"Do not despair of our present difficulties"—Sen. John McCain
August 27, 2018 4:50 PM   Subscribe

Though McCain's farewell statement asked his fellow Americans to "give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country", Trump rejected initial plans for a White House statement praising his rival (Washington Post). Earlier today, ABC's Karen Travers (@karentravers) noted, "Flags at the White House were lowered to half staff this weekend for the passing of John McCain but this morning they are back to full staff.", while CBS's Mark Knoller (@markknoller) reported that Trump "[w]as asked to reflect on the legacy of Sen. McCain, but declined. Sat silent and cross-armed as press pool herded out of the Oval Office." But late this afternoon, the White House issued a statement that Trump "signed a proclamation to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff until the day of [McCain's] interment". However, CNBC's Eamon Javers (@EamonJavers) observed that although "the White House flag is now at half staff, [the f]lag atop the White House’s Executive Office Building is still fully raised now[….]" Trump will not attend McCain's funeral, as per the late senator's request (NY Daily News).

• Last week, Trump’s campaign chairman and personal lawyer became felons, just like his national security adviser and foreign policy advisor/coffee boy. Michael Cohen, in a plea agreement with federal prosecutors (New York Times), pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts, implicating Trump by admitting in US SDNY court that he, "in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office," kept information that would have harmed Trump from becoming public during the 2016 election. In the EDVA court, Paul Manafort was found guilty on five charges of tax fraud, one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts, and two counts of bank fraud (WaPo), but the jury deadlocked on the other 10 charges, thanks to a lone hold-out (CNBC). Manafort had sought a deal in his next trial, but negotiations stalled after Mueller raised issues , per the Wall Street Journal today. Why Manafort and Cohen Thought They’d Get Away With It (ProPublica) Why Michael Cohen Agreed to Plead Guilty—And Implicate the President. (WSJ)

• As for other Trump allies: Allen Weisselberg, Longtime Trump Organization CFO, Is Granted Immunity in Cohen Probe (WSJ) "The interview, which focused on Cohen and the payments, happened weeks ago under a deal negotiated by his attorney, one of the sources said. Weisselberg hasn't been called back, the source said." (CNN); David Pecker, CEO of National Enquirer Publisher, Granted Immunity in Michael Cohen Case (WSJ)—“Holy shit, I thought Pecker would be the last one to turn,” a Trump friend told Vanity Fair.

• After this week's worth of bad news had driven Trump "nuts" and left him feeling "very tender" (VF), this afternoon, in a surprise joint statement he announced a separate U.S.-Mexico trade agreement, saying that Canada may join later and that NAFTA was terminated (WaPo). The announcement featured great difficulty getting the speakerphone to work and ended with Trump's request for a hug from the Mexican President as he increased pressure on Canada. On Twitter, President Peña Nieto declared, “We want Canada's re-incorporation into talks to achieve a successful trilateral negotiation of NAFTA this week.” and Trudeau's office says he and Trump had "a constructive conversation today".

In Other Headlines:

• Duncan D. Hunter (R-CA-50), the son of former Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee and GOP presidential candidate Duncan L. Hunter and the second member of Congress after Rep. Chris Collins to endorse Donald Trump, is, like Collins, now under indictment (San Diego Union-Tribune), his political promise foiled by hard partying and a corruption scandal (NYT). (He is currently only 8 points ahead in a new poll.)

Facebook Identifies New Political Influence Operation Ahead of Midterm Elections (NYT) "The activity originated in Iran and Russia, Facebook said. Unlike past influence operations on the social network, which largely targeted Americans, the fake accounts, pages and groups were this time also aimed at people in Latin America, Britain and the Middle East, the company said. Some of the activity was still focused on Americans, but the campaigns were not specifically intended to disrupt the midterm elections in the United States[….]"

Kremlin Sources Go Quiet, Leaving C.I.A. in the Dark About Putin’s Plans for Midterms (NYT) "American intelligence agencies have not been able to say precisely what are Mr. Putin’s intentions: He could be trying to tilt the midterm elections, simply sow chaos or generally undermine trust in the democratic process."

Gov. Jim Justice appointed West Virginia House Speaker Tim Armstead and Congressman Evan Jenkins to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals (WVa Public Broadcasting) (i.e. two of the lawmakers who impeached the justices have now taken their place.)

• Three-Judge Panel Rules Unconstitutional Gerrymandering In North Carolina (WaPo): "A panel of three federal judges held Monday that North Carolina’s congressional districts were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to aide Republicans over Democrats and said it may require new districts before the November elections, possibly impacting control of the House."

Republicans secretly study their coming hell (Axios) "Axios has obtained a spreadsheet that's circulated through Republican circles on and off Capitol Hill—including at least one leadership office—that meticulously previews the investigations Democrats will likely launch if they flip the House." (c.f. 52 Trump Investigations That Democrats Plan If They Win The Midterms from the Huffington Post)

Trump admin intentionally slowing FBI vetting of refugees, ex-officials say (NBC News) "Former officials and aid organizations say the administration has overloaded the FBI and other government agencies with an array of procedures that have weighed down the bureaucracy and effectively delayed refugee admissions." And MSNBC's Jacob Soboroff (@jacobsoboroff) breaks down the Trump administration's latest update on family separations: "Numbers barely moving. 528 *still* separated; 23 are 0-5 year olds. Parents of 343 *already* deported; 6 are 0-5. Parents of 139 waived right to reunite, but many say they were coerced."

U.S. to Pay Farmers $4.7 Billion to Offset Trade-Conflict Losses—Industry groups say the payments are insufficient to make up for what farmers lost due to tariffs (WSJ). "The biggest chunk of USDA's farm-assistance payments will go to growers of soybeans, whose prices have dropped sharply amid trade disputes."

This is the 584th day of the Trump administration. There are 70 days left until the 2018 mid-term elections and 798 until the 2020 presidential election (you can check your voter registration status on Vote.org and learn more at USA.gov).

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 many thanks to Box and Zachlipton for collaborating on this FPP's draft on the MeFi wiki.)
posted by Doktor Zed (1449 comments total) 120 users marked this as a favorite
 
This morning was crazy at work: first we got an announcement that the flag was going to be at half-staff; then a few hours later we got an announcement that it was not going to be at half-staff; then we got a plea to stop asking them why it wasn't at half-staff: they had no information.
posted by acrasis at 5:03 PM on August 27 [58 favorites]


So, Trump is “taking a knee” on honoring McCain?
posted by amanda at 5:08 PM on August 27 [90 favorites]


I'm pretty sure people on here will put it more eloquently, but, christ, what a fucking man-baby.
posted by littlesq at 5:15 PM on August 27 [67 favorites]


Don't know where else to put this but talk about propaganda. I get the USDA notices in my email, this was the title of the one today "USDA Announces Details of Assistance for Farmers Impacted by Unjustified Retaliation"

Just in case you didn't know how to think about, you know, the tariffs and their blow-back.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 5:16 PM on August 27 [13 favorites]


Of the several different words to choose from "internment" is the one they choose, eh?
posted by humboldt32 at 5:16 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


It’s “interment”. What are the several words that would be more appropriate??
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 5:19 PM on August 27 [6 favorites]




Does anyone know if there's a reason beyond McCain's request, that he's being buried at Annapolis?
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 5:22 PM on August 27




Does anyone know if there's a reason beyond McCain's request, that he's being buried at Annapolis?

This may have been at Larson's request -- or, at least, because of a longstanding agreement between the two of them. "McCain’s office said on Sunday that Larson, who died in 2014, had reserved four plots at the site — for himself, McCain and their wives, both now widows."
posted by halation at 5:26 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


That's hilarious, acrasis, in an absurd way. I can't believe that the story of today was about White House flag policy as Trump's way of feuding with McCain posthumously, even letting it overshadow his slapped-together US-Mexico trade deal announcement. Giving the press the silent treatment when pressed about McCain was infantile, but one has to wonder how much of it was trolling. This morning, after promising "A big deal looking good with Mexico!", @realDonaldTrump tweeted, smugly and transparently, "The Fake News Media worked hard to get Tiger Woods to say something that he didn’t want to say. Tiger wouldn’t play the game - he is very smart. More importantly, he is playing great golf again!"

Trump's now hosting his special dinner with evangelical leaders, where he tells them “We appreciate the many things Sen McCain has done for our country.” per Reuters's Steve Holland (@steveholland1).

But back to Trump, CBS's Mark Knoller (@markknoller) reports, “Standing under a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, Pres Trump thanks the Evangelical leaders, saying the support they've given him 'has been incredible.' But he is quick to say he doesn't feel guilty about it, 'because I have given you a lot back, just about everything I promised.'”
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:33 PM on August 27 [7 favorites]


Standing under a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, Pres Trump thanks the Evangelical leaders, saying the support they've given him 'has been incredible.' But he is quick to say he doesn't feel guilty about it, 'because I have given you a lot back, just about everything I promised.'”

That implies he has something to feel guilty about regarding the rest of the population.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:38 PM on August 27 [7 favorites]


For all the media and public disgust over Trump's behavior re: McCain's passing, I just can't see this moving the needle for anyone at all. His base had already turned on McCain and poured all their venom out on him. They don't feel a shred of regret for that. And to be honest, it's hard to believe Republicans of "conscience" could swallow mass child kidnapping & abuse, an immigration ban clearly based solely on religion, abandoning Puerto Rico, and all the rest, and yet get upset enough about McCain to change any of their votes.

Even the ones who have the gall to express disgust with Trump's petulance are still going to stick with him.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:40 PM on August 27 [10 favorites]


I just cannot get over this photo of Trump crossing his arms while stubbornly refusing to respond to questions about McCain's passing. It's like those photoshopped Onion photos of Bush getting his head stuck in a bannister, but real. What an absolute goddamn child.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:41 PM on August 27 [144 favorites]




That photo of Trump crossing his arms is just a little too on the nose.
posted by theory at 5:57 PM on August 27 [40 favorites]


For all the media and public disgust over Trump's behavior re: McCain's passing, I just can't see this moving the needle for anyone at all. His base had already turned on McCain and poured all their venom out on him

The one grumpy old coot on my Facebook feed posted a cartoon that equated McCain's cancer with a brain dissolving disease that turned conservatives into liberals. I have to say he promptly had his ass handed to him and not by the people you'd expect to. One staunchly conservative church lady posted that it was in poor taste and he should remove it and the flood gates opened. So it may be moving the needle quite a bit more than you'd think. Especially in military families. In the end he did not remove it but I guarantee you bridges have been burned there.

I'm not a huge fan of McCain and never was but the man was an important figure nationally and he deserves respect for that.
posted by fshgrl at 6:02 PM on August 27 [29 favorites]


There's also this irksome thing where McCain was a white man, while the children, immigrants, and residents of Puerto Rico are all overwhelmingly not.
posted by Mizu at 6:06 PM on August 27 [22 favorites]


Republicans are now asking what they should do with Trump.
Here's an idea: What would you have done if it were Obama?
Do that.


Obama was a leader. He convinced many Democrats to fall on their swords to do what was right instead of fighting to preserve their own power. The Democrats passed the ACA and many of them did end up falling on that sword but they did what was right to help millions of people.

Trump on the other hand? Republicans are shit scared about their primary fights. He can't even fail hard enough to make those power craven bottom feeders even think about doing the right thing.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 6:10 PM on August 27 [31 favorites]


Trump's approval rating largely untouched by last week's bombshell news events.
posted by briank at 6:11 PM on August 27 [6 favorites]


I'm not a huge fan of McCain and never was but the man was an important figure nationally and he deserves respect for that.

Just like Donald Trump! I think this particular test may be like the on-the-cover-of-Time test, and hence perhaps isn't so useful as a standard for respect or criticism.
posted by XMLicious at 6:11 PM on August 27 [11 favorites]


I don't think we can underestimate how livid the military community was this morning. Fallout might reach both WWC and military contractors.

God I hope he survives to be humiliated.
posted by rhizome at 6:14 PM on August 27 [26 favorites]


It’s shit like this that has gotten me to abandon national news entirely.
posted by tommasz at 6:18 PM on August 27 [11 favorites]


I don't think we can underestimate how livid the military community was this morning

While I know opinions on McCain can differ, the man is lying in state at the Capitol, an honor granted to less than forty people in the last hundred years. For Trump to then declare 'nah, the flag is too much' is....so typically and shittily Trump I cannot even.
posted by corb at 6:20 PM on August 27 [114 favorites]


I have a Seal who served in Vietnam in my close circle. I think many people outside the military do not realize how angry this has made service people. Those of us who remember Vietnam, those of us who have fathers and brothers on the Wall, we know what John did, and what he went through, and how easy it would have been for him to take the easy way out of torture.

I'm no defender of what he became, but at one point, he was what we all based our hopes on. John came home, so might Dad, or brother, or cousin Bob.

Mango has pissed off the troops. The ones old enough to be ranking leaders. Whether that makes a damn bit of difference is yet to be seen. But the senators snuggling up to the draft dodger as he slags a vet who survived the Hanoi Hilton should probably not expect a lot of support from military families.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:23 PM on August 27 [134 favorites]


Conservative talk radio in the car today was worried this could hurt him with vets, so there's that. Ted Kennedy comparisons are being talked about, so that's something. donnie sure is coming off poorly in this and he can't tweet an insulting nickname at a dead man, let alone one like Mcain. It would be like punching the ocean. Must be driving him nuts.

I know this is not the Mcain thread, but this is a national moment. If we are going to love our enemies, or at least signal that we can and want to talk, this is an opportunity to do so. I've had a few interactions since he died with people I disagree with over teh politiks that were warm and constructive. It is a chance for progressive libs like me to show what is left of the GOP that we are not demonrats, not revolutionaries, not the enemy. If that becomes part of John Mcain's legacy somehow, that would be good.
posted by vrakatar at 6:24 PM on August 27 [19 favorites]


Trump has finally managed to mention the Florida shooting. It's worse than the silence:
Before going any further, I want to extend our prayers and condolences to the victims of the tragic shooting in Jacksonville, Florida. That was a terrible thing indeed. And how it happens, nobody really knows. But they've done an incredible job down in Jacksonville, as they always do in Florida and throughout the country. But condolences.
"And how it happens, nobody really knows." Such leadership. As in a pretty literally ripped from television example of what makes someone unfit to be President.
posted by zachlipton at 6:31 PM on August 27 [58 favorites]


I’m old enough to remember how Trump lost the support of the military and then the election after he insulted a Gold Star family. Of course, McCain was white, so...
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:37 PM on August 27 [119 favorites]


Mass shootings. Boy, I don't know.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:38 PM on August 27 [72 favorites]


"But they've done an incredible job down in Jacksonviile..."

Huh. So Jacksonville residents have something to be

"...as they always do in Florida..."

Well, sure, the whole state of Florida deserves some recogn

"...and throughout the country."

So Jacksonville residents aren't really being applauded here at all, huh?

"But condolences."

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
posted by emelenjr at 6:40 PM on August 27 [59 favorites]


Trump on the other hand? Republicans are shit scared about their primary fights. He can't even fail hard enough to make those power craven bottom feeders even think about doing the right thing.

Not even the ones who are retiring and don't have to worry about an election! Oh sure, they may talk tough, but in the end, they vote for his agenda anyway. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, I am looking at you two in particular.
posted by SisterHavana at 6:42 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


I sure as hell hope that some trump supporting military folks abandon their support for him as a result of his handling of McCain’s death. Haven’t seen many leopards realize their faces are going to be eaten via anything but actually having their own face on the menu, so I’m not exactly holding my breath.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:46 PM on August 27 [5 favorites]


Calling it now: if the uproar over the flag reaches a critical level (on par with, say, the Putin ass-kissing in Helsinki), Trump will claim he did, in fact, order the flag to be flown at half-staff, and a subordinate fucked up his order. It's this week's "I meant to say 'wouldn't,' not 'would'."
posted by Rykey at 6:46 PM on August 27 [20 favorites]


Just like Donald Trump! I think this particular test may be like the on-the-cover-of-Time test, and hence perhaps isn't so useful as a standard for respect or criticism.

Donald Trump is nothing like John McCain. It's possible to not like politicians for completely different reasons. It's also possible to think someone is misguided but still respect the way they conduct themselves or the person. Which I believe is what McCain asked people to do on his deathbed .
posted by fshgrl at 6:56 PM on August 27 [12 favorites]


"Nobody really knows."

Trump: the ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ president.
posted by vverse23 at 6:59 PM on August 27 [24 favorites]


But the senators snuggling up to the draft dodger as he slags a vet who survived the Hanoi Hilton should probably not expect a lot of support from military families.

This reaction is puzzling to me. Didn't Trump already insult McCain much worse during the campaign? How could he possibly have any more credibility to lose at this point among vets and others who take these things seriously?
posted by albrecht at 7:00 PM on August 27 [34 favorites]


That photo of Trump crossing his arms is just a little too on the nose.

Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States is (choose one):

1. Refusing to comment on John McCain's passing.
2. Refusing to eat spinach, Mom, you can't make me.
3. Perfecting his Mussolini impression.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:03 PM on August 27 [49 favorites]


This sort of pettiness is so typical of the Trump administration, and I think it does appeal to his core base. They love the idea of being able to be spiteful and get away with it. After all, isn't this a big chunk of what they complain about with "Political Correctness? The fear of being held to account?
posted by happyroach at 7:06 PM on August 27 [52 favorites]


Didn't Trump already insult McCain much worse during the campaign? How could he possibly have any more credibility to lose at this point among vets and others who take these things seriously?

My dad's a vet and a Trump voter. A while back I had a conversation with him about Trump's disrespect of the military, including McCain.

Turns out my dad used to like McCain but has soured on him in recent years because he's not conservative enough. Turns out my dad considers Trump's support for throwing money at the military more important than Trump's contempt for actual servicemembers. I doubt heaping more insults on dead McCain will make a difference to him. One can hope, maybe.
posted by gurple at 7:09 PM on August 27 [18 favorites]


I've been thinking, this afternoon, about how Trump's various psychological damage prevents him from recognizing many opportunities and how the people he's surrounded himself with seem incapable, even if they can see such opportunities themselves, to get him to follow good advice. So it's not really a mystery to me why he's not doing this, but imagine if, instead of petulant tweeting and the confused raising and lowering of the White House flags, the response from the White House had been something like this:
As everybody knows, Senator McCain and I didn't see eye-to-eye on every issue but glioblastoma, the cancer which took his life, is a terrible disease that nobody should ever have to suffer through. And so, to mark the passing of Senator McCain I am calling on Congress to set aside $100 million for glioblastoma research. Thank you, that is all.
He wouldn't have to say a single nice thing about McCain, wouldn't even have to find the money (just "call on Congress" to do so and then it becomes Ryan and McConnell's problem and anyway it's not gonna come out of Trump's pocket) and can you even imagine the fawning he'd receive from the press, the praise from legislators in both parties, a pass from the vets, and all the "truly, today, Trump has acted presidentially" thinkpieces we'd be reading for weeks if not months, possibly all the way into the midterm elections?

But he can't. He's just incapable of such a play. Even if it would bring him the adulation that he so clearly, clearly craves, his psychological complex is such that he's simply unable to imagine it and if anyone suggested it to him he'd consider it weak to not hit back at McCain, rather than a clear positive example of strength, leadership, and magnanimity.

Or to put it in other terms, Trump is so psychologically blinkered that even with literally nothing to gain by it he'd rather pick a fight with a popular figure from his own party who is widely considered a war hero than score an easy win by declaring a feel-good war on horrible brain-eating cancer instead.
posted by Nerd of the North at 7:09 PM on August 27 [154 favorites]


Maybe, just maybe, the death of an elder statesman and war hero might rekindle some weak ember of the Senate's sense of camaraderie and drive the tiniest wedge between Trump and senior Republican--
GOP Sen. James Inhofe (Okla.) on Monday said the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is "partially to blame" for the controversy over President Trump's raising and then re-lowering American flags to mark McCain's death.
"Well, you know, frankly, I think that John McCain is partially to blame for that because he is very outspoken," Inhofe told reporters, according to CNN. "He disagreed with the president in certain areas and wasn't too courteous about it."
sigh.
posted by Rhaomi at 7:11 PM on August 27 [47 favorites]


BuzzFeed, Lanny Davis Says He Was A Source For CNN’s Trump Tower Story
Attorney Lanny Davis says he was an anonymous source in a July CNN story that reported his client, Michael Cohen, had privately claimed that President Trump had advance knowledge of the infamous Trump Tower meeting between his son and Russians — contradicting Davis's own words on CNN's air last week.

In the story, Cohen was reported to claim he had personally witnessed Donald Trump Jr. informing then-candidate Trump about the June 2016 meeting. Such a claim from Cohen would directly contradict Trump’s statements about his knowledge of the meeting, where Russians were set to offer dirt on Hillary Clinton.

CNN’s July 26 story has come under fresh scrutiny in recent days after Davis acknowledged he had served as an anonymous source for multiple news outlets who were seeking to confirm the CNN article in the hours after it published. Davis has backed away from the story in recent days, telling the Washington Post that he is not certain if the claim is accurate, and that he could not independently corroborate it.

Last week, Davis told Anderson Cooper, “I think the reporting of the story got mixed up in the course of a criminal investigation. We were not the source of the story.”

On Monday evening, Davis told BuzzFeed News that he regrets both his role as an anonymous source and his subsequent denial of his own involvement.

Davis told BuzzFeed News that he did, in fact, speak anonymously to CNN for its story, which cited “sources with knowledge” — meaning more than one person. “I made a mistake,” Davis said. Regarding his comments about a month later to Cooper, he added, “I did not mean to be cute.”
Why do all these people have such terrible people for lawyers?
posted by zachlipton at 7:12 PM on August 27 [18 favorites]


My dad was a SEAL in Nam. He didn’t like McCain much, but one thing he did in Vietnam was rescue POWs, and he knew it was tough what McCain went through, regardless of the bullshit later. I didn’t like McCain much either, and I’m from Phoenix, and I find hero worship really weird and strange, but there’s an ability for people to have sympathy even for somebody who is not a great human being overall. There’s a nuance there that isn’t around in politics anymore: “what this person went through was horrible” alongside “I heavily disagree and hate things they did as a person.”
posted by gucci mane at 7:17 PM on August 27 [49 favorites]


Republicans of "conscience"

come now. this is a real life politics thread, not a discussion of mythical creatures.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:30 PM on August 27 [82 favorites]


I take the optimistic view: every awful thing Trump does is a chance for a few more of his supporters to finally give up on him. Not necessarily a lot of supporters, but he does enough awful things that it adds up over time.
posted by nnethercote at 7:30 PM on August 27 [36 favorites]


Republicans of "conscience"

come now. this is a real life politics thread, not a discussion of mythical creatures.


Best hope there's at least one.
posted by AdamCSnider at 7:33 PM on August 27 [28 favorites]


Trump has behaved as badly about this as he possibly could without actually mooning anyone. But men have been buried in full state who by rights should have had no more than a numbered stake in a prison boneyard; and they will again, if we still have a society. It grinds my teeth, but I like it better than the alternative, which is what Trump is demonstrating now.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:37 PM on August 27 [9 favorites]


This reaction is puzzling to me. Didn't Trump already insult McCain much worse during the campaign?

There are some people who really get behind that “don’t speak ill of the dead” thing. There are probably a few vocal people who could tolerate Trump disrespecting a live McCain, but who draw the line at disrespecting his memory. I mean, not enough to affect an election or anything, but enough to make some noise in the media this week.
posted by greermahoney at 7:47 PM on August 27 [6 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

(I'm going to start adding 2016 presidential result and Cook rating to the House races, to help provide context)

** 2018 House:
-- CA-50: In the first polling since GOP incumbent Hunter's indictment, SurveyUSA poll has Hunter up 47-39 on Dem Campa-Najjar [MOE: +/- 5.1%] [Trump 55-40 | Cook: Lean R]

-- NY-24: Siena College poll has GOP incumbent Katko up 54-39 on Dem Balter [MOE: +/- 4.7%] [Clinton 49-45 | Cook: Likely R]

-- MO-02: Remington Research poll has GOP incumbent Wagner up 51-40 on Dem Van Ostran [MOE: +/- 3.1%]. [Trump 53-42 | Cook: Likely R]
** 2018 Senate:
-- TX: Emerson poll has GOP incumbent Cruz up 38-37 on Dem O'Rourke [MOE: +/- 4.4%]

-- MT: WPA Intelligence poll has GOPer up 47-45 on incumbent Dem Tester [MOE: +/- 4.0%]. The poll was commissioned by the NRSC.

-- FL: Dems starting to fret about Nelson campaign.
** Odds & ends:
-- A federal district court has found - yet again - that North Carolina's US House districts are unconstitutionally gerrymandered, and may yet require new districts to be used for the 2018 midterm. This Twitter thread from Michael Li is a good summary on where we go now. Note that non-biased districts would likely mean a 2-3 seat gain for Democrats.

-- TX gov: That Emerson poll has GOP incubent Abbott up 48-28 on Dem Valdez.

-- AK gov: Incumbent independent Walker and Dem nominee Begich negotiating about one of them dropping out. GOP will likely pick up the seat if the two of them split the non-right wing vote. Deadline for dropping out is Sept 4.

-- KS gov: Campaign manager for gov Colyer, who lost in the GOP primary, has endorsed independent challenger Orman.

-- KY gov: Incumbent GOP gov Bevin will seek re-election next year (he had earlier been waffling).

-- Probolsky Research poll has Proposition 6 (gas tax repeal) failing in CA, 48-36. The tax proved key in the recall election of a Dem state senator earlier this year. [MOE: +/- 5.8%].
====
Tomorrow: primaries in FL and AZ (and runoffs in OK). DKE preview, Taniel races to watch, and an exhaustive Florida primary rundown.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:48 PM on August 27 [31 favorites]


As if any more evidence was needed that white evangelicals' embrace of Trump has become a bearhug... and that Sessions is a dead man walking:

Sessions has lost evangelical support
[Politico]
“He really is not on the president’s team, never was,” Falwell, the president of Liberty University, said of Sessions. “He’s wanted to be attorney general for many, many years. I have a feeling he took a gamble and supported the president because he knew he would reward loyalty.”

Falwell said he has urged the president to fire Sessions and told POLITICO he planned to bring up the subject again Monday evening at a small gathering with Trump and the first lady. Later, Falwell and dozens of other faith leaders were to attend a formal White House dinner celebrating the evangelical community.

In forsaking Sessions, faith leaders are turning on one of their own, a man who for decades fought in the political trenches for conservative Christian causes. As a senator from Alabama, Sessions was one of the first Republicans to endorse Trump’s long-shot presidential campaign, taking heat from his party in return.
posted by theory at 7:50 PM on August 27 [31 favorites]


And he saith unto them, "Whose is this image and superscription?" They say unto him, "Caesar's." Then saith he unto them, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."
posted by Chrysostom at 7:52 PM on August 27 [21 favorites]


Rick Hasen has an analysis up of the North Carolina decision, including Supreme Court implications and how this works from here.
posted by zachlipton at 7:57 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]


So if Sessions is fired, what's to stop him from blabbing all he knows?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 8:00 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


That photo of Trump, arms crossed. It seriously looks like he's holding his breath til he gets what he wants (the room cleared of those mean reporters!). Aside from how soul crushingly depressing it is to have such a lack wit, classless, utterly in-self-aware buffoon sitting in the Oval Office, it would have been nice for at least a couple journalists to have lingered until he started turning purple, or maybe passed out a bit?
posted by Ghidorah at 8:02 PM on August 27 [28 favorites]


Donald Trump’s Response to John McCain’s Death Reminds Us Just How Petty He Is

John Cassidy | The New Yorker
Donald Trump is a small, petty man. He is a liar and a crook. And his legal problems are mounting. Each one of these statements has been true since January 20, 2017, when Trump became the President of the United States. But the remarkable events of the past week have highlighted and confirmed the essence of this President, and the terms on which he continues to hold office.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:10 PM on August 27 [23 favorites]


Sean Hannity, listing trump scandals to own the libs (also available in Benny Hill flavor)

It looks just like those old Sally Struthers correspondence school ads, except "Trump's dealings with Russia" and "Election Security and Hacking Attempts" and other problems Congressional Republicans have zero interest in looking into take the place of "TV/VCR Repair" and such.
posted by zachlipton at 8:17 PM on August 27 [12 favorites]


What the height of your flag means (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
  • Half-staff: I am respectfully observing the passing of Sen. John McCain.
  • Half-staff, then full, then begrudgingly half again, over the White House: The president doesn’t think John McCain was a hero because he got captured (?) and is being mean and petty about it.
  • Half-staff, then full, then begrudgingly half again: Listen, I understand that superficially this resembles what the president is doing, but I think that an insistence on decorum above all has gotten us where we are today, and I have some thoughts about McCain’s legacy that I would like to raise. Obviously, the reason to criticize McCain is not that he got captured, though.
  • Half-staff but one of the corners is folded down like a bookmark: I would like to reevaluate the senator’s legacy at an appropriate time, although in this news cycle, can anything ever be said to be an appropriate time? I don’t know. I don’t know anything anymore.
  • Up and down and up and down and up and down, never resting: Flag height is loading.
  • There is no flag nearby, but instead you respectfully display wall-to-wall coverage of the flag’s position, although you cannot shake the feeling that there must be other things happening in the world: Something in our news is deeply broken.
  • Half-staff but a picture of Sarah Palin has been taped to the flag: I wish to respectfully observe the passing of John McCain, but also I have a point to make.
  • Flag is taken off pole altogether and folded and placed into a box and stared at for a long time: Someone who sought to hold our politics to a higher standard is gone. It is possible to mourn that higher standard and regret what has filled the void while still pointing out that his vision of a world and an America worth protecting at times did not include everyone, and that this had consequences.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:19 PM on August 27 [72 favorites]


Hellooo . . . Hellooo?’: An awkward phone call becomes part of the Trump spectacle

(David Nakamura | WaPo)
The awkward, real-time sequence in the Oval Office offered another example of Trump’s willingness to discard protocol and conduct his presidency like a reality show playing out in real time, conscripting those around him in service of the spectacle.

From hour-long Cabinet meetings broadcast live on cable television to White House events and campaign rallies in which he impulsively invites guests on stage to speak, Trump has employed his showman’s mind-set to cast those around him in bit parts in a never-ending series about himself.

... Parts of the conversation were so stilted that it took on the air of a hastily arranged photo op. An interpreter tried to keep up with the Mexican leader’s Spanish, while Peña Nieto promised Trump, who doesn’t drink, a tequila toast.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:23 PM on August 27 [8 favorites]


NYT has a Giuliani profile, and while there's a lot of things we already know in there, I'll highlight a couple bits in which he's trying to explain what he's setting out to do. In Defending Trump, Is Giuliani a Shrewd Tactician or ‘Untethered’?:
But speaking by telephone from Scotland last week, the erstwhile icon, now 74, offered the first detailed look at his strategy for representing the president, in blunt and divisively political terms. Mr. Giuliani said he believes that since Mr. Trump is essentially having his day in court, in real time, his “jury is the public.”

The aggressive defense “starts with his base, then it stretches out to independents — then to Democrats,” Mr. Giuliani said. He readily acknowledged that he would never win over many on the left, but maintained that for others, impeachment was “going too far.”
...
Michael R. Bromwich, a lawyer who served in the United States attorney’s office under Mr. Giuliani and who has publicly criticized him in recent months, said that his former boss seems to have “lost something.” “He doesn’t seem to be well-prepared,” Mr. Bromwich said. “He doesn’t seem to have his facts straight. He doesn’t seem to be aware of the legal exposure that he’s creating for his client.”

Mr. Giuliani shrugged off suggestions that he was a discombobulated advocate, ill serving a client who happens to be the so-called leader of the free world. “You probably can’t do this without making a mistake or two,” he said, then quickly noted with evident satisfaction that “Mueller is now slightly more distrusted than trusted, and Trump is a little ahead of the game.” “So I think we’ve done really well,” said the president’s lawyer. “And my client’s happy.”
In which the President gives advice on a subject he knows well: divorce
Mr. Giuliani’s divorce led to an estrangement with his son, Andrew — which, he says, Mr. Trump helped to heal by counseling the young man over games of golf at his course in Westchester. “When I got divorced, there was the usual anxiety, maybe even anger,” Mr. Giuliani said. “He would golf with Andrew and explain, ‘It doesn’t mean your father doesn’t love you.’ I feel indebted to him for that.”
And this incredible no-comment from Judith Giuliani's lawyer:
According to a statement issued by her lawyer, Bernard Clair, Ms. Giuliani “prefers to maintain her silence about the reasons for her filing and the causes behind the behavioral changes of her husband that have become obvious to even his most ardent supporters.”
posted by zachlipton at 8:28 PM on August 27 [61 favorites]


So if Sessions is fired, what's to stop him from blabbing all he knows?

Just spitballing here, but I don't think Sessions will say shit, or anything bad at any rate, about Trump, for the following reasons:

Sessions wants a future in the republican party and there's no doubt that the GOP base from which he might operate, Alabama, is deep Trump territory (they nominated Roy Moore!). He'll shut his mouth if he wants a political life after Trump.

What's more, he's in general in favor of the Trump agenda even if he's having this, uh, workplace dispute with the boss. An impeachment likely means a Democratic victory in 2020, and Sessions doesn't want his policies overturned.
posted by dis_integration at 8:30 PM on August 27 [12 favorites]


That's some grade A apophasis.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:30 PM on August 27 [22 favorites]


They should have raised over the White House the flag that Trump had drawn earlier in the week.
posted by Xoc at 8:33 PM on August 27 [13 favorites]


‘Hellooo . . . Hellooo?’: An awkward phone call becomes part of the Trump spectacle

Wow, the kicker (the hug thing works better in Spanish, as I understand it):
As the two leaders wrapped up, Peña Nieto told Trump he was sending him “an affectionate hug.”

“A hug from you would be very nice,” the president replied, before hanging up and mistakenly telling reporters that he had just sealed a trade deal with Canada.
Here's video
posted by zachlipton at 8:33 PM on August 27 [29 favorites]


"Why do all these people have such terrible people for lawyers?"

Good lawyers don't want to be disbarred for suborning perjury when they put lying liars who lie on the stand.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:36 PM on August 27 [65 favorites]


Sean Hannity, listing trump scandals to own the libs (also available in Benny Hill flavor)

This really needs the We Didn't Start The Fire treatment.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:58 PM on August 27 [6 favorites]


So if Sessions is fired, what's to stop him from blabbing all he knows?

His entire life experience.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:03 PM on August 27 [7 favorites]


Donald Trump is a small, petty man. He is a liar and a crook.

Wait a minute. Nixon set the bar for being a liar and a crook.

Has that Mango Mussolini raised or lowered the bar?

Nixon Lied, Smeared His Foes and Had Accomplishments
posted by BlueHorse at 9:17 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Sessions will not be fired The racist elf is the chief architect of the "reverse all immigration" white supremacist plan to Keep America Republican. I am sure behind the scenes he is doing his damnedest to sandbag Mueller and the Russia investigation, because he's implicated and already perjured himself before Congress.
posted by benzenedream at 9:26 PM on August 27 [10 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. Just for directing traffic, let's keep the discussion of McCain-as-McCain in the McCain obit thread, and keep this thread more for the political fallout, Trump response, etc.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:35 PM on August 27 [7 favorites]


-- FL: Dems starting to fret about Nelson campaign

Nelson's face should be on a milk carton 'cause dude is missing in action.
posted by Justinian at 9:37 PM on August 27 [5 favorites]


Sessions wants a future in the republican party

That's great, but he's gotta realize that's over. It's Trump's party now. And Trump's people hate him. A lot of his old supporters back home have already turned. There's no going back for him in the Republican party at this point
posted by downtohisturtles at 9:41 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]


"They should have raised over the White House the flag that Trump had drawn earlier in the week."

I've been having to look up what various different things mean when people add them to the flag, perhaps he was trying to color in a "support the police" flag. The rest of it is not black and white though, so who knows.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 9:45 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Sessions doesn't care about a future political career, he left an effective lifetime position as the Senator from Alabama to be AG because his true passion is imprisoning, disenfranchising and excluding from the country as many black and brown people as humanly possible, and enshrining that agenda into federal policy in perpetuity. This is his life endgame, right now. The entire reason he backed Trump to begin with was he knew Trump was the only way he could bring that agenda to power, even if it was a longshot. I still believe the only reason he recused from the Russia investigation was to take the spotlight off himself so he could get to doing the real work of ethnic cleansing he's longed for his entire life. He won't ever roll on Trump, not just because he probably knew about the Russian interference the entire time and doing so implicates himself, but because if Trump falls his "legacy" of white supremacy is in danger of being halted or rolled back.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:54 PM on August 27 [69 favorites]


I don't think we can underestimate how livid the military community was this morning. Fallout might reach both WWC and military contractors.

@Christina Wilkie: Hearing tonight from a surprising number of veterans and vets’ relatives who all say Trump’s handling of McCain’s death, esp the flag fiasco, did irreparable damage to their opinion of him, which had been positive until now.
posted by rhizome at 10:55 PM on August 27 [24 favorites]


Ms. Giuliani “prefers to maintain her silence about the reasons for her filing and the causes behind the behavioral changes of her husband that have become obvious to even his most ardent supporters.”

Its the wacky tobaccy isn't it? Sessions was right. As soon as we legalized weed society went straight down the tubes.

No seriously, how can she dangle that out there and not tell us in plain words?
posted by fshgrl at 10:57 PM on August 27 [7 favorites]


No seriously, how can she dangle that out there and not tell us in plain words?

I gotta say: good enough for me.
posted by rhizome at 11:02 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]


Report: Toddler died after contracting infection at ICE family detention facility

Yazmin Suárez told the news outlet in a story published Monday evening that she and her daughter, Mariee, crossed the border from Guatemala in March and were soon sent to an ICE family detention center in Dilley. There, according to the story, 18-month-old Mariee developed an infection and respiratory symptoms that ultimately led to her death. She died of viral pneumonitis six weeks after being released from the facility, VICE reported. She would have turned two this month.

Remember Mariee Suárez the next time you hear "we have to separate them from their children temporarily so that we aren't separated from our children permanently." It translates to "I don't give a shit about killing their babies."
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:12 PM on August 27 [74 favorites]


Melania has something that will turn Trump into a fucking pile of ashes...

Assuming they filed joint tax returns, she has every right to release them without his permission, right?
posted by msalt at 12:30 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


@Christina Wilkie: Hearing tonight from a surprising number of veterans and vets’ relatives who all say Trump’s handling of McCain’s death, esp the flag fiasco, did irreparable damage to their opinion of him, which had been positive until now.

I just...did you ask them why they were ok with his attacks on the Kahn family during the campaign? Why that, for some reason, wasn’t beyond the pale, but simply looking like a petulant toddler and not flying a flag right for McCain is unforgivable?

I’ll be happy with any damage this manages to do to Trump. But if this is your line in the sand you’re probably a piece of shit.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:35 AM on August 28 [78 favorites]


did you ask them why they were ok with his attacks on the Kahn family during the campaign?

He was a candidate then. He's the President and Commander-in-Chief now. I could imagine that difference matters to some people. (I'm not saying I agree with those people.)
posted by nnethercote at 12:56 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]




Headline bulletin on Australian TV (sbs) 'Stony-faced President refuses to honor war hero'. Congratulations jackass, you've made it all about you, again.
posted by adept256 at 3:20 AM on August 28 [13 favorites]


Michelle Goldberg in the NYT: The End of Impunity
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:39 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


did you ask them why they were ok with his attacks on the Kahn family during the campaign?

I think the ethnic associations of the name "Kahn" versus "McCain" are instructive here.
posted by Rykey at 3:50 AM on August 28 [28 favorites]


then quickly noted with evident satisfaction that “Mueller is now slightly more distrusted than trusted, and Trump is a little ahead of the game. So I think we’ve done really well..."


@SteveKornacki
Mueller investigation (Fox News poll, August 2018)
Approve 59%
Disapprove 37%

Starr investigation (Fox News poll, August 1998)
Approve 36%
Disapprove 44%
posted by chris24 at 4:06 AM on August 28 [48 favorites]


Re: Bill Nelson
He's losing. I see ads for Rick Scott almost every day. One talks about his cutting funds for Medicare (why doesn't Nelson have a counter ad reminding Floridians Scott defrauded Medicare before becoming Governor?) One says he doesn't pay health care for his own staff. The fact I can recite them to you is a sign of how often I have seen them. And this is on HGTV and Food Channel!!
This idiot is going to be our next senator and I can't even.
posted by wittgenstein at 4:59 AM on August 28 [8 favorites]


I see ads for Rick Scott almost every day. One talks about his cutting funds for Medicare ...One says he doesn't pay health care for his own staff.

Wait...Scott is boasting about doing these?
posted by Thorzdad at 5:05 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


Moscow’s Empire—Rise and Fall part 2, a 2015 Deutsche Welle about Russia and other post-Soviet states and other former Eastern Bloc countries in the 1990s. Starts to sound awfully familar around 31:30...
  Narrator—...This was when the oligarchs took over the real power in the Kremlin. These rich men paid for Yeltsin's election campaign and after he won they got their rewards: high office in the government and especially great influence on Yeltsin. His power waned and he became little more than a puppet.
  Alexander Vladimirov, former Major General—He only listened to those who constantly told him what a genius he was: that he was on the same level as Clinton and Thatcher or that he would be admitted to the G-7 or G-8. That's why he conducted that orchestra in Germany when he was drunk. And after he'd been to America for the first time he said on TV, “I flew around the Statue of Liberty twice so I'm twice as free!”
  Narrator—During his second term in office Yeltsin was increasingly ridiculed as some sort of clumsy dancing bear. he had become politically irrelevant.
  Alfred Reingoldovich Kokh, former Russian politican and businessman—Slowly it became like it was in the Byzantine Empire with intrigues and nepotism and strange arrangements and crooked deals which had nothing to do with the people nor with the government. Somehow comical characters suddenly started making the important decisions.
So hopefully Trump won't be followed by an American Putin.
posted by XMLicious at 5:09 AM on August 28 [12 favorites]


Sorry Thorzdad - it's early. Those are the claims about Nelson that Scott makes in his ads against Nelson.
posted by wittgenstein at 5:15 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]




Re: Bill Nelson
He's losing


Nelson certainly seems like he's running behind and is not as strong as he could be, but it's a blue year and he has incumbency so i wouldn't write his seat off yet. Granted he's an uninspiring old white dude but Scott is essentially anti charismatic, a genuine lizard person who dines on newborns so you never know
posted by dis_integration at 5:36 AM on August 28 [9 favorites]


Sorry Thorzdad - it's early. Those are the claims about Nelson that Scott makes in his ads against Nelson.

Ah. That's interesting. Apparently that "Dems gonna cut Medicare" claim is a national Republican talking point, then. I'm seeing the same claim being made against the Dem up here in Indiana. Which seems to be setting-up the Dems to be blamed for the upcoming cuts to Medicare, to pay for the tax cuts, planned by the current Republican majority.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:46 AM on August 28 [7 favorites]



Standing under a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, Pres Trump thanks the Evangelical leaders, saying the support they've given him 'has been incredible.' But he is quick to say he doesn't feel guilty about it, 'because I have given you a lot back, just about everything I promised.'”


Under Christian doctrine, these "Evangelical" leaders are literally allowing Trump to damn himself to Hell for his unrepentance. And he does not have much time left in this world.

It does not get any more anti--Christian than this.
posted by ocschwar at 6:01 AM on August 28 [14 favorites]


In today's episode of Leopards Eating Faces...

Only Latino Employee Resigns From Anti-Immigration Group Over Racial Slurs
When Joe Gomez joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) as its sole Latino employee, he told friends that the anti-immigration organization’s reputation as a hate group was unfounded.
But after enduring months of racist slurs, mockery of his medical condition and racialized abuse from FAIR’s top management and executives, Gomez said, he filed a complaint with Washington D.C.’s Office of Human Rights. A copy of the complaint was provided to The Daily Beast.

posted by PenDevil at 6:20 AM on August 28 [58 favorites]


Bless you, Joe Gomez: not for your initial misguided attempt to join the beast, but definitely for the careful catalog of incidents that must be behind the very specific claims in that article.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:37 AM on August 28 [17 favorites]


The Republican Primary for Jeff Flake’s Senate Seat is a Hot Mess - Tim Murphy, Mother Jones
It features charges of assault, drunken karaoke, and bribery. And that’s just a start.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:48 AM on August 28 [7 favorites]


The Republican Primary for Jeff Flake’s Senate Seat is a Hot Mess

And all of this was before Ward said McCain died on purpose to hurt her campaign.
Ward staffer Jonathan Williams posted that he wondered whether McCain's statement was released "to take media attention off" Ward's campaign, which was beginning a statewide bus tour. "I'm not saying it was on purpose but it's quite interesting," Williams wrote.

"I think they wanted to have a particular narrative that they hope is negative to me," Ward responded, according to a screenshot posted by the The Arizona Republic.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:54 AM on August 28 [11 favorites]


And all of this was before Ward said McCain died on purpose to hurt her campaign.

And then tweeted this yesterday after McCain just died of cancer.

@kelliwardaz
Political correctness is like a cancer!
posted by chris24 at 6:57 AM on August 28 [34 favorites]


dis_integration: Nelson certainly seems like he's running behind and is not as strong as he could be, but it's a blue year and he has incumbency so i wouldn't write his seat off yet.

Now I'm confused. The incumbent is Rick Scott and Nelson is the challenger, right?
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:02 AM on August 28


Now I'm confused. The incumbent is Rick Scott and Nelson is the challenger, right?

Scott is term limited as Governor so is running for Senate. Bill Nelson is the incumbent Senator.
posted by dis_integration at 7:05 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Under Christian doctrine, these "Evangelical" leaders are literally allowing Trump to damn himself to Hell for his unrepentance. And he does not have much time left in this world.

Pretty much anytime a conservative seems to be acting against their own stated principles, we come back to the Frank Wilhoit quote:

"Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition …There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect."

Trying to understand why they're OK with apparent hypocrisy (or god forbid, try to change this) is a waste of time. The answer is very simple: the rules (all rules -- social rules, rule of law, religious rules, rules of etiquette, rules of how politicians must comport themselves, etc) only exist to be used as weapons against those in the out-group. They do not broadly apply to members of the in-group. Trump is a rich white guy, which makes him the innermost core of the conservative in-group, so yeah, conservatives do not give a fuck what rules he breaks, because those rules are not for him.
posted by tocts at 7:06 AM on August 28 [89 favorites]


"Dems gonna cut Medicare" claim is a national Republican talking point

Their base continues to surprise me with their level of gullibility. The GOP owns both houses, the White House and is stuffing the courts with conservative judges, yet it's the Dems who are gutting Medicare?

I'm just going to be here in the corner setting myself on fire.
posted by arcticseal at 7:18 AM on August 28 [27 favorites]


Good news, everyone! Media Matters's Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) is back from paternity leave and once again matching up Trump's tweets with the corresponding Fox segments ('cos apparently nobody in the fourth estate is willing to do this on a regular basis).

For instance, he traces back this morning's assorted nonsense on @realDonaldTrump about Google search results' anti-conservative bais to last night's Lou Dobbs segment, in which Diamond and Silk regurgitated an erroneous and biased PJ Media post on the topic. (He also bluntly admonishes the fourth estate for not doing their homework on this: "The full segment, btw, is on Fox's website. If you're a journalist writing up the president's tweets, you should really explain where the president is getting his ideas.")

Unfortunately, Trump's rantings on Twitter, since they're ostensibly official statements, set into motion actual policy directions. CBS's Mark Knoller (@markknoller) reports from the White House, “"We're taking a look at it," says WH econ advisor Larry Kudlow, asked if the Administration thinks Google searches should be regulated, following @POTUS complaint today that it's rigged against him.”
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:20 AM on August 28 [16 favorites]


A Rundown of All the Ways Trump Is Overseeing an All Out, Under-the-Radar Attack on Workers - Steven Hill, In These Times.
Typically, when the U.S. government shifts from a Democratic presidential administration to a Republican one, a certain level of pro-business policies and erosion of labor rights is expected. However, many labor experts say that the presidency of Donald Trump has led to a repeal of Obama administration regulations that is unprecedented, and is proceeding faster than is typical under a new GOP administration.
...
In just over a year and a half as president, Donald Trump has wiped away a number of the modest policy gains that organized labor made during the Obama years. The nominees he chose to fill crucial regulatory roles already are making it more difficult for workers. Taken together, this blizzard of decisions will hurt millions of workers and weaken their abilities to unionize and bargain collectively.
This includes dramatic policy changes at OSHA & NLRB, and deep, targeted cutbacks at Department of Labor.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:26 AM on August 28 [19 favorites]


And all of this was before Ward said McCain died on purpose to hurt her campaign.

Kelli Ward apologizes, sort of.

Kelli Ward apologizes for suggesting McCain timed announcement to hurt her campaign
"I do understand how many could have misconstrued my comments as insensitive, and for this I apologize," Ward told reporters at her campaign headquarters. "The intention of my comments were in no way directed at Sen. McCain or his family."
Just as a reminder, this is the comment she's (sort of) apologizing for:
Ward staffer Jonathan Williams: I wonder if it was just a coincidence that Sen McCain released his statement on the kickoff day of Kelli Ward's bus tour or if it was a plan to take media attention off her campaign? I'm not saying it was on purpose but it's quite interesting.

Kelli Ward: Um...sadly, probably on purpose at some level (he, himself, may not have been aware, but someone was I'm sure)
posted by scalefree at 7:38 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


an erroneous and biased PJ Media post on the topic.

Besides all the myriad issues, lies and falsities with this bullshit, all you need to know is that in PJ's left/right ranking of media, WIRED magazine is much more of a leftist outlet than InfoWars is on the right.
posted by chris24 at 7:41 AM on August 28 [12 favorites]


President non grata: Trump unwelcome and unwilling to perform basic rituals of the office
(Ashley Parker | WaPo)

——

Trump rage-googles himself and reveals a frightening truth about the midterms
(Greg Sargent | WaPo)
Political Twitter is having fun this morning with President Trump’s latest conspiracy theory: Google is rigging its results, so when you search “Trump news,” only “Fake” news criticism of Trump pops up, while conservative media are getting suppressed!

As the Week put it, Trump “is rage-googling himself, and he doesn’t like what he’s found.”

Trump’s claim is, of course, absurd: As Daniel Dale pointed out, all it means is that when you google about Trump, you are likely to initially see stories from major news organizations that are legitimately reporting aggressively on Trump, rather than from conservative opinion sites that are putting out propaganda on his behalf.

But while this might seem like typical Trumpian buffoonery, at its core is some deadly serious business. These attacks on the media — which are now spreading to extensive conspiracy-mongering about social media’s role in spreading information — form one part of an interlocking, two-piece Trumpian strategy (whether by instinct or design is unclear) that serves to underscore the urgency of this fall’s elections.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:47 AM on August 28 [35 favorites]


Kelli Ward apologizes for suggesting McCain timed announcement to hurt her campaign

"I do understand how many could have misconstrued my comments as insensitive, and for this I apologize," Ward told reporters at her campaign headquarters. "The intention of my comments were in no way directed at Sen. McCain or his family."


THAT IS NOT HOW YOU APOLOGIZE and reporting it as an apology is letting her get away with it. That was a wordy way of saying "I'm sorry you didn't understand what I said," but you can't apologize for someone else's misunderstanding, so IT IS NOT AN APOLOGY.

Speaking of red-hot nonsense: The School Shootings That Weren't (NPR, Aug. 27, 2018)
How many times per year does a gun go off in an American school?

We should know. But we don't.

This spring the U.S. Education Department reported that in the 2015-2016 school year, "nearly 240 schools ... reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting." The number is far higher than most other estimates.

But NPR reached out to every one of those schools repeatedly over the course of three months and found that more than two-thirds of these reported incidents never happened. Child Trends, a nonpartisan nonprofit research organization, assisted NPR in analyzing data from the government's Civil Rights Data Collection.

We were able to confirm just 11 reported incidents, either directly with schools or through media reports.

In 161 cases, schools or districts attested that no incident took place or couldn't confirm one. In at least four cases, we found, something did happen, but it didn't meet the government's parameters for a shooting. About a quarter of schools didn't respond to our inquiries.
...
The Education Department, asked for comment on our reporting, noted that it relies on school districts to provide accurate information in the survey responses and says it will update some of these data later this fall. But, officials added, the department has no plans to republish the existing publication (PDF).
DeVos is really pushing hard to get guns into classroooms and paid for with education funds, isn't she? FFS, we all lose with that -- less money to the schools for education, and less safety for all.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:02 AM on August 28 [29 favorites]


DeVos is really pushing hard to get guns into classroooms and paid for with education funds, isn't she? FFS, we all lose with that -- less money to the schools for education, and less safety for all.

Does wording make a difference? What if we called this 'laundering' gun industry subsidies through schools?
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:05 AM on August 28 [14 favorites]




"They are controlling what we can & cannot see."

Man, you should never go full Outer Limits.

But seriously, if Trump doesn't want to see news and headlines of his many crimes and corruption in search results, he shouldn't have been so criminally corrupt in the first place. The way that you get people to say nice things about you is to be considerate, kind, helpful, generous, friendly... all of the things that Trump is not.
posted by Servo5678 at 8:14 AM on August 28 [17 favorites]


Trump Resisted Keeping Flag Lowered Because He Thought McCain Coverage Was Excessive

According to people familiar with the situation who spoke to the Wall Street Journal, Trump thought the reporting on McCain’s passing, just one day after his family announced he would stop seeking medical treatment for his brain cancer, was “over-the-top and more befitting a president,” in WSJ’s words.

"McCain's getting too much attention, better go pee on his casket."

Gotta say, despite my overwhelmingly negative opinion of McCain, his ability to make Trump mad from beyond the grave is incredible. Akin to the saying that nobody truly dies until their name is spoken for the last time, McCain will not truly die until the last time Trump yells at a chyron with his name on it.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:16 AM on August 28 [85 favorites]


Lindsey Graham: President Trump should replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions because their relationship is 'beyond repair'
Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday that President Donald Trump's relationship with Jeff Sessions was "beyond repair," and he called on the president to replace the attorney general.

"We need an attorney general that can work with the president, that can lead the Department of Justice," Graham said Tuesday on NBC's "TODAY."

The South Carolina Republican's comments are a significant departure from last summer, when he threatened "holy hell" if Trump fired Sessions and said the firing could amount to the end of his presidency. Last week, however, Graham said that the time to fire Sessions could come "sooner rather than later."


[...]

He said Sessions, the first senator to endorse the Trump's bid for the presidency, was correct to recuse himself from the investigation.

"Nobody is going to take Jeff's place that doesn't commit to the Senate and the country as a whole that Mueller will be allowed to finish his job without political interference," he said.
posted by XMLicious at 8:22 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


Scott is essentially anti charismatic, a genuine lizard person who dines on newborns so you never know

You know how these lizard people keep getting elected in FL? Huge churn of new people coming in/other people leaving. Newcomers likely haven't heard about how Scott unilaterally refused medicaid expansion just to spite Obama, the historic medicare fraud engaged by his chain of nursing homes, how he similarly refused federal funding for public transit projects, then made big bucks off the privatized version of same; how he literally made it against the law in FL for any state employee to use the words "climate change," "global warming," "greenhouse effect," etc in official documents; his coziness with big sugar--who is responsible for huge outbreaks of toxic algae, red tide, and massive marine life die-offs right now; his various other frauds and injustices too numerous to list. People who've been in FL for a while know he's a disaster, but he's working hard in his ads to erase his years of malfeasance, and I don't see Nelson hitting back hard enough.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 8:25 AM on August 28 [16 favorites]


With the way Lindsey Graham has been acting lately, it raises one question for me: What does Mueller have on him?
posted by azpenguin at 8:29 AM on August 28 [46 favorites]


Trump’s claim is, of course, absurd: As Daniel Dale pointed out, all it means is that when you google about Trump, you are likely to initially see stories from major news organizations that are legitimately reporting aggressively on Trump, rather than from conservative opinion sites that are putting out propaganda on his behalf.

I love the shade Greg Sargent throws at Fox News there.
posted by Gelatin at 8:36 AM on August 28 [10 favorites]


With the way Lindsey Graham has been acting lately, it raises one question for me: What does Mueller have on him?

Or conversely, what does Trump have on Graham? True, Trump's popularity in SC puts pressure on the senator, but then, so might information from Russia's hack of the RNC's old servers in 2016.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:37 AM on August 28 [12 favorites]


It is a chance for progressive libs like me to show what is left of the GOP that we are not demonrats, not revolutionaries, not the enemy.

Not meant as a criticism of the writer of this sentence, but Gabriella Paiella really catches my current take on this attitude in general:
A thing I like to do is talk to my dog in the same tone Sorkin-addled liberals use when they reply to Trump's tweets. "Sir, SIR. Are you frantically licking your penis again? Have you no dignity?" We have fun.
In other news, here's some other news:

To Troll a Movement: A List of 300+ Fake Antifa Accounts on Social Media

GOP Nominee Corey Stewart to Address Neo-Confederate, Far-Right Activists—Again

• Megan Squire's recently published Sage paper, Social network analysis of the 2017 "Summer of Hate"

• Jordan Green's two part piece for the Triad City Beat, "Things Fall Apart." Part 1: North Carolina militia activists take up Trump's fear of a migrant, Muslim planet; and Part 2.

• Lynn Parramore's profile of economist James Buchanan, "Meet the Economist Behind the One Percent’s Stealth Takeover of America."

And because we all float down here, what's certain to be smash hit of the season, The 1st Annual Trump Family Special starring Gina Gershon—didn't think she could ever top Showgirls, did you?—Lisa St. Lou, Marissa Mulder, Suzanne Sole, Peter Hargrave, Brian Sills, Michael Sheehy, and Glen Pannell, with a special guest appearance by The Mooch!
posted by octobersurprise at 8:39 AM on August 28 [18 favorites]


With the way Lindsey Graham has been acting lately, it raises one question for me: What does Mueller have on him?

Considering how he answered a question about Trump's treatment of Graham's supposed best friend, you're not the only one asking.

Jennifer Epstein (Bloomberg)
Sen. Graham on Trump's response to McCain's death: "It is all over now. The flag is down. When the president mentioned John he got applause ... Clearly they had a tentious (sic) relationship but he's not the only one to have a tense relationship with John McCain."
posted by chris24 at 8:47 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


So Graham's angling for AG after Sessions is out, right?
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:50 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


The 1st Annual Trump Family Special starring Gina Gershon

The website is deluxe.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:51 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


When the president mentioned John he got applause

When Sally Sea Lion balanced a ball on her nose she got a herring.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:53 AM on August 28 [29 favorites]


538 preview of tonight's primaries (FL, AZ, OK runoffs).
posted by Chrysostom at 8:54 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


And my personal sense of my senator Graham is that while Lord knows someone may have something "on him," the much simpler explanation is simply that he's a shithead. A charming shithead when he chooses to be, but still a shithead. Acting folksy and being a shithead has been his shtick sense the day he was elected. He knows he can triangulate his approval and disapproval of Trump and ride it back into office.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:54 AM on August 28 [23 favorites]


With the way Lindsey Graham has been acting lately, it raises one question for me: What does Mueller have on him?

After hearing so many fawning pieces about how he and McCain were best friends, it's sick how fast he dumped McCain for Trump. And I don't even like Graham or McCain.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:55 AM on August 28 [38 favorites]


Graham's been rumored to be gay for a long time. He's addressed the rumors directly, when he was attacked by a primary opponent for (somewhat hilariously) being "ambiguously gay." Mike Huckabee went after him for it again hard in 2017 when Graham was speaking up against Trump a whole bunch.

I don't know what they have on Graham, specifically. But if the Russian state wants dirt on a sitting US Senator and the President is a goddamn Russian asset, well, it's not hard to see how they could scrounge something up. They like videos, right?

I don't know if they have Graham with big gay kompromat, or if they've got him on actual crimes. But I do know that for people who are intensely closeted, the threat of being outed can feel like that threat of annihilation. (Which, btw, is the other reason why closeted politicians who are actively homophobic should be outed -- the closet is a goddamn blackmail goldmine.) So big gay kompromat would probably be enough. Or, you know, crimes.

But they've got something on him. They 100% have something on Lindsey Graham, and the story of how they got it, and what they've done with it, is probably worth investigating.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:56 AM on August 28 [42 favorites]


He Thought McCain Coverage Was Excessive

stopped clock, twice a day, etc.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:09 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


Super interesting new site with tons of data on House/Senate/governor races. Collaboration between Ipsos and Crystal Ball (Sabato's outfit).
posted by Chrysostom at 9:14 AM on August 28 [23 favorites]


Unfortunately, Trump's rantings on Twitter, since they're ostensibly official statements, set into motion actual policy directions. CBS's Mark Knoller (@markknoller) reports from the White House, “"We're taking a look at it," says WH econ advisor Larry Kudlow, asked if the Administration thinks Google searches should be regulated, following @POTUS complaint today that it's rigged against him.”

I wouldn't put anything past them but on the other hand... let's call it Occams Toy Toddler Razor... so long as all his staff talk about his like he's a toddler (and I am not saying that's unreasonable) I would simply assume this is a variant of when I used to tell a certain cow orker "I am going to give that the attention it deserves." Trump spouts off, Trump flunkie makes a point of sayin in the media that they're gonna pursue it, everyone just goes on with their regularly scheduled grift.
posted by phearlez at 9:15 AM on August 28 [7 favorites]


I'm gonna throw something out here to consider re: Graham amid the totally reasonable suspicions of kompromat, election vulnerability, etc: It's possible that Lindsey Graham does not have a spine and never did.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:20 AM on August 28 [27 favorites]


Which seems to be setting-up the Dems to be blamed for the upcoming cuts to Medicare, to pay for the tax cuts, planned by the current Republican majority.

Does anyone really believe this wasn't part of the plan right from the beginning with the tax cuts?

Unfortunately, there are too many media outlets who are going to be all too willing to buy into this narrative...
posted by SisterHavana at 9:33 AM on August 28 [8 favorites]


From the above mentioned Ars Technica article:
Google’s precise algorithm is of course proprietary. But the criteria by which Google selects news outlets and stories to feature—criteria which include longevity, reputation, linking, search history, and more—are known.

Trump's claim appears to be based on a recent blog post on the conservative site, PJ Media.

The PJ Media post, which makes statements like "Social Media Companies the Most Dangerous Monopolies Ever," in turn, relies on a "media bias chart" by Sharyl Attkisson.

Attkisson, formerly a reporter with CBS News, currently works for conservative news conglomerate Sinclair Broadcast Group. While she has authored noteworthy journalism, Attkisson also has a years-long history of reaching questionable conclusions, including suggesting that there is a link between autism and vaccines. (There is not.)

Trump's rant concluded with: "This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!"

It is unclear what was meant by this.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:46 AM on August 28 [15 favorites]


The PJ Media post, which makes statements like "Social Media Companies the Most Dangerous Monopolies Ever," in turn, relies on a "media bias chart" by Sharyl Attkisson.

I'm spending way too much time staring at this chart for insights into the Brainworms Mindset.

Notable: The Atlantic, Vox, and NYT are far Left. Infowars and The Federalist are moderate Right. Most interestingly The Intercept is just barely left of center, as if they consider Glenn to be practically on their side. Boy that would be a strange thing.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:56 AM on August 28 [23 favorites]


The Atlantic, Vox, and NYT are far Left.

That’s not how this works.
That’s not how any of this works.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:59 AM on August 28 [60 favorites]


Myself and most of my colleagues could setup up a rudimentary search engine and it would show results unfavourable to Trump. The problem isn't with the search engine.
posted by adept256 at 10:00 AM on August 28 [11 favorites]


CNN breaking now that a new report suggests close to 3000 Americans died in Puerto Rico due to hurricane Maria. Current “official” death toll:

64.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:03 AM on August 28 [49 favorites]


> Why the fuck is McCain described as Trump's rival?

Because, as Atrios keeps pointing out, the people covering politics care more about the spectacle than any underlying policy preferences. Trump attacked McCain in his usual style, and McCain hit back in his own passive-aggressive way, so that became the story, nevermind the fact that McCain did almost nothing to stop Trump's agenda.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:05 AM on August 28 [17 favorites]


This whole dustup about Google is about one simple thing: Bullying. Remember in the lead-up to the presidential election, when conservatives got up in arms about Facebook making it difficult for them to game the featured news stories algorithm, and Facebook backed off? They're trying to bully Google into giving them more favorable search results. They're used to getting their way when they do this as well; recall them screaming about the IRS supposedly going after conservative non-profits when that really wasn't the case, and the IRS backed off? This is all this is - they're trying to force Google to do things the way they want it done.
posted by azpenguin at 10:07 AM on August 28 [51 favorites]


I'm spending way too much time staring at this chart for insights into the Brainworms Mindset.
Let me help with that. Start with the conclusion you want, work backwards towards the sources that support it, then declare those "moderate" and "reasoned".
posted by Horkus at 10:13 AM on August 28 [13 favorites]


Media Bias Chart, by Vanessa Otero

Seems to be the original.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:17 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


You know those filters we had back in the day to block out references to Charlie Sheen or whoever? Clearly Trump needs filters against himself at "work."
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:22 AM on August 28


Natasha Bertrand, The Atlantic: Devin Nunes’s Curious Trip to London
Earlier this month, as all eyes were on the courtroom dramas unfolding in Virginia...and in New York...the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee was in London, seeking out new information about the former British intelligence officer and Trump-Russia dossier author Christopher Steele.

According to two people familiar with his trip across the pond who requested anonymity to discuss the chairman’s travels, Devin Nunes, a California Republican, was investigating, among other things, Steele’s own service record and whether British authorities had known about his repeated contact with a U.S. Justice Department official named Bruce Ohr. To that end, Nunes requested meetings with the heads of three different British agencies—MI5, MI6, and the Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ.
...
But those meetings did not pan out—Nunes came away meeting only with the U.K.’s deputy national-security adviser, Madeleine Alessandri. The people familiar with his trip told me that officials at MI6, MI5, and GCHQ were wary of entertaining Nunes out of fear that he was “trying to stir up a controversy.
...
There is much to investigate in London, including the trail left there by the mysterious Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud who told George Papadopoulos about the Russian dirt to begin with. Nunes, however, continues to focus his attention on the investigators themselves—all in the name, many argue, of protecting the president at all costs.
Nunes is still somehow probably going to retain his congressional seat against Democratic challenger Andrew Janz in the upcoming midterm, despite and/or because of his weird headline-grabbing bad-faith 'investigation.'
posted by cjelli at 10:25 AM on August 28 [13 favorites]


I find this article on dismediation to be relevant to our interests.
Dismediation isn’t discourse. It doesn’t disinform, and it’s not quite propaganda, as that term has long been understood. Instead, dismediation seeks to break the systems of trust without which civilized society hasn’t got a chance. Disinformation, once it’s done telling its lie, is finished with you. Dismediation is looking to make sure you never really trust or believe a news story, ever again. Not on Fox, and not on NPR. It’s not that we can’t agree on what the facts are. It’s that we cannot agree on what counts as fact. The machinery of discourse is bricked. That’s why we can’t think together, talk together, or vote together.
posted by suelac at 10:30 AM on August 28 [58 favorites]


Notable: The Atlantic, Vox, and NYT are far Left. Infowars and The Federalist are moderate Right. Most interestingly The Intercept is just barely left of center, as if they consider Glenn to be practically on their side. Boy that would be a strange thing.

The Right is that which supports Donald Trump, and the Left is the opposite of that. That's what it means to be part of a cult of personality.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 10:38 AM on August 28 [12 favorites]


The Mooch Promotes A New Trump Musical Featuring Gina Gershon
Gina Gershon has had quite a career, which is why I can only assume that she recently made a deal with a sea witch that went sour, resulting in her playing Melania Trump in a new musical being promoted by known Broadway-head Anthony Scaramucci.
...
Last week, the Mooch held a press conference (a novelty for him) in which he was introduced by a Donald Trump impersonator and then entered to very tepid applause. Performers dressed as Ivana, Tiffany (or maybe Marla Maples), Ivanka, and (I guess) Eric and Donald J. Trump, Jr. then emerged and sang a song that began "The Trump Family special is a win, win win/ A bigly TV special with The Donald's next of kin."
...
...frankly, if the team behind the show are going to do this, they might as well aim even higher and give it a name that calls to mind some of the best of Broadway. Some humble suggestions:
  • The Lying King
  • The Book of Moron
  • Dear Vladimir Putin
  • Once on This Impeachment
  • The Brand's Visit
  • Scamilton
  • Wicked
posted by kirkaracha at 10:46 AM on August 28 [16 favorites]


The Atlantic, Vox, and NYT are far Left.

That actually makes a little sense if you think of "left" not as a description of a set of political principles and methods—as any sane person does—but as descriptive of a certain kind of (largely imagined) "cultural elite." From there it follows that any given media outlet will find its place on the spectrum by the degree to which it is perceived to embody or reject these "elitist" values.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:47 AM on August 28 [10 favorites]


That actually makes a little sense if you think of "left" not as a description of a set of political principles and methods—as any sane person does—but as descriptive of a certain kind of (largely imagined) "cultural elite."

To really capture where they're coming from, you have to use the original orthography, (((elite)))

Anyway these "media bias" charts are damning even when used in defense of the political right. Google News not showing links from Infowars, WorldNetDaily, and Newsmax is evidence of competency in culling hair-on-fire conspiracy dreck from their results, not "bias".
posted by 0xFCAF at 11:23 AM on August 28 [19 favorites]


Senate pumps brakes on effort to rename Russell building after McCain, in which the Republican leadership puts a stop to Democratic efforts to rename the Russell building after a Republican, because they're mad at McCain and the thought of taking down the name of an ardent segregationist makes them sad:
On Russell’s support for segregation, which included co-authoring the Southern Manifesto with Strom Thurmond in 1956, Shelby said, “You go back to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, just about anyone, nobody’s perfect.”
posted by zachlipton at 11:23 AM on August 28 [39 favorites]


Quietly, and without much fanfare, Confederate monuments were removed from New Mexico highways (Andrew Oxford for The Santa Fe New Mexican, June 11, 2018)
Maps label it Interstate 10. But drivers who stopped alongside the road at one of three rest areas from Lordsburg to Las Cruces may have noticed stone markers declaring it the Jefferson Davis Highway.

The decades-old markers are relics of an effort to rename stretches of highway from one end of the country to the other after the slave-owning president of the Confederate States of America.

And at the same time that Davis’ name spurred emotional debates around the country over how Americans memorialize Confederate leaders, New Mexico quietly dismantled a few of its tributes to the rebel.

That is, if these were ever New Mexico’s tributes in the first place.

Each of the markers sat in highway rest areas maintained by the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

But Emilee Cantrell, a department spokeswoman, said: “The markers were not official and when they were brought to Secretary [Tom] Church’s attention, he had them removed.”

Cantrell did not say when or how the secretary became aware of the markers, only that each was removed within the last couple of years. She would not say what the department did with the markers, either.

And some local officials seemed unaware the monuments ever existed.

Told the markers had been removed, Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima said in a text message: “Makes sense.”

New Mexico, after all, has never really associated itself with the Confederacy.
...
But from the time the Civil War ended, there were also efforts to memorialize Confederate leaders and paint a sympathetic history of their cause. In the early 20th century, the United Daughters of the Confederacy launched a campaign to name sections of the country’s burgeoning highway system from Virginia to California for Davis. It was a direct response to the development of a Lincoln highway farther north.

The Deming Headlight reported in 1955 that the United Daughters of the Confederacy gave four markers to New Mexico’s highway department, which picked the sites to install the monuments, made the bases and erected the stones.

Fanfare followed. A military band from Fort Bliss was scheduled to perform at the unveiling ceremony, where the chairman of the state highway committee was to present the markers to department officials.

And then the stone markers, some installed a few years later, sat often overlooked.

“Most people that looked at them probably puzzled over them,” Pitcaithley said.

They stood a few feet tall and said nothing about the Civil War.

Davis never traveled to the Chihuahuan Desert, though Pitcaithley pointed out he had a role in New Mexico history before the Civil War. As U.S. secretary of war, Davis was a big booster of the Gadsden Purchase — the country’s acquisition of nearly 30,000 square miles of land from Mexico for a railroad. That area became part of what became the states of New Mexico and Arizona.

But, Cantrell said, the state Transportation Commission had never officially given Davis’ name to any stretch of road.
In other words, they were never official, and possibly treated like the garbage markers they are, and tossed out.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:25 AM on August 28 [40 favorites]


Senate pumps brakes on effort to rename Russell building after McCain

Not honoring your party’s statesman to own the libs...

JFC the Republican Party just gets shittier and lamer the deeper into 2018 we go.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 11:30 AM on August 28 [64 favorites]


That actually makes a little sense if you think of "left" not as a description of a set of political principles and methods—as any sane person does—but as descriptive of a certain kind of (largely imagined) "cultural elite."

I've been thinking there's no such thing as the Overton Window, and that it's an Overton Point at best.

Theory:
                            Overton Window
[L]--------------------+---------------------+--------------------[R]
        Democrat              Centrist            Republican 
Practice:
                    Overton Point
[L]----------------------+----------------------------------------[R]
        Democrat                         Republican 
All of the rhetorical and discursive push and pull Republicans do (and probably Democrats, but I'm a fish in water there) seeks to move the Point so that popular opinion falls on the right side of the point. The Centrists are those on the front lines battle over which party is credited with the next tax cut for the rich. It's all about the ownership of topics. Trump decides to federally legalize cannabis? Now it's a Republican cause, and they have all kinds of pre-existing rhetoric to support that: farmers, business, truckers. Spitting on veterans? Republican now!

This constrains the US Left, because the Left ostracizes its extremists, while the Right embraces them, so Democrats have to fight a two front war: against the right and the more-liberal left.

This also shows how news shows can get any rando prepper freak to "counterbalance" Maxine Waters or whoever. You just have to choose a person from each side of the point!
posted by rhizome at 11:31 AM on August 28 [10 favorites]


“This is a guy that was a giant of the Senate,” U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., who uses Russell’s old mahogany desk in the Senate chamber, told reporters on Tuesday. “So this renaming thing because of one issue, you know, is somewhat troubling.” [...] “I'm predisposed to say that renaming that building is a serious issue, but I believe right now it's premature to even talk about that until we see what the options are,” Perdue said.

To summarize: 1. Segregation is an 'issue'. 2. Renaming a building is a 'serious issue'.

True, segregation is 'one issue'. Institutional and political separation and subjugation along racial lines means that 'one issue' is a pretty big one.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:31 AM on August 28 [10 favorites]


Shit gets named all the time. Renaming a building is not really that "serious" of an issue, especially when it's named after that guy.
posted by rhizome at 11:33 AM on August 28


Yeah, but if we start the trend of renaming things that are named after racists and slaveholders and horrible bigots, then in just a few years time there won't be any buildings named after Republicans who have governed since the Southern Strategy, so...
posted by Mayor West at 11:41 AM on August 28 [19 favorites]


@InstantSunrise, 11:07 PM - 26 Aug 2018
A twitter thread in which I drag every single US president in order:

George Washington: Dude was a shit-ass general who owned slaves and when the working class realized that they were getting the same shit ass deal as before under the British and rose up, Washington came down on them like a ton of bricks to secure power.
...
Benjamin Harrison: Annexed Hawaii after a coup led by Dole Pineapple and C&H sugar. Kept tariffs high, making everything in the US expensive as all fuck. Did jack shit to stop the Pinkertons from massacring striking steel workers.
...
Trump: racist reactionary who’s policies would give Charles Coughlin a raging hardon. Got rid of the racist dogwhistling in favor of open racism.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:42 AM on August 28 [58 favorites]


Dismediation isn’t discourse. It doesn’t disinform, and it’s not quite propaganda, as that term has long been understood. Instead, dismediation seeks to break the systems of trust without which civilized society hasn’t got a chance. Disinformation, once it’s done telling its lie, is finished with you. Dismediation is looking to make sure you never really trust or believe a news story, ever again. Not on Fox, and not on NPR. It’s not that we can’t agree on what the facts are. It’s that we cannot agree on what counts as fact. The machinery of discourse is bricked. That’s why we can’t think together, talk together, or vote together.

As has been quoted at least once in these threads:
“The point of modern propaganda isn't only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.” ― Garry Kasparov
posted by Bodechack at 11:59 AM on August 28 [57 favorites]


Trump lectures Japanese prime minister on Pearl Harbor and Japan’s “samurai past.”
The Washington Post reports that during a fraught discussion in June with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over trade policy, President Donald Trump blurted out, “I remember Pearl Harbor” before launching into “a blistering critique of Japan’s economic policies.”

Trump’s comment might seem rude, undiplomatic, and impertinent, but it also points to a larger pattern in how the president relates to Japan (and other foreign countries). Trump seems to have only a few stock ideas about Japan, all of which are out of date...Trump’s entire sense of Japan’s economy seems to be rooted in the 1980s and 1990s, when it loomed as a serious rival to the United States.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:19 PM on August 28 [19 favorites]


I would like to have been a bug in the wall when GHCQ told Nunes, in characteristic British style, just what they know about him.
posted by M-x shell at 12:22 PM on August 28 [10 favorites]


Houston Chronicle, Democrats question $50k in books and collectibles that Rep. Culberson bought with campaign funds. This is a fascinating explanation:
In all, they document $32,981 in expenses reported as “books” and “research materials” since 2009, as well as $17,000 on gifts, including antiques and military collectibles, since 2004. More than $5,000 was spent on Civil War memorabilia since 2010.

The complaints also spotlight the use of campaign funds in 2009 to pay for a $375 membership in the Texas State Rifle Association, and in 2012 for a $309 purchase at the Black Hills Institute, which sells and rents fossils.

“It is very unlikely that a congressional campaign committee needs to buy or rent fossils to win a federal election,” the Democrats wrote in their complaint.

Culberson’s aides explained the purchase as research material on paleo-climatology, a subject that would help him understand climate science for his position on an appropriations subcommittee that oversees the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They said the materials helped give him a better understanding of the changing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Culberson has sometimes questioned the scientific consensus on man-made climate change, though he says his mind remains open to new information.
posted by zachlipton at 12:22 PM on August 28 [7 favorites]


“It is very unlikely that a congressional campaign committee needs to buy or rent fossils to win a federal election,” the Democrats wrote in their complaint.

Well, they have to get their candidates someplace!
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:24 PM on August 28 [62 favorites]


John McCain’s Death Brought Out the Worst in the Trump Administration - David A. Graham, The Atlantic
A skirmish over whether to fly the White House flag at half-staff showcases its pettiness, divisiveness, disorganization, and lack of backbone.
A perfect microcosm of the core traits of the Trump Administration.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:25 PM on August 28 [9 favorites]


Welcome to the Theocracy continued: 'This Is Spiritual Warfare' (Christian Post), Where Ivanka Trump Smiles With Pastor Who Thinks Marriage Equality Is Satan’s Work.
Trump was presented with a Bible inscribed “History will record the greatness that you have brought for generations.”
posted by adamvasco at 12:26 PM on August 28


Culberson is TX-07, btw. Clinton 48.5-47.1, Cook Toss-up.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:28 PM on August 28 [14 favorites]


Problems with voting machines in Arizona. Doesn't look like any reason to suspect foul play at this point. One good thing is that AZ is heavy early voting.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:32 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


The Washington Post reports that during a fraught discussion in June with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over trade policy, President Donald Trump blurted out, “I remember Pearl Harbor” before launching into “a blistering critique of Japan’s economic policies.”

Don't mention the war.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 12:38 PM on August 28 [7 favorites]


An update on North Korea, which gets really interesting as Seoul continues to seek closer ties with the North as Trump discovers what everyone else knew all along: North Korea is not going to unilaterally disarm.

Van Jackson summarizes the state of affairs:
--Moon wants to befriend NK even with nukes, and even if it means abandoning the US.
--Trump wants to either extort or abandon the South, and use NK for cheap headlines.
--NK sees Trump's advisers disagree w him, now pursuing a wedge strategy on two fronts.

Yeah, things are fine
WSJ, Canceled Pompeo Trip Tests South’s Strategy to Win Over North Korea
On Monday, a spokesman for South Korean President Moon Jae-in acknowledged that further inter-Korean engagement could be delayed, after President Donald Trump scrapped Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s planned visit to North Korea, citing a lack of progress in nuclear negotiations. Inter-Korean engagement is a core element of Mr. Moon’s 15-month-old presidency.

“There is a new development to the situation,” said the South Korean spokesman, Kim Eui-kyeom. “This means there is a need to revisit the plans.”
...
Pyongyang has repeatedly pressured Seoul to proceed with more economic engagement and to bypass international sanctions. Meanwhile, Washington has been leery of Seoul’s attempts to push too quickly on engagement without more concrete progress on denuclearization.

The danger for Mr. Moon is being seen as siding with Pyongyang, said Kim Hyun-wook, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, a state-run school specializing in training South Korean diplomats. “South Korea has been perceived as trying to convince Washington of North Korea’s cause, instead of the other way around,” he said.
Tokyo Business Today, Daniel Sneider, Behind The Chaos Of Washington's Korea Policy
Beneath the disarray, however, a certain order could be found. Based on conversations held this past week in Washington with senior administration officials, including two members of the North Korea negotiating team, as well as former national security officials who are consulted by Secretary Pompeo and the National Security Council, a broad consensus emerges. Interestingly, it is almost completely in sync with the views held by senior Japanese officials.

The foundation of this consensus is a profoundly skeptical view of the possibility of achieving “final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea,” the goal reiterated by new special envoy Steve Biegun. While there were some differences concerning exactly what might be achieved in the talks with Pyongyang, not a single official dealing with North Korea said he believes this ultimate aim is reachable. The only possible exception is the President himself.

The second pillar of consensus is a deep concern that the South Korean government of Moon Jae-in, which has driven the opening to North Korea, is no longer bound by the need to move in tight coordination with Washington. Some even fear the alliance itself may be in jeopardy.

As for China, the national security officials I met all tend to take a jaundiced view of Beijing’s role. They see China as eager to use North Korea as a tool to drive the U.S. off the Korean peninsula. For now, they believe it still supports Washington’s diplomacy, including maintaining large-scale economic sanctions, even if it is not ready to sharpen its pressure on the North Korean regime.

Finally, the spoken, and unspoken, aim of most professionals implementing North Korea policy is to hold off President Trump from meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un again. They worry about a repeat of the June spectacle in Singapore when Trump made significant concessions that undercut their attempts to seriously negotiate with the North.

Beneath the chaos, emanating mostly from the Oval Office, a four- sided containment policy exists – containment of North Korea, of South Korea’s Moon administration, of China, and, most of all, containment of Donald Trump.
Includes a detail from Pompeo's July talks:
Instead the North Koreans keep referring to the Singapore declaration and insisting they reached agreement with Trump to move first towards an ‘end to hostilities,’ beginning with dumping the existing armistice agreement that is part of the foundation for the U.S. military presence in South Korea.

Indeed, when Pompeo tried to press the case for denuclearization steps, his North Korean counterpart Kim Yong Chol held up a cell phone and taunted him – “why don’t you call your president?”
posted by zachlipton at 12:40 PM on August 28 [15 favorites]


"I remember Pearl Harbor" says the man who was born in 1946. Maybe he learned about it from all those parents of Korean War vets who thanked him for bringing their POW remains home.
posted by Quindar Beep at 12:42 PM on August 28 [38 favorites]


He should remind him that Godzilla is on their side, and besides, they have the Evangelions.
posted by adept256 at 12:44 PM on August 28 [8 favorites]


On Russell’s support for segregation, which included co-authoring the Southern Manifesto with Strom Thurmond in 1956, Shelby said, “You go back to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, just about anyone, nobody’s perfect.”

That explains a lot. If you go back far enough there was a dictatorial king beloved by the loyalists who wore a funny wig .
posted by JackFlash at 12:46 PM on August 28 [13 favorites]



Problems with voting machines in Arizona. Doesn't look like any reason to suspect foul play at this point. One good thing is that AZ is heavy early voting.


Yeah, I was a poll observer sent to two locations this morning during my 5:45 am-noon shift. The first, in particular, was plagued with technical issues early in the morning. Those were resolved. The other was just way too small to absorb refugees from other precincts, even though it was a designated ballot center with print-on-demand capabilities. There were also issues with the interface of the Recorder’s Office website, which appeared to direct people to the wrong polling place.

However, even when things were acting up, wait times were mostly under half an hour. Hopefully we can get these problems ironed out before November.
posted by Superplin at 12:47 PM on August 28 [26 favorites]


Also, turnout was SUPER HIGH. I was a pill worker during the 2016 August primary and it was a ghost town in comparison.
posted by Superplin at 12:51 PM on August 28 [46 favorites]


Yeah, I've been avoiding posting early vote numbers, because they don't necessarily end up meaning anything, but they've been very robust, especially on the Dem side.

Florida's have been high, too.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:56 PM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Er, poll worker.
A pill worker is something else entirely...
posted by Superplin at 1:02 PM on August 28 [25 favorites]


AP: "Gov. Ricardo Rossello raises Puerto Rico's official toll from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975 following new study."

The study was reported earlier, but the update to the official count should -- should -- make it a harder story to ignore.
posted by cjelli at 1:10 PM on August 28 [26 favorites]


NBC News, Trump told Christian leaders he got rid of a law. He didn't.
In a closed-door meeting with evangelical leaders Monday night, President Trump repeated his debunked claim that he had gotten "rid of" a law forbidding churches and charitable organizations from endorsing political candidates, according to recorded excerpts reviewed by NBC News.

In fact, the law remains on the books, after efforts to kill it in Congress last year failed.
He signed a meaningless executive order; he didn't get rid of a law because he can't do that. But there's a bigger story just below that:
At stake in the November midterms, Trump told the audience, are all the gains he has made for conservative Christians.

"The level of hatred, the level of anger is unbelievable," he said. "Part of it is because of some of the things I've done for you and for me and for my family, but I've done them….This November 6th election is very much a referendum on not only me, it's a referendum on your religion, it's a referendum on free speech and the First Amendment."

If the GOP loses, he said, "they will overturn everything that we've done and they'll do it quickly and violently, and violently. There's violence. When you look at Antifa and you look at some of these groups — these are violent people."
While that's all quite alarming, I just want to zero in on something fascinating in there: "Part of it is because of some of the things I've done for you and for me and for my family, but I've done them." He acknowledges that people are angry because of things he's done for himself and his family? That's pretty on the nose. As is calling Christianity "your religion."

When he wasn't warning of violence, he was back on this:
"Little thing - Merry Christmas. You couldn't say Merry Christmas," Trump said. "I'm telling you — when I started running I used to talk about it and I hate to mention it in August, but I used to talk about it. They don't say Merry Christmas anymore."

Trump added, to applause:

"They say merry Christmas a lot right now. It's all changed. It's all changed."
It's August. Nobody is saying Merry Christmas.
posted by zachlipton at 1:16 PM on August 28 [67 favorites]


The Times version of that story has an addition:
Mr. Trump also recalled on Monday night looking out the window during the Trump Tower meeting [during the campaign with religious leaders when he first learned the Johnson Amendment existed], though it was unclear why he chose to discuss it.

“We were in the 68th floor of Trump Tower and we looked down on the sidewalks and there were thousands and thousands of people,” he said. “They looked like ants, little people going all over — boom, boom, boom — so little, ’cause when you’re 68 floors, they look really small. But there were a lot of them.”
posted by zachlipton at 1:20 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


I knew it! Donald Trump is Dumb Harry Lime.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 1:32 PM on August 28 [20 favorites]


I knew it! Donald Trump is Dumb Harry Lime.

We've gone from the sub-Lime to the ridiculous.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:34 PM on August 28 [31 favorites]


And yet more from the President of the United States (via the pool report):
I think it is probably certainly one of the biggest and maybe the biggest sporting event in the world and soccer has come such a long way. Soccer is a game, I guess you call it football. But over here, maybe at some point theyll change the name, Im not sure. But well see. Its working very well either way.
...
So lets see, 2026. I wont be here. I wont be here. Maybe theyll extend the term. To laughter as he gestured toward the press, he added, Because I know theyd love to see that. If they dont extend the term, the media is going to be very boring, theyll all be out of business
posted by zachlipton at 1:37 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


If we repeal the 22nd we're drafting Obama back in there you wannabe tinpot.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 1:41 PM on August 28 [65 favorites]


one of the things the Crooked Media guys was saying about John McCain were the times he told people who were like *is he the antichrist Muslim devil* he'd say, no, Senator Obama is a good man.

Trump probably saw those moments as moments of weakness. When I have never seen anything so putridly petulant as that photo of him with his arms crossed, refusing to speak about McCain's passing, his little lips pursed like the world's ugliest anus
posted by angrycat at 1:41 PM on August 28 [18 favorites]


NOBODY FORCED ANYBODY TO STOP SAYING "MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

okay some people switched to "Happy Holidays" because it's a kinder, more inclusive thing to say during the holidays but that's not the same thing and everyone knows it.
posted by notyou at 1:44 PM on August 28 [18 favorites]


Forget it, Jake, it's Christianity's obsession with being persecuted despite being dominant for the vast majority of its existence.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:52 PM on August 28 [50 favorites]


one of the things the Crooked Media guys was saying about John McCain were the times he told people who were like *is he the antichrist Muslim devil* he'd say, no, Senator Obama is a good man.

Here's what he actually said when told that Obama is "an Arab:" “No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man [and] citizen that just I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what the campaign’s all about. He’s not [an Arab].”

I don't think Crooked should be giving McCain's memory a cookie for saying "Obama's not an Arab; to the contrary, he's a decent family man."
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:52 PM on August 28 [30 favorites]


"Little thing - Merry Christmas. You couldn't say Merry Christmas," Trump said. "I'm telling you — when I started running I used to talk about it and I hate to mention it in August, but I used to talk about it. They don't say Merry Christmas anymore."

It's true, two years ago I wished my coworker a Merry Christmas and was swiftly hooded and bundled into a van by the PC Police-they forced me to recant and then burn a picture of Santa!
posted by mike_honcho at 1:53 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


Rust, they talked about that too--and how in the campaign they met those charges of being a Muslim/etc with "he's not" not followed up with "and even if he was, WTH"

I mean I agree with your larger point that it would've been better if he had gone there. But not even Obama's campaign was going there.
posted by angrycat at 1:57 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


The Black Hills Institute has an online store (related to the Culberson comment above). I tried searching around and there doesn't appear to be anything like paleo-climatology books or treatises. Books seem to be reasonably priced in the $30 range and appear to be science-based.
So, I'm calling bullshit. Maybe someone can interview an employee from back when as to whether they ever had paleo-climatology texts or any books that would easily total up to $300. That total is about the lower end of their fossil replica prices.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:04 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Culberson’s aides explained the purchase as research material on paleo-climatology, a subject that would help him understand climate science for his position on an appropriations subcommittee that oversees the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They said the materials helped give him a better understanding of the changing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
What they want us to do is try to make the point that this is not how anything even remotely fucking works. You do not buy fossils to... ugh, whatever.

Here's a better point, these people are leveraged so far out on the benefit of the doubt that they're planning for moral bankruptcy. The basket doesn't care, any excuse is good enough because they're not fighting for truth and justice and accurate understanding of fossil climate records. They're fighting for boot stomping on face.

Just remember that they have to cheat to win, we have to vote to win.
posted by Horkus at 2:17 PM on August 28 [12 favorites]


@sahilkapur: And here it is: Senate just cut a deal to fast-track votes starting at 3:45p today on 11 nominations—including SEVEN Trump nominees to be district court judges.

Seven more judges with lifetime tenure confirmed today over not even a shrug. We're absolutely nowhere.
posted by zachlipton at 2:27 PM on August 28 [61 favorites]


The Black Hills Institute has an online store (related to the Culberson comment above). I tried searching around and there doesn't appear to be anything like paleo-climatology books or treatises. Books seem to be reasonably priced in the $30 range and appear to be science-based.

FWIW the Black Hills Institute were the ones who excavated Sue, one of the most complete t-rex skeletons found. The founder of BHI, Peter Larson, spent some time in prison on customs charges related to fossil sales. Depending on who you ask Larson and the BHI are either doing valid, if Indiana Jones-style, paleontology or are crooks who do some science on the side.
posted by nathan_teske at 2:28 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]




Seven more judges with lifetime tenure confirmed today over not even a shrug. We're absolutely nowhere.

Schumer is letting this happen without a fight. He's agreeing to this shit. Democrats could force a roll call vote and withhold consent for every single judge. They could make every confirmation take the full 3 days and burn out the clock till the midterms. They could bring the Senate to standstill.

Instead they're willfully allowing Trump to hijack and remake the Federal bench for the rest of our lives.

THIS is what we're talking about when progressives get so upset at mainstream Dems for rolling over and doing nothing. For selling us out. For being no different than a Republican. This, right here. We're watching Schumer fuck us all, again. And for what? Because he wants an extra day of Senate recess or a headline that he loves John McCain? That's passes for hardball negotiations under Chuck Schumer. 11 lifetime appointments for nothing. And next week there will be 11 more. And the week after. And the week after. And Chuck will agree to all of them, and allow Joe Manchin to vote for all of them as fast as humanly possible.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:35 PM on August 28 [126 favorites]


a certain cow orker

Thank you so much for this.
posted by srboisvert at 2:37 PM on August 28 [16 favorites]


I get the anger, I really do. But "showing insufficient anger and zeal in what would admittedly be a symbolic but ultimately futile effort" can't be the metric by which one judges if someone is the same as a Republican. If Schumer was majority leader this wouldn't be happening. Because he's a center left institutionalist Democrat, not "no different than a Republican".
posted by Justinian at 2:38 PM on August 28 [18 favorites]


Like what is the theory of the case by which these judges can be prevented from being seated? Nobody actually believes it can be stopped, right? It's just about whether they get seated in a day or two or in a week or two?
posted by Justinian at 2:39 PM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Burning time = less time to confirm more judges. They can’t stop them, but agreeing to an expedited confirmation schedule in exchange for absolutely nothing is absolute betrayal. And that’s what Schumer has done at every turn.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:41 PM on August 28 [49 favorites]


NYT, War Crimes Report Accuses Saudi Arabia and U.A.E. in Yemen
The military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in Yemen has killed thousands of civilians in airstrikes, tortured detainees, raped civilians and used child soldiers as young as 8 — actions that may amount to war crimes, United Nations investigators said in a report issued Tuesday.

The report singled out Saudi and Emirati airstrikes for causing the most civilian casualties, saying they had hit residential areas, markets, funerals, weddings, jails, boats and medical facilities.

“There is little evidence of any attempt by parties to the conflict to minimize civilian casualties,” Kamel Jendoubi, the chairman of the panel of experts that produced the report.

The report also said that the Houthi rebels, who control northern Yemen and are fighting the Saudi-Emirati coalition, may have committed war crimes. They were accused of shelling civilians, torturing detainees, recruiting young children to fight and blocking access to humanitarian agencies.
...

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis told reporters in Washington that the Trump administration had reviewed its support for the Saudi-Emirati coalition.

“We determined it was the right thing to do in defense of their own countries, but also to restore the rightful government there,’’ he told reporters. “Our conduct there is to try to keep the human cost of innocents being killed accidentally to an absolute minimum.’’
We don't seem to be trying particularly hard or effectively.
posted by zachlipton at 2:42 PM on August 28 [10 favorites]


Like what is the theory of the case by which these judges can be prevented from being seated? Nobody actually believes it can be stopped, right? It's just about whether they get seated in a day or two or in a week or two?

If you only seat 1 a week, as opposed to 11, how many fewer haven't been seated by the time the next Senate convenes in 2019?
posted by dragstroke at 2:43 PM on August 28 [28 favorites]


But "showing insufficient anger and zeal in what would admittedly be a symbolic but ultimately futile effort" can't be the metric by which one judges if someone is the same as a Republican.

In this case it might not be futile. We are close enough to the midterms—and Trump is scraping the barrel on judicial appointments; one of them graduated law school in 2007 and is appointed to a circuit court!—that the Democrats could probably prevent at least some of the judicial appointments, or at least make the Republicans choose between being in DC for a vote or being at home to campaign.
posted by jedicus at 2:45 PM on August 28 [44 favorites]


Well, I won't argue again since we've gone around that carousel before. I do agree we could use some younger and more passionate leadership in the Senate. So it's not like we don't all have that in common. I'm mostly just objecting to the rhetoric since we gotta focus on getting Dems into the majority in at least ONE house this november. We can go after the milquetoast types once that's accomplished.
posted by Justinian at 2:47 PM on August 28 [6 favorites]


in exchange for absolutely nothing

There is a something, which is more time to campaign before the midterms. There's also reappointing Democrat Mark Pearce to the NLRB (to the consternation of Republicans) and a couple of the judicial nominees being renominated Obama picks. And it seems to have opened up more Kavanaugh documents, crazy as it sounds to hold such things hostage for judicial nominees.

Whether that's all a worthwhile tradeoff is an open question, but there are some reasons for it.
posted by zachlipton at 2:53 PM on August 28 [39 favorites]


Burning time = less time to confirm more judges. They can’t stop them, but agreeing to an expedited confirmation schedule in exchange for absolutely nothing is absolute betrayal

is it nothing? or something marginally better than just stalling until the inevitable happens?

I don't know, I'm not a master senate strategist, and nobody else in this thread is either.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:53 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


> I'm mostly just objecting to the rhetoric since we gotta focus on getting Dems into the majority in at least ONE house this november. We can go after the milquetoast types once that's accomplished.

I don't think this zero-sum thinking reflects the electoral dynamics of our present day. Volunteers and dollars dedicated to targeting bad Democrats may not be available at all for other purposes. As long as the targets are in safe (read: any Democrat with a pulse wins) seats, I welcome attacks on the bad ones.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:55 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


I looked up blue's Senate leadership to see who I'd prefer to Schumer and jesus christ it's like the line for the early bird special at Denny's. Or a Shriner's convention in West Palm Beach. Klobuchar at 58 is full of youthful vim and vigor relatively speaking.

Whether that's all a worthwhile tradeoff is an open question, but there are some reasons for it.

Thanks, I had been googling to try to figure out what the Democratic get on the deal was and not having great luck.
posted by Justinian at 2:56 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


Senate pumps brakes on effort to rename Russell building after McCain

Take note that Republicans in the Senate are taking the side of a Democrat against a Republican war hero because the Democrat was a white supremacist.

Now you know what it takes for bipartisanship.
posted by JackFlash at 2:57 PM on August 28 [44 favorites]


I welcome attacks on the bad ones.

Democrats are really, really good at doing this. Maybe too good. Maybe we should spend less of our energy attacking people in our own party until we can get it the fuck together enough to take over a branch of government or two. Maybe all the ritual denunciations are just generating a fuckload of heat and absolutely no light.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:01 PM on August 28 [22 favorites]


So the tradeoff for Democrats is that 2 of the 17 nominees getting the go-ahead are Obama picks who can now be officially rejected by the Republican majority instead of languishing indefinitely in procedural limbo? Cool!
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:06 PM on August 28 [8 favorites]


[A few things removed, please just cool it.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:16 PM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Inconsistencies in DSA candidate Julia Salazar's description(s) of her life and background are attracting criticism:

Armin Rosen in Tablet: Who is Julia Salazar?

Batya Ungar-Sargon in the English edition of Der Forverts: It’s Not About Whether Julia Salazar Is Jewish. It’s About Telling The Truth.

and an interview with Salazar by Jewish Currents editor Jacob Plitman: Julia Salazar In Her Own Words

My take: this is why you have candidate vetting. At best, Salazar is someone with a complicated history that should have received more attention. The DSA needs to get its act together.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:29 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


I'm not a master senate strategist, and nobody else in this thread is either.

Just because we’re not shitting our pants doesn’t mean we can’t do it.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:30 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


There's also reappointing Democrat Mark Pearce to the NLRB (to the consternation of Republicans) and a couple of the judicial nominees being renominated Obama picks

Not prolonging the argument, but if Mark Pearce was renominated as part of this deal, no one told Mark Pearce. There's 8 more confirmations next week apparently, maybe he's in with that, but it doesn't look that happened today.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:33 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Pence Doesn’t Think Dems Are Showing Kavanaugh Enough Respect
Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday said that “if we lived in a more respectful time, Judge Brett Kavanaugh would be overwhelmingly confirmed by the United States Senate.”
Tell it to Merrick Garland.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:33 PM on August 28 [105 favorites]


Julia Salazar's response to the Tablet (hit)piece:
The truth here is simple: my father was of Sephardic Jewish heritage; my mother was nominally raised Catholic, but religion had little place in our household. It was in college, in the wake of my father’s death when I was 18, that I began to deeply explore my Jewish roots, participate in Jewish communal life, and commit myself to observing Judaism. That experience became an important part of who I am today — part of my social and spiritual life, but also part of my politics and moral compass.

Some have attempted to question whether I am Jewish. I have never demanded or expected that everyone recognize and accept my Jewish identity. My religious and spiritual life have never been a focus of my campaign for State Senate. I can only point out that the article that provoked this is clearly politically motivated, seeking to discredit my conversion and my Jewishness in a misguided attempt to attack my credibility as a progressive candidate. The fact that, as a woman of color, I am facing accusations that my deeply held identity is a false one says more about the politics of Jewish identity than it does about my observing Judaism.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:40 PM on August 28 [38 favorites]


Meanwhile, Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing is going to begin at 9:30am on Tuesday, Sept. 4, per the Senate Judiciary Twitter account.

A part of me is actually surprised that they are bothering with hearings. I wouldn't have put it past McConnell to forgo hearings (reasoning that he'd already had hearings and been confirmed by the Senate to his current seat, so why would Democrats be so partisan and insist on putting him through that again?) and just schedule a vote.
posted by SisterHavana at 3:42 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Maybe we should spend less of our energy attacking people in our own party until we can get it the fuck together enough to take over a branch of government or two.

While I understand this sentiment, I'd argue that showing that you're willing to fight a horrible President and his horrible enablers in Congress—even if you lose on individual bills and nominations—might go a long way toward getting the votes your party needs to take over a branch of government or two. I mean, Schumer declaring that Trump and the R-Senators would be fought tooth and nail, every step of the way, to burning the country down is more energizing than his not doing that, after all. It might even look like "getting it the fuck together."
posted by Rykey at 3:52 PM on August 28 [20 favorites]


We need a thing & we need it badly.

I am so heartbroken whenever I catch up on these threads & find us railing against one another because we're unable to rail against the problems themselves.

We spend days upon days upon. endless. days. reading a one-way flow of terrible news about everything that this administration is doing without our consent & we are impotent to put any of our frustration to any purpose beyond.. get mad about it on metafilter? Pick fights with folks because we're only 99.45% politically aligned? Tell one another why their impotent rage sputtering is wrong & how the correct way to impotently rage sputter is via this other equally impotent & sputtering mechanism?

I keep thinking about Clay Shirky & his notion of cognitive surplus [a link with an '08 transcript kinda buried within]. He correlated gin consumption with the industrial revolution freeing up cognitive capacity & a generation of people simply not knowing what to do with themselves (hence all the gin drinking). Likewise, the computational revolution has once again freed up cognitive capacity that drove us into the sitcom (and these days, Facebook & Twitter)- a catch-all for our cognitive desire for "something."

I think there's a very symmetrical cognitive surplus going on in these threads.

We're all out of "evens," true, but we are full to the fucking brim with "what do I do with myself when I'm all out of 'evens' & I'm so mad I could just.. ?"

What can we "just" do?

Folks here are very good at tossing out ideas for how folks can take action or contribute, but by & large these suggestions are 1) atomic & 2) rarely something one can do with the same energy/commitment as posting a conversation in comments. They're things like "write postcards for this candidate," "call your congressperson about this item," "go to this thing & protest or register folks to vote."

To my knowledge, none of them scratch the itch that I suspect many of us are suffering: "what can I do with this free 20-30 minutes of time with which I find myself, having had my creative energies stoked by what I just read & desperately wanting to create or contribute to something while being constrained to my mouse & keyboard?"

We need a hobby horse.

We need a simple, online activity that requires the same level of effort & commitment as a flurry of hot-takes, some clever song lyric mashups, or a full-throated argument in a political thread on MetaFilter. That is no small level of effort! Consider the way we turn our intellectual cannons up to eleven when we decide to fire off a few riffs on the latest news or to take aim at one of our own. Can you imagine what we could build with 20-30 minutes of that kind of firepower?

Clay Shirky's big reveal at his talk was to point out that Wikipedia itself (at the time ['08?]) represented the cognitive effort of "98 million hours of thought." That this is what folks built, because they had the time & inclination & free cycles available. That is the hobby horse wrought with some tiny fraction of human free time.

We need something like Wikipedia. We are an online group of extremely dialed in folks who (for the most part) only have one-way access to content we consume here every day. Clearly, a portion of us are so desiring of creating, we fill these threads up with thousands of comments per week. I would wager that many of those comments are creative outbursts that are directed here precisely because we don't know where else to spend that online cognitive surplus that's roaring in so many of our heads.

I would love to figure out a way to create/work on something like Wikipedia but specifically geared toward this community.

We need some sort of hobby horse that involves political activism, online community, shared knowledge, news/issue tracking, etc.

I can only imagine that many of you reading would love something like this as well.

It'd be awesome if instead of picking fights with one another about the best way to elicit change "in the real world," we could burn our online energy on a mouse & keyboard hobby horse that was working towards eliciting change in the real world.
posted by narwhal at 4:00 PM on August 28 [119 favorites]


If Schumer was majority leader this wouldn't be happening.

Not sure that’s a claim founded in evidence.
posted by Artw at 4:01 PM on August 28 [7 favorites]


538 primary liveblog.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:13 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Inconsistencies in DSA candidate Julia Salazar's description(s) of her life and background are attracting criticism:

I'm not super sure this is a productive line of discussion, but since we did this one on Twitter last week and I've been thinking about it a bunch, a couple thoughts.

First, identity is super complicated, and there's a point where judging it really becomes gross very quickly. If she says she identifies as Jewish now, she's Jewish now, and finding and forging a religious identity in college is not something I want to criticize. If voters want to disagree, that's for them to do without the insinuations from Tablet; just present the overt facts without the gross "maybe anyone can get elected as anything they decide themselves to be" stuff. This isn't a religious court.

Second, what Salazar describes as "confusion" about her immigrant story caused by bad staff work and not checking every news story to correct the record is fairly misleading. Here's her website from before the story came out:
As a proud immigrant myself, I know how important it is to protect the rights of immigrants and...[lots of good policies follow]
That was changed to "As a proud daughter of an immigrant father myself" after the Tablet story. She also told Jacobin, "My family immigrated to the US from Colombia when I was a baby."

The impression that gives is a bit different from what happened, and I don't think it's unreasonable to be miffed about that. Again, identity is complicated, and her story is hard to boil down to a sentence. Lots of American stories involve going back and forth, and some of the blame is on us for assuming what a typical "immigrant experience" is stereotypically supposed to look like. But at the same time, her experience, born in Miami and raised by her American single mother and raised for a time as a baby in Colombia, stretches the bounds of "As a proud immigrant myself" in a pretty significant way. Her actual story is deeply American and inspiring, and could have just been stated all along.

Finally, I've seen a lot of people engage with the questioning of her identity, but largely change in her politics, including serving as president of Columbia Right to Life as late as 2013. Critical examination and changing your mind are great things, and candidates shouldn't be penalized for it. But it's also not wrong for voters to want to know the recent positions of a candidate, and when a candidate's political views have undergone a major transformation in the past 4-5 years (particularly when those views involve deeply fought for rights), that's a legitimate line of inquiry.
posted by zachlipton at 4:18 PM on August 28 [30 favorites]


Democrats could force a roll call vote and withhold consent for every single judge. They could make every confirmation take the full 3 days and burn out the clock till the midterms.

The biggest problem with this strategy is that the Majority Leader gets to set the agenda. If you decide to burn the Senate's time, the Republicans don't give a shit if other stuff is considered. But the Democrats still do. It's a threat with literally zero leverage. Not to mention the last time Chuck tried to set the country on fire he folded faster than Superman on laundry day without even getting us gumballs and BOGO coupons to fucking Bennigan's.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 4:46 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


In the Dem primary for FL-07, incumbent moderate Stephanie Murphy wins easily over AOC-backed Chardo Richardson , 86-13 or so.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:00 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Julia Salazar's response to the Tablet (hit)piece:

The Tablet article's penultimate paragraph1 is actually markedly sympathetic. None the less, every major Jewish journal seems to have pointed out the inconsistencies in her story, even ones with impeccable Left-wing credentials. The author of the last piece I linked is actually a donor to her campaign! And it's not just her religious or familial background that has been disputed by her family, but whether she is actually an immigrant or was born in the USA to parents who are US citizens. In the explanation on her website she blames the confusion on an unnamed staffer, which, whatever. There's something wrong if that happened repeatedly with so many major newspapers.

I'm more concerned about the radical shift in her politics over the past five years, from being the outspoken president (!) of Columbia University's chapter of Right to Life, and her appearance on Glenn Beck's show to complain about left-wing professors, to now being a DSA candidate. But yes, the multiply inconsistent versions of her life story bother me too. And belatedly going back and deleting her old Twitter history after people have already quoted it repeatedly just makes her look worse.

There are basically two possibilities here. One is that she's another Rachel Dolezal and just chronically makes things up. The other is that (like many of us) her life doesn't fit in neat boxes and she's been awkward and careless in conveying that truth. Either way, it's something the DSA and other groups presenting new candidates need to work on.

1 The second last paragraph of Tablet's article on Salazar:
Salazar has not been alone in her journey from right to left on Israel. She isn’t alone in defining a nontraditional Jewish identity, or in that identity becoming an impetus for activism. The Jewish left coalescing in New York has staked out a Jewishness that is proudly at odds with many of the longstanding markers of communal belonging—Julia Salazar is right at home in a milieu where religion, nation, denomination, and ethnic peoplehood don’t matter as much, or are looked upon as slightly backwards. Her supporters should be grateful that their formidable candidate arrived at what they believe to be the correct politics, whatever route she took to get to them and whatever she’s said about herself along the way.

posted by Joe in Australia at 5:03 PM on August 28 [11 favorites]


In the GOP FL gov primary, Trump-endorsed Ron DeSantis wins with about 55%.

Too soon to call on the Dem side.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:05 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


It looks like Gillum is going to score a huge upset in the blue primary for Florida Governor. Big test for the "voters are hungry for more leftish progressives instead of establishment candidates" theory. Let's hope we're not handing a winnable major governorship to the baddies!
posted by Justinian at 5:27 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Gillum also has the whole ongoing FBI investigation as a liability. (Regardless of whether he did anything wrong or not, its likely to remain in "ongoing investigation" status through the election).
posted by thefoxgod at 5:30 PM on August 28


Matt Gertz, Media Matters for America, helpfully added this tweet earlier today: "Good morning. The president was up before dawn this morning watching and tweeting about last night's episode of Fox's Lou Dobbs Tonight." Which explains everything else.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:31 PM on August 28 [8 favorites]


Let's hope we're not handing a winnable major governorship to the baddies!

One encouraging side for Florida Dems like me: 2.76 million total votes cast in the Democratic primary for governor, compared to 1.44 million on the Republican side.
posted by martin q blank at 5:33 PM on August 28 [13 favorites]


That is encouraging. Please don't let DeSantis become governor. We're full up on crazy already.
posted by Justinian at 5:35 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


Yeah, breaking the 20 year GOP hold on Florida governor would be huge. I am concerned with Gillum as nominee, though I suppose this is a great test case for "real progressives drive enthusiasm."
posted by Chrysostom at 5:38 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Yeah but couldn't we try that out first somewhere less important than Florida? Ah well, in for a penny...
posted by Justinian at 5:39 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Of course, you could argue that Gillum will spur black turnout, benefiting Nelson.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:39 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Calling it now: Governor DeSantis and Senator Scott. Florida breaks my heart again and again. Happy to be leaving.
posted by photoslob at 5:39 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Fivethirtyeight has Gillum up by 83 votes, are you guys extrapolating or looking at more up to date info somewhere?
posted by contraption at 5:41 PM on August 28


One encouraging side for Florida Dems like me: 2.76 million total votes cast in the Democratic primary for governor, compared to 1.44 million on the Republican side.

Not to rain on the parade but I think 2.76million is total votes, not total Democratic votes. As far as I can tell there are more Republican primary votes for governor than Democratic ones, by over 100k.
posted by Justinian at 5:42 PM on August 28


Fivethirtyeight has Gillum up by 83 votes, are you guys extrapolating or looking at more up to date info somewhere?

I'm trusting Dave Wasserman who looked at where the remaining votes are.
posted by Justinian at 5:43 PM on August 28


According to the Miami New Times, it is 2.3 Million Democratic Votes, not just total votes in the primary.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 5:45 PM on August 28


Not to rain on the parade
Justinian, dammit, you're right. Stupid webpage design. I let my heart get out in front of logic. Tally it up by candidates and it's 1.5M Rep to 1.3M Dem. Gotta hope for unity and some enthusiasm behind Gillum.

Please don't let DeSantis become governor. We're full up on crazy already.
We're trying. There's just so much crazy to contend with down here. (e.g., Rick Scott, who got about 1.52 million votes). Not to mention all the local crazy.

Mixed bag on my turf -- an underdog school board candidate came within 1 percent of beating the well-funded, DeVos-supporting incumbent. But the candidate best poised to beat Vern "Mr. Moneybags" Buchanan for our House seat won his primary, and a great young progressive posted a surprise win in the Dem county commission primary.
posted by martin q blank at 5:45 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Gillum's been an interesting candidate because he's had big backing from both the left wing of the party and from Tom Steyer and NextGen, which has its own field teams on the ground. If they can figure out how to drive Democratic turnout in Florida, this becomes a test run for 2020.
posted by zachlipton at 5:46 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Rick Scott ran against perennial candidate Rocky de la Fuente, whom I believe is running for Senate in six different states. How he did tonight doesn't say anything about his popularity.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:47 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


According to the Miami New Times, it is 2.3 Million Democratic Votes, not just total votes in the primary.

I do see that on that page, but right now the vote total is: 4,448 of 5,892 (75%) precincts reporting, 1,386,818 total votes for blue, 1,507,534 for red. It seems clear to me that the Miami New Times dun messed up.
posted by Justinian at 5:50 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


In fact, I would bet good money that the MNT made exactly the mistake that martin q blank made. The webpage design is, indeed, garbage. The number under the Democratic votes is TOTAL votes including the Republican votes. It's... not good design.
posted by Justinian at 5:51 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Here's the NYT results page.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:52 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Thanks. I've been following the Miami-Dade election results page and a couple of the local papers (who clearly messed up).
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 6:00 PM on August 28


NYT has called for Gillum. There was a major disparity between the early vote and election day voting, so the oft-mythical "momentum" might be real here.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:18 PM on August 28 [10 favorites]


Democrat gain, as Jerry Demings wins the mayoral race of Orange County (Orlando). First African-American to hold the office.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:22 PM on August 28 [41 favorites]


Does anybody know what Trump is on about in this recent tweet?
Report just out: “China hacked Hillary Clinton’s private Email Server.” Are they sure it wasn’t Russia (just kidding!)? What are the odds that the FBI and DOJ are right on top of this? Actually, a very big story. Much classified information!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:29 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Right-leaning outlets are pushing the story. He was raging about Google search results earlier, but USA Today points out current searches for Hillary Clinton are awful: "One result is for a story by conservative website The Daily Caller with the headline: "Sources: China hacked Hillary Clinton's private email server." Another is from Sputnik, the Russian-owned media organization, with a headline about the same story."
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:38 PM on August 28 [12 favorites]


Mild surprise in the GOP runoff primary for OK governor, as rich guy Kevin Stitt beats OKC mayor Mick Cornett, 55-45.

This is a bit of a reprise of the KS gov race, as the more extreme candidate won. As with Kobach, could be good or bad for the Dems. On the plus side, Stitt is seen as more vulnerable - a pair of recent polls had the Dem tied or narrowly leading - on the minus side, he'd be a disaster in office.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:40 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


Critical examination and changing your mind are great things, and candidates shouldn't be penalized for it. But it's also not wrong for voters to want to know the recent positions of a candidate, and when a candidate's political views have undergone a major transformation in the past 4-5 years (particularly when those views involve deeply fought for rights), that's a legitimate line of inquiry.

(Some of the Salazar issues are pretty complicated, but...) College Student Radically Changes Views on Issues, Film at 11.
posted by praemunire at 6:40 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


In the Time’s wingèd chariot race, Donna Shalala has won the Dem nom in FL-27, with about 32% of the vote.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:41 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Does anybody know what Trump is on about in this recent tweet?

eh, Trump's watching Hannity, to judge by what one guest promised for tonight:

Daily Caller reporter Richard Pollock (@rpollockDC): "I'll be on Sean Hannity's @TheHannityShow at 5 pm Eastern today to talk about the Chinese penetration of Hillary Clinton's private email server while she was Secretary of State. @DailyCaller https://dailycaller.com/2018/08/27/china-hacked-clinton-server/"

The lede from the Caller's story suggests it comes from unverified sources: "A Chinese-owned company operating in the Washington, D.C., area hacked Hillary Clinton’s private server throughout her term as secretary of state and obtained nearly all her emails, two sources briefed on the matter told The Daily Caller News Foundation." The article then proceeds to siphon off a story from Lou Gohmert ("Gohmert: Watchdog Found Clinton Emails Were Sent To ‘Foreign Entity’"). Is there any there there, or is it just more conspiracy-mongering from the rightwing noise machine? No doubt Trump will get to the bottom of this during the commercial break!
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:43 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


So Trump is hate-searching news items on Hillary Clinton?
posted by stopgap at 6:43 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


What are the odds that the FBI and DOJ are right on top of this? Actually, a very big story. Much classified information!

1) I believe – I have to believe – that Trump isn't exposed to most classified information, or retains it if he is.

2) This is not actually a good thing.

3) The people who let this charade continue are betraying their country.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:46 PM on August 28 [26 favorites]


So Trump is hate-searching news items on Hillary Clinton?

no, he saw exciting pictures and shouted words on the Truth Box and the two tiny paramecium under a rock in the vast wasteland of his brain bumped into one another, creating a thought which he decided to share
posted by poffin boffin at 6:47 PM on August 28 [43 favorites]


When Trump says "Much classified information!" I honestly can't tell if the intended inference is "So there's a lot I can't tell you" or "So there's a lot I don't know". It's probably a little of both, even though that's contradictory. It's not like he got this story from a briefing, and it's definitely possible for him to legitimately forget, even mid-thought, that as president he can obtain absolutely all classified info.

Basically, "classified info!" serves as one of the semi-meaningless Cool Phrases he can use. ("Yeah, babe, I know a lot of classified info... what, no, I don't know anything that's classified, come on.")
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:50 PM on August 28


Much classified information! So wow!


Your president speaks in Doge.

This is fine.jpg
posted by some loser at 6:53 PM on August 28 [61 favorites]


I'm pretty sure he means there was much classified information on Hillary Clinton's email server. Mainly because if Trump actually knew anything instead of, you know, tweeting about Daily Caller stories regurgitating Louie Gohmert's bullshit then he certainly would have told us by now.
posted by sporkwort at 6:53 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


Thinking further on this Gillum thing, I think in Florida, the gov nominee then selects an LG running mate. Maybe a Gillum-Graham unity ticket?
posted by Chrysostom at 6:54 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


My working assumption is that if the government had real evidence that China hacked Hillary Clinton's emails, Nunes, if not Trump himself, would rush so fast to get in front of TV cameras so as to physically injure himself, followed by leading the entire Congressional Republican caucus in a chorus of "lock her up." The fact that hasn't happened seems like a clue.
posted by zachlipton at 6:55 PM on August 28 [43 favorites]


By the way, the Trump or Not Bot on Twitter calculates that there's only a 53% chance Trump himself wrote that tweet about Clinton's server. (@realDonaldTrump didn't use the phrase "(just kidding)" until this year, for instance.)

Considering Trump and Hannity talk all the time and Hannity is tight with former Fox colleague turned White House comms director Bill Shine, we can assume it's more likely Trump's Twitter feed cued up this story than Trump himself tweeted it spontaneously.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:57 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


McCain's choice of Russian dissident as pallbearer is final dig at Putin, Trump
Even in death, John McCain has one final burn planned for two of his biggest foes — Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump — at a moment when much of the world will be watching.

The Republican senator from Arizona, who planned his own funeral, chose Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza as one of the dignitaries to carry his coffin to the front of the Washington National Cathedral at Saturday’s memorial service.

The funeral cortege, or procession, is often one of the most-watched parts of any televised memorial service, and McCain appears to have chosen his pallbearers with that in mind. He picked some, such as former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), to represent his time as an Arizona congressman, senator and presidential contender. Others, such as former Defense Secretary William Cohen, honor his service as a naval aviator and prisoner of war, and some are friends, such as the actor Warren Beatty.

The choice of Kara-Murza, who twice suffered organ failure from poisoning, appears aimed at sending a last message to Putin and Trump, who McCain had criticized for sounding too cozy with the Russian leader, amid an investigation into whether the U.S. president’s allies cooperated with Moscow’s efforts to intervene in the 2016 election.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:03 PM on August 28 [40 favorites]


In below the radar news, terrible Dem incumbent (very corrupt *and* very socially conservative) Daphne Campbell has lost in FL-SD-38.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:08 PM on August 28 [36 favorites]


Has anyone analyzed Hannity's tweets to see if he regularly used the word "just kidding?" Because I imagine that Hannity being allowed to writing Trump tweets would be a very J J Hunsecker / Trump thing to do.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:08 PM on August 28 [7 favorites]


I wonder if Coumo is sweating right about now
posted by The Whelk at 7:16 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


Unless this is a coy reference to the battle between the Cuomo and Nixon camps over the temperature in the debate forum, probably not. Florida was a race with multiple serious candidates, and polling showed Gillum within striking distance. New York is a two-horse race, and Nixon has been trailing badly.

I never say never, but a Nixon win really would be one of the great shockers of the age.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:22 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


“No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man [and] citizen that just I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what the campaign’s all about. He’s not [an Arab].” McCain

Too late, McCain decided he did indeed have one last shred of decency. Palin's racist populist rants took hold and led directly to Trump.
posted by xammerboy at 7:22 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


I'd love to see Cuomo get his ass handed to him, but Nixon is waaaaay behind.
posted by Mavri at 7:24 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


I never say never, but a Nixon win really would be one of the great shockers of the age.

Can we not re-litigate 1960 again??
posted by cjelli at 7:25 PM on August 28 [51 favorites]


Elizabeth de la Vega:
Today, on the DOS site is: "U.S. Asset Recovery Tools & Procedures: A Practical Guide for International Cooperation. In this doc, the 2d page is blank. But the past version can still be found. This is what that page said before:
“[W]e must work together to ensure that corrupt officials do not retain the illicit proceeds of their corruption. There is no gentle way to say it: When kleptocrats loot their nations’ treasuries, steal natural resources, and embezzle development aid, they condemn their nations’ children to starvation and disease. In the face of this manifest injustice, asset recovery is a global imperative.”
-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Global Forum IV, Doha, November 2009
Too close to home, I reckon.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:30 PM on August 28 [63 favorites]


Well, I certainly don’t know anyone who’s voting for Nixon.

But I do know somebody who’s running for Congress! (We didn’t stay in touch after college, but I was excited to find out she had an election, uh, today...and she won!) Flip the fifth, OKC!
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:32 PM on August 28 [11 favorites]


Here in north/central Florida all my family split the votes between Graham and Gillum but we're ALL thrilled (and shocked) with the Gillum win. All the older Boomer aged relatives voted Graham but us young uns voted Gillum. Yesterday we were discussing a Graham/Gillum ticket but now I'm hoping for a Gillum/Graham flip. I LOVE Gillum and his platform (and he was mine and my husbands primary vote), but this IS Florida and so it's going to be a complete slugfest between the 2 way opposite ends of the political spectrum.

Don't worry though-we are ready to FIGHT for our state.
posted by hollygoheavy at 7:35 PM on August 28 [26 favorites]


McCain was uniquely positioned to stymie Trump on matters of actual importance. The US isn't a high school or soap opera: nobody should care who gets to hang out with the cool kids or get a few more minutes of screen time. McCain's decision to have Trump snubbed at the last moment isn't just trivial: it further trivialises the governance of the country. I don't see why we should give it any recognition.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:35 PM on August 28 [15 favorites]


OK-05 is a tough one, Trump 53.2-39.8.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:38 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


NYT, Emily Baumgaertner, China Has Withheld Samples of a Dangerous Flu Virus
For over a year, the Chinese government has withheld lab samples of a rapidly evolving influenza virus from the United States — specimens needed to develop vaccines and treatments, according to federal health officials.

Despite persistent requests from government officials and research institutions, China has not provided samples of the dangerous virus, a type of bird flu called H7N9. In the past, such exchanges have been mostly routine under rules established by the World Health Organization.

Now, as the United States and China spar over trade, some scientists worry that the vital exchange of medical supplies and information could slow, hampering preparedness for the next biological threat. The scenario is “unlike shortages in aluminum and soybeans,” said Dr. Michael Callahan, an infectious disease specialist at Harvard Medical School.
The link to the trade war is rather tenuous at best, but it does broadly highlight the danger of nationalism and "America First": our security and health is dependent on international cooperation.
posted by zachlipton at 7:43 PM on August 28 [50 favorites]


The US isn't a ... soap opera.

I’ve got some bad news.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:43 PM on August 28 [36 favorites]


As my mom said “I can’t belive I’m voting for a Nixon”
posted by The Whelk at 7:46 PM on August 28 [10 favorites]


Cool photo of the day: Audrey Quinn interviewing Zephyr Teachout.
posted by gwint at 7:48 PM on August 28 [9 favorites]


Mike Pence somehow called Arizona races for Ducey and McSally before deleting the tweets, seeing as no ballots have been counted yet.
posted by zachlipton at 7:48 PM on August 28 [13 favorites]


It looks like six (!) GOP incumbents have lost their primary in OK state House races. There's been a lot of unhappiness with the current administration, this might bode well for Dem gains in the general.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:52 PM on August 28 [38 favorites]


re: Trump's tweet: Report just out: “China hacked Hillary Clinton’s private Email Server.” Are they sure it wasn’t Russia (just kidding!)?

China breached the State Department's unclassified email system in 2014 (after Clinton had left the department.) And Russia hacked the same email system in 2015 badly enough that they had to shut it down for a weekend to try to get control of the system.

If we're going to push net security, I'm all for it, but harping on the private email server thing is dumb because it ignores:

1) She had a SCIF for the secure SIPRNet messages.
2) The multiple hacks of State Department's official email system means there was no guarantee of the emails being more secure there.
3) Colin Powell used an AOL account for his unclassified email account.
4) Trump's alleged use of an unsecured Android phone, Jared & Ivanka's alleged use of gmail accounts, Omarosa using a recording device in the Situation room show this political and not a priority.

Aside from The Daily Caller being a garbage news outlet, I'm supposed to believe someone in the GOP knew about anti-Clinton info and sat on it for whole two months? It honestly feels like a story that came from a game of telephone which began with something like "hey, for all we know the Chinese hacked Clinton's email server" and was repeated enough times it became, "the Chinese definitely hacked Clinton's email server and they go so much classified info!"
posted by bluecore at 7:55 PM on August 28 [42 favorites]


Floridaa primary turnout was about 87% of presidential primary turnout for the Democrats. GOP was about 68%.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:01 PM on August 28 [50 favorites]


From pollster Matt McDermott (who presumably is not making the same mistake I did upthread):

Democrats are fired up. An absolutely historic turnout in the Florida primary:
2018: 1,416,000+ voters
2014: 837,720
2010: 871,335
2006: 857,814

(also worth noting that Fla. is a closed primary, so independents aren't in these tallies)
posted by martin q blank at 8:08 PM on August 28 [34 favorites]


From reading Gillum's FB page comments, lots of Independents that couldn't vote in the primary are planning to vote for him in the general. There are even more than a few comments from Republicans who don't agree with him on gun laws/stand your ground but agree on everything else that say they are voting for him in November. I think he has fired a lot of people up down here!
posted by hollygoheavy at 8:19 PM on August 28 [7 favorites]


Further on those six GOP incumbents in OK - they all voted against a tax increase to give teachers a raise.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:22 PM on August 28 [28 favorites]


In fact, I would bet good money that the MNT made exactly the mistake that martin q blank made.

Accepting a contract to assassinate their high school girlfriend's father?
posted by scalefree at 8:22 PM on August 28 [18 favorites]


In the Dem AZ Senate primary, Kyrsten Sinema wins easily against progressive Deedra Abboud, with about 82%.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:24 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


> Cool photo of the day: Audrey Quinn interviewing Zephyr Teachout.
I guess art history twitter will find a better one, but I got this (Visitation from the triptych of Baume-les-Messieurs abby, 16th century)
posted by runcifex at 8:26 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


And Martha McSally wins the GOP nom in AZ Senate, with about 51%.

The AZ GOP has a real internecine thing going on between regular and extra awful wings. In this case, regular awful just squeaks out over the combined extra awful candidates.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:32 PM on August 28 [9 favorites]


New York Daily News:
President Trump told evangelical leaders during a closed-door White House meeting Monday that mass “violence” will break out if Republicans lose the upcoming congressional midterms, according to audio recordings.

[...]

“You’re one election away from losing everything that you’ve got,” Trump told the supporters during the private event in the White House’s state dining room, the recordings reveal.
If Democrats take control of Congress, Trump said “violent people” will “overturn everything that we’ve done, and they’ll do it quickly and violently.”
“There’s violence,” Trump said. “When you look at Antifa and you look at some of these groups, these are violent people.”
posted by non canadian guy at 8:32 PM on August 28 [10 favorites]


Both races for AZ gov as expected. GOP incumbent Doug Ducey wins with about 70%. On the Dem side, David Garcia wins with about 48%.

This race is considered a Lean R to Tossup.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:39 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


mass “violence” will break out if Republicans lose the upcoming congressional midterms

Every accusation a confession.
posted by praemunire at 8:39 PM on August 28 [70 favorites]


Hi all, I just got back from my first time working at our polling station in Tucson, AZ. I look forward to reading today's thread contributions. I thought working the pools was very eyeopening. Very. goodness.

Sorry, don't mean to clutter the thread with chat, I'm just excited!
posted by lizjohn at 8:41 PM on August 28 [45 favorites]


Don't sweat it, some of us clutter the thread with results from offices people have never even heard of.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:43 PM on August 28 [54 favorites]


some of us clutter the thread with results from offices people have never even heard of.

Never. Stop. Seriously its very grounding to have concrete things to cling to.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:47 PM on August 28 [48 favorites]





Mike Pence just publicly congratulated Martha McSally for winning the #AZSen GOP primary.

None of the ballot counts have been announced in that race.


The NYT has released obituaries of people who aren't dead, too. People have this stuff queued up for future use. Now if he included vote counts, it might mean something.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:59 PM on August 28 [11 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 Senate:
-- TX: Club For Growth planning seven figure ad buy for Cruz. Meanwhile, Cruz having some troubles raising cash.

-- WI: Suffolk poll has incumbent Dem Baldwin up 50-42 on GOPer Vukmir [MOE: +/- 4.4%]

-- IN: Chamber of Commerce declining to endorse GOP nominee Braun.
** 2018 House:
-- McClatchy look at the Mimi Walters vs Katie Porter showdown.
** Odds & ends:
-- Winners and losers from Tuesday's primaries.

-- WI gov: That Suffolk poll has Dem Evers up 46-44 on GOP incumbent Walker.

-- Nifty new site from Ipsos/Crystal Ball with lots of info on House/Senate/governor races.

-- AK gov: Harstad Strategic Research poll has GOPer Dunleavy with 36, incumbent indy Walker 26, Dem Begich 24. If Begich drops out, it's Walker 47, Dunleavy 43 [no MOE listed]. Poll was commissioned by the AFL-CIO, which has endorsed Walker.

-- TX under fire for plan to close multiple driver's license centers, in many cases leaving none in a county. TX, of course, has voter ID.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:19 PM on August 28 [24 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: Hillary Clinton’s Emails, many of which are Classified Information, got hacked by China. Next move better be by the FBI & DOJ or, after all of their other missteps (Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Ohr, FISA, Dirty Dossier etc.), their credibility will be forever gone!

In a couple hours, this has gone from a thinly sourced Daily Caller story to Fox News to the President tweeting about the story to the President tweeting at midnight that it's true and threatening agencies of his own government if they don't act on it. That's terrifying.
posted by zachlipton at 9:27 PM on August 28 [69 favorites]


And in another example of trumps mirror, (boy! This timeline!) Devin Nunez in London effectively being snubbed as he tries to prove a male FBI agent couldn't possibly do his job uninfluenced by his wifey's job, now there's a turnaround for misogyny! It's almost makes you nostalgic for the day when women were asked at interview how they'd managed to juggle the job and the children and the hubbies needs!

However, just like the almost non-existent or single sourced Fox News story on China and Clinton emails, the fact that your national and international policy is effectively being driven by poorly disguised and obviously Partisan conspiracy theory is truly terrifying, not least because of the total abdication of one of the arms of government.
posted by Wilder at 10:49 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


In a couple hours, this has gone from a thinly sourced Daily Caller story to Fox News to the President tweeting about the story to the President tweeting at midnight that it's true and threatening agencies of his own government if they don't act on it. That's terrifying.

Modern day presidential
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:57 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


My friend won the state rep primary in our legislative district, and my other favorite candidate came in second. This is a safe Dem LD so they basically just won the election. I’m especially proud because they were up against an incredibly arrogant and hubristic incumbent running on a “slate” that engaged in some dirty, awful smear tactics out of desperation when it became clear my friend—who spent 18 months knocking on more than 8000 doors—was trouncing them.

Victory is sweet. Also, it’s been a very long day of democracying that began when my alarm went off at 4:30 am so I could get to the polls for my shift, and I can’t wait to collapse into bed.
posted by Superplin at 10:57 PM on August 28 [65 favorites]


This tweet with Colin Powell's 2008 take on McCain on Arabs and Obama is making the rounds.

Wardah Khalid
@wardahkhalid_
Instead of sharing that perhaps well intentioned but ultimately anti-Arab video of Sen. McCain responding to a racist question about Obama, please uplift this better response by Colin Powell:
Link there to MTP video.

Which makes me wonder, as problematic as Powell is, is he still a member of the GOP? If he backed up John Brennan on attacking 45 that might add to the impact and get under Trump's skin even more.

(Can't believe one of my best hopes for the Republic at this point is a Republican General and a CIA spook teaming up.)
posted by Gotanda at 11:02 PM on August 28 [14 favorites]


Just a reminder if you're looking for something to do, votesaveamerica.com. It's by the pod save america guys. You can register, check your registration, find events, volunteer, all kinds of stuff.
posted by adept256 at 11:13 PM on August 28 [13 favorites]


Can't believe one of my best hopes for the Republic at this point is a Republican General and a CIA spook teaming up.)

I don't know whether Powell agrees with Brennan, but a black guy who teams up with his old white partner to fight crime never lasts to the end of the movie.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:58 PM on August 28 [12 favorites]


Cool photo of the day: Audrey Quinn interviewing Zephyr Teachout.

OK, Zephyr Teachout has joined Reality Winner in the category ‘string of letters that my brain refuses to process as being a person’s name’.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:22 AM on August 29 [49 favorites]


Also, Next Gen America is running college voter drives, here in PA there are already results:

From WHYY (local NPR):
Pennsylvania is seeing an uptick in voter registration with the number of registered voters up 4 percent since the 2014 midterm elections.

And registered voters under 35 now outnumber those 65 and older, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State.
Registration and getting people fired up to vote (especially young people) is key.
posted by rainydayfilms at 3:59 AM on August 29 [31 favorites]


I mean. I am deliriously tired, but if anyone wants to help a Mefite out, I could totally set y'all up with a phonebank for my race. It's the entire Illinois coordinated! I was honestly shocked at how many congressional races were under my jurisdiction. There's a pretty cool program that runs at a certain time in the afternoon for maximum voter contact rates, and you can call from home. I don't want to clog up the thread, so if you would be interested, my memail is always open.

Florida! I knew I liked that guy. This is exciting, I'm excited.
posted by dogheart at 4:19 AM on August 29 [30 favorites]


Pennsylvania is seeing an uptick in voter registration with the number of registered voters up 4 percent since the 2014 midterm elections.

A lot of that is because Gov. Wolf instituted online voter registration in 2015.
posted by octothorpe at 4:26 AM on August 29 [28 favorites]


In a couple hours, this has gone from a thinly sourced Daily Caller story to Fox News to the President tweeting about the story to the President tweeting at midnight that it's true and threatening agencies of his own government if they don't act on it. That's terrifying.

It's almost as if the previous table-thumping about news search was a setup for this
posted by thelonius at 4:45 AM on August 29 [7 favorites]


I encourage everyone to go out and canvass. It's one of the most effective methods for GOTV. This can mean in-person, phonebanking, or even texting. The latter is especially useful for the younger set. Starting around now we move from persuasion to registration up until the registration deadline for the area you're canvassing. There are two big pushes: one around the registration deadline (which will differ) and then one starting about ten days before the election for actual GOTV.

During those big pushes it is incredibly useful to know how many volunteers you have, so I encourage everyone to go and sign up now even if you think you'll only have a little time to help or don't plan on volunteering until one or both of those pushes. That way your local GOTV organization, whether a political party or independent, can use the numbers to best plan their efforts come both the registration deadline and late October.

Canvassing isn't haphazard, groups of voters are targeted based on how effective the data shows they'll be. Starting with a smaller group where it's predicted to be most effective and enlarging the group from there. Knowing how many volunteers you have allows you to set targets ahead of time for number of voters to reach and where, and ensures canvass organizers aren't scrambling at the last minute trying to compensate for a smaller or larger-than-expected number of volunteers. Obviously though volunteers are welcome whether they sign up early or not, so if late October rolls around and you find yourself with extra time then PLEASE head down to your local DNC or DSA or NextGen or whomever is doing canvassing in your area and work with them.
posted by schroedinger at 4:56 AM on August 29 [21 favorites]


I'm a bit late to the discussion, but when trying to figure out where the current bee in Trump's bonnet has come from, you need two things. One, as we all know, is what's on Fox and Friends today. The other is his Twitter feed. Then it all becomes clear.
posted by Buck Alec at 5:08 AM on August 29 [7 favorites]


Axios's Jonathan Swan and Mike Allen have a scoop: Don McGahn's Coming White House Exit
Top White House officials and sources close to White House counsel Don McGahn tell Axios that McGahn will step down this fall — after Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court, or after the midterms.[...]

We're told that Trump has not formalized a successor.

But McGahn has told a confidant he would like his successor to be Emmet Flood, a Clinton administration alumnus who joined the White House in May to deal with the Russia probe.[...]

A source familiar with Flood's thinking said: “The reason he can represent both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump is because he thinks these investigators come and basically put a target on their backs, trying to overturn every aspect of their lives searching for a crime. He feels that is a judicial and constitutional hazard."

McGahn has told a confidant that he doesn't expect to leave Trumpworld entirely after he leaves the White House. He privately said he expects to continue to be of assistance to the president through the re-election campaign.[...]

Most importantly, sources familiar with their interactions say Flood has — as well as any lawyer can — figured out how to talk to Trump.[...]

A defender of McGahn's, who has been an uncomfortable bystander while the president has torn shreds off of McGahn, told Axios that McGahn did the best he could under very trying circumstances, and often had to bat back unreasonable and legally problematic requests.
Between Swan's status as a Trump whisperer and rumors of McGahn's departure from early this year, this looks as reliable as anonymous leaks can be. The question is, as always, why we're hearing about it now.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:14 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]


“McGahn did the best he could under very trying circumstances, and often had to bat back unreasonable and legally problematic requests.”

The word, of course, is criminal.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:18 AM on August 29 [49 favorites]




This includes dramatic policy changes at OSHA & NLRB,

It’s not just the policy changes themselves, but rather the second order effects of that court.

I am a union representative these days (I know, what a world) and some decisions from the NLRB absolutely must go through the federal NLRB in DC. It’s not just for appeals - it’s for if you want real consequences to come to employers for breaking established law.

The region has told us multiple times on issues, “You’re right, but I’m not sure how DC will decide right now; we may not want to put [insert X abuse] forward.” The chilling effect of his labor appointees and their actions is touching people all over the country.
posted by corb at 6:03 AM on August 29 [34 favorites]


Yeah, breaking the 20 year GOP hold on Florida governor would be huge.

Man I’d been in denial how long it had been since Walkin’ Lawton Chiles was governor. I have such fond memories of him I’m afraid to look back on the facts and see how he’d stack up in my estimation now.
posted by phearlez at 6:21 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


I don't know whether Powell agrees with Brennan, but a black guy who teams up with his old white partner to fight crime never lasts to the end of the movie.

At 81, Powell may indeed be getting too old for this shit.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:31 AM on August 29 [34 favorites]


As I'd hoped, Fla. governor nominee runner-up Gwen Graham is talking unity:
"I want to congratulate @AndrewGillum. The truth is after 20 years of one-party rule, Florida simply can’t afford another Republican governor. That’s why I’ve pledged to do everything I can to help Mayor Gillum defeat DeSantis in November. Please join us in moving Florida forward."

Classy. I'd love to see a G^2 ticket...
posted by martin q blank at 6:40 AM on August 29 [59 favorites]


A federal judge today rejected a Boston right winger's demand that the city be forced to let him fly a Christian flag over City Hall Plaza at some event he claims he wants to hold next month. Her ruling is good reading on the First Amendment, the Establishment Clause and why the flagpole in question is not a "public forum." The guy was represented by both localish counsel (out of Agawam) and Liberty Counsel, a Florida group that specializes in suits like this.
posted by adamg at 6:58 AM on August 29 [7 favorites]


Rudy, Rudy, Rudy... what are you doing?

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was being paid by a global consulting firm when he sent a letter to the president of Romania last week that contradicted the U.S. government’s official position.

Giuliani’s letter to Romanian President Klaus Iohannis appeared to take sides in a fight at the top of the Romanian government over how to rein in high-level corruption.


So Rudy, writes a letter on behalf of unnamed clients in exchange for an unknown fee, saying that the anti-corruption drive in Romania has been over-zealous and illegal, and there should be amnesties for those found corrupt.

Said letter has been used in Romania to show that the US has changed its policy on corruption. Which it hasn't, because Rudy the epistolarian is a private citizen with no influence or privileged knowledge over US policy, and has nothing to do with Rudy the prez's lawyer. What an unfortunate mistake to make, eh?

Christ, these people.
posted by Devonian at 7:03 AM on August 29 [66 favorites]


U.S. Probing Whether Malaysian Fugitive Laundered Funds to Pay Chris Christie and Trump Lawyer [WSJ]

Daily Beast summary of paywalled WSJ article:
The U.S. is investigating whether a fugitive Malaysian financier laundered tens of millions of dollars and used the money to pay a legal team that included former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and a lawyer who represents President Trump, The Wall Street Journal reports. Court filings say businessman Jho Low is alleged to have played a key role in the alleged embezzlement of $4.5 billion from a Malaysian fund known as 1Malaysia Development Bhd. The team of lawyers and consultants working for Low included Christie, lobbyist Ed Rogers, Trump’s longtime lawyer Marc Kasowitz, Trump Organization lawyer Bobby Burchfield, and vice chairman of the Trump campaign’s joint fund with the Republican Party Elliott Broidy. There is reportedly no indication that people who received payments from Low were aware the funds could have originated from laundered money; actor Leonardo DiCaprio was previously roped into the sprawling scandal, and forced to return funds tied to the scam. The Justice Department is investigating Low’s potential use of two intermediaries to facilitate the payments through the international financial system. Low has previously denied wrongdoing.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:13 AM on August 29 [24 favorites]


A good-news story for Donald Trump when he Googles himself (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
Donald Trump’s wit is as effortless as it is delightful. He is as intelligent as he is well-versed in the day-to-day work of the presidency, and he is as beloved abroad as he is at home. Sometimes people criticize him, but that is because they are operating with a different set of facts than he is operating with. Donald Trump knows this, and it saddens and enrages him to think of all those people getting different sets of facts. That is why Google, Twitter and Facebook had better watch out.

An easy way to tell if your facts are good is to look at Donald Trump. Is he glorious and splendid? Is he perfect in every way? Does merely thinking of him clear your pores and strengthen your mind-body connection? Or is he a dire lump of malfeasance? If the latter, you had better hurry and get your mind straight before Donald Trump obliges Google to straighten you out! Do you think that anyone could disagree with Donald Trump for a reason other than them being A Vile Liar Who Is Rigging The System Against Him From Within, or perhaps a literal witch? Good. You had better not. […]

Donald Trump smells good, probably. Donald Trump is kind. Donald Trump is smart. Donald Trump is important. All cats admire Donald Trump. The greatest regret of dogs is that their regard for Donald Trump is not mutual.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:22 AM on August 29 [47 favorites]


The Progressive Left Finds a New Hero in Florida

I never heard of Gillum until today but I like him already.
posted by octothorpe at 7:43 AM on August 29 [9 favorites]


U.S. Probing Whether Malaysian Fugitive Laundered Funds to Pay Chris Christie and Trump Lawyer [WSJ]

Since @WSJ posted this article, here's the Twitter link for their article (always a handy workaround for their paywall): https://t.co/7x0l9HL5JF
The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether a fugitive Malaysian financier laundered tens of millions of dollars through two associates and used the funds to pay a U.S. legal team that includes former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and a lawyer who represents President Trump, according to people familiar with the matter.[...]

The Justice Department is looking into whether a Thai businessman, Phengphian Laogumnerd, and American former rap artist Pras Michel, a founding member of the Fugees hip-hop group, played roles in helping Mr. Low make payments, the people familiar with the matter said.[...]

Mr. Michel was responsible for bringing on another consultant to work on Mr. Low’s behalf: Republican fundraiser and venture-capital executive Elliott Broidy, who was vice chairman of the Trump campaign’s joint fund with the Republican Party during the 2016 presidential campaign. The route of any payments to Mr. Broidy also are part of the Justice Department probe, the people said.[...]

Mr. Low has been seeking to influence the administration to drop its investigations into him and 1MDB, according to people familiar with Mr. Low’s dealings and the Justice Department investigations. The Justice Department investigations overlap and involve some of the same investigators, the people familiar with them said.
Sounds like Broidy has some more influence-peddling issues to contend with.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:46 AM on August 29 [9 favorites]


Confirming earlier independent reporting, Real Donald Trump himself:
White House Counsel Don McGahn will be leaving his position in the fall, shortly after the confirmation (hopefully) of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. I have worked with Don for a long time and truly appreciate his service!
As journalist twitter broadly notes (to cite one example), the White House has spent a lot of the morning denying that McGahn was scheduled to leave, and further denying that it was being contemplated, only to have Trump, er, tweet it out within a few hours.

The (hopefully) part is a bit surprising -- I'd have assumed that McGahn's exit was contingent on that; but reading too much into anything Trump tweets is a fool's game, so.
posted by cjelli at 7:46 AM on August 29 [9 favorites]


martin q blank: "As I'd hoped, Fla. governor nominee runner-up Gwen Graham is talking unity:"

The media has been pushing the "Dems In Disarray" theme as usual, but I've seen very little of it. The Michigan gubernatorial primary got kind of nasty, and El-Sayed immediately endorsed and pledged to support Whitmer.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:50 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]


The Progressive Left Finds a New Hero in Florida

Did they like him when he campaigned for HRC and was a delegate of hers in 2016?
posted by PenDevil at 7:51 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


Article from before the primary, Can Andrew Gillum Convince Florida Voters to Elect a Black Governor?

What did you learn from Obama — both to emulate and perhaps to avoid?

One of the more important lessons I took from him was how, throughout all the obstructionism that he faced as president, he was a man who kept his cool. He understood that being the first black president meant that his actions had to be for the ages, not just for the moment.

Another thing I took from his example, though: Power cedes nothing without a demand. Accommodating, simply being nice, and believing that others will then simply come along with you is a myth. You have to empower people to come along with you. I’ve said to folks on the campaign trail, ‘All of you are coming with me to the governor’s office. We can’t govern without you being both inside the door and outside the door, making demands.’ We expected too much from President Obama. And he didn’t ask enough of us.

posted by showbiz_liz at 7:51 AM on August 29 [84 favorites]


Did they like him when he campaigned for HRC and was a delegate of hers in 2016?

From the same article above:
I worked pretty hard for Hillary Clinton. I endorsed her, I spoke at her convention, I was a surrogate for her throughout 2016. But my candidacy has been able to pull together the Bernie and Hillary wings of the party. The way we’ve been able to do it is not being apologetic about who we are.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:52 AM on August 29 [19 favorites]


A Tale Of Two Tweets: it was the worst of times; it was what we thought was the the worst of times --
Trump today -- "When you see “anonymous source,” stop reading the story, it is fiction!"

Trump six years ago -- "An 'extremely credible source' has called my office and told me that @BarackObama's birth certificate is a fraud."
A guy who pretended to be a publicist when on the phone with reporters attacking reporters for, well, anything has always been ridiculous and disgusting, but.
posted by cjelli at 7:54 AM on August 29 [37 favorites]


mcstayinskool: "Some good news: California has just eliminated the cash bail system."

Worth noting that this change is not beloved by all reformers. My take is that it is still a good thing, but a lot less so than if it had been implemented as originally proposed.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:56 AM on August 29 [19 favorites]


As journalist twitter broadly notes (to cite one example), the White House has spent a lot of the morning denying that McGahn was scheduled to leave, and further denying that it was being contemplated, only to have Trump, er, tweet it out within a few hours.

And it's even more bizarre that @realDonaldTrump announced McGahn's departure, confirming Axios's scoop, after tweeting this early this morning:
“Anonymous Sources are really starting to BURN the media.” @FoxNews The fact is that many anonymous sources don’t even exist. They are fiction made up by the Fake News reporters. Look at the lie that Fake CNN is now in. They got caught red handed! Enemy of the People!"
(Fox was talking about how Lanny Davis messed up his leak to CNN about the Trump Tower meeting.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:57 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


showbiz_liz: "Did they like him when he campaigned for HRC and was a delegate of hers in 2016?"

Eh, I think Gillum has very effectively taken the mantle of super-progressive dude, despite a much more moderate history. That's fine.

I think the real concerns about Gillum are twofold:

A) Is he just too far left for Florida? Well, maybe? De Santis is quite far right, though, and 2018 seems a pretty congenial environment to be not just moderate.

B) There's an ongoing FBI investigation of corruption in his office. I don't believe that it's touched him personally, but if you're explaining, you're losing.

He's an exciting candidate, I'm sure he'd make a very good governor. I am worried about his getting elected, though.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:03 AM on August 29 [7 favorites]




Loony left Uodate: People’s Policy Project Report: A social wealth fund for America.
posted by The Whelk at 8:09 AM on August 29 [8 favorites]


Is he just too far left for Florida? Well, maybe? De Santis is quite far right, though, and 2018 seems a pretty congenial environment to be not just moderate.

Sorry to keep quoting the same article but I mentally fistpumped when I read this bit:

I think our strongest case is that what we’ve been doing as Democrats for the last 20 years hasn’t worked. The last two elections for governor, we lost to the man [Rick Scott] who committed the largest Medicaid fraud in the country — right here in the Medicaid state, if you will. The only way to change that is by not shrinking from who we are and what we believe as Democrats. Putting our flag in the ground and giving people something to vote for and not just vote against — that’s how we win. When Republican voters have a choice between a real Republican and a fake one, they’re going to go to the real one every time. In Florida, Republicans have had power for 20 years now. They’re not just going to just give away that power just because they LIKE a Democratic nominee.

Yes! Exactly! How is sucking up to people by giving them a watered-down version of a platform that they can already vote for the non-watered-down version of supposed to work?
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:11 AM on August 29 [33 favorites]




I'll chill on the Florida posts shortly, but seeing as Chrysostom mentioned it, this is a pretty clear, fair explainer on the FBI's investigation of Gillum's office. If you're curious.
posted by martin q blank at 8:12 AM on August 29 [6 favorites]


Ron DeSantis: FL shouldn't "monkey this up" by electing Andrew Gillum

With an added (per transcript) 'articulate.'
posted by cjelli at 8:15 AM on August 29 [16 favorites]


Loony left Uodate: People’s Policy Project Report: A social wealth fund for America.

The big idea that could make democratic socialism a reality - Matthew Yglesias, Vox. Or, "A social wealth fund proposal: the American Solidarity Fund"
Now, as the Bernie-inspired wing of the Democratic Party continues to rise, a community of wonks is emerging to bring rigor to the new ideas of the left. Matt Bruenig, the founder of the People’s Policy Project and a leading voice in the effort, is out with a proposal Tuesday that would have the country take the other fork in the road. Rather than give up on the grounds that natural resource taxes are inadequate to do the job, Bruenig wants to use steep taxation, existing capital income, and some unorthodox financial moves to make it work.

The idea has some well-founded inspirations from Alaska to Norway to many state public employee pension funds. But the scale of what he has in mind is unprecedented, and gives us the clearest look at what it might really mean for democratic socialism to come to America.

Meet the American Solidarity Fund

Bruenig’s plan is to create what he calls the American Solidarity Fund, a government-owned company that would be overseen by a board (and an independent auditor) appointed by the Treasury Department that would be charged with hiring a CEO and other permanent staff. The fund would receive regular injections of cash from the government, as specified by law, and make regular dividend payouts to its shareholders — all American adults — based on a five-year rolling average of the fund’s investment performance.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:16 AM on August 29 [12 favorites]


Rust Moranis: "Ron DeSantis: FL shouldn't "monkey this up" by electing Andrew Gillum

Gonna be a long few months.
"

They really can't help themselves. The language of racism is just so deeply ingrained in them that they don't know how to talk any other way.
posted by octothorpe at 8:34 AM on August 29 [13 favorites]


they don't know how to talk any other way.

DeSantis knew what he was saying. Note the emphasized enunciation of "monkey." Totally planned.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:39 AM on August 29 [18 favorites]


"Monkey" wasn't the word he wanted to use.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:40 AM on August 29 [24 favorites]


MJ: On Tuesday afternoon, California state lawmakers passed a landmark bill, SB100, which would put the state’s electricity supply on track to be totally emissions-free by 2045. It passed 43-32.

The bill would amend California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, which currently requires half of all the state’s electricity to come from clean, renewable sources of energy by 2030. Regulators have already predicted the state will meet that goal 10 years early, by 2020.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:46 AM on August 29 [18 favorites]


Trump today -- "When you see “anonymous source,” stop reading the story, it is fiction!"

Says the guy repeatedly tweeting about that bullshit Daily Caller Clinton-China Hack story based on anonymous sources.
posted by chris24 at 8:53 AM on August 29 [9 favorites]




DeSantis knew what he was saying. Note the emphasized enunciation of "monkey." Totally planned.

The whole statement was carefully written with not-so hidden key words: "articulate", "charismatic", "performer", "monkey"...hell, he even threw in "Democrat debates" instead of "Democratic debates".
posted by rocket88 at 9:01 AM on August 29 [30 favorites]


Regulators have already predicted the state will meet that goal 10 years early, by 2020.

Half of California's energy already comes from carbon-free sources. The only reason it's not met already is because nuclear and large hydro projects aren't considered renewable.

Also, batteries are now generators in the state of California. They release early morning when power is expensive, take in during the day when power is at zero, release in the evening when power is worth something again. Then the overnight other base load is enough that it just fluctuates or takes in any excess power ready for the next morning.

Think about that. Batteries and solar have come down so far in cost that money can be made in the arbitrage. That's astounding.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:03 AM on August 29 [39 favorites]


[nelson_laugh.gif] -- WaPo: Trump says White House Counsel Donald McGahn will leave his job in the fall
Trump’s announcement of McGahn’s departure came as a surprise, including to McGahn.

He was not aware that Trump planned to send the tweet before it posted, according to a person close to McGahn who was not authorized to speak publicly.

“He was surprised,” this person said. While it had been an open secret inside the White House that McGahn planned to leave after Kavanaugh’s confirmation process concludes, he had not discussed his plans directly with Trump, according to this person.
posted by cjelli at 9:05 AM on August 29 [6 favorites]


Half of California's energy already comes from carbon-free sources. The only reason it's not met already is because nuclear and large hydro projects aren't considered renewable.

Nuclear I can see (even though I'm not terribly anti-nuclear), but why on earth don't hydro projects count?
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:06 AM on August 29


but why on earth don't hydro projects count

Because large hydro projects usually involve completely fucking up an ecosystem.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:10 AM on August 29 [23 favorites]


People need to cut DeSantis a break. It was just an ofaylure to communicate.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:15 AM on August 29 [16 favorites]


ofaylure

Goodness: ofay. Now that's a word I haven't heard in many a long year.
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:17 AM on August 29 [7 favorites]


GOP super PAC has somehow obtained the unredacted application for federal security clearance of the Dem candidate in VA-07.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:20 AM on August 29 [14 favorites]


Is it too late for Arpaio to file as a spoiler an independent in the run for Flake's seat?
posted by duoshao at 9:25 AM on August 29


That SF-86 leak is unconscionable, by which I mean par for the course. The reason the government asks for all of those extremely details is to inform them of what sort of things could be used against the person for coercion / bribery. They want to know you're loyal, but they also want to know what pressure could be brought to bear against your loyalty.

It looks like it was Postal's error, but the GOP seeking it out should be met with legal action.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:26 AM on August 29 [22 favorites]


duoshao: "Is it too late for Arpaio to file as a spoiler an independent in the run for Flake's seat?"

I'm having trouble finding the language, but I know Arizona has a sore loser law, so I think Arpaio would be blocked from running.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:31 AM on August 29


the GOP seeking it out should be met with legal action

It sounds like the PAC didn't explicitly ask for it in the FOIA: The request, which sought records related to the former CIA officer’s employment dates, salaries, title, and position descriptions, did not explicitly mention the federal security clearance application, known as an SF-86.

I bet it's legal to use it. If you FOIA something from the Feds and they give you something else by accident, I don't think you're under any legal requirements. Stuff gets released accidentally unredacted on occasion and nobody gets in trouble for pointing it out.

Actually using it in a political campaign- and passing it to other operatives- is obviously unconscionable but I dunno what law it would actually violate.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:38 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


duoshao: "Is it too late for Arpaio to file as a spoiler an independent in the run for Flake's seat?"

I'm having trouble finding the language, but I know Arizona has a sore loser law, so I think Arpaio would be blocked from running.


It does:
[A] candidate may not file [as a write-in-candidate] if any of the following applies:

1. For a candidate in the general election, the candidate ran in the immediately preceding primary election and failed to be nominated to the office sought in the current election.

2. For a candidate in the general election, the candidate filed a nomination petition for the immediately preceding primary election for the office sought and failed to provide a sufficient number of valid petition signatures
(Except in cases of the death or withdrawl of the primary winner, which would necessarily mean that Arpaio wouldn't be filing as a spoiler candidate, so.)
posted by cjelli at 9:38 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]


I'm having trouble finding the language

I know the feeling.

——

A New Book Details the Damage Done by the Right-Wing Media in 2016
By Jeffrey Toobin | The New Yorker
The Washington conventional wisdom presupposes a kind of symmetry between our polarized political parties. Liberals and conservatives, it is said, live in separate bubbles, where they watch different television networks, frequent different Web sites, and absorb different realities. The implication of this view is that both sides resemble each other in their twisted views of reality. Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity, in other words, represent two sides of the same coin.

This view is precisely wrong, according to a provocative new book by Yochai Benkler, Robert Faris, and Hal Roberts that will be published next month by Oxford University Press. The book’s title, “Network Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation, and Radicalization in American Politics,” is a mouthful, but the book’s message is almost simple. The two sides are not, in fact, equal when it comes to evaluating “news” stories, or even in how they view reality. Liberals want facts; conservatives want their biases reinforced. Liberals embrace journalism; conservatives believe propaganda. In the more measured but still emphatic words of the authors, “the right-wing media ecosystem differs categorically from the rest of the media environment,” and has been much more susceptible to “disinformation, lies and half-truths.”

“Network Propaganda” is an academic work at the crossroads of law, sociology, and media studies. Benkler is a law professor at Harvard and a co-director of the university’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, where Faris and Roberts both conduct research. The book is not a work of media criticism but, rather, of data analysis—a study of millions of online stories, tweets, and Facebook-sharing data points. The authors’ conclusion is that “something very different was happening in right-wing media than in centrist, center-left and left-wing media.” Accordingly, they wrote the book “to shine a light on the right-wing media ecosystem itself as the primary culprit in sowing confusion and distrust in the broader American ecosystem.”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:39 AM on August 29 [86 favorites]


That SF-86 leak is unconscionable, by which I mean par for the course. The reason the government asks for all of those extremely details is to inform them of what sort of things could be used against the person for coercion / bribery. They want to know you're loyal, but they also want to know what pressure could be brought to bear against your loyalty.

The candidate in question is a former CIA Case Officer. Apparently she took a job teaching English at a school in Saudi while she waited to see if she got the job at Langley, which is being spun against her because Muslims. It's bad enough that China has the SF-86 on everybody who's ever applied for Clearance but now our people have to worry about exposure from Americans too. It's just grotesque.
posted by scalefree at 9:41 AM on August 29 [19 favorites]


NYT: The International Trade Commission on Wednesday overturned a Trump administration decision to impose tariffs on Canadian newsprint, saying that American paper producers are not harmed by newsprint imports.

The unanimous decision by the five-member body is a win for small- and medium-sized newspapers, which have struggled to absorb the cost of higher newsprint and engaged in cost-cutting, including layoffs and reduced pages, as a result.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:48 AM on August 29 [45 favorites]


I heard a similar rant this morning, regarding how Google is supposedly rigging its search results systematically to be anti-conservative and anti-Trump, "so obviously that it's beyond argument." Their evidence was that if you go into "Bing" and type "Hillary Clinton," it spits out suggested searches like "is a filthy liar," "is corrupt," "is a murderess," etc., but if you do that in Google it returns "is awesome" and "is winning."

Which is, on its face, multiply ridiculous. For one, there is probably not a secret cabal* of oligarchs sitting in a dark room at Google OR at Bing personally going thumbs-up/thumbs-down on every search subject permutation. They run on algorithms, and those algorithms can be gamed on the server side -- OR on the user side. Look at Spreading Santorum (if you dare) for a shining example of such, covering the celebrated moralizing prig's search results with... well, you know.

Secondly, Hillary Clinton is, for better and for worse, an extremely polarizing figure in American culture. If Hillary's suggested search terms are uniformly positive OR uniformly negative, I'll want to look twice at those and theorize about potential manipulation as above, without assigning blame to any nefarious cabal* in particular because both her boosters and detractors have a lot to say quite loudly about her.

And thirdly, if 'real news' facts and headlines dominate someone's search terms and search results over bias-confirming terms and results... that, in and of itself, does not mean that the bias-confirming terms and results are being discriminated against or shadowbanned. It means that the 'real news' ones are both more credible and more common!

But we will continue to be confronted "if you say that my opinion isn't fact, you're discriminating against me" malarkey for many centuries to come. It's in our blood.

* There Is No Cabal.
posted by delfin at 9:53 AM on August 29 [7 favorites]


Apparently she took a job teaching English at a school in Saudi...

Minor correction: She taught English at the Islamic Saudi Academy, an international baccalaureate school in Alexandria, Virginia. (The Academy teaches children of Saudi diplomats working in D.C.)
posted by mbrubeck at 9:56 AM on August 29 [11 favorites]


Cruz team gets mocked on Twitter for posting pics from Beto O'Rourke's band days that make him seem even cooler.

(Content warning: includes reply photo of young Cruz in mime makeup)
posted by emjaybee at 10:03 AM on August 29 [60 favorites]




Cruz team gets mocked on Twitter for posting pics from Beto O'Rourke's band days that make him seem even cooler.

I've watched a video of Foss playing on some local talk show. They were...not good. But they were very punk.
posted by scalefree at 10:19 AM on August 29 [10 favorites]






The Flynn Tapes: A New Tell
In early February 2017, a senior White House attorney, John Eisenberg, reviewed highly classified intelligence intercepts of telephone conversations between then-National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and Russia’s ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, which incontrovertibly demonstrated that Flynn had misled the FBI about those conversations, according to government records and two people with first-hand knowledge of the matter. It was after this information was relayed to President Trump that the president fired Flynn, and the following day allegedly pressured then-FBI Director James Comey to shut down a federal criminal investigation into whether Flynn had lied to the FBI.
...
...these new disclosures...constitute the strongest evidence to date that President Trump may have obstructed justice...The president’s legal team has claimed that Trump did nothing wrong because he did not understand that Flynn was in criminal jeopardy when, according to the former FBI director’s testimony, he asked Comey to go easy on Flynn. The new information that Trump and others in the White House were aware that the intercepts revealed that Flynn had lied to the FBI directly contradicts those claims.
#ohLordyIHopeThereAreTapes

Ceterum autem censeo Trumpem esse delendam
posted by kirkaracha at 10:35 AM on August 29 [48 favorites]


"The decision will allow Canadian paper providers to stop paying tariffs on imports of newsprint"

You would think that the New York Times could afford to get someone who understands the subject to write about it.

Canadian paper providers don't pay tariffs. U.S. newspapers who buy the paper pay the tariffs.

This is an important distinction because Trump has repeatedly been blathering about how foreign countries are going to pay billions in tariffs to the U.S. That is a lie. Foreign countries don't pay one single dime of U.S. tariffs. The tariffs are paid by the U.S. companies that import the goods. They pass the price increases onto consumers. It is ultimately U.S. consumers that are paying billions of dollars in tariffs. Trump is raising taxes Americans.

Cf. Donald Trump demanding billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars in the next budget to build the wall that "Mexico will pay for."
posted by JackFlash at 10:40 AM on August 29 [34 favorites]


The Whelk: Coumo Received $25,000 From Weinstein Lawyer’s Firm as He Suspended Probe

Because the headlines can prompt confusion about an inherently confusing story: this is not a suspension of "the Weinstein Probe" as in the main investigation of Weinstein. It's about a kind of meta-investigation of the current DA of Manhattan, Cy Vance Jr, relating to the Weinstein case -- it looks like way back in 2015 (before the big exposés in 2017), he had declined to prosecute... coincidentally at the time of a nice donation from Weinstein's lawyer.

Cuomo's argument is that halting that investigation will actually allow the main Weinstein investigation to proceed more efficiently, but that smells bogus to a lot of people. Especially because it comes around the same time as... an even larger donation from that same law firm to Cuomo.

To bribery! The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:48 AM on August 29 [18 favorites]


CNN: Sources: Second Trump Org Employee Discussed Immunity Deal
A second Trump Organization employee discussed a potential immunity deal with the federal prosecutors who charged Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, according to people familiar with the matter.

That employee ultimately did not receive immunity after prosecutors in the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York decided against granting such protection. The person was not called to testify before the grand jury, the people familiar with the matter said.

The employee's identity couldn't be determined by CNN. Spokespeople for the US Attorney's office and Trump Organization declined to comment.
Presumably prosecutors already had everything they needed between the April raids and Weisselberg's testimony, but the question besides who this was—Rona Graff, to take the wildest guess?—is why we're hearing about it now.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:49 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]


Oklahoma Teachers Just Purged the Statehouse of Their Enemies: Nineteen House Republicans voted against raising taxes to increase teacher pay. After Tuesday’s primaries, only four remain.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 10:52 AM on August 29 [156 favorites]


The employee's identity couldn't be determined by CNN.

MEREDITH!
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:57 AM on August 29 [75 favorites]


mcstayinskool: "Some good news: California has just eliminated the cash bail system."

Worth noting that this change is not beloved by all reformers. My take is that it is still a good thing, but a lot less so than if it had been implemented as originally proposed.


Yeah. There are real problems with what ultimately passed. Pretty much all the criminal justice advocacy groups that were backing the bill pulled their support after it was amended; you can read statements from all three ACLU organizations in California, Essie, and SV De-Bug, which goes into some detail on the problems with the bill as passed:
The current version of SB10 shortchanges the state by accomplishing one important goal — eliminating money bail — but denies the primary reason as to why communities held this as a rallying cry to begin with, which is to reduce incarceration. The bill trades in the exploitative money bail system for a new pretrial detention regime that keeps people locked up through the use of unregulated risk assessments controlled by law enforcement and expansive, unchecked, judicial mechanisms. It is a legislative bait and switch. We would argue that real progress does not create a false choice between ending money bail or expanded tools of detention — but instead eliminates both apparatus of pretrial incarceration.

The reality is SB10 may keep more people detained pretrial in California than the status quo. This is particularly true in light of the new pretrial landscape due to the Humphrey ruling. In fact, Mr. Humphrey - California’s most significant historical figure in bail reform — would be likely to have been presumed detained under SB10.
...
While there are issues we would argue against throughout the bill, several major changes in SB10 have made the legislation not only unsalvageable for us, but directly threatens the freedom of the communities we serve. The bill is designed so individual aspects of SB10 become more problematic when understood cumulatively as parts of a cohesive pretrial detention system. For example, the possibility of risk assessments exacerbating racial and socio-economic disparities of the criminal justice system becomes magnified when placed within the context of the full SB10 pretrial detention system. Such as:

Risk assessments become more harmful when wielded and controlled by law enforcement.
Risk assessments become more harmful when used to determine a presumption of detention.
Risk assessments become more harmful when allowed to be used subjectively by judges with no oversight or accountability.
They eliminated cash bail by instituting a "rebuttable presumption" of detention, directly encouraging judges to detain more people before trial using opaque risk analysis tools that reinforce the existing biases in the justice system. There will undoubtedly be legal challenges, and it's not clear to me how this all works out in practice, but it seems like a big step in the wrong direction.

In good California criminal justice news, the San Francisco Superior Court waived outstanding criminal justice fees for 21,000 people.
posted by zachlipton at 10:58 AM on August 29 [48 favorites]


It's hard to say whether the new California pre-trial system will be objectively worse. I'm sure there will be plenty of legal challenges and statistical PhD theses in the next couple of years. It may be better for some and worse for others.

For the truly poor, it is likely to be better. Under the old system none of them could afford bail so 100% of them went to pre-trial jail. Under the new system, presumably at least some of them will be released. So for at least some of the poor, it will be better.

For the not poor, those who could afford bail under the old system, it might get worse for some. Some of those people who could afford bail under the old system might now be left in pre-trial jail.

On the whole, if fewer people are held in pre-trial detention, then it is measurably better. But biases in the system are the biggest question. Will it be mostly whites who are released and benefit from the new system?
posted by JackFlash at 11:15 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]


@charlottealter:
Big numbers on Florida youth turnout from @NextGenAmerica, which has been heavily investing in the state: Turnout doubled in every precinct around the U of Florida-- And in one mostly student precinct in Gainesville, turnout was 10x higher than 2014 midterms and 3x than 2016
posted by Chrysostom at 11:18 AM on August 29 [50 favorites]


The Flynn Tapes: A New Tell

@rgoodlaw:
Something doesn't make sense in this story

We're told Priebus, McGahn, Eisenberg "directly confronted" Flynn, Priebus “led the questioning," Flynn "lied" to White House

BUT

Flynn's plea, McFarland's emails show Priebus and others KNEW—in Dec'16—he talked sanctions with Russian

The lines about Priebus, McGahn, Eisenberg confronting Flynn and Preibus leading the questioning were already in (self-leaked?) Dowd-Sekulow Letter (image below).

These lines are self-serving for Priebus and others in White House.

It's incriminating if they knew (and they did).
It's a good story, but it does seem to go out of its way to benefit the staffers who questioned Flynn about something they already knew.
posted by zachlipton at 11:18 AM on August 29 [22 favorites]


Dear The Whelk --
I love you but it's "Cuomo" -- U-O not O-U -- and seeing "Coumo" every time you mention him hurts me.
Thanks for understanding,
n
posted by neroli at 11:20 AM on August 29 [18 favorites]


Coumo Received $25,000 From Weinstein Lawyer’s Firm as He Suspended Probe

This state deserves so much better


hmmmm and someone’s debating his primary challenger tonight

Maybe it will come up
posted by schadenfrau at 11:24 AM on August 29 [10 favorites]


Axios's Jonathan Swan and Mike Allen have a scoop: Don McGahn's Coming White House Exit

When this story broke this morning, Mitch McConnell told the press, per CNN's Jim Acosta: “If the reporting is true about Don McGahn’s time at the White House coming to an end later this year, it will be sad news for our country. Don is the most impressive White House Counsel during my time in Washington, and I’ve known them all.”

And Chuck Grassley (@ChuckGrassley) plaintively tweeted this in response: "@realDonaldTrump I hope it’s not true McGahn is leaving WhiteHouse Counsel. U can’t let that happen"

To which George Conway (@gtconway3d) snarkily replied, "remember the eighth amendment, senator"

Similarly, yesterday McConnell put his full support behind the beleaguered Jeff Sessions: “I have total confidence in the attorney general. [...] I think he ought to stay where he is.” (Bloomberg)

And the WSJ reported yesterday: Some Republicans Urge Attorney General to Remain in Job—Senators back Jeff Sessions in face of President Trump’s criticism "The same morning as Mr. Trump was venting his frustration at the Justice Department, five Republican senators met Mr. Sessions this past Thursday for breakfast in his personal dining room on the fifth floor of the department’s headquarters. Their message: Hang in there despite Mr. Trump’s broadsides, according to senators and aides. [...] The breakfast huddle over coffee, eggs and bacon came at Mr. Sessions’ invitation and included Sens. John Cornyn of Texas, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and John Kennedy of Louisiana, most of whom sit on the Judiciary Committee, which oversees the Justice Department."

This is a stark reminder that the popularity McGahn enjoys with establishment GOP for his judiciary labors does not extend to Trump, who wants legal support in the mode of Roy Cohn. Likewise, Jeff Sessions holds the collegial respect of his old GOP peers in the Senate, for his tireless efforts advancing their horrible agenda, but Trump privately revived the idea of firing Sessions this month with his personal legal team. (Washington Post)
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:43 AM on August 29 [9 favorites]




BuzzFeed, Hamed Aleaziz, An Immigration Raid On A Rural Texas Assembly Plant Is ICE's Largest At A Worksite In 10 Years
Immigration officials made the most arrests at a single worksite in more than a decade when they picked up 160 suspected undocumented employees at a trailer-manufacturer in Texas earlier this week.
...
Compared with the previous fiscal year, ICE has made more than five times as many immigration arrests at workplaces this year. Late last year, Thomas Homan, the agency’s former acting director, had called for a “400 percent increase” in such workplace operations.

Advocates said that they have documented instances in which parents were detained in this raid and separated from their children.
posted by zachlipton at 11:57 AM on August 29 [6 favorites]


at a trailer-manufacturer in Texas earlier this week.

Fun reminder that employers must attest to their employees' immigration status and that it is illegal to hire or recruit illegal immigrants knowingly. But I assume that the company's management didn't get picked up at the same time as the workers.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:00 PM on August 29 [86 favorites]


@kylegriffin1 [video]: Trump defends the government response in Puerto Rico the day after Puerto Rico raised its death toll from Hurricane Maria to 2,975. "I think we did a fantastic job in Puerto Rico ... I think most of the people in Puerto Rico really appreciate what we've done."

He goes on to conflate PREPA's pre-hurricane financial woes with their post-hurricane lack-of-electrical-infrastructure woes, seemingly trying to avoid blame by arguing that it was broken before the storm.
posted by zachlipton at 12:18 PM on August 29 [10 favorites]


"The administration killed the Puerto Ricans with neglect. The Trump administration led us to believe they were helping when they weren't up to par, and they didn't allow other countries to help us," Yulín Cruz said, later adding, "Shame on President Trump. Shame on President Trump for not even once, not even yesterday, just saying, 'Look, I grieve with the people of Puerto Rico.'"
posted by kirkaracha at 12:24 PM on August 29 [49 favorites]


“I think most of the people in Puerto Rico really appreciate what we've done."

MoE: -2975

His incompetence caused more deaths in Puerto Rico than occurred in NYC on 9/11.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:31 PM on August 29 [50 favorites]


and seeing "Coumo" every time you mention him hurts me.

It has to be said - seeing the real Cuomo hurts me, mis-spelling or not. I wish Nixon had a chance but the Cuomo machine is in full gear. I will watch the debate however! For those interested, I think CBS will webcast.
https://newyork.cbslocal.com/
posted by bluesky43 at 12:34 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


"I think we did a fantastic job in Puerto Rico ... I think most of the people in Puerto Rico really appreciate what we've done."

Yeah, totally, dude. The hurricane only killed a tenth of a percent of the entire population. That's peanuts! Why, I bet nobody would even raise an eyebrow about a botched federal response to a natural disaster that killed 8000 people in New York City.
posted by Mayor West at 12:36 PM on August 29 [15 favorites]


Once again, parsing Trump's individual utterances is a rewarding experience. FOR MY BUTT.
posted by rhizome at 12:41 PM on August 29 [10 favorites]


I will watch the debate however!

I want to temper expectations here a little bit. When I've seen Nixon live, I've been...less than impressed.

I'm gonna be PISSED if she flubs it, but I'm also planning to watch in close proximity to various mood-altering substances, just in case.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:43 PM on August 29 [2 favorites]


The headlines should read "McGahn Fires Trump As A Client."
posted by rhizome at 12:44 PM on August 29 [8 favorites]


I think we did a fantastic job in Puerto Rico ... I think most of the people in Puerto Rico really appreciate what we've done."

Please allow me to cordially invite you to test that theory. Why don’t you walk, sans Secret Service or bodyguards, for one mile, in any city, large or small, in Puerto Rico. Let the people show you their appreciation for what you, indeed, have done.
posted by corb at 12:45 PM on August 29 [69 favorites]


In fairness, assigning a death count of 3000+ Puerto Ricans to Trump alone is not fair.

There are MANY, MANY Trump administration operatives, appointees and officials, Trump being the highest-ranked among them, who have rivers of Puerto Rican blood on their hands. And every single one of them deserves to have their part in it held up for mass appraisal.
posted by delfin at 12:48 PM on August 29 [21 favorites]


> Let the people show you their appreciation for what you, indeed, have done.

I'm guessing they won't be throwing paper towel rolls.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:48 PM on August 29 [7 favorites]


but the Cuomo machine is in full gear

I would prefer that Nixon win, but there is a real honest to God election coming up, one where everyone in NY registered as a Democrat gets to say who they'd like to be the nominee and whoever gets the most votes wins, no ifs ands or buts.

So anyway, "...but so far she hasn't convinced enough NY Democrats to support her" makes a lot more sense in this context than "...but a shadowy cabal will prevent her victory." If Cuomo wins, it will and can only be because more NY Democrats took secret ballots and said they'd prefer Cuomo.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 12:50 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


So anyway, "...but so far she hasn't convinced enough NY Democrats to support her" makes a lot more sense in this context than "...but a shadowy cabal will prevent her victory." If Cuomo wins, it will and can only be because more NY Democrats took secret ballots and said they'd prefer Cuomo.

True, but an election isn't a guarantee of the popular will. As I mentioned before, Cuomo has kneecapped any potential Democratic challenger to ensure only Cynthia Nixon would challenge him. He's the specific reason for a weak field, and when the Dem primary rolls around in a short bit, voters will be living in the Dem primary that Cuomo created. Just as he's responsible in part for the formation of the IDC, he's also responsible for the anti-progressive and democratic nature of the NYS Democratic Party.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 12:54 PM on August 29 [12 favorites]


Vox, Alex Ward, Exclusive: Trump promised Kim Jong Un he’d sign an agreement to end the Korean War
President Donald Trump told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their Singapore summit in June that he’d sign a declaration to end the Korean War soon after their meeting, according to multiple sources familiar with the negotiations.

But since then, the Trump administration has repeatedly asked Pyongyang to dismantle most of its nuclear arsenal first, before signing such a document.

That decision is likely what has led to the current stalemate in negotiations between the two countries — and the increasingly hostile rhetoric from North Korea.

“It makes sense why the North Koreans are angry,” one source told me. “Having Trump promise a peace declaration and then moving the goalposts and making it conditional would be seen as the US reneging on its commitments.”
...
According to two people familiar with Trump and Kim’s discussions in Singapore during the June 12 summit, Trump promised the North Korean leader that he’d sign a peace declaration soon after they met. (The two sources requested anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations.) It’s still unclear whether Kim requested this or if Trump brought it up, and whether Trump promised to sign the declaration by a certain date.

A source also noted that North Korea believes Trump made the same promise to Kim Yong Chol, a top North Korean official close to Kim Jong Un, at the White House on June 1 — 11 days before the summit.
@NarangVipin: *This* is the missing piece to the puzzle as to why we are at an impasse--why NK was so taken aback by Pompeo's insistence on "denuclearization first," why KYC told him to call Trump. KJU/KYC believe Trump promised them "end of war" declaration first.

@nktpnd: Some folks are wondering what the big deal is if the Singapore statement pledges a pathway to a peace regime anyway, something that'd follow an EoW declaration/treaty. The issue is the time-bound commitment; Trump reportedly promised this right after Singapore & it hasn't come.
posted by zachlipton at 12:55 PM on August 29 [32 favorites]


[If people want to dig into the NY Dem primary, maybe a separate post on that would be better. Here's the previous post on NY primary, which is not quite closed yet; or it's fine to make a new one.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:56 PM on August 29 [7 favorites]


In fairness, assigning a death count of 3000+ Puerto Ricans to Trump alone is not fair.

There are MANY, MANY Trump administration operatives, appointees and officials, Trump being the highest-ranked among them, who have rivers of Puerto Rican blood on their hands. And every single one of them deserves to have their part in it held up for mass appraisal.


Trump, speaking in Puerto Rico in 2017:
If you look at the — every death is a horror. But if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here with, really, a storm that was just totally overpowering — nobody has ever seen anything like this. What is your death count, as of this moment -- Sixteen people certified. Sixteen people versus in the thousands. You can be very proud of all of your people, all of our people working together. Sixteen versus literally thousands of people. You can be very proud. Everybody around this table and everybody watching can really be very proud of what’s taken place in Puerto Rico.
...
So I appreciate your support and I know you appreciate our support, because our country has really gone all out to help. And it’s not only dangerous, it’s expensive, it’s everything. But I consider it a great honor, maybe because I know so many people from Puerto Rico that are such great people — I come from New York. But we’ve gone all out and I consider that, again, a great honor.
Your point is well taken, and while Trump is not uniquely to blame, he is sure as heck uniquely to blame for using the office of the presidency to help actively diminish the deaths of thousands to burnish his own image, in that he and only he was the president at the time. A better President would the one calling for an investigation into those others administrators, appointees, and officials; Trump is still trying to cover things up.
posted by cjelli at 12:59 PM on August 29 [47 favorites]


(probably the debate could be the last thing in the open New York elections thread, since it closes late morning tomorrow)
posted by Chrysostom at 1:17 PM on August 29 [2 favorites]


In fairness, assigning a death count of 3000+ Puerto Ricans to Trump alone is not fair.

"The President--whoever he is--has to decide. He can't pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That's his job." -- Harry S. Truman
posted by kirkaracha at 1:19 PM on August 29 [20 favorites]


(probably the debate could be the last thing in the open New York elections thread, since it closes late morning tomorrow)

I think it would be worth making a new one now, since it would stay active through the primary elections. I'd do it myself if I wasn't about to run to a meeting...
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:20 PM on August 29


FiveThirtyEight now has a forecast page up for every single Congressional election.

You can check out what that looks like, including options to switch between their three models (polls, polls+fundamentals, polls+fundamentals+expert ratings). An explanation of how it all works is available.
posted by zachlipton at 1:27 PM on August 29 [10 favorites]


WaPo, U.S. is denying passports to Americans along the border, throwing their citizenship into question
On paper, he’s a devoted U.S. citizen.

His official American birth certificate shows he was delivered by a midwife in Brownsville, at the southern tip of Texas. He spent his life wearing American uniforms: three years as a private in the Army, then as a cadet in the Border Patrol and now as a state prison guard.

But when Juan, 40, applied to renew his U.S. passport this year, the government’s response floored him. In a letter, the State Department said it didn’t believe he was an American citizen.

As he would later learn, Juan is one of a growing number of people whose official birth records show they were born in the United States but who are now being denied passports — their citizenship suddenly thrown into question. The Trump administration is accusing hundreds, and possibly thousands, of Hispanics along the border of using fraudulent birth certificates since they were babies, and it is undertaking a widespread crackdown on their citizenship.
...
But cases identified by The Washington Post and interviews with immigration attorneys suggest a dramatic shift in both passport issuance and immigration enforcement.

In some cases, passport applicants with official U.S. birth certificates are being jailed in immigration detention centers and entered into deportation proceedings. In others, they are stuck in Mexico, their passports suddenly revoked when they tried to reenter the United States. As the Trump administration attempts to reduce both legal and illegal immigration, the government’s treatment of passport applicants in South Texas shows how U.S. citizens are increasingly being swept up by immigration enforcement agencies.
...
The government alleges that from the 1950s through the 1990s, some midwives and physicians along the Texas-Mexico border provided U.S. birth certificates to babies who were actually born in Mexico. In a series of federal court cases in the 1990s, several birth attendants admitted to providing fraudulent documents.

Based on those suspicions, the State Department began during Barack Obama’s administration to deny passports to people who were delivered by midwives in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley. The use of midwives is a long-standing tradition in the region, in part because of the cost of hospital care. The same midwives who provided fraudulent birth certificates also delivered thousands of babies legally in the United States. It has proved nearly impossible to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate documents, all of them officially issued by the state of Texas decades ago.
...
For now, passport applicants who are able to afford the legal costs are suing the federal government over their passport denials. Eventually, the applicants typically win those cases, after government attorneys raise a series of sometimes bizarre questions about their birth. “For a while, we had attorneys asking the same question: ‘Do you remember when you were born?’ ” Diez said. “I had to promise my clients that it wasn’t a trick question.”
posted by zachlipton at 1:32 PM on August 29 [91 favorites]


NYT, Don McGahn to Leave White House Counsel Job This Fall, Trump Says. Yes, yes, we've covered that, scroll down to how we nearly had Rob Porter as White House Counsel:
Mr. Trump often griped that he wanted to get rid of Mr. McGahn, but the president never seemed willing to follow through and dismiss him. The president asked Rob Porter, then the staff secretary, several times last year if he would be willing to take over for Mr. McGahn, including after John F. Kelly became the chief of staff in July 2017. Mr. Porter told the president he did not believe that he was qualified for the role, those briefed on the discussions said, and he has since left the White House amid accusations of spousal abuse.
Via Twitter, we learn Jared and Ivanka were fans of this genius plan.
posted by zachlipton at 1:35 PM on August 29 [10 favorites]


Erica L. Green for the NYT: New U.S. Sexual Misconduct Rules Bolster Rights of Accused, Protect Colleges

These fuckers are evil, pure and simple. And fuck them for making me explain what evil means to my 4 year old daughter.
posted by lydhre at 1:41 PM on August 29 [26 favorites]


I made a Nixon-Cuomo debate post because I don't want to be productive today.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:42 PM on August 29 [19 favorites]


The same midwives who provided fraudulent birth certificates also delivered thousands of babies legally in the United States.

Okay, so charge the midwives and parents with fraud. But it's absolute horseshit to punish the now-adult children who quite likely had no idea about it, even assuming that any given case was fraudulent, which it sounds like odds are it wasn't.

When the Democrats regain power, there needs to be a law passed that creates an ironclad statute of limitations after the US has recognized someone as a citizen (e.g. issuing a passport or other documents, accepting tax returns filed as a citizen). And whatever version of the Dream Act ultimately passes should also cover these situations. These cruel absurdities have got to stop.
posted by jedicus at 1:42 PM on August 29 [72 favorites]


Former Harry Reid staffer hits Schumer for deal fast-tracking judicial confirmations

Give 'em hell, Harry........'s former deputy chief of staff.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:42 PM on August 29 [44 favorites]


I’d give a lot to still have Reid in charge of the Democratic minority. Schumer isn’t the leader we need in the age of Trump. Or really ever. And we’re stuck with him for probably the next 20 years or more.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:47 PM on August 29 [17 favorites]


Barack Spinoza: The two sides are not, in fact, equal when it comes to evaluating “news” stories, or even in how they view reality. Liberals want facts; conservatives want their biases reinforced. Liberals embrace journalism; conservatives believe propaganda.

tl;dr: reality has a liberal bias (linking to a long opinion piece in the New York Times by Paul Krugman, posted on April 18, 2014).

When conservative media is championed by Fox News, and most other media outlets try to play or depict Both Sides (even when that drags the narrative down, or perhaps especially so), it's clear to me that liberals aren't the ones trying to hide from the world like conservatives are.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:55 PM on August 29 [14 favorites]


And yet we’re all subject to cognitive (and other) biases irrespective of our political affiliations or ideologies. I’ve yet to read the book Toobin was reviewing. I also try to be on guard for confirmation bias, etc. when I see an article whose findings praise me for having the good sense to have the politics I already happen to.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:23 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


Is there any reason to suspect that Donald Trump's birth certificate is fraudulent? He just can't seem to stop making the accusation, and that's proving to be a tell of his. Maybe he's participated in forging identity documents for someone else, or a fictitious alter ego for pursuing crimes?
posted by contraption at 2:26 PM on August 29 [9 favorites]


Remember: It was never about getting rid of "illegal" anything. It's about getting rid of "undesirables" starting with the ones we can easily identify by the color of their skin or their name.
posted by runcibleshaw at 2:29 PM on August 29 [17 favorites]


Is there any reason to suspect that Donald Trump's birth certificate is fraudulent?

Oh god, can you imagine if the thing that finally brings down Trump's presidency is that he was never actually legally an American citizen??
posted by aiglet at 2:35 PM on August 29 [11 favorites]


So Trump tweeted out a "STATEMENT FROM THE WHITE HOUSE" that doesn't particularly seem to say much of anything new or useful, but the format is so strange. It's a weird blend of his style ("This is not helpful!") and more polished language, and it's a thread of tweets in the third person.

His account has also posted a video to complain that Google is biased because they promoted Obama's states of the union and not his.
posted by zachlipton at 2:36 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


The headlines should read "McGahn Fires Trump As A Client."

And Trump tried to pre-empt this perception by tweeting McGahn's departure before any official announcement could be issued—"You can't quit, I'm telling you that you 'will be leaving his position in the fall'!"

It's a passive-aggressive dick move, but Donald "You're Fired" Trump probably thinks it's a power play.

NYT, Don McGahn to Leave White House Counsel Job This Fall, Trump Says.

From this article: “The president’s tweet was precipitated by a report on the Axios website that Mr. McGahn planned to leave after Mr. Kavanaugh’s confirmation process concluded. Mr. Trump had grown tired of seeing reports that Mr. McGahn might leave, according to people familiar with his thinking, and decided to take away any wiggle room he might have.

“But Mr. McGahn, who had been a frequent target of Mr. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, believed the story was planted by his critics to force the president’s hand and hasten the timeline of announcing his departure.”

All these leaks of palace intrigue could be simply a D.C. kabuki dance, of course. Whoever Haberman's sources are and whatever their motives for leaking may be, she's made sure to note, "Mr. McGahn has cooperated extensively with prosecutors, who are scrutinizing whether the president tried to obstruct the investigation." which conveniently elides all the other criminal activities McGahn could have witnessed or have been party too.

Similarly, today's public expressions of regret from senators about McGahn's departure could be a smokescreen, Luppe Luppen (@nycsouthpaw) suggests: "All this public rending of senatorial togas adds heft to the argument that something significant transpired at the Senators' meeting with McGahn immediately preceding the clampdown on the Kavanaugh documents."
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:41 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


(Or maybe the opposite, I don't know. It depends if they think McGahn screwed up with nominating Kavanaugh because of something very, very ugly in his paper trail they learned of at this meeting—and maybe that's why McGahn's worn out his welcome—or they believe that Trump will screw up the smoothly running judicial appointment machine McGahn's been running. I hate this Kremlinology-on-the-Potomac.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:54 PM on August 29 [2 favorites]


- Is there any reason to suspect that Donald Trump's birth certificate is fraudulent?

-- Oh god, can you imagine if the thing that finally brings down Trump's presidency is that he was never actually legally an American citizen??

"It is common knowledge that the president was born at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens in New York City at 6:31 A. M., 4 June 14, 1946. This is a matter of public record. However, when we recently launched an investigation of the birth records of one D. Trump at the Jamaica, we could find no documents bearing the president's name. Indeed, there was no record for any Trump or Trumpet for the three days - - - 13, 14, 15 June 1946." - Ralph Magazine
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:54 PM on August 29 [20 favorites]


“But Mr. McGahn, who had been a frequent target of Mr. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, believed the story was planted by his critics to force the president’s hand and hasten the timeline of announcing his departure.”

While every personnel change in this White House carries the two sides of "haha, another one bites the dust" and "oh god what if the next asshole is worse," that line up above kinda stands out for me.

When has Jared and Ivanka's advice ever worked out for this White House?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:58 PM on August 29 [2 favorites]


It's a passive-aggressive dick move, but Donald "You're Fired" Trump probably thinks it's a power play.

For someone who built his reputation and partially became president because of his "You're Fired" persona he sure is a coward about actually firing people himself.
“I have never heard him say the words ‘You’re fired’ to anyone,” Billy Procida, a vice president for the Trump Organization in the early ’90s, told me. “He really doesn’t fire people. He makes it known he doesn’t want you there, and you move on.”
That's probably why Jeff Sessions is still around. Trump's been telling people he wants Sessions gone for months and either doesn't realize he has to be the one to do it or he doesn't have the stones.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:13 PM on August 29 [12 favorites]


Well, Jared and Ivanka can't be truly fired as "White House senior adviser" and "assistant to the president", respectively, as long as the nepotism holds out, so there isn't much pressure for them to give objectively good advice. Sucking up to the paterfamilias—and shivving their rivals—is more important for them.

e.g. from the NYT article: "Ms. Trump complained bitterly to her father about The Times report this month, which detailed how some in the White House were unaware of the extent of Mr. McGahn’s cooperation with Mr. Mueller, according to a person briefed on the discussion."
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:13 PM on August 29


The WH “official statement” tweet on NK and especially the non resumption of US-ROK war games seems to be in response to suggestions earlier in the day that the war games were back on (per Mattis), or at least back on the table.

But I guess it’s typical for Trump to loudly repudiate one of his minions this way. (Especially if the minion is one of those forced upon him by the GOP establishment, like Mattis.)
posted by notyou at 3:26 PM on August 29 [2 favorites]


His account has also posted a video to complain that Google is biased because they promoted Obama's states of the union and not his.

You will be unsurprised to know that this claim doesn't check out: they didn't promote the not-the-state-of-the-union address (first address to Congress) in 2009 or 2017, but did feature the 2018 State of the Union on their homepage just like they did before. There's even proof from Reddit's the_donald to back this up. So now the White House is spreading conspiracy theories about Google.

Even if it were true, one might point out the hypocrisy: "I thought you believed in free markets? I thought you opposed net neutrality? I thought you were okay with business owners turning away certain customers, even if they're a protected class unlike a political party?"

And yet, @calvinstowell: The most messed up thing about the GOP campaign against tech companies is it will work because tech leaders are all so afraid of being called bias that they will bend over backwards to calm those on the right who argue solely in bad faith.
posted by zachlipton at 3:29 PM on August 29 [23 favorites]


@redistrict:
Update: so far in 2018 Dem House primaries featuring one woman, one man & no incumbent on ballot, a woman has won 69% of the time (98/142). On GOP side, 34% (16/47).

Fact: so far in 2018 Dems have nominated women in 50% of House races, excluding incumbents (125/252). On GOP side, 18% (33/188).
posted by Chrysostom at 3:34 PM on August 29 [19 favorites]


ABC News, After weeks of uncertainty, Papadopoulos decides to accept plea deal with Mueller
George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to President Donald Trump’s campaign, has decided to stick with his plea agreement with special counsel Robert Mueller, his wife told ABC News on Wednesday.

The decision puts to rest weeks of public hand-wringing by his wife, Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos, who has been acting as an informal spokeswoman for her husband. She said in an interview with ABC News earlier this month that her husband was strongly considering backing away from the agreement he struck with Mueller that led him to plead guilty to lying to the FBI.

“George will take responsibility for some inaccuracies during the interview with the FBI,” Mangiante Papadopoulos said in a statement to ABC News on Wednesday, adding that she hopes the judge determining his fate will not send the former Trump campaign adviser to jail.
The headline is a bit misleading, seeing as he's already "accepted" it but was considering trying to walk away from it (which you usually can't just do). But I'm glad he's listening to legal advice and not Chuck Ross.
posted by zachlipton at 3:39 PM on August 29 [8 favorites]


Iris Gambol,

I've never seen Ralph magazine before, but that was a funny read. Clicking on their homepage yields more choice nuggets, such as:
"She tells us about the special problems with S.
It is, to put it in the modern vernacular, the worst.
It is the longest letter in the book and
an absolute heart-breaker, because you can see
the end of the alphabet from it, and you know that
once you clear S, you are moving on to T-Z,
and half of those are barely even letters."
posted by mabelstreet at 3:41 PM on August 29 [13 favorites]


No, @calvinstowell, the "tech companies" with their cumulative Engineers Disease and nouveau riche-ness only fear being called biased by those who can hurt their stock values. They do not fear America going Full Fascist, but going even Semi-Socialist would doom the so-called 'Social' Media for sure.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:41 PM on August 29 [9 favorites]


"Suspicious" Transactions At Russian Embassy Sparked Deeper Bank Probe Than Previously Known.
The former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak received a salary payment twice as large as past years, and bankers blocked a $150,000 withdrawal.
posted by adamvasco at 3:42 PM on August 29 [14 favorites]


The decision puts to rest weeks of public hand-wringing by his wife, Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos, who has been acting as an informal spokeswoman for her husband. She said in an interview with ABC News earlier this month that her husband was strongly considering backing away from the agreement he struck with Mueller that led him to plead guilty to lying to the FBI.


This crap being aired is evidence of (one of) the problem(s).

Why is she doing this? What does she want? Why does the media report on this? In what universe does it make sense for a wife to make a media circus of her husband's culpability?

This is using the media for a back-channel negotiation (so flagrantly public it can't be cloak-and-dagger)
posted by yesster at 3:50 PM on August 29 [5 favorites]


“I have never heard him say the words ‘You’re fired’ to anyone,” Billy Procida, a vice president for the Trump Organization in the early ’90s, told me. “He really doesn’t fire people. He makes it known he doesn’t want you there, and you move on.”

So he's a guess person, then.
posted by The World Famous at 3:55 PM on August 29 [40 favorites]


mablestreet, the magazine seems to be on hiatus or defunct. Trump birth certificate nonsense was in swing back in 2011 (when he was on about Obama's cert) -- dailykos also ran some ridiculousness about it (had his mother back in Scotland for his birth), and there was this blog's declaration that he was born in South Africa.
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:02 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


Trump’s Slow Speed Chase Saturday Night Massacre
Don’t forget the big picture. President Trump has bullied GOP senators about Sessions long enough that now they’re publicly signaling it’s okay if President Trump fires him. If Sessions is replaced it will presumably be someone who doesn’t need to recuse themselves from the Russia probe. So it takes Rosenstein out of the mix or at least would allow him to be taken out of the mix.
...
Each action only has one purpose, one President Trump doesn’t even really try to deny: ending the Russia probe. At the risk of stating the obvious: President Trump is guilty and he is laying the groundwork for ending the probe he believes (probably rightly) constitutes an existential threat to his Presidency. It is on-going obstruction; it’s on-going misrule and high crimes which are what impeachment is meant to be the solution to. But neither of those are really the key point. No President – I don’t care how obsessed with his own power, how hyper-focused on deference and respect, how anything – no President goes to these lengths unless he is guilty of something very bad and which he believes poses a mortal threat to his presidency, his wealth, his reputation.

These points are all obvious. But since no one is doing anything about [it], since no one with the power to do anything about it is doing anything about, we still collectively have a difficult time processing or accepting the truth of the situation.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:19 PM on August 29 [39 favorites]


Cynthia Nixon showing me all the pitbull-fire and the knowledge I was hoping for. Right up in his face.
posted by Harry Caul at 4:23 PM on August 29 [5 favorites]


(active Nixon-Cuomo thread here)
posted by Chrysostom at 4:26 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


White House Legal Office Death March:

Politico's Nancy Cook (@ nancook) reports: "Scooplet: The latest in the WH departure lounge? Stefan Passantino, the White House ethics czar in the counsel's office, who's leaving by the end of the summer: White House lawyer Passantino planning to leave"

Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) updates: "NEWS: The White House ethics lawyer, Stefan Passantino, leaves the post *tomorrow*, sources tell me."
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:33 PM on August 29 [10 favorites]


I mean, tomorrow IS by the end of the summer.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:38 PM on August 29 [6 favorites]


The White House ethics lawyer, Stefan Passantino, leaves the post *tomorrow*, sources tell me."

Seriously, would anyone even notice? Did anyone in the White House even know there was a White House ethics lawyer? Was his office in a broom closet in the basement?
posted by JackFlash at 4:41 PM on August 29 [30 favorites]


To be fair an ethics lawyer in this White House has absolutely nothing to do.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:42 PM on August 29 [12 favorites]


I mean, tomorrow IS by the end of the summer.

Out on the road today /
I saw a MAGA sticker on a Cadillac



Beto O’Rourke, John McCain, and Respecting Fellow-Americans (Jelani Cobb | The New Yorker)
It’s two years since Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, of the San Francisco Forty-Niners, first took a knee during the national anthem in protest of police killings of unarmed African-Americans. In the interim, the country has witnessed a staggering electoral upset; watched as clownish demagoguery was rewarded with the august trappings of the White House; beheld a neo-Nazi cavalcade in Charlottesville; seen immigrant children forcibly separated from their parents at the border; and watched as racial belligerence became a kind of default setting in the highest office in the land.

It is a testament to a profound absence of self-awareness among Donald Trump’s acolytes that, given these developments, the dialogue surrounding Kaepernick and Reid’s protest, which later spread to other N.F.L. players, has fixated on the idea that taking a knee during the anthem is something that should be decried as disrespectful to both the flag and to the nation’s armed forces. Last fall, the President said that the protesting players should be fired, or maybe shouldn’t even be in the country. This public casting of stones is the worst kind of bad faith—one that, unacquainted with its own holy texts, substitutes fervor and faultfinding for thoughtfulness and reflection. For that reason alone, Beto O’Rourke’s comments on the protests, delivered last week at a town hall in Houston, were an exceptional moment.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:46 PM on August 29 [41 favorites]


I'm not sure what my favorite line from the lead puff-piece on CNN at the moment is...probably either:

Never one to mince words, Graham admitted...

or

Asked by Bash how he squares his close friendship with McCain to his new relationship with Trump, Graham said, "If you know anything about me, I want to be relevant."

What a couple of nice, well-meaning men.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:52 PM on August 29 [8 favorites]


Trump's approval rating largely untouched by last week's bombshell news events.

posted by briank at 6:11 PM on August 27 [5 favorites +] [!]


The "market" has already adjusted to the fact that he is the worst person in the world, so no new proof moves utilities.
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:01 PM on August 29 [6 favorites]


Trump's approval rating largely untouched by last week's bombshell news events.

As Nate Silver pointed out, a 2 point drop in approval, 3 point net – so 5% of his support – in 1 week is actually a pretty big move according to historical changes in their poll.
posted by chris24 at 5:08 PM on August 29 [35 favorites]


A 2 point drop in the polling average would be a pretty big move relatively speaking but it's impossible to say if a 2 point change in that one poll is a move or just noise. We'll see what the 538 average says in a week.
posted by Justinian at 6:02 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


WaPo, Giuliani letter criticizing Romania’s anti-corruption drive draws State Department attention
A letter that Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of President Trump’s personal attorneys, sent to Romanian officials opposing a corruption crackdown in that country has drawn the attention of the State Department and renewed questions about his continued work for foreign clients while representing the president.

In his letter last week to Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and Premier Viorica Dancila, Giuliani criticized anti-corruption efforts in that country, expressing concern about “continued damage to the rule of law in Romania, committed under the pretext of law enforcement.”
...

It also put him in opposition with the State Department, which has supported efforts to prosecute corruption in Romania. The United States joined with 11 other countries in June in a statement warning Romania not to take measures that would weaken its “ability to fight crime or corruption.”

Giuliani received a call from State Department officials this week about his letter, he said in an interview Wednesday.

“They wanted to know, ‘Is this accurate? Is this real? We want to make sure this is genuine,’ ” Giuliani said. “Absolutely,” he said he replied.
...
Giuliani said he was hired to send the letter by a global consulting firm run by former FBI director Louis Freeh. He declined to say on whose behalf Freeh’s firm was working or how much he was paid.
Amazing how all these people working for Trump for free turn out to be working for other people for cash, huh?
posted by zachlipton at 6:14 PM on August 29 [51 favorites]


Y'all, I live in an area where folks on Main Street will openly say I'm the town's local firebrand liberal. I can walk through voting lines like I'm Aretha, cause nobody else is in the Democratic line. Y'all, in the way to dinner, I saw five Beto signs. On ranches. The last ranches standing after developers dropped an extra 20,000 people on our little burb.

And I got a push poll about Jeff sessions today, where I was proud to say over an over that id be voting for Collin Alred instead of the incumbent. And the lady taking the poll was like, yeah, we've heard a lot of people saying good things about Collin. Blue wave, y'all.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:18 PM on August 29 [95 favorites]


Blue wave, y'all.

T-shirt right there.
posted by Celsius1414 at 6:22 PM on August 29 [46 favorites]


I'm starting to question the lay-back-and-let-Trump-shoot-himself-in-the-foot-strategy by our Congressional Dems. That guy's got a lot of feet.
posted by petebest at 6:25 PM on August 29 [20 favorites]


The inhuman centipede.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:39 PM on August 29 [35 favorites]


@RubyWorms
Project Veritas pops up in Mueller's Exhibit list for Manafort's next trial. 🔥
posted by Artw at 6:48 PM on August 29 [28 favorites]


Heeee: Donald Trump Does Not Want That Smoke From Andrew Gillum [VSB]. I was pleased that there were a lot of Facebook comments saying that this introduced them to Gillum and they were eager to support his run....
posted by TwoStride at 6:48 PM on August 29 [10 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: “Ohr told the FBI it (the Fake Dossier) wasn’t true, it was a lie and the FBI was determined to use it anyway to damage Trump and to perpetrate a fraud on the court to spy on the Trump campaign. This is a fraud on the court. The Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court is in.........charge of the FISA court. He should direct the Presiding Judge, Rosemary Collier, to hold a hearing, haul all of these people from the DOJ & FBI in there, & if she finds there were crimes committed, and there were, there should be a criminal referral by her....” @GreggJarrett

@steve_vladeck: The amount of unconstitutional actions this tweet envisions might have to be on my Federal Courts final exam next spring...
posted by zachlipton at 7:06 PM on August 29 [61 favorites]


Winter is coming’: Allies fear Trump isn’t prepared for gathering legal storm (WaPo)
This account of the president and his team grappling with a potential crisis is based on interviews this week with 26 White House officials, presidential advisers, and lawyers and strategists close to the administration, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid.
What’s the over/under on the number of anonymous WH officials in the next story? n-1?
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:14 PM on August 29 [21 favorites]


Allies fear Trump isn’t prepared for gathering legal storm

He's always believed "I'm rich and know how to offer bribes" will get him out of any legal trouble. It's worked so far, and he's never actually lost anything that matters to him in a legal fight. I'm not sure if he's faced criminal charges rather than civil. Why Trump Can't Understand the Cases Against Manafort and Cohen
"The president is used to operating in a business milieu where white-collar crime is common and seldom prosecuted aggressively."

And of course, since he's used to the idea that allies get rewarded and "traitors" get punished, he's happy with the idea of Cohen going to prison and wants to pardon Manafort - and it hasn't clicked that both of those convictions involve evidence against him being stacked up in multiple jurisdictions.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 7:41 PM on August 29 [26 favorites]


The Atlantic link from ErisLordFreedom reached the site's 404 page, at least for me. Here is another link: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/08/trump-rules-change-cohen-manafort/568177/
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:55 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


Jedediah Purdy has a fascinating/horrifying thread on possible upcoming constitutional crises, and what actions could be taken to avoid these outcomes:
Thread on anticipating and preventing constitutional crises. [not a Twitter link]
posted by suelac at 8:00 PM on August 29 [9 favorites]


The Arizona Supreme Court just knocked the Invest In Ed proposition off the ballot, claiming the wording was incorrect (it wasn’t.) This is the court that Doug Ducey packed by adding additional justices. Signatures for the petitions were gathered in just a few weeks, all by volunteers, mostly by teachers. This was going to pass easily at the ballot box.

Like many others, I’m furious about this. These guys just kicked a hornets nest the day after the primary.
posted by azpenguin at 8:09 PM on August 29 [45 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: “Ohr told the FBI it (the Fake Dossier) wasn’t true, it was a lie and the FBI was determined to use it anyway to damage Trump and to perpetrate a fraud on the court to spy on the Trump campaign. This is a fraud on the court. The Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court is in.........charge of the FISA court. He should direct the Presiding Judge, Rosemary Collier, to hold a hearing, haul all of these people from the DOJ & FBI in there, & if she finds there were crimes committed, and there were, there should be a criminal referral by her....” @GreggJarrett

Reading this I'm suddenly gripped with a paralyzing terror that we have no objective metric by which to distinguish his personal opinion tweets from his executive order ones. Is there any reason besides its sheer disconnection from reality to doubt that it could serve as a blueprint for executive (& judicial if you ignore the separation of powers issue) action meant to be followed as a directive? If the Chief Justice lost his mind & decided to take Trump's advice to heart what recourse could we have?
posted by scalefree at 8:11 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


Texas GOP Shaming Beto O’Rourke With Old Thirst Trap Pics Backfires Spectacularly

As a native Texan supporting Beto, watching the GOP stumble into making O'Rourke go viral is even better than a goddamn debate right now. I'm scared to voice this, but it feels like another Obama moment. Like, I think he has what it takes to be a Democratic president.

Ted still gonna get pwned when that debate finally happens.

I'm so scared that this happiness might get crushed, but this campaign has given me hope.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:18 PM on August 29 [63 favorites]


I can walk through voting lines like I'm Aretha, cause nobody else is in the Democratic line. Y'all, in the way to dinner, I saw five Beto signs. On ranches. Blue wave, y'all.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet


Hell yes! I spent part of my day off today doing oddball errands in far-flung parts of my Deep Red County in East Tennessee. I can't count the number of yard signs I saw for Renee Hoyos and Jay Clark. If you had asked me three months ago how many Democrats lived near me, I'd have guessed fewer than 1 in 50.

Blue wave, y'all.
posted by workerant at 8:19 PM on August 29 [29 favorites]


If the Chief Justice lost his mind & decided to take Trump's advice to heart what recourse could we have?

Literally nothing about that tweet is how the FISA court actually works. The court doesn't haul anyone in, hold sua sponte hearings, or make criminal referrals. It approves intelligence warrants filed by DOJ.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:20 PM on August 29 [24 favorites]


Oh hey

Florida GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis is an administrator of a Facebook group that promotes racist and “deep state” conspiracy theories.
posted by The Whelk at 8:33 PM on August 29 [61 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 House:
-- VA-02: Further developments in Rep. Scott's signature fraud scandal, as it appears his campaign threatened the woman who first brought this all to light. Cook district rating is Lean R, but one wonders if all this may end up moving it to Tossup.

-- VA-07: A GOP super PAC has somehow obtained the unredacted application for federal security clearance of Dem candidate Spanberger.

-- NY-22: Siena College poll has Dem Brindisi up 46-44 on GOP incumbent Tunney [MOE: +/- 4.8%]. [Trump 55-39 | Cook: Tossup]

-- 538 House model now has pages for each district. Good explanation of how the model works.
** 2018 Senate:
-- WV: The WV Supreme Court has blocked the bid of murderer Don Blankenship to run on Constitution Party line. Blankenship's only remaining option would be a write-in campaign.

-- CT: Gravis poll has incumbent Dem Murphy up 54-37 on GOPer Corey [MOE: +/- 4.0].

-- PA: F&M poll has incumbent Dem Casey up 47-34 on GOPer Barletta [MOE: +/- 6.1].
** Odds & ends:
-- CT gov: Same Gravis poll has Dem Lamont up 49-40 on GOPer Stefanowski.

-- PA gov: Same Gravis poll has incumbent Dem Wolf up 52-35 on GOPer Wagner.

-- Good news from Texas, where the state has dropped the plan to close 87 driver's license offices, adding significantly to the burden of obtaining voter ID for many rural residents.

-- Dems control the Alaska House through an alliance with independents and some splinter Republicans (think the IDC from the New York Senate, but in reverse). Conservative Republicans tried to primary out the GOP reps, but after an extremely tight race, they survived, so Dems will likely continue to control.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:59 PM on August 29 [38 favorites]


Got canvassed by Harley Rouda’s group for the second time in 10 days today. (Actually, they were after my neighbor this time: we’re in a duplex (don’t freak out about the Dem List; everybody from postal workers to cable installers make the same mistake).) I think this is an indicator of the energy here in CA-48 to replace Dana Rohrabacher (R-Irkutsk) and still we haven’t gotten to Labor Day yet.

I promised more $$$ and also some ⏱⏱⏱, to get him off my porch, and I think I will honor that.

I’m also getting a yard sign.
posted by notyou at 9:21 PM on August 29 [13 favorites]


(Both canvassers were keen to push vote by mail, just as a data point. Reducing transaction friction really helps close the deal!)
posted by notyou at 9:28 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


Glad we've been getting some Connecticut polls in the last week or two. I was really sweating whether Murphy could win by 20 points or not. Money well spent.
posted by Justinian at 9:30 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


Asked by Bash how he squares his close friendship with McCain to his new relationship with Trump, Graham said, "If you know anything about me, I want to be relevant."

What an absolute piece of trash
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:31 PM on August 29 [31 favorites]


Glad we've been getting some Connecticut polls in the last week or two. I was really sweating whether Murphy could win by 20 points or not. Money well spent.

I think it's more that they're doing CT-Gov polling, which IS of interest, as incumbent Dem Malloy is super unpopular. And you may as well ask about other statewide races while you've got them on the phone.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:33 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


“Let the dead bury the dead,” said the Senator from South Carolina on his way to his next round of golf.
posted by notyou at 9:35 PM on August 29 [9 favorites]


Schumer Surrenders
t’s true that McConnell has carried over that tactical skill to the majority, canceling the month-long August recess and imposing some politically tough votes on the ten Senate Democrats running for re-election in states Trump won in 2016, who would rather be home campaigning. But Schumer has simply been far more accommodating in the minority than his Republican counterpart was—and is.

For example, under this week’s McConnell-Schumer deal, the Senate mass-confirmed seven judges Tuesday and scheduled eight for next week. In exchange, Democrats appeared to get this: a couple of the judges who were former Obama appointees, the re-nomination of Mark Pearce to a Democratic seat on the National Labor Relations Board, and the release of 85,000 documents from Brett Kavanaugh in advance of his Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

Democrats were already entitled to much of this: They had filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the Kavanaugh documents, and a re-nomination for the NLRB seat doesn’t guarantee a successful vote. Trading a couple of middle-of-the-road Obama judges for more than a dozen hardline Trump ones—including one rated “unqualified” by the American Bar Association—doesn’t make this much better.
two choice tweets from Adam Jentleson, the aforementioned former Harry Reid staffer:
6:10 PM - 28 Aug 2018
This comes down to leadership. Senate Dem leaders could take a stand and station one senator on the floor at all times to object, forcing McConnell to jump through interminable hurdles & produce 51 votes - twice - for each nominee, likely resulting in fewer lifetime Trump judges.
7:01 PM - 29 Aug 2018
The main pushback I've been hearing to this thread is that the outcome would be the same even if Senate Dems took a more aggressive approach.

I disagree and I think the Goodwin confirmation is a good decoder ring for evaluating that defense.
...
Goodwin is the Trump judicial nominee from OK ruled "unqualified" by the independent ABA - pretty much a disqualifying factor.

Goodwin was confirmed with just 46 Republican votes. Democrats provided six additional votes to supply the margin of victory for his confirmation.
...
Your first reaction may be, what the hell are Dems doing supplying the margin of victory for Goodwin?

There's no good answer. Even red staters can vote nay. If you can't easily explain voting against a single judge ruled unqualified by the ABA, you shouldn't be in politics.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:40 PM on August 29 [96 favorites]


Fucken Schumer. Establishment weak-sauce. Ugh.
posted by j_curiouser at 9:48 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


Joe in Australia: "I'm more concerned about the radical shift in her politics over the past five years, from being the outspoken president (!) of Columbia University's chapter of Right to Life, and her appearance on Glenn Beck's show to complain about left-wing professors, to now being a DSA candidate."

To be fair there isn't anything like suddenly actually being directed affected by the face eating leopards to induce a perspective shift.

The Whelk: "The Trump Administration’s Secret War on Weed"


The head asploding that is going to go on in many places down south when Canada finally legalizes recreational week in a couple months is going to be glorious.

delfin: "In fairness, assigning a death count of 3000+ Puerto Ricans to Trump alone is not fair."

He's taking credit for the "fantastic job" done in Puerto Rico. I have no problem assigning him 100% of the shared blamed.

zachlipton: "As he would later learn, Juan is one of a growing number of people whose official birth records show they were born in the United States but who are now being denied passports "

Right out of the Nazi playbook.

kirkaracha: "To be fair an ethics lawyer in this White House has absolutely nothing to do."

I picture The Good Wife's Eli Gold level freak outs at a rate of about a dozen a day.
posted by Mitheral at 10:09 PM on August 29 [16 favorites]


T.D. Strange: "It approves intelligence warrants filed by DOJ."

Approves really is the right word here (as opposed to reviews or something) 99.8% (give or take) of FISA warrant applications are approved by the FISA court. During the history of the court until the end of 2017 there were 41,222 requests made and 85 denials. Most years there are 0 denials at all. The Court sits ex parte with only the judge (there is only one at any particular hearing) and the government officials making the request in attendance. There is no elected oversight of the court. Appointments are made by the Chief Justice of the Supreme court. If you are looking for an easy judge gig I can't imagine it gets better than this.
posted by Mitheral at 10:37 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


Schumer has to go.
posted by The Whelk at 11:42 PM on August 29 [38 favorites]


Schumer has to go.
posted by The Whelk at 11:42 PM on August 2


Schumer behaves like he can’t conceive of a regular voter who shares his interests. I miss Harry Reid. That isn’t something I ever thought I would say.
posted by SakuraK at 12:54 AM on August 30 [8 favorites]


Harry Reid got ACA, Dodd-Frank, and the 2009 stimulus through. The former in particular involved a fair amount of fighting, eh?
posted by jaduncan at 2:52 AM on August 30 [14 favorites]


Foreign Policy: The Silence of the Bears—The Russian public was quiet about Manafort and Cohen, but in the halls of power, debate about Trump’s usefulness rages.
Moscow is finally realizing that even if Trump survives the many scandals that surround him, he won’t be able to deliver major improvements in U.S.-Russian ties. The only upside for the Kremlin is that any political struggle to remove Trump from office that may follow will leave American politics and society more divided than ever.[...]

Behind the relatively quiet public discussion of Manafort and Cohen, debates about the cases rage in Russian government and business circles. In these, cynicism carries the day. Russian officials and businesspeople in large state-owned conglomerates dealing with the United States believe that there is a long way from Cohen’s guilty plea to Trump’s impeachment. In private conversations, meanwhile, Russian diplomats quoted Trump-friendly legal opinions from the op-ed pages of the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal and dismiss the idea that Russia should get hysterical about yet another Trump bombshell. After all, officials and businesspeople remark, Trump is a known entity in Russia, and it was only a matter of time before something like this would happen.

The bottom line for the Russian ruling class is very simple. Over the last 19 months, Trump has proved to be far more trouble for Moscow than his predecessor, who is openly despised in the Russian capital.[...]

The only people who may be happy about Wednesday’s bombshells are those in the upper echelons of the Russian system who could capitalize on a breakdown of Moscow’s relations with the West—that is, those who benefit from sanctions and heightened anti-Americanism, such as Putin’s friends, state-owned companies engaged in import substitution, and the domestic security apparatus. For them, any new turmoil that Manafort’s convictions and Cohen’s revelations create in the United States are happy gains.
More important to Putin, however, are his collapsing approval ratings over his protested plan to raise the retirement age—from which he's had to back down—and the falling value of the rouble after the potential sanctions over the Skripal poisoning.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:32 AM on August 30 [21 favorites]


Fun reminder that employers must attest to their employees' immigration status and that it is illegal to hire or recruit illegal immigrants knowingly. But I assume that the company's management didn't get picked up at the same time as the workers.

When there was an ICE raid in Bean Station, TN, in April, and 97 people were detained, I made an almost identical bitter comment about the owner in the megathread. Well, the owner recently pleaded guilty to federal charges of tax evasion, wire fraud and employing unauthorized immigrants. Max total sentence of 30 years plus restitution to the government for tax evasion. This is the best summary I have found; warning for news reel autoplay. Apparently we did not hear about this because the indictment had been sealed. The company is back in business now, but this is not nothing.
posted by heatvision at 4:02 AM on August 30 [42 favorites]


Russian officials and businesspeople in large state-owned conglomerates dealing with the United States believe that there is a long way from Cohen’s guilty plea to Trump’s impeachment.

I am 1000% certain that this is partly because some number of US Reps and Senators have assured them that this is the case.
posted by Rykey at 4:15 AM on August 30 [13 favorites]


And yet, @calvinstowell: The most messed up thing about the GOP campaign against tech companies is it will work because tech leaders are all so afraid of being called bias that they will bend over backwards to calm those on the right who argue solely in bad faith.

Which Republicans already know will work, because it did with the so-called "liberal media" already. And here we are.
posted by Gelatin at 4:57 AM on August 30 [10 favorites]


Republicans can control anything driven solely by profit maximization. That’s why socialism is such a scary word to them.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 5:12 AM on August 30 [17 favorites]


> The head asploding that is going to go on in many places down south when Canada finally legalizes recreational week in a couple months is going to be glorious.

I don’t know that “glorious” is the word I’d use. I’m a 44 year-old Canadian and really do wonder if I’ll ever step foot in the United States again.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:52 AM on August 30 [9 favorites]


notyou: Dana Rohrabacher (R-Irkutsk)

Hah! Nice.

Actually, it would be interesting to find a Russian (or USSR-era) analog for GOP senators and reps. Like, legislators from farm states can be matched to a place from the central agricultural regions (especially now that Russia is moving on Ukraine again), the mountain state pols can be matched with a place in the Urals, and the southern ones can be matched with....man, is any place in Russia as swampy-hot as Alabama?

Putin and his crew have designs on messing with America. Would it bring this home to more Americans if they could map corrupt GOP grifters to Russians? The Democrats aren't making a bogey-man of Russia: it really is an actual threat, and people who refuse to see it need to be convinced.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:53 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


T.D. Strange: Literally nothing about that tweet is how the FISA court actually works. The court doesn't haul anyone in, hold sua sponte hearings, or make criminal referrals. It approves intelligence warrants filed by DOJ.

Okay, but what about what about secret death sentences -- surely that power is retained by the FISA Court's Grand Marshal, even though he is pro-life and takes no pleasure in delivering them?

(That's the inevitable zenith of 2018 -- Trump is gonna quote-tweet Louise Mensch.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:54 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


He's taking credit for the "fantastic job" done in Puerto Rico. I have no problem assigning him 100% of the shared blamed.

I'm trying to parse this. The blame is shared, but Trump gets 100% of it?

I do not contest that Trump gets a gentleman's F for how he handled Puerto Rico, or as Peppermint Patty once gasped when she looked at one of her test scores, "A Z-Minus?" He is a bird's turd and deserves complete excoriation for it, among many other things. But the government's response to Puerto Rico in general has been a carnival of mismanagement, cronyism and willful disdain for people they don't consider to be Actual Americans, going far beyond Trump himself.

Root and branch. If a miracle happens post-midterm and Trump does depart, that will be a Good Thing. It will not Fix Things in and of itself.
posted by delfin at 5:55 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]


But the government's response to Puerto Rico in general has been a carnival of mismanagement, cronyism and willful disdain for people they don't consider to be Actual Americans.

Yes. And, another president might even have seen this an opportunity to transform Puerto Rico by providing extraordinary lend lease support and to partner in the rebuilding process. Instead, a bunch of scam-like businesses with no experience lined up to milk the tragedy and generally made things worse.
posted by xammerboy at 6:11 AM on August 30 [12 favorites]


Schumer behaves like he can’t conceive of a regular voter who shares his interests.

I don’t know about “shares his interests”, but Chuck Shumer can certainly conceive of regular voters.
If Schumer has a political philosophy, he owes it to a Long Island couple named Joe and Eileen Bailey. The Baileys live in Massapequa, a town on the South Shore, across the bay from Jones Beach. Joe works for an insurance company; Eileen is an administrative assistant in a physician’s office. The couple have three children, two of whom are grown. Economically, the Baileys are doing O.K., but they worry about rising property taxes and what the future holds for their kids. They’re not strong partisans. They feel that politicians of both parties sometimes condescend to them, something they hate. The Baileys voted for Bill Clinton twice, then, in 2000, after much agonizing, pulled the lever for George W. Bush.

This past November, the Baileys split their votes. Joe went with Trump, Eileen with Hillary. As for their kids, one was not yet eighteen, one voted for Clinton, and the third sat out the election. A few weeks ago, Schumer informed me that Eileen was feeling more confident about her vote, “not that she ever liked Hillary that much.” Joe, meanwhile, was having second thoughts.

“He’s getting a little queasiness in his stomach,” Schumer said. “It just seems like amateur hour, and Joe’s not an amateur. He’s very good at what he does. He was angry at the liberal way, but he didn’t think Trump would be like this.”

To Schumer, the Baileys represent the sort of voters that the Democratic Party too often neglects, and that it needs to reach in order to survive. They are his reality check, which would be less noteworthy were they real.

Schumer dreamed up the Baileys during his first campaign for the Senate, in 1998.

[...]

The more he thought about it, the more convinced he became that the Baileys were the key to the race, and the more vivid the family became. They acquired parents—Eileen’s father had prostate cancer—and neighbors, some of whom had recently lost their jobs when the work was moved overseas.

[...]

The Baileys, he maintained, could just as easily have been called the Ramirezes or the Kims or the Salims, but it was clear that the proposals in “Positively American” were aimed at middle-class white voters. These are the same voters, of course, who elected Trump, so even though Schumer was shocked by Clinton’s defeat, in a certain sense he saw it coming.

“The good news is, when Newt Gingrich read my book, he said on TV, if Democrats followed Schumer’s advice they’d be the dominant party for a generation,” Schumer told me.
Tl;dr: Rather than attempt to represent actual real people, Chuck Shumer’s political philosophy is based on catering to the needs of a couple of Bush- and Trump-voting imaginary friends who he invented two decades ago.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 6:12 AM on August 30 [120 favorites]


This isn't the screaming thread, so I'll just say that Schumer should be ashamed of even admitting to that.
posted by bootlegpop at 6:16 AM on August 30 [33 favorites]


Schumer has to go.

I am 100% behind Gillibrand being our senior senator. If he won't leave gracefully, primary the hell out of him.
posted by mikelieman at 6:19 AM on August 30 [17 favorites]


Tl;dr: Luckily, Schumer's imaginary friends often tell him that he is correct.
posted by jaduncan at 6:21 AM on August 30 [17 favorites]


Buzzfeed News: This Is How Russian Propaganda Actually Works In The 21st Century
The Russian government discreetly funded a group of seemingly independent news websites in Eastern Europe to pump out stories dictated to them by the Kremlin...the scheme worked like this: Money was channeled through shell companies outside of Russia, direct editorial orders were delivered via Skype, and the sites reported back the headlines they published, while they also bought clicks and tested buying comments from Russian troll factories to boost numbers.

The story and the true nature of the websites only came to light via a tax evasion and forgery criminal investigation into Kornilov — a 55-year-old Russian citizen described in public reports by Estonia’s counterintelligence agency KAPO as a Russian propagandist — and a freedom of information request in that country. Kornilov wasn’t convicted personally, but the NGO he set up and used in the schemes was, under Estonian law that allows for companies and other bodies to be prosecuted and convicted.

The documents reveal that Rossiya Segodnya set up the Russian-language news sites in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in October 2014 — six months after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and as the war between Russian-backed separatists and Ukraine waged in Eastern Ukraine.
Not quite news, exactly, but a really good picture of how propaganda makes it way into world.

Sort-of-news: the President is now accusing Lester Holt of having been 'caught' (he wasn't) 'fudging my tape on Russia' (he didn't):
What’s going on at @CNN is happening, to different degrees, at other networks - with @NBCNews being the worst. The good news is that Andy Lack(y) is about to be fired(?) for incompetence, and much worse. When Lester Holt got caught fudging my tape on Russia, they were hurt badly!
From that video, back in May 2017, Trump:
"I was going to fire Comey. Knowing there was no good time to do it. And in fact when I decided to just do it I said to myself, I said, 'You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.'"
Inviting us to believe not only that Holt 'fudged' the tape -- again, more than a year after the entire interview was made public -- but inventing a scenario in which Holt was caught 'fudging', when he wasn't, is bizarre lying even for Trump.
posted by cjelli at 6:24 AM on August 30 [46 favorites]


Oh my god, there's a fudge tape.
posted by RobotHero at 6:27 AM on August 30 [39 favorites]


bizarre lying even for Trump.

Trump doesn't just lie, he gaslights.
posted by jaduncan at 6:27 AM on August 30 [21 favorites]


...and for the record, if I was Holt I'd sue.
posted by jaduncan at 6:28 AM on August 30 [21 favorites]


Il Douche has tweeted 10 times this morning already (one repeat on McGahn.) He hit 23 yesterday. Let's see if he breaks the record.
posted by Harry Caul at 6:41 AM on August 30


(one repeat on McGahn.)

Correcting yet another 'councel/counsel' mixup, for the record.
posted by cjelli at 6:43 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


He’s really frantic this week even for him. Cmon Mueller, tomorrow is Friday, 67 days before an election. What better time for a Don Jr. or Kushner indictment?
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:44 AM on August 30 [9 favorites]


delfin: " The blame is shared, but Trump gets 100% of it?
"

Sort of like how the wheelman gets charged with felony murder if someone dies during a bank robbery. They don't split 1 twenty five year sentence over all the participants. Everyone go to jail for the full amount and yes I realize in practice this isn't usually what happens but the theory works this way.
posted by Mitheral at 6:49 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that I and/or other folks here had half-jokingly predicted that at some point he'd say the Russia-on-my-mind tape was fake/edited. But still. Good fucking lord. This absolutely is grounds for 25th-Amendment removal all by itself.

(Also, even under the nonsense scenario we're asked to consider, how could Holt be the one responsible for the fakery? It would have to happen live, in the control room, and he's in front of the camera.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:52 AM on August 30 [28 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that I and/or other folks here had half-jokingly predicted that at some point he'd say the Russia-on-my-mind tape was fake/edited. But still. Good fucking lord. This absolutely is grounds for 25th-Amendment removal all by itself.

If nothing else, it lends a lot of credence to the sources reporting back in November 2017 [NYT] that Trump has been quietly shopping around the idea the Access Hollywood tape was fake (despite previously admitting it was real):
“We don’t think that was my voice,” Mr. Trump told the senator, according to a person familiar with the conversation. Since then, Mr. Trump has continued to suggest that the tape that nearly upended his campaign was not actually him, according to three people close to the president.
Not that we exactly needed any extra reasons to believe that the 'I won the popular vote' guy would, you know, try to gaslight the public about trivially disprovable things, but still.
posted by cjelli at 7:02 AM on August 30 [27 favorites]


Sort of like how the wheelman gets charged with felony murder if someone dies during a bank robbery. They don't split 1 twenty five year sentence over all the participants. Everyone go to jail for the full amount and yes I realize in practice this isn't usually what happens but the theory works this way.

Then we are indeed on the same page (Trump is completely liable, but not the ONLY one liable) and simply debating the semantics. My part of the elephant feels like THIS...
posted by delfin at 7:14 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]


Tom Nichols
Local GOP candidate just knocked on my door. Couldn't process it when I said that as a Never Trump Republican I am not voting for any Republicans in this cycle. At all. And will actively vote against Republicans gaining even one local seat until this madness is over.
- I think it's going to take at least two cycles in the wilderness, maybe more.


@SteveBuckland4
You know, I normally agree with you Dr. Nichols, but this is just absurd logic. So until Trump is out of office you will not vote for worthy GOP candidates and instead will vote for unworthy Democrats. Talk about cutting your nose off to spite your face, geesh!


Tom Nichols
If they'll caucus with Trump's GOP? There is no potential House member, for example, that is worth keeping Nunes, Gohmert, and Rohrabacher in the majority. So, unless you can do something about that... nope.
posted by chris24 at 7:29 AM on August 30 [84 favorites]


You know, I normally agree with you Dr. Nichols, but this is just absurd logic. So until Trump is out of office you will not vote for worthy GOP candidates and instead will vote for unworthy Democrats.

Objection: "worthy [Republican] candidates" assumes facts not in evidence.

(It also ignores the fact that most of the so-called never-Trump Republicans are retiring or were primaried out, and that others, like Lindsay Graham, are now bending knee to him.)
posted by Gelatin at 7:36 AM on August 30 [12 favorites]


National Enquirer Had Decades of Trump Dirt. He Wanted to Buy It All.
He and his lawyer at the time, Michael D. Cohen, devised a plan to buy up all the dirt on Mr. Trump that the National Enquirer and its parent company had collected on him, dating back to the 1980s, according to several of Mr. Trump’s associates.
...
When The Times first reported that the recording had been discovered by the F.B.I., people close to Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump initially described it in the narrow context of Ms. McDougal’s deal.

But Mr. Cohen, in fact, indicates in the audio that he and Mr. Trump are speaking about an arrangement involving far more.
...
People with knowledge of American Media’s operations... described the files on Mr. Trump as mostly older National Enquirer stories about Mr. Trump’s marital woes and lawsuits; related story notes and lists of sensitive sources; some tips about alleged affairs; and minutia, like allegations of unscrupulous golfing.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:37 AM on August 30 [24 favorites]


Boston Globe: Calif. man arrested on charges of threatening Globe employees
A California man is facing federal charges for threatening to shoot Boston Globe employees who he called an “enemy of the people” after the Globe launched an national newspaper campaign in support of the free press and the First Amendment. Robert D. Chain, 68, of Encino, Calif., was arrested Thursday at his home and is charged with a single count of making a threatening communication in interstate commerce.
...
According to federal prosecutors, when the Globe called for newspapers around the country to use their opinion pages to counter President Trump’s description criticism of the news media as an “enemy of the people,’’ Chain started calling the Globe and making threats to newsroom employees.

“In the calls, Chain referred to the Globe as “the enemy of the people” and threatened to kill newspaper employees,’’ prosecutors wrote in a statement. “In total, it is alleged that Chain made approximately 14 threatening phone calls to the Globe between August 10 and August 22, 2018.”
In the calls, he states that 'As long as you keep attacking the President...I will continue [these] threats.'

Trump's lying attacks on the 'totally dishonest media' continued this morning. The President's words have consequences.
posted by cjelli at 7:40 AM on August 30 [69 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that I and/or other folks here had half-jokingly predicted that at some point he'd say the Russia-on-my-mind tape was fake/edited. But still. Good fucking lord. This absolutely is grounds for 25th-Amendment removal all by itself.

Trump's been in full-on Gaslight mode for a while now, going back to last month when he told a rally, "Stick with us. Don't believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news. [...] What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening." His attacks on Lester Holt despite video evidence against him and on Google for non-existent bias are continuations of this.

On top of that, in @realDonaldTrump's tweet-rant this morning, he and raged, "I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is. Truth doesn’t matter to them, they only have their hatred & agenda. This includes fake books, which come out about me all the time, always anonymous sources, and are pure fiction. Enemy of the People!" (The books on his mind are, no doubt, Omarosa's current tell-all and Bob Woodward's upcoming insider account next month.) Tonight's rally in Indiana will have more of the same, no doubt.

Unfortunately, Trump's already warping how the younger generation regards the trustworthiness of news.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:46 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]


> Unfortunately, Trump's already warping how the younger generation regards the trustworthiness of news.

Eh, the examples used in that piece to suggest that today's teens don't trust the press are one step above David Brooks' wisdom from the Applebees salad bar. A few kids LOLing about "fake news" does not a trend make. Giving Trump credit for a decades-long trend of increased distrust toward mainstream media seems wrong to me.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:55 AM on August 30 [10 favorites]


Unfortunately, Trump's already warping how the younger generation regards the trustworthiness of news.

When you read to the bottom of that article, you see that one of the teens they quote is Puerto Rican and cites the US media's coverage of the storm as showing that they are untrustworthy.

To be honest, I am not sorry that people don't trust the press. I think that's a good starting point. Our media is a burning house, and we need to start over.

Here in Minneapolis, the mainstream media lies all the time - and that's just things where I happen to have witnessed or experienced the events they report on. (If anyone wants examples, I can give them, but I won't waste space unless requested.) It's true that there are individual honest reporters, but they are limited by what the paper will let them write, and for the most part they're just shills for power.

We really need nonprofit media co-ops - not just for specialty news but for all news. We need decently paid reporters who can research stories and who are not in thrall to the state for "access" or to big corporations just to get paid. It's not that this would "eliminate bias", because of course all news is at least slightly slanted because it's written by, like, people - but it would eliminate the biggest sources of bias and create space for people to pursue stories in depth.
posted by Frowner at 7:57 AM on August 30 [35 favorites]


Cripes, Omarossa and her book sure fell out of the conversation fast.

We need a new measure of the rise and eventual evanescence of Trumptown celebs. The Scaramucci is not fine grained enough.
posted by notyou at 8:00 AM on August 30 [16 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that I and/or other folks here had half-jokingly predicted that at some point he'd say the Russia-on-my-mind tape was fake/edited. But still. Good fucking lord. This absolutely is grounds for 25th-Amendment removal all by itself.

Threadreader, contains images of transcripts:

@MattGertz:
Okay, I think I figured out what the president was talking about last night when he tweeted that "Lester Holt got caught fudging my tape on Russia."

Here's Rudy Giuliani during a July 25 interview with Sean Hannity. Giuliani says that Trump "he made it clear to Lester Holt he [fired Comey] knowing that the investigation would continue so he couldn't obstruct it."

Later in the segment, Giuliani says of the media, "They conveniently leave that off whenever they play that tape, amazing what they do with tapes."

This doesn't make a lot of sense, and has nothing to do with Holt, who aired what Giuliani seems to be talking about. For my money though, it seems like Trump is saying he's fine with an investigation into Russia hacking, but with not one about him.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:03 AM on August 30 [7 favorites]


“I don’t believe there [are] any neutral news organizations,” said Emma Neely, a 19-year-old in Tennessee. “Each writer and editor has their own personal bias. What they write, even if it’s a little biased, it’s still biased.”

She's not wrong. Media outlets need to stop pretending to be "objective" and "unbiased," and instead focus on being verifiable and accountable for mistakes. They need to state their biases up front rather than pretend not to have any, and keep reminding people that, no matter what their opinions are, they strive to report facts that can be proven: the bias is in what they choose to report and how they frame those facts, but the details themselves are accurate.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:04 AM on August 30 [51 favorites]


The Case For Public Broadcasting (self-link)
posted by The Whelk at 8:16 AM on August 30 [7 favorites]


The Atlantic chose the more anondyne headline "Trump Has Changed How Teens View the News" to cover the gamut from media skepticism to outright mistrust. It's the latter part that worries me in the context of Trump's constant, near-Stalinist direct attacks on the fourth estate—"Enemy of the People!"—and the ceaseless lying about everything that comes out of his administration as though mendacity were a policy directive.

In any case, here's a more sobering excerpt from the Atlantic article: "As much as they laugh, though, Trump’s negative views on the media have undoubtedly affected teens’ views of certain outlets. The teens I spoke with often had strong opinions about CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Fox News. Colin said he tries to avoid CNN and most mainstream news sites, instead following independent journalists he likes on YouTube. “In 2016, I became a little more skeptical of the mainstream media, just because I know how corporate donors and commercials work,” he said. “Why wouldn’t CNN endorse Clinton or talk about her in a better way than Trump when Time Warner was donating so much money to her campaign?” (CNN did not officially endorse any candidate in the last election, but Trump supporters have frequently attacked the network for what they have seen as a pro-Clinton bias.)" A healthy skepticism about bias and accuracy in the current media climate quickly sours into cynicism and blanket rejection.

And lord help us if Google's YouTube and Facebook's Instagram are ushering in the future of news media: "“I follow a few political Instagram accounts,” Colin said. “They’ll post memes and headlines and stuff and people discuss them. Political Instagram is a thing. It’s sort of like a weird mesh between a meme page and a news page.”"
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:16 AM on August 30 [8 favorites]


The Schumer judges thing is severely pissing me the fuck off, and it's only adding to my pet theory about why Dems roll over so often. Here we go:

I think the failure of a Dem backbone in the last several decades is indelibly tied to the collapse of institutional party support for hardline union activism. If your entire worldview rests on knowing how to say the right things to make the boss like you on an individual level then it’s NO WONDER the Democratic Party institutional structure has no idea what collectively holding the line looks like - because how many of them have any direct experience with the world of old school labor tactics?

Like just look at Cuomo saying he doesn’t support wildcat strikes in last night’s debate. That’s very telling not only about his own politics but MORE IMPORTANTLY what he regards as legitimate tactics for leveraging power. No wonder Democrats don’t have their shit together - they come from a world of negotiating conflict through individual back room court settings, not through collective action such as strikes and direct confrontation.
posted by mostly vowels at 8:18 AM on August 30 [60 favorites]


Please be sensitive to our snowflake president's need for safe space (Windsor Mann, The Week)
Conservatives have longstanding grievances against the mainstream media, and some of them are reasonable. But whereas their animus is political, ideological, and cultural, Trump's is entirely personal. Among his grievances is that the media "only shows the bad photos" of him. He has complained about Fox News (for what he considered insufficiently oleaginous coverage of him) and about GOLF magazine (for quoting him). Such distinctions are lost on Trump's supporters, who don't care why he attacks the media so long as he attacks the media.

In his book The True Believer, Eric Hoffer wrote, "Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil." In 2016 it was Hillary Clinton, whom Ben Carson compared to Lucifer. But it was also the media. "I am not only fighting Crooked Hillary," Trump tweeted in August 2016, "I am fighting the dishonest and corrupt media." Trump, radio host Hugh Hewitt said, "has all the right enemies."

But in attacking his enemies, Trump has made them stronger. After he defended Confederate monuments last year, more of them came down. He says The New York Times is "failing," but its subscriptions are up. This month, more than 300 newspapers ran editorials denouncing the president's attacks on the media. That same day, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution defending freedom of the press. Trump is unlikely to read it, however, given that it has no pictures, doesn't mention him, and has 12 paragraphs that begin with "Whereas."
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:39 AM on August 30 [15 favorites]


Please be sensitive to our snowflake president's need for safe space (Windsor Mann, The Week)

I'd love to see "Trump is a snowflake" get more traction.
posted by duoshao at 8:45 AM on August 30 [30 favorites]


When the Democrats regain power, there needs to be a law passed that creates an ironclad statute of limitations after the US has recognized someone as a citizen (e.g. issuing a passport or other documents, accepting tax returns filed as a citizen).

What this problem is really calling attention to is the fact that if you are a natural born citizen, non-immigrant, there isn't really a good 'this document says you are a citizen'. Items that are accepted as 'proof of citizenship' for tax forms, etc, don't themselves declare you a citizen, with the sole exception of passports.

I remember saying roughly two years ago that now was the time to get your passports (which we did, thank god), in part because one of the first things we thought would happen, one of the first things that DID happen, was cracking down on What Makes A Citizen. In 2017, it was going into people's naturalization paperwork and saying they lied because they didn't report traffic incidents. In 2018, it's 'your birth certificate isn't verifiable.'

And the thing is, they're probably going to get away with it, because that area doesn't possess the firmest borders, and any children of American parents will have citizenship regularized because of their parents, and this is only going to affect children who had two non-citizen parents who were delivered via midwives, and so most people aren't going to care that much.

What will happen in 2019?
posted by corb at 8:46 AM on August 30 [39 favorites]


I'm assuming international adoptees are next.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 8:50 AM on August 30 [6 favorites]


I'd love to see "Trump is a snowflake" get more traction.

Photos of Trump's hair are like snowflakes -- no two are the same.
posted by philip-random at 8:50 AM on August 30


15 reasons why: Donald Trump’s supporters will never abandon him
Most journalists still don’t get it: Republicans will never abandon Donald Trump, and he’s the 2020 front runner
posted by growabrain at 8:54 AM on August 30 [9 favorites]


If Trump remains the 2020 candidate and front runner, the primaries and convention are going to be so shit-tastic. I find it hard to imagine anything but a huge voter backlash against it all in that election.

Of course, I was wrong about the voters a couple years ago, but still.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 9:03 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


fluttering hellfire: I'm assuming international adoptees are next.

Adult ones? Quite possibly. However, children taken from parents is less likely if those parents are white, because then you have crying white American citizens on TV, and that's more trouble than the jackboots want at the moment.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:07 AM on August 30 [7 favorites]


Trump's latest criticism of Sessions: His Southern accent, Alabama education

More proof -- not that we needed any -- that:

1) Trump is a numbskull. Southern accents are among the best of things -- and I'm not just saying that because I have one.

2) The R's -- politicians, journalists on Fox, and large swathes of the voters alike -- are lying about what they find off-putting about "libs." If Trump's disdain for Sessions' lack of an Ivy League education and his accent moves the needle among those groups at all -- if they go in on him the way they sure as hell would on any politician, athlete, actor or journalist who expressed similar views -- I will eat one of my dreads.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:09 AM on August 30 [24 favorites]


Republicans will never abandon Donald Trump, and he’s the 2020 front runner

The damage has already been done and we're in for a political reckoning that will likely start in Nov 2018 (if there's a blue wave) and continue until every vestige of this administration has been investigated and prosecuted. We'll then be living with the damage of the federal judges Trump, McConnell and McGahn have spent the last 12 months pushing through not to mention two partisan judges on the Supreme Court. It's going to take generations to fix the damage while dealing with 30% of the American public that will be in open revolt against the very foundations of our federal political systems. I'm in an optimistic mood this morning and yet I'm confident we'll be dealing with the damage for generations.
posted by photoslob at 9:14 AM on August 30 [16 favorites]


Always encouraging to hear this from a US senator.

@ChrisMurphyCT
Hear me out: kids in cages and Latino Americans being denied passports are not a separate story from Trump’s move to fire Mueller.

He is trying to rally and consolidate his hard base to force Republicans’ silence when he shuts it all down.

Democracy hanging in the balance.
posted by chris24 at 9:15 AM on August 30 [77 favorites]


National Enquirer Had Decades of Trump Dirt. He Wanted to Buy It All.

Legally, I don't see how this could be regarded as unrelated to his political campaign
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:15 AM on August 30 [8 favorites]


Polling got Andrew Gillum’s victory in Florida very wrong. 8 experts on how that happened. - Li Zhou, Vox
“Only a small percentage of the electorate actually vote and that electorate is not stable from election to election,” said Chris Jackson, a vice president at Ipsos, a market research firm. Because of this, “it’s tougher sometimes to get a representative sample [during primaries],” Quinnipiac’s Peter Brown said. The sample of people polled may not have fully captured what the ultimate electorate ended up looking like.

Young voters and African-American voters — who ended up turning out heavily for Gillum — were potentially among the groups that were underrepresented in these polls, Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster, said. Undecided voters, who accounted for more than 20 percent of the folks who were surveyed, on average, and whose preferences were likely masked in earlier surveys, appeared to go heavily for Gillum on Election Day as well, according to Florida-based political consultant Doug Kaplan.
See article for comments from a group discussion.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:17 AM on August 30 [7 favorites]


To supplement what I said:

It's true that some deplorables would see a white adoptive parent losing their child to deportation as a race traitor getting their due. No doubt that Karl Rove has this in mind with his infamous tactic against McCain (highlighting the existence of a black adoptive grandchild) in 2000. But as has been discussed in previous threads about the child-kidnapping policy, most are likelier to perceive adoption as a path to "saving" children from ~un-American~ backgrounds.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:19 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


The R's -- politicians, journalists on Fox, and large swathes of the voters alike -- are lying about what they find off-putting about "libs."

Oh my stars and garters, of course they are! And not just journalists on Fox, either. NPR is more than willing to pretend an elite education somehow makes one "less authentic."
posted by Gelatin at 9:20 AM on August 30 [6 favorites]


ErisLordFreedom: "The president is used to operating in a business milieu where white-collar crime is common and seldom prosecuted aggressively."

The Failure to Punish White-Collar Crime After the 2008 Financial Crisis Helped Produce President Donald Trump -- Ten years later, Trump’s rise to power is a consequence of poor governance (Marshall Auerback for Common Dreams, August 29, 2018)

Or you could even say it started earlier -- Paul Manafort aside, white-collar crimes just aren’t being prosecuted anymore (Catherine Rampell for Washington Post, August 6, 2018)
Some argue that big corporations and the wealthy have become too politically influential. Jesse Eisinger, in his excellent book “The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives ,” (Amazon.com) blames a culture of risk aversion in the ranks of the Justice Department. Eric H. Holder Jr., an attorney general under Obama, once suggested that corporate consolidation left some firms too big to jail (NY Times).

But undoubtedly part of the issue is resources.

After 9/11, for instance, terrorism investigations became more of a priority, crowding out available dollars and personnel (Dropbox PDF) for white-collar investigations.
Emphasis mine -- you could say Bush II created Trump, choosing to both stoke racist fears and then fund the law response to those fears, while undercutting prosecution of white collar crimes.

Mission accomplished, indeed.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:21 AM on August 30 [57 favorites]


Contrast the scot-free aspect of white collar crime with places like Ferguson, Missouri, which uses overzealous policing of the least little infraction in order to generate revenue from its largely African-American population. Michael Brown was killed because of it.
posted by Gelatin at 9:25 AM on August 30 [27 favorites]


Now that the primaries are wrapping up, Republicans in Congress who haven't spoken out or acted against Trump don't have the fear of getting primaried as an excuse.

Not that it will make any difference.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:28 AM on August 30 [10 favorites]


Young voters and African-American voters — who ended up turning out heavily for Gillum — were potentially among the groups that were underrepresented in these polls, Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster, said
My God, can you imagine if something like this happened in the NY primaries

I’m NOT getting my hopes up, I’m just saying it would be apocalyptically awesome, that’s all

I’m NOT getting my hopes up
posted by schadenfrau at 9:28 AM on August 30 [19 favorites]


Vanity Fair: Is Beto O’Rourke the Left’s Obama-Like Answer to Trump in 2020?
posted by Chrysostom at 9:36 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


> Vanity Fair: Is Beto O’Rourke the Left’s Obama-Like Answer to Trump in 2020?

Is there a Betteridge's Law-like name for a question in a news headline that's based on a false premise? The answer to Trump in 2020 need not be Obama-like, and probably shouldn't be Obama-like. Obama was a good President for the time that Obama was President. These are much different times, with a much different constituency for the Democratic party to reach out to.

I like Beto a lot, but let's ease up on the Obama comparisons and the 2020 talk.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:39 AM on August 30 [34 favorites]


QZ reporter Max de Haldevang (@MddeH) has posted an intriguing thread about a Trump Org project in Scotland that reeks of money laundering:
THREAD: Last month, the Trump Organization announced it was spending $200m to build what's basically a small town next to his golf course in rural Scotland. It's very weird, for the following reasons:
https://qz.com/1341021/where-did-trump-org-get-the-money-to-build-a-village-in-scotland/
1. They claim they're paying for it in cash. It's really difficult to work out where they got that money.
2. The most thorough analysis of the Trump Org (by WSJ in 2016) suggested it made $160m pre-tax over 18 months from jan. 2014. That means the project=nearly two years of revenue. The Trumps reject these figures but have never said where else they're making money.
3. Let's say they've somehow scrimped & saved all this money. Putting that cash in Scotland makes no sense—Trump's Scottish golf courses lose millions despite him sinking crazy amounts in them. Golf is in decline in Scotland & the local property market is dependent on Brexit & oil[...]
Given all this confusion, 3 possible explanations have arisen for spending so much cash on Scottish golf sinkholes:
1. He just loves golf.
2. He's "mystically connected" to Scotland.
3. He's actually investing someone else's money—perhaps from Russia.
If it's option #3, then it would be an instance of Trump continuing to launder funds from Russian oligarchs while occupying the Oval Office and an unparalleled case of corruption in US history.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:42 AM on August 30 [75 favorites]


WSJ, Julie Bykowicz, The New Lobbying: Qatar Targeted 250 Trump ‘Influencers’ to Change U.S. Policy: "Blockaded by Mideast neighbors, the emirate deployed an unconventional lobbying campaign to win over an unconventional U.S. president," in which everyone surrounding Trump is for sale.
posted by zachlipton at 9:45 AM on August 30 [11 favorites]


Donald Trump is the Bernie Madoff of politics: Con men from Queens who prospered from lies - Lucian K. Truscott IV, Salon

"Two guys from Queens struck it rich by selling fake dreams. One will die in prison. What about the other?"
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:56 AM on August 30 [9 favorites]


CNBC, Trump says government won't give civilian employees raises in 2019
President Donald Trump said Thursday that civilian employees of the federal government will not receive raises in 2019.

In doing away with the 2.1 percent across-the-board pay increase that was scheduled to take effect in January, Trump said he was working "put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course."

"I have determined that for 2019, both across the board pay increases and locality pay increases will be set at zero," the president said in a letter addressed to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and released by the White House. "These alternative pay plan decisions will not materially affect our ability to attract and retain a well qualified Federal workforce."
Ah, more shitting on government employees, which somehow will magically not impact their ability to attract and retain quality employees.
posted by zachlipton at 9:59 AM on August 30 [75 favorites]


Unfortunately, it's only currently on Facebook, but Stacey Abrams has a new ad, and it may make you want to move to Georgia so you can vote for her for governor.
posted by hydropsyche at 10:02 AM on August 30 [16 favorites]


Emails Link Former Homeland Security Official to White Nationalists - Rosie Gray, The Atlantic
In the past two years, leaders of an emboldened white nationalism have burst into the forefront of national politics and coalesced around a so-called alt-right subculture as they have endeavored to make their ideology part of the mainstream. Recent developments have shed light on previously unknown connections between white-nationalist activists and the Trump administration. Now, the Department of Homeland Security has denounced “all forms of violent extremism” following the resignation of a policy analyst who had connections with white nationalists, according to leaked emails obtained by The Atlantic.

The emails show that the official, Ian M. Smith, had in the past been in contact with a group that included known white nationalists as they planned various events. On one of the email threads, the address of the alt-right white nationalist leader Richard Spencer is included, as well as Smith’s. Another group of recipients includes Smith as well as Jared Taylor, the founder of the white nationalist publication American Renaissance, who calls himself a “white advocate.”

The messages, given to The Atlantic by a source to whom they were forwarded, paint a picture of the social scene in which white nationalists gathered for an “Alt-Right Toastmasters” night in 2016, and organized dinner parties and visits from out-of-town friends. And they provide a glimpse into how a group that included hard-core white nationalists was able to operate relatively incognito in the wider world, particularly in conservative circles. The revelation of these messages comes amid increasing scrutiny of white nationalists’ ties to the administration; a White House speechwriter, Darren Beattie, left the administration after CNN reported earlier this month that he had attended a conference with white nationalists in 2016. The Washington Post reported last week that Peter Brimelow, the publisher of the white nationalist website VDare, had attended a party at the top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow’s house. Kudlow told the Post he was unaware of Brimelow’s views and would not have invited him had he known about them.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:08 AM on August 30 [19 favorites]


Vanity Fair: Is Beto O’Rourke the Left’s Obama-Like Answer to Trump in 2020?
Bernie Sanders is perhaps the only other name that comes to mind, but Sanders was also unable to dispatch Hillary Clinton, one of the most unpopular candidates in American campaign history, in the last presidential race. Sanders is also 76. And his fellow putative front-runners, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden, will also be in their 70s if they decide to run next year.
Warren is 70, the same age as Clinton, and seems younger. Biden is 75. They're ignoring a bunch of Democratic hopefuls, several of whom are closer to O'Rourke's age than Clinton's.

And "one of the most unpopular candidates in American campaign history" got 3,000,000 more votes than Trump.

Trump is 72, and not a youthful, robust 72.
History also bears out an important pattern: since Vietnam, Democrats have only captured the White House by nominating youthful outsiders who offered a clean break from their predecessor. Jimmy Carter was inaugurated at 52, Bill Clinton at 46, and Obama at 47.
Gore won the popular vote in 2000 and Clinton won the popular vote in 2016 and neither would've represented "a clean break from their predecessor."

Ceterum autem censeo Trumpem esse delendam
posted by kirkaracha at 10:15 AM on August 30 [38 favorites]


O'Rourke is more interesting and exciting than most of the people on this list:

The top 15 Democratic presidential hopefuls for 2020, ranked
  1. Bernie Sanders
  2. Elizabeth Warren
  3. Kamala Harris
  4. Joe Biden
  5. Cory Booker
  6. Kirsten Gillibrand
  7. Deval Patrick
  8. Terry McAuliffe
  9. Eric Holder
  10. Michael Bloomberg
  11. Chris Murphy
  12. Andrew Cuomo
  13. Sherrod Brown
  14. Mitch Landrieu
  15. Oprah Winfrey
Ugh. I like Warren, Harris, Gillibrand, and Landrieu and don't know enough about Patrick and Brown.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:21 AM on August 30 [7 favorites]


A California high school student has been arrested after allegedly throwing a classmate's Make America Great Again hat to the ground.

The return of hat-focused news stories and a hat honor culture featuring insult-by-and-to-hats is but one of the myriad ways in which we have recreated the late 19th century.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:21 AM on August 30 [93 favorites]


Ah, more shitting on government employees, which somehow will magically not impact their ability to attract and retain quality employees.

Fuckers. They get a trillion-dollar tax cut, while I find it harder and harder to set aside my target IRA deposits. As it is, I would be making a lot more money right now if I'd stayed in the private sector.

Do they understand that among the civilian employees they're shafting are civilian employees of the military? The ones who maintain the institutional memory because the uniformed personnel keep rotating out?

I wouldn't mind so much if the money they're saving went to provide better service to military families, many of whom live on food stamps and other social services. But it won't: it'll go to tax cuts or more giveaways to Lockheed Martin.
posted by suelac at 10:23 AM on August 30 [33 favorites]


Gore won the popular vote in 2000 and Clinton won the popular vote in 2016 and neither would've represented "a clean break from their predecessor."

It's also worth noting that not only did their opponents win the Electoral College and not the popular vote, but also their EC victories were tainted -- by an obviously partisan SCOTUS decision in 2000 and by a combination of Russian interference and partisan conduct by Comey in 2016.

Republicans can't win except by cheating. Their policies are not popular, and no amount of "Dems in disarray" thumbsuckers can make them so.
posted by Gelatin at 10:23 AM on August 30 [49 favorites]


Hillary Clinton, one of the most unpopular candidates in American campaign history
Ahem VF . . .her 65,853,652 votes is the third highest total in Presidential election history.
posted by Harry Caul at 10:23 AM on August 30 [57 favorites]


s/unpopular/divisive

Capable of registering strong emotional responses from the left, right AND middle, often unjustifiably.
posted by delfin at 10:36 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


Ahem VF . . .her 65,853,652 votes is the third highest total in Presidential election history.

Well, sure, but there are more people now. I think you'd need to compare percentages of candidates' votes to votes cast.

It's like movies; only two out of the top 25 highest-grossing movies off all time were made before 2000, but 19 out of the top 25 were when the list is adjusted for inflation.

posted by kirkaracha at 10:37 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]


-- VA-07: A GOP super PAC has somehow obtained the unredacted application for federal security clearance of Dem candidate Spanberger.

The Post Office now admits what was suspected: they made a mistake and handed Spanberger's SF-86 and entire personnel file to America Rising. They say they're looking into it and have told employees not to do that again.

It's a pretty egregious mistake.
posted by zachlipton at 10:45 AM on August 30 [20 favorites]


I'd argue that she herself wasn't nearly as divisive as the attacks ON her, amplified relentlessly by the press. Divisive rhetoric that continues to this day. I would also argue that Obama was a wildly popular candidate, and only his total votes (2008, 2012) exceeded hers.
posted by Harry Caul at 10:47 AM on August 30 [15 favorites]


The first woman to run was "one of the most unpopular candidates in American campaign history"? You don't say. You make it seem like that's a problem with her and not American society.
posted by chris24 at 10:49 AM on August 30 [54 favorites]


I really like Beto, and I hope he kicks Ted "Eww!" Cruz's ass out of the Senate. That said, I get so very impatient with people who pounce upon politicians like him as the next Hope of the Future. Neither Beto nor anyone else should be hailed as the next Moses who can lead the Democrats out of the Desert of Disarray. I say this as an Obama fan, but the impossible expectations he was freighted with didn't help his actual presidency any.

It is true that we need someone with more charisma and ability to connect with the public than notorious stuffed shirts John Kerry or Michael Dukakis had. But that's a pretty low bar. I really have my heart set on a woman and/or POC in 2020 - after all, women and POC are the Democrats' base, and I for one am sick of handwringing and concern trolling about "electability."

But I wish people would staaahhhhp with the elevating of every charismatic, exciting new face to Our Savior status. I think Beto is going places, and has the brightest of political futures, but elevating him to 2020 Presidential candidate is premature.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:50 AM on August 30 [70 favorites]


"“I follow a few political Instagram accounts,” Colin said. “They’ll post memes and headlines and stuff and people discuss them.

Metafilter: Oh my stars and garters! Young people are getting political news and memes from social media!

Also Metafilter: Now back to reposting tweets about politics...
posted by happyroach at 10:57 AM on August 30 [13 favorites]


I really have my heart set on a woman and/or POC in 2020 - after all, women and POC are the Democrats' base, and I for one am sick of handwringing and concern trolling about "electability."

And this isn't Beto's fault at all, but I don't see the same chorus of "Stacey Abrams 2020." They're in very similar positions. Abrams is incredibly charismatic, has gotten lots of mainstream press, and she's got good stories in her background (the novels of Selena Montgomery). If she wins in GA, I think she represents a way for the Democratic party to flip some Southern states.
posted by gladly at 10:59 AM on August 30 [27 favorites]


I swear to Christ if this is another one of those tangents where we’re allowed to relitigate some of 2016 but not the rest of it I’m gonna lose my fucking mind

Can we just not
posted by schadenfrau at 11:06 AM on August 30 [39 favorites]


Shouting the quiet part just barely louder than the elected GOP.

Neo-Nazi Robocall Impersonates Mollie Tibbetts to Call for Genocide

“Some relatives of Mollie Tibbetts are implying that despite having been murdered by a non-white, savage intruder, she would still support the invasion of America by a brown horde currently at a staggering 58 million,” said the robocall, which Iowans reported receiving on Tuesday. “But you know in your heart they are wrong.”

“If after her life has now been brutally stolen from her, she could be brought back to life for just one moment and asked, ‘What do you think now?’” it said. “Mollie Tibbetts would say, ‘Kill them all,’” it added, using a woman’s voice to mimic Tibbetts.

posted by Rust Moranis at 11:09 AM on August 30 [51 favorites]


Good God that has to be a crime.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:13 AM on August 30 [80 favorites]



Emily Stewart, Vox - Exclusive: here’s the photo of a very white summer intern class the White House didn’t release

posted by ZeusHumms at 8:05 AM on August 29 [11 favorites +] [!]


Scrutinizing with my special minority glasses, by appearances I would guess that there's one black guy, one far east Asian guy, and one Indian subcontinent guy. Using demographics and assumed political affiliations, there're about 25 or so closeted gays and lesbians. YMMV.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:14 AM on August 30 [6 favorites]


Good God that has to be a crime.

Absent a consistent and coherent rule of law, what is and isn't a crime depends on whether the perpetrator is punished by the State. He won't be.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:18 AM on August 30 [18 favorites]


Good God that has to be a crime.
People in Iowa are very, very, very angry about it, but it appears not to be a crime. It is an absolute fucking insult to Mollie Tibbetts and everyone who cared about her, but apparently it's not a crime.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:23 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


Surely her family can sue for defamation of character?
posted by Uncle Ira at 11:27 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]


Surely her family can sue for defamation of character?

You can't defame a dead person. One could perhaps make a case that her family is being harmed by such claims, but it would be difficult to demonstrate actual harm.
posted by Etrigan at 11:30 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


Neo-Nazi Robocall Impersonates Mollie Tibbetts to Call for Genocide

In the vein of Twitter and whatnot, can we just have a moment of silence about what a fucking tire-fire the phone company is here? Nazis, credit card scams, vacation bullshit...all of it with impunity because the phone companies are singularly unwilling as an industry to implement any kind of "know your caller" technology. Just get an Asterisk box, plug a randomizer into the Caller ID settings, and start going nuts. Nobody will ever find out who you are as long as you don't do anything that gets the FBI's attention. FTC investigations will take 5-10 years to come to any conclusion.
posted by rhizome at 11:33 AM on August 30 [44 favorites]


According to the AP, Trump has cancelled a pay raise that most civilian federal employees were due to receive in January, citing budgetary constraints.

Leah McElrath, truth-teller, meanwhile is tweeting

"HEADS UP JOURNALISTS:
NOW is the time to push out your Signal, Dropbox, and other confidential/encrypted means for whistleblowers to contact you. I'm not f*cking joking."

posted by Sophie1 at 11:37 AM on August 30 [61 favorites]


Good God that has to be a crime.

Someone paid for that robocall, and they shouldn't be anonymous, thank you very much, John Roberts.
posted by Gelatin at 11:39 AM on August 30 [21 favorites]


They know who it is: it's some neo-Nazi podcaster/ political candidate from Idaho. There's just not a lot anyone can do about it.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:41 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


It’s crazy to me that the NSA needs a record of every call in this country and we’re told this is to track terrorists, yet when there’s massive rampant crime committed over the phone every day, law enforcement is utterly baffled and unable to do anything.
posted by zachlipton at 11:44 AM on August 30 [63 favorites]


law enforcement is utterly baffled and unable to do anything

Think law enforcement would be so baffled and hamstrung if the robocalls were advocating the genocide of white people?
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:45 AM on August 30 [44 favorites]


You can't defame a dead person. One could perhaps make a case that her family is being harmed by such claims, but it would be difficult to demonstrate actual harm.

I wonder if the family couldn't go about it another way, by making it a licensing issue. Just as you can't use, say, dead person Steve McQueen's name/image to market your chain of muffler shops without permission of his estate, I'd think you couldn't use Tibbetts' name/image to market your loathsome political views. (Dunno. Just thinking out loud.)
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:46 AM on August 30 [7 favorites]


Personality rights are a maze of twisty passages.
posted by rhizome at 11:51 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


I'd have thought the same sort of legal actions could be brought as would be if, for example, I were to use the likeness of Colonel Sanders to advertise my line of chicken-soup-inspired self-help books. Or if not, perhaps parallel concerns would be found in responses to religious baptism for the dead.
posted by XMLicious at 11:54 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


Do they understand that among the civilian employees they're shafting are civilian employees of the military? The ones who maintain the institutional memory because the uniformed personnel keep rotating out?

Probably! The read on it that makes sense to me is that this is just part of a broader attack on the civil service as a whole -- get people to quit, actively fail to fill those empty positions, and then privatize the workforce at public expense for private profit. Trump's repeated exhortations that military exercises are a problem because they 'cost too much' (rather than seeing them as a long-term investment in military readiness, and therefore a hedge against avoidable casualties), his statements about how 'we ought to take their oil,' and his general tenor isn't really one of caring about institutional memory anywhere so much as about being able to enable someone, somewhere, to extract profit from the public.
posted by cjelli at 12:00 PM on August 30 [30 favorites]


It's like we're slowly transforming from capitalism to executivism. Outsourcing, reaping the cream, and people are just cogs, or should be, no matter their position. If this is indeed the deal we're living in, it bodes extremely ill.
posted by rhizome at 12:02 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


Their end game is feudalism.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 12:06 PM on August 30 [24 favorites]


Capitalism achieves fulfillment in slavery or Taylorism and in this case, both.
posted by The Whelk at 12:06 PM on August 30 [5 favorites]


Do they understand that among the civilian employees they're shafting are civilian employees of the military? The ones who maintain the institutional memory because the uniformed personnel keep rotating out?

The creep of the Finance MBA mindset everywhere -- with anti-person priorities like maximize short-term income, socialize risk but private reward, discard staff if necessary, trim benefits to reduce expenses, &c. -- means that this is fine.

I mean, you can always outsource it to a bunch of Bright Young Things like Booz, Allen & Hamilton, bolstered by a call center with an American headquarters mailing address, right? I am sure that nice young man Erik Prince has some ideas.

*barf*
posted by wenestvedt at 12:08 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


Oligarchism is the aim, I think, the love child of Capitalism and Fascism.
posted by notyou at 12:09 PM on August 30 [13 favorites]


This is your occasional reminder that one of the primary libertarian treatises against government restrictions on private business is called The Road to Serfdom.
posted by Gelatin at 12:11 PM on August 30 [17 favorites]


It was shitty then too, but Obama froze federal pay for three years to demonstrate how serious he was about agreeing to a Republican “grand bargain” to cut spending and entitlements. Any “grand bargain”. Please just agree! Look how fiscally responsible I am! I’m willing to shaft my own contitutents!

The reason Democrats won’t fight Trump for federal employees is because they love to kick the federal work force too, and bought into the Republicans entire framing of the federal government as the problem, or at least as only worthy of cutting and never supporting.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:12 PM on August 30 [21 favorites]


> The Post Office now admits what was suspected: they made a mistake and handed Spanberger's SF-86 and entire personnel file to America Rising. They say they're looking into it and have told employees not to do that again.

@nedprice:
.@SpanbergerVA07 just told reporters that her campaign--as is standard practice--FOIA'd her own personnel files in Dec. 2017... and they're still waiting for the response. Meanwhile, the GOP-backed group sought and received her (non-FOIA-able) unredacted SF-86 within 3 weeks. 🤔
posted by tonycpsu at 12:14 PM on August 30 [76 favorites]


The reason Democrats won’t fight Trump for federal employees is because they love to kick the federal work force too

I wouldn't go that far. The problem with Democrats -- and much of the media, into the bargain -- is that they presume the Republicans operate in good faith, long after it's perfectly obvious that they aren't.

Which is all the more reason Democrats should fight for Democratic priorities. As far from perfect as Obamacare is, the Republicans themselves predicted that once enacted it would prove popular -- which is why it had to be strangled in its crib. They failed, and it turns out they were right -- it is popular, and the people have no one but the Democrats to thank -- if they would only take credit for it.
posted by Gelatin at 12:20 PM on August 30 [14 favorites]


This is the long way around, but could Cristhian Rivera's new lawyers issue a cease-and-desist to Scott Rhodes for these hideous robocalls? While Rivera's not named (and hasn't been to trial), he's the only suspect in the Tibbetts murder and the message has him as guilty. The Iowa-only robocalls prejudice potential jurors.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:26 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


Gelatin: "I wouldn't go that far. The problem with Democrats -- and much of the media, into the bargain -- is that they presume the Republicans operate in good faith, long after it's perfectly obvious that they aren't. "

I know we've been over this ground about 1 million times, but when someone keeps making the same mistakes over and over, you have to question if they're making mistakes or excuses.
posted by TypographicalError at 12:32 PM on August 30 [29 favorites]


Derek Delgaudio:

"I used to rig card games for a living. I'd watch people sit down and lose everything, again and again.

But they didn't lose because they "played by the rules" and we didn't. They lost because it wasn't a game. It just looked like one.

Democrats think it's a game."
posted by rocket88 at 12:41 PM on August 30 [80 favorites]


Ugh I had to watch that Lester Holt video again and I still just do not hear what the rest of the world hears.

When Trump discusses firing Comey and brings up the Russia investigation, he prefaces it by noting there's never a good time to fire the head of the FBI, with the implication that it's especially bad to do so under the cloud of the Russia investigation. He does not say he fired Comey because of the investigation. He says, in his typically baroque bumblefuck way, that he fired Comey despite the investigation [and the presumption of wrongdoing that would attach].

Obviously I'm not reading this video the way the rest of you are. Can someone walk me through it?
posted by notyou at 12:43 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]


The first post-primary Florida poll (warning, PDF) has Gillum leading DeSantis by 5 points, at 48%-43%. Of note: Gillum has a 34-point lead with independent voters (!)
posted by un petit cadeau at 12:46 PM on August 30 [31 favorites]


Obviously I'm not reading this video the way the rest of you are. Can someone walk me through it?
He [Rosenstein] made a recommendation, he’s highly respected, very good guy, very smart guy. The Democrats like him, the Republicans like him. He made a recommendation. But regardless of [the] recommendation, I was going to fire Comey. Knowing there was no good time to do it!

And in fact when I decided to just do it I said to myself, I said, “You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.”

And the reason they should’ve won it is, the Electoral College is almost impossible for a Republican to win, it’s very hard, because you start off at such a disadvantage. So everybody was thinking they should have won the election. This was an excuse for having lost an election.
The "recommendation" is the letter in which Rosenstein recommended Comey should be fired. He says there's no good time to do it, but he then directly says that regardless of Rosenstein's evaluation of Comey, he was going to fire him because he believes the Russia investigation is made up. Then he gives the motive, which is that the investigation was made up by Democrats (Comey: not a Democrat) because they lost the election and his victory was so great.

"when I decided to just do it I said to myself...this Russia thing with Trump and Russia" is directly his admission that he fired Comey because of the investigation. And he admits corrupt motive by saying he was prepared to disregard Rosenstein's recommendation, which was ostensibly supposed to be independent and not a sham to provide an excuse to fire him.
posted by zachlipton at 12:54 PM on August 30 [26 favorites]


Obviously I'm not reading this video the way the rest of you are. Can someone walk me through it?

It helps to remember the evolving narrative of purported rationales for why Trump fired Comey and put yourself back in 2017 when you read it; in May
of 2017
, Trump fired Comey:
Mr. Trump explained the firing by citing Mr. Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, even though the president was widely seen to have benefited politically from that inquiry and had once praised Mr. Comey for his “guts” in his pursuit of Mrs. Clinton during the campaign. But in his letter to Mr. Comey, released to reporters by the White House, the president betrayed his focus on the continuing inquiry into Russia and his aides.

“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau,” Mr. Trump said in a letter to Mr. Comey dated Tuesday. White House officials refused to say anything more about the three occasions Mr. Trump cited.

The officials said that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, pushed for Mr. Comey’s dismissal. But many in Washington, including veteran F.B.I. officers, saw a carefully choreographed effort by the president to create a pretense for a takedown of the president’s F.B.I. tormentor.
At that time, the White House -- and Trump -- claimed that Trump fired Comey on the recommendation of Rod Rosenstein. That recommendation stated a need to 'restore public confidence' arising out of Comey's handling of the Clinton email probe.

So Trump sits down to talk to Holt.
LESTER HOLT: Monday you met with the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosen
--Rosenstein
DONALD TRUMP: Right.
LESTER HOLT: Did you ask for a recommendation?
DONALD TRUMP: Uh what I did is I was going to fire Comey -- my decision, it
was not [OVER TALK]
LESTER HOLT: You had made the decision before they came in the room?
DONALD TRUMP: I-- I was going to fire Comey. Uh I-- there's no good time to
do it by the way. Uh they-- they were-- [OVER TALK]
LESTER HOLT: Because you letter you said I-- I, I accepted their
recommendation, so you had already made the decision
DONALD TRUMP: Oh I was gonna fire regardless of recommendation-
LESTER HOLT: So there was-- [OVER TALK]
That carefully crafted narrative of Trump merely taking Rosenstein's recommendation? According to Trump, a lie: he had already decided to fire Comey, and Rosenstein's recommendation had no bearing on his decision.

Okay: so why did Trump fire Comey? It's not on Rosenstein's recommendation -- Trump just said so.
Trump: ...he made a recommendation but regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey knowing, there was no good time to do it. And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.
What's was on Trump's mind when he fired Comey? What was he thinking about when he fired Comey? Was he thinking 'yeah, this guy is a bad director?' No: he's thinking -- he says -- 'this guy is really busy investigating Trump/Russia.' He does not give another reason. The 'no good time' part is best read as being about optics, not about the decision to fire Comey or not.
posted by cjelli at 1:03 PM on August 30 [22 favorites]


This week's mail brings the latest from the DSCC: "We just need TWO seats to flip the Senate!" with a brochure profiling 6 key races: incumbents Bill Nelson (FL), Claire McCaskill (MO), and Mazie Hirono (HI), and red-to-blue opportunities Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Jacky Rosen (NV), and Beto O'Rourke (TX). I am a little surprised to see Beto in there, since I thought the establishment considered him a long shot, but I'm glad they're promoting him. (Also happy to see them highlighting Hirono, who ROCKS.)

I planned to toss the mailer aside, since I've already given to the DSCC, but (as they've learned) I am a sucker for matching campaigns, and they're offering triple matching on this one, so, gah.
posted by kristi at 1:10 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]




Based on those suspicions, the State Department began during Barack Obama’s administration to deny passports to people who were delivered by midwives in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley.

One quick note here. The Post screwed this up. It was a Bush-era development, which ended during Obama's first term along with a settlement agreement the Obama Administration entered into with the ACLU in June 2009. The Post silently updated their story to read "the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations," which is technically true but also could use further context. As detailed by Slate.
posted by zachlipton at 1:14 PM on August 30 [31 favorites]


The "recommendation" is the letter in which Rosenstein recommended Comey should be fired. He says there's no good time to do it, but he then directly says that regardless of Rosenstein's evaluation of Comey, he was going to fire him because he believes the Russia investigation is made up. Then he gives the motive, which is that the investigation was made up by Democrats (Comey: not a Democrat) because they lost the election and his victory was so great.

I appreciate you taking the time to spell this out for me.

I think this reading leaps over the "there's no good time to do it" part of the transcript to make the link between the firing and Russia an explicit admission. His self-expressed motive, which he notes later in the video, is that Comey is not the right guy for the job. Probably that's bullshit, but it's the only motive he cops to.

His comments about the investigation being made up and an excuse for the Democratic loss were standard boilerplate for him at the time, all bound up in his need for adoration and his desire to minimize the threats against him and his compulsion to "brand" everything that comes into his orbit with his own stamp.

The video is damning of Trump in all the usual ways -- the gaslighting, the credit-claiming, the deflection -- but it is not an admission of Russia-Trump collusion.

On preview: Thank you also cjelli for spelling it out and adding additional context.

I think when added to the history of the Comey firing, the Holt interview provides additional evidence of the President's guilt (the evolving narrative, the lies, the focus on Russia as optics), but it does not provide us with a clear admission, in the President's own words.
posted by notyou at 1:16 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]


it is not an admission of Russia-Trump collusion.

It's not about collusion, it's obstruction.

It's an admission that Trump was thinking about "this Russia thing with Trump and Russia" when he fired Comey. That "thing" includes the investigation- if he was thinking about the investigation when he fired Comey, that sure smells like obstruction. Why else would he have the "Russia thing" in mind when he was firing Comey? That's the only connection Comey has to the "Russia thing"- he was in charge of the investigation.
posted by BungaDunga at 1:25 PM on August 30 [32 favorites]


Are people arguing that the Holt interview was an admission of collusion or are they arguing it's an admission of obstruction of justice into the investigation of Russia-Trump collusion? Because I thought it was the latter.

On preview, what BungaDunga said.
posted by Green With You at 1:27 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


Literally the only argument I can imagine for "it was not an admission of obstruction" would be that it was some kind of non sequiter. Like if he'd said "when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, gold is wonderful, I love covering things in gold, and also I love Coca-Cola but boy do I hate dogs." But that's an Olympic stretch and I don't think I've even heard Giuliani try it.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 1:31 PM on August 30 [5 favorites]


Trump did a Bloomberg interview, and stories are coming out of that. First, Trump Says Sessions Is Safe at Least Until the November Election
President Donald Trump said Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s job is safe at least until the midterm elections in November.

“I just would love to have him do a great job,” Trump said Thursday in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News. Asked if he’d keep Sessions beyond November, he declined to comment.
Since it's just about September, that's really not saying much.
posted by zachlipton at 1:35 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]


It's not like the Robo-call threw a hat on the ground or anything.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:37 PM on August 30 [37 favorites]


it does not provide us with a clear admission, in the President's own words

The problem with Trump is that his own words are rarely clear. Plausible deniability is built into his very inability to construct a coherent sentence.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:38 PM on August 30 [23 favorites]


The first post-primary Florida poll (warning, PDF) has Gillum leading DeSantis by 5 points, at 48%-43%. Of note: Gillum has a 34-point lead with independent voters (!)

Lol no one knows anything all is chaos

Polls for the poll God!
posted by schadenfrau at 1:38 PM on August 30 [25 favorites]


@elwasson: Trump tells Bloomberg he's considering using exec powers to index capital gains to inflation, a massive tax break for long-term investors

@jleibenluft:
Trump today: the deficit is a national emergency that requires freezing pay for workers fighting forest fires or processing Social Security checks

Also Trump today: maybe I'll unilaterally provide hundreds of billions in new tax breaks for the wealthy in violation of the law
Trump Says He Will Pull U.S. Out of WTO ‘If They Don't Shape Up’
President Donald Trump said he would pull out of the World Trade Organization if it doesn’t treat the U.S. better, continuing his criticism of a cornerstone of the international trading system.

“If they don’t shape up, I would withdraw from the WTO,” Trump said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg News at the White House.
posted by zachlipton at 1:47 PM on August 30 [30 favorites]


Ah, more shitting on government employees, which somehow will magically not impact their ability to attract and retain quality employees.

Don’t have to worry about attracting new talent when you aren’t hiring anyone.

Also, pissing of federal employees seems like a great way to make sure Barbara Comstock is out of a job next year.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 1:52 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


But I wish people would staaahhhhp with the elevating of every charismatic, exciting new face to Our Savior status. I think Beto is going places, and has the brightest of political futures, but elevating him to 2020 Presidential candidate is premature.

I said exactly this after Obama gave that speech at the convention that pretty much catapulted him into the white house.
posted by srboisvert at 1:56 PM on August 30 [11 favorites]


Trump Says He Will Pull U.S. Out of WTO ‘If They Don't Shape Up’

Trump's been actively trying to undermine the WTO from early in his administration. Today's statement ratchets up his threats, but it's not a coincidence he made this headline-grabbing remark on the day that McCain's funeral has dominated the news.

Expect him to take out more of his narcissistic injury at his Indiana rally tonight (which his aides considered rescheduling before they decided it would be a losing battle to convince Trump).
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:56 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


In other global-fascist-conspiracy news, God's got a nasty sense of humor

PM of Israel (twitter):"The weak crumble, are slaughtered and are erased from history while the strong, for good or for ill, survive. The strong are respected, and alliances are made with the strong, and in the end peace is made with the strong."
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:57 PM on August 30 [12 favorites]


Trump Says He Will Pull U.S. Out of WTO ‘If They Don't Shape Up’

This is so nuts. Like NAFTA, like the UN, like NATO, the WTO was created by America in order to further American economic and cultural interests around the globe. It's literally an arm of American imperialism.

Like, I'm all for a coordinate pull out of the American global empire, but the idea that these institutions are harming America is pure madness. America created them to help America! They are literally instruments of our will and projections of our power! I can't. Even.
posted by dis_integration at 1:58 PM on August 30 [80 favorites]


the idea that these institutions are harming America is pure madness. America created them to help America! They are literally instruments of our will and projections of our power!

Why do you think Putin is having Trump pull out of them?
posted by uosuaq at 2:01 PM on August 30 [87 favorites]


PM of Israel (twitter):"The weak crumble, are slaughtered and are erased from history while the strong, for good or for ill, survive. The strong are respected, and alliances are made with the strong, and in the end peace is made with the strong."

How in the fuck is that not some supervillain monologue in a bad movie?

Seriously, I think Israel is a fair subject of criticism for a lot of reasons, but I also prefer to avoid hyperbole there. But this is... what the fuck?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:04 PM on August 30 [39 favorites]


Brian Beutler, Donald Trump is Setting Up a Lame-Duck Crisis
President Trump is preparing to thrust the country into a crisis as soon as the midterm elections are behind him—irrespective of which party wins the race for control of Congress—and Republicans are lining up to make sure he gets away with it, on the condition that he takes no disruptive steps until after they confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

It’s hard to interpret the events that have transpired over the past several weeks any other way. The exact contours of the crisis he will ultimately provoke aren’t entirely clear, but the basic shape of it is: He has concluded that he can only escape serious personal and legal consequences—from a number of threats, but particularly from Special Counsel Robert Mueller—with brazen abuses of power, and is laying groundwork to take those steps as soon as he can get away with them, aware that a change in partisan control of the House could stymie him just after the new year.

The most alarming thing about it is there may be no way to stop him.
...
Ironically, Democrats may be better positioned to preempt a series of events like this now, from the minority, than after the election. They could align belatedly against Kavanaugh’s confirmation, which would shift the spotlight on to vulnerable Senate Republicans—all of whom would have for Kavanaugh’s confirmation without access to his complete record. House Democrats could announce that they will subpoena those records, and call McGahn to testify about his meeting with Senate Republicans, if they win control of the House. If steps like these successfully pushed the Kavanaugh confirmation into the lame duck session, Trump’s window to bring about a crisis would shrink. On the current course, a crisis appears inevitable.
posted by zachlipton at 2:05 PM on August 30 [11 favorites]


Front page headline in today's New York Times:
Democratic Embrace of Diverse Candidates Collides With Barbed Politics of Trump Era

Topped with a picture of Gillum. Could they squeeze any more ephemisms into one headline?

Christ, what a shitty newpaper.
posted by JackFlash at 2:06 PM on August 30 [9 favorites]


Bloomberg's teasing out more of their Trump interview: Sessions Is Safe at Least Until November Elections, Trump Says, although that's a charitable reading of Trump's stance:
“I just would love to have him do a great job,” Trump said Thursday in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News. Asked if he’d keep Sessions beyond November, he declined to comment.
Then again, Politico ran this story late yesterday: Trump Personally Lobbying GOP Senators to Flip on Sessions—Opposition to the attorney general's firing, long seen as a red line by lawmakers, has softened in recent days.
The willingness of Republican senators to turn on Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the result of a furious lobbying campaign from President Donald Trump, who for the past 10 days has been venting his anger at Sessions to “any senator who will listen,” as one GOP Senate aide put it.

The president, who has spent a year and a half fulminating against his attorney general in public, finally got traction on Capitol Hill thanks to the growing frustration of a handful of GOP senators with their former colleague – most importantly, Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, who have been irritated by Sessions’ opposition to a criminal justice reform bill they support, according to interviews with more than a half-dozen congressional GOP aides, Trump advisers, and Republicans close to the White House.

Trump raised the prospect of firing Sessions last week in a phone conversation with Graham, according to two Capitol Hill aides, who said that Graham pressed the president to hold off until after the midterm elections. The president has also complained loudly about Sessions to several Republican senators, according to a GOP chief staff.[...]

Trump hasn’t been pushing his case just with Republican senators: He’s worn down his lawyers, too, according to two Republicans close to the White House. Though they once cautioned him that dismissing Sessions would feed special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s potential obstruction of justice, these people say, Trump’s legal team has become increasingly convinced Mueller will make that case regardless of whether the president fires Sessions or leaves him in place.

“There’s the belief that if the president taking action with respect to Sessions is going to be an important part of the Mueller obstruction case, most of that case has already been made. Things that the president has already done privately that have been reported, but also things that the president has done publicly that could be characterized as bullying or intimidating, all of that case is already there ready to be made, such that firing him is almost like an afterthought,” said one person familiar with the conversations among members of the president’s legal team.
It's absolute madness that Politico's unnamed source is characterizing the Trump legal team's attitude as, "Well, what's one more instance of obstruction of justice?", yet it sounds as reasonable as anything coming out of the Trump White House.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:16 PM on August 30 [12 favorites]


Rather than attempt to represent actual real people, Chuck Shumer’s political philosophy is based on catering to the needs of a couple of Bush- and Trump-voting imaginary friends who he invented two decades ago.

This is such a common logic error of older people (extrapolating from a single and only example that supports an already assumed position) that I call it 'anecdotage'.
posted by srboisvert at 2:26 PM on August 30 [48 favorites]


Trump has cancelled a pay raise that most civilian federal employees were due to receive in January, citing budgetary constraints.

There are two lies in this story. First, Trump cannot unilaterally freeze salaries unless congress fails to specify otherwise in their budget for 2019. Right now the senate version of the budget contains a mandatory 1.9% pay hike. The house version does not. So it depends whether the senate or house Republicans prevail in budget negotiations.

Second, if enacted, the pay freeze does not save one dime of government spending. Government agencies will have the same pot of money to spend. They just will not be able to spend it on salary increases for civilian workers. They instead will spend it on more contractors, or new furniture, or office remodeling, or more travel, or whatever else tickles their fancy for their use-it-or-lose-it budgets.
posted by JackFlash at 2:28 PM on August 30 [62 favorites]


What will happen when/if the US withdraws from WTO?
I guess the EU-reaction will be very harsh, and a real trade war with them will be one consequence, but I don't have enough of a trade/economy overview to get the big picture.
posted by mumimor at 2:29 PM on August 30


I said exactly this after Obama gave that speech at the convention that pretty much catapulted him into the white house.

Sure, but Obama's speech was carried live nationally from the massive stage of the Democratic Convention. Obama then went on to win a Senate seat. O'Rourke is awesome but he's had no kind of national platform as of yet and his fight for a Senate seat is still uphill.

If he wins against Cruz then maybe there is something to talk about.
posted by Justinian at 2:29 PM on August 30 [7 favorites]


This is such a common logic error of older people (extrapolating from a single and only example that supports an already assumed position) that I call it 'anecdotage'.

But its worse than that! It's not even a real example! He made it up!

It's like if I am trying to decide whether to spend all my money on food or on booze and I ask my imaginary friend "Vodka Pete" what I should do, and he tells me to buy booze. And so I do because the only example I checked with said to do it. I made up the example! I told myself what to do!

I honestly cannot believe that the "Schumer asks his imaginary friends what to do" thing is real.
posted by Justinian at 2:32 PM on August 30 [53 favorites]


Can Trump unilaterally withdraw us from the WTO? To me this sounds like bloviation, and it wouldn't do any of his corporate buddies any good either. He may be a Putin fan, but he's not, like, literally a puppet.
posted by Frowner at 2:32 PM on August 30 [2 favorites]


He may be a Putin fan, but he's not, like, literally a puppet *

* citation needed
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 2:36 PM on August 30 [26 favorites]


and it wouldn't do any of his corporate buddies any good either.
One thing that really separates Trump from other Republican presidents is that he doesn't have a lot of corporate buddies. His policies are not good for corporate America (except ridiculously evil people like Erik Prince). He is the king of grifters and crooks, not of old-school capitalists.
posted by mumimor at 2:38 PM on August 30 [5 favorites]


"I don’t know that “glorious” is the word I’d use. I’m a 44 year-old Canadian and really do wonder if I’ll ever step foot in the United States again."

I won't be unless there is a major change in policy. I'm Canadian and work in the legal cannabis industry and word has come down from on high that traveling to the US is dicey. People that are found to have any connection from investing to working in it are getting banned for life when trying to get in. We've been told to not have anything about work on social media, nothing on us referring to work and if asked about work to just decline the question and tell them we're not entering.

I'm in supply chain and we are now unable to purchase anything directly from the US due to financial regulations. Sucks for US suppliers but longterm will likely mean a more robust development of the supply chain in Canada. US is going to miss out big time.

In normal times apparently our respective governments would negotiate/sign agreements of understanding (not sure the term but that's the general idea). That sure won't be happening any time soon.

There have also been a few stories about the potential problems of people buying it when legal and the US having access to the data (credit cards) showing they partake and getting banned. I've heard it recommended that if people regularly travel to US that the safest route is to buy it with cash.

It is a bummer. There are a couple of Cons that I've wanted go to for years. Never has the money. Now I have the money but can't see myself booking a trip and taking the risk of not being able to get in.
posted by Jalliah at 2:38 PM on August 30 [47 favorites]


What will happen in 2019?

My passport expires in August 2019. I am going on an overseas trip in July, so I need to renew it before then. Normally the only concern I'd have is to remember to do it in time. Now, however...I'm female, Jewish, and one of my grandparents was not born here. (My dad's mom emigrated from Russia in the 1920s. She did become a naturalized citizen.) I would not put it past this administration to decide that any one of those things is cause to deny my passport renewal.
posted by SisterHavana at 2:44 PM on August 30 [10 favorites]


> The most messed up thing about the GOP campaign against tech companies is it will work because tech leaders are all so afraid of being called bias that they will bend over backwards to calm those on the right who argue solely in bad faith.

To illustrate a point:
The most messed up thing about the GOP campaign against [the media] is it will work because [corporate media executives] are all so afraid of being called biased that they will bend over backwards to calm those on the right who argue solely in bad faith.

They are only using one basic exploit of human nature, yet everyone keeps succumbing to it, regardless of the industry. Spoilers, but it's like the climax of the 2011 version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
One of the protagonists finally recognizes the true identity of the story's villain but still can't resist the norm of assuming the villain's seemingly cordial invitation is in good faith, even after being shot at by said villain. Cue the villainous monologue trope:"Let me ask you something. Why don't people trust their instincts? They sense something is wrong... someone is walking too close behind them... You knew something was wrong, but you came back into the house. Did I force you? Did I drag you? No. All I had to do was offer you a drink. It's hard to believe the fear of offending can be stronger than the fear of pain, but you know what? It is, and they always come willingly."

posted by Arson Lupine at 2:48 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]


Matt Yglesias emphasizing that there's currently roughly a 25% chance of the nightmare scenario where everything is fucked occurring.

The talking heads on TV learned nothing from 2016. Anything over a 60% chance is a sure thing judging from the coverage of the midterms I've been seeing.
posted by Justinian at 2:51 PM on August 30 [14 favorites]


Trump Says Google, Facebook, Amazon May Be ‘Antitrust Situation’
President Donald Trump, stepping up his criticism of technology firms he says are favoring liberal points of view, said they may be in a “very antitrust situation” but repeatedly said he can’t comment publicly on whether they should be broken up.

“I won’t comment on the breaking up, of whether it’s that or Amazon or Facebook,” Trump said in an Oval Office interview Thursday with Bloomberg News. “As you know, many people think it is a very anti-trust situation, the three of them. But I just, I won’t comment on that.”

Trump reiterated for the third day his accusation that “conservatives have been treated very unfairly” by Alphabet Inc.’s Google. “I tell you there are some moments where we say, ’Wow that really is bad, what they’re doing.”
I wonder where all this is coming from. Oh:

@oliverdarcy: I spoke to Steve Bannon tonight about Trump's war with Big Tech. Bannon told me Big Tech's data should be seized and put in a "public trust." He said of FB/Twitter/Google execs, "These people are evil. There is no doubt about that."

This is rich talk from the Cambridge Analytica guy. Then he tries to relate it to the #MeToo movement in a super gross way.
posted by zachlipton at 2:57 PM on August 30 [34 favorites]


@WestWingReport:
Approximate number of civilian govt. workers/voters in the following states will not get raises in 2019, because of @realDonaldTrump's decision today:
#FL: 79K
#GA: 72K
#IA: 9K
#KY: 23K
#MICH: 26K
#MO: 34K
#NC: 44K
#OH: 50K
#PA: 60K
#TX: 114K
#VA: 136K
#WV: 15K
#WISC: 15K
(OPM)
posted by chris24 at 3:00 PM on August 30 [34 favorites]


ZeusHumms: Jared Taylor, the founder of the white nationalist publication American Renaissance, who calls himself a “white advocate.”

Thanks Jared, but we already have Congress, where whites make up larger share than of U.S. population (Pew Research, January 24, 2017).
posted by filthy light thief at 3:10 PM on August 30 [6 favorites]


This is rich talk from the Cambridge Analytica guy.

Why? He's just trying to maximize profits while minimizing costs.
posted by rhizome at 3:17 PM on August 30 [2 favorites]


This is rich talk from the Cambridge Analytica guy. Then he tries to relate it to the #MeToo movement in a super gross way.

Also remember they have cut off the access to the data for these people.
posted by srboisvert at 3:23 PM on August 30 [7 favorites]


The first woman to run was "one of the most unpopular candidates in American campaign history"? You don't say. You make it seem like that's a problem with her and not American society.

Not that I disagree with your point, but let's be clear and correct: SHIRLEY CHISHOLM was the first woman to run for the Presidency of the United States as a Democrat; Margaret Chase Smith had previously run as a Republican candidate.
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:25 PM on August 30 [57 favorites]


narwhal: (upthread, from like two days ago, I'm a bit behind): I would love to figure out a way to create/work on something like Wikipedia but specifically geared toward this community. We need some sort of hobby horse that involves political activism, online community, shared knowledge, news/issue tracking, etc. . . I can only imagine that many of you reading would love something like this as well. . . It'd be awesome if instead of picking fights with one another about the best way to elicit change "in the real world," we could burn our online energy on a mouse & keyboard hobby horse that was working towards eliciting change in the real world.

Thank you for saying this, and I agree. I've been having similar thoughts lately and I do think we could turn this into action.

I haven't used MeFi Projects so I don't exactly know how it works but I would love it if we had some separate but dedicated space to brainstorm and organize ideas aligned with this goal, and turn them into reality.

Like for instance, I personally struggle with how to explain various current events and their importance to people who are interested but have trouble following along with it all and/or have trouble putting it into context (understandable, I am a megathread addict and i still feel this way all the time. and, as I think we all agree on here, that's part of their strategy . . .) When it comes to people who are like "well how bad are things really?" or "okay that sounds bad but none of it really affects me that I know of" or "meh, why should I vote tho?" (ugh) or "how can I help?" (yay!) etc it's hard to even know where to begin and without overwhelming them. People love easily digestible, short explanations, infographics, etc. and it's a problem because everything's so fucking complicated, but i think it's important, because those kind of messages get across. but I totally believe that with our knowledge and skillset here, we could start tackling various topics. someone organizes all the relevant info, someone else summarizes and condenses it down to an ELI5 level, someone else who's good with design makes it into a snazzy infographic that we can share with friends and on social media. maybe they link to a website or wiki we create where the landing page is something like an ELI5 of the most pressing current shitstorm topics, but if you want a deeper explanation on a topic all you have to do is click through and there's progressively more detail, and all backed up with links to references and sources. i think we could harness our collective knowledge of this sprawling, complex hellscape and use our varied skills to make it more easily accessible for others. i bet that every skill required to make this happen is possessed by someone on here, be it writing, or graphics, or web stuff, or knowing a lot about elections, or law, etc. (and of course a nod to 2016activemeasures which is amazing and so basically i'm imagining something that's similar, just covering the rest of the topics).

so i guess if anyone else thinks this seems like a good idea . . . how do we start it? Metatalk? Projects? Other? I agree it might be nice to fuel short chunks of internet rage time into something slightly more productive as we're all basically preaching to the choir when we keep it in here.
posted by robotdevil at 3:33 PM on August 30 [21 favorites]


just to expand a little on my idea above, for example, i think someone in a prior thread pointed out how much Manafort's "paperwork crime" cost taxpayers, and what it could have paid for instead. stuff like that would make an awesome little infographic for sharing.
posted by robotdevil at 3:39 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]


Bannon told me Big Tech's data should be seized and put in a "public trust."

Instant enemies list for law enforcement to persecute
posted by schadenfrau at 3:40 PM on August 30 [11 favorites]


Bloomberg's teasing out more of their Trump interview: Sessions Is Safe at Least Until November Elections, Trump Says

There's more Shit Trump Says in an update:
Asked whether he would comply with a subpoena from Mueller to answer questions, Trump said in the interview that “I’ll see what happens.”

“I view it differently. I view it as an illegal investigation” because “great scholars” have said that “there never should have been a special counsel,” the president said. [full quote: “I’m not saying anything—I’m just telling you this: You read the great scholars, the great legal—there should have never been a special counsel.”]
Although I'm still searching for what Trump could possibly have meant by "great scholars", former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) points out, "That's false. Five federal judges held that Mueller's investigation is lawful."

(Incidentally, Trump loves to say "I’ll see what happens"/"We'll see what happens", especially when he's caught without an answer or a plan and has to stall, e.g. when asked about a Mueller interview back in January.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:47 PM on August 30 [11 favorites]


The great scholar is Kavanaugh, obvs
posted by mumimor at 3:55 PM on August 30 [5 favorites]


So I went to 5calls, and I didn't see anything on there about the removal of citizenship from American citizens. Not in the top issues, or in the extended list. Is it something they haven't reacted to yet, or do they feel it's not something one can lobby effectively for?

As it is, I can contact my senators on my own, as well as my congressperson. But I'd really like more support for getting my message across.
posted by happyroach at 4:11 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]


The long list of Trump scandals and why we haven’t gotten around to looking into them (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
President Trump’s tax returns
We definitely meant to look into this! Obviously this is important to people but, as the election showed, I guess not THAT important? We did write this down on a list of things to look into at some point, though, which felt like progress.

Trump family businesses — and whether they comply with the Constitution’s emoluments clause, including the Chinese trademark grant to the Trump Organization
Right, yes, this! We were going to get on this but we had to go on TV and yell about the flag and then it sort of got pushed aside.

Trump’s dealings with Russia, including the president’s preparation for his meeting with Vladimir Putin
Yes, absolutely, we were going to do this last Thursday but then we had to unload a dishwasher and then it was suddenly very late, too late to be doing work.

The payment to Stephanie Clifford — a.k.a. Stormy Daniels
We Googled this because we were keen on looking into it and then became distracted and forgot why exactly we were googling it and then it was 9 p.m. and we had to leave the office but first erase our browser history.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:11 PM on August 30 [26 favorites]


Shameful Washington Post 'Fact Check' Rules Cops Aren't Really Killing That Many Black Kids
Fact checkers believe they’re God’s gift to journalism—our final line of defense against the Fake News Times—even when they’re objectively bad at their jobs. But the Washington Post’s Glenn “Fact Checker” Kessler really took the semantic exercise to a whole new plane today by fact-checking Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke’s recent comments about the killing of unarmed black kids.

[...]

Right, so, the “frightening” part is NOT that police officers are gunning down literal children in our streets. In fact—*shoving glasses up nose, sniveling wildly*—that’s actually statistically quite rare, you see!! As if the very idea that police are killing anyone, particularly children, in our streets AT ALL is not “frightening” enough.

This column is what happens when you’re straining so hard to uphold some misplaced standard of “objectivity” and are so horned up about delineating fact from fiction that you lose any sense of moral clarity. It’s a goddamn shame.

In conclusion, police officers killing unarmed black kids is a land of contrasts.
This is nothing new from Glenn Kessler, but it might represent a new low in so-called "fact-checking", which was already subterranean.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:14 PM on August 30 [18 favorites]


> The president has also complained loudly about Sessions to several Republican senators, according to a GOP chief staff.[...]

Why in the world would Trump ever alter his worldview or his approach to interpersonal relations when he always gets everything he wants? All President Toddler has to do is "complain loudly" and eventually everyone around him "softens" on issues they were previously opposed to. It's like a form of mind control! Although to be fair, if I had to sit in a conference room with Trump while he "complained loudly" about the number of napkins they included with his McDonalds order I'd probably last about ten minutes before I ran out the door to get more.

> It is a bummer. There are a couple of Cons that I've wanted go to for years. Never has the money. Now I have the money but can't see myself booking a trip and taking the risk of not being able to get in.

I really regret not having traveled to NYC when I had the chance a couple of times before. However, I'm sure Trump-style politics will migrate up here before too long, so at least I won't have to leave home to experience that aspect of the United States myself.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:17 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


I must admit that there is one thing and one thing only that Donald Trump is doing of which I approve.

And that is making Jefferson Beauregard Sessions's life fucking miserable.

Sessions did it to himself by taking the job and he deserves it for being a lifelong complete wanker, which makes it even better. But if Trump put a TV show called Fucking Up Jeff Sessions on cable (This Friday: Trump hires a drunken stevedore to shit in Sessions's bed!), I'd help fund it.
posted by delfin at 4:21 PM on August 30 [29 favorites]


The "scholars" thing is about an argument that has been rattling around the conservosphere saying that Mueller needed to be confirmed by the Senate. Manafort tried it and failed,, the judge rejected the argument. .
posted by BungaDunga at 4:22 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]


The great scholar is Kavanaugh, obvs

I'm gonna go with Dershowitz.
posted by duoshao at 4:46 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


Along with shafting us with a pay decrease on Labor Day weekend, the head of our agency had the nerve to send an agency wide Labor Day solidarity/appreciation message, also after they've spent the last month kicking the federal employee unions out of all of their office space nationwide, trying to eliminate official union time, and are now dragging their heels on rolling any of that back after a federal court order. Just another day serving America under the Trump administration.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:48 PM on August 30 [40 favorites]


Bloomberg, Trump Defends His Handling of McCain’s Death
Asked if he missed an opportunity to unite the country and made a mistake, Trump disagreed.

“No, I don’t think I did at all,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg News in the Oval Office. “I’ve done everything that they requested and no, I don’t think I have at all.”
...
“We had our disagreements and they were very strong disagreements,” Trump said Thursday. “I disagreed with many of the things that I assume he believed in.”
...
Asked if McCain would have been a better president, Trump declined to say, even as his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, stared at him.

“I don’t want to comment on it,” he said. “I have a very strong opinion, all right.”

Sanders, he joked, was “having a nervous breakdown” over his response. “Maybe I’ll give you that answer some day later.”
...
“I respect his service to the country,” Trump said in the interview.
Oh good, "I've done everything that they requested" is just straight up "what do you people want from me?" territory, along with the gratuitous (and gendered) swipe at Sanders.
posted by zachlipton at 5:02 PM on August 30 [33 favorites]


“I don’t want to comment on it,” he said. “I have a very strong opinion, all right.”

As long as he makes Trump mad, McCain still lives.
posted by Rust Moranis at 5:07 PM on August 30 [35 favorites]


YES. donnie can not change the narrative from Mcain, can't insult him, has to just sit there and watch the kind of national attention he thinks ought be his go to a dead man, it is like his NPD kryptonite. By Sunday he'll be accusing the networks of over-covering McCains death. Well done, senator. Struck down you are more powerful than darth shitgibbon can possibly imagine.
posted by vrakatar at 5:13 PM on August 30 [19 favorites]


Good grief, if Bloomberg doesn't release an unexpurgated transcript of this extra-Trumpian shitshow after they've finished tantalizing us with these excerpts, we're going to have file a class action lawsuit against them for journalistic malpractice.

E.g. @JenniferJJacobs
Trump says Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of Trump Organization, didn’t betray him when he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in their investigation into Michael Cohen.

“100% he didn’t,” Trump told me and @margarettalev in interview.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-30/trump-says-weisselberg-is-wonderful-guy-who-didn-t-betray-him
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:14 PM on August 30 [6 favorites]


"I don’t think they can impeach somebody that’s doing a great job," Trump said Thursday in a White House interview with Bloomberg News. “You look at the economy, you look at jobs, you look at foreign, what’s going on with other countries. You look at trade deals. I’m doing a great job.”

"So you get elected as a Republican or a Democrat and the opposite party gets put into the House. That would mean, oh, let’s impeach him. Can’t do it,” Trump said. “If you look at the definition of impeachment, that’s a high bar and that would take a long time to fight that if you’re doing a good job. And I’m doing a great job.”

That's it, I'm out.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:21 PM on August 30 [13 favorites]


Trump's taking the stage now in Indiana.
posted by Rykey at 5:21 PM on August 30


As long as he makes Trump mad, McCain still lives.

He's furrowing his brow up in Heaven now.
posted by contraption at 5:27 PM on August 30 [12 favorites]


He's opening with a crowd favorite, a little number he calls "This Press, This Dishonest Press, Just Look at The Low-Ratings Losers."
posted by Rykey at 5:32 PM on August 30 [2 favorites]


[Substantive summaries of large chunks of the rally will be fine, but please don't liveblog it.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:33 PM on August 30 [14 favorites]


So you get elected as a Republican or a Democrat and the opposite party gets put into the House. That would mean, oh, let’s impeach him.

Nixon: involved in a criminal conspiracy to illegally get information from the DNC, then obstructed evidence and abused power to try to cover it up. Would've been impeached but resigned.

Ford: Mostly harmless. No impeachment for you.

Carter: Wore cardigans and put solar panels on the White House. No impeachment for you.

Reagan/George H.W. Bush: illegally sold weapons to Iran then illegally supported the Contras with the proceeds, then lied about it and abused power to try to cover it up. Should've been impeached but Oliver North looked so darn handsome in his uniform.

Clinton: lied in a civil court case (which was later dismissed) about sexytimes with a consenting adult. Impeached, not convicted by the Senate.

George W. Bush: lied us into invading Iraq on knowingly false pretenses. Should've been impeached but looked so darn heroic standing on that rubble.

Obama: Wore a tan suit. While black. Should've been impeached but Congress dropped the ball.

Trump: involved in a criminal conspiracy to illegally get information from the DNC, then obstructed evidence and abused power to try to cover it up. Should be impeached.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:41 PM on August 30 [42 favorites]


Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star does an excellent job live tweeting and simultaneously fact checking Trump rallies so you dont have to watch.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:53 PM on August 30 [29 favorites]


More from Bloomberg, in which Trump inserts himself into something he has nothing to do with: Trump Says He Predicted Ocasio-Cortez's Upset Primary Win:
President Donald Trump said he knew political novice Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would beat fellow New Yorker Joe Crowley, a prominent Trump critic who was seen as a possible future Democratic House speaker until his upset primary loss.

"So I’m watching television and I see this young woman on television and I say, ‘who’s that?’" Trump said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg News in the Oval Office. “Oh, she’s campaigning against Joe. You know who Joe is, right? Queens. Crowley. So, I say, ah, let me just watch her for a second. Wonderful thing, TiVo. So you go back. Hah. Tell him he’s going to lose.”

“Now, I don’t agree with her views. Her views are terrible,” he added.
He's been really sticking to the prompter tonight, but some rally lowlights:

About, presumably, Maggie Haberman: "a writer for The New York Times who pretends she knows what she's talking about...doesn't have a clue"

He again says that they do "fake polls, suppression polls" where they say someone won't win so they won't go vote. Then he claims "they're firing the head of NBC" (about which: Sources: NBC Threatened Ronan Farrow If He Kept Reporting on Harvey Weinstein, as in after he no longer worked there anymore) and this is a great thing to do. This is followed by a claim that they cut the cameras claiming "technical difficulties" when he talks about fake news, doing a whole bit where he imitates a newscaster cutting away during the points of the rally where he complains about the press, only to come back right after. This is all, of course, a lie.

A rather revealing statement: "This just shows that when you get good ratings, you can say anything"

It is nearly September 2018, and they are chanting "Lock Her Up!" about Hillary Clinton.

About the Justice Department and the FBI: "What's happening is a disgrace and at some point, I wanted to stay out, but at some point if it doesn't straighten out properly, I want them to do their job, I will get in there...disgraceful." He says "people are angry," which seems like projection.

Whatever this is: @ddale8: SIR ALERT! Trump says there were nine people he talked to backstage, "seriously tough cookies," coal miners, and "of the nine, eight of them were crying...crying out of happiness." He says he asked the ninth why he wasn't crying and the man said, "I don't cry, sir." It is hilarious how many people are "crying" in Trump's tales involving unnamed people or meetings with no witnesses

Trump says he asks his staff if they did polling when Abe Lincoln was President, but "nobody's been able to get me that answer, but I'm assuming they did, so we can say we're beating Honest Abe." This was in the context of lying about his approval ratings.
posted by zachlipton at 5:58 PM on August 30 [21 favorites]


he thinks people are crying now over him, wait until they do next year's tax returns
posted by pyramid termite at 6:03 PM on August 30 [6 favorites]


We apparently want to raid Medicare to pay for socialism.

*bangs head on the table until the stupid stops*
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 6:33 PM on August 30 [26 favorites]


There was a bunch of batshit stuff about Bobby Knight, but the more notable new addition was a rant about social media sites: "I've made it clear that we as a country cannot tolerate political censorship, blacklisting, and rigged search results, and you know it can go the other way also. We will not let large corporations silence conservative voices, and it can, it can go the other way too someday. It can play little tricks with them. We're not going to let them control what we can see read, and learn from. We can't do that. America is a free country, and we are going to stay always a free country."

And that's a convenient segue to our next story: Here's a hell of a picture from AP's Evan Vucci: "A member of the advance team for #president #donaldtrump blocks the lens of a photographer trying to take a photo of a demonstrator during a #campaign rally in #evansville #indiana"

Exit to "You Can't Always Get What You Want," because never stop trolling.
posted by zachlipton at 6:38 PM on August 30 [13 favorites]


Trump is conflating social media algorithms with free speech, saying he won't tolerate blacklisting and political censorship (?); we can't let these people (i.e. private companies) control what we see and hear. Somebody really had his ear over this stuff, I can't believe he's dragging it out, the crowd doesn't seem to share his visceral disgust about it. I have to say, the crowd—despite Trump's vehement denial earlier that he ever complained about the energy level at the West Virginia rally, and insistence that tonight's crowd are super fired-up, seem to be zoning out between "Lock her up" and "USA!" chants. To be fair, though, I haven't seen any shots of the crowd in front of Trump, just those behind him.

Also, apparently if you're one of the millions of MS-13 members who are pouring through our open borders, it's great fun to watch ICE raid entire towns and grab you by the neck [real]. Later, he praises businesspeople for hiring former inmates, because they're incrediblly good workers. Luck of the draw, I guess.
posted by Rykey at 6:44 PM on August 30 [2 favorites]


Your dude killed net neutrality you super jeanyus.
posted by phearlez at 7:13 PM on August 30 [11 favorites]


It’s a pretty big conservative talking point that online censorship is why right wing websites and media aren’t more popular because everything is a forum war might now and they want to talk to the mods.
posted by The Whelk at 7:14 PM on August 30 [30 favorites]


Here's video of Trump's "we cannot tolerate political censorship" rant.

Counterpoint, from this morning: @nickconfessore:
Trump and other Republican attacks on social platforms have the (likely deliberate) effect of recasting those platforms’ efforts to tamp down misinformation, abuse, and foreign interference as “bias”—just as the fall campaign kicks off. Facebook and Google are so biased against Trump they embedded teams of engineers and experts with his campaign to show how to use their tech as effectively as possible. Twitter is so biased against Trump that he is the single most influential Twitter user in politics and lost proportionally fewer followers in July’s bot purge than Barack Obama’s.

Keep on mind: They are accusing platforms of bias right as the platforms are seeking protective regulation from Republicans in Washington that would pre-empt state privacy laws, as in CA/IL, the industry doesn’t like.
Rs have a ton of leverage and this is how they are using it.
posted by zachlipton at 7:41 PM on August 30 [30 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 House:
-- NY-19: Siena College poll has GOP incumbent Faso up 45-40 on Dem Delgado [MOE: +/- 4.8%]. [Trump 51-44 | Cook: Tossup]

-- FL-16: Anzalone Liszt Grove poll has GOP incumbent Buchanan up 48-44 on Dem Shapiro [MOE: +/- 4.9%]. This poll appears to be commissioned by the Shapiro campaign. [Trump 54-43 | Cook: Leans R]

-- 538: What districts might flip in this week's primary states.

-- Silver: Why district polling so far may slightly underestimate Dem chances.
** 2018 Senate:
-- WV: Harper Polling has Dem incumbent Manchin up 47-41 on GOPer Morrisey [MOE: +/- 4.0%]. The poll was commissioned by Morrisey's allied PAC 35th State. There had been some talk that the Morrisey campaign would get cut off if it couldn't show that it was in a competitive race; if this was the best they could do with an internal, it seems like that may happen.

-- FL: PPP poll has Dem incumbent Nelson up 46-45 on GOPer Scott. [no MOE listed].
** Odds & ends:
-- FL gov: Same PPP poll has Dem Gillum up 48-43 on GOPer DeSantis.

-- KS gov: PPP poll has GOPer Kobach at 39, Dem Kelly at 38, independent Orman at 9 [no MOE listed].
posted by Chrysostom at 8:10 PM on August 30 [18 favorites]


Good news from CA:

1) Legislature passes bill to reform felony murder charges to exclude accomplices who didn't actually do the deed.

2) Legislature passes nation's strongest net neutrality rules.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:16 PM on August 30 [27 favorites]


3) Legislature makes California the first state to condemn intersex genital mutilation.
posted by one for the books at 8:27 PM on August 30 [25 favorites]


Relevant to the authoritarians' obsession with "media censorship: The free speech panic: how the right concocted a crisis (William Davies in the Guardian, 26 Jul 2018)

Quotes:
The claim that free speech is under attack is often a mask for other political frustrations and fears.

The claim that certain people are being silenced is often a convenient spin on the way this messier, less-predictable world means that prominent voices have lost authority.

The brute problem, from the point of view of conservative newspapers and politicians, is that the number of conservatives is falling. In an analogue age, when the public sphere was still guarded by traditional gatekeepers, this wouldn’t be so threatening[...] Claims that traditional voices are being censored are often a distortion of the fact that they are simply not being listened to as much.

To the extent that it offers a market for public expression, the private-sector media has played a crucial role in advancing the pro-business agenda that triumphed with the elections of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. For a figure such as Rupert Murdoch, treating “free speech” and “free market” as synonymous has very clear benefits.

If one can claim to be ignored by the mainstream media, no-platformed by universities or silenced by snowflakes, the capacity to attract attention online is all the greater.
posted by runcifex at 8:28 PM on August 30 [19 favorites]


It’s the Gamergate playbook: constant aggressive attack on every front being maximally unpleasant, and then whenever there’s the slightest Negative response fall back and play the whiniest victim imaginable, all the time concocting conspiracy theories about an imaginary other “side” that consists of anyone not in your group that has pushed back against it.

Because everything is garbage now.
posted by Artw at 8:32 PM on August 30 [98 favorites]


Claims that traditional voices are being censored are often a distortion of the fact that they are simply not being listened to as much.

Yeah, there's a constant complaint that negative feedback is the same as censorship - as if "my right to speech" includes "my right to be honored for speaking and persuade people that I'm correct."

But it does verify that p45's obsessed with popularity, including online, and that ignoring him will set off tantrums. (I really wish the NYT would decide to just not mention his name for a week. Report on Mueller, Manafort, Cohen, even Russians... just never actually say Trump's name; never refer directly to "the president.")
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:41 PM on August 30 [14 favorites]


Obama: Wore a tan suit. While black. Should've been impeached but Congress dropped the ball.

How could you forget that Obama also put Dijon mustard on a burger? Talk about a scandal!
posted by SisterHavana at 10:10 PM on August 30 [5 favorites]


“We had our disagreements and they were very strong disagreements,” Trump said Thursday. “I disagreed with many of the things that I assume he believed in.”

This quote is, oddly, one of the most revealing things I've heard him say. If your world view is made up of assumptions of what people are and believe, of course you'll have strong views. People can just be billboards for imaginary views, so racism/sexism/contempt isn't exactly hard.

Unlike Schumer, Donald's imaginary acquaintances threaten him. If he wasn't so powerful, he would indeed just be Donny from Queens, and would be much more readily identified as massively prejudiced in a very profound way. There's no firm grasp of policy or argument here, just created pantomime villains and cognitive decline.
posted by jaduncan at 10:52 PM on August 30 [30 favorites]


“I disagreed with many of the things that I assume he believed in.”

I'll tell you what this is: it's straight out of Strangers With Candy, probably a Jellineck line.
posted by rhizome at 11:08 PM on August 30 [29 favorites]


Because everything is awful, here is a supercut by the Guardian of politicians trying to dance. Looking at it, I suspect we have overlooked an important basic qualification for representing the people. (Justin wins!)
posted by stonepharisee at 2:46 AM on August 31 [3 favorites]


Claims that traditional voices are being censored are often a distortion of the fact that they are simply not being listened to as much.

Which is also the fallback, here across the pond, for religious conservatives who wish to use their belief system as an authoritarian bludgeon.

"If you act in a way that my deity wouldn't approve of, you are censoring my knowledge that my deity has full authority over you, and that your obedience is mandatory whether or not you believe in that deity."
posted by delfin at 4:00 AM on August 31 [23 favorites]


Good morning!

60 percent disapprove of Trump, while clear majorities back Mueller and Sessions (WaPo)
President Trump’s disapproval rating has hit a high point of 60 percent, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll that also finds that clear majorities of Americans support the special counsel’s Russia investigation and say the president should not fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

At the dawn of the fall campaign sprint to the midterm elections, which will determine whether Democrats retake control of Congress, the poll finds a majority of the public has turned against Trump and is on guard against his efforts to influence the Justice Department and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s wide-ranging probe.

Nearly half of Americans, 49 percent, say Congress should begin impeachment proceedings that could lead to Trump being removed from office, while 46 percent say Congress should not.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:09 AM on August 31 [53 favorites]


Wow. I reckon that’s the first major poll post Manafort / Cohen Super Tuesday stuff? That’s huge.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:03 AM on August 31 [1 favorite]


36% approve - 60% disapprove. Down from 40 - 56 in April. So from -16 net to -24. A loss of 10% of support. If you look at RCP averages, there's a definite rise in disapproval and decline in approval since Manafort and Cohen. About 3 points drop in net favorable. Again that's about a 5% loss of support in a little over a week. So maybe things do matter.
posted by chris24 at 5:06 AM on August 31 [26 favorites]


Nearly half of Americans, 49 percent, say Congress should begin impeachment proceedings that could lead to Trump being removed from office, while 46 percent say Congress should not.

Which is a question to which I don't give a lot of weight. On the one hand, it's probably more of a party line roll call than anything else in this context; on another, if they called me and asked me that today, I'd say "no" even though I want him out of office, because I'm aware that if they began proceedings tomorrow they'd have zero chance of succeeding and Trump would benefit from the experience.
posted by delfin at 5:16 AM on August 31 [9 favorites]


60 percent disapprove of Trump, while clear majorities back Mueller and Sessions

The remaining 40% will be pretty much baked in, hard core GOP and Trumpistas will support him come hell or high water and then claim he was betrayed when he finally falls, the wall isn't built and the economy is cratered.
posted by arcticseal at 5:34 AM on August 31 [4 favorites]


Some rare good news: Alex Jones Fails To Stop Sandy Hook Parents' Defamation Case

Oh, also Jonesclaims he is the reason Trump is ranting about Google, which TBH is at the high end of plausibility fur things he’s said.
posted by Artw at 5:47 AM on August 31 [31 favorites]


Alex Jones would claim he was the real assassin of Abraham Lincoln if it would get him five page views.
posted by delfin at 6:18 AM on August 31 [18 favorites]


Trump could have gotten it from literally any twitter account with ❌ marks that rants about “shadowbannning” all the times when not thinking that complaining about “j*ws” is a clever masking of their intent, so it’s not very plausible in the grand scale of things, just plausible for Jones.
posted by Artw at 6:23 AM on August 31


Is there a kernel of truth to Jones being why Trump is ranting about Google? A tiny, pinhead-sized one, making it very symbolically appropriate. When Jones got booted from YouTube, it started a bunch of the usual conservative sources on "I don't agree with Jones and he's a lunatic, BUT now that The Liberal Fascists have come for him, they'll try for us next." Which led to new focus by conservatives on "proving" that Google and Facebook and Twitter are all just big hippie communes run by elitists who hate Trump and America and are successfully (pause for laughter) censoring conservatives off of social media.

This morning's meme was, once again, "If you type 'Hillary Clinton' into Google, the predictive search suggestions are all positive." Curious, I tried it out, and got two: "Hillary Clinton 2020" and "Hillary Clinton age." Which, of course, PROVES that the algorithm is biased because OBVIOUSLY someone doctored the results after they were complained about, so that it doesn't give the "Hillary Clinton is awesome" that it did before or the "Hillary Clinton is a filthy liar murderess" that it SHOULD!

*whacks side of head with a piece of wood*

Whew. That was scary for a second there. Anyway.
posted by delfin at 6:28 AM on August 31 [6 favorites]


QAnonists are more directly flattering to Trump, so probably have his ear more than Jones, who hasn’t been accepting of this new sect of conspiracy theorists competing with his own garbage.
posted by Artw at 6:34 AM on August 31 [1 favorite]


The Trump-NYT psychodrama continues…

CNBC's Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) reports from last night's rally:
Trump complaints about a female reporter for the "failing New York Times" is most likely a complaint about two female reporters for the Times: @katierogers and @maggieNYT

They co-bylined this story, which Trump appears to have been talking about: ‘How Did We End Up Here?’ Trump Wonders as the White House Soldiers On
To which the NYT's Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) responded "Trump was so upset by this detail that we, and other outlets, reported, that he focused his ire at NYT and had to be talked out of tweeting about it. He’s getting it out of his system tonight." {n.b. Her colleague Katie Rogers is less inclined to play these teasing games over Twitter, not least since she's busy covering Trump rallies in person}

Haberman continued to dish: "His aides say he is behaving as if he is cornered."

And: "Woodward book is on the mind of top Trump advisers; discussions already going on about how to handle events in relation to it, per people briefed."

But then she went back to offering tacit support to Donald by passing along anonymous Trump aides' unsupported claim his Indiana rally broke attendance records and approvingly retweeting a Mark Penn Politico interview in which he draws false equivalence between Trump's public attacks on Mueller and the Clintons' private complaints about Kenneth Starr.

Trump craves the Grey Lady's approval, so he grants them access, while the Paper of Record needs leaks from him and his administration, so they slant their stories with a favorable angle. When one party is unsatisfied with the other, they heap on criticism or withhold praise/information to start the cycle all over again…
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:37 AM on August 31 [9 favorites]


From that WaPo poll as well; of the 60% disapproval, 53% strongly disapprove. First time it's been above 50%.

And a plurality of Independents want to start impeachment. And 57% of women.
posted by chris24 at 6:41 AM on August 31 [23 favorites]


And his support among Rs dropped to 78%. If this is not an outlier and it stays below 80 or drops more, it's a problem for him and Rs.
posted by chris24 at 6:47 AM on August 31 [11 favorites]


Looks like Trump is invoking emergency powers to cancel the raises.
In ordering the raises canceled, Trump cited his statutory authority to adjust pay because of "national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare." Yet the President frequently touts a growing US economy, including a strong growth rate for the gross domestic product and low unemployment
So... I guess we just bend reality with our words now ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 6:51 AM on August 31 [74 favorites]


Every time I see that there are still people who support this rage clown, I just remember my cousin, who at the tail end of the W Bush years, when the economy was tanking, the government was a shambles, and the US was overextended into multiple interminable and unwinnable foreign conflicts, said that he thought Bush was "doing a good job."

It's mostly mindless partisanship and racism with a sprinkling of "the job we think the president is supposed to do is not the same as what they think the president is supposed to do."

With a healthy dose of "I have no fucking clue about almost anything."
posted by aspersioncast at 6:53 AM on August 31 [37 favorites]


In ordering the raises canceled, Trump cited his statutory authority to adjust pay because of "national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare." Yet the President frequently touts a growing US economy, including a strong growth rate for the gross domestic product and low unemployment

This action is of a piece with Trump's imposing tarriffs here, there, and everywhere on his own authority thanks to a clause in the law that allows him to do so for "national security" reasons. Trump wants to raise tariffs, and -- hey presto! -- he says he's doing so on national security grounds.

These actions are an obvious abuse of presidential authority, and yet Congress will not protect its own prerogatives thanks to the Republicans.
posted by Gelatin at 6:57 AM on August 31 [36 favorites]


""national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare."

So this is how we go after him. I know that reality doesn't matter to the Rs, I know that facts don't matter, words don't matter, coherent narrative doesn't matter, nothing matters but saying whatever works in the moment. But. At some point, when his decisions start directly affecting the wages of real people and he justifies it with bullshit, that is where we set up camp. Those employees are voters, their friends are voters, their families are voters, and the issue is no longer abstract. The leopards have come for some faces and for once, please, for once let's leverage it to our advantage.
posted by lydhre at 6:57 AM on August 31 [40 favorites]


These actions are an obvious abuse of presidential authority, and yet Congress will not protect its own prerogatives thanks to the Republicans.

Also, federal judges typically treat any invocation of national security as a blanket get out of jail free card and defer to the executive's determination that something is actually a national security interest. All presidents know this, and it's a big reason for the continual expansion of executive power under both Bush and Obama. But like everything else he touches, Trump pervents reasonable fears by the judiciary of wading into international politics or conducting military activities from the bench into an excuse for dictatorship. He knows all he has to do to evade judicial review is yell "I declare national security!"

tl;dr: norms don't hold.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:07 AM on August 31 [6 favorites]


Haberman continued to dish: "His aides say he is behaving as if he is cornered."

Yeah, Maggie? Is he increasingly isolated too?
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:14 AM on August 31 [55 favorites]


I'm gonna go with Dershowitz.

Dershowitz, that Martha's Vineyard party persona non grata, was on NPR yesterday talking to Noah Greene about applying to be Don McGahn's replacement. Here's the key excerpt (emphasis mine):

DERSHOWITZ: I think the key question is... who replaces McGahn. It's whether or not Trump nominates a distinguished independent - say, former judge or law professor or somebody with undoubted objective credentials - or whether he tries to pick a crony...

GREENE: ...What do you think of Emmet Flood, who seems to be a leading contender?...

DERSHOWITZ: Well, I think it would be a good choice because he was a partner at Williams & Connolly. He was on the team that helped defend Bill Clinton. I was an informal part of that team, as well.

posted by carmicha at 7:17 AM on August 31 [17 favorites]


DERSHOWITZ: I think the key question is... who replaces McGahn. It's whether or not Trump nominates a distinguished independent - say, former judge or law professor or somebody with undoubted objective credentials - or whether he tries to pick a crony...

Good God, is there no escape from this plague of narcissists?
posted by duoshao at 7:38 AM on August 31 [21 favorites]


Bloomberg: Manafort Associate Sam Patten Charged With Lobbying Law Violation
A former associate of Paul Manafort, Sam Patten, was charged Friday with failing to register in the U.S. as a foreign agent for his work lobbying on behalf of a Ukrainian political party.

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office referred the case to the U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia, according William Miller, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu.

From 2014 until now, Patten worked with a Russian national on lobbying and political consulting services, including on behalf of a Ukrainian oligarch and a Ukrainian political party, according to a document filed by the U.S. in federal court in Washington.[...]

Patten worked for multiple political parties and office-holders in Ukraine, according to his website. He previously worked on the microtargetting operations of Cambridge Analytica during the 2014 election cycle, the Daily Beast reported in April.

His work for Cambridge Analytica was later adopted by "at least one major U.S. presidential candidate," the Daily Beast said {his personal website once boasted this}. Patten told the publication that his work for Cambridge Analytica was separate from the work of his consulting firm.
The Atlantic's Natasha Bertrand, from earlier this year: A Suspected Russian Spy, With Curious Ties to Washington—A longtime Republican operative has been in contact with a suspected Russian intelligence agent for nearly two decades.
A longtime Republican operative with ties to the controversial data firm hired by President Donald Trump’s campaign team also has a nearly two-decade-long friendship and business relationship with a suspected Russian intelligence agent, Konstantin Kilimnik, who has landed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s crosshairs.

The Washington-based operative, Sam Patten, would not tell me whether he has been interviewed by Mueller’s team as part of their investigation into Russia’s election interference and potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. But Patten said that his relationship with Kilimnik—a former officer in Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) who worked closely with Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, for over a decade—has “been thoroughly explored by relevant government entities.”

Patten’s long friendship with Kilimnik—which stems from their time working together at the International Republican Institute in Moscow between 2001 and 2003—would likely be enough to draw scrutiny from Mueller, who appears to have homed in on Kilimnik as a potentially significant link between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Friends of "Kostya from the GRU" sure do seem to get busted.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:49 AM on August 31 [17 favorites]


Sorry, last poll breakdown I swear. After all the Trump & Co bullshit about how he has 36% black approval based on a Rasmussen poll and tweet where they didn't release the tabs to show the data, the ABC/WaPo poll has Trump's approval/disapproval among black respondents at 3% approve - 93 disapprove.
posted by chris24 at 7:51 AM on August 31 [39 favorites]


The Toronto Star's Daniel Dale blows up Trump's "off the record" remarks to Bloomberg yesterday: Bombshell Leak to Toronto Star Upends NAFTA talks: In Secret ‘So Insulting’ Remarks, Trump Says He Isn’t Compromising At All With Canada
In remarks Trump wanted to be “off the record,” Trump told Bloomberg News reporters on Thursday, according to a source, that he is not making any compromises at all in the talks with Canada — but that he cannot say this publicly because “it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal.”

“Here’s the problem. If I say no — the answer’s no. If I say no, then you’re going to put that, and it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal...I can’t kill these people,” he said of the Canadian government.

In another remark he did not want published, Trump said, according to the source, that the possible deal with Canada would be “totally on our terms.” He suggested he was scaring the Canadians into submission by repeatedly threatening to impose tariffs.

“Off the record, Canada’s working their ass off. And every time we have a problem with a point, I just put up a picture of a Chevrolet Impala,” Trump said, according to the source. The Impala is produced at the General Motors plant in Oshawa, Ontario.

Trump made the remarks in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg. He deemed them off the record, and Bloomberg accepted his request not to reveal them.

But the Star is not bound by any promises Bloomberg made to Trump. And the remarks immediately became a factor in the negotiations: Trudeau’s officials, who saw them as evidence for their previous suspicions that Trump’s team had not been bargaining in good faith, raised them at the beginning of a meeting with their U.S. counterparts on Friday morning.

The Star was not able to independently confirm the remarks with 100 per cent certainty, but the Canadian government is confident they are accurate. Bloomberg editor-in-chief John Micklethwait, who was one of the journalists in the room, did not dispute their authenticity.
Dale isn't playing around, tweeting: "What happened: I obtained these quotes. I'm not bound by Bloomberg's "off the record" promises. I asked the White House and the Trudeau team for comment. The Trudeau team, which is certain the quotes are accurate, sprung them on Trump's team at the meeting this morning."

The Art of the Deal, ladies and gentlemen.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:56 AM on August 31 [152 favorites]


Was just coming to post the same thing, Doctor Zed. Just to add a bit:

As Trump said, his claim that he has not compromised at all could make it harder for Trudeau to sell the deal to Canadians as a win for both countries. But the disclosure of the claim could also make it harder for Trump to convince Americans that Canada is at fault for any impasse.

It is noteworthy that Trump, who has claimed to be indifferent about whether Canada signs a deal, is interested enough in securing Canada’s participation that he went off the record to avoid an optics problem for Trudeau.

posted by nubs at 8:02 AM on August 31 [2 favorites]


‘Tough decisions have to be made’: House Republicans prepare for pain
Party officials begin deciding which GOP lawmakers to save and which ones to cut loose.
With a massive field of vulnerable House incumbents to defend and limited resources to go around, Republicans are readying for a painful round of political triage — deciding which lawmakers are worth trying to rescue, and which ones need to be cut loose to fend for themselves in November.

GOP officials say as many as 45 Republican-held seats are at serious risk, making it impossible to salvage each one in the costly scramble to protect the party’s 23-seat majority— especially those members who have waged sluggish campaigns and posted lackluster fundraising totals.
posted by octothorpe at 8:05 AM on August 31 [16 favorites]


So just to recap, NPR runs an interview with Trump defender Alan Dershowitz about Trump replacing the white House counsel -- who represents the office of President, not the occupant -- with a personal loyalist. Meanwhile, the Toronto Star reports a blockbuster of a leak showing Trump's bad faith in international trade negotiations.

Toronto Star - 1, NPR - 0

(Though NPR did, ahem, balance its interview with Trump's trade adviser about the Mexico deal with one today with Obama's trade representative, who of course was much more dismissive. But it'd be much better to run both those contrasting interviews in the same program, so listeners who miss one broadcast don't get half the story.)
posted by Gelatin at 8:09 AM on August 31 [17 favorites]


NPR are ass-covering collaborative shills
posted by The Whelk at 8:11 AM on August 31 [36 favorites]


Party officials begin deciding which GOP lawmakers to save and which ones to cut loose.

Don't worry, though; there's still plenty of wingnut welfare money -- "think tank" sinecures, Fox News commenting gigs, cushy lobbying jobs -- to secure these Republicans' loyalty during the lame duck session, where there's doubtless more damage to be done.
posted by Gelatin at 8:11 AM on August 31


"Silent Sam Protests Turn 'Intense' At UNC, Crowd Pepper Sprayed Among WFMY News 2 Crews"
"WFMY News 2's crews were pepper sprayed among other protesters as the Confederate Monument supporters were leaving while being escorted police officers. The night ended with three arrests and police deploying two pepper spray foggers."
posted by octobersurprise at 8:13 AM on August 31 [4 favorites]


If I'm getting this right, then Trump thinks (for arbitrary values of "think") he could have successfully made a deal with Canada that, psst don't tell them, secretly concedes nothing their way? Gosh, how totally unlike his entire business career, where the strategy worked (in the short term) because the shafted party generally wasn't a national government.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:15 AM on August 31 [21 favorites]


While we're on the topics of tariffs and stupidity, the EU offered to reduce car tariffs to zero if the US would reciprocate. Donny from Queens responded with “It’s not good enough. Their consumer habits are to buy their cars, not to buy our cars.”

So I guess he wants Europe to subsidize American cars? Fuckin' economics, how do they work?
posted by Slothrup at 8:15 AM on August 31 [35 favorites]


Bank of America freezing accounts of customers suspected of not being US citizens

Proof of citizenship is not required to open a bank account in the U.S., according to Stephanie Collins, a spokesperson for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the federal agency that supervises branch banking. Banks are merely required to identify and report suspicious transactions and maintain and update customer information, she said. Banks have not received any new instructions to collect more information about customers.


BofA taking the initiative here in instituting fascist policy without direct orders from the top.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:16 AM on August 31 [64 favorites]


Bank of America freezing accounts of customers suspected of not being US citizens

If only we had some kind of bureau in charge of protecting the consumers of financial services from these kinds of things.

But seriously, if you have an account with Bank of America, now would be a good time to switch banks and tell them why you're leaving.
posted by jedicus at 8:26 AM on August 31 [41 favorites]


The Trump White House comms team is back-pedalling furiously on the Toronto Star story, Dale reports: "White House hasn't disputed the authenticity of the quotes but suggested I shouldn't publish. Deputy Press Sec Lindsay Walters said, “If this was said, it was said in an off the record capacity. I understand you guys have obtained it; I’m not sure where you’ve obtained it from.”"

Update: “Trump spokes Walters is now telling me her comments were off the record, which they weren't. This is the official WH comment, which does not deny the Trump quotes: "The Canadian and American negotiators continue to work on reaching a win-win deal that benefits both countries."”

For some context about the harried comms team, via the AP's story White House Faces Brain Drain At Perilous Moment:
Former Fox News executive Bill Shine, who joined the White House earlier this summer as communications director and deputy chief of staff, is looking to rebuild a shrunken media affairs team in anticipation of the challenges ahead. [...]

But like other White House departments, the effort to fill jobs is proving difficult. Qualified candidates are steering clear of the volatile West Wing, ignoring pleas from Shine and others to join the administration over fears to their reputation and even potential legal exposure, according to current and former officials and one candidate approached by the White House. Those people and others spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations and conversations.

Others are wary of joining the team to defend the president, knowing full well he will often ignore their advice or could turn on them by tweet.
"I'll choose the best people for my administration", ladies and gentlemen.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:27 AM on August 31 [33 favorites]


Hard to imagine that a sinking ship posting a HELP WANTED: SEEKING RATS sign would face difficulties.
posted by delfin at 8:32 AM on August 31 [39 favorites]


I honestly cannot believe that the "Schumer asks his imaginary friends what to do" thing is real.

I totally can. It not far at all from the idea of marketing personas. That's not to say that it's a good idea (even for marketers or UX designers), just that it's very easy to believe.
posted by Jpfed at 8:33 AM on August 31 [5 favorites]


BofA taking the initiative here in instituting fascist policy without direct orders from the top.

Working Toward the Führer
Holocaust and Human Behavior
Chapter 5

posted by mikelieman at 8:35 AM on August 31 [11 favorites]


@joshtpm, 7:07 PM - Aug 30, 2018
Trump: "They want to raid Medicare to pay for socialism."
posted by kirkaracha at 8:36 AM on August 31 [13 favorites]


Bank of America have clearly been taking notes from Margaret Atwood:
"And so The Handmaid’s Tale was partly an answer to the question, ‘If you were going to shove women back into the home and deprive them of all of these gains that they thought they had made, how would you do it?’ The answer: you would simply reverse the steps that had led to them being out and active in the world, with jobs and control of their own property and everything else that they had by that time. There was already a quick and easy method for doing that, in the form of the credit card. If all money is controlled electronically (or digitally, as it is now), it can be switched off instantaneously. I’m just saying."
posted by Buck Alec at 8:36 AM on August 31 [34 favorites]


Trump said, according to the source, that the possible deal with Canada would be “totally on our terms.”

Who knows what the next few hours will reveal, but everything I've heard about the negotiations so far suggests that Canada has only been conceding, finding those points which we can live with, and hope that Donny doesn't go further anyway. I have heard nothing about actual gains for Canada, and the incoming talk about updating NAFTA with language about social rights for women and the poor (among other things) is a distant memory. Areas which should never have been on the table, like supply management, now are.

Donny's comments may just well give Trudeau the cover he needs to walk away from a bad deal. The impact of getting no deal will be huge, but knowing that no deal will hurt the US just as much as it would Canada, maybe there's a proper, good faith deal to be made later on.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:38 AM on August 31 [5 favorites]


Republican Admits Trump Broke His Popular Promises That Got Him Elected
Instead of keeping his popular promises that helped get him elected, Trump instead adopted the unpopular stances of the conservative movement, which has in turn embraced him.
...
[Bobby] Jindal notes that Trump abandoned his popular fiscal promises to raise taxes on the rich and invest in a yuge infrastructure build-out. Instead, he did neither:
During the election, Mr. Trump promised a $1 trillion infrastructure plan. Some Republicans feared his first initiative on taking office would be a pork-laden spending package reminiscent of Barack Obama’s stimulus bill. They also worried he would cut a deal with Democrats to raise taxes. “I am willing to pay more,” Mr. Trump said in May 2016. “And do you know what? The wealthy are willing to pay more.” Instead, the reverse happened: There’s no infrastructure plan in sight, except for the border wall, and Mr. Trump signed a sweeping bill to reduce personal and corporate taxes.
Likewise, as Jindal admits, Trump constantly promised to take care of people who couldn’t afford to buy insurance, and to stick it to drug companies, and then in office, decided not to:
In 2015, candidate Trump told “60 Minutes” that his plan would provide universal health coverage paid for by the government. “I am going to take care of everybody,” he said. Campaigning in New Hampshire a few months later, he said Medicare could save an unrealistic $300 billion if the government negotiated with drug companies to lower prices. But as president, Mr. Trump has pursued more-conventional Republican policies, such as adding work requirements to Medicaid, expanding short-term insurance plans, and broadening association health plans.
But his marks still hold Promises Made/Promises Kept signs at his rallies.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:42 AM on August 31 [26 favorites]


The Trump White House comms team is back-pedalling furiously on the Toronto Star story, Dale reports: "White House hasn't disputed the authenticity of the quotes but suggested I shouldn't publish. Deputy Press Sec Lindsay Walters said, “If this was said, it was said in an off the record capacity. I understand you guys have obtained it; I’m not sure where you’ve obtained it from.”"

Bravo, Canada. The Star is doing what I've said from the beginning: fuck off the record. This administration should not be granted the benefit of hiding one single word from the public. They lie blatantly. They attack the very idea of a free press, upto and including encouraging violence against individual journalists. Extending them any sort of traditional immunity granted to government figures is inappropriate, helping them undermine democracy, and frankly dangerous to the personal safety of every reporter across the country.

Publish it all. Do not allow Miller or Conway or Trump himself to speak on background, ever. No more anonymous "source close to the White House". The old rules don't work, and continuing to use them is dangerous. The Star is showing exactly what power journalists actually have, and the American press refuses to use because they'd rather help Trump win reelection like they helped put him in the White House to sell papers.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:42 AM on August 31 [104 favorites]


At this point, as a Canadian, I don't know why we wouldn't walk away. How can you trust these mendacious fuckers enough to complete any deal?
posted by nubs at 8:43 AM on August 31 [17 favorites]


At this point, as a Canadian, I don't know why we wouldn't walk away. How can you trust these mendacious fuckers enough to complete any deal?

Madman gambit. Trump's basically playing out what he did in his NK "negotiations". Threatening to dissolve NAFTA without any sort of true replacement is analogous to a nuclear war with NK. I'm hoping that Canada's government realizes that he'll eventually cave, and that the business interests within the USA truly do have power over Trump.

My best guess is Trump comes out with some kind of ridiculous "preliminary agreement" between the countries which is basically NAFTA but is, according to him, way better, tremendous, best deal ever.
posted by Room 101 at 8:48 AM on August 31 [8 favorites]


he thinks people are crying now over him, wait until they do next year's tax returns

I'll be curious to see how this plays out. Taxes are weird since your refund really has nothing to do with how much tax you ultimately pay, but I think a lot of people see a bigger refund as lower taxes.

What's really interesting, then, is that since Congress passed the tax changes towards the end of 2017, the IRS was delayed in getting new withholding tables out for 2018. This meant that I, along with a lot of other Americans, didn't bother updating our paycheck withholding. But I've done the math and I expect to owe some money with my 2018 return. The main reason this happened is because I'm a tithing Christian and in the last few years I started making enough that I could itemize and deduct those charitable contributions. With the new tax laws I won't be itemizing anymore, and the new standard deduction doesn't quite catch up to what I was itemizing*.

Guess which party tends to have a lot of supporters who (claim to) also give away 10% of their income? How many of them will owe money in the spring due to tax changes? How many of them will see that, right or wrong, as a tax increase?



*My withholding is low, but I honestly can't figure out if I'll be paying more tax or not under the new law since I changed jobs and got a big raise in late 2017. The rate tables and deductions are just complicated enough I'd rather wait until January and just calculate it once.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 8:49 AM on August 31 [9 favorites]


Madman gambit. Trump's basically playing out what he did in his NK "negotiations". Threatening to dissolve NAFTA without any sort of true replacement is analogous to a nuclear war with NK. I'm hoping that Canada's government realizes that he'll eventually cave, and that the business interests within the USA truly do have power over Trump.

Yeah, I know there’s a bunch of layers here to unpack and work through. I’m just pissy this morning because this will set off another breathless round of crap hot takes and such from our more reactionary politicians and media. I should probably put the phone down and go do something more productive with my life
posted by nubs at 8:52 AM on August 31 [3 favorites]


While we're on the topics of tariffs and stupidity, the EU offered to reduce car tariffs to zero if the US would reciprocate. Donny from Queens responded with “It’s not good enough. Their consumer habits are to buy their cars, not to buy our cars.”

Shame on the euroweenies for driving subcompacts they can actually park in an old city.
posted by ocschwar at 8:54 AM on August 31 [6 favorites]


Shame on the euroweenies for driving subcompacts they can actually park in an old city.

Euro has huge taxes on fuel, huge taxes on highly polluting cars that don’t account for vehicle size (*cough*light truck*cough*), and huge taxes on just buying a car.

It’s a god damned nightmare for American auto makers.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:01 AM on August 31 [11 favorites]


The Atlantic's Natasha Bertrand connects the dots: Trump’s Top Targets in the Russia Probe Are Experts in Organized Crime—Some of President Trump’s favorite targets in the Russia probe have spent their careers in the Justice Department and the FBI investigating organized crime and money laundering, particularly as they pertain to Russia.
Bruce Ohr. Lisa Page. Andrew Weissmann. Andrew McCabe. President Donald Trump has relentlessly attacked these FBI and Justice Department officials as dishonest “Democrats” engaged in a partisan “witch hunt” led by the special counsel determined to tie his campaign to Russia. But Trump’s attacks have also served to highlight another thread among these officials and others who have investigated his campaign: their extensive experience in probing money laundering and organized crime, particularly as they pertain to Russia.[...]

Trump’s latest obsession is with Bruce Ohr, a career Justice Department official who spent years investigating Russian organized crime and corruption—an expertise he shared with another Trump target named Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence operative who provided valuable intelligence on Russia to the State Department and the FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force prior to authoring the Trump-Russia dossier in 2016. Ohr and Steele met in 2007, according to The New York Times, and stayed in touch as a result of their shared interests and mutual respect. Trump has tweeted about Ohr nearly a dozen times this month alone, complaining about his relationship with Steele and Ohr’s wife’s past work for Fusion GPS—the opposition-research firm that hired Steele in 2016 to research Trump’s Russia ties.

“How the hell is Bruce Ohr still employed at the Justice Department?” Trump wrote on Thursday. “Disgraceful! Witch Hunt!”

Trump’s fixation with seeing Ohr ousted from the Justice Department could be perceived as yet another attempt to undermine the credibility of the people who have investigated him. It could also be interpreted as an attack on someone with deep knowledge of the shady characters Trump and his cohort have been linked to, including Semion Mogilevich, the Russian mob boss, and Oleg Deripaska, a Russian aluminum magnate close to Putin who did business with Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. (Incidentally, another Manafort associate, the Ukrainian billionaire Dmitry Firtash, admitted that he only managed to be in business because Mogilevich allowed him to be, according to a leaked 2008 State Department cable.) Ohr was involved in banning Deripaska from the U.S. in 2006, due to his alleged ties to organized crime and fear that he would try to launder money into American real estate. Nearly a decade later, Ohr and the FBI sought Deripaska’s help in taking down overseas criminal syndicates.
Add former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara to Bertrand's list—Trump fired him in the middle of his Russian money-laundering case against the oligarch-linked Prevezon Holdings (which was represented by Natalia Veselnitskaya, of course).

As for Trump's latest target, the AP discloses: Sources: Lawyer Was Told Russia Had ‘Trump Over a Barrel’
A senior Justice Department lawyer says a former British spy told him at a breakfast meeting two years ago that Russian intelligence believed it had Donald Trump “over a barrel,” according to multiple people familiar with the encounter.

The lawyer, Bruce Ohr, also says he learned that a Trump campaign aide had met with higher-level Russian officials than the aide had acknowledged, the people said.

The previously unreported details of the July 30, 2016, breakfast with Christopher Steele, which Ohr described to lawmakers this week in a private interview, reveal an exchange of potentially explosive information about Trump between two men the president has relentlessly sought to discredit.[...]

The people who discussed Ohr’s interview were not authorized to publicly discuss details of the closed session and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Among the things Ohr said he learned from Steele during the breakfast was that an unnamed former Russian intelligence official had said that Russian intelligence believed “they had Trump over a barrel,” according to people familiar with the meeting. It was not clear from Ohr’s interview whether Steele had been directly told that or had picked that up through his contacts, but the broader sentiment is echoed in Steele’s research dossier.

Steele and Ohr, at the time of the election a senior official in the deputy attorney general’s office, had first met a decade earlier and bonded over a shared interest in international organized crime. They met several times during the presidential campaign, a relationship that exposed both men and federal law enforcement more generally to partisan criticism, including from Trump.[...]

In the interview, Ohr acknowledged that he had not told superiors in his office, including Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, about his meetings with Steele because he considered the information inflammatory raw source material.
Yesterday, @realDonaldTrump tweeted, "Wow, Nellie Ohr, Bruce Ohr’s wife, is a Russia expert who is fluent in Russian. She worked for Fusion GPS where she was paid a lot. Collusion! Bruce was a boss at the Department of Justice and is, unbelievably, still there!"
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:03 AM on August 31 [31 favorites]


Seriously though. America is the only western country with unleaded at less than $4/gal. How long do you think we’d keep buying F150s if we had $6/gal+ like most of Europe?
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:04 AM on August 31 [28 favorites]


Madman gambit. Trump's basically playing out what he did in his NK "negotiations". Threatening to dissolve NAFTA without any sort of true replacement is analogous to a nuclear war with NK. I'm hoping that Canada's government realizes that he'll eventually cave, and that the business interests within the USA truly do have power over Trump.

In watching the whole NAFTA debacle unfold over the last several days, I was strongly reminded of some of the parallels that came up in the Sentosa Goat Rodeo episode of the Arms Control Wonk podcast (specifically about Trump's announcement of a "denuclearisation agreement" with NK that was anything but).

My abiding concern, as a Canadian, is that our government is going to panic - which they already are by starting to reach for things that were previously not really up for discussion in a lot of peoples' minds (e.g., supply management) rather than wait for the caving in as economic realities intrude.

I’m just pissy this morning because this will set off another breathless round of crap hot takes and such from our more reactionary politicians and media.

And this. The right wing in Canada is beating the drum for total capitulation, and I feel like they're getting traction.

As a side note, I was reading the breaking story about Trump's NAFTA remarks while - as though summoned as a Greek chorus - the USAF Thunderbirds were...well, thundering - over my place during practice runs for the Toronto Airshow this weekend.

A little on the nose, man. Don't wave your F-16s at me.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:09 AM on August 31 [14 favorites]


Re: Ohr, it's a simple progression. Listen to the Sean Hannity show and hear whom Sean and his "expert" guests (the likes of Louie Gohmert, Jay Sekulow, Gregg Jarrett et al) pinpoint as the masterminds of the Completely False And Salacious And Criminal Russia Hoax. Let them repeat the names for a couple of weeks so that they'll sink into Trump's ear. Watch him target the most dangerous person on that list that he feels has not been adequately discredited. Repeat.

So it was just Mueller for a while, then Mueller and Rosenstein, then Rosenstein and Strzok, then mostly Strzok, then Strzok and Ohr, and now Ohr. Next in line will be John Huber, the US Attorney investigating FBI misconduct and not really finding much of anything, which will be Proof that he is Sessions' Crony and a Russian Asset and a Closet Liberal because he's not actively calling for reopening Hillary's email server investigation or prosecuting everyone involved in Uranium One and the Mueller investigation. You can set your watch by it.
posted by delfin at 9:21 AM on August 31 [5 favorites]




Bloomberg updates their Patten story: Manafort Ally Agrees to Cooperate With U.S. After Guilty Plea
A former associate of Paul Manafort agreed to cooperate with U.S. prosecutors after pleading guilty to one charge of failing to register in the U.S. as a foreign agent for his work lobbying on behalf of a Ukrainian political party.[...]

From 2014, Patten provided a “prominent” Ukrainian oligarch who isn’t named in court papers and his Opposition Bloc political party with lobbying and consulting services, according to the criminal information. A company Patten co-owned with a Russian national received more than $1 million for the work, the U.S. said.

As part of his lobbying work, he violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act by not disclosing the work to the U.S., prosecutors said.[...]

Patten formed a consulting firm in 2015 with Kilimnik, a Russian national and Manafort associate who Mueller indicted in June for obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Kilimnik, who worked for the International Republican Institute during Patten’s tenure there, has been identified as a former operative for GRU, the Russian military’s intelligence service.

The firm, Begemot Ventures International, Ltd., listed Patten and Kilimnik as the sole officers, according to its Washington, D.C., incorporation records. The company’s website describes it as "a strategic and political advisory firm that helps its clients win elections, strengthen political parities, build the right arguments before domestic and international audiences and achieve better results."
Incidentally, here's a little news about the Special Counsel office from CNN: Two Prosecutors Leave Mueller's Office
Prosecutors Ryan Dickey and Brian Richardson are no longer working for the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, the Justice Department confirmed.

Both lawyers were relatively junior but frequently spotted members of Mueller's corps. Both have worked on court cases that Mueller opened as part of his investigation into Russian interference and coordination with the Trump campaign in the 2016 presidential election.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel, declined to explain on Thursday what the departures mean for the state of Mueller's office. [...] Carr said that neither Dickey nor Richardson left the office because of political allegations, the appearance of bias or any other wrongdoing.[...]

Richardson recently became a research fellow at Columbia Law School, according to the law school's spokeswoman Nancy Goldfarb.

Dickey will continue to work on criminal matters at the Justice Department. Though he worked out of Mueller's office last year, he was always employed by the Justice Department's criminal division, specializing in computer and intellectual property crimes.

He has not officially removed himself in court from the legal teams prosecuting three ongoing Mueller-initiated cases.[...]

Both appear to have left Mueller's office sometime this summer, though Carr would not confirm their engagement dates.
Bear in mind, today is the last day before the Labor Day to Election Day period, so we may not be out of bombshells yet.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:24 AM on August 31 [8 favorites]


The right wing in Canada is beating the drum for total capitulation, and I feel like they're getting traction.

I freely confess that I don't know enough to know about this (and would appreciate being pointed to further information if anyone feels willing), but if this hand is played correctly, could the Liberals turn this NAFTA mess to some advantage and use it to quash the Trumpier elements of the Conservative party? Conservatives in all countries have such a hatred of looking weak or cowed or beholden to anyone, and they should be particularly embarrassed about folding to such a poor negotiator on such poor terms, you'd think, and the dairy issue would be a particular sore spot for Ontario, you'd think...
posted by halation at 9:25 AM on August 31 [4 favorites]


My abiding concern, as a Canadian, is that our government is going to panic - which they already are by starting to reach for things that were previously not really up for discussion in a lot of peoples' minds (e.g., supply management) rather than wait for the caving in as economic realities intrude.

Same here. I find some comfort in the fact that Freeland walked away from the EU talks, saying 'If you can't make a deal with Canada, who *can* you make a deal with?' That itself seemed to break the impasse. Granted, there are vast differences between negotiating with the EU and with Donny.

If Canada has an ally in this, it's probably the US automotive industry, which has a lot more political muscle and doesn't need Donny to fuck up their very delicate machine.

Don't panic. Keep talking.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:26 AM on August 31 [5 favorites]


Amusingly, one of the OTHER current targets of the hard right is Chief Justice John Roberts.

You see, despite his longstanding quest to not rest until every potential black voter is disenfranchised, Roberts showed his true colors when he betrayed America over Obamacare. But NOW, Roberts is in charge of FISA court appointees, which means that since the Steele Dossier is Completely False and Unverified Salacious Lies and Slander Bought and Paid For by Hillary and the DNC from Russian Propagandists and Used as the Sole Basis for All of the FISA Warrants on Carter Page Illegally, it is complete dereliction of duty that Roberts has not called in the FISA judges and DEMANDED they hold hearings and drag in (insert your laundry list of people involved in that here) so that every one of them can explain how they illegally used Clearly False and Unverified Propaganda as "evidence" and then be found guilty of fraud, contempt and obstruction of justice and jailed immediately.

This is what the 27% is hearing on a daily basis.
posted by delfin at 9:27 AM on August 31 [20 favorites]


mandolin conspiracy: The right wing in Canada is beating the drum for total capitulation, and I feel like they're getting traction.

Score one for the insight (which I first encountered from Alexandra Erin) that while "nationalism" may advertise itself as the promotion of national interests in total rejection of foreign dominion, in reality it is completely in thrall to what it perceives at the correct kind of global autocracy.

I grant I don't know enough Canadian politics to be sure on this, but I would not be surprised by the existence of a notion along the lines of "~Real~ Canadians love Trump". Not unlike how ~real~ Americans are coming to love Putin. If (per halation's comment) the Canadian left can marshall patriotism against that, well, best of luck to them. Over here, the equivalent has maybe half-worked, at least by inducing some cognitive dissonance.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:45 AM on August 31 [5 favorites]


So those of you appreciating Daniel Dale's reporting on Trump may want to consider supporting his employer. $3/week is a pretty good deal. If you're in Toronto, the work of other great journalists like Sara Mojtehedzadeh and Jennifer Pagliaro is worth subsidizing, and if you're not a local, you get to look at another country's newspaper for a fresh perspective.
posted by maudlin at 9:46 AM on August 31 [37 favorites]


I freely confess that I don't know enough to know about this (and would appreciate being pointed to further information if anyone feels willing), but if this hand is played correctly, could the Liberals turn this NAFTA mess to some advantage and use it to quash the Trumpier elements of the Conservative party?

One thing that's a little worrisome is that a move to make supply management - or its elimination, rather - a federal Conservative platform plank went down to defeat at the recent party convention in Halifax. There's some now some concern that the Tumpier elements of the Conservatives might walk into the arms of Maxime Bernier and his new outfit.

There's a justified concern that hardcore anti-immigration xenophobia and racism will sell like hotcakes in Quebec in the hands of a Quebecois party leader, and if Bernier is able to make common cause with Jason Kenney and his right-wing Conservative alternative (not looking like it yet, but some people in his caucus seem keen), all bets are off. It will sell in other provinces, too. Ontario's not immune. Look at the goddamn provincial government we have now. So a lot of people are thinking that this points to things getting Trumpier in Canada before they get better.

Sigh.

Based on all of the above, I'm firmly in the "I believe Bernier has a good shot to move the needle to the right in the next federal election by maybe forming the next official opposition" camp and not the "Oooh this Conservative schism is a gift to Trudeau" camp.

Sigh again.

OTOH, the NAFTA issue is definitely pissing off a lot of Canadians. Having an outside antagonist has been a gift for Trudeau since he's able to position himself as standing up for Canada's interests, and it's been a welcome distraction from certain domestic issues that have been trouble for him, so there's that working in JT's favour. And yeah, depending on how this shakes out, it could be in the net plus column for him in the next election.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:58 AM on August 31 [4 favorites]


WaPo/Farenthold: Trump asks judge to dismiss NY AG lawsuit over Trump Foundation because former AG Schneiderman criticized Trump, and didn't do enough to investigate the Clinton Foundation.

"What about Hillary?" as case law. Only the best lawyers, folks!

And, oh yeah, Schneiderman was out of the AG's office before the suit was filed. The court's response to the motion should be....interesting.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:09 AM on August 31 [39 favorites]






Trump’s latest rally rant is much more alarming and dangerous than usual
Greg Sargent | WaPo
At his rally on Thursday night in Indiana, President Trump unleashed his usual attacks on the news media, but he also added a refrain that should set off loud, clanging alarm bells. Trump didn’t simply castigate “fake news.” He also suggested the media is allied with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe — an alliance, he claimed, that is conspiring not just against Trump but also against his supporters.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:17 AM on August 31 [20 favorites]


BREAKING: Explosion at cafe has killed Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, separatist and Russian news agencies report.

Uh oh. Hope this doesn’t line up with reports that Russia is massing T-62 tanks near the border.
posted by Artw at 10:29 AM on August 31 [9 favorites]


Trump asks judge to dismiss NY AG lawsuit over Trump Foundation because former AG Schneiderman criticized Trump, and didn't do enough to investigate the Clinton Foundation.

Worth pointing out again that the Trump and Clinton foundations are entirely different types of entities. The Trump Foundation is a private foundation. The Clinton Foundation is a public charity.

Private foundations like Trump's are common targets for IRS scrutiny because they are so often abused for tax evasion and self-dealing.

For example, Trump illegally used his foundation to pay his son's $7 fee to join the Boy Scouts. What sort of billionaire uses his foundation to illegally save seven bucks? One who does this so routinely that there isn't even any forethought behind it.
posted by JackFlash at 10:30 AM on August 31 [65 favorites]


I totally can. It not far at all from the idea of marketing personas.

Good marketing and user personas are ideally developed by third parties, and are frequently revisited and reworked for relevance.

But yeah, shitty marketing personas are pretty much the industry standard so...
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:39 AM on August 31 [5 favorites]


At his rally on Thursday night in Indiana, President Trump unleashed his usual attacks on the news media, but he also added a refrain that should set off loud, clanging alarm bells. Trump didn’t simply castigate “fake news.” He also suggested the media is allied with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe — an alliance, he claimed, that is conspiring not just against Trump but also against his supporters.

Honestly, I don't think this is even that new. Trump has been blowing the Us vs. Them trumpet from day one, Them being anyone outside his base.

Why is the Mueller probe conspiratorial? It doesn't take Our 'truth' at face value and listens to Their accusations. Why is the news all fake? It doesn't take Our 'truth' at face value, and treats the Mueller probe as if it's legitimate. Why do the media fake the news? Because they don't take Our 'truth' at face value about all the wonderful things we're doing, and they're bought and paid for by the people who want to take away your money and jobs and rightful stewardship of America and give it to THEM. Because they hate Real America and Real Americans. What happens when someone votes with Trump 90% of the time but diverges on certain issues and doesn't show full obedience? He becomes part of THEM, the base turns on him and Trump shits on his funeral or ravages him to the press regularly.

So of course his supporters are also targets, in their own eyes. They know they're the only people in America standing between Good Old American Values Morals and Norms Baseball Apple Pie and Chevrolet As Represented By Donald Trump The Fine Upstanding Citizen, and THEM.
posted by delfin at 11:01 AM on August 31 [7 favorites]


‘Tough decisions have to be made’: House Republicans prepare for pain
Party officials begin deciding which GOP lawmakers to save and which ones to cut loose.


So ... no 50 state plan? A shame, that.


Doktor Zed: the AP's story White House Faces Brain Drain At Perilous Moment

That "perilous moment" was January 20, 2017, if not before. Trump's team acted fast, and efforts to undo Obama's work happened on day one, as documented by the New York Times. And he tried to clean out anyone he thought to be Obama's people when his transition team told politically appointed foreign ambassadors they have to vacate their post by Inauguration Day, as reported by NPR. And we all know how quickly those numerous vacancies have been filled. Oh wait, there are STILL A TON OF VACANCIES. This Is Not Normal.

OK, it was before his inauguration, when he should have been working on a transition plan, but instead he was happy to be the Anti-Obama, and in claiming that title, he couldn't make up his mind if was helping or hurting the transition (USA Today, Dec. 28, 2016).

And then there's the classic Trump Reportedly Appeared Not to Understand Scope of Presidency During Obama Meeting (Slate, Nov. 14 2016)

Yeah, it's turtles perilous moments all the way down.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:10 AM on August 31 [22 favorites]


Honestly, I don't think this is even that new. Trump has been blowing the Us vs. Them trumpet from day one, Them being anyone outside his base.


For me it's sort of like this:
11/9 FUUUUUUUUU
8/31/18 wow we really are fucked, huh, look at that
posted by angrycat at 11:12 AM on August 31 [12 favorites]


WaPo, Thousands of Vietnamese, including offspring of U.S. troops, could be deported under tough Trump policy
The Trump administration, in a policy shaped by senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, has reinterpreted a 2008 agreement reached with Vietnam by the George W. Bush administration — that Vietnamese citizens who arrived before the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1995 would not be “subject to return.” Now, the White House says, there is no such immunity to deportation for any noncitizen found guilty of a crime.

Critics of the shift accuse the administration of reneging on the 2008 agreement. The State Department disputes that, citing a line in the agreement noting that both sides “maintain their respective legal positions” regarding the pre-1995 arrivals.
...
At least 57 people who arrived before 1995 were in ICE detention in mid-June, according to figures supplied by ICE to attorneys. An additional 11 have been sent back to Vietnam, where they are certain to face suspicion from the security services for their perceived loyalty to the defunct South Vietnamese state. Several are struggling to obtain the identity cards they need to work, or even drive, attorneys say.

Vietnam does not want them back, said former U.S. ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius, who was appointed by President Barack Obama.

“The majority targeted for deportation — sometimes for minor infractions — were war refugees who had sided with the United States,” he wrote in an essay for the American Foreign Service Association’s Foreign Service Journal after leaving office. “And they were to be ‘returned’ decades later to a nation ruled by a communist regime with which they had never reconciled.”
Asian Americans Advancing Justice has filed a lawsuit. It's astonishing how many little under-the-radar changes like "can Vietnam war refugees be deported back to Vietnam now?" can hurt so many lives.
posted by zachlipton at 11:30 AM on August 31 [59 favorites]


And then there's the classic Trump Reportedly Appeared Not to Understand Scope of Presidency During Obama Meeting (Slate, Nov. 14 2016)

This is just a heart-breaking article to read these many Scaramuccis into the Trump administration. Back when I first read it, I had a little hope that the Trump Clown Train would come around and at least attend to the quotidian aspects of governing. And the sincerity of President Obama willing to take more time to talk Trump through the process, as though he were some normal human being with the ability to learn from others and change behavior. Cry, the beloved country.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:31 AM on August 31 [13 favorites]


Question: I get the reason for anonymous sources. But what the hell is the point of “off the record?” Did Trump just want to shoot the shit with someone and decided a reporter was a good idea? Why does “off the record” even exist? Seems like if I had something I didn’t want reporters to know, I just wouldn’t tell them. Not assume they’ll pinky-swear not to tell.
posted by greermahoney at 11:33 AM on August 31 [6 favorites]


Bloomberg: Manafort Associate Sam Patten Charged With Lobbying Law Violation

But wait, there's more. Via the Post:
Patten also agreed he had steered an illegal foreign donation to Donald Trump’s inauguration, telling prosecutors that he arranged for an American citizen to act as a “straw donor” to give $50,000 to Trump’s inauguration in place of a Ukrainian businessman who was legally barred from contributing to the event.
So much money poured into that inauguration, which Gates helped plan, from all over the place, and nobody exactly knows where it all went.
posted by zachlipton at 11:39 AM on August 31 [54 favorites]


dairy issue would be a particular sore spot for Ontario, you'd think...

It is more of an issue in Quebec where it is used by separatists as an example of how Federalism is bad for Quebec.

Based on all of the above, I'm firmly in the "I believe Bernier has a good shot to move the needle to the right in the next federal election by maybe forming the next official opposition" camp and not the "Oooh this Conservative schism is a gift to Trudeau" camp.

Until we actually see what Bernier's party looks like I'm not overly convinced that he'll be doing much of anything other than dividing the vote among more libertarian minded conservatives and sundry nativists. Don't forget Bernier has always been more of a talker then a doer. He'll attempt to take a page out of Trump's book but Bernier is no Trump. Personally, I think this reveal of Trump's comments regarding NAFTA could have a positive effect in Canada in that it'll force the Tories to reboot their rhetoric and/or make them less inclined to side with Trump. It also is pretty unambiguous for the average Canadian to undestand - Trump is only in it for Trump.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:39 AM on August 31 [1 favorite]


Now, the White House says, there is no such immunity to deportation for any noncitizen found guilty of a crime.

An awful lot of the time, the "crime" is a DUI or a minor drug offense. I've been doing court observation for an immigrants' rights project, and the most common thing I've seen so far is that someone gets caught with a small amount of drugs or gets pulled over for drunk driving, and that's kaput for them, they're in detention.

Not that I think deportation is okay even for more serious crimes, not that I think our immigration system is in any way fair or just or acceptable - but know that every time they're talking about "criminal" immigrants, they are mostly talking about people with extremely common offenses.

Also, I'm starting to get a sense, as I observe more proceedings, that at least some of these people are really getting pulled over for driving while POC, and that I have started to suspect that some percentage of these charges are not just selective enforcement but complete fabrications.

It's not just that most immigrants are more law-abiding than most citizens - we need to make people specify what they mean by "criminal" immigrants in the first place. Racist fear-mongering is used to imply that "criminal" immigrants are, like, clocking people upside the head or whatever, when in general they just had the bad luck to be caught with marijuana.
posted by Frowner at 11:41 AM on August 31 [60 favorites]


Why does “off the record” even exist?

It's legitimate for a reporter to have a subject matter expert provide background or explain complicated circumstances without the expectation that he or she would be quoted in the story. It can help a reporter put certain statements from a source in context if they can express their actual opinion without having to fear repercussions. A reporter can gauge a source's credibility if they express privately that they don't really believe the nonsense they're required to spout officially.

But, yes, the process is often abused, as with Trump himself acting as a source -- that is to say, injecting his own point of view into the reporter's story -- while being quoted anonymously as a "senior White House official" or somesuch (and then, of course, Trump rails against "anonymous sources" despite using them to his own advantage when it suits him).
posted by Gelatin at 11:43 AM on August 31 [11 favorites]


But wait, there's more.

And there indeed is more. Patten's singing:
W. Samuel Patten has agreed to cooperate with both Robert Mueller’s special counsel office and prosecutors from the DC US Attorney’s Office going forward, according to new court documents available following his guilty plea.
posted by un petit cadeau at 11:44 AM on August 31 [21 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump confirms the Toronto Star story: "Wow, I made OFF THE RECORD COMMENTS to Bloomberg concerning Canada, and this powerful understanding was BLATANTLY VIOLATED. Oh well, just more dishonest reporting. I am used to it. At least Canada knows where I stand!"
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:45 AM on August 31 [8 favorites]


Yeah, big shot, if you wanted Canada to know where you stood, you'd have bragged about your tough stand to them, not off the record to Bloomberg.
posted by Gelatin at 11:46 AM on August 31 [70 favorites]


but know that every time they're talking about "criminal" immigrants, they are mostly talking about people with extremely common offenses.

And it is virtually impossible to not break a law while being a member of society. I drive the speed limit, but I've never had my speedometer checked, so I'm not absolutely certain that I don't cruise a couple of miles over the limit. I live in a state with pedestrian right of way and jaywalking laws.
posted by Etrigan at 11:49 AM on August 31 [21 favorites]


Uh oh. Hope this doesn’t line up with reports that Russia is massing T-62 tanks near the border.

There have been aerial photos going around on twitter of Russian tank/APCs parked in neat rows all over Donbass
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:51 AM on August 31 [2 favorites]


For example, Trump illegally used his foundation to pay his son's $7 fee to join the Boy Scouts. What sort of billionaire uses his foundation to illegally save seven bucks? One who does this so routinely that there isn't even any forethought behind it.

It's not even $7 saved, given how often Trump used the foundation to accept payment for work done. It's at best about 39.6% of $7 saved, the portion of the tax he dodged by directing it into the Foundation. Which I only am pedantic about because we should never fail to remind people that Trump "is smart" in this way only by cheating every other honest American taxpayer who then must pick up his slack.
posted by phearlez at 11:55 AM on August 31 [8 favorites]


It’s the Gamergate playbook: constant aggressive attack on every front being maximally unpleasant, and then whenever there’s the slightest Negative response fall back and play the whiniest victim imaginable, all the time concocting conspiracy theories about an imaginary other “side” that consists of anyone not in your group that has pushed back against it.

Because everything is garbage now.


Which reminds me, if you didn't buy it back before it went out of print, a marginally updated version of Sarah Jeong's The Internet of Garbage is available for $0.99 on Kindle thanks to The Verge.
Today, The Verge is publishing an interim edition of Sarah Jeong’s The Internet of Garbage, a book she first published in 2015 that has since gone out of print. It is a thorough and important look at the intractable problem of online harassment.

After a year on The Verge’s staff as a senior writer, Sarah recently joined The New York Times Editorial Board to write about technology issues. The move kicked off a wave of outrage and controversy as a group of trolls selectively took Sarah’s old tweets out of context to inaccurately claim that she is a racist. This prompted a further wave of unrelenting racist harassment directed at Sarah, a wave of coverage examining her tweets, and a final wave of coverage about the state of outrage generally. This is all deeply ironic because Sarah laid out exactly how these bad-faith tactics work in The Internet of Garbage.
If you want to be even more utterly depressed, pick any of Jeong's more recent completely anodyne tweets and look at the responses from the wave of jackholes who can't get over someone being less than appropriately deferential to white folks. You continue to suck, @jack.
posted by phearlez at 12:01 PM on August 31 [18 favorites]


With a massive field of vulnerable House incumbents to defend and limited resources to go around, Republicans are readying for a painful round of political triage — deciding which lawmakers are worth trying to rescue, and which ones need to be cut loose to fend for themselves in November.

This is a bullshit story, but what do you expect from Politico. Republicans don't have "limited resources to go around." The have effectively unlimited resources from their many billionaire benefactors.

No, it isn't that they are short of money. It's that they have decided that certain races are unwinnable no matter how much money they dump into them. It's purely a business decision. You don't invest money into an enterprise that has no possibility of profit.

"Limited resources" is just the cover story they put out to disappointed candidates and to avoid the embarrassment of saying publicly "we don't have a chance in hell of winning this race." Politico is just helping Republicans in their cover story by pushing this.
posted by JackFlash at 12:01 PM on August 31 [25 favorites]


Don't forget Bernier has always been more of a talker then a doer.

Oh, no argument there. I'm just feeling really pessimistic these days.

It's fitting that the CBC's Katie Simpson, along with Daniel Dale, was a member of the Toronto press corps that covered Rob Ford, as she just tweeted this:

My colleague Evan Dyer just sent a note out saying he checked with Canadian officials, and as far as a they are aware, Donald Trump has never actually shown them a photo of a vehicle in talks. This president is known for hyperbole and false claims.

It's in reference to this:

“Off the record, Canada’s working their ass off. And every time we have a problem with a point, I just put up a picture of a Chevrolet Impala,” Trump said, according to the source. The Impala is produced at the General Motors plant in Oshawa, Ontario.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:01 PM on August 31 [10 favorites]


And then there's the classic Trump Reportedly Appeared Not to Understand Scope of Presidency During Obama Meeting

And then there's the time when Trump didn't realize he'd have to hire the White House staff.
In the five days following his victory at the polls, the Wall Street Journal reported Trump’s team didn’t understand they would have to hire a new West Wing policy staff. Trump, according to the New York Times, apparently hopes to commute from the White House to New York or Mar-a-Lago on weekends. Trump said he expected a quick getting-to-know-you meeting with President Obama on Thursday, even though it was scheduled to last an hour.
Ceterum autem censeo Trumpem esse delendam
posted by kirkaracha at 12:02 PM on August 31 [6 favorites]


And it is virtually impossible to not break a law while being a member of society.

This is actually one reason it's critically important to take laws off the books that you don't actually intend to be enforced. Because if there's one thing we've found from a lot of the last year, it's that laws most people don't even consider can absolutely be used against dissidents or people who appear as 'other'.

And the Trump administration is absolutely 1000% taking advantage of that.
posted by corb at 12:07 PM on August 31 [67 favorites]


Trump didn't realize he'd have to hire the White House staff.

The funniest story was when Jared had his first tour of the West Wing before the inauguration and asked an Obama staffer how many of these people would he have to replace. He was shocked at the reply:

"All of them."
posted by JackFlash at 12:09 PM on August 31 [34 favorites]


This is actually one reason it's critically important to take laws off the books that you don't actually intend to be enforced.

This a thousand times. Until the rest of society understands what marginalized people know all too well, we cannot move forward as a society. Do not criminlize trivial shit. The only reason you have a law on the books to actually stop people from doing shit that is harmful and a normal person can avoid doing. If you have a law that people can break by accident, ignorance, bad luck, or some combination of the three AND that law is largley "unenforced", you have a law that is designed to oppress.

I don't care how your frame it, I don't care what bullshit you wrap it in, that law is designed to oppress.
posted by teleri025 at 12:16 PM on August 31 [65 favorites]


@mjs_DC: Surprising almost everyone, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen DECLINES to issue a preliminary injunction halting DACA, essentially holding that the states took too long to sue over it. (He still says it's almost certainly unlawful.)

Here's the order, in which the judge is quite hostile to DACA as expected, concluding it appears to be illegal (he's the same judge who killed DAPA), but stays the case for 21 days so an appeal can take place.
posted by zachlipton at 12:19 PM on August 31 [8 favorites]



The Long, Lucrative Right-wing Grift Is Blowing Up in the World's Face

posted by Artw at 9:21 AM on August 31 [11 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


This is a very well written opinion piece.
For years, the conservative movement peddled one set of talking points to the rabble, while its elites consumed a more grounded and reality-based media. The rubes listened to talk radio, read right-wing blogs, watched Fox News. They were fed apocalyptic paranoia about threats to their liberty, racial hysteria about the generalized menace posed by various groups of brown people, and hysterical lies about the criminal misdeeds of various Democratic politicians. The people in charge, meanwhile, read The Wall Street Journal and The Weekly Standard, and they tended to have a better grasp of political reality, as when those sources deceived their readers, it was mostly unintentionally, with comforting fantasies about the efficacy of conservative policies. From the Reagan era through the Bush administration, the system seemed to be performing as designed.
My father, a neurosurgeon, started out as an educated elite, admiring William Buckley and reading National Review, but as he aged, retired, and became more exposed to Rush and Fox, he became part of the rabble, spouting crazy ideas that flew in the face of what he had always known.
Rather rapidly, two things happened: First, Republicans realized they’d radicalized their base to a point where nothing they did in power could satisfy their most fervent constituents. Then—in a much more consequential development—a large portion of the Republican Congressional caucus became people who themselves consume garbage conservative media, and nothing else.
This is the first article to point out what I've been saying for some time. The weapon they turned on their base had now turned back on them. GOP leadership has been bedeviled by the Tea Party caucus for five years now. It is Frankenstein's monster attacking Frankenstein. As long as the GOP refuses to do anything about the monster they've made, it will continue to consume the party until there is nothing left but the undead monstrosity striding through the burned out fields.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:19 PM on August 31 [65 favorites]


Trump going to rally for Cruz in October.

As a number of people have pointed out, this could easily boomerang on Cruz. More than a lot of places, Texas has a pretty red population of regular voters, but a much more purple population of potential voters. Could be a motivator for folks to get out and vote for O'Rourke.. Not to mention there are a number of House and legislative seats in Lean R/Tossup terriotry.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:38 PM on August 31 [15 favorites]


Since we haven't heard much about McGahn in the last day or two, Washington Post offers a leak about his replacement: President Trump Is Considering Washington Litigator Pat Cipollone To Replace Outgoing White House Counsel Donald McGahn
President Trump is eying Washington litigator Pat Cipollone to replace outgoing White House counsel Donald McGahn, according to two people familiar with the president’s thinking.

This week, Trump interviewed Cipollone, a former Justice Department attorney who practices commercial litigation at Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner, the people said. Trump is “strongly considering” Cipollone for the job, one person said.

Cipollone has been advising Trump’s outside legal team since at least June. He is also close to Emmet Flood, a White House lawyer who is helping handle the special-counsel investigation and is himself being considered for the top legal position.[...]

Meanwhile, the White House Counsel’s Office has dwindled to about 25 lawyers, down from roughly 35 earlier in the administration, and many of Trump’s allies fear he does not have the staff or strategy to contend with looming legal challenges. {emphasis added, 'cos Trump still can't find lawyers}

Flood is well regarded in the White House, but some Trump advisers would like to see him remain in his current position, focused on fighting off a potential subpoena from Mueller. Flood and Cipollone probably would work well together, according to people who know them.
That said, even after public praise for Cipollone from Giuliani and Sekulow, Flood still has the inside track. Besides, the Trump White House loves to put on a show about considering replacement candidates when Trump's already made up his mind.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:39 PM on August 31 [2 favorites]


The TL;DR of that article might as well be “old white men shouldn’t be trusted to tie their own shoes, let alone run anything.”
posted by schadenfrau at 12:40 PM on August 31 [6 favorites]


"Wow, I made OFF THE RECORD COMMENTS to Bloomberg concerning Canada, and this powerful understanding was BLATANTLY VIOLATED. Oh well, just more dishonest reporting. I am used to it. At least Canada knows where I stand!"

@davidmackau (Buzzfeed)
so, you were an anonymous source?
posted by chris24 at 12:44 PM on August 31 [65 favorites]


Of Course Melania Brought a Golden Shovel and Louboutins to Plant a Tree
The First Lady participated in a tree planting at the White House yesterday, using a golden shovel and wearing a $4,000 dollar dress. Pop quiz: circle the most surprising part of that sentence.
...
I'm not sure what part of this ensemble is most impressive. Is it the red bottoms, with a spiked heel for aerating the soil? Is it the Romantic Garden brocade Valentino skirt, originally priced at $4,000, with the flower pattern inspired by Cuba (!!!)? No, I think it's the shovel. The golden shovel. Like a metaphor that's beating me over the head.

You have to respect this family for staying on theme. Presuming that theme is "We just really love gold, like a couple of villains in a morality play."
posted by kirkaracha at 12:46 PM on August 31 [30 favorites]


My father, a neurosurgeon, started out as an educated elite, admiring William Buckley and reading National Review

So, uh, I see what you're saying, but uhm. Buckley and other "intellectual heavyweights" have always been total shit. That's the *problem* here. Conservative theory isn't built on a base of logic that's just being lost to time, corrupted somehow by these upstarts. It's actually just always been racism and xenophobia and fear.
posted by odinsdream at 12:47 PM on August 31 [42 favorites]


Trump going to rally for Cruz in October.

Trump: "I’m picking the biggest stadium in Texas we can find."

Obviously 'that we can find' is a giant caveat, but: were Trump & Cruz to somehow manage to find and book the actual biggest stadium in Texas, and that rally had the same attendance as the largest Trump rallies on record, the stadium would still be more than two-thirds empty. (I'm just going to dismiss out of hand the possibility that a joint Trump/Cruz rally would break attendance records, given Turmp's current disapproval numbers, but.)

In conclusion, people like sports a whole lot more than they like Donald J. Trump.
posted by cjelli at 12:48 PM on August 31 [14 favorites]


The First Lady participated in a tree planting at the White House yesterday, using a golden shovel and wearing a $4,000 dollar dress. Pop quiz: circle the most surprising part of that sentence.

Good question, hmmm. Participated?
posted by Melismata at 12:50 PM on August 31 [43 favorites]


'Complete and total endorsement' must focus-group well.

The second- and third-largest stadiums in Texas belong to Texas A&M and UT-Austin, and are owned by the universities. Any of these seats over 100,000 people. After the top three, the next is the Cotton Bowl, owned by the city of Dallas, with a capacity of a piddly 90,000-something.

Prediction: Trump does not book one of the largest stadiums in Texas for a Ted Cruz rally in October.
posted by box at 12:51 PM on August 31 [11 favorites]


Donald Trump, a New Yorker, has absolutely no idea how big things get in Texas.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:53 PM on August 31 [29 favorites]


Good Josh Marshall on how a Dem Congress should focus first on congressional investigations, before talking about impeachment.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:59 PM on August 31 [19 favorites]


Of Course Melania Brought a Golden Shovel and Louboutins to Plant a Tree

Um, kirkaracha, you're kind of burying the lede here - that article also features a video of Trump in a hillbilly costume singing the "Green Acres" theme song with Megan Mullally at some awards show. W. T. F.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 12:59 PM on August 31 [10 favorites]


M Buttafoucault, I would never dream of mocking the president like that.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:02 PM on August 31 [2 favorites]


Of Course Melania Brought a Golden Shovel and Louboutins to Plant a Tree

FWIW, when Michelle Obama planted a cherry tree along the Potomac, they used ceremonial shovels that appear to have been both silver and gold. I don't know how much her shoes cost, though.

A golden shovel is pretty standard for a ceremonial tree planting type occasion, apparently.
posted by The World Famous at 1:04 PM on August 31 [18 favorites]


Let's check in on how Trump's trip is going, via the latest pool report:
Trump said he actually likes Canada. "I even love the national anthem. It's called very appropriately, 'Oh Canada.' Would you like for me to sing it?"
Oh.

He also discussed the publication of his off-the-record remarks on Canada: "In the end, I said it's ok because at least Canada knows how I feel."
posted by zachlipton at 1:07 PM on August 31 [9 favorites]


Dems running on "House Investigations" with Dem committee leadership would satisfy my bloodlust for impeachment. I can't be the only one for whom "House Investigations" is a dog whistle for impeachment.
posted by klarck at 1:08 PM on August 31 [29 favorites]


WaPo, Maria Sacchetti, Still separated: Nearly 500 migrant children taken from their parents remain in U.S. custody
Lawyers are cold-calling phone numbers in far-flung Central American villages, and enlisting church pastors and schoolteachers to help. They are spreading the word on radio stations, putting up posters and setting up Spanish-language hotlines. They are trying to reach every parent separated from their children by the Trump administration.

More than a month after a court deadline passed for the government to reunite families divided by President Trump’s border crackdown, nearly 500 children remain in U.S. government-funded shelters without their parents, according to court papers filed Thursday night.

Advocates and government officials say it could be weeks, months or longer before they are together.
...
The American Civil Liberties Union, which fought for Sabraw’s reunification order, suspects the children are agreeing to leave the United States only because they miss their parents, and not because they feel safe in their homelands, ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt said. Lawyers are trying to bring some deported parents back so families can apply for asylum together instead.
...
Government lawyers said in court filings that they have contacted virtually all of the 322 deported parents whose children remain in U.S. custody. But the ACLU said they have not been able to reach as many as 80 parents, in many cases because the contact information was “inoperable or ineffective.”
...
Taylor Levy, legal coordinator for the Annunciation House, a nonprofit organization in El Paso that aids migrants, said some children were rushed to Texas in recent weeks thinking that they would rejoin their parents, only to be returned to shelters without explanation. Others were reunited with their parents on buses, and then split up again — allegedly when the parents refused to waive their children’s right to seek asylum so they could be deported together, Levy said.

Lawyers say some parents have not gotten their children back because of minor or years-old offenses that normally would not affect custody decisions, including one parent with a 14-year-old theft conviction. In dozens of other cases, advocates say, it is unclear why parents and children have not been reunited.
posted by zachlipton at 1:10 PM on August 31 [38 favorites]


Josh Marshall on how a Dem Congress should focus first on congressional investigations, before talking about impeachment.

Yes. The Republicans managed to pretend Nixon was the sole problem even as the culture of corruption he fostered took root in the party. Democrats need to show that the rot in the modern Republican party extends far beyond Trump to -- just as a ferinstance -- the Republican members of Congress who actively participated in a cover-up and/or are beholden to Russian oligarchs.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant. I look forward to watching the cockroaches scurry away from the light.
posted by Gelatin at 1:12 PM on August 31 [28 favorites]


My father, a neurosurgeon, started out as an educated elite, admiring William Buckley and reading National Review

So, uh, I see what you're saying, but uhm. Buckley and other "intellectual heavyweights" have always been total shit. That's the *problem* here. Conservative theory isn't built on a base of logic that's just being lost to time, corrupted somehow by these upstarts. It's actually just always been racism and xenophobia and fear.
posted by odinsdream at 12:47 PM on August 31 [11 favorites +] [!]


I think you misunderstood. I never said Buckley et al. were honest brokers (the article covers that phenomenon). They knew what was real and what was propaganda and so did my father before he became in thrall to Faux Nooz/Limbaugh.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:15 PM on August 31 [4 favorites]


This has been "going to happen" in about half a dozen stories lately, and now it's actually happened:

AP: State Dept.: US cuts funding to UN agency that helps Palestinian refugees, ending decades-long support.

And by "cuts," what they mean is eliminates entirely.

----

HuffPost, Laura Bassett, Don’t Count On Susan Collins To Save Roe v. Wade
But circumstantial evidence abounds that [Sen. Susan Collins] will vote to confirm, and to that pile we can add something gleaned from a source close to Collins’ staff: She approved Kavanaugh in her consultations with President Donald Trump before he settled on a nominee.
----

Tallahasse Democrat, Racist robocalls tied to neo-Nazi group target Andrew Gillum:
Robocalls against Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum that say they were paid for by a neo-Nazi group in Idaho are going out to voters in Tallahassee.

The automated calls are narrated by someone pretending to be Gillum and using an exaggerated minstrel dialect with jungle noises in the background. The calls end with a disclaimer that they were funded by The Road to Power, an anti-Semitic, white supremacist website and podcast linked to Scott Rhodes of Sandpoint, Idaho.

According to the Des Moines Register, a sister paper of the Tallahassee Democrat, the group has been linked to other robocall campaigns in Charlottesville, Virginia, Oregon and California.
These are the same people making the Mollie Tibbetts calls discussed yesterday.
posted by zachlipton at 1:21 PM on August 31 [34 favorites]


It's called very appropriately, 'Oh Canada.' Would you like for me to sing it?"

Yes please; I'd like to verify that you know the words beyond "Oh Canada".
posted by elsietheeel at 1:28 PM on August 31 [21 favorites]


It's called very appropriately, 'Oh Canada.' Would you like for me to sing it?"

Yes, while Dave Bowman shuts down your higher brain functions.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:32 PM on August 31 [31 favorites]


It's actually, "O Canada." "Oh Canada" is what you say when Canada does something lovably wacky.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:39 PM on August 31 [86 favorites]


Yes, while Dave Bowman shuts down your higher brain functions.

Objection: Assumes facts not in evidence.
posted by The Tensor at 1:40 PM on August 31 [13 favorites]


From Sara Jeong’s book mentioned above, the 1.5 edition of The Internet Of Garbage:
But I wrote the book with a tone of optimism I did not feel even at the time, hoping that by reaching the well-meaning policy teams across Silicon Valley, I might be able to spark change for the better.

Not only did that change never quite solidify, but the coordinated, orchestrated harassment campaigns of Gamergate that I very briefly touch on in Chapter Two have since overtaken our national political and cultural conversations. These twisted knots of lies, deflection, and rage are not just some weird and terrible online garbage. They shadow executive orders, court rulings, even the newly appointed judiciary. They will haunt us for years to come. We are all victims of fraud in the marketplace of ideas.
They knew, they had warning, they are complicit. Just for the record.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:41 PM on August 31 [46 favorites]


WaPo, Maria Sacchetti, Still separated: Nearly 500 migrant children taken from their parents remain in U.S. custody

I remain haunted by a conversation I had months before the presidential election, in which I claimed "It's not like we need to start hiding away immigrants and have an underground railroad or anything."
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:50 PM on August 31 [35 favorites]


Calling this now: US border fuckery with Canada is going to cause an incident with an NHL team or player.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 2:53 PM on August 31 [9 favorites]


Democrats Field Competitive Candidates for Governor in the Midwest and South
Anyone elected this year will preside over their state’s redistricting after the 2020 census. Maps will be redrawn that not only affect House races, but state legislative districts as well.

As we head into the end of summer and the fall election cycle gears up another notch, Democrats have a lot to be hopeful about when it comes to those gubernatorial elections. A couple of weeks ago there was a lot of talk after critical primaries in Midwest states about the potential gains for Democrats. Then this week’s win by Andrew Gillum in Florida and David Garcia in Arizona demonstrated that, combined with Stacey Abrams’ victory in Georgia, Democrats are going to test a whole new strategy for politics in the South that could be a game-changer.
...
Looking at the predictions from both Real Clear Politics and the Cook Political Report, there are a total of ten states that currently have Republican governors where the race is rated a toss-up by one or both groups.
...
As we get more polling this fall, the list of states that are toss-ups will likely decrease. But the big take-away right now is that Democrats have fielded a slate of candidates who are competitive or leading in 12 states with Republican governors. To the extent they can be successful, it will be the next big step in building Democratic majorities both locally and nationally.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:54 PM on August 31 [7 favorites]


funny, Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug. i spent much of the campaign & ensuing transition period trying to convince my home-owning friends to prepare space in their homes for our friends and neighbors to safely hide (and to keep quiet about it, so that friends and neighbors would be able safely to hide there). most looked at me like i was crazy, the rest said so outright.

[on edit: not ha-ha funny]
posted by 20 year lurk at 2:55 PM on August 31 [13 favorites]


> Bloomberg: Manafort Associate Sam Patten Charged With Lobbying Law Violation

But wait, there's more.


One more thing, Mother Jones: Trump Associates Suspected of Misleading Congress Have a New Reason to Worry—
The Senate Intelligence Committee asked the Justice Department to prosecute Samuel Patten for perjury
. "While Special Counsel Robert Mueller has charged several Trump associates with lying to FBI agents, Patten becomes the first person in the Russia investigation that prosecutors have cited for lying to Congress. (Mueller referred Patten’s case to other Justice Department prosecutors.) Patten’s prosecution may signal more such charges to come. That’s potentially bad news for a handful of people connected to Trump who are suspected of giving misleading statements to lawmakers."

*cough*DonaldJr*cough*
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:56 PM on August 31 [32 favorites]


Sam Patten Criminal Information, if you like reading these kinds of things. I like to settle in with a glass of whisky and enjoy them, myself...
posted by mikelieman at 3:07 PM on August 31 [6 favorites]


Anecdata from the residential lawn sign battle: lawn signs have been proliferating in the last two weeks, and I've noticed, as I've driven around town, that the Democratic candidates all have 'Democrat' clearly visible on their signs.

I have not seen a single Republican lawn sign. Literally: If "Republican" is on the lawn signs of their opponents, it is so small/hidden as to be invisible to someone rolling past at 25-30mph.
posted by TwoStride at 3:20 PM on August 31 [10 favorites]


You know who is an immigrant with a DUI? Mischa Barton. When is ICE coming after her or Bai Ling (disorderly conduct)?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 3:20 PM on August 31




Barton and Bai Ling are both citizens. I have no doubt that TrumpCo would deport a lot of immigrant citizens if they could (and non-immigrant citizens, as with the border passport fiasco) but still, I believe both Barton and Bai were already citizens by the time their legal difficulties occurred.
posted by Justinian at 3:32 PM on August 31 [1 favorite]


Kavanaugh won't commit to recusal from Trump, Mueller-related matters

He's practically shouting I AM BEING PUT ON THE COURT IN ORDER TO DESTROY THE RULE OF LAW AND I WILL BE THERE FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIVES but you won't hear that from Schumer.

Well I'm sure that's the most disturbing headline I'll see in the next two minutes-

John Kerry won't rule out a 2020 presidential run

Oh.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:39 PM on August 31 [45 favorites]


Dukakis/Mondale 2020!
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:43 PM on August 31 [20 favorites]


This surely must have been mentioned elsewhere in the MeFi politics thread continuum, probably on multiple occasions, but earlier I was watching a DC Extended Universe film of a few years ago and reflecting that in Trump's America Superman / Clark Kent, as a newspaper reporter, is an Enemy of the People. Also Lois Lane and Spider-man/Peter Parker. And Kermit the Frog.
posted by XMLicious at 3:46 PM on August 31 [11 favorites]


Hey now, Jimmy Carter still has another term before he terms out! Let's do this.
posted by Justinian at 3:47 PM on August 31 [30 favorites]


Josh Marshall on how a Dem Congress should focus first on congressional investigations, before talking about impeachment.


Yes! But they also need to divide their time between investigations and plugging all of the loopholes Trump has exploited and formalize all of the norms he has shirked (especially "voluntary" ethics standards).

Some of that should be able to garner bipartisan support.
posted by duoshao at 3:50 PM on August 31 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Dems need to realize that strong criminal penalties for ethics violations are in their best interest. All "norms" need to be codified with severe penalties for breaking them.
posted by benzenedream at 4:12 PM on August 31 [10 favorites]



All "norms" need to be codified with severe penalties for breaking them.
posted by benzenedream at 4:12 PM on August 31



epony something
posted by yesster at 4:22 PM on August 31 [2 favorites]


A comic book reference two-fer!

My father, a neurosurgeon, started out as an educated elite, admiring William Buckley and reading National Review

I know I've mentioned this before, but fun fact: Willam F. Buckley was the original inspiration for Cobra Commander. The creator (Larry Hama) wanted a fascist who talked to hear himself speak.

earlier I was watching a DC Extended Universe film of a few years ago and reflecting that in Trump's America Superman / Clark Kent, as a newspaper reporter, is an Enemy of the People. Also Lois Lane and Spider-man/Peter Parker.

In fairness, Peter Parker is totally used to this. Headlines like "Spider-Man: Threat or Menace?" would be a comforting sign of normalcy by comparison to this reality.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:24 PM on August 31 [17 favorites]


Oh my god, John Kerry, SIT DOWN. Just sit down. Do your job, make the occasional speech, and sit down.

**waves fist angrily at sky**

Anyway, Ocasio-Cortez drawing fire for not being perfect in every way, therefore not as qualified to be in Congress, unlike geniuses like...Louie Gohmert.
posted by emjaybee at 4:41 PM on August 31 [38 favorites]


Dukakis/Mondale 2020!

Republicans are more likely to give their candidates second chances than Democrats are.

Nixon lost the general election to Kennedy in 1960 and won the presidency in 1968 and 1972. Reagan lost in the primaries to Ford in 1976 and won the presidency in 1980 and 1984. George H. W. Bush lost to Reagan in the 1980 primaries and was the vice-presidential candidate both times. George W. Bush won on his first try in 2000 and again in 2004. John McCain lost the 2000 primaries to Bush, then was the nominee in 2008. Mitt Romney lost to McCain in the 2000 primaries and was the nominee in 2012.

Hubert Humphrey lost the general election to Nixon in 1968 and never got the nomination again. George McGovern lost the general election to Nixon in 1972 and never got the nomination again. Jimmy Carter lost the general election to Reagan in 1980 and never ran for president again. Walter Mondale lost the general election to Reagan in 1984 and never ran for president again. Michael Dukakis lost the general election to Bush in 1988 and never ran for president again. Al Gore "lost" the general election to Bush in 2000 and never ran for president again. John Kerry lost the general election to Bush in 2004 and should never run for president again. Hilary Clinton "lost" the general election to Trump in 2018 and will likely never run for president again. Except for Clinton, Democrats that either lose in the primaries or in the general are usually one-and-done.

TIL Tip O'Neill and John Kerry were both lieutenant governors when Dukakis was governor.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:49 PM on August 31 [7 favorites]


Looking for a quick action you can take this weekend?

You can use the Save Competitive Telecom site to send a letter to the FCC opposing a petition from USTelecom to gut the 1996 Telecommunications Act and remove access to unbundled copper and inter-city fiber transport elements.

More info at Light Reading. (There's also a lengthy set of testimony about the economic impact of these provisions (PDF) if you're up for some very dense reading.)

TL;DR: if you live somewhere that has a small, local broadband carrier (like Sonic in the San Francisco area) - or if you wish you did - you have a chance to tell the FCC that you want small, local carriers to continue to have access to this infrastructure, and that removing that access would harm you.

If you've already made your quota of calls opposing Kavanaugh's confirmation, you may even want to call your members of congress about this.
posted by kristi at 4:55 PM on August 31 [7 favorites]


Having a well-received stint at Secretary of State is an excellent capstone for John Kerry's distinguished career. He should enjoy this time instead of making another uninspiring grab at the presidency.

Along with Hillary Clinton he's one of the best people to ever run for president, but he's approaching Mondale/Dukakis territory in being one of the least inspiring candidates. (Clinton's an OK public speaker but she had the huge disadvantages of being compared to her husband and Barack Obama, two of the most charismatic and inspiring candidates on record. And then there was whatever the fuck Trump is.)
posted by kirkaracha at 4:58 PM on August 31 [5 favorites]


Im making a blanket rule that I won’t vote for anyone 70 or over in the 2020 primary. Not Bernie, Kerry, Biden, or Warren. The Democratic Party has a serious leadership problem that cannot be addressed lining up behind yet another retread candidate with 30-40 years of baggage on the national stage.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:20 PM on August 31 [51 favorites]


From the Fake Books department: Today Seth Abramson released for pre-order Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America.

For the first time, the full, explosive record of the unthinkable: how a US president compromised American foreign policy in exchange for the promise of future business and covert election assistance.

Looking back at this moment in history, historians will ask if Americans knew they were living through the first case of criminal conspiracy between an American presidential candidate turned commander in chief and a geopolitical enemy. The answer might be: it was hard to see the whole picture. The stories coming in from around the globe have often seemed fantastical: clandestine meetings in foreign capitals, secret recordings in a Moscow hotel, Kremlin agents infiltrating the Trump inner circle...

Seth Abramson has tracked every one of these far-flung reports and now in, Proof of Collusion, he finally gives us a record of the unthinkable—a president compromising American foreign policy in exchange for the promise of future business and covert election assistance. The attorney, professor, and former criminal investigator has used his exacting legal mind and forensic acumen to compile, organize, and analyze every piece of the Trump-Russia story. His conclusion is clear: the case for collusion is staring us in the face.

posted by ottereroticist at 5:27 PM on August 31 [6 favorites]


David Shor on one way Texas stays reliably red despite its demographics. 39% of 18 year old citizens in Texas are (non-hispanic) white. But in the last midterms 75% of the 18 year old voters were white.

tl;dr white people vote.
posted by Justinian at 5:35 PM on August 31 [4 favorites]


Louisiana State Police pulled fake ‘Antifa’ list from neo-Nazi site and used it to target random people who’d signed an anti-Trump petition
[stands up]
I am ANTIFAcus!
posted by Nerd of the North at 5:48 PM on August 31 [10 favorites]


benzenedream: "Yeah, Dems need to realize that strong criminal penalties for ethics violations are in their best interest. All "norms" need to be codified with severe penalties for breaking them."

Preet Bahara was working with Christie Todd Whitman on coming up with a list of norms we need codified into law.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:05 PM on August 31 [19 favorites]


If case you need some good news, remeber the residents of 85 Bowery, mostly elderly Chinese immigrants who got kicked out of thier building after it was bought by a rich producer who declared the building unfit for human habitatation rather then let it lapse into rent stabilized and kicked them all out into the street and threw all thier stuff into a dumpster?

They got to go home today
posted by The Whelk at 6:17 PM on August 31 [36 favorites]


My god this story. LA Times, Cindy Carcamo, In mountains of Guatemala, searching for parents deported from U.S. without children
As Juan Carlos Villatoro approached a remote village in Guatemala’s western highlands, he yelled at his driver to stop so he could hail a skinny teenager in a motorized rickshaw.

Flashing a broad smile, he asked the boy to help him on his quest.

“Pardon me, youngster,” Villatoro began. “We are trying to find and help the deported parents who have children who are still detained in the United States. Do you know of a parent who is in this situation? We’d like to reunite them.”

The teen shook his head. “There’s nobody here like that,” he said.

It was a typical encounter for Villatoro, a Guatemalan lawyer turned impromptu detective in an urgent search for deported mothers and fathers with children still in the U.S. With a name serving as his only clue sometimes, he’s traveled twisting trails in cabs, minivans and teeth-rattling old buses to search mountain hamlets where Mayan tongues and suspicion often prevail.

“We don’t have telephone numbers. We don’t have exact addresses or email addresses,” Villatoro said. “There is nothing we can do but move forward and keep fighting and searching for these deported parents.”
...
Even when parents are found, the result isn’t always what the searchers might expect. Whereas parents of younger children yearn to be reunited, those of older children sometimes prefer they stay in the U.S. After all, they had left Guatemala for a better life, and perhaps, some parents rationalize, they are old enough to cope in the U.S.
...
Palacios found himself inside a shop before the town boss — the cocode — a man with a lazy eye, wispy mustache and shirt unbuttoned halfway down to his belly. He sat in a chair as an older man shined his shoes.

“Why isn’t the American government here, coming to find the children?” he asked. “It’s a sin.”
...
Castillo and Erik were the first in the family to journey to the U.S., driven north by poverty and mounting debt. Lanuza and the two other children were supposed to join them later.

Castillo, 39, said he and Erik were caught by border authorities once they reached the U.S. in early May. After the second day in detention, his son was taken away. The boy cried, and Castillo fruitlessly tried to console him.

Castillo said immigration officials forced him to sign documents despite his objections. He can’t read or write in English or Spanish and said he doesn’t know what he signed. Eight days later, he was deported. His son is detained in a shelter in Chicago, the father said.

“They tricked me. They said they would give him back to me when I was to be deported and they didn’t,” he told Palacios. “I want my son back. They did this to punish me. Those people are awful.”
The magnitude of what we've done is hard to fathom, but realizing that it involves a guy hiking up a mountain rural Guatemala in the hope of finding someone who knows something gives an idea of the scale of the tragedy.
posted by zachlipton at 6:23 PM on August 31 [84 favorites]


Oh, and now rumors are flying that Marco Rubio and some in the government are talking about military action in Venezuela, because things aren't awful enough.

It's not really a US politics story, yet anyway, but reading about Venezuela's migrant crisis is important to understanding the forces that are going to be shaping the region for a long time to come.

In the mean time, if you're wondering what the idiots in Rubio's office who run his twitter account are concerned about today, it's being upset about the lack of's an American flag in a movie about the moon landing and this, which is an utterly disgraceful thing for a US Senator to tweet:
Muslim governments around the world & liberal activists here at home loudly condemned what they called the U.S. “Muslim Travel Ban”, but they have been far less outraged as #China cracks down on #Uighur minority with mass detention camps.
Because apparently the idea that we should be better on human rights than China is something Rubio doesn't agree with.
posted by zachlipton at 6:33 PM on August 31 [8 favorites]


TIL Tip O'Neill and John Kerry were both lieutenant governors when Dukakis was governor.

That was actually Tip's kid, Thomas P. O'Neill III.
posted by adamg at 6:34 PM on August 31 [1 favorite]


I was gonna post that Venezuela thing but its too bonkers to happen. Right? Right? Military adventurism in South America? Did I wake up in the 80s?
posted by Justinian at 6:39 PM on August 31 [3 favorites]


Absolutely nothing is too bonkers to happen as long as it's awful.
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:41 PM on August 31 [15 favorites]


Preet Bahara was working with Christie Todd Whitman on coming up with a list of norms we need codified into law.

This is excellent. And honestly this needs to be legislative priority number one. Fixing healthcare can wait until we fix the democracy.
posted by duoshao at 6:43 PM on August 31 [10 favorites]


Because apparently the idea that we should be better on human rights than China is something Rubio doesn't agree with.

We cleared the incredibly low bar of turning Muslims away instead of incarerating them in the millions! USA! USA! USA!

Fuck Rubio is an idiot.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 6:59 PM on August 31 [5 favorites]


Absolutely nothing is too bonkers to happen as long as it's awful.

Everything previous presidents ever did, Trump is going to want to do, too.
posted by rhizome at 7:08 PM on August 31 [5 favorites]


AP, Trump administration withholds 100K Kavanaugh pages
The Trump administration is withholding more than 100,000 pages of Brett Kavanaugh’s records from the Bush White House on the basis of presidential privilege ahead of the Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation hearing.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was notified of the action Friday. George W. Bush’s attorney Bill Burck told the panel it had essentially completed its work compiling documents, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press. Bush directed them to err “on the side of transparency and disclosure, and we believe we have done so.”

But the current administration is also able to review the records, and the Trump White House “has directed that we not provide these documents,” the letter says.
posted by zachlipton at 7:08 PM on August 31 [29 favorites]


Everything previous presidents ever did, Trump is going to want to do, too.

By his second term (2023) according to the gap between Gulf War I and Gulf War II it'll be time for another romp in Iraq.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 7:10 PM on August 31


NY Magazine, Olivia Nuzzi, Why on Earth Is Trump Making Infomercials From the Rose Garden?
You may be wondering why, throughout the second half of August, the president of the United States has been standing in the Rose Garden and yelling.

On August 17, he yelled about manufacturing. On August 18, he yelled about trade and, later that day, he yelled about meeting with foreign leaders. On August 22, he yelled about the stock market. And on August 24, he yelled about the economy. The resulting video clips, which range from 23 to 60 seconds in length, are like stream-of-consciousness infomercials for the flimsy concept of #AIGGADW (America Is Getting Great Again, Don’t Worry). With his hands conducting dramatically at his sides, he began the first episode like this: “Made in America is back! Now, some people would say ‘Made in the USA’ — I personally don’t care. The fact is, we’re back.”

According to — I swear to God — five current and former officials from both Donald Trump’s White House and campaign as well as one former official from the Trump Organization, the purpose of this on-camera exercise is simple: It makes him feel (and, he believes, look) good. It’s also a reminder of a freer time in his life, on the 26th floor of Trump Tower, when he first perfected the cockeyed art of digital media virality with an off-the-cuff series of videos called From the Desk of Donald J. Trump and Ask the Donald.
There's a bunch in here on Trump's complaints about how he's lit in various parts of the White House and Air Force Once and his demands that he be lit like when he was on The Apprentice, but his start in social media and the relentless need to feed his ego is revealing:
McConney said when he got to the Trump Organization, Trump was so unfamiliar with the internet that he’d have McConney come into his office to read him his Twitter mentions out loud. Trump loved them. “He would say, ‘I wanna see more of these! Get me more, get me more!’” So McConney would print them out and bring them to his boss, who would take out his famous black Sharpie marker. “He’d circle ones he wanted to reply to, and I’d go back and do the replies.” This was back when Trump had a flip phone. (In 2012, when he got an Android, he began tweeting himself.)

McConney also taught Trump that the internet, beyond an ego boost, could have real value if you knew how to use it. “To him, unless it’s on TV or in the newspaper, because he’s old school, it’s not going to mean anything. So the first thing I thought of, What if I did these low-budget video blogs?” McConney said he would walk into his office with a small camera, ask him to respond to the news, and then post the video with the hopes that it would be aired on TV. The result was From the Desk of Donald J. Trump.

“The first one that was really a hit was, I don’t know if you remember this, but him and Sarah Palin went out to eat pizza, remember? And he used a fork and knife to eat pizza.” McConney walked up to Trump at his desk. “I said ‘Mr. Trump, can we do a video asking why you eat pizza with a fork and knife?’” After the video was posted, “every TV show’s playing it, every comedy show.” Trump called McConney back into his office the next morning. “He goes, ‘That was fantastic, I just had to shoot this little thing on this little camera, and it’s on every single TV station. It’s great,’” McConney said, doing a (pretty good) Trump impersonation.

“From that point on, he really saw the potential with social media … with free, earned media.” McConney began walking around with a camera in his pocket so he could leap into action whenever Trump decided he had something to say worth sharing with the world.

How the product looked was not of particular importance to Trump then, at least not compared to how well the product was doing by the numbers. McConney said there was a sort of mental barrier, where Trump didn’t consider images produced by an iPhone or existing only on the internet to be legitimate. “If it was shot on an iPhone, he didn’t seem to care. But if it involved professional equipment, he wanted to review them.”
We also have a former White House official who comments on why Trump obsesses over the lighting in his videos:
He wouldn’t be able to sit there and be like, ‘The media is pissed off at me because I’ve been doing a bunch of crazy shit that falls way outside the norms of political discourse and political behavior in this country.’ He can’t really say that. That requires the ability to have some self reflection. So instead he blames things like the lighting, or the team, or stuff like that.”
posted by zachlipton at 7:17 PM on August 31 [21 favorites]


He wouldn’t be able to sit there and be like, ‘The media is pissed off at me because I’ve been doing a bunch of crazy shit that falls way outside the norms of political discourse and political behavior in this country.’ He can’t really say that. That requires the ability to have some self reflection. So instead he blames things like the lighting, or the team, or stuff like that.”

He controls a little less than half of the world's nuclear weapons.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:23 PM on August 31 [10 favorites]


WRT the robocalls stuff, who are these people who actually still answer phone calls from numbers they don't recognize? Is this purely playing upon the geriatric?

I'm normally not susceptible to any sort of "conservatives will die off" kind of thinking, but surely this particular strategy is inherently short-lived.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:48 PM on August 31 [3 favorites]


I was gonna post that Venezuela thing but its too bonkers to happen. Right? Right? Military adventurism in South America? Did I wake up in the 80s?

There is no way Trump doesn't want a war

That's not to say he'll get one, but you know he wants one in the same way a 10 year old wants a BMX
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:09 PM on August 31 [20 favorites]


WRT the robocalls stuff, who are these people who actually still answer phone calls from numbers they don't recognize? Is this purely playing upon the geriatric?

I'm normally not susceptible to any sort of "conservatives will die off" kind of thinking, but surely this particular strategy is inherently short-lived.


And people that input their cell number into every site that asks on the internet. I.E. the Republican base. They wouldn't do it if it wasn't effective, the venn diagram between residential landlines and Republican voters in Florida probably approaches 1:1. Also just having the fact that a racist attack line is out there and being reported on amplifies the message and stirs up the proudboys and FOX viewers, reaching persuadable voters isn't really the point. It's a sort of reverse-virtue signaling that DeSantis is all in on the white supremacist message, vote Republican to keep America white.

We're going to see a lot of this shit, and a lot worse. Republicans are fully the party of the KKK now, the entire message is overt ethnic cleansing. They're openly wishing they could break out the machetes like the Hutus and slavering away at the day they can do it.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:30 PM on August 31 [12 favorites]


WRT the robocalls stuff, who are these people who actually still answer phone calls from numbers they don't recognize? Is this purely playing upon the geriatric?

Mostly yes. Just spent a couple weeks with my folks (in their late 70s) and they pretty much answer all calls. Their main phone does not display the incoming numbers.

David Shor on one way Texas stays reliably red despite its demographics. 39% of 18 year old citizens in Texas are (non-hispanic) white. But in the last midterms 75% of the 18 year old voters were white.

tl;dr white people vote.


This part was missing and most important. Emphasis mine.

"The big funnel is that white people make up 36% of 18-year-olds in Texas, 39% of citizen 18-year-olds, 61% of registered 18-year-olds, 67% of 18-year-old 2016 voters, and 75% of 18-year-old 2014 voters."

WHY TEXAS IS THE MOST DIFFICULT STATE IN THE COUNTRY TO REGISTER VOTERS
Every voter registrar must be a deputy and can only register voters in their own county: “In a state with 254 counties… that’s extremely burdensome.”


And

Texas’s Voter-Registration Laws Are Straight Out of the Jim Crow Playbook

Which is why, and I know I've posted this here before but it bears repeating, I donate to Battleground Texas. Wikipedia: "Battleground Texas has been involved in deputizing volunteers so that they can help other Texans register to vote."


I'm sure this was meant but always worth repeating: tl;dr white people can vote.
posted by Gotanda at 8:31 PM on August 31 [69 favorites]


There is no way Trump doesn't want a war

And you know it'll have to be the best war. The biggest. Really yuuuge. A bigger, more warlike war than any other president, or any human at all for that matter, has ever done.

On the plus side, we could probably just have it all done in CGI and just show it on the TV a lot.

Or, just have a couple of folks get in a barfight on his behalf, and then within a couple of months that one conflict will have multiplied in his mind/words into World War Awesome.
posted by The otter lady at 8:34 PM on August 31 [7 favorites]


Longest-serving Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice has been diagnosed with cancer but is not resigning [subtext: she's betting on Scott Walker being defeated in the fall, so his Democratic opponent Tony Evers can appoint her replacement].
posted by Jpfed at 8:37 PM on August 31 [18 favorites]


"Battleground Texas has been involved in deputizing volunteers so that they can help other Texans register to vote."

Then they are doing god's work. Because there is a massive untapped pool of potential Democratic voters in Texas. Probably the largest in the country for a potentially swing state.
posted by Justinian at 8:38 PM on August 31 [12 favorites]


Right! It is so worth bringing the fight to Texas. It is possible. If Beto beats Cruz or even comes close it's a signal of hope and that voting is worth it.
posted by Gotanda at 8:41 PM on August 31 [4 favorites]


For anybody who feared that the recent WaPo poll was an outlier, some further confirmation:

Trump's Approval Number Nose-Dives, Dems' Blue Wave Might Be Building: IBD/TIPP Poll
Just 36% say they approve of the job President Trump is doing, a 5-point drop from last month, according to the latest IBD/TIPP poll. Fifty six percent disapprove of Trump's job performance, up from 53% the month before. [...]

The broader IBD/TIPP Presidential Leadership Index plunged 11.6% to 40.4. That's one of the biggest monthly drops since IBD started tracking this index in January 2000. [...]

Trump lost significant ground on job approval with Republicans this month, which fell from 83% last month to 76% this month. [...]

Last month, the IBD/TIPP poll showed registered voters split at 45%-45% on whether Congress should be controlled by Republicans or Democrats. The current poll shows Democrats with an 11-point advantage.
FiveThirtyEight rates pollster IBD/TIPP with an A- and an R+0.8 house effect.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:45 PM on August 31 [31 favorites]


Trump's Approval Number Nose-Dives, Dems' Blue Wave Might Be Building: IBD/TIPP Poll

Fivethirtyeight currently has his average approval at its lowest since April and his disapproval at its highest since February. It's not conclusive that he's taking a nosedive straight into the shitter, but it's not nothing.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:57 PM on August 31 [6 favorites]


This is a particularly intriguing couple of results since the highest quality polling outfits are showing the biggest moves in Trump's numbers. IBD, ABC/Wapo, Ipsos, and Suffolk have all come out in the last couple days and are all showing Trump at 36-40 approve and 56-60 disapprove. The other three top tier pollsters at NBC, Fox, and Monmouth were all in the field about 10 days ago and all were showing numbers about 5 points higher in approval and 5 points lower in disapproval.

So it's definitely possible that there has been a -5/+5 point move in the last 10 days. I'm gonna wait another week or so before feeling hope, though, because hope is the enemy. We've seen occasionally blips which likely reflect statistical noise. But as I said this one is interesting because of the consistency in the results from the best pollsters.
posted by Justinian at 9:10 PM on August 31 [2 favorites]


It's still 2 months from election day. Americans are stupid and have no memory, and 2 months is approximately 120 new cycles. The Comey letter was 9 days before 2016.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:24 PM on August 31 [34 favorites]


Some late news.

The defense sentencing memorandum was filed for Papadopoulos. It reads kind of strangely; a few clips (emphasis added)
George’s photograph at this meeting flashed around the world via Twitter. Eager to show his value to the campaign, George announced at the meeting that he had connections that could facilitate a foreign policy meeting between Mr. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. While some in the room rebuffed George’s offer, Mr. Trump nodded with approval and deferred to Mr. Sessions who appeared to like the idea and stated that the campaign should look into it.
...
George joined Professor Mifsud for breakfast in London on April 26, 2016, with the intention of finalizing plans for the foreign policy meeting. It was during this breakfast meeting, however, that Professor Mifsud told George that individuals in Moscow possessed “dirt” on candidate Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.” Not knowing what to make of this comment, George continued his efforts to make the Trump – Russia meeting a reality. As he expressed in an email to Professor Mifsud, George believed that the meeting would be “history making.” While the meeting never occurred, George sincerely thought that he could be at the center of a globally significant event.
...
He detailed a meeting in late May 2016 where he revealed to the Greek Foreign Minister that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. He explained that this meeting took place days before President Vladimir Putin traveled to Greece to meet with Greek officials
....
In his hesitation, George lied, minimized, and omitted material facts. Out of loyalty to the new president and his desire to be part of the administration, he hoisted himself upon his own petard
...
George Papadopoulos is now a convicted felon. When it came time to make a good decision he made a bad one. His arrest and prosecution served as notice to all involved that this was a serious investigation. He was the first domino, and many have fallen in behind. Despite the gravity of his offense, it is important to remember what Special Counsel said at George’s plea of guilty: he was just a small part of a large-scale investigation.
They'd like a sentence of straight probation, except they'd also like the probation to end immediately, on the basis that he's been supervised by pretrial services for the past 13 months.

BuzzFeed, Geidner, The Trump Administration Is Keeping 100,000 Pages Of Brett Kavanaugh's Records Secret
A letter sent to Senate leaders on Friday night details that the Trump administration-withheld documents — which amount to more than 100,000 pages — including advice on judicial nominations and "advice submitted directly to President Bush; substantive communications between White House staff about communications with President Bush; and substantive, deliberative discussions relating to or about executive orders or legislation considered by the Executive Office of the President."

In total, 27,110 of Brett Kavanaugh's documents from his time in the White House counsel's office under Bush — 101,921 pages — are not being turned over to senators considering his Supreme Court nomination at the direction of the Trump administration, a letter obtained by BuzzFeed News details.
BuzzFeed, An Army Director Hired To A Top Immigration Post Spewed Anti-Muslim Comments On Facebook — Then He Lost The Job, in which yet another appointee turns out to be an Islamophobe.
posted by zachlipton at 10:25 PM on August 31 [16 favorites]


This makes perfect sense. Trump had the comments leaked so he could complain about how they were leaked.
@realDonaldTrump Wow, I made OFF THE RECORD COMMENTS to Bloomberg concerning Canada, and this powerful understanding was BLATANTLY VIOLATED. Oh well, just more dishonest reporting. I am used to it. At least Canada knows where I stand!
@maggieNYT This literally never happens, that the OTR portions of these interviews leaks. Most people close to White House have raised possibility that Trump ordered it put out.
posted by scalefree at 10:39 PM on August 31 [21 favorites]


The Trump Administration Is Keeping 100,000 Pages Of Brett Kavanaugh's Records Secret

The Senate isn't even privy to a Supreme Court nominee's past legal thinking? How can they claim to have vetted him?
posted by xammerboy at 10:50 PM on August 31 [13 favorites]


Even the obvious milquetoast response would be to say that they politely disagree with the Trump administration's interpretation of presidential privilege but would be happy to examine a judge where the administration had not applied a disqualifying level of secrecy.

Insert a folksy aphorism about a pig in a poke if you must.
posted by jaduncan at 10:57 PM on August 31 [5 favorites]


Mike Pence and His Talent for Being Absent - Dick Polman, The Atlantic

Pence seems loyal to Trump and stubbornly mute when asked for his opinion. Yet ...
But while Pence endures embarrassment and plays the loyal soldier, he is slowly building his own political organization—including the Great America Committee, the first time a veep early in his first term has formed a PAC—and collecting IOUs from campaigning Republicans, all in preparation for the potential day of ascent. It’s ironic—some would call it darkly comedic—that a conservative Christian moralist was rescued from an imperiled Indiana governorship by a man of manifestly shaky morals, and that he now stands ready to benefit from their odd coupling (his allies say, “Mike will be ready”), but that’s politics. Or perhaps it is God’s will.

[Michael D’Antonio and Peter Eisener, authors of the new biography: The Shadow President: The Truth About Mike Pence] say that Pence believes the latter. They cite his favorite Bible verse: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” They cite Pence’s oft-quoted description of himself as “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.” Indeed, they write: “Some may laugh, but many conservative Christians believe that God is merely using Trump to prepare the way for a so-called true man of faith.”
...
But while this debate over Pence’s suitability rages on, it’s still unclear whether, or to what extent, Pence is entwined with the Trump regime’s Russia woes. It’s the old Howard Baker question, rebooted from the 1973 Senate Watergate hearings: What did Pence know, and when did he know it? There are lingering questions about Pence’s knowledge of Michael Flynn’s preinaugural back-channel dealings with Russia while President Barack Obama was meting out sanctions. There are lingering questions about Pence’s knowledge of the true reasons for the Comey firing. Pence might still be a target, or a suspect—or a potential witness. And by dint of his job, he is the one aide that Trump can’t fire.

Pence is mostly mute these days, except at private Republican fund-raisers, but events beyond his control may propel him to the foreground. And perhaps the biggest question is whether he will be irrevocably tainted by association.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:08 PM on August 31 [6 favorites]


If Kavanaugh is appointed I would think the retention of all this information (these are legal opinions, right?) would make him a prime candidate for impeachment at a later, sane time.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:13 PM on August 31 [1 favorite]


Impeachment is political, etc, etc. But still I think you'll have a hard time impeaching a judge for their legal opinions before they were even appointed.
posted by ryanrs at 12:09 AM on September 1 [2 favorites]


Impeachment not for his legal opinions but for the unethical manner in which he was appointed. You know, like, they like fucking cheated man!
Similar but different I came across a reference somewhere about Thomas also being up for impeachment - here I think the point was that he lied about Anita Hill and his having harassed her. He could more rightly be impeached for being a slacker.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:57 AM on September 1 [5 favorites]


Even if somehow 16 or 17 or 18 Republican Senators can be shamed into impeaching Trump after ironclad evidence of direct conspiracy with a hostile foreign power is uncovered... and that's a big damn if... there is no universe in which they agree to impeach Gorsuch or Kavanaugh. None. Might as well write some fanfic about FDR coming back to life and getting superpowers and personally carrying Trump and his whole family to prison.

I don't have a good answer here. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, and thus Trump, are going to fuck us for 40 years. But some kinda magical realism fantasy where they get removed won't help.
posted by Justinian at 1:07 AM on September 1 [33 favorites]


the unethical manner in which he was appointed

That seems an even less convincing reason to impeach. All that appointing and confirming and the withholding of documents is stuff other people did, not Kavanaugh, right?
posted by ryanrs at 1:08 AM on September 1 [1 favorite]


Uh, seriously though - yes, it should be Schumer’s task/ life’s work to keep Kavanaugh off the bench but when he fails to do so (which appears to be how things are going to shake out if they keep on the way they are going) ...
maybe the most difficult part of my relationship with ‘America’ is the fact that the parts of it I love: the constitution, rule of law, intelligence and hardworking representatives, are brought to life by humans and humans fuck things up. And lately it seems like nothing but fuck-ups - which moves me to fantasize about some rosy future when at least some wrongs are righted. Among those, Kavanaugh and (also arguably) Gorsuch. Sigh.
Robert Reich recently had a post advocating for the annulment of the entire Trump administration. On the face of it’s an extreme position but the sentiment rings true. “This is all a fucking perversion and an abomination!” (Ironically, of course this kind of incitement is what the right preaches through their own media outlets.)
So, how do we summon good-zombie FDR cause god knows we could use him right about now.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:22 AM on September 1 [9 favorites]


I am curious about how Trump can claim Presidential privilege for opinions given to Bush. GWB's attorney did not claim privilege for these items.
I seem to recall Nixon claiming that he was protecting the privilege of future Presidents, but Trump is acting in the name of a past President. In other words, he wants to control history.
posted by CCBC at 2:40 AM on September 1 [19 favorites]


Robert Reich recently had a post advocating for the annulment of the entire Trump administration.

If this were possible, R's would have already done it to Obama.
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:02 AM on September 1 [10 favorites]


Perhaps, but there is significant public sentiment against this current illegitimate administration, and as much as republicans complained about Obama he was popular with everyone else. Trump just isn’t popular with anyone but the craziest people in our society. I’m tired of assuming the will of the majority can’t ever be realized.

49% of Americans think Trump should be impeached. That’s a lot! Way more than ever thought Obama (33%) or even Clinton (29%) should have been.
posted by rainydayfilms at 5:26 AM on September 1 [9 favorites]


Also, who knows how many people are only against impeachment because then we get Pence? So, I think the number who would impeach for a clean slate president could be higher.
posted by rainydayfilms at 5:28 AM on September 1 [3 favorites]




I’m tired of assuming the will of the majority can’t ever be realized.

Let me introduce you to the United States Senate, where 52 seats are controlled by only 37% of the population.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:43 AM on September 1 [11 favorites]


"The man who is possessed of wealth, who lolls on his sofa, or rolls in his carriage, cannot judge of the wants or feelings of the day laborer. The government we mean to erect is intended to last for ages. The landed interest, at present, is prevalent; but in process of time, when we approximate to the states and kingdoms of Europe; when the number of landholders shall be comparatively small, through the various means of trade and manufactures, will not the landed interest be overbalanced in future elections, and unless wisely provided against, what will become of your government? In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of the landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The senate, therefore, ought to be this body; and to answer these purposes, they ought to have permanency and stability. Various have been the propositions; but my opinion is, the longer they continue in office, the better will these views be answered."
James Madison from Notes at the Constitutional Convention.
posted by Harry Caul at 6:09 AM on September 1 [25 favorites]


"The man who is possessed of wealth, who LOLs on his sofa, cannot judge of the wants or feelings of the day laborer.” @JimmyMadz420
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:15 AM on September 1 [25 favorites]


I am curious about how Trump can claim Presidential privilege for opinions given to Bush. GWB's attorney did not claim privilege for these items.

It's not entirely illogical - if you know your conversations about delicate matters will be revealed while you're still alive, you may well not explore things that should be explored. Or things that could still be harmful if revealed twenty years later may not get dealt with.

Which is why you have well-defined rules about confidentiality and expiry periods. You don't get to pull it out of your arse in front of a judge.
posted by Devonian at 6:40 AM on September 1


Yeah. Paris has been around for 2,000 years, and look how many times the dominating culture in France has turned over. Germany went from the Third Reich to an extremely well-functioning democracy in 70 years. Czechia had a vote on what to call their country. Let’s not buy into the Republican bullshit idea of how the Constitution is simultaneously unchangeable and yet constantly endangered. It’s not a Galapagos giant tortoise, it’s a document that has been amended over two dozen times. We can do it again.
posted by Autumnheart at 6:44 AM on September 1 [49 favorites]



Bank of America freezing accounts of customers suspected of not being US citizens


It is perfectly legal for residents of America who are not citizens to have bank accounts. There are over 13 million legal residents of America who are not citizens.
posted by srboisvert at 6:51 AM on September 1 [36 favorites]


Re: Papadopoulos : They'd like a sentence of straight probation, except they'd also like the probation to end immediately, on the basis that he's been supervised by pretrial services for the past 13 months.

I'd think he should get at least what Reality Winner got. That goes for all of them in fact.
posted by M-x shell at 6:54 AM on September 1 [12 favorites]


While we're on the topics of tariffs and stupidity, the EU offered to reduce car tariffs to zero if the US would reciprocate. Donny from Queens responded with “It’s not good enough. Their consumer habits are to buy their cars, not to buy our cars.”

Isn't the Ford Mustang the only car that major american manufacturers are making now? I understood they went all in on SUVs, crossovers and trucks and have abandoned the car category almost entirely to their foreign owned competition.
posted by srboisvert at 6:55 AM on September 1 [1 favorite]


The Trump administration is withholding more than 100,000 pages of Brett Kavanaugh’s records from the Bush White House on the basis of presidential privilege ahead of the Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation hearing.

...the current administration is also able to review the records, and the Trump White House “has directed that we not provide these documents,” the letter says.


"They're obviously trying to hide something" needs to be a constant refrain from Democrats, especially in the upcoming sham of a confirmation hearing.
posted by Gelatin at 7:01 AM on September 1 [27 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump Wow, I made OFF THE RECORD COMMENTS to Bloomberg concerning Canada, and this powerful understanding was BLATANTLY VIOLATED. Oh well, just more dishonest reporting. I am used to it. At least Canada knows where I stand!*

@maggieNYT This literally never happens, that the OTR portions of these interviews leaks. Most people close to White House have raised possibility that Trump ordered it put out.


Of course Maggie Haberman's backing up Trump by passing on the suggestion that he wanted this diplomatic screw-up to happen. "Most people close to White House" could be anyone, including people Trump's been talking to in order to cover his ass.

Meanwhile, her fellow Trump Whisperer Axios's Jon Swan (@jonathanvswan) points out two possibilities: "Zero percent chance Jen or Margaret broke an off the record. Either came from a WH official or from a screw up in Bloomberg’s internal handling of their interview transcript."

And Dale counters, "Maggie's right that this almost never happens, but it has happened once before: when the WSJ wouldn't release a transcript of its Trump interview last year, Politico published the whole thing, off-record parts included: https://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/01/trump-wall-street-journal-interview-full-transcript-241214"

And defends his story: "Trump suggested that Bloomberg was the one that printed his off-record comments to Bloomberg, which is obviously false. He also said they "said" they were violating their promise, which is a lie. And he provided no evidence it was them that leaked, though I can't say either way."

Meanwhile, @realDonaldTrump's continuing to complain, "Still can’t believe that Bloomberg violated a firm OFF THE RECORD statement. Will they put out an apology?"

To which Dale responds, "It’s safe to say the president has no idea if Bloomberg violated its commitment to him or not."

* The NYT's Katie Rogers (@ katierogers) notes: "Sent as POTUS is seen (clearly not on his phone) saying hello to greeters at Charlotte airport."
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:02 AM on September 1 [25 favorites]


Isn't the Ford Mustang the only car that major american manufacturers are making now? I understood they went all in on SUVs, crossovers and trucks and have abandoned the car category almost entirely to their foreign owned competition.

No. Ford announced a move toward going mostly with crossovers, but Chrysler/Dodge and Chevy still make plenty of sedans, coupes and hatchbacks.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:09 AM on September 1 [5 favorites]


(And Ford would love to sell you a sedan: the Lincoln Continental (look at these freaking seats).)
posted by box at 7:15 AM on September 1 [1 favorite]


So it's safe to say that Daniel Dale probably doesn't know who leaked the Bloomberg bit to his paper (the Toronto Star)? I hadn't thought before how the wall of anonymity works with leaks; I figured the reporter always knows the source.

(Kind of amazing that this is even a story, because it fits completely with everything else the president has ever said about Canada. But I guess it meant the loss of some amount of plausible deniability, just as his behavior in Helsinki did so when it came to the question of his relationship with Putin.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:28 AM on September 1 [1 favorite]


Dale had lined up his source on Thursday night: "Bloomberg is so far releasing only tiny quote snippets from its Trump interview, not a full transcript.

"A source tells me Trump made some additional comments about Canada that the Canadian government would not like, some but not all of them off the record."

He also casts cold water on the idea Trump deliberately made those provocative statements in order for them to be leaked: "This is possible but I am doubtful. The White House very much did not want this published."

Finally, "I won’t be commenting on the source of the leaked quotes."

My own betting is that Dale dug up a copy of Bloomberg's internal transcript through his own sympathetic contacts, especially if Bloomberg's internal routing slipped up while they were teasing out the story. It's possible Dale wouldn't know if Trump secretly directed a third party to leak his comments, but I'm going to go with a Trumpian variation of Hanlon's Razor: "Never attribute to Machiavellianism that which is adequately explained by stupidity." And the Trump White House has stupidity in abundance.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post's Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) observes, "Literally every Washington power player -- Democratic and Republican, past and present -- is at McCain's funeral, except the sitting president, who is tweeting his grievances about the DOJ and FBI." (To be fair, Trump's also been catching up on Fox News and tweeting Dan Bongino on the Steele Dossier.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:52 AM on September 1 [27 favorites]


And now, because the D.C. establishment is attending McCain's funeral without him, @realDonaldTrump is tweeting ultimatums to Capitol Hill: "There is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal. If we don’t make a fair deal for the U.S. after decades of abuse, Canada will be out. Congress should not interfere w/ these negotiations or I will simply terminate NAFTA entirely & we will be far better off...
"....Remember, NAFTA was one of the WORST Trade Deals ever made. The U.S. lost thousands of businesses and millions of jobs. We were far better off before NAFTA - should never have been signed. Even the Vat Tax was not accounted for. We make new deal or go back to pre-NAFTA!"

Dale comments:
Congress to Trump: You need to keep Canada in the deal, and you might not have the legal right to proceed with Mexico alone

Trump to Congress: Nope and nope — and I’ll just kill the current NAFTA if you don’t let me proceed with Mexico alone

Trump has repeatedly threatened to terminate NAFTA if he doesn’t get a good deal, but this is the first time he’s said he’ll terminate NAFTA if Congress doesn’t let him do what he wants this month.

One interesting thing here: Trump’s off the record comments to Bloomberg suggested that he wants Canada in the deal — he didn’t want the comments released because he didn’t want to blow things up. Publicly, though, he claims indifference.

[...] Trump constantly says both of these things at once - we’d be far better off without any North American trade deal, but we’re negotiating a good deal. It’s like he’s both the good cop and the bad cop in the same sentence.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:30 AM on September 1 [13 favorites]


He might have been bodily forbidden, but he still sent his vile seed.

Jared and Ivanka attend John McCain's memorial service
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:33 AM on September 1 [3 favorites]


We make new deal or go back to pre-NAFTA!"


So, back to just the Canada-US FTA then, before Mexico was added? What am I saying, this man has no knowledge of history.
posted by nubs at 8:43 AM on September 1 [5 favorites]


At least McCain disinvited Palin.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:52 AM on September 1 [13 favorites]


Might as well write some fanfic about FDR coming back to life and getting superpowers and personally carrying Trump and his whole family to prison.

Do you have a Patreon page?
posted by Reverend John at 8:58 AM on September 1 [35 favorites]


Don't know where to put this, but I want to scream at all the progressives on twitter today enjoying the shade his daughter threw at the Orange Menace during the funeral. Yeah, please list five things her father did that were in line with progressive values. Sheesh, it's like people rehabbing Dumbya, Bringer of Unnecessary Wars, whose response to Katrina set the precedent for PaperTowelsInPuertoRico Don.
posted by NorthernLite at 9:24 AM on September 1 [18 favorites]


What is Trump’s actual problem with NAFTA? Did it have any impact on any of his businesses at any point? I can’t imagine he’d give a shit about it if it never affected him personally. He obviously has no idea how trade agreements work or even what they’re for. Is it just that he thinks any kind of a deal involving non-white people can’t be any good? Is it part of Putin’s marching orders for him (destabilize all Western power)? What even is all this bullshit?
posted by wabbittwax at 9:28 AM on September 1 [4 favorites]


What is Trump’s actual problem with NAFTA?

He probably thinks it was an Obama policy pushed by liberals. Of course he wouldn't realize that on the Canadian side it was pushed through by Brian Mulroney who freaking serenaded Trump at Mar a lago last year.
posted by srboisvert at 9:34 AM on September 1 [2 favorites]


Matthew Yglesias: "I am not observant in any way but nothing makes me feel more Jewish in my bones than watching goys take their sweet time before burying the dead."
posted by JackFlash at 9:36 AM on September 1 [22 favorites]


What is Trump’s actual problem with NAFTA?

It's just an agreement, not a deal, and certainly not A Deal He Was Involved Instrumental In.
posted by Stoneshop at 9:43 AM on September 1 [1 favorite]


Bloomberg, as an ex-Bloomberg ex-journo I was talking to said, is an awful lot of people's last job in journalism. It is notorious for burning people out not just of the job but the career There are thus lots of people both in and out of the company who regard it with something of a jaundiced eye, and while not actually disloyal certainly prepared to act in ways not in line with corporate dictat. Leaks? Absolutely.
posted by Devonian at 9:50 AM on September 1 [13 favorites]


Gotanda - thanks for your comment about Battleground Texas and their essential work registering voters in Texas, where there are terrible barriers to registering voters.

From just the last few days in the Battleground Texas Twitter feed:
We registered 500 students to vote in El Paso this week.

My Google docs are breaking. #TeamBGTX is about to close its strongest voter registration month. In the last 6 days alone our 11 organizers and volunteers have registered over 2,100 voters in Texas! Damn. #GameOn @BGTX

I’ve been registering people at colleges, mosques, churches, festivals, etc. The most important thing I’ve learned is that you have to meet people where they’re at.
And wise words from a couple of weeks ago:
Don’t rely on the wave. Rely on the work!
As they posted on August 22, there are less than 50 days until the voter registration deadline.

The best defense against complacency OR despair is action.
posted by kristi at 10:20 AM on September 1 [36 favorites]


BuzzFeed, Geidner, The Trump Administration Is Keeping 100,000 Pages Of Brett Kavanaugh's Records Secret

A letter sent to Senate leaders on Friday night details that the Trump administration-withheld documents — which amount to more than 100,000 pages — including advice on judicial nominations and "advice submitted directly to President Bush; substantive communications between White House staff about communications with President Bush; and substantive, deliberative discussions relating to or about executive orders or legislation considered by the Executive Office of the President."


Trump might or might not have a legitimate executive privilege claim, but that doesn't matter. In the absence of material needed to advise and consent, the Senate is not at all obligated to consider Kavanaugh's nomination until and unless the documents are handed over. If Republicans were looking out for their legislative privileges and not the Republican Party über alles, they would easily obtain the document. They won't, of course, because they want him confirmed while they can, so they're willing to go along with whatever Trump wants to cover up.
posted by Gelatin at 10:21 AM on September 1 [15 favorites]


Ok, I'm experiencing a new-to-me annoyance of primary season:

How TF do I stop getting texts from campaigns asking for my vote??
posted by TwoStride at 11:17 AM on September 1


You can't. So far those text messages are perfectly legal, as long as they are sent individually (usually by volunteers). You can text UNSUBSCRIBE back to individual texters and they may or may not choose to honor that, but there's no blanket protection short of not having a cell-phone.
posted by one for the books at 11:26 AM on September 1 [1 favorite]


An interesting WaPo piece on political messaging: The answer to GOP dog whistles? Democrats should talk more about race, not less.

A group called Demos Action did some phone-based testing of different messages. Measured by "dial rating" (which I assume means the listener pressed a phone button to "score" their feelings or something) they found the highest success for statements combining messages about race and class, rather than focusing on just one, the other, or neither. Specifically this message:
“No matter where we come from or what our color, most of us work hard for our families. But today, certain politicians and their greedy lobbyists hurt everyone by handing kickbacks to the rich, defunding our schools, and threatening seniors with cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Then they turn around and point the finger for our hard times at poor families, Black people, and new immigrants. We need to join together with people from all walks of life to fight for our future, just like we won better wages, safer workplaces, and civil rights in our past. By joining together, we can elect new leaders who work for all of us, not just the wealthy few.”
A sort of equivalent was also true on the other side -- conservative messages came through stronger with an implicit racial tone than without it. (I have mixed feelings about the ethics of conducting that second part, because it feels like exposing people to toxic fumes for the purposes of an experiment, but that's no different than what typical headlines do anyway.)

So an overall conclusion one may draw is that the set of Americans who are truly "neutral" on race, at least in terms of responsiveness to messaging, is inconsequential. Centrist talking heads insisting it's best for Democrats to "get past" race are speaking solely for themselves (or are ultimately sided with the conservatives, where "getting past" race actually means "engaging in white-supremacist politics to one's heart's content without being called on it").

One big caveat: if this study's conclusions are correct, while Democrats can and should address racism head-on, they need to frame it as something that elites/conservatives/Republicans promulgate so as to redirect blame and sow discord (which certainly is true) rather than as a problem with white people/culture collectively (also very true, but unsurprisingly harder to win votes for).
posted by InTheYear2017 at 11:40 AM on September 1 [30 favorites]


How TF do I stop getting texts from campaigns asking for my vote??

You can get a new number, and turn the old one into a virtual number, and only forward texts and calls from a white list you maintain. Once in a while you go check your new "spam folder", but at your convenience and without getting all the notifications.

https://www.tossabledigits.com/
posted by M-x shell at 11:44 AM on September 1 [6 favorites]


Dale comes to the defense of his peers at Bloomberg in a new Twitter thread:
I’d said I wasn’t going to say anything about my source for the quotes Trump made off the record to Bloomberg.

However, I don’t want to be party to the president’s smearing of excellent, ethical journalists. So I can say this: none of the Bloomberg interviewers was my source.

Trump is calling Jennifer Jacobs, Margaret Talev and their editor liars. They aren’t, and they didn’t violate their “off the record” promise to him. I don’t want to be a party to his attempt to make fellow reporters look deceitful.

So: I’m not going to engage in an “OK if it isn’t them than who was it” game, but the president is incorrect when he claims he was wronged by his interviewers.

Maybe I should have expected the president would confirm a Toronto Star story (!) and use this to go after Bloomberg reporters, but I did not - thought it was likely he’d either a) ignore it or b) or call it fake news and go after my own ethics, which would’ve been fine.

Anyway, this is an unusual thing to do, but this is an unusual situation. That’s all.
Perhaps Dale, for all his close observation of Trump, was naive about his story prompting such a reaction, but this example only further confirms Trump's Law of Misogyny: When Trump feels angry and insecure, he attacks women personally.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:56 AM on September 1 [51 favorites]


Hmmmm maybe this is why Trump is after Bruce Ohr now:

A Failed U.S. Mission: Secretly Flipping a Russian Oligarch for Dirt on Trump Campaign
Between 2014 and 2016, the F.B.I. and the Justice Department unsuccessfully tried to turn Mr. Deripaska into an informant.
...
Two of the players in the effort were Bruce G. Ohr, the Justice Department official who has recently become a target of attacks by Mr. Trump, and Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled a dossier of purported links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:27 PM on September 1 [9 favorites]


If you are a Minnesota resident, once a year you can donate $50 to a campaign and have it refunded by the state of Minnesota as a Political Contribution Refund. Eligible races include people running for the Minnesota House or Senate, Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and State Auditor.

You can donate to ANY statewide campaign - even if you do not live in their district. Naomi Kritzer outlines some of the most flippable races that could use your help...even if you live in a very blue district like the 5th (Minneapolis and a few lucky suburbs).

You’ll want a receipt for your donation, which you send in with this form by postal mail. A couple of weeks later, you’ll get a check for $50.
posted by Elly Vortex at 12:37 PM on September 1 [41 favorites]


A Failed U.S. Mission: Secretly Flipping a Russian Oligarch for Dirt on Trump Campaign
Between 2014 and 2016, the F.B.I. and the Justice Department unsuccessfully tried to turn Mr. Deripaska into an informant. They signaled that they might provide help with his trouble in getting visas for the United States or even explore other steps to address his legal problems. In exchange, they were hoping for information on Russian organized crime and, later, on possible Russian aid to President Trump’s 2016 campaign, according to current and former officials and associates of Mr. Deripaska.[...]

The systematic effort to win the cooperation of the oligarchs, which has not previously been revealed, does not appear to have scored any successes. And in Mr. Deripaska’s case, he told the American investigators that he disagreed with their theories about Russian organized crime and Kremlin collusion in the campaign, a person familiar with the exchanges said. The person added that Mr. Deripaska even notified the Kremlin about the American efforts to cultivate him.[...]

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an initiative that remains classified. Most expressed deep discomfort, saying they feared that in revealing the attempts to cultivate Mr. Deripaska and other oligarchs they were undermining American national security and strengthening the grip that Mr. Putin holds over those who surround him.

But they also said they did not want Mr. Trump and his allies to use the program’s secrecy as a screen with which they could cherry-pick facts and present them, sheared of context, to undermine the special counsel’s investigation. That, too, they said they feared, would damage American security.
Emphasis added because who really are these sources and why is this operation being blown now?! Deripaska's rep comes out looking much better than it was after Manafort's EDVA trial, especially just when his former partner's D.C. one is getting in gear.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:42 PM on September 1 [4 favorites]


Emphasis added because who really are these sources and why is this operation being blown now?!

Based on that second paragraph you italicized, I'd guess they're career DOJ people pissed about Trump's attacks on Ohr. And probably pessimistic about the operation's chances of success. I really don't think a journalist would characterize their sources that way if they were Trumpers. But also, yeah, c'mon.
posted by cudzoo at 12:50 PM on September 1 [3 favorites]


Based on that second paragraph you italicized, I'd guess they're career DOJ people pissed about Trump's attacks on Ohr.

Yes, those ones are the most closely identified in the article, but I also highlighted the "associates of Mr. Deripaska". In particular, there's the "person familiar with the exchanges" in which Deripaska told American investigators that he disagreed with "their theories" about Trump's Russian mafiya ties and Kremlin collusion—which look a lot less theoretical in 2018 than they did in 2016. And when the NYT talked to Adam Waldman for this article, they don't mention how he visited Julian Assange nine times in 2017, for reasons that remain unknown. There's a lot more in going on in this story than Ohr's ostensible allies suddenly vouching for his investigative diligence, especially in a story that can be spun to fit the conspiracy theories of Trumpists (speaking of which, what's Ezra Cohen-Watnick been up to since he joined the DoJ?).
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:07 PM on September 1 [1 favorite]


Trump's opposition to NAFTA, NATO, WTO, EU, CIA, FBI, these institutions help the american economy and military strength and oppose/resist Russian strength. Trump's actions are rational. He's on team Russia. His rhetoric is nonsense, because he's an american president working against america and for russia. But his actions are consistently rational. Whether this is voluntary or because of Putin's use of Kompromat is a footnote. Trump will choose at each junction the policy that harms america and its allies, and benefits russia. A war in North Korea, or Venezeula would probably fit the bill... maybe Iran. Getting the US into conflict with china, getting the US out of the UN.... etc
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 1:13 PM on September 1 [38 favorites]


What is Trump’s actual problem with NAFTA?

I would say his main problem now with NAFTA is that Trudeau is younger, better looking, and more popular in the world media. I am completely serious, because that's the level the Trumpanzee operates on.

And, as a Canadian, I have never experienced hostility like this from a US president before. It's bizarre and worrisome, like some low grade sci-fi story about the US invading Canada and these are the opening chapters.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 1:14 PM on September 1 [39 favorites]


They cite Pence’s oft-quoted description of himself as “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.”

Anyone who aspires to public office needs to be an American first (after a member of the human race, but that shouldn't even need to be said).
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:19 PM on September 1 [7 favorites]


Beto O’Rourke yard signs are everywhere. Where are Ted Cruz’s?
posted by growabrain at 1:35 PM on September 1 [6 favorites]


Found the Ted Cruz sign.
posted by Justinian at 1:37 PM on September 1 [60 favorites]


Bloomberg has an interview transcript up, and while it's all quite the read ("No, I have greater patience than any human being in the world. People don’t understand that about me. I have great patience.") or perhaps desiring monetary policy based on what sounds good ("As president, I feel a little bit differently. As president, there’s something really nice-sounding about the fact that our dollar is so strong and so powerful."), this is just galling:
BLOOMBERG: On Jeff Sessions, would it be fair to say that Jeff Sessions will be A.G. until at least the mid-terms?

TRUMP: I would – I would think so, yeah. I would think so.

BLOOMBERG: Then how many days afterwards?

TRUMP: Oh, I don’t – I don’t even want to get into it. Look. I just want people to do their jobs. I have a great cabinet. I’m really happy with my cabinet. I’ve made some replacements. Mike Pompeo’s becoming a star. You look at my cabinet members, we have really great cabinet members. There are those that say this is the best cabinet ever assembled. We really have great – and you’ve heard that, Sarah, too. We hear it a lot.

We – and we have great judges. I put on judges that – when I got here, I had 145 openings. Nobody’s ever had that before. And that was because something happened in the last three years of Obama where he didn’t put judges on. I think they forgot. I really do, I believe they forgot. And there’s nothing more – you know, there’s probably nothing more important – other than war and peace, there’s probably nothing more important.
He's claiming that McConnell's unprecedented obstruction in which he refused to consider Obama's nominees for years was actually Obama forgetting to appoint judges. And the terrifying possibility is that this legitimately seems like one of those cases where you can't tell if hs's lying; he might actually believe Obama forgot.
posted by zachlipton at 1:44 PM on September 1 [59 favorites]


it should be Schumer’s task/ life’s work to keep Kavanaugh off the bench but when he fails to do so (which appears to be how things are going to shake out if they keep on the way they are going)

Lauren Duca (Teen Vogue) would like a word in your shell-like:

The Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court Feels Inevitable. But We Can Actually Stop Him.
I spent the last two weeks on the road with activists, educators, and elected officials who came together for Rise Up for Roe, a countrywide tour intended to influence the confirmation of Kavanaugh as the newest Supreme Court justice. Our message was simple but impossibly urgent: When it comes to fighting for equality and preserving democracy, the battle to stop Kavanaugh is the most pressing battle of our time — and it is winnable. […]

When Rise Up for Roe stopped in Boston, Warren reminded the audience that “no Supreme Court nominee is appointed without a vote from 50 senators.” The fight to stop Kavanaugh is simply a matter of changing the political calculus so that it costs more to vote yes than to vote no. We have to get vocal, to register and vote, so that our senators understand that if they vote to confirm Kavanaugh, they will not be reelected.

“This is not about just a few Democrats and just a few Republicans,” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said in D.C. “This has to be a 50-state strategy, where every person is going to feel the heat of your anger, of your outrage, and of your constitutional rights.” Onstage in Austin, Davis also encouraged the crowd to be in constant contact with senators, emphasizing how crucial the time before Kavanaugh’s hearings will be. “This is where we leave it all on the field,” she said. “Your grandchildren are going to be asking what you were doing when this was happening.”

It is essential that we come together to convert our anger into action. Fume about all of this. And then do something about it. Get on the phone with your senators each and every day. Consider yourself an organizer. Channel your passion into this, and enlist your beloveds to join the fight, especially those in the most crucial states. (In addition to Maine’s Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska comes to mind. Red-state Democrats who have yet to declare a position include Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakot