [5 favorites]


Eh. I've long since written off Green Party voters. They're no likelier than die-hard Trump voters to up and decide to vote for the Democrat.

Yeah, maybe don't do that. I gave up on the Greens when it came out that Stein was entirely in Putin's pocket, and I doubt I'm the only one.
posted by Foosnark at 7:08 PM on August 7 [6 favorites]


I keep vacillating between being excited about this race

This seat has been GOP for 90 of the last 100 years & solidly GOP for the last 30.

Registered Rs outnumber Ds 2 to 1 in the district.

It's a 10 point swing even if Balderson wins by 1%.

There are 70 districts less R than this one.

It's horrible news for Rs even if they win.
posted by chris24 at 7:08 PM on August 7 [66 favorites]


Frikkin' greens. Barely 0.5% of the vote and still managing to shank the rest of us.

The hometown-boy bump for Balderson in Muskingum county also looms large.
posted by Justinian at 7:09 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


> It's horrible news for Rs even if they win.

Would you say that the Repubs are, for lack of a better term, in disarray?
posted by tonycpsu at 7:10 PM on August 7 [36 favorites]


Why "could even"? Why wouldn't provisional ballot come into play?

The provisional ballots will come into play, in the sense that they'll be counted, but whether they actually decide the election is much less likely. The provisional ballots aren't necessarily representative of the overall electorate, but they won't be that unrepresentative. If there are 9,000 provisional ballots out there, to use a rough approximation from past years (people are trying to get a real count), and they break D +5, to use a random guess, that's +450 net votes for O'Connor. That's something, but not much.
posted by zachlipton at 7:11 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


skewed: "are these same two guys going to be on the ticket in November?"

Yes. there were separate primary votes for the special election nomination, and the general election nomination. O'Connor and Balderson won both sets of primaries.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:13 PM on August 7


2018 being 2018, I saw this headline and didn't even blink:
In #KS04: Rep. Ron Estes (R) wins GOP primary, defeating Ron Estes (R).
posted by octothorpe at 7:15 PM on August 7 [22 favorites]


It's horrible news for Rs even if they win.

The GOP also had to come in and spend over $6 million to basically get to a tie in a seat they should be able to bank on. That's not sustainable over the entire House come November.
posted by chris24 at 7:18 PM on August 7 [32 favorites]


I wonder if we had more AOC-alike candidates if we could get those green votes?
posted by M-x shell at 7:22 PM on August 7


> I wonder if we had more AOC-alike candidates if we could get those green votes?

All that matters to me is that if we had more AOC-like candidates, we'd probably get more blue votes. Where they come from is irrelevant.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:23 PM on August 7 [34 favorites]


I wonder if we had more AOC-alike candidates if we could get those green votes?

And we'd probably lose some of the R crossover votes. The district is 2 to 1 R. Turnout is partly why we're 50-50, but a chunk of it is because a fair number of Rs are voting D.
posted by chris24 at 7:24 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


State Sen Laura Kelly wins Dem nod for KS gov pretty handily. GOP race is still neck and neck with about half of the vote in.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:25 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


Precincts around metro Detroit run out of ballots due to higher than predicted turnout

(I have mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, yay, on the other hand, having less than a ballot for every registered voter plus an extra couple dozen for possible spoiled ballots seems less than responsible to me)


I get where you're coming from, but in most elections that would be, like, a huge waste of paper. Average voter turnout for general elections is like 40%, for primaries it's... lower. This is one of the arguments in favor of electronic voting machines BTW; it's impossible to correctly predict the need for paper ballots (nb: I fully support a hard copy paper trail for any means of voting).

Excuse me. Who asked the US State Department to "solve" anything for us? We've got our own government, our own diplomats, and our own foreign policy. We certainly don't need Big Brother USA to solve our international situations for us, especially given the current inability of the country to the south to solve any of its own international (or national) situations.

Yeah, but wouldn't it be nice if America could unambiguously stand next to and support Canada on issues of democracy and human rights, especially vis-a-vis freakin' Saudi Arabia? Instead of "fuck it, this is between y'all"?
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 7:26 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


It's horrible news for Rs even if they win.

Thank you to those who are putting this in perspective. I’m prone to despair at the moment, and need all the positivity y’all can spare.
posted by greermahoney at 7:29 PM on August 7 [10 favorites]


Voters in Missouri have voted No by about a 2:1 margin on Proposition A, rejecting the right-to-work law the legislature passed.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:29 PM on August 7 [50 favorites]


It looks like provisionals won't be enough to swing it to O'Connor but might be enough to get it close enough for an automatic recount. So we'd have that to look forward to, which is nice.

It doesn't seem to me that a 1% swing in either direction should matter for the narrative but, hey, I'm sure Trump will tweet the hell out of a 0.5% victory in a district he won by double digits.
posted by Justinian at 7:29 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


> Voters in Missouri have voted No by about a 2:1 margin on Proposition A, rejecting the right-to-work law the legislature passed.

It's 63/37 with 49% of precincts reporting right now. NYT just this moment called it for "no" on the Missouri Right-to-Work. It could turn out even a bit more lopsided by the end because the big urban precincts in Missouri generally reported very late in the evening, and they will go massively against right-to-work.

So, a big win for labor and unions in Missouri--no question.

The interesting question is what will be the next move. In the past, when propositions have passed that the General Assembly didn't like they have just introduced another law in the General Assembly the following year and passed it if they had the votes, completely ignoring the popular mandate. Nothing (except shame?) seems to prevent them from doing that as many times as they can get away with it.

Republicans still hold veto-proof majorities in the Missouri House and Senate, as well as the governorship. So, will they try again? They have the votes in Jefferson City, no question. So what might stop them--maybe only threat of being defeated by popular vote again? That didn't stop them on puppy mills etc, but the popular vote margins in those cases were closer to 50/50--not nearly so lopsided. Also, the other side in those cases didn't have very deep pockets--as the anti-right-to-work issue has with unions.

I'm guessing unions wouldn't mind fighting this issue at the ballot box every year . . .

(On a side note, I can guarantee you that Republican leadership in Jeff City was convinced that this thing had massive public support. Has been a top issue for many years and was easily their #1 issue in the 2017 legislative session when they saw the way clear to passing it in the legislature. So it will be quite interesting to see if and how this little reality check changes their thinking on this & similar issues in the future.)
posted by flug at 7:49 PM on August 7 [17 favorites]


Nate Cohn
As an aside, Franklin County currently at a wild 35.7% of the electorate, up from 31% of registered voters. A VA/PA18 style Dem turnout surge might have put Franklin around 34%.


G. Elliott Morris (Crosstab)
Here’s a bit of good news for the Democrats as they lose their grip on #OH12: Franklin County is making up 37% of the district’s electorate today, up from 32% in 2016. Could be more evidence to shore up the argument about Democratic enthusiasm heading into the House midterms.

---

Center for American Woman & Politics
It's official. With polls closed in KS, MI, MO, we've broken the record for women major party nominees for U.S. House in any year.

The previous record was 167. With 5 women candidates unopposed and one all-female primary, we've hit 168 tonight with possibly more to come.


Carrie Dann (NBC)
With wins for Kelly and Whitmer, there are now the most female gubernatorial nominees in a single cycle *ever* -- at 11 (8D, 3R) -- and we've still got more primaries to go. (Previous record: 10).
posted by chris24 at 7:50 PM on August 7 [36 favorites]


“I don’t think he colluded with the Russians ‘cause I don’t think he colludes with his own government, so why do we think he would’ve colluded with the Russians?” -Lindsey Graham, Kushner dining companion and Trump golf chump

Uh, because they paid him millions of dollars and/or have the pee tapez?

During the golf game, Trump asked when Mueller would be done "about twenty times".
Note that the "very stable genius"' habitual repeating of phrases and stories for hours was brought to vivid account in Wolff's "Fire and Fury" book, released almost exactly seven months ago.
posted by petebest at 7:53 PM on August 7 [5 favorites]


@anniekarni: At dinner with corporate execs in NJ tonight, Trump, talking about an unnamed country that was clearly China, told group: “almost every student that comes over to this country is a spy," per person in the room.

Oh good. Now we have the President caring about spies, but in a totally ignorant and horrible way that will hurt many people.

The government has already imposed new restrictions for Chinese graduate student visas in a number of fields, ostensibly for national security reasons. The new policy of issuing such visas only for one year makes it difficult for students to travel home or to international conferences, as they have to deal with long waits for visas to return to the US again to continue their studies.
posted by zachlipton at 7:53 PM on August 7 [13 favorites]


I wonder if we had more AOC-alike candidates if we could get those green votes?

Listen to AOC's interview on Pod Save America today, she's focused on non-voters, and talking about issues to persuade non-voters and Republicans alike. We need more AOC-like canidates because she's disciplined and smartly focused on issues, not because she's the most progressive voice out there per se. I think nearly all Greens are as lost as MAGAhat-ers to us, but there's an ocean of people who didn't vote, who intentionally stayed home after voting Obama twice, or haven't been old enough to vote before now that are very gettable with the right message and right personality, that can make people believe in their authenticity, like AOC is. 100 more of her and 50-70 of them could win no matter where you put them, and it's too bad we can't clone her 100 times. Those are the candidates the Democrats should be recruiting and building up, not "ex" Republicans like Patrick Murphy and everyone Chuck Schumer has ever been in a room with.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:55 PM on August 7 [48 favorites]


flug: "The interesting question is what will be the next move. In the past, when propositions have passed that the General Assembly didn't like they have just introduced another law in the General Assembly and passed it if they had the votes, completely ignoring the popular mandate."

They *did* move it to the primary, in a transparent effort to try and suppress No votes. So, they may be feeling some pressure to respect it, especially with this lopsided outcome (up to 64.6/35.4).
posted by Chrysostom at 7:59 PM on August 7


Lindsey Graham is compromised.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:59 PM on August 7 [20 favorites]


Wasserman has called OH-12 for Balderson "barring a tabulation error/provisionals we don't know about"

NBC News is going to be a bit more cautious because they think it's possible that the provisionals would be enough to dip the margin under the 0.5% recount threshold.

Trump has already jumped in to take credit, since obviously going from a double-digit Trump victory to "flirting with a recount" territory is really something to be proud of.
posted by zachlipton at 8:03 PM on August 7 [9 favorites]


Something could technically still change, but I think we're safe in posting an:

ELECTION RESULT

GOP HOLD in Ohio 12:
Balderson [R] 50.2%
O'Connor [D] 49.3%
Margin changes compared to previous races:

vs 2016 presidential result margin: Dem improvement of about 10 points.
vs 2016 OH-12 result margin: Dem improvement of about 36 points.

GOP lead in the US House is extended to 237-193 (5 vacancies).
posted by Chrysostom at 8:07 PM on August 7 [20 favorites]


Trump has already jumped in to take credit

From an hour ago.

Dave Wasserman (Cook)
If Troy Balderson (R) pulls this out, he'll have Gov. Kasich (R) to thank, not POTUS. Delaware Co. coming through for him, rural Trump base not. #OH12
posted by chris24 at 8:07 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


Senator Claire McCaskill is believed to be one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the Senate because of her low approval rating and Mr. Trump’s victory in Missouri by 18 percentage points. Six years ago, she managed to win re-election largely because of the deep unpopularity of her Republican opponent, Todd Akin. This time, Republicans are hoping to nominate a stronger challenger.

Jesus Christ, NYT
posted by fluttering hellfire at 8:08 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Kansas GOP gov still neck and neck with 2/3 in. This is definitely a bit of a surprise, there was some thought that Trump's endorsement of Kobach would seal the deal for him.

Meanwhile, at least 7 GOP state House incumbents are trailing in their primaries. Not clear if this is some more of the crazier GOP members getting primaried out by saner ones (which we saw some of last time).
posted by Chrysostom at 8:13 PM on August 7


Josh Marshall offers reassurance after OH-12:
It’s good to take nothing for granted. I don’t. But shifts since 2017 have been about +15 D. This is about a R+14 district. So it is at the very outer bound of what’s possible. If the +13/16 pattern holds up, and it’s been pretty consistent, Dems win the House.

My point here isn’t to be pollyanaish. I really take nothing for granted. There are many unknowable andcwsy too much is at stake. But it’s critical to understand the demographic terrain of each district.

Most of us have a feel for the political complexion of states. Very few of us have a feel for the same about districts. And I include myself in that group to a large degree. If a Dem comes up just short in Texas or Kentucky or Tennessee most of us get that that’s still a good sign for Dems. On the other hand if you keep losing heartbreakers in Florida and Ohio and Virginia, that just means your not able to deliver wins. This is like coming super close in maybe Alabama or Wyoming. It shouldn’t even be a race.

Alabama might be an overstatement. It’s hard to know the right analogy. But this should be a safe GOP seat.
posted by Jpfed at 8:16 PM on August 7 [13 favorites]


In MO-01, incumbent Clay wins by about 20 points over Bush, a Ferguson activist endorsed by AOC.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:22 PM on August 7


@anniekarni: At dinner with corporate execs in NJ tonight, Trump, talking about an unnamed country that was clearly China, told group: “almost every student that comes over to this country is a spy," per person in the room.

Wouldn't be surprised if this is an awkward dig at Feinstein over the revelation her longtime driver was a Chinese spy, which news just broke although the spy himself was uncovered 5 years ago. Funny, that.
posted by scalefree at 8:22 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


GOP spending in OH-12 was something like $7.5million in order to eke out a sub-1% win in a solid red district for a seat they hold for 3 months before another election. I can't find exact figures for Democratic spending but certainly it was less than half what the GOP spent. Perhaps even a third.

So that's a good sign. If the GOP has to spend 3x as much as the Democrats to hold R+10 districts we're in good shape. You can't really generalize like that but I'm going to anyway because 👍.
posted by Justinian at 8:27 PM on August 7 [46 favorites]


Trump, talking about an unnamed country that was clearly China, told group: “almost every student that comes over to this country is a spy," per person in the room.

But those phones from ZTE are ...(checks to see if he's gotten his trademarks/financing/bribes)... a-okay!
posted by chris24 at 8:27 PM on August 7 [11 favorites]


Republicans ran their emergency playbook in OH-12: culture wars over tax cuts
If Republican’s tax law was designed to win a specific district in America, it would be somewhere like Ohio’s 12th Congressional District — the state’s wealthiest district, which spans Columbus’s conservative suburbs.

The average household income in Ohio’s 12th District is more than $90,000, more than 40 percent of the residents have a college degree, and a Republican has held the seat since the 1980s. The district’s most recent representative, Pat Tiberi, who left in the middle of his term to take a lucrative business lobbying job, was one of the architects of Republican’s tax bill — a law that gave sweeping tax breaks to corporations and wealthy Americans.

Yet on Tuesday, the special election to fill Tiberi’s seat is proving to be surprisingly competitive. Democrat Danny O’Connor is polling within a couple of points of Republican Troy Balderson in a race that is beginning to look a lot like Republican election losses from earlier this year.

And Republicans, who have been adamant that talking about a booming economy will save them in the 2018 midterms, seem to have abandoned touting their tax cuts altogether. Instead they’re turning to the Trump playbook: Don’t talk about the tax bill, and stoke the culture wars.
Tara Golshan | Vox

——

It’s official: women have been nominated for a record number of House seats

“Democratic women notched a bunch of victories on Tuesday, making this the biggest year for women on the ballot in history.”

Li Zhou | Vox
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:30 PM on August 7 [15 favorites]


If the GOP has to spend 3x as much as the Democrats to hold R+10 districts we're in good shape.

O'Connor raised and spent more than Balderson, but from outside sources – PACs, RNC, etc – the GOP spent $6.1 million vs. Ds $1.2 million. 5 times as much to win a very safe seat by 1%.
posted by chris24 at 8:31 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


Wouldn't be surprised if this is an awkward dig at Feinstein over the revelation her longtime driver was a Chinese spy, which news just broke although the spy himself was uncovered 5 years ago.

No, this is just your garden-variety Yellow Peril racism. I heard this 20 years ago from someone who went on to be basically the fourth-ranking intelligence officer in the Army.
posted by Etrigan at 8:31 PM on August 7 [15 favorites]


Looking really good for Wesley Bell (55-45 with 89% counted) for St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney. Ball's a reformer from the Ferguson City Council, up against the incumbent DA who...*gestures in the general direction on Ferguson*.

You can read a little about the race from Taniel's newsletter, and track the results here.

Squeaking in at the end of the edit window to say Bell has declared victory!
posted by zachlipton at 8:32 PM on August 7 [20 favorites]


At dinner with corporate execs in NJ tonight, Trump, talking about an unnamed country that was clearly China, told group: “almost every student that comes over to this country is a spy," per person in the room.
Who will be the next Vincent Chin?

The situation isn't exactly parallel, I know, but as a person who grew up in Michigan in the 80s, I find it hard to express how horrified I am to hear this kind of casual familiar racism coming from the President of the United States.

I know that "Trump says racist thing" is no surprise and is barely even news any more but oh my god, how did we manage to elect Racism's Greatest Hits to the highest political office in the country?

I'm not sure which I find more fascinating and improbable -- that Trump continues to continually find new ways to be shitty even after pioneering more directions of f*ckery than anyone who went before or that I somehow manage to retain the capability to be surprised and hurt by each new horrific impulse.
posted by Nerd of the North at 8:41 PM on August 7 [16 favorites]


AP says it won't be calling OH-12 tonight.

We're not going to know totally for sure until at least late next week, mail ballots can come in 10 days later, as long as they were postmarked Monday.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:42 PM on August 7 [9 favorites]


zachlipton: "Squeaking in at the end of the edit window to say Bell has declared victory!"

This is great. Further background from Taniel:
St. Louis County's prosecutor Bob McCulloch has lost to Ferguson councilmember Wesley Bell.

McCulloch has been in office since *1991.* This was his 1st challenge since Michael Brown's shooting & Ferguson protests. Bell ran on a platform of significant criminal justice reforms.

Transformative result in St. Louis: Wesley Bell ran on eliminating cash bell, never seeking death penalty, supporting safe injection sites, transferring police misconduct investigations to an independent prosecutor, & more. (He faces no Republican in Nov.)
posted by Chrysostom at 8:45 PM on August 7 [58 favorites]


Won't have final finals for days due to mail-in, but all the prognosticators are goggling at very strong Dem results in Washington primaries. Overperformances in the 3rd, 5th, 8th.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:48 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


What's happening with prosecutor's races is pretty incredible between Larry Krasner in Philadelphia, and now Wesley Bell in St. Louis, two of the most over policed cities in the country.

A Ferguson City Council member is challenging the prosecutor who oversaw the Michael Brown case

Can a Criminal Justice Advocate Unseat Ferguson’s Lead Prosecutor? Wesley Bell Will Try

Will Justice Ever Come to Ferguson, Missouri? A Q&A with Wesley Bell
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:50 PM on August 7 [9 favorites]


I lived in the same building as Wesley Bell in Ferguson until recently and I am really happy he won.

I was almost unable to vote this morning because I hadn't gotten a new driver's license since I moved, and the address didn't match my registration. There was a police officer sitting in a folding chair next to the voter check-in table, so I didn't get too loud asking "but will I be able to vote today?" One of the women working reminded me that I needed to get my license updated so that when I get pulled over, everything is in order. I voted, but I know two other people who would normally be reliable voters who couldn't because of name/address issues. Fuck voter ID laws!
posted by a moisturizing whip at 8:59 PM on August 7 [46 favorites]


Having spent some time there, I've described Ohio as divided into two parts -- Cleveland and Kentucky. Perhaps a bit unfair, as there are bits of central Columbus and Cincinnati as exceptions, but it's mostly Kentucky.
posted by JackFlash at 9:03 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


Won't have final finals for days due to mail-in, but all the prognosticators are goggling at very strong Dem results in Washington primaries.

I regret to inform the megathread that Goodspaceguy appears to have lost his bid for U.S. Senate. One of these years...
posted by edeezy at 9:03 PM on August 7 [11 favorites]


> In MO-01, incumbent Clay wins by about 20 points over Bush, a Ferguson activist endorsed by AOC.

Looking at election results today, I noticed several interesting same-party challengers in races where I hadn't really expected them. Among such candidates in Missouri, it looks like Bush did best by far.

All the other Missouri districts with similar same-party challengers were Republican. So I was wondering if the analogous "challenge from the right" type dynamic was in play in these other MO congressional districts with challengers.

It looks like that was the case with John Webb, who grabbed about 27% of the R primary vote against incumbent Republican Vicky Hartzler. And (probably?) the same with Chadwick Bicknell, who grabbed 19% of the R vote against incumbent Blaine Luetkemeyer.

The really interesting situation, though, is with the challengers to Billy Long. Long is the tea-party incumbent in one of Missouri's furthest-right districts, D7 in southwest Missouri (Springfield, Joplin, Branson areas), and he is p-r-e-t-t-y far right.

In this race today, three challengers managed to siphon off a good 35% of the Republican primary vote from Long. Jim Evans was the leader of the three, bringing in 17% of the vote.

The interesting thing is that Jim Evans' campaign is very much a "challenge from the center" - not from the extremes:
A former math teacher and two-time Democratic candidate for Long's seat, Evans is striking out on his own with a non-confrontational, nontraditional approach to campaigning — he calls himself a "freelance candidate." He deliberately avoided attacking or criticizing Long personally, and he quoted Mahatma Gandhi during his brief remarks to reporters. . . .

According to his campaign strategy, Evans "will not be actively fundraising and will not accept any contribution above $100. He is not working for any party, PAC (political action committee), special-interest, lobby, union, or rich dude."

Donors with large pockets can take their checks to charities or give their employees a raise instead, Evans suggested.

As for why he was running as a Republican, Evans was blunt: "It's the only way you can win in southwest Missouri."

"But I'm not Republican," he continued. "I'm not Green. I'm not Democrat. I'm not independent. I'm all of those, or maybe none of those. Depends on how you look at it."
So there is your interesting candidate of the day. And he did--if not exactly well--certainly a lot better than I would have expected, with Republican voters in one of the deepest red districts in the country.
posted by flug at 9:07 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


"According to the survey, 12 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of Independents agreed that “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior”"

The question is ambiguous - bad meaning illegal? in Trump's opinion? I'm not sure this poll means that much.

Anyway, I'm all for free speech, but intentionally misleading people about factual information? No, I'm sorry. Fox News' treatment of global warming and other issues, for me, is the national equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater. Bring back the fairness doctrine.
posted by xammerboy at 9:12 PM on August 7 [4 favorites]


> Kansas GOP gov still neck and neck with 2/3 in.

And still so with 83% of precincts reporting right now, per the NYT. It's now at 40.7% Kobach to 40.6% Colyer. That's a nail-biter.

The only breath of hope I see here is that the largest group of non-reporting precincts by far is in Johnson County KS (Kansas City metro area) and the county seems to be favoring Colyer by a solid 10% margin so far. There are a lot of votes in the county, which is the largest county in the state by a fair margin, and if that pro-Colyer trend holds up there maybe Colyer will pull it out.
posted by flug at 9:15 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Having spent some time there, I've described Ohio as divided into two parts -- Cleveland and Kentucky. Perhaps a bit unfair, as there are bits of central Columbus and Cincinnati as exceptions, but it's mostly Kentucky.

I know, I know, but even Kentucky isn't all Kentucky. Come to Lexington and Louisville sometime, I'll show you.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:23 PM on August 7 [16 favorites]


Nothing surprising in the Michigan primary results per se, but statewide Democratic turnout (along with Trump's dive in MI approval ratings) makes me feel OK about November:

2018 Primary (governor)
Dem votes 915,486 53.9%
Rep votes 781,620 46%
Total 1,697,106
vs.
2010 Primary (governor) -- the last competitive-in-both-parties governor primary
Dem votes 527,439 33.5%
Rep votes 1,045,335 66.5%
Total 1,572,774

2018 Primary (governor)
Dem votes 915,486 53.9%
Rep votes 781,620 46%
Total 1,697,106
vs.
2016 Primary (president)
Dem votes 1,194,643 47.4%
Rep votes 1,324,621 52.6%
Total 2,519,264
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:36 PM on August 7 [8 favorites]


MI-13 is probably the most interesting outstanding race there, which may send the first Muslim woman to Congress.

(more Michigan stuff in this thread)
posted by Chrysostom at 9:42 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


Btw, outstanding vote in KS is basically in Johnson County (KC burbs), where there is apparently some sort of computer issue. They say it could be a while.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:44 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Not-the-election news (don't sue me for trademark infringement Chrysotom):

BuzzFeed, Anxious DACA Recipients Are Watching A Court Hearing In Texas on the upcoming hearing tomorrow that could well result in a judge ordering the entire DACA program to be shut down, even as other courts have issued injunctions requiring the program to remain open. If that happens, a whole lot of legal moves will have to happen extremely quickly to develop some kind of certainty for what's happening and how it impacts hundreds of thousands of people. Oh, and the Supreme Court, which could be called upon to issue urgent stays in the various DACA cases as a result of this, has 8 Justices.

From the Manafort trial, one of the things that's emerged is that Gates testified that Manafort was paid $4 million year to help Yanukovych govern Ukraine under a "policy contract" and worked on a "legal project" for Ukranian oligarch Victor Pinchuk, who was a donor to both the Trump and Clinton foundations (he paid the Trump Foundation for that speech Trump gave, and has also given much more to the Clinton Foundation, though Clinton didn't use the foundation as a replacement for personal funds as Trump did). A takeaway here is that Manafort didn't just consult on the Ukranian election, he play a key role in the governance of another country, during Yanukovych's pivot away from the EU and toward Russia, not long before he started running the Trump campaign.

Beast, CEOs Who Cut White House Ties After Charlottesville Just Dined With Trump
President Trump is having dinner Tuesday night with five CEOs who distanced themselves from the White House after last year's white supremacist Charlottesville rally. CNBC reports that the companies that are attending the dinner–PepsiCo, Boeing, International Paper, Johnson & Johnson and EY–did not respond to questions asking if their executive leadership’s view of Trump changed since the rally last year.
The Times Magazine has a kind of stupid little interview with the CBP Commissioner:
You said there needs to be consequences for crossing the border illegally. But the consequences of the most recent policy separated parents from their children. You still have hundreds of children in custody. I think the executive order was an important recalibration. Well-intended efforts to enforce the law are not going to succeed if they lose the public trust.

It seems as if this one certainly did. Did it feel inhumane? It’s challenging for law-enforcement professionals when they see the individual impact of the actions they are asked to carry out.
Boo-fucking-hoo about the challenges of having to see the consequences of your actions.

HuffPost, Trump’s Tariffs Are Screwing Farmers. Many Still Won’t Blame Him. "We’re just hoping this doesn’t last a long time" says man whose face is being eaten by a leopard after voting for the Leopards Eating People's Faces Party.

Robby Mook op-ed (if you want to never think or care about anything Robby Mook has to say again, I do not blame you, feel free to give this a skip, but I think it's worth reading), The Great Distractor
In campaigns, we have a saying: If your opponent is hanging himself, give him more rope. In the week after the convention, while Mrs. Clinton was touring Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio, talking about her plan to create jobs through new investments in infrastructure and advanced manufacturing, we tried to get out of the way of the negative coverage of Mr. Trump and his outrageous comments about Mr. Khan. But the result was that people heard his message, not ours. So much so that after the election, some people thought Mrs. Clinton never talked about people’s economic lives. But she did. It just went into the black hole of the Trump Trap.
...
Mr. Trump will say and do things that demand a response from anyone who values decency and morality. The result is that he decides what gets attention — and he’s not held accountable. So what do we do?

First, Democrats have to call these distractions what they are: distractions. A speech denouncing his name-calling will result in headlines about name-calling. That, as we learned, does not help voters understand what progressives believe and who we are fighting for. We need to demand answers for the administration’s assault on health care coverage, its corruption and its bilking of middle-income taxpayers.

Second, the media needs to realize that the game has changed. Just because the president says or tweets something outrageous doesn’t mean it’s news. Just like Facebook and Twitter have a responsibility to root out harassment and impostors from their platforms, the news media has an obligation to report responsibly on the president. Sometimes stupid insults are just that and should be ignored. That will mean lost revenue, but it’s a price worth paying.

Third, we Democrats have to pick fights that highlight Mr. Trump’s malfeasance. When the president seeks to take away health insurance from seniors or people with cancer, we can’t let that go unnoticed. Some Democrats seem more interested in fighting one another on health care than fighting the Republican Party — let’s arm wrestle one another when we actually have a majority to pass a new law. In the meantime, let’s help voters understand why a change is so badly needed.
It's not right that Trump attacking LeBron James gets more attention than the fact that he's handed over control of the VA to three non-veterans who qualified for the entirely unaccountable positions they hold by paying dues to the President's private business, but it's what's happening.
posted by zachlipton at 10:30 PM on August 7 [45 favorites]


I know, I know, but even Kentucky isn't all Kentucky. Come to Lexington and Louisville sometime, I'll show you.

Worth remembering that Kentucky was one of the first wave of states to go all-in on Obamacare, and their uninsured rate has gone from about 12% to about 5%.
posted by Merus at 10:52 PM on August 7 [12 favorites]


First, Democrats have to call these distractions what they are: distractions.

This is complicated. I totally agree that the media promoting the most outrageous clickbaity antics is a problem, especially since Trump's whole existence is nothing but one flaming pile of clickbait. And on the one hand, responses to and coverage of Trump/GOP racist, misogynist, xenophobic bullshit amplify the shitty message, just like responding to his lies (even in context) spreads the lies.

On the other hand, it is not a coincidence that without fucking fail, the things that white guys in general and white Democrats in particular unerringly trivialize as "distractions" are actions and statements that demean and target non-white-guy groups. If powerful (and rank and file) white/cis/male/etc. people let stuff like the LeBron or Maxine Waters or Khan comments or demonization of immigrants or military trans ban tweet pass without significant acknowledgment or critique, it not only withholds attention from Trump but also sends a message about what they consider important. Not only is that shitty non-allyship, but pragmatically, it's telling the Democratic base and the hordes of women who do the lion's share of Democratic election-emotional-labor that their concerns and circumstances don't mean jack shit.

I mean, I'm as consistent and engaged and committed a vote-for-Democrats person as you are going to find in this nation and ever have been and will be, but every time Robby Mook or his ilk refer to race-baiting or other menacing of less privileged people as a "distraction," I become that much more someone who votes Democratic because I have to and that much less someone who does it because I want to.

It's important not to play Whack-a-Mole with every outrageous Trump/GOP statement, but referring to their ongoing, consistent efforts to promote gross bigotry in ways that are directly, increasingly dangerous to real people in their real lives as "shiny objects" unworthy of our notice is not the solution. I'm not sure what the solution is, but these things are all part of a pattern, a program, and we dismiss them at everyone's peril.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:02 PM on August 7 [55 favorites]


Maybe the better approach is to respond but frame the response positively within the context of Democratic values and practical issue-related plans? So the response to Trump trash-talking LeBron etc. could be focused on admiration for LeBron's and other prominent Black public figures' community service and Democratic efforts to strengthen public education as opposed to DeVos/GOP efforts to dismantle it? Or something?
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:18 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, it is not a coincidence that without fucking fail, the things that white guys in general and white Democrats in particular unerringly trivialize as "distractions" are actions and statements that demean and target non-white-guy groups.

This seems like a false dichotomy. The Trump says triggering things on all sorts of issues -- not just race but women, NATO allies (who are white guys generally in leadership), global warming, history, etc.

I think the more important distinction is his typical designed-to-offend language vs. substantive legal changes. Real laws and regulations and appointments are being made (or destroyed) every day. And non-white-guys are bearing the brunt of those substantive actions, too, so arguing that we do in fact need to address each bit of his offensive rhetoric, well I don't see who that is helping.

His base loves to offend liberals. Why should we help him rally them by getting offended, on cue? I prefer a quick segue such as "It's no secret that Trump is bigoted, but the important issue is that people are losing their health insurance." Or whatever.
posted by msalt at 11:35 PM on August 7 [13 favorites]


It's not right that Trump attacking LeBron James gets more attention than the fact that he's handed over control of the VA to three non-veterans who qualified for the entirely unaccountable positions they hold by paying dues to the President's private business, but it's what's happening.

Despair is a sin. I take comfort in a possible future where this is just one more count in the RICO prosecution of the Trump Campaign. Mueller's already got Manafort, the campaign chair, selling positions in the Trump Administration for fraudulent bank loans, I would think that Mueller's strategy going forward is to deep-dive into the other participants in the illegal meeting in Trump Tower with Russian criminals, Donald Jr. & Kushner.

And those deep dives are going to be as enlightening as the one he did on Manafort.
posted by mikelieman at 11:45 PM on August 7 [6 favorites]


I mean, I'm as consistent and engaged and committed a vote-for-Democrats person as you are going to find in this nation and ever have been and will be, but every time Robby Mook or his ilk refer to race-baiting or other menacing of less privileged people as a "distraction," I become that much more someone who votes Democratic because I have to and that much less someone who does it because I want to.

I think that to call them "distractions" is a mistake. And to not call out racism each and every time we hear it is unacceptable.

But I think Mook's point is a bit more subtle than trivializing the racist stuff as distractions. In his article, and I pullquoted the more conclusiony part rather than the introductory storytelling part, which doesn't entirely do it justice, he contrasts the attention paid to Cheryl Lankford, a gold star mother who used her survivor's benefits to enroll in a Trump University program and got swindled, with that paid to Khizr Khan. Lankford's a black woman, and it's not fair to pit her and Khan against each other in some kind of oppression comparison, but the idea here is that the targets of Trump's personal attacks jump to the top of the attention pile, sometimes at the expense of large numbers of people, often disproportionately not straight white men, who he's also hurting through his actions.

It's wrong to treat the attack on James as a "distraction." It's also hard to honestly conclude that it and other tweet-driven stories deserve more attention than policies hurting single parents in public housing or demanding work requirements for food stamps or Medicaid or threatening legal immigrants' to choose between food and health care for their children or their ability to receive a green card or citizenship, to name a couple off the top of my head.

It's a hard thing because if I've long-ago concluded that Trump is racist, what do I do with all the racist things he says? I can point to them and say "yes, that's racist," which in 2018 is a necessary affirmation of reality. Mook is right that Trump says things that "demand a response from anyone who values decency and morality." But some days, it feels like the news is centered around that attack/response cycle (not all of which are racist or sexist in nature, though entirely too many are) far more than the often racist policies he's enacting. Democratic candidates really are out across the country running on health care. And to be honest, I don't have the toolset to really address the question of "how much time should the country spend talking about the racist thing the President said vs. this election that pits people who think sick people should die against the people who don't." I'm not trying to be glib; the President being a racist who says and does racist things, inspiring open hate, is a huge national problem, albeit one that we've had for most of the nation's history to different degrees and effects, and it's not a distraction to say so. So are the future of Roe, millions' of people's health care, who gets to be in this country, who gets clean air and water, how we take care of each other, and so many other things Trump wants to destroy. And I know those are the things I'm calling my reps about, phonebanking because of, donating for, etc..., not who Trump attacked on Twitter today.

Like you say, it's complicated, and I think "distraction" is the wrong word for it, but I also think we need to do more to break through and spotlight the people he's hurting on a massive scale, even when those people aren't the target of his daily individualized attacks.
posted by zachlipton at 12:09 AM on August 8 [31 favorites]


Having spent some time there, I've described Ohio as divided into two parts -- Cleveland and Kentucky. Perhaps a bit unfair, as there are bits of central Columbus and Cincinnati as exceptions, but it's mostly Kentucky.

Can we please not do this? As an Ohioan who is fond of Kentucky, Kentucky as a punch line is shitty, and Ohio has its own complexities that are more than this. If you want concrete proof of how persistent shit-talking about the south and midwest is within political discourse, even on MetaFilter, here’s exhibit A.
posted by mostly vowels at 3:12 AM on August 8 [42 favorites]


I took JackFlash to be talking about the political demographics of different parts of Ohio, not "shit-talking" or using the state as a "punch line". If folks think there's a better way to make those sorts of comparisons, maybe that's better argued in MetaTalk.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:18 AM on August 8 [8 favorites]


Rick Gates Delivers a Public Lesson on Money Laundering and Political Corruption
(John Cassidy | The New Yorker)
Tuesday was Rick Gates’s second day testifying as a witness for the prosecution in the trial of Paul Manafort, his former boss, and he spent a lot of time explaining how money flowed from Ukraine, where he and Manafort had a run of lucrative years doing consulting work for pro-Russian interests, to shell companies in Cyprus, to other shell companies in the Caribbean, and eventually to the United States. In the afternoon, Gates was subjected to a withering cross-examination by Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing, during which he admitted that he’d had an extramarital affair and that he’d repeatedly stolen money from Manafort.

It’s not clear yet how Gates’s testimony will affect the outcome of the trial, in which Manafort is charged with tax evasion, bank fraud, and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts. But his time on the witness stand provided an invaluable public lesson in how tax evasion, money laundering, and political corruption work.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:41 AM on August 8 [8 favorites]


Dave Wasserman (Cook)
So far tonight, in Dem House primaries featuring at least one man, one woman & no incumbent on ballot, a woman has won 9/11 times (82%). On GOP side, 1/5 (20%).


Dave Wasserman
Projection: Rashida Tlaib (D) wins #MI13 primary to replace former Rep. John Conyers (D), will become first Muslim woman in Congress (several possible).
posted by chris24 at 4:51 AM on August 8 [33 favorites]


Voter turnout shatters recent records for Michigan primary elections (Detroit Free Press)

Voter turnout in Tuesday's primary election in Michigan shattered records going back at least as far as 1978, a state election official confirmed early Wednesday.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:03 AM on August 8 [34 favorites]


It’s very heartening to see Prop A’s right to work bulshit go down in flames in such a conservative and republican supporting state, a law every power broker and vested interest was salivating for. Some of the materials sent to houses.
posted by The Whelk at 5:31 AM on August 8 [27 favorites]


I think the more important distinction is his typical designed-to-offend language vs. substantive legal changes.

It's also important to be aware of the common situation where his language designed to offend is also a trial balloon for pushing a legal change.

And, it's important to keep in mind that all of us can push back on both the offensive statements and the actual policies, and often pushing back on the former will hurt him. Like, the pushback to the Access Hollywood thing didn't tank him, but it wasn't nothing - imagine the election without the public outcry against that, you'd have had a politically stronger Trump who got even more votes.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:47 AM on August 8 [9 favorites]


I know it would have been nice to win OH-12 outright, but, the fact that the R's had to spend so much to eke out a squeaker is a good sign. And these same two candidates are running in November, right? It's very possible that people will turn out then who didn't now (because "why bother if it's the same two people only in November"). When we vote, we win. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez noted in her Netroots speech (IIRC) that it's not about persuading swing voters, but about turning nonvoters into voters.

I am heartened by women winning in so many elections, and by Rashida Tlaib being the first Muslim woman to go to Congress. May we keep up this momentum for a blue tsunami in November.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 5:50 AM on August 8 [21 favorites]


It’s very heartening to see Prop A’s right to work bulshit go down in flames

Yeeessss.

I'd have liked Cori Bush to displace the Clay dynasty. In my dreams there would have been one serious contender to primary McCaskill instead of 7 people with no hope. And it would have been nice to have someone more appealing than Mantovani to go up against Stenger for STL County Executive (though apparently there'll be a recount).

But Prop A geting shut down like this, and Wesley Bell beating McCulloch, made it a good election as far as I'm concerned.
posted by Foosnark at 6:04 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


Also worth mentioning that Rashida Tlaib is a DSA member! 🌹♥🌹
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 6:10 AM on August 8 [28 favorites]


quelle surprise. Sen. Joe Donnelly ("D"-IN) is talking up the border wall, says he's fine with spending several billion dollars to build it.
posted by duffell at 6:15 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Rosie M. Banks: "And these same two candidates are running in November, right?"

Yes. And arguably there isn't much incumbent advantage, since Balderson will only be there for like two months. On the other hand, historically re-running the same special election matchup in the general usually goes about the same (which stands to reason).
posted by Chrysostom at 6:15 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


In KS gov, it looks like Kobach wins by 191 votes (out of 311,009 cast). Presumably this goes to recount, plus provisionals and absenttes (they have three days to show up if they were postmarked by Election Day).
posted by Chrysostom at 6:21 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


Also worth mentioning that Rashida Tlaib is a DSA member!

And definitely worth mentioning that Rashida Tlaib is no political novice or electoral noob, either! She was so popular as a state rep in Southwest Detroit, in fact, she was term-limited from seeking re-election.

She’s made a name for herself here largely by demonstrating that she’s about more than just tough rhetoric or arguably pointless symbolic fights. I’m fact, she has a local reputaton (very well deserved imo) for her ability to connect with constituents on issues that impact us here daily. Very happy for and proud of Rashida Tlaib today ❤️
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:24 AM on August 8 [27 favorites]




The heart of the @realDonaldTrump account are the tweets posted by Donald Trump (or, on occasion, by Daniel Scavino on his behalf

If memory serves me correctly, this official Justice Department admission should at the very least get Trump's verified Twitter account status revoked. (Narrator: It won't.)
posted by Gelatin at 6:25 AM on August 8 [9 favorites]


Sharice Davids has won the KS-03 Dem nom. She would be the first Native American woman, and first out gay Kansan member, if she wins the general. This was an EmilysList (Davids) vs Bernie/AOC (Welder) battle.

Cook has district as Lean R, but will be moving it to Tossup (gonna be a number of ratings moves shortly, I expect).
posted by Chrysostom at 6:26 AM on August 8 [25 favorites]


I know the pundits are all tripping over themselves trying to jam every primary result into a predetermined narrative, but y'all, this DSA member is super fucking excited about Sharice Davids.
posted by duffell at 6:29 AM on August 8 [20 favorites]


This tweet is the only story I've seen, but Chris Collins (R-NY), one of Trump's earliest backers in Congress, just got rolled up by the FBI for securities fraud.
posted by Etrigan at 6:33 AM on August 8 [45 favorites]


New York GOP Rep. Chris Collins to be indicted on insider trading charges - big, and early, Trump supporter.
posted by Artw at 6:34 AM on August 8 [26 favorites]


“As someone who owes tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, getting paid to make fun of DeVos’s tacky seaside decor is one of few ways to both feed myself and make myself feel better. With that, I’d like to dedicate this essay to all of the public school teachers who taught me how to write.” McMansion Hell On Betsy DeVos’ mansion.
posted by The Whelk at 6:43 AM on August 8 [78 favorites]


Chris Collins (R-NY), one of Trump's earliest backers in Congress, just got rolled up by the FBI for securities fraud.

Here’s the indictment.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:53 AM on August 8 [8 favorites]


Democratic women notched a bunch of victories on Tuesday, making this the biggest year for women on the ballot in history.

I know this is practically old news by now in catch-all thread terms but oh, my poor little heart. This sentence made me start to cry. Just a bunch of Rosies the Riveter spread out across the country, rolling up their sleeves to save the Republic.
posted by Emmy Rae at 6:56 AM on August 8 [55 favorites]


Record number of women nominees for governor, too!
posted by Chrysostom at 6:58 AM on August 8 [12 favorites]


Some serious house cleaning going on in WVa today. WV House committee approves 14 articles of impeachment against justices
posted by Harry Caul at 7:01 AM on August 8 [15 favorites]


The three Republicans who are running to not be elected US Senator in Mass. had a debate yesterday. The Boston Herald reports the Trumpiest of the three, state Rep. Geoff Diehl, called Elizabeth Warren a bigger threat to the US than Russia. When challenged by one of the moderators, he doubled down, calling her the vanguard of "the new communist regime here". But then he seemed to realize how that would make him sound, so he said he was just joshing.
posted by adamg at 7:08 AM on August 8 [9 favorites]


@nbcnews
NEW: Sen. Paul says he delivered "a letter from President Trump to President Vladimir Putin’s administration" during visit to Russia that emphasized the importance of further engagement in various areas including countering terrorism, legislative dialogue and cultural exchanges.

He’s proudly serving as some kind of treason courier/conspiracy errand boy now?
posted by Artw at 7:08 AM on August 8 [36 favorites]


Border arrest data suggest Trump’s push to split migrant families had little deterrent effect (WaPo)

So: cruel and incompetent. It may as well be the GOP motto at this point.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:09 AM on August 8 [48 favorites]


Here’s the indictment.

The best part of that indictment is the non-Collins defendant calling people and telling them to sell their shares and not ask why. It's almost as if he knew he was committing a crime.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:19 AM on August 8 [8 favorites]


Democratic women notched a bunch of victories on Tuesday, making this the biggest year for women on the ballot in history.

I'll have seven races on my ballot in November (suburban Detroit) -- Gov, AG, SecState, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, State Senate, State House. All seven Democratic nominees are women. Two GOP nominees are, and there may be two more.

Fuck. Yeah.
posted by Etrigan at 7:24 AM on August 8 [33 favorites]


Adam Weinstein, acting editor-in-chief of Task & Purpose (a surprisingly moderate military-focused news site), just resigned over publisher interference with their story on Trump's three Mar-A-Lago buddies who are running the VA.
posted by Etrigan at 7:27 AM on August 8 [77 favorites]


Some serious house cleaning going on in WVa today. WV House committee approves 14 articles of impeachment against justices

This one is RTFA-worthy; you might assume that this is similar to the Pennsylvania GOP's shenanigans, but it actually seems to be in....good...faith? And due to documented financial malfeasance by literally the whole state supreme court? I know, I'm confused too.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:34 AM on August 8 [8 favorites]


HELL YES. Washington State primary results paint grim picture for GOP.

I voted and I sure as hell made sure everyone I knew voted. WA state's mail-in ballots make this all super easy.
posted by loquacious at 7:35 AM on August 8 [44 favorites]


Thought I'd check on Kris Kobach. Up by 189 votes with 100% reporting.

Republican Primary
Candidate Vote Pct.
Kris Kobach 126,257 40.6%
Jeff Colyer* 126,066 40.5
Jim Barnett 27,449 8.8
Others 31,237 10.0

Provisional ballots still out. No automatic recount, but the loser will probably call for one. (paid for by Kansas presuming the vote is still within 0.5%)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:37 AM on August 8 [3 favorites]


[One deleted; things are plenty bad, please don't invent hypothetical atrocities. It's enough to talk about what is actually happening.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:38 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


Just to add that it would be sweet justice if provisional votes kicked Kobach out of the race, on account of how he has considered all of those provisionals questionable.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:38 AM on August 8 [19 favorites]


ICE Crashed a Van Full of Separated Mothers, Then Denied It Ever Happened

The driver failed to come to a stop and T-boned an F-250 that was entering the gas station, police said. The mothers told the Observer the impact slammed them against the seats in front of them, resulting in headaches, dizziness, nausea and injury to one woman’s leg, which began swelling immediately. [...] In the accident report, a San Marcos Police Department officer assessed the damage to the van as a 4 on a 1-to-7 scale, and said the vehicle was towed. An ambulance was dispatched to the scene, but no one was taken to the hospital. (The mothers said they refused to go to the hospital because they feared it would delay or prevent them from being reunified with their children).

For nearly three weeks, ICE denied the crash happened and ignored requests for information. The Observer was first alerted to the crash the day after it occurred by immigrant rights activists in Austin. The next day, Leticia Zamarripa, an ICE spokesperson, denied the incident twice. “Your sources misinformed you,” Zamarripa wrote on July 20. “There was no crash.”

posted by Rust Moranis at 7:42 AM on August 8 [56 favorites]


Democratic women notched a bunch of victories on Tuesday, making this the biggest year for women on the ballot in history.

Two thoughts on this:

1. California has a MALE Democratic candidate for Senate on the ballot for the first time since I was about three years old rofl. The novelty! (He's running against Dianne Feinstein - we have a top-two primary system so it's Dem vs Dem action in the general.)

2. I saw this NYT article back when it came out - More Women than Men: State Legislatures Could Shift For the First Time. And it was a little exciting but mostly bittersweet. California is one of the states that has the potential to be 50 percent women after this election. We currently have 25 women in the state legislature, and 25 more are running, so that's if every single one of them wins - I don't know the individual races but that seems very unlikely. (Btw, this is the state legislature where there are more white men named Jim than there are women of color.) And it's hard not to think of all the screaming about feminization and the hand-wringing and the terrorism and the keyboard warriors saying shut up, you women have taken over now, you have so much, you've taken it all from us men, and to realize that all that was happening in the context of 25 percent representation. In CALIFORNIA. That we've never even had proportional representation. (I think 50% representation will actually be a little better for the screaming, in that one in four women just highlights our presence in state legislatures as abnormal, but one in two will normalize it. I hope.)

edit: sorry, 25 is the percentage of women in the state legislature, not the actual number. We have 120 seats so I guess it's 30 elected and 30 running.
posted by sunset in snow country at 7:44 AM on August 8 [10 favorites]


All Bet(o)s Are Off: Cruz Begs ‘Sniveling Coward’ Trump To Campaign For Him
(Kate Riga | TPM)

In a move that shows clearly the strength of Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) asked his former enemy President Donald Trump Monday to come down and campaign for him.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:50 AM on August 8 [28 favorites]


Adam Weinstein, acting editor-in-chief of Task & Purpose (a surprisingly moderate military-focused news site), just resigned over publisher interference with their story on Trump's three Mar-A-Lago buddies who are running the VA.

But the story was published by Propublica? Did they just republish it?
posted by PenDevil at 7:56 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Has this been pointed out? One reason why the Republican primary votes went for Trump is that his final two serious challengers, Cruz and Rubio, have Latino surnames.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:57 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Nah, they didn't care for Jeb! either. (IIRC he went to a rally and had to tell the audience, "this is where you clap.")
posted by Melismata at 8:05 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Putin has predictably stepped in on MBS's side with feud with Canada, (Saudi-owned) Al Arabiya reports: Russia: Saudi Arabia Has Right to Reject Canada’s Interference
The first official Russian comment on the Saudi-Canadian dispute came from the Russian Foreign Ministry, which confirmed Moscow’s refusal to politicize human rights issues, noting that Saudi Arabia has the right to determine the course of its own internal reforms.

In a statement posted on the ministry’s website, Maria Zakharova, Director of Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation said: “We strongly and firmly support the promotion of universal human rights, with the necessity of keeping in mind national characteristics and traditions of countries, which have crystallized over a long period of time.”
Human rights activist and political refugee İyad el-Baghdadi (@/iyad_elbaghdadi) offers a lengthy recap of the Saudi propaganda offensive against Canada, which is literally offensive (it criticizes Canada's human rights record for prosecuting Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel, for instance).

Trump has, of course, said nothing in defense of a fellow NATO ally, and the only statement from the administration comes from a State Department spox who didn't want to be named when they spoke to AFP:
A State Department spokeswoman told AFP that Washington was aware of the situation, noting: "Canada and Saudi Arabia are both close partners of the United States."

She said that Washington has asked Riyadh for more information about the cases of several detained activists.

"The United States supports respect for internationally recognized freedoms and individual liberties including dissent and due process," said the spokeswoman, who asked not to be named.

"We continue to encourage the government of Saudi Arabia to ensure all are afforded due process and to provide information on the charges and case status of legal actions against activists."
(Incidentally, the CBC article on arrested activist Samar Badawi features a photo of her with Michelle Obama and Hilary Clinton, just in case there was any question about whose side Trump would take.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:07 AM on August 8 [14 favorites]


Nah, they didn't care for Jeb! either. (IIRC he went to a rally and had to tell the audience, "this is where you clap.")

Jeb speaks Spanish and his wife is hispanic. Close enough for them.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:10 AM on August 8 [8 favorites]


Don't forget about Kasich. He was plenty white, tax cuttin', and gun lovin' but primary voters picked the guy they identified with the most.
posted by cmfletcher at 8:14 AM on August 8 [5 favorites]


Can we all start referring to these kleptocrats as "Illegals"?
posted by jetsetsc at 8:16 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


>Some serious house cleaning going on in WVa today. WV House committee approves 14 articles of impeachment against justices

This one is RTFA-worthy; you might assume that this is similar to the Pennsylvania GOP's shenanigans, but it actually seems to be in....good...faith? And due to documented financial malfeasance by literally the whole state supreme court? I know, I'm confused too.


I'd really appreciate some additional coverage of this, or some thoughts from people in West Virginia, because it's sort of hard to tell -- it feels like the articles doesn't fully capture the context of what's happening, which is that, if all the justices are impeached and removed, will be that basically the entire West Virginian Supreme Court will have been appointed by one (Republican) man.

That -- doesn't really feel great. (from the article --)
Those who spoke against the article argued that the matter of whether Supreme Court justices misused their funds should be judged by West Virginia voters, who will have the chance to vote in November on a constitutional amendment to give the Legislature more control over the Supreme Court’s budget.
Poking around for other news articles, the Supreme Court itself has argued that, even if their spending was improper, the legislature doesn't actually have oversight of Judicial budget issues at that granular a level: that's why there's a proposed amendment to the state constitution to give the legislature more oversight.

It sort of looks like this is Republican-led overreach to remove Justices and install by appointment new Justices, turning a court that was elected as two Democrats, one Republican, and one 'non-partisan' into (doubtlessly) four Republicans and whoever gets elected in the upcoming special.

It's simultaneously possible that the entire supreme court is guilty of financial malfeasance and also that their removal is improper and being undertaken in bad faith in an attempt to cement Republican power in West Virginia. From outside of the state, though, it's hard to tell if that's actually true or if this is a good-faith situation that also just happens to leave the Supreme Court wholly in Republican hands.

(I am assuming that the Governor won't appoint two Democrats to replace the two current Democratic justices, since, well.)
posted by cjelli at 8:17 AM on August 8 [16 favorites]


and whoever gets elected in the upcoming special

FTA it looked like they would get replaced during the midterm. The motivation for the timing of this may be to drive midterm turnout to nullify the Dem enthusiasm advantage.
posted by Jpfed at 8:20 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Worth remembering that Kentucky was one of the first wave of states to go all-in on Obamacare, and their uninsured rate has gone from about 12% to about 5%.

Obamacare and Medicaid expansion was implemented by executive order by Democratic Governor Steve Beshear in spite of a Republican legislature. This led to a dramatic increase in healthcare coverage, especially for the desperately poor in Kentucky. Two years later, when Republican Matt Bevin ran to replace Beshear, his number one campaign issue was repeal of Obamacare and elimination of Medicaid expansion. He won handily 53-44.

Some of the poorest rural white counties in Kentucky with 60% of the people on Medicaid voted 80% in favor of the guy who pledged to take away their healthcare. Racism -- its a hell of a drug.

Best wishes to Democrats in Kentucky who have a tough row to hoe.
posted by JackFlash at 8:21 AM on August 8 [25 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS & RESULTS ROUNDUP

First up, last night's results:

* OH-12 special - GOPer Balderson apparently pulls it out, 50-2-49.3 over Dem O'Connor. There are sufficient provisional ballots and non-returned absentee ballots that the margin may yet be pushed within 0.5%, in which case there will be a mandatory recount. We'll know for sure at the deadline in 10 days.

* MO prop A - Right to work law went down to resounding defeat, 67.5-32.5.

* KS gov - GOP race is probably going to overtime as SOS Kobach leads gov Colyer by 191 votes before provisionals and non-returned absentees (three days to come in, if postmarked by Election Day). Kansas recount rules.

* St. Louis County (MO) defeated the incumbent prosecutor who failed to go after the Ferguson cop who shot Michael Brown and replaced him with a reformist candidate.

* WA House - Dems did very well in the 3rd, 5th, and 8th, setting up to possibly flip these seats (WA has a top two primary). First round results predict the general results well (if anything, Dems do better in the general), so the GOP should be very worried. Dems also overperformed in the legislative races, setting up gains there, as well.

* MI gov - Gretchen Whitmer won every county en route to a 22 point victory. Second place candidate El-Sayed quickly pledged support.

* MI House - Looks like in MI-01, Morgan will get the Dem nom as a write-in (he was kicked off the ballot due to a paperwork issue. In MI-13, DSA-er Rashida Tlaib wins to likely to become the first Muslim woman rep, but looks to have lost the special election, which has slightly different candidates.

** 2018 House:
-- NY-27: GOP incumbent Chris Collins was indicted on insider trading charges (which he was already being investigated for by the House Ethics Committee). I don't believe he can be replaced on the ballot (NY already had their federal primary). District is currently a Cook Safe R, if he's still on the ballot, probably Likely R, maybe Lean R (it's pretty red).

-- VA-02: GOP incumbent Taylor in trouble for shenanigans involving fraudulent signatures to get a Dem-splitting independent on the ballot. Taylor has fired his campaign manager, a special prosecutor has been appointed. District was Lean R before all this.

-- Record number of women have been nominated for House seats. Record number of governor nominees, too.

-- Silver: Polls have been really on target this year; if anything, slightly underestimating Dem performance.

-- Dems have no candidate in 4 House districts; GOP no candidate in 46.
** 2018 Senate:
-- TX: Beto enthusiasm could help Dems recapture lower ballot offices and re-build a bench. Meanwhile, Cruz wants Trump to help campaign.

-- VA: VCU poll has incumbent Dem Kaine up 49-26 on GOPer Stewart [MOE: +/- 3.49%]. This is at the level where you would expect downballot impacts.
** Odds & ends:
-- Election day wrapups from Vox and 538.

-- Missouri GOP suing to try and keep non-partisan redistricting proposal off of the fall ballot.

-- Court strikes down Michigan law against straight ticket voting.

-- Dems forming Lt Gov's Association to push for progressive policies.

-- 17 of 28 states that were in Kobach's Crosscheck voter purge program have left it.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:30 AM on August 8 [43 favorites]


Cook ratings updates, 4 left, 1 right:

KS-02 (open) | Lean R => Toss Up
KS-03 (Yoder) | Lean R => Toss Up
NY-27 (Collins) | Solid R => Likely R
OH-15 (Stivers) | Likely R => Solid R
WA-03 (Herrera Beutler) | Likely R => Lean R
posted by Chrysostom at 8:34 AM on August 8 [21 favorites]


First, Democrats have to call these distractions what they are: distractions.

Trump wants to keep the discussion on immigration, fossil fuels, ending Obamacare, crime, etc. and that's because the way he's framed these issues are winners, in his opinion. His advisers seem to think so too.

While it's important to take a stand and call out racism, it's also important not to give oxygen to the fights Trump wants to have, the way he wants to have them. I always thought Obama was pretty good at this. On abortion, he said there were lots of ways to decrease it other than denying the procedure. He supported gay marriage in everything but name, and right or wrong, at least it stopped the issue from overwhelming his candidacy. Obama even straight out said he didn't think affirmative action as implemented was worth its political costs to Democrats.

It's pretty clear that a lot of what's animating Republicans is racism, but I'm not sure engaging by calling them racists is always a winning strategy. If the concern is about border security, creating a legal channel for immigrants to become citizens, manufacturing jobs, healthcare, whatever, we should have a serious policy proposal alternative. When we simply respond to his proposals by saying you're stupid, immoral, deplorable, and racist, that's what Trump wants. What he does not want is our responding that we have better answers.
posted by xammerboy at 8:40 AM on August 8 [10 favorites]


(IIRC he went to a rally and had to tell the audience, "this is where you clap.")

Bear with me because I am looking back with sympathy on the trials and travails of fuckin' Jeb!, but: that was actually a quiet charming little moment in small-group electioneering that reads completely different out of context. He was answering a question, someone started clapping before he finished, he sorta "okay, lemme finish"'d his answer, and then said, "please clap" to be like, heh, sorry, I interrupted you interrupting me, go ahead now.

I wasn't rooting for Jeb! by any stretch of the imagination, but that had to be bent three times and glued to turn into the apparent "gaffe" that it was, and at that existed in the bygone days when a gaffe was some minor slow-news-day burble rather than, e.g., naked fucking racism.
posted by cortex at 8:43 AM on August 8 [101 favorites]


Yeah, I don't think that WVa house impeachment is a good thing. As in, court packing wolf in sheep clothing. From TFA:
Delegate Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha, also suggested the nature of grouping all of the justices into one set of articles of impeachment appeared to be an attempt to allow Republican Gov. Jim Justice an opportunity to appoint four of the five Supreme Court justices for at least two years on the bench.
posted by yoga at 8:44 AM on August 8 [8 favorites]


Make America Asbestos Again (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
Asbestos. I ask you.

All of the things we had hoped to leave in the ’80s are here right now with a big TRUMP seal attached. Usually, when people want to bring back the past, it is because they are remembering it wrong. They are thinking of a TV-perfect past when everyone wore dresses with Peter Pan collars and ate abundant casserole, where people learned Latin in school, television personalities were all thesauruses wrapped in seersucker, and you could use the word “pulchritude” in conversation without attracting stares. They have the erroneous idea that the past was politer, or more intellectual, or more civilized. They have been seduced by this image of the past as a classier, gentler time full of finger bowls and picket fences and children in overalls saying “gee whiz!”

But not the Trump team! They do not want the gauzy Norman Rockwell past. They do not want the appearance of intellectualism or the veneer of politeness. Let those go. They want, specifically, the overt racism and the asbestos. Those are what they have singled out as the signature characteristics of the Time when America was Great. Which… points for honesty, I guess?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:45 AM on August 8 [43 favorites]


jetsetsc: Can we all start referring to these kleptocrats as "Illegals"?

I think there's real merit to trying that out. The present purpose of illegal-as-a-noun (or as an adjective applied to people) is simple dehumanization. That's not so much an inherent property of the word (some other word could have done the same thing) as it is the choice to apply it to one specific kind of rule-defiance.

The brilliance of the trick is that insofar as residing without the right papers can be illegal (adjective), the usage seems defensible. But of course, neither a bankrobber nor a corporate crook are considered "illegals" at present. Thus, it becomes ever more acceptable for the system to treat migrants with less humanity than even the worst elements of society. A native-born serial killer may be a criminal, so by all means lock him away, but he's not an illegal, so at least he gets a trial first. Broadening the word could lose its power to divide like that.

At the same time, the usage that illegal-as-noun means "foreigner" and never "white guy in suit" is so ingrained that it may be beyond reclamation. Tell all the world that Trump's circle is "a bunch of illegals" and you're crossing the red wire with the blue one. Your audience may just latch onto the one word and be that much more primed for anti-immigrant xenophobia rather than anti-plutocrat zeal.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:46 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Propaganda self correction like cortex's comment above is one of the reasons I value and trust this site.
posted by M-x shell at 8:48 AM on August 8 [53 favorites]


Please clap, then :p
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:50 AM on August 8 [17 favorites]


Mea culpa on the WVA impeachment article. Especially as the one saying to read it more closely, and then I didn't.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:52 AM on August 8


Asbestos. I ask you. All of the things we had hoped to leave in the ’80s are here right now with a big TRUMP seal attached.

In the case of asbestos - that "Trump Seal" is actually literal.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:54 AM on August 8 [10 favorites]


At the same time, the usage that illegal-as-noun means "foreigner" and never "white guy in suit" is so ingrained that it may be beyond reclamation. Tell all the world that Trump's circle is "a bunch of illegals" and you're crossing the red wire with the blue one. Your audience may just latch onto the one word and be that much more primed for anti-immigrant xenophobia rather than anti-plutocrat zeal.

Illegal is a term of art in the intelligence community, namely a spy who works without official diplomatic credentials to protect them if things go south. It's another word for NOC, Non Official Cover.
posted by scalefree at 8:59 AM on August 8 [4 favorites]


Asbestos is being found in the crayons of poor kids so I guess it's on the way back.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:02 AM on August 8 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile, Fox guest Mark Steyn suggests that people with disabilities who are "a cost on the public purse" shouldn't be able to immigrate.

It probably sounded better in the original German. (60.000 RM kostet dieser Erbkranke die Volksgemeinschaft auf Lebenszeit. Volksgenosse, das ist auch Dein Geld.)
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:13 AM on August 8 [44 favorites]


Daily Beast: Senate Asks Julian Assange to Testify in Russia Investigation

WikiLeaks tweeted Wednesday morning that the Senate panel, in an August 1 letter, sought an interview. The Senate Intelligence Committee declined comment.

We only have Assange's word, so take it with a grain of novichok-I-mean-salt.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:17 AM on August 8 [5 favorites]


Chris Collins (R-NY), one of Trump's earliest backers in Congress, just got rolled up by the FBI for securities fraud.

You might remember him during the election defending Trump not releasing his tax returns.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:24 AM on August 8 [28 favorites]


> VA-02: GOP incumbent Taylor in trouble for shenanigans involving fraudulent signatures to get a Dem-splitting independent on the ballot...a special prosecutor has been appointed. District was Lean R before all this.

The district has a Cook PVI of R+3. Trump beat Clinton there by 4%, then Northam (D) carried the district by 4% in the governor's race the following year. The district is very flippable. I think Elaine Luria's chances are good.
posted by nangar at 9:27 AM on August 8 [5 favorites]


"Meanwhile, Fox guest Mark Steyn suggests that people with disabilities who are "a cost on the public purse" shouldn't be able to immigrate."

A notable pro-life advocate, of course, who specifically went to the mat for baby Alfie in the UK, and rails particularly against abortion of disabled fetuses as immoral, as they have an absolute right to life. Just not a right to any decent life if it might cost anyone money. They have a right to be born, and be someone else's problem. Not Mark Steyn's. His job was done when he ensured that child was born.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:33 AM on August 8 [67 favorites]


Meanwhile, Fox guest Mark Steyn suggests that people with disabilities who are "a cost on the public purse" shouldn't be able to immigrate.

Very few people with disabilities will even want to immigrate to the U.S. given the medical care situation. Hell, I was worried about immigrating because I had some knee problems 6 or 7 years ago that I didn't seek NHS treatment for because I knew I was moving to the US and didn't want an existing condition on any kind of medical record.
posted by srboisvert at 9:36 AM on August 8 [11 favorites]


In ICE custody he lost sight in one eye

A guy had diabetes and they withheld medication. He also lost his car, his apartment and all his possessions because of the time he was in detention.

~~
It feels like so many people hate this system - people will give money to help detainees and there are a lot of stories in the mainstream press where it's obvious that the reporter is disgusted by events - but nothing is moving, nothing is changing. It feels like that Bjork film, Dancer In The Dark, where everyone is as nice as possible as they help this poor woman to her unjust execution.

~~
I am doing this court observation project locally.

It seems like no one gets bond. I've seen one guy get bond. (If you're in detention, they assess whether you're a "flight risk" and set bond based on that, also on whether you are a "danger to the community").

DUIs seem like a big thing - if you've had a DUI at all recently, they won't give you bond. Something like 1/6 of US citizen Minnesotan drivers have had a DUI (which is bad and terrifying - for pete's sake, don't fucking drink if you have to drive, signed, A Bicyclist) but at the same time, those people aren't held in jail without bond, but with undocumented people it pretty much means that you are too much of a danger to be bonded out, so you sit in detention.

And eeeeeeeverybody's considered a "flight risk". Family? Children? Job? Too bad, you're still a flight risk and have to sit in jail. At ruinous expense to the state, too.

This whole system is so fucking stupid - for one thing, if we got rid of ICE and radically relaxed immigration and border procedure, we could spend all that money on schools and libraries and roads and Medicaid and so on. People get attached to the prison system because they think it means jobs, but we could use that money to create jobs that people actually want. Who wants to be a prison guard if you could be a forester or a tutor or a patient advocate instead?
posted by Frowner at 9:38 AM on August 8 [79 favorites]



MI-13 is probably the most interesting outstanding race there, which may send the first Muslim woman to Congress.
...
posted by Chrysostom at 9:42 PM on August 7 [7 favorites +] [!]


Ilhan Omar, in Minnesota, also, too, although she still has to win the primary next Tuesday.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:39 AM on August 8 [4 favorites]


Who wants to be a prison guard if you could be a forester or a tutor or a patient advocate instead?

Sadists.

——

The House map is very broad for Democrats. And Trump is the reason why.
(Greg Sargent | WaPo)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:42 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


Yeah, there are several Muslim women running.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:43 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Popehat also seems bemused at people being shocked at Ellis' behavior. Apparently federal judges are just big assholes?

Just a reminder that federal courts are wide open to the public. You can just waltz in and out in the middle of a court session at your leisure any time you like and sit in the visitors gallery at the back. Just go up to the door and if it opens, just walk in and quietly walk to the visitors seats. Generally you will find that there is nobody else there except for occasionally an elderly retired couple who have nothing better to do with their time, because most cases are quite boring. Everyone should do this at least once just to see how it works.
posted by JackFlash at 9:44 AM on August 8 [23 favorites]


Latest male/female numbers:
Update: so far in 2018 Dem House primaries featuring one man, one woman & no incumbent on ballot, a woman has won 83/121 times (69%). On GOP side, just 12/35 times (34%).
posted by Chrysostom at 9:45 AM on August 8 [3 favorites]


Family? Children? Job? Too bad, you're still a flight risk and have to sit in jail.

This is the part that really chaps my ass. Where are they going to run off to? The country from which they were so desperate to leave, they came here without papers? Bullshit.

Who wants to be a prison guard if you could be a forester or a tutor or a patient advocate instead?

power-tripping racists?
posted by Old Kentucky Shark at 9:45 AM on August 8 [21 favorites]


CNN: Corey Stewart praised southern secession in 2017 campaign appearance
Corey Stewart, the Republican nominee for a US Senate seat for Virginia, praised in a speech last year Virginia's decision in 1861 to secede from the Union, putting it on par with rebellions during the American Revolution and today.

The Virginia Republican made the comments in April 2017 at an event in South Boston, Virginia, hosted by an unapologetic secessionist. A video of his remarks, given during his failed 2017 gubernatorial run, was posted on his Facebook account.
...
"[Viriginia is] the state of Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson, and J.E.B. Stuart. Because, at the base of it, Virginians, we think for ourselves," he continued. "And if the established order is wrong, we rebel. We did that in the Revolution, we did it in the Civil War, and we're doing it today. We're doing it today because they're trying to rob us of everything that we hold dear: our history, our heritage, our culture."

Stewart, whose defense of Confederate symbols became a staple of his unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign, defined the established order earlier in the speech as the mainstream media, liberals, Democrats and establishment Republicans "trying to convince us that there's something wrong with our heritage in Virginia."

In response to a comment request from CNN, Stewart released the following statement: "Unlike Wimpy Tim Kaine, Virginians have a warrior spirit and a rebel heart."
Virginia explicitly cited the need to protect slavery as the main reason for its secession.
posted by cjelli at 9:45 AM on August 8 [24 favorites]


Re the "distraction" issue, I think there's a big difference between the question whether trump wants one of his rants to distract, and the question of whether the substance of his rant is "a distraction" We don't want to let trump get away with controlling the news cycle, but we also need to address his horrible racism, transphobia, etc. In the spirit of porque no los dos, here's how I wish the press would handle it:

When Trump comes out of left field with a racist, sexist, etc rant on twitter, I wish the press would (1) call it out for what it is, point out relevant evidence of hypocrisy or contrasting examples of treating a similarly-situated white man differently, etc. Then (2) note that Trump has a history and practice of tweeting outrageous things when there's bad news that he'd like to keep out of the news cycle. Then (3) provide analysis of the top 2 or 3 news items Trump may be trying to avoid.

This approach would have a couple benefits:
- it would treat Trump's racism and sexism and transphobia as real issues that need to be addressed
- every evil rant would cause two or three stories in the news cycle that trump wishes weren't there. If that deters his rants (it won't, but it balances out the rhetorical device I'm using), great. If not, we at least deprive him of (some) control over what gets covered that day.
posted by mabelstreet at 9:50 AM on August 8 [13 favorites]




In response to a comment request from CNN, Stewart released the following statement: "Unlike Wimpy Tim Kaine, Virginians have a warrior spirit and a rebel heart."

Fun fact: both Kaine and Stewart are from Minnesota.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:53 AM on August 8 [27 favorites]


Meanwhile, Fox guest Mark Steyn suggests that people with disabilities who are "a cost on the public purse" shouldn't be able to immigrate.

I should know better than to think anyone is beyond the pale for Fox, but I would have thought noted Islamophobe, serial grifter and all-around nonentity Mark Steyn would be a bridge too far even for them. Duly noted, then.

What's particularly chilling about this is that his language so perfectly echoes the Nazi-era legal language about lebensunwertes Leben, "life unworthy of life," leading directly to the mass murder of people so designated. Whether his invocation of these categories is meant as a conscious evocation/dogwhistle or arises organically from the disordered sump of his own mind is left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:57 AM on August 8 [30 favorites]


Everyone should do this at least once just to see how it works.

I actually did this yesterday at the local county courthouse for various reasons, and hilariously the first 90 minutes of the day were the ADA, lawyers, and court officials all Officially Handling Scheduling Conflicts.

(The case I was interested in happened a good 2 hours after it was officially scheduled. Turns out everything is scheduled for the beginning of the day, the judge rolls in 30 minutes after that, and then it's first come, first serve. I have a flexible schedule at work and could pop in late, but I was struck by how much this must suck for people who are legally required to be at court and don't have the flexible work situation I enjoy)
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:01 AM on August 8 [5 favorites]


Virginians, we think for ourselves

Never mentioned by white supremacist Lost Cause (but I repeat myself) types: most of northern VA voted against secession and an enormous chunk of the state left the Confederacy and joined the Union midway through the war.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:02 AM on August 8 [42 favorites]


I should know better than to think anyone is beyond the pale for Fox, but I would have thought noted Islamophobe, serial grifter and all-around nonentity Mark Steyn would be a bridge too far even for them. Duly noted, then.

Mark Steyn is also the creator of Feline Groovy: Songs for Swingin' Cats and let this be the last time he's ever mentioned here.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:06 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Just go up to the door and if it opens, just walk in and quietly walk to the visitors seats.

And Pro-Tip from the lawyer in the hallway who helped me figure out where to go: In our county courthouse, you can tell if the deadbolt is locked on the courtoom doors by eyeing the slight crack between the two doors. No need to actually yank on the door!


Your Federal Courthouse Entryway May Vary.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:08 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]




Collins is pulled off of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:09 AM on August 8 [4 favorites]


Mark Steyn is also the creator of Feline Groovy: Songs for Swingin' Cats and let this be the last time he's ever mentioned here.

Verily, even the worst person has something endearing about them, if still very fucking far from redemptive.

Can anyone say what happens if Colyer doesn't call for a recount, BTW? Does a ~190-vote margin stand?
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:12 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


God, it had been so long since I even thought about Mark Steyn. I guess once he stopped writing for the National Post he fell off my radar and I had mentally filed him under Racist Formerly Somewhat Prominent Nonentities (see also: Derbyshire, John).
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:14 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Very few people with disabilities will even want to immigrate to the U.S. given the medical care situation. Hell, I was worried about immigrating because I had some knee problems 6 or 7 years ago that I didn't seek NHS treatment for because I knew I was moving to the US and didn't want an existing condition on any kind of medical record.

The sexton at my church immigrated here from Chile 30 years ago, because his son had multiple disabilities, including seizures and cognitive function. Here, he got to go to school and now goes to an adult day program. I suspect some other countries are not as kind to that population.
posted by Melismata at 10:15 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


Can anyone say what happens if Colyer doesn't call for a recount, BTW? Does a ~190-vote margin stand?

First we've got three days to resolve any provisional ballots and count late absentees. In other words, we don't know if it's 190 yet.

At that point, either candidate can request a recount. Registered voters can also request one (I believe this would just be a recount in their precinct, though). There is not a mandatory recount.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:16 AM on August 8


> On Fox News today: "How in the world could [Trump] ever cooperate & sit down with Mueller for an interview, knowing that if you tell one lie to Bob Mueller, he will move to file charges." (Twitter video)

Ah, yes, the ol' "perjury trap" "defense":
A “perjury trap” would be a special legal term just created for people whose acquaintance with the truth can’t even be described as “nodding.” Everyone, from Trump’s pals to his attorneys, is concerned that Mueller might do something extremely tricky. Like ask Trump questions and write down his answers. That’s why they’re now desperately looking for a way that Trump can testify, without actually testifying in the sense of what happens with every other human being.

Mr. Trump’s legal team is weighing options that include providing written answers to Mr. Mueller’s questions and having the president give limited face-to-face testimony, another person familiar with the matter said. “Everything is on the table,” this person said.
Everything. Except telling the truth.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:17 AM on August 8 [45 favorites]


"[Viriginia is] the state of Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson, and J.E.B. Stuart"

Virginia is also the state of General George Thomas, who unlike the traitor Lee was faithful to the United States. "The Rock of Chicamauga," he was one of the most successful American Generals in the war against the slavers.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:23 AM on August 8 [34 favorites]


Frowner: "Who wants to be a prison guard if you could be a forester or a tutor or a patient advocate instead?"

To be fair most people are aware the face eating leopard party will fund jails and not schools, trees or nurses. If that is the party that is governing your area a decrease in jail jobs will not lead to an increase in desirable jobs (or any jobs at all really)
posted by Mitheral at 10:26 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Mr. Trump’s legal team is weighing options that include providing written answers to Mr. Mueller’s questions

The old take-home exam gambit -- although I doubt Trump will find the answers on Wikipedia.
posted by JackFlash at 10:27 AM on August 8 [3 favorites]


"[Viriginia is] the state of Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson, and J.E.B. Stuart"

Virginia is also, also, the home state of Gen. Winfield Scott, commanding general of the US Army (for 20 years) in 1861, and originator of the Anaconda Plan, who understood the necessity of the naval blockade, training soldiers, and the Western Theater to the success of the war effort.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:34 AM on August 8 [18 favorites]


@nbcnews
NEW: Sen. Paul says he delivered "a letter from President Trump to President Vladimir Putin’s administration" during visit to Russia that emphasized the importance of further engagement in various areas including countering terrorism, legislative dialogue and cultural exchanges.


Now the White House is walking this back in a statement, per the Daily Beast's Sam Stein (@samstein):
"At Senator Paul’s request, President Trump provided a letter of introduction. In the letter, the President mentioned topics of interest that Senator Paul wanted to discuss with President Putin"

Meanwhile, the Kremlin has slipped some docs to Politico: Leaked Document: Putin Lobbied Trump On Arms Control—A list of issues he shared with Trump in Helsinki suggests Russia wants to continue traditional nuclear talks with the U.S. — but doesn't answer all questions about their meeting.
Vladimir Putin presented President Donald Trump with a series of requests during their private meeting in Helsinki last month, including new talks on controlling nuclear arms and prohibiting weapons in space, according to a Russian document obtained by POLITICO.

A page of proposed topics for negotiation, not previously made public, offers new insights into the substance of the July 16 dialogue that even Trump's top advisers have said they were not privy to at the time. Putin shared the contents of the document with Trump during their two-hour conversation, according to a U.S. government adviser who provided an English-language translation.

POLITICO also reviewed a Russian-language version of the document, which bore the header in Cyrillic “Dialogue on the Issue of Arms Control." The person who provided the document to POLITICO obtained it from Russian officials who described it as what Putin had conveyed to Trump in Helsinki.

The White House declined to comment on the document Tuesday, aside from denying that Trump had received any actual paperwork.
At the very least, this is a limited hangout from Putin, portraying the two-hour meeting as concerned with the most reasonable, dovish topics. We'll see, perhaps, if it's modified.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:37 AM on August 8 [12 favorites]


A trio of articles from NPR yesterday, Aug. 7, 2018:

Judge: App User Accused In Planning Charlottesville Rally Can't Keep Identity Hidden
A federal judge in California has ruled that a confidential messaging app must release the identity of a user who is accused of helping plan violence at a white nationalist rally last year in Charlottesville, Va.

The unnamed woman is one of dozens of people accused of using the gamer chat app Discord to organize violence at that event. Lawyers representing victims of that violence have subpoenaed the app for more information on those conversations. But the woman, known as "Jane Doe" in the court case and "kristall.night" on the app, attempted to quash the subpoena.

Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero of the Northern District of California has allowed the subpoena to move forward, ruling that the user's right to anonymity is outweighed by the importance of investigating a possible violent conspiracy. But the real name of the user should be revealed only to a small circle of people involved in the court case, Spero said.

Doe's lawyer, Marc Randazza, tells NPR that it will be his client's decision whether to appeal but that he is inclined to recommend it.

"I don't like what my client had to say," he says. "I don't like my client's views. All you've gotta do is look at the username. ... But I have a more strong opinion that you have the right to do that. You have the right to be extremely right-wing. That's what America is. You have the right to be a raging full-throated Nazi if you want to be."

"Somebody has to stand up and say they have the right to do this," he says.
Germans don't agree, for some odd reason. And I think there's a very large difference between spouting Nazi propaganda and planning violence.


What Is And Isn't Permissible In The World Of Campaign Opposition Research
With more explanations from the Trump administration about a 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer, NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with attorney Bob Bauer about what is and isn't permissible in the world of campaign opposition research.
...
CHANG: OK, but what if the value is debatable? And I'm asking that in the context of this June 2016 meeting. What if any information that was procured about the other side wasn't that useful?

BAUER: It's certainly conceivable that in that meeting what the Russians originally had to offer wasn't interesting, but the Americans made it very clear that if they had something better than that, they'd be open to that, right? So that would constitute a solicitation.

CHANG: Because solicitation is the operative word there. Even if you didn't get something of value, you tried to get something of value. You solicited for something of value. That would run afoul of this law.

BAUER: Yes, and you would have to take a look at also not only what was solicited at that meeting, but then, of course, there's this whole question of a course of conduct over time - various points of contact between the Trump campaign and the Russians that indicated an ongoing openness on the part of the Trump campaign to have whatever support the Russians could provide, so maybe solicitation wouldn't only be an issue for that one meeting, but over the course of these multiple contacts that took place over time, beginning I think even as early as April of 2016.

CHANG: OK. So based on what we know, who might be facing legal jeopardy based on this particular law?

BAUER: Well, taking the Trump campaign as a whole, you have potential liability for the Trump presidential campaign as an entity. Then you have senior campaign officials, and then keep in mind that the president's former lawyer and friend Michael Cohen is apparently prepared to testify that the president knew of and consented to this meeting with the Russians. So the president is personally exposed in the event that that's what the facts show.
Some States Say Federal Grants Aren't Enough To Secure Voting Systems
States across the country are in the process of receiving grants from the federal government to secure their voting systems. But local election officials worry the money won't be enough to make systems safer for the next election.
In which it's stated that Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Round II will provide a mere $380 million in grants to secure systems, compared to $3 billion in 2002, which means states have to identify the biggest holes to fill, but they might not even see that money in time to improve voting security ahead of the 2018 elections.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:45 AM on August 8 [25 favorites]


But the woman, known as "Jane Doe" in the court case and "kristall.night" on the app, attempted to quash the subpoena.

Pro-tip: if you're going to be suspected of planning fascist-regime-sanctioned terrorism, don't choose a Kristallnacht reference for your username.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:51 AM on August 8 [66 favorites]


Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Round II will provide a mere $380 million in grants to secure systems, compared to $3 billion in 2002

Paper ballots, counted by hand. Distribute the rest to the public evenly.
posted by petebest at 11:02 AM on August 8 [7 favorites]


The “perjury trap” thing seems to be a rare instance of a Trump rebranding working against him for once. As I understand it, a perjury trap is supposed to mean a situation where the investigator knows they can't prove that the target of their investigation committed substantive crimes, so in order to come away with some kind of a conviction they get the person under oath, ask about bad/shady conduct they already know about, and record every face-saving lie as evidence for charges of perjury (or just lying to investigators if no under oath).

Trump's team has managed to throw out the entire “can't prove an underlying crime” part of this scenario (since he keeps admitting to crimes) and focused instead on the fact that the President is a compulsive liar, which seems like bad PR compared with what they were originally going for.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:06 AM on August 8 [9 favorites]


From the Washington Post's live updates: Paul Manafort Trial Day 7: Gates finishes, judge dings prosecutors (again), accountant takes stand
12:31 p.m.: Judge again spars with prosecutors[...]

In arguing that he should be allowed to use the charts, prosecutor Greg Andres said [FBI forensic accountant Morgan Magionos] had done a great deal of work to put them to together.

“Look, it isn’t relevant that she spent her life doing it,” Ellis remarked, drawing laughter from those in the court.

“We need to find a way to focus sharply,” the judge continued.

The exchange grew somewhat more heated.

“We’ve been focused sharply for a long time,” Andres said.[...]

Ellis ultimately agreed to let Andres question Magionos, though he warned that Andres would be on a short leash and that Ellis would consider objections from the defense at his bench as the testimony proceeded.

“Judges should be patient. They made a mistake when they confirmed me,” Ellis quipped.
Magionos's testimony sounds the alarm for money-laundering like a klaxon.
12:53 p.m.: Forensic accountant takes stand to track Manafort’s money

Magionos, a certified public accountant and certified fraud examiner, reviewed documents and statements from banks in Cyprus, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Britain to analyze Manafort’s overseas financial activity.

Magionos found 31 foreign bank accounts spanning 2010 to 2014 that listed Manafort, Rick Gates or Konstantin Kilimnik as the beneficial owners.

Magionos said she connected the overseas bank accounts to Manafort in part because pictures of his passport were included in the account opening applications.

Those accounts were closed in 2013, Magionos testified.

Court broke for lunch until 1:35, with Ellis again urging prosecutor Greg Andres to move the questioning along as quickly as possible. Andres estimated that he had another hour but would do his best.
"Forensic accountant" is one of the most bone-chilling terms in law enforcement.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:09 AM on August 8 [37 favorites]


Paper ballots, counted by hand. Distribute the rest to the public evenly.

By whose hand? Where are they tabulated? Also paper all the way up? How many times is each ballot counted (is there a back-up)?

That doesn't sound like a particularly inexpensive solution.
posted by mosst at 11:10 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


Speaking of alternatives to Trump back in 2016, let’s not forget Tim Pawlenty who was seen as a contender for about a week. After destroying the Minnesota economy as governor and failing to become president he left the state to become a lobbyist for the banking industry. Now he’s back in Minnesota and running in the primariy next week against Jeff “I hate refugees” Johnson. Apparently he wants to have another go at ruining the economy. They are currently neck-and-neck in the who can love Trump more competition. The best people.
posted by misterpatrick at 11:11 AM on August 8 [6 favorites]


At the very least, this is a limited hangout from Putin, portraying the two-hour meeting as concerned with the most reasonable, dovish topics. We'll see, perhaps, if it's modified.


Just like a business owner keeping two sets of books, this is the good readout meant to keep the facade going. What actually happened is strictly between Trump and the recording device in Putin's jacket.
posted by PenDevil at 11:17 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Regarding Kristal.Night and her lawyer's statement:
"I don't like what my client had to say," he says. "I don't like my client's views. All you've gotta do is look at the username. ... But I have a more strong opinion that you have the right to do that. You have the right to be extremely right-wing. That's what America is. You have the right to be a raging full-throated Nazi if you want to be."
Fully agree, lawyer dude, and she was allowed to express her despicable opinions, but having your identity revealed for the purposes of a lawsuit for inciting violence is not the same as being denied the ability to express your opinion. Your arm, my face, doncha know.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:17 AM on August 8 [44 favorites]


but the Americans made it very clear that if they had something better than that, they'd be open to that, right?

Not just the Americans in the meeting...

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Pretty obvious ask right there.
posted by chris24 at 11:18 AM on August 8 [19 favorites]


My Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO-5) is one of the Congressmen who bought stock in the same company as Collins. Members of a Facebook group in Colorado Springs dedicated to Doug not getting re-elected are all talking about it, but none of us are sure if there's really anything there. We're still putting pressure on local news to cover the story and investigate further. It would be kind of amazing if this winds up being bad for Doug and boosts his remarkable Democratic challenger Stephany Rose Spaulding.
posted by danielleh at 11:27 AM on August 8 [9 favorites]


"Just a reminder that federal courts are wide open to the public. You can just waltz in and out in the middle of a court session at your leisure any time you like and sit in the visitors gallery at the back. "

I observed (part of) a major terrorism trial (it was eventually pled out). There were like 3 rows of press and two courtroom artists (unusual! that's a lot!), but the rest of the visitors' gallery was only about half full, and seriously half of those were students of mine b/c I was giving extra credit for students who went and observed some of the process.

And yeah, federal judges are quite often jerks. They're also, on average, much better judges than state court judges, who are more deferential to attorneys because state court judges often do not know the law and rely on the attorneys' briefs a heck of a lot more than federal judges do. I think most people's experience with judges is with state trial court judges, who are either elected or appointed through a fairly old-boys network, both of which select for a different skill set than federal appointments. (And since you need judges in every county, even the ones with 2400 people in them, sometimes the skill set selected for is "one of six people with a JD in the whole county.") Federal judges are generally a lot more aggressive than state court judges in keeping cases moving, calling lawyers on bullshit, and similar. I once had a state trial court judge continue my case for TWO SOLID YEARS because he'd never done a judicial declaration of death before and basically didn't want to, so every time we had a hearing he'd send me out to collect more witness statements, etc., until at the two-year mark the courtroom assignments were all shuffled (they shuffle every 24 months in that court) and he was moved to traffic court, apparently to his vast relief. (The new family court judge took one look at my petition, asked why it had taken two years, and approved it on the spot.)

Another instructive piece of entertainment is to listen to appellate arguments for the federal appellate circuits. Those guys are assholes, man. Smart assholes! But assholes.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:40 AM on August 8 [40 favorites]


Politico, Annie Karni, Trump rants behind closed doors with CEOs
At one point during the dinner, Trump noted of an unnamed country that the attendee said was clearly China, “almost every student that comes over to this country is a spy.”
...
Over dessert — a “signature Trump cookie,” served with Tahitian vanilla ice cream and chocolate and caramel sauces — Trump entertained questions from the executives, many of whom pressed him on immigration policy.

The business world, which wants the administration to soften its hard immigration policies, was told, at least on Tuesday night, exactly what it wanted to hear.

Twice during the dinner, Trump yelled over to Chris Liddell, a deputy chief of staff in attendance, and told him to prepare an executive order for Monday that would allow top performers in schools, who he called “first in their class,” to stay in the country for at least five years on a visa, the attendee said.
Love to make policy by randomly shouting orders in the middle of dinner with corporate executives without regard to whether they make sense. Presumably Stephen Miller will undo this when he gets wind of it.

Also, @ddale8: Unrelatedly, Trump bragged to his Ohio rally that Gorsuch was “number one in his class, Harvard Law School.” Harvard Law School tells me that is false.
posted by zachlipton at 12:05 PM on August 8 [35 favorites]


"Forensic accountant" is one of the most bone-chilling terms in law enforcement.

I have a friend who is a forensic accountant. She is also a hockey player. I'm not sure which is more badass and intimidating.
posted by Foosnark at 12:07 PM on August 8 [23 favorites]


Can anyone say what happens if Colyer doesn't call for a recount, BTW? Does a ~190-vote margin stand?

So the interesting thing is that Kobach is in charge of his own recount and he won't recuse himself. The actual ballot counting happens at the county level, so he says there's no problem, but state law requires a bond to be paid for a recount, and guess who gets to set the price: Kobach.

There were over 6,000 provisional ballots in 2014, so getting the provisionals and mail-in ballots counted first could be revealing as to where we are.
posted by zachlipton at 12:29 PM on August 8 [23 favorites]


Paper ballots, counted by hand. Distribute the rest to the public evenly.

By whose hand? Where are they tabulated? Also paper all the way up? How many times is each ballot counted (is there a back-up)?

That doesn't sound like a particularly inexpensive solution.


Here's how Canada does it:
1. Each polling station is staffed by two trained workers: a poll clerk who verifies voters' identities and a Deputy Returning Officer (DRO) who is responsible for ballots. They are paid $220 and $250 respectively for the (long) day's work, plus about $100 for training. Polling stations average about 400 potential voters and 250 actual voters.
2. When polls open, the DRO inspects the empty ballot box and seals it (except for the top slot)
3. DROs are provided blank ballots. They inspect them, initial the back of each one, and fold them when they hand them to voters.
4. Voters vote and refold their marked ballots. The DRO verifies that their initials are on the returned ballot and the voter puts it in the ballot box.
5. At the close of polls, the DRO opens and empties the ballot box and counts the ballots by hand. This is witnessed by volunteer scrutineers from the political parties. Some math is done to verify that total votes match total ballots handed out. DROs tally the results on a paper form and party scrutineers sign it. Results can be phoned in to the district riding office.
6. Ballots are all put back in the box and it is totally sealed. The box and the tally form are delivered to the district office for archiving. Everything is kept for at least a year.
posted by rocket88 at 12:36 PM on August 8 [34 favorites]


> Here's how Canada does it: [...]

The typical objection is that in US elections there are very many things up for a vote - initiatives, sheriff, dog-catcher ... That makes it harder to count by hand, although by no means is it impossible.

The key item for voting reform is to separate the vote preparation (use a touchscreen, bubble sheet, whatever) from the vote counting, with an intermediate stage that can be archived and later counted by hand, if need be.

Add a mandatory hand-recount of 1% of the votes and that would be it for my wish list.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:43 PM on August 8 [10 favorites]


One issue is that many US elections have really long ballots (looking at you, California). My primary ballot had 32 contests, the longest of which (Governor) had about 30 candidates. The general ballot will be even longer. It's not practical to accurately count that many contests by hand, and it certainly isn't quick. Some kind of machine tabulation of paper ballots is a practical necessity unless we're going to reduce all elections down to just a handful of small races. California also does a 1% hand count for randomly selected precincts during the canvass as an audit measure, which helps ensure the machines are accurate.

Nor is election security as simple as paper ballots. The entire infrastructure around the election is at risk too, particularly voter registration. Just reducing it to paper ballots ignores the rest of the potential threats.
posted by zachlipton at 12:48 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]




This is absolute book promotion stuff from an unreliable narrator. Beast, Omarosa Secretly Recorded Trump—And Played the Audio for People, Sources Say
Multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation tell The Daily Beast that Omarosa Manigault-Newman, the infamous former Apprentice star who followed Trump to the White House, secretly recorded conversations with the president—conversations she has since leveraged while shopping her forthcoming “tell-all” book, bluntly titled UNHINGED.

For months, it has been rumored that Manigault had clandestinely recorded on her smartphone “tapes” of unspecified private discussions she had in the West Wing. Audio actually does exist, and even stars Manigault’s former boss.

One person confirmed to The Daily Beast they had heard at least one of her recordings featuring President Trump. Multiple sources familiar with the so-called “Omarosa tapes” described the recorded conversations between Trump and Manigault as anodyne, everyday chatter, but said they did appear to feature Trump’s voice, either over the phone or in-person.
...
The reality TV star-turned White House official-turned reality TV star again promises the book will provide a candid and revealing look at her time inside the Trump administration. Part of the book documents what she describes as Trump’s “mental decline.” The president, she claims, “rambled. He spoke gibberish. He contradicted himself from one sentence to the next.”
She also takes the time to attack various people she accused of leaking, with apparently no sense of irony. It turns out that if you hire someone who appears on TV Guide's list of "The 60 Nastiest TV Villains of All Time," she might just secretly record you even if she winds up with nothing of substance.
posted by zachlipton at 12:54 PM on August 8 [19 favorites]


I should add that the latest Ontario provincial election used automated scanners to tabulate ballots. This sped up the process and could be used for longer multiple-item ballots. The paper ballots are still retained in a box and can be inspected and counted by hand if any of the scrutineers dispute the machine's results.
posted by rocket88 at 12:57 PM on August 8 [6 favorites]


The president, she claims, “rambled. He spoke gibberish. He contradicted himself from one sentence to the next.”

We don't need secret tapes or a tell-all book to see this. We're all seeing it. We have non-secret video. Some reporters are reporting it. They aren't so much "claims" as "documented occurrences". It's just that no one who can put any checks and balances into motion are willing to do so.
posted by mikepop at 1:04 PM on August 8 [47 favorites]


That doesn't sound like a particularly inexpensive solution.

Maybe if we could restrict ourselves to a single overseas war, or make two or three billionaires buy their own stadiums for their own sports team, or tax people just a little bit more when they have literally more money than their grandchildren will be able to spend.

Nah, that's crazy talk. Democracy should be cheap as hell. Freedom, after all, is famously free.
posted by Etrigan at 1:10 PM on August 8 [46 favorites]


> We don't need secret tapes or a tell-all book to see this. We're all seeing it. We have non-secret video. Some reporters are reporting it. They aren't so much "claims" as "documented occurrences". It's just that no one who can put any checks and balances into motion are willing to do so.

Likewise on collusion, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice.

Did the Trump campaign solicit something of value from a foreign source? “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Was there illegal coordination? "If it is what you say I love it especially later in the summer."

Was there obstruction of justice? "Regardless of [the] recommendation, I was going to fire Comey. Knowing there was no good time to do it! And in fact when I decided to just do it I said to myself, I said, `You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.'"

Everything is just out there in the open, and it turns out that our system has no way of coping with it if the branch of government charged with oversight rolls over and plays dead.
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:13 PM on August 8 [70 favorites]


Targeted ‘Attack’ on FCC Was Just John Oliver Fans (NYMag)
For over a year, FCC chairman and “Nemesis of Net Neutrality” Ajit Pai has claimed that hackers brought down the FCC’s public comment website last year with a targeted distributed denial of service attack. It turns out the attack didn’t come from hackers at all — but instead, from a flood of commenters advocating for a free internet.

That’s according to a report released by the FCC’s Office of Inspector General yesterday. “Our investigation did not substantiate the allegations of multiple DDoS attacks alleged,” the report reads. Instead, the report attributes the influx of traffic to the FCC’s site on May 8 to an outpouring of comments after a segment about net neutrality aired on Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. In addition to encouraging viewers to send comments to the FCC voicing their displeasure themselves, Oliver tweeted out the link, “gofyourself.com,” which redirected to the FCC comment page, so users could easily reach the site. The site could not handle the traffic.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:17 PM on August 8 [69 favorites]


Everything is just out there in the open, and it turns out that our system has no way of coping with it if the branch of government charged with oversight rolls over and plays dead.

We're trained to expect corruption and incompetence to happen in secret, so what's happening in public can't be corruption or incompetence.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:23 PM on August 8 [12 favorites]


The typical objection is that in US elections there are very many things up for a vote - initiatives, sheriff, dog-catcher ... That makes it harder to count by hand, although by no means is it impossible.

It may not make it impossible in a theoretical sense but I think it does so in a practical one. Hand-tallying tens of millions ballots containing hundreds of millions of line items in a single state is combating a potential source of error (cheating) by introducing a guaranteed one (widespread tabulation error). The argument could be made that the tabulation errors should be relatively random and thus not favor or disfavor any particular party or person while cheating and fraud is targetted and therefore potential fraud is more important to target than guaranteed error but on balance I don't think that argument wins.

It's not like you can't make machine-tabulated ballots have a paper audit trail which can be checked against the machine count. There's really no excuse for not doing that. We don't do it in a lot of places but that's not because those places have an excuse. They simply don't give a shit.
posted by Justinian at 1:29 PM on August 8 [13 favorites]


Maybe I should say "some" places not "a lot" of places. They do exist but my understanding is that they are relatively rare. Though it does include the entire state of Georgia IIRC.
posted by Justinian at 1:33 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


I keep hearing that Trump is in a perjury trap - he can only lie or incriminate himself .... but he does have a 3rd option, he can plead the 5th (for non 'merkins he has the constitutional right to be silent rather than incriminate himself)

Of course he's likely his own worst enemy ....
posted by mbo at 1:41 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


The key item for voting reform is to separate the vote preparation (use a touchscreen, bubble sheet, whatever)

[Incoherent anguished wailing]

Okay, that done: NO NO NO NO NO TOUCHSCREENS EVER. No medium should ever be used for recording a vote such that it cannot be 100% accurately traced backwards to verify the intent of the voter. When a voter makes a mark on a piece of paper you can always work backwards in the chain till you get to that piece of paper. Putting aside folks who require assistance[1], the voter submits a vote such that they are able to look at it and affirm that what they're handing over is what they want the vote to be.

A touchscreen is a big black box between what the person intends when they mash their finger on a screen and what the computer stores into some memory bank. Did it store the right thing? Did it flip a vote, either through malice or because some dipshit programmer (ahem) fucked up a field or because of cosmic rays or a power surge or or or or or or? NOBODY WILL EVER KNOW. Because even though the touch screens liked to give people this sense of assurance by showing a summary screen, you never know what got written into that bit of memory.

Scanners aren't perfect, and you run into the problem of people not marking things in an accurate way such that disingenuous legal bullshit can result in arguments over voter intent. But in every such case that piece of paper is the way the voter submitted it. There's still a need for good ballot design and you need processes around handling those pieces of paper. But it's reversible which no touch-screen system I have ever seen it.

You could certainly make a touch screen system that barfed out a piece of human-readable but computer-optimized paper[2] and there'd be advantages there, but at the expense of complexity for the voter and the equipment itself.

1: There's a whole mess of documentation and process around getting people assistance when they need it and at least in the municipality where I was a worker there was always the option, if someone had nobody else, to have a poll worker assist.
2: If you've mailed in a tax return in the last decade that was prepared with software you've seen something like this. It uses good machine-readable fonts and streamlines the presentation and removes instructions but if you had to you could look at it and understand what's on it.
posted by phearlez at 1:45 PM on August 8 [55 favorites]


he can plead the 5th

i doubt donald trump can voluntarily give up an opportunity to talk about donald trump
posted by murphy slaw at 1:45 PM on August 8 [41 favorites]


In case you've been looking for a reason to not drink Sam Adams, the Boston Globe reports: Boston Beer boss tells Trump tax cut plan will help company ‘kick ass’.
posted by adamg at 1:47 PM on August 8 [35 favorites]


So Twitter's CEO has taken to Sean Hannity's radio show to explain their site policies.

@oneunderscore__: .@jack just said Twitter considers "behaviors of bad faith actors who intend manipulate, divide conversation" to SEAN HANNITY, whom he is willingly talking to about good and bad faith dialogue.
posted by zachlipton at 1:49 PM on August 8 [41 favorites]


The only acceptable method of touchscreen voting is if it prints out a filled-in ballot that the voter checks for accuracy before depositing it to be scanned or hand-counted.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:50 PM on August 8 [29 favorites]


Ack Jim Koch, why?!

Well, okay, reading the rest of TFA, that appears to have come during the Praise Trump portion of the proceedings:
After the president made introductory remarks, he asked attendees to stand and introduce themselves.
Still worthy of the side eye though.
posted by notyou at 1:52 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Using a touchscreen to print out a ballot is pretty clearly what RedOrGreen was talking about, given the "with an intermediate stage that can be archived and later counted by hand" part.
posted by Turd Ferguson at 1:55 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


>> [Incoherent anguished wailing] NO NO NO NO NO TOUCHSCREENS EVER. No medium should ever be used for recording a vote such that it cannot be 100% accurately traced backwards to verify the intent of the voter.

> The only acceptable method of touchscreen voting is if it prints out a filled-in ballot that the voter checks for accuracy before depositing it to be scanned or hand-counted.

Yes, sorry I wasn't clear - that's what I meant when I said that the (machine-prepared, if need be) vote should be archived and capable of being hand counted, independent of the regular (machine-based, if need be) vote counting. The important step is to have that intermediate product that can be checked, verified, and audited after the fact.
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:57 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


I don't trust vendors to engineer good electronic-voting systems, I don't trust election boards to select good systems from those that are available (or to run them competently), I don't trust courts to rule well in cases that involve complex computer technology, and I don't trust the average voter to understand competing claims about fucking blockchains.

Elections do not need to be disrupted. Keep it as simple and understandable as possible.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 1:57 PM on August 8 [35 favorites]


Touchscreens seem like a solution in search of a problem. I really like the way we do it in L.A. with the scantron bubbles and stuff. It's like taking the SAT except the fate of the country and possibly the world depends on it.
posted by Justinian at 1:57 PM on August 8 [25 favorites]


Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
RED WAVE!

11:51 AM - 8 Aug 2018
So it turns out I'm 12 because I read that and laughed my ass off.

Apparently Trump will win in 2020 by carrying the state of delusion.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 2:02 PM on August 8 [41 favorites]


@oneunderscore__: .@jack just said Twitter considers "behaviors of bad faith actors who intend manipulate, divide conversation" to SEAN HANNITY, whom he is willingly talking to about good and bad faith dialogue.

Good news. Tonight Hannity will be updating us on the latest on the liberal conspiracy to silence him regarding the Russian collusion and Seth Rich.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 2:04 PM on August 8


Twitter's CEO has taken to Sean Hannity's radio show to explain their site policies.

Cancel your subscription.
posted by banshee at 2:06 PM on August 8 [17 favorites]


It's like taking the SAT except the fate of the country and possibly the world depends on it.

I've had nightmares that started exactly like this.
posted by Archelaus at 2:08 PM on August 8 [17 favorites]


> The only acceptable method of touchscreen voting is if it prints out a filled-in ballot that the voter checks for accuracy before depositing it to be scanned or hand-counted.

Yes, sorry I wasn't clear - that's what I meant when I said that the (machine-prepared, if need be) vote should be archived and capable of being hand counted, independent of the regular (machine-based, if need be) vote counting. The important step is to have that intermediate product that can be checked, verified, and audited after the fact.


I'm not a fan even then, really. There's a reason the Office Space scene of them beating the shit out of a printer is so widely beloved; if you've managed to own a printer you don't hate you're a minority. Commercial printers a la cash registers are more reliable but really you don't want to print this onto rolled paper and you certainly don't want it on heat-reactive stuff. So now you need to deal with toner/ink and those hassles and maintenance.

All of this, even if you overcome those issues, to supposedly create something more reliable than what a human fills out. But now instead of proofing their own work you ask them to proof the machine's work. The only real payoff is having it count over and under-votes. And most of those sorts of problems are ballot design. In a sane country you'd have some federal eggheads working on this and producing best practices instructions and creating open source-type stuff for ballot design/print/scan out of 18F or whoever. And while I'm fantasizing I'll throw in my dream that the Post Office becomes our vote collecting national solutions provider along with being a public bank.
posted by phearlez at 2:08 PM on August 8 [15 favorites]


You could certainly make a touch screen system that barfed out a piece of human-readable but computer-optimized paper[2] and there'd be advantages there, but at the expense of complexity for the voter and the equipment itself.

My precinct does this and I'm not sure how I feel about it. There's a big spool of paper inside a transparent casing that records your votes on paper that you enter on the screen.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:10 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


As Trump tweets about California fires, his administration wants to expand logging (Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times)
The federal government is moving to allow commercial logging of healthy green pine trees for the first time in decades in the Los Padres National Forest north of Los Angeles, a tactic the U.S. Forest Services says will reduce fire risk. It’s an idea President Trump appeared to endorse in tweets inaccurately linking wildfire to state water management.
posted by mykescipark at 2:11 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Filling out SAT-like ballots results in numerous counting and recounting issues.

Spools of paper in a machine allow someone to access individual votes because they know who voted and in what order.

HCPB (hand counted paper ballots) are notoriously insecure and bring us back to ballot box stuffing and other dirty tricks. See Robert A. Caro Means of Ascent where he documents LBJ's stolen 1948 Texas senatorial seat, using HCPBs.

My understanding is that best practices call for a touchscreen or other technology that prints out a voter-verified paper ballot, machine scanned ballots, and automatic hand counted checks on a statistically significant number of precincts.
posted by M-x shell at 2:17 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


If the voting system is changed from plurality to a ranking-based method, a touchscreen drag-and-drop interface (move the candidates around until they're in an order you like) might make a lot more intuitive sense than, say, expressing equivalent data by filling in bubbles.

Doktor Zed: At the very least, this is a limited hangout from Putin, portraying the two-hour meeting as concerned with the most reasonable, dovish topics. We'll see, perhaps, if it's modified

I have absolutely no idea whether Trump being even more opaque about the meeting than Putin, and hence even more suspect, is something Putin finds frustrating (as in "I'm surrounded by idiots!") or delightful.

J.K. Seazer: On Fox News today: "How in the world could [Trump] ever cooperate & sit down with Mueller for an interview, knowing that if you tell one lie to Bob Mueller, he will move to file charges." (Twitter video)

The response from another pundit in that video is dryly amusing: "He could not tell a lie -- that's always an option here"
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:18 PM on August 8 [8 favorites]


The Sam Adams CEO: "I mean, Americans — I’m the largest American-owned brewery at 2 percent market share. We were paying 38 percent taxes and competing against people who were paying 20. And now we have a level playing field, and we’re going to kick their ass."

I don't know what he is talking about. Foreign owned beer companies operating in the U.S. like InBev and SABMiller pay the same U.S. corporate income taxes as Sam Adams. Maybe he is over-indulging on his own product.
posted by JackFlash at 2:21 PM on August 8 [9 favorites]


NEW: Sen. Paul says he delivered "a letter from President Trump to President Vladimir Putin’s administration" during visit to Russia that emphasized the importance of further engagement in various areas including countering terrorism, legislative dialogue and cultural exchanges. {emphasis added, because see below}

Russia media analyst Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) posted more updates about Rand Paul's trip:
#Russia's state media claims it obtained a draft of the latest sanctions bill, requiring the State Department to determine whether Russia merits the designation of a State Sponsor of Terror.

Russia's currency fell to a multi-month low against the U.S. dollar, as bond yields rose and stocks tumbled, after the Kommersant newspaper printed the draft of Senate bill that proposed new U.S. sanctions on state-owned banks.

Russian media published an entire draft of the bill: https://kommersant.ru/docs/2018/_201
Shareblue editor Caroline Orr (@RVAWonk) points out, "... it's still not avail. on any US govt websites. It appears *someone* leaked it. To Russia." (Currently, there isn't even a summary available to the public: S.3336 - A bill to strengthen the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, to combat international cybercrime, and to impose additional sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation, and for other purposes.)

And as a reminder about how Trump likes to handle communications, in January of last year, the President-elect told reporters (in the middle of denying Russian election interference), "You know, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old-fashioned way, because I’ll tell you what, no computer is safe."
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:23 PM on August 8 [24 favorites]


That doesn't sound like a particularly inexpensive solution.

How much did we budget for free and fair elections? We recently spent 3.5 billion on systems and at least one southern state (spoiler: it reportedly votes red) who will go nameless is still running windows xp touchscreens with tallies carried by hand on SD cards. (Additional spoiler: the person in charge of them is a racist piece of shit.)

I would remind the court that our recent misadventures in vote hacking were not related to paper and ink.
posted by petebest at 2:23 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


you know, recent days--the Manafort trial, hearing ACO speak, the election yesterday--I'm starting to hope again, and it's almost painful.
posted by angrycat at 2:27 PM on August 8 [27 favorites]


Touchscreens seem like a solution in search of a problem.

They're both very far from critical but voting on machines has two nice properties.

(1) Every ballot is available in English. And Spanish, and Chinese, and Dine, and Vietnamese, and whatever other languages local voters might be most comfortable using.

(2) They can alert voters to over- and under-votes before committing them.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 2:34 PM on August 8 [7 favorites]


Pema Levy and AJ Vicens, Mother Jones: Russians Have Penetrated Florida’s Election Systems, Senator Says
On Wednesday, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida offered up perhaps the most startling example yet of these efforts: that Russian operatives had gained access to the state’s election systems.

“They have already penetrated certain counties in the state and they now have free rein to move about,” Nelson told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday. He added, “We were requested by the chairman and vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee to let supervisors of election in Florida know that the Russians are in their records.” Nelson is campaigning for reelection against Florida’s current governor, Republican Rick Scott.

This is one of many indications that the Russians have not been deterred from interfering in US elections. Last month, Microsoft announced that it had intercepted efforts to penetrate the campaigns of three candidates for office this year. One of the targets was Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who is in a tough reelection battle.
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:43 PM on August 8 [27 favorites]


That doesn't sound like a particularly inexpensive solution.

I would like to clarify my comment from above. We as a people should pay whatever is needed for a free and fair democracy. That is essential. My price comment was made in response to the previous implication that somehow hand-counted paper ballots were a cheap, straightforward, and complete solution to election security. They are none of those things.
posted by mosst at 2:49 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


Soooo

If the Dems fail to take back the house because of lots of voter registration shenanigans in key states, and we know Russia hacked them...and then no one does anything about it...

What the duck do we do?
posted by schadenfrau at 2:51 PM on August 8 [34 favorites]


Russians Have Penetrated Florida’s Election Systems, Senator Says

We should take the frozen assets of Russian oligarchs and use them to pay for election security.
posted by jedicus at 2:53 PM on August 8 [42 favorites]


Bencjacobs:
Per a Dem source, a counting error in a Franklin County precinct will close the margin in #OH12 by 190 votes down to 1564 from 1754
posted by Chrysostom at 2:54 PM on August 8 [24 favorites]


We should take the frozen assets of Russian oligarchs and use them to pay for election security.

EXCELLENT IDEA. Or maybe election security should be handled by Anonymous.
posted by yoga at 2:55 PM on August 8


New York GOP Rep. Chris Collins to be indicted on insider trading charges - big, and early, Trump supporter.

You don't usually get actual video of someone allegedly committing insider trading, but when you commit the crime at the White House Congressional Picnic, there are a lot of cameras around, and sure enough, there's archival footage of Collins pacing around on his cell phone from the time he's accused of tipping off his son about the failed drug trial.
posted by zachlipton at 2:56 PM on August 8 [23 favorites]


If the Dems fail to take back the house because of lots of voter registration shenanigans in key states, and we know Russia hacked them...and then no one does anything about it...

What did we do when the election was stolen 18 years ago?
posted by dilaudid at 2:58 PM on August 8 [28 favorites]


That election was stolen by born and bred AMERICANS dammit. Nobody gets to steal our elections but us!
posted by Justinian at 3:00 PM on August 8 [6 favorites]


I get so annoyed with that comparison. The stakes were not remotely the same.
posted by schadenfrau at 3:02 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


The question was also about what we should do now, not what happened before. Treating helpless complacency as an inevitability is how you get helpless complacency.
posted by contraption at 3:05 PM on August 8 [36 favorites]


I would think if the Russians controlled one state's electoral technology, it would have tried to control all of them, and that they would have done this before the election. I'm still of the mind that the US lost a cyberwar in 2016, but the thought that we are now occupied by Russian forces is still kind of distressing. At the very least, the approach to election security should take this into account, that everything election-related in the US has been compromised.
posted by rhizome at 3:06 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


That election was stolen by born and bred AMERICANS dammit. Nobody gets to steal our elections but us!
Spoken like a legendary Texan.
posted by Harry Caul at 3:06 PM on August 8


If you look at the 4C climate prediction models, the largest tract of then-arable land by almost 3x the size of Canada’s tundra is Russia/Siberia. Putin is playing a long game where he wants the world destabilized, oil burned like mad, and hothouse warm so his country will have almost all of the food, thus, wealth on the planet. It’s so comic book villain I don’t want to believe it but there is nothing he is doing that counters that goal. Billions will starve, billions more be killed in mass migration extinction events, and he’s smiling that little smile.
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:06 PM on August 8 [36 favorites]


The stakes were not remotely the same.

The stakes might not be the same, but there's going to be just as much circumstantial evidence and plausible deniability (see Trump's own presidential election). So, what are you going to do when what evidence there is is halfway into conspiracy theory territory and the media and mainstream politicians refuse to touch it?
posted by dilaudid at 3:10 PM on August 8


> Billions will starve, billions more be killed in mass migration extinction events, and he’s smiling that little smile.

Well, he's 65, so you can at least take a small measure of comfort in the knowledge that he almost certainly will not be around to see his supervillain plot through to its conclusion.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:13 PM on August 8 [4 favorites]


I have absolutely no idea whether Trump being even more opaque about the meeting than Putin, and hence even more suspect, is something Putin finds frustrating (as in "I'm surrounded by idiots!") or delightful.

The latter, no doubt. Probably the most frustrating part of the meeting for Putin was keeping Trump's gnat-like attention focused (small wonder it ran over its scheduled time to two hours). As for Trump, Putin has paralyzed him. Whatever krompromat he may have had on Trump prior to 2016, he now has "receipts" for all their collusion during the election campaign, which he can hold over Trump's head or release at any time (in preferred modified limited hangouts, of course). He can public characterize the Helsinki meeting exactly as he pleases, whether publicly himself, via government spox or state media, or through leaks like the one to Politico, all the while secure in the knowledge that Trump will never, ever dare to contradict him.

Marcy Wheeler argues that Trump's uncertainty whether Mueller knows what Putin has on him is what's holding him back from taking action, one way or another:
Trump knows that if Mueller can present those receipts, he’s sunk, unless he so discredits the Mueller investigation before that time as to convince voters not to give Democrats a majority in Congress, and convince Congress not to oust him as the sell-out to the country those receipts show him to be. He also knows that, on the off-chance Mueller hasn’t figured this all out yet, Putin can at any time make those receipts plain. Therein lies Trump’s uncertainty: It’s not that he has any doubt what Putin has on him. It’s that he’s not sure which path before him — placating Putin, even if it provides more evidence he’s paying off his campaign debt, or trying to end the Mueller inquiry before repaying that campaign debt, at the risk of Putin losing patience with him — holds more risk.

Trump knows he’s screwed. He’s just not sure whether Putin or Mueller presents the bigger threat.
Incidentally, CNN's Manu Raju (@mkraju) has posted an image of Paul's introductory letter, in which Trump calls him "a voice for expanding dialogue with the Russian Federation": "Text of letter from Trump asking Putin to meet with Rand Paul and topics they want to discuss, per ⁦@Kevinliptakcnn⁩. No mention of election interference. Trump and Paul discussed this letter and his Russia trip multiple times before he left, I’m told"
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:15 PM on August 8 [10 favorites]


If you look at the 4C climate prediction models, the largest tract of then-arable land by almost 3x the size of Canada’s tundra is Russia/Siberia.

In a nice linear progression model, maybe. But climate doesn't work like that, and hey, neither does human culture. I don't want to predict what it looks like in the lobe of phase space a 4-degree C global increase kicks us into, but I doubt very much it's Breadbasket Vorkuta.
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:16 PM on August 8 [22 favorites]


So, what are you going to do when what evidence there is is halfway into conspiracy theory territory and the media and mainstream politicians refuse to touch it?

This is a better question. What can we do ahead of time to help ensure that good evidence is collected, and that the people who can do something about it take it seriously? Obviously our first line of defense needs to be an overwhelmingly strong D turnout such that irregularities big enough to swing control of Congress are glaringly obvious, but we probably should be considering any other concrete steps that can be taken to help expose tampering and force politicians to respond to it.
posted by contraption at 3:18 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


I've been reading a lot of climate change stuff in the last few weeks and haven't posted it on Metafilter so as to keep my depression to myself, but I think 4C is dreaming. We're all aboard the express train to 7-9C armageddon.
posted by Justinian at 3:19 PM on August 8 [19 favorites]


I don't want to predict what it looks like in the lobe of phase space a 4-degree C global increase kicks us into, but I doubt very much it's Breadbasket Vorkuta.

Melted tundra doesn't make for nice arable soil: tundra and most boreal/subarctic Siberian (and Canadian) soils are shallow, rocky, acidic, and poorly-structured. We'll be able to grow food in it but not nearly as productively or easily as it is(/once was) in breadbaskets. Even in a Russia-as-King-Turd-of-Shit-Mountain climate change scenario Russia isn't a pleasant and fertile place, and billions of desperate refugees trying to get into a country of a couple hundred million tops doesn't make the "bake your part of the world a little less than the rest" strategy a brilliant one. I don't think Putin's brilliant.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:31 PM on August 8 [15 favorites]


I get that the large number of elected officials makes hand counting awkward and ballots enormous. Obvious solution: multiple ballots, e g , yellow ones for federal office, geeen for state offices, pink for county offices. Or whatever works. Make them scantron style which makes it much easier to hand verify simple ballots.

Maybe this is what’s done already but it makes sense to me.
posted by Rumple at 3:36 PM on August 8


We're all aboard the express train to 7-9C armageddon.

This ultimately has to be reckoned among the greatest sorrows of the decision, if it was that, to elect Donald Trump President of the United States of America. The fortunes of any given nation-state matter little enough in the grand sweep of history, even ones with as much promise as America had in its finest moments. But the denial of possibility that there will continue to be a history is the injury that contains all other injuries within it.

I'm not sure we ever truly had a chance to undo the damage we've done, but if there was a window in which we might have done so, it's been slammed on our fingers. How obscenely disproportionate it is to think of our species-hope down through all future time being squandered for the momentary analgesia of one tiny man's utterly banal ego-wound.
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:40 PM on August 8 [87 favorites]


This ultimately has to be reckoned among the greatest sorrows of the decision, if it was that, to elect Donald Trump President of the United States of America.

Yes this is amongst the things my mind flashed forward to and froze with horror about. I mostly just blabk it out to be able to operate in a normal state. I have kids FFS.
posted by Artw at 3:45 PM on August 8 [22 favorites]


How obscenely disproportionate it is to think of our species-hope down through all future time being squandered for the momentary analgesia of one tiny man's utterly banal ego-wound.

"Children, let me tell you a tale of the before-times and how the great works of Atlantis and Camelot were undone because of Anthony Weiner's penis."
posted by Justinian at 3:46 PM on August 8 [35 favorites]


[Folks, I know it's a fucked thing but maybe let's not dwell indefinitely in climate armageddon speculation in here.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:48 PM on August 8 [19 favorites]


WaPo, White House drafting sanctions order to punish foreign interference in U.S. elections
The White House is drafting an executive order that would authorize President Trump to sanction foreigners who interfere in U.S. elections, the administration’s latest effort to demonstrate it is serious about combating Russian disinformation and hacking.

The eight-page draft order, a copy of which was reviewed by The Washington Post, appears to be an effort to stave off aggressive legislation, including a bill introduced in Congress this month — and to quell criticism that Trump seems to give more credence to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s denials of interference than to U.S.intelligence agencies’ conclusion the Kremlin sought to undermine the 2016 election.

Trump has been under increasing pressure from his advisers to condemn Russia’s aggression, said current and former administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid. His reluctance to do so is viewed internally as a liability, they said.
...
The draft order “looks much more like a cover-your-behind exercise to show the administration is doing something when it fact it doesn’t oblige them to do much of anything,” said Michael Carpenter, a former Pentagon and White House official who worked on Russia policy for the Obama administration. “The sanctions on foreign individuals for election interference are not going to dissuade anyone. To be a credible deterrent, a foreign country like Russia would need to think that sanctions would automatically go into effect if X, Y and Z happened.”
...
The draft order includes language that analysts interpreted as an effort to assuage Trump’s concerns. It includes references to apparent attempts by the Soviet Union to interfere in past U.S. elections, including to “frustrate President Nixon’s election in 1968 and President Reagan’s reelection in 1984.” Fried called those allegations debatable.

It appears “this was put in to make this executive order palatable to Trump by not singling out Russia in 2016,” said Peter Harrell, a former State Department sanctions official who is now an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

The draft notes that “there has been no evidence of a foreign power altering a single vote in a United States election,” echoing another of Trump’s repeated assertions about the 2016 election.
Ah good, more meaningless busywork.
posted by zachlipton at 3:53 PM on August 8 [17 favorites]


AP News passes along some leaks from Donald Jr.'s patch of Trumpland: Like Father, Like Son: Trump Jr. Defiant About Russia Probe
Republicans say Trump Jr. shows few signs of being rattled by the attention. He is not talking much privately about the investigation and tends to dismiss the scrutiny as mere media fixation, according to a person familiar with his thinking who demanded anonymity to discuss private conversations.

Trump Jr.’s allies believe he’s being held to a higher standard than others and that any campaign would have taken the meeting with someone offering dirt on an opponent.

But his legal woes have not been so easily brushed off by his father.

The president has stewed over the media coverage of the federal trial of Paul Manafort, his former campaign chairman, who has been charged with financial fraud as part of the Mueller probe. Though the trial is not connected to Russian election interference, Trump has seethed to confidants that he views the Manafort charges as “a warning shot” from Mueller. He has told those close to him that as he watches the courtroom proceedings, he fears that Donald Trump Jr. could at some point be the one on trial, according to two people familiar with his thinking but not authorized to discuss private conversations.
Meanwhile, Trump's "wonderful" son has been stumping for mid-term GOP Trumpists in West Virginia, Montana, Florida and Kansas, and he plans to do more in Missouri, Indiana and North Dakota in the coming weeks.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:56 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, Trump's "wonderful" son has been stumping for mid-term GOP Trumpists in West Virginia, Montana, Florida and Kansas, and he plans to do more in Missouri, Indiana and North Dakota in the coming weeks.

I'm so old I can remember the days when Donald Sr. said that he would avoid divestment by turning over the operation of his businesses to his sons which would eliminate political influence.
posted by JackFlash at 4:09 PM on August 8 [64 favorites]


Twitter’s stance on Infowars’ Alex Jones should be a moment of reckoning for users
(Aja Romano | Vox)

“The site has arrived at a moral crossroads — and it’s choosing the wrong path.”

Twitter is gross and only getting grosser.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:09 PM on August 8 [49 favorites]


Axios, Commerce orders NOAA to prioritize water for firefighting over endangered species
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross ordered the National Marine Fisheries Service to "facilitate access to the water" needed to fight ongoing wildfires, rather than continue to provide some of it for protecting endangered species, such as Chinook salmon.
Compare and contrast, Experts reject Trump claim that California water policies hurt firefighting
"We have plenty of water," said Scott McLean, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. "The Carr Fire is around three reservoirs. The Mendocino fires are by Clear Lake and other reservoirs. We are not having any issues with a lack of retardant or water." Asked what might have motivated Trump's comments, McLean said, "I have no idea."
The entire government is going along with his delusion that we're willingly letting the state burn down to save salmon, when that's not even how you fight wildfires.
posted by zachlipton at 4:12 PM on August 8 [34 favorites]


Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross ordered the National Marine Fisheries Service to "facilitate access to the water" needed to fight ongoing wildfires, rather than continue to provide some of it for protecting endangered species, such as Chinook salmon.

It took Ross a day or so to see the tweet, I guess. #workingtowardstheführer
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:16 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


What can we do ahead of time to help ensure that good evidence is collected, and that the people who can do something about it take it seriously?

If I was a local election official, I would require than every precinct print out a paper registration roll now, and another as soon as registration closes (or the morning of the election if you have same day).

Obviously compare the numbers on both sets for discrepancies as soon as you download the latter one. And keep both printouts in the voting station, to double check when people are unexpectedly not on the list.
posted by msalt at 4:17 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Twitter is gross and only getting grosser.

And it gets worse: that Vox story was probably written before Jack Dorsey, Twitter's CEO who is famously resistant to being interviewed by journalists about Twitter's policies and their specific impacts, went on Hannity's radio show to talk about how people who act in bad faith are terrible and hurt the platform and how Alex Jones is definitely not one of those people and to reassure Hannity that conservatives on Twitter are not being treated differently based on their tweets' "political ideology or viewpoint or content". I don't know what it would take for a conservative to be punished or banned on Twitter, but I do know they allowed Paul Nehlen to be openly anti-Semitic and to specifically target individual Jewish people for his base to harass for several months, and that Proud Boys are using the service to recruit and coordinate and call for specific acts of violence and that Twitter's response has mostly been to verify their accounts.

I value the experience I get from Twitter a lot because it has allowed me to connect with many people whose lives are not like my own. It has expanded my world view and made me aware of artists from other walks of life and distant places creating things I would never have imagined and certainly would never have known that I would love. That said, Jack Dorsey is at this point not even trying to hide the fact that he views Twitter as a valuable amplification and recruiting tool for anti-Semites and white nationalists and that those people will always receive special treatment as long as he is in charge. Something has to be done.
posted by IAmUnaware at 4:35 PM on August 8 [32 favorites]


Twitter is gross and only getting grosser.

Other smart people agree with you.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 4:54 PM on August 8 [38 favorites]


I don't participate much on twitter, but I've followed some people and movements that I might otherwise never see. Black twitter has been eye opening for me, as well as trans and other voices not often heard in my neck of the woods.

But, I think this may be time time to download my archives, and find better ways to hear unheard voices.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 5:08 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


A combination of twitter and Metafilter is why I have anything resembling a writing career so I can’t imagine leaving it cause ...where would I ...get ...jobs?

Also I don’t have a Facebook, if I leave twitter I basically have no idea how to casually talk to people I don’t have IRL bonds with cause no one uses gchat anymore and I don’t have thier phone numbers.
posted by The Whelk at 5:16 PM on August 8 [9 favorites]


rocket88: "DROs are provided blank ballots"

Note that the ballots have candidate names one them, it's not a 100% write in or something.

zachlipton: "
Nor is election security as simple as paper ballots. The entire infrastructure around the election is at risk too, particularly voter registration. Just reducing it to paper ballots ignores the rest of the potential threats.
"

Yes, but it eliminates one huge, low hanging, attack vector.

Justinian: "It's not like you can't make machine-tabulated ballots have a paper audit trail which can be checked against the machine count. There's really no excuse for not doing that."

This. I can think of at least half a dozen ways that you can have machine tabulation and hard copy verifiable. It won't be cheap to hand count all that stuff if the machines prove to be compromised but hey, what price preventing foreign powers from deciding your politicians. The UN will even send observers if you'd like to make sure things are being done right.

Besides what do the states with 100% mail in ballots do? This is obviously a solved problem even in the USA.

zachlipton: " Asked what might have motivated Trump's comments, McLean said, "I have no idea.""

This is why I'm not a public spokesperson; I wouldn't have been able to make some wise ass remark like "The Cheeto thinks Salmon cause Forest Fires?".
posted by Mitheral at 5:20 PM on August 8 [9 favorites]


Trump knows he’s screwed. He’s just not sure whether Putin or Mueller presents the bigger threat.

Mueller is the bigger threat, because Mueller is not open to bribes, and Mueller already has the information he needs. Trump is likely under the impression that Mueller hasn't "done anything" (and by that, I mean "done anything that affects Trump's income and holdings") because Mueller hasn't found anything solid yet. Trump wants to believe that sucking up to Putin is his best choice, because that's business sleaze that he understands.

He's oblivious to how legal cases work. Mueller almost certainly knows a ridiculous amount about the election campaign's illegal money shenanigans, the foreign influences, the graft in the Trump Foundation, and the current POTUS's tax fiascos. Trump likely believes that, if that were true, Mueller would've gone on TV and denounced him, made threats, demanded payment, or something like that. He's entirely clueless of the idea that "I know what happened" doesn't mean "that's enough to take to court;" Mueller's putting all the parts together so that someone else can follow the breadcrumbs.

It seems like, by the time he's done, it'll be less "a trail of breadcrumbs" and closer to "a river of croissants."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:27 PM on August 8 [55 favorites]


Chris Collins decided to give a press conference about his indictment.

I love it when arrogant assholes who have it coming decide they can talk their way out of things on the national media like the AUSA actually gives a damn.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 5:30 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


> It’s very heartening to see Prop A’s right to work bulshit go down in flames in such a conservative and republican supporting state

It's interesting how thoroughgoing the defeat was. It was defeated in 99 of Missouri's 114 counties (interactive map), including in many very, very rural and very, very conservative parts of the state.
posted by flug at 5:31 PM on August 8 [22 favorites]


And, in the case of the Salmon, it isn’t as if we are keeping them healthy for their own sake — there’s an actual, tough man Trump voting industry that thrives (well, persists) on the salmon that come back out of rivers like the Klamath. There are also treaties with local tribes that require a certain amount of flow to maintain their fishery interests.

This is so stupid and it’s clear Ross did what he did to further fan the flames of this stupid thing because look, it gets a rise out the libtards, and that helps with the President’s deplorable politics of polarization.

Feh.
posted by notyou at 5:32 PM on August 8 [15 favorites]


Trump is likely under the impression that Mueller hasn't "done anything" (and by that, I mean "done anything that affects Trump's income and holdings") because Mueller hasn't found anything solid yet.

lol mueller got the number two guy in Trump's campaign, who remained after Manafort left and then was Deputy Chairman of the Trump Inaugural Committee, to testify under oath in open federal court that he committed a years-long campaign of major federal financial crimes, including crimes involving the campaign itself.

Regardless of whether Manafort is convicted, the trial has been the vehicle for an undeniable public confession under oath by someone who was at the top of Trump's campaign organization the entire time. It's amazing.
posted by The World Famous at 5:33 PM on August 8 [45 favorites]


The entire government is going along with his delusion that we're willingly letting the state burn down to save salmon, when that's not even how you fight wildfires.

There is the suggestion that the water thing may be a pay-off to Nunes for obstructions rendered:

@screenslaver : "What a coincidence! Wilbur Ross' nonsensical "water for firefighting" directive accomplishes exactly what a November 2016 McClatchy article says would be the easiest way for Trump to give Devin Nunes the policy he wants Trump promised California farmers more water. Can he deliver?" [linked article is from 2016]


I don't participate much on twitter, but I've followed some people and movements that I might otherwise never see. Black twitter has been eye opening for me, as well as trans and other voices not often heard in my neck of the woods.

Science Twitter can also be amazing, particularly for live, on-site type coverage.

I have been looking into trying to find/program a way to smuggle all my existing tweet history over to Mastodon (without massively bombarding anyone who follows me there) and then just use some sort of IFTT type bridging to still keep up with the good communities on Twitter. But not had the time yet to properly investigate due to having to write evil code to feed the capitalist behemoth. There is https://bridge.joinmastodon.org/ which helps you reconnect on Mastodon with anyone you are already connected to on Twitter.
posted by Buntix at 5:34 PM on August 8 [15 favorites]


This. I can think of at least half a dozen ways that you can have machine tabulation and hard copy verifiable. It won't be cheap to hand count all that stuff if the machines prove to be compromised but hey

Right, and there's no reason to count them all regularly. An audit of random ballots for every election plus a full count of a precinct either randomly or if there is some reason to suspect problems would suffice. Random full audits of precincts is probably best practice but would cost more and with the money it costs to ensure fair democracy we could probably buy, like, one additional air to ground missile and that's not a deal we can pass up.
posted by Justinian at 5:36 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


There are also treaties with local tribes that require a certain amount of flow to maintain their fishery interests.

Harming Native Americans is a feature for them, not a bug.
posted by Rust Moranis at 5:48 PM on August 8 [10 favorites]


@aaronblake: BREAKING: @maddow has fundraiser audio of Nunes saying this: "If Sessions won't un-recuse and Mueller won't clear the president, we're the only ones -- which is really the danger. That's why I keep, and thank you for saying it by the way, I mean we have to keep all these seats"

This is all ultimately on Paul Ryan. He could stop this if he wanted to. This is Ryan’s legacy.
posted by zachlipton at 6:21 PM on August 8 [65 favorites]


I don't understand the implication.
posted by rhizome at 6:24 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Paul Ryan's legacy is to make sure no one gets Social Security or Medicare.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 6:28 PM on August 8 [6 favorites]


He just admitted to obstructing the Mueller investigation, and he's telling his donors they have to give money to Republicans so he can keep doing it to protect Trump from Mueller.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:28 PM on August 8 [65 favorites]


I don't understand the implication.

Effectively, if the Republicans keep the House then Articles of Impeachment don't hit the floor no matter what Mueller says. They can draw it out to the bitter 2020 end.

Sure if you find enough turncoats to sign a discharge petition you could get them through to a vote but for any who signed on it would be the end of their political career and they would get tossed out on their ass in the primary.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 6:28 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


I'm more with TDStrange. What DNSS says about impeachment is true but I think the implication of Nunes' comment is that he and his boys need the voters to keep them on House Intelligence so that they can shut down the Mueller investigation by impeaching Rosenstein if nothing else stops him.
posted by Justinian at 6:34 PM on August 8 [16 favorites]


They can impeach Rosenstein but there's no way he gets removed. They might do it just to give Trump cover but there's no way of removing Rosenstein short of Trump firing him.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 6:36 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


The implication is that the only way to protect Trump is to keep Congress, which is true. If Mueller finds evidence of cartoon-level treason (Wile E. Coyote with a big sack labeled E-mails), Nunes is saying it won't matter so long as the GOP stays in control. Which is also true.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:56 PM on August 8 [9 favorites]


Yeah, there's impeachment and then there's removal from office as the result of impeachment, which are two very different thresholds requiring approval from different political bodies.

Or to put it another way:

[Clippy]
You appear to be writing a comment about impeachment. Did you remember:
  • impeachment is a fundamentally political process and there is no set standard for "impeachable offenses"
  • bringing articles of impeachment is the prerogative of the House of Representatives and is roughly analogous to a prosecutor deciding to bring charges (but again, impeachment is a political process, not a criminal justice process.) The first hurdle, therefore, is that a motion must pass a vote in the house and for a vote to occur it needs to have either the approval of the Speaker of the House or else be compelled by getting enough House members to sign a discharge petition to force a vote.
  • if the house approves articles of impeachment, then the case is heard in a process similar to a judicial proceeding, with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presiding and the decision rendered by the Senate, who must exceed a 2/3 threshold to successfully vote for removal from office via the impeachment process.
?
[/Clippy]
posted by Nerd of the North at 6:57 PM on August 8 [24 favorites]


It's basically Nunes on tape saying "Hey, you can't convict if there's no body, and there ain't no body so long as I get a woodchipper for Christmas"
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:03 PM on August 8 [55 favorites]


"If Sessions won't un-recuse and Mueller won't clear the president,
Nunes says that as if Mueller had a choice irrespective of the evidence. Man oh man, things feel like they're happening faster than usual today.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:11 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


I keep hearing that Trump is in a perjury trap - he can only lie or incriminate himself .... but he does have a 3rd option, he can plead the 5th (for non 'merkins he has the constitutional right to be silent rather than incriminate himself)

posted by mbo at 1:41 PM on August 8 [1 favorite +] [!]

J.K. Seazer: On Fox News today: "How in the world could [Trump] ever cooperate & sit down with Mueller for an interview, knowing that if you tell one lie to Bob Mueller, he will move to file charges." (Twitter video)


Here, in big, bright, fiery letters is the reason his lawyers don't want Trump to testify: they're not afraid he'll lie, they're afraid he'll tell the truth. If Mueller asks him about his statements to Don Lemon or to the Russian diplomats, they're afraid he'll say, sure, he was trying to derail the investigation. It's done all the time, he'll declare.
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:14 PM on August 8 [21 favorites]


I'm just waiting for to Il Douche to declare that instead of this hippy energy-generating nonsense, California's wind turbines should be put to some good use, namely blowing the fire out.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:25 PM on August 8 [6 favorites]


Don't spend too much time parsing the words of Devin Nunes. He's not just evil, he's also exceedingly dumb, and a bootlicker to... um... to boot. He thinks that fealty to Trump is where the power and the money are, so he's telling the money men that he is protecting Trump in any way he can, even if it's stupid as hell.
posted by Etrigan at 7:26 PM on August 8 [14 favorites]


They have rented buses that brought in fighters in tactical gear from all over the country, and those same buses no doubt drove them all down to Berkeley for the next round. Joey Gibson, the Patriot Prayer leader, actually led a cheer for Tommy Robinson at the rally, and I guarantee you that fewer than 1% of Americans have any idea who he is.

Unfortunately, racist who leads hate rallies seems to have finished 4th in a 29-way primary for Senator, with 27,321 misguided votes.
posted by corb at 7:37 PM on August 8 [4 favorites]


Yes, but having him on tape admitting he's doing it knowingly is a step further, he's admitting to obstruction, admitting he's not even considering the interests of the United States as the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Before they could still make the argument, however laughable, that he's doing the job, just not how Democrats want him to. Now he's on tape saying he's not, he's only concerned about protecting Trump. This should make him guilty of obstruction, if not a member of the actual conspiracy against the United States. I doubt Mueller would pursue that, but Democrats should. Nunes is an admitted traitor to the United States, serving a traitor President. He's on tape saying so.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:39 PM on August 8 [72 favorites]


He thinks that fealty to Trump is where the power and the money are, so he's telling the money men that he is protecting Trump in any way he can, even if it's stupid as hell.

He probably shouldn't have said some Trump tweets are cringeworthy then since that'll play real well with yon feudal lord. You pop the corn, I'll pour the Dr. Pepper.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:39 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


27,321 misguided votes.

that's still, like, way too many.
posted by The Whelk at 7:47 PM on August 8 [16 favorites]


On Aug. 8, Richard Nixon spoke to the nation, announcing his surrender in the battle of Watergate because “I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort.”

[...] Wednesday’s anniversary of the resignation will spark comparisons between today’s feckless congressional Republicans and GOP patriarchs like Barry Goldwater who forthrightly told Nixon that his Senate support had crumbled.

[...] In truth, we currently have no idea whether any 2019 impeachment drive will be based on ironclad evidence or an expansive analysis of Trump’s tweets. The reason why Nixon comparisons are premature is because no one in politics or the media knows what Robert Mueller’s investigation has discovered.

In a world with more leaks than a rotting rowboat, it is hard to get your mind around the reality that the Mueller investigation doesn’t leak. Everything that we know about his investigation comes from Paul Manafort’s trial; more than 30 other indictments and guilty pleas; reports of subpoenas by the grand jury; self-serving comments by mouthpieces like Rudy Giuliani; and Trump’s desperate, caged-man, all-caps tweets.

[...] What is clear is that many conservatives (both Republicans and Southern Democrats) were bitterly split over Nixon until the very end. And it would have been easy for reporters touring rural Mississippi or blue-collar Ohio to interview loyal voters who thought that Watergate was a “witch hunt.”


Make Stupid Watergate Again
posted by petebest at 8:01 PM on August 8 [12 favorites]


They can impeach Rosenstein but there's no way he gets removed. They might do it just to give Trump cover but there's no way of removing Rosenstein short of Trump firing him.

Fun fact. Reading the filings, Mueller isn't the one who is signing the indictments, but rather other USAttys, so firing someone in management won't stop the cases that are already in the pipeline.

Want to discuss odds on whether Mueller's had other USAttys file sealed indictments on all the other people involved, as a "canary" for the other participants in the Trump Crime Family case.
posted by mikelieman at 8:13 PM on August 8 [18 favorites]


Wingnuts Really Think They're All Going to be Thrown in Gulags Any Minute Now
Roy Edroso tweets:
Fascinated by all these free-market conservatives telling us why a private company can't choose who to keep or kick off their own website -- on behalf of ALEX JONES.
---
I mean they weren't even this excited about forcing businesses to accommodate wingnuts back when James Damore was their free-speech cover boy. It's like the worse the wingnut, the more passionate their defense of him.
---
I begin to suspect the reason the worst wingnuts excite their defenses the most is because they secretly believe the loathsome things those guys say -- and know they could never say such things themselves. So they *must* have an Alex Jones out there to say it *for* them.
I suspect that many "respectable" conservatives sincerely believe liberals are as evil as Jones says we are, and wish they could say the things Jones says about us without losing what credibility they have in the world outside their bubble. But I don't think that's the real reason they're so excited about the Jones situation.

I think they're worked up because they sincerely believe liberal fascism has come to America -- yes, even though they control all three branches of government and the majority of state governments. They think all of them will be silenced soon, if not jailed. [...]

I can still go to Facebook and see Gateway Pundit and Breitbart and Mike Cernovich and World Net Daily and the Federalist. They're all on YouTube and Twitter. They still have their own sites. In other words, they continue to have platforms. They're not even in a virtual gulag, much less a real one.

Their president is still the president. The Supreme Court of their dreams will outlive me and many of them. Alas for them, they don't own Silicon Valley -- neither does liberalism -- and it's making them crazy. They're supposed to control all the levers of power.

We got angry a decade ago when Rather and the Dixie Chicks and Phil Donahue and Eason Jordan were forced to the sidelines by star-spangled pro-Bush triumphalists. But most of us didn't think what we were living through was worse than 1984. Get a grip, righties.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:08 PM on August 8 [15 favorites]


Mueller is a pro. Does seem to have his shit together.
posted by Windopaene at 9:08 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


The next part of the Nunes quote that people are leaving out is,

We have to keep the majority. If we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away.

I read this to mean that the unprecedented heyday that grifters and fascists and polluters and kleptocrats and racists have been enjoying for the past 1.75 years will come to an end if Trump goes down, particularly considering how much of the GOP is wrapped up in the conspiracy. If Mueller can be stopped, they all have another 2 years, at least.
posted by Dr. Send at 9:25 PM on August 8 [35 favorites]


The entire Maddow segment with the Nunes recordings (there are four clips) is now online, delivered in her characteristically slow style (about 20 minutes). You can also find just the four clips and transcripts in this article for easier reading.

#1 is the "If we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away" clip discussed above, where he's the last line to "clear the President" since Sessions and Mueller won't.

#2 is interesting, because he acknowledges on obstruction that "you've got a mixed bag on the tweets...sometimes you love the president's tweets, sometimes we cringe on the president's tweets." He says this even as he claims that "it's ridiculous to go after the president for obstruction of justice."

#3 is even more fun, because he pretty much lays out what happened and then says it's criminal:
“Now if somebody thinks that my campaign or Cathy’s campaign is colluding with the Chinese, or you name the country, hey, could happen, it would be a very bad thing if Cathy was getting secrets from the Portuguese, let’s say, just because I’m Portuguese, my family was. So Cathy was getting secret information from the Portuguese. You know, may or may not be unusual. But ultimately let’s say the Portuguese came and brought her some stolen emails. And she decided to release those. Okay, now we have a problem, right? Because somebody stole the emails, gave ‘em to Cathy, Cathy released ‘em. Well, if that’s the case, then that’s criminal.”
It's also just really funny how he mentions his Portuguese heritage given that a central theme of his chairmanship has been the years he's spent demanding that the intelligence agencies put facilities in the Azores that they adamantly do not want, because its an inconvenient and expensive location in a non-five eyes country.

Finally, #4 ties it all back to impeaching Rosenstein. In response to an audience question, he claims that the impeachment is "a matter of timing" with the election and Kavanaugh, while reaffirming he and most of his colleagues want to impeach Rosenstein. It's a bit vague, but there's certainly a reading of this that would indicate he wants to take it up again after the midterms, and Maddow talks this up into a plot where the GOP leadership is intentionally downplaying impeachment for now so they can bring it up later after the midterms. Of course, there's no way in hell there's a 2/3rds majority for this in the Senate even if they have the House votes, so I don't know what the point of any of this is, but here we are.
posted by zachlipton at 9:46 PM on August 8 [29 favorites]


Also, Laura Ingraham said the quiet part really really loudly tonight: "The America we know and love doesn't exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted on the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don't like ... this is related to both illegal and legal immigration."

At what point do we just get to attach ", the white supremacist" to every single mention of her name? That's not a dog whistle; it's just screaming at the dog at the top of your lungs.
posted by zachlipton at 9:50 PM on August 8 [105 favorites]


Massive demographic changes have been foisted on the American people

Foisting requires a foister and based on past behavior I fully expect her to be tweeting triple parentheses by year's end.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:58 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


At what point do we just get to attach ", the white supremacist" to every single mention of her name?

TBH the on stage Sieg Heil out there for the entire world to see MIGHT have been a bit of a clue.
posted by Artw at 9:59 PM on August 8 [60 favorites]


Impeaching Rosenstein isn't about the vote tally, they can't do it above board. At least not yet. It's about building the permission structure for Trump to fire Rosenstein and then Mueller. Nunes and Paul Ryan/whatever worse Trumpist comes after Paul Ryan want to tell Trump it's OK to go full Fuhrer, they're behind him. The House actually voting to impeach is the go ahead that "it's happening", democracy is over, own the libs now and forever. They know they don't have the power now, but if they stave off the promised blue wave (either legitimately or through aiding and encouraging further Russian attacks on America, both are good), that's when they'll implement the end game and assume full authoritarian control.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:59 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


The America we know and love doesn't exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted on the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don't like

As conservatives endlessly love to point out, we live in a republic not a democracy so none of us directly votes on any policy (just about) ever. What we do is vote for representatives who (hopefully) vote the way we want them to. In that context lots of us have (indirectly) voted in favor of expanded legal immigration & kinder treatment for those who didn't go about it legally. There was no foisting, you were just on the losing side of the votes.
posted by scalefree at 10:49 PM on August 8 [29 favorites]


In that context lots of us have (indirectly) voted in favor of expanded legal immigration & kinder treatment for those who didn't go about it legally.

You're both right, but define us differently. You have a broad us, but something tells me that Laura's audience have always voted for the most racist option available.
posted by jaduncan at 11:04 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


You're both right, but define us differently. You have a broad us, but something tells me that Laura's audience have always voted for the most racist option available.

But she tells us who her "us" is & it's the same as mine, "the American people". She's trying to say none of it was ever voted on & it was, her side just lost.
posted by scalefree at 11:25 PM on August 8


But she tells us who her "us" is & it's the same as mine, "the American people".
No, she's telling you that the people who don't believe as she does are not "real" Americans.

When someone tells you who they are, you should at least consider believing them.
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:34 PM on August 8 [21 favorites]


She's already explicitly othered all PoC. Rest assured that fascists come for everyone.
posted by jaduncan at 11:37 PM on August 8 [7 favorites]


That Laura Ingraham vomit is some real "no true Scotsman American" fallacy bullshit.
posted by dazed_one at 12:08 AM on August 9 [3 favorites]


Rather than talking about who voted for what and who won, I think a better tack to take might be to say that their mistake was to fall in love with a fake America that never even existed: one where white settlers showed up in a mysteriously non-immigrant way and “out-competed” indigenous people (don't talk about genocide too much, and anyways either way “oops, shit happens in history, right?” and they're all gone now, nothing we can do) and African slaves—who we'll forget were Muslims and other non-Christian religionists and made up a significant fraction of the country's population on its nominal founding date—were brought here but we'll chalk that up to “shit happens in history” again without really dealing with it, and all of these regions full of Spanish place names became part of the country in some antiseptic, inspecific Manifest Destiny way...

The mistake was falling in love with an America with all of these amputated, elided blind spots, which can barely deal if even with the concept that later historical waves of European immigrants faced lynching and oppression, and doesn't have the strength or courage to confront its real history and revere the participants in slave uprisings alongside independence-seeking settlers with “Freedom!” on their lips or embrace a future which will involve PoC in a way that will probably actually not be so different than PoC have been part of our past.

Their task is to cultivate their hearts to love the real America flaws and all, and face up to things which need to be made right, rather than wallow in defeat or pine for a false Golden Age they see in the mumblings and delusions of Trump.
posted by XMLicious at 12:34 AM on August 9 [71 favorites]


Chris Collin's son's fiancee and her mother have already settled with the SEC over insider trading charges.

Chris Collins is going to need some really fancy lawyers to slip out of this pickle.
posted by rdr at 4:01 AM on August 9 [17 favorites]


they are changes that none of us ever voted for

"I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally." - Ronald Reagan

Your fucking "hero" Ronald Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants in 1986. And it wasn't just deferring adjudication like DACA but full legalization. It was the largest amnesty/legalization in modern US history. 59% voted for him in 1984, including 93% of Republicans.

George H. W. Bush signed the Immigration Act of 1990 which greatly increased legal immigration including creating the lottery system Trump & Co. constantly rail against. It also created TPS (temporary protected status) to allow for exceptions and entry for asylum seekers which they also now complain about. Bush had been elected in 1988 with 53% of the vote and 92% of Republicans.
posted by chris24 at 4:29 AM on August 9 [104 favorites]


Plus you've lost 6 of the last 7 popular votes since Bush 1 so sit the fuck down.
posted by chris24 at 4:42 AM on August 9 [49 favorites]


Massive demographic changes have been foisted on the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for.

Nonsense, right wingers have spent the last several decades voting and agitating to force Those Demographics (among others) to reproduce against their will.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:54 AM on August 9 [25 favorites]


Tribune withdraws from Sinclair merger, saying it will sue for ‘breach of contract’

Sinclair, which had announced the tie-up last year as a “transformational” event and the biggest acquisition in its history.

But the merger began to stumble last month after Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai raised “serious concerns” about the deal, which originally would have reached roughly 70 percent of U.S. households. The FCC said it would send the deal for review by an administrative law judge, which often signals a transaction may be blocked.

“In light of the FCC’s unanimous decision, referring the issue of Sinclair’s conduct for a hearing before an administrative law judge, our merger cannot be completed within an acceptable time frame, if ever,” said Peter Kern, Tribune’s chief executive officer, in a statement Thursday. “This uncertainty and delay would be detrimental to our company and our shareholders. Accordingly, we have exercised our right to terminate the Merger Agreement, and, by way of our lawsuit, intend to hold Sinclair accountable. ”

[...] The merger has even attracted the attention of President Trump, who last month on Twitter criticized federal regulators for getting in the way of what he said would have become a “great and much needed Conservative voice for and of the People. ”

“Liberal Fake News NBC and Comcast gets approved, much bigger, but not Sinclair,” he added. “Disgraceful!

As an independent agency, the FCC is supposed to refrain from factoring politics into its merger analyses.


While the news that one billions-dollar media group is suing another, even worse, billions-dollar media group is lolzful, that last section there is boggling up my noggin.

I'm so old I remember when the Predisent was supposed to pretend they represented all Americans, at least in public. That norm-asploding ship sailed a long time ago. But the comment about the FCC "being independent" and therefore "supposed to refrain from factoring politics" into their decision is just bizarre to me. Wut? As opposed to what? The DHS? A Trump administration joint not factoring politics in? WaPo, do you read you? Be more sense-making!
posted by petebest at 5:06 AM on August 9 [21 favorites]


This made me laugh:
"Despite the national headlines stemming from Paul Manafort’s tax fraud trial, New Britain has no plans to change the name of Paul Manafort Drive.[...]

“The street is named after the father,” Mayor Erin Stewart said Wednesday. ”Mr. Manafort served the city for a long time, he was a war veteran. You can’t control what your kids do and what they don’t — that doesn’t take away from the service that the father gave to the city.”"
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:28 AM on August 9 [15 favorites]






Washington Post continues its live coverage: Paul Manafort trial Day 8

"9:05 a.m: Bring in the Bankers: Based on the witnesses prosecutors have said they intend to call, Thursday will focus on the bank fraud they say he turned to after his Ukraine political work dried up. [...] Other witnesses yet to be called include several bank representatives, including two who were given immunity from prosecution. Those two potential witnesses come from Federal Savings Bank, whose CEO and chairman overlooked Manafort’s fraud in hopes of getting a job in the Trump administration, according to prosecutors from the Special Counsel’s Office."

Buzzfeed's Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) updates:
Prosecutors just filed a motion for a "curative instruction" — yesterday, in front of the jury, the judge had gotten upset that a govt witness sat in on the trial, which the judge said he usually did not permit. But the govt said the judge prev. okay'd it

There have been a number of tense exchanges between the judge and prosecutors — some in front of the jury, some not — but this is the first time the govt has asked for an instruction like this. They argue the court incorrectly suggested to the jury the govt "acted improperly"

During this exchange yesterday, the prosecutor told the judge he had granted permission earlier and that the transcript would show that. The judge had still gotten upset and told the govt not to do it again. In today's motion, they attached the segment of that transcript

Heading into the courtroom now, we'll see how the judge responds. Stay tuned.
In many respects, I wish the Manafort trial wasn't so gripping. Not least because this is just Mueller's warm-up.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:19 AM on August 9 [19 favorites]


I've found the reaction to the Judge's actions kind of baffling

It's like "This Judge is an abusive asshole!"

And everyone goes "Yeah, all Judges are like that, you just have to put up with it"

It's like "Yeah, all the bus drivers are ranting meth heads these days, what are you gonna do lol"
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:39 AM on August 9 [29 favorites]


The judge is on record that he doesn't think this trial should be happening. I don't know why people keep downplaying his stumping for the defense.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:47 AM on August 9 [31 favorites]


The judge is on record that he doesn't think this trial should be happening. I don't know why people keep downplaying his stumping for the defense.

Usually it indicates that they think that a) the defendant is going down and b) the judgement has to be appeal proof to the extent it can be. In this case I'm not so sure, but we will see.
posted by jaduncan at 6:49 AM on August 9 [6 favorites]


I'm so old I remember when the Predisent was supposed to pretend they represented all Americans, at least in public.

You must be older than me, because I don't. (I was born to a family of urban atheist academics, and for as long as I've been old enough to pay attention, I got the message LOUD AND CLEAR that Republican politicians don't consider me a Real American.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:51 AM on August 9 [33 favorites]


To whit: George Bush Sr. being interviewed in 1987:

"Sherman: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are Atheists?

Bush (Senr): No, I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

Sherman: Do you support as a sound constitutional principle the separation of state and church?

Bush (Senr): Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I'm just not very high on Atheists."

I was aware of this quote back int he 80s (somehow, because my parents, while atheists, are not involved in Atheism-Capital-A so it wasn't from them, but I must have read it somewhere).
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:54 AM on August 9 [59 favorites]


Yeah, I mean, I'm with you there re: not feeling at home as an atheist. To be fair, that's not unique to the President (though ideally the President should be held to a higher standard har har har) as many studies have shown that we atheists are distrusted as much / more than rapists.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:59 AM on August 9 [4 favorites]


Some more reporting on the West Virginia Supreme Court impeachment situation --

NPR: West Virginia House Panel Votes To Impeach Entire Supreme Court
Tuesday, Aug. 14, is the deadline for arranging a special election for November. After that, it would fall to the governor to appoint any new justices.
...
The timing of Tuesday's vote to approve the impeachment articles — after a month of hearings, and one week before the Aug. 14 deadline — was quickly criticized by Democrats.

"It's a coup," said Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer, a Democrat who is the judiciary committee's minority chair. She added, "They dragged this out all summer long, and suddenly they put this on the agenda."

Fleischauer told NPR that she sees the timing of the impeachment as a ploy to allow Gov. Jim Justice — a former Democrat who is now a Republican — to appoint the majority of the justices on the state's highest court. Any new justices would then serve until the next election in two years' time, she said.
...
Fleischauer and [Republicans] also differ on the nature of the charges involved. While Fleischauer said she views the charges against Loughry as serious, she thinks the charges against the other three justices are "a lot different" and don't warrant impeachment charges.
Loughry won office as a Republican; the impeachment charges are being brought against all of the justices, rather than having separate charges filed against each individual justice, which has been another point of contention, and has been characterized by some Democrats as an attempt to leverage the more-serious charges to oust the other justices, or to put to Democrats in a position of voting against those charges in the lead-up to the midterms.

HuffPo: There’s A Lot Of Drama Right Now With The West Virginia Supreme Court
West Virginia Delegate Mike Pushkin, a Democrat, attempted to block Justice from handpicking Loughry’s replacement by introducing an impeachment inquiry in February so that there would be ample time for his removal before the August deadline. Pushkin and other Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee have suggested that Republicans have purposely dragged out impeachment efforts to avoid the timely election of the judges’ successors.

“Here we are 6 months after I filed my resolution, more than a month after we convened this impeachment proceeding, and nothing has happened,” Pushkin said in a statement. “Our concern always was that the House Republican Leadership would drag their feet, and try to pack the court with appointed Justices, rather than having a Court composed of Justices voted on by our citizens. It turns out our fears were justified.”
This really does look like bad faith action on the Republican side to stack the bench -- or influence the midterms -- albeit action based on some real and serious charges that probably ought to see at least one Justice removed. The problem doesn't so much lie in the accusations (although there's some debate on that as to whether several of the justices need to be impeached, rather than some other action taken) as it does in actively slow-rolling the pursuit of justice to prevent a public vote for a replacement.
posted by cjelli at 7:00 AM on August 9 [35 favorites]


"And everyone goes "Yeah, all Judges are like that, you just have to put up with it"
It's like "Yeah, all the bus drivers are ranting meth heads these days, what are you gonna do lol""


The legal profession is a sick, sick system. Everyone knows it. But no one with the power to do anything about it is willing to try, and you can't unilaterally disarm (since it is an actual competitive battle). I think a lot of what judges do is unethical (in the moral sense, not in the "legal ethics" sense) and tends to undermine faith in justice and the justice system (and of course ditto lawyers). But I also recognize that's how the system works and I can make assessments and predictions about cases based on my understanding of the sick system. I think a lot of what Ellis is doing is, in an abstract, big-picture way, super problematic. But in the practical everyday world, it is just kind-of how judges work and not necessarily a bad sign for Mueller's team.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:03 AM on August 9 [14 favorites]


As conservatives endlessly love to point out, we live in a republic not a democracy...

I know you're using their framing here as a logic trap, and I applaud that. But I would have added the adverb "dishonestly" to "endlessly," because that framing is a classic false dichotomy. You can have democracies that are and are not republics and you can have republics that are and are not democracies. The real issue with the "foisting" is that we live in a representative democracy, as opposed to a direct democracy (how would that even work with over 300,000,000 citizens?). This pretend ignorance of the right that we are somehow slaves to the government is also what they use to convince people to believe that taxes are theft and that poor people are stealing all their money. It's despicable and I personally refuse to give their disingenuous framing an ounce of oxygen.
posted by Mental Wimp at