"Is the president aware of what’s going on?"
August 13, 2018 12:42 PM   Subscribe

Today is the 10th day of the United States of America v. Paul J. Manafort, Jr. and Richard W. Gates III (PDF). The dramatic courtroom events so far include secretive conferences between Judge T.S. Ellis, the federal prosecutors, and Manafort's defense lawyers, the judge repeatedly snapping at Mueller's team, mounting evidence of Manafort's financial fraud and corruption from government experts and immunized witnesses, and stunning plea-bargain testimony from Manafort's former partner and protégé, the newly clean-shaven Rick Gates. The Prosecution's case in Paul Manafort trial is close to wrapping up (CNN), and the New York Times has begun to write his political obituary: The Rise and Fall of Paul Manafort: Greed, Deception and Ego. Meanwhile, Donald Trump is winding up his "working vacation", during which he's stumped at rallies for GOP mid-term candidates, stirred up his trade wars, explored shutting down the government to get his border wall, and obsessed over the Manafort trial. (Politico)

Back in the nation's capitol, yesterday's Unite the Right 2 rally failed to recapture last year's controversy and violence: Counterprotesters Dwarfed White Supremacists in D.C. One Year After Deadly Charlottesville Rally (Washington Post); In Their Own Words: Charlottesville, One Year Later (CNN) (THREAD)

And to promote her new White House memoir, Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House, the former "Apprentice" contestant who became a White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman has released two audio recordings she secretly made: the first is of John Kelly firing her ("Is the president aware of what’s going on?" she asked him) and the second is of a phone call with Trump afterward ("Nobody even told me about it. [...] I didn’t know that. Goddamn it. I don’t love you leaving at all," he told her) (NBC). On Twitter this morning, Trump nicknamed her "Wacky Omarosa", calling her "vicious, but not smart", but admitted he tried to convince Kelly to work out his problems with her "because she only said GREAT things about me - until she got fired!"

In Other Headlines:

FBI Agent Peter Strzok Fired Over Anti-Trump Texts (Washington Post) "Aitan Goelman, Strzok’s lawyer, said FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowdich ordered the firing on Friday — even though the director of the FBI office that normally handles employee discipline had decided Strzok should face only a demotion and 60-day suspension." Trump promptly took credit for the firing and demanded the Clinton investigation be "properly redone."

• Following Trump's imposition of higher metals tariffs on Turkey in his escalating feud, world stocks hit one-month low and S&P 500, Dow slip as Turkey's currency woes spread (Reuters)

Stephen Miller is an Immigration Hypocrite. I Know Because I’m His Uncle.—If my nephew’s ideas on immigration had been in force a century ago, our family would have been wiped out. (Politico); Last Surviving Prosecutor At Nuremberg Trials Says Trump's Family Separation Policy Is ‘Crime Against Humanity’ (Independent)

Kavanaugh Documents Offer Minor Clues into his Bush White House Years (Washington Post); Trump's Supreme Court Pick Calls Antonin Scalia a 'Role Model' And a 'Judicial Hero' (CNN)

DeVos Rolls Back Rules Aimed At Low-Performing For-Profit and Career Colleges (Politico) "The Education Department unveiled a proposal to rescind the ‘gainful employment’ regulation, which was a centerpiece of the Obama administration’s crackdown on for-profit education companies."

Cables Detail C.I.A. Waterboarding at Secret Prison Run by Gina Haspel (NYT). During enhanced interrogation of the al-Qaeda suspect charged with masterminding the USS Cole bombing, one of the cables reports, the “water treatment was applied.”

• Maris Poll (PDF): Trump is as strongly disliked now as Nixon was before he resigned (CNN), 45% of Americans rate President Donald Trump's job performance as poor, 13% as fair, and 40% as pretty good to excellent.

This is the 569th day of the Trump presidency—also, his 189th day at a Trump property as president and his 146th day at a Trump golf club as president.

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. (And thanks to Zachlipton for collaborating on this FPP's draft on the MeFi wiki.)
posted by Doktor Zed (1159 comments total) 114 users marked this as a favorite
 
Trying to grapple with those job approval numbers - sure, 40% will approve of him no matter how many children he puts in cages. But that 13% who think his performance is fair? Whuh? Are they just people who are okay as long as unemployment is low?
posted by mai at 12:54 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


I’d just like to say that I started visiting MetaFilter after the 9/11 attacks, because it seemed to be the website with the highest signal-to-noise ratio in a very noisy time, and also a community where people could grapple with the unimaginable together. These Trump threads take me back to those times as they serve the same purpose decades later. Cheers to all.
posted by ejs at 12:54 PM on August 13 [132 favorites]


I was very pleased to read someone in Stephen Miller's family breaking ranks (in the "Stephen Miller is an Immigration Hypocrite" piece). But wasn't this known before?

There are plenty of folks on Twitter who have been bringing in the receipts for various pols' family immigration histories. Is this really new news about Miller?
posted by wenestvedt at 12:55 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Is this really new news about Miller?

No, but it's his actual uncle speaking up, rather than some random genealogy buff on Twitter. This is noteworthy, assuming Miller has any family loyalty at all (which is, of course, a big assumption).
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:58 PM on August 13 [16 favorites]


Is this really new news about Miller?

The family history isn't new news, though it's vividly presented here, but it's a pretty notable thing to have an uncle roasting his nephew in a national publication with lines like "I would encourage Stephen to ask himself if the chanting, torch-bearing Nazis of Charlottesville, whose support his boss seems to court so cavalierly, do not envision a similar fate for him" and "while my nephew, Stephen, was famously recovering from the hardships of his high school cafeteria in Santa Monica, Joseph was a child on his own in Sudan in fear of being deported back to Eritrea to face execution for desertion."
posted by zachlipton at 12:59 PM on August 13 [71 favorites]


There are plenty of folks on Twitter who have been bringing in the receipts for various pols' family immigration histories. Is this really new news about Miller?

Let me take you all the way back to . . . LAST THURSDAY. . . when the first in-laws became citizens through the very "chain-migration" their same-age-son-in-law wants to eliminate.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:59 PM on August 13 [37 favorites]


13% as fair, and 40% as pretty good to excellent

Ok so 40% evil, 13% idiots
posted by schadenfrau at 1:00 PM on August 13 [8 favorites]


But that 13% who think his performance is fair? Whuh? Are they just people who are okay as long as unemployment is low?

A disturbingly large percentage of humanity in general and Americans in particular simply do not care about things that do not personally affect them. And it's not that hard, if you're self-absorbed and check most of the right Census boxes, to look at most of the things wrong in modern America as Somebody Else's Problem.
posted by delfin at 1:02 PM on August 13 [26 favorites]


84 days until the 2018 midterm elections
812 days until the 2020 general elections
posted by dilettante at 1:03 PM on August 13 [18 favorites]


Members of once reviled minorities becoming immigration hardliners is nothing new. Before Miller and the Jews, it was the Irish and Hannity, O'Reilly and Buchanan.
posted by PenDevil at 1:04 PM on August 13 [14 favorites]


13% idiots

13% Mitläufer
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:05 PM on August 13 [9 favorites]


> 13% as fair, and 40% as pretty good to excellent

Stop telling yourself Trump's supporters are turning on him.

Look at that 538 data listed in #4. They will never, ever change their mind on him. He could show up at their houses, personally get them fired from their jobs and take a shit in their living room and at most they'd be like "I didn't agree with the shitting, but overall he's doing a good job."
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:07 PM on August 13 [109 favorites]


Well the post heavily features the Paul Manafort trial, so this reminder is maybe redundant, but traditional: Paul Manafort, the President's former campaign manager, is still spending his nights in jail.

NYT: On Sunday, Mr. Manafort celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary in jail. He was allowed three visits limited to 30 minutes each.

I find that the thought brings a small ray of cheer to me at a time when most of the news is grim.
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:08 PM on August 13 [34 favorites]


Vermont primary could pave way for first transgender governor in US

"If Christine Hallquist can win Tuesday’s Democratic primary, and go on to run for Vermont governor, it will be the first time in history that Americans will be able to vote for a transgender woman for such a senior political role.

For Hallquist, it will cap a remarkable journey which has included decades of internal strife over how her family would accept her as Christine, the five-year transition process before she felt ready to present herself as a woman in her job as a high-powered CEO, and even dodging an exorcism attempt as a child.[...]

“I tell people this isn’t the hardest thing I ever did. In fact, I think after transitioning everything else looks pretty easy,” Hallquist said."
posted by Emmy Rae at 1:08 PM on August 13 [40 favorites]


40% is Incredible.
posted by Cyrano at 1:09 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


Trump's arrived at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield for the signing ceremony for the bill H.R. 5515, and the Toronto Star's Daniel Dale (@ddale) is live-tweeting his remarks. Here's a selection:
—At the outset of his speech, Trump refers to the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act as simply the National Defense Authorization Act and "our new defense bill." Will he acknowledge McCain at all?
—Trump on the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "Very prestigious title. I always loved the ring: the Joint. Chiefs. Of staff. Right? That's got a good ring."
—After Pence gave a conventional speech, Trump is already improvising Trumpishly: "Nobody has made more progress on anything than what we've done for our vets."
—Trump falsely says the $716 billion NDAA is "historic." It's not even if you ignore inflation; Obama's 2011 version was $725 billion. This is the 12th time he's falsely claimed or suggested he's setting defense spending records.
—Trump criticizes the media, to some mild applause from the troops, then says: "I'm so proud of myself, I didn't call them the 'fake news media.'...We know the real truth, but we won't say it today."
—For the 10th time in the last couple weeks, Trump falsely says Asian-American unemployment is lowest ever. (It's 3.1%; was lower at end of the Obama era and during W. Bush era.)
For the 15th time, Trump falsely says women's unemployment is lowest in 65 years. (It's 18 years.)
—Trump falsely says he wouldn't have been believed if he'd claimed even 2 million jobs would be greated over the 19 months since the election. About 4 million jobs were created under the previous 19-month period under Obama.
—Trump concludes by saying he'll now sign "the National Defense Authorization Act." He did not mention ill Republican Sen. John McCain in his speech touting the new law whose full name is the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act.
(It's nice to have Dale back from vacation—while a lot of accounts on Twitter will try to keep up with all the outrageous bullshit Trump spreads during his speeches, I haven't found anyone who can fact-check Trump in real time as well as him.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:10 PM on August 13 [65 favorites]


“New Poll: Majority of Americans Believe Race Relations Have Worsened Under President Trump” [Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “Americans believe by 57% to 15% that race relations have become worse since President Trump’s election. By contrast, respondents were evenly divided about Barack Obama’s time in the White House, with 38% believing race relations improved and 37% saying they worsened.” • Retuers/IPSOS.
posted by robbyrobs at 1:16 PM on August 13 [9 favorites]


Trump falsely says he wouldn't have been believed if he'd claimed even 2 million jobs would be [created] over the 19 months since the election.
In fairness, I wouldn't have believed Trump, but then, I heard he said water was wet the other day and had to check.
posted by Etrigan at 1:20 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


Before Miller and the Jews, it was the Irish and Hannity, O'Reilly and Buchanan.

Except it is not "the Jews". It is a Jew. Or at least he was born that way.

Jewish organizations have marched and rabbis have been arrested in the streets protesting these immigration policies. One march, in June was intended to show a united Jewish front to what the groups call “inhumane and immoral immigration policies.” Co-sponsors included multiple Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative and MO shuls and:
Ameinu
Ansche Chesed
Hashomer Hatzair
HIAS
Hitoreri
J Street NYC
Jewish Theological Seminary
Jewish Voice for Peace NYC
Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
Romemu
Society for the Advancement of Judaism
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Workmen’s Circle
posted by Sophie1 at 1:21 PM on August 13 [63 favorites]


Americans believe by 57% to 15% that race relations have become worse since President Trump’s election.

Just to be precise, that 15% thinks that they've gotten better. Seems pretty transparent that they mean "It's better that those other races know their place now in relation to me."
posted by Etrigan at 1:23 PM on August 13 [20 favorites]


13% as fair, and 40% as pretty good to excellent

Keep in mind that it takes less than 9% of the jury to find Manafort not guilty of all charges.
posted by JackFlash at 1:29 PM on August 13 [9 favorites]


Congrats Jack. Couldn't happen to a nicer crypto-fascist.

Media Matters (@mmfa)
Alex Jones says his allies in the fight against the globalists are Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey
posted by chris24 at 1:40 PM on August 13 [68 favorites]


What really gets me about Laura Ingraham is that she has a daughter adopted from Guatemala. How she can spew all her vile hate and then go home to her own child escapes me - unless she thinks "well, my kid is One Of The Good Ones and leopards will never eat HER face!" Or else she's a Mommie Dearest type.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:45 PM on August 13 [26 favorites]


How she can spew all her vile hate and then go home to her own child escapes me

It's been mentioned in previous threads: there is a subgroup of evangelical fanatics that likes to adopt brown-skinned children to "save" them from a life of primitive horrors, and spends that child's entire childhood demanding that the child be grateful to the better-than-parents people who brought the child into their home. They don't get enough subservience from their own children (or from the idea of their own children), and they want children they can basically own.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:53 PM on August 13 [93 favorites]


Keep in mind that it takes less than 9% of the jury to find Manafort not guilty of all charges.

Wouldn't one juror refusing to convict result in a hung jury and a mistrial, rather than a finding of "not guilty"?
posted by nubs at 1:56 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


Previous discussion of vile-spewing racists adopting brown children was here.
posted by Dashy at 1:58 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


That's super weird, Rosie—I can't think of a more direct way for a white person to contribute to the "demographic shift" in the US Ingraham decries than to straight-up bring a brown child into the country, ostensibly to raise in conditions favorable to someday having children of her own (!!!WITH A WHITE MAN, MAYBE EVEN!!!).
posted by Rykey at 1:58 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Wouldn't one juror refusing to convict result in a hung jury and a mistrial, rather than a finding of "not guilty"?

Yes, more precisely, it takes only one juror to prevent conviction.
posted by JackFlash at 2:05 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Ajit Pai loses in court—FCC can’t kill broadband subsidy in Tribal areas -- FCC trying to kill $25 subsidy in urban areas and limit subsidy in rural areas. (Jon Brodkin for Ars Technica, Aug. 13, 2018)
A US appeals court has blocked the Federal Communications Commission's attempt to take a broadband subsidy away from Tribal areas.

The FCC decision, originally slated to take effect later this year, would have made it difficult or impossible for Tribal residents to obtain a $25-per-month Lifeline subsidy that reduces the cost of Internet or phone service for poor people. But on Friday, a court stayed the FCC decision pending appeal, saying that Tribal organizations and small wireless carriers are likely to win their case against the commission.

"Petitioners have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their arguments that the facilities-based and rural areas limitations contained in the Order are arbitrary and capricious," said the stay order (PDF) issued by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. "In particular, petitioners contend that the Federal Communications Commission failed to account for a lack of alternative service providers for many tribal customers."

The tribes and small carriers that sued the FCC "have shown a substantial risk that tribal populations will suffer widespread loss of vital telecommunications services absent a stay," the court said. The FCC hasn't proven that its plan won't result in "mass disconnection," the court also said.
I'll celebrate every win, especially against Pai's efforts to harm poor and rural people.

And if you'd like to comment on the broadband standards, there's a new window opening up soon, not that Pai will listen to the public -- Speedier broadband standards? Pai’s FCC says 25Mbps is fast enough -- FCC kicks off annual analysis of nationwide broadband deployment. (Jon Brodkin for Ars Technica, Aug. 10, 2018)
The Federal Communications Commission is proposing to maintain the US broadband standard at the current level of 25Mbps downstream and 3Mbps upstream.

That's the speed standard the FCC uses each year to determine whether advanced telecommunications capabilities are "being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion."

The FCC raised the standard from 4Mbps/1Mbps to 25Mbps/3Mbps in January 2015 under then-Chairman Tom Wheeler. Ajit Pai, who was then a commissioner in the FCC's Republican minority, voted against raising the speed standard.

As FCC chairman since 2017, Pai has kept the standard at 25Mbps/3Mbps despite calls to raise it from Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. This week, he proposed keeping the standard the same for another year.
...
Public comments due next month

Pai's proposal came in a Notice of Inquiry (PDF) that seeks public comment on how the FCC should conduct its annual broadband deployment assessment, which will likely be released early in 2019.

"We propose to maintain the 25Mbps/3Mbps benchmark, and we seek comment on this proposal," the notice says.

US law defines advanced telecommunications capability as service "that enables users to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video telecommunications using any technology."

The FCC previously found that the "speed benchmark of 25Mbps/3Mbps was the appropriate measure to assess whether fixed services provides advanced telecommunications capability," the FCC notice said.

Comments can be submitted at this webpage. Initial comments are due on September 10, and reply comments are due on September 24.
I look forward to John Oliver fans crashing the FCC website with comments and FCC lying about a cyberattack again.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:30 PM on August 13 [44 favorites]


What really gets me about Laura Ingraham is that she has a daughter adopted from Guatemala. How she can spew all her vile hate and then go home to her own child escapes me...

A good part of the mind-set for many privileged whites when they adopt little brown babies is that they are rescuing them from a fate worse than death in their filthy, godless home country. The baby is a trophy, to be displayed and shown-off.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:34 PM on August 13 [14 favorites]


In case anybody missed it from the end of the last thread, Politico: Trump’s diplomatic learning curve: Time zones, ‘Nambia’ and ‘Nipple’
Several times in the first year of his administration, President Donald Trump wanted to call Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the middle of the afternoon. But there was a problem. Midafternoon in Washington is the middle of the night in Tokyo — when Abe would be fast asleep. Trump’s aides had to explain the issue, which one diplomatic source said came up on “a constant basis,” but it wasn’t easy. [...] In one case, Trump, while studying a briefer’s map of South Asia ahead of a 2017 meeting with India’s prime minister, mispronounced Nepal as “nipple” and laughingly referred to Bhutan as “button,” [...] “He didn’t know what those were. He thought it was all part of India,” said one person familiar with the meeting. “He was like, ‘What is this stuff in between and these other countries?’” [...] Trump sometimes avoids saying certain words or names when talking to a foreign leader because he’s unsure whether he can pronounce them properly. [...] Trump, in public remarks, referred to the country of Namibia as “Nambia.” [...] When Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte visited the White House last month, Trump congratulated him on his “tremendous victory,” even though the Italian had never campaigned for office or run in Italy’s election. [...] During a meeting with Abe at Mar-a-Lago in April, Trump repeatedly praised Chinese President Xi Jinping [...] [H]e sometimes puts on an Indian accent and imitates the way Modi speaks. And in an infamous Oval Office remark in January that sparked a global furor, Trump branded several African nations, along with Haiti and El Salvador, as “shithole countries.” [...] [H]e sometimes places calls that have no clear diplomatic purpose. Trump has what one former Trump national security official calls a “bizarre” fascination with calling French President Emmanuel Macron. “He wanted to talk to him constantly. ... Macron would be like: ‘Hey, what are we talking about?’ These are very busy people. You don’t just call to check in,” [...] Abe has met with Trump one-on-one seven times, but a former NSC official from a prior administration said Japanese diplomats joke that “he’s had one meeting with Trump seven times because he’s got to go back over the same issues every time.” [...] In discussions with foreign leaders, Trump often cites the trade deficit between the U.S. and the other leader’s nation. His figures are sometimes inaccurate [...] etc
Frightening that our best hope for the survival of the world is that one day this man simply forgets how to breathe and slowly asphyxiates to death on his gold-plated toilet while frantically tweeting for help.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 2:46 PM on August 13 [42 favorites]


the kid didn't ask for us to project all kinds of objectifying language onto her to make our point that Laura Ingraham is a godawful racist, which all of us already knew
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:47 PM on August 13 [54 favorites]


Chuck Grassley was very proud of the Kavanaugh documents released this weekend, all carefully pre-screened, but 40,936 out of 87,798 pages were the same piece of Heritage event advertisement spam from Ginni Thomas.

That's real. The email has a crap-ton of recipients, and it's duplicated in the documents over and over and over again. This process is a joke.
posted by zachlipton at 3:01 PM on August 13 [74 favorites]


The mayor of Somerville, MA tees off in a series of tweets (link: boston.com) against Jim Koch, founder of the Sam Adams brewing company and fan of Trump's tax cuts. The mayor vows to never drink Sam Adams again (hardly a sacrifice, really).
posted by TwoStride at 3:27 PM on August 13 [16 favorites]


Because this is the world we live in now, fired FBI agent and patriot Peter Strzok has a GOFUNDME page to cover his legal costs. He has raised $60,000 of his $150,000 goal in 7 hours.
posted by Justinian at 3:28 PM on August 13 [14 favorites]


> 13% as fair, and 40% as pretty good to excellent
I do believe that a common feature of all populists is that they have something, in the way they speak, in their body language, that's just physically attractive for a large part of the population. While lots of us see ridicule and posturing, and hear nothing but gibberish, those 40% love what they see and hear, or more precisely the shape of what they see and the sound of what they hear, which may explain why what the populist leader actually means and does is of so little importance for his supporters. These people see strength and decisiveness where we see grimacing, they hear wit and shrewdness where we hear ignorance. Trump really knows how to tap into that and how to play that routine, as shown in the whole "being presidential" skit he did a few days ago. In fact, there's a new and growing field of research about this, where populism "can be understood as a discursive manifestation of a thin-centered ideology that is not only focused on the underlying “set of basic assumptions about the world” but in particular on “the language that unwittingly expresses them” . Put differently, the communicative tools used for spreading populist ideas are just as central as the populist ideas themselves."
posted by elgilito at 3:29 PM on August 13 [15 favorites]


***REMINDER***: it's ok to check out of these threads if you feel like you're being overwhelmed by too much politics/grawr. Sometimes you get too into the weeds. Here's a perfectly chill thread about cats. I'll see myself out. Take care of yourselves. I care for you all.
posted by Fizz at 3:30 PM on August 13 [48 favorites]


I will bet real money that we are going to hear multiple Republicans utter the phrase "Brett Kavanaugh is the most highly-vetted Supreme Court nominee in history" repeatedly over the next few weeks.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:31 PM on August 13 [13 favorites]


Bloomberg, Kushner’s Ties to Russia-Linked Group Began With Kissinger Lunch
In March 2016, as the U.S. foreign policy establishment shunned presidential candidate Donald Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner was invited to lunch for a think tank urging detente with Russia and struggling for influence in Washington.

The meeting at Manhattan’s Time Warner Center, which hasn’t been reported before, would prove significant for the Center for the National Interest and Kushner, who was still a little-known figure in the Trump campaign.

The main attraction of the March 14th event was Henry Kissinger, the center’s honorary chairman, who gave a talk that included analyzing U.S.-Russia relations for a small group of attendees. Kushner, who remained quiet and unobtrusive during the lunch, introduced himself to Kissinger afterward. He also met Dimitri Simes, the Russian-born president of the center and publisher of its magazine, The National Interest.

Questions have recently been raised about the center for its ties to Russia, including its interactions with Maria Butina, a woman accused of conspiring to set up a back channel by infiltrating the National Rifle Organization and the National Prayer Breakfast.
Also, please see: Ex-Trump Aide Seb Gorka is Giving Out Fake Fox News Business Cards

Finally, @KateBennett_DC: CNN has also learned that while @realDonaldTrump is heading back to Washington this evening, @FLOTUS is scheduled to remain in Bedminster, New Jersey, for the remainder of the week.
posted by zachlipton at 3:33 PM on August 13 [17 favorites]


A state review into the treatment of immigrant teens held at a Virginia detention center confirmed the facility uses restraint techniques that can include strapping children to chairs and placing mesh bags over their heads.
But investigators concluded the harsh treatment described by detainees at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center did not meet the state’s legal threshold of abuse or neglect, according to a copy of the findings issued Monday by the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice and obtained by The Associated Press.
Your country is fucking broken.
posted by adamvasco at 3:35 PM on August 13 [65 favorites]


I saw a commercial praising Kavanaugh and urging his speedy confirmation this afternoon on CNN--featuring a testimonial from one of his staff who identifies herself as a lifelong Democrat. Do Supreme Court nominees usually get commercials? Sponsor was "Judicial Crisis Network" or some bullshit. As a pointy headed coastal liberal I am proud that I do not own a television and have never paid for cable (indeed, saw this as I was on the treadmill at the gym.)
posted by Sublimity at 3:36 PM on August 13 [7 favorites]


I saw a commercial praising Kavanaugh and urging his speedy confirmation this afternoon on CNN--featuring a testimonial from one of his staff who identifies herself as a lifelong Democrat. Do Supreme Court nominees usually get commercials? Sponsor was "Judicial Crisis Network" or some bullshit. As a pointy headed coastal liberal I am proud that I do not own a television and have never paid for cable (indeed, saw this as I was on the treadmill at the gym.)

Not just commercials, Kavanaugh has been getting a huge amount of astroturfed press in various outlets, as well as a tour bus. Someone is paying for it.
posted by dilaudid at 3:44 PM on August 13 [10 favorites]


There's a lot of talk about the unemployment rate being low currently, but hasn't that been shown to be only because they stopped counting the unemployed who were no longer eligible for unemployment benefits, ie the chronically unemployed?
posted by sexyrobot at 3:46 PM on August 13


The Judicial Crisis Network also funded a $10 million campaign supporting Gorsuch's confirmation.
posted by peeedro at 3:50 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


There's a lot of talk about the unemployment rate being low currently, but hasn't that been shown to be only because they stopped counting the unemployed who were no longer eligible for unemployment benefits, ie the chronically unemployed?

I don't know about a change to the count, but the unemployment rate only includes people actively seeking work. If you've given up, you don't count as part of the workforce.
posted by hoyland at 4:11 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Well, really there are several unemployment rates, but the denominator of the one that gets reported is "employed or actively seeking work". It misses the chronically unemployed and miscounts the underemployed.
posted by hoyland at 4:13 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


Welp ... be my guest ... but getting this deep into Trumpland, beware your gaskets. They were never designed for such environments.
posted by Twang at 4:24 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Every measure we have shows unemployment is currently very low. The pay sucks and all the benefits of record profits are going to the rich but unemployment really is low. Inheriting this economy from Obama is the only reason Trump's numbers aren't in the gutter. He's the luckiest asshole in the world.
posted by Justinian at 4:27 PM on August 13 [38 favorites]


re: unemployment numbers

This BLS page has information on the various E* numbers. E3 is the "official number", and as people pointed out, it only includes people currently employed, or actively looking for employment. There are many who believe the E6 number is a more accurate representation of the health of the workforce overall.

E3 is currently 4.1
E6 is currently 7.9
posted by petrilli at 4:33 PM on August 13 [9 favorites]


@LynnePatton (with a photo, and a menorah, idk): Many of you have asked me why I’ve been so quiet these past few days. Trust me, it’s about to get loud as a MF...✌🏽 #TheTape #TheTimeline #TheTexts #StayTuned

Patton is a long-term Trump family aide and wedding planner who is currently in charge of HUD's New York/New Jersey region despite a lack of experience in housing or urban development and known for a particularly gross tweet about April Ryan.

You ever get the feeling that the earth is spinning too rapidly on its axis?
posted by zachlipton at 4:40 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


E6 is higher, but has also been trending lower since 2009 (The last time it was this low was around 1999-2000, and only briefly). But yeah, Trump doesn't really deserve any credit for that.
posted by thefoxgod at 4:43 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


I've lost the plot. Is Patton implying something's coming that will hurt Trump? Hurt Omarosa? Hurt us all? I mean, the last is a given. But what is this about? Help.
posted by Justinian at 4:44 PM on August 13 [13 favorites]


President Trump called Donald Jr. 'a fuckup' after he released emails about controversial meet with Russian lawyer, book says
“He is such a fuckup,” Trump said of his son, according to Manigault Newman’s tell-all book, a copy of which was obtained by the Daily News. “He screwed up again, but this time, he’s screwing us all, big-time!”
posted by kirkaracha at 4:51 PM on August 13 [34 favorites]


Catching up from the last mega thread, in response to schadenfrau on the Koch brothers drinking their own kool-aid:

After hearing a Freakonomics interview (part 1, part 2) with Charles Koch, I think he's aware on on some level of his bullshit.

He basically speaks like a politician, and throughout the interview was good at sticking to talking points that define welfare programs and labor unions as "cronyism programs" and "special interest groups" breaking an otherwise good system. But then at the very end of part 2, there's a telling reply:
DUBNER: Charles, you strike me as a pretty realistic fellow. So I think you’d agree there’s no such thing as a utopian government or society. It’s just not going to happen. But when you look around the world at a society or culture that you think is as close to good as we’ve gotten, something that aligns with the way you see society and governance working, what are your favorites?

KOCH: Well, I just recently got this Human Freedom Index done by a number of institutes around the world. This is not just economic freedom but it has both economic and personal freedom. If you look at the top countries, they start with Hong Kong, Switzerland, New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark and then Canada. Unfortunately, the U.S. has dropped to twenty-third. There are a lot of great things about the U.S. But we’re increasingly headed, under both Republicans and Democrats, toward a system of control, dependency and cronyism that’s pitting individuals and groups against each other and destroying opportunity and progress. What I look at is, to what degree are the great bulk of people liberated and injustice is eliminated? Even Hong Kong, Switzerland, New Zealand, all of these have problems.

None of them are perfect. As you say, they’ll never be perfect. Human beings are fallible.

DUBNER: Would you rather live in any of those countries - Hong Kong, Switzerland, New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark?

KOCH: No, because we have this two-tiered society here. I happen to be in the favored tier.
But for a lot of people this system isn’t working. That’s our number one objective to get rid of the cronyism, the lack of opportunity for a large portion of the population. That’s the main focus of our efforts.
It's obvious that low taxes and deregulation skewed to the 1% are both responsible for the two tiered system that he prefers, and enable the two tiers by gutting social programs enjoyed by the other developed nations. So he is actively working to keep America objectively worse off in terms of "Human Freedom" to focus solely on a higher ranking in gross economic productivity which disproportionitely benefits his tier.

He may believe some of the magical supply-side economics, but he also admits to choosing a two tiered system that favors the 1% over a system that benefits the population as a whole.
posted by p3t3 at 5:08 PM on August 13 [60 favorites]


@awprokop [emails attached]: Steve Calk, the bank chairman who pushed for $16M in shady loans to Manafort, also sent him a list of Trump Admin jobs he wanted "in rank order."

It appears that Manafort's lawyers are trying to argue essentially that Manafort couldn't have defrauded the bank, because Calk was so busy trying to buy himself a government job that none of Manafort's lies were material.
posted by zachlipton at 5:14 PM on August 13 [13 favorites]


@awprokop [emails attached]: Steve Calk, the bank chairman who pushed for $16M in shady loans to Manafort, also sent him a list of Trump Admin jobs he wanted "in rank order."
Worse, he sent him a ranked list of "perspective rolls".

Presumably he meant "prospective roles" but any time for the rest of our lives that we are tempted to think of this country as a meritocracy I beg you to stop and think of the flood of venal, ignorant, and corrupt people already occupying positions of significant influence that the Trump administration has attracted as hangers on, allies, and collaborators.
posted by Nerd of the North at 5:25 PM on August 13 [87 favorites]


Karen Monahan won't release video that supposedly shows abuse by Keith Ellison. This one is tough. On the one hand Democrats are the party of believing women. On the other hand for some reason "I have proof but no-one can see it!" is way less believable than "there is no proof but it did happen." I don't know why but it is.

I don't know what the Party's response should be for something like this. A lot of supposed Progressives are already salty over Franken being pushed out, I can't imagine how they'd react to Ellison as well. And while "don't believe the women" doesn't strike me as very progressive I am apparently missing something.
posted by Justinian at 5:26 PM on August 13 [9 favorites]


Politico, Trump tried to ban top aides from penning tell-all books
Embedded in the White House’s two-page non-disclosure agreement was a seemingly innocuous clause that prohibited top aides from disclosing confidential information in any form including books, without the express permission of the president, according to a former administration official and an official familiar with the document.

And if aides violated those terms, the non-disclosure agreement stipulated they would have to forfeit to the U.S. government any royalties, advances or book earnings. It’s not unusual for former administration officials to negotiate with the White House over the anecdotes and insider details of their books. But the terms of the White House’s NDA — and even the decision to compel government officials sign an NDA at all — are unprecedented.

NDAs are not typically used for federal government workers including White House officials because presumably they are supposed to serve the public and the institution of the president, not any one particular person.

The White House required all of its political appointees to sign this broad-ranging agreement as a condition of employment, a move mostly championed by the president who has leaned on these agreements dating back to his days running the Trump Organization, according to interviews with eight current and former administration officials and people close to the White House.

But Manigault Newman says she refused to sign it.

In senior staff meetings, the White House’s top attorney, Don McGahn, also left aides with the impression that the agreement was legally murky and not enforceable as a nudge to push them to sign it, according to two of the people familiar with the agreement.
...
And in the chaos of the first 100 days of the Trump White House and the ongoing turnover among White House staff, not everyone got around to signing the document for the White House counsel’s office, multiple people said.
posted by zachlipton at 5:27 PM on August 13 [23 favorites]


a seemingly innocuous clause that prohibited top aides from disclosing confidential information in any form

I can see potential lawsuits over the definition of "confidential," and that's aside from the potential lawsuits over whether the NDA is binding at all.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:31 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


> if aides violated those terms, the non-disclosure agreement stipulated they would have to forfeit to the U.S. government any royalties, advances or book earnings

The subtext here is astounding me now in it's blatant reveal that Trump really does think he IS The State.
posted by glonous keming at 5:34 PM on August 13 [16 favorites]


Or that the NDA's text was a shoddy search-and-replace job on the existing Trump Org NDA.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:46 PM on August 13 [34 favorites]


forfeit to the U.S. government any royalties, advances or book earnings

And he's cheap and vindictive and in this case, demonstrates the narrow, zero sum thinking he (and many of his followers, I reckon- my dad displays and displayed this kind of literal reasoning all his life) thinks makes sense. The earnings, to him, represent the value of any such books, having any such authors relinquish them to, essentially, him, strips them of any value they might have, any truth. That's why he constantly threatens to sue people but rarely does. He thinks the threat alone proves he's right and his critic or foe a liar.
posted by vrakatar at 5:49 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


The family history isn't new news, though it's vividly presented here, but it's a pretty notable thing to have an uncle roasting his nephew in a national publication with lines like "I would encourage Stephen to ask himself if the chanting, torch-bearing Nazis of Charlottesville, whose support his boss seems to court so cavalierly, do not envision a similar fate for him" and "while my nephew, Stephen, was famously recovering from the hardships of his high school cafeteria in Santa Monica, Joseph was a child on his own in Sudan in fear of being deported back to Eritrea to face execution for desertion."

I'm an aunt a number of times over, and I shudder to think how incredibly difficult and painful it would be to speak out against one of my nieces or nephews (and am deeply thankful that it will almost certainly never be necessary, given that none of them have grown up to be evil lizard people). I can only hope I would have David S. Glosser's level of integrity and fortitude if I were in his situation.
posted by orange swan at 6:03 PM on August 13 [33 favorites]


if aides violated those terms, the non-disclosure agreement stipulated they would have to forfeit to the U.S. government any royalties, advances or book earnings

I guess he's safely betting that nobody who would work in his White House would be altruistic enough to, say, write a tell-all book for the public good and donate all royalties, etc. to the government from the get-go. (aside from the myriad other problems with the NDA)
posted by The World Famous at 6:05 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Or that the NDA's text was a shoddy search-and-replace job on the existing Trump Org NDA.

Consider that the Daniels' NDA had boilerplate about results of paternity tests, although that wasn't an issue.

Best case, the Zervos and Daniels litigation gets these NDA's thrown out, and the floodgates open.
posted by mikelieman at 6:12 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


I don't know what the Party's response should be for something like this. A lot of supposed Progressives are already salty over Franken being pushed out, I can't imagine how they'd react to Ellison as well. And while "don't believe the women" doesn't strike me as very progressive I am apparently missing something.

I guess for me, as a Minnesotan who has voted for Ellison in the past, here's what I think, with the understanding that any time big allegations come out right before an election, there is a slightly higher bar to clear:

1. I do not feel that I need to see the tape. If this allegation were made by a third party with something to gain by taking Ellison down, I would want several reliable people to see the tape and confirm its contents, but under these circumstances I believe the story.

1.5. I can see why this woman doesn't want the tape out there. Consider how badly she's going to be treated by the party and how she'll almost certainly be stalked by the right. Consider how much worse it would be with the tape out there.

2. I really wish this weren't happening. I really wanted Ellison to be AG - I thought this was a good move that would be fantastic for the state. But I'm not the one who decided to cheat, lie and lay hands on a partner - he did that himself. I wish I didn't feel obligated to draw this line here and now, but I don't see a way around it.

3. If not now, when? If we can't vote for someone else for AG in a primary, when can we refuse to vote for abusive people? When they're running for assistant arborist?

4. The long game is that in a generation men will understand that they can't be in public life and be abusers. It would have been nice if Democratic men didn't grope or hit, but that's not how those men decided to live their lives. I know a number of men who I can say with virtual certainty do not hit, harass or manipulate their partners; this is not some new thing that no man has ever achieved before.
posted by Frowner at 6:16 PM on August 13 [119 favorites]


This is the 569th day of the Trump presidency—also, his 189th day at a Trump property as president and his 146th day at a Trump golf club as president.

Just so I'm clear, does this mean he spent 335 days either playing golf and/or at a Trump property, or that he spent 189 days at Trump properties, and played golf 146 of them, because at this point, I could believe either one.
posted by 4ster at 6:21 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Seth Meyers from Late Night has a hilarious take on the goings on today. Single link youtube but it's worth the 12 minutes or so (A closer look) for comic relief. What made me laugh out loud was his take on the claim about Trump eating a piece of paper (per Omarosa, denied by Michael Cohen). Seth Myers: "I'm thinking none of this happened or they all ate pieces of paper".

(also, awesome post, you people at metafilter give me hope for the world on a daily basis!)
posted by bluesky43 at 6:22 PM on August 13 [10 favorites]


Frowner, I appreciate your response! Is that the common view in MN? I've probably been getting a skewed view since (besides Metafilter) I mostly went to the Twitters and Reddits to see how people were reacting and that may have skewed my sample towards the brogressive end of the spectrum.
posted by Justinian at 6:36 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


1. I do not feel that I need to see the tape. If this allegation were made by a third party with something to gain by taking Ellison down, I would want several reliable people to see the tape and confirm its contents, but under these circumstances I believe the story.

Why is this still not a reasonable request? I don't need to see it either but my belief in her story would be much stronger if she had witnesses, people she trusted, testifying to what they'd seen on it.
posted by scalefree at 6:39 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]




Ellison should vigorously encourage a full investigation into the claims and full-throatedly exclaim that if found guilty, he'll immediately resign. He should then take a sabbatical & completely disavow publicly speaking on the manner (or anything else) until the investigation concludes. I'm sure his staff can carry on without him for a few weeks.

Anything less isn't a "denial," it's a "stalling tactic."
posted by narwhal at 6:44 PM on August 13 [14 favorites]


CNN has more on the Ellison story. The portion addressing the tape is difficult:
In conversations with CNN on Friday and Saturday, Monahan, an organizer with the environmental group the Sierra Club, said Ellison was emotionally abusive and on one occasion physically abusive near the end of their relationship in late 2016, prompting her to move out of Ellison's apartment. She said that alleged physical altercation was the incident her son referred to involving Ellison allegedly pulling her off the bed and cursing at her. Monahan said she discreetly recorded the video on her cell phone and then uploaded it onto her computer.

Monahan said Saturday that she did not know where the video was because she misplaced it when moving. Monahan also said she would not want the video made public in any case, calling it "embarrassing."

Asked again on Monday about the video, Monahan said she put it on a flash drive and packed it up in her previous home and couldn't immediately find it because it was in storage.
The allegations do have support though, and a serious investigation needs to take place:
Three friends of Monahan, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of backlash, told CNN she had confided in them about the bed incident in the months after she had moved out of Ellison's apartment.

Monahan also shared with CNN dozens of screenshots of text messages and Twitter direct messages she claimed she exchanged with Ellison. Monahan provided one text of her mentioning the physical altercation to Ellison in December 2017.

"Keith, We never discussed -- the video I have of you trying to drag me off the bed, yelling get the f*** out now, calling me a bitch and saying I hate you bitch," the text message read. In follow up texts viewed by CNN, Ellison did not directly address the physical altercation.
That text message appears to have been provided Sunday, as MPR previously reviewed text messages she made available that reportedly did not include mention of physical abuse.
posted by zachlipton at 6:49 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


As a Minnesotan I'm really suspicious of the Ellison allegations. Usually things like that are not a one time thing but more of a pattern, and interviews with former girlfriends say they had never experienced such a thing.

I say this as someone who really wanted Franken to resign very quickly, and I'm keeping my mind open. But there's just something that seems fishy with this one.
posted by localhuman at 6:50 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


I'm in Minnesota and I am seeing mixed responses. A lot of people here are still awfully pissed about Franken resigning. A lot of the defenders are women (I'd even go so far as to say that a small majority of comments I see in threads posted in local political FB groups I belong to are women expressing support for Ellison).
posted by triggerfinger at 6:55 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Good thread by author @DavidNeiwert, with substantial links

It's the upside down world.
posted by bluesky43 at 6:56 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: .@MarkBurnettTV called to say that there are NO TAPES of the Apprentice where I used such a terrible and disgusting word as attributed by Wacky and Deranged Omarosa. I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have. She made it up. Look at her MANY recent quotes saying........such wonderful and powerful things about me - a true Champion of Civil Rights - until she got fired. Omarosa had Zero credibility with the Media (they didn’t want interviews) when she worked in the White House. Now that she says bad about me, they will talk to her. Fake News!

On inauguration day, there was sort of a numb "is this really happening?" feeling. That's happening again now.

Anyway, Trump has no black senior White House staff
posted by zachlipton at 7:00 PM on August 13 [22 favorites]


Why is this still not a reasonable request? I don't need to see it either but my belief in her story would be much stronger if she had witnesses, people she trusted, testifying to what they'd seen on it.

Her son is the one who publicly posted the description of the video and testified as to what he saw on it. So, I guess your wish has already been granted!
posted by sixswitch at 7:01 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


Frowner, I appreciate your response! Is that the common view in MN? I've probably been getting a skewed view since (besides Metafilter) I mostly went to the Twitters and Reddits to see how people were reacting and that may have skewed my sample towards the brogressive end of the spectrum.

I don't know what the common view is - this is just based on discussion among people who tend to take such allegations pretty seriously.

I feel like it hasn't gotten a lot of coverage because people don't want to confront the issue. The thing that needs not to happen is that he wins the primary and this blows up and he loses the election. If this blows up in coming weeks, he needs to step down, assuming he wins.

Why is this still not a reasonable request? I don't need to see it either but my belief in her story would be much stronger if she had witnesses, people she trusted, testifying to what they'd seen on it.

I mean, I guess having a couple of reliable reporters see it and confirm the contents would be best, but bear in mind that it's not like people go through this every day and have a totally practiced plan of campaign for "how to talk about the video of me being abused". I just keep thinking of how very, very hard it would be to go about your life knowing that people had seen a video of you being dragged from your bed by your partner. You know how people are. You know how people are to women on the internet, especially women of color. You know what kinds of things people would say. I...like, I could easily see someone saying to themselves, "I can't face what would happen if this were on the internet, I'll keep quiet", so I find it hard to insist on the tape.

With Ellison, there is a pattern (Amy Alexander's allegations from 2006) and there's been chatter about him. I'd heard a few not-that-great comments over the years but had ignored them because I didn't want to believe anything bad about someone I was so happy to vote for.

I remember when the accusations against Assange surfaced and everyone was all "oh this is a trap", even me. Over time I felt really differently. I've never seen one of these cases where it turns out that a politician or an activist is taken down by a false allegation of assault or harassment. It seems very unlikely that a named ex with a known history in the community and her children are lying - like really, try to imagine a situation where you would go public with lies about a big player in your local community (burning a lot of employment, housing and social bridges, plus guaranteeing yourself death threats) and also involve your children in backing up your lies. It seems extraordinarily unlikely.

I feel like there's a human temptation to think that it's okay if it's our guys, or accusations are true against other people but false against our guys.

I would rather that this not be true, but I try to imagine how likely it is not to be true based on the existing facts, and....it seems pretty true.
posted by Frowner at 7:07 PM on August 13 [72 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: .@MarkBurnettTV called to say that there are NO TAPES of the Apprentice where I used such a terrible and disgusting word as attributed by Wacky and Deranged Omarosa.

If you never said it, you wouldn't need anyone to tell you whether or not there are tapes.
posted by The World Famous at 7:24 PM on August 13 [126 favorites]


Something else I think about in these situations: If someone said, "In 1920, a rising progressive politician [did whatever the rising progressive politician is accused of] and the story was soft-pedaled or covered up because of his powerful position in the state and the loyalty of his party", I would be like, "yeah, that isn't surprising". And yet it's much harder to think of party loyalty and power working that way among real, contemporary people, especially if one of them is someone you have hitherto admired.

It's a tough situation, i'm not saying it isn't.
posted by Frowner at 7:26 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


called to say that there are NO TAPES

Duh, Burnett gave them all to Cohen.
posted by vrakatar at 7:30 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


There are no tapes because Burnett destroyed them to get traction with the new dictator.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:39 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


"There are no tapes, Mr. Trump. I destroyed them years ago when you first paid me to. Remember?"
posted by The World Famous at 7:39 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


I wonder, if an incontrovertible tape of Trump dropping the N-Bomb came out, would it even change anything?
posted by ejs at 7:39 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


No.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:42 PM on August 13 [81 favorites]


While I was thinking of my MN AG vote today, something else came to mind. Remember when Barack Obama recruited Tom Perez to prevent Ellison from becoming DNC chair? That seemed like a really strange strategic blunder at the time. But perhaps Obama's team knew that Ellison's #metoo moment was lurking?

Obviously this is wild-ass speculation, but with less than 24 hours until primary polls close, I don't have anything better to evaluate these credible but curiously timed accusations.
posted by johnny jenga at 7:49 PM on August 13 [17 favorites]


Is there consensus surrounding any alternatives to Ellison for AG for DFL? Wondering who to vote for tomorrow...
posted by localhuman at 7:55 PM on August 13


This quote from this story sells me.

Monahan also sent additional text messages to MPR News indicating that she alerted Ellison to a video in December 2017. "We never discussed — the video I have of you trying to drag me off the bed," Monahan wrote to Ellison, quoting abusive language he allegedly shouted at her.

Ellison did not respond to that message or several that followed. Monahan said the recording also came up in a meeting with Ellison one day before he filed to run for attorney general. Monahan said Ellison was concerned about their text message exchanges and her increasingly frequent social media posts alluding to their relationship.

"He said it could ruin his career. I said 'Keith, I'm not the one who is ruining your career. You're the one that chose to put your hands on me. You're the one who chose to drag me off the bed. You're the one who chose to gaslight me and manipulate me.'"

"He said, 'Let me see the video.'"

She didn't show it to him.


That tale is so specific & damning.

Who says "let me see the video?" What, are there multiple occasions that might have triggered that recollection & you want to know which one she recorded? "Let me see the video" strikes me as a direct attempt to lift the fog of war regarding the allegations in order to formulate the perfect rebuttal, getting out ahead of the story or being prepared with an airtight alibi should it surface.

Granted, it's reported by Monahan, but what a specific response to make up. If I were fabricating a story, I don't know that I'd be savvy enough to portray my innocent victim as guilty in the denial..

I'm inclined to believe her, anyway; if Ellison wants exoneration, the burden of proof seems to weigh heavily on his shoulders at this point.
posted by narwhal at 7:59 PM on August 13 [10 favorites]


Is there consensus surrounding any alternatives to Ellison for AG for DFL? Wondering who to vote for tomorrow...

Sci-fi writer Naomi Kritzer, who does really great writeups of Twin Cities local elections, is going with Mike Rothman.

Closest thing to a consensus we're going to get. Also, in the event this is some kind of dirty trick, Rothman is probably not the rival candidate responsible.
posted by johnny jenga at 8:02 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


Who says "let me see the video?"

Same kind of person who says there are NO TAPES.

The kind that knows damn well that the thing that happened, happened, but wants to know what evidence there is so they can fight it.
posted by mmoncur at 8:04 PM on August 13 [8 favorites]


I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have.

I feel like there's more than one person out there who might see this as a challenge from Trump and call him on it. Russia, if you're listening...
posted by Rykey at 8:04 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


Am I just a huge dummy for only just realizing this (or is this not the case)?

All those NDAs - they're not really intended to be non-disclosure agreements about having "an affair." Sure that they not talk about it is convenient, but it never was an "affair."

He's straight up paying them for sex, the payment being a promise of a NDA in exchange for payment.

*edit: and the involved parties may be shy to state this since there are some pretty punitive laws regarding prostitution in the US
posted by porpoise at 8:08 PM on August 13 [12 favorites]


I wonder, if an incontrovertible tape of Trump dropping the N-Bomb came out, would it even change anything?

Congressional leaders express their profound disapproval of the president's language, but it was years ago, can't we move on and talk about the things everyday Americans care about. Sanders and Conway feign disgust at reporters for bringing up such a vile word over and over. A prominent Democrat, making a poorly conceived point, says a different racial slur on cable news and is pressured into resigning. Approval ratings dip 2% for a week, except among Republicans, where they rise slightly.
posted by theodolite at 8:12 PM on August 13 [98 favorites]


Has any interviewer asked Omarosa if she is currently bound by the terms of any NDA with Trump, the Trump Organization, or any related individual or entity? She may not have signed the one they pushed in front of her in the Situation Room, but she sure as shootin' signed multiple NDAs in connection with The Apprentice and other Trump-related stuff. The fact that those exist and that she cannot talk about stuff from that time period should be a prominent part of the story, and she should be called on to answer to whether she is, even today, receiving some continuing payment for silence about certain time periods and topics.

Also, how is it not the top story that, in the "Situation Room" or wherever they were when Omarosa taped him, General Kelly very plainly committed a crime?
Dist. of Columbia Code section 22–3252. Blackmail.

(a) A person commits the offense of blackmail, if, with intent to obtain property of another or to cause another to do or refrain from doing any act, that person threatens:

(1) To accuse any person of a crime;

(2) To expose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule; or

(3) To impair the reputation of any person, including a deceased person.

(b) Any person convicted of blackmail shall be fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01 or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both.
And what is it Gen. Kelly said to Omarosa when he was trying to get her to sign an illegal NDA?
"You can look at your time here in the White House as a year of service to the nation. And then you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation. But it's very, very important, I think that you understand that there are some serious legal issues that have been violated. And you're open to some legal action that we hope, I think, we can control, right?"
Let's see -
(a) With intent to cause her to sign the NDA or, alternatively, to cause her to refrain from disparaging the Trump Administration publicly, General Kelly threatened to
(1) accuse Omarosa of a crime ("serious legal issues that have been violated") and
(3) impair her reputation (he even used the word "repuation," for crying out loud").

I have an accusation - let's see those Clue cards! General Kelly in the Situation Room with the NDA!
posted by The World Famous at 8:51 PM on August 13 [34 favorites]


Meanwhile, in North Carolina, the Republican legislature and the outgoing Republican governor puts a bullet through the head of democracy.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:57 PM on August 13 [11 favorites]


I'm just popping into say that I'm pretty much twiddling my thumbs, waiting for the point for Chinese Americans and Asian Americans to be thrown underneath a bus with all of the 'trade war' stuff. sigh.
posted by yueliang at 9:11 PM on August 13 [10 favorites]


Who says "let me see the video?"

Innocents and liars alike. "Believe women" doesn't mean we should pretend to be able to parse hidden truths out of word and phrasing choices.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:36 PM on August 13 [22 favorites]


There's a lot of talk about the unemployment rate being low currently, but hasn't that been shown to be only because they stopped counting the unemployed who were no longer eligible for unemployment benefits, ie the chronically unemployed?

Been addressed mostly but I feel like clinging to facts is important these days. And I really hate seeing the other side jump on errors.

There are different numbers for employment and all of them have been trending lower for the last 6-7 years or so, pretty much in lock step. On the other hand total participation in the workforce is one of the broadest measures and is low (some of that an artifact due to an aging population.

Wage growth is weak, and that is the best argument for Trump not doing much good. I personally don't think he's to blame on that, any more than I give him credit for the jobs created--both are completely on trend--but he's clearly not trying to solve the problem.

That 13% that rates him fair will do it until the economy craters. But the economy responds to the sort of nonsense he's inflicting on us slowly and by the time it does, if we're lucky, he'll have a Democratic Congress to blame. It's still better than the alternative.
posted by mark k at 10:24 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


A Canadian friend told me that they'd heard from reputable sources that some US border guards have been asking, "Have you ever smoked weed?" I looked it up and found this from a cross-border tax law blog, posted 4 days ago:
Recently, as was reported by certain media outlets, a Canadian traveler was denied admission to the US after answering affirmatively the following question by CBP: “Have you ever smoked weed?” After a six-hour interrogation, the traveler’s admission to smoking weed resulted in a ban from the US.

This new line of questioning by CBP is the result of direct guidance from the White House and is in response to Canada’s legalization of cannabis. Authorities from the US and Canada are currently working together to reach some sort of resolution that would keep many Canadians from becoming inadmissible to the US for activities that are or will be legal in Canada. However, for the time being, all travelers should be aware of the current questioning by CBP and the consequences of answering in the affirmative.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On a happier note, I enjoyed most of this audio interview with Cody Harris, the guy who organized last year's wildly successful "Adopt-A-Nazi (Not Really)" GoFundMe in response to a proposed alt-right rally (ultimately cancelled) in San Francisco. (I don't agree with his condemnation of confronting Nazis, but I do agree that humor and mockery are excellent for deflating Nazis.)
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 10:35 PM on August 13 [12 favorites]


lmao:
In his Fox News interview Monday morning, Giuliani outlined the three-pronged defense that the president's legal team would use against obstruction allegations: that the conversation Comey has claimed never actually occurred — even though Giuliani previously conceded that it did — but also that the statement Comey claims Trump made would have been a recommendation, not an order, and that even if it was an order, it would not constitute obstruction because it would have been within Trump's authority as the head of the executive branch.
"It's a brilliant three-pronged strategy: he didn't say it; if he did said it, he didn't mean it; and if he did mean it, it's totally fine."
posted by Rhaomi at 11:57 PM on August 13 [40 favorites]


Is there consensus surrounding any alternatives to Ellison for AG for DFL? Wondering who to vote for tomorrow...

Matt Pelikan is the DFL endorsed candidate
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:07 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


There is always a tweet. And I'm shocked that Trump is someone who gets upset that black people can use the N word and he can't.

@realDonaldTrump (2013)
"@EDM___HEAD: @realDonaldTrump @EdandBev lyin ass nigga" Why does Paula D get destroyed and you can use the "N" word so freely, asshole?
posted by chris24 at 4:17 AM on August 14 [16 favorites]


There is always a tweet. And I'm shocked that Trump is someone who gets upset that black people can use the N word and he can't.

Separate from the content, note the appropriate capitalization and punctuation in this tweet. More evidence of his cognitive decline over the past few years.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:37 AM on August 14 [12 favorites]


@LynnePatton (with a photo, and a menorah, idk): Many of you have asked me why I’ve been so quiet these past few days. Trust me, it’s about to get loud as a MF...✌🏽 #TheTape #TheTimeline #TheTexts #StayTuned

Well, we now know what this is about. And Omarosa's terrible, but she's playing Trump well, like Avenatti. Get Trump to deny, then release a tape showing he's lying the next morning.

Abby D. Phillip (CNN)
Omarosa gives CBS a tape of @KatrinaPierson and @LynnePatton on a conference call during the campaign about the alleged "n-word" tape: Pierson says on the tape: "He's said it. He's embarrassed."

CBS: Omarosa reveals audio of Trump campaign aides allegedly discussing potential fallout of N-word
President Trump says former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault-Newman lied when she called him a racist who has said the N-word on tape. The president tweeted Monday night, "I don't have that word in my vocabulary and never have. She made it up." But a new recording, obtained by CBS News overnight, seems to back up Omarosa's story that several Trump advisers discussed an alleged tape during the 2016 campaign.

Trump campaign advisers denied on Monday that any conversations took place. CBS News has not been able to verify the authenticity of the recording - though it appears to confirm Omarosa's claims that Trump campaign officials were aware of a tape in which then-candidate Trump uses a racial slur, and they talked about how to handle it...
posted by chris24 at 4:53 AM on August 14 [22 favorites]


And Trump is freaking out over this. Beyond all the crazed Mueller and terrorism tweets this morning, we get him calling a black woman a dog.

@realDonaldTrump
When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!
posted by chris24 at 4:59 AM on August 14 [35 favorites]


it's barely 8am there if anyone needs some time zone context (since we all know they exist).

how is he sending this many vile tweets at what is kind of a normal time to be up? 2am tweets are bad enough but 8am tweets like this seem somehow even more abnormal/deranged/unpresidential
posted by sio42 at 5:04 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


Recently, as was reported by certain media outlets, a Canadian traveler was denied admission to the US after answering affirmatively the following question by CBP: “Have you ever smoked weed?” After a six-hour interrogation, the traveler’s admission to smoking weed resulted in a ban from the US.

This new line of questioning by CBP is the result of direct guidance from the White House and is in response to Canada’s legalization of cannabis. Authorities from the US and Canada are currently working together to reach some sort of resolution that would keep many Canadians from becoming inadmissible to the US for activities that are or will be legal in Canada. However, for the time being, all travelers should be aware of the current questioning by CBP and the consequences of answering in the affirmative.


Also it is important for immigrants to the United States to know that smoking pot or consuming it even in the American states or other countries where it is fully legal can result in your detention and deportation from the United States if you are somehow caught (ie. a blood test) as your immigration status is Federal and the Federal government still considers it illegal.
posted by srboisvert at 5:12 AM on August 14 [15 favorites]


In 14 hours we went from "he never said it" to "there's no tape of him saying it" to "ok he said it but".

By noon it'll be "the media and Democrats are the real racists" and by 6pm we'll be at "it's good he said and we should all say it". And that's how Sean Hannity leads his show with a N-bomb at 9pm.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:24 AM on August 14 [68 favorites]


how is he sending this many vile tweets at what is kind of a normal time to be up? 2am tweets are bad enough but 8am tweets like this seem somehow even more abnormal/deranged/unpresidential

2am tweets are bad, but at least there's the hope that he'll sleep it off. 8am tweets, on the other hand, are "ok I guess this is the day we're all going to have... buckle the fuck up, America"
posted by duffell at 5:27 AM on August 14 [20 favorites]


Hey, he also just took another sideswipe at Jeff Sessions by quoting Fox and Friends!
posted by Burhanistan at 5:33 AM on August 14


...But it's very, very important, I think that you understand that there are some serious legal issues that have been violated. And you're open to some legal action that we hope, I think, we can control, right?"

Could Kelly be interpreted as saying that she's complicit in a larger crime, so it'll be in her interest to sign and STFU? Isn't this grounds for the FBI to talk to him?
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:52 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!


Of course by dog we know he means bitch, which. This man has power over every one of our lives and I am just out of fucking words today.
posted by lydhre at 5:53 AM on August 14 [63 favorites]


Trump fears nothing like law, norms or the scorn of the righteous, so it's rewarding - and a bit baffling - to watch bush-league hucksters like Avenetti and Omarosa really get under his skin.
posted by klarck at 6:00 AM on August 14 [14 favorites]


[A few deleted. Let's avoid filling up the thread with guesses about the circumstances of / pending justification for what's on the tape. Thanks.]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:02 AM on August 14


When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break...

Seriously, he's admitting this is his hiring standard? I gave Kelly, a crazed, crying lowlife, a break. . .
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:09 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


It's also trump's mirror because millions of US voters gave a crazed, crying lowlife a chance at a government job also...
posted by Burhanistan at 6:11 AM on August 14 [39 favorites]


Seriously, he's admitting this is his hiring standard? I gave Kelly, a crazed, crying lowlife, a break. . .

From yesterday...
@realDonaldTrump: Wacky Omarosa, who got fired 3 times on the Apprentice, now got fired for the last time. She never made it, never will. She begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said Ok. People in the White House hated her. She was vicious, but not smart. I would rarely see her but heard.... ...really bad things. Nasty to people & would constantly miss meetings & work. When Gen. Kelly came on board he told me she was a loser & nothing but problems. I told him to try working it out, if possible, because she only said GREAT things about me - until she got fired!
Daniel Dale
The president's official account is that his chief of staff told him a senior aide was "a loser and nothing but problems," but the president decided to keep employing her because she gave him compliments.
posted by chris24 at 6:14 AM on August 14 [102 favorites]


Yes, she begged for a job and out of pity he paid he the maximum allowed salary matching Steve Bannon, Reine Preibus and other senior staff. Makes total sense. $179,700 pity party.
posted by misterpatrick at 6:22 AM on August 14 [38 favorites]


John Couvillon
PROJECTED WASHINGTON TURNOUT AS OF 8/13. Given that (1) There are 54K estimated uncounted ballots as of today, and (2) the party breakdown of ballots counted is 61-35% Democratic, JMC estimates final WA turnout will be +76% Dem and +10% Rep compared to 2014 primary.


G. Elliott Morris (Crosstab)
Retweeted John Couvillon
WOW: Votes cast in 2018 vs 2014 WA primaries (sure looks like a wave…)

Dem votes ⬆️ 76%
Rep ⬆️ 10%

vs 2016: D⬆️30,R⬆️6

These numbers help explain why Republicans running in suburban seats, like McMorris Rodgers, Herrera Beutler, and Rossi, are on such thin ice for Nov
posted by chris24 at 6:22 AM on August 14 [22 favorites]


If the first question in the press conference today isn't "How many people hold positions in the White House because they begged and Trump decided to give them a break and what are their security clearances?", the entire press corps should just resign en masse out of incompetence.
posted by PenDevil at 6:27 AM on August 14 [57 favorites]




Kellyanne's husband continues to be one of the more interesting reads on Twitter.


Philip Bump (WaPo)
How would the board of a company react if the CEO told them that he hadn't fired an unqualified employee who was disliked by coworkers because the employee constantly praised him? WaPo: Trump’s remarkable admission on the central qualification for White House staffers

George Conway
‏Retweeted Philip Bump
Interesting analogy. Likewise, what if a CEO routinely made false and misleading statements about himself, the company, and results, and publicly attacked business partners, company “divisions” (w/ scare quotes!), employees, and analysts, and kowtowed to a dangerous competitor?

---

George Conway
Retweeted Donald J. Trump
Cincinnati Enquirer/Suffolk 6/6-11/18 OH statewide 500 LV
Unfavorable opinion of
> Donald Trump: 58.6%
> John Kasich: 34.8%
http://bit.ly/2Mjo6pE
@realDonaldTrump: The very unpopular Governor of Ohio (and failed presidential candidate) @JohnKasich hurt Troy Balderson’s recent win by tamping down enthusiasm for an otherwise great candidate. Even Kasich’s Lt. Governor lost Gov. race because of his unpopularity. Credit to Troy on the BIG WIN!
---

George Conway Retweeted

Renato Mariotti
I agree with @ThePlumLineGS: Trump's latest statement that "to the best of my knowledge" nothing happened after the Trump Tower meeting was clearly written by an attorney and suggests that there is some evidence that something followed from that meeting. WaPo: There’s a big tell in Trump’s latest defense of Donald Jr.
posted by chris24 at 6:51 AM on August 14 [19 favorites]


OK, but for a moment of fun, Rachel Maddow had on a lawyer last night talking about the Manafort trial prosecution last day. As he was talking about the bank CEO's loan to Manafort, the lawyer referred to the incident as "the Steven Calk morass." and my husband and I fell out. Because we are 12.
posted by Sophie1 at 6:51 AM on August 14 [21 favorites]




Not to discount the fact that Trump called Manigault Newman—a black woman—a dog, but the fact that he called ANYONE a dog is yet another example of dehumanizing.
posted by emelenjr at 6:58 AM on August 14 [21 favorites]


I am inclined to believe the allegations against Ellison. There are texts from her, along with corroboration from friends she talked to, centered around the time of the incident. Not to mention that, to me, as a woman who dates men, including previously abusive ones, her story reads to me as all too depressingly believable. I also tend to find it hard to believe- in all of these cases- that women simply come out with stories for attention or other gain. I think that the negative reaction they receive from this sort of thing pretty much always outweighs any possible gain. also, wasn't her son the one who went public with this? sounds to me that she probably didn't even want this coming out at all, and now she's being pressured to share a video that, if it exists, is completely understandable that she might be reluctant to share. it seems like she got dragged into it against her will, and now the burden of proof is on her?

This is a time of intense cultural flux which as far as I can tell is being almost entirely driven by the internet and technology. I like to think of this as the beginning of the post-privacy era. When I first started thinking about this years ago, I imagined it would unfold somewhat like this: First, shit starts coming out about people. Then shit comes out about more people. Then we collectively realize, wow, bad shit like this is really rampant. There's some sort of attempts to use that fact to rationalize it, saying, "well everybody does the shit." But then people start to push back against the shit and be like well no it's still not okay. And then as we move forward, people (in this case politicians) will realize they can no longer win the game of being shady and getting away with hiding it. Going forward, people will actually have to BE moral and reasonable and even if they don't always make a great choice, have a reasonable explanation as to why they did something they did. There's never a reasonable explanation for abusive behavior.

So yes, this means that for anyone who has done shady shit in the past, their ass is now on the line. When exposed, these people need to be weeded out from the system and replaced. My hope is that this will ultimately lead to a self-selection of people running for office who can honestly say to themselves, "well, I have nothing to hide. I have nothing that would be considered unacceptable if it were to come out." (I am also hopeful that a similar thing will happen with Manafort-style corruption, that is, people start to imagine a world in which they can never truly cover their tracks if they do shady shit, so they think twice about it. I can dream, right?)

I don't mean to make a sweeping generalization here, but I think many careers draw a certain personality type. I don't think it would be a stretch to say- hopefully less so now, but definitely historically- that people drawn to politics may possess certain traits like above-average confidence, assertiveness (agressiveness?), a need to be in control, the desire to be powerful? What I'm getting at is that it wouldn't surprise me if abusive behavior was relatively higher among politicians. Which is another reason I am inclined to believe the allegations, as disappointed as it makes me to lose another one of the "good ones."

But you know what? Fuck it. This is a new era. He can be replaced. Replace them all with young women. Yes, I know abuse goes both ways, but I would think replacing a lot of male politicians with female ones would decrease the incidence of these Me-Too revelations. And yes, young. I think that young people have a better intuitive grasp on how tenuous their privacy really is, and they are just starting out in their careers- they're motivated to do their best and behave appropriately, knowing they're under a microscope. Yes, it's disappointing about Keith Ellison, but I don't doubt there are tons of aspiring young politicians out there just waiting for their chance to be as brilliant and inspiring as their predecessors, minus the scandals. Let's not drag ass on getting them in there. I don't want to be the party of "well, both sides do it." I want to be the party of "when we see bad shit happening, we course-correct swiftly. we aren't perfect, but we want to be as upstanding and moral as possible."
posted by robotdevil at 7:00 AM on August 14 [61 favorites]


Also, please see: Ex-Trump Aide Seb Gorka is Giving Out Fake Fox News Business Cards

well of course they're fake; they dont list his title as "dragon of budapest"

what do you mean thats not what you meant
posted by entropicamericana at 7:11 AM on August 14 [11 favorites]


As Trump keeps raging at Mueller, another poll shows his lies are failing (Greg Sargent, WaPo)
A new CNN poll finds:
  • Only 34 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the Russia investigation, versus 55 percent who disapprove.
  • 58 percent say this is a serious matter that should be investigated, versus only 37 percent who think it’s mainly an effort to discredit Trump.
  • 56 percent say Trump has interfered with the investigation, versus only 38 percent who say he has not.
  • Only 37 percent say the things Trump has said publicly about the investigation are true, versus 56 percent who say they are false.
  • 70 percent say Trump should testify to Mueller, versus only 25 percent who say he should not.
  • 57 percent say Trump knew about contacts between his campaign operatives and Russians, versus only 36 percent who say he did not.
Trump is losing every single public argument about the Mueller probe. His latest is that the firing of former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who authored texts critical of Trump, shows that the “fundamental underpinnings of the investigation were corrupt.” This is a lie: The inspector general’s report into all this actually found that the FBI decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton was untainted by bias or politics, completely laying waste to Trump’s narrative. Regardless, this is only the latest in a long string of things that was supposed to “give Trump fodder” to disqualify the investigation, to use that deeply misleading and self-reinforcing journalistic cliche.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:13 AM on August 14 [31 favorites]


The Guardian reports: Trump misunderstanding over prisoner fuelled lira crisis - Ankara sources
An informed Turkish observer close to decision-makers said the conversation between Trump and Erdoğan had been misconstrued by the US president, who believed he had secured a deal from his counterpart to free Brunson after persuading the Israeli leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, to seek Özkan’s release.
On the other hand, Erdoğan believed he had agreed to a process – transferring Brunson, a resident of Turkey for 23 years, from prison to house arrest – before his eventual release. The US pastor was indeed moved to house arrest on 25 July.
“It took place on the margins of the Nato summit,” the source told the Guardian. “Erdoğan asked Trump for help with the lady in prison in Israel. There was only the two of them and a translator. Trump said: ‘I need some traction on the pastor first.’ When Erdoğan said OK he meant that we are working on it. Then [US vice-president Mike] Pence, due to midterm election considerations, messed things up. Trump confused a process for an agreement.
Last line of the Politico article about Trump’s many, many, diplomatic fuckups:
“The president doesn’t like to be constrained by past practices and protocols,” the official said.
What a renagade! What a rebel! He won’t play by anyone else’s rules! Still. Almost as if those “past practices and protocols” existed for a reason.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 7:27 AM on August 14 [35 favorites]


Alphabetically, you have to go through the "N" tape to get to the "P" tape.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:29 AM on August 14 [50 favorites]


I'm a Minnesota voter in Ellison's district and I've proudly voted for him several times over. But like with Franken, as these types of allegations surface, my moments of doubt get shorter and shorter. There is part of me that used to think "why now? could this be a lie?" but for me the gap closes almost instantly now and I adapt to the new reality, that another man who was supposed to be on my side politically is a problem for women is his life.

I wish we didn't treat each case like this as novel and unique in its potential to be false. We're not a court of law. As many people have said, the costs to women who come forward are far greater than any potential reward. I'm tired of observing and being a part of having to explain, each time there is an allegation against someone we like, that the story is more likely to be true than not, and here's why in THIS case we can once again believe the accuser.

I understand the desire to check out the story but please be aware that you're obligating people to explain the realities of abuse again and again and it's not pleasant. So maybe just sit with the story a bit as you get used to this new information.

I voted for Matt Pelikan in the primary.
posted by Emmy Rae at 7:30 AM on August 14 [47 favorites]


Not to discount the fact that Trump called Manigault Newman—a black woman—a dog, but the fact that he called ANYONE a dog is yet another example of dehumanizing.

And in the tweet immediately following that one:

Another terrorist attack in London...These animals are crazy and must be dealt with through toughness and strength!

He's like Dr. Doolittle with a Chaotic Evil alignment.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:31 AM on August 14 [15 favorites]


Alphabetically, you have to go through the "N" tape to get to the "P" tape.

Sweet Jebus I do not want to see Trump's "O" tape.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:32 AM on August 14 [113 favorites]


Could Kelly be interpreted as saying that she's complicit in a larger crime, so it'll be in her interest to sign and STFU? Isn't this grounds for the FBI to talk to him?

No, he's doing some petty alpha dog bullshit to try and intimidate someone. "We know you stole paperclips and tissues from the supply room but we'll look the other way if you stay in line." I actually find it kind of amazing that John Kelly's scare tactics are at the level of the office manager of a temp agency.

The actual charge was misusing a car or something slightly larger, I can't remember, but definitely in the realm of behavior that was accepted and non-scandalous.
posted by mark k at 7:37 AM on August 14 [7 favorites]


Then [US vice-president Mike] Pence, due to midterm election considerations, messed things up.

I know that 'Trump screws things up' is maybe the more important bit, but, still, this deserves highlighting:
The release of Brunson has been a touchstone issue for US evangelicals, who form a cornerstone of Trump’s domestic base. Pence has taken up the cause of the arrest, warning last month that “if Turkey does not take immediate action to free this innocent man of faith and send him home to America, the United States will impose significant sanctions on Turkey”.

Pence and evangelicals had insisted Brunson’s arrest was because of his faith – a claim strongly denied in Ankara, which is sensitive to claims it has targeted Christians and worried that such allegations would damage the country’s still robust tourist sector.
Foreign policy decisions being driven by domestic election considerations. That's what the oath of office requires, right?
posted by cjelli at 7:38 AM on August 14 [10 favorites]


There's some GOP infighting already over NY-27: Paladino criticizes Mychajliw as they vie for Chris Collins' seat (Buffalo News)
posted by everybody had matching towels at 7:48 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


A 15-tweet thread from Felicia Wong (Roosevelt Institute) on wage growth, stock buy backs and the Trump economy adds more context to some of the unemployment stats discussed here yesterday..
posted by mark k at 7:49 AM on August 14 [11 favorites]


West Virginia House Votes To Impeach All 4 State Supreme Court Justices (NPR, Aug. 14, 2018)
West Virginia's House of Delegates voted to impeach all four justices on the state's Supreme Court of Appeals on Monday.

Three of them, Chief Justice Margaret Workman and Justices Allen Loughry and Elizabeth Walker, now face impeachment trials in the state Senate.

The fourth, Justice Robin Davis, announced her retirement on Tuesday, just hours after her impeachment. A fifth justice on the court resigned before impeachment proceedings began.

Workman, Loughry, Walker and Davis have all been impeached for failing to carry out their administrative duties. Loughry, Workman and Davis also were impeached for paying retired senior status judges more than the law allowed.

Davis and Loughry were impeached for the use of state money to renovate their offices — but Walker and Workman, who spent less on renovations than their colleagues, were cleared of impeachment charges over the expenses.

Loughry was also impeached for using state vehicles and computers.

All told, 11 articles of impeachment were adopted.

Loughry was the first to be impeached Monday. After two hours of debate, an article of impeachment against him was approved in a matter of seconds, by a final vote of 64-33 (PDF). The tally easily exceeded the 51 votes needed to go forward with trial proceedings.

Any justices who are impeached in the House are then tried in the Senate, with lawmakers from the upper chamber serving as jurors and deciding whether to remove the justices from office.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:52 AM on August 14 [8 favorites]


Prosecutors Rest Their Case In Trial Of Former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort (NPR, Aug. 13, 2018)

Prosecutors rested their case shortly before 5 p.m. after 10 days and 27 witnesses. There is no indication yet whether the defense will call any witnesses.

Judge T.S. Ellis has been a little subdued for the past few days. The dynamic changed a bit after the government asked him to correct some of his statements in front of the jury last week. And today (Aug. 14, 2018),
the judge is going to rule on motions by these defense lawyers to throw out the charges. And we're going to find out whether the defense is going to put on any case at all. It's unlikely Paul Manafort himself will testify. We'll find out whether the defense has any expert witnesses or accountants or tax lawyers they want to put on.

Finally, one issue that's looming is still a secret. The court started late on Friday because of an issue that's under seal. There have been motions filed about it, but they're under seal, too. We may find out more at some point. The judge says nothing will remain under seal permanently.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:01 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


From WaPo, August 11: A grass-roots upheaval in Maryland’s Democratic Party has made it an unexpected showcase for national efforts by liberal activists and unions seeking to revitalize the party and push it to the left.

Primary victories by progressives in three premier races — governor and county executive in Montgomery and Baltimore counties — have created a prominent testing ground for a new brand of Democratic politics, featuring ambitious and potentially expensive policy proposals and greater outreach to the working class.

Fueled by anger at President Trump and a sense that Democrats have lost touch with their base, the insurgency is stirring strife within the party, with some moderates already abandoning ship. It also is aggravating polarization with Republicans, with Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ben Jealous using the ­“f-bomb” expletive last week in rejecting GOP television ads calling him a socialist.
posted by Bella Donna at 8:04 AM on August 14 [13 favorites]


There's some GOP infighting already over NY-27: Paladino criticizes Mychajliw as they vie for Chris Collins' seat

Just your occasional reminder that Carl Paladino is racist, anti-gay, a bestial-porn enthusiast, and (my favourite) someone who asked his kids to keep his second family a secret from their mother.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:07 AM on August 14 [10 favorites]


My only problem with the Ellison stuff (and the Swanson stuff) is that I wish both stories had happened a month ago. Primary voters are generally pretty high information voters, but as it is it feels like we might be saddled with two 'name recognition' candidates for governor/AG with big downsides in what will probably be a pretty contested election.
posted by graventy at 8:13 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


I actually find it kind of amazing that John Kelly's scare tactics are at the level of the office manager of a temp agency.

This happens all the time in the military. Ryan Zinke got frozen at Commander because of $211 in improperly claimed travel expenses, and everyone knows that the $211 was an excuse rather than a reason.
posted by Etrigan at 8:17 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


NYT: The Myth of Watergate Bipartisanship - The Republicans stuck with their president, right up to the end
...When these critics refer back to the Watergate era as a time of bipartisan commitment to the rule of law over politics, they get it exactly wrong. Defending the president at all costs, blaming investigators and demonizing journalists was all part of the Republican playbook during the political crisis leading up to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. [...]

In late 1972, when a Democratic congressman, Wright Patman of Texas, began to investigate connections between Mr. Nixon’s aides and the Watergate burglary, the House Republican leader, Gerald Ford of Michigan (who later succeeded Mr. Nixon as president), called it a “political witch hunt,” according to the historian Stanley I. Kutler in his book “The Wars of Watergate.”

Mr. Ford wasn’t alone, and the countercharges didn’t end even as the evidence piled up. After reporters revealed close ties between the Watergate burglars and Mr. Nixon’s administration and re-election campaign, Senator Robert Dole of Kansas jumped to the president’s defense. He labeled the media accounts “a barrage of unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations by George McGovern” — whom Mr. Nixon defeated in the 1972 election — “and his partner in mud-slinging, The Washington Post.”

In early 1973 Senate Democrats led the charge to form a special committee to focus on Watergate. While the Senate Watergate Committee was being created, Republican Senator Edward Gurney of Florida belittled the investigation as “one of those political wing-dings that happen every political year.” Ted Stevens, a Republican senator from Alaska, repeated Mr. Ford’s warning that the investigation could become a “political witch hunt,” according to Mr. Kutler.

Meanwhile, the ranking Republican on the Senate Watergate Committee, Howard Baker of Tennessee — a man often lauded for putting principle over party — met with Mr. Nixon to discuss strategy. To “maintain his purity in the Senate,” Mr. Baker didn’t want anyone to know about meeting Mr. Nixon, wrote the White House counsel, John Dean, in a memo before a meeting with Mr. Nixon. Once the hearings started in late spring of 1973, Mr. Baker’s staff leaked information about the committee’s witnesses and plans to Mr. Nixon.

When Mr. Baker famously asked, “What did the president know, and when did he know it?” during the Watergate hearings, he meant to protect Mr. Nixon in the mistaken belief that the president didn’t know about the Watergate cover-up until many months after it occurred. The question backfired once evidence mounted that Mr. Nixon was involved in the cover-up from the start, and Mr. Baker eventually became a critic of the president.

After it was revealed in July 1973 that Mr. Nixon had secretly taped conversations, Mr. Ford said he found nothing wrong with the president’s practices. Republican Senator John Tower of Texas later warned Congress not to get caught up in “the hysteria of Watergate.”

Most congressional Republicans rallied around Mr. Nixon when the White House released edited transcripts of those tapes in April 1974 that showed Mr. Nixon scheming with his aides. As the House Judiciary Committee began debating possible impeachment in July, Representative Delbert Latta of Ohio said the evidence failed to prove Mr. Nixon’s direct involvement in Watergate.
posted by chris24 at 8:17 AM on August 14 [66 favorites]


Vulture: In Conversation: Penn Jillette Talking magic, truth, and Trump’s alleged Apprentice Tapes.
Does Mark Burnett have tapes of President Trump saying damaging things during Celebrity Apprentice?
Yeah, I was in the room.

You’ve heard him say …
Oh, yeah.

Can you tell me what you’ve heard him say?
No. If Donald Trump had not become president, I would tell you all the stories. But the stakes are now high and I am an unreliable narrator... And what I’m trying to do here is tell you the story emotionally without telling you specifics.

He would say racially insensitive things that made me uncomfortable
... of those two hours every other day in a room with him, every ten minutes was fingernails on chalkboard. He would ask one cast member if he’d rather have sex with this woman or that woman. He would be reading on the web about a real-estate deal he’d made — like he’d sold his house for a certain amount and someone on some blog had said he should have gotten more. Then he would turn and say that making X amount on a house makes him a good businessman, right? I would say to him, “What are you talking about? You don’t know who it is reporting that. Is that Forbes?” He had no idea.
Given that we already have Trump on tape talking about sexually assaulting women, it's really not a stretch to imagine that there are (or were) plenty of other tapes.
posted by cjelli at 8:19 AM on August 14 [39 favorites]


Emmy Rae: I'm tired of observing and being a part of having to explain, each time there is an allegation against someone we like, that the story is more likely to be true than not, and here's why in THIS case we can once again believe the accuser.

Seriously.

. . . But this time I do want to make one additional point that I left out of my already-too-long comment above, but I think is important in cases like this.

Many people seem to think it's suspicious that she doesn't want the tape to be seen, but I totally get it. Here's why. Abusive behavior is a spectrum, it encompasses both emotional/psychological as well as physical abuse, maybe you could argue at least in public perception that physical abuse is on the "worse" end of the spectrum. This, to me, is similar to how misogyny and sexism are on the same spectrum of sexual harassment, with outright sexual harassment being on the "worse" end of general misogynistic/ sexist behavior. This creates a situation in which, if we prove that the worst outcome didn't happen, then it's actually somehow okay.

When I tried to speak to higher-ups about sexism and misogyny in my job, I faced the same question over and over: "But you weren't sexually harassed, right? Please tell us if that happened." Um, no, but that does not mean that the behavior was okay, I was not affected by it, etc. I think the same happens with abuse: "Oh, but he didn't actually HIT you, okay, it's not really that bad, right?" I can so easily imagine a scenario in which this video comes to light and shows a scene similar to how it's already been described. Some anger, some yelling, someone getting dragged off a bed. Then: a million tweets and news stories debating, was it really abuse? I mean, he didn't HIT her. what he said wasn't THAT bad. maybe it was just that one time and he was having a bad day. maybe he deserves to be cut some slack. etc, etc. would you want to be her and face all that?

This is why I generally don't discuss my past trauma with people at all, because invariably, that's what people want to know. Did he hit you? Well, no, not yet. Were there signs everywhere that the next step in escalation was almost certainly leading there, and that's what finally gave me the push I needed to get out? Yes. On average it takes three years for an abusive relationship to escalate to physical abuse. I think some women know intuitively when they're in that zone and luckily manage to get out at that point. Does it mean that the time leading up to that moment was not abusive, not terrifying, not damaging? No. So imagine being in that position, thrust into the spotlight of this, and being pressured to share a video that people might watch and say, "oh, that's not so bad. oh, it's overblown. come on. this is what we're all freaking out about? she's overreacting. i bet she's not perfect either." etc. etc. Because there's an arbitrary line drawn that abuse is not real if it doesn't look shocking enough. But these days, it seems nobody is shocked by anything terrible, even when there is video. I wouldn't want it out there either, if it were me.
posted by robotdevil at 8:23 AM on August 14 [61 favorites]




Phillip Rucker, MSNBC/NBC:
Just in from a Trump campaign official: "Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. has filed an arbitration against Omarosa Manigault-Newman, with the American Arbitration Association in New York City, for breach of her 2016 confidentiality agreement with the Trump Campaign."
It will be interesting to see if the campaign NDA holds up. It's also interesting that it's the campaign doing this.
posted by cjelli at 8:25 AM on August 14 [29 favorites]


My only problem with the Ellison stuff (and the Swanson stuff) is that I wish both stories had happened a month ago.

Of course. I do too, so that we could have pressured him to drop his campaign. With Ellison, this seems to have been a decision made by the son. I am guessing he is young enough not to have a bunch of political strategy informing his decision to put this story out. Maybe he just now realized how close Ellison is to getting the office and decided it's time to put this info in the world.

With Swanson I'm guessing there was some reporting and fact checking that needed to done by the press before they published.

Either way, the timing will NEVER be right. What if the Ellison stuff came out in two weeks? It would have been too late. What if it had come out 4 months ago? "It should have come out before he became Vice Chair of the DNC."

My point is, it was always going to be the wrong time. Allegations of abuse are never, ever greeted with "thanks for telling us now, so that we can act accordingly." It's a no win for the victims no matter what.
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:27 AM on August 14 [38 favorites]


It will be interesting to see if the campaign NDA holds up. It's also interesting that it's the campaign doing this.

I think (with no evidence to support it) that the campaign is doing it precisely because Team Trump thinks they know what she has from the post-campaign, and they desperately don't want it out. So the campaign is asking for the arbitration as a test case on some ricky-tick bullshit detail from the campaign, and if they lose it, then the really bad stuff isn't out in public.
posted by Etrigan at 8:29 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Roger Stone shares image of himself and Trump as ‘Space Force’ wearing swastikas

Screenshot of (now-deleted) Roger Stone Instagram post. I'd like to assume that this was a hack, but this is also Roger Stone we're talking about.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:31 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


It's also interesting that it's the campaign doing this.

Because even they know the NDAs they got from public employees post-election aren't worth the paper they were written on.
posted by chris24 at 8:32 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


The Guardian reports: Trump misunderstanding over prisoner fuelled lira crisis - Ankara sources

And yesterday, as with the NATO summit preliminaries, Bolton is supposedly trying to defuse the situation, because evidently in this timeline, he's considered a cool, competent troubleshooter: Trump aide Bolton met Turkish envoy to discuss U.S. pastor: White House (Reuters)
“At the Turkish ambassador’s request, Ambassador John Bolton met with Ambassador Serdar Kilic of Turkey (on Monday) in the White House. They discussed Turkey’s continued detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson and the state of the U.S.-Turkey relationship,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.[...]

U.S. officials have given no indication that the United States has been prepared to give any ground over the Brunson issue, with Trump seemingly content to keep up economic pressure.

The United States is also considering a fine against Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank for allegedly helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions. Earlier this month, the United States imposed sanctions on two top officials in Erdogan’s cabinet in an attempt to get Turkey to turn over Brunson.
This went as well as could be predicted, Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs reports:
BREAKING: Trump, fed up with Turkey, is refusing to offer anything else in exchange for Pastor Brunson.

No progress made today between John Bolton and Turkey’s ambassador to US, sources tell me and @justinsink.

Diplomacy continues, but Bolton sent warning: US won’t negotiate.

Bloomberg: U.S. Warns Turkey Over Detained Pastor as Market Meltdown Drags On

Turkey’s Erdogan has a new strategy as his strong-arm spat with Trump escalates: boycott American electronics, including iPhones.

Bloomberg: Erdogan to Boycott iPhones as Turkey’s Feud With U.S. Escalates
In the background to this feud lies the Reza Zarrab Iranian gold-smuggling/money-laundering case that caused a scandal in Erdogan's government and caught up Mike Flynn and Rudy Giuliani. Although Trump fired Preet Bharara, who was overseeing this case, the feds leveraged a plea-bargain out of Zarrab. Of course, Erdogan would prefer to extradite him back to Turkey and was attempting to negotiate a swap for Burston and avoid a multi-billion dollar fine against the state-owned Halkbank before Trump stepped in.

All of which is to say that the Guardian's "Ankara sources" very much have their own agenda when spinning this story as Trump's misunderstanding over the Brunson deal-making.

Then [US vice-president Mike] Pence, due to midterm election considerations, messed things up.

And to top this off, Pence's end-game, particularly in the context of the mid-terms, clearly is inheriting Trump's base, starting with evangelicals. No wonder he over-played his hand over the Brunson issue.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:39 AM on August 14 [26 favorites]


With Ellison, this seems to have been a decision made by the son.

The timeline is a bit muddled; per CNN:
CNN first spoke with Karen Monahan on Friday and Saturday about social media posts she'd made, some obliquely referencing Ellison. CNN was in the process of reporting the story when her son went public Saturday afternoon. CNN has asked to view the video, but Monahan said she could not produce it.
Her son made the accusation publicly, explicitly naming Ellison, but Monahan had made multiple previous statements in the weeks leading up to that quoting Ellison's texts and accusing an ex-partner of abuse; while she didn't name Ellison, she did tag him in those posts, per MPR. Based on that, which a lot of people took to be effectively-but-not-quite-actually-accusing Ellison, multiple new outlets were in the process of investigating and vetting the story, and had already spoken with Monahan, when her son broke the story himself on Facebook.

Subtweeting isn't the same thing as publicly accusing someone, but it's also not not that.

(I don't think the question of who 'really' went public matters w/r/t the truth of Monahan's claims, but the timeline of it sort of explains why the media is framing her son's actions in the way they are and why the reporting on that is a bit confusing.)
posted by cjelli at 8:48 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Uh, oh. Someone's getting called back to the principal's office...
@edhenry We have invited @KatrinaPierson back to @foxnewsnight tonight to clarify the truth ...
@Seaun Langille @OMAROSA drops audio of convo @KatrinaPierson denied having to @edhenry last night
posted by pjenks at 8:48 AM on August 14 [7 favorites]


[Reuters] Ambassador John Bolton

Wait... what? I thought he was the Assistant to the President for National Security? Did Reuters screw up, or does the title of "Ambassador" not actually mean anything?
posted by ragtag at 9:02 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


@shimonpro
Defense rests in Manafort without presenting case

Paul Manafort's team will not present a case nor call any witnesses in his defense. The defense rested at 11:53 a.m.

posted by Artw at 9:03 AM on August 14 [48 favorites]


All of which is to say that the Guardian's "Ankara sources" very much have their own agenda when spinning this story as Trump's misunderstanding over the Brunson deal-making.

That’s a great point (and part of a great comment), but it reinforces why protocols exist. If this meeting had been held normally, there would be a consensus version on what was agreed - or at least a competing version. Just as with the Trump-Putin one-on-one (and other disagreements of this type), the US has no come back to this because there’s no records at all, not a consensus version, not a competing version, nothing. [And Turkish diplomats certainly have an a agenda of their own, but they have the authority of being able to parse the language of diplomacy, based on being (A) professionals in exactly that area and (B) having the basic verbal reasoning skills and working memory that are very clearly lacking in the current POTUS]
posted by chappell, ambrose at 9:03 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


After another sealed hearing this morning, the Manafort trial briefly resumed, but I'm now seeing reports on Twitter that the defense's motion to dismiss has been denied by the judge, and the defense is now resting their case.

@ShimonPro: Defense rests in Manafort without presenting case

Paul Manafort's team will not present a case nor call any witnesses in his defense. The defense rested at 11:53 a.m.


Possible sign Manafort's working on a plea deal...
posted by cudzoo at 9:03 AM on August 14 [10 favorites]


Grift
In 2014, political spending at Trump properties was $35K. In 2018, it’s $3.5M
posted by adamvasco at 9:06 AM on August 14 [39 favorites]


@CBSThisMorning You have everything that you say in the book backed up by tape or email?

"Absolutely. If you see it in quotes, it can be verified, corroborated and is well documented." -- @Omarosa https://cbsn.ws/2vHwyp1
posted by sio42 at 9:07 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Mistrial or parson is the Twitter buzz.

And, yeah, @Popehat is being their usual self, throwing cold water on overinterpretation by armchair lawyers:

OMG THE MANAFORT DEFENSE CLOSED WITHOUT PRESENTING A CASE, THIS THING THAT USUALLY HAPPENS IS TERRIBLY SIGNIFICANT
posted by cudzoo at 9:09 AM on August 14 [17 favorites]


Wait... what? I thought he was the Assistant to the President for National Security? Did Reuters screw up, or does the title of "Ambassador" not actually mean anything?

It's definitely not Reuters screwing up, because that's a quote from Sarah Sanaders, not Reuters, viz.:
“At the Turkish ambassador’s request, Ambassador John Bolton met with Ambassador Serdar Kilic of Turkey (on Monday) in the White House. They discussed Turkey’s continued detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson and the state of the U.S.-Turkey relationship,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.
She might be giving Bolton the honorific because he was previously an Ambassador (to the UN); she might have screwed up; or she might be giving him the title because he's temporarily acting in that capacity for these negotiations because there isn't currently a United States Amassador to Turkey (Turkey having expelled the prior Ambassador in 2017).

Also, sorry, but also this:
“The fact that there’s ongoing discussions between the two countries regarding Brunson’s return to the U.S. is positive,” said Jay Sekulow, an attorney for U.S. President Donald Trump who is also representing Brunson’s family. “I look forward to the Brunson family returning to the U.S.”
Sekulow is repping Brunson's family, privately, while also representing the President who is negotiating with Turkey? That...doesn't seem great.
posted by cjelli at 9:10 AM on August 14 [19 favorites]


Possible sign Manafort's working on a plea deal...

Maybe, but I kind of doubt it. A defense team will frequently decline to present a defense either because they think the prosecution's case has a major hole that doesn't meet the beyond a reasonable doubt standard, or because they have a very unsympathetic client who could only shoot himself in the foot by opening his mouth before the jury.

Also they know Manafort is counting on a pardon. There's no need to make public any more details than have already come out, least it hurt his chances of holding Trump to pardoning him, or something come out that could make a pardon (even more) politically untenable.

Basically I don't think the lack of a defense tells us anything we didn't know 20 mins ago.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:15 AM on August 14 [32 favorites]


Popehat/Ken White also points out that when the defense uses its phase of the trial to call new witnesses, present new evidence, etc., it risks the jury holding them to the same standard of proof as the prosecution, rather than continuing to look for holes in the government's case.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:17 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


Basically I don't think the lack of a defense tells us anything we didn't know 20 mins ago.

Yes, I think you're right. After a strange few days in court, with lots of under-seal stuff, I'm mostly just happy there hasn't been any dismissals or a mistrial.
posted by cudzoo at 9:22 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Wait... what? I thought he was the Assistant to the President for National Security? Did Reuters screw up, or does the title of "Ambassador" not actually mean anything?

It seems most former US ambassadors keep using their title, as Bolton does, although technically it counts only when it's a lifetime award for service. Sanders's statement is kinda sorta following protocol, at any rate.

The real question is why Pompeo keeps letting Bolton undercut him by making diplomatic side-runs around him. Perhaps it's a two-man con they're playing to marginalize the State Department. Maybe after last week's negotiations in D.C. went to pot, the Turks decided they'd rather deal with Bolton.

This is what happens when the government is simultaneously duplicitous and incompetent.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:22 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


Or to put the Manafort defense thing another way, their defense happened during cross-examination of the prosecution's witnesses. It's already done. If they present more defense in the "defense phase", then they have to worry about the prosecution cross-examining their additional witnesses.
posted by allegedly at 9:26 AM on August 14 [26 favorites]


Well the government has a tough job because it’s their job to prove willful conduct not knowingly or strict liability. Manafort’s entire defense seems to be he thought it was ok and everyone went along with it so AHA it’s not willful!
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:31 AM on August 14


Seen on a truck bumper here in Tucson: "Elect a clown, expect a circus."
posted by azpenguin at 9:34 AM on August 14 [54 favorites]


I see three probable lines of defense in the Manafort case.

Regarding tax fraud, ignorance of the law is a valid defense. Foreign tax reporting is a very complicated section of tax law and Manafort will argue that he was relying on Gates' and his accountant's judgement, both of whom have admitted to crimes. The prosecution must prove that the tax omissions were willful on Manafort's part.

Second, Manafort will argue that he is not the criminal, he is the victim of a crime, that it was Gates stealing from him.

Third, regarding bank fraud, Manafort will argue that the fraudulent application forms are irrelevant. It was the corrupt CEO of the bank that was trying to shake him down for a Trump administration job and which he didn't deliver.
posted by JackFlash at 9:35 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


Foreign tax reporting is a very complicated section of tax law and Manafort will argue

When will Manafort argue? The defense has already rested.
posted by Jpfed at 9:36 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


Closing arguments?
posted by kirkaracha at 9:38 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Yes, after both sides rest in their case-in-chief, each side gives a closing argument before it's submitted to the jury.

Generally both closing arguments could be completed in a single afternoon and the case could be sent to the jury by morning, but who knows with this case.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 9:42 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Sorry, my implication was that Manafort's attorneys will argue on his behalf in closing arguments.
posted by JackFlash at 9:42 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Foreign tax reporting is a very complicated section of tax law and Manafort will argue that he was relying on Gates' and his accountant's judgement, both of whom have admitted to crimes

This is undercut by the email from his tax preparer asking if he, his wife, or his kids had an interest in any foreign bank accounts, to which Manafort himself replied "none."
posted by melissasaurus at 9:45 AM on August 14 [13 favorites]


He actually meant "nonen't".
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:49 AM on August 14 [43 favorites]


From CNN live coverage's of the Manafort trial:
Manafort trial Day 11: Closing arguments start tomorrow. Here's how the rest of today will play out.
The prosecution and defense have both rested in the Manafort trial. Here's how the rest of the day will go down:
The Manafort jury returns at 1:30 p.m. ET
At 2 p.m. ET, the attorneys will confer with Judge T.S. Ellis in open court without the jury present. They will discuss jury instructions.
Also upcoming: Ellis said he will announce his decision on another technical issue that the attorneys have asked about.
Closing arguments are set to begin at 9:30 a.m. ET tomorrow. Ellis encouraged each side to keep them under two hours.
And from the Washington Post's similar feed:
The lawyers will discuss Tuesday afternoon what instructions jurors will receive. Those are wonky, but important, as they will shape how jurors debate the charges of which Manafort is accused.

Closing arguments are expected to take much of the day Wednesday. Ellis had said previously he was amenable to giving both sides two hours to make their presentations. On Tuesday, though, he asked them to consider shortening that to an hour and a half.

“It seems a little excessive,” Ellis said of two-hour presentations.

Prosecutor Greg Andres suggested that might be too short, noting the judge had told him he could use his closing argument to refer to emails that had been introduced as evidence, but which jurors had not been shown in court. The remark prompted an unusual exchange.

Ellis said he recalled telling the lawyers they should not send back to the jury room evidence that had not been discussed in court. Andres countered that Ellis had previously barred the prosecution from having Manafort’s emails read to the jury, but said prosecutors could address those in their closing arguments. Ellis said he indeed recalled that, though he thought he also said, “it doesn’t make sense to send exhibits back to the jury that have not been referred to” in court.

The apparent contradiction was never resolved. Ellis remarked only that Andres should “think about” whether he could reduce his closing argument to an hour and a half.
Fun fact: Today was the first time Manafort spoke at his trial.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:59 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


In case you missed this lovely story from Rachel Maddow: Men's Journal, every issue of which has a male celebrity on the cover, has opted this month to feature model and actress Karen McDougal, placing her name in tiny print advertising her "workout".

The cover and cover article were made without the participation of McDougal, purely using archive material.

This is over the public disapproval of senior members of Men's Journal staff, who argued the cover would undermine the magazine's reputation and make it harder to get future cover stars.

The staff were overruled by owner David Pecker of American Media, which also owns the National Enquirer, and which is being investigated for illegal campaign contributions related to their catch-and-kill operation to buy McDougal's silence regarding her alleged affair with Trump, days before the 2016 election. The cover appears to be an attempt to prove that the National Enquirer's contract with McDougal had nothing to do with the election: they simply wanted the option to put her on the cover of a sister magazine in future months, despite her gender, with her name in tiny print, recycling an old photograph and an old workout regimen.

It's a bold strategy. Let's see if it pays off for them.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:00 AM on August 14 [51 favorites]


Ok, um, I can barely keep all the people, scandals, and items straight related to Trump. I really can't. And I follow these threads the best I can.
posted by agregoli at 10:02 AM on August 14 [23 favorites]


Manafort’s entire defense seems to be he thought it was ok and everyone went along with it so AHA it’s not willful!

There's a level of expected knowledge for many aspects of business - "Y'r Honor, I just didn't realize that buildings built on sand might collapse!" will not fly. Neither will, "but the accountant guy said that nobody has to pay taxes on foreign income" -- yeah, it's a complicated area of financial law, but if you're involved in it, you're required to know the basics.

The key issue will be whether the prosecution can persuade the jury that he was supposed to notice some of the crimes going on around him.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:02 AM on August 14


oooh this mens journal thing is from the thing the other week where Cohen recorded Trump saying "don't pay with a check". that took a while for me to put this together.
posted by sio42 at 10:18 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


RE: Ellison

I was a bit suspicious on hearing that there is video but they're refusing to release it and hoped more information would come to light before voting in the primary today. I'm really glad that CNN story was linked up thread.

Her explanation of not wanting to reveal the footage because she feels embarrassed is good enough for me but that it's also stuffed in a box somewhere on a flash drive from after she moved makes a ton of sense to me as someone who moved in March is still digging through boxes to find my stuff.

I believed her before but wanted more information, I have that information now and there is no longer room to change my mind. As much as I was excited for Ellison's platform as AG, there are a LOT of really strong candidates for MN AG. Matt Pelikan seems to want to do most of the same stuff as Ellison so he's getting my vote today.
posted by VTX at 10:21 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


Fun fact: Today was the first time Manafort spoke at his trial.

Is it necessary to include content as a tooltip? People on cellphones often cannot read it. For some reason the most recent comments don't even appear with View Source, so I can't even paste it in here for them.
posted by M-x shell at 10:27 AM on August 14 [12 favorites]


The QAnon account appears to have been outed as the sockpuppet of several 4chan/8chan moderators; thread.
posted by Rumple at 10:31 AM on August 14 [67 favorites]


Kushner Family Closes Deal to Unload 666 Fifth Avenue (WSJ)

This is an update of events from May:
The Kushner family has closed on a deal to unload its office tower at 666 Fifth Avenue, a building it bought at the top of the market that was ailing financially.

In a larger-than-expected deal, the New York real-estate family has agreed to lease the building to Brookfield Asset Management for 99 years...

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. People who have been involved in the talks have said that the proceeds would give the family enough to pay off the more than $1.1 billion of debt on the building and buy out its partner, Vornado Realty Trust, for $120 million so it can transfer 666 Fifth to Brookfield unencumbered...

Unlike many 99-year leases, Brookfield won’t pay annual ground rent. Rather, it will pay all the rent upfront, giving Kushner Cos. the money it needs to exit from the investment, according to people familiar with the matter...

The sale means that the Kushner family won’t lose much money from its investment in 666 Fifth Avenue, but it isn’t clear whether the family will have made much either.
This WSJ article does not go into the details of what came out in Bloomberg in May:
The Qatar Investment Authority, which invests on behalf of Qatar’s government, is the largest outside investor in the unit, Brookfield Property Partners LP, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and company filings...

Shareholders in publicly traded Brookfield Property Partners include banks, insurers and other institutional investors. The QIA [Qatar Investment Authority] holds its stake* through preferred share units that can be converted to common shares, according to filings...

Brookfield invests in properties through pooled investor vehicles, for which it raises funds intermittently. It isn’t required to disclose those investors. It is typically its own largest investor in those funds, according to its website...

“No Qatar-linked entity has any involvement in, investment in or even knowledge of this potential transaction,” a spokeswoman for Brookfield said. “They are in no way involved.”

During the U.S. presidential campaign, Jared Kushner and his father, Charlie Kushner, had talked with Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al Thani, who’d previously served as Qatar’s prime minister as well as head of the QIA, about investing in the tower...

Brookfield has done deals with Kushner Cos. before, investing in a New Jersey mall redevelopment and putting up loans to buy floors of the former New York Times building.
* estimated elsewhere at 9%
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:32 AM on August 14 [11 favorites]


Quoted bit (bolding in original):
Ellis asked if he discussed testifying with his lawyer.
"I have, your honor," Manafort replied.
Ellis asked if he was happy with his lawyers, and Manafort responded affirmatively.
Ellis then asked if he made a decision about testifying.
"I have decided," Manafort said.
Ellis asked if Manafort would testify.
"No sir," Manafort replied, and then took a seat.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:32 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Is it necessary to include content as a tooltip? People on cellphones often cannot read it. For some reason the most recent comments don't even appear with View Source, so I can't even paste it in here for them.

It doesn't even appear all the time with desktop browsers, especially if the tooltip'd text is also a link or otherwise not plain text. The threads are going to be long anyway, just put it all in the comment.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:39 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


Then [US vice-president Mike] Pence, due to midterm election considerations, messed things up.

And to top this off, Pence's end-game, particularly in the context of the mid-terms, clearly is inheriting Trump's base, starting with evangelicals. No wonder he over-played his hand over the Brunson issue.


This is something to watch. Pence's one and only chance at the presidency is some sort of outing of Trump. But he has to balance carefully. If he is seen as disloyal to Trump, he'll be out before his boss. If he is too involved with Trump, he'll be out with Trump. Like every single other Trumpist, Pence is not smart, so some idiocy is to be expected.
posted by mumimor at 10:40 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


There's a level of expected knowledge for many aspects of business

What you are neglecting is that, as a special exception, Supreme Court precedent holds that "ignorance of the law" can be valid defense in tax fraud cases and that omissions must be "willful." Melissasaurus above indicates there is some email evidence that the omission was willful. That would be important for the jury to take into consideration.
posted by JackFlash at 10:46 AM on August 14


If he is seen as disloyal to Trump, he'll be out before his boss.

How would Pence be out? Trump can't fire him; a Republican Congress is hardly going to impeach him instead of Trump (barring some weird, unforeseen circumstances). I think it's more likely that Pence wants to peel off Trump's base and garner their support, which means Pence needs to stay in line with Trump, until (and unless) he's actively trying to replace Trump.
posted by cjelli at 10:49 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Ok, um, I can barely keep all the people, scandals, and items straight related to Trump. I really can't. And I follow these threads the best I can.

It’s the Gish Gallop presidency. You’re not alone!
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:52 AM on August 14 [12 favorites]


How would Pence be out? Trump can't fire him; a Republican Congress is hardly going to impeach him instead of Trump (barring some weird, unforeseen circumstances).
Well, this is stupid Watergate and Agnew was out before Nixon. At this point, the Repubs are stupid loyal towards Trump and if it seems to them that Pence is disloyal, they can surely find something. I can't believe there is a single Republican who hasn't hid something under the carpet and Pence was a famously bad governor.
posted by mumimor at 10:57 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


And now we're getting closer to the real reason why Trump's so freaked out at the prospect of Omarosa secretly recording him and his campaign and White House staff...

Buzzfeed's David Mack (@davidmackau) passes along her interview on NBC:
.@KatyTurNBC: Did Donald Trump know about Clinton's e-mails before they came out?
Omarosa: Absolutely.
Tur: He knew about them?
Omarosa: Absolutely.
Tur: He knew what was coming out before Wikileaks released them?
Omarosa: Yes.
And yesterday, via CNN's Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins): “Omarosa was just asked on Hardball if she had anything of interest to Robert Mueller. She answered, "If his office calls again..." — revealing, I believe for the first time, that she's been contacted by the special counsel.”

As always, there's a huge caveat that hangs over everything that comes out of this reality-TV donnybrook, but it would certainly be thematically appropriate if the curtain were rung down Stupid Watergate by a disgruntled Apprentice cast member.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:23 AM on August 14 [54 favorites]


but it would certainly be thematically appropriate if the curtain were rung down Stupid Watergate by a disgruntled Apprentice cast member.

... and Omarosa too
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:24 AM on August 14 [34 favorites]


From the ACLU today: The American Civil Liberties Union today filed a formal complaint with the Department of Homeland Security on behalf of Zainab Merchant. Since September 2016, Merchant has been subjected to excessive and humiliating searches, questioning, and detention by federal officers every time she has traveled by air or reentered the United States from a trip abroad.

Merchant is a U.S. citizen and the Orlando-based founder and CEO of ZR Studios, a multimedia site about current affairs, politics, and culture. She is also a graduate student at Harvard University and mother to three young children. The government refuses to tell her why she is repeatedly harassed every time she travels or give her a meaningful chance to correct whatever error is causing it.

Merchant's experiences at airports have included Transportation Security Administration officers calling in an explosive unit and, on a separate trip, a team of dogs to search her. Agents have separated her from her two-year-old child for individual screening, and have taken Merchant to private rooms and forced her to open her pants and show her underwear. Officers have removed and inspected all of the contents of her bags in full view of other travelers passing through the checkpoint. After she clears security, TSA officers are often waiting for her at the gate and require her to undergo additional pat-down searches in front of the passengers who will travel with her on the flight. Border officers have also questioned Merchant about her religion and her online opinion writing criticizing government policies, raising First Amendment concerns.

Because of course they have. I'll take articulate hijab-wearers for 500, Alex.
posted by Bella Donna at 11:31 AM on August 14 [63 favorites]


In case anybody missed it from the end of the last thread, Politico: Trump’s diplomatic learning curve: Time zones, ‘Nambia’ and ‘Nipple’
...When Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte visited the White House last month, Trump congratulated him on his “tremendous victory,” even though the Italian had never campaigned for office or run in Italy’s election.
Most of these are fair critiques of Trumps appalling lack of knowledge of, well, most things. But I think piling on diminishes the impact of such a list. The criticism of congratulating the Italian prime minister on his election victory is in "bitch eating crackers" territory. While it's true that he personally did not run for office, in fairness the party he leads and its allied parties ran for many offices and won enough for him to become prime minister. Trump probably didn't know all that detail, but he still wasn't wrong to congratulate Prime Minister Conte. The writer could have left that one out and still had a lengthy list of legitimate examples.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:42 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


And yesterday, via CNN's Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins): “Omarosa was just asked on Hardball if she had anything of interest to Robert Mueller. She answered, "If his office calls again..." — revealing, I believe for the first time, that she's been contacted by the special counsel.”

One wonders, of course, why she wouldn't simply have told Mueller what she knew when his office called her the first time.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:48 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


There's a Hollywood Reporter story from 2015 I'd never seen before: Mark Burnett Pursuing Vladimir Putin as Next Reality TV Star

It's weird how it's always Putin, right? Trump and everyone around him always seemed to be tied up with Putin in one way or another.
posted by zachlipton at 11:55 AM on August 14 [28 favorites]


The thing that the whole 'nipple'/'button' thing tells me is that Trump has never looked at an atlas and explored the world in his mind - which is really sad, not just for him
posted by mbo at 11:58 AM on August 14 [7 favorites]


I'm getting a "mirror facing a mirror" mental image from thinking about an iteration of Survivor where the competitors are acting world leaders.
posted by Autumnheart at 12:01 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


NYT, Trump Appears to Admit White House Aides Signed Nondisclosure Agreements. In the usual Times style of hiding things in the 15th pargraph:
[Omarosa] is not the only West Wing staff member discovered to have been privately taping the president, three current administration officials said; another, now gone, has been caught during Mr. Kelly’s tenure.
So Cohen, Omarosa, and a third staffer all made tapes, at least. The best people.
posted by zachlipton at 12:03 PM on August 14 [19 favorites]


Kristen Welker just made Sarah Sanders admit "I can't guarantee anything" with regard to whether the American people will ever hear Donald Trump use the N-word on a recording in any context. It was good questioning. Sanders clearly knows she dun fucked up because she pivoted into ranting about how awesome the economy is.
posted by Justinian at 12:12 PM on August 14 [47 favorites]


So Cohen, Omarosa, and a third staffer all made tapes, at least. The best people.

Isn't this, like, AskMe-level advice when someone has an issue involving a hostile workplace? It is hard to blame someone for documenting everything they can in the event that they are harassed, fired, or subject to legal consequences as a result of working in a toxic dumpster fire.

go nuts on blaming them for choosing to work in the obviously toxic dumpster fire, though
posted by logicpunk at 12:12 PM on August 14 [6 favorites]


On Pod Save America today Ana Marie Cox has a report from Ted Cruz rallies, noting that all of the questions were "Trump cos-play" or Qanon related. Worth contrasting Cruz struggling to draw only the craziest base voters with Beto filling venues all across Texas. If I learned one thing from 2016, it's that the crowd size indicator shouldn't be laughed at and disregarded ever again, and by that metric Cruz should be worried.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:12 PM on August 14 [29 favorites]


While it's true that he personally did not run for office, in fairness the party he leads and its allied parties ran for many offices and won enough for him to become prime minister. Trump probably didn't know all that detail, but he still wasn't wrong to congratulate Prime Minister Conte.

Here’s the full excerpt from Politico:
When Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte visited the White House last month, Trump congratulated him on his “tremendous victory,” even though the Italian had never campaigned for office or run in Italy’s election. (Conte was a compromise candidate by two parties who came out on top in the election.)
Conte doesn’t lead either party. As the article states, he was a compromise candidate and was formerly a law professor, not a politician.

Lega Nord is led by Matteo Salvini and M5S is led by Luigi de Maio.

Italy is one of the largest economies in the EU (the world’s largest trading bloc - Italy is a founding member) and around the 10th largest economy in the world. The current coalition with Conte at its head is highly eurosceptic and may pose a threat to the stability of the EU, the collapse of which would also pose a threat to both the global financial system and to world peace.

All of this information is easily available from Wikipedia, let alone from the State Department.

This isn’t a “gotcha”, it’s clear proof that Trump doesn’t know what he’s doing, which is either his fault for not understanding his briefing, or also his fault for not receiving a briefing because he’s destroying the apparatus of state.

Fair enough if you don’t understand the significance. Not fair enough for the president, sorry.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 12:13 PM on August 14 [49 favorites]


When Ms. Manigault-Newman was fired there were reports that she "physically dragged and escorted off the campus" and the Secret Service had to stop her from entering the White House residence to see Trump.
Manigault-Newman gave her own account on [December 14, 2017], in an interview with Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan. She told Strahan she resigned, and denied that she was fired, that she had tried to enter the residence, and that had been escorted off White House grounds. She instead recalled her “candid” conversation with John Kelly in the Situation Room. “I like to hear all of these interesting tales, but I have to tell you, they’re 100 percent false,” she said, adding that, if it were true, “Where are the pictures or videos?”
She sounds pretty calm in the tapes with Kelly and Trump, and saying Kelly fired her in the Situation Room is consistent with what she said at the time.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:16 PM on August 14


Isn't this, like, AskMe-level advice when someone has an issue involving a hostile workplace? It is hard to blame someone for documenting everything they can in the event that they are harassed, fired, or subject to legal consequences as a result of working in a toxic dumpster fire.

Documenting, sure. But secretly recording your boss could easily get you thrown in jail depending on the state (two party consent). Not to mention recording sensitive or confidential information.
posted by dilaudid at 12:16 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


secretly recording your boss could easily get you thrown in jail depending on the state (two party consent).

"The District of Columbia's wiretapping law is a 'one-party consent' law."
posted by kirkaracha at 12:18 PM on August 14 [10 favorites]


So Cohen, Omarosa, and a third staffer all made tapes, at least.

From May 2018: White House aide taped meetings with Trump to impress friends

I don't think the person's identity was ever revealed; news articles note that the person was a "junior aide" and some publications used male pronouns to refer to the person.
posted by melissasaurus at 12:19 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Conte doesn’t lead either party. As the article states, he was a compromise candidate and was formerly a law professor, not a politician.

So, two issues:
1) Conte didn't run in the election, even by proxy
2) Nobody won a significant victory in the election, thus the compromise

Trump just knew he was dealing with a newly installed leader and ran his default compliment Mad Lib.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:21 PM on August 14 [14 favorites]


@ddale8: Asked to address concerns that the president is racist against African-Americans, Sanders says he’s probably said more “nasty things” about non-African-Americans.

She went on to say that "the media has done more to divide this country than the president has" and to cite the Clintons' presence at Trump's most recent wedding as evidence that he's not racist.

Her argument that Trump isn't racist pretty much boiled down to: he's "nasty" a ton of people all the time.
posted by zachlipton at 12:21 PM on August 14 [16 favorites]


She went on to say that "the media has done more to divide this country than the president has" and to cite the Clintons' presence at Trump's most recent wedding as evidence that he's not racist.

Fact check: Bill and Hillary Clinton are white.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:23 PM on August 14 [92 favorites]


Her argument that Trump isn't racist pretty much boiled down to: he's "nasty" a ton of people all the time.

Obviously extemporaneous point there, though, or they would have had Melania start the briefing with a #BeBEST update.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:23 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


chappell,ambrose: This isn’t a “gotcha”, it’s clear proof that Trump doesn’t know what he’s doing, which is either his fault for not understanding his briefing, or also his fault for not receiving a briefing because he’s destroying the apparatus of state.

Given that Trump is also a Euroskeptic, maybe calling it a “tremendous victory” is totally sincere.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:26 PM on August 14


Isn't this, like, AskMe-level advice when someone has an issue involving a hostile workplace? It is hard to blame someone for documenting everything they can in the event that they are harassed, fired, or subject to legal consequences as a result of working in a toxic dumpster fire.

Documentation, broadly, could be (as with Comey) contemporaneous written documentation done and dated immediately-after-the-fact and shared with confidants who could corroborate the timing.

There are intersecting interests of 'documenting a hostile workplace' and 'protecting national security,' and, much though I don't like Trump, bringing a recording device into the White House runs a lot of real, physical risks to people -- what if someone compromises the device? What if you lose the device? What if you record something you don't intend to record? What if someone else compromises the device and records something without your knowledge? For those reasons, we should draw a distinction between 'documenting' and 'recording audio.'

It's all a bit absurd given that the President is just going around revealing classified information and compromising intelligence assets to basically everyone directly, without the need for snooping, but just because Trump did something doesn't make it okay.
posted by cjelli at 12:27 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


If I learned one thing from 2016, it's that the crowd size indicator shouldn't be laughed at and disregarded ever again, and by that metric Cruz should be worried.

Trump consistently exaggerated the size of crowds at his rallies during the campaign (and since) and Clinton's crowds were as large or larger during the last part of the campaign.
During the primaries, Trump’s head counts were nearly always larger than those of his Republican rivals or Clinton’s, whose audiences back then usually topped out at 1,000. But instead of celebrating the actual size of these crowds, Trump has routinely exaggerated the already large numbers.

A prime example: One of Trump’s earliest mega-rallies was in Phoenix in July 2015. Even as he continued to face blowback for his controversial comments about undocumented immigrants, thousands requested tickets and his campaign had to move to a bigger venue — where 4,200 people showed up, stunning Republicans and others who thought the entertainer had no chance. But within days, Trump had inflated that crowd size to 15,000.
...
That level of exaggeration has continued into the general election, with Trump repeatedly inflating his numbers while mocking Clinton for attracting small crowds. But with Election Day less than two weeks away, Clinton’s crowds have slowly begun to resemble those of Trump — or those of her primary rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) — as is typical at this point in the campaign.
...
This month, as some of Clinton’s rallies became as large if not larger than Trump’s, his campaign stopped sending out the email comparison. But Trump has continued making the comparisons himself, sometimes pointing to his crowd sizes as a more accurate predictor of election results than scientific polls.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:29 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


I think rather than arguing about whether Trump did or didn’t understand the significance of what he was saying (he didn’t), the more interesting point is that a significant diplomatic blunder feels like uncharitable nitpicking in the context of the rest of the Politico article, which is chock-full of absolutely wild shit. We’re just becoming used to this and our outrage meters have lost their calibration. It’s the “normalisation” that everyone was warning about.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 12:35 PM on August 14 [30 favorites]


Anonymous leakers at the Trump White House have been pushing back fast against Omarosa.

Right after her Tur interview, ABC's John Santucci (@Santucci) says: "NEW - Sources close to White House tell @ABC team that worked with Special Counsel Mueller’s office for interviews with Trump admin never had Omarosa Manigault Newman on their list & as far as WH was aware she never met with Mueller during her employment via me & @KFaulders"

Omarosa didn't say when she was interviewed—and the Special Counsel's office won't comment—so it's possible that if this putative interview took place after her firing, the Trump White House wouldn't have been informed.

By the way, CNBC breaks the news that LA legal shark Charles Harder—whose past clients include Melania Trump against the Daily Mail, the Trump re-election campaign against Michael Wolff over Fire and Fury, and Jared Kushner against Vanity Fair over an article about the Special Counsel investigation—has been hired by the Trump election campaign to represent them in their arbitration action against Omarosa.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:41 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Omarosa didn't say when she was interviewed—and the Special Counsel's office won't comment—so it's possible that if this putative interview took place after her firing, the Trump White House wouldn't have been informed.

Or - and tell me you don't see this happening - Omarosa heard other people were being summoned, wanted in on the action and called Mueller herself, yammering on for a while with vague statements as the person on the other end desperately waited for an opportunity to cut in and say "whew, look at the time, i gotta go...."

If she does have something that turns out to serve the greater purpose, I will gladly accept it. But I am incensed that part of the package it comes with requires us to deal with a person who has for her entire public career arguably been more narcissistic than Trump himself.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:46 PM on August 14 [9 favorites]


Clinton's crowds were as large or larger during the last part of the campaign.

I honestly don't know how meaningful crowd size is as a predictor of victory, but...

CLINTON 👏 WON 👏 THE 👏 POPULAR 👏 VOTE 👏 BY 👏 THREE 👏 MILLION.
posted by duffell at 12:51 PM on August 14 [74 favorites]


Regarding the Minnesota primary today, I am very relieved that I had already decided last week to vote for the DFL-endorsed candidate for attorney general, Matt Pelikan, over Keith Ellison. Also, the governor's race is intense so I gave my adult kids some info about their polling places and mentioned I'd be voting for Erin Murphy. The results of both of these races will be closely watched.
posted by a fish out of water at 12:53 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Her argument that Trump isn't racist pretty much boiled down to: he's "nasty" a ton of people all the time.

Ah, the old "I'm not prejudiced, I hate everyone equally" defense.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:59 PM on August 14 [8 favorites]


Something about that clapping-hands emoji meme just gives me blind, unfocused anger and anxiety. It certainly doesn't get my attention in a useful way.
posted by Rumple at 1:01 PM on August 14 [59 favorites]


bringing a recording device into the White House runs a lot of real, physical risks to people

Every cellphone is a recording device. The Trump administration tried once to ban cellphones but even they realized that was impractical.
posted by JackFlash at 1:05 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


In a *normal* white house secure phones would be provided.
posted by odinsdream at 1:07 PM on August 14 [10 favorites]


How would Pence be out? Trump can't fire him; a Republican Congress is hardly going to impeach him instead of Trump (barring some weird, unforeseen circumstances).
Well, this is stupid Watergate and Agnew was out before Nixon.


Agnew got forced to resign, that's how that happened. Otherwise, what was said above applies.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:10 PM on August 14


Something about that clapping-hands emoji meme just gives me blind, unfocused anger and anxiety. It certainly doesn't get my attention in a useful way.

It's a lot like having somebody clap their hands in your face to emphasize each word as they say it, so I guess in that sense it's effective.
posted by contraption at 1:17 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Minneostafilter: Turnout in Minneapolis is running way, way ahead of the last three primaries.
Minneapolis is already nearing 44,000 voters, on top of 14,800+ absentee/early votes, and polls don't close until 8:00 PM.

Minnesota Public Radio's live election coverage
posted by nathan_teske at 1:18 PM on August 14 [10 favorites]


The clapping thing is a black woman twitter thing, so. Yeah.
posted by odinsdream at 1:20 PM on August 14 [9 favorites]


Y'all, Agnew's reisgnation was driven by him pleading "no contest" to felony tax evasion as a result of an investigation into bribery and corruption in the Maryland state government while Agnew was in office there. It wasn't really connected with Watergate. So for all that we're calling this the Stupid Watergate Timeline, we can't always draw exact parallels with the Nixon administration.
posted by soundguy99 at 1:23 PM on August 14 [8 favorites]


Her argument that Trump isn't racist pretty much boiled down to: he's "nasty" a ton of people all the time.

Fact check: CNN has crunched the numbers into a pie chart.
posted by zachlipton at 1:25 PM on August 14 [17 favorites]


Fuck it, I like Omarosa. Granted, I have seen more of her in the past 24 hours than I had prior to then.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:27 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Associated Press: The Latest: Omarosa tells AP: ‘I will not be silenced’
Manigault Newman spoke to The Associated Press hours after the president’s campaign announced it was filing an arbitration action against the former aide alleging she broke a secrecy agreement.

In an interview with AP, Manigault Newman said she believes the action was intended to keep her from telling her story. She says she “will not be intimidated.”

“I’m not going to be bullied by Donald Trump,” she says.

Manigault Newman, nonetheless, declined to answer several questions about her time in the White House, citing the arbitration action.

But she continued to unleash criticism of Trump, suggesting he’s unfit to be president and is intentionally sowing racial division.
Charles Harder is no Ty Cobb or Rudy Giuliani.

Or - and tell me you don't see this happening - Omarosa heard other people were being summoned, wanted in on the action and called Mueller herself, yammering on for a while with vague statements as the person on the other end desperately waited for an opportunity to cut in and say "whew, look at the time, i gotta go...."

Or, right after she was fired, she called up the Special Counsel's office with a story to tell and vengeance on her mind. Since their remit is to turn over every rock in the Trump campaign, they called her in as part of due diligence. (Note that Omarosa declined to answer Tur's questions about whether or not she'd been called in front of the grand jury.)

The Trump White House's problem is that they have no way of knowing what she may have secretly taped them saying, especially since we know from the likes of Wolff and Kessler how utterly incautious these people are in coversation. Their legal move to enforce the blanket NDA is the only play they have.

But I am incensed that part of the package it comes with requires us to deal with a person who has for her entire public career arguably been more narcissistic than Trump himself.

Let's not go crazy here—nobody is more narcissistic than Trump. Omarosa is, at best, well, his apprentice. Even then, she faces stiff competition from the likes of the Mooch and, I would argue, Hope Hicks, in her very quiet, publicly opaque way.

For comic relief, the NY Post's Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) suggests, “If Omarosa really does bring him down she has to say "you're fired" to his face or it doesn't count”
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:27 PM on August 14 [12 favorites]


In MN, Richfield (Minneapolis suburb) has future voter stickers for children accompanying their parents to a polling place.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:29 PM on August 14 [22 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. Enough on clapping hands emoji. And if you want people to drop a subject, don't make a comment that picks more of a fight about it and say "but please drop it".]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:32 PM on August 14 [15 favorites]


How Bill Browder Became Russia’s Most Wanted Man

Joshua Yaffa | The New Yorker

Good and thorough explainer on Browder’s role in all of this stuff.

This article appears in the print edition of the August 20, 2018, issue, with the headline “Russia’s Most Wanted.”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:34 PM on August 14 [5 favorites]


Mea culpa, those Minneapolis turnout numbers include the early votes and absentees. Regardless I don't think it's Republican voters that are driving up turnout in Minneapolis.
posted by nathan_teske at 1:35 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


When Republicans were going on about how the tape of Michelle Obama ranting about "whitey" was about to be released, people rightly said "That doesn't sound like something she'd say".

When Omarasa was going on about the tape of Trump dropping the n-bomb, people rightly said "I wonder how good the audio quality is going to be".
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:35 PM on August 14 [94 favorites]


NYMag on Trump's war on American veterans.
[T]he Trump administration has handed its veterans’ health-care agenda over to three dues-paying members of the president’s Florida golf resort. As ProPublica revealed last week, the chairman of Marvel Entertainment Isaac Perlmutter, his personal doctor Bruce Moskowitz, and Moskowitz’s squash partner Marc Sherman have been informally advising Trump on Veterans Administration policy (while paying monthly fees to Mar-a-Lago). This “troika” played a leading role in ousting David Shulkin from the VA, and orchestrating the administration’s push for privatizing veterans’ health care.
posted by suelac at 1:43 PM on August 14 [9 favorites]


Politico, Nahal Toosi, Leaked Pompeo statement shows debate over 'genocide' label for Myanmar. Calling it a genocide could mean that we're supposed to do something about it.
A State Department investigation has found that Myanmar’s military exhibited “premeditation and coordination” ahead of a slaughter of Rohingya Muslims last year in one of the decade’s most horrifying mass atrocities.

But days before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to deliver a speech on the subject, the Trump administration has apparently not yet decided whether to call it a “genocide.”

Draft excerpts from a Pompeo statement obtained exclusively by POLITICO include the bracketed phrase “hold for determination” in a passage that will offer Pompeo’s conclusion about how to describe the vicious campaign against one of Myanmar’s most vulnerable ethnic minority groups.
BuzzFeed, Emma Loop and Jason Leopold, who continue to have amazing Treasury and Senate sources, Senate Intel Wants To Follow The Money In The Russia Probe. But Treasury Isn't Making That Easy.
In its investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the Senate Intelligence Committee has spent more than a year trying to follow the money. But its efforts, unparalleled on Capitol Hill, have been hampered by a surprising force: the US Treasury Department, which has delayed turning over crucial financial records and refused to provide an expert to help make sense of the complex money trail. Even some of the department’s own personnel have questioned whether Treasury is intentionally hamstringing the investigation.
...
Treasury has at times been reluctant to cooperate with the committee’s requests for sensitive financial documents that are significant to the Russia probe, at one point going at least four months without responding to one of the committee’s requests.

Last year, Treasury rejected the committee’s request for help from one of its experts, even as Treasury officials have speculated — behind closed doors — that the Senate committee would not be able to follow the twisting financial trail laid out in the documents they had turned over, a path that often passes through offshore shell companies or untraceable cash transactions.

In emails reviewed by BuzzFeed News, personnel within Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, discussed in 2017 whether Treasury was trying to thwart the committee’s investigation. Additionally, some FinCEN personnel questioned whether they had the proper legal authority to share confidential information about US persons with committee staffers.

Despite committee chairman Richard Burr’s insistence to BuzzFeed News that the panel has received “every financial document” it has requested from Treasury, sources inside FinCEN told BuzzFeed News that they were initially instructed not to hand over financial documents on certain individuals. The directive, these sources said, came from senior Treasury officials in the general counsel’s office. To this day, FinCEN sources insist not all of the records requested by the committee have been turned over.
Slate, Henry Grabar, Ben Carson Ends Obama-Era Efforts to Reduce Housing Segregation
In a press release on Monday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development made its firmest commitment yet to tear down the Obama-era framework for enforcing the Fair Housing Act.

In a public notice dated Thursday, Aug. 9, HUD outlined its reasons for quashing the 2015 “affirmatively furthering fair housing” rule (AFFH), which had been the strongest effort in decades to crack down on segregation and discriminatory practices in and by American cities and suburbs. HUD Secretary Ben Carson cited the Obama administration’s “unworkable requirements” in a statement, saying the rule “actually impeded the development and rehabilitation of affordable housing.” Under AFFH, Carson said, cities and other HUD grantees had “inadequate autonomy” according to his understanding of federalism.
Trump signed the defense bill yesterday. He also put out quite the signing statement at 9pm. NYT, Trump Claims Power to Bypass Limits Set by Congress in Defense Bill:
In a signing statement that the White House quietly issued after 9 p.m. on Monday — more than seven hours after Mr. Trump signed the bill in a televised ceremony at Fort Drum in New York — Mr. Trump deemed 51 of its statutes to be unconstitutional intrusions on his presidential powers, meaning that the executive branch need not enforce or obey them as written. Among them was a ban on spending military funds on “any activity that recognizes the sovereignty of the Russian Federation over Crimea,” the Ukrainian region annexed by Moscow in 2014 in an incursion considered illegal by the United States. He said he would treat the provision and similar ones as “consistent with the president’s exclusive constitutional authorities as commander in chief and as the sole representative of the nation in foreign affairs.”
...
For example, Mr. Trump also declared that he could bypass a provision in the bill that extended restrictions on certain bilateral military-to-military cooperation between the United States and Russia.

He also challenged a provision requiring the Pentagon to create a senior civilian position charged with coming up with uniform standards for counting — and reducing — civilian bystander deaths as a result of American military operations, and a provision that would halt certain in-flight refueling of Saudi and Emirati aircraft over Yemen unless those countries took more steps to bring an end to the civil war there and to reduce civilian suffering and collateral damage from their airstrikes.

And the president said he could disregard a restriction against reducing the number of active-duty troops stationed in South Korea below 22,000, unless Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis were to certify that doing so would be in the national-security interest of the United States and would not undermine the security of regional allies like South Korea and Japan.
Speaking of defense, CNN, Barbara Star, Exclusive: Pentagon spokeswoman under investigation for misusing staff, retaliating against complaints: "White is alleged to have misused support staff, asking them, among other things, to fetch her drycleaning, run to the pharmacy for her and work on her mortgage paperwork. Staffers also charge that she inappropriately transferred personnel after they filed complaints about her."

AP, EPA challenged rationale for administration mileage freeze
Internal documents show the Environmental Protection Agency privately questioned the Trump administration’s finding that freezing Obama-era mileage standards would make drivers safer.

In announcing the mileage proposal, the administration said the freeze would save 1,000 lives a year. But in a June email, the EPA told the Department of Transportation that it would slightly increase highway deaths.
And here's the response to that time Kavanaugh, as Associate White House Counsel, tried to argue that the Senate failing to take action on judicial nominees is unconstitutional.
posted by zachlipton at 1:46 PM on August 14 [23 favorites]


In a signing statement that the White House quietly issued after 9 p.m. on Monday — more than seven hours after Mr. Trump signed the bill in a televised ceremony at Fort Drum in New York — Mr. Trump deemed 51 of its statutes to be unconstitutional intrusions on his presidential powers

If we survive Trump can we get rid of these bullshit signing statements?
Article I, Section 7 (in the Presentment Clause) empowers the president to veto a law in its entirety, to sign it, or to do nothing. Article II, Section 3 requires that the executive "take care that the laws be faithfully executed". The Constitution does not authorize the President to cherry-pick which parts of validly enacted Congressional Laws he is going to obey and execute, and which he is not.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:53 PM on August 14 [19 favorites]


That Kavanaugh email is the opposite: he says not taking action is outrageous but *not* unconstitutional.
posted by kerf at 2:07 PM on August 14


NBC News, Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins, How three conspiracy theorists took 'Q' and sparked Qanon
Recently, some Qanon followers have accused Diaz and Rogers of profiting from the movement by soliciting donations from their followers. Other pro-Trump online groups have questioned the roles that Diaz and Rogers have played in promoting Q, pointing to a series of slip-ups that they say show Rogers and Diaz may have been involved in the theory from the start.

Those accusations have led Diaz and Rogers to both deny that they are Q and say they don’t know who Q is. There is no direct proof that the group or any individual members are behind it.

Still, Qanon skeptics have pointed to two videos as evidence that Rogers had insider knowledge of Q’s account. One archived livestream appears to show Rogers logging into the 8chan account of “Q.”The Patriots’ Soapbox feed quickly cuts out after the login attempt. “Sorry, leg cramp,” Rogers says, before the feed reappears seconds later.

Users in the associated chatroom begin to wonder if Rogers had accidentally revealed his identity as Q. “How did you post as Q?” one user wrote.
Can "sorry, leg cramp" be the new meme for screwing up and getting caught?

----

More from the Manafort trial:
Throughout the proceedings, Ellis has sparred with prosecutors, sometimes in front of the jury, and asked pointed questions himself of witnesses. Ellis said that the prosecutors’ proposal did not note a federal judge’s right to do that. “That’s still the law of the land,” he quipped. He also said that the “diction” of prosecutors’ suggested instruction was wrong, though he joked “at least it didn’t split the infinitive.” (Those who have practiced in front of Ellis say that is a pet peeve of the judge).

Later in the exchange, Ellis asked prosecutors pointedly about opinionated remarks.

“Do you think I made any such comments?” he said.

Asonye, still standing at the podium, said nothing. A momentary silence fell over the courtroom. The team’s lead prosecutor, Greg Andres, then rose in his chair and declared, “Yes.”

Ellis asked for an example. Andres pointed to the testimony of Rick Gates, Manafort’s business partner, who testified that Manafort was diligent in managing his money. When Gates said that, Ellis interrupted to point out that Manafort was not diligent enough to be able to prevent Gates from embezzling funds, Andres noted.

“That really hurt the government, didn’t it?” Ellis said flatly, adding soon after, “Never mind.”
They discussed a jury instruction telling jurors that they should disregard the judge's opinions.
posted by zachlipton at 2:09 PM on August 14 [17 favorites]


Most Americans think Trump is failing the middle class

That includes every group polled by Quinnipiac University — except Republicans and white men.

Jane Coaston | Vox
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:10 PM on August 14 [15 favorites]


That Kavanaugh email is the opposite: he says not taking action is outrageous but *not* unconstitutional.

The email linked is from David Addington to Kavanaugh, disagreeing with him, not the other way around. I'm not aware where the actual first email from Kavanaugh is, which would be more important. That said, we ought to just be talking about Roe instead of emails.
posted by zachlipton at 2:11 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


he joked “at least it didn’t split the infinitive.” (Those who have practiced in front of Ellis say that is a pet peeve of the judge)

Honestly, I haven't been too worried about the perceived hinkiness of Ellis's courtroom behaviour until this moment. But people with sincere and deeply held hangups about split infinitives are the wooooorst and not to be trusted.
posted by halation at 2:14 PM on August 14 [39 favorites]


Some good voting rights news from New Hampshire:

A federal judge has ruled that New Hampshire's process of validating signatures on absentee ballots is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Landya McCafferty ruled Tuesday that the process is "fundamentally flawed" because the voter isn't given notice if a signature is rejected.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued last year on behalf of three voters whose signatures were rejected in the 2016 general election, but didn't know for months.

It said the law allows election officials to reject an absentee ballot without giving notice to the voter if they think there's a signature mismatch in the voter's paperwork. It also said it puts election moderators in the difficult position of acting as handwriting experts.

The ACLU's Gilles Bissonnette said people shouldn't be denied their right to vote because of penmanship.


The full decision is here, and worth a read.
posted by schoolgirl report at 2:15 PM on August 14 [18 favorites]


For all we've gotten about how the behavior of Ellis is normal, it's pretty alarming to me, a non-lawyer. And doubly alarming if this is the normal, national standard for judges.
posted by Slackermagee at 2:18 PM on August 14 [18 favorites]


hen Gates said that, Ellis interrupted to point out that Manafort was not diligent enough to be able to prevent Gates from embezzling funds, Andres noted.

“That really hurt the government, didn’t it?” Ellis said flatly, adding soon after, “Never mind.”


I can't tell. Is the judge being sarcastic here, implying that his comment was a drop in the bucket compared to the government's case? Or is he being serious and implying he thinks the prosecution's case is weak?
posted by Justinian at 2:18 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


But people with sincere and deeply held hangups about split infinitives are the wooooorst and not to be trusted.

We've all got to have sincere and deeply held hangups about something. Better split infinitives than the relative worthiness of people with different skin colors.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:19 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Reporting on Omarosa's situation continues to frustrate me. MSNBC's lower third? "Ex-aide says Trump knew about Clinton's hacked emails". NBC (Katy Tur, above)? "Did Donald Trump know about Clinton's e-mails before they came out?".

Clinton's emails weren't hacked. I can't believe we're still lacking precision on this point. The campaign chairman was hacked. The DNC was hacked. The DCCC was hacked. "Clinton's emails" is such an imprecise and misleading term in headline format.
posted by Room 101 at 2:21 PM on August 14 [67 favorites]


“That really hurt the government, didn’t it?” Ellis said flatly, adding soon after, “Never mind.”

>I can't tell. Is the judge being sarcastic here, implying that his comment was a drop in the bucket compared to the government's case? Or is he being serious and implying he thinks the prosecution's case is weak?


The judge is just be an asshole, snarking at the prosecutor for having the audacity to bring up something that might embarrass the judge. It's all about him personally, not the case.
posted by JackFlash at 2:26 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


That kinda makes it worse to me? Like, is it too much to expect non-assholishness and detachment at that level?
posted by Slackermagee at 2:29 PM on August 14 [10 favorites]


Over the weekend two people bought their way into a dinner in Colorado which Ryan Zinke was speaking at and stood up to demand answers (Democracy Now! interview, video and transcript) on the liquidation of public lands and proposed cuts to the Joint Fire Science Program which researches wildfires, a cooperative effort between the Forest Service and six Department of the Interior agencies, and why he refuses to acknowledge the connection between climate change and wildfires.

In local media footage of the event Zinke's response the latter question can be heard: You know what? You haven’t served and you don’t understand what energy is. I would like to see your child have to fight for energy. (Hardly the most fucked-up aspect of this but he was saying this to the woman of the pair, of course.)

Last week DN! also had a very moving interview with Debbie Sims Africa of the MOVE 9 who was recently released from prison after 40 years (previously) and her son, Mike, who was born in prison but grew up separated from her: part 1, part 2.
posted by XMLicious at 2:30 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Can "sorry, leg cramp" be the new meme for screwing up and getting caught?


Only if “How did you post as Q?” becomes the new meme for credulous rubes.
posted by Sublimity at 2:48 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


That kinda makes it worse to me? Like, is it too much to expect non-assholishness and detachment at that level?

Lifetime tenure. Ask somebody in academia how that affects people who don't have the power of life and death.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:48 PM on August 14 [15 favorites]


The revenge of the lesser Trumps (NYT)

I simultaneously despise and love Omarosa. It's very confusing.
posted by bluesky43 at 2:49 PM on August 14 [14 favorites]


Dispatch from Minnesota from election judge Elly Vortex: 220 voters at my precinct, 38 absentee ballots counted (more will be added as counted). So we're at about 20% of registered voters here, which is low in the grand scheme of things, but that's normal for a primary. We're open for another 3:15.

We anticipate a wild general election (hot button issues on the ballot, city council/mayor, school board, governor, and of course national midterms). I would not be surprised to see 85-90% voter turnout.
posted by Elly Vortex at 2:56 PM on August 14 [15 favorites]


NBC News, Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins, How three conspiracy theorists took 'Q' and sparked Qanon

I feel like the whole Q/Qanon controversy is a distraction. It seems like just another fringe group navigating to Trump like a moth to a flame.

I am, however, offended that this group would adopt the name of one of my all time favorite Star Trek:TNG characters. That Q, we might need.
posted by bluesky43 at 2:59 PM on August 14 [14 favorites]


More from the Quinnipiac poll (margin of error of +/-3.4percentage points). It's a bit more nuanced:

The Trump Administration is not doing enough to help middle class Americans, voters say 58 –38 percent. Republicans say 80 –16 percent that the administration is doing enough, and white men agree 51 –45 percent. White voters with no college degree are divided as 46 percent say the administration is doing enough and 49 percent say it is not doing enough. Every other listed group says the Trump Administration is not doing enough.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is conducting a fair investigation into possible coordination between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government, voters say 51 –33 percent. The president is guilty of wrongdoing in this matter, 42 percent of voters say, while 43 percent say he is not guilty.

Minimally, Trump's attempts to de-legitimatize the Mueller investigation are not super popular. Amazing still is the polarity in views. This is something I can't get my head around, I mean really Republicans? 80%?
posted by bluesky43 at 3:13 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


So we're at about 20% of registered voters here, which is low in the grand scheme of things, but that's normal for a primary.

The news happened to be on in the background as I was reading this comment and they were just saying that the highest ever turnout for a primary in MN was in 1998 and was just over 20%.

I think turnout is higher than you think.
posted by VTX at 3:20 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


MN Primary and General Election Turnout Statistics (pdf). 20+% wouldn't be a record but it'd be the highest turnout since 1998.
posted by nathan_teske at 3:28 PM on August 14


Dispatch from Minnesota from election judge Elly Vortex: 220 voters at my precinct, 38 absentee ballots counted (more will be added as counted). So we're at about 20% of registered voters here, which is low in the grand scheme of things, but that's normal for a primary. We're open for another 3:15.

Dispatch #2 from Minnesota from election judge triggerfinger: I only had a half shift today, so left at 2, but by then we were around 450 voters at my precinct, with ~2400 registered voters in the precinct. We don't count absentee ballots at my location, so no idea on that. It seemed like a low turnout but there was also an after-work rush as yet to happen when I left. Also, absentee ballots were insanely high this year, so that might be part of it. All signs point to turnout being very high.

Two points about Minnesota voting: We have the highest voter turnout in the country and one reason is that we have same-day registration, which you can do right there at the polls and only takes a couple of minutes; we also use paper ballots and have a good and orderly system of tallying and auditing the ballots that seems to work pretty well - we have virtually no voter fraud. Other states could do worse than adopting a similar system. Amy Klobuchar is on the case.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:06 PM on August 14 [22 favorites]


The whole Ellison situation seriously upsets me. I really have experience on a personal level of abusers fooling absolutely everyone else and silencing the women and children around them, silencing even judges. A man capable of that absolutely should not hold the type of office he is seeking. At the be same time, as with Franken we are seeing really suspicious timing AND to be honest, I think the videos and texts messages need to be public at this point. I am more inclined to believe victims than not, but if any of this is real, it is now ‘put up or shut up’ time.
I also am deeply distressed by the hatred toward Muslims I saw when I read some of the people comementing on FOX and NBC. Every religion has a certain number of assholes. They will invariably use religion to justify being assholes, no matter what religion they are. It’s just that right now, doing *ANYTHING* which brings that type of negative attention to Muslims is absolutely a Bad Thing. I especially hope it’s not true Ellison did those things. If he did, he needs to face the music.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 4:10 PM on August 14 [6 favorites]


Monmouth poll of NJ-03 (inc R MacArthur vs D Kim):
potential voters: MacArthur 41 - Kim 40
midterm model: Kim 45 - MacArthur 44
Dem surge model: Kim 46 - MacArthur 43
In light of this, Cook is moving from Lean R => Tossup.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:13 PM on August 14 [9 favorites]


Add one to that number because I just got back from the polls.

Voted for Matt Pelikan for AG because however it shakes out, Ellison’s credibility in regard to his being accused of domestic violence isn’t something I want to have to justify. Either he didn’t do it but the GOP is going to trash his every slightest move from now on, or he did do it and I somehow have to rationalize, “He abuses women but he’s a good lawyer”? Nah. Pelikan gave a good speech and seemed to have his head on straight at the convention, he got the endorsement, that’s good enough for me.
posted by Autumnheart at 4:15 PM on August 14 [5 favorites]


Either he didn’t do it but the GOP is going to trash his every slightest move from now on

Not a defense of him, but I think this analysis (which is distressingly common) means capitulating to their terms of battle. We need to develop robust and sustainable tools and strategies for holding folks accountable for assault and harassment, free from what the howling rage machines on the right might want or might say.
posted by wemayfreeze at 4:31 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


@Sublimity who posted this question:

***I saw a commercial praising Kavanaugh and urging his speedy confirmation this afternoon on CNN--featuring a testimonial from one of his staff who identifies herself as a lifelong Democrat. Do Supreme Court nominees usually get commercials? Sponsor was "Judicial Crisis Network" or some bullshit. As a pointy headed coastal liberal I am proud that I do not own a television and have never paid for cable (indeed, saw this as I was on the treadmill at the gym.)
posted by Sublimity at 3:36 PM on August 13 [6 favorites −] Favorite***





No, this is ABSOLUTELY NOT NORMAL. I am now 65 years old. I have paid attention to politics since I began actually reading the whole LA times and the San Francisco Chronicle daily. I also have watched a fair amount of TV over the years. I personally have never seen or heard of such an ad before. It crosses a line really that someone made such an ad. The closest I remember was seeing ‘Impeach Earl Warren!’ billboards. The people who paid for those were considered to be nuts frankly.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 4:33 PM on August 14 [19 favorites]


Gorsuch had the same type of ads.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 4:36 PM on August 14 [6 favorites]


The Judicial Crisis Network and the NRA both ran ads against the confirmations of Kagan and Sotomayor as well.
posted by peeedro at 4:44 PM on August 14 [6 favorites]


And Garland too!
posted by peeedro at 4:48 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


These types of ads for SCOTUS nominees did not exist before this era. It’s a Bad Thing they do now.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 4:54 PM on August 14 [9 favorites]


Not all ads may have been run in all states - the NRA running an ad against Kagan and Sotomayor likely would target blue dog Dems
posted by mbo at 4:56 PM on August 14


Dog Days: Trump and His Toxic Twitter Insults of Omarosa

Susan B. Glasser | The New Yorker
... I’m going to type it out one more time: the President of the United States called someone a “dog” on Twitter Tuesday morning. I wasn’t surprised, and, as appalling as it was, the early-morning tweet wasn’t treated by most Web sites and cable-news operations as the top news of the day. Those tended to focus on the arbitration case that Trump’s 2016 campaign filed against Manigault-Newman for allegedly violating her nondisclosure agreement or the about-to-conclude money-laundering trial of Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who may be so confident in a Presidential pardon that his defense has rested without even mounting a case or calling any witnesses. But are we so numb to Trump’s rhetorical outrages that we can’t still be a little bit horrified by them? Omarosa titled her kiss-and-tell “Unhinged.” Trump seems intent on proving her right.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:00 PM on August 14 [5 favorites]


Your periodic reminder that The Atlantic is awful.

Hope and Change in an Alabama Coal Mine


“It’s not right for us to lose money to foreign countries. At some point in time in the future, it’s gonna be over for us,” he said. “They’re gonna have all the money, they’re gonna own everything, and we’re gonna be speaking Chinese or Spanish or whatever you wanna call it.” [...] Before leaving the mine that day, Johnson, wearing a hard hat and reflective vest, stole a last look at the excavator. “I’m planning on getting another machine,” he’d later tell me. If all goes well, he’ll buy a Hitachi 3600—roughly 395 tons. “If I can get that big one,” he said with a grin, “I might name it Melania.”

I'm sure that "Rich old racist white man who thinks he's working class is happy that Trump is letting him drag a little more carbon Death from the Earth" is the most trenchant commentary the publication could have put out. The story is a couple weeks old and would have gone blessedly unnoticed, but Trump has just retweeted it.

Heck of a job, Atlantic.
posted by Rust Moranis at 5:01 PM on August 14 [18 favorites]


Not a defense of him, but I think this analysis (which is distressingly common) means capitulating to their terms of battle.

I thought about that, but you know what, I don’t care if it is. If Democrats haven’t learned in the last 25 years that if you want to be in public office as a Democrat, you have to be above reproach, then I don’t know what to say. Don’t grab asses and harass your colleagues. Don’t beat up your girlfriend. This is not a high bar we’re asking people to pass. If a candidate is stupid enough to engage in the kind of behavior that could credibly result in charges being filed, then they’re too stupid to run for office as a Democrat.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:03 PM on August 14 [41 favorites]


These types of ads for SCOTUS nominees did not exist before this era. It’s a Bad Thing they do now.

The new hotness in 2017 was ads for cabinet nominees.
posted by peeedro at 5:05 PM on August 14


Not a defense of him, but I think this analysis (which is distressingly common) means capitulating to their terms of battle.

It's an imperfect world, so I imagine Sun Tzu has something to say about dealing with situations you don't control, and they've all read it.
posted by rhizome at 5:10 PM on August 14


Judicial Crisis Network is funded almost solely by a single $28.5 million donation from an anonymous donor.

That's almost certainly one of the Kochs, or Adelson, or possibly Foster Fiess. And you can be sure Gorsuch and Kavanaugh know which one, and will rule accordingly. Right wing billionares are buying the entire country. They knew they stakes when they backed Trump, and it was exactly this, the chance to buy the Supreme Court and rule the country for the next 40 years through judicial coup.

And Democrats let it happen because judges aren't exciting.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:14 PM on August 14 [28 favorites]


Speaking of primaries, in NY State if you’re unregistered you have til the 19th to register to vote in the primary. You can register here. Voting day is on Thursday the 13th in September because ...of course it is.

Ten days until the NYC DSA Socialist Semi-Formal fundraiser designed by me.
posted by The Whelk at 5:17 PM on August 14 [11 favorites]


Because the 2nd Tuesday that normally would be the primary is Rosh Hashana. I guess the fallback is Thursday of the same week.
posted by kokaku at 5:24 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


lol @MichaelAvenatti
Many have asked me my position on various issues. Below is a summary of where I stand. This is not an exhaustive list and more positions & details will follow. Most importantly, I didn't have to hire a pollster or political consultant to tell me what to say or what to believe. "What I Believe" by Michael Avenatti, August 14, 2018"
posted by triggerfinger at 5:36 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


ELECTION RESULT:

@jonshorman (Wichita Eagle): BREAKING: Jeff Colyer concedes to Kris Kobach in Kansas Republican governor’s race #ksleg
posted by zachlipton at 5:37 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Please, fellow citizens of the United States, for the love of all that is good in this life don't let the political aspirations of Michael Avenatti become a thing.
posted by Justinian at 5:38 PM on August 14 [48 favorites]


zachlipton: "@jonshorman (Wichita Eagle): BREAKING: Jeff Colyer concedes to Kris Kobach in Kansas Republican governor’s race #ksleg"

Wow, did not anticipate it playing out this way.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:50 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Time's wingèd chariot dept.: Ned Lamont easily wins the Dem nomination for CT governor.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:54 PM on August 14 [8 favorites]


The biggest problem I have with Ellison and Lori Swanson for that matter is that the accusations are, to me at least, very believable but in the grand scheme of things not especially damning. A lot of people have stepped forward to corroborate the allegations against Swanson but there are worse ways one can abuse their office.

There hasn't been, to my knowledge, a bunch of other women coming forward making similar allegations. It doesn't seem to be a consistent pattern.

Had their reaction been to own up and take responsibility for their actions, apologize, and take what actions they could to try and make things right, they probably could have kept my vote. People make mistakes, they can learn and change and grow.

The timing of these things isn't all that suspicious to me. It's easy to want the explanation to be that the accusers have made these accusations now because they'll cause the most damage. I don't think it's about revenge, I think it's more likely that they're coming forward now because they feel it's important that this information about this public figure be public before they make a choice.

Like my friend from my 20's we called Fun-Time-bobby (AKA FTB). It's important that everyone know that once FTB has been drinking that he NOT be allowed near the Tequila under any circumstances. When he's sober, he knows that it'll just make him an angry drunk but already drunk FTB has other ideas and it's this whole thing every time. Therefore, we don't really talk about how FTB is not allowed the Tequila unless and until FTB makes an actual attempt to drink some. Even then if you miss your first chance and he manages one shot you're okay but after that we knew things might get touchy.
posted by VTX at 6:00 PM on August 14


Ok, the Avenatti list is pretty generically worded Democrat wishlist. What he's done is set this up to be a scorecard.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:03 PM on August 14


Ari Berman: Kris Kobach won KS GOP gov primary by 300 votes. His proof of citizenship law, which federal court struck down, blocked 35,000 from voting

American democracy is a farce.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:14 PM on August 14 [84 favorites]


The Washington Post's Style section profiles Trump's new Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications after his first month on the job: ‘Working for One Guy’: Bill Shine’s Journey from Ailes Enforcer to Trump Producer. While it mostly plays softball with its subject, it does throw one curve:
After his appointment, the New York Times reported that last year Shine was subpoenaed in the Southern District of New York’s criminal investigation into the misuse of funds at Fox News. The investigation is focused on whether Ailes misused company funds to settle with and silence women whom he had sexually harassed, according to two people familiar with the investigation. According to one of these people, investigators are interested in whether Shine covered for Ailes.

After the Times story ran, Trump expressed concern about Shine’s personal exposure to the investigation. Murdoch again called the president, with whom he is in regular contact, to assuage his worries, according to two people familiar with the call.
Coincidentally, the AP ran a similar piece, From Ailes to Trump: Meet Bill Shine, Trump’s New Image Man (but like the WaPo, it did not mention how Shine just recently settled a lawsuit in which he and Ailes were being sued by a would-be reality TV show host against whom they conspired to dig up dirt and smear in the media via sock puppets.)

For more context on the Trump administration and Fox News, the Popular Information newsletter looks into their symbiotic relationship, starting with the underreported fact that when the Trump White House waived federal ethics laws in order to allow Shine to interact freely with his former peers and colleagues, Don McGahn explicitly singled out Fox News in his authorization memo (PDF)—"even if the communication or meeting is not ‘open to all interested parties.’"
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:28 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


I just came back to my browser and the way it displays the number of new comments on the tab it currently says:

(88) "Is the president

Clever browser, I don't need to read the thread now.
posted by adept256 at 6:29 PM on August 14 [27 favorites]


Time's wingèd chariot dept.: Ned Lamont easily wins the Dem nomination for CT governor.

The Dem candidate choices were Lamont and Joe Ganim, who did 7 years in jail for corruption. Lamont is a Greenwich (Gold Coast of CT) businessman. Honestly? I was torn when I went in to vote this evening.

My big worry is Mark Boughton, one of the Republican candidates for governor. I have some personal experience with him and hope he does not win, but I have a sinking feeling that he might take CT this November (assuming he wins today's primary - haven't seen the numbers yet). Our current Dem gov, Dan Malloy, is currently ranked as second to last in approval for all governors in the US. I fear a pendulum swing here in my state.

On a good note, though, my 20 year old son voted for the first time in his life today!
posted by sundrop at 6:31 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Time's wingèd chariot dept.: Ned Lamont ... wins

LAMONT LAMENTS:
Gather Rosebuds ASAP!

- tomorrow’s NYPost poetry ed. cover [fake]

——

Gary Johnson, Professional Spoiler, Jumps Into New Mexico’s Senate Race [real!]
Ed Kilgore | NYMag
Last October, after an extended disappearance from public life, Johnson told the Washington Post’s David Weigel: “I’m never going to be a candidate again.” But then the New Mexico Libertarian Party came knocking after its U.S. Senate candidate dropped out, and the former two-term governor from back in the day (he left office in 2003) changed his mind.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:32 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


>>Her argument that Trump isn't racist pretty much boiled down to: he's "nasty" a ton of people all the time.

>Fact check: CNN has crunched the numbers into a pie chart.


Is this true? The pie chart shows that, of all Trump tweets attacking someone's intelligence, 73% were attacking a black person's intelligence and 27% a white person's.

I mean, we all know Trump is a flaming racist jackass, but this just seems . . . so right on the nose? The Writers--what were they thinking?

(In a just world, the president publicly/repeatedly attacking even ONE random citizen's general intelligence would be grounds for immediate removal from office, and if done in a massively racist way would be sufficient grounds 2X over.)
posted by flug at 6:39 PM on August 14 [8 favorites]


Jahana Hayes wins Dem nom in CT-05. Both candidates cast themselves as progressive, Hayes was probably a tick to the left. She'd also be the first black woman rep from CT.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:41 PM on August 14 [12 favorites]


In Vermont, Christine Hallquist wins the Dem nomination for governor. She is the first major party gubernatorial candidate to be transgendered.

On the GOP side, incumbent Phil Scott survives a minor scare from the right, and wins about 2-1.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:43 PM on August 14 [10 favorites]


"If Christine Hallquist can win Tuesday’s Democratic primary, and go on to run for Vermont governor, it will be the first time in history that Americans will be able to vote for a transgender woman for such a senior political role.

She won the primary, per AP's call.
posted by zachlipton at 6:44 PM on August 14 [17 favorites]


Tony Evers looks to win easily in Dem nom for WI gov, with 40-ish percent over a highly fractured field. Evers was widely considered the strongest candidate to defeat incumbent GOP gov Walker.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:56 PM on August 14 [7 favorites]


A few threads back, someone was fretting a bit over Richard Painter getting the Dem nom for the MN Senate special election. Tina Smith has demolished Painter by about 60 points.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:58 PM on August 14 [29 favorites]


Ilhan Omar has won the Dem nom in MN-05. Along with Rashida Tlaib from Michigan, they'll be the first Muslim-American women reps (both districts are Safe D). Omar was AOC-endorsed.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:02 PM on August 14 [39 favorites]


In Minnesota, Tina Smith has won the nomination in a landslide over Richard Painter (she got 76% of the votes to Painter's 14%). I guess MN voters weren't buying the "ETHICS!" the former Ethics Czar for George W. Bush was selling. Ha ha. Meanwhile, Amy Klobuchar has, as expected, run away with her nomination with 96% of the D votes.

(Jinx, Chrysostom!)

Now I would love to see Amy Poehler and Tina Fey do a sketch as the senators from Minnesota.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:03 PM on August 14 [14 favorites]


Meanwhile, Amy Klobuchar has, as expected, run away with her nomination with 96% of the D votes

I have consistently said since 2016 that she could be a real contender for the nomination in 2020. I just don't know if she wants it.
posted by Justinian at 7:07 PM on August 14 [10 favorites]


Great result from the Milwaukee County sheriff's race: Earnell Lucas has defeated acting sheriff Richard Schmidt, who was second in command under Richard Clarke.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:09 PM on August 14 [24 favorites]


I have consistently said since 2016 that she could be a real contender for the nomination in 2020. I just don't know if she wants it.

I've long thought Klobuchar and Gillibrand are both very serious contenders for the nom (if they run).
posted by Chrysostom at 7:10 PM on August 14 [6 favorites]


Avenatti and Scaramuchi were on Late Night a few weeks ago, seeing if they could parlay their chemistry into a deal for a television show. Think about that. He wants exposure so badly he was willing to be co-host a show with Scaramuchi. Avenatti is running for president because no one picked up his crap TV show.
posted by xammerboy at 7:12 PM on August 14 [23 favorites]


Avenatti is running for president because no one picked up his crap TV show.

I mean, that's literally what Trump did too, so.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:13 PM on August 14 [43 favorites]


Keith Ellison wins MN AG Dem nom. FWIW, if the current scandal forces Ellison out of the race, the party can replace him, MN ballot laws aren't crazy like NY.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:14 PM on August 14 [18 favorites]


In Vermont, Christine Hallquist wins the Dem nomination for governor. She is the first major party gubernatorial candidate to be transgendered.

Please use "transgender" instead of "transgendered". Also, I think it is more accurate to say that Hallquist is the first openly transgender candidate for governor from a major party.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 7:16 PM on August 14 [20 favorites]


Randy Bryce aka @IronStache “Thank you can't even begin to express the gratitude I feel right now. I'm honored to accept the #Democratic nomination for Congress in #WI01.”
posted by The Whelk at 7:16 PM on August 14 [17 favorites]


J.K. Seazer: "Please use "transgender" instead of "transgendered". Also, I think it is more accurate to say that Hallquist is the first openly transgender candidate for governor from a major party."

Apologies, I will be more careful in the future with terminology.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:17 PM on August 14 [19 favorites]


Randy Bryce aka @IronStach Thank you can't even begin to express the gratitude I feel right now. I'm honored to accept the #Democratic nomination for Congress in #WI01.

Bit of a surprise that it was as lopsided as it was (about 60-40), as there has been some local grousing about Bryce.

On the GOP side, former Paul Ryan aide Bryan Steil wins easily. Explicit white supremacist Paul Nehlen got about 12%.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:21 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Under the circumstances (particularly Turkey's plan to buy the Russian S-400 air defense system) this doesn't seem unreasonable, but it highlights just how badly US foreign relations is being handled:
Trump restricts delivery of F-35s to Turkey, deepening rift with NATO ally
US President Donald Trump has restricted the delivery of 100 F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, exacerbating the strain between the two NATO allies over Ankara’s continued detention of an American pastor.

Trump on Monday signed a defense authorization act that prohibits the delivery of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to Turkey if it buys Russia’s S-400 air defense system.

The law requires a review of US-Turkey relations, including the US military’s use of Incirlik Air Base, and a risk assessment associated with delivering the stealth fighter jets.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:30 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Bit of a surprise that it was as lopsided as it was (about 60-40), as there has been some local grousing about Bryce.

Here on MetaFilter, Google found about 8 comments mentioning Cathy Myers (including a couple from personal friends of hers). I don't have time to count the number of mentions of Randy Bryce or his nom de stache, but it was... more. For whatever reason Bryce was just sort of the presumed nominee in the national conversation.
posted by Jpfed at 7:32 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Oh, sure, he was definitely the guy getting national attention. That doesn't always translate into the same from local voters.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:35 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Avenatti is running for president because no one picked up his crap TV show.

I mean, that's literally what Trump did too, so.


Maybe people will learn that voting for self-aggrandizing jerks is a bad thing?
posted by nubs at 7:48 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


In WI Senate, Leah Vukmir wins the GOP nom over Kevin Nicholson. Vukmir was the establishment camp, Nicholson was backed heavily by Richard Uihlein, who is basically trying to be the new Koch Brothers.

On the Dem side, Tammy Baldwin was unopposed.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:48 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Looks like the 14-year old kid running for the Dem nom for Vermont governor pulled about 8%.

NB: Vermont has no minimum age for governor.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:57 PM on August 14 [10 favorites]


sundrop: "My big worry is Mark Boughton, one of the Republican candidates for governor. I have some personal experience with him and hope he does not win, but I have a sinking feeling that he might take CT this November (assuming he wins today's primary - haven't seen the numbers yet). "

Boughton lost. GOP nom for CT gov is rich guy Bob Stefanowski.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:00 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Evers Emerges To Face Scott Walker In Wisconsin (Cameron Joseph | TPM)
His victory sets up what Democrats hope is their best chance at defeating Walker since he ascended to the governor’s office in 2010.

The results set off a whoop and chants of “Tony, Tony” at Evers’ victory party, held across the street from Madison’s capitol building — one that’s been at the epicenter of protests and heartbreak for Democrats for the last decade.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:10 PM on August 14 [6 favorites]


One of the night's few real surprises in MN gov, where the GOP has picked county commissioner Jeff Johnson over two term former governor Tim Pawlenty.

On the Dem side, also a bit of a surprise, where AG and initial front-runner Lori Swanson has come in third to Rep Tim Walz. Swanson didn't run a very good campaign, and had scandals affecting her and her LG pick. Walz was the medium left guy (Swanson centrist, Murphy progressive).

Upshot of all this is Dems are likely to hold the MN gov seat.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:14 PM on August 14 [12 favorites]


Is it really all that much of a surprise that T-Paw didn’t get it? He was a terrible governor and I don’t think anyone’s forgotten that. A bridge collapse and a $5B deficit do tend to leave an impression.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:27 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


I'm a little bummed that the Erins didn't get the nomination for MN governor. Tim Walz is fine, but, as Chrysostom says, is just medium, not as progressive as the Erins. And another white guy, in a long run of plenty of them. I was hoping for a woman governor but I guess MN isnt ready. :(

I'm happy about Ilhan Omar though. That's Keith Ellison's seat and my district :)

I dont actually know much about Jeff Johnson - is there any real concern he could make it a close race?
posted by triggerfinger at 8:27 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Johnson has lost statewide twice already. I think the consensus is that a Walz-Johnson matchup is probably Likely D.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:30 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


he was a terrible governor and I don’t think anyone’s forgotten that

Plus his campaign ads were so. fucking. racist. I mean holy shit.
posted by triggerfinger at 8:30 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Tim Walz is fine, but, as Chrysostom says, is just medium, not as progressive as the Erins.

FiveThirtyEight notes [here, about Tony Evers] "something of a pattern in key gubernatorial races (and in other races too): Democrats picking the more establishment-friendly, experienced, Hillary Clinton-style candidate (see Ohio’s Richard Cordray, Iowa’s Fred Hubbell, Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer) over more outsider/liberal candidates/Bernie Sanders-style candidates (Ohio’s Dennis Kucinich, Michigan’s Abdul El-Sayed.)"
posted by Jpfed at 8:33 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


My take is that progressives are doing best in the most left places. It's one thing to have a really left district; statewides not so much, unless we're talking Hawaii maybe.

Also Dennis Kucinich was a deeply flawed candidate for any number of reasons.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:39 PM on August 14 [19 favorites]


Sarah Godlewski has won the Dem nom for WI Treasurer.

This is critical because she went to high school with my wife.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:42 PM on August 14 [45 favorites]


Yea, I really don't feel like holding Trump curious Dennis Kucinich against the left at this point is a valid comparison. And all of these races are uphill battles, winning 1 in 10 is a good rate. And winning is only half the point. The other half is dragging the incumbents kicking and screaming into actually enacting progressive policy, and setting up the next race to primary them out if they don't.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:48 PM on August 14 [19 favorites]


Johnson has lost statewide twice already. I think the consensus is that a Walz-Johnson matchup is probably Likely D.

Just looking at the vote totals, right now the MN Governor race is at 278,596 Republican ballots cast vs 509,406 DFL ballots cast.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:51 PM on August 14 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I think you have to take "who has more primary votes" only so seriously as an indicator, but DFL is strongly in the ballot total lead, and there were lots of active races for both sides up and down the ballot, so that's no excuse. Does feel like an enthusiasm gap here.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:06 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth, I got an email back from the NPR Ombudsman, who says she shared our feedback with the newsroom, and wrote up her opinion on the Kessler interview. Short version: she thought the interview was important, but it was handled badly, specifically how it was edited and the fact that they used BLM as a counterpoint to it.

The Ombudsman can't make management decisions there, as she's "an independent critic and observer," but at least she had a far better answer to my concerns than "It's OK because we know some non-white people."
posted by mmoncur at 9:41 PM on August 14 [69 favorites]


"Trump on Monday signed a defense authorization act that prohibits the delivery of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to Turkey if it buys Russia’s S-400 air defense system."
Umm, isn't Turkey the location of the only US-designated & approved facility for F-35 engine maintenance, repair, overhaul & upgrades in Europe?

I wonder how the UK MoD & various other European countries air forces are feeling about that right now…
posted by Pinback at 9:54 PM on August 14 [6 favorites]


I expect any of them would be delighted to have that facility instead.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:03 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


“There is no right answer here for everyone.”
-Elizabeth Jensen from NPR

I’m unimpressed with the response. She says that NPR listeners are intelligent enough to hear Kessler’s racism and illogic, despite a lack of pushback during the interview. That entire premise ignores the proven history that when it comes to the Klan/Nazis, any press is good press. The alt-rights numbers will increase, not decrease, due to that interview, and NPR is refusing to admit the consequence of their actions.
posted by greermahoney at 10:42 PM on August 14 [36 favorites]


Yeah, NPR's habit of giving voice to "both sides of the argument" doesn't hold any water for me when one side is so radical and hateful. You can't have an equal venue when one side is so inherently biased, and they (NPR) seem to be doing nothing about it.
posted by Sphinx at 11:00 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Short version: she thought the interview was important

I typed and deleted a half dozen responses to this.

Short version: NPR doesn't care if you live or die.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:05 PM on August 14 [22 favorites]


NB: Vermont has no minimum age for governor.

Well, the US presidency clearly hasn't either. Mental age, that is.

Might be a good thing if that was changed.
posted by Stoneshop at 12:07 AM on August 15


I hate that I am petty enough to go on the MAGATs confirmation bias polls just to ensure they have a teensy, tiny push-back
posted by Wilder at 12:33 AM on August 15 [5 favorites]


I will bet real money that we are going to hear multiple Republicans utter the phrase "Brett Kavanaugh is the most highly-vetted Supreme Court nominee in history" repeatedly over the next few weeks.

The responses I got from my senators' offices were somewhere between 'noted, fuck off' and 'Brett Kavanaugh is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.' Excerpts:

Alexander: "In our constitutional system, Congress has long given deference to the president when considering the nominations of individuals to federal judgeships, including the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the Senate has gotten into a bad habit of treating people as “innocent until nominated.” [Editor's note: baaaarf] Instead, I hope Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation process will be conducted with dignity and respect so that we may learn more about Judge Kavanaugh’s character, temperament and attitudes."

Corker: "It is inspiring to me to see someone of his caliber, who has dedicated his life in the fashion that he has, have this opportunity to serve on the Supreme Court. I thank him for his desire to serve our country, and assuming there are no surprises in his confirmation hearing, I plan to enthusiastically support to his nomination."

...Since I keep seeing Tucker Carlson named in these threads lately, I rewatched the footage of Jon Stewart on Crossfire 14 years ago. Let's just say that his criticism hasn't aged.
posted by heatvision at 3:22 AM on August 15 [9 favorites]


In our constitutional system, Congress has long given deference to the president when considering the nominations of individuals to federal judgeships, including the Supreme Court.

M. E. R. R. I. C. K. G. A. R. L. A. N. D.
posted by chris24 at 3:54 AM on August 15 [94 favorites]


Dispatch #3 from Minnesota from election judge mgar: We had 159 in-person votes and 11 absentee ballots, which is 20-25% of registered voters. We also had 5 new registrations (including two excited first-time voters, which was delightful!). Not bad for a midterm primary.

There were more DFL votes cast than R, which was not at all the case in 2016. On the R side, Pawlenty lost by 40 votes out here, so it's not just the Cities who'd rather not with him again.
posted by mgar at 3:59 AM on August 15 [9 favorites]


Okay WaPo, how do you write a whole piece on Trump calling Omarosa a dog without once mentioning that it is an expressly gendered insult referring to a woman's appearance? Grrr.
posted by Cocodrillo at 4:03 AM on August 15 [13 favorites]


As of this morning:

Votes cast in the DFL primary for governor: 580k
Votes cast in the Rep. primary for governor: 319k

Both races were contested, both had decent media attention, both had top-tier candidates competing. DFL votes nearly doubled the Republican ones.
posted by gimonca at 4:27 AM on August 15 [4 favorites]


Primary Results: Dems Embrace Diversity, GOP Pulls Closer to Trump

Margaret Hartmann | NYMag
In Tuesday night’s primaries Democrats looked like a party ready to make history, while Republicans continued rejecting their pre-Trump past. If Democrats have their way in November, Vermont will have the nation’s first transgender governor, Connecticut’s congressional delegation will include a black Democrat for the first time, and Minnesota will send one of the first two Muslim women to Congress. Meanwhile on the Republican side, Trump critic Tim Pawlenty’s comeback attempt failed, and other candidates struggled with allegations of previous disloyalty to the president. Though the race took place last week, the president scored another primary win on Tuesday night when Kansas governor Jeff Colyer conceded to Kris Kobach, a close Trump ally.

Here’s a look at the night’s most significant results.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:53 AM on August 15 [4 favorites]


The F.B.I. Needs to Explain Its Reasons for Firing Peter Strzok

John Cassidy | The New Yorker
On Monday, in an account of the F.B.I.’s firing of Peter Strzok—the senior agent who led the Bureau’s 2016 investigations of Hillary Clinton e-mails and Trump-Russia connections—the Times reported that the move “was not unexpected.” Given the inflamed political climate in Washington, that is an accurate statement.

... But, despite all the noise and fury, there is now a basic question that needs an answer: Why was Strzok fired? Before the Clinton and Trump investigations, Strzok had racked up twenty years of distinguished service in the Bureau, rising to the position of deputy assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division.

... On Monday, Strzok’s lawyer, Aitan Goelman, claimed that his client’s firing had been ordered, late last week, by David Bowdich, the deputy director of the F.B.I., despite the fact that the Bureau’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which normally handles disciplinary matters, had recommended a lesser punishment: a demotion and a sixty-day suspension. “This decision should be deeply troubling to all Americans,” Goelman told the Times. “A lengthy investigation and multiple rounds of congressional testimony failed to produce a shred of evidence that Special Agent Strzok’s personal views ever affected his work.” ...

It is perhaps possible that Bowditch and Wray have some damaging information about Strzok that we don’t know about ... If there is such information, the F.B.I. needs to make this clear immediately. At the very least, it needs to explain the basis of the decision to dismiss Strzok, pointing out which internal rules he violated, and why these violations amounted to a firing offense. As things stand, it looks like the Bureau’s leaders buckled to Trump and his political and media outriders, dispensing with departmental norms and setting a highly disturbing precedent.

In a tweet that he posted just after noon on Monday, Trump crowed about what had happened. “Agent Peter Strzok was just fired from the FBI - finally,” he wrote. “The list of bad players in the FBI & DOJ gets longer & longer. Based on the fact that Strzok was in charge of the Witch Hunt, will it be dropped? It is a total Hoax. No Collusion, No Obstruction - I just fight back!”

In his larger quest to end the Mueller investigation, Trump clearly sees Strzok’s dismissal as a victory, albeit a relatively small one. That should be sufficient cause for alarm. Encouraged by what happened here, Trump will surely expand his attacks on Mueller and his colleagues. The leaders of the F.B.I. need to start talking.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:03 AM on August 15 [44 favorites]


For what it's worth, I got an email back from the NPR Ombudsman, who says she shared our feedback with the newsroom, and wrote up her opinion on the Kessler interview. Short version: she thought the interview was important, but it was handled badly, specifically how it was edited and the fact that they used BLM as a counterpoint to it.

Also of note are the sidebars pointing out the passive voice NPR used more than once in describing how "a car rammed into" protesters, rather than noting that a white supremacist deliberately attacked protesters, killing one.

NPR's writers an on-air staff need to consider whether they would use that passive voice in the case of, say, an Islamic State inspired terror attack, and if there's a difference between that and white supremacist terrorism, why that is.
posted by Gelatin at 5:19 AM on August 15 [46 favorites]


The GOP’s 2018 message: Be afraid. Be very afraid. (Dylan Scott | Vox)

Republicans want voters to believe they’re living in a horror movie.
There was no ambiguity or subtlety. If Democrats win, you and your family are in danger. Democrats want to let violent criminals back onto the street, Walker claimed. It sounded like anodyne Wisconsin (15th lowest crime rate out of 50, for the record) would be plagued by anarchy or mass murder or both.

If you were to distill the prevailing Republican campaign message for the 2018 midterm elections to one image, it would be this: a hooded figure in the shadows, machete (or knife or bladed fingers) in hand, waiting to pounce if the wrong candidate wins.
Those of us who are more seasoned (read: older) political observers are likely reminded of the Willie Horton strategy, here:
In a way, this is nothing new. The Willie Horton ad — the George H.W. Bush ad that used the racially charged image of a black criminal to attack Michael Dukakis — ran 30 years ago. LBJ aired the “Daisy” ad warning of nuclear destruction.

Donald Trump took the oath of office while bloviating about “American carnage” — which really could be the subtitle for the next Purge movie. This kind of fearmongering is a staple of American politics.

Still, it’s notable that these ads are airing in what is in fact the safest time in recent history to live in America. But then, we seem to have a pervasive disconnect between reality and perception. Maybe because our politicians are always trying to frighten us to win elections.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:27 AM on August 15 [18 favorites]


Somethings never change: "Make Our Homes and Streets Safe! VOTE REPUBLICAN"
posted by octothorpe at 5:37 AM on August 15 [5 favorites]


Interesting paper on the impact of funding local government with fees (vs. taxes): Exploitative Revenues, Law Enforcement, and the Quality of Government Service (Rebecca Goldstein, Michael W. Sances, and Hye Young You; Urban Affairs Review)
When revenue is collected through systems of fees, fines, and forfeitures rather than through taxes, the fee collection systems themselves generate undesirable outcomes that may not have been anticipated by policy makers aiming simply to cover a revenue shortfall: Reallocation of police resources is associated with neglect of other important police functions, namely, the investigation of violent and property crimes. These results suggest that cities where the police are relied upon to collect revenue through fees, fines, and asset forfeitures essentially commandeer their police for revenue collection, which compromises their ability to perform their traditional functions. [...]

Another consequence of a police focus on revenue generation is that it necessarily involves a relatively higher level of involuntary citizen contact with law enforcement. . . . In general, it seems that those who have contact with the carceral state withdraw from all types of contact with the state—including voting, which has the potential to change policy in ways that might benefit them personally. In this way, policing for profit can be part of a vicious cycle of chronic, involuntary contact with law enforcement and low levels of civic engagement. [...]

For many Americans, contact with the police—as a suspect, a victim, or a witness—is the only contact they have with any emissary of the local, state, or federal governments. It seems that some communities, which are the target of aggressive fee and fine enforcement, are overpoliced with regard to the police’s revenue-generation function and consequently underpoliced with regard to the police’s criminal investigation function. For these community members, their taxes are paying for a government service that exploits them for profit rather than protecting them from violence and theft. In this sense, they are poorly represented by the local government, and understandably pessimistic about their power to change it.

posted by melissasaurus at 5:43 AM on August 15 [46 favorites]


Cadet Bone Spurs asking if the military are "real patriots" for wanting a pay raise.

Of course, raises for military personnel always go down under Republican controlled Congresses but that's none of my business.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 6:05 AM on August 15 [23 favorites]


Politico: ‘People Are Terrified’: Trump Staffers Live In Fear of Omarosa’s Next Tape The article's theme is apples-and-oranges comparison to the illegally hacked Clinton e-mail, but the subtext is that Politico's sources are trying to pull every trick they can as damage control:
Omarosa Manigault Newman’s slow release of secretly taped conversations from inside the Trump campaign and White House is having the same effect on staffers as the daily dumps from WikiLeaks had on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, when chairman John Podesta’s emails were trickled out during the final stretch of the race.

“People are terrified,” one former Trump aide said of the tapes. “Absolutely terrified.”[...]

The latest reveal indicates that Manigault Newman isn’t just trying to discredit President Donald Trump, who is the subject of her book, “Unhinged.” In her crusade for publicity and payback, she’s willing to embarrass and expose her former colleagues along the way.

The result is the same type of psychological warfare that gripped the Clinton campaign two years ago with staffers — and anyone tangentially in their orbit — waking up every morning bracing themselves for what potentially embarrassing missive might be made public, and waiting for the onslaught to end.

Like the WikiLeaks dump — which severely damaged the Clinton campaign by taking it off message, but never produced a smoking gun — Manigault Newman's tapes, according to someone who has listened to them, are juicy to listen to but ultimately don't contain any bombshell about the president or his family.

Former senior staffers also said they felt safer because Manigault Newman was not included in small, high-level meetings. And they doubted that she taped the one broader senior staff meeting that she attended, which included about 25 people.

“But if I was on the communications staff, where she was interacting more with people,” said another former senior administration official, “I can see how people might be nervous.”
And coming next month is Fear, Bob Woodward's insider account of the Trump White House. (Trump White House Braces For New Book (Politico) “It’s gonna be killer. Everyone talked with Woodward,” one former administration official said.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:17 AM on August 15 [16 favorites]


Back in November, the Dallas Country Republican Party tried to get 127 Democratic candidates kicked off the ballot siting that their petitions had not been properly certified by the Democratic Party Chairwoman Carol Donovan. The case was dismissed in April. Yesterday, they appealed that decision, saying the case was "inappropriately dismissed". This would potentially effect 82 candidates who made it through the March 6 primaries.
posted by kimdog at 6:23 AM on August 15 [6 favorites]


Closing arguments set to begin in the (first) Paul Manafort trial. Here’s the WaPo liveblog:

Paul Manafort trial Day 12: Live coverage
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:25 AM on August 15


Schuette (R) is running against Gretchen Whitmer (D) in Michigan this fall. So, naturally:

GOP governor nominee Bill Schuette to name Lisa Lyons as running mate
Paul Egan | Detroit Free Press
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:29 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


I have read a lot of dancing around the fire, but have not seen anyone say this yet:

Strzok was fired by the thought police.

That's all there is to it. This is just another step on the road to fascism.
posted by Dashy at 6:50 AM on August 15 [32 favorites]


A Missouri Republican who has made anti-Semitic and other bigoted statements handily won a primary for the state’s House of Representatives

Dude is not exactly subtle in his antisemitic statements either, and yes he ran opposed. This is mainstream Republucanism now.
posted by Artw at 6:57 AM on August 15 [20 favorites]


Strzok was fired by the thought police.

That's all there is to it. This is just another step on the road to fascism.


We're not on the road anymore. Firing Strozk is manipulating institutions to make an example out of someone for disparaging Dear Leader and that is fascism.
posted by lydhre at 6:58 AM on August 15 [41 favorites]


I have a correction: Sarah Godlewski did NOT go to high school with my wife. She knew her from the Obama campaign.

We regret the error.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:00 AM on August 15 [51 favorites]


Foreboding narrator: What else could he be misleading Americans about? Chrysostom: Wrong for the thread. Wrong for MetaFilter.

Vote quidnunc kid #1 this November.

posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:03 AM on August 15 [103 favorites]


Former senior staffers also said they felt safer because Manigault Newman was not included in small, high-level meetings. And they doubted that she taped the one broader senior staff meeting that she attended, which included about 25 people.

So stupid. Just publicly "Oh yeah, those senior staff meetings are shady as fuck! Fingers crossed she didn't tape it like everything else!"
posted by jason_steakums at 7:13 AM on August 15 [15 favorites]


Republicans try to make 'liberal' attack line stick in new ad campaign
Republicans unveiled an ad campaign this week that seemed to turn back the clock a few decades — by trying to turn the word “liberal” into the kind of insult it was 25 years ago.
...
The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC dedicated to electing Republicans to the House, is echoing that theme in a set of ads released this week in its bid to retain the eight-year GOP majority. The ads hammer home, again and again, the idea that the Democratic nominee is a liberal.
Most young Americans prefer socialism to capitalism, new report finds

Democrats More Positive About Socialism Than Capitalism

Millennials are much more open to socialism

Please proceed, Republicans.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:17 AM on August 15 [35 favorites]


Random anecdata from Minnesota, where I am currently on vacation -- some diehard Tea Party Republican relations of mine voted for Walz because they were alarmed by the other Democratic candidates and didn't think any Republican stood a chance of winning this year.

So that's both frustrating and encouraging.
posted by gerstle at 7:20 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


Mueller Probe Seen Pushing Past Trump-Demanded September 1 Deadline
Special Counsel Robert Mueller doesn’t have to shut down his Russia investigation in the weeks before November’s congressional elections despite claims by President Donald Trump’s lawyers that he faces a Sept. 1 deadline, according to current and former U.S. officials.
...
That’s at odds with repeated assertions by Trump’s lawyers. “If it isn’t over by September, then we have a very, very serious violation of the Justice Department rules, and he shouldn’t be conducting one of these investigations in the 60-day period," former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said on Fox News last week.

In an interview Tuesday, Giuliani said, “If he doesn’t get it done in the next two or three weeks we will just unload on him like a ton of bricks.” He added, “Write the damn report so we can see it and rebut it.”

The concept of a 60-day quiet period before an election may resonate with the public because of bipartisan condemnation of former FBI Director James Comey’s decision to reopen the investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server shortly before the 2016 presidential election.

As early as May, Giuliani was pushing the idea that Mueller had to wrap things up by September or “he is clearly doing a Comey.”
posted by kirkaracha at 7:20 AM on August 15 [4 favorites]


@DavidChalian, 6:30 PM - 14 Aug 2018
The end of the @ChrisCuomo and Rudy Giuliani conversation perfectly captures our modern moment:
Giuliani: It’s in the eye of the beholder.
Cuomo: No, facts are not in the eye of the beholder.
Giuliani: Nowadays they are
posted by kirkaracha at 7:23 AM on August 15 [59 favorites]


Still, it’s notable that these ads are airing in what is in fact the safest time in recent history to live in America. But then, we seem to have a pervasive disconnect between reality and perception. Maybe because our politicians are always trying to frighten us to win elections.

It's also notable how our journalists are always trying to create a false equivalence -- for example, citing an ad LBJ's campaign ran once a half century ago with the Willie Horton ad, once so overtly racist that Lee Atwater apologized for it on his deathbed, and yet which is mild compared to the racial scaremongering the Republicans embrace in the Trump era.

(There's also a difference between Democrats warning about the Republicans' actual agenda -- pointing out that Paul Ryan suggested the deficit (that he helped create) will require cuts to Social Security and Medicare, for example -- and Republicans lying about Democrats "wanting to release violent criminals onto the street." And again, Adlai Stevenen, for one, pointed that disconnect out more than a half century ago, and yet the so-called "liberal media" feigns ignorance. Feh.)
posted by Gelatin at 7:40 AM on August 15 [12 favorites]


If it isn’t over by September, then we have a very, very serious violation of the Justice Department rules

Yeah, because if there's one thing these guys are known for, it's their deep reverence for and strict adherence to rules and norms. What utter crap.
posted by Rykey at 7:43 AM on August 15 [18 favorites]


Republicans unveiled an ad campaign this week that seemed to turn back the clock a few decades — by trying to turn the word “liberal” into the kind of insult it was 25 years ago.

Have they ever stopped? I don't watch much TV or listen to radio, but on a visit to my in-laws in Louisiana about three years ago most of the Republican attack ads were "so and so is a LIBERAL!" as if that was supposed to shock their audience to the core; the occasional radio ads I hear accidentally in Missouri are pretty much the same.
posted by Foosnark at 7:45 AM on August 15 [13 favorites]


The concept of a 60-day quiet period before an election may resonate with the public because of bipartisan condemnation of former FBI Director James Comey’s decision to reopen the investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server shortly before the 2016 presidential election.

I would like to move to the universe where this article was written, please.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:46 AM on August 15 [44 favorites]


OK, I went there so you don't have to, but if the first three chapters I listened to on Audible are anything to go by, they're right to be afraid! This is an intelligent strong woman, the butt of public villification for 15 years with nothing to lose and an obsessive attention to detail.


example: After Kelly did the rip off the bandaid convo where the tape clearly shows she was very calm... the 3 lawyers left "They said I misused the WH car service to attend a (insert the Washington team's name here) game, I asked for the date checked my calendar (also this woman keps records of every uber, cab, etc., expense you name it on a spreadsheet) and it was the congressional game where we were all asked to make a statement since it was after Scalise was shot.....

then they said you took your partner.....

but because I'd worked for Gore and Clinton I was always very careful to check the regulations and partners were allowed....

they continued to look at each other like the three stooges and couldn't specifically name an offense that would warrant Kelly's serious, 'court martiable offences' description...

so next area that can easily be verified HR came in and helped her pack up a few things along with her PA Alexa, by then her Husband had discovered where she's gotten to as he was there for the Xmas party so Alexa he and she all went home, where she hosted friends from Jacksonville to dinner that night without telling them what had happened.


so the whole smear story of her at the Xmas party getting out of hand (in front of 400/650 people there with Twitter feeds) and attempting to access the Residence was bogus as demonstrated by the Secret Service tweets the next day which confirmed their only involvement was deactivating her WH pass.

If she continues in this vein, I have no doubt she can bring down this Presidency, simply because any issues of credibility have facts, e-mails, and tapes to back them up.

Until the Trump campaign NDA manages to shut her up, there is still a lot of damage she can do.
posted by Wilder at 7:55 AM on August 15 [43 favorites]


If she continues in this vein, I have no doubt she can bring down this Presidency, simply because any issues of credibility have facts, e-mails, and tapes to back them up.

>"Omarosa Claims Trump Often Grabbed, Kissed Women Without Permission: ‘Any Time He Wanted’"


No doubt. If she had a tape to back this up, that will be the downfall of Trump.
posted by JackFlash at 8:11 AM on August 15 [41 favorites]


When a Young Trump Went to Russia (New Republic)
In 1987, the real estate tycoon visited the country to explore a hotel deal. Is that when he became compromised by Russian security services?
posted by adamvasco at 8:13 AM on August 15 [6 favorites]


I have a correction: Sarah Godlewski did NOT go to high school with my wife. She knew her from the Obama campaign.

Funny, because I did go to high school with Sarah, and felt all starstruck there for a bit that I might know Chrysostom's wife!

You might recall that the office of WI State Treasurer was on the chopping block in the spring election, but was preserved by a wide margin. Sarah is campaigning very earnestly and energetically. There is resistance afoot in Wisconsin, and it feels really positive.
posted by Leona at 8:15 AM on August 15 [28 favorites]


I'm about 75% through Unhinged. The portraits of various Trumpworld denizens are convincing and entertainingly brutal. Pence is a creepily grinning Stepford wife barely disguising his desire to take the reins. Kellyanne is a soulless flack queen. Don Jr. is a sad fuckup terrified of his dad. Trump has always been disgusting to women, but he was reasonably sharp in the early Apprentice days of 2004, and has experienced massive and obvious cognitive decline. The best anecdote so far is that Trump wanted to take his oath of office on The Art of the Deal instead of a bible. It's also full of sublimely Omarosan content like this: "There was some pushback from people who didn't think a reality star should be a minister. But I proved my commitment to service, faith, and my studies, and the doubters were silenced."
posted by theodolite at 8:29 AM on August 15 [18 favorites]


In re Minnesota elections: I live near Little Earth, a HUD development that is preferentially Native. There are, relatively speaking, a lot of Native people, Native services and Native businesses in my immediate area. As you can imagine, Native people in Minneapolis are underserved and over-policed.

So anyway, not only was yesterday a big turnout primary for progressive candidates and candidates of color in general, but a Native and Latina candidate, Margarita Ortega, was running for Minnesota House. And Angela Conley, a progressive Black woman candidate for County Commissioner, was also running.

(Ortega didn't win. I'm a bit disappointed, but we actually had a range of good candidates and chose a Somali woman candidate, Hodan Hassan, who also seems great. And it's extremely unlikely that a GOP candidate would win 62A, so it's almost certainly going to be her. Native people need more representation, but I can't feel sad that a Somali candidate is winning in this heavily Somali area either. The is the only part of town where I honestly feel spoiled for choice for candidates and find it tough to pick.)

Anyway. You know what happened yesterday? A giant warrant sweep in Little Earth - just by coincidence, on primary day. Six big police vehicles parked on the grass in the park attached to the development. Police command trucks driving around the neighborhood. Just by coincidence, not to, like, discourage people from going out to vote.

Also, of course, there wouldn't be a big warrant sweep in a richer or whiter area.

Minnesota has pretty good voter protection, but folks are still trying to shut down POC votes using any tool that comes to hand. (The park in question is right by the polling place. I voted super early before this got started so did not see it.)

Also, remember that this stuff is almost certainly going on everywhere all the time, even if you aren't hearing about it. I only heard about it because my housemate saw it on Facebook and then saw some of the big trucks driving around. They keep this screened from the eyes of anyone with the social power to do something about it, relying on both physical and social segregation to keep it secret.

I hope there is a protest, but either way I'm going to call the mayor and anyone else I can think of.
posted by Frowner at 8:33 AM on August 15 [96 favorites]


example: After Kelly did the rip off the bandaid convo where the tape clearly shows she was very calm... the 3 lawyers left "They said I misused the WH car service to attend a (insert the Washington team's name here) game,
Here in the area many of us say "Washington Pigskins" or "Washington Racistnames" though I am also stumping to get people to start referring to Maryland rather than Washington since they haven't actually played in the city in over a decade.

As far as any praise of Omarosa, I'll pass, thanks. If the various dickheads want to fight amongst themselves then I'm all for it; the more trouble in Trumpland the better. But when it comes to shitty, awful people? The enemy of my enemy is a useful source of pain for one of my enemies, nothing more.
posted by phearlez at 8:36 AM on August 15 [12 favorites]


I'll consider her past as sleeper agent cover.

No. After her "bow down" days, Omarosa will have to singlehandedly bring him down to even approach historical rehabilitation in my eyes.

I don't care what she says or does now in lieu of spectacularly productive results. You don't get to switch from core enabling sycophant to #Resistance hero from a tell-all memoir alone in a time when words mean nothing.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:39 AM on August 15 [43 favorites]


The Real Fake News Dept.: Murdoch's New York Post took the day off from front page editorials to do a front page advertisement that apparently is a total sell-out (in all senses of the term).
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:42 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


I have no qualms with Trump going down in flames with Omarosa dragging him from one side and Stormy Daniels on the other.
posted by like_neon at 8:43 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


The best anecdote so far is that Trump wanted to take his oath of office on The Art of the Deal instead of a bible.

Hold on, really? That's not a joke? I've been trying to parse everything I hear about the Trump administration -- even/especially from former insiders -- as potentially an attempt to play into my preconceived notions about Trump and his retinue, and in so doing to lead me to underestimate their intelligence and/or deviousness. That said, I'd be somewhat curious to know if there's anything to corroborate this detail.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:46 AM on August 15 [10 favorites]


[Bunch of comments deleted; sidebar about 'articulate' has been done a bunch of times, let's skip it here. If one wants to make a point about Omarosa, it's probably better to skip that word because of outside context not having to do with anyone's personal stance here.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:51 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


Groundbreaking Night for Women and Diversity, While a Trump Critic Falls (Jeremy W. Peters and Jonathan Martin for New York Times, Aug. 14, 2018)

No surprises for folks in this thread, but a joyful recap for Democrats, and a telling one for Republicans:
On a night when voters in four states went to the polls, Democrats delivered groundbreaking primary victories for a transgender woman in Vermont (Christine Hallquist), a Muslim woman in Minnesota (Ilhan Omar) and an African-American woman in Connecticut (Jahana Hayes), while voters in Wisconsin nominated a top state education official, Tony Evers, to challenge Gov. Scott Walker, one of the most vulnerable high-profile Republicans of the midterms cycle.

Also in Wisconsin, Republicans backed State Senator Leah Vukmir to run against Senator Tammy Baldwin, a first-term Democrat, propelling an establishment Republican who was careful to heap praise on Mr. Trump while harnessing the support of state party leaders.
Funny thing -- the notable women were not named, while the Wisconsin top state education official was. I added in the names into that paragraph, because what the hell, NYT? The individual women get brief profiles in the rest of the article (with joyous photos for each of them), and I quoted that section as a handy recap.

Also, it really is going to be Dems vs Party of Trump, isn't it? Does anyone have a tally of anti-Trump Republicans who won their primaries, and how they're doing?
posted by filthy light thief at 8:57 AM on August 15 [24 favorites]


High Trust, High Fear: Inside the Dystopian Hellhole of Trumpism - Josh Marshall (Edblog), TPM
One of the most illuminating concepts I ever learned about international relations came from my friend Steve Clemons who spoke about “high trust” versus “high fear” international environments. Broadly agreed rules, norms, transparency, frameworks for arbitration, conciliation over aggression each build environments of relative trust in contrast to high fear environments in which force, duplicity and advantage play decisive roles.

The key is that these environments build on themselves and perpetuate themselves. In a high fear environment, secrecy, force and seeking maximum advantage in every case become rational choices. They become critical to self-preservation.
...
Trump’s vision of the world is one built on a series of one-off exchanges and bargains in which in each case the US will seek maximum advantage, often with threats, bullying, threats to walk away and more. In other words, it is a high fear environment, one built on predation and plays for maximum advantage, in which the US will do best because it is the strongest.

Trump’s White House is simply a microcosm of this dark and self-defeating worldview: a system of aggression, betrayal, unpredictable behavior and dishonesty, all of which foster and encourage similar behavior from everyone who enters it. Trump clearly attracts people who are either like him or aspire to be like him. But even for relatively normal people, he creates an environment in which his values and behaviors become rational. It a classic Hobbesian world, the war against all against all – a comic dystopia Trump is building in the White House and aspires to create worldwide.
It's the context for the unenforceable NDA's and so much more.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:13 AM on August 15 [39 favorites]


Pawlenty may not have helped himself with criticizing Doofus in Chief, who is popular Up North here in Minnesota, but the articles about this are overselling it. He was also a spectacularly bad governor, and people remember that.

Jeff Johnson, who won the GOP primary, is an utter shit that is very much on the current GOP Crazy Train though, so fingers crossed for Tim Walz. Walz is pretty center-left. But, he's not only a good candidate, by all accounts he's not a shit.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:18 AM on August 15 [13 favorites]


The new GOP litmus test: Defending Trump at his absolute worst
As a Democratic operative points out to me, multiple Republican candidates have been placed on the defensive during this cycle for the same thing: failing to support Trump not just in a general sense, but more precisely for failing to support Trump when the “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced.
...
In most of these cases, the offending act was not merely a personal betrayal of Trump. More precisely, the offending act was to display weakness — in the face of widespread moral condemnation of Trump’s reprehensible misogynistic boasting over his dalliances into sexual abuse and assault — when the stakes were high enough to demand fortitude in response to that condemnation.
...
In both ads cited above, the disloyal Republican was condemned for going weak-kneed when the Supreme Court (and with it, long-term conservative priorities) were “on the line.” As the ad from Johnson (who won in Minnesota) noted, it was a mark of him being a true “conservative” that he did not “panic when it matters most.”

Reflecting on Pawlenty’s loss, Post reporter Robert Costa noted that it signals the degree to which Trump has “transformed” the GOP, with the result that above all, GOP voters want “solidarity in grievance.” In a way, you can square this with the idea that deserting Trump in the face of the “Access Hollywood” tape has emerged in some quarters of today’s GOP as a badge of shame. When Trump is under fire in moments like this, the important fact about it is not what Trump did. It’s the liberal media establishment’s agenda in victimizing him for it as part of the broader project of trying to destroy conservatism.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:19 AM on August 15 [26 favorites]


From what I understand, Pawlenty was held to blame for the deadly I-35 bridge collapse. That's a pretty hard thing to overcome. I'm pulling hard for Walz - we as a country really need to get more D governors in charge, something that has slipped badly in the past round of elections.

And I was delighted, nay, I cackled with glee to watch Tina Smith mop the floor with former Bushie and recent Rubio and Kasich fanboy Painter. The latter got some hype on the Twitters and Books of Face but it seems real-time voters told him to go back to shouting on cable.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:31 AM on August 15 [7 favorites]


Demanding solidarity makes sense for the GOP. What's coming in November may not be an impeachment followed by a conviction but will happen is that much more evidence of money laundering, corruption, and venality will be dragged into the light. Trump's cabinet members, in laws, and children can all expect to have their crimes detailed. If you're the GOP and you see that storm coming, one path is to chose the most loyal members for office.
posted by rdr at 9:33 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


I hope there is a protest, but either way I'm going to call the mayor and anyone else I can think of.

posted by Frowner at 8:33 AM on August 15 [16 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Frowner, that sucks and sounds deliberate. I'm pretty sure the mayor's office wasn't responsible, so you should weigh on them to investigate how the decision was made and who was responsible. Even if it wasn't intentional, it showed poor situational awareness on the part of people who should be acutely aware these days. Also, I will contact City Council Chair Lisa Bender. I will forward your story to her through my daughter, who is a good friend of hers, if you don't mind.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:45 AM on August 15 [13 favorites]


From that New Republic article linked above: When a Young Trump Went to Russia the final paragraph says:
Finally, the StB file made one more curious observation about Trump’s political future: It said he was being pressured to run for president. And exactly where was the pressure coming from? Could it have been kompromat from the honey trap in Moscow? Unfortunately, the answer was unclear.
I'm just going to put my foot down in case there are any journalists reading the megathread: Stop using "unclear"! It just means you don't know but you want to say it anyway.

Sorry to jump straight to the unclear option. Please proceed.
posted by M-x shell at 9:52 AM on August 15 [5 favorites]


Rolling Stone: Documents Reveal Successful Cyberattack in California Congressional Race
FBI agents in California and Washington, D.C., have investigated a series of cyberattacks over the past year that targeted a Democratic opponent of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). Rohrabacher is a 15-term incumbent who is widely seen as the most pro-Russia and pro-Putin member of Congress and is a staunch supporter of President Trump.

The hacking attempts and the FBI’s involvement are described in dozens of emails and forensic records obtained by Rolling Stone.

The target of these attacks, Dr. Hans Keirstead, a stem-cell scientist and the CEO of a biomedical research company, finished third in California’s nonpartisan “top-two” primary on June 5th, falling 125 votes short of advancing to the general election in one of the narrowest margins of any congressional primary this year. He has since endorsed Harley Rouda, the Democrat who finished in second place and will face Rohrabacher in the November election.
...
Kyle Quinn-Quesada, who was Keirstead’s campaign manager, tells Rolling Stone that the campaign is now going public about the attacks for the sake of voter awareness. “It is clear from speaking with campaign professionals around the country that the sustained attacks the Keirstead for Congress campaign faced were not unique but have become the new normal for political campaigns in 2018,” Quinn-Quesada says. He added that the Keirstead campaign did not believe the cyberattacks had an effect on the primary election results.
posted by cjelli at 10:02 AM on August 15 [27 favorites]


Elizabeth Warren yesterday came out with her proposal for The Accountable Capitalism Act. (You might have to google to get around the WSJ paywall.)

This act would require large corporations to get a federal corporate charter which would change the primary corporate goal from "maximize profits for shareholders" to considering the interests of all Americans.

One of the key requirements is that 40% of all seats on the board of directors must be elected by employees. There is an important buzzword you will hear more of -- co-determination.

Co-determination is a concept that is exercised in Germany, the Netherlands and other European countries. It means the co-participation of workers in the decisions of the company. Workers not only have participation in board decisions but also form work councils that operate somewhat in the manner of unions to negotiate working conditions and pay, but in a cooperative rather than adversarial relationship to the company.

This bill doesn't have a prayer of being passed currently but it helps to move the Overton window on Democratic discourse.
posted by JackFlash at 10:04 AM on August 15 [137 favorites]


Still, it’s notable that these ads are airing in what is in fact the safest time in recent history to live in America. But then, we seem to have a pervasive disconnect between reality and perception. Maybe because our politicians are always trying to frighten us to win elections.

posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:27 AM on August 15 [10 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


This bit of bothsiderism should be followed by noting that while true, the GOP makes up stuff to scare you, whereas the Democrats scare you about things that are happening or will happen:
{MS13 breaking into your home to steal your guns and rape your women}

{global warming ruining your life}
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:09 AM on August 15 [21 favorites]


Relevant to JackFlash's post above,

Elizabeth Warren has a plan to save capitalism, Matthew Yglesias, Vox.
She’s unveiling a bill to make corporate governance great again.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:11 AM on August 15 [17 favorites]


This bit of bothsiderism should be followed by noting that while true, the GOP makes up stuff to scare you, whereas the Democrats scare you about things that are happening or will happen:

Also, since it used the Willie Horton and Daisy ads as examples, I feel like there's a pretty fundamental difference between Republicans saying "Democrats don't kill enough people, and that should scare you," and Democrats saying "Republicans want to kill too many people, and that should scare you."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:14 AM on August 15 [14 favorites]


From the Vox article:
The conceit tying together Warren’s ideas is that if corporations are going to have the legal rights of persons, they should be expected to act like decent citizens who uphold their fair share of the social contract and not act like sociopaths whose sole obligation is profitability — as is currently conventional in American business thinking.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:16 AM on August 15 [79 favorites]


a Muslim woman in Minnesota (Ilhan Omar)

Ms Omar was elected state rep for the district around the U of MN and includes the fabled West Bank, where Bob Dylan and Koerner, Ray, and Glover played in the Palmer Bar and home to perhaps the largest Somali population in the US. Before her election, the district was represented by Phyllis Kahn, an acquaintance of ours, whom Ilhan defeated in 2016 for that seat. To give you an idea whose shoes she was filling, my wife ran into Phyllis at a MN History Theater production during intermission. The line to women's restroom was huge, and very few men were using their restroom. Phyllis told my wife, "We're using the men's room." She marched over there, and while the last current occupant was completing his business, she barked at any man who was trying to use the facilities. One large man tried to barge in past her, but she carries a cane and used it quite adeptly by tacking it against the opposite door frame. As he pushed at it with his chest, she leaned into it harder, and though at 81 she stands about 5' negative 2" and probably weighs less than 90 lbs., that guy. Did. Not. Get. In.

I hope Ilhan is one of many women who ascend to Congress in the next election. She is a huge asset to us–young, smart, energetic, and motivated.

Blue wave, people. Let's make it happen.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:29 AM on August 15 [35 favorites]


DI Politics Chat: The ‘N-word Tape’ Tape
By Ezekiel Kweku, Jonathan Chait, Ed Kilgore, and Eric Levitz

Daily Intelligencer staff at NYMag discuss.

(This is the last comment I’ll share re: Omarosa or this infernal, alleged tape — unless it’s released and/or she does something worth our attention.)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:31 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Buzzfeed's Zoe Tillman (@ ZoeTillman) has written up a Twitter-thread summary of the government's closing argument against Manafort:
[...]We just finished the government's closing arguments (they'll also get time for rebuttal after the defense makes its presentation.) The theme: Paul Manafort "lied to keep more money when he had it, and lied to get more money when he didn't."
Prosecutor Greg Andres' presentation lasted about an hour and 40 minutes. We saw a lot of exhibits, but I wanted to note the first two documents he displayed before getting into all that, because they seemed to sum up what the govt contends represents the most damning evidence
First, he showed an email that Manafort sent in 2010 directing thousands of dollars in wire transfers from an account in Cyprus to a home construction contractor in the US. On the screen, Andres highlighted the part of the email where Manafort called it "my" account[...]
Second, Andres showed a doc known as a profit and loss statement, listing net income for Manafort's business in 2016. The govt argues this was one of several fabricated docs that Manafort submitted to banks to secure loans, along with other false information/misrepresentations
Manafort's bookkeeper prepared P&L statements, but testified that she didn't prepare this 2016 P&L that Andres showed the jury that was sent to a bank. The bookkeeper had noted that the document had typos (dated "SEPTEMBE" for instance) and formatting differences
The jury saw emails between Manafort and Rick Gates re: converting the 2016 P&L from a PDF to a Word doc and sending it to Manafort. The version that gets sent to the bank — the govt called it a "fake" — lists a lot more income than the version that Manafort's bookkeeper prepared
Speaking of Rick Gates: Andres addressed the credibility attacks made by Manafort's lawyers — that Gates couldn't be trusted (he pleaded guilty to crimes, stole from Manafort, had extramarital relations, etc.). Andres said the jury didn't need to trust him or even like him
Andres said the jury should test what Gates said against the testimony from other witnesses and information in the documents the jury saw, and then decide if he could be believed on a particular subject. Manafort was Gates' mentor, Andres said, including on how to commit crime
The afternoon could fly by, with the defense's closing arguments beginning at 1:30—which will take as long as two hours—then a 20-minute rebuttal from the government. Ellis expects to take an hour and a half for instructions to the jury, not to mention his preferred afternoon break. That doesn't leave much time for the jury to begin deliberations, so they will probably have to start tomorrow.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:36 AM on August 15 [9 favorites]


This act would require large corporations to get a federal corporate charter which would change the primary corporate goal from "maximize profits for shareholders" to considering the interests of all Americans.

Conceptually, "Acting in the Public Interest" is part and parcel with The People permitting Artificial Legal Entities to exist, otherwise why have them at all if the only benefit is to the beneficial owners?

I wish I could draw an analogy that didn't hearken back to the foundations of slavery, but corporations aren't even 3/5th of a person...
posted by mikelieman at 10:37 AM on August 15 [4 favorites]


Surprise Press Briefing starting in 20 minutes - anyone want to put money down on whether its a walk back for the apology about lying about Black unemployment under Obama?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:42 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


From the Vox article:

The conceit tying together Warren’s ideas is that if corporations are going to have the legal rights of persons, they should be expected to act like decent citizens who uphold their fair share of the social contract and not act like sociopaths whose sole obligation is profitability — as is currently conventional in American business thinking.


I also feel that if corporations are people then limited liability needs to go away. A person is liable for their actions. Break a serious enough law and we put that entire person in jail. Not just a single cell. The entire person. So the same should happen with corporations. Break a serious law and the entire corporation and its investors need to go to jail. Oh wait...now you don't want personhood?
posted by srboisvert at 10:43 AM on August 15 [46 favorites]


Not to be all guillotines but my only interest in continuing corporate personhood overlaps with my only interest in continuing capital punishment: if we can apply the death penalty to corporations then that I could get behind.
posted by Artw at 10:43 AM on August 15 [26 favorites]


donating money is not speech
corporations are not people
legal fictions are fictions, we can make them whatever we want
40% is better than 0%; should be 50% or 51% or 99% or 100%. Ownership of an enterprise should be by proportion of contributed labor, from the labor of planning a business and managing one to the labor of cleaning its toilets. absentee ownership is the accomplice of exploitation.

But go Warren! its not just about moving the window, we should be enacting this as a start.
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 10:47 AM on August 15 [32 favorites]


The concept of a 60-day quiet period before an election may resonate with the public because of bipartisan condemnation of former FBI Director James Comey’s decision to reopen the investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server shortly before the 2016 presidential election.

Do you think Rudy knows there is no presidential election in this November?
posted by srboisvert at 11:01 AM on August 15 [7 favorites]


The policy doesn't specify presidential election. That said, it's a policy and not some sort of law and it's a very new policy at that. Which was flagrantly violated a handful of years after being made policy.
posted by Justinian at 11:07 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


heatvision: Corker: "It is inspiring to me to see someone of his caliber, who has dedicated his life in the fashion that he has, have this opportunity to serve on the Supreme Court. I thank him for his desire to serve our country, and assuming there are no surprises in his confirmation hearing, I plan to enthusiastically support to his nomination."

My translation: I'm fucking thrilled that such a young, far-right conservative has the chance to be appointed for life! Hoo-rah!

FACT CHECK (of the day #1): Can Trump Legally Keep Former Staff Quiet? Probably Not (NPR, Aug. 15, 2018)
At Tuesday's White House briefing, press secretary Sarah Sanders misleadingly asserted that the Trump administration's use of nondisclosure agreements both during and after government employment was very common.

"Despite contrary opinion, it's actually very normal. And every administration prior to the Trump administration has had NDAs, particularly specific for anyone that had a security clearance." said Sanders.

Sanders was correct in saying government security clearances include nondisclosure agreements. But she mixed national security with presidential politics when she applied that standard to the NDAs drawn up by the Trump campaign and the White House.

"The government does not impose nondisclosure agreements on former federal employees with respect to any unclassified information, no matter how 'confidential,' sensitive or embarrassing," said Bradley Moss, a Washington, D.C., attorney who practices federal employment and national security clearance law, in an interview with NPR's Morning Edition.
FACT CHECK (of the day #2): White House Apologizes For False Claim About African-American Jobs
The White House was forced to backtrack this week, after wildly misstating the level of job gains by African-Americans under President Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama.

The false claim came during Tuesday's press briefing, which was dominated by questions about Omarosa Manigault Newman. In her new tell-all book and an accompanying publicity tour, the former reality TV star and presidential assistant has accused Trump of being a racist.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tried to rebut that claim by arguing that Trump has done more to boost African Americans' economic status than his predecessor. But her job statistics were as bogus as Trump's long-debunked claims about Obama's birth certificate.

Here's what Sanders said:

"This president, since he took office, in the year-and-a-half that he's been here has created 700,000 new jobs for African-Americans. That's 700,000 African-Americans that are working now that weren't working when this president took place. When President Obama left after eight years in office — eight years in office — he'd only created 195,000 jobs for African Americans. President Trump in his first year-and-a-half has already tripled what President Obama did in eight years."

First, let's stipulate that presidents by and large don't "create" jobs. The strength or weakness of the job market depends on numerous factors beyond the control of the White House. But fairly or not, presidents are often judged by how the economy performs on their watch. So let's examine Sanders' numbers.

She's right about Trump's record. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 700,000 more African-Americans working now than when Trump took office — 708,000 more, to be precise.

But when it comes to Obama's record, Sanders is off by a factor of 15.

According to the BLS, there were 18.4 million African-Americans working when Obama left office in January 2017. That's 2.9 million more than when he was sworn in eight years earlier.

Once reporters pointed out the error, Sanders issued a rare, albeit grudging, correction on Twitter.

"Jobs numbers for Pres Trump and Pres Obama were correct, but the time frame for Pres Obama wasn't," Sanders wrote. "I'm sorry for the mistake. But no apologies for the 700,000 jobs for African Americans created under President Trump."
Time frame for Obama was the problem? Hmm. Emphasis mine, to revel in these little push-backs against Trump and Co's attempts at re-creating reality.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:11 AM on August 15 [5 favorites]


Some interesting ideas in that Warren corporation plan. First, it only applies to corporations with more than $1 billion in annual revenue, which would allow it to make a significant difference without burdening smaller companies for whom compliance would be difficult. That also solves a jurisdictional issue, because companies that large almost certainly engage in interstate commerce of some sort -- I doubt a similar law aimed at corporations operating within a single state would be constitutional.

Second, corporate political activity would have to be approved by 75% of shareholders and 75% of directors. That's a great idea. I'm not sure I'd go with those exact numbers, because they might chill *positive* political activity among companies I agree with, but it's a clever idea. There would also have to be a very clear definition of what constitutes corporate political activity. Is a Cheerios commercial celebrating Pride Month political activity?

Third, because there's no way in hell that this gets through Congress anywhere in the foreseeable future, it gives Democrat a clear platform and issue to run on without having to dwell too much on the logistical details.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:12 AM on August 15 [16 favorites]


The policy doesn't specify presidential election. That said, it's a policy and not some sort of law and it's a very new policy at that. Which was flagrantly violated a handful of years after being made policy.

Does it specify federal elections? what about state and local races? primaries? hell what about non-governmental elections like school student councils or my coop board? surely there have to be one of those somewhere in the US every 60 days, so by Rudy's reading this policy just abolished the DOJs investigative authority?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:14 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


The policy may be stupid? But I don't think it's that complicated? If you were investigating something related to people in a local race it would apply to a local race? If you are investigating people involved in a federal election it would apply to federal elections?

The weirdest part of the policy is that they seem to be trying to twist it so you couldn't indict or release a report on the criminality of someone if it might affect an election. Whereas I would read it as not leaking details of an investigation (*cough comey*) which hasnt reached a conclusion. Because if you prove someone is a criminal shouldn't you want the voters to know that someone is a criminal before you elect them?

It is unfair to leak that someone is in the early or even mid stages of an investigation because you might screw them over despite no provable wrongdoing. But if you have provable wrongdoing that's not "interference" it's "educating the populace".
posted by Justinian at 11:18 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


"Jobs numbers for Pres Trump and Pres Obama were correct, but the time frame for Pres Obama wasn't," Sanders wrote. "I'm sorry for the mistake. But no apologies for the 700,000 jobs for African Americans created under President Trump."

This is not an apology. This is a reasserting of the original lie by packing it around, "Well, maybe the time frame was a little off, but we're still right!"
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:19 AM on August 15 [15 favorites]


The policy doesn't specify presidential election. That said, it's a policy and not some sort of law and it's a very new policy at that. Which was flagrantly violated a handful of years after being made policy.

It's also not a bar, even if it were followed strictly, to continuing the investigation -- whereas Giuliani keeps framing the policy (which isn't a law, which doesn't have real enforcement mechanisms, and which is intended as guidance to be waived if circumstances dictate) as a reason to end the investigation. Ending the investigation because of the upcoming election would probably itself violate the policy, which (basically) requires not taking actions in an investigation for political reasons:
"Simply put, politics must play no role in the decisions of federal investigators or prosecutors regarding any investigations or criminal charges. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors may never select the timing of investigative steps or criminal charges for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party. Such a purpose is inconsistent with the department's mission and with the Principles of Federal Prosecution."
I have a hard time construing ending the investigation because the President demanded it as being apolitical. If Giuliani took this at all seriously -- which he doesn't -- he wouldn't be trying to muddy the waters by demanding action.

Plainly read, the intent is to discourage politically-motivated actions in investigations and prosecutions -- that immediately does bump up against some obvious edge cases (as already noted) in that not prosecuting because of an upcoming election doesn't necessarily benefit voters. Which is (I presume) why it's a guidance policy and not something that anyone is obligated to strictly follow exactly to the letter of the not-actually-a-law.

by Rudy's reading this policy just abolished the DOJs investigative authority?

It can't be stressed enough that Giulani is just making stuff up, constantly. It's not really a serious take on policy and engaging with it as if it was will just lead to nonsense because Giuliani is not attempting to make sense, and any discussion about DOJ policy should probably just ignore Giuliani entirely.

Some prior discussions about this, in a 2016 context: Lawfare, Politifact; and in 2018, in response to Giuliani, Politifact.
posted by cjelli at 11:26 AM on August 15 [11 favorites]


Sanders is announcing that Trump has revoked John Brennan's security clearance because of his "erratic" behavior.
posted by Justinian at 11:35 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


@DavidNakamura: Trump is revoking security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, @PressSec says, citing “erratic behavior.” Brennan has been sharply critical of Trump.

Playing this game worked so well for them before, they just thought they'd do it again. Time for Omarosa to drop another tape I guess.

Update: This came with threats against the clearances of Clapper, Comey, Hayden, Yates, Rice, McCabe, Strzok, Page, and Orr.
posted by zachlipton at 11:37 AM on August 15 [18 favorites]


Clapper, Comey, McCabe, Yates, Rice, Strzok, and some others I missed are also going to have their clearances revoked.
posted by Justinian at 11:38 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


As generally applied, the Justice ethics policy simply restricts the issuing of indictments or subpoenas involving candidates in an election in the 60 days prior to the election. Trump is not a candidate in an election in the next 60 days. Giuliani is just making shit up.

In the case of the Comey letter, it involved an investigation of Clinton just two weeks before the election and therefore clearly violated the policy. And in fact, the Justice ethics office beforehand strongly warned Comey that his actions would violate the policy and he did it anyway.
posted by JackFlash at 11:38 AM on August 15 [19 favorites]


It can't be stressed enough that Giulani is just making stuff up, constantly. It's not really a serious take on policy and engaging with it as if it was will just lead to nonsense because Giuliani is not attempting to make sense, and any discussion about DOJ policy should probably just ignore Giuliani entirely.

It's like what was said about anti-semites delighting in making their opponents debate the meanings of words and phrasings, because they themselves literally do not care but they know that it drives the other side nuts.

Giuliani is LITERALLY engaging in Orwellian duckspeak. He is aware that if he speaks rapid-fire cargo cult legalese in front of a camera, that 40% of America is programmed to take him at his word because he is Wearing A Smart Man Suit and Conservatives Never Lie and to question its veracity is to Hate America. And this will continue as long as it is effective, which is as long as any mainstream media whatsoever put cameras on him as if he wasn't a completely transparent fraud.
posted by delfin at 11:38 AM on August 15 [47 favorites]


@HunterW (WH pooler): There was audible laughter in the briefing room as Sarah Sanders announced the list of former officials whose security clearances are under review.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:39 AM on August 15 [22 favorites]


There was audible laughter in the briefing room as Sarah Sanders announced the list of former officials whose security clearances are under review.

Wait, why would anyone laugh at that? Just because they are all well-known critics of the regime? I think it's despotic and terrible.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:41 AM on August 15 [7 favorites]


Because the justification is ludicrous and the "punishment" is impotent. None of them are in positions that allow them to use their clearance, and based on the last time the Trump administration tried this I'm sure at least a few have already lost it and thus have nothing to review.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:43 AM on August 15 [33 favorites]


Two reporters in a row have asked why this is only a list of Democrats. Are they serious? Has Trump calling all these people Democrats actually worked? Comey is, famously, a Republican. McCabe is, famously, a Republican. Brennan and Clapper are more or less non-partisan intelligence guys. Why would reporters fall for the "everyone who criticizes Trump is a Democrat" trap?
posted by Justinian at 11:44 AM on August 15 [37 favorites]


If you're not fluent in gallows humor as a White House pooler even when a NORMAL President holds the office, you won't last long. With this crew, it's absolutely mandatory.
posted by delfin at 11:45 AM on August 15 [7 favorites]


CNN 7/24/18: Paul Ryan: Trump is just 'trolling' people w threats to strip clearances.

As usual, Paul Ryan policy analysis is wrong.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:46 AM on August 15 [43 favorites]


Wait, why would anyone laugh at that?

Trump doing anything to anyone because he claims the other person is being 'erratic' is, I mean, that's darkly, scarily hilariously projecting; it's as if he revoked Brennan's clearance because Brennan owned too many hotels.

Yes, it's also despotic and terrible. But it's a transparently absurd rationale, given that we know the real reason is 'because he criticized Trump.'

People process humor differently.
posted by cjelli at 11:46 AM on August 15 [17 favorites]


The problem is they laughed because they know this is bait and full of crap, yet are asking question after question about it instead of, I don't know, why the government isn't returning stolen children to their parents.
posted by zachlipton at 11:47 AM on August 15 [35 favorites]


As an example of the Justice ethics 60-day policy, look at the timing of the Chris Collins indictment. In order to prevent interference in the Republican primaries in New York, they would need to file sometime in early April. But they may not have finished their investigation by that time, so waited until after the primary. Then they would have until the end of August to prevent interference in the general election. So they filed the indictment in early August.
posted by JackFlash at 11:49 AM on August 15


Ryan is going to have to offer a comment on this, at least, right?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:50 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Trump doing anything to anyone because he claims the other person is being 'erratic' is, I mean, that's darkly, scarily hilariously projecting

Hunh, whattaya know: I can still get mad about something before my reflexive dark humor kicks in. You guys, there's a flicker of hope left in my heart! Come see it and bask in its glow!

posted by wenestvedt at 11:51 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


One of the reporters noted that Bruce Ohr is still employed in DoJ as a member the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces. Revoking his clearance would essentially mean firing him. So in at least one case this would go beyond petty meaningless revenge.
posted by Justinian at 11:52 AM on August 15 [29 favorites]


zachlipton, exactly. There's no reason for the administration to do this right now except to change the narrative from missing kids and Trump racism. It's a classic case of dangling something shiny in front of the press and watching them chase it. like cats with a laser pointer beam. (or so I've heard. #notacatperson)
posted by martin q blank at 11:54 AM on August 15 [7 favorites]


Because the justification is ludicrous and the "punishment" is impotent.

Not impotent. It strikes directly at them financially. Like it or not, many former government employees use their security clearances as contractors. There are a lot of companies that need people with security clearances on their staff in order to successfully submit bids for government contracts on classified projects. They need big-name consultants like Brennen and pay them a lot. A security clearance can be very valuable.
posted by JackFlash at 11:55 AM on August 15 [28 favorites]


I wish Brennan would be quoted as saying "By revoking my security clearance, President Trump honors me."
posted by M-x shell at 11:55 AM on August 15 [4 favorites]


I think the news people are gonna fall back on the fact that Comey and McCabe left the Republican Party after all this bullshit. So it may technically be true that there were no currently active Republicans on the enemies list. But I still think its a misleading claim when its a list that's like 1/3 former Republicans, 1/3 nonpartisan intelligence officials, and 1/3 current or former Democrats.
posted by Justinian at 11:59 AM on August 15


Democracy Now: Military Cover-Up? 100s of Migrants Feared Dead at AZ’s Barry Goldwater Bombing Range

This search-and-rescue group, called Aguilas del Desierto, which means the “Eagles of the Desert,” was given permission to search a very small section of the south end of the bombing range, where there were no exercises being performed. [...] They had a missing persons report, so they were given permission, over a weekend—I’m sorry, over two weekends—to search for this individual. That individual was not found, but in the process of searching for that missing person, they found 13 human remains, just in the course of two weekends, in a very small section of the bombing range.

The density of the corpses in the small sample area suggests many hundreds to thousands of bodies carpeting the entire range. This would mean either an absurdly (probably criminally) exaggerated rate of death for crossing migrants, or that it's being intentionally used as a corpse dumping ground for a broader area. There will be more places like it.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:01 PM on August 15 [56 favorites]


Trump is revoking security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, @PressSec says, citing “erratic behavior.” Brennan has been sharply critical of Trump.

Well, that will get Omarosa out of the news cycle.
posted by bluesky43 at 12:02 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]


I don't have a feed of the Sanders briefing about Brennan and others but did any of the press ask her what exactly was considered "erratic behavior"? I mean, the press needs to be on its feet at these briefings (please).
posted by bluesky43 at 12:04 PM on August 15 [4 favorites]


I don't have a feed of the Sanders briefing about Brennan and others but did any of the press ask her what exactly was considered "erratic behavior"

Daniel Dale, Toronto Star:
Sanders was reading a statement from Trump in her remarks on the security clearances.

In addition to accusing Brennan of "erratic conduct and behaviour," Trump also said Brennan has made "increasingly frenzied commentary" and had "wild outbursts on the internet and television."
Like the pot calling the kettle gold.
posted by cjelli at 12:07 PM on August 15 [39 favorites]


The organizer of the Charlottesville rally just got humiliated by his own father (SLVox)

You couldn't make this stuff up.
posted by bluesky43 at 12:12 PM on August 15 [25 favorites]


In addition to accusing Brennan of "erratic conduct and behaviour," Trump also said Brennan has made "increasingly frenzied commentary" and had "wild outbursts on the internet and television."

Geesh, Brennan is a hero for speaking out against Trump IMHO. Where are the Republicans????? (that last part might look like a cry for help but it was a joke)
posted by bluesky43 at 12:14 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]




Giuliani is LITERALLY engaging in Orwellian duckspeak. He is aware that if he speaks rapid-fire cargo cult legalese in front of a camera, that 40% of America is programmed to take him at his word because he is Wearing A Smart Man Suit and Conservatives Never Lie and to question its veracity is to Hate America.
It's even worse than that, in my opinion.

I posted this three weeks ago and I promise I won't post it every time Giuliani prostitutes his reputation in the service of fascism (who has that much time, for one thing?) but it bear repeating until enough people have internalized it that he is met with contempt everywhere he goes:

"So when Giuliani makes statements dismissing and undermining the investigation and the indictments that it is producing it is not reasonable to conclude that he believes what he is saying. Rather he is lying and hoping that many individuals will believe him because they remember the public acclaim that was heaped on him in the wake of one of America's most traumatic events. By cynically exploiting the recognition and credibility he was handed as a result of the 9/11 attacks to peddle pro-Trump lies, Giuliani is desecrating the memory of that day just as surely as if he went to every victim's grave and shat on it, only by going on Fox News or Twitter he can dishonor them all at once rather than having to put real effort into it.

For his behavior, Giuliani deserves to be a pariah and not a public figure."
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:22 PM on August 15 [31 favorites]


From Lawfare on the legality of revoking former officials' security clearances. Short version: unprecedented and maybe illegal.
posted by bluesky43 at 12:29 PM on August 15 [30 favorites]


The organizer of the Charlottesville rally just got humiliated by his own father (SLVox)
Kessler says, in the livestream, that he has been forced to move in with his parents after a series of lawsuits stemming from last year’s violence sapped his funds. It’s an arrangement neither he nor his father seems pleased about.

“Hey!” Kessler’s father says, interrupting his conversation with the white nationalist and anti-Semitic former US Senate candidate Patrick Little. “You get out of my room!”
And Nazi loser Patrick Little admits he may have to sell the boat he's broadcasting from at a loss because he needs money.

I'll take my mirth where I can find it these days.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:32 PM on August 15 [24 favorites]


Paul Manafort trial Day 12: Defense argues government failed to prove guilt:
  • Manafort attorney says defense put on no evidence because case wasn’t ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’
  • Defense says Manafort had $21.3 million net worth in 2016
  • Prosecutors haven’t shown Manafort had criminal intent, false information not enough, defense argues
  • Defense argues inconsistencies only look like fraud in hindsight
  • Gates ‘lied to you,’ government case fails without him, defense attorney argues
posted by kirkaracha at 12:32 PM on August 15 [5 favorites]


In addition to accusing Brennan of "erratic conduct and behaviour," Trump also said Brennan has made "increasingly frenzied commentary" and had "wild outbursts on the internet and television."

Yesterday morning, Brennan responded on Twitter to @realDonaldTrump's attack on Omarosa as a "crazed, crying lowlife": "It’s astounding how often you fail to live up to minimum standards of decency, civility, & probity. Seems like you will never understand what it means to be president, nor what it takes to be a good, decent, & honest person. So disheartening, so dangerous for our Nation."

Later that day, he went on MSNBC's The Last Word and continued his criticisms, calling Trump "the most divisive president we have ever had in the Oval Office." On the subject of Omarosa, he told host Lawrence O'Donnell, "I think it has been very clear from the beginning of this administration, that it has not done a very good job of vetting for senior personnel assignments, number one. Number two, the fact that there has been acknowledgement in the White House that senior staff officers have been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement I find mind-boggling. That is something that would never have occurred to President Obama, President Bush, President Clinton, or others. The fact that Donald Trump feels this sense of insecurity, that he has to get people to sign these agreements, really I think reflects just the lack of sophistication, the lack of competence, and the lack of trust that people within the White House have for one another."

That lengthy quote should put the lie to Trump's accusations about "frenzied commentary", though it's easy to see how it pushed all of Trump's buttons about his incompetence and insecurity. Incidentally, the rest of the video of Brennan is worth watching just as a reminder of what a senior presidential administration officer should sound like.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:33 PM on August 15 [64 favorites]


Manafort attorney says defense put on no evidence because case wasn’t ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’

Want to hear an alternate theory? They put on no evidence of innocence because they didn't have any.
posted by Justinian at 12:34 PM on August 15 [29 favorites]


It's obviously true that resting without presenting a defense is fairly common. It's fairly common because most people don't have a defense. If you have a good defense you present it.
posted by Justinian at 12:40 PM on August 15 [6 favorites]


AYFKM? @kaitlancollins: The date on President Trump's statement about revoking John Brennan's security clearance? July 26. Three weeks ago. I guess it's just a coincidence that the White House decided to announce this as they struggle to deal with the fallout from Omarosa's book.
posted by zachlipton at 12:42 PM on August 15 [45 favorites]


Came to post the same link that zachlipton just did - they were literally sitting on this waiting for something bad to happen so they could use it as an escape plan . . . and Omarosa was the thing that pushed their hand?

On one hand i agree with the seeming consensus that her interest would be best served by putting out the most salacious tapes first, when book sales numbers were most important . . . on the other hand she does seem VERY good at playing the trump game so perhaps she lead with her second best stuff, anticipating their defense, and is NOW ready to empty the other barrel?

Oh god i think i just louise menched myself.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:45 PM on August 15 [30 favorites]


This would mean either an absurdly (probably criminally) exaggerated rate of death for crossing migrants, or that it's being intentionally used as a corpse dumping ground for a broader area. There will be more places like it.

It's sad and terrifying that I think there's a non-remote possibility ICE or CBP could have dumped them
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:46 PM on August 15 [18 favorites]


It's obviously true that resting without presenting a defense is fairly common. It's fairly common because most people don't have a defense. If you have a good defense you present it.

Uh, no, it's not fairly common for why you suppose. The defense don't have to prove innocence, the prosecution has to prove their case. This is absolutely normal and not at all suspicious or indicative of guilt.
posted by agregoli at 12:46 PM on August 15 [9 favorites]


This would mean either an absurdly (probably criminally) exaggerated rate of death for crossing migrants, or that it's being intentionally used as a corpse dumping ground for a broader area. There will be more places like it.

There will, and not necessarily because ICE is dumping people, but because increasing enforcement is pushing people into more and more remote (and thus more dangerous) territory. Although according to Radiolab, bodies in that desert disappear really quickly, so it's highly likely many of the dead will never be found.
posted by suelac at 12:50 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]


From @jimsciutto

Fmr CIA & NSA Director @GenMhayden response to WH threat to revoke his clearance: “With regard to the implied threat today that I could lose my clearance, that will have no impact on what I think, say or write.”
posted by bluesky43 at 12:51 PM on August 15 [53 favorites]


NY Mag, White House Will Ask Judge to Scrap Obamacare’s Protections This September
The Democratic Party believes that its strongest argument against Donald Trump’s latest Supreme Court nominee and the GOP’s congressional majority is that both pose a clear and present danger to Americans’ health care.
...
Thus, it is difficult to understand why the Trump administration decided to revive its crusade against Obamacare or, more precisely, against the law’s single most popular provision — its protections for people with preexisting conditions — this summer.

Back in June, the Justice Department announced that it would not defend the Affordable Care Act from a challenge brought by a group of red states, which had claimed that Congress’s repeal of the individual mandate rendered the law’s prohibition on discrimination against people with preexisting conditions invalid — as that provision is not severable from the rest. This is a legal claim so radical and ill-supported it made the National Review blush. The notion that Congress is not constitutionally allowed to eliminate the ACA’s insurance mandate — unless it also repeals the law’s other regulations of the health-care market — is not some sacred principle of constitutional originalists. Rather, it’s an ad hoc rationalization for the judiciary to veto a duly-passed expansion of the safety net. And yet, Attorney General Jeff Sessions concluded that his department could make no honest argument against the plaintiffs’ case.

On Tuesday, a federal judge scheduled oral arguments in that case for September 10 — just days after Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings conclude, and weeks before the midterms. Which is to say: Right before the Senate casts its judgment on Kavanaugh — and voters cast theirs on the congressional GOP — the White House and its allies will be making the Democratic Party’s case against both for it.
WaPo, Sean Sullivan and Mike DeBonis, With little fanfare, Trump and McConnell reshape the nation’s circuit courts
The Senate will return Wednesday from an abbreviated summer recess to confirm two more federal appeals court judges by the end of the week. That would come on top of a record-breaking string of confirmations: The Senate already has installed 24 appellate judges since Trump was sworn in, the highest number for a president’s first two years in office.

While much of the focus has been on Kavanaugh and Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, the Senate’s rapid approval of appellate judges is likely to have its own broad impact on the nation, as the 13 circuit courts will shape decisions on immigration, voting rights, abortion and the environment for generations.

For McConnell, this is the culmination of a years-long gambit that started with stymieing President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees, most notably Supreme Court choice Merrick Garland, and creating a backlog of vacancies on the nation’s highest courts.
...
There are 179 authorized judgeships for the U.S. Court of Appeals. With 24 confirmations and 13 vacancies to fill, Trump and the Republicans have the power to install more than 20 percent of the judges on the nation’s second-highest courts.
The Appeal, Rebecca McCray, For some local prosecutors, the post-Roe world is already here: "As the potential demise of Roe v. Wade looms, past and current prosecutions of pregnant women illustrate what lies ahead."

Rolling Stone, Bill McKibben, Winning Slowly Is the Same as Losing, on the fact that we can't afford to wait to win on climate change:
In fact, that’s the problem with climate change. It won’t stand still. Health care is a grave problem in the U.S. right now too, one that Donald Trump seems set on making steadily worse. If his administration manages to defund Obamacare, millions of people will suffer. But if, in three years’ time, some new administration takes over with a different resolve, it won’t have become exponentially harder to deal with our health care issues. That suffering in the interim wouldn’t have changed the fundamental equation. But with global warming, the fundamental equation is precisely what’s shifting. And the remarkable changes we’ve seen so far – the thawed Arctic that makes the Earth look profoundly different from outer space; the planet’s seawater turning 30 percent more acidic – are just the beginning. “We’re inching ever closer to committing to the melting of the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, which will guarantee 20 feet of sea-level rise,” says Penn State’s Michael Mann, one of the planet’s foremost climatologists. “We don’t know where the ice-sheet collapse tipping point is, but we are dangerously close.” The latest models show that with very rapid cuts in emissions, Antarctic ice might remain largely intact for centuries; without them, we might see 11 feet of sea-level rise by century’s end, enough to wipe cities like Shanghai and Mumbai “off the map.”
NYT, Frances Robles, Puerto Rico Spent 11 Months Turning the Power Back On. They Finally Got to Her.
The government installed a new water cistern for her, but FEMA denied her the money she needed to install the required new pipes. So, even with the power back on, she will still have to get water every day by traveling down the mountain, past the landslides that frequently cause flat tires.

She cannot afford cable TV any more, she said, but at least the children can use their PlayStation again, and will not have to go to bed as soon as the sun goes down.

“At first, a lot of agencies came, giving water and food,” Ms. Méndez said. “But that ended, so now you really have to do everything yourself. I don’t know where Puerto Rico is going to end up. It seems everything went from bad to worse.”
Atlantic, Adam Serwer, America Doesn’t Need Another Tape to Know Who Trump Is
That’s one of the stranger paradoxes of this political era: Trump’s political opponents know who he is. His aides know who he is. Americans don’t need a tape to know who Trump is, or what he represents. He’s already shown who he is. He shows it every day.

The only people still laboring under the delusion that Trump lacks the animus to use a racial epithet are some of the people who voted for him. It would be naive to think that a mere recording of him using it would alter that.
@hannahdreier: Just sat in on a teenager's asylum hearing in Manhattan. The teenager is detained 30 minutes away, in New Jersey. But ICE made him testify via a glitchy video feed, because people protested child separation outside of this courthouse two months ago.
[you can read more on that over here: More Than a Month After Anti-ICE Protests, Detained NYC Immigrants Still Denied In-Person Hearings]

@AthertonKD: weird as heck that a $717 billion defense bill to fund [checks calendar] year 17 of the forever war gets signed into law and the only debate is whether or not sufficient deference was paid to who the bill is named after
posted by zachlipton at 12:51 PM on August 15 [50 favorites]


This would mean either an absurdly (probably criminally) exaggerated rate of death for crossing migrants, or that it's being intentionally used as a corpse dumping ground for a broader area. There will be more places like it.

It's sad and terrifying that I think there's a non-remote possibility ICE or CBP could have dumped them


It's sad and terrifying that I think there's a non-remote possibility ICE or CBP could have executed, then dumped them.
posted by duffell at 12:53 PM on August 15 [12 favorites]


More from @kaitlancollins: The date on President Trump's statement about revoking John Brennan's security clearance? July 26.

The White House has now issued a second statement that doesn't include this date.
posted by bluesky43 at 12:54 PM on August 15 [6 favorites]


Uh, no, it's not fairly common for why you suppose. The defense don't have to prove innocence, the prosecution has to prove their case. This is absolutely normal and not at all suspicious or indicative of guilt.

It's normal, and it's not indicative of guilt in a court of law. It's absolutely indicative of not having a good defense to present. If you have a good defense to present you would not refrain from presenting it even if you didn't think the prosecution met their burden.

The jury can't and shouldn't take into account any of that. But we're not on the jury. We're well within our rights to believe Manafort didn't present a defense because he doesn't have one.
posted by Justinian at 12:57 PM on August 15 [6 favorites]


@AthertonKD: weird as heck that a $717 billion defense bill to fund [checks calendar] year 17 of the forever war gets signed into law and the only debate is whether or not sufficient deference was paid to who the bill is named after

This. So much this.
posted by bluesky43 at 12:57 PM on August 15 [18 favorites]


Well, yeah, you can believe anything you want. You're within your rights to believe any darn thing in the world, in fact! But making a blanket statement about how if a defense isn't presented means there is no good defense - is not true in the legal world. At all.
posted by agregoli at 1:05 PM on August 15 [4 favorites]


It's sad and terrifying that I think there's a non-remote possibility ICE or CBP could have dumped them

What keeps me up at night seething in rage and sorrow is the mounting dread that we won't find out about the worst injustices of this era committed by ICE/CBP until after we are powerless to prevent them, if we find out about them at all.

The ingredients we've put into ICE -- a long-standing insecurity complex, loosened standards for recruiting and training, broad powers without oversight or accountability, embrace of authoritarian toxic masculinity -- paired with rising anti-immigrant sentiment, targeted dehumanization, and public complacency? This is a recipe for atrocity, and only that. I weep at how easily that mixture comes together in the right circumstances.
posted by orbit-3 at 1:06 PM on August 15 [21 favorites]


If you have a good defense to present you would not refrain from presenting it even if you didn't think the prosecution met their burden.

The jury can't and shouldn't take into account any of that. But we're not on the jury. We're well within our rights to believe Manafort didn't present a defense because he doesn't have one.


Except that's not how it works. The defense did present their defense-via cross examination of the prosecution's witnesses. Defenses routinely decline to call any witnesses for a number of reasons, such as wanting to emphasize that the burden of proof is on the prosecution (the defense actually presenting a case breaks this making people think they have to prove something), not having any good options for witnesses, and of course, not wanting the defendant anywhere near the stand.

So no, the defense resting without calling anyone is not indicative of the defense not having one.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:08 PM on August 15 [8 favorites]


It occurs to me that Trump is deliberately treating what's left of US politics as a reality show. Like, he had revoking security clearances up his sleeve, but it was purely for the optics or the lulz, and the Manigault Newman affair forced him to play it as a distraction. Maybe he doesn't even realise that he doesn't yet live in a Managed Democracy. He either considers himself the Boss of the USA, or the (fully plot-armoured) protagonist of his own show, which I guess is how life feels when you grow up super-rich. But maybe it's not subconscious: maybe he thinks he's running the show. Literally. As in showrunner.

Anyhow, death of the author and all that, and this is perilously close to literal Kremlinology. Doesn't matter how he thinks if he goes down.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 1:09 PM on August 15 [7 favorites]


the Justice Department ... had claimed that Congress’s repeal of the individual mandate rendered the law’s prohibition on discrimination against people with preexisting conditions invalid

Well, to start with, Congress never repealed the individual mandate. They tried but failed under the Byrd rule. So they did something else. They changed the penalty to the bargain price of zero, but that doesn't repeal the individual mandate. The amount could just as easily be raised again without having to pass a new mandate law because the law still exists. It was never repealed.
posted by JackFlash at 1:11 PM on August 15 [13 favorites]


weird as heck that a $717 billion defense bill to fund [checks calendar] year 17 of the forever war gets signed into law and the only debate is whether or not sufficient deference was paid to who the bill is named after
The war, therefore if we judge it by the standards of previous wars, is merely an imposture...But though it is unreal it is not meaningless. It eats up the surplus of consumable goods, and it helps to preserve the special mental atmosphere that the hierarchical society needs...The war is waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact
George Orwell, 1984
posted by kirkaracha at 1:15 PM on August 15 [25 favorites]


It occurs to me that Trump is deliberately treating what's left of US politics as a reality show.

He is not that self-aware.
posted by Melismata at 1:20 PM on August 15 [4 favorites]


clapper should be batting cleanup, imho.
posted by j_curiouser at 1:27 PM on August 15


Cuomo is one step away from declaring himself to be Antifa if somebody told him he needs to say it in order to beat Nixon: Andrew Cuomo says America ‘was never that great,' drawing gasps:
“We’re not going to make America great again; it was never that great,” Cuomo said, drawing audible gasps, apparently out of surprise, and some applause. “We have not reached greatness. We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged.”
There's video.

This, of course, was too accurate for a country in which we must constantly say we're the greatest at everything, so his staff tried to "fix" it in a way that doesn't make any sense if you simply read the words and compare the simple declarative phrases:
"Governor Cuomo disagrees with the President. The Governor believes America is great and that her full greatness will be fully realized when every man, woman, and child has full equality. America has not yet reached its maximum potential."
posted by zachlipton at 1:32 PM on August 15 [8 favorites]


Also, flashback to 2016, when Cuomo passed out hats at the DNC convention that said "Make America Greater Than Ever" [tweet w/ pic; sidenote: @NickReisman is worth a follow for NYS capitol news].
posted by melissasaurus at 1:37 PM on August 15 [4 favorites]


@JohnBrennan
This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent.
posted by chris24 at 2:02 PM on August 15 [82 favorites]


Jeesh, Cuomo, how do you fuck that up?
posted by kirkaracha at 2:07 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Public service announcement: Ruptly, which provided at least one of the livestreams linked to in the Unite the Right 2 thread, is part of RT/Russia Today.
posted by XMLicious at 2:10 PM on August 15 [21 favorites]


WaPo, Ben Terris, She works for Trump. He can’t stand him. This is life with Kellyanne and George Conway.
Kellyanne Conway is in her living room, showing me an enormous painting of Audrey Hepburn wearing a peacock on her head, but her husband, George, really wants us to come into his office and look at a photograph of the moment everything changed.

It’s a picture he took on election night 2016: Donald Trump is reaching for the first draft of his acceptance speech, just as victory seemed imminent. Back then, George was such an ardent supporter of the president, and so proud of his wife for her historic role as campaign manager, that he wept for joy.

“That photo was from before you cried,” Kellyanne says

“Now I cry for other reasons,” George mutters.

Kellyanne pretends to ignore that comment, something she’s been doing a lot of lately.

“You gotta see this picture,” George, 54, says. “You should like this, it’s your boss.”

“He’s not just my boss,” Kellyanne, 51, says. “He’s our president.”

“Yeah,” George says walking out of the room. “We’ll see how long that lasts.”
...
Me: You told me you found [George’s tweets] disrespectful.

Kellyanne: It is disrespectful, it’s a violation of basic decency, certainly, if not marital vows . . . as “a person familiar with their relationship.”

Me: No, we’re on the record here. You can’t say after the fact “as someone familiar.”

Kellyanne: I told you everything about his tweets was off the record.

Me: No, that’s not true. That never happened.
It's worth reading in full, for the metaphors all over the place if nothing else, and a good way to ensure you very much hate both of them.
posted by zachlipton at 2:25 PM on August 15 [46 favorites]


I hope I'm wrong, but I can't imagine the Manafort trial ending in anything other than a hung jury, assuming the defense team managed to lock down a handful (or even 2 or 3) trump voters during jury selection.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:30 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Choose your cake wisely.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:35 PM on August 15 [11 favorites]


a good way to ensure you very much hate both of them
“I feel there’s a part of him that thinks I chose Donald Trump over him,” Kellyanne says as we walk. “Which is ridiculous. One is my work and one is my marriage.”

Naturally, though, the two things overlap. When George criticizes the president publicly, Kellyanne says, the media coverage and the implication that they are pitted against each other bothers their children. And as for the president himself, Kellyanne won’t say it irks him, but she does think he finds it “impolite.” On that, she’d agree.

“I think it’s disrespectful,” she says. “I think it disrespects his wife.”
...
“Nobody knows who I am because of my husband,” she says. “People know of my husband because of me.”
Yeah, I'm gonna go ahead and hate her more.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:36 PM on August 15 [23 favorites]


I got bored of the "wacky political couple" puff pieces back when the contestants' names were Matalin and Carville.
posted by rhizome at 2:38 PM on August 15 [51 favorites]


Kellyanne: It is disrespectful, it’s a violation of basic decency, certainly, if not marital vows . . . as “a person familiar with their relationship.”

Me: No, we’re on the record here. You can’t say after the fact “as someone familiar.”

Kellyanne: I told you everything about his tweets was off the record.

Me: No, that’s not true. That never happened.


Speaking as a reporter, *Chef kiss gesture* MWAH
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:38 PM on August 15 [56 favorites]


I got bored of the "wacky political couple" puff pieces back when the contestants' names were Matalin and Carville.

Politics being so central to my sense of myself — not simply the level of engagement, but the actual beliefs and values involved — I never could understand how Cajun Nosferatu and Matalin could bed down together each night. The situation chez Conway is at least a little easier for me to wrap my head around, the prime difficulty here being how anyone sensate could support Donald Trump until the election, and only then turn against him. It is a puzzlement.
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:43 PM on August 15 [15 favorites]


The jury should go to deliberations any time now. I'm going with a 10-2 hung jury, with the 10 for conviction on most counts. I hope I'm wrong but we'll see.
posted by Justinian at 2:44 PM on August 15


I got bored of the "wacky political couple" puff pieces back when the contestants' names were Matalin and Carville.

I hold a special grudge against Mary Matalin because occasionally she will be quoted in the news spouting some bullshit Republican talking point, and it always takes me a few seconds to realize they're not referring to the actress Marlee Matlin.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:46 PM on August 15 [14 favorites]


“We’re not going to make America great again; it was never that great,” Cuomo said

Maybe he’s been binge watching The Newsroom lately?
posted by Brak at 2:49 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]


I never could understand how Cajun Nosferatu and Matalin could bed down together each night.

Simple: they're dissociated from the effects of their work. None of it will touch them, so they can just hang their shingles on dehumanized perspectives like they're each learning different computer programming languages. "She teaches Java, he's a C++ developer...how will they ever get along?!"
posted by rhizome at 2:52 PM on August 15 [27 favorites]


the prime difficulty here being how anyone sensate could support Donald Trump until the election, and only then turn against him.

Exactly. Anyone who seriously examined the events of 2015-2016, with an insider's perspective no less, and spent election night filled with pride and joy, only to come around to the view that what's happening is wrong only after Trump fired Comey has a seriously screwed up set of values. The only way you can logically have come to those conclusions is if you hold adherence to some kind of mythical ideal of the legal system in higher esteem than you do the well-being of millions of people Trump had already harmed at that point. Choosing the Comey firing as your last straw, not any of the preceding off-ramps from birtherism to Mexicans are rapists to Muslim ban to sexual assault to trying to stop permanent residents from re-entering the country says far more about you than Trump.

Anyway, I remember what both of the Conways did during the Clinton impeachment, so a pox on their shared house.
posted by zachlipton at 2:52 PM on August 15 [41 favorites]


Re Kellyanne: feminists (the funny thing, she says, is she’s living the life they claim to want)
There are so many levels of WTF here. Like, what feminist wants to be the Mouth of Sauron?
posted by Kitty Stardust at 2:56 PM on August 15 [43 favorites]


That we learn anything about ICE at all is amazing, considering all the ways that ICE attempts and often succeeds in intimidating reporters, according to this article by Chava Gourarie in the Columbia Journalism Review.

ICE’S MILITARIZED PRESENCE is most effective at deterring people, including reporters, who aren’t familiar with their rights and the rules of the court. “They scare you and intimidate you,” Debbie Nathan, a reporter for The Intercept who lives in Brownsville, says. It helps to be prepared, and to speak up. Once, during a hearing, Nathan moved from one side of a courtroom to another in order to get a better look at an exhibit. When the court took a break, a bailiff approached her and said that the judge wanted to know what she was up to. “That’s none of your business,” she recalls saying. “This is an open court proceeding.” She tells CJR that he replied, “We don’t like your attitude,” and several armed officers began to surround her. “It scared the shit out of me,” she says.

Other reporters get worn down. On Twitter, Crabapple recalled that, after jumping through all the necessary hoops to speak with a detainee, ICE informed her that she needed a particular form to be filled out more than 48 hours in advance of the meeting. But there weren’t 48 hours left in that week’s visiting hours. “They do this incredible elaborate stalling through bureaucracy,” Crabapple says. (A spokesperson for ICE tells CJR that the information about the 48-hour window is available on their website, though the relevant guidelines say “preferably 48 hours and no less than 24 hours.”)

Responding to Crabapple on Twitter, Kenny Wassus, a senior producer at New York magazine, described the 15-step process it took him to get permission to interview a detainee at the Hudson County Correctional Facility, in New Jersey. Speaking to CJR, Wassus explains that he spent weeks trying to coordinate between ICE and Hudson County officials as he prepared the necessary paperwork. No one seemed to be acting in bad faith, Wassus observed, but the people who ran things on-site had no protocol for communicating with agents at ICE. It’s “a broken system for access,” he says.


Mother Jones reports that "A Texas County Voted to End an Immigrant Detention Contract. ICE May Keep the Facility Open Anyway." This is a place with a long, dark history:

“The facility does have a history of violations of the human rights and the dignity of the people detained there,” says Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch, an Austin-based immigration lawyer who has worked with detainees at Hutto for more than a decade.

Those complaints stretch back to 2006, amid a George W. Bush-era crackdown on immigrants, when CoreCivic—then known as the Corrections Corporation of America—converted the former medium-security state prison into a family detention center where detained children wore prison-like uniforms and were kept in cells for around 12 hours a day, according to an ACLU lawsuit. The staff, most of whom came from backgrounds in corrections, woke young children up at night by shining lights in their faces, forced them to stand still during frequent head counts, and forbade them from having crayons or stuffed animals in their cells, The New Yorker reported in 2008. (CoreCivic maintains that it ran Hutto “in accordance with ICE’s requirements at the time.”)


Finally, federal arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal record have more than tripled under President Donald Trump and may still be accelerating, according to an NBC News analysis of Immigration and Customs Enforcement data from his first 14 months in office. That info isn't news here but New York Magazine has a good overview drawing on the NBC and other reports.
posted by Bella Donna at 2:59 PM on August 15 [22 favorites]


Kellyanne: It is disrespectful, it’s a violation of basic decency, certainly, if not marital vows . . . as “a person familiar with their relationship.”

I do hope that every single time Kellyanne or anyone else from the administration complains about anonymous sources from now on, the only response is "you just tried to be an anonymous source to attack your own husband."
posted by zachlipton at 3:05 PM on August 15 [79 favorites]


[The Conways] live across the street from Vernon Jordan, once a top adviser to Bill Clinton... and next door to a house that until recently belonged to Oleg Deripaska, the Vladimir Putin ally who owned Paul Manafort’s debt.

Back in June, I might have been surprised by an Oleg Deripaska cameo.
posted by box at 3:17 PM on August 15 [10 favorites]


Andrew Cuomo says America ‘was never that great,' drawing gasps

He tried to have a Will McAvoy moment. Except he's an elected official and not a pundit. And he's ad-libbing badly instead of giving a monologue written by Aaron Sorkin. Oh and this is real life and not a television show. Other than that it sounds like it went great.
posted by Justinian at 3:18 PM on August 15 [14 favorites]


Politics being so central to my sense of myself — not simply the level of engagement, but the actual beliefs and values involved — I never could understand how Cajun Nosferatu and Matalin could bed down together each night. The situation chez Conway is at least a little easier for me to wrap my head around, the prime difficulty here being how anyone sensate could support Donald Trump until the election, and only then turn against him. It is a puzzlement.

For people isolated from the serious consequences of political actions it is all just a game. It is only when you are certain kind of person that you are really subjected to the machinery of the state. The thing you will notice is that political actors comfortable palling around with the other side is that they are almost never members of truly disadvantaged groups and when you see a few that are you will notice that they are always rich enough to buy their way out their group's disadvantages before politicos will start dancing with them after hours.
posted by srboisvert at 3:21 PM on August 15 [13 favorites]


Julia Ainsley reports that Ellis dismissed the alternate jurors. Every jury I've ever been on or around has kept the alternates in place until every juror was dismissed in case one of the alternates needs to be subbed in during deliberations due to... well, due to whatever. Is my experience unusual? Is this a federal thing? Weird.
posted by Justinian at 3:22 PM on August 15 [3 favorites]


If you've dismissed the alternates and one of the jurors gets hit by a bus you have to start all over with a mistrial! Surely Ainsley misunderstood?
posted by Justinian at 3:24 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


“Nobody knows who I am because of my husband,” she says. “People know of my husband because of me.”

Yeah, I'm gonna go ahead and hate her more.


It's like she doesn't realize she is infamous rather than famous.
posted by srboisvert at 3:25 PM on August 15 [7 favorites]


Justinian: “Andrew Cuomo says America ‘was never that great,' drawing gasps

He tried to have a Will McAvoy moment. ”
He should have tried Langston Hughes.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:31 PM on August 15 [16 favorites]


In the Federal jury on which I served, I believe the alternates were dismissed when jury deliberations began. Is that what happened here?
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:31 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Andrew Cuomo says America ‘was never that great,'

If anyone ever doubted that Cynthia Nixon is way, way inside Cuomo's head, here you go.

To me, it seems like he's trying to allude to historic, systematic injustice like Nixon does on the regular but he doesn't have the conviction or the chops to pull it off. He's a baritone trying to sing a tenor part. He just doesn't have the range.
posted by mhum at 3:34 PM on August 15 [18 favorites]


On November 6, George Conway was asked to remove himself from the Trump campaign. That request came from his wife. Deep down, he knew she was right, but he also knew that someday, he would return to her. With nowhere else to go, he appeared at the home of his wife, Kellyanne Conway. Sometime earlier, Ted Cruz had thrown her out, requesting that she never return. Can two political hacks share a 15,000 square foot home without driving each other crazy?
posted by kirkaracha at 3:36 PM on August 15 [16 favorites]


I'll give Cuomo serious points if he corrects to say that he meant to say that "America was never not that great."
posted by rhizome at 3:39 PM on August 15 [10 favorites]


In the Federal jury on which I served, I believe the alternates were dismissed when jury deliberations began. Is that what happened here?

Sounds like it. All my experiences were in state courts in CA. Maybe its routine federally. Or I just got lucky when I had to sit around for 3 weeks while the real jurors deliberated.
posted by Justinian at 3:41 PM on August 15


Me: No, we’re on the record here. You can’t say after the fact “as someone familiar.”

Kellyanne: I told you everything about his tweets was off the record.

Me: No, that’s not true. That never happened.
She does this clearly expecting the retroactive off the record to be honored and not caring about the terms of the interview. If this wasn't essentially a tawdry gossip piece about her marriage I wonder if it would've been, and how many other times journalists allow her to just claim off the record at will like they allow her to lie without pushback.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:41 PM on August 15 [21 favorites]


A feel good punk rock story for any who might need it: Social Distortion Frontman Mike Ness Accused Of Attacking Trump Supporter
Hildebrand says the singer started badmouthing President Trump and America and the Republican farmer from Galt didn’t like it.

“I stood pretty much with my silent protest with my middle finger up for the next two songs.”

Ness didn’t like that and in the video, you can see him motion Hildebrand to the stage, where the singer spits in his face. Hildebrand says the two were yelling at each other when Ness lunged toward him.

“Takes his guitar off, jumps off the stage and proceeds to punch me multiple times in the head.”
The Trumpster is from Galt. I'm dying.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:44 PM on August 15 [57 favorites]


If anyone ever doubted that Cynthia Nixon is way, way inside Cuomo's head, here you go.


If Nixon said we must provide public housing for everyone who needs it on a Monday, Coumo would claim all property is theft by Wednesday.
posted by The Whelk at 3:53 PM on August 15 [32 favorites]


Lots of people on the internet twitterers and such posting "Cuomo was right, what's the big deal!"

A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth – some obvious truth he isn't supposed to say. -Michael Kinsley

For Republicans the quiet part they're not supposed to be saying out loud is that they are racists and they want to take the money for your healthcare to give it to rich people. They're starting to say the quiet part out loud now, yes.

For Democrats the quiet part they're not supposed to be saying out loud is that the USA often sorta sucks and a lot of aspects are, uh, actually really really shitty and have been for a long time and the USA isn't always the greatest country in the woooorrlld by every metric imaginable! (see again Will McAvoy). Cuomo erred by saying the quiet part out loud.

He's supposed to promote policies to make the USA less shitty but not actually say that it is shitty.
posted by Justinian at 4:05 PM on August 15 [27 favorites]


If Nixon said we must provide public housing for everyone who needs it on a Monday, Coumo would claim all property is theft by Wednesday.

“Make Poverty Philosophy Again!”
(at least Frowner gets my Proudhon-Marx references)

——

Hey look: GOP weasels expressing “unease.”

Some Republicans uneasy with Trump cutting off Brennan (Burgess Everett | Politico)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:28 PM on August 15 [18 favorites]


The war on the federal workforce and unbiased government information continues with the abrupt, unexamined 'reorganization' of USDA's Economic Research Service (wouldn't want to find out what the tariffs are doing!) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (they give money to academic institutions! Boo!).
posted by zennie at 4:44 PM on August 15 [14 favorites]


zennie, I work for a different part of USDA, and this was a topic at our weekly lab meeting this morning. This obviously a first step to test various ways of undermining the missions of ERS and NIFA. If this was a serious proposal they would already have a short list of sites for the relocations. I expect that a lot of people will decline to move, which is certainly part of the strategy. Also note that this is a way to cut salaries b/c DC-area employees receive the largest locality adjustments available. I grudgingly give the Secretary’s people a little credit for their cover story - it really is a challenge to attract a lot of folks out here to the east coast. This won’t solve that, though, and there’s no need for NIFA staff to move, they rarely do site visits.
posted by wintermind at 5:05 PM on August 15 [12 favorites]


Trump let the WSJ in for an interview: Trump Says His Tariffs Will Rescue U.S. Steel Industry. The subheading, in which reality is completely subjective and unknowable, gives you a sample of how this goes: "President says U.S. steelmakers were in danger of closing; others take issue with the tariffs’ impact." There is, of course, no transcript, so everything is nicely massaged into vaguely coherent bits that largely paraphrase him instead of quoting. Still, they can only do so much cleanup:
Several times Mr. Trump interrupted the conversation to summon aides to the Oval Office to share charts showing his endorsement record and to discuss the size of his following on social media.

“So what’s my record?” he asked political director Bill Stepien, who said the president had yet to lose a candidate he has backed in Republican primary races.
...
“As long as I can get out and campaign, I think they’re going to win, I really do,” he said. “It’s a lot of work for me. I have to make 50 stops, it’s a lot. So, there aren’t a lot of people that can do that, physically. Fortunately, I have no problem with that.”
This is also odd, for the idea that a national security decision had to wait because he was busy, er, vacationing:
Asked about the White House decision to yank Mr. Brennan’s security clearance and to evaluate the clearances held by others, Mr. Trump said was prepared to do it last week, but it was too “hectic.”

Mr. Trump, who was criticized for targeting for security clearance only people who served in Democratic administrations, said he “would put a Republican on, too, if I thought they were incompetent or crazy.”
posted by zachlipton at 5:55 PM on August 15 [8 favorites]


WSJ, Dustin Volz, Trump, Seeking to Relax Rules on U.S. Cyberattacks, Reverses Obama Directive
President Trump has reversed an Obama-era memorandum governing how and when the U.S. government can deploy cyberweapons against its adversaries, in an effort to loosen restrictions on such operations, according to people familiar with the action.

Mr. Trump signed an order on Wednesday reversing the classified rules, known as Presidential Policy Directive 20, that had mapped out an elaborate interagency process that must be followed before U.S. use of cyberattacks, particularly those geared at foreign adversaries.
...
It wasn’t clear what rules Trump is adopting to replace the Obama directive. A number of current U.S. officials confirmed the directive had been replaced but declined to comment further, citing the classified nature of the process.

The move was described as an “offensive step forward” by an administration official briefed on the decision, one intended to help support military operations, deter foreign election influence and thwart intellectual property theft by meeting such threats with more forceful responses.
I, for one, can't possibly see how this could end badly.
posted by zachlipton at 5:57 PM on August 15 [17 favorites]


And, uh, George Papadopulous's wife is trying to recruit a free lawyer for him on Twitter. His sentencing was set for September 7th, and I'm kind of wondering if that's maybe not happening now? He's also got the DNC lawsuit now, so maybe this is separate? She was tweeting, cryptically, "PapaD is the key...." earlier, started a GoFundMe for legal expenses in the DNC lawsuit, and is promoting the idea that Mifsud is a western intelligence asset, not Russian.

Maddow was idly speculating the other day about what appears to me to be a pretty routine filing by Mueller's team for a protective order ahead of the sentencing recommendation, but it does seem like something's going on.
posted by zachlipton at 6:05 PM on August 15 [7 favorites]


In a different WSJ article, Trump explicitly links the revocation of Brennan's security clearance to the Mueller investigation, though without a transcript we can't understand exactly how this abuse of power was expressed:
“I call it the rigged witch hunt, [it] is a sham,” Mr. Trump said in an interview. “And these people led it!”

He added: “So I think it’s something that had to be done.”
posted by zachlipton at 6:46 PM on August 15 [31 favorites]


Mr. Trump said was prepared to do it last week, but it was too 'hectic.'

This was supposed to be a "working vacation" for Mr. "I would not be a president who took vacations."

Caution: may not include actual work.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:02 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]


Last week was PGA Championship.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:13 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


I want blue hats, mad in China, that say MAGNOW. Like right now. Hit the street with courage, kindness, mercy, and a will to stand up for the weak. Vote that way. MAGRTFNOW.
posted by vrakatar at 7:14 PM on August 15 [3 favorites]


It occurs to me that Trump is deliberately treating what's left of US politics as a reality show.

Or Bill Shine is packaging today's Trump White House developments for a Fox News audience. First came the dramatic surprise press conference announcement about Brennan, then Trump's impromptu interview with the Murdoch-owned yet somehow still respectable WSJ (which is never going to release a transcript of this obviously managed sit-down).

Now we see Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity picking up the Brennan thread on their shows, with former soliciting the opinion of Trump's favorite Brennan-basher Dan Bongino—whom Trump just quoted on Twitter—and the latter claiming "Numerous intelligence officials say Brennan's behavior is damaging to national security"—which apparently includes Seb Gorka. We can expect Fox & Friends to carry over on this topic tomorrow morning, depending on what Trump tweets when he wakes up.

From a certain perspective, it's impressive how well Shine is managing this news narrative with his former peers.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:27 PM on August 15 [13 favorites]


And, uh, George Papadopulous's wife is trying to recruit a free lawyer for him on Twitter.

Huh.

Attorney wanted for George Papadopoulo, Pro Bono! Your biggest reward will be #History. Your name will go down on history.

Aside from going down on history, which I approve of, why would you solicit for a new lawyer through the twitter account of your definitely-not-a-spy wife?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:30 PM on August 15 [23 favorites]


From a certain perspective, it's impressive how well Shine is managing this news narrative with his former peers.

What narrative? Do some crazy shit and then call Rupert is all I see. Bongino and Gorka are automatons who will blindly support whatever that crazy shit is, and they wait by the phone to accept all invitations to describe how blind they are, in detail.
posted by rhizome at 7:32 PM on August 15 [6 favorites]


More impressive as far as directing communications straight to Murdoch than his predecessors, Sean Spicer, Hope Hicks, or «snort» Anthony Scaramucci. They would have floundered for a few days while Omarosa went on the media war path. This is a quick turnaround, Trump's always happier on the offensive, and the media has been distracted away from the story that was really making the Trump White House sweat. All that in under twenty-four hours in the news cycle.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:40 PM on August 15 [3 favorites]


Something to keep an eye on is the expiration of the Violence Against Women Act in September. The VAWA provides services to victims of domestic violence and provides programs for prevention. It addresses sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, primarily by providing grants to organizations and law enforcement programs that work with domestic violence victims and prevention.

The VAWA was initially written and sponsored by Joe Biden while a senator. The first version was signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1994. It was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005. In 2012 it was again up for renewal but bogged down because of Republican opposition to extending coverage for Native Americans and same-sex couples. In one of his famous Bidenisms, the vice-President referred to obstinate Republicans as "this sort of Neanderthal crowd." It took another year but eventually it passed in 2013 despite 160 Republicans voting against it in the House and Senate.

One of the provisions of the 2018 reauthorization would be to strengthen the ability to remove guns from the possession of domestic abusers. With the election coming up and Republican control of both houses, a gun provision does not bode well for passage. It also reauthorizes the current provisions for asylum for immigrant victims of domestic violence, which Republicans are sure to fight.

It is sponsored by Rep. Jackson Lee in the House but so far there are only Democratic co-sponsors.
posted by JackFlash at 7:41 PM on August 15 [61 favorites]


All that in under twenty-four hours in the news cycle.

n.b. I'm counting from Omarosa's interview with Katy Tur yesterday afternoon in which she said Trump knew about Clinton's e-mails before they came out. The Apprentice racial slur tape would be embarrassing for Trump, but frankly, he's shrugged off worse in the media without affecting his base's level of support. The Wikileaks story, however, would have serious ramifications for the Mueller investigation—if one is willing to trust Omarosa «hem»—which is why Team Trump brought out a the big legal guns to clamp down on her with the campaign NDA.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:47 PM on August 15 [4 favorites]


Trump, Seeking to Relax Rules on U.S. Cyberattacks, Reverses Obama Directive

Trump, Seeking to Reverse Obama Directive, Relaxes Rules on U.S. Cyberattacks.

FIFY
posted by greermahoney at 7:47 PM on August 15 [85 favorites]


NYT, Bannon’s New Group Issues a Midterm Plea: Save Trump
Stephen K. Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, is forming a group to try to sell voters on a midterm message that they should support Republicans to defend the Trump agenda and save the president from impeachment.

The group, Citizens of the American Republic, is Mr. Bannon’s new vehicle after he was pushed out of the White House last summer and then parted ways with the conservative website Breitbart.
...
But Mr. Bannon, who insists that approaching congressional races as one-offs is a waste of time, is planning a messaging push on cable television, the op-ed pages of newspapers and local conservative radio shows. His premise is that more of Mr. Trump will be a good thing. “More than any other midterm, this is a referendum on his style and on his content, and you cannot run from that; you have to embrace it,” Mr. Bannon said in an interview.

In addition to Mr. Bannon, the group includes Sam Nunberg, one of Mr. Trump’s earliest political advisers; Michael Caputo, a New York-based strategist who worked on the Trump campaign; and Pat Caddell, a pollster who worked in Jimmy Carter’s White House and who has remained close to Mr. Bannon over the years.
One question here is where the money is coming from, now that the Mercers have tired of Bannon. Jeet Herr takes the speculation to an interesting place, noticing this recent NY Post item that Bannon was recently seen hanging out with a certain billionaire sex offender with ties to everyone in this mess: Jeffrey Epstein.
posted by zachlipton at 9:30 PM on August 15 [22 favorites]


And, uh, George Papadopulous's wife is trying to recruit a free lawyer for him on Twitter. His sentencing was set for September 7th, and I'm kind of wondering if that's maybe not happening now?

Well, she talked to Chuck Ross and said as such. She wants him to withdraw his plea deal with Mueller and wants a lawyer to help. Mangiante, along with Dan Bongino (who was all over Fox News and Trump's Twitter today), is pushing the deep state theory that Mifsud was working for a western intelligence agency and not Russia. The particularly screwy thing here is that she worked with Mifsud and is suspicious herself, so it's not as though she's offering unbiased advice here.

Fun fact: it's not particularly likely he could withdraw his plea. He would need to show a "fair and just reason."

I would like to know where the hell Mifsud is.
posted by zachlipton at 11:13 PM on August 15 [15 favorites]


The jury should go to deliberations any time now. I'm going with a 10-2 hung jury, with the 10 for conviction on most counts. I hope I'm wrong but we'll see.

That's clearly what Manafort's lawyers were aiming for. I don't like to prejudge reality though. Better to let it be what it wants to be.
posted by msalt at 1:13 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


I would like to know where the hell Mifsud is.

I'm starting to think nobody is ever going to see Mifsud again.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:25 AM on August 16 [7 favorites]


Like, what feminist wants to be the Mouth of Sauron?

What are we even striving for if Mouth of Sauron is off the table?
posted by LizBoBiz at 3:39 AM on August 16 [58 favorites]




John Brennan responds to Trump in the NYT:

President Trump’s Claims of No Collusion Are Hogwash (OpEd)

“That’s why the president revoked my security clearance: to try to silence anyone who would dare challenge him.”
The only questions that remain are whether the collusion that took place constituted criminally liable conspiracy, whether obstruction of justice occurred to cover up any collusion or conspiracy, and how many members of “Trump Incorporated” attempted to defraud the government by laundering and concealing the movement of money into their pockets. A jury is about to deliberate bank and tax fraud charges against one of those people, Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman. And the campaign’s former deputy chairman, Rick Gates, has pleaded guilty to financial fraud and lying to investigators.

Mr. Trump clearly has become more desperate to protect himself and those close to him, which is why he made the politically motivated decision to revoke my security clearance in an attempt to scare into silence others who might dare to challenge him. Now more than ever, it is critically important that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and his team of investigators be allowed to complete their work without interference — from Mr. Trump or anyone else — so that all Americans can get the answers they so rightly deserve.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:54 AM on August 16 [39 favorites]


Also, MSNBC's Kyle Griffin (@ kylegriffin1) digs up this choice quote from the Trump White House: “Sarah Sanders back in February on security clearances: ‘This is a process that doesn't operate within the White House. It's handled by our law enforcement and intelligence community and we support that process.’” (from a Politico piece on Rob Porter)

Also, someone in the WH press pool needs to ask Sanders about the current state of Jared Kushner's security clearance (and Michael Flynn's).
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:00 AM on August 16 [26 favorites]


John Brennan responds to Trump in the NYT:

I'm no Brennan fan, but I'm here for the shivving. We'll see if Donny is wearing his phonebooks.
posted by rhizome at 5:10 AM on August 16 [8 favorites]


Ryan Zinke blames ‘environmental terrorist groups’ for severity of California wildfires (WaPo):
Wildfires strike California every year. But they’re getting worse, causing deaths and uprooting communities. But who is to blame for these increasingly destructive wildfires?

According to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, it’s “environmental terrorist groups.”

During a radio interview with Breitbart News, Zinke said that “environmental terrorist groups” are preventing the government from managing forests and are largely responsible for the severity of the fires. But fire scientists and forestry experts have said climate change is the main factor behind the problem.
posted by peeedro at 5:40 AM on August 16 [18 favorites]


During a radio interview with Breitbart News

Here I am following Sleeping Giants in their heroic efforts to minimize the fetid stench coming out of Breitbart, and senior executive members (lol) are giving interviews on there!
posted by Myeral at 5:50 AM on August 16 [4 favorites]


Lincoln Library In Debt, Contemplating Selling Off His Top Hat, Bloodied Gloves
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The hunt for auctioneers to settle a $9.7 million debt by selling off parts of a valuable collection of Lincoln artifacts, including an iconic stovepipe hat and gloves bloodied the night he was assassinated, began Wednesday, but the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Foundation cautioned a sale isn’t imminent.

The foundation voted in a private meeting to begin seeking an auction house to dispose of parts of the Taper collection of 1,400 items related to Lincoln in a move that foundation CEO Carla Knorowski said is necessary to meet the debt’s due date, not as a tactic to scare up state funding.

But state officials, including the representative who holds the Illinois House seat in which the 16th president began his political career, raised questions about the timing of the foundation’s action and cautioned there’s still time before Lincoln lore is shipped out Illinois’ door.

The top hat purportedly belonging to the Great Emancipator and the blood-stained kid gloves are the crown jewels of an extraordinary bevy which also includes the quill pen left on Lincoln’s desk when he died; his presidential seal, replete with wax left on it from its last use; a book with his earliest known writings; notes between Lincoln and his wife, Mary; and Lincoln White House china.
This just makes me so sad. Contemplating auctioning off national heirlooms to settle a debt that costs as much as, what, two missiles?
posted by lazaruslong at 5:54 AM on August 16 [45 favorites]


Ryan Zinke blames ‘environmental terrorist groups’ for severity of California wildfires

Ignoring of course the fact that the one person they have arrested for arson is a right wing conspiracy loon.
posted by PenDevil at 5:57 AM on August 16 [53 favorites]


Lets have a little recap about Joseph Mifsud :
From BBC this past March: Joseph Mifsud: The mystery professor behind Trump Russia inquiry. This introduces us to a Dr. Stephen Roh who Mueller's team is believed to have questioned.
The Federalist (aug 2): If You Inspect The FISA Applications Closely, More Mysteries Arise About Joseph Mifsud.
posted by adamvasco at 6:02 AM on August 16 [7 favorites]


Zinke said that “environmental terrorist groups” are preventing the government from managing forests and are largely responsible for the severity of the fires. But he is lying and in any sane administration this would be enough of a scandal to dominate the news for a few weeks. Never mind the fact that he's giving interviews to fucking Breitbart.

We have lost the war on facts.
posted by lydhre at 6:03 AM on August 16 [32 favorites]


Your morning moment of snark from a guest on Morning Joe (MSNBC):

Everything [Donald Trump] says comes into context when proceeded with, "Next is Donald from Queens on the line."
posted by Sophie1 at 6:11 AM on August 16 [89 favorites]


"It's handled by our law enforcement and intelligence community and we support that process."

Sanders went on to add "... and we have always been supportive of our law enforcement and intelligence communities' processes."
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:39 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Homophobic cake-maker is also transphobic, and is suing the State of Colorado, again: Jack Phillips refused to make a cake to celebrate gender transition, again citing the Bible. (NPR, Aug. 16, 2018)
On June 28 of this year (PDF), Colorado regulators said there was "sufficient evidence" to support Scardina's claim of discrimination based on her transgender status and ordered the two sides to "compulsory mediation."

Phillips is asking the court for permanent injunctions (PDF) against the state from enforcing Colorado anti-discrimination laws against him as well as $100,000 in punitive damages.
And a note: there's more nuance to the Colorado baker's Supreme Court win in the case over his refusal to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. As noted in NYT,
The court passed on an opportunity to either bolster the right to same-sex marriage or explain how far the government can go in regulating businesses run on religious principles. Instead, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s majority opinion turned on the argument that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which originally ruled against the baker, had been shown to be hostile to religion because of the remarks of one of its members.

At the same time, Justice Kennedy strongly reaffirmed protections for gay rights.

“The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts,” he wrote, “all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.”
The problem is this is a complicated statement to sum up in one line, but here's a go: Homophobic cake-maker Jack Phillips won a Supreme Court case on grounds that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission weren't polite enough to his religious beliefs. It's probably too snarky to run in print, but it makes me feel better.


Journalists are not the enemy #FreePress (By the Editorial Board of the Boston Globe, August 15, 2018)
A central pillar of President Trump’s politics is a sustained assault on the free press. Journalists are not classified as fellow Americans, but rather “The enemy of the people.” This relentless assault on the free press has dangerous consequences. We asked editorial boards from around the country – liberal and conservative, large and small – to join us today to address this fundamental threat in their own words.
And more than 350 boards have, with the Boston Globe updating that page with links to more as they come in.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:19 AM on August 16 [31 favorites]


Zinke said that “environmental terrorist groups” are preventing the government from managing forests and are largely responsible for the severity of the fires.

"Environmental terrorist groups" = groups trying to scare us into not using our natural resources. In other words, every single actual environmentalist/conservationist organization. A pretty fascinating neologism that we should expect to see more and more of for the rest of our lives.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:24 AM on August 16 [29 favorites]


Tweet of Trump: The Boston Globe, which was sold to the the Failing New York Times for 1.3 BILLION DOLLARS (plus 800 million dollars in losses & investment), or 2.1 BILLION DOLLARS, was then sold by the Times for 1 DOLLAR. Now the Globe is in COLLUSION with other papers on free press. PROVE IT!

...prove what?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:37 AM on August 16 [30 favorites]


...prove what?

All I can think of is Drew Carey sitting at the WLIIA desk saying “Welcome to US politics where the president’s a moron and words don’t matter.”
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 7:50 AM on August 16 [24 favorites]


He says it like collusion is some kind of crime.
posted by benzenedream at 7:50 AM on August 16 [27 favorites]


...prove what?

We hope to be rational actors, so understanding the motivations of irrational actors like Trump is impossible.

Our "Cognitive Frames" don't intersect.

Don't waste a lot of time trying, or feel bad because you -- a sane person -- can't understand what's going through an insane person's mind. That's a good thing. It's evidence that you are sane.
posted by mikelieman at 7:50 AM on August 16 [12 favorites]


Now the Globe is in COLLUSION with other papers on free press. PROVE IT!

This word salad could really use some bacon bits.

But really, this has to be a reference to something on Fox News, right? Although how you "collude" "on free press" I don't know.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:51 AM on August 16 [10 favorites]


Ivanka Trump apparently really hated that SNL "Complicit" ad
At the senior staff meeting, Ivanka couldn’t stop bemoaning it, how offensive it was, how ridiculous it was. We’d all been subject to SNL attacks … We’d all been hit, many of us in that same week’s show. But Ivanka would not stop talking about being ribbed. Like her father, Ivanka was thin-skinned and could not seem to take a joke.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:53 AM on August 16 [54 favorites]


Putin's investment in Trump continues to pay off, USA Today (AP) reports: Trump Criticizes Some Russia Provisions Of Defense Bill, Suggests In Signing Statement He May Ignore Them
At a bill signing ceremony in New York on Monday, President Donald Trump took credit for a $716 billion defense policy bill that he said would strengthen America's military. "I am very proud to be a big, big part of it," he said. "It was not very hard."

In a written statement hours later, Trump raised objections to 52 provisions of the law – including four of the eight provisions dealing specifically with Russia. The signing statement suggests he may not enforce provisions that he said raise constitutional concerns.

As passed by Congress, the defense bill attempts to tie the president's hands on Russia in a number of ways. It forbids him from using federal funds to recognize Russian control over Crimea and bans military cooperation with Russia until Russia pulls out of Ukraine.

It requires him to report back to Congress on steps he has taken to address Russian violations of the Open Skies Treaty, which allows reconnaissance flights over Russian territory, and the New START Treaty on nuclear weapons.

Trump said those provisions undermine the president's role "as the sole representative of the nation in foreign affairs."

Trump objected to a section requiring him to send to Congress a strategy to combat "malign foreign influence operations and campaigns." That strategy, he said, is covered by executive privilege.
Incidentally, Putin Ally Tweeted Brennan’s Security Revocation Two Days Before The White House Knew About It, Hill Reporter alleges. On July 24, Artem Klyushin (@ARTEM_KLYUSHIN), whom Trump met in 2013 during his Moscow pageant visit, tweeted: "[{tr. from Russian}Ex-CIA directors John Brennan and Michael Hayden, ex-FBI director James Comey and his deputy Andrew McCabe, ex-director of the National Intelligence Service James Clapper, ex-national security adviser Susan Rice say goodbye to access to classified materials.] Welcome to the real world!"
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:53 AM on August 16 [35 favorites]


Everything [Donald Trump] says comes into context when proceeded with, "Next is Donald from Queens on the line."

If I could favorite this eleventy thousand and umpty-two times, I would. Truer words have never been spoken.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:01 AM on August 16 [37 favorites]


"Now the Globe is in COLLUSION with other papers on free press. PROVE IT!"

This word salad could really use some bacon bits.


Taken together, what all of his tweets about collusion demonstrate is that he just doesn't fundamentally understand what collusion is.

He doesn't understand what he's being investigated for; he is unsure of whether he's done something illegal (likely because he's never actually had to worry about it before -- this is just how he does things). He's deeply confused and unable (and unwilling) to resolve that confusion by learning. He's trying to deflect so that no one notices when he uses the term wrong.

But under it all -- deep confusion and ignorance.
posted by Dashy at 8:07 AM on August 16 [28 favorites]


This guy just can't help himself!

TPM Livewire: Trump Gives Impromptu WSJ Interview, Ties Brennan Clearance Decision To ‘Witch Hunt’
As White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders attempted to subdue suspicions that President Trump’s decision to revoke the security clearance of a former CIA director was [not] in the interest of national security and not [but in fact] an attack on his political critics, Trump affirmed the opposite. During a 20-minute impromptu interview with the Wall Street Journal Wednesday, Trump blamed former CIA Director John Brennan — and the nine other, notably Democratic, former officials whose security clearances he’s reviewing — for starting the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. [...] “I call it the rigged witch hunt, (it) is a sham,” he told the WSJ. “And these people led it! … So I think it’s something that had to be done.”
I guess he just Lester Holt-ed the Brennan security clearance fuss to keep the oxygen away from Omarosa? Bold strategy...

(I had to edit the phrasing - I think the writer got lost in the confusing double negative there.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:13 AM on August 16 [34 favorites]


At some point the press needs to start calling Sarah Sanders 'Baghdad Bob'.
posted by srboisvert at 8:19 AM on August 16 [12 favorites]


Like her father, Ivanka was thin-skinned and could not seem to take a joke.

Was it a joke, though? Half of SNL these days is saying what actually happened in front of a crowd primed to laugh.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 8:20 AM on August 16 [20 favorites]


Ivanka Trump apparently really hated that SNL "Complicit" ad

This is kind of fascinating because the "Complicit" ad is not mean spirited at all. There are no low blows, no mockery of her looks or implication that daddy wants to bang his daughter. It just says: Ivanka has responsibility here too. It's a very unique kind of person who wants tremendous power but can't stand being told that it comes with responsibility. A Trump through-and-through.
posted by dis_integration at 8:24 AM on August 16 [94 favorites]


Now the Globe is in COLLUSION with other papers on free press.

Trump's all-caps Twitter rant about "THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY." in response today to the Boston Globe-led nation-wide editorials in support of a free press is all the more notable since he had nothing to say about it when they first called for it earlier this week. He's perfectly happy to wait until the controversy hits before playing into it. (Also, please note the entirely predictable absence of Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal and the New York Post.)

Taken together, what all of his tweets about collusion demonstrate is that he just doesn't fundamentally understand what collusion is.

And/or he instinctively wants to confuse the issue of collusion in the public discourse until it's impossible for the average person to understand what it means. This has been picked up by his allies in the media and Capitol Hill. Most prominently, Giuliani has done his best in his media appearances to turn the term into legalese nonsense.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:42 AM on August 16 [5 favorites]


Not the first story to talk about this, but the most comprehensive -- Bloomberg: Trump's Speeches Feature Mystery Men the White House Won't Name
One of the biggest supporters of President Donald Trump’s trade policies, according to the president, is the unnamed chief executive officer of a mystery company.
...
One of the president’s favorite anecdotes involves a friend who, Trump claims, hired a group of ex-convicts. The facts in the story have changed with each retelling.

During a May 18 White House event on overhauling the federal prison system, Trump said: “I have a friend; he hired three people. They were prisoners, pretty hard-line people. I can tell you, two of the three, he said, are unbelievably outstanding.”

During a June 29 speech at the White House, he said: “And there’s one gentleman in particular, he hired ten inmates, never did it before. And he said, I wouldn’t say he said all of them, but he said seven of them are so incredible. Not a bad percentage.”

And a July 18 Cabinet meeting, Trump said: “In one case, a friend of mine hired 10 people. And of the 10 people -- he didn’t give me the exact number, but I will tell you, he said, ‘These are incredible people.’”

The White House would not identify the president’s friend.
The full article has a plethora of other examples; it's One Weird Rhetorical Trick that's sure to annoy anyone interested in evidence-based governance.
posted by cjelli at 8:45 AM on August 16 [31 favorites]


TPM Livewire: Trump Gives Impromptu WSJ Interview, Ties Brennan Clearance Decision To ‘Witch Hunt’

He's just admitted that he is taking steps to discourage a counterintelligence investigation. Brennan was the CIA Director, ferchrissake. He is constitutionally incapable of separating the counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference and the investigation into his own cronies (admittedly those intersected, but still).

If this goes over well with his base, could he just pull the Mueller team's clearances? If he just starts pulling random FBI and CIA agents' clearances, this is... even more Constitutional crisisy than usual.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:46 AM on August 16 [9 favorites]


Now we see Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity picking up the Brennan thread on their shows, with former soliciting the opinion of Trump's favorite Brennan-basher Dan Bongino—whom Trump just quoted on Twitter—and the latter claiming "Numerous intelligence officials say Brennan's behavior is damaging to national security"—which apparently includes Seb Gorka. We can expect Fox & Friends to carry over on this topic tomorrow morning, depending on what Trump tweets when he wakes up.

Fox and Friends this morning was giving us a history lesson on how "we defeated Communist Japan" while Tucker will no doubt be discussing how Carole King is underrated in the wake of Arethra Franklin's death.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:47 AM on August 16 [6 favorites]


Trump's Speeches Feature Mystery Men the White House Won't Name

And that man's name? Albert Einstein.

He's a walking forwarded email.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:47 AM on August 16 [21 favorites]


Trump's WSJ interview suggests that his defense strategy towards Mueller's investigation is to assert that no investigation is actually necessary, since he's setting everything regarding obstruction out in the open, sitting on a tee, waiting to be whacked at.
posted by delfin at 8:48 AM on August 16 [3 favorites]


The only thing less credible than Trump citing an unnamed individual is Trump citing an unnamed universal population, e.g.:
"Everybody has said it's amazing, the job that we've done in Puerto Rico."
"There was absolutely no collusion. Everybody knows it."
"Everyone thinks [I deserve the Nobel Prize], but I would never say it."

posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:53 AM on August 16 [11 favorites]


Not the first story to talk about this, but the most comprehensive -- Bloomberg: Trump's Speeches Feature Mystery Men the White House Won't Name

Daniel Dale has detected another Trump tell:
Almost every time Trump tells a story in which people keep calling him "sir," he's making the whole thing up. Here's a four-"sir" story from last week about the "$400,000" Jerusalem embassy, which will cost at least $21 million. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-embassy-jerusalem-cost-21-million-100-times/story?id=56645279

—Trump lied to his Ohio rally crowd that the EU refused to meet with Obama on trade.
The EU engaged in three years of full-scale negotiations with Obama on a proposed free trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
Notice the telltale "sir."

—Trump's speech said that the 10th Mountain Division from this base isn't just tough, it's "mountain tough." Ad-libbing, Trump then claims haltingly that he asked a general what the difference is, and "he said, 'Sir, trust me, there's a difference.'"

Sir Watch: Trump claims that hypocritical foreign leaders impose tariffs on the U.S. and then approach him and say, "SIR. I want free trade." When he explains the reality, he says, they object and say, "I understand that, sir, but..."
Incidentally, Dale also pours cold water on that viral story about Artem Klyushin's Brennan tweet: "Since this is starting to go viral: the day before this Russian's tweet, Sarah Sanders publicly named all of the people the Russian named. (See this WaPo article.) He did not have inside info."
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:13 AM on August 16 [62 favorites]


Trump said those provisions undermine the president's role "as the sole representative of the nation in foreign affairs."

Oh, we're playing "strict separation of powers" now? You know what power the Constitution doesn't give to the executive branch? The power to lay tariffs.

"The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises .... To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations"

Trump can only lay tariffs because Congress has previously passed laws delegating the authority to lay tariffs to the Executive under certain poorly defined conditions. When that's used irresponsibly, Congress would be justified in repealing those laws. (I know, in my dreams as long as Congress is under R control, and even despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth by some of the more pro-business Republicans over Trump's tariffs.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:14 AM on August 16 [11 favorites]


cjelli: During a May 18 White House event on overhauling the federal prison system, Trump said: “I have a friend; he hired three people. They were prisoners, pretty hard-line people. I can tell you, two of the three, he said, are unbelievably outstanding.”

Hard-line or hard-core? The former is "advocating or involving a rigidly uncompromising course of action" while the latter is "a small number of very active and enthusiastic members of a group : the most devoted and active members of a group" -- because "hard-line" makes me think of political, religious, and ideological extremists, so with Trump, I am imagining a CEO friend of his hiring formerly incarcerated neo-Nazis covered in White Power tattoos.

But maybe he mis-spoke, or was mis-quoted. Or he's making it all up! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


zachlipton: NYT, Frances Robles, Puerto Rico Spent 11 Months Turning the Power Back On. They Finally Got to Her.

11 Months After Hurricane Maria Hit Puerto Rico, Officials Say All Power Is Restored (NPR, Aug. 15, 2018)
Puerto Rico's electric utility PREPA announced that its work restoring power to the island was done. It took almost a year, tens of thousands of new poles, thousands of miles of wire and help from two federal agencies. The restoration was plagued by scandal and delays. It cost some $3 billion. And now that it's done, experts agree the power grid is just as fragile as before the hurricane. This morning, Jose Ortiz, the fifth CEO to head the power utility since the storm, was offering a reality check on local radio station WKAQ. Some homes still don't have power because they're damaged, he said, a few because they're near federal land to which he doesn't have access.
Emphasis mine because it's not over yet, and because "All Power Is Restored" is a lie.

But hey, after a year, they really wanted to unfurl that Mission Accomplished! banner they bought 11 months ago.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:20 AM on August 16 [11 favorites]


I am sure someone here recommended it in the first place, but seriously, read "On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century" by Timothy Snyder. Scary look at our current political climate in light of lessons clearly not learned from history. It's a quick read, too. Definitely worthwhile.
posted by Grither at 9:25 AM on August 16 [6 favorites]


ATLANTA (AP) — Civil rights advocates are objecting to a proposal to close about 75 percent of polling locations in a predominantly black south Georgia county.

The Randolph County elections board is scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss a proposal that would eliminate seven of nine polling locations in the county, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. Included in the proposed closures is Cuthbert Middle School where nearly 97 percent of voters are black.

“There is strong evidence that this was done with intent to make it harder for African Americans,” ACLU of Georgia attorney Sean Young said. The ACLU has sent a letter to the elections board demanding that the polling places remain open and has filed open records requests for information about the proposal to close the polling places.
posted by Bella Donna at 9:33 AM on August 16 [62 favorites]


A lot of money to make Joffrey feel important for an hour.

CNBC: Trump's military parade is now estimated to cost $92 million – $80 million more than earlier estimate
posted by chris24 at 9:34 AM on August 16 [30 favorites]


Talking Points Memo:
The Republican candidate for governor of California paid a visit to a DMV on Wednesday and casually compared standing in line at the notoriously sedate agency to surviving the Holocaust.

“You know, I met a Holocaust survivor in Long Beach. He survived concentration camps, and he said this was worse. He’s 90 years old and he had to wait four hours down in Long Beach. Can you imagine that?” John Cox said, according to the Capital Public Radio audio.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:40 AM on August 16 [20 favorites]


Sorry but I just have to include a bit more from the AP story I linked to above (emphasis mine):

The closure of polling places will affect those who lack reliable transportation, the ACLU says. Public transit doesn’t exist in much of the rural county, and 22 percent of the county’s residents have no car. People who currently vote at the polling places that would close under the proposal would have to travel an additional 10 miles to vote, the ACLU says.

With no car or bus to reach a different polling location, this predominantly black, Democratic county will not be able to fairly vote, ACLU of Georgia executive director Andrea Young said.
posted by Bella Donna at 9:41 AM on August 16 [42 favorites]


Daly Beast: A little-known Trump campaign staffer named Daniel Gelbinovich reached out to a number of Washington lobbyists with an eyebrow-raising ask: to shield a Putin ally from U.S. sanctions.
Gelbinovich approached them and told them he was trying to help Roman Abramovich, a Russian oligarch worth more than $11 billion, find a lobbyist to help keep him from being added to the Treasury Department’s sanctions list.
posted by adamvasco at 9:43 AM on August 16 [17 favorites]


I question the rationale of closing polling places, period. There is no reason that Our Tax Dollars aren't used to ensure that each and every eligible voter waits no more than 20 minutes from entering the polling place, to exiting it.
posted by mikelieman at 9:44 AM on August 16 [44 favorites]


Daly Beast: A little-known Trump campaign staffer named Daniel Gelbinovich reached out to a number of Washington lobbyists with an eyebrow-raising ask: to shield a Putin ally from U.S. sanctions.

The Daily Beast also has an exclusive look into the oligarchs' club: Hacked Emails Take Us Inside the Billionaires’ Club Around Vladimir Putin—How a little-known lawyer {Andrey Pavlov} is at the center of a complex nexus of connections between Western fixers, Russian oligarchs, Vladimir Putin—and even Donald aTrump
Pavlov has engaged some of the world’s biggest law firms to act on behalf of him and his clients, has encouraged a former U.K. attorney general to lobby on his behalf, and has hired the consultancy firm part-owned by U.K. and Australian election maestro Lynton Crosby.

Yet he’s also embroiled in a huge international row over an alleged $230 million Russian fraud {organized by a Dmitry Klyuev} that left a lawyer tortured to death in a Russian prison {Sergei Magnitsky}; is closely tied to the Russian and Kazakh interior ministries; and is even alleged to have acted as a mediator between a Russian whistleblower and an alleged criminal gang, shortly before the whistleblower was found dead—with U.S. intelligence pointing blame for the death directly at Russian President Vladimir Putin.[...]

[...]The contents of Pavlov’s emails were leaked and posted online following what he says was a hacking attack to an obscure site used by hackers to dump their finds. (The identity of Pavlov’s hackers is not known, and Pavlov has not publicly speculated on it.)

This rare cache of documents, plus court records from cases across the U.S. and detailed reporting, give a rare insight into the complex nexus of connections in which Pavlov resides—a network that draws in interests connected to Putin and also business connections of President Trump.[...]

These interconnections have now taken center stage in American politics, thanks to the U.S. president’s years-long dealings with Russia: Trump and his family have their own connections with almost every entity involved in this story.

Trump hired his former lawyer Cobb from Hogan Lovells. Trump contemplated a hotel project in Georgia with ties to Ablyazov and BTA Bank. Trump associates contemplated a Trump Tower in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital, after Ablyazov’s fall. Trump Jr. met with Veselnitskaya, Pavlov’s “friend,” in Trump Tower to discuss the Magnitsky sanctions during the 2016 election campaign.
This is less a grand global conspiracy than the world's worst LinkedIn network. If the rule in investigations is to follow the money, everything eventually comes back to Putin and the oligarchs.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:48 AM on August 16 [11 favorites]


CNBC: Trump's military parade is now estimated to cost $92 million

$92 million? Viagra's a helluva lot cheaper.
posted by mach at 9:51 AM on August 16 [12 favorites]




From today's WH pool report, Trump closed his comments about Franklin's passing: "So just want to pass on my warmest best wishes and sympathies to her family."

Trump is the absolute worst.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:01 AM on August 16 [7 favorites]


NYT, 44 Small Graves Stir Questions About U.S. Policy in Yemen
American military leaders, exasperated by strikes that have killed civilians at markets, weddings and funerals, insist that the United States is not a party to the war. Human rights organizations say the United States cannot deny its role, given that it has sold billions of dollars in weaponry to allied coalition states, provided them with intelligence and refueled their bombers in midair.
...
At the same time, however, the defense contractor Raytheon has lobbied lawmakers and the State Department to allow it to sell 60,000 precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in deals worth billions of dollars.
...
In a large hangar decorated with photos of men killed in the war, a man led the boys through prayers and chants. A sign next to the door bore the Houthis slogan: “God is great. Death to America. Death to Israel. Curse the Jews. Victory for Islam.”
...
The Aug. 9 attack was particularly shocking, even for a war in which children have been the primary victims, suffering through one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with rampant malnutrition and outbreaks of cholera. The war had killed more than 10,000 people before the United Nations stopped updating the death toll two years ago.
WaPo, After dozens of children die, Trump administration faces mounting pressure over Yemen war
When asked whether the U.S. military could have refueled the warplane that launched the strike in Saada, the official said it was possible but not certain. When asked why the United States could not determine this or whether a U.S. bomb was used, the official said that “we would have to have Saudis provide us information, but they don’t in the normal course of events.”

When pressed on why the United States could not ask Saudi Arabia, a close ally and major purchaser of U.S. arms, for such information, the official said it would require more U.S. manpower to oversee the Saudi inventory and how they use it. The official questioned whether anything would be gained by knowing the details of the U.S. role in each specific airstrike.

“There are people asking the question,” the official said. “Well, what difference does that make? We are providing the refueling and support to Saudi aircraft. We are also selling them munitions that are being used in these strikes. . . . We are not denying that.”
posted by zachlipton at 10:02 AM on August 16 [11 favorites]


From today's WH pool report, Trump closed his comments about Franklin's passing: "So just want to pass on my warmest best wishes and sympathies to her family."

Trump is the absolute worst.


You, uh, omitted the opening line, which, well:
"I want to begin today by expressing my condolences to the family of a person I knew well. She worked for me on numerous occasions."
Everything that happens is always about him, him, him.

Donald J. Trump is a terrible president.
posted by cjelli at 10:05 AM on August 16 [58 favorites]


Daily Beast, Lachlan, Top Republicans Hit Up QAnon Conspiracy Nuts for Cash, in which Nunes, Scalise, and Cruz are all advertising for fundraisers on the email list of Big League Politics, a site edited by a guy who says Alex Jones is "my Walter Cronkite" and peddles QAnon and Seth Rich theories. The solicitations seem to have been placed by big Republican fundraising firm Targeted Victory.
posted by zachlipton at 10:09 AM on August 16 [25 favorites]


"I want to begin today by expressing my condolences to the family of a person I knew well. She worked for me on numerous occasions."

Yes, his opening perfectly encapsulates his narcissism and racism—not only does he have to make a tragic event about himself, but he also has to demean the subject of the occasion (a black woman). In contrast, his closing indicates the psychopathic side of this in the way that he trots out a stale, inappropriate cliché as a bad facsimile of feeling.

Compare this to the Obamas' eloquent statement, at once suitably heartfelt and dignified.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:13 AM on August 16 [40 favorites]


Lordy! NBC News, Omarosa releases secret tape of Lara Trump offering her $15K/month campaign job
The tape — which, according to Manigault Newman was made on December 16, 2017, just days after she left her White House job — appears to corroborate claims she made in her new book about receiving an offer from the president's re-election campaign. Manigault Newman wrote in her book that the job offer came with the condition of signing a non-disclosure agreement; she said she did not accept it.

On the new tape, Lara Trump says, "It sounds a little like, obviously, that there are some things you've got in the back pocket to pull out. Clearly, if you come on board the campaign, like, we can't have, we got to," she continues, before Manigault Newman interjects, "Oh, God no."

"Everything, everybody, positive, right?" Trump continues.
posted by zachlipton at 10:20 AM on August 16 [39 favorites]


On today's Omarosa beat:

MSNBC aired the 4th tape which appears to corroborate her story that she was offered a job by Lara trump on the Trump 2020 campaign in exchange for her continued silence. . .

Its not exactly the bombshell some folks think she could have.

After Louise Menching myself into some deep thoughts about possible strategies Omarosa could be pursuing yesterday im left a little baffled . . . if she has bigger and better things what is she waiting on to drop them? what is the endgame here?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:20 AM on August 16


Maybe not a bombshell, but it's a documented offer of hush money to an employee judged unfit to work in the White House. Add it to the pile labeled "things Donald Trump does that would bring down any other administration, but now serve as evidence that it's not a particularly busy news day".
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:23 AM on August 16 [69 favorites]


Its not exactly the bombshell some folks think she could have.

It's pretty much the Trump Campaign -- and, specifically, the Trump Family -- attempting to bribe her using campaign money; the job is framed, by Lara Trump, as a quid-pro-quo for signing a new NDA, Omarosa having been fired from the White House.

Calling this a job offer (which is technically is) makes it seem like it's less of a deal than it is; it's a bribe, it's hush money, being paid for by small-dollar donors to Trump's campaign.

Consider for a second how many other people have been hired by the Trump Campaign or associated PACs after exiting the White House.

It's possible that this is a bombshell that explodes without hitting anyone (to mangle that metaphor), but it's solid evidence that adds context to the entire Cohen situation and makes clear that Trump & Co. have been engaged in widespread bribery to hide...something. Maybe just bad press; maybe more. That's not nothing.
posted by cjelli at 10:27 AM on August 16 [38 favorites]


I don't think she necessarily has that much, but she learned an enduring lesson from the DNC and Podesta hacks, which is that you can dribble material over a period of weeks and build the appearance of a scandal pretty much regardless of the actual content. She would have been a 1-day story if she just dropped the book; this brings it up again and again.

And I do think there is an actual scandal around using the campaign to pay hush money (and using the government to pay a salary to someone who was deemed incompetent but was kept around because she praised the President), particularly when that includes an NDA that's primarily aimed at protecting Trump's businesses.
posted by zachlipton at 10:29 AM on August 16 [20 favorites]


It's not a bombshell because we already knew, with enough certainty that a recording doesn't move the needle too much, that the Trumps have a practice of paying $15K/month for the silence of former employees. Again, on the pile.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:29 AM on August 16 [3 favorites]


The Republican candidate for governor of California paid a visit to a DMV on Wednesday and casually compared standing in line at the notoriously sedate agency to surviving the Holocaust. “You know, I met a Holocaust survivor in Long Beach. He survived concentration camps, and he said this was worse.

Kellyanne Conway: "You have colleagues in your network who are analogizing this to concentration camps and the Nazis. What an outrageous disrespect to the six million people who perished at that time"

DMV: worse than the holocaust
thousands of disappeared children: how dare you compare
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:30 AM on August 16 [59 favorites]


The FiveThirtyEight House model is up. Dems at 75% to take the House. As Nate Silver puts it on Twitter:
The chances our model gives Democrats—between 70 and 75 percent depending on what version you look at—are pretty much exactly the odds that Hillary Clinton had of winning in 2016! So hopefully everyone's learned their lesson and won't mistake that for a sure thing.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 10:30 AM on August 16 [66 favorites]


After Louise Menching myself into some deep thoughts about possible strategies Omarosa could be pursuing yesterday im left a little baffled . . . if she has bigger and better things what is she waiting on to drop them? what is the endgame here?

I'm well past the point where I'm expecting the cavalry to save us, so I'm not holding out hope for Omarosa's tapes, for the Manafort trial, for the Mueller investigation, for a pee-pee funtime video, and certainly not for a Principled RepublicanTM to draw a line in the sand and say "that's enough, Mr. Trump."

That said, I largely agree with zachlipton's point above, though I doubt Omarosa has any motive here that's not entirely self-motivated. This is about keeping her name in the headlines and keeping herself in the spotlight for as long as possible to generate book sales, and maybe a nice appearance fee.
posted by duffell at 10:34 AM on August 16 [5 favorites]


I hope Omarosa keeps dropping tapes and I could not possibly care less what her motivations are.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:40 AM on August 16 [81 favorites]


Agreed, prize bull octorok.

Who would have thought that hiring a bunch of unprincipled attention-hungry blowhards would end up being a bad idea?
posted by duffell at 10:43 AM on August 16 [21 favorites]


If Omarosa Manigault doesn't have any larger bombshells then I'll take the papercuts she's inflicting as the next best thing. And honestly that tape should be more of a bombshell than anything that came out of the DNC/Podesta e-mails or the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's e-mail practices. They fired her and a short time later offer her a job with the NDA being a prominent part of the discussion.

It's just that every week (day!) with the Trump White House there's a bombshell bigger than Hillary Clinton's e-mail practices so our ideas of bombshell are totally out-of-whack. If this ever ends it's going to be like Red Zone of France after WW1 in terms of efforts to clean up the mess left by Trump.
posted by Green With You at 10:46 AM on August 16 [5 favorites]


One of the most powerful parts of Omarosa's book is the DAILY briefings and talking points the Trump Campaign got from Fox, which she says continues into the present. The total open channel between the campaign and all of Fox's talking heads, obviously Shep didn't get the kickback...

How this is not an undeclared campaign violation I don't get. Literally every HRC speech with line by line refutation points. A summary DAILY of the news with issues highlighted that would get the Fox talking heads support..... SRLY!

like everyone else you can come to watch the shivving while keeping purer than pure about a strong black woman wronged. The Trump world view is cultist, you ignore that at your peril while trying to effectively do an intervention on a national scale.
posted by Wilder at 10:49 AM on August 16 [16 favorites]


Omarosa releases secret tape of Lara Trump offering her $15K/month campaign job

Keep this in mind when people argue that family members are off limits. They are all complicit. They are all in on the grift. They are all actively working to make the world a worse place. There are no innocent bystanders.
posted by JackFlash at 10:51 AM on August 16 [83 favorites]


if she has bigger and better things what is she waiting on to drop them? what is the endgame here?

If I had tapes, I'd be keeping one big, juicy one in my sleeve for a rainy day.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:57 AM on August 16 [8 favorites]




The Republican candidate for governor of California paid a visit to a DMV on Wednesday and casually compared standing in line at the notoriously sedate agency to surviving the Holocaust. “You know, I met a Holocaust survivor in Long Beach. He survived concentration camps, and he said this was worse.

You know, I get really annoyed when people repeatedly make up lazy lies about the DMV in their efforts to demonize government service. (Cf. Post Office)

Here is a link to the Long Beach DMV. It conveniently shows you the wait time which you can check before you go. Current wait time is 1:08. It's not like a 90 year old has to take time off work at lunch and go at peak times.

But there's more -- they also conveniently list all the neighboring DMV offices which might have shorter lines.

But there's more -- they also conveniently allow you to make appointments.

This guy is a lying sack who makes up anecdotes about people who don't exist. (Cf. Donald Trump)
posted by JackFlash at 11:01 AM on August 16 [88 favorites]


We're not factoring in that she is a Trump apprentice, learned everything in his playbook, and she's been wronged.....there's a reason for the 'Nothing worse than a woman scorned' thing, but a black, intelligent, WOC, when she decided her bread is bettered buttered on the woke side..All bets are off. One of the other things in the book is that she clearly ran it by a strong legal defence, lots of the language with some of the stories certain things are 'alleged' as opposed to stating outright what she observed, and she literally had a unique observation point from 2003/4
posted by Wilder at 11:03 AM on August 16 [3 favorites]


The big story here in Denmark right now is that Fox Business host Trish Regan claimed that Denmark is the same as Venezuela. I'm not going to link to Fox, but a lot of prominent Danes have replied, one of them a top Social Democrat, Dan Jørgensen.
posted by mumimor at 11:09 AM on August 16 [17 favorites]


You know, I get really annoyed when people repeatedly make up lazy lies about the DMV in their efforts to demonize government service. (Cf. Post Office)

While I share this general frustration with DMV complaints that are often tendered in bad faith, California does have a legitimate DMV wait problem right now, largely fueled by the huge number of people who are going to the DMV to get Real IDs and a series of technical problems. You can't renew regular IDs into real IDs online, and appointments are usually booked solid (some enterprising folks have taken to booking them up and selling them, which the state is looking to stop).

The wait time system you cite isn't accurate, because it doesn't count the time you spend waiting to get a number.

There is a legitimate problem at the California DMV right now. It's being addressed, with additional funding and staffing. It, in no way share or form, is comparable to the Holocaust.
posted by zachlipton at 11:13 AM on August 16 [23 favorites]


@CarolLeonnig:
Lara Trump:
"I shared a connection with @OMAROSA as a friend and a campaign sister, and I am absolutely shocked and saddened by her betrayal and violation on a deeply personal level. I hope it’s all worth it for you, Omarosa, because some things you just can’t put a price on.”
I...I think you really could put a price on it, Lara. I believe *checks tape* that price was "like, 15K a month. Let me see what that adds up to. Times 12. Yeah. So that's $180,000. Does that sound like a fair deal for you?"
posted by zachlipton at 11:15 AM on August 16 [92 favorites]


JackFlash, I'm pretty sure the horribly offensive part of that comment is the minimization of a genocide, not insulting the DMV.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:18 AM on August 16 [7 favorites]


People hate the DMV because it's one of the few places in America that's truly equal. If you're on top you're used to having a justice system that lets you slide, people to cheat on your taxes for you, an economy that grows your capital without your lifting a finger. But everyone has to wait in line at the DMV and the person at the counter does not give one shit that you're a VVIP HNWI with places to be.
posted by theodolite at 11:18 AM on August 16 [71 favorites]


The wait time system you cite isn't accurate, because it doesn't count the time you spend waiting to get a number.

From the article you link:
“Going from one button to get somebody checked in to almost taking two, three minutes to check a customer in, it makes no sense,” Grant said.

So the wait times might be off by two or three minutes? Surely, you jest.
posted by JackFlash at 11:19 AM on August 16


[You guys can choose to turn this into a DMV thread, but I would suggest against it.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:23 AM on August 16 [59 favorites]


So Slate's Slow Burn podcast has 2 episodes out, the first focused on Monica Lewinsky, the second on Vince Foster.
I was listening to episode 2 this morning, on the way to work, and still haven't finished it fully.
It's... So I'd just started high school, when Clinton was elected. I kind of had a sense for who people were, and what was going on, and, as a teenager in Ohio, the 90s were pretty damn good. Seemed like the world was coming together to rebuild everything better. There was an undeniable optimism, from my perspective.
But. There were these... "scandals.," which had started before they'd taken office. The way Slate lays it out is like the Arkansans taking over Washington. And the way the Washingtonians portray everything is damning. And it seems, in retrospect, that everything that ever happened (Waco, "travelgate," Janet Reno, RBG, Joycleyn Elders, goddamn everything).
And yet, any one of those things wouldn't even move the needle today. Conspiracies, grifting... How can Mueller's investigation be a bigger, stronger thing than Starr's was, which was beaten to death during the boom years of the 90s? Sure, Bill was impeached by the House, and not removed by the Senate. I listened along to NPR's coverage as it happened, because I was freaked out back then that something so egregious, so misconstrued, so fucking pointless could derail the country in the name of partisan bullshit.
Watergate in the 70s. Whitewater in the 90s. All of this, now. It's a hundred "little things" every day.

tl;dr: Overton Window. Decades, lifetimes of this.
posted by rp at 11:24 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]


“Death Spiral”: Why Omarosa Totally Triggered Trump
In recent days, Trump has called Manigault Newman “crazed,” a “lowlife,” and a “dog” on Twitter. His campaign filed an arbitration suit against her seeking “millions.” And Trump told advisers that he wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to have Manigault Newman arrested, according to one Republican briefed on the conversations. (It’s unclear what law Trump believes she broke.) Another Republican recounted how over the weekend Trump derailed a midterm-election strategy session to rant about Manigault Newman’s betrayal. In an effort to change the narrative, the White House announced yesterday that Trump had revoked former C.I.A. director John Brennan’s security clearance. But that only ignited a new public-relations crisis. A former West Wing official compared Trump’s erratic behavior this week to the P.R. nightmare he created by attacking grieving Muslim-American Gold Star parents during the 2016 campaign. It’s a “death spiral,” the former official said.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:27 AM on August 16 [15 favorites]


It’s a “death spiral,” the former official said.

If only.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:32 AM on August 16 [55 favorites]


A former West Wing official compared Trump’s erratic behavior this week to the P.R. nightmare he created by attacking grieving Muslim-American Gold Star parents during the 2016 campaign. It’s a “death spiral,” the former official said.

"death spiral" implies that the gold star fiasco actually derailed his campaign.
posted by murphy slaw at 11:32 AM on August 16 [27 favorites]


And Trump told advisers that he wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to have Manigault Newman arrested, according to one Republican briefed on the conversations. (It’s unclear what law Trump believes she broke.)

When wading through the steady stream of criminal and immoral excrement this administration generates daily, it’s good sometimes to just stand still for a moment and appreciate the totalitarian impulse on full display.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:32 AM on August 16 [43 favorites]


if she has bigger and better things what is she waiting on to drop them?

Every time Trump & Co. try to distract the media (e.g. revoking security clearances) she can drop another tape and get their attention back.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:37 AM on August 16


(It’s unclear what law Trump believes she broke.)


This has nothing to do with The Law. He just wants her punished for "betraying" him.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:40 AM on August 16 [8 favorites]


"death spiral" implies that the gold star fiasco actually derailed his campaign.

It did, though. It was the ONLY thing that stuck. Had it happened in October we might not be in this hellhole of a reality right now.

Not to say that Omarosa will do any measurable damage, who knows at this point, but Mr. Khan was the only person that seemed to make Republicans even marginally ashamed of themselves for supporting Trump.
posted by lydhre at 11:43 AM on August 16 [3 favorites]


Maybe not a bombshell, but it's a documented offer of hush money to an employee judged unfit to work in the White House.

Just a reminder that Trump's former bodyguard is, by some coincidence, also being paid $15 000/month by the RNC.
posted by PenDevil at 11:43 AM on August 16 [43 favorites]


Not to say that Omarosa will do any measurable damage, who knows at this point, but Mr. Khan was the only person that seemed to make Republicans even marginally ashamed of themselves for supporting Trump.

This assumes that shame is a thing that everyone accepts as a thing. Pretty sure that Newt proved its non-existence a long time ago.
posted by rp at 11:47 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


In some much needed laughs:

Trump irks GOP by praising three candidates in one Senate race (Politico)

The president offers kind words to all, but no official endorsement to any. Some Republicans fear it could cost them a crucial Senate seat.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:49 AM on August 16 [5 favorites]


Not to say that Omarosa will do any measurable damage, who knows at this point, but Mr. Khan was the only person that seemed to make Republicans even marginally ashamed of themselves for supporting Trump.

If the Khan thing happened this August instead of two Augusts ago, how ashamed would Republicans become of themselves? I think it only did the damage it did to Trump because it preceded him consuming the GOP. I don't think it can be replicated in their post-shame era.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:50 AM on August 16 [16 favorites]


This assumes that shame is a thing that everyone accepts as a thing.

I'm talking measurable damage to his campaign, though. Those were his lowest polling points, even lower than after his vile pussy tape came out. I understand that they are all shameless and evil racist robots, I truly do, but that was the only hit that ever landed.
posted by lydhre at 11:51 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]


Which is to say, I do think it does us a disservice to assume that he's untouchable. There will be a tipping point (and personally I think it might be a rout in the midterms) and that's when we'll all need to hammer it as hard as we can.

That and I think it does the Khans an unkindness to not recognize that their voices made a difference.
posted by lydhre at 11:55 AM on August 16 [43 favorites]


The president offers kind words to all, but no official endorsement to any. Some Republicans fear it could cost them a crucial Senate seat.

Because the only thing that matters to Trump is looking like he's a winner. He knows he got burned badly in Alabama so now he mostly endorses people who are already likely to win. It's true they tend to get decent bumps in the primary from his endorsement but he's not endorsing the underdogs and they're pulling into the lead, he's endorsing someone up a couple points and they're pulling away from the pack.

Since he doesn't necessarily know who is going to win in Arizona he is gun shy about endorsing.

This is why I roll my eyes when the TV people talking about Trump's great track record with his endorsements. I, too, could have a stellar track record if I always tried to endorse the person who I thought was going to win rather than the person I thought would do the best job.
posted by Justinian at 11:57 AM on August 16 [8 favorites]


Also, am I the only person that is becoming more depressed as every hour passes without a verdict in the Manafort trial? Yes? Oh, ok then. Clearly I need a hobby besides fretting over stuff I can't do anything about.
posted by Justinian at 11:58 AM on August 16 [17 favorites]


Rust Moranis: If the Khan thing happened this August instead of two Augusts ago, how ashamed would Republicans become of themselves? I think it only did the damage it did to Trump because it preceded him consuming the GOP. I don't think it can be replicated in their post-shame era.

Exactly. Didn't matter enough then, doesn't matter now. It is, and was, horriffic. And the horror changes nothing now.
posted by rp at 11:59 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Also, am I the only person that is becoming more depressed as every hour passes without a verdict in the Manafort trial?

The twitterverse — at least, the corner of it that I follow — seems to expect a verdict Friday afternoon at the earliest. Even if all twelve jurors went into the jury room favoring conviction, it behooves them to carefully evaluate the evidence and arguments. Plus, there are eighteen charges to consider. I wouldn't sweat it too much at this point.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:05 PM on August 16 [7 favorites]


@apdiplowriter: Pompeo to announce formation of Iran Action Group at @StateDept this afternoon, per @StateDept

Gosh. I wonder what action they’re going to come up with.
posted by zachlipton at 12:05 PM on August 16 [21 favorites]


Gosh. I wonder what action they’re going to come up with.

The John S. McCain Misunderstood Lyrics Act.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 12:10 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't sweat it too much at this point.

Have you met me?
posted by Justinian at 12:14 PM on August 16 [86 favorites]


I tried an armed robbery not long ago and it seemed the state had a pretty good case against my client. As the jury deliberated for over two days, the DA and I were wondering what was going on in the jury room. They ultimately emerged with a guilty verdict on all charges except for a misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. They hung on that one. Apparently they had all voted to convict him of the most serious charges within one hour of the beginning of deliberations. They then spent the next two days arguing about a misdemeanor that would not affect his sentencing in any way.

You never know what a jury is doing.
posted by flarbuse at 12:17 PM on August 16 [82 favorites]


From earlier in the thread: CNBC: Trump's military parade is now estimated to cost $92 million – $80 million more than earlier estimate

This is a solid take on the same story:

TPM Livewire: Trump’s Military Parade To Cost 666 Percent More Than Earlier Estimate.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:27 PM on August 16 [52 favorites]


Maybe not a bombshell, but it's a documented offer of hush money to an employee judged unfit to work in the White House.

In combination with Gen. Kelly's by-the-book blackmail in the Situation Room, this establishes a criminal conspiracy. So there's that.
posted by The World Famous at 12:27 PM on August 16 [32 favorites]


I tried an armed robbery not long ago

Shut up, dude! They can use that against you! It’s all here in your Carmen Miranda Rights.

——

Donald Trump’s Grip on the Republican Party Just Got Even Tighter
John Cassidy | The New Yorker
... Pawlenty is an old-school Republican: pro-business, pro–free trade, and hawkish on the deficit—a younger version of Mitt Romney. During this campaign, he did tack toward Trump, particularly on immigration, calling for undocumented workers to be deprived of government benefits. But gaining Trump’s favor doesn’t involve just embracing some of his harsh positions on issues like immigration and trade. Above all else, it means expressing fealty to the maximum leader and refusing to criticize him publicly about anything, however outrageous and offensive his comments are.

Republicans seeking election know that if they breach this directive, they risk meeting the same fate as Pawlenty and Mark Sanford, the South Carolina congressman who was defeated in a June primary after Trump tweeted that he had “been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA.” As the Washington Post’s Dan Balz noted in a piece about Pawlenty’s defeat, Trump “has made loyalty, explicitly or implicitly, a litmus test for candidates down the ballot, and candidates in primaries must navigate those politics while trying to keep an eye on the general election electorate.”

The Trump loyalty oath has effectively ruled out any criticism of the President from Republicans who want to have a future in a party that he leads, and it applies to national leaders as well as relatively minor players like Pawlenty and Sanford. And even when Trump says or does the most damnable things, this holds true—as has been demonstrated in the last couple of days.

... We have seen this sort of cravenness from Republicans before, of course—all too often in this Presidency. As long as they get their tax cuts, their bonfire of regulations, and their conservative judges, they are willing to put up with virtually anything. Or they are too frightened to challenge Trump. Regardless of which motivation is paramount, the effect is the same. However much Trump besmirches the office he holds, he doesn’t have to worry about running into serious criticism from Republicans in positions of authority.

How long can this go on? Despite the fact that Trump is tightening his grip on the Party, it is possible that things could change after the midterms. If the G.O.P. were to suffer a disastrous defeat, losing control of the House and the Senate, self-interest might prompt some Republican survivors to back a primary challenge against Trump in 2020, from someone like John Kasich, the governor of Ohio. But “might” is very much the word. Trump’s hold on the G.O.P. is now so strong that some Never Trumpers believe that, regardless of what happens in the midterms, it will be virtually impossible for the Party to break free from the President. “The transformation of the party into a Trumpian base, at least at the federal level, is near complete,” John Weaver, an adviser to Kasich, told Ronald Brownstein, CNN’s senior political analyst, who recently published an interesting piece about the G.O.P. and Trump.

This week’s primary results took the transformation that Weaver referred to even further, leaving those elected Republicans who recognize the truth about Trump but refuse to do anything about it trapped in a moral void. The worst thing is how many of them seem perfectly content to be there.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:38 PM on August 16 [14 favorites]


'If they take the House, he wins big': Trump loyalists see upside in impeachment - Christopher Cadelago, Politico
There’s a new way of demonstrating loyalty to Donald Trump and his Republican Party: Claiming that the president could not only survive an impeachment effort, but that it would guarantee his victory in 2020.

The idea gaining currency on the right is that Trump can be Bill Clinton, not Richard Nixon. It depends on a delicate political calculation — that a Republican-held Senate would never follow a Democratic House and vote to remove Trump, and that voters tired of the long-running Russia scandal will, as they did in the late 1990s with Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky scandal, want to move on.
So the inverse of what happened with Bill Clinton's impeachment. It's the new stategery, Charlie Brown.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:40 PM on August 16 [11 favorites]


With Pawlenty, though, he was also a really bad governor. He would have had trouble in any primary. I could not believe he had the hubris to think he could just waltz back in here.
posted by Frowner at 12:44 PM on August 16 [16 favorites]


Assuming, of course, that a Democratic House would bring forward an impeachment effort knowing that it can't get anywhere near 66 votes in the Senate.

Which is why impeachment with conviction never happens, and why the Clinton impeachment was so Quixotic. If it's possible for it to happen, the President knows to get out before it happens.
posted by delfin at 12:46 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Assuming, of course, that a Democratic House would bring forward an impeachment effort knowing that it can't get anywhere near 66 votes in the Senate.

Grinding investigative hearings on every scandal, gaffe & sneeze. It's what they'd do.
posted by scalefree at 12:48 PM on August 16 [14 favorites]


"I now call the inaugural meeting of the Permanent House Subcommittee on President Trump's Ties to order."
posted by scalefree at 12:54 PM on August 16 [5 favorites]


The idea gaining currency on the right is that Trump can be Bill Clinton, not Richard Nixon.

Hmm. One of these things is not like the others. Nixon and Trump both abused the office of the president to cover up crimes their campaigns committed against the DNC. Clinton lied about personal conduct during a civil trial that was initially dismissed by a district-court judge as having no merit.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:56 PM on August 16 [26 favorites]


Assuming, of course, that a Democratic House would bring forward an impeachment effort knowing that it can't get anywhere near 66 votes in the Senate.

It's going to be interesting to see whether there's a real fight for Speaker of the House, if the House does become Democratic, because it's (a) hard to imagine Pelosi letting through a doomed impeached effort, and (b) hard to imagine her not being challenged for Speaker on that very issue.

I'm, personally, choosing to worry about 'what will Democrats do once they take the House' once they take the House, if they take the House, so that as much as I'll speculate.
posted by cjelli at 1:08 PM on August 16 [7 favorites]


Also, Clinton was impeached in December 1998. In the next federal election his party lost the White House and failed to win control of either chamber of Congress, although they did gain seats in both the House and Senate. Not what I'd call a staggering victory?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:14 PM on August 16 [9 favorites]


I wish Brennan would be quoted as saying "By revoking my security clearance, President Trump honors me."

Not quite, but close: WaPo: Revoke my security clearance, too, Mr. President
William H. McRaven, a retired Navy admiral, was commander of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014. He oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
...
Dear Mr. President:

Former CIA director John Brennan, whose security clearance you revoked on Wednesday, is one of the finest public servants I have ever known. Few Americans have done more to protect this country than John. He is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don’t know him.

Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.
posted by cjelli at 1:14 PM on August 16 [132 favorites]


Lara Trump's full statement is even worse. She says that their whole family was so concerned about their trusted friend and confidant Omarosa that, after she was fired, Lara Trump rushed to hire her for the campaign without even knowing why she was dismissed from the White House.

So her best explanation for what happened is that she hurried to offer a $180K/year job to someone just dismissed for "gross violations of ethics and integrity" without bothering to find out why.

Honestly, just saying "of course I was offering her hush money" would be a lot easier and would make her look better.
posted by zachlipton at 1:17 PM on August 16 [44 favorites]


The wait time system you cite isn't accurate, because it doesn't count the time you spend waiting to get a number.

From the article you link:
“Going from one button to get somebody checked in to almost taking two, three minutes to check a customer in, it makes no sense,” Grant said.


I've had to be in the Social Security Administration regional office a few times in the last month. Pro tip: if you're getting a new number for a baby, particularly one born out of state, send in the application ASAP after you get the birth certificate. They don't trust ones that are many months old because using ones from children who have died is allegedly a way fraudulent numbers are obtained. So a cert that is some amount old they apparently worry that a newer one would reflect the updated information that the child has since passed away.

Anyway, SSA also uses the "triage line" method where you're initially assessed and then given a number into one of many different queues based on type of need. My first visit, holding said squiggly baby, it took almost an hour to make it through the line to be assigned to a queue. The second day, coming back to sign paperwork in order to order a more current certificate that they'd decided they needed, there were perhaps two people in front of me in line. The third visit a few weeks later the line was three times as long as my initial visit.

I return to this Jessamyn-discouraged line of conversation (sorry!) only to say that (1) any wait time count that omits this initial encounter is just flawed, given the potential for disparity, and (B) to mention that while I was waiting in line on the very first encounter there was an incident that addresses just how dumb this punching out at the DMV (or whatever government agency) wait time is. Someone up at the triage window who'd come in with an appointment was grousing to the person helping them that they'd had to come up and wait in an ersatz second line to be handled for their appointment [*]. The employee very patiently and politely encouraged this person to reach out to their congresscritter and encourage improved funding and staffing levels for the SSA because this number of people was all they could provide for the windows. I resisted applauding possibly only because I was holding a squirmy baby.

Lines at necessary government organizations are too long? Pass some more funding and hire more people into decent paying government jobs with benefits and quality retirement plans, you jerks. Maybe if you think those agencies are understaffed your platform shouldn't have We should begin by repealing Jerry Brown’s massive $52 billion gas tax increase right at the top.

* they had one person in front of them and were getting to cut in front of the 25+ people in the triage line, proving that there's no amount of entitlement and advantage for some people, underscoring theodolite's point.
posted by phearlez at 1:27 PM on August 16 [20 favorites]


Does the jury finish for the day @ 5pm?
posted by lazaruslong at 1:34 PM on August 16


lydhre: Which is to say, I do think it does us a disservice to assume that he's untouchable. There will be a tipping point (and personally I think it might be a rout in the midterms) and that's when we'll all need to hammer it as hard as we can.

This got discussed in a previous megathread (my comment then) but I'll basically repeat it now. This article, "Research Finds Tipping Point for Large-Scale Social Change" originally posted by OHenryPacey, describes how there's a tipping point where public perception changes, which happens at a surprisingly consistent rate (about 25% of the population) and most importantly YOU WON'T KNOW WHEN YOU'RE CLOSE TO THAT POINT. Nothing is perceptibly changing, until all of a sudden, it is. So don't give up, never stop hammering, throw your weight and voice behind every "surely this" moment even if in your heart you're sure this probably isn't the one. We don't know which blow will be the one that finally starts the avalanche crashing down, but I have to believe it's going to crash down at some point. Having faith that what that research shows will apply here gives me the motivation to keep pushing even when it feels useless. I would encourage everyone to read it, internalize it, and share it far and wide.
posted by robotdevil at 1:36 PM on August 16 [95 favorites]


538's model rates my formerly safe Republican congressional district, VA-05, as a tossup. Go Cockburn! Their "district totals by category" chart also makes it very clear that we have to win at least some districts like mine to get a majority.
posted by nangar at 1:55 PM on August 16 [12 favorites]


There's not been much news from the Manafort trial today, although CNN did just tell us that they "saw a court employee deliver food and drinks to the jury room around noon." The jury, having worked through lunch, has been deliberating for six hours now.

One bit of levity took place earlier, Politico's Josh Gerstein (@joshgerstein) reports, "Funny moment just after jury was excused to deliberate on Manafort. Judge called out: 'Mr. Trump, you're here for what?' Journalists and lawyers were startled--almost aghast. But judge was recognizing an EDVA prosecutor: Jim Trump."
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:55 PM on August 16 [23 favorites]


@eorden: The Manafort jury has submitted a note to the court, per special counsel's office.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:03 PM on August 16


Beto O'Rourke and Ethan Hawke in Conversation
I told someone I was going to my 254th county visit to Gainesville in Cooke County and they said, Oh, that was Truman's last whistle-stop [on his presidential campaign]. Truman said [that] this country was not founded on fear, it was founded on courage, on imagination, and an unstoppable determination to do the job at hand.

That word "fear" is kind of the word of the hour. We are supposed to be afraid of Mexicans so we'll build this 2,000-mile wall, even though northbound apprehensions are at their lowest since '71, even though those we are apprehending are kids, and if they are lucky, kids with their moms, who are fleeing the most violent countries on the planet. And they are not evading, they are turning themselves in to Border Patrol. And even though immigrants commit crimes at a far lower rate, somehow, some part of this country has been seized by this very irrational fear. It's akin to the fear that would allow someone who promises to ban all Muslims from coming to this country to be elected president. That's crazy. We are not a fearful, small people. We are confident and strong and we understand that much of our strength comes from the fact that we are a people of the planet. ...

Sometimes I like to satisfy myself by thinking, "Oh, it's just this one person who happens to be in the White House," but it's not. There is a lot of America right now that, for whatever reason, is fearful. A wall is just an expression of fear. It doesn't make any sense at all. But I don't want to write anybody off, and if people are afraid, I want to understand what it is, and how we can meet that fear in a way that is in the best traditions of this country.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:11 PM on August 16 [66 favorites]


One of the questions the jury has asked is if the judge can redefine "reasonable doubt" for them. That seems... bad... to me. They also asked some questions regarding a couple of the charges (bank account disclosures, etc).
posted by Justinian at 2:19 PM on August 16 [5 favorites]


@ShimonPro: Paul Manafort's jurors asked if the judge could "redefine" for them "reasonable doubt."
They also asked two questions related to Manafort's tax filing and foreign bank account disclosure charges.

@Tom_Winter: The jury has proposed these 4 questions:
Q: Is one required to file an FBAR if they own less than 50% of the company and no signatory authority?
Q: Define "shelf company"?
Q: Can you redefine reasonable doubt?
Q: Can the exhibit list be amended to include the indictment?

Yeah, if we're asking for reasonable doubt definitions, this is going to take a while.

I'll save you the Wikipedia search on "shelf company."

There's also an interesting op-ed from retired federal district judge (and lecturer at Harvard Law) Nancy Gertner: The extraordinary bias of the judge in the Manafort trial on Judge Ellis's behavior.
posted by zachlipton at 2:23 PM on August 16 [11 favorites]


One of the questions the jury has asked is if the judge can redefine "reasonable doubt" for them. That seems... bad... to me.

Yeah, that is never a question the prosecution likes to hear coming from the jury. But, per flarbuse's story above, you never know. Maybe they are disagreeing about the weight of the evidence on 2 counts and agree on the other 16.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 2:24 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


A wall is just an expression of fear.

Is it real fear, or is that more of the old piety that believes that hate must actually be a mask for fear, instead of existing as its own element?
posted by thelonius at 2:25 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


I believe the answer to the first question is "yes", which maybe could be bad for Manafort if they agree he knowingly didn't file but want to know if he was supposed to.
posted by Justinian at 2:27 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


The jury appears to be wondering if Manafort was required to file FBARs for the years where he only owned 50% of the companies and his wife owned the other half. GRrrr.

Shouldn't that be obvious? Otherwise there is One Weird Trick to avoiding FBARs; make sure no-one own more than 50% of the company? Then no-one is required to file!
posted by Justinian at 2:34 PM on August 16 [13 favorites]


Andrew Miller's Five Month Stall Leads to a Six Month Investigation of Roger Stone
Marcy Wheeler | emptywheel
The DC Circuit has just released its briefing schedule for Andrew Miller’s appeal of his subpoena to appear before Mueller’s grand jury. The hearing in that appeal will be sometime after the matter is fully briefed on October 9. Altogether, Miller will have stalled his testimony for five months by then.

That means Mueller will have been pursuing evidence against Roger Stone, as the most visible evidence of the ongoing investigation, for six months.

As a reminder, here are some things that Mueller appears to be investigating, and here’s what we can learn about the investigation from Stone’s latest lies:

[extensive list and analysis follow]
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:44 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]




Seems like there's conflicting information about what's going on in the trial even from people who were in the audience. I've seen claims that the judge declined to answer the question about the FBAR requirements and told the jury to use their recollections, and I've also seen claims that he in fact did answer and read the requirements back to the jury. If reporters sitting in the audience can't follow this thing no wonder the jurors are confused.
posted by Justinian at 2:55 PM on August 16


Lawfolk: I understand that if Manafort's judge displayed an unfair bias in favor of the government, a convicted Manafort could appeal and request that a mistrial be declared. Since the judge may be displaying an unfair bias against the government, is there a prospect that a convicted Manafort could get a mistrial declared on that basis, or would the appeal judges just laugh at him?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:56 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Q: Can you redefine treasonable dolt?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:57 PM on August 16 [37 favorites]


The government doesnt get to appeal cases it loses (note: there is a difference between losing and not winning) that is the essence of double-jeopardy.

If reporters sitting in the audience can't follow this thing no wonder the jurors are confused.

And thats BEFORE you account for the gap in training/experience between reporters who cover courts and crime and members of the jury who would only have been seated here if they professed to know little about who Manafort is and the allegations against him.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:58 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


Lawfolk: I understand that if Manafort's judge displayed an unfair bias in favor of the government, Manafort could appeal and request that a mistrial be declared. Since the judge may be displaying an unfair bias against the government, is there a prospect that a convicted Manafort could get a mistrial declared on that basis, or would the appeal judges just laugh at him?

I am not Lawfolk, other than "as a break from supporting legacy code, parsing legal codes is very relaxing.",

My sense or the Judge's actions are "It's going to appeal anyway, so let the record be clear that the Prosecution didn't get any advantage in my court."
posted by mikelieman at 2:58 PM on August 16 [5 favorites]


re FBAR question: it is not obvious. see definition of "financial interest" in "BSA Electronic Filing Requirements For Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts," at p.5, which seems to require U.S. person to "own[] directly or indirectly...more than 50 percent" of the "total value of shares of stock" of a corporation (or more than 50% of voting power), or "an interest in more than 50 percent" of profits of a partnership or of partnership capital.
ownership structure of the 29 foreign entities listed in para. 11 of the third superseding indictment is not evident to me, though there may be more detailed and up-to-date information elsewhere. i imagine some evidence as to those facts was adduced in court.
posted by 20 year lurk at 2:59 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Buzzfeed's Zoe Tillman (@ ZoeTillman) breaks down Ellis's responses to the jury's questions:
1. The jury asked if a person had to file a foreign bank report if they owned less than 50% of the account, didn't have signatory authority, but did have authority to disburse funds. The judge reread an earlier instruction on this, which said ownership had to be more than 50%
Why does this matter? Manafort's lawyers argued govt failed to show Manafort owned/controlled accounts to the extent he needed to file an FBAR. The accounts were under the names of corporate entities in Cyprus, some of which had Manafort's name on them, per govt evidence

2. The jury asked the judge to define a "shelf" company and the filing requirements as to income. The judge said they'd have to rely on their recollection.
This "shelf" company issue came up during Gates' testimony, he characterized some overseas entities as "shelf" companies —that is, corporate entities that were already set up for someone to take over and use

3. The jury asked the judge to redefine "reasonable doubt." The judge said the govt was not required to prove its case beyond "all possible doubt." The term meant doubt "based on reason," he said

4. The jury asked if they could get an amended copy of the exhibit list reflecting which indictment counts a particular piece of evidence related to. The judge said no, they had to rely on their collective recollection of the evidence
Ellis's response to the third question seems… encouraging. TTTCS
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:01 PM on August 16 [9 favorites]


20 year lurk: I was basing my opinion on the IRS site which says
Who Must File an FBAR

United States persons are required to file an FBAR if: the United States person had a financial interest in or signature authority over at least one financial account located outside of the United States; and the aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeded $10,000 at any time during the calendar year reported.
which doesn't specify that the financial interest must be over 50% of the account. But your link is more detailed. So I guess I can't blame the jury if we have google and are still confused.

tl;dr law is confusing
posted by Justinian at 3:04 PM on August 16 [3 favorites]


They’ve stopped using ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ in UK courts in favour of advising the jury that they ‘must be sure that the defendant is guilty’. Which is intended to be a clearer statement of the same burden of proof.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 3:05 PM on August 16 [5 favorites]


The judge reread an earlier instruction on this, which said ownership had to be more than 50%

welp.

So who files an FBAR if 3 people jointly own 33% of an account?
posted by Justinian at 3:05 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


I think no-one? That is FUBAR.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:06 PM on August 16 [6 favorites]


A judge should not define the term for the jury even if asked to do so during deliberations.

So I guess we're going to find out what Ellis thinks reasonable doubt means

The term meant doubt "based on reason," he said

Oh hey, not as awful as I thought

Not great, but still
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:07 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


WSJ, As ‘Access Hollywood’ Tape Surfaced, Michael Cohen Changed Tune on Paying Stormy Daniels
Michael Cohen initially balked at the idea of buying the silence of a former adult-film star who says she had sex with Donald Trump, but he did an about-face after a video of Mr. Trump talking about groping women became public in October 2016.

A day after the recording surfaced of outtakes of Mr. Trump speaking to a host of NBC’s “Access Hollywood,” Mr. Cohen, then Mr. Trump’s senior counsel, told a representative for the performer that he was open to a deal, according to a person familiar with the conversation.

Within days, Stormy Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, signed a nondisclosure agreement that provided her $130,000 for her silence. Mr. Cohen had resisted paying Ms. Clifford when it was floated in September 2016, the person said.

Federal prosecutors in New York view the “Access Hollywood” tape as a trigger that spurred Mr. Cohen to bury potentially damaging information about his boss, as they investigate whether the payment amounted to an illegal, in-kind contribution or an expenditure that should have been disclosed by the campaign, people familiar with the matter said.
...
A campaign-finance charge would require prosecutors to prove the payment to Ms. Clifford was meant to help Mr. Trump prevail in the coming presidential election. Individual political contributions are capped at $5,400 per election cycle, and corporations are barred from giving directly to candidates. Mr. Cohen’s apparent change of heart on buying Ms. Clifford’s silence, after the “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced and nearly capsized Mr. Trump’s campaign, could help investigators make the link, said Anthony Capozzolo, a defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor in Brooklyn who handled corruption cases.
posted by zachlipton at 3:11 PM on August 16 [6 favorites]


Zoe Tillman has posted some follow-ups:
What does this mean? They are digging into the evidence — the FBAR filing requirements are complicated, as is understanding the corporate ownership structures at play in this case. The jury deliberated all day and will pick it up tomorrow morning

Circling back on FBAR, because I don't think I did it justice above. As Ellis read in the instruction, a person must file a report if they have an "interest" or "signature or other authority" over an account. Here's how the IRS defines those terms: https://www.irs.gov/irm/part4/irm_04-026-016#idm140512331727184

The IRS' definition largely tracks what the judge said in his instruction. The jury will have a recording of Ellis reading the instructions, and their own notes, but they don't get a written version. It took nearly two hours for the judge to read all the instructions yesterday.
The key points for the IRS are that direct financial interest bears on record of ownership/legal title and that for joint accounts, each person must file the FBAR for the total amount, not any prorated percentage of ownership. (Indirect financial interest and signatory authority are more complicated matters.)

And Luppe Luppen (@nycsouthpaw) emphasizes something interesting in the timeline of Manafort's loans:
In its summation, the defense suggested Manafort wouldn't have committed bank fraud b/c he didn't need the money. This stipulation shows that before Manafort got the 2nd TFSB loan, he was in default on $5.3mm of debt that he, his wife, daughter and Yohai personally guaranteed.

It's possible I missed it, but I don't think Andres brought this stipulation up to the jury in his initial summation or the rebuttal.

So when Manafort got the first TFSB loan a couple days after the election November 2016, all of those funds went to something *more urgent* than the $5+ million defaulted loan which had resulted in his wife and daughter being served with debt collection lawsuits.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:44 PM on August 16 [15 favorites]


as to ownership/control interest, recall from earlier tranche of megathread a comment posting a link to published exhibits introduced at trial, but cannot put my mouse on it just now to examine entered documents. have noted "incorporation documents" from Cypress, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the UK (at exhibit 62), Virginia and Delaware (at exhibit 67) as well as "FBAR Charts" for 2010-2014, inclusive (at exhibit 73) in the Government's Exhibit List found at politico. not certain i could draw conclusions from those exhibits, without expert tutelage, if they were published. but it at least appears the government intended to enter evidence which would indicate the defendant's interest in the many entities.
posted by 20 year lurk at 3:45 PM on August 16


hmm. the recalled link to day 1's exhibits was posted here by xyanthilous p. harrierstick.
i have not found later days' exhibits.
posted by 20 year lurk at 4:00 PM on August 16


All the details aside, I have trouble believing that Mueller's team would fall for "One Secret Trick", and whatever reporting requirements exist, they've addressed them in the trial record. Whether the Jury understands what was said may be another issue.
posted by mikelieman at 4:11 PM on August 16


They then spent the next two days arguing about a misdemeanor that would not affect his sentencing in any way.

I can see why, paraphernalia charges are BS. And in the Manafort case, perhaps the jury is also discussing the silliness of a particular law.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 4:25 PM on August 16


And in the Manafort case, perhaps the jury is also discussing the silliness of a particular law.

O RLY? Which law, then, pray tell? C’mon, man.
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:29 PM on August 16


Well from posts above, the FBAR seems to be the leading cause of some discussion.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 4:30 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Pentagon Spending $34M to Make Presidential Jets More Posh
Over the past year, the Pentagon has awarded more than $34 million to install luxurious interiors in two of President Trump’s back-up Air Force One aircraft, which are also often used by the first lady and cabinet secretaries, according to U.S. Defense Department documents.

The Boeing 757s [which the Air Force calls C-32s] require “an appearance more commensurate with [the] presidential section of the VC-25A,” the Pentagon said in a contract announcement this week. VC-25A is the military designation for the two Boeing 747s that serve as Air Force One.
...
The C-32s are expected to be retired in 2023, when the fleet turns 25 years old, according to Air Force budget documents.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:31 PM on August 16 [6 favorites]


FBAR/FATCA is pretty bullshit in general, although this is different than the usual cases. (The BS part is if you're a US citizen living overseas with no US income you're required to do a ton of stuff that makes many/most foreign banks not want to deal with you --- since the US is the only major country to tax overseas earnings of overseas citizens).

The Manafort stuff is the actual reason that FBAR/FATCA was done (tax evasion, hiding money, etc) but most people it affects are just US citizens abroad.
posted by thefoxgod at 4:34 PM on August 16 [8 favorites]


Now I'm feeling like no matter what the verdict is, a shitstorm will be kicked up in the media, with the requisite insanity from the FOX News echo chamber.

Guilty: "It's clear that the jury did not understand its instructions, and the judge's refusal to answer their questions was a miscarriage of justice. Manafort was framed!"

Not guilty: "It's clear that Manafort was innocent the whole time, and therefore any more talk of collusion or impropriety is part and parcel of the same witch hunt Trump has fallen victim to."

Not that I think many minds among the public will be changed either way. But the dust-up in the media will serve to distract from other important discussions they should be having, or news we should know about (Iran, separated children, what Kushner is fucking up this week, etc.).
posted by Rykey at 4:36 PM on August 16


As I've pointed out before, tax fraud is a very difficult case to prosecute. The Supreme Court has left a big escape loophole by ruling that ignorance of the law is a valid excuse. The fact that lawyers on the internet can dispute the fine points of foreign tax law provides an opportunity for the jury to find in Manafort's favor.

On the other hand, wire fraud and bank fraud might be easier to prove. On most banking applications there is usually a statement next to your signature that the declarations on the form are true, under penalty of law.

In any case, even if Manafort is cleared on all charges, which I think is doubtful, he's going to still owe millions of dollars in back taxes and interest with no clear means of paying it. His days of influence peddling are over.
posted by JackFlash at 4:37 PM on August 16 [4 favorites]


The Manafort stuff is the actual reason that FBAR/FATCA was done (tax evasion, hiding money, etc) but most people it affects are just US citizens abroad.

I have to file an FBAR every year and I reside in the US. I also have to pay tax on the interest of my retirement account abroad that includes absolutely zero money that I earned while in the US or before becoming an LPR and haven't contributed to since I arrived in the US which I'm just so happy about...
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 4:37 PM on August 16 [4 favorites]


@jacobsoboroff:
Trump administration releases latest numbers on migrant kids it separated from parents.

This is most detailed data we've seen so far.

➡️ 2,654 total kids separated.
➡️ 565 *still* separated; 24 are 0-5 year olds.
➡️ Parents of 366 *already* deported; 6 are 0-5.
posted by zachlipton at 4:43 PM on August 16 [37 favorites]


Yes, thats a good point. We have to file for my wife's ~0.01% interest savings account in her home country, for example. So I should amend that to: US citizens living overseas and immigrants who have accounts in their home country are almost certainly the largest reporters by volume given the relatively low threshold.
posted by thefoxgod at 4:44 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


the US is the only major country to tax overseas earnings of overseas citizens

You neglected to mention that the first $100,000 of foreign earned income is tax free. In addition you receive a credit for
income taxes that you pay in your country of domicile. There may be a lot of paperwork involved, but for all except very high income individuals, ex-pats pay little or no U.S. tax on earned income
posted by JackFlash at 4:48 PM on August 16 [22 favorites]


Its not just paperwork, many foreign banks will not deal with US citizens because of FATCA. Similarly, US banks will often close accounts when you move overseas because of this (trying to find a new brokerage for this reason... ugh).
The paperwork is non-trivial, however, and fairly confusing.

(I had forgotten about the exclusion, since I am admittedly fortunate enough that the tax affects me and about 5% of all citizens).
posted by thefoxgod at 5:09 PM on August 16 [5 favorites]


@AP: BREAKING: Pentagon says military parade proposed for Veterans Day delayed at least until 2019.

I guess they're betting long on impeachment too?

Meanwhile, Trump is ranting about Bruce Ohr, and it makes no sense.
posted by zachlipton at 5:09 PM on August 16 [46 favorites]


Washington Post: Trump Gears Up to Strip More Clearances from Officials Tied to Russia Investigation
President Trump has told advisers that he is eager to strip more security clearances as part of an escalating attack against people who have criticized him or played a role in the investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, two White House officials said.[...]

Inside the West Wing, Trump is eager to move against others on the security clearance review list and could act soon, according to the White House officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Trump believes he has emerged looking strong and decisive in his escalating feud with Brennan, the aides said, adding that he shows a visceral disdain for the former CIA director when he sees him on TV.

But other aides would prefer a more fulsome process or that he drop the matter altogether, and they are scrambling to review the list of people Trump says he’d like to strip of clearances. These officials said Trump did not focus on his power to remove clearances until this summer.

Still, as the Russia investigation tightens around the president — Mueller is pressing Trump’s legal team over a potential interview with him — the president remains impulsive and unpredictable, aides said.

“The process is essentially meaningless,” one White House aide said. “If Trump wants to do it, he’ll just do it.”
"A more fulsome process"?!?
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:12 PM on August 16 [4 favorites]


How long until he tries to take away Obama's security clearance?
posted by JackFlash at 5:20 PM on August 16 [8 favorites]


At this point, hopefully the Onion is being predictive again...
posted by thefoxgod at 5:46 PM on August 16 [6 favorites]


Stunning, shocking revelations of the president behind closed doors (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
I cannot believe the things that Omarosa Manigault Newman shed light on in her new tell-all, “Unhinged,” and her steady trickle of tapes. Among the stunning Trump revelations:

[list of terrible things Trump did and said]

Oh no, I’m sorry. These are not in the book. These are just matters of public record. But I’m sure the book has stunning revelations, too.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:49 PM on August 16 [50 favorites]


New York Times's Maggie Haberman delivers: Omarosa Manigault Newman Releases Tape of Lara Trump’s $15,000-a-Month Job Offer
The tapes of Ms. Manigault Newman’s private conversations with Mr. Trump and other officials connected to him have rattled the White House in a way that few things other than the special counsel investigation into possible campaign collusion with Russia have. Mr. Trump’s aides have been concerned that they will make appearances on other tapes, of which Ms. Manigault Newman is believed to have as many as 200.

Her willingness to slowly deploy the tapes for maximum effect is straight from Mr. Trump’s playbook, which includes boasts of relying on “truthful hyperbole” to engage people, of threatening to expose people with recordings and of claiming to have scurrilous information about people that he might reveal at any moment.

“Believe me,” Ms. Manigault Newman said on MSNBC, invoking one of Mr. Trump’s favorite phrases to convey his sincerity, “my tapes are much better than theirs.”[...]

Some major donors to Mr. Trump were bothered by the revelations that the campaign may have been used as a slush fund to pay fired or troublesome employees, said Dan K. Eberhart, an Arizona donor and energy executive who serves as an adviser to the America First Policies group created to support Mr. Trump’s agenda.

“It’s diverting donor money that could be used to wage the midterm election battle or store resources for Trump’s re-election,” Mr. Eberhart said. “Instead, it’s an elongated hush payment.”

He added, though, that he did not believe it would dissuade donors. “They still want to win elections,” he said.
Elsewhere on the Omarosa front, CNN reports: Exclusive: Omarosa's Publisher Tells Trump Campaign: We 'Will Not Be Intimidated'
Responding to a letter from Charles Harder, who is litigation counsel for the Trump campaign, book publisher Simon and Schuster's outside counsel Elizabeth McNamara wrote: "While your letter generally claims that excerpts from the book contain 'disparaging statements,' it is quite telling that at no point do you claim that any specific statement in the book is false. Your client does not have a viable legal claim merely because unspecified truthful statements in the Book may embarrass the president or his associates. At base, your letter is nothing more than an obvious attempt to silence legitimate criticism of the president."

"Put simply, the book's purpose is to inform the public. Private contracts like the NDA may not be used to censor former or current government officials from speaking about non-classified information learned during the course of their public employment."

Harder did not immediately respond to a request for the letter he sent to Simon and Schuster.
Basically, Simon & Schuster told Harder the same thing that Henry Holt did when he nastygrammed them over Fire and Fury.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:54 PM on August 16 [11 favorites]


What did Maggie deliver exactly? We already knew all of that from other reporting sources that haven’t traded away their morality for access to Nazis.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:58 PM on August 16 [25 favorites]


@AP: BREAKING: Pentagon says military parade proposed for Veterans Day delayed at least until 2019.

Well I guess that's good news. Or as close to good news as we can hope for these days. I'm assuming that they forgot to actually assign anyone to plan and run the thing.
posted by octothorpe at 6:09 PM on August 16 [11 favorites]


Pentagon says it won't waste a shittion of money to placate tinpot wannabe mussolini who will be impeached, resigned, or dead from stress by xmas.
posted by vrakatar at 6:12 PM on August 16 [16 favorites]


They're probably figuring he'll forget about it.
posted by rhizome at 6:19 PM on August 16 [7 favorites]


i have not found later days' exhibits, ... i said, above. turns out, ten days of exhibits are available at the link if you, old-school-wise, change the final numeral in the url to indicate the desired day of the trial. or, what the hell.
exhibits: day1, day2 (St. Vincent and the Grenadines docs), day3, day4, day5, day6, day7 (Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Incorporation Docs and FBAR charts appear to be here), day8, day9, day10
i do not see UK, Virginia and Delaware incorporation documents (mentioned by self, above) in this set. don't mean to unduly emphasize those incorporation documents here; they're just the first obvious place to start digging into the evidence in search of manafort's stake in subject companies, and quicker to scan than other documents in evidence. with mikelieman, i'm confident the prosecution entered sufficient info to evince manafort's culpable stake. now to dig in a bit and see how well- and/or thoroughly-redacted they are. thanks a bunch xph & anonymous custodian of the shared collection at box.
posted by 20 year lurk at 6:25 PM on August 16 [3 favorites]


“I hope it’s all worth it for you, Omarosa, because some things you just can’t put a price on.”

So says Lara Trump today, who tried, and failed, to put a $15,000 a month price on Omarosa's silence.
posted by JackFlash at 6:28 PM on August 16 [26 favorites]


Stunning, shocking revelations of the president behind closed doors
There was a guy Anthony Scaramucci who...accused Steve Bannon of extraordinary flexibility and self-regard.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:40 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Pentagon says it won't waste a shittion of money to placate tinpot wannabe mussolini who will be impeached, resigned, or dead from stress by xmas.

On the one hand, the parade is a shit idea from a shit President and hooray the Pentagon is slow walking the thing. On the other, the President is the elected, civilian Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s armed forces so let’s not celebrate too hard the Generals’ willingness (and apparent ability) to ignore the President’s directives.
posted by notyou at 6:45 PM on August 16


let’s not celebrate too hard the Generals’ willingness (and apparent ability) to ignore the President’s directives.

To be sure, we don't know that it's been presented as anything more than "a parade," so they might just be waiting for further details and not holding up the rest of the nation while they do so. Trump might prefer everybody to drop everything and ask him what he wants, but the military's organizational momentum, shall we say, points in another direction.
posted by rhizome at 6:52 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


That's so spaaace fooorce can get some rockets in the parade too.

Likely though almost no one will turn up, it will be Trump and a few generals on a reviewing stand on one block with an endless stream of military marching past, I'll give even money there are more people in the parade than watching it
posted by mbo at 6:59 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


*keeps celebrating too hard*
posted by uosuaq at 7:00 PM on August 16 [8 favorites]


Can the President actually order the military to hold a bullshit parade like this in the absence of Congress requisitioning the money? Yes I realize that the military has money falling out the wazoo but technically couldn't they say that they would be happy to hold whatever phallic substitute march Trump desires as soon as Congress provides funds earmarked for that purpose?
posted by Justinian at 7:17 PM on August 16 [3 favorites]


Oh eff me, google suggest that the defense authorization bill named after McCain does exactly this and actually specifically authorizes the parade (but without tanks). So, no, the President probably can't just whine until the military gives him a parade... unless our spineless shitheels in Congress roll over for Trump. Again. Which they did.
posted by Justinian at 7:22 PM on August 16 [4 favorites]


[image] @ryanjreilly Manafort defense team had used a chart (kind of like this) to emphasize how high of a burden reasonable doubt is, so it makes sense that jurors might want some clarity from the judge. Defense told jurors to “hold the government to its burden.”
posted by scalefree at 7:31 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Photoshop fail: Corey Stewart seeks to link Sen. Tim Kaine to radical left with phony image of Contra commandos in Nicaragua (WaPo):
Corey A. Stewart, the Virginia Republican seeking to unseat Sen. Tim Kaine in November, tried Wednesday to paint the Democrat as a violent left-wing radical by tweeting a photo of Kaine as a young Jesuit missionary in Honduras posing with armed guerrillas.

The problem: The image is a fake.

Stewart’s campaign spliced an image of Kaine onto a stock picture of a gun-toting group of right-wing contra commandos in Nicaragua in 1987 just after they routed a leftist Sandinista force during that country’s civil war.
But this isn't a photoshop fail, this is seriously the logic that Stewart is campaigning on:
Stewart, chair of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, acknowledged the picture was altered, but offered a somewhat confusing defense.

“Of course it was photoshopped,” he said. “It was meant to prove a point: that Tim Kaine was a radical leftist back in the ’80s and is a radical leftist today.”

The fact that the soldiers in the original 1987 photo available on Wikimedia were not radical leftists is irrelevant, Stewart said, seeking to turn the tables on Kaine.

“I think it’s hilarious that his only defense to this is: He wasn’t associated with the radical right-wing guys, the contra guys,” Stewart said, arguing that the implication is that Kaine was then involved with the radical left. “He’s been a radical his entire life.”
Gotcha Tim Kaine, you admit you never hung out with right wing death squads in Nicaragua while you were a Jesuit missionary in Honduras, therefore you must be a radical left winger.
posted by peeedro at 7:44 PM on August 16 [45 favorites]


From before the announcement of the delay.

@AmericanLegion
Statement from Natl Cmdr Denise Rohan on #MilitaryParade: “The American Legion appreciates that our president wants to show in a dramatic fashion our nation’s support for our troops. However, until such time as we can celebrate victory in the War on Terrorism and bring our military home, we think the parade money would be better spent fully funding the Department of Veteran Affairs and giving our troops and their families the best care possible.”
posted by chris24 at 7:44 PM on August 16 [97 favorites]


Ah yes, that notorious hotbed of raging leftism: the American Legion.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:47 PM on August 16 [37 favorites]




The Department of the Interior has released their management plan for the resized Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Trump’s team offers a new vision for Utah’s former Grand Staircase: Nearly 700,000 acres would be open to mining or drilling (Salt Lake Tribune).

The WaPo reports on the grift within the grift, Zinke said he would never sell public land. But the Interior is considering it:
Some land marked for potential disposal [private sale to neighboring property owners] is adjacent to the property of Mike Noel, an avid supporter of President Trump who advocated for the reduction of Grand Staircase.

Noel’s 40-acre property sat within the original boundaries that were drawn when President Bill Clinton designated the national monument in 1996. His property was left outside Grand Staircase’s boundary when the Trump administration cut its 1.9 million acres in half. At the request of public officials in Utah, the administration also cut the 1.3 million-acre Bears Ears by 85 percent.

Noel, a Republican state lawmaker, claimed to not know of the proposal to dispose of federal land next to his own but called it “interesting,” according to a report by HuffPost, which first reported on the draft plan. [...]

The lawmaker stood on a stage with Trump as he scaled back the Utah monuments and once proposed to rename a state highway after the president. Noel was one of several Utah politicians who gave Zinke an aerial tour of Grand Staircase, at one point flying over his house, according to the Western Values Project, a nonprofit conservation group.
posted by peeedro at 8:12 PM on August 16 [13 favorites]


@Susan_Hennessey (Lawfare, Brookings Fellow):
I think people saying the McRaven op-ed won't matter are missing the intended audience, which is not the general public but a small community of peers grappling with the right path in the present moment. His choice to say this now will matter to them. And courage is contagious.
posted by chris24 at 8:17 PM on August 16 [55 favorites]


> so perhaps she lead with her second best stuff, anticipating their defense, and is NOW ready to empty the other barrel?

Apparently that's barrelS, with a capital S, because reports are that Omarosa has as many as 200 more interesting tapes.

Also, she seems to be quite good as teasing Trumpistas about X, leading to Trumpista denial that X ever possibly could have occurred, followed by Tape Drop proving that X did, indeed, occur.

We'll see how many more times she can drag that act out. Even a five or six more could make life very interesting for a good long time.
posted by flug at 8:44 PM on August 16 [22 favorites]


[image] @ryanjreilly Manafort defense team had used a chart (kind of like this) to emphasize how high of a burden reasonable doubt is, so it makes sense that jurors might want some clarity from the judge. Defense told jurors to “hold the government to its burden.”

I feel like they could have jammed 12 or 13 more levels in there if they'd really committed to the bit.
posted by Justinian at 8:46 PM on August 16 [7 favorites]


> Even a couple dozen more could make life very interesting [for Trump] for a good long time.

On a meta note, it seems that the people who do Trump the most damage are those who are most like him: Omarosa, Stormy Daniels, Avenatti, etc. People who are or would be A++ reality TV stars.

I'm not 100% sure this is a long-term positive for democracy or for our future . . .
posted by flug at 8:46 PM on August 16 [16 favorites]


zachlipton: "There is a legitimate problem at the California DMV right now. It's being addressed, with additional funding and staffing. It, in no way share or form, is comparable to the Holocaust."

To throw some perspective at this: even a two hour wait is less than some lines at Disneyland. And that's after you wait to get into the park. And walk to the ride. And you paid for the privilege of being able to wait in those lines.

Justinian: " google suggest that the defense authorization bill named after McCain does exactly this and actually specifically authorizes the parade (but without tanks). So, no, the President probably can't just whine until the military gives him a parade... unless our spineless shitheels in Congress roll over for Trump. Again. Which they did."

The good news is you can only name so many bills after McCain and they've used up one on the type of bill that is just as likely to pass without it.
posted by Mitheral at 8:47 PM on August 16


And courage is contagious.

A shame that the GOP immunization program has been such a success.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:51 PM on August 16 [5 favorites]


@kaitlancollins (CNN):
Joint statement from William Webster, Hayden, Panetta, Petraeus, Clapper, John McLaughlin, Mike Morell — in total 12 former directors and deputy directors of the CIA and a former DNI — criticizing Trump for revoking Brennan's clearance.
STATEMENT
posted by chris24 at 9:00 PM on August 16 [54 favorites]


Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
Turkey has taken advantage of the United States for many years. They are now holding our wonderful Christian Pastor, who I must now ask to represent our Country as a great patriot hostage. We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!

4:30 PM - 16 Aug 2018
Racist uncle manages to ruin Thanksgiving in August.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:00 PM on August 16 [22 favorites]


Yahoo News, nycsouthpaw and Hunter Walker, Judge says Trump campaign screwed up on wording of confidentiality agreements
A Manhattan judge issued a ruling on Thursday that thwarted the Trump campaign’s attempts to keep a lawsuit out of open court, with potential implications for the looming battle over fired Trump aide Omarosa Manigault Newman’s slow-motion revelations of her experiences in the Trump campaign and White House.

The decision came in a lawsuit filed by Jessica Denson, a former campaign staffer who filed a complaint last November that alleged she was subjected to “harassment and sexual discrimination” while she worked on Trump’s White House bid in 2016. Lawyers for the Trump campaign tried to force the case into private arbitration based on an agreement signed by staffers that included nondisclosure and nondisparagement provisions. In her decision, Judge Arlene Bluth of New York State Supreme Court disclosed flaws in the wording of the agreement that she said limited its scope.
...
Denson is suing the Trump campaign in state court for $25 million, alleging she was subjected to “severe and pervasive slander, aggravated harassment, attempted theft, cyberbullying, and sexual discrimination and harassment” by her former supervisor, Camilo Sandoval, and other campaign staffers after she received a promotion to “mobilize the campaign’s Hispanic engagement effort” in September 2016. The Trump campaign and Sandoval, who is currently the acting chief information officer of the Department of Veterans Affairs, did not respond to requests for comment on this story. According to Denson’s complaint, which was filed in November 2017, the harassment included being “routinely overworked,” the mysterious disappearance of her laptop charger, being treated in a “demeaning and abusive matter,” and being subjected to a conversation with Sandoval where he “laid down on a couch in front of her” in a “physical, sexual posture.”

Trump campaign attorneys responded a month later by filing a request for arbitration with the American Arbitration Association, and demanding damages of $1.5 million because Denson “publish[ed] certain confidential information and disparaging statements in connection with a lawsuit she filed against claimant in New York Supreme Court.”
Trump's talent for picking idiots as lawyers does him another great favor. The incredible bit here is that Denson is representing herself and managed to win this round. Also incredible: one of the cited precedents in the decision is a 1993 case, Trump v. Refco Properties, Inc., in which Trump successfully fought to avoid arbitration.

Anyway, holes in Trump NDAs are good news.
posted by zachlipton at 9:18 PM on August 16 [57 favorites]


On a meta note, it seems that the people who do Trump the most damage are those who are most like him: Omarosa, Stormy Daniels, Avenatti, etc. People who are or would be A++ reality TV stars.

I'm not 100% sure this is a long-term positive for democracy or for our future . . .
Agreed; it makes me uncomfortable to see people cheering on Omarosa and Avenatti as they also seem to be psychopaths. For some reason the comparison that keeps popping into my head is like if a bunch of rabid raccoons broke into the house and right when one of them is about to get you, another one jumps off the top of the refrigerator and bites the first one in the neck, and it’s like, thanks second raccoon, that’s great and all, but I still got these fuckin raccoons all over the place
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 9:18 PM on August 16 [88 favorites]


Our president is a raving lunatic, and none of the checks and balances designed in the system are working. I mean, what does this doddering old malignant toddler have to do to get republicans who started this madness to admit it, and fix it before it kills us all.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:19 PM on August 16 [13 favorites]


A letter from Sens. Feinstein, Leahy, and Durbin, Documents Indicate That Kavanaugh Misled Senate; Make Them Public [footnotes omitted, see the link]:
As you know, in 2006, Judge Kavanaugh told the Committee under oath that he was “not aware of any issues” regarding “the legal justifications or the policies relating to the treatment of detainees”; was “not involved in the questions about the rules governing detention of combatants"; had nothing to do with issues related to rendition; and was unaware of, and saw no documents related to, the warrantless wiretapping program conducted without congressional authorization.

However, at least two documents that are publicly available on the Bush Library website from Judge Kavanaugh’s time as Staff Secretary suggest that he was involved in issues related to torture and rendition after 9/11. In one, just days after the existence of the Office of Legal Counsel “torture memos” was publicly revealed, then-Deputy White House Chief of Staff Harriet Miers forwarded to Judge Kavanaugh a set of talking points addressing the memos and U.S. torture policy. The forwarded email makes clear that then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley had personally asked for Judge Kavanaugh’s review. Similarly, another email shows that Judge Kavanaugh was included on an email chain circulating talking points on rendition and interrogation. These emails and talking points demonstrate why we need access to Judge Kavanaugh’s full record as Staff Secretary.

In addition, documents that have been produced to the Committee as part of the partisan process that you have brokered with Bill Burck further undercut Judge Kavanaugh’s blanket assertions that he had no involvement in or knowledge of post-9/11 terrorism policies. These documents are currently being withheld from the public at your insistence, but they shed additional light on Judge Kavanaugh’s involvement in these matters and are needed to question him in a public hearing.
The publicly available emails they cite are from 2004 and 2005, so it's not clear to me that they're incongruous with his testimony.
posted by zachlipton at 9:25 PM on August 16 [24 favorites]


Corey Stewart seeks to link Sen. Tim Kaine to radical left with phony image of Contra commandos in Nicaragua

The Contras disbanded in late 1989. The median age in the United States is 37.8 years.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:28 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Regarding the Brennan security clearance, Preet Bharara made a good point on a recent episode of his podcast about why it matters if former intelligence folks keep their clearance. This may be obvious to people in the field, but I hadn't considered it much:

Continued clearance is primarily used when they're eventually asked for assistance by their successors for advice and insight, or to help train and/or bring the noobs up to speed while providing background info for later investigations.

Removing clearance of former officials basically makes it that much harder for the next generation of intelligence to get and stay up to speed.
posted by p3t3 at 10:04 PM on August 16 [19 favorites]


and it’s like, thanks second raccoon, that’s great and all, but I still got these fuckin raccoons all over the place

Sure, but you don't interrupt the second raccoon
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:10 PM on August 16 [24 favorites]


Tim Kaine, who lost a debate to Mike Pence, who sponsored a bill to repeal Dodd-Frank and voted for Amy Comey Barrett, and may still vote for Kavanaugh, is a radical leftist. Yep, that rings true.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:11 PM on August 16 [12 favorites]


"must ask to serve as a patriot hostage" !???! What the FUCK?!!
posted by odinsdream at 10:18 PM on August 16 [22 favorites]


On a meta note, it seems that the people who do Trump the most damage are those who are most like him: Omarosa, Stormy Daniels, Avenatti, etc. People who are or would be A++ reality TV stars.

Fight fire with fire, or fight reality star drama with reality star drama.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:20 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


I mean if one raccoon kills the other, sure you still have raccoons, but it's one less you have to deal with.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:51 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


I think this is a signal to turn off my computer and go to bed- but I can't stop imagining Omarosa unhinging her jaw like a snake and taking Trump by the throat. If only.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:08 PM on August 16 [15 favorites]


Also, the first raccoon has the nuclear codes
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:36 AM on August 17 [6 favorites]


Removing clearance of former officials basically makes it that much harder for the next generation of intelligence to get and stay up to speed.

I'm hoping the next administration restores their security clearance. (And then assigns them to the Office of Reversing Other Crazy Shit Trump Has Done.)
posted by pracowity at 2:29 AM on August 17 [3 favorites]


Hey guys, can somebody give me an assessment as to how credible the podcast Gaslit Nation is? Because man is it freaking me out in its latest episode, specifically in the podcasters' suspicion over specific vote totals.
posted by angrycat at 2:56 AM on August 17


Maybe someone here can help me, it seems odd and inappropriate to me that both here and often in the general media Omarosa Manigault Newman is constantly only referred to by her first name. I appreciate that Omarosa easily sounds like it could be a family name, but it's not. Unless I'm missing something?
posted by michswiss at 3:50 AM on August 17 [4 favorites]


suspicion over specific vote total

I have never heard of this podcast, and I don't know what vote totals they are suspicious of. But I have followed the reporting pretty darn closely, and I haven't seen any evidence of vote totals being changed. Neither did the Senate intelligence committee, or the authors of the declassified intelligence report released just before Obama left office. Departing Obama administration officials were pretty insistent that this did not happen.

I'm pretty sure Obama himself is the reason Putin didn't screw around with trying to change vote totals.

The Obama administration seems to have failed to deter Russia from engaging in social media disinformation campaigns and so on, and history will hold them accountable for that. But they saw and acted on the threat of vote tampering. And I think they succeeded at deterring that.

Obama warned Putin against doing that in person, and also over a modern day "red phone" intended for cyber issues. We don't know what threats he made, but we do know that the NSA is no slouch in the cyberwarfare department either. I suspect there was all kinds of financial havoc we could threaten to wreak if Putin actually screwed with totals. Not to mention sanctions, etc.

It seems Putin expected Clinton to win (the declassified intelligence report says the IRA had prepared a #DemocracyRIP hashtag campaign) and did not want to risk the reprisals that actual vote hacking might bring (besides the fact that that's really hard to do.) I think he expected that he would be allowed to get away with the kind of stuff we know they actually did, though, even if Clinton won. (After all in that case it would have been an unsuccessful interference campaign.)

I wrote a little more about this, with links to these reports and accounts of Obama's response, on my site.

Moreover, I think we need to be very careful with speculation on this issue unless and until we do have evidence.

Suspicions about the legitimacy of the elections actually play right into Putin's hands. He wants to undermine faith in democracy and create domestic strife within the US. What better way to do that than by creating doubt about vote totals? If we can't trust those, then how can we have a democracy? If vote totals are wrong, we can't fix that by voting.

That is probably one of the primary reasons Putin wanted to hack into voter registration systems... to create that doubt and foment strife.

That #DemocracyRIP was almost certaintly going to cast doubt on Clinton's vote totals. Trump was planning to question the legitimacy of the results, and a million trolls and bots would amplify him. That was the original plan. The last thing we need to do is play into that plan.
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:54 AM on August 17 [44 favorites]


Ferfuxsake can people stop calling digital recordings “tapes” already.?

As soon as people stop talking about dialing phones and rolling down car windows.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:27 AM on August 17 [61 favorites]


Omarosa Manigault Newman is constantly only referred to by her first name

I figure it's distinctive enough that it's being treated like Madonna, Sting, Bono, etc...
posted by duoshao at 4:31 AM on August 17 [4 favorites]


it seems odd and inappropriate to me that both here and often in the general media Omarosa Manigault Newman is constantly only referred to by her first name.

It was part of her branding during her reality show days. And since life is just one big reality show now...
posted by Candleman at 4:38 AM on August 17 [26 favorites]


Omarosa cultivated the single name thing from the very beginning of The Apprentice. Her Dad named her and it is Nigerian she explains in her book. Her tactics are discussed in detail and it was a very deliberate thing. 15 years of it means it's stuck.
posted by Wilder at 4:59 AM on August 17 [29 favorites]


Jeebus, it's like I became the Kardashian Watcher of Metafilter.... (hangs head)
posted by Wilder at 5:00 AM on August 17 [13 favorites]


Thanks for the clarifications. If it's been her own choice, well there you go. I've been outside the US for over two decades and missed all the apprentice bullshit..
posted by michswiss at 5:17 AM on August 17 [2 favorites]


Only the best people.
More Zinke shit. US interior secretary's school friend crippling climate research, scientists say.
Steve Howke is one of Zinke’s high-school football teammates. Howke’s highest degree is a bachelor’s in business administration. Until Zinke appointed him as an interior department senior adviser to the acting assistant secretary of policy, management and budget, Howke had spent his entire career working in credit unions.
The US interior department administers over $5.5bn in funding to external organizations, mostly for research, conservation and land acquisition.
posted by adamvasco at 5:21 AM on August 17 [25 favorites]


DOJ Sues Ivanka’s Ex-Business Partner for Massive Fraud (Ben Scheckinger | Politico)

Moshe Lax and members of his family allegedly conspired to deprive the U.S. of $60 million.
The Justice Department is suing a friend and former business partner of Ivanka Trump for his alleged role in schemes to defraud the federal government out of millions of dollars in tax liabilities on his father’s estate.

Filed last month and reported here for the first time, the suit follows an August 2017 POLITICO investigation of alleged financial wrongdoing by New York businessman Moshe Lax and glaring irregularities in the Internal Revenue Service’s handling of a $27 million lien on his father’s estate.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:26 AM on August 17 [8 favorites]


Re: the letter from former intelligence and DOJ heads condemning Trump in Brennan.

@MichaelJMorell (fmr acting head of CIA):
Bob Gates, DCI to George H.W. Bush and SecDef to George W. Bush and Barack Obama and one of the great public servants of the last 75 years, has now signed the below statement. He was out of cell range yesterday when the letter was drafted. Important voice.
posted by chris24 at 5:28 AM on August 17 [20 favorites]


That #DemocracyRIP was almost certaintly going to cast doubt on Clinton's vote totals. Trump was planning to question the legitimacy of the results, and a million trolls and bots would amplify him. That was the original plan. The last thing we need to do is play into that plan.

And he WON and it still happened. When I saw my mother at Xmas after the election, one of the first things she harped on was how "Oh, I'm sure you're going to claim that Trump didn't really win! But he DID win the popular vote, too, because of those millions of fraudulent illegal votes in California."

I'm very used to an invisible [citation needed] following everything that comes out of my mother's mouth by now.
posted by delfin at 5:53 AM on August 17 [15 favorites]


Yahoo News, nycsouthpaw and Hunter Walker, Judge says Trump campaign screwed up on wording of confidentiality agreements

I didn't see it posted, (mods, pls delete if dupe) so here's the Judge's Opinion. And it's a doozy!
posted by mikelieman at 5:54 AM on August 17 [3 favorites]


I've been outside the US for over two decades and missed all the apprentice bullshit..

I didn't care for how the series ended.
posted by Rykey at 5:54 AM on August 17 [40 favorites]


Agreed; it makes me uncomfortable to see people cheering on Omarosa and Avenatti as they also seem to be psychopaths. For some reason the comparison that keeps popping into my head is like if a bunch of rabid raccoons...

I have traditionally put this in terms of Jurassic Park. SPOILERS: At the end, the velociraptors are working together and circling their prey, the protagonists, and the prior terrifying Tyrannosaurus Rex barges in and eats the velociraptors. You can't help cheering for the T-Rex a little bit, can you?
posted by mikelieman at 5:59 AM on August 17 [5 favorites]


"must ask to serve as a patriot hostage" !???! What the FUCK?!!

See Also: October Surprise. Sadly, this is a classic tactic out of the Republican play-book.
posted by mikelieman at 6:01 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]


I live in Georgia. There have been doubts about our election results since we were switched to black box Diebold machines with no paper record in 2002. The right has been manipulating voting totals by suppressing the votes of POC for the entire history of our country. Putin had nothing to do woth any of that. Not everybody with big questions about the integrity of our elections is a Russian troll or being manipulated by them.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:01 AM on August 17 [52 favorites]


I'm hoping that the Coen Brothers remain alive and working long enough to do the definitive film of the Clownreich in a few decades' time.
posted by acb at 6:33 AM on August 17 [7 favorites]


Meanwhile, in other elections : Tired or Trusted? Fresh or Foreign? Brooklyn Race Focuses on What ‘Old vs. New’ Really Means: “Salazar’s demands are similar to those of fellow left-leaning candidates making headway in challenging members of the IDC, as well as the Cynthia Nixon/Jumaane Williams ticket, so she isn’t alone in calling for a robust left-wing vision of government. And Needleman, who’s been organizing in the district for 30 years, agreed with West’s assessment that Salazar isn’t advocating these ideas into the void.”
posted by The Whelk at 6:40 AM on August 17 [2 favorites]


I'm hoping that the Coen Brothers remain alive and working long enough to do the definitive film of the Clownreich in a few decades' time.

Will they be able to do it justice? I'm a lifelong admirer of their work, but how can they capture waking up each morning to @realDonaldTrump's stupidity and spite spinning every political topic in the Trump administration, e.g. this morning's tweet?
The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it. When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it. Never let someone hold you up! I will instead...
....attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date, & go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the War, on November 11th. Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes WAY DOWN. Now we can buy some more jet fighters!
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:01 AM on August 17 [20 favorites]


> I'm hoping that the Coen Brothers remain alive and working long enough to do the definitive film of the Clownreich in a few decades' time.

Or if you want to watch a movie that reflects the spirit of our times right now, you could check out Armando Iannucci's The Death of Stalin.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:06 AM on August 17 [23 favorites]


That #DemocracyRIP was almost certaintly going to cast doubt on Clinton's vote totals. Trump was planning to question the legitimacy of the results

And all of his talk during the campaign about how he was expecting the votes to be fiddled with ("I'll accept the results if I win") seems to have contributed to the Obama administration's reluctance to publicizing what they knew about Russian efforts. One wonders if this wasn't part of the Trump/Putin campaign's strategy.
posted by duoshao at 7:11 AM on August 17 [7 favorites]


Wait, that's real? He just bailed on the parade with a neg to politicians?!
posted by odinsdream at 7:11 AM on August 17 [7 favorites]


Something to cheer you up as other countries also have absolutely wacko folks in their government: the Austrian foreign minister Karin Kneissl invited Vladimir Putin to her wedding and he accepted.

(Real).
posted by 15L06 at 7:15 AM on August 17 [3 favorites]


Our president is a raving lunatic, and none of the checks and balances designed in the system are working. I mean, what does this doddering old malignant toddler have to do to get republicans who started this madness to admit it, and fix it before it kills us all.

It's a reflection of the electorate and the system. Any Republican who votes to convict Trump will face the fury of the Republican primary electorate who are smaller and crazier than Republicans in the general electorate. After Cantor's shock loss in 2014 the primary lunatics proved that nobody was safe. In my opinion I think that's the single moment which really galvanized the Republican caucus and what stops moderates from stepping out of line.

I don't see a path to conviction in the Senate. We don't even have the House yet and the national average is on tenterhooks around the gerrymandered average required. I don't even see a sure path to a D President in 2020 currently.

The other problem is if the Democrats win the house. Pelosi will run for speaker (with its own set of problems) and she won't impeach because she knows the Senate won't get a conviction. You only get one shot at it so powder needs to be kept dry and if you come at the king you best not miss etc etc. She's most certainly going to face a leadership challenge because of that. If she loses to someone who will bring impeachment to the floor it's almost certainly going to be Clinton not Nixon.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 7:16 AM on August 17 [9 favorites]


Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes WAY DOWN

oh yeah, just wait around a year and it will magically get cheaper? Or something?

The mention of Paris is amazing. "Screw you guys, I'm going to Paris, where my real friends are throwing a big party, just for me!"
posted by BungaDunga at 7:17 AM on August 17 [32 favorites]


Yes, it's a [real] quote from his Twitter account this morning. During his "executive time", he also bragged about youth unemployment because he saw it on Fox and Friends. The problem is that it's only as real as the tv-saturated world he lives in as distorted by his narcissistic personality disorder, which he wants to everyone else to live in as well.

Here's another example of his media-distorted worldview clashing with reality, per the Daily Beast: Trump and Omarosa Had a ‘F*cking Weird’ Fight With Vietnam Vets—As if having Omarosa heading up veterans’ issues wasn’t strange enough, President Trump started arguing with Vietnam vets about napalm and Agent Orange. Back in March of last year, when Trump was taking heat over veterans' issues, Trump met with principals from various vets organizations in a White House meeting Omarosa attended:
During the course of the meeting, [Vietnam Veterans of America co-founder Rick] Weidman brought up the issue of Agent Orange, an extremely notorious component of the U.S. herbicidal warfare on Vietnam. Weidman was imploring the president and his team to permit access to benefits for a broader number of vets who have said they were poisoned by Agent Orange.

Trump responded by saying, “That’s taken care of,” according to people in the room.[...]

Attendees began explaining to the president that the VA had not made enough progress on the issue at all, to which Trump responded by abruptly derailing the meeting and asking the attendees if Agent Orange was “that stuff from that movie.”

He did not initially name the film he was referencing, but it quickly became clear as Trump kept rambling that he was referring to the classic 1979 Francis Ford Coppola epic Apocalypse Now, and specifically the famous helicopter attack scene set to the “Ride of the Valkyries.”

Source {sic} present at the time tell The Daily Beast that multiple people—including Vietnam War veterans—chimed in to inform the president that the Apocalypse Now set piece he was talking about showcased the U.S. military using napalm, not Agent Orange.

Trump refused to accept that he was mistaken and proceeded to say things like, “no, I think it’s that stuff from that movie.”[...]

He then went around the room polling attendees about if it was, in fact, napalm or Agent Orange in the famous scene from “that movie,” as the gathering—organized to focus on important, sometimes life-or-death issues for veterans—descended into a pointless debate over Apocalypse Now that the president simply would not concede, despite all the available evidence.

Finally, Trump made eye contact again with Weidman and asked him if it was napalm or Agent Orange. The VVA co-founder assured Trump, as did several before him, that it was in fact napalm, and said that he didn’t like the Coppola film and believed it to be a disservice to Vietnam War veterans.

According to two people in attendance, Trump then flippantly replied to the Vietnam vet, “Well, I think you just didn’t like the movie,” before finally moving on.
[REAL]
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:25 AM on August 17 [144 favorites]


After Cantor's shock loss in 2014 the primary lunatics proved that nobody was safe. In my opinion I think that's the single moment which really galvanized the Republican caucus and what stops moderates from stepping out of line.

Okay after my sermon about the risks of conspiracy theorizing above, I can't resist this set up to share my own theories...

We know from the Mueller indictment that the IRA was already doing their thing in 2014. We know Bannon and Cambridge Analytica were already doing their thing too -- stealing Facebook data, testing slogans like "drain the swamp" and "build the wall" and polling the popularity of Vladimir Putin. At the same time, Bannon was also personally helping Dave Brat get elected on an anti-immigrant, anti-establishment platform that destabilized the Republican party by toppling Eric Cantor. And FiveThirtyEight notes that the Republican party generally overperformed vs models and expectations in 2014, and that "in 2014, overall trust in American institutions, which started falling in the mid-2000s, hit 31 percent — its lowest point since Gallup starting tracking the metric in 1993."

I think Putin is fully capable of putting an operation like that in motion two years before the presidential election. Propaganda campaigns and managed democracy are kind of his thing.

I think the 2014 elections, and in particular Dave Brat's primary campaign against Eric Cantor, were a trial run for 2016. I also think Bannon is up to his neck in it, and probably Sessions too. Unfortunately I can't prove that, beyond the suggestive circumstances I just mentioned. Hopefully Mueller will tell us one way or the other, some day. Pretty hard at the moment, since Sessions is technically his boss.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:31 AM on August 17 [22 favorites]



Ah yes, that notorious hotbed of raging leftism: the American Legion.


Socialism for me, capitalism for thee is the core unstated right-wing principal and a openly stated key principal of the modern American military ethos. Don't be fooled by veterans standing up for veterans into thinking they are standing for a broader more encompassing social justice.
posted by srboisvert at 7:34 AM on August 17 [14 favorites]


An interesting consideration of male fragility and the tragipathetic psychology of the far right. Certainly nothing here will be particularly novel to anyone well versed in the megathreads — in places, it reads like some of y'all could have written it — but it's always nice to see this sort of understanding mainstreamed.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:37 AM on August 17 [28 favorites]


Trump refused to accept that he was mistaken and proceeded to say things like, “no, I think it’s that stuff from that movie.”[...]


ohfercrissakes

"I love the smell of napalm in the morning"

this is the scene that gave us the formula for "smells like victory," and "sounds like freedom" and all that shit.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:43 AM on August 17 [14 favorites]


To circle back briefly, if the pastor situation in Turkey is Iran-Contra-Redux, that needs to be shouted about NOW.

It's a working political weapon unless people have cynicism about built in ahead of time.
posted by Slackermagee at 7:46 AM on August 17


Don't be fooled by veterans standing up for veterans into thinking they are standing for a broader more encompassing social justice.

[rainierwolfcastle.gif], my friend.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:48 AM on August 17 [2 favorites]


Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes WAY DOWN

It's hard to understand what the President is getting at here, but on reflection I believe... I genuinely believe... that the President is implying that the Republicans are going to win the D.C. Mayoral election.

There is no Republican running in the D.C. Mayoral election.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:54 AM on August 17 [10 favorites]


Or, ya know, he's planning on instituting martial law.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:58 AM on August 17 [12 favorites]


You'll be able to throw a parade for as little as 200 bottle caps.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:59 AM on August 17 [20 favorites]


Napalm does not equal agent orange!?

This exact confident cluelessness is why anybody voted for the clown. It makes him seem accessible--and his money and his power accessible--to other clueless people. I didn't know, either, that agent orange and napalm were different. I bet everybody voting for him either didn't know they were different animals or knew but wouldn't assume that the president's conflating them would make a difference for anyone, because he was just like them in some other dopey homespuntruths way and therefore trustworthy, and he promised to do right by the soldiers and the miners.
posted by Don Pepino at 8:02 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]


Follow the Money. (Raw Story)
Trump got his start laundering money for the Russian mob more than 30 years ago as part of one of the biggest scams in U.S. history, according to a new book.
Investigative reporter Craig Unger has described Trump Tower as a “cathedral to money laundering,” and his new book — “House of Trump, House of Putin” — examines the depth of the president’s relationship with the Russian mafia, which he says has no meaningful distinction from the country’s intelligence agencies.
David Bogatin became fixated on a “garish” 58-story building that had opened a year before — Trump Tower — and he paid $6 million in cash from his fuel tax scheme for five apartments there.
Unger tracked more than 1,300 similar cash transactions at Trump Tower over the next three decades involving mobsters that ensnared the future president in the closely tied web of Russian spies and mobsters.

posted by adamvasco at 8:03 AM on August 17 [26 favorites]


I think the 2014 elections, and in particular Dave Brat's primary campaign against Eric Cantor, were a trial run for 2016. I also think Bannon is up to his neck in it, and probably Sessions too.
And Stephen Miller (speechwriter for Brat on that campaign.)
Good background on what a test run for Bannon and his racism Brat's campaign was, by This American Life and Salon. and Vice
posted by Harry Caul at 8:03 AM on August 17 [9 favorites]


Maybe he has tapes or an NDA or something he thinks he can use as leverage to force DC to drop the price.

And Gawd it just occurred to me that a Trumpist burg somewhere may soon offer up their town square as an alternate.
posted by notyou at 8:04 AM on August 17


Not that I really expect Trump to follow the news of what's happening in New Jersey, much less Newark, but Agent Orange was manufactured in Newark, and the attempts at cleaning up the Passaic River has been a local news story for like, the past 30 years.
posted by damayanti at 8:10 AM on August 17 [12 favorites]


It makes him seem accessible--and his money and his power accessible--to other clueless people. I didn't know, either, that agent orange and napalm were different.

That holds when the context is one of his dumb rallies or a tweet or whatever. The context here was a conversation with veterans group leaders who sure as shit know the difference and aren’t likely to be charmed by the President’s ignorance of their issues and concerns when the whole point of the meeting was discussion of their issues and concerns.
posted by notyou at 8:11 AM on August 17 [22 favorites]


I’ve always known napalm was the fire thing and Agent Orange was the invisible stuff that hurt vets later. I’m almost 40 but I can see how younger people could really really have no idea.

I remember the Iran Contra stuff being on tv as a small kid and grew up never knowing if North was a good guy or bad guy because none of it was ever explained or taught.

Guess this is how we’ve ended up where we are as a country.

(Edit for clarity...Trump should not argue with vets about agent orange or napalm. My comment is on his accessibility in not knowing this. )
posted by sio42 at 8:14 AM on August 17 [5 favorites]


[COMMENT REMOVED - WE DON'T DO IRONIC RACISM HERE SERIOUSLY EVER AT ALL]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:14 AM on August 17 [93 favorites]


Napalm does not equal agent orange!?

Reminding everyone that trying to find rational motivations for Trump is a mug's game, there are in the Apocalypse Now scene, smoke grenades used to mark friendly forces which do -- at times -- appear orange.

I'm ashamed at myself and our nation that here we are, grasping for the merest appearance of rational thought on behalf of our President.
posted by mikelieman at 8:14 AM on August 17 [5 favorites]


ohfercrissakes

"I love the smell of napalm in the morning "

this is the scene that gave us the formula for "smells like victory," and "sounds like freedom" and all that shit.


Just wait for Mandela Effect bullshit to get folded into Trumpism.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:15 AM on August 17 [2 favorites]


He then went around the room polling attendees about if it was, in fact, napalm or Agent Orange in the famous scene from “that movie”

"Are my methods unsound?" "I don't see any method at all, sir."
posted by kirkaracha at 8:15 AM on August 17 [45 favorites]


Doktor Zed: Her willingness to slowly deploy the tapes for maximum effect is straight from Mr. Trump’s playbook, which includes boasts of relying on “truthful hyperbole” to engage people, of threatening to expose people with recordings and of claiming to have scurrilous information about people that he might reveal at any moment.

FFS, of course she learned from Trump - she was a contestant on the first season of NBC's reality television series The Apprentice, and later starred on its sister programs The Celebrity Apprentice and All-Star Celebrity Apprentice. But to be fair, Trump only recently realized that The Apprentice was about apprenticeship.

Roundup from Ars Technica: Polls show little support for Trump’s Space Force -- Data from two separate polls shows majority of Americans are not Space Force enthusiasts. (Sean Gallagher, Aug. 16, 2018)
The Trump administration plans to cleave Space Force from the Air Force and have it largely in place by 2020. The first step would be to create US Space Command—a joint command within the Pentagon similar to the Joint Special Operations Command and US Cyber Command that would oversee space operations of all the services—by the end of 2018. The Pentagon will also create a Space Development Agency that will pull military space research, development, and procurement out of the Defense Department's current acquisition system. The agency's goal would be accelerating the development of new space stuff.
...
In a poll conducted by CNN and SSRS (PDF) on a broad range of policy issues, 37 percent of respondents said that the US should create a Space Force, while 55 percent said that the US should not. The CNN/SSRS poll was based on a sample of 1,002 Americans reached by phone.

An Economist/YouGov poll of 19,487 US adults worded the question a little differently and found that only 29 percent of responding Americans thought the Space Force was a good idea; 42 percent thought it was a bad idea, while 29 percent were on the fence or expressed some other opinion.
Ajit Pai knew DDoS claim was false in January, says he couldn’t tell Congress -- Pai appears in front of Senate after acknowledging FCC's false statements. (Jon Brodkin, Aug. 16, 2018)
At an FCC oversight hearing held today by the Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) pressed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on his failure to correct those false statements until this month.
...
Pai told Schatz that he wanted to correct his agency's false statements to Congress months ago but could not because of a request made by the OIG.
...
Pai argued that the OIG's report cleared him of any wrongdoing, because it found that the FCC's false statements were made by the CIO rather than the chairman's office. Pai told Schatz that he wanted to tell Congress earlier but was hamstrung by the OIG's request for secrecy.
...
Despite the OIG's instructions, Schatz was not convinced that Pai had no other options. Schatz said he wanted Pai to come clean earlier given "the context of a quite partisan, quite hot battle around net neutrality, and the legitimacy of the participation of the public in this net neutrality process."

"I guess what I'm looking for is some measure of accountability as the chairman," Schatz told Pai. "I understand you were in a difficult position, but I can't imagine that there was not another way to thread this needle and deal with us in our oversight capacity."
ISPs say they can’t expand broadband unless gov’t gives them more money -- Industry asks for handouts, arguing that broadband is essential—like a utility. (Jon Brodkin, Aug. 16, 2018)
Broadband providers have spent years lobbying against utility-style regulations that protect consumers from high prices and bad service.

But now, broadband lobby groups are arguing that Internet service is similar to utilities such as electricity, gas distribution, roads, and water and sewer networks. In the providers' view, the essential nature of broadband doesn't require more regulation to protect consumers. Instead, they argue that broadband's utility-like status is reason for the government to give ISPs more money.

That's the argument made by trade groups USTelecom and NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association. USTelecom represents telcos including AT&T, Verizon, and CenturyLink, while NTCA represents nearly 850 small ISPs.

"Like electricity, broadband is essential to every American," USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter and NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield wrote Monday in an op-ed for The Topeka Capital-Journal. "Yet US broadband infrastructure has been financed largely by the private sector without assurance that such costs can be recovered through increased consumer rates."

ISPs want benefits but not responsibilities
I'll stop with that section title, because it says it all. The Op-Ed is titled "Broadband should be reality for all" -- by which, they mean, the government should make it affordable for all by providing subsidies, while the ISPs can do what they want with the content, potentially zero-rating some services and exempting them from data caps, if they don't outright charge for access to services. You know, very unlike a utility.

Also, it's darkly ironic, given FCC's recent court loss, as I linked to earlier in this thread: Ajit Pai loses in court—FCC can’t kill broadband subsidy in Tribal areas -- FCC trying to kill $25 subsidy in urban areas and limit subsidy in rural areas. (Jon Brodkin for Ars Technica, Aug. 13, 2018)
posted by filthy light thief at 8:17 AM on August 17 [29 favorites]


But with all due respect, Don Pepino, it's infuriating that any adult American can't distinguish between napalm and Agent Orange, and not merely because our decision to deploy the latter remains one of the twentieth century's great crimes against humanity and a bitter lesson in American impunity.

The names of these things aren't simply geek shibboleths to be wielded by Coppola nerds and MACV cosplayers, but elements of the kind of pivotal American policy decision I'd expect a high-school student to display basic familiarity with. That someone with the power to destroy or let live that Donald Trump enjoys isn't even remotely clear on the distinction isn't merely shockingly ignorant (even now), it's criminal.

I mean, think about it: in order to make any sense at all, the "smells like victory" scene requires a basic understanding of what napalm is and does on the part of the viewer, even if Milius kind of gilds the lily expositionwise ("that smell, that gasoline smell"). By contrast, in Trump, we have a man that will be deciding life or death issues that may involve the whole planet, and his level of knowledge isn't even up to that of pop culture.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:23 AM on August 17 [64 favorites]


@MurielBowser:
Yup, I’m Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington DC, the local politician who finally got thru to the reality star in the White House with the realities ($21.6M) of parades/events/demonstrations in Trump America (sad).

---

And $21.6m in city costs still leaves $70 million in other costs based on the story yesterday that costs had ballooned to $92m. So military costs were still magnitudes higher than the $12m they initially claimed.
posted by chris24 at 8:23 AM on August 17 [21 favorites]


FFS, of course she learned from Trump - she was a contestant on the first season of NBC's reality television series The Apprentice, and later starred on its sister programs The Celebrity Apprentice and All-Star Celebrity Apprentice.

"Always two there are..."
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:24 AM on August 17 [20 favorites]


Detroit Rep. Bettie Cook Scott (D-Detroit) slurs her opponent Rep. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) and allegedly slurs Chang's immigrant volunteer.
'When you hear someone that's a minority and a woman using slurs against another minority that's a woman, it's just mind boggling.'
Scott released a statement apologizing to Chang, who won the primary for the 1st Senate District and is expected to win the general election, according to the Metro Times.
posted by jgirl at 8:28 AM on August 17 [8 favorites]


[ISP] Industry asks for handouts, arguing that broadband is essential—like a utility.

So what did they do with all the Universal Service Fund cash they got? Where's my fiber-to-the-homefarm? Why is broadband so shitty in so many places despite decades of mandatory fees from consumers?

Telecom companies disgust me: they are hogs squealing because they ate everything in the trough and still want more.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:29 AM on August 17 [33 favorites]


Austin pirate radio station that airs Alex Jones fined $15k in federal court.
A lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Austin accuses Liberty Radio of operating at 90.1 FM without federal consent since at least 2013.
So, I guess, Alex Jones has been broadcasting from a closet or laundry room in a shitty apartment complex.
That scans.
posted by rp at 8:46 AM on August 17 [7 favorites]


CNN live coverage: The Manafort Trial Day 14: Jury deliberations continue

13 minutes ago: Trump calls the Manafort trial "very sad" — but he won't comment on a possible pardon
President Trump on Friday characterized the trial that is ongoing against his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort as "very sad."

But asked if he would pardon Manafort, Trump answered, "I don't talk about that."

He went on to criticize the trial, in which Manafort is facing multiple charges, including bank fraud.

"I think the whole Manafort trial is sad," Trump said. "I think it's a very sad day for our country. He worked for a me for a very short period of time. But you know what, he happens to be a very good person. I think it's very sad what they've done to Paul Manafort."
31 minutes ago: Manafort judge: "A thirsty press is essential in a free country"
Judge T.S. Ellis said he will hold a hearing after 2 p.m. ET today on a motion by CNN and other media organizations to unseal the names and addresses of jurors, as well as other parts of the trial that are currently secret.

The judge says he plans to make public all bench conferences currently under seal with one exception — likely the part of the trial where the Special Counsel's office discussed information about their ongoing investigation.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:50 AM on August 17 [5 favorites]


Rand Paul to ask Trump to lift sanctions on Russian leaders

Sure looks like they have something on Old Brittleribs.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:58 AM on August 17 [40 favorites]


Napalm does not equal agent orange!?

They go together. Agent Orange was a powerful herbicide and defoliant that was sprayed over thousands of square miles of Vietnam to strip the trees in the jungle so that they could see where the people were to hit them with napalm and high explosive bombs. The other purpose was to destroy food crops to starve the population.

Agent orange contained the carcinogenic chemical dioxin. There has been a decades long battle by veterans who were exposed to agent orange to have their illnesses recognized and treated by the VA. This is in addition to the millions of Vietnamese who were exposed on the ground.

Recall that Trump bragged on the Howard Stern show that avoiding STDs was "his personal Vietnam." "I feel like a great and very brave solider." The vets weren't so lucky in avoiding Agent Orange.
posted by JackFlash at 8:59 AM on August 17 [25 favorites]




Sure looks like they have something on Old Brittleribs.

Maybe, but the insane tribalism of today's Republican base means that being suspiciously pro-Russian has become an electoral positive, not a negative.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:04 AM on August 17 [4 favorites]


zachlipton: NYT, Frances Robles, Puerto Rico Spent 11 Months Turning the Power Back On. They Finally Got to Her.

The government installed a new water cistern for her, but FEMA denied her the money she needed to install the required new pipes. So, even with the power back on, she will still have to get water every day by traveling down the mountain, past the landslides that frequently cause flat tires.


And now FEMA is treating all of Puerto Rico like they treated Jazmín Méndez, in part because they are coming to the end of their Presidential approval to pay for 100% of the cleanup and recovery on the archipelago. FEMA Wants Puerto Rico To Start Paying For Part Of Its Recovery (NPR, Aug. 17, 2018)
Following major disaster declarations, FEMA typically covers 75 percent of the cost of emergency response services, while local governments are responsible for the remaining 25 percent. After Hurricane Maria, President Donald Trump authorized FEMA to cover 100 percent of those costs in Puerto Rico. To date the agency says it's spent roughly $3 billion on things like debris removal, hazardous waste cleanup, and road repairs, plus more than $2 billion on power restoration efforts.

The agency said it was one of the longest period of times for which it had covered 100 percent of the cost of emergency work, surpassed only by Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. In those cases, Congress eventually passed a law that allowed FEMA to cover 100 percent of emergency work for the life of the disaster.

That's something that Congress has not done in the case of Puerto Rico, and as the end of the president's authorization for full cost share approached, the island's governor, Ricardo Rossello, requested the extension. In a brief sent to Congress explaining its decision to deny that request, FEMA called its response in Puerto Rico one "of historic proportions."
posted by filthy light thief at 9:06 AM on August 17 [8 favorites]


Trump this morning: "And you know what? He happens to be a very good person. I think it’s very sad what they’ve done to Paul Manafort."

At the very moment the jury is deliberating the the Manafort case, Trump is delivering his opinion to the public. The jurors are supposed to be avoiding the news related to the case, but they are not sequestered. They go home every night and who knows what information they get.

Another example of obstruction and attempting to influence the jury.
posted by JackFlash at 9:13 AM on August 17 [65 favorites]


ISPs want benefits but not responsibilities

Here's what ISPs have done with the subsidies we already gave them.

tl;dr: fuck all
posted by M-x shell at 9:25 AM on August 17 [17 favorites]


At the very moment the jury is deliberating the the Manafort case, Trump is delivering his opinion to the public.

And a not very hard to decode public message to Manafort that he'll pardon him.
posted by xammerboy at 9:38 AM on August 17 [5 favorites]


xammerboy: And a not very hard to decode public message to Manafort that he'll pardon him.

Reminder: Investigations of Manafort in New York Are Beyond Trump’s Power to Pardon (Ben Protess and Jessica Silver-Greenberg for New York Times, Oct. 30, 2017)

And 10 legal experts on why Trump can’t pardon his way out of the Russia investigation -- “It may prove to be one of the stupidest things he has yet done.” (Sean Illing for Vox, Updated Mar 28, 2018)
Author’s note: These responses were given on August 27, 2017, just two days after President Trump pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio. On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that a lawyer for Trump discussed the possibility of pardoning former advisers Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn with their lawyers last year, presumably to influence their decisions to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller. The question last August was the same as it is today: If Trump attempts to use his pardon power to undercut Mueller’s investigation, does he have the authority to do it?
Because of all this, his pardons could largely be for show.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:50 AM on August 17 [6 favorites]


Erik Prince is making the rounds again with his grand plan to be named Viceroy of Afghanistan, which would be a fun turn from the mid-20th Century virulent racism we mostly get from the Trump administration to some real Victorian-era colonial stuff.

I don't expect anything else of Prince, who's just trying to grind another couple billion dollars out of his enthusiasm for the suffering of Muslims overseas, but I really wish he would stop getting a platform to tell the US public how great he thinks this would be. Even that NBC News article, which contains a number of criticisms of the plan in the body of the article, leads with the idea that this would be anything other than a catastrophe of unbelievable proportions calculated to steer money into the pockets of some of the worst people in the world.
posted by Copronymus at 10:01 AM on August 17 [11 favorites]


Because of all this, his pardons could largely be for show.

This is why I do not understand Manafort's motivation in bucking the trend of Flynn and Papadopoulos and Gates and refusing to co-operate.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:02 AM on August 17


This is why I do not understand Manafort's motivation in bucking the trend of Flynn and Papadopoulos and Gates and refusing to co-operate.

The old "let them enforce it" concept.

Manafort figures that the chances are pretty low of the courts coming down against a Trump pardon of himself, AND expensive lawyers being unable to find loopholes and injunctions and appeals and such sufficient to keep him on the right side of prison walls, or at least in court rather than in prison.

Manafort figures that if he does cooperate, the chances of a ham-and-polonium-on-rye sandwich showing up for lunch one day are much higher.
posted by delfin at 10:15 AM on August 17 [10 favorites]


This is why I do not understand Manafort's motivation in bucking the trend of Flynn and Papadopoulos and Gates and refusing to co-operate.

He or his family could easily end up assassinated, given what he's involved in.
posted by dilaudid at 10:23 AM on August 17 [5 favorites]


This is why I do not understand Manafort's motivation in bucking the trend of Flynn and Papadopoulos and Gates and refusing to co-operate.

If you read this article on Paul Manafort by Franklin Foer, you'll get a nice, detailed primer on what Manafort's been up to since the 90's, and the kind of people he's been dealing with.

His life was always going to end in prison or in a painful death.
posted by rocketman at 10:28 AM on August 17 [23 favorites]


His life was always going to end in prison or in a painful death.

In a just world...

——

Meanwhile, in ours:
President Trump said Friday that he plans “very quickly” to strip the security clearance of Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department official he said is “a disgrace” who is tied to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has repeatedly targeted Ohr as a source for Mueller and his investigation. Ohr’s connection to the matter was as an early contact in 2016 for Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence agent who investigated Trump’s ties to Russia.
(WaPo)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:33 AM on August 17 [14 favorites]


President Trump said Friday that he plans “very quickly” to strip the security clearance of Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department official he said is “a disgrace” who is tied to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Unlike I believe all the others who have been named, Ohr is still a Justice Dept. employee, currently head of its Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. This would pretty much end his career, is all but equivalent to firing him.
posted by scalefree at 10:48 AM on August 17 [24 favorites]


he plans “very quickly” to strip the security clearance

I didn't realize that was the sort of thing you gave advance notice for. Sigh.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:48 AM on August 17 [4 favorites]


I didn't realize that was the sort of thing you gave advance notice for.

Yep, doesn't he realize he's giving Ohr the opportunity to smuggle the nuclear codes out the door in his shorts.
posted by JackFlash at 11:01 AM on August 17 [6 favorites]


“Are you just happy to see me or are we at DEFCON 2?”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:03 AM on August 17 [16 favorites]


I didn't realize that was the sort of thing you gave advance notice for. Sigh.

Usually when you get your clearance revoked, there's a notification in advance, and there's an appeals process.

Trump is just going full authoritarian here and fucking with people in the DoJ who he doesn't like. He's finally found a lever to do this directly, bypassing all his subordinates in between. It's like a pardon, in that clearance is (sort of) at his personal pleasure. Firing someone is harder.

He could probably unilaterally revoke the entire FBI's security clearances if he wanted. Or just Mueller's team.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:05 AM on August 17 [26 favorites]


He could probably unilaterally revoke the entire FBI's security clearances if he wanted.

I mean, there is a degree of due process — those government employees do have recourse to well-established grievance procedures, IG investigations and so on. He may think, in his dull-normal, three-rocks-yow way, that some kind of Führerprinzip applies, but it just isn't the case. Not today, Satan!
posted by adamgreenfield at 11:14 AM on August 17 [3 favorites]


Dueling Voices:

@letsgomathias Wow - Voice of Europe, popular site among the far right, which spreads anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant propaganda, is apparently shutting down
---------------------------------------------
[image, tweet apparently deleted] "All passwords of the site have changed, there's now way for us to post anymore.

Voice of Europe will cease to exist. Two investors have decided to pull the plug as they don't support our vision and don't trust us.

For questions:

voiceofeurope1.gmail.com"
---------------------------------------------
@V_of_Europe Voice of Europe, in the ongoing effort to maintain a high level of professionalism and high standards, we have made some exciting decisions.

We will continue with more determination and will surprise you even more.
Thank you all for your tremendous support, you're the best!
posted by scalefree at 11:15 AM on August 17 [3 favorites]


It's like a pardon, in that clearance is (sort of) at his personal pleasure.

Pardons, Executive Orders, and Revocations.

[clippy]
It looks like you're trying to form a monarchy!
[/clippy]

All that perfectly good tea wasted for nothing...
posted by Buntix at 11:16 AM on August 17 [21 favorites]


President Trump said Friday that he plans “very quickly” to strip the security clearance of Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department official he said is “a disgrace” who is tied to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

From that WaPo article: "“I think that Bruce Ohr is a disgrace, with his wife, Nellie,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “For him to be in the Justice Department, and to be doing what he did, that is a disgrace. That is disqualifying for Mueller. And Mr. Mueller has a lot of conflicts, also.”"

There are several factors involved in Trump's M.O. First, he wants to strike out after the narcissistic injury he incurred over criticism about revoking Brennan's security clearance. Further, Fox News has been goading him into attacking Ohr, basically over the Steele Dossier. Finally, the Manafort trial is obviously driving him nuts, and he'd love to find a loophole to fire Mueller.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:17 AM on August 17 [6 favorites]


Ohr is still a Justice Dept. employee, currently head of its Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

Per the Washington Post, Ohr is no longer in that position. It's unknown what his job at the Department of Justice currently entails, but Rosenstein says he is not working on the Russia investigation.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:17 AM on August 17 [4 favorites]


But now, broadband lobby groups are arguing that Internet service is similar to utilities such as electricity, gas distribution, roads, and water and sewer networks.

Yes, they're right. It is another thing that really ought to be nationalised.
posted by Grangousier at 11:21 AM on August 17 [33 favorites]


there is a degree of due process — those government employees do have recourse to well-established grievance procedures

Normally, yes. But if the President just says "eh, Article II powers, go away" then who knows (from July): "If the president were to take this unprecedented exercise of his authority, it is anyone’s guess how the courts would construe the issue. It would set up a serious clash of constitutional questions between the inherent authority of the president regarding classified information, the procedural due-process rights of clearance holders under the Fifth Amendment, and the extent to which the judiciary is even permitted to rule on the matter."

He fired Brennan in exactly this way- by asserting Article II powers. If he has the Article II authority to revoke Brennan's clearance, it's not at all clear that he can't just revoke whoever's clearance, whenever he wants.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:22 AM on August 17 [6 favorites]


I mean, there is a degree of due process — those government employees do have recourse to well-established grievance procedures, IG investigations and so on.

The classification system is not under congressional purview. It's ultimate authority flows from executive orders of the president. Trump can change anything he likes about the classification system with a stroke of his big fat Sharpie and there's nothing anybody can do about it.
posted by JackFlash at 11:25 AM on August 17 [2 favorites]


Per the Washington Post, Ohr is no longer in that position. It's unknown what his job at the Department of Justice currently entails, but Rosenstein says he is not working on the Russia investigation.

I think that's the job he was demoted to. He was in the DAG's office.

Senate Intel to interview Justice Dept. official with Fusion GPS ties
Bruce Ohr had previously served in the deputy attorney general's office, but according to a source familiar with the situation, was demoted amid the discovery of certain meetings with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who assembled the dossier.
[...]
While he has been stripped of his position within the deputy attorney general's office, Ohr remains head of the Justice Department's Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces.
posted by scalefree at 11:26 AM on August 17 [3 favorites]


CNN: Manafort Judge Says He Has Received "Threats" And Won't Release Juror Names
Judge T.S. Ellis said he's received "threats" as he's presided over Paul Manafort's criminal trial, and said he's not willing to disclose jurors' names and addresses after several media outlets, including CNN, sought them.[...]

Ellis did not disclose details about the threats in a hearing Friday. But he said it was enough to make him wary of making the 12 jurors and four alternates' names public. The jury has not yet reached a verdict and is currently deliberating for the second day.

"I've received criticism and threats. I'd imagine they would to," he told an attorney representing seven media organizations at a hearing Friday. [...]

He added that the US Marshals Service follows him everywhere, even to his hotel — which he presumably stays in when court is in session because he lives outside of Northern Virginia. The jurors don't have that protection, and Ellis even keeps secret the name of his hotel, he said.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:36 AM on August 17 [19 favorites]


Sorry, I meant to post this link stating that Ohr has left the Drug Enforcement position:
Ohr was associate deputy attorney general until late 2017, when the DOJ learned of his contacts with Steele. He briefly continued as head of Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) but then lost that job, too. It’s unclear what role he plays now at the DOJ. The agency declined to comment, except to point to a statement by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.

“Mr. Ohr is a career employee of the department. He was there when I arrived. To my knowledge, he wasn't working on the Russia matter,” Rosenstein told the House Intelligence Committee on June 28. “When we learned of the relevant information, we arranged to transfer Mr. Ohr to a different office.”
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:36 AM on August 17 [3 favorites]


“I think that Bruce Ohr is a disgrace, with his wife, Nellie,” Trump told reporters

I was wondering why Trump would bring Ohr's wife into this (thinking perhaps he just tossed it in as random fact he happened to remember about Ohr)

Fusion GPS also hired Bruce Ohr's wife Nellie, an independent contractor and Russia specialist, to conduct research on Donald Trump, particularly with respect to his Russia activities. [Wikipedia]

Ah ok. I'm almost out of red twine.
posted by mikepop at 11:38 AM on August 17 [31 favorites]


Its jury-note o'clock over in the Manafort trial, apparently.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:46 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]


The Wikipedia page for Bruce Ohr now shows a banner indicating it is being considered for deletion. Perhaps people would like to go over to the Wikipedia deletion feedback page and contribute some feedback about whether that's a good idea?
posted by StrawberryPie at 11:52 AM on August 17 [5 favorites]


Vets group seeks to hold 5K race after Trump cancels military parade: 'One K for each of Trump's military deferments'
A nonprofit veterans organization announced on Friday that it is seeking to hold a 5K race for Veterans Day next year mocking President Trump.

VoteVets, an organization that focuses on nonpartisan education and advocacy on behalf veterans and their families, said on Twitter that it has submitted a Letter of Intent with Washington, D.C., to hold the race around the National Mall next year.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:02 PM on August 17 [57 favorites]




Uhh... are they expecting the judge to say "OK, don't fully consider the evidence, just toss a coin or something"
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:07 PM on August 17 [5 favorites]


Pretty sure the note says/means they want to wrap for the day by 5pm, not that they want to finish their entire deliberation.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:09 PM on August 17 [9 favorites]


"Can we just decide by whether the rule of law still exists by 5? I have a thing."
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:09 PM on August 17 [11 favorites]


I think it's more "finish at 5 and continue on monday", rather than "finish at 5 and deliver a verdict".
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 12:09 PM on August 17 [3 favorites]


Now we can buy some more jet fighters!

Upper estimate of the cost of the parade: $92 million.
Unit cost for an F-22: $150 million.
Unit cost for an F-35A: $94.6 million.

Dumbass can't even buy a jet fighter.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:10 PM on August 17 [23 favorites]


I think it's more "finish at 5 and continue on monday", rather than "finish at 5 and deliver a verdict".

Yes. For those wondering, the jury will be breaking at 4:50pm today, and re-convening on Monday, so don't expect a verdict by the weekend. Ellis is giving them the option of convening at 11am or 1pm on Monday.
posted by halation at 12:12 PM on August 17 [6 favorites]


Is it normal for a jury in this kind of situation to not be sequestered? I had assumed that they were, but apparently they aren't; I can't imagine it would be easy avoiding any news about the case for even an evening, let alone a whole weekend.
posted by cjelli at 12:12 PM on August 17 [3 favorites]


I'd like to take a minute to talk about Medicaid work requirements. Politico reports that Trump readies new round of controversial Medicaid changes. These include work requirements in Arizona, Wisconsin, and Maine, and a proposal where Wisconsin will not be able to drug test applicants, but will demand to know whether they've ever used drugs, which will surely intimidate people who would otherwise apply.

In Arkansas, literally 94 Medicaid recipients satisfied the work reporting requirement in June (60% are known to be exempt, 9% claimed an exemption, and 29% didn't report, leaving 2% who did). Many of that 29% are working, but weren't able to report their hours (it requires internet access, going through a whole process, and just plain knowing that the requirement exists). As mefite box has described there's no mobile site, and it requires uploading documents, a process that seems intended to stop beneficiaries from reporting their work. In the second month, only 844 people managed to get through the red tape and satisfy the requirement. In a few weeks, the thousands who don't report will lose their health insurance and be locked out for the rest of the year. A new lawsuit aims to stop the work requirements in Arkansas.

In Kentucky, where the requirement is even stricter, an Urban Institute study finds that many people who will be cut off are working, but not always with the consistency the law demands:
For some working Medicaid enrollees, the waiver does not seem to reflect the reality of theirwork lives. Many are working more than enough hours each year to satisfy the terms of the requirements but simply not in enough weeks or in the right weeks;others are working parttime or partyear and are not meeting the total required number of hours.
There's also something important you can do: write public comments (tomorrow is the last day) opposing the Kentucky and Arkansas Medicaid work requirements (all public comments are public records and may be posted online). In the Kentucky case, a federal judge specifically cited HHS's failure to consider public comments as a reason to halt the work requirements, so this really and truly can help make a difference. It doesn't need to be long—you could cite some of the data above about it being impossible for people to comply, or point out that denying people Medicaid is contrary to the basic purpose of the Medicaid program which is to provide health coverage, not promote employment.
posted by zachlipton at 12:15 PM on August 17 [30 favorites]


as @nycsouthpaw just pointed out on twitter it is RIDICULOUS for this jury to not be sequestered. Earlier today Judge Ellis refused to release their names and said he himself had been subject to threats and was under Marshalls protection.

also as pointed out by southpaw, the fucking Bill Cosby jury was sequestered and that case involved neither a head of state nor a hostile foreign intelligence service. . .
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:15 PM on August 17 [52 favorites]


It's very unusual for a jury to be sequestered outside a few edge cases where states have weird laws. I think the public got the wrong idea about how common it is because of the OJ trial. AFAIK in the last couple decades there has been a big move away from sequestering juries.
posted by Justinian at 12:17 PM on August 17 [8 favorites]


nycsouthpaw is right that if any cases are going to be sequestered you'd think this would be one of them but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by Justinian at 12:19 PM on August 17 [2 favorites]


@HeerJeet:
Manafort jury
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:21 PM on August 17 [2 favorites]


Wow, he's blaming DC for the price of the parade. I just checked and an M1A1 Abrams main battle tank weighs 63 tonnes. I'm sure when the city were looking at the infrastructure budget, they didn't reinforce the roads to handle a column of those. Of course not, that would be insanely expensive and needless. Really, only a total idiot would think that's a good idea.

We all know he wanted tanks.
posted by adept256 at 12:22 PM on August 17 [12 favorites]


An ICE attorney forged a document to deport an immigrant. ICE didn’t care until the immigrant sued. An article by Mark Joseph Stern in Slate.

In May 2009, Lanuza petitioned an immigration judge to become a lawful resident.
Because he had a family, more than 10 years of residence, and no criminal record, he should have qualified for legal status. But at his hearing, an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement attorney produced startling evidence against him: a form signed by Lanuza accepting voluntary departure to Mexico, dated January 2000. By signing this document, the lawyer explained, Lanuza had rendered himself ineligible for legal residence. The judge agreed and ordered him deported. There was one problem: The form was a forgery. Jonathan M. Love, the ICE attorney, had fabricated it for the specific purpose of securing Lanuza’s deportation.

posted by Bella Donna at 12:25 PM on August 17 [55 favorites]


Nick Mulvaney responded to an inquiry from Sen. Menendez by informing him that he wrote to him in his capacity as OMB Director and not as Acting Director of the CFPB, and he has to go back and address the letter to him at the CFPB if he wants a response. It's a very strange letter.
posted by zachlipton at 12:31 PM on August 17 [3 favorites]


Take a break from the fake news and consider what if Alan Ginsberg were the Moscow correspondent to Incontinence Monthly: Piss Trump

. . . and now it’s dream fountains and dream geysers, a future writ in piss, gushing with life and change and becoming, signature works of the artists and architects who will one day change their respective forms, all that here tonight, just for Trump, monumental works of aching beauty, form and body alive in the instant of the spray of piss and already dissipating, all of this flesh and spray riven with switchbacks and escapes, hidden doors and mouse holes and fiber-optic snares, all alive, all embodied, all the variations in diet and genetics, in pH and color, everyone everywhere just a machine for shooting or dribbling piss, gender and self slipping away, color and pH slipping away, the piss running together, all of this to reveal the human organism as a pissing machine, a pissing work of art among so many other pissing works of art, the animal life forms our world momentarily sucking some order from the chaos, releasing a brilliant and beautiful creation of piss-work that can only ever exist in that moment, in the instant, already at the instant of its creation yielding to time, the great destroyer, falling into some greater entropic slosh; and Hannity mimes Trump applauding and applauding, face rigid and almost contorted with appreciation . . .
posted by Rumple at 12:33 PM on August 17 [1 favorite]


WaPo, David Nakamura, Hailing the New York Times: Trump loves his hometown paper — sometimes
Midway through the flight, a presidential aide entered the press corps cabin in the rear of the jet holding a newspaper clipping from the Times. She handed it to Tom Brenner, a Times freelancer who had traveled with Trump on a trip to Fort Drum, N.Y, on Monday.

The clip included a photo of Trump boarding the presidential jet with a cloud of smoke in the background from a ceremonial cannon shot during Trump’s visit. Trump, the aide explained, was interested in obtaining a print of the photo.

The president appeared to have underlined Brenner’s name under the photo and drawn an arrow to it. The photographer agreed to look into getting a copy for the president.
Sad.
posted by zachlipton at 12:34 PM on August 17 [3 favorites]


Mulvaney is just a big Terry Gilliam fan is all
posted by theodolite at 12:34 PM on August 17 [7 favorites]


Nick Mulvaney responded to an inquiry from Sen. Menendez by informing him that he wrote to him in his capacity as OMB Director and not as Acting Director of the CFPB, and he has to go back and address the letter to him at the CFPB if he wants a response. It's a very strange letter.

Even presuming there's some real reason for Mulvaney to need to respond in a given capacity, it feels like he could just refer the letter to himself in his other capacity, right? That would be equally absurd but at least helpful, while this is strange and passive-aggressive.

(And if there is some real reason, how does Mulvaney handle in-person questions? Does he need reporters to clarify which Mulvaney they're asking questions of? Does he have, like, actual hats he changes into and out of for clarity, or what?)
posted by cjelli at 12:37 PM on August 17 [4 favorites]


An ICE attorney forged a document to deport an immigrant. ICE didn’t care until the immigrant sued.
If the last 20 years of revelations about misbehaving cops, prosecutors, crime lab technicians, etc, have taught us anything it's that this is sure to be an isolated incident and there is absolutely no reason why we should examine the files of other cases this attorney worked on.

Hey, why are you going through those files? I said NO REASON! Nothing to see here, move along!
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:38 PM on August 17 [50 favorites]


Nick Mulvaney responded to an inquiry from Sen. Menendez by informing him that he wrote to him in his capacity as OMB Director and not as Acting Director of the CFPB

"I'm sorry, the old Mulvaney can't come to the phone right now."
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:40 PM on August 17 [8 favorites]


Nick Mulvaney responded to an inquiry from Sen. Menendez by informing him that he wrote to him in his capacity as OMB Director and not as Acting Director of the CFPB, and he has to go back and address the letter to him at the CFPB if he wants a response. It's a very strange letter.

It's basically just "fuck you, you fucking fuck" in letter form. There's no legitimate purpose to it.
posted by scalefree at 12:41 PM on August 17 [5 favorites]




The white guy who was arrested for screaming at two black motorcyclists who'd stopped to figure out how to get somewhere in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood faces eight new charges, including civil-rights violations.
posted by adamg at 12:44 PM on August 17 [48 favorites]


adamgreenfield: "it's infuriating that any adult American can't distinguish between napalm and Agent Orange, "

America stopped dropping either on Vietnam 43 years ago. There are adults out there whose parents weren't born when the Vietnam war ended. I get the point about poor school curricula but really this is a pretty specialized piece of knowledge for anyone who didn't live through Vietnam.

Not knowing the Apocalypse Now bit was Napalm for someone quoting it is a little more disturbing though. I mean it's right there in the famous quote.
posted by Mitheral at 12:44 PM on August 17 [9 favorites]


It's basically just "fuck you, you fucking fuck" in letter form. There's no legitimate purpose to it.

And it's also one of those things that are like, Ok, You're Not Wrong Walter, but that's ignoring the whole point that this nonsense exists because federal government somehow found itself in the position of playing musical chairs with cabinet members.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:48 PM on August 17


I get the point about poor school curricula but really this is a pretty specialized piece of knowledge for anyone who didn't live through Vietnam.
It's true that I don't expect everyone to know the difference but I wish it wasn't commonly accepted that it's asking too much of citizens in a democracy to understand that during the lifetime of about half of living Americans that our country used these chemical agents as tools of war, that it was controversial at the time and one of many reasons for contemporaneous opposition to the war, and that it affected not only our opponents in that war but as many as tens of thousands of Americans who served (and most of those as conscripts.)

Instead we get "leftists hated America and spat on the troops" and look where that's taken us.

I guess we should drop this because it's sure to derail but in any case the original introduction of the topic was talking about Trump, who certainly lived through the events in question and is, as we all know, a Very Stable Genius. He deserves to be cut NO slack for his ignorance.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:55 PM on August 17 [26 favorites]


this is a pretty specialized piece of knowledge for anyone who didn't live through Vietnam.

Trump did, at a safe, obviously manufactured, distance.
posted by Buntix at 12:57 PM on August 17 [16 favorites]


I get the point about poor school curricula but really this is a pretty specialized piece of knowledge for anyone who didn't live through Vietnam.
Also, how hard is it for an adult to say, "I'm sorry, I'm not sure I know the difference between napalm and Agent Orange. Can you please explain it?" or, if you need to do some face-saving bullshit, "It's been a busy week, remind me of the difference, please."

No one's faulting someone for not knowing everything, the problem is that someone who is so damn uninformed and *PROUD* of it is the person in charge of our country and he doesn't even pretend that he wants to learn.
posted by teleri025 at 1:02 PM on August 17 [33 favorites]


Not realizing that Napalm and Agent Orange are two very different things is a mistake that I can understand someone making, though not one I would make myself. Getting into an argument about it - and about Apocalypse Now - with a room full of people who represent Vietnam vets for a living? Stupid, inexcusable. WTF? They correct you, you've now learned a thing, good for you, say thanks and continue the meeting.
posted by The World Famous at 1:16 PM on August 17 [48 favorites]


adamg: The white guy who was arrested for screaming at two black motorcyclists who'd stopped to figure out how to get somewhere in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood faces eight new charges, including civil-rights violations.

This is awesome. I followed the link and it looks like one of the cyclists, NeNe Judge, has planned a "Ride For Peace" event this Sunday, August 19th, in Boston. If you don't have a motorcycle, you can join the community cookout following the ride. There's a GoFundMe too, linked in that article. (Noting they've already surpassed their goal of $2500. I think I'll donate a little more anyway.)
posted by robotdevil at 1:17 PM on August 17 [8 favorites]


As someone who was technically born during the period when Agent Orange was in use, my recollection is that it was pretty difficult to figure out what it was. A Baby Boomer would emphatically say, “The U.S. military used Agent Orange in Vietnam!” and you'd be like “What's Agent Orange?” “A chemical.” and you'd come away thinking it was some kind of chemical weapon, but later on realize that when you read about chemical weapons there wasn't any prominent mention of American use of them in Vietnam. Then you'd eventually come across the word “defoliant” and when you got to a definition of that you'd be like “That sounds like something you'd use while gardening” and it still wouldn't make sense what was so manifestly bad about it, and then maybe when you next re-visited it in the context of the American War in Vietnam you'd have enough connections to start following the thread of reasoning about what that meant in relation the members of the U.S. military having long-term health problems. (Though of course it would still be confusing as to why the primary concern wasn't for people who lived in Vietnam and had it sprayed on them or their homes or their food.)

But certainly, anyone who wants to become president, or even predisent, should know what it was.
posted by XMLicious at 1:20 PM on August 17 [5 favorites]


I'm sure when the city were looking at the infrastructure budget,

Why the hell do you think Trump is calling these Infrastructure Weeks? Surely it's because he doesn't want bridges and overpasses to collapse like cardboard under the weight of his Glorious Parades?
posted by Stoneshop at 1:24 PM on August 17


Obama campaign used security keys in 2012 election to prevent hacks. It’s a key reason why that election had less cybersecurity issues.
As political campaigns in the 2018 midterm elections fight off hackers, they might want to look back to Barack Obama's campaign team and what it figured out six years ago.

President Obama's campaign in 2012 used Yubikeys, which are security keys for protecting logins, as a defense against hackers, according to Yubico CEO and founder Stina Ehrensvärd.

"The woman who tried after him did not, and you can see the results," Ehrensvärd said in an interview at Black Hat.

That missing link in the security chain could have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency. The thousands of leaked emails released by Russian hackers played a pivotal role during the 2016 election, and the resulting controversy contributed to her defeat by Donald Trump.
-----------------------------

Political activist group Tech Solidarity have put together a guide for congressional candidates to help them secure their systems. Its recommendations apply to anyone who has an elevated threat profile.

Security Guidelines for Congressional Campaigns
posted by scalefree at 1:28 PM on August 17 [16 favorites]


Daily Beast, Andrew Kirell, Fox News, CNN Hired Ex-Trump Aides Bound by NDAs. That’s ‘Journalistic Malpractice,’ Experts Say.
“If you’re not allowed legally to disparage the president or his family or anything they have to do with, any company they have or asset they have, why can we believe anything you say?”

That was the incisive question MSNBC anchor Katy Tur asked former Trump campaign spokesman Marc Lotter on Wednesday, referring to the blanket non-disclosure agreement all Trump campaign and West Wing staffers are reportedly required to sign.
...
And so, offers Julian Sanchez, a tech-focused senior fellow at the Cato Institute: “Anyone who’s booked on TV to discuss Trump after having worked for him should be asked if they’re bound by a non-disparagement clause. If they are, or won’t say, that needs to be the chyron on screen for the duration of the appearance.”
posted by zachlipton at 1:29 PM on August 17 [83 favorites]


[Probably can let Agent Orange Y/N drop at this point y’all.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:32 PM on August 17 [19 favorites]


Political activist group Tech Solidarity have put together a guide for congressional candidates to help them secure their systems. Its recommendations apply to anyone who has an elevated threat profile.

Yubikeys are just a specific form of two-factor authentication, which IMO every Tom, Dick, and Harry should be using at this point. While I understand the article is specifically about political candidates, I’m not fond of the language “elevated threat profile”. It makes it sound like you need to be some sort of VIP to consider 2FA on your accounts. I would propose the question: “Do you have anything online guarded by a username and password, that’s precious to you or someone else?” If the answer is yes, you should be using 2FA on that account.

It’s mind-boggling to me, in this day and age, that people who might be entrusted with national security wouldn’t use 2FA on all of their accounts. A username and password simply don’t suffice anymore.
posted by Brak at 2:02 PM on August 17 [12 favorites]


[Adolfo Flores is a National security correspondent for immigration at @BuzzFeedNews]

@aflores A group of immigrant fathers at Karnes who were about to start a hunger strike in detention, the second reported one, told reporters they were were forcibly re-separated from their kids by ICE. These are dads who had been previously separated and then reunited.

Two of the kids spoke on the call with reporters and said their dads were taken to another facility while they were in school. The 16 kids were then put in two rooms and said they were given no information about where their dads were.

Lawyers for the dads and advocates believe separations on Wednesday were in retaliation for their attempts to organize a second hunger strike. The dads said ICE officers came in full tactical gear when they removed them from the cells they were in before transferring them.

The 16 dads and their kids have since been reunited. One dad said he couldn’t believe he was separated from his son again after being separated for months the first time.
posted by scalefree at 2:03 PM on August 17 [23 favorites]


"The woman who tried after him did not, and you can see the results," Ehrensvärd said in an interview at Black Hat.

a) the phrasing here is pretty eye-roll-inducing
b) given that the product in question went closed-source and also was compromisable during the time period in question, maybe don't be so salty at not getting a contract, Ehrensvärd
c) average users are terrible at using 2FA and there's nothing magic about your specific (and fairly expensive) particular product that gets around this issue
posted by halation at 2:07 PM on August 17 [35 favorites]


Lawyers for the dads and advocates believe separations on Wednesday were in retaliation for their attempts to organize a second hunger strike. The dads said ICE officers came in full tactical gear when they removed them from the cells they were in before transferring them.

"The crimes against humanity will continue until morale improves."
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:10 PM on August 17 [34 favorites]


average users are terrible at using 2FA

Wasn't Podesta compromised by phishing? 2FA won't keep you from clicking on sketchy links.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:29 PM on August 17 [1 favorite]


Lonny Leftist update: a nationwide group of members came together to create BUILD, a “wholesome” magazine about organizing and tactics sharing with a “cooks illustrated aesthetic”

check out the PDF here and learn about what socialists are doing on the ground in central Iowa, Louisiama, and Philly!
posted by The Whelk at 2:35 PM on August 17 [17 favorites]


Wasn't Podesta compromised by phishing? 2FA won't keep you from clicking on sketchy links.

Podesta was phished into entering his credentials into a fake login page that were then used to steal his data. The advantage of token based 2FA that you plug into the computer like the Yubikey is that you can't phish that like you can with an RSA token.

So in addition to getting him to click on a dodgy link, they'd have had to use an exploit to take control of his computer and do the exfiltration through it, which while doable is way harder than just stealing credentials.
posted by Candleman at 2:35 PM on August 17 [12 favorites]


Wasn't Podesta compromised by phishing? 2FA won't keep you from clicking on sketchy links.

They spearphished him. In theory, if 2FA was in rigorous use, he might have known something was off when prompted to enter his Gmail credentials on the faked log-in page the phishing email directed him to. But in this particular case, someone was smart enough to know something was wrong with the link, checked in with IT and forwarded them the email, and IT dropped the damn ball by typing "legitimate" instead of "illegitimate" when replying to his "hey this looks like a phishing attempt" email. The user did what the user was supposed to do. But if IT tells the user it's a "legitimate" link, the user's gonna click on it.

2FA doesn't protect you from your own dang IT department, or from AutoCorrect.
posted by halation at 2:37 PM on August 17 [38 favorites]


No news drop today, and National Treasure Alexandra Petri (WaPo) turns her scorn on the DC climate:

August, you are a garbage month
August, and I say this with no affection, you are a month of hot garbage.

There is no good in you, August. You serve no purpose.

You are the wrong temperature not only in one place but in every place.

To go outdoors in you, August, is to walk into a stranger’s mouth. It is to sit in a vile cloud of heat and moisture that wicks away energy from every limb like a wizard’s curse. To go outdoors in you, August, is to be wrapped in a thick hot sponge and beset by mosquitoes. It is to have your whole body lightly braised in a fine oil like a slightly rotisseried chicken, to wrap yourself in a piece of wet paper towel and climb into a microwave. It is to stand inside a fart.

But to go indoors in you, August, is to walk into a store’s cold refrigerator of beer, or a florist’s icy chamber of rare plants. To go indoors in you is to step into the freezing arctic and be blasted by a thousand icy winds, to witness penguins shivering in your office and huddled for warmth. Indoors is an icy cave where it is always winter and never Christmas and there is no Turkish delight and Santa is four months away. Did you bring ice cream with you from outdoors? Too bad; you do not want it now, and it is frozen to your hand with a layer of ice an inch thick, and you will need to chisel it off.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:51 PM on August 17 [20 favorites]


a) the phrasing here is pretty eye-roll-inducing
b) given that the product in question went closed-source and also was compromisable during the time period in question, maybe don't be so salty at not getting a contract, Ehrensvärd
c) average users are terrible at using 2FA and there's nothing magic about your specific (and fairly expensive) particular product that gets around this issue


a) I think a pretty straight line can be drawn from the Democrats' refusal to deploy 2FA to Hillary losing the election. It was offered & they felt it was too much bother.
b) It would require access to the public key to execute the attack you point to. That's not something the GRU hackers would be able to pull off.
c) Yubico now has a range of hardware keys starting at about $10. I'm not an average user but for the basic 2FA function they've made it about as simple as is possible. Plug the key into your USB port & touch the spot on its side; done. You do need to make sure you have a backup secondary authenticator; Google & GitHub at least provide sets of one-time codes you can print out & store at home.
posted by scalefree at 2:54 PM on August 17 [4 favorites]


a) I think a pretty straight line can be drawn from the Democrats' refusal to deploy 2FA to Hillary losing the election.

It's not the premise, it's the phrasing. Try saying it out loud:

"The woman who tried after him did not, and you can see the results,"

You can almost feel the sweaty trilby materializing atop your head as you pronounce the words!
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:00 PM on August 17 [44 favorites]


So, um, does HRC still have her security clearance? If so, does Trump know about it? If not, when was it revoked?
posted by The World Famous at 3:15 PM on August 17 [5 favorites]


*shhhhhh don't point it out*

I actually think January is a far more garbage month than August. August at least has some school days off and no shitty sparsely attended inaugurations.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:28 PM on August 17 [5 favorites]


As long as we're talking about politicians and their awareness of information security, I'll just mention that I was at National Airport in DC awhile back and I saw Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA, Chair of the House Republican Conference) set her iPhone down at a charging station and walk away without locking it.

Tantalizing as that phone was, I decided I didn't want to spend the next several months of my life in a windowless cell, so.
posted by duffell at 3:32 PM on August 17 [35 favorites]


WaPo, GOP fundraiser Broidy under investigation for alleged effort to sell government influence, people familiar with probe say
The Justice Department is investigating whether longtime Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy sought to sell his influence with the Trump administration by offering to deliver U.S. government actions for foreign officials in exchange for tens of millions of dollars, according to three people familiar with the probe.

As part of the investigation, prosecutors are scrutinizing a plan that Broidy allegedly developed to try to persuade the Trump government to extradite a Chinese dissident back to his home country, a move sought by Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to two of the people.

They are also investigating claims that Broidy sought $75 million from a Malaysian business official if the Justice Department ended its investigation of a development fund run by the Malaysian government. The Malaysian probe has examined the role of the former prime minister in the embezzlement of billions of dollars from the fund.
...
In recent weeks, prosecutors with the Justice Department’s public integrity section — which examines possible political and government corruption — have sought documents related to Broidy’s business dealings.

Among the information sought by investigators are details about Broidy’s work on behalf of and interactions with the Chinese and Malaysian officials, according to two people familiar with the document requests. As part of their efforts, prosecutors have subpoenaed casino magnate Steve Wynn, the former RNC finance chairman and longtime Trump friend, for copies of records and communications related to Broidy.
The scandals here aren't new information, but the investigation is. Also new: Trump "expressed interest" in sending Guo back to China after Wynn hand-delivered a letter, "but was met with resistance by senior law enforcement officials."
posted by zachlipton at 3:40 PM on August 17 [29 favorites]


I think the best word would have been "candidate".

or you know just like
use her name maybe
posted by halation at 3:47 PM on August 17 [17 favorites]


No news drop today

So far the Scoop O'Clock news has been so slow that the biggest standout is the NYT's Maggie Haberman's fulsomely puffy piece on the state of Trump's current marriage. Most of her on-the-record sourcing comes from Melania's friends, with any clouds on their horizon left to anonymous sources: Melania Trump, a Mysterious First Lady, Weathers a Chaotic White House
Several friends and aides of the Trumps insist that the dynamic of the first couple’s marriage has not fundamentally changed from their days in Trump Tower. One friend of the Trumps in Palm Beach, Fla., said Mrs. Trump entered the relationship with Mr. Trump with her eyes open, and has weathered 13 years of scandal-plagued marriage and a rocky transition into the White House primarily for the benefit of keeping life stable for their son.[...]

In private, a former White House official said, Mr. and Mrs. Trump give the impression that they like one another, but their rapport is not particularly warm. One person who has spent a considerable amount of time around her said Mrs. Trump was far more relaxed outside the presence of her husband than when he was around.
Otherwise, she's just a regular First Lady who, Haberman reports, "has worked with the kitchen staff to arrange more-healthful meals for her husband[...] does regular Pilates workouts and consults with the White House Historical Association on residence renovations and upkeep."

As for the other woman in Trump-related headlines, Associated Press reports: AP Source: It’s Not Just Audio, Manigault Newman Has Video
Omarosa Manigault Newman has a stash of video, emails, text messages and other documentation supporting the claims in her tell-all book about her time in the Trump White House, a person with direct knowledge of the records told The Associated Press Friday.

Manigault Newman has made clear that she plans to continue selectively releasing the pieces of evidence if President Donald Trump and his associates continue to attack her credibility and challenge the claims in her book, “Unhinged.” She’s already dribbled out audio recordings of conversations, and video clips, texts or email could follow, according to the person who described what Manigault Newman has called a multimedia “treasure trove.” The person was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly and asked for anonymity.
By now, it should be clear to the general public that whenever a Trump scandal reaches critical mass, Team Trump's media strategy is to deploy Melania, but Omarosa knows how to play the media just as well.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:48 PM on August 17 [9 favorites]




She's completely in the wrong here. Leave the barring of the press to Trump and other authoritarians.
posted by Justinian at 4:02 PM on August 17 [42 favorites]


@Taniel
First poll of Michigan's governor's race since the state's primaries shows Dem Gretchen Whitmer leading by 9% against her GOP opponent, the state's Attorney General. A top gain opportunity for Dems.
- And the first post-primary poll of Wisconsin (PPP) shows Dem Tony Evers leading Governor Scott Walker by 5%. Two other polls over the past three weeks have found Walker down 13% & down 7%.
posted by chris24 at 4:14 PM on August 17 [13 favorites]


Eh, I happen to think it's not a particularly good idea, but it seems like a specific tactic in this case, not a general strategy to demonize the press or anything. Maybe a little tone-deaf right now given the lines Trump has drawn with the press recently, but I don't think AOC will be doing this forever. It might be politically costly, but I can see some merit in having a "just for us" conversation if it's done the right way.
posted by Rykey at 4:19 PM on August 17 [5 favorites]


So here's something. H/t Rachel Maddow.

Leahy To McGahn: What Was Discussed At Private White House Meeting That Led Republicans To Abruptly Change Course On Kavanaugh Documents
Chairman Grassley has stated that he intends to begin Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing on September 4, 2018. Accordingly, please provide answers to the following questions by August 29, 2018.

1) Who was present during the July 24, 2018 meeting? Was President George W. Bush’s personal attorney, Bill Burck, either present at the meeting or consulted about it?

2) Senator Cornyn said that you informed the senators about what a “reasonable, relevant document production would look like.” I can assure you that members of the Senate not present at the private meeting would similarly like to know: Why would a reasonable, relevant production not include any records, even those authored by Judge Kavanaugh, during his three formative years as White House Staff Secretary?

3) Have you had any discussions with Judge Kavanaugh, Bill Burck or another representative of President George W. Bush, or any representative of NARA, regarding what specific issues or materials are included in the approximately 3 million pages NARA has identified as Judge Kavanaugh’s Staff Secretary records?

4) Have you personally seen any of the records referenced in question 3?

5) If the answer to either question 3 or 4 is yes, do you have reason to believe any of the records relate to:
- The legal justifications or policies relating to the treatment of detainees?
- The rules governing the detention of combatants?
- The warrantless wiretapping of Americans?
- A proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman?
posted by scalefree at 4:32 PM on August 17 [18 favorites]


> I just checked and an M1A1 Abrams main battle tank weighs 63 tonnes. I'm sure when the city were looking at the infrastructure budget, they didn't reinforce the roads to handle a column of those.
Constitution Avenue... had been designed to carry a gross vehicle weight of just over 30 tons, and was further softened that day by the 85-degree heat...

Washington’s last military parade left in its wake 1.2 million pounds of garbage, $12 million in bills, and literal scars on the city’s public art and infrastructure. [Slate on the 1992 parade]
posted by ASCII Costanza head at 5:03 PM on August 17 [8 favorites]


@jimsciutto Breaking: In new letter, 60 Fmr CIA officers protest Trump on clearances: “We believe equally strongly that former govt officials have the right to express their unclassified views on what they see as critical national security issues without fear of being punished for doing so”

This is an all-star team of CIA operatives:
-Greg Vogle ran CIA's covert ops branch & famously saved Hamid Karzai's life during "friendly-fire" B52 bombing
-Letitia Long ran NGA
-Hank Crumpton ran C-T at State
Impossible for Trump to dismiss these men & women as partisans
posted by scalefree at 5:05 PM on August 17 [21 favorites]


Impossible for Trump to dismiss these men & women as partisans

That word, I do not think it means what you think it means.
posted by scalefree at 5:07 PM on August 17 [53 favorites]


Yeah depending on your POV those 60 signatories are the Who’s Who of the Deep State.
posted by notyou at 5:15 PM on August 17 [7 favorites]


None of those letters mean anything until they start getting current officials on board, or possibly the two Bush presidents.
posted by Justinian at 5:41 PM on August 17 [3 favorites]


Yeah depending on your POV those 60 signatories are the Who’s Who of the Deep State.

They spent a large part of their lives putting a lot of time & effort into not being noticed, putting the needs of their country before all else. For them to step into the limelight on a partisan issue like this is extraordinary, nearly unprecedented. It won't move Trump, he has no capacity for empathy or genuine emotion. But even cowed as they are it'll still make an impression on Congress. Not enough but it starts to add up.
posted by scalefree at 5:42 PM on August 17 [14 favorites]


US v. Papadopoulos, Government's Sentencing Memorandum (via Quinta Jurecic)
The defendant did not provide “substantial assistance,” and much of the information provided by the defendant came only after the government confronted him with his own emails, text messages, internet search history, and other information it had obtained via search warrants and subpoenas well after the defendant’s FBI interview as the government continued its investigation. The defendant also did not notify the government about a cellular phone he used in London during the course of the campaign – that had on it substantial communications between the defendant and the Professor – until his fourth and final proffer session. This cell phone was not among the devices seized at the airport because it was already in the defendant’s family home in Chicago. Upon request, the defendant provided that phone to the government and consented to the search of that device.

Following the proffer sessions in August and September 2017, the government arranged to
meet again with the defendant to ask further questions in late December 2017. However, upon
learning that the defendant had participated in a media interview with a national publication concerning his case, the government canceled that meeting. (PSR ¶ 50). The government is aware that the defendant and his spouse have participated in several additional media interviews concerning his case.
It does not sound like he's been particularly helpful—Mueller's team would like to be clear he hasn't provided "substantial assistance"—and he and his wife's inability to shut up (she's been tweeting more today) are not helping. There are a lot of specific details about his lies to the FBI (and falsehoods in his wife's TV appearances) that make for interesting reading. He was even asked at one point if he had met with "anyone with a Russian accent" during the campaign and lied, also insisting that his interactions with Mifsud took place before he joined the Trump campaign.

Oh, and hours after the FBI interviewed him in January 2017 (the interview in which he admits he lied), he submitted his resume to try to become a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Energy Department.

They'd like him to receive 0-6 months in prison and a $9,500 fine, which essentially pays back the "cash he received from a foreign national whom he believed was likely an intelligence officer of a foreign country (other than Russia)." Halper reportedly paid him $3,000, so I'm not quite sure where they get to $10K, but apparently he's been claiming someone he thought was Mossad offered him $10,000, so maybe it's that.
posted by zachlipton at 6:01 PM on August 17 [11 favorites]


- And the first post-primary poll of Wisconsin (PPP) shows Dem Tony Evers leading Governor Scott Walker by 5%. Two other polls over the past three weeks have found Walker down 13% & down 7%.

I don't even live in Wisconsin, but the thought of Scott Walker out on his ear is sweeter than wine. I want a blue wave in state houses and legislatures as well as Congress.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 6:20 PM on August 17 [29 favorites]


A few Friday night stories.

WaPo, White House drafts more clearance cancellations demanded by Trump
The White House has drafted documents revoking the security clearances of current and former officials whom President Trump has demanded be punished for criticizing him or playing a role in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to senior administration officials.

Trump wants to sign “most, if not all” of them, said one senior White House official, who indicated that communications aides, including press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Bill Shine, the newly named deputy chief of staff, have discussed the optimum times to release them as a distraction during unfavorable news cycles.

Some presidential aides echoed concerns raised by outside critics that the threatened revocations smack of a Nixonian enemies list, with little or no substantive national security justification. Particular worry has been expressed inside the White House about Trump’s statement Friday that he intends “very quickly” to strip the clearance of current Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
The extent to which we're not even pretending anymore is deeply disturbing.

CNN, Bomb that killed 40 children in Yemen was supplied by the US
Working with local Yemeni journalists and munitions experts, CNN has established that the weapon that left dozens of children dead on August 9 was a 500-pound (227 kilogram) laser-guided MK 82 bomb made by Lockheed Martin, one of the top US defense contractors.
...
In the aftermath of the funeral hall attack, former US President Barack Obama banned the sale of precision-guided military technology to Saudi Arabia over "human rights concerns."

The ban was overturned by the Trump administration's then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in March 2017.
Politico, Nahal Toosi, U.S. slaps sanctions on Myanmar for ‘atrocities’
The United States on Friday slapped sanctions on four Myanmar security officials and two of the country’s military units for human rights abuses, including ethnic cleansing against the country's minority Muslim Rohingya population.

The announcement from the Treasury Department comes almost exactly a year after a deadly Myanmar military crackdown forced some 700,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is currently deliberating on whether to declare what happened to the Rohingya a genocide. The announcement also follows months of administration debate over how much to punish Myanmar, also known as Burma, where the U.S. has tried to nurture democratic reforms.

The sanctions were levied in part under the Global Magnitsky Act, which gives U.S. officials broad authority to target people for human rights abuses. U.S. officials noted the case of the Rohingya, but they also pointed out that Myanmar’s military leaders have waged violence against other minority groups, including those in Kachin and Shan states.
WaPo, Trump cancels military parade he longed to hold as concern over costs grow
White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly briefed Trump earlier this week on the growing cost of the event and several logistical concerns in an effort to discourage him from holding the parade, according to a senior administration official. He also told the president that if the parade occurred in Washington in November he would not be able to attend the event in Paris with other world leaders scheduled to be held at the same time to celebrate the centennial of the end of World War I.
...

The president had previously told advisers that it would be covered on TV around the world and loved by his supporters, the official said. He was “genuinely taken aback” by the lack of support for the parade in the White House after he wanted it, according to this official.
...
The White House Office of Management and Budget did not approach D.C. city officials until Tuesday to discuss logistical costs, a Bowser administration official said.

The White House had scant details about the event, said the official, who requested anonymity to discuss the negotiations with the president’s team. There was no indication of how long the parade would last — including whether it would span multiple days — or confirmation of the Nov. 10 date, the official said. There was no precise route specified, or estimates for the number of people or pieces of military equipment that would be involved. “We had a general idea that it was from the Capitol to the White House, but that’s it,” the official said. OMB requested that the city, despite the lack of detail, produce ballpark estimates of how much it would have to spend — and be reimbursed — to provide security and other services.
Sec. Mattis, for his part, insisted that the $92 million cost estimate produced by his agency was false and that whoever said it was high at the time.

The Hill, Senate gets to work in August — but many don’t show up. In which Republican members of the world's greatest deliberative body don't bother to show up to work this week, including Sens. Lee and Tillis, who signed the letter asking McConnell to cancel the August recess in the first place.

HuffPost, Tucker Carlson’s Taco Tantrum: ‘It’s An American Food! ... Those Are My Tacos. Mine!’, in which Tucker invites on a Univision anchor so he can get angry and claim the concept of tacos for himself.
posted by zachlipton at 6:34 PM on August 17 [24 favorites]


Reuters, Dan Levine and Joseph Menn, Exclusive: U.S. government seeks Facebook help to wiretap Messenger - sources
The U.S. government is trying to force Facebook Inc (FB.O) to break the encryption in its popular Messenger app so law enforcement may listen to a suspect’s voice conversations in a criminal probe, three people briefed on the case said, resurrecting the issue of whether companies can be compelled to alter their products to enable surveillance.

The previously unreported case in a federal court in California is proceeding under seal, so no filings are publicly available, but the three people told Reuters that Facebook is contesting the U.S. Department of Justice’s demand. The judge in the Messenger case heard arguments on Tuesday on a government motion to hold Facebook in contempt of court for refusing to carry out the surveillance request, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
...
The Messenger issue arose in Fresno, California, as part of an investigation of the MS-13 gang, one of the people said.
And now I know I'll soon be having nightmares about Trump screaming about how Facebook supports MS-13.
posted by zachlipton at 6:37 PM on August 17 [3 favorites]


And now I know I'll soon be having nightmares about Trump screaming about how Facebook supports MS-13.

I mean, I doubt you'll even have to wait for Trump to say it; that's the standard law enforcement line when a bad actor uses encryption they can't easily bypass.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 6:47 PM on August 17 [6 favorites]


ASCII Costanza head: "
I just checked and an M1A1 Abrams main battle tank weighs 63 tonnes. I'm sure when the city were looking at the infrastructure budget, they didn't reinforce the roads to handle a column of those.
Constitution Avenue... had been designed to carry a gross vehicle weight of just over 30 tons, and was further softened that day by the 85-degree heat...
"

Pavement ratings I'm guessing assume a multi-axle vehicle and most jurisdictions have not only overall weight limits but also limits on the weight on any one axle. A tracked vehicle loads the road differently because of the extremely large contact patch (which is what allows them to traverse fields etc. that would stymie wheeled vehicles). Not to say there wouldn't be damage just that one probably can't directly compare the weight ratings of roads intended for wheeled vehicles and tanks.
posted by Mitheral at 6:54 PM on August 17 [7 favorites]


The docent at the WWII Museum in New Orleans told us that the city got pissed whenever they took their Sherman(?) tank out because of the road damage it causes, and it’s a lot lighter than an Abrams!
posted by wenestvedt at 7:10 PM on August 17 [8 favorites]


Tucker Carlson’s Taco Tantrum: ‘It’s An American Food! ... Those Are My Tacos. Mine!’

Look, Tucker, you had your chance for taco trucks on every corner, and you blew it.

p.s. "The taco predates the arrival of the Spanish in Mexico."
posted by kirkaracha at 7:24 PM on August 17 [27 favorites]


Talking Points Memo just put out Part Two of their ten part longform series Retreat From Democracy (Part One).

Stolen Elections, Voting Dogs And Other Fantastic Fables From The GOP Voter Fraud Mythology The GOP has cried “voter fraud” for decades — and used it as justification to target minorities at the polls.
And yet, as of last summer, 68 percent of Republicans thought millions of illegal immigrants had voted in 2016, and almost three quarters said voter fraud happens “somewhat” or “very often.” The same survey found that nearly half of Republicans believed Trump had won the popular vote.

Trump may have brought the Republican Party into a new era, but such attitudes long predate Trump. For decades, complaints about “voter fraud” have been a core component of Republican right-wing folklore — and one of their most useful election-year tools, particularly in places where winning the white vote isn’t enough to win elections.
posted by scalefree at 7:39 PM on August 17 [11 favorites]


My first reaction to AOC barring the press from her event was that it's wrong and very stupid. And while I still think that, I realized it's also wrong to bar the press from fundraisers, meetings with lobbyists, meetings between politicians, and any other official business a representative of the people conducts. But this standard is pretty clearly impossible, so maybe we should let her have a constituent meeting free of awkward press attention and our judgy hot takes.
posted by Glibpaxman at 7:46 PM on August 17 [4 favorites]


Alternatively we could hold her to the same standard as every other member of Congress. Which is to say that barring the press from an event that is otherwise open to the public is a terrible move. The press are the public.
posted by Justinian at 8:01 PM on August 17 [29 favorites]


Justice Department seeks to halt lawsuit involving President Trump’s business (WaPo):
The Justice Department on Friday asked a federal judge to halt proceedings in a lawsuit involving President Trump’s private business, arguing that allowing the case to go forward would “be a distraction to the President’s performance of his constitutional duties.”

The lawsuit, filed by Maryland and the District of Columbia, centers on whether Trump is violating the Constitution by continuing to do business with foreign and state governments while serving as president. Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte ruled that the historic case could proceed, opening the door for the plaintiffs to seek internal records from Trump’s hotel in downtown Washington.

In Friday’s filing, the Justice Department sought to block the case on the grounds that Messitte was setting new precedent on complex issues involving a sitting president and asked that he put the case on hold until a higher court could review his rulings.
posted by peeedro at 8:04 PM on August 17 [5 favorites]


*What* performance of his constitutional duties?
posted by uosuaq at 8:05 PM on August 17 [37 favorites]


Pavement ratings I'm guessing assume a multi-axle vehicle and most jurisdictions have not only overall weight limits but also limits on the weight on any one axle. A tracked vehicle loads the road differently because of the extremely large contact patch

Mitheral is right. If you look at the specs for the Abrams tank, because of its large track surface, it has a ground pressure of only 15 pounds per square inch. That is only half the ground pressure of a Toyota Corolla with tires around 30 psi and just a fraction of a full size truck with tires at 100 psi. This only makes sense because these tanks are supposed to be able to cross soft sand and swampy mud that your car couldn't without sinking in.

The tracks have hard rubber pads over the steel so they shouldn't scrape into the asphalt.

The overall weight might be a consideration for crossing bridges and culverts, but not an issue for any asphalt street that a truck could drive down.

The tanks-ruining-the-streets thing is a bit of a red herring in the whole boondoogle dog and pony show.
posted by JackFlash at 8:08 PM on August 17 [6 favorites]


The Justice Department on Friday asked a federal judge to halt proceedings in a lawsuit involving President Trump’s private business, arguing that allowing the case to go forward would “be a distraction to the President’s performance of his constitutional duties.”

It seems wrong as hell for the DoJ to be involved here, like this feels like it should really be Trump's personal lawyers and the DoJ shouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:11 PM on August 17 [31 favorites]


The Justice Department on Friday asked a federal judge to halt proceedings in a lawsuit involving President Trump’s private business, arguing that allowing the case to go forward would “be a distraction to the President’s performance of his constitutional duties.”

Someone's been reading Kavenaugh's paper!
posted by triggerfinger at 8:12 PM on August 17 [3 favorites]


In Friday’s filing, the Justice Department sought to block the case on the grounds that Messitte was setting new precedent on complex issues involving a sitting president and asked that he put the case on hold until a higher court could review his rulings.

WOW. That filing's table of authorities ranges from Dist. of Columbia v. Heller to Klinghoffer v. S.N.C. Achille Lauro.

Talk about hoping something sticks...
posted by mikelieman at 8:39 PM on August 17 [2 favorites]


The tracks have hard rubber pads over the steel so they shouldn't scrape into the asphalt.

“Should” is doing a lot of work there. There’s a reason that military bases with tank units have “tank trails” (unpaved dirt) running parallel to the paved roads that lead from motor pools to training areas.
posted by Etrigan at 8:41 PM on August 17 [10 favorites]


That may be as much to protect the treads as to protect the road.
posted by JackFlash at 8:49 PM on August 17


The problem of tanks on roads is due to shear stress on the surface when turning because tanks turning usually involve some form of rotating at a point somewhere along its tracks. Asphalt in general is great compressive strength, rivaling that of concrete, which makes it great for weight bearing down on it, but when the tank turns in place and those rubber pads grip into the asphalt and as they turn they rip the road to shreds.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:58 PM on August 17 [12 favorites]


Hey guys, can somebody give me an assessment as to how credible the podcast Gaslit Nation is?

It's hosted by Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa. Sarah Kendzior, imo, is one of the best and brightest people we have reporting on Trump and Russia today, and also one of the most underrecognized. She did her dissertation on authoritarian regimes and has been writing about Trump and Russia for years; the same work which has now been picked up and reported on by male journalists to much recognition and acclaim (and no credit given to her). She lives in St. Louis and was doing reporting on racial disparities in Ferguson and surrounding areas at least a year before the riots.

Andrea Chalupa is also a writer/journalist whose sister Alexandra is a former DNC consultant who has done a ton of research on Ukraine/Yanukovych and of course Paul Manafort (and has been harassed and likely had her phones tapped as a result). The vote count stuff Andrea was talking about in the latest podcast was from her sister's facebook post days after the 2016 election (reposted here for those not on facebook):
Regardless of Hillary Clinton’s concession, a close analysis must be done of the actual voting results (machine tabulations and paper ballots cast) versus the vote reporting (to the board of elections and Secretary of State offices). Some important facts collectively warrant this:

1) Russians have heavily influenced this election for the past six months and have successfully hacked into the election systems of more than half the states in the country;

2) Major public polls and the Clinton campaign's internal polls were historically off the mark, and in the campaign's case, didn't match the voter file records, which is unheard of to this level. This is especially odd considering that Clinton's campaign manager Robby Mook is one the most brilliant in politics when it comes to micro-targeting and voter analysis. Even GOP strategist and pollster Frank Luntz called the 2016 exit polls “the worst and least accurate we’ve ever seen,” in a Tweet sent on election night.

3) Homeland Security/DOJ teamed up with a group that is part of Anonymous based in Washington, D.C. called “The Protectors.” This group saw a lot of activity during Election Day from the Russians and believe that the voting results projected don’t match the internal and public polls because the voting results were manufactured in favor of Trump in heavily Republican counties in key states, and voting results may have been decreased for Clinton in key Democratic counties via malware that was placed by the Russians when they hacked the election systems of more than half our states.

4) Trump/Manafort set-up the “rigged election” narrative months ago preparing for exactly this scenario. This is straight out of Manafort’s playbook, and Putin’s, too — accuse the other side of doing what you’re doing so that you cannot be accused of doing it. There is no short supply of examples of this: Putin regularly accuses the US of meddling in Russia’s affairs when he annexed Crimea, invaded east Ukraine, and holds sham elections in Russia.

5) Kellyanne Conway, an expert conservative pollster, was selected as Trump’s campaign manager when Paul Manafort took too much heat about his Russian’s connections and “resigned” (though he has likely continued to be involved behind the scenes and continues to have a residence in Trump Towers), and Conway helped lead messaging that polls were all wrong and that Trump has “shadow supporters,” a term that mainstream journalists echoed as the election results began to favor Trump.

6) Paul Manafort, who has heavy ties to the Kremlin, is being federally investigated for his work in Ukraine, was virtually silent since resigning from Trump’s campaign a few months ago, but sent his first tweet since resigning last week saying that by the Sunday before the election Trump would have the 270 votes needed to win (despite internal and public polls saying otherwise).

Something seems very off and needs to be closely examined. Homeland Security/DOJ should be able to verify this, even though Clinton conceded.
People have been calling these women crazy, paranoid, hysterical, etc. for awhile and only now are just starting to realize the women were right all along. To answer your question, I think it's a pretty credible podcast.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:03 PM on August 17 [100 favorites]


Yeah, it is very much the case that tanks chew up tarmac. Just go and look at war zone roads - one of the reasons it is hard to cover up military armour ops after the fact is that the damage is extremely obvious and telling. Tanks also very quickly kill their own tracks/treads, which is an indicator of how much force is going on. As discussed above, turns will do all of the above very fast - remember that unlike wheels, quite a lot of metal is being literally dragged sideways over the ground surface because the elements of the track do not move independently like truck wheels.
posted by jaduncan at 9:13 PM on August 17 [4 favorites]


Just to recap:

1. Trump required his staffers to sign Non-Disparagement Agreement, covering not only himself but also his family and businesses, even lasting beyond his Presidency. That’s an unconstitutional abridgment of their First Amendment rights and — if I understand correctly — even for an employer to demand it as a condition of employment is a violation of Federal Employment Law.

2. The fact that the staffers entered into these agreements in exchange for their federal appointments is also a felony for both Trump and the signers: specifically, bribery.

3. Trump has admitted that he retaliated against Brennan specifically for speaking out against Trump, by revoking his security clearance. That’s a violation of Brennan’s constitutional rights to free speech.

4. Trump has indicated that he plans to do the same to a number of others who are likely to be called as witnesses in the Mueller investigation. That’s witness tampering...also a federal crime, and possibly a felony.